Lazy Caturday Reads

Good Afternoon!!

Black Cat by Russian artist Tatiana Gorshunova

Black Cat by Russian artist Tatiana Gorshunova

I wanted to try to find some good news to post today, but there just isn’t much of it out there. I guess it’s sort good news that a Republican associated with Mitch McConnell has criticized Rep.Loren Boebert for her grotesque attack on Rep. Ilian Omar. Raw Story: ‘Absolute garbage rhetoric’: Mitch McConnell adviser hammers Lauren Boebert on CNN.

On CNN Friday, former Mitch McConnell adviser Scott Jennings slammed Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) for her comments joking that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was a suicide bomber.

“Scott, was it just another day at the office and they got these folks in the far right in certain parts of the caucus that they just can’t control?” asked anchor Jim Acosta.

“Senator McConnell serves in the Senate,” said Jennings. “I guarantee you, I know what he’s thinking. It’s a garbage comment from a garbage politics. I’m as anti-Squad as the next [Republican], but there’s plenty of ways to debate these folks without stooping to this garbage rhetoric. I noted, by the way, that Boebert has been forced to apologize. I assume that didn’t happen in a vacuum, but she’s of course committed the ultimate sin, which is the people she’s being performative for here would sRaway you never should apologize.”

On the other hand, no Republicans in the House have done anything to rein Boebert in. Raw Story: ‘Absolutely spineless’: CNN panel thrashes GOP leadership’s silence on Lauren Boebert’s ‘MAGA open mic night.’

A CNN panel on Friday thrashed House Republican leadership for remaining silent about Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) bigoted attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Host Jim Acosta started off by asking former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent what he made of House Republicans’ reaction to what he described as Boebert’s “MAGA open mic night” in which she made disparaged Omar by likening her to a suicide bomber.

Dent said that the way the party has mishandled Boebert has been the same way it’s mishandled Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was stripped of her committee assignments over her remarks about executing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

“Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Paul Gosar more recently, when they make these statements, it’s important for the Republican leaders to crack down, to deal with it internally,” he said. “Republicans should have taken her off the committees. They should not have let that go to the House floor, as an example, but they didn’t.”


By Simerenya

I know there are plenty of racists here in Massachusetts, but still when I read a story like this, I feel ashamed. MassLive: Disabled Vietnam veteran Eugene Brice finds service to country doesn’t shield him from racism.

Eugene L. Brice survived the Vietnam War, the 1968 Tet Offensive and 29 years in the U.S. Army, but he is struggling to emotionally survive a recent trip to the grocery store.

“It was pretty dramatic. It’s destroyed me,” said Brice, a member of the Springfield chapter of the National Association of Black Veterans and a man who wheels around in a motorized scooter, volunteering 50% of his time to help veterans.

On Oct. 30, Brice found that duty, honor and service are not shields from racism. Weeks later, he is struggling to get his post-traumatic stress disorder and a related speech impediment back under control — and reminding himself that more than 50 years of service to the country should not be ruined by one hellish moment in a parking lot.

“I pulled into the handicapped spot at the Big Y in East Longmeadow. I do my own shopping and for my wife,” Brice explained. “A woman pulled beside me and crossed halfway over the lines. I asked her to move so I could use my ramp to get out of the car.”

The woman did move, but too little to provide Brice room to get out of his car. When he asked her again, he said she told him, “Mind your own business.”

Brice told her the ability to get out of the car was his business. At first, she ignored him, he recounted.

What happened next still brings Brice to tears — and provides a graphic, stomach-churning example of why people of color insist that at any turn and at the most innocent moments, they may encounter hatred and racism.

“The woman said, ‘N—-, just keep on moving.’ She said that several times,” Brice said.

The woman also threatened physical harm, he said, prompting him to back away for fear she might be armed.

“I was sitting in the scooter, and I was very vulnerable. I was scared and afraid if I said something, it might escalate,” Brice said.

Brice said that was the first time he had ever been called the “n” word. This is an elderly man who was disabled in service to the country and has spent his life working to help other disabled veterans. I wish there was a way to identify that woman and make her understand the damage her vicious racist attack caused. 

Tokuhiro Kawai ”

By Tokuhiro Kawai

Dakinikat wrote about the latest coronavirus variant yesterday. It may not be as dangerous as some are portraying it. The New York Times: New Virus Variant Stokes Concern but Vaccines Still Likely to Work.

The W.H.O. said the new version, named Omicron, carries a number of genetic mutations that may allow it to spread quickly, perhaps even among the vaccinated.

Independent scientists agreed that Omicron warranted urgent attention, but also pointed out that it would take more research to determine the extent of the threat. Although some variants of concern, like Delta, have lived up to initial worries, others have had a limited impact.

“Epidemiologists are trying to say, ‘Easy, tiger,’” said William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “This could be bad. This could be very bad. But we don’t know enough to roll that tape forward.”

Dr. Hanage and other researchers said that vaccines will most likely protect against Omicron, but further studies are needed to determine how much of the shots’ effectiveness may be reduced.

As the coronavirus replicates inside people, new mutations constantly arise. Most provide the virus with no new advantage. When worrisome mutations do emerge, the World Health Organization uses Greek letters to name the variants. The first “variant of concern,” Alpha, appeared in Britain in late 2020, soon followed by Beta in South Africa.

Omicron first came to light in Botswana, where researchers at the Botswana Harvard H.I.V. Reference Laboratory in Gaborone sequenced the genes of coronaviruses from positive test samples. They found some samples sharing about 50 mutations not found in such a combination before. So far, six people have tested positive for Omicron in Botswana, according to an international database of variants.

Reuters: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna expect data on shot’s protection against new COVID-19 variant soon.

BioNTech SE said on Friday it expects more data on a worrying new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa within two weeks to help determine whether its vaccine produced with partner Pfizer Inc would have to be reworked.

Dee Nickerson

By Dee Nickerson

Pfizer and BioNTech said that if necessary they expect to be able to ship a new vaccine tailored to the emerging variant in approximately 100 days.

“We understand the concern of experts and have immediately initiated investigations on variant B.1.1.529,” BioNTech said in a statement when asked to comment.

“We expect more data from the laboratory tests in two weeks at the latest. These data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally,” it added.

Moderna Inc said in a statement it is working to advance a booster candidate tailored to the new variant and has also been testing a higher dose of its existing booster and to study other booster candidates designed to protect against multiple variants.

“A booster dose of an authorized vaccine represents the only currently available strategy for boosting waning immunity,” Moderna said in the statement.

Escape variants are those that elude the targeted immune response brought about by vaccination. Pfizer and BioNTech would be able to redesign their shot within six weeks and ship initial batches within 100 days, BioNTech added.

Meanwhile, the anti-vaxers are getting crazier by the day. Tom Porter at Business Insider: Conspiracy theorists are pushing toxic bleach and other harmful treatments they claim can ‘de-vaccinate’ people.

In a video hosted on Bitchute, a platform known for its extremist content, a man applies electrodes, a strong magnet and “55 percent Montana whiskey” in the hope of removing a COVID-19 vaccine from a US military veteran.

In another, a gory variant of the “cupping” technique to draw blood from an injection site, a man makes extra incisions with a razor to extract a significant amount. (Insider is not linking to the footage due to its graphic nature.)

Neither method had any hope of working. It is impossible to undo vaccination, a process which works by teaching the body to fight infection itself, and which doesn’t rely on substances that can be isolated or removed.

Karl Kahler

By Karl Kahler

But, with millions of people now vaccinated against COVID-19, some anti-vaccination advocates are pivoting to a new narrative aimed at those who took vaccines and regret it.

They claim it is indeed possible to “de-vaccinate” people, recommending a host of methods which range from quaint to potentially dangerous.

The “de-vaccination” movement is spreading in Telegram groups with thousands of members, as well as other fringe platforms used by extremists, which Insider monitored while researching the trend.

Users repost videos, like the ones referred to above, beaming them to large audiences not reflected in view counts on the sites where they are hosted.

Advocates have also established a presence on mainstream platforms that purport to restrict such activity, such as Facebook and TikTok, experts told Insider.

Click on the link to read the rest.

Jonathan Karl, author of the new Trump book “Betrayal” is offered a warning to fellow journalists in an interview with Deadline. A summary from HuffPost: ABC’s Jonathan Karl Issues Stark Warning About Covering Donald Trump 2024.

If Donald Trump eventually decides to run for president again in 2024, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl warned it may be “the greatest challenge ever facing campaign reporters.”

Karl posed multiple questions on the problems of reporting on a possible third Trump presidential campaign in a lengthy interview with Deadline published Friday.

Such as, “How do you cover a candidate who is effectively anti-democratic?”

And, “How do you cover a candidate who is … also running against the very democratic system that makes all of this possible?”

Karl, the author of “Betrayal: The Final Act Of The Trump Show,” said reporting on Trump would be “tremendously challenging” because “now, more than ever” he “is just saying things that are not true, that are designed to misinform, that are designed to erode credibility and belief in our electoral system.”


Cherubs and Cat, by Tokuhiro Kawai

According to The Washington Post, Trump made more than 30,000 false or misleading claims during his presidency alone….

How to tackle Trump’s debates, speeches and interviews were “really difficult questions,” acknowledged Karl, because he’s “been demonstrated to be a candidate that is trying to destroy the very system that makes this election possible.”

“It is a very difficult, precarious situation, and I don’t know how it is going to play out, to be honest,” he added.

You can read the full interview by Ted Johnson at Yahoo News: Q&A: Jonathan Karl On ‘Betrayal’ And Why Campaign Reporters Face Their “Greatest Challenge” If Donald Trump Runs Again.

This story by Ron Elving at NPR offers some hope: Trump, tough issues and personal rivalries test the GOP’s reputation for unity.

Presenting a united front has been an even greater imperative for the GOP when Democrats were in the White House and especially when Democrats also had majorities in Congress.

That may be changing. Heightened tensions within the GOP have been increasingly visible in recent weeks, driven by the still-divisive personality of former President Donald Trump — but also by issues such as vaccines and mandates and by the prospect of big Republican gains in the elections of 2022 and 2024.

This week’s focus has been on Republican governors declaring their independence not only from the former president but from present party leaders in Washington.

In some cases, the governors are reacting to Trump’s meddling in their home state politics. Here we have Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is term-limited but has backed a candidate to succeed him. Trump has endorsed someone else, adding that Hogan himself is “toxic” and “a Republican in name only [who] has been terrible for our country and against the America First Movement.”

Karl Kahler, Austrian, 1856-1906

Karl Kahler, Austrian, 1856-1906

Asked about Trump taking sides, Hogan replied: “I’d prefer endorsements from people who didn’t lose Maryland by 33 points,” referring to Trump’s blowout loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the state last year.

This particular feud is not new. Hogan has been critical of Trump for years and condemned him for inciting the crowd that marched on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

But eyebrows were raised over the weekend when a big name Republican, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, criticized Trump and his claque in Congress. Sununu was especially disturbed at the so-called “MAGA Squad,” the hardcore Trump acolytes who have tried to ostracize their in-party House colleagues who voted for the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this month — or who voted to impeach Trump earlier this year.

“I think they’ve got their priorities screwed up,” Sununu said on CNN Sunday. “That kind of social media mob mentality that’s built up in this country … culturally, those tactics are ruining America.”

I’m not sure I buy it, but it’s a long story; check out the whole thing at the link.

That’s all I have for you today. I wish I could have found more happy news. What stories are you following?

12 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. dakinikat says:

    Thanks for the information! I may have to break down and buy the Karl book. There’s a lot out there in the press right now so I’m holding off.

    And I love the kitties! That top cat on the red chair is a hoot!

  4. NW Luna says:

    Earth, 2021. We have immunologists and biotechs who can do this:

    Pfizer and BioNTech said that if necessary they expect to be able to ship a new vaccine tailored to the emerging variant in approximately 100 days.

    …and we also have covidiots who try to “unimmunize” people with bleach, magnets, and whiskey.

    • djmm says:

      If the anti-vaxers were only endangering themselves, it would be one thing. They are spreading dangerous misinformation — and keeping Covid alive and mutating to threaten the rest of us. I think I am going to start calling them Covid-Lovers.

      Have not seen a lot of good news lately, but will share it if I find some! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am particularly thankful for all the great Caturday reads!

  5. NW Luna says:

    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene talks about “executing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.” Anyone else remember back when shocking behavior was merely VP Cheney saying “Fuck you” to Sen Leahy?

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. quixote says:

    The Boebert garbage shocked me. In general, these assholes disgust me, but nothing they do surprises me anymore.

    Not so with that comment.

    The casual complete *out loud* contempt for a colleague is gobsmacking.