Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker billerina: "If a movie were being made of your life, who would you want to play you?"

Either Melissa McCarthy or an unknown but extremely talented manatee.

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Wednesday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by wooly jumpers.

Recommended Reading:

Michael Harriot at the Root: Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Queer Black Woman Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll.

Vivian Kane at the Mary Sue: Minnie Driver Says Matt Damon's #MeToo Mansplaining Represents Every "Intelligent, Nice, White Male" Who Refuses to Listen

Adam Serwer at the Atlantic: [Content Note: Major Black Panther spoilers] The Tragedy of Erik Killmonger

Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: Read Ryan Coogler's Touching Thank You Letter to Black Panther Fans

Evette Dionne at Bitch: [CN: Black Panther spoilers] The Women of Wakanda

Samuel James at Black Girl in Maine: [CN: Black Panther spoilers] The Reality of Blackness in the Fiction of Black Panther

Elizabeth Olson at Bust: [CN: Rape apologia] Natalie Portman on Her 2009 Support of Roman Polanski: "I Very Much Regret It"

Monica Roberts at TransGriot: Daniela Vega to Be a 2018 Oscar Awards Presenter

Yessenia Funes at Earther: California Is Considering Permanent Water Restrictions

Danny Paez at Inverse: Amateur Astronomer Accidentally Took a Picture of Supernova and Made History

Grown and Curvy Woman: Spring Forward

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

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Get a Load of This F#@king Guy

[Content Note: Guns.]

Shelby Webb at the Houston Chronicle: Houston-Area School District Threatens to Suspend Students Who Protest After Florida Shooting.

Needville ISD Superintendent Curtis Rhodes on Tuesday threatened to suspend any student who disrupts schools or walks out to protest current gun laws.

In a letter sent to families and published on schools' social media sites, Rhodes said students would face a three-day, out-of-school suspension if they joined in growing protests nationwide over the shooting at a Florida high school last week.

"Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative. We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved," Rhodes wrote. "All will be suspended for 3 days and parent notes will not alleviate the discipline."

...Rhodes said the school district is sensitive to violence in schools, but said his schools are focused on education, not political protests.

"A school is a place to learn and grow educationally, emotionally, and morally," Rhodes wrote. "A disruption of the school will not be tolerated."
I guess the irony of the fact that students are protesting the disruptions of schools by deadly gun violence is lost on this dipshit.

Who also believes that "education" and "political protests" are inherently mutually exclusive concepts.

Take the suspensions, kids. Trust this old lady that, in the grand scheme of your life, a mark on your record definitely won't matter. But standing up for your principles always will.

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Daily Dose of Cute

I love this photo because it looks like Olivia is telling somebody off, but really she was just yawning, lol.

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat lying curled up on the floor, yawning widely

P.S. HAAALP!!!


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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Bernie Sanders, What Are You Even Talking About?

This is, regrettably, a real thing in the world said by an actual human male who asserts to be a progressive leader for this nation's future:


I have a lot of responses to "the real question" that Bernie Sanders thinks needs to be asked!

Here are my Top Five responses to "Why didn't the Clinton campaign do something about Russian bots promoting Bernie Sanders' campaign?":

1. I don't know, Bernie. Maybe it was because Hillary Clinton was too busy dodging dollar bills your supporters were throwing at her while calling her a Democratic whore to devise a strategy that would somehow convince you to believe that Russian bots were influencing your supporters, and further convince you to do something meaningful to address it, despite the fact that the sum total of your response to your supporters' — and your own campaign's — vast campaign of harassment was "We don't want that crap."

Are you really gonna pretend like you would have cared, Bernie? Like you would have done something about it? LOL. Shut up.

2. Why didn't you do something, Bernie? After all, you accused Hillary Clinton of being unqualified. And, on top of that, you were then and still are a sitting United States senator. Clinton did not hold office during the campaign and she does not hold office now. Why was it incumbent on her to do something about Russian bots promoting your campaign, but not incumbent on you to do something?

Further, even though he's scrubbed it from his résumé, your chief strategist Tad Devine spent years working for pro-Putin Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych. Surely a seasoned political operative who spent so much time in Ukraine, which Putin uses as his own personal test lab, would be familiar with the Kremlin's strategies. It would be extraordinary if such a person did not recognize what was happening; did not see the proliferation of anti-Clinton disinformation on social media, especially as reports began to emerge about Russian interference, and did not even suspect that Russia was interfering on behalf of the Sanders campaign.

Why didn't you and your team do something about Russian bots promoting your campaign, Bernie?

3. Insofar as Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff were broadly talking about Russian interference in the election in July 2016, they did "do something."

Of course, maybe you didn't hear any of that, Bernie. Maybe it was drowned out by the sounds of you and your supporters not giving a fuck about Russians hacking the DNC except to use the disclosure of hacked emails to shout nonsense about primary rigging.

4. Why are you even asking this question, Bernie? Are you constitutionally incapable of taking responsibility for anything, ever? Can you maybe not just point to the nearest woman and blame her for your own catastrophic failure?

And let us be clear that this was indeed a catastrophic failure on your part, although I strongly suspect it was not just a catastrophic failure to know what the fuck was going on in your own campaign, as people far more gracious than I will allow. I suspect instead that it was a catastrophic failure resulting from and reflective of your massive entitlement, your voracious ego, and your spectacular indifference to ethical campaigning — represented by, among many other things, the promise not to attack Hillary Clinton's character only to engage in a toxic, scorched-earth campaign, of which the central attack was inherently misogynist.

You wanted to win at any cost. I don't believe that you were unaware that your campaign was getting unsavory assistance. I believe you knew, and that you didn't care how you won, as long as you did.

I wasn't sure about that until now, but the fact that your response when asked about it was to blame Hillary Clinton tells me everything I need to know. A man genuinely in the dark wouldn't carelessly suggest that everyone else, including and especially his rival, should have known. You gave yourself away.

5. Fuck you, Bernie.

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We Resist: Day 398

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: The Thing About Mental Illness and Mass Shootings and "It Was This Zoo, This Complete S--tshow."

[Content Note: Nativism] Ron Nixon at the New York Times: Under Trump, Border Patrol Steps up Searches Far from the Border.
Border Patrol officers are working without permission on private property and setting up checkpoints up to 100 miles away from the border under a little-known federal law that is being used more widely in the Trump administration's aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration.

In Texas, a rancher has accused the Border Patrol of trespassing after he said he found a surveillance camera the agency placed on his property.

In New Hampshire, border officers working with state officials conducted what the American Civil Liberties Union described as illegal drug searches after residents were arrested at immigration checkpoints set up on a major interstate highway. One of the checkpoints was set up just before a local marijuana festival.

And recently in Florida, New York, and Washington State, Border Patrol officers have been criticized for boarding buses and trains to question riders — mostly American citizens — about their immigration status.

Trump administration officials defend the government's decades-old authority to search people and property, even without a warrant, far from the border. They call it a vital part of preventing weapons, terrorists, and other people from illegally entering the United States.
This is profoundly alarming. The Trump administration is using its despicable war on undocumented immigrants, migrant workers, and refugees to justify a chilling abuse of power. And they are hoping we will not pay attention — or care — because, hey, it's just targeting people who aren't supposed to be here and are breaking the law, anyway, right?

But that is simply not the case. And, even if it were, it would still be heinous. Despite Donald Trump's incessant, incendiary arguments to the contrary, most of the undocumented people residing in the United States are not dangerous criminals; they are refuge-seekers. They want to live and work in safety, just like most everyone else does.

Meanwhile, a Republican legislator from the state of New York has introduced legislation that would strip naturalized citizens of their citizenship:


This is terrifying. Naturalized citizens are meant to have the same rights as any citizen who was born on U.S. soil.

I have been warning over and over and over and over and over and over and over etc. for a year now that the Trump administration, with the assistance of the rest of the Republican Party, will come for documented immigrants.

This is not hyperbole.
This is happening.

* * *

[CN: Parkland shooting. Covers entire section.]

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Florida House Rejects Assault Weapons Ban, Then Declares Porn a Public Health Risk. "As hundreds of Parkland, Florida shooting survivors looked on, the Florida House of Representatives last night rejected a motion to consider a ban on assault rifles and less than an hour later passed a bill to declare porn a public health risk." What is there to even say anymore?

Anne Branigin at the Root: Why Are You Like This?: Far Right Cooks up Conspiracy Theories, Bullies Victims of Parkland, Fla., Shooting Seeking Gun Reform. "The far right doesn't want you to 'politicize' recurring national tragedies like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting. They just prefer you make up a bunch of wild-ass garbage about them. ...Perhaps no one captured the deplorable spirit of the whole affair better than convicted felon and global brand ambassador of the sunken place, Dinesh D'Souza, who spent much of Tuesday mocking the Parkland students via his Twitter account. 'Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs,' D'Souza wrote Tuesday as his commentary on a photo of the students appearing to be shocked and dismayed as Florida lawmakers voted down a bill to ban assault weapons." Such a dirtbag, that guy.

Richard Luscombe at the Guardian: Florida Students Confront Lawmakers on Gun Control as Thousands Walk Out. "Student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting confronted Florida's lawmakers on Wednesday to demand gun control reforms, as thousands of teenagers walked out of lessons in solidarity at schools across the state. About 100 students from the Parkland school travelled 450 miles to the state capital of Tallahassee to spend the morning meeting with Republican and Democratic party legislators, and the Florida governor Rick Scott, in small groups. 'Some heard us loud and clear, others did not,' Spencer Blum, a Stoneman Douglas junior, said of the meetings." Hmm, I wonder which legislators from what party listened to them j/k j/k j/k I know who listened and who fucking didn't.

Ari Shapiro with Aarti Shahani at NPR: Russian Bots Are Spreading False Information After the Florida Shooting. "SHAPIRO: We're joined now by NPR's Aarti Shahani, who's following how social networks are responding. ...Let's start with last week's school shooting in Florida. How did trolls online exploit that tragedy? SHAHANI: Well, I spoke with a researcher at New Knowledge — that's a group that studies pro-Russia trolls — and he gave me a chilling timeline. By 2:30 p.m. Eastern that day he saw an uptick of messages by this one troll network. And they just started sharing breaking news, okay? But by 3 p.m. Eastern, a half hour later, they quickly pivoted to conspiracy theories, speculating it was a Democrat conspiracy and also advancing an extreme pro-gun position, saying teachers need to carry concealed handguns to protect students. Now, that latter talking point made its way into mainstream news." Goddammit.

* * *

Speaking of Russian bots...

Matt Novak at Gizmodo: Conservative Twitter Users Lose Thousands of Followers, Mass Purge of Bots Suspected. "Twitter suspended thousands of accounts overnight and conservatives on the platform aren't happy about it. Twitter has yet to make a public statement about the issue, but right-wing users believe that they're being targeted in a mass purge of suspected Russian bot accounts. ...Bill Mitchell, a popular voice on the right who's known for his controversial tweets defending [Donald] Trump, claims that he lost roughly 4,000 followers overnight." Naturally, conservatives are screaming about "censorship," but if you lose 4,000 followers in a Russian bot purge, censorship ain't the issue.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Donie O'Sullivan, Drew Griffin, and Scott Bronstein at CNN: The Unwitting: The Trump Supporters Used by Russia. "A Donald Trump supporter who unwittingly helped a Kremlin-linked operation to meddle in American politics says he only learned of his part in the Russian plot when the FBI showed up at his doorstep months later. Harry Miller was paid as much as $1,000 by the Russians to build a cage that was used to depict a person dressed as Hillary Clinton in a prison cell at a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida in August 2016. The stunt was part of an elaborate scheme run by the Internet Research Agency, a troll group in St Petersburg, Russia with links to the Kremlin, that was designed to undermine the American political system, according to a new federal indictment."

I'll say the same thing I said about Bernie Sanders supporters reportedly being "unwitting" agents of the Russians: They may've been "unwittingly" abetting Russian interference, but they were "wittingly" participating in gleeful bigotry and seething hatred of Hillary Clinton, so.

The truth is that the Russians wouldn't have been nearly as successful if there weren't so much divisive hatred among Americans for them to exploit.

* * *

Tom Winter and Hallie Jackson at NBC News: Mueller Asking If Manafort Promised Banker White House Job in Return for Loans. "Federal investigators are probing whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a Chicago banker a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home loans, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News. Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City and the Hamptons. Stephen Calk, who was announced as a member of candidate Trump's council of economic advisers in August 2016, is the president of Federal Savings Bank. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is now investigating whether there was a quid pro quo agreement between Manafort and Calk."

Josh Gerstein at Politico: New Charges Filed in Manafort-Gates Case. "New charges have been filed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's criminal case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates, but the charges were put under seal by the court, obscuring the nature and import of the development. The new charging document filed in federal court in Washington could be a superseding indictment, adding new charges or even new defendants to the charges filed last October, accusing Manafort and Gates of money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents for their work related to Ukraine, among other crimes."

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Trump Misspells Sessions' Name in Tweet Urging AG to Investigate Dems. "Donald Trump used one of his favorite tactics to attempt to shift focus away from his campaign and administration: blame the Democrats. In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump tried to pin Russian election meddling on the Obama administration by stressing that the meddling took place while Barack Obama was President. Trump urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Obama's response and 'Dem crimes,' though he misspelled Sessions' name. ...A few minutes later, Trump fixed the tweet to spell Sessions' name correctly."

screen cap of Trump's tweet, reading: 'Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation? Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Session!'
ASK JEFF SESSION!

Muneeza Naqvi at the AP: Trump Jr: 'Nonsense' That Family's Profiting from Presidency. "Donald Trump Jr. said that any talk of his family profiting from his father's presidency is 'nonsense' as he embarked on a trip to India that has raised ethical concerns about using the name of the American president to promote international business ventures." LOL welp! That about sums it up.

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Kushner Pushing Back on Kelly's Effort to Revoke Interim Clearance. "Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to [Donald] Trump, has pushed back on chief of staff John Kelly's effort to rein in the use of interim security clearance and argued that he needs to keep his interim access to classified material, the New York Times reported Tuesday night, citing White House officials and others briefed on the situation." Get that fucko outta the White House!

* * *

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

Maria Puente and Cara Kelly at USA Today: How Common Is Sexual Misconduct in Hollywood? A USA Today survey of 843 women in the entertainment industry found 94% say they've experienced harassment or assault. The first number you see is 94% — and your eyes pop with incredulity. But it's true: Almost every one of hundreds of women questioned in an exclusive survey by USA TODAY say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault during their careers in Hollywood." I am not surprised, but I am thoroughly disgusted.

Staff at the Daily Beast: Disney's Broadway Boss Accused of Sexual Harassment. "Tom Schumacher, the Disney theatrical executive who has spearheaded the Broadway musical The Lion King and the about-to-open Frozen production, allegedly has a history of crossing 'boundaries of appropriate workplace behavior,' including sexual harassment, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report, citing two witnesses to each allegation, claims Schumacher, previously a top animation executive on hits like Pocahontas and film The Lion King, allegedly routinely commented on the sexual attractiveness of colleagues in the workplace, talked about pornography, and walked around the office in a bathrobe with supposedly nothing underneath, between the 1990s and early 2000s." JFC.

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

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Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

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

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

* * *

I just made this soup and it was sooooooo yummy: Creamy Tuscan Garlic Tortellini Soup. I followed the recipe pretty closely, although I used a mix of diced onion and celery, as well as my own seasoning mix, which included red pepper to spice it up a bit.

It was really quick and easy to make, and Iain and I ate it for days! Definitely a keeper.

image of tortellini soup sitting on my counter in a blue bowl, with a piece of crusty bread

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"It Was This Zoo, This Complete S--tshow."

[Content Note: Sexual harassment. Video may autoplay at link.]

My friend Jessica Luther has been working on this Sports Illustrated piece with Jon Wertheim for months, and I hope you will take the time to read it, because it is terrific, difficult to read, and extremely necessary: "Inside the Corrosive Workplace Culture of the Dallas Mavericks."

It's important for a number of reasons, primarily that the women who, in some cases, spent years being harassed and denied both safety and justice, are being heard and believed by reporters who are amplifying their voices.

Another reason is because the Dallas Mavericks' owner, Mark Cuban, has political aspirations. And he did not handle this situation well, to put it mildly.

It's difficult to believe he had no idea what was going on in the executive offices of a team with which he has routinely bragged about being hands-on, but even if we take his account at face value, there are serious problems:

Reached by SI on Monday, Cuban expressed embarrassment and horror at the accusations—but insisted he had no knowledge of the corrosive culture in his offices. "This is all new to me," he said. "The only awareness I have is because I heard you guys were looking into some things… Based off of what I've read here, we just fired our HR person. I don't have any tolerance for what I've read."

Cuban continued in an emotional response: "It's wrong. It's abhorrent. It's not a situation we condone. I can't tell you how many times, particularly since all this [#MeToo] stuff has been coming out recently I asked our HR director, 'Do we have a problem? Do we have any issues I have to be aware of?' And the answer was no."

Pressed on how it is that a proudly hyperattentive owner could be so oblivious, Cuban said, "I deferred to the CEO, who at the time was Terdema, and to HR… I was involved in basketball operations, but other than getting the financials and reports, I was not involved in the day to day [of the business side] at all. That's why I just deferred. I let people do their jobs. And if there were anything like this at all I was supposed to be made aware, obviously I was not."
So, if we believe that (unbelievable) version of events, here's the problem: The CEO was, by all accounts, the worst offender.

Cuban is trying to pass responsibility onto his CEO and to the HR manager, the former of whom sexually harassed and groped female employees and the latter of whom created a hostile workplace environment by sending out homophobic and anti-choice emails.

He put his trust in untrustworthy men.

And then he relied on their takes when he asked if there were "any issues" he should be aware of, given all of the sexual harassment "stuff" being publicly discussed recently.

First, sexual harassment isn't new. That's something about which the owner of a male-dominated company should have been concerned long before now.

Secondly, and most importantly, a culture of harassment is concealed from the top down. If Cuban was seriously concerned about whether there was a culture of abuse at his company, the people to whom he should have been speaking were the women who worked for him, particularly in the lower levels of the corporate hierarchy.

"I just deferred. I let people do their jobs." Except they weren't doing their jobs, and they were harming women. And it would have been incredibly easy to find that out. But Cuban never bothered speaking to the women who worked for him.

I am very glad that Jessica Luther and Jon Wertheim did. I suspect the women are, too.

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The Thing About Mental Illness and Mass Shootings

[Content Note: Disablism; misogyny; gun violence.]

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll has found that most Americans believe mass shootings "are more reflective of problems identifying and addressing mental health issues than inadequate gun laws. In the poll conducted after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school last week, more than three-quarters, 77 percent, said they think more effective mental health screening and treatment could have prevented the shooting."

There are so many problems with this position, not least of which is that the Parkland School shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had been in psychiatric treatment, which clearly did not prevent the shooting.

I have already written a lot about how problematic the focus on "keeping the hands out of people with mental illness" is:

December 2012: "In Pursuit of Doing Something Meaningful."

December 2012: "An Observation About Mental Illness."

January 2013: "Today in Terrible Ideas."

November 2013: "The Right Thing for the Wrong Reasons."

December 2013: "And What Is the Cost of Demonization?"

May 2014: "Welp."

December 2015: "Not Enough."

January 2016: "The President Takes Executive Action on Guns."

I won't repeat myself on this subject yet again. I will only make this one observation, which I am sure I am not the first person to make: There is no mental illness that causes someone to pick up a gun and start murdering people, and only affects men.

To believe that the primary issue regarding mass shootings — and thus what should be the primary focus of any solution — is mental illness is to believe that there exists a mental illness that almost exclusively affects men.

There is not.

However, toxic masculinity is a thing we could talk about. And should.

The erasure of women is one of the most pernicious and enraging pieces of misogyny in any patriarchal space. But the erasure of women, specifically the erasure of mentally ill women, in this particular construct is comprehensively contemptible. Not only is it misogynist and disablist, in service to notions that abet gun violence, but women are routinely accused of being "crazy" in every conceivable way and for every conceivable reason in every other aspect of our lives.

We are "crazy," we are "insane," we are "hysterical," we are "emotional," we are "irrational," we are every euphemism for mentally ill under the sun, we are "psycho bitches."

But when it comes to mass shootings, suddenly women are so uniquely sane that our failure to have the mystery mental illness that causes "people" to pick up guns isn't even remarkable.

We're crazy when men need us to be crazy to avoid accountability and we're sane as the day is long when we don't want to talk about toxic masculinity or access to guns.

I am a woman with mental illness, and I flatly refuse to be disappeared in service to this narrative. I exist. And so do millions of other women with mental illness. If mental illness is the primary issue, then why is only men who are picking up guns?

Just stop.

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Open Thread

image of a red couch

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Brenda A.: "What is a bizarre coincidence that has happened to you?"


[Transcript below.]

Probably the most bizarre coincidence I've ever experienced was this: Back in the heyday of chat rooms, in late 1999 or early 2000, I was hanging out in a Yahoo book chat when another user kept popping in and popping out, obviously having some sort of technical difficulty. They asked for help, and no one else offered, so I messaged them offering my assistance, and whatever the glitch had been — I can't even recall now — was quickly sorted.

This person happened to be an Englishman from Nottingham named Paul. We ended up chatting regularly and soon became friends. The bizarre coincidence we discovered, however, is that his best friend whom he'd known since childhood had moved to Chicago, where I was living at the time, and was working as a DJ at a club that was directly across from my flat. Not just in the same neighborhood; not on the same street; but literally across the street.

Small world, they say. Too true! The world has never felt quite as small as that.

Anyway. We've long since lost touch, but not before we had a wonderful visit in Chicago, and, later, Iain and I made a trip to Nottingham, where Paul taught us the Nottingham Forest Football Club fan chant. Obviously.

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Keep Shakesville Truckin'

image of a white piggy bank wearing black glasses, into which three pennies are falling, accompanied by text reading: 'Bi-Monthly Fundraising Reminder | Your donations are necessary to support Shakesville's daily content & vibrant community in an ad-free space.'

teaspoon icon This is, for those who have requested it, your bi-monthly reminder to donate to Shakesville and an important fundraiser to keep Shakesville going.

To keep doing this job, and to keep Shakesville a safe ad-free space, I need to be making enough through donations to support myself. Although Iain and I combine resources, like many couples, I don't want to find myself in a place where I couldn't support myself on my own if I needed and/or wanted to.

So this full-time gig has to pay me a livable wage for my time, and enough to pay contributing writers for their work, or I need to find another way to make a living. I'm not looking to get rich off this work. I simply want to make enough money that I am able to support myself modestly, in exchange for my full-time labor.

So, if you value the content and/or community in this space, please consider setting up a subscription or making a single end-of-year contribution.

Please click the button below to make a one-time donation:



Or use the below dropdown menu to choose set up a recurring monthly donation:

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I cannot afford to do this full-time for free, but, even if I could, fundraising is also one of the most feminist acts I do here. I ask to be paid for my work because progressive feminist advocacy has value; because women's work has value.

So! If you value my work here and/or on Twitter — if you have appreciated being able to tune in for coverage of politics, for deconstruction of the rape culture, for curated news about the Trump administration and/or the resistance, for media analysis, for a safe and image-free space to discuss difficult subjects, for the Fat Fashion or Make-Up or Shaker Gourmet threads, or for whatever else you appreciate at Shakesville, whether it's the moderation, community in the Open Threads, video transcripts, the blogarounds, or anything else — please remember that Shakesville is run exclusively on donations. I would certainly be grateful for your support, if you are able to chip in.

Thank you to each of you who donates or has donated, whether monthly or as a one-off. I am deeply appreciative. This community couldn't exist without that support, truly. Thank you.

My thanks as well to everyone who contributes to the space in other ways, whether as a contributor, a moderator, a guest writer, a transcriber, and/or as someone who takes the time to send me a note of support and encouragement, some cool art, or anything else you think might give me a smile or fill my lungs with air. (You're usually right!) This community couldn't exist without you, either.

Finally and essentially: Please note that I don't want anyone to feel obliged to contribute financially, especially if money is tight. There is a big enough readership that no one needs to donate if it would be a hardship, and no one should ever feel bad about that.

I mean that. We're all in this thing together.

One of the things I hate most about fundraising is knowing that it might make some people feel bad, if they want to donate but aren't able. I would never presume to tell you how to feel, but please know that I don't want you to feel bad.

What I want is for you to know that, some days, your kind words are the only thing that keeps me going. I need money to survive. It is your encouragement that keeps me doing this work. You support me in many ways, and I am immensely thankful for them all. ♥

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Pregnancy and birth complications; death. NB: Not only women give birth. Video may autoplay at link.]

"I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia. Yet I consider myself fortunate. ...I am so grateful I had access to such an incredible medical team of doctors and nurses at a hospital with state-of-the-art equipment. They knew exactly how to handle this complicated turn of events. If it weren't for their professional care, I wouldn't be here today. ...Mary's baby died because there weren't enough doctors or nurses to save him. This is a chronic problem plaguing the most impoverished countries. But what if we lived in a world where there were enough birth attendants? Where there was no shortage of access to health facilities nearby? Where lifesaving drugs and clean water were easily available to all? Where midwives could help and advise mothers after birth? What if we lived in a world where every mother and newborn could receive affordable health care and thrive in life? That world is possible. And we must dare to dream it for every black woman, for every woman in Malawi, and for every mother out there." — Serena Williams, in a vulnerable and important piece at CNN: "What My Life-Threatening Experience Taught Me About Giving Birth."

She urges us all to take action, so that "one day, who you are or where you are from does not decide whether your baby gets to live or to die."

Open Wide...

Resist Trump's Corruption with All You've Got


In this terrific piece, Andrea delineates precisely the reason I'm constantly wringing my hands about the normalization of Trump's corruption — and the attendant lowering of standards because it's so vast that people come to accept corruption as routine and expect nothing more.

Always expect more. Always.

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in the living room, grinning
Zelda: The grinniest dog who's ever grinned!

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 397

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.

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Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Yes, This, Thank You, Finally, Etc. and The Latest from Mueller.

[Content Note: School shooting. Covers entire section.]

Kia Morgan-Smith at the Grio: Outrage After Donald Trump Golfs While Funerals Are Held for School Shooting Victims. "While Florida parents were preparing to bury their children, who were killed in a gruesome Florida high school shooting, [Donald] Trump was reportedly teeing off just miles away. While White House officials have not confirmed whether Trump was golfing, they did say that he avoided playing over the weekend as a mark of respect for the victims." So, in other words, yes he was golfing Monday, just not over the weekend. "Last Friday, Donald Trump sparked criticism after meeting with shooting victims and taking photographs with the police officers and medical staff with a broad smile and a tasteless thumb's up pose." JFC he is awful.

Melissa Ryan at Media Matters: Pro-Trump Media Launch Attacks on Student Survivors of Florida School Shooting.
What’s different about the Parkland shooting is how quickly and powerfully survivors began speaking out. Some students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School immediately took to social media calling on [Donald] Trump and Congress to do something about guns...

And now, Parkland survivors are targets for fake news campaigns, conspiracy theories, harassment, and doxxing. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has already suggested that the entire shooting is a false flag, which implies that all of the survivors are actors in an elaborate hoax. As survivors speak up, there are already attempts to attack and discredit them individually.

Survivor David Hogg has been the target of conspiracy theories since he began speaking out. The day after the shooting, one far-right account noted in a since-deleted tweet that Hogg was suspicious for speaking so eloquently.

Both the #Qanon conspiracy theory crowd and Gateway Pundit's Lucian Wintrich are claiming that Hogg is a plant because he is the child of an FBI agent.

Right-wing cable news channel One America News Network shared Wintrich's post, and Gateway Pundit's video of Hogg is currently one of the top posts on The_Donald subreddit. Hyperpartisan site True Pundit also ran with it.

Donald Trump Jr. liked tweets sharing the conspiracy theory.

...One popular theme that is making rounds online is that the survivors are "crisis actors."
And Jack Kingston, the stupidest man ever elected to Congress, asserted this morning on CNN that the Parkland survivors are being coached with "left-wing talking points."


It's unfathomably deplorable to attack children who are begging for meaningful gun reform because they watched their classmates be slaughtered in a massacre. But that's where we are.

And the media continues to "both sides" everything, despite the fact that conservatives have utterly conceded decency on this subject and every other.

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[CN: War; death] Kareem Shaheen at the Guardian: 'It's Not a War. It's a Massacre': Scores Killed in Syrian Enclave. "Pro-regime forces continued to bombard the opposition-controlled enclave of eastern Ghouta in Syria on Tuesday, leaving dozens dead, after more than 100 people were killed and hundreds wounded on a day of 'hysterical' violence on Monday. The surge in the killing came amid reports of an impending regime incursion into the area outside Damascus, which is home to 400,000 civilians. More than 700 people have been killed in three months, according to local counts, not including the deaths in the last week. ...'The bombing was hysterical,' said Ahmed al-Dbis, a security official at the Union of Medical and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), which runs dozens of hospitals in areas controlled by the opposition in Syria. 'It is a humanitarian catastrophe in every sense of the word. The mass killing of people who do not have the most basic tenets of life.'" My god.

E.A. Crunden at ThinkProgress: As Syrian Children Die in Latest Massacre, UNICEF Issues Blank 'Statement'. "The U.N. organization dedicated to protecting children issued a completely blank 'statement' regarding the current status of Syrian children on Tuesday, indicating that the situation is beyond description. 'No words will do justice to the children killed, their mothers, their fathers, and their loved ones,' United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) regional director Geert Cappalaere stated in a press release. The comment is followed by a stretch of blank space and then a footnote: 'UNICEF is issuing this blank statement. We no longer have the words to describe children's suffering and our outrage. Do those inflicting the suffering still have words to justify their barbaric acts?'"


Sob.

Just a reminder that Donald Trump's BFF Vladimir Putin supports the Assad regime in Syria.

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[CN: Rape culture; assault] Eli Saslow at the Washington Post: Is Anyone Listening? This Trump Accuser Keeps Asking Herself That, But She Plans to Keep Talking About That Day in 2006.
Crooks, 35, had been publicly reliving this story for much of the past two years, ever since she first described it in an email to the New York Times several months before the 2016 election. "I don't know if people will really care about this or if this will matter at all," she had written then, and after Donald Trump's election she had repeated her story at the Women's March, on the 'Today' show, and at a news conference organized by women's rights attorney Gloria Allred. Crooks had spoken to people dressed in #MeToo sweatshirts and to her rural neighbors whose yards were decorated with Trump signs. In early February, she launched a campaign to become a Democratic state representative in Ohio, in part so she could share her story more widely with voters across the state. And yet, after dozens of retellings, she still wasn't sure: Did people really care? Did it matter at all?

Despite her story, and the similar stories of more than a dozen other women, nothing had changed. Trump, who had denied all of the accusations, was still president of the United States, and Crooks was still circling back to the same moments on Jan. 11, 2006, that had come to define so much about her life.
[CN: Nativism] Alice Ollstein at TPM: The Senate Failed to Save DACA. What Happens Now? "When the final gavel came down Thursday afternoon, marking the Senate's failure to pass any one of four immigration bills up for debate, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) left the chamber with a spring in his step. Asked by reporters what Congress will do now for nearly 700,000 young immigrants at risk of losing their work permits and legal protections after March 5, the anti-immigration hardliner grinned and replied: 'We move on to confirming judges and banking reform.'" Fucking asshole.

[CN: War on agency] Teddy Wilson at Rewire: State-Level Republicans Pour Taxpayer Money into Fake Clinics at an Unprecedented Pace. "Anti-choice clinics will receive an unprecedented $40.5 million in taxpayer dollars from 14 states this fiscal year — even as lawmakers in these states slash funding for public health initiatives and increase requirements for people with low incomes to access public assistance programs. An analysis by Rewire of state budgets, agency contracts, and other public documents found little transparency and limited oversight of the essentially unregulated organizations receiving millions in funding from Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. 'It's an abuse of public funds to provide even a penny to anti-abortion fake clinics that systematically deceive and shame people seeking abortion care,' said Erin Matson, co-founder and co-director of ReproAction, a pro-choice organization."

Oliver Milman at the Guardian: 'Sloppy and Careless': Courts Call out Trump Blitzkrieg on Environmental Rules. "The reversal of Obama's environmental legacy has been spearheaded by Scott Pruitt, who heads the EPA, the agency he repeatedly sued as Oklahoma attorney general. Pruitt, who accused Obama of 'bending the rule of law' and federal overreach, has overseen the methodical delay or scrapping of dozens of rules curbing pollution from power plants, pesticides, and vehicles. Ironically for Pruitt, who has touted a 'back to basics' approach rooted safely within the confines of the law, this rapidly executed agenda has run into a thicket of legal problems, causing the administration to admit defeat in several cases."

[CN: Police misconduct] Ericka Blount Danois at the Root: These Police Stole, Sold Drugs, and Covered Up Killings; Now Baltimore Must Pick Up the Pieces. "The federal conviction of eight of Baltimore's City Police Department's Gun Trace Task Force officers, former detectives Daniel T. Hersl, Momodu Gondo, Evodio Hendrix, Jemell Rayam, and Maurice Ward, Sergeant Thomas Allers, Wayne Jenkins, and Marcus R. Taylor — for levels of corruption that range from breaking into citizens' houses and robbing them for cash, robbing drug dealers with ski masks and selling the drugs, racketeering conspiracy, covering up police involved killings, filing for unearned overtime pay, planting evidence, performing searches without warrants, and illegal stop and seizures — has reverberations for their victims who are seeking justice. The State's Attorney's office estimates that 'thousands' of cases have been tainted by the convictions of officers. Defense attorneys like Deborah Levi, who leads an initiative by the public defender's office to track police misconduct, and Ivan Bates estimate it at around 3,000 cases after a case search."

[CN: Sexual harassment] Bethania Palma at Snopes: Did 'Bots' Force Al Franken to Resign? (Nope!) "Although the gist of the stories was that Democrats had been duped into pushing Franken out by a propaganda operation run by Russia and the alt-right, the accuracy of these stories is being challenged. They reported that the attack against Franken was orchestrated in part by 'weaponizing' an article by author and writer Ijeoma Oluo to hasten his downfall. But both Oluo and a researcher who tracks Russian-influenced social media activity told us the reports got key details wrong." The "bots" framing also completely disappears the women who accused Franken, of course.

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

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Discussion Thread: Good Things

One of the ways we resist the demoralization and despair in which exploiters of fear like Trump thrive is to keep talking about the good things in our lives.

Because, even though it feels very much (and rightly so) like we are losing so many things we value, there are still daily moments of joy or achievement or love or empowering ferocity or other kinds of fulfillment.

Maybe you've experienced something big worth celebrating; maybe you've just had a precious moment of contentment; maybe getting out of bed this morning was a success worthy of mention.

News items worth celebrating are also welcome.

So, whatever you have to share that's good, here's a place to do it.

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I had a really fun weekend with my bestie, Deeky W. Gashlycrumb. (And of course Iain, too!) We ate good food, we watched funny things, and we had a lovely stroll around an outdoor mall on a beautiful day. Yay!

image of me and Deeky sitting on my couch, posing for a selfie together
I love this guy.

[Photo posted with Deeky's permission.]

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The Latest from Mueller

There has been another indictment in Special Counsel Bob Mueller's Russia investigation this morning:


Specifically, van der Zwaan is alleged to have misled the FBI about his contact with Rick Gates, who is rumored to be close to finalizing a plea deal with Mueller.

In other news, Mueller has reportedly been scrutinizing more of Paul Manafort's and Jared Kushner's respective foreign financial transactions.

Jason Leopold, Anthony Cormier, and Tanya Kozyreva at BuzzFeed: Manafort Under Scrutiny for $40 Million in "Suspicious" Transactions. "Federal law enforcement officials have identified more than $40 million in 'suspicious' financial transactions to and from companies controlled by [Donald] Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort — a much larger sum than was cited in his October indictment on money laundering charges. ...Last week, Mueller's team told a judge that it had evidence Manafort committed bank fraud, and news organizations have reported that the special counsel may be preparing additional charges."

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Mueller Team Looking at Kushner Contacts with Foreign Investors. "Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is looking into Jared Kushner's contacts with foreign investors during the presidential transition after [Donald] Trump won the election, CNN reported Monday evening. It was previously reported that the special counsel's team was looking at Kushner's contacts with Russians, but the new report from CNN indicates that Mueller is now looking at Kushner's contacts with other foreign individuals as well."

Welp. The investigation definitely continues!

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Yes, This, Thank You, Finally, Etc.

This is a very good piece by Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post: Don't Blame 'Washington.' Blame the GOP.

Dysfunctional Washington refuses to work out its differences to solve problems that matter to Americans.

So say pundits and policy activists, perhaps hoping that diffuse criticism, rather than finger-pointing, will yield a government willing to govern.

But the problem isn't "Washington." It isn't "Congress," either. The problem is elected officials from a single political party: the GOP.

...[O]bscuring which politicians stand in the way of that elusive "compromise" may instead allow them to keep getting away with it.
This is, of course, something about which I and presumably any person reading these words have been shouting for as long as we've been paying attention to politics, but it's important that Rampell is saying it on the opinion pages of the Washington Post, and I'm grateful that she has.

Masking intransigent Republican obstructionism behind the notion that "Washington is broken" is the worst of bothsiderism. "Both sides" are not breaking the government. "Both sides" are not failing to govern. "Both sides" are not manifestly incapable of governing.

That is true of the Republicans, and the Republicans alone.

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Open Thread

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