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 coffee.

Recommended Reading:

Shani Saxon at Colorlines: [Content Note: Nativism] Pentagon to Build Tent Cities Near Border for 7,500 Migrants

Admin at Transgender Law Center: [CN: Nativism; transphobia; death] Advocates Brief Congress on Trans Migrant Experience, Rally for #JusticeforRoxsana

Andy Towle at Towleroad: First Gay Couple Marries in Taiwan as Marriage Equality Comes to Asia

Nathaniel Penn at GQ: The Curious Cons of the Man Who Wouldn't Die

Wendy S. Walters at the Iowa Review: The Black Law Students' Association Party (or, Why Can't I Write Joy?)

Laura Staugaitis at Colossal: Rainbow Village: An Entire Community in Taiwan Hand-Painted by a Single Man

Julia Alexander at the Verge: Taika Waititi's Live-Action Akira Movie Gets May 2021 Release Date

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

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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 the Bissell SpotBot® Pet Portable Carpet Cleaner.

image of the SpotBot cleaner
[Image via]

Deeks gave this to us as a housewarming gift when we moved into this house four years ago — a house with cream carpets, into which we were moving with five pets and as two mega-klutzes.

Suffice it to say that it has been a life carpet-saver on many occasions!

This morning, I came downstairs to discover that a purple iris I had in a vase had "bled" tiny little drops of purple out of a bud onto the carpet. It was very dark and very inky. Even touching it stained my fingers. I was horrified!

image of dark purple spots on cream carpet

But I set the spot cleaner on it, and, although the spot is still drying, it appears as though it removed the stain (with a little extra help from some diluted bleach). Phew!

image of area of carpet, showing discoloration from wetness but no more purple!

Seriously, the things this little machine has successfully cleaned! We couldn't live without it.

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

(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!)

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in front of me with her back to me and Dudley the Greyhound standing next to me with his back to me, looking out at the backyard
Loyal hounds, keeping an eye on things. ♥

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 855

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.

* * *

Late yesterday and earlier today by me: Stop Telling People to Move and Start Supporting Them Where They Live and Trump Empowers Barr to Declassify Intelligence as He Audits Russia Probe and Primarily Speaking.

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

[Content Note: War on agency; anti-choicery. Covers whole section.]

Ariana Eunjung Cha and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux at the Washington Post: American Civil Liberties Union Sues Alabama over Near-Total Abortion Ban.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday filed suit on behalf of abortion clinics against the state of Alabama to block the most restrictive abortion law in the nation.

The near-total ban, signed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on May 15, would criminalize abortion in almost all circumstances — including cases of rape and incest — and punish doctors with up to 99 years in prison. Without any challenges, the law was set to go into effect in as soon as six months.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, sets off a chain of events that both sides say is likely to lead to a years-long court battle. State lawmakers have said they passed the law specifically to bring the case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which they see as having the most antiabortion bench in decades. The bill was designed to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by arguing that a fetus is a person and is therefore due full rights.

In the filing, Yashica Robinson, a doctor at the Alabama Women's Center — one of four abortion providers in the state — argues that the law "directly conflicts with Roe and more than four decades of Supreme Court precedent affirming its central holding."

Such a ban would inflict immediate and irreparable harm on patients "by violating their constitutional rights, threatening their health and well-being, and forcing them to continue their pregnancies to term against their will," Robinson argued.

The other plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Planned Parenthood Southeast, Reproductive Health Services, and West Alabama Women's Center on behalf of themselves, their patients, and physicians.
Scott Horsley at NPR: Abortion Limits Carry Economic Cost for Women. "Thousands of women who've had abortions have taken to social media to share their experience. Many argue they would have been worse off economically, had they been forced to deliver a baby. 'I didn't know what I would do with a baby,' said Jeanne Myers, who was unmarried and unemployed when she got pregnant 36 years ago. ...Myers is among the thousands of women who've been sharing their stories under the hashtag YouKnowMe in recent days, in an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding abortion and preserve the right for other women. They cite a wide variety of reasons for getting an abortion but a common theme is the economic hardship that having a baby would have posed for both mother and child."

As I noted (again) on Wednesday, a 2005 Guttmacher study [pdf] of women who had abortions found that 73% of women cited "I can't afford a baby now" as the reason for terminating their pregnancy. Republicans' class warfare increases the need for abortion. They know that. They don't care. Remember that when you see them preening about their moral virtue while trying to relegate women's autonomy to the dustbin of history.

Jason Linkins at ThinkProgress: Florida Lawmaker Says God Told Him to Introduce an Abortion Ban Like Alabama's. Oh for fuck's sake.

* * *

[CN: Disablism] John Wagner at the Washington Post: Trump Shares Heavily Edited Video That Highlights Verbal Stumbles by Pelosi and Questions Her Mental Acuity. "Trump shared a video on Twitter Thursday night that spliced together several verbal stumbles of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a news conference earlier in the day, further escalating a spat in which both have questioned the other's mental fitness. ...Trump's tweet came late in a day in which he had already called Pelosi 'crazy Nancy' at a news conference and proclaimed 'she's lost it' after Pelosi had told reporters that Trump's family and White House aides 'should stage an intervention for the good of the country.'" Trump is a master of projection, as always.

Quint Forgey at Politico: Giuliani Appears to Defend Sharing a Doctored Pelosi Video. "Rudy Giuliani on Friday appeared to defend his sharing of a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slurring her words, tweeting that the California Democrat should take back an insult she hurled at [Donald] Trump the day before. 'Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern,' Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, wrote online. 'First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation when she says the President needs an 'intervention.' People who live in a glass house shouldn't throw stones.'"

Look at the press doing the most to make it seem like Pelosi and Trump are two sides of the same coin. Escalating a spat. An insult she hurls. "Both sides!" Goddammit.

Jim Waterson at the Guardian: Facebook Refuses to Delete Fake Pelosi Video Spread by Trump Supporters. "Facebook says it will continue to host a video of Nancy Pelosi that has been edited to give the impression that the Democratic House Speaker is drunk or unwell, in the latest incident highlighting its struggle to deal with disinformation." That's the politest way of putting "its continued determination to profit mightily from destroying democracy."

Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Trump Devotes Press Conference to Instructing Aides to Explain That He's Definitely Not Mad.
Accused of having a temper tantrum at the White House the day before, [Donald] Trump did what anyone trying to prove their serenity would do: He put together a press conference during which he asked five aides to attest to his calmness.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump hosted a group of American farmers at the White House to tout his administration's $16 billion aid plan for farmers afflicted by his ongoing trade war. But after singing their praises and promising relief to come, he quickly turned to the matter most clearly on his mind — reports that he'd lost his cool at a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the day before.

"Because I know they will always say that [I was angry]... I was so calm... I walked into the Cabinet Room, you had the group, Cryin' Chuck, Crazy Nancy... She's lost it," the president insisted on Thursday. For good measure, he later reiterated that he was an "extremely stable genius."

Over the course of several minutes, the president asked White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, top economic adviser Larry Kudlow, and two top communications hands — Mercedes Schlapp and Hogan Gidley — to relay to the gathered press that he was the picture of tranquility when he met Democratic congressional leaders day before.

"Very calm — I've seen both and this was definitely not angry or ranting [during Wednesday's meeting]," Sanders said, right after Trump summoned her before the cameras. "Very calm, and straightforward, and clear that we have to actually get to work and do good things for the American people."
Well I'm sold! Case closed, Your Honor!

* * *

Susannah George and Lolita Baldor at the AP: Trump Says U.S. to Send 1,500 More Troops to Middle East. "The U.S. will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops, [Donald] Trump said Friday amid heightened tensions with Iran. Trump said the troops would have a 'mostly protective' role. He spoke to reporters on the White House lawn as he headed out on a trip to Japan. The administration had notified Congress earlier in the day about the troop plans. The forces would number 'roughly' 1,500 and would deploy in the coming weeks, 'with their primary responsibilities and activities being defensive in nature,' according to a copy of the notification obtained by The Associated Press."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Edward Wong, Catie Edmondson, and Eric Schmitt at the New York Times: Trump Officials Prepare to Bypass Congress to Sell Weapons to Gulf Nations. "The Trump administration is preparing to circumvent Congress to allow the export to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of billions of dollars of munitions that are now on hold, according to current and former American officials and legislators familiar with the plan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and some political appointees in the State Department are pushing for the administration to invoke an emergency provision that would allow President Trump to prevent Congress from halting the sales, worth about $7 billion. ...[The transactions would] further inflame tensions between the United States and Iran."

* * *

[CN: Domestic terrorism; white supremacy; guns. Covers entire section.]

Evan Perez at CNN: FBI Has Seen Significant Rise in White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism in Recent Months. "[According to a senior FBI counterterrorism official, the] domestic terror cases generally include suspects involved in violence related to anti-government views, racial or religious bias, environmental extremism, and abortion-related views. The FBI wouldn't provide specific numbers to quantify the increase of in the number of white supremacist domestic terrorism cases. ...Overall, the FBI has about 5,000 terrorism-related investigations open, including 850 related to domestic terrorism, according to the official."

Huh. I wonder if that "significant" uptick has anything to do with the President of the United States waging a campaign of stochastic terrorism?

Probably just a coincidence. I'm sure their bootstraps made them do it.

In totally unrelated news (cough)...

Staff at Channel 3000: GOP Lawmaker Displays Gun in Front of Democrat's Aide. "A Republican lawmaker allegedly displayed his holstered gun in a Democratic legislator's state Capitol office earlier this year. Democratic Rep. Sheila Stubbs' aide, Savion Castro, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Republican Rep. Shae Sortwell came into Stubbs' Capitol office in late February or early March to talk about legislation to help barbers get licensed. Castrol says that Sortwell remarked that he thought Stubbs' sign banning guns in her office was silly and pulled back his coat to reveal his gun."

Matt Shuham at TPM: GOP Rep. Paul Gosar 'Likes' Post by YouTuber Who's Defended White Nationalism. "Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), a conservative congressman and [Donald] Trump loyalist known for playing up conspiracy theories, 'liked' a tweet on Twitter Thursday by a YouTube philosopher who has defended white nationalism. The tweet from Stefan Molyneux claimed that the broad category of 'White Christians' was 'the first group in the history of the world to figure out that slavery was immoral' and lamented that the group is now blamed for slavery."

What a terrific organization full of great people the Republican Party is.

(That was sarcasm, in case it wasn't obvious.)

* * *

[CN: Transphobia] Olivia Messer at the Daily Beast: Trump Admin Plans to Weaken Protections for Transgender People in Health Care. "The Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that it plans to redefine the terms of an Obama-era policy that kept health-care providers from discriminating against transgender patients. HHS Director of the Office for Civil Rights Roger Severino said the agency is rewriting an Affordable Care Act regulation that prohibited health-care discrimination based on sex — in order to keep HHS regulations 'more consistent' with other federal departments. ...The National Center for Transgender Equality has said it will fight the proposed regulation. 'It's about the right of every American to be treated with dignity when they walk into an emergency room, meet a new doctor, or find the right insurance plan,' a spokeswoman said."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle...

* * *

And finally... Heather Stewart at the Guardian: Theresa May Announces She Will Resign on 7 June.
Theresa May has bowed to intense pressure from her own party and named 7 June as the day she will step aside as Conservative leader, drawing her turbulent three-year premiership to a close.

Speaking in Downing Street, May said it had been "the honour of my life" to serve as Britain's second female prime minister. Her voice breaking, she said she would leave "with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love."

The prime minister listed a series of what she said were her government's achievements, including tackling the deficit, reducing unemployment, and boosting funding for mental health.

But she admitted: "It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit."

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

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World of Shakescraft

image of colorful yarn
[Via Shirsty Cat Designs. You can buy their beautiful yarn here.]

As you know, I am not a crafty person. I am terrible at crafts! And I'm only slightly better with DIY home projects, with the occasional modest success.

But lots of Shakers are very talented crafters and DIY-ers, and I am happy to read about all of your terrific projects! So here is a thread to talk about your current crafting and/or DIY project(s), completed projects, or future projects; to share ideas; to brag about your successes or lament your setbacks; and to solicit advice from fellow creators!

(As always, make sure you don't offer advice unless it's solicited.)

Have at it in comments!

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Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me meditating in a garden accompanied by text reading 'deep breaths,' pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

Here is a good piece on Senator Elizabeth Warren by Ed Kilgore: "Slowly and Persistently, Elizabeth Warren Is on the Rise." I like the concluding paragraph: "For now, though, Warren's 'She Persisted' catchphrase fits her campaign quite well. She's broadly admired in her party, and has a quality of toughness that is the next best thing to a lead in trial heats as evidence she can go toe-to-toe with the sinister incumbent. She will always be vulnerable to someone younger or flashier catching fire as caucus and primary voters prepare to start voting. But if that doesn't happen, she should have her chance to compete and win."

I have a feeling that, when it come time to cast votes, "young and flashy" isn't going to drive people to pull the lever when they think about defeating Donald Trump. I suspect, and hope, that Warren will have her chance to win.

Wouldn't it be something if the Democrat to beat Trump had a campaign slogan given to her by Mitch McConnell in a fit of misogynist pique?

[picture the biggest grin slowly opening across my face as I contemplate that possibility]

* * *

At Politico, Michael Kruse writes about "The Secret of Bernie's Millions."
In a strict, bottom-line sense, Sanders has become one of those rich people against which he has so unrelentingly railed. The champion of the underclass and castigator of "the 1 percent" has found himself in the socio-economic penthouse of his rhetorical bogeymen. This development, seen mostly as the result of big bucks brought in by the slate of books he's put out in the last few years, predictably has elicited snarky pokes, partisan jabs, and charges of hypocrisy. The millionaire socialist!

Sanders himself has been impatient to the point of churlish when pressed about this. "I wrote a best-selling book," he told the New York Times after he recently released the last 10 years of his tax returns. "If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too." Asked on Fox News if this sort of success wasn't "the definition of capitalism," he bristled. "You know, I have a college degree," he said.

Based, though, on a deeper examination of his financial disclosures, his tax returns, property records in Washington and Vermont, and scarcely leafed-through scraps of his financial papers housed here at UVM, Sanders' current financial portrait is not only some stroke-of-luck windfall. It's also the product (with the help of his wife) of decades of planning. The upward trajectory from that jalopy of his to his relative riches now — as off-brand as it is for a man who once said he had "no great desire to be rich" — is the product of years of middle-class striving, replete with credit card debt, real estate upgrades, and an array of investment funds and retirement accounts.
That sounds about right. Bernie Sanders: Financially Savvy Revolutionary!

As I've said before, I don't care that Bernie Sanders is a millionaire. (To be honest, I always assumed he was, as most career politicians are.) What I do care about a great deal, however, is the fact that Bernie Sanders consistently fails to hold himself to the same standards he encourages his supporters to hold other people.

On the subject of his own personal wealth, Sanders consistently reminds me of the proverbial anti-abortion activist who protests outside a clinic every day until the day they show up with an appointment because their daughter needs an abortion. Their circumstances are different! Except for how they aren't.

* * *

Glad to see Senators Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand making the case once again for protecting the integrity of our elections.

Wish there was much more of this. I really hope it comes up during the debates and is given serious time.

* * *

Senator Cory Booker is building out his campaign team: "Cory Booker bolstered his presidential campaign staff Thursday by rolling out more than a dozen new national team members, including a national policy director, a chief technology officer and a research director. The new staffers include a human resources director and additional digital and analytics personnel with backgrounds in the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns."

Julián Castro has made a big promise about campaign donations: "Since day one, my campaign refused contributions from PACs, corporations, and lobbyists. Today I announced we're also refusing contributions from oil, gas, and coal executives — so you know my priorities are with the health of our families, climate, and democracy."

Governor Jay Inslee is funny:

Mayor Pete Buttigeg, asked if he is ready to deal with Donald Trump on the debate stage, says: "I have a fair amount of familiarity with bullies. I am gay; I am from Indiana." Oof. It's eminently possible to talk about the scourge of homophobic bullying without suggesting that Indiana is somehow uniquely homophobic. And, to be frank, I am quite annoyed that he is demonizing the state while he continues to maintain that Mike Pence is somehow a decent person deep down in his heart or whatever, when Pence oversaw a vile homophobic agenda in contravention of the will of a majority of Hoosiers. He needs to rethink this messaging.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is running a campaign that no one wants — except for New Yorkers who are amused AF by it: "It's perversely thrilling to watch someone who absolutely will not win — the groundhog De Blasio dropped in 2014 has a better chance of beating Trump — still attempt this long shot. In a race that's so high stakes, it provides the purest form of comic relief — a chance to pause and revel in one man's complete refusal to read the signs. Three-quarters of his city's residents don't want him to run. (Just before he announced, according to NY1 political reporter Grace Rauh, a jogger passing by Gracie Mansion at the time yelled 'I can't believe it. Nobody wants it.') His lack of charm is so stark for a politician that it's almost inspiring." Ouch lol.

Joe Biden is probably somewhere drafting his plans to have a butt-chugging contest with Donald Trump in Philly.

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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Trump Empowers Barr to Declassify Intelligence as He Audits Russia Probe

Another move by Donald Trump that is just stunningly brazen: He has given Attorney General Bill Barr the unilateral power to declassify secret intelligence as part of an audit of intelligence agencies' investigation of Russian election interference.

And naturally, he's orchestrating this grand authoritarian maneuver under the auspices of "transparency."

Devlin Barrett, Carol D. Leonnig, Robert Costa, and Colby Itkowitz at the Washington Post report:

[Donald] Trump has granted Attorney General William P. Barr "full and complete authority" to declassify government secrets, issuing a memorandum late Thursday that orders U.S. intelligence agencies to cooperate promptly with Barr's audit of the investigation into Russia's election interference in 2016.

The president's move gives Barr broad powers to unveil carefully guarded intelligence secrets about the Russia investigation, which the attorney general requested to allow him to quickly carry out his review, according to the memo.

"Today's action will ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions," the White House said in an accompanying statement, which Trump then tweeted.

...The move is likely to further anger Democrats who have said that Barr is using his position as the nation's top law enforcement official to aggressively protect the president and attack his critics.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leads one of the ongoing congressional investigations of Trump, called the action "un-American." Trump and Barr, Schiff said in a statement Thursday night, are conspiring to "weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies." ‬

The president is the government's highest authority over whether national secrets remain classified. His order gives Barr significant authority over agencies that typically hold their secrets close and don't declassify them easily.
This is very bad. I don't even know what else to say other than that. It's another catastrophic erosion of our democracy, and it demands accountability, and there is no one empowered to deliver consequences who feels inclined to do it.

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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 bellist: "When ordering Thai (or chili or any other spicy food), how spicy do you get it? Never ordering spicy food is an appropriate answer."

For me, it depends on the cuisine. Mexican chilies — give 'em to me as hot as you've got 'em! Thai curry — give me a medium heat, leaning toward hot. Indian food — I will take a mild korma or a medium masala. Italian food — generally mild spice, thank you. Etc.

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#365feministselfie: Week 21

I am participating once again in the #365feministselfie project, now in its sixth year. Here is a thread for others to share selfies and/or talk about the project, visibility generally, self-appreciation, and related topics. And also because I always just love seeing your splendid faces!

A few of my selfies over the last two weeks:

image of me in a full-length mirror, wearing grey-framed glasses, dark blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and a grey cardigan, with my hair pulled up into a bun on the top of my head
Probably the last chance I'll have to wear this sweater this year!

image of me from the shoulders up, wearing grey-framed glasses and a grey tank top, smiling
A thank-fuck-it's-Friday grin.

image of me standing in a full-length mirror, with my hair down, wearing black-framed glasses, a long black tunic, a pink skirt with a pattern of black insects on it, and black loafers
A honey bee in an insect skirt for her 45th birthday.

image of me from the shoulders up, with my hair down, wearing light makeup, black-framed glasses, and a black top
This is 45.

image of me standing in my garden from the shoulders up, wearing grey-framed glasses, a black and grey t-shirt, and a bright yellow and pinky-orange straw hat, the brim of which I'm lifting with my hand clad in a yellow gardening glove
Weeding and planting.

(And wearing a too-big hat that I carried in my hand all the way back from Puerto Rico, because I wore it all over and didn't want to leave it behind or smash it in my bag, and I'm glad I didn't, because it is a perfect gardening hat.)

image of me from mid-chest up, standing in front of an evergreen, wearing grey-framed glasses and my Mr. Celery t-shirt, pointing to a sticker on my chest reading 'I Voted'
I voted!

image of me standing in a full-length mirror, with my hair down, wearing grey-framed glasses, a blue blouse with a floral pattern, pink jeans, and white sneakers
'Twas a pink jeans day.

Please feel welcome and encouraged to share your own selfies in comments, or share your thoughts on the project, or solicit encouragement or advice, or do whatever else feels best for you to participate, if you are inclined to do so!

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Stop Telling People to Move and Start Supporting Them Where They Live

[Content Note: War on agency.]

On Monday, I recommended Leslie Jones' SNL segment about the abortion bans being passed in Republican-controlled state legislatures, noting: "I love [her message to the women in those states that they aren't alone] eleventy-seven times as much as telling people to 'move.' This is the message we need: WE HAVE YOUR BACK. Because reproductive choice is FREEDOM."

I appreciated that because, in the wake of this latest round of increasingly extreme abortion bans, I'm seeing "just move" all over the place, all over again.

For many years, I have been writing about my contempt for people living in places with solidly liberal governance responding to "red state" retrofuck legislation by admonishing the people who live there to "just move," without a shred of concern that not everyone has the privilege of being able to move, which is to say nothing of the fact that not everyone having the desire to move.

A few years ago, I moved to another state because of my spouse's work, and it was an absolutely incredible undertaking. It was intensely stressful, time-consuming, and costly — even with significant financial assistance from his employer.

And we didn't have children to take into consideration: Their friendships, their schools, their doctors, their involvement in extracurricular activities, proximity to grandparents or other extended family, established childcare, etc., all of which becomes exponentially important when a child has special needs.

Telling people to "just move" is ignorant of, or indifferent to, this reality. It's straight-up hostile garbage.

It's incredibly demoralizing for progressive activists who live in states with conservative governments (which, as a reminder, often are governing in direct contravention of the will of the people) to be told constantly that they should leave their homes, or that their home states are undilutedly terrible places.

And it's not even in the self-interest of the people saying it.

Because here's the thing: People who live in these states and/or pay attention to what's happening on the state level understand that Republican-controlled legislatures are the training ground for what Trump/Pence/whoever will do next on the national level.

This is why I have, over the years, routinely referred to my home state of Indiana as the "Conservative Legislation Lab." The populations of "red states" are used by Republican majorities (who often achieved said majority through subverting elections in the same way we now see on the federal level) as guinea pigs for their ever more radical plans.

They harm people on the state level as a dry-run in preparation for the unleashing of national malice.

What the fuck are the "move outta that backwards shithole state!" folks going to say when the entire country is suffering the same oppressions?

Are they going to pick up their entire lives and move out of the United States?

Or are they not likely to do that because their lives are in the United States? Because they have a job here, a home, friends, family? Because it would be difficult for them to just up and move to a different country? Because the mere suggestion makes them think fuck you, the United States is my home and I'm not going to abandon it just because a bunch of asshole Republicans are trying to ruin it, and maybe even increases their resolve to stay and fight? Because, even if they would love more than anything to move the fuck outta here to someplace better suited to their politics, they simply can't, for whatever combination of reasons?

Regardless of whether moving is an option, it's not an answer.

The only answer is supporting people where they live; supporting them in their fight against the intersecting oppressions to which they are being subjugated by the thieving, cruel, fascistic pigshits of the Republican Party; having their backs; listening to them; heeding their warnings about what the Republicans have in store for us all, given the chance.

They're coming for the whole country. If you think you're safe, think again.

And if you're telling people to "move" in response to vile, audacious attacks on their rights and very autonomy, the person who has to move is you. From your stubborn, intractable indifference. Urgently.

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What I'm Watching

This is a thread to share all the good things you're watching at the moment, or have recently watched. Serialized shows on broadcast or streaming; films; digital shorts; stand-up; documentaries; performances — whatever! Tell us what you're watching and enjoying these days.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I just watched Amy Poehler's film Wine Country on Netflix and saw John Wick 3 in the theater, both of which I heartily recommend, if you're into Funny Lady Friendship films and Dudes Murdering Each Other films, respectively.

("Halle Berry also murders people very proficiently in the latter. FEMINISM." — Butch Pornstache.)

I'm also currently rewatching the Netflix series Love, which I don't believe I've ever mentioned except in passing before. (How is that even possible when I love it so much?!)

image of Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust looking at each other from a scene in 'Love'
Mickey and Gus.

Love stars Gillian Jacobs, whom you may know from Community or Ibiza (which I also love) or as the scene-stealing Coma Girl in Life of the Party (ALSO love), and Paul Rust, whom you may know from Comedy Bang! Bang! or Fun Mom Dinner (and who is one of my favorite tweeters), as two people who meet and then things resembling love start to happen, and that is all I'm going to tell you about the plot of the show!

I will also tell you a few other things that I like about it, however: The excellent supporting cast, including and especially Claudia O'Doherty as Mickey's roommate Bertie and Iris Apatow as Gus' onset pupil Arya; Gus' jam sessions with friends who write theme songs for movies that don't have theme songs; the things the show has to say about love, friendship, sex, addiction, recovery, work, parenting, not parenting, and growing up; Gillian Jacobs' grin; Paul Rust's grin; the acting; the writing; and lots of other stuff.

Of course it was abruptly canceled after three seasons, because Netflix endeavors to ruin everything I love (RIP One Day at a Time, sob), but the end is satisfying.

Standard disclaimer: It's not a perfect show blah blah fart, but it is a very good one.

Anyway! What are you watching these days?

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Daily Dose of Cute

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Downward dog.

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 854

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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.

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Late yesterday and earlier today by me: An Observation and A Sixth Child Died in U.S. Custody and Primarily Speaking.

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

Let me start with some GOOD resistance news and by saying once again that I love Stacey Abrams! Jonathan Easley at the Hill: Abrams: 'Identity Politics Is Exactly Who We Are and Exactly How We Won'.
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on Wednesday urged Democrats to embrace identity politics, at a time when the issue has become a source of debate within the party.

Speaking at the Center for American Progress's Ideas Conference, Abrams warned that the term "identity politics" had been twisted by those aiming to silence emergent minority voters seeking political power for the first time.

"The notion of identity politics has been peddled for the past 10 years and it's been used as a dog whistle to say we shouldn't pay too much attention to the voices coming into progress," Abrams said. "I would argue that identity politics is exactly who we are and exactly how we won."

The Georgia Democrat argued that identity politics had "brought new folks to the process," and that a failure to focus on racial differences would give minority voters the impression "they have no reason to engage and no reason to show up."

"When I hear Democratic candidates, progressive candidates, American candidates decrying the identity of their voters, I'm deeply worried for our democracy," Abrams said.
Me too, Stacey Abrams. Me too.

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Lots of pieces like this today...

Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post: Pelosi Goads Trump into Another Temper Tantrum.

John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett at Politico: Why Pelosi Is So Good at Infuriating Trump.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Glenn Thrush at the New York Times: Pelosi Pushes Go-Slow Strategy on Impeachment as She Goads Trump.

Great. Yes. Sure. Nancy Pelosi is absolutely the best at getting under Donald Trump's skin. I agree wholeheartedly with that! Except, as I tweeted yesterday:

That tweet quickly went viral, and, as of this writing, has more than 1,600 retweets and 8,600 likes.

I find it very interesting that Pelosi specifically used the word "villainous" in her press conference today after that tweet went wide yesterday and this morning. And did so while pointedly not addressing the criticism I was making.

At the presser, she also continued to defend her decision to not pursue impeachment at this time:

CNN's Manu Raju: Yesterday you said that the president may have engaged in impeachable offenses—

Pelosi: Yeah.

Raju: —yet today you're saying you're not on a path to impeachment. Can you explain why you're imposed to launching an impeachment inquiry, as many of your members want to do?

Pelosi: Let me be really very clear: The president's behavior, in terms of his obstruction of justice, the things that he is doing, it's very clear; it's in plain sight; it cannot be denied. Ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice — yes, these could be impeachable offenses.

But I intend not— [stammers] If— Where the facts— We— There are three things— You might understand it better if you remember these three things: We want to follow the facts, to get the truth to the American people, with a recognition — two — that no one is above the law, and — three — that the president is engaged in a cover-up. And that is what my statement is.

Now how we deal with it is a decision that our caucus makes, and our caucus is very much saying, whatever we do, we need to be ready when we do it.

And I do think that impeachment is a very divisive place to go in our country. And what we can get the facts to the American people through our investigation, it may take us to a place that is unavoidable in terms of impeachment — or not. But we're not at that place.
I just really disagree with this strategy. I firmly believe that every tool in the toolbox, including and especially the enhanced investigative powers of an impeachment process, because every day that Donald Trump is unconstrained with the immense power of the office he holds, empowered and protected by his party, is a dangerous day. Not just for the United States, but the world.

I mean:

Dan De Luce, Courtney Kube, and Abigail Williams at NBC News: Senate Dem. Warns Trump Could Push Through Saudi Bomb Deal without Congressional Approval.

Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani at ThinkProgress: Senate Committee Rejects Proposal to Require Congressional Approval before U.S. Strike on Iran.

Reshma Kapadia at Barron's: The Trade War Jeopardizes a Potential Global Economic Recovery, IMF Says.

Et cetera ad infinitum. How much longer are we supposed to wait? Donald Trump's presidency is pretty fucking "divisive," too.

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Zachary Cohen and Caroline Kelly at CNN: Tillerson Told Lawmakers Putin Was More Prepared Than Trump in Germany Meeting. "Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir Putin was more prepared than [Donald] Trump for their meeting in Hamburg, Germany, putting U.S. officials at a disadvantage, a Democratic House Foreign Affairs committee aide told CNN Wednesday." Yeahhhhh I don't think Putin's and Trump's respective "preparedness" was the primary thing putting U.S. officials at a disadvantage there.

Casey Michel at ThinkProgress: New Indictment Says Manafort's Banker Tried to Bribe His Way into Trump Administration. "A bombshell indictment released Thursday from the Justice Department detailed how banker Stephen Calk tried to use his financial ties to former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort to bribe his way into the Trump administration. According to the indictment, Calk has been charged with 'financial institution bribery' for trying to use his position as the head of the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, which issued 'millions of dollars in high-risk loans' to Manafort, to obtain 'a senior position' for himself within the Trump administration." Sounds about right.

Leigh Ann Caldwell and Alex Moe at NBC News: Wells Fargo, TD Bank Have Already Given Trump-Related Financial Documents to Congress. "Wells Fargo and TD Bank are the two of nine institutions that have so far complied with subpoenas issued by the House Financial Services Committee demanding information about their dealings with the Trump Organization, according to the sources. ...Wells Fargo provided the committee with a few thousand documents and TD Bank handed the committee a handful of documents, according to a source who has seen them. The committee, led by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is especially interested in the president's business relationship with Russia and other foreign entities." Get him!

Speaking of Rep. Maxine Waters...

From your lips to Nancy Pelosi's ears, Rep. Waters!

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[CN: War on agency. Covers entire section.]

Ari Bee at Rewire.News: Georgia Democrats: Police 'Stifled Dissent' During Near-Total Abortion Ban Debate.
Heavy police presence defined the legislative battle at the state capitol around Georgia's near-total abortion ban, with pro-choice legislators calling the police presence and tactics "intimidating," charging that Republican legislative leadership used law enforcement to squelch pushback against the extreme measure.

...Rep. Renitta Shannon (D-Decatur) said she witnessed an increase in police presence at the capitol over the past two legislative sessions. But the level of police activity surrounding any debates on HB 481 was strikingly different. She told Rewire.News that police were used to "stifle dissent," and that this sent a clear message.

"Anytime the general public comes to the capitol to say how they feel about a bill, if it's not something that Republicans agree with, they [Republican leadership] immediately sic the police on them," she said.
Rage. Seethe. Boil.

Cameron Joseph at TPM: North Carolina GOP Looks to Ram Through Anti-Abortion Law.
North Carolina state Rep. Sydney Batch (D) had planned to take off work this week as she recovered from a recent mastectomy procedure to treat her breast cancer. Instead, she spent it at the statehouse, making sure Republicans couldn't come up with enough votes to pass new abortion-related restrictions into law.

North Carolina Republicans have been pushing to pass a "born alive" bill that would make it illegal for doctors not to help babies that somehow survived abortions. They're just a handful of votes away from being able to override a recent veto from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D). Republicans put the bill on the legislative calendar for Monday. When it became clear they didn't have the votes, they decided to shelve it and force Batch and the rest of the legislature to return day after day until they have the numbers.

"I was hoping to take three weeks off to recover, but unfortunately I did not have that ability," Batch told TPM about the GOP's latest effort. "When I realized that Monday, [Republicans were] planning to hold the vote it was worth physical sacrifice and pain to come in to vote. It was extremely important for me to vote."

Her presence was needed. Republicans already overrode Cooper's recent veto in the state Senate, and believe they are just three or four votes away from being able to do the same in the state House. If enough Democrats hadn't shown up, they would have been able to ram through the legislation, since all their members attended session on Monday — a rarity in a chamber where members on both sides regularly miss votes.

...Democrats are furious about the bill itself — and accuse North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) of trying to take advantage of their ailing members to grind down the Democrats until they pick off enough members to pass the legislation.
What horrible fucking people Republican legislators are. JFC.

In some positive news...

Beth Mole at Ars Technica: Anti-Abortion Clinics That Try to Trick Women Face New Google Ad Policy. "Google will roll out a policy next month to crack down on deceptive advertisements dealing with abortion — a topic rife with misleading and false health information. ...Google will now require all advertisers in the United States, Ireland, and the United Kingdom who run abortion-related ads to submit to a pre-certification. The process is intended to identify the types of services that the advertisers provide. All of their subsequent advertising will then be automatically and clearly labeled with either 'Provides abortions' or 'Does not provide abortions.'"

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[CN: Extreme weather; death] Staff at the BBC: Tornadoes Kill at Least Seven People. "Tornadoes have killed at least three people in Missouri, bringing the death toll from twisters across the U.S. Midwest in recent days to seven. ...Those who work in Jefferson City were urged on Thursday to stay at home due to dangerous road conditions in the aftermath of the storm, including toppled trees and power lines. Earlier the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) issued a rare 'high warning' for severe storms in the region. It said at least 29 tornadoes had been reported in the last 24 hours and more than 170 since Friday. The NWS described the tornado over Jefferson City as 'large and destructive.'"

Many people are without power, are injured, and/or are displaced from their homes. As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to suggest ways to help in comments.

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

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The Shaker HALP! Thread

image of red text reading HALP set on backdrop of a collage of black and white lined question marks

Here is a thread to solicit advice on any subject or struggle we're experiencing on which some input from like-minded folks would be useful.

And because sometimes what we need is permission to go ahead and do what we've already decided is the best thing to do, if you need to ask for permission (which of course is validation and encouragement to give yourself permission), this is the place to do it.

As always, the guidance here is: Be supportive, not judgmental. If you're going to offer advice, make sure it's advice and not criticism.

Also: If you're someone seeking advice, and you've had your fill after a certain point, please feel welcome to note in-thread: "Thank you, that's all the advice I needed!"

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Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me standing on the side of a road hitchhiking while holding a sign reading 'I need a hug,' pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

So, Senator Elizabeth Warren is gaining momentum, which means it's time to roll out the shitty hit pieces on her! To wit, this heap of trash at the Washington Post: "While Teaching, Elizabeth Warren Worked on More Than 50 Legal Matters, Charging as Much as $675 an Hour." WOW SCANDALOUS! A woman didn't work for free! Call the police!

Lots of hourly consulting fees include payment for assistants, too. She might have been paying associates, researchers, etc. out of that hourly rate. The story doesn't make that point, nor does it report whether Warren's hourly fee in reality paid for a team.

And why would it? That would undermine the entire premise, which is to imply that Warren is a greedy hypocrite who isn't allowed to say that the wealthy should pay more in taxes because apparently only poor people with zero political power are allowed to say that and then be summarily dismissed at bitter class warriors.

Barack Obama held office as president for 8 years, and ran for the office for 2 years before that, and, in that entire decade, I don't believe I ever once heard anything about the hourly rate he earned as an attorney.

What was Mitt Romney's hourly rate at Bain Capital? How much did George W. Bush earn hourly consulting for Satan? Where are Donald Trump's motherfucking taxes?

Get a grip, WaPo.

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Speaking of hit pieces, the Daily Beast published an article about Senator Cory Booker headlined "Mr. Nice Cory Booker Is Quietly Knifing His Rivals," which then goes on to detail some of the mildest criticism of fellow candidates you'll ever encounter.

In an era where the sitting president will literally just spew bile about his critics' appearance and calls for his political opponents to be jailed, it's quite the choice to accuse Booker of "knifing his rivals" for stuff like a tame criticism about rich candidates funding their own vanity presidential runs.

I also have to say I find it objectionable to use violent imagery about a man of color, especially one who has spoken passionately, personally, and at length about being animated in his public service by the violence he has seen in his community.


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Senator Kamala Harris has changed her view on investigations of police shootings, now believing "that cases of fatal police shootings and alleged police brutality should be handled by an independent investigator." She gives a very cogent explanation for why she didn't feel that way before but does now, and adds: "There's got to be an independent investigation conducted from the first moments of the incident, so that we can be certain and sure that there has been a thorough investigation that is not informed by bias and so that there will be justice for all of the people concerned." I am glad she has changed her mind. I appreciate it when our progressive candidates progress.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is righteously pisssssssssed about the Trump Regime's trans hatred:

Senator Amy Klobuchar and Governor Jay Inslee are talking about the urgency of action on climate change:

Julián Castro was a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers last night, and [video will autoplay] here is that segment, if you'd like to give it a watch!

Senator Bernie Sanders is "inching" toward supporting impeaching Donald Trump: "I do understand where House members are coming from. And you've got this guy who is refusing to respect the Constitution, equal powers, and is rejecting requests for members of the administration to come forward. So, you know, I think it may be time at least to begin the process through the Judiciary Committee to determine whether or not there are impeachment proceedings." Oh god, Bernie. Don't strain yourself with all that strident bravery.

Compare that answer to Beto O'Rourke's answer during his CNN town hall Tuesday night:

CHRIS, a female audience member: Two arguments for starting impeachment proceedings against [Donald] Trump are: First, that impeachment would bring into the open information withheld by the administration; and second, that it is the duty of Congress to protect the Constitution. There seems to be a concern, however, that the move could backfire politically. What is your stance on starting impeachment proceedings against [Donald] Trump and why?

O'ROURKE: Chris, thank you for the question. We should begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Not something— [audience applause] Not something that I take lightly. It's an incredibly serious, sober decision that we should make as a country — really the last resort when every other option has failed us.

And at this point, where the president has refused to respond to any subpoena, where his attorney general will not testify, where he will not furnish other witnesses so that we can find out what happened to this great democracy in 2016, and how we prevent future attacks in 2020 and beyond, a president who invited the involvement of a foreign power in this democracy in 2016 and then did everything in his power to obstruct the investigation into what has happened — if we do nothing because we are afraid of the polls or the politics or the repercussions in the next election, then we will have set a precedent for this country that, in fact, some people because of the position of power and public trust that they hold are above the law.

And if this great democracy, 243 years into this idea and this experiment, is to survive for another 243, or even another year or two, we cannot allow that precedent to stand. There must be consequences, accountability, and justice. The only way to ensure that is to begin impeachment proceedings.

Chris, thank you for asking the question. [audience applause]

DANA BASH, CNN moderator: So just to follow up on that: You said that impeachment proceedings should start now; Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, says that the president— impeaching the president would be very divisive in the country and would only help the president solidify his base. Do you think there's something to that?

O'ROURKE: I do. You know, I understand the political implications of this. But I think this moment calls for us to look beyond the politics and the polling — and even the next election.

It's the very sanctity of the ballot box and the very future of the world's greatest democracy. And if this is important to us — and I think it is — then we need to look past those short-term consequences to the consequences to the future of this country.

And the only way that we're going to get the documents and the facts and the truth to be able to pursue them as far as they go, as high up as they reach, is to compel the testimony, the furnishing of those documents through impeachment proceedings. It's the only way that we're going to get to the facts necessary to have that accountability and justice.

BASH: Because short-term pain could be for you, if you were the Democratic nominee. That's okay?

O'ROURKE: That's possible. But, listen, the consequence of the alternative is to turn a blind eye to this and, in doing so, turn our back on the future of this country. And I cannot be part of that. We're going to have to make the tough decisions now.
RIGHT ON. An absolutely excellent answer. Great job, O'Rourke!

Joe Biden is probably somewhere drafting his plans for a round of fisticuffs with Donald Trump in Scranton.

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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A Sixth Child Died in U.S. Custody

[Content Note: Nativism; child abuse; death.]

We know that five children have died in or following a stint in U.S. Custody since December 2018: 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, 8-year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, 16-year-old Juan de León Gutiérrez, a still-unidentified 2-year-old boy, and 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Vasquez.

Now, CBS News has learned that a sixth child, a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador, died in U.S. custody last September.

[CN: video may autoplay at link] Graham Kates and Angel Canales report:

Mark Weber, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a statement to CBS News that the girl had a history of congenital heart defects. Weber said when she entered the care of an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facility in San Antonio, Texas, on March 4, 2018, she was in a "medically fragile" state.

"Following a surgical procedure, complications left the child in a comatose state. She was transported to a nursing facility in Phoenix, Arizona for palliative care in May after release from a San Antonio hospital," Weber said. "On September 26, she was transferred to an Omaha, Neb., nursing facility to be closer to her family. On September 29, the child was transported to Children's Hospital of Omaha where she passed due to fever and respiratory distress."

...Manuel Castillo, Consulate General of El Salvador in Aurora, told CBS News his office had no knowledge of the girl's death. Castillo said the office was caught off guard by the news, and was hoping CBS News report would help him track down the family. Castillo said concerned local residents called him, saying, "We can't let this happen again."

In an interview with CBS News Wednesday, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, accused the administration of concealing the girl's death.

"I have not seen any indication that the Trump administration disclosed the death of this young girl to the public or even to Congress," Castro said. "And if that's the case, they covered up her death for eight months, even though we were actively asking the question about whether any child had died or been seriously injured. We began asking that question last fall."

Castro, the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said he is going to demand more information from the government about the girl.

"We're going to make immediate inquires to HHS to find out what happen to this young girl," Castro said.
Rep. Joaquin Castro is the brother of presidential candidate Julián Castro.

It's sad and rage-making that this girl died while in U.S. custody. It is also profoundly troubling that her death was concealed until this point, once more raising the question: How many other deaths have there been that we don't know about?

I keep writing one, two, three, four, five, six deaths that we know of, and I always desperately hope that there haven't been any more deaths while fearing that there have been.

That the government did not disclose this little girl's death, despite repeated inquiries, as Castro points out, is alarming.

We need answers. We need them from a government disinclined to provide them.

That deadly lack of transparency is disqualifying. The entire Trump Regime must be removed from office with urgent haste.

My deep condolences to this girl's family. I am so sorry.

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker BellsBromeliad: "What is your favorite joke? What joke makes you laugh every time? (Take it as given that jokes perpetuating any form of oppression or harm need not apply.)"

This is my favorite joke. I have a real surrealist streak in my humor. Which is why I also love the muffin joke.

But I also love super corny jokes that rely on puns/wordplay.

And this is my favorite one of those: A piece of string walks into a bar and orders a gin and tonic. Bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve strings in here. Hit the road." The string leaves, upset. Outside, he has an idea. He ties himself in a loop and messes up his hair. He walks back into the bar and orders a gin and tonic. "Aren't you the string who I just kicked outta here?" asks the bartender suspiciously. The string replies, "Nope, I'm a frayed knot!"

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