Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker FloraFlora: "I'm thinking about how lately there are a lot of remakes, long-later sequels, and, IDK, reimaginings on TV and at the movies. Not that this is entirely new; see also: Shakespeare. But anyway, so also a lot of them are using the same actors (in the same or different roles), or nodding to the original in a variety of ways. So: What is your favorite instance of a return to a fictional universe calling back to its predecessor?"

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Men's "Cluelessness" and the Rape Culture

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Rebecca Traister has written a very good piece for The Cut about the conversation we should be having in this moment of awareness-raising around the ubiquity of sexual violence: "The conversation we should be having, alongside the one about individual trespasses, is about mechanisms far larger than any one perpetrator. It's about the kind of power structures that enable powerful individuals and then shield them from resistance or retribution."

Men, she argues, need to have conversations about their participation in and maintenance of systems that abet sexual abuse.

They do. But most of them won't.

Because it's much easier to continue to ignore the problem. But not before a perfunctory expression of shock at how pervasive the problem is, often coupled with a confessed cluelessness about the rape culture.

The bad guys aggressively challenge the existence of the rape culture. The "good guys" publicly furrow their brows over their own ignorance.

(And if you're a dude who falls into neither of those categories, but actively works to educate himself and other men on the rape culture, congratulations for doing the bare minimum to be a decent human being. Don't make this thread about you.)

And just as "harmless" serves a particular function in upholding the rape culture, so, too, does "clueless."

Being "clueless," you see, is a nifty way for a man to explain why it is that he's not having the sort of difficult — and meaningful — conversations like the one Traister suggests. How can anything be expected of him? Why, he only just learned about the existence of the rape culture five minutes ago!

This is an affected cluelessness, invoked to justify inaction. And I'm calling bullshit on it.

If these "clueless" men have heretofore remained unaware of the rape culture, then how is it that virtually all of them know its tropes and narratives?

How is it that virtually every male person is, by the time he hits puberty, capable of sophisticated victim-blaming, armed with a full arsenal of rape culture memes and stereotypes?

How are they all so perfectly versed in the language of rape culture that tasks women with "crying" rape and "claiming" to have been raped, rather than reporting it?

How is it that I have heard male children talking about how women lie about rape?

And why it is that so many of these "clueless" men have complained about being "profiled" or "made to feel like rapists" by women doing the quickening step in front of them, or giving them an anxious side-eye in an otherwise abandoned space?

For people who never consider the rape culture, they sure have an amazing working knowledge of it.

Iain has noted that no cis straight man is really as disconnected from rape culture as so many of them assert themselves to be, that most men have experienced a lone woman hastening her pace on a sidewalk ahead. Some men use that as an opportunity to empathize with the woman. And some of them use that as an opportunity to get angry with her for "treating me like a rapist."

All of us live in the rape culture. All of us are presented with opportunities to consider it.

That we are exhorted to identify with its various purveyors of contempt for consent, rather than with its primary targets and survivors, is another self-perpetuating trick of the rape culture. But a failure of empathy is not a failure of consideration.

It's not that the "clueless" men have "never thought about" rape culture. It's that they have never thought about it from the perspective of a victim.

And I'm really goddamn tired of being obliged to pretend that's the same thing.

Especially when that pretense is used to avoid having the kind of conversations that will move us beyond women disclosing being survivors, again and again, in the hope that something will change.

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Ugh, All of These Dudes

Donald Trump sent out his Chief of Staff John Kelly to say some shit and try to change the conversation from Trump being a dirtbag to another Gold Star Family.

And so Kelly said a bunch of stuff, and the media ate it up, because that's what they do.


And has anyone told the press that John Kelly is Donald Trump's lapdog?


But I'm sure it's all fine that the political world has spent the day gushing over a speech by George W. Bush — during which he didn't even say Trump's name and failed to atone for the way-paving he did for Trump's presidency — and then pretending that there was some other purpose to one of the three generals helping run the White House standing at a podium and explaining what happens after soldiers are killed, other than shutting down criticism, especially when he subsequently refused to call on reporters who don't personally know any Gold Star Families.

Being overly enamoured with white dudes is definitely the wisest thing we could all be doing with our energies in this moment and every other.

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The Swimming Thread

Because of the great feedback and conversations I've had since I started talking more about swimming, I'm going to keep talking about it and opening up space for other people to talk about it, too — whether it's sharing their own feelings about swimming, grousing about lack of accessibility, asking questions about how to dive in (literally), or anything else. So, here's another swimming thread!

[Content Note: Body shaming.]

So, one of the most difficult parts of being a swimmer for me is fat haters.

Let me be abundantly clear: The difficulty is not my being fat. To the absolute contrary, my fat is not an impediment neither to my doing nor my enjoying swimming. (In fact, my fat makes me incredibly buoyant!) The difficulty is other people having a problem with my being fat.

And even more specifically: Their failure to keep that to themselves.

It has, so far, in the months I've taken up regular swimming, just been nasty looks. But oh Maude how many nasty looks! How many long, lingering, nasty looks.

The kind of looks that even I notice, and I am infamously oblivious to people looking at me, in either a positive or a negative way. Something I suppose I just learned to tune out long ago, because even attention meant to be flattering makes me uncomfortable.

But I notice these looks. Thin women at the gym doing the most to make me feel like I'm ruining their lives with my very existence!

I would be lying if I said I didn't care. It sucks. But, the fact is, I love swimming too much to let it stop me. I love swimming way the fuck more than I hate the withering stares of thin folks who CANNOT with my jiggly thighs.

image of me in the lane of a pool, swimming contentedly
You can't stop me. You can try, but you will fail.

It will never, ever, cease being weird to be a fat person at a gym getting shitty looks. I go from strangers shouting at me to "put down the doughnuts and go to the gym" to strangers staring at me with disgust because I'm at the gym.

Nothing makes more plain that fat hatred is categorically not about "health." It's about just wanting us to disappear from the sight of thin people forever.

Which is why it's pointless to give a shit about any fat hater's opinion.

You can't fucking win, so just jump in the pool with a smile.

* * *

As before, please use this thread for all swimming-related discussion, and I am happy to answer any and all questions around being a fat woman who swims: How I navigate the locker room, what strokes I do, how I deal with shitty looks and comments, what's the best suit cut for what body shape to cover all the bits, anything.

Have at it in comments!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the couch and Sophie the Torbie Cat lying on a pillow beside her, closer to the camera
Sophie likes this angle because it makes her look
like a giant and makes Matilda look like the tiny one.

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 273

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 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: Trump's Relentless Malice and One Million Puerto Ricans Still Lack Drinkable Water.

[Content Note: Racism; disablism; classism] Ari Berman at Mother Jones: Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump — and Possibly Handed Him the Whole Election. I cannot stress enough how the entirety of this piece is a must-read, but here are some excerpts:
Three years after Wisconsin passed its voter ID law in 2011, a federal judge blocked it, noting that 9 percent of all registered voters did not have the required forms of ID. Black voters were about 50 percent likelier than whites to lack these IDs because they were less likely to drive or to be able to afford the documents required to get a current ID, and more likely to have moved from out of state.

...After the election, registered voters in Milwaukee County and Madison's Dane County were surveyed about why they didn't cast a ballot. Eleven percent cited the voter ID law and said they didn't have an acceptable ID; of those, more than half said the law was the "main reason" they didn't vote. According to the study's author, University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Kenneth Mayer, that finding implies that between 12,000 and 23,000 registered voters in Madison and Milwaukee—and as many as 45,000 statewide—were deterred from voting by the ID law. "We have hard evidence there were tens of thousands of people who were unable to vote because of the voter ID law," he says.

...US District Judge James Peterson, who oversaw the implementation of the voter ID law, had found that Wisconsin's process for issuing IDs was a "wretched failure" that "has disenfranchised a number of citizens who are unquestionably qualified to vote." Eighty-five percent of those denied IDs by the DMV were black or Latino, he noted in his ruling. The roster of people denied IDs bordered on the surreal: a man born in a concentration camp in Germany who'd lost his birth certificate in a fire; a woman who'd lost use of her hands but was not permitted to grant her daughter power of attorney to sign the necessary documents at the DMV; a 90-year-old veteran of Iwo Jima who could not vote with his veteran's ID. One woman who died while waiting for an ID was listed as a "customer-initiated cancellation" by the DMV.

...It wasn't just poor African Americans who were disenfranchised. Most college IDs were not accepted under the law because they didn't require signatures or have the state-mandated two-year expiration date—a criterion that made little sense at four-year schools. Only 3 of the 13 four-year schools in the University of Wisconsin system had IDs compliant with the new law.

That meant many schools, including UW-Madison, had to issue separate IDs for students to use only for voting, an expensive and confusing process for students and administrators. To register to vote, students had to bring their new IDs and proof of enrollment. There were more than 13,000 out-of-state students at UW-Madison alone who were eligible to vote but couldn't do so without going through this byzantine process if they lacked a Wisconsin driver's license or state ID.
Between Russian interference in the election and Republican interference in the election, this presidency is illegitimate as fuck.

Meanwhile, Trump's "election integrity commission" being run by Mike Pence and Kris Kobach is essentially going to replicate this unconstitutional horseshit all over the country. Because they can.

* * *

[CN: Threats; video may autoplay at link] Carey Codd at CBS Miami: Rep. Wilson's Office Says She's Getting Threats over Blasting Trump's Call to Widow. "Rep. Frederica Wilson's office claims multiple threatening phone calls directed at congresswoman came into her D.C. office on Wednesday. The congresswoman's staff said they alerted the Capital Police, Miami Garden Police, and the threat division of the U.S. House of Representatives. Codd was told she is safe and that she is being protected at this point. All this comes as [Donald] Trump refutes Wilson's claim that he made an insensitive comment to the widow of a Miami Gardens soldier killed in action." Deplorable.

Esme Cribb at TPM: White House: Kelly Thought Trump's Call to Soldier's Widow Was 'Respectful'. "White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday said [Donald] Trump's chief of staff John Kelly thought Trump's phone call to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger was 'respectful' and 'completely appropriate.' ...Trump on Tuesday cited Kelly's son, Second Lt. Robert Kelly, who died in Afghanistan in 2010, when asked whether he had called the families of the soldiers killed in Niger. 'You could ask General Kelly,' Trump said. 'Did he get a call from Obama?' ...Sanders did not say whether Trump consulted Kelly before deploying the talking point, but claimed he was 'disgusted' by the politicization of the soldiers' deaths. ..Pressed on whether Trump's remarks about Second Lt. Robert Kelly's death themselves amounted to a politicization, Sanders said, 'He was responding to a question and stating a fact.'"

Washington Post Editorial Board: Trump Trivializes the Deaths of Four Soldiers.
[Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah 'J.W.' Wayne Johnson, 39; Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29; and Sgt. La David T. Johnson, 25] are the four soldiers who were killed Oct. 4 when their unit was ambushed by Islamist extremists in West Africa. Their lives, their brave service and the sacrifice of their grieving families should be discussed and honored. Instead — thanks to a president with a compulsive need to be the center of attention — their deaths have been trivialized. [Donald] Trump reduced condolences to a political competition and treated the grieving families who received them as pawns in a game.

Having failed to publicly acknowledge the deaths for 12 days, Mr. Trump on Monday boasted about reaching out to family members of slain military personnel while falsely accusing his predecessors of not doing so. His whining about how hard the calls are on him — and the apparent hash he made of a conversation in which he allegedly told one widow her husband "must have known what he signed up for" — underscored his cluelessness about being commander in chief.
And his cluelessness about being a decent human being.

My condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of Sgts. Black, J.W. Johnson, Wright, and La David Johnson.

* * *

Betsy Woodruff, Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen, and Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: Trump Campaign Staffers Pushed Russian Propaganda Days Before the Election. "Some of the Trump campaign's most prominent names and supporters, including Trump's campaign manager, digital director, and son, pushed tweets from professional trolls paid by the Russian government in the heat of the 2016 election campaign. The Twitter account @Ten_GOP, which called itself the 'Unofficial Twitter account of Tennessee Republicans,' was operated from the Kremlin-backed 'Russian troll farm,' or Internet Research Agency, a source familiar with the account confirmed with The Daily Beast. ...The discovery of the now-unavailable tweets presents the first evidence that several members of the Trump campaign pushed covert Russian propaganda on social media in the run-up to the 2016 election."

Yeah, well, I'm not surprised. I bet you're not surprised, either. I wonder what this confirmation of what we all suspected will get us, though? Accountability? Unlikely. Reassurance it won't happen during the next time? Nope. Anything meaningful at all? Doubtful.

All of this reporting comes to nothing because the Republicans hold the Congressional majority and won't do anything about any of it.

Which is why I keep saying that the time to care about all this stuff, which we first knew about 18 months ago, was before the election. Now it's too late. The coup is already complete. What we're witnessing now is just the building of the new order.

And I honestly don't know that there's anyone with enough power to do something about it who will.

I've never wanted to be wrong more than I want to be wrong about that.

* * *

And finally, in case you needed something else to worry about... Damian Carrington at the Guardian: Warning of 'Ecological Armageddon' After Dramatic Plunge in Insect Numbers. "The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists. Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is 'on course for ecological Armageddon,' with profound impacts on human society." Cool.

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

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The What Happened Book Club

image of Hillary Clinton's book 'What Happened' sitting on my dining room table, with my Hillary action figure standing on top of the book, her arms raised over her head

This is the third installment of the What Happened Book Club, where we are doing a chapter a week.

That pace will hopefully allow people who need time to procure the book a better chance to catch up, and let us deal with the book in manageable pieces: I figured we will have a lot to talk about, and one thread for the entire book would quickly get overwhelming.

So! Let us continue our discussion with Chapter Three: Get Caught Trying.

* * *

This chapter wrecked me.

Hillary writes about her decision to run for president — and how difficult it was. Ultimately, she tells us, the thing that convinced her is that the last two Democratic presidents, her husband Bill and her friend Barack, told her that she was the best person for the job.

That's a pretty compelling argument from two pretty compelling characters.

She defends the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative; explores the narrative that she must have had some nefarious reason for running for president; and talks about how she believes that doing corporate speaking gigs was a mistake, because the optics were bad. Given that her speaking fees were such a contentious issue in the campaign, it's hard to believe that critics of the book who insistently claim she doesn't own her mistakes miss this rather significant admission. Ahem.

And of course she provides us with yet another spot-on insight into Donald Trump: "For Trump, if everyone's down in the mud with him, then he's no dirtier than anyone else. He doesn't have to do better if everyone else does worse."

It is, once again, the stark juxtaposition between who Hillary Clinton is as a human being (and what kind of president she would have been) and who Donald Trump is as a human being (and what kind of president he is) that wrecked me.

Every page of the chapter reveals her deliberative process, her self-reflection, her humility, her integrity — all of the qualities that Trump lacks.

I won't ever stop grieving the leadership we could have had. It would suck if she'd lost to Jeb Bush. It is devastating, quite literally, on an unfathomable scale that she lost to Donald Trump.

Nothing broke my heart more deeply than this passage, which underscores such a profound difference between Trump and Clinton:
In the end, I came back to the part that's most important to me. We Methodists are taught to "do all the good you can." I knew that if I ran and won, I could do a world of good and help an awful lot of people.

Does that make me ambitious? I guess it does. But not in the sinister way that people often mean it. I did not want to be President because I want power for power's sake. I wanted power to do what I could to help solve problems and prepare the country for the future. It's audacious for anyone to believe he or she should be President, but I did.

I started calling policy experts, reading thick binders of memos, and making lists of problems that needed more thought. I got excited thinking about all the ways we could make the economy stronger and fairer, improve health care and expand coverage, make college more affordable and job training programs more effective, and tackle big challenges, such as climate change and terrorism. It was honestly a lot of fun.
I thought about Hillary having fun preparing to do the toughest job in the world because she wants to help people. And I remembered the photo of her preparing on the campaign trail, which had meant so much to me. And I cried. Again.

Just over a year ago, regarding the overwhelming response I received regarding my short essay about that photo, I wrote:
It occurred to me that there is not just a dearth of stories about Clinton supporters; there is also a dearth of stories about Clinton herself, the way her supporters see her.

There is a frustrating abundance of stories casting Clinton as any one of the myriad caricatures of her that have been drawn over decades, but precious few that are written with an eye to look at her, the human being behind the exaggerations, mischaracterizations, and outright lies.

It is remarkably rare to find someone writing about Clinton in a way that neither demeans her, nor tasks her with the colossal obligation to be unyieldingly inspiring. Putting someone on a pedestal, after all, can be just as dehumanizing as kicking them into the dirt.

I do not need Clinton to be on a pedestal. I can see her just fine sitting on a folding chair.

A life in high-level public service, the celebrity of politics, has always struck me as the most irreconcilable of dichotomies: You are at once hyper-visible and unknown.

What a strange thing indeed to have everyone know your face, and believe they know you, but not necessarily know you at all — especially if the mass media labor to make sure you are not.

I don't really know Hillary Clinton, either, but I see her.

And clearly there are other people like me who see her and long for validation; who long to keep company with others who see her, too.
In the third chapter of What Happened, Hillary Clinton is asking us to see her. She is reaching through from the other side of a wall in which every brick is another misogynist caricature, vitrified with the dual purposes of concealing her and caging her — locking her forever behind other people's notions about who she is.

I recognize that particular vulnerability, that thing that women (and marginalized men, and genderqueer folks) have to do, petitioning others to see us as we really are. I know the pain and frustration that lie behind it.

This chapter was hard to read. And what I want to say most after reading it is: I see you, Hillary Clinton. I see you.

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One Million Puerto Ricans Still Lack Drinkable Water

One month after Hurricane Maria, one million residents of Puerto Rico still do not have reliable access to clean drinking water, and three million still do not have electricity.

For a moment, just try to imagine if 80% of the population of a major U.S. city went without electricity for an entire month.

What would the response be? What would the news coverage be? What would the expectation be?

What would we be demanding of our reprehensibly checked-out president?

[Content Note: Neglect; video may autoplay at link] John D. Sutter at CNN reports from the ground in Puerto Rico:

Much of the island feels as if it were hit by a storm yesterday, not one month ago. Mountains are covered in branchless trees, stuck in the dirt like the walking sticks of giants. Power lines are tangled about like spaghetti dropped from the sky. Sheet metal from roofs and fencing has been turned into floppy strips of chewing gum, scattered on the hills. Not only are people such as Sostre exposed to the elements, but supplies of clean drinking water are woefully inadequate and environmental health experts fear a public health emergency could be brewing.

..."I thought we'd learned our lesson after (Hurricane) Katrina where the response was awful, both carelessly slow and incompetent," said John Mutter, a professor at Columbia University and an expert in international disaster relief. "In Puerto Rico, it doesn't look like we've learned anything at all — or we just don't care."

The situation is particularly bad when it comes to water.

There are 3.4 million people in Puerto Rico, and about 35% of households were without access to safe drinking water as of Tuesday, according to government estimates. The World Health Organization says each person needs at least 2.5 liters per day for drinking alone, with a recommended daily allotment of up to 15 liters per day including basic cooking and hygiene.

Yet FEMA has provided 23.6 million liters — 6.2 million gallons — of bottled water and bulk water since the storm hit on September 20, said Justo Hernandez, FEMA's deputy federal coordinating officer. That includes water delivered to hospitals and dialysis centers, he said.

That's only roughly 9% of the drinking water needs for the entire territory.

It's an even smaller fraction if you include basic cooking and hygiene needs.

...[M]any residents remain desperate, week after week, for drinking water.

Lines for water — potable or not — are long in many parts of the island. Rumors of contamination are rampant. Even as some taps turn back on, residents worry about drinking from faucets, which sputter and, in some locations, produce hazy liquid. Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the water utility in Puerto Rico, says on its website that residents should boil the water and add bleach even after service is restored.
"Boil the water" is the instruction for people who also lack electricity. Again, I want you to imagine if anyone would find it acceptable for the federal government to expect one million people anywhere on the mainland to boil water over a fucking campfire for a month to survive.

People who are in dire need of water have begun drinking from toxic sites even though they know it's dangerous. One resident of Dorado, who was among people drawing water from a toxic superfund site, told Sutter: "If I don't drink water, I'm going to die. So I might as well drink this water."

The EPA has responded by hiring contractors to repair fencing around the site and stationing security guards to keep people out.

Access to food continues to be an urgent issue, as well. And the situation would be even more dire were it not for the efforts of Chef José Andrés and his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, whose approximately 500 volunteers have "prepared and delivered a million meals to residents."

Andrés has vowed to stay and keep making food as long as there is a need.

Unlike the United States President, who tweeted that FEMA can't stay there forever — then proclaimed the very next day: "The wonderful people of Puerto Rico, with their unmatched spirit, know how bad things were before the H's. I will always be with them!"

That, six days ago, was his last tweet on the subject.

One million residents of Puerto Rico still lack access to drinkable water.

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Trump's Relentless Malice

On Election Night, this was the thought I sent to a colleague: "Trump will never show a moment of decency. And he will plunge the entire country into the quicksand of his chaotic cruelty. This is going to be far worse than most people understand."

I think about that all the time — each time I see people being rocked by how vile, how truly depraved Donald Trump really is.

This country wasn't prepared. And I still don't think the majority of its residents have begun to meaningfully reckon with the harm Trump is doing.

But, you know, her emails.

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Open Thread

image of a yellow couch

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker feminista1: "What is your favorite candy? (I don't like candy is a perfectly acceptable answer.) Probably red 'licorice.' Twizzlers, mostly. Red vines are good, too."

I go through stages with different candies, but eventually I always seem to come back home to M&Ms, lol.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by shrimp.

Recommended Reading:

Sameer Rao: [Content Note: Sexual abuse; appropriation] '#MeToo' Creator Tarana Burke on Resurgence of the Movement for Sexual Assault Survivors

Kaiser: [CN: Sexual harassment; coercion; assault] Lena Headey Tells a Horrifying Story About Rejecting Harvey Weinstein Twice

Martha Tesema: [CN: Sexual abuse] Gymnast McKayla Maroney Reveals Relentless Sexual Abuse from Olympic Doctor

Jenn Fang: [CN: Racism] Charlyne Yi Recounts Racist Remarks from Writer and Director David Cross

Amie Newman: [CN: War on agency] The Trump Administration's Latest Plan to Dismantle Reproductive Rights

Mustang Bobby: Just Stop

George Dvorsky: Stunning AI Breakthrough Takes Us One Step Closer to the Singularity

Casey: I Photographed Black Cats for Halloween

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

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Discussion Thread: Self-Care

What are you doing to do to take care of yourself today, or in the near future, as soon as you can?

If you are someone who has a hard time engaging in self-care, or figuring out easy, fast, and/or inexpensive ways to treat yourself, and you would like to solicit suggestions, please feel welcome. And, as always, no one should offer advice unless it is solicited.

* * *

Well, this isn't exactly a fun self-care thing, but today I scheduled an appointment for bloodwork I need to get done. I've been putting it off, even though it's just routine stuff to check my thyroid etc. I'm such a pointless procrastinator about medical appointments, but now it's on the calendar, which is a good thing and an important piece of self-care for me.

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An Observation

After 13 years of doing this work, I no longer have the capacity to be truly surprised by misogyny.

And yet: I confess that I occasionally find myself exasperatedly and woundedly wondering how in the fuck is this happening in 2017? about some vile iteration of hatred of women, even though I know the answer.

It's not like I was operating under the extreme misapprehension that there was no more misogyny in the world LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL but holy fuck is this the backlash of all backlashes.

I literally feel different in my womanhood now than I did before the election. I don't even know to describe the shift. But I felt more powerful, visible, steady — none of these words are exactly right. Now I feel more vulnerable, exposed, rocked — none of these words are exactly right, either.

And none of them should be interpreted to mean weaker.

But the culture has changed very quickly and harshly, and I feel something inside me changing, too, despite my efforts to #resist that, too.

I said a zillion times before the election that it was a referendum on how this nation values women, and it was. And now I'm feeling the effects of that. All around me and also inside me.

This is a thing I needed to articulate, to help me reckon with it — and because I suspect I'm not the only one feeling this way.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound lying on his back on the couch, twisted into a silly position with his legs in the air
We hadn't had a photo of Dudz roaching in awhile, so.

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 272

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 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: Trump Is a Terrible President Because He's a Terrible Human Being. And from late yesterday: Trump Muslim Ban Thwarted a Third Time.

Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post: Second Judge Rules Against Latest Travel Ban, Saying Trump's Own Words Show It Was Aimed at Muslims.
A federal judge in Maryland early Wednesday issued a second halt on the latest version of [Donald] Trump's travel ban, asserting that the president's own comments on the campaign trail and on Twitter convinced him that the directive was akin to an unconstitutional Muslim ban.

U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang issued a somewhat less complete halt on the ban than his counterpart in Hawaii did a day earlier, blocking the administration from enforcing the directive only on those who lacked a "bona fide" relationship with a person or entity in the United States, such as family members or some type of professional or other engagement in the United States.

But in some ways, Chuang's ruling was more personally cutting to Trump, as he said the president's own words cast his latest attempt to impose a travel blockade as the "inextricable re-animation of the twice-enjoined Muslim ban."

Omar Jadwat, who directs of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and represented those suing in Maryland over the ban, said: "Like the two versions before it, [Donald] Trump's latest travel ban is still a Muslim ban at its core. And like the two before it, this one is going down to defeat in the courts."
In other immigration news...

From the linked article at Mic by Emily Singer and Ashley Edwards: "Army recruiters have been told to stop enlisting green card holders into the Army effective immediately, according to an email sent to military recruiters and obtained by Mic, a move that experts say breaks federal law."

And in other military news... Susan McCord at the Augusta Chronicle: Religious Freedom Group Reports Christian Proselytizing Forced on Some Soldiers at Fort Gordon Barbecue. "A religious freedom organization is calling on post leadership at Fort Gordon to take action after some soldiers reported they were forced to undergo fundamentalist Christian proselytizing by an Army chaplain during a Saturday 'spiritual' barbecue. A post official said attendance was voluntary. [Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation] said the soldiers were marched to a Fort Gordon chapel Saturday under belief the event was mandatory. At the chapel, loud Christian rock music played and an Army chaplain tried 'his level best to get them to accept and surrender to his version of the gospel of Jesus Christ,' Weinstein said."

Christian Supremacy has long been an issue in the U.S. military. But previous presidents, unlike Donald Trump, weren't keen to be commander-in-chief of a white nationalist Christian crusade. George W. Bush was bad, and he doesn't hold a tiki torch to Trump. This is very concerning.

* * *

Shannon Vavra at Axios: Poll: 46% Think Media Invent Stories About Trump. "That 46% is largely divided on partisan lines — 76% of Republican voters think media make up stories about Trump while only one in five Democrat voters think that, a Politico and Morning Consult poll shows. Those who strongly approve of Trump's job performance are very likely (85%) to think the media makes up stories."

Because they refuse to listen to the "fake news" media and thus only listen to Trump, who continually tells them that the media is feeding them "fake news," creating a self-reinforcing loop of fuckery.

I mean: Esme Cribb at TPM: Trump Vents on Twitter About 'Fiction Writers,' Democrats, Obamacare. "Donald Trump took to Twitter late Tuesday afternoon to complain about 'fiction writers' at cable networks and 'dying magazines and newspapers.' ...'So much Fake News being put in dying magazines and newspapers,' Trump tweeted. 'Only place worse may be @NBCNews, @CBSNews, @ABC and @CNN. Fiction writers!' It was unclear whether Trump was referring to any particular report of a number published recently that seemed likely to draw his ire."

It doesn't even matter. A specific report, or reporting generally. Either way. Neither. Who cares. The whole objective is to convince his base that the media is lying to them about Trump. And he's been wildly successful in achieving that goal, just by reiterating "fake news" relentlessly.

The target doesn't matter. What matters is making sure that people hear it over and over.

* * *

[Content Note: Disablism] Senator Tammy Duckworth at the Washington Post: Congress Wants to Make Americans with Disabilities Second-Class Citizens Again.
At the signing ceremony [for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990], President George H.W. Bush noted that before the ADA, "tragically, for too many Americans, the blessings of liberty have been limited or even denied. The Civil Rights Act of '64 took a bold step towards righting that wrong. But the stark fact remained that people with disabilities were still victims of segregation and discrimination, and this was intolerable." Bush declared, "Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down."

Decades later, the forces of discrimination are working hard to rebuild that wall. Led by the hospitality and retail industries, special interests want to shift the burden of ADA compliance away from business owners and onto individuals with disabilities. They're backing a bill that has already passed the House Judiciary Committee, the so-called ADA Education and Reform Act, which would reward businesses that fail to comply with the law. The bill would allow businesses to wait until they are notified of their failure to meet legal obligations before they even have to start removing barriers that prevent Americans with disabilities from leading independent lives.

This offensive legislation would segregate the disability community, making it the only protected class under civil rights law that must rely on "education" — rather than strong enforcement — to guarantee access to public spaces.

...For decades, from enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through passage of the ADA, Congress has worked to enshrine the principle in law that no American should be denied access to a public space because of who they are, be it their race, nationality, religion, gender, or disability. The ADA Education and Reform Act betrays this bipartisan legacy.
The Republicans don't care about their legacy. All they care about is destruction and winning. At any cost.

* * *

Annie Karni and Josh Dawsey at Politico: Spicer Interviewed by Mueller's Team. "Donald Trump's former press secretary Sean Spicer met with special counsel Robert Mueller's team on Monday for an interview that lasted much of the day, according to multiple people familiar with the meeting. During his sitdown, Spicer was grilled about the firing of former FBI director James Comey and his statements regarding the firing, as well as about Trump's meetings with Russians officials including one with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office, one person familiar with the meeting said." I'm sure Mueller got tons of great info, since Spicer definitely isn't known to be a world-class fucking liar.

Ari Melber, Meredith Mandell, and Mirjam Lablans at NBC News: Putin Rival Ties Kushner Meeting to Kremlin Bankers. "A prominent exiled Russian oligarch said in an exclusive interview with NBC News that he is nearly certain Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to collaborate with the Trump campaign, and that he believes a top Russian banker was not 'acting on his own behalf' when he held a controversial meeting with Jared Kushner last December. The pointed remarks come from a longtime Putin rival, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an oil executive who was Russia's richest man before he was imprisoned and exiled by the Kremlin. 'I am almost convinced that Putin's people have tried to influence the U.S. election in some way,' Khodorkovsky told MSNBC's Ari Melber in his first U.S. television interview since Trump took office."

Khodorkovsky estimates the likelihood that Putin tried personally to collude with Donald Trump's campaign to affect the election as a "9 out of 10." I don't guess it needs to be said that he has made these statements at great personal risk. I hope he remains safe.

[CN: White supremacy; nativism; Islamophobia] Benjamin Elgin and Vernon Silver at Bloomberg: Facebook and Google Helped Anti-Refugee Campaign in Swing States. "Unlike Russian efforts to secretly influence the 2016 election via social media, this American-led campaign was aided by direct collaboration with employees of Facebook and Google. They helped target the ads to more efficiently reach the intended audiences, according to internal reports from the ad agency that ran the campaign, as well as five people involved with the efforts. Facebook advertising salespeople, creative advisers, and technical experts competed with sales staff from Alphabet Inc.'s Google for millions in ad dollars from Secure America Now, the conservative, nonprofit advocacy group whose campaign included a mix of anti-Hillary Clinton and anti-Islam messages, the people said."

[CN: Bigotry] Kevin Collier at BuzzFeed: Twitter Was Warned Repeatedly About This Fake Account Run by a Russian Troll Farm and Refused to Take It Down. "Twitter took 11 months to close a Russian troll account that claimed to speak for the Tennessee Republican Party even after that state's real GOP notified the social media company that the account was a fake. The account, @TEN_GOP, was enormously popular, amassing at least 136,000 followers between its creation in November 2015 and when Twitter shut it down in August, according to a snapshot of the account captured by the Internet Archive just before the account was 'permanently suspended.' ...Twitter, already under fire, along with Facebook, for being slow to recognize its role in Russian election meddling, declined to comment. A spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the company does not comment on individual accounts."

Five years ago, if you'd told me that Donald Trump would be president and BuzzFeed would be doing some of the most trenchant reporting on technological espionage, I probably would have just gone ahead and fired myself directly into the sun then.

* * *

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: White House Doc Links Manufacturing Decline to Uptick in Abortions Sans Data. "A document circulated within the White House in September claimed that the demise of the American manufacturing industry has led to an uptick in abortions, divorce, infertility and opioid abuse without offering any evidence, according to a Tuesday report in the Washington Post. ...One unnamed administration official told the Post that the document was distributed to White House staff, while a different administration official said that Cabinet leaders saw the document." Cool.

[CN: Reproductive coercion] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: 'Anti-Choice Fanaticism' in the U.S. Immigration System: The Real Reason Jane Doe's Abortion Request Is Being Denied. "On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a second emergency action on behalf of Jane Doe, an unaccompanied immigrant minor being 'held hostage' by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), after a district court on Wednesday denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have allowed the teen to access an abortion. ...'The Trump administration's action is shocking — a young woman is essentially being held hostage and forced by federal officials to continue a pregnancy against her will,' said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. 'And this case isn't the only one — nationally, the federal government is obstructing young immigrant women's access to abortion. It's blatantly unconstitutional, not to mention unconscionable.'" Goddammit.

[CN: Homophobia; self-harm; eliminationism] Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: Flyers Encouraging LGBT Kids to Commit Suicide Posted at Cleveland State University on Day It Opens LGBT Center. "Fliers were distributed around the Cleveland State University (CSU) on Monday urging LGBT students to commit suicide. Reading 'Follow you fellow f----ts,' the fliers appeared on the same day the school's LGBT center opened. It included statistics of suicide rates in the LGBT community and an illustration of a man with a noose tied around his neck." This, within the context of Donald Trump having "joked" that Mike Pence wants to hang all gays.

The ugliness that this administration has unleashed and empowered. I will never, ever, stop being filthy angry.

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

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Please Support Shakesville

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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.

If you value the content and/or community in this space, please consider setting up a subscription or making a one-time contribution.

If you have appreciated being able to tune into Shakesville and/or my Twitter feed 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 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 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.

I would certainly be grateful for your support, if you are able to chip in. The donation link is in the sidebar to the right. Or click here.

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. (Or cool artwork!) This community couldn't exist without you, either.

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. ♥

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Trump Is a Terrible President Because He's a Terrible Human Being

U.S. Special Forces Sgt. La David T. Johnson was killed, along with three other soldiers, on the border of Niger and Mali on October 4. Following 12 days of silence, Donald Trump finally called the fallen soldiers' families.

When he spoke to Johnson's widow, Myeshia Johnson, Rep. Frederica Wilson was with her, and overheard the conversation. She described what happened to CNN's Don Lemon:

LEMON: How is she doing tonight?

WILSON: Oh, she's — she's very distraught. And, ah, we were in the car together, in the limousine, headed to meet the body at the airport, so — I heard what he said, because the phone was on speaker.

LEMON: What did he say?

WILSON: Well, basically, he said, ah, "Well, I guess he knew what he signed up for. But I guess it still hurts."


WILSON: That's what he said.

LEMON: The president said to her, uh, "He knew what he signed up for"—

WILSON: "He knew what he was signing up for."

LEMON: "But when it happens, it hurts anyway."

WILSON: Uh-huh.

LEMON: Yeah.

WILSON: So, it's almost as if— This is a young, young woman, who has two children, who is six months pregnant with a third child; she has just lost her husband; she was just told that he cannot have an open casket funeral, which gives her all kinds of nightmares how his body must look, how his face must look; and this is what the President of the United States says to her?!
Let us all take a moment to appreciate the stunning bravery of Rep. Wilson for immediately going public with this callous exchange, despite the fact that she certainly anticipated the blowback she'd get when Trump inevitably called her a liar. Which he has.

Wilson stands by her account, plainly saying "the president evidently is lying, because what I said is true," and noting: "I have proof, too. This man is a sick man."

This story is not over. Because Trump will continue to not give a single shit about this grieving family he's already harmed with his unfathomable callousness.

My condolences to Myeshia Johnson and her children; to the rest of Sgt. La David Johnson's family; to his friends and colleagues. I am so sorry for your loss. And I am so sorry that our despicable president has caused you additional pain.

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"He's Harmless"

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Last night, I published a thread on Twitter about how "he's harmless" has a very particular role in abetting the rape culture. In case you missed it, I turned it into a moment: How "He's Harmless" Functions to Abet Predators.

Although I started out with one specific story of how "he's harmless" has worked in my experience, there have been dozens of times in which I've personally been dismissed that way or seen other women be dismissed that way.

I genuinely hope men will read this and reflect on the times they might have responded to a women's concerns by telling her that the guy about whom she's concerned is "harmless," and what it means to say that to a woman, or women, reporting being harmed.

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Open Thread

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

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