Doug Jones Won!

In a remarkable result last night, Democrat Doug Jones bested Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election to fill Jeff Sessions' vacated seat. It was a close one — so close, in fact, that Moore is threatened to demand a recount before the results are certified. So it's not officially over yet, but: Doug Jones won.

Doug Jones, and the Democratic voters of Alabama, defeated a bigot predator who was the candidate of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Specifically, the Black voters of Alabama defeated him.

If you can't see the images embedded in the tweet, one graphic shows that 26% of overall voters were Black, and 66% of overall voters were white, with 67% of white voters going for Moore and Black voters overwhelmingly going for Jones at 96%. The second graphic breaks it down by gender: 72% of white men and 63% of white women supported Moore, while 93% of Black men and 98% of Black women supported Jones.

As I have written before: That Black women should be leading the Democratic Party and shaping its future shouldn't be a controversial suggestion. No other group who has been so reliably right as a voting bloc would be questioned as having earned leadership and influence. Again: Black Democratic women have demonstrated that they make good political choices. For a very long time.

I am keen to see them lead. And I am keen to see the Democratic Party better serve their Black constituency. I believe strongly that Black leadership in the party is the only way that will happen.

I also hope that the Democratic Party and left-leaning voters all across this nation are keeping their focus on Republican voter suppression efforts, and not getting overconfident because of this win. The story that isn't being told about this special election is that the Republican Party didn't kick its voter suppression effort into high gear, because Roy Moore wasn't worth exposing their new sinister, undemocratic tricks before 2018.

They'll slink away from this one, and then whip out the shock and awe during the midterms. That's seemingly the plan, anyway — which is why we have to be extremely vigilant, expect the worst, and work hard to prevent it.

Okay. Anyway!

Congratulations to Doug Jones and all of his supporters in Alabama! YOU DID IT!

As for Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and their deplorable supporters everywhere, I will let Adam Scott (who played Ben Wyatt on Parks & Rec) have the final word:

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of a red couch

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

Open Wide...

Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Sue Kerr: Have you ever visited Pittsburgh?

I have! And I like it very much! Yinz have yourselves a very nice town there.

Open Wide...

Alabama Senate Special Election Open Thread

I have no idea how this thing is going to go tonight, including how late it's going to go, which depends a lot on how close it is. Or not close.

There isn't much left to say. It's all just crossed fingers at this point. But just in case anyone needs it, here's a thread for discussion, as I know lots of us will be biting our fingernails as we watch the results come in.

Open Wide...

Tax Cuts Will Solve Everything Because MAGIC!

That's the Republican argument, anyway — even though we all know damn well the only problem that tax cuts are meant to solve is putting even more money in the pockets of the already-wealthy investor class and corporate owners.

To that point, the Republican Party is doubling down during reconciliation:

Congressional Republicans are in advanced talks to lower the top tax rate for individuals from 39.6 percent to 37 percent as they finalize a massive $1.5 trillion tax package, said three people familiar with the negotiations.

The move follows complaints from wealthy taxpayers in New York and elsewhere that their taxes could go up under the legislation because of other changes it makes to the code.

The change, if finalized, would amount to a major tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. And it would be certain to spark a furious response from Democrats who are unanimously opposed to the legislation which they already have been casting as a giveaway to corporations and the rich.

...Lawmakers are also settling on a corporate rate of 21 percent, higher than the 20 percent corporate rate passed by each chamber, but still a massive decrease from the current 35 percent corporate rate.
Meanwhile, at least one corporate executive is making clear this isn't what he wants. (And why would he? Smart execs know destroying the economy isn't good for business.) Amna Nawaz and Alyssa Lapertosa at ABC report: [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link.]
Todd Carmichael is one of the few chief executives in America to publicly condemn Republicans' plans to slash the corporate tax rate and rewrite the tax code.

Why bash a plan that would be a boon for his shareholders? Carmichael says he's willing to declare what other executives won't: the bill may be good for his business, but it's bad for the country.
And to be even more accurate: The bill may be temporarily good for his business, but anything that is bad for the country won't be good for business forever. It's a short-term gain, at best, at the expense of long-term corporate health.
Carmichael's biggest concern over the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" is that it's giving a large tax break to corporations at a time when they don't necessarily need it. Drawing on comparisons from the way his grandparents stockpiled goods during The Great Depression, he explains why he believes giving a tax break to corporations now is bad.

"A stimulus package is like a bunker," he said. "It's the soups and crackers and all those things that are in your basement in case something goes wrong. The fact that we're eating that for dinner is dangerous. Because in years we might need it. And it won't be there."

Open Wide...

image of thumbs up & thumbs down Shaker Thumbs

Shaker Thumbs is your opportunity to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to a product or service you have used and that you'd recommend to other Shakers or warn them away from.

Today I'm giving thumbs-up to two products that were recently mentioned by Shakers in response to Shaker Nitro_Mom's Question of the Day about favorite gadgets: Shaker hopefulnebula told us about the DoohicKey multitool, and Shaker DesertRose told us about the resqme seatbelt cutter and window glass breaker car escape multitool.

As I am an irrepressible everyday prepper, these both sounded like things I needed. So they are both now on my keychain.

image of the two products on my keychain

I also got an extra resqme tool for Iain (who already has a pocket multitool). In fact, the link above goes to the resqme two-pack that I ordered, FYI. I hope neither of us has any need to use them!

Thanks very much to Nitro_Mom for the question, and to hopefulnebula and DesertRose for their recommendations. ♥

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

[Just to be abundantly clear, I am not affiliated in any way with DoohicKey nor with resqme, nor am I receiving any form of payment from either of them.]

Open Wide...

I Write Letters

[Content Note: Anti-feminism.]

Dear Washington Post:

What are you even doing?

Do I really need to point out that privileging the unintentional awareness-raising of feminism by a woman rejecting the label over the intentional, thoughtful, deliberative work of actual proud feminists is itself deeply anti-feminist?

And over a woman's byline, no less.

Gross, WaPo. Gross.

No Love,

[If you cannot see the embedded screencap of the headline, it reads: "'Feminism' is Merriam-Webster's word of the year, thanks in part to Kellyanne Conway."]

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound in profile, staring very intently at something
This is how Dudley looks at Iain while he's eating a cheese sandwich.

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 327

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.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Donald Trump Must Resign and Special Election Today in Alabama.

Erica Werner and Damian Paletta at the Washington Post: Congress Could Finalize Deal to Reconcile House and Senate Tax Bills as Soon as Today, Top Republican Says. "Lawmakers are on the verge of striking a tentative agreement that would reconcile tax bills passed separately by the House and Senate, and an announcement could come later Tuesday or sometime Wednesday, a top Senate Republican said Tuesday. Republican Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, said in an interview that negotiators are reviewing a proposal they received late Monday from House leaders. ...Both bills included as their central feature a massive reduction in the current 35 percent tax rate down to 20 percent. But lawmakers have been discussing pushing it back up as high as 22 percent to free up money for other changes they want to make."

In other words: While everyone has their eyes on Alabama, Republicans will figure out some garbage compromise in order to pass their garbage tax bill which will destroy the nation as we know it.

Erica L. Green at the New York Times: New Higher Education Bill Rolls Back Obama-Era Safeguards. "Congressional Republicans begin work on Tuesday on an extensive rewrite of the law that governs the nation's system of higher education, seeking to dismantle landmark Obama administration regulations designed to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges and to repay the loans of those who earned worthless degrees from scam universities. But in its systematic effort to erase President Barack Obama's fingerprints from higher education, the measure before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce could undermine bedrock elements that have guided university education for decades."

Republicans do not know how to govern. They only know how to destroy. Republicans do not know how to govern. They only know how to destroy. Republicans do not know how to govern. They only know how to destroy. Republicans do not know how to govern. They only...

Mike Allen at Axios: Trump Lawyers Want Second Special Counsel Appointed Now. "Trump's legal team believes Attorney General Jeff Session's Justice Department and the FBI — more than special counsel Robert Mueller himself — are to blame for what they see as a witch hunt. The result: They want an additional special counsel named to investigate the investigators."

Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, and Rosalind S. Helderman at the Washington Post: Inside Trump's Legal Team: Trying to Protect the President from Mueller's 'Killers'.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team of a dozen-plus lawyers and investigators have proven stealthy in their wide-ranging Russia probe. They have surprised the White House with one indictment after another, and summoned [Donald] Trump's confidants for lengthy interviews. In the case of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort alone, court filings show, they have collected more than 400,000 documents and 36 electronic devices.

Mueller and his deputies are, in the fearful word of some Trump loyalists, "killers."

Trump's response, by contrast, is being directed by John M. Dowd, the president's personal lawyer retired from a large firm who works essentially as a one-man band, and Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer who works out of a small office in the West Wing basement, near the cafeteria where staffers get lunch.

Dowd and Cobb, along with attorney Jay Sekulow, serve not only as Trump's lawyers but also as his strategists, publicists, therapists — and, based on Dowd's claim that he wrote a controversial presidential tweet, ghostwriters.

...Many in the Washington legal community chide them as being indiscreet, error-prone, and outmatched.
That sounds an awful lot like the narrative of the 2016 election: Hillary Clinton and her team were hyper-competent, organized, professional, ethical, and poised to win, while Donald Trump's team was a bunch of inexperienced, incompetent, unethical losers. Which makes me fearful that Trump's got a Plan B to deal with Mueller, just like he had a Plan B to win the election, when fair and square wouldn't do.

I'm the wettest of wet blankets, I know, but overconfidence that Trump will lose is very dangerous. It's frightening how many people stubbornly refuse to learn that lesson. Never underestimate a cheater.

Max Bergmann and Max Boot at the Guardian: Robert Mueller Is Closing In on Trump: Congress Must Protect His Investigation. "We are headed for a collision. Congress needs to act now to protect the Mueller investigation, head off a crisis, and make clear that the president is not above the law. Fortunately, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are currently crafting legislation designed to deter Mueller from being fired. While this legislation is far from a panacea, it will help to tie Trump's hands. But most importantly, it would send a signal to the country that the that the rule of law reigns supreme."

Angie Drobnic Holan at PolitiFact: 2017 Lie of the Year: Russian Election Interference Is a 'Made-Up Story'. "Trump continually asserts that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election is fake news, a hoax or a made-up story, even though there is widespread, bipartisan evidence to the contrary. When the nation's commander-in-chief refuses to acknowledge a threat to U.S. democracy, it makes it all the more difficult to address the problem. For this reason, we name Trump's claim that the Russia interference is a hoax as our Lie of the Year for 2017." Welp.

* * *

[Content Note: Nativism; torture] ADC: Somali Nationals Humiliated and Degraded by ICE.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is extremely troubled by recent direct reports it has received of inhumane and degrading treatment of 92 Somali nationals by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. The treatment occurred aboard a flight departing Louisiana and landing in Senegal. The flight, which left the U.S. on December 7, was intended to land in Somalia, but was grounded in Senegal due to technical issues with the plane. The plane sat on the tarmac for nearly 24 hours, with the passengers not permitted to get off of the plane. Ultimately the flight was diverted back to Miami, Florida, where it landed on late Friday evening. For nearly 46 hours passengers on the plane remained shackled, were not given adequate food or water, and denied access to a working restroom.

With a lack of a working restroom, ADC has received reports of some passengers being forced to relieve themselves in empty bottles, while others urinated on themselves. The air condition on the plane was not working, and the temperature was at an inhumane level. Reports also indicate that that ICE officials and Senegalese security personnel were extremely abusive throughout the entire transport process.
This is absolutely appalling. ICE is out of control. And there is very little hope that they will be held accountable as long as there's a white supremacist nativist sitting in the Oval Office. Seethe.

[CN: Nativism; displacement] Nina Lakhani at the Guardian: This Is What the Hours After Being Deported Look Like. "Luz María Hernández gazes blankly across the shaded courtyard, clutching a cellphone in one hand and a sodden handkerchief in the other. Less than 48 hours ago, Hernández, 45, was deported to Tijuana after 25 years as an undocumented migrant in southern California. Her five children, aged three to 23, were born in California, and they now have to live without their mother. Minutes before being escorted to the border, US immigration agents informed her that she was banned from entering the US for 10 years. Sitting tensely on a patio chair within a gated migrant shelter just a couple of miles from the border, Hernández is dazed, weepy, and tormented about what to do next." Awful. This is unconscionable.

[CN: Nativism; abuse] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: 'I Am Not Hopeful at All': More DACA Recipients Share Their Stories. "Once again, congressional Republicans are playing with the lives of 800,000 young people whose status in this country hangs in the balance. Their status now depends on how skillfully lawmakers can craft legislation that uses them as bargaining chips for tougher immigration laws–including more border wall funding, immigration agents, and increased enforcement of nonviolent 'criminals.' In other words, to save 'DREAMers,' as they've become known, Congress will have to agree to triple down on targeting the undocumented members of DREAMers' mixed-status families." I am so angry about this.

My immigrant family takes up space in solidarity with immigrants to this nation, irrespective of their legal status.

* * *

[CN: Sexual assault and/or harassment. Covers entire section.]

Susan Cornwell at Reuters: U.S. House Democratic Women Seek Probe of Trump Misconduct Accusations. "More than 50 female Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives called on Monday for a congressional investigation into allegations by various women of sexual misconduct against [Donald] Trump, who has denied the accusations. 'We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr. Trump,' the lawmakers wrote in their letter, though a formal inquiry was unlikely to result because Republicans control the agenda in Congress."

Ashley Parker at the Washington Post: Trump Seeks to Dismiss Sexual Harassment Allegations as 'Fake News'. "Trump on Tuesday sought to discredit both the news media and some of the women who have accused him of sexual harassment, calling the allegations against him 'fabricated stories' and 'fake news.' 'Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia — so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don't know and/or have never met,' Trump wrote in a tweet. 'FAKE NEWS!'"

Judd Legum at ThinkProgress: This Is the List of 'Eyewitnesses' the White House Says Exonerate Trump. "On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders promised that she would produce a list of eyewitnesses to exonerate [Donald] Trump from allegations of sexual harassment and assault. In a statement, the White House said these eyewitnesses 'totally disputed in most cases' the accusations that women have raised against Trump. ...Overall, at least 14 women have publicly accused Trump of sexual assault — with others alleging other forms of sexual harassment and predation. ...Sanders sent the list of supposed eyewitnesses to ThinkProgress late Monday night. It contains the names of three people."

[CN: Descriptions of sexual harassment/assault] Emma Baccellieri at Deadspin: NFL Network Suspends Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, Heath Evans After Sexual Harassment Lawsuit. "Jami Cantor, who worked as a wardrobe stylist for NFL Network, filed a wrongful termination suit against NFL Enterprises in Los Angeles Superior Court back in October. As first reported by Bloomberg, she described incidents of harassment by the three retired players, as well as Eric Weinberger, a former network executive producer and current president of Bill Simmons Media Group. In the suit, Cantor claims that Faulk groped her breasts and behind and asked 'deeply personal and invasive questions' about her sex life. She said that both Taylor and Weinberger sent her inappropriate pictures, with Taylor additionally sending her a video of him masturbating in the shower. Cantor also noted that Weinberger said on one occasion that she was 'put on earth to pleasure me' and pressed his crotch against her, asking her to touch it. She also described receiving explicit texts from former NFL Network analyst Donovan McNabb, who currently appears on ESPN." Fucking hell. What an absolute nightmare.

In case you missed my post late yesterday: Ryan Lizza Out for 'Improper Sexual Conduct'. "Ryan Lizza is a political reporter for the New Yorker, whose visibility and platform afforded him outsized influence over how the 2016 election was perceived by the electorate. ...'The New Yorker recently learned that Ryan Lizza engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct. We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza. Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further.'"

Kaiser at Celebitchy: Alec Baldwin Worries That the #MeToo movement Is 'in Jeopardy of Derailing'. Shut the fuck up, Alec Baldwin. "'People have lost their jobs, their reputations and the legacy of their good/great work. Some have deserved that. Some have not. And all without a single conviction in a courtroom. If Weinstein is not convicted in court, this movement may be in jeopardy of derailing.' ...This is not the moment to argue 'Predators have lost their jobs, their reputations and the legacy of their good/great work' when we're having a national/international conversation about sexual harassment, abuse, rape, and assault. When you feel the urge to say something about an abuser's good work, think about all of the work you never got to see from all of the victims whose LIVES AND CAREERS were forever altered because a predator abused their power." Say it, Kaiser!

By way of reminder, Gibson was not only a pariah for his anti-Semitic outbursts. He also pleaded "no contest" to domestic violence charges, was recorded verbally abusing his girlfriend, and sexually harassed a police officer.

People who choose to work with him help rehabilitate his image. And the same will happen to every other powerful man currently being called out for "sexual misconduct" if we are not vigilant.

So shame on John Lithgow (and everyone else in the cast of Daddy's Home 2)for working with Gibson. And, for that matter, with Mark Wahlberg, who has a history of violent racism, and Will Ferrell, who thinks rape is hilarious.

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

Open Wide...

Special Election Today in Alabama

[Content Note: Sexual abuse; white supremacy; anti-Semitism.]

Today is the day, at long last, that Alabama voters head to the polls for the special election in which they'll choose a Senator to fill the vacated seat left by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The choice is between Democrat Doug Jones, a career prosecutor who prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan perpetrators of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four Black girls and who also secured an indictment against the Olympic Park Bomber, and Republican Roy Moore, a serial sex abuser and heinous bigot whose closing argument was that he didn't patronize a child brothel in Vietnam and he's got one Jewish attorney.

The choice is stark. I can't imagine that anyone who is going to vote remains undecided. At this point, the only thing I have to say is this:

Unfortunately, there is a lot of Republican fuckery to overcome (if it can be overcome):

The only possible thing to do right now is overwhelm them. If you're in Alabama, get out there and VOTE!

Open Wide...

Donald Trump Must Resign

[Content Note: Misogyny; sex work stigma.]

There are countless reasons that Donald Trump should resign: His serial sex predation, his corruption, his incompetence, his malice, his compulsive lying, his temperament, literally every single thing about him and every decision he's ever made.

Today, he provided yet another reason.

Just in case he deletes this mess (in violation of federal records-keeping requirements), it reads: "Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!"

Despite what Trump will claim and what his apologists will disgorge in explanation, Trump is absolutely implying that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to whom he donated $2,400 in 2010, offered "anything" in exchange for political donations, and he got what he wanted. Wink wink nudge nudge.

Trump is suggesting that a sitting U.S. senator — the junior senator from his home state, who filled Hillary Clinton's seat when she became Secretary of State — is a whore. And he's trading on the stigma associated with sex work to shame her.

Donald Trump must resign immediately. He is undilutedly indecent, and his misogyny makes him unfit to represent the women of this nation. And everyone else.

Open Wide...


"The word," they explain, "was a top lookup throughout the year, with several spikes that corresponded to various news reports and events." Well, that's one way to put it!

Some of the "news reports and events" they mention having prompted increased searches for definitions of feminism include: The Women's March on Washington; Kellyanne Conway saying she's not a feminist; the show The Handmaid's Tale and the film Wonder Woman; and "the many accounts of sexual assault and harassment in the news."

Excellent choice, Merriam-Webster!

Open Wide...

Open Thread

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

Open Wide...

Question of the Day

When was the last time you sang to yourself, or by yourself? To someone else?

I sing to myself often, and to the dogs and cats constantly, lol. Silly made-up songs during mealtimes or while I'm playing with them or cuddling with them. Most of the time, it's invented tunes, but occasionally I will sing lyrics about them to existing melodies.

Iain and I also sing to each other about the cats and dogs all the time, too.

What do you think of this doooooooooog?

She has silly ears and a wiggly butt!

As Zelda sits in between us, grinning away, because she knows we're singing about her.

Open Wide...

The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by warm blankets.

Recommended Reading:

Rhett Jones: The Internet Blackout for Net Neutrality Is Coming and You Can Help

Alaa Basatneh: [Content Note: Rape culture; cultural oppression] Why Many Muslim Women Feel They Can't Say #MeToo

Kenrya Rankin: [CN: Misogyny] This Chart Breaks Down How Women Experience Discrimination in America

Julia Serano: [CN: Trans hatred] Transgender Agendas, Social Contagion, Peer Pressure, and Prevalence

Kaitlyn Tiffany: [CN: Misogyny] The 2018 Golden Globes Continue Tradition by Totally Ignoring Female Directors

Marykate Jasper: Kelly Marie Tran, the Daughter of Refugees, Couldn't Help Crying with Joy at the Premiere of The Last Jedi

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

Open Wide...

Ryan Lizza Out for "Improper Sexual Conduct"

Ryan Lizza is a political reporter for the New Yorker, whose visibility and platform afforded him outsized influence over how the 2016 election was perceived by the electorate.

In case you aren't able to read the embedded screencap, the full statement reads: "The New Yorker recently learned that Ryan Lizza engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct. We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza. Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further."

CNN, where Lizza is regularly featured as a commentator, quickly cut ties with Lizza, too — at least while they investigate.

Lizza himself issued a statement reading in its entirety: "I am dismayed that The New Yorker has decided to characterize a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate. The New Yorker was unable to cite any company policy that was violated. I am sorry to my friends, workplace colleagues, and loved ones for any embarassment this episode may cause. I love The New Yorker, my home for the last decade, and I have the highest regard for the people who work there. But this decision, which was made hastily and without a full investigation of the relevant facts, was a terrible mistake."

So, I'll just point out that the New Yorker's statement did not disclose any details that would have allowed potential identification of the person to whom Lizza had demonstrated "improper sexual conduct," but Lizza immediately identified her as someone he dated, thus exposing her — to some degree, and at minimum to their circle — without her consent.

It's hard not to read that as at attempt at intimidation to silence her.

That is fucked-up, abuser behavior.

Open Wide...

On "Cat Person"

[Content Note: Rape culture; misogyny; fat hatred.]

There is a remarkable piece of short fiction just published at the New Yorker called "Cat Person." A lot of people are talking about it, and understandably so: It is beautifully written by its author, Kristen Roupenian.

Which is not to say I loved everything about it, but her writing is exquisite.

The short story is, broadly, about a 20-year-old female college student who has a sexual encounter with an older man she meets while working at a movie theater. But is about much more than that, too. It's also about modern dating, and technology, and safety, and consent, and how well we can ever know other people — and ourselves.

There is an interview with Roupenian about her story here, which is also very good.

This is a thread to discuss the story and the interview, if you are so inclined, and also the public conversation around the story, which I've also found very interesting.

Three things about that conversation that have particularly struck me [minor spoiler in #3]:

1. Margot, the young woman at the center of the story, will feel familiar to lots of women. (Her experience is not universal, but it isn't purported to be.) It's fascinating how many men seem bothered, even angry, about that. But for entirely the wrong reasons.

2. I'm not the least bit surprised that I've seen virtually no discussion of the fat hatred that permeates the story. I've seen a lot of reasons why I'm supposed to hate Margot, and not a single one of them mentions that she's a rank fat hater.

3. I did, however, see a lot of criticisms of her for being selfish and vain and various other standards that are used against young women. My thoughts about that were perfectly and succinctly summed by Nat in this tweet:

Yeah. Especially that second point. Yeah.


Open Wide...

Fundraising Reminder

image of a white piggy bank wearing black glasses accompanied by text reading: 'Shakesville End-of-Year Fundraiser'

In case you missed it, on Friday I posted Shakesville's End-of-Year Fundraiser. There is more information at the link, but the basic gist is this: If you value my work here and/or on Twitter, please remember that Shakesville is run exclusively on donations. I need your support, if you are able to chip in.

Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated and/or set up (or increased) a subscription. I am so appreciative.

I think I have sent a thank-you note to everyone, although I did get two bouncebacks and it's entirely possible I inadvertently missed someone because my inbox is the Upside Down. If you haven't received a personal thank-you, and you would like one, please let me know, and I will make sure to send one!

This will be one of a couple reminders I run over the next couple of weeks, and then we'll go back to every other month reminders.

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

series of images of Olivia the White Farm Cat: 1. Sitting at my feet looking up at me. 2. Jumping up and reaching toward me. 3. Looking content while I scratch her head.
Guess who got her stitches out this weekend? No more sleeve shirt!

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 326

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.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Explosion at the Port Authority in NYC; Bernie Sanders, What Are You Even Doing?; and Celebrity Chef Mario Batali "Stepping Away" Following Sexual Harassment Allegations.

[Content Note: Sexual harassment and/or assault. Covers entire section.]

Addy Baird at ThinkProgress: 'What a Pervert He Is': Trump's Accusers Provide New Details of Sexual Harassment. "Trump called Jessica Leeds a 'cunt' after allegedly groping her on an airplane in the late 1970's, Leeds said on Megyn Kelly Today Monday morning. ...Leeds joined Kelly Monday morning along with two other women, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks, who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Crooks says Trump forcibly kissed her in Trump Tower in 2005, and Holvey says Trump 'inspected' her and other Miss USA pageant contestants, calling the interaction 'the dirtiest I felt in my entire life.' In total, 16 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. The president has denied all accusations."

Mark Berman at the Washington Post: Trump Accusers Say It Was 'Heartbreaking' to See Him Elected Despite Sexual Misconduct Allegations. "At a news conference with the other two women later Monday morning, Crooks called for Congress to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct against the president. Leeds said that none of the women were speaking publicly for fame, but instead were doing it because they felt it was the right thing to do. 'None of us want this attention,' Leeds said at the news conference. 'None of us are comfortable with it... But this is important, so when asked, we speak out.' ...Holvey suggested it made sense for Trump's accusers to speak to the public again given the way the country's atmosphere — and response to alleged sexual misconduct — has shifted over the last year. 'Let's try round two,' she said. 'The environment's different; let's try again.'"

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Aileen Graef at CNN: Two Senators Call for Trump's Resignation over Sexual Assault, Harassment Allegations.
Sens. Cory Booker and Jeff Merkley both voiced the sentiment.

In an interview with Vice after a campaign rally for Democratic Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones, Booker said, "I just watched Sen. Al Franken do the honorable thing and resign from his office. My question is, why isn't Donald Trump doing the same thing — who has more serious allegations against him, with more women who have come forward. The fact pattern on him is far more damning than the fact pattern on Al Franken."

...Merkley joined the call in an email fundraising pitch.

"I want to be absolutely clear. Donald Trump should resign the presidency. At least 17 women have accused Donald Trump of horrific sexual misconduct, and I believe them. Moreover, he's bragged on tape about that behavior. This is not about politics. This is not about policy. I disagree with him on many things, but this is not about that," he said in the email.
I really don't appreciate Booker engaging in abuse ranking between Franken and Trump, and I don't think it's "honorable" to resign from a position of power because you've abused it. But he's right that Trump should resign. For this and many other reasons.

Kathryn Rossetter at the Hollywood Reporter: New Dustin Hoffman Accuser Claims Harassment and Physical Violation on Broadway. "I considered reporting him to Actors Equity. But I was cautioned by some respected theatre professionals that if I did, I would probably lose my job and, because he was such a powerful star, any hope of a career. It was Dustin's playpen." This account is absolutely harrowing. Rossetter suffered daily sexual abuse and humiliation. And Hoffman had the fucking temerity to whine about being confronted by John Oliver. What a sick asshole.

David Ng at Towleroad: CAA Agent Accused of Offering Sex in Exchange for Access to Directors and a Hollywood Star. "The agent, Cade Hudson, made the offers in 2013, according to text messages reviewed by The Times, as well as interviews with the recipient of the messages, actor Sean Rose. The texts show that Hudson offered to perform oral sex on Rose and solicited the actor for as much as $1,000, even though he was told the actor was heterosexual. Rose said he declined the offers and was 'embarrassed and humiliated.' But he said he felt powerless to speak out and feared that doing so would result in professional reprisals. 'Because he knew so many people in the industry, I felt there wasn't anything I could do about it,' the actor said."

Kaiser at Celebitchy: Paz de la Huerta's Therapy Sessions Are Being Used Against Her in Her Rape Case.
In the middle of the Predator Storm, Paz de la Huerta shared her story. Paz told Vanity Fair that Harvey Weinstein had raped her twice in her own apartment in 2010 — the acts of rape were months apart, but in the same calendar year. Paz's story garnered a lot of sympathy and interest for many reasons, one of which is that her story was one of the most recent chronologically in the decades of Harvey Weinstein's predations.

Paz went to the New York police to give a statement, and it was said the NYPD were investigating her story. It was said that the cops were hopeful that Paz's case would be the most prosecutable, because 2010 doesn't fall outside of the statute of limitations on sex crimes. But because this is Peak 2017 and every woman has to go through a mountain of bullsh-t, sources now tell TMZ that cops are no longer hopeful that charges will ever be brought against Weinstein in Paz's case.

...[TMZ reports in part:] "De la Huerta has said she told her therapist about the rapes, but our law enforcement sources say it's not as clear as that. Law enforcement is aware of a correspondence in which the therapist recollects the 2010 session this way: 'I recall you reporting to me a sexual encounter with Harvey Weinstein involving intercourse in your apartment in 2010 that resulted in you feeling victimized. I recall you telling me that it felt coercive to you and that you didn't want to have sex with him, but felt you had to as he was a man of power and rank and you couldn't say no to his sexual advances.'"
I have so many questions about this. Like, since when does believing one cannot say no not constitute coercion? And like, who the fuck in law enforcement is giving TMZ de la Huerta's therapist's notes so that they can be published?! Fucking hell, this is infuriating. Goddammit.

* * *

Carol E. Lee and Julia Ainsley at NBC News: Focus on Flynn, Trump Timeline Suggests Obstruction Is on Mueller's Mind. "Special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to piece together what happened inside the White House over a critical 18-day period that began when senior officials were told that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by Russia, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. The questions about what happened between Jan. 26 and Flynn's firing on Feb. 13 appear to relate to possible obstruction of justice by [Donald] Trump, say two people familiar with Mueller's investigation into Russia's election meddling and potential collusion with the Trump campaign."

I'm officially announcing the title of a book I will never write: From 18 Minutes to 18 Days: A History of Presidential Corruption.

Darren Samuelsohn at Politico: As Russia Probes Progress, One Name Is Missing: Bannon's. "As special Russia counsel Robert Mueller wraps up interviews with senior current and former White House staff, one name has been conspicuously absent from public chatter surrounding the probe: Steve Bannon. ...Bannon was a key bystander when Trump decided to fire national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with foreign officials. He was among those Trump consulted before firing FBI Director James Comey, whose dismissal prompted Mueller's appointment — a decision Bannon subsequently described to 60 Minutes as the biggest mistake 'in modern political history.' And during the campaign, Bannon was the one who offered the introduction to data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO has since acknowledged trying to coordinate with WikiLeaks on the release of emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state."

Bannon hasn't faced much public scrutiny (yet), but his name isn't the only one we haven't been hearing much: We haven't been hearing the name Reince Priebus at all, either — and if there's one person who I could imagine keeping his head down because he's singing like a canary, it's that little shitweasel Priebus.

Julia Ioffe at the Atlantic: What Putin Really Wants. "Both Putin and his country are aging, declining — but the insecurities of decline present their own risks to America. The United States intelligence community is unanimous in its assessment not only that Russians interfered in the U.S. election but that, in the words of former FBI Director James Comey, 'they will be back.' It is a stunning escalation of hostilities for a troubled country whose elites still have only a tenuous grasp of American politics. And it is classically Putin, and classically Russian: using daring aggression to mask weakness, to avenge deep resentments, and, at all costs, to survive. I'd come to Russia to try to answer two key questions. The more immediate is how the Kremlin, despite its limitations, pulled off one of the greatest acts of political sabotage in modern history, turning American democracy against itself. And the more important — for Americans, anyway — is what might still be in store, and how far an emboldened Vladimir Putin is prepared to go in order to get what he wants."

* * *

[CN: Disablist language] James Vincent at the Verge: Former Facebook Exec Says Social Media Is Ripping Apart Society.
Another former Facebook executive has spoken out about the harm the social network is doing to civil society around the world. Chamath Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels "tremendous guilt" about the company he helped make. "I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works," he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a "hard break" from social media.

Palihapitiya's criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. "The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we've created are destroying how society works," he said, referring to online interactions driven by "hearts, likes, thumbs-up." "No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it's not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem."

...In his talk, Palihapitiya criticized not only Facebook, but Silicon Valley's entire system of venture capital funding. He said that investors pump money into "shitty, useless, idiotic companies," rather than addressing real problems like climate change and disease. Palihapitiya currently runs his own VC firm, Social Capital, which focuses on funding companies in sectors like healthcare and education.
I mean, yes. But also: There are lots of people who use social media to engage in productive discourse while centering cooperation, information, and truth; who use social media to address "real problems" like climate change and disease. It's not the tool. It's the way people are using it. And I mean both end users as well as the corporate profiteers who use it to exploit people for wealth accumulation. Just because some people use hammers for murder doesn't mean they're not useful to carpenters.

Anyway. It continues to be fascinating to me how the engineers of this particular destruction now want to blame the tools themselves, instead of their creators and the people who currently maintain them. Ahem.

Olivia Solon at the Guardian: Net Neutrality: 'Father of Internet' Joins Tech Leaders in Condemning Repeal Plan. "More than 20 internet pioneers and leaders including the 'father of the internet', Vint Cerf; the inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee; and the Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak have urged the FCC to cancel its vote to repeal net neutrality, describing the plan as 'based on a flawed and factually inaccurate' understanding of how the internet works. 'The FCC's rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to repeal net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped,' said the technology luminaries in an open letter to lawmakers with oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday."

* * *

[CN: Wildfires. Covers entire section.]

AP/Guardian: Largest California Wildfire Expected to Grow as It Enters Second Week. "As southern California entered its second week engulfed in flames, fire officials said they anticipated more growth and danger due to continued strong wind gusts, no rain, and decades-old dry vegetation. A powerful flare-up on the western edge of the largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing on Sunday, as wind-fanned flames ripped down hillsides toward coastal towns north-west of Los Angeles. New evacuations were ordered as the fire sent up an enormous plume near Montecito and Carpinteria, seaside areas in Santa Barbara County."

Scott Wilson, Amy B Wang, Mark Berman, and Eli Rosenberg at the WaPo/Mercury News: After First Wildfire Fatality Confirmed, Officials Warn of More Danger in Southern California.
On Saturday, multiple wildfires continued to rage throughout Southern California, cloaking the area in nightmarish flame and towering plumes of smoke so thick they were visible from space.

On Friday, authorities reported the first fire-related death: The Ventura Medical Examiner Office identified a body found on Wednesday as Virginia Pesola, 70, from Santa Paula, the "only confirmed fire-related death in Ventura County to date." Pesola had died from "blunt force injuries with terminal smoke inhalation and thermal injuries" in a traffic incident during "active fire evacuation," according to the county medical examiner.

As the fires spread, much of the region also faces the threat posed by the dense smoke. Public health officials warned of dangerously bad air quality and said it was particularly threatening for the elderly, children, and people with respiratory or heart conditions. Los Angeles County issued smoke advisories, urging people to remain indoors when possible, while Santa Barbara County officials said they expected to distribute 50,000 masks to area residents.

Phil Moyal, an air quality specialist in Ventura County, said the smoke was causing hazardous conditions there, especially in the Ojai Valley, which is surrounded by mountains that have been trapping the smoke.

"When we say 'off the charts,' we mean off the charts," Moyal said Friday about air-quality measurements there.
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Jeremy B White and Mythili Sampathkumar at the Independent: Year-Round Blazes Set to Become 'the New Normal' as Governor Blames Climate Change. "California Governor Jerry Brown has told the state's residents to get used to destructive wildfires in winter, declaring them 'the new normal.' ...Mr Brown said drought and climate change mean California faces a 'new reality' where lives and property are continually threatened by fire, at a cost of billions of dollars. He said it will take 'heroic' efforts in the US and abroad to stem climate change, and urged Congress to pay more attention to dealing with natural disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes. While California fire season was once largely confined to the hotter months when rain is scarce, officials are coming round to the idea that climate change has birthed a year-round threat. A [severe] drought helped pile up dead trees that are now fuelling the flames."

Alene Tchekmedyian at the LA Times: This Is the Fifth Largest Wildfire in Modern California History. "Since it started Monday, the Thomas fire has scorched 230,000 acres, making it the fifth-largest wildfire in modern California history."

Hayley Jones at the Daily Beast: Southern California Wildfires Are the Worst Firefighters Have Ever Seen. "It is expected Southern California will have a lengthy 'mop-up' period once the fires are contained. Mop-up is the process that occurs once a fire is out to ensure another fire does not begin from the embers of the previous, i.e. pouring water on tree stumps that may contain embers and re-creating fire roads. Mop-up for the current fires is estimated at one to two years."

* * *

DeNeen L. Brown and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. at the Washington Post: Trump Ignores Backlash, Visits Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Praises Civil Rights Leaders. "Amid backlash and boycotts, [Donald] Trump addressed an invitation-only gathering Saturday at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson — instead of attending the public opening ceremony. The change in plans came after Trump's plans to attend the opening of the museum, which honors civil rights martyrs, drew criticism from some who marched in the movement. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the opening, announced Thursday that he would boycott the stage at the public event if Trump were on it."

His speech was...something.

Meanwhile... [CN: Islamophobia] Auditi Guha at Rewire: Trump's Travel Ban Takes Effect as Muslim Americans Face Increased Attacks.

And meanwhile... [CN: Carcerality; torture] Alfonso Serrano at Colorlines: United Nations: Taser Use in Some U.S. Prisons May Amount to Torture.

And meanwhile... [CN: Voter suppression] Pema Levy at Mother Jones: The Republican Overseeing the Alabama Election Doesn't Think Voting Should Be Easy.

And meanwhile... [CN: Gerrymandering and voter suppression]

And so forth and so on. Fuck this entire white supremacist administration and any pretense a single member of it ever gives to caring about civil rights.

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

Open Wide...

Back |