But her emails….

Complain all you want about Hillary’s campaign but if not for the private email bullshit that the Times and others got a strange hard-on for she’d be president right now. Well…..

Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business.

Sportsball Open Thread: Speaking of ‘Very Fine People’…

Granpa Smallgloves seems to be sundowning again — and he wants some company out in the mental twilight…

Trump also discussed at Friday’s rally the league’s television ratings, saying they are down “massively,” and partially claiming credit for the drop.

“Now the No. 1 reason happens to be, they like watching what’s happening with yours truly,” he said. He also added that the amount of big hits called as penalties are a factor as well.

“Today, if you hit too hard, 15 yards, throw him out of the game,” he said while mimicking the act of an official throwing a penalty flag. “They’re ruining the game, right? They’re ruining the game. It’s hurting the game.”
Read more

Taking the measure of the divide

Not gonna happen, but it would be beautiful if 100% of NFL players, coaches, assistants, trainers, water-boys, referees, line judges, beer vendors, hot dog sellers, announcers, ticket takers, security personnel, custodians and fans took a knee when the national anthem plays at today’s football games.

Senator Ben Sasse, aspirant to McCain’s mavericky mantle, has it all wrong:

The rectangle of dyed cloth isn’t the issue; it’s the principles it symbolizes, among them free speech without interference from the government. The protests aren’t about disrespecting the flag or the troops; they’re about police killing black people, including children, with impunity.

Let the nation be divided among those who understand that, with Trump and white supremacy on the other side. Let’s finally see where everyone stands — or kneels.

The reaction won’t be what it should be, which is the overwhelming majority of Americans supporting American values like the right to peaceful dissent without censorship from a big-mouthed tyrant.

But as more players take a knee in more sports, as additional owners and fans support them, and, most importantly, discuss the issue that inspired the protests in the first place, the more Trump will be revealed as a weak, hateful anachronism.

That’s my hope, anyway. Open thread!

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Report from the Midwest

From “long time reader, infrequent commenter” Misamericanthrope:

Guess it’s time for my annual garden review and thought I’d share with the community. I’d give my efforts this year a solid ‘B’ (an improvement over last year’s ‘C’!). I went over board again with the Coleus. Some years I don’t get many and I end up missing their fullness. Next year, the plan is to mix Coleus AND Dahlias.

My garden is a true urban one. I only have (2) 30’ x 2’ beds on each side of a parking bed behind my apartment building, but I have filled up the remaining spaces with concrete planters and planter boxes wherever I can fit them.

The first picture is of one of the early summer stars. A Salpiglossis (from the ‘Bolero’ mix).

#2 is a close-up of a Tassel Flower ‘Irish’s Poet’. Had never grown them before and am still enchanted by the purity of the orange shade (they were taller and more unruly than I expected, though).

#3 is a shot of one of my narrow beds. My Dwarf Joe Pye Weed was a star this year and attracted hoards of honeybees. The bed also includes Echinacea and Amsonia hubriichti (perhaps my favorite plant).

#4 is one of my arrays of concrete planters, with the Coleus dominating. Mask Flower and Alternathera are also in the mix.

#5 is a shot of my shade corner, under the porch stairs. My Rex Hybrid Begonia (‘Gryphon’) went crazy and contorted to reach towards the light. An unexpected, and somewhat hilarious, surprise. Will over-winter him indoors.

#6 is a shot near the rear entrance of my building, featuring Coleus ‘Campfire’ and Dorotheanthus (a recently discovered fave for spilling over the edge of a planter). Am attempting to propagate the Dorotheanthus indoors for next year’s garden.

And, last but not least, in an attempt to secure my “Urban Gardener” bona fides, a shot of my Morning Glory string trellis with a passing El train in the background!

I hope all the other gardeners in the Balloon Juice community enjoy this set and best of luck on plans for next year!


What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

A Late Evening Snack: Happy Jew Year

On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (the head of the year and the day of atonement respectively) challah is round, not the standard braided loaf. For those who aren’t carb adventurous, challah is the traditional Jewish egg bread served on the Sabbath. For the religious new year and day of atonement round challah is served to symbolize the circle of life from one year to the next.

This year I decided that I’d do something nice for my Mom for the holiday. So I made her a Rosh HaShana challah from scratch. I used LGF’s Vicious Babushka’s recipe for honey saffron challah, which you can find here. Braiding instructions for a round challah can be viewed here.

It was very easy to follow, everything went smoothly in the prep, and it baked up beautifully. It tasted as good as it looked. One note: I made what are called 3 lbs loaves. So basically my yield from the recipe were two very large loaves of round challah. I’ll be making two more at the end of this week ahead of Yom Kippur a week from tonight. Pics below in order of preparation.

Everything coming together in the mixer:

After rising and waiting for braiding.

Braided and waiting to be made into a round. Or, if you’re prepping for a highland games or Celtic festival, just bake it like this for a Judeo-Celtic Cross. Very ecumenical…

Final proofing:

Proofed and egg washed:

Fresh out of the oven and cooling:

Open thread!

Saturday Evening Open Thread

So, my Gators are playing Kentucky this evening. Last time Kentucky beat Florida, I was a student at the University of Florida. That was a very, very, VERY long time ago. Ronald Reagan was president!

However, we suck this year, so, this game could be all ‘Cats. They’re ahead so far.

Anyhoo, we’re eating tacos with homemade hot sauce, accented with Guatemalan sour cream, which is creamier, saltier and more delicious than regular sour cream.

What are y’all up to? Open thread!

The Kitchen Tour

This is for Cornerstone and others who can not visualize the kitchen.

I hope that helps. And all my plants are outside getting a thorough watering and I am re-potting a bunch, in case you were wondering.

Area Snowflake Politicizes Sportsball

What an embarrassment:

Curry had already said he wasn’t going to the championship celebration at the White House, so Trump’s rescinding the invitation was especially stupid and petty. That didn’t escape the notice of LeBron James:

Gonna have to bust out the aloe for that burn. But the shitgibbon keeps right on digging:

Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL ownership group, possibly the most loathesome assemblage of douchebags outside death row or a Trump administration cabinet meeting, politely told Trump to go fuck himself.

The irony is that Trump campaigned on contempt for “political correctness,” but he’s willing to wipe his fat ass on the U.S. Constitution to establish a safe space for himself and the “fuck your feelings” crowd.

Fuck him and every single shithead who voted for him.

Open thread.

Return to Cockroach Mountain

This morning, we hiked up to the lofty summit of Cockroach Mountain. I took the dogs so they could help haul my lazy ass up the steep incline; I just held the leashes and said, “Mush, you huskies!” At the top, there is a helluva view of the paddling trails that lead out to Tampa Bay:

You can see St. Petersburg and Tampa from the summit, and also Port Manatee:

There were many red dragonflies, including this one, whose wing looks a bit bedraggled:

Here’s the view to the northeast:

According to the parks and rec people, Cockroach Bay got its name when early explorers observed horseshoe crabs in the area. Sounds like Chamber of Commerce mythology to me; the explorers were probably swarmed by flying roaches and said, “Let’s get the fuck outta this Cockroach Bay!”

Open thread!

Damn I Love The Jag and the Jet and the Mansion

The Graham/Cassidy bill is bad policy. It will devastate many GOP states and hurt tens of millions of Americans. It will gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, something Trump claims he is against. It’s bad politics. It betrays every alleged GOP “principle” (we all know they have none, but they claim they do) in that it will add to the debt, has not been debated properly, no one has read the bill, etc. It’s wildly unpopular. The members of the Senate don’t even like the bill and don’t even really know what it does. But yet, they are desperate to pass it.

Here’s why:

As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.

Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.

“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.”

The backlash from big donors as well as the grass roots panicked Senate Republicans and was part of the motivation behind the sudden zeal to take one last crack at repealing the health care law before the end of the month. That effort faltered Friday with new opposition from Senator John McCain of Arizona, the perennial maverick who had scuttled the Senate’s first repeal effort. Now Republicans must confront the possibility that they will once again let down their backers with no big win in sight.

It’s all about the Benjamins and catering to the donor base. Literally nothing else matters to these guys. Fucking the poors and pissing off teh left would just be a bonus.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Truth Is On Our Side

From the Washington Post:

With just eight days to go before Sept. 30, the deadline after which Republicans will lose the ability to pass an ACA replacement with a simple majority, activists working to save the law were markedly cautious. Days of action — Saturday rallies organized by MoveOn, Monday rallies by Indivisible — would continue. So would calls to senators. Having been caught unaware in May and last week, when Republicans revived “Trumpcare,” activists said they would keep pounding until the deadline had passed.

“You don’t want to leave anything to chance,” said Ben Wikler, the Washington director of MoveOn. “If more senators come out in opposition to the bill this week, that makes it less likely that they can credibly come back and support another repeal vote. It needs to be totally clear to them that electoral disaster would come from keeping their horrible campaign promise.”…

Apart from cautious optimism, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Overnight Open Thread

This is a crappy photo because it was misty out that morning, and I did a lousy job of framing the shot, but any picture with two shorebirds in it can’t be all bad:

Is the blog acting up on y’all, or is it just me? I’ve had trouble getting to the site (fails to load), and the back-end is FUBAR; I have no confidence whatsoever the photo referenced above will publish. Maybe it’s just a wee hours maintenance thing.

Anyway. When this damnable insomnia struck a while ago, I made the mistake of checking the headlines and was thus exposed to Trump’s lunatic ravings in Alabama. To sum up, Trump:

– Called on NFL owners to fire (black) players who take a knee during the national anthem
– Suggested that the KKKeebler Elf should get busy locking up Hillary Clinton
– Urged people to vote for Luther Strange primarily so he (Trump) won’t get bad press
– Denied Russian interference in the election
– Rambled bizarrely about “the wall” being transparent

Fuck anybody who voted for that buffoon.

Regarding national anthem protests: anyone who gives a shit about the First Amendment should support the right of the players to protest. The orange fart cloud’s authoritarian overreach on the issue should trouble us all.

The slack-jawed yokels cheering the shitgibbon on in Alabama have no fucking clue what the First Amendment is for; the Constitution is just a bundle of papers they occasionally hump for effect, just as they claim to be Christians while shitting on the poor and enthusiastically supporting a racist, sexist, xenophobic degenerate.

Again, fuck those assholes. But what should non-assholes do, aside from affirming the players’ right to engage in peaceful protest? Should white folks of good will take a knee too?

This Week’s Project

So this week we (again, royal we) finished the walls on the basement stairs- a little mud on some walls, a sheet of drywall on another, then sanding, paint, and hanging corkboard, and now I have a place to hang my pots and pans.

That one board in between the shelf and the pots has got to go because it is making me dizzy and setting off my OCD it is so crooked. At any rate, it all looked like this to begin with (this is if you turn the corner and the pots and pans are to your left as you look down the stairs:

Now the problem is the door. I wanted to replace it with a folding door, but the problem is everything is so damned crooked that there is like a three inch gap on one side at the bottom. Because I do not have the loot, I am just putting up an accordion door for now. Once I seal off the basement at the bottom of the steps (which will be next year because I need to put all new steps in and that costs $$$), I am thinking maybe a saloon style door. So for now, a 25 dollar vinyl accordion door to keep the basement separated from the house.

At least now I have my stove and counters back.

Mean, but funny…

The legendary Tbogg on the Twitters:

I laughed. Open thread!

Migration, Medicaid and block grants

Block grants that are fully funded transfer risks from the federal government which has the deepest and most comprehensive ability to cheaply eat risk due to its ability to borrow and its ability to spread risk across 330 million people to individual states that are severely constrained in their ability to borrow in a crisis.  The block grants in Cassidy-Graham are not fully funded so it is a cost shift as well as a risk shift to the states.  A new risk to state fiscal capacity in a CG world is happening now:

Hurricane Maria wrecked Puerto Rico:

There is talk about a potential large scale migration from Puerto Rico:

over the next several months, “the combination of the financial crisis, the health-care crisis and now these two natural disasters, it’s a recipe for a lot of people to feel that they’re hopeless and they need to come to the [mainland] United States,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.), whose Brooklyn-area district has a significant Puerto Rican constituency. Velasquez, who is awaiting news about family members on the island, warned that if legislation addressing the economic problems isn’t coupled with federal hurricane relief , “we’re going to have an unprecedented number of people who will continue to leave the island.”

If Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion and Exchange funding is block granted based on 2014-2017 expenditures and a state receives a significant external population shock like a large migration from Puerto Rico, the number of people who need assistance paying for their healthcare will increase without a concurrent increase in resources.  According to Wikipedia, nine states had a higher proportion of residents with ties to Puerto Rico than the US national average.  These nine states have 72% of the Puerto Rican population in the states.   All nine of these states are net cash flow losers under Cassidy-Graham even without an immigration shock.