Lazy Caturday Reads

Good Afternoon!!

St.Gertrude herself and cats Zarathustra and David Bowie captured in stained glass

St.Gertrude herself and cats Zarathustra and David Bowie captured in stained glass

It’s been a long time since I posted Fat Cat Art by Svetlana Petrova & Zarathustra the Cat / FatCatArt.com. Dakinikat posted a comment on Thursday about St. Gertrude, the patron saint of cats, whose feast day is the same as St. Patrick’s day. I was looking for paintings of her when I came across this one at the Fat Cat Art site. The other images in this post are also by Petrova and her late beloved ginger cat Zarathustra.

The Ukraine war rages on, as Putin continues to commit ghastly war crimes by attacking civilians. Reading about what’s happening, let alone watching the images on TV is horrifying. It’s a terribly helpless feeling, and there’s a temptation to want the U.S. to get more actively involved, but that is simply impossible.

Last night on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell gave a powerful explanation of what the U.S. trying to enforce a no fly zone over Ukraine would mean. You can watch it on The Last Word website. It lasts about 7 minutes. Basically, O’Donnell said that the very idea is a fantasy and that a no fly zone has never been enforced against a nuclear power. It would mean U.S. and Russian pilots being shot down and killed and would also involve U.S. planes flying over Russian territory. I recommend watching it if you didn’t see it last night.

For the latest news on Ukraine, I recommend The Guardian’s summary of the latest updates: Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 24 of the invasion.

  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the time has come for peace talks, warning that it will otherwise take generations for Russia to recover from losses suffered during the war. He released a video address saying Ukraine wanted meaningful and honest negotiations with Moscow on peace and security without delay, Reuters reported. “The time has come for a meeting – it is time to talk.” Zelenskiy said Russian forces were deliberately blocking humanitarian supplies to cities under attack.
  • Ukraine’s position is unchanged in talks with Russia, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said. Earlier today, a member of Russia’s negotiating team said Moscow and Kyiv were most aligned on Ukraine’s neutrality and giving up on joining Nato. Podolyak accused Russian statements of attempting “to provoke tension in the media”.
  • Russia says it has used a hypersonic weapon for the first time, to destroy an underground military depot in western Ukraine. Hypersonic missiles are fast weapons that can evade detection by missile defence systems. The defence ministry said it had destroyed a large underground depot for missiles and aircraft ammunition in the Ivano-Frankivsk region.
  • Ukraine’s interior minster told Associated Press it would take years to find and defuse all of the unexploded ordnance from the country. Denys Monastyrsky said: “A huge number of shells and mines have been fired at Ukraine and a large part haven’t exploded. They remain under the rubble and pose a real threat. It will take years, not months, to defuse them.”
  • Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, praised Fox News for its coverage of the war in Ukraine during an in-studio interview with the Russian state-controlled RT network. “We know the manners and the tricks that are being used by the western countries to manipulate media … If you take the United States, only Fox News is trying to present some alternative point of view,” he said.

Click the link for more updates.

Boris Kustodiev. Merchant’s Wife at Cat’s Tea

Boris Kustodiev. Merchant’s Wife at Cat’s Tea

In other news, Republicans are of course trying to smear Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson and it is sickening.

Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post: Opinion: How low will the GOP go in taking on Ketanji Brown Jackson? Josh Hawley lets us know.

“I’ve noticed an alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those preying on children,” Hawley tweeted. “I’m concerned that this [is] a record that endangers our children.” [….]

In the cherry-picked, context-free Hawley-verse, Jackson has been lying in wait to foist this child-endangerment scheme on the country since her law school days. Count one is her writing as a student editor on the Harvard Law Review, about sex-offender registries, DNA databanks and civil-commitment laws that states were busy enacting.

In her article, Jackson grappled with the tension between constitutional limits on permissible punishment and the community’s need for self-protection. Given conservatives’ focus on analyzing the text of a law rather than divining lawmakers’ intent, you might have thought that Hawley would cheer Jackson’s argument that in assessing the constitutionality of sex offender laws, “courts have relied too heavily on the legislatures’ intent.” But no.

Instead, Hawley wrenches a few lines out of context. “As far back as her time in law school, Judge Jackson has questioned making convicts register as sex offenders — saying it leads to ‘stigmatization and ostracism.’ ”

Hello, Senator? That is in a section headlined “The Critics” that outlines the views of the statute’s opponents. Hawley might just have easily quoted from the previous section — “commitment legislation literally immobilizes dangerous sexual deviants and, thus, presumably promotes both immediate and long-term public safety.”

And that’s just from Jackson’s law school days. Hawley also attacks Jackson for supporting a review of minimum sentencing guidelines for child porn along with every other member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Finally he criticizes her work as a judge:

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, true version, aka The Furry Night

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, true version, aka The Furry Night

The final count against Jackson involves how she, in Hawley’s assessment, “put her troubling views into action. In every single child porn case for which we can find records, Judge Jackson deviated from the federal sentencing guidelines in favor of child porn offenders.”

Sounds terrible, right? Except because the guidelines are so outdated and therefore unfair, that’s what judges do in almost every case — 70 percent, according to the latest statistics.

According to data compiled by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, judges imposed below-guidelines sentences in nearly 80 percoent of child pornography cases in the District of Columbia, where Jackson was a trial court judge before being elevated to the appeals court. In Missouri, Hawley’s home state, judges imposed sentences below the guidelines in more than 77 percent of cases.

For more background on Jackson’s record on these issues, you can read this article by Tierney Sneed at CNN: GOP senators push misleading portrayal of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record on child porn cases.

After Hawley posted a Twitter thread enumerating his false accusations, right wing “news” outlet OAN took the smears even further. Media Matters: Baseless OAN attack on Ketanji Brown Jackson echoes QAnon conspiracy theory.

Following Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) Twitter rant yesterday against Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a segment on OAN took his unfounded and misleading attacks against her record in a more deranged direction. The host and her guest falsely accused Jackson of being “kind” to pedophiles, echoing the long-running QAnon conspiracy theory accusing liberal elites of engaging in pedophilia.

During the March 17 segment on OAN’s Tipping Point, host Kara McKinney outlined the conspiratorial accusations against Jackson before RedState editor Brandon Morse immediately dove into QAnon-like commentary about what he described as “the pedophilia problem that is currently happening in the left”

Here’s what Morse had to say:

Andrew Wyeth, The Cat in Christina’s World

Andrew Wyeth, The Cat in Christina’s World

Morse claimed that the “corporate media” is ignoring this issue because of self-interest:

They have been doing their absolute best to try to eliminate any substantial talk about the pedophilia problem that is currently in the left and especially the radical left. They have been trying to make this almost a normal thing for some time. And if they come down hard on it, then it’ll reinforce the idea to society that pedophilia is a bad thing. And it is a very bad thing. It should be come down on hard. But they’re not.

And I’m afraid that the reason that they’re not doing this is because there’s probably more pedophiles, or at least people who are friendly to pedophiles out there, than we might think in positions of power, especially on the left. You know, you had a ton of people suddenly go into hiding or shut up, you know, once Jeffrey Epstein was back in the spotlight for this. And it’s scary to think that you have a lot of these leftists, these Democrats, politicians, activists, media figures who have been caught, or who have been trying to ease the pain of any of these pedophiles who are to be — who should be suffering for their crimes. You see this a lot, lately.

And it’s scary to think that this new judge that’s come up here is one of these people who is going to be very kind to them. 

It sounds like the upcoming hearings on Jackson’s nomination are going to be an embarrassing clown show.

From the AP, some horrifying news from South Carolina: Firing-squad executions get the greenlight in South Carolina.

South Carolina has given the greenlight to firing-squad executions, a method codified into state law last year after a decade-long pause in carrying out death sentences because of the state’s inability to procure lethal injection drugs.

The state Corrections Department said Friday that renovations have been completed on the death chamber in Columbia and that the agency had notified Attorney General Alan Wilson that it was able to carry out a firing-squad execution.

Lawmakers set about tweaking state law to get around the lethal injection drug situation. Legislation that went into effect in May made the electric chair the state’s primary means of execution while giving inmates the option of choosing death by firing squad or lethal injection, if those methods are available.

During South Carolina’s lengthy debate, Democratic state Sen. Dick Harpootlian — a prosecutor-turned-criminal-defense lawyer — introduced the firing squad option. He argued that it presented “the least painful” execution method available.

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer with the Cat

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer with the Cat

“The death penalty is going to stay the law here for a while,” Harpootlian said. “If we’re going to have it, it ought to be humane.”

According to officials, the death chamber now also includes a metal chair, with restraints, in the corner of the room in which inmates will sit if they choose execution by firing squad. That chair faces a wall with a rectangular opening, 15 feet away, through which the three shooters will fire their weapons.

State officials also have created protocols for carrying out the executions. The three shooters, all volunteers who are employees of the Corrections Department, will have rifles loaded with live ammunition, with their weapons trained on the inmate’s heart.

A hood will be placed over the head of the inmate, who will be given the opportunity to make a last statement.

Finally, the House isn’t keen on the Senate’s permanent daylight saving time bill, according to Dan Diamond of The Washington Post: Senate plan for permanent daylight saving time faces doubts in the House.

The House is set to hit the snooze button on the Senate’s plan to permanently change the nation’s clocks.

“It could be weeks — or it could be months” before House Democratic leaders decide whether to tee up a vote on eliminating the biannual clock changes that have governed daily life in most states for decades, said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D.-N.J.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees time change policies. While the Sunshine Protection Act, which unanimously passed the Senate on Tuesday, would nationally shift clocks an hour later to maximize daylight, some doctors have argued that adopting permanent standard time would be a healthier option and better align with humans’ natural rhythms.

Pallone, who held a hearing last week on daylight saving time, said he shares the Senate’s goal to end the “spring forward” and “fall back” clock changes linked to more strokes, heart attacks and car accidents. But he wants to collect more information, asking for a long-delayed federal analysis on how time changes might affect productivity, traffic and energy costs, among other issues.

Pablo Picatso, Woman with a Fan and a Cat, having fun

Pablo Picasso, Woman with a Fan and a Cat, having fun

“There isn’t a consensus, in my opinion in the House, or even generally at this point, about whether we should have standard versus daylight saving as the permanent time,” Pallone said. “Immediately after the Senate passed the bill, I had members come up to me on the floor and say, ‘Oh, don’t do that. I want the standard time,’ ” he added, declining to identify the lawmakers.

The White House also has not communicated its position on permanent daylight saving time, congressional aides said. While President Biden, as a freshman senator, voted for that in December 1973 — the last time that Congress attempted to institute the policy nationwide — he also witnessed the near-immediate collapse of support amid widespread reports that darker winter mornings were contributing to more car accidents and worsened moods. Members of Congress introduced nearly 100 pieces of legislation to change or do away with the law before it was finally repealed in October 1974.

A few more stories to check out:

Raw Story: Top Kremlin spy boss reportedly under house arrest over Ukraine debacle: WSJ.

The Washington Post: It’s 70 degrees warmer than normal in eastern Antarctica. Scientists are flabbergasted.

Greg Bluestein at Politico: How Brian Kemp Resisted Trump’s Pressure to Overturn the Georgia Election Results.

The Daily Beast: People’s Convoy Reveals Ridiculous New Goal: ‘Take Back’ Black Lives Matter Plaza.

That’s it for me today. What are you thinking and reading about? Take care Sky Dancers!


45 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      I saw that! Adjunct salaries are insulting enough! Might as well just go for the jackpot!

    • djmm says:

      This would seem to be a violation of wage and hour laws.

      • quixote says:

        Pay in the academic world hasn’t been close to legal levels in decades. When I was junior faculty (several rungs above “Assistant Adjunct” but not tenured) one day when I was particularly cross I figured out what my hourly rate was. Given the actual hours worked (i.e. all day, every day, time out for meals usually at the desk and a shower in the morning), and the pay, it worked out to about $2.25/hr. This was late 1990s. I think the minimum wage was $7.25? Migrant workers then averaged about $2/hr (they’re paid by quantity harvested, not hours, so that’s not exact). Anyway, it was appalling. and now it’s worse.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Exactly. I was an adjunct for several years, low pay, no benefits, and for that working similar hours to a full time job.

        • NW Luna says:

          Used to be you at least received good benefits and pension, and a very reasonable chance of tenure. But that was then. I was a teaching associate or some such euphemistic name some years back, and was just part-time enough that I fell under the cutoff for benefits, and the university wouldn’t consider that my other part-time job, in a different position, was also with the university. Employment was on a quarter-by-quarter basis, too.

          Then they want preceptors for their graduate students, but though I had a doctoral degree, that’s on an unpaid basis. They want me to oversee a trainee, review and correct their reports, and make site visits for free? Nope.

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. dakinikat says:

    I love the fat cats! So sorry to hear that Zarathustra passed.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      I can’t believe they are even doing studies.

      • dakinikat says:

        Well, it certainly will keep it from being prescribed but it won’t stop idiots from asking for it.

        • NW Luna says:

          Yes. I had a patient the other week who absolutely won’t take a vaccine — because there’s too much unknown about it — but if she gets covid she wants ivermectin. SMH.

          • quixote says:

            Unknown. Right. Administered to billions of people. A few, as in a dozen or so, serious side effects which have not recurred when they knew to watch for them. No long term effects.

            There’s far more unknown about the moisturizer she uses!

            I don’t know how you deal with it. I’d be screaming at her and throwing things. (Not right away. But if she continued that stupid for more than 15 seconds or so! :/ )

  9. dakinikat says:

  10. dakinikat says:

  11. bostonboomer says:

    You have to watch this. It’s adorable! I saw it a couple of days ago, but just came across the video.

  12. dakinikat says:

  13. dakinikat says:

  14. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Unless one knows for certain those are unre-touched photographs that are viewed in person, you can’t tell. A photo on a computer screen isn’t always reliable.

      Also, they both say “2010.”

      Photo here shows him with forehead wrinkles, which he shouldn’t be able to make if he’d been botoxed there. OTOH he doesn’t have glabellar wrinkles.

  15. bostonboomer says:

  16. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winners — who are really the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Women’s Race winners because they are indeed women — are US Olympic Women’s Team swimmers.

      Thomas used to be #462 in the Men’s races. Now he’s # 1 in the Women’s races. Imagine that, suddenly beating Olympic swimmers as a woman when he couldn’t get near the Olympic men.

      #PennCheats

    • NW Luna says:

      • bostonboomer says:

        Good!

      • dakinikat says:

        Wow!! This should be interesting to watch.

      • quixote says:

        Direct conflict between women’s right to privacy and dignity versus whatshisname wanting everyone else to confirm his notion he’s a woman.

        In England, a case where a trans-IDed male raped a woman in a hospital, the authorities were so concerned about his psyche they tried to say there couldn’t have been a rape because there were no men in the women’s ward. They’ve had to backtrack, if I remember right. But still amazing that a woman’s reality of suffering a horrific crime counts for nothing next to any XY person’s dreams.

        Let’s hope in the swimmers’ changing rooms case, the courts have an inkling that women are actual human beings.

  17. NW Luna says:

    “…a norm among judges to issue sentences below the guidelines in these child porn cases that don’t involve producing the pornography itself.

    But there are pedophiles who don’t abuse children and people who abuse children who are not pedophiles.”

    The CNN Politics article in the post above doesn’t give me enough detail to allow an informed opinion, other than to say that all pedophiles do indeed abuse children, and some people who abuse children are indeed pedophiles. Anyone engaging in child pornography is promoting it. Any pornography is abuse of the women and children in it.

    I differentiate pornography from erotica. The latter is not abusive but illustrates sexual relations amongst willing adults.

  18. NW Luna says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      I love that wild animals attached themselves to humans and evolved into friends.

      • quixote says:

        I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, but I don’t know if I’d go as far as that…. The human staff of the cat certainly feel like friends. The cat? Sometimes. On rare occasions. 😆