The Virtual Pub Is Open

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[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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Open Thread + Update

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

Well, I'm still feeling like absolute garbage, and, unfortunately, the earliest doctor's appointment I could get, just with my GP, is the middle of next week. I was going to have to take tomorrow off, for something unrelated, so I'm just going to take the rest of this week off, try to get plenty of rest and liquids, and hopefully I will feel a bit better by Monday.

I'm sorry for the interruption in regularly scheduled content. Trust that I would rather feel fine and be working!

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Open Thread + Update


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

With my apologies, I will be taking today off, too. As you can imagine, it takes a lot to slow me down during such a pivotal political moment.

On Friday night, I ended up in the ER with what they think are cluster headaches. I was given a "migraine cocktail" of meds to see if that would help. It didn't — and I had a bad reaction to one or more of the drugs in the cocktail. So I've been in bed for most of the last three days, and I will probably spent most of today in bed, too.

The headaches persist (I've got to follow up with a neurologist for those), but I'm definitely starting to feel better regarding the drug reaction. I will be back as soon as I'm able.

In the meantime, fuck everyone who abetted Donald Trump in any way. And keep your eyes on Mike Pence. I have a feeling the snake is about to strike.

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Trump-Putin Summit Thread

Today is the day Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are meeting in Helsinki. Here is a thread for discussion.

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Open Thread + Programming Note

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

I'm feeling very under the weather, so I am taking the day off, and hopefully I'll be back tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

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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 spinach.

Recommended Reading:

Nyasha Junior at Dame: [Content Note: Misogynoir; dehumanization] Stop Calling Black Women "Superheroes"

Ragen Chastain at Ravishly: [CN: Fat hatred; bullying; emotional abuse; disordered eating] How Fat Shaming Leads to Eating Disorders

Sameer Rao at Colorlines: Essence and Queen Latifah Unveil $20 Million Fund for Artists of Color

Keith Chow at The Nerds of Color: [CN: Harassment; reference to self-harm; moving GIF at link] Rally for Rose Tico at San Diego Comic-Con

Jessica at Go Fug Yourself: The Mary, Queen of Scots Trailer Is Here

George Dvorsky at Gizmodo: [CN: Moving GIF at link] Newly Discovered 'Asteroid' Is Far Freakier Than Astronomers Expected

Rugile at Bored Panda: People Share Amazing Examples of How Smart Crows Are

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

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Cassandra's Lament


There are people who accuse me, Sarah Kendzior, Leah McElrath, Andrea Chalupa, and others of "gloating" about being right when we point it out. Let me tell you something about myself and those women, who are my friends: We are fucking haunted by being right and not being heard or heeded.

We don't gloat that we were right. We grieve it.

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Bernie Sanders, What Are You Even Doing Now?


Closed primaries are a safeguard against ratfucking.

Requiring primary voters to be registered with a party to participate in the primary does not guarantee that no one will register just to try to sway a primary in a troubling direction, but it is a major deterrent which prevents that from happening en masse.

Anyone advocating for open primaries and caucuses while a foreign adversary is meddling in our elections, and the sitting president and his governing party are doing nothing to stop it, does not give a single fuck about the state of our democracy. He only cares about what benefits him personally.

Not exactly news about Bernie Sanders. Just more proof.

[Previously: In the News; Oh, Team Bernie; Kentucky and Oregon Primary Wrap-Up; and Great Point.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat and Olivia the White Farm Cat each sitting in an orange arm chair
"Thanks for the new chairs, Two-Legs!"

Iain and I have been working on a room that has just been sitting there unused since we moved in almost three years ago, and it's a really beautiful living space that we've wanted to use, but for various reasons are only getting to it now. Anyway! Pictured are two chairs we purchased for sitting at a folding table for morning coffee or board games or whathaveyou, and naturally the cats are helpfully covering them in cat hair before we've even had a chance to use them, lol.

Thank Maude for Dyson vacuums!

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 540

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 Blasts Theresa May on His Wrecking Ball Tour Through Europe and Rosenstein Announces New Indictments.

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

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Trump Bashes CNN, NBC at Press Conference with Theresa May. "When NBC's Kristen Welker asked Trump about his comments bashing his NATO allies, including May, Trump accused Welker of misrepresenting what he said. 'That's such dishonesty reporting because — of course that happens to be NBC which is possibly worse than CNN, possibly,' he declared before answering the question. Later, CNN's Jim Acosta attempted to ask trump a question, and Trump refused to take a question from the network and instead called on Fox News' John Roberts. 'No, no. John Roberts. Go ahead. CNN's fake news,' Trump said. 'I don't take questions from CNN — CNN is fake news. I don't take questions from CNN. John Roberts of Fox. Let's go to a real network. John, let's go.'"

Donald Trump has been waging a war on the press since virtually the moment he announced his candidacy in July 2015, and yet still the press behave like absolute cowards when he does stuff like this.

The way Trump talked to Welker and Acosta was shameful. The rest of the reporters should have got up and walked out en masse in protest of an authoritarian waging war on one of their colleagues. Instead, they were silent — and he went on to bully another reporter into removing his hat.

So afraid to lose their access that they'll let us all lose a free press instead.

* * *

Carol E. Lee, Courtney Kube, and Geoff Bennett at NBC News: Pentagon Goes into 'Damage Control' Mode to Reassure NATO Allies. "Hours after [Donald] Trump departed NATO headquarters Thursday, U.S. military leaders embarked on a full-scale 'damage control' operation with calls to their counterparts across Europe to reassure them that America will abide by its defense commitments in the region. ...The overall message from senior military officials in a series of phone calls to members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been that U.S. military bases in their countries will remain open and American troop levels in the region will not be reduced." JFC.


[Content Note: War on agency; chipping away at Roe] Jessica Glenza at the Guardian: How Anti-Abortion Activists Use Cutting Edge Science to Justify Ever Stricter Laws. "Dr Edward Bell treats the tiniest babies at University of Iowa children's hospital, pre-term infants who weigh one pound or less, and whose chances of survival are minute. One of his pet projects is tracking the smallest in the world, which sometimes attracts attention from abortion opponents. ...Joni Ernst, the fiercely anti-abortion Republican U.S. senator from Iowa, sent her staffers to interview Bell. Of interest was an article published in the , which reignited debate about whether infants as young as 22 weeks old may survive if aggressively treated. 'Of course their interest was in how it might apply to this political issue,' said Bell, referring to abortion rights. 'Although they didn't actually come out and say that,' he said, he believes their interest was clear: 'What does this mean for restricting women's access to abortion?'"

Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey, and Ashley Parker at the Washington Post: Jared Kushner Lacks Security Clearance Level to Review Some of the Nation's Most Sensitive Intelligence in White House Role. "For the first year of the Trump administration, Kushner had nearly blanket access to highly classified intelligence, even as he held an interim security clearance and awaited the completion of his background investigation. But when White House security officials granted him a permanent clearance in late May, he was granted only 'top secret' status — a level that does not allow him to see some of the country's most closely guarded intelligence, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss security issues."


Exactly so. Further to that: Kushner shouldn't have any clearance at all. He repeatedly lied on his financial disclosure forms, obliging multiple revisions, which is a federal crime. He shouldn't even have a job in federal government, no less a security clearance.

Speaking of people who collude with Russia...


Here's one of many terrific passages from the above article: "In May 2018, the Stein campaign also paid $9,325 in attorney fees to Miller & Chevalier. In August 2017, Politico described it as 'a boutique firm in Washington' that had taken on the case of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman. Manafort, accused of by special counsel Robert Mueller of money laundering, is currently in jail." Yeah. Stein is using he same attorneys as Manafort. Cool.

Still on the subject of Russian collaborators...


* * *

Ari Ezra Waldman at Towleroad: SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh's Other Radical Views. "Judge Brett Kavanaugh is not only a threat to a woman’s right to choose and to LGBTQ equality. He is a danger to the government's ability to regulate pretty much anything. ...Judge Kavanaugh has also staked out a radically conservative approach to gun rights. ...As a judge on the DC Circuit, Kavanaugh has written or dissented in many cases involving the environment. In almost all of them, he has sought to rein in the power of the Obama-era EPA. Kavanaugh also has a broad view of executive power. ...In labor and employment law cases, Kavanaugh favors big business. ...Kavanaugh is at the extreme right of the legal community, and he is about to cement an extreme right majority on the Supreme Court." I highly recommend heading over the read this entire piece. I know this sentiment has become trite in the Trump Era, but it may be even worse than you'd imagined.


* * *

[CN: Nativism; abuse] Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post: The Trump Administration Kidnapped Children; Someone Should Go to Jail.
The Trump administration's kidnapping — that's the proper word — of the children of would-be migrants should be seen as an ongoing criminal conspiracy. Somebody ought to go to jail.

Under a federal court order, all 103 children under the age of 5 who were taken from their families at the border were supposed to be returned by Tuesday. The government missed that deadline, and I wish U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, who issued the order, had held somebody in contempt. One candidate would be Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who on Tuesday had the gall to describe the administration's treatment of immigrant children as "one of the great acts of American generosity and charity."

...Given that the intention from the beginning was clearly to frighten and intimidate would-be migrants from Central America, why should anyone believe that the administration is acting or speaking in good faith now? Why should we accept at face value that exactly 103 children under 5 were seized? How can we be sure there is only one case in which officials can't find or identify the parents? Given that it has taken weeks to return just 57 children, what is the likelihood the government kept adequate records?

This is an administration, after all, that conducts immigration court proceedings, or travesties, in which children too young to know their ABCs are expected to represent themselves without the benefit of legal counsel. Imagine your 3-year-old child or grandchild in that situation. Now tell me how adopting child abuse as a policy is supposed to Make America Great Again.

...I don't think they know how many kids they ripped away from their families, and I believe it is inevitable some children will never again see their parents. The fact that my government would commit such a crime weighs on my conscience as an American. [Donald] Trump and his accomplices, from all appearances, couldn't be prouder.
Tell me how adopting child abuse as a policy is supposed to Make America Great Again. Indeed.

[CN: Nativism; abuse] Bob Ortega at CNN: Migrants Describe Hunger and Solitary Confinement at For-Profit Detention Center. "The Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, which US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said held 1,495 detainees as of June 30, sits within a toxic sludge field and EPA Superfund site where residential construction has been barred. It has been the target of more than a dozen hunger strikes in recent years, each involving from a dozen to hundreds of detainees, over complaints of inadequate food and medical care, among other issues. Its operator, Florida-based The GEO Group, is fighting two lawsuits in Washington over alleged labor-law violations for a dollar-a-day migrant detainee work program it calls voluntary. And the center has in recent years faced one of the highest number of complaints about alleged physical and sexual assaults against detainees of any facility of its kind in the nation, according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement data obtained through public records requests by the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants."

[CN: Nativism; abuse; self-harm] Elham Khatami at ThinkProgress: Mexican National Commits Suicide While in ICE Custody in Georgia. "Forty-year-old Efrain De La Rosa, a Mexican national who was held in an ICE detention facility in Georgia, committed suicide and was pronounced dead late Tuesday evening, making him the eighth person in ICE custody to die in the 2018 fiscal year. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency confirmed De La Rosa's death in a press release Thursday afternoon. His death is the third at the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, Georgia in only 15 months, according to nonprofit advocacy organization Project South." My condolences to his family and friends. I am so sorry.

[CN: Nativism; anti-Blackness] Shamira Ibrahim at NYMag: Patricia Okoumou and the Threat to Black Immigrants. "The effects have been particularly acute for Black immigrants, who are one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States. Since 28 percent of Sub-Saharan African immigrants have entered the nation as refugees or asylees between 2000 and 2013 — statuses that can only be applied for upon entry to the U.S. — the family-separation policy poses significant risk to Black immigrant populations. ...Adding to the problems faced by black refugees and asylees is the pending expiration of the eligibility to live and work in the United States via Temporary Protected Status for many countries. ...Black immigrants face the dual threat of bias in the criminal-justice system and cruelty in the immigration and deportation system. ...As a result, more than 20 percent of all noncitizens who face deportation on criminal grounds are black, and black people are ultimately deported at a higher rate."

[CN: Anti-Blackness; white supremacy; class warfare]


[CN: Anti-Blackness; police misconduct] Sophie Weiner at Splinter: Florida Police Department Allegedly Told Officers to Frame Black People. "Biscayne Park, a suburb north of Miami, is at the center of a scandal over police corruption that has led to the indictment in federal court of former police chief Raimundo Atesiano and two officers, according to an exhaustive report from the Miami Herald. They are charged with falsely accusing a teenager of four burglaries in order to improve the town's crime stats. An investigation into the police department from 2014 included many more disturbing details of the department's practices. The Herald writes: 'Records obtained by the Miami Herald suggest that during the tenure of former chief Raimundo Atesiano, the command staff pressured some officers into targeting random black people to clear cases. 'If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries,' one cop, Anthony De La Torre, said in an internal probe ordered in 2014.'"

[CN: Racism; gaslighting] Staff at the Grio: Angela Rye Bursts into Tears While Talking About Racism on CNN. "'At this point I'm emotional. We're constantly gas lit. I'm told everyday that I'm on air that I'm racist because I call out racism. That is maddening to me. ...We're supposed to be talking about a 12-year-old boy who was just trying to deliver newspapers and the police are called on him in Ohio where Tamir Rice was killed and the same age. I want to be acknowledged and seen that this is not okay for our children. This is not okay for the future direction of this country,' Rye said."

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

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Rosenstein Announces New Indictments

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just began a press conference in which he is announcing indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers related to cyber-operations, including hacking and dissemination of information gathered via cyberattacks, against the DNC and state election infrastructure, with the intent to influence the 2016 election.

I will update with additional information shortly.

UPDATE: Some thoughts.

1. Here is the actual indictment.

2. Rosenstein made clear that there was no allegation in the indictment that Americans conspired with the Russian intelligence officers, nor that any vote totals were affected as a result of the cyberattacks.

Note the careful language there: Many folks' takeaway will be that no Americans did conspire, and that no vote totals were affected, but that is not what Rosenstein said. He said only that the indictment alleges neither of those things.

I'm angry that Rosenstein went to such great lengths to imply that there was no vote tampering, while not actually saying that (because he can't). That's certainly the impression with which most people will be left, though, despite the fact that, in some states, like Georgia, the election data has been destroyed, so we'll never know if the vote totals were altered by hacking.

3. Rosenstein was also very determined to avoid saying to which candidate's benefit the Russian agents interfered.

4. AND YET:


That person is almost certainly Roger Stone, who has yet to be indicted.

5. The timing of this presser, seemingly designed to maximize the general public's ignorance or indifference to its contents, combined with Rosenstein's mendacious spin and commentary explicitly reassuring to Trump and his allies, is deeply troubling to me.


All of this convinces me even further that the objective of Bob Mueller's investigation is no longer (if it ever was) to deliver meaningful accountability to a treasonous president and his accomplices, but instead to create the illusion that our institutions still work, long enough to give Republicans time to consolidate power behind this presidency, ensuring that the findings will never matter, anyway.

I hope I am wrong and fear that I'm not.

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Happy National French Fry Day!

image of french fries
[Image care of Pixabay.]

Today is National French Fry Day! And because I love french fries and am desperate to write about anything besides Donald Trump and the fall of the American Democracy, here is a thread about french fries! Huzzah!

I love french fries in just about any form, except for haystack and shoestring french fries, which aren't even french fries, as far as I'm concerned. Get out of here with those too-thin potato sticks!

Skins on, skins off, thin cut, thick cut, steak fries, British chips — I like 'em all. And I have definite preferences about the condiment with which I like to eat different types of fries.

If you set thin cut, skin off fries in front of me, I'll take just ketchup, preferably cold.

If you set thick cut, skin off fries in front of me, I'll take a mix of ketchup and sriracha mayo — or a mix of ketchup and mustard. Something in the mix to add a bit of a kick.

If you set crinkle fries in Old Bay in front of me, I'll take melty cheese.

If you set skin off steak fries in front of me, I'll take tzatziki sauce — thanks to the suggestion of a waitress at a local Mediterranean place, who turned me on to that combo and I have never looked back.

If you set British chips in front of me me, I'll take curry sauce, please!

Speaking of chips with curry sauce, one time Deeks and I went to what was supposed to be a British pub in Baltimore, but was really just a sports pub that was lazily British-themed. I asked if they had chips with curry sauce, and the server said she'd see what she could do. A few minutes later, she returned to the table with a plate of grocery-store tortilla chips accompanied by a small cup of cold water into which had been dumped a bunch of curry powder. That was like four years ago, and we still haven't stopped laughing.

Anyway!

All of the above particular combinations are my favorites, but I eat any kind of fries any kind of way, basically.

I just won't eat them dipped in mayo. If that's your jam, you do you! But plain mayo isn't getting anywhere near my fries, thankyouverymuch.

Geez. Now I want some french fries.

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Trump Blasts Theresa May on His Wrecking Ball Tour Through Europe

Ahead of his official visits in Britain, Donald Trump gave an interview to the Sun in which he blasted Prime Minister Theresa May, saying she blew it by not taking his advice to mount a soft Brexit strategy, and threatening her that maintaining close ties to the Eurpean Union would ruin Britain's chances of a trade deal with the United States.

"If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal," Trump told the Sun. "We are cracking down right now on the European Union because they have not treated the United States fairly on trading."

His criticism of May was shockingly insulting, garnering headlines like this one at the Guardian: "With Criticism of May's Brexit, Trump Detonates a Diplomatic Grenade."

He then incredibly asserted that the relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. is "very, very strong."

"We arrived here last night and we had a dinner where I think we probably never developed a better relationship," Trump told reporters in brief remarks. "The relationship is very, very strong. We really have a very good relationship."

Minutes ago, during a joint presser with May, Trump went on about what an incredible woman she is, and how he's gotten to know her well over the last two days, because they ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together.

The entire presser has been an utter disgrace. Like his visit to Britain so far, like his performance at the NATO summit, and, presumably, as his behavior with Putin will be in a few days.

He is an enormous embarrassment, and would that humiliating the country were the worst of it. But he is also incredibly dangerous. Intentionally so.

It's difficult to watch, but it would be irresponsible to look away.

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker aforalpha: "What is the neatest thing you've learned in the past month?"

How to make bauernbrot, also known as German Farmers Bread. I haven't actually made it yet, lol, but I learned how! And I am very excited to try to make it, even though I am fairly certain that my first attempt will be a disaster. Practice will, hopefully, make perfect!

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An Observation

Watching, as much as I've been able, FBI Agent Peter Strzok testify before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees today has been something.

It's such a weird state of affairs that, on the one hand, I'm like, enough with the precious defense of institutions who fucked up so badly that Trump is now president, but, on the other hand, I'm like TELL THEM STRZOK! He is straddling a line — and my feelings are straddling it right along with him.

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Emmy Nominations Thread

If you watch TV and care about awards shows, then today is your lucky day, because the Emmy Nominations have been announced wheeeeeeeeeee!

The Guardian has a complete list, and please feel welcome to discuss ALL OF THE SHOWS AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE in comments — which shows you like, which shows you don't like, whom you're happy to see nominated, who should have been nominated but wasn't, your feelings about the diversity of the nominees, and everything else!

I haven't really had time to delve deeply into the nominations yet, but here are a few quick impressions:

OMGGGGGGG SANDRA OH GIVE HER EVERYTHING, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. Oh is nominated for Killing Eve, and she is the first Asian woman ever nominated for lead actress in a dramatic series, so CONGRATULATIONS SANDRA OH YOU DESERVE IT I LOVE YOU.

I am so happy that Sterling Brown was nominated for This Is Us and also for his guest spot on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

I am so sad that literally not a single regular cast member from Brooklyn Nine-Nine was nominated. Boo!

I am happy that Ted Danson was nominated for The Good Place, but I am also sad and not just a little miffed that he was the only regular cast member nominated (Maya Rudolph was also nominated for her guest spot — yay!), especially since he is the only white dude. Where are the nominations for Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil, D'Arcy Carden, William Jackson Harper, and Manny Jacinto?! THEY ARE ALL TERRIFIC, TOO! AHHHHHH!

Yay, Tracee Ellis Ross was nominated! But against Lily Tomlin! And Rachel Brosnahan! And Issa Rae! LOOK AT THAT CATEGORY! Good grief.

There are just a lot of people I like as human beings (as far as anyone can tell from a distance) on this year's list of nominees! John Legend! Viola Davis! Laura Dern! Jesse Plemons! Regina King! Peter Dinklage! Edie Falco! Aidy Bryant! Kate McKinnon! Leslie Jones! Merritt Wever! SARAH PAULSONNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!

I don't envy the judges. Just give everyone a prize.

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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.

* * *

I have a wonderful (and oft-mentioned) friend named Miller, whom I have known now for more than two decades, and I can text her emojis that symbolize lines from an Eddie Izzard routine that's nearly as old as our friendship, and she knows exactly what they mean and can emoji-text me back different lines, until the space in my heart carved out just for her is filled with the particular warmth only she can provide.

And goddamn am I grateful for that these days. As have I always been.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat standing on my lap, looking sassy
"What?"

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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