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From Russia With Love Podcast Wrap Up

Back Talk returned with a new episode of Chopping It Up with Matt to discuss the latest in #RussiaGate plus the Presidential Records Act and why violations of it matter.

We are living in historical times, some of it good and some of it bad. The resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn a mere 25 days into this new administration is historical, in a bad way. Participation in the democratic process by average Americans is one of the lone bright spots.

The Russia connection with the current administration should be concerning to everyone but we live in times where partisan politics trump all else for far too many (okay sorry).That Russia interfered in our country’s 2016 presidential election no longer seems debatable and that certain high ranking officials in the White House were at least complicit.

The question remains as to the identity of those individuals and the extent to which they were involved, or did nothing to stop it.

Russia is a problem worldwide and the United States isn’t the only country where it is middling in national elections. Russian aggression in the Ukraine, and elsewhere, remains a problem too. Destabilization, along with the close ties between certain high ranking governmental officials, are ways to make certain this aggression gets lost in the crossfire.

Combine all this with violations of the Presidential Records Act and obstructionism from those in positions of power toward an investigation of Russian interference and you get an authoritarian cocktail that is deadly to democracy. You can listen to today’s podcast here.

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We All Need Nurturing #StillShePersisted

I have never been a cat person, having cohabited with a dog for most of my life; I’ve always been on #TeamDog. However, recently, I adopted three stray cats; two boys and a little girl. The two boys are brothers and came first, with the girl coming a couple of months later.

I never thought I would adopt a cat, much less end up with three of these furry monsters and yet, here we are. The two boys, Smokey and Bandit, came to us because Bandit decided it was his home and that was the end of it.

First picture with Bandit. The moment I knew it was meant to be. #WeAreFamily

As young babies, the two boy strays would seek shelter on our back porch. At the time, my dog Libby was getting older, growing ever more sick; ultimately she would die. I wrote about that journey and the aftermath – I didn’t really need anything else on my plate.

Smokey (left) and Bandit (right) as babies #WeAreFamily

The boys kept showing up and looking hungry, so of course I fed them. Bandit does not know a stranger and would beg to be held. Smokey is more wary around people, but he and Bandit are mostly inseparable. One day,  I left the back door open without realizing it and we have been a family since then.

Bandit naturally always fit in. He would socialize with visitors and would not stop until he got the requisite amount of petting and belly rubs. Smokey, not so much. My shy boy at first would not naturally come to me except when he wanted food. He did not want to be petted, and snuggling was absolutely out of the question. Socializing with strangers was also absolutely out of the question.

Smokey the original loner.
Smokey the original loner.

It took time and a multitude of snuggles for our bond to become natural. Now he loves to be petted and snuggled and generally makes an appearance when company is around. On occasion, he deigns to allow strangers to pet him and/or rub his belly; treats are always welcomed.

My little baby Iggy came to us in a similar, but  yet remarkably different fashion. Momma cat brought the runt of her litter to our back porch,  and stayed with her until I came outside and found her. Here was this little grey ball of fur, mostly skin and bones, incredibly malnourished,  and on the verge of death. I took her in immediately, nourished her to health and then released her after a couple of weeks to Momma who regularly came to check for her.

About two weeks later, she was back, once again malnourished and on the brink of death. Nursing her back to health this time was oddly different and took longer. It no longer seemed practical or humane to release her so she joined our family.

Continue reading “We All Need Nurturing #StillShePersisted”