The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of the exterior of a pub which has been photoshopped to be named 'The Beloved Community Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

We will be taking tomorrow off and will return on Monday. See you then!

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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.

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Here's a recent photo I took off the back porch at dusk, still and always one of my favorite times of day to pull out my camera:

image of a cloudy sky at sunset in beautiful hues of blue, with the silhouette of trees in front of it

I like the golden light glinting off the angle of the roof overhang in the upper right corner.

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A Divided Nation

The Mueller report makes very obvious that Donald Trump colluded with Russia and is a traitor, in colloquial terms if not strictly legal ones, as are many of his associates and family members.

The Attorney General is acting to protect him — and has prioritized shielding the president from consequences of his lawless behavior rather than protecting We the People from the consequences of having a lawless president.

Moving forward, it's going to be increasingly difficult for anyone on the side of U.S. democracy and facts and reality to not regard this government and every one of its supporters — who are (in varying values) our neighbors, our employers, our coworkers, our family, our friends — as traitors, with good reason.

Meanwhile, Trump is working overtime to cast all of us as enemies of the state, waging a relentless campaign of stochastic terrorism against us, and of course his cultists are lapping it up as fast as he can dish it out.

The press talks about how "divisive" the politics of this era are, in order to place the blame in various and usually incorrect places, but that doesn't even begin to come close to describing what a truly perilous time we're in.

This country is legitimately on a precipice, and it's not going to take much more to tip it over into something goddamn ugly.

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Movers and Shakers

collage of images showing different sporting equipment, including hand weights, a soccer ball, a swimming pool with lanes marked for laps, ice skates, a badminton racket with birdies, curling stones, a wheelchair racer, an archery target, a bowling ball return, a softball in a glove, yoga gear, and hiking boots
[Images used for collage care of Pixabay.]

This is a thread to discuss what you do for physical recreation, if you do anything in particular, including modifications used by Shakers with mobility issues. Maybe you're a competitive triathlete; maybe you throw axes to release tension; maybe you just like to go for a stroll or spin around your neighborhood. Everything from free climbing to flamenco to frisbee to football — whatever!

Or maybe you're looking for ideas, or suggestions on where to start with some activity about which you're curious, or you need advice from someone more skilled, or you have advice for other disabled people about adaptive gear. Have at it!

Commenting Guidelines: There is no judgment in this space for people who do not have any kind of regular routine of movement. There can be a lot of reasons for that, from not having the physical ability, to not having the time, to having been discouraged by fat hatred, to being in recovery from body issues. Also please note that this thread is about the joy of movement for fun and general fitness for bodies of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Weight-loss talk is not appropriate.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of the back of my couch, pictured from where I sit at my desk, with Dudley's legs sticking up in the air, as he rests on his back on the couch
Current view.

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 819

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Earlier today by me: Barr to Release Redacted Muller Report Today and Primarily Speaking and The Mueller Report Is Out, and Trump's Brazenness Continues to Protect Him — as Does AG Barr.

Obviously, the political news is dominated by the Mueller report, but below are a few other important items of note in the news that shouldn't get lost today (but inevitably will)...

Paul Farhi at the Washington Post: Report: U.S. Declines Again in Press-Freedom Index, Falls to 'Problematic' Status.
For the third time in three years, the United States' standing in an annual index of press freedom declined, a result the report's authors attributed to [Donald] Trump's anti-press rhetoric and continuing threats to journalists.

Reporters Without Borders, the international group that compiles the World Press Freedom Index, ranked the United States 48th among 180 nations and territories it surveyed. The U.S. ranking fell three spots from 2018, continuing a downward trend that began in 2016.

The United States finished just above Senegal and just below Romania on this year's list.

It also fell into the ranks of countries whose treatment of journalists is considered "problematic," the first time the United States has been so classified since the organization began the index in 2002.

...The group cited both Trump's rhetorical hostility toward the American news media and a possibly related phenomenon — increasing threats of harm against reporters — for the nation's declining status.

Among other signs of poor press health, it cited the Trump administration's curtailment of White House briefings; the revocation of CNN reporter Jim Acosta's White House press pass; the banning of a second CNN reporter, Kaitlan Collins, from an open-media event; and the harassment of journalists at Trump's reelection rallies. Beyond this, there were bomb threats made to newsrooms; an alleged murder plot aimed at prominent media figures and Democratic politicians by a Coast Guard lieutenant; and increased security measures in newsrooms nationwide.

It noted that "hatred of the media" reached the point where a gunman killed four journalists and another employee at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis last June.

"Amid one of the American journalism community's darkest moments, [Donald] Trump continued to spout his notorious anti-press rhetoric, disparaging and attacking the media at a national level," it said. "Simultaneously, journalists across the country reported terrifying harassment and death threats, online, and in person, that were particularly abusive toward women and journalists of color."

...The greatest regional deterioration worldwide, it said, was in the Americas, led by the decline of the United States, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil.
Trump's war on the press is absolutely chilling — and he was waging it throughout the entirety of his campaign, long before he won the election and long before he was inaugurated. It was one of the key indicators of his authoritarian bent, and yet the very political press he targets chose instead to focus on how many days it had been since Hillary Clinton had held a press conference. Bad decision. Authoritarianism gets ratings, but some things, like defending our democracy against authoritarians, are more important than ratings. Or should be.

Foster Klug and Kim Tong-Hyung at the AP: North Korea Says It Tested New Weapon, Wants Pompeo out of Talks. "North Korea said Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of 'tactical guided weapon,' its first such test in nearly half a year, and demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear negotiations." Everything is fine.

Daniel Estrin at NPR: U.S. Aid Agency Is Preparing to Lay Off Most Local Staff for Palestinian Projects. "Under orders from the Trump administration, the U.S. Agency for International Development is preparing to lay off most of its Palestinian aid workers in its West Bank and Gaza mission, according to U.S. government communications reviewed by NPR. It's the latest step toward shrinking a decades-long U.S. aid mission to build the capacity for a future Palestinian state. In response to NPR's request for comment, a USAID official emailed a statement saying that the agency has 'begun to take steps to reduce our staffing footprint.' He did not want his name used."

Mark Di Stefano at BuzzFeed: Australia Says It's "Ready to Confirm" a Key Meeting That Led to the Investigation into Trump's Russia Links. "A senior Australian diplomat has said the government is 'now ready to confirm' a series of events in 2016 between the country's high commissioner to the UK and a Trump campaign adviser, which led to U.S. authorities investigating Donald Trump's links with Russia. ...Until now, the Australian government and Downer have refused to confirm or give any details about the meeting central to the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation, repeatedly citing the need to preserve national security. But in a letter sent to Australia's Information Commissioner after a 15 month-long FOI battle with BuzzFeed News, a senior foreign official said his department was ready to confirm the meeting and release redacted documents, because Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was now finished."

Jennifer Jacobs, Jennifer A Dlouhy, and Ari Natter at Bloomberg: Rick Perry Planning His Exit as Trump's Energy Secretary, Sources Say. "Energy Secretary Rick Perry is planning to leave the Trump administration and is finalizing the terms and timing of his departure, according to two people familiar with his plans. While Perry’s exit isn't imminent and one person familiar with the matter said the former Texas governor still hasn't fully made up his mind, three people said he has been seriously considering his departure for weeks. All of the people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. An Energy Department spokeswoman, Shaylyn Hynes, rejected the idea that Perry would be leaving the administration any time soon. 'He is happy where he is serving [Donald] Trump and leading the Department of Energy,' she said in a statement."

So Rick Perry may or may not be leaving the Trump administration at some point? Cool story.

image of Rick Perry pouting pictured in the lower corner of a larger picture of an otter making a sour face while eating a watermelon

[Content Note: Sexual harassment] Kyla Mandel at ThinkProgress: Senators Under Pressure to Stop NOAA Nominee After Sexual Harassment Revelations. "A government employee group is urging Senate leadership to halt the nomination of former AccuWeather CEO Barry Lee Myers to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The call was prompted by the release of a federal investigation document detailing a pervasive culture of sexual harassment at the family-run company. A letter sent Wednesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) by the executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) states that Myers repeatedly failed to disclose the Department of Labor's investigation into claims of harassment and discrimination at AccuWeather."

Alex Hern at the Guardian: Facebook Uploaded Email Contacts of 1.5m Users without Consent. "Facebook has admitted to 'unintentionally' uploading the address books of 1.5 million users without consent, and says it will delete the collected data and notify those affected. The discovery follows criticism of Facebook by security experts for a feature that asked new users for their email password as part of the sign-up process. As well as exposing users to potential security breaches, those who provided passwords found that, immediately after their email was verified, the site began 'importing' contacts without asking for permission. Facebook has now admitted it was wrong to do so, and said the upload was inadvertent." Sure.

[CN: Nazism; anti-Semitism; nativism] Karsten Schmehl at BuzzFeed: WhatsApp Has Become a Hotbed for Spreading Nazi Propaganda in Germany. "German WhatsApp users are spreading far-right propaganda through the use of stickers and chain letters but the company is doing little to nothing to stop it, despite local laws forbidding the use of Nazi imagery. In nine WhatsApp groups that BuzzFeed News has observed since October, tens of thousands of messages have been sent among its far-right participants. Among them have been symbols glorifying the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler, deeply anti-Semitic images created using WhatsApp's 'sticker' function, and messages seeking to incite violence and threats against leftists or refugees."

[CN: War on agency] Amanda Michelle Gomez at ThinkProgress: Attorneys General Pledge to Not Prosecute Abortions If Roe v. Wade Is Overturned.
Attorneys general in Michigan and New Mexico are pledging not to prosecute pregnant people or providers should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Both states would criminalize abortion in the event that the Supreme Court landmark decision is overturned — making these statements all the more powerful.

"I will never prosecute a woman, or her doctor, for making the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy," said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) at a press conference on Tuesday.

Following her announcement, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) told ThinkProgress he also would commit to not prosecuting abortion-related cases.

"Every New Mexican woman should have the ability, under the law, to seek the best medical care and family planning services for themselves," said Balderas in a statement. "I will always stand with New Mexican women, who should never be criminalized for seeking access to their own reproductive rights."
1. It makes me nauseated that we even have to start meaningfully contemplate the possibility of abortion-seeking people being prosecuted. 2. This is why the Republican Party has, for decades, been trying to gerrymander state districts and rig elections via voter suppression to take control of state governments in addition to seizing the federal government and the judiciary: The GOP doesn't want Democratic state officeholders and legislatures to be able to protect marginalized people's rights. They want us to be totally without advocates anywhere in the halls of power across the nation.

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

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The Mueller Report Is Out, and Trump's Brazenness Continues to Protect Him — as Does AG Barr

The redacted report prepared by Special Counsel Bob Mueller has been made public at long last. I really enjoy how the Department of Justice made the report a noncopyable and nonsearchable PDF to make analysis and information-sharing even slower and more difficult. That alone is informative about their true objective.

A troubling report by Dareh Gregorian at NBC News gives us some insight into why Mueller didn't recommend obstruction charges against Donald Trump:

Special counsel Robert Mueller reviewed [Donald] Trump's attempts to muddy the investigation, including efforts to tamper with witnesses and to have the attorney general take control of the probe — but decided not to charge him with obstruction because there was no underlying crime and many of those attempts were carried out in plain view.
So, because Trump was so brazen in his contempt for the law, he got away with it — about which I've been warning for nearly two years, since the Mueller investigation began. Here, for example, is me last December, in a piece titled "The Collusion Has Always Been Right out in the Open":
Over and over, people have argued with me that what I was saying about collusion couldn't possibly be true, because no one would be so stupid as to be that brazen.

But the brazenness wasn't stupidity. It was calculated. Trump and his co-conspirators knew damn well that there would be people lining up to argue that what they were seeing with their own eyes couldn't actually be what they were seeing with their own eyes, because no one would be stupid enough to be that brazen.

And here we are.
Recall Trump bragging along the campaign trail in 2016 that he "could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay? It's like incredible." He has always known that the more brazen he is about his corruption and malice, the more likely he is to suffer zero consequences for it.

He is hardly the only member of his administration who flouts the law and fears no repercussions — including and especially the men who are tasked with upholding the nation's laws at the highest levels.

The way that Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ended their press conference this morning was genuinely stunning:

Reporter Ryan J. Reilly: Is it an impropriety for you to come out and sort of what appears to be spinning the report before the public gets a chance to read it?

Barr: [stares at him for a moment] No.

[Rod Rosenstein smirks and grins, and they all leave]
This is an entire administration out of control, regardless of what's in the report. And it is clear that there is far more damning stuff in the report than Barr would have had us believe — not least of which is a clear recommendation within the report for Congress to use its "constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct."

Barr straight-up lied about that.

Congress must pursue impeachment as a remedy immediately. It is the only option.

It is not a good one, owing to the Republican intransigence that works to protect Trump, but it is the only one.

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Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me making a WTF face with the letters WTF sitting on my head, pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

YES, Senator Cory Booker, YES!!! "Cory Booker is detailing a proposed overhaul of how Americans vote, bringing a message that intersects voting rights and reproductive justice to a place with deep resonance for his campaign's message of moral courage."
Booker, who teased the pursuit of a "new Voting Rights Act" in his official kickoff speech last weekend in Newark, connected voting rights to reproductive justice in an address in front of a group of students [in Atlanta] Wednesday afternoon, on the heels of the Georgia legislature's passage of a "heartbeat bill," which bans most abortions when a doctor can detect a heartbeat...

Booker's campaign told BuzzFeed News his new voting rights proposal would protect the right to vote, including by reversing the Supreme Court's Shelby County v. Holder decision that narrowed the scope of the current Voting Rights Act, and make it easier to vote with provisions for automatic voter registration and expanded voting access.

His campaign said Booker plans to propose that as president he'll end gerrymandering; stop voter suppression efforts, such as purging voters from the rolls; expand vote-by-mail, early voting, and same-day and online voter registration; make Election Day a national holiday; rid the election system of language barriers; and give U.S. citizens returning from incarceration the right to vote. A spokesperson for his campaign said Booker will continue to link the movements together in an effort to find a common purpose.

"For years, the right to vote for millions of Americans — disproportionately in communities of color — has been under assault," Booker said in a statement. "It is time for a new Voting Rights Act to finally put an end to systematic attempts to limit access to the ballot box and strip citizens of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. During my presidency, we will fight to protect and expand every American's right to take part in our democracy."
*fist pump* Honestly, given the major news today, it's really quite amazing that I can feel this excited about any political news, but what'll do it every time is someone taking seriously that we need to have free and fair elections if there is any chance at all of extricating ourselves from this precipitous slide into an authoritarian abyss.

Senator Kamala Harris has expressed regret over the way the truancy law she supported led to the criminalization of parents. To be honest, I think it should have been apparent that was going to happen, and probably people from those communities warned her, and it was always a shit law from the start, so talking about intentions isn't very helpful. But the upshot is that she has changed her mind about the policy, and, as I always say, what we want and need from progressive candidates is for them to progress. I just wish she'd be a little more forthright about how it was bad policy from go.

In Utah, Senator Elizabeth Warren, aka Professor Policy, railed against corruption — "When you see a government that works great for those who have money and can hire armies of lobbyists but isn't working great for anyone else, that's corruption, pure and simple" — and promised she's got a plan for what ails us: "We need big, systemic change in this country. And I got a plan." Heck yeah she does!

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney (who is totally running for president, I swear) "announced a plan to create an independent agency to address national cybersecurity threats. The proposed Department of Cybersecurity would be led by a cabinet-level secretary who would be in charge of implementing the United States' cybersecurity strategy. The proposal is the first major cybersecurity push from any presidential candidate so far this cycle." That's probably a good idea? I don't really know! Is it better to have your cybersecurity responsibilities diffuse to make it harder to hack the whole system, or concentrated with the most impenetrable defenses around that single department? I await Elizabeth Warren's policy to tell me!

Beto O'Rourke says he might consider doing cable news shows at some point, and I want to know if it's really a conscious choice that he's not doing cable news shows or is he not being invited? Does he not like cable news because there's no stuff to stand on? I am not a professional political advisor, but I would advise Beto O'Rourke to get his ass on cable news now, because, if he waits much longer, he won't be a candidate anymore.

Oh, Senator Bernie Sanders, what are you even doing?

Speaking of Sanders, his former strategist Tad Devine is meeting with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about his possible 2020 presidential bid, and the fact that de Blasio even took a meeting with Devine after all of this is disqualifying. Keep walking, Mayor.

At least Terry McAuliffe has decided not to run. Smart. "I'm going to work the next six months every single day to make sure Virginia, we win the House and the Senate, and then next year I'm going to work like a dog to make sure that we are blue." Necessary. I doubt that's the reason why he's not running, but I'm glad that's the way he's going to spend his time now that he isn't.

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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Barr to Release Redacted Muller Report Today

Late yesterday, the Justice Department announced that it would release a redacted version of Special Counsel Bob Mueller's report today, with the following stipulations:

Once the redacted version of the report has been released to the public, the Justice Department plans to make available for review by a limited number of Members of Congress and their staff a copy of the Special Counsel's report without certain redactions, including removing the redaction of information related to the charges set forth in the indictment in this case. This version of the report will not be made available "to the media" or "in public settings," consistent with the Court's February 15 order.

In addition, this version of the report will not be "disseminated by means of public communication" pursuant to Local Criminal Rule 57.7(b)(1). Nor will copies of the less redacted report be disseminated to Members of Congress or their staff in the first instance. Rather, the Justice Department intends to secure this version of the report in an appropriate setting that will be accessible to a limited number of Members of Congress and their staff.
So, a heavily redacted version will be made public, then an unredacted version will be made available to a select group of congress members (and their staffs), and it will be sent to them on CDs.

The weirdness does not end there, naturally. Attorney General Bill Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have scheduled a press conference for this morning, which will happen before the release of the report, so Barr continues to try to control the narrative around its findings, before the public and Congress even have a chance to scrutinize it.

Naturally, Democrats are not happy about that. Nor should they be. It's entirely inappropriate.

Also inappropriate is the fact that, as reported in the New York Times last night, the Justice Department has been communicating with the White House ahead of the report's release. That is not a surprise, of course, given the profound corruption of this administration, but it is alarming nonetheless.
Not all of Robert S. Mueller III's findings will be news to [Donald] Trump when they are released Thursday.

Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president's legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.

...The discussions between Justice Department officials and White House lawyers have also added to questions about the propriety of the decisions by Attorney General William P. Barr since he received Mr. Mueller's findings late last month.
No shit. As Judd Legum noted on Twitter, not only is this confirmation of coordination, but it also indicates that the delay in releasing the report "was necessary so Trump's lawyers could strategize and prepare the rebuttal."

Thus has the Attorney General of the United States prioritized shielding the president from consequences of his lawless behavior rather than protecting We the People from the consequences of having a lawless president.

So, here is where we are at this point: The press conference with the Justice Department's spin begins at 9:30 ET. The public will get the redacted report. Then select members of Congress (and their staffs) will get the unredacted report.

It's going to take awhile for anyone to get through the report, so I will strongly urge caution in giving a heap of credence to early takes on what it contains. I will also urge caution in taking as truth whatever media reports say about what's in the report based on what Barr and Rosenstein say at their press conference. Have patience. Read the report yourself if you can.

Please feel welcome to use this thread for discussion of the presser as well as for the report, once we have it and can start analyzing it. And, as always, for expressing anxiety about what all of this means about the state of the U.S. government.

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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 cichy_polak: "What are some misheard word moments you've recently had that made you giggle? For example, there are these containers that bartenders often use called Store 'N Pour containers, but I always heard it as 'Storm Pours.' I never questioned it. Just sounded like a brand name choice. I only last week discovered what it actually was."

[Deaf readers who may not have had this exact experience are welcome to reinterpret the question as appropriate, e.g. What idiom completely flummoxed you the first time you encountered it?]

Gosh, this happens to me all the time, but of course I can't think of a single recent instance, now that I have to come up with one, lol!

So I'll just repeat old examples I've shared before:

1) When I was really little, I thought matzo ball soup was actually called mothball soup. I didn't understand why anyone would want to eat it. (I now love matzo ball soup, btw.)

2) The Lutheran Confession of Sins and Absolution is:

"O almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended Thee and justly deserved Thy temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them; and I pray Thee of Thy boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor, sinful, being."

Every week this is intoned by the whole congregation during the service. (To this day, I remember exactly where the "breath breaks" were: "O almighty God, merciful Father (breathe!), I, a poor miserable sinner (breathe!)…") I had it memorized before I could read it.

For many years, I wondered why we were all confessing that we were "hardly" sorry for our sins.

Funnily enough, I know of at least one other person with whom I grew up who thought the same thing, and I've met two Lutherans since who laughed with recognition when I shared that story.

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Wednesday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by air guitar.

Recommended Reading:

Jayson Greene at Vulture: [Content Note: Death of a child; traumatic injury] "The Unthinkable Has Happened": You Learn to Believe in Your Child's Existence; What Happens When She's Killed by a Piece of Your Daily Environment?

Irin Carmon at the Cut: [CN: Sexual assault; misogyny] How the Kavanaugh Hearings Changed American Men and Women

Emma Davey at Bust: [CN: Surveillance; misogyny and abuse of others who menstruate] "Menstrual Surveillance": The Dark Side of Fertility Tracking Apps

Julia Dixon Evans at AV Club: [CN: Misogyny] Why It's a Man's Voice You Hear Narrating Our Planet's Splendor and Decay

Alex Pappademas at GQ: The Legend of Keanu Reeves

Joi-Marie McKenzie at Essence: Beyoncé Drops Surprise Project Homecoming: The Live Album

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Harry's Shave Company Just Won a Bunch of New Fans by Casually Featuring a Trans Man in Their Ad

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

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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.

* * *

I got a very nice email today from someone telling me lovely things, and I really needed it, and it totally made my day. It is a good thing to feel valued.

And in case you need to feel valued as your good thing today, I am so glad you are here. I mean it. I am grateful for this community of people and glad that you are a part of it. ♥

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Fat Fashion

This is your semi-regular thread in which fat women can share pix, make recommendations for clothes they love, ask questions of other fat women about where to locate certain plus-size items, share info about sales, talk about what jeans cut at what retailer best fits their body shapes, discuss how to accessorize neutral colored suits, share stories of going bare-armed for the first time, brag about a cool fashion moment, whatever.

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One of my favorite looks is a white top, dark wash jeans, and some snazzy shoes. (I realize I have just given away the already infinitesimal modicum of fashion credibility I had by using the word "snazzy," but this is who I am and you already knew that, lol.) Here I am recently in a Loft blouse (you're shocked), Torrid jeans (you can't even believe it), and some white and black Kenneth Cole loafers (you are so glad you were sitting on your fainting couch for this), getting ready to go to a therapy appointment:

image of me standing in a full-length mirror, dressed as described, wearing grey-framed glasses and with my hair curled

I'm getting so good at this selfie-in-a-full-length mirror thing j/k j/k j/k you will never have to worry about feeling imperfect by comparison to the doofus who runs this space, lol.

I rarely style my hair, but that day I used my Bed Head curling wand to put some curls into it, because standing at the bathroom counter futzing with my hair was a good distraction from Twitter on a day when my mentions were a shitshow. (More than usual.)

image of me standing in my bathroom mirror, holding up my phone to take a picture of the back of my head, where curls cascade down my back
Infinite hair selfies!

One of the things I liked about this outfit was just the peek of black at my throat care of the black stone necklace I'm wearing (one of my favorites; I wear it a lot, for about 12 years now), and the peek of black at my feet care of the stripe across the tops of my loafers.

That's the sort of detail that makes off-the-rack clothes my outfit, if you know what I mean.

Anyway! What's up with you?

Have at it in comments! Please remember to make fat women of all sizes, especially women who find themselves regularly sizing out of standard plus-size lines, welcome in this conversation, and pass no judgment on fat women who want to and/or feel obliged, for any reason, to conform to beauty standards. And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions.

[Note: I am not receiving anything in return for my recommendations here, nor am I affiliated in any way with any of the companies mentioned herein. Any endorsements made are on products I purchased myself, just because I like them!]

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt from the shoulders up, in profile, licking her lips, with her empty food bowl in the background
Zelly enjoyed her breakfast.

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 818

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Late yesterday and earlier today by me: Trump Tells Supporters: "This Is Your Country, Not Theirs" and Barr Rules Asylum-Seekers Can Be Held Indefinitely and Primarily Speaking.

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

[Content Note: Arson; white supremacy] Last Thursday, I noted that an arrest had been made in the arson attacks on three historically Black baptist churches in one Louisiana parish. Since then: "A fundraiser started by the Seventh District Baptist Association set a target of $1.8 million to be raised and split evenly to the three churches. As of Wednesday morning, $1,030,647 had been donated by over 18,000 people." The total as of this writing is now at $1.27M, and, if you can and would like to donate, you can do so at GoFundMe.

[CN: Terrorism] In another follow-up: U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson, a white nationalist with a massive stockpile of weapons and ammunition who was arrested in February after planning a large-scale terrorist attack targeting Democratic politicians and journalists, will not face terrorism charges, according to his attorney: "Hasson, 49, has remained in custody since his Feb. 15 arrest and subsequent indictment in Maryland on firearms and drug charges. Hasson's attorney, Liz Oyer, wrote in a court filing Monday that prosecutors recently disclosed that they don't expect to seek any additional charges."

Essentially, she's arguing he should be released since prosecutors have supposedly told her no more charges will be filed against him, and there are no terrorism charges filed at the moment, which gives them no reason to hold him indefinitely.

Just as a reminder, at the time of his arrest, prosecutors said: "The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."

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Felicia Sonmez, Josh Dawsey, and Karoun Demirjian at the Washington Post: Trump Vetoes Resolution to End U.S. Participation in Yemen's Civil War. "[Donald] Trump on Tuesday vetoed a resolution that would have ended U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. ...The veto means the United States will continue its involvement in Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign against Yemen's Houthi rebels, waged in the name of holding back Iran's expansion in the region. But the Saudi-led effort, which has targeted civilian facilities and prevented aid shipments from getting to Yemenis, has been faulted by human rights organizations for exacerbating what the United Nations has deemed the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe."

Trump's refusal to sign the resolution is a great shame on our nation, and his veto will almost certainly not be overridden, because the Republican Party is itself a great shame on our nation.

Speaking of which...

See also:

The next time you hear someone say that there's no difference between the two parties, remember that the GOP is engaging in domestic election meddling in order to cheat their way into power, while this is what Democrats do: "Governor Laura Kelly has signed a new bill she says makes voting more convenient in Kansas. 'Over the past decade, we have seen countless efforts aimed at making voting more difficult in this state,' Governor Kelly said in a press release. 'I hope this will be the first of many laws that help ensure that every voice is heard in our democratic process and that every vote is counted.'" Right on.

Jeffrey A. Engel at the Washington Post: Impeachment Should Be a No-Brainer, No Matter What the Mueller Report Says. "The Constitution's authors wouldn't have needed any summary of the special counsel's report to know it was time to impeach the president. Neither would they have waited to see whether its full text provided evidence of criminal wrongdoing. The group that created our nation's founding document would already have judged Donald Trump unfit for office — and removed him — because he's repeatedly shown a dearth of the quality they considered paramount in a president: a willingness to put national interest above his own." Correct.

Luke Harding at the Guardian: Deutsche Bank Faces Action over $20bn Russian Money-Laundering Scheme. "Germany's troubled Deutsche Bank faces fines, legal action and the possible prosecution of 'senior management' because of its role in a $20bn Russian money-laundering scheme, a confidential internal report seen by the Guardian says. ...Deutsche Bank was embroiled in a vast money-laundering operation, dubbed the Global Laundromat. Russian criminals with links to the Kremlin, the old KGB, and its main successor, the FSB, used the scheme between 2010 and 2014 to move money into the western financial system. The cash involved could total $80bn, detectives believe."

Felicia Sonmez at the Washington Post: Mitch McConnell Reelection Launch Video Touts Praise from Trump, Blocking of Merrick Garland. "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday kicked off his 2020 reelection bid with a video highlighting his successful effort to block President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland — a move that helped reshape the court and over which Democrats are still fuming. The video also includes footage of [Donald] Trump hailing McConnell as a 'rock-ribbed Kentucky leader' and 'one of the most powerful men in the world.' ...McConnell, 77, is running for a seventh term." God I loathe him.

Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs at Bloomberg: Mnuchin Plans to Hire Fox's Monica Crowley as Spokeswoman, Sources Say. "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plans to hire Fox News commentator Monica Crowley as his top spokeswoman, according to people familiar with the matter, as he seeks to tout the GOP's tax cuts and navigate Democrats' demands for the president's tax returns." Yeah, that sounds about right. In case you'd forgotten: "Trump planned to appoint Crowley to a position at the National Security Council in his White House, but she withdrew from consideration in January 2017 after CNN reported that she had plagiarized portions of her 2012 book and Politico reported that she had plagiarized portions of her 2000 Ph.D. thesis."

This entire fucking administration. Goddammit.

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Yessenia Funes at Earther: There's Microplastic Blowing in the Wind, Study Suggests. "Some peaks throughout the Pyrénées Mountains of France stand more than 10,000 feet tall. Across the mountains' ridges and valleys, adventurous visitors may spot a brown bear or a yellow lily, one of the wildflowers of the Pyrénées. But this mountain range is home to something else too, something not always visible to the human eye. And that's plastic. A study out Monday in Nature Geoscience found that wind can take tiny plastic particles known as microplastics for a ride, dumping them on unsuspecting mountaintops far from human settlements — like the Pyrénées. It's one of the first studies to show how these particles move long distances through the air in what is likely to be a growing area of research."

Andy Greenberg at Wired: Cyberspies Hijacked the Internet Domains of Entire Countries. "The discovery of a new, sophisticated team of hackers spying on dozens of government targets is never good news. But one team of cyberspies has pulled off that scale of espionage with a rare and troubling trick, exploiting a weak link in the internet's cybersecurity that experts have warned about for years: DNS hijacking, a technique that meddles with the fundamental address book of the internet. Researchers at Cisco's Talos security division on Wednesday revealed that a hacker group it's calling Sea Turtle carried out a broad campaign of espionage via DNS hijacking, hitting 40 different organizations. In the process, they went so far as to compromise multiple country-code top-level domains — the suffixes like, or .ru, that end a foreign web address — putting all the traffic of every domain in multiple countries at risk."

Staff at Feminist Newswire: New Research Finds Women Make Nuclear War Less Eminent. "New research, including research by the Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, suggests that women are a vital part of preventing nuclear conflict, as well as resolving potential nuclear weapon issues. Including women in non-proliferation talks increases the diversity of ideas as well as leads to more positive outcomes. The Royal Society found that in simulated scenarios men are more likely to display 'overconfidence' that leads to attacks. Involvement of women in these scenarios was found to result in de-escalation of the given conflicts." Yeah, I'm still not over Hillary Clinton not being president, and here's another good reason why.

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!

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The other night, I made cod with spinach, artichokes, and capers in a lemon sauce, and it was very yummy!

image of cod with spinach, artichokes, and capers in a lemon sauce, in a blue bowl sitting on my kitchen counter

Basically, just throw it all into a dish and then put it in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes or so, until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

And, by request, here is a photo of another one of my fruit plate creations! Navel oranges, mandarin oranges, strawberries, and blueberries.

image of fruit arranged in a pattern on a blue plate with a white flower

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Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me shrugging next to the word SHRUG, pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

I'm going to start out with three things that made me smile before we get into the rest of it...

1. I found this to be a really moving and cool story about how Senator Amy Klobuchar first got involved in politics:

[If the video embed doesn't work, click here.]
Text Onscreen, over image of Klobuchar holding her then-newborn daughter: Amy Klobuchar didn't plan to be in politics until her baby got sick.

Klobuchar, speaking to camera: When my daughter was born, she was really sick. And I wasn't holding elected office then. But I was a brand new mom with a really sick baby. [image of her daughter in an incubator] They did all these tests and they determined that she couldn't swallow. [back to speaking to camera] Back then, the insurance companies had a rule that you could only stay in the hospital for 24 hours. And she was in intensive care, and I had been up all night not knowing what was wrong. And they kicked me out of the hospital. And as my husband wheeled me in this wheelchair out of the hospital, I said to him, "I bet this wouldn't happen to the wife of the head of the insurance company."

Klobuchar, continuing over image of her daughter as a toddler: We nursed her back to health over two years. [image of Klobuchar in a business suit from that era] But during that same time, I joined with other moms and other parents [back to speaking to camera] and went over to the legislature and testified, to pass one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay.

Text Onscreen, over image of Klobuchar raising her hand to testify, with her young daughter at her side: Klobuchar paved the way for a national law protecting new mothers' rights to remain in the hospital for 48 hours after giving birth.

Klobuchar, speaking to camera: I learned a few things from that experience. One was that, if you want to get male legislators to pass something, you talk about things that are embarrassing, like episiotomies. [grins] I did that!

Klobuchar, continuing over image of her talking to people on their porch, followed by image of her working at her desk: Then the second thing I learned was that, if you want to get something through a conference committee where they're going to delay the legislation from taking effect — what I did is that I brought [back to speaking to camera] a number of my pregnant friends to the conference committee, so that they outnumbered the insurance lobbyists two to one. And when the legislators asked, "When should this bill pass?", my pregnant friends all raised their hands and said, "Now!" And that was exactly what happened!

Klobuchar, continuing over image of her with her daughter: And that is how we passed one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay. [back to speaking to camera] And that is why I got hooked on politics, and this simple idea that politics is about improving people's lives. That's what I learned from that experience, and that's what I've taken to Washington.
2. As I mentioned in comments of yesterday's post, it turns out that Senator Cory Booker is a huge dork. (Naturally, that is a compliment in my world, lol.) As further evidence, I submit: Cory Booker (badly!) singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" with a 15-year-old girl in a Queen t-shirt, and then geeking out about a performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Axl Rose and Elton John, to which he knew the entire backstory. Cory Booker is a dork. CASE CLOSED, YOUR HONOR!

3. This interview that Governor Jay Inslee gave to Gabriel Debenedetti at New York Magazine is worth a read in its entirety, but I need to highlight this quote on Donald Trump because OMGGGGGGGGGGG: "My belief is there is no whopper too obvious and large for him not to tell; there's no expectation of truthfulness — ever — from him. Therefore there's no norm of honesty that he would not violate in a heartbeat, for whatever reason, and a guy who'll tell you his father was born in Germany — when we know he was born in Kenya, by the way — will tell you anything." 🔥🔥🔥

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The media really wants a showdown between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, which means that they're already churning out the shitty, defeatist stories on other Democratic candidates while hyping Sanders' "frontrunner status" and fundraising lead, while we're still months out from the first debate and even further from the first primary contest.

A sampling of today's trash:

Senator Elizabeth Warren gets the "drop out" treatment from the (garbage rag) Boston Herald: "Elizabeth Warren's Best Move Is to Drop Out of Race."

Senator Kamala Harris gets the "are X ready" treatment from Politico: "Are Indian-American Voters Ready to Embrace Kamala Harris?"

And Julián Castro gets a double whammy with the "no defining moment" treatment and the "passed moment" treatment from the New York Times: "Julián Castro Needs a Defining Moment. Has It Already Passed?"


* * *

[Content Note: Homophobia; video may autoplay at link] Mayor Pete Buttigieg was greeted with homophobic protesters shouting anti-gay Bible references at him in Iowa. While his supporters responded by drowning them out, Buttigieg responded by saying "That gentleman believes that what he is doing is in line with the will of the creator. I view it differently. We ought to be able to view it differently." and that he would "prefer to have those kinds of debates in a respectful format, versus through interruption, but a president is going to have to deal with tougher things than being interrupted in a speech."

I am incandescently angry that homophobic fuckos were abusing Buttigieg at his event. Fuck them forever.

Also: I do not like Buttigieg's response, although I understand why he felt obliged to acquiesce that people harassing him with hatred have a right to express their denial of his humanity, because marginalized people are entrained to indulge the bigotry used to oppress us as a "difference of opinion."

I would like to offer Buttigieg the permission to take a zero tolerance policy on people abusing him. I would never not vote for Buttigieg if he stood up squarely to these reprehensible bullies and told them in no uncertain terms that there is no room for their hatred in the public discourse, at his rallies or anywhere else.

If he doesn't feel like he can say that, then I will: There is no room for homophobic hatred in the public discourse, at Mayor Pete Buttigieg's rallies or anywhere else. Period.

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[CN: Video may autoplay at link] In other Buttigieg news, this piece about some of his failures as mayor, underwritten by unexamined privilege, is worth your time to read. And while you may have already heard about his housing policies that disproportionately targeted people of color, his homelessness policies deserve some scrutiny, too:
Buttigieg's blind spot is also evident in his approach to homelessness. South Bend has just one shelter, with around 200 beds, for its homeless population of nearly 400. Though he convened a working group in 2017, Buttigieg's primary solution to the problem has been arresting people sleeping under bridges and adding "Do not give to panhandlers" signs on downtown street corners.
The article addresses that his homelessness policies are reflective of his racial "blind spot," but there's a big gap left by the failure to acknowledge that Buttigieg's hostile homelessness policies aggressively targeted a population comprised disproportionately of people of color, disabled people, and LGBTQ youth.

Senator Bernie Sanders' Fox News town hall was so popular that now a bunch of other candidates are considering legitimizing the Republicans' propaganda arm by agreeing to a town hall event:
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in talks to participate in a Fox News town hall, a campaign aide told The Daily Beast, and he had been prior to the airing of Sanders' event.

Meanwhile, the campaign for Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) — the latest entry into the crowded Democratic contest — said "he's willing to do a Fox town hall, and we expect to start discussions with the network soon regarding a time and place."

...Julia Krieger, communications director for Rep. Tim Ryan's (D-OH) presidential campaign said that he is also "willing to do a town hall with Fox News," adding that "the campaign has reached out proactively to the network to express interest in this type of forum." She said that the network had also reached out to them.

And Jennifer Fiore, a senior adviser to Julián Castro's campaign, told The Daily Beast that they are in conversations with the network as well.
Disappointed by Castro. Not surprised at all by the others, especially that Rep. Eric Swalwell, who wants a "cabinet of rivals" is going trolling on Fox News. Good luck finding your principled Republicans there, bud!

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Speaking of Rep. Tim Ryan, he said during a CNN interview that he's "concerned" about Democrats' increasingly positive view of socialism and then babbled some shit about the free market. He's really got his finger on the pulse!

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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Barr Rules Asylum-Seekers Can Be Held Indefinitely

[Content Note: Nativism.]

In their latest bid to try to discourage refugees from seeking asylum in the United States, and to punish those who do, Attorney General Bill Barr has stipulated that refugees who pass the initial screening to qualify for asylum can now be held in detention indefinitely while their case is processed.

Specifically, this new rule applies to those who crossed the border illegally and then requested asylum, which covers an increasing number of people as the Trump Regime illegally directs asylum-seekers away from legal ports of entry, in violation of both U.S. and international law.

So, the Trump Regime forces refugees seeking asylum to cross the border illegally, making them subject to deportation, but now says if they pass the initial asylum screening, they can't be released on bond for their own safety, and thus will have to stay in detention, at which point "the Department of Homeland Security alone will have the discretion to decide whether to release immigrants who crossed the border illegally and later claimed asylum."

Barr's ruling could likely affect thousands of migrants apprehended at the border, many of whom are seeking asylum and would be subject to expedited removal.

"Basically if you pass the initial asylum screening you can now be indefinitely detained," said immigration attorney Eileen Blessinger, who called Barr's decision "horrible news."

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said the organization plans to challenge the decision.

"This is the Trump administration's latest assault on people fleeing persecution and seeking refuge in the United States," Jadwat said in a statement. "Our Constitution does not allow the government to lock up asylum seekers without basic due process. We'll see the administration in court."
Of course, the Supreme Court has now twice ruled, in two separate cases, that immigrants can be indefinitely detained without bond, so there's a strong possibility that they will rule for a third time to deny asylum-seekers their basic rights.

This is very bad news, and it is very bad governance, and it is yet further evidence, as if we needed any, that malice is the agenda.

There is literally no reason for this new rule, except to harm vulnerable people who are seeking safety at our borders, despite the fact that we could and should accommodate them.

But under Donald Trump, we have officially abandoned all decency.

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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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