Blog Note

[Content Note: Illness.]

Shakesville will be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks, starting this evening.

I am dealing with a new and somewhat serious health complication, which requires some medical tests I've got to get done promptly and some new meds to which my body's having a very difficult time adjusting.

Also, to be perfectly blunt, I need a break from the daily torrent of threats and abuse that this work obliges me to navigate, while I focus on my health. The stress and anxiety of escalating harassment recently has taken a toll on my ability to focus on self-care, and I've just reached a point where I need a mental health break, in order to take care of my physical health.

Thank you to all the community members here who have been incredibly supportive. I'm sorry that the abuse that is directed toward me and the mods outside this space affects what happens here.

I expect to return on Tuesday, September 16. If I need longer, I will let you know.

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Happy Dogs Are Happy

[Content Note: Animal cruelty, but happy endings.]

A year ago, the ASPCA and responders from The Humane Society of the United States rescued 367 dogs from a multi-state dog fighting ring in one of the largest documented federal dog fighting busts. The ASPCA just posted an update on some of the dogs who were rescued, who have gone to new homes where they are safe and loved, and it's pretty much the best thing ever. ♥

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Film Corner!

[Content Note: Christian Supremacy; racism. DoNotLink used in first paragraph to Glenn Beck's site.]

Well, it's been two minutes, so it's time for another terrific new Kirk Cameron film! His newest cinematic masterpiece is called Saving Christmas (because of course it is), which is "a scripted story about a guy named Christian White who represents the typical white Christian male and he's got a bad case of religious bah humbugs."

Christian White! The lead character is named Christian White! LOLOLOL.

Anyway. This movie is about the real meaning of Christmas—which is, naturally, getting super pissed at straw-atheists.

And while he has no idea exactly how atheists will respond to the feature film, which is slated to open November 14 in theaters across America, he predicts they likely won't be too elated with its storyline.

"I assume they're going to get frustrated to see some of their best arguments deflated by this movie, because we take on some of the most commonly parroted myths about the origins of Christmas," Cameron exclusively told TheBlaze Tuesday.

...Cameron continued, "It's obvious that there is a deliberate attempt to snuff out the holy root that has produced all this wonderful Christmas-time fruit. I think it's about time someone spoke out and made a movie about this."
FINALLY. The brave HERO, who has the jingle bells to speak out about the totally real and definitely not imaginary War on Christmas, that we have been waiting for has arrived! MYRRH FOR EVERYONE!

To the trailer!

Kirk Cameron, in voiceover over his CAMFAM production logo: "Do you ever feel like Christmas has been hijacked?"

Cut to the scene of a Christmas party. In the kitchen, Kirk Cameron is talking to a blond white lady. The sound production on this scene is spectacular. Did they get a hold of an iPhone 6 for this thing?!

Kirk Cameron asks: "Hey, uh, where's Christian? How's he doing? Is he okay?"

Blond White Lady says: "Oh, he's fine, really. He's just—he's just not into Christmas this year, that's all." She walks out of the frame, leaving Kirk Cameron to linger behind, making one of his patented Confused Faces, which lets his audiences know that something ain't right.

screen cap of Kirk Cameron standing in a kitchen looking confused
"This calls for my finest Sherlock Jesus investigative skills!"

Cut to Christian White, a white bearded man in glasses and a winter sweater, picking his teeth, thus conveying his disinterest in Christmas. In voiceover, Kirk Cameron says (apparently continuing from his question about Christmas being hijacked): "By all the commercialism, and those who wanna replace Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays—or Season's Greetings, whatever that means!"

Oh boy. The terrorism of Happy Holidays. When we can roast that old chestnut on an open fire?

Cut to Kirk Cameron sitting in a car in the dark with Christian White. The acting in this scene is so bad that it's like Kirk Cameron and someone even less good at acting than Kirk Cameron were acting in it. "You okay?" Kirk Cameron asks. "This is not what Christmas is all about," says Christian White.

Over images of Christmas gifts and decorations, Kirk Cameron says in voiceover: "Some want to pull down every manger scene and tell us why our favorite Christmas traditions are wrong."

Cut back to the car. "Newsflash!" exclaims Christian White, gesticulating at something we can't even see. "Not in the Bible! That's a pagan idol symbol! With the Winter Solstice! Jesus was not born in December! That's exactly what the Druids did. It's like a carjacking, but, like, of our religion! And guess what? Santa got in the car, kicked Jesus out, and was like: Rollin', rollin', rollin'!"—here, he mimes what is clearly meant to be a gang member driving a low-rider—"and took it."

Throughout this incoherent, racist, and poorly edited rant, Kirk Cameron makes so many confused faces.

Cut to a creepy grinning Santa Claus in close-up, and Kirk Cameron says in voiceover: "Isn't it time that somebody spoke up?" YES. YES IT IS TIME THAT SOMEBODY SPOKE UP—and explained to me what the fuck is even going on in this movie. Are we supposed to be more mad at people who don't care about Christmas at all, or people who care about it in the wrong way? Why does 3/4 of it appear to take place in a car in the dark? And why is Christian White such a goddamned racist shitlord?!

Cut back to the car. (Great.) Kirk Cameron says, again gesturing to something we can't see: "Everything you see inside there? It's all about Christmas. It's all about...Jesus." Cue the inspiring music and cut to—I shit you not—an actual light bulb turning on. Goddammit.

Montagery. A white child looking up at something. A scene from the manger? Joseph lurking in some bushes. Mary resting her head near the baby lord.

Cut back to the car. WHAT?! GET ME OUT OF THIS FUCKING CAR! Kirk Cameron says, "I know you love Christmas, and you want it to be all about what it's all about." It feels like that's going to go somewhere, but nope! Montagery! A white child looking up at a backlit cross. Christian White running into the Christmas Party like a giddy child, while Kirk Cameron stands behind him holding up his hand like he's a wizard who just cast a dipshit spell on him.

screen cap of Christian White running into the Christmas Party like a giddy child, while Kirk Cameron stands behind him holding up his hand like he's a wizard who just cast a dipshit spell on him

Sassy Christmas music over images of happy Christmas party-goers. In voiceover, Kirk Cameron says: "This Christmas, dive headfirst into all of the joy, the dancing"—literally just scenes of people dancing; yanno, like CHRISTMAS—"the celebration, the feasting, the imagination, and traditions that glorify the true reason for the season."

Christian White, overwhelmed by the true Christmas spirit, slides across the floor on his belly into the room and crashes into some shit. A black man exclaims, "Woo! Work, Holy Spirit! Ha! Can I get a amen? The scales are falling off! Glory! Ah! Glory! Mm!" The crowd of people behind him cheer.

Cut, for one last time, to the car. Kirk Cameron is smiling. In voiceover, he says, "Join me, and my family, and together let's put Christ back into Christmas." Text onscreen: "Saving Christmas. In theaters November 14. Limited engagement."

Amazing. I can't wait to not see this movie!

[H/T to Deeks.]

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

"I think a lot of people want to be able to walk into a grocery store—particularly, a lot of the women—want to go and buy a bottle of wine for dinner, go down, buy a six-pack or two six-packs, buy dinner, and go home rather than what I just described as at least three stops in Pennsylvania."—Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, explaining why women support his proposed liquor law reform. Currently, only state-licensed liquor stores and some grocery stores are able to sell liquor in the state.

Listen, women are busy! We need fewer stops so we can get home quicker to cook dinner for the menz!

Obviously, I love everything about this, but I continue to enjoy in particular how Republican men talk about women. "A lot of the women." Can you please give me a better idea of how many "a lot" is, Governor Corbett? How many binders full of women would you estimate "a lot" to be?

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[Content Note: Racism.]

I don't even know: "Lifetime Fails Its Awful Mission to Bring Out the 'Strong Black Woman' in White Women."

Because black women make great accessories for folks basking in too much white privilege, Lifetime has announced a new show called "Girlfriend Intervention." From the looks of it, the show — featuring four stereotypically "strong" black women (Tracy Balan on beauty, Nikki Chu on "home and sanctuary," Tiffiny Dixon on fashion, and reality star Tanisha Thomas) — will bring out the "girlfriend" in timid white women.
There is so much wrong with this, and Linda Holmes teases out quite a bit of it here. See also: Charing Ball, who notes: "Normally, this trope is occupied by an individual, however the Lifetime Network appears to be going for the Harry Potter-level of black wizardry with its recently announced show entitled 'Girlfriend Intervention,' which totally sounds like a magical negro 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.'"

The "inner" construction—e.g. inner strong black woman, inner fabulous gay man—is always problematic, because it suggests that these identities aren't real; that they are merely constructs. And to the extent that they represent stereotypes, they are. But that masks the reality that (for example) black women's non-monolithic identities are neither constructs nor stereotypes that can be adopted by people who are not black women.

It also suggests that these identities aren't comprehensive and equal, but subsets of privileged people's humanity. As if every privileged person has lurking within them an "inner" version of marginalized people's identities.

I have had the experience of a thin man saying to me that he needs to channel his "inner fierce fat woman" in order to navigate something that was challenging him. Blink blink. Naturally, he intended it as a compliment, but what it communicated to me was that he views "fierce fat women" (and me, in particular) as impervious to harm, as though we're naturally imbued with a feisty resistance rather than having developed by necessity strategies for dealing with a world that hates us.

Identities aren't costumes, and they cannot be borrowed nor lent.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on her back with her belly and paws in the air
Zelly Belly.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Barry White & Luciano Pavarotti: "You're the First, the Last, My Everything"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Anti-immigrationism] Who cares about people's lives when there's an election to win? "Both political parties are in a state of high anxiety about the possibility that President Obama will allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the country, fearing that White House action on the issue could change the course of November's midterm elections. In the past few days, Democratic candidates in nearly every closely fought Senate race have criticized the idea of aggressive action by Obama. Some strategists say privately that it would signal that he has written off the Democrats' prospects for retaining control of the chamber, deciding to focus on securing his legacy instead. Senior Republicans, meanwhile, have their own worries about a 'September surprise' on immigration. They know their volatile party's tendency to erupt at such moments—including government shutdowns and impeachment threats—and that the GOP brand is even more tattered than the Democratic one."

[CN: Harassment; threats; misogyny] Anita Sarkeesian, the creator of the Tropes vs. Women series in which she provides feminist critiques of video games, was driven from her home by threats of violence this week. This shit has got to stop.

[CN: War on agency; misogyny; racism] In Indiana, another woman of color is facing decades in prison after trying to self-terminate a pregnancy, then allegedly giving birth prematurely and disposing of the body. Now Purvi Patel "is being charged with both neglect and feticide, allegations that actually conflict with each other. She was initially charged with 'neglect of a dependent' after prosecutors learned she left her baby in in a dumpster, a charge that won't apply if the baby was already dead. But she's now also being charged with 'fetal murder of an unborn child'—a charge that an Indiana judge allowed to stand this week—for taking drugs that could have illegally ended her pregnancy. ...As the Daily Beast's Sally Kohn points out, the logic doesn't exactly hold up. 'The State of Indiana intends to convict and incarcerate Purvi Patel one way or another, whether the fetus she delivered was alive or not—never mind the fact that the facts necessary for filing the one charge (that the fetus have been alive) entirely contradict the facts necessary for filing the other (that the fetus have been dead) and vice versa,' Kohn writes."

[CN: Guns; death] A crew member of the show Cops was killed when police opened fire on a robbery suspect, who was also killed. According to police, the suspect fired at officers, who then fired back. It was only after both suspect and crew member were dead that police discovered the suspect was holding a plastic pellet gun.

[CN: Guns; death] Just days after a firearms instructor in Arizona died after his 9-year-old student lost control of the 9mm Uzi he was teaching her to use, the NRA Women's Twitter account "blasted out suggestions for making practice at the shooting range fun for kids." Of course they did.

In the biggest news that ever newsed, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got married last weekend. This is perfect: "Jolie and Pitt's wedding caps years of rampant speculation on when the couple would officially tie the knot." That is hilarious, even though it was not intended to be.

And finally! Here is just a terrific video of a juvenile bald eagle playing in a sprinkler.

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Last night was the finale (or, at least, the performance finale) of So You Think You Can Dance, and OMG Nigel Lythgoe was the biggest shitlord he has ever been, which is really saying something. I'm not even going to waste my energy recounting the numerous inappropriate and offensive things he said, but please feel free to discuss in comments with relevant content notes.

Anyway. I was honestly pretty indifferent to most of the performances last night, except for this one, which is one of my favorites of the whole season:

Video Description: Contestant Zack does a tap dance routine with all-star Aaron, set to Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and choreographed by Anthony Morigerto.

Granted, this is one of my favorite ever pieces of piano music, but I got goosebumps during the sequence set to that rollicking piano solo. The musicality and synchronicity of this piece is just magnificent. I loved it so much.

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Today in Rape Culture

[Content Note: Victim-blaming.]

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, the former president of George Washington University and a current professor of public service at the school, was part of a panel of guests on The Diane Rehm show earlier this week, the subject of which was "the roles of fraternities and sororities on campus, which eventually turned into a discussion of the roles these organizations play in promoting rape culture." And here is part of what Trachtenberg had to say:

Without making the victims responsible for what happens, one of the groups that have to be trained not to drink in excess are women. They need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave. And so part of the problem is you have men who take advantage of women who drink too much and there are women who drink too much. And we need to educate our daughters and our children in that regard.
Wow. That is a lot of wrong in 81 words.

Saying that women need "to be trained not to drink in excess" is exactly "making the victims responsible for what happens." It also suggests that men are powerless to control themselves around incapacitated women.

Further, saying that women "need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave" also tasks victims with the responsibility for rape prevention.

(And let us note that Professor Trachtenberg just described raping someone as misbehaving.)

The idea that a woman can prevent a man from raping her if only she punches him in the nose is both incredibly offensive and extraordinarily naive. Many women correctly assess that fighting back will only increase their risk of more extensive harm, and failure to "punch a guy in the nose" does not mean that someone being assaulted has failed to protect hirself. In many cases, it is a wise calculation to mitigate the possibility of escalated violence.

And, of course, there is the critical issue that women who use violence to defend themselves are frequently prosecuted.

Trachtenberg concludes by saying "we need to educate our daughters and our children in that regard," which, no, for the above reasons, but also I just find that construction so interesting. "Our daughters" and "our children" are not mutually exclusive categories. The more obvious construction would have been "our daughters" and "our sons," but funny how his language here reflects the cultural resistance to teaching men to not rape. "Our sons" don't get singled out for any responsibility at all. And they are instead "our children." Children. Boys. Who will be boys.

This is heinous victim-blaming. There are no circumstances, none, under which a woman's behavior means she deserves to be raped; in which it's okay for a man to rape her.

Drinking to excess does not give someone permission to rape you. The end.

I have been blackout drunk exactly one time in my life. It was my first year at college, and one of my first times drinking. I eventually passed out in the dorm room of my friend Tim. Tim scooped me up and took me down the flight of stairs between our rooms and got my keys out of my pocket and put me to bed.

That's a story plenty of people would use to tell me that I was a lucky fool, instead of to observe that that's precisely the way things should be.

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[Content Note: Misogyny.]

From the Great Mysteries of Life files:

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as "intolerant," "lacking in compassion" and "stuck in the past."

Women are "barely receptive" to Republicans' policies, and the party does "especially poorly" with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO. It was presented to a small number of senior aides this month on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources involved.

...The report — "Republicans and Women Voters: Huge Challenges, Real Opportunities" — was the product of eight focus groups across the country and a poll of 800 registered female voters this summer. The large-scale project was a major undertaking for the GOP groups.

...When female voters are asked who "wants to make health care more affordable," Democrats have a 39 percent advantage, and a 40 percent advantage on who "looks out for the interests of women." Democrats have a 39 percent advantage when it comes to who "is tolerant of other people's lifestyles."

Female voters who care about the top four issues — the economy, health care, education and jobs — vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Most striking, Democrats hold a 35-point advantage with female voters who care about jobs and a 26 percent advantage when asked which party is willing to compromise. House Republicans say jobs and the economy are their top priorities.

...The report is blunt about the party's problems. [It found] that Republicans "fail to speak to women in the different circumstances in which they live" — as breadwinners, for example. "This lack of understanding and acknowledgment closes many minds to Republican policy solutions," the report says. The groups urge Republicans to embrace policies that "are not easily framed as driven by a desire to aid employers or 'the rich.'"
Again, the suggestion is not to embrace policies that aren't actually total garbage, but to embrace policies that can't be "easily framed" that way.
The solutions offered include neutralizing Democratic attacks that the GOP doesn't support "fairness" for women; "deal honestly with any disagreement on abortion, then move to other issues"; and "pursue policy innovations that inspire women voters to give the GOP a 'fresh look.'"
Insert all the mirthless laughter in the universe here. Just "neutralize attacks" that the GOP doesn't support fairness for women, instead of supporting fairness for women. Change the subject when abortion comes up! And try to scrape the bottom of the barrel for some new conservative idea that can be mendaciously framed to appeal to modern women. Distract 'em from the misogyny with something shiny! Terrific.

Republicans' primary problem with women is, and will always be, this: They think that we're stupid. They think that there's some way they can trick us into not caring or not noticing that their policies are crap.

They don't even have respect for the decision-making of their own current female voters. They don't realize that those (almost exclusively white, straight, married) women are casting calculated votes, too. It's just that there aren't a whole lot of women who are keen to abdicate self-interest in order to cast a vote to uphold the kyriarchy.

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Open Thread

image of the spice saffron

Hosted by saffron.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Brenda A.: "What games or imaginary friends did you make up as a kid?"

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Good Grief

[Content Note: Homophobia.]

Yesterday, ESPN aired a report on first out gay NFL player Michael Sam's bid to earn a spot on the St. Louis Rams' final roster which included information on Sam's showering habits: The reporter noted a "defensive player told me that 'Sam is respecting our space' and that, from his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is waiting to take a shower, as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable."

Some people had a wee problem with that, for reasons that I'm going to assume are obvious to anyone with a functioning sense of decency.

This morning, ESPN responded to the criticism with this tepid statement: "ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report. Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports."

Ya think?

By the way, it takes some fucking cheek to reference your own "standards" in reporting on LGBT topics, as if they're sterling, in your non-apology for a report that invoked the despicable stereotype of the gay male predator.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; victim-blaming.]

"He wasn't unarmed. He was armed with his incredibly strong, scary self."—The relentlessly execrable Ben Stein, discussing the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

That is a perfect, terrible example of the sort of horrendous, reprehensible, racist apologetics circulating among lots of white people, as though it is simply a fact, which all of us are meant to understand, that black men are "scary." Their very "selves" are scary. They are inherently scary.

And note that this racist characterization of black bodies serves a very specific twofold purpose: It serves to demonize black people, and simultaneously to write the narrative that racists' reflexive fear of black people is a natural reaction to innate scariness, rather than a totally unreasonable and unjustifiable projection of their own rank racism.

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Whoops for America 2: The Rewhoopsening

photoshopped image of a grinning Mitt Romney in front of a flag, underneath a banner reading 'Still least worst!' and flanked by two stars reading 'Whoops for America!'

Mitt Romney keeps saying he's definitely for sure absolutely not running for president again, but that doesn't mean the all-time winner in being the least worst in Republican primaries isn't still Republicans' least worst of the possible candidates for the 2016 election:
A USA Today/Suffolk University survey of Iowa voters released Wednesday should add to the feeding frenzy over a possible 2016 presidential bid by the 2012 GOP nominee.

...According to the new poll, if Romney was added to the list of potential 2016 GOP White House contenders, 35% of Iowa Republicans say he'd be their first choice in the Iowa caucuses, which kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses and is considering another bid in 2016, is a distant second, at 9%. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who narrowly won the 2012 caucuses, are each at 6%. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are each at 5%, with the remaining potential candidates tested were all in the lower single digits.

...[A recent CNN/ORC poll] suggested Romney losing to Hillary Clinton by a 55%-42% margin in a hypothetical 2016 matchup.
LOL. Well, that oughta convince him!

Good luck least-worsting yourself all the way to another non-victory, Mitt Romney!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat lying on a pillow with her front legs stretched out and hanging over the side of the pillow
I mean. LOL.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Wage Stagnation: Our Central Economic Challenge

[Content Note: Class warfare.]

This economic report by Elise Gould for the Economic Policy Institute is a must-read: "Why America's Workers Need Faster Wage Growth—and What We Can Do About It." Here is just part of the intro:

The last year has been a poor one for American workers' wages. Comparing the first half of 2014 with the first half of 2013, real (inflation-adjusted) hourly wages fell for workers in nearly every decile—even for those with a bachelor's or advanced degree.

Of course, this is not a new story. Comparing the first half of 2014 with the first half of 2007 (the last period of reasonable labor market health before the Great Recession), hourly wages for the vast majority of American workers have been flat or falling. And even since 1979, the vast majority of American workers have seen their hourly wages stagnate or decline—even though decades of consistent gains in economy-wide productivity have provided ample room for wage growth.

The poor performance of American workers' wages in recent decades—particularly their failure to grow at anywhere near the pace of overall productivity—is the country's central economic challenge. Indeed, it's hard to think of a more important economic development in recent decades. It is at the root of the large rise in overall income inequality that has attracted so much attention in recent years. A range of other economic challenges—reducing poverty, increasing mobility, and spurring a more complete recovery from the Great Recession—also rely largely on boosting hourly wage growth for the vast majority.
Emphasis mine.

There's so much good information in this article, which makes clear how wealth redistribution upwards has been happening; how theft of both workers' wages and productivity have enriched the top 1%; and how increasing income inequality stagnates quality of life improvements for the vast majority of the population, whose labor is being harvested by the top 1%.
In recent decades, the vast majority of Americans have experienced disappointing growth in their living standards—despite economic growth that could have easily generated faster gains in their living standards had it been broadly shared.

...It is clear that most of the overall income gains from 1979 to 2007 bypassed the vast majority of American households. As such, their living standards are lower than they would be had these gains been shared more broadly. In other words, there is a growing wedge between economy-wide average income growth and income growth of the broad middle class—a wedge we sometimes refer to as the "inequality tax"—that has effectively reduced middle-class incomes.

...The U.S. economy has generated enormous amounts of income in recent decades, even in the post-1979 period when overall growth slowed. It can certainly provide far faster growth for the broad middle class than it has over the past generation, and its failure to do so is an economic catastrophe.
Our economy is being destroyed by greed. People's lives are being destroyed by greed. It is not that there isn't enough to go around. It's that the 99% are busting our asses so that the 1% can accumulate more money than they could spend in a hundred lifetimes.

We know this intuitively, but Elise Gould's work here makes the irrefutable case.

[Related Reading: The Haves and the Have-Nots.]

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Carole King & James Taylor: "You've Got a Friend"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Racism] Charles Belk, a black film producer "who was in Beverly Hills to attend a pre-Emmy party Friday night, was handcuffed and detained for about six hours before authorities investigating a nearby bank robbery realized they had the wrong man." In a statement, Belk wrote: "What I don't why, during the 45 minutes that they had me on the curb, handcuffed in the sun, before they locked me up and took away my civil rights, that they could not simply review the ATM and bank's HD video footage to clearly see that the 'tall, bald-headed, black male'...did not fit MY description."

[CN: Guns; death] A firearms instructor in Arizona has died after he was shot by his 9-year-old student who lost control of the 9mm Uzi he was teaching her to use. Apparently, her family was on vacation at the "property in the Mohave desert, which creates a 'Desert Storm' atmosphere for shooters, their websites says. At the range, guests can take guided tours that include a private range and a certified ex-military firearms instructor. The tours require children to be at least 8 years old and stipulate that minors under 18 must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian at all times." I am sad this man died, and I am sad for this little girl, who now has to spend the rest of her life knowing she killed someone because all the adults around her thought it was okay for a 9-year-old to handle an Uzi.

[CN: Class warfare] Whoooooooops: "At a Koch Brothers-hosted secret strategy conference of right-wing millionaire and billionaire political activists in June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised that if his party wins control of the United States Senate this November, the Senate will not waste time on things like increasing the minimum wage for people making only about $15,000 annually. ...McConnell, who has been attacked by his opponent for voting 17 times against minimum wage increases, made it clear that under his leadership there would not be any increase in the current $7.25 federal minimum wage. 'And we're not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That's all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage,' he told the billionaires in attendance." What a jackass. A cruel, shameless jackass.

This is good news: "Three retired U.S. generals added their names Tuesday to growing calls for the U.S. military to repeal its ban on transgender service members, arguing that doing so would not harm the armed forces' readiness or require major changes to administrative or medical policies. In a joint statement, Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, former acting surgeon general of the Army; Brig. Gen. Clara Adams Ender, former chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps; and Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Kolditz, a professor emeritus at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, said 'allowing transgender personnel to serve openly is administratively feasible and will not be burdensome or complicated.' 'Implementation could proceed immediately and will be successful in its execution,' they added." I really love how they anticipated all the usual arguments and preemptively dismissed them out of hand. Nice.

Michelangelo Signorile tells is like it is on (lots of) corporate displays of support for LGBT rights.

Wowwwww: "Cosmic effort provides best view yet of distant colliding galaxies."

Michael Rooker (Yondu) and Dave Batista (Drax the Destroyer) reenact the Dancing Groot scene from Guardians of the Galaxy. Everyone I know seems to have Groot fever!

And finally! "A new law has been passed in California that will allow pet owners to dine together with their pets at restaurants outdoors when patio seating is available. Governor Jerry Brown, proud pet parent of a Welsh corgi named Sutter signed the bill into law together, and they couldn't be happier about the decision. The rules seem pretty basic. The dog must remain leashed, can only be seated in an outdoor-dining section, and must remain well behaved at all times. Also, the dog cannot be brought into any areas where food is being prepared. So it all seems fairly simple. ...The law fully goes into effect as of January the 1st." Yay! I think this is really excellent news for people whose dogs are not official service dogs, but whose companionship nonetheless helps them get out and about.

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