Frankly over it all Friday Reads

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Una Watters (1918-1965) Meditation

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It looks like our last chances and hopes for getting anything but an over the hill old,  narcissistic ignorant white man for President in 2020 are fading fast. Biden has been inkling Kamala as a potential vp but I’m afraid at this point it will like be Sanders/Gabbard v Trump/Pence.  Meanwhile, if BB’s post yesterday didn’t show you what a clusterfuck of an administration we have trying to deal with a potential pandemic, try reading today’s headlines.  I’m not seeing the coalescing around Biden every one expects either but I suppose the response in SC will tell.  WTF is wrong with this country?

At this rate, if behind door number 1 and door 2 is Bernie or Trump, I’ll just hope that I can take door number 3 and the corona virus will be waiting for me.

Today’s paintings are by Una Watters, an Irish artist.

So who was Una Watters? Born Una McDonnell, she went to school at the Holy Faith Convent in Glasnevin and attended the National College of Art on the encouragement of the painter Maurice MacGonigal. She studied part-time, juggling her studies around her day job as a librarian. She met Eugene Watters at a dance in the Teacher’s Club on Parnell Square and they were married in March 1945; they honeymooned in a horse-drawn carriage which Eugene had built. They were a devoted couple, summering in Ballinasloe, fishing in the River Suck and making art.

Watters is remembered by those who knew her as a gracious, gentle woman, but as an artist, she worked tirelessly. She sketched, was involved in magazine and book illustration, calligraphy and design. (She won the Arts Council award for the 1966 Easter Rising commemoration symbol, based on the Sword of Light/An Claidheamh Soluis, though sadly did not live to enjoy her success.) She worked in oils and watercolours, painted portraits and landscapes and in her latter career, interestingly, developed an angular, almost cubist style.

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UNA WATTERS (1918-1965) Blonde in a Blue Chair,1957

I’m choosing a third front today since the news is bad on those two fronts of the Democratic Primary and the Corona Virus Containment.  House Oversight is more important than ever and continues.  Here are some of the things I found that key committees have taken on themselves.

First up, the House Judiciary Committee is still moving forward on oversight of the Trumpist Regime and the AG’s role.   From Politico: “House seeks interviews with prosecutors who quit Stone case after Trump’s intervention”.

House Democrats are seeking interviews with the four career prosecutors who quit the case of Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump, after Trump and Justice Department leaders intervened to demand a lighter jail sentence.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) requested the interviews in a Friday letter to Attorney General William Barr that also included broader demands for documents and testimony about allegations of political interference by Trump in the work of the Justice Department.

But the most notable names on the list are four Stone prosecutors: Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando and Jonathan Kravis. Nadler’s request for access to the career line prosecutors is an unusual step intended to circumvent the Justice Department’s political leadership — and one that has been viewed with caution even by Trump critics.

It’s the latest indication that House Democrats see career employees as crucial sources of information in an era in which Trump has directed his top political appointees to ignore House demands for information.

From the AP: “Dems Launch Justice Probe”

Nadler also is questioning Barr about his involvement in other cases related to friends and associates of Trump and about internal investigations into department employees who investigated Trump after the 2016 election.

“Although you serve at the President’s pleasure, you are also charged with the impartial administration of our laws,” Nadler wrote to Barr. “In turn, the House Judiciary Committee is charged with holding you to that responsibility.”

Have you seen this painting? Girl in the Sand (1950) is one of the ‘lost’ works by Una Watters

Girl in the Sand (1950) is one of the ‘lost’ works by Una Watters

Robert Reich–writing for American Prospect-– argues that “Trump’s attorney general has corrupted the Justice Department and willfully abetted the president’s lawlessness”.  I imagine we will be watching all of this slog its way through the courts that Moscow Mitch has been dutifully stacking.  Reich believes that Barr is marching us towards dictatorship.  He has a list of five examples of the how, what, and when.  One is, of course, Barr’s interference in the Roger Stone trial.

Trump’s longtime confidant and adviser, who faced a prison sentence for obstructing Congress and witness tampering in connection with the Russia investigation. The day prosecutors announced they were seeking seven to nine years for Stone’s sentencing, Trump called the sentence “a horrible aberration,” and said that the prosecutors “ought to be ashamed of themselves” and were “an insult to our country.” A mere 24 hours later, after Trump’s public tantrum, the Department of Justice announced it would change its sentencing recommendation for Stone. Showing more backbone than Barr, four career prosecutors then withdrew from the case, and one resigned.

The incident caused such an uproar that Barr was forced to declare that he wouldn’t be “bullied” and that Trump’s tweets “make it impossible to do my job.” But anyone who has watched Barr repeatedly roll over for Trump saw this as a minimal face-saving gesture.

I can imagine the House will be doing constant battle with Barr as long as we have Trump around.  This was a late breaking story yesterday that does have to do with the Corona Virus but–more importantly–it involves a whistle blower whose job in H&HS has been taken from her. From WAPO: “U.S. workers without protective gear assisted coronavirus evacuees, HHS whistleblower says.”  Administration retaliation against whistle blowers is against the law.

Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services sent more than a dozen workers to receive the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, without proper training for infection control or appropriate protective gear, according to a whistleblower complaint.

The workers did not show symptoms of infection and were not tested for the virus, according to lawyers for the whistleblower, a senior HHS official based in Washington who oversees workers at the Administration for Children and Families, a unit within HHS.

The whistleblower is seeking federal protection, alleging she was unfairly and improperly reassigned after raising concerns about the safety of these workers to HHS officials, including those within the office of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. She was told Feb. 19 that if she does not accept the new position in 15 days, which is March 5, she would be terminated.

The whistleblower has decades of experience in the field, received two HHS department awards from Azar last year and has received the highest performance evaluations, her lawyers said.

The complaint was filed Wednesday with the Office of the Special Counsel, an independent federal watchdog agency. The whistleblower’s lawyers provided a copy of a redacted 24-page complaint to The Washington Post. A spokesman for the Office of the Special Counsel confirmed that it has received the complaint and assigned the case.

This is via Politico and is quite interesting: “Senate Intel chair privately warned that GOP’s Biden probe could help Russia. Richard Burr’s discussion with Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley highlights the divide among Republicans over the Biden investigation.”

The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee has privately expressed concerns about his colleagues’ corruption investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, further exposing divisions within the GOP over whether to continue pursuing an effort that led in part to President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

In a Dec. 5 meeting, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told the leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Finance committees — Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, respectively — that their probe targeting Biden could aid Russian efforts to sow chaos and distrust in the U.S. political system, according to two congressional sources familiar with the meeting.

The meeting took place as the House was charging forward with impeachment articles against Trump over an alleged effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals, including the former vice president and his son Hunter. And it underscores disagreements among Senate Republicans over the merits of a Biden investigation.

A spokeswoman for Burr declined to comment. Representatives for Johnson did not return multiple requests for comment. After publication of this story, Taylor Foy, a Grassley spokesman said “we do not have a record of any meeting on Dec. 5” with either Burr or Intelligence Committee staffers about the Biden investigation.

When asked whether he has met or worked with Burr on the Biden probe, Grassley said earlier Thursday: “No, I haven’t. And I haven’t had any conversation with him either.” Johnson did not answer directly, only saying: “We talk about things.”

Burr has rarely spoken publicly about the issues surrounding the impeachment of Trump. And his exchange with Johnson and Grassley was not the only time Burr purportedly has expressed such concerns to his Republican colleagues.

So, at least the House of Representatives continues to work.  We can only hope that we hang on to the majority there.

I’m going to stop here because I spent all day into the night with a dying cat yesterday and I am emotionally exhausted.  Kinsey was a senior cat with hyperthyroidism that  I rescued from the JP SPCA a little over 4 years ago.  She had been getting hopelessly frail the last 4 -6 weeks.  She also started having ear polyps.  My vet came over last night to help ease her forward.  By late afternoon, she had trouble standing up and couldn’t walk.  She quit eating and drinking.  I spent most of the day just brushing her and scratching her chin.  She always purred for me and I was glad the day and transition was mostly peaceful for her. She was ready to go. She will join my beloved Miles among the Ginger today whom she knew during his final days.

Take care of yourself and your beloveds!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

48 Comments on “Frankly over it all Friday Reads”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Here’s something you can read on the pandemic of 1918.

  2. Mary Brown says:

    As Rich pointed out, the only good thing about our 401ks taking a dive is that a bad stock market works against Trump’s re-election.

    In other news, everyone we’ve talked to at this resort in Kauai is fretting about catching the corona virus. It doesn’t stop them from sharing a hot tub with complete strangers from all over, however.

    So sad about your cat. You gave him a good life.

    • dakinikat says:

      I exited the stock market awhile ago. It looked way too frothy for my instincts. But, as long as he doesn’t kill us all because he’s concerned about the Dow Jones, I think it was time for a readjustment of expectations. You can only inflate your stock price with stock buybacks for so long.

      I knew I’d only have a short time with her and that eventually this would come so I was much more prepared than with most of the pets I’ve had except one of my labs who basically died suddenly of an aneurism the day before my qualifying exams. I was glad to be able to pet and cuddle her all day since she really did deserve a kind and gentle passing. I did sob most of the afternoon still though.

  3. NW Luna says:

    I’m so sorry about your loss of Kinsey. She was lucky to live with you for her last 4 years. It hurts so much to lose a furfriend. I just said good-bye to one of mine, a 19-yr.old who developed a spinal infarct and would have had much pain and loss of function. His fur-sibs slept on his hospice bed and still that’s where they spend their sleeping time.

    • dakinikat says:

      They really do become a family with us. It’s quite wonderful but we all meet the same fate eventually and it is never easy.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m sorry about Kinsey, Dak. Losing a pet is so painful and so is watching them suffer. Take care of yourself and hug your other animals close.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Truly sorry about Kinsey…you create such beautiful bonds with your pet family Kat. Blessings to you at this loss.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Dak, my sincere condolences for your loss. Kinsey was lucky to have you. I lost my beloved himmie Shane in 2018 after a bout of hyperthyroidism. I gave him an expensive radiation cure that worked, giving him about 5 extra months of health. He even gained back his weight, but he had underlying kidney issues. He was 16.

        You really went above and beyond adopting a senior pet.

        • dakinikat says:

          I keep think I hear her meowing at me from the kitchen … she was the kitchen cat because that’s where she liked to hang out and so just finally put a box and bed in there for her. She loved to jump on my old hoosier cabinet and meow at me to put some fancy feast in her bowl, You know how hungry those hyperthyroid kitties can be. She had it when I adopted her so it took me awhile to figure things out. Miles had diabetes at the time so I had had two of them eating the expensive canned stuff to keep weight on them.

          • Enheduanna says:

            For anyone who has the $$ the radiation therapy has a 98% cure rate. It is costly – over $1000. My vet warned me Shane might have kidney issues that would then crop up. So the treatment is great if you’re dealing with a cat who would otherwise have a much longer and healthy life. Google “radio cat” for more info.

            I took too long to figure things out. No matter how much experience you have with cats there is always something new to figure out!

          • dakinikat says:

            my youngest has a cat that she rescued at a Mississippi truck stop and brought home her first year of college in 2006. He was pretty much my cat the first year or so until she got her apt and then ever so often during the summer he’d be here instead of Baton Rogue. Jude showed up with it last year. She did that for him and he’s on a special diet so hope it helps him as she’s totally devoted to that cat. He was one of the best cats I’ve ever had around the house and Dinah showed up not too long after that he was a total big brother too her.

  4. NW Luna says:

    My Gov spoke up to Pence and he’s got a front page headline in the WaPo this morning.

    Gov. Jay Inslee’s blunt advice to Pence on coronavirus: Stick to the science

    The governor of Washington said the vice president called to thank his state for their efforts against coronavirus — and got a blunt message back. “I told him our work would be more successful if the Trump administration stuck to the science and told the truth,” Jay Inslee, a former Democratic presidential candidate, told his Twitter followers Thursday night, as critics worried that Mike Pence’s new role leading the U.S. response to a global health crisis could politicize a life-or-death matter of science.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Warren, Biden, Buttigieg.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    I just voted for Warren today, but a new poll has Sanders leading her in MA by 8 points. I was afraid this would happen. Bernie has a rally on Boston Common today.

    WBUR Poll: Sanders Opens Substantial Lead In Mass., Challenging Warren On Her Home Turf

    With Super Tuesday just days away, a new WBUR poll finds Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders well ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in her home state of Massachusetts.

    The poll shows Sanders is the choice of 25% of likely Democratic primary voters, while Warren is in second place with 17%. The former mayors, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg, are in a virtual tie for third at 14% and 13%, respectively. Former Vice President Joe Biden rounds out the top five at 9%….

    The WBUR poll of 426 likely voters (topline, crosstabs) was conducted Feb. 23-26, and has a margin of error of 4.9%….

    According to the poll, Sanders’ strength is propelled by younger Democratic voters: almost half of those under the age of 45 say they support the Vermont senator. Warren does well with highly educated voters and women — but overall, she trails Sanders by eight points.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah, I saw that. She’s in second behind him in CA and TX right now. I just don’t see Biden coming out of this cycle. I’m just scared sick it’ll be Bernie.

    • NW Luna says:

      “does well with highly educated voters and women”

      Sigh. Maybe college for everyone would be useful after all.

      • The4JaysMom says:

        Middle America doesn’t seem ready for a highly intelligent woman! Hopefully Warren can keep up the fight in the Senate and committee’s! Hillary was similarly brilliant, but the decades of bad press from conservatives trying to bring the power couple down hurt her even more than someone with a clean slate. Even though Hillary was the most qualified because of all of her experiences in the White House, government, and law work. She was more talented in the beginning than Bill. That’s why he has stuck with her all these years! Oh well, maybe before I die, I will see a smart woman be President!

  8. The4JaysMom says:

    I am so confused by the Democrat candidates right now. I love Warren, but since she accused Bernie of lying about female presidential candidate prospects, her image seems to be tarnished in the public’s eye. And there are the more liberal and moderate candidates whose stance on healthcare is the real deal breaker with middle America. Most Americans are happy with their private company insurance and are not willing to blindly give it up for a universal government care even if they knew how it would be paid for by the candidate’s plans. The people who have special medical conditions are the exception, not the majority. We all know it needs fixing, but are scared to give ours up. So while I would easily stand with any Democrat over Trump, I am truly concerned that Sanders and Warren would lose a lot more middle class voters who mail in their vote every year and only care about their tax loss and healthcare. They are sometimes too busy to realize that other freedoms are slowly being stripped away by conservatives, people are starving in our own country and don’t have any healthcare, and that we desperately need to do more for the environment. I’m afraid that a liberal democrat candidate may help Trump more than a moderate one. I do not believe we can achieve universal healthcare in one election anyways, so why scare people in the middle. It will never pass in Congress right now. There will be compromise and be more like an expanded Obamacare until we work out the kinks to finally become a universal plan in maybe 10-15yrs down the line. (I understand that bringing drug costs down happens through controlling the entire system, and any private insur screws this up) This strong running stance is not helping the Democrat party get what the public needs through years of work with the Republican party. If Sanders and Warren said they would work towards this instead of saying they are going to make universal healthcare happen, they wouldn’t scare off the private insurance people…
    I would vote for Biden, Warren, Klobuchar(growing on me alot), Sanders… Anything to beat Trump. But Democrats AND Independents need to come together. No more Jill Stein’s!!! That also means get Bloomberg out. I do think Biden and Sanders are getting kinda too old and Sander’s heart issue was huge!!! And Sanders looks really old with a big saggy lower lip. He’s like a senile grandpa saying the same quotes for the last 20yrs though, what else is there beyond his main talking points? We all have seen elderly people. Not good imaging… Biden is not a real go-getter on issues, but he is familiar what the important issues are and may be better at compromise, safer, less controversial. I do believe in wisdom from older people though, but they may need a slower schedule. I love my women, but America doesn’t seem to fully appreciate an educated woman, which is completely ridiculous and unfair. If we compared the words coming out of these women’s mouths at debates vs the men’s without hearing the voices, they would clearly be seen as better candidates. But America is stupid, sorry. (These women are highly educated and brilliant, not making generalization. Same not said for the men on the stage compared to other highly educated men)
    So, my main conclusion is that only a moderate Democrat can get Trump voters. A liberal Democrat may scare people who want to keep their private insurance, the main sticking point of entire election! Now to get Sanders loyalists to really stick with any Democrat candidate against Trump. I do think Sanders supporters helped get Trump elected the first time!!! And Hillary would’ve been so much better than Trump, so their bitterness over Sanders loss got us so much worse. Just silly! And yes, Bernie would’ve been so much better than Trump too. But next time, I think we should just throw out all parties and have candidates run on a list of stances! All the good stuff: taxes, military, taking care of poverty or working poor, abortion, education, environment, justice system, etc. Let’s not pick sides and let’s just vote based on who matches our core values on where money should be spent, how much we should contribute from taxes, and what laws are limiting our rights.
    I think a lot of us are confused right now and afraid to attach to a candidate until we know who is still standing so we can make a difference. So it may help if some of them would get out! But not Warren, because she’s helping to take some away from Bernie right now and I don’t think he will help us beat Trump as much as a moderate … So Buttigieg, even my Klobuchar, and all other minor candidates need to drop out to help Biden so we can traumatize Trump. Once no longer President, Trump can be prosecuted for a multitude of financial and fraud crimes that have probably been found during investigations. Silver linings… We still will have to live with all the conservative, unqualified judges he appointed at the federal level and Supreme Court.

  9. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Would not be surprised to hear this was real.

      WA state doesn’t make voters register with a party, but for our primary you have to state you are with one of the parties and can only vote for candidates in that party. Unfortunately, since there are no primary challengers to the Orange Tyrant, Republicans could easily state they are temporary Dems and vote for Bernie.

      • dakinikat says:

        we changed that law back a few years ago and i’m really glad we did. You have to be registered in a party to vote in the primaries now.

        • The4JaysMom says:

          Republicans can do that in AZ… I did that to them the last election! I was scared of Trump from Day 1! So, don’t be surprised if you see wonky results in AZ. We have a lot of conservatives here and a lot of liberals who are too busy taking care of kids and working to worry about voting… I remind other ppl around me all the time to just vote! No matter what your views are. But I think they all know mine by now! Good news is that I get to talk to a lot of older teens in my minivan that I’m trying to help raise into caring individuals who think about their follow man.

  10. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      WTF??? McGahn is a former White House counsel.

      All hail Supreme Leader Trump!

      • quixote says:

        How is congress supposed to do its checking and balancing without subpoena power?

        I guess I don’t know why I’m surprised. You stack the courts for 30-40 years and, whodathunkit, you get stacked courts.

        Tell me we’ll wake up from this some day.

      • dakinikat says:

        Evidently we have judges that have never read Marbury v Madison which is a bit scary to think about.

  11. NW Luna says:

    Live updates: Second coronavirus case of unknown origin confirmed in California, indicating virus is spreading in the state

    Wonder if there’s any connection to those poorly-trained employees who evacuated patients without protective gear and then mingled with the general population. We’ll never know.

  12. Virginia Holder says:

    Love the introduction of new artists, unfamiliar to me. Somehow, so uplifting!! Thanks I needed that!

  13. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Weak + is still +. IIRC it was already known it can be carried by canines. Guess we’d better be careful about contact with dogs now.

      Note: masks don’t need to be worn except by people with the virus, unless one is a healthcare worker in close contact. They also have to be fitted correctly which unfortunately most people don’t know how to do.

      • quixote says:

        Yes, masks mostly don’t do anything for airborne contagion, as people think, but they do help to stop you from unconsciously touching your own nose and lips every minute. Since it’s below the level of attention, it’s very hard to stop doing it. So masks do help, just not the way people think. And you don’t really need them if you *do* manage to pay attention.

  14. Sweet Sue says:

    Dak, I’m sorry about your Kinsey. No matter the circumstances, it hurts like hell to lose a companion. As for hearing her call for you-I know this sounds weird-but it’s been my experience that cats hang around us for a while. Take care of yourself. Not only did you give Kinsey a good life, you helped her to a good death.