Lazy Caturday Reads

Happy Caturday!!

Lorenzo the Cat has learned the identity of the handsome Turkish man who went viral after he rescued a cat from the rubble of the earthquake. His name is Ali Cacas, and he is on Twitter.

Hola!: Pet of the Week: Cat Saved from Turkey Earthquake Refuses to Leave his Rescuer’s Side.

Following the tragic 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria, search teams worked hard to help the victims of the terrifying natural disaster. Members of the Mardin Fire Department were able to find many survivors, even 11 days after the two earthquakes.

Among the survivors, there was a cat trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building in the district of Defne. Ali Cakas, one of the members of the rescue team, found the adorable cat 9 days after the tragedy and decided to name him Enkas, which translates to Rubble.

The rescued cat instantly became a sign of hope amid the immense tragedy, not just because he was able to survive with minor injuries, but also because he showed how grateful he was with the 33-year-old rescuer.

Rubble became viral after the search team noticed that he decided to stick around. The cat showed his appreciation by not leaving Ali’s side, standing on his shoulder after being found. But the incredible story of Rubble doesn’t end here, as Ali decided to take him home and adopted him, becoming the mascot of the Mardin Fire Department.

The team continues to work day and night to find more survivors, including pets that might still be trapped in the rubble.

This bonus rescued cat is from Ukraine.

Now for the news of the day–interspersed with more cat tweets for relief.

Vice President Harris gave a major speech in Germany this morning. The Washington Post: Russia has committed ‘crimes against humanity’ in Ukraine, Harris declares.

Vice President Harris said Saturday that the United States believes strongly that Russia has committed crimes against humanity and needs to be held to account for ghastly actions that have been describedin intelligence reports and international headlines, including bombing a maternity hospital, forcibly relocating and “reeducating” Ukrainian children, and, just months ago, the suspected sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl.

“In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt: These are crimes against humanity,” Harris said.

Speaking in moral terms a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, Harris told diplomatic, intelligence and defense leaders gathered at the Munich Security Conference that the world has a humanitarian and strategic interest in continued support of the besieged nation, even as the White House has warned Kyiv that fissures and fatigue threaten its global support a year into the conflict.

Harris stressed that standing firm against Russian aggression sends a message to “other authoritarian powers that could seek to bend the world to their will through coercion, disinformation and even a brute force.”

Later, she added, “We have come together to stand for our common values and our common interests. And our common humanity.”

You’ve probably heard about this awful story about child labor. NBC News: Federal officials say more than 100 children worked in dangerous jobs for slaughterhouse cleaning firm.

The Labor Department said Friday it found 102 children as young as 13 working hazardous overnight jobs cleaning slaughterhouses in eight states in what it called a “corporate-wide failure” by one of the largest food sanitation companies in the country, Packers Sanitation Services Inc.

In a statement, the company said, “We are pleased to have finalized this settlement figure as part of our previously announced December resolution with the Department of Labor (DOL) that ends their inquiry. We have been crystal clear from the start: Our company has a zero-tolerance policy against employing anyone under the age of 18 and fully shares the DOL’s objective of ensuring full compliance at all locations.”

“As soon as we became aware of the DOL’s allegations, we conducted multiple additional audits of our employee base. … Our audits and DOL’s investigation confirmed that none of the individuals DOL cited as under the age of 18 work for the company today, and many had separated from employment with PSSI multiple years ago. The DOL has also not identified any managers aware of improper conduct that are currently employed by PSSI.”

“We are fully committed to working with DOL to make additional improvements to enforce our prohibition of employing anyone under the age of 18.”

It seems kind of unbelievable that they bosses didn’t know about this.

Packers Sanitation Services has paid a $1.5 million fine for the violations. The fine amount is dictated by the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows a penalty of $15,138 for each minor who was employed in violation of the law, according to the Labor Department.

The Labor Department says the children who were working overnight shifts used “caustic chemicals to clean razor-sharp saws.” The company employs 17,000 workers at 700 sites nationwide.

“Our investigation found Packers Sanitation Services’ systems flagged some young workers as minors, but the company ignored the flags. When the Wage and Hour Division arrived with warrants, the adults — who had recruited, hired and supervised these children — tried to derail our efforts to investigate their employment practices,” said Michael Lazzeri, regional administrator for the division in Chicago….

Advocates and lawyers for the children say some of the child workers for PSSI were unaccompanied minors who recently came across the southern border. Unaccompanied minors are processed by the Border Patrol and then turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services. The children are then matched with sponsors who usually have some link to their families.

It figures.

Another miserable white man went on a shooting rampage in Mississippi yesterday. CNN: Man arrested after 6 killed, including suspect’s ex-wife, in series of shootings in Mississippi, sheriff says.

Six people are dead and another was wounded Friday in a series of shootings in Tate County, Mississippi after a man opened fire on his ex-wife and potentially other family members, Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance told CNN.

The suspect, Richard Dale Crum, 52, was arrested after the alleged rampage and is facing charges of first-degree murder in connection with the case, the sheriff’s office said. Additional charges are expected to be filed, the department said.

Authorities got the first 911 call around 11 a.m. ET after the suspect pulled into the parking lot of a store in Arkabutla, a small rural town in northern Mississippi, and fired into the car next to him where he fatally shot the driver, Lance said. Another person in the vehicle was not injured.

Lance said the suspected gunman went into the store then took off, driving to his ex-wife’s home. Lance said the suspect shot and killed his ex-wife before striking her fiancé, who was also in the residence.

Deputies caught up to the suspect after finding a vehicle matching its description in front of a residence that authorities determined belonged to him, Lance said.

On a small road behind the suspect’s home, authorities found two men who had been shot and killed. One was found on the road and the other was in a vehicle, Lance said.

Another two victims were found shot and killed in a house neighboring the suspect’s home, Lance said. According to Lance, deputies believe the suspect might be related to the victims, a man and woman.

You’d think even the gun-loving Republicans would be getting sick to death of this, but it seems they will put up with any amount of violence and death to keep their precious assault rifles.

Another Virginia 6-year-old took a gun to school on Thursday. The Virginian Pilot: 6-year-old brings handgun to Norfolk elementary school, police say; mother charged.

Norfolk police charged the mother of a 6-year-old whom police said brought a handgun to Little Creek Elementary School on Thursday.

According to a police press release, police were called to Little Creek Elementary located at 7901 Nancy Drive around 3:30 p.m. Thursday for a report of a student having a weapon in school.

The handgun was turned over to police by a school staff member, and no injuries were reported.

The mother was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and allowing access to a loaded firearm by children. She was issued a summons. The Virginian-Pilot is not identifying her to avoid the possibility of identifying the child….

Meanwhile, Newport News police are still investigating whether to bring charges against the parents or anyone else in the case of a 6-year-old first grader who shot his teacher at Richneck Elementary School on Jan. 6.

Thank goodness this kid didn’t shoot anyone. Parents have to be charged for these incidents.

At The Grid, Eric Sandy has a deep dive on the train derailment disaster in Ohio: Inside the hell of East Palestine: Unanswered questions, frustration and the lingering threat of toxic chemicals.

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — As the wind picked up here, on Wednesday, several thousand residents joined public officials, law enforcement officers and members of various news media in a long line leading to the local high school, where a highly anticipated town hall meeting awaited.

By that point — 12 days after a Norfolk Southern train ran off the tracks on the east side of town, prompting an evacuation and a controlled burn of vinyl chloride, and dispersing a wave of other toxic chemicals into the environment — the 4,700 residents of this village were eager to translate that nightmare into plain English. Is their drinking water safe? Will their pets be all right? Will this disaster have any long-term health impacts on the population?

These are straightforward questions with complicated answers.

The residents of East Palestine and nearby communities are trying to square their lived experience — the evacuation, the sight of the toxic plume, the cloying odor drifting through the village — with public health officials’ insistence that the air and water is safe and contaminant-free as of now. Put simply, these families do not know how to plan for the near- or long-term future, and, in an already tenuous economic environment in rural Ohio, that level of uncertainty is a major problem. Even the basic question of who to trust is up for debate. In the midst of this calamity, who’s at the wheel?

Outside the high school, as the crowd shuffled forward an inch at a time, East Palestine residents Cory and Dawn White traded stories with others in line. They were coming to this meeting in search of clarity about a lot of things — about the water quality, yes, but also about the nuances of soil sampling and about the recovery plans for the city. But, like anyone in attendance at the town hall that night could attest, nailing down an answer to most any question — health-related, environment-related, finance-related, you name it — is no easy task.

“That’s the scary part,” Cory said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen, and no one can give you answers.”

This is best story I’ve seen on the East Palestine disaster. Read the rest at the Grid link.

Did you hear about the Republican operative with longtime ties to Ron and Rand Paul who was convicted of funneling Russian money to Trump in 2016? Russ Choma at Mother Jones: GOP Operative Sentenced to 18 Months for Funneling Russian Money to Trump Campaign.

On Friday, a federal judge in Washington, DC sentenced a veteran GOP operative to 18 months in prison for funneling $25,000 from a Russian businessman to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Jesse Benton, a longtime aide to both Ron and Rand Paul, was convicted in November on six related charges. The court found that he and another GOP operative accepted $100,000 from Roman Vasilenko, a St. Petersburg-based influencer who wanted photos with Trump to display on his social media accounts. Benton kept most of the money for himself but donated $25,000 to the Republican National Committee as part of a plan to secure two tickets to a fundraising event for Trump in Philadelphia. At the event, Vasilenko was allowed to sit close to Trump at a roundtable discussion and later took a photo with him. Foreign nationals, like Vasilenko, are not allowed to donate to US political campaigns or committees, and it is illegal to make a donation on behalf of someone else.

Benton, who is married to Ron Paul’s grandaughter, was previously convicted in 2016of a scheme to pay an Iowa state senator to switch his endorsement from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul ahead of the state’s 2012 republican presidential caucus. In that case, Benton, after pleading that he had reformed and had a family to support, was sentenced to home confinement. Just six days later, the Trump fundraiser at which Vasilenko met Trump took place. A few weeks after that, Benton was caught in an undercover sting orchestrated by the British newspaper The Telegraph, whose reporters posed as representatives of a Chinese businessman who wanted to donate $2 million to Trump’s campaign. Benton told them he could arrange it. He apparently violated the terms of his home confinement in the Iowa case to meet with the undercover reporters.

Read more at Mother Jones.

One more before I wrap this up. House Republicans have another George Santos on their hands.

Insider: GOP Rep. Andy Ogles claimed to fight international sex crimes and be an economic expert. Like George Santos, his real resume tells another story.

During far-right Republican Andy Ogles’ successful campaign for Congress last fall, he advertised himself as a successful entrepreneur and real estate investor, a tax policy expert, and the former leader of an international nonprofit rescuing sex trafficking victims.

But the freshman member from Tennessee embellished many aspects of his resume, according to interviews, business and property records, tax filings, and local newspaper archives. Ogles’ inflations invite comparisons to his Republican congressional colleague, Rep. George Santos of New York, who has seen nearly every aspect of his past called into question.

Ogles’ business experience seems to be limited to owning two restaurants, a short-lived travel agency, and becoming licensed as an insurance agent. His real estate investments appear limited to a few adjacent parcels of land, including one he lives on, in rural Tennessee, and he reported no rental income from his properties Insider found.

Ogles claimed he studied economics and international relations, and worked at two right-wing  think tanks that focus on economic policy. But his educational credentials and supposed policy expertise were thrown into question this week by Nashville’s NewsChannel5, which reported Ogles had studied languages in college – not economics or international policy, as he had claimed.

Ogles’ supposed experience rescuing sex trafficking victims helped propel him into national headlines in his first week in Congress. But his representations about that work are vastly overstated, according to public records and a former manager at an anti-trafficking nonprofit where Ogles worked.

There’s more at the link. Also check out these local stories:

NewsChannel5 Nashville: Congressman Andy Ogles, graduate of respected Vanderbilt, Dartmouth business schools? Not really.

NewsChannel5 Nashville: Businessman, economist, cop, international sex crimes expert? The stories of Congressman Andy Ogles.

Sorry there wasn’t a lot of good news today. What stories are you following?

19 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice President’s Day weekend!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      I never got the squeamishness some people get from breast-feeding women.

      • bostonboomer says:

        It’s creepy the way some people react. They seem to think breasts are just sexual objects. I grew up seeing my Mom nurse my 4 siblings. It’s perfectly normal.

      • NW Luna says:

        Men get upset and jealous at seeing women’s breasts in a natural setting — nurturing infants — and not for men’s sexual thrills. Ban them!

    • Enheduanna says:

      Decades ago I had a friend who loved romance novels and I thought about trying my hand at writing them even though I wasn’t into them myself. Every time I proposed a premise to her she said – they’ve done that. LOLOLOL. I actually know someone who does write them for a living. Anyway, it has been reported that folks who read romance novels actually have pretty good sex lives… Not hard to see why.

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. NW Luna says:

    BB, thank you for all the heartwarming cat tweets! Pets give us joy and comfort.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Re: the child labor corporation:

    …not identified any managers aware of improper conduct


  6. NW Luna says:

    That which is never going to happen happens.

    Her baby has a deadly diagnosis. Her Florida doctors refused an abortion.

    Florida abortion ban includes exception for fatal fetal abnormalities. But her doctors told her they could not act.

    Deborah and Lee Dorbert say the most painful decision of their lives was not honored by the physicians they trust. Even though medical experts expect their baby to survive only 20 minutes to a couple of hours, the Dorberts say their doctors told them that because of the new legislation, they could not terminate the pregnancy.

  7. NW Luna says:

    h/t socalannie.