The New Year's Eve Virtual Pub Is Open

Thanks for a great year, Shakers.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stoup!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gies a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie-waught,
for auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

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[Trigger warning.]

Father and 12-year-old daughter booked after fake kidnapping prank:

A Lacombe man and his daughter hatched an unusual practical joke to entertain themselves as they drove down Interstate 12: tie the girl's hands, duct-tape her mouth and watch the startled expressions as their fellow drivers noticed the apparent kidnapping in progress.

...Tim Williams, 45, was returning to St. Tammany Parish with his 12-year-old daughter after picking her up from his ex-wife at the Texas state line Wednesday afternoon when the two came up with the idea, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Cpl. Sean Beavers said. During the stunt, duct-tape was used to bind the girl's hands and cover her mouth, Beaver said.

...It's unclear when the two first started the stunt, but at least three motorists called 9-1-1 to report an abduction after seeing the girl bound and gagged in the front seat of the pickup about 3:50 p.m. as the vehicle passed the Louisiana 1077 exit on I-12, Beavers said. Deputies rushed to the highway as several motorists surrounded the truck in an attempt to keep the supposed kidnapper from getting away, he said.

The patrol cars caught up with Williams at the Louisiana 59 exit and learned it was all a prank when they pulled Williams over, Beavers said.

Because of the severity of the situation, Williams was booked into the St. Tammany Parish jail in Covington with criminal mischief and contributing to the delinquency of a minor before being released later in the day on a $3,000 bond. His daughter, who was not identified because she is a juvenile, was cited for criminal mischief and released to the care of an uncle, Beavers said.

"Their lives were put in danger as well as the lives of the general public," Beavers said. "Anything could have happened over that prank. That's why we felt he needed to go to jail for that, too many lives were put in danger to let him go on his way."
First, the good news: Multiple people called police, and some of them risked their own safety (or thought they were, anyway) by boxing in the vehicle in which they thought a real kidnapping was taking place. That's the kind of thing that restores one's faith in humanity, you know?

And I don't know about anyone else, but my faith sure as shit needs restoring when I read about a father who thinks faking a kidnapping with his daughter to fool unsuspecting motorists is a fun idea. Lordy begordy.

I'm also curious as to how it was ascertained that the situation was a prank. I mean, I'm sure the guy wasn't actually kidnapping his daughter (because that's easily confirmed), but how do they know for sure the kidnapping prank story wasn't created to explain something actually nefarious going on, like Dad punishing his daughter in a seriously fucked-up way? How do they know for sure they didn't merely interrupt an elaborate sexual assault...?

I guess they'd say because the daughter assured them otherwise, but that's the same daughter whose dad, at best, conceived of a kidnapping game in which she was bound and gagged. So maybe she has reason to lie, or maybe was coerced into lying, is all I'm saying. I really hope that the investigation is ongoing, and fear that it's not.

[H/T to Shaker Anitanola.]

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Convo Me

Deeky: Can you explain this to me?

Liss: Isn't that just a scene from The Last Starfighter? It looks like a Last Starfighter storyboard or something.

Deeky: LOL! WTF? The Last Starfighter? How would I know? I ain't seen that since I was twelve!

Liss: OMG how can you not remember EVERY FRAME of The Last Starfighter?! Jesus, you're an embarrassment to Generation X.

Deeky: I'm an embarrassment to everyone and everything.

Liss: "I'm going to go sit in the corner and eat wet cigarette butts."

Deeky: LOLOLOLOL!!! Yes, I am!

Liss: I think I've told you this before, but one of the funniest things KBlogz ever said was when he was like 4 years old, and his grandmother was yelling at him about some absurd abomination against god or another, and he replied, "I'm going to throw myself in the GARBAGE!" LOL. We still say that to this day.

Deeky: Yeah, that's an awesome story. I was just thinking about him last night. What's he? 19? Jebus, was he really born in 19fucking90? I feel so old. LOL!

Liss: He turned 20 this year. Born in '89. And yeah, that makes me feel ancient. Like a JUSTIFIED ANCIENT OF MU-MU!!!

Deeky: LOL! If it were anyone else, I'd say I couldn't believe you just made a Justified Ancients reference.

Liss: LOL! ROCK.

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Blog Note

Just a quick heads-up: I've got family coming in from out of town tomorrow, so posting will be light from me. There will, of course, be an open thread and some other little bits and pieces.

And, yes, there will be a virtual pub tonight for anyone who wants to ring in the New Year with other Shakers!

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Daily Kitteh

The Cats of Shakes Manor prepare for New Year's Eve:

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Quote of the Day

"I think we have got to get serious about catching terrorists, not just catching weapons. I'm waiting for the terrorist who knows kung fu or something that gets on an airplane without a weapon. God knows what that is going to be like."Chris Matthews, being uniquely, utterly absurd in his inimitable way.

Put this guy on the terrorist watch list immediately:

[Via John Cole, who gets the runner-up Quote of the Day with: "I hope you and your loved ones have a Happy New Year, even though we live under the grave threat of KUNG FU FIGHTING TERRORISTS!"]

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Today in Rape Culture

[Trigger warning.]

I have but one question for MTV about their decision to cast on the newest installment of The Real World an aspiring cartoonist whose preferred motif is sexual assault, frequently casting himself as a rapist: Did you never stop to consider that such "humor" could be a red flag, or were you actively hoping he'd rape one of his female roommates, because, like, that would be exactly the sort of controversy that totes awesome for your ratings...?

Once upon a time, I might have considered that an unfair question. But that was before you promoted another show with footage of one of its female participants getting punched in the face.

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Shaker Sho sends along the following example of Assvertising with the note, "I saw this on the subway today."

[If you can't view the image, it's a pair of subway posters for a new SpikeTV scripted comedy series about college football called "Blue Mountain State." One has an image of a blond white woman in crop-top and short-shorts "riding" a giant football, accompanied by the text: "It's all about the scoring." The other has an image of a giant upside-down football helmet with the disembodied legs of a white woman coming out of it, accompanied by the text: "College football's never been dirtier."]

The show is highlighted on Spike's website with the image of a naked white woman from behind, covering her ass cheeks with pompons.

Spike (also home to the KBlogz-reviewed "MANswers") bills itself as "TV for Men." If I were a man, I do believe I'd sue for defamation of character.

[Assvertising: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, Thirty, Thirty-One, Thirty-Two, Thirty-Three, Thirty-Four, Thirty-Five, Thirty-Six, Thirty-Seven, Thirty-Eight, Thirty-Nine, Forty, Forty-One, Forty-Two, Forty-Three, Forty-Four, Forty-Five, Forty-Six, Forty-Seven, Forty-Eight, Forty-Nine, Fifty, Fifty-One, Fifty-Two, Fifty-Three, Fifty-Four, Fifty-Five, Fifty-Six, Fifty-Seven, Fifty-Eight, Fifty-Nine, Sixty, Sixty-One, Sixty-Two, Sixty-Three, Sixty-Four, Sixty-Five, Sixty-Six, Sixty-Seven, Sixty-Eight, Sixty-Nine, Seventy, Seventy-One, Seventy-Two, Seventy-Three, Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five, Seventy-Six, Seventy-Seven, Seventy-Eight, Seventy-Nine, Eighty, Eighty-One, Eighty-Two, Eighty-Three, Eighty-Four, Eighty-Five, Eighty-Six, Eighty-Seven, Eighty-Eight, Eighty-Nine, Ninety, Ninety-One, Ninety-Two, Ninety-Three, Ninety-Four, Ninety-Five.]

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Today's Edition of "Conniving and Sinister"


Strips One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95. In which Liss reimagines the long-running comic "Frank & Ernest," about two old straight white guys "telling it like it is," as a fat feminist white woman and a biracial queerbait telling it like it actually is from their perspectives. Hilarity ensues.

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Everything Will Flow

For Deeks.

Watch the early morning sun
Drip like blood from the day
See the crazy people run
So many games to play
See the blue suburban dream
Under the jet plane sky
Sleep away and dream a dream
Life is just a lullaby

Ah hah oh
And everything will flow
Ah hah oh
You know everything will flow
Ah hah oh

Watch the day begin again
Whispering into the night
See the crazy people play
Hurrying under the light
A million cars, a million trains
Under the jet plane sky
Nothing lost and nothing gained
Life is just a lullaby

Ah hah oh
And everything will flow
Ah hah oh
I said everything will flow
Ah hah oh
You know everything will flow
Ah hah oh

[instrumental break]

Ah hah oh
And everything will flow
Ah hah oh
You know everything will flow

The neon lights in the night tonight will say
Everything will flow
The stars that shine in the open sky will say
Everything will flow
The lovers kissed with an openness will say
Everything will flow
The cars parked in the hypermarket know
Everything will flow...

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How Not To Help

This won't surprise those friends of mine who use wheelchairs, or whose partners or relatives do, but man it pissed me off.

We get to the airport yesterday, and I'm sore already. So my partner grabs a wheelchair when we arrive, and we go to the Southwest line to check in. I ask the woman what I need to do to check in, and she looks at me, then looks at my partner, and says to her, "Does she need to check in?"

I said "Excuse me, yes, I need to check in, where do I go?"

First time I've encountered the "crips are incompetent idiots" meme IRL. Not fun. I'm thinking of making an amusing t-shirt in response (silhouette of a person pushing another in a chair, with an arrow to the chair-user's head, saying "Decision-making apparatus found here").

Grr. Caitie smash. Rawr.

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What do you suppose it is that makes Hawaii seem like a "foreign" and "exotic" place to the dodos inhabiting the cable news?

Do you think it's the almost other-worldly quality of its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes?

Or do you think it has more to do with the fact that Hawaii has a non-white majority, the highest percentage of Asian Americans and the highest percentage of multiracial individuals in any state, and a visible indigenous population, whom many white continental Americans cannot picture outside of a grass skirt?

It's a mystery.

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Selective Anger and Small Numbers

[Trigger warning.]

Two local (to me) stories in the news today about sexual assaults, which I happened to read almost back-to-back while just browsing the news last night:

1. Gary Man Charged with Molesting Girl, Fathering Her Children: "A Gary man charged Thursday for repeatedly molesting his underage blood relative and fathering her two children was allowed to adopt the girl despite being a convicted felon, Lake Criminal Court records show."

2. Man Charged with Rape of Woman with Cerebral Palsy: "A Southwest Side man was ordered held on $1 million bond Tuesday after being charged with the Christmas Day rape of a teenage cerebral palsy victim—the visiting relative of his girlfriend."

My heart shatters into a thousand pieces every time I read something like either one of these stories.

And I get angry.

Most people will share my anger about these two stories in particular. People who will contort themselves into impossible shapes to dismiss and deny rape in almost every conceivable circumstances will nonetheless be angry about children and young adults (especially disabled children and young adults) being raped by men meant to care about and protect them, because they (quite rightly) perceive such victims as vulnerable—and there's something uniquely despicable about raping someone vulnerable.

But here's the thing: Rapists always prey on the vulnerable. Victims are targeted specifically because they're vulnerable—whether because of youth, a physical disability, intoxication, isolation, incapacitation, a betrayable trust born of familiarity.

And we should be angry for all of them.

Instead we collectively have this selective anger, anger only on behalf of those who we can find no reason to blame for their own victimization, in our ongoing endeavor to deflect responsibility for the rape culture. We reserve our anger strictly for those who can't be scolded for "getting themselves into the situation," who can't be questioned about why they didn't "fight back," who can't be dismissed by one of the ready-made victim-blaming narratives about not drinking, not "dressing slutty," not being alone on a dark street, not trusting strangers...

And thus having failed utterly to pay any attention at all to their rapists—all those Great Guys left to be "great" to another victim, and another—we see only the rapists for whom we can find no excuse.

Which is a very small number indeed.

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What the Hell?

Shaker gogobooty.

Way to violate Leviticus 11:12.

[See also: Deeky, Liss, evilsciencechick, katecontinued, ClumsyKisses, Mistress Sparkletoes, Liiiz, Reedme, Mama Shakes, Mustang Bobby, RedSonja, MomTFH, Portly Dyke, SteffaB, Icca, Christina, Orangelion03, Car, Siobhan, InfamousQBert, Maud, Rikibeth, MishaRN, CLD, Cheezwiz, MamaCarrie, Temeraire, somebodyoranother, goldengirl, Liss (again), summerwing, yeomanpip, Susan811, bbl, Deeky (Part II), A Daily Shakesville Fan, Sami_J, liberalandproud, Temeraire: Redux, Mama Shakes II, Bonus Deeky, OuyangDan, J.Goff, Iain, Talonas, The Great Indoors, gogobooty, kiwi_a, em_and_ink, Tik_bev, phdintraining, Deeky Freakhands, busydani, Jenny Anne, rowmyboat, DesertRose, Steve/Pido, Anne Onymous, phredrika, The Last of the Famous International Deekys, Iain, Another Mustang Bobby, mkp-hearts-nyc, Arvan, Norbizness, Electrasteph, SteffaB, molliecat, Aestas, catvoncat, Filthy Grandeur, Shelly, Mighty Doll, IraeNicole, sevenhelz, the Shaker Halloween Special, Mistress Sparkletoes, Neilleast, NapalmNacey, Rowan_Bristol, ChelseaWantsOut, Phyllis, PlusSizedFeminist, Carleigh, SaltyKipper, and Quixotess.]

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Open Thread

Hosted by Martians. Ak! Ak! Ak!

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Newhart Series Finale

I've been doing television shows for, literally, years now, and I'm now having to do shows I've already done. This was the perfect end the TMNS Television Series, and we'll start out the new year with the TMNS Music Series, where I'll be posting old songs every morning instead. And I'll stick with that until I get totes bored, and then I'll move on to something else!

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Question of the Day

What are the best and worst films of the Oughties?

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Film Corner!

So, let me see if I have this right: George Clooney is a wealthy, straight, cis, able-bodied white American man who has a lonesome sort of job, the lonesomeness of which he uses to avoid emotional attachments—until he has some sort of existential crisis, at which point he comes to realize that, through no emotional effort, investment, or vigilance of his own, he actually has an amazing support system of people waiting for him with open arms, despite the fact that he's been taking them totally for granted his entire life.

I guess Clooney's getting Nicholson's old scripts now.

[Transcript below.]
George Clooney narrates over a series of images [described throughout in brackets], accompanied by piano music: Now this is going to be a little difficult [Clooney at podium], so stay with me. How much does your life weigh? [Clooney stands in silhouette at an airport] Imagine for a second [Clooney looks out an airplane window] that you're carrying a backpack. [Scenes from plane window: Small clouds over rural landscape; big fluffy clouds.] Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. [Clooney rides alone on a subway train.] You start with the little things, the things on shelves [scenes of Clooney moving through an airport with luggage] and in drawers, the knick-knacks [scene of urban landscape out plane window], then you start adding larger stuff [Clooney looks out hotel window], clothes, table-top appliances [Clooney has lonely drink in hotel], lamps [Clooney runs on treadmill all by himself in hotel gym], your TV [Clooney swims all by himself in hotel pool]; backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. [Clooney sits alone in hotel staring at a backpack.] You go bigger [scene of urban landscape out plane window]—your couch, your car, your home [Clooney walks into sterile apartment]; I want you to stuff it all [Clooney has lonely drink while looking out apartment window] into that backpack. Now [scene of airplane taking off], I want you to fill it with people [Clooney in airport]—start with casual acquaintances [female airline worker smiles at him; he shakes he hand of a man next to him on the plane], friends of friends [he walks along with his young female coworker], folks around the office [he sits in a business meeting with coworkers, watching PowerPoint graphic showing people connecting], and then you move into the [image of Clooney and Vera Farmiga, sitting in their underwear as if post-coitus, sitting opposite each other opening up their laptops] people you trust with your most intimate secrets [scene of rural landscape out plane window], brothers [Clooney stands with two women on a street] or sisters, [J.K. Simmons holds up a wallet with pictures of kids] your children, your parents, [scenes of a wedding] and finally your husband, your wife, [young female coworker embraces a dude] boyfriend, your girlfriend [Farmiga kisses Clooney in bed]—get 'em into that backpack. [Jason Bateman and Zach Galifianakis look at each other; young female coworker holds up a cell phone with a text message reading: "i think it's time we c other people."] Feel the weight of that bag. [Young female coworker collapses into Clooney's arms, crying.] Make no mistake—your relationships are the heaviest [image of bride in gown] components [Clooney and Farmiga look at each other, laughing] in your life [Clooney alone in an office], all those [Clooney hangs out with young female coworker] negotiations [scene of rural landscape from plane window] and arguments, secrets [Clooney and Farmiga in hotel hallway] and compromises [Clooney in airport]. The slower we move [young female coworker in airport, moving away], the faster we die. [Clooney and Farmiga dancing; getting their picture taken.] Make no mistake [Clooney running in airport], moving is living. [Clooney and Farmiga kiss in stairwell.] Some animals were meant to carry [shot of Clooney and young female coworker walking with luggage] each other, to live [Clooney walking alone with luggage] symbiotically over a lifetime [Clooney walks alone with luggage while couple embraces in background]—star-crossed lovers, monogamous swans. [Clooney stands along in airport.] We are not swans. [Farmiga opens apartment door to see Clooney standing there in the snow.] We're sharks [Clooney at podium]. Text onscreen: Up in the Air.

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Quote of the Day

[During the night, I] scroll through my life, my thoughts, my fantasies, my memories, mis-memories, and the like until I have chanced upon events, people, or narratives that I can employ to divert my mind from the body in which it is encased. These mental exercises have to be interesting enough to hold my attention and see me through an intolerable itch in my inner ear or lower back; but they also have to be boring and predictable enough to serve as a reliable prelude and encouragement to sleep. It took me some time to identify this process as a workable alternative to insomnia and physical discomfort and it is by no means infallible. But I am occasionally astonished, when I reflect upon the matter, at how readily I seem to get through, night after night, week after week, month after month, what was once an almost insufferable nocturnal ordeal. I wake up in exactly the position, frame of mind, and state of suspended despair with which I went to bed—which in the circumstances might be thought a considerable achievement.

This cockroach-like existence is cumulatively intolerable even though on any given night it is perfectly manageable. "Cockroach" is of course an allusion to Kafka's Metamorphosis, in which the protagonist wakes up one morning to discover that he has been transformed into an insect. The point of the story is as much the responses and incomprehension of his family as it is the account of his own sensations, and it is hard to resist the thought that even the best-meaning and most generously thoughtful friend or relative cannot hope to understand the sense of isolation and imprisonment that this disease imposes upon its victims.
—Author Tony Judt, who has a variant of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease), in "Night," the first of a series of essays he will be writing on living with ALS.

For reasons having everything to do with privilege, and nothing to do with Judt's enviable ability to convey a thought, I don't believe his essay will bring anyone who does not share his (or a similar) diagnosis beyond the precipice of wholly understanding his sense of isolation and imprisonment. But I have nonetheless learned some very important things, factual and emotional, by reading it.

[Via Memeorandum.]

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Daily Kitteh

Sophs is on a roll.

Phew. Being cute takes a lot outta ya.

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Punditry is a sausagefest.

Matt Yglesias: Sausage is Delicious, Mediocre Legislation is Problematic.

Ezra Klein: Sausagemaking: Not as Awesome as Some Would Have You Believe.

What—you thought I was using a metaphor of some kind...?

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Thanks for the Hot Tips

More helpful NOOZ from CNN: 13 signs your relationship is doomed.

Like pretty much every other "relationship advice" piece in a mainstream news outlet, this should come with the disclaimer: "As this content is heavily reliant on tired gender stereotypes, may not be applicable for same-sex couples. Polys need not apply."

I never fail to be amazed how much (straight) "relationship advice" simultaneously encourages (straight) couples to conceal from each other as much evidence as possible of their humanity—don't piss/shit/fart/burp/scratch/sneeze/breathe in front of your partner!—and individuality—zomg don't let hir know you like that dumbass hobby!—while discouraging independence and time apart—jesusmaryandjoseph whatever you do don't take separate vacations! AIEEEEEEEE!

I almost can't think of worse advice for a healthy relationship than "Spend every available waking moment together hiding who you really are."

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Photo of the Day

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (L), U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) and Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband pose for a family photo with NATO foreign ministers at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, December 4, 2009. REUTERS. [Via.]
I just love this picture, Hils in her stunning red coat, so obviously capturing the admiring attention of her male colleagues in their conservative suits.

It's not just a cool composition, but it really underlines the unfortunate paucity of women on the international stage. If Hils weren't there, it would be just another picture of Important White Guys in Neckties.

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Today's Edition of "Conniving and Sinister"


Strips One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94. In which Liss reimagines the long-running comic "Frank & Ernest," about two old straight white guys "telling it like it is," as a fat feminist white woman and a biracial queerbait telling it like it actually is from their perspectives. Hilarity ensues.

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Indiana Professor Murdered; Killer Claims Sexual Assault

[Trigger warning.]

This is just so, so heartbreaking and infuriating:

Don Belton, an assistant professor of English at Indiana University and one of the leading African-American voices in academia, was found stabbed to death in his Bloomington, Ind., home Monday, the Associated Press reports. Twenty-five-year-old Michael J. Griffin has admitted to the stabbing, police say.

Griffin reportedly said he stabbed the 53-year-old Belton because the professor sexually assaulted him on Christmas Day and then showed no remorse, according to court papers. Griffin said he went to Belton's home on Sunday to confront him about the assault and that an argument and scuffle ensued. According to the probably cause affidavit, Griffin then stabbed Belton with a 10-inch military style knife after Belton failed to "show or express any type of feeling that what had taken place was a mistake." Griffin is being held in county jail and is expected in court for an initial hearing on Wednesday.
Quite obviously, I have no way of knowing whether Belton sexually assaulted Griffin. Andy notes that Griffin alleges "Belton sexually assaulted and raped him in front of his girlfriend while they were intoxicated," and, according to the AP report, it was the girlfriend who called police "saying she thought her boyfriend might be involved in the slaying," but she has since reportedly left town; police are looking for her.

Other facts we know: Griffin had served (with honors) in the Marines, an organization not known for its queer-friendliness, although there are plenty of straight former Marines who aren't homophobic and plenty of gay former Marines who are out. Belton's journal "contained an entry saying that he was 'very happy' that someone named Michael had entered his life," not a typical habit of rapists, although the then-boyfriend who raped me sent me a letter asking how could he "not love a girl who cries when she comes," (willfully?) mistaking my sobbing at the pain of rape for the ecstasy of orgasm.

So, what we know ultimately tells us nothing.

That may seem like a point not worth making, except that in cases like this it's hard not to make assumptions (rape revenge! gay panic defense!), even though patience is the only thing that can bring us closer to the truth right now. Anything else is speculation based on (and thus reinforcing) stereotypes and rape culture narratives. So I'm not going to make any guesses.

In any case.... RIP Don Belton.

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Natasha: I Don't Know How Many More Progressive Victories I Can Take.

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Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by Shaxco, makers of the Deeky Munny, with giant hands. Butt-plug and "I hate you" sign sold separately.

Recommended Reading:

Please send some healing thoughts to Jeff Fecke, who would almost certainly like me to pass on the message, "Feel your balls." Get well soon, Jeff. I fervently hope for the best-case scenario, for getting well to be as swift and uncomplicated as possible.

Echidne: Baby Men and Women

Renee: Now the Animal Rights Group That Shall Not Be Named Loves Black Women

Joel: A Huffy Canada Shuts Down 'Yes Men'

Amanda: Rove Attacks Obama Response to Failed Terrorist Plot, Despite Bush's Delayed Response in 2001

Cover Awards: The Globe: George Bush's Love Letters to Condi Rice

Leave your links in comments...

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250,000 Fans Can't Can Be Wrong

I don't consider myself to be Sergeant Wagfinger of the Grammar Police. I know my writing and grammar aren't exactly perfect (as many long-term readers would know, ahem), and well, glass houses and all that.


If there's one thing that drives me batty, it's "Your/You're, There/Their/They're" sloppy errors. These are two (three?) of the most common mistakes (especially on the intertubes) in just about everything I read, and they cause me no end of teeth grinding when I see them. Particularly "their/they're"... just... ARGH.

Anyway, knowing about this little pet peeve of mine, a friend sent me a link to a facebook group called "The Correct Usage of 'You're,' 'Your,' 'There,' 'Their' and 'They're.'" (I'm not linking; they can be easily found if you're so inclined.) Like most of these facebook groups, I usually take a look, get a chuckle, then join or don't join and promptly forget about them.

Well, I took a look, but I definitely didn't get a chuckle.

Here is the delightful graphic that accompanies this group. I emailed this to Melissa and Deeks, noting "Gee, do you think a woman or a homo created this?*"

let's see... "your mother is a slutwhore." hmmm... no, a woman didn't write that.

oh.... and "you're normal" vs. "you're gay." no, a homo didn't write that.
I then noted that this particular group had nearly 250,000 members who probably found this image hilarious. Liss:
I despair for the world. I really do.

Meanwhile, I wonder how it is that so many people (because you know there were women/gay men who were among that 250k!) can laugh at reminders of their own marginalization.

"Oh, it doesn't affect me."

Oh yeah? Compare your paycheck to your male counterpart, ladies. Go down to city hall and try to get hitched, homos. Now let's all laugh at the high-larious jokes about slutwhores and abnormal sexualities.

But I know, I'm just looking for stuff to get mad about, I'm too sensitive, I just need to get over it, blah blah blah blah.

Or, as I'm sure I'd hear from many fans of this group, I'm "being gay."


* Not intending to suggest, of course, that the groups are mutually exclusive.

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And Gallup's Most Admired Woman of the Year Is...

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton has now been named Most Admired Woman 14 times since 1993, spanning her career as first lady, New York senator, and now secretary of state. The three times she has not finished first during this time, she earned second place (to Laura Bush in 2001 and to Mother Teresa in 1995 and 1996).
And here's something cool about the Top 5: Three of the five top spots are held by women of color. Following Clinton at #2 is Sarah Palin (!), and then 3-5 are Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Condoleezza Rice.

I'm kind of amazed Sonia Sotomayor didn't make the list, but I guess I forget that not everyone inhabits the sort of world where the names of the Supreme Court Justices are more ubiquitous than the names of the Big Ten quarterbacks.

President Barack Obama was "the landslide winner among men for the second time, with 30% of Americans naming him as the Most Admired Man this year." Gallup's Most Admired Man of the Year is much less remarkable than Most Admired Woman of the Year, because it's always the president. If we ever get a female president, then Most Admired Man of the Year might finally get interesting!

[Photo via the State Department photostream.]

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My turn for one of these (alerted by Shaker napalmnacey), this one comes from the Land Down Under, and is (I shit thee not) meant to sell domain names (warning, definitely Not Safe For Work, sound only adds to the wrongness but isn't needed to appreciate the problem):

(scene is a meeting room full of executives, with Pamela Anderson at the head of the table in her Sexy Executive costume from Hallowe'en. An assistant is pouring coffee for her, wearing her Sexy Secretary costume from Hallowe'en.)

PA: Gentlemen - if we want this business to stay on top, we have to stay at the forefront of the Internet. David?

Ass't: Cream?

(music plays, Barry-White-esque r&b, while PA and the assistant cavort under splashing buckets of cream in gold bikinis, in a very daring, edgy and subtle allusion to male sexual fluids which has never ever been done before ever; schlubby executive is fantasizing about his workmates and probably boss during a meeting, good to know you're working hard then, schlub - naturally, both women are looking directly at him, so he can be sure the performance is for him alone)

PA (in fantasy): Adam...

PA (in boardroom): Adam?

PA: Adam!?! What are we going to do about the web address?

Adam: Ummm...crazy domains dot com dot a-u? We could instantly register our domain name online.

PA: Very good, Adam.

Ass't (over Adam's shoulder, serving coffee, displaying absurd amounts of cleavage in Hallowe'en costume): Cream, Adam?

Adam (into her cleavage): Yessssss.

(fantasy music plays as Adam vainly tries to pretend he wasn't doing what he actually was)

Singer (dropping into speech over continuing music): Register your domains at crazy domains dot com dot a-u.
And may I just say, douchenozzle company from Australia, that if your video is so revoltingly hyper-sexualized (to sell you, mind, domain names - which of course no woman or gay man or asexual person could ever possibly want, because the Internet is for hetero men, woohoo!) that it can't be safely viewed in most workplaces, then you just might be a misogynist douchebag (or collection of misogynist douchebags, to be fair) for making it.

Welcoming any input from AU-based Shakers on addresses to which appropriate teaspooning missives can be directed. If I get some good linkage, it'll be put in the post here.

ETA: And, as ever, Shaker lauredhel comes through with the goods (as she does at her own site, FWD):
The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau has a complaints form, and valid complaints include violations of the Code of Ethics which includes a section on discrimination on the basis of sex. Note that you must tick the box at the bottom to stop the Bureau from disclosing your name and address to the advertiser concerned.
Thanks, lauredhel!

Teaspoons up, Shakers.


[Assvertising: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, Thirty, Thirty-One, Thirty-Two, Thirty-Three, Thirty-Four, Thirty-Five, Thirty-Six, Thirty-Seven, Thirty-Eight, Thirty-Nine, Forty, Forty-One, Forty-Two, Forty-Three, Forty-Four, Forty-Five, Forty-Six, Forty-Seven, Forty-Eight, Forty-Nine, Fifty, Fifty-One, Fifty-Two, Fifty-Three, Fifty-Four, Fifty-Five, Fifty-Six, Fifty-Seven, Fifty-Eight, Fifty-Nine, Sixty, Sixty-One, Sixty-Two, Sixty-Three, Sixty-Four, Sixty-Five, Sixty-Six, Sixty-Seven, Sixty-Eight, Sixty-Nine, Seventy, Seventy-One, Seventy-Two, Seventy-Three, Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five, Seventy-Six, Seventy-Seven, Seventy-Eight, Seventy-Nine, Eighty, Eighty-One, Eighty-Two, Eighty-Three, Eighty-Four, Eighty-Five, Eighty-Six, Eighty-Seven, Eighty-Eight, Eighty-Nine, Ninety, Ninety-One, Ninety-Two, Ninety-Three, Ninety-Four.]

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Christmas Terror Attempt: Open Thread

Here's some of the latest...

New York TimesU.S. Had Early Signals of a Terror Plot, Obama Says:

President Obama was told Tuesday about more missed signals and uncorrelated intelligence that should have prevented a would-be bomber from boarding a flight to the United States, leading the president to declare that there had been a "systemic failure" of the nation's security apparatus.

..."A systemic failure has occurred, and I consider that totally unacceptable," Mr. Obama said.

He said he had ordered government agencies to give him a preliminary report on Thursday about what happened and added that he would "insist on accountability at every level," although he did not elaborate.

Mr. Obama alluded to the intelligence in his statement. "Had this critical information been shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged," the president said. "The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America."
CBS News—U.S. Intel Lapses Helped Abdulmutallab: "CBS News has learned that as early as August of 2009 the Central Intelligence Agency was picking up information on a person of interest dubbed 'The Nigerian,' suspected of meeting with 'terrorist elements' in Yemen. Sources tell CBS News 'The Nigerian' has now turned out to be Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. ... CBS News has learned this information was not connected until after the attempted Christmas Day bombing."

CNN—Source: CIA failed to circulate report about bombing suspect: "The father of terrorism suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab talked about his son's extremist views with someone from the CIA and a report was prepared, but the report was not circulated outside the agency, a reliable source told CNN's Jeanne Meserve on Tuesday."
An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the federal government had information that should have been assessed and meshed with other information "that would have allowed us to disrupt the attempted terrorist attack" before the suspect boarded the jet.

"What we have here is a situation in which the failings were individual, organizational, systemic and technological," the official said. "We ended up in a situation where a single point of failure in the system put our security at risk, where human error was compounded by systemic deficiencies in a way that we cannot allow to continue."

But an intelligence official said that the son's name, passport number and possible connection to extremists were indeed disseminated. "I'm not aware of a magic piece of intelligence somehow withheld that would have put AbdulMutallab on the no-fly list," the official said.
Steve Benen—Maybe They Forgot About Richard Reid:
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) doesn't want Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to face criminal charge in a federal court. Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge doesn't want Abdulmutallab to have legal rights.

I had the same thought Josh Marshall had about the search for elusive consistency.
Remember, the AbdulMutallab case is virtually identical to the Richard Reid "Shoe Bomber" case from December 2001 -- to an uncanny degree. Same explosive, (PETN), same MO (blowing up an airliner bound for the US), same failed attempt.

It's really about as close to identical cases and you get. And, of course, Reid was tried in civilian courts and is now serving a life sentence. Seemed to work fine in his case. And unless I'm misremembering, I don't remember anybody criticizing this approach at the time.

Most of the criticisms we're hearing are pretty silly. But that's where the buck stops. It happened. Obama's president. It's natural that the political opposition will try to pin it on him. But can we at least get some demagoguing that isn't so transparently ridiculous and easily refuted by pointing out the policy the accuser followed when they were in charge?
Right. The Reid and Abdulmutallab cases offer nearly identical circumstances -- same chemical, same target, same intended consequence, same month of the year, same twisted ideology. Reid was charged, convicted, sentenced, and locked up for life. Neither conservatives nor liberals whined about it. But if the Obama administration subjects Abdulmutallab to an identical process, Republicans are outraged? Either they're idiots or they think we are.
WaPoRepublicans see political opportunity in Obama response to failed airplane bomb: "Republicans are jumping on President Obama's response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner as the latest evidence that Democrats do not aggressively fight terrorism to protect the country, returning to a campaign theme that the GOP has employed successfully over the past decade."

PoliticoDick Cheney: Barack Obama 'trying to pretend': "Former Vice President Dick Cheney accused President Barack Obama on Tuesday of 'trying to pretend we are not at war' with terrorists, pointing to the White House response to the attempted sky bombing as reflecting a pattern that includes banishing the term 'war on terror' and attempting to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center."

And finally...

New York TimesDebate Over Full-Body Scans vs. Invasion of Privacy Flares Anew After Incident: "The technology exists to reveal objects hidden under clothes at airport checkpoints, and many experts say it would have detected the explosive packet carried aboard the Detroit-bound flight last week. But it has been fought by privacy advocates who say it is too intrusive, leading to a newly intensified debate over the limits of security."

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Open Thread

Hosted by The Man from Planet X.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime


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Question of the Day

Taking Joe Francis as a given, who is your Douche of the Decade?

I gotta go with this guy.

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Shaker Gourmet: Hot Cocoa

It's snowing here! I mean really snowing and it's sticking! There was nothing and then POOF! It's coming down heavy. The kids bundled up and went out to play in it for a bit. When we came in, I made some hot cocoa to warm up. Used to be that I'd make it with milk and Hershey syrup...but I don't have any of the syrup here, just unsweetened cocoa. So, I winged it and it came out fantastic--good enough that I had to come post about it, LOL.

Hot Cocoa

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup water
3 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk sugar, cocoa powder, and water in sauce pan until well combined. Turn on heat to med. Whisk in milk. Whisk in cream and vanilla. Heat until nice and hot, stirring occasionally.

Serve in mugs with marshmallows or whipped cream or both! Or, well, nothing if you don't want it.
If you'd like to participate in Shaker Gourmet, email me at: shakergourmet (at) Include your Shaker name and, if you have one, a blog link.

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Quote of the Day

"It is time to go to profiling of dangerous people instead of harassing and retsricting [sic] the innocent."Newt Gingrich. Who, in case anyone's forgotten, is a huge asshole.

Via Think Progress, where Amanda once again points out what everyone with two brain cells and a minimally developed sense of decency already knows: that racial/ethnic profiling is both ineffective and counter to our concepts of liberty and justice.

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Photo of the Day

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Woman of the Decade, on the cover of Latina magazine. Love the fierce red fingernails!

Latoya's got more here and here.

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How Dare You! Check Out My Pecs.

[Trigger warning.]

Joe Francis is mad.

To be precise, the "Girls Gone Wild" impresario is mad at Gawker, who recently named him their Douche of the Decade. No, he's not mad for being named a superdouche; he's mad because, in the associated profile, he's identified as a rapist, based on a widely-discussed 2006 report in the LA Times that alleges he is one.

And so Francis did what any reasonable person would do in such a circumstance. He fired off a totally absurd email to Gawker founder and managing editor Nick Denton.

Hey Nick,
I am suing you tomorrow personally. You messed with the wrong guy. No one makes up lies about me and gets away with it. I lost a 10 million dollar deal as a direct result of you calling me "a rapist". You will be paying me every dime of that back and more! Are you mentally retarded? Do your research first. I am coming after you harder than I ever went after anyone. I am going to wipe you off the grid!!!! YOU ARE DONE! I will take everything you have. You, Nick Denton, are truly the "Douche of the Decade Merry Xmas IDIOT!!! Joe Francis P.S. I sent you an updated picture of how I actually look now so you can masturbate to it because you seem to be quite sexually obsessed with me.

[The message is followed by an email signature with disclaimer info, and an attached photo of Francis naked from the waist up.]
Oh dear.

And thus did the campaign for Megadouche of the Millennium begin.

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