Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Pelosi Video: Powerful and Painful

The Pelosi video covering the McCain/Palin race is shocking. It is shocking in its honesty, in its racism and in its fear. I really suggest you watch this because this stuff is alive and well in our country and it behooves all of us to not only remember it, but be careful about it. In some ways, it is just outright sad. The last scene, of a man in tears over immigrants, is particularly troubling in so many ways. This is 9 min. long, but is really interesting. You will shake your head, your brow will furrow, but in places your heart will bleed... for a variety of reasons.

Some News for the Day + GOP Imploding

For those of you interested in endangered species, the Canadian lynx just got a big boost! Read here.

The woman mentioned in the article, Julie McDonald, also fussed with the listing of a species here which we presently have in court on environmental litigation under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). She did one helluva lot of damage to somewhere between 75 and 100 species while in DOI under Bush.

On a personal note, I have one extremely swollen ankle and not a CLUE what I have done. Looks like it is going to require a clinic visit, so please keep me in your prayers. It is waaaaay owie. And while you are in prayer mode, PLEASE say a prayer for my (foreclosure) cat Silk. She is extremely ill and required a transfusion today.

If you don't read one other thing this weekend on the GOP, read this from the Huff Post. It is masterfully written and VERY inclusive. Get a cup of coffee or a glass of your favorite wine, and read it through, clicking on the links. It is fabulously funny in a hehehe kind of way.

Oh and I almost forgot this absolute GEM... and note I am inserting an alert to move the beverage away from the keyboard. For those of you that cook, and particularly cook for MANY people like I do frequently, you MUST read this absolutely hysterically funny piece at Salon.

New Cat Vid (2min)

This is a little better than the last one (and oh so much easier to do!).

I hope you like it!

On a sad note, little Silk is not doing well at all. She is very ill. She, too, is one of the foreclosure cats. She had a transfusion this afternoon. We don't know all that is wrong, but something is VERY wrong.

Please keep little Silk in your prayers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Some News For The Day

For those of you interested in endangered species, the Canadian lynx just got a big boost! Read here.

The woman mentioned in the article, Julie McDonald, also fussed with the listing of a species here which we presently have in court on environmental litigation under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). She did one helluva lot of damage to somewhere between 75 and 100 species while in DOI under Bush.

On a personal note, I have one extremely swollen ankle and not a CLUE what I have done. Looks like it is going to require a clinic visit, so please keep me in your prayers. It is waaaaay owie.

If you don't read one other thing this weekend on the GOP, read this from the Huff Post. It is masterfully written and VERY inclusive. Get a cup of coffee or a glass of your favorite wine, and read it through, clicking on the links. It is fabulously funny in a hehehe kind of way.

Continuing Cat-astrophe! (with slideshow)

If you would like, you might want to watch the slide show I have done to Bonnie Raitt's "Home", from a very early and excellent album. You can view it and listen here. It's music and photo heavy so takes a bit to load but don't give up!

I'm trying to upload it to You Tube, but it is giving me fits.

These are three of the remaining twelve cats we need to find rescues/fosters/homes for. They are here with me, so I am getting to know them quite well. Actually, two additional cats will come in soon, we hope. The family in foreclosure is being difficult. They have a lot to deal with, though their concerns really don't seem to extend past themselves right now to the cats.

We need to move these three on so we can pull three more out of very expensive boarding.

I think you will enjoy this.

Nice with a glass of wine, the phone off, and the door shut. Really is quite lovely I think.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Father T To Be In Dallas March 14!

Read here. Alright you Dallas folks, we'll need the video!

LGBT News + More

Equality Florida is asking folks to send their legislators a note thanking the co-sponsors of equality legislation in Florida. You can send a note to these legislators thanking them by clicking on the previous link.

This is yummy: A vigil the night before the Supreme Court hears the Prop 8 case.

From Orange County Equality Coalition:

As you might know, the California Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on the legitimacy of Proposition 8 on March 5. On March 4, marriage equality organizations in Los Angeles and around the state are preparing to hold an "Eve of Justice". We at the Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC) and California Faith for Equality will host a similar event in Orange County .

"Eve of Justice: Lighting the Way to the Supreme Court" is an event for the LGBT community and supporters, taking place on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - the night before the televised oral argument hearings before the California Supreme Court.

It will be happening at Fairview Community Church, 2525 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, starting at 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

There will be re-commitment ceremonies for some of the 18,000 same-sex couples whose legally married status is on the line, and a candlelight vigil and rally for equal marriage rights in hope and praise of justice and liberty. There will also be a program of remarks by leading religious and legal figures in support of same-sex marriage rights, alternating with musical performances and the stories of real people affected by the passage of Proposition 8, told by the people themselves.

Please join us for what promises to be a powerful and moving event!

(I have removed contact addresses as they are private.)
If you need more information, please contact me, personally. Cany.

No doubt many of you watched the State of the Union address last night. Rather magnificent, actually. A few places of mild humor.

But the real humor came afterwards in 12+ minutes of absolute jarring rhetorical malfeasance aka Jindal, a 2012 presidential hopeful who has lashed out at Obama over the stimulus package and has now succumbed, apparently, to the snow queen's down-homey talk. Also. You betcha.

One of the things that just made me laugh out loud (though it really isn't funny) was Jindal talking about volcano observation and how we shouldn't fund this (another to hell with science type) type of thing. Interestingly, the figures he cited are patently wrong. Poor guy.

First he gets stuck filming his response in a dark hallway (fitting) where he spews nonsense at the 8th grade level (at least he should have used a few big words just to impress some of the elitist intellectuals), then he cites incorrect numbers.

But hey, we're used to eight years of lies from the GOP, much of them devoid of transparency, so maybe this was a secret message to let GOP fans know that, hey, everything is still the same! Yeah, we know.

I also had to laugh because volcano Redoubt, which I have been watching for weeks and weeks and weeks, is near his current main rival, the snow queen from the north. Maybe, to his way of thinking, if the damn thing blows he might lose a main competitor?

Hey, just sayin'...

Anyway, what a mess Jindal made of that. There wasn't one positive review from any in the MSM. Even Fox News appeared stunned. Rachel Maddow was literally speechless. This in the face of the post-speech polling numbers for Obama which marched right up the poll ladder.

It becomes more clear everyday that the GOP has dug such a deep hole, they just cannot dig out. A shame, isn't it?

And BTW, if you like volcano watching from afar, you can go here. It's pretty nifty, really. You can cruise the several volcano observation sites that Jindal believes are unnecessary and actually learn things in the process.

I wonder how Jindal feels about hurricane watching? Gee, probably not necessary in Louisiana, right?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gay Bloggers Make WaPo + IRD on Bish. Elect Forrester

Just so you know... and I bet those sites get a ton more trolls in the near future.

But I suppose what the article shows is the influence and effect of organizing around issues and common ground. That is great!

Those of you that follow you know who (the standing limply kind) and other such sites, IRD, have probably read about this. From Talk to Action:

"IRD rarely passes the laugh test anymore. IRD is staffed by Anglican schismatics who are
not even members of the Episcopal Church USA. They can say what they want,
but why should anyone care?" [emphasis mine]

Why indeed. I have always wondered why that Baptist you-know-who cares about TEC. Maybe it's just a neat way to make a living. Frankly, I am not interested enough in what the Baptists do to care except when they invoke things Anglican or Episcopal.

IRD reminds me of that old nosy woman neighbor in Bewitched who was always spying on neighbors Samantha and Darin. WHY do they care?

Mark Harris has some thoughts on the (Bishop) issue here.

Dinner Time!

Just finished the dog/cat laundry in pre- paration for more rain, and now it is time to feed the many minions, K9 and feline.

Then out come the two dish drainers, we wash everything, let them air dry, and stack for morning. Some--those that need to for various health reasons--eat a few times a day. We have a preggers kitty here now, so she is eating five times/day.

Then we wash and recycle the cans and, again patrol the cat boxes and yards.

But the following is what makes it so worthwhile! Houdini, one of the fore- closure cats (the snooz- ing blue tabby /white). Skunkie, one of the foreclosure cats (the tuxie). Bobbie, one of the foreclosure cats (tabby/white).

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Cat-Astrophy

There are days when I feel like this cat looks. This is Houdini apparently pondering his foot... or could it be the feather on a stick almost in his grasp?

We are still madly searching for rescues/fosters for the remaining 12 cats of the 20 taken from the Los Angeles home. The trapper is still trying to get the two remaining indoor cats trapped, and the family is giving him fits as they are not being cooperative.

Gads, all this work and they are not being cooperative you ask? Yep. Go figure.

After one week, the cats here (seven, there are five remaining boarded at the vet plus a dog--and of course it's a pitbull, the hardest breed to place, and especially to place correctly) are greatly improved. You can just see how much better they feel to be out of their former environment with great food and clean air and (gads!) even a clean cat box!

One has gone to another rescuer, Blacknose (photo taken in former home), and Fergie (black, photo at vet) will be following her sister on Wednesday to the same rescue.

Feeding time has turned into sheer chaos! I now carry bowls around on a tray like a waitress. No tips yet. And no bartender to give me a free scotch and water at the end of the night, either.

I must be doing this wrong:)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Some Sunday So.Cone Hypocrisy ala Orombi

First I want to make a disclaimer that I am not in Africa or of African culture. I am, however, Episcopalian (thus in the Anglican Communion) so I do understand a bit about our shared faith and consider myself at least "up" on the arrows of attack at TEC's ++Katharine Jefferts Schori, and am all too up to speed on several of the African Bishop or PB types which made the reading I will refer to all the more, um, peculiar.

So, when I read this (it is a bit old, dating back to January 20 and I hate to link it, but have to in this case), I was puzzled. In fact, not just puzzled, humored actually.

Like Akinola, Orombi is a verbal flame thrower especially about lgbt issues. Gay this, gay that... geez. Is there absolutely NOTHING else to talk about EVER?

Apparently there is.

Here is a test: Read Orombi's words and think about the number of ways he violates his own thoughts whether violation of his own position, that of TEC, ++Jefferts Schori or other clergy, his (self-stated, I don't think he is orthodox at all!) orthodoxy etc.

1. God “never blesses corruption and stealing,” he said.
My comment... gee, ya think? Now how about you give back all those parishes while your at it? Oh and don't forget the other assets and the candlesticks.

2. For Uganda to break free from the grip of sin and pagan practices, “this country [must] face and deal with the ugly face of corruption if health should come to the nation.”

Of course this should be balanced against this, as reported (no changes from original):

The Diocese of Northern Uganda last week reported that Archbishop Orombi upbraided Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng, asking why the royal bwola dance had not been performed during his visit to several rural archdeaconries. Performed only on the orders of a chief, the bwola dance is one of the highpoints of the culture of the Acholi people of Northern Uganda. The dance is performed at state ceremonies, funerals of local dignitaries and during the visit of important guests to the region. [sic]

The bishop responded that his archdeacons had declined to authorize the dance, as they thought it would be disrespectful to offer “pagan” dances at Christian worship services. [emphasis mine]

Archbishop Orombi told the Northern Uganda clergy that it not only was permissible, but desirable to used “sanctified local songs and dances to worship the Lord,” the diocese said. Comment: Oops. But then hey, a little hypocrisy usually goes unnoticed, right?


Of course, Louie Crew was on to this long ago. He had his own set of questions and I think the answers are obvious, if not then, now.

What's your favorite O-hypocrisy?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is There Something In The Water Post 04 Nov.?

There seems to be an awful lot of nice things happening lately. This particular one, involves some basketball players from Illinois and is a lovely story. I am issuing a formal hanky alert just in case.

I never thought I would ever, ever, ever agree with anything Orombi. This (also here), however, I do agree with. Just goes to show.

And Leonardo, wherever you may be, I know you would agree.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Foreclosure Animal Rescue: One Story of What It Really Looks Like

The first words spoken to us as we crossed the threshold from our world into theirs were, "Please, don't judge us."

We walked into the house and our eyes began to tear. The stench was was overwhelming. We tried not to blink or let it show that we were literally nauseated. We quelled our instincts to cover our mouths.

Feces and urine were on or ground into everything. Boxes were piled everywhere containing fecal-smeared bags. The furniture and all surfaces, including floors were filthy.

We were here to help and we needed to act like it. That's our role, that's what we do. But one can never get used to this.

(Bobby, pictured)
A Los Angeles rescuer sounded the alarm through a on-line rescue room Friday, February 13: A woman in Los Angeles was being foreclosed on and needed help for her 21 cats. She would be locked out on Monday. I wanted to get there on Saturday to take action, but had animal-related (non-Valentine's Day) commitments which could not be changed.

Early Sunday morning, a friend and I made the hour-and-a-half-long trek to the home. My SUV was loaded with crates and the capability to take every cat at the home, photograph, catalog them and list name/age/medical needs and health/behavior.

As always, easier said than done.

A Little History

Prior to our involvement, another group's volunteers went to this home en mass and removed 35 kittens some time back. Each kitten was spayed or neutered, tested for FeLV/FIV, vaccinated, treated for other ailments as needed and eventually placed in homes. They also took the adults for spay/neuter, testing and vaccinating. The cats were returned to the owner.

Sometimes, treating and returning is all you can do and the promise of return may be the only way to get the animals out to stop the breeding. Under CA law, animals are private property which is necessary to keep in mind. Each case is different.

Starting Out

Prior to our Sunday trip, I had spoken to the homeowner and had her blessing to come with help and remove her cats. She made me promise I would not involve animal control. I promised.

(Blacknose, pictured)
I had asked her to make a list for me of all the cats, their likes and dislikes, what they eat, their behaviors and anything else she felt was important for me to know. Upon arriving, we received information scribbled on a pad for about half of the 22 cats, by name. Though, blind in one eye and with limited vision in the other, diabetic with arterial disease and recuperating from a heart attack and surgery last November, she did her best, though never finished the list. What she did pen was nonetheless quite helpful in understanding some of the cats and the situation. Here are some descriptions we received:
Cat (Name) "Born 2002-2004. Semi Social. Quiet. Loves to have her head rubbed. Can eat no pork. Dose not like pork. Dose not like shrimp or oysters. Likes cheese, turkey, ham, chicken, carrots. Her sister likes bread products." [sic]

Cat (Name)
"Born 2000 outdoors. Became an indoor cat 2002. Had 4 litters. Spaded 2005. Quit cat gets along with others, likes to play mother to other kittens, eats almost anything, prefer softer foods, like fresh step litter, sharp cheese, eggs. I was feeding can tuna (in water) chef blend, dry freskie can. [sic]"
The first thing you notice in these notes is apparent love. She cared for these cats and penned details she felt were important. She took the time to describe what she felt was important to that cat. In another, she notes some behaviors:
Cat (Name) "...[L]ikes to explore, doesnot know what the word no means, loves to walk on your back... likes to hind in clean close, under blankats, and in your underwear." [sic]
The second thing you notice is the emphasis on non-species specific foods which may explain a number of health conditions we are seeing in all these cats.

Cats were not made to eat human foods. They have dietary needs that surpass what we, as humans, judge as healthful for us and yummy besides.

(Skunkie, pictured)
What we found was that in lieu of feeding the cats cat food, the cats were fed a human diet as this is what they had to eat, and they shared with the cats.

They fed a largely vegetarian diet, as it turns out: a lot of pasta with vegetables sometimes with canned tuna etc. I know, I cleaned up the throw up in the crates and saw dishes of it in the house and on the porch. I was also told this by someone involved with the previous intervention. They did feed cat food when they had it which, I later learned, was not often.

At one point, they displayed a four-pound bag of generic dry food. Not much for 22 cats.

(Houdini, pictured)
Their 'loving' diet is a disaster for an animal that is an obligate (strict) carnivore--NOT an omnivore or herbivore--and which derives needed vitamins and minerals from animal organ, tissue, muscle and bone and whose entire physiology is designed to operate on the assumption of being an obligate carnivore. Unlike dogs and humans, cats are unable to biologically "use" many foods that both species can.

Interestingly, every single cat that came from this home had/has enlarged pupils--something I immediately noticed when entering the house. Yes, I have seen this, but never in an entire population of cats like this. It remains in the cats that will now thread through my legs and beg to be held so stress might be ruled out.

Our vet is in the process of trying to discern a possible reason for this because not only must we disclose all potential health issues to adopters, we need to correct it if possible. The cats are now on a very high quality species specific diet.

Dietary requirements of a cat is a topic for an entire post, so I will abridge that discussion by noting that unless you are truly interested in the topic, it is unwise to fool with alternative diets though it behooves every cat owner to at least learn the basics as you are the only means to a cat's health and longevity.

(NoName, yes that was his name, pictured)
Not only are all cat foods not alike, dry v. canned are not comparable and the old yarn about dry cat food being better for a cats teeth is just that... an old yarn. I have yet to find one single peer reviewed study documenting otherwise.

Until the late 1950s, cats NEVER ate dry food but have been domesticated for several thousand years and lived quite well, thank you, without grain-filled nuggets from a bag.

On cat nutrition, I commend you here.

But either lacking the money to properly feed the cats or believing that her cats deserved to be treated differently (for whatever reason), their diets were compromised. The thought is kind and loving, yes, but the results are often not.

One thing that does touch me deeply is that it is clear these cats were loved and treated kindly. I most certainly cannot say that in many of these circumstances, nor can I say it about all homes where only a single cat resides or where the owners have more money than God but no interest in or time for the cat. Neglect and/or abuse is not a class issue.

Why So Many?

(Nala, pictured)
This woman and her husband are termed "hoarders". Much writing has been dedicated to this problem, though it is not really well understood.

What we do understand so well, in rescue, is that these people don't necessarily ever stop hoarding (or collecting as it is often alternatively called). With some people, it happens again and again and unless they are judicially restrained from ever owning animals again (which rarely happens in these cases, but does sometimes happen in cruelty cases), it is likely to happen again.

Many hoarders truly care and are lifesavers to individual cats. Where things appear to go awry is in their inability to move the cats on to responsible rescues and/or their inability (again for whatever reason) to find homes for them or just plain stop. Their intentions are good. Generally, the results are not.

Conditions of the Rescue

Time constraints in this mass rescue were severe. By Sunday evening, we were only able to catch eight of what turned out to be 22 cats in the house given the conditions on the ground. We also learned they had a senior dog and were feeding two feral (wild) cats.

(Nala's Twin, pictured)
We continued home with the eight cats on Sunday, posting widely for more help. They could not catch the cats. When we first got back in the car to depart and return home, my friend turned to me and asked, "Is it always like this?

I replied, "No. It is often much worse. We didn't find dead animals."

Arriving home, I set up the new cats in isolation and got to work again. Incredibly, in a phone call, at about 9:00pm that night, we were informed of an important detail we were lacking: They would not be foreclosed upon that night because it was a holiday.

Thank God.

We now had until midnight Monday, the 16th, about 26 more hours. We were exhausted, but there was no time for sleep.

Offers of concern and help began to come in through the evening as we updated the progress and posted photos of the cats. By 10:00pm, we decided to cancel a planned second trip that night and begin early the next day. We believed our work that night getting help would be more productive.

Enter Miracles!

As well known and highly regarded individuals and groups learned of the situation and began to send out pleas in addition to ours, badly needed offers of monetary donations for veterinary care arrived. One group offered to take four of the cats that we returned with (which were driven to their vet the next day). People offered help in transporting the cats. People were cross-posting the information far and wide on the net. I could barely keep up with the e-mails seeking information and details and offers of help.

Then the kicker that changed the game: One woman contacted the family at our recommendation and arranged for the family to get the cats isolated before she arrived early the following morning. This is key in this situation. She would get all of the remaining cats into crates and drive them to us while we worked furiously to find a veterinarian that would work with us, tried to round up additional funding, and looked for groups to take in the cats. We could not possibly take in all 22 cats and this was going to be expensive.

While my friend was working the phones at her house, I was working the internet at mine. We were messaging back and forth between calls and responding to e-mails.

(Jitterbug, pictured)
The volunteer arrived at the house the next morning unprepared for what she saw, but didn't let it phase her. In the process of helping to crate one of the cats, she was badly scratched. This seems, perhaps, a minor thing but it can be very serious especially in such filthy circumstances. She made a call and paid another experienced person to go to the site to finish what she had committed to.

True animal rescuers know that a commitment cannot be broken short of near death in circumstances like this.

As luck would have it, the new hired person had been involved in the previous intervention and knew the family. The volunteer returned home to properly deal with her very bad and deep wound. (She did the right thing, and is feeling fine and the wound seems to be okay, though she is carefully monitoring it. Cat bites and scratches can be very, very serious which is why shoulder-length welder's gloves are part of a rescuer's tool box.)

(Spike, pictured)
By 6:00pm, seven more cats were out and safely in the care of our vet, and so was the dog, a senior pitbull, Spike.

That morning, the volunteer first drove a very sick asthmatic cat to a vet thanks to a rescuer willing to take on the responsibility for this one cat. Another rescuer took in a single cat. I replaced the four that left with three that came, making my bunch seven. It wasn't easy.

When the rescuer finally saw the asthma cat (which she was familiar with somehow through the last intervention), it wasn't the same cat! Uh oh! That means we may have two asthmatic cats.

At the vet, in crates, the ten cats were absolutely petrified, some were covered in kitty poo (giving real meaning to the term "scared shitless"), and none of them were in ANY mood to be handled. Every sense we were endowed with was assaulted.

Despite my experience, I wanted to just jump into a bottle of alcohol and sit there for an hour or two. My dear friend, who is new at this, took it like a real champ. She was fabulous and being great with people--and immediately likable--she was a miracle to have involved in this. I was not gifted this way. Being in rescue for so long I do what I have to, but am often not great with people.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line, now, was that there were only two cats left. We had six hours to find them in the house. The gentleman that did the heavy lifting there on Monday and got the cats to our vet took two [clean] crates back with him and planned to trap inside the house that night.

The cats did go into the traps, but for some reason the traps didn't spring.

(Stripie Mommy (semi-feral), pictured)
As it turns out, the family was worried about the cats and were feeding them from their own plates, something that you don't do when trying to trap cats. Hunger is often a great motivator for cats to walk into conditions they instinctively perceive as scary or suspicious no matter how well we humans try to disguise it.

This morning, some folks came to attempt to assist the woman and her husband. I don't know all the details, but because she is legally disabled, she qualifies for Section 8 housing. These people left.

Later, the police arrived, but the homeowner would not come out. They did not force entry. The cat trapper is still trying to either find the two remaining cats (in the house!) and grab them or catch them in traps. They will be taken to my vet when caught.

If they lock up the house before we catch the cats, we then have to find the lien holder and get access. More problems and we really don't want to 'go there'.

When we think we have them all, we will spread flour on the floors and return to look for footprints. When we see no prints after several days, we will know we have succeeded.

The two outdoor feral cats must be trapped, and this is being handled by experienced trappers in the area. Its success is tempered by the fact that releasing them back into the area (trap, neuter, release or TNR) is complicated by neighbors that have killed several cats and another that has put out poison. But these are dedicated people, and they will use their considerable experience to do the right thing.

Initial Outcome

The wonderful news is that almost all of these cats are adoptable.

As they de-stress and become familiar with what must seem like penthouse accommodations at the Hilton (they are living in bathrooms at the moment), they are increasingly becoming friendly.

* Our vet told me all seven of the cats currently there are completely adoptable once well. Likewise with the dog. There is no additional asthma cat at the vet, or here.

* The seven here will go to the vet for the various exams, tests and other needed vetting as called for. Five of the seven are absolutely adoptable. One is clearly semi-feral and not adoptable and I will watch and work with the remaining cat.

* The four already up for adoption with another rescue group are doing well.

* The asthma kitty is on medication for infection and asthma. Her blood work returned normal, which is excellent. The air quality in the 22 cat home and the very cold temperature (they had no heat) wrecks havoc on animals with this medical condition. She is a very lucky girl.

* The singular kitty that went with the rescuer is unknown at this time.

* The two remaining cats at the home will hopefully be caught tonight. The trapper is returning determined to get them and take to my vet.

* The two feral cats are still there. There is some confusion as to who is doing what or why. We are trying to get to the bottom of it.

* The senior dog is being treated for skin conditions and infection. His blood work, amazingly, returned quite normal. He will be treated, neutered (and while under get a dental), vaccinated and we will go from there.

Final Thoughts on Animals and Foreclosure

Please, if you know anyone facing foreclosure, please ask and/or help them to deal with the animals EARLY on. We in rescue often don't have available resources or are otherwise committed to situations and don't have the people-power to intervene. Each situation is unique in its own way.

I posted some thoughts on what to do if you have pets and are in foreclosure here at DKos in mid-December 2008. I hope you might find the information helpful.

Anything you can help someone with is good. It can take a very long time to find a rescue with available space at present. We are all jammed. Those needing assistance must start that process early and know what to do.

(Note: All of these photos were taken on site except for the photo of Spike the dog, which was taken at the veterinary office.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Next Gen? Green Homeboys + DNA a Snitch?

The Wall Street Journal has a great piece today on Homeboy Industries, begun by a Jesuit priest to help ready paroled gang members for a new life. They're going green! Great story of possibilities and hope.

Staying on the incarceration topic, Salon has a piece on genetic testing, Your DNA is a Snitch. The piece discusses the problems that can accompany the offering your DNA for scientific purposes. Well worth the read. Who knew!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Basically, what they're doing is applying the Sarah Palin method of wildlife management, which is to remove animals with big teeth in order to promote the animals hunters like to shoot," said D.J. Schubert, a wildlife biologist with the Animal Welfare Institute based in Washington D.C.

Read how Nevada intends to increase killing of mountain lion (with big teeth) in favor of huntable deer. Sound familiar?

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Great Name Game

Hat tip to I just love Stewart. He always seems to get it right.

Here we have Sununu v. Jon Stewart on a variety of recent political issues:

Yesterday, I pointed out that the religious right doesn't WANT to be called the religious right anymore because of the negative connotation. As Thom Hartman and others note, this is a traditional approach to reality for the right. Up is down, war is peace. Many attribute the strategy to Karl Rove. You can see much of this in Sununu as he attempts to avoid eight years of Bush economics, and avoids truth almost altogether.

Well today, amazingly, Blackwater has decided to change its name, too. They will now be Xe (pronounced like the letter "Z"). Why? Well, they say it reflects a change in business. LOL. It's pretty obvious that like the religious right, they made a real mess of their business. It's reported by the AP, here.

If you don't really know the history of Blackwater and why they got the bad rap (which they so deserve), read here to get a whiff of the stench. There are many related articles at the link. Wiki covers them here. Wiki's links under 'Further Reading' has many very interesting articles on them.

So in honor of the new trend of renaming things, in the case of Blackwater... errr Xe, we will actually return to calling them what they are: The Hire-A-Mercenary Company. There. All better.

It got me to thinking about how familiar we in TEC are with this strategy. Theft is ownership. Lies are truth (as Mark Harris reports on, but I note Mark does not outright call the missing bishops issue a lie, that is my take). Leaving is staying. And one of my favorites, schismatics are traditionalists while the 'Big Tent' represents revisionism. Don't even let get me started on the term orthodox!

So, in keeping with the logic of the right, I am now branding the religious right "schismatics" (hey, they wanted a new name and it does suit their history!). Our TEC schismatics can now be called the "religious right" (which they clearly are). See how easy this is?

There. We can just rename whatever we want now, truthful or not.

How about we just rename everything as our hearts desire. That would just assure even less communication and understanding which is apparently what the right takes as meaningful dialogue anyway as evidenced by their recent whining about bipartisanship.

So, I wanted to share a photo of one of my new cat who is inside sniffing a table.

Who needs to learn a foreign language when we can commit 'lexicide'?

Television Station Pulls Hateful (LGBT) Programming

I hope you will take a minute to read HRC's announcement today and send a thank you letter to the station. They helped to get a hateful anti-lgbt video yanked from Michigan television. You can watch the video (it will just piss you off, so no need, really to watch, though I did) the link below, as well (click on the box, thank you letter is on the same page).

Go here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Religious Right Renames Themselves + More

I found this article from Right Wing Watch quite humerous, and their conclusion is just pefect:

You see, it is not the term that it is problem - it is the Religious Right's agenda
and rhetoric.

Heh. No kidding. Could not have put it better if I tried!

This is definitely the quote of the day. This from David Axelrod, Pres. Obama's senior advisor, on Karl Rove's criticism of the administration's stimulus plan. I really got a kick out of this direct hit:

"The last thing that I think we are looking for at this juncture is advice on fiscal integrity or ethics from Karl Rove -- anyone who's read the newspapers for the last eight years would laugh at that."

If You Haven't Read This Already, Please Do

MP has a post up about the hellish fires in Austrailia. At the end is a heart-warming photo.

Please pray for the people and animals so gravely harmed in this hellish tragedy.

We Did It! $50B in Nuke Loans Yanked!

Back on January 30th, I asked for your help in getting $50 billion yanked from the stimulus bill to help nuclear power (loan guarantees, etc.) and so-called "clean coal" industries.

WE DID IT! Here is a portion of the announcement from Nuclear Information Resource Service:

Late last night, we got word that the $50 Billion in taxpayer loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors and "clean coal" plants has been stripped from the final economic stimulus bill!

Your actions made a huge difference.

To recap, you:

*sent more than 7,600 letters to your Senators in one week

*sent more than 3,000 letters to your Representatives in the House in three days

*sent more than 1100 letters to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just yesterday afternoon

Thank heavens. Not only would that bailout money not have created badly needed jobs, it is high time we stop subsidizing the nuclear industry and subsidize clean energy.

Thank you to you that took the one minute to send the letters.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Does IRD's Mark Tooley Support Torture?

It's a fair question.

On 03 February 2009, an article authored by Mark D. Tooley, a so-called "expert" for Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) and a former 14-year CIA analyst* from, apparently, 1980 to 1994, appeared on IRD's website. Of course Tooley's extended stay with the CIA ended before the recent Bush Administration went off their rocker and openly legitimized torture in violation of the Geneva Agreement.

Many of us know IRD for its attacks on The Episcopal Church (TEC) and other mainline protestant churches. (Note of interest: Roberta Green Ahmanson is no longer a listed IRD Director and a search of their site does not anywhere list the Ahmanson name though a Google Search turns up the relationship in a bevy of places.)

There is so much wrong with Tooley's vile article (the original article which appeared in an on-line right-wing rag) I don't even know where to begin, so perhaps reading it yourself (link above, which I rarely do) will give you a taste of Tooley's seeming understatement of US torture which appears cavalier at best. Given the article appears on IRD's website, and Tooley is an "expert" for the organization, I can only assume the IRD concurs with Tooley's thinking on the issue.

Evidently, being opposed to torture isn't wholly bad. Rather, Tooley's complaint seems to be that it is bad if you don't bother to note that other countries torture in the same breath as mentioning the U.S. Like any of us believe that torture in North Korea, Pakistan, China or Israel etc. is somehow okay? Is there something inherently wrong with U.S. citizens pointing out--and being opposed to--U.S. torture? Are there any of us that would stand on the side of torture in any country?

Since the writing of Tooley's article, new evidence has come to light about torture, including the use of a scalpel to cut the testicles of one prisoner, a British subject, Binyam Mohamed, now being held at Gitmo.

Yes, you read that right.

Here is an except from yesterday's news from Think Progress:

The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed’s genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, “is very far down the list of things they did,” the official said.

Another source familiar with the case said: “British intelligence officers knew about the torture and didn’t do anything about it.” [emphasis original]

--Ben Armbruster

In fairness to Tooley, if indeed he is opposed to all torture, fine with me. But his position sure doesn't seem to read that way. Rather, Tooley seems to suggest that only torturing 100 people (and that number is obviously arbitrary for we do not know just how many people the U.S. has tortured, its extent or methods or how many we have sent to foreign governments for rendition) just ain't so bad.

For those of us in the U.S. opposed to--and ashamed of--our government's position and rendering of torture, it is hardly surprising for us to suggest we need to clean up our own act. And it would surely not be in error to claim that we don't care who tortures or where, it is never right. And while groups around the world expose torture, we most certainly cannot leave America off that list. Sad, but true.

That we in the United States even have to have this discussion is shameful beyond words.

UPDATE: Go here to read more on Binyam Mohamed. VERY sad story, and now the Pentagon is alleged to be withholding information from President Obama on the matter. This gets weirder and weirder.

*Correction: Apparently, Tooley was a CIA Analyst for eight, not fourteen, years.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

WHAT Really Happened in Mid Sept, and WHY We Are Where We Are

I want you to watch something so bone chilling it is surrealistic. PLEASE, please watch this.

Rep. Kanjorski: "It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it."

The statement above by Rep. Kanjorski (D-PA) refers to mid September, 2008 (when McCain was uttering things like the basics of the economy are sound). As Rep. Kanjorksi points out (and something that has NEVER been told to the American people before), is that in the period of about one hour, the US money markets began an electronic run that took $550 BILLION dollars out of the market in one hour.

This section begins about 2:10, but the WHOLE THING is bone chilling.

Now, with that in mind...

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), one of my senators and a woman I have great respect for, talks about the need for 60 votes and why the GOP is being effective. Watch, it's good (6:14) and it explains a lot about the rumbling and bumbling going on in the US Senate over the stimulus bill.

"To do nothing is a hostile action against the American people."
--Barbara Boxer

Now that you watched that... watch Michael Steel, and Rachel Maddow again, from last night. Oy. (5:21)

These paired videos, along with the thinking of most economic czars, says that, if anything, the stimulus bill needs to be larger, not smaller. But as Boxer points out, they need the 60 votes (even with Franken, they would only have 59 assuming ALL dems are lockstep including the two independents). Republicans that really don't want the dems to succeed (for a lot of reasons), nevermind the American people, stand in the doorway.

I have stayed in constant communication with my federal reps [even my useless congressman, Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar)] and let them know what I think. I praise them when I can, and in the case of Miller have just suggested he stay home if he can't do anything useful past being an uber right-wing ideologue. Miller is as useless as a pop gun.

I hope you will do likewise.

If we fail at this, our collective future will be GRIM... unless you like making new friends in a bread line.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Video of Bishop Robinson's NH Testimony on Same Gender Marriage

Hat tip to Mike at Lavender Wolves.

Go here.

For previous post on this bill (page bottom), go here. Links to bill language is included as are co-sponsors etc.

New Video: Marriage Matters

A nice video put out by Orange County Equality Coalition. Congrats to them!

An attorney at Chapman University has filed an amicus brief in support of (No on 8) petitioners. This and other filings (on both sides) can all be seen and read here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hank's In The Doghouse Over Economy

Three months ago, Hank and his siblings were siting in a cell. A cell at the Long Beach, CA animal shelter to be precise.

One by one, each puppy was rescued, except for Hank, a beautiful if lanky doberman/hound mix weighing 25 pounds at an alleged 14 weeks old.

The Long Beach shelter is one that does not adopt dogs out to the public. Rather, the dogs/cats must be exonerated by qualified rescues as odd as that may seem (and it is odd).

A "small dog" rescuer didn't blink when the shelter staff asked her to exonerate the very large Hank. Hank ended up here where he stayed for a few weeks, finally finding a fabulous home with a loving family and a doggie playmate. Hank was destined for great things.

Hank was in training to become a therapy dog. His dog sister was already playing the role. Hank's training started almost immediately after leaving our rescue in the grips of a happy, excited and forward-looking family.
Hank, 14 weeks old

Hank is not the first dog in training--and among those that succeeded--from our rescue to become a rescued therapy dog or "rethog" as I have come to call them. Not one of these, by the way, is a purebred.

Just like me--and as Obama humorously tagged himself--they are all mutts.

Now, Hank is in the doghouse through no fault of his own. More correctly, Hank is doghouse-less. He has been foreclosed upon by the flailing economy.

Hank's human family is facing a huge economic crisis. The husband, a Ph.D., has lost his income (he is in housing development) requiring Hank's stay-at-home human mom to return to work.

Because Hank is about six months old now and still in the extended puppy stage (and purportedly dangerously eating his way through their yard when unsupervised), and because Hank simply cannot spend this much time alone daily and the family cannot further afford doggie daycare, Hank is being returned. Returned to our rescue, that is.

These situations have legs. As a result of Hank returning, we had to cancel the taking in of another large, senior shelter dog that may not--in fact almost certainly will not--make it out of his cell alive. Like tens of thousands of others, his limp body, along with other dogs, cats, bunnies and others will be stuffed into 55 gallon drums, then driven to a factory and boiled (with chemicals) and rendered into something else unrecognizable as the sweet lab mix that his family dumped (or perhaps more kindly if the situation warrants, left) at the shelter.

As the economy worsens, the numbers of cats, dogs, bunnies, birds, reptiles, amphibians and farm animals at this and all other municipal shelters will increase and more will find the drums their next home. Most rescues, just like our rescue, are at capacity. We operate on a permit and cannot expand our numbers and will not violate them.

Saving more animals by cramming them together and lessening standards and safety isn't an option for us and shouldn't be an option for others, either, though the results are heartbreaking. We take in many sick and injured animals requiring a lot of individual care and to even think about raising the numbers and lessening the space and standards is off the table as much as it breaks our hearts.

At the main Orange County, CA shelter, killings, as predicted, increased dramatically in the last year.

On Wednesday, an article (previous 26 January OC Register article here) in the Orange County Register revealed that 23% of dogs entering the shelter were being killed.

As both a cat and dog rescue, we were deeply saddened by the cat killing statistics as well: 3 of 4 cats entering the shelter were being killed, but this figure is drastically lower than in some shelters where cat euthanizing takes over 95% of the cats entering, which is literally tens of thousands, annually, at one shelter alone.

As the above second article points out, this dreadful news followed Orange County's Board of Supervisors rejection of a Grand Jury recommendation for mandatory spay and neutering, the Board kneeling to the powerful dog breeding lobby though provisions were made to accommodate showing (not careless backyard) breeders, and after the most recent shelter director--basically a bean counter with no animal shelter experience--resigned.

None of this bodes well right now for the animals in this shelter or those who will enter.

As the economy worsens, the numbers of cats, dogs, bunnies, birds, reptiles, amphibians and farm animals at this and all other municipal shelters will increase. Fewer will spay and neuter and moneys to help with free and low cost spay neuter are dwindling.

Problems for pet owners, and particularly rescues, mount with a proposed CA 9% veterinary tax and increased food costs.

Rescues are being hit on all sides with donations and adoptions down. Animal abandonment (whether left behind in a house/yard or cruelly abandoned along roads in rural areas) is up.

Some think rescues are a pain in the ass. I won't validate that or ignore it. For us, it is about making the best decision we can for the now-healthy and behaviorally understood animal up for adoption. We are nice, but very careful. We learn a lot by seeing and listening.

Our rescue requires not only an approved application with veterinary and personal references and a home visit, but a contract for life.

One stipulation of our legally drafted four-page contract is that the animal be returned to us regardless of when or why for the life of the dog/cat. We don't care where the animal is living, geographically, at the time and we hold the first contact on all microchips. We will make arrangements to get him/her safely back to us. We do this for the animal's safety and Hank's situation shows exactly why this is so important.

Whether Hank is 6 months old or 16 years old, he comes back to us, no questions ask and no cost to the owner. Forever.

Meanwhile, the shelter builds up animals. Or does it?

For almost a quarter of a century, Orange County has talked about--but has not built--a new Shelter. I'm old enough to know. Adding to the problem, the Orange County shelter is no stranger to management problems.

In the late 1990s, a huge group of rescue and humane advocates--in a tornado like vortex of considerable proportion--took the shelter by storm. Contentious shelter meetings often devolved into near screaming matches many over procedures and mismanagement. Veterinarians on the shelter's Advisory Board took on the shelter vet--then referred to as "Dr. Kill" by furious public advocates--over gang-caging of cats which was causing a horrible, extremely contagious and nearly always fatal cat disease, panleukopenia, to spike--again.

I was so angry I quit my job to spend time documenting the carnage and was pulling (at regular cost) dozens of cats from the shelter every week and taking them to different vets for health assessment.

Eventually, the practicing vets were well aware--between my work and that of many others--of the extent and severity of illness in the shelter and many veterinarians authored detailed and often angry, strongly-worded letters to the advisory committee on the condition of released animals. The committee was then led by a veterinarian most could only hope to emulate.

It is important to note that when the shelter releases an animal to the public (true then and now), which is how I adopt, they state that the cat/dog/animal has been examined by a shelter veterinarian and is deemed healthy. I literally drove adopted cats directly, non-stop, from the shelter to these veterinarians.

I was personally threatened by shelter staff with arrest for photographing and documenting sick animals and sickening and often illegal conditions at one point with cats so ill and suffering some were almost comatose in their cages. The arrest was welcomed by me as it would have landed the issue, once more, on the front page of the county papers. I don't go quietly and I don't go without legal support. I was prepared, almost inviting.

The county's legal counsel (who knows me from work on land use and animal issues), however, intervened advising shelter management to back off. So we took it to the Board themselves including objections found by the county's Grand Jury, though we believed the report was weak.

No Board likes an angry mob let alone an angry mob of extremely passionate, pissed-off animal lovers staring them in the face. The situation is the stuff of nightmares and the press coagulates which makes it even worse as this loon Libertarian columnist for the OC Register, Gordon Dillow, surmised:
Dogs and cats can be really, really dangerous.

No, I don't mean that simply having a dog or a cat is dangerous. What's dangerous is writing about dogs and cats – as I found out a couple weeks ago when I wrote a column about California Assembly Bill 1634.
Politicians simply cannot win the issue when framed correctly. And we framed it pretty perfectly.

There were so many experienced, brilliant minds and committed souls among us, at that time, and once educated on the issue, many sympathetic staffers in district offices. There were also quietly supportive shelter workers among those that would have liked to tear our heads off, mine among the first.

Later, in 2004, another management problem occurred, with a rather scathing Grand Jury Report. We are long over due for another.

I visited the county shelter last week and there were 42 open dog kennels. 42. Much of the cat trailer area was empty, and while I reported three cases of URI to shelter staff, while I was there, two hours, not one was removed or observed for treatment.

I feel like I am moving backwards towards 1999, again. I am getting really pissed off. This time, I don't have a job to quit. I have a cell phone, a digital camera and a readily waiting attorney. If we have to organize, once we have what we need, God help them.

I am beginning to document the shelter situation closely and am quietly pulling in some rescues and humane workers to start the fight. This won't be nice. I have written, this morning, an open records act request to Animal Care and with that shot over the bow, they are forewarned. So those of you from the shelter reading this, be aware.

Meanwhile, dogs like Hank are safe with good rescues while the shelter has room to hold more dogs longer but apparently doesn't want to.

I am desperately looking for a foster home for the shelter senior that will die without our help. Every rescue I know is trying to find fosters, as well. I'm not optimistic. We're all looking for space to save just one more.

Kitten and puppy season is right around the corner, a dreaded time even in the best of years. This one will be ugly.

Almost all of the adult dogs/cats will die in shelters when puppies and kittens--many of which will end up in the shelter dying as teens or adults as they are discarded later--arrive thanks to irresponsible owners that don't spay or neuter and don't seem to give a rat's butt about it, either, while unprohibited breeding via backyard breeders pumps out badly bred, under-the-tax-radar dogs by the thousands. And this is supported by alleged pro-animal breeder lobbies who don't care about breed health and which lobbies against mandatory spay and neuter under the guise of stopping legitimate breeders. Laughable, but tragic.

I wish these folks, along with pet-store-bound breeders of puppymill dogs, were forced to personally IV the blue juice into the vein of thousands of animals they are responsible for. Maybe this would kick their seeming on-hold consciences into gear, but probably not. Greed doesn't seem to know bounds or conscience when compared to bank accounts.

I spoke to a young kid a month or so ago who thought spaying and neutering was "unnatural". And the blue juice is natural?

I tried to talk to him gently about the issue, but this child, from known uber right evangelical parents, doesn't believe the shelter even kills anything. God knows what he has been taught. He is also home schooled and his sisters, who have now passed 12th grade, have said they don't even know what an essay is having never written one. Scary beyond words.

Without a good stiff drink, I am not at all sure I want to know what he believes about climate change. I fear I would just cry myself to sleep.

So sometimes, if we rescues seem grumpy, please forgive us. Or better yet, volunteer for us and you will understand why we are so concerned.

And, just so you know, Hank will be sleeping comfortably in the house with a few old friends (including my own dogs) at night and will meander with my own and others that are healthy in between. He will need a lot of reassurance after yet one more rejection.

News for the A.M.: Small Chairs, Justice Ginsburg + More

First let me say I have no clue what the result of the Primate's meeting means. I am still pondering that so not touching that one.

Well, the world won't come to an end over this one: I need a bigger chair. I just got a bigger chair and this was the result. So, I guess I will try a couch, something I didn't want to do.

It's not like they don't have nifty places to sleep... they have five chairs, and an additional five baskets with flannel blankies in the bottoms, and a warming board to boot. And they do sleep in them and on the board. But not today, I guess. Two cats moved when they saw that thing that makes weird noises and flashes lights (the dig camera) so this pic reflects the best it gets these days.

The really fat cat on the footrest, Whaler, is now only 16 lbs. (probably now 15.5), down from 25 lbs. You can imagine what he looked like at 25 pounds. You wouldn't be seeing the footrest at all.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs our prayers. Read about her unique Judicial history on women's issues here. A short first quote from the Salon article:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so slight, so frail, so like your bubbe in her tight bun and Boca-size glasses, was pissed.

When she read aloud from the bench a summary of her dissent in Gonzales v. Carhart, her words were incandescent, shimmering with rage and steely reason. The protection of reproductive rights, she said, is not a matter of "some vague or generalized notion of privacy" but of "a woman's autonomy to decide for herself her life's course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature."

Of course it is important to note that when Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act, he shored up another sagging section of women's equality; equal pay for equal work. It is also important to note that our lgbt planet partners remain short of equality, something I know you regs are working on!

The only positive thing to note about Justice Ginsberg's potential for leaving the US Supremes is that should she chose to retire, we have a constitutional law attorney for president and stand a good chance of getting a good judge to replace her--and hopefully a woman--but I hope that is not necessary soon. Ginsburg is brilliant and is fiery when she needs to be; two traits I so appreciate.


At 9pm ET, actress Ashley Judd and Defenders of Wildlife CEO Rodger Schlickeisen will be on CNN's Larry King talking about she-from-the-north's brutal aerial wolf/bear hunting program. As you no doubt know, Defender's pre-presidential election video on this brutal practice really brought it into the public fore.

In response to a new video on the issue, she-from-the-north has branded Defender's as a "extreme fringe" wildlife group. Coming from her, that is laughable. Apparently caring for the least of these doesn't enter into her picture, but it sure enters into mine.

Reader's Digest awarded Defender's as the "best wildlife charity". That noted, ask yourself just how fringe Defender's could be!

Here is Judd's new one-minute appeal to help save the wolves.


Finally, Devilstower over at DKos has written an excellent piece, The President and Private Pay. I really urge you to read it for an interesting historical perspective on the GOP and (oh no!) socialism (the hot-button word of recent weeks). Kos' McJoan has also written an excellent piece on the economic abyss we are poised at the edge of and note that she doesn't quote Joe-the-former-but-wasn't-really-a-plumber-nor-war-correspondent, rather Nobel Laureate, Paul Krugman.