The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Pro-Choice Pub'
[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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Today in Amazing Things

Earlier in the week, I read this article about how the first time Tommy Lee Jones met Jim Carrey, the former didn't like the latter on sight and when Carrey asked Jones why, he replied, "I cannot sanction your buffoonery."

Which is basically the most amazing thing that any human being has ever said to another human being.

I mean, if someone just walked up to me and told me "I cannot sanction your buffoonery," I wouldn't even be offended. I would be awed.

Obviously, this is totally going to be my new standard response to trolls.

Something something antifeminist trope. I CANNOT SANCTION YOUR BUFFOONERY. Something something rape apologia. I CANNOT SANCTION YOUR BUFFOONERY. Something something anti-choice nonsense. I CANNOT SANCTION YOUR BUFFOONERY.

image of Tommy Lee Jones scowling, to which I have added text reading: 'I cannot sanction your buffoonery.'


For the record: Please let it be known hereafter that I do not have "resting bitch face." I have "resting I cannot sanction your buffoonery face."

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Quote of the Day

"I wish the whole world could see how beautiful it is for these two people who are committed to each other to be recognized legally. ...Whatever anyone else choses to accept or believe, I know in my heart we have as much love as any other family, and that now no one can take that away from us."—Emma Meents, on her dads' marriage.

When people opposed to same-sex marriage say "What about the children?" I think about children like Emma Meents. Yes, what about the children indeed?

[H/T to my friend A.]

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by green apples.

Recommended Reading:

Andrea: [Content Note: Misogynist terrorism] How to Talk to Your Guy Friends About Not Threatening to Rape and Murder Women on the Internet

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred] Solving the Obesity Epidemic in One Simple Step

BYP: [CN: Racism] Man Released After Serving 15 Years Behind Bars for Crime He Didn't Commit

Brendan: [CN: Violence; anti-immigrationism] Feds Found Ammonium Nitrate, AK-47 In Militia Leader's Hotel Room

Ife: [CN: Class warfare] State Welfare Benefits Continue Shrinking

Daxle: [CN: Discussion of eating; oppression; food insecurity] Social Barriers to Intuitive Eating

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

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Why I Vote

[Content Note: Voter suppression.]

This is why I always vote, no matter how disillusioned and alienated and disgusted I may feel. Because, in Indiana, there are people who desperately want to vote, and can't, because of our horrendous, contemptible voting ID law.

Even when I can hardly be arsed to vote for my own self, I vote for them.

(Please note that I am speaking about my choice, and I am not implicitly suggesting that it must be yours. Your vote is your own. If you are fortunate enough to have one.)

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat all curled up in a ball atop a pillow on the couch
Lady Olivia Snugglesworth.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Update on Jian Ghomeshi Allegations

[CN: intimate partner violence, sexual assaults, BDSM imagery, disbelief of survivors.]

There have been a number of new developments related to the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi.

Lawyer and author Reva Seth stepped forward yesterday under her own name with a new allegation of assault against Ghomeshi.

Lucy Decoutere, who previously stepped forward under her own name with her story, has seen an an outpouring of support on Twitter and from her Trailer Park Boys castmates.

(Of course, there are still people demanding that survivors must report to the police or be disbelieved. Former Crown prosecutor Sandy Garassino has helpfully laid out why that’s bullshit.)

Ghomeshi said in a Facebook post that he would ”meet allegations directly,” whatever that means.

Carleton University has launched an investigation into their student field placements at Q. This is apparently a response to the discovery of Tweets dating back to April referencing Ghomeshi and accusing him of assaulting multiple Carleton undergraduates.

The CBC has offered counseling to employees and hired a third party investigator to look into the claims against Ghomeshi.

That’s especially important since one of the claims is from a former employee who describes reporting sexual harassment at the CBC, and getting nowhere. Let’s hope the new investigation is a tad more helpful.

Meanwhile, both current and former CBC management are staying mum. The union representing CBC employees, who are also accused of dropping the ball when alerted of the harassment allegations, are similarly tight-lipped.

ETA: The Globe and Mail has a story tracing the lead-up to Ghomeshi's firing here, which may shed some light on what the CBC brass were thinking, and why Ghomeshi's "evidence" of consent may not have been convincing.

Ghomeshi has been dropped as a client by Navigator, the “crisis management” PR firm he recently retained, and Rockit Promotions, who have represented him for several years.

An anonymous source from Navigator says this is because Ghomeshi lied to them when he sought representation. Colour me unshocked.

But Amanda Palmer is standing by him. What an asshole. [ETA: with much tone-argument, she has relented and uninvited Ghomeshi from her upcoming Toronto show.]

If there are more developments over the weekend, I will try to report them here. As ever, please remember to keep this space safe.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Kermit the Frog: "Bein' Green"

This week's TMNS have been brought to you by songs with colorful titles.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War on agency] Black women are organizing against Tennessee's "highly controversial and extreme anti-choice ballot initiative" Amendment 1, which, if passed, would give "state lawmakers the power to enact, amend, or repeal state laws regulating abortion by writing into the state constitution language that includes, 'nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.'" Says SisterReach founder and CEO Cherisse Scott: "We stand today because pending legislation has the potential to send women back to the back alleys where we died from unsafe and unsanitary abortions." SisterReach is one of many women's organizations involved in the fight against the horrendous Amendment 1. I love Scott's absolutely blunt statement on what's at stake.

[CN: Racism; eliminationist violence] What the absolute fuck: "A North Carolina math teacher is under investigation for allegedly telling a student that 'if she had 10 days to live, she would kill all black people.' ...WAVY-TV's Jason Marks reports that 'several students' told the 'same story' to investigators. [Camden County High School math teacher Cynthia Ramsey], who is head of the math department, was suspended with pay. A few days later, however, Ramsey returned to the classroom. ...Ramsey has the potential to face criminal charges, but that decision is in the hands of the district attorney. The local school board will reportedly discuss this incident in a few weeks." Well, don't strain yourselves with urgency or anything.

[CN: Homophobia; transphobia; disablism] In good news: "The Philadelphia City Council has unanimously approved a measure that would provide additional penalties for crimes motivated by hatred regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, or disabilities." Naturally, the good news is contingent upon those crimes actually being acknowledged for what they are and prosecuted accordingly.

[CN: Rape apologia] I haven't heard the name Dennis Prager in awhile, and it's no surprise that, hearing it again, it's because the conservative radio host has said something completely terrible: "At a rally to get out the vote for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Tuesday, conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager called the issue of campus sexual assault 'a big lie' invented by 'the feminist left.' ...'Culture of Rape? No. I'll tell you why it exists on the campus, and that is: a rape of the culture.'" Rick Scott must be so thrilled. It continues to be a mystery why Republicans don't have the female vote locked down.

[CN: Food insecurity] Welp: "A small town outside Pittsburgh is getting a new, unusual grocery shopping option. Denise Marte is opening a store that will sell dented cans, bent boxes, and expired packages of food and other necessities at cut-rate prices in Rural Valley, PA." Grocery stores known as "food salvage stores," which "buy damaged goods that traditional retailers refuse," are increasingly not unusual in the US. And they're a good idea, since the food is regulated and what's sold is perfectly good. (Some grocery stores have long sold this exact kind of food in-store at discounted prices.) "Necessity is the mother of invention, and America's neediest families are indeed innovative about staying fed." Food should be a right. Fuck.

[CN: Animal endangerment] Here's an interesting piece on the elephant crisis in Africa, and what some humans are doing in order to try to combat it.

Beautiful: "A Stunning View of Sunlit Seas on Titan."

I am not a Hiddleston-head (I don't dislike him at all, but I'm just not wild for him like SOME PEOPLE I KNOW), but SOME PEOPLE I KNOW are major Hiddleston-heads, and, if you are one of those people, then you might enjoy this news: "AMC Lands Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston Limited Series 'Night Manager.'"

And finally! You can't break this cat's concentration, so don't even try, pal!

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Here We Go Again

[Content Note: Fat hatred; disablism; misogyny.]

Professional fat-shamer Katie Hopkins decided to gain and then lose 50 pounds in order to "prove" that fat people cannot be happy and that fat people are liars if they say they can't lose weight.

The TV personality said that after years of relentlessly reminding overweight people that if they just tried a little bit, they too could be skinny. A live TV moment triggered her to finally do something to take her anti-fat theories to an extreme.

During her appearance on the "Late Late Show" back in February, Hopkins was torn apart for her bullying.

"I don't believe you can be fat and happy. I think that's just a cop out," she said on the show in response to the critics. "It's living a lie. It's not having the balls to cope with things and make a conscious effort to say, 'I'm going to do something about the state I've gotten myself in.'"

Just then, a 250 pound woman in the audience stood up and said she actually was fat and happy. Hopkins claims this is the moment that inspired her to prove the "fat and sloppy" woman, and everyone else who is overweight, wrong.
screen cap of a tweet authored by Katie Hopkins reading: 'For my new American friends. Fat and Back is my journey to prove fat people are lazy and eat too much. I gained 50lbs to prove a point'

So Hopkins set about gaining weight by eating nearly 6,500 calories a day. Which of course is not the typical caloric intake of any person, fat or otherwise. And once she had gained about 50 pounds, and found herself miserable, as anyone with a pathological hatred of fat people would be, she declared her experiment a success. She had definitively proven that fat people can't be happy, because she wasn't happy.

screen cap of a tweet authored by Katie Hopkins reading: 'Good morning good people of Britain. And to my fat friends - how are we doing? Continuing to live in denial? Or deciding to get a grip?'

Fat people who claim to be happy are thus crazy liars.

And the entire thing was documented on camera, naturally, and will air in the United States as a TV series titled Fat and Back. Because what fat people need is for people who bully and harass us to have more ammunition to use against us. Terrific.

I've already said everything I have to say about people who imagine that it's impossible to be fat and happy. I'm never going to convince someone like Katie Hopkins that I'm content, so I won't even bother trying.

What a waste of my emotional energy to try to convince someone who believes I'm a delusional liar if I express my own genuine lived experience.

I do, however, want to point out that this is a basic form of oppression: To deny even the possibility of people's authentic emotional expression by deeming it a lie, deeming it evidence of not having a grip on reality, before they even speak.

And this, too, is a basic form of oppression: To privilege the pronouncements of someone who is not part of a marginalized community over the reported lived experiences of the people who are, even if that person readily admits to despising us.

Finally, once more I will note that this seething hatred is simply about the way we look. It is not about our health. If any of the people who engage in this vile garbage were the slightest bit concerned about our health, they would:

1. Care about our emotional health, and the deleterious effect it has on one's overall health to be constantly policed and bullied.

2. Stop trying to demonize our bodies and shame us for having them, and instead get on board with the idea that there is little incentive to take care of a body you hate, that fat hatred is a barrier to seeking care, that fat hatred kills.

The reason Hopkins can't imagine for a moment that I am happy with my body is that she is so unhappy with my body. That isn't about my health. That's about rank hatred.

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Well, Happy Halloween, if you care about it! Are you going to any parties, or having a party? Are you taking anyone trick-or-treating? Do you get lots of trick-or-treaters? If you're wearing a costume for any reason this Halloween, what is it? Discuss!

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Open Thread

image of a display of many different colors of yarn

Hosted by yarn.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Bearpaw01: "What food combination do you like that most people think is weird? (E.g., pickles, peanut butter, and hot sauce sandwich.)"

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Purple Haze"

'Scuse me while I kiss this guy.

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Headline of the Day

[Content Note: Class warfare.]

Number of Billionaires Has Doubled Since the Financial Crisis.

The super-rich club has become less exclusive, with the amount of billionaires doubling since the financial crisis, according to a report from global charity Oxfam. There were 1,645 billionaires globally as of March 2014, according to Forbes data cited in the Oxfam report, up from 793 in March 2009.

...The report 'Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality' noted that the world's richest 85 people saw their wealth jump by a further $668 million per day collectively between 2013 and 2014, which equates to half a million dollars a minute.
Cool. How's everyone else doing?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound caught mid-sneeze, to which I have added text reading: 'AHHHH-CHOO!'

image of Dudley looking at the camera, to which I have added text reading: 'You didn't just take a picture of that, did you?'

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Good Grief

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is still considered to be a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, and I have no idea why. As soon as voters get a look at what this guy is really like, they're going to see what a reprehensible bully he is, and, although there is certainly a contingent of voters who get off on that sort of thing, it didn't work for John McCain and it ain't gonna work for Chris Christie.

In the last two days, I have seen a video of Christie screaming at a Superstorm Sandy victim who was interrupting a press conference to "sit down and shut up," and another video of Christie responding to a reporter saying he may have to fight his Ebola quarantine policy in court with: "Well, whatever. Get in line. I've been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I'm happy to take it on."

Trying to explain this sort of shit with "my comments are never almost universally interpreted the way I mean them" is only going to go so far. There's lot a lot of room for nuance in "sit down and shut up."

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Discussion Thread: Whispered Warnings

[Content Note: Sexual harassment and abuse.]

Last night, after reading Melissa Martin's terrific piece, "Do You Know About Jian?", which Aphra also linked below, I was texting with Jessica Luther about it, and I told her: Reading that piece, I was thinking about all the professional (and educational, and social, and other) spaces in which women whisper warnings to each other about men who have already hurt women or have sent up red flags that they might hurt women.

And then I thought about the traditional professional spaces in which I've worked, and how, in each one, the women have whispered warnings to each other about certain men. And, in those same spaces, (some) men have whispered about which women were "easy."

Women whisper about which men will try to take advantage of us, while (some) men whisper about the women they can take advantage of.

That's a pretty stark disparity between many women's and men's experiences of shared spaces.

Later, Jess tweeted: "I would bet almost every single woman can think of a man that she has had to whisper warnings about."

I have written previously on my experience of male coworkers about whom women in the office whispered warnings. They are two of many about whom I could write.

I've warned and/or been warned about coworkers. Classmates. Peers in social groups. Participants in gaming groups. Family members.

I suspect, like Jess, that nearly every woman has a story she could tell.

Here is a space to tell them, if you are so inclined.

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Follow Up: More Women Speak About Jian Ghomeshi

[CN: physical abuse, sexual assault, verbal abuse, BDSM discussion, rape apologia]

More women have come forward with allegations against Jian Ghomeshi. One woman, actor and Royal Canadian Air Force captain Lucy Decoutere, agreed to use her name. (Decoutere is best known for her recurring role on Trailer Park Boys as "Lucy.") In her statement to the Toronto Star, Decoutere describes abuse similar to previous allegations:

She first met Ghomeshi at a barbecue at a Banff television festival in 2003. They chatted and, in time, she visited Toronto and they had dinner at a restaurant on the Danforth. She recalls him telling her how famous he was and “how lucky you are to be with me.” They went back to his house in Riverdale. DeCoutere said they began making out and then she alleges he pushed her against the wall, choked her with his hands around her neck and then slapped her three times.

“That was something I had never experienced before,” DeCoutere said. She left his house shortly after that in a taxi. “It did not escalate; it stopped,” she said.

If you have the spoons, I recommend reading all of the women's accounts. They are depressingly familiar, and must have been very difficult to talk about. The CBC has a longer interview with Decoutere here.

In addition, yet another woman was interviewed on CBC's "As It Happens."

And also, the Huffington Post reports that a Twitter account called "Big Ears Teddy" made detailed allegations against Ghomeshi in Apil. "Big Ears Teddy" is referred to in in some of the allegations made in The Star's pice. It is the name of Ghomeshi's stuffed teddy bear that he keep in the bdroom. According to their accounts, he has referenced it during their encounters, turning the bear away so he cannot "see" what's going on. The Twitter account predates those allegations; its tweets about Ghomeshi come from April of this year.

Eight. Nine. Ten, if the Twitter account is not from one of the women who have come forward. Ten women. I am sure there will be more.

I know that misogyny is infinite, so what should be more and more evidence that Ghomeshi is an abuser will be turned around and used as evidence that more and more women are angry, evil deceitful harpies.

This should also be damning evidence about how many women (correctly) deduce that the legal system will be of absolutely no help if they are assaulted (a) by a famous man (b) on a date (c) after they have consented to ANY contact with said man.

Yet I know, depressingly, that this will simply be used to task MORE individual women with solving a systemic problem, blaming them for not going to the police without the TINIEST bit of empathy for how difficult and useless that is, how much MORE they will likely be hurt by the system itself.

If you've not read it, Melissa Martin has a brilliant piece about people "knowing about" Jian Ghomeshi, and all the ways it's made near-impossible to really "do anything" about people like him. And I want to know: how many women have to come forward before we CAN start Doing Something? How many women have to get hurt before those misogynistic assumptions and misogynistic systems get shaken? Eight? Nine? Ten? A dozen? Two dozen?

It should be one. But it sure seems like infinity.

[H/t to Liss for Melissa's piece.]

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War on agency] Fuck fuck fuck: "The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately. ...The clinic may decide to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court." I'm sure there will be a lot of weighing whether appealing the decision would be wise, given the current ideological make-up of the court. To have this one go the wrong way at the Supreme Court would be devastating.

[CN: War on agency] Meanwhile: "Chances are good that, if Republicans seize control of the U.S. Senate on Election Day, they will try to push through a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks' gestation nationwide." You know I am not in the business of telling people how, or whether, to vote. But if you're in the US and on the fence about voting in the midterms, well, this is a pretty compelling reason to head to the polls.

Protests, protests everywhere:

* In Spain, "a massive feminist strike paralyzed the streets of Barcelona, with thousands of women and their allies shutting down traffic and the subways, spray-painting feminist slogans all over city walls and occupying the offices of powerful political and economic institutions." The protest "brought together more than 600 different feminist and community groups over the course of a year of organizing that culminated in one riot grrrl-like takeover of Barcelona." Wow!

* In Burkina Faso, demonstrators have taken to the streets in protest of a planned (and now canceled) parliament vote which "would have paved the way for extending the president's 27-year rule."

* In Hungary, 100,000 people protested a per-megabyte tax on Internet traffic proposed by the government. "The issue has come to stand for the alienation of Hungarians from the mainstream political parties, and has left the government backpedalling, now offering to cap the maximum monthly tax bill at about $3/connection—down from the approximately $294 that the original proposal would have levied on each household (this being equal to the monthly rent on a nice apartment in Budapest)."

* In Hong Kong, a photo booth with a yellow backdrop is being used to try to capture the spirit of the now month-long democratic protest. "'We wanted to use what we know to get involved in this movement, to let people know what is happening here. Because in the news, people will see some violent actions involved and maybe in our photos, we show other faces of the people here,' explained Max Wong, one of the organisers."

* In Minnesota, thousands of protestors are expected to participate in a protest of the Washington R*dskins team name, when they show up to play the Vikings.

* In New York, hundreds of students protested Columbia University's mishandling (ahem) of rape cases, in solidarity with Emma Sulkowicz, who pledged to carry her mattress around campus until her rapist is expelled.

[CN: Illness] In other news, Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was forcibly quarantined in an unheated tent in New Jersey for three days after returning from working with Ebola patients, went for a bike ride, so cue everyone losing their shit.

[CN: Sexual violence; war on agency] Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich "repeatedly refused to answer questions about why he signed into law a budget that included a provision prohibiting state-funded rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services." Huh. Maybe that's because there's literally no legitimate reason to have done such a thing.

[CN: Sexual violence] Roman Polanski was questioned in Poland but "Deputy Foreign Minister Rafal Trzaskowski said the charges against Polanski have expired in Poland, providing no grounds for an extradition." Shocking.

[CN: Misogynist terrorism] Anita Sarkeesian was on The Colbert Report last night. Yay!

And finally! This story about Lentil, a French bulldog who was born with a cleft palate who has become a therapy dog for children with craniofacial differences, is pretty much the best thing ever. Lentil got surgery to correct his functional issue, thus allowing him to eat and drink on his own, but not to correct his physical difference, so children with facial differences can bond with a dog who also has facial differences. Blub.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Sexual and domestic violence; failure to support survivors.]

"The negative impact of college dating abuse is not limited to a survivor's academic career. There can be a literal cost to being a victim. I have more than $80,000 in private student loan debt used to attend a school that didn't care that I had been raped and abused. Think paying back your student loans is traumatic? Trying doing it when every payment reminds you of your abuser."—Wagatwe Wanjuki, in a powerful and intimate piece about the costs to students when colleges fail to seriously address gender-based violence, in flagrant violation of Title IX.

Wagatwe's writing and activism on this subject is just continually terrific. If you're on Twitter, follow her here to keep up with her work.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Publicly Discloses He Is Gay

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been out to people in his personal and professional life, so it's not really right to say that he's come out, as if, previous to this statement, he's been not out. We tend to use language that treats coming out like an on/off switch, instead of acknowledging that it's an ongoing process of assessing one's safety and balancing it against the need for disclosure. He just hasn't previously made a public statement about being gay, which is something he doesn't owe the public.

But he decided to make one, anyway, and he explains why:

I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" I often challenge myself with that question, and I've come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That's what has led me to today.

For years, I've been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I'm gay, and it doesn't seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I've had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people's differences. Not everyone is so lucky.

...Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.

I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

...I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

When I arrive in my office each morning, I'm greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don't pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I'm doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.
There's much more at the link; Cook talks about how being gay has been a gift that has helped him be a more empathetic person, and it's definitely worth your time to read the whole thing.

This is my brick. I like that.

* * *

And, yes, I realize that some of Apple's corporate practices are deeply exploitative and explicitly trade on the lack of equality among people globally. A valid and necessary criticism that needs to be made in places other than this thread on this day.

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He Seems Nice

[Content Note: Privilege; white/male supremacy.]

Ha ha jokes!

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joked in a private meeting this month [with the Hibernian Society of Charleston] that white men would "do great" under his presidency, according to audio obtained by CNN.

..."If I get to be president, white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency," Graham says in one audio snippet as the audience laughs.

"I've tried to help you with your tax status," the senator says in another recording. "I'm sorry the government's so f*cked up."

Graham, who has said that he'd consider launching a 2016 bid, explained to CNN that he was just making fun of the Hibernian Society's all-male membership.
Okay, player. So, what's the punchline then? Is it supposed to be that white male supremacists aren't going to "do great" in your hypothetical presidency? Because I think we all know that, uh, they would.

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Open Thread

image of a yorkie, standing on a deck, looking up at the camera

Hosted by a Yorkshire Terrier.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker itchbay: "When you can't sleep, what do you do to try and help yourself fall asleep?"

I count backwards from 100, very slowly. Like when a doctor asks you to count backwards when you're going under anesthetic. Especially after years of doing it, so that my body/mind associate backwards counting with falling asleep, it works like a charm. I rarely see 70.

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Fair & Balanced

[Content Note: Violence; Christian Supremacy; anti-atheism; Islamophobia; imperialism.]

This is what passes for "fair and balanced" discourse at Fox News: Fox's Keith Ablow: 'It's Time For An American Jihad.'

"An American jihad would embrace the correct belief that if every nation on earth were governed by freely elected leaders and by our Constitution, the world would be a far better place," [Fox contributor and conservative psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote for Fox's website].

...The screed demanded that America pressure countries, including allies such as Germany, Sweden and Italy, to "adopt laws similar to our own." Ablow even suggested U.S. politicians obtain dual citizenship so they may run for office in other nations.

"We might even fund our leaders' campaigns for office in these other nations," he wrote.

Ablow admitted that you can't have a crusade without war: "We would accept the fact that an American jihad could mean boots on the ground in many places in the world where human rights are being denigrated and horrors are unfolding," he wrote.

"[W]e have a God-given right to intervene," he added.

...Ablow appeared on "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday morning to further discuss his proposal for "jihad."

"I looked it up, to make sure I was being consistent with the spirit of the word, which is a struggle against nonbelievers," he told co-host Steve Doocey.

"We need to again embrace the fact that we have Manifest Destiny as this country, as Americans," Ablow said, "to not only remain American — fundamentally, in our own national character — but to spread our national character to other nations."
This is so fucking gross. I don't even know what else to say besides that. It's terrifying how many people read and listen to shit like this and think it's reasonable.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by stars.

Recommended Reading:

Mallory: We Regret to Announce That Your Request of "Gotta Hear Both Sides" Has Been Denied

BYP: Marvel Announces First Black and First Female Superhero Movies

More here. CN for disablist language.

Bobby: Is an LGBT Superhero Film Far Off?

An oldie but a goodie: Laverne Cox as Wonder Woman

Nellie: With How to Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, and Jane the Virgin, Diversity Scores for Broadcast Networks This Fall

Adrienne: [Content Note: Racism] Missing the point on the Red Mesa Redsk*ns

Melissa: [CN: Fat hatred; body policing and shaming] Five Reasons Why We Need to Stop Thinking of Skinny-Shaming as 'Reverse Discrimination'

Veronica: Day 300 of #365FeministSelfie!

Angry Asian Man: Are you Asian American and Drink Alcohol? Science Needs You!

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

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We've previously had super fun threads (the most recent) in which we share images of our tattoos and discuss the process of choosing art and what it's like to get tattooed, etc., so here's another one! Share your ink, talk about your tattoos, ask questions of inked folks if you're considering getting a tattoo, whatever you like!

Last night, I got my latest, which is a comic-style POW!, care of Jake Crozier, who also did my scarab and my abstract leg piece. He apprenticed under Lui, who did my other tattoos, and now they have their own shop together. (The contact info for which I'd be happy to pass on to anyone who wants it. Just email me!)

image of my upper right arm, featuring a comic-style POW! tattoo in vivid colors

Possibly because I've known Jake for awhile, he virtually read my mind about what I wanted. I had sent him an example POW! off of which to base his drawing, and he literally made every single change I would have made to it without my even asking, and I arrived to see a drawing that was exactly what I wanted. A big part of it is that he just has a damn good eye.

image of me in my mirror, making a faux-tough face and showing off my upper right arm with POW! tattoo

I don't even know what face I'm making in that picture lol! I was so sleepy when I took that this morning to send to Jess. Enjoy my nincompoopery!

This tattoo was the second part of my two-part plan to encourage myself to continue to wear sleeveless tops. Part one was, of course, the tattoo on my other shoulder.

My fat arms are still the part of my body with which I struggle the most. So, naturally, I figured the solution was to DECORATE THEM! And you know what? It worked.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat looking content with her eyes closed while I pet her head
Wee Sophie.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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On Street Harassment

[Content Note: Street harassment; misogyny.]

A bunch of people have emailed me about this video by Hollaback, which documents the street harassment directed at a young woman, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, walking through the streets of Manhattan for ten hours. Text at the end of the video reads: "100+ instances of verbal street harassment took place within 10 hours, involving people of all backgrounds. This doesn't include countless winks, whistles, etc."

I did some tweeting yesterday about street harassment in response to this video, and I've collected those tweets here, for anyone who didn't see them.

One of the things I want to note about this video, which I touched on briefly in my tweets, is that street harassment intersects with other axes of marginalization—fat women, trans* women, butch women, women with visible disabilities, women who deviate in some obvious way from the Beauty Standard—are subjected to both sexualized and bullying street harassment, often at the same time.

This is only one woman's experience (one woman with lots of privilege) of street harassment.

Another thing I want to note is that the video does effectively make street harassment visible to men who don't experience it. It's a compelling rejoinder to men (and women) who argue that street harassment isn't a problem; that women exaggerate the ubiquity of street harassment.

In my tweets, I reference a related instance of sexual harassment in which the harasser waited until I was alone before he sexually harassed me. This, too, is an important thing to recognize about visibility: Part of the reason a lot of men believe that women exaggerate incidences of harassment is because harassers are cunning about when and where they can safely harass without fear of censure.

This is true even of street harassment. In my experience, street harassment happens more frequently when it's just the harasser and me, or when there is a group of men familiar to one another who don't hold each other accountable for harassment.

So, every time I hear a man say "I don't see it" in response to a woman's reported experiences of street harassment, I think: "Of course you don't. The whole point is that no one who (ostensibly) cares is supposed to see it."

This video gives everyone a chance to have a look.

[Please also see discussion of criticisms of the video in comments.]

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Tommy James & The Shondells: "Crimson and Clover"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Illness] Jeb Bush isn't even running for president yet, and I am already FURIOUS AT HIM: "[President Barack Obama's initial response to Ebola] looked very incompetent to begin with, and that fueled fears that may not be justified." Fuck you. Incompetent hell. The President has been on top of this shit like whoa, giving detailed statements (including yesterday's address) and explaining to people that they don't need to panic and exactly why. I honestly don't even know what President Obama could have done better than he has. Shut up, Jeb Bush.

[CN: Sexual violence; abduction] Gregory Lewis, a suspect in a "serial rape spree" which stretched from Massachusetts to Oregon, has been arrested in New York after a weeks-long manhunt. Lewis "has been accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in Massachusetts and a string of rapes, kidnappings, and robberies of female escorts in North Carolina, Colorado and Oregon." Gee, maybe it wasn't a good idea to order someone accused of raping a child to stay under house arrest with a GPS ankle bracelet, which he simply cut off before skipping town.

[CN: Natural disaster] In Hawaii, a lava flow from the Kilauea volcano in Pahoa has slowly been creeping toward residences, some of which have been in families for generations. It has now reached buildings in town, burning at least one building so far. "Pahoa residents have had weeks to prepare for what has been described as a slow-motion disaster. Most have either already left or are prepared to go." So sad. Although I'm glad no one is hurt, I'm so sorry for the people losing their homes to the lava.

[CN: Natural disaster] In Sri Lanka, about 100 people are feared dead after a landslide following heavy monsoon rains. Dozens of homes were destroyed, and continuing bad weather is hampering rescue operations. So awful. Maybe it's just my perception, but it seems like there have been a lot more massive, deadly landslides in the past year. Which I suppose is probably the result of heavier rains due to climate change.

[CN: Sexual violence] In April, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) "emailed its nearly 11,000 graduate and undergraduate students a survey on campus sexual assault" and the results of the survey have found that one in six women at MIT "have experienced some form of sexual assault, but only 5 percent have reported it." Damn. Naturally, one of the proposed solutions to this will be mandatory reporting, instead of fundamental changes that make it safe and purposeful for women to report.

Fuck: A 13-story unpersoned rocket destined for the International Space Station and filled with "about 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments" exploded immediately after liftoff yesterday. Luckily, no one was injured.

Whooooooooooooooops! "Hackers thought to be working for the Russian government breached the unclassified White House computer networks in recent weeks, sources said, resulting in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the intrusion. White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said that the intruders did not damage any of the systems and that, to date, there is no evidence the classified network was hacked." Hahahaha like they'd tell us if it had been!

Here is a story about Hillary Clinton talking about women's issues. I like to hear that candidates are talking about women's issues!

Would you love to ride in "a windowless plane that nonetheless allows passengers to see what's going on outside," which basically means a plane that has no walls? I bet if you are afraid of heights, you would not love it. I would totally pretend I was Wonder Woman in my invisible jet!

And finally! Good news: EspaƱola Galapagos giant tortoises, which had dwindled to only 15 (!) in number in 1963, are now back around 1,000 in number, thanks to decades-long conservation efforts. Yayayayayayay!

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[Content Note: Depression; self-harm; disablism; harassment.]

Eastsidekate sent me a heads-up about a new Twitter app called Samaritans Radar, which you can use to track whether any of the people you follow are distressed, depressed, or suicidal.

Samaritans Radar uses an algorithm to identify key words and phrases which indicate distress.

They include "tired of being alone", "hate myself", "depressed", "help me" and "need someone to talk to."

Users who have signed up for the scheme will receive an email alert if someone they follow tweets these statements.
The app, of course, cannot distinguish sarcasm, nor does it appear to distinguish between someone saying "help me" because they need support and "help me" because they need to find a rare Blur b-side.

Kate noted to me via email (which I'm sharing with permission) that "more that one person in my TL has pointed out [that being able to sign up and get a notification anytime anyone you follow seems depressed] is a huge invitation to abusers."

I also find it really interesting, ahem, that there's an app designed to track people saying things that indicate distress, but not to track people saying things like "kill yourself," which is one of the most common exhortations lots of us get from trolls.

When I mentioned that to Kate, she replied: "Right. I'm not sure who developed the app, but I'm guessing they some help from Twitter. Clearly, Twitter could come up with an algorithm that flags potentially abusive accounts. Instead of working on that, they're promoting an app that makes it as easy as possible for strangers to know when I'm depressed/struggling with Office 2013? Fuck that."

I looked at Samaritans Radar's website, to see if there is a way for people to opt out of being tracked, and I couldn't find any option to do so.

Yeah. This is going to work out great.

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EEOC Sues Honeywell over Employee "Wellness Program"

[Content Note: Disablism; fat hatred.]

This is very good news:

Federal officials are challenging new benefit rules at Honeywell Inc. that create monetary penalties unless employees and spouses take medical tests.

A lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in response to complaints from two Minnesota employees sets up a potential court case over how far employers can go to shift health costs and influence worker behavior.

The agency said in the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, that new health screening and penalties at Honeywell violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

"Employees will be penalized if they or their spouses do not take the biometric tests," the complaint said.

In response to the suit, Honeywell said its screening ­program is designed to encourage employees to live more healthfully and thereby create lower health care costs for themselves and the company. The company said the program complies with health care-related laws, including the Affordable Care Act.

The EEOC has requested a temporary injunction to stop the employee testing, which was scheduled to begin last week at various sites across the country.

...The suit is the third one in three months that the EEOC has filed accusing companies of setting up "involuntary" employee medical or wellness programs, said Laurie Vasichek, an attorney for the agency. Honeywell's tests and threatened penalties go too far because they are not job-related and are not consistent with any business necessity, she said.

"The thing that is important about these cases is not that they are wellness or health programs, but that the company is requiring testing and asking disability questions when it's not job-related," Vasichek said. "They can only do that in ­situations where it's ­voluntary for the employee to answer."
It's really important that the EEOC is calling out that these "wellness programs" are ways of doing an end-run around illegal questions around disability.

Especially because there no laws protecting fat employees from discrimination. And if you think that isn't part of the objective, well: "The EEOC said that ­Honeywell's new program creates up to $4,000 in penalties for employees unless they and their spouses take blood and medical tests that can identify smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and other health problems." One of these things is not like the other!

"Obesity" is not in and of itself a "health problem." And yet companies are routinely trying to find ways to penalize employees if they don't lose weight. Irrespective of their ability to do so.

People with disabilities and/or fat people are being illegally/unfairly targeted by "wellness programs." And not just financially penalized by them, but stigmatized. And expected to change things about their bodies ("influence worker behavior") that they may not be able to change.

I desperately hope the EEOC stays all over this one.

[H/T to Eastsidekate.]

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This Is Rape Culture

[Content Note: Sexual violence; rape apologia.]

Yesterday, in many discussions of the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi, there was another round of "rape allegations ruin men's lives." Never mind that people weren't even waiting to find out what, exactly, the allegations were before unleashing this omnipresent bit of rape apologia. And certainly never mind that it isn't even true.

Last night, convicted rapist Mike Tyson was a guest on The Tonight Show. I watched it and tweeted about the segment.

Jimmy Fallon welcomed Tyson onto the show with a warm greeting, dancing with him. They yukked it up about Tyson's childhood Halloween costumes and other nonsense. During the segment, Tyson—against whom there were not merely allegations, but who was tried, convicted, and served time for raping Desiree Washington (among other violent acts)—promoted his book, his new animated series, his Hard Rock Cafe tour, and his video game.

Book. TV series. Tour. Video game.

That's a lot to promote. For someone whose life should be in ruins.

At the end of the segment, following a demonstration of Tyson's video game, Fallon and Tyson were laughing and hugging. Mike Tyson pretended to bite Jimmy Fallon's ear because ha ha that one time he assaulted Evander Holyfield is now just a punchline to him. Jimmy Fallon laughed and laughed.

image of Jimmy Fallon being hugged from behind by Mike Tyson; they are both smiling and laughing
(This bit has been edited out of The Tonight Show's online clip.)

Naturally, when I tweeted about this last night, I got pushback, largely along the lines of men telling me that Tyson isn't a good example of men whose lives are ruined by rape allegations (again: tried, convicted, served time) because he is famous.

But I could tell the same story, on a less visible level, about the man who raped me. (And at least one other girl.) His life is fine.

And I have multiple friends who could tell the same stories, on less visible levels, about the men who raped them. They're just fine, too.

And I'm betting that lots and lots of women (and men) could tell the exact same stories about their rapists' fine fucking lives.

Because, see, that's the thing: Mike Tyson isn't actually a bad or atypical example. The only thing that makes him an unusual example is that he was convicted—and he's still fine.

Book. TV series. Tour. Video game.

And here's the other thing: Many of the men who tell apocryphal tales of former brothers-in-law and distant cousins whose lives were "ruined" by rape allegations (which are always, always, presumed to be untrue) really mean that those men were inconvenienced for a little while. Embarrassed. Not that their entire lives were ruined. Or even meaningfully changed.

But there are a number of survivors who can tell real stories about how OUR lives were legit derailed by reporting.

The "Ruined Lives" canard is rape apologia. And it gets the truth precisely backwards.

[Related Reading: I Write Letters.]

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Open Thread

image of a black and white yin-yang symbol

Hosted by yin and yang.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker boutet: "If you could tell your younger self just one thing what would it be? And maybe what time period of younger self would you tell, and why that time would be the most beneficial time to say it?"

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Here Comes the Sun

Shaker Abra passed along this video of a flashmob who performed "Here Comes the Sun" at an unemployment office in Madrid, Spain. It's been online for awhile, but it's the first time I'd seen it, so I thought I would share it for anyone who also hasn't seen it and/or in case anyone needs a little sunniness today.

Video Description: Image of buildings in a cityscape. Image of an employment office sign. Image of sign directing people toward prestaciones (benefits). People milling about quietly in a grey, bureaucratic space. People waiting in chairs. A woman filling out forms. People waiting in chairs. A sign reading se ruega silencio (silence, please).

A woman stands up and begins to play the first bars of "Here Comes the Sun" on an oboe. She is joined by a man on another oboe, and a woman playing a bassoon. Then a man on a violin joins in. People look at them curiously. A woman on a flute, and another man on a violin stand and join them. A young woman begins to sing in a beautiful voice. She is joined by a chorus.

All around the room, among the people waiting in chairs and standing, people are playing instruments and singing. People come from back offices to see what's happening. Some people ignore them; some film them; some stand in rapt attention. It is lovely.

When they are finished, they get applause and thanks and hugs. Cut back to the employment office sign. The end.

[Related Reading: Ode to Joy.]

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I Get Letters

[Content Note: Fat hatred; misogyny.]

Today, I received an email from someone who had found my Halloween post from last year, in which I explain why "fat lady" is a contemptible Halloween costume. And my correspondent did not like it AT ALL!

They informed me that they were going as a Fat Lady for Halloween this year, and it was OKAY because it's a fat lady from a CARNIVAL, which HONORS fat ladies, and I am terrible for not appreciating the nuance in fat lady costumes etc.


All the mirthless laughter in the multiverse at the idea that a Freakshow Fat Lady Carnival costume honors fat women, when the entire context of traveling sideshow fat women is mockery and exploitation.

Now, I don't know how this person just happened to stumble across a year-old post. Maybe it was because someone they knew just posted it on social media. (Possibly even in indirect response to their announcement of their costume—and it was easier to yell at me than confront their friend.) Or maybe they were googling fat lady costumes and found my post. (And needed to yell at me for making them feel guilty.) But somehow, they came upon it, and their response was not to listen to a fat woman explaining why fat lady costumes are indecent, but to yell at a fat woman that she's wrong.

Welp, I'm certainly convinced!

I repeat: My body is not your costume. My identity is not your costume. My life is not yours to treat as a joke.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Class warfare; worker exploitation.]

"If I made $20 an hour, I could actually live, instead of dreaming about living."—Anthony Moore, a shift manager at a Burger King near Tampa, Florida, quoted in an article about the disparity between the wages earned by US fast food workers and those earned by Danish fast food workers, though they're both working for the same company.

There are plenty of quotes provided from people who try to explain the differences between the two countries that allegedly justify the difference, but it boils down to this single sentence: "But as Denmark illustrates, companies have managed to adapt in countries that demand a living wage."

Huh. Imagine that.

[Related Reading: Quote of the Day; Real Jobs.]

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On Jian Ghomeshi and "Sex Scandals"

[Content note: Sexual harassment, physical abuse, sexual abuse, BDSM, misogynistic tropes.]

If you have been following the news over the weekend and you give a damn about CBC Radio, you may have learned that Jian Ghomeshi, host of the very popular programme "Q," is no longer with the CBC. From the Guardian's coverage:

On Friday the CBC announced that Ghomeshi would be taking a leave of absence for “personal” reasons, and then on Sunday followed up with a statement that he would no longer be working for the corporation, saying he had been fired because of “information” it received that “precluded” it from employing him.

The nature of that information soon became clear. On Sunday evening, Ghomeshi published a long, emotional post to his Facebook page. In it, he said he was fired from the CBC because of a campaign of false allegations, that he said were pursued by a jilted ex-girlfriend, intended to paint his enthusiasm for consensual sadomasochistic sex as a pattern of abuse.

... there were clear signs in post that it was an attempt to get on the front foot of a deeply damaging story: it warned of “salacious” revelations in the days to follow, claiming they would be nothing but “lies”, and said that one newspaper had already investigated the story and not deemed it worthy of printing.

That paper was the Toronto Star. On Sunday night it posted the results of its previously unpublished investigation, portraying the story in a very different light. It revealed claims by three different women, all of whom claimed that instead of engaging in consensual, Fifty Shades of Grey-style imaginative sex, Ghomeshi was in fact a serial, violent abuse.
This is a depressingly familiar story to readers of this space: powerful man is accused of sexual violence, responds with a flurry of PR that uses every familiar misogynist stereotype (Jilted, jealous ex! A conspiracy of evil women out to destroy him!) to defend himself.

And once again, it works. Because guess what happens when you search for"Jian Ghomeshi" and "sex scandal" in Google News? This happens. Media outlets across Canada and around the world have accepted the basic framing that this is about sex, not about sexual abuse. And that is not a neutral framing.

Accepting this framing means accepting Ghomeshi's assertion that he's been fired because his employers at CBC are uptight prudes. Thats this is all about his interest in BDSM, something he describes as "a mild version of 50 Shades of Grey." For a breakdown of why that is problematic, I recommend Sex Geek's piece. Essentially, the acts he's accused of committing aren't "mild," at all, nor are they sort of acts that one enters into without both sides spelling out things very, very clearly and making sure that consent is clearly ongoing and re-asserted. He's not accused of being kinky. He's accused of violence and abuse.

So why is this a "sex scandal" or a "sex case" or a "sex allegations" matter? The women who spoke to the Toronto Star discussed very serious abuse and violations of consent. They're not all former sexual partners, either. One of them described Ghomeshi harasseing her at work, in a completely non-romantic and professional situation. Is being non-consensually groped at worked and having a powerful man whisper (during a meeting!) that he wants to "hate fuck" you really a "sex scandal"? Silly me. I thought that was sexual harassment.

To be clear, the CBC has not released information about the specifics of Ghomeshi's firing, probably for good legal reasons. Ghomeshi is suing the CBC and also going through union arbitration. In the absence of such a statement, why are so many media outlets happy to simply accept Ghomeshi's framing?

This isn't an idle question. One of the reasons cited by the women for remaining anonymous is the fear of online retaliation, as happened to Carla Ciccone when she published a piece at XO Jane detailing a very creepy experience with an unnamed radio personality. What could be more encouraging to stalkers and harassers than to know that yes, indeed, this is a "sex scandal"? That Ghomeshi's claims are treated as truth, while women's are deeply suspect?

In the year 2014, it should not be acceptable to use label "sex scandal" for allegations of intimate partner abuse and workplace sexual harassment. It should not be acceptable to automatically accept the framing laid out by man accused of abuse, to repeat it, to emphasize it by repetition. Should not be, but sadly is.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting beside me on the couch looking at me/the camera
Oh hello.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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The Creative Endeavors Thread

by Shaker Socchan

Hello, Shakers! I had such a blast in the last Creative Endeavors thread (and I hope you all did, too) that I asked Liss if we could make this a recurring thing, and she said yes! I'm working on a list of topics to discuss (suggestions welcome), and hopefully we can have a discussion every couple of weeks, if not more often.

With that out of the way, what sort of creative things have you been working on since the last thread? Have you started or finished any projects? Is there anything you're really enjoying working on, looking forward to starting, or are really proud of having finished? Pictures of finished items and samples of art and/or writing (or whatever else you're working on—I wouldn't be surprised if we've got game developers or animators around here, for example, and I know we have at least one songwriter) are all very welcome.

For discussion: Halloween is on the horizon. Are any of you crafters making your own costume, or a costume for a loved one? Are you making something to hand out? Writers, artists, and other creative people: Has the holiday inspired you to work on something spooky?

Or do you not care to do anything special for this particular holiday? Is there a different holiday you celebrate at this time of year? At the end of October/beginning of November is what's called a "cross-quarter day," falling half-way between a solstice and an equinox (which divide the year into quarters), so it's both astrologically and seasonally significant and a lot of cultures have a holiday of some sort around then. Not celebrating anything at all is, of course, perfectly fine; non-themed creative reports are entirely welcome.

Tell us what you've been working on!

* * *

PS: A quick reminder/notice to anyone interested in signing up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which starts November 1st: The official site gets a looooot of traffic towards the end of October, and sometimes will even go down. If you plan to officially sign up (which is completely optional) and haven't done so already, I recommend doing so ASAP.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Coldplay: "Yellow"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Illness] Amber Vinson, the other Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, has also recovered and will be released today. Yay!

[CN: War on agency] Chipping away at Roe in Oklahoma: "Reproductive rights advocates filed an emergency motion Monday with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, asking the state's highest court to put on hold new anti-choice regulations set to take effect November 1. The filing comes after Oklahoma County District Court Judge Bill Graves ruled last week that SB 1848, which mandates that all reproductive health-care clinics have a physician with admitting privileges at a local hospital, could take effect. Attorneys from the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the emergency motion on behalf of Dr. Larry Burns, a Norman-based abortion provider who provides about 44 percent of the abortions in the state. Burns, according to court filings, has been unable to obtain the required hospital admitting privileges and will likely be forced to stop providing abortions should the law be enforced." The anti-choice people are fully the worst. Every time I hear them claim to care about women, I want to break things.

[CN: Guns; death; MPHS shooting] This is so fucking terrible: "Before opening fire on five students and then killing himself, a popular high school football player in Washington state had texted his victims and asked them to join him at lunch, officials said Monday." They were there because he asked them to be there. I don't even have words.

[CN: Misogyny; racism] According to analysis by the National Women's Law Center, the US wage gap for "for African American and Latina women is worse in some areas where the overall gender wage gap is small. The gender wage gap in Washington, DC is overall the smallest in the country [but] it turns out the wage gap for African American women in the District is the second worst in the entire country. ...In an attempt to lessen the gender wage gap, activists have pushed for the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) which would require employers to provide the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pay data by sex, race and national origin of employees. The PFA would also prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees for discussing wages with coworkers and strengthen remedies for pay discrimination. However, the Act was blocked twice this year by Senate Republicans and four times since 2012 by legislators who voted along party lines."

RNC Chair Reince Priebus says Hillary Clinton is bad at politics ahhhhhaahhahahahaaaahahaaha okay player.

Do you hate watching ads before YouTube videos, and you would definitely pay a subscription fee to avoid them? Well, you may be in luck!

The suspected science behind people who feel weather in their bones. Neat!

I am kind of obsessed with the Oculus Rift and its technological potential, so I found this super interesting: "First Oculus Rift documentary wipes out everything filmmakers know."

I definitely need a t-rex shower head, like, yesterday.

And finally! Ducks determined not to be rescued are finally rescued. LOL oh ducks!

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New Federal Guidelines Issued on Ebola

[Content Note: Illness.]

Following the absurdery and indecency going on in New York and New Jersey, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new guidelines regarding healthcare workers returning to the United States after assisting with the crisis in West Africa:

Medics flying into the US after treating Ebola patients in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone should be more closely monitored by local authorities for 21 days, according to new national guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However only those deemed "high risk" – those who did not wearing proper protective clothing, or were exposed to the virus via a needle or other injury – should automatically require quarantines in their homes, Tom Frieden, the CDC director, told a conference call.

...Under the CDC's latest "active monitoring" guideline, all returning healthcare workers are deemed to be at "some risk" of Ebola, and should register with regional authorities. They would then have daily temperature checks observed by an official, Frieden said, adding that this would help swifter action in the event of any symptoms developing.

These medics should also notify regional authorities at their destinations before travelling away from home, according to the CDC, so that there would be no break in the daily monitoring of their condition.

By contrast, "for the high-risk individuals, we are recommending voluntary at-home isolation, including not going on public transportation and flying," Frieden said.

...The CDC director again stressed that Americans were highly unlikely to contract Ebola. "I understand that people are afraid. People are unfamiliar," said Frieden. "It is a severe disease, but it is not highly contagious."
I am very glad the CDC director continues to emphasize that people in the US are unlikely to contract Ebola, and I wish the media would be way more diligent in prominently reporting that. Although, if your entire objective is alarmism, well.

In related news, Shaker Wordaddict passed along this official White House photo by Pete Souza of President Obama hugging Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who has now recovered from Ebola:

image of the President hugging nurse Nina Pham; he looks very relieved and serious and she is smiling

There are times when I really just love President Obama with my whole heart, and this is one of them. The importance of this picture, of the President hugging someone who has had the virus, in the middle of an alarmist panic, cannot be overstated. This is the sort of presidenting that rarely gets any credit, but credit is well-deserved. Thank you, Mr. President.

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Thank You So Much for Teaching Me About Feminism, Sir

[Content Note: Feminist policing; mansplaining.]

Hello, LADIES. Antony Loewenstein has written a terrific piece telling us how to do feminism, and we should all definitely read it.

Actual Headline: 'Feminism lite' is letting down the women who need it the most.

Actual Subhead: "I've hesitated to write about gender, worried that I'll be slammed for daring to speak out. But we all benefit from gender equality, and therefore must give feminism some tough love."

Oh dear. We haven't even reached the text of the article yet, and already he's employing the old "I'm scared to speak, because feminists are scary and mean" chestnut. Which is a profoundly misogynist trope, used against feminist women all the time. So I'm super convinced this guy is definitely going to be a terrific ally.

Actual Opening Sentence: "Men are afraid to talk about feminism."

Here is it again. Right in the first line. Men are afraid. With the embedded humblebrag that he's brave, because here he is, a man, talking about feminism.

Actual Rest of the Opening Paragraph: "If that sounds melodramatic, I'd ask you to count the number of articles written by male writers tackling the big and small issues around gender and women's equality. You'll be hard pressed to find a strong selection."

Yes, and that's definitely because feminist women are so powerful and scary and mean that men are scared, and not because the vast majority of men are totally fucking indifferent to caring about, no less writing about, gender equality. Good grief.

The rest of the piece is positively littered with variations on the whole "feminists are mean and silencing men through fear" rhetoric:

We are boyfriends, husbands, fathers or friends, and yet too many of us shy away from these sensitive matters, fearing opprobrium. Too often, men worry they'll be attacked by women for questioning a consensus position on feminist issues.

...In hindsight, there's no solid reason why I couldn't have written this article years ago, but I've hesitated to do so. I've worried that I would be slammed for my white, male position and dismissed as ignorant of the real problems faced by women today. It's an odd concern, because I don't worry about extreme Zionists challenging me when I call them out on their racism (and I do receive plenty of vicious attacks whenever I write about it).

The bottom line is that writing about feminism when male is like gatecrashing a party – and I'm concerned I'll be slammed for daring to arrive without an invitation.

...I realise I've been been too cautious for too long, not daring to add my voice to the debate.
Not daring to add his white, male voice to "the debate." Which he seems to believe is about how feminists are not nearly as good at doing feminism as he is.

All of this is couched in rhetoric of men needing to get involved in feminism, because it's not fair to leave the fight singularly to women. But he uses that only insomuch as to suggest there's a place for him to criticize feminists, despite the fact that feminists who discuss men's role in feminism (myself included) are advocating that men get engaged to talk to other men, not "get engaged" to lecture feminists on how they're doing feminism wrong.

He's borrowing the language of feminists—who he repeatedly marginalizes as unyielding, strident, mean, and terrifying—in order to criticize us. And has already set us up as hysterical scolds, so that if any of us disagree that his approach is "helpful," we're just proving his point.

But I desperately want men to get engaged in feminist advocacy. The thing is that what Antony Loewenstein is doing here isn't feminist advocacy. It's feminist policing.

It's basic concern trolling masquerading as feminist allyship. And I have absolutely zero use for that.

I also have zero use for men who define their need to get engaged with feminist advocacy as anything other than "because it's the right thing to do." I don't, and never will, trust a man who says men need to get engaged because "we are boyfriends, husbands, fathers, or friends," embracing the language of ownership of and entitlement to women.

How about you get engaged because women are human beings the end.

[H/T to Jessica Luther.]

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Open Thread

image of buffalo grazing near hot springs in Yellowstone National Park

Hosted by Yellowstone National Park.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker masculine_lady: "Who is your favorite band/artist from your hometown (define as you see fit)?"

If you were born in a small town (see what I did there?), and you'd prefer to use your home state, or your country, instead of a "hometown," go for it!

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Photo of the Day

image of three horses standing in a row, one black, one brown, and one red, with their muzzles leaned together and their manes blowing in the breeze
From the Telegraph's Pictures of the Day for 23 October 2014: Hucul horses play in the wild meadows and forests near Odrzychowa in southeastern Poland. Huculs, a primitive breed of horse, escaped total extinction due to the efforts of scientists and Polish farmers. [Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images]
Beautiful. On the one occasion I had the opportunity to see wild horses thundering across a plain in the distance, they were absolutely breathtaking. It was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. What a neat thing that so much thoughtful energy was put into saving this breed.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Disablism; class warfare.]

"They wanted to cut my full-time care hours by 76 percent, which all three of my doctors said was totally unrealistic. Essentially, they wanted three out of every four hours to go away. ...I don't want to use hyperbole, but a lot of people die when these policies get implemented."—Finn Bullers, a disability rights advocate in Kansas who has "muscular dystrophy, uses a wheelchair, has type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes, and requires a ventilator in his throat to breathe," on the loss of life-sustaining services for people with disabilities, following Republican Governor Sam Brownback's privatization of Medicaid.

Since Brownback's inauguration, 1,414 Kansans with disabilities have been forced off of the Medicaid physical disability (PD) waiver. In January of 2013, Brownback became the first governor to fully privatize Medicaid services, claiming he would save the state $1 billion in 5 years without having to cut services, eligibility, or provider payments.

Now, under Brownback's "KanCare," PD waiver cases are handled by for-profit, out-of-state, Fortune 500, publicly-traded managed care services. Kansas has contracts with three managed care profiteers — United Healthcare, Sunflower State Health Plan (owned by Centene Corporation), and AmeriGroup. Amerigroup and Centene each gave $2,000, Kansas' maximum allowed contribution, to Brownback's re-election campaign.
This is one among many reasons that healthcare should and must be treated as a basic human right, to which every US citizen should have access. Healthcare should not be a privilege.

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by stripes.

Recommended Reading:

Imani: [Content Note: Misogyny; violence; appropriation] Men's Rights Activists Intent on Proving They Are the Absolute Worst

Shantell: [CN: Domestic violence; racism; appropriation] Janay Rice on Ray Rice Costume: 'It's sad that my suffering amuses others.'

A Moore: [CN: Violence; racism] 8 Heartbreaking Cases Where Land Was Stolen from Black Americans Through Racism, Violence, and Murder

Lara: [CN: Misogyny; exceptionalism] The Avenging Woman Onscreen: Man's Best Friend?

Morgan: [CN: Misogynoir; policing; erasure; appropriation] On Annie Lennox and Erasure

Jamilah: [CN: Racism; violence] Mindy Kaling Is Not Malala Yousafzai

Kyler: [CN: Homophobia] Dolly Parton Praises Gay Fans, Calls Out Christians for 'Judging' the LGBT Community

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

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A Culture of Violent Entitlement

[Content Note: Guns; death; misogynist violence; male entitlement to women.]

For those who aren't on Twitter, and/or would like a discussion space for this idea, I had a few things to say this weekend about the culture of violent entitlement which underwrote the MPHS shooting, in which a young man shot a young woman who wouldn't date him, so here they are:

screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'When, WHEN, are we going to have a serious conversation about men's violent entitlement toward women?'
screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'Dear Men: YOU DON'T OWN WOMEN. '
[Link in tweet goes to this piece.]

screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'This, too, is misogynist terrorism. That women cannot have agency or assert a right of consent or draw boundaries without fear of violence.'
screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'The next time you hear some asshole complaining about 'bitches' mixed signals,' think about the women who die for saying no unequivocally.'
screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'The next time you hear some rape apologia about women who 'don't fight back,' think about the women who die just for SAYING NO.'
screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'The next time you hear some victim-blaming shit about a DV victim who 'didn't leave,' think about the women who die for turning down a date.'
screen cap of tweet authored by me reading: 'And if you have even the tiniest, infinitesimal urge to say Not All Men, tell me instead: HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHICH MEN?'

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda sitting my lap; I'm petting her ear, and she's got her face turned upwards and her eyes closed with a contented expression; her looooong whiskers are everywhere
Matilda is a major WHISKER HEAD!

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Descriptions of violence. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of a map on which is written: 'Sorry, I was an asshole. Come to Washington. The new world's gonna need Rick Grimes.' and 'Rick Grimes' is underlined.
Hahahahahahahahahahahaha okay.

This episode was titled "Four Walls and a Roof," but I feel like they missed a real opportunity by not titling this episode "What About Bob?"

Because this is the episode where we find out about Bob—by which I mean that we find out exactly zero of the many conspiracy theories about Bob (that he is immune to the zombie virus; that he holds the secret to the cure; that he knew the Terminus Heads before he hooked up with Grimes Gang) were correct. Nope and nope and nope!

Bob is just a dead man not-walking, although everyone who predicted he'd been bitten at the food pantry was correct. He had been—and he laughs at the Terminus Head chomping disgustingly on his leg that they're eating tainted meat. Which gives us the delightful opportunity to watch them vomit up human flesh, after having watched them just consume it. This fucking show.

Terminus Head #1 tells them to settle down; they don't have any cause to worry, because they cooked the meat. But we will never know whether this theory turned out to be correct, because this show.

Back at the church, they're searching for Bob and also notice that Carol and Daryl have gone missing, so they confront Gabriel, and it turns out he has not been colluding with the Terminus Heads, but just let his congregation die by not letting them into the church for sanctuary from the zombie hordes. Hence the scratches on the side of the church. The best part about this admission is recalling, as we learned last week, that he was able to live so long inside the church because they'd just done a food drive before the zombiepocalypse. So his congregation brought a ton of food to church to help people, then he left their asses literally hanging in the wind when they wanted to take refuge in the church. LOL! What a guy!

After Gabriel's tale of cowardly woe, Grimes Gang follows the sound of whistle outside (because they are geniuses) to find Bob lying on the grass outside. They drag him inside, and he reveals all: His leg got eaten, he's been bitten, his erstwhile captors are camped out near an elementary school, and the Terminus Heads happened to conveniently mention to him that they saw Daryl and Carol take off in a car.

Sgt. Red Bull immediately starts shouting about how they have to leave for Washington RIGHT FUCKING NOW, and Grimes immediately starts shouting back that they're not leaving without Carol and Daryl, and Glenn has to step in between the two screaming patiarachs to stop them coming to fisticuffs.

Glenn tells Grimes it isn't his decision to make for everyone else whether they stay or go, then immediately makes the decision for Maggie that he and Maggie will leave with Sgt. Red Bull if he'll just stay long enough to fight the Terminus Heads.

So, Sgt. Red Bull agrees to stay, as long as Glenn and Maggie and Tara will leave with him and Doctor Mulletsworth and Rosita Espinoza the minute the Terminus Heads have been dispatched.

At which point, there would be no danger of waiting for Daryl and Carol to return. So this whole agreement honestly makes no goddamned sense. Because this show.

So, the plan is hatched to go get the Terminus Heads. And we see the Grimes Gang Prime contingent marching off into the night through the woods, then see the Terminus Heads come out of the shadows to enter the church. This scene might be tense and exciting if only how it played out were not 100% predictable!

The Terminus Heads stroll in and shout for the Grimes Gang stragglers to come on out. They walk through the church, and try to bribe Gabriel to come out, and he shits his pants a thousand times but at least keeps quiet. Baby Zombie Cannibal Whistle Grimes starts crying, so the supersmart Terminus Heads figure out that they're hiding in the only place they could have been hiding anyway.

OH NO GRIMES GANG IS FOR SURE ALL GONNA DIE NOOOOOOOOO except for how then Grimes Gang Prime returns and murders the fuck out of the Terminus Heads. They're really brutal and intimate about it—because they don't want to waste bullets, they say, but it's really because we need another grotesque reminder of how Grimes Gang is LOSING THEIR HUMANITY.

Anyway. Michonne gets her katana back. Yay!

The next day, everyone says goodbye to Bob, and Bob saves a special goodbye for Grimes something something don't lose your humanity, and then he dies, and Tyreese puts a knife through his skull so he doesn't turn into a zombie. RIP Bob.

The Doctor Mulletsworth Gang, now including Tara and Maggie and Glenn, take off in the bus for DC. Before they go, Sgt. Red Bull hands Grimes a map, with their marked route, in case Grimes Gang want to catch up. And on the map, Sgt. Red Bull has written: "Sorry, I was an asshole. Come to Washington. The new world's gonna need Rick Grimes." And I laugh for one hundred million years.

Later, Tyreese and Grimes are digging graves for the Terminus Heads, and Grimes casually and not at all awkwardly mentions to Tyreese that he never asked him about his trip to Terminus. "It killed me," Tyreese says. "No it didn't," Rick replies, because HE IS THE POLICER OF EVERYONE OH MY GOD HE IS SO ANNOYING I HATE HIM SO MUCH SHUT UP GRIMES SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.

That night, Michonne is keeping watch when Daryl comes walking out of the woods. "Where's Carol?" Michonne asks. "Come on out," Daryl says, to someone behind him, unseen. Cut to black.

Then, of course, immediately cut to previews of next week's episode which will be answering the mystery of where Beth has been.

Meanwhile, if anything happened to Carol, THERE WILL BE RIOTS.

* * *

In other Walking Dead news, last week Robert Kirkman put to rest the popular theory that the entire story is happening inside Grimes' head while he is still in a coma. I am very disappointed, because that obviously would have been the greatest ending to this show ever!!! Sad trombone.

By the way, my favorite thing about fully 100% of The Walking Dead theories is that they are based on having noticed some plot inconsistency or continuity error in the show. Which always turn out to be because the writers of this show are lazy and incompetent. LOL.

And just how lazy and incompetent are they? Well, the show creator just had to assure fans that the entire thing isn't happening inside a coma patient's head, because that's the only way people can explain all the otherwise inexplicable bullshit on the show.

Except for admitting that it's plagued with as much nonsense and fuckery as zombies in plaid shirts.

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