Friday Post Zeta Reads: We’re all hanging on and the bumpy rides keep comin’

This is an old fish/seafood market turned woodshop across the street from me. It’s lost its old tin roof.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It’s been a few overwhelming days for me and I’m quite exhausted.  New Orleans was very fortunate that Hurricane Zeta was a fast mover because she was like 1 mph off a Category 3 hurricane when she hit and hit she did.  We’re going to be digging out of shredded leaves, downed trees, and infrastructure messes for awhile.  Fortunately, only six families lost their homes and one person died.  It could’ve been way worse.

I was really fortunate that the city and the power company had done several things to stop tree damage on my avenue and in my neighborhood just a few weeks ago. The Tree Trimmers got the old oaks trimmed of dead branches and the power company reinforced the lines with brackets and and pole supports.  A large number of homes through out the metro area or still out of power.  Mine came back on Thursday morning.

However, both my phone and my cable tv and internet at the house are acting hinky.  I was about to check the weather channel one last time last night when I found that the only channel I had on the entire cable set up was MSNBC which was the last thing I was watching. Fortunately, the entire compliment of channels returned this morning.  The Wifi has been slow off and on.  I couldn’t get mobile data on my phone Wednesday night so I was completely cutoff from everything except texts and phone calls.  My understanding is that the Sprint Tower had damage and that network completely went down so something similar must’ve happened with the Verizon Tower.  My cable company still is showing a lot of outages and problems in the neighborhood so I’m just lucky I’ve got what I’ve got.

It looks like a leaf shredding bomb went off every where. Fortunately, our neighborhood kids decided to clean the avenue up for us old folks. They got some fresh bananas from my tree and some cash for their good work!

I spent Wednesday night reading the rest of a book on Kindle–which was amply charged for the event–by hurricane lamp light.  We were totally in the center of the eyewall when it came through which was the most ethereal experience I think I’ve ever had.  The city was texting us to stay inside but I wanted to get Temple out for a quick in and out walk.  It was quiet and the clouds to the west, east, and north of me were swirly dark grey clouds with an eerie purple tinge. To the south, over the river, the sky was a brilliant orangish gold.  I failed to bring my phone camera out with me but some others have captured the moment so I’m sharing some pictures I took but those were taken by others.

Today, I learned that a lot of polling places may not be up in time since about 70% of our schools are without power or damaged some how. I think my fire station is likely okay but I’m going to go check them out on Temple’s next Trot around the neighborhood.

And the final days of the 2020 presidential campaign look ugly.

I can’t really say I’ve been reading much or watching much TV on any of this because I’m rather traumatized enough from everything going on .  But, everything I’ve seen

My kitchen stairs or one of the sites of the leaf shredding hurricane debris

makes me glad I’ve been incognito for a few days. The desperation around the Trump campaign is just frighteningly damaging to every one including his cult.  I still can’t believe they abandoned a bunch of Omahans on an Airfield in freezing weather or let a group of Floridians pass out from heat exhaustion.  Both were finally rescued by actions of the local fire departments which the Kremlin Potted Plant in the White House wasn’t going to praise until he found out if it was a friend or a foe.  WTF?

The COVID 19 pandemic–despite Trumpist attempts to ignore and downplay it–is getting worse.  NPR reports that they’ve been hiding statistics also.  No surprise that!  “Internal Documents Reveal COVID-19 Hospitalization Data The Government Keeps Hidden”

As coronavirus cases rise swiftly around the country, surpassing both the spring and summer surges, health officials brace for a coming wave of hospitalizations and deaths. Knowing which hospitals in which communities are reaching capacity could be key to an effective response to the growing crisis. That information is gathered by the federal government — but not shared openly with the public.

NPR has obtained documents that give a snapshot of data the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collects and analyzes daily. The documents — reports sent to agency staffers — highlight trends in hospitalizations and pinpoint cities nearing full hospital capacity and facilities under stress. They paint a granular picture of the strain on hospitals across the country that could help local citizens decide when to take extra precautions against COVID-19.

Withholding this information from the public and the research community is a missed opportunity to help prevent outbreaks and even save lives, say public health and data experts who reviewed the documents for NPR.

“At this point, I think it’s reckless. It’s endangering people,” says Ryan Panchadsaram, co-founder of the website COVID Exit Strategy and a former data official in the Obama administration. “We’re now in the third wave, and I think our only way out is really open, transparent and actionable information.”

Super Dome in the middle of the eye and yes these were the colors I saw.

Susan B Glasser writes this at The New Yorker: Denialism, Dishonesty, Deflection: The Final Days of the Trump Campaign Have It All. The President is ending his reëlection bid with scandals that call into question the legitimacy of next week’s vote.”

Whether or not Trump once again succeeds in pulling an unlikely win out of a near-certain defeat, this fall’s campaign may well go down as one of the most scandalous periods of his norm-shattering Presidency. Trump in recent weeks has openly flirted with white supremacy and bizarre conspiracy theories. He has demanded that the U.S. government investigate and jail Biden—it is not clear for what—and he has publicly threatened to fire the F.B.I. director and the Attorney General for failing to do so. He has held rallies at which his supporters chanted “Lock him up,” and did and said nothing to stop them. He has broadcast so much misinformation that social-media platforms such as Twitter have, for the first time, regularly warned readers about the veracity of his posts. He has lied so much that the Times found seventy-five per cent of his statements during a single rally to be untrue. He has issued orders that threaten to politicize the government long after he is gone, including an executive order, last week, which would remove key protections from the professional civil service; the potential consequences of this move are so significant that, on Monday, the Republican Trump appointee who would have to oversee it resigned in protest, warning that the decision will “replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance” across the government.

In recent weeks, scandalous revelations about Trump’s corruption include the Times’reporting on hundreds of millions of dollars of debt that Trump is personally liable for. (He will not say to whom.) The Washington Post disclosed this week that Trump has used his power to direct at least eight million dollars from the U.S. government—–and his political supporters—into his personal businesses since he took office. The consequences of Trump’s Presidency, meanwhile, include the forcible separation of at least twenty-six hundred migrant children from their parents at the southern border, and last week the awful news came out that five hundred and forty-five of these children are now stranded alone in the United States, owing to the authorities being unable to locate their mothers or fathers.

And this parade of horrors, of course, also includes Trump’s record on the coronavirus, a disastrous performance that, as of this week, has left more than two hundred and twenty thousand Americans dead. Universal mask-wearing could prevent perhaps a hundred and thirty thousand Americans from dying, according to a study in the scientific journal Nature which was released earlier this month. Yet Trump not only refuses to issue a national mask mandate; he has repeatedly and publicly questioned the need for mask-wearing during the fall campaign and has held numerous White House events with packed crowds of unmasked attendees.

This is my friend Grace Athas’ photo of the center of the eye over her uptown home.

Then, yesterday, the NYTs dropped what would be an October Surprise that kills Trump’s chances if we still lived in what was the normal United States of America.  Here it is summed up by New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait: “Trump Corruptly Meddled With Probe Into Crimes by Bank in Turkey.” The MSNBC coverage of this is evidently what got my TV stuck on the channel.  I was glued to the screen.  This is like immediate impeachment material for Trump, Barrett, and the Goddesses know who else?

In 2016, Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked then-Vice-President Joe Biden to lean on federal prosecutors who were investigating a Turkish bank for financial crimes and to hand over a dissident cleric living in the United States. The requests seemed to be on Biden’s mind when he publicly addressed reporters and piously explained that, in the United States, the justice system doesn’t work like that. “I suspect it’s hard for people to understand that as powerful as my country is, as powerful as Barack Obama is as president, he has no authority under our Constitution to extradite anyone,” Biden explained to reporters. “Only a federal court can do that. Nobody else can do that. If the president were to take this into his own hands, what would happen would be he would be impeached for violating the separation of powers.”

Well, the justice system works like that now.

The New York Times has a comprehensive report on Erdogan’s successful efforts to recruit top Trump administration officials into his corrupt scheme.

Scandals tend to be complicated, especially scandals involving banks. But this one is extremely simple. The basic elements:

1) The Justice Department was prosecuting financial crimes by a Turkish bank.

2) Turkey’s president asked President Trump to quash the investigation.

3) Trump has personally received more than $1 million in payments from business in Turkey while serving as president.

4) Two attorneys general loyal to Trump, Matthew Whitaker and William Barr, both pressured federal prosecutors to go easy on the Turkish bank.

The Times adds plenty of new detail to the last point, which is yet another blow to anybody who hoped Barr might preserve some shred of respect for the rule of law. “In mid-June 2019, when [Geoffrey] Berman met with Mr. Barr in Washington, the attorney general pushed Mr. Berman to agree to allow the Justice Department to drop charges against the defendants and terminate investigations of other suspected conspirators,” the Times reports. When Barr subsequently fired Berman, who resisted his pressure, Justice Department officials cited his stubbornness on the Turkey case “as a key reason for his removal.”

If you read one thing today make it this article. It is imperative he be voted out of office and removed as quickly as possible along with his appointments at the DOJ.

In the eye of a hurricane
There is quiet
For just a moment
A yellow sky

So, we’ve got a bit further to go on our Country’s Bumpy Ride. Tomorrow is Halloween.  Sunday is All Saints Day. Tuesday the votes are counted and I take my soul to the poll. Wednesday I turn 65.  What a long strange ride this is.

Take care!  Check in !

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Bear with me.

Jusepe de Ribera, Mary Magdalene in meditation, 1623

Today is the feast day of Mary Magdalene…Patron Saint of Women.

Moving on…

The connection between images of wrapped bodies is purposeful…it was like a bomb in my head last night.

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🙅🏻‍♀️

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Is it strange, there are zero public service announcements like this floating around the US?

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2020 Romance #klanchowder #turdreich #thedailydon

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A couple of links showing perfection:

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Featuring @balletluisf ✨✨ 📷 @alinnevolpato

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That last one, magnificence.

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Don't be a red shirt.

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The way that bear puts his paw up to catch the door…he must be an expert!

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: “Cotton-Pickers” and “Baby-Dealers”

 

Have you heard the latest?

Oh, there is always a latest these days…every few hours, someone from tRumpWorld says or does something outrageous, that had the same “thing” been said or done a couple of years ago…would have been cause for resignations, being fired, impeachment, imprisonment…etc.

Think about it…

I watched Tanner 88 last night, a series I had not seen since it came out in 1988. It made me think about the years, 1988, 1998, and 2018.

1988- Gary Hart…Below is an article from 1987…it reads like a pulp fiction piece when you compare it to the scandals from tRump:

The Destruction of Politician Gary Hart | Vanity Fair 

After the crash of his presidential campaign, the smoking pieces of Gary Hart’s life were blown across the front page of every newspaper in America. Gail Sheehy discovered the black box in the wreckage, and has put all the pieces back together. What she found is startling: the world of Donna Rice is much darker than it seemed, and Hart was on a collision course with it all along.

Here is a particular bit to relish:

 I examined Donna’s live-in love affair with a big-time cocaine dealer, who is currently serving ten years in a federal penitentiary. Four of Donna’s friends illuminated the rest of the smoke and mirrors in this high-rolling netherworld. It might be seen as the forbidden picture show to which Hart’s hidden, sybaritic side had always longed for admission. Indeed, it might be one in a dizzying series of mirrors on which, according to a senior political consultant who has known and watched him for over a decade, “Gary Hart has been writing in lipstick for years, ‘Stop me before I fuck again.’ ”

Geez, ‘Stop me before I fuck again.’ Could be the title of tRump’s biography…only perhaps a slight change to, fuck it up again?

 

1998- Bill Clinton…Another look from an article in 1998, yes this one is also from Vanity Fair…keeping with the same magazine for context.

Bill Clinton and Women | Vanity Fair 

When the dust of Clinton’s presidency settles, the laws against sexual harassment will still be on the books. But the social sanctions against the behavior will be irretrievably damaged.If you doubt this, look around. In the weeks that followed the Lewinsky scandal, those who had been most affronted by the awkward new social arrangements lately demanded of them shambled out of their caves to beat their chests. Conservative columnist John Leo, for example, crowed in U.S. News & World Report that the scandal was “probably the decade’s high-water mark of euphoria around the water cooler … a chance to break free from the office sex police.”
It’s all very well to protest that we shouldn’t look to our politicians as role models: the saga of Clinton’s sex life is being played out on too large a screen to ignore. You can say until you’re blue in the face that public men are entitled to a realm of privacy; that certain kinds of bad private behavior do not necessarily conflict with political competence, or even genius; and that adultery is not in itself of feminist concern. These are all irrelevancies. This mess is on our hands, and we do not have the luxury of arguing with its existence; the best we can do is call it what it is.

2018- Donald tRump…Again, from Vanity Fair:

Trump’s Prayer-Day Benediction: Paying Off Porn Stars Totally Normal for “People of Wealth” | Vanity Fair

Why is everyone making such a fuss about something all rich people do?

Last night on Fox News, in an unintentionally hilarious attempt to clear his client‘s name, our man Rudolph W. L. Giuliani informed host Sean Hannity that not only did Donald Trump know about the hush money lawyer Michael Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels, but the president repaid the $130,000. In what appeared to be an (unsuccessful) effort to get Trump off for potential campaign finance violations, Giuliani told Hannity that the whole thing was “perfectly legal” because “they funneled it through a law firm, and the president repaid it.” As my colleague Abigail Tracy points out, it doesn’t actually matter where the money came from—Trump’s own pocket, campaign contributions, or elsewhere—or if it was repaid; if, per the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, the money in question was used “for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office,” it’s still a crime! Which made Giuliani’s Thursday morning appearance on Fox & Friends slightly problematic, considering he told the group it was a good thing Cohen made the Daniels story “go away,” as it would have been really bad if “that came out on October 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.

But hey, we’re not here to debate what is or isn’t a federal crime—we’re here to discuss the social mores of the 1 percent. After Giuliani finished his media blitz, Trump logged onto Twitter to inform his followers that despite how things might look, paying porn stars six figures for their silence is standard operating procedure for the rich.

Gee, the good old days, when news about tRump was just things like paying off porn stars with campaign funds, conspiring with Russia, money laundering etc.

Anyway, that trip down memory lane was brought to you by the little mini-series Tanner 88, made possible from director producer Robert Altman and writer producer Gary Trudeau. Check it out if you can…it is streaming on Filmstruck and Amazon.

Now here are the links for today:

Fox News segment blows up after Trump advisor tells black Democrat he’s ‘out of his cotton-picking mind’

ox News host Ed Henry had to shut down a discussion on President Donald Trump’s immigration policies on Sunday morning when White House adviser David Bossie told a black Democratic consultant that he was out of his “cotton-picking mind.”

During the segment, Democratic communications expert Joel Payne railed at the Trump administration racist policies. The criticism angered Bossie, who also complained about ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden comparing the child detention centers to a Nazi concentration camp.

“Michael Hayden posted a picture of Auschwitz,” Bossie complained.

““Yeah, that liberal Michael Hayden,” Payne shot back, sarcastically referring to the fact that Hayden is a conservative.

“You are out of your cotton-picking mind!” Bossie blurted, causing Payne to blow up.

“Cotton-picking mind?” Payne exclaimed. “Brother, let me tell you something. Let me tell you something, I got some relatives who picked cotton, okay?”

Host Henry tried to take control as the two guests began yelling at each other, with Henry insisting Bossie intended to say “out of your mind,” before he called an end to the panel.

 

Video of “confrontation” can be found here:

Fox’s David Bossie Tells Democrat Joel Payne ‘You’re Out of Your Cotton-Picking Mind’ About Dog Whistles | Mediaite

Ed Henry Apologizes for David Bossie’s ‘Cotton-Picking’ Fox & Friends Remarks: ‘We ‘Don’t Agree With That’ | Mediaite

 

There was another kerfuffle this time between tRump representative, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and an outraged public, Juan Cole takes a look at it here:

Sarah Sanders complains about not being served in Restaurant after Urging same Treatment of Gays, Immigrants

Sara Sanders complained on Twitter about not being served at the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia. WaPo reports that the owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, insisted that patrons uphold standards of honesty and compassion, and that Sanders flacks for an “inhumane and unethical” administration, defending Trump’s “cruelest policies.”

Wilkinson’s grounds for not serving the White House spokesperson amounted to personal indecency. It is important to underline that this is what social scientists call an “achieved” status. The grounds had to do with Sanders’ own record of behavior and character, not with anything arbitrary about her.

In contrast, to achieved status, you have ascribed status. The latter is determined by things people think about your inherited characteristics. Being Black or Latino is an ascribed status. Or your family religion as a Catholic or Jew would be in this category of ascribed. It has to do not with your personal standards of character but with what prejudices people might have toward a whole group, of which you are part by virtue typically of inheritance. Even if you converted to Catholicism, e.g., you are not responsible for what all Catholics might have done or for what fanatic Protestants think about Catholicism.

It is wrong to shun people because of their ascribed status. It isn’t wrong to refuse to associate people because of their achieved status.

Sanders achieved her status as pariah in many quarters by lying assiduously on television for a living– by saying things she knew were wrong and/or untrue.

In contrast, Sanders is an advocate for allowing restaurateurs to discriminate on truly objectionable grounds, of ascribed status.

Read the rest at the link.

In connection with this: Expert: Sarah Sanders broke ethics rules with tweet about restaurant | US news | The Guardian

On Saturday, using her official White House account, Sanders posted: “Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington [Virginia] to leave because I work for POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me.

“I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”

Walter Shaub, federal ethics chief under Barack Obama and briefly Trumpand now a fierce critic of the administration, responded: “Sanders used her official govt account to condemn a private business for personal reasons … she can lob attacks on her own time but not using her official position.”

Since when do these people have any shred of ethics?

Case in point, Jeff Flake went on one of the Sunday shows:

Flake: Trump has ‘unfortunately’ redefined Republican Party | TheHill

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that President Trump has “unfortunately” redefined the Republican Party, and reiterated his calls for the president to face a primary challenge in 2020.

These assholes could do something, but they consistently vote with tRump anyways…fuck them all.

Here is a few other news items:

BNSF: Estimated 230,000 Gallons Of Oil Spilled In Derailment – Talking Points Memo That is a train derailment in Iowa…

Can America’s allies target Trump’s businesses in response to tariffs? – Business Insider

Op-eds in The Houston Chronicle and the Canadian news magazine Maclean’s suggested the only way to quell the rising trade tensions is to strike at Trump’s businesses. While some countries, such as China, have appeared to try and sway the president through treating his family’s businesses more favorably, countries have not made moves to curtail the businesses’ activity within their borders.

[…]

Debbie Shon, an international trade lawyer at Quinn Emanuel and a former official in the US Trade Representative’s office under President Bill Clinton, said that effectively hitting Trump’s businesses using trade actions — while legal — would be difficult.

“Looking at Trump’s businesses, I’m not sure what goods he sells that could be subject to tariffs or how you could use trade actions to hit his businesses unless you really tailored some sort of measure targeting key industries like real estate,” Shon told Business Insider.

That would force any country trying to go after Trump to get creative with their response. Scott Gilmore, a social entrepreneur and former Canadian diplomat, suggested in Maclean’s that Canada should use anti-corruption laws to pressure Trump on trade.

Trump-branded skyscrapers in Toronto and Vancouver represent the president’s most prominent business ventures in the country.

Well, I will leave that one to Dak…

At Midnight, Riyadh Erupts in Cheers for Women Drivers–but Women Activists still in Jail –Another one from Juan Cole, give it a read.

Now some updates on the shit happening at both borders:

Strict immigration enforcement extends beyond the border to Maine, Ohio – Axios

The chaos isn’t just in the Southwest. Increased highway checkpoints and workplace raids away from borders are alarming advocates for immigrants.

The big picture: “For 11 hours on Wednesday, drivers who wanted to travel through a remote stretch of northern Maine were asked a simple question: Where were you born?,” the N.Y. Times reports.

Show less
  • “Border Patrol agents closed off all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 north of Bangor, Me., stopping drivers, searching outside their cars with drug-sniffing dogs and refusing to let them pass until they disclosed their citizenship.”
  • On a cellphone video, a Bangor Daily News reporter was stopped near the lake and lumber town of Lincoln (more than 80 miles from the Canadian border) and told: “If you want to continue down the road, then yes ma’am. We need to know what citizen — what country you’re a citizen of.”
  • I have traveled that stretch of I-95 (all Trump country up there), and the checkpoints have been set up sporadically since 9/11. But they certainly have a different effect in this environment.

More details of other raids at the link.

Boston Boomer linked to this yesterday in the comments: Babies separated from immigrant parents in Miami shelters, lawmaker says | Miami Herald

At least 10 babies and toddlers taken away from their parents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are being housed in “tender-age shelters” in Miami-Dade, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the Miami Herald on Saturday.

The Florida lawmaker said the children — who range in age from newborns to 5 year olds — are being sheltered at His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens and Catholic Charities’ Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children’s Village in Cutler Bay, formerly known as Boys Town.

These facilities are also housing about 88 children ages 6 to 12 who have been separated from their parents, she said.

When the Democratic congresswoman, who represents parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, provided the Miami Herald with these figures, she cited a document given to her by federal officials.

It is very disturbing…especially when you consider the other tweet BB linked to, that the children will be adopted out.

 

More lawsuits are being filed against tRump: ‘Not knowing anything about my daughter is torture’: Immigrants separated from children at border file lawsuit in federal court – ABC News

As DHS released a statement: Fact Sheet: Zero-Tolerance Prosecution and Family Reunification | Homeland Security

It says over 500 children have been reunited with their families.

  • CBP has reunited 522 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) in their custody who were separated from adults as part of the Zero Tolerance initiative.  The reunions of an additional 16 UAC who were scheduled to be reunited on June 22, 2018 were delayed due to weather affecting travel and we expect they will all be reunited with their parents within the next 24 hours.  There will be a small number of children who were separated for reasons other than zero tolerance that will remain separated: generally only if the familial relationship cannot be confirmed, we believe the adult is a threat to the safety of the child, or the adult is a criminal alien.

All this as one op/ed calls for asylum: The U.S. Should Grant Asylum To All The Families We Separated | HuffPost

In many countries, when thugs take power, they inflict harm on others. Every person then has a choice to make: join the thugs or refuse to harm others. The morally correct choice is the harder one. The brave ones who refuse to be complicit ― such as my clients from El Salvador, Nepal, Haiti and Cameroon who were asked to make this very choice ― were met with the most dire consequences. If they escape, they forsake all they know in hopes that they will be safer in places unknown.

Clinging to the audacious hope that their children’s lives will be better, families flee to the U.S., the nation whose symbol is a Statue of Liberty and whose laws have welcomed millions seeking refuge.  In the most cruel bait and switch, President Donald Trump ― aided by his attorney general and secretary of homeland security ― took those children away, stripping from their parents the very reason they risked so much.

They say the most unrelenting grief a person can experience is burying their child. Our country has inflicted this kind of pain on desperate parents. The very least we can do is grant them the right to stay here.

 

So, have a good afternoon and evening. This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: The “Twits” are strong with this “Orange” dickhead.

 

The image above is from the Instagram of one of the survivors from the Valentine’s Day murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It is just one of the victim reactions to the killings…another has been the vocal call outs and public outcries from many MSDHS students. They are not taking the “thoughts and prayers” bullshit. They want action. Take a look at what these brave student survivors are doing to stand up for their murdered friends and fellow children nationwide.

 

As many have pointed out, the out spoken nature of this reaction is different from the mass murders of before. Perhaps because the media is actually paying attention to them?

I don’t know. But as you can see, tRump has been busy this morning:

Fucking hell…

 

Parkland students are fighting back…

I only want you to realize that this is the world we live in….

 

And this is the pretender to the throne, the president that we have to serve as protector in chief:

 

 

This is an open thread…


Sunday Reads: Wonderful Women 


Good Afternoon

This is going to be quick, that is what happens when a migraine is on day two…and the medicine ain’t working. 



This is an open thread.