Thursday, February 15, 2018

Veterinary clinic in Boca Raton declares Dr. Marvin Moskowitz persona non grata - and it appears to me they did it because they were caught fibbing

This is Dr. Marvin Moskowitz, a 10 year old Persian cat from California 
who is not happy with the treatment he got in Florida.
The Crank’s brother, who lives in California, went to Florida recently, to try out living there for a while. He brought his cat with him

They’re back home in California now, and neither the Crank’s brother nor the cat, whose name is Dr. Marvin Moscowitz, is likely to return to Florida any time soon.

One of the big reasons why has to do with a veterinary clinic in Boca Raton. The clinic, in addition to treating sick animals, also does animal grooming. Because Dr. Moscowitz is an indoor cat, his nails need clipping fairly regularly. In addition, Dr. Moscowitz needed a bath. So the Crank’s brother made a grooming appointment and brought in Dr. Moscowitz.

Next thing you know, the clinic was demanding to give Dr. Moscowitz a fecal exam.

“Why is that?” the Crank’s brother asked.

“He could have fecal worms. And if he leaves any worms in the tub, all the other cats we bathe will catch it,” the clinic’s front desk guardian explained. 

That sounded odd. Not to mention that the explanation also raises questions about how thoroughly the clinic washes out its tub between cat baths.

“That’s ridiculous,” said the Crank’s brother. “Dr. Moscowitz has never been outdoors in his life, except in a carrying case. He’s an indoor cat.”

“This is Florida,” insisted the front desk guardian, ominously. “Anything can happen.”

Anything? Like what? Was she implying that a scouting party of fecal worms congregated at the curb at Miami Dade airport waiting for an easy mark? And that when the Crank’s brother and Dr. Moscowitz arrived from California, the worm scouting party noticed Dr. Moscowitz in his carrying case, and deliberately crawled in through the vents and jumped into Dr. Moscowitz’s behind while he and my brother waited for a car to pick them up?

 Somehow, what the front desk guardian was saying didn't quite add up. But she stuck to her story. “This is Florida. Anything can happen.”

This argument went on for a while, but finally the Crank’s brother gave in and agreed to let Dr. Moscowitz have a fecal exam so that he could also get a bath and a manicure. He left the good doctor at the veterinarian for a few hours, and came back when he had been told to come back. 

It turned out that Dr. Moscowitz hadn’t been bathed because he began to “bite and scratch,” according to the clinic’s own records. Hey, if  somebody had just shoved a probe up your butt looking for fecal worms, you might bite and scratch too. Whether you’re a cat or not.

The Crank’s brother was presented with a bill not only for the manicure, but also for the fecal exam.
“Great,” said the Crank’s brother, “I’d like to see the fecal exam test results.”

“Oh, we won’t have the results until they come back from the lab tomorrow,” said the front desk guardian.

“Then the story you gave me about requiring the fecal exam to avoid infecting other cats wasn’t true,” said the Crank’s brother.

The front desk person simply repeated the amount due, including the amount for the fecal exam.

“I’ll pay you for the nail clipping. I’m not paying for a fecal exam that Dr. Moscowitz didn’t need and that was administered for a specious reason. Now give me my cat,” said the Crank’s brother.

“If you won’t pay the full amount, you’ll have to wait until the veterinary staff manager discusses this,” said the front desk guardian.

“Wait? How long?”

“Well, the manager is in a meeting about something else now. They’ll be finished in an hour or so.”

“Give me my cat right now or I’m calling the police,” said the Crank’s brother.

The threat of calling the cops evidently put the fear of God into the front desk guardian. She brought out Dr. Moscowitz. The Crank’s brother paid for the nail clipping , but not for somebody sticking a probe up the cat’s ass for an unnecessary — but revenue-generating — lab test.

They’re back in California now. And the Crank’s brother recently received a frosty e-mail from the clinic. Here’s the text with the name of the clinic redacted to help some lawyer in Florida avoid getting over-stimulated:
"[CLINIC NAME REDACTED]  will not be able to offer you any future services. At [CLINIC NAME REDACTED], we strive to provide exceptional care and to act only in the best interest of our patients. In order to accomplish this goal, we make every effort to achieve a level of mutual trust, open communication, and respect with each one. After several failed attempts working with you and after discussions with staff members, we feel our relationship with you is not a good fit. [CLINIC NAME REDACTED] has elected to end all services with you effective immediately. Please do not call, email, text, or trespass at [CLINIC NAME REDACTED]. Attached to this email are Dr. Marvin medical records for you to consult a new veterinarian for continuation of care."
Dr. Marvin Moscowitz yawned when the letter was read to him, and then went off to his kitchen (in California) to lap some water from his bowl.

The medical records in question were, in fact, mostly copies of records from Dr. Moscowitz’s California veterinarian, so the operation manager in Boca who e-mailed them could have saved herself the trouble. The Crank’s brother had given the clinic copies of those records to begin with.

The fact that the clinic is conjuring up calls, e-mails, text or trespasses — tresspasses! — indicates that the fertile imagination of somebody at the clinic can be applied to a lot more than inventing reasons to subject a cat to a fecal exam.

Oh, and since this is a political blog, and this story would be incomplete without a political moral, here’s a political moral:

Government regulation exists to protect people — and sometimes even to protect cats — against the depredations of people out to do whatever it takes to move money out of your bank account and into their own. Evidently, the process of regulating veterinarians in Florida, if it exists at all, needs some work. But that’s just on a local level in one state.

When the Trump Administration starts nullifying regulations left and right, somebody’s going to suffer. You may unwittingly fall into the hands of payday lender loan sharks. You may find your air suddenly getting more polluted. You may find acres and acres of what was once pristine wilderness turning into an ugly industrial mining site

And for all I know, before very long, you may go out for a haircut or a manicure and end up having someone shove a probe up your butt — and then billing you for it.

And if you don’t believe me, just ask Dr. Marvin Moskowitz.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Donald Trump wants a bigly huge parade. And money be damned! It’s the thought that counts.

Donald Trump demands a big military parade. You know, the 
kind of shindig Nazis and other dictators generally throw. 
(Gif swiped from Wonkette.)
President Trump wants a parade. Not a little parade. He wants a great, big, gigantic, enormous, humongous parade full of soldiers, and tanks tearing up the pavement with their steel treads, and nuclear missiles bristling, and fixed bayonets, and God-knows-what-else.

Somehow, this doesn’t seem like us.

Russia does great big goose-stepping military parades.

North Korea does great big goose-stepping military parades.

Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich did great big goose-stepping military parades.

The United States of America? Not so much. Even France's Bastille Day parade, which unfortunately set loose the most recently-arrived colony of ants in Donald Trump's pants, doesn't make as big a publicity deal out of its parade as Donald Trump wants.

We used to be the nation that celebrated the little guy, the underdog, the tough-but-determined David up against the world's mean Goliaths. A gazillion uniforms marching down the streets of Washington isn’t American. It’s an un-American nightmare.

But Trump wants his parade. 

The cost? Hard to estimate, although the first “modest” estimates seem to be coming in at around $13,800,000 hard  cash.

There’s no money to fix Puerto Rico, parts of which still don’t have electricity, or other functioning essentials, half a year after a hurricane. But there’s $13,800,000 for a parade.

There’s no money to take care of our veterans, still languishing in veterans’ hospitals in different parts of the country.  Ot trying to get admitted. But there’s $13,800,000 for a parade.

There’s no money to repair our failing roads and bridges and railroads, which these days crash with the certainty of a fleet of  banana republic steam engines approaching one another head on, on the same track. The incompetence and infrastructure failure in nearly every facet of American life is another factor that's making disasters boring. But there’s $13,800,000 for a parade.

There’s no money to pay our impoverished teachers, who take money from their own paltry salaries to buy pencils and paper and textbooks for our kids, because there’s no money in many school budgets for the pencils and paper and textbooks, either. But there’s $13,800,000 for a parade.

The “tax reform” we’ve just suffered will give the Koch brothers and other billionaires billions more of the public’s money, while the school librarian gets a whopping $1.50 a week extra in her pay check. Tax reform is also why there may not be money before very long for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or just keeping the nation patched together. But there’s $13,800,000 for a parade.

You see, it’s very important to our president that we have a humongously, no actually a humongously humongous — in fact an enormously, hugely, humongously humongous — parade. Why?
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” explained Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. “He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
Yeah, right, we’ll show our appreciation by making the poor bastards in the military get out of bed extra early on a holiday morning, spit shine their boots, line up hours in formation before the parade, and then be forced to march for eight or ten miles in the July 4th heat for the pleasure of Donald ("Heel Spurs") Trump. 

Who does Sanders think she’s kidding? With appreciation like that, our armed forces don’t need detractors. 

If we really wanted to honor those poor bastards, we’d give them the day off. In fact, maybe even the whole holiday weekend off.  With a wad of bonus beer money so they could go enjoy themselves. Or better yet, we could restore the GI bill of rights. (Fat chance!)(

Alternatively, the nation could express its appreciation to Press Secretary Sanders by demanding that she stay locked in her office 24/7 for a month and not go home to her kids.

Or we could express our appreciation to Donald Trump by locking him in a room with no smart phone, no TV, and only a copy of historian Henry Steele Commager's book, "Midcentury Liberalism and the History of the Present," a cup full of pencils, and six yellow pads. We would further show our appreciation by refusing to let him out until he writes a coherent book report on the book we gave him, out of appreciation.

But never mind that. the President wants a parade.

And make no mistake. He will get his marching battalions, and rolling tanks, and bristling missiles, and brassy marching bands playing John Philip Sousa martial music as certainly as a duck may be somebody’s mother. Even if the nation has to go bankrupt to give Trump what he wants

It kind of makes you see how proud you used to be to be an American. Before Donald Trump turned turned us from the world’s most respected nation into a clown show.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My top-super-double-classified-secret memorandum revealing that, um, err, uhhh... the people out to get Trump are out to get Trump

Actual verified image
I wrote a memo

Since I’m on the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have access to stuff the ordinary public doesn’t see. I mean really super double secret stuff that I know and you don’t. Nya nya.

I took a little bit of this. And a little bit of that, including the fact that somebody paid a guy to dig up dirt on Trump, so therefore the dirt can't actually be dirty. I threw in some real data on, probably, who we've been wiretapping or otherwise surveilling on The Other Side.

Then I mished and mashed that stuff up in a whirling psychoblender with things I made up, and things that are sort of true, and things that even if they’re not true ought to be true in my opinion. Plus stuff I got from watching Fox News.

That memo absolutely convinced me that A) Donald Trump is innocent. Of whatever. And that B) Hillary Clinton and C) Barack Obama are guilty. Of whatever. But heinous whatever. I mean really, really bad whatever.

And furthermore that D)  all Democrats are part of the secret cabal, where they jointly prick their fingers over a glass bowl and commingle their blood and swear fealty to the Deep State and the Conspiracy to Make America Not Great despite everything Donald Trump is heroically doing to arrange for…well, I forget exactly where I was going with this, but you get the idea.

All I can tell you is, that memo convinces me 100 percent. Even though I’m the guy who wrote it. So I’m going to release it soon, real soon. Event though it’s classified.

But that doesn’t mean the Democrats can do the same thing. We’ve got to stop them from releasing their own memo because…well, I could tell you, but it’s classified.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

"Hey Crank, where the hell are you?" Listen, even a crank needs an occasional break. Sheesh!

Why haven't I posted recently? What's going on? Where am I?

Where the blazes am I supposed to be, huh?

Can't a guy get the oil in his crank case
changed any more without causing a 
street demonstration?
I'm resting. I've got Trump overload. I've got the Schumer Shakes. I'm got those Butt-Over-the-Trumphole, Turtle-Faced Kentucky Senator Blues. Or Butt in the Trumphouse Turtle-Faced Kentucky Senator Blues, if you insist.

I've got Pencetinitis. I've got The Kushner Quakes. I can smell that nauseating, low down, Stevie Miller snot nosed imperative stink, wafting out of the White House and poisoning the air. 

And it's affecting the way I think. For example, normally I'd be horrified by body shaming. But given that she'll twist the truth, tell a lie, or fabricate an alternate reality (I am not being redundant; they're each slightly different)...Anyway, given that she'll do all that to protect our potty-mouthed prez at the drop of one of his cheeseburgers, I'll confess that I'm also pretty sick of the fat lady singing just about every damn day in the White House. Or is it the Out House?

At any rate, if she's constantly singing the game is over. Either get President Pottymouth out of there, or get the fat lady out of there. Preferably before they and their crew hatch the Next Big Insane Thing.

Although to tell you the truth, I'm not at all sure what President Pottymouth and his putrid people have in mind for their next act. They have already weakened our military alliances; alienated our friends around the world; stuck a bomb under the national treasury and lighted the fuse; and sunk the nation's level of discourse to such cesspool depth that even I now find myself wallowing in it. So I'm in no rush to see what comes tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that.

But I'll take a wild guess.

President Pottymouth and Senator Turtleface will manage to defeat DACA. They will do it by bringing a clean DACA bill to the floor of the Senate, where they will shoot it down.

Next, there will be a great forced exodus not only of DACA kids but of all undocumented (and some documented) aliens who happen to have brown skin, black skin, or...oh what the hell, throw in yellow, too. They will all be lined up at the border and told to get the hell out of our nation. But then...

But then some toady general, or maybe a general toady, will shriek, "Oh no! Oh no! We're going to lose all those low wage aliens. And we won't have all that income tax income that we can steal from the treasury to give to the One Percent.  Or all those college students that Betsy DeVos can rip off on behalf of her friends who have a piece of the action in worthless for-profit college diploma mills. And think of all those college loans we won't be able to collect on because we've shooed those people out of the country. Not to mention the first generation immigrants. It's already raised havoc with running a 711 store. Who the hell is going to take the orders and make the change, and flip the President's burgers?"

So they'll dispatch a great army to chase after the hard-working immigrants and their high-achieving Dreamer kids and bring them all back. But at that very moment, the waters of the Rio Grande will be parting, and the immigrants and Dreamers will be crossing the suddenly dry riverbed to bring their hard work, and innovation and talent to a different land. And when the Pentagon's armored tanks plunge into the the space between the Rio Grande's parted waters in pursuit, the waters will roll back, and a whole division of tanks will be drowned.

No, wait, wait! Listen to me. Don't run away jeering. Just shut up and listen. I am not making this up.  It's all true. It says so, right there in the Bible.

And if you don't believe me, ask Mike Pence.

Pharaoh's heavy armored division moments before drowning. 
Actual genuine photograph from the Sarah Sanders collection 
of historically accurate and totally truthful non-fake news pix.
And now leave me alone, willyuh? I'm going back into hibernation.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

CRAZY AS A BEDBUG: a few observations relating to a column about Donald Trump by David Brooks. Plus some notes and a true tale or two about the deceptive behavior of psychopaths.

I know it’s rather late in the day to be getting around to this, but David Brooks’ column in the New York Times this morning contained a remarkable statement.
Give David Brooks a
Ph.D in naiveté
"First, people who go into the White House to have a meeting with President Trump usually leave pleasantly surprised. They find that Trump is not the raving madman they expected from his tweetstorms or the media coverage. They generally say that he is affable, if repetitive. He runs a normal, good meeting and seems well-informed enough to get by."
The statement is remarkable because of its disquieting naiveté. Just because he’s affable, and seems like a “good guy” who is “well informed enough,” doesn’t mean Trump isn’t a complete psychopath. Many psychopaths have an extraordinary capacity for appearing “normal,” and affable, and even disarmingly charming.

This "affable guy" died in the
electric chair
You want a case in point? How about this guy — one of the most charming and affable serial killers in the history of the United States. In fact, it was his charm that enabled him to work as a volunteer campaign worker (for a Republican candidate, naturally) and that also enabled him to meet, enchant, and then rape and murder somewhere between 36 and 100 women.

It turns out that psychopaths can be as affable as anyone else. In fact, some of them find affability a useful tool when they turn it on.

I spent seven years of my life living with a psychiatrist (who, before she died, was referred to at various times in this space as “The Crank’s Beautiful Girlfriend.”) She was indeed an exceptional beauty, and also a brilliant psychiatrist with a celebrity patient roster, who followed a hard-and-fast rule.

“I don’t take psychotic patients,” she told me. “I certainly don’t  take psychopaths. I don't like crazy people. You can’t trust them. They’re dangerous.”

“But you’re a psychiatrist,” I said, a bit shocked.

“Yes and I don’t waste my time with insane people. Or risk my life.”

On the outside chance that she’d make a fatal misdiagnosis, this small, willowy, exquisite woman kept a  can of mace in her top desk drawer. But she never had to use it. She was pretty infallible in her diagnoses. And she was firm in her opinions as to whom she’d treat and who would be better off seeing some other head shrinker.

Then there was the case my younger brother ran across, roughly 40 years ago, when he was a Legal Aid lawyer in New York City,  assigned to deal with nut cases.

A bit of background. In the State of New York you can (or at least could, back then) incarcerate people who are not guilty of a crime if a court adjudicates them to be a “danger to themselves or others.” 

They may be incipient Ted Bundys. They may be the kind of lost soul who pops up in the news for a day after acting on a message from God that advises them to push a subway passenger off some platform into the path of a speeding train. They may be any number of things, but they’re as crazy as bedbugs and a lot more dangerous.

Many of these people don’t like it in the looney bin. And the law allows them a way out. Periodically, they’re entitled to go back to court, present evidence, or at least a claim that they’re as normal as everybody else, and ask the court to free them. Since many of them have no money, the Legal Aid Society often represents them. Hence my brother.

One day, my brother told me about a truly amazing client he’d just represented. The bus brought his client to the courthouse, where my brother had about ten minutes to meet and interview him before they both went before the judge.

“The guy was completely rational,” my brother said. “He was charming. He had somehow kept up to date with the news. He could rattle off what he had read in The New York Times that week. And then he could explain  — in cogent detail — why it mattered.

“His conversation was lively. He was clear-headed. In my mind there was no question about it. This guy was one hundred precent sane. He had to be released. Justice demanded it. So I brought him into the courtroom. And I put him on the witness stand."

Sure enough, my brother’s client charmed the judge, too. The judge was listening, fascinated, smiling, nodding agreeably, clearly under the spell of the witness, who swore his incarceration was all a mistake. His testimony even included a pretty plausible theory about how he could have been locked up through the error of a city hospital's foreign-born doctor, who spoke barely more than rudimentary English and who, through lack of English, misunderstood something and made an error.

The testimony was not only rational, it was clearly analytical. It was utterly reasonable. Clearly, the judge seemed to be thinking, he was hearing the testimony of what these days you might call “a stable genius.”

Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, my brother spotted the state attorney, who appeared agitated, upset, and outraged. The state attorney whispered furiously into the ear of a psychiatrist who had accompanied the prisoner from the looney bin. The psychiatrist whispered back. The state’s attorney whispered something else. And there was another whispered reply.

Finally, it was the state attorney’s turn to cross-examine my brother’s client. But there seemed no evident point in doing so, since my brother's client was so evidently sane.

“Tell me,” asked the state’s attorney, “who is the President of Mexico?”

“Why, I am!” my brother’s client replied confidently, and without missing a beat.

“And how much are you paid to be President of Mexico?”

“Well that’s very hard to say because they can’t send me my money while I’m being held prisoner in New York. They put the money in a trunk and it’s buried under a tree in Guadalajara where….”

The judge’s smile faded. His eyes rolled in big circles. In due course the bus from the crazy house backed up to the court house, and two armed guards saw to it that my brother’s client was on board.

They never saw each other again.

MORAL: Just because somebody can act rational for twenty minutes or so doesn’t mean he wouldn’t nuke the planet, first opportunity he gets, particularly if you say whatever his magic words are. Got that, David Brooks?


Who’s ultimately more dangerous?

“I’m the most cold hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet.” — Serial Killer Ted Bundy

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen…"—  Stable genius Donald Trump