Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat sitting on the arm of the couch, with a ribbon hanging off her head
Some people have the world on a string. Others not so much.

Although that looks like a straw wrapper hanging off her head, it's actually a piece of ribbon (her favorite thing), which was originally the handle of a giftbag that she nearly destroyed trying to detach the ribbon, lol.

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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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 am giving a thumbs-up to Art.com, from which I've purchased a few things lately, including this terrific print of Kings Cross station in London, which is where Iain and I met in person for the first time.

image of a black and white photograph of Kings Cross station hanging on my living room wall

I've just had the best luck with Art.com: The quality of the products is great, their shipping time is fast, and they have frequent sales. I can't vouch for their customer service—but only because their service has been so splendid that I haven't had to use it!

I've never used their "print your own photo" service, but I have received a gift from Deeks of an image he created for me (which is just as AMAZING as you would imagine), and the quality was just as good as the stuff I've ordered from the available images on their site.

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

Just to be abundantly clear, I am not affiliated in any way with Art.com, nor am I receiving any form of payment for recommending them. It's just a thing I've personally found super useful and am happy to recommend.

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"What kind of a man does that?"

[Content Note: Class warfare.]

Senator Elizabeth Warren has been fighting an amazing Twitter war with Donald Trump for months. Yesterday, during a speech in DC, she took their war of words offline, and delivered a blistering attack on Trump, emphasizing, as Greg Sargent observed, that "Trump is not just a small, greedy person, but a cruel one, too."

Here are some highlights from her address, with transcript below.

Unfortunately, if you've been watching the presidential race, you know that we need to stand up now more than ever. Just yesterday, it came out that Donald Trump had said back in 2007—that is the year before the Estradas lost their home—that he was, quote, "excited" for the real estate market to crash because, quote, "I've always made more money in bad markets than good." That's right. The rest of us were horrified by what happened during the 2008 financial crisis, by what happened to the millions of families, like Mr. Estrada's, that were forced out of their homes. But Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown—because it meant he could buy up more property on the cheap.

What kind of a man does that? What kind of a man roots for people to get thrown out out of their house? What kind of man roots for people to get thrown out of their jobs? To root for people to lose their pensions? To root for two little girls in Clark County, Nevada, to end up living out of a van? What kind of a man does that? I'll tell you exactly what kind of a man does that: It is a man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn't care who gets hurt, so long as he makes a profit off it. What kind of a man does that? A man who will never be President of the United States!


And I just want to make one more point about Donald Trump, a point that won't quite fit into a Twitter war. But the last point that I want to make really sums up Donald Trump and what he's all about—his taxes.

Now let's be clear: We don't know what Donald Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. I mean, look, maybe he's just a lousy businessman and he doesn't want everyone to know that he's not as rich as he claims to be.

But we do know this: The last time that his taxes were made public, Donald Trump paid nothing—zero. Zero. Zero taxes before, and for all we know he's paying zero taxes today. And he's proud of it. Two weeks ago, he said that was more than happy to dodge taxes, because he doesn't want to throw his money, quote, "down the drain."


The central question at this juncture in our history is who this country works for. Whether this country works for billionaires like Trump and their big bank friends, or whether this country works for everyone else, for the people who get up every day and work their tails off and who are sick and tired of always getting the short end of the stick.

That's what matters, and each and every one of you works on different pieces of that fight. Wall Street accountability and Fed reform. Minimum wage and overtime pay. Fair scheduling. A liveable planet. Workers' rights and racial justice. You know the list, you know the stakes, you know the challenges.

But I know one thing: Whether we're talking about Donald Trump or we're talking about changing this country, you can't win if you don't fight. And we're in this fight—and we're in it to win. Thank you all so much. Thank you.

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[Content Note: Class warfare.]

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton released a powerful new ad recalling Donald Trump's comments about profiting from a housing crash. This is terrible but important stuff. Her campaign tweeted the ad with the blunt note: "When Trump got his wish for a housing crash, millions of Americans lost their homes. This guy can't be president."

Video Description:

Text onscreen, over an image of Donald Trump giving a double thumbs-up: "In 2006, Donald Trump was hoping for a real estate crash."

Clips from 2008 news reports. A male reporter's voice says: "This is an economy that can't find the bottom of bad news." Another male reporter's voice says: "Ten years of saving completely gone, vanished." Another male reporter's voice says: "The biggest crash of household wealth that we've ever had in the United States."

Text onscreen, over an image of people waiting in a long line: "9 million Americans lost their jobs."

Text onscreen, over video of houses down a street: "5 million families lost their homes."

Text onscreen, over an image of Trump sitting in his golden palace with a big grin on his face: "And the man who could be our next president was rooting for it to happen."

Audio of Donald Trump from 2006, over image of him blowing a kiss while standing in front of a US flag: "I sort of hope that happens, because then people like me would go in and buy. If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know, you could make a lot of money."

Text onscreen: "If Donald wins, you lose."

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Deep Breaths. Deep Breaths.

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Last night, Bernie Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver accused Senator Barbara Boxer of lying about having felt threatened at the Nevada Caucus when a bunch of angry Sanders supporters were screaming at her.

Yes. Really.

I had some thoughts about that. Ahem.

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Open Thread

image of an ice sculpture of a wasp

Hosted by an (incredible!) ice sculpture.

(This ice sculpture, called "Bzzzz," was the winner of the 2015 Long John Jamboree ice carving contest.)

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Question of the Day

What is your favorite inanimate possession?

(I specify "inanimate" so we can rule out pets. Not everyone views pets as possessions, of course, but some people do, and I just wanted to set that off-limits for debate.)

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Kenny Loggins: "Danger Zone"

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[Content Note: White supremacist nationalism.]

This piece by Allegra Kirkland at Talking Points Memo on Donald Trump's appeal to white nationalists is important reading. And though it's never explicitly stated in the piece, this is very specifically about a white supremacist patriarchal nationalism:

Almost every conference attendee TPM spoke with said he or she voted for Trump in the primaries. Some had attended rallies or canvassed for his campaign. A few, like William Johnson, have done much more. Johnson, the founder of the white nationalist American Freedom Party, poured thousands of dollars into his American National Super PAC's effort to blanket early voting states with robocalls urging voters to back Trump. He caused a stir earlier this month when his name appeared on a list of Trump's California delegates.

Though the Trump campaign attributed Johnson's inclusion on the delegate list to a "database error," he told TPM at the conference that his support for the real estate mogul, who he repeatedly called a "strong male leader," was unwavering.
Scary folks, who need to be disempowered. Which is just one more on the endlessly long list of reasons that Donald Trump must never be president.

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Two Facts

1. David Brooks is still being employed by the New York Times to write a garbage column.

2. This week, David Brooks is mystified by why Hillary Clinton is disliked. He's mystified by so many things! But he's got lots of solid theories. His theory on why Clinton is so disliked is that we don't know what she does for fun.

I guess it was time for another round of: Hillary Clinton is a huge failure for not letting us access every aspect of her personal life, despite the fact that she is shredded every time she gives us access to her personal life. Everyone's favorite game!

But obviously the best part of the entire piece is this:

[S]he was popular not long ago. As secretary of state she had a 66 percent approval rating. Even as recently as March 2015 her approval rating was at 50 and her disapproval rating was at 39.

It's only since she launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to impress the American people that she has made herself so strongly disliked.
She's made herself disliked! What a silly lady! She definitely shouldn't have done that to herself, don't you agree?


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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound asleep on the couch with his tongue hanging out
This is what Dudley thinks about all of it.

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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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Sexual assault] Bill Cosby will go to trial for "an accusation that he intoxicated and sexually assaulted a Temple University employee more than 12 years ago in his Pennsylvania home. The ruling in Pennsylvania district court sets in motion one of the biggest trials of the decade, in which the actor and comedian faces up to 10 years in prison." I take up space in solidarity with his victims.

A new analysis of census data by Pew Research Center has found: "In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults [in the US] ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents' home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household." Welp.

[CN: Violent misogyny; stalking] Fucking hell: "A Japanese pop star is in a critical condition after being repeatedly stabbed by a fan as she was waiting to perform at a concert venue in Tokyo. Mayu Tomita, 20, received nearly two dozen wounds to her neck and chest. Police arrested Tomohiro Iwazaki, 27, at the scene. He is reported to have said he was angry because Ms Tomita returned a gift he had sent her. The singer had reportedly complained to police about the fan last month. Japanese media says she contacted police after Mr Iwazaki started posting obsessive comments about her on Twitter and other social media sites. When police arrested him after the attack, he is reported to have told them that he ambushed her at the station and asked her about the gift. 'I lost my temper because she didn't clearly answer,' he reportedly said." The culture of violent entitlement. She didn't behave how I wanted her to, so I tried to kill her. I desperately hope that Tomita survives this heinous attack.

"Bernie Sanders calls for recanvass in Kentucky primary." Of course he does.

Bernie Sanders accepted an invitation from Fox News to debate before California's primary. But Hillary Clinton is taking a hard pass. "In a statement issued Monday evening, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton's campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, said Mrs. Clinton's team would contest California while 'turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses. We believe that Hillary Clinton's time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,' Ms. Palmieri said." Yup. Naturally, Sanders used it as yet another launchpad for an attack on Clinton: "Sanders said in a statement that he was 'disappointed but not surprised' by Mrs. Clinton's 'unwillingness to debate before the largest and most important primary in the presidential nominating process.' He added, 'I hope Secretary Clinton reconsiders her unfortunate decision to back away from her commitment to debate.'" California is not, in fact, the "most important primary in the presidential nominating process," because there is zero chance that Sanders will win by the enormous margin he'd need to even remain competitive.

Here's a cool headline: "Poll: 6 in 10 dislike or hate Trump and Clinton." My thought: Another way of saying that is that 4 in 10 like or admire Clinton. (I don't GAF about Trump.) And 40% seems like it's probably pretty close to average first-term presidential approval ratings. So I go and do some research, and, sure enough: Clinton, at 42% (like or admire) isn't far off the first-term approval ratings of six of the last 12 presidents, all of whom had approval ratings in the 40s. Truman (45), Nixon (49), Ford (47), Carter (45), GWB (49), and Obama (49). But it sure is fun to pretend that she's uniquely unlikeable, isn't it?

This is a really great morale booster for Hillary Clinton supporters by my colleague and friend Peter Daou: "If you are a Hillary supporter who simply wants a better future and can't understand why so much venom is directed at her, it's hard to process all this negativity. So trust me on this. I worked for Hillary for years, I know who she is and how she deals with it. She puts her faith in you. She ignores the pundits and prognosticators. She smiles at the haters. Hillary knows that you've been there for her and that you'll continue to be there for her. She looks past the vitriol and stays focused on what matters. She relies on her own sense of self. She draws on her inner fortitude. She is disciplined; she knows that love and kindness trump hate and fear. That's not just a slogan for her—it's her compass in the storm that always seems to surround her."

[CN: Misogyny] Sam Clovis, the national co-chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, said this on MSNBC about Hillary Clinton: "We essentially are talking about the fact we have a war on women being waged by the Democrats against the Republicans, at least that's the accusation. Yet we have the person who is the lead of that fight on the part of the Democrats is in fact the person who could not control the sexual predation that went on in her own home." It is not a woman's job to control men's "sexual predation." For fuck's sake.

[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami remind us that "Trump Is No Moderate on LGBT Issues."

RIP Jeanne Parr. "Pioneering CBS correspondent Jeanne Parr died on Friday. She was 92. ...Parr began her career at a local radio and television station in Madison, Wisconsin, before eventually being spotted by a CBS producer who moved her career to New York. Once in the Big Apple, Parr worked as a weather girl on the Jim Jensen Show before becoming a full-time news correspondent. ...In 1978, she landed her own talk show, The Jeanne Parr Show on CBS." I had no idea that Jeanne Parr was Chris Noth's mother. Wow. My condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, and fans.

"Minnesota Declares May 23 Beyoncé Day." And why not?! "According to the Star Tribune, Beyoncé made local history yesterday not only for the day in her name, but for being the first woman to headline a Twin Cities-area stadium concert. If that doesn't merit your own day, what does?"

"I for one welcome our cephalopod overlords. The number of cephalopods—squid, octopus and other squishy sea aliens—has shot up over the past six decades, even as humanity's influence on the ocean (read: climate change, pollution and overfishing) has caused many marine populations to plummet, according to a study published Monday in Current Biology. In other words, the ocean is becoming a more difficult place to live—and all of that empty space means everything is coming up octopus." Fascinating.

And finally! "This students who created this video were all offered jobs at Disney Animation and Pixar because of this amazing little film. Written and directed by Jacob Frey, based on a comic strip by Fabio Coala, it tells a a very special story." Maybe grab the tissues. I'm just saying.

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Ready for Hillary, in All Ways

Because I write a lot of positive pieces about Hillary Clinton, without feeling obliged to reflexively insert caveats about how she is not perfect, I'm often accused of thinking she's above criticism. This is not accurate. I am politically left of Hillary and thus have policy disagreements with her on a number of foreign policy issues, like drone warfare, and domestic policy issues, like reparations.

I'm also accused of expecting Clinton to be a perfect president. This, too, is inaccurate. I've been disappointed in some way or many ways by every president for whom I've cast a vote (not to mention the ones for whom I didn't cast a vote), and I fully expect that, if elected, I'll be disappointed by President Hillary Clinton, too.

I'm okay with that. Not just because reality obliges me to be okay with disappointment from my presidents, but because, as lots of people before me have observed, meaningful justice and equality are not just about getting equal opportunities to succeed, but about getting equal opportunities to fail.

Or, more precisely: Equal opportunities to survive failure.

Something that every marginalized person knows is we have fewer chances to fail than straight white able-bodied cisgender men. There will be no excuses made for us, no concerns about how we have families to support, no points for trying. We are not graded on a curve; every test for us is pass-fail.

Further, we are obliged to carry the additional burden of representing our entire demographic. (Especially when we are not part of a team with other members who look like us, but are tokens.) If we fail, it's not because we are flawed human beings who got something wrong, but because we are less-than.

The comic xkcd perfectly illustrated this dynamic in "How It Works."

two panel comic; in the first, two male stick figures are standing at a board with one doing math and the other says 'Wow, you suck at math'; in the second, one male and one female stick figure are standing at a board with the female figure doing math and the male figures says 'Wow, girls suck at math.'

From the time I was old enough to wonder about why there weren't any female presidents, I have heard all the reasons why women couldn't (shouldn't be allowed to) be president. They are the same reasons women supposedly can't (shouldn't be allowed to) do lots of things.

Not qualified. Not strong enough. Not competent. Not enough experience. Not decisive enough. Too fragile. Too sensitive. Too emotional. Too…womany.

You wouldn't want someone with her finger on the button while she's got PMS, would you? Har har.

Just as there are people—ignorant, wrong-headed, cruel people—who attribute what failures of President Obama's they perceive to the color of his skin, there are people who attribute what they view as Clinton's flaws to her being a woman. That won't stop when she is president.

She will fail to be perfect. (Whatever "perfect" can even mean in a country with a vast spectrum of often conflicting political ideologies.) She will make mistakes. She will disappoint me, and lots of other people. Like every other president.

And it will have nothing to do with her womanhood. It will be because she is, like every other president, a human being doing one of the toughest jobs in the world.

I'm prepared for that. I'm prepared for all the attendant garbage that comes with her being first—and I'm prepared to push back on it. I can be part of her progressive base that urges her to do better and simultaneously a feminist woman who refuses to indulge expectations of perfection or the sexist attribution of fault to her gender, instead of to her decision-making.

I don't want her to make mistakes, especially because when presidents make mistakes there are often deadly consequences. (No one, it seems, who has themselves never been president is more keenly aware of this than Clinton, which is part of the reason I trust her.) I am simply aware that she will.

President Obama has made mistakes. Hillary Clinton has and will make mistakes. It's not because they are not white men. It's because he is—and she will be—presidents.

It's a weird sort of aspect of social justice—this idea that marginalized people must be allowed to fail on our own, as much as we must be allowed to succeed on our own.

But there it is. And when I say I'm #ReadyforHillary, I'm ready for that, too.

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TV Corner: Grace & Frankie

screen shot of Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Grace and Frankie, from the show 'Grace & Frankie'
♥ ♥ ♥

I've finally finished Season Two of Netflix's original series Grace & Frankie, and OH HOW I LOVE IT SO.

To keep this post spoiler free, I will merely say that I love every member of the cast, and Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are ESPECIALLY GREAT. I am so happy that a show named for two female characters is actually about those female characters! Not that the other characters get short shrift, but the show finds a perfect balance so that the titular characters aren't decentralized in their own show.

The way this season ended made me so happy! I loved those final scenes with one million hearts.

Anyway! I will leave it there, and let's all head to comments where we can be SPOILERIFFIC. If you don't want spoilers, beware of reading the comments! You've been warned!

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What Are You Even Doing, Sanders? Today's Edition.

[Content Note: Violence; harassment; misogyny.]

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders predicted that the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia will be "messy."

The Vermont senator said he will "condemn any and all forms of violence" but his campaign was bringing in newcomers to the process and first-time attendees of political conventions. He said the Democratic Party could choose to be more inclusive.

"I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it's going to be messy," Sanders said. "Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic Party should go."

The Vermont senator said he will "condemn any and all forms of violence" but his campaign was bringing in newcomers to the process and first-time attendees of political conventions. He said the Democratic Party could choose to be more inclusive.
First of all, there shouldn't be a "but" after "will condemn any and all forms of violence."

Secondly, what he needs to do is explicitly tell his supporters not to engage in violence, instead of promising to condemn any that happens.

Third, be describing everything that's happened so far as "vigorous debate," he's eliding every bit of harassment, every incident of targeted and doxxing superdelegates, the misogynist epithets hurled at Senator Barbara Boxer and other Clinton supporters, every threat of violence, every death threat, every rape threat, every bit of vile invective many of his supporters have been lobbing primarily at women for nearly a year.

None of those things constitute "vigorous debate."

Today, Sanders insists that the "messiness" to which he referred was not meant to suggest violence, and that his words were taken out of context.
"The media often takes words out of context. The context of that was that democracy is messy. That people will have vigorous debate on the issues," Sanders told NBC News' Kristen Welker in an interview aired Tuesday on "Today." Asked whether the convention itself will be messy, Sanders replied, "Well of course it will be. But everything — that's what democracy is about."

Sanders also bristled at the suggestion that his staying in the race would hurt Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, snapping, "I guess if we take your assumption, and Clinton supporters' assumption, that that is the logical conclusion, we should go back to a monarchy and not have any election at all."
For what is probably the thousandth time: The issue is not Sanders staying in the race and competing. It's the way he's campaigning, continuing to primarily direct his attacks at Clinton, who is going to be the Democratic nominee.

He has said a number of times that he will not be a spoiler and that he will "do everything I can to make sure that someone like Donald Trump does not become president of the United States."

Okay. So when does that start happening? When do we get to see evidence of this great campaign he'll wage to stop a radical rightwing presidency?

Because I'm seeing a whole lot of attacks on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party from a man who refuses to concede that he's lost, and not a whole lot of effort to do whatever it takes to defeat Donald Trump.

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Trump Doesn't Like Women Any More Than He Respects Us

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

I've got a new entry in the #WomenTrumpDonald series up at BNR, in which I explore how Donald Trump doesn't like women any more than he respects us:

Understandably concerned about his cavernous gap with female voters, Donald moaned: "My poll numbers with men are through the roof. I like women more than men, though. Come on, women."

Yes, come on, women. Aren't you convinced yet? He likes us better than men!

Where to even begin.

For a start, imagine, just for a moment, the immediate backlash if Hillary Clinton said "I like women more than men, though." Or its opposite: "I like men more than women, though." There is no construction of these combination of words that she could utter without inviting swift and intense criticism.

The reason Donald gets away with saying it, apart from the usual sexist double-standards around gendered language, is twofold.

1. Everyone knows he doesn't mean it. To say he likes women more than men is just a cynical bit of pandering. No more than a joke, really, at women's expense.

2. He doesn't mean he likes us as human beings, anyway.

What he means, what we all understand quite plainly, is that he likes looking at women. He likes women the same way he likes yachts and ostentatious chandeliers and buildings. He actually said this: "Beauty and elegance, whether in a woman, a building, or a work of art is not just superficial or something pretty to see."

He likes us as possessions, as things that he can control. "Come on, women."
Click through to read the whole thing. This guy. Honestly.

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Open Thread

image of a selection of colorful Icees

Hosted by Icees.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker masculine_lady: "What are some of your words to live by?"

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Kenny Loggins: "Footloose"

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by a briefcase.

Recommended Reading:

Peter: VIDEO: On CNN, I Explain the Difference Between Donald's and Hillary's Unfavorables

Fannie: [Content Note: Misogyny, Harassment, Violence] Sanders, Stop the Mob or Get Out

Sameer: [CN: Racism; guns; violence] REPORT: Black People Are Primary Victims of Mass Shootings

Shane: [CN: Racism; colorism; misogynoir] White Is Right, But Light-Skin Is the Next Best Thing

Jenn: [CN: Racism] Asian American Group Files Anti-Affirmative Action Complaint Against Yale, Dartmouth, Brown: What You Need to Know

OBOS Contributors: [CN: War on agency] History of Abortion in the U.S.

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred] Avenue's Coupon Debacle, and Then Some

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

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