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Monday Links



The riddle of the Voynich Manuscript

Small Data: Why so many elephants?

Knuckle Dragging Right Freaks Out Over Hillary Clinton’s Pic with Pussy Riot Going Viral

Why Is Socialism Doing So Darn Well in Deep-Red North Dakota?

Moms Group Testifies Today Before Texas Legislature For Gun Control

The confidential internal slides that show why Apple is making a bigger iPhone 6

Spider invasion prompts Mazda software fix


Whose Pick Is It, Anyway?


Department of Homeland Security

Janet Napolitano is stepping down as Homeland Security Secretary.That's not news. It was leaked and soon afterwards, announced. But when the republicans heard this, they sent out their Texas mouthpiece, the ever forgettable and mostly regrettable Representative Mike McCaul to announce his choices for Napolitano's replacement.

Now somehow, either I  got things wrong, or the little Texan with the big mouth did. I was under the impression that cabinet level posts are appointed by the president.The pick is his, the senate confirms (or in the McConnell senate) filibusters. I don't see anywhere in the process where the House has any say.

Mike McCaul

On Sunday, here's what went down with warmonger, Mike McCaul," according to TPM Livewire:

Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, mentioned three possible people that House Republicans would probably like to see replace Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security who announced Friday she would resign from her post in September to become president of the University of California system.

McCaul named Thad Allen, the retired commandant of the Coast Guard, Ray Kelly, the New York Police commissioner, and William Bratton, who has headed up the New York, Los Angeles and Boston police departments.

"I think any three of those coming in would gain much respect from House Republicans and could help us at a time when we're really trying to push this border security measure out of the House of Representatives," McCaul said on "Fox News Sunday."

I'm thrilled McCaul has some suggestions. And I have one for him. Shut the "F" up and do your job. Get your party's Speaker to move things along and bring an immigration bill to the floor.Debate what needs to be done for security purposes to keep our nation safe NOW! If President Obama wants your input, he'll ask for it.


War Hey on Jorge


Deport illegals

Bill Maher has put it all into perspective once again. I wish I could say it better but he did just fine. Republicans will just never be happy -- but the closest they'll come to it is when they pass a little wind and find out it's not an S.B.D.  To the GOP, happiness is a war. They don't care what kind, or who it's with,  just so long as it's a war, someone dies and the military industrial complex makes billions on it, so there's money for the lobbyists to lavish on the GOP representatives.

Make this must share viewing.


Patron Saints of ...


St. Christopher medal

As a child growing up in Irish Catholic Boston, it was commonplace to see a St. Christopher's medal dangling from a car's rear view mirrors or on the dashboard. After all, he's the guardian saint of transportation. All the girls' parochial schools were called St. Agnes or Our Lady of Sacred Agnes as she is the patron saint of girls. If your son was troubled or "wild", parents would light a candle to St. Patrick who would protect them from sins, snakes and witchcraft.

So in writing a post for The Political Carnival, I needed to know the name for the patron saint of Justice. Of Goodness. Of Fairness. Of Brotherhood. I looked them up and guess what? Those are not listed. I guess those traits are still available.

Patron Saints

With all the saints they do have, these must exist but they didn't make it to the official Catholic Church Patron Saints Index. No siree, Bob.

While those topics didn't make it, there are hundreds of other that did. I'd like to share a few of the more obscure with you. Keep in mind, these must be more important than those traits I mentioned above or for certain, they'd have made this list. So in place of Fairness, brotherhood, justice goodness, I give you:

Saint Bibiana - Hangovers

Saint Fiacre - Hemorrhoids and piles

St. Katherine of Alexandria - cutlery

St. Blaise - goiters

St. Julian - wandering minstrels

St. Vidus - actors

St. George - syphilis

Those are all real, I kid you not. So I've come up with a few of my own that I'm going to submit to the Catholic board for immediate consideration.

St. Stacius Awayis - protector from tax collectors

St. Vicodin - protector from constant back pain

St. Buttocks - guardian from a pain in the a**

St. GOP - Protector of women from their rights

St. Xanax - provider of all stress relief

St. Bendover Endictus -  Overseer of parochial schools

St. Palin - guardian of quitters

St. Arby's - Purveyor of Roast beef sandwiches

St. Boehner - Endower of Obstructionism

St. Yungus Boyus - Guardian of the Vienna Boys Choir

Suggestion Box

Feel free to add a few of your own. The Pope Francis's suggestion box is open and the Holy See is waiting.


Breaking the Glass (Steagall) Ceiling


Restore Glass Steagall

Fortunately for us, we have Elizabeth Warren fighting to protect us. A few days ago I got an email from her that she was introducing her first big banking bill since arriving in the senate.

I've been making a simple point to anyone who will listen: we need to learn from the financial crisis of 2008 and, moving forward, to prevent the kinds of high-risk activities that made a few people rich but nearly destroyed our economy.

If anyone knows, it's E.W. She's carved out the niche of fear among Wall Street and Big Business. She's determined to save America from the greedy interests of the GOP and finally do away with the "Too Big To Fail" mentality. And she wants to do this in a measured, reasonably paced way.  Her plan is bipartisan, if that term even exists in reality, by joining forces with fellow senators, John McCain, Maria Cantwell and Angus King. They have introduced the 21st Century Glass Steagall Act of 2013. What is it, you may be asking? It's a renewal of one of the single most important pieces of legislation ever -- it's credited with having pulled us out of the Great Depression of the early '30s.

Elizabeth Warren2

Senator Warren writes:

Banking should  be safe from the sort of high-risk activities that broke our economy.

The way our system works, the FDIC insures our traditional banks to keep your money safe. That way when you want to withdraw money from your checking account, you know the money will be there. That’s what keeps our banking system safe and dependable.

But the government should NOT be insuring hedge funds, swaps dealing, and other risky investment banking services. When the same institutions that take huge risks are also the ones that control your savings account, the entire banking system is riskier.

Coming out of the Great Depression, Congress passed the Glass Steagall Act to separate risky investment banking from ordinary commercial banking. And for half a century, the banking system was stable and our middle class grew stronger. As our economy grew, the memory of the regular financial crises we experienced before Glass Steagall faded away.

In 1999, the Republicans, underwritten by tremendous financial backing broke the back of America with the corrupt Congressional leadership of Denny Hastert in the house and Strom Thurmond in the Senate. Both chambers were Republican led and so America lost it's protections against big business and banking. Wall Street had spent 66 years and millions of dollars lobbying for repeal, and, eventually, the big banks won. We were sold out.

Well, we're 14 years later and just emerging from the second deepest depression we've ever been in.  The housing bubble and the Too Big To Fail bailouts are still souring the taste in our mouth.  Now's the time to act.  Give us back our protections.

Our new 21st Century Glass Steagall Act once again separates traditional banks from riskier financial services. And since banking has become much more complicated since the first bill was written in 1933, we’ve updated the law to include new activities and leave no room for regulatory interpretations that water down the rules.

The bill will give a five year transition period for financial institutions to split their business practices into distinct entities -- shrinking their size, taking an important step toward ending “Too Big to Fail” once and for all, and minimizing the risk of future bailouts.

Don't let this important legislation die. Fight. Let your congressperson and your senators know you want to be protected. This is far more urgent and much more important than the $48 Billion for border security. This is our individual security. It's our homes. Our cars. Our future. Our families. Get off your fannies and do something. If you want your voice heard, you can add your name to Elizabeth Warren's petition right here: 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act.



This Makes Me Sick


baby pigs

I can't believe it. This has got to be a plot.  I love bacon and now I'm getting scared.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Migrates To U.S.

One  of my greatest pleasures is to make my Sunday family meal.  We usually have about ten people.  It's an event.  The meals run four or five courses, include all types of fresh ingredients, fish, meat, poultry, vegitables.  But most importantly, there's never been a meal that at least one of the dishes didn't include God's gift to cooking, bacon.

That up to now perfect food, is what chef's across the world, well, sans the Muslim world, find as their go-to ingredient.  When in doubt, add bacon.  Now this.

bacon on a plate

Did you know that each year in the U.S. alone, more than 1.7 billion lbs. of bacon are consumed in food service?  That's more than 5 1/2 lbs per person.

I say forget immigration.  Forget voters rights.  Forget gun control.  Dear Congress, fix the bacon crisis or you'll really have a riot, or worse, pork grease on your hands.  Don't be surprised if your inactivity addressing this matter doesn't result in your suddenly getting pork chops, port loins, or even diseased strips of maple or smoke flavored port bellies in your mail.  Forget Racine.  You've got bigger strips of bacon to fry.

The word 'epidemic' is the operative one here.  The food service industry could be forced to shut down.  No Alfredo sauce.  No BLT's. No bacon cheeseburger. No bacon and eggs.  If you can show me one thing more important than saving our favorite animal raised to be slaughtered, go ahead.  And don't say chicken.  Even chicken tastes better wrapped in Bacon.

Bacon wrapped chicken

Thank goodness we didn't pass a farm subsidy bill last week.  We wouldn't have had money in it for scientific research to save the swine.  No we can add that funding and you'll find Republicans and Democrats in nonpartisan voting, approving the bill. Maybe even unanimous consent.

And this isn't just a problem in the US.  It's worldwide because we didn't catch it earlier.

The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, also known as PED, was thought to exist only in Europe and China, but Colorado and 14 other states began reporting the virus in April, and officials confirmed its presence in May. The virus causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in pigs.

The virus has been confirmed in about 200 hog facilities in 14 other states including Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota, according to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Veterinarians, scientists and animal lovers everywhere, please help.  The life you save today, may be the bacon on your plate tomorrow.  Don't let porcine diarrhea virus do to us what the swing flu did.  Put your efforts to good use.  And if there's any doubt to the urgency, consider this (as well as a sure Nobel Prize in Medicine):

Becton said the disease can spread quickly and has killed entire populations of pigs under 7 days old.

"As they get older, by the time they're weaned at around 3 weeks of age, death loss can be around 80 percent or in severe cases upwards of 100 percent.


Who's The Real Food Stamp Party?


Food Stamps

If you think it's the Democrats, think again.

Ever notice how the Republicans always love to toss out terms like food stamp president, welfare queens, and other derogatory references to those who collect food stamps and public assistance? Do they actually know the figures and that the largest recipients of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programin (SNAP) are in Republican controlled states?

In terms of raw numbers, it's the largest states that have the biggest enrollment, of course. After all, they have more people. But as a function of population, that looks much different.

A good indicator of a state's politics is the make-up of its Senate delegation. There is a distinct correlation between states with more Republican delegations and states with higher percentages of people on food stamps. The larger the republican control, the more the public assistance. Interesting. I wonder now who's the food stamp party.

To be fair, let's look at another metric. As a function of raw numbers, of course, the bluer states have larger populations and thus more people receiving assistance. So maybe it's best to call this a draw, or better yet, stop the finger waving all together. We need a strong economy. We need jobs. We need to offer opportunities. We don't need more name calling and saber rattling.

SNAP feeds the hungry who, even when they can find work, can't support their families... Maybe a few less yacht and private jet tax write-offs, a bit more holding Wall Street responsible for taxes on their profits, and a bit less encouragement for off-shore holdings and outsourcing of jobs and we could drop those numbers significantly.  It's worth a try. Few want to be on food stamps. Many want to be self sufficient. Let's find ways to make that part of the American dream come true.