The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub 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.

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope it is a happy one or at least a tolerable one, and if you are traveling, I wish you safe travels.

I am, as ever, very thankful for you.

See you back here next Tuesday.

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News from Shakes Manor + Programming Note

As Thursday is Thanksgiving in the U.S., we will be taking the next few days off and see you back here next Tuesday.

I'm going to put up the Virtual Pub shortly, but I wanted to briefly explain the longer break than is typical for me at Thanksgiving.

I've got a doctor's appointment tomorrow (nothing serious), and then Olivia has surgery on Monday. Unfortunately, she has been diagnosed with mammary cancer, which is a pretty grim diagnosis.

The good news is that her x-rays have shown that it hasn't yet visibly metastasized into her lungs. Yay! So, if we managed to catch it before it spread microscopically, the surgery to remove the tumor that led to her diagnosis will theoretically delay the inevitable for a meaningful amount of time.

What I want to tell all of you who care about the Furry Residents of Shakes Manor is that Ms. Olivia Twist is still the happiest girl. Aside from the tumor impeding on her ability to jump on the kitchen counter, she is her same old self. In the past two weeks, she has managed to steal half a cheeseburger from my dinner plate and an entire flounder sandwich. LOL ASSHOLE!

As long as her surgery goes smoothly and without any major complications, her recovery shouldn't be tough or lengthy. From there, we're just going to do whatever keeps her happy, no matter the trajectory of her disease. And if there's ever a cat who can beat the odds, it's our feisty little bundle of glorious naughtiness who flew into our lives at 60mph and hasn't slowed down since.

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat looking from the exam table at the vet's office
Who's such a good girl? OLIVIA IS!

For all her shenanigans at home, Livs is just extraordinarily well-behaved (and relaxed, as you can see!) at the vet. She will be in the good hands of a person whom she likes and trusts, and I can't ask for anything more than that.

As I'm guessing has long been abundantly clear, we love this girl with one million hearts. We're not ready to let her go, and we won't until she asks us to.

Keep your fingers crossed for Livs, and I'll keep you posted.

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Three Things

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Proceed accordingly.

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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.

* * *

Shakers, I just accomplished a rare and glorious feat: The only dirty laundry is the clothes I am wearing. Every other item of clothes is washed, dried, and put away neatly where it belongs.

And better yet, Iain accomplished the same thing with his laundry last night.

It's basically the Transit of Venus of household chores.

If you're an adult human being who can manage to stay on top of their laundry, first of all, congratulations, and second of all, you probably don't understand why this is a big deal. But trust that for someone with chronic laundry disorganization, this achievement has given me a feeling of nothing less than incandescent bliss, lol.

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How Could You, Mozza?

[Content Note: Rape apologia.]

As if the news wasn't painful enough for me to navigate already, I just had to read a heaping fuckload of rape apologia from Morrissey:

On the Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey scandals. Morrissey says that the whole thing has become "a play," and that the definition of sexual harassment has become so broad that "every person on this planet is guilty… Anyone who ever said 'I like you' to someone else is suddenly being charged with sexual harassment." Specifically, he says that the allegations against Kevin Spacey are "ridiculous," saying: "One wonders if the boy did not know what would happen. I do not know about you, but in my youth I have never been in situations like this. Never. I was always aware of what could happen. When you are in somebody's bedroom, you have to be aware of where that can lead to. That's why it does not sound very credible to me. It seems to me that Spacey has been attacked unnecessarily."

On Weinstein specifically: "People know exactly what's going on. And they play along. Afterwards, they feel embarrassed or disliked. And then they turn it around and say: 'I was attacked, I was surprised.' But if everything went well, and if it had given them a great career, they would not talk about it. I hate rape. I hate attacks. I hate sexual situations that are forced on someone. But in many cases one looks at the circumstances and thinks that the person who is considered a victim is merely disappointed."

He thinks many musicians have slept with underage kids: "Throughout the history of music and rock 'n' roll there have been musicians who slept with their groupies," he said, while clarifying that he was not one of them. "If you go through history, almost everyone is guilty of sleeping with minors. Why not throw everyone in jail right away?"
I broke up with Morrissey seven years ago, when he engaged in rank racism for which he's never apologized, so he shouldn't even be able to break my heart anymore.

But he's a man about whom I once wrote: "I remember seeing the video for "How Soon Is Now" on 120 Minutes, and recall the first time I heard Viva Hate in its gorgeous entirety and knew my life would never be the same. I know every lyric, every note, every nuance of Morrissey's voice and what the differences are between multiple recordings of the same track. ...When asked how I can listen to the same albums over and over and over again without ever remotely tiring of them, I can't explain. It's the music, yes, and Morrissey's breathtakingly beautiful lyrics, yes, and the themes — gender, sexuality, class, politics, history, literature, yes. But it's more than that, too. These songs are as familiar, as much a part of me, as my own thoughts. I sing Smiths songs in my sleep."

Those songs helped me recover from sexual assault. There were days when Morrissey's voice was the only thing keeping me on the planet.

That he now uses that voice to disgorge reprehensible rape apologia hurts me more than I can say.

It's so easy to laugh / It's so easy to hate / It takes guts to be gentle and kind... The man who wrote those words has forgotten their meaning.

And that makes me reverberatingly sad.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on my leg, looking up at me intently

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 306

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

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

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Time to Make Noise to Save Net Neutrality and What We Mean by "Believe Women".

Let's start with some (tentative) good news...

Eli Rosenberg at the Washington Post: Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Executive Order on Denying Funding to Sanctuary Cities.
A federal judge issued an injunction to permanently block [Donald] Trump's executive order to deny funding to cities that refused to cooperate with federal immigration officials, after finding the order unconstitutional.

The ruling by District Judge William H. Orrick in San Francisco comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the city of San Francisco and nearby Santa Clara County and follows a temporary halt on the order that the judge issued in April.

Orrick, in his summary of the case Monday, found that the Trump administration's efforts to move local officials to cooperate with its efforts to deport undocumented immigrants violated the separation of powers doctrine as well as the Fifth and Tenth amendments.

"The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Executive Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds. Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that they not be unduly coercive," the judge wrote. "Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves."

This is definitely good news for now. Naturally, we haven't seen the last of the Trump administration's war on immigrants, so we must continue to remain vigilant and prepared to resist.

[Content Note: Nativism] In related but categorically not good news:

Fucking hell. We knew this was coming. It's still absolutely gutting. I am so sorry for the people who will be displaced and harmed by this cruel decision.

[CN: Nativism] Rachael Bade and Heather Caygle at Politico: Congress Speeds Toward Shutdown over Dreamers. "Concern is growing in both parties that a clash over the fate of Dreamers will trigger a government shutdown this December. House conservatives have warned Speaker Paul Ryan against lumping a fix for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors into a year-end spending deal. They want him to keep the two issues separate and delay immigration negotiations into 2018 to increase their leverage — which both Ryan and the White House consider reasonable. ...Democrats know Republicans need their votes to fund the government past the current Dec. 8 deadline, and many want Pelosi and Schumer to stand firm against the must-pass bill until leaders save the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program."

This is what ethical obstructionism should look like. And if the Republicans shut down the government, which would have terrible consequences for federal workers, that's the responsibility of the Republicans who prioritized a shutdown over decency, not the Democrats, who are prioritizing decency.

* * *

[CN: Child abuse]

I hate this administration so, so much.

* * *

[CN: Sexual harassment] Paul McLeod and Lissandra Villa at BuzzFeed: She Said a Powerful Congressman Harassed Her: Here's Why You Didn't Hear Her Story.
Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not "succumb to [his] sexual advances."

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.

And the documents also reveal the secret mechanism by which Congress has kept an unknown number of sexual harassment allegations secret: A grinding, closely held process that left the alleged victim feeling, she told BuzzFeed News, that she had no option other than to stay quiet and accept a settlement offered to her.

"I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go," she said in a phone interview.
For his part, Conyers denies "that he knew anything about claims of sexual impropriety made against him."

Irrespective of the particulars of this case, however, we know that this is a thing that happens in Congress, and costs the taxpayers millions of dollars:

What we don't know, because Congress has unilaterally decided we don't have the right to know, is who are the members perpetrating sexual harassment and/or assault.

[CN: Sexual assault] Irin Carmon and Amy Brittain at the Washington Post: Eight Women Say Charlie Rose Sexually Harassed Them — with Nudity, Groping, and Lewd Calls.
The women were employees or aspired to work for Rose at the "Charlie Rose" show from the late 1990s to as recently as 2011. They ranged in age from 21 to 37 at the time of the alleged encounters. Rose, 75, whose show airs on PBS and Bloomberg TV, also co-hosts "CBS This Morning" and is a contributing correspondent for "60 Minutes."

There are striking commonalities in the accounts of the women, each of whom described their interactions with Rose in multiple interviews with The Post. For all of the women, reporters interviewed friends, colleagues, or family members who said the women had confided in them about aspects of the incidents. Three of the eight spoke on the record.

Five of the women spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of Rose's stature in the industry, his power over their careers, or what they described as his volatile temper.

"In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked," Rose said in a statement provided to The Post. "Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues.

"It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.

"I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will too. All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives."
Fuck you, buddy. Trust that this asshole did not believe that the feelings were "mutual." Let me say once again: Sexual assault does not happen by accident.

Recently, there have been many calls for disbelieving victims until more victims of the same perpetrator come forward, which prompted me to tweet this yesterday:

After the Rose story broke, I noted that an allegation against Rose was first made in 2007:

Related Reading: The Costs of Disbelief.

* * *

[CN: Death in war; video may autoplay at link] Elizabeth McLaughlin and Veronica Stracqualursi at ABC News: Additional Remains of Sgt. La David Johnson Found in Niger. "Additional remains of U.S. soldier Sgt. La David Johnson were found on Nov. 12 at the site in Niger where his body was recovered, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News. 'We can confirm that the Armed Forces Medical Examiner has positively identified these remains as those of Sgt. Johnson,' Dana W. White, chief spokesperson for the Department of Defense, said in a statement today. 'The department continues to conduct a detailed and thorough investigation into the deaths of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, and Sgt. La David T. Johnson. We extend our deepest condolences to all of the families of the fallen.' The U.S. official said Johnson's family has been notified of the new discovery." Oh god. My condolences to Myeshia Johnson and the rest of La David's family.

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post: The Trump Tax Plan Is Much Worse Than You Thought — A New Analysis Confirms It. "Here is the key takeaway from the new analysis, which is the work of the Tax Policy Center: By 2027, around 50 percent of taxpayers will see a tax hike. ...'By 2027, all that's really left is a big corporate tax cut,' [Joseph Rosenberg, a senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center] told me. 'This primarily benefits high-income people — people with a lot of capital income — shareholders, people who have capital gains dividends, and people who have interest income.'" Like I keep saying: It's just a massive wealth redistribution upward plan.

Zachary Mider at Bloomberg: House Tax Bill Is Littered with Loopholes for Wall Street's Wealthiest. "Investors in billion-dollar hedge funds might be able to take advantage of a new, lower tax rate touted as a break for small businesses. Private equity fund managers might be able to sidestep a new tax on their earnings. And a combination of proposed changes might allow the children and grandchildren of the very wealthy to avoid income taxes in perpetuity. These are some of the quirks that tax experts have spotted in the bill passed by the House on Nov. 16, just two weeks after it was introduced. ...'There sure are a lot of glitches and loopholes, in large measure because there's so much complexity in this bill that's being raced through,' said Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a Washington policy group."

Aaron Blake at the Washington Post: A Report Shows the Senate GOP Tax Bill Ultimately Raises Taxes on 50 Percent of People: That's a Problem. "The report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, released Monday, contains this very unhelpful passage: 'On average in 2027, taxes would rise modestly for the lowest-income group, change little for middle-income groups, and decrease for higher-income groups. Compared to current law, 9 percent of taxpayers would pay more in 2019, 12 percent in 2025, and 50 percent in 2027.' It's not difficult to see this winding up in just about every piece of Democratic pushback on the Senate GOP's tax bill. 'Half of Americans would wind up paying more in taxes' is a pretty powerful talking point — as is 'the wealthy clearly benefit from this bill, but the middle class doesn't.'" This is what class warfare looks like.

Danny Vinik and Andrew Restuccia at Politico: Leading Trump Census Pick Causes Alarm. "The Trump administration is leaning toward naming Thomas Brunell, a Texas professor with no government experience, to the top operational job at the U.S. Census Bureau, according to two people who have been briefed on the Bureau's plans. Brunell, a political science professor, has testified more than half a dozen times on behalf of Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, and is the author of a 2008 book titled Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America. The choice would mark the administration's first major effort to shape the 2020 Census, the nationwide count that determines which states lose and gain electoral votes and seats in the House of Representatives." FUCKING HELL!!!

To make way for a white dude who is less qualified for the job than she is, thus continuing Trump's destruction of the federal government by filling it with incompetents and ruiners.

Keith Collins at Quartz: Google Collects Android Users' Locations Even When Location Services Are Disabled. "Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven't used any apps, and haven't even inserted a carrier SIM card? Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they're connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed. Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers — even when location services are disabled — and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals' locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy. Quartz observed the data collection occur and contacted Google, which confirmed the practice." Goddammit.

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

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Solving Sexual Harassment Won't Happen by Magic

[Content Note: Sexual harassment; misogyny.]

This is a critically important piece on sexual harassment by Lauren B. Edelman, who is the Agnes Roddy Robb professor of law and professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, and the author of Working Law: Courts, Corporations and Symbolic Civil Rights.

In the piece, which I strongly encourage you to read in its entirety, Edelman makes a few key points that run contra to the conventional wisdom (cough) on workplace sexual harassment prevention:

1. Mandatory sexual harassment training doesn't work. (Voluntary training appears to yield better outcomes.)

2. Most sexual harassment policies are designed to protect the company from lawsuits, not protect employees from harassment.

Mandatory sexual harassment training in company policies that protect the company is the conventional approach — and people who want to look like they care about preventing workplace sexual harassment often endorse mandatory training without understanding that the policies aren't victim-centered and that mandatory training can be counterproductive.

It's essentially the same problem as endorsing body cameras as a solution to police brutality: Sounds good in a vacuum and outside any real scrutiny, but they don't fucking work.

The problem, of course, is that what will work is something that's much more difficult to achieve than throwing together some bullshit harassment policy that discourages reporting and rarely results in anything resembling justice.

Writes Edelman (emphasis mine): "We need not just rules and procedures but a broad recognition that power and inequality make it easy for people at the top to abuse people lower in the hierarchy, and extremely difficult for those at the bottom to do anything about it. A culture free of harassment will require widespread respect for women and equal representation of women in leadership."

A culture free of harassment will require intersectional feminism.

It will require the practice of intersectional feminism, and the meaningful integration of all kinds of women in key leadership roles.

Symbolic diversity and equality do not work. To the absolute contrary, as Edelman writes: "We have become a symbolic civil rights society, in which symbols of diversity and equal opportunity often mask legal violations." That is the precise opposite of what we need.

Achieving what we need, meaningful diversity and equality, is going to be incredibly difficult. That is not a reason not to try. It is, instead, the most compelling reason why we must.

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What We Mean by "Believe Women"

"Believe Women" does not mean, and has never meant, that men accused of sexual harassment and/or assault should meet legal or professional consequences without investigation or adequate process.

People are having the same fucking problem with Believe Women as they do with Black Lives Matter. They are rejecting the obvious rhetorical structure that it's a plea for something as much as an argument for what is right and true (but is nevertheless not currently the prevailing view).

The reason we say Believe Women is because women are disbelieved as a default.

It's about changing our perspective; about not reflexively treating victims of sex crimes differently from victims of all other crimes, in a way that significantly disadvantages them and meaningfully advantages sexual predators.

It's about a critical realignment that puts the focus on justice for survivors rather than abetting abusers.

Victims, especially women, are regarded as liars by default. That must change.

That's what Believe Women is all about.

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🚨 Time to Make Noise to Save Net Neutrality

For nearly the entire year, I've been warning about the urgent threat to Net Neutrality posed by Donald Trump's appointed FCC chair, Ajit Pai, who routinely makes the mendacious argument that Net Neutrality is "bad for business" to justify eroding equal internet access.

The moment his threat could become reality has arrived.

Cecelia King at the New York Times: FCC Is Said to Plan Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules.

The Federal Communications Commission is preparing a full repeal of net neutrality rules that require broadband providers to give consumers equal access to all content on the internet, putting more power in the hands of those companies to dictate people's online experiences.

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the F.C.C., plans to reveal a sweeping proposal to scrap the net neutrality rules on Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the plan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are not public. The rules, created during the Obama administration, prohibit broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, or charging more for the delivery of certain internet content. The proposal will be presented in a December meeting of F.C.C. commissioners and is expected to pass in a 3-to-2 vote along party lines.

A rollback of net neutrality regulations would represent a significant victory for broadband and telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast and would amount to a strike against consumers. When the rules were passed in 2015, they underlined the importance of high-speed internet to the lives of Americans and the need to more strongly regulate the communications service like a utility, as essential as electricity and the telephone.

But under a repeal, companies like AT&T and Comcast may be able to charge people higher fees to access certain websites and online services. The companies may also be able to prioritize their own services while disadvantaging websites run by rivals.

...In addition, Mr. Pai plans to reverse a decision from the Obama administration that declared broadband be treated like a utility, the people said. That classification had opened the door to many more regulations for broadband providers.
This is just dreadful news.

As I have previously noted: "Net Neutrality is an access issue. Who has access to information, and what kinds of information. One of the most dangerous potential outcomes of subverting Net Neutrality is that media with the broadest potential audience — i.e. kyriarchy-upholding garbage, which makes money hand over fist — will be the most cheaply accessible, while specialized media — i.e. kyriarchy-challenging material, which struggles to turn a profit — will be the most expensive, since media producers invested in social justice don't tend to get rich from their work."

And as Shaker Ignatius Cheezburger noted in the comments of that piece: "The other concern being that if the ISP happens to endorse or support certain political or cultural views as a matter of corporate policy, that ISP can now selectively filter certain content for priority delivery that is in keeping with their views and other content that runs contrary to those views for lower priority delivery, or no delivery at all. For example, NARAL or Planned Parenthood suddenly finds its alerts and updates getting bounced from all of its members within the ClearChannel family. Not good. Not good at all."

Consider the many ways that people access political and/or organizing information: Websites, apps, social media, streaming services. All of these could be subject to reduced accessibility if Net Neutrality is rescinded.

That also means, if you haven't figured it out yet, that there could be major disruptions to a community like this one. My ability to continue to deliver information to my readership could be easily throttled by any ISP who decides they don't like what I'm saying. Your ability to continue to access that information could be easily thwarted by providers charging you exorbitant access fees.

Progressive online writers and activists could find ourselves with no way to make a living anymore.

That's not a bug; that's a feature.

MAKE SOME NOISE. This is our last chance.

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker eyeballsmccat: "Is there a question you wish people meeting you for the first time would ask? If so, what is it, and what would be your answer?"

I wish people meeting me for the first time would ask me what my preferred pronouns are. My answer would be she/her.

It's not because people are likely to misgender me, or ever have. I just wish that the question was so standard that it was asked of everyone.

I realize there will be people who roll their eyes and snort about "political correctness," but, seriously, I have a first name that has lots of different common nicknames — Liss, Lissa, Missy, Mel, Mellie — and probably 75% of the time I'm introduced to someone, they ask if I have a nickname I prefer, so I don't really think inquiring about preferred pronouns is really that big a stretch. Shrug.

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by ambivalent feelings about shiplap at best.

Recommended Reading:

Katherine Fugate: [Content Note: Domestic violence; child abuse; descriptions of violence] Nobody Would Have Been Surprised If I Had Died

Monica Roberts: [CN: Trans hatred and violence] Moni's 2017 TDOR Thoughts

Tim Rogers: [CN: Death; neglect] How Donald Trump's Fragile Ego Corrupted Puerto Rico's Death Toll

Andy Towle: A Growing Number of Men are Identifying as 'Mostly Straight' over 'Bisexual'

Sameer Rao: [CN: Racism; hostility to consent] How One Artist Turned a Microaggression Into Your New Favorite Game

Marykate Jasper: The New Wrinkle in Time Trailer Is Absolutely Stunning

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

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Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

* * *

Since this is Thanksgiving week in the U.S., please feel especially encouraged to share Thanksgiving dishes, in case anyone is hosting or bringing a dish and needs some good ideas!

Shaker GoldFishy shared an amazing recipe recently, and I am totally making it as our "stuffing" this year: Bacon Gorgonzola Pull Aparts. If you're someone who likes to see video of recipes being made, All Recipes posted a video here. YUMMMMMM!

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To the Women

[Content Note: Misogyny; sexual violence.]

Hello, Shaker women.

We are in the middle of a vicious misogynist backlash right now. And, on top of that, a tidal wave of news about sexual assault which brings with it a second tidal wave of rape apologia. And, on top of that, there are the fissures emerging between those of us with a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and abuse and people we thought were our allies but who are actually fine with some number of women being abused as the cost of enacting (other parts of) a progressive agenda.

And our sitting president is a confessed serial sex abuser.

And the Republican Party is working at every level — local, state, federal — to enact profoundly misogynist policy that denies the bodily autonomy of women et. al. and turns our bodies into government property.

And women are still obliged to encounter misogynist microaggressions every the fuck where we go. And street harassment. And being hit on when we're just trying to live our lives.

And women and girls (not exclusively) are still being sexually harassed and assaulted, even in this moment of awareness-raising.

And also there are still just a million shitty sexist jokes about women in virtually every bit of entertainment you might try to enjoy to take your mind off of all of the above.

It's a lot.

And it's enough to make many of us feel pretty worthless. Especially if we have survived trauma that left us struggling to feel that we have value.

If you are struggling to feel like you have worth as a woman in this world, that is okay.

If you are struggling to feel like you have worth as a woman in this world, you are not alone.

If you are struggling to feel like you have worth as a woman in this world, please know that you have value to me.

I see you. I see you.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the sofa, looking like a limp bag of fuzz
This is a pretty excellent exhibit of why Matilda's nickname is "Rags."

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

Open Wide...

We Resist: Day 305

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

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

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: I Can Also Walk and Chew Gum and Mueller Is Still Investigating.

David Nakamura at the Washington Post: Trump Puts North Korea Back on State Sponsors of Terrorism List to Escalate Pressure over nuclear Weapons. "Trump on Monday announced that his administration has re-designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terror, a move aimed at increasing pressure on Pyongyang a decade after the George W. Bush administration removed the rogue nation from the list. Trump made his decision public during a brief photo op at a Cabinet meeting, calling it 'a very critical step' that 'should've happened a long time ago.' ...Trump vowed that Pyongyang will face further sanctions in the near future and that this will be the 'highest level of sanctions by the time it's finished.'"

Cool. Everything is fine.

* * *

[Content Note: Environmental contamination; environmental racism and classism — covers entire section]

Oliver Milman at the Guardian: A Civil Rights Emergency: Justice, Clean Air, and Water in the Age of Trump. "The Trump administration's dismantling of environmental regulations has intensified a growing civil rights battle over the deadly burden of pollution on minorities and low-income people. Black, Latin[x], and disadvantaged people have long been disproportionately afflicted by toxins from industrial plants, cars, hazardous housing conditions, and other sources. But political leaders, academics and activists spoke of a growing urgency around the struggle for environmental justice as the Trump administration peels away rules designed to protect clean air and water. 'What we are seeing is the institutionalization of discrimination again, the thing we've fought for 40 years,' said Robert Bullard, an academic widely considered the father of the environmental justice movement."

Michael Hawthorne at the Chicago Tribune: U.S. Steel Dumps More Toxic Chromium Near Lake Michigan, Faces Lawsuit. "A review of online press releases shows neither state officials nor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency informed the public about [the malfunction of a wastewater treatment system] at the plant, part of a complex of steel mills that divides the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Portage. An EPA spokeswoman said Indiana officials didn't tell the agency about the spill until Tuesday morning, following inquiries from the Tribune. ...Unlike the previous spill, which occurred in April, U.S. Steel did not report the latest incident to the National Response Center, a warning system overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard to alert local authorities about oil spills and chemical releases, records show."

Ellee Achten at Rewire: The Fire Is out in West Virginia's 'Chemical Valley,' But Health Fears Remain. "The warehouse in south Parkersburg — owned by Intercontinental Import Export, Inc., also known as IEI Plastics — was full of plastic recycling, had been quickly engulfed in flames. Multiple explosions were reported. Residents from miles around watched the dark skies and smelled the acrid air. Many streets around the warehouse were closed. But two weeks later, the cause of the fire still remains unknown. What's most concerning for Way, and thousands of other residents in the affected area, is: What exactly burned? What fell from the sky and coated yards and roofs and cars? And what may have found its way into the water? ...An official report has yet to be released."

Sarah Sax at Vice News: Keystone Pipeline Oil Spill Could Be Worse Than We Thought. "TransCanada shut down a portion of its highly contested Keystone Pipeline, which transports oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries in the U.S., at 6 a.m. on Thursday after 210,000 gallons, or around 5,000 barrels, of oil spilled across South Dakota farmland. The type of oil in the pipeline, however, makes pinpointing the size of the spill more difficult than usual, worrying local environmental groups and landowners about its environmental effects. ...Kent Moeckly, a nearby landowner and member of the Dakota Rural Action Group, told VICE News he's concerned that the spill could be much larger though, in large part because the computers used to detect oil pressure drops don't always detect small leaks. 'TransCanada thought it was 200,000 gallons. What we found out working with TransCanada, it could very well be 600,000 gallons,' Moeckly said."

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[CN: Sexual assault and harassment; descriptions of sex abuse; rape apologia — covers entire section. Video may autoplay at first link.]

MJ Lee at CNN: Woman Says Franken Inappropriately Touched Her in 2010. "A woman says Sen. Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010, telling CNN that he grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair. It is the first allegation of improper touching by Franken, who is a Democrat, while he was in office. ...In a statement to CNN Sunday, Franken said he did not remember taking the photo with Menz and that he felt 'badly' that she felt disrespected. 'I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don't remember taking this picture,' Franken said. 'I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.'"

I tweeted this latest allegation against Franken this morning with two words of commentary: "So upsetting." The pushback was fast and furious. People howled at me that it was a Roger Stone hit job and demanded to know if I'd read the article. Yes, I did. Including the part where the accuser posted a Facebook comment in reply to her sister about how Franken molested her right after it happened. I guess I'm a big dum-dum because I don't believe that Stone colluded with this woman 7 years ago in preparation for this moment and instructed her to leave a Facebook comment viewable by friends only.

Here's the thing: It can simultaneously be true that Franken has done these things and that conservatives are making hay out of them. Just like it's simultaneously true that Roy Moore is a serial predator and that many progressives (some of whom don't otherwise give two shits about victims of sex abuse) are making hay out of them.

Politicizing assaults does not render null the veracity of the allegations. Period.

Ben Beaumont-Thomas at the Guardian: Russell Simmons Accused of Sexual Assault Alongside Brett Ratner. "Russell Simmons, the hip-hop mogul who co-founded Def Jam Recordings, has been accused of sexual assault amid new accusations against the Hollywood film producer and director Brett Ratner. Model Keri Claussen Khalighi alleges that in 1991, when she was 17, she was invited by Simmons and Ratner to Simmons' apartment to look at a music video the pair were working on. She says that Simmons tore off her clothes and attempted to [rape her]. 'I fought it wildly,' she told the LA Times, saying she eventually 'acquiesced.' She added: 'I looked over at Brett and said, 'Help me,' and I'll never forget the look on his face. In that moment, the realisation fell on me that they were in it together.' Ratner has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by actors including Olivia Munn and Ellen Page."

Sonaiya Kelley at the LA Times: Terry Crews Says Russell Simmons Asked Him to Give Target of Sexual Assault Allegations 'a Pass'. "Terry Crews on Sunday posted a screenshot of an email he said was from entrepreneur-producer Russell Simmons that urged the actor to give the target of his sexual-assault allegations a pass. ...A representative for Simmons could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday evening."

Sarah Jeong at the Verge: In Chatlogs, Celebrated Hacker and Activist Confesses Countless Sexual Assaults. "The Verge has corroborated six separate allegations of physical and sexual assault by Morgan Marquis-Boire, with four self-identified victims located in Marquis-Boire's home country of New Zealand. We also spoke to others in New Zealand, including former friends of Morgan Marquis-Boire, who say that this pattern of behavior was well-known in their community. ...Although Lila had explicitly asked him how many women he had raped, in all of their conversations, he never gave her a precise tally. 'I have drunkenly sexually assaulted or raped women — the exact number of which I am currently determining,' he admits in the chat log. In the PGP-encrypted email, he never uses the word 'rape,' but in referring to an 'inventory of my sins,' he writes, 'I don't have a number for you yet, but it's going to be worse than anything anyone has documented.'"

Mark Townsend at the Guardian: Harvey Weinstein Had Secret Hitlist of Names to Quash Sex Scandal. "The Observer has gained access to a secret hitlist of almost 100 prominent individuals targeted by Harvey Weinstein in an extraordinary attempt to discover what they knew about sexual misconduct claims against him and whether they were intending to go public. The previously undisclosed list contains a total of 91 actors, publicists, producers, financiers, and others working in the film industry, all of whom Weinstein allegedly identified as part of a strategy to prevent accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him. The names, apparently drawn up by Weinstein himself, were distributed to a team hired by the film producer to suppress claims that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women." I mean, that sounds an awful lot like a list of victims.

That former Oklahoma state senator was also Donald Trump's 2016 Oklahoma campaign chair.

Dominic Patten at Deadline: Jeffrey Tambor Exits Transparent After Sexual Harassment Allegations. "Facing two accusations of sexual harassment by members of the Transparent team that he has strongly denied, Jeffrey Tambor today has decided not to return to the Amazon series. ...While a stunner on one level, this move by Golden Globe winner Tambor comes as the show itself was seemingly gearing up to shuffle him off the show. As Deadline was first to report on November 14, since the first allegation against Tambor was made by his former assistant and transgender actress Van Barnes earlier this month, there have been discussions about writing the actor's transgender Maura character out of the show for the upcoming fifth season."

(That the show Transparent might carry on without the trans parent goes to show how much that show was about trans people in the first place!)

Dave Jamieson at the Huffington Post: What Housekeepers Endure to Clean Hotel Rooms. "Many of the stories that have hit front pages ― Weinstein, journalist Mark Halperin, comedian Louis C.K. ― center on powerful men who preyed on underlings or colleagues in hotel rooms ― a trend that would surprise no woman who's ever worked as a housekeeper. If famous A-list actresses must deal with unwanted advances in the privacy of a hotel suite, imagine the vulnerability of an immigrant woman cleaning the room alone, for close to minimum wage, plus tips. 'Frankly, I don't think much of the public understands what housekeepers go through just to clean these rooms and carry out the work,' said Maria Elena Durazo, a labor leader with the hospitality union Unite Here. For several years Durazo's union has advocated for housekeepers to be given handheld, wireless panic buttons that can alert hotel security when a worker feels threatened ― a sign of how dire it views the problem of sexual predation in the hotel industry."

Maura Judkis and Emily Heil at the Washington Post: Rape in the Storage Room; Groping at the Bar — Why Is the Restaurant Industry So Terrible for Women? "Women are vulnerable in just about every inch of a restaurant. Behind the bar. The hostess stands where patrons are greeted. Behind stoves and in front of dishwashers. From lewd comments to rape, sexual misconduct is, for many, simply part of the job. ...[I]ts perpetrators might just as easily be owners as lowly barbacks. The reasons are many, and they're complicated: Many kitchens are boys' clubs, dominated by machismo and flashing knives; many women rely on pleasing their male customers and managers for tips or good shifts; human resources departments might be nonexistent or toothless; and restaurant staffs are often hard-partying posses that blur professional lines."

* * *

If you're wondering if that is what prompted my earlier spleen-venting, the answer is yes.

Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: White House Officials Just Called Losing Your Health Insurance a Tax Break. "Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday that the president 'is not going to sign a bill that raises taxes on the middle class, period.' Unfortunately for Mulvaney, both the House and Senate tax bills would do just that, but he's now trying to spin millions of people losing their health insurance as them getting a tax break. ...[Mulvaney] said Sunday there is a 'benefit if the [individual mandate, a measure in the Affordable Care Act that requires individuals to be covered by health insurance] goes away' because it is a tax on middle class families. Marc Short, the White House Director of Legislative Affairs made the same argument on ABC's 'This Week' Sunday morning. Short says the mandate harms middle-income families most and applauds the Senate's decision to include it in their tax bill."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Laura Koran at CNN: Tillerson Rejects Criticism over State Department Management.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended his management of the State Department Monday, following a host of recent criticisms from members of congress, a diplomatic union, and — most recently — The New York Times Editorial Board.

"This department is performing extraordinarily well," Tillerson insisted to reporters at a photo opportunity. "And I take exception to anyone who would characterize it otherwise. It's just not true."

He made the comments in response to a question about low morale within the agency — an issue his own spokeswoman acknowledged on Friday. "Sure, there is a morale issue in this building," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert acknowledged Friday. "And that's why I say, you know, 'Folks, hang in there. We have a lot of work to be done. Please don't give up. Don't give up on this building. Don't give up on what America is doing. Don't give up on the importance of this job and career.' "

Responding Monday, Tillerson expressed confidence that his ongoing reorganization of the agency will eventually allay any concerns, saying, "the redesign is going to address all of that."
Oh, okay. Meanwhile, in an interview with April Ryan, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notes bluntly: "You cannot substitute tweeting for diplomacy." Indeed.

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

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Mueller Is Still Investigating

Breaking News: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still doing the job he was appointed to do. That is all this story says. That's (hopefully) a good thing, of course. But, once again, I find myself in the position of urging readers not to read more into any news item about Mueller's ongoing investigation than is actually there.

Anyway, here's the update from the investigation trail, care of Mike Levine at ABC News:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether [Donald] Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned.

In particular, Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter, according to a source who has not seen the specific request but was told about it.

Issued within the past month, the directive marks the special counsel's first records request to the Justice Department, and it means Mueller is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation.

...Mueller's investigators now seek not only communications between Justice Department officials themselves, but also any communications with White House counterparts, the source said. Before this request, investigators asked former senior Justice Department officials for information from their time at the department, ABC News was told.

The latest move suggests the Special Counsel is still actively digging into, among other matters, whether Trump or any other administration official improperly tried to influence an ongoing investigation.
Yep. Exactly so. The latest move suggests the Special Counsel is still doing precisely with what he was tasked. We can't discern anything more than that about the investigation.

The optimist's view: This report is reassuring, as it seems as though Mueller is being very methodical and deliberate while also moving as quickly as he can.

The cynic's view: This report is designed to reassure us that something meaningful is still underway, and gives The Resistance a basket in which to put its hope for accountability eggs, thus deterring civil unrest while Trump and the Republican Party usher in authoritarian rule.

No matter your position, optimistic or cynical, we all need to be concerned about how, the longer this investigation drags on, the worse the best possible outcome gets. Even if Mueller's investigation results in Trump's removal (or resignation) from office somewhere down the road, which is still incredibly unlikely, how much irreversible damage will be done in the interim, with a vice-president and his entire party positioned to protect every erosion of our norms and liberties?

We are running out of time. If we already haven't.

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I Can Also Walk and Chew Gum

To be clear: White people who yell at anyone else talking about Donald Trump's white supremacy are doing his work for him. Stop.

And let's be frank: If I don't qualify as someone who can multitask on Trump, then nobody does.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance

[Content Note: Transphobia; violence; neglect; sexual assault; self-harm.]

image of a candle burning at my home this morning
A candle burns at Shakes Manor.

Today marks the 19th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is "set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the 'Remembering Our Dead' web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester's murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved."

Transgender Europe's Trans Murder Monitoring Project reports: "In the past 12 months, 325 trans and gender-diverse people were reported murdered globally. Of the reported killings worldwide, migrants and sex workers make up the majority of victims." (Additional information on the project here.)

The official TDOR website remembers many of those people, sharing their names as available. So many of the victims are simply remembered as "Name Unknown."

Every year I quote this and this year will be no different, because it is so important: Julia Serano, a trans activist and author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, has noted that transphobia kills not just by violent action, but apathetic inaction.
Trans people are often targeted for violence because their gender presentation, appearance and/or anatomy falls outside the norms of what is considered acceptable for a woman or man. A large percentage of trans people who are killed [work in the sex trade], and their murders often go unreported or underreported due to the public presumption that those engaged in sex work are not deserving of attention or somehow had it coming to them.

Some trans people are killed as the result of being denied medical services specifically because of their trans status, for example, Tyra Hunter, a transsexual woman who died in 1995 after being in a car accident. EMTs who arrived on the scene stopped providing her with medical care—and instead laughed and made slurs at her—upon discovering that she had male genitals.
The 2001 documentary Southern Comfort details the last year in the life of Robert Eads, who died of ovarian cancer after two dozen doctors refused him treatment.

That's the kind of hate crime that doesn't make headlines. Or even federal hate crimes statistics.

Just last week, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jules Williams, a transgender woman who "suffered sexual and physical assault and harassment multiple times while detained at the Allegheny County Jail between 2015 and 2017 in Pittsburgh. Even though she is a woman, which the state recognizes on her identification card, Ms. Williams was processed and incarcerated with men."

Her harrowing case is indicative of the vile treatment of trans inmates in civilian prisons, military prisons, and immigration detention centers.

Many of them lose, or take, their lives as a result of this systemic hostility.

We remember all the victims of violence and apathy and institutional transphobia today.

A day that I wish, that we all wish, didn't have to exist at all.

I hate that there are trans people who die because of hatred and neglect and ostracization, and I hate there are people who have to document the most violent of these deaths, committed to an important project the best possible result of which would be that it ends because we don't need it anymore. Because there are no more deaths to document.

In 2014, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, the founder of TDOR, wrote movingly here about the history and import of the day. About why we need it still.

No oppression has ever been eradicated by a careful, polite, diligent deference to pretending it doesn't exist. That is the importance of a day of remembrance.

No oppression has ever been eradicated without meaningful inclusion and visibility, either, which slowly chips away at the privilege that underwrites marginalization. That is the importance of vigilance in community every day of the year.

* * *

I recognize that trans people have all kinds of different feelings about the Day of Remembrance, and if you're someone who needs to express distress about it, please know you have a space to do that here.

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