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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
September 26, 2013

Beating up on the elderly is filthy! Shows what Texas Republicans are made of!

Elderly Texan May be Disenfranchised by Texas' new voter suppression law; Woman Denied Voter ID 3 times

When 84-year-old Dorothy Card was born, women had enjoyed the right to vote for less than a decade. She never took it for granted. “It just makes me know that I’m an American and I have a right to vote,” she said, recounting past elections where she’d voted. “Truman, I guess I voted for him,” Card noted.

Card’s experience is emblematic of the challenge that many Texas residents have faced or will face when trying to exercise their right to vote. Because she hasn’t driven in nearly 15 years, Card doesn’t carry the most common form of photo ID: a driver’s license. Once the voter ID law took effect, she went down to her local Department of Public Safety, the Texas agency that administers voter IDs.

She brought her documents and thought they would issue her a voter ID without hassle. She was wrong. What should have been a simple trip to the DPS turned into three (and counting) long, arduous trips, each ending without Card being issued a voter ID.

Card didn’t have a license or other photo ID already. She tried to get a copy of her marriage license from the county courthouse, but officials there were unable to locate it. Even a special letter from a county administrator attesting to this was deemed insufficient by the DPS.

September 24, 2013

In an age of acronyms, this self-named group chose BOG. They are free to change it.

How should we apostates refer to the group - something along the lines of Voldemort/"You Know Who" becomes "You Know Which Group"; or Hilda Rumpole/ "She Who Must Be Obeyed" becomes "He Who Must Be Endorsed 100% of the Time".
I mean, doesn't EVERY group consider the acronym when selecting a name?

I think epithet is too strong a word for the acronym, "bog".
An epithet is an adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned;a disparaging or abusive word or phrase. A bog is not a bad thing - it is a form of wetland, much to be treasured and preserved.

The word bog is defined as: A bog is a mire that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, quagmire and muskeg; alkaline mires are called fens. They are frequently covered in ericaceous shrubs rooted in the sphagnum moss and peat. The gradual accumulation of decayed plant material in a bog functions as a carbon sink.

And BOG is a multi-purpose acronym, used to refer to many things:
BOG - Acronyms and Abbreviations - The Free Dictionary
Acronym, Definition. BOG, Board of Governors. BOG, Boy or Girl. BOG, Best of Group (dog shows). BOG, Boil-Off Gas. BOG, Be Our Guest. BOG, Best on Ground.

September 20, 2013

Duquesne disputes claims over death of adjunct professor

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An op-ed piece Wednesday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recounting the death of a longtime Duquesne University adjunct professor fueled online anger nationally over conditions facing low-paid temporary instructors but was criticized by the school as misleading and exploitative.

The column involved Margaret Mary Vojtko, 83, who taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years before being let go this spring. After she died Sept. 1, Daniel Kovalik, senior associate general counsel of the United Steelworkers, the union currently in a fight to organize adjunct instructors at Duquesne, wrote the piece.

Mr. Kovalik wrote of the near-homeless woman's battle with cancer, of her struggles as a semester-to-semester hire earning as little as $10,000 a year, and of her death following a heart attack not long after losing her job with no severance or retirement benefits.

Online, the column went viral, attracting more than 171,000 page views on the newspaper's website, 50,000-plus Facebook likes and almost 1,500 comments from readers across the U.S. and overseas

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/duquesne-disputes-claims-over-death-of-adjunct-professor-704143/

My comment to the PG on this article:
Duquesne's provision of housing translates to letting her spend a "few weeks" in an all male house with a priest and undergraduate seminarians. Kind of Father Walsh to offer that, but hardly appropriate for a frail 83 year old female. I doubt he cleared that with the university in advance - the legal dept. would have had serious concerns re liability issues. Were those few weeks during last winter when she couldn't afford to have her furnace repaired so was working nights at Eat 'n Park and trying to sleep during the day in a heated university office - until reported to the campus police and thrown out of the building?

Duquesne has operated out of pure, and very un-Christian greed in this matter. Witness other, far more prestigious and higher ranked Catholic universities have strongly supported unionization of adjunct professors. The original article describes Georgetown, a Jesuit university: "This would be news to Georgetown University -- one of only two Catholic universities to make U.S. News & World Report's list of top 25 universities -- which just recognized its adjunct professors' union, citing the Catholic Church's social justice teachings, which favor labor unions."

And I received the following comment from an adjunct professor at the Jesuit University of San Francisco: "I teach at a Jesuit university, we have a really strong union, which the admin encouraged.As adjuncts we have decent hourly pay and for those who are at the preferred level (experience, good reviews, and a formal application), medical insurance, retirement benefits and a 23% higher pay rate. One is still not guaranteed employment from semester to semester, which is about par for the course in modern day America. In spite of that, this seems to be the most stable, reliable employment I've ever enjoyed. Duquesne sounds like something straight out of Dickens."

If Duquesne's concern is saving money, why not replace it's current lay president, raking in $700,000 per year plus benefits, with a . . . wait for it . . . priest! They do still take vows of poverty and that would save Duquesne well over half a million per year right there. It is supremely ironic that the current president sits on UPMC-Mercy's board of directors and heads the board's Ethics Committee. That's the hospital dunning Miss Vojtko for the portion of her cancer treatment bills not covered by Medicare. Duquesne & UPMC - two "non-profits" serving(?) the community! Charles Dickens weeps.

The only bright light in this story is for Penn State's administration - now replaced in the news by Duquesne as the most reviled university in the Commonwealth.
September 18, 2013

Trickle down DOES work; just ask the paid disruptors!

Little pissant cyber-serfs tugging their forelocks to the One Percenters.

September 18, 2013

1000%! Protections/regulations are worth shit when:

(1) they have no BITE to them, i.e., truly severe and punitive financial and operational penalties (cause then the corporations just factor in occasional small fines as part of the cost of doing business);
(2) they are not mandatory, regardless of how many presidents, governors, federal or state legislators have been beneficiaries of a corporate violator's bribes/gifts/campaign donations/post elected office job offers;
(3) protections/regulations are self-enforced/self-regulated by corporations, like Obama's USDA plans to fire 1/2 their inspectors and turn inspection over to meat-processing industry;
(4) government inspection agencies are not sufficiently funded to hire, train & field the necessary number of inspectors;
(5) political appointees at the top levels of federal or state inspection agencies block, stall, delay and usurp authority from the agencies' field inspectors to report violations.

The latter 2 examples are outrageously the case in Pennsylvania re GOP Governer Corbett and the state Department of Environmental Protection re inspecting fracking drilling operations. First he had his politically appointed Secretary/cabinet member slash the number of inspectors from what it was BEFORE the fracking had started; then the department's regulations were changed such that all field reports had to be approved by the top (political appointees) level of the dept. Pennsylvania is Frackers' Paradise.

September 10, 2013

Pennsylvania Attorney General files criminal charges against XTO Energy

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane filed criminal charges against XTO Energy Inc., a division of Exxon Mobil, for a 2010 spill of gas well wastewater in Lycoming County.

A grand jury agreed with Ms. Kane's assessment that XTO violated the Clean Streams Law and the Solid Waste Management Act, and the company will be tried in Lycoming County under the attorney general's environmental crimes section.

Texas-based XTO vowed to fight the allegations and called the criminal charges "unprecedented, baseless and an abuse of prosecutorial discretion."

In July, XTO signed a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice over the same incident, which carried a $100,000 fine and required the company to spend $20 million overhauling its wastewater management practices in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/pennsylvania-attorney-general-files-criminal-charges-against-xto-energy-702751/#ixzz2eX7VPgfb

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/pennsylvania-attorney-general-files-criminal-charges-against-xto-energy-702751/

Hot Damn, Pennsylvania! Our world class new female Dem Attorney General is taking on Big Fracking for environmental crimes. PA GOP Governor, Tommy One-Term Corbett, the fracker's friend, is going ballistic, no-doubt. When Corbett was PA Atty, General, he buried complaints against Jerry Sandusky so as not to alienate Penn State alumni/voters/campaign donors. AG Kane is schooling him big time on what an Atty. General is supposed to do!

Now she can really pursue broad discovery on Big Fracking's dirty secrets - like how many citizens & business interests have been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements to be compensated for injuries/damages.
September 9, 2013

Welcome to the Obama/Kerry credibility ABYSS!

On another DU thread regarding Syria, a poster recalled that '60s phrase "credibility gap". I replied that what O/K have is far more than a gap; it's a credibility abyss, i.e., bottomless depths of hubris shading into total darkness. I was asked to post my reply as an OP. So here it is.

When scuba diving in the Bahamas, I had the humbling and awe-inspiring experience of diving down about 120 feet to where the ocean floor fell away into the Abyss.

Tongue-Of-The-Ocean (the abyss)
One of the most dramatic features on New Providence Island is the Tongue-Of-The-Ocean which is a deep oceanic trench that is 120 miles long, and 24 miles wide, with depths reaching 6,000 feet. The Tongue spans the gap between New Providence and Andros Island and comes to with-in a half a mile of shore on the southwest side of New Providence. Imagine the Grand Canyon, filled with water, and within a 1/2 mile of a pristine beach

Obama has gone over the edge of a political abyss, taking an apparently willing Kerry and a shrinking cadre of true believers along. That they continue to argue for acts of war against Syria smacks of rapture of the deep, i.e., nitrogen narcosis. (Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1953 famously described it as "l’ivresse des grandes profondeurs" or the "rapture of the deep".) It's a frightening thing to see - I once saw a diver get down to the agreed upon maximum dive depth of 120 feet, wave happily at us all and keep on going down. Our courageous dive master caught up with her at about 150 feet and got her safely back with a slow ascent and 2 safety stops,

Here are the symptoms. I bold-faced ones evidenced, IMHO, by Obama/Kerry & their supporters.

100-165 feet
Delayed response to visual and auditory stimuli
Reasoning and immediate memory affected more than motor coordination
Calculation errors and wrong choices
Idea fixation
Over-confidence and sense of well-being

Laughter and loquacity (in hyperbaric chambers) which may be overcome by self-control
Anxiety (common in cold murky water)

165-230 feet
Sleepiness, impaired judgment, confusion
Severe delay in response to signals, instructions and other stimuli
Occasional dizziness
Uncontrolled laughter, hysteria (in chambers)
Terror in some

230-300 feet
Poor concentration and mental confusion
Stupefaction with some decrease in dexterity and judgment
Loss of memory, increased excitability

300 + feet
Increased intensity of vision and hearing
Sense of impending blackout, euphoria, dizziness, levitation, manic or depressive states
Disorganization of the sense of time, changes in facial appearance
Unconsciousness, Death
September 8, 2013

The Flip Side of Obama's Keystone XL Delay - "Obama pulled a fast one"

Oh, you silly environmentalists! You thought you had convinced Obama to be wary of pipelines when he delayed the northern half of the Keystone XL pipeline. (XL is short for extension line) But you fell for his 11th dimensional chess because by Executive Order. He was just funning with you!


Feeling the pressure from protest against the Keystone XL from groups such as the Tar Sands Action, Indigenous Environmental Network and others, Obama pulled a fast one: “wait and see” for XL’s northern half – which many claimed as a victory – and expedited approval of everything else via executive order.

That’s because Obama’s order also called for expedited permitting and review of all domestic infrastructure projects – including but not limited to pipelines – as a reaction to the Keystone XL resistance.

A months-long Mint Press News investigation reveals the executive order wasn’t merely a symbolic gesture. Rather, many key pipeline and oil and gas industry marketing projects are currently up for expedited review, making up for — and by far eclipsing — the capacity of Keystone XL’s northern half. The original TransCanada Keystone pipeline – as is – already directly connects to Cushing from Alberta, making XL (short for “extension line”) essentially obsolete.

Little time was wasted building the XL’s southern half after Obama issued the Order and within a slim two years, TransCanada will have its first direct line from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries in southern Texas.

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