The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The No Buffoonery 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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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by eggrolls.

Recommended Reading:

Happy Blogiversary to Trudy at Gradient Lair! Woot!

Jessica: [Content Note: War on agency] Federal Court Permanently Blocks Arkansas' 12-Week Abortion Ban

Aura: [CN: Violence; racism; police misconduct] This Is How Some NYPD Cops Talked about the Execution of a 14-Year-Old Latino

Edwin: [CN: Worker exploitation; death] This Chart Shows the Staggering Human Cost of Staging a World Cup in Qatar

Rob: Will In-Car HUDs Make the Roads Hell?

Kyler: Meet the LGBT Characters in the Wachowskis' Upcoming Netflix Sci-Fi Series Sense8

THV: [CN: Moving gifs] Tom Hardy Kissing a Puppy

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

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound sprawled upright across the ottoman and half the loveseat
"If you want, I can stretch out and take up even more space!"

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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Oh, Okay Then

[Content Note: Silencing, rape fantasies, misogyny.]

Via Katie McDonough at Salon I've now learned that apparently Bernie Sanders has said and done some very good things on women's issues (true!). Also: his critics include professional butt berets Erick Erickson and Bill Kristol (also true!). Okay.

Then I learned that his 1972 piece recently reproduced in Mother Jones was "an attempted critique of heteronormativity — a clumsy and weird-as-hell attempted critique of heteronormativity," and apparently no big deal. Uh, okay?

Because, you know, if you're going to characterize it as such, maybe the best way to support your thesis is NOT to then directly quote three graphic passages referring to a man's fantasy of violently abusing a woman, of a woman's alleged fantasies about rape, and the rape of 12 year olds (both of the latter by multiple offenders).

That is not just some "clumsy" and "weird" shit. That's some horrific rape culture. Also: Sanders' critics are not made up solely of right wing concern trolls. (Ahem.) Nor does saying and doing good things for women magically erase the harm of those attitudes and that language.

But pretending these things are in fact true is certainly a great way to tell those hysterical, humorless feminists to just STFU! Because Sanders' campaign and, apparently, progressive media supporters don't have time for pesky shit like "male politicians seeking higher office who have loathsome ideas about women, gender roles, and sexual violence." Who does?

Okay then! Duly noted. Humorless feminists, over and out.

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The Make-Up Thread

Here is your semi-regular make-up thread, to discuss all things make-up.

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!

* * *

image of me sitting at my desk wearing a tank top and purple lipstick

I was feeling purply today (what a shocker, I know), so I paried ColourPop's Feminst lip liner with Yves Saint Laurent's Rouge Volupté Shine No 3 Violet Incognito.

And that's all the make-up I'm wearing in the photo. My hair: Obviously not done, lol. So no make-up adjacent hair product to report, either!

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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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Bauhaus: "Bela Lugosi's Dead"

This week's TMNS has been brought to you by 80's goth.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

This guy again: "J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the U.S. House, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed person to cover up 'past misconduct.' Hastert, who has been a high-paid lobbyist in Washington since his 2007 retirement from Congress, schemed to mask more than $950,000 in withdrawals from various ac­counts in violation of federal banking laws that require the disclosure of large cash transactions, according to a seven-page indictment delivered by a grand jury in Chicago." I'll just quote my pal Jamison Foser: "That time nine years ago I told you maybe Denny Hastert was corrupt, and maybe the media should pay attention."

UPDATE: [CN: Sexual abuse] The "past misconduct" Hastert is alleged to have paid to cover up is sexual abuse dating back to his time as a high school wrestling coach and teacher. I suspected this was the case, because there have been rumors about this in Illinois for many, many years. And I'm angry and sad that those rumors appear to be true.

From Gallup's latest polling: "Half of Americans consider themselves 'pro-choice' on abortion, surpassing the 44% who identify as 'pro-life.' This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans' abortion views."

More normalization of relations with Cuba: "The United States has taken Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a step that authorities in Havana had insisted upon in advance of the reopening of embassies. ...Removing the terror designation lifts some trade barriers against Cuba, but an overall embargo remains in effect and requires a congressional vote to reverse it. President Obama has said he hopes to work with Congress to get the embargo lifted."

[Content Note: Misogyny; reproductive coercion] What the everloving fuck: "United Bible Fellowship Ministries, Inc., which provides housing and care to people with disabilities, will have to pay a former employee $75,000 for firing her after she became pregnant to settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The organization has had a 'no pregnancy in the workplace' policy in place that meant it fired anyone who became pregnant and refused to hire anyone applying for a position while pregnant. It admitted that the former employee, Sharmira Johnson, performed her job as a resource technician providing care to residents well and didn't have any medical restrictions that would keep her from carrying out her duties. Yet it fired her, arguing it was justifiable in order to ensure her safety, that of her unborn baby, and the safety of its clients."

[CN: Transphobia] Here is a list of US insurers who offer some transgender healthcare coverage. That doesn't do a fuck of a lot of good for trans* people who don't have insurance, or have insurance but no provider choice. In a decent country, in which trans*-related healthcare was considered basic, routine healthcare, as it should be, it wouldn't be legal to refuse to provide it. Of course, in a decent country, we wouldn't be talking about accessing healthcare through for-profit insurance companies at all.

[CN: Image of injury at link] This is a really moving story about a man who received a full face transplant meeting the sister of the man whose face he received. "She touched his face and said: 'This is the face I grew up with.' Her brother, Joshua Aversano, had been killed in a road traffic accident, at the age of 21. The decision to donate his face had been difficult, but would have been what he wanted, said his mother Gwen Aversano."

[CN: Death] No, you're crying YOUR face off at this PSA!

[CN: Descriptions of animal cruelty] This is a good article about how Waukegan, Illinois, has been transformed into a "de facto no-kill shelter" by "an organic and compassionate coalition of city officials, volunteers, donors, veterinarians, cops, and dedicated animal control officers" who came together to address animal cruelty and create an informal "mandate to save, protect, and heal lost and abused animals in the city."

[CN: Images/discussion of violence] Joe Morse talks about his beautiful artwork from the first illustrated version of Toni Morrison's novel Beloved.

"Husband, wife sink rare back-to-back aces at same hole: 'I had a feeling. But, you know, everybody gets a feeling that this one's going in,' Janet Blundy said about her second career ace. 'We have a competitive edge between each other. It was just like, 'Hee hee, you're not gonna get one up on me.''" Adorbz.

Jessica Alba's The Honest Company is worth $1 billion?! Holy shit!

Here's a little more Tom Hardy awesomeness for ya: "It's Mel Gibson that you expect [when you see Fury Road]. What you don't get, here, is what you expect. And that's what's wonderful. The lead of this movie is a female amputee. It's a total empowerment of women. It's actually about fucking time."

And finally! The flooding in Texas displaced shelter pets at Austin Pets Alive!, a no-kill shelter in Austin, and people lined up to foster and/or adopt the animals. Blub.

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Primarily Speaking

image of an angry-looking bald eagle wearing a clown nose standing in front of a US flag, with text in the corner reading GOP 2016
The new GOP logo for 2016: An angry eagle wearing a clown nose in front of a giant flag.

If your excitement about this primary has reached at least one biebillion biebawatts (and how could it not have?!), please check this box: □

You know whose excitement is truly OFF THE BIEBCHARTS? Registered Republican and Republican-leaning US voters, whose favorite in primary polling is still UNDECIDED.

But how can you be undecided when you have SO MANY (a lot) (like a million?) (just a ridiculously enormous number really) terrific candidates from which to choose? It's a real embarrassment of riches. Well, it's an embarrassment, anyway!

To start the primary news today, here's a cool story about not-official GOP candidate Jeb Bush and his history of skirting campaign finance law. It's a sweet story, really, since contempt for the rule of law is a Bush family tradition.

[Content Note: War on agency] Not-official GOP candidate Scott Walker continues to do cool things for the state of Wisconsin, which is soon likely to include signing a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. He seems nice.

Not-official GOP candidate Donald Trump says he's fixing to make a "major announcement" at Trump Tower on June 16. YES! No word yet from Tronald Dump, however.

All nine (!!!) of the official GOP candidates are up to tons of cool stuff, as usual, and here is my Executive Summary of all the goings-on:

image of an overflowing garbage can

On the other side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton will maintain her relaxed and laid-back campaign style for awhile longer. And why not? Of all the shitty articles the press is definitely going to write about her no matter what, "she isn't campaigning the way we want her to!" is the most innocuous of all of them and doesn't particularly resonate with people even marginally inclined to support her.

Something something Bernie Sanders uggghhhhhhh.

And Martin O'Malley continues to be a human being that exists in the world and may run for president of the United States.

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

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Bread and Circuses and Hunger Games

[Content Note: Class warfare; exploitation; dehumanization.]

For your entertainment:

The BBC has defended a new TV reality show pitting unemployed and low-paid workers against each other for a cash prize, which has been accused of echoing film the Hunger Games, arguing it is a "serious social experiment".

The show, called Britain's Hardest Grafter, is seeking 25 of Britain's poorest workers with applications limited to those who earn or receive benefits totalling less than £15,500 a year.

The five-part BBC2 series will pit contestants against each other in a series of jobs and tasks with the "least effective workers" asked to leave until one is crowned champion.

The winner will receive a cash prize of about £15,500, the minimum annual wage for workers outside London.

...Twenty Twenty has posted advertisements calling for participants who are willing to "prove their worth" to "potentially walk away with a cash prize".
To prove their worth. As if people who are poor have no inherent worth.

Lest anyone on this side of the pond get too sanctimonious about this gross display of class warfare in Britain, CBS' new reality show The Briefcase premiered this week, in which "American families experiencing financial setbacks" are given a briefcase filled with $101,000, shown another family in similarly dire financial circumstances, and asked to decide "how much money to keep and how much to give the other people, or whether they want to keep it all for themselves; neither family knows both families have in fact received a briefcase, and that their counterparts are also deliberating over if and how to share the money."
In the two episodes CBS made available for review, the decision weighs incredibly heavily on all participants. One woman is so overcome that she vomits. Everyone talks about health insurance. Several people claim this is the hardest decision they've ever made. Many, many tears are shed.

...The Briefcase plays into this class anxiety by setting up the classic American pastime of figuring out in what ways these people are being poor wrong. The families visit each other's homes and look through each other's bills: For the participants, this is presumably meant to engender sympathy and greater commonality, but for viewers, this plays as, "let's examine what they eat, what they wear, how they get to work, where they live in the first place, and ignorantly identify those things we perceive to be not poor enough, not sufficiently humble."

America perceives poverty as a moral failure, which is why the participants on The Briefcase have to perform generosity to such an extreme degree. These people have to "prove" themselves as virtuous — to themselves, to one another, but in particular to a viewing audience at home — to show how unlike other poor people they are. We're not really poor, we just had a string of really bad luck, unlike those other people who are poor on purpose.
So, in addition to being aggressively indecent, exploitative, dehumanizing, contemptible garbage, it's also a huge prank.

Further exploiting people who are among the most exploited by our shitshow capitalist nightmare system for entertainment and calling it a social experiment, while profiting off of letting people gawk at poverty porn, is unfathomably, unjustifiably cruel.

Already, I've seen defenses of each show on the basis that the contestants are willing participants. And, yes, they are adult human beings exercising their own agency—but poverty undermines meaningful choice. Desperate people can be "willing participants" and also coerced by their circumstances to do things they wouldn't otherwise do.

To ignore that reality is the only way we can justify this shit as suitable entertainment. And if we are required to ignore one of the most fundamental truths about poverty to consume these shows, their content is hardly the enlightening social programming it purports to be.

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On Bernie Sanders' 1972 Essay

[Content Note: Sexual violence; rape fantasies; misogyny.]

So, a Mother Jones profile of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders dug up, among other things, an essay Sanders penned in 1972 for an alternative newspaper called the Vermont Freeman. Titled "Man—and Woman," the piece is an exploration of gender roles written in a '70s pop-psych milieu, and it describes a man in a couple fantasizing about abusing women while having sex with a female partner who is fantasizing about being raped; invokes a hypothetical newspaper article about a preteen girl being gang-raped; and references the woman having a "sex friend when you were 13 years old."

image of the Sanders essay
A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man—as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday—and go to Church, or maybe to their "revolutionary" political meeting.

Have you ever looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstore? Do you know why the newspapers with the articles like "Girl 12 raped by 14 men" sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?

Women, for their own preservation, are trying to pull themselves together. And it's necessary for all of humanity that they do so. Slavishness on one hand breeds pigness on the other hand. Pigness on one hand breeds slavishness on the other. Men and women—both are losers. Women adapt themselves to fill the needs of men, and men adapt themselves to fill the needs of women. In the beginning there were strong men who killed the animals and brought home the food—and the dependent women who cooked it. No More! Only the roles remain—waiting to be shaken off. There are no "human" oppressors. Oppressors have lost their humanity. On one hand "slavishness," on the other hand "pigness." Six of one, half dozen of the other. Who wins?

Many women seem to be walking a tightrope now. Their qualities of love, openness, and gentleness were too deeply enmeshed with qualities of dependency, subservience, and masochism. How do you love—without being dependent? How do you be gentle—without being subservient? How do you maintain a relationship without giving up your identity and without getting strung out? How do you reach out and give your heart to your lover, but maintain the soul which is you?

And Men. Men are in pain too. They are thinking, wondering. What is it they want from a woman? Are they at fault? Are they perpetrating this man-woman situation? Are they oppressors?

The man is bitter.

"You lied to me," he said. (She did).

"You said that you loved me, that you wanted me, that you needed me. Those are your words." (They are).

"But in reality," he said, "if you ever loved me, or wanted me, or needed me (all of which I'm not certain was ever true), you also hated me. You hated me—just as you have hated every man in your entire life, but you didn't have the guts to tell me that. You hated me before you ever saw me, even though I was not your father, or your teacher, or your sex friend when you were 13 years old, or your husband. You hated me not because of who I am, or what I was to you, but because I am a man. You did not deal with me as a person—as me. You lived a lie with me, used me and played games with me—and that's a piggy thing to do."

And she said, "You wanted me not as a woman, or a lover, or a friend, but as a submissive woman, or submissive friend, or submissive lover; and right now where my head is I balk at even the slightest suspicion of that kind of demand."

And he said, "You're full of __________."

And they never again made love together (which they had each liked to do more than anything) or never ever saw each other one more time.
After I read this last night, my thoughts were: One, 1972 is a long-ass time ago, but Sanders was also 31 years old in 1972. Not exactly a kid. Two, I had no desire to see Sanders "crucified" over it, as became the charge against anyone who raised concerns about it. Basically I just wanted him to say, "That was super fucked up and indefensible and I regret it." Three, asking a man to repudiate troubling attitudes about women/sexual assault isn't an attack. It's a request to (maybe) reestablish trust. And four, that shouldn't be a big deal, since people who genuinely believe they fucked up generally don't mind saying so.

But Sanders took a different route. Through a campaign spokesperson, the essay was described as a "dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication."

Step One: Call it satire. Step Two: Call us humorless.

The spokesman further explained: "When Bernie got into this race, he understood that there would be efforts to distracts voters and the press from the real issues confronting the nation today."

Well, not for nothing, pal, but male politicians seeking higher office who have loathsome ideas about women, gender roles, and sexual violence is one of "the real issues confronting the nation today." Which is why I was hoping that Sanders would take seriously the concerns raised about some of the language used in that piece.

The truth is, I'm way more angry about that response than I was about the fucking essay.

I had hoped that a progressive, feminist-sympathetic male candidate would be more inclined to meaningfully address the problems with having penned a disturbingly lurid essay about gender roles than simply sending out a spokesperson to dismiss it as satire. (And does Sanders realize that going with the "satire" angle actually makes it worse? This was intended to be humorous? Oh.) But serious men who work on "the real issues" don't owe shit to hysterical feminists with no sense of humor.


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Open Thread

image of the constellation Leo in the night sky

Hosted by Leo.

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker masculine_lady: "What are the harbingers of summer for you? Song, food, smell, activity, what have you."

(If you're in another part of the world, and would prefer to change the question to reflect your current season, please feel free!)

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The World's Worst Catalog

[Content Note: Weapons; racism; antisemitism; creepy-crawlies.]

Earlier this afternoon, I was tweeting about the most ridiculous and horrifying catalog we got in the mail. Here's the Storify, for those who aren't on Twitter and wish to marvel at the many treasures I shared, which were only the tip of a very disturbing iceberg.

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Fatsronauts 101: The Inspirational Fatty

[Content Note: Fat hatred.]

So, one of the many reasons I do public fat advocacy is because visibility is important. It's been important to me to connect with other fat women and their individual experiences; to listen to them share their stories; to see images of them living their lives.

I have been validated by them, and I have been inspired by them.

Being a fat person who publicly discusses her own lived experiences, who tells her story and shares images from her big fat life, is my way of paying that forward. My hope is to validate other fat people's experiences, if mine resonates with their own—and if I happen to inspire another fat person in some way, that's humbling and happy-making.

I also hope to encourage thin people to reject the fat-hating narratives with which we're all indoctrinated, and to invite them to see fat people as fully human.

Occasionally, thin people will tell me that I've inspired them. And, in rare instances, what they mean is something like: You've really encouraged and helped me deconstruct my thin privilege and become more sensitive to the issues that fat people face. Which is great.

But much more frequently, they mean something like: I've stopped hating my body because I figure if a fat mess like you can love her grotesque body, then I can, too!

Of course, that's not what they think they mean. They think they mean (which I know, because they tell me, when I try to politely reject being used as The Inspirational Fatty) that we both have flaws and, sure, our flaws aren't equal, not because mine are worse, that's not what they meant, but because society treats me so much worse for my flaws, because god society is so unfair, and if I can overcome all the terrible things that fat people have to deal with, like being fat, but not because fat is so much worse, just because fat people are treated so much worse, then they can overcome their issues with their bodies, because we're all expected to be perfect, you know, and none of us are, and I'm just a good example of someone who loves their body despite that, and yeah I'm fat but that doesn't have anything to do with it, I mean IT DOES but it's not the main thing, well, maybe it's the main thing for me, geez they're just not articulating this very well sorry.

My fat is irrelevant, except for how it's totally the whole point. This is the fundamental conundrum of The Inspirational Fatty. There's really no way for a thin person to tell me how inspirational I am without invisibilizing the central piece of my body advocacy, or alternately by conflating their thin-bodied flaws with my fat body full-stop.

Now, I understand why it is that, in a profoundly fat-hating culture, there are thin people who might actually think and feel, with no malicious intent, that they can learn to love their bodies, far less deviant from the Beauty Standard than is mine, if I can love mine. Cool. But I don't need to hear about it.

image of me looking at the camera with my cheek in my hand, which I've captioned: 'Not your inspirational fatty.'

When a fellow fat traveler tells me that they finally threw caution to the breeze and went sleeveless after years of hiding their fat arms (just like my fat arms), I am thrilled in a way I can only describe as feeling like every part of my insides to the furthest recesses of my gut are glimmering with luminescent joy.

When a thin woman tells me: "I'm not fat, but I've always hated my arms, and you inspired me to go sleeveless," I don't feel thrilled. I feel exploited. And I further feel gaslighted when I'm accused of reading something that isn't there, when I say that this "compliment" is rooted in a comparison with my less than body. As if the "compliment" doesn't start with a differentiation: I'm not fat.

This is not, in case it isn't clear, an invitation for thin people to splain at me about all the good intentions that allegedly underwrite The Inspirational Fatty.

This is my request to thin people to please reconsider how your words may be received.

This is my informing you of a context of which you might not be aware, given that you aren't a fat woman who lives a public life.

Maybe you haven't seen eleventy-seven incidents of a fat woman posting a picture of herself in a bikini, only to be "complimented" by thin women who tell her: "If you can do it, I can do it, too!"; of a fat woman sharing a story of falling in love and being loved, despite aggressive cultural narratives about how we will never be and don't deserve love, only to be "complimented" by thin women who tell her: "You go girl! You've convinced me there's someone out there who will love me despite my flaws, too!"; of a fat woman telling any anecdote, anywhere, about struggling to extricate some pernicious bit of internalized fat hatred in order to hate herself a little bit less, only to be "complimented" by thin women who tell her, point fucking blank: "If you can learn to love your body, I should be able to learn to love mine!"

And maybe you aren't aware of what it's like to be a fat woman who once upon a time made friendships with thin women, maybe even back when they were thin girls, long before that fat woman loved herself at all, only to discover that loving herself makes her longtime thin friends regard her with resentment, if she has anything they don't have, if she is perceived to have a cooler job, a kinder husband, a happier home, more stylish clothes, or anything viewed as "better" than what her thin friends deserve, because they deserve that more than she does, before she does. That there is just a world of thin women doing comparing, comparing, comparing.

Maybe you're not aware that, for many fat women, navigating friendships with lots and lots of thin women means either being The Inspirational Fatty or The Resented Fatty, because lots and lots of thin women are incapable of building connections with fat women outside of a construct of competition. Which is pretty damn typical of friendships on either side of any privileged/marginalized divide.

Maybe you've never considered that a thin person treating a fat person like The Inspirational Fatty is just as fucking gross as able-bodied people treating people with disabilities as inspirational, even if you're able to articulate the abject fuckery that is some able-bodied person being awarded an Oscar for playing a person with a disability in some Tale of Triumph nearly every damn year.

And maybe that's because fat people aren't even allowed our own marginalization, because, despite a metric fuckton of fat hatred we are obliged to navigate, we're constantly admonished to center the experiences of thin women, because we all have body image issues geez.

And maybe if you can understand how colossally shitty it is that fat people's oppression is flattened and silenced and appropriated by thin people who want to ignore the unique hatred, the life and death hatred, that fat people face, then you can try to understand why it is that I don't want to be your Inspirational Fatty.

The thing that I've noticed about other fat women who tell me that I've inspired them is that they are inspired by me because of my humanity. And the thing that I've noticed about thin women who tell me that I've inspired them is that they are inspired by me because I am fat.

That isn't incidental.

And if you're thinking, hey, I'm a thin woman who has been inspired by you because of your humanity, then I'll say once more: Cool. If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. And please don't oblige me to make you feel better about your privilege.

Of course, if you really see me in my full humanity, rather than a Fat Person Here to Make You Feel Better About Yourself, you already knew that.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in the living room, looking up and smiling
Zelly, the zelliest of all the bellies: "It's a day!"

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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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Dead Can Dance: "The Host of Seraphim"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Police brutality] Defense attorneys for the six officers who were charged in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore have filed for a change of venue, arguing that "their clients can't get a 'fair and impartial trial' in Baltimore. In an 85-page document filed Wednesday with the court seeking a change of venue, the lawyers argued that a 'presumption of prejudice' exists in the city." Without a trace of irony.

[CN: Police brutality; misogynoir] Relatedly: The African American Policy Forum, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia University, and Andrea Ritchie, Soros Justice Fellow and expert on policing of women and LGBT people of color, have released "#SayHerName: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, a document highlighting stories of Black women who have been killed by police and shining a light on forms of police brutality often experienced by women such as sexual assault."

Whooooooooooops! "Samples of live anthrax were inadvertently shipped to private research laboratories in nine states and one in South Korea that were supposed to have received dead anthrax samples, the Pentagon confirmed." The Army says that procedure was followed, which isn't reassuring! So they're going to review "the procedures themselves." Good idea!

In good news, the Nebraska legislature has overruled Republican Governor Pete Ricketts' veto in order to outlaw the death penalty in the state. "After more than two hours of emotional speeches at the Capitol here, the Legislature, by a 30-to-19 vote that cut across party lines, overrode the governor's veto of a bill repealing the state's death penalty law. After the repeal measure passed, by just enough votes to overcome the veto, dozens of spectators in the balcony burst into celebration." Yay!

[CN: Sex abuse; misogyny] So, a bunch of advertisers have pulled their ads from TLC following the disclosure of Josh Duggar's sexual predation. Let us all note they were totally cool with the show when it was merely depicting religiously-justified misogynist abuse, and when the Duggars were already known to be aggressively homophobic and transphobic.

Neat! "A summer after Mo'ne Davis captured the sports world's attention by dominating the Little League World Series, a host of girls from across the country will get the chance to play baseball on a different national stage. On Saturday, Baseball For All, an organization aimed at advocating for increased girls' participation in America's pastime, will launch the first-ever national all-girls baseball tournament for young players. In all, 12 teams built regionally and nationally among girls who already play or want to start will descend on Orlando, Fla. for the event, which encompasses two age groups and hopes to 'provide a genuine opportunity for girls to play baseball,' according to Justine Siegal, the Baseball For All founder who has been working to build girls baseball for nearly two decades and dreamed up the tournament. Girls who wanted to play could sign up individually or as a team for a guaranteed six games at the tournament."

"A new species of ancient human has been unearthed in the Afar region of Ethiopia, scientists report. Researchers discovered jaw bones and teeth, which date to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old. It means this new hominin was alive at the same time as several other early human species, suggesting our family tree is more complicated than was thought." Every family tree is.

Here is a terrific picture of Melissa McCarthy looking fab at the London premiere of Spy.

And finally! This is a great dog adoption story: "He Was the Opposite of Everything We Wanted, and That's Exactly Why We Had to Have Him." Oh my heart.

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Primarily Speaking

[Content Note: Racism.]

image of George Pataki standing in front of a huge US flag, looking smug, to which I've added text reading: 'Dig my giant flag. Not too shabby!'

Welp, it's official! Former New York Governor George "Who?" Pataki has jumped into the clown car and is seeking the Republican nomination for the US presidency.

Are you so excited?! I bet you are! I KNOW I AM! If you are SO EXCITED that you can barely contain your OVERFLOWING ENTHUSIASM, please check this box: □

Former Senator Rick Santorum also joined the Bozo Brigade this week, and he started his campaign with a smash: Appealing [sic] to the middle class with "winsome" rhetoric like "I know what it's like to be an underdog" (no shit, loser) and mocking Hillary Clinton on his campaign website's error page. Well, in good news, at least his campaign website has a picture of one real presidential candidate on it now.

Speaking of Hillary Clinton, corporate power-failure Carly Fiorina can't stop speaking of Hillary Clinton! And following her around! And reporters are starting to question her about it, and she's not very happy about that! "I planned to be here weeks and weeks ago!" Okay, player!

Also speaking of Hillary Clinton, Senator Marco Rubio is going with the whole "she's an entitled bitch" thing, right on his campaign website, so that's pretty cool. I like how it's titled, "This Is What You Need to Tell Your Friends about Hillary Clinton." Haha, hey conservatives, have you heard (fewer than one biebillion times) that Hillary's a haughty monster?! BREAKING NOOZ! Pass it on!

That is only FOUR of the official GOP candidates, and I am already exhausted! Because these people are exhausting! Let's see what the other FIVE (!!!) official GOP candidates are up to!

Senator Ted Cruz: Calling for federal relief for Texas, after voting against federal aid after Hurricane Sandy. Sounds about right.

Professor of Bible Bigotry Mike Huckabee: Conflating Native Americans with jihadists. Sounds about right.

Senator Lindsey Graham: Explaining that he knows Iranian officials involved in the international nuclear talks are lying because "Everything I learned about Iranians I learned working in the pool room. I met a lot of liars, and I know the Iranians are lying." Sounds about right.

Dr. Ben Carson: Talking utter rubbish about Benghazi. Sounds about right.

Senator Rand Paul: Appropriating #BlackLivesMatter in Chicago to talk about crime being a spiritual problem FOR REAL OMG. Sounds about right.

And that's all the clowns currently in the clown car! As for the clowns running alongside the clown car...

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker defends mandatory ultrasounds. Sounds about right.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal throws some shade at Rand Paul and says he's "unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief" because this was going to be the polite primary! Sounds about right.


In other news: The chief executive of a super PAC formed in support of former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley says, with all the subtlety of a giant sledgehammer with MISOGYNY carved into it, "This is not your grandmother's super PAC."

Wake me November 9, 2016.

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

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Shaker Garden Thread: May Edition

 photo of an onion bloom shakesonion2015_zpsjdmkwxh4.jpg

Hey Shakers! Time to talk gardens! It's May, which means spring or summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. In the US Southeast, it's starting to get hot and the onions are blooming. Yes, that's an onion bloom, from some we planted last year that never amounted to much. I kept them in the ground to use for green onions, and this spring they burst into these gorgeous blooms. So maybe getting what you planned out of the garden isn't everything?

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We had a good spring crop of lettuce, but, alas, it's gotten too hot for that, although my peas are still producing. All you Shakers from cooler climes will understand how excited I was that my rhubarb (above) came back this spring. I was able to harvest enough stalks for a rhubarb-strawberry pie! I also planted a couple of new plants; with any luck I will have enough for several pies next year. It's very dodgy to get rhubarb to grow this far south, but giving it lots of shade and water last summer seems to have worked. And my Southern-born partner, who had never experienced the glory that is rhubarb pie, is now also pretty enthused about babying our crop along. Fortunately the deer don't seem to like it at all, so I think we've got a good chance.

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We're starting to get some of the warmer weather stuff coming in: the summer squash are growing, a cucumber is almost ready to harvest, and the tomatoes are setting fruit. The picture above comes from a random tomato I started from the seed of a grocery store cherry tomato. I figure anything we get from it is bonus, so YAY for this fruit! We also have the cherry tomato variety "Mexico Midget" growing; they're from Seed Savers Exchange, and they're usually reeeeeally good and super disease resistant. (I don't get any kickbacks from SSE, btw; this is just a tomato that has worked really well for us.)

How about you, Shakers? How does your garden grow? Please feel free to share your tales and trials. Whether your "garden" is a pot on the windowsill or an acre in the country, post away! (And if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, please feel free to join in with whatever is appropriate to this season or past/future seasons!) As always, please respect that different gardeners have different goals and needs, whether those be saving money or water or space, gardening organically or with other goals, etc.

I'll end with some zinnias, which are just starting to blossom:

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[Content Note: Sexual abuse; bullying; name mockery.]

I have previously written about Dan Savage's gross "Campaign for 'santorum' neologism," and the many problems with it, not least of which is that Rick Santorum isn't the only person with that last name.

There are Santorums with no direct relation to Rick Santorum, and Santorum and his wife have eight living children, some of whom might, in their adulthood, share his loathsome politics and some of whom might not. Some of them might be queer. All of them are nonetheless connected to a definition of their last name intended to embarrass their father for his homophobia.

Now Savage is seeking to recapture the glory of this successful campaign of public bullying by trying to do the same thing with the name Duggar.

screen cap of tweet authored by Dan Savage reading: 'Clearly 'duggary' needs to be a word. Should it mean sexual hypocrisy? Fundy hypocrisy? Child molestation? #duggary'

Obviously, the same problems with Savage's Santorum campaign are similarly problematic here. Except, in this case, there's the added cruelty of ignoring reports that some of Josh Duggar's victims share his last name.

Responding to a public disclosure of sexual abuse with smug persiflage is appalling enough on its own. That Savage clearly didn't stop to consider for one second, or simply doesn't give an infinitesimal shit, that he's smearing not only the name of a sexual predator, but also his victims, in one fell swoop of flippant fuckery, is breathtakingly heinous.

My anger could fill galaxies.

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Extreme Weather; Extreme Denial

[Content Note: Extreme weather; death.]

While parts of Texas and Oklahoma prepare for more storms and more flooding, and more people are being displaced by rising water, on the other side of the world, a heatwave in India that is literally melting streets has killed nearly 1,400 people.

Extreme weather is becoming the new normal.

Meanwhile, we have more than a dozen official and potential Republican candidates for the US presidency who still won't even acknowledge that global climate change is a real thing over which we have some control.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the first major US presidential candidate to make climate change a central part of her campaign. And here is Senator Bernie Sanders on climate change and its importance just last weekend:

CNN Reliable Sources anchor Brian Stelter: It's rare to hear a candidate, or any politician, really talk about the systemic issues in the press the way you did last week. Ah, I kinda lit up when I heard it, and I wondered: Is that a winning strategy for you? To be going at the press?

Sanders: Look, I don't know if it's a winning strategy or not, but this is what I do know: The middle class of this country is disappearing, despite the fact that people are working longer hours and they're earning lower wages. We have seen an explosion in technology and productivity, and yet all of the increase in income and wealth is going to the top one percent. Do you think that that's an important issue to discuss? According to the scientific community, uh, climate change is the great planetary crisis we now face. Do you think we might want to be discussing that issue? You have the top one-tenth of one percent now owning more wealth than the bottom ninety percent.

I'm the ranking member of the budget committee—I dealt with the Republican budget, which throws seven million people off of health insurance, cuts educational programs by tens of billions of dollars, gives tax breaks to billionaires. You know how much coverage that got? Outside of the political gossip? Virtually nothing.

A few years—last year, I had the presidents of CBS, NBC, ABC in— We tried—we talked to them. Why is it that you're not covering climate change significantly, okay? You tell me why.

Stelter: So what happened in that meeting?

Sanders: Well, actually, a coupla weeks later, there was a lot of discussion about climate change.

Stelter: Mm.

Sanders: But the scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, already causing devastating problems, and that we have to reverse course. Do you think we're seeing that kind of discussion in the media?

Stelter: Some Republicans will hear about that meeting you had with the presidents of some of the networks, uh, the news divisions of the networks, and say that sounds like some sort of, uh, inappropriate coordination between the government and the press.


Sanders: [laughs contemptuously] Inappropriate coordination? To ask them why we're not discussing the major planetary crisis facing us? I don't think so!

Stelter: Yeah, but the rebuttal would be: The press should make up its own mind, collectively, about what should be a priority to be covered.

Sanders: No. The answer is, of course, the American people and elected officials can weigh in as well. No one is telling them; no one is forcing them. But when the scientific community tells us something is enormously important, maybe just maybe we may want to be discussing it.
There are candidates who care what is happening to the planet and to the people who inhabit it, and an entire party of shitlords who don't.

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Open Thread

image of lilac flowers

Hosted by lilac.

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Question of the Day

Inspired by Shaker catvoncat: Who's your current favorite character in a television show you're watching, film you just saw, book you're reading, or game you're playing?

The source material doesn't have to be new; it just has to be new to you.

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Notebooks 4EVA

Via Shaker GoldFishy, here's a fun story about people who still use notebooks in the digital age, and about how taking handwritten notes has been found (for some people) to increase comprehension of a subject.

I'm still a total notebook head. If I've got a long piece forming itself in my mind, it's way easier for me to sketch it out on paper than on the computer. Scribbles everywhere!

And I know absolutely that I can't retain information as well if I'm typing notes than if I'm handwriting them.

But everyone is different! What about you?

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by oil paint.

Recommended Reading:

Teresa: [Content Note: Misogyny] Denver Comic Con Hosts a "Women in Comics" Panel with No Women

Qimmah: [CN: Racism] Michael B. Jordan Hits Back at Racist Trolls

Samantha: [CN: Misogynoir; transphobia; police violence] #SayHerName: The Black Woman Is the Mule of the Earth

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred; body/health policing] It's Okay to Be Fat as Long as…

Jim: [CN: Homophobia] Marco Rubio: Gay Marriage 'A Real and Present Danger' for Christians

And, in case you haven't seen it yet: Feminist Mad Max.

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

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Childfree 101: Can the Pity

[Content Note: Reproductive policing.]

Via my pal Meadowgirl, this is a pretty solid piece about what not to do and say to women who aren't parents. (I'd offer that this is fairly decent advice for what not to do and say to men who aren't parents, too.)

There are lots of reasons that people aren't parents. I have chosen not to parent, a subject about which I've written quite a bit in this space over the years, and many of the feelings expressed by the women interviewed in the linked piece resonate with my experiences.

I've navigated so much of this garbage over the last couple of decades that it rarely bothers me anymore; if some stranger wants to probe my reproductive choices and capabilities like the worst Charlie Rose interview of all time, I feel little more than a middling contempt.

But the one thing that tends to get my hackles up is any expression of pity, which tends to arrive (in my life) in one of two ways:

1. When the subject of children comes up, someone who knows we have pets will say, "Well, at least you've got your furbabies!" as though my pets are consolation prizes for not having children. Which: Just no.

2. If Iain and I elect to spend any holiday (especially Thanksgiving and Christmas) on our own, people express sorrow that we're "alone" on a holiday. This is especially obnoxious when people ask what we did, and I tell them, and then they say, "Oh, if I'd known you were going to be alone, I would've invited you!" Um, thanks? The thing is, if Iain and I had kids, and it was just us and our kids at home, no one would feel sorry for us. In fact, many people would express envy that we didn't have to juggle multiple extended family affairs with distant relatives who are loathsome company. The difference between "That sounds like a lovely low-key holiday" and "OMG I'M SO SORRY YOU WERE ALL ALONE HOW SAD!!!" is literally just that we don't have children. Except: We don't want them, and our family is complete.

(Also? Iain and I are not one person. If we're spending time together, we're not spending time "alone.")

Pity is so aggressively insulting. I don't have children, which is exactly what I wanted. When you pity me for that, you're auditing my choice, assessing it to be wrong via the prism of your own priorities, and then condescendingly expressing your sadness that I've failed to live up to your expectations.

If a person who has chosen not to parent says something that indicates they are living a life without children, the sensitive and decent response is not pity; it's joy that they've gotten exactly what they wanted for themselves.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the loveseat grooming her paws
Queen Matilda grooms her paws.
(But not her ass. She leaves that for me.)

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

"Forget about likability. I think that what our society teaches young girls—and I think that it's something that's quite difficult for even older women, self-confessed feminists, to shrug off—is this idea that likeability is an essential part of the space you occupy in the world. That you're supposed to twist yourself into shapes to make yourself likeable. That you're supposed to kind of hold back sometimes, pull back. Don't quite say, don't be too pushy...because you have to be likeable. And I say that is bullshit."—Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, last week during her speech at the 2015 Girls Write Now Awards in New York City, where she was the groundbreaker honouree.

I love every single thing about this quote and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is amazing amazing amazing the end.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Creatures: "Gecko"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

Nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives have been indicted for racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracies, and other offenses "in connection with the defendants' participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer. ...The defendants charged in the indictment include high-ranking officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organization responsible for the regulation and promotion of soccer worldwide, as well as leading officials of other soccer governing bodies that operate under the FIFA umbrella. Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner—the current and former presidents of CONCACAF, the continental confederation under FIFA headquartered in the United States—are among the soccer officials charged with racketeering and bribery offenses. The defendants also include U.S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments." Welp.

[Content Note: Extreme weather; death; displacement] The bad weather continues in parts of Texas and Oklahoma, and the National Weather Service has issued a new flash flood warning for Houston while, outside Dallas, people were being evacuated due to the threat of a dam likely to burst. If you've been wondering if some of this flooding has anything to do with a lack of investment in infrastructure, unfortunately it does.

[CN: War on agency; medical malfeasance] This is an incredible piece by Imani Gandy, RH Reality Check's Senior Legal Analyst and all-around terrific person, examining the case of Dr. Byron Calhoun, who lied to a patient about finding a 13-week old fetal skull in her uterus, and how anti-choice doctors manipulate patients in order to bring anti-abortion lawsuits.

[CN: Poverty; class warfare; victim-blaming] Such important research to counter the garbage bootstraps narrative: "What's most striking—and in some circles, controversial—about their work is...their assertion that scarcity affects anyone in its grip. Their argument: qualities often considered part of someone's basic character—impulsive behavior, poor performance in school, poor financial decisions—may in fact be the products of a pervasive feeling of scarcity. And when that feeling is constant, as it is for people mired in poverty, it captures and compromises the mind. This is one of scarcity's most insidious effects, they argue: creating mindsets that rarely consider long-term best interests. 'To put it bluntly,' says Mullainathan, 'if I made you poor tomorrow, you'd probably start behaving in many of the same ways we associate with poor people.' ...Typically, he explains, when the poor remain stuck in the grip of poverty, policymakers tend to ask what's wrong with them, pointing to a lack of personal motivation or ability. Rarely, he continues, do we as policymakers ask, 'What is it about this situation that is enabling this failure?'"

[CN: Racism; class warfare] Another example of using municipal violations to police and exploit a community: "Among the things that will be 'closely monitored' through the spring and summer, according to a newsletter that recently went out to residents: Pants worn too low or grass grown too high. Children riding bikes without helmets. Barbecue pits or toys in front yards. Basketball hoops in the streets. There's no loitering—described in city code as 'the concept of spending time idly' or 'the colloquial expression hanging around.' And, despite a citywide 20 mph speed limit, there's no playing or walking in the street."

[CN: Police brutality; racism] Six months before the US Justice Department made a deal with Cleveland Police to improve their abusive policing, a similar deal was made with Albuquerque: "But more than six months after Albuquerque and the DoJ announced they had reached a deal, and 13 months after the federal agency issued their damning report, activists caution that reforms have not been finalised and a fundamental shift in the police department's culture remains a long way off."

I hope you're sitting down, because here is some exciting presidential primary news: Rick Santorum has announced that he's going to announce that he's running for president again!

In other presidential primary news, Bernie Sanders wants guaranteed vacation time for every US worker. Good idea!

Have y'all been watching the new Netflix series Grace and Frankie, starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda? If not, you should check it out! And then celebrate that it's already been given a second season. Woohoo!

And finally! Nico the adopted shelter dog had no training in rescue, but knew exactly what to do when he heard two people caught in a riptide yelling for help. GOOD DOG!

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Cool Quote, Bro

[Content Note: Homophobia; dehumanization; Christian supremacy.]

After Ireland voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage, it was only a matter of time before some cool bro at the Vatican had some cool shit to say about it:

"I was deeply saddened by the result," Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state, said at a conference in Rome on Tuesday night. "The church must take account of this reality, but in the sense that it must strengthen its commitment to evangelisation. I think that you cannot just talk of a defeat for Christian principles, but of a defeat for humanity."
A defeat for humanity! Holy shit! Why wasn't Bruce Willis sent in a moonbuggy with an Aerosmith power-ballad to take it out then?!

Pro-tip: Using language that sounds like it came off the script of a 1990's Michael Bay film to describe a referendum that makes the institution of marriage slightly more inclusive makes you sound like a hyperbolic dipshit.

Obviously, everything about this quote is terrific [insert Michael Bay SPARKS! here], but what I love most about it is how it manages to simultaneously imply that all of humanity is Christian and imply that anyone who supports marriage equality is not human.

Keep up the great work, Vatican!

[Commenting Guidelines: Please take the time to make sure any criticisms are clearly directed at the Catholic Church leadership and not at "Catholics," many of whom are themselves critical of the failures of Church leadership.]

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Duggar: Where Was Child Welfare?

[Content Note: Sexual abuse.]

One of the questions that has been asked here and elsewhere regarding the Josh Duggar sexual abuse case is where was child protective services during all of this. And a new item at In Touch, which broke the story, starts to provide answers to that question:

[The] case did not end when Springdale, Ark. police closed their investigation in 2006 because the statute of limitations had run out...

Police referred the matter to the Families in Need of Services agency, which has jurisdiction over minors. The Department of Human Services (DHS) was then brought into the case, In Touch has learned. Nine months after those agencies entered the Duggar molestation case, Josh Duggar sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services. A trial was held on August 6, 2007.

The results of the investigation into the Duggars and Josh's trial are sealed. But a source familiar with the Duggar investigation told In Touch it was likely that Josh "appealed the DHS decision or finding from their investigation." The source notes that DHS had the authority to apply "restrictions or stipulations about him being at home with the victims."

"Josh would be considered an in-home offender, giving DHS the authority to do an investigation. As part of your appeal rights you can request a DHS hearing to challenge what they found and their ruling."
There has been no comment from the family on the DHS investigation, nor whether "their family was monitored by a state agency after the 2007 actions and forced to undergo counseling by a licensed mental health professional."

An earlier article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette confirms that investigators had "filed a 'family in need of services' affidavit with Washington County Juvenile Court," and that one of their reporters had discovered the "sealed Washington County Circuit Court file for Josh Duggar vs. the Arkansas Department of Human Services" in 2007, which noted that a "trial in that case took place Aug. 6, 2007."

So, child protective services was contacted by police and did get involved and made some kind of ruling that the Duggars didn't like. They appealed the decision, which resulted in a trial, the outcome of which is unknown.

It's impossible to say exactly what happened here, but it sure looks like child welfare intervened on behalf of Josh Duggar's victims, and he (and his parents) used their wealth and influence in order to undermine that decision.

[H/T to Aphra_Behn.]

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Immigration Reform Dealt Another Blow

[Content Note: Anti-immigrant sentiment; racism.]

So, last November, President Obama announced a series of executive actions on immigration that were to provide at least temporary relief to nearly five million undocumented immigrants in the US and shield immigrant and migrant children from deportation if they were brought into the US without documentation. Despite the fact that conservatives immediately began caterwauling about executive overreach, the President was obliged to take executive action to address immigration because Congress refused to do it. In fact, Congressional Republican leadership explicitly and publicly urged the President to take executive action when they didn't want to take a position.

In December, Judge Arthur Schwab, a Republican-appointed judge in a federal court in Pennsylvania, turned a pretty typical immigration case into a referendum on the constitutionality of President Obama's executive actions on immigration policy, in order to declare aspects of them unconstitutional. "declared aspects of President Obama's executive actions on immigration policy unconstitutional."

Then, in February, after 26 states said they wanted to bring a lawsuit against the Obama administration to halt the executive order, US District Judge Andrew Hanen blocked the President's executive actions to give those states "time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the orders."

The Justice Department appealed the ruling, and, yesterday, a federal appeals court denied the administration's request to lift the hold imposed by Judge Hanen.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Texas and 25 other states against actions President Obama took in November. Many of the initiatives were scheduled to take effect this month.

The appeals court found that the states had sufficient legal grounds to bring the lawsuit and that the administration had not shown that it would be harmed if the injunction remained in place and the programs were further delayed.

...In a statement, Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, said Mr. Obama had tried to impose "a drastic change in immigration policy" without the consent of Congress. The appeals court decision is "a victory for those committed to preserving the rule of law in America," Mr. Paxton said. "We will continue to fight the brazen lawlessness that has become a trademark of the Obama administration."

...In the 70-page opinion, two judges wrote that Texas had shown it would incur significant costs in issuing driver's licenses to [undocumented] immigrants who would be allowed to stay in the country.
So, to recap: Congress refuses to take action on immigration reform; Republican leadership tells Obama to do it via executive action; Obama issues executive order; conservatives do everything in their power to stop executive order and whinge about "brazen lawlessness," despite the fact that it ain't liberals who have traditionally argued for a strong unitary executive and that President Obama was doing what the legislature refused to do.

Meanwhile, an injunction is granted because it might cost Texas some money to issue driver's licenses to undocumented workers. (Okay.) And the administration couldn't prove "it would be harmed if the injunction remained in place," but never mind the millions of undocumented immigrants who are harmed by these delays.
Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said that part of the intent of the lawsuit was "to delay, to confuse and to instill fear" among immigrants. "The consequences are devastating," she said. "Our communities suffer every single day." She acknowledged that carrying out the programs would be "a harder challenge for our communities" after long delays.
And there you have it.

The truth is, there are plenty of politicians in this country who want undocumented immigrants and migrant workers to be here but only if they are undocumented and are thus exploitable. They don't want to give them rights in exchange for their labor, and they certainly don't want to give them a livable wage, because that would be bad for business.

Profits over people. As usual.

And they justify this heinous position with lies about undocumented workers who don't pay taxes, and ghost stories about undocumented workers who rape and murder (white) citizens, and concern trolling about how undocumented workers harm documented immigrants and their families.

Anything so that we might ignore that undocumented workers are humans, vulnerable humans, more likely to be exploited and harmed than hurt anyone else.

People who work here and live here and pay taxes here and make a life here deserve the rights we all (are meant to) enjoy. It's really just that simple. At least, it should be.

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Open Thread

image of two lion cubs, lying on the savannah

Hosted by lion cubs.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker themiddlevoice: "If you could write a letter to anyone (and not worry they would read it), what would you write?"

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Fun with Black Holes

[Content Note: Hypothetical death.]

Amanda Gefter for the BBC: "The Strange Fate of a Person Falling into a Black Hole."

I'm not even going to excerpt it; just go read the whole thing, because it's so terrific and so fascinating!

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

image of Tom Hardy, from the film 'The Drop'

"No. Not for one minute."—Tom Hardy, during promotions for Mad Max: Fury Road, answering this actual question asked by a reporter in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and fifteen: "When you were reading the script, did you ever think: Why are all these women in here, I thought this was supposed to be a man's movie?"

Despite my delight at his terse reply, I'm not hurrying to the kitchen to bake Tom Hardy any cookies, because that's exactly the answer anyone should be giving. But, the thing is, Tom Hardy doesn't even want any cookies! After he gave this answer [CN: moving gifs at the link], his co-star Charlize Theron said, "Good for you," to which he replied, "I mean, it's kinda obvious."

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Number of the Day

[Content Note: Homophobia; food insecurity.]

$1.4 million: The amount of money spent by the state of Indiana "fighting five federal court cases that challenged the state's ban on gay marriage. ...According to information provided by the state attorney general's office, Indiana paid more than $1.4 million to attorneys who represented plaintiffs. The state paid an additional $7,000 on other related costs in the lead case."

This, despite the fact that a majority of Hoosiers support same-sex marriage, then and now, and despite the fact that 1 out of 6 Hoosiers rely on "food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families."

Our Republican state leadership not only acts in contravention of the will of the people; it will use the people's tax dollars to defy us, while many of us go hungry.

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Primarily Speaking

image of a clown car filled with seven clowns, whose faces I have replaced with GOP candidates
Beep beep! The clown car has arrived! From left to right: Republican presidential candidates Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham, and Carly Fiorina.

You know the primary season is in full swing when I start spending my time doing Photoshops as BEAUTIFUL and IMPORTANT as this one!

The GOP Clown Car is hurtling down the Reprehensible Politics Promenade at full-tilt now, and here's just a cool headline at the Washington Post: "The Koch brothers try to rein in the GOP presidential clown show."

"Send in the clowns! But not so damn many of them!"—The Koch Brothers.

Of course, the Koch Brothers aren't the only billionaires with money burning holes in their pockets! Larry Ellison, weirdo billionaire, is also fixing to get it on the act, and it looks like he's putting his money where Marco Rubio's mouth is, or whatever.

And in case there are any other conservative billionaires who have money to burn, but haven't found any candidates among the hundreds already running at whom they want to throw their dollars, George Pataki says he will announce his candidacy later this week. Terrific!

Boy oh boy, if I were an eccentric conservative billionaire who hated giving money to people in need but loved buying gold toilets and Republican politicians, I would be SO MAD at all these candidates! You know how conservatives hate choice! The field is so cluttered with bozos at this point, it's like trying to find the perfect piece of garbage at the biggest garbage dump in all of Garbageland!

In other clown car news, Rick Perry is hanging out in Iowa. And Carly Fiorina is hanging out in New Hampshire. "We were here first! So you have to like us best!" Or something.

On the other side of the aisle, Bernie Sanders is letting loose [CN: video may autoplay at link] about the one percent and "a casino-type capitalism, which is out of control, where the people on top have lost any sense of responsibility for the rest of the society." YES!

And Hillary Clinton has just embraced the fuck out of the pantsuits meme, offering a t-shirt called "the everyday pantsuit tee." LOVE. (I also love that it goes up to a size 28. That's not all-inclusive, but it's a lot more so that most political campaign sizing.)

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

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat asleep in my inbox on my desk
Titchy Sophs, sound sleep in the inbox on my desk.

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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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Cure: "Pictures of You"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Racism; appropriation; war; death] Ben Becker recalls the origins of Memorial Day, and how it was co-opted into a broad remembrance of fallen soldiers: "What we now know as Memorial Day began as 'Decoration Day' in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause. ...While historians have gone a long way to expose the white supremacist history of the Civil War and uncover its revolutionary content, the spirit of the first Decoration Day—the struggle for Black liberation and the fight against racism—has unfortunately been whitewashed from the modern Memorial Day."

[CN: War on agency] My pal Andrea Grimes on the latest anti-choice fuckery going down in Texas: "The new restrictions would raise the burden of proof that abused, abandoned, and neglected minors must meet when taking their case to a judge, and would give judges five business days, rather than two business days, to rule on a minor's judicial bypass application. This delay could extend the process of judicial bypass by more than a week and push some minors past the threshold when legal abortion care is allowed in the state. ...[Sponsor Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)] denied that the bill is intended to limit access to abortion care in Texas."

[CN: Death threats; racism] Twitter has finally suspended aggressively violent and dangerous conservative troll Charles Johnson after he tweeted that he was accepting donations for 'taking out' social justice activist DeRay Mckesson (one of the amazing activists profiled here). Johnson tried to claim he was speaking metaphorically, and Mckesson called that shit right out: "For someone who considers themselves a journalist, I firmly believe that he understands the power of his words. And his words are his words. 'Take out' functions in a certain way. And if I got on any media outlet and said something to the effect of 'take out the police,' nobody would think that I was talking about an exposé." Damn right.

[CN: Death; torture; trafficking] Just awful: "Malaysia has begun exhuming bodies suspected to be migrants buried in 139 grave sites close to the Thai border. Authorities believe the migrants were held for ransom in jungle camps by gangs of human traffickers. Thousands of migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar have left for Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in recent weeks. ...[A]uthorities in Myanmar have charged 20 people with offences related to human trafficking. They were arrested from a vessel carrying 200 migrants from Bangladesh that was rescued last week."

[CN: Rape culture; rape apologia] The public defense of Josh Duggar by everyone who knows him continues, care of one of his sister's father-in-law. And this guy repeats the common assertion that people are gloating: "There is blood in the water and the sharks are in a feeding frenzy. Finally, the Duggar family's opponents have found what they have been eagerly waiting for: shocking revelations of scandal by Jim Bob and Michelle's firstborn son, Josh." I'm sure, because the planet is a big place, there are people who are gloating, but the idea that critics have been "eagerly waiting" to hear that girls were sexually abused is contemptible. Don't project your utter lack of concern for victims onto us, bub.

Oh good! I was just saying last never that we need more media monopolies: "Charter Communications Inc, controlled by cable industry pioneer John Malone, offered to buy Time Warner Cable Inc for $56 billion, seeking to combine the No. 3 and No. 2 U.S. cable operators to compete against market leader Comcast Corp."

[CN: Misogyny] People in Australia are quite rightly asking why it is that tampons and pads are not considered an "important health good," and are thus subject to the 10% Goods and Services tax. I mean, they know why. (What a mystery for the ages!) They are asking for that particular expression of misogyny to stop.

Whoa! "Madagascar is known for its incredible biodiversity, but even so scientists were surprised to find that one species in particular that's unique to the region, called the panther chameleon, is actually 11 different species in one." I love panther chameleons; they have to be one of the most beautiful creatures on Earth.

And finally! This dog says fuck solidarity when it comes to the question of who pooped in the kitchen lol!

Open Wide...

Photo of the Day

image of a double rainbow over Dublin

A double rainbow appears over Dublin, captured on Friday by Karl, as the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage:
Ireland has voted by a huge majority to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the world to do so by popular vote in a move hailed as a social revolution and welcomed around the world.

Some 62% of the Irish Republic's electorate voted in favour of gay marriage. The result means that a republic once dominated by the Catholic church ignored the instructions of its cardinals and bishops. ...The result prompted a massive street party around the gay district of central Dublin close to the national count centre.

...Irish deputy prime minister and Labour leader Joan Burton added: "The people of Ireland have struck a massive blow against discrimination."

And quoting the late American politician and LGBT rights activist Harvey Milk, she said: "Hope will never be silent."

Open Wide...

Floods in Texas and Oklahoma; Tornado in Mexico

[Content Note: Extreme weather; death. Video may autoplay at link.]

Terrible storms struck parts of Texas and Oklahoma again last night, leaving at least four people dead and a dozen missing.

Record-setting rains left officials in Texas and Oklahoma scrambling to assess the scope of the damage and destruction Monday as an emergency coordinator told reporters that a dozen people were missing in one county.

The 12 people missing in Hays County, Texas, come from families who had gathered for the long weekend, said Ken Bell, emergency coordinator for San Marcos, one of the cities hardest hit by the storms and flooding.

...The severe weather has left at least four people dead, including one in Texas and three in Oklahoma, and washed away hundreds of homes. The storms are easing up, but it doesn't mean the threat is gone.

The torrents that those storms dumped are still too much for river and creek banks to contain, and runoff was peaking early Monday, threatening continued flooding, the National Weather Service warned.

And rain relief is not coming to everyone.

A flash flood emergency was issued Monday for several areas in south-central Texas, including the city of Austin and Hays County. Thunderstorms were moving over the area and an additional rainfall of 3-6 inches was expected, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters warned that with the ground already saturated, even a small amount of new rain could have devastating consequences.

"Only an inch or two of rainfall could quickly lead to more flash flooding concerns," the weather service said.
Hundreds of homes have been washed away, and this week's forecast is predicting more thunderstorms, hail, high winds, flash flooding, river flooding, and tornadoes.

Just across the border in Mexico, at least 13 people were killed, many more injured, and hundreds of homes were destroyed by a tornado that hit the northern city of Ciudad Acuna. The area also continues to be threatened with more inclement and dangerous weather.

How's everyone doing?

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to leave links in comments to relief and aid for the area. And please remember, if you have money to make donations, that pets and livestock are always in need after extreme weather events, too.

Open Wide...