The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of the exterior of a pub which has been photoshopped to be named 'The Beloved Community Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

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Friday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by lozenges.

Recommended Reading:

Kat Kinsman at Extra Crispy: Can This Cast-Iron Skillet Be Saved?

Elly Belle at Teen Vogue: Women Describe How Hard It Was to Get Chronic Illness Diagnosed

Charlotte Druckman with Nigella Lawson at the Cut: Nigella Lawson on Food, Feminism, and Men in the Kitchen

Princess Weekes at the Mary Sue: Rihanna Turned Down the Super Bowl in Solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and Protesting Black Players

Kevin Rawlinson at the Guardian: Scottish Cyclist Jenny Graham Smashes Round-the World Record

Megh Wright at Vulture: Let Some Joy into Your Life with These Paul F. Tompkins Jingles for Vanity License Plates

And congratulations to Dorothy Snarker!

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Listen, the news is tough, and we all need moments of escape from the horror to recuperate and prepare for the next onslaught, and I can talk about shoes all the livelong day, so welcome to the OMG SHOEZ thread.

Got a favorite pair of shoes you want to share? Bought a new pair about which you're super excited? Have a recommendation to make, or want to caution us away from a purchase you regret? Want to solicit suggestions for a specific event, a foot issue, an elusive something for which you've been hunting? Having trouble finding something particular on a budget? Have at it in comments!

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image of my feet clad in cognac leather oxfords
The Rora Oxford from Børn, in cognac full grain leather.

One of my newer acquisitions is this gorgeous pair of oxfords, which I snagged with a big old coupon at I have always loved Børn shoes, which fit my feet like a glove right out of the box, requiring no break-in time.

These beauties are no exception. I wore them for a night out with about a mile of walking on their first wearing, and my feet were in terrific shape at the end of the night.

Plus, they just look dreamy.

So, that's what up with me! What's up with you?

(As always: I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving compensation from any of the brands or shoe retailers mentioned in this thread. Any shoes and/or retailers I recommend is just because I really like 'em!)

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound jauntily perched on the sofa with a big grin on his face
This guy! ♥

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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We Resist: Day 638

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Trump's War on the Press Precipitously Escalates and Of Course: Conservatives Smear Khashoggi.

Here are some more things in the news today...

[Content Note: Hurricane damage; neglect] Robert Samuels at the Washington Post: A Week After Hurricane Michael, Rural Residents Feel Stranded.
In the week after the catastrophic Hurricane Michael, residents have watched supply trucks and federal emergency officials come through the rural town of Alford, population 400. But most of them did not stop here, where the power is still out, few have clean water and people have been sleeping outside.

There are small towns facing similar fates along Michael's destructive trail. Neighbors and churches are providing food, shelter, and supplies, trying to tide them over, hoping that more government help will come.

"We are starting to see some federal help, but it's mostly church groups and more church groups that are helping," said Mayor George Gay. "So we are going to need all the help we can get, and we welcome it."

...It was a stroke of luck that the group, International Gospel Outreach First Responders [a religious group that travels from disaster to disaster to provide support], was in Alford at all, volunteers said.

They were heading to Marianna, a larger city 15 miles away where FEMA officials are assisting residents with disaster relief claims, when local leaders told them that a smaller town was desperate for help. If the group hadn't come with hamburgers and spaghetti, residents here wondered whether they would have eventually gone hungry.
This, let us be clear, is the country that conservatives want: A country where federal tax dollars fund virtually nothing but defense, where there is no social safety net, where every person is on their own and must fend for themselves, where charity fills in the gaps (or doesn't), where you'd better eat your bootstraps if you don't want to starve after a hurricane.

This is categorically not the country I want.

* * *

[CN: Nativism] Christopher Cadelago and Brent D. Griffiths at Politico: Trump, at Rally, Hints at Conspiracy Theories for Migrant Caravan. "Donald Trump on Thursday [during a political rally in Missoula, Montana] amped up his focus on immigration ahead of the midterm elections by claiming, without evidence, that Democrats were behind a group of Central American migrants trying to reach the U.S. ...'Now we're starting to find out — and I won't say it 100 percent, I'll put it a little tiny question mark on the end, but we're not going to get it, but we have the fake news back there, fake news — a lot of money has been passing through people to try to get to the border by Election Day, because they think that is a negative for us,' the president told the crowd. ...[Trump] added that Democrats figured 'everybody coming in' was going to vote for their candidates — though he did not mention that only legal citizens can participate in elections, and that attaining nationality and registering to vote is a process that can't be completed before Nov. 6."

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to try to undermine the integrity of the midterm elections in every way possible...

Roxana Hegeman for the AP at the Washington Post: Iconic Dodge City Moves Its Only Polling Place Outside Town. "Access to the ballot box in November will be more difficult for some people in Dodge City, where Hispanics now make up 60 percent of its population... [Dodge City] has only one polling site for its 27,000 residents. Since 2002, the lone site was at the civic center just blocks from the local country club — in the wealthy, white part of town. For this November's election, local officials have moved it outside the city limits to a facility more than a mile from the nearest bus stop... 'It is shocking that we only have one polling place, but that is only kind of scratching the surface of the problem,' said Johnny Dunlap, chairman of the Ford County Democratic Party. 'On top of that, not only is it irrational and ridiculous that we have only one polling place, but Dodge City is one of the few minority majority cities in the state.'"

Angela Caputo, Geoff Hing, and Johnny Kauffman at American Public Media: They Didn't Vote...Now They Can't. "Even by Georgia standards, the voter purge of late July 2017 was remarkable. In a single day, more than half a million people — 8 percent of Georgia's registered voters — were cut from the voter rolls. Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, an avid supporter of [Donald] Trump who has described himself as a 'politically incorrect conservative,' oversaw the removals eight months after he'd declared himself a candidate for governor. The purge was noteworthy for another reason: For an estimated 107,000 of those people, their removal from the voter rolls was triggered not because they moved or died or went to prison, but rather because they had decided not to vote in prior elections, according to an APM Reports analysis. Many of those previously registered voters may not even realize they've been dropped from the rolls. If they show up at the polls on Nov. 6 to vote in the heated Georgia governor's race, they won't be allowed to cast a ballot."

Mark Joseph Stern at Slate: Georgia Is Using Amateur Handwriting Analysis to Disenfranchise Minority Voters. "Say you live in Georgia. ...You fill out an absentee ballot and mail it in. Then, days or weeks after the election, you receive a notice in the mail. The signature on your absentee ballot, it explains, looked different from the signature on your voter-registration card. So an election official threw out your ballot. There is nothing you can do. Your vote has been voided. If Georgia's signature-mismatch law remains in effect through the November election, this fate will befall thousands of would-be voters. The statute directs elections officials to apply amateur handwriting analysis to voters' signatures and reject any potential 'mismatch.' Nearly 500 ballots in Gwinnett County alone have already been rejected for mismatch, a disproportionate number of them cast by minority voters."

[CN: References to violent racism and sexual assault] Kate Riga at TPM: Radio Ad Supporting Arkansas Representative Claims White Democrats 'Will Be Lynching Black Folk Again'. "In a radio ad supporting Rep. French Hill (R-AR), the narrator says that black Arkansans should vote Republican because if Democrats could accuse white Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault with 'no evidence,' white Democrats in charge would start 'lynching black folk again.' The commercial, paid for by a group called Black Americans for the President's Agenda, seems to be narrated by two black women who punctuate their talking points with 'girllll' as they trade statements. ...'I'm voting to keep Congressman French Hill and the Republicans, because we need to protect our men and boys,' one of the women says at the end of the ad. 'We can't afford to let white Democrats take us back to the bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences, and lynchings when a white girl screams 'rape.''"

* * *

Obviously, Republicans continue to be terrible in myriad other ways, too...

Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times: John Kelly and John Bolton Have Shouting Match over Immigration. "The White House chief of staff and the national security adviser got into a profanity-laced argument about immigration outside the Oval Office early Thursday morning, two people briefed on the altercation said, prompting the chief of staff to leave the White House complex and not return for the rest of the day. The blowup between John F. Kelly, Mr. Trump's chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, his national security adviser, was loud enough to be overheard by several officials in the West Wing. ...A third person described the episode as little more than a typical airing of differences between Mr. Bolton and Mr. Kelly, who has a temper."

Oh, the great moderating influence has a temper that he can't control? Cool.

[CN: Rape culture] Andrew Kaczynski and Jamie Ehrlich at CNN: GOP Rep. Jason Lewis Once Mocked Women Who Felt Traumatized by Unwanted Touching. "The Minnesota congressman made his comment during a November 2012 broadcast of 'The Jason Lewis Show,' a syndicated radio program that aired from 2009 until 2014 before he was elected to the House in 2016. Lewis was discussing sexual harassment allegations leveled against then-Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain from his time as president of the National Restaurant Association. ...'I don't want to be callous here, but how traumatizing was it?' Lewis said. 'How many women at some point in their life have a man come on to them, place their hand on their shoulder or maybe even their thigh, kiss them, and they would rather not have it happen, but is that really something that's going to be seared in your memory that you'll need therapy for? You'll never get over? It was the most traumatizing experience? Come on! She wasn't raped,' Lewis added, using a voice mocking an emotionally distraught woman."

[CN: Racism]

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Trump Considering Homocon Richard Grenell as UN Ambassador. "Donald Trump is considering Richard Grenell, the gay U.S. ambassador to Germany to replace Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador. Grenell's role in Germany caused controversy after he breached protocol and gave an interview to Breitbart saying he wanted to 'empower other conservatives throughout Europe.' ...Grenell has plenty of other controversy in his past, as the Washington Blade noted: 'Grenell waited nearly eight months for confirmation in the Senate. Grenell faced opposition over mean tweets about the appearance of women, including Hillary Clinton, Rachel Maddow, and Callista Gingrich, and tweets downplaying the impact of Russia meddling in the 2016 election.'" No wonder Trump loves him.

* * *

Art Cullen at the Guardian: Politicians Say Nothing, But U.S. Farmers Are Increasingly Terrified by Climate Change. "Farmers around here are itching to go after that amber wave of soya beans, but there was that 5in rain a couple of weeks ago and then a 7in rain, and it drives even the retired guys batty. Those beans aren't worth much at the elevator thanks to a Trump trade war with China, but they're worth even less getting wet feet in a pond that was a field which the glacier made a prairie bog some 14,000 years ago — until we came along and drained it. This year, crops in northwest Iowa are looking spotty. Up into Minnesota they were battered by spring storms and late planting, and then inundated again in late summer. Where they aren't washed out, they're weedy or punky. If you go south in Buena Vista county, where I live in Storm Lake, the corn stands tall and firm. Welcome to climate change, Iowa-style."

[CN: Nativism; child abuse] Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Report: Latest Trump Administration Immigration Rule Could Cost up to $12.9 Billion. "Withdrawing from Flores, according to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, is necessary to end one of the 'primary pull factors for illegal immigration' — an argument which immigration experts say is deeply flawed. The new rule would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to house families in unsafe detention facilities while their asylum petitions play out in court, which could take months or even years. In addition to extending the length of time an immigrant child is forced to spend in detention, ending Flores would come with a hefty price tag. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress (ThinkProgress is an editorially independent newsroom housed at CAP), the proposed rule would cost at least $2 billion and as much as $12.9 billion over the course of a decade — up to $1.3 billion per year."

[CN: Trans hatred] Bob Salsberg at the AP: Transgender Rights Lie in the Hands of a State's Electorate. "Setting the stage for the first-ever statewide referendum in the U.S. on a transgender rights law, opponents collected enough signatures to place a repeal question on the Nov. 6 ballot. Transgender rights supporters worry — and opponents of the laws hope — that if the repeal passes in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage and among the most LGBT-friendly, it could unleash a cascade of similar efforts elsewhere. 'For this to happen in Massachusetts, where we have this reputation of being an inclusive state dedicated for equality and dignity for all people, to see what happens on this (question) is really going to be an important moment for transgender rights nationally,' said Mason Dunn, executive director of the Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition."

[CN: Misogyny] Sophie Novack at the Texas Observer: Without Planned Parenthood, Almost Half the Providers in Texas' Women's Health Program Saw No Patients.
For years, the Texas health agency has claimed that its Healthy Texas Women program is thriving. After Planned Parenthood was booted out in 2013, state officials cobbled together a new network of women's health providers, which they say is robust and growing.

But records obtained by the Observer show that Texas has failed to fill the gap left by Planned Parenthood and other established family planning providers, leaving many women with inadequate access to contraception and preventive screenings.

Almost half of the approximately 5,400 providers in Healthy Texas Women didn't see a single patient in the program in fiscal year 2017, according to data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Of the 2,900 providers that did see patients, more than 700 saw just a single person. Only about 1,500 saw more than five patients. Of the 27 providers that served 1,000 or more, 11 were labs, which don't actually see patients and advocates say skew the data.

Erika Ramirez, a policy and advocacy director at the Texas Women's Healthcare Coalition who previously worked at HHSC as a senior policy advisor, called the fact that most providers aren't seeing many clients "alarming."

"More providers is good, but it's not enough," she said. "You need to make sure those providers are actually meeting the demand, actually providing those services. Because if they're not, then it's just a number, and women are still not getting the services they need."
And finally...

*jumps into Christmas tree*

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Discussion Thread: Good Things

One of the ways we resist the demoralization and despair in which exploiters of fear like Trump thrive is to keep talking about the good things in our lives.

Because, even though it feels very much (and rightly so) like we are losing so many things we value, there are still daily moments of joy or achievement or love or empowering ferocity or other kinds of fulfillment.

Maybe you've experienced something big worth celebrating; maybe you've just had a precious moment of contentment; maybe getting out of bed this morning was a success worthy of mention.

News items worth celebrating are also welcome.

So, whatever you have to share that's good, here's a place to do it.

* * *

Well, this was pretty great! And last night's episode of The Good Place was terrific! And Iain and I bought a bunch of ingredients to bake some tasty stuff together this weekend, so that will be fun!

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Of Course: Conservatives Smear Khashoggi

[Content Note: Violence; Islamophobia.]

Robert Costa and Karoun Demirjian at the Washington Post: Conservatives Mount a Whisper Campaign Smearing Khashoggi in Defense of Trump.

Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a whispering campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect [Donald] Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist's alleged murder by operatives of Saudi Arabia — and support Trump's continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom.

In recent days, a cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with Trump has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi, highlighting his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and raising conspiratorial questions about his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden, according to four GOP officials involved in the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Those aspersions — which many lawmakers have been wary of stating publicly because of the political risks of doing so — have begun to flare into public view as conservative media outlets have amplified the claims, which are aimed in part at protecting Trump as he works to preserve the U.S.-Saudi relationship and avoid confronting the Saudis on human rights.
Something I've been thinking a lot about lately is how there is no bottom to the Trump cultists' indecency.

A common talking point, long favored by politicians and the press alike, is that there was always a 30% (give or take) that would vote Republican no matter what, but built into that assertion was an assumption that some things would still be off-limits; some things would still stand on the other side of a line that could not be crossed.

But now we are seeing that it is not the case. There is no depth that Trump and the GOP cannot plumb that their hardcore cultists won't defend — and, indeed, the more malicious they get, the more the cultists cheer, and feel empowered.

This, of course, has long been apparent to anyone who has been at the blunt end of conservatives' seething hatred. Which is why a zero tolerance approach was necessary.

But instead the press has insisted on playing the sinister Both Sides game, and the Democratic opposition has mainly been led by folks who keep insisting on bipartisanship and urging good faith, long after it was apparent that the former wasn't possible and the latter wasn't warranted.

We have to get real about the fact that a huge portion of this country is fascist.

And we have to be honest about the fact that the issue has never been whether there were people who would go there (again). The issue has been that there people who exist there, so how do we keep them from running the country?

Lots of people have tried to bury that reality under bullshit about American Exceptionalism and various other lies — like the ludicrous emergent myth care of the dirtbag left that hardcore rightwingers are really secret socialists (nope) — and all they've accomplished is abetting the fascists.

So here we are. And now we have to get blunt about the fact that all the appeals to decency in the world don't matter when your opponent lacks decency altogether.

They are smearing a man who was killed as a terrorist so that their sadistic skipper can avoid having to do the work expected of a democratic president who gives a fuck about human rights.

That is a real thing that's happening.

There will never be a bottom to this unless and until we build a floor.

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Trump's War on the Press Precipitously Escalates

[Content Note: Violence.]

In May of 2017, Greg Gianforte, then-candidate for Congress in the Montana special election to replace Ryan Zinke after he was plucked for Interior, attacked Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs after Jacobs asked Gianforte about the recently-released CBO score of the Republican healthcare bill. Gianforte slammed Jacobs to the ground, smashing his glasses, and later lied about it until audio of the incident revealed the truth.

Gianforte pleaded guilty to assault; was sentenced to community service, a fine, and a compulsory anger-management course; and went on to win the special election. He is now a sitting member of Congress.

Last month, at a Make America Clap for Me Again rally in Montana, Donald Trump, who has been waging a war on the press since virtually the moment he announced his candidacy in July 2015, made an oblique reference to Gianforte's attack on Jacobs.

Then, last night, at yet another rally in Montana, Trump went all in, effusively praising Gianforte for his physical attack on Jacobs, calling the congressman "my guy."

Ed Pilkington at the Guardian reports:

Trump described in glowing terms the physical assault that occurred on 24 May 2017 when Ben Jacobs, the Guardian's political correspondent, was asking Gianforte a question about health care policy in the course of a special congressional election in Bozeman, Montana. The U.S. president incited cheers and chants from a crowd of about 8,000 supporters on Thursday night when he said: "Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand. Never."

As the cheers rang out across an aircraft hangar in Missoula, Trump went on to say: "Any guy that can do a body slam…he's my guy."

...Giving his first detailed account of the Gianforte attack on Jacobs, Trump went on to tell the Missoula crowd that he had learned of the incident while he was in Rome in a gathering of world leaders. He expressed his immediate dismay.

"We endorsed Greg very early. But I heard that he body-slammed a reporter. This was the day of the election or just before, and I thought 'Oh, this is terrible! He's going to lose the election.'"

Trump continued: "And then I said, 'Wait a minute! I know Montana pretty well; I think it might help him.' And it did."

The line prompted another massive cheer from the Montana crowd.

The U.S. president finished his account of the physical assault by saying of Gianforte: "He's a great guy. Tough cookie."
Openly praising an act of violence against a journalist is an absolute extraordinary — and disgusting — escalation from Trump.

(Although it should never be forgotten that Trump himself physically assaulted reporter Alexi McCammond on the campaign trail in September of 2016.)

And it is unfathomable that he would choose this moment, in which we still await evidence of what happened to journalist Jamal Khashoggi, to explicitly endorse violence against members of the press.

This is not the behavior of a democratic leader. It is the behavior of a rank authoritarian, who delights at cruelly exploiting his position to plunge this nation into ruin as quickly as he can.

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Open Thread

image of a pink couch

Hosted by a pink sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Drazil: "All you need is ____________?"

Nyquil. LOL.

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image of thumbs up & thumbs down Shaker Thumbs

Shaker Thumbs is your opportunity to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to a product or service you have used and that you'd recommend to other Shakers or warn them away from.

Today, I'm going to give a big ol' thumbs-up to Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus!

Technically, I'm seconding Shaker Catvoncat's thumbs-up, after she recommended it in a previous Shaker Thumbs thread, enthusing: "This stuff is MAGIC."

Yes, yes it is. Thanks, Cat!

promotional image of a white hand holding and spraying a bottle of Downey Wrinkle Releaser Plus

Anyway! Give us your thumbs-up or thumbs-down in comments!

[Just to be abundantly clear, I am not affiliated in any way with companies or products recommended in this series, nor am I receiving any form of payment from them. Anything I share here is just because I like it!]

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Everything Is Fine (Everything Is Not Fine)

Amanda Macias at CNBC: Putin Says Russia Will Deploy Hypersonic Missiles in 'Coming Months,' Surpassing U.S. and China.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow will deploy hypersonic weapons in the "coming months," a significant step that would enable the Kremlin to surpass the U.S. and China.

A hypersonic weapon can travel at least five times the speed of sound, or about one mile per second. What's more, the U.S. is currently unable to defend against this breed of threat.

Putin, who was speaking at a forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, added that Moscow's hypersonic weapons program was ahead of its competitors.

The latest revelations come less than eight months after Putin touted his nation's growing hypersonic arsenal as "invincible" during a state of the nation address. The weapons included a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and a new hypersonic missile.

"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: You have failed to contain Russia," Putin said during the address in March.
Great. That all sounds fucking terrific.

Whether it's real or whether it's bluster, it hardly matters — because Russia already has thousands of nukes capable of blowing the Earth to smithereens, so whether they have even more is secondary to the fact that Putin is brazenly provoking a renewed Cold War. Which is decidedly warmer these days.

When I was a kid growing up in Northwest Indiana in the 1980s, the threat of nuclear war stalked us like a relentless specter. I routinely heard the adults around me talking about "the bomb" being dropped. They would give a mirthless laugh and say things like at least we'll be first to go because we lived at the feet of steel giants. The Communists would take out the steel mills first, and we'd go with them.

It is a pointed cruelty to force people, especially children, to live under the threat of a nuclear holocaust. To be sure, the threat of war pales in comparison to actual warfare, which traumatizes and orphans and starves and injures and kills children every day — but the threat is not benign, either.

I can't relate to the sort of person who wants to impose sustained fear, terror, on other people, and I am very angry that here we are again, on the brink, with nary an effective diplomat in sight.

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The Makeup Thread

Here is your semi-regular makeup thread, to discuss all things makeup and makeup adjacent.

Do you have a makeup product you'd recommend? Are you looking for the perfect foundation which has remained frustratingly elusive? Need or want to offer makeup tips? Searching for hypoallergenic products? Want to grouse about how you hate makeup? Want to gush about how you love it?

Whatever you like — have at it!

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Sorry that I haven't posted a Makeup Thread in so long! I haven't had anything fun to share in awhile — and I still don't really, lol, but here's a photo of me on my way to meet BrianWS for the Amy Shark show.

image of me standing on a sidewalk, from the shoulders up, wearing a blue and black patterened top and my contact lenses, with my hair down and light makeup

Just a very quick look with the old standbys — plus Too Faced's clear Extreme Lip Plumping Gloss, which they don't make anymore and I'm SO SAD because I love it so much, and so I use it sparingly, to make it last as long as possible.

I'm really enjoying that crease in my forehead and the lines I'm getting around my eyes. I'm starting to get fine lines across the tops of my cheeks, which will turn into some stellar smile lines at some point.

Maybe one day I will get annoyed with the aging process happening on my face. I can already tell that my upper lids are going to get droopy enough to bother me (not aesthetically but functionally), and the redness on and around my nose and chin irks me. But, for the most part, I like the way my face is changing and reflecting my age.

And, for now, just making sure I keep my skin really hydrated means the makeup products I like are still working for me.

Anyway! What's up with you?

(As always, I'm not affiliated in any way with any of the companies whose products I mention, nor am I getting anything in exchange for my recommendations. I just like the products!)

* * *

Please note, as always, that advice should be not be offered to an individual person unless they solicit it. Further: This thread is open to everyone — women, men, genderqueer folks. People who are makeup experts, and people who are makeup newbies. Also, because there is a lot of racist language used in discussions of makeup, and in makeup names, please be aware to avoid turns of phrase that are alienating to women of color, like "nude" or "flesh tone" when referring to a peachy or beige color. I realize some recommended products may have names that use these words, so please be considerate about content noting for white supremacist (and/or Orientalist) product naming.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting at my feet while I'm sitting at my desk, looking up at me with a big grin
Zelly would like you to know that IT'S A DAY!

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

Open Wide...

We Resist: Day 637

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Trump Has Always Been a Conman and Trump Threatens to Shut Down Southern Border.

Here are some more things in the news today...

[Content Note: Violence. Covers entire section.]

Jamal Khashoggi at the Washington Post: What the Arab World Needs Most Is Free Expression. "A note from Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor: I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi's translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul. The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post."

Julian E. Barnes, Matthew Rosenberg, and Gardiner Harris at the New York Times: U.S. Spy Agencies Are Increasingly Convinced of Saudi Prince's Ties to Journalist's Disappearance. "Intelligence agencies have not yet been able to collect direct evidence of the prince's involvement, American and European officials said. They also have not been able to conclude whether Prince Mohammed directly ordered the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, or whether his intention was to have Mr. Khashoggi captured and taken back to Saudi Arabia, according to one official. But intelligence agencies have growing circumstantial evidence of the prince's involvement — including the presence of members of his security detail and intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a possible plan to detain Mr. Khashoggi, according to American officials. Officials have also said the prince's complete control over the security services makes it highly unlikely that an operation would have been undertaken without his knowledge."

Richard Wolffe at the Guardian: As Trump Cozies up to Saudi Arabia, the Rule of Law Collapses Further. "First Trump promised 'severe punishment' for those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's death, albeit punishment that didn't harm any arms contracts the Saudis were interested in. ...Then Trump spoke to the crown prince, who pinky-promised he had nothing to do with the 15 men identified by the Turkish media as belonging to a grisly hit-squad, which reportedly included an autopsy specialist carrying his own bone saw. So the 45th president of the United States gullibly and dutifully bleated something about 'rogue killers' and 'very, very strong' denials. In what is surely a remarkable coincidence, Saudi sources leaked word that they were preparing to admit the killing, but insisted it was an interrogation that went wrong. Interrogations tend to go wrong when they include someone armed with a bone saw."

Loveday Morris and Zakaria Zakaria at the Washington Post: Secret Recordings Give Insight into Saudi Attempt to Silence Critics. "The clandestine recordings — more than 10 hours of conversation — were provided to The Washington Post by [27-year-old Saudi opposition activist Omar Abdulaziz], a close associate of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They offer a chilling depiction of how Saudi Arabia tries to lure opposition figures back to the kingdom with promises of money and safety. These efforts have sharply escalated since Mohammed became crown prince last year, rights groups say."

* * *

Another rat jumps ship.

Dominique Mosbergen at the Huffington Post: Rod Rosenstein Offers 'Forceful Defense' of 'Appropriate' Russia Probe.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has offered what The Wall Street Journal described on Wednesday as a "forceful defense" of the special counsel's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Speaking to the Journal, Rosenstein described the investigation, led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, as "appropriate and independent" and one that the public would have faith in.

"At the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources," Rosenstein said.

...In his conversation with the Journal, Rosenstein did not specify when Mueller's investigation would come to a close. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, however, that the special counsel was planning to issue key findings "soon after" the November vote.

Quoting a U.S. official, Bloomberg said Rosenstein had been pressing Mueller to conclude the investigation as soon as possible.
If true, one wonders if that's because Rosenstein understands that giving the Republicans another election to consolidate power is an impediment to justice, or if it's because Rosenstein is merely conveying forward the pressure that Donald Trump has been putting on him.

Meanwhile, get a load of this guy... Rebecca Morin at Politico: Biden: 'I Hope They Don't' Impeach Trump. "Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday said he hopes Democrats don't try to impeach President Donald Trump if they retake the House of Representatives following next month's midterm elections. 'I hope they don't. I don't think there's a basis for doing that right now,' Biden, one of the top Democrats believed to be weighing a 2020 challenge of Trump, said during an interview on CBS This Morning. The former vice president said that Democrats should wait until special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe is concluded before taking any steps against the president. ...'There are so many things to attend to immediately,' Biden said. 'Let's see where the investigation takes us.'" Okay, but what if the point is to take us beyond the point of no return? What then, Joe?

Speaking of the midterms, here are a few reminders that the Republican Party is subverting their integrity in every way possible!

Brad Friedman at the BradBlog: West Virginia Smartphone Voting Threatens Midterms; Offers False Promise of Security, Auditability. "The state is the first in the nation to allow such voters to cast a ballot via smartphone — on a mobile app called Voatz, created by a private Boston-based technology firm — in a live (and crucial!) general election. But, don't worry! The state and the Voatz company are quick to claim that their scheme is completely secure, since it 'employs blockchain technology to ensure that, once submitted, votes are verified and immutably stored on multiple, geographically diverse verifying servers.' Blockchain, in short, is a widely distributed public ledger, or database, that is used to track Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But, as long-time voting system expert and Internet Voting critic Dr. David Jefferson of Livermore National Laboratory and of Verified Voting explains on today's show, the technology solves none of the many problems with using the Internet to cast votes in American elections, as he recently detailed at the non-partisan Verified Voting site."

Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress: Georgia Mayor Goes on Racist Rant After County Stops Black Voters Matter from Helping Elderly Vote. "The mayor of a Georgia town in the same county where administrators blocked Black Voters Matter from bringing elderly black voters to the polls said on Facebook Wednesday that the group's work is 'utterly reprehensible.' Barstow, Georgia Mayor Robert Morris, whose Facebook includes a number of racist posts, shared a status on Facebook two days after the county decided to prevent Black Voters Matter from bringing seniors to the polls. 'It is utterly reprehensible that your group maintains that all black voters should vote for a black candidate just because they are the same color as you,' he wrote." Obviously, that is not their position.

Barry Yeoman at TPM: The North Carolina GOP Is Trying Every Trick to Keep a Supreme Court Seat. "For years, Anita Earls has been the go-to attorney in North Carolina for beating back assaults on voting rights. She's had her hands full: Since the 2010 Republican landslide, the state legislature has operated like a perpetual-motion catapult, hurling one measure after another to reengineer the electoral landscape and seeing what sticks in court. Legislators have drawn electoral maps testing the outer limits of gerrymandering. They've tried to repeal ballot-access reforms that helped then-candidate Barack Obama carry the state in 2008. They canceled an election, changed how judges are selected, and are now trying to take control of the state's elections machinery. Each of these measures is a building block in a larger structure designed to maintain Republican power in the face of a demographic threat."

* * *

[CN: Nativism] Amanda Holpuch at the Guardian: 'I Live in Fear': Under Trump, Life for America's Immigrants Can Change in a Flash. "Five days after taking office, Trump signed an executive order that effectively stopped ICE from prioritizing criminals for deportation. Instead, they are now going after all the estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. at once — drawing little distinction between hardened criminals and productive community members who have started businesses, bought homes, and paid their taxes. This includes a 10-year-old with cerebral palsy ICE arrested in October 2017 after she left a Texas hospital for treatment; undocumented adults who volunteer to take custody of children who crossed the border by themselves; and an elderly couple visiting their pregnant daughter-in-law and her husband at a military base in New York for the Fourth of July holiday."

[CN: Christian supremacy; anti-choicery; misogyny]

[CN: LGBTQ hatred; Christian supremacy] Dominic Holden at BuzzFeed: Trump Is Planning a New Rule to Let Federal Contractors Fire Employees for Religious Reasons. "When the Trump administration issued a directive in August that expanded a 'religious exemption' for federal contractors who are accused of discrimination, activists feared the worst. The policy was essentially legal guidance, but it targeted LGBT rights specifically. Now their fears have escalated. The Trump administration is currently planning to create a formal religious-liberty regulation for businesses with federal contracts, which would create a loophole in an Obama administration policy protecting LGBT workers, according to several people familiar with the Labor Department's plans who spoke to BuzzFeed News. Unlike the August directive, a regulation would carry more legal force and is tremendously difficult to undo."

* * *

[CN: Animal harm] Jimmy Tobias at the Guardian: Revealed: U.S. Moves to Keep Endangered Species Discussions Secret. "It comes as wildlife advocates and scientists accuse the government of attempting to weaken protections for wildlife, including wolves, grizzly bears, and sage grouse, while boosting domestic energy production and mining in crucial animal habitat. ...Such records should be carefully reviewed and possibly withheld, the guidance suggests, if they might hamper the defense of the government's decisions in certain court cases and cause 'foreseeable harm' to the federal government by sowing 'public confusion' or subjecting officials to public scrutiny and thereby creating a 'chilling effect' on internal decision making processes."

In other words: The Trump Regime is advocating for reduced transparency in order to inoculate the footsoldiers of its destruction from the influence of public resistance to their malice.

[CN: Animal harm] Joe Romm at ThinkProgress: Insect Collapse Study 'One of the Most Disturbing Articles I Have Ever Read,' Expert Warns. "A disturbing new study finds that global warming helped drive as much as a 60-fold decline in insect population in Puerto Rico's tropical rainforest between 1976 and 2013. ...A 2014 review of scientific literature and data in the journal Science found the number of insects 'such as beetles, butterflies, spiders, and worms has decreased by 45 percent' since 1980. The reason: 'loss of habitat and global climate disruption.' And a 2017 Dutch study found that in the past three decades, a stunning three-fourths of the total insect population was lost in 63 protected nature reserves in Germany. ...Along with the insect crash in Puerto Rico, the study found 'synchronous declines in the lizards, frogs, and birds that eat' the insects. The study's bottom line: 'Climate warming is the driving force behind the collapse of the forest's food web.'"

Yessenia Funes at Earther: The Biggest Organism on Earth Is Dying, and It's Our Fault. "The heaviest organism on Earth isn't a whale or an elephant. It's a tree — or rather, a system of over 40,000 clonal trees, all connected by their roots. Pando, a 13 million pound organism in central Utah, is believed to have sprouted toward the end of the last Ice Age. But after thousands of years of thriving, Pando has run into trouble. A study published in PLOS One Wednesday features the first comprehensive examination of the entire 106 acres of clonal aspen forest, and it concludes that Pando isn't growing. In fact, the forest has been failing to self-reproduce since at least 30 to 40 years ago. 'People are at the center of that failure,' said co-author Paul Rogers."

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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The Radical Comedy of Gary Gulman

screen shot of comedian Gary Gulman, a tall, thin, middle-aged white man, performing onstage in his Netflix stand-up special 'It's About Time'
Gary Gulman onstage in his Netflix special, "It's About Time."

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite comedians, Gary Gulman, perform in Philadelphia. Back in May, I bought three tickets — one for me, one for Iain, and one for Deeky — and on many a rough day the past few months, one of us has said to the other, "Well, at least we've got Gulman in October!" to get us through.

On even rougher days, his stand-up specials have been among the things to which I turn that can reliably buoy my spirits.

It says a whole lot about the kind of comedian that Gary Gulman is that I knew, after weeks of being submerged in writing about Brett Kavanaugh and the suffocating memories his abuses evoked, going to see Gary's show would be like surfacing for air. I trusted that I would feel safe, and that I would laugh, and so I did.

What I didn't expect was just how much his new show, "Must Be Nice," would mean to me.

* * *

We got to the theater a bit early, picked up our tickets, and went to the bar to get a drink. As soon as the glasses were in our hands, there was Gary Gulman, standing in the lobby as people from the earlier show lined up to meet him. The line was short enough to give us a decent chance of squeezing in a hello before the second set, so I walked over and took a place at its end, where Iain and Deeks joined me.

As I've mentioned many times before, I am by nature a painfully shy person. I'm not the kind of person who waits in line to meet people, because I am awkward and introverted, but I wanted to tell Gary how much I appreciated his comedy. I wanted to say thank you, and that felt like it was worth getting over my shyness to do.

So when I got there, I introduced myself and I thanked Gary for his work and told him how it got me through writing about these dark times. He was gracious and friendly and gave me a hug. I asked if we could take a picture together. He said sure, and he leaned down so that Deeky could get us in the same frame, because Gary Gulman is 6'6, and I am 5'2.

Tall men usually make a joke about how short I am, to make me feel even smaller, and I hate it. Gary Gulman didn't do that. He's the kind of tall man who makes people around him feel taller.

* * *

Some of the material in "Must Be Nice" will be familiar if you've heard Gary on John Moe's terrific podcast "The Hilarious World of Depression" — which I highly recommend. On his episode, Gary shares some of the important benchmarks of his journey with depression and anxiety, which also feature in his new show, crafted into something that is both comedic and dramatic, in perfect measure.

Maybe it doesn't feel harrowing, if you haven't experienced anxiety or depression yourself. It felt harrowing to me, hearing about how hard Gary has fought for himself, for his mental health. It felt harrowing even as I laughed, because it was familiar and because it was validating. Here was the most intimate of profoundly stigmatized life experiences turned into broad observational humor. We can all relate to this, right?

If not, you were invited to understand. (And expected to listen.)

Other comics have talked about depression and anxiety before, about being neurotic, about being in therapy. It's well-explored territory. But like much humor that marginalized people mine from their own lives, it's frequently been self-deprecating — the jokes made at one's own expense and the severity of the harm minimized to make the jokes palatable.

Gary's set felt different. It wasn't the self-deprecating humor of a person with the internalized shame of being mentally ill, carefully drawing lines between their own mental illness and people who are really crazy. It was the humor of a vulnerable person who is fighting to survive with every tool in the drawer, including humor.

That felt raw and radical and rare to me.

I knew I was watching something very special indeed when Gary told a terrific joke, just perfectly crafted and exquisitely executed, about a college football coach coming to his house to offer him a scholarship, seeing only his outside, the body that looked like a football player's body, and not seeing his inside, the being who still slept with his baby blanket, which rested on his bed in the next room.

Watching a man talk about the full scope of his humanity, in this particular moment, was moving. Gary Gulman is not a political comedian — but striding across the stage with his broad shoulders and long legs talking about being vulnerable was a deeply political act in a country where there is underway an aggressive referendum on how the powerful, animated by a sickening malice, regard those without their privilege.

In a time of wanton harm, Gary Gulman stood on a stage for nearly two hours and talked about navigating the world as a profound empath; about living with mental illness; about seeking treatment; about healing; about self-care. With jokes!

Great fucking jokes.

* * *

Let me just be abundantly clear, lest I make "Must Be Nice" sound like some kind of shitty TED Talk: IT WAS SO GODDAMN FUNNY AND I LAUGHED SO MUCH.

Gary Gulman could have told fart jokes for 90 minutes, and I no doubt would have come away completely satisfied. But he didn't. He did something remarkable. So I wanted to remark upon it.

Having built a career at the intersection of politics and feminism, I've spent an inordinate amount of time being disappointed recently. It feels pretty great to have an occasion to share a little joy about my expectations being exceeded.

* * *

I don't know if Gary Gulman regards his new material as radical. Even if he does, I suspect it wasn't designed that way. I suspect he is telling us about his mental illness and his fight for wellness because he needs to talk about it.

Which is part of what makes it feel so meaningful to me.

Over the last three decades, I've loved stand-up comedy, and I've watched an endless parade of talentless dipshits hackily crafting ancient bigotries into predictable punchlines under the auspices of being "edgy." They don't have anything original to say, and they don't even know enough about their own art to understand that they're about as radical as sensible golf trousers.

Gary Gulman has something to say which is worth listening to, and that he's saying it in this way in this moment makes it edgier than all the comics in all the bad jackets in front of all the brick walls telling all the jokes about women amirite?

In a time of institutional cruelty perpetrated by people who don't care if we fucking die, jokes told with kindness about survival are radical as fuck.

And I am here for it.

I am here for it as a fellow traveler with anxiety, who has chewed her lip until it bled. I am here for it as a fellow empath, who sometimes feels like she's a raw nerve walking through the world, unable to escape feeling everything. I am here for it as someone who can't help but be exactly who I am, and hope every day that it's enough.

And I'm here for it as a fan, who loves to laugh. Who loves to make other people laugh. Who needs laughter to survive.

* * *

Gary Gulman is on tour now. If you can get to one of his shows, do yourself a favor and go go goooooo.

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Trump Threatens to Shut Down Southern Border

[Content Note: Nativism; fascism.]

This morning, responding to news of a 4,000-person caravan of migrants fleeing violence in Honduras approaching the Mexico-Guatemala border amid an increase in border crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border, Donald Trump tweeted: "In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!"

Just to be clear: When a president threatens to close a border, he is not only suggesting keeping people out; he is also suggesting keeping people in.

In August of 2017, I tweeted: "Be wary of people who advise shutting down the borders to keep people out — because soon enough they'll be explaining why they're keeping us in."

I have long feared that Trump's ultimate "border wall" objective was at least as much about controlling movement of the population within the U.S. as it was about his nativist agenda of keeping people out of the country.

This morning's all-caps threat to deploy the military to "CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" has certainly not assuaged my fear.

Open Wide...

Trump Has Always Been a Conman

Donald Trump has always been a conman, a fraud, a liar, a crook, a thief. He has raised his three oldest deplorable children, who have joined him in the family business, to be conmen, frauds, liars, crooks, thieves. This was all well-known before and during his presidential candidacy, but only recently have in-depth investigations revealed the extent of his lifelong chicanery.

The first was the massive piece published by the New York Times earlier this month, "Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches from His Father," which obliterated the myth that Trump was largely self-made following minor financial help from his father.

The latest is another massive piece by Heather Vogell, Andrea Bernstein, Meg Cramer, and Peter Elkind, "Pump and Trump," which details a joint investigation by ProPublica and WNYC that found "patterns of deceptive practices" by the Trump Organization "in a dozen deals across the globe."

Since Donald Trump's fortunes came surging back with the success of The Apprentice 14 years ago, his deals have often been scrutinized for the large number of his partners who have ventured to the very edges of the law, and sometimes beyond. Those associates have included accused money launderers, alleged funders of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and a felon who slashed someone in the face with a broken margarita glass.

Trump and his company have typically countered by saying they were merely licensing his name on these real estate projects in exchange for a fee. They weren't the developers or in any way responsible.

But an eight-month investigation by ProPublica and WNYC reveals that the post-millennium Trump business model is different from what has been previously reported. The Trumps were typically way more than mere licensors or bystanders in their often-troubled deals. They were deeply involved in these projects. They helped mislead investors and buyers — and they profited handsomely from it.

Patterns of deceptive practices occurred in a dozen deals across the globe, as the business expanded into international projects, and the Trumps often participated.

...The Trumps often made money even when projects failed. And when they tanked, the Trumps simply ignored their prior claims of close involvement, denied any responsibility and walked away.
The whole thing is worth your time to read in its entirety.

Writing about the investigation at the New Yorker, Adam Davidson observes: "It is becoming increasingly clear that, in the language of business schools, the Trump Organization's core competency is in profiting from misrepresentation and deceit and, potentially, fraud."

With a heaping likelihood of facilitating money laundering for global oligarchs, as well.

Indeed, just today, Jon Swaine and Scott Stedman at the Guardian have a piece about Aras Agalarov, the orchestrator and one of the attendees of the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr in June 2016, having "formed a new American shell company a month before [the meeting] with an accountant who has had clients accused of money laundering and embezzlement." Agalarov "created the U.S. company anonymously while preparing to move almost $20m into the country during the time of the presidential election campaign, according to interviews and corporate filings. ...Scott Balber, Agalarov's attorney, said the company was formed for 'real estate transactions' and did not elaborate."

But Trump's connections to criminals who wanted to use real estate transactions to launder money significantly predates the 2016 election. As the authors of "Pump and Dump" note: "Given that the 'buyers' [of units in Trump Organization projects] were often shadowy shell companies or other paper entities, it was nearly impossible to discern who the actual purchasers were, let alone why they backed out."

It's good that we're getting more insight into Trump's connection to international organized crime and his lifetime of being a shameless conman. It would have been even better if these investigations had been done before he was already the sitting president.

Maybe it wouldn't have mattered. But if there was any chance that it could have mattered, it was long before his party had two years to consolidate power behind his increasingly authoritarian regime.

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Open Thread

image of a yellow couch

Hosted by a yellow sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker DesertRose: "What is your favorite family recipe?"

My grandmother's homemade noodles. The secret is to cut the dough into noodles first and then let them rest on brown paper grocery bags, which you've carefully cut along the folds so you can open them and lie them flat on your dining room table.

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