What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 11, 2018

My NINTIETH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

This week the Department of Justice has implicated Donald J Trump in a felony. Namely that he directed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to pay off two women - each of whom claims to have had an affair with man who has since become the leader of your political party.

You said recently that you oppose Trump "when he's doing something wrong."

Well, how about now? Committing a felony is wrong, isn't it? When can we expect you to denounce Donald Trump? Or should we infer from your silence that you're OK with it?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

December 8, 2018

And (OLD) Response From Senator Toomey

I've been out of the habit of checking my "spam" folder for Toomey response letters (the gmail gods have repeatedly consigned his responses there despite my frequent corrections - oh well).

Recently I discovered a reply from Toomey's office dated October 23. My apologies for getting to this so late.

He begins thusly:
Thank you for contacting me about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. I appreciate hearing from you.
Ah - this should be good.  As the letter is dated the 23rd, we can ignore any of my letters written after that date. As such there is a Kavanaugh letter written before: this one, dated October 9.

In that letter, I avoided discussion of the sexual harassment and instead asked about something else:
In voting for Kavanaugh, can the voters of Pennsylvania assume you're completely OK perjury if it fits the GOP agenda - specifically, with the fact that Kavanaugh lied to Congress regarding the memos Manny Miranda stole from some Democratic Senators back in 2003?
And here is how Senator Toomey responded:
On July 9, 2018, President Trump nominated then-D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. On September 6, 2018 I joined a bipartisan majority of my colleagues to confirm Justice Kavanaugh. His sterling academic credentials and outstanding legal record, which includes twelve years of exemplary service as a judge on the second highest court in the nation, make him exceptionally well qualified to serve as the Supreme Court's newest Associate Justice.

Justice Kavanaugh's long career of public service displays a remarkable fidelity to the Constitution and understanding of the proper role of a judge. He is an impartial jurist who treats everyone fairly and decides cases neutrally on the basis of the law and not a preferred policy or outcome. Further, Justice Kavanaugh understands that changes to the law must be made by the American people, acting through the democratic process, and not by unelected judges. His record gives me great confidence that he will discharge his duties on the Supreme Court intelligently and faithfully.
I'm not sure Senator Toomey understands what the Supreme Court does. He wrote "changes to the law must be made by the American people, acting through the democratic process, and not by unelected judges." I don't think that the Supreme Court changes any laws - it decides whether a law is constitutional. But let's move on. Toomey pats himself on the back with his next paragraph:
I have long held that when considering judicial nominees, objective qualifications are more important than partisan politics, and senators should work across the aisle to fill the federal bench with highly qualified jurists. I worked on a bipartisan basis with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and the Obama White House to fill 16 vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania. And, although I knew I would disagree with many of her decisions, I supported President Obama's nomination of then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she clearly had the character, intellect, and experience to merit confirmation.
That's nice. Still nothing about my question.

Then he gets to what I expressly didn't ask him about:
Unfortunately, during Judge Kavanaugh's nomination process, some abandoned this sensible standard. Today, the worst possible claims about a nominee are considered disqualifying by some, despite the absence of any corroborating evidence, because they disagree with the nominee's judicial philosophy. Sexual assault is undoubtedly a terrible crime that is sadly far too prevalent in our society. We need to take seriously allegations of sexual assault, while at the same time providing due process to those who are accused of misconduct.
So Pat Toomey doesn't believe Professor Ford (he mentioned "the absence of any corroborating evidence"). Something for all of us to remember. Forever.

He does end with this:
As this confirmation process concludes, my sincere hope is that all of my colleagues will seek to do the important work of restoring trust and civility in politics. The advice and consent role of the Senate for nominees would be a good place to start.
I have two words for Pat Toomey here: "Merrick Garland." Opps, let me correct that to five words: "Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland."

Then, on civility, I have a few more for Pat Toomey to ponder when thinking about the head of his own political party: we can go with "grab them by the pussy" or perhaps "shithole countries" or perhaps this tweet from only two days ago:
And still nothing about Brett Kavanaugh's perjury - another failed response from Senator Pat Toomey.

But there's another angle to this story. Back on August 18, Toomey responded (rather quickly, I might add) to a letter I had written earlier that month, on August 2. This paragraph is from this letter of October 23:
I have long held that when considering judicial nominees, objective qualifications are more important than partisan politics, and senators should work across the aisle to fill the federal bench with highly qualified jurists. I worked on a bipartisan basis with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and the Obama White House to fill 16 vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania. And, although I knew I would disagree with many of her decisions, I supported President Obama's nomination of then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she clearly had the character, intellect, and experience to merit confirmation.
And this paragraph is from his letter of August 18:
I have long held that when considering judicial nominees, objective qualifications are more important than partisan politics, and senators should work across the aisle to fill the federal bench with highly qualified jurists. I worked on a bipartisan basis with Senator Bob Casey and the Obama White House to fill 16 vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania. And, although I knew I would disagree with many of her decisions, I supported President Obama's nomination of then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. The test is not whether we agree with every decision a judicial nominee has rendered, but whether that nominee understands the proper role of a judge and has the character, intellect, and experience to merit confirmation.
Notice anything?

Not only did Pat Toomey neglect to answer the question I asked (the perjury) but he reused a paragraph from another letter.

His constituents deserve better, doncha think?

December 7, 2018

A Tale Of Two Tweets

First there was this:
Then about forty-five minutes later, this:
I'll let you decide for yourselves whether the two are connected.

December 5, 2018

My Eighty-ninth Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

This past week at the G20 Summit, Donald Trump refused to sign a joint agreement supporting the Paris Climate Accords despite the fact that his own administration (involving 13 federal agencies and more than 300 leading climate scientists) recently released (albeit rather quietly) the Fourth National Climate Assessment - a report outlining ways in which climate change will bring about more extreme weather conditions, damage infrastructure and so on.

I am sure you know his response - he simply said, "I don't believe it."

Given the importance of this issue, when can we expect to hear you speaking out against the danger of letting such scientific ignorance steer public policy? Or do you agree with Trump on the matter?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

November 27, 2018

My Eighty-eighth Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

In the past week border agents with the United States Customs and Border Protection agency fired tear gas into Mexico in order to push a group of migrants (a group which included women and children) back from the US Border. Donald Trump said it was a "very minor form of tear gas" and that it was "very safe."

Two questions this week: What are your feelings on the US Government tear gassing women and children? And given all of Trump's lies and misstatements can we actually believe him when he says that it's safe for children?

If you disagree with the policy of tear gassing women and children at the border, when will you be speaking up against it?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

November 22, 2018

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!




Basted in Blood from Goodly guy on Vimeo.


You were expecting Alice's Restaurant?

Donald Trump Asks: Whatever happened to Global Warming?

On November 21, Donald Trump tweeted:
Well Donald, this is what happened to Global Warming:


Your confusion of weather (the "Brutal and Extended Cold Blast") and climate (see the chart above) shows your ignorance of the issue.

November 20, 2018

My EIGHTY-SEVENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

I'll make this quick because it's Thanksgiving.

This week, Donald Trump launched an attack on a retired Navy Admiral (and former Navy SEAL) who questioned him on his charge that the press is the enemy of the people.

This week, Donald Trump has defended Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man the CIA has concluded ordered the murder of a Washington Post writer.

How is any of this OK with you? When will you be speaking up against it?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

November 19, 2018

Trump Sticks By The Press Being "The Enemy Of The People"

First there was this:
William H. McRaven, retired U.S. Admiral and UT System Chancellor, championed the role of the news media in a speech to Moody College of Communications students and faculty on Tuesday.

“We must challenge this statement and this sentiment that the news media is the enemy of the American people,” McRaven said. “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”
He backed that up with a blogpost a few days later:
In my sixty years, most of the serious threats to our nation have come from the outside: the Cold War, the Vietnam War, terrorism and the wars that followed. While at times, these external pressures encouraged some within our government to adopt a barricade mentality – hiding information from the public, acting secretly outside the bounds of the law, and encouraging behavior that had an extralegal feel to it – never has the government openly challenged the idea of a free press.

Each of us in government swears an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." The first amendment to that constitution assures freedom of speech and of the press.
Then this weekend:
To which he responded:
McRaven, in his statement to CNN, said “I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else.”

“I am a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for,” he continued. “I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times.”
Not, Trump. In other words.

November 13, 2018

My EIGHTY-SIXTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

This past week Donald Trump cancelled a trip to a WWI cemetery in France. As I wrote the other day, the cemetery commemorates those Marines who died in the Battle of Belleau Wood - I learned that this battle was an important event in the history of the United States Marine Corps.

Trump reportedly cancelled his appearance on account of weather and logistics - even though the leaders of France and Germany had absolutely no problem attending the ceremony.

This week's question: How is any of this OK with you? As you haven't said one word about this latest international embarrassment, we have to assume you're OK with Trump's recent bad behavior. When will you be speaking out about this? Will you be?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

November 11, 2018

Donald Trump And The Marines' First Crucible

Today is Veterans Day, 2018 and Donald Trump is embarrassing himself (and us) in France right now.

From Reuters:
President Donald Trump could not attend a commemoration in France for U.S. soldiers and marines killed during World War One on Saturday because rain made it impossible to arrange transport, the White House said.

The president was scheduled to pay tribute at a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, about 85 km (50 miles) east of Paris, with his wife Melania. But light steady rain and a low cloud ceiling prevented his helicopter from traveling to the site.

“(Their attendance) has been canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,” the White House said in a statement, adding that a delegation lead by Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired general, went instead.
We can ask about the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau and its importance. From the American Battle Monuments Commission:
With headstones lying in a sweeping curve, the 42.5-acre Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in France, sits at the foot of Belleau Wood. The cemetery contains the graves of 2,289 war dead, most of whom fought in the vicinity and in the Marne Valley in the summer of 1918. The memorial chapel sits on a hillside, decorated with sculptured and stained-glass details of wartime personnel, equipment and insignia. Inscribed on its interior wall are 1,060 names of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. In 1940 during World War II the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery chapel was damaged due to heavy fighting in the vicinity. All damage was repaired except for one shell hole in the chapel, left as a reminder of what took place.

Belleau Wood adjoins the cemetery and contains many vestiges of World War I. A monument at the flagpole commemorates the valor of the U.S. Marines who captured much of this ground in 1918.
That would be the Battle of Belleau Wood.  How important is that battle to the USMC?

Take a look at this, written 20 years ago, at Defense.gov:
Little has changed in the 80 years since 8,000 U.S. Marines, hundreds of Army soldiers and a handful of Navy medical corpsmen fought a prolonged battle to halt the Germans' advance toward Paris, a mere 30 miles away. It was here, in a former hunting preserve named Belleau Wood, that they faced what Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Charles C. Krulak considers the Marines' first crucible.
And then:
France, with the help of the United States, had formed a last line of defense along the Marne River near Chateau Thierry. The U.S. 4th Marine Brigade, made up of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments, was in the center with the French 167th Division on its left and U.S. Army 3rd Brigade to the right. The advancing German spearhead struck the Marine brigade near Belleau Wood on June 4.

New to Europe and the First World War, the combat-ready Marines encountered retreating, battle-worn veteran French troops, who predicted only doom. Turn back, the French advised.

"Retreat, hell. We just got here," responded Marine Capt. Lloyd Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. Untried, but soon to prove their mettle, the Marines surged through a hail of machine gun fire to take Hill 142 on June 6.

During a series of attacks and counterattacks on the way to the wood and in nearby villages, the Americans prevailed despite confusion and poor communications. Expert marksmen surprised German foes, hitting their targets from hundreds of yards away. Individual Marines charged German machine gun nests. When officers fell, sergeants took the lead. When sergeants fell, corporals led the way. When corporals fell, privates fought on.

The Marine Corps lost more men on June 6 than it had in all the rest of its history. The 4th Brigade suffered 31 officer casualties and 1,056 enlisted -- of those numbers, six officers and 222 enlisted men were killed or later died of wounds.
But it wasn't just the Marines who died there that makes this battle important. A more modern Marine Corps also grew out of the lessons learned at Belleau Wood:
The United States Marine Corps entered World War I as a small arm of naval infantry. Three decades later, the Marine Corps was poised for war with enhanced amphibious and aviation capabilities that proved vital in defeating Imperial Japan. Pivotal to the transformation of the Marine Corps was the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918. The Battle of Belleau Wood, although on land, led to the development and refining of the Marines’ amphibious doctrine. The Marine Corps’ amphibious innovation was motivated in part by a threat to its organizational independence and was aided by lessons in logistics learned at Belleau Wood. Additionally, experiences on the Western Front with artillery and enemy airpower helped motivate the expansion of Marine aviation and artillery, which together led to the development of combined arms capabilities. Without the lessons from Belleau Wood, and the integration of them, the Marines would have been much less adequately prepared for conflict with Japan in World War II.
The Battle of Belleau Wood - The Marines' first crucible.

And the place Donald Trump couldn't be bothered to visit because of the rain.

He did, however, tweet the Marine Corps a happy 243rd. It is, of course, a picture of himself:

So it's all good.

November 9, 2018

#ProtectMueller

As I posted yesterday, there was a definite reaction to Trump's firing of AG Sessions.

The Washington Post:
Tens of thousands of protesters nationwide spent Thursday evening decrying President Trump’s removal of Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, a move they fear threatens the independence of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

Those gathered in cities and towns from Boston to Houston to Seattle said Trump “crossed a red line” when he picked Matthew G. Whitaker as acting attorney general after asking and receiving Sessions’s resignation on Wednesday. Whitaker, a political loyalist, had criticized the special counsel’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
And, just as I posted yesterday, there was a protest in downtown Pittsburgh as well.

The Post-Gazette:
Hundreds protested outside the City-County Building in Pittsburgh during rush hour Thursday night in support of special prosecutor Robert Mueller, chanting and waving signs to dissuade President Donald Trump from interfering with the Russia investigation.

The crowd filled the building’s front steps and stretched for nearly a block in both directions along Grant Street. Demonstrators waved American flags at passing motorists, some of whom shouted or honked their horns in support.

“No one is above the law, not the president, not the smallest child,“ said Tracy Baton, a social worker from Park Place who organized the event. “In a constitutional democracy, everyone operates under the rule of law.”
I was there.
This is what the crowd looked like: [Note: I took a picture of a woman who had a GREAT t-shirt on. I told her the name of this blog - she'd never heard of it - and in my haste I don't think I got her consent to post her picture online. So if you see this, drop me a line and let me know if I can post the picture!]

November 8, 2018

Lawrence O'Donnell, Last Night



From Moveon:
Donald Trump has installed a crony to oversee the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation, crossing a red line set to protect the investigation. By replacing Rod Rosenstein with just-named Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker as special counsel Robert Mueller's boss on the investigation, Trump has undercut the independence of the investigation. Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and cannot be allowed to remain in charge of it. The Nobody Is Above the Law network demands that Whitaker immediately commit not to assume supervision of the investigation.
And so tonight at 6pm at the City-County Building: Protest!

November 7, 2018

Whew.

Ok so now the Democrats have control of one of the houses of Congress.

That's a very good thing - perhaps we'll soon be on the road back to a fully functioning democracy, now that we'll have some real oversight.

Some things to oversight:
  • Trump's violation of The Emolument Clause of the Constitution
  • Trump's tax returns
Just a to name a few.

And here should be what's coming - as Jake Tapper said on CNN:
If [Trump] thinks that the media is annoying, wait till he meets a Democratic House that has subpoena power and actually has the legal ability to force them to turn over documents. We’re going to look like nothing compared to that.”
Maybe, we're headed back to some real oversight.

November 6, 2018

November 5, 2018

Open Letter To Robert Bowers' (Current and Cuture) Defense Attorney

[Note: I don't yet know the name of his attorney so if you do, please forward this blog post along to the appropriate person or persons.]
Counselor,

Your client has been accused of a horrendous set of crimes. The impact of those crimes will be felt for generations to come both nationally and locally.

That being said I don't envy you, the job you now have.

It's not my place here to discuss your client's guilt or innocence. I'd rather spend this time echoing something that I am guessing you already believe; that everyone accused of any crime is entitled to a rigorous defense - even Robert Bowers.

We live in tenuous times. The existential threats to our democracy are evident with each early morning tweet-rant coming from Donald Trump's unsecured phone. If our democracy is to survive this administration the rest of us must zealously protect the rule of law everywhere.

Your defense of Robert Bowers is one small part of that protection.

I am sure you already believe  this. I just wanted you to know that I believe it, too.

With great respect

Dayvoe
And if you know who his defense attorney is, please forward this blog post along to them.

October 31, 2018

Just Imagine If His Name Was Marwan

From today's Post-Gazette we get this:
Robert Bowers chose no party when he registered to vote in 1995, then associated with some of the region's more strident conservatives and finally ended his political evolution in one of the most extreme corners of the social media universe.

Mr. Bowers, 46, of Baldwin Borough, is now charged with 11 counts of homicide, six counts of attempted homicide, plus 29 federal counts in association with the Squirrel Hill shootings which have, since Saturday, come to dominate the national political discourse.
Followed shortly afterwards by this:
Archived internet records suggest that by 1999, and through 2006, Mr. Bowers was at least peripherally associated with the “Quinn in the Morning” radio show and host Jim Quinn's conservative "Warroom." Web domain archives show that Mr. Bowers ran onedingo.com, which purported to serve as the archives for Mr. Quinn's show.
And:
In 2000, according to archived versions of warroom.com, the site's "sound guy" was "Rob," with the email address warroom@onedingo.com. Archived versions of the website warroom.com attribute the site’s encoding to "Rob Bowers."
Now let's do a little thought experiment, shall we?

Just imagine if the guy who killed all those people in Squirrel Hill was named, say, Marwan or Ahmed or Mohamed and he was connected in some way to some Islamic podcast some where.

How would our right wing friends be reacting right about now?

Trump's Latest Assault On American Decency (And The GOP's Hypocrisy)

It's all about this - The 14th Amendment:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Trump doesn't like it (probably having something to do with all those people from all those shithole countries thinking that they can have American kids due to some stupid loophole in the Bill of Rights) and so by gum he's gonna change it.

But isn't it a constitutional amendment? How do you change a constitutional amendment?

From Axios:
"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," he said.
So he's gonna do it by Executive Order.

An executive order to rewrite a constitutional amendment.

Weren't there scads of hand-wringing republicans screeching only a few years ago about the executive overreach they saw when the Obama Administration wanted school lavatories to be gender neutral or when it tried to deal with carbon regulations?

They just wouldn't shut up about the tyranny of Obama's executive overreach.

And now?

October 30, 2018

My EIGHTY-FIFTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Donald Trump continues to call the press "the enemy of the people." This, even after one of his most fervent supporters, sent a pipe bomb to CNN.

I've asked you this before, Senator, but let me ask you again.

Is the press (and let's all remember that the press is constitutionally protected) really "the enemy of the people" like he says?

He has said it. Numerous times. Maybe even in your presence. Do you or don't you agree with him? It's a simple question, Senator.

I suspect that you, like all defenders of freedom, disagree with Trump on this. If that is the case, then why are you not denouncing him every time he attacks the press? Isn't our democracy worth it?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

October 28, 2018

The Deceased

From WPXI:
Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland

Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township

Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood

Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill

David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill

Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg

Sylvan Simon, 87, of Wilkinsburg​​​​​​​

Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill

Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill

Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington
Too sad to write anything else.

Stronger Than Hate



October 26, 2018

Meanwhile Outside...

Yes, I know there's a very important election coming up.

But still, it (and by that I mean the global climate) is getting warmer outside.

The science, from the scientists at NOAA:
With global records dating back to 1880, the September 2018 global temperature across the world's land and ocean surfaces was 0.78°C (1.40°F) above the 20th century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F)—tying with 2017 as the fourth highest September temperature in the 139-year record. The ten warmest September global land and ocean surface temperatures have occurred since 2003, with the last five years (2014–2018) comprising the five warmest Septembers on record. September 2015 is the record warmest September at +0.93°C (+1.67°F). September 2018 also marks the 42nd consecutive September and the 405th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.
And:
The average global land and ocean surface temperature for January–September 2018 was 0.77°C (1.39°F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C (57.5°F)—the fourth highest global land and ocean temperature for January–September in the 1880–2018 record.
Meanwhile, the scientifically (among many other adverbs) illiterate occupier of the Oval Office has said this about the climate:
I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade.
On the one hand, it's good that he's stepping away from his previous assertion that it's a hoax (although he now only "doesn't think it's a hoax"). But he's showing us, yet again, his vast scientific ignorance by asserting that he "doesn't know it's manmade" (it is.) and that "it'll change back" (if it does, it won't for a very very long time)

On that last bit, does Trump think that we'll wake up one day and POOF! we'll have global temps circa 1950? Or that the temps magically will drop for a few decades?

No matter what the orange vulgarity says, it's still getting warmer - the science says so.

October 25, 2018

This Is What Happens When You Call The Press "The Enemy Of The People"

CNN gets a pipe bomb.

After the bombs were discovered, Trump said:
In these times we have to unify. We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.
This from the guy who said this before the election:
"If [Clinton wins, she] gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added: “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Then just a few hours later at a political rally, he said:
Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective. After doing that, The language of moral condemnation and destructive routine -- These are arguments and disagreements that have to stop. No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains.
Crooked Hillary.

Trump once tweeted:
"Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to 'leak' into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"
Former CIA chief John Brennan got a pipe bomb, too.

And then there's this:
The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks.
It's a warning: The media has to stop reporting negatively about him. If they don't, they shouldn't be surprised if they get another pipe bomb.

Make no mistake. This was an act of domestic terrorism aimed at an opposing political party two weeks before an election. Trump's verbal attacks have everything to do with these attempted assassinations.

Let me put it another way:
A Florida man who was arrested for groping a woman on a Southwest flight bound for New Mexico told federal agents that President Donald Trump said it's permissible to grab women by their "private parts."
Whoever sent those bombs would probably agree.

October 23, 2018

My EIGHTY-FOURTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Recently your colleague Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that "entitlement changes ... is the real driver of the debt by any objective standard" (even though that's not true, as Ronald Reagan said in 1984) and then hinted at cutting entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

He said this the same week the Treasury Department announced a huge deficit - caused by, as we both know, the tax-cut your party pushed through Congress.

Simple question this week, Senator: Is that your plan? To pay for your trillion dollar tax cut by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

Your constituents have a right to know.

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

October 21, 2018

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial Board Is Lying To You. Again.

And, interestingly enough, they're doing it while trying to make the case about someone else's dishonesty.

Funny when that happens, right?

It's about Senator Elizabeth Warren's DNA test.

Let's look at what the P-G Editorial Board actually writes about Senator Warren and the test and then let's see if it is, in fact, factual. If it isn't we know they're simply lying. Either that, or an editorial board attached to a news organization couldn't be bothered to check their own facts. I used to ask this about Jack Kelly: which is it, dishonesty or incompetence?

First, there's this from the editorial:
Elizabeth Warren, as everyone knows, by now is no more Native American than most of the rest of us, maybe less than many of us. Her native American blood is 1/​64th to 1/1024th of a percent.
While the board is trying to be sarcastic, this is actually correct.  But let's take a look at what the test said anyway:
The largest segment identified as having Native American ancestry is on chromosome 10. This segment is 13.4 centiMorgans in genetic length , and spans approximately 4,700,000 DNA bases. Based on a principal components analysis (Novembre et al., 2008), this segment is clearly distinct from segments of European ancestry (nominal p -value 7.4 x 10 -7, corrected p -value of 2.6 x 10 -4 ) and is strongly associated with Native American ancestry.
Then there's this from the board:
It should matter to thinking Americans because Ms. Warren based much of her adult academic and political career on being a “woman of color.”
This is presented by the P-G Editorial Board with no evidence. On the other hand the Boston Globe published this - an article with the headline:

Ethnicity not a factor in Elizabeth Warren’s rise in law

And a few paragraphs down we read:
In the most exhaustive review undertaken of Elizabeth Warren’s professional history, the Globe found clear evidence, in documents and interviews, that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman.
So where is the evidence (you know, the facts) upon which the P-G Editorial Board bases its assertion? Can we see it? How does it refute the "clear evidence, in documents and interviews" that the Globe has already written about? An explanation is needed. Unless and until we see it, you're simply lying.

The P-G Ed Board's dishonesty is compounded by this next sentence:
And because she has never apologized for the fabrication.
There's no apology because there was no fabrication. What the board is hoping you'll think, I suppose, is that if you believe their lie about a "fabrication", then the fact that Warren hasn't apologized only supports the existence of that "fabrication." That's another lie.

Then there's this from the board:
And because her appropriation insulted the Cherokee Nation, to which she claimed affiliation. (The tribe has denounced her.)
Again, it's simply a lie that she claimed affiliation. Take a look:
The board's next paragraph:
But the lie matters most of all because, even after she took a rigged DNA test that showed her Indian blood to be extremely minimal, she doubled down: This shows that what I said was right and true all along. [Italics in original.]
Now they're asserting a "rigged DNA test." Again, evidence? And by that I mean: "evidence (other than the fact that it doesn't fit into your right-wing politics?)" Until and unless you can present it, we'll know you're lying.

Let's go back to the report. This is the bio of the guy who wrote it:
Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante is an internationally recognized leader in the application of data science and genomics technology to problems in medicine, agriculture, and biology. He received his Ph.D. in Biology and MS in Statistics from Harvard University (2001), was on the faculty at Cornell University (2002-9), and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010. He is currently Professor of Biomedical Data Science, Genetics, and (by courtesy) Biology at Stanford University. Dr. Bustamante has a passion for building new academic units, non- profits, and companies to solve pressing scientific challenges. He is Founding Director of the Stanford Center for Computational, Evolutionary, and Human Genomics (CEHG) and Inaugural Chair of the Department of Biomedical Data Science. He is the Owner and President of CDB Consulting, LTD. and also a Director at Eden Roc Biotech, founder of Arc -Bio (formerly IdentifyGenomics and BigData Bio), and an SAB member of Imprimed, Etalon DX, and Digitalis Ventures among others. [Bolding in original]
And the methodology:
Methodology.

Analysis was performed to scan the human genome to identify individual chromosomal segments with European, African, East Asian, and Native American ancestry , using the RFMix computer program, which was developed by us (Maples et al., 2013) and is one of the leading methods for ancestry analysis. The ancestry analysis used reference samples from various regional populations used in human genetics (see below). Because available samples do not provide complete coverage of all Native American groups, some segments with Native American ancestry may be missed. In addition, it is not possible to reliably associate smaller segments having Native American ancestry with any specific tribe or group.

Samples.

The individual’s sample contained information on 764,958 sites of genetic variation across the human chromosomes , of which 660,173 overlapped with sites in the reference set used for ancestry analysis. Our population reference set consisted of 148 individuals (a continental reference panel of 37 individuals from across Europe, 37 from Nigeria with Sub-Saharan African ancestry, 37 from across the Americas with Native American ancestry, and 37 individuals from China). To determine whether the Native American ancestry results in the sample were unusually high relative to other individuals of European ancestry, analysis was also performed on 185 individuals from two reference sets from the 1000 Genomes Project — Americans of predominantly European ancestry from Utah (n = 99 individuals) and British individuals of European ancestry from Great Britain (n = 86 individuals)
Politifact, by the way, found the Bustamente report "credible."  Politifact ads:
Bustamante said that the analyst working with the DNA sample didn’t know it was Warren’s when running the test.
So show me the "rigged" part, please. Until and unless you can, you're lying.

As for the board's italicized charge above, we can point to Politifact's last sentence:
The DNA test can’t prove every part of Warren’s family story, but the researchers we reached said it is consistent with her account.
Her account being that she was told that her great-great-great-grandmother was Cherokee. The test is consistent with that.

Finally, the board should be more careful when it writes a sentence like this:
This is either the mark of a totally shameless and utterly cynical person, or the mark of a deluded one.
Because we have to wonder what the "this" designates as it's obvious (considering all the facts laid out above and all the dishonesty discovered in the P-G editorial) exactly who's being shameless and utterly cynical (or deluded).

Here's a hint for writer of this editorial in case you didn't understand that last paragraph:

IT'S YOU.

October 18, 2018

I THINK I got Push-Polled By Jeremy Shaffer's Campaign Last Night

Last night at about 8:10 I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize. Usually, I ignore these calls but for some reason last night I answered.

Turned out it was a poll taker asking political questions doing a pushpoll!

Most of the questions revolved around the Jeremy Shaffer/Lindsey Williams race.

And here's my evidence I was pushpolled:
  • The pollster referred to it as "the Democrat party"
  • I was only asked the "If you knew X would you be more willing/less willing to vote for Lindsey Williams" questions. Nothing similar about Jeremy Shaffer
  • The "X" in those was only negative stuff about Williams
To be clearer, the point of the poll was not to gather information about what the voters are thinking but rather to plant negative information about one candidate into the minds of the voters.

So I'm guessing yea, it's a pushpoll.


October 16, 2018

My EIGHTY-THIRD Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Recently, Donald Trump referred to Democrats as an "angry mob" and "unhinged" and "too dangerous to govern."

Very simple question this week: given that about four million of your constituents are, in fact, members of the Democratic party, do you agree with this assessment? Please note that I am not asking you whether you think it's a good idea for him to say it or whether his rhetoric has gotten out of hand, I am just asking if you agree with him - seeing as he's insulted a very large portion of your constituents.

Oh, and The NYTimes is reporting that the deficit jumped 18% in 2018 due, in large part, to the tax cuts you and your party passed. I thought the GOP took the budget seriously. I suppose now that your guy is in the Oval Office that's no longer the case - your thoughts?.

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

October 9, 2018

My EIGHTY-SECOND Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey (UPDATE)

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again - the constituent who writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

You voted to elevate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I am guessing you're already getting a great deal of critical (and necessary, given the severity of the issue) feedback about the sexual assaults alleged to have occurred in his past, so let me ask you about of his perjury instead. 

In voting for Kavanaugh, can the voters of Pennsylvania assume you're completely OK perjury if it fits the GOP agenda - specifically, with the fact that Kavanaugh lied to Congress regarding the memos Manny Miranda stole from some Democratic Senators back in 2003?

Perjury is a very serious crime, Senator. Sitting presidents have been impeached for perjury, as I am sure you know.

So, all politics aside, where are your principles in supporting a man who lied to the Congress in order to sit on the Supreme Court?

Thank you and I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

This letter has been answered here

Follow-up: