Monday, October 31, 2022

Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Starts Tomorrow


David Anderson has some helpful advice for the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period:

The ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) starts tomorrow for and most of the state based marketplaces.  Idaho allowed shopping earlier in October.  During OEP you can switch plans for any reason.  You can buy a plan for any reason.

Here are a few things to remember:

    • Health insurance is complicated and complex so go get help
    • Navigators are government funded helpers who can’t make a specific recommendation but can help reduce complexity
    • Agents and brokers can make specific recommendations but they work on commission/premium while they are only required to give good advice not optimal advice.
    • Take your time
    • Open Enrollment goes through at least December 15th for all markets and through January 15 for
    • Be ready to accept good enough instead of perfect.
    • Look around and actively choose is the secure portal to begin with should you want to switch plans or buy a new plan, or just want  to compare plans or need more information.

Oz Staffers Include Jan. 6 Insurrectionists

A report in Rolling Stone describes the infiltration of January 6 Capitol rioters in the campaign of slippery snake oil salesman and New Jersey carpetbagger "Dr." Mehmet Oz, running for Senate in Pennsylvania. Despite his false attempts to portray himself as reasonable in order to fool some voters, his positions are radical and Trumpian. From the report:

"In his run for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat, Mehmet 'Dr.' Oz has tried to convince voters that — despite his close ties to Donald Trump — he’s moderate enough to represent their battleground state. Most notably, while the former president falsely insists the 2020 election was stolen, Oz has at times recognized its legitimacy.

Oz’s tact is a departure from the state’s other high-profile Republican, Doug Mastriano, who’s running for governor with a rapturous embrace of Trump’s election lies. But it’s Oz’s approach that appears to be working: While the polls show Mastriano floundering, Oz is running a close race against Democrat John Fetterman.

But while Oz pays lip service to the 2020 election results, he has quietly loaded up his 2022 campaign with true believers in Trump’s 'Big Lie' — including ones who attended Trump’s infamous Jan. 6 rally aimed at nullifying Joe Biden’s victory.

According to records reviewed by Rolling Stone, at least two Oz campaign staffers attended Trump’s Jan. 6 'Stop the Steal' rally in Washington, D.C. The rally, in which Trump declared the election stolen and encouraged supporters to 'fight like hell' to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn it, directly preceded the deadly Capitol riot."  (our emphasis)

The two radical staffers were identified as Lee Snover, a county Republican chair, and Josh Bashline, who serves in a paid political advisor position. A little more about these two little fascists:

"Lee Snover, described as Oz’s campaign coordinator for Northampton County, attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally on the mall and said she walked to the Capitol that day but did not trespass on Capitol grounds. 'I got to the Capitol steps,' she told Lehigh Valley Live that day. 'The only violence I saw were the police teargassing patriots for no reason.'”  (our emphasis)

Blue Lives Matter! She was also involved in the plot to illegally "decertify" Pennsylvania's election results.

"Another Oz staffer, Josh Bashline, who serves as a paid political adviser, also attended Trump’s Jan. 6 'Stop the Steal' rally, according to an interview he gave to a local newspaper. Bashline initially helped the Oz campaign as a volunteer poll watcher during his primary contest with David McCormack, but FEC records show the staffer stayed on the payroll at least as recently as Sept. 30."

The article goes on to point out Oz's hypocrisy in having insurrectionist election deniers on his staff, while portraying himself as somehow "moderate." The article describes his duplicity:

"During his narrowly won Republican primary run, Oz leaned heavily into rhetoric that the election still needed investigation — and that 2020 was an event 'we cannot move on' from. But after the primary, the TV doctor said he wouldn’t have joined potential colleagues like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz in trying to overturn Biden’s election victory. 'I would not have objected to it,' Oz told a press conference about former Vice President Pence’s counting of electoral votes in the Senate."

The whole article is well worth a read to appreciate just how sleazy Oz and his group are.

(photo: Oz looking smug as usual/ Columbia University)


Tweets Of The Day


"Horseshit" Republican voter fraud claims --




Take heart, but remember none of this happens unless we all vote (and donate) --




The Republican brand:  preferring to lie and demonize --


... And the roots of lying, violent Republican demonization go deep --


More, please --



Happy Halloween πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ --  



QOTD -- Zero Equivalence


"Here’s the thing. Al Gore conceded the 2000 election after the Supreme Court halted the Florida recount. John Kerry conceded the 2004 election the very next day, and objections to the certification of Bush’s reelection were quickly batted down by Democratic leadership. And Clinton, for all her subsequent 'illegitimate president' talk, also conceded the next day.

"None of them pushed a lie—and this is not debatable, it is a lie—that makes every U.S. election for the foreseeable future a potential civil war flashpoint. Trump will never concede, and directed a violent mob toward the U.S. Capitol to take over Congress and overturn our election. Spot the difference?  [snip]

"But there is no remote equivalence to what Democrats have said or done and what Trump and Republicans continue to do to this day—destroying the American tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. To call these Republican comebacks “false equivalence” is a disservice to the comparison; there is zero equivalence."-- Anthony L. Fisher, Daily Beast, in the course of puncturing the "both sides" case Christofascist Republicans are trying to make that Democrats are election deniers, too.   There's an authoritarian fascistic party on one hand and one trying to save democracy on the other.  Spot the difference?

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon: "Fascism For The Win!"


(click to enlarge)

MAGA fascist leaders and their cult followers don't care if Social Security, Medicare and women's reproductive rights are brought down, along with democracy. It's their plan, along with making sure voting rights are destroyed to ensure their permanent rule in a dystopian, authoritarian state.

You can support Tom's work by going here.


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly


The good:

Luiz InΓ‘cio Lula da Silva won Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, defeating far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in a heated contest during which the incumbent repeatedly threatened to dismantle the world’s fourth-largest democracy.

Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal called the race for da Silva just before 7 p.m. Eastern time, with the leftist holding a narrow 50.83% to 48.17% lead with more than 98% of votes counted.

The victory will complete a triumphant return to the top of Brazilian politics for da Silva, the leader of the leftist Workers’ Party who previously served as the country’s president from 2003 to 2010, then spent nearly two years in prison on a corruption conviction that was ultimately annulled.

Four years after Brazilian discontent with a political establishment that da Silva had long represented helped propel Bolsonaro to victory, Brazilians turned back to the man they refer to simply as “Lula” in historic fashion: Bolsonaro is now the first president since Brazil’s return to democracy in the late 1980s to fail to win a second term.

The election did not provide a resounding defeat of Bolsonaro, one of a cadre of right-wing leaders putting democracies at risk worldwide, which da Silva and many of his supporters had once hoped for. But it was still a rejection of a leader who had spent his four years targeting Brazil’s democratic institutions and who seemed likely to use a second term in office to further erode the country’s democracy.

The bad:

In 2010, Republicans launched a “Fire Pelosi” project — complete with a bus tour, a #FIREPELOSI hashtag and images of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) engulfed in Hades-style flames — devoted to retaking the House and demoting Pelosi from her perch as speaker.

Eleven years later, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) joked that if he becomes the next leader of the House, it will be hard not to hit Pelosi with the speaker’s gavel.

And this year, Pelosi — whom Republicans have long demonized as the face of progressive policies and who was a target of rioters during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — emerged as the top member of Congress maligned in political ads, with Republicans spending nearly $40 million on ads that mention Pelosi in the final stretch of the campaign, according to AdImpact, which tracks television and digital ad spending.

The years of vilification culminated Friday when Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was attacked with a hammer during an early-morning break-in at the couple’s home in San Francisco by a man searching for the speaker and shouting “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” according to someone briefed on the assault.

The ugly:

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but something strange, perhaps even pernicious, appears to be going on here. On one hand, the Beltway groupthink—which seems wed to the notion that Democrats are doomed—could simply be cheerleading for the outcome most of them have been predicting since the beginning of the year.

That’s what I had started to believe and what University of Florida professor and elections expert Michael McDonald suggested in a tweet Wednesday night. After The Economist data journalist G. Elliot Morris tweeted a meme stating the election “always has been” a referendum on the incumbent party, McDonald subtweeted, “If you want to know why election forecasters are cheering for a Republican victory, it is because their fundamentals forecasting models say it will happen.” [snip]

That overly optimistic assessment of GOP chances could be part of a feedback loop that helps create a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Longwell suggested. But what if Republicans’ goal is an even more nefarious effort to prime GOP base voters into believing they've been cheated if Republicans don’t win big. What if, after all the red-wave hype, Democrats have a decent night and hold the Senate or, god forbid, have a really good night and maintain control of both chambers?

If that were to happen, the same Republican lawmakers and candidates who have spent two years spewing Donald Trump’s baseless stolen election garbage will be perfectly situated to weaponize the anger and dismay of their supporters once again. We’ve already seen this GOP play following 2020. It resulted in a violent coup attempt that took lives, injured more than 140 police officers, exacted longterm mental anguish, and continues to rip at the fabric of our country today. In fact, we haven’t even reached Election Day and already masked and armed vigilantes are harassing and intimidating voters who are merely trying to exercise their constitutional rights.

The potential for violence is real...

Bottom line:  Republican- wired horserace "journalism" is going to get people killed and pave the way for an authoritarian Christofascist government -- unless we ignore them and get out and vote! And get your likeminded family, friends, and neighbors to vote while you're at it.  Institutions like the corporate media won't save us;  only us mobilizing to vote -- and protecting the vote -- will.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Across The Universe, Cont. -- Pillars Of Creation Mid-Infrared View


From NASA/ESA, October 28, 2022: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s mid-infrared view of the Pillars of Creation strikes a chilling tone. Thousands of stars that exist in this region disappear – and seemingly endless layers of gas and dust become the centerpiece.

The detection of dust by Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is extremely important – dust is a major ingredient for star formation. Many stars are actively forming in these dense blue-gray pillars. When knots of gas and dust with sufficient mass form in these regions, they begin to collapse under their own gravitational attraction, slowly heat up – and eventually form new stars.

Although the stars appear missing, they aren’t. Stars typically do not emit much mid-infrared light. Instead, they are easiest to detect in ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light. In this MIRI view, two types of stars can be identified. The stars at the end of the thick, dusty pillars have recently eroded the material surrounding them. They show up in red because their atmospheres are still enshrouded in cloaks of dust. In contrast, blue tones indicate stars that are older and have shed most of their gas and dust.

Mid-infrared light also details dense regions of gas and dust. The red region toward the top, which forms a delicate V shape, is where the dust is both diffuse and cooler. And although it may seem like the scene clears toward the bottom left of this view, the darkest gray areas are where densest and coolest regions of dust lie. Notice that there are many fewer stars and no background galaxies popping into view.

Webb’s mid-infrared data will help researchers determine exactly how much dust is in this region – and what it’s made of. These details will make models of the Pillars of Creation far more precise. Over time, we will begin to more clearly understand how stars form and burst out of these dusty clouds over millions of years.

Contrast this view with Webb’s near-infrared light image.

IMAGE PROCESSING: Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI)


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Patrick Chappatte, The Boston Globe)

(J.D. Crowe, Alabama Media Group)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(Jeff Stahler,

(Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal)

(John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

(Tim Campbell, Counterpoint)

(Frank Hansen,

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Dave Brown, The Independent, London)

(Mort Gerberg, @mortgerberg)

Sunday Reflection: Terry Southern And Martial Law

"Every once in a while I get a jolt of very painful realization that Nixon and whatever he represents in terms of the power structure--you know, people who would go down with him--that they know the only support they have is the army, and those elements of industry and the scientific and academic world connected with it--a relatively small group, certainly not enough to carry any kind of vote--so their only chance of remaining in power is to create a situation so other words, to encourage people like Abbie Hoffman to freak-out, or the Panthers, so that they have a little martial law until things cool down. I mean about election time, you known, because having elections would be "dangerous to national security." They'd say: maybe in two weeks, if things cool down, then, of course, that two weeks can be extended indefinitely. I can't imagine them being so naive as to think that this power can be retained in any other way. They're very unpopular--perhaps the most unpopular regime in the history of the country." (our emphasis) -- Author, screenwriter and cultural touchstone Terry Southern, from Marcus Cunliffe's Interview, Escapade, 1971.  Southern's imaginings preceded the Malignant Loser's attempt fifty years later to stop the peaceful and legitimate transfer of power to President Biden, toying with the notion of declaring martial law and seizing voting machines. Southern, who passed away this day in 1995, saw the worst regime to date, but had no inkling of what was to come in the person of a lying, narcissistic reality TV host and failed businessman / con man who later ascended to the White House.

(photo: Flashing a peace sign to a dove. William Claxton)

Russia's "Will To Fight" Waning


Stories of the shambolic Russian armed forces in Ukraine, with their poor leadership, logistical collapse, poor morale and inadequate training and equipment have surfaced ever since their brutal invasion last February 24. Setting aside the mounting evidence of mass war crimes, which is being collected and processed by international investigators and jurists, war criminal Vladimir Putin's forces are gradually being pushed back. CNN's John Blake looks at the history of battle, and presents evidence that Putin's forces could suffer a breakdown in the near future:

"What causes armies to lose the will to fight? And how might that play out with the Russian army in Ukraine?

This is the question that CNN asked combat veterans and military historians. While history is full of embattled armies like the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II, which fought with ferocious intensity even though they knew they would not win, it also records other armies that 'quiet quit' — stopped attacking the enemy or did the bare minimum to stay alive.

Russia’s troops may be approaching that precipice, says Jeff McCausland, a combat veteran of the Gulf War and a visiting professor of international security studies at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

He says it’s become clear that the Russian army is poorly trained and supplied, and that its soldiers in many cases have lost their will to fight."  (our emphasis)

CNN's Blake goes on to list three factors involved in an army losing the will to fight: losing faith in their cause, losing faith in their leaders, and losing the support of their country. Putin has falsely asserted that Ukraine is run by "Nazis", despite having a Jewish president, and that Ukraine isn't a real country but part of his delusional, greater imperial Russia. Only the most ideological soldiers in the field buy that, but rather see themselves invading a "brotherly" country for a land grab. Second, the haughty Putin has rarely visited with his troops -- and certainly not in occupied Ukraine -- and remains an aloof figure, often pictured sitting at the end of a long table while his officials sit at the other. His errors in underestimating Ukraine's resolve to remain free and his botched invasion "strategy" have prompted public criticism, even in his inner circle. Finally, the exodus of hundreds of thousands of mobilization-aged men from Russia, along with tens of thousands of Russia's most capable and educated citizens, has shown the troops that the internal support for Putin's war is shaky, and that they're the "cannon fodder" for his delusions of grandeur. 

The fear and panic among the newly-mobilized front line Russian troops may snowball into fear and panic among the military leadership on the ground in Ukraine and within Russia itself, and that would be the best gift to a surging Ukrainian army.

Three Political Stooges


Saturday Night Live's cold open skewers Republican candidates Herschel Walker, Dr. Oz, and Kari Lake.  It would be a lot funnier if none of these abominations had a chance of winning.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Putin's "Hunger Games" Back On

Not long after conspiring with Saudi butchers to jack up the price of oil to help fellow autocrat Republicans in the mid- terms, Russian thug and brutal war criminal Vladimir Putin is suspending the Ukrainian grain export deal brokered by the U.N. 

Russia announced Saturday that it will move to suspend its implementation of a U.N.-brokered grain deal that has seen more than 9 million tons of grain exported from Ukraine during the war and has brought down soaring global food prices.

The Russian Defense Ministry cited an alleged Ukrainian drone attack against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ships moored off the coast of occupied Crimea, which Russia says took place early Saturday, as the reason for the move. Ukraine has denied the attack, saying that the Russians mishandled their own weapons.

The Russian declaration came one day after U.N. chief Antonio Guterres urged Russia and Ukraine to renew the grain export deal. Guterres also urged other countries, mainly in the West, to expedite the removal of obstacles blocking Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

The U.N. chief said the grain deal — brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July and which expires on Nov. 19 — helps “to cushion the suffering that this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people,” his spokesman said.

What an evil, desperate bunch of thugs.  If you believe Putin and his criminal associates on the reason for the suspension, we have an artifact from the lost island of Atlantis we'd like to sell you.

Just as Putin is determined to destroy as much of Ukraine's infrastructure as he can before his final humiliation on the battlefield, so is he trying to further cripple Ukraine's agricultural economy.  Ukraine is doubtlessly working with bordering EU states to transship as much grain as it can to avoid Putin's new blockade.  But damage will be done, and innocent people around the world will suffer hardship and famine as long as Putin plays his "hunger games."

The day when he's helped out of a window by a former trusted associate cannot come too soon.

BONUS: Time to get an international escort flotilla together.

Tweets of the Day


MAGA maggots show who they are --





Typically timid, Republican-influenced media coverage of the Pelosi attack -- 

Obama tears into "lawman" Herschel "How Many Abortions" Walker --


TV snake oil doc's remark boomerangs; crudites anyone? --  

Didn't know she had missiles -- 



Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Ed Hall,

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)

(Gary Markstein,

(John Darkow, Columbia Missourian)

(Jimmy Margulies,

(Clay Jones,

(Monte Wolverton,

(Pedro Molina, Counterpoint)

(Kevin Kallaugher, The Economist, London)

(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)

(Mort Gerberg, @mortgerberg) 

Iran: Protests Will Stop Today... Or Else


The head of Iran's brutal Revolutionary Guard has warned Iranians protesting the regime's medieval religious strictures that demonstrations must end today, suggesting an even more violent crackdown is coming. From the Guardian:

"The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has told protesters that Saturday would be their last day of taking to the streets, in a sign that security forces may intensify their crackdown on unrest sweeping the country.

Iran has been gripped by protests since the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, in the custody of the morality police last month, posing one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.

'Do not come to the streets. Today is the last day of riots,' commander Hossein Salami said in some of the toughest language used in the crisis, which Iran’s clerical leadership blames on its foreign enemies including Israel and the US.

'This sinister plan, is a plan hatched … in the White House and the Zionist regime,' he said.

The Revolutionary Guards, which report directly to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have not been deployed since demonstrations began on 16 September. They are an elite force with a track record of crushing dissent."  (our emphasis)

This is what illegitimate regimes do in the face of dissent. This time in Iran, the public seems more aroused and angry at the religious zealots who have run the country for over 40 years, and who enforce "morality" as they interpret their religious texts. 

Prepare to see gunfire from the Revolutionary Guard at protesters without regard to human life, as the situation in Iran descends into more state violence against its people. 

QOTD -- Demonization And Corrosion


"This is despicable.  There’s no place in America.  There’s too much violence, political violence, too much hatred, too much vitriol.  (Applause.) 

"And what makes us think that one party can talk about “stolen elections,” “COVID being a hoax,” “this is all a bunch of lies,” and it not affect people who may not be so well balanced?  What makes us think that it’s not going to corrode the political climate?"-- President Biden last night at a Pennsylvania Democratic Party reception in Philadelphia, commenting on the assault on the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Speaker Pelosi ranks as one of the most demonized political figures in the country, along with Hillary Clinton.  Over the years, we've been deluged with ads for Christofascist Republican candidates that portray Speaker Pelosi as an evil presence representing un- American "San Francisco" values (see these clips).  The Republican Leader, the Malignant Loser, is also a regular source of vitriol directed at the Speaker.  It's not a leap at all to see the link between the hateful, often violent rhetoric and the actions of the person who attacked the Speaker's husband while looking for her.  It's also not a leap to believe that these attacks will continue and get worse as that "one party" the President referred to continues to corrode the politics of our nation with its hate speech, lies, and anti- democracy actions.

BONUS:  Then there's this Virginia peckerwood.

BONUS IIQuantifying how the GQP has demonized Speaker Pelosi over the yearsHere, too.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Michael de Adder, Washington Post)

(Christopher Weyant, Boston Globe)

(Dave Granlund,

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)

(Kevin Kallaugher, Baltimore Sun)

(Rob Rogers,

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(Kevin Necessary, The Cincinnati Enquirer)

(Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Ngozi Ukazu, The New Yorker)

Tweets Of The Day


Republican rat media stays on message --



The wonderful Land of Oz --


Hello!  Democratic candidates! --




Meanwhile, in the Republican-wired New York Times --


It's not over until it's over, so VOTE! --


Russians petering out? --



Tattoo you! (Happy Friday!) --




Jerry Lee Lewis 1935-2022


One of Rock & Roll's original bad boys has died:

Jerry Lee Lewis, the influential singer and pianist whose unbridled performances and scandalous life defined the personal rebellion at the heart of rock-and-roll music, died Oct. 28 at his home in Southaven, Miss. He was 87.

His death was announced by his publicist Zach Farnum, who did not give a cause.

Mr. Lewis, a Louisiana tenant farmer’s son and the cousin of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, performed with a riveting, maniacal quality. On storming 1950s hits such as “Great Balls of Fire,” “Breathless” and “High School Confidential,” he slashed up and down the keys with his right hand, deliberately sped up tempos in mid-song and often finished songs onstage by standing on the piano.

His high-energy music was a distinctly Southern synthesis of rhythm and blues, country, gospel and boogie-woogie, and his barely contained stage frenzy thrilled and unnerved audiences. He was called “The Killer” because of his ability to completely overshadow other performers. His Rock & Roll Hall of Fame biography — he was inducted in 1986 as a member of the inaugural class — describes him as “the wild man of rock and roll, embodying its most reckless and high-spirited impulses.”

Lewis was one of the original inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, as well as being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2022.

(Photo: Lewis with Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash in December 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis)

QOTD -- We Did Nazi That Coming (OK, We Did)


"People everywhere are fed up with the Radical Left’s insane agenda. Italians just took their country back. America is next." -- House Republican Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (Fascist-LA), on (yes) Twitter last month (September 26).  The Italians who "took their country back" are an assortment of parties with fascist roots who garnered less than a majority (44%) of the votes cast.  Some of you might remember the high- ranking Republican saying in 2002 that he was "[former Ku Klux Klan leader] David Duke without the baggage."  Well, that recent Tweet certainly confirms that, and tells us all we need to know about the Christofascist Republican Party.

Weekend Low Bridge Music


On October 26, back in 1825, an historic American civil engineering project was completed, one that linked the Atlantic Ocean/Hudson River and the Great Lakes, "from Albany to Buffalo":  the 363- mile  Erie Canal.  Dubbed "Clinton's Folly" by opponents of the canal's main supporter Gov. DeWitt Clinton, the Erie Canal became a major reason New York became "The Empire State," serving as a main route for the transport of goods and people to the growing American Midwest.  The canal, improved and expanded several times over the years, continued to be competitive with railroads until the end of the 19th Century.  It's still in use as a recreational waterway that connects three other canals in the state, the Cayuga, Cayuga-Seneca, and Champlain.

The popular folk song "Low Bridge, Everybody Down" (the "Erie Canal Song") was written in 1913 by Thomas S. Allen and reflects the years 1825 to 1880 when mule- drawn barges powered the economic boom and Western expansion via the Erie Canal*.  If you're of a certain age, you may have learned it in elementary school, or at least have been exposed to recordings of it from The Weavers, Kingston Trio, and others.  Here's Bruce Springsteen's recording of it from his 2006 album, "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions," an album showcasing folk songs made popular by folk singer and activist Pete Seeger. Hope you enjoy the Erie earworm!


* We're all but certain our ancestors used the Erie Canal to transit to Wisconsin and Minnesota from Germany and Ireland in the 1840's.

Speaker Pelosi's Husband Violently Assaulted (UPDATED)

Breaking news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul was violently attacked earlier this morning in their San Francisco home. Speaker Pelosi was not at home at the time. NBC reports:

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, was "violently assaulted" early Friday morning by an assailant who broke into their home in San Francisco, according to a statement from her office.

"Early this morning, an assailant broke into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and violently assaulted Mr. Pelosi," the California Democrat's spokesman, Drew Hammill, said. "The assailant is in custody and the motivation for the attack is under investigation,"

"Mr. Pelosi was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery," Hammill added.

The House speaker was not in San Francisco at the time of the attack, the statement said."

With numerous Republican political ads featuring Speaker Pelosi as a villain, it's not hard to imagine the motive was a political assassination. Don't count on them taking down those ads. Stay tuned. 



The attacker kept asking "where's Nancy", an echo of the January 6 Trumpist Capitol rioters, and was a fan of conspiracies and the Pillow Guy's rants


What's That Musk-y Smell? Musk Owns Twitter! (UPDATED)


"Chief Twit" takes over Twitter:

Twitter Inc. is now owned by Elon Musk, with multiple media outlets reporting Thursday night that the long-anticipated sale had officially closed.

The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and others reported, based on unnamed sources, that the top executives of Twitter TWTR, +0.66% were fired and escorted from the building, including Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust and safety.

Musk himself is expected to assume the role of interim CEO, though in the longer term may appoint someone else, Bloomberg reported early Friday, citing unnamed sources. Twitter did not respond to a request by the publication for comment.

Perry Bacon, Jr., expresses the same reaction we have to the takeover:

I need something like Twitter. I don’t need an Elon Musk-infused anything. Watching this story over the past few months, my only question is whether we should wait and see how Musk runs Twitter, or if some tech expert or entrepreneur should just start a new service now. I tend toward the latter.

There's plenty of expertise and financing out there to start a social media service that's minus the Musk-y smell of a far- right, Malignant Loser- enabling billionaire whose cars tend to explode and crash.  (We'll even happily forego our popular "Tweets of the Day" altogether, or in favor of an alternative service!)

Another Post writer, satirist Alexandra Petri, is already imagining a Musk-y Twitter:

It is another glorious day on Mr. Musk’s wonderful internet. We rise early to get the best content ready in time for him to log on! Probably he will have a good idea about international relations or war, or a car that could become a boat (or a boat that could become a car!), and it will be a privilege to hear about that, as it always is. I cannot wait to spend another wonderful day on Mr. Musk’s wonderful internet! I love to make value for Mr. Musk!  [snip]

Finally, we have a wonderful place where free debate can flourish! (“Where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” as Mr. Musk so wisely put it.) All that censorious content moderation from before was just standing in the way of all the wonderful ideas that people were bringing to market, ideas like, “die, [unprintable].”

Twitter used to be gross and bad and there used to be many people there who felt comfortable openly saying negative things about fascists! Rude! Everyone knows that the only way to combat fascism is to let them be heard and let them silence — through threats of violence — anyone who disagrees with them. The only thing that stops fascists is listening to them really, really carefully. That was what happened in the 1940s, I believe. I don’t remember the time before I joined Mr. Musk’s wonderful internet so well! ...

Buckle up, folks, and get ready for some change at the hands of the aptly self- proclaimed "Chief Twit!" 

(Photo: Musk arriving at Twitter headquarters with a sink; perhaps a toilet would've been more appropriate/ via Elon Musk)

UPDATE:  Great minds ...


UPDATE II: The bile has started to flow.