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I thank MsSpentyouth for the Facebook post that made me aware of it.

As far as i could tell it had not yet been shared here.

Watch and then respond in the comments.

Follow this link to the Facebook post where I saw the video.  The video will play immediately.



Sun May 03, 2015 at 05:03 PM PDT

Another update on Felicity

by teacherken

Our now three-legged cat came home just before Noon yesterday.  We have her in a downstairs room.  After several times when she hid behind bookcases where we could not reach her, I emptied the bookcases enough to be able to move them flat against the wall so she could not get behind them.  She could in theory be under the bed such that one person could not get her, but with both of us we can get her when we need to medicate her.

There is a cabinet in the bathroom where we have put towels and that is her hiding place.

After almost 36 hours since she came home, it is clear that she is NOT trying to lick the incision, so we have largely taken off the Elizabethan collar because when it is on it is difficult for her to eat or drink.

She rests a lot.  She has begun to eat and drink some.  We still medicate her several times a day.  She is getting back to normal - the indication of that is that she hisses at me - although she does not scratch me when I pick her up.  She will cuddle with both of us, and with our oldest cat LionEl Tiger.  

The financial strain has turned out to be less than expected.  The bills came in almost $1100 less than expected, and we have a refund coming.  Further, the first two payments were made before we realized that since I as her co-owner am a senior citizen, we should have been receiving a 10% discount, and that will add several hundred dollars to the refund.

While things are still somewhat tight, we now expect to get through this period without major financial stress, although we were willing to bear it if necessary.

While we appreciate all the suggestions about various forms of fundraising, we have assets that could be used, albeit it at a penalty.  We feel that such methods of fundraising are better aimed at those who do not have such assets.  

We would have been embarrassed to be receiving even small contributions from generous people whose financial condition is more tenuous than is our own.

It is not that we are unwilling to accept generosity from others, please do not misunderstand.

And I appreciate the suggestion that anything we might have received in excess of what we needed to pay these bills could have gone to set up funding for people with no other alternative than perhaps to put down their animals.

We appreciate the love and generosity that was offered.  That is sufficient for us now.

Now I have to refocus myself towards obtaining a teaching job for next year.  I will interview for a possibly fantastic opportunity at 10 AM on Friday.  Wish me well.



Sun May 03, 2015 at 07:02 AM PDT

"Freddie Gray Never Had a Chance"

by teacherken

is the title of this short piece by Eugene Robinson in the Post Partisan section of the Washington Post.

Robinson reminds us that the entire incident reeks of racial bias.

Gray was on a street corner.   Not  a crime.

He made eye contact with the police.  Not a crime.

He ran from the police.  Not a crime.

But he was a young African-American man in a depressed inner-city neighborhood, so he enjoyed a presumption of guilt, not of innocence. He never had a chance.
The police pursued him, caught him, and searched him.

The knife he had was legal under Maryland law, at which point he should have been released.  He was not.

Then Robinson offers two paragraphs, which puts this all in the appropriate context:

Police officers exercise discretion every day. They don’t stop everyone they see walking in the street, selling loose cigarettes, driving with a broken tail light or loitering on a “high-crime” corner. They make choices. Far too often, they choose to assume that black men must be guilty of something – and look for reasons to arrest them.

Imagine what would happen if police cruised the nation’s wealthiest suburbs, looking for excuses to arrest people. Imagine the outrage if officers regularly patrolled golf courses, taking middle-aged white men into custody for illegally betting on the outcome of a match. Imagine how people would react if such a trumped-up arrest ended in the death of the person being arbitrarily detained.

Carry it further.  Imagine March Madness if all the people participating in brackets for money were to be arrested for illegal gambling.  Or every Sunday with pools for the NFL games.

Or consider just last night, where at the intersection of Penn and North in a Black section of Baltimore curfew violators were immediately arrested and people were pepper-sprayed and press were penned up, whereas in white Hampden three separate warnings to disperse were given, with police even saying they did not want to handcuff people.

Robinson's final sentence is absolutely on target:  

But the “Black Lives Matter” campaign should continue – until they actually do.
The question is whether that day will ever truly come, or is the historic stain of racism as a part of America going to continue indefinitely?
When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.
Those are the concluding words to Non-Violence as Compliance, a powerful piece at The Atlantic by Ta=Nehisi Coates, who tells us
I grew up across the street from Mondawmin Mall, where today's riots began. My mother was raised in the same housing project, Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray was killed. Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution.

One note -  Coates wrote before the announcement by the States Attorney of the arrest.  Thus he has Freddie Gray in possession of an illegal switchblade.  The knife found by the police was not a switchblade, but rather a legal flip-knife that was closed and clipped inside his pocket.  Once that determination was made there was no grounds for Gray's arrest under Maryland law.

Read the Coates piece.  It is pointed.  It provides context for why someone like Freddie Gray might well run from a policeman, an action that is NOT grounds for arrest unless the police are attempting to place him under arrest for other charges, a point made forcefully to me yesterday by a member of a police department in a jurisdiction in the Baltimore metro area.


If you want some context to the recent events in Baltimore, read the piece linked below.  

Let me note as one who has taught just outside Baltimore for the past two years (first in Glen Burnie and now in Catonsville) that while the current unemployment rate in Baltimore is 8% that among African_American men 18-35 it is 30%

The piece contains a map of the Baltimore area with a loop showing population changes that is also quite illuminating.

Note that the loss of jobs for working class people has a great deal to do with the increasing inequity in a city like Baltimore

Here's the link.  


Fri May 01, 2015 at 02:31 PM PDT

an update on Felicity

by teacherken

Yesterday, in this posting, I explained about our youngest (at 12 years 7 months) rescued cat, her cancer, and her forthcoming leg amputation because of a tumor that encircled the leg.

She had to be hydrated and get her temperature down, but that went well and she did not need a transfusion before the surgery, and based on the reporting from the surgeon, probably will not now afterward.

She did very well, she is recovering, and tentatively we will bring her home midday tomorrow.  She will have to be kept in a confined space for about 10-14 days, so we will probably close her in a downstairs room that still has carpeting - there is some concern about her being on a slicker surface (such as hardwood) until she adjusts to being only three-legged.  Our oldest cat, LionEl, with whom she is very close, will be confined with her, and the third cat, Elsa, who can be a bit of a handful, only allowed to mix when we are around.

Felicity will also need oral medications several times a day, but these are liquids which are much easier to administer.

We thank you all for your support and your concern.



and all your previously decided priorities get tossed out.

Earlier this month my wife discovered a growth on the right rear leg of one of our three remaining rescued cats, Felicity, the shyest. She and her now deceased sister were feral, and probably quite inbred - and unusual, in being orange females.  Both had health problems over the decade plus since they joined us.  Both had had to have radiation therapy for hyperthyroidism.  Her sister, Angelica, developed kidney cancer and we had to say goodbye to here.

We took Felicity in to see our long-time (since 1982) vet Steve Rogers.  He was pretty sure it was a cancer, but arranged for some testing.  When the results came back we went to see him.  We were referred to a very good veterinary oncologist at the Hope Center in Vienna, which has cancer, surgery, etc., and a 24 hour emergency service that we have had to use on more than one occasion, last rushing there with Cielito, who was laboring from an undiagnosed congenital heart disease that took his life before I could drive the five miles.

A week ago yesterday we had our first visit with the oncologist, Dr. Beck, some preliminary testing was done, and on the basis of that we arranged to bring Felicity back this past Monday, leaving her all day, having kept her from food from the midnight before.  More tests and a biopsy were done.  We knew there was a cancer, we did not know what kind, we did not know if it had spread beyond the tumor which totally encircled her leg.

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is John Angelos, COO of the Baltimore Orioles, outside whose stadium a protest about the killing of Freddie Gray got out of hand.

The words came about as part of a twitter exchange after a comment about the protests from a Sportswriter.  A writer for USA Today transcribed them all into this post on Facebook

Take the time to read it.

It is absolutely on point.



Mon Apr 27, 2015 at 03:05 AM PDT

‘Lynch Mob’: Misuse of Language

by teacherken

is the title of this powerful New York Times column by Charles M. Blow.   He is reacting in particular to the inflammatory statement by the head of the Baltimore Police Union to the demonstrations in the aftermath of the death of Freddy Gray at the hands of police of the Charm City.

To provide some context, Blow takes us back to an actual lynching of a black man on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, quoting from a newspaper report:

“Sources are conflicting regarding many of the details of the assault on Denston and the subsequent murder of George Armwood, but what is certain is that on the evening of October 18 a mob of a thousand or more people stormed into the Princess Anne jail house and hauled Armwood from his cell down to the street below. Before he was hung from a tree some distance away, Armwood was dragged through the streets, beaten, stabbed, and had one ear hacked off. Armwood’s lifeless body was then paraded through the town, finally ending up near the town’s courthouse, where the mob doused the corpse with gasoline and set it on fire.”
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in his Friday New York Times column, titled Where Government Excels.

He begins by noting that some Dems are FINALLY talking about such an approach, then offers two general arguments in support of such a notion:  

First, the specific case for expanding Social Security is quite good. Second, and more fundamentally, Democrats finally seem to be standing up to antigovernment propaganda and recognizing the reality that there are some things the government does better than the private sector.
It is the latter context that is most important.

Krugman phrases this in the context of the basic economic term of "public goods" -

Every economics textbooks talks about “public goods” like national defense and air traffic control that can’t be made available to anyone without being made available to everyone, and which profit-seeking firms, therefore, have no incentive to provide. But are public goods the only area where the government outperforms the private sector? By no means.
He starts with health care, noting the much lower costs of operation of both Medicare and Medicaid than health care through the private market (even under the Affordable Care Act) - and he could have strengthened the argument by pointing at both the military and Veterans Administration systems.

He then pivots to retirement security, and I will continue my exploration of this column below the cheese doodle.

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is the title of this Eugene Robinson column in Friday's Washington Post.

It is well worth the read, as the title should make clear.

Allow me to jump ahead to the words that make the title relevant, and which occur a good way through the column, offered without the hypertext links in the original (which you should read):

What started the whole thing? Slager pulled Scott over because he had a broken taillight on his aging Mercedes.

Michael Brown was walking in the middle of the street. Eric Garner was selling loose cigarettes. For three black men, these misdemeanors became capital offenses.

The one witness reports there was a scuffle, and it is possible Scott was not submissive enough in his words and body language, although as Robinson notes that
given subsequent events — eight shots fired at Scott’s back — I have to doubt that Slager initiated the encounter with an Officer Friendly approach.
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I am truly weary, deep in my bones, of writing these columns about the killings of unarmed people of color by the police. Indeed, you may be weary of reading them. Still, our weariness is but a dim shadow that falls near the darkness of despair that a family is thrust into when a child or parent or sibling is lost, and that family must wonder if the use of deadly force was appropriate and whether justice will be served.

And so, we can’t stop focusing on these cases until there are no more cases on which to focus.

That is how Charles M. Blow begins his column in today's New York Times, titled In South Carolina, Shot in the Back as He Ran.  

This is onn a day when the lead editorial in his paper is titled The Walter Scott Murder and the editorial board writes

The case underscores two problems that have become increasingly clear since the civic discord that erupted last year after the police killed black citizens in New York, Cleveland and Ferguson, Mo. The first, most pressing problem is that poorly trained and poorly supervised officers often use deadly force unnecessarily, particularly against minority citizens. The second is that the police get away with unjustly maiming or killing people by lying about the circumstances that prompted them to use force.

The editorial is thoughtful, and its willingness state bluntly thatn the police get away with unjustly maiming or killing people by lying about the circumstances that prompted them to use force is important.

I would argue that Blow puts our attention where it belongs:  on the police, the police culture, and the acceptance of atttitudes that can at best be described as disparate in their approach to people of color, particularly of black men.  


This case is yet another in a horrifyingly familiar succession of cases that have elevated the issue of use of force, particularly deadly force, by officers against people of color and inflamed the conversation that surrounds it.
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