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Location: California, United States

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More on the kitten

Today we took the kitten to the vet for a check-up. She's a pretty sick kitten - she's anemic and underweight, and her eyes are infected and may end up in blindness. She got an iron shot, an antibiotic shot and some flea medication. Now I'm to keep her inside and feed her every 3/4 hours with a food syringe, wipe her bottom after eating to stimulate going to the bathroom, and put drops in her eyes three times a day. I'm hoping that if she gets well soon, the vet people might take her then to find a home for her. Hope I can see well enough to do all the stuff I'm supposed to!

Monday, May 21, 2018

The kitten

Since I last wrote about the cat situation, we were able to catch Snowy, the mama of the two white kittens, and get her spayed. All we have left now to do is catch Fluffy to get spayed, and also there's been a male cat hanging around that we will try to catch and neuter too. But we've been waiting on Fluffy because she had kittens hidden in a wood pile that she was feeding.

It turns out there was just one kitten. I asked the vet a couple of weeks ago if she could find a home for this kitten too, but the white kittens have not yet been adopted out, so she said we would have to wait.

Meanwhile the kitten has been on the loose in the yard. Today, I was able finally to catch him and was able to see that his eyes look infected and he seems very thin and kind of sick. I had some kitten milk and a little bottle the vet had given me for the last kittens, so I looked up online how to feed him ...

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get him to eat. My sister came over to help for a while and she thinks he did eat a bit. Tthe whole experience has made me realize how inadequate I am to take care of little kittens by myself - I can't see well enough to do what I'm supposed to do.

Now he's in a box in the garage so that his mom, who's really afraid of me, can find him and hopefully feed him. I will call the vet in the morning and hope they will take him or at least check him out.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Pope and Chile's bishops

In the news, All Chile's 34 bishops offer resignation to Pope over sex abuse scandals. It's unclear if the Pope will accept any of the resignations.

This comes after Pope Francis in 2015 installed notorious Juan Barros as bishop of Osorno despite protests both by local Catholics and also by his own sex abuse commission ... Barros had been accused of witnessing and covering up the sexual abuse by his mentor, Fr. Fernando Karadima (Controversial Chilean bishop's appointment continues to divide diocese).

Since then, the Pope has refused to remove Barros, has made insulting remarks about the victims who complained about the cover-up, and only a few months ago finally agreed to send someone to investigate and listen to the victims (Pope to send envoy to investigate Chile sex abuse claims).

Now the Pope has had the bishops of Chile come to Rome, has confronted them with the results of his investigation, and has said basically that it's their fault that a climate of abuse existed and persisted, thus precipitating the bishops' offers of resignation.

This all sounds nice, like something's actually happening and that the Pope is making it happen. But I think that's a false impression.

First, the Pope will probably not accept any of the resignations, except perhaps that of Barros, the guy he himself installed over the objections of practically everybody.

Second, there is not now and there is not likely to be in the future, any helpful explanation from the Pope or the Vatican of why pedophilia has thrived in the Catholic church, not just in Chile but in the US and in Ireland and in Australia, and in the Netherlands, and many other parts of the world.

And there is not now, and there is not likely to be under Pope Francis, any concrete plan to stop priests from sexually abusing children. This is so, despite continuing abuse and despite some evidence that sexual abuse by priests is linked to mandatory celibacy.

Catholic sexual abuse partly caused by secrecy and mandatory celibacy, report finds: Report examined findings of 26 royal commissions and inquiries from Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and Netherlands

Mandatory celibacy and a culture of secrecy created by popes and bishops are major factors in why such high rates of child abuse have occurred in the Catholic church, a comprehensive study has found.

The report, which looked at the findings of 26 royal commissions and other inquiries from Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands since 1985, found that while the endangerment of children in institutions has been considerably lowered in Australia, children remained at risk in Catholic parishes and schools and Catholic residential institutions in other countries across the world, especially in the developing world where there are more than 9,000 Catholic-run orphanages, including 2,600 in India.

The patriarchal nature of Catholic institutions meant that abuse went unchallenged and, while a small number of nuns were abusers, the report found the risk of offending was much higher in institutions where priests and religious brothers had minimal contact with women. The report estimated about 7% of clergy had abused children between about 1950 and 2000 ....

The Pope has refused to consider allowing celibacy to be optional ... "For the moment, I [Pope Francis] am in favor of maintaining celibacy, with all its pros and cons, because we have ten centuries of good experiences rather than failures.... Tradition has weight and validity."

And the Pope has refused to allow women to be priests (or even deacons) in the Catholic church (Pope Francis says women will never be Roman Catholic priests).

As long as this remains the case, I think the sex abuse of children in the church will continue, no matter how many bishops in Chile resign.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Look Into The Sun

- Jethro Tull

Took a sad song of one sweet evening
I smiled and quickly turned away.
It's not easy singing sad songs
But still the easiest way I have to say.
So when you look into the sun
And see the things we haven't done
Oh was it better then to run
Than to spend the summer crying.
Now summer cannot come anyway.

I had waited for time to change her.
The only change that came was over me.
She pretended not to want love
I hope she was only fooling me.
So when you look into the sun
Look for the pleasures nearly won.
Or was it better then to run
Than to spend the summer singing.
And summer could have come in a day.

So if you hear my sad song singing
Remember who and what you nearly had.
It's not easy singing sad songs
When you can sing the song to make me glad.
So when you look into the sun
And see the words you could have sung:
It's not too late, only begun,
We can still make summer.
Yes, summer always comes anyway.

So when you look into the sun
And see the words you could have sung:
It's not too late, only begun.
Look into the sun.

It *could* happen here

As Trump and Giuliani cook up ever more tortured scenarios to delegitimize the Mueller investigation, scenarios that most Republicans are actually buying, I'm reminded of an old book ...

It Can't Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis .... Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a politician who defeats Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and "traditional" values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS. The novel's plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup's opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion ...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Stand with Planned Parenthood

Trump expected to cut Planned Parenthood funding through regs

Another reason to get rid of Trump and the Republicans in congress.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mueller probe, one year on

It's the one year anniversary of the Mueller probe ...

Trump and his minions have said the investigation has been going on for too long, but these things take time ... Iran-Contra, Watergate, Whitewater, and many other investigations took longer (How Mueller’s First Year Compares To Watergate, Iran-Contra And Whitewater).

I remember watching the Watergate hearings in 1973 ....

The first weeks of the committee's hearings were a national politico-cultural event. They were broadcast live during the day on commercial television; at the start, CBS, NBC, and ABC covered them simultaneously, and then later on a rotation basis, while PBS replayed the hearings at night. Some 319 hours were broadcast overall, and 85% of U.S. households watched some portion of them. The audio feed also was broadcast gavel-to-gavel on scores of National Public Radio stations, making the hearings available to people in their cars and workplaces, and giving a major boost to the fledgling broadcast organization.

The hearings made stars out of both [Democratic Senator Sam] Ervin, who became known for his folksy manner and wisdom but resolute determination, and [Republican Senator Howard] Baker, who appeared somewhat non-partisan and uttered the famous phrase "What did the President know, and when did he know it?" (often paraphrased by others in later scandals). It was the introduction to the public for minority counsel Thompson, who would later become an actor, senator, and presidential candidate. Many of Watergate's most famous moments happened during the hearings, including John Dean's "cancer on the Presidency" testimony and Alexander Butterfield's revelation of the existence of the secret Nixon White House tapes.

After Watergate I never really regained whatever trust I had once had in government and until this Trump presidency, I had thought that Nixon was the crookedest president of my lifetime .... little did I know that there would be someone much worse.

Thank goodness for Robert Mueller.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

More music

From Paul McCartney's The Space within Us DVD ...

- Till There Was You ...

- Magical Mystery Tour ...

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mars: planet B?

The latest tv series I'm trying is Mars. Here's the plot ...

In the year 2033, a crew of six astronauts launch from Florida on a journey to be the first people to set foot on Mars. During the descent into the Martian atmosphere, there is a malfunction with their spacecraft, the Daedalus. They land 75.3 kilometres away from their planned habitat. On Earth their progress is being monitored.

Intermixed with the story are real-life interview footage from the year 2016, of the crew, and their mission control; there are interviews with various scientists, and engineers, such as Elon Musk, Andy Weir, Robert Zubrin, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, about the difficulties that the crew might face on a journey to, and living on, Mars.

I've only watched one episode so far but it's interesting, and there's a lot about Elon Musk and SpaceX.

I've got to say, though, that the almost religious fervor some people inject into the space program, especially the idea of living on Mars, bothers me. As a species, we already have a place to live and we're taking shameful care of it. Home-worlds aren't just disposable simply because we can accomplish space travel. If we don't have the discipline and integrity to do what's necessary to save our environment and the other creatures we share it with, I don't think we deserve to turn our backs and move on.

Here's a short TED talk by astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz - "Let's not use Mars as a backup planet" ...

Monday, May 14, 2018

Welcome to peace in the Middle East

58 dead in Gaza protests as Israel fetes US Embassy move

So this is what peace in the Middle East looks like? Strange, somehow I thought there would be less dying. Oh well, the important thing is that the princess - oops, I mean First Daughter - was shown a good time.

Trump's religious bigot

The pastor who Trump chose to deliver the blessing at the US Jerusalem embassy opening was Robert Jeffress. He's a member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and White House Faith Initiative. He also holds a lot of creepy views ...

He has said that President Obama was paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist. He has said that Catholicism is a Satanic result of a Babylonian mystery religion. He doesn't like Mormonism either, and has called it a cult and a heresy from the pit of hell. He has also said that Islam is evil, and, ironically, given his latest gig at the Jerusalem embassy, Jews are going to hell. Oh, and he's a homophobe.

I'm not surprised Trump picked this nutball - after all, he's a staunch Trump supporter who has even said that if Trump did have an affair with Stormy Daniels while he was married, it wouldn't matter.

I have to wonder if Israel really understands what a bad idea it is to bond with Trump - I don't think it will end well for Israel or the Middle East in general.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy mother's day

Remembering mama today. Old photo of (from L to R) my sis, my mom, and me ...

Friday, May 11, 2018

More on McCain

I'm still so angry about this, I think because it's a perfect example of all the badness of Trump, his toadies, and the people who comprise his base. Day by day, the Trump administration does awful things which barely get reported on because we've grown so weary.

In recent days, for example, Trump has advocated cutting children's health care (Trump Adds ‘Cutting Children’s Health Care’ to GOP’s 2018 Platform), and he wants children to be taken away from their parents (Official Trump policy: Take refugee kids away from parents ), and he's planning to roll back environmental standards for cars (Trump’s Fuel Efficiency Rollbacks Will Hurt Drivers). I'm sure there's more badness that flew under my radar, but you get the idea.

This attack on McCain is a kind of an icon of all this stuff, of the moral and ethical poverty of this administration and the voters who released it upon us. We shouldn't forget it, especially when it comes time to vote.

PS - here's a photo from Wikipedia: McCain (front right) with his squadron and T-2 Buckeye trainer, in 1965 ...

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Pieces of garbage

From the top to the bottom, the people in this White House are pieces of garbage.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The Voice

It's funny how music can change your mood. Whenever I hear this song, The Voice by The Moody Blues, it makes me feel happy. I think that's because the first time I heard it, I was happy. I was in the gift shop of the hotel we stayed at on the Big Island of Hawaii (on that trip I mentioned), with my mom and sister, but thinking about how I was soon to get married. I had met the ex just some months before. Little did I know that the marriage would be short and disastrous. The weird thing is, hearing that song still makes me feel happy despite that. Maybe it's just the magic of the Moody Blues :)

What a tangled web Trump's weaved

The bank account for the LLC that Michael Cohen, still Trump's personal lawyer, created to hush Stormy Daniels, had way more money coming into it than expected, including money from a company connected to a wealthy Russian oligarch with ties to Putin. This MSNBC news clip shows all the connections ...

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

And more from James Comey's book

I'm still reading the book by former FBI director, James Comey, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. I've not yet reached the part about Trump, but the bit I've just read was really interesting.

In 2004, James Comey was the DAG, the deputy attorney general at the DOJ, as Rod Rosenstein is now, and like Rosenstein, he was the acting general (his boss, John Ashcroft, was ill). At that time, Bob Mueller, presently the Special Counsel investigating Russian interference in our elections, was the head of the FBI, and Ted Olson, the conservative lawyer who argued for marriage equality before the Supreme Court, the lawyer who most recently turned down a job offer from Trump, was then the US Solicitor General.

And also at that time, the Bush administration was trying to renew a controversial NSA warrantless surveillance program known of as Stellar Wind. The Department of Justice had just learned that it hadn't been fully informed of the domestic reach of the program and the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel decided the program wasn't legal and that it shouldn't be renewed. Comey refused to reauthorize the program, which led to a dramatic confrontation. Here's a bit about it from a story in The L.A. Times ...

Comey, Mueller and the showdown at John Ashcroft's hospital bed

[...] In March 2004, Comey, then deputy attorney general, was summoned to the hospital bed of his boss, Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft.

Ashcroft, weak from gallbladder surgery, was under pressure from White House officials Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card to sign papers reauthorizing the domestic surveillance program secretly launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Ashcroft's wife was distraught about the visit from the White House counsel and chief of staff, according to testimony Comey later gave to a Senate committee.

She called Comey to stop the uninvited visitors. Just the previous week, her husband had agreed not to reinstate the program.

Comey called in help, asking Mueller, then the FBI director, and several top aides to meet him at the hospital.

It was the start of a battle between the Justice Department and the White House. According to Comey, the White House renewed the program the next day without his approval.

Since the White House had ignored the department's legal advice, Comey, Mueller and several other officials made plans to resign. It was only when President George W. Bush agreed to listen to Comey and Mueller and restructure the program did resignation plans go away ...

One of the people Comey called in to help and to be a witness to what was going on was Olson.

I makes me angry that the Trump administration - especially Trump himself and Sarah Sanders - have been trying so hard to smear James Comey, his service in government, and his book. All I've learned about Comey shows him to be an honest and responsible person who has always tried to do the right thing, irrespective of politics. This episode from 2004 is an example of that dedication.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Don't confirm Gina Haspel

In the news - Gina Haspel, nominee to head CIA, sought to withdraw over questions about her role in agency interrogation program

I hope my elected representative do not vote to confirm Haspel as head of the CIA. Why? Because of the torture program she oversaw. As a reporter in one news clip mentioned ... Haspel was very heavily involved in torture .... in one month, for instance, the example is the waterboarding eighty-three times of one individual, kept in a box, and losing one of his eyes. Her excuse for this is was the Nazi/Nuremberg meme that she was just following orders.

Apparently WH press secretary Sarah Sanders thinks Democrats would be hypocrites to oppose her nomination because she's a woman and Dems are for women's rights. This is just another example of the stupidity of Sanders in particular and the Republicans in general. Feminism isn't about supporting any and every woman, now matter who they are and what they have done. It's about men and women being treated equally. If anyone is a hypocrite, it's oh-so-Christian Sanders, the member of a religion whose founder was tortured to death.

Read more about Haspel's torture stint.