The Widdershins

***WARNING: This post is about mammograms, and contains many references to female breasts.
If you are not comfortable with either or both of these, please do not read further. ***

Good afternoon, Widdershins. Today, I’m going to take a break from political coverage, and share a recent experience I had while take care of my scary lady parts.

In January, I had my first mammogram. As a woman of 47 (soon to be 48) whose mother tragically died of breast cancer at the age of 54, I have been gently and lovingly pressured by my friends to start doing this yearly, “just in case.” So, I finally sucked it up and went through with it. I felt the smug satisfaction of the virtuous as I had my breasts smashed flat and x-rayed from every conceivable angle. Said satisfaction even managed to overcome the indignity and pain I suffered, but not the twinge of worry when the tech told me that because I had never had one before, it was likely I’d get called back for a follow-up visit. “Don’t freak out,” she told me. “It will most likely be precautionary.”

Sure enough, I received a letter a week or so later, telling me that I had something that maybe, possibly could be a concern. “A copy of this letter has been sent to your gynecologist,” the letter went on, “who will call you and explain what the concern is, and what further examinations you’ll need.” Easier said than done – it took almost a month for the hospital to send my doctor the information she needed, and then another week or so before we spoke and she explained what it was. “I’m 99% sure it’s nothing,” she said, “but you should go back. Just in case.”

Well, after a couple of failed attempts, I finally got an appointment that worked with my schedule. Even though my foot is broken, I have some mobility and can drive short distances, so last Friday, off I limped to get my two follow-ups – an ultrasound and a more focused set of x-rays. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?

Au contraire. I arrived at the hospital about a half hour early, as requested. I checked in and was kept waiting until about twenty minutes past my appointment time. I was then brought into the room by the technician, who began haranguing me about “waiting so long” to schedule my follow-up. I told her that I couldn’t have come earlier, but she interrupted me and started arguing with me. I said, “Wait a minute. Are you seriously stepping up to me because you think I could have come here earlier, based on nothing?!” This stopped her verbal attacks, but she took her nastiness out on my left breast, contorting and smashing it in more ways than I thought possible. It was quite painful and took almost 45 minutes. I staggered back to the waiting room to await the ultrasound. “Well,” I thought, “I’ve had ultrasounds before and they didn’t hurt. This is probably going to be fine.”

Wrong again! The ultrasound technician pressed hard and repeatedly on my left breast in just the areas that had been flattened and manipulated by the mammograms. This took about 15 minutes. She then called in the doctor, who did the same for about 20 minutes. After the doctor reviewed the pictures, she then came back and told me she felt reasonably confident that what she was seeing was scar tissue from my breast reduction, especially since it hadn’t grown for six months. But, since she didn’t have a baseline from which to work, she wanted me to have more x-rays. So, back I went to the kind and gentle mammogram tech, who continued gleefully and unapologetically torturing my poor beleaguered boob for another 15 minutes.  Finally the doctor was satisfied, and I gingerly strapped on my bra and, in great discomfort, went back home to work.

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Good weekend to all, Widdershins.  Next week I’ll be back to my former spotty attendance as my efforts to relocate my stepmother will escalate.  Further, events of the past several weeks have been draining for all concerned.  If that isn’t good enough, almost all of us are laboring under climate-driven disasters of some sort and/or type, ranging from underwater to bone-dry.   Not to mention, my fellow posters are not in good shape. Mad is stomping around on a broken foot,  Prolix is trying to wring the excess water out of his, and Fredster trying not to trip over his in the ongoing blackout.  We need a break, and we need it now.

There are literally hundreds of songs that involve weather patterns.  Snow, rain, sleet, ice, winds, sun – they’re all out there.  Choose your favorites and post them here, along with anything and everything else that you choose to bring forward.

This is an open thread.

(1) Hot, Hot, Hot – Buster Poindexter

(2) Shelter From the Storm – Bob Dylan

(3) Heatwave – Martha and the Vandellas

(4) Crying in the Rain – The Everly Brothers

(5) Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival

 

 

Have you ever received a large denomination gift card from a place at which you would never, ever, not in a million years, darken the doors?  You can’t regift because no one you know would ever shop there and to boot, you hate to shop.

About ten years ago, I was given a large gift card from Cabela’s.  I don’t hunt, fish, trap, or otherwise find myself aroused at the thought of proving my manhood by inflicting pain upon sensate beings with brains the size of peas.  Call me crazy, I just can’t bring myself to kill for pleasure, but what to do with the two hundred, fifty dollar gift card?

Inside a Cabela's...

Inside a Cabela’s…

If you don’t know, Cabela’s is quite the experience.  Every once living creature has been stuffed and taxidermied into an eternal, glassy-eyed stare, not unlike the look given when Sarah Palin is asked, “What magazines do you enjoy?”

Staring eye-to-eye with a stuffed bipedal polar bear in a frozen state of hors d’oeuvre salivation is not my idea of a fun shopping excursion, but I had that gift card burning a hole in my pocket.  And so I shopped, randomly selecting things with reckless abandon since it didn’t cost me a thing.  There was no consequence to my actions – it was a legalized “drive-by looting” with a $250.00 cap.  It didn’t hurt me, it didn’t hurt the animals, and it was a free space in the great capitalist continuum.

That is exactly what is happening on the historic Iran nuclear deal.  The Republican presidential hordes, along with the Republican congressional swarm of pitchfork wielders, have a free space – it costs nothing for them to roll around on the floor gnashing their chompers for all to witness.  They can pander, aggrandize, exaggerate, and disassemble.  They can appeal to the basic instincts of the peacock-brained crowd.  Reckless abandon doesn’t cost them a thing.  Having an iota of expectation for them beyond that is the equivalent of believing Cabela’s will soon be a petting zoo.  Ain’t gonna happen.

Either inside a Cabela's or the mind of a Neo-con...who knows?

Either inside a Cabela’s or the mind of a Neo-con…who knows?

As I listen to the likes of Tom Cotton, who, after thirty-seven minutes in the Senate, was cued-up to denounce the agreement two nanoseconds after it was announced, I hear Rumsfeldian double-speak.  Cotton, unburdened by not having read a word of the agreement, is enigmatic of the voices who banged the drum for invading Iraq in 2002 and 2003.  Then there’s Lady Lindsey almost tripping over a malfunctioning hoop skirt to declare in full breathless vapors, “I do declare this is the unkindest thing that cad who calls himself Obama has ever done.”  Then there’s Jeb! the always excitable boy who declared, “No one should ever make deals with dictators!”  He should know from bargaining with dictators since he is genetically programmed to do so given both his father and brother did that exact thing when they were the Bushes potted at 1600.

I won’t even try to get into the nuance and minutiae of the agreement since like all climate change denying Republicans, “I’m not a scientist.”  What I am is a “long-memoried librul” who finds utter disgust in hearing the same “mushroom cloud, me Tarzan, them Jane, testosterone-infused, horse hockey” last heard thirteen years ago when we waltzed into a quagmire costing perhaps a half million lives and wasting three trillion dollars.

Iran Uranium enrichment

Boil the criticisms of these clowns down to the nubbins and what you have is, “If I was the President, I could have gotten a better deal,” a logic like, “If a bullfrog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass each time he jumped.”  Most of these jokers have never negotiated a used car, but they somehow believe somewhere hidden in their hubris lies a shrewd negotiator capable of besting Putin, the Chinese, the Iranians, Germany, France, Great Britain, and the EU all at once.  Let’s just say these “wannabe” stellar negotiators won’t be driving off with any new floor mats in their 1972 Gremlins and Chevettes.

There are loads of articles explaining the deal here, here, here, and here.  There is none better than this one, explaining the sheer folly of those who, as they did with Iraq, believe bringing Iran to heel will merely take a couple of bombing missions and we can call it good in a matter of hours.  Remember when Darth Cheney said we would be greeted as Iraq liberators with flowers at our feet?  Well, he and his ilk are again proclaiming, “The only bad war is one we haven’t yet started.”

Iran reducing Uranium Stockpile

These war-lusting ninnies believe if they say it in their hermetically sealed conference rooms at the Heritage Foundation, it will suddenly be made so in the sands of the Middle East.  Their inanity exterminated the only counter-balancing top line predator in the region, thereby unleashing the hegemonic wiles of the hard-line, America-hating, Iranian Shiite mullahs.

Unlike the run up to the Iraq War, if there is one good byproduct in this whole episode, it is that Netanyahu can’t depend upon the mouths of Bushites to call for war.  There is no corner in the Oval Office in which Bebe can hide this time – he has to be the one out front saying, “America, I have another little errand for which I need to borrow your military and your treasury.”  Netanyahu is overplaying his hand when a majority of Americans want a negotiated deal.

Iran Nuclear facilities allowed to operate

Next year I hope the voters remember the Republicans who tried to give us an Iranian gift card and convince us it was a free space without consequence.  Losing untold lives and trillions of dollars has a tendency to leave scars – we best remember their cause.

As always, your thoughts on any subject are encouraged and welcomed.

 

Last week, the Bush “Hair Apparent” said something quite remarkable.  In talking about the economic needs of workers tethered to a living wage calculated for the 1970s, he said, “Workers need to work more hours.”

Okay, let’s dissect this in the light most favorable to the third Bush in the dynasty hedgerow.  Jeb! (always add the exclamation point to give him a little pizzazz)  said he meant, “More hours should be made available to workers,” as opposed to saying, “Workers were lazy slugabeds and needed to work more hours.”  Whatever exclamation boy!

Even if it was a misspeak, still not good Jeb!  In fact, it demonstrates an even more fundamental lack of understanding of the workforce and workers in general.  Here’s the 411:

  • American workers are the most productive workers on the face of the planet;
  • Since the 1970s, productivity has more than doubled and wages have only increased 13%;
  • Even from 2000 until 2012, productivity increased 25% and wages have actually receded – I’m repeating this for the appropriate amount of emphasis, from 2000 until 2012, wages have actually receded while productivity increased by one-quarter;
  • If wages had increased at the same rate as productivity, the current minimum wage would be $22/hour; and
  • Working people now take home the lowest share of total corporate income that’s been recorded since 1950.

Here’s a chart explaining the great parting of the ways between productivity and real earnings:

Productivity and Average Real Earnings

 

Here’s another one depicting productivity, the average income of the 1%, and average overall wages:

Productivity and Average income since 1979

Finally, this last one shows where the great chasm began:

Productivity and Average income of top one percent

 

The other thing about this dust-up and its utter lack of understanding is this:  People who are working part-time for the minimum wage don’t just work one job.  They work two and sometimes three jobs to pay the bills.  As Robert Reich says, “Part-time workers work sixty to seventy hours a week making them almost double full-timers.”  So the answer under the Bush beans-for-brains theory is, “Let’s just change the calendar and add a day – eight days a week and the plebeians can afford the electricity to run their luxury microwaves.  Long live the plutocrats!”  (Another appropriate use of an exclamation point is after the word plutocrat!)

The really sad thing is this – it isn’t the gaffe, or the misunderstanding of the labor market, or the failure to grasp simple economics – it is the abject failure to understand or offer even a cursory acknowledgement that trickle-down economics is a bust – no bueno – territory reserved for turds in the punch bowl!  Trickle down, supply side economics has been harmful and counterproductive to the entire economy, not just minimum wage workers, but wage earners throughout the economic spectrum.

Here’s the news flash every Republican doesn’t get or chooses to ignore:  Track the divergence between productivity and wages and it is the 1980s.  Track any number of economic indicators demonstrating the demise of the middle class and it is 1980s.  Track the economic damage to the middle class and the meteoric ascendancy of the wealthy, and it is 1980s.

First Fox debate...

First Fox debate…

Cut taxes, upload earnings to the cuticle pushed, gentrified echelon of the wealthy as spouted today by the Ben Hur cast of Republican presidential candidates and there isn’t a fly wings’ breadth of difference between now and what was peddled back in the 1980s by Ronaldus Maximus.

Here’s a question to stop those annoying uncles at cookouts this summer:  We’ve given 93 cents of every dollar in income growth to the top one-percent, why are the 99% not celebrating their new found prosperity?  “Big lotta ingrates they are, wouldn’t you agree Uncle Fester?”

I will be checking in sporadically today since I have flood clean-up duty so feel free to take the conversation in any direction you might like.

GLEN, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at an organizing event at a private home July 4, 2015 in Glen, New Hampshire. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images) | Darren McCollester via Getty Images

Good Monday, all! I am back from vacay and, unfortunately, am sporting a fractured foot along with my tan. (I twisted my foot on Friday night while in Aruba, went to the emergency room on July 4th, and came home in a cast.) At this point, I’m in a boot, and require no surgery, so I feel very fortunate.

But enough about me: this is about Hillary and her new economic agenda. Details are light right now, but given Our Girl’s recent coming-out party staged on hallowed Rooseveltian ground, I am quite encouraged by what I’m reading.

After months of running on broad themes backed by little in the way of actual policy proposals, Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce Monday what aides call a far-reaching plan to restructure the economy to move more of the nation’s wealth to middle- and low-wage earners.

(snip)

Amid concerns by progressives that Clinton, who represented New York in the U.S. Senate and has deep political ties to the financial industry, would be reluctant to interfere with the business of investment firms, the candidate will promise to do exactly that.

(ahem…dear “progressives…”)

(but I digress…continuing on…)

In the more narrowly crafted proposals that follow the speech, Clinton will target what the campaign calls a mind-set of “quarterly capitalism” on Wall Street and elsewhere — emphasizing making a quick return with little regard for how it is being generated — that she says has pushed the economy too far away from creating things of real value.

Specific taxes and shareholder engagement rules Clinton will later propose would redeploy capital toward more durable sources of economic growth, such as research and development and infrastructure, her advisors say.

Clinton will argue as the campaign heats up that Wall Street in particular is failing the middle class by not keeping its focus on those investments that help generate jobs and upward mobility within companies. Economists who worked on the plan say she will target “excessive risk taking” and churning of investments, as well as what Democrats argue are loopholes in the tax code that reward such behavior.

Yes, Hillary will be focusing on both the middle class AND the poor in her economic agenda. I doubt that we Widdershins will find much to criticize in her approach, when we see more of the details; but will mainstream America agree? According to recent polling data, signs point to yes.

Asked, for example, whether the government should do more to address the growing income gap between the very rich and everyone else, Americans supported more government action by 57% to 39% in a recent CBS/New York Times poll. Even larger majorities favored a hike in the minimum wage — which all the current GOP candidates oppose — plus higher taxes on millionaires and government-mandated paid family leave.

I believe I may have said this once or twice before: in my opinion, Americans vote with their pocketbooks, unless they are terrified or misled into doing otherwise. I think this is just one of many reasons why Hillary is clearly going to win in 2016. Well, that and the fact that GOP has swung hopelessly to the right on far too many issues. They have been hoisted on their own petard at this point, and have empowered the most extreme elements of their Party to have a very strong influence on all the positions their national politicos take.

And speaking of this, I would like to re-state that TW is not an echo chamber and we may have opinions that differ from each other on many topics. On the topic of the Confederate flag, I am with this proud South Carolina Republican who is a defendant of Jefferson Davis. I think she says everything I would want to say, and much more credibly. I dub her also a Fighter.

This is an open thread.

Good day Widdershinners.  I hope this is a pleasant weekend for you.  What a week!  The Trump-panzee flung feces at any anything standing still, as the Trumpanzee so often does, South Carolina surrendered finally, maybe they will stay surrendered this time, and Greece was late on its rent, again!  As is our custom around these parts, here are some “non-earth shattering” stories for your entertainment.  The stories come from a variety of sources including the News of the Wierd, HuffPo, and various newspapers.  Enjoy.

Home bath, don't try this without appropriate amounts of soy on hand (or on body)...

Home bath, don’t try this without appropriate amounts of soy on hand (or on body)…

Noodle this would you…

Yunessan Spa House in Hakone, Japan, recently began offering guests supposedly soothing, skin-conditioning baths.  The baths were of ramen noodles (elevating to health status what might be Japan’s real national dish). The pork broth that fills the tub is genuine, but because of health department regulations, only synthetic noodles can be used, and it is not clear that the artificial ramen achieves the same (allegedly) beautifying collagen levels as actual noodles. For those hard to reach places, chopsticks are recommended.

I’m sharked by this story…

How about some shark to go with those cookies?  Patrick Lanier of Ft. Lauderdale spied a perfect venue for his shark selling since the sidewalk outside a Publix was a good location for the sale of Girl Scout Cookies.  On June 4, he plopped down a live, 5-foot-long shark he had just captured, and which he hectored shoppers to buy, asking $100 (and occasionally tossing buckets of water on it to keep it shimmering). He had less success than the cookie-peddlers, and in short order loaded the shark back into his truck (it was riding shotgun, not driving), took it to an inlet and released it. However, he did avoid the police since it is illegal to sell fish without a commercial license.

Go ahead, jump…

In May, police in Anglesey, North Wales, called for a hostage negotiator to help with two suspects (aged 21 and 27) wanted for a series of relatively minor crimes and who were hold up on the roof of a building. A crowd soon gathered to watch the nail-biting heroics.  After ninety-minutes the two men were talked down.  They were then escorted from the roof of a one-story community center, about eight feet off the ground.  It’s that first step that gets you every time.

A rather embarrassed Seymour...

A rather embarrassed Seymour…

E I E I, Oh dear…

Come to find out, pigs can fly – just not too well.  During the festivities in Provo, Utah, Seymour, the flying pig, had an unfortunate run-in with a flying cowboy.  The cowboy fared much better than Seymour.  It was the annual balloon race in celebration of July 4th, when Seymour, the pig balloon, was struck by a cowboy balloon.  The cowboy declined to comment for this story.  The quick thinking pilot of Seymour continued the burners at full power luckily keeping Seymour’s head partially inflated, thereby, insuring a soft landing.  It could be said the pilot saved his own bacon.

No mutiny here…

The South Pacific island of Pitcairn (pop. 48, all descendants of the crew of the legendary “Mutiny on the Bounty” ship and their Tahitian companions) is a beautiful island.  Considered a picturesque island paradise, its governing council voted on a sex issue in May:  Pitcairn voted to legalize gay marriage.  No one had asked about legalizing same-sex unions and according to the Associated Press only one person on Pitcairn had self-identified as gay.  Asked to comment, one resident said, “Gay marriage is happening everywhere else, so why not here?”

Tickets here…

Gregory Reddick, 54, and his employer, SJQ Sightseeing Tours, filed a lawsuit in June against New York City for “harassing” them and hampering their ability sell tickets to tourists for the Staten Island Ferry.  Government harassment at its best complained Mr. Reddick.  Trouble is, the Staten Island Ferry is free to ride.  When Mr. Reddick was arrested, he was wearing a jacket that said, “Authorized Ticket Agent”.  Upon checking him into the New York jail, it was discovered Mr. Reddick had seven dates of birth, five aliases, and six Social Security numbers –gotta love someone with initiative.

Real lipstick by a real artist.  Usually he carves pencil lead...

Real lipstick by a real artist. Usually he carves pencil lead…

Can I stamp that for ya…

Loyalty is an important customer engagement tool.  In fact, customer loyalty is a much desired asset in any number of enterprises, including drug dealing.  France’s daily La Provence reported in May that at least one enterprising drug dealer in Marseilles had begun distributing “loyalty cards” to its best customers, offering a 10-euro discount on future sales after that customer’s card was full (all 10 squares stamped from previous sales). Said one buyer, “I thought I was hallucinating. I thought I was at a pizzeria or something.” Always helpful, the card also expressed thanks for the patronage and reminded the customer of operating hours (11 a.m. to midnight).  This story doesn’t have anything to do with the picture, I just thought the lipstick art was exceptional.

No marital aid left behind…

Forget no child left behind, some parents of Encinal High School students, in Alameda, California, demanded an investigation last month after learning from a counselor at an after-school program students had been “assigned” an extra-credit project.  The project was to rummage through their parents’ bedrooms looking for sex toys (and bringing in a “selfie” holding one).  Administrators were quick to tell the concerned parents that the “assignment” was not a requirement of the course.

ninjaPolice blotter…

Police were called to the Cumberland Parkway outside of Corbin, Kentucky, upon reports of a man hampering the flow of traffic.  A man with special needs had become inebriated and was carrying a sign in the road stopping cars and trucks.  The sign read, “Parents killed by ninjas.  I need martial arts lessons.  Please help.”  From Ohio, it wasn’t immediately clear how the man got to Corbin — whether he had walked or been dropped off by good Samaritan ninjas.

Laquanda Newby, 25, was charged with three counts of child abuse on June 7 at the county courthouse in Richmond, Virginia, after police spotted her car with two children locked inside on a day in which the temperature reached the 90s. Newby had parked at the courthouse in order to attend her hearing on charges that the week before, she had indeed locked her kids in a hot car while she was out on errands.

Just one of those spur-of-the-moment crazy things,” explained John Paul Jones Jr., in May, after he had intentionally driven his pickup truck through his living room in Senoia, Georgia.  Prior to the incident, his living room did not have a drive thru.  He told a reporter he had been on the phone with his wife and gotten angry, and “one thing led to another.” Fortunately, Jones is a contractor, and has been out of work for a while and thus figures he can keep busy fixing his mess. The house “needed some work,” he said, “needed air conditioning.”

 

Enjoy your weekend and take the conversation in any direction the wind might blow.

 

For your Thursday entertainment and to spur a little conversation, I thought a little interactivity might be in order given the wall-to-ego cartoonwall coverage of all things “the Donald”.  Never has there been so much time covering so much drivel since the thirteen part mini-series on the great Kardashian butt cheek feud.

If you are so inclined, match the quote with the author.  Here are the quotes:

  1. You only lie when you are afraid. I never lie because I don’t fear anyone.

  2. When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal.  The point is that you can’t be too greedy.  Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken.

  3. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.

  4. I am being frank about myself in the book. I tell of my first mistake on page 850.  The nice thing about being a celebrity is that, if you bore people, they think it’s their fault.

  5. I never said half the things I said. If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.

  6. Now I know why tigers eat their young. I have built my organization upon fear.

  7. Yeah, I’m obnoxious, yeah, I cut people off, yeah, I’m rude. I’m a sensationalist.  I’m a big mouth.  I get attention.  That’s one of the downsides of being famous is that folks pay far more attention to you than they should.

  8. People react to fear, not love.

  9. I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.  I deserve respect for the things I did not do.

  10. There’s a sucker born every minute.

Here are the little teapots who have spouted these words:teapot

  1. Al Capone
  2. Adolf Hitler
  3. Richard Nixon
  4. John Gotti
  5. Dan Quayle
  6. Yogi Berra
  7. Donald J. Trump
  8. P.T. Barnum
  9. Bill O’Reilly
  10. Henry Kissinger

The answers after the turn.

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