Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker lightbird: "If you had a chance to take a long vacation (1 month plus), what would you do/where would you go?"

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Good Grief

[Content Note: Homophobia.]

Republican Senator Rand Paul doesn't believe in the concept of gay rights "because I don't really believe in rights based on your behavior." Does believe in the right to bear arms. Is total asshole.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Homophobia.]

"When a CEO of a corporation makes a decision that irreparably harms the company that he or she runs, they oftentimes step aside voluntarily or are asked to by the Board of Directors. If Governor Pence can't even answer a simple question on national TV and defend our state and Hoosiers everywhere, he needs to look himself in the mirror and ask whether he has the leadership that Indiana needs right now. If Indiana was a corporation we'd be asking the Governor to step down. It's too late for clarifications. For the good of Indiana Governor, please step aside and let new leadership fix the harm that you've caused all of us that are proud to call ourselves Hoosiers."—Democratic Mayor of Hammond, Indiana, Thomas M McDermott, Jr., in a statement released today.

Damn! Shorter Mayor McDermott: "GTFO, Pence."

Right on.

The thing I love about this statement is that Pence wants Indiana run like a corporation. He wants to privatize everything and decimate all public services. So, yeah, let's hold him to account like Indiana is run like a corporation, exactly the way he wants.

He'll never step down, but I still love this. A lot.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat snuggling up on my chest
Sophie in her favorite cuddling spot: Right in my face.

(I'm not complaining! ♥)

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 the Trans Day of Visibility

Today is the sixth annual Trans Day of Visibility, which many trans* folks are marking on social media by posting selfies and telling their stories.

If you're on Twitter, you can follow the hashtag #TransDayOfVisibility.

Visibility is important. It is everything. It is an invitation, a proclamation, a demand. It is safety. It is action. It is personal and political.

When you are part of a marginalized population who is excluded, whose images in popular media are few and far between, it is radical.

It is strength and it is vulnerability—making oneself seen, and asking to be seen.

To my trans* family, friends, and colleagues: I see you.

And to those who do not yet feel safe enough to be seen, I will listen to what you need, in order that you might someday feel safe.

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The Creative Endeavors Thread

by Shaker Socchan

image of actor Terry Crews, a middle-aged black man, playing an artist in a Sesame Street video

Hello, all! Time for the next Creative Endeavors thread! As promised, hosted by Terry Crews!

As a reminder, this is a post dedicated to Shakers discussing creative things that they're doing. This can be traditional medium arts (painting, drawing, etc), writing anything, composing, performing, or recording anything, fibercrafts (anything with thread/string/yarn), coding, fannish stuff, whatever! As long as it's creative and it's something you're working on, I want to hear about it.

So how about it? Have you started or finished any projects since the previous thread? Have you made any progress on something you've been working on? Pictures, excerpts, and descriptions are all more than welcome!

For discussion this time around: Has anyone ever asked you to do work for them? What do you tell them? (Inspired by a similar discussion in Monday's Open Thread.)

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Cole Porter: "Anything Goes"

This week's TMNS features performers from Indiana.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

News from the Nigerian election: "Partial results from Nigeria's election give ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari a substantial lead over the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan. With only five states left to declare, Gen Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) is ahead by almost three million votes. ...BBC Nigeria analyst Jimeh Saleh says that Delta and Edo are the only pro-Jonathan states still to declare, so it is hard to see how he can overturn Gen Buhari's lead."

[Content Note: Homophobia] LGBT rights attorney Mary Bonauto and former assistant US solicitor general Douglas Hallward-Driemeier have been chosen as the attorneys to present marriage equality arguments to the Supreme Court on April 28: "Bonauto will present arguments for DeBoer v. Snyder on Question 1, 'Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?' ...Hallward-Driemeier will present oral arguments on behalf of plaintiffs in Ohio and Tennessee for question 2, 'Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?'"

[CN: Misogyny] Annie Lowrey on "Ellen Pao and the Sexism You Can't Quite Prove." Otherwise known as: The Sexism That People Who Don't Want to See Sexism Refuse to See.

[CN: Racism; carcerality] Fucking hell: "Sixteen states have more people in prison cells than college dorms." Which can be traced to a legacy of both institutional racism and, I would argue, progressive institutional neglect. Because it's not like there isn't profound racism in the north, too.

[CN: War on agency] Oh dear: "Pro-Choice Advocates on Radical Kansas Abortion Law: 'We've Never Seen This Language Before': The bill redefines the D and E procedure as 'dismemberment' abortion, language that is key to NRLC's strategy, as anti-choice advocates push similar bills in other state legislatures, many controlled by Republicans. The NRLC strategy is to pack the bills with graphic, medically inaccurate language describing the D and E procedure. 'We've never seen this language before,' Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate for the Guttmacher Institute, told the Kansas City Star. 'It's not medical language.'" The bill has already been approved by the Republican-majority Kansas house and senate.

[CN: Death penalty] This is A Big Deal: "A leading association for US pharmacists has told its members they should not provide drugs for use in lethal injections—a move that could make carrying out executions even harder for death penalty states. The declaration approved by American Pharmacists Association delegates at a meeting in San Diego says the practice of providing lethal-injection drugs is contrary to the role of pharmacists as healthcare providers. The association lacks legal authority to bar its members from selling execution drugs but its policies set pharmacists' ethical standards. Pharmacists now join doctors and anaesthesiologists in having national associations with ethics codes that call on members not to participate in executions." Which doesn't mean that health professionals don't still participate in executions, but making it an ethical violation certainly matters. A lot.

[CN: Worker exploitation; class warfare] A landmark labor case against McDonald's moves forward: "Monday marked an important step in a landmark labor case that could bring greater corporate accountability and worker protections, as a federal agency moved to consider whether McDonald's should be held responsible for what employees call poor working conditions. More than 300 unfair labor practice charges have been brought against the fast food giant since November 2012... The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided in December to move forward with about 80 of those charges by bringing complaints against the company, and on Monday the board took up consideration of the consolidated case. The case is notable because the NLRB will be for the first time treating McDonald's as a 'joint employer,' meaning that the corporation can be held liable for labor law violations committed by its franchises."

Noooooooooooooo! Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is opening his lead on challenger Chuy Garcia. Fucking fuck.

I barely even understand what this means, but I'm sure it's very exciting for people who understand it! "IBM Investing $3B in Internet of Things."

And finally! This video of a cat and dogs eating watermelon might be the cutest thing you see all day!

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Fat Hatred Is Unhealthy for Fat People

[Content Note: Fat hatred.]

This is something I—and other fat activists—have been saying for a very long time, and now there is research to back it up: Fat hatred is unhealthy for fat people.

Weight discrimination is linked to significantly lower quality of life, and accounts for approximately 40% of the negative psychological effects associated with obesity, finds new UCL research funded by Cancer Research UK. The study, which analysed data from 5,056 UK adults, found that those who felt discriminated against on the basis of their weight had a 70% increase in symptoms of depression, a 14% drop in quality of life and 12% lower life satisfaction relative to those who did not perceive weight discrimination.

To assess weight discrimination, participants were asked whether they experienced day-to-day discrimination that they attributed to their weight. Examples of discrimination include being treated disrespectfully, receiving poor service in shops, and being harassed. Psychological wellbeing was assessed with standard measures of quality of life, life satisfaction and symptoms of depression.

The data come from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a study of adults aged 50 or older. The researchers analysed the results to check whether the known association between obesity and poorer psychological wellbeing could in any part be explained by weight-related discrimination. They found that when perceived weight discrimination was accounted for, differences in wellbeing between obese and non-obese individuals were reduced substantially, suggesting that discrimination may be an important cause of low wellbeing for obese people.
Emphasis mine.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Sarah Jackson, UCL Epidemiology and Public Health, additionally notes that there are no legal protections from discrimination for fat people, equivalent to protections from discrimination "on the basis of age, sex, race, disability, religion of beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, or gender reassignment," which "might send the message to people that weight discrimination is socially acceptable."


In fact, "weight discrimination"—also known as fat hatred—is not merely considered "socially acceptable," but is often cited, even by health and ethics professionals, as an effective tool to promote weight loss. This is, of course, rank garbage—and senior author of the study, Professor Jane Wardle, director of the Cancer Research UK Health Behavior Centre at UCL, reports that they have done previous work "showing that weight discrimination does not encourage weight loss."
"Weight bias has been documented not only among the general public but also among health professionals; and many obese patients report being treated disrespectfully by doctors because of their weight. Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight."
Because it does not promote health at all. To the contrary, it is profoundly damaging to fat people's health.

[H/T to Shaker K.]

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Fix This Now

This was today's cover of the Indianapolis Star, not exactly known as a bastion of liberalism:

image of the front page of the Indy Star, with a giant headline reading FIX THIS NOW

Here is the full editorial, in which the editors argue: "Only bold action—action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens—will be enough to reverse the damage. Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Those protections and RFRA can co-exist. They do elsewhere. Laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity are not foreign to Indiana. Indianapolis, for example, has had those legal protections in place for nearly a decade. Indy's law applies to businesses with more than six employees, and exempts religious organizations and non-profit groups."

In fact, yesterday, Republican Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and the City-County Council "called on the Indiana General Assembly to either repeal the divisive Religious Freedom Restoration Act or add explicit protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in state law. Ballard also issued an executive order that anyone who receives money from the city government must abide by its human rights ordinance, which has had such protections in place for a decade."
"Our city thrives because we have welcomed and embraced diversity. And RFRA threatens what thousands of people have spent decades building," Ballard said.

"Discrimination is wrong. And I hope that message is being heard loud and clear at our Statehouse."
Republican and Democratic Hoosiers are coming together to put pressure on Governor Mike Pence and the state legislature to ensure that the RFRA does not become, as it was clearly intended, a license to discriminate.

Fix this now, we are requesting. Fix this now, we are demanding.


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Two pieces of recommended reading:

Samantha Allen: "Don't boycott Indiana. Boycott bigots."

Tom Watson: "Trending Yes, But Does Indiana Boycott Make Tactical Sense as Citizen's Movement?"

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Indiana Is Not a Lost Cause

So, one of the common responses I'm getting to my suggestion that what Indiana is needs is external progressive investment is that Indiana is a "lost cause." That there's no point to progressive investment in Indiana, because it will just be wasted on the state and its people.

Indiana is not a lost cause.

Since 1940, the only presidential election in which Indiana went blue was 1964—until 2008. We went blue for Obama.

What was the difference?

Well, not to take anything away from President Obama, who was a terrific candidate, which played a big role, but the most crucial difference was the long, extended, Democratic primary, which gave Hoosiers the opportunity to vote in a Democratic primary for the first time in my life.

Because our votes suddenly mattered, the Democratic candidates visited the state. They, and liberal orgs, ran ads in the state. There was a huge influx of liberal cash.

I saw then-candidate Barack Obama speak at night in the glow of floodlights at a park in Hammond, Indiana, surrounded by other voters from Northwest Indiana—a diverse crowd of black, white, and Latin@ Hoosiers; of LGBT and straight/cis Hoosiers; of poor and working class and middle class and wealthy Hoosiers. The deep diversity of that crowd is not what the people who write off Indiana picture when they think of our state.

I saw then-candidate Hillary Clinton speak during a sunny afternoon at a union center in Portage, Indiana, surrounded by union steelworkers who vibrated with excitement. That day, a man died at the mill. The event was started by remembering him, and talking about how difficult and dangerous steel work is, and why the union is so important. Clinton mourned him with us.

I saw Clinton a second time, in East Chicago, Indiana, in front of a mostly Latin@ crowd. She spoke about immigration, and jobs, and equal rights, and we cheered for them all.

Before 2008, the last Democratic presidential candidate who spoke in this area was Bobby Kennedy.

We were treated like we mattered, because our votes mattered. We felt like we mattered, and we did. We weren't written off, as we are every year by both the Democratic and Republican candidates—the former because we're seen as a lost cause, and the latter because we're seen as a sure thing.

Democratic politics was all the fuck over this state. And we went blue. For the first time in my life.

2008 is a case study in how progressive investment works.

I'm not suggesting that presidential candidates come to Indiana, when resources are precious. I'm using this example in how progressive investment fundamentally matters to "red states." (And maybe I am suggesting just a little that the presidential primary calendars should rotate, ahem.) That investment can come in many forms—and should. Sustainably so, for lasting transformation.

Indiana is not a lost cause. Except when we're treated like one.

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Open Thread

image of daffodils

Hosted by daffodils.

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Question of the Day

What's great about your state/province/country?

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Breaking Clown Car News

image of George Pataki speaking at a microphone in front of US flags, to which I've added text reading: 'Romney ain't the only rapscallion who can stand in front of flags!!!'

Former Republican New York Governor George Pataki (remember him?) (I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't!) is fixing to run for president—MAYBE!
George Pataki, the former three-term New York governor, has a tip for gamblers: Place your chips on his running for president.

Pataki has traveled to New Hampshire six times since September and two weeks ago appeared at the Republican National Committee's donor retreat in Boca Raton, Florida. In an interview with Rita Cosby on WABC in New York, Pataki said he'll probably run, suggesting that the only hold ups are campaign-finance laws that would limit his fundraising once he formally declares.

"If you care about the country, it's very hard to sit on the sideline if you believe you have the ability to run a government like this country's well," Pataki said Sunday. "At this point, I am strongly inclined to do it."

Pataki has grappled with running in the last two presidential races. He said he's closer to entering the field than ever.

"If I were a betting person, I would bet that I'd make the decision to go," Pataki said.
Lucky us!

Pataki was marginally pro-choice and marginally pro-gay rights, so it'll be fun (by which I mean profoundly depressing) to see him do the Dance of the Socially Moderate Republicans during the primary, should he throw his dunce cap into the ring, in order to distance himself from positions that are far too decent for the extreme social conservatives who comprise a large portion of Republican primary voters.

"Ha ha, no no no—I promise I HATE people who need access to basic healthcare and basic rights!"


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The Make-Up Thread

Last time I asked if y'all would like this to be a regular feature, and many of you answered you would, so it shall be!

Do you have a make-up product you'd recommend? Are you looking for the perfect foundation which has remained frustratingly elusive? Need or want to offer make-up tips? Searching for hypoallergenic products? Want to grouse about how you hate make-up? Want to gush about how you love it?

Whatever you like—have at it!

I will note this week that, since the last thread, I tried applying liquid foundation with a brush for the first time and OMG IT WAS REVOLUTIONARY. The coverage was so much better! Yayayayay!

Between deep moisturizing before applying make-up and using brushes, my make-up game is 100% improved, lol.

What's up with you?

* * *

Please note, as always, that advice should be not be offered to an individual person unless they solicit it. Further: This thread is open to everyone—women, men, genderqueer folks. People who are make-up experts, and people who are make-up newbies. Also, because there is a lot of racist language used in discussions of make-up, and in make-up names, please be aware to avoid turns of phrase that are alienating to women of color, like "nude" or "flesh tone" when referring to a peachy or beige color. I realize some recommended products may have names that use these words, so please be considerate about content noting for white supremacist (and/or Orientalist) product naming.

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The Walking Thread

[Content Note: Descriptions of violence; domestic violence. There is an image of Grimes looking pretty beat up lower down in this post. Spoilers are lurching around undeadly herein.]

image of Morgan, a middle-aged black man, sitting on a log in a woodland campsite, looking pretty miserable
Look, it's Morgan! And he's thrilled to be back!

Welp, last night was the super-sized season finale of The Walking Dead, and it was 90 patriarchy-packed minutes of reminding us that Rick Grimes is the hideous monster we all need to save us from hideous monsters.

We open with Morgan, Grimes' long-lost buddy, who is taken hostage by two of the W-Heads who were exiled from Aarontown, and whom he handily defeats with his makeshift bō staff. I can't make that sound any more exciting, because it was exactly as unexciting as it sounds.

Cut to Grimes waking up locked in a room in Aarontown, his face covered in bandages. Michonne is keeping watch over him. Carol, Glenn, and Sgt. Red Bull drop by, and the team discusses the meeting Deanna is fixing to hold that night to discuss Grimes' fate. Glenn and Michonne definitely want to pursue a diplomatic approach, and Grimes agrees, but outlines a violent coup as a back-up plan, in case things don't go their way.

It's like the Boy Scouts say: "Always be prepared with a violent coup."

Later, Carol drops by to talk to Grimes about the plan and to give him a gun, since his got confiscated after he went haywire in the middle of Main Street. They talk about concealing from Glenn and Michonne that they've got guns, and Grimes says he's tired of lying. Carol responds, "You want to take this place, and you don't want to lie? Oh, sunshine—you don't get both." LOLOLOL.

When Michonne drops by later, Grimes tells her about the guns and explains he lied to her because he wasn't sure she was on his side. She assures him that she's on his side, and tells him she knocked him out "for you, not for them." HAHAHA PERFECT. I'm pretty sure it was actually for me, since I've watched the gif of that moment fully one million times now.

Anyway, the important thing is: Everyone is definitely on Grimes' side! Because Grimes is the best! And he always makes terrific decisions that save people's lives! Even Blaura Blinney, when she sees Grimes wandering about town, assures him, "You were right." OF COURSE HE WAS. GRIMES IS ALWAYS RIGHT FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

Maggie stops by Deanna's house to give her the 411 about how Grimes is always right and tell her she can't banish him. Deanna ain't having it. Mr. Deanna follows Maggie and tells her that he's definitely going to try to convince Deanna, because civilization starts when people settle in one place and stop sending people away. Not really, but whatever.

Meanwhile, out in the woods: Sasha continues her descent into madness, and flings herself atop a pile of zombie corpses. Gabriel the Terrible Priest goes for a walk with no weapon, because "The word of God is the only protection I need." Okay, player. Douchebag Beta slips over the wall, and Glenn follows him, and he shoots Glenn and they fight. Aaron and Daryl continue their recruitment mission, and find a food distribution warehouse flanked by trucks they assume are full of food but whoooooooops are full of zombies! They all have Ws etched into their foreheads, so this was clearly a trap set up by the exiled Aarontownian W-Heads who were also harassing Morgan. Oh no!

Aaron and Daryl get in a parked car on the lot, and they are immediately surrounded by zombies. Oh no! Daryl volunteers to distract the zombies. Oh no! Aaron says they'll go together. Oh no! They get out of the car and suddenly Morgan shows up and starts fucking shit up with his trusty bō staff. Huzzah!

Aaron invites him to come live with them in Aarontown, and Morgan is all, "Nah." But he does ask them for help locating where he is, because he's totes lost, and holds out the map that Sgt. Red Bull left for Grimes once upon a time, on which he'd written: "Sorry, I was an asshole. Come to Washington. The new world's gonna need Rick Grimes." To which Aaron and Daryl make Tim Allen's question-grunt with their faces.

Back in Aarontown, Carol pays Abusive Pete a visit, bringing him a casserole and a death threat. Neighborly! Pete is real mad. He doesn't want the casserole, which he throws on the floor, and storms around shouting about how "this isn't my house!" YES IT IS YOUR HOUSE AND NOW YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEANING UP THE MESS YOU MADE WITH THAT CASSEROLE, ABUSIVE PETE.

Elsewhere, Sgt. Red Bull goes to visit Tara, who's still recovering from her injuries sustained during the supply run, and he and Dr. Mulletsworth make up. I would be touched, except I totally forgot they were still mad at each other and also don't care.

Definitely a lot of amazing hair in that scene, though.

Gabriel returns to Aarontown after enticing a zombie to come kill him and then changing his mind. He hates himself for being a coward, but also continues to be a coward. He can't kill himself, and can't just stand there and let a zombie kill him, so he leaves the gate open at Aarontown, presumably hoping he'll either die by being overrun or by being murdered when people find out what's he done. He finds Sasha brooding at the church, and, as a Plan C, tries to provoke her into killing him, too. This guy is terrific.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound stretched out on the loveseat, with his head resting on the arm, looking at me with a sweet face
What am I even supposed to do about this level of cuteness?

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 limes.

Recommended Reading:

Rupi: [Content Note: Images of menstrual blood] Period.

Emma: The Removal of Rupi Kaur's Instagram Photos Shows How Terrified We Are of Periods

Andrea: [CN: Misogynist terrorism; threats of violence; guns] I Made a Joke About Guns and a Man Threatened to Assault Me

Toshio: [CN: Disablism; police brutality] Cops Shouldn't Be Above the Americans with Disabilities Act

Issa: [CN: Fat hatred] Where Are All the Fat Zombies?

Qimmah: [CN: Misogynoir] Cicely Tyson Shares Gems at Black Girls Rock Award Ceremony

Veronica: I've Got a Bad Feeling About Princess Leia's Comic Book Series

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Jackson 5: "I'll Be There"

This week's TMNS will be featuring performers from Indiana.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Terrorism; death; descriptions of violence] Ahead of the Nigerian elections, which they're hoping to influence, Boko Haram has gone on an another viciously violent killing spree: "Militants from extremist group Boko Haram attacked several Nigerian towns, torching houses and fatally shooting those who fled before reportedly beheading some of the bodies with chainsaws. The string of terror attacks comes amid the presidential vote. At least 25 people were killed and more than 30 injured in the village of Buratai in Borno state, local officials confirmed. ...Meanwhile, at least 14 people were killed in separate attacks by the radical Islamist group in the towns of Biri and Dukku, located in Gombe state. The victims included a legislator, AP reported." Devastating.

[CN: Shooting] Something went down at Fort Meade this morning, although details are still sketchy: "One person was killed and at least one other was injured Monday when shots were fired after two people in a vehicle tried to ram a gate at Fort Meade, a military installation in Anne Arundel County that houses the National Security Agency, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation. Authorities did not release any details of exactly what happened, but law enforcement officials said police officers with the National Security Agency shot at the two people in the vehicle. One of them was killed, the officials said." Fuck.

[CN: Airline crash; self-harm] The latest in the investigation into the Germanwings pilot who downed a place last week: "'Several years ago before obtaining his pilot's licence the co-pilot was in a long period of psychotherapeutic treatment with noticeable suicidal tendencies,' the prosecutors' office in Duesseldorf, where the pilot Andreas Lubitz lived and where the flight from Barcelona was heading, said in the statement. The prosecutors' office, which quoted 'relevant medical documentation' as the basis for its findings, added that since that period Lubitz had not shown any signs of suicidal behaviour or aggressive tendencies towards others in visits to doctors. ...The prosecutors said on Monday that they had not found any evidence Lubitz was planning such an attack, nor his reason behind it. 'No special circumstances have come to light, whether in his personal life or his work life, that shed any plausible light on a possible motive,' the prosecutors' statement said."

[CN: Airline crash; misogyny; homophobia] Which naturally has not stopped wild speculation about his motives. Among my favorites (ahem): The Daily Mail: "Police will want to interview...his most recent girlfriend who he is said to have lived with in a smart flat on the outskirts of Dusseldorf. ...Lubitz had reportedly ordered two new Audis for them just before the tragedy in an apparent desperate last attempt to win her back. But she appeared to have rejected his offer, as only one car was ever delivered. It is not known why they split but it has been claimed their relationship broke down because he was secretly gay and was suffering torment over hiding his homosexuality." So, he might have killed a bunch of people because he's gay, but, if he's not, then it's because that bitch rejected him! Which still isn't even as bad as this MRA stain, who suggests that this might not have happened "if the sluts of the world were just a little less picky and a little more equitable in their distribution of blowjobs."

All right then: "Amazon is testing its drone delivery service at a secret site in Canada, following repeated warnings by the e-commerce giant that it would go outside the US to bypass what it sees as the US federal government's lethargic approach to the new technology. ...The end goal is to utilise what Amazon sees as a slice of virgin airspace—above 200ft, where most buildings end, and below 500ft, where general aviation begins. Into that aerial slice the company plans to pour highly autonomous drones of less than 55lbs, flying through corridors 10 miles or longer at 50mph and carrying payloads of up to 5lbs that account for 86% of all the company's packages."

Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler says that Net Neutrality will survive, "despite [protestation] from broadband providers over the FCC's net neutrality regulations." I sure hope so!

[CN: Climate change; scarcity] This is so scary: "As California farms and cities drill deeper for groundwater in an era of drought and climate change, they no longer are tapping reserves that percolated into the soil over recent centuries. They are pumping water that fell to Earth during a much wetter climatic regime—the ice age. Such water is not just old. It's prehistoric. It is older than the earliest pyramids on the Nile, older than the world's oldest tree, the bristlecone pine. It was swirling down rivers and streams 15,000 to 20,000 years ago when humans were crossing the Bering Strait from Asia. Tapping such water is more than a scientific curiosity. It is one more sign that some parts of California are living beyond nature's means, with implications that could ripple into the next century and beyond as climate change turns the region warmer and robs moisture from the sky."

[CN: Animal abuse] This video of animals used in lab testing experiencing grass and sunlight for the first time is happy-making and sad-making a the same time.

Comedy Central has announced that Trevor Noah will replace Jon Stewart at The Daily Show. Okay. I like some of his stuff. I'm still not going to watch The Daily Show, but I hope that those of you who do/want to are excited by this news!

[CN: Image of creepy-crawly at link] This lede is amazing: "A newly discovered Cambrian predator with a wicked set of arms under its four-eyed face reveals that early arthropods were experimentalists when it came to using their limbs." LOL LOVE.

And finally! Meet Gluta—the happiest dog in the world. ♥

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More Shitty News from Indiana

[Content Note: War on agency; misogyny; racism.]

Purvi Patel, the woman who was charged with 'fetal murder of an unborn child,' has been found guilty and sentenced to "20 years jail time for the neglect of a dependent conviction and 6 years for feticide. ...Once her prison time is done, Patel will be on probation for five years."

Tara Culp-Ressler has the background on Patel's story, and notes that the outcome of her case rested heavily on perceptions about how people thought she should have behaved.

Reproductive justice organizations have been raising the alarm about Patel's case for months, saying that broad feticide laws are creating a separate legal standard for pregnant women. They point out that, if women have to worry about getting arrested after going to the hospital, it will deter them from seeking critical medical care. If Patel has known that she risked being charged with fetal homicide, for instance, would she have thought twice about going to the emergency room to stem her bleeding?

And according to [Sue Ellen Braunlin, the co-president of the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice], who has been in regular contact with Patel throughout the criminal proceedings, it was "frightening" to see how much of the case appeared to rest on the public's knee-jerk reaction to Patel's conduct immediately after her premature delivery. It disturbs a lot of people that she chose to place the fetus in a dumpster. Her nurses were surprised that she wasn't displaying more emotion at the hospital, and wondered why she was spending so much time on her phone.

Ultimately, Patel didn't fit other people's ideas of how a proper grieving mother should behave — which would hardly be the first time that prosecutors have pushed to level charges against women deemed to be "bad mothers."

"I think some people think it's just an icky case, so they don't want to stand up for her," Braunlin said.
I hope and expect that Patel's case will be appealed. I support Purvi Patel.

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STFU, Roger Moore

[Content Note: Racism.]

As you may recall, racist trolls lost their minds when it was suggested that black English actor Idris Elba would make a pretty terrific James Bond. And now former James Bond, Roger Moore, wants you to know that he shares their opinion:

"Although James may have been played by a Scot, a Welshman and an Irishman, I think he should be 'English-English'," he continues. "Nevertheless, it's an interesting idea, but unrealistic."

The Scot who played Bond was Sean Connery, the Welshman was Timothy Dalton and the Irishman was Pierce Brosnan. But just what is it that prevents Elba from being 'English-English', Roger? He was born in Hackney, raised in East Ham, schooled in Canning Town, started work in Dagenham and he supports Arsenal. How much more of an Englishman could he be?
Welp, we all know the answer to that, because we all know damn well what the racist dogwhistle "English-English" really means.

I really love (do not love) the idea that it's "unrealistic" to cast a black man as James Bond. Because realism is totally the center of the Bond franchise.

Video Description: Obviously green-screened scene of Roger Moore, as James Bond, skiing down the side of a mountain, dodging bullets from four bad guys shooting at him while skiing after him; then flipping a switch on one of his ski poles, turning it into a gun, skiing backwards and shooting at one the bad guys, landing a direct hit in his chest; then doing a backwards flip before body-slamming another bad guy; then skiing straight off the side of the mountain and dramatically free-falling before a Union Jack parachute unfurls.

But, sure. I can definitely see how if it were Idris Elba doing it, it would be super unrealistic.


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Indiana #RFRA Updates

[Content Note: Christian Supremacy; homophobia; transphobia; choice policing; regionalism.]

Over the weekend, I spent a great deal more time on Twitter pushing back against the idea of a broad boycott of Indiana. (For anyone looking for alternative ideas to a broad boycott, IndyFeminists have got you covered. And here I am at Model View Culture encouraging business leaders to invest in, rather than divest from, Indiana.) And this pretty much sums up my entire weekend:

image of tweet authored by me reading: 'Move here because we're tolerant and open-minded, and your entire state is trash.' Without a trace of irony.

Suffice it to say that I—and many of my queer/progressive Hoosier compatriots—have not exactly been convinced of the professed enlightenment of people who talk about how our entire state should be abandoned, blown up, and written off as worthless.

Who are failing to listen to to the queer Hoosiers who are begging people not to boycott, because they are now not only scared of discrimination care of the "religious freedom" bill but also scared of losing their jobs because of a broad boycott.

Who are talking to us like we don't know our own state, like none of us have lived anywhere else or traveled anywhere else (including some of these progressive cites which are much more segregated than lots of communities in Indiana).

Who are purporting to be experts on Indiana while never having stepped a foot inside our borders.

Who are shouting at us to "vote!" with the most ignorant victim-blaming shit, as though it doesn't matter that Indiana is so deeply gerrymandered that many candidates run unopposed, that Indiana has no progressive infrastructure, that we have a rogue legislature who acts in contravention to the will of the majority, that we have vast voter disenfranchisement because of a heinous voter ID law which was upheld by the Supreme Court.

It truly hurts my heart to see how hard progressive Hoosiers try to make life better here and get talked about like we're trash by outsiders.

Indiana's conservative leadership enraged me. National progressives have demoralized me. In a time we most need support, we get alienation and abuse.

In any case, progressive Hoosiers are pushing back. Indiana University released a beautiful statement committing itself to diversity, and Hoosiers rallied at the statehouse over the weekend:

image of tweet authored by Patrick Calvert featuring a picture of the rally and reading: 'Here is another picture of a good majority of the rally. #Indiana #Weareindiana #RFRA'

And our dipshit of a Republican governor, Mike Pence, appeared on This Week with George Stephanapoulos being his typically mendacious self, yammering on about how it's a protection for people of faith and that there's no implicit license to discriminate.

[Full transcript here.]

Pence tries to deflect criticism by saying he wants to "clarify" the legislation, but when Stephanapoulos asks him point-blank about LGBT protections, Pence tips his hand:
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm trying to get that same clarity. And it sounds to me like what you're saying is that someone could use their religious faith as a defense against any kind of a suit brought there. But let's try to get to that clarification you're talking about. One fix that people have talked about is simply adding sexual orientation as a protected class under the state's civil rights laws. Will you push for that?

PENCE: I will not push for that. That's a—that's not on my agenda and that's not been the—that's not been an objective of the people of the state of Indiana. And it doesn't have anything to do with this law. I mean, George, Bill Clinton signed The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993.

...STEPHANOPOULOS: One suggested fix to the law would say that, "this chapter of the law does not establish or eliminate a defense to a claim under any federal, state or local law protecting civil rights or preventing discrimination." Is that the kind of clarification you're talking about?

PENCE: George, look, we're not going to change the law, OK? But if the general assembly in Indiana sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is and what it has been for the last 20 years, then I'm open to that. But we're—we're not going to change this law. It has been tested in courts for more than two decades on the federal level.
Pence essentially reiterates what we already knew: The supporters of the law want the unlimited right to discriminate against LGBT Hoosiers (and others), but don't want to be accused of wanting or actually having that right.

Whoooooops. Tough shit, bigots. We're onto you.

So where do we go from here? Well, ACLU IN and Lambda Legal (among others) will be looking for opportunities to challenge the law. Progressive Hoosiers will continue to advocate for its repeal. And we will be working with what resources we have to continue to challenge the conservative stranglehold on our state legislature.

And what we need from outsides is this: Support, not abandonment.

Look, I understand the kneejerk reactionary support of a boycott. Once upon a time, I supported sanctions and boycotts, too, and then I listened to people who lived under sanctions and boycotts, and I radically and fundamentally changed my position. They harm the people who are already most vulnerable.

There is no quick or easy fix in Indiana. Consequences come at the polls. That only happens with long-term progressive strategy, which I understand demoralizes people. (None more so than progressive Hoosiers.) We desperately need sustained attention, not sloganeering.

I further understand that there are people who don't feel safe here, who don't want to visit (and who want to move, or have moved). And I unyieldingly support that. Everyone must do what is best and safest for themselves. And, thanks to the miracle of the internet, you can still support progressive Hoosier businesses without ever having to visit, by buying products or making targeted donations. It really doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

Finally, I ask that progressives reexamine the ubiquitous urge to tell people to move. Not everyone has the privilege of being able to move, which is to say nothing of not everyone having the desire to move—and those of us who could move, who choose to stay and fight on behalf of our values and in solidarity with those who can't pick up and leave, have a rough enough time of it without being written off by ostensible allies.

These places are our homes. We are working in demoralizing conditions and constant defeat to try to fix them. Give us a fucking break.

And let me tell you a little story about the current leadership in Indiana, which I hope you will keep in mind next time you want to shout at us to vote and blame us for voting in these folks...

Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, was elected in 2012 to be the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Indiana. She was a huge underdog—but beat the incumbent (with 53% of the vote) because a majority of Hoosiers, both progressive and conservative, supported her willingness to challenge Republican proposals that would destroy public education in Indiana.

Ritz is the first Democrat to serve as Superintendent in 40 years.

Governor Mike Pence was elected during the same election. One of his first acts as governor was to remove Ritz from the union-centered Educational Employment Relations Board. And then the Republican-controlled House Education Committee proposed a bill to "strip the superintendent's position as chair of the State Board of Education. ...The bill would allow Republican Gov. Mike Pence's 10 appointees to the 11-member board to elect their own chair."

In other words, as soon as a Democrat was elected to an influential state position, the Republican governor and legislature set to rendering her office utterly without power.

This is what we're up against.

Our Democratic legislators, as you may recall, had to leave the state in 2011 in order to try to stop Republicans from running roughshod over the people's will.

I can't even tell you how much you don't understand Indiana, or its people, or what's happening here, if you lazily shout "vote!" or "you get the government you deserve!" or "just move!" or "boycott!" at us.

If you care enough what's happening in Indiana that you're willing to support a boycott of the state, then please care about it enough to listen to the people who live here and learn what our lives really look like.

At the bare minimum, please remember that we are people. We are not "collateral damage." We are not a faceless monolith of worthless trash for your ill-considered rants.

We are a state of extremes, of Eugene Debs and the Klan. No state is all one thing or the other.

Anyone meaningfully committed to diversity won't pretend that doesn't matter.

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Open Thread

image of the cover of David Bowie's album Diamond Dogs

Hosted by Diamond Dogs.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Shakesville Arms'
[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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Good F#@king Grief

[Content Note: Anti-semitism.]

"Lena Dunham faces criticism over article comparing Jewish men and dogs." Sounds about right.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the loveseat with her belly showing, sound asleep
Zelly Belly.

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 Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by snow more snow omg snow.

Recommended Reading:

Shena: [Content Note: Misogynoir; gendered violence] Regardless of Election Outcome, Girls Are the Future in Nigeria

Emily: [CN: War on agency; class warfare] The 'Reach' of Anti-Choice Hyde Amendment May Get Wider

Carla: [CN: Racism; xenophobia; violence] FBI to Track Hate Crimes Against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab-Americans

TLC: [CN: Transphobic violence] Leaders Gather from across the Country to Address Epidemic of Violence Targeting Transgender Communities

Digby: [CN: Class warfare; worker exploitation] They Are So Worth It

Paige: This Self-Watering Greenhouse Could Be Every Farmer's Drought Solution

Diamond: 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' Is Now a National Treasure

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Pink: "Try"

This week's TMNS brought to you by DANCING!

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Class warfare; eliminationism] I'm still fighting it out on Twitter over #BoycottIndiana, and some of the responses have been absolutely extraordinary. Not in a good way. Here is a perfect example of the shit with which I'm dealing. I should be killed because my state government is the worst. Neat.

As a result, In the News will be slightly brusque today, because I'm having to direct a lot of my continued attention to social media.

[CN: Class warfare] Senate passes Republican budget with deep safety net cuts: "The Senate passed a Republican-authored budget plan early on Friday that seeks $5.1 trillion in domestic spending cuts over 10 years while boosting military funding." Just fuck.

In other Senate news: "Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama's ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance." Reid has reportedly endorsed Chuck Schumer as his successor.

[CN: Airline crash; death; disablism] The latest in the investigation into the Germanwings airline crash has found that the co-pilot who downed the plane was living with depression: German authorities found torn-up sick notes indicating he "was suffering from an illness that should have grounded him on the day of the tragedy, which he apparently hid from the airline." The Guardian's coverage on this is pretty good, especially in that they include statements from mental health professionals who note what ought to be obvious—that most people with depression don't harm other people. There's going to be a lot of awful disablism around this, I fear.

[CN: War on agency; sexual violence; misogyny] Tara Culp-Ressler has a good piece on Democratic Ohio State Rep. Teresa Fedor disclosing during a legislative debate about a proposed abortion ban "that she had been sexually assaulted, became pregnant, and had an abortion." This bit is particularly strong: "On the other hand, even as reproductive advocates celebrate the fact that an increasing number of women are feeling comfortable enough to disclose their stigmatized health care experiences, there are lingering concerns. Is this too high of an emotional cost to demand from women in the public sphere? Do we feel too entitled to women's personal stories, when we should be able to understand the impact of proposed abortion restrictions without that invasion of privacy?"

[CN: Rape culture] Erin Keane: "Woody Allen is a genius. Woody Allen is a predator."

Oh dark matter, you are so strange and wonderful: "By observing multiple collisions between huge clusters of galaxies, scientists have witnessed dark matter coasting straight through the turmoil. ...Galaxy clusters are vast and contain huge amounts of dark matter, so when they collide—over billions of years—it offers a unique glimpse of how the stuff behaves. 'We like these collisions because it's exactly what we'd do in the lab,' [Dr Richard Massey from Durham University] told BBC News. 'If you want to figure out what something is made out of, you knock it, or you throw it across the room and see where the bits go.' In this case, the bits went straight through each other. Unlike the gas clouds, which grind to a turbulent halt, and the stars, which mostly glide past each other, the ubiquitous dark matter passes through everything and emerges unscathed, like a ghost. 'It seems not to interact with anything at all,' Dr Massey said."

And finally! Here is a great video about a dog with disabilities and a cat who became BFFs. Blub.

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Religious Bigotry Bill Stalls in Georgia

[Content note: homophobia, domestic violence, anti-Semitism, Christian supremacy.]

There is a little bit of good news coming from the South: Georgia's version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has stalled in committee, and there is a reasonable chance it will not revive before the end of the session on April 1st. Tellingly, it was the attempt to add anti-discrimination language to the bill that held it up. The anti-discrimination amendment was introduced by a Republican:

The amendment from gay-friendly state Rep. Mike Jacobs, a Republican from Brookhaven, was similar to measures swatted down by a subcommittee on Wednesday. But Jacobs' amendment passed 9 to 8, putting in place a change fought tooth and nail by the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Josh McKoon, Republican proponents and religious conservatives.

Jacobs ... said voters in his district "overwhelmingly oppose" the bill over concerns that it would open LGBT people to discrimination.

"I take at face value the statements of the proponents that they do not intend discrimination with this bill but I also believe that if that is the case, we should state that expressly in the bill itself. That is what the amendment does."

Whoooops! Looks like maybe the bill's sponsors do intend discrimination! I am shocked, SHOCKED, to find there is gambling discrimination going on here!

(I am not actually shocked.)

Georgia's bill is one of the most sweeping in the nation, containing language that could, for example, impede child abuse or intimate partner violence investigations [CN: photo portraying domestic abuse in linked article]:

First, the language is the strictest possible. As with other RFRAs, Georgia’s act says that the government cannot “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” without a “compelling governmental interest” and the “least restrictive means of furthering” that interest. This is the classic three-prong test that was at issue in Hobby Lobby, and is considered extremely difficult to meet.

Georgia’s RFRA also specifies that “exercise of religion” can be just about any “practice or observance of religion, whether or not compelled by or central to a system of religious belief.”

The state of Georgia might be able to show compelling interest in a dv investigation; but the potential to stall those investigations is chilling. And while Georgia as a whole does not have LGBTQI protections, some areas (like Atlanta) do have such ordinacnes. The Republicans supporting this bill have told repeatedly claimed in its defense that there haven't been any problems in other states with similar bills, but State Rep. Roger Bruce reminded them that Georgia doesn't have to look far for a history of "Christian values" justifying discrimination:

“You keep making reference to these other states and the truth of the matter is this is Georgia,” Rep. Bruce said, citing a less tolerant history in the state concerning minorities. He then questioned why proponents aren't allowing protections against discrimination in the bill.

“Right now what you are asking us to do is allow state-sponsored discrimination, and if this is not what you are doing, then let us put in the bill to make sure there's no question about that,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a backlash against the legislators who supported the anti-discrimination amendment. And it is not pretty:

Supporters of SB 129, the religious liberty bill, have posted images of the four GOP lawmakers, and phone numbers, blaming them for the gutting of the measure by endorsing the insertion of an anti-discrimination clause into the legislation. Erick Erickson, the WSB Radio provocateur, will certainly call down hellfire during his 5 p.m. program. He started off this morning with the image of Judas on his website and a post that included these words:

A week before the anniversary of Judas betraying the our Lord, Beth Beskin, Jay Powell, and Wendell Willard betrayed you for monied special interests. They have time to make it right.

Given that Jacobs is Jewish, some caution might be in order if that metaphor is pursued.

Yeah, Invoking Judas in a post chiding legislators for siding with a Jewish legislator? And throwing "monied special interest" in there? There are not enough condemnatory words in the English language to convey my anger and disgust. Nor to express how I feel about this:

On his Facebook page last night, Mike Griffin, lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Convention and Georgia Right to Life, posted the image of a gutted catfish, and this:

This is what happened to the Ga Religious Freedom Restoration Act! It was gutted like a catfish by the House Judiciary Committee! Rep Mike Jacobs made a motion to amend the bill with language that would have nullified protection that people of faith needed from government intrusion.

But Griffin advised his followers to be courteous when chewing out the lawmakers.

Call me cynical, but I don't think posting an image of an animal with its guts hanging out is a great way to encourage courtesy; I think it's really creepy and threatening. YMMV.

There's a small chance the bill could be revived, so LGBTQI Georgians and their supporters can't breathe easy just yet. South Carolina already has one of these laws, and is trying to include specific protections for anti-marriage equality bigots. Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama... there are plenty of variations on this theme still bouncing around legislatures in the Southeast. (And elsewhere.)

But it's really, really out in the open now. If ever the proponents of these bills have shown their true colours, they did in Georgia last night. If the "religious freedom" laws are not about discrimination, what's the harm in adding anti-discrimination language?

Oh. Yeah. Right.

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This Is What My Home Looks Like

[Video Description: I pan around the beach on a stormy but beautiful day. The lake churns; the sky is filled with dramatic cloud formations; the dune grass sways in the wind. I follow a seagull taking flight, and then settle on Iain walking toward me with Dudley and Zelda, who greet me warmly. Iain waves at me. And the video cuts off abruptly because whoooops my editing.]

Iain and I live in Indiana on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, a few minutes from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. On a weekend day in September 2012, we took the dogs to the beach. We walked all together for awhile, and then Iain took the dogs for a run down the beach, while I stayed behind and took some photo and video of the gorgeous day we had the privilege of enjoying.

image of the beach to the east with tumultuous water and stormy skies

I've written before about how important it is for me to remember, and to actively appreciate, that I live in a beautiful place which I love—because I also live in a place with a deeply conservative state government that often feels hostile to me, as a woman and as an advocate of social justice and as a human who believes that we're all in this thing together.

image of the lakeshore to the west; the Chicago skyline can be seen in the very distance

Often, marginalized people whose lives are made more difficult and less safe, whose bodies and agency are held in contempt by their own state governments, are told by people outside of those states, even ostensible allies, to move. Just move to a blue state. As if it's just that simple—just picking up your life and abandoning your home and career and local support network, to move somewhere else. As if blue states are universally better.

image of the dunes, facing away from the water, below stormy skies

As if you don't love the place where you live, even if it's imperfect. I love this place. I grew up here, and I fled from its clutches as soon as I could, and I lived in a city which is something I needed to do for a very long time, and I lived in another country, and then I moved back. And I love this place still, and I always have, even when I've hated it.

image of the dunes, topped by a dark line of trees, below brilliant white clouds with bright blue sky peeking through

I love this place despite its history. It is, like much of the United States, a history of seized land, of racism, of union-building and union-busting, of industry and collapse, of extraordinary natural beauty and the fight to preserve it, and its people, from pollution and decay.

image of stones made smooth by the lake, buried in the sand

I have spent so many days, and nights, on this beach. I've been sunbathing, and I've gone nightswimming, and I've felt the caress of seaweeds swirling around my legs in the dark as I've gazed up into a starry night sky. I've stood on this beach and gazed into my husband's eyes while he held my face and kissed me. I have laughed while the dogs pranced away from lapping waves. I have stood with my feet in icy water at the end of autumn, looking out over the lake and breathing in its familiar air, and taking a long, lingering moment to feel lucky that I am alive, in this time and this place.

image of dune grass growing out of the sand, leaning  to the side in the wind

I don't want to move. This place is my home. My parents were born in California and New York, but I was born here. I am a Hoosier, and I want to be in Indiana and make it a place other people want to be, too.

image of the lake, with short white-capped waves, and low-hanging clouds

I expect more, and I plant my feet here and fight for it.

* * *

[Originally posted in similar form September 25, 2012.]

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[Content Note: Homophobia; Christian Supremacy; class warfare.]

Yesterday, after my garbage governor signed Indiana's "religious freedom" bill into law, the predictable progressive backlash began with an outpouring of blanket generalizations about how people in Indiana are a waste of space (without a trace of irony that such broad statements include queer Hoosiers), admonishments to progressives in red states that we should just move (nope), and a #BoycottIndiana hashtag was started on Twitter. I pushed back, hard, on the suggestions for a boycott.

screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'Anyone saying #BoycottIndiana can kiss my fat ass. You'll just hurt the most vulnerable Hoosiers. Congrats, you're just like our government.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'If you are calling for #BoycottIndiana, you are literally doubling the pain our reprehensible gerrymandered government is levying on us.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'Fuck you. Fuck your sanctimonious bullshit. If you #BoycottIndiana, you align yourselves with Indiana GOP/ALEC, not average Hoosiers.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'I am a progressive Hoosier who loathes #RFRA. I can't even tell you how much #BoycottIndiana does not feel supportive. It is hostile.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'And it is so goddamn ignorant of what we actually need.'screen cap of a tweet containing a tweet by George Takei urging people to boycott Indiana, followed by my comment, reading: 'This shit right here? When you #BoycottIndiana, you are HARMING LGBT HOOSIERS. This is so aggressively clueless.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'Don't come at me like #BoycottIndiana is the only option. If you have $ to withhold, then you have $ to donate to progressive Hoosier orgs.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'DO NOT tell me to leave my home. Do not go there.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'Just stop. Stop pretending that people on the precipice have the luxury of principled resistance.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'You cannot expect people who are absolutely desperate already to support a boycott that could make them lose their jobs, their homes.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'This week, a court ruled Indiana public schools can cancel bus service for school children to save $. But, by all means, #BoycottIndiana.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'One out of every six Hoosiers depends on food stamps/pantries to get enough to eat. But, by all means, #BoycottIndiana.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'Northwest Indiana has never recovered from the decimation of the steel industry. Jobs are scarce. But, by all means, #BoycottIndiana.'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'No one gives a single fuck about Indiana until they get to show how progressive they are by thoughtlessly crowing about boycotting the state'screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'Look, if you want to boycott, your call. But be honest that you're withholding $ from working people, not just the state government.'

And those working people include queer business owners, as well as queer employees of inclusive and supportive employers, and also queer employees of shitty and horrible employers, because that's the only job they can get in a state with far too few jobs.

What does this boycott even look like? Are the people advocating a boycott of Indiana going to boycott soy products just in case those soybeans were grown in Indiana? (Haha just kidding. They don't know enough about Indiana to know we grow soybeans here. "One soy latte, please!") No more steel—it might have been forged in Indiana! Better skip the corn on the cob at your Fourth of July barbecue this year; that corn might have been grown in Indiana.

Shit, you'd better stop reading this blog. I was made in Indiana.

(Although my mom is from NYC and my dad is from California, so I have coastal DNA. Decisions decisions!)

If you're a person who criticizes sanctions against foreign nations because you understand that they harm the people of the nation more than the government, but then turn around and advocate boycotting states, you're not a progressive—you're a fauxgressive.

And if you understand that this "religious freedom" bill was a reactionary act by people who were angry that the federal government did something they didn't like (force them to legalize same-sex marriage), then you should understand that a reactionary act by people angry at our state government because they did something you didn't like (codify bigotry) is just part of the same damn problem.

It's not thoughtful and it's not compassionate and it's not helpful.

And let's be honest here: It isn't like the vast majority of people who are cheering "Boycott Indiana!" had any plans to visit Indiana and spend money in this state, anyway. It's just a slogan to shout at a state they perceive to be full of fat, poor, lazy, conservative, straight, cis, white people.

Which underlines what's really the worst thing about this idea: It's reflective of a vicious stereotype that disappears the existence of the very people for whom the sloganeers purport to care.

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Open Thread

image of a colorful coral reef

Hosted by coral.

This week's Open Threads have been brought to you by the letter C.

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Question of the Day

What's for dinner? Or whatever the next meal of the day is in your part of the world.

I don't even know yet, lol. I've got to go look in the fridge and see what we've got. Probably chicken of some description.

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Congratulations, Aisha Moodie-Mills

National LGBT org the Victory Fund and Institute has chosen Aisha Moodie-Mills as its new president and CEO, making her the first black woman to lead the organization:

Both within the organization and among leaders of other national LGBT organizations, Moodie-Mills' presence as a black lesbian stands in contrast to the predominantly white and gay male makeup of these groups.

She began her LGBT activism in 2009, advocating for the DC Council to pass marriage equality legislation — a campaign that was noted for its outreach to communities of color.

At the Center for American Progress, where she has worked since 2010, she began the FIRE initiative to talk about and advocate for issues at the intersection of race, class, and sexuality.

Now, she'll take the helm of the Victory Fund and Institute, overseeing a $4 million annual budget, 18 employees, and a mission to support and train out LGBT people to run for office and staff political jobs.

Talking with BuzzFeed News, she said that she knows that needs to change — and that part of what has her excited about the job, which she starts April 7, is her belief that Victory's leadership knows that as well.

"Victory has been thinking about this, certainly before me, and I think I am a manifestation of the forward-thinking of the organization, and that's a great legacy to be able to build upon," she said. "I was impressed that they, as a … not really diverse group — there are only like a handful of women and everyone there is white, so they're not a very diverse group — how they came to it themselves that they need to do something different and that they needed to think much longer into the future — a 20-year plan — and that this 20-year plan needs to reach people that they've never reached before."

...As the new president of Victory Fund and its educational arm, Victory Institute, she said her focus will be on time-consuming, grassroots work in places where there are no or very few out LGBT elected officials, specifically pointing to "the South and the plains states" and other areas lacking out LGBT representation, from city councils to statehouses.
Moodie-Mills says that political fundraising and consulting was "all I ever knew" before her LGBT activism. But that was "before I fell in love with this lovely girl named Danielle, and the politics became very personal to me." Blub.

[H/T to Pam Spaulding.]

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: White Supremacy.]

"In indie rock, white is the norm. While indie rock and the DIY underground, historically, have been proud to disassociate themselves from popular culture, there is no divorcing a predominantly white scene from systemic ideals ingrained in white Western culture. That status quo creates a barrier in terms of both the sanctioned participation of artists of color and the amount of respect afforded them, all of which sets people of color up to forever be seen as interlopers and outsiders. Whiteness is the very ideal for which art is made in Western culture, be it the cinema of Wes Anderson or, say, the artists on Merge Records."—Sarah Sahim, in a must-read essay for Pitchfork, "The Unbearable Whiteness of Indie."

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[Content Note: Fat hatred; diet and surgery advertisements.]

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about writing a post on the ubiquity of weight loss and/or body shaming advertisements. They are everywhere in my every day: I see them on the television, in magazines, in junk mail, in billboards along the roadways, in content-generated online ads prompted because I often use the word "fat" in my work. (Oh the irony.)

They are ads for diet pills, diet programs, diet food delivery services, weight loss supplements, fat-busting miracle elixirs, gyms, workout equipment, restrictive "shaping" garments, body mutilating surgeries, and every other conceivable variation on weight loss and/or body shaming one can imagine.

This is the time of year when there's a lull between the "New Year's weight loss resolution" theme and the "get your body ready for a bathing suit" theme. So, at the moment, it's mostly just run-of-the-mill "you're fat and you shouldn't be" stuff.


I thought that I would keep track of how many of these ads I saw during one 24-hour period. A typical day.

So, one day I started counting, while I was watching the morning news. By the time I'd turned off the television, I realized I'd already forgotten to keep counting.

I had another couple of false starts, where I'd lose track during the day, so I decided to carry my notebook around with me, to write down a mark for each ad.

By midway through the day, I'd again failed to keep up.

The problem is not that I get distracted, or that I don't care about the project. The problem, I realized, is that I am so inured to advertisements admonishing me that my body must change that they barely register anymore.

This is a commentary on their terrible pervasiveness, but it's also a commentary on the coping mechanisms fat people must employ. I have to turn off my conscious mind to these things, to this incessant messaging that my body is gross, sick, less than, because if I stopped to register every one, I would never escape the crushing oppression of being urged to loathe myself.

I literally wouldn't have enough psychological capacity to process each one of them, if I let every one of them penetrate.

So I am obliged to turn off part of my mind, part of myself, to the world around me. Because the world is so intent on telling me that I am broken and need to be fixed.

Ultimately, that realization felt even more important than reporting the number of ads I'd seen in a day. The realization that I can't even see all of them. If I want to survive.

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Daily Dose of Cute

Virtually every time I sit down on the couch, even for a moment, Sophie immediately jumps on my lap or chest, Zelda jumps up beside me to my left, and then this happens to my right:

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat lying on the arm of the sofa, and Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the perpendicular arm of the loveseat

Olivia stretches out one way, and Matilda stretches out the other. And, let me tell you, the place in which Matilda is inhabiting there, just below the lamp, is the Most Coveted Spot. There are battles fought over that spot. Legendary battles.

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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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Fat Fashion

This is your semi-regular thread in which fat women can share pix, make recommendations for clothes they love, ask questions of other fat women about where to locate certain plus-size items, share info about sales, talk about what jeans cut at what retailer best fits their body shapes, discuss how to accessorize neutral colored suits, share stories of going bare-armed for the first time, brag about a cool fashion moment, whatever.

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I haven't bought anything new in a long time, so, instead of doing a post about something new, I figured I'd do a post about something old! I bought this red "54" baseball tee at Lane Bryant in 2001 (!!!), and it is still my favorite t-shirt:

image of me wearing a red baseball tee with '54' on it

The "54" had some bling on it when I first purchased the shirt, but now all that remains are six sparkles and a bunch of dull backing circles. The red has faded, and the seams are getting pretty rough. Every time I put it in the washer, I pray that it's going to come out intact on the other side.

It's not a great shirt, and wasn't even when I bought it, but it's just so damn comfy, and it hangs in a flattering way; I like the rounded hem in front. That cut works really well on my particular body shape.

But, truth be told, mostly this shirt is just sentimental to me because it's the shirt I was wearing when I met Iain in person for the first time.

Anyway! As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: What's your favorite article of clothing of which you won't let go until it falls to pieces?

Have at it in comments! Please remember to make fat women of all sizes, especially women who find themselves regularly sizing out of standard plus-size lines, welcome in this conversation, and pass no judgment on fat women who want to and/or feel obliged, for any reason, to conform to beauty standards. And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

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

Paula Abdul: "Straight Up"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Extreme weather; death. Video may autoplay at link.] Tulsa area hit by deadly tornadoes: "One person was killed and several others were injured when a series of 'extremely dangerous' tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma, knocking out power and leaving a massive trail of destruction. The twisters targeted the Tulsa area, and the state Emergency Management Services Authority confirmed that one person died at a mobile home park in the nearby town of Sand Springs. Three other people were injured—one critically, it said. ...Utilities companies said that more than 79,000 customers were without power across the state as of late Wednesday night. At least 10 Tulsa public schools were without power, prompting the city to cancel classes for Thursday."

[CN: War] Shit: "Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shi'ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen's president on Thursday, a gamble by the world's top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from Washington. Riyadh's rival Iran denounced the assault on the Houthi militia group, which it backs, and made clear the kingdom's deployment of a Sunni coalition against Shi'ite enemies would complicate efforts to end a conflict likely to inflame the sectarian animosities fuelling wars around the Middle East." I just feel immensely sad for all the moderate and peaceful people in this region who just want to get on with the business of living their lives, but are constantly being subjected to danger, violence, and death.

[CN: Police brutality; racism] "Why are you beating on me like this?" Three white Inkster, Michigan, police officers were caught on tape dragging Floyd Dent, a black man, from his car, putting him in a chokehold, hitting him 16 times in the head, and Tasering him three times. "Dent says the bag of crack cocaine the officers claim they found was planted and, according to his attorney, there is unreleased video which shows the officers planting the drugs. The officer who repeatedly punched Dent was 'was charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for planting evidence and falsifying reports' in 2003. He was ultimately found not guilty. 'I'm lucky to be living. I think they was trying to kill me, especially when they had choked me. I mean, I was on my last breath. I kept telling the officer, 'Please, I can’t breathe,'' Dent said in a media availability today." Fucking hell.

[CN: Addiction; illness] In other news from Indiana: "Indiana is battling the worst HIV outbreak in its history: The HIV epidemic that now grips Austin, Ind., seemed to come out of nowhere. Since the first diagnosis in mid-December, the number of infected there and in the surrounding region has skyrocketed—26 by the beginning of March, 72 as of this Wednesday. It's the worst HIV outbreak in state history, and has local and federal officials scrambling to stem the spread of the disease. But to William Cooke, who runs the only doctor's office in this city of about 4,300, this epidemic has been years in the making. 'We identified long ago there was an undercurrent there that was very unhealthy,' he told NBC. Poverty and drug addiction in Austin created 'a recipe for disaster.' Long before the first HIV diagnosis, the city has been coping with another epidemic: intravenous drug use. Used needles can be found strewn across yards and roadsides, but just as often wind up in the hands of other users, contributing to the spread of infection." My state is in trouble. In many, many ways. And it all comes back to this: No political will among our conservative leadership to provide for vulnerable people, nor to stop the skyrocketing numbers of vulnerable people, as our middle class crumbles through lack of jobs with a livable wage.

Well, if Elizabeth Warren won't do it... "Joe Biden may come under pressure to decide whether he will challenge Hillary Clinton for the White House sooner than anticipated, as liberal anxiety has prompted multiplying grassroots supporters to wonder if the vice-president might be knocked from his perch of studied neutrality and into a presidential bid. A third-party political action committee urging Biden to challenge Clinton from the left in the smoldering controversy over her email arrangements has ballooned tenfold in the past week alone, the Guardian has learned, even as advisers close to the vice-president insist that he will wait and see about a 2016 run."

Something something Chris Christie blah blah presidency fart.

Wow: "They must be the two most audacious space missions currently in development. Solar Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus will venture inside the orbit of Mercury to study the Sun."

I love Dolly Parton so much: "There's a brain under the wig and a heart beneath the boobs. I may look artificial, but inside I'm totally real."

The second season of Fargo is shaping up nicely: "Taking place in the late 1970s, Season 2—a prequel to Season 1 that stars Patrick Wilson as a younger version of Keith Carradine's Lou Solverson—is set against 'the cultural transformation that was going on at that time,' as well as Reagan's first campaign for President of the United States, previewed FX Networks CEO John Landgraf back in January. 'He's on his first campaign [and he] makes a swing through Fargo. Some of the characters have some interactions with him. And some of his movies are also a part of the show.'" And who's gonna play Reagan? Why, Bruce Campbell, of course!

[CN: Images of animal abuse/neglect but with happy endings] This is the power that love has: "Powerful Before and After Pics Show How Rescue Can Change a Cat." We domesticated them; we made them dependent on us; we have the responsibility to care for them.

And finally! Cats stealing dog beds. LOL FOREVERRRRR.

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