Lazy Caturday Reads

Tomoo Inagaki, Woodcut Cats in Moonlight

Good Morning!!

Before I get started on the political news, I want to note the passing of one of the great pioneers of rock and roll. Rolling Stone: Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87.

Little Richard, a founding father of rock and roll whose fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona embodied the spirit and sound of that new art form, died Saturday. He was 87. The musician’s son, Danny Penniman, confirmed the pioneer’s death to Rolling Stone, but said the cause of death was unknown.

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits – “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” that same year, “Lucille” in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958 – driven by his simple, pumping piano, gospel-influenced vocal exclamations and sexually charged (often gibberish) lyrics. “I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it,” Elton John told Rolling Stone in 1973. “I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I’m more of a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder.”

Wassily Kandinsky, Three figures and a cat, woodcut

Although he never hit the top 10 again after 1958, Little Richard’s influence was massive. The Beatles recorded several of his songs, including “Long Tall Sally,” and Paul McCartney’s singing on those tracks – and the Beatles’ own “I’m Down” – paid tribute to Little Richard’s shredded-throat style. His songs became part of the rock and roll canon, covered over the decades by everyone from the Everly Brothers, the Kinks, and Creedence Clearwater Revival to Elvis Costello and the Scorpions.

Little Richard’s stage persona – his pompadours, androgynous makeup and glass-bead shirts – also set the standard for rock and roll showmanship; Prince, to cite one obvious example, owed a sizable debt to the musician. “Prince is the Little Richard of his generation,” Richard told Joan Rivers in 1989 before looking at the camera and addressing Prince. “I was wearing purple before you was wearing it!”

Read about Little Richard’s (born Richard Wayne Penniman) life and career at the Rolling Stone link.


Now to other news of the day.

As Trump and his personal attorney general Bill Barr take steps to erase the rule of law and establish a fascist dictatorship in the U.S., is President Obama finally getting ready to speak out publicly? Michael Isakoff at Yahoo News: Exclusive: Obama says in private call that ‘rule of law is at risk’ in Michael Flynn case.

Former President Barack Obama, talking privately to ex-members of his administration, said Friday that the “rule of law is at risk” in the wake of what he called an unprecedented move by the Justice Department to drop charges against former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In the same chat, a tape of which was obtained by Yahoo News, Obama also lashed out at the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”

“The news over the last 24 hours I think has been somewhat downplayed — about the Justice Department dropping charges against Michael Flynn,” Obama said in a web talk with members of the Obama Alumni Association.

Woodcut by Kioshi Saito 1985

“And the fact that there is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free. That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk. And when you start moving in those directions, it can accelerate pretty quickly as we’ve seen in other places.”

The Flynn case was invoked by Obama as a principal reason that his former administration officials needed to make sure former Vice President Joe Biden wins the November election against President Trump. “So I am hoping that all of you feel the same sense of urgency that I do,” he said. “Whenever I campaign, I’ve always said, ‘Ah, this is the most important election.’ Especially obviously when I was on the ballot, that always feels like it’s the most important election. This one — I’m not on the ballot — but I am pretty darn invested. We got to make this happen.”

Obama misstated the charge to which Flynn had previously pleaded guilty. He was charged with false statements to the FBI, not perjury.

Click the Yahoo link to read the rest.

And from Caleb Ecarma at Vanity Fair: As the DOJ Drops Flynn’s Case, Trumpworld’s Next Target is Obama Alums.

Conservative media figures who spent months insisting on Michael Flynn’s innocence, after he twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, are taking a gleeful victory lap in response to the Justice Department moving to drop its criminal case against the retired lieutenant general and former Trump national security adviser. But the reversal is not enough to placate the right-wing media rabble, as they are now calling for Attorney General William Barr to prosecute members of the Barack Obama administration and its judicial allies for their roles in the case….

M.C. Escher, White Cat, woodcut

Shortly after the news broke on Thursday, right-wing radio host Mark Levin appeared on Fox News to boast, and to accuse Obama of conducting a vast shadow operation against the Trump administration. “You know what this is? This is Barack Obama’s blue dress. That’s what that is without the DNA on it,” he told Sean Hannity, referencing Monica Lewinsky’s infamous garment. “[The Flynn case documents] tells us that Obama knew…. Obama was working with the FBI and the intelligence agencies.” Levin also tweeted that “the perps responsible for trying to destroy” Flynn should be prosecuted, a talking point Hannity is now pushing too. “All this does is exonerate General Flynn,” the Fox News host declared on his Thursday radio program. “Now, it’s time to investigate Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Department of Justice…and what they did here is they targeted an innocent man, and they—this is prosecutorial abuse.” Hannity’s colleague Tucker Carlson called Flynn’s case “demonstrably and provably unfair” and accused federal prosecutors of wanting “Flynn crushed purely because he happened to be away from the power they seek, and that’s why they’re still trying to put Roger Stone behind bars…. But the question is: How many other inconvenient Americans would they bankrupt and imprison if they could?”

A Daily Beast report found that numerous Trump administration and campaign officials are hoping to see Flynn resume work for the president in an official capacity. “Years ago when Nelson Mandela came to America after years of political persecution he was treated like a rock star by Americans,” Trump pollster John McLaughlin said Thursday while discussing the possibility of a Flynn–Trump reunion with the Daily Beast. “Now after over three years of political persecution General Flynn is our rock star. A big difference is that he was persecuted in America.” [….]

On Thursday, Trump described Flynn as “an innocent man” and “an even greater warrior,” before appearing on Fox & Friends the following morning to praise his attorney general’s efforts. “Bill Barr is a man of unbelievable credibility and courage, and he’s going to go down in the history books,” he told Fox News, adding that Fox hosts Hannity, Carlson, and Laura Ingraham “should get the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes” for leading the Flynn-innocence media campaign.

Wow. That is through the looking glass stuff. But the way things are going, it could happen. But through the looking glass is where Trump lives. Even with cases popping up in the White House, he still thinks the coronavirus will magically disappear.

Woodcut by Ellen Corddry

Yahoo News: Trump says coronavirus will ‘go away without a vaccine.’

President Trump on Friday broke with health experts, telling reporters that the coronavirus will “go away without a vaccine.”

“This is going to go away without a vaccine, it’s gonna go away, and we’re not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time,” Trump said at the White House. “You may have some flare-ups, and I guess I would expect that.”

Just days ago the Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed, a project to accelerate the production of a vaccine for the coronavirus, which as of Friday had infected at least 1.2 million Americans and killed more than 76,000 here….

Asked what led him to believe that the virus would disappear without a vaccine, Trump claimed he had received that information from medical professionals.

“I just rely on what doctors say. They say it’s going to go. That doesn’t mean this year. It doesn’t mean, frankly, it’s going to be gone before the fall or after the fall, but eventually it’s going to go away. The question is whether we will need a vaccine. At some point it will probably go away by itself.”

Who are these mysterious “medical professionals?”


Trump doesn’t think testing for the virus is important either–unless you are Trump, Pence and people working around them. The Washington Post: Trump plays down coronavirus testing as U.S. falls far short of level scientists say is needed.

President Trump is increasingly dismissing the consensus of health experts, scientists and some of his Republican allies that widespread testing is key to the safe end of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, saying Friday that “testing isn’t necessary” and is an imperfect guide.

The president has played down the need for testing as he overrides public health recommendations that would prolong the closures of schools, businesses and much of daily life. Although he is now tested every day with a rapid-result machine, Trump has questioned the value of extensive testing as the gap between available capacity and the amount that would be required to meet public health benchmarks has become clearer.

Woodcut by Masharu Aoyama

Trump’s comments came as a second employee in the White House complex tested positive for the coronavirus, a development that prompted increased testing for staff and other precautions not generally available to most Americans.

“This is why the whole concept of tests aren’t necessarily great,” Trump said at the White House, as he confirmed a positive test result “out of the blue” for a top staffer, Vice President Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller.

During a Friday morning interview on Fox News, Trump ticked approvingly through the current testing figures but did not say what level he thinks is optimal or safe to use as a national benchmark for economic reopening.

Asked about the positive test result for one of his Navy valets, the president said that he himself remains negative but that the valet’s experience is instructive.

“And this is why testing isn’t necessary. We have the best testing in the world, but testing’s not necessarily the answer because they were testing them,” Trump said of the staff members.

WTF?! He found out these people had contracted the virus because they were being tested! What a fucking moron!

I’ll end with this. The AP has learned definitively that the President and his buddies were behind the shelving of the CDC reopening report: AP Exclusive: Docs show top WH officials buried CDC report.

The decision to shelve detailed advice from the nation’s top disease control experts for reopening communities during the coronavirus pandemic came from the highest levels of the White House, according to internal government emails obtained by The Associated Press.

Two Cats woodcut by Felix Vallotton from the periodical Pan published by F. Fontane and Co., Berlin 1895

The files also show that after the AP reported Thursday that the guidance document had been buried, the Trump administration ordered key parts of it to be fast-tracked for approval.

The trove of emails show the nation’s top public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spending weeks working on guidance to help the country deal with a public health emergency, only to see their work quashed by political appointees with little explanation.

The document, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen. It included detailed “decision trees,” or flow charts aimed at helping local leaders navigate the difficult decision of whether to reopen or remain closed.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that the documents had not been approved by CDC Director Robert Redfield. The new emails, however, show that Redfield cleared the guidance.

This new CDC guidance — a mix of advice already released along with newer information — had been approved and promoted by the highest levels of its leadership, including Redfield. Despite this, the administration shelved it on April 30.

Read the rest at the AP link.

So . . . what else is happening? What stories are you following today?

39 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice weekend Sky Dancers!

  2. Enheduanna says:

    Beautiful kitties! Hope everyone’s Caturday is good. I’ve been way too lazy since my liberation from the work force.

    So Ivanka’s personal assistant is positive, two Pence staffers and Dump’s valet, right? They keep saying two people…’s four as far as I can tell.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m not sure if it’s two Pence staffers or just that Katie was outed by Trump after they called her a staff member. They’ve all been exposed anyway.

      • NW Luna says:

        I have thoughts about the reports that say Trump gets tested daily.

        1) waste of tests
        2) test involves a fingerstick to get blood. Anyone think that man-baby could stand getting his finger stuck with a needle daily? Me neither.

        • quixote says:

          Heavens, Luna. What are you thinking? He has good genes. He’s said so himself. He doesn’t need to be tested. That’s for everyone around him. Probably every few minutes.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    HuffPost: Trump Met With GOP Lawmakers For An Hour. Nobody Wore A Mask Or Stayed Apart.

    President Donald Trump hosted nearly 20 House Republicans at the White House on Friday to talk about rebuilding the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic ― and not one of them wore a mask or practiced social distancing.

    Photos from the meeting show lawmakers casually mingling and talking in close range in the State Dining Room without masks on before the president arrives, also without a mask. Once he comes in, they sit at a large table with some space between them, but not the recommended 6 feet.

    The press pool reporter in attendance, Brett Samuels of The Hill, noted in his reports that lawmakers’ temperatures were taken heading into the meeting. But not having a temperature does not confirm whether someone has the coronavirus.

    See photos at the link.

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. bostonboomer says:

    WaPo: Defense Secretary Esper stood beside World War II veterans — without a mask

    President Trump and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper gathered with World War II veterans in Washington on Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe.

    Trump greeted a rank of seven veterans one by one from a distance of a few feet, apparently mindful of coronavirus concerns but not wearing a mask, a White House television pool video of the event shows. The veterans were not wearing masks.

    Esper, also without a mask, gathered with a few of the men for a photo a few minutes earlier and handed out “challenge coins” from his pocket. At one point, a veteran grasped his elbow.

    The veterans ranged in age from 96 and 100, the Associated Press reported. Older people are at particular risk of illness and death if they contract the coronavirus, with 80 percent of U.S. deaths recorded for people over the age of 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    • dakinikat says:

      I have to say that I wonder how long it’s going to take until we learn which ones were infected and passed. This is such next level narcissism. Killing people for photo ops is a daily event now because the man baby is restless and thinks he needs to campaign.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    The New York Times has an awful story about people in Florida who died at home alone.

    • bostonboomer says:

      A 71-year-old woman with nausea who was sent home from the emergency room, even though a doctor wanted to admit her. A 63-year-old nurse who was self-isolating while she waited for results from her coronavirus test. A 77-year-old man who was prescribed antibiotics by a doctor in another state for his fever and dry cough.

      All were found unresponsive at home — the nurse on the sofa, where she was found by her husband — their lives claimed by Covid-19 before they ever had a chance to check into the hospital.

      The agony of how the coronavirus has killed at least 1,669 Floridians, many of them older, is brief and matter-of-fact in the unadorned language of medical examiners, who summarize death in sometimes less than 200 words.

      But a trove of short narratives from nearly all of the state’s deaths so far show that a substantial number of people have died suddenly after returning home from the hospital or visiting a doctor or a clinic. Many worsened, returned to the hospital and died there.

      • NW Luna says:

        One unusual aspect of covid-19 is that severe exacerbations can come on suddenly, even when the patient has begun to recover.

      • dakinikat says:

        • NW Luna says:

          He’ll go down in history as responsible for the greatest number of American deaths.

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    So, this is really interesting … talk about targeting!!! Ad ran once cost $5000 purpose was ruffle Trump’s feathers … lol

    What does the creative process behind your ads look like? What’s your strategy? How long is the process?

    We’re very much driven by our numbers and our targeting. We are looking to do persuasion among an identified set of voters in an identified set of swing states. The types of people we’re talking to, they’re the sort of voters who swung against Trump in 2018 in areas like the metro area around Orlando, counties outside of Detroit, and counties around Milwaukee. But we’re also talking to an audience of one. We were able to take an ad we spent $5000 to put on the air and freeze the Trump campaign for two and a half days, where they did nothing else but punch us, lose control of their messaging apparatus, and lost control of their campaign management system.

  9. dakinikat says:

  10. bostonboomer says:

    • quixote says:

      That is stark. Killing a jogger: fine. Voting: lock them up!

      The mentality of slavers obviously *never* dies out on its own.

      • NW Luna says:


      • jane says:

        This behavior violates the Constitution of the United States. Killing citizens because they are not a color that you like. Keeping people from voting is a major move against democracy. Democracy, not the democratic party. These crimes are essentially treason. Too bad we don’t label it as such.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Colossal incompetence.

      • quixote says:

        And that’s the *charitable* view.

        The alternative is that mask maker didn’t have a good enough offer for profiteering.

        • NW Luna says:

          He was legit.

          In March, Bowen [owner of Prestige Co.] submitted a bid to supply masks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which by then had taken over purchasing.

          The government soon spent over $600 million on contracts involving masks. Big companies like Honeywell and 3M were each awarded contracts totaling for over $170 million for protective gear. One distributor of tactical gear — a company with no history of procuring medical equipment — was awarded a $55 million deal to provide masks for as much as $5.50 a piece, eight times what the government was paying months earlier.

          On April 7, FEMA awarded Prestige a $9.5 million contract to provide a million N95 masks a month for one year, an order the company could fulfill without activating its dormant manufacturing lines. For the masks, Prestige charged the government 79 cents a piece.

    • jane says:

      Trump was a failed businessman. What made people think he could foresee a need and help to fulfill it. I am beginning to think politicians make better businessmen than businessmen.

  12. NW Luna says:

    • quixote says:

      Being a bit slow, I don’t even get it. What’s he implying? That having polling places as well as mail-in voting means Newsom wants people to vote twice?

      Since the Dump is all about projection, does that mean that’s what he’s done after he used mail-in voting?

    • roofingbird says:

      Yeah, I don’t get it either. Yey for mail ins! Though, I have always gone to our polling site in the past; I want to make sure we keep ours. However, sites don’t just pop up cause Dems want them.

  13. NW Luna says:

    BB, I love the kitty woodcuts!

  14. NW Luna says: