Question of the Day

What is your favorite film that never won an Academy Award?

Harold and Maude, which wasn't even nominated for anything.

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Quote of the Day

"It was the President, and a Republican Congress and the Reagan peace dividend, and a bubble economy, we later learned, that produced that surplus."—My garbage nightmare of a governor, Mitch Daniels, on who and what should get credit for the federal budget surplus that we had when Clinton left office, which immediately disappeared when Bush took office with Mitch Daniels as his budget director.

The "Reagan Peace Dividend." LULZ.

[H/T to Shaker Ellen.]

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Photo of the Day

A "union bride" on her wedding day in Madison.

[Via @JoanWalsh.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

Laser Cat will destroy you.

Remember when we first got Sophie, and she was an impossibly tiny kitten with a grown-up face...? Now she's an impossibly tiny cat with permanent kitten-face.

That's some Benjamin Button shit, right there!

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Rhetorical Question of the Day

How many Tea Partiers had to show up at townhall meetings across the country before the Liberal Media started paying so much attention to them that there's now a "Tea Party Caucus" in Congress?'

Because thousands of pro-choicers rallied in 55 cites worldwide this weekend, in response to the GOP's legislative attack on choice, and the Liberal Media has barely made a peep about it.

I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

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Number of the Day

50%: The percentage of movie tickets bought by men last year. And thus also the percentage of movie tickets bought by women last year.

As my pal Melissa Silverstein points out, "This number is very important—Hollywood lives and breathes on the narrative that young men drive the box office. That is just not true."

She also notes that women actually comprise a higher percentage "of the frequent moviegoers in the 18-24 category."


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Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by James Franco, because James Franco.

Recommended Reading:

Stephanie: 2011 Post-Oscar Response

Fannie: But... Girls?... Playing Baseball?

Living ~400lbs: Plus-Sized Athletes (with Heads) [TW for body policing]

Tami: Can a sista with rainbow hair get respect?

Lauredhel: Another T-Shirt We Didn't Need [TW for rape "humor"]

Andy: Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment Dies in Wyoming House

Leave your links in comments...

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The People's House

Madison, Wisconsin is laid out in a conventional way, with two of the state's most important institutions (the Capitol and the state's flagship university) facing each other. In this instance, a mile-long stretch of restaurants, bookstores, and shops separates Bascom Hall, headquarters of the University of Wisconsin's administration, from the headquarters of the state's government.

For any number of reasons (including fire), Bascom Hall isn't as exciting for visitors as the hill upon which it sits. The gathering place on campus is the Memorial Union (or "the Union"), on the shore of Lake Mendota.

The size of the community built up around Wisconsin's largest university, a public university, never ceases to amaze me. Even in Upstate New York, I'm never far from another Badger. Even with the size of our extended family, the University makes room for visitors to sit on its terrace, munching on bratwurst over a game of checkers or a free concert. How could it not? It is, after all, Wisconsin's university-- our university.

On a less imposing hill on the other end of State Street from Bascom Hall sits our Capitol. It's a beautiful building, and a symbol of the Capitol city. Madison does not allow construction of buildings downtown that are taller than the Capitol, and skirmishes have been known to break out over efforts that would block views of our building.

The first four years was in Madison, I lived on Mansion Hill (in the sitting room), a mere three blocks from the Capitol. It was part of the neighborhood. The Capitol looms large in the life of the city. Between winters, Madisonians, as well as people from throughout Wisconsin and beyond shop for veggies (and cheese!), attend concerts, and generally relax on the square surrounding the Capitol. When the temperature drops, we ski around it.

We also make use of the insides of our Capitol. I've toured the grand building. I've celebrated the life of a late Senator. I've used the bathroom. I've walked through it just because, and yes, I've attended protests. There were no metal detectors, no dogs, no questions.

When my sweetie and I got married, we did it in the Capitol rotunda (and not :ahem: on the first floor). In hindsight, there's plenty of symbolism behind two women getting married in the seat of state government as curious onlookers cheered. But that's another story, really. All we were thinking at the time was that the Capitol was an a gorgeous building that was open to us, that was already part of our lives.

While we did have to fill out a request with the Capitol Police, it was a formality. You can't have too many lesbians getting married in the same place at the same time, I suppose. As at the University to the west, there are some restrictions. You can't hold a kegger in the Assembly chambers, just as you can't walk off the street and reserve any room in the Memorial Union for any purpose at any time. The public's buildings are available to all, but we manage them cooperatively, with an eye toward their purposes. Particularly in the case of the Capitol, public assembly to discuss the state of government is one purpose of the space, and not one that conflicts with a handful of elected officials discussing legislation. I believe these sorts of priorities are why there was no skiing this year, too.

It is with great sadness that I observe Governor Walker's decision to close our state Capitol. And to bring in police dogs for some reason. I don't believe the people who designed and oversaw the building of our Capitol nearly 100 years ago were ardent trade unionists, but I hope that they'd welcome the people of Wisconsin into the house that the people of our state built and paid for. And the people of Wisconsin includes the pizza delivery person.

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The Three Corporate Stooges

What an absolutely delightful article about Republican Governors Mitch Daniels (Indiana), Scott Walker (Wisconsin), and Chris Christie (New Jersey)!

In private, three of the Republican governors at the center of a growing national debate over public sector workers commiserate in telephone calls and e-mail messages. In public, the three — now members, it seems, of a newly established fraternity — sound like one another's biggest boosters.
"Fewer unions, more beer bongs!"—The slogan for newly established fraternity Alpha Epsilon Barf, whose founding members are getting PhDs in Reaganomics from Garbage University.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose proposal to cut collective bargaining rights for government workers has drawn thousands of protesters outside the state Capitol in Madison, has described Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana as a "great inspiration" and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey as a confidant.

Mr. Christie, whose is famous for his clashes with the New Jersey teachers' unions, has praised Mr. Daniels as "a great help to me." And the Indiana governor, who ended collective bargaining for state workers six years ago, has defended Mr. Walker's choices. "He is simply keeping a commitment that he made very openly in running for office," Mr. Daniels said in an interview over the weekend.
Cute camaraderie! It's so adorable that Mark Burnett needs to stick their asses in a fancy mansion with a puppy and turn that shit into a reality show for ABC. "Three and a Half Governors." Awwwww!

No one will even notice that these highly privileged, straight, white, conservative men are corporate stooges who are conspiring to ruin our lives. It's just TOO CUTE!


[H/T to Shaker Melissa.]

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Timelords: "Doctorin' the Tardis"

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Open Thread: World Protests

There's so much going on! Demonstrations have spread to Oman; Egypt's getting back online; Tunisia is moving forward; Qaddafi's still holding on in Libya...! Here's a round-up of some of the stuff I've read this morning. As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to leave additional links in comments.

Al JazeeraProtesters march in Tripoli: "At least 300 people are protesting in the east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, chanting slogans against their leader Muammar Gaddafi. Protesters began the rally in the Tajoura district on Monday after the funeral of a person killed in attacks on demonstrators by pro-Gaddafi militias last week."

The GuardianLibya crisis: EU agrees sanctions as UK warns of 'day of reckoning' for Gaddafi: "The European Union has agreed a range of sanctions against Libya as international diplomatic efforts are stepped up against Muammar Gaddafi's regime. The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the measures, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and visa ban, were aimed at reinforcing the UN security council sanctions against Libya approved over the weekend. In Geneva, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, warned 'nothing is off the table', while William Hague, the British foreign secretary, said there would be a 'day of reckoning' for anyone involved in supporting Gaddafi's human rights abuses against protesters in Libya."

New York Times—Refugee Agency Speaks of Emergency on Libya's Borders: "The United Nations refugee agency says almost 100,000 people have fled Libya's fighting to neighboring Tunisia and Egypt in what it called a humanitarian emergency. The numbers seem to have increased over the weekend as armed rebel forces moved closer to a showdown with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and his loyalists who were standing their ground in Tripoli, the capital, and a handful of other places."

CNN—Libya bombs military base in region held by protesters: "A Libyan military jet bombed a base in eastern Libya on Monday, as embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi fought to hold onto his regime. ... Several soldiers told CNN they switched their allegiance after refusing to use weapons against peaceful demonstrators."

Al JazeeraClinton urges Gaddafi to step down: "Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said the government of Muammar Gaddafi must be held to account over atrocities committed in Libya as she reiterated calls for the leader to step down. Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, Clinton said Gaddafi must leave power 'now, without further violence or delay'."

New York TimesProtests in Oman Spread: "Demonstrators blocked roads and clashed with police on Monday in Oman, the normally quiet oil-rich country along the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, as three-day old protests calling for political reforms and better living conditions spread to Muscat, the capital."

CNN—Tunisian prime minister resigns amid renewed protests: "Tunisia's interim president tapped Al-Baji Qa'ed Al-Sebsi as the country's new prime minister Sunday, after the previous prime minister resigned amid protests, state-run media reported. Former Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi's resignation Sunday came a day after three people were killed during protests in the capital, Tunis. 'I am resigning today because I am not willing to be a person that takes decisions that could cause casualties,' he told reporters Sunday."

Al JazeeraYemen 'to declare unity government': "Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's president, is to announce a government of national unity 'within the next 24 hours', government sources have told Al Jazeera. The move comes as thousands more protesters joined demonstrations against Saleh's 32-year rule on Monday. Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Yemen, said: 'It's a last ditch effort to try and appease the mounting tension here in the capital and across the country.'"

The GuardianBanned books return to shelves in Egypt and Tunisia: "Works by censored authors available again in wake of revolutions."

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This is so the worst thing you're going to read all day.

[Trigger warning for stalking, heterocentrism, and for ableist language at the link.]

In love? Don't get stuck on stupid.

I have a real issue with taking it as read that everyone acts "ridiculous" when they are in the throes of a crush, if "ridiculous" is defined as "finding pathetic excuses to call again when he doesn't call back right away, or scheming to run into her outside her office 'by accident'."

I also have a real issue with the idea that getting married (which, of course, not everyone is even legally allowed to do) is an instant remedy for acting "ridiculous." Getting married is not a magical cure for insecurity and/or entitlement.

In fact, marriage (or any other long-term commitment) actually stands to exacerbate feelings of insecurity and/or entitlement in people who enter the partnership expecting it to salve a lack of confidence or an insidious possessiveness.

Positing marriage as a solution to "creepiness" is absurd. And very nearly as objectionable as normalizing and minimizing stalking behavior as some sort of universal "creepiness" in which we all engage, because love makes us fools.

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Oscars Open Thread

Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway speak onstage during the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California. [Getty Images]

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Open Thread


Hosted by Susan Foreman.

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The Oscars Virtual Pub Is Open

Make your predictions here! Which actors will take home the golden statuette? Which films will win? What horrible thing will the writers have given James Franco to say that will make us all weep?

Admire the red carpet fashion here! Whose dress would you wear? Whose dress would you never wear? Which guy has managed to make a tux look vaguely interesting and nearly distinguishable from all the other tuxes? [Please note that body policing is off limits. You may discuss the fashions, but don't let that spill over into bodysnarking.]

Comment on the show here! Once it starts, settle in with a drink and your favorite chips-n-dip (or whatever your Oscar fare), and discuss the show! Have fun, because JAMES FRANCO!!!

Woot! It's Oscar Night!

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Quote of the Day

"He did his award show and he bombed. Why is he trying to get in on ours? Horrible. His lines weren't good on the Golden Globes. Why does he want to do our lines?"James Franco, after reading the unsolicited opening script for the Oscars that Ricky Gervais wrote for Franco and Anne Hathaway.


[H/T to Shaker Courtney.]

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Happy Birthday, Misty!

Every year, Misty gets a Barbie princess cake on her birthday, because she's such a princess!

Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuu!
Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuu!
You're such a shrinking violet,
And a prim princess, too!

I love ya, lady. Here's to a fabulous birthday and a fantastic year! *mwah!*

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Open Thread


Hosted by little crocheted Pac-Man plushies.

This week's open threads have been brought to you by Pac-Man stuff.

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Open Thread


Hosted by my Pac-Man mug.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

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Photo of the Day

James Franco, best actor nominee for his role in 127 Hours, arrives at the nominees luncheon for the 83rd annual Academy Awards in Beverly Hills, California. [Reuters Pictures]
For those who are into that sort of thing, whether film nerds or drama nerds or fashion nerds or Renaissance nerds with multiple areas of nerdy satiated by self-congratulatory film industry extravaganzas, yes there will be an Oscars Open Thread on Sunday, because James Franco.

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Daily Dose of Cute

Although greyhounds are not among the smartest breeds, ahem, bless their hearts, and have a reputation for not being particularly trainable, Dudley has easily learned a variety of commands. It's not that he's exceptionally brilliant, and it's not my mad dog-training skillz; it's just that he'll do anything for food. ANYTHING.

Naturally, I've exploited this discovery for both obedience and cuteness in order to teach him sit, down, up, back, come, wait, leave it, and his latest trick, shake, which he literally learned in about five minutes, because CHEESE!!!eleventy!

He'll do as asked for a regular old crappy treat, no problem. But when there's a HIGH VALUE TREAT on offer, he does everything with a hilarious sense of kinetic urgency, so he can secure the prize NOWNOWNOW and then run off into my office with it, where he luxuriates on his giant pillow, savoring every last morsel.

[Transcript below.]

The funny thing about the "touch" training is that Dudley has started spontaneously using it to communicate with us about what he wants/needs. When he needs to go out, if I'm taking too long getting my coat and boots on, he waits until I'm looking at him then touches the doorknob with his nose. "Here! Turn this thingy! Let's go!" When he wants to get into the car, he touches the door handles with his nose. "Here! Pull this thingy so I can get in!" If I offer him two closed hands, one with cheese inside and one with a cherry tomato (which he hates, like all vegetables, lol), he'll touch the cheese hand. "This one, please!" Too cute.
Dudley lies down on the rug in the living room. Liss: "Oh-h-h! Are you a good boy? You are?" Dudley nods; Liss moves closer and holds out her fist. "Can you touch?" Dudley touches her fist with the end of his nose. "Oh, good boy." Liss hands Dudley a treat and he takes it and trots down the hall into the office. [edit] Dudley sits in the kitchen looking at Liss plaintively. "What do you want? What do you want, Dudz?" He turns and runs into the living room, where he lies down and scratches at the floor excitedly. "What? What is it? What do you want?" Dudley's tail wags wildly. "What do you want? Is this it?" Liss holds out a pig's ear. "Oh-h-h! Good boy." Dudley takes the treat and trots down the hall into the office. [edit] Dudley flips from a sitting position into a lie-down position and snorts. "Oh my goodness!" Dudley play-bows and barks. "What?! What do you want?!" Dudley leaps around and lies at Liss' feet, wagging his tail. "What do you want, little waggy tail?" Dudley looks at her eagerly. "Come here!" Dudley leaps up into a sitting position. Liss holds out her hand. "Can you shake?" Dudley lifts his right front paw to shake. "Oh, what a good boy! Can you touch? Touch!" Liss holds out her fist and Dudley touches it with his nose. "Oh, good boy! Shake." Dudley lifts his left front paw to shake. "Good boy!" Dudley licks his lips. "What do you want? Do you want this?" Liss holds out a pig's ear and accidentally drops it. "Get it!" Dudley grabs the treat and trots down the hall into the office. [edit] "What's this?" Liss holds out a pig's ear for Dudley to inspect. "What do I have for you?" Dudley runs from the kitchen into the living room and starts to sit, then comes back toward Liss. "What's this? What is it? Can you sit?" Dudley half-sits, jumps up, sits again, taps his feet on the floor. "Are you dancing?" Dudley sneezes. Liss holds out the treat. "What's this?" Dudley mouths it; Liss gasps with excitement. "Oh!" Dudley sits. "Down. Lie down!" Dudley looks at Liss from the sit position. "Lie down." Dudley gets up, whines, bows, paws at the floor, then backs up and lies down, scratching at the floor excitedly. "Good boy!" Liss hands him the treat and he trots down the hall into the office.

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This one time in college...

...Mitch Daniels smoked pot.

Oh, and also was found guilty of possessing in possession of two shoe boxes worth of marijuana, as well as LSD and non-prescribed prescription drugs. [ETA: Actually, even though police found him in possession of well over a pound of illegal drugs, he was charged with a much lesser offense, which comes into play later.]

Anyhoo, he paid his $350 and it's all water under the bridge. At least, that's how Daniels (and the sympathetic journalists at CNN) would like to frame it. As Daniels puts it, "Justice was served."

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a website that lists the conversion rate between 1970 US dollars and time in prison.

As I see it, this isn't really about whether it should be legal to use and possess marijuana. And heck, two shoe boxes full of weed? To this day, my relatives who lived through the Great Depression stockpile toilet paper in case the economy collapses (see?) and Kimberly-Clark goes under. Beside, charmer that he is, I'm sure Daniels had plenty of friends with which to share that two shoe boxes* twenty-four ounces of pot.

Anyhow, you might have heard that Mitch Daniels is the Governor of Indiana. Oh! And he wants to be President.

I'm not going to sit here and say that Daniels' past pot use disqualifies him for holding office. [Off the record, being a horrible governor disqualifies Mitch Daniels from holding public office.] However, it's certainly interesting that in 1989, three years before Bill Clinton made a similar admission, Daniels admitted to pot use as no big deal. And then, he made his stance on drug use crystal clear.

Paul Waldman of The American Prospect, ponied up the cash to read an '89 Daniels op-ed in the WaPo:

In calling for enforcement of drug laws against even casual users -- publicizing the names of arrestees, at least minimal fines or jail time for those convicted and requiring no-use policies from colleges and other beneficiaries of government funds and so on -- William Bennett is exactly right.
Two decades ago -- half my life ago -- there occurred the unfortunate confluence of my wild oats period...After one party too many, two friends and I ended up enjoying the hospitality of the local police for two nights. We had been arrested. A few months later, a stern-faced judge fined me $ 350 for use of marijuana.

The effect was immediate, and it has been enduring. My young Midwestern tail was jerked back into line, where it has remained through 20 years of law-abiding, rather conventional life, which has included marriage and fatherhood.

See? He's married with kids now! (And therefore doesn't use drugs?) Anyhow, assuming Mitch Daniels agrees with Mitch Daniels' views on drug users, let us talk about getting arrested in possession of twenty-four ounces a buttload* of marijuana.

In Indiana, assuming the police would dare prosecute a straight, white, cis, Princeton student, possessing twenty-four ounces well over a pound* of pot (or even eight ounces, if we're dividing by three) is likely a felony that involves serving two nights in jail. And then an additional 178 days. At a minimum. Under current New Jersey law, Daniels would also be a felon serving 3-6 years in prison.

Interestingly enough, a law that Daniels signed in 2005 bars from Indiana public office anyone who has ever been convicted of a crime that, under local law "might", have led to over a year in prison. Any public office. Presumably this includes the governorship.

Daniels is still allowed to be the governor of Indiana only because he was merely charged with "maintaining a public nuisance." If Daniels had been charged with a felony, which prosecutors could have chosen to do, he'd be barred from office. By a law that he signed. So that's kinda a big deal. Unless, of course, you're Mitch Daniels.

*Ugh. So for some blasted reason I read "two sized-12 shoe boxes" as "two twelve-ounce shoe boxes." What the hell? I apologize for the rather embarrassing error. :headdesk: I don't know anything at all about marijuana, but I'm pretty sure that the amount of marijuana in question was at least a couple of pounds, depending on how it was packaged.

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You Know...

I'm not inclined to give unsolicited advice, but I'm going to make an exception just this once.

Charlie Sheen: Take a nap.

Shhhhhhhhhh. It's sleepytime now.

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You Wanted Blue Hair Pics?

...Caitie gives you blue hair pics.

When the DDOC picture of me and Dawn was posted a couple of days ago, I mentioned that I'd my hair up in a towel because it was being bleached, preparatory to returning to my long-term plan to have a rainbow of my hair (we did purple once before - in fact, my icon picture here actually has that purple hair), slowly: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, is the plan.

With that in mind, I had my friend K take some pictures of me today, as Shaker B had pointed out that the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie southern Ontario wasn't likely to see a bright sunny day until Tuesday at least. First, one catching the full wonderfulness that is my chunky-monkey self, with the blue hair, my iconic stripey socks, and my cane (also, my much-loved Misfits purse!). Shoes are check-pattern Tuf UK, with a kitty face on the front.

Next, we have a bit more visibility on the Brightly Coloured Hair:

So, why do I like having Brightly-Coloured Hair? Because I've had a problem in the past with people finding me to be intimidating in person. I'm fairly large and solidly built, and I used to cultivate a "Don't Fuck With Me" bodylanguage/expression, which I didn't know I was doing.

But! When I've got the Brightly-Coloured Hair (BCH henceforth), people stop me on the street, in lines, all over the place, with big grins and "WOW, I LOVE your hair!" Kids particularly - who are most often the ones who had the "I'm scared!" reaction, now react as though I were a particularly non-creepy clown.

It's an enormous shift in the general demeanour of my daily life. It also provides me a little bit of...what, self-esteem armour, I guess? Because without the BCH, when people are looking at me just a little too long, or looking away a little too quickly, it's hard not to think "Oh, damn, they're misreading my gender, DANGER DANGER CAITIE ROBINSON, MY HOOKS ARE FLAILING WILDLY!". When I do have the BCH, it's dead easy to remember that people tend to find it unusual when an office employee for a large bank turns up all emblued.

So there. Blueness. Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

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If It's Friday, It's Jesus Jones!

"Right Here, Right Now"

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Canada's C-389 Faces the Senate: An Interview

I had the good fortune - while working on things around the post I made recently - to meet the Internet-presence of Mercedes Allen, blogger at Dented Blue Mercedes and other places. She agreed to do an e-mail interview with me for Shakesville about Bill C-3891. Links were added by me, and if any are problematic or need TW, the fault will be mine - please do let me know.

Note, too, that while I use the "trans*" usage, Ms. Allen doesn't use the asterisk. No judgement is implied in either direction.

And if you see the washroom predator meme, turn it around: the fact that this belief widely persists and creates an environment of fear and a will to exclude is actually the greatest argument FOR clear and explicit inclusion in human rights.
CaitieCat for Shakesville: Why not start off by introducing yourself?

DBM: I'm a writer on sex and gender minority issues and a community advocate, as well as a full-time graphic designer. I'm Metis, although still reclaiming my heritage, and strongly interested in social justice. I started the website at many years ago, and about four years ago started blogging at and places like The Bilerico Project. I have a monthly column in GayCalgary and Edmonton Magazine and have had a few articles published in compilations, the most recent being Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation.

I'm also one of a group of trans advocates who formed the Trans Equality Society of Alberta (TESA), in the wake of the health care funding cut in 2009 that specifically targeted Gender Reassignment Surgery. TESA is growing into what I believe will be a very positive voice for change in Western Canada.

I'm bisexual, sex-positive and pro-poly, pro-queer, pro-sex work, pro-kink and more, although I'm not necessarily all of those things myself. My partner of three years and I became engaged earlier this winter, and are looking toward the future.

CcS: What sort of protections does Bill C-389 offer? Jobs? Housing? Public Accommodation? Detention policy?

DBM: Generally speaking, the Canada Human Rights Act extends protections in employment, housing and access to services. It is a federal bill, so these protections are limited to areas under federal jurisdiction, such as government agencies, RCMP and federally-regulated employers such as airlines and banks. The significance goes beyond that, however, because provinces are expected to bring their legislation in line as well. The provinces don't always do so immediately -- such as Alberta, which didn't include sexual orientation until eleven years after being court ordered to do so -- but the courts most often "read in"2 the protections in the meantime.

These protections might not filter down overnight. With regard to Corrections Canada, for example, I'd suspect that there would be some resistance to addressing the current housing situation -- especially under a Harper government3, considering that they recently put forward a policy to specifically refuse GRS coverage for people in the correctional system, even though a previous court ruling mandated it.

CcS: How does the bill define the group to be afforded protection?

DBM: Bill C-389 refers specifically to both gender identity and gender expression. It doesn't apply definitions to those terms, and in fact included classes are rarely ever defined in human rights legislation. Writing definitions that narrow the class in any way actually causes the legislation to demarcate where it becomes acceptable to discriminate, and who qualifies as a second-class citizen, which is contrary to the spirit of human rights legislation (and which has happened with the "Equality Act" in the UK). You can't, for example, define "disability" in a way that excludes certain types of mental illness: the point is that individuals need to be treated according to their individual actions and merits, rather than a smorgasbord of assumptions that go with being part of a particular group.

CcS: What are the obstacles remaining before the bill can become law in Canada?

DBM: The bill has passed all three readings in Parliament. It is now waiting to be tabled for second reading in the Senate, which in Canada is an unelected body that is meant to sign into law the passed legislation, or tweak it if needed. The Senate can and -- on rare occasions does -- refuse to pass pieces of legislation, and the Harper government recently influenced the Senate to do this with a piece of climate change legislation. On top of that, any legislation that hasn't gone through three readings in the Senate when an election call is made dies on the order paper and needs to start the process all over again. So passage is still far from guaranteed, and there have been persistent rumours of a Spring election call coming.

The Senate process is usually much faster than the Parliamentary process, so it is also certainly not lost. However, at second reading, it needs to go through a committee, and it appears that it might be slated for the legal and constitutional affairs committee, which is buried in law-and-order bills. Private members' bills aren't tabled4 until government bills are dealt with.

CcS: What can individual Canadians do to help? What can foreign Shakers do to help? Should they write to local ambassadors/consular officers, or to the Prime Minister's office, or...?

Canadians need to write to Senators to let them know why inclusion of trans people in human rights legislation is necessary. The Harper government, which has opposed the bill, is saying that it is "unnecessary" and that the terms are too "vague and undefined." Both of these points should be rebutted. More than that, though, it's of incredible value to relate our own experiences of discrimination, and convey what inclusion means to us as disenfranchised people. has a link to Senators' contact information, and a sample letter you can use or adapt.

It's also important to respond to the media coverage. This is a story that was largely overlooked until the bill passed third reading, and the discussion is happening now. But the (CcS: This next set of links are NOT nice places - CAVEAT LECTOR!5) "bathroom bill" rhetoric is getting more airtime than it should. If you see positive editorials, please thank the paper and the authors. If you see negative editorials or letters to the editors, respond to them, in a clear, dignified and well-argued way. And if you see the washroom predator meme, turn it around: the fact that this belief widely persists and creates an environment of fear and a will to exclude is actually the greatest argument FOR clear and explicit inclusion in human rights. Letters to the editor should be short and concise, so it is a challenge to say what's key in a minimal amount of space.

It is my belief that legislation like Bill C-389 is important, because it legally enables us to participate in the public square and everyday life, but at the same time, the greater benefit comes from awareness, and the changing of hearts and minds. Regardless of what happens right now with the bill, we have an excellent opportunity to seize upon this discussion, and do exactly that. And this is something everyone can do, in nearly any walk of life.

And although the Parliamentary process has finished, if people have the time and opportunity, it's still a worthwhile investment of time to meet with your MPs. The pressure's off them now, in a way, but you can still educate them about trans people and trans issues. We may come down this road again.

CcS: Are there any good blogs covering the campaign that you'd recommend?

Many Canadian bloggers are commenting on C-389, including Gender Reality6, Equality Kitten, Cracked Crystal Ball II, Gender Focus, Slap Upside The Head, and my blog. Monica Roberts at TransGriot has also been dedicated to following the bill, with probably the most moment-to-moment updates. And while I know some in the community have complaints about trans inclusion in Canada's LGBT magazines, it should still be acknowledged that Dale Smith has been following the bill closely in Xtra, and has done some of the most in-depth reporting since the bill came to third reading in Parliament. He's also live-tweeted second and third readings.

One challenge that many trans bloggers face in Canada is that many of us, myself included, have never been as political as we should be, and this has meant that we've had to play catch-up to learn our own Parliamentary process.

CcS:(last one, only if and to the extent you're willing): How would the bill passing affect you personally?

DBM: I started transition about seven years ago and have already come a long way, so I might not be directly impacted now, myself. But it does improve the options available to others in the community, and at the very least helps address the sense of defeatism and disenfranchisement that were pervasive when I first transitioned. It might also mean more opportunities to educate employers, med students and medical professionals, which is a plus.


I'd like to thank Ms. Allen for her thoughtful and informative answers, as well as for the hard graft she's put in trying to get it passed (alongside many others putting in day after day of wielding their mighty and shiny teaspoons). I'm kind of staggered that we've even come this close, but I'm feeling less cynical the more people like Ms. Allen I meet.

1 Introduced by the Seriously-Fucking-Honourable Bill Siksay, this is his third attempt to get a private Member's Bill through to law to give human rights protections to trans* people in Canada.

2 "Reading in" allowed judges to amend statutes to make them conform to the Charter.

3 As regular readers here will know, the Harpertron 5000 currently sits as Prime Minister of Canada - a position gained, as in other Westminster-style systems, by being the leader of the party which wins the most seats in a general election. The Harpertron is well-known in Canada for bringing to life the very concept of the Uncanny Valley.

4 This is the Canadian usage, which follows the British: to "table" a piece of legislation here means "put forward for discussion", as opposed to the US usage, in which "tabling" a piece of legislation means "setting aside".

5 The links are representative of the line of thought which conflates everything trans-related to "ZOMM THE BATHROOMS WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN WHO COULD BE IN THOSE BATHROOMS WATCHING CLOSED DOORS BEHIND WHICH SOMEONE MIGHT NOT HAVE THE SAME GENITALS AS EVERYONE ELSE IN THE BATHROOM ZOMM I THINK I MUST EXPLODE FROM THE ENORMOUS PERVERSION OF THIS HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE MENTAL IMAGE PLEASE BABY JEEBUS BLEACH MY BRAIN FOR ME". Most are Christianist, but one is the Toronto Star, a nominally Liberal paper - but they mean the Liberal Party, not actual socially liberal ideas.

6 I can't find a link for these blogs, if you know them, please drop them in comments here and I'll add them to the post.

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Quote of the Day

"I don't think this is the issue that it once was. I think that the economic issues are so big that this one pales in comparison."—Republican Strategist John Feehery, on how same-sex marriage isn't the effective wedge issue for conservatives that it used to be. Or, as fellow Republican strategist Mark McKinnon puts it: "The wedge has lost its edge."

One notes, with bitter amusement, the irony that the current "economic issues" demanding everyone's attention are the result of disastrous economic policy ushered in by conservatives who were voted in on the promise to protect Real Americans from kissing boys, the exaggerated threat of whose alleged insidiousness was used to distract attention away from the truly grave enactment of conservative governance.

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[Previous FYI: Rick Astley; Eddie Murphy; The Eurythmics; Eddie Rabbit; Sinéad O'Connor; Was (Not Was); Bon Jovi; Kenny Rogers; Bobby McFerrin; Starship; Dead or Alive; Right Said Fred; Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians; Salt n Pepa; Nelson; The Cure; The Soup Dragons; Europe/BushCo; Elton John; Eddie Money; Human League; Glenn Frey; Van Halen; Alanis Morissette; Depeche Mode; The Beatles. Hint: They're better if you click 'em!]

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The Overton Window: Chapter Thirty-Nine

Book review time! No, not my review of The Overton Window, but Noah's review of Molly's Cut-n-Paste Patriot Quote Book. We're through the looking glass, people. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night! (Not really.) But fasten your seatbelts. The light just came on. See:

The fasten-seatbelt light had just blinked on above Noah's head, accompanied by an intercom announcement that the flight would soon begin its on-time descent into McCarran International.

He rubbed his eyes and they felt as though he hadn't blinked in quite a while. The time had apparently flown by as he'd been occupied reading and rereading the many quoted passages that filled the pages of Molly's book.

I am glad the flight is on-time. Good to know Molly and Noah will get wherever they are going without any delay. Unlike the rest of us who, it seems, may never get to the end of this story.

In the course of his supposedly top-shelf schooling he must have already been exposed to much of this, and if so, it shouldn't have seemed as new to him as it did. And in a strange, unsettling way—like reading a horoscope so accurate that its author must surely have been watching you for months through the living-room window—it seemed that each of these writings was addressed to this current time, and this very place, for the sole, specific benefit of Noah Gardner.

Here's the thing that bugs me about this book. One of the things. One of the many things. The constant bouncing from third- to second-person. Was the metaphorical astrologist watching you (me?) for months, or watching Noah? I don't know much, but I do know this is something one should learn in middle school grammar class, and I didn't even have the benefit of supposedly top-shelf schooling. (I went to Traweek junior high, a public institution. Go Titans! Or not. I didn't particularly like P.E.)

Noah learns some things from Molly's book. Like bad analogies:

The phrase "too big to fail" had been reborn for propaganda purposes during a brainstorming session at the office last year. This was in the run-up to the country's massive financial meltdown, the multiphase disaster that was only now gathering its full head of steam.

The original purpose of the phrase in business was to describe an entity that was literally too large and successful to possibly go under— think of the Titanic, only before the iceberg. But this newly minted meaning, it was decided, would be a threat, rather than a promise.

So, "too big to fail" meant a business that couldn't fail, because of its size, like the Titanic, which could never go down because it was unsinkable? Huh? What. Bad example, Noah. Bad example, Beck. Very bad example.

We have no choice—that was the sad, helpless tone of both the givers and the receivers of those hundreds of billions of dollars, monies to be deducted directly from the dreams of a brighter future for coming generations. AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Citi, Bear Stearns, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Fannie and Freddie, and the all-powerful puppetmaster behind it all, Goldman Sachs—these companies are the only underpinnings of our whole way of life, so the breathless story went, and if they go down, we all do.

You know, if I had supposedly top-shelf schooling, maybe I'd know what "deducted directly from the dreams of a brighter future for coming generations" meant. The money used to keep the economy from collapsing would have otherwise gone to a brighter future? Whut? Though, I guess, Beck doesn't seem to think the world economy would have been in shambles if the government just let the U.S. banking system falter. Hey, Beck, have you taken a look outside lately? For all your common man pretenses, you really have no idea what the American populace goes through. Period. So, please, just shut the fuck up.

In Molly's book this quote was unattributed but the ideal it conveyed was ancient, and the central pillar of the rule of law. Thomas Paine, quoted on the same page, had put it a different way, in Common Sense: "In America, the law is king." Even the most powerful can't place themselves above it, the weakest are never beneath its protection, and no corrupt institution is too big to fail.

So that's what a principle is, Noah thought, as though he were pondering the word for the very first time.

Whut? Noah didn't know what principles were? Huh? Sure, he's unscrupulous, shallow, dim, easily manipulated, and seemingly disloyal. Faults, most of those. And certainly, I can understand not having principles, but somehow not even knowing what they are? And here's the thing about our hero: It's taken him all of two days to change his allegiance. He's turned his back on his father, the man who has gone out of his way to protect his son, got the awesome lawyer to spring him from jail, the mercenary henchman to rescue him, doctor to patch him up. And Noah turns his back on that to join the people who duped him, drugged him, burgled his house, and have basically manipulated and lied to him from day one.

Now, I'm not saying one can't become a better person, one can't do the right thing. People do turn themselves around. They have life-changing moments, they see the proverbial light. People do spend time reflecting, thinking, sussing out the way of the world and their place in it, and for better or for worse, change tack, and find a purpose. I'm just not sure how much soul searching one can do in three days, when most of that time is spent unconscious.

And given that Noah is so easily manipulated, so clearly out of his depth here, this is who Beverly chooses to look after her daughter? Noah is suddenly and unquestioningly allowed into the teabaggers' inner circle? I thought conspiracy theory-loving fringe groups were notoriously paranoid and suspicious and hostile to strangers. Let me just say: This book is not very realistic.

Blah blah blah, Noah reads more quotes from John Adams and Sam Adams and basically acts as Cliff's Notes for the reader, explaining what each bit means, in a modern context: "Put up or shut up, in other words; go hard or go home. Freedom is the rare exception, he was saying, not the rule, and if you want it you've got to do your part to keep it." And yes, that's a quote. Beck's interpretation of the words of the founding fathers is, essentially, a bumper sticker.

The plane lands, Molly wakes.

"Hey, Molly?"


He touched her hand. "I think I get it now," Noah said.

"You get what?"

"I really didn't before, but I understand what you're doing now, you and your people."

"Oh." She nodded, and continued to check over her things.

"I mean it."

"I know you do," she said, in the way you might address an overly needy child in recognition of some minor accomplishment. "Good. I'm glad."

Noah gets it now. I'm glad someone does. I think maybe we'd have all been better off reading Molly's book than we would have reading The Overton Window. It seems that maybe her book at least makes sense. Good for Noah, is all I can say.

On the concourse, Noah suggests they stop for dinner. Does McCarran have a Rainforest Café? I hope McCarran has a Rainforest Café. Oh, nevermind: Molly ignores the suggestion and demands Noah rent her a car. Noah, I think, is a little hurt by this. Really? The woman who lied to you, drugged you, stole your keys, isn't being nice to you?


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Assvertising, Part 133 in an Ongoing Series

by Shaker The Chemist

[Trigger warning for objectification, hostility toward consent, and ableism.]

Okay, so I know that our consumer culture practically dictates that ads be plastered everywhere humans care to look. I don't necessarily accept it, but I've come to expect it. Just as I've come to expect that advertisers will try to take advantage of gender-related insecurities with product ads like "Summer's Eve: Now with New Car!" and "Volcano II: The MANCANO!" We all know that advertisers aren't shy about using women's bodies in their appeals, despite evidence that it doesn't work the way they think it does. Still, a new guerrilla marketing campaign by New Zealand firm DDB Auckland for the clothing chain Suprette crosses a hard and fast line regarding autonomy and consent.

According to Bestadsontv (uh-huh), via Copyranter:

With both men and women now wearing their shorts at breathtaking heights, fashion chain Superette was presented with a unique opportunity to draw attention to their sale on short shorts. DDB Auckland ads were placed on the virgin thighs that are exposed in this latest trend, by putting indented plates across the inner city and fashion district bus stops, mall seats and park benches, so that when people sat down the message was imprinted on their thighs.

What fuckery is this? I don't think I need to explain to this crowd why an ad agency deciding that your body is just free advertising space is wrong (apparently "guerrilla" now means using entrenched mainstream attitudes to your advantage), which is good because my brain is boggling so hard that you can hear it.

Instead, I can point out why You Can't Win. I can see the defenses now: "Sitting on a bench, dressed like that, means you're just asking for it. Oh! And also! What About the Men! They're getting butt-printed by us too! Hah! You wimmenz can't claim sexism now!" Of course, the nature of patriarchy means glossing over things like how society is trained to regard women as sex-objects. We are taught to ignore the fact that some women choose not to wear t-shirts that have words on them, since it's regarded by our patriarchal culture to be an invitation to ogle. Instead we're supposed to deride them as "too sensitive," rather than finding ogling men insufficiently sensitive toward the women they see in public.

Naturally, there's not a single thought given to people with disabilities, who may not have much choice in where they sit as they move through public space. Hey, there can't be that many of them, amirite?

I may not be a big fan of advertising everywhere, but I get that to some extent businesses should be able to solicit somewhere—just not on me, not on you, not without our consent.

I think that while it may be a losing battle to try to convince these businesses to stop what they're doing through a deconstruction of the arguments and rhetoric in ready supply in favor the kyriarchy, it's easy enough to threaten a business with closing your wallet. Which makes this is an excellent teaspoon opportunity.

You can write to DDB Auckland, and their client, Suprette, and let them know you object to having the added worry of planning your next seat in public. If you have friends in New Zealand and any other market where Suprette operates, you should see about getting them on board.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Magazine 60: "Don Quichotte"

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Two Facts

1. David Brooks thinks Mitch Daniels should run for president because he has been an excellent governor for Indiana and would make an excellent president for the nation.

2. He is wrong.

Of course Daniels "spoke of the program he started that provides health insurance for low-income residents" and touted it as a success, because he is a privatizing machine and his program "successfully" managed to privatize Medicaid. But Healthy Indiana is not a success for Indiana's low-income uninsured residents, nor Indiana's healthcare providers: "There is no evidence that Healthy Indiana beneficiaries are getting better care than Medicaid beneficiaries. However, the care they are receiving costs more, and leaves less for reimbursing uncompensated care for the remaining 95 percent of the uninsured." Whoooooooops.

And naturally Daniels proudly "spoke of...the education program that will give scholarships to students in failing schools so they can choose another." And while he talks a good game about how students from low-income families should have the same chance to attend a private school as students from wealthy families (as if a scholarship program for some poor kids really levels the playing field), the Indiana Coalition for Public Education has quite rightly noted that "taxpayer money shouldn't be directed to private schools, which can deny admission to certain students." The proposal thus stands to "reverse the state's progress on desegregation efforts."

Mitch Daniels' policies are consistently rooted in the conservative pipedream (which Brooks sooooooo loves) that there's no such thing as institutional bias and everyone can achieve precisely the same things if only they work hard enough. Just give poor people the same opportunities, and failure can thus be regarded as unassailable evidence of laziness.

Except: Shitty healthcare they can't afford and competition for education vouchers that favor low-income students who come from home environments that already give them a good chance of success, despite poverty, does not the same opportunities as wealth provides make.

Especially when rerouting tax dollars to private institutions that may select for existing biases means marginalized students may end up with the choice between shitty private schools and a shitty public school system. Swell.

Further marginalization of the already marginalized is, of course, not a bug but a feature, despite anything Governor Daniels may say that sounds like he gives a shit about anyone but straight white men who work for corporations that make hefty campaign contributions.

But that's not something the believers in BOOTSTRAPS! will ever concede.

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Know Who Stinks?

The "maverick" John McCain.

I may have mentioned my contempt for the gentleman from Arizona once or twice before.

[H/T to Spudsy.]

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Good Morning! Here Is an Adorable Picture of James Franco Taking a Nap with Two Kittens!

James Franco tweeted this picture yesterday, and lots of people saw it, and lots of people reposted it, and then everyone in the multiverse sent it to me, because James Franco, and thanks to each and every one of you.

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Open Thread


Hosted by the Pac-Man board game.

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Question of the Day

Earlier this afternoon, when I was walking Dudley, he sniffed out a broken eggshell in the grass by the side of the road and gently picked it up in his mouth. "Dudley, no, ucky," I said. "Leave it." He did not leave it. Instead he looked up at me in the most hilarious fashion, 3/4 of an empty eggshell delicately balanced in his mouth. Looks what I gots!

I stuck my finger between his jaws, behind the egg, and cracked the shell, sending the pieces forward out of his mouth. His expression was priceless as his open jaw slowly closed: Whoa, Two-Legs. How'd you disappear my egg like that?!

It's so funny when I do something and the cats or dog look at me like I'm MAGICAL, lol.

When was the last time you mystified your pet/s (or other animal/s) with MAGIC?

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Photo of the Day

Hawaii Senator Clayton Hee (see also) playfully gives Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie a kiss on the head before he signs the Hawaii Civil Unions bill into law at a ceremony held in Washington Place Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011 in Honolulu. Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, right, looks on. [AP Photo]
Yay, Hawaii!

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Per the AP: Maryland Senate approves legislation to grant same-sex couples full marriage rights.

Yay, Maryland!

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UR liberul media? Is very much not so.

[Trigger warning for hostility to agency]

Yesterday, my family went down to the local Federal office building to protest the proposed elimination of Title X funding. I'm not very good with counting, but I'm guessing there were between 100-200 of us "Standing With Planned Parenthood." It was as fun as such events tend to be. Our daughter finally got to use my whistle outdoors (which, if she's reading, I'll remind her is the appropriate place for such antics).

There were also around 10 counter-protesters. BTW, my (not)favorite sign: "Men Regret Lost Fatherhood" Indeed! Reproductive health care: What about the menz!

The media was also present. Here's my synopsis of their coverage:

Time Warner Cable News: "Debate for funding over Planned Parenthood." Here's a quote from some lady (whom 15 seconds and access to Google tells me is the Director of Community Affairs and Public Policy at the local Planned Parenthood, and honestly, it would've been 10 seconds if I could type today). Now here's five paragraphs about our Congresswoman, and a reminder that there's an election in two years. Oh yay! A horse race! I wonder who will win!

CNYCentral (The CBS, NBC, and CW news outlet-- thanks FCC!): "Rallies for and against Planned Parenthood." Blah blah blah both sides, blah.

WYSR (Syracuse's ABC Affilate): "Rally protests Congress' cut of Planned Parenthood funding." Better, but uh...

[A Planned Parenthood supporter] acknowledged that Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider...
And? And?!?

The Syracuse Post-Standard: Look, this rally was, like, three blocks from our offices. Do you expect us to walk three blocks in twenty degree weather? Fuck that. Did you hear about Melo? Lots of other men are playing basketball, too!

I get it. Two Sides! sells. And I understand how amazing it is that a past spokeswoman for Operation Rescue would, when elected to Congress, turn out to be anti-choice (about as amazing as the fact that "salt potatoes", a local favorite are potatoes cooked in salt). But seriously, there was (by Syracuse standards) a pretty decent rally, and at least half the coverage was about how "some people" disagreed with the protesters? How about the media reporting on the accuracy of Planned Parenthood's talking points. It could be whole investigative thingy, where shockingly, the media could confirm that cutting Title X funding would hurt millions of women. Now there's a story! :chomps on cigar:

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Today in Rape Culture

[Trigger warning for rape, rape apologia, and victim blaming]

[TW] Winnipeg Free Press under the succinct headline "Rape victim 'inviting,' so no jail":

A convicted rapist will not go to jail because a Manitoba judge says the victim sent signals that "sex was in the air" through her suggestive attire and flirtatious conduct on the night of the attack.
Queen's Bench Justice Robert Dewar called [convicted rapist Kenneth] Rhodes a "clumsy Don Juan" who may have misunderstood what the victim wanted when he forced intercourse along a darkened highway outside Thompson in 2006.

Rhodes and a friend met the 26-year-old woman and her girlfriend earlier that night outside a bar under what the judge called "inviting circumstances." Dewar specifically noted the women were wearing tube tops with no bra, high heels and plenty of makeup.

"Don Juan"? I see what you're doing there. To hell with that.

I'd say the whole "forced intercourse" thing indicates that the rapist knew damn well what the victim wanted, namely, to not have "sex" with him. Which is exactly what makes Mr. Rhodes' actions rape, not sex. Which is exactly why the court convicted Mr. Rhodes of rape. Because he's a rapist.

But, since we've all heard stories like this over and over and over and over again, I'm sure the rapist was a nice guy, and this rape wasn't really, like, you know, "rape rape." I'm sure it was some sort of magical no-big-deal, not-really-rape/"gray rape" that totally exists (except for how it absolutely doesn't).

Judge Dewar? Do enlighten us with your oh-so-novel arguments.
Dewar said the case was not "typical" of ones the courts often see and shouldn't be viewed as a precedent.

"There is a different quality to this case than many sexual assaults," he said. "Not all guilty people are morally culpable to the same level. This difference is not to be reflected in conviction. It can be reflected in sentencing. Protection of society is not advanced one iota by putting Mr. Rhodes in jail."

The judge clearly isn't making some sort of argument about the general efficacy of prisons in keeping society safe-- he's talking about the particular case of Mr. Rhodes (who, if you recall, is a rapist). While it doesn't fucking matter, Mr. Rhodes is not, to my knowledge, a particularly atypical rapist, which also means that there's a pretty decent chance that he'll commit rape yet again. If he was in prison for three years, that'd be three years during which, at the very least, he wouldn't be able to rape someone who's not in prison. So I'm not sure how iotas come into the discussion here.

Oh! Rapists in Manitoba also now know that there's an even greater chance that they'll be able to rape women and face little or no consequences. And! Women in Manitoba also have yet another reason to believe that the criminal justice system will ridicule them for coming forward and accusing their rapist-- even in those rare instances where the court finds said rapist guilty. Which is all my long-winded way of saying: What the fucking fuck?!?

Alas, permit me to talk about the victim's manner of dress.

First, I don't give a damn how the victim was dressed. Lots of people wear lots of clothes for lots of reasons. Just because someone is wearing heels and makeup and a tube top (or whatever), does not automatically mean that ze is looking to get laid. Example: I am wearing heels and no bra (alas, no tube top today) as I write this, and yet I'm mostly looking to finish this post and then to grade some papers-- teh sexy, it is very much not.

Second, I don't give a damn if the victim was looking to get laid. As Liss pointed out [TW] several years ago, it is possible for a person to send a signal that ze's looking for sex, while simultaneously maintaining hir autonomy in the matter of if, when, how, and with whom such sex may take place.

Consent is not merely a mythical concept when one chooses to make it so in violation of other peoples' autonomy. In other words, there is no excuse for rape. Ever.

Via @KateHarding (in turn, via @JessicaValenti)

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Daily Dose of Cute

It actually snowed last night! This caused the usual reactions...

"Ugh, not this crap. Why? Just why?"

"Snow is the best! What is wrong with you?!"


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Quote of the Day

"While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation." --Michael Steel, John Boehner's spokesman, showing off his intellectual dishonesty and unmitigated temerity by saying that in response to the statement released by Attorney General Eric Holder regarding DOMA and the Obama administration's review.

I hearby release this Official Response to his response:

Dear John,

You first.

Also? Fuck you.

No love,


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Get Out Your Keytars!

Because it's on like Donkey Kong! To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, Rock Band is releasing Buckner & Garcia's opus Pac-Man Fever. In its entirety. In addition to the title track, the album (which went gold, according to the RIAA) includes clever video game-themed ditties like "Froggy's Lament" and "Ode to a Centipede". Awesome. Huh?

Pre-order yours today. Or not. Maybe this is all a hoax. It could be a hoax!

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Jumping on the Morally Reprobate Bandwagon

I'm sure you haven't forgotten that South Dakota recently had a bill that would, in effect, legalize the murder of health care providers who perform abortions. That bill was also recently shelved.

Now Iowa and Nebraska are now introducing or resurrecting similar--and worse--legislation.

From Iowa:

Two bills sponsored by Iowa House Republicans could have significant public safety consequences, and perhaps the most unnerving of those potential outcomes would be the justifiable use of deadly force against abortion or family planning providers.

When the two pieces of legislation are combined they create a situation where a fertilized egg would be considered a person, and allow for the public execution of those who would threaten such a person.

If passed into law, the two bills — House File 7 and House File 153 — would offer an unprecedented defense opportunity to individuals who stand accused of killing such providers, according to a former prosecutor and law professor at the University of Kansas, and are something that might have very well led to a different outcome in the Kansas trial of the man who shot Dr. George Tiller in a church foyer.


Currently, abortion is also settled law in Iowa. But House File 153, sponsored by 28 Republicans, challenges it. Under that bill, the state would be mandated to recognize and protect “life” from the moment of conception until “natural death” with the full force of the law and state and federal constitutions. Essentially, the bill declares that from the moment a male sperm and a female ovum join to create a fertilized egg that a person exists.

House File 7, which has been sponsored by 29 GOP House members, seeks to expand state law regarding use of reasonable force, including deadly force. Current state laws provide that citizens are not required to retreat from their dwelling or place of business if they or a third party are threatened. The proposal would significantly expand this to state that citizens are not required to retreat from “any place at which the person has a right to be present,” and that in such instances, the citizen has the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect himself or a third party from serious injury or death or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

From Nebraska:
The legislation, LB 232, was introduced by state Sen. Mark Christensen, a devout Christian and die-hard abortion foe who is opposed to the procedure even in the case of rape. Unlike its South Dakota counterpart, which would have allowed only a pregnant woman, her husband, her parents, or her children to commit "justifiable homicide" in defense of her fetus, the Nebraska bill would apply to any third party.

"In short, this bill authorizes and protects vigilantes, and that's something that's unprecedented in our society," Melissa Grant of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland told the Nebraska legislature's judiciary committee on Wednesday. Specifically, she warned, it could be used to target Planned Parenthood's patients and personnel. Also testifying in opposition to the bill was David Baker, the deputy chief executive officer of the Omaha police department, who said, "We share the same fears...that this could be used to incite violence against abortion providers."
Really, I don't even know what to say at this point. It's just so fucked up.

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James Franco Is Working His Way through the Criterion Collection, No Doy Of Course He Is.

If you're not a film nerd and don't know what the Criterion Collection is, you can read more about it here, but, basically, all you need to know is that it's a giant film collection of notable works published in uncut editions approved by the directors.

I'm pretty much in love with the Criterion Collection, even though, by the nature of its medium, it reflects many of the biases of the industry. In actuality, the Criterion Collection is probably better than the industry overall for inclusion of directors from marginalized classes. But I digress.

Know who else loves the Criterion Collection? Of course you do.

James Franco is "making [his] way through them all," because he is James Franco. What—did you think James Franco was only going to watch PART of this enormous film collection? You're so weird.

Anyway, here is James Franco's Top 1O, which is actually a Top 15, because James Franco.

[Thank you Stephanie for the heads-up, who blames me for turning her into a jamesfrancophile.]

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Thursday Blogaround

Because I forgot to do one yesterday (whooooooooooops), so I'll do one today instead of tomorrow.

Akimbo: Three Action Steps to Counteract the GOP Attack on Women's Health

Renee: Bill Maher is THE WORST [Trigger warning for rape culture, misogyny, racism]

Stephanie: Best Picture Nominee Review Series: 2011 Roundup

Andy: Mother Sues Florida School District After Teacher Mocks Her Gay Son, Compelling Him to Leave School [TW for homophobia]


Mike: Profiting from Hunger: The JPMorgan Edition

Melissa: A New Low: Bad Teacher

Leave your links in comments...

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Buckner & Garcia: "Pac-Man Fever"

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Assvertising, Part 132 in an Ongoing Series

[Trigger warning for stalking, rape culture, ableism.]

I saw this advert a few weeks ago and meant to write about it, but I couldn't remember what company it was (so much for their advert being effective, lulz). Coincidentally, however, after seeing my post about Dove, Mama Shakes emailed to ask if I'd seen this one, and she fortunately remembered it was a (previous offender) Virgin Mobile commercial.

[Creepy, ominous music. Nighttime. A young, blond white woman sits in a tree outside the window of a house, in which sits a young white man. She is clutching a mobile phone.]

Woman, getting increasingly manic throughout: Brad and I just had the best first date. I think he's the one! And now, with my Android-powered phone from Virgin Mobile, I can email the pics I took to my mom, and, with unlimited data and web, I can go through his Flickr stream to make sure I'm hotter than his exes, follow his Twitter feed to see if he's mentioned me yet—I can even watch his Foursquare check-ins for patterns! It's only $25 a month. That's CRAZY, right?!

[She makes "crazy" face; lightning strikes. Text onscreen in b-movie horror font: "Go CRAZY on Android." She grins "crazily" and pants; lightning flashes and the music mimics the theme from Psycho.]
Okay, there's so much wrong with this piece of shit, I don't even know where to begin, so let's just start with the obvious: "Our product makes stalking SO EASY!" is a loathsome campaign.

Stalking is not funny. Making the stalker a woman and her victim a man does not make stalking funny. Suggesting that female stalkers are harmless and men can't be hurt by them does not make stalking funny. It does, however, stand to tacitly discourage men from reporting being stalked, because it's somehow "unmanly" to think a woman is capable of hurting them.

Mental illness is not funny. Stalking, of which most violent perpetrators are men targeting women, is also not generally associated with mental illness, but entitlement and patriarchal narratives of ownership, foundational to the rape culture of which stalking is an inextricable part. In cases where stalking is associated with mental illness: Still not funny.

Virgin Mobile USA is a property of Sprint Nextel, who assert to be "committed to the belief that we all share in the responsibility to conduct our businesses in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. We base this on the premise that a company is much more than the products and services it sells; the effect a company has on the environment, the people and the communities it serves reflects the company's dedication to being not only a good business, but to being a good corporate citizen."

They also have a Human Rights Policy in which they claim to be "committed to improving the lives of customers. ... Through technology, Sprint can provide customers with advanced tools to enhance their lifestyles, improve work/life balance and protect their loved ones."


You know, Sprint is a widely-held stock and I'll bet lots of Shakers have Sprint shares in their retirement accounts. If you're a Sprint shareholder, maybe you'd like to contact them and let them know that you'll be divesting yourself of shares in companies that promote stalking via their advertising.

Open Wide...

The Overton Window: Chapter Thirty-Eight

You remember Bailey and Kearns, don't you? They made wine coolers back in the Eighties, right? No, Bailey and Kearns did not make wine coolers. Well, I suppose maybe they could have made wine coolers. It's possible. What the pair did in their free time is not discussed. Which is weird, since so much unnecessary stuff is discussed.

Bailey, internet patriot, and Kearns, undercover (or maybe not) agent, are still trying to deliver their fake (or maybe not) bomb to Elmer and his gang. Hopefully, they'll get that done soon. There's only 50 pages left. We've been through 85% of the novel, and at some point the author is going to have to relent and introduce a plot. Typically this is done early in a book. Typically books are written by competent authors.

Now, before you get your hopes up, let me just put it out there, nothing happens in this chapter.

There is the requisite driving, and since the chapter features Bailey, a whole lot of talking. Swell.

The pair stop at a gas station, somewhere. Bailey notes ominous headlines on a newspaper. "NATIONWIDE TERROR ALERT STATUS ELEVATED ONCE MORE" and "DHS CHIEF: INTEL CONFIRMS 'CREDIBLE THREAT' FOR WESTERN U.S." Oh, goodness, what's the threat? I hope it's not a bomb!

Bailey looked up into the corner and saw a dusty security camera looking back down at him. Even out here, he thought, on the outskirts of civilization, some backward distant cousin of Big Brother is still watching.
First of all, someone does not understand the concept of Big Brother. Secondly, is Beck pro-shoplifting? Is Beck saying Small Business Owners, the backbone of the Free Market, shouldn't protect their businesses from sniveling little thieves?

Danny becomes thoughtful, and he and Kearns head back out to wherever they're going. In the van Danny asks about the heightened alert level. (What level is it at now anyway? Purple?) "What are you getting at?" the agent asks.

Thanks, Kearns. You shouldn't encourage him.

Danny then proceeds to blather on about various dildobrained conspiracy theories relating to the London Underground bombings of 2005. It boils down to this: It was an inside job by Scotland Yard. I think. And there is something about a double agent named Haroon Rashid Aswat trying to set up an al-Qaeda camp in Oregon. Maybe this is faction again. Though, I hope, for Scotland Yard's sake, this is simply more bullshit.

Mohamed Atta, mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, was also known as Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir. And...

Wait for it...

el-Amir = Elmer!

Umm... Okay.

"Mohamed Atta is dead," Kearns dutifully notes. Danny explains:
"Yeah? So is Osama bin Laden, but that doesn't stop him from putting out a tape every six months. And I'm not even saying it's a real live Islamo-fascist behind any of this, but making it look that way will make the story that much scarier when something happens."
Osama bin Laden is dead? Or was that sarcasm? Or another conspiracy theory? I don't know.
"In English, el-Amir translates to 'the general.' It could be a code word. Atta used el-Amir back then in 2001, and this guy's using it now. If this whole thing is part of some false-flag operation—if they're really trying to bring this war back home — they need a new boogeyman right here on U.S. soil, and they need to connect him to past events and to the patriot movement so they can demonize the resistance."
Oh, okay. That clears that up. Elmer is code. For something. And a patriot resistance something something.

Really, by this point, I'd hope things would be clearer. But no. Everything is as murky as a wet fart. I really thought I had some sense of what was going on here. But now even I am confused. Fortunately, at this point Bailey shuts up.

Open Wide...

Top Chef Open Thread

[Image from last night's episode: Marcel and Tiffany do some chef shit.]

Last night's episode will be discussed in detail, so if you haven't seen it, and don't want any spoilers, move along...

Open Wide...

Rick Santorum: Genius

I'm so glad Rick Santorum is back, because he is very smart and adds a lot of thoughtful and fascinating ideas to the national discourse:

Rick Santorum launched into a scathing attack on the left, charging during an appearance in South Carolina [at Oakbrook Preparatory School, before more than 200 students, faculty, and community members] that the history of the Crusades has been corrupted by "the American left who hates Christendom."

"The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical," Santorum said in Spartanburg on Tuesday. "And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom."

He added, "They hate Western civilization at the core. That's the problem."
I guess he found our top secret website, thelefthateschristendomandwesterncivilization.geocities.fart. Now our secret is out. Shit. I just hope he doesn't find thelefthatesbabies.blogpoop.barf.
After asserting that Christianity had not shown any "aggression" to the Muslim world, the former Pennsylvania senator — who is considering a 2012 run for the White House — argued that American intervention in the Middle East helps promote "core American values."

"What I'm talking about is onward American soldiers," he said.
Brilliant. Let's make him president!

Open Wide...

Awesome. Totally Awesome.

A little something to start off your day:

[Video of someone in a Cookie Monster costume shredding up the xylophone, accompanied by someone in a pink gorilla outfit on stand-up bass, on a subway platform.]

If I lived in New York (I don't) and rode the subway (I can't) I'd totally have a joyful moment of private relief (not so private, probably) as I walked out onto the platform and saw the Xylopholks jamming. Like the old advertising jingle says (advertising jingles never lie) the best part of waking up is furry costumes at the subway station!

Open Wide...