Friday Reads: Wretched times

Portrait of Estelle Musson Degas | New Orleans Museum of Art 1872

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I’m not sure if this headache found me before I started looking at the news on my Twitter feed but both the news and the headache together have certainly wrecked my morning. I’m hoping this finds you in a safe and good place even though these are wretched times.

Our National Treasure–justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg–has experienced a return of her cancer.  She still has no plans on retiring.  I never ever thought I’d ever look forward to a President Joe Biden after the Anita Hill Ordeal but it it was it is.  I need to get His Holiness to write a special Long Life Prayer and Practice for her.

Via Reuters:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 87 the U.S. Supreme Court’s oldest member, said on Friday she is receiving chemotherapy treatment for a recurrence of cancer – the latest in a series of health issues – but indicated no intention to retire.

In a statement released by the court, Ginsburg said that a periodic scan in February, followed by a biopsy, revealed lesions on her liver. She said she is tolerating the chemotherapy treatment well and that it is yielding positive results. She said she began her chemotherapy on May 19.

“I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that,” Ginsburg said.

The health of Ginsburg, the court’s senior liberal member, is closely watched because a Supreme Court vacancy could give Republican President Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint a third justice to the nine-member court and move it further to the right. The court currently has a 5-4 conservative majority including two justices appointed by Trump – Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 and Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

Gustav Corbet, The Trellis, 1862

From Betsy Klein at CNN:  “Task force report says 18 states in coronavirus ‘red zone’ should roll back reopening”.

An unpublished document prepared for the White House coronavirus task force and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom, recommends that 18 states in the coronavirus “red zone” for cases should roll back reopening measures amid surging cases.

The “red zone” is defined in the 359-page report as “those core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) and counties that during the last week reported both new cases above 100 per 100,000 population, and a diagnostic test positivity result above 10%.”

The report outlines measures counties in the red zone should take. It encourages residents to “wear a mask at all times outside the home and maintain physical distance.” And it recommends that public officials “close bars and gyms” and “limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer,” which would mean rolling back reopening provisions in these places.

Well,  that’s really an astounding headline to read in a democracy, isn’t it?

Political leaders in Oregon have accused President Donald Trump of interfering in Portland’s handling of widespread protests and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death as a political stunt to rally his base ahead of the November election.

Despite repeated calls from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for federal authorities to remove their officers from the city’s streets, the Trump administration has remained adamant on maintaining a law enforcement presence in Portland.

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday, Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf acknowledged that local and state officials wanted federal authorities to “pack up and go home.”

⊰ Posing with Posies ⊱ paintings of women and flowers - Emilio Grau Sala | Woman with bouquet

Emilio Grau Sala | Woman with bouquet

And here’s another  one you don’t expect to see either “Major USPS Changes Could Hamper Vote-By-Mail At The Worst Possible Time” via TPM by Tierney Sneed.  I cannot figure out why these folks hate the Post Office unless none of them have read the constitution.

Election officials who were already facing major challenges in making voting accessible operations during the pandemic were thrown a new curveball this week.

Mail service could be slowed down in coming months, as part of a campaign to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service launched by new agency leadership appointed by President Trump.

The proposed operational changes were first reported by the Washington Post this week, based on internal documents, some of which TPM has also obtained. In a statement to TPM, the U.S. Postal Service said that the “overall plan” had not been “finalized,” while stressing that the agency is “committed to delivering Election Mail in a timely manner.”

But major questions remain about how the newly-reported changes could affect the ability of absentee voters to get their ballots in on time to be counted. Several other aspects of the election process also rely on the mail, and there is now a scramble, in light of the recent USPS news, to understand what steps election officials need to take to keep things running smoothly.


William Henry Margetson Arranging Flowers

From the Chicago Sun Times:  ” Postmaster General’s bad plan to slow-walk your mail should be labeled ‘return to sender’ “

The U.S Postal Service traditionally has been the federal government’s most trusted agency, doing a pretty good job of delivering and processing 472 million pieces of mail each day.

But that reputation is about to take a hit. President Donald Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has effectively ordered his troops to purposely delay mail delivery to save on overtime costs.

But for DeJoy, to go to battle for the agency he runs apparently is a bridge too far. A Trump donor with no previous postal service experience, he was installed by a president who openly mocks the postal service as a “joke” while claiming falsely that it undercharges the retail giant Amazon for deliveries.

And DeJoy is no less disparaging. In a memo outlining the new rules, DeJoy has likened the postal service to once “untouchable” U.S. Steel, asserting that “the largest company in the world” is now “gone.”

Far from gone, U.S. Steel is a $3 billion-a-year company that employs almost 30,000 people.

The post office needs a fix. Trump has sent in a guy with a dull hatchet.

What are the chances that Trump, who fears mail-in balloting benefits the Democratic Party, is simply trying to neuter the postal service to improve his re-election prospects? Knowing Trump, we’d have to say pretty good.

In 34 states, absentee ballots have to be received by election officials, not just postmarked, by Election Day.

In Louis DeJoy, Trump appears to have found himself another Bill Barr: a bootlick willing to undermine a government agency — and our democratic institutions — to further the boss’s personal political aims.

Oh, and we’re still being taken for a ride by Trumperz’ .

Anyway,  I hope you have a nice week.  I think I need to go back to sleep for awhile.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

22 Comments on “Friday Reads: Wretched times”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Finally got this up. Hi and Check in!!!!

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Hi! The paintings are lovely. The news is ugly.

  4. quixote says:

    Interesting financial tidbit from Mar-a-Lardo:

    David Fahrenthold: “Got an answer on the weird stair-stepping payments: source says Mar-a-Lago can’t handle credit-card transactions above $10K. So Trump Victory broke 1 large payment into 43 smaller ones.

    This sounds odd, but it’s plausible. Mar-a-Lago made the Secret Service do same thing.”

    Since above $10,000 is what triggers Suspicious Activity Reports for money laundering, I can think of one reason why you’d want lots of large round number transactions from legitimate payers.

    It would camouflage all the large round number transactions from your actual money launderers.

  5. jslat says:

    Well, I want a big blue wave to sweep out tRump and all Repub candidates. So I am actively supporting Joe Biden for POTUS. I am not going to quibble, try to have him pass a purity test, etc. He learns from his mistakes and is at heart a compassionate, intelligent man. This time as an HRC supporter, I am all in for Biden.
    This NYTimes opinion piece by David Brooks caught my eye and made me feel so hungry for peace and quiet.

  6. jslat says:

    OOps, have the wrong name on my post should be jslat. Please change>

  7. NW Luna says:

    The videos and photos from Portland are Orwellianly surreal. Very disquieting.

    • quixote says:

      And it’s the second time we’re getting these “unmarked Feds” trying to break up protests, the first time being in DC. I’ve seen it called “Barr’s Army.” Nobody was hauled off in irons for doing it that time, so I guess Barr is ratcheting up to kidnapping in an actual state.

      Meanwhile, I gather on Fox they’re trying to build a whole narrative of wild lawless gonzo “Democrat” urban jungles that need shutting down by the Hand of God before it spreads to Real America™

      It’s easy to see this escalating into the election so as to make that a total mess and chaos.

      Pelosi needs to pull her finger out and get with the program on Inherent Contempt while there’s still a country left out there.

    • NW Luna says:

      • quixote says:

        Exactly. Good for him! I wonder what recourse the governor has for forcing the Un-Feds out? Calling out the National Guard?

        Sounds extreme, but It. Is. Time. goddammit. While there’s still some kind of semblance of order left.

  8. NW Luna says:

    Petty sot.

  9. NW Luna says:

    For Caturday.

    • Beata says:

      That is a lovely way to remember John Lewis. Strong and gentle indeed.

      Never trust a man who doesn’t like cats.