Feisty Friday Reads

Betty WhiteGood Afternoon Sky Dancers!

There’s a lot going on!  I spent some time yesterday watching the ceremonial parts of the Impeachment articles trek over to the Senate. I don’t recall watching any of these during the Clinton impeachment.   However, impeaching a cad is far different than impeaching a crook.

Then,  I sadly saw the Orange Snot Blob use the champion LSU Tigers football team to prop his ego up today and promptly turned the TV off.  Some of those players did not look happy to be there and others looked kinda giddy as he talked about himself in that odd third person way. As usual,  he just had to make it all about him.

“You got a good [POTUS] now – even though they’re trying to impeach the son of a bitch! Can you believe that?… we took out those terrorists like your football team would’ve taken out those terrorists!”

How icky is that?

However, in keeping with why I called this a Feisty Friday I would like to wish the feisty Betty White a most happy and auspicious 98th birthday! She’s a national treasure!

White has been an advocate for animals for some time and still volunteers for the Los Angels Zoo.  Her resume on animal welfare is pretty impressive.

White’s volunteer work goes beyond just the zoo in Los Angeles. Since the 1970s, she’s also been working with the Morris Animal Foundation, which “advances animal health by funding only research that meets the highest scientific standards” according to their site.

She was drawn to the organization because of her approach to animals. “I’m not into animal rights. I’m only into animal welfare and health,” she told TV Guide, adding that the Morris Animal Foundation funds “health studies for dogs, cats, lizards and wildlife.”

As a president emeritus, she’s seen the organization through much of its breakthrough work, which includes developing the feline leukemia vaccine, the parvovirus vaccine and Potomac horse fever vaccine.

White works closely with the Los Angeles ASPCA, as well as the guide dog school, The Seeing Eye. “The Seeing Eye takes training these dogs quite seriously,” White told Parade. “By providing well-trained guide dogs and training recipients to work with these dogs, The Seeing Eye empowers and changes people’s lives for the better.”

White has also been made an honorary forest ranger by the Forest Service and tries to help out when her schedule allows.

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Another feisty woman is back in the news because of the MSNBC confessions of Lev Parnas to Rachel Maddow.  Was the envoy to the Ukraine–Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch– actually stalked by fellow Americans because she stood in the way of Trump’s drug deal?  Today, the worst secretary of state we’ve likely ever had spoke out.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday broke nearly 72 hours of silence over alleged surveillance and threats to the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, saying he believed the allegations would prove to be wrong but that he had an obligation to evaluate and investigate the matter.

In interviews with conservative radio hosts, Pompeo said he had no knowledge of the allegations until earlier this week when congressional Democrats released documents from an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney suggesting that Marie Yovanovitch was being watched. He also said he did know and had never met Lev Parnas, the associate of Rudy Giuliani who made the claims.

Pompeo, who was traveling in California when the documents were released, had been harshly criticized by lawmakers and current and former diplomats for not addressing the matter. The documents provided by Parnas suggested there may have been a threat to Yovanovitch shortly before she was abruptly recalled last spring.

“We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,” he said in a radio interview with Tony Katz, an Indianapolis-based broadcaster. “I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of state, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that.”

“It is always the case at the Department of State that we do everything we can to ensure that our officers, not only our ambassadors but our entire team, has the security level that’s appropriate,” Pompeo said.

“We do our best to make sure that no harm will come to anyone, whether that was what was going on in our embassy in Baghdad last week or the work that was going on in Kyiv up and through the spring of last year when Ambassador Yovanovitch was there, and in our embassy in Kyiv even today,” he said.

Sort’ve Feisty mostly frightened Lev Parnas pointed out that he’s afraid of William Barr who he seems to think is more dangerous than the usual thuggish Trumpists.  This is via Betsy Swan: “Lev Parnas Reveals Why He Turned on Trumpworld”.  I have to admit that after watching his TV interview two nights in row on Maddow that this shrek is not what I expected.

In another portion of the interview with Maddow that aired late Thursday, Parnas likened Trump to a “cult leader” and said he was “more scared of our own Justice Department” than criminals.

He went on to claim that he’d “fired” lawyers connected to Trump after getting the feeling that they “tried to keep me quiet.”

Parnas told The Daily Beast that his former friends’ reaction to his arrest has strengthened his resolve to speak out. Parnas said that after he and his associate Igor Fruman were arrested at Dulles Airport on Oct. 9 and charged with campaign-finance violations, he was disappointed with Giuliani’s silence. He said Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing—a Trump-friendly husband-and-wife legal team with deep and longstanding ties in Washington’s conservative legal world—also kept mum about their relationship with him. That silence, he said, left him feeling betrayed.

“I felt like my family left me,” he said.

He noted that the trio rarely shy away from defending controversial clients and allies on TV. But in his case, Parnas said, they were silent.

“Knowing everything about me, knowing that this was probably a hit job, they all just clammed up,” he said.

 

Image result for image Lev PArnas and Rachel Maddow

This all sounds so Banana Republic it’s hard to know what to do with it.  Actually, Rachel Maddow was pretty feisty grabbing up the Parnas interview first.  The Parnas interview gave Maddow’s show an “all time high” which means it likely caught the Orange Snot Blob’s attention too.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show drew its largest audience ever Wednesday night.

Maddow’s interview with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, a figure in the impeachment of President Donald Trump, averaged 4.47 million viewers, the program’s largest audience in its 11-year history. It surpasses the 4.13 million who tuned in to a March 2017 edition on which Maddow revealed a small portion of Trump’s 2005 tax return.

The show was the most-watched program on cable Wednesday night by a decent margin and beat the 9 p.m. averages for broadcasters ABC and Fox, as well. The Rachel Maddow Show scored its biggest margin of victory over Fox News’ Hannity (3.79 million) in months. MSNBC also had more than four times as many viewers as CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time in the hour (1.06 million).

Maddow also led Wednesday’s cable rankings in the key news demographic of adults 25-54, with 844,000 people in that age group (a 0.7 rating) tuning in. That falls short of the show’s all-time high of 1.4 million in the demo, set by the aforementioned March 2017 installment.

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Feisty Ida Turmbull

My guess is that Hannity is–in Trump’s words–a big Loser. But then, Trumperz is too busy calling our Generals ‘a bunch of dopes and babies’.  This is from WAPO and the keyboards of Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker authors of a new book “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America,”which will be published on Jan. 21 by Penguin Press.

Just before 10 a.m. on a scorching summer Thursday, Trump arrived at the Pentagon. He stepped out of his motorcade, walked along a corridor with portraits honoring former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, and stepped inside the Tank. The uniformed officers greeted their commander in chief. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph F. Dunford Jr. sat in the seat of honor midway down the table, because this was his room, and Trump sat at the head of the table facing a projection screen. Mattis and the newly confirmed deputy defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, sat to the president’s left, with Vice President Pence and Tillerson to his right. Down the table sat the leaders of the military branches, along with Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon was in the outer ring of chairs with other staff, taking his seat just behind Mattis and directly in Trump’s line of sight.

Mattis, Cohn, and Tillerson and their aides decided to use maps, graphics, and charts to tutor the president, figuring they would help keep him from getting bored. Mattis opened with a slide show punctuated by lots of dollar signs. Mattis devised a strategy to use terms the impatient president, schooled in real estate, would appreciate to impress upon him the value of U.S. investments abroad. He sought to explain why U.S. troops were deployed in so many regions and why America’s safety hinged on a complex web of trade deals, alliances, and bases across the globe.An opening line flashed on the screen, setting the tone: “The post-war international rules-based order is the greatest gift of the greatest generation.” Mattis then gave a 20-minute briefing on the power of the NATO alliance to stabilize Europe and keep the United States safe. Bannon thought to himself, “Not good. Trump is not going to like that one bit.” The internationalist language Mattis was using was a trigger for Trump.

For the next 90 minutes, Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn took turns trying to emphasize their points, pointing to their charts and diagrams. They showed where U.S. personnel were positioned, at military bases, CIA stations, and embassies, and how U.S. deployments fended off the threats of terror cells, nuclear blasts, and destabilizing enemies in places including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Korea Peninsula, and Syria. Cohn spoke for about 20 minutes about the value of free trade with America’s allies, emphasizing how he saw each trade agreement working together as part of an overall structure to solidify U.S. economic and national security.
Trump appeared peeved by the schoolhouse vibe but also allergic to the dynamic of his advisers talking at him. His ricocheting attention span led him to repeatedly interrupt the lesson. He heard an adviser say a word or phrase and then seized on that to interject with his take. For instance, the word “base” prompted him to launch in to say how “crazy” and “stupid” it was to pay for bases in some countries.

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Feisty Rosa Parks

This is where we learn how little Trump thinks of NATO and why he thinks every one should be paying us money to keep our bases and soldiers there.  Frankly, the entire episode sounds nuts.  Then Secretary of State Tillerson tried to explain the errors of that view and the tirade just got worse.

“I don’t want to hear it,” Trump said, cutting off the secretary of state before he could explain some of the benefits of the agreement. “They’re cheating. They’re building. We’re getting out of it. I keep telling you, I keep giving you time, and you keep delaying me. I want out of it.”

Before they could debate the Iran deal, Trump erupted to revive another frequent complaint: the war in Afghanistan, which was now America’s longest war. He demanded an explanation for why the United States hadn’t won in Afghanistan yet, now 16 years after the nation began fighting there in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump unleashed his disdain, calling Afghanistan a “loser war.” That phrase hung in the air and disgusted not only the military leaders at the table but also the men and women in uniform sitting along the back wall behind their principals. They all were sworn to obey their commander in chief’s commands, and here he was calling the war they had been fighting a loser war.

“You’re all losers,” Trump said. “You don’t know how to win anymore.” >Trump questioned why the United States couldn’t get some oil as payment for the troops stationed in the Persian Gulf. “We spent $7 trillion; they’re ripping us off,” Trump boomed. “Where is the f—ing oil?”

Trump seemed to be speaking up for the voters who elected him, and several attendees thought they heard Bannon in Trump’s words. Bannon had been trying to persuade Trump to withdraw forces by telling him, “The American people are saying we can’t spend a trillion dollars a year on this. We just can’t. It’s going to bankrupt us.”

“And not just that, the deplorables don’t want their kids in the South China Sea at the 38th parallel or in Syria, in Afghanistan, in perpetuity,” Bannon would add, invoking Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” reference to Trump supporters.

Trump mused about removing General John Nicholson, the U.S. commander in charge of troops in Afghanistan. “I don’t think he knows how to win,” the president said, impugning Nicholson, who was not present at the meeting.

So, today, we will see the feisty Democrat Senators– as well as the not so feisty ones–begin the journey to determining if the Russian Potted Plant should be removed from office.  Feisty and extremely competent Congresswoman Val Demings will be there to provide the arguments including this one.

Rep Val Demings’ position, shared publicly by a just a few other Democrats, could undercut House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s efforts to frame impeachment as an exercise of constitutional duty. Republicans have argued for months that Democrats are on a partisan mission to remove Trump from office.

Yet in selecting Demings on Wednesday as one of the seven impeachment managers, Pelosi is giving a national spotlight to a Democrat who has often gone against House leaders on impeachment issues — she first called for Trump’s removal from office a year before party leadership and is now agitating for McConnell’s recusal.

Her opposition to McConnell’s participation in the Senate trial that is set to start next week stems from the Kentucky Republican boasting that he won’t be impartial in deciding whether Trump should be acquitted or convicted.

“I’m not an impartial juror,” McConnell said at a news conference in December. “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”

Demings on Dec. 13 declared McConnell unfit to vote in Trump’s impeachment trial after the Senate leader went on Fox News to further detail his coordination with the White House on impeachment strategy.

Feisty Senator Kamala Harris will serve as a juror who speaks with the authority of the former AG of California.

So, today, I stand in solidarity with all those feisty people who simply will not shut up or sit down when they’re so ordered. Each one of them are my spirit animal.  Each of us stand on the shoulders of those who fought the good fight before us.

I just wanted to share one piece of good news that shows the tenacity of folks out to do their job right.  Well, actually two gardners sort’ve stumbled on it but it’s still good news.  A much missed Klimt masterpiece has been found twenty-three years after being reported as stolen.

A painting found hidden in an Italian gallery in December is an authentic Gustav Klimt piece stolen almost 23 years ago, experts have confirmed.

The Portrait of a Lady was one of the world’s most sought-after stolen artworks before it was found concealed in a wall of the Ricci Oddi modern art gallery, the same gallery from where it went missing in the northern city of Piacenza.

Ornella Chicca, the Piacenza prosecutor, said at a press conference: “It’s with no small emotion that I can tell you that the work is authentic.”

The painting was discovered by two gardeners as they cleared ivy on an exterior wall of the gallery on 10December. The pair discovered a metal panel, which, when opened, revealed a cavity with a painting in a bag. An initial inspection indicated that the painting was the 1917 work by the Austrian art nouveau painter before two experts were appointment by the prosecutor to confirm its authenticity.

In a further twist, Ermanno Mariani, a journalist with the Piacenza newspaper La Libertà, received a letter from two people claiming to have stolen the painting before hiding it in the wall.

“A mystery upon a mystery for which the investigations are ongoing,” La Libertà reported on Friday. “The certification of its authenticity opens the door to the investigators’ work and it cannot be ruled out that the name of a suspect might soon appear.”

The theft of Portrait of a Lady was discovered on the morning of 22 February 1997 but police believed it had been removed three days earlier. Investigators at the time suspected an inside job. The investigation was reopened in 2016 following the discovery of DNA traces of a thief on the painting’s abandoned frame.

Police believe the thieves used a fishing line to hook the masterpiece off the wall and haul it up through an open skylight to the roof of the gallery, where the frame was discarded.

The Klimt is considered particularly important because shortly before its disappearance an art student realised it had been painted over another work previously believed lost – a portrait of a young lady that had not been seen since 1912 – making it the only “double” Klimt known to the art world.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


24 Comments on “Feisty Friday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    So, I’m not sure what will break today but we do have the lawyers for Trumperz and all of them are total cads imho. That includes the women.

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    Also, Happy Birthday to Feisty Michelle Obama!!!!

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    WaPo: USDA proposes changing school menus to allow more fries and fewer vegetables, reversing a Michelle Obama effort

    On Friday, USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps announced new proposed rules for the Food and Nutrition Service that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them the ability to sell more pizza, burgers and fries to students. The agency is responsible for administering nutritional programs that feed nearly 30 million students at 99,000 schools.

    Lipps said the changes will help address what he described as unintended issues that developed as a result of the regulations put in place during the Obama administration. For example, when schools were trying to implement innovative solutions such as grab-and-go breakfast off a cart or meals in the classroom, they were forced to give kids two bananas to meet minimum federal requirements.

    But Colin Schwartz, deputy director of legislative affairs for Center for Science in the Public Interest, says that the rules, if finalized, “would create a huge loophole in school nutrition guidelines, paving the way for children to choose pizza, burgers, french fries and other foods high in calories, saturated fat or sodium in place of balanced school meals every day.”

  7. dakinikat says:

    How rotten is this?

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  9. bostonboomer says:

    I don’t know whether to buy the new WaPo Trump book. I’ve already read several descriptions of that DOD meeting in other books, including by someone who was in the room.

    • NW Luna says:

      Judging by the excerpts, the writing has rather a wooden tone. But it’s not the kind of book one reads for enjoyment of its writerly style but for the insider details.

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    • quixote says:

      That got my attention too. Mainly because he’s lived with a legal system functioning as an arm of a dictator. He knows what that means much better than most of us.

      Plus, the man is obviously an operator, so he could be saying a lot of stuff for reasons of his own. But I can’t see how saying Barr is a goon serves him particularly. So it seems like it may well just be an accurate assessment based on his lived experience. In which case: yikes!

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