Open Thread

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

[Note: Liss is currently on hiatus for health reasons. There will be an Open Thread scheduled every Monday while she is away.]

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Open Thread

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

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Taking a Break

As most of you know, it's been a rough couple of years for me personally, on top of the stuff we talk about here every day, and my health has not been great.

I have been dealing with — and trying to get to the bottom of — intermittent vertigo for several years now, and cluster headaches for the past year. I've been to countless doctors' appointments, ended up in the ER, haven't been able to drive for so long that we finally just sold my car, and have taken some pretty bad spills.

Many days, I am writing with excruciating pain from the cluster headaches, and I've not wanted to let any of it become debilitating, but it's reached the point where it just is, no matter what I want.

I was planning to take an extended break in August, because that tends to be the quietest news month of the year — not that there is any quiet time for news in the Trump Era. But I've hit a wall, so I'm going to have to move that date up.

Starting tonight, I'm going to take a long break with an eye toward returning September 3.

I am hoping that some extended time off will lead to improvements, or help with isolating the cause of one or both ailments, or I don't even know what, to be honest. I'm just hoping that something gives.

If things don't improve, I will let you know.

I apologize that I won't be around to cover the primary for awhile, including the Democratic debates later this month, or anything else that happens in the interim, for that matter, but I need to take care of myself.

While I'm away, I will schedule a weekly Open Thread each Monday, which the other mods have kindly offered to moderate, so you'll still have space to meet and talk.

See you as soon as I can.

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What I'm Reading Now

A thread for sharing what we're currently reading: Fiction, nonfiction, novels, short stories, historical fiction, biographies, romance, fanfic, comic books, graphic novels, longform journalism, research papers, stuff for pleasure, stuff for work, whatever.

Still working on what I was reading last time: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. I'm not getting through it quickly, in part because I just haven't had the energy to read for pleasure, and, yes, I am aware of the implicit irony there.

What are you reading now?

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National Press Largely Fails to Cover Pro-Immigrant Protests

[Content Note: Nativism.]

Earlier this month, I noted the lack of national coverage of protests around the U.S. against the Trump Regime's immigration horrors. There were lots of local news stories, but a dearth of coverage in national media outlets, including cable news.

I noted at the time: "The next time you see someone snorting about how people in the U.S. aren't 'out in the streets,' tell them that people are out in the streets. The more urgent question is why our national press doesn't cover it."

Last weekend, Lights for Liberty organized more than 700 events and/or vigils across the nation, often in coalition with local organizers like Pennsylvania's Shut Down Berks Coalition or national groups like Never Again Action, in protest of Donald Trump's vile nativist agenda.

More than 700 protests.

And virtually all of the news coverage is, once again, local media. The biggest story I could find was this item in USA Today, which was still just a piece on the local D.C. vigil, mentioning only in passing that it was part of nationwide protests numbering in the hundreds.

Today, Never Again Action is "shutting down every entry point to the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that is responsible for this terror against the immigrant community."

This should be front-page news. It should be leading the headlines on cable networks. Instead, I only know about it at all because I'm on Twitter and have friends on Twitter who are following these actions, too.

Maybe you are only hearing about it here for the first time. That shouldn't be the case.

There are people around this country who are writing who are tweeting who are chanting who are marching in solidarity with migrants and refugees being detained in deplorable conditions at facilities at the southern border and elsewhere; who are resisting this regime's heinous nativist policies of purposeful malice. And the political press is virtually silent.

We are meant instead to be debating whether Donald Trump is really a racist.

There could be no more insulting obfuscation and distraction as people demand justice and relief from his white supremacist agenda.

Look for stories in your local news. Share them. Raise awareness of this resistance. Find ways to participate, if you are able and feel safe doing so.

If the national press won't make any noise, then we must.

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World of Shakescraft

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[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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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound lying at the top of the stairs, looking at me, with one ear poking up

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 908

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: Nancy Pelosi, Please Do Something Real and Feeling the Heat and Primarily Speaking.

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

The President of the United States tweeted this today: "'Billionaire Tech Investor Peter Thiel believes Google should be investigated for treason. He accuses Google of working with the Chinese Government.' @foxandfriends A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!" Trump has previously accused Google, among others, of news- and election-rigging against him, so now announcing his administration "will take a look" at investigating them for treason is extremely chilling.

Caitlyn Byrd at the Post and Courier: Mark Sanford, SC Republican, Former U.S. Rep, Considers Presidential Run Against Trump. "Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina congressman ousted from office after [Donald] Trump urged voters to reject him, is considering a run for president. Sanford, in an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Post and Courier, confirmed he will take the next month to formulate whether he will mount a potential run against Trump as a way of pushing a national debate about America's mounting debt, deficit, and government spending. He would run as a Republican." Oh for fuck's sake.

Danielle McLean at ThinkProgress: Democrats Sue over a Florida Law That Puts Trump's Name Ahead of Rivals on the 2020 Ballot. "The Democratic Party and civil rights groups in Florida are suing over a number of state laws meant to suppress the votes of people of color and give Republicans an edge in the state, which has had numerous whisker-close elections in its recent past. This latest legal challenge, filed by Florida voters and several Democratic groups last year at U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, seeks to end a nearly 70-year-old law mandating that candidates belonging to the governor's political party be listed first on the ballot. A four-day federal court trial began in the case on Monday."

[Content Note: Police brutality; death; racism] Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett at the Washington Post: Justice Department Will Not Charge Police in Connection with Eric Garner's Death.
The Justice Department will not bring federal charges against any police officers involved in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man whose recorded takedown in New York in 2014 helped coin a rallying cry for those concerned about law enforcement's treatment of minorities, two people familiar with the matter said.

For Garner's supporters, the decision is a disappointing — albeit long expected — end to a case that had languished for years as various components of the Justice Department disagreed about what to do.

At a news conference Tuesday, Gwen Carr said the Justice Department had "failed us," and called on the New York City police commissioner to fire the officer who was caught on video wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck before he died.

"Five years ago, my son said, 'I can't breathe' 11 times, and today we can't breathe, because they have let us down," Carr said.
Rage. Seethe. Sob.

[CN: War on agency; anti-choicery] AP at the Guardian: Trump Administration to Ban Abortion Referrals at Taxpayer-Funded Clinics. "Taxpayer-funded family planning clinics must stop referring women for abortions immediately, the Trump administration has announced, declaring it will begin enforcing a new regulation hailed by religious conservatives and denounced by medical organizations and women's rights groups. The head of a national umbrella group representing the clinics said the Republican administration is following 'an ideological agenda' that could disrupt basic health care for many low-income women." FUCKING GODDAMMIT.

* * *

[Content Note: Nativism; abuse. Covers entire section.]

Ginger Thompson at ProPublica: A Border Patrol Agent Reveals What It's Really Like to Guard Migrant Children. "Referring back to the grim conditions inside the Border Patrol holding centers, [the Border Patrol agent] said: 'Somewhere down the line people just accepted what's going on as normal. That includes the people responsible for fixing the problems.' ...Most of his colleagues, he said, fall into one of two camps. There are the 'law-and-order types' who see the immigrants in their custody, as, first and foremost, criminals. Then, he said, there are those who are 'just tired of all the chaos' of a broken immigration system and 'see no end in sight.'"

Kate Morrissey of the San Diego Union-Tribune at Stars and Stripes: Customs and Border Protection Denies Marine Corps Veteran Entry for Scheduled Citizenship Interview. "A deported Marine Corps veteran who has been unable to come back to the U.S. for more than a decade was denied entry to the country Monday morning when he asked to be let in for a scheduled citizenship interview. Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for 'parole' to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for 'humanitarian or significant public benefit' reasons." He was denied entry.

This is hell on earth.

* * *

I'll wrap it up with some good news...

[CN: Death penalty] Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg at the Appeal: Philadelphia D.A. Asks Court to Declare Death Penalty System Unconstitutional.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner — who vowed as a candidate not to seek the death penalty — has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to declare that the sentence, as applied, violates the state's Constitution.

"Because of the arbitrary manner in which it has been applied, the death penalty violates our state Constitution's prohibition against cruel punishments," states a brief filed by Krasner's office tonight in the case Jermont Cox v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

"It really is not about the worst offenders," Krasner told The Appeal. "It really is about poverty. It really is about race."

The new brief is part of a broader push that started last August, when lawyers representing Cox and another death row prisoner, Kevin Marinelli, asked the state Supreme Court to weigh in on Pennsylvania's use of the death penalty.

"Pennsylvania administers a system of capital punishment that is replete with error, a national outlier in its design, and a mirror for the inequities and prejudices that plague American society," lawyers for Cox and Marinelli wrote to the court in February.
Fingers crossed that another state will soon outlaw the death penalty.

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

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Good Things

image that is a nondescript light, glimmery background on which I've added text reading 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.

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Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me wearing a large foam finger pointed upward at 'Let's do this thing,' 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!

I'm going to start off with some cute stuff today, because who doesn't need some cute stuff, right?!

1. Outtakes of Senator Cory Booker recording messages to his supporters:

[Video Description: Various clips of Booker looking into the camera and stumbling over his words, stammering and making funny expressions and laughing.]

I especially like that big belly laugh at 0:30!

2. Senator Elizabeth Warren had some fun in Philly, and the really cute part is that photo of her shaking hands with a little girl who is looking very serious about the opportunity to speak to a presidential candidate! OMG my heart.

3. Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro melted my heart by refusing to hold a baby. Yes, you read that right! He didn't want to get the baby sick after he'd been shaking hands all day. COME ON. That's too sweet!

I hope he's as good a dad as that makes me think he must be!

* * *

And now to the decidedly less cute news...

[Content Note: Nativism; racism] I probably haven't read all 200 candidates' responses to Donald Trump's reprehensible racism directed at sitting members of Congress, but the best of the ones I've seen was Julian Castro's, for its needed and deserved bluntness: "Everybody knows that the president acts like a white supremacist. He is a racist; he's made that clear on so many different occasions. ...The question is: What are we as Americans going to do about this?"

Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders tied for the worst responses.

Although Biden at least did say plainly that Trump's statements were "a flat, racist attack," he then suggested that Trump "should go home." How helpful! I bet he'll definitely do that!

Sanders meanwhile just decided to use it as a fundraising opportunity, because of course he did. His tweet contains a donation link and text reading: "I've said all along that Trump is a racist. He is proving that point yet again by attacking Reps. @IlhanMN, @RashidaTlaib, @AyannaPressley, and @AOC. Split a contribution between their campaigns and ours to send a message that his racism will not stand."

Split a contribution between their campaigns and ours. JFC.

* * *

Senator Kamala Harris is making the case that issues affecting women of color are universal issues about which we should all care:
When Kamala Harris thinks about the range of issues that impact women of color — the gender pay gap, the lack of access to affordable housing, and America's high maternal mortality rate for black mothers, among other things — the California senator says she sees universal concerns over the economy, home ownership, and healthcare.

It's a point Harris plans to make Tuesday in Davenport when she joins several women of color at a round-table co-hosted by a local chapter of LULAC, the nation's oldest Latino civil rights organization.

"These are issues that we should all care about," the Democratic presidential candidate told the Des Moines Register. "Where we, as a nation, stand on these issues is a reflection of our collective identity."

..."I really credit the leaders of Iowa for understanding that regardless of what might be the majority population or demographics of the state, that anything that impacts anyone impacts all of us," she said.
[CN: Nativism] Senator Elizabeth Warren is tweeting about Trump's move to end asylum for Central Americans: "This is another targeted, xenophobic attack from the Trump administration. As president, I'll reinstate TPS designations and Deferred Enforced Departure to protect those at risk back in their home countries, including migrants from Central America."

Senator Cory Booker is also tweeting about that move, noting: "This is as illegal as it is immoral." [CN: Violence] He's also remembering Sadie Roberts-Joseph, the Baton Rouge civil rights leader who was found murdered: "Sadie Roberts-Joseph was a pillar of the Baton Rouge community as a civil rights leader and activist who will be missed by so many. I hope and pray for swift justice. As we mourn her loss we must honor her life by continuing her work."

Joe Biden says he'll challenge Trump to some push-ups: "'If [Donald] Trump makes of fun of his age or questions his mental state during a debate, Joe Biden has a response at the ready: He'll challenge him to do push-ups on stage,' the Washington Post reports. Said Biden: 'I'd say, 'C'mon Donald, c'mon man. How many push-ups do you want to do here, pal?' I mean, jokingly. ...C'mon, run with me, man.'" NOPE.

Biden also says of Nancy Pelosi, who inexplicably believes that a meaningless resolution condemning Trump's racism is enough while he's torturing children in concentration camps: "I think she's doing a masterful job. I have great respect for her." Noted.

[CN: Racism; police brutality] The white police officer who fatally shot a Black man last month in Mayor Pete Buttigieg's town of South Bend, Indiana, has quit his job, with the police union president attributing the resignation to "job-related stress, a lawsuit, and national media attention. He said 'hateful things said on social media have been difficult' for the officer and his family. Mills said the 'fights' over the killing are 'just too much for Sgt. O'Neill and his family to undertake right now,' and added: 'Resigning will allow him to focus on these challenges, as well as assist his wife with their three children.'" I would like to know if Buttigieg had any role in orchestrating O'Neill's resignation.

In fundraising news, Beto O'Rourke's fundraising is falling off, and Castro "had the highest rate of donations under $200 of any 2020 candidate. No PAC money, no corporate PAC or lobbyist money — this campaign is driven by grassroots support."

John Delaney is still definitely running for president.

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

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Feeling the Heat

[Content Note: Climate crisis.]

This sobering headline is as blunt as the subject deserves: Climate Change Will Kill Us with Heat If Nothing Is Done to Fix It, Study Says.

Naturally, anyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention to the increasingly urgent warnings from climate scientists isn't shocked by that headline, but if you're nonetheless horrified by it, you're certainly not alone. The findings of this latest study are dire.

The number of dangerously hot days per year will skyrocket this century if little or nothing is done about climate change, putting millions of Americans at risk.

Those are the findings released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists in their report, "Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days."

The group says climate change is already manifesting itself in the form of deadlier storms, rising sea levels, droughts, wildfires, and floods, but the heat extremes forecast in their analysis of the rest of the 21st Century shows an intensity of heat that will affect the daily lives of more Americans than ever before.

..."We must act decisively to cut heat-trapping emissions to defend ourselves against a gravely hot future," the group warns. "By cutting emissions quickly and deeply, we can slow global warming and limit the increase in the number of extremely hot days."

When the heat index is above 90, outdoor workers are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Over 100 degrees, children, the elderly, and pregnant women are at risk. Above 105, anyone could be at risk of heat-related illness or death from prolonged exposure, according to the study.

If no action is taken to address climate change, broad swaths of the United States will see extreme heat conditions measured in weeks or months rather than days by the middle of the century, the study found.
There is much more at the link.

Obviously, people who can't afford air conditioning and/or people with illnesses or disabilities that make them more vulnerable to heat, in addition to children and elderly people, will be at higher risk for heat-related death.

Which, I fear, is precisely the point.

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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 lattendicht: "Do you collect anything? Is it more of a casual 'I have this pile of pens because I always seem to come home from work with one in my pocket/hair/bag' collection, or are you a on-purpose collector of a particular category?"

Not really. Once I get too many of a thing that I can use and/or appreciate (e.g. so many of an item designed to display that I can't display all of them), I start culling.

There are a bunch of reasons for that. Among them: I work at home and can't focus if my workspace is cluttered, so I am keen to keep a tidy home; I tend to be messier and less organized the more stuff I have; I tend to value more the things I have if I have fewer things; when I used to collect things as a kid, I would become obsessive about it and it would turn into a chore getting all the things.

When I was in my 20s, a flood destroyed an extensive and somewhat valuable music magazine collection I had been curating for about a decade. It was, on the one hand, devastating — and, on the other hand, freeing. The relief I felt at letting go of the compulsion the collection had become let me know that collecting wasn't for me. I can't do it halfway.

Know thyself, and all that.

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Monday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by succulents.

Recommended Reading:

Ginger Thompson at ProPublica: [Content Note: Intimidation] Border Patrol Official Circulates Article That Deems Our Reporting on Secret Facebook Group a Threat

Garrett M. Graff at Politico: [CN: Nativism; abuse] The Border Patrol Hits a Breaking Point

(I linked the previous piece in today's We Resist thread, but it's important enough that I wanted to include it here, too, for anyone who may have missed it.)

Shay Stewart-Bouley at Black Girl in Maine: [Content Note: White supremacy; harassment; hostility to consent] An Incident Became a Story No One Needed…and One That Harms Me

Jon Porter at the Verge: [CN: Homophobia; torture] Alan Turing Is the Face of UK's New £50 Note

Elyse Dupre at E News: Captain Marvel's Lashana Lynch Makes History with 007 Role for Bond 25

Kristy Puchko at Pajiba has further details on Lynch's role.

Kaiser at Celebitchy: Serena Williams Lost in the Wimbledon Final, Still Stands Up for Equality

Staff at the BBC: Freckles the Manta Ray 'Doing Well' After Being Freed from Hooks (Watch the video there, if you can. It's terrific.)

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

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Nancy Pelosi, Please Do Something Real

I am utterly beyond the beyond with this nonsense:

House Democrats are drafting a resolution to condemn President Donald Trump's racist tweets against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other high-profile freshman congresswomen, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday.

..."This morning, the President doubled down on his attacks on our four colleagues suggesting they apologize to him," Pelosi wrote to House Democrats. "Let me be clear, our caucus will continue to forcefully respond to these disgusting attacks."
Continue to forcefully respond? Democratic leadership hasn't even begun to forcefully respond yet.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and freshman Rep. Tom Malinowksi (D-N.J.), who was born in Poland, will draft the resolution, according to Pelosi. It's unclear when the House will vote on the measure and the speaker did not specify in her letter.

"One step at a time," a senior Democratic aide said when asked about vote timing.
Oh for fuck's sake.

As I noted on Twitter, a resolution is aggressively inadequate.

Also, Pelosi is urging Republicans to sign the resolution. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO SIGN IT, NANCY.

We are long past the point at which it's enough baiting to "prove" (like it wasn't already manifestly evident) that Republicans are fully on board with every ounce of Trump's malice and depravity.

We have reached the point at which justifying symbolic actions by claiming to be gathering such proof is nothing more than an excuse for not doing something meaningful.

Trump is torturing people, including children, in concentration camps. A strongly-worded letter ain't gonna fucking cut it!

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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.

I thought for sure I had mentioned Schitt's Creek here before, but I guess it only seemed like I must have since I recommend it to anyone who will listen, lol.

image of the Rose family, from Schitt's Creek: Annie Murphy as Alexis; Eugene Levy as Johnny; Catherine O'Hara as Moira; and Dan Levy as David

I love this show abundantly, for a dozen different reasons, not least of which because Dan Levy imagines Schitt's Creek as a place where being gay and feminist and anti-racist is the norm, which not only envisions a world the way this one should (and could) be, but allows him to tell stories where the characters must face their own flaws and fears and wounds, which invites us to scrutinize our own.

Because characters' baked-in failings provide the dramatic tension, rather than conjured bigotry, we aren't given the easy comfort of patting ourselves on the backs for being better than manufactured monsters. Instead, we see demons that may look frighteningly familiar.

It's a comedy. It's a deeply sophisticated one.

The show, for those unfamiliar, is basically a reverse Beverly Hillbillies, in which a wealthy family loses their money and ends up (for reasons I won't spoil) living in a rural town called Schitt's Creek. Hilarity ensues.

But not just hilarity. And over the seasons, the spectacularly unlovable characters (at first) have grown in a most organic, beautiful way into characters that we adore, despite still being decidedly imperfect, as are we all.

I got behind for a minute, and just finished Season 4 on Netflix, and it was SO FUCKING GOOD.

Indeed, it was simply the best.


Anyway! What are you watching these days?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt and Dudley the Greyhound napping on the sofa, facing opposite directions, she on her stomach and he on his back, their bums pressed together
And I seem to find the happiness I seek,
When we're zonked together napping, cheek to cheek...

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 907

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 last week and earlier today by me: The Trump Revisionism Begins and Recommended Reading and Trump Is a F#@king Racist, Part One Zillion in an Endless Series and Primarily Speaking.

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

[Content Note: Racism; nativism; abuse. Covers entire section.]

Martin Pengelly and Jamiles Lartey at the Guardian: Republicans Silent as Trump Renews Racist Attack on Congresswomen.
In the face of international condemnation — but very little comment from his own party — Donald Trump returned to the offensive against four Democratic congresswoman he targeted with racial invective on Sunday.

True to provocative form, the president accused the Democrats of "spewing" "racist hatred" — precisely the offence of which he has been widely accused.

In a tweet early on Monday, the president wrote: "When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel, and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them [and] their horrible [and] disgusting actions!"

He added: "If Democrats want to unite around the foul language [and] racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular [and] unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S."

The tweets reflected others Trump sent late on Sunday amid the storm created by his initial demand that the unnamed congresswomen should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime[-]infested places from which they came."
It's quite honestly not even worth remarking upon that his party refuses to condemn him. They aren't merely silent; many of them are openly defending him.

Senator Lindsey Graham in particular has been eagerly defending Trump's nativist malice. Kevin Fitzpatrick at Vanity Fair: Lindsey Graham: "I Don't Care" If Migrants "Stay in These Facilities for 400 Days."
Speaking with Sunday Morning Futures host Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network, Senator Lindsey Graham vehemently disagreed with humanitarian concerns raised by Vice President Mike Pence's recent tour of a migrant detention facility in Texas. "I don't care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days, we're not going to let those men go that I saw," said Graham. "It would be dangerous."

Graham was referring to now-viral footage of Pence's tour, which saw the vice president blithely overlooking a fenced room filled to capacity with migrants protesting unsanitary conditions. Pence subsequently claimed over Twitter that the men "were in a temporary holding area because Democrats in Congress have refused to fund additional bed space," and derided CNN for allegedly "ignoring the excellent care being provided to families and children" in a separate facility.
This is what both Graham and Pence are defending:

That is an image of a concentration camp.

Garrett M. Graff at Politico: The Border Patrol Hits a Breaking Point. "The problems underlying CPB's almost theatrical failures trace all the way back to its creation amid the post-9/11 reorganization of the Department of Homeland Security and have been exacerbated by a longstanding failure of leadership that extends up to both Congress and the White House and has lasted through three administrations. Both the modern Border Patrol and its parent CBP have been plagued by poor leadership and management at all levels, and by recruiting challenges that have left them with a subpar, overstressed workforce and a long-running toxic culture." This is a must-read.

Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Trump Administration Files Regulation That Would All but End Asylum for Non-Mexican Migrants.
The Trump administration published an interim final rule on the federal register Monday further that effectively ends asylum protections for Central American migrants. Under the rule, migrants — including unaccompanied minors — who travel through Mexico without first applying for protection in a “safe third country” are ineligible for asylum in the United States.

The majority of people who claim asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border are from Central American countries in its Northern Triangle region, including Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Migrants from these countries routinely flee gangs, political unrest, and domestic violence. Traveling by foot or bus through Mexico is the only viable way they can receive asylum protections in the United States.

"It would end asylum for Central Americans," Ur Jaddou, former chief counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told Buzzfeed News last month, when the rule was under consideration. It's not just Central Americans who will be impacted by this new rule, so too will the thousands of migrants from Cuba, Venezuela, and countries in Africa who apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, Trump is still thrashing over having been thwarted (for now) from including a nativist citizenship question on the census. Hans Nichols, Kayla Tausche, and Hallie Jackson at NBC News: Trump Weighs Ousting Commerce Chief Wilbur Ross After Census Defeat. "Donald Trump has told aides and allies that he is considering removing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after a stinging Supreme Court defeat on adding a citizenship question to the census, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations. ...[S]ome White House officials expect Ross to be the next Cabinet secretary to depart, possibly as soon as this summer, according to advisers and officials."

* * *

Unlike Ross, Trump is still keen on Mick Mulvaney, to our lasting misfortune. Seung Min Kim, Lisa Rein, Josh Dawsey, and Erica Werner at the Washington Post: 'His Own Fiefdom': Mulvaney Builds 'an Empire for the Right Wing' as Trump's Chief of Staff. "[Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is] a former tea party lawmaker who has built what one senior administration official called 'his own fiefdom' centered on pushing conservative policies — while mostly steering clear of the Trump-related pitfalls that tripped up his predecessors by employing a 'Let Trump be Trump' ethos. ...Mulvaney has focused much of his energy on creating a new White House power center revolving around the long-dormant Domestic Policy Council and encompassing broad swaths of the administration. One White House official described Mulvaney as 'building an empire for the right wing.'" Shiver.

[CN: War on agency; misogyny] Jessica Mason Pieklo at Rewire.News: Republicans Get Another Win in Their Fight to Gut Title X. "The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled the Trump administration's domestic 'gag rule,' which bans federal family planning dollars from going to health-care providers who perform abortions or refer patients for abortion services, can take effect everywhere but the state of Maryland. The ruling jeopardizes comprehensive reproductive health-care access for nearly 4 million people. 'This is devastating news for the millions of people who rely on Title X for cancer screenings, HIV tests, affordable birth control, and other critical primary and preventive care,' Dr. Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood Federation of America's president and CEO, said in a statement following the ruling."

[CN: Gun violence] Jamie Ross at the Daily Beast: Tougher Gun Laws Mean Fewer U.S. Kids Die, Study Shows. "A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics shows that children who live in states with strict firearms laws are less likely to die from gun violence than those in states with more lax restrictions. The researchers found that the stricter the state's gun laws, the lower the risk of children dying." Unfortunately, the federal government and most state governments are currently in the stranglehold of the death cult known as the Republican Party.

Nicole Lee at Engadget: The Amazon Prime Day Strike Could Be a Turning Point for Workers' Rights. "Today, Amazon will start its fifth annual Prime Day, which has been expanded to 48 hours this year. Designed to enlist (and keep) Prime members, it is the company's biggest shopping event of the year — on the same level as Black Friday — with extensive discounts and deals across the entire site. At a time when Amazon would likely prefer that all its employees hunker down to meet increased demand, a group of warehouse workers in Shakopee, Minnesota are going on strike. It isn't the first time the workers in Shakopee have raised their concerns. But it will be the first major work stoppage event for Amazon in the U.S. and could be a harbinger of things to come."

[CN: Climate change; flooding; displacement] Kyla Mandel at ThinkProgress: Water on Water on Water: Why Tropical Storm Barry Is Already Devastating Louisiana. "With half-a-foot of rain already unleashed on New Orleans, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, warning, 'No one should take this storm lightly.' As Barry moves inland, it's expected to impact other areas in Louisiana such as Baton Rouge and Shreveport, as well as cities in Alabama and Mississippi. But with the storm only expected to become a hurricane on Saturday, why is it already so destructive? It has a lot to do with climate change, and specifically, with just how wet the past year has been for the United States." That item is a couple of days old now, but water/flooding still remains the greatest threat.

[CN: Climate change; flooding; displacement; death] Staff at the BBC: Monsoon Floods Displace Millions in India. "More than three million people have been displaced across north and north-eastern India amid monsoon rain that has cost lives and destroyed homes. Storms and floods have ripped through areas of Nepal, Bangladesh, and India, killing more than 130 people. At least 67 people lost their lives in Nepal in torrential rains, police there said on Monday. Thirty people were reported missing while 38 were injured, Nepalese police added. Heavy rains also caused deaths in Bangladesh, including in overcrowded Rohingya refugee camps. More bad weather is expected in the coming days."

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

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Because This Is (Still) Making Me Laugh

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Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me looking unenthusiastic, standing next to a giant purple F, 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!

[Content Note: Nativism; racism; misogyny; othering] Former HUD Secretary and immigration reform leader Julián Castro came for Donald Trump over his racist tweets about congresswomen of color:

...four Congresswomen should go back home, he said. [crowd boos] You know, this isn't the first time that we've seen this in our country. "Go back to Mexico," they said. "Go back to Africa," they said. "No Irish need apply," they said. "The Chinese are excluded," they said. Throughout the generations, there have been people who build their political careers on hate and division and fear and paranoia and making people "the other." We are not gonna do that; we're gonna be about everybody in this country, and America for all people that believe in basic compassion and humanity and respect. [crowd cheers] That's the kind of America that we're gonna build.
I'm so glad he's in this presidential race.

* * *

[CN: Homophobia] Over the weekend, the liberal magazine The New Republic, which has been absolute garbage for years, published a profoundly homophobia piece about Mayor Pete Buttigeg. It was penned by a gay man, but nonetheless used grossly homophobic language to talk about what the author views as Buttigieg's unfitness for the presidency.

After massive pushback, the piece was eventually taken down with a brief note from the editor reading: "Dale Peck’s post 'My Mayor Pete Problem' has been removed from the site, in response to criticism of the piece's inappropriate and invasive content. We regret its publication." Invasive content? Okay. What meaningless drivel.

Lots of people have made the case in good faith that Buttigieg is not yet qualified for the presidency without engaging in homophobic trash. It's not even a particularly controversial position, given Buttigieg's relative inexperience. Indeed, it's so commonplace that one imagines some avaristic desire to make a pretty banal case "sexier" is the answer to the widely asked question of how TNR's editors ever let that hateful codswallop reach publication. Revolting.

* * *

Joe Biden is rolling out his healthcare plan, which is basically Obamacare 2.0: "Biden today will unveil a health plan that's intended to preserve the most popular parts of Obamacare — from Medicaid expansion to protections for patients with preexisting conditions — and build on them with a new government-run public insurance option." Meanwhile, Biden's presidential run means his cancer initiative is closing down, due to the potential of conflicts of interest if he wins the presidency. Well shit.

Senator Cory Booker has introduced a new plan "to expand access to high-quality, affordable long-term care, and to empower the workers who provide it." His complete plan for "Bringing Dignity and Choice to Long-Term Care" would: 1. Expand eligibility for long-term services and supports to every low and middle-income American and give everyone the choice to live at home; 2. Pay, train, and empower care workers as the essential workforce that they are; 3. Support family caregivers; and 4. Finance the new costs associated with the expansion of Medicaid LTSS eligibility and workforce standards for care workers entirely by the federal government.

Senator Kamala Harris will be introducing a National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: "It's time we changed the way we value domestic work in America. Today I'm introducing the first ever National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to guarantee domestic workers across our country the dignity, benefits, and legal protections they deserve." (The text was not yet available at the time of publishing this post.)

Harris is also the focus of a lengthy profile in the New Yorker, which I found in turn fascinating and infuriating (because of how it's written): "Kamala Harris Makes Her Case."

Senator Elizabeth Warren is profiled by McClatchy, through the eyes of her supporters: "Now, [Joanna Berens, a 57-year-old event planner] isn't just convinced Warren would make a strong general election nominee — she's thrilled about the prospect of her confronting [Donald] Trump on the debate stage. 'Oh my god,' she said. 'She will flatten him.'" May it be as you say, Joanna!

Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign is again complaining about how the press doesn't like him: "'This isn't intended to be a sweeping generalization of all journalists,' [campaign manager Faiz Shakir] told Politico, 'but there are a healthy number who just find Bernie annoying, discount his seriousness, and wish his supporters and movement would just go away.'" I mean, it probably isn't helping their case that any reporter who says anything even vaguely critical of Bernie Sanders is immediately subjected to days of relentless abuse by some number of his most fervent supporters.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is talking about white privilege and how she's benefited from it. She's also giving very fucking good responses about what white privilege actually means.

[CN: Slavery] In sort of related news, Beto O'Rourke is writing about what it means to him that both his and his wife's ancestors were slave owners. I dunno. It's hard for me not to see this as just another reason that O'Rourke should step aside. I would be more impressed with him if he just dropped out already and said he's going to put all his energies toward getting any one of Harris, Booker, Castro, Warren, Gillibrand, or Klobuchar elected.

There was a major blackout in New York City over the weekend, and the editors of the New York Daily News are not happy that Mayor Bill de Blasio was campaigning out of town during it: "It's not just that Bill de Blasio, currently polling at 0% nationally and 0% in the key early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, was out of town on a campaign jaunt when a blackout struck Manhattan, trapping thousands on steamy trains underground and cramped elevators on upper floors unknown. Any mayor of the largest city in the country is a national figure. They go out of town sometimes; it's inevitable. ...It's that just Wednesday, de Blasio appeared so eager to use the city as a national stage, photo-bombing on the main parade float as he tried to bask in the U.S. women's soccer team's reflected glory. That's what bugs us." Ouch.

Joe Sestak is still definitely running for president.

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

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