Friday the 13th Reads: “They were warned… They are doomed… And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.”

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The news appears to be all over the place today. I’ll see if I can sort through it.  Meanwhile, it’s Fanart Friday and Friday the 13th, and I’m still stressed by the headlines and life circumstances.  It’s always good to curl up with a good horror movie. Enjoy these fan takes on Jason Vorhees from the franchise and the slasher that never seems to die.

My mother was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and I consider the city my second hometown. We spent most weekends there or in small neighboring Kansas towns with my grandparents. It was the place I always wanted to live because “Everything is up-to-date in Kansas City.”  I’d prefer to stay on the Kansas Side of State Line Road today, where most of my cousins have settled.  Missouri has lost its mind.

This is from the Washington Post as reported by Timothy Bella. “Missouri Republicans adopt stricter House dress code — but just for women.” WTAF?

The Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives used its session’s opening day Wednesday to tighten the dress code for female legislators, while leaving the men’s dress code alone.

The changes were spearheaded by state Rep. Ann Kelley (R), a co-sponsor who was among the Republicans seeking to require women to wear a blazer when in the chamber. She was met by swift opposition from Democrats who called it “ridiculous.”

The state House eventually approved a modified version of Kelley’s proposal, which allows for cardigans as well as jackets, but still requires women’s arms to be concealed. Missouri Democrats tore into Republicans for pushing the new restrictions on what women in the chamber could wear.

“We are fighting — again — for a woman’s right to choose for something. This time, it’s how she covers herself — and the interpretation of someone who has no background in fashion,” state Rep. Raychel Proudie (D) said in a speech on the floor. “I spent $1,200 on a suit, and I can’t wear it in the People’s House because someone who doesn’t have the range tells me that it’s inappropriate.”

While previous rules said that “dresses or skirts or slacks worn with a blazer or sweater and appropriate dress shoes or boots” were allowed to be worn by female lawmakers, Kelley, one of the co-sponsors of H.R. 11, said Wednesday that women needed to wear jackets on the floor as “it is essential to always maintain a formal and professional atmosphere.”

Paging Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kyrsten Sinema, and Lauren Boebert! Any fashion tips?  I remember being forced to wear nude hose, low heels, and a suited skirt through much of the 80s and 90s.  I couldn’t even wear pants to school until 8th grade.  Do we really need to be monitored, and for what reason?

There is some justice left in the world for Trump.  This is from the New York Times. “Trump Organization Fined $1.6 Million for Evading Taxes”.  Will have to borrow from some of his friends or grift his followers for the sum?

Former president Donald J. Trump’s family real estate business was ordered on Friday to pay a $1.6 million criminal penalty for its conviction on felony tax fraud and other charges, a stinging rebuke and the maximum possible punishment.

The sentence, handed down by a judge in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, caps a lengthy legal ordeal for Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, which was convicted in December of doling out off-the-books perks to some of its top executives. One of the executives who orchestrated the scheme, Allen H. Weisselberg, pleaded guilty and testified at the company’s trial. He was sentenced on Tuesday to serve five months at the notorious Rikers Island jail complex.

The financial penalty is a pittance to the company, and the former president, who collected hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year while in office. But the verdict branded the company a lawbreaker, exposed a culture that nurtured illegality for years and handed political ammunition to Mr. Trump’s opponents. Prosecutors also continue to press a criminal investigation against the man himself.

The Trump Organization’s lawyers on Friday sought a smaller penalty, pinning the blame on an outside accounting firm, Mazars USA, which they said should have halted the wrongdoing. They also blamed Mr. Weisselberg, who they say carried out the scheme without intending to benefit the Trump Organization. But Joshua Steinglass, a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, argued that the company carried out “a multidimensional scheme to defraud the tax authorities.”

“To avoid detection, they simply falsified the records,” he explained. “This conduct can only be described as egregious,” adding that although the maximum fines may have limited impact on the corporation, “this court should nonetheless impose such fines.”

The judge overseeing the case, Juan Merchan, agreed, imposing the maximum $1.61 million.

“These are arguments that were made throughout the trial,” Justice Merchan said about the defense’s contention that Mazars and Mr. Weisselberg were to blame. “This is not what the evidence has shown, and it is certainly not what the jury found.”

Jason Voorhees, 2017
by Kid-Eternity

This story hits home for me and other cancer survivors and their friends and family.  It’s from the BBC. “US cancer death rate drops by 30% since 1991 .”  There some interesting sidenotes to these findings.

The research found that “at least 42% of the projected new cancers are potentially avoidable”, noting that 19% of cancers are caused by smoking and 18% of cancers are “caused by a combination of excess body weight, drinking alcohol, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity”.

The report also examined racial and economic disparities in cancer outcomes.

The Covid-19 pandemic added to already existing difficulties for marginalised groups to get cancer screenings and treatment.

For nearly every type of cancer, white people have a higher survival rate than black people. Black women with breast cancer face a 41% higher death rate than white women.

One bright spot was that cancer death rates in children and adolescents have seen large declines. Since the 1970s, cancer death rates in children have declined by 71% and by 61% for those ages 15 to 19.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death, after accidents, for children one to 14 years old.

Some cancer progress in children has lagged behind adult research due to “lower enrolment in clinical trials, differences in tumour biology and treatment protocols, as well as treatment tolerance and compliance,” according to the report.

New York Representative George Santos just keeps giving the Trump Family Criminal Syndicate in the Grift business. This is from CNN: “George Santos said accused ‘Ponzi scheme’ he worked at was ‘100% legitimate’ when accused of fraud in 2020.”

Republican Rep. George Santos, said a company later accused of running a “Ponzi scheme” was “100% legitimate” when it was accused by a potential customer of fraud in 2020, more than a year before it was sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Once the company, where he worked, came under federal scrutiny, Santos claimed publicly that he was unaware of accusations of fraud at the firm, a CNN KFile review of Santos’ social media and statements found.

Santos, the embattled freshman Republican, faces growing pressure to resign after he lied and misrepresented his educational, work and family history, including falsely claiming he was Jewish and the descendant of Holocaust survivors. Santos admitted to “embellishing” his resume, but has maintained he is “not a criminal.”

Santos worked at Harbor City Capital Corp. in 2020 and 2021, a company the SEC said was a “classic Ponzi scheme” in an April 2021 complaint against the firm. A Ponzi scheme is a type of fraud where existing investors are paid with funds from new investors, often promising artificially high rates of return with little risk. Santos was not named in the SEC complaint.

As I recall, Nixon was the last Republican to say “I am not a crook.”  How’d that work out for him?

Here’s some reads if you want to get caught up with the Russian attacks on Ukraine.

New York Times: Western Tanks Appear Headed to Ukraine, Breaking Another Taboo

BBCSoledar: Russia claims victory in battle for Ukraine salt mine town

CNNPutin burns through another top Ukraine commander as armed forces chief is handed ‘poisoned chalice’

NBC NewsSatellite images show staggering destruction from bitter fighting in Ukraine’s east

Breaking Defense: How to re-arm NATO for the post-Ukraine future

Well, that’s it for me today!!  Don’t go camping today!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Mostly Monday Reads

Cossack Mamay is tempted to drink by the Polish-looking Satan, Ukrainian folk art,

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There’s actually a lot of good news today!  Above all,  there is excellent news from the Ukrainian front that Russia is being driven back.  There are even calls now for Putin to step down! I’ll get to that in a moment, but I couldn’t resist putting this headline from The Times of London first. I love the “snub for Trump” in the lede.  So much for Trump’s lie about a secret knighthood.  They weren’t expecting President Biden, so now there’s a scramble to prepare for his visit..

I’m going to post Ukrainian art today from the various museums.  We know that the Russians targeted all types of cultural locations and that many folk art items were lost in the bombings.  It will likely be a while before we discover which great works remain.

Meanwhile,

Слава Україні!  (Romanized: Sláva Ukrayíni!)

ILYA KABAKOV, THE FLYING KOMAROV.1994

 

I hope this is embarrassing for Trump, who was the ultimate clod during his visit with the late Queen Elizabeth.

Westminster Abbey is expected to be so full that only one representative from each country can attend, although they can be joined by a partner.

Questions have been asked in the US over whether Donald Trump will be invited but British sources have scotched the idea that he could accompany the US delegation and said there would not be space for Biden’s predecessors. Dwight Eisenhower, then the former president, attended Churchill’s funeral a private capacity.

A reception for overseas leaders will take place at Buckingham Place on the eve of the service, but no meetings will be allowed because of the strain on security teams, according to the Foreign Office

One more thing about Trump, and I’ll celebrate the victories of Ukraine.  This is from CNN, which I’m probably going to quit quoting because the news channel is becoming an unreliable source soon due to changes in Top Management.  “Exclusive: ‘I’m just not going to leave’: New book reveals Trump vowed to stay in White House.”   This is about Maggie Haberman’s new tell-all, as reported by Jeremy Herb.

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly told aides in the days following his 2020 election loss that he would remain in the White House rather than let incoming President Joe Biden take over, according to reporting provided to CNN from a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.

“I’m just not going to leave,” Trump told one aide, according to Haberman.

“We’re never leaving,” Trump told another. “How can you leave when you won an election?”

Trump’s insistence that he would not be leaving the White House, which has not been previously reported, adds new detail to the chaotic post-election period in which Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat and numerous efforts to overturn the election result led to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.

Ilya Kabakov, “10 characters”, album no. 6 “The Flying Mosquito” (1994)

The man is so narcissistic he’s delusional.  Let’s switch topics now!

Today’s New York Times has this headline: “Russia’s Retreat in Ukraine Pokes Holes in Putin’s Projection of Force. Russia’s military setbacks may be weakening President Vladimir V. Putin’s reputation at home as a savvy geopolitical strategist.”  Ah, tales of yet another delusional narcissist.

Ukraine’s rout of Russian forces this weekend is creating a new kind of political challenge for President Vladimir V. Putin: It undercuts the image of competence and might that he has worked for two decades to build.

On Sunday, the Russian military continued to retreat from positions in northeastern Ukraine that it had occupied for months. State television news reports referred to the retreat as a carefully planned “regrouping operation,” praising the heroism and professionalism of Russian troops.

But the upbeat message did little to dampen the anger among supporters of the war over the retreat and the Kremlin’s handling of it. And it hardly obscured the bind that Mr. Putin now finds himself in, presiding over a six-month war against an increasingly energized enemy and a Russian populace that does not appear to be prepared for the sacrifices that could come with an escalating conflict.

“Strength is the only source of Putin’s legitimacy,” Abbas Gallyamov, a former speechwriter for Mr. Putin who is now a political consultant living in Israel, said in a phone interview. “And in a situation in which it turns out that he has no strength, his legitimacy will start dropping toward zero.”

Putin is now facing internal dissent.  This is something that would be unimaginable before the Invasion of Ukraine.  From The Hill link above: “Russian municipal deputies call for Putin’s resignation.” 

More than 30 Russian municipal deputies have signed a petition calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s resignation.

The petition, posted by Xenia Torstrem, a deputy in St. Petersburg’s Semyonovsky District, was originally signed by 19 officials.

“We, the municipal deputies of Russia, believe that the actions of President Vladimir Putin harm the future of Russia and its citizens,” a translation of the petition reads. “We demand the resignation of Vladimir Putin from the post of President of the Russian Federation!”

The petition comes as the Ukrainian military pursues a counteroffensive, quickly reclaiming territory and pushing Russian troops back to the northeastern border in some places.

The push’s initial gains have provoked some criticisms of Putin inside the country, a rare rebuke of Russia’s longtime leader who over the years has sought to stifle opposition.

This reporting from The Washington Post is breathtaking.

In the end, the Russians fled any way they could on Friday, on stolen bicycles, disguised as locals. Hours after Ukrainian soldiers poured into the area, hundreds of Russian soldiers encamped in this village were gone, many after their units abandoned them, leaving behind stunned residents to face the ruins of 28 weeks of occupation.

“They just dropped rifles on the ground,” Olena Matvienko said Sunday as she stood, still disoriented, in a village littered with ammo crates and torched vehicles, including a Russian tank loaded on a flatbed. The first investigators from Kharkiv had just pulled in to collect the bodies of civilians shot by Russians, some that have been lying exposed for months.

“I can’t believe that we went through something like this in the 21st century,” Matvienko said, tears welling.

The Threat of War (1986).” Art by Maria Prymachenko, This painting was destroyed in a Russian bombing.

While the Ukrainians struggle to hold on to their democracy, we appear to have about 1/3 of the population that are “democracy deniers.”  This is according to a poll by Axios.  The results are stomach-churning.   Axios refers to this poll as the Two Americas Index.

About one in three Americans prefers strong unelected leaders to weak elected leaders and says presidents should be able to remove judges over their decisions, according to the latest findings from our Axios-Ipsos Two Americas Index.

Why it matters: The findings from this poll shatter the myth that Americans overwhelmingly agree on a common set of democratic values around checks and balances on elected leaders, protection of minority rights and freedom of speech.

  • They’re also a reality check against President Biden’s speech that portrayed threats to democracy as solely driven by Republican supporters of former President Trump who refuse to accept that he lost the 2020 election.

What we’re watching: In this poll, significant minorities of Republicans and Democrats supported non-democratic norms in about equal percentages — and Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say presidents should be able to remove judges when their decisions go against the national interest.

  • Many Americans also believe the government should follow the will of the majority even at the expense of ethnic and religious minority groups’ civil rights.
  • And roughly a third said the federal government should be able to prosecute members of the news media who make offensive or unpatriotic statements.
  • Respondents younger than 35 or with household incomes below $75,000 a year were more likely to favor strong unelected leaders and to support prosecuting the media or empowering presidents to remove judges.

The big picture: If you’re looking for good news in this poll, it is primarily that the people who embrace the anti-democratic views are still in the minority.

  • But the findings are a reminder that for all of the attention and congressional hearings around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, anti-democratic views take many forms.

What they’re saying: “There’s a lot of anti-democratic sentiment, a lot more than we might have expected,” said Justin Gest, an associate professor at George Mason University who studies the politics of demographic change and advises the project.

  • The survey’s questions pose “hard tests” for society, Gest said — tradeoffs between “what’s expedient and best for the individual, and what actually sustains the integrity of our political institutions.”

  • Values like minority rights, separation of church and state and freedom of the press are “key foundations” of democracy but “they’re far from being fully supported by Americans,” Gest said. “These are things you’d think would be universal.”

You may read more analysis at the link.

One last bit of Trump weirdness.  Yesterday, Trump was seen deplaning from a private plane in Washington, D.C.”  The guessing game as to why he was there is on.

Conspiracy Update?

 

 

Have a great week! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?