Lazy Caturday Reads: Seek Comfort In Simple Things.

Merchant’s Wife Drinking Tea (in the company of her cat) 1920, Boris Kustodiev

Good Morning!!

As we grieve over the potential death of American democracy, Bernie Sanders and his supporters prepare to dance on its grave.

Alongside Tlaib, Rep. Pramila Jayapal laughed at the hilarious joke. We need to do everything we can to ensure that Sanders does not win the Democratic nomination. If the choice is between two nasty authoritarians, I will have to stay home on election day. As long as there is an electoral college, my vote doesn’t matter anyway–not in the blue state of Massachusetts.

 

This weekend I’m going to focus on calming and de-stressing.

One way to do that is to drink tea and read a novel that takes me to another place and time.

Did you know that tea contains a rare amino acid that reduces stress?

This amino acid is called theanine. There are numerous studies showing that people who take theanine supplements consistently have lower levels of stress. And when you combine theanine with caffeine, it helps to boost your brain activity as well as your mood.

Cooper&Gorfer, Niza and the White Cat, 2015

It is this boost in mood and brain activity that gives us this sense of relaxation and well being that only tea can provide….

Theanine is only found in tea and a very rare species of mushrooms that people do not regularly eat. So, if you are into getting your supplements naturally, tea is the only common way to get a good dose of theanine….

When we are sick our immune systems need a bit of a boost, especially at the onset of a cold. Tea is packed with antioxidants that help our immune systems fight off different viruses that love to make us feel terrible. In addition, theanine has been shown to help boost our white blood cell count, which is another way to prevent illness.

Another way to find comfort is with animal friends. BBC: Your cat can pick up on how you are feeling.

New research has found the first strong evidence that cats are sensitive to human emotional gestures.

Moriah Galvan and Jennifer Vonk of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, US studied 12 cats and their owners. They found that the animals behaved differently when their owner was smiling compared to when they were frowning.

May and the Cat by Valentine Cameron Princep, British, 1838-1904

When faced with a smiling owner, the cats were significantly more likely to perform “positive” behaviours such as purring, rubbing or sitting on their owner’s lap. They also seemed to want to spend more time close to their owner when they were smiling than when the owner was frowning.

The pattern was completely different when the 12 cats were presented with strangers, instead of their owners. In this setup, they showed the same amount of positive behaviour, regardless of whether the person was smiling or frowning.

The results suggest two things: cats can read human facial expressions, and they learn this ability over time.

 

Anyone who has ever had a cat knows this from experience. Having a cat cuddle up to you when you’re sad can provide a great deal of comfort.

 

Here are a few news and opinion articles to check out today. 

The New York Times Editorial Board: A Dishonorable Senate. Republican legislators abdicated their duty by refusing to seek the truth.

Alas, no one ever lost money betting on the cynicism of today’s congressional Republicans. On Friday evening, Republican senators voted in near lock step to block testimony from any new witnesses or the production of any new documents, a vote that was tantamount to an acquittal of the impeachment charges against President Trump. The move can only embolden the president to cheat in the 2020 election.

Leonore Fini, Argentine, 1907-1996

The vote also brings the nation face to face with the reality that the Senate has become nothing more than an arena for the most base and brutal — and stupid — power politics. Faced with credible evidence that a president was abusing his powers, it would not muster the institutional self-respect to even investigate.

The week began with such promise, or at least with the possibility the Senate might not abdicate its constitutional duty. Leaks from John Bolton’s forthcoming book about his time in the White House appeared to confirm the core of the impeachment case against Mr. Trump: his extortion of Ukraine by explicitly conditioning hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid on the announcement of investigations into his political rival.

For a moment, it seemed that enough Senate Republicans would come to their senses, listen to the overwhelming majority of Americans, and demand to hear testimony under oath from Mr. Bolton and maybe even other key witnesses to Mr. Trump’s Ukraine scheme.

I never really expected that.

The Washington Post Editorial Board: The cringing abdication of Senate Republicans.

REPUBLICAN SENATORS who voted Friday to suppress known but unexamined evidence of President Trump’s wrongdoing at his Senate trial must have calculated that the wrath of a vindictive president is more dangerous than the sensible judgment of the American people, who, polls showed, overwhelmingly favored the summoning of witnesses. That’s almost the only way to understand how the Republicans could have chosen to deny themselves and the public the firsthand account of former national security adviser John Bolton, and perhaps others, on how Mr. Trump sought to extort political favors from Ukraine.

Carol Willink, Wilma with her cat, c.1940

The public explanations the senators offered were so weak and contradictory as to reveal themselves as pretexts. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she weighed supporting “additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings” of the House’s impeachment process, but decided against doing so. Apparently she preferred a bad trial to a better one — but she did assure us that she felt “sad” that “the Congress has failed.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the case against Mr. Trump had already been proved, so no further testimony was needed. But he also said, without explanation, that Mr. Trump’s “inappropriate” conduct did not merit removal from office; voters, he said, should render a verdict in the coming presidential election. How could he measure the seriousness of Mr. Trump’s wrongdoing without hearing Mr. Bolton’s firsthand testimony of the president’s motives and intentions, including about whether the president is likely to seek additional improper foreign intervention in that same election?

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) echoed Mr. Alexander’s illogic, only he lacked the courage even to take a position on whether Mr. Trump had, as charged, tried to force Ukraine’s new president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, or whether that was wrong. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) managed to be even more timorous, telling reporters that “Lamar speaks for lots and lots of us” and refusing to elaborate.

So cowed are most of those “lots and lots” of Republicans that few of them dared to go as far as Mr. Sasse. Some have echoed the president’s indefensible claims that there was nothing wrong with the pressure campaign. Their votes against witnesses have rendered the trial a farce and made conviction the only choice for senators who honor the Constitution.

Paul Waldman at The Washington Post: What Democrats must do when impeachment is over.

Not long after you read this, Republicans in the Senate will likely complete their task, enact their profile in cowardice and close down the impeachment trial of Donald Trump with a proclamation that the president, should he be a Republican, can betray his office in any manner he pleases without consequence.

Woman with Cat by Lilla Cabot Perry, (1848-1933)

So now Democrats have a choice to make. They can slink off miserably and await Trump’s reelection, or they can keep fighting to create the accountability that impeachment was supposed to be about….

The first thing they can do is invite John Bolton to testify in an open hearing before either the Intelligence Committee or the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House (and if he declines the invitation, subpoena him). The fact that Senate Republicans stopped him from testifying in the impeachment trial doesn’t mean he’s barred from opening his mouth forevermore. So let’s hear what he has to say….

But that’s just the beginning. Democrats should also make it a top priority to finally get hold of Trump’s tax returns. Granted, this isn’t entirely in their hands — there are multiple cases in the courts in which Trump is trying to keep them hidden with all the desperation of a cornered mongoose. But the idea that we could go into a second Trump election without knowing where he’s getting money from, to whom he owes money, and what kind of possible tax fraud he might be engaged in is absolutely ludicrous.

So the tax return issue should be part of a broad initiative aimed at exposing and highlighting Trump’s personal corruption and self-dealing. For instance, why have there been no hearings on Trump’s aborted effort to award himself a multimillion-dollar contract to host the Group of Seven summit? Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney claimed that the Secret Service concluded that Trump’s faltering Miami golf club was “far and away the best physical facility for this meeting” in the entire country, which is almost certainly a lie. So let’s find out: Get whoever was running the planning under oath and start asking questions.

ABC reports on Mike Pompeo’s smirking visit to Ukraine: In Kyiv, Pompeo does not dispute allegations in Bolton’s book.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to directly dispute allegations reportedly contained in an unpublished manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book, saying he would not comment on press reports “off in the lands of the hypothetical.”

John White Alexander, American, 1856-1915

The New York Times reported in recent days that Bolton’s unpublished manuscript contains allegations that President Donald Trump sought to withhold military aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Kyiv to announce investigations into the president’s domestic political opponents.

In Kyiv on Friday, Pompeo downplayed the report’s credibility — but did not explicitly deny its contents.

“So you’re now commenting on reports on an alleged book about notes that someone claims to have seen,” Pompeo said Friday during an interview with ABC News’ Kyra Phillips in Kyiv. “I don’t engage in that. I’ve said everything I have to say about what took place.”

We’ll just see about that won’t we Mr. Smirky.

Miami Herald: Opera singer danced on an SUV, then crashed through Mar-a-Lago barricades. Cops opened fire.

A Connecticut woman chastised for dancing on her car at a Palm Beach hotel late Friday morning ended up driving away and crashing her vehicle through two security barricades outside Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club and home, drawing gunfire from law enforcement officers, before leading a police helicopter on a chase that ended in her arrest.

Hannah Roemhild, 30, a trained opera singer, is now in the custody of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is not a terrorist thing,” Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at a Friday afternoon news conference. “This is somebody that obviously was impaired somehow.”

Roemhild could face charges for assault on both federal and county law enforcement officers, Bradshaw said. No one was injured, although the situation might have easily ended differently, officials indicated.

By Dmitry Lisichenko

NPR: Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Has Retired From Foreign Service.

Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine until last spring when she was ousted following a disinformation campaign by the president’s private lawyer, is retiring — not resigning.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: Some news tonight – NPR has learned that one of the key figures in the impeachment drama, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, is retiring from the foreign service. She was the ambassador to Ukraine until last spring, when she was ousted following a disinformation campaign by the president’s private lawyer. Yovanovitch testified before Congress about the moment that she got a call from Washington telling her, come home.

Read more or listen at the link.

Of course Trump’s crimes will continue to be revealed by the media. It’s already happening:

NYT: Trump Told Bolton to Help His Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Book Says.

WaPo: New emails show how President Trump roiled NOAA during Hurricane Dorian.

CNN: Trump administration reveals it’s blocking dozens of emails about Ukraine aid freeze, including President’s role.

I’m off to find comfort in tea and books. Have a nice weekend Sky Dancers and I hope you seek comfort in any way that works for you.


19 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads: Seek Comfort In Simple Things.”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. dakinikat says:

    Well, we have a good way of forgetting what the rest of the country is like down here …

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. NW Luna says:

  7. NW Luna says:

  8. NW Luna says:

    BB, this morning as I got up and felt dreary I thought “Well at least BB will have some nice cat pictures!”

    Wish I could invite you and all the other SkyDancers over for lapcats and tea to read cozy mystery books and listen to good music.

  9. dakinikat says:

  10. dakinikat says:

    Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman is here to fight the undead
    In an exclusive interview, the economist and NYT pundit explains why conservatives’ “zombie” ideas just won’t die

    https://www.salon.com/2020/01/28/economist-paul-krugman-arguing-with-zombies-politics-interview/