Programming Note

As I mentioned, I've got a friend coming to visit for a few days. Actually, he arrived last night — yay! So I'm going to be taking tomorrow and Friday off, as well as Monday and Tuesday of next week, and then I'll see you back here next Wednesday.

I'll be putting up fresh Open Threads every couple of days, so you'll still have a place to hang out and chat about stuff, if you need it!

image of a cartoon version of me poking around big block lettering that reads SEE YOU SOON

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What I'm Watching

This is a thread to share all the good things you're watching at the moment, or have recently watched. Serialized shows on broadcast or streaming; films; digital shorts; stand-up; documentaries; performances — whatever! Tell us what you're watching and enjoying these days.

In addition to watching the Great British Baking Show, I just finished Season 1 of the new Amazon series Forever, because I would literally watch Maya Rudolph read a takeout menu.

I can't say anything about the show without ruining it, so I won't. I will only say that it's interesting, and I'm not sure that I liked it, but I would definitely watch more of it!

screenshot of a scene from Forever in which Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen are sitting in funny positions in a mid-century modern living room

Anyway! What are you watching these days?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat, Olivia the White Farm Cat, and Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the living room floor near the window together
The girls were having a cuddle fest near the window the other day.

Meanwhile, Dudley was all:

image of Dudley the Greyhound, lounging on the couch with his ears perked up
"Hi!"

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 608

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.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Life Preservers in a Toxic Sea and A Tale of Two Senators.

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

[Content Note: Sexual assault] Lauren Gambino at the Guardian: Trump: 'Very Hard to Imagine' Anything Happened Between Kavanaugh and Accuser. "Donald Trump has said it would be 'very hard' to imagine anything happened between his supreme court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused him of sexual assault decades ago. ...[He also] continued to vigorously defend his nominee, calling him an 'outstanding man' with an 'unblemished record' and lamenting the hardship this has placed on Kavanaugh's wife and two young daughters." Goddammit I hate him so much.


[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Chris Strohm at Bloomberg: FBI, DOJ Plan Redactions Despite Trump's Document Order. "Donald Trump has demanded the 'immediate declassification' of sensitive materials about the Russia investigation, but the agencies responsible are expected to propose redactions that would keep some information secret, according to three people familiar with the matter. The Justice Department, FBI, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter."

[Previously: Trump Declassifies Documents in Brazen Authoritarian Move.]

Kate Riga at TPM: Trump on Sessions: 'I Don't Have an Attorney General. It's Very Sad.' "Donald Trump beat up on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, saying that he doesn't 'have an attorney general' and that he's 'very sad' about it. ...'I'm so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me,' Trump told the Hill. 'He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn't see it.' ...'And my worst enemies, I mean, people that, you know, are on the other side of me, in a lot of ways, including politically, have said that was a very unfair thing he did,' he told the Hill, looping back to Sessions' recusal. 'We'll see how it goes with Jeff. I'm very disappointed in Jeff. Very disappointed.'"

John Wagner and Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post: 'I Should Have Fired Him Before I Got Here': Trump Says He Regrets Not Firing Comey Sooner. "Trump said Tuesday that he regrets not firing James B. Comey as FBI director sooner, asserting that he should have done so while still a candidate for president — an option that was not actually available to him. 'If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here,' Trump said in an interview with Hill.TV. 'I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don't want that guy. Or at least fired him the first day on the job. ...I would have been better off firing him or putting out a statement that I don't want him there when I get there.'"

WHAT THE FUCK IS HE EVEN TALKING ABOUT?! ARGH.

* * *

Kira Lerner: Georgia Voters Warn Midterm Election Security Is in Danger. "Georgia is one of just five states that will not use paper ballets in the upcoming midterms, after a judge denied a motion late Monday that would have required the state to move away from its electronic touch screen machines. In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg pointed to the limited time remaining to switch the state's election systems ahead of November's vote, although she said that security concerns are legitimate and warned that 'further delay is not tolerable' in 'confronting and tackling the challenges before the state's election balloting system.'"

* * *

Justin Sink at Bloomberg: Poland Offers 'Fort Trump' as Name If U.S. Builds Military Base.
[Donald] Trump said the U.S. is looking "very seriously" at establishing a permanent military base in Poland — and Polish President Andrzej Duda, eager to secure a deal, suggested it be named "Fort Trump."

Trump raised the possibility of a new U.S. base in Poland in a meeting with Duda in the Oval Office on Tuesday. He said at a news conference with the Polish leader that Duda had offered to pay more than $2 billion toward construction.

"Poland is willing to make a very major contribution to the United States to come in and have a presence in Poland," Trump said in the Oval Office. "If they're willing to do that, it's something we will certainly talk about."

Duda, whose country is wary of Russian aggression in neighboring Ukraine, suggested during the news conference that a base could be named after Trump.

...The construction of a base would risk provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin even as Trump has gone to lengths to improve relations with the Kremlin.
I don't even know where to begin with this garbage, but let's start here: Why does the media continue to talk about Trump as though he's a typical president?! That last quoted sentence is absurd. Obviously the objective of the base wouldn't really be to prevent Russian aggression. For crying out loud.

[Content Note: Deadly explosions] Last Friday, I wrote about a strange and troubling series of explosions in three Massachusetts communities, which left one person dead, dozens injured, and many people displaced from their homes after officials called for widespread evacuations. At the time, I said that I feared it was the first significant cyberattack on our utility grid.

This AP piece (wire at Washington Post) has not disabused me of my concerns: Lawsuit Filed Against Gas Company After Massachusetts Blasts. "A letter sent by the state's U.S. senators to executives at Columbia Gas and its parent company, NiSource, on Monday said the pressure in natural gas pipelines was 12 times higher than it should have been. 'The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has reported that the pressure in the Columbia Gas system should have been around 0.5 pounds per square inch (PSI), but readings in the area reached at least 6 PSI — twelve times higher than the system was intended to hold,' the letter said. The pressure spike registered in a Columbia Gas control room in Ohio, the senators said in the letter, which requests a reply by Wednesday." Welp.

Tom Embury-Dennis at the Independent: Container Ship Crosses Arctic Route for First Time in History Due to Melting Sea Ice. "A commercial container ship has for the first time successfully navigated the Northern Sea Route of the Arctic Ocean, a route made possible by melting sea ice caused by global warming. Maersk Line, the world's biggest container shipping company, told The Independent its ship, Venta Maersk, was expected to reach its final destination of St. Petersburg next week. ...With help from Russia's most powerful nuclear icebreaker, it followed the Northern Sea Route up through the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska, before travelling along Russia's north coast and into the Norwegian Sea."

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!

* * *

image of a round organge olive oil cake dusted with powedered sugar, sitting on my stovetop
Orange olive oil cake.

Over the weekend, I made a yummy orange olive oil cake, because I felt like baking and that's what I had the ingredients in the house to bake! I posted the above photo on Instagram, and Shaker DesertRose requested that I share the recipe in the next Shaker Gourmet thread, so here' tis: Melissa D'Arabian's Orange Olive Oil Cake.

The cool thing about olive oil cakes is that they tend to get moister the longer they hang around, rather than getting stale. (If kept at room temperature.) Half the cake is still left, and it is positively luscious.

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A Tale of Two Senators

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Christine Blasey Ford has requested an FBI investigation of her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh before she gives testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is a calculated move, and a smart one.


The Republican majority on the Judiciary Committee offered to hold a quickie hearing on Monday. It was an obvious bid to give the most technical appearance of caring about her allegation while also sweeping it under the rug as swiftly as possible before confirming Kavanaugh. Ford has now complicated that cynical strategy, even as her life has been turned absolutely upside down by coming forward.

She has more integrity and bravery than the entire lot of fucking traitorous cowards in the Republican Party.

Naturally, the Democrats are standing with Ford, while the Republicans continue to be disgusting ghouls.

The stark difference between the Democratic response and the Republican response could not be more perfectly encapsulated than in the juxtaposition between the words of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono.

Lindsey Graham: "This has been a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh. ...I'll listen to the lady, but we're going to bring this to a close."

Mazie Hirono: "I just want to say to the men of this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change. Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed. They need to be believed. We cannot continue the victimization and the smearing of someone like Dr. Ford. We have to create an environment where women can come forward and be heard and be listened to. I want to thank Dr. Ford. I commend her courage. I believe her."

I believe her, too.

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Life Preservers in a Toxic Sea

[Content Note: Patriarchy; white supremacy; rape culture; references to drowning.]

image of a turbulent sea beneath a misty sky
[Image via Pixabay.]

I am a strong swimmer.

I swim a mile at least three or four times a week. Length after length, back and forth, sometimes sharing a lane with other swimmers, the pool so full of people that it churns like the sea.

No matter how placid or turbulent the water, even when the surface roils with the movement of other swimmers and I get a mouthful of water when I expected air, I never feel as though I'm drowning.

The only thing that threatens to drown me is the vast sea of seeping venom, oozed by the corrupt and abusive people who are running this nation.

Running it from the halls of government, in federal buildings and private clubs. Running it from behind desks in newsrooms, and from ivory towers in academia. Running it from golf courses and locker rooms. Running it from statehouses, courthouses, warehouses, farmhouses, hen houses, outhouses, and dog houses.

So many men. White men, mostly — with their tokens, their pets, their enablers. Exceptional Women and the bootstrapping purveyors of respectability politics. The fools who believe that proximity to sadistic white men will keep them safe.

Every day, I wake up full of steely resolve, prepared to once again resist as mightily as I can, in all the ways that I can. I take my space among the rest of the resisters, who speak or march or donate or volunteer or write or make calls or lash themselves to fixed barriers and refuse to be easily removed.

And every day, I begin to drown. I take air from the people who swim at my side, fighting, and I give air back to them in turn. We fill each other's lungs with air, as the corrupt and abusive people who are running this nation try to drown us in the sea of their relentless malice.

Wave after wave of chaos, of harm. Of corruption and abuse and lies. Of silencing and threatening and attacking and caging. Of marginalizing and othering and dehumanizing and exploiting and thieving and raping and bombing and betraying.

I tread water in this churning sea, and I struggle to swim. I struggle to breathe, like everyone floating in the sea beside me.

We act as each other's life preservers.

I think about what those words mean, their literal meaning. We preserve each other's lives.

We preserve each other's lives, as vile men try to destroy them. To rescind our rights, to reject our agency, to ignore our consent. To step on our necks, to redistribute our treasure to their own pockets, to deny us livable wages, affordable housing, lifesaving healthcare. To neglect the safety of infrastructure in our communities. To kill us with poisons in the air and water and food and walls. To starve us, to hurt us, to paralyze us with fear, to refuse us opportunities to thrive or even moments of joy.

To try to make us agree with their damnable pretense that we are inferior; that there is something inherently better about white men.

I use the last of my precious breath to exhale a curdled sigh of contempt. For we know, we know, that it isn't true.

If it were, they wouldn't need to mount such a cruel and comprehensive effort to convince us otherwise. To drown us in their sea of bile.

I don't know if we are going to win this fight, but I am going to keep swimming. For as long as I can.

And I hope that while they busily piss into their toxic sea, they continue to underestimate how strong a swimmer I am. How willing we are to keep swimming; to be each other's life preservers.

They don't know yet that we will keep coming, length after length, back and forth, but they will.

They don't understand yet that I have bigger ambitions than "draining the swamp." I'm fixing to drain the entire sea.

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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 Diverkat: "What's something totally impractical that you really want to do/own/experience?"

Owning a Shetland pony. Obvs.

image of a Shetland pony, pictured standing on a hillside in a breeze on the Shetland islands
[Image via Pixabay.]

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Your Best Photograph

If you're a photographer, even if a very amateur one (like myself), and you've got a photo or photos you'd like to share, here's your thread for that!

It doesn't really have to be your best photograph — just one you like!

Please be sure if your photo contains people other than yourself, that you have the explicit consent of the people in the photos before posting them.

* * *

Here's a photo I took the other night of the sky at dusk. It was so pretty; it didn't even look real. (There is no filter on this photo.)

image of the sky through trees at dusk, with pink and purple clouds streaked across the sky

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This Is a Display of Dominance

[Content Note: Sexual assault.]

One of the things that's getting lost in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination news is what this entire situation means in terms of the Republican Party's consolidation of their power.

Given that Kavanaugh has now been accused of sexual assault and lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee, it would be easier, frankly, to switch the nominee and ram that person through as quickly as possible.

Even allowing that the Republican Party is full of indecent wrecks of humanity who don't care that Kavanaugh is a liar or an abuser, they've still got a tougher road ahead if they press forward with him.

There is, of course, no shortage of conservative judges with similar qualifications to Kavanaugh and an equal willingness to be the Trump Regime's lackey on the Supreme Court.

So why go the harder route?

Because to back down, even for an easier road to the same destination, would concede that they are not yet all-powerful; that they can still be stopped.

By public pressure, if not rules, laws, norms, or ethics.

The only reason to dig in is to prove that their coup is virtually complete. To show that not only are they refusing to provide checks and balances on the president, but that there are no longer any checks or balances on them.

This is a display of dominance, a flick of the tail of a dragon who has just learned to breathe fire.

Keep up the pressure. Keep making noise. Keep resisting.

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OMG SHOEZ

Listen, the news is tough, and we all need moments of escape from the horror to recuperate and prepare for the next onslaught, and I can talk about shoes all the livelong day, so welcome to the OMG SHOEZ thread.

Got a favorite pair of shoes you want to share? Bought a new pair about which you're super excited? Have a recommendation to make, or want to caution us away from a purchase you regret? Want to solicit suggestions for a specific event, a foot issue, an elusive something for which you've been hunting? Having trouble finding something particular on a budget? Have at it in comments!

* * *

I mentioned in the last OMG SHOEZ thread that I'm really into flat loafers at the moment, but that doesn't mean I've abandoned heels completely! I still love me a pair of heeled boots, including these beauties:

image of my feet in white velvet ankle boots with a red and blue geometric pattern
image of my feet in the boots while I'm sitting down with my legs crossed
Dr. Scholl's Darcia Velvet Bootie.

These have a 3-inch heel, which I almost never do — but because they're Dr. Scholl's, I can walk and stand comfortably in them for a reasonable amount of time. Like the duration of date night, for instance!

I don't do heels very often, but I like to have a few pairs just so I can occasionally experience what it's like to be "tall." I'm all of 5'5" in a 3-inch heel, lol.

So, that's what up with me! What's up with you?

(As always: I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving compensation from any of the brands or shoe retailers mentioned in this thread. Any shoes and/or retailers I recommend is just because I really like 'em!)

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt and Dudley the Greyhound standing and staring at me as I sit at my desk
"What do we want?" "TREATS!" "When do we want them?" "NOW!"

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 607

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.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Maybe We Could All Try Being Better Than Trump and Trump Declassifies Documents in Brazen Authoritarian Move.

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

[Content Note: Sexual assault; rape culture. Covers entire section.]

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Trump Snarls at Reporter Who Asks If Kavanaugh Should Withdraw: 'What a Ridiculous Question That Is'. "Donald Trump defended Brett Kavanaugh on Monday afternoon in a session with reporters in the wake of the sexual assault allegations launched at his SCOTUS nominee. Said Trump: 'Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest people that I've ever known. He's an outstanding intellect, an outstanding judge respected by everybody, never had even a little blemish on his record.' ...Asked if he had offered to withdraw from the process, Trump snarled: 'Next question. What a ridiculous question that is.'"

Anita Hill at the New York Times: How to Get the Kavanaugh Hearings Right. "In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court. It failed on both counts. ...That the Senate Judiciary Committee still lacks a protocol for vetting sexual harassment and assault claims that surface during a confirmation hearing suggests that the committee has learned little from the Thomas hearing, much less the more recent #MeToo movement. ...A fair, neutral, and well-thought-out course is the only way to approach Dr. Blasey and Judge Kavanaugh's upcoming testimony. The details of what that process would look like should be guided by experts who have devoted their careers to understanding sexual violence."

There is an epic fuckton of rape apologia being disgorged on behalf of Brett Kavanaugh, and one of the most common refrains is that the allegations shouldn't matter, even if they're true, because "he was just a kid." I briefly addressed that on Twitter:


Every motherfucking time I have to read someone talking about how teenage rapists are just confused kids, I flash back to the look on his face while he did it. He wasn't confused about what he was doing.

He was also drunk, like Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh was — another piece of information that is being used to suggest he isn't responsible for his actions. Especially when other abusers or encouraging witnesses are present, sexual predators may drink to lower their inhibitions to facilitate the harm they want to do. Being drunk is hardly the mitigating factor rape apologists seem to believe that it is.

I also want to quickly note how utterly distressing the entire dynamic of this public discussion is, for others who may be feeling upset by it and would benefit from validation of those feelings and/or can't find the words to articulate it.

It's disgusting. I'm exhausted from having to publicly talk about my own survival, over and over, opening myself up to more harassment because there are people who don't give a fuck about survivors. It feels exploitative, and it feels futile. We just keep laying ourselves bare talking about the costs of harm, and it's basically jerk-off fodder for Trump and his 30 million bros.

"OOH TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW MUCH IT HURTS YOU."

So my choice is between giving wank material to sadists or keeping my mouth shut? Great options.

I choose to keep speaking. But goddamn does it come at a steep cost.

* * *

[CN: Hurricanes; displacement; racism; class warfare] Adam Gabbatt and Oliver Laughland at the Guardian: In North Carolina, It's the Poorest Who Bear the Brunt of Flooding.
Amid the cluster of uniformed officials, flashing lights, and shallow-bottomed boats in downtown Lumberton on Sunday afternoon, six figures stood out.

Patrice Carmichael, Clarence Hargrove and three of their children were walking slowly through the driving rain, pushing their four-month-old baby in a stroller and hauling a shopping trolley filled with clothing and food.

The family had been forced to evacuate their apartment in the path of the expected flooding from the Lumber river. But without a car or, it appeared, any help from authorities, they were forced to walk a mile and a half to an evacuation shelter.

...Greenleaf is home to national civil rights leader the Rev William Barber, who left the city briefly to evacuate his elderly mother.

On the phone, Barber argued that Florence should mark a moment to discuss the state's various forms of structural racism and economic inequality.

"Where the hurricanes hit the hardest are the counties that have the highest number of black populations and poor populations. And yet in those areas the resources and the infrastructure that could be put in before we have storms is never quite dealt with," he said.
Tracy Connor at the Daily Beast: Man Who Lost Wife and Baby to Florence: 'It All Went Wrong So Fast'. "Early Friday morning, when the storm called Florence was still at hurricane strength and bearing down on North Carolina, Adam Johnson was in the bedroom he shared with his wife Lesha Murphy-Johnson and their 8-month-old son. ...The family–including Lesha's three daughters from a previous relationship and her mother – didn't feel like they were in any imminent danger. 'And then it all went wrong so fast,' Johnson told The Daily Beast on Monday, three days after his wife and child became early casualties of a storm that has claimed at least 20 lives." Their house in Wilmington wasn't in the mandatory evacuation zone. Sob.

Nick Miroff and William Wan at the Washington Post: Embattled FEMA Chief Brock Long Facing Possible Criminal Investigation. "William 'Brock' Long, the top official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is facing a potential criminal probe related to his use of government vehicles, after an internal investigation into his travel was referred to U.S. attorneys for prosecution, according to administration officials and others familiar with the matter. The development intensifies pressure on Long to step down and comes as he leads FEMA's response to Hurricane Florence."

So the guy tasked with leading the federal response to a horrendous disaster is now facing a possible trial because he's corrupt like the rest of this shitshow regime. If he stays, he'll be distracted by the investigation; if he goes, someone new has to hit the ground running during major demands on FEMA's increasingly limited resources. And the people who will suffer are some of the most vulnerable in the Carolinas. Goddammit.

* * *


[CN: Nativism] Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Trump Administration Announces It's Slashing Refugee Admissions to a Record Low. "The United States will admit will a maximum of 30,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a press briefing late Monday afternoon. During the briefing, Pompeo said refugee admittance should not be seen as the 'sole barometer' to measure a country's humanitarian efforts and that the 30,000 cap 'must be considered in the context of the many other forms of protection and assistance offered by the United States.' The new cap would be the lowest since the program began in 1980 and represents less than one-third of the average number of refugees admitted before [Donald] Trump took office."

[CN: Child abuse] Yessenia Funes at Earther: The EPA Is Failing to Keep Students Safe from Asbestos: Report. "The Environmental Protection Agency has been slacking when it comes to monitoring asbestos in schools. It did such a poor job between 2011 and 2015 that even its Office of Inspector General can't protect its image. The inspector general's office published a report Monday breaking down how badly the EPA has failed our children: The agency conducted only 13 percent of the inspections at public, private, and nonprofit schools that are required under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act from fiscal years 2011 to 2015. For comparison, the 21 states that handle this responsibility themselves conducted 87 percent of the required inspections."

[CN: Christian Supremacy; sexual assault] Katelyn Burns at Rewire.News: Leaked Title IX Rule Would Allow Religious Schools to Discriminate — Without Saying Why. "A leaked copy of U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Secretary Betsy DeVos' proposed rule for handling campus sexual assault allegations appears to reveal a plan to make exemptions to Title IX anti-discrimination laws easier for religious institutions. ...A copy of the draft rule, posted online by the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) and reviewed by Rewire.News, shows that it may also give broad license to religious institutions to claim exemptions from Title IX regulations, which protects against sex-based discrimination in education. ATIXA believes the document is authentic."

[CN: Sexual harassment and assault; descriptions of harassment and assault at link] Dominic Rushe at the Guardian: McDonald's Workers Walk out in 10 U.S. Cities over 'Sexual Harassment Epidemic'. "On Tuesday, Tanya Harrell and hundreds of other McDonald's workers will protest outside the fast-food giant's restaurants in 10 cities across the U.S., highlighting what they claim is an epidemic of sexual harassment for workers that they say the company has done little to address. Workers in Chicago, McDonald's hometown, Durham, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, San Francisco, and St Louis will all walk out at lunchtime in an effort to highlight their struggle and call on the company to take action. Bolstered by the success of the #MeToo movement, where high-profile women have decried sexual harassment in the workplace, they are hoping the strike will highlight the plight of women and LGBT workers in low-paid jobs who face similar issues on a daily basis but whose struggles rarely make the headlines."

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.

* * *

My shoulder, which was bothering me for ages and prevented me from swimming for almost two months, is still holding up after I've been back to my regular swimming scheduled for a couple of weeks now. And that is a very good thing which makes me incredibly happy! Fingers crossed that it stays functional and pain-free.

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Trump Declassifies Documents in Brazen Authoritarian Move

It's just a good thing everyone is talking about Donald Trump's dick today, because that's definitely the most important news. I mean, as long as you ignore that, last night, the president selectively declassified documents related to the Russia probe, in an attempt to hurt his "enemies."

Ken Dilanian and Mike Memoli at NBC News report:

In an unprecedented move that stunned current and former intelligence officials, [Donald] Trump on Monday ordered the public release of highly classified documents and text messages related to the FBI investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia.

A statement by the White House press office said Trump had directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Department of Justice, and the FBI to declassify about 20 pages of a highly sensitive application for surveillance against Carter Page, a one-time Trump foreign policy aide.

The documents Trump is releasing reflect a specific request, down to the page numbers, made by the Republican members of the House judiciary and intelligence committees this summer. Justice and intelligence officials had resisted releasing the information on the grounds that it was too sensitive.

Trump also ordered the agencies to publicly release, in full, all text messages relating to the Russia investigation of former FBI Director James Comey, Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and current Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, a Russian organized crime expert. Those are all people Trump has criticized as out to get him.
This is extraordinary for two reasons in particular:

1. It's another brazen escalation of Trump's aggressive contempt for the rule of law and a rank abuse of power.

2. All of the people named had Top Secret clearances, which gave them access to sensitive materials. But: "A U.S. official with direct knowledge told NBC News that the agencies would not be able to conduct a damage assessment on the text messages, because there are too many of them." Which means that the declassification could reveal state secrets, something about which the president ostensibly should care.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D.-Calif., the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said he had been told the release of these materials could compromise intelligence sources and methods.

"[Donald] Trump, in a clear abuse of power, has decided to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative," Schiff said in a statement.

The president has the authority to declassify any secret in the government, but experts could not recall a president doing so in a manner that seemed to leave aside any concerns raised by his own intelligence advisers.

"This is certainly unprecedented," said Robert Litt, the former general counsel of the ODNI during the Obama administration.

"Between the compromise of sources and methods, the impact on the willingness of people to cooperate, and the potential of selective release of classified material for partisan purposes, I think intelligence officials will find it very troubling."
I certainly find it troubling. I frankly question the patriotism of any American who doesn't.

This is such an unprecedented, extraordinary, gravely serious event. It is the President of the United States interfering in an ongoing investigation with a profound abuse of his power, demonstrating overt hostility for the rule of law.

It's yet another signal that the imperious scofflaw occupying the White House will not be constrained by norms or ethics or laws. He does whatever the fuck he wants, to get whatever the fuck he wants.

We really and truly need a more comprehensive plan than "vote," folks.

Because I don't see Donald Trump just reasonably accepting the outcome of any election that doesn't go his way. Do you?

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Maybe We Could All Try Being Better Than Trump

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

In the middle of another news cycle that has been tough to navigate for many survivors, an excerpt from Stormy Daniels' forthcoming book has been made public, in which she describes Donald Trump's genitals in unflattering detail.

I am not going to link to her description, nor am I going to republish it here. It's easy enough to find, if you're so inclined.

First, I want to say to my fellow survivors who are having a tough time at the moment: I see you. I take up space in solidarity with you. You are not "too sensitive." The world is not sensitive enough.

Secondly, I want to implore anyone whose instinct is to make public jokes about Trump's dick: Please remember that you're making jokes about the dick of a confessed sex predator. There are already lots of survivors who are raw because of the news about Brett Kavanaugh, and the last thing they need is to encounter jokes about Trump's dick everywhere they turn. This is a time to be a grown-up.

Also: I'm guessing this is really not a fun day for anyone who has a dick that resembles the description at which everyone is laughing. Body mockery always has more than one target. So, there's another reason to lay off, if caring about not triggering survivors isn't compelling enough on its own.

You know who's the kind of person who would spend all day making jokes about someone else's dick? Donald Trump.

Be better than him.

It isn't difficult. He sets a very low bar.

Step over it.

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Open Thread


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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker eyeballsmccat: "What is your favorite piece of your wardrobe? Why?"

It's hard to pick a single piece, but I'm going to say my Mr. Celery shirt, because WHY WOULDN'T I?

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Monday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by pillows.

Recommended Reading:

Hillary Clinton at the Atlantic: American Democracy Is in Crisis

Leah Fessler at Quartz: Hillary Clinton's Three-Point Plan for Solving Tech's Diversity Problem

Shay Stewart-Bouley at Black Girl in Maine: [Content Note: Discussion of white supremacy] Podcast Launch: You Don't Know the Half

Caity Weaver at the New York Times: How Maya Rudolph Became the Master of Impressions

Kayleigh Donaldson at Pajiba: [CN: Misogyny; sexual assault] Dear Olivia Munn: I'm Sorry

Dorothy Snarker at Dorothy Surrenders: Work It, Sis

Francesca Volke at Bust: Dolly Parton and Sia Team Up in a Collaboration We Didn't Know We Needed

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

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