Open Thread

image of a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram, with huge, backwards curling horns

Hosted by a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Trashy Lady 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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OMGOMGOMG Photo of the Day

image of a tiny chihuahua puppy sitting on a table beside the giant nose of an adult Neopolitan mastiff
A Chihuahua has become best pals with a giant Neapolitan mastiff who is 120 times his weight. Little Digby is just five weeks old and weighs half a kilo. He was found shivering and dehydrated, cowering in a blanket between two rubbish bins beside flats in North London. He's teamed up with Nero, even though she towers above him, at the Southridge RSPCA Animal Centre at South Mimms, Hertfordshire. [Photo via.]
Jesus Jones, that is just about the cutest fucking thing I've ever seen!

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by rye bread.

Recommended Reading:

Mariah: [Content Note: Misogyny; antifeminism; sexual abuse; domestic violence; misogynist terrorism] Mad Men: Inside the Men's Rights Movement—and the Army of Misogynists and Trolls It Spawned

Mustang Bobby: [CN: Homophobia; racism; misogyny] Nice Try

CBPP: Helping Eligible Workers Claim the EITC

Digby: The Greatest Country in the World

Kyler: [CN: Transphobia] White House Petition for 'Leelah's Law' Banning Conversion Therapy Reaches 100,000 Goal

Jamilah: The Breakout Film at Sundance About Trans Sex Workers Was Shot on an iPhone

David: Sculptures of Sea Monsters from Old Maps

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

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat asleep on the arm of the couch with her paw on her head
Olivia, sound asleep with her paw on her 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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Still Misogyny

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

This is something that came up in comments here, as well as in a conversation I was having with friends elsewhere: The men who object to the all-female Ghostbusters remake on some principle ostensibly other than misogyny.

Generally, their stated objections are something along the lines of the entertainment industry's creative bankruptcy for doing another remake (even though this isn't a remake), or how any reboot, no matter who's starring in it, negates the original Ghostbusters universe.

Or it's this or it's that, but whatever it is, it's definitely not about female Ghostbusters.

Except: It really is about female Ghostbusters.

Creative bankruptcy is a relevant argument when a film is being remade without meaningfully changing or improving it. That is not something that can said about a remake which elevates marginalized characters to central roles.

Well, it can be said—but only if you erase all cultural meaning regarding visibility and inclusion.

Leaving aside altogether arguments about whether reboots actually do "negate" preexisting iterations, the original Ghostbusters universe was one that contained no women in central heroic roles. Maybe that's a universe that needs negating.

It's hard to see how wishing to uphold a universe devoid of heroic women is anything but misogyny.

Passive, if not active.

Naturally, it's possible to express bigotry unconsciously, because of the internalized biases with which we're all socialized, but I haven't personally seen a whole lot of that with regard to negative reactions to this movie. Instead, I'm seeing a lot of men expressing pretty evident misogyny, wrapped in thin claims of objecting for some other reason.

But at the root of all these allegedly not misogynistic reasons lies misogyny.

It may be unexamined misogyny, but it's misogyny all the same.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Eddie Rabbit: "I Love a Rainy Night"

This week's TMNS brought to you by the hits of 1981.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Misogyny] Hey, remember when Mike Huckabee, who is a human nightmare concealed behind a goofy grin, said that women who curse in the workplace are "trashy"? Well, even conservative women were unhappy with that garbage: "[Fox News host Megyn Kelly] waited until the end of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's interview to serve the outspoken presidential hopeful an unwelcome reality check. 'I do have news for you before I let you go,' Kelly told Huckabee on her show, The Kelly File, on Wednesday night. 'We are not only swearing. We're drinking, we're smoking, we're having premarital sex with birth control before we go to work, and sometimes boss around a bunch of men. [Huckabee] laughed but was clearly taken aback. 'I just don't want to hear that,' he joked." Hahaha FUCK YOU AGAIN. Guess what? If you "don't want to hear" about the basic lives of women, then you aren't fit to be president of a nation, half of whose people are women. Asshole.

Imani Gandy explores "Congressman Tim Ryan's Abortion Stance Switcheroo." I'm definitely with Imani on this one: "Whether he will follow up his abortion switcheroo with some concrete action—especially now that Republicans control Congress and seem intent on regulating the contents of every person's uterus—remains to be seen. Still, I welcome his change of heart with a full-throttled 'Hooray!'—at least for now."

Cuban President Raul Castro said that the "process of normalising bilateral relations" between Cuba and the US is dependent on the US giving "back the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base." And that ain't gonna happen. Welp.

[CN: Death penalty; disablism; descriptions of violence at link] Despite the fact that the Supreme Court has banned executions of people with significant intellectual disabilities, Texas executed Robert Ladd last night, citing its absurd Steinbeck standard for establishing the severity of intellectual disabilities.

John McCain, one of the nastiest men to ever haunt the halls of Congress (which is really saying something), said that CodePink protesters who called former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger a war criminal were "low-life scum." Seriously. "I've been a member of this committee for many years, and I have never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration that just took place. ...You know, you're going to have to shut up, or I'm going to have you arrested. Get out of here, you low-life scum." Christ.

[CN: Misogyny] Gee, I hope the poor NFL can find the money for this: "A California state representative who is a former college cheerleader this week introduced legislation that would legally classify the state's NFL cheerleaders as employees, making them subject to state minimum wage and employment laws." Billionaires paying women less than minimum wage. For fuck's sake.

[CN: Transphobia] Cisgender Transparent creator Jill Soloway posted images mocking Bruce Jenner on her Facebook page, accompanied by the text: "I couldn't not. Someone sent it to me. Tell me it's wrong and I'll take it down." She couldn't not be transphobic! Gross.

In good news: Meet the Radical Brownies! "The Radical Brownies, a social justice-oriented version of the Girl Scouts, was set up only a few weeks ago to 'empower young girls of colour to step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership to make the world a more radical place'. The group of 12 girls are not affiliated to the Girl Guide movement and there are no badges for hostessing. Instead, the members, aged between eight and 12 years old, learn about black history, civil rights and social justice; their reward system includes a 'Black Lives Matter' badge and lessons in sustainable agriculture for a 'Food Justice' badge. 'Radical Beauty,' 'Radical Self-Love,' and 'LGBT Ally' badges are also on the curriculum."

Do you want a picture of your own face on your morning toast? Well, if you've got $75, you are in luck!

And finally: Icelandic Horses!

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This F@#king Guy

[Content Note: Domestic violence; misogyny; racism; murder.]

George Zimmerman is a fucking case study on male entitlement and lack of accountability. He literally got away with murder, after a lifetime of his parents and authorities failing to hold him accountable for hurting people. And, even now, he continues to escape meaningful consequences for his violent behavior toward people who don't share his privilege:

George Zimmerman won't be prosecuted on aggravated assault and domestic violence charges for an incident involving his girlfriend earlier this month, the Florida State Attorney's Office said Friday. The office said it reviewed reports and statements provided after Zimmerman's arrest on Jan. 9 and determined no formal charges should be filed. State Attorney Phil Archer said in a statement that "the subsequent recantation by the victim of her initial statement along with new documents provided by the victim and her attorney precludes my office from proceeding further."

Police say Zimmerman threw a wine bottle at his girlfriend during the alleged assault at his Lake Mary home. His lawyer told reporters that while the 31-year-old "has not been lucky with the ladies," he has also had a "rough time" since he was acquitted in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2013.
Poor soul. What terrible luck to have been repeatedly charged with domestic violence. And I'm sure our hearts all bleed for the "rough time" he's been having since murdering a teenager in cold blood.

The State Attorney dropped the charges because the woman who is dating Zimmerman didn't want to proceed with the case, despite the fact that Zimmerman has a documented history of intimidating and threatening women with whom he's involved.

This should be a huge red flag to police and prosecutors; if she tries to leave him now, it could be extremely dangerous for her. He is a very dangerous man, and he's already gotten away with murder once.

Instead, off he goes to his freedom once again. And his lawyer flippantly quips about how he's unlucky with the ladies.

I'd suggest that the ladies have been rather unlucky with him.

And so was Trayvon Martin.

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Never mind, Mitt Romney actually announced via conference call to the billionaires who would have been funding his presidential run that he is not going to run after all! The AP:

Three weeks after unexpectedly saying he was considering a third campaign for the White House, the former Massachusetts governor told members of his staff during a Friday conference call that he is out of race.

Romney jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he told a small group of former donors in New York that he was eyeing another White House run.

But in the days since, as Romney tried to rally support for another campaign, he discovered that several of his past supporters and major fundraisers had defected to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Said one this week in an interview with The Associated Press, "I have turned the page."
Oh SNAP! Your page in the billionaires' scrapbook of political puppets has been TURNED, Mitt Romney!

But please stand by in case Jeb Bush totally fucks it up.

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Mitt 4 Least Worst!

image of Mitt Romney standing at a podium in front of a giant flag, looking agitated, to which I've added text reading: 'I'm GONNA make my announcement just as soon as my gol-darn-diddly flag gets here!'

Mitt Romney will reportedly be speaking to his "senior donors" later today, to tell them that's he's running for president. Of course he will. Because nothing says "man of the people" more than announcing via private call to billionaires that you're running for president.

The reinvention is going great, in other words.

Soon it will be official: Mitt Romney will be running for president and the 2016 primary will be GO. What a great day for us all. WHAT A GREAT DAY FOR AMERICA.

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Open Thread

image of a saiga antelope with towering horns and a short, elephant trunk-like snout

Hosted by a saiga antelope.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker BigDots: "What are some traits that you prefer/admire/desire in bosses or supervisors? (I'm asking because I have a lousy supervisor but have a hard time articulating what exactly I dislike!)"

One of the things I always valued the most when I was working for someone else was a boss who trusted me. Who didn't feel obliged to hang over me all the time. That seems to embody lots of other related traits I valued: Not micromanaging, empowering me, treating me like I am intelligent and responsible, not getting totally bent out of shape if I needed to leave early or come in late, because they knew I'd get the job done, etc.

A boss who trusts their workers goes a hell of a long way with me.

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Of Course

The now Republican-controlled Senate, with help from nine Democrats, has passed the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill, despite the fact that President Obama has pledged to veto it:

Senators voted 62-36 on the bill to bypass the Obama administration's review of Keystone, five short of the number needed to overturn a potential rejection by the president. All Republicans present voted for the bill as did nine Democrats.

Approving Keystone has been the top priority of Republicans in the new Congress after they won control of the Senate in November.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Keystone would be good for the middle class and "pump billions" of dollars into the economy.
Which is not quite accurate. Keystone would pump billions (?) of dollars into the pockets of TransCanada Corp., and would create fewer than 40 permanent jobs, according to a State Department report.

Way to get things done, Republicans. As usual.

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What Is This

[Content Note: Police misconduct; police brutality; racism; misogyny.]

A couple of videos, care of @elonjames:

1. San Francisco Public Defender Jami Tillotson, a thin middle-aged white woman, is arrested at the San Francisco Hall of Justice on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 by officers of the San Francisco Police Department, after she tells them not to unlawfully take pictures of two young black men.

Video Description: Two young black men are standing against a wall inside a municipal building. Tillotson stands between them; as far as I can tell, she represents one of them but not the other. Offscreen, the police inspector, a white man, says: "I just want to take some pictures, okay. Then he will be free to go." He steps into the frame and raises a camera. Tillotson moves to block the young man. "No, he's—" she starts. "Counsel," the inspector interrupts. She begins to explain she doesn't represent him, and the inspector asks to speak to her for a minute. He tries to move her away, but she stays in place, in between the two men, and the inspector moves back, blocking the camera with his back. "Look," he tells her, "you can either step aside, let us take pictures, two minutes, or we can make this—" She tells him: "We're okay here. We don't need pictures taken, thank you." The inspector then tells her, "If you continue with this, I'll arrest you for resisting arrest." She smiles at him and says, "Please do." So they fucking arrest her. He instructs her to put her hands behind her back, and she is handcuffed, and she is turned over to uniformed officers. Tillotson says she's still representing her client, who stands by, not knowing what to do. "There is no 148," she says. "I am not resisting arrest. There is no 148." They lead her away, and the police inspector proceeds to take pictures of the two young men.

2. Seattle Police Officer Cynthia Whitlatch, a white woman, is recorded by her dash cam arresting William Wingate, an elderly black man, for using a golf club as a walking stick:

Video Description (starting at 1:45): Whitlatch pulls up in her vehicle alongside a curb where Wingate is standing, minding his own business. "Can you put that down, please?" she tells him. "What?" he says. "Your golf club," she says. "What about my golf club?" he asks. "Can you please set it down?" she instructs him. "What's going on?" he asks. "Set it down, please," she tells him. "I don't know what's going on," he says, clearly and understandably confused. "PUT IT DOWN!" she shouts. "It's MY golf club," he replies. "I'm not gonna take it from you, but it's a weapon. Set it down," she says. "I've had this golf club for 20 years," he exclaims. "I'm not gonna ask you again; set it down," she says. He tells her he's been using the golf club as a walking stick for 20 years, and she tells him he's being recorded, and he says call somebody, and she says she is calling somebody, and then she ACCUSES HIM OF HAVING SWUNG IT AT HER WHEN HE HAS DONE NO SUCH THING AT ALL. Naturally, Wingate vehemently denies that, and he says he wants a witness. Whitlatch continues to scream at him to put down the club, as Wingate tries to talk to a passer-by about what's happening. She tells him he's not free to leave. "If you do not put the golf club down, you will be subject to arrest for obstruction!" Wingate tries to leave, and Whitlatch rushes around the car to grab him. Another officer, a white man, arrives, and they tell him to put his hands on the car. She then alleges he swung the club at her at another location, which Wingate denies. (AND WHO FUCKING CARES IF HE DID WAVE A GOLF CLUB IN THE AIR AT A PASSING COP CAR JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.) Whitlatch and the other officer arrest Wingate.

3. Seattle Police Officers randomly spray pepper spray at people, including high school history teacher Jesse Hagopian, peacefully leaving a rally on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

A white female uniformed officer, flanked by other officers, is screaming at a quietly dispersing crowd of people to "GET BACK!" Without warning, she sprays a huge canister of pepper spray, hitting Hagopian, a black man who is walking by talking on his phone, right in the face. "Seattle Police Department!" she screams, as she continues to spray. "GET BACK!"

I don't even know, y'all. You know, maybe if the police want people to stop accusing them of being totally out of control, they should stop acting totally out of fucking control. Because, yeah, not all cops, but enough of them to be a major goddamn problem.

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Ain't Afraid of Ghosts. Terrified of Women.

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

All credit to @Doubting_Tom for the headline of this piece.

There has been a predictable and tiresome backlash ever since Paul Feig announced the cast of the all-female Ghostbusters remake. You know, the one we've been talking about for months, but apparently just wasn't real to shitlord misogynists until it was cast. Or something.


Among the mountainous trash heap of nightmare reactions from ideological dinosaurs, this was my absolute favorite bit of contemptible detritus:

image of the Ghostbusters logo photoshopped so the ghost is holding up his middle finger, accompanied by text reading: 'FEMINISTS. THIS ISN'T ABOUT WOMEN. THIS ISN'T ABOUT MISOGYNY. IT'S ABOUT OUR CHILDHOODS. STOP MAKING IT ABOUT YOU.'


I mean, where to even begin with this shit?

First of all, this isn't even a remake of the original. Even if it were, it wouldn't mean that the original would cease to exist, for fuck's sake, but that's not even what's happening. Your precious childhood memories will not be DESTROYED BY ESTROGEN.

Secondly: Yeah, it's about women.

Third: Yeah, it's about misogyny.

Finally: Guess what, garbagebrains? Ghostbusters was part of my childhood, too! I know it's tough to remember that women exist and have lives independent from being your fuckholes, but it turns out that lots of women, many of whom are feminists, watched and loved Ghostbusters when we were kids, too.

You don't own nerd culture.

I have said it regarding video games and regarding comics, and now I will say it regarding films: It is truly pathetic that people who love a medium which can imagine the future, conjure the past, and create new worlds and their inhabitants to indulge the wildest of imaginations, can be so aggressively unimainative when it comes to human women.

If you are a person who can get on board with paranormal activity and proton packs and Gozer the Gozerian, but can't get on board with women playing Ghostbusters, you should be deeply embarrassed.

Stop making memes, get off the internet, and reexamine your fucking life.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat lying stretched out on my chest and raised knee
I'm basically just a chaise lounge for the tiniest cat in the world.

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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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Environmental harm.]

"It's hard to deny that in certain geographic locations with certain geologic circumstances, we've had some problems with some wastewater wells [but] to make a blanket assertion that wastewater wells are always the cause, I don't know that I can agree with that."—A.J. Ferate, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, acknowledging, sure, the oil and gas industry's "deep wastewater disposal wells that have been linked to a dramatic increase in seismic activity across the central United States," including nearly daily quakes in parts of Oklahoma, cause a few quakes here and there, but, come on, they're not causing all the quakes. Probably. Geez.

Runner-up quote, from the same story, care of Glen Brown, a Continental Resources geologist: "There's a hysteria that needs to be brought back to reality that these [quakes] are light and will not cause any harm."

Around 11 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2011, a magnitude 5.6 quake — the biggest in state history — hit the small town of Prague, east of Oklahoma City. Sandra Ladra, a business manager for a state job training center, was sitting in a recliner watching television when the quake toppled her two-story stone fireplace. Big rocks rained down on her legs, gashing her knees.

"I nearly went into shock," said Ladra, 63. "You just really don't think you're going to live through it."
What a hysteric.

[H/T to Jamison Foser.]

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

[Content Note: There is a strobe-light effect in this video.]

Kool & the Gang: "Celebration"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

Let's begin with what is, of course, the most important news item of the day:

screen cap of headline reading: 'Gwyneth Paltrow's No Vagina Expert, Doctors Say'

The more you know. Insert your favorite fishmonger jokes here.

* * *

Yesterday, Newsweek debuted a cover image for a story on sexism in tech that has been criticized by a lot of women (and men). I'm not going to link to it or repost the image, because fuck them for choosing a cover likely to piss off feminist-minded people to get those people talking about their shitty rag, instead of writing content worth talking about.

* * *

[Content Note: Explosion; death; video may autoplay at link] A natural gas explosion at a maternity hospital on the outskirts of Mexico City killed at least seven people and injured dozens more. Rescue teams are rushing to try to find and extract survivors who are trapped before the building collapses. So, so awful.

[CN: Racism; misogyny; police brutality; image of injury at link] A 21-year-old black woman named London Colvin was detained by police after a fight broke out at a party she was attending. She knew nothing about and was not involved in the fight, but was "being loud," so police detained her, for disorderly conduct. Norfolk Police spokesman Daniel Hudson "claims that Colvin became combative while being placed in custody. 'There was an officer that was attempting to place the woman in custody for disorderly conduct. When [the officer] tried to place her in custody, she became combative against the officer. Another officer attempted to restrain her, but again, there were multiple people around, so the canine officer deployed the dog to restrain the woman so nobody would get hurt,' stated Hudson." Deployed the dog. While being held down by police, the police dog attacked Colvin and left her with horrendous injuries on her leg. So much for nobody getting hurt. What the absolute fuck.

[CN: Transmisogynoir; violence; death] Three black trans women have been murdered already this year in the US. Where is the mainstream media coverage of these hate crimes? Where are the mainstream LGBT orgs?

[CN: Transmisogyny] Shut the fuck up, Germaine Greer.

[CN: Extreme weather] How's everyone doing in Boston after the storm? And before the next storm hits? Are you doing okay?

[CN: Airline disaster] "Malaysia's government formally declared still-missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 an accident on Thursday and said all those on board were presumed dead, paving the way for compensation claims but angering victims' families still waiting for evidence of the plane's fate. ...The declaration will help facilitate financial claims by families, and Malaysia Airlines is ready to proceed with the compensation process, [civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman] said."

I don't even know what is going on with Jupiter Ascending. I love the Wachowskis, but even I have to admit this looks like a pile of crap.

And finally! Why wet dogs smell like wet dogs. With cute doggeh pictures, natch!

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Important Clown Car Nooz

Care of Politico this morning:

screen cap of the headline of a Politico story reading: 'Big GOP field unfazed by Hillary Clinton: She’s strong, they say, but hardly invincible. By Todd S. Purdum' and accompanied by a picture of Hillary Clinton making a contemplative face

Of course they're unfazed by Hillary Clinton. Why should they be fazed by Hillary Clinton when they're not fazed by the imminent global catastrophe of unchecked climate change, or the prospect of running a government when they hate government, or the gruesome realities of the nightmare disaster that is their economic policy, or the heinous consequences of the garbage typhoon that is their foreign policy?

To be fazed requires thoughtful contemplation. That ain't part of the Republican playbook.

I mean, just look at the picture of Clinton. She's got her hand on her chin and her lips pursed and her head tilted, AS IF IN THOUGHT. Hahaha what a jerk, amirite?! Thinking. Snort.


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I Write Letters

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Dear Dudes:

You're not entitled to women's affection.

I know that's not what the Patriarchy tells you, and I know it's definitely not what MRA and PUA and other antifeminist men's movements tell you. But the voices and narratives from those places are lying.

You are not entitled to women's affection. Nor our attention, nor our bodies.

If that makes you hate and resent women, well, here's the thing: We notice that. Women are eminently capable of detecting men who do not like women. Who think that we are objects to be owned or consumed or fucked, but not individual human beings to be liked and loved.

You are not entitled to be liked by anyone, and especially by someone whom you will never like back.

Putting us on a pedestal is just as dehumanizing as treating us like worthless garbage. And women are keenly aware that men who put us on pedestals will flip like a lightswitch at the first sign of "imperfection" (i.e. humanity) and treat us like worthless garbage.

You are not entitled to be regarded as someone who likes and respects women if you put some of us on pedestals.

It's easier to put someone on a pedestal than it is to love someone wholly, in a very human way, which means loving them warts and all. But pedestals aren't safe, not for the people balancing precariously atop them. If you want a woman to like you, try offering her a chair.

The reality is this: If you fancy yourself a "Nice Guy," but you have the bitter taste of resentment in your mouth because you still can't find a woman to date you, stop blaming that on women and feminism and a culture that supports women's independence and all the other shit you are so certain is what's preventing you from owning the beautiful woman to which you're sure you're entitled.

If you want someone to want to date you, then make yourself a person someone would want to date.

In case it's escaped you: There aren't a lot of women looking to date a seething flesh-sack of hostile contempt for women.

Try liking women. See if your fortunes don't improve.

Best regards,

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Open Thread

image of a scimitar-horned oryx, with long thin horns pointing backwards away from its head

Hosted by a scimitar-horned oryx.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Kathy_A: "Do you like chatting with strangers? If so, what was your favorite conversation with one? ('No, I really don't like talking to people I don't know' is a perfectly cromulent response.)"

When I am in the right mood and or situation (spontaneous small talk vs. compelled small talk), and the stranger is someone who is not being totally inappropriate in some way, e.g. telling me to smile or asking me about my reproductive choices, I love chatting with strangers!

Always a favorite topic: Pets. I love hearing about people's pets, and I will happily stand and look at pictures of pets on mobile phones while I hear stories about what makes them the BEST PETS EVER all day.

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Rapists Lie

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

You know how I keep banging on about how rapists are also liars? Yeah, well: "Rapists use social media to cover their tracks, police warned."

Rapists are increasingly exploiting social media to cover their tracks and mislead investigators, a joint conference by police and prosecutors on rape was told on Wednesday .

At the police and the Crown Prosecution Service’s first joint initiative on rape, prosecutors said they had established an emerging pattern of behaviour where rapists constructed "false narratives" after the crime. One technique described involved rapists contacting victims the next day, sometimes by text or social media, thanking them for a sexual encounter. Defendants can try to rely on such messages should there be a trial.

Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, told the event of the potential for social media to be used to "set up the scene" and warned that false messages could be used to set up a defence.
Note that this, too, is evidence of the projection that underwrites narratives used to discredit survivors: We are all familiar with the trope of the woman who "changes her mind" or "feels guilty" after a consensual sexual encounter so (inexplicably) decides to accuse a man of rape.

The reality is that it is rapists who will try anything they can to rewrite what really happened.

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This Is What Dehumanization Looks Like

[Content Note: Racism; silencing; dehumanization.]

I don't know shit about sports, and I don't follow sports. What falls onto my radar about sports tends to be athletes doing cool things, athletes doing terrible things, and athletes who have said something controversial.

I don't pay a lot of attention to all the rest of it—which teams are vying for whatever title, deflated ball scandals, etc.

Which is, perhaps, why the juxtaposition of two of the most recent sports stories that have penetrated my awareness in more than the most peripheral way is so stark.

Last month: LeBron James and other NBA players wearing "I Can't Breathe" shirts [video may autoplay at link], for which they were scolded by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for not adhering to "on-court attire rules," though they were ultimately not fined.

This month: Marshawn Lynch has been fined and threatened by the NFL for not participating in press conferences on command.

tweet authored by me reading: 'If you're a black athlete who speaks abt racism you're told to shut up, & if you're a black athlete who won't speak on command you're fined?'

People who care about the human beings who play professional sports, especially the people of color who play professional sports, have long written about the exploitation of athletes—the way they are used and abused and thrown away, the way their long-term health is devastatingly compromised for short-term performance, the way opportunistic money managers take advantage of them and often straight-up steal from them.

The way they are treated like owned property, rather than people—which is further complicated by the racial disparities among the players of the biggest money-making sports (basketball, football, and baseball) and among the coaches and owners.

And here, in the juxtaposition of these two stories, we see keenly how this sense of ownership plays out: Players are coerced to speak on demand, and punished if they don't, and they are silenced if the words they speak are not what the team owners and league administrators want them to say.

Naturally, I am meant to understand, as legions of fans are eager to 'splain at me, that players sign contracts promising to abide certain rules and guarantee some level of media participation.

But maybe those contracts are garbage. Employment contracts that dehumanize people are not good contracts—whether they are for work that pays minimum wage or work that pays millions of dollars a year.

And let us be clear: Asserting the right of control over an employee's speech, over when zie talks and what zie says, is dehumanizing in the most literal sense. It asks a person, a player, to set aside parts of hir humanity in deference to a brand.

All of which is a red herring, anyway: No one was fining white NFL prayer-posturer Tim Tebow for public demonstrations of his Christianity—which, in a nation whose politics are so inextricably tied to religion, is as sure a political statement as "I Can't Breathe."

If Tim Tebow is allowed to use his playing field to petition for his life in the hereafter, surely LeBron James should be allowed to use his to petition for his life in the here and now.

Sometimes I hear people talking about how professional athletes in the Big Sports are wildly overpaid. They do make a hell of a lot of money, and it's certainly tempting to fault athletes with multimillion dollar contracts for making such exorbitant sums while many public school teachers are scraping to get by.

But it isn't athletes' fault that our cultural priorities are fucked up. And, frankly, when I think about all that money they make, I think it still ain't enough to be treated like the wholly owned property of rich white men who don't give a fuck about their humanity, beyond what their human bodies can do to entertain the rest of us.

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Finish This Sentence

The last thing I bought for myself that made me sooooo happy was...

...a meat tenderizer.

image of meat tenderizer

Such a cheap, simple thing, which I'd just neglected to buy for years. And now I don't have to tenderize meat with whatever's in reach—the rolling pin, the bottom of my large canister of pepper, etc.

Your answer can be anything: Something you needed, something utterly and delightfully frivolous, something you wanted, something simple, something extravagant, whatever!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound asleep on the couch with his tongue hanging out and his ear flopped over the arm of the couch
Dudley, napping last night after a hard day of sleeping.

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 Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by fairy lights.

Recommended Reading:

Adolfo: [Content Note: Police brutality; racism] Latina Teen Shot and Killed by Denver Cops Leads to Questions, Anger

Digby: [CN: Police brutality; disablism] Another Casualty in the War on People with Mental Illness

Jamilah: [CN: Racism; classism; coercion] Marshawn Lynch's Quiet Riot

Anne: [CN: Privilege] Jonathan Chait's "Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say" in a Nutshell

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred] Evidence, Who Needs It: Doctors Gone Wild Part 2

Emily: [CN: War on agency] Study: Evidence-Based Protocols for Medication Abortion Are Safe, Effective

Caitie: [CN: Misgendering; intent arguments] I Hate My Voice

Andy: Actor Joel Grey Comes Out Publicly: 'I'm a Gay Man'

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Pat Benatar: "Hit Me with Your Best Shot"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Rape culture; sexual assault] The two former Vanderbilt University football players accused of raping a female classmate were found guilty on all counts yesterday, after the jury deliberated for fewer than four hours. An amazing result, which I hope will bring the woman who survived this horror some measure of peace. Two more former teammates are awaiting trial.

[CN: Racism; carcerality. Video may autoplay at link.] "More than a half-century after they were arrested and sentenced to hard labor for sitting at a whites-only lunch counter in South Carolina, a group of African-American student protesters known as the 'Friendship Nine' had their convictions overturned and sentences vacated Wednesday. The moment was met with applause and a standing ovation in the court room." Long, loooooong overdue.

[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Fucking hell: Threats against abortion providers have nearly doubled just since 2010. Wow do I wish we had some pro-choice legislators with spines in this country, who would talk about this campaign of domestic terrorism; who would say anything about it at all.

[CN: Misogyny; religion; anti-choicery] First Lady Michelle Obama has caused a SCANDAL! by choosing not to wear a headscarf during a visit to Saudi Arabia. On the one hand, she's being yelled at for being disrespectful, and, on the other, she's being praised for showing that headscarves are stupid and terrible blah blah. But neither is accurate. Ideally, women everywhere should have unilateral choice on what they want to wear, and the First Lady made the perfect commentary on that by choosing to forego a headscarf, without making an explicit political statement about it. A+

Heads-up if you drive a Nissan: "Nissan Motor Co is recalling about 768,000 vehicles, including its popular Rogue crossover and Pathfinder SUV, for separate problems, the company and U.S. regulators said on Wednesday. Some 552,135 Rogues from model years 2008 and 2013 will be recalled because moisture could seep through the driver side floor and cause an electrical short to wiring that could lead to a fire... Also, 215,789 Pathfinder SUVs from the 2013 and 2014 model years and 2013 Infiniti JX35 vehicles will be recalled for problems related to a secondary hood latch."

[CN: Christian Supremacy; guns] Mike Huckabee continues to run his mouth, asserting that school shootings would be prevented by inserting Christianity back into public schools: "Because we were bringing Bibles to school people weren't bringing guns to school, except for the deer hunters who left them in their trucks. What has happened to our culture? What's happened is we have lost our landmarks. When we reject the Bible as the objective word of truth, when we say that the Bible is no longer the standard by which we live and we make it whatever we feel, what we think, what we believe, then we have no landmark at all because that landmark is always being moved to accommodate our lifestyle rather than make our lifestyle accommodate the word of the living God and the power of the Holy Spirit." This fucking guy.

[CN: Class warfare] Here are two interesting charts: One shows how much someone has to earn in each US state to be part of their state's 1%, and the other shows the ratio of each state's average 1percenter's income to the bottom 99%. Wow.

[CN: Misogyny] Yesterday, the new all-female Ghostbusters cast was announced! WOOOOOOOOT! Guess how misogynists reacted? If you guessed that they aren't afraid of no ghosts, but are terrified of women, give yourself a thousand points!

And finally! "Learning from Animal Friendships." ♥

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Marissa Alexander Update

[Content Note: Domestic violence; misogynoir; carcerality.

Marissa Alexander was, at long last, released yesterday, after "nearly three years in jail for firing a warning shot to fend off an attack from her abusive estranged husband."

She faced upwards of 60 years in prison, despite the fact that the shot harmed no one and was issued in defense of her life. But Marissa's early release isn't true justice.

...Marissa is now a convicted felon—a label she'll carry with her through every job application and rent application, and robs her of her right to vote in Florida. Not to mention her 'release' is conditioned on two more years of house arrest. All because she tried to fend off a man who sent her to the hospital bloodied and threatened to kill her in front of his children.
Additionally, Marissa Alexander will be forced to wear a surveillance ankle monitor, for which she will have to pay.

For this reason, and others, her release is not the end of the campaign for her freedom. Sumayya Coleman, co-lead of the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign, said in a press release:
We are thrilled that Marissa will finally be reunited with her children, her family, and her community. Today's hearing revealed that Alexander intends to attend school to become a paralegal and she is a wonderful mother to her children who urgently need her. Amazingly, the State continued their campaign of punishment by trying to add two more years of probation. Fortunately, they failed, and Marissa will be released today!

Marissa and her family will need time to begin recovering from this arduous and traumatic experience. It's been a long and painful journey and, though her release from jail is definitely a win—no 60 years—the journey of seeking ultimate freedom is not over. Marissa will be forced to be on strict home detention while being under surveillance for two years. This is by no means freedom in the sense we feel she deserves.

Our next agenda is to seek full restoration for Marissa and her family, including the expunging of her so-called criminal record, and a systemic transformation that prevents black women and all survivors of domestic violence from experiencing the hostile and brutal treatment from policing, prosecution, and prison systems that Marissa has endured. We will push for improved legislation and monitoring of systems that penalize victims of domestic violence who choose to save their lives by force. This is by no means a conclusion.
To continue following Marissa Alexander's case, visit for updates.

Also from the press release: "Free Marissa Now notes that Alexander has asked supporters to use her case to bring more attention to women in similar circumstances, such as Tondalo Hall and Charmaine Pfender."

I am elated that Marissa Alexander will finally be home with her family, without a potential 60-year sentence hanging over her head. And I am angry that a black woman who legally exercised her Stand Your Ground right granted by her state is now a convicted felon being tracked for two years. That isn't freedom, and it isn't justice.

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The Mormon Church Really Wants You to Know It's Still Not Cool with The Gays

[Content note: homophobia, transphobia, holocaust reference]

Yesterday afternoon, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints held a press conference, which by its official account was about "Religious Freedom and Nondiscrimination."

What it was really about was the need for civility between "LGBT people" and members of the LDS church (as if those two circles don't overlap).

The church is pretty upfront about the fact that they still have problems with homosexuality:

"We are announcing no change in doctrine or Church teachings today."
Which, sure, it's your press conference. Do what you want. I mean, that seems like a pretty weird reason for a notably insular church to hold a press conference, but I don't tell you how to run your religion, you don't tell me which pharmacists to patronize, right?

The prepared statements start off well enough:
"On one side of the debate we have advocates of LGBT rights. This movement arose after centuries of ridicule, persecution and even violence against homosexuals [sic]." (emphasis mine)
I'm pretty glad you managed to gather the media together on Holocaust Remembrance Day to let everyone know that violence against homosexuals is a thing. (Or was a thing. Given that your press conference already makes it clear that you don't know the difference between "LGBT people" and "homosexuals", I'm guessing you didn't really do much research for this part of the press conference. It's really a shame, given how rarely you do one of these.

Anyhow, that's pretty much the end of the love fest.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that sexual relations other than between a man and a woman who are married are contrary to the laws of God.

This commandment and doctrine comes from sacred scripture and we are not at liberty to change it. But, God is loving and merciful."
Wevs. I mean, I have no interest in your doctrine. At least, I endeavor to not be interested in it.
"the Church has publicly favored laws and ordinances that protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing and employment."
I don't actually remember that, but thanks? I mean, I would have said thanks at the time, but I honestly don't remember what you're referring to. So, I guess that's a much-needed clarification on your part. I hope nobody in the media interprets this as a major shift in church policy.

But why are we really here?
"Since 1791 the guarantees of religious freedom embodied in the First Amendment have assured all citizens that they may hold whatever religious views they want, and that they are free to express and act on those beliefs so long as such actions do not endanger public health or safety."
Again, I get that this press conference to announce a significant stasis in church policy came at you without any warning, but I'm pretty sure the relevant bit of the First Amendment actually reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

I'm no Benjamin Quincy Jefferson, but I interpret that as meaning that you have a right to have your own religion, but nobody is obligated to give a fuck. And I don't. give. the. tiniest. fuck.

Since this is a press conference about civility (my word choice, not yours), I'll just point out that this is probably the point where we should shake hands and go home.

I get that you're super touchy about anti-Mormon discrimination. Some of the rituals (and tenets) of your particular sect of Christianity are different from the rituals (and tenets) of other Christian sects. I'm totally not cool with folks using your particular set of rituals and beliefs as a reason to discriminate against you. What you do in your church is your deal.

Lots of people treat me like crap because I have tits and a wang. Oh, and I also sleep with another lady. I'm all :( that your god is uncool with my relationship with my wife. (We'll just leave my titswang for another time in exchange for you not pretending to care about trans rights. This conference is about you pretending to care about LGB rights.)

Whatever. You can hold whatever religious beliefs you want. The government can't stop you. And I can sleep with whoever agrees to sleep with me-- the government can't stop us. I'm really glad we could have this conversation.

[A public university system won't support a group that has a discriminatory membership policy.]
[The government of Houston started investigating whether churches violated terms of their tax exemption.]
[Johnny Weir is a big meanie.]
[Mozilla Guy!]
[Also, this supplement material]

"Accusations of bigotry toward people simply because they are motivated by their religious faith and conscience have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and public debate....Churches should stand on at least as strong a footing as any other entity when they enter the public square to participate in public policy debates. (emphasis mine)"
Yeah, I've heard that before. You should probably not tip your hand by implying that disciples of your God might be entitled to a disproportionate say in determining the laws of our secular nation. Also, you're confusing freedom of speech with being subject to the law. You're free to hold all the press conferences you want. You still have to follow the law, though.

Like I said, there's nothing new here.
"It is one of today’s great ironies that some people who have fought so hard for LGBT rights now try to deny the rights of others to disagree with their public policy proposals."
Yep. Right between rain on your wedding day and deflated footballs. Ours are truly ironic times.
We believe laws ought to be framed to achieve a balance in protecting the freedoms of all people while respecting those with differing values.
Really? Me too! (PS: No homo, amirite?)

The press conference just goes on and on from there. Pretty much three-quarters of the press conference is about how people (particularly "LGBT people" / "gays and lesbians" / "homosexuals" / "activists" / "gay men and women") need to shut up and do what the LDS church says. The government needs to protect Mormons from people like me. Boycotting pharmacists who refuse to practice pharmacy is the opposite of free expression.

I mean, they actually ended the prepared remarks by pointing out that their sacred scripture lays out how non-church government (to the extent that the church eve is supposed to work, cough, cough, nudge, nudge. So it's no wonder that:

WaPo lead with "Mormon church announces support for legal protections for gay people."

Time chose "Mormon Church Supports LGBT Protections in Shift" which not only shares the Mormon church's confusion about trans people, but also misses the multiple times where the people convening the press conference stated that nothing is changing.

The AP and ABC went with Mormon Leaders Call for Measures Protecting Gay Rights." Okay, that's arguably an accurate headline. However, they actually went to the trouble of spelling out transgender (it's all the rage these days). Oh, and the article contains this sweetheart of a line:
"Much has changed since Mormons led a fight against same-sex unions in California."
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The LDS wants to people to treat people however they feel like it (in many cases, badly), and the media is more than willing to report "both sides" of the story, even when that means completely ignoring context (and content!) to tell whatever story it deems most beneficial to its interests. (In this case, I'm assuming a major policy shift is more likely to draw readers than the details of what actually happened.)

The LDS Church has its own sacred doctrine to justify its damaging actions. What's Time's problem?

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Authentic Mitt!

[Content Note: Classism.]

Remember Mitt Romney's monumentally failful attempts at being "authentic" during the last presidential election? In case you've wiped it from your brainpan, here's a little reminder:

image of Romney counting on his fingers to which I have added text reading: 'Let me count all the ways in which I'm totally an unofficial Southerner: 1. I like grits, and things, 2. I have friends who own NASCAR teams, 3. I drive a truck, and like 200 other cars, 4. I say y'all ALL the time, 5. I own a pair of alligator shoes, which I bet came from your lovely swamps, 6. Did I mention that I like grits, and things...?'

Oof, man. Oof.

This time around, he's trying a different strategy—and nothing says "authentic" like saying, "This time, I'll really be authentic, I promise!"
After losing two straight presidential races, Mitt Romney packed up his home in Massachusetts and journeyed west to Utah, building a mansion here in the foothills of the Wasatch Range that has served as his sanctuary from defeat.

..."He feels very at home here," said John Miller, a close friend in Utah who has been talking with Romney throughout his recent deliberations. "This is a very prayerful thing. ...In the end, it's really a decision between he and Ann and their belief system, their God. That's the authentic Mitt."

If he runs again in 2016, Romney is determined to rebrand himself as authentic, warts and all, and central to that mission is making public what for so long he kept private. He rarely discussed his religious beliefs and practices in his failed 2008 and 2012 races, often confronting suspicion and bigotry with silence as his political consultants urged him to play down his Mormonism.

Now, Romney speaks openly about his service as a lay pastor in the Mormon Church, recites Scripture to audiences, muses about salvation and the prophet, urges students to marry young and "have a quiver full of kids," and even cracks jokes about Joseph Smith's polygamy.

...Although Romney served as governor of Massachusetts and his past campaigns were based in Boston, he recently registered to vote in Utah. Members of his political circle said they are considering making Salt Lake City, the cradle of Mormonism, his 2016 campaign headquarters. Wealthy Mormons across the Mountain West played a central role in financing his 2012 campaign, and a 2016 bid would lean heavily on the same network.

"He was Utah's favorite adopted son, and now he's a Utahn," said Thomas Wright, a former state GOP chairman. "People here know Mitt, they trust Mitt, they respect Mitt, and they still want to call him President Romney."
Well, that all sounds TERRIFIC. Anyone who knows me knows I can't get enough of politicians talking about their religious beliefs, especially when they couch reproductive coercion inside of god-talk! That's the kind of Real AmericanTM authenticity that makes me SWOON.

And don't even get me started on the totes authentic authenticity of an East Coast elite moving back West and finding Jesus—or Joseph Smith—again. Not only is that SO AUTHENTIC, but it's also SO ORIGINAL.

Let's hear more about Authentic Mitt 2.0.
In Holladay, an upscale suburb of Salt Lake City, the Romneys have built a manse complete with a "secret door" hideaway room and an outdoor spa off the master bath. They consider it their primary residence, near their son Josh and his wife and children.

Together with another family, the Romneys also bought an 8,700-square-foot ski chalet in nearby Park City. They still own a lakefront estate in Wolfeboro, N.H., and a beach home in the La Jolla area of San Diego, which made news in 2012 because of planned renovations that include a car elevator.

...Romney has signaled that poverty would be a central theme of his next campaign.

..."In spite of the comments about the '47 percent,' he now talks about lifting the poor," said friend Fraser Bullock, referring to Romney's 2012 remarks about people dependent on government. "That's something he's done his whole life, but he's done it quietly, ministering his faith and helping people who are struggling with this issue or that issue. That was all hidden last time."
Fair point. Romney's deep compassion for struggling people was certainly well hidden behind his contemptible rhetoric about how PEOPLE ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FOOD.

The thing about the 47 Percent video, that no amount of photo ops and sending surrogates to talk about Romney's faith and good works will ever change, is that the Mitt Romney in that video is clearly, undeniably, the Authentic Mitt Romney. A man who stands before a room full of other rich white men just like him, and, when he thinks there are no cameras around, sniffs about the outrage that is people in the richest country in the world thinking they are entitled to food.

That's the real Mitt Romney. We all knew it then, and we aren't going to forget it.

[H/T to Shaker George.]

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Open Thread

image of a markhor, with big twisty horns

Hosted by a markhor.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker lupinella12: "What trend were you really ahead of the curve?"

LOL none of them ever?

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[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Mike Huckabee has an interesting new strategy for appealing to female voters in 2016: Call us "trashy" if we use naughty words!

Appearing last Friday on Mickelson in the Morning, an Iowa-based radio show, Huckabee recounted the culture shock he experienced when hearing profanity in the workplace while working for Fox News in New York City.

"In Iowa, you would not have people who would just throw the f-bomb and use gratuitous profanity in a professional setting," Huckabee said. "In New York, not only do the men do it, but the women do it!"

He continued: "This would be considered totally inappropriate to say these things in front of a woman." But "for a woman to say them in a professional setting," Huckabee went on, "that's just trashy!"
Any delicate ladyflowers from Iowa want to take issue with this fuckery?

Y'all know there ain't much that genuinely offends me, but the suggestion that my frail lady constitution can't handle hearing profanity is some of the most offensive shit I've ever heard.

And this, from a man who would happily force me to carry to term an unwanted pregnancy and push out of my body a baby I don't even want. But don't say "fuck" in front of my fragile ears?! FUCK THAT and FUCK YOU!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the loveseat, making a plaintive face
Dat face.

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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This Trash Again

[Content Note: Privilege; gatekeeping.]

Jonathan Chait is at it again, with a new piece for New York Magazine entitled [DoNotLink] "Not a Very PC Thing to Say," and subheaded, because of course it is, "How the language police are perverting liberalism."

There are a lot of people on Twitter who have said very smart things about this piece today, among them: Sydette, Imani, Jess, and Dianna, whom I am recommending with their permission. That's not a complete list, by any means, but I've particularly appreciated lots of their commentary today.

There's little I can say in response to this piece that wouldn't merely be a variation on what I've already said before.

But I do want to note this important context: Chait et. al. have spent a very long time making a living treating defining the terms of debate as the debate itself.

And that's why we get these petulant thinkpieces about "the nature of the debate" and tortured explanations about how what they do is speech, but what their critics do is something that endangers speech.

Chait is a professional gatekeepers, whose career is built upon having conversations he defines as important exclusively with people who view his being white and male as credentials, but don't practice identity politics. Ahem.

And the thing about professional gatekeepers is that they get very miffed indeed when people start saying fuck the rules of sitting at your table; we'll build our own table.

Oh the terrible rending of garments when you make it clear you don't care about their rules of engagement for discourse, because their discourse is garbage.

Chait, and his defenders, miss the point utterly that no one cares if they don't want to engage with our anger, because our anger is sometimes designed to alienate them.

I'm just saying: When someone who wants to 'splain at me declares my anger too off-putting for dialogue, that ain't a loss for me.

Or the people at my table.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Misogyny; rape culture; war on agency.]

"I'm told that they're still going to bring [the bill proposing a 20-week abortion ban] back, but because there was such division among our Republican females [over the stipulation that rape must be reported to authorities to qualify as an exception], they pulled the bill that day. And that was extremely unfortunate, and it sent the entirely wrong message."—Republican Congressman from Texas Louie Gohmert, during a conference call with pastor E.W. Jackson today.

Females. Wow.

Divisive females who send the wrong message by standing (the most marginally possible) with survivors.

It continues to be a real mystery why Republicans aren't connecting with a majority of voting women.


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News from the Conservative Legislation Lab

This is a real thing in the world:

[Republican Indiana] Gov. Mike Pence is starting a state-run taxpayer-funded news outlet that will make pre-written news stories available to Indiana media, as well as sometimes break news about his administration, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star.

Pence is planning in late February to launch "Just IN," a website and news outlet that will feature stories and news releases written by state press secretaries and is being overseen by a former Indianapolis Star reporter, Bill McCleery.

"At times, Just IN will break news — publishing information ahead of any other news outlet. Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such 'exclusive' coverage remain under discussion," according to a question-and-answer sheet distributed last week to communications directors for state agencies.

The Pence news outlet will take stories written by state communications directors and publish them on its website. Stories will "range from straightforward news to lighter features, including personality profiles."

The endeavor will come at some taxpayer cost, but precisely how much is unclear. The news service has two dedicated employees, whose combined salary is nearly $100,000, according to a search of state employee salary data.
Emphases mine. A state-run news outlet, also known as propaganda, which will be funded by taxpayers to the tune of at least $100k, in a state where 1 out of 6 people rely on food pantries and meal service programs, because they don't have enough to eat.

This is absurd. Though, of course, not unprecedented: A decade ago, he Bush administration was sending out pre-packaged news segments for local news to air without disclosing their origins. It's a fine Republican tradition.

Gross then; gross now.

Pence says he plans to "clarify" what Just IN will be. Can't wait.

[H/T to Jordan.]

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An Observation

[Content Note: Fat hatred.]

Fat haters think that fat advocacy is about asking people to like you.


Fat advocacy is about asking people to respect you. And about liking yourself, irrespective of whether anyone else does.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Oak Ridge Boys: "Elvira"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Extreme weather] How y'all doing on the East Coast? "High winds and whiteout conditions swept across New England on Tuesday as a strong winter storm moved up the East Coast, leaving the island of Nantucket without power. The storm veered away from New York City, leaving less than a foot of snow in Central Park. Hartford also received less than expected, but the storm was barreling down on Boston, where forecasters were still expecting two to three feet. By 10 a.m., several areas of Massachusetts had reported more than a foot of snow, the Weather Service said, with an unofficial total of 31 inches in Shrewsbury and 27 inches in Ayer."

[CN: Class warfare] In the path of the storm, cities are scrambling to provide shelter for people who are homeless. After, you know, in many places, investing in policies that created more homelessness.

[CN: Surveillance] Whaaaaaat: "The Drug Enforcement Administration has initiated a massive national license plate reader program with major civil liberties concerns but disclosed very few details, according to new DEA documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act. ...With its jurisdiction and its finances, the federal government is uniquely positioned to create a centralized repository of all drivers' movements across the country—and the DEA seems to be moving toward doing just that." Good lord.

[CN: Police brutality; racism] This is an excellent interview with Netta Elzie: "The Women of #BlackLivesMatter." Go read it!

Wowowowow: "Images from NASA's Kepler mission have found yet another set of Earth-sized planets, but these are something special: The set of five orbit a Sun-like star, and the system may be the oldest of its kind in our galaxy. ...Named Kepler-444, the star is about 11.2 billion years old. That's 2 1/2 times older than Earth, and well toward the earliest days of the universe."

Welp! "Scientists Find Way to 'Unboil' an Egg, and Say It Could Streamline Drug Development." All right then!

[CN: Multiple oppressions] Are you fucking kidding me? "ABC added to its pilot pickups Monday [including a comedy] from 'It Gets Better' LGBT activist Dan Savage. ...On the comedy side, the untitled Savage comedy is a single-camera semi-autobiographical entry based on the LGBT activist/boundary-pushing columnist's life. It centers on a picture-perfect family that is turned upside down when the youngest son comes out of the closet. What seems like the end of their idyllic life turns out to be the beginning of a bright new chapter when everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real." I bet I'm not the only person who finds it objectionable that Savage is repeatedly identified as an LGBT activist, despite having unapologetically engaged in transphobia and biphobia, not to mention misogyny, fat hatred, disablism, rape apologia, etc. Gross.

In better entertainment news: Ava DuVernay (the director of Selma) and David Oyelowo (the star of Selma) will be reteaming for "a love story and murder mystery" set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina. Sounds interesting.

And finally! This cat just prefers taking a nap on top of her dog BFF. No biggie!

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Jason Brown Does More Spinny Jumps!

Hey, do you remember last year when US figure skater Jason Brown did an amazing long program at the National Championships, which earned him a second-place finish and a trip to the Winter Olympics, and also revealed that I am terrific (blink. blink.) at doing figure skating video transcripts?

Well, this year, our old pal Jason Brown, now 20 years old, won the US National Championship! Yayayayay!

Below is his free skate program, and I AM SORRY that I know no more about figure skating terms than I did last year, lol. Enjoy!

Jason Brown, a thin white young man with brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, wearing olive trousers, a white blousy top, a sparkly dark green vest, and brown pleather waistbelt and skate covers (sort of a Robin Hood on ice look, maybe?), skates onto the ice and raises his hands in the air to greet the crowd. They cheer wildly.

He poses on the ice, with his hands on opposite shoulders, his head down and eyes closed, waiting for the music to begin. Very dramatic! As the slow music starts, his torso sways around, and then his eyes come open and his hands peel off his shoulders and his feet move apart and we! are! skating!

The announcers mention that Jason has the easiest technical program of the top competitors; he is known not for the biggest technical performance, no quads, but for perfectly executing his program and for his artistry.

Slowly skating with flowy arms. A little spinny jump. A couple of increasingly dramatic spins. Backwards skating with flowy arms to pick up speed. Triple spinny jump! Another spinny jump! He lands them both so smoothly!

Skating. Petting the sides of his face with his hands. Little twisty body moves and arm flourishes and he skates to pick up momentum again. T-spin. Another t-spin. Grabby skate over head! Backwards with flowy arms. The music is getting dramatic now!

Skating. Twisty body. Arm flourishes. Backwards with flowy arms. Tiny hopping jump then BIG SPINNY JUMP! The crowd goes wild. Air splits! One-knee spin! Leaping t-jump! T-spin! Crouch spin! T-spin! Crouch spin! T-spin! He spins up and down so gracefully and the crowd cheers.

Then he stops! The music halts! He grabs his side as if he's been stabbed by a mean elf! He lurches forward and begins to skate slowly, as the music changes. Backwards with flowy arms. Big unexpected spinny jump! Desperate reaching arms. Twisty body. Sad face flowy skating past the judges. Sad shimmies. Petting the face. Air splits. Fists and flowy arms. Why did you leave him?! IT CLEARLY BROKE HIS HEART!

Backwards. Big spinny jump! Reaching arms. Skating. Big spinny jump! Another spinny jump! Ta-daaaa arms! But muted, because this is SAD.

But then the music is picking up again. Skating. Dramatic windmill arms. Backwards t-jump. Big spinny jump! Little hop! Another spinny jump! Ta-daaaa arms! Fully so! Air splits! Windmill arms! One-knee slide! Ta-daaaa arms! Leg kick! Crouch! Hop! Skate skate skate! The crowd is going wild!

Sideways splits! Spinny jump! Spinny jump! Crouch spin into standing spin! T-spin! Grabby skate over head! Crouch spin! Aaaaaaand slide backwards with dramatic arms THE END!

He stands and looks grateful and happy and waves at the crowd as they shower him with flowers. [A bunch of commercials.] We come back to Jason and his team waiting for his scores. They are awesome and he wins! YAY!

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Thanks, Citizens United!

[Content Note: Class warfare.]

Here's a cool headline: "Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections."

How neat for them! How neat for ALL OF US! It's so terrific that these conservative shitlords have all that money, and that they're willing to spend it on buying elections in an ostensible democracy, and that the Supreme Court paved the way for them to do so. Congratulations, rich people!

If I had a billion dollars, well, I'd use it to try to lobby to close the loophole that let me spend a billion dollars on an election. But, if that didn't work, I'd give a billion dollars to the first candidate to advocate a universal basic income of slightly or significantly more than the social minimum.

What would you use your billion dollars for?!

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Open Thread

image of a giant eland, with huge twisty horns

Hosted by a giant eland.

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Question of the Day

What is your favorite thing to eat at a time of day with which it's not traditionally associated in your culture? So, eggs for dinner, or soup for breakfast, or...

Sometimes I wake up just desperately craving greens, so I'll have a salad or sauteed spinach and mushrooms for breakfast. Which Iain thinks is VERY weird, lol.

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Beautiful Things

Via Misty, check out "The Wildlife Photography of the Year Awards." There are some creepy crawlies among the images, so be warned if those sort of pix bother you!

Naturally, I love the one of the bat.

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Quote of the Day

"No, no, no, no, never."Senator Rand Paul, on the prospect of another Mitt Romney presidential run, last night. Sooooo, it sounds like he's pretty excited about the possibility!

Romney "would have made a great president," added Paul, rumored to be considering his own White House bid. "But to win the presidency you have the reach out and appeal to new constituencies. And I just don't think it's possible."

"And if he thinks, 'Well, I'm just going to change a few themes and next time I'll reach out to more people,' I think it's a little more visceral than that," the libertarian lawmaker said of Romney.
Correct! Except for the part about where Mitt Romney would have made a great president. Typical Rand Paul: He says one thing that sounds good, and then something else that reminds you most of what comes out of his mouth is trash.

Welp, I don't know about you, but I'm definitely loving this Republican primary where the candidates are absolutely totally for sure not going after each other like rabid monsters this time! It's working out GREAT so far!

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Breaking Clown Car Nooz

image of Chris Christie at a speaking engagement, screaming and holding his hands up; I've added text to appear as though he's holding it in his hands reading: 'I'M TERRIBLE!'

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is GETTING SERIOUS about running for president, because today he set up his fundraising PAC to receive massive donations from nightmare billionaires who will spend enormous amounts of money on terrible garbage candidates who promise to protect less of their money than they'll spend on presidential contests from taxation to help feed the poor:
After addressing a gathering of conservatives in Iowa over the weekend, the governor of New Jersey announced on his Facebook page on Monday morning that he was convening Leadership Matters for America "to get real leadership back in our country".

"America has been a nation that has always controlled events and yet today events control us," said a statement on the PAC's official website. "Why? Because leadership matters."

The PAC allows Christie, who will serve as its "honorary chairman", to raise funds and begin assembling a group of allies and aides who could form the basis for an official presidential campaign team.

...Mike DuHaime, a PR executive who was the lead strategist on Christie's successful gubernatorial races in 2009 and 2013, will serve as the PAC's senior adviser.

"We believe there's a void right now in leadership throughout the country," DuHaime told the [Wall Street Journal]. "We aim to support candidates who are willing to take on tough problems and make tough decisions."
Presumably like the tough decision to give the go-ahead to a PAC name that sounds like a riff on one of the country's most prominent lefty media criticism sites.

Anyway! This all sounds great, because we definitely need REAL LEADERSHIP back in AMERICA, and who better to do it than a mean bully jerkface who shuts down bridges out of spite and loves to just yell at people who say things he doesn't like. LIKE A LEADER.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat, sleeping on the arm of the couch with her paw on her head and the tip of her tongue hanging out
Just sleeping with her paw on her head and her tongue hanging out. Like ya do.

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 Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by potato soup.

Recommended Reading:

Angry Asian Man: Chloe Kim Is the X Games' Youngest Gold Medalist Ever

Ragen: [Content Note: Fat hatred] What to Do with Doctors Gone Wild

BYP: [CN: Racism; eliminationism; violent imagery] North Miami Police Will No Longer Use Black Men's Mug Shots as Target Practice

John: [CN: Transmisogyny] Saks Fifth Avenue Is No Longer Claiming It Has a Right to Discriminate against Transgender Workers

Jamilah: Watch Queer and Trans Activists of Color Shut Down San Francisco's Historic Castro

Prison Culture: Chicago #TrainTakeOver for #BlackLivesMatter

Andrea: Dan Patrick Turns Texas Redder Than Ever on First Day in Office

And finally! Happy fifth blogiversary to Dr. Adrienne at Native Appropriations!

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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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!

On my day of briefly visiting the world again, my oft-mentioned friend Ari and I finally got matching tattoos we've been talking about getting for ages.

image of Ari's brown arm and my white arm held together, showing off our matching tats: Sassy cats wearing cats eye glasses, holding opposite ends of tin can and string phones

I did the basic design of the sassy cat in cats eye glasses holding the tin can and string phone, and Lui (who's done half of my previous tattoos and a shoulder piece for Ari) perfected my drawing. Ari and I then picked the two colors we wanted—she picked papaya pink, and I picked a dark teal—and then we each got a cat with those two colors: Hers pink with teal stripes, and mine teal with pink stripes.

Once the stencils had been applied, Jake (who's done the other half of my previous tattoos) then hand-drew the string onto each of our arms so that they would match perfectly when we put them together.

Lui did Ari's tattoo while Jake did mine. It was such a fun afternoon, because we are all very silly, and also because it was special to have two dudes who are great friends themselves do our friendship tattoos.

It took awhile for us to decide on what we wanted—not for lack of ideas or lack of agreement, but because we both liked so many ideas!—but once I suggested the idea of the cats on the tin can and string phones, we knew that was the one. Because, of course, we can always, always, call on each other for anything, but also because we literally have matching cats lol.

Her Penny and my Olivia look like twins, by sheer coincidence, since Penny was found abandoned at a truck stop and Olivia fell off a vehicle in front of Iain and me on the highway. Even more coincidentally, our friend Ant, who introduced us in high school, has a cat who looks like their triplet!

Anyway. Got any new ink lately? Planning on getting some soon? Got questions for veteran tattoo sporters? Have at it in comments!

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