The Inaugural

So, Donald Trump is getting inaugurated today. Mourning in America, as I am not remotely the first to say. It's difficult to put into words what I'm feeling right now, which is a cacophony of emotions all competing to be the most overwhelming, none of them good.

Dread is winning at the moment.

The thing is, dread is really just informed fear, so maybe it's more honest to say that fear is winning.

Talk to me in a half hour, and anger may have retaken the lead.

We are entering an era of profound uncertainty. And that is scary. Especially when you don't have the capacity to influence any outcomes; when you cannot right the instability, but must constantly navigate it, trying to keep your balance.

Numbers help. Mass. The more of us who hold together, the better it will be for us all.

I reaffirm that this space will be a constant. It is what I can offer, in response to instability. At the center of my resistance is to do whatever I can to be reliable, in a time of chaos; to be validating, in a time of gaslighting; to make community, in a time of division.

We are Stronger Together. Still and always.

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Day One

image of a large black rectangle with the word RESIST in the middle, in white text

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker RachelB: "What book doesn't exist, but should?"

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Me at Shareblue: President Obama writes a farewell letter to the nation.

Literally just putting that piece together while Trump's inaugural bullshit show is on in the background.

I ache. I really do.

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A Very Bad Choice

[Content Note: Misogyny; objectification; sexual assault.]

We have a plumbing problem.

Well, we did have a plumbing problem—a bathroom sink that simultaneously leaking and not draining. But then we called a plumber, and now it is fixed.

The plumber who did the work—well, I might add—was a middle-aged white man. He was kind to the animals and so considerate about not making or leaving a mess.

He also stared at my boobs a lot, and commented on my tattoos. I smiled and I said thank you, and he used the excuse of trying to guess how old they were to stare at them a little longer. I made polite conversation, with my back to a closed door. Holding his gaze, like two people just happily chatting, I reached for the doorknob behind my back and held onto it, just in case.

Later that evening, I told Iain what happened. He said the only thing he could say, being a decent man who would never audit my report of the experience: "I'm sorry, babe. That sucks."

I told him about how much I hate that I cannot get angry; that I cannot express, in my own home, what I am feeling when a man treats me like that, makes me uncomfortable. How much I hate that I have to behave as though everything is normal, because if my contempt does not remain thoroughly concealed, a man who is merely inappropriate could become dangerous.

"I know. It sucks. I'm sorry."

We went on to speak about other things—the details of our workdays, and, inevitably, politics.

Being the people we are, it would no doubt be a feature of our nightly conversations, even were it not at the center of my work, and my every waking moment these days.

Somehow, we came again to the subject of Donald Trump and his sexual abuse. We collectively marveled and shivered and seethed that a confessed sexual predator had been elected president.

I told Iain I was so ashamed, thinking about it. Thinking about Theresa May or Nicola Sturgeon or Angela Merkel, any of the female leaders around the world, having to meet with Donald Trump—having to walk into the same room as him, shake his hand, smile, pose for pictures with him.

It's not that I fear he will physically harm them; I expect—and hope—they will never be alone in a room with him, anyway. It's just the goddamned indignity of having to share a space with a man who has bragged—bragged!—about sexually abusing women.

And they will not be able to say or do whatever they want. Not with the world watching. Not with a man who could escalate from inappropriate to dangerous, in ways that would affect millions of the people they have sworn to protect.

Instead, they will have to stand with this man, our president-elect, who may say something inappropriate, away from the microphones, or do something inappropriate, away from the cameras, and they will have to behave as though everything is normal.

Because this is what it is to be a woman in a world full of men who believe that they own us. Even when you are the leader of a nation, you are still obliged to navigate the same humiliations as an average woman facing an ogling plumber.

This is the way of the world for women.

That is not an inevitability. That is the result of choices that other people make. Like the choice of (a minority of the population of) a nation to reject a competent, qualified, good woman and instead elect a serial sexual predator as their president.

I think about the female leaders who will have to share space with our president-elect, and I am ashamed.

One reason, among many.

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"Our ethical standards will wither, and that will be one of Donald Trump’s first legacies as president."

[Content Note: Racism.]

I've got a massive new piece at Shareblue, on incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's attack on Senate Democrats during the Trump transition press conference this morning, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer's subsequent presser during which he called out in no uncertain terms which party it really is behaving abysmally during these confirmation hearings.

There is a lot of video, all with complete transcripts, as well as my commentary, so head on over to read the whole thing. Here's just a brief excerpt:

The Democrats did not have a "political hit list." They had documented which proposed nominees they knew to have records about which they were gravely concerned. And they did not consider Chao, Carson, or Haley "consensus candidates," but candidates about whose records they were merely less concerned — and, because the Democrats did not treat their confirmation hearings like a formality, but instead an opportunity to do serious vetting, they exposed some remarkable weaknesses in those candidates' qualifications, too.
Also: The Trump transition presser? Aired live by cable news. Schumer's presser? Streamed on C-SPAN. So, you know, SHARE THIS.

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So This Happened

Tommy Christopher at Shareblue: "Trump spokesman brushes off conflict of interest concerns; literally advertises Trump's hotel."

Yeah. YEAH.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the floor next to her pile of plushy toys
Zelly and her toys, taking a nap.

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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Discussion Thread: The Last Day

Today is the last full day we have with President Obama as our president, and not Donald Trump. It still doesn't feel real. And, at the same time, it feels overwhelmingly, crushingly real.

How are you doing?

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This, Too, Is Real

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This is real. THIS IS REAL.

When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.

In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States' nuclear arsenal.
This is from a New York Times piece headlined: "'Learning Curve' as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood."

He didn't even understand what the Energy Department does, but accepted the job, anyway.

And let's just contemplate for a moment that Rick Perry was the governor of Texas and didn't understand what one of the nation's cabinet-level federal agencies does.

Perry may be the most unqualified of Trump's entire parade of unqualified candidates, and that is really saying something.

Maude save us.

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Heather T: "Do you have a memory of doing something for the first time with the intensity that children have when they're really trying to figure something out? (i.e., for me, it was ice skating)"

For me it was roller skating. And I am so old that I had those adjustable skates that clipped onto your shoes, and I wore my "skate key" around my neck, in case of emergency adjustments.

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More Afternoon Reading

Tommy Christopher: Sen. Whitehouse demands HHS nominee explain how we can trust him with health policy if he denies settled science.

Dianna E. Anderson: EPA nominee Pruitt shows appalling lack of knowledge on lead contamination.

Tommy Christopher: Tim Kaine patiently schools Nikki Haley on Iran nuclear deal during confirmation hearing.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share what you've been reading in comments!

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My Fellow Americans

Deep breath.

This is just a terrible and unfortunate reminder that this guy will be your president in two days.

image of Donald Trump in a white suit and bare feet, sitting on the back of a white swan fountain beside a pool

"Here's what I want: A swan, but real angry, and it's a chair but it's also a fountain, so it looks like the swan is barfing while I'm sitting on it. You know, NORMAL STUFF that normal people want for their normal homes!"

What? You don't have an angry swan chair/fountain at your pad? You're so weird.

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Some Midday Reading

Tommy Christopher: Trump's Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee is in a heap of ethics trouble.

Leah McElrath: The case against Trump: He clearly knew about Russian interference.

Tommy Christopher: Trump rages against the Today show over a basic fact-checking segment.

Me: Trump ominously warns he will choose which journalists get access during press briefings.

Tommy Christopher: Trump nominee says humans contribute to climate change, and that we should contribute more to it.

Matthew Chapman: Trump's Education pick advises upheaval for disabled students: I lived it.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share what you've been reading in comments!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat lying on the back of the couch, with her nose smooshed into a blanket
Wee Sophs! 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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Discussion Thread: Four Simultaneous Hearings

There are four simultaneous confirmation hearings happening right now: Nikki Haley for U.N. Ambassador; Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services; Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary; and Scott Pruitt for EPA chief.

How thoughtful and democratic of the Republicans to schedule all four hearings at the exact same time.


Anyway. Here is a place for discussion, if you are keeping tabs on any/all of the hearings for this collection of reprobates, and would like a place to process the imminent destruction of everything we value.

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In other emergent authoritarian news, from a Washington Post article headlined "How Donald Trump came up with Make America Great Again" (because NEWS):
How can greatness be measured and sensed? What does it even mean?

"Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country," Trump said. "And we're going to show the people as we build up our military, we're going to display our military.

"That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we're going to be showing our military," he added.
As Brendan Nyhan noted on Twitter (and as students of history already know), using the military as a political prop "is a signature of authoritarian regimes."

So everything's going great.

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