Middling Monday Reads: Adulting in what passes for the USA these days

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There are several story lines cooking their way to the news day.  None of them are particularly uplifting which just about matches stuff I’ve been going through lately too. I wish I could give up adulting but Spring Break and Carnival  have ended not that I could truly enjoy either with this ever lingering flu.  I’m going to fill the pages today with imaginary creatures since I’ve pretty much had it with the real ones.  They are from Danish Illustrator/Artist Kay Nielsen whose primary works are illustrations for Fairy Tales and are stylistically Art Deco but many have Asian influences.  He is best known for doing the Bald Mountain Scene in Disney’s Fantasia.

Super Tuesday is tomorrow and we’re down two candidates today as Pete Buttigieg just bumped Tom Steyer out of the last man out of the race place. His race was historic no matter what you thought of his chances or his positions.  From the AP:

He opened February by sharing victory with one of the Democratic Party’s best-known figures and ended it with a humbling defeat at the hands of another. Yet Pete Buttigieg’s unlikely path over the last 30 days exceeded virtually everyone’s expectations of his presidential ambitions, except perhaps his own.

The former mayor of Indiana’s fourth largest city, an openly gay 38-year-old whose name most voters still can’t pronounce, formally suspended his White House bid Sunday night. He did so acknowledging that he no longer had a viable path to the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, even after finishing in the top four in each of the first four contests of the 2020 primary season.

“By every historical measure, we were never supposed to get anywhere at all,” Buttigieg reminded his hometown crowd, which was disappointed and hopeful at the same time. The crowd interrupted his speech with chants of “2024.”

Buttigieg began the month effectively in a first-place tie with progressive powerhouse Bernie Sanders in Iowa’s presidential caucuses. The mayor made history as the first openly gay candidate to earn a presidential delegate, never mind becoming the first to finish on top in any presidential primary contest.

And now we hear Amy’s out and gone over to the Biden side via NYT.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who entered the Democratic presidential race with an appeal to moderate voters and offered herself as a candidate who could win in Midwestern swing states, has decided to quit the race and endorse a rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., according to a person close to Ms. Klobuchar.

Ms. Klobuchar will appear with Mr. Biden at his rally in Dallas Monday night. The decision comes one day after former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., departed the race, and after weeks of Democratic Party hand-wringing about a crowded field of moderate candidates splitting a finite field of centrist votes, allowing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to march forward unopposed among progressives and amass delegates.



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From the fairy tale ‘Mother Among Thorns’ Kay Nielsen Danish illustrator 1886-1957

What would year would it be without the Republicans trying to get rid of the old Republican cum American Enterprise Institute cum ChaffeyCare cum Dole cum Care/Romney care relabeled and passed as ObamaCare?  The odd thing thing about this is that it will likely kill off their most ardent Trumperz which is why they’ve got it to the Supreme Court but the Court won’t actually here it until after the Election because, well, you know that’s what the Trumpist regime requested.  I’m headed for Medicare about that time so my ObamaCare is safely in place until then but all I can say is that those of us with pre-existing conditions are evidently just supposed to die so they can get on with it.  This is the headline from WAPO: “Supreme Court will once again consider fate of Affordable Care Act”. written by Robert Barnes.  It will also be a test of Republican Court Stacking efforts since they’ve managed to get another Religious Inquisitor on their Bench.

The Supreme Court will hear a third challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time at the request of Democratic-controlled states that are fighting a lower court decision that said the entire law must fall.

The court’s review will come in the term that begins in October, which would not leave time for a decision before the November presidential election. The law remains in effect during the legal challenges.

Democrats are eager to keep public attention on the fate of the act, sometimes called Obamacare, which has features voters value, such as required coverage for preexisting conditions. Health care is a leading concern, especially among Democratic voters, and many considered it a persuasive argument when the party won control of the House in 2018.

The House and Democratic-led states asked the court to review a decision last year by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Hearing a challenge from Texas and other Republican-led states and backed by the Trump administration, the panel struck down the law’s mandate that individuals buy health insurance but sent back to a lower court the question of whether the rest of the statute can stand without it. The lower court had said the entire law must fall.

The House told the Supreme Court that the 5th Circuit decision “poses a severe, immediate, and ongoing threat to the orderly operation of health-care markets throughout the country, casts considerable doubt over whether millions of individuals will continue to be able to afford vitally important care, and leaves a critical sector of the nation’s economy in unacceptable limbo.”

he House and Democratic states also have been eager to get the issue before the Supreme Court because the majority that has upheld the ACA in two previous challenges remains.

Scheherazade offers to marry the Sultan, Kay Nielsen Arabian Nights

Sheherazade offers to marry the Sultan

Texas is leading the efforts in voter suppression yet again. This is from the UK Guardian: “Texas closes hundreds of polling sites, making it harder for minorities to vote.  Guardian analysis finds that places where black and Latino population is growing by the largest numbers experienced the majority of closures and could benefit Republicans” 

Long considered a Republican bastion, changing racial demographics in the state have caused leading Democrats to recast Texas as a potential swing state. Texas Democratic party official Manny Garcia has called it “the biggest battleground state in the country”.

The closures could exacerbate Texas’s already chronically low voter turnout rates, to the advantage of incumbent Republicans. Ongoing research by University of Houston political scientists Jeronimo Cortina and Brandon Rottinghaus indicates that people are less likely to vote if they have to travel farther to do so, and the effect is disproportionately greater for some groups of voters, such as Latinxs.

“The fact of the matter is that Texas is not a red state,” said Antonio Arellano of Jolt, a progressive Latino political organization. “Texas is a nonvoting state.”

On a local level, the changes can be stark. McLennan county, home to Waco, Texas, closed 44% of its polling places from 2012 to 2018, despite the fact that its population grew by more than 15,000 people during the same time period, with more than two-thirds of that growth coming from Black and Latinx residents.

In 2012, there was one polling place for every 4,000 residents. By 2018 that figure had dropped to one polling place per 7,700 residents. A 2019 paper by University of Houston political scientists found that after the county’s transition to vote centers, more voting locations were closed in Latinx neighborhoods than in non-Latinx neighborhoods, and that Latinx people had to travel farther to vote than non-Hispanic whites.

Super Tuesday is the biggest day of the Democratic primary campaign. Fourteen states will hold nominating contests to pick who they think should square off this fall against likely GOP nominee President Trump.

There are 1,357 delegates at stake, about a third of all delegates. So far, fewer than 4% of the delegates have been allocated.

People will head to the polls all across the country, from Virginia to California, Tennessee to Texas. The states and voters are diverse. Almost half have significant black populations, and Latinos figure to be an important factor in the two states with the biggest delegate hauls, California and Texas.

fine art print Kay Nielsen vintage illustration folk tale fairy tale home decor Rosanie or the Inconstant Prince 8.5x11.5 inches

Rosanie or the Inconstant Prince by Kay Nielson

And who’d have thunk it?  The Taliban have already broken their “peace” agreement signed with the Trumpist Regime on Saturday via Agence France-Presse.

A deadly blast shattered a period of relative calm in Afghanistan on Monday and the Taliban ordered fighters to resume operations against Afghan forces just two days after signing a deal to usher in peace.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack at a football ground in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, where three brothers were killed, officials told AFP.

The blast occurred around the same time the Taliban ordered fighters to recommence attacks against Afghan army and police forces, apparently ending an official “reduction in violence” that had seen a dramatic drop in bloodshed and given Afghans a welcome taste of peace.

The partial truce between the US, the insurgents and Afghan forces lasted for the week running up to the signing of the US-Taliban accord in Doha on Saturday, and was extended over the weekend.

and the entire thing under the watchful eye of this guy which doesn’t seem to know about it even though French Journalists obviously do …

Night in a Chinese Garden by Kay Nielsen

And, I want to go back to Fairy Tales again. I’m tired of this adulting stuff.  This article in The Atlantic has just about done me in: “The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions. How Trump is destroying the civil service and bending the government to his will.” by George Packer.

But a simple intuition had propelled Trump throughout his life: Human beings are weak. They have their illusions, appetites, vanities, fears. They can be cowed, corrupted, or crushed. A government is composed of human beings. This was the flaw in the brilliant design of the Framers, and Trump learned how to exploit it. The wreckage began to pile up. He needed only a few years to warp his administration into a tool for his own benefit. If he’s given a few more years, the damage to American democracy will be irreversible

This is the story of how a great republic went soft in the middle, lost the integrity of its guts and fell in on itself—told through government officials whose names under any other president would have remained unknown, who wanted no fame, and who faced existential questions when Trump set out to break them.

Read each of these stories please.  Unfortunately, they are not fairy tales.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

48 Comments on “Middling Monday Reads: Adulting in what passes for the USA these days”

  1. dakinikat says:

    well, maybe we can get passed Bernie’s Salad Day’s

  2. dakinikat says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      • bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Seattle-King Co Dept of Public Health is one of the top public-health organizations in the country. Glad to have good people and good systems in place. Dow Constantine, our King Co Exec, is a local boy from my neighborhood of Seattle with a very good record, and then we have a science-believing governor too.

      Coronavirus articles free from Seattle Times paywall now.

      6 people have now died from coronavirus disease in Washington state

  3. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      I’m resigned and even somewhat pleased, given everything with current and recent candidates, that endorsements are coalescing around Biden. 1) He’s got black support, and 2) he’s not Bernie. He’s sure not my dream candidate though.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Not mine either, but we need to beat Trump. That means beating Bernie.

        • dakinikat says:

          I feel worse about this than I did when I had to vote for Dukakis and not even up to Kerry level … but anything to stop Trump

    • dakinikat says:

  4. jackyt says:

    Mulling the remaining contestants, I’m hoping Elizabeth Warren stays in to dilute the progressive support. My newest ‘dream’ ticket (a compromise since my fave left standing is Warren) is Biden/Harris.
    If Bloomberg and Steyer are serious about making a difference, I think they should put their financial and organizational support behind creating a “transportation to the polls” network for election day. They could work out system kinks ferrying voters to advance polls.

    • dakinikat says:

      I think helping people get to the polls is a good idea. From what I am reading, there are a lot of people whose polls have moved far away from their home.

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. NW Luna says:

    Love the Kay Nielsen illustrations!

  7. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh for fckin’ crying’ out loud! This has DISTRACT! written all over it. Trump wants the spotlight off his lying blundering ass.

    • Catscatscats says:

      “Incomplete, unhelpful, or cursory,” as opposed to trump’s complete, helpful and in depth responses to Mueller. I think after all this time she can do as they did. Simply say, “I don’t remember,” unless of course there is one set of rules for trump/repubs and another for a Clinton/Dem. Nah…. At some point, doesn’t this become harassment? She left State in 2013 for gosh sakes.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Good old boy, Royce Lamberth, rearing his ugly head again. Hillary ought to take out a restraining order against him.

    • roofingbird says:

      As ridiculous and enraging as this is, I’m going to see it positively. There will come a time for comparison against drumf’s correspondence.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Agree with above, also:

  9. I’m glad you drew attention to Kay Nielsen, one of the all-time great illustrators. But…er…”she” was actually a he. Kay (pronounced “Kigh”) is a male name in Denmark.

    Did you ever see his concept painting for the Night on Bald Mountain sequence? I’d buy it if I were rich.


    His influence on the Ave Maria sequence is even more pronounced.

    • palhart says:

      Many years ago I bought a book of his sensational illustrations. They are beautifully imaginative. I’ll have to pull it out tonight before bedtime. Thanks for reminding me of his work.

    • NW Luna says:

      Ah. I always thought Nielsen was male and was happily surprised when dakinikat said a woman. Well, his paintings and illustrations are still wonderful and now I know how to pronounce his first name correctly.

  10. dakinikat says:

    Chris Matthews just apologized for being creepy and announced his resignation’

  11. dakinikat says:

    And Beto just endorsed Biden so that is a good one for Texas

  12. Minkoff Minx says:

    Tweety is gone!!!

    • quixote says:

      Yes. That’s good. Meanwhile everyone is talking up handsy-and-hair-sniffy Biden because sexism has made him the only one left standing to take on the Dump.

      He’s better than Bernie. Which says almost nothing.

  13. dakinikat says: