Fix for Comments Not Appearing

I have heard from many of you in the UK and Canada that you're having the same problem as readers in Australia, New Zealand, and India, now that Blogger is adding country-specific suffixes to the blog's 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 '.ca' or '' or your specific country's extension at the end of the URL with '/ncr' and press enter. (If that doesn't work, try 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.

There's more information here. (Thanks to Shaker Teaspoon for passing that along.)

I'm so sorry for the inconvenience, and I am looking into alternatives so this won't be a permanent problem. Unfortunately, as many long-term readers will recall, trying to exist on our own server was a never-ending nightmare because of determined anti-feminist hackers, so we're pretty dependent on the safety of Google's firewall. I will, however, try to figure something out.

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Open Thread

Hosted by Sorry! The game that will cause screaming and hurt feelings.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub photoshopped to be named 'The Filthy Brute Saloon'
[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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Quote of the Day

"Don't lie you'd b doing that anyway u filthy brute."—Rebekah Phelps-Davis, one of the Westboro Baptist clan, on Twitter, in response to Deeky's tweet that he would "spend the weekend taking it up the ass" in their honor.

They are truly a magical bunch.

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"I can’t take any more pain."

[Content Note: Mandated ultrasound; termination of a wanted pregnancy; misogyny.]

Carolyn Jones writes in the Texas Observer about her painful decision to terminate a wanted pregnancy in Texas, and the experience of doing so, in the wake of Texas' anti-abortion legislation, including its recently-enacted mandatory ultrasound law.

I'm not even going to excerpt it. Just go read the whole thing.

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Daily Dose of Cute

Look at These Goddamn Adorable Beggars Edition:

Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt and Dudley the Greyhound sit politely and look at me plaintively to give them some of whatever I was eating
"Give us things!"

Dudley looks at me plaintively with ears up
"Give me things!"

Zelda looks at me plaintively with ears up
"Give me things!"

Zelly stands half inside the kitchen (where Iain was) while Dudz stands at the door, but looking back at me in the living room
"Is the Dadsy in the kitchen gonna give me things, or...?"

Zelly rests her chin on the edge of the couch pathetically
"Will you not give me things? Do you not see how cute I am?"

And SO MANY TREATS were given that day! (Which day? Any day.)

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Actual Headline

[Content Note: Bullying; fat hatred.]

CNN: "Fat is the new ugly on the playground."

The sentiment is later repeated in the piece: "Fat is the new ugly on the school playground. Children as young as 3 worry about being fat. Four- and 5-year-olds know 'skinny' is good and 'fat' is bad. Children in elementary school are calling each other fat as a put-down."

I'm glad to see an article addressing fat hatred in bullying on CNN. What I am not glad to see is the treatment of fat-bullying as if it's a new thing, or, worse yet, as if fat-bullying is only problematic when kids who aren't actually fat are bullied.

It is indeed awful when children of different body shapes are bullied as "fat" when they're not fat, especially since adolescent girls who start puberty early are particular targets of this kind of fat-bullying. I was teased for being fat long before I was actually fat, just because I had boobs and hips by age 11.

But it's awful when fat children are teased for being fat, too.

Additionally, treating "fat" and "ugly" as mutually exclusive concepts misses what is central to much of fat-bullying, of both children and adults: The implicit notion that if you're fat, you are axiomatically ugly.

"Fat is the new ugly" obscures that, in addition to eliding a long history of fat-bullying on playgrounds.

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Project Runway All-Stars: Open Thread

image of designer Austin Scarlett wrapped in white tulle
It is ridiculous how happy this picture makes me.

(Spoilers are making it work below.)

Let me start with a question: How the fuck crabby is Mondo? OMG. I would find that intolerable in a work environment, as Michael and Austin are, and it speaks to their fundamental decency (and probably Mondo's, too) that they're making considered, circumspect comments about how it seems like sometimes Mondo doesn't realize how much he affects other people with his negativity, instead of losing their rag with him.

Anyway! To the collections.

So far, it looks like Mondo's collection is shaping up to make him the winner. I'm basing that partly on the fact that Austin's looks incredibly ambitious, and he may fall victim to his own ambition again. (Loved Austin taking Anthony's notes. And loved Anthony's notes! "That lace looks like dead white lady." OMG LOL.) I'm also basing it on the fact that I find Michael's "tribal" collection to be barfy, by virtue of the fact that it's a "tribal" collection. Of course, that is a foolish assumption, because, time and time again, fashion shows us that racism and appropriation are always IN!


So: Who's gonna win?

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Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by searing analysis.

Recommended Reading:

Are you reading Richard Adams' coverage of the primaries? Because you should be! Richard is TOPS! Exhibit A: He quoted Deeks today.

Tami's running an awesome series about Writing While Marginalized. You should definitely read the whole thing!

Pam thanks the President for opposing Amendment One in North Carolina. Thank you, Mr. President! Good job on the evolving!

Michelle rips apart the study underlying the super scary news that eating any amount of red meat ever is bad for you.

Jessie examines the role of whiteness in the Kony 2012 phenomenon. If you're wondering why I haven't written about Kony 2012, despite having covered the US' deployment of combat teams to address the threat posed by Kony and LRA, this is why.

Crunktastic writes about the murder of Trayvon Martin and the "Don't Re-Nig in 2012" bumper sticker. This shit doesn't happen in a void.

Andy covers the conviction of Dharun Ravi for bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in association with the death of Tyler Clementi.

And last but certainly not least, over at Wired, James Bamford informs us that the NSA is building the country's biggest spy center. Swell.

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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But Antibiotics Don't Make Any Money! Boo!

Last month, I wrote about the Centers for Disease Control's warning that untreatable gonorrhea was in our future, because of its ability to quickly evolve into antibiotic-resistant strains—and because of the lack of institutional investment in developing new classes of antibiotics, since "antibiotics are difficult to produce and are less profitable than other drugs."

Now Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, is warning of "a global crisis in antibiotics caused by rapidly evolving resistance among microbes responsible for common infections that threaten to turn them into untreatable diseases."

Addressing a meeting of infectious disease experts in Copenhagen, she said that every antibiotic ever developed was at risk of becoming useless.

"A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child's scratched knee could once again kill."

..."We are losing our first-line antimicrobials. Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units. ... Some sophisticated interventions, like hip replacements, organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy, and care of preterm infants, would become far more difficult or even too dangerous to undertake."

...Dr Chan continued: "In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry. The cupboard is nearly bare."
Obviously I'm a dirty, bleeding-heart, socialist radical, but it seems to me that failure to vigorously pursue new classes of antibiotics because they won't yield a strong return on investment is a little short-sighted when the downside is "an end to modern medicine as we know it."

Maybe it's okay to reinvest some of those boner pill profits into something that won't rake in cash hand over fist but will keep alive the people who want to enjoy all those rock hard dicks. (As well as the people who don't.)

Chan also notes that part of the problem is the irresponsible use of antibiotics, highlighting, for example, the fact that, worldwide, "greater quantities of antibiotics are used in healthy animals than in unhealthy humans." Yikes. Chan politely called this unfettered use of antibiotics in food production "a cause for great concern."
She called for measures to tackle the threat by doctors prescribing antibiotics appropriately, patients following their treatment, and restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animals.

But she said attention was "still sporadic" and actions "inadequate".

"At a time of multiple calamities in the world, we cannot allow the loss of essential antimicrobials, essential cures for many millions of people, to become the next global crisis," she said.
The perfect storm is on the horizon: Impoverished people whose immune systems are compromised by malnourishment and disease living in areas vulnerable to extreme weather caused by global climate change, increased events of which (e.g. tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes) often leave people without clean water and smashed into temporary housing in high concentrations, where simple infections now immune to anitbiotics are deadly.

And we'll just sit back and let it happen, because antibiotics ain't making anyone rich.

[H/T to @mouselink.]

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Westboro Baptist Church Preparing Ad for Limbaugh Show

[Content note for: misogyny]

Never missing an opportunity to ride on someone else's hateful, bigotted coattails, Westboro Baptist Church announced yesterday they would throw their hat (a pus-filled, hate-infested hat, no doubt) into Rush Limbaugh's ring and begin filling the void left by the show's lack of advertisers by prepping some jingles and whatnot of their own.


"The ad's message will be that America is doomed because Americans have cast aside the standards of God, and won't quit their proud sinning."

I guess that's pretty much on-message for the WBC. So, good for them, I guess? Seems a little nice, though. By WBC standards.

"That lady [Sandra Fluke] basically believes she wants the government to pay to kill her babies. That implies a certain level of promiscuity. She wants to fornicate her brains out, but she doesn't want a child. Sounds like a slut to me, and God hates sluts."

Oh, okay. I stand corrected.

Premiere Networks has said any ads from WBC would be rejected. Whoops again. Is that censorship? Sounds like censorship to me. (It doesn't.) Censorship! (It isn't.)

Anyway, you know, the internet is a weird place, isn't it? A few (bazillion) people tweet Limbaugh's advertisers and next thing you know he's broadcasting dead air.

Also weird: I posted about this story yesterday on Twitter, and it was retweed by Margie Phelps, Rebekah Phelps-Roper, Fred Phelps Jr, Rebekah Phelps-Davis, and Abigail Phelps. Phelps-Roper even noted "It's going to be Biblical."

To which I could only reply:

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Reproductive Rights Update: Kansas

Last year I answered Thomas Frank's question, What's the matter with Kansas?, with: the politicians. That hasn't changed.

Back in February I first posted about the gigantic--sixty-nine pages--abortion bill Kansas was considering. By a tax committee. Just the other day I posted a bit of an update on that bill, as Kansas University's accreditation is being called into question because of language in the bill. So the tax committee revived looking at it.

Last night the tax committee passed the bill. It will go to the House, where it is expected to pass. To recap a bit about the bill (not a comprehensive list):

Exempt doctors from malpractice suits for withholding information to prevent an abortion
Yes, that's right. Doctors who "withhold information to prevent an abortion" cannot be sued. A doctor who does not tell people that the fetus has severe issues, who does not give them the ability to make the choice themselves to go forward with a pregnancy or not, who does not give them the ability to prepare to parent a potentially medically-fragile/special needs child, cannot be sued for doing so.

Also, a person would not be able to sue a doctor for malpractice if they end up maimed or otherwise harmed by continuing a pregnancy. The only recourse is a civil suit if a person dies because of the pregnancy.
Eliminate tax credits for abortion providers
Eliminate tax deductions for the purchase of abortion-related health insurance
Both of these measures--which is ostensibly why a fucking tax committee was even considering this legislation--effectively create a tax on abortion services. It creates a(nother) economic hurdle.
Require women be told about scientifically questionable link between abortion and breast cancer
"Scientifically questionable" is a euphemism for "complete and utter lie" in this case. There is no link between abortion and breast cancer.

One requirement that a person be forced to listen to a fetal heartbeat, assuming there even is one, has been demoted to "optional". The aspect that concerned KU is a part that states "no state employee" can perform an abortion. Residency students at KU are considered state employees. Allegedly they are trying to write in some sort of workaround so the university doesn't lose accreditation over it.

As of last December, the state spent nearly $400K on private attorneys over six months to defend itself in court from where it (also last year) defunded Planned Parenthood (and other small clinics) and enacted TRAP laws that shut down clinics. In regards to those TRAP laws: in Kansas, there are two separate offices that oversee licensing and regulation of hospitals and clinics. The Health Dept. oversees hospitals and surgical centers (which Planned Parenthood falls under). The state Board of Healing Arts, however, oversees other clinics. The Board is also what licenses doctors. Sam Brownback appointed Rick Macias, an attorney who has been affiliated with Operation Rescue, to head the Board. In the same legislation, it also required that "all records shall be available at the facility for inspection" by health dept. officials. All records.

Governor Brownback has stated that, just as in 2011, he will sign any anti-abortion legislation that comes to his desk.

Saying Kansas is an extremely hostile state would be an understatement. Kansas is the state other anti-autonomy states hope to be.

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Contraception and Equal Pay for Equal Work

If you're in need of a talking point in the current wars over contraception, here's one to consider:

Failing to cover prescription contraception means that women are effectively paid less than their male counterparts.

Health insurance is a part of an employee's compensation package. When women are denied coverage for something that is a predictable part of their health care needs, while men's predictable health care needs are covered, there is discrimination.

That's exactly why so many states have laws requiring birth control coverage.

It's true, of course, that not all women will need prescription contraception in their health care, and some men might need it too (trans* men with uteri, for example). It's also impossible to predict exactly how any individual employee will need/use health insurance. But I'm talking about broader patterns of what coverage employees, on average, are predictably likely to need.

And in that light, it is simply undeniable that health insurance is worth less to female employees when contraception isn't covered.

Equal compensation for equal work. What a novel idea.

[This post is expanded from a comment at Liss's request.]

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Primarily Awful

image of Mitt Romney during an interview at Fox News

This is just a neat picture of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney doing GREAT during a television interview. He did such a good job! Ha ha just kidding. He was awful. He really "pulled a Mitt Romney," as the kids say. (The kids are definitely saying that.) Has anyone else noticed that Mitt Romney is kind of a terrible candidate? Oh, everyone else has? Cool.

In other Mitt Romney news, in addition to the daily news that he is terrible, Mitt Romney says he does not have a secret deal with Ron Paul. Sure, sure. Likely story. We might believe that, Mitt Romney, if making a secret deal with the other candidate who is barely a viable candidate at all and is even less appealing to your base than Newt Gingrich and Rick fucking Santorum weren't a totally Mitt Romney thing to do! That kind of TERRIFIC wheeling and dealing has Mitt Romney written ALL OVER IT!

Question: Will it surprise you to hear that Mitt Romney is a huge hypocrite on yet another issue? No? Me neither!

Moving on to Santorumier waters, Rick Santorum is definitely the candidate with his pulse on the important issues of our time. With millions of USians un- or underemployed, millions of USians filing for bankruptcy, millions of USians losing their homes to foreclosure, millions of USians lacking access to healthcare, millions of USians experiencing food insecurity, millions of USians still lacking the basic rights and equality promised to them as citizens, and the nation's infrastructure dangerously crumbling, Rick Santorum "has promised to crack down on the distribution of pornography if elected."

Tremendous. You know you've definitely hit on a real roof-raiser of an idea when it looks like it was yanked straight from the pages of Joe Lieberman's 2002 playbook.

For the record, I'm not unsympathetic to concerns about pornography. Anyone who's concerned about sexual objectification, dehumanization, rape culture, and human trafficking has concerns about pornography and the industry which creates it. But I don't think the solution to addressing those issues is treating access to pornography like an on-off switch, and creating a black market that will actually more deeply entrench the serious problems with porn—among which is not that enjoyment of sex for pleasure is yucky.

But I digress. Porn consumption is not on-topic for this thread. That Rick Santorum is a grody hater of pleasure-sex is.

image of Rick Santorum saying 'Seriously, can you stop talking about doing it for fun? It's making me feel like I might barf or poop my pants.'

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Johnny Hates Jazz: "Shattered Dreams"

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Release the Clinton!

image of Liam Neeson in Clash of the Titans saying 'Release the Clinton!' and with an image of the Kraken rising out of the sea, only the Kraken has been replaced by Hillary Clinton making her 'I am so contemptuous at being obliged to have this conversation again' face.

Last night in comments, Shaker Jadelyn shared her friend's image of a meme via STFU Conservatives in which Hillary Clinton is unleashed to battle the Feminist Backlash.

If you knew, as soon as you read that comment, that I was going to do my own version starring Hillary Clinton making that face, please give yourself 1,000 points.

Two things I love about Release the Clinton:

1. I love that it completely turns on its head the narrative as Hillary Clinton as a monster. There are SO MANY TERRIBLE PHOTOSHOPS by conservatives of Clinton as a monster in the Google image search, but here is a picture of Hillary Clinton as a "monster" that does not demean her power, but celebrates it.

2. I love the implicit commentary on how President Obama outsources the "woman's work" to Secretary Clinton.

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Today in Your Feminist Backlash

[Content Note: Misogyny in myriad forms.]

1. Recounting yesterday's news: The Obama administration is officially partnering the US government with Curves, whose CEO is virulently anti-choice; the Republican Pennsylvania Governor says women et. al. can "close their eyes" during mandated transvaginal ultrasounds; 55% of all reproductive-age US women now live in a state hostile to abortion rights; the Republicans don't want to support the Violence Against Women Act if it includes queer and migrant women; and Bill Maher's not a misogynist—he's just a pottymouth.

2. The state of Texas has lost its entire Women's Health Program, 90% of the funding for which came from the federal government in the form of Medicaid, because Republican Governor Rick Perry implemented legislation that "disqualified Planned Parenthood from participating in the program because some of its clinics provide abortions, even though no state or federal money can be used to pay for those abortions." Thus Texas broke federal Medicaid rules "by discriminating against qualified family planning providers," forced the Center for Medicaid and State Operations to cancel their contact with the state, and now potentially leaves 130,000 low-income women a year without access to cancer screenings, contraceptives, and basic health care.

3. The Catholic Bishops have announced they're going to make defeating birth control coverage in the preventive care package of the Affordable Care Act their top priority. Ha ha good thing President Obama made that compromise to accommodate their concerns! Anyway: "The US Conference of Catholic Bishops also announced plans to launch a broader campaign against state and local laws that they believe infringe on religious freedom, including restrictions limiting the rights of religious groups to use public schools as place of worship and those that limit religious organizations on college campuses." Obviously fighting rape victims one-by-one to deny them restitution is on the list, too.

4. In other Catholic Bishops news, Reuters reports that the Catholic Bishops pressured Komen to rescind their funding of Planned Parenthood. Quelle surprise! It's so neat how invested the Catholic Bishops are in undermining women's health! JUST LIKE JESUS WOULD DO!

5. Michelle Goldberg takes a look at the new frontier in abortion legislation: Allowing doctors to withhold information from their pregnant patients if they believe the information might result in their terminating the pregnancy. It's a particular irony, given that, at the same time, "women have a right to all the information" is being used to justify mandatory ultrasound legislation.

Of course, looking for intellectual and ethical consistency in the "pro-life movement" is the biggest waste of fucking time on the planet.

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Open Thread

Hosted by the Pac-Man board game.

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Question of the Day

What the fuck?

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The Gift of Being Valued

Eleven years ago today, Iain and I met online. I have told stories of our meeting and courtship many times, and have threaded snapshots of our marriage throughout the days and months and years of writing in this space, but today, on another day in a seemingly endless string of days where I am left feeling hated by virtue of my womanhood, I want only to share this about my partner: Iain is a man who digs women.

I don't mean that he is a lothario, or even a flirt. I don't mean that he's a guy who is friends almost exclusively with women. He's just a dude who thinks that the women in his life—and lots of other women he admires from afar, politicians and writers and athletes and musicians and scientists—are cool. His wife, his friends, his friends' female partners, my friends, his step-sister, her girlfriend, his coworkers. He values us.

He's not a super political guy, but he will tell you in no uncertain terms that women deserve to be safe, to have a voice in the political process, to have access to employment, healthcare, educational opportunities, equal pay; that we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; that we deserve these things because we are human, and human rights are women's rights; and that our rights, and our autonomy, and our personhood, should not be up for debate.

When I cry or rage or despair because they are, he listens—and he doesn't tell me not to worry about it, because he knows I can't.

image of Iain on a boat, with windswept hair

I'm not trying to say that Iain is a perfect feminist ally who always "gets it." He's not. (Fuck, I'm not.) But what he is, is a guy whose nearly undiluted privilege means, for all practical purposes, he doesn't have to give a shit about the war on women et. al. being waged in this country, his adopted home, but who cares anyway because it's the right goddamn thing to do.

That shouldn't be remarkable. But it is. And his horror and his anger at what's happening makes me feel like I matter. It makes me feel loved. Among the many reasons I love him is that he has given me the gift of his outrage on my behalf. He is my friend and ally, above all else. And I his, right back.

Thank you, babe.

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[Content Note: Misogynist slurs.]

Bill Maher says he is "a pottymouth, not a misogynist."

LOL. I beg to differ.

image of Bill Maher shrugging with a grin, to which I have added text reading: 'What? I only called Sarah Palin a cunt like 2,000 times!'

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Domestic violence; more woman-hating.]

"Obviously, you want to be for the title."—US Senator from Missouri Roy Blunt (R-Eprobate), on how the Republicans totally for sure definitely want to support the Violence Against Women Act, or at least its title, but Democrats make it impossible by inserting icky things like protections for same-sex couples and undocumented immigrants.

Oh the humanity, etc.

"I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition," said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who opposed the latest version last month in the Judiciary Committee. "You think that's possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn't support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?"
Senator Sessions, and his reprehensible colleagues, fail to understand that lack of support for the renewal of this legislation is "not being supportive of fighting violence against women," given that their argument is essentially only women of whom they approve, i.e. cis female citizens in different-sex relationships, are deserving of state support.
Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. More important, they say, it fails to put in safeguards to ensure that domestic violence grants are being well spent. It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.
"Protect the sanctity of traditional domestic violence!"—The GOP.

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Number of the Day

55%: The percentage of "all reproductive-age US women [who] lived in a state hostile to abortion rights in 2011, up significantly from 31% in 2000, according to a new Guttmacher Institute policy analysis. The increase is the result of a dramatic shift in the abortion policy landscape at the state level over the past decade, including a record number of abortion restrictions that were enacted in 2011."

a graph showing the increased legislative hostility toward abortion rights over the last decade
The analysis finds that most states—35 in total—remained in the same category in all three years (click here for a map illustrating the change over time). However, of the 15 states whose abortion policy landscape changed substantially, all became more restrictive.
Welcome to the feminist backlash.

Maybe the fact that reproductive rights advocates and activists have been raising the red flag about the rightwing's chipping strategy for years could finally put paid to the habit of dismissing as crazy! hysterical! bitches! feminist/womanist women and our allies every time we have the unmitigated temerity to ask to be heard on some concern that hasn't made it to the front page of the New York Times yet...?


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Daily Dose of Cute

Video Description: Sophie the Torbie plays with her favorite toy and is her usual infectiously adorable self. Set to "When You're Smiling" by Billie Holiday, accompanied by Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra.

Sophie lies on the floor, hugging a plushy chipmunk
Sophie is also a fan of the doggehs' chipmunks.

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Lie Back and Think of Erie

[Content Note: Rape culture; transvaginal ultrasound legislation.]

Male reporter (off-screen): I apologize if you've already said publicly—where do you stand on that ultrasound bill that seemed to stir things up in the House?

Governor Tom Corbett: Well, I mean, we made a statement during the campaign...I wouldn't change it, um, as long as it's not obtrusive, um, but we're still waiting to see.

Reporter: Is making them watch...does that go too far in your mind?

Corbett: I'm not making anybody watch [clears throat], okay? 'Cause you just have to close your eyes. Uh, but as long as it's on the exterior [gestures at stomach] and not interior, okay?
Via Amanda at Think Progress, the above video, of an exchange between a reporter and Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett about Pennsylvania's proposed (but currently shelved) transvaginal ultrasound bill, illuminates just how absurd the reproductive rights debate in this country has become.

Here are two dudes talking about reproductive rights, and the elected official clearly has no idea what the parameters of the bill actually are. As Amanda notes: "While the Pennsylvania legislation has been amended to remove references to invasive transvaginal ultrasounds, the language suggests a transvaginal ultrasound could still be required if the embryo is too small."

And not only is the governor clueless about his party's own heinous legislation, he can't even talk about female (and occasionally not-female) body parts in an adult fashion, making crude gestures to his stomach while referring uncomfortably to "the exterior" and "the interior."

Which is to say nothing of his incredible suggestion that women "close their eyes" during a mandated ultrasound, revolting enough when it's an unsolicited non-penetrative ultrasound, but catapulting into the realm of the truly vile when made in regard to what can amount to rape—of both patient and practitioner.

What of the practitioners who are obliged by law to vaginally penetrate a patient coerced by hir government to "consent" to the procedure in cases where it is not medically necessary, Governor Corbett? Should they just close their eyes, too?

[H/T to @scATX.]

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A Query

I have a question for all the people who incessantly harangued me during the last election regarding my skepticism about then-candidate Barack Obama's fidelity to the preservation of reproductive rights: Remember how you spat at me that it would be MY FAULT!!!!1!!eleventy!! if John McCain were elected, resulting in an erosion of reproductive rights? Well, whose fault it is, in your estimation, that reproductive rights have traveled backwards 30 years while Barack Obama's been in office?

Don't answer that. It's rhetorical.

I already know that's somehow my fault, too.

*that face*

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Waterfront: "Cry"

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From the You Can't Make This Shit Up Files

[Content Note: Reproductive rights.]

The Office on Women's Health, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, has announced that it is teaming up with franchised women's fitness corporation Curves to promote National Women's Health Week, despite the fact that Curves' founder and CEO, Gary Heavin, is virulently anti-choice.

Kate Sheppard at Mother JonesObama Administration Partners With Anti-Abortion Magnate's Gym:

Heavin, a born-again Christian, has been outspoken about his opposition to abortion over the years, and has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that support so-called crisis pregnancy centers that aim to discourage women from seeking abortions. "There's nothing healthy about abortion," he told Today's Christian in a 2004 interview. "I'm not afraid to tell the truth." He was also critical of abortion in an interview with Women's eNews in 2004 that also noted Curves was one of the first companies to pull support from Susan G. Komen for the Cure over the grants it provides to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings...

Curves also drew some attention in 2009 for partnering with the American Family Association's radio programs, a pro-life and anti-gay group.
And yet, the Obama administration evidently believes Heavin's a great partner with which to promote women's health, listing Curves as an official partner for National Women's Health Week.
The partnership includes events to "educate and inform women on a variety of health and wellness topics" at Curves locations that HHS will promote on its website and its Facebook and Twitter feeds. Curves is also providing coupons for free one-month memberships to anyone who attends a NWHW events, and providing free publicity for the week in the franchise's in-house magazine, Diane. The agreement also designates May 17 as "National Curves Day," which HHS will promote in its materials.
So, just to be clear, the Obama administration is officially promoting a corporation run by a man who donates large amounts of his corporate profits to anti-choice organizations, under the auspices of "women's health."
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to a request for comment at press time.
I'll bet not.

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Chapter 1, page 3: "It's hard not to take a political loss personally; after all, it's your own name spelled out there on the ballot. Yet if you believe in the wisdom of the voters, as I do, you get over the disappointment, accept the verdict, and move on."

A Charge to Keep, Copyright © 1999.

Bush v. Gore, 531-US98 2000.

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Can We Talk About Joshua Ledet for a Minute?

So, last night, I'm watching American Idol (I know, I know!), and no one is really doing all that great, and none of the people I really liked even made it to the top wev anyway, and Scottie McCreery blah blah, and I'm just thinking, "Ya know, I think I'm just going to skip this season."

Which is when Joshua Ledet came out and did THIS:

Video Description: Joshua Ledet, a young black man, singing the everloving shit out of "When a Man Loves a Woman."

Aw crap.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

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Primarily Endless

image of Rick Santorum speaking with a raised finger, to which I have added text reading 'And if there's one thing you remember about me, remember this: I AM A GARBAGE NIGHTMARE!!!'

There are very few immutable truths in US politics. "Ronald Reagan can't win." "Al Gore is a sure thing." "Vote for Barack Obama and he'll defend reproductive choice." Whoops, whoops, and whooooooooops! The political landscape is ever changing, and just when you think you're certain of something, suddenly George W. Bush is up in your White House, heh-hehing the country straight off the cliff. But there is ONE THING that you always count on to never, ever, never, ever, never, ever change. And that is the fact that Rick Santorum is a garbage nightmare.

This one glimmer of consistency in an uncertain world might be reassuring, if it weren't for the fact that Rick Santorum, one of the most vile specimens of unrepentant privilege-defending bullying to ever stride across a flag-bedecked stage, is inching his way toward the Republican nomination for the US presidency.

Misogynistic inch by homophobic inch by racist inch by Christian Supremacist inch.

Here's a FUN STORY about what a neat candidate Rick Santorum is: On March 18, Puerto Rico will hold a primary, and Santorum traveled to the US territory yesterday to campaign, where he told its residents that they need to learn to speak English! "Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law. And that is that English has to be the principal language. There are other states with more than one language such as Hawaii but to be a state of the United States, English has to be the principal language." HA HA that is not only ethically wrong; it is also factually wrong! There is no federal statute requiring English as an official or primary language as a condition of statehood.

GOOD JOB AS ALWAYS, RICK SANTORUM! I just can't get ENOUGH of watching you mangle law, history, religion, and decency on the campaign trail!

!Ricardo Santorum es una pesadilla de basura!

In related news, Rick Santorum suddenly has a better chance in Illinois, after failing to qualify for the ballot, since Mitt Romney's Illinois state campaign chair declined to challenge Santorum's failure to meet signature requirements in 10 of the state's 18 congressional districts. Guess why? If you guessed "because Romney picked some douche who wants to run for governor and thus doesn't want to piss off other Republicans in his state," give yourself 1,000 points! WELCOME TO ILLINOIS, MITT ROMNEY!

And, hey, when you're done having a pout in the parlor about how shitty your very shitty campaign is, pull yourself together and GET ON MESSAGE, any message at all, before the Republican Establishment actively facilitates a brokered convention and pays Jeb Bush a trillion dollars to accept the nomination.

Something something Ron Paul cutting a deal with Mitt Romney. Never has such a fine deal been struck since Ron Paul's granny, Ayn Rand Paul, struck a deal with the Titanic.

image of the sinking Titanic and a rowboat full of people, one of whom is saying 'You and me, kid! We'll take the whole world by storm, I tells ya!'

In other news, Newt Gingrich is a human being who is running for president in the United States of America, and he is "staying in this race." Great news for us all, I'm sure.

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

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Open Thread

Hosted by Dark Tower. OMG I am not worthy.

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Question of the Day

What was the last film you saw in the theater?

I'm pretty sure the last thing I saw in the theater was Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which I loved because: A. This scene literally had me writhing in my seat and giggle-screeching like a monkey for what felt like an eternity; and B. Say what you will about Tom Cruise (just don't say it here because it's not on-topic!), but the man is a classic movie star with a megawatt grin who is perfectly suited to fill the lead in a movie where he gets to say stuff like "woohoo!"

In a world full of chaos and dismay, his eminent competency at doing this:

Tom Cruise grinning and wearing sunglasses

—is as reassuring as it is happy-making. Good job, Tom Cruise!

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Photo of the Day

image of skier Lindsey Vonn, a young white woman, holding up a trophy
Lindsey Vonn of the USA takes the Overall Downhill World Cup globe during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill on March 14, 2012 in Schladming, Austria. [Getty Images]
Congratulations to Lindsey Vonn!

Let us hope Sports Illustrated's coverage of this event, provided it should deign to offer any, will be better than last time.

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Rooms of Our Own

It was already dark when we pulled into the parking lot of a local strip mall one night last week, and most of the businesses that lease space had already closed for the day. The gaming shop which had prompted our visit was next door to a Chinese buffet, the patrons of which were using all the parking spots for directly in front of both establishments. Iain, who just planned to run in quickly to see if they had a specific game, parked the car down the row, in front of the only other place with its lights still on, casting a golden glow into the dark lot.

It was a karate studio, the primary business of which was teaching beginners' classes to kids during after-school hours. In the evenings, it rented its space to other groups. This night, it was a zumba class.

"Look how much fun they're having," Iain said, with a sweet grin, just before he hopped out of the car.

Through the glass storefront, I saw a room full of women—black women, white women, and Latinas, women of all ages and shapes and sizes. Some of them wore scarves tied around their hips; some of them had long hair loosely tied up into buns; some of them moved like dancers, and others of them were stiff, but they were not self-conscious. They were smiling and laughing, and I could see some of them singing along to the lyrics of the unheard song to which they moved.

They were all having fun, in this room full of women, in this room devoid of men, where they felt safe and unjudged, moving their imperfect bodies in ways that made them feel strong, maybe, or sexy, or just plain old good. Look at how much fun they're having.

I was peering into a room of their own, into one room in a secret world of women that most men don't know, and not known to too many women who fear the woman-centered spaces plethoric narratives convey disincentives to us to avoid. The secret world of affirmative, safe, noncompetitive womanhood in which the makers of pop culture don't venture, save for the occasional tourist, even though rooms like this one are like oxygen in many women's lives, the only place we can really breathe.

I looked. I looked at how much fun they were having. And I wanted to be in there with them, shaking my hips, and suddenly tears were spilling down my cheeks, tears of joy and sisterhood and need, and tears of lamentation and regret for all the reasons I don't need to tell any woman who's reading this space these days.

And then Iain was coming back, so I wiped them away, because how can I communicate to him what it means to be half the world and still somehow how be in it? How can I even begin to describe what it means to be a woman, but not a person, not really, except among other women?

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Quote of the Day

"Republicans have morality upside down. Santorum, Gingrich, and even Romney are barnstorming across the land condemning gay marriage, abortion, out-of-wedlock births, access to contraception, and the wall separating church and state. But America's problem isn't a breakdown in private morality. It's a breakdown in public morality. What Americans do in their bedrooms is their own business. What corporate executives and Wall Street financiers do in boardrooms and executive suites affects all of us."—Robert Reich, explaining where the focus really should be in the morality debate.

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Let Us Consider the Issue Settled Then

image of Edie McClurg from 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles'

Everyone here is in agreement that Edie McClurg is a genius, right? Just checking.

For the record, if you disagree: La la la la I can't hear you.

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Number of the Day

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Ten: The number of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Attacks on Women's Rights compiled by EMILY's List.

Which, of course, are just the tip of an enormous iceberg of misogynist fuckery.

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Daily Dose of Cute

Earlier today, three little beggars followed me into the kitchen to see if they might, perchance, convince me to give them a little reward for being such GOOD GIRLS.

Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sits on the kitchen floor, looking up at me; Sophie the Torbie Cat sits on a kitchen chair, looking at me; Olivia the White Farmcat walks around on the kitchen table in the background

Zelda, mildly perturbed that Olivia couldn't get her shit together to competently perform her role in the Begging Trifecta of Cuteness, turns to Sophie and asks:

Zelda sits on the floor looking up at Sophie on the chair
"Is there anything you can do, Titchy?"

Sophie, an old pro at looking redonkulously cute in order to get whatever she wants whenever she wants it, responds, "Sure!" and sets to work.

Sophie climbing up the rungs of the chair toward me
"Give us things, Two-Legs!"

Do you think I gave them things? Of course I gave them things. I gave them ALL THE GOOD THINGS! Treats for everyone!

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Alcatraz Open Thread

image of Sarah Jones and Jorge Garcia trying to figure out their next move

Did you watch Alcatraz Monday night? What did you think of it? Did you love it? I did! I LOVED IT. I love it more every week!

Here are the Top 5 things I loved about it (some minor spoilers):

1. I love Det. Rebecca Madsen's and Dr. Diego Soto's Thinking Faces! (See above.)

2. I love Sarah Jones! I love her character, Det. Rebecca Madsen, soooooooooo much! I love that she is continually shown to be both a well-trained and very competent police officer, in both intellectual and physical ways. And I love that she is given the space to be both tough and kind, and serious and funny.

3. I love Jorge Garcia! I love his character, Dr. Diego Soto, soooooooooo much! I love that he is continually shown to be both a very knowledgeable expert on Alcatraz and also an endlessly curious student of Alcatraz, which is such a departure from "know-it-call" characters in similar shows. And I love that he is given the space to be both strong and vulnerable, and serious and funny.

4. I love the story! I am so in on this mystery! And I am SO ANGRY about incarcerated people being used as guinea pigs, because I know THAT HAPPENS. I am very fond of this show's ability to underline how violent and/or dangerous people can also be a vulnerable population. And 1,000 points for a storyline about a man of color being railroaded by the justice system. OMG this show. It is doing so many things right!

5. Everything else!

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Reproductive Rights Updates: AZ, KS, MS, NH, & OH

Well! Hasn't this just been a never-ending stream of fuckery? Here's the latest news:

In Arizona, the GOP wants to not only make it so an employer--of any sort--can refuse whatever insurance coverage they want for their employees, the GOP has also removed the clause that protected employees from being fired or otherwise discriminated against if that employee sought out the medication (or service) that the employer had refused to cover:

The Republicans who control the Arizona legislature are pushing through a bill that would make it OK for both religious and secular employers to deny coverage for contraception if the employers object for moral reasons.

But apparently that’s not all.

HB2625 in its current version also eliminates the following protection for employees:

“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”

In the most recent version of HB2625 (see it here) that provision is removed (scroll down to the very end).
This bill has already passed the House and has been approved by Senate committee.

When contacted about the clause removal, the bill's sponsor Rep. Debbie Lesko said that "it is not necessary".


Kansas, who can never seem to stand not being in the news for being Really Terrible, has recently revived looking at its singularly horrific anti-abortion bill because the language may cost Kansas University its accreditation for its ob/gyn program. Like with Wisconsin--under Scott Walker's budget bill, UW's accreditation came into question--anti-abortion fanatics show they simply do not care about the lives or health of people.
According to KU, accreditation requirements say that medical residents being trained as obstretrics-gynecologists must gain experience with induced abortion and complications due to abortion, unless they have a religious or moral objection. The residents gain this experience at facilities not owned or operated by the state.

One part of HB 2598 states: “no health care services provided by any state agency, or any employee of a state agency while acting within the scope of such employee’s employment, shall include abortion.”

When legislators reported that they were working with KU to solve this issue, the influential anti-abortion group, Kansans for Life, sounded the alarm.

"Time to end University of Kansas abortion training," said a call to action by Kansans for Life. Kathy Ostrowski, of Kansans for Life, said, "There is no professional reason that ob/gyn resident physicians have to learn how to destroy unborn children in order to achieve competency in pregnancy management, stillbirth evacuation or treating abortion complications."
Kathy Ostrowski clearly has nothing but contempt for actual life and zero understanding of medical care. As I said when I wrote about Wisconsin:

They like to point at pro-choice people and call them "pro-death" but pro-choicers aren't the ones condemning women to not have access to medical care or comprehensively trained physicians.

I've written about the extremely disturbing Kansas bill before but this really puts it all out here:

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Images in the River: Black Girl Dialogues

by Tami Winfrey Harris, who writes about race, feminism, politics, and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian's Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek,, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.

On March 31, Love Isn't Enough is teaming with a few of our Crunk Feminist friends to host a panel discussion about beginning dialogues with black girls about gender equality—Images in the River: Black Girl Dialogues.

Last year, Sheri Davis-Faulkner, Mashadi Matabane, Chanel Craft, and Asha French introduced 10 black teenage girls to feminism, as part of the National Women's Studies Association conference. They recounted the experience in a post on Crunk Feminist Collective.

During our Cover It Live event, Sheri, Mashadi, and Asha will be joined by Bianca Laureano, LIE contributor, to talk about planning, funding, and facilitating feminism 101 discussions for black girls. This is not just a conversation, but a call to action. Following the panel discussion, we encourage participants to host their own workshops and individual discussions with black girls and we invite them to share the process and outcomes on Love Isn't Enough so that others may learn from the efforts. (Details to come.)

This effort may be focused on black girls, but we appreciate the beauty and possibility in all girls. Everyone is welcome to contribute and learn from this conversation.

Read more here.

Will you help us spread the word? Tell everyone you know to help us create a valuable conversation about girls and gender equality.

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Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by PICKLEFINGER!!!

Recommended Reading:

Pam: More Opponents of North Carolina's Amendment One Should Stand Up and Say What Its Bigotry Is Really About

S.E.: Yet Another Preventable Prison Death [Content Note: The post at this link contains discussion of violence, neglect, and ablism.]

Mannion: On Being Catholic and a Mo [Content Note: The post at this link contains description of homophobic bullying and discussion of religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism.]

Blue Milk: Because Women's Equality Has Not Always Existed Like Grass and Trees...It Had to Be Fought For.

Andy: Jury Deliberations Begin in the Case of Tyler Clementi's Roommate, Dharun Ravi [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of the hate crime against Clementi.]

Michelle: The Denial of Life [Content Note: The post at this link includes discussion of eating, death, and fat hatred.]

Mike: Pictures From Last Night's Fire in Back Bay (Boston)

Megan: 'Friends with Kids:' Witty & Touching, But Not a Feminist Extravaganza

Melissa: [VIDEO] Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk: Meryl Streep Saluting Hillary Clinton

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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Garbage Treasures

First off, let me apoligize in advance for my face. It's in the post and there is little I can do about it now. So, please keep your complaints about it to yourselves. Or at least direct them toward my father and his DNA.

Anyway... Look what came in the mail recently:

picklefinger toy

What is that, you ask? It's a picklefinger. Obviously. Obviously? Yes, obviously. And what is a picklefinger? Duh. It's a pickle designed to be worn on the finger.

Like so:

seeky and picklefinger toy

See? A pickle. On a finger. Picklefinger. Why did Liss send this to me? I don't know. Do you know? No. You do not know. No one knows. It is a mystery wrapped in an enigma inside a jiffy mailer.

Bonus image:


That's me using the picklefinger in a manner not endorsed by PickleCo Picklefinger Manufacturers. "So enjoy!"

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

This Mortal Coil: "Song to the Siren"

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Friends At Lunch

Here comes my usual gang of visitors to dine at the avian salad bar in my front yard.

(Click to embiggen.)

Ibises and Muscovy ducks are my version of robins on the lawn here in South Florida.

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More News from the Conservative Legislation Lab

by Chris Savage, the owner of and primary contributor to Eclectablog. His work has been featured on The Rachel Maddow Show, The Ed Show, and Politics Nation. His writing has appeared in The Nation magazine and he contributes to Angry Black Lady Chronicles, The People's View, and is a front-page writer for Blogging for Michigan. Eclectablog was voted the 2010 "Diarist of the Year" at Daily Kos.

I have been following the outfall from the passage of Michigan's Public Act 4 of 2011—the Emergency Manager law—since it passed in March of last year. Public Act 4 was the third iteration of what used to be called the Emergency Financial Manager law in my state, and this new version went far beyond its predecessors in terms of giving nearly dictatorial control to one unelected individual with the ability to break contracts with unions and service providers, sell off public assets, set educational plans and even do away with local governments entirely.

Because it is seen by many, including me, as anti-democratic, union-busting, and a powerful vehicle for the privatization of as many public services and assets as possible, I have been fearful that this model would be taken to other states.

That time has now come. Last week, the Indiana legislature passed an Emergency Manager law for their state.

The legislation was first voted out of the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy in mid-January. At the end of January, it passed the Senate with only a single "no" vote. And, finally, last week, it passed the Indiana House with not a single "no" vote.

Under the bill, (Senate Bill 355), should it be signed into law by Governor Mitch Daniels, Emergency Managers have the power to, among other things, do the following:

  • Review existing labor contracts
  • Renegotiate existing labor contracts and act as an agent of the political subdivision in collective bargaining.
  • Reduce or suspend salaries of the political subdivision's employees.
  • Enter into agreements with other political subdivisions for the provision of services.
The bill differs in a few significant ways from Michigan's Public Act 4. First, the "political subdivision" must request a designation as "distressed" by filing a petition with the Distressed Unit Appeal Board. In Michigan, a "financial emergency" can be called by the state itself and does not require the municipality or school district to ask first.

Second, it does not allow the Emergency Manager to dismiss the entire elected government or even eliminate the municipality or school district as Michigan's law does. However, it does allow them to "assume and exercise the authority and responsibilities of both the executive and the fiscal body of the political subdivision concerning the adoption, amendment, and enforcement of ordinances and resolutions relating to or affecting the fiscal stability of the political subdivision."

Finally, if passed into law, Indiana's Emergency Mangers would report to the chairperson of the Distressed Unit Appeal Board rather than the State Treasurer as in Michigan.

That said, Michigan's Emergency Manager law went through two previous incarnations before it ended up where it is today. If you are in Indiana, I highly suggest you follow this closely. It's a very slippery slope that can lead to anti-democratic disenfranchisement of the state's poorest residents. All it took in Michigan was for GOP majorities on both houses of the legislature and in the governor's office to make it more anti-democratic, anti-union, and pro-privatization.

I probably don't need to remind you that this is exactly the same political situation now in place in Indiana.

[NOTE: this post contains content previously posted at Eclectablog. You can follow Eclectablog on Twitter here and "like" the Eclectablog Facebook page here.]

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

And by "worst," I mean LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL THE BEST!!! because never has the irony of sharing the moniker "Shakers" with the eighteenth-century religious sect been more glorious than in this moment:

screencap of headline of article at Forbes, reading 'Are Radical Feminists Shakers Without the Furniture?'

And the headline is, of course, only the beginning of the colossal pile of awesome that is this article, in which author Bill Frezza argues that "when radical feminists publicly demand that their right to worry-free fornication be subsidized via a new government-enforced entitlement aggressively shoved down the throats of religious institutions in direct contravention to their principles, heedlessly trampling the First Amendment, it's time to use scorn and ridicule to fight back."

Fornication! FORNICATION!!!

He then, after making what he admits is a tenuous comparison between radical feminists and the religious Shakers known for their furniture, demands: "Hey Sandra, show us your furniture."


True Fact: I keep a fainting couch IN MY VAGINA.

image of fainting couch

Just in case any testerical gentlemen who faint dead away at the thought of women et. al. controlling our reproduction need a place to lie down.

[H/T to @JessicaValenti and @scATX.]

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Chapter 1, page 2: "Eighty-six thousand four hundred nonrefundable seconds every day. Use them or lose them."

Now watch this drive!

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Primarily Horrendo

image of Rick Santorum on a patriotic background under a banner reading 'Winner! Winner!' and flanked by two stars reading 'WTF?!'

Welp, the groundhog came out of his hole yesterday, went to the polls, and cast his vote for Rick Santorum, thus forecasting six more weeks of primary. Santorum, the rightwingiest rightwinger who has ever rightwinged across America in a branded sweater vest, won the crucial primaries in Alabama and Mississippi last night. Worse yet for Mitt Romney, he did not even come in second in either state; Newt Gingrich did. Romney came in third. Or, as those of us who, unlike Ron Paul, have realized Ron Paul is not a viable candidate call it: Dead last.

He did, however, win Hawaii.

The problem is that Mitt Romney didn't need to win Hawaii. He needed to win Alabama and Mississippi—or at least come in a close second. Whooooooops! Santorum beat him by 3% in Mississippi and 6% in Alabama. That's not losing by a nose unless, perhaps, it's Dudley's nose.

image of Dudley the Greyhound with impossibly long nose saying 'Leave Me Outta This'

Romney is not doing well among women, which is no big surprise since he says things like: "Planned Parenthood, we're gonna get rid of that [when I'm president]." The Republican candidates are so far right on reproductive rights issues that one imagines the only women who turn out to vote for them are the ones who subscribe to a QuiverFull-style ideal of womanly submission, which would make Rick Santorum the only candidate retrofucky enough to deserve their Jesus-approved votes.

Santorum knows he can't steal this thing from Romney in earnest with Gingrich still hanging around, though, so he would like Gingrich to GTFO please and thank-you. Gingrich, of course, is all, "Ha ha have we met?" He is not going anywhere, as long as Romney's still in it to win it.

So, that's where we stand. Romney can't win the South, and Santorum can't win in any state that's reasonably purple, which means both of them would be weak in a general election. The Republican Establishment may view the best way to win as smashing them together on the same ticket, even though they clearly despise each other. That's what happened in 1980, when St. Ronald Reagan and his fierce primary competitor George H.W. Bush, both of whom would have happily decided the contest with a pistol duel given the opportunity, found themselves on the same ticket.

And I'm sure we all remember what happened next!

image of Ronald Reagan standing in front of flags grinning proudly, to which I have added text reading 'I used to be in movies with monkeys!'

Despite my jokes about how any one of these assholes will definitely lose to President Obama, I don't actually take that for granted. There was a hell of a lot of, "He'll never win!" about two-term Republican president Ronald Reagan, and there was a hell of a lot of, "He'll never win!" about two-term Republican president George W. Bush. And caveats about the Supreme Court's appointment of Bush notwithstanding, if Gore had won in a landslide, I'd be writing this from my hydroelectric-powered green-hut on the recently discovered Planet E2, made possible by the trillions spent on SCIENCE in the last decade+, rather than from my shitty energy-inefficient office powered by a crumbling infrastructure in a state bankrupted by Bush's former budget director.

(This is all true.)

So, while it's a fact that a Romney-Santorum, or ha ha Santorum-Romney omg, ticket would be a fucking joke, it's not the sort at which one snorts derisively if one has any sense. It's more like a joke that manifests as night terrors from which you awaken laugh-screaming and wondering how you stumbled into a David Lynchian nightmarescape where the only thing that makes sense anymore is Isabella Rossellini's crooked blonde wig.

ANYWAY! In good news, President Obama's approval rating is back up to 50%. He must be sooooo grateful to all the Republican candidates for being just the grossest garbage monsters! "Send them all thank you notes and tell them I'M SO WELL-RESTED from campaigning by NOT SAYING ANYTHING."—President Barack Obama.

Also: Sarah Palin wants to debate Obama. LOL. Sure.

Next Stop: Missouri! (Again.)

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

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Open Thread

Hosted by Jaws: The Game.

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Question of the Day

What's for dinner?

(Or whatever the next meal is you'll be eating on your part of the rock.)

I dunno yet. Probably tofu and veg in a Thai curry sauce, provided I can be arsed to make the curry sauce. If not: Salad!

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Photo of the Day

Newt Gingrich holds up his hand in a 'zero' gesture
"What is 'the number of shits I give about Newt Gingrich's candidacy,' Alex?"

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Rape culture; clergy abuse; Christian Supremacy.]

"SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church. ... I can't give you the names, but there's a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don't need altar boys. The church has been too quick to write a check, and I think they've realized it would be a lot less expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one."Bill Donohue, the one-man "Catholic League" whom the media continues to treat as if he represents anyone but himself, on how the Catholic Church should get tough with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Yep, that's right. Bill Donohue actually just said the Catholic Church should fight survivors of rape one by one. Ya know, to save money.

True Fact: Bill Donohue once called me a "brat" on national television. He's GREAT!

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Chapter 1, page 1: "Most lives have defining moments. Moments that forever change you. Moments that set you on a different course. Moments of recognition so vivid and so clear that everything later seems different."

Moments when you realize how easily a book could be dropped behind a couch. Or into a garbage can.

Shakers, that is how this book opens. We are in for a long and terrible ride.

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Daily Dose of Cute

The dogs are so happy to have some warmth and sunshine! They just want to be outside all day, and who can blame them—it's a gorgeous day. I've never known a dog who loves lying in the sun as much as Dudley.

image of Dudley the Greyhound lying in the grass with his eyes closed

Zelly, of course, is just content to sit there grinning, as per usual. Happiest dog on the planet.

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in the grass grinning

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Community Reminders

1. The Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 section are required reading before commenting. If you have not read them, please do.

2. The best way to send tips if you'd like me, or another contributor, to write about something is to email me. If you are unable to send an email, please don't leave tips in any old thread. There is an Open Thread provided every day, and tips should be left there to avoid derailing other threads.

Also: If you are leaving a heads-up about a story that contains potentially triggering subject matter, please be sure to include a content note. It's difficult to write about something by which one has been triggered, even if it's normally something about which we'd write, so trying to get something in our faces in a provocative way is actually counterproductive if you want a thread on it.

3. Arguing with the moderators about moderation is a violation of the commenting policy.

4. Please remember that you are not commenting into a void. You are responding to posts that have been thoughtfully authored by actual people, who are often writing about their actual lived experiences.

You are also one of thousands of commenters, as well as readers who contact us via email. Your one passive-aggressive insult, your one pedantic nitpick with embedded judgment, your one accusation of bad faith because, hey, you're having a bad day, your one assertion that the rules don't apply to you, surely, since you're a long-time reader, your one demand that we explain an easily googlable fact for you, your one request we fix your comment for formatting or the addition of a content note or removal of inappropriate language, your one request we do more work, or work on demand, or do something differently because the way we do it isn't the way you would, your one "to be fair" when no one was being unfair, your one "I don't always agree with everything here, but" as if anyone does or expects everyone to, your one "I'll probably get killed for this, but" as if disagreement is disallowed in this space, your one mischaracterization as "disagreement" that which is actually bad faith or some other violation of the commenting policy, or any other variation on the above is not just one, but is, in fact, ALSO one of thousands.

And your "joke" disguised as a criticism of our writing, your "fixed that for you!" with our carefully chosen words crossed out and replaced to make a cheap "joke" at the expense of our hard work, your "you forgot" that turns your desire to add something into our failure to include what you want to see in our work, and all the other little frustratingly common rhetorical devices ubiquitously used in internet commenting that devalues the writing of the people whose work creates the very spaces in which you demean it to make jokes or score points, are also, each, just one of thousands.

Please remember that you are not commenting into a void. Comments are, especially in a community like this, a conversation between writer and reader, at least in part. We like being a group that participates in comments with our readership, but it's difficult when there is a lot of casual cruelty, unreasonable demands, and unnecessary nitpicking.

If I get my facts wrong, if I need to be alerted to a typo or a broken link or some other mistake, cool. I appreciate that. But I don't need to hear how I'm Doing It Wrong, where "wrong" equals some value of "differently than you would like," and how I need to do more, and more, and more. And then how I need to use a nicer tone when I say no.

We are held to extraordinary standards here, and that's awesome. We will keep trying to live up to them (and keep failing, no doubt). There is, however, a difference between expecting us to generally succeed and encouraging us to always do better, which is a gift, and expecting us to be perfect, and be 50,000 competing and often conflicting versions of perfect, at that, which is a nightmare.

Thank you, and carry on.

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Today in Your Feminist Backlash

[Content Note: Reproductive rights; misogyny.]

1. A six-day arc in the long-running comic strip "Doonesbury," which follows a woman getting an abortion, is being relocated from the LA Times' comics page to the op-ed page.

In the strips, a young woman at an abortion clinic is chastised by a male legislator who calls her a "slut," and a doctor rebukes her by reading a scripted greeting from Texas Gov. Rick Perry in advance of her "compulsory transvaginal exam." While awaiting the exam, the woman is placed in a "shaming room."

"We felt the story line was a little over the top for a comics page," said Alice Short, a Times assistant managing editor.
I'm pretty sure pro-choice female readers are already well aware of the legislation being passed to curb the bodily autonomy of women et. al., and literally cannot escape (short of leaving the country) the campaign of violent misogyny being waged from every statehouse and virtually every source of mainstream media, so basically the Times is worried about offending the delicate sensibilities of their anti-choice and/or cis male readership. What a terrible thing it would be if they had A MOMENT OF DISCOMFORT WHILE READING THE FUNNY PAGES while people with uteri are rendered property of the state inch by fucking inch!

2. A Georgia legislator (GUESS WHAT PARTY! GO AHEAD AND JUST GUESS!), who just coincidentally happens to be a dude, gave a speech in support of HB 954, "which makes it illegal to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks even if the woman is known to be carrying a stillborn fetus or the baby is otherwise not expected to live to term," in which he "compared women seeking abortions of stillborn fetuses to cows and pigs. ... He then delivered an anecdote to the chamber in which a young man who was apparently opposed to legislation outlawing chicken fighting said he would give up all of his chickens if the legislature simply took away women's right to an abortion." GREAT STORY!

3. Via Maria at 2 Political Junkies, here is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Women in the World Summit, having to, in the year two thousand and fucking twelve, talk about how extremists still want to control women and the most basic aspects of our lives:

Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn't matter what country they're in or what religion they claim—they all want to control women. They want to control how we dress; they want to control how we act; they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and our own bodies. Yes, it is hard to believe, but even here at home, we have to stand up for women's rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us because America needs to set an example for the entire world.
Not for nothing, but it's hard for America to "set an example for the entire world" when its leader won't even give this idea the most cursory lip service.

You know, I genuinely don't like playing the What If Alternate Universe game about a Hillary Clinton presidency, because it's usually a waste of goddamn time. No one can know for certain what her presidency would have looked like, and, particularly in the foreign policy arena, it probably would have looked frustratingly the same.

But there is one thing I know as well as I know my own fucking name, and that is this: There is no way in hell that President Hillary Clinton would have remained silent while Republicans waged a war on women.

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The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Gun violence; self-harm.]

image of Carl walking through the woods
"Here, Carl—take this gun and shoot me with it, then shoot everyone
else with it, then dip it in gold and give it to Frank Darabont."

(Spoilers lurch undeadly herein.)

Ugh, this show. UGH. Once again, the part of my critique of this week's episode will be played by an excerpt from Deeky's and my text conversation had whilst watching the final climactic scene (or what settles for climactic in this show):

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Al Hirt: "Java"

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