Question of the Day

What is your biggest worry for your country right now?

(Note: If you are have joint citizenship, or maintain residence in another country from that in which you have citizenship, or have emigrated at some point in your life, etc., please feel free to define "your country" however you see fit.)

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Quote of the Day

"I can't imagine what I'm going to do. I'm crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don't have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand."—Andrew Schiff, director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., who got a lower bonus this year and says "the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country's top 1 percent by income, doesn't cover his family's private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental, and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square-foot Brooklyn duplex."

Schiff was quoted in an article about how rough the recession has been on the 1percenters. And if you, like me, are thinking, "Of course it is rough on any human to have to adjust their expectations downward, for any reason, but perhaps we could all try to maintain a modicum of perspective when millions of USians are losing their homes and putting their kids to bed hungry," then you just DON'T UNDERSTAND.

"People who don't have money don't understand the stress," said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. "Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?"
Well, actually, I can imagine that. I imagine it's not easy to have to disappoint your children, but I also imagine it is a necessary life lesson, one which I certainly learned as a child, that we can't always have everything we want.

The truth is, people who have money don't understand the stress experienced by people who don't have money. They don't understand the oppressive anxiety of constant financial worry. I've been in a position where I'm worrying about cutting luxuries, or scaling back plans, and I've been in a position where I'm worrying about how to get food in my face the next day, and they are not the same kind of worry.

To not understand that is privilege of the highest order.

[H/T to Brian.]

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LITERALLY the Greatest Post I've Ever Published

Here is a supercut of Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) saying "LITERALLY" in all its myriad inflections on Parks and Recreation, because why not?

[Transcript below.]

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

[Content Note: Reproductive rights; rape culture; misogyny; hostility to agency.]

At Slate, under the noxious headline "Crying Rape," Carole Joffe argues that pro-choice advocates should quit pointing out that mandated transvaginal ultrasounds to access an abortion, even in situations in which they are not necessary, is rape. And why, pray tell, should we stop making this point?

Most of the time, however, the transvaginal ultrasound is a useful and common tool that helps providers perform abortions safely and well.

But now that women have heard abortion supporters describe this form of ultrasound as "rape," will more of them be terrified when they arrive at a clinic and are informed they will have such a procedure? Or might they be scared off altogether? Will abortion clinic staff who perform the ultrasound be seen as "rapists," as the provider I mentioned earlier worried? This is a possibility not lost on the anti-abortion website LifeNews, which recently ran the headline, "If Ultrasound is Rape, Arrest Planned Parenthood Staffers."
Right. We should definitely stop calling a coercive penetration of a woman's vagina irrespective of its necessity what it actually is—a sexual assault—because anti-choicers who don't give a shit about women might mendaciously try to make hay with it.

Oh, and also because women and other people with uteri are too stupid to understand the difference between: A. Potentially medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds mandated by laymen who want to try to persuade women not to terminate an unwanted pregnancy; and B. Medically necessary transvaginal ultrasounds recommended by a trained medical professional who want to help women terminate an unwanted pregnancy in the safest and most effective way.

Gee, sorry if I scared you and your silly ladybrains by treating you as if you have agency and the capacity to understand the concept of consent!


Honestly, the whole article is based on what I can only assume is a willful misinterpretation of pro-choice—and anti-rape—advocates such as myself have actually been saying, which is not, in fact, that transvaginal ultrasounds are rape, full-stop, but that transvaginal ultrasounds mandated by law irrespective of their necessity in order to access a legal medical procedure are rape.

Which is accurate. And I will absolutely not stop calling it what it is.

[H/T to @ScottMadin.]

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Photos of the Day

[Content Note: This post contains misogynist and ableist slurs that are commonly used in discrediting narratives against Hillary Clinton and other influential women.]

close-up of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton making what I shall describe as a 'Wow, you're quite the asshole, aren't ya, Skippy?!' face.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing "Assessing U.S. foreign policy priorities amidst economic challenges: The Foreign Relations Budget for Fiscal Year 2013." [AP Photo]
I looooooooooooooooove this photo. Especially after watching that clip of her testimony from yesterday. I know—believe me I know—that this is one of those classic "Hillary's Such a Crazy Bitch!" photos that have been used against her throughout the entirety of her career, but I RELATE TO THAT CRAZY BITCH FACE! I make that crazy bitch face. That is the face of a "crazy bitch" who has HAD IT UP TO HERE with the nonsense of the privileged dipfucks who control the fucking world and want to bicker over whether providing access to contraception to a starving woman in a developing country will make the Baby Jesus cry condom-shaped tears. I LOVE THAT FACE. It is the face in my mirror, and it is the face of every woman I know, of every color, of every age, of every country of origin.

"Really? REALLY?! We're really going to have this conversation?! AGAIN?! Really?! All right, buddy, fuck you, let's go." *that face*

The AP also has this offering among their wire photos today, which I also love, for entirely different reasons.

close-up of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looking thoughtful

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Everyone Can Relax!

Ben Affleck finally has a son! THANK GOD IT WASN'T A THIRD DAUGHTER! Phew!

[Note: This isn't a commentary on how Ben Affleck, actual human being, feels about having a son vs. having a third daughter. I don't know how he feels. It's a commentary on the tone of a particular portion of the media coverage.]

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RIP Davy Jones

When Elizabeth Taylor died, I said: "It's such a strange feeling when someone so iconic dies. It's not a personal loss for most of us, but, often even if one isn't a fan, it still feels like something has shifted. When someone like Elizabeth Taylor dies, someone whose presence has loomed large for so long, it's like a pop culture quake."

When I read a few moments ago that Davy Jones had died, I felt shaken by exactly that quake I described.

I was a fan of The Monkees. I used the watch their show every day when I got home from school, watching each episode over and over and over until I had them memorized—every lyric, every pratfall, every line of horrendously cheesy dialogue.

And ohhhhhhhhhhhhh swooooooooooooon do you remember when Davy Jones was on The Brady Bunch? Marcia Marcia Marcia!

I owned all their albums, and had multiple "best of" compilations on cassette tape, to which I would listen on my purple boombox, singing along while lying in my yellow-walled bedroom, staring at their pictures ripped from teen magazines and tacked to the wall with plastic thumbtacks.

The brooding Mike Nesmith was always the object of my crushful longing, but Davy Jones—small and gorgeous and flirty and fun—was the one with whom I most wanted to be friends. Around the age of 8, I wrote a short story about going on a picnic with Davy Jones, during which we drank Shirley Temples from martini glasses. The only other detail I can now recall is having described him wearing a suit "the color of Grandma's curtains."

My first concert ever was a Monkees concert. It was 1987, and I was 13 years old, and their opening act was Weird Al Yankovic.

image of Jones, Tork, Yankovic, and Dolenz

I thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever see in my entire life (even though Mike Nesmith had flown the coop). I have seen better things in the intervening 25 years, but it still remains near the top of the list, because every one of the hundreds of concerts I have seen since has been compared, in some way, to the bar set by Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, and Davy Jones.

The Monkees, who were in reality the first incarnation of the now-ubiquitous fabricated market-ready boyband, were often dismissed as out hand as having nothing to contribute to the serious world of music (besides, perhaps, Davy Jones' indirect contribution to the creation of "David Bowie"), but they made me love music. No—I certainly loved music before I ever heard The Monkees. They made music I love.

And I love it so much.

Thanks for that, Mr. Jones. And everything else.

The Monkees, "Daydream Believer"

[Note: If there are less flattering things to be said about Jones, they have been excluded because I am unaware of them, not as the result of any deliberate intent to whitewash his life. Please feel welcome to comment on the entirety of his work and life in this thread.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Cat sitting on the counter, tucked in between the food processor and the electric kettle

Sophie is: 1. A very naughty little monster who sits on the kitchen counter in defiance of the house rules. 2. The titchiest wee kitty in the world! Look at how tiny she is! She is dwarfed by a six-cup kettle! OMG! Squee!

Very disobedient, though. I will have to punish her with kisses immediately!

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My Health is NOT Up for Debate

On a city street, women begin unloading hurdles from the back of a truck. The women, wearing t-shirts reading "," begin to set up the hurdles along a park path. The hurdles are numbered, and read, for example: "Law #49: Forces women to view an ultrasound." The hurdles are lined up in a long row. Passers-by stop to look at them and read them.

In voiceover, a woman says, "In 2011, states across the nation passed the highest number of restrictions on abortion ever, creating dangerous new hurdles for women. More scenes of the labeled hurdles. A woman onscreen says, "Fight for your reproductive healthcare, before it's too late." More passers-by stop and look and read. Another woman onscreen says, "Start by signing the petition to tell our leaders your health is NOT up for debate." Stopping, looking, reading. Another woman onscreen says, "Visit"

Text Onscreen: My health is NOT up for debateTM | Protect Reproductive Health Care | | National Women's Law Center."
Read the NWLC's press release announcing the campaign here. Sign the petition here.

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Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by sarongs.

Recommended Reading:

Peter: The Global War on Women [Content Note: The post at this link includes statistics and stories of violence and hostility toward female autonomy.]

Autumn: Verizon: A Trans Friendlier Business Today

Melissa: Hunger Games Advance Ticket Sales Break Records

Andy: Poll: Support for Same-Sex Marriage Jumps in California

Kath: Thoughts on Being Othered [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of fat hatred and its various manifestations.]

Adrienne: Bon Iver's "Towers": A "Tribute to Native American Preservation Land"?

Angry Asian Man: WTF: Roundeye Noodle Bar

Mike: What Democrats Should Learn From the Auto Industry Bailout

Shannon: Quadriplegic Springer Spaniel Learns to Run

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Upper Crust: "Little Lord Fauntleroy"

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Boom Goes the Secretary!

Yesterday, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) questioned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the practical effects of cutting federal funding for international family planning, which Republicans are seeking to do. Below is a clip of their exchange, in which Clinton coolly calls out the hypocrisy of their opponents' position and, in her inimitable way, conveys her contempt for the idea that funding contraception is even controversial in this day and age. Enjoy.

Text Onscreen: At Senate Hearing, Lautenberg Exchange with Secretary Clinton on International Family Planning | February 28, 2012.

Senator Frank Lautenberg: In recent years, Congressional opponents of contraception have sought deep cuts to international family planning programs. What happens, Madame Secretary, if they succeed in cutting the family planning programs? What's the penalty—what's the cost of that in real terms?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Well, the cost is financial, the cost is in women's lives, the cost is to undermine what many of the very same opponents claim is their priority, namely to prevent abortions [wry grin] because—you know, we want to stay focused on improving maternal and child health, and there is no doubt at all that family planning services are absolutely essential to improving both maternal and child health.

Working through our government—with other governments, with NGOs with expertise, capacity, proven track records—we have made a big difference in women's health. You know, global estimates, Senator, indicate that, by helping women space births and avoid unintended pregnancies, family planning has the potential of preventing twenty-five percent of the maternal and child deaths in the developing world.

Family planning is the best way we have to prevent unintended pregnancies and abortion [wry grin] so I—I know that it—it is, um, a very, um, controversial issue [she seems barely able to spit the words out through her disdain and casts her eyes down then lifts them back up as she continues] but numerous studies have shown that the incidence of abortions decreases when women have access to contraception.

And therefore I strongly support what this administration is doing in trying to provide the means to improve the health of women and children around the world. [nods sagely]
Related Reading: This Is What a Feminist Secretary of State Sounds Like.

[H/T to @PPact.]

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"No matter who you are, love is love."

Would you like to read more about the two Marines whose adorable homecoming picture was Monday's Photo of the Day? I bet you would! So here is a neat article about them. They seem very nice!

It is terrible that there are people who look at that picture and see anything but love. What grim little lives they must lead.

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Primarily Dreadful

Mitt Romney at a podium last night grinning, to which I have added a yellow star reading WINNER! and the random images of the Statue of Liberty, a dollar bill, the McDonald's logo, a screaming bald eagle, a US flag, and a pink Cadillac

Mitt Romney is BACK, baby! Last night, he won both the Michigan AND Arizona primaries, thus proving once again that he is the least barfiest of all the candidates! CONGRATULATIONS, MITT ROMNEY! Everyone hates you the least! GOOD FOR YOU!

In related news, Rick Santorum lost! Ha ha boooooooooo. Boo to you, Rick Santorum! You stink!

Personally, I am very glad that Rick Santorum did not win, for at least two reasons: 1. He is an epic garbage nightmare of vicious hatred who has an oily stink of sulfur where his empathy center should be; and 2. If he had won, he might have given a different speech, and then I never would have learned that there were female signers of the Declaration of Independence.
All of our economic plan is based on a very simple concept, based on what's worked for America from its very founding. I wave this Constitution at every speech, and I talk about it being the operator's manual of America. It's how America works. It's the "how" of America. But there's another document equally important, which is the "why" of America, and that's the Declaration of Independence. And in that declaration is these words, "We hold these truths to be self- evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights."

That -- that phrase was the most transformation phrase ever written in a government document. That phrase said that we are going to be a country with limited government and believing in free people to be able to form families, and communities, and churches, and educational institutions, and hospitals, and be able to build a great and just society, a free society from the bottom up.

That's how America works best, from the bottom up. And that's the solutions that we're going to propose for America, the bottom up.

The men and women who signed that Declaration of Independence wrote this final phrase: We pledge to each other -- we pledge to each other our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor.
Now, it's true that "America works best, from the bottom up" is definitely what she said, but the people who wrote and signed their names to the phrase "all men are created equal" were all men.

Rick Santorum, please report promptly to Seneca Falls for a nap.

image of Rick Santorum grinning smugly, to which I have added text reading: 'I am just very, very happy about what a genius I am.'

Something something Ron Paul. Something else Newt Gingrich. Whatever yawn fart. These two are making my fingers tired.

In useful tools, here is a handy delegate count for the Republican primary! It's very neat and you should definitely look at it! Right now, Romney is leading with 146 delegates, and Ron Paul is losing with 18 delegates. Awwwwww ha ha. Hang in there, Ron Paul! You only need 1,144 to win!

Next Stop: Super Tuesday!

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

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Open Thread

A box of
Hosted by "Men's" Pocky. Sorry, ladies! None for you!

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Question of the Day

What is your favorite portmanteau?

I'm rather partial to my recently coined kyriarchetype. Also, I do dearly love clusterfucktastrophe.

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Who's Winning in Michigan and Arizona?


Let this thread serve for all your primary-discussin' needs.

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Snowe Bails

Republican US Senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe, has announced she is retiring.

Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe will not seek reelection in 2012, she announced Tuesday.

In announcing her plans, Snowe, 65, emphasized that she is in good health and was prepared for the campaign ahead. But she said she was swayed by the increasing polarization in Washington.

"Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term," Snowe said in a statement. "So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail."

Snowe's retirement represents a major setback for the GOP's efforts to regain a majority in the Senate. As a moderate Republican, she may be the party's only hope to hold a seat in the strongly blue state.
It's amusing that Snowe would snark about the "partisanship" in DC while playing the consummate partisan in her retirement announcement. Snowe, who is pro-choice, has previously expressed her frustration that her party continues to focus on reproductive rights at the expense of economic issues. She's clearly disgusted with her party's legislative assault on women et. al., but instead of pointedly calling them out for driving her out of the party, she hedges it with a vague reference to partisanship, even while passive-aggressively underlining she is not retiring for reasons of illness or fatigue.

And, well, that pretty much sums up Snowe's legacy in the Senate. Principled positions on lots of things, without the conviction to prioritize those principles above party loyalty.

Seeya, Senator.

P.S. If the Democratic leadership does not run a woman to replace her, they are even stupider than I imagine.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Reproductive rights; rape culture.]

"All can agree that rape is a horrific act of violence that no one should ever undergo. But abortion after a rape robs an innocent victim of a very beautiful life."Jeanne Monahan, head of the Orwellian-named Family Research Council's Center for Human Dignity who testified today before Congress "on how mandatory contraceptive coverage is an affront to Americans' religious freedom."

Which is obviously TERRIBLE, while forcing women and other people with uteri to carry to term a pregnancy created via rape is just the decent thing to do.


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Photo of the Day

image of Romney campaign bus pulling up next to a field of Rick Santorum signs
Whooooooooops, Mitt Romney! You are such a terrible candidate
that you made Rick fuckin' Santorum a viable contender. Yikes.

[Photo via.]

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Headline of the Day

Bloomberg: Wealthy More Likely to Lie, Cheat: Researchers.


[Note that finding is not: All wealthy people lie and cheat. Please bear that in mind while discussing why it might be (spoiler alert: money buys safety) that the wealthy are more likely to lie and cheat. Also: Do you think that wealthy POC lie and cheat less than their white counterparts? I bet they do! Because money buys safety, but it doesn't trump white privilege!]

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Daily Dose of Cute

Zelda the Black-and-Tan Mutt lies on the living room floor surrounded by toys, looking up cutely
A tiny little wedgy head with wee Dorito ears
Atop a stocky neck festooned with many wrinkled tiers
Leading to a barrel chest and then a roundy gut,
Ending in a bushy tail upon a wiggly butt.

Zelda's Song

Zelly, being a stray acquired from the pound, had a history that was unknown to us—not just in terms of the life she led before our paths crossed, but also regarding her genetic history. She was called a Rottie mix by the shelter, but there was never any rationale for that assignment except her color (which is common in many breeds)—she is only 45 pounds and has none of the traits of a Rottie. The vet said she was probably a Shar Pei mix, which seemed likely given her foldy triangular ears and her abundant neck wrinkles.

Guessing at her mystery history has always been great fun (and people are happy to join in, even when unsolicited; I have been told with certitude many times she is DEFINITELY a Rottie mix, when I have offered I think she's a cross of a Shar Pei and some foxy little herding breed). And if she hadn't likely had, as part of her background, some Shar Pei parentage, that guessing game may have gone on forever.

But. The thing about Shar Peis (and Shar Pei crosses) is that they are prone to what's known as "Shar Pei fever," which recently came knocking on our friend Van's door. He is doing better now, thanks to a very expensive medication, and the love and loyalty of his human family. We have lost other Shar Pei friends to amyloidosis. I suddenly longed to know for reasons other than mere curiosity what Zelda was made of. Was she half Shar Pei? Less would certainly be better.

So, I got a top-of-the-line doggy DNA test. Zelly was decidedly unthrilled about having the insides of her cheeks swabbed, but being the good girl that she is, she reluctantly complied. We sent the swabs off, and three weeks later, we had our results...

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He-Man Sings 4 Non Blondes

Four minutes of undiluted awesome: The cartoon edition of He-Man singing a cabaret/techno version of 4 Non Blondes' "What's Up?"

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Number of the Day

16%: The current unemployment rate for US workers under the age of 25.

The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 has improved to 16.0 percent since its peak of 19.6 percent in the spring of 2010, but, excluding the Great Recession and its aftermath, remains higher than it has been since the fall of 1983.

Evidence from past recessions of the effect on young workers who entered the labor market during a downturn shows that the impact is severe and long-lasting. In particular, entering the labor market in a severe downturn can lead to reduced earnings for up to 10 to 15 years. Young workers at all levels of educational attainment who enter the labor market during a downturn face higher rates of unemployment. With a scarcity of job openings, young workers are 1) less likely to land a stable entry-level job that will lead to advancement, and 2) more likely to experience a lengthy period of instability in employment and earnings.
Don't worry, everyone. Tax cuts will solve everything.

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Another Birth Control Recall

Weeks after Pfizer announced an oral contraceptive recall, Glenmark Generics is also recalling its pills "because of a packaging error that landed the pills in the wrong order."

"Select blisters were rotated 180 degrees within the card, reversing the weekly tablet orientation and making the lot number and expiry date visible only on the outer pouch," the company said in a statement released Friday, explaining the packaging error.

The correct packaging aligns 28 tablets in four rows, with the white tablets containing norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol in the top row and light green placebo tablets in the bottom row.

The affected lot numbers are 04110101, 04110106, 04110107, 04110114, 04110124, 04110129 and 04110134.

"Patients who have the affected product should notify their physician and return the product to the pharmacy" and "begin using a nonhormonal form of contraception immediately," the company said.
[H/T to Shaker Jewel.]

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Do Not Mess with Women's Birth Control, for Hobbying or Any Other Conceivable Purposes

Conceivable Purposes. See what I did there? Heh heh. I crack myself up.

My favorite dude on the planet, Ron Swanson, star of the kickass NBC documentary series Parks and Recreation, sometimes plays a character named Nick Offerman, so I have a Google alert set up to get Nick Offerman news in addition to my Ron Swanson news. And thank the maker for that, or otherwise I might never have found out that Nick Offerman convinced a bunch of Republican lawmakers he's one of them and got invited to their video about the Pill or whatever. At least I think that's what's going on. It's some real Baron von Sasha Cohen shit!

[Content Note That Liss Made Me Put In, But Which I Definitely Think Is a Good Idea, Although It May Just Be the Weed Talking: The below video contains misogynist jokes to underline that the people making these laws routinely express misogyny. There is also one racist joke and one rape joke, the latter of which briefly references a sexual assault and is of the sort that makes the point sexual predators are gross and wrong, and also underlines that the people making these laws are de facto sexual predators, but it is still a rape joke. YMMV on whether you find this effective, acceptable, upsetting, etc. I personally find it reasonably effective, although my opinion is that the inclusion of the racist joke was inappropriate and useless, and the inclusion of the rape joke was unnecessary.]

[Transcript for that shit below.]

It's weird, right? I'm totally the target demographic for this kind of politics—I'm a straight white dude, I'm middle-aged, I'm conservative, I've got a penis, I don't got a vagina, I love babies (even though I don't want to own one, ladies!)—but, as you hippies say, it just ain't resonating with me. I mean, some of that shit ain't even correct! There are definitely lady doctors. There's a lady doctor at the clinic where I went last time I stapled my finger to some plywood doing one of my artistic projects.

I'm not certain it's medicinally accurate that babies swim in tummy-pockets, either. Maybe that's true if you're a koala or some crap like that, but not if you're human. I'm no doctor, but that just don't sound right.

Also, my stepmom Cheryl and my ex-wife/fiancée Tammy are both PISSSSSSSSSSSSSSED about getting their pills taken away. And I don't just mean that figuratively! One time I was looking for something to use to build a cobblestone path in front of City Hall in Butchville on my major-ass train set in the garage, and I found a little round plastic thingy with some pills in it in the crapper, and another one in Tammy's purse, and I glued down them pills and painted 'em brown, and they made hella rockin' cobblestones for the precious feet of the Mayor of Butchville, which is me made out of marshmallows and my own mustache trimmings, but BOY OH BOY were Cheryl and Tammy mad at me! My dad was, too. I thought I'd never hear the end of it, man.

Anyhoo, the lesson I learned is: Don't mess with the ladies' birth control.

Finally: Ron Swanson rules. I rest my case, your honorable womenfolk.

Pornstache: Out.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

4 Non Blondes: "What's Up?"

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The Walking Thread

[Content Note: References to violence and self-harm.]

image of Lori being all pissy with Andrea into which I have inserted text reading: 'You're a stupid woman who is so stupid that I can't even believe how stupid you are, woman!'
Lori yells at Andrea for insufficient skillz in Being Dude Property.

(Spoilers lurch undeadly herein.)

Ugh, this show. UGH. I hate it so much now! I especially hate all the ways in which it tells me that ladies are property of men and should never be allowed under any circumstances to make decisions for themselves because THEY WILL INSTANTLY REGRET IT.

In case you were wondering if the makers of this show view women as nothing more than props, please direct your attention to the official web site's photos from this episode, which do not include a single image of any female character. Whoops!

I loved how the episode started with Grimes and Shane pulling up to a LITERAL CROSSROADS and getting out to have an Important Man Conversation. (Subtle.) In case you missed the fact that they were at a LITERAL CROSSROADS, there was an overhead crane shot or twelve to show you that they were manning it up in a manful way at a LITERAL CROSSROADS. Ugh, this show.

Deeks and I watched the episode together via text last night, and here are some fun highlights from our conversation...

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"He Looks Like a Rabbit."

This is an interesting article about young women "being ahead of the linguistic curve," which seems to me to take great pains to avoid giving young women credit for being linguistic trendsetters as opposed to "incubators of vocal trends for the culture at large."

It's also disproportionately focused on the influence of young white women's speech patterns, to the exclusion of young women of color, who are themselves extremely influential, often in ways different from young white women.

That young women are being acknowledged as linguistic trendsetters is compelling, though, particularly in the sense that their speech is mocked and then adapted.

Maybe we can, like, have a more comprehensive and inclusive conversation about that idea here?

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[Content Note: Reproductive rights, including mandated transvaginal ultrasounds.]

Hey, remember when Representative Darrell Issa (R-Ealpieceofwork) held that superb all-male anti-contraception hearing? Ha ha that was GREAT, right? Well, Rep. Issa now admits it maybe wasn't the best idea he's ever had.

Last week there was a hearing that was spun, it was terribly spun. We all saw it. I won't call it my greatest success to get a point across on behalf of the American people.
Yeah, the media spin was definitely the biggest problem there—not the fact that women aren't considered experts in their own healthcare and reproductive choice.

On a related note, perhaps if the men who are leading the charge against reproductive freedom listened to women, they would know by now that: 1. Mandating transvaginal ultrasounds is rape, because a person with a uterus who cannot access a legal medical procedure without submitting hir body to a vaginal probe cannot be said to be meaningfully consenting, as consent requires a choice, and "consent" without a choice is not actually consent; it's coercion. 2. Mandated rape isn't a political "winner" with the ladies. Or anyone else with a uterus. Or anyone sans uterus but functional sense of decency.

And yet:

In Alabama, State Senator Clay Scofield, a Republican man, "is pushing SB 12 [which] would mandate the physician 'to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing an abortion.' The physician could also require the woman to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound—'in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced'—if she or he determines it necessary."

In Idaho, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder, a Republican man, is "sponsoring a bill to require women to have an ultrasound before receiving an abortion... The measure does not specifically mention transvaginal ultrasounds...but would leave it up to a doctor and the patient to decide which ultrasound would be best."

A mandatory ultrasound bill is also under consideration in Pennsylvania, and laws have been passed in Texas and Oklahoma.

In the year 2012, women et. al. in the United States are being told by their government that they must submit their bodies to state-sanctioned rape if they want to access a legal medical procedure, while being totally shut out of legislative sessions in which increasing control of their bodies is assumed by elected men and their "experts."

Post-feminist world etc.

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Primarily Awful

an image of Rick Santorum drinking from a bottle of water in which I have inserted a thought bubble reading 'All this garbage campaigning is making me thirsty!'

On a scale of 1 to ONE MILLION, how excited are you about today's primaries in Michigan and Arizona? A million?! That's what I thought!

This is a BIG DAY for Mitt Romney, who may well lose in his home state of Michigan where his father was once governor. The general consensus among boring old political pundits is that if he can't win Michigan, he should go home and TAKE A NAP!

But the general consensus in my brainpan is that he should keep running FOREVER no matter what! Even if he has to form a third party called the Mittocrats. In fact, he should do that anyway! One man, one party, one platform plank: WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET ELECTED! The Mittocrats.

fake campaign poster featuring Mitt Romney under a banner reading 'The Mittocrats!' and text reading 'It's a Mittocracy and we're just living in it! www.whut.huh'

In related news, as I've mentioned previously, liberals are planning to make hay with Michigan's open primary by showing up to vote for Rick Santorum. It's a calculated strategy to try to help Santorum win the primary, because he's viewed as less of a general election threat to President Obama. HA HA I HOPE YOU'RE RIGHT, BECAUSE OTHERWISE PRESIDENT SANTORUM!


Santorum is getting in on the liberals' action by running a robocall in Michigan urging Democrats to get out and vote for him to stop Romney, and only reveals at the last moment, i.e. after most people have hung up, that it's paid for by the Santorum campaign:

By voting for Rick Santorum—that's right: Michigan Democrats can vote in the Republican Primary on Tuesday! Why is it so important? Romney supported the bailouts for his Wall Street billionaire buddies, but opposed the auto bailouts. That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker, and we're not gonna let Romney get away with it. On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for President. This call is supported by hardworking Democratic men and women, and paid for by Rick Santorum for President.
HA HA HA HA HA! Oh boy. What a very fun and super cool election this is! BARF BAGS FOR EVERYONE!

In other Santorum news, Rick Santorum remains very smart and totally honest.

"Just the facts, man."—Rick Santorum.

Something something Ron Paul. I can't even believe I'm still obliged to mention this guy. Wev. I expect my payment in solid gold Ronpaulbuxxx, sirs.

Newt Gingrich is a human person who is running for president. At least, that's the rumor. He's also, in case you didn't know, a foreign policy genius:
"We're not going to fix Afghanistan," the former House speaker said [at a Republican luncheon in Nashville on Monday]. "It's not possible."

His prescription: "What you have to do is say, 'You know, you're going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life… Because you clearly don't want to learn from me how to be unmiserable.'"
LOL FOREVER. You know what the problem with Afghanistan is...? Not enough bootstraps.

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

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Open Thread

A box of Winter Pocky.
Hosted by Winter Pocky, dusted with cocoa powder.

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Question of the Day

What pervasive negative cultural narrative kept you from trying something for a very long time that you ended up liking?

I have a terrible gut, and I am always looking for things that will help with some problem or another. Not long ago, I tried castor oil for the first time in abject desperation, which of course is associated with being used as a punishment for children and an instrument of fascist torture (!). I'd also always heard it was the worst-tasting stuff in existence, so I was pretty terrified of it.

But I found it really rather pleasant tasting and helpful. Huh.

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image of Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, her character from Parks and Recreation, in the style of Uncle Sam, saying 'Don't Tell ME What To Do'

Since every single person in the multiverse (and thanks to each and every one of you!) has either emailed this to me or tweeted it at me, here it is! Enjoy!

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Daily Dose of Cute

Weekend Puppehs: Grinning Dogz Edition.

Zelda stands in the middle of the living room, grinning

Dudley lies on his back on the couch, grinning

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Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by crows.

Recommended Reading:

rboylorn: Battle of the What?: A Brief Reflection on the Battle of the Complexions Controversy [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of body policing, beauty standards, and colorism.]

Indian Homemaker: A Name of Your Own, to Keep or to Change

Lauredhel: The Rise of Fetal Personhood Notions in Western Australia Politics

Brian: Disney's Habit Heroes Has Closed [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of fat hatred/shaming and weight loss talk.]

Pam: DENIED: Wife Says 'No Nookie' to VA Delegate Over Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill

Elle: Sweetest Thing I've Ever Known

Resistance: Nerd Dream Come True

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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Blog Note

I've got some personal stuff to do this afternoon, so posting will be light.

Please remember that when I'm not around, we're down one moderator, so take extra care in commenting, and be patient with and respectful of the other mods who will be picking up my slack.

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Garbage Treasures

What is this?

An artistic rendering of RPattz

An artistic rendering of RPattz (AKA: Robert Pattinson, for all you squares). An artistic rendering of RPattz that sparkles. Obviously. You can't tell it sparkles because you have to see that in person. Like the aurora borealis a photo of it just can't possibly convey the beauty. But it sparkles. It's also bulges:

An artistic rendering of RPattz

It arrived unassembled, as it were. I nearly threw half of it out by accident. Whoops. Then I read the instructions. (Art! With instructions! So very Geffen Contemporary.) So I put it together and it hangs on a wall in all its convex glory.

Thanks, Liss! I can't wait to see what's next!

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Fix for Comments Not Appearing in India

Hello, Indian Shakers! I have heard from many of you that you're having the same problem as readers in Australia and New Zealand, now that Blogger has added the .in suffix to the URL.

This causes a compatibility failure with Disqus, our third-party commenting system. For comments to load correctly, one must be viewing the blog at

To access comments, replace the '.in' at the end of the URL with '/ncr' and press enter. If you then right-click on post titles from that page and select 'open link in new window,' the page in the new tab will allow you to view and post comments.

My thanks to Shaker Praveen for helping test this in India to make sure it works.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Nitzer Ebb: "Family Man"

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Photo of the Day

image of two male Marines kissing after one of them, in fatigues, has just returned home from a deployment; in the background is a huge US flag.

Members of the United States Marines Corps Brandon Morgan (right) and Dalan Wells celebrate Morgan's homecoming with a big kiss. Morgan posted the sweet picture to the Gay Marines Facebook page yesterday, and, as of this writing, it has 14,411 likes. Brandon Thorpe has more.

[H/T to Shaker elky.]

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Primarily Horrendo

image of Romney speaking to an almost entirely empty stadium in Michigan

This weekend, Mitt Romney gave an economic speech in Detroit, which the Detroit Economic Club incredibly decided to relocate from a downtown Detroit hotel to the 80,000-seat Ford Stadium after selling 1,200 tickets. Not only did 80,000 people not show up, but "Romney couldn't even sell out the space on field. Things were so bad that the Romney campaign tried to fill the empty area by moving the media in close in order to make the crowd look bigger on television that what it really was."

Yiiiiiiiiiikes. Here's a neat video of the Laird of Whoopsington Manor giving his garbage speech to an empty stadium:

Romney: By the way, congratulations to the Lions on a great season—and to the next great season. [tepid applause as the camera pans around the empty stadium] It's, uh, it's good to be back in Michigan. This, of course, is where I was born and raised. I, uh, I was actually born in Harper Hospital!

Think Progress has some lemon juice fun comparative pictures of Romney's event and some of Obama's stadium-filling events in 2008.

On the one hand: HA HA THIS IS SO FUNNY! YOU STINK, ROMNEY! YOU'RE THE WORST AND NOBODY LIKES YOU! On the other hand: This is pointedly indicative of how truly detached from the needs, wants, and realities of the 99% Mitt Romney really is. Perhaps no city in the US better understands the failures of the federal government and the harrowing effects of a greed-driven corporatocracy more than Detroit, and the fact that Mitt Romney wants to try to sell them "managed bankruptcy" and a tax plan that makes the rich even richer is straight-up laughable. He is comprehensively clueless.

image of Romney giving a speech in which I've inserted the text: 'No, you don’t even UNDERSTAND how American we are! We’re just like you! I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs. I used to have a Dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered! Just like any average American with four cars!'

That is not even a thing I made up. To an empty stadium in decimated Detroit, Mitt Romney listed all the many, many automobiles he and his wife own, in order to appear "relatable."

He also noted this weekend that he is not much of a NASCAR fan himself, but he has "some great friends who are NASCAR team owners."

Something something Ron Paul. Liberty, freedom, liberty, freedom, forcible pregnancy, honest rape. It's in the Constitution! Look it up.

Newt Gingrich is a person in the world who is running for president!

In Rick Santorum news, a phrase which is always a harbinger of GOOD THINGS, Rick Santorum says he "almost threw up" when he read John F. Kennedy's 1960 Houston address on the separation of church and state. HA HA RICK SANTORUM YOUR BRAINZ ARE FULL OF GARBAGE!

As if to underline that point, Rick Santorum has also penned a TERRIFIC op-ed for the Wall Street Journal titled: "My Economic Freedom Agenda." It's really good and you should definitely read it. By which I mean, of course, that it is terrible and you should not waste your time reading it unless you need a good, old-fashioned chuckle-a-doo.

Spoiler Alert: Rick Santorum does not believe that control over our reproduction is a necessary component of women's economic freedom. I KNOW YOU'RE SO SHOCKED! This way to the fainting couch.

image of fainting couch

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

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The Oscars Thread

image of Oscar winner Octavia Spencer hugging Oscar winner Meryl Streep from behind; Streep is leaning into her and holding a glass of champagne
Octavia Spencer, left, and Meryl Streep at the Governors Ball following the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. [AP Photo]
MERYL!!! OMG I loved Octavia Spencer's dress so hard. Esperanza Spalding's performance of "What a Wonderful World" is one of my favorite Oscar performances ever. MERYL!!! The End.

Also: I loved Meryl's acceptance speech, which is probably one of the best Oscar acceptance speeches of all time:

[Meryl's name is announced, and as she walks to the stage, stopping to kiss Viola Davis, the voiceover says she won Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer and Best Actress for Sophie's Choice. She gets a standing ovation from the audience.]

Streep: Ohhhhhhh my god. Oh, come on! Ohhhhhhh ohhhh, all right. Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, "Oh no. [laughter] Come on: Why her? Again?" you know? But...whatever. [she gives a dismissive wave and laughs to more laughter and applause] First I want to thank Don [her husband, Don Gummer], because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech, they play him out with the music, and I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives [she gets choked up], you've given me. [In the audience, he gazes back at her and puts his hand over his heart.] And now secondly [applause], my other partner: Thirty-seven years ago, my first play in New York City, I met the great hairstylist and make-up artist Roy Helland, and we, uh, we worked together pretty continuously since the day we clapped eyes on each other. He, uh, his first film with me was Sophie's Choice, and all the way up to tonight when he [chokes up again], he won for his beautiful work in The Iron Lady, thirty years later. [applause] Every single movie in between! And, um [deep breath], I just want to thank Roy, but also I want to thank—because I really understand I'll never be up here again [she laughs; audience laughter]—um, I really want to thank all my colleagues, all my friends; I look out here and, you know, I see my life before my eyes—my old friends, my new friends—and, really, this is such a great honor, but the thing that counts the most with me is the friendships, and the love, and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together. My friends, thank you, all of you—departed and here [she touches her heart]—for this, you know, inexplicably wonderful career. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Love her.

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Happy Birthday, Misty!

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

a Barbie cake in which the Barbie is wearing a princess gown, has rainbow wings, and is holding out a birthday cake with candles, labeled 'Happy Birthday, Princess Misty!'

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

A box of coconut pocky.
Hosted by nubbly Coconut Pocky.

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Sunday Shuffle

Foo Fighters; Times Like These

Bonus acoustic version:


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Open Thread

image of a narwhal just barely breaching the surface of the sea

Hosted by a narwhal.

This week's Open Threads have been hosted by unicorns.

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Open Thread

image of a unicorn with a long, flowing, curly mane

Hosted by a unicorn who just got hir hair did.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub photoshopped to be named 'A Pub of One's Own'
[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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Texas Rejects Federal Funding for Healthcare

by Shaker scatx, a liberal, a feminist, a wife, a mother, a professional historian, and an optimist.

Yesterday, the Texas Health and Human Services commissioner signed a rule that says that any clinic or other "affiliates of abortion providers" who participated in the Medicaid-funded Texas' Women's Health Program will no longer receive financial support from the state.

This $40-million/year program is jointly funded by the federal government. The fed, in fact, pays $9 for every $1 that Texas puts into the pot for this program. The program provides "basic healthcare and family planning services to low-income and uninsured" people (mainly women) "who would not otherwise be eligible for Medicaid unless pregnant."

Texas politicians, though, did not want ANY of this money to go to ANY program that could even be loosely affiliated with a clinic that does abortion (of course, thanks to the Hyde Amendment, none of these dollars would ever go towards abortion anyhow). This was specifically an attempt on their part to deny money to any Planned Parenthood clinics, even those that have never provided abortion services.

The Obama administration has said repeatedly (we remember you, Indiana) that a state does not have the right to pick and choose who receives Medicaid money. In response, Texas politicians decided to simply forego the federal funding, cheating many people, many poor women, out of health care that they otherwise do not have any way to access.

By cutting out this federal funding, the Texas Tribune posits that 130,000 low-income people will lose access to such services as cancer screenings, birth control, or general health exams. The Austin Chronicle estimates that when you combine these new cuts with other funding cuts to reproductive health, nearly 350,000 poor people will lose access to health care here in Texas.

I'm so sad about this. I'm frustrated. At the end of a week where we have been bombarded by news about Virginia's possible mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds before abortion (that has been shelved completely now), I keep saying to myself (and to Twitter and Tumblr) that the only state in the country who ALREADY HAS mandatory yet often medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds is Texas (today is day 18 since the law went into effect even after it was ruled unconstitutional; Oklahoma also has a bill that mandates it but it never went into effect after courts there ruled it unconstitutional).

I feel (and I know) that Texas is in a dire situation when it comes to reproductive rights and reproductive health care. I don't know why we aren't getting the press down here and I don't know how to make that happen. I'm just screaming from my Twitter feed and crying at my computer.

Texas politicians have chosen to turn down federal money that would help give poor people in this poor state health care simply as a roundabout way to hurt Planned Parenthood. That is a morally bankrupt decision. If this is the extreme that the Texas GOP must go to win their fight, what is it exactly that they are fighting for? I have many different answers to that question and none of them are good.

I am scared for my state. I'm scared for people here who relied on these programs. I scared of the climate and culture that would justify such actions.

And I know, as I look around at the rest of the country, that states like Oklahoma and South Dakota and Mississippi and Alabama are in their own state of emergencies. The national media that rallied so hard around Virginia needs to look south and west. We need that outrage here, too.

I often feel like I am screaming alone in a soundproof room. What do we do? HOW do we stop this? I want these answers. I NEED these answers.

Texas is in crisis.

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Random YouTubery

Yesterday, after I posted the Suspicious of Broccoli Puppy, Shaker J sent me this video of her pup Ducky, who, having just returned from the groomers last week, and, despite having walked by a mirror many times without showing much interest, suddenly became very curious about the reflection of the clean, well-coiffed little dog with a bow on her head!

Video Description: A little black dog with a bow on her head barks and jumps at her reflection in a long mirror. Runs away, comes back, runs away, comes back. Ferocious! LOL!

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I Write Letters

Dear Republicans:

When Pat Buchanan is telling you that you're going too far with all the attacks on reproductive rights, you have DERAILED.

Pat Buchanan!

You are to the right of Pat Buchanan!


Take a nap.

No love,

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Daily Dose of Cute

All five furry residents of Shakes Manor, in descending age order:

Matilda, sitting on the couch
Guess who's thinking about Tony again?

Olivia, crouching on the hardwood floor, in which can be seen her reflection
Up to no good and plotting something tricksy, no doubt.

Sophie walking across the banister in the loft
Someone's fixing to give me an anxiety attack.

Dudley asleep on the couch with his eyes rolling back in his head
When he wakes up, Zombie Dog will eat your BRAINZZZZZZZ!!!

Zelda lying on the loveseat sleepily
Must stay awake...don't want to miss anything...

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Ha Ha Great News Reporting, WaPo!

Karen Santorum: Husband's presidential run is 'God's will':

Rick Santorum's wife granted a rare interview Thursday, telling conservative talk show host Glenn Beck that she initially had been against her husband running for president but finally concluded it was "God's will." ... But she said she prayed on the matter, and finally changed her mind after the passage of the 2010 health care overhaul.

"I did always feel in my heart that God had big plans for Rick. Eventually it was there, tugging at my heart," she said. "When Obamacare passed, that was it. That put the fire in my belly."
A. If I am wrong and an anthropomorphic god exists, and his will is that Rick Santorum be president, then I hate god.

B. Obviously I am a heathen atheist monster, but I did attend church at least once a week and usually more for the first 18 years of my life, followed by four years at a Catholic university, and getting angry about extending healthcare to people does not resonate with either the Protestant or Catholic doctrine to which I was exposed in exacting detail. I've actually read the Bible, and that Jesus fella was pretty insistent on caring for the sick and the poor. HE COULDN'T SHUT UP ABOUT THAT JUNK! He was such a blabbermouth about the sick the poor the sick the poor the sick the poor that he never even had any time to talk about abortion or same-sex marriage!

I guess what I'm saying is that maybe that fire in Karen Santorum's belly was just a bad case of indigestion! Which, in fairness, is very easy to mistake for a divine exhortation to the presidency.

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Project Runway All-Stars: Open Thread

image of Austin Scarlett wearing a black cap and making a 'thinking' face, labeled 'World's Most Fashionable Thinking Cap' with an arros pointing to his cap
Seychelles, my belle...

My head nearly exploded during this episode from the racist ignorance. I swear if anyone else said another word about Chileans wearing ponchos, I was going to go on a rampage. As it was, Spudsy and I had to rant and rave about it endlessly on the phone immediately after we'd both finished the episode. Yiiiiiiiiiiiikes.

image of a text conversation between Spudsy and me--Liss: Did you watch Project Runway yet? Spudsy: We're watching it right now. Liss: CALL MY FAT ASS WHEN YOU'RE DONE!!!!!!! Spudsy: Lol! Ok!

On a more positive note, I didn't think anyone could make me not miss Tim Gunn (besides Tim Gunn), but Joanna Coles is great. I really dig her on the show, despite the fact I have vehemently disagreed with her in the past.

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Quote of the Day

"We are expected to believe that using birth control or the decision to have an abortion—for any reason—prevents us from learning the 'consequences' of our actions, namely, of having sex. In other words, the argument goes, women are too ignorant, too thoughtless, and too confused to make decisions about their own bodies, so the state has an obligation to step in and teach them a moral lesson. But Republicans are forgetting that women have been paying the consequences of life without family planning for thousands of years."Martha Plimpton. In case you needed yet another reason to love her.

[H/T to Shaker Kate217.]

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Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by kittens.

Recommended Reading:

Autumn: The "Bathroom Bill" Meme: Addressing Thomas Lee Benson's Story [Content Note: The post at this link discusses transphobia and transphobic memes.]

New Black Woman: Just When You Thought the Birther Movement Was Over… [Content Note: The post at this link contains discussion of birtherism and racism.]

Amadi: Possibly the Most Inappropriate Response from an Elected Official Ever [Content Note: The post at this link centers around an exchange over proposed legislation in Pennsylvania which would mandate endovaginal ultrasounds for most abortion-seeking people in the state.]

Tami: Can a Chocolate City Catch a Break?

Brian: Disney's Wonderful World of Fat Shaming

Eugene: The Book Surgeon

Andy: Mark Ruffalo's "The Incredible Hulk" Makes His Debut

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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

[Content Note: Rape culture; rape jokes.]

Another tiresome article about whether rape jokes are funny, giving lots of space to women who say they are and complain that criticizing rape jokes is asking survivors who process with humor to not process their assaults.

I've said pretty much everything I've got to say on this exhausting subject here, although I will underline once again that I am a survivor who finds value in processing via humor. I just also happen to be a survivor who understands and respects that not all survivors do—and that even those who do don't necessarily want to stumble across rape humor, even if it's another survivor working through her shit.

Which means I'm a survivor that understands the value of a closed group and a public space. I have friends, some of them also survivors, with whom I can safely make rape jokes (of the sort where the punchline is that rape is horrible and rapists are gross) and they can make them to me. In private. Within the safety and trust that comes with the intimacy of friendship.

Someone who argues against public rape jokes isn't telling me I can't process that way. They're not stopping me from doing what I need to do. And I don't feel the slightest bit limited in my ability to explore whatever dark shit I need to explore because I restrict my gallows humor to spaces where I know it isn't going to harm anyone.

In the age of social media, the boundaries between private and public are ever blurred, and I certainly think this is part of why rape jokes are proliferating at this particular time. But during an election year in which lack of agency and consent are central to virtually every major policy issue, the gravity of public rape jokes should be evident.

If one supports reproductive choice, if one supports ending foreign wars, if one supports closing Gitmo, if one supports rescinding invasive TSA policies, if one supports same-sex marriage, if one supports trans* protections, if one supports immigration reform, if one supports prison reform, if one supports environmental policies that don't harm local residents, if one supports universal healthcare, or any one of hundreds of other issues that are predicated on respecting other human bodies and choices, one needs to rigorously uphold consent, agency, and bodily autonomy in all arenas. The end.

Because the issue is not really whether rape jokes or funny. The issue is whether they're dangerous. And they are.

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Reproductive Rights Updates: Virginia & South Dakota

Some sorta good news, some...not.

The sorta good news from Virginia yesterday was that the "personhood" bill was killed in the Senate for this legislative session.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A bill that would define life as starting at conception is done this year in the Virginia Legislature.

With no debate, the Senate voted 24-14 Thursday to send the so-called "personhood" bill back to committee and carry it over to 2013.
So, it will still likely come back. Especially after this WTF-ery (emphasis mine):
The vote sidetracking the most sweeping of several anti-abortion bills came hours after the Senate Education and Health Committee endorsed it on an 8-7 party-line vote, with Democrats voting against it. The bill passed after an amendment clarifying that no provision in it would restrict the use of federally approved contraception.

At least three times, the committee chairman, Sen. Steve Martin, threatened to have police remove opponents of the bill after they spoke out during debate.
Just. What. What the hell?

Also, they have this to consider:
Another bill still before legislators would eliminate government funding for abortions under Medicaid for indigent women whose fetuses with severe deformities.
The House has has already passed that legislation.

GOP: We hate the poor SOOOOOOOO MUCH!


In South Dakota, the state all other anti-choice legislators try to make their state emulate, the legislators have re-written aspects of anti-choice legislation (which Liss and I wrote about here and here) that is currently in court.
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Even though South Dakota's year-old abortion law is tied up in a court challenge, the state Senate on Thursday gave final legislative approval to a bill that would change some of the law's counseling requirements for women seeking abortions.

The bill leaves intact the current law's requirements that women seeking abortions wait 72 hours and undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortions. But it changes provisions dealing with a woman's first consultation with a doctor at an abortion clinic and requires that counselors at the pregnancy help centers be licensed.

The Senate voted 26-7 to pass the bill, which has also been approved by the House. It next goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard for his signature.


Sen. Eldon Nygaard, R-Vermillion, said the new requirements would even require a doctor at an abortion clinic to talk to a woman about her religious beliefs.

"This bill, if we pass it, would provide unnecessary government intrusions into private decisions," Nygaard said.
While it's nice you realize this, the bills you all already passed "provide unnecessary government intrusions". Ahem.

So this bill, on the good side--if there can be one--requires the counselors at "crisis pregnancy centers" actually be licensed professionals. CPCs are notorious for not having any actual medical personnel on staff (and not telling anyone that they do not). The completely asinine aspects--as usual--is that it says that a doctor who is going to perform the abortion must take into account a person's mental health history, their religious beliefs, any coercion attempts (so discussing their familial/living situation), and their age to determine if they will "risk mental health problems" because of having an abortion.

So, if a person's beliefs generally say that abortion is wrongity-wrong-wrong-wrong and their home life is heavy on that environment but they have, for whatever reason, decided it was the option they need now, a doctor must take into account those beliefs and their environment to determine if they're at risk for depression after & therefore, not do the procedure. And if you recall (.pdf):
There is evidence that stigma around abortion, rather than the abortion itself, can have negative mental health consequences. A woman may have negative emotions after an abortion because she thinks her partner, family or community will condemn or exclude her for deciding to have an abortion. According to the APA, the “most methodologically strong studies...showed that interpersonal concerns, including feelings of stigma, perceived need for secrecy, exposure to antiabortion picketing, and low perceived or anticipated social support for the abortion decision, negatively affected women’s postabortion psychological experiences.”
Oh South Dakota, you never really change.

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The Parks and Rec Open Thread

image of the whole gang at Jerry's birthday party

(Hereafter be spoilers.)

"You can either burn these hats in a fire, OR you can use a blowtorch."—Ann. LOL!

"And then I remembered that alcohol exists."—April. LOL!

Donna: "What are you making?" Ron: "Eggs." LOL!

"Andy, he's kissing my face!"—Chris. LOL!

Ron Oh, Maude. There were a lot of funny and/or sweet things in last night's episode, although my absolute favorite moment was this. Awwwww!

Ron Ron's story about his two jobs in middle school! Donna's cousin is Ginuwine! Leslie's sign drama! OMG LOL!

Ron I liked the Ann-Tom arc the first part of the episode, and hated it the second part of the episode. Yes, you were both being stupid. No, realizing it is not a reason to stay together. Please just break up immediately.

Ron Scatx cleverly observed when we were discussing the episode that the lonely heart in the group is Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe), who is traditionally handsome, privileged, and professional successful. In a show filled with ladies, including lady characters who are single, it's the kyriarchetypical stud who is longing for romance and companionship.

Ron I dearly loved when everyone gave Jerry the gift certificate to a B&B for him and Gail in his favorite place ever—Muncie, Indiana. OMG. Laughblub.

Ron True Fact: There are no misty mountains in Indiana. It is very flat!

What did you think?

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Bob Morris Is So Sorry!

Indiana State Representative and Professor of Smartology at Genius University Bob Morris (R-Idiculous) is very sorry for for saying the Girl Scouts is a 'radicalized organization' that promotes abortion and homosexuality. He's so so so sorry! But mostly he sincerely hopes "that this statement will end the publicity with regard to my letter. I look forward to moving on to more important issues of state policy."

Like turning Indiana into the most conservative bootstrappin' backwater in the nation.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The O'Jays: "For The Love of Money"

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Primarily Awful

fake Santorum campaign poster with an image of Rick Santorum and text reading: 'He's mean. He's clueless. He's bigoted. And he just might be your next president. SANTORUM. www.yikes.oops'

GOOD MORNING! Isn't is SO EXCITING that Mitt Romney's losing-to-Obama aspirations might be thwarted by Rick Santorum?! And by EXCITING, obviously I mean TERRIBLE! SO TERRIBLE!

The thing I most love about the possibility of Mitt Romney—who is a horrible garbage monster of a candidate that should never be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office but is by comparison to Rick Santorum an angel who is also a genius—losing the nomination to Santorum is the perfect, perfect bookend it will create (and, really, already has created) to the Democrats' concession on reproductive choice.

You see, in 2006, the Democrats decided that it was better to have ANYONE with a D after hir name in a House or Senate seat, even if that person was anti-choice. And so they ran Bob Casey, a man who was both anti-choice and a supporter of anti-choice SCOTUS justice Sam Alito, because they believed only an anti-choice candidate could beat Santorum. The Democratic leadership's support of the anti-choice Casey was vociferously protested by progressive feminists such as myself who predicted that demoting women's fundamental right to bodily autonomy to a negotiable platform plank would inevitably lead to an expectation of the Dems to concede ground on choice on the federal level.

We were dismissed as hysterics and trouble-makers who did not understand the way politics works.

It was aggressively 'splained to us that Casey would beat Santorum, and become a reliable Democratic ally to women despite being anti-choice, and Santorum would go away forever.

Bob Casey did beat Santorum. He went on to co-sponsor the Senate version of the anti-choice Stupak amendment. And Rick Santorum, of course, has a realistic shot at becoming the next President of the United States.

A nation which is more amenable to anti-choice rhetoric than it was even 6 years ago. Huh. I wonder how that happened.

* * *

If being beaten by an anti-choice Democrat was the best thing that ever happened to Rick Santorum, running against Mitt Romney and his unique capacity to implode has to be second. This week in Imploding Romney News: Possibly breaking campaign laws, pissing off conservatives, and failing to seal the deal in Michigan.

Meanwhile, incredibly, Rick Santorum is finding increasing support among women. Or maybe it's not that incredible. The sort of conservative women who like the Santorums of the world are a breed I don't claim to understand. I have Republican female friends, and even they don't get it. They loathe Santorum.


In other news, Newt Gingrich is still in the race, still being funded by some weirdo in Vegas, and still evidently believes he has a chance of winning the nomination. NO YOU DON'T, NEWT GINGRICH! I can't even see any of the remaining prestestants choosing him as a running mate. Maybe someone is paying him to waste Sheldon Adelson's money. Sheldon Adelson, you should CHECK INTO THAT!

Something something Ron Paul and squeezy handshakes. [Content Note: Various inappropriate language at link, which is a collection of Ron Paul supporters reaction to Rick Santorum shaking Ron Paul's hand very hard after the last debate.] Squeezy handshakers are THE WORST! So I am not surprised that Rick Santorum, who is also THE WORST, is a squeezy handshaker.

I am bitterly amused, however, that Ron Paul supporters are OUTRAGED at the harm of a squeezy handshake, but definitely support institutional racism and federal ownership of bodies with uteri. COOL! So cool your stupid inconsistent ethics!

Finally, some bozo at the Daily Mail (to which I'm not linking because barf) thinks Romney and Ron Paul may have already struck a deal for Paul to be Romney's running mate if he wins the nomination. GO TEAM RO-RO!

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

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Open Thread

image of two unicorns walking on a beach at sunset

Hosted by unicorns who like long walks on the beach.

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Question of the Day

What's the solution?

(To what? Well, that's for you to decide.)

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Maryland Senate Approves Civil Marriage Protection Act

So that's some good news to end the day. Yay!

Gov. Martin O'Malley, who sponsored the bill, plans to sign it within the week. Yay!

It's not all peaches and cream here in The Crab Cake State. Two caveats: This doesn't go into effect until next year. And that all but guarantees a referendum come November.

Still, it's good news and a big win.

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This is how I feel.

image of Leslie Knope lying in a pit on Parks and Recreation

The pit has me.

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Random YouTubery

Look, this puppy is just very, very suspicious of broccoli, okay?

Video Description: A tiny fluffy puppy barks at and challenges a piece of broccoli lying on the floor.

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Photo of the Day

image of Mitt Romney making a whoops face

[Getty Images]

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Quote of the Day

"I am 52 and it looks like menopause has finally arrived. I was 13 when Roe was decided. The window of reproductive choice in the U.S. appears to have lasted only as long as my periods did."—Shaker scribbles14, in comments. (Posted on the main page with her permission.)

What a powerful and terrifying observation.

She further notes: "It's even more depressing to reflect that 'choice' has been compromised for so many even during this era of supposedly freer choice."

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Utah Moves Closer to No Sex Ed

[Content Note: Reproductive rights.]

I feel like I went to sleep one night in the real world and woke up the next morning in one of Margaret Atwood's nightmares: The Utah House has passed a bill allowing schools to abolish sex education courses and "prohibit[ing] instruction in the use of contraception in those that keep the courses."

"We've been culturally watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest," said bill sponsor Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden. "Why don't we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?"
Wow. Just wow.

"Get away with it?" Whut. "Sex outside of marriage is devastating?" Yikes.

This stuff is so far outside my own human experience that I am beginning to suspect I am an alien species. I wish the mothership would come pick me the fuck up already.

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