Worn Out Friday News and Infrastructure Week

Across the street from me on October 26, 2021, about a month after Hurricane IDA. Kathryn Huff

Hi Sky Dancers!

It’s Friday, and it’s been quite a week for me. I want today’s post to be a more personal story. I live in a city with worn-out infrastructure that’s on the frontline of climate change. We have all the usual urban problems that all cities have these days, including opioid abuse and challenges with families and people struggling to make ends meet.

Let me introduce you to the place that used to be my favorite neighbor when I moved down to my neighborhood about 23 years ago from the French Quarter. I lived 5 doors up from an active navy base filled with marines and sailors. It had been the center of the Navy’s Logistics and Supply since World War I.

Daily, I was greeted with the “sound off” song of marines and soldiers jogging down my avenue. The street was filled with houses owned by gay men, and I frequently went over to drink some coffee on a porch during the daily jog that happened slightly after reveille sounded. I always felt relatively safe here even though tourists and many people didn’t venture here, which was fine by me. Most everyone was either in the service industry or some work related to the port. We had the usual neighborhood bars and old-school food places. That was until Hurricane Katrina.

Afterward, the base’s operations were moved to Jackson, Florida, in one of those Dubya Bush/Turd Blossom political moves because Jeb was Florida’s Governor and Florida was and still is a critical swing state. They gave the base to the city with money to maintain it. Here’s what it looks like today.

Let me tell you about my day-so-far and month. Today, I woke up to the sound of a rape happening there. I hear everything because it’s a big echo chamber pointed at my house. There was some kind of music for a few hours before dawn back there near the old gas station. However, it wasn’t as bad as what happened Saturday night, when an illegal rave went on again from dusk to dawn with its loud, thunka thunkas repetitively screeched out by driving electric bass and drums.

Last week, I had to call 911 because there was essentially a shoot-out that was still going on when I was talking to the operator. Over a dozen rounds from two guns endlessly ringing out. They sent three cars, but I have no idea what went on. I told the operator I wasn’t going to go out and take a look. Thank you very much, and I’m sorry I have to keep sending police over there.

Abandoned Navy Base New Orleans Bywater Waxing Gibbous moon, October 20, 2021, Kathryn Huff

The place is home to about 300 homeless–mostly drug addicted–people. They’re also pretty young. There’s an encampment behind a locked gated area with tents. Then, there are the folks that grab a room in the base and essentially live there. There’s even a free store over there where everyone dumps their extra street grabs. There are frequent fires too. If you’re suspected of stealing someone’s stash, your room gets set ablaze. Stuff also gets dumped out the window. All the furniture and things the navy left there have been essentially destroyed or sold off.

I also lost my power early this morning for the second time this week. This time there was no reason given. The early Monday fire that burned a friend’s house mostly down was associated with a power outage. Two weeks ago, a blazing transformer caused another power outage. Our feeder lines fell in the Mississippi during Ida, and I was without power for over 2 weeks and I’m wondering if it’s all due to that and old wiring in old houses. Now, my laundry room has no power in it, and I’m trying to get an electrician out to see what happened. However, I just got told by my dearest Allstate that my damage didn’t meet my $7,800 named hurricane deductible that has reduced some from the $12,000 named hurricane they gave me after Katrina. It was suspiciously the amount of money they gave me for damage too. I’ve got to go back to FEMA yet again.

So, my point with all of this is that this shouldn’t be normal in any city, but it is expected here. We’re lucky the Corps of Engineers up-armored our flood defenses with new and expensive equipment after Katrina. We didn’t flood this time. We’re fortunate the Public Sewerage and Water Board figured Entergy outages into their plans a few years back, and their backup generators stayed on, or the entire area would have lost potable water. Entergy–a for-profit company–failed and is failing us miserably. It still is, as far as I can tell.

After Hurricane Katrina, the LLC that serves New Orleans declared bankruptcy and passed all the costs on to us. Even before then, we had some of the highest electric rates in the country. I was in charge of the budget of the Atlanta Fed and its branches for several years. One of the extensive reports I always had to write was why the New Orleans Fed had higher power bills than the SF Fed, the NYC Fed, and all of the Fed Branches in the country. Take a guess. And this was way before Katrina. Privatization of Public Services should not be a default option for policy. Letting them literally get away with murder during storms should be a disqualifier.

So, I would like some sympathy and help like the rest of my neighbors, but that’s not why I’m writing this. Well, maybe a little. However, I want to warn you that it’s coming to a city near you if it hasn’t already. Think of Texas and its adventure in being out of the grid during a winter storm. Think of Florida, where buildings are collapsing because they were built near sandy buildings where water has encroached and exposed bad building practices and again, maintenance on the structure.

This is what you get with years of ignoring infrastructure and undermining nature by ignoring the impact fossil fuels have had on the climate and geography of the one planet we all live on. It impacts our health and our ability to live safely with what should be normal services in a developed country like ours.

So, this brings me to why we should be fighting like hell for all the Build Back Better Plan components and thankful that it’s really infrastructure week. The funds going to Louisiana and New Orleans are much needed. Both of my Senators are educated men with a tendency to kowtow to idiots. However, this is one bill that we owe thanks to one of my Senators who is now experiencing the full treatment of the confederacy of dunces. He helped write, sponsor, and cast a yes vote for the bill. He did have some coverage from McConnell but the Republican Base has been threatening every Republican who voted yes.

Please stay on top of all the infrastructure, climate change initiatives, and social structure needed to truly correct our course that got so skewed starting in the Reagan years. My neighbors and I stand as anecdotal evidence to all that bad policy from closing down mental health facilities to privatizing things that didn’t need to be privatized and selling out to the drug and fossil fuel industries. Let’s take our no war atm bonus and solve those problems.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Happy Birthday to hometown hero Jon Batiste and congratulations on all the success with this album! Here’s everything that’s right about my home town! Watch him and the band play his beautiful music!


Monday Reads: Just Plain Tired Reads

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I’m going to really cop out on you today because I’m exhausted and I need to finish my grades. A good deal of the reason for the exhaustion is the hell realm that’s been my street lately. The Tourists are back and they’ve joined in with the local colony of hipsters to search out every nuisance business and event in the area and wander around like lost toddlers.

A 3 day a week rave in the Navy yard with its dusk to dawn thumpa thumpa music and skateboarding and skating while breaking and entering, trespassing, and noise ordinance violating has driven me to call the police and I’m calling the mayor and my city council member next. Last week I found myself hoping that the Chinese space rocket would take out the entire Navy base and a few other select buildings in the area. The Desk Sargent at the local precinct keeps telling me I’m not the only sleep-deprived local asking for help with the noise and zoning violations going on around here. (Yes we have laws here!)

You can’t sit on your porch during Tourist infestations because they assume you’re just a Disneyland like freebie for them invading your neighborhood so they can ask you dumb questions like “where’s the nearest Applebees”? It came from an elderly couple so I told them out by the airport–which is true–but I really wanted to say something like Topeka, Kansas. I suggest you visit there instead. If it was one of these colonizers I’d suggest the middle of Lake Ponchartrain during Hurricane Season.

So, the entire night, 911 call and all came to a blaring stop when we had one of the largest Formosan Termite swarms that I’d ever experienced. It seems Jerky Hipsters, Ugly American Tourists, and Colonizers can’t tolerate the little beasts. It was so bad that a few found a crack in my bedroom window and headed towards my desk lamp. I pulled the window down immediately followed by the black-out shades in my bedroom I installed to save my life from the Air BNB invaders at the AirBnbs on both sides of me.

If you stay every use an AirBnb I’m pretty sure I can’t talk to you ever again. You have no idea how miserable it makes the lives of locals all over the planet. Stay in a damn hotel or any of the lovely motor Inns out by the Airport! Thank you very much!

So … the Onion sent me the perfect article for me to post for this Open thread.

Enticing potential bookers with the apartment’s best features, a New Orleans Airbnb reportedly touted Monday its location in the heart of the city’s historic Airbnb quarter. “Located mere steps from a wide array of other Airbnbs, this apartment is the perfect spot for a couple or two friends to explore the sights and sounds of the Big Easy’s iconic Airbnb district,” read the listing in part, adding that the apartment was located on the top floor of a beautiful gut-rehabbed building dating all the way back to 2009. “A private and spacious apartment located right where a 1852 Creole cottage used to be, our year-round rental offers incredible views of dozens of other Airbnbs with a long and storied tradition of hosting bachelorette parties and boys’ weekends. Upon your arrival, you’ll find we’ve even made a little walking tour of all the best short-term rentals dotting the Airbnb Quarter, or you can strike out on your own, and who knows? While you’re out getting coffee and beignets, you might even find yourself stumbling upon some of the oldest Airbnbs in the city.” The apartment listing also touted the benefits of staying near the colorful local community, encouraging customers to experience firsthand New Orleans’ famous Instacart and UberEats delivery drivers.

They forgot to add you can have fun treating the locals like your private concierge and ensuring every neighborhood bar now has conversations worthy of the Applebee’s in Topeka, Kansas.

Note: No Termites were hurt during this particular snark session where I whine about the worst business models ever necessary because no one can make a real living at anything else.

You may discuss amongst yourselves or completely change the topic.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Christmas Friday Reads

Christmas at the Roosevelt hotel where my parents spent their honeymoon after having a yuletide wedding in Kansas City.

Good Day Sky Dancers and Happy Christmas to those who celebrate!

Usually, I have these wonderful pictures of the Lutcher Bonfires that are lit to greet Père Noël!  They were cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  This has been a holiday season unlike any other in my life time.  There were some normal things up and running even after the Katrina Xmas.  We still have very French traditions down here despite Napoleon selling us out to Thomas Jefferson.  Reveillon–the Christmas Eve Feast– is one of my favorites because, yes, FOOD! 

In France, a country where at least 60 percent of the population identifies as Catholic according to Europe Now, even the majority who may be a little irregular in their attendance at Sunday services will often come out for midnight mass. And, as 100 percent of the country’s population are serious foodies, naturally la messe de minuit is followed by a sumptuous meal called le Réveillon, which translates to “the awakening.” Which kind of implies that you’ve fallen asleep during mass – tsk tsk – but still, a luxurious meal of escargots, oysters, roast pheasant, and foie gras followed by bûche de Noël and washed down with Champagne is a pretty nice way to wake up from a long winter’s nap.

In fact, Complete France says that a single Réveillon is not sufficient to make la saison des fêtes sufficiently joyeuse – instead, they celebrate le Réveillon de Noël on Christmas Eve (or rather, early Christmas morning) and on New Year’s Eve they partake in le Réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre. Can’t make it to France this year? That’s ok. Nineteenth-century French immigrants brought this tradition to that French-est of U.S. cities, New Orleans. Visit New Orleans notes that the early, midnight mass-based tradition seemed to have died out by the WWII era, it was revived in the 1990s in a more secular version.

Revillion at Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street.

You may see what Christmas Eve dinner looks like around the world too at that link!  Believe me, it’s top quality Food Porn!

There was an intentional bombing this morning in Nashville.

A large explosion was reported in downtown Nashville early Christmas morning.

The explosion happened in the area of Second Avenue and Broadway near Commerce Street occurred around 6:30 am Friday. Heavy black smoke could be seen rising above the affected area.

MNPD, FBI, and ATF are investigating the explosion of an RV outside 166 2nd Avenue North downtown.

Officers responded to a call of shots fired call on 2nd Avenue at approximately 5:30 a.m. The department’s Hazardous Devices Unit was called to check the RV. As those officers were en route, the vehicle exploded outside an AT&T transmission building. Multiple buildings on 2nd Avenue were damaged, some extensively.

They’ve not released any more information than that as of this writing.  However, this is some interesting commentary.

This looks exactly like the kind’ve Revillion Menu served up by Paul Prudhomme’s stellar students my friends Chefs Mary and Greg Sonnier.Their restaurant is named after their daughter Gabrielle  They do have a great take out menu these days though!!

Here’s a few links to show you how litigious, unsuccessful, and crazy Trumpist law suits can be.  Trump and his cronies seem to be better at getting put in jail  with criminal lawsuits than successful getting what they consider justice mostly because of hurt widdle feefees.

 Gabriel T. Rubin / Wall Street Journal:

Trump Lawyers Get Little Backup From Their Firms or Universities  —  Chapman University becomes the latest organization to formally distance itself from the president’s legal efforts to challenge the election results

Joe Walsh / Forbes:

Judge Tosses Out Rep. Nunes’ Lawsuit Against Washington Post  —  A federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Thursday, the latest development in a string of legal battles waged by Nunes against mainstream media outlets …
 

Jon Swaine / Washington Post:

Sidney Powell’s secret intelligence contractor witness is a pro-Trump podcaster  —  As she asked the U.S. Supreme Court this month to overturn President Trump’s election loss, the attorney Sidney Powell cited testimony from a secret witness presented as a former intelligence contractor …
 
 
The Trump lists of pardons are the most horrifying collection of war criminals and thieves and traitors that I’ve ever seen.   Here’s some links to read on those actions.
 

Among the dozens of people who received pardons from President Trump this week were several who lied to investigators and obstructed a federal probe into the president’s links to Russia.

Some had personal connections to Trump or his most loyal backers. A handful were Republican lawmakers rewarded for fealty to the president after betraying the public trust. Others abused their authority in more violent ways, killing or injuring unarmed civilians.

Taken together, the rogues’ gallery of criminals receiving clemency this week showcased Trump’s willingness to exert raw political power for his own personal gain, handing out favors to friends at a time when he is seeking GOP support for his flailing bid to reverse his election loss.

In a process White House aides describe as ad hoc, many of the pardon seekers ended up on the president’s radar after conservative activists, television commentators or other friends of Trump made personal appeals on their behalf.

 

Sen. Brice Wiggins, a prominent Republican member of the Mississippi Senate from Pascagoula, broke ranks with most members of his party in the state last night as he criticized President Donald Trump’s ongoing pardon spree.

Wiggins, who served as an assistant district attorney for seven years and as a youth court prosecutor for one year before joining the Mississippi Senate in 2012, said in a tweet thread yesterday evening that Trump’s pardons “aren’t good.”

“They smack of cronyism and political favors. As such, they erode our faith in the rule of law,” Wiggins, who chairs the powerful Senate Judiciary Division B Committee, wrote in a tweet thread Friday night.

 

Faris Fadel had just one word to describe the recent pardoning by the Trump administration of four private security contractors convicted of killing Iraqi civilians — including his brother — in a public square 13 years ago: Unfair.

Fadel’s brother, Osama Abbas, had been on his way to work that fateful day. He had just crossed a street into Baghdad’s Nisoor Square to do a money transfer — a last minute change in plans that would cost the 41-year old electrical engineer his life.

At the time, the Blackwater firm had been contracted to provide security for U.S. diplomats in Iraq. It was four years after the 2003 invasion of Iraq that ultimately toppled Saddam Hussein. The four men, military veterans working as contractors for the State Department, opened fire in the crowded traffic circle killing 14 Iraqis, including a child, and wounding over a dozen more.

 

“Everyone’s sending emails to Jared,” a source familiar with the process said. “If you want to make something happen, go to Jared.”

The source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the ongoing process, spoke with Yahoo News on Monday, before Trump issued the spate of pardons and commutations. They predicted the coming onslaught of pardons.

“It’s going to be a free-for-all,” the source said.

They went on to claim that Kushner was “keeping score” and tracking the people asking for clemency. “He’ll let you know where you stand,” the source said. “The ones who are going to get pardoned and get to the top of the list are the ones who have representatives, staff or counsel that were loyal to the president.”

The White House did not respond to requests for comment. A second source familiar with the pardons said they “believe technically that pardons and clemency were under Jared Kushner in the White House.”

One pardon recipient was Kushner’s own father, Charles, a real estate developer who was convicted in 2005 on charges related to illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering that stemmed from an extortion plot in which he hired a woman to seduce and blackmail his brother-in-law. Pardons also went to former members of Trump’s presidential campaign who were ensnared in the investigations into his presidential bid, including Paul Manafort, Trump’s erstwhile campaign chairman, and longtime adviser Roger Stone.

Anyway, hope you pass some good times, mes cher amies!  We’ll get through this together!   January 20, 2021 is coming and Kamala’s going to get the work done and Joe’s gonna calm things down for sure!

What’s on your on reading and blogging list today? And, are you binging anything juicy?


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?


Monday Reads: Drumpf Dump and then some kewl stuff

Good Morning!

I found some really interesting things for you to read and watch today but let’s just do a quick Drumpfistan Detritus Dump first.  It’s easy to look at US History and recoil from the dark side with its huge numbers of crimes and cruelties inflicted by ‘White Christian Hegemony’.  Andrew Jackson’s removal of hundreds of thousands of indigenous Americans from their Tribal Lands on the Trail of Tears should be forced reading every time we celebrate any holiday like Columbus Day.  The contributions of women in this country have long buried, discounted, and discouraged.  The absolute impact of how our country was built on the slave trade and on the institution of slavery which has created lasting effects of racism that just do not go away is poorly understood by many Americans. This last year we have learned how vested so many are in the idea of White Christian Male Hegemony that it hurts to watch any action taken by any one in the White House.  They will destroy everything to protect it.

Racist and misogynistic attacks by this Administration on two black women US Representatives–Maxine Waters and Frederica Wilson–and a young black gold star widow–Myeshia Johnson–continue to gall.  The blatant misogyny and racism and this ongoing dog whistle and bait show provide us a glimpse into minds that obviously believe that some gold star families are more ‘sacred than others.’  This leaves me shocked and deeply saddened.  The attacks are also awash with lies and so disrespectful that none of these old, white, ‘Christian’–yes I’ve taken to using ironic quotation marks–men can’t even speak their names correctly if at all.

This is not the power of soft bigotry.  This is full on white supremacist mode.  No thinking person can deny this.

 

 

 

A grieving, pregnant widow and mother of small children has been compelled to go on Network TV to defend the Congresswoman that mentored her late husband.  We all believe Frederica Wilson.

The pregnant widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was among four U.S. service members killed in Niger earlier this month, expressed a mix of blame and sorrow today on “Good Morning America,” saying she was “very angry” about President Donald Trump‘s condolence phone call and upset because she says he struggled to “remember my husband’s name.”

ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos spoke to Myeshia Johnson, who criticized Trump’s handling of the phone call that started a firestorm of controversy.

I still can’t move beyond this.  Meet a retired Chicago police officer …

We continue to stand witness to the suffering of our country men and women in the Virgin Islands and in Puerto Rico. The fact we now likely have incredibly failed military policy in Niger that ended the lives of 4 soldiers is at the heart of the Drumpf-created media circus that we’re watching. It serves to take our minds off of that and the suffering in our Caribbean territories.  McCain has joined in with swipes at Drumpf’s successful Draft Dodging during the Vietnam war.  Bone spurs?  Seriously?  Now would be a really great time for Congress to have some truth seeking hearings but their heads are up the asses of millionaires and billionaires seeking tax cuts.

Meanwhile, we have “Forever Wars”.  It also seems the groundwork is being laid for a few more.  It’s the belief of quite a few of us that the entire West Wing and the Drumpf Pentagon is out looking for an excuse to preemptively strike North Korea.

While President Donald Trump rattles sabers on Twitter and slams “Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un, there is also a perceptible hardening of tone among senior officials. Military action to halt North Korea’s march to a missile tipped with a nuclear warhead that could hit the US mainland appears to be a growing possibility.

Trump upped the rhetoric another notch in an interview with Fox Business Network broadcast Sunday, in which he said Washington was “so prepared, like you wouldn’t believe” for any contingency with Pyongyang.

“You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be,” Trump said. “Would it be nice not to do that? The answer is yes. Will that happen? Who knows, who knows.”

Trump’s power to shock has been eroded by the extraordinary spectacle of his nine months as President.
Yet it’s still stunning to hear an American President speaking so openly about the possibility of a war, that could, under some scenarios, cause the most devastation of any US conflict, at least since the Vietnam War.

And then, again, he talks shit about our allies who will probably leave us high and dry on any Drumpf war adventure.

Donald Trump has blamed a rise in crime in the UK on “radical Islamic terror”, despite there being no evidence to support the claim.

In an early morning tweet the President said: “Just out report: ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ Not good, we must keep America safe!”

So, enough of this … let’s end on the UPSIDE of humanity.

A new prehistoric finding has paleontologists stumped.

Paleontologists in Germany have discovered 9.7 million-year-old fossilised teeth that a German politician has hailed as potentially “rewriting” human history.

The dental remains were found by scientists sifting through gravel and sand in a former bed of the Rhine river near the town of Eppelsheim.

They resemble those belonging to “Lucy”, a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton of an extinct primate related to humans and found in Ethiopia.

However, they do not resemble those of any other species found in Europe or Asia.

Scientists were so confused by the find they held off from publishing their research for the past year, Deutsche Welle reports.

Herbert Lutz, director at the Mainz Natural History Museum and head of the research team, told local media: “They are clearly ape teeth. Their characteristics resemble African finds that are four to five million years younger than the fossils excavated in Eppelsheim.

“This is a tremendous stroke of luck, but also a great mystery.”

At a press conference announcing the discovery, the mayor of Mainz suggested the find could force scientists to reassess the history of early humans.

I discovered a gem of a page on FaceBook.  It’s called History’s Women Adventurers. It’s loaded with video after video of amazing women. Now, I’m looking for more about them.

From Scary Mommy: GIFS of “women just destroying SHIT”. Yup. You’re enjoying some of them on this post!  Do take a brief look at the lives of two adventurous women!  You’ll be glad that you did! The Facebook page is an amazing collection of short videos of adventuring women’s lives. Here’s an article about the effort to celebrate the legacies of these women.

 

Also, go Check out Doug McCash’s tweeter feed for artwork on homes and buildings through out New Orlean’s 7th ward.  Doug is an Arts and Entertainment writer at The Times-Picayune. There’s some really fine street art out there.

Chad Knight is the Digital artist from Portland whose CGI sculpture is up top.

So, at least I ended my rant with something uplifting.  Destruction and creation and evolving life;  What could be more human?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?