22 April 2017

An Old Home Remedy that Worked for Me


They are such cute merciless killing machines
With a feral cat in our house, the infamous RP the Cat, our decidedly non-feral cats, Meatball/Mousetrap and Destructo have suffered from fleas.

This has particularly been hard on Destructo, as he is a long hair.

I have tried the normal treatments, Frontline® and Advantage®, but they have been of limited effectiveness, I think that the fleas have developed resistance, and they are rather pricey, and Destructo must have the back of his head shaved (he hates this) for this to work, because otherwise it never makes contact with his skin.

I had heard that brewers yeast ameliorates flea infestations, so twice a week, we take a can of wet cat food, mix in two heaping teaspoons of brewers yeast.

The cats love the wet food, and it works like a dream.

Destructo is now almost completely free of flea sores, and their fur is thicker and more luxurious.

It's easy, cheap, and it involves no cat induced blood loss.

21 April 2017

Gotta Check This out When It Hits the Library

I am of course referring to the scathing tell all Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign.

I've read the reviews, Matt Taibbi has my favorite review, and what stands out is how everyone involved with campaign knew that Hillary Clinton had no reason to tun for president beyond her sense of personal entitlement:
"All of the jockeying might have been all right, but for a root problem that confounded everyone on the campaign and outside it," they wrote. "Hillary had been running for president for almost a decade and still didn't really have a rationale."
As Taibbi notes:
Shattered is sourced almost entirely to figures inside the Clinton campaign who were and are deeply loyal to Clinton. Yet those sources tell of a campaign that spent nearly two years paralyzed by simple existential questions: Why are we running? What do we stand for?

………

The real protagonist of this book is a Washington political establishment that has lost the ability to explain itself or its motives to people outside the Beltway.

In fact, it shines through in the book that the voters' need to understand why this or that person is running for office is viewed in Washington as little more than an annoying problem.
This should make for a fascinating read.

It also appears to prove that old adage, "You can't beat something with nothing."

It's Bank Failure Friday!!!

I missed a credit union last week, and there was one this week as well:

The credit union closings:
  1. Shreveport Federal Credit Union ​Shreveport,Shreveport, ​LA
  2. Community United Federal Credit Union, Waycross, ​GA
Here is the Full NCUA list.

Once again, we are looking at a year where credit union failures out pace commercial bank failures.

I'm not sure why, but it is odd.

Clearly Got His Law Degree Out of a Cracker Jack Box

Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice John Galasso, who never read the Constitution through completely: He stopped before the first amendment.

A note of reassurance here: The New York Supreme court is just what they call the trial court there, a rather different application of the term than the common usage.

Live in Obedient Fear, Citizen!

It looks like Jeff Sessions will be seeking to press charges against Julian Assange, in a move that many are calling a direct assault on the practice of journalism:
In an unprecedented and dangerous move that threatens the press freedom rights of all journalists, the US Justice Department has indicated it is preparing to charge WikiLeaks with a crime and may attempt to arrest its founder Julian Assange. The charges may stem from the publication of US State Department cables in 2010 and their more recent of disclosure of CIA hacking tools.

Whether you like or dislike WikiLeaks – especially if you dislike them – it’s important to understand just how dangerous this potential prosecution is to the future of journalism in the United States. Newspapers publish classified information all the time, and any prosecution of WikiLeaks puts journalists of all stripes at risk of a similar fate. Even WikiLeaks’ harshest critics need to denounce this potential move as a grave threat to the first amendment.

People may not realize it, but not a week goes by without classified information on the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal. Without the right to publish secret information, as New York Times reporter Max Frankel put it more than 40 years ago in the landmark Pentagon Papers case: “There could be no adequate diplomatic, military and political reporting of the kind our people take for granted, either abroad or in Washington and there could be no mature system of communication between the government and the people.”
 
This is a profoundly chilling prospect.  As Marcy "Emptywheel" Wheeler notes, "Jeff Sessions’ DOJ could pick and choose which publishers’ speech gets curtailed."

This is a natural outgrowth of Barack Obama's jihad against leakers, and it was a foreseeable development, but because he saw himself as a good person, he thought that everything was Ok.

Worst Constitutional law professor ever.

Linkage


GWAR Covers Kansas' Carry On My Wayward Don. A Hardcore-Metal cover is different, but in a good way:

Song starts at about 1:25

Apologies to Karen Williams.

20 April 2017

Speaking of Corruption

Andrew Cuomo wrote a very poorly selling memoir. His publisher paid him $245 for a gook that had a suggested retail price of $29.99:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's low-selling 2014 memoir netted him another $218,100 last year, pushing his total book payments to $783,000 over the past four years, according to his tax returns.

Cuomo's 2016 tax records, which his office made available for review Tuesday, showed the latest round of payments from HarperCollins, the major publisher that gave him a lucrative book deal in 2013.

The governor's memoir — "All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics in Life" — did not perform well: Just 3,200 copies sold since its release, including just 100 copies over the past two years, according to NPD Books, which tracks book sales nationwide.

It was a money-loser for HarperCollins, which ultimately paid Cuomo about $245 per book sold. It retailed at $29.99.
His Presidential aspirations are the subject of frequent speculation, which would be a f%$#ing disaster.

He needs not to be the Democrats 2020 nominee.

Heck:  He needs not to be the Governor New York State.

He needs to be fired ……… Out of a cannon ……… Into the sun.

20,000 Cases to be Reversed in Massachusetts

Annie Dookhan, a chemist at Massachusetts' Hinton State Laboratory Institute, routinely falsified information for years, which means that something like 20,000 cases are likely to be dismissed:
More than 20,000 drug cases tied to a disgraced former state chemist appear headed for dismissal, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and public defenders said Tuesday as they combed through legal filings from local prosecutors in Massachusetts.

“We’re all overjoyed today at having what is, we think, the largest dismissal of criminal cases as a result of one case in the history of the United States of America,” said Carl Williams, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Massachusetts, which has pressed for the dismissal of tainted cases.

It was the latest development in the yearslong story of Annie Dookhan, a chemist whose co-workers called her Superwoman because she worked so fast. But she was found to have mishandled drug samples, forged signatures and returned positive results on drugs she never bothered to test, and in 2013, she pleaded guilty to 27 counts, including obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence.

By then, the damage was done. Prosecutors and defenders around the state had already begun the imposing task of figuring out which convictions had been tainted by the failings. Early estimates rose above 40,000. Hundreds of people were released from prison.

In January, the state’s highest court ordered district attorneys to produce the lists of people they believe they could reprosecute, were a new trial permitted, and those whose cases they will dismiss. Those decisions were due on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, lawyers combed through spreadsheets inside an ornate courthouse here, and counted 21,587 likely dismissals. They had estimated that prosecutors would not vacate the convictions of 500 to 700 people.
Of course, people like racist Attorney General Jeff Session think that this is some sort of technicality that demoralizes law enforcement.

This is corruption, and the people around her knew that something was wrong, but because it favored prosecutors, law enforcement never paid attention.

This is why we need things like the exclusionary rule and meaningful and independent investigations of law enforcement misconduct.

Just When I Think That Reality Has Jaded Me………

I am once more horrified in the latest Republican adventure in blatant corruption:
Congressional Republicans are baldly enticing donors with the promise of meetings with senior legislative staff, effectively placing access to congressional employees up for sale to professional influence peddlers and other well-heeled interests.

Documents obtained by The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy show that the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee are both telling donors that in exchange for campaign contributions, they will receive invitations to special events to meet with congressional staff including chiefs of staff, leadership staffers, and committee staffers.

While selling donors access to senators and representatives and their campaign staff is nothing new, the open effort to sell access to their legislative staff — the taxpayer-funded government employees who work behind the scenes to write legislation, handle investigations, and organize committee hearings — appears to be in violation of ethics rules that prohibit campaigns from using House and Senate resources in any way.

Congressional ethics rules flatly forbid Capitol Hill employees from engaging in fundraising activities as part of their official duties. Any explicit fundraising work must be done strictly as a volunteer, and there must be a clear firewall separating government work from campaign work.

………

But a document obtained by The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy from the NRSC, the Senate GOP campaign arm, lists the benefits of “D.C. Personal Giving Memberships,” which costs as little as $1,500 a year. Among them: “Invitation to attend events with Republican Chiefs of Staff, Leadership Staff, and Committee Staff.”

………

It’s not the first time a major Capitol Hill funding outfit has raised campaign cash using congressional employees. In 2013, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee advertised a “Women on the Hill Dinner” with chiefs of staff to Democratic senators. The event was asked for a suggested donation of $1,000.

But the new Republican effort is more structured, making the exchange of money for meetings with a variety of congressional staffers an official element of the party’s fundraising apparatus, with regular events and tiered levels of access.
This makes Newt Gingrich's peccadilloes seem almost quaint.

Colbert on O'Reilly's Firing


As I have noted many times, Colbert is on my list of, "People I Do Not Want to Piss Off." for a very good reason.

19 April 2017

Why Do I Even Bother?


Yesterday, I wrote a lengthy post explaining the profoundly dysfunctional Presidential campaign in France.

Today, I came across John Oliver's summary of the campaign on his show, and I am feeling profoundly inadequate.

It covers the issue and entertains at the same time, though I think that there could be a little less focus on the laughs and more on the humor.

The only thing that I object to is his characterization of Le Pen's position on the wearing of religious regalia in public.

It's not outrageous by the standards of France:  French republics have been thoroughly and militantly secular since Charles de Gaulle was a teen,* to the degree that religious wedding ceremonies are not recognized by the state, and couples have to be married in a civil ceremony to have their union recognized.

The policy is called Laïcité, and while Le Pen's absolutism regarding this policy is a minority position, it is well within the bounds of what is considered mainstream French political thought.

Still, I feel really inadequate right now.

*Specifically, since the passage of the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State, though secularism was a significant portion of French political discourse since at least the French revolution.

A Well Deserved Beat Down

Katie Halper looks at Susan Bordo's paean to Hillary Clinton, The Destruction of Hillary Clinton, and her related OP/ED in the Guardian, and observes that she gets the facts wrong, contradicts herself, and removes any agency from women who disagree with her:
……… Your piece sets out to blame millennial feminists and show us what we did wrong in supporting Sanders, but it winds up illuminating your own failings, sadly not uncommon among certain Clinton supporters, especially those who chose to blame everyone and everything but Clinton for her loss:
  • An over-identification with Clinton and her biography that eclipses appreciation of young women’s lives and hardships and the political differences
  • Basing an argument solely on personal impressions, vague remembrances, mental and emotional associations
  • A condescending tone with occasional unconvincing gestures of respect and understanding for your younger sisters
  • Misleading statements, omissions, falsehoods or indisputable error, here related to Clinton’s statements on superpredators and warranting an immediate editorial correction
This is just a brief excerpt of what is a point by point "Fisking" of what is a self-absorbed, incoherent, and deeply dishonest screed.

It is well worth the read.

Risking a Schadenfreude Overdose Here

I just heard that, after millions of dollars of sexual harrassment settlements over the past 2 decades, Fox News has finally fired Bill O'Reilly:
Bill O’Reilly’s reign as the top-rated host in cable news came to an abrupt and embarrassing end on Wednesday as Fox News forced him out after the disclosure of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him and an internal investigation that turned up even more.

Mr. O’Reilly and his employers came under intense pressure after an article by The New York Times on April 1 revealed how Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, had repeatedly stood by him even as he and the company reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women’s rights groups had called for him to be fired. Inside the company, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal led to the ouster of Roger E. Ailes as chairman of Fox News.
There are a number of reports that a contributing factor in "Billo's"  firing was the fact he was a complete asshole to those around him, and so when he his behavior finally caught up with him, he had no support within the network.

I'm wondering when he will replace Sean Spicer as press secretary in the Trump administration.

74 Years Ago Today

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising started 74 years ago today.

Let us remember Mordechaj Anielewicz (Z"L), Paweł Frenkiel (Z"L), and the rest of the fighters (Z"L), who managed to hold out almost as long as the the whole country of Poland did in 1939.

I Hate F%$#ing Plants

Note the syntax here.

The "F%$#" is an adjective that modifies "plants", not an adverb that modifies "hate".

When I come out in the morning, the windshield of my car has a thin layer of dust on it.

When I clean it off with the wipers, it turns out to be a yellow powder.

It's a thin layer of pollen, i.e. plant sperm, and it is making my life a living hell right now.

Thankfully Fexofenadine HCl (generic Allegra®) takes a bit of the edge off.

Thank You DC!

By that, I mean DC at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.

I was engaging in self pity over my general lack of writing skills, and he posted this:



You Will be seeing this again on my blog.

It's a Runoff in GA-6 is Close

It looks like he fell 1-2% short of an absolute majority:
Democrat Jon Ossoff is headed for a runoff in June against a Republican contender after failing Tuesday to score an upset victory to represent a suburban Atlanta district in Congress.

CNN called the race just after midnight.

The 30-year-old investigative filmmaker aimed for an outright win in the 6th District race, but a furious Republican counterattack joined by President Donald Trump appears to have kept him under 50 percent.
I would give him no more than a 1 in 4 chance of winning the runoff.