Respite Open Thread: Meet Max

A few days ago, Msilaneous told us she was thinking of bringing a new kitten into her home after losing her beloved cat of 17 years in January. As us cat lovers know, you don’t choose the kitten, the kitten chooses you.


“There was a surprise waiting for us when we arrived at Heaven’Lees Rescue yesterday afternoon. A tuxedo cat had given birth a half hour before our arrival. The boys were awestruck as we each took a quick peek through the tiny opening next to the heater keeping them warm. The boys are my three grandsons. My younger daughter also met us there, “there” being Elizabeth’s house.

Elizabeth runs Heaven’Lees Rescue with support from her husband and occasional volunteers. While we were there she was on and off the phone to the vet who was helping her monitor the newborns. Soon she was answering questions from a caller and prospective adopter. Her last call before we left was to the vet’s admin to forward Kitten #8’s records.

Elizabeth handed me a kitten when we first got there, but I hardly had a chance to get a look before I felt something land on my foot and start climbing my leg. Laughing, I handed the kitten I was holding to my daughter, and plucked Number 8 off my pant leg.

Elizabeth could not remember his back story, but I’ve been monitoring the rescue websites for the past few weeks and recall a huge litter of black kittens being posted a while back with no mention of a mother. I think Number 8 was the last of his litter and last to be adopted. He is 9 weeks old.

His name is Max. (Full name Maxwell {how about Maximilian} Winston Snackwellz Familyname, Familyname, Familyname the 8th) The boys reserve the right to add.

TaMara, I’m so grateful for everything you and the commenters shared with me Wednesday. I very much liked the idea of adopting two, but in the end Max chose me, and from what I can tell so far, he is going to be quite enough for a while, I think! Elizabeth told me he craves attention, which is true enough. He is also in need of some serious socialization. The boy plays rough! He is also adorable, funny, sweet, bright, curious, a real love bug, and a purring machine. We are all head over heels.

We had our first bath this morning, both of us going into the experience complete newbies. Not sure who came out more traumatized. LOL  He vocalized his woes, I commiserated, and we cuddled until we felt better.

He had company today and played hard. To relax him, I found this video on YouTube. He was enthralled – for all of two minutes, but it did the trick. He just conked out.”

Black kitten watching youtube video of fish


If that doesn’t brighten your day, well, I refer you back to my anger journal and how it has lightened my days. It started out today:

“Dear Anger Journal, once again, Anne Laurie and John Cole bragging been bragging about their first tomatoes, while I look at my garden and know I’m still a solid month away from my first ripe tomato. Sigh, I kinda hate them now.” 😜

Respite open thread.

Lights For Liberty – DC, San Ysidro, Peterborough

PlanetJanet: Here are a few pictures from the event in DC. About 3000 signed up for the event and the crowd looks like it could be that big.  About half of Lafayette Park was taken up by the crowd.  The event started with a march by the American Federation of Teachers who marched down 16th St and into the Park.  They had about a hundred marchers with several chants.  I most liked Classrooms, Not Cages. One very moving moment for me was as they read the names and ages of children who have died in US custody, along with the manner and place of death. After each name, we answered “Let freedom ring forever”. The event finished with us all singing This Little Light of Mine”. I love that song. Congresswoman Norma Torres spoke briefly.

Love little Miss Liberty up in the tree!

James E. Powell: This march was organized as San Diego but was more specifically in San Ysidro, right at the border crossing to Tijuana. I’m no good at estimating crowds, but the march, once it got going, was over a quarter mile long, filling two lanes. When we all got to the border, we had the same kind of speeches RandyG in Tuscon mentioned, with the same results. It did not help that we were standing right next to the train stop.

Misswhatsis in Peterborough, New Hampshire: This is left to right a state senator, Jeanne Dietsch, a state Rep (me) a local choir leader, and a Peterborough select board member leading the singing.

More to come…

Mike Pence, the GOP’s Emergency Backup Monster

There have been rumors that “Idiot-1” wants to replace Pence on the 2020 ticket with his favorite daughter — so maybe sending him down to Texas was an attempt to make him an expendable sacrifice to public outrage. Or maybe sending Moral Monstrosity Mike was a ‘gift’ to that not inconsiderable portion of the GOP base that wants to hurt people. Quite possibly both!

Read more

Lights for Liberty – Providence, Durham, Frederick

Here’s more positive news, because it’s going to get worse later.

dr. bloor: Providence [Rhode Island] Journal said the crowd was “hundreds;” I thought it might have broken into four figures, but I’m terrible at that sort of thing.

Libby’s Person: A couple of hundred people gathered in Durham, NC.

Dan Z in Frederick, Maryland:

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Bounty of A Rainy Spring

From commentor Gelfling545 (who, I believe, is in Maryland?):

Here are some photos from my little plot. All that spring rain was good for something. 😊


Picked my first ripe tomato of the season — a fine Chocolate Amazon. For some reason, this year’s cherry tomatoes are lagging; usually they’re starting to ripen a week or ten days before the full-sized ones, but some of them aren’t even flowering yet!

What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?

Late Night Open Thread: Hot Time, Summer in the City

Per the Washington Post:

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who was campaigning for president in Iowa on Saturday, tweeted that the police and fire departments and other city agencies were working to respond to a manhole fire that caused the outage. The New York City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, said on Twitter that there was a major disturbance at Con Edison’s 49th Street substation and that the utility was working to fix it…

Pizza shops on the Upper West Side were selling lukewarm slices in the dark with flashlights, cash only. In the Park Central Hotel on Seventh Avenue near West 55th Street, at least 100 guests were sitting on the floor in the lobby in candlelight. At the Wellington Hotel across the street, guests filed out in the dark holding glow sticks and gathered on the sidewalk.

Horse-drawn buggies were still clucking around in the blackout, aggressively recruiting riders as Uber prices surged.

The streets outside Carnegie Hall were dark, aside from car lights and a mobile hot-dog stand. Some teenagers from Idaho and Texas who had come to watch a concert at the hall instead volunteered to hold glow sticks and direct traffic in the absence of stoplights…

Does This Thing Still Work?

Spent the last 50 hours with intermittent power and cell service, and no internet or television. Read a couple books and did a bunch of things, but mostly I slept because I have had a low level cold/flu that is getting consistently worse. I just slept from 6:00-9:30, and now I am nauseous and feel like I might shit myself while simultaneously having chills with cold and clammy skin and hot flashes. Is this ebola?


Let’s Play Mad Libs

Since none of us are members of the Wall Street Journal editorial board,  how would you complete this sentence: Can <Member of Congress> Overcome His/Her Prejudice?

I’ll go for the obvious one:  Can Steve King Overcome His Prejudice?

PopCult Nostalgia Open Thread: Ave Atque Vale, MAD Magazine

(Signe Wilkinson via

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for MAD Magazine, which my dad started reading when it was still a comic book. (He never forgave my mother for throwing those precious issues away during the divorce.) And I cherish the 1973 ComicCon program I got Sergio Aragonés (and others) to autograph. But it’s been at least 30 years since I bought a copy of the magazine, so…

… “Age hits everybody: It hits magazines, it hits the movies, it hits technology,” legendary Mad cartoonist Sergio Aragonés told The Washington Post on Thursday. “It’s been a logical development.”

Mad magazine hit a peak of more than 2 million subscribers in the early ’70s, when it memorably satirized shifting social mores and cultural attitudes. Emblematic of that era — when Mad flexed the most pop-culture muscle as a powerhouse of topical irreverence — was a Watergate-era sendup of President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew in a “big con” spoof of the hit Oscar-winning movie “The Sting.”

But commercial pressures had changed since the ’90s. To try to survive in more recent years, as circulation dwindled precipitously, the magazine owned by Warner Bros.’ DC division shifted to a quarterly publishing schedule and moved its offices from New York to the Los Angeles area. Now, the Mad brand will mostly endure by simply recirculating its classic vintage material, living on through the appeal of what it once was…
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Lights for Liberty – Cookeville, Madison, St. Petersburg

Alcanox in Cookeville, Tennessee: It was a nice event with a little over 100 people in attendance, which is not bad for a small college town.

Omnes Omnibus: Some photos from the Madison WI vigil. We had a good 300+ Sorry for the Cole-esque quality of some of the photos.

Joy in FL: There were a lot more people by the time the event began at 7, probably about 300. After the vigil, Indivisible FL 13 and ACLU had 4 breakout sessions about contacting legislators, protecting immigrants, visiting the Homestead detention center, and Actions to Enforce the Flores Agreement.

Still more…

Lights for Liberty – Tucson, Elk River, and Camano Island

RandyG in Tucson, Arizona: About 1,500+ attendees, 98° at game time. Scheduled for 7:00-9:00pm, with a candlelight vigil scheduled for 8:30pm. Sounded great, started on time. Apparently the organizers thought it made sense to keep bringing up more and more people essentially saying the same thing and very little in the way of actually following up with some useful action items. At 9:00pm we (my wife and 2 other friends) left…. more speakers were still being brought up, no candlelight segment in sight, about 3/4 of the crowd had already left. Yes, I give the organizers a lot of credit for doing the heavy lifting of getting this organized, but gee, most left-wing grassroots groups have no feel for effective tactics or strategy. Did I mention that it was hot and late?

esme: These are from the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River, MN. A good crowd for a small town. A bunch of us from St. Cloud drove down.

thalarctosMaritimus: About 30 dedicated activists turned out for the vigil on Camano Island, Washington, a community about 65 miles NE of Seattle. We chose it over the Everett vigil because we thought that in a smaller, more rural community, 2 more supporters could have more impact than in a larger city crowd. The weather was warm and sunny, and the Camano Island Democrats chose a location where a lot of Friday rush-hour traffic passed by. We were encouraged by horn-honking and waves from passing drivers, and Mr. thalarctos and I made some contacts to stay in touch with for upcoming events.

More to come…open

Lights For Liberty – Manhattan Beach, Lexington, and Taos

The vigil at the New Mexico State Capitol went off extremely well last night, thanks to our own Felix O. Culpa.

Sorry for delay. For some reason, GMail decided, for the first time, to send all Balloon Juice mail to my spam folder. But commenter Noncarborundum asked where his email had gone this morning, encouraging me to check. After my checking a number of emails as not-spam, GMail seems to have gone back to sending B-J mail to my inbox. If you’ve got photos you want posted, send them to me via the “Contact Us” in the upper right-hand corner.

FelonyGovt was at the Manhattan Beach, California, vigil. They had about 200 people.

From Noncarborundum: Here are a few shots I took outside the Hancock Church in Lexington MA last night.  There was a brief meeting inside the church with readings, songs and information about ways to help, then we all went outside for the candlelight vigil.  Not everyone got a candle; they said they’d been expecting about 50 people, but by my estimate there were at least 150 there.

From Gus diZerega in Taos, New Mexico (Hi, neighbor!):

More to come. I am posting as I receive them.

Where Was Everyone Else?

Great piece in the Guardian about the one reporter who made the case against Epstein:

When Julie K Brown of the Miami Herald approached a former police chief of Palm Beach, Florida, in 2017, hoping to get him to open up about his investigation of the child sex crimes for which the wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein had been fleetingly jailed a decade earlier, she was surprised by how unresponsive he was.

Michael Reiter told Brown he had been down this road many times and was sick of it. As Brown recalled in a WNYC interview last month, Reiter said he had talked to many reporters and told them precisely where to find damning evidence against Epstein. But nothing ever came of it.

“He was convinced that a lot of media had squashed the story and he was fed up,” she said.

Reiter warned Brown what would happen were she to continue digging: “Somebody’s going to call your publisher and the next thing you know you are going to be assigned to the obituaries department.”

Brown did not heed his warning. […]

There’s also a good re-telling of the case against Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair, whose defense for cutting out the testimony of one of Epstein’s victims (“I believe him…I’m Canadian”) is an affront to both Canada and to journalism.

Respite Open Thread: I Was TOLD There Would Be Tea And Honey

Bear on hotel balcony

Photo by Deborah Roberston at Mount Washington Hotel NH

Bear just waiting for his party to arrive for tea and honey on the balcony.

Here’s video of what happens at my house when I’m late letting the ducks out in the morning:

And this made my afternoon – Manta Ray asking for help

I am taking a serious break, but did want to offer you some respite. I have started an anger journal – it has been so cathartic. Y’all can have your gratitude journals, I need somewhere to put all this anger so I’m not dumping it on some innocent bystander. It’s surprising how well it actually works. LOL

I hope everyone in the path of Barry is safe and hunkered down.

I’m off to mow the lawn and make sure everything is good and watered before the heat today. Cute Penelope Pearl story – I was outside in the lounge chair reading and she came over and settled down next to me so I could pet her while I read. So freakin’ adorable. I’ve had quite a few ducks, none so puppy like.

What’s everyone else up to today?

Respite open thread

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Gauging the Harsh Race

The idea is that rebuilding the party nationally depends on the hard work of winning seats in state legislatures around the country. With that in mind, the two-year-old Future Now Fund, working with the progressive think tank Data for Progress, is trying to apply pressure to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates by ranking them in terms of who is doing the most to help Democrats win state legislative races…

Future Now Fund and Data for Progress ranked the 2020 Democrats using a point system that assigned different values to a range of actions taken. For instance, candidates earned one point for boosting a state legislator through social media, two points for citing a state legislator or candidate in emails to their national campaign list and three points for appearing in person with a state legislator at a public event. Those points were doubled if a 2020 Democrat showed support for a candidate or lawmaker outside the early-voting states of Iowa or New Hampshire.

The groups started tracking candidates’ activities May 1, and officials say they will release updated rankings each month until the Democrats select a nominee for president.

John Halpin, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank that was not associated with the ranking project, said he found the methodology employed by Future Now Fund reasonable and praised their work.

“With all the money and energy going in to the presidential election, the need to develop and support the Democratic bench at the state and local level too often gets ignored,” Mr. Halpin said. “This project provides voters with a good sense of who is putting in the effort to help state political voices and who is not.”…

Details behind the rankings at the link, if you wanna argue.

Paul Waldman, at the Washington Post, “The Democratic primary is starting to take shape”:

Presidential primary campaigns are not fair. Well-qualified candidates struggle to get their message out. Demagogues find a ready audience. Self-fulfilling prophecies by the media elevate some and kneecap others. The campaign is often absurdly disconnected from the actual job that a president does. When it’s over, we almost never say, “Well, that went well.”

The purpose of the whole thing is for a party not just to pick a champion but to decide who it is and what it wants for the future. And in that way, as messy as the process is, it usually works. Donald Trump really did represent who Republicans were and what they wanted in 2016, just as Barack Obama did the same for Democrats in 2008.

And right now — still with 6½ months to go before the first vote — the field of 25 Democrats running for president is coalescing into a shape…
Read more