Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker AmeliaEve: "How did you learn to cook?"

Some basics from family and home ec classes in middle school. Mostly just from trial and error on my own. Trying to recreate things I ate at restaurants was a primary way of expanding my cooking skills, which are decent. I make a few great dishes and a lot of competent ones, lol.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by mint.

Recommended Reading:

George Dvorsky: [Content Note: Images of storm damage at link] Hurricane Maria Lashes Puerto Rico, Knocking out Power to Entire Island

Jenn Fang: [CN: Racism; nativism] US Immigration Denies Travel Visa to Sister Whose Stem Cell Donation Would Save Cancer Patient's Life

Lance Mannion: [CN: Bigotry; abuse] President of Their Dreams

Shay Stewart-Bouley: [CN: Racism; eliminationist violence] Navigating Racism, or Hate Exists Everywhere Whether You Admit It or Not

Mariame Kaba: [CN: Carcerality] Host Teach-Ins about Bail and Pretrial Detention This Fall

IWHC Staff: [CN: War on agency] Where Are We Now? A Snapshot of Some of the World's Most Egregious Abortion Laws

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

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Another Day; Another International Humiliation

In Guinea and Nigeria, you fought a horrifying ebola outbreak. Nambia's health system is increasingly self-sufficient.
I don't even know.

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Nothing Annoys a Hillary Hater More Than Liking Hillary Does

image of Hillary Clinton in a blue jacket, smiling and clasping her hands together
[Photo: Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America.]

Hillary Clinton, commanding winner of the popular vote who nonetheless lost the presidency, continues to be very popular.

Her book is #1 on Amazon; she's sold "more than 300,000 copies in the combined formats of hardcover, e-book, and audio," and her book's "hardcover sales of 168,000 was the highest opening for any nonfiction release in five years"; her book tour is selling out; she's in demand as a guest on TV, radio, and podcasts; and her appearance on Rachel Maddow's show "was cable's most-watched news broadcast of the week, as well as the No. 1 non-sports show on cable."

Lots of people, millions of us, still like the unlikeable Hillary Clinton.

It was always a damnable and sinister lie that there was "low enthusiasm" for the country's first female nominee from a major party. A useful and ubiquitous lie, but a lie all the same.

It is a lie with which her most devoted haters have a hard time reckoning. She is, after all, the most scrutinized candidate ever to run, and, despite mendacious narratives to the contrary, the most transparent. If her supporters know her as well as any public figure can ever be known, and still like her, then how can she be the monster they accuse her of being?

The haters' rap on Hillary is that her supporters don't really know her — that she is deceitful, inauthentic, a chronic liar, a compulsive concealer of her multitudinous misdeeds, which include everything from accepting speaking fees to cold-blooded murder.

But we know. We know her actual failures, and we know all the invented malefactions that have been attributed to her for four decades. We have been urged to "wake up" and "do some research" on Who Hillary Clinton Really Is, but being a Hillary Clinton supporter means that you can't avoid the legitimate criticisms and wild-ass conspiracy theories about her powerful depravity even if you wanted to.

There isn't a valid concern or fringe-spun demon fantasy about Hillary Clinton that I haven't heard. There isn't a mistake she's made or a policy disagreement I have with her that I haven't long and thoughtfully considered. There isn't a horseshit nightmare narrative about her that can be posed to me which I haven't gathered the facts to dispute.

Which is a problem for her haters. They can't convince me not to like her.

And nothing annoys them more than that. Because it's not enough that they hate her. They want everyone else to hate her, too.

It's easy to imagine that this strange dynamic is unique to Hillary Clinton, but it isn't. It only seems that way because of her unusual prominence.

One of the most basic precepts of a patriarchal culture is that women aren't to be liked. Used, consumed, exploited, but never liked. Never respected. Never admired.

Especially not by other women.

Women who like and respect and admire one another are dangerous. We are socialized to hate each other (and ourselves), to think of ourselves and one another as less than, and to regard each other with suspicion and contempt — competitors for resources and opportunities and affection.

Even most feminist women have to make a habit of liking women, of rewriting that entrainment to reflexively see other women in negative terms, and replacing it with a spirit of sisterhood. A lot of women exceptionalize the women in their lives in the same way men do. My group of female friends having fun at this bar is awesome; that other group of female friends having fun at this bar is a bunch of skanks. That is the way we are all socialized to view women — their individual value determined by proximity and affiliation, rather than merit.

It is an insidious and intractable piece of systemic misogyny, this idea that women are simply unlikeable, as a rule.

And thus it is a radical act to like women.

Especially a woman as hated as Hillary Clinton. To like her is reject the cultural imperative to dislike and mistrust women — and it is a stubborn refusal to give her haters what they want; what they feel they are owed by a culture who promises them hatred of women.

All they're supposed to have to do is point out she's a woman. That is meant to be good enough to convince anyone of her loathsomeness! Instead, she is liked. Widely liked. Respected. Admired. Even losing hasn't dimmed the shimmer of her massive popularity.

They still can't get what they really want — which is for all of us to hate her the way they do.

We're supposed to be the irrational ones, but it's her haters who fixate on us, driving themselves to distraction by obsessively responding to any utterance, any written word, any simple tweet with reflexively disgorged hatred, unable to find contentment as long as there exist in the world people (women, especially) who don't share their low opinion of her.

Nothing provokes more outraged responses than my saying anything positive about Hillary Clinton.

(With the possible exception of saying anything negative about Bernie Sanders.)

There are abundant reasons that I like Hillary Clinton, and all of them more important than annoying the people determined to hate her. But I would be lying if I said the plethoric evidence that the mere act of my liking Hillary Clinton drives her haters utterly bananas doesn't bring me endless amounts of joy. It does.

And so they may harass me, they may insult me, they may even threaten me, but nevertheless, I persist.

I'm a nasty woman like that.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound standing at the top of the deck stairs, squinting into the bright sunshine
"Dudley, don't you want to come run around in the yard on this beautiful autumn day?"
"Nah, I'm good. Can we go back in and get a treat now?"

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in the garden beside some yellow and purple autumn blooms, looking to one side
Zelly in the garden, patiently waiting for me to start running
around so she can chase me, since Dudley won't oblige her.

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 244

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 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.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Senate GOP Wants Healthcare Vote in One Week.

The Editors of the Washington Post aren't pulling their punches on Senate Republicans' latest attempt to repeal Obamacare. Today's editorial is headlined: "Another Execrable Health-Care Bill Proves Bad Ideas Never Die." Ouch! Also: Correct. "Some Republicans want to pass this policy disaster before the end of the month, in less than two weeks. A last-minute committee hearing would be nothing more than a fig leaf disguising a reprehensibly partisan process in service of an unworthy bill." Damn.

With more on said fig leaf, Amanda Michelle Gomez at ThinkProgress: GOP Rushes to Pass Trumpcare Through Irregular Order.
Now, looking to garner support from McCain, his Republican colleagues have scheduled one hearing that would unpack the Cassidy-Graham bill — legislation that undercuts consumer protections more so than any other GOP health bill.

The hearing, which will held by the Senate Committee on Finance, is scheduled for Monday, September 25.

...It's not yet clear who will testify before senators on the potential impacts of the proposal, and it's also hard to imagine they will have all the information they need about the legislation's impact.

Next week's hearing will proceed without a comprehensive analysis from the CBO, which announced Monday that it will only be able to provide a "preliminary assessment" given the limited timeframe — a deadline that's self-imposed by the Senate because it's unlikely senators will be able to get enough support for the Cassidy-Graham to pass the bill with anything but a simple majority.
However, even though the Congressional Budget Office score won't arrive in time (by design, as usual), Greg Sargent notes that the new "Avalere study means GOP Senators now know exactly what they're voting for, even without CBO score."

At the Washington Post, he writes: "The study, which was released this morning by Avalere Health, a consulting firm, finds that many states will see sizable cuts to the federal money that would flow to their states, relative to current law. ...[B]ecause of the bill's funding formula, a lot of states will end up with substantially less federal money to spend on health-care coverage than they would have under current law. ...[T]he bill also creates a massive fiscal cliff for many states who stand to take an enormous wallop after 2026 [when the cuts get substantially worse]."

To reiterate: Republican Senators now know, irrespective of the availability (or lack thereof) of the CBO score, that the bill on which they're voting is terrible and why it's terrible. If they vote for it anyway, they're doing it with full and public knowledge of the millions of people they'd harm.

For ourselves, for our countrypeople, and to give Topher a great birthday, MAKE YOUR CALLS.

* * *

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Morgan Winsor at ABC News: Nikki Haley Defends Trump's 'Rocket Man' Speech to United Nations: He 'Was Being Honest'. "In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump threatened to 'totally destroy' North Korea if the U.S. is 'forced to defend itself or its allies,' prompting astonished gasps from the audience. Haley said the president 'was being honest' and that his bluntness was in fact 'very much appreciated.'" 1. No he wasn't; and 2. Appreciated by whom? Also: "Being honest" isn't a defense for recklessly provoking a nuclear war. FYI.

Craig Silverman at BuzzFeed: Trump Is Using Targeted Facebook Ads to Reassure Supporters He Will Build the Border Wall.
Donald Trump is using targeted Facebook ads to reassure supporters that he still plans to build the border wall after his recent public comments caused many to question whether he would keep his promise.

"There's been a lot of noise and a lot of rumors," reads the text of a Facebook ad from Trump's personal Facebook page that was targeted to specific users in recent days. "....WE WILL BUILD A WALL (NOT A FENCE) ALONG THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF THE UNITED STATES..." The ad concludes with a pitch for donations.

...The personal Facebook page of Vice President Mike Pence is also running a version of the ad. One difference between the Pence and Trump ads is the VP's refers to "Fake News media," while Trump's calls out the "mainstream media." Both ads include a dig against "liberals in congress."

A White House spokesman told BuzzFeed News the ads are being run by the Trump campaign, and referred all questions to it. The Trump campaign did not respond to emails or phone messages about the ads.

The ads are not visible on the timelines of the Trump or Pence Facebook pages. They are, therefore, so-called "dark post ads" because they can only be seen by people the campaign chose to target with the message. This is the same type of ad Facebook recently acknowledged was purchased by a Russian troll factory in order to target Americans during the election.
RED FLAG. RED FLAG. RED FLAG. I mean, this is how confident Trump is that he's above the law and will face no consequences. It's just a brazen replication of the very thing for which he's being investigated.

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: More Details Emerge About Predawn Raid on Manafort's Virginia Home. "Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his wife were asleep in their Alexandria, Virginia apartment early on the morning of July 26 when a team of armed FBI agents burst through the door with a search warrant focusing on possible crimes committed as far back as 2006. ...A source briefed on the investigation told CNN that special counsel Robert Mueller's team explicitly notified Manafort that they planned to charge him with possible tax and financial crimes." Again: These leaks are not great.

[CN: Trans hatred; child abuse] Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczynski at CNN: Trump Judicial Nominee Said Transgender Children Are Part of 'Satan's Plan'; Defended 'Conversion Therapy'. "In a pair of 2015 speeches, [Donald] Trump's nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas described transgender children as evidence of 'Satan's plan,' lamented that states were banning conversion therapy, and argued that sanctioning same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality. Jeff Mateer, the current first assistant attorney general of Texas, was serving at the time as general counsel of the First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty advocacy group known before 2016 as the Liberty Institute. ...If confirmed by the US Senate, he will serve on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas." And Trump still has 100 federal court vacancies to fill, so that's cool and everything is fine. (Heaving sobs.)

Dan Diamond and Rachana Pradhan at Politico: Price's Private-Jet Travel Breaks Precedent. "In a sharp departure from his predecessors, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel. ...The travel by corporate-style jet comes at a time when other members of the Trump administration are under fire for travel expenditures, and breaks with the practices of Obama-era Secretaries Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially while in the continental United States. Price, a frequent critic of federal spending who has been developing a plan for department-wide cost savings, declined to comment." I'll bet he did. This is an entire administration of lying grifters.

Matt Shuham at TPM: Ousted White House Aide Gorka Joins Conspiracy Theory-Happy 'MAGA Coalition'. "Former White House staffer and self-styled counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka has joined a secretive pro-Trump super PAC whose leaders have pushed conspiracy theories about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer and 'Pizzagate.' ...MAGA Coalition asserted in an late August FEC filing that it 'exists to further the political influence of 'America First' policies; engineered to put the freedom, sovereignty, and economic prosperity policies for the American voters into practice in our government.' The group's known staff is extremely small, but Gorka's hiring as its 'chief strategist' shines a bright light on its habit of promoting extreme conspiracy theories." And empowering Nazis.

For more on the MAGA Coalition, see Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast: Seb Gorka Joins Pro-Trump Group Founded by Pizzagate Truthers and a Seth Rich Conspiracy Theorist.

[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] Nick Duffy at PinkNews: Kid Rock Opens Senate Bid with Anti-LGBT Rant. I'm not going to reprint his vile bigotry in this space. Instead, I just want to share this passage from the piece: "The outspoken Republican, real name Robert Ritchie, is reportedly planning to run in the US Senate election in Michigan next November, seeking to unseat incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. Polling has shown he has massive support among the GOP base, despite his lack of experience or policy knowledge or stated political agenda." Despite, or because of. Seethe.

[CN: Racism; police brutality] Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: Attorney Advocate in St. Louis Asks When Her City Will Begin to Value Black Lives.
Organizers and activists have been in the streets since Friday, protesting the verdict [in which officer Jason Stockley was acquitted on first-degree murder charges for killing 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith] and the system that produced it. Among the crowd: Nicole D. Nelson, a staff attorney with nonprofit civil rights law firm ArchCity Defenders. And as she writes in an op-ed published in The New York Times today, there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the city's treatment of its Black residents.

...Nelson closes by urging local leadership to heed the policy recommendations of The Movement for Black Lives, including demilitarizing law enforcement, putting an end to the cash bail system, and decriminalizing poverty. "Until then," she writes, "St. Louis law enforcement officials will continue to find themselves locked in this pattern, wondering why Black citizens take to the streets demanding that the police stop killing us."
Relatedly, after Pi Pizzeria owner Chris Sommers was targeted by the union representing St. Louis County police officers, directing people to harass him because he voiced opposition to the police having gassed his restaurant and patrons, Sommers published a thorough response, which is an absolutely devastating indictment of the police's tactics during the protests: "After they threw a tear gas canister at me (again, on video), a guy next to me picked it up and threw it back at them, either to get it away from him and others at Pi, or because he felt violated and wanted to return the poison. They certainly didn't like that, and finally crossed the street, rushing at me as I ran into my restaurant and barely got the door closed before they could break in. Yes, I had to lock down my restaurant for the first time from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. I then had to close the restaurant, buy dinner for remaining guests and ensure that my team, who were now all terrified from the gas and rush by the police, had a safe ride home. I repeat, we only closed our restaurant this weekend out of fear of police, not protestors or the shitheads vandalizing." JFC.

[CN: Carcerality] Matt Krupnick at the Guardian: Bail Roulette: How the Same Minor Crime Can Cost $250 or $10,000. "The Guardian looked at California to try and get a sense of the dynamics across a large state. An inspection of bail schedules in 56 of California's 58 counties — rural Humboldt and Amador counties did not respond to repeated requests — shows huge disparities in how misdemeanor bail is handled. The analysis showed big differences even regarding minor crimes that would lead to little or no jail time upon conviction. ...Bail schedules tend to reflect community values. If you sell drugs near a church in Florida's fifth circuit, west of Orlando, you can expect to pay $5,000 bail. But bringing a gun to school? That will cost just $2,000. 'That's an indication of where we are,' said Mike Graves, the fifth circuit public defender. 'It's a conservative place.'"

[CN: War on agency] Nicole Knight at Rewire: Pennsylvania Officials Still Won't Cut off Anti-Choice Group Misusing Taxpayer Money. "For decades, the anti-choice nonprofit Real Alternatives abused a multi-million dollar Pennsylvania state grant by spending a cut of the money on a network of crisis pregnancy centers, or fake clinics, and anti-choice activities outside the state. Pennsylvania's auditor general on Tuesday said the state was to blame for shoddy oversight of Real Alternatives, announcing it was time to go after the misspent money. But Auditor General Eugene DePasquale stopped short of recommending the state end Real Alternative's $30.2 million grant." OH WELL I GUESS. *headdesk*

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

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The Swimming Thread

Last month, I posted the first swimming thread, which was one of my favorite threads since last November, lolsob.

As I said then, because of the great feedback and conversations I've had since I started talking more about swimming, I'm going to keep talking about it and opening up space for other people to talk about it, too — whether it's sharing their own feelings about swimming, grousing about lack of accessibility, asking questions about how to dive in (literally), or anything else.

So, here's another swimming thread!

In comments the last time, Shaker ethel mentioned Aquagoggles, which are prescription goggles that sell for $24 plus shipping. That is much cheaper than the contact lenses I buy, primarily (and almost exclusively) for use while swimming, so I decided to give them a try.

image of me sporting my blue Aquagoggles, a pink swim cap, and a purple swimsuit top

I like them a whole lot! They aren't precise prescription lenses, which is how they keep the price so low, but they are close enough that they work perfectly for my purposes.

My only issue with them, which isn't a function of the goggles themselves, is that I can't see my way around the showers without them on, and I have very poor vision without prescription lenses of any kind. I don't love wearing my glasses into the shower, so I'm still sorting that out, but, like I said, that's not about the goggles!

In sum: A big thumbs up to Aquagoggles, and a big thank you to ethel for the recommendation. Thanks, ethel!

As before, please use this thread for all swimming-related discussion, and I am happy to answer any and all questions around being a fat woman who swims: How I navigate the locker room, what strokes I do, how I deal with shitty looks and comments, what's the best suit cut for what body shape to cover all the bits, anything.

Have at it in comments!

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Hillary Clinton on Putin, Polar Bears, and Not Going Away

Last night, Hillary Clinton was a guest on Stephen Colbert's show, during which she said plainly "I'm not going anywhere," told an amazing story about experiencing Vladimir Putin's misogyny firsthand, and drank a glass of chardonnay. Below, the first (and much longer and substantial) block of her appearance:

STEPHEN COLBERT: Folks, I am terribly excited, because she was first a First Lady, then a Senator, then Secretary of State, and I would have bet anything the next President of the United States. Please welcome Hillary Rodham Clinton!

[audience cheers and applause as Hillary Clinton walks out; she shakes Stephen Colbert's hand as they greet each other warmly; a large part of the audience gives her a standing ovation; she takes her seat on stage to extended cheers and applause]

COLBERT: Thank you so much for being here.

CLINTON: Oh, Stephen, it's good to see you.

COLBERT: It's good to see you. It's an honor to have you here.

CLINTON: Thanks!

COLBERT: You have a new book. It's called "What Happened." And I don't know how else to start this interview, other than saying: What happened?! [audience laughter; Clinton laughs] What happened?

CLINTON: Well, that's the question I try to answer.


CLINTON: Yeah, because it was the question I asked myself starting on election night.

COLBERT: Mm-hmm.

CLINTON: And I started—

COLBERT: What time on election night? [audience laughter]

CLINTON: Ugh! Well, as I write in the book: Midnight. [shrugs] Midnight.

COLBERT: Yeah, I remember.

CLINTON: The dark time of the soul. Midnight. [audience laughter]

COLBERT: Yeah, I'm waiting for it to not be midnight soon. [audience laughter]

CLINTON: Yeah, right. And so I — I was asking it like you just said: What happened?! You know? And I figured, maybe I'd better try to find out, to figure it out. So that's why I dove into this book. It was, ah, very painful and difficult, but, at the end, I really feel like I've done my very best to lay out what happened so that it doesn't happen again. I mean, that's my primary goal here is so that it doesn't happen again. [lengthy audience cheers and applause]

COLBERT: Well, a lot of people have said, "Oh, I, boy, I wish Hillary Clinton would just go away."


COLBERT: "Just go away."

CLINTON: Well, you know, if they take up a collection and send me somewhere really nice— [audience laughter]

COLBERT: Really? [chuckles]

CLINTON: I might consider it!

COLBERT: Really? Yeah!

CLINTON: But it, you know—

COLBERT: Obama's on David Geffen's yacht a lot. You could go with him. [audience laughter]

CLINTON: [shrugs] Well, you know, I — I am not going anywhere. [massive audience applause]

COLBERT: Well, I'm glad you're not!

CLINTON: So. [extended audience cheers and applause; Clinton smiles and chuckles]

COLBERT: I agree. At first I could understand some of those calls — people saying like, "The Republicans are tearing themselves apart; don't give them, you know, someone to rally around in opposition to," because you are a convenient figure for them to unite against.


COLBERT: But I actually do not think that's how what's happening to our government is going to be stopped. I think it's people who are willing to be civically engaged and believe in the promises and the progress of the last fifty years that will save this country.

CLINTON: I agree completely—

COLBERT: So thank you so much for not going away.

CLINTON: —absolutely completely!

COLBERT: But wait a second: It must not have been easy.


COLBERT: It must not have been easy to write this book.

CLINTON: It — it wasn't easy! I mean, it was painful. It was horrible reliving it, and, you know, being as candid, open as I could be about the mistakes I made and talking about those. But also trying to come to grips, as I write in the book, about everything from, you know, sexism and misogyny, to voter suppression, to the unusual behavior of the former director of the FBI, and the Russians. And the Russians! — and you have been sounding the alarm about this — because I believe so strongly that they think they succeeded in messing with our democracy, and I just can't abide that, so—

COLBERT: Do you think they succeeded in messing with our democracy?

CLINTON: Yes I do. I do. I do. Because—

COLBERT: To what degree? Like, influencing the vote? Or influencing opinion?

CLINTON: Influencing voters, and therefore influencing opinion, I think is becoming clearer and clearer. I don't know what the Congressional investigations and I don't know what the Special Counsel investigation are going to find; I'm gonna wait for that. But I don't think anybody can with a straight face say that the Russians did not set out to influence our election, and they did so. This latest revelation about the way they bought ads on Facebook and targeted them — we're gonna find out a lot more, Stephen.

And I am saying as clearly as I can — I feel like I'm a bit of a, you know, a Paula Revere; I'm trying to sound the alarm about this [audience laughter and applause] — is that the—

You know, you've gotta understand what Putin's strategy is. He really doesn't like democracy. He thinks it's an inconvenient, messy process. And he doesn't like us, and he wants to destabilize our country; sow doubt about our democracy.

I mean, these latest revelations, where you had Russians pretending to be Americans — so you had fake Americans, with fake news, and fake stories, and fake demonstrations — that wasn't just because he's bored and has nothing to do. He wants to undermine how we see each other, how we respect each other, how we support our institutions and our society.

So, I think that they believe they had a good outing in twenty-sixteen, and I think that they will be back in twenty-eighteen and twenty-twenty, unless we stop them. [audience applause]

COLBERT: Now, you mentioned that he — that Putin doesn't like democracy and he doesn't like America; part of the speculation is that he specifically doesn't like you. Do you think this was personal on a certain level?

CLINTON: I think it was mostly about the role I played as Secretary of State, which he did morph into a grudge against me, because I would say things like, you know, "The Russian people deserve free and fair elections. They deserve to have a democracy."

COLBERT: Questioning the legitimacy of his election in two-thousand eleven.

CLINTON: The parliamentary elections, that's right. And, so, our intelligence community and others have said that he did have a personal grudge against me— You know, I don't take it personally. I think it's part of his worldview, which is all tied up with his anger, his disappointment in the collapse of the Soviet Union, and his feeling that we're his number one rival — he wants to really undermine the European-American alliance.

And so I see it as: I was doing my job — I was honored to do my job, to stand up and speak out on behalf of American values and our democracy — and, partly because I'm a woman, which does seem to get him a bit agitated— [audience cheers and applause] And he actually has said that, um, some things about that—

COLBERT: Has he — did he ever say anything to you personally that demonstrated his misogyny?

CLINTON: Well, he demonstrated— As I write in the book, you know, there's an expression, we certainly know it in New York, called manspreading. [audience laughter]

COLBERT: [chuckling] Yes.

CLINTON: And every time I met with him, it would be— [spreads her arms and flops back in her chair, taking up lots of space] Okay? [audience laughter] The whole deal! And, so, I'd go to meetings with him— One in particular, we were in his dacha outside of Moscow, and the press comes in, and he just berates America about one of the many things that annoys him about us, and then the press leaves, and I've got four or five things we're trying to deal with him and Russia on — and I always came to my meetings with him trying to find something that I could actually engage him about.

So, we went through the economy and human rights and all these other things that are critically important, and he was, you know— [mimes staring off into space] Like, as President Obama once said, like the bored guy in the back of the room. He couldn't care less.

Then I said: "You know, I am really pleased to hear that you care about wildlife conservation, and that you are trying to save species in Russia, like Siberian tigers and polar bears." Then he came alive! And then we had an interesting conversation, so—

COLBERT: [mimicking Putin] "I wrestle polar bears!" [audience laughter]

CLINTON: Yeah! "I wrestle po—" No, he said to me, so he said: "Come with me!" He takes me down the stairs, down this corridor, into the door — all of his security guys are jumping up, because we weren't expected — into this inner sanctum with this huge desk and the biggest map of Russia I think exists, and he started telling me he's "going here to tag polar bears." And then he says to me: "Would your husband like to come?" [audience gasps and laughter; Clinton grins broadly] And I said, "Well, you know, I'll ask him, but, if he's busy, I'll go!" [she grins as the audience cheers]

COLBERT: We're gonna take a little break, and when we come back, Secretary Clinton and I just might break out the chardonnay.
And so they did!

[Images embedded in tweets are of Hillary Clinton smiling and talking animatedly while holding a glass of white wine.]

Everything about that was terrific, but this was my favorite part, for reasons I'm sure I don't have to explain: "I am not going anywhere." MA'AM.

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Senate GOP Wants Healthcare Vote in One Week

Caitlin Owens at Axios reports that "Senate leadership is aiming to start voting on the Cassidy-Graham health care plan next Wednesday."

"I think so. I think that's the likely thing," Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of leadership, told me.

Leadership is still trying to figure out where each senator stands.

The vehicle Republicans are using to pass the bill with only a 50-vote threshold expires next Saturday.

..."Some don't want to take another tough vote if the whole team (or at least 50) isn't on board. Some say we can't get this close and not try by forcing the vote — make people identify where they are. I think the 'vote no matter what' school is winning out," a senior GOP aide said.
What we know is that they will definitely try to force a vote before next Saturday, because of the simple majority window. What we don't know is whether we'll actually have a full week to organize a robust opposition that sways enough Republican Senators to deny them that simple majority.

They may be saying Wednesday, but actually planning for something sooner.

What that means: MAKE YOUR CALLS NOW.

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Open Thread

image of a red couch

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker yes: "What food item do you really enjoy that others usually toss out without eating?"

The orange slices that often come on a plate as a breakfast garnish at diners.

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High Enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton!

Hey, here's a neat story that was published today at CNBC! "Hillary Clinton's Book Is No. 1 on Amazon, Outselling Tom Brady and Stephen King." For real! Here's a screenshot and everything!

screenshot of CNBC headline with accompanying photo of Hillary Clinton smiling

Gee, it's almost like that insistent and ubiquitous narrative during the campaign that there was "low enthusiasm" for Hillary Clinton was bullshit, is bullshit, and will always be bullshit.

Just like a boring old neoliberal shill of a stupid broken record told ya.


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Earthquake in Mexico

Just 11 days after Mexico was hit by a magnitude 8.2 earthquake, which killed at least 98 people, displaced an enormous number of people, and left an estimated 2.5 million people in need of assistance, another 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit today, collapsing buildings and doing widespread damage that has left large parts of Mexico City without power. Many people have been injured, and there will unfortunately probably be a number of casualties.

The quake hit five miles (eight km) southeast of Atencingo in the state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles (51 km), USGS said.

Puebla governor Tony Galil tweeted that several buildings in the city of Cholula had been damaged, including churches whose steeples collapsed.

Several buildings in Mexico City collapsed, while swathes of the capital were left without electricity.

Video posted online showed slabs of concrete peeling from the facade of the labor ministry and plunging onto the street below amid clouds of dust.

...The quake shook the capital on the anniversary of the devastating 1985 earthquake which cost thousands of lives and destroyed many buildings in the capital.

Much of Mexico City is built on former lake bed, and the soil is known to amplify the effects of earthquakes even hundreds of miles away.

Just two hours and 15 minutes before Tuesday's quake, buildings across the city held practice evacuations drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

I can't find the words to convey the sympathy I feel for the Mexican people affected by these back-to-back earthquakes and their aftershocks. Nothing feels sufficient. I am so sorry.

Please feel welcome and encouraged to use this thread to share recommended agencies doing earthquake relief and other ways to help. As always, let's keep this an image-free thread. Thanks.

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What in Patriarchal Hell Did I Just Read?

[Content Note: Toxic masculinity; misogyny; sexual assault; stalking; class warfare.]

Of all the horrideous post-election Reporter Ethnographies of the Mysterious Masculinity of the Rust Belt pieces, this might be the absolute shittiest, which is really saying something: "Why I Hitchhiked the Rust Belt in Search of the American Man" by Drew Philp at the Guardian.

There are abundant egregious failures in this piece — and I will leave it to you to tease out each and every one of them in their appalling abundance in comments, should you be so inclined — but there is no more execrable failure in the piece than its opening, in which is recounted a story of the writer and his accompanying photographer being picked up by a woman, who tells them of being "raped, beaten, left for dead" by an ex-husband who also killed their son in utero and continues to stalk her.

There is no follow-up to this story in the piece. No commentary on what that story, the story of an American woman whose life has been made a relentless misery by an American man, means for a piece in which two men are on assignment "in search of the American man."

That's because there's no room in this story for women at all. There never is.

There is never room for the women and children who are victims of the American man, and who are simultaneously victims of the class warfare and unregulated capitalism and union-busting and erosion of worker's rights and automation and wage stagnation and insufficient safety net by which many American men in the rust belt are victimized, too.

There is only room for the conjuring of our sympathies for men, by other men who escaped their fate — and deal with the trappings of their privilege by lionizing men of the lower classes with gilded patronization.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound and Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the sofa beside each other
Tandem napping.

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 243

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 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.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: The Latest on Mueller's Russia Investigation and Trump Is Cringingly Humiliating at the U.N.

As I mentioned yesterday, Republican healthcare access erosion is back, and the GOP Senate caucus is again trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And Mitch McConnell is wasting no time in trying to ram it through, sans details or Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score, to try to prevent us from having time to organize effective resistance for the third time.

Reuters reports: "U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday urged quick action on a recently introduced bill to repeal Obamacare and said it had a lot of support. The legislation by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy is 'an intriguing idea and one that has a great deal of support,' McConnell, a Republican, told the Senate. Lawmakers should act, because we know that 'our opportunity to do so may well pass us by if we don't act soon,' he said."

And the bipartisan bill to improve Obamacare is now dead.

This is a complete disaster in the making, especially with the "moderate" Republicans now looking more likely to support the new bill, despite the fact that it addresses none of their concerns. "Principles schminciples."—Every Republican ever.

Especially John McCain: "Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was one of three Republican 'no' votes in July that derailed the last GOP health care effort, said he might 'reluctantly' vote for the bill if his governor supported it. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, backed the legislation later that day."

You know what I'm going to say: MAKE YOUR CALLS.

But don't just listen to me. Listen to former vice-presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine.

If you need help resisting, head on over to the Trumpcare Toolkit.


* * *

This is just a real thing in the world:

As you may recall, this is the same shit Mike Pence tried to pull when he was governor of Indiana, and then claimed he didn't know anything about it when he got busted. (See section five here.)

Anyone who imagines that the Republican Party wants to distance itself from Trump is fooling themselves or is a rank liar. The Republican Party couldn't be more thrilled that Trump is ushering in authoritarianism and legitimizing propaganda. They can't fall in line fast enough.

* * *

Rosalind S. Helderman and Karoun Demirjian at the Washington Post: Senate Intelligence Committee Interview with Trump Lawyer Abruptly Canceled.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has unexpectedly canceled a Tuesday session to interview Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for [Donald] Trump's business and a close associate of the president.

The meeting was scheduled as part of the committee's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Cohen arrived for the interview with his attorney Tuesday morning, but left the closed door session after about an hour, informing reporters waiting outside that committee staff had suddenly informed him they did not wish the interview to go forward.

...Cohen had planned to tell the committee that he has "never engaged with, been paid by, paid for, or conversed with any member of the Russian Federation or anyone else to hack or interfere with the election."
Sounds legit. Anyway, the reason that the committee declined to speak with Cohen today is because he violated an agreement not to speak to media ahead of his testimony by releasing a statement to the press this morning.

In a joint statement, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R) and Vice-Chair Mark Warner (D) explained: "We were disappointed that Mr. Cohen decided to pre-empt today's interview by releasing a public statement prior to his engagement with Committee staff, in spite of the Committee's requests that he refrain from public comment. As a result, we declined to move forward with today's interview and will reschedule Mr. Cohen's appearance before the Committee in open session at a date in the near future. The Committee expects witnesses in this investigation to work in good faith with the Senate."


* * *

Dan Alexander at Forbes: Eric Trump's Old Foundation Apparently Held Secret Event at Trump-Owned Golf Club. "The charity formerly known as the Eric Trump Foundation apparently held a secret event at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York on Monday, even though the Eric Trump Foundation remains under investigation by the office of the New York state attorney general. The charity, which was renamed Curetivity, is legally allowed to raise money as the investigation continues. But its choice of venue seemed to be an act of defiance. Eric Trump had previously falsely stated that his charity got to use his family's assets '100% free of charge,' but a June story in Forbes magazine debunked that claim and sparked a state investigation into the organization. It is not clear who will cover the costs for Monday's event." This whole fucking family. What a bunch of disgusting grifters.

Matt Shuham at TPM: Trump Officials Quashed Study Showing Refugees' Net Benefit to US. "Trump administration officials nixed a study that found refugees had brought in more government revenue overall than they had cost in benefits, the New York Times reported Monday. The White House was ultimately given a report that spelled out only the costs associated with refugees. It's unclear exactly who nixed the information from the study showing refugees' positive net fiscal impact on the country. The Times' report comes as the Trump administration determines how many refugees to accept in the coming year, ahead of an Oct. 1 deadline. Two people familiar with talks over the refugee cap told the Times that White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller had intervened to ensure that only costs associated with refugees, and not government revenues generated by them, were taken into consideration." That fucking guy.

And finally, a story of resistance that demands our solidarity: Sameer Rao at Colorlines: 6 California DREAMers Sue Trump to Block DACA Repeal.
A group of six California residents filed a federal lawsuit [Monday] (September 18) that challenges the Trump administration's plan to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Reuters reports that six adult plaintiffs, all of whom came to the United States as children of undocumented parents, filed a suit to stop DACA's repeal in U.S. District Court for the Northern Division of California just after midnight today. The complaint describes Trump's decision to end DACA as "a broken promise and an unprecedented violation of the constitutional rights of plaintiffs and other young people who relied on the federal government" to maintain the program.

That promise was made in 2012, when the Obama administration introduced the program. The complaint argues that it struck a bargain that allowed undocumented immigrant children to trust the government while building lives in the U.S.

...[Dulce Garcia, a San Diego-based lawyer who came to the U.S. at age four] and her fellow plaintiffs' lawsuit specifically accuses the government of being "motivated by unconstitutional bias against Mexicans and Latinos" to justify violating the Fifth Amendment, which protects people from self-incrimination (including, per the complaint, telling the federal government about your undocumented status in good faith) and the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how federal agencies can propose and rescind policies.

These allegations feature in other lawsuits filed in the wake of the DACA repeal announcement. As The Hill reported, attorney generals from 15 states and the District of Colombia co-filed one such lawsuit on September 6. The Times reported four days later that California, Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota attorneys general submitted their own lawsuit, filed in the same federal court as a suit filed by the University of California.
What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Trump Is Cringingly Humiliating at the U.N.

This morning, Donald Trump gave an address before the United Nations, in which he behaved precisely as you'd anticipate: Rambling, belligerent, and a comprehensive embarrassment to all sensible and decent people of the United States.

The Guardian published a live-blog of the 41-minute address, during which Trump said the United States may "have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea" and referred to North Korean leader Kim Jung-un as "Rocket Man."

—forced to defend itself or its allies. We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.

On Twitter, Hend Amry wryly observed: "Good thing we didn't end up with Hillary the Hawk."

Yeah. We really dodged a bullet nuke there.


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The Latest on Mueller's Russia Investigation

There were two big stories published last night on Special Counsel Bob Mueller's investigation into possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, both centered around former Trump-Pence campaign chair and longtime Donald Trump associate Paul Manafort.

1. Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, and Pamela Brown at CNN: [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] U.S. Government Wiretapped Former Trump Campaign Chair.

US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe.

...Special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which is leading the investigation into Russia's involvement in the election, has been provided details of these communications.

A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party, the sources told CNN.

The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources.

The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.

Sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI's efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
There is much more at the link. It's likely that Trump was caught on some of these recordings, though there is not even a hint here that he was captured on tape discussing foreign collusion with Manafort. (There's not even a hint that Manafort himself was captured discussing collusion.) At this point, we have no idea at all what was discovered via the wiretaps, if anything.

Also: This is a very bad leak. As Susan Hennessey, Shannon Togawa Mercer, and Benjamin Wittes note at Lawfare, the sourcing for this piece is vague, even in an era of anonymous sources, and the disclosure of a FISA wiretap is more serious than a run-of-the-mill leak:
The story discloses FISA wiretaps against a named U.S. person. Whatever Paul Manafort may have done, he is a citizen of this country, and this is an egregious civil liberties violation. It's also a significant compromise of national security information. Simply put, FISA information should never leak. When it does, it erodes the systems through which the government protects national security—and it rightly erodes public confidence that the systems designed to protect civil liberties work as intended.

Political leaking of wiretapping information is the stuff of the Hoover era. It has no legitimate place in our politics.
I absolutely agree. As you may recall, I have been deeply concerned about the potential erosion of checks and balances in pursuit of accountability for disolyal Trump and his undemocratic cronies, and this is a perfect example of what I fear: Throwing away the rights and privacy of a central figure of this investigation in order to — what, exactly? Make sure things like our rights and privacy aren't thrown away by this administration?

It's likely that the leak came from a member of Congress, given the limited number of people who have access to information about FISA warrants. Either it was a Democrat who wanted to reassure their base that things are happening, or a Republican who wanted to inform their base about what they perceive as government overreach. Either way, leaking this information is bad, and CNN's decision to publish it because SCOOPS! is bad.

Mueller should and must be allowed to complete his investigation without leaks that fundamentally undermine the very democratic norms we're ostensibly tasking him with protecting.

2. Sharon LaFraniere, Matt Apuzzo, and Adam Goldman at the New York Times: With a Picked Lock and a Threatened Indictment, Mueller's Inquiry Sets a Tone.
Paul J. Manafort was in bed early one morning in July when federal agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door and raided his Virginia home. They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort, [Donald] Trump's former campaign chairman, set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, then followed the house search with a warning: His prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him, said two people close to the investigation.

The moves against Mr. Manafort are just a glimpse of the aggressive tactics used by Mr. Mueller and his team of prosecutors in the four months since taking over the Justice Department's investigation into Russia's attempts to disrupt last year's election, according to lawyers, witnesses and American officials who have described the approach. Dispensing with the plodding pace typical of many white-collar investigations, Mr. Mueller's team has used what some describe as shock-and-awe tactics to intimidate witnesses and potential targets of the inquiry.

..."They are setting a tone. It's important early on to strike terror in the hearts of people in Washington, or else you will be rolled," said Solomon L. Wisenberg, who was deputy independent counsel in the investigation that led to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. "You want people saying to themselves, 'Man, I had better tell these guys the truth.'"
All of the blah-blah about Mueller's "shock-and-awe tactics" is so much fluff. The only real information of any consequence here (if true, per anonymous sources) is that Mueller has informed Manafort that he will be indicted, possibly as no more than a scare tactic.

Hennessey, Togawa Mercer, and Wittes at Lawfare again:
The significance of this is that it means that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has reached a critical stage—the point at which he may soon start making allegations in public. Those allegations may involve conduct unrelated to L'Affaire Russe—that is, alleged bad behavior by Manafort and maybe others that does not involve the Trump campaign—but which may nonetheless serve to pressure Manafort to cooperate on matters more central. Or they may involve conduct that involves his behavior with respect to the campaign itself. Note that if Manafort cooperates, we may not see anything public for a long time to come. Delay, that is, may be a sign of success. But in the absence of cooperation, the fireworks may be about to begin.
I wouldn't hold my breath for fireworks, in any case. As I've said before, this is evidence that Mueller's investigation is proceeding. Which is a good thing. But unless and until something else happens, that's all it is. Continue to maintain measured expectations.

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Hurricane Maria

Following dreadfully closely on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose, Hurricane Maria has now spun into a Category 5 after making landfall on Dominica last night. The storm is currently headed for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with [Content Note: video may autoplay at link] "potentially catastrophic" consequences.

Hurricane Maria, once again a Category 5 hurricane, has its sights set on a potentially catastrophic strike on the already storm-weary Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, following a first-on-record Category 5 landfall for the island of Dominica Monday night.

The National Weather Service office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, warned of "catastrophic damage" from Maria's winds, as well as the potential for "devastating to catastrophic flooding" from rainfall flooding in a hurricane local statement issued Tuesday morning.

...Maria will bring a potentially catastrophic combination of storm-surge flooding, destructive winds and flooding rain to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as a Category 4 or 5 hurricane Wednesday.

"Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months," according to the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
And while various Republicans, notably EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, may insist that this isn't the time to talk about climate change, I don't know what better time there could be than when millions of people are being profoundly affected by climate change.

(For much more on that subject, [CN: audio may autoplay at link] check out Episode 58 of the Hellbent podcast, in which Devon Handy and I discuss at length the politics of climate change and when is the "right time" to talk about it. Spoiler Alert: NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME.)

The jury is not still out on climate change: "Prior to Irma, only four other Category 4 hurricanes had tracked within 75 miles of central Puerto Rico in historical records dating to the late 19th century. Hurricane Hugo in 1989 was the last to do so, before Irma's Category 5 swipe just two weeks ago." And now Puerto Rico will have been battered by two Category 5 hurricanes in as many weeks.

I am scared and deeply sad for the people who have and will be affected by this series of intense hurricanes. I am also angry that we lack compassionate and smart leadership on climate change in the United States.

Please use this thread for info-sharing, updates, checking in, and sharing resources and recommendations on how we can support those affected by the hurricanes and attendant flooding, rebuilding, mold remediation, and other after-effects. As always, let's keep the thread image-free. Thanks.

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