On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the picture (this one’s for Betty)!

 

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There’s Still A Lot We Don’t Know About Paul Whelan

Here is what we know about Paul Whelan and his arrest in Russia.

  • A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Whelan was deployed twice to Iraq before he was court-martialed by the Marine Corps in 2008 on charges of attempting to steal more than $10,000 worth of currency and bouncing checks up to $6000, resulting in a discharge for bad conduct.
  • Whelan is head of physical and personnel security for BorgWarner, an auto parts manufacturer. Previously worked for Kelly Services.
  • Whelan holds passports from four countries: the United States, Britain, Canada, and Ireland.
  • He has visited Russia “every six months or so” since 2006.
  • He has an account on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook. Most contacts are in the Russian military.
  • The American ambassador to Russia has visited him in Lefortovo Prison; Britain and Ireland are seeking consular access.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for an explanation for Mr Whelan’s detention and said his release would be demanded if his detention is found to be inappropriate.
  • He is accused of receiving a usb stick containing the names of people at a “classified security agency.” But Russia is known to plant false information.
  • Lawyer: Vladimir A. Zherebenkov. He suggested that Whelan might be exchanged for Maria Butina.
  • His brother says he is not a spy.

Adam posted a reasonable analysis a couple of days ago. I’ve condensed it, but you can find the full comment at the link. Read more








Open Thread: New Kitties Update

Gabe seems to be adjusting, don’t you think? (Scout is sleeping under him, they were both snoring)

He has his first vet visit this week as our vet comes to give the crew a once over. This was supposed to be the week Scout was spayed, but I balked and canceled that. The vet understands because a bad spay/pexi (before I got her and TOO young) is why we lost Bailey before her second birthday. So, we’ll try again in January.

Look at him, resting his little foot on Bixby. “Maybe I can absorb that awesomeness if I keep my foot on him”

I thought it would be fun to check in with our newest members that arrived around the time of Gabe. So I contacted geg6 and jacy to see how Cleo and Mouse were adjusting.

Here’s geg6’s Cleo:

She’s so cute, enough to make me waiver on my “no more kittens, only adults” rule

From geg6:

Here’s some shots of Cleo. She is putting on weight and getting longer. Very healthy now and full of energy. She loves to play, jump, eat and get belly rubs when she wakes up. Still keeping her separate from the pups. We’ve been gating her in the kitchen for a while every day. Dogs are curious but dubious. It’s obviously going to be a process. She goes back to the vet Monday for a follow up and more shots. We love her.

And here is jacy’s Mouse:

He’s growing into such a handsome boy!

From jacy:

Here’s his latest photo. He’ll be nine months old this week, and he’s found out there are birds outside. He has also found out that if he can convince each person in the household separately that he hasn’t been fed, he can receive up to five of cans of food a day. His favorite trick is to rattle the doors to the game room until they pop open, then go in and knock the turtle food over and eat it. 🙂

And with that, I turn an open thread over to you. Let’s see your pets, holiday decorations (here’s my tree), or anything else fun you’d like to share.








LTG Flynn Met With the Special Counsel’s Investigators 19 Times!!!!

Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his sentencing memo to the court regarding LTG Flynn. The two top take aways are that LTG Flynn met with the Special Counsel’s investigators 19 times and that, as a result of his full cooperation with the Special Counsel’s investigation, Special Counsel Mueller is recommending no prison time for the crime that LTG Flynn plead to. Basically Flynn sang like a bird and told the Special Counsel everything!!!!!!

Flynn was facing up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Here’s the link to the memo.

Buzzfeed has the details!

WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller is okay with a sentence that doesn’t include any jail time for Michael Flynn — the former Trump national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents in the Russia probe — according to a new court filing Tuesday night.

Flynn is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 18, more than a year after he first appeared before a federal judge in Washington, DC, to enter his guilty plea. His deal with the government required him to cooperate with Mueller’s office, and in Tuesday’s filing, prosecutors said Flynn’s offense was “serious,” but that he deserved credit for accepting responsibility and “substantially assisting the government.”

Given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other considerations set
forth below, a sentence at the low end of the guideline range — including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration — is appropriate and warranted,” prosecutors wrote.

Much more at the link.

The supplementary filing had a lot of redactions:

Expect the presidential frenzy, as well as the frenzy of those around him, to increase exponentially.

It is important to remember that anyone who tells you definitively what the Special Counsel and his investigators are doing does not know what the Special Counsel and his investigators are doing. The only people who know what the Special Counsel and his investigators are doing are the Special Counsel and his investigators and they do not comment publicly. They only speak through indictments, other court filings, and in court.

Don’t lie to the FBI! It’s rude and upsets the special agents’ feelings!

Open thread.



Voting Fraud Questions in North Carolina’s 9 Congressional District: Republican Representative Elect Edition

It appears something squirrelly may have been afoot during both the Republican primary and the general election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Michael McDonald, a specialist on voting from the University of Florida’s Department of Political Science (my former professional home), kicks things off for us:

WSOC TV Channel 9’s Joe Bruno picks up the thread for us. His article/reporting is first and then a hunber of his tweets with images of the affidavits he’s collected.

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. – Channel 9 has obtained several affidavits out of Bladen County, North Carolina, voicing concerns about how the U.S. House District 9 race in November was handled.

Witnesses who signed the affidavits claimed a known player in the county’s political circles and an electioneer was also working for the Mark Harris campaign.

One of those sworn affidavits claims that man, Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., would receive a $40,000 bonus from the Harris campaign if Harris defeated Democrat Dan McCready.

Another affidavit said Dowless was “doing absentee” for Harris. The document claims Dowless said, “You know I don’t take checks. They have to pay me cash.”

Another affidavit points to workers going to voters’ doors to collect absentee ballots. One voter said a worker told her she would finish the voter’s ballot for her. Both acts would be illegal.

North Carolina’s Elections Board delayed finalizing the results Tuesday of the close U.S. House race, as officials appear to be scrutinizing potential wrongdoing within the 9th Congressional District.

Board members voted unanimously to certify the final tallies in nearly all of the elections held earlier this month but didn’t sign off on the 9th District, as well as a handful of other races subject to protests or recounts.

More at the link! Affidavits below the jump.

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