Oct 042016

I’m trying to be lazy today, so I can watch the VP debate tonight.  The best outcome is that Kaine makes a convincing argument that Pence, Trump and the downballot Republicans are all virtually the same.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:48 (average 5:13).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the news from Week 4 in our own fantasy football league.





Oh how the mighty hath fallen!

Short Takes:

From KP Daily Funnies: Drunk Trump 4: The Drunkest Guy at the Bar


I have to admit that there have been several times I wondered what drug he was on.

From Daily Kos: In 1997, Keith Cooper was arrested and convicted for an armed robbery in Elkhart, Indiana. After serving 10 years for the conviction, DNA evidence pointed to another man, already in custody for a similar crime. Every eyewitness account also recanted their testimony that led to Mr. Cooper’s conviction, as the witnesses were denied a police line up they requested before the trial. Cooper’s retrial was ordered, but the new prosecutor, Curtis Hill, offered Keith a plea deal which would give him an immediate release, rather than waiting months or years for the retrial. All Keith had to do was admit his guilt for a crime he didn’t commit. Keith’s wife and children were about to become homeless, so what else could Keith do? What would you do? Keith has been living with the stigma and real limitations of being a convicted felon ever since.

And now, Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s Vice-Presidential running mate, refuses to provide justice to Keith Cooper, even after admitting Cooper’s innocence. In an ongoing battle to remove his felony status, Mr. Pence finally responded…by delaying a decision. His reasoning?

“Although the judicial system may not be perfect, given the extraordinary nature of Mr. Cooper’s request, we need to be certain the judicial process is complete and has been given every opportunity to address any error that may have occurred."

In other words, he basically doesn’t want to, and goes on to make the absurd argument that no governor has ever pardoned an innocent man.

I keep hearing the argument that, if Rump Dump is elected, he’ll be a figurehead, and Pence will be running things. I don’t believe it, but if it’s true, Pence is no better than Trump. In spite of Republican disingenuous claims to the contrary, Trump and Pence reflect the policies and positions of the Republican Party perfectly.

From The New Yorker: Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, called Donald J. Trump a “genius” on Monday for his controversial plan to burn down the White House to collect insurance money.

Appearing on Fox News, Christie said that Trump’s scheme to collect fire-insurance payments on the White House would “make a serious dent” in the national debt.

“It’s not just the White House,” Christie told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “That building is chock-full of priceless antiques, paintings, and rugs, all of which, when burned, would fetch a pretty penny.”

Actually, Andy, it’s a pretty good idea. If Trump becomes President, he’ll destroy the government and the nation so quickly, that there will no longer be a need for a White House.



Aug 282016

I'll keep this short and sweet — it has been dreadfully hot here in Metro Vancouver getting up to 36 C (97 F) in my area of town.  It wasn't as hot in the areas near the ocean which are the temperatures one normally hears on the news.  We had some lower temperatures today and Sunday is supposed to be about 19 C (66 F) with some rain.  Oh how nice for some rain!  I really don't know how people in Texas, Arizona and Florida, just to name three, can handle the heat.  I had difficulty with the heat when I lived in Ontario many years ago, and recently it has been as high as 40 C (104 F) perhaps hotter.  I hope everyone is finding ways to stay as cool as possible.

Short Takes

CBC — Syrian opposition activists have released haunting footage showing a young boy rescued from the rubble in the aftermath of a devastating airstrike in Aleppo.  …

The strike occurred during the sunset call to prayer, around 7:20 p.m local time, said Raslan, a correspondent for Al Jazeera Mubashir.

Five-year-old Omran Daqnee was pulled, bloodied and dazed, from the rubble of a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, following an airstrike Wednesday night.

Omran was rescued along with his three siblings, ages one, six, and 11, and his mother and father from the rubble of their partially destroyed apartment building, according to Raslan. None sustained major injuries, but the building collapsed shortly after the family was rescued.  …

Doctors in Aleppo use code names for hospitals, which they say have been systematically targeted by government airstrikes. Abu al-Ezz said they do that "because we are afraid security forces will infiltrate their medical network and target ambulances as they transfer patients from one hospital to another."  …

Syria Russia

A Russian aircraft drops bombs on Aleppo on Aug. 16. Activists were warned ahead of the airstrike on the M10 hospital that a warplane was en route from the Russian air base at Hmeimim. (Russian Defence Ministry Press Service/Associated Press)

And THIS is the same dictator that Drumpf would cozy up to?!  I know this is 10 days old, but I think it bears remembering and restating that Drumpf has some kind of 'bromance' going with Putin (R-RU), not to mention possible financial ties to the Russian oligarchs.  If he were POTUS, how would that influence his positions?  He must never be allowed to get into that position.  This appears to be a conflict of interest, a clear and present danger to the national security of the US.

Alternet — To American progressives, this retirement story should sound familiar. After decades of pension cutbacks and declining unionization, many retiring seniors depend increasingly on underfunded government-run programs. Amid rising inequality, some wealthy seniors can afford to retire, while others must keep working lest they lose their toehold in the middle class. The notion that seniors are entitled to a comfortable retirement is fading, and fast.

But this retirement security saga is unfolding not in the United States, but in Canada. The difference is that Canada, which confronts virtually all the same problems that plague the U.S., has decided to act.

On June 20, Canada’s federal and provincial governments agreed to expand what’s known as the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), a program analogous to American Social Security and one of three in Canada that supports retirees. The agreement, which officials expect to finalize by the end of the summer, could add thousands of dollars to the yearly retirement incomes of Canadian workers.  …

Expanding CPP is just one of three steps that Canada’s recently-elected Liberal Party has taken to protect current and future retirees. Led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the government also approved a 10 percent increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement that the government provides to single, low-income seniors. Trudeau also dropped the previous administration’s plans to raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 for both the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the country’s third senior citizen pension program, known as Old Age Security.

To American liberals, Canada’s retirement-care progressivism is a frustrating reminder that in the U.S., public debate on Social Security has until recently centered not on how it can be expanded, but how it can be trimmed. 

Even  in Canada there are some issues with the expansion.  Québec and Manitoba did not agree in principle back in June 2016.  BC, which approved in principle, did not ratify the agreement by the 15/07/2016 deadline, instead opting for a series of public consultations.  It should be noted that while the BC government is "Liberal", it is a misnomer in my view as it is right of centre and it bears no association with Justin Trudeau's federal Liberal Party.  For the expansion to go through, 7 provinces representing 2/3's of the Canadian population must agree.  See First Reference Talks for a short description of the expansion.  So if Canada is having a few hiccups, the US with its general mindset and its Republican dominated Congress will have great difficulty — don't hold your breath.  Republicans are so bent about social security, continuing to say that it contributes to the deficit.  But it doesn't because it is made up of personal contributions.  Of course, social security expansion is one of Bernie's talking points.  Let's hope that Democrats take the WH and the Congress.  Then there is a possibility of an expansion, but not before.

Newsweek — Today there are more than 2,000 fighters from Russia on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq fighting on behalf of the Islamic State.

A large number of these fighters are Muslims originating from the Northern Caucasus, a fact that feeds a narrative back in Russia that has been growing since the 1990s.

Many Russians now link the Muslim populations of the North Caucasus with extremism and terrorism. That perception is not entirely without basis: the North Caucasus region has been rent by war, terror and brutal state crackdowns for over two decades.

Muslims attend morning prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Moscow on July 5. Denis Sokolov writes that often, if a known Islamic activist is out of Russia, law enforcement will orchestrate a surprise search at the person's home where a hand grenade or ammunition is planted. The message is simple: "Do not come back or we will put you behind bars."

© Maxim Zmeyev/reuters Muslims attend morning prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Moscow on July 5. Denis Sokolov writes that often, if a known Islamic activist is out of Russia, law enforcement will orchestrate a surprise search at the person's home where a hand grenade or ammunition is planted. The message is simple: "Do not come back or we will put you behind bars."         

But the story of the territory is as much about rapid social change as it is about conflict. Russian state policies over the past two decades have done much to build today’s pipeline of radicalized extremists originating from the North Caucasus to spread across Russia and beyond to the battle zones of the Middle East.

Now, who is copying who — Putin copying Drumpf, or Drumpf Putin?  This is a long but interesting piece.  Russia is supporting the Assad government of Syria, with some support from Turkey and Iran.  The US is standing with the rebels.  From Wikipedia"A special investigation by Reuters claimed that in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Russian security services had allowed and encouraged militants to leave Russia to fight in the Syrian Civil War, in order to reduce the risk of domestic attacks."  These North  Caucasus fighters are Sunni which is inline with ISIL.  By bombing ISIL, Russia increases the chances of killing some North Caucasus extremists that played havoc at home.  It is very clear that Russia is trying to quel its Muslim population with the added "benefit" of fighting a proxy war with the US.  And there is no doubt in my mind that Drumpf sees the same extremism that exists in Russia being possible in the US.

MSN — If you’ve spent any time in downtown D.C., you’ve likely seen 80-year-old Wanda Witter.

Shock white hair, a determined, unsmiling set to her mouth, jeans. She may have asked you for some change and probably didn’t smile if you gave her some. This month you may have also been taken aback by the black eye and stitches across her face.

Social worker Julie Turner watches as homeless woman Wanda Witter chooses a pillow for her new apartment on Capitol Hill.

For years, Witter bedded down for the night at 13th and G streets in Northwest Washington, on the cement in her blue sleeping bag, pulled up tight to keep the rats and cockroaches out. Her tower of three suitcases was stacked on her hand cart and bike-locked to the patio chairs next to her.

She may have even told you that inside those bags is all the paperwork to prove the government owes her more than $100,000. And she was right.

Nobody should have to endure such bureautic incompetence that puts their life at risk!  Wanda Witter is one very strong, determined and smart woman . . . the kind of woman that I would like to talk to and know, smile or not.

The Weather Network — Warm temperatures in Wisconsin's upper atmosphere recently created a stagnant air mass that trapped hot air and toxic manure fumes over a farm, leaving a 29-year-old farmer and 13 of his cows dead.

The incident occurred at Biadasz Farm near Amherst.

Michael Biadasz was found dead Monday by workers who had arrived to remove manure from a tank on the property.

Coroner Scott Rifleman told the Associated Press he was "overcome" by methane or sulfur oxide present in the manure.

One has to wonder how the Congress manages to survive with all the toxic Republican BS and the heated rhetoric.

My Universe All hail Olly, Lord of Sainsbury's and guardian of the produce, bakery, meat and seafood departments!

The grim-faced tabby, a regular at the supermarket in the district of Brockley, London, has reportedly been showing up on store shelves since November. Despite efforts to keep the feline out of the store, he nearly always finds a new way to saunter right back in.

London animal of the week: The badass cat in Brockley Sainsbury's

One thing is for sure, Sainsbury's won't have a rodent problem . . . if it ever did!  Check for more pictures at the link.



Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 12:04 am  Politics
Aug 202016

I have two items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

First stop Raleigh, North Carolina, where a family in the Neuse Crossing neighborhood was having a y'all come party, and a neighbor (and probable Trump voter) named Chad Copley was having hallucinations.  If our nation had appropriate understanding of mental health issues like hallucinations, and adequate ways to treat said hallucinator without continuing to endanger the neighborhood, I might not be telling this story to the Furies.  But, with things as they are, I see no alternative.

So let's talk about Copley's hallucinations.  To begin with, he hallucinated that there was a Neighborhood Watch program in his neighborhood, and that he was in it, and on duty,

…residents and a manager of the Neuse Crossing Homeowners Association say the neighborhood where the fatal shooting happened does not have a neighborhood watch. And police say that where homeowners do organize neighborhood watch programs they are told to call 911 when they see suspicious or criminal activity, rather than take matters into their own hands.

Then, he hallucinated that guests at the party two doors away were "racing up and down the street," that they were armed, and that "there's some devil in them."

Jalen Lewis, who hosted a party at his home, two doors down from Copley’s, on the night of the shooting, said the victim was one of roughly 50 guests at the party, he told CNN affiliate WTVD.

He didn’t know Thomas personally, he said, and he didn’t see anyone armed or causing problems outside his home that night. Lewis told WTVD he has never interacted with Copley in the seven years he’s lived in the Raleigh neighborhood.

Thirdly, he hallucinated that there was a legal requirement for him to fire a warning shot (prior to doing what else, he didn't say.)

I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises,’ ” he said. “They were showing firearms, so I fired a warning shot and uh, we got somebody that got hit. …

“I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. … They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”

The dispatcher pressed for more information: Who’s been shot, how badly are they injured — and where, exactly, is the victim?

“Please just send a car,” Copley responded. “There’s friggin’ black males outside my friggin’ house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you.”

His "warning shot," which, it transpired, had been fired from a window in his garage, did kill someone: 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, who was out near the street.  Thomas’s mother says he worked at a waffle house, and had a girlfriend about to begin college.

Copley has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.  I would call that a step in the right direction.  Tisiphone, perhaps you can help keep this direction on track and ensure the one step is not the only step to secure this vengeful destroyer away from the public.

Meanwhile, over in Oklahoma – and I must say we all know there are many wonderful people in Oklahoma; this guy just isn't one of them – a retired agriculture teacher named Larry Long has made the news.  It seems that at a retirement presentation they were giving for him at the Oklahoma Career Tech Summer Conference in Oklahoma City he decided to show off what a fine sense of humor he has.Long

So he called a black colleague (probably not a coincidence that the colleague of color is the ONLY black agriculture teacher in the entire state) up to the stage with him, and presented him with a white robe and white hood (complete with Klan insignia), which he placed on the teacher, and then added a Confederate flag (as the bow on the package?)  Wow.  What a barrel of laughs.  Hundreds of people attended this "program," by the way.

I should be specific that CareerTech was not his employer, and he was not retiring from CareerTech.  CareerTech is a state agency, and it does not employ teachers to teach; it oversees them.  The employer from whom he had retired during the year was Elk City High School, where he had apparently worked for 49 years.  He must have been appreciated there, since the board of Elk City Public Schools recently voted to  name the high school's new agriculture building after him.

Those at the meeting were instructed not to speak of it, and to erase any and all cell phone video.  But someone sent an anonymous email to state lawmwkers, and it is now out in the open.

Retired teacher Larry Long issued a statement … in which he said he was trying to make a joke with a colleague who he respected and that he never intended to convey any racism.  He says he realizes his actions were "harmful, offensive, and hurtful."  Long says he has requested a meeting with members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, who expressed outrage at the incident.  A member of the caucus, Democratic Rep. Mike Shelton, says the group welcomes the meeting.  The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology says it is investigating the incident.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Nothing to see here, just move along.  Alecto, if that meeting hasn't already happened, maybe you'd like to be present at it.  Could be interesting.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news /member/101612212/4006109


Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 12:10 am  Politics
Aug 132016

I have a few items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

First, though, before handing off to the Furies, I want to follow up on July 30's story about "National Whistleblowers Appreciation Day."  You may recall I quoted from John Kiriakou and Tom Drake, and mentioned Jeffrey Sterling not being available as he is still locked up.  I have since received an email forwarded by Roots Action from his wife, Holly.  She states that he has served a bit over one year of his three-and-a-half year sentence, and there are a few things we can do ourselves. 

The need is threefold.  First, he is not getting appropriate attention for serious cardiac medical issues.  He has a history of atrial fibrillation (in the past he has been hospitalized for it) and is now experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, and dizziness.  Holly has written to the Warden about his medical conditon, and has received no answer.  She would really appreciate if anyone who can would contact the prison warden, Deborah Denham, to advocate for medical attention for Jeffrey.  The email address is ENG slash ExecAssistant at bop dot gov (I'm spelling it the long way to avoid a link that's not to a site) and the phone number 303-763-4300.  (Personal note from me: if I can come up with any more accuracy or other alternatives I will add it/them in a comment.)

Second – I vividly remember when John Kiriakou was incarcerated how the family, his wife and three little girls, were up against the wall just to try to make the mortgage payments, and on top of that, they did not put him in the nearest prison, so that visiting was a challenge both in terms of energy and financially.  (They also threatened "diesel therapy" – a creative term for moving him between prisons without notice.)  Firedoglake was collecting for John, and, with help, they did not lose their home.  The Sterlings have a Sterling Family Fund set up for them on GoFundMe.  They want to appeal his conviction, and Holly would like to make the 800-plus mile trip to visit him once in a while, and both require money.  (There's also more background information there, should you be interested.)

Third, for those of us who are not locked up, it may be impossible to realize how much words of encouragement can mean.  Even if it's just a card.  He can receive snailmail at

FCI Englewood
Federal Correctional Institution
9595 West Quincy Avenue
Littleton, CO 80123

And, yes, there is a petition .  It also has more background.

Now, moving right along, I'll whip quickly through a few stories of jaw-dropping – something.  First, let's go to Indiana, specifically to South Bend, where, in 2012, Vivian Franklin awakened to loud pounding on her door between three and four in the morning.  Three (warrantless) police officers shining a flashlight in her eyes  barged in.  They were looking for Dan, Vivian's older son, who was not there.  This did not stop them from hauling her younger son, DeShawn, 17, out of bed and assaulting him with fists and tasers.  In the process, a taser probe got stuck in DeShawn's side; the officers were unable to remove it and had to call an ambulance and EMT's to do so.  (I am restraining my snark here.) 

Where the incident goes right through the Looking Glass is that, while DeShawn was shouting he was not Dan, and Vivian was shouting DeShawn was not Dan, and the officers were insisting Dan must be there because they had trailed him to the home – Dan showed up.  Whereupon the officers opted not to arrest him. 

So in March, 2013 the Franklins reasonably filed suit.  Named in the suit were the three officers, the city, the mayor, and the police chief.  Finally, this year, the suit was adjudicated in Fort Wayne.

The jury found that the Franklins' constitutional rights had been violated.  They awarded damages of ONE DOLLAR. Yes, you read that right.  One dollar.

Grudging, I would say.  Megaera, I woudn't stop with the officers, the city, the mayor, and the police chief.  I'd definitely follow up with that jury.  Perhaps Indiana, or at least South Bend, really did deserve Mike Pence.

Let's now go to Watauga, Texas, where an unidentified man made a threat in a phone message to a local mosque, in which he threatened to decapitate Muslims who attended it.

The caller identified as a "Christian."  Police in Watauga are investigating but aren't treating it as a direct threat at the moment.  the FBI has also been notified.

Of course, Tisiphone, you will want to find this person.  But almost more chilling was the remark that "a caller made explicitly violent threats that went well beyond the kind of verbal abuse callers normally level against the mosque." 

It should NOT be "normal" for callers to "level verbal abuse" against ANY person or group.  And it is un-American that this happens.

So you may be digging out a long, long list.

Finally for this week, this happened in Punta Gorda , FL (one of only a few states we might expect it in).  I'll just quote:

A woman, identified as Mary Knowlton, was selected to participate in a “shoot or don’t shoot” training exercise at the Punta Gorda Police Academy. She was selected at random from a group of 35 citizens who were participating in a two hour Citizens Academy—a program created to teach local civics to civilians.

Mary Knowlton, 73, was shot during a role-play scenario in which the Punta Gorda police officer was playing a “bad guy” and fired several times at the woman who was supposed to be playing the victim, according to Sue Paquin, a photographer who was covering the event for the Sun and witnessed the incident.

Knowlton was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Mrs. Knowlton was originally from Austin, Minnesota and was retired in Punta Gorda. She had been a librarian in Scott County, Minnesota.

This incident may reflect more stupidity than malice (and once again I need to restrain my snark/sarcasm).  But things like this happen all the timeAlecto, maybe you can inject some sense here.  I certainly hope so.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4004933


Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 9:24 am  Politics
Jul 302016

I have two items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

I was afraid I wouldn't have a primary link for this section, because I worked from an email.  But, bless them, Roots Action has links to many months of emails on their site, so I do.  The subject line of this email was "Irony-free zone: Congress 'appreciates' whistleblowers."

It seems the U. S. Senate has approved a resolution to designate July 30, 2016, as "Whistleblower Appreciation Day."  July 30 – hey, wait!  That's today!  Well, come on, let's appreciate us some whistleblowers!

Unfortunately, Jeffrey Sterling is not available; he is still in a Federal Prison.  But Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou are out now, so let's appreciate them.  Did you know John was the only CIA agent to go to prison over the CIA's torture program?  Fact.  Because he didn't take part in it.  He blew the whistle on it.  Two years in prison.  I don't know as much about Tom's story, except that his revelations were about mass surveillance; I just know his personal finances also were wrecked through vindictive prosecutions.  Now here are some quotes from John and some from Tom:

Senator Chuck Grassley said … "These brave citizens should not be penalized, they should be praised."  Somebody should tell the Justice Department.  Legitimate whistleblowers are charged under the Espionage Act, a draconian law meant to punish traitors and spies, not truth tellers…. The goal is not just to punish. It’s to ruin, professionally, personally, and financially.  Still we went into this with our eyes open. It might sound crazy, but we would blow the whistle again. We don't need the Senate's "appreciation." What we need is for the Justice Department to respect the laws already on the books, to support whistleblowers exposing waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality.  Over to you, Tom.

Congress has yet to invite John or myself in front of Congress to testify before any committee regarding our whistleblowing on torture and mass surveillance, respectively. We both came forward at great risk and to this day are the only two people* who have paid a very high price for exposing government wrongdoing and criminal conduct regarding these two state-sponsored programs….  We upheld our oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic (including our own government), faithfully serving our country in the line of duty at the CIA and the NSA — even when our agencies didn’t and wouldn’t.

(*He must have said this before Jeffrey went to prison, because they both took part in a demonstration with Jeffrey's wife Holly to ask for Jeffrey's pardon.)

Here's a link to the group which pushes for this appreciation day – on a year-by-year basis, knowing, I am sure, what an irony it is, but hoping to eventually come to a time and place where it can mean something.  Maybe you ladies can put on your Eumenides hats and try to attain some justice for John, Tom, Jeffrey, and all the others.

But here is a situation where you can simply go after some killers.  You may (or may not) have been reading about deaths in hospitals resulting from the use of tainted medical scopes (specifically endoscopes).  Well.  Those scopes all came from a device manufacturer called Olympus Corp., based in Japan.

In 2012, two dozen infections linked to the use of these scopes were reported in hospitals in France and The Netherlands.  As early as June 2012, an investigator hired by a Netherlands hospital and Olympus concluded that the scope's design could allow blood and tissue to become trapped in it and spread bacteria across patients.  The recommendation was to conduct a world wide investigation and if a similar problem turned up to recall all the scopes.  Seven months later, when the company alerted its European customers to potential problems, they knew about at least three outbreaks, affecting an estimated 46 patients.  The third one was in Pittsburgh, PA.  But the company issued no alerts in the United States.

Since the internet never forgets, we know that this email exchange occurred:

Should [we] also be communicating to our users the information that [Olympus Europe] is communicating to their European users?” Laura Storms, vice president of regulatory and clinical affairs in Center Valley, Pa., asked in an email to Tokyo headquarters on Jan. 31, 2013.

No, that’s not necessary, said Susumu Nishina, the company’s chief manager for market quality administration in Tokyo in a Feb. 6, 2013, reply.

It is “not need[ed] to communicate to all the users actively,” Nishina wrote, because a company assessment of the risk to patients found it to be “acceptable.”  However, he added that Storms should respond to questions from a customer.

I'm not sure what "risk is acceptable" to Nishina.  Patients and familes in the US would appear not to find the risk acceptable, judging from the crop of lawsuits which have spring up.  As well as the Federal prosecutors who are investigating.  Over the three years – 2013 to 2016 – there have been outbreaks of infection in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Denver, just to name a few.  35 people have died from these infections.  Others have remained hospitlized for up to a year trying to get over them. 

The Times has a link to all the emails.  Sorry, I haven't read them all.  Just from what is in the article, it appears to me that Storms tried (maybe not for the right reasons, but she tried), but that Nishina is a murderer.  Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone, you are good at sorting these things out, and I am sure you will manage.  Way back in the day, I mentioned Fudō Myōō, who is described as an ancient Japanese sword-brandishing angry wisdom king.  Perhaps he would be upset with these actions too.  There are also creatures, such as tengu (wise bird-like demons – you may have heard of them in D&D or Guild Wars, but they are originally from very, very, very old Japan), he could send as reinforcements.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross-posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4001959


Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 9:20 am  Politics
Jul 232016

I have three items today which seems to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

We start in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police on July 5.  "Wait a minute, Erynator," I can hear you thinking, "this is old news."  Well, yes, it is, but there keep being new twists to it.  There was the killing itself.  There was the unconscionable way police dealt with peaceful protestors, which I wrote about last week – forcing them off of private property where they were invited guests, in order to arrest them for being in the streets.  And now, there is the story of two men, one who made a video of the killing, and a second who saw a different video of the same killing, and publicized it.

The store in front of which Alton Sterling was shot and killed (for selling CD's?), the Triple S Food Mart, is owned by Ahmed Muflahi.  Born in Yemen, he is now a resident of Baton Rouge.  He knew Alton Sterling when he was alive, and considered him a good friend.  So, for him, this story began when he had to watch his friend die.  But that was just the beginning.

Naturally the Triple S had surveillance cameras with video, but in addition to that, Muflahi filmed the killing on his cell phone, creating a video which clearly shows that the officers involved in the incident were not truthy.

Muflahi has now filed a lawsuit, which may end up providing some compensation for him, but, even were such compensation to be adequate, will not, experience suggests, do anything to improve the behavior of police.  According to the lawsuit:

Immediately after the killing of Mr. Sterling officers came inside Triple S Food Mart and without a warrant confiscated the entire store security system and took Plaintiff Muflahi into custody…. [police] then illegally placed Mr. Muflahi into custody, confiscated his cell phone and illegally locked him in the back of a police vehicle and detained him there for approximately four hours…. [After a warrant was finally issued, it] only authorized a search of the video surveillance at the scene for evidence and did not authorize a search of the building or the physical removal of the equipment both of which had already transpired when the warrant was issued.” (emphasis mine)

But this apparently was not sufficient.  Instead, they apparently felt it necessary to reach out all the way to Georgia, where Chris LeDay, originally from Baton Rouge but now an aerospace ground technician at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, GA.  That's his day job.  He is also a music producer, a fact which has led to his having a lot of followers – thousands, in fact – on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  When he received the first video to be released, from contacts in his old home town, he saw an opportunity to get some justice for the sterling family, and he published the video on all three forums.

Twenty-four hour later, he was arrested as he arrived at his day job.  He was just able to post on Facebook, “I just made it to my job on base and I'm being detained. They said I fit the description of someone and won't tell me anything else. If anything happens I did not resist! Please be aware!”  Arrested by MPs, he was handcuffed, shackled, and jailed – he was originally told on assault charges, but later advised it was for unpaid parking tickets.  Before being released the next day, he had to pay $1,231.  As of July 15, he was still not allowed back on base, so he was (and may still be) losing wages.

The extended story from this killing seems like it will never end.  Alecto – please go after the guilty, and then put on your Eumenides hat to justify the innocent heroes.

Now on to Oklahoma City, where a young man got to celebrate his fifth birthday by watching police kill his dog.

Dog0723Even a local Fox TV channel could not stomach this.

The officer who shot the dog [whom the Wynnewood Police Department will not identify] had come to the Malone home to serve a warrant to a person who lived there 10 years ago. The warrant, he said, gave him the right to enter private property and take whatever action he deemed appropriate under the circumstances. The Malone family says they never saw any warrant.

Chief Moore said that the police department was aware that the Malone family had been in the house for a year and that the officer had been advised that the address was a rental property through which people had “moved in and out” over the years.

“I respect what the police do, but this was senseless, but he didn’t show any remorse and didn’t even act like he was sorry or anything,” Vickie Malone said to Fox 25.

Eli Malone told reporters that he misses his dog. The 5-year-old said that he wishes someone from the Wynnewood Police would at least apologize for killing his friend.

The family have marked Opie’s grave with a small wooden cross

Eli understands that Opie is gone forever.  But Megaera – perhaps you could get them to stop being so grudging as to deny even an apology.

Finally, we come to Houston, TX, where the story is so horrendous I don't know how to speak about it, so I will simply quote Leslie Salzillo's (from the Daily Kos) first paragraph, and recommend you click through for more details and for analysis, both that provided by Leslie and that in the comments:

A Houston woman in her 20’s who is called “Jenny” was raped and choked by a convicted serial rapist Keith Hendricks. While testifying against him in court, she had a breakdown, became incoherent, and ran out of the courtroom saying she’d never return. The prosecutor in the case had her arrested and put in jail for threatening not to show up to testify. Her mother and her attorney thought “Jenny,” who suffers from bipolar disorder, was put into a psychiatric hospital, when if fact, she was only hospitalized for a few days then then transferred to the Harris County Jail and put into the general population. The jail staff received erroneous reports that said Jenny was the sexual abuser rather than the abused victim. While incarcerated she was beaten.

Tisiphone – there just was no need for this – it was pure vengeful destruction.  Please school the DA.  (If you feel that waiting until November would help her opponent win the election, please feel free to wait.)

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross-posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4000478