For The Record: Day 2

Once again boring and reliable CSPAN because they have the transcript thing happening. The only witness Friday was former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Other people found it devastatingly compelling, I didn’t feel it advanced the plotline much (doesn’t mean I don’t also think he’s as guilty as hell on this specific thing or on conspiring with Russia to betray the United States in general or violating the Emoluments Clause the moment he took the oath).

It’s not that TMC doesn’t put up the live stream, it’s the handy dandy post action transcript if you need to cop a quote. I put it up as a reminder also especially if testimony has been interrupted by time (I say that because I’m not quite sure how I’m going to handle this week’s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday format because I don’t want to duplicate too much).


Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Fred Hiatt: While Trump stands by, the world’s tyrants are trying to make the world safe for dictatorship

A strange reversal is taking place across the world.

America — or at least, America’s president — is no longer trying to make the world safe for democracy. But dictators are working hard to make the world safe for dictatorship.

The United States is retreating, almost apologizing for ever having thought about promoting democracy. Everyone from Rand Paul to Bernie Sanders and many in between agrees we should stay home and mind our business.

But the result is not a world in which every country is free to go its own way.

Instead, the world’s tyrants — while still complaining about color revolutions and U.S. interference — roam far and wide, promoting their ideologies and their corporations, bullying and buying and burrowing and shooting their way to influence.

Russia and China, the loudest conjurers of imaginary CIA pro-democracy plots, have become the world’s most active underminers of democracy beyond their borders.

Christine Emba: The new wave of conservatism is dangerous. And it’s all the GOP’s fault.

Promoting his new book, “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,” Donald Trump Jr. naturally assumed that any protesters at his event at UCLA on Nov. 11 would be coming at him from the left.

But the hecklers who shouted him offstage last weekend hailed from the right. They were booing his college Republican hosts for not being reactionary enough.

Which means: The next wave of American conservatism is further to the right than President Trump himself. [..]

This emerging conflict is a symbol of how deeply the Republican Party has deteriorated from within. There is no longer enough credibility for the party to remain intact, but it’s not yet clear what comes next or whether the party will ever make its way back to the center.

Jamelle Bouie: Stephen Miller’s Sinister Syllabus

Leaked emails from 2015 and 2016 show one of Trump’s top advisers trying to teach Breitbart editors a thing or two about white nationalism.

Somewhat lost in the frenzy over impeachment this week was a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center on Stephen Miller, a White House speechwriter and close adviser to the president.

An analysis of more than 900 emails from Miller to editors at Breitbart News, the report shows Miller’s single-minded focus on nonwhite immigration and his immersion in an online ecosystem of virulent, unapologetic racism. The Miller of these emails isn’t just an immigration restrictionist, he’s an ideological white nationalist.

It’s tempting to dismiss this as old news. Miller is, after all, the architect behind the Trump administration’s most draconian border and immigration policies, as well as some of its harshest anti-immigrant rhetoric. [..]

But suspecting Miller’s ideological allegiances is quite different than knowing them. In the absence of proof, there was room for plausible deniability. That’s how a conservative magazine editor could praise Miller as a “wunderkind” for his command of the “details” of immigration policy while dismissing evidence that Miller was once close to Richard Spencer, a prominent neo-Nazi.

With the emails — supplied by Katie McHugh, a former editor at Breitbart — we now know what Miller was reading and thinking about in the year before he joined the Trump campaign. And there’s no denying the nature of the material.

Charles M. Blow: Bloomberg’s Bogus, Belated Mea Culpa

His apology for the stop-and-frisk policy is politically convenient.

Last Sunday I wrote a column entitled “You Must Never Vote for Bloomberg” because of Michael Bloomberg’s promotion, advocacy and defense of the racist stop-and-frisk policy that ballooned during his terms as mayor of New York City.

This Sunday, Bloomberg apologized for that policy. [..]

This is a necessary apology, but a hard one to take, coming only now, as he considers a run for the Democratic nomination, a nomination that is nearly impossible to secure without the black vote.

It feels like the very definition of pandering.

It is impossible for me to take seriously Bloomberg’s claim that he didn’t understand the impact that stop-and-frisk was having on the black and brown communities when he was in office. [..]

No, I believe that he knew very well, and understood clearly, the pain that he was causing, but he was making a collateral damage argument: Because there was crime and many of those committing those crimes were born with black or brown skin, all those with that skin should be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

That feels like the very definition of racism.

Heather Cox Richardson: The impeachment hearings are a battle between oligarchy and democracy

Official US policy in Ukraine was to promote rule of law, but the Trump administration sided against it, hearings have shown

Since the House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry in late September into the actions of Donald Trump over his withholding of aid to Ukraine, the Republican defenders of the president have dismissed the inquiry on the ground that hearings were held behind closed doors. On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee, charged by House speaker Nancy Pelosi with spearheading the investigation, answered those complaints by opening public hearings. Deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs George P Kent and Charge d’Affaires for Ukraine William Taylor were the first public witnesses on Wednesday. On Friday, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was the third, testifying about the events surrounding her abrupt removal from her position in May 2019.

For all their complicated names and dates, what has emerged at the hearings is a clear picture of an epic battle between the rule of oligarchs, who pervert government to suit their own interests, and the rule of law, in which everyone has the same right to representation and legal protection.

An early Middle Finger Salute to 2019

Apparently we won’t see John again until 2020. Can’t hardly believe it, big things still to happen.

I almost titled this “Census Workers With A Taste For Blood” which I think makes a great elevator pitch especially if you have a name like Scarlett Johansson behind it (she could totally carry that attractive bureaucrat with the hair, glasses, and beige suit hiding homicidal tendencies and an unnatural thirst).

You could go multiple ways- straight gore horror or spooky Vampire Franchise.

Think Twilight for guys. I am dead serious and if this ever happens I want my cut you bastards.

Look HBO, you’re not going to cover your enormous Game of Thrones deficit by depriving us of John.


Clio’s an unrelenting mistress. Grover’s actually an admirable Democrat (as far as that goes), if not well or fondly remembered.

Teh Breakfast Club (Character)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Highlights of this day in history: Cult leader Jim Jones and hundreds of followers die in mass murder-suicide in South America; Massachusetts high court rules gay couples can marry; Disney’s ‘Steamboat Willie’ premieres in New York

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.

J. J. C. Watts

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Not A Rant

Sorry Bill, some of us don’t like your fat shaming, anti-Vax, Islamophobic, Glibertarian ass as much as others do.

Not that I hold it against you, free speech and all, but I think you a poor representative of Atheists because you’re just too rude. I really don’t feel compelled to stand outside the Church doors and yell at the people going in and out that they’re idiots.

I might think it, but I wouldn’t stand outside. Too much work (lost 40 pounds over the last year, but that’s not necessarily a good thing).

Oh, you want my diet tips- 1) Stop Eating Crap, 2) Don’t Eat When You’re Not Hungry. They kind of hunt in a pack. Crap is food you don’t even like eating but do anyway because it’s what’s handy. That hungry thing? Are you? Are you really? Maybe you’re just bored.

I say this not to shame, these are my bad habits. So I lost some weight and 40 pounds seems like a lot (I can certainly feel it) but I was 70 over my target at least so I’m hardly wasting away. As you might imagine from my foodie commentary I don’t stint or count calories, I’ve just learned to ask myself-

“Do I really want a bowl of Instant Mashed Potatoes mixed with Cottage Cheese (makes it healthy, like the raisins in Oatmeal Cookies) slathered in Sour Cream and a Quarter stick of Butter topped with a generous dose of Salt, Pepper, and Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard.”

Look, it’s delicious and you should try it but you shouldn’t make it your go-to 30 Second meal.

People look at you funny, eat pasta (cook it ahead) and pesto instead.

Like Sands Through The Hour Glass

Ok, huge DOOL fan and EXTREMELY upset by the reports of its indefinite hiatus, however for my fellows things are not as bleak as they might seem.

They’re on hiatus because they finished shooting really early this year, like months before renewal, so the contracts are not even up yet and Ted Corday, who still produces, has indicated his willingness to continue as have all of the principal players.

Not that you should keep your hands off the Twit button mind you.

Speaking of Social Media

I write, it’s a completely different thing.

Get Out

Basically I don’t get it. A Spritzer is the simplest, most easy to make drink ever. Target liquid (strong tasting, must dilute) and Soda, that’s it! I suppose they charge for water now, maybe it’s the convenience, but get off your damn ass! How hard is this?


Icelandic Ultrablue

Why I hate Jet Blue

Don’t get me wrong, I hate flying at all regardless of Airline.

The Game

Surprise! It’s about MicroEconomics (I am not an Economist, I’m a Historian. I find Economists mostly delusional and faith-based).

The DJ Thing

First of all I was the Librarian, not the Mixer. Second, we were not performers, we played music.

Journamilism 101

Which reminds me-


A song about suicide.

Trigger alert, though you can listen and just enjoy it as I did for many years.

As the site’s resident basket case of Anxiety and Depression let me assure you my nihilistic fantasies involve watching everything burn thus I can not rest but shall haunt you like a revenant so my personal safety is not a question until I see you all in Hell shortly after the Heat Death of the Universe.

You meet a much more interesting class of people.

Hey Man, Nice Shot – Filter

Flagpole Sitter – Harvey Danger

I imagine, since I’m one of those who choose to be open to talking about their Mental Health, that my audience understands that the overwhelming feeling of futility that marks Depession does not always result in anger (expressed in self and other destruction) because for us, well… me, that too is pretty pointless.

So you blow up the Earth. Do you think the Universe notices?

Best to tend to your writing ek, ephemeral photons.

The Breakfast Club (Serious Coffee)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for November 17th

President Richard Nixon says ‘I am not a crook’; Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England; Suez Canal opens; Congress holds first DC session; Sculptor Auguste Rodin dies; Film director Martin Scorsese born.

Breakfast Tune Eagles – Earlybird – Live Popgala 1973

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below


Senate Democrats Join GOP to Back ‘Automatic Austerity’ Bill That Would Gut Social Programs, Hamstring Bold Policies
Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

A handful of Senate Democrats joined forces with Republicans last week to advance sweeping budget legislation that would establish an “automatic deficit-reduction process” that could trigger trillions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and other social programs—and potentially hobble the agenda of the next president.

The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act (S.2765), authored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), passed out of the Senate Budget Committee on November 6. The legislation is co-sponsored by five members of the Senate Democratic caucus: Whitehouse, Mark Warner (Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Chris Coons (Del.), and Angus King (I-Maine).

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, issued a statement last week opposing the legislation and warning it “could be used by Republicans to unilaterally cut programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and nutrition assistance—all supposedly to reduce the deficit.”

“This new proposed process comes less than two years after Republicans on this Committee showed no hesitation in adding $2 trillion to the deficit in order to pass the Trump tax cuts for the wealthiest families and the most profitable corporations in America,” said Sanders.

As The American Prospect’s David Dayen noted Thursday, passage of S.2765 would severely hamstring Sanders’ ability to implement his agenda should he win the White House in 2020.

“If a Democrat wants to extend free public college to all Americans, or move toward a universal healthcare system, or amass resources to fight the climate crisis,” Dayen wrote, “they’re going to run into the deficit scolds, the ‘No, We Can’t’ brigade. Republicans like Enzi want to build that ‘No, We Can’t’ presumption into the budget process itself. It makes no sense for Democrats to help them.”



Something to think about over coffee prozac

Naomi Klein Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

… because I know that he’s a fighter …

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

On Sunday mornings we present a preview of the guests on the morning talk shows so you can choose which ones to watch or some do something more worth your time on a Sunday morning.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY); and Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT).

The roundtable guests are: Former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ); former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA); former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson; and New York Times White House Correspondent Maggie Haberman.

Face the Nation: Host Margaret Brennan’s guests are: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Her panel guests are: Rachel Bade, Washington Post congressional reporter; Ed O’Keefe, CBS political correspondent; Ramesh Ponnuru, conservative commentator; and Molly Ball, Time political correspondent

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: 2020 Democratic presidential candidate former Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA); Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

The panel guests are: Jeff Mason, Reuters; Peggy “Our Lady of the Magic Dolphins” Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist; Danielle Pletka, conservative commentator; and Eugene Robinson, Washington Post columnist.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH); and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).

His panel guests are: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA); former Rep. Mia Love (R-UT); Jen Psaki, former Obama White House Communications Director; and Scott Jennings, conservative commentator.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Insulin Affordability
Insulin is a peptide hormone made by the beta cells of the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia). Without insulin people with Type 1 diabetes would die. There are 65 million worldwide with the disease, 30 million in the US alone.

It was extracted and purified in the early 1920’s and the Canadian “discovers” sold the patent for the life saving drug to the University of Toronto for $1 making the process free in order to keep the drug affordable to everyone. Today, those Canadians should be spinning in their graves as insulin has become the poster child for pharmaceutical price gauging.

There are no generic insulins. Over the past twenty years, prices for the most commonly prescribed “analog” insulins have risen from about $20 per vial to well over $250 per 10 mL vial, an over 700% increase after accounting for inflation. In contrast, insulin today costs roughly five dollars per vial to produce. With deductibles far outpacing wages, insulin has become unaffordable even for well-off Americans.

The reasons for this price increase are as complicated as the American healthcare system. Carefully negotiated rebate systems have driven enormous increases in the list price for insulin, leading patients to pay far more than insurers for their treatment. High-deductible plans, designed using oversimplified microeconomics to encourage patients to shop for better prices, instead have driven people to decline potentially lifesaving tests and adopt dangerous practices like rationing. In a market where pricing is mind-bogglingly complex, where different entities pay different amounts for the same treatments, and where drugs are of life-saving importance, the American healthcare system has forced some diabetics to choose between death and financial ruin.

In response to this crisis, the World Health Organization has said the it will begin testing and approving generic insulin

Announcing the initiative in Geneva, the UN agency said that it had already had informal expressions of interest from pharmaceutical companies looking to produce insulin and have WHO assess whether it is safe for people to use.

“The simple fact is, that the prevalence of diabetes is growing, the amount of insulin available to treat diabetes is too low, the prices are too high, so we need to do something,” said Emer Cooke, Director of Regulation of Medicines and other Health Technologies at WHO. [..]

The WHO’s two-year pilot project, unveiled on Wednesday, involves the evaluation of insulin developed by manufacturers to ensure their quality, safety, efficacy and affordability.

Assuming there is enough interest from manufacturers and, crucially, more insulin available for diabetics, the scheme could be expanded more widely.

“We’re going to look at the number of companies that will apply, we’re going to look at how long it takes, we’re going to look at the outcomes and we’re going to see whether this makes sense and it really is increasing access”, Ms. Cooke said.

The procedure is known as prequalification and WHO has done it in the past for non-brand vaccines, including those used to treat TB, malaria and HIV.

This had resulted in massive savings for sufferers around the world, with 80 per cent of HIV patients now relying on generic products, Ms. Cooke said.

She noted too that some companies had already committed to lowering prices.

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Metal mood.

Cirice – Ghost

More Human Than Human – White Zombie

Sleep Now in the Fire – Rage Against The Machine

I’m telling you, the answer is Connecticut.

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