French Election Results are Coming In

The polls have closed in France and the election results are starting to come in and it looks like Macron versus Le Pen in the second round. From The Guardian‘s live blog:

14:06

14:01

Initial vote estimate: Macron and Le Pen through to runoff



Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

Two of my favorite signs from the march, most found on Twitter. You can see a lot of them here.

What’s on your agenda this fine Sunday? Open thread.








Writers Chatting: Chapter 7

I spent most of yesterday transplanting roses from the backyard (where nothing is safe!) to the front yard. These roses are from my friend’s garden and I’m looking forward to making my own bouquets this summer. I have an unbelievable variety and many, many plants.

For today’s writing thread, I’m digging into my email basket and highlighting a nice piece from WereBear on creating a web presence to promote yourself.

From WereBear:

You’ve written a wonderful book. Now what? That was the position I was in when I listened to all the friends who urged me to “write a book” about the cat insights I had developed through years of running an amateur cat rescue. So I did.

I could not get an agent or publisher. Angry and exasperated at the process, I took it to the virtual streets. I started my own website, Way of Cats, with blog posts based on everything I had organized and crafted into the book. Was the publishing industry right, or was I right?  Read more



They’re exactly who we thought they were

Remember how we were told that millions of Trump voters were driven to cast a ballot for a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue through sheer desperation? That they were fooled by Trump’s faux economic populism and only tolerated the racism, sexism and xenophobia reluctantly? That if only the Democrats would quit being neoliberal shills in the pocket of Big Bankster, these self-same Trump voters would flock to our banner? Yeah, not so much:

There’s no honeymoon for Donald Trump in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but also no regrets: He approaches his 100th day in office with the lowest approval rating at this point of any president in polls since 1945 –- yet 96 percent of those who supported him in November say they’d do it again today.

Mind you, this was AFTER Trump filled his cabinet and adviser ranks with Goldman Sachs alums, predatory distressed asset swindlers and to-the-manor-born plutocratic loons bent on redirecting the flow of federal dollars to fellow billionaires. This was AFTER Trump appointed that unreconstructed Confederate shitbird Sessions to roll back civil rights, harass immigrants and restart the War on Drugs. This was AFTER Trump colluded with Paul “Granny Starver” Ryan to remove access to healthcare coverage for 24 million people.

Trump is historically unpopular with the American people. His administration has been a colossal failure in terms of legislative achievements, despite controlling congress. And even he knows it, which is why he is angrily tweeting about the “ridiculous standard” he himself set and desperately casting about for “accomplishments” to add to his pathetic list in a quest for the ultimate participation trophy.

But the rump that elected Trump is getting exactly what they wanted: an administration that gives force of law to their bigotry and cultural resentments. Look for Trump to double down on that as inklings that “presidenting is hard” continue to penetrate his combover and sink into his thick skull.

Like a rat in a Skinner box, Trump will continue to press the lever marked “DEMAGOGUERY.” That’s the only mechanism that delivers the adulation-pellets he craves.

As for those of us who are dedicated to opposing the demagogue and rescuing the country from his cabal of amoral, scheming, self-interested scumbags, let that poll be a wake-up call: We need to turn out Democrats and get the millions who will be harmed and further impoverished by this maladministration off the sidelines. Chasing Trump voters is folly — they’re getting exactly what they want.



Sunday Morning Open Thread: For SCIENCE!

From commentor James J, in Madison. First of many from the BJ community, I’m assuming.

Mr. Charles P. Pierce:

In 2017, the country needs a series of marches across the landscape to remind itself that scientific progress and American democracy are inextricably bound for their mutual survival. The current president* has leaked a budget that decimates the federal government’s role in all manner of scientific research, from the fight against epidemic disease to the war on climate change. Which was why, walking through the drizzly day on the White House end of the National Mall, you saw epidemiologists sharing umbrellas with geologists, or a group of microbiologists huddling low under a spreading cherry tree alongside a knot of anesthesiologists. People walked around dressed as bees and as lobsters and as Beaker, the lab assistant from the Muppet Show. People walked around in overalls and in lab coats. They wore the now-classic pussy hats repurposed to resemble the configurations of the human brain and they wore stethoscopes around their necks…

There was a great deal of infighting—”Some very ugly meetings,” said one person familiar with them—about how specifically political the march should be. The older and more conventional scientists—most of them white males, for all that means in every public issue these days—tried to make the march and the events surrounding it as generic as possible.

The younger scientists, a more diverse groups in every way that a group can be, pushed back hard. The available evidence on Saturday was that their side had carried the day. Given the fact that, for example, Scott Pruitt, who took dictation from oil companies when he was Attorney General of Oklahoma, is now running the EPA, they could hardly have lost. More than a few signs reminded the current president* that, without science, he would be as bald as a billiard ball.

Generally, though, there was more than a little sadness on all sides that it ever had come to this, that a country born out of experimentation had lost its faith in its own true creation story, that a country founded by curious, courageous people would become so timid about trusting the risks and rewards of science…

Apart from sharing reports & pics, what’s on the agenda for the day?


(I’m guessing from her twitter bio that this was in Boston. It is very Bostonian.)



Late Night Creepshow Open Thread: Degenerates for Trump, Also Suffering

So it’s not all bad news for the good guys. More much-deserved tsuris for Spencer’s buttboys, from the Washington Post [warning: original article starts with extremely graphic descriptive language]:

“Overnight, my life was stolen from me,” said Gersh, a Jewish resident of Whitefish, Mont., in an interview with The Washington Post. Now she is suing Andrew Anglin, the man who she says is responsible for the “coordinated, repulsive, threatening campaign of anti-Semitic harassment” that targeted her family. Anglin runs the Daily Stormer, a well-known neo-Nazi website.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, details many of the more than 700 harassing messages the Gersh family received since mid-December. That’s when the Daily Stormer, published the first of about two dozen articles under Anglin’s byline mentioning Gersh, encouraging the site’s readers to participate in a “troll storm” against her. The Washington Post was provided a draft of the complaint in advance.

The harassment aimed at Gersh has to do with a dispute between residents of Whitefish and Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who once considered himself a part-time resident of the town. The Daily Stormer posts cited in the complaint attempt to justify the “troll storm” by accusing Gersh of “trying to extort” Spencer’s mother Sherry. Sherry Spencer owned property in Whitefish, including one mixed-use building that was listed as the principal address for Spencer’s white nationalist National Policy Institute. While Sherry Spencer’s family was under pressure to condemn her son’s beliefs in the wake of his increased national profile, Gersh told us the accusation of an attempt at extortion was false, an incorrect interpretation of their contact with each other…

Richard Cohen, the president of the SPLC and one of Gersh’s attorneys, said in an interview with Gersh on Monday that the case was an adaptation of the organization’s legal strategy to “hold hate leaders responsible for the actions of their followers.” This time, however, the case is mostly about digital harassment.

“I think it’s an incredibly important lawsuit,” said Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in online privacy. Digital harassment is a relatively untested area for lawsuits like this, and would-be plaintiffs often face two challenges: It’s expensive to bring a case, and online harassment isn’t always taken as seriously as physical harassment by individual judges or jury members, “especially of a certain generation,” Citron said…
Read more



The First Round of the French National Elections are Only Hours Away

France holds the first, primary round of its national elections tomorrow. There are eleven candidates running from the extreme right to the far left. The Daily Beast‘s Christopher Dickey and Erin Salezky have the details:

Let’s be just that blunt. These elections could fuck us all. They have turned into an insane gamble—Russian roulette (and we use the term advisedly) with at least two of the chambers loaded—and the implications for the United States are huge.

The biggest winner in the forthcoming French presidential elections may well be Russian President Vladimir Putin, in fact. And while he might have played a few of his usual dirty tricks—indeed, in 2014 a Russian bank funded the party of Marine Le Pen, the current first-round leader in the polls—Putin can now sit back and watch the French themselves try to destroy the European Union and the NATO alliance he hates so much.

Less than three weeks from now, in the final round of the presidential elections, the only choice left to the voters of France could well be between Le Pen, a crypto-fascist, or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a charismatic communist, both of whom are strongly anti-EU and anti-NATO.

Victory for either one would mean an end to the political, diplomatic, and economic order that has protected the United States as well as Europe for the last 70 years, preventing the kinds of cataclysms—World Wars I and II—that cost millions of lives in the first half of the 20th century while containing first Soviet and now Russian adventurism.

There are other possibilities, but as the French prepare to go to the polls (or flee them) this Sunday, April 23, the possible outcomes are a total crapshoot. The four top candidates in a field of 11 are in a virtual dead heat; the differences between their scores is within the acknowledged margins of error by the pollsters. The top two finishers will vie against each other in a run-off on May 7. And the reason something like panic has set in among many French, from the heights of the political establishment to conversation over espressos at the counters in working-class cafés, is that the candidate with the most solid base is Le Pen, while the one with the most momentum is the far-left Mélenchon.

Much, much more at the link.

Sp we wait for the results of tomorrow’s primary. And then we wait for another two weeks to see just how much more interference there is in the French elections by the Russians before knowing just how much damage may then be done to the EU and NATO. Campaigning for tomorrow’s elections was suspended, per French election law, last night, but events that could effect the election continue. This includes the potential political fallout from Thursday’s attack on French law enforcement at the Champs Elysees* and an orderly arrest of an armed man at the Gare du Nord in Paris earlier today.

Stay frosty and sleep well!

* This was a strange attack in terms of what is being reported as motivation. While it is true that a note regarding ISIL was found next to the deceased shooter after he had been killed by French police, he had a long criminal history and it has been reported that he hated law enforcement as a result. So while ISIL has claimed responsibility, it is unclear what, exactly, ISIL actually had to do with the attack. Cheurfi’s lawyer had this to say:

Jean-Laurent Panier, who defended the suspected Champs-Elysée gunman in a theft trial, said he showed “no sign that he belonged to any movement, or of radicalisation”.

Mr Panier added: “He was very solitary, someone who was particularly isolated. He lived with his mother and had contact with his father, and there was a family that tried to support him but felt powerless.”

Cheurfi had a long criminal record and spent more than a decade in prison for attempted murder.

The lawyer painted a picture of a naive man, who took part in a theft and was “left to face the music” when his accomplices fled.

“I never got a sense that this was someone who would be radicalised,” Mr Panier said.

And:

He had been questioned in February over threats to kill police officers but allowed to go free.

He was not on the police “S” watchlist of known terror suspects although he appeared on the counter-terrorist services’ radar last December, according to ‘Le Monde’, slightly earlier than previously thought.

At the time, police were tipped off that he wanted to “kill police officers to avenge Muslims killed in Syria”, said the newspaper citing security forces. He was also seeking weapons and a way of contacting an Isil contact in Iraq or Syria. A judicial inquiry was opened in Meaux but this was not terror-related.

Regardless, whatever political impact results does not have to, and likely will not be, related to whatever Cheurfi’s actual motivations were.



A Sequence of Photos

These two photos really say it all. I walked upstairs and found Steve lying dead center in the middle of the bed in the spare (lavender) bedroom, and I sat down to give him some attention:

My ass no more than hit the bed when this happened:

He is so damned needy.

My bff Tammy is up for the night with her pooch Samantha, and we are having Holly and company over for dinner to celebrate Holly’s 3rd Aneurversary of her aneurysm. Tammy has nicknamed Thurston “Thirsty” because he is so damned starved for attention.

It fits.

*** Update ***

By request, pictures of Samantha:

And like all good models, as soon as she is off camera, she relaxes for the next shoot:

She’s a good dog and folded seamlessly into the pack in under ten minutes.



Interesting Read: “The calculus behind Jason Chaffetz’s sudden decision to walk away”

Two reporters from the Deseret News craft an amazing example of what I suppose must be “Mormon nice”, turning never-less-than-postive words and carefully-buffed stories into a portrait of a vicious little self-promoter attempting to slide out of the unexpected spotlight exposing every wart of Grifter King Trump’s nasty court…

Something had flipped after the election, Chaffetz had noticed, an ugly impulse unfurling across America. He had seen anger directed at him before, but nothing like this. He’d been getting death threats, on his voicemail and in his inbox, and in the ensuing weeks it would only get worse.

He had become a target, the face of Republican fecklessness. At his D.C. office, his young staffers fielded calls from all over the country, hundreds a day, demanding he investigate Trump. As chairman of the House Oversight Committee and Government Reform Committee, Chaffetz had risen to national prominence for his aggressive inquiries into missteps by the Obama administration, making him a hero to the “Fox and Friends” crowd.

He’d hammered the Secret Service, demanded documents on the Fast and Furious gun running scandal, and most notably, grilled Hillary Clinton for hours on the deaths of four Americans at a compound in Benghazi, Libya. So why wasn’t he investigating Donald Trump? People asked him this wherever he went, at the airport, at Five Guys when he was standing in line for a burger. Tonight they wanted answers.

He stepped out from behind the curtain.

The crowd erupted in deafening boos, rising to their feet. Chaffetz smiled. He’d seen worse. As a placekicker at BYU in the mid-1980s he’d played before hostile football crowds with Ty Detmer and Jason Buck. “You think this is bad,” he thought to himself. “You’ve never been to Laramie, Wyoming.”

Besides, plainclothes police officers were standing behind the curtain, and others were scattered throughout the crowd. No one here could rattle him, not really. And even if they did, he wouldn’t let them see it. He would keep smiling, no matter what he felt inside.

Clips of the town hall were starting to go viral. For the part of the electorate who felt the Trump administration was a threat to the republic, this was a moment, #Resistance. Here was one of the few people who could bring Trump to heel, who could subpoena his tax records, force him to testify under oath, really anything he wanted, and his constituents were demanding he do it.

“Do your job! Do your job!” they chanted. Chaffetz smiled through his teeth, pleading for the crowd to calm down, but no one was listening.

In the ensuing weeks, Chaffetz insisted the protesters didn’t bother him, but those closest to him began to worry if all the unhinged Facebook posts and death threats were taking a toll. Trey Gowdy, the Republican congressman from South Carolina who Chaffetz considers his best friend, openly wondered if Chaffetz’s ever-ready smile was masking pain.

“Some of the stuff left on his voicemail,” Gowdy said, pausing. “He plays it for me and I’m trying to evaluate, do you take it seriously? What do you do about it?”…
Read more



Cat Blogging: Update from Bella (via Dalai Rasta)

Got this note Friday, but didn’t have the chance to FYWP-ize it…

Thank you so much for your help. I’ve scheduled an appointment for Bella for tomorrow, but I may have to reschedule for later in the day because my father has some difficulty in getting up in the morning (74 and a blood disorder).

Let me introduce you to the rest of the crew:

At top: Bella with her frenemy, Dobby, age 10. They actually get along really well, though Dobby can be tempermental at times. He is also missing his right eye, though he lost it due to an infection as a small kitten.

Dobby while awake (sorry about the redeye):

Daphne, age 7, who is the most like Bella in temperament, though she seems to enjoy making my mother scold her:

Daphne’s a little groggy in that picture, and part of Bella can be seen at the bottom right. Almost all of Daphne’s pictures are of her in a cardboard box.

Here’s Noel, age 6:

The cat on the monitor behind Noel was her mother. Pollyanna. Polly had a rear limb deformity, and I eventually passed her along to SpayMart. Unfortunately, I don’t know what has become of Polly; she was taken from SpayMart’s sanctuary by a former employee without permission. I miss her a lot; she was incredibly sweet, but fiercely independent and very much the boss of things. Noel has a lot of her personality, but she’s had less luck in getting the other cats to succumb to her leadership.

This is Oliver, age unknown:

Oliver lives in my father’s workshop. I bought a small window unit AC to keep him comfortable. He’s very people-friendly and affectionate, but he tends to want to fight or chase when he’s around another cat. I’d like to get him adopted, but I haven’t yet had any takers. He’s a real sweetheart, despite being a bit of a Joe Palooka.

Again, thank you for promoting Bella’s fund. Balloon Juice really is a nice community.

Thanks for the pics, Dalai, and fingers crossed for Bella!



March for Science Live Feed

I’ve embedded a live feed  from the official DC March. They are retweeting from a lot of locales around the world and I suspect as today goes on they’ll add US locations. There is also a SnapChat app for you younguns.  :-D

Feed is below the fold:  Read more



Luxury Denied (Open Thread)

Who was it who said (paraphrasing) a competent administration provides its citizens the luxury of not thinking about politics all the time? This cartoon is my life now:

I hope the science marches are HUGE today. I can’t go because of a family thing, but my encouragement, admiration and good wishes go with those of you who are marching!

Open thread.



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Maybe Don’t Encourage Him

Apart from the professional GOP version of ‘virtue signaling‘, what’s on the agenda for the day?

not entirely sure this isn’t a possible outcome



A Little Reminder That Good Things Still Happen and Make the World a Better Place

So this happened earlier tonight (h/t: Josh Marshall’s twitter feed):

(FYI: This is Noni crashing in the apartment building hallway)

Enter good people (in addition to everyone offering to help out in all the replies to the tweets)!

Little things, small actions, make all the difference in the world. Sleep well Noni! And well done Sara Morrison, Carmen Rita, and Chandler for stepping up and making things just a little bit better!



I Love Spring

I love this time of year. Everything is getting green and pretty and smells so good.

Rode around today doing some errands and broke out the Police- Synchronicity and the Stones – Emotional Rescue and enjoyed the cool breeze and warm sun.

It was a good day.