Question of the Day

[Content Note: Video autoplays at first link] Suggested by Tom Haverford: Would you rather live in the pocket of a giant kangaroo, or have a pocket on your own stomach that has a tiny kangaroo in it all the time?

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

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



The Pointer Sisters: "Neutron Dance"

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Well, Well, Well

Sabrina Siddiqui for the Guardian: "Barack Obama basks in public approval after 'best week of his presidency'."

[President Obama's] poll ratings reached a two-year high following what political commentators said was the best week of his presidency.

...[Obama] said the results of the supreme court decision to uphold a key component of his healthcare law "speak for themselves." Obama's remarks coincided with the release of a new poll that found his approval ratings at 50% for the first time in more than two years.

...It also included higher marks for the way the president had handled race relations in the United States. According to the survey, 55% of Americans said they approved of Obama’s handling of issues pertaining to race, while just 42% said they disapproved.

...Asked what he planned to do with the political capital he appeared to gain from last week, Obama said: "The list is long."

He added: "We are going to squeeze every last ounce of progress that we can make … as long as I have the privilege of holding this office," he said, before identifying issues such as infrastructure spending, criminal justice reform, and expanding free community college as potential opportunities.

Obama also pointed to a plan announced by his administration late on Monday that would allow more US workers to qualify for overtime pay. Up to 5 million lower-paid US employees will benefit from the rule change, which raises the salary limit used to determine who is eligible for mandatory overtime pay.

"What we're going to do is just keep on hammering away at all the issues that I think are going to have an impact on the American people. Some of them will be left undone, but we're going to try to make progress on every single one of them," Obama said. "I feel pretty excited about it. So I might see if we can make next week even better."
LOL LOVE.

Can highly-paid and highly aggravating Democratic strategists stop with the tired bullshit about how the US doesn't like lefty politics now? The more progressive this president gets, the more people like him.

It would be great if the people paid for their political expertise could actually remember that.

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"Fat" Is Not a Valid Criticism of Chris Christie

[Content Note: Fat hatred.]

Earlier this afternoon, I did a bunch of tweeting about using fat hatred against Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie. If you're not on Twitter, or if you missed them, you can view those tweets, as well as some older tweets I've done on the same subject, which I compiled into this Storify.

Basically:

screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'A person being fat doesn't tell you anything about their character. Your believing otherwise certainly tells me something about yours, tho.'

Here is a place for discussion of this subject.

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Support Trans People by Supporting Trans People

[Content Note: Transmisogyny; ciscentrism.]

Last night, a Seattle-area publication reported:

A $50,000 donation is cause for celebration at the Queen Anne offices of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington. "We have these little clapper thingies, and the clappers go mad when we get that kind of gift," says the council's CEO, Megan Ferland. So when Ferland came back to the office earlier this spring and announced that she'd just landed a $100,000 donation, the place went mad. Not only did it represent nearly a quarter of the council's annual fundraising goal, it would pay to send 500 girls to camp. "We were thrilled," Ferland says.

Except there was a catch. In late May, as news of Caitlyn Jenner's transition was blowing up your Facebook news feed, she received a letter from the donor with a brief request: Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can't, please return the money. [Emphasis original]
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington returned the money, and started a fundraiser to replace the gift. The fundraiser quickly went viral.

Why wouldn't it? The Girl Scouts do great work. Transphobic discrimination is bullshit. I thought about kicking in a few dollars after my next paycheck.

As of this afternoon, the fundraiser passed the original $100,000 goal—a day after it started. That's fabulous news.

However.

The Girl Scouts is an organization that's predominately run by cis people and that predominately serves cis girls. On some level, the trans girls that the organization is serving are hypothethical. Are there trans girls (and nonbinary children) in Western Washington? Absolutely. Are there some of these trans kids in the Girl Scouts? Probably. I'm not sure if administrators even know. I'm not sure they want to. That's the entire point—their organization exists to serve all children who aren't boys.

I'm thrilled to see this outpouring of support. I just know that most organizations that focus on serving trans people can't imagine receiving this outpouring of support. We can't get that support for young trans people, let alone trans adults who come with the flaws that come hand-in-hand with being fully grown humans struggling to navigate an occasionally fucked-up world.

I think it's great that people are supporting a solid organization that does good work. But I don't think cis people should congratulate themselves on taking this particular stance for trans people. Giving cis people money who tolerate trans people shouldn't be a radical act. It's basic human decency.

Fighting for trans people involves fighting for trans people even when we're not hypothetical.

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Richard Dawkins Isn't Funny

[Content Note: Racism; slavery.]

Richard Dawkins has mastered the art of obliquely referencing in really outrageous ways topics that have been in the news, apparently in order to stir up reactions. Here is his latest, riding on recent conversations about the Confederate flag:

screen cap of tweet authored by Richard Dawkins reading: 'If South'd won Civil War? Slaves would've soon been freed anyway, South would now be banana republic, & North the greatest civilisation ever'

When called out for the dubious accuracy of this statement, Dawkins claimed that he was just offering an alternate-history novel idea in 140 characters, and chided those who responded for their "vitriol" and incivility.

I'm going to be honest that a part of me doesn't want to respond to Dawkins' outrageous tweets anymore. I now genuinely believe him to be a professional troll who is engaging in the internet equivalent of poking at us with a stick until he can get a reaction. Every word wasted on him at this point feels like giving in to his demands for attention.

But this isn't occurring in a vacuum. This narrative, whether admittedly "fictional" or not, that slaves "would've been freed" (eventually! somehow! by 2015, definitely!) by white people, through the kindness of those who oppressed them, feeds into the same modern cultural choice to obscure the work that marginalized communities perform in order to improve things for themselves right now.

These messages are constant and harmful and not anywhere even remotely funny. Dawkins' immense privilege allows him to joke about slavery and how the oppression of black Americans totes would have ended on its own somehow someway through the inevitable efforts of somebody, while ignoring all the oppression that is happening right now, today, and which many white people are blissfully choosing to ignore.

That isn't okay, it's not helpful, and in fact it's downright harmful.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound standing on the back stoop, looking up at me with silly ears
This face!

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

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Plane crash; death] Terrible news: "More than 100 people were feared dead after a military transport plane ploughed into a residential area shortly after take-off in northern Indonesia on Tuesday, in what may be the deadliest accident yet for an air force with a long history of crashes. 'For the moment we know there were 113 people (on board). It looks like there are no survivors,' Air Marshal Agus Supriatna told Metro TV in the Sumatra city of Medan, adding that some of the passengers were air force families." I feel so desperately sad for people who lost loved ones and colleagues in the crash, especially since there is a good chance it could have been avoided with better safety practices.

[CN: Sexual violence; torture; death] A new report from the UN mission in the Republic of South Sudan has "warned of 'widespread human rights abuses,' including gang-rape and torture in a report based on 115 victims and eyewitnesses from the northern state of Unity, scene of some of the heaviest recent fighting in the 18-month-long civil war. The military, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), launched a major offensive against rebel forces in April, with fierce fighting in Unity state's northern Mayom district, once a key oil-producing area." The civil war has displaced more than 100,000 people, and the South Sudan army has committed terrible atrocities, including raping then burning girls alive inside their homes. It has been extremely difficult to intervene: "The UN said it had tried to visit the sites of the atrocities described by witnesses, but was routinely denied access by the army."

[CN: Police brutality; racism] The Justice Department has found, as we all saw with our own damn eyes, that police in Ferguson, Missouri, violated protesters' rights and escalated violence: "A DOJ document obtained by the Post-Dispatch faults Ferguson police for their aggressive response to protesters last August. In a summary of its third Ferguson report, which is soon to be released, the DOJ contends officers from Ferguson, St. Louis County, St. Louis and Missouri Highway Patrol 'violated citizens' right to assembly and free speech, as determined by a U.S. federal court injunction.'"

[CN: War on agency] Fucking hell: "In a city of 700,000 people, Franz Theard is one of a kind: a doctor who performs abortions. He runs El Paso's sole remaining abortion provider, the Hilltop Women's Reproductive Clinic. Like other clinics in Texas, it was 48 hours away from being forced to stop offering abortions but was reprieved on Monday by the US supreme court's decision to allow facilities that don't meet the state's strict new standards to remain open while the justices consider whether to take the case on appeal. The vote keeps Hilltop fully operational at least through the summer, but Theard is unsure about the longer term. Even if the requirements—that clinics qualify as ambulatory surgical centers and doctors have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital—are struck down by the supreme court, he worries that it will be impossible to find a successor willing to work in a hostile and isolated environment."

[CN: War on agency; misogynist terrorism] Relatedly, the indispensable Robin Marty has just written a new piece about how the "harassment of doctors, legislation limiting where they live and work, and a slew of model bills that open them up to potential felony charges if a mistake is made while terminating a pregnancy" is creating a shortage of abortion providers.

[CN: Racism] This story about "How a Hawaiian mountaintop became a battleground between native activists and astronomers" is fucking incredible. By which I mean: Rage-making. I can't even believe (I can totally believe) how hostile scientists are being to native Hawaiians. And straight-up racist shitlords. You know how much I love love love space exploration done through mega-telescopes, since I post about it virtually every day, but FUCK THIS. Exploring the stars cannot come at the expense of being decent people on terra firma.

[CN: Anti-vaxxing] Welp: "California lawmakers have passed a bill that would impose one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the US. It would require most schoolchildren to be vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough. Governor Jerry Brown must now decide whether to sign the bill, which has faced fierce criticism from some parents' groups, into law. ...Parents opposed to the bill have vowed to take legal action, even though the issue has been upheld in court, including by the Supreme Court. They argue that some vaccines are unsafe and claim the legislation is eliminating informed consent and trampling on parental rights." Children with health issues preventing them from getting vaccinated would be exempted by the law. I said pretty much all I'll ever say about this shit here.

[CN: Homophobia] Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has words for Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who has been calling for a federal amendment to undermine the Supreme Court's marriage ruling: "Well, Scott Walker, if you believe the next president's job is to encourage bigotry and to treat some families better than others, then I believe it is our job to make sure you aren't president." TELL HIM!

[CN: Homophobia] "A county clerk in Arkansas plans to resign effective Tuesday because of a moral objection to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Cleburne County Clerk Dana Guffey said Monday she has notified the county judge of her plans to resign. She says she has a moral objection to issuing the marriage licenses following Friday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriages nationwide." Good decision! Bye!

Something something Chris Christie blah blah president. Also: He loves to lie. A lot.

These shooooooooooooooooooes! OMG SHOES!

[CN: Disablist language] Robert Zemeckis wants no part of any Back to the Future remakes, reboots, retools, reimaginings, or anything else! So you'll just have to wait until he's dead. If you really want one. Or, you know, just watch the classics. (Controversial!)

And finally! Uggy the French Bulldog Puppy playing in the sand! Squeeeee!

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I See What You're Doing There

[Content Note: Homophobia; misogyny; rape culture.]

So, there's this meme going around that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has supported same-sex marriage for decades. A Salon headline declares: "Bernie Sanders supported full marriage equality 40 years ago." Wow! Pretty amazing, right?!

Here is the evidence—a letter in which he details some of his his platform while a candidate for governor of Vermont from the Liberty Union Party in the 1970s:

image of the old letter; the relevant paragraph reads: 'The Liberty Union believe that there are entirely too many laws that regulate human behavior. Let us abolish all laws which attempt to impose a particular brand of morality or 'right' on people. Let's abolish all laws dealing with abortion, drugs, sexual behavior (adultery, homosexuality, etc.).'

If you aren't able to find, exactly, where his support for same-sex marriage is, that's because it isn't there.

To imagine that statement "supports marriage equality" rests on an ignorance about the history of queer rights—specifically that "homosexual activity" was criminalized in much of the country at the time. Lawrence v. Texas, in which the Supreme Court "struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in 13 other states, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory," was only decided in 2003.

Clearly, Sanders is advocating against the laws that criminalized homosexual acts, which is terrific, but that's quite a different thing altogether from supporting same-sex marriage, and it's a gross simplification of the history of queer rights to pretend otherwise.

To be abundantly clear, my issue is not with Bernie Sanders. My issue is with progressive media that erroneously proclaims Sanders—a man who has failed utterly to include intersectional analysis in his campaign—more progressive than he actually is.

(Especially when it is clearly meant to be a dig at Clinton, who has a solid long-time record on queer rights, her delayed "evolution" on same-sex marriage notwithstanding. Never mind that we know her opposition was likely a condition of her employment with the administration, as Vice President Joe Biden was roundly criticized for going "off-script" when he came out in favor of same-sex marriage, thus forcing President Obama's hand. But Obama always allowed Clinton the freedom to advance queer rights via the State Department, and she ran with it. Anyway.)

(Also: Have you seen [CN: video autoplays at link] this campaign advert? Anyway.)

(Also: Same-sex marriage is not the only queer issue that matters. But it's the only one on which most other candidates have any position at all. Clinton, on the other hand, has actual accomplishments around employment, healthcare access, passport rules. Pay attention to who continues to pretend those issues don't matter. Anyway.)

But I digress!

So, besides making Sanders more progressive than he really was, in a way that obscures queer history, the thing about this letter is: Juxtapose how we are supposed to receive it as a Very Important Document about Bernie Sanders' decades-old beliefs against how we were meant to receive that troubling essay, which isn't supposed to matter because it was so long ago.

His decades-old minimized terrible beliefs about women are irrelevant.

His decades-old exaggeratedly awesome beliefs about same-sex marriage are SUPER IMPORTANT.

On the one hand, a 40-year-old opinion that doesn't reflect well on Sanders' progressivism is dismissed by virtue of its age. On the other hand, a 40-year-old (alleged) opinion that does reflect well on Sanders' progressivism is more highly valued by virtue of its age. Cool.

I see what y'all are doing there. And I ain't impressed.

I'm not offended, either; I'm just contemptuous.

[H/T to Deeky.]

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Tweet of the Day

screen cap of a tweet authored by Paul Feig, featuring a picture of the new Ghostbusters uniforms, labeled #whatyougonnawear

Paul Feig, co-writer and director of the upcoming all-female Ghostbusters film tweeted this image of the new Ghostbusters' uniforms yesterday. Are you excited?! I AM SO EXCITED!!!

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The Good News and the Bad News

[Content Note: Class warfare; worker exploitation.]

The Good News is that President Obama has announced plans to make a significant change to the overtime exemption:

Here's a convenient way of getting more work out of your employees, without paying the required time-and-a-half pay for anything over 40 hours a week: Call them "managers." Currently, these so-called white collar workers are exempt from overtime if they make more than $455 a week or $23,660 per year, even if they perform routine tasks like stocking shelves at a convenience store. In fact, those small-time bosses don't even have to be paid anything more for the extra hours they put in to get the job done, not even minimum wage.

Monday night, President Obama announced that he wants to double that threshold, to $50,400 per year. The move would expand the number of people eligible for overtime from about 8 percent of the salaried workforce to about 40 percent, according to a recent analysis by the left-leaning, labor-friendly Economic Policy Institute.

"That's good for workers who want fair pay, and it's good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve -- since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren't," Obama wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed announcing the decision.
Lots of my friends, across a number of industries, have experienced this phenomenon. I experienced it, too, back when I was working in Corporate America. And for many people who go from hourly wages with overtime to a salaried wage with no overtime, because you're declared a "manager," it ends up being a steep cut in pay. An employer might raise your base salary, but if they're requiring you to work all kinds of hours for which they suddenly stop paying you, it's often a reduction in your income, with no reduction in workload.

There are federal guidelines that define that constitutes a "manager," but many employers don't follow those guidelines, hoping their employees either don't know their position has been illegally redefined or values their job too much to cause trouble. Or, you know, isn't getting paid enough to even hire an attorney.

It's a major area of worker exploitation in the US, and while raising the exemption threshold is not a comprehensive solution, especially when workers' rights are not rigorously enforced, it's a necessary and excellent step.

And it's a step Obama can take on his own:
Obama, who has implemented a number of his most consequential workplace policies through executive order, doesn't need congressional approval to implement the new overtime rule. However, it will have to go through a public comment period, and employers will have lots to say.
Which brings us to the Bad News: Employers are already pushing back hard.
Rather than just paying managers more for the extra time, a study commissioned by the National Retail Federation warned that employers would likely hire more part timers to do that work, and cut base pay and benefits to keep people's compensation the same overall. Meanwhile, companies might have to cut down on the number of managerial jobs they offer, making it more difficult for employees to climb the professional ranks and leading to more inequality in the workforce, not less. Nonetheless, even if they're able to avoid paying more for labor -- and there's evidence to suggest they won't be able to avoid it completely -- employers fret that the change would still cost them hundreds of millions of dollars to make the adjustment.

Now, if businesses think the Department of Labor didn't do enough to consider the economic impact of the new rule, they could try to block it in the courts -- or at least delay it, in hopes of running out the clock until a more sympathetic administration arrives in the White House. Alternatively, some experts think businesses might end up pushing to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act itself to block the new rule.
Emphases mine.

What employers are threatening—hire more part-time workers to cut the number of employees with benefits; diminish the number of positions to prevent promotions that yield higher salaries—are things that employers have already been doing for years. Which is part of the reason why this proposal isn't a comprehensive solution: What we need are tighter labor regulations that prevent precisely this sort of profit-maximizing (and often nakedly spiteful) worker exploitation and artificial salary depression and all the "speedup" practices, like not filling jobs when people leave and simply redistributing their work among remaining staff, who aren't compensated for the additional duties.

The frank truth is that many, many US employers have shown they simply won't act in the best, or even in the most basically fair, interests of their employees unless they are forced by regulation to do so. So that's what needs to happen.

The market simply doesn't solve the problem, when the problem is exploited workers.

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Open Thread

screen cap of gameplay from an Atari era Q*bert video game

Hosted by Q*bert.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Quinalla: "What fandom, hobby, sport, etc. do you really get into and why do you think you are so into it? (None of course is always an acceptable answer!)"

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Patriarchy; rape culture.]

"What if bros were safe? What if they weren't dangerous, sexist homophobes, but instead tender and kind—both to each other and to the women in their midst? What if packs of jovial, tank-topped 'manly men' weren't something to steer clear of after dark? What if they were polite, considerate and believed God to be a woman? Would they be bros at all?"—The opening paragraph of Stacey May Fowles' review of Magic Mike XXL for the Globe and Mail, a film she describes as "an ingenious revelation of a film—it's designed for women yet steered by all-male leads, tapping into a best guess at women's desires in a self-aware, sincere, entirely deliberate way."

I haven't seen the first Magic Mike movie, and I don't know if I'll ever see this one, but I know a lot of people who love the hell out of these films, and I figured this review might be of interest to y'all lovers of this franchise and maybe to some of those who haven't fallen in love with it. (Yet?!)

[H/T to Jess.]

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by the color yellow.

Recommended Reading:

TLC: [Content Note: Transphobia; anti-immigrationism] ICE Issues New Guidance on Transgender Detainees; #Not1More et. al. Explain Why It's Not Enough

Libby Anne: [CN: Christian Supremacy] An Atheist Parent, an Evangelical Grandmother, and a Six-Year-Old Girl

Prison Culture: [CN: Self-harm; death; racism; carcerality] Breaking People

Grace: [CN: Misogynoir] The Sisters Are Alright According to Tamara Winfrey Harris' New Book

Casey: [CN: White Supremacy] The Three Possible Outcomes from SCOTUS' Decision to Rehear Affirmative Action Case

David: [CN: Fearmongering; animal endangerment; violence] Does Shark Week Portrayal of Sharks Matter?

Esther: How to Pour Two Liquids into a Glass and Make a Rope

TMV: "He was handsome and dashing, and all those things [Tom] generally avoids."

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

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Car Chase in Detroit Ends with Two Dead Children

[Content Note: Death; injury; police misconduct; racism.]

In an absolutely terrible story out of Detroit, police officers did not cease pursuing during a car chase once it entered a populous residential neighborhood, and two black children are now dead and several others injured:

Brother and sister Michaelangelo and Makiah Jackson, ages 6 and 3 respectively, were playing in front of their home when a police car appeared, chasing what appeared to be a red Challenger. According to eyewitnesses, the police car bumped the Challenger, and the car "flew up in the air." Witnesses heard tire squeals, as if the car was attempting to stop, but by then it was going too fast and had lost control and hit the two small children, killing them instantly.

...Even after the car had dragged the children a distance down the street, the police did not stop their pursuit. They continued to chase the car across one front lawn after another, finally crashing, critically injuring three more children including three-year-old Darius Andrews, Jr., Isaiah Williams, 5, and Zyaire Gardner, 7. Twenty-two-year-old LaKendra Hill sustained injuries. The father of the youngest called seven-year-old Zyaire "the real hero," adding, "He saved my son's life. He grabbed him and tried to hold him."
My condolences to the families, friends, and neighbors of the children who were killed, and I hope the families of the injured children, as well as LaKendra Hill, have the resources they need to heal their physical wounds.

As with many other deadly interactions with police, the original police account was contradicted by witnesses: "On the night of the incident, police Chief James Craig said that the police car had already stopped the chase after they 'lost sight of the car.' After many eyewitnesses had refuted that claim, Craig said that a supervisor had ordered a stop to the pursuit."

Further, the police tried to justify the pursuit by claiming that the driver (or passenger) of the car was seen with a gun, but again had to backpedal: "The next day the chief said there was no gun, and that the case started when the police 'made eye contact' with the occupants of the car."

If that sounds familiar, it's possibly because police in Baltimore "made eye contact" with Freddie Gray before pursuing him on foot and then arresting him and putting him in the back of a police van where he later sustained fatal injuries.

The driver of the car, according to police is 29-year old-Lorenzo Harris, "who was on parole but had not been reporting in to his parole officer." Okay. Well, unless there was evidence he was imminently planning a violent crime, a high-speed chase was hardly necessary for a parole violation.

And that's not just my opinion:
On paper, the official policy of the Detroit Police Department includes this:
Members involved in a pursuit must question whether the seriousness of the violation warrants continuation of the pursuit. A pursuit shall be discontinued when, in the judgment of the primary unit, there is a clear and present danger to the public which outweighs the need for immediate apprehension of the violator. Officers must keep in mind that a vehicle pursuit has the same potential for serious injury or death as the use of fatal force. … Officers must place the protection of human life above all other considerations.
Their true attitude, priorities, "policy" is written in the blood of small children on those front lawns.
Meanwhile, despite the Chief Craig's contention that "a supervisor had ordered a stop to the pursuit," the officers who continued the pursuit allegedly in contravention of a command have not been suspended nor fired, nor are they even being investigation, in any report I can find. Craig has said merely that "his department is reviewing its pursuit policy."

Harris, the driver being pursued for a parole violation, has been arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder, among other charges.

Naturally, we are meant to view Harris, a convicted drug user who was skipping parole meetings, as exclusively responsible for the deaths of Michaelangelo and Makiah Jackson.

But I wonder how it is that we are supposed to ignore the context in which any black man or woman, who is pursued after "making eye contact" with police, might find themselves dead if they land in police custody?

Who the fuck is being served or protected by any of this?

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

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



Starship: "We Built This City"

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Ink

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

* * *

This weekend, Shaker masculine_lady came to visit, and one of the things she wanted to do while she was here was get a tattoo from one of my tattoo artists, Jake, who's done my beetle, my abstract leg piece, my POW!, my sassy cat, and my jellyfish.

And, with her permission, here is the incredible result:

image of a tattoo on masculine_lady's calf: a fat female cardinal with its wings raised and a 'come at me bro' expression on its face
"Come at me, bro!"

This was a pretty significant calf piece, and she sat through it like A CHAMP!

Because obviously a tattoo day isn't really a tattoo day unless everyone gets tattoos, I had Jake go ahead and add the wing to my bee, because I never did decide what word I wanted inside of it, and then add some text above:

image of my forearm on which is viewable just the top part of my tattoo of a thistle and a bee, with the newly added bee wing and text reading REVIRESCO

"Reviresco" is the motto of Clan MacEwen, and it means "I grow strong again" (or "I grow verdant again"), which is a sentiment that's meaningful to me on an individual level, as a survivor—and also meaningful to me as one person in the partnership illustrated by this sleeve, a partnership that's built around helping each other be and stay and become strong.

Also, I just think it has a really cool fucking sound to it, lol. REVIRESCO!

So: What's up with you?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat crouched on the back of the sofa, looking wide-eyed at something out of frame
Sophie spies something!

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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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Death penalty; environmental harm] Well, that was short-lived: The Supreme Court is back to disappointing the hell out of me, issuing two terrible opinions this morning: In Glossip v. Gross, they ruled "that a drug used by Oklahoma as part of its lethal injection procedure does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, dealing a setback to opponents of the death penalty." And in Michigan v. EPA, they struck down "new rules for America's biggest air polluters...dealing a blow to the Obama administration's efforts to set limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic, and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into the air, lakes, and rivers."

The Supreme Court giveth, and the Supreme Court taketh away. And by "Supreme Court," obviously I mean Anthony Kennedy. It's fun when my non-US friends and family express horror that so much rests in the hands of nine people, and I get to tell them it's really only one guy. And by "fun," I mean I'm sobbing and rending my garments.

In some lingering good news from the Supreme Court's better decision-making days of last week, Ian Millhiser explains how "Chief Justice Roberts Rejected Marriage Equality in the Best Possible Way for Liberals."

* * *

Two major debt crises in motion today: In Greece, "Greeks faced shuttered banks, long supermarkets lines, and overwhelming uncertainty on Monday as a breakdown in talks between Athens and its international creditors plunged the country deep into crisis." And in Puerto Rico, Governor Alejandro García Padilla, "saying he needs to pull the island out of a 'death spiral,' has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions."

I don't have the requisite economic expertise to comment meaningfully on the global consequences of these crises. What I will say, however, is that my thoughts are with the people of Greece and Puerto Rico, and I am desperately sorry that their fates are so inextricably tied to the wills of people whose fortunes have been made in part by exploiting them.

* * *

[Content Note: War on agency] Goddammit: "The Ohio Senate's GOP majority on Wednesday approved a ban on abortion after 20 weeks' gestation only hours after it went through committee. SB 127, which anti-choice group Ohio Right to Life called its 'legislative priority' this year, was passed after exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother were removed from the measure. The bill passed in a 23-9 vote and will now move to the Republican-led state house for approval. ...Ohio is one of at least ten states to introduce so-called fetal pain abortion bans this year. A similar ban was passed in West Virginia after the GOP-majority state legislature overrode the governor's veto. The Wisconsin Senate passed a so-called fetal pain bill this month. The South Carolina legislature will next January take up a 20-week ban despite arguments between conservative legislators that the bill was too lenient because it included exceptions for rape and incest. Those exceptions were eventually removed."

I don't even know what to say anymore that I haven't already said six thousand times about these aggressively hostile thunderfucks who are doing everything they can to subvert the right ostensibly guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. I am just constantly, constantly angry about the erosion of reproductive rights across the country, and it just feels like it's been so fucking long since reproductive justice advocates have had a big win.

Would the country celebrate with us even if we did? (That's rhetorical.) (That's also exactly the problem.)

* * *

[CN: Wimbledon spoiler] Serena Williams won her opening match at Wimbledon today, defeating Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 6-4, 6-1. Because of course she did! "Williams has won three straight major titles, including the Australian Open and French Open. If she wins the title at the All England Club and then defends her title at the U.S. Open, she would be the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win all four Grand Slam titles in the same season." Yowza!

She is amazing, and I love watching her play so much. If you, too, are a Serena Williams fan, you might enjoy [CN: disablist language] "17 fascinating facts about Serena Williams, who's on the brink of tennis history."

* * *

In presidential primary news, Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is reportedly going to announce tomorrow that he's running for president, and Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich is reportedly going to announce his own presidential run on July 21. THAT IS ONE CROWDED CLOWN CAR!

Meanwhile, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden is still weighing a White House run of his own.

LET'S ALL RUN FOR PRESIDENT! EVERYONE RUN FOR PRESIDENT!

* * *

[CN: Homophobia] Jamilah King has written a great piece on what the Supreme Court's marriage decision means for LGB parents in the South: "The American South is home to many ironies, but perhaps none as intriguing as those relating to same-sex unions. Before Friday's historic Supreme Court ruling, same-sex marriage was almost universally banned in Southern states, a reality that painted a bleak picture for LGBT Americans who live there. But then there's also this: There are more gay and lesbian parents raising children in the South than anywhere else in the country, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank based at the University of California, Los Angeles. For example, more than 20% of same-sex couples are raising children in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, and of those couples, blacks and Latinos are more than twice as likely as white parents to be raising children. These are facts that help reshape the narrative of same-sex marriage from an individual's quest to legally wed whomever they please to a family's search for legal protection."

[CN: Animal extinction] Holy crap: "We are at the beginning of the world's sixth mass extinction; not since the fall of the great prehistoric beasts has our planet seen such extreme species loss. Last week, scientists writing in the journal Science Advances found that vertebrates—animals with a backbone—are going extinct at a rate up to 100 times greater than in the past. These rates are unusually high, even considering Earth's long history, and humans—for whom a period of such high extinction rates is unprecedented—could feel the consequences in as few as three lifetimes."

LOLOLOL: "Pope's climate change activism sets stage for awkward visit to Capitol Hill." Brilliant.

All right then: "After 35 years in development, the world's first commercially available jetpack will be available next year for $150,000." The worst part about this is that I only have $149,873 in my jetpack fund. DAMMIT!

[CN: Animal illness but happy ending] And finally! A pink flamingo in Sorocaba, Brazil, whose left leg was partially amputated to halt an infection after a break, has gotten a prosthetic leg and: "Within days the flamingo was adjusting nicely to his new leg—even tucking it under his body to make the flamingo's classic one-leg standing pose." Aww!

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Just the Most Spiteful, Indefensible Garbage

[Content Note: Homophobia.]

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement yesterday in which he argued that county clerks in Texas can refuse to issue marriage licenses if they have a religious objection to same-sex marriage, despite last week's Supreme Court decision, to which he referred as a "fabricated" constitutional right granted by an "activist" court.

His statement opens thus:

Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist. In so doing, the Court weakened itself and weakened the rule of law, but did nothing to weaken our resolve to protect religious liberty and return to democratic self-government in the face of judicial activists attempting to tell us how to live.
Without a trace of irony. The legalization of same-sex marriage doesn't tell anyone how they must live. On the other hand, the denial of same-sex marriage sure does.

He says a whole lot of crap about religious objections, as though there aren't county clerks with religious objections to divorce who nonetheless issue marriage licenses for second marriages all the fucking time, and then concludes with this trash wreck:
Texas must speak with one voice against this lawlessness, and act on multiple levels to further protect religious liberties for all Texans, but most immediately do anything we can to help our County Clerks and public officials who now are forced with defending their religious beliefs against the Court's ruling.
For all Texans. Except those who do not practice religion at all, or who practice a religion with no bias against same-sex marriage, or who practice a religion in which practicing such bias would be viewed as an unacceptable cruelty to one's fellow humans. Fuck all those people.

Per SCOTUSblog [H/T to Scott Madin], Paxton has 25 days "to seek rehearing from the Supreme Court. After that, there theoretically needs to be a lawsuit every time Texas unconstitutionally denies a marriage license. But since 'massive resistance' ended, the Nation has counted on State actors to 'get the message' from Supreme Court decisions. One expects that to happen here quite soon, too."

The Supreme Court is not likely (to put it politely) to grant a hearing, which requires one of the Justices in the majority to accept a petition for a rehearing of their ruling.

Paxton knows this. He's just delaying the inevitable about of sheer spite.

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Six Black Churches Burned

[Content Note: Terrorism; arson; white supremacy.]

Last Thursday, I mentioned that a predominantly black Baptist church in Charlotte, North Carolina, had been destroyed by a fire which was being investigated as arson. That was not, unfortunately, the only one. In the week since the AME Shooting, there have been six fires at Southern churches with largely or all black congregations:

The first fire came late June 21 when, police said, someone set fire to some hay bales just outside the College Hill Seventh Day Adventist in Knoxville, Tenn. The church sustained minor damage. Its van was also burned.

"Horror, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, what's going on?'" Pastor Cleveland Hobdy III told WATE-TV. Police told local news stations the fire is being investigated as arson but not as a hate crime.

Early June 23, God's Power Church of Christ in Macon, Ga., was on fire. When firefighters arrived, the front doors were wired shut and they had to enter through a side door, the local newspaper the Telegraph reported.

"'What's the church doing on fire?' That was my response to it," Associate Pastor Jeanette Dudley told WMAZ-TV. "I just couldn't believe it and once I got here, I did, I cried. I cried for a little bit."

The fire was ruled an arson, though police are not calling it a hate crime.

...Early June 24, someone called 911 to report that Charlotte's Briar Creek Road Baptist Church had been set ablaze.

"The Baptist church on Briar Creek Road right before Central, it's on fire," the caller told dispatchers. "It's really big."

It took more than 75 firefighters over an hour to get the fire under control and, by then, it had caused more than $250,000 worth of damage and demolished the church's main building, The Washington Post reported. Charlotte Fire Department Senior Investigator David Williams later told the Associated Press they determined the fire "was intentionally set."

...On June 26, the Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, S.C., burned down. Police said no cause for the fire had been determined.

"Everything is gone – books, robes, all my pictures, all my degrees," the Rev. Bobby Jean Jones told the Aiken Standard. "All the history is gone."

...Two other churches caught fire last week as well — Fruitland Presbyterian Church in Gibson County, Tenn., and the Greater Miracle Temple Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, Fla. Authorities believe the fires were caused by lightning and electrical wires, respectively, though they are still investigating.

"We want to be sure, 100 percent sure, that this was an accidental fire, not on purpose," Gibson County Fire Chief Bryan Cathey told WBBJ-TV.
Writing about the arsons for the Atlanta Black Star, David A. Love observes that there is a long history of white supremacists burning black churches, because of the particular role black churches play in black life in the United States: "From slavery and the days of Jim Crow through the civil rights movement and beyond, white supremacists have targeted the Black church because of its importance as a pillar of the Black community, the center for leadership and institution building, education, social, and political development and organizing to fight oppression. Strike at the Black church, and you strike at the heart of Black American life."

Which, of course, is the entire point. As I have said many times before: These are not "senseless" crimes. They make a perfect, terrible sense inside a framework of white supremacist terrorism, where "striking at the heart of Black American life" is precisely the objective.

These are not isolated incidents. They are connected, to each other and to an ugly history of white supremacist terrorism.

The only people who can't see that are those unwilling to look.

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Bree Newsome, Y'all

[Content Note: White supremacy.]

Over the weekend, a 30-year-old black woman named Bree Newsome, who is an activist, filmmaker, and musician, strapped herself into climbing gear, scaled the 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina state capitol, and removed the Confederate flag.

image of Bree Newsome, clinging to the flag pole high up in the air next to the capitol, with the Confederate flag in her hand
This is what civil disobedience looks like. [Photo by Adam Anderson.]

Newsome was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of defacing monuments on the Capitol grounds, which carries a fine of up to $5,000, a sentence of three years, or both. James Ian Tyson, the 30-year-old white male activist who supported Newsome from the ground, was also arrested and charged. More than $100,000 has been raised for their bail and "for other courageous activists taking direct action in the movement for Black lives."

Newsome, whose former classmates recall her as a principled and courageous leader, said on the day of her action and arrest: "We removed the flag today because we can't wait any longer. We can't continue like this another day. It's time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality."

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, said that Newsome is a "committed, trained, non-violent messenger of the truth [with a] deep commitment [to] justice, love, and true inter-racial community. ...[Newsome] stands in a long tradition ...Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and more recently hundreds of protesters in Moral Monday...were all considered, at first, criminals for their acts of conscience. We stand in solidarity with her."

A lot of people have observed that Bree Newsome looks like a superhero in that already iconic photo. Of course she looks like a hero. That's because she is one.

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Open Thread

image of a quince tree bearing its yellow fruit

Hosted by quince.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open!

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Rainbow Saloon'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!


(And please don't forget to tip your bartender!)

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by RAINBOWS.

Recommended Reading:

Michael: First Gay Couples Get Marriage Licenses in Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Nebraska

Jessica: [CN: War on agency] Kansas Judge Blocks GOP's Radical Abortion Ban

Lizzie: [CN: Disablism] I Happily Took Anti-Depressants During My Pregnancy

Rebecca: [CN: Fat hatred; illness; images of surgery] My Cancer Pt. II, Medical Fat Shaming Could Have Killed Me

Monica: Cisgender Added to Oxford Dictionary

lostsleep: The Golden Girls Living Room and Kitchen Modular Set

Sameer: First Photo of Taye Diggs as 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Lead

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Queen: "We Are the Champions"

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It Is So Ordered

[Content Note: Homophobia; misogyny; religious supremacy.]

There are a lot of reasons I really love Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion on Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationally. But my favorite thing is how he turned same-sex marriage opponents' arguments on their head, while explaining the court majority's reasoning behind their landmark ruling.

In a very real way, lots of Kennedy's descriptions of marriage are antiquated, although his emphasis that marriage is not "less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children" and reminder that the "ability, desire, or promise to procreate is not and has not been a prerequisite for a valid marriage in any State" were both very welcome. Even the very idea that a state-recognized partnership is inherently more meaningful than people who have the option to marry but simply choose to be together without a legal bond is antiquated.

Which is kind of fitting, really, given how long past due we are to enact this basic right. That the Court's view of marriage in the US is so dated is sort of a perfect and terrible commentary on the regrettable delay of this decision.

The opposing respondents' views of marriage are even more shrouded in impenetrably hostile retrofuckery, and it is here where Kennedy's arguments really shine.

Using language hovering somewhere between poetry and hyperbole, Kennedy waxes rhapsodic about the (supposed) specialness of marriage: It "allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone" and "is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations." He sings the institution's praises so unreservedly and enthusiastically that one imagines marriage equality opponents couldn't help but agree.

Kennedy also concedes their essential argument—that marriage is indeed a precious tradition. "The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together. ...There are untold references to the beauty of marriage in religious and philosophical texts spanning time, cultures, and faiths, as well as in art and literature in all their forms."

And then Kennedy pivots, arguing that the acknowledgment of marriage's cultural importance and central role in the nation's traditions is precisely why it cannot be denied to same-sex couples.

This Court's cases and the Nation's traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of our social order. ...[J]ust as a couple vows to support each other, so does society pledge to support the couple, offering symbolic recognition and material benefits to protect and nourish the union.
He further addresses their argument that marriage cannot be changed for its value to be preserved, observing that marriage has, in fact, changed: It has changed to recognize that women are not properties of their husbands; it has changed to recognize that women are autonomous beings within their marriages, not a merged entity with their husbands; it has changed to recognize and equally value interracial relationships.

These changes, Kennedy notes, "were not mere superficial changes. Rather, they worked deep transformations in its structure, affecting aspects of marriage long viewed by many as essential."

And, contrary to the opposing respondents' claims that changing the institution of marriage undermines it, Kennedy observes: "These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution of marriage."

There is much, much more to appreciate in the Court's ruling. Among those things is the Kennedy's repeated refusal to equivocate, the repetition in stating what has been decided: "This analysis compels the conclusion that same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry. ...The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest. ...It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality. ...The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them."

No longer may this liberty be denied to them.

"The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States. ...They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. It is so ordered."

It is so ordered.

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Amazing Grace

President Obama just delivered the eulogy at Rev. Pinckney's funeral in Charleston. I will post video and a transcript below when they become available.

He ended the service by singing "Amazing Grace," and the entire room joined him.

As @brownandbella pointed out on Twitter: "The first black president singing Amazing Grace at the podium of a black church founded by a man who planned a slave revolt."

This is a day in the United States of America, y'all.

UPDATE: Here is video of the President singing "Amazing Grace."


Video Description: President Obama, standing at a podium at the front of a large audience, and in front of black church members and Rev. Pinckney's family, begins to sing "Amazing Grace" a capella, and the people in the room join him, then musicians begin to accompany him. After one verse, the President shouts the names of the victims, saying each of them "found that grace!" He then says: "Through the example of their lives, they've now passed it on to us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift as long as our lives endure. May grace now lead them home. May god continue to shed his grace on the United States of America."

UPDATE 2: A full 40-minute video of the President's eulogy is now available on YouTube care of PBS. Please note that the video autoplays at the link.

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...But What Do the Hateful Dipshits Think?

[CN:anti-marriage equality hate, religious supremacy]

In the light of today's amazing pro-equality Supreme Court ruling, a lot of news outlets have rushed to find out what the various presidential candidates think about this, especially the ever-growing number boarding the GOP Bullet Train to the Future Wagonette to the 19th Century.

Liss and I were discussing whether there was even any point to addressing it here. Essentially, all of the GOP candidate opinions are garbage, and all of the Dem candidates opinions seem to be not-garbage. (If you want to read more roundups, you can read them at the National Journal, Politico, NBC New York and Detroit Free Press, among others.)

However, it is true that the GOP candidates hold several different flavors of dipshittery; the opinions clearly reflect a divide among the candidates. (Some of them overlap, because they're trying to make some kind of Nasty Neapolitan Bigotry Blend.) But if you don't want to actually have to read their hateful words, here is what flavor each one is primarily serving up:

Flavor 1: (Constitutional Bullshit Tracks) I am a hateful dispshit who is going to fight this because argle bargle STATE'S RIGHTS/THE TENTH AMENDMENT/SUPREME COURT OVERREACH. (Jindal, Perry, Walker, Fiorina)

Flavor 2: (Heavenly Hateful Hash)I am a hateful dispshit who is going to fight this because GOD'S LAWS AND NATURE'S LAWS. (Huckabee, Santorum)

Flavor 3: (Chip Chip Chip) I am a hateful dipshit, but not quite as silly as those guys. If elected I will appoint justices/support legislation to pursue a Roe strategy on this,since we probably can't directly overturn this. But give me time...(Rubio)

Flavor 4: (Crappy Camouflage Ripple) I am a hateful dipshit who is trying to sound like a somewhat less hateful dipshit by saying I oppose this. But I *also* sort of don't oppose it, because something something "law of the land" "protect religious freedom."(Carson, Graham, Bush, Christie, Kasich)

Flavor 5: (Punt-n-Pass Pistachio) What do you think? I have yet to express my own opinion. Rest assured I am a hateful disphit! (Paul, Pataki)

Flavor 6: (Spencer's Gifts Supreme) I am Donald Trump, and I blame Jeb Bush and John Roberts! Because I am a hateful dipshit, but in the bizarre, crass, and cheaply made fashion of an unwanted gift from the local mall's novelty shop. Comes with bonus Pop Up Pecker Lighter or the Fart-o-Nater Extreme!

And that's today's Hateful Dipshit Report!

Mmmm. Ice cream.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt standing on the back patio, looking up at me and grinning and wagging her tail
Zelly is very happy about the Supreme Court's decision today. "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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In the News

Here is some other stuff in the news today...

The funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney has begun in Charleston, and thousands of people lined up today to pay their respects. President Obama is scheduled to give the eulogy. Letters to Rev. Pinckney from his wife and daughters were tucked into the program for the service. Blub.

[Content Note: Transphobia; anti-immigrationism; abuse] Jennicet Gutiérrez: "I interrupted Obama because we need to be heard." A must-read.

[CN: Terrorism; death] Fucking hell: "Terrorists attacked sites in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait on Friday, leaving a bloody toll on three continents and prompting new concerns about the spreading influence of jihadists. In France, attackers stormed an American-owned industrial chemical plant near Lyon, decapitated one person and tried unsuccessfully to blow up the factory. In Tunisia, gunmen opened fire at a beach resort, killing at least 27 people, officials said. At least one of the attackers was killed by security forces. And the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in one of the largest Shiite mosques in Kuwait City during Friday prayers. ...Local news reports said at least 24 people had been killed and wounded in the assault, which was extraordinary for Kuwait and appeared to be a deliberate attempt to incite strife between Shiites and Sunnis. ...There was no immediate indication that the attacks had been coordinated. But the three strikes came at roughly the same time, and just days after the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL, called for such operations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan."

As I mentioned yesterday, the Supreme Court also issued a terrific and major decision regarding a housing discrimination case, and Alice Ollstein explains how that decision could have an impact on voting rights: "The case hinged on whether victims of housing discrimination had to prove the government, banks or other entities consciously set out to discriminate against them—an often impossibly high legal bar—or whether they could simply prove they were disproportionately hurt by a certain policy." The Court decided for the latter. "Senior Attorney Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez with the Advancement Project, which is involved in several voting rights lawsuits around the country, said the ruling is 'very helpful' because it asserts that it's not necessary to prove intentional voter suppression based on race."

[CN: War; violence; sexual assault; torture; death] This is a difficult but important read: "For decades the terrible crimes perpetrated against women under the Khmer Rouge were hidden from view. BuzzFeed News' Jina Moore talked to the victims of the dictatorial regime who are now getting their day in court."

[CN: Police brutality; racism; misogyny; othering] There is a whole lot to unpack here fuhhhhhhhhk: "An interview with the Baltimore cop who's revealing all the horrible things he saw on the job." (In recommending this, by the way, I'm not at all suggesting it be read without scrutiny and skepticism. It absolutely should be!)

All right, Scotland! "New data from the Scottish government shows that the country generated 49.8 percent of its electricity from renewables in 2014, effectively meeting its target of generating half of electricity demand from clean sources by the end of this year."

Cool: "A Neptune-sized alien world about 30 light-years from Earth is unlike any exoplanet yet found. The bizarre planet, named Gliese 436b, has a huge comet-like tail of mostly hydrogen gas extending more than 9.3 million miles, computer models suggest. The cloud of gas around the planet has a circular head about 1.8 million miles in diameter. A planetary tail of that size had never before been seen around such a small exoplanet."

And finally! "Anna Paterek took her horse Magic to a murky river and attempted to coax him into the water. It takes a few tries before the horse finally makes his way to the edge of the water. Once he steps in, it only takes a few moments before..." I won't spoil it for you! *wink*

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Image of the Day

image of a graphic showing the United States, entirely blue, labeled 'Where same-sex couples can now marry'
From the Washington Post.

1. This is actually gonna take a minute. States without legalized same-sex marriage have some shit to sort out to catch up with this decision. But STILL.

2. It's not just the 50 states. This decision has also legalized same-sex marriage in all US territories. Woot!

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SCOTUS RULES IN FAVOR OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY!!!

I WILL WRITE MORE SHORTLY IN THIS SPACE BUT I WANTED TO POST THIS IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE OMG YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

UPDATE 1: Here is the full Supreme Court ruling [PDF] on Obergefell v. Hodges.

And here is the money quote, care of Justice Anthony Kennedy: "The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them."

UPDATE 2: It was, as per usual, a 5-4 decision. Kennedy wrote the ruling, and he was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagen. Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas were dissenting.

UPDATE 3: Last night, Iain and I were sitting on our deck, talking about this then-imminent decision. He asked me if I felt optimistic, and I said I did. "Twenty-four hours from now," I said, "same-sex marriage could be legal in the entire nation." And so it is. What a happy, happy day. I am vibrating with joy!

UPDATE 4: I'm reading through the ruling right now, so I can pull out some of the highlights for y'all, and I'm crying so hard that my glasses are fogging up.

Here's another great quote from Kennedy's ruling: "They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." BOOM!

UPDATE 5: Okay, here is a collection of quotes from the ruling for you to enjoy (and no, I will not be posting any quotes from the dissent because FUCK THAT):

This Court granted review, limited to two questions. The first, presented by the cases from Michigan and Kentucky, is whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. The second, presented by the cases from Ohio, Tennessee, and, again, Kentucky, is whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to recognize a same-sex marriage licensed and performed in a State which does grant that right.

...Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.

The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together. ...There are untold references to the beauty of marriage in religious and philosophical texts spanning time, cultures, and faiths, as well as in art and literature in all their forms. It is fair and necessary to say these references were based on the understanding that marriage is a union between two persons of the opposite sex.

That history is the beginning of these cases. The respondents say it should be the end as well. To them, it would demean a timeless institution if the concept and lawful status of marriage were extended to two persons of the same sex. Marriage, in their view, is by its nature a gender-differentiated union of man and woman. This view long has been held—and continues to be held—in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world.

The petitioners acknowledge this history but contend that these cases cannot end there. Were their intent to demean the revered idea and reality of marriage, the petitioners' claims would be of a different order. But that is neither their purpose nor their submission. To the contrary, it is the enduring importance of marriage that underlies the petitioners' contentions. This, they say, is their whole point. Far from seeking to devalue marriage, the petitioners seek it for themselves because of their respect—and need—for its privileges and responsibilities. And their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment.

...The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society. The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change. That institution—even as confined to opposite-sex relations—has evolved over time.

For example, marriage was once viewed as an arrangement by the couple's parents based on political, religious, and financial concerns; but by the time of the Nation's founding it was understood to be a voluntary contract between a man and a woman. ...As the role and status of women changed, the institution further evolved. Under the centuries-old doctrine of coverture, a married man and woman were treated by the State as a single, male-dominated legal entity. As women gained legal, political, and property rights, and as society began to understand that women have their own equal dignity, the law of coverture was abandoned. These and other developments in the institution of marriage over the past centuries were not mere superficial changes. Rather, they worked deep transformations in its structure, affecting aspects of marriage long viewed by many as essential.

These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution of marriage. Indeed, changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations, often through perspectives that begin in pleas or protests and then are considered in the political sphere and the judicial process.

...Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause include most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. In addition these liberties extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs.

The identification and protection of fundamental rights is an enduring part of the judicial duty to interpret the Constitution. That responsibility, however, "has not been reduced to any formula." Rather, it requires courts to exercise reasoned judgment in identifying interests
of the person so fundamental that the State must accord them its respect. That process is guided by many of the same considerations relevant to analysis of other constitutional provisions that set forth broad principles rather than specific requirements. History and tradition guide and discipline this inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries. That method respects our history and learns from it without allowing the past alone to rule the present.

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution's central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed. Applying these established tenets, the Court has long held the right to marry is protected by the Constitution.

...In defining the right to marry these cases have identified essential attributes of that right based in history, tradition, and other constitutional liberties inherent in this intimate bond. ...This analysis compels the conclusion that same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry. The four principles and traditions to be discussed demonstrate that the reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples.

...A first premise of the Court's relevant precedents is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. ...A second principle in this Court's jurisprudence is that the right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals. ...A third basis for protecting the right to marry is that it safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education. ...That is not to say the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children. An ability, desire, or promise to procreate is not and has not been a prerequisite for a valid marriage in any State. ...Fourth and finally, this Court's cases and the Nation's traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of our social order. ...[J]ust as a couple vows to support each other, so does society pledge to support the couple, offering symbolic recognition and material benefits to protect and nourish the union.

...There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle. Yet by virtue of their exclusion from that institution, same-sex couples are denied the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage. This harm results in more than just material burdens. Same-sex couples are consigned to an instability many opposite-sex couples would deem intolerable in their own lives.

...The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest.

...If rights were defined by who exercised them in the past, then received practices could serve as their own continued justification and new groups could not invoke rights once denied.

...Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here. But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied. Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.

...It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality. Here the marriage laws enforced by the respondents are in essence unequal: same-sex couples are denied all the benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right. Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry.

These considerations lead to the conclusion that the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.

...The respondents also argue allowing same-sex couples to wed will harm marriage as an institution by leading to fewer opposite-sex marriages. This may occur, the respondents contend, because licensing same-sex marriage severs the connection between natural procreation and marriage. That argument, however, rests on a counterintuitive view of opposite-sex couple's decision-making processes regarding marriage and parenthood. Decisions about whether to marry and raise children are based on many personal, romantic, and practical considerations; and it is unrealistic to conclude that an opposite-sex couple would choose not to marry simply because same-sex couples may do so.

...The respondents have not shown a foundation for the conclusion that allowing same-sex marriage will cause the harmful outcomes they describe.

...The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States. It follows that the Court also must hold—and it now does hold—that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.

...No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

It is so ordered.
UPDATE 6: My phone is, of course, buzzing like a buzz-monster with celebratory texts! Yayayayayay! And my friend B, who just got engaged to his future husband, texted me this amazing piece of perfection (which I'm sharing with his permission):

screen cap of a tweet reading: 'So sorry to hear about the crumbling of your traditional marriage this morning! Wish you both well navigating this scary new world!'

That is hilarious and LOL FOREVER. But also? I have long said (most recently here): "Not only does legalized same-sex marriage neither demean nor diminish my different-sex marriage, I am of the very firm opinion that expanding legal access to marriage makes my marriage worth more, not less, by virtue of the value conferred by inclusivity."

This is a GREAT DAY for all of the people who have worked tirelessly for decades, sometimes until their dying day, advocating for legal marriage for same-sex couples.

This is a GREAT DAY for all of the people who brought these cases, who subjected themselves and their relationships to public scrutiny in ways most of us couldn't bring ourselves to do.

This is a GREAT DAY for all the lawyers who worked on the cases that led to this ruling.

This is a GREAT DAY for every person who wants and/or needs same-sex marriage as a legal option.

This is a GREAT DAY for all the LGB people who don't even give a fuck about getting married, but feel validated by the fact that they now have another piece of equality conferred by this decision.

This is a GREAT DAY for all the LGBTQ people who recognize that marriage is just one step on a long journey to comprehensive and meaningful equality, but needed like whoa a big win to fill their sails with air to keep them moving on their way.

And this is a GREAT DAY for anyone who believes that everyone should have the option to get married, and everyone who believes that the institution of marriage is worth more when it is not used as a point of division but opened wide to anyone who wants access.

This new world is pretty fucking great, and I am happy to be in it.

Open Wide...

On Bristol Palin's Pregnancy Announcement

[Content Note: Reproductive policing.]

Yesterday, Bristol Palin, the oldest daughter of former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose teenage pregnancy was hidden for the first part of Palin's campaign, made an announcement on her blog that she is again pregnant. Under the headline "Big News," this is the entirety of the post:

(I'm announcing this news a lot sooner than I ever expected due to the constant trolls who have nothing better to talk about!!!)

I wanted you guys to be the first to know that I am pregnant.

Honestly, I've been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one.

At the end of the day there's nothing I can't do with God by my side, and I know I am fully capable of handling anything that is put in front of me with dignity and grace.

Life moves on no matter what. So no matter how you feel, you get up, get dressed, show up, and never give up.

When life gets tough, there is no other option but to get tougher.

I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.

But please respect Tripp's and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.

My little family always has, and always will come first.

Tripp, this new baby, and I will all be fine, because God is merciful.
Because Palin is part of a politically active anti-choice family, and because she herself is anti-choice, and because she is Christian and unmarried, and because she is conservative and says shitty antifeminist things, there are a whole lot of people making a whole lot of jokes, and pointing out her hypocrisy, and reveling in the schadenfreude of it all.

I don't have a single joke to make, nor do I feel the tiniest bit of schadenfreude. I just feel really damn sad after reading that pregnancy announcement.

That doesn't mean I don't care that her politics are garbage. Frankly, the fact that she espouses anti-choice and sexually repressive beliefs is part of what makes me so goddamn sad reading this, because she's clearly internalized all the attendant shame around sex and choice inherent to those beliefs—and now she does not feel like she has any meaningful choice but also can't be happy that she's pregnant.

It's just "a huge disappointment" to people who love her and to total strangers who share her beliefs. She's just trying to keep her chin up, because life is tough. She doesn't want sympathy because she is pregnant. There is absolutely no joy in this announcement. It's shame and resignation. That ain't funny.

She couldn't even reveal this information, with which she's struggling and which she know will disappoint people, on her own time frame, because the people who make a pastime out of policing the Palin women's reproduction have forced her to disclose it before they do. That isn't funny, either.

None of this is funny. It's tragic.

The reason I advocate for comprehensive reproductive rights options and reproductive justice is because I don't want pregnant people to feel shame about unwanted pregnancies, and because I want them to have the choice to terminate unwanted pregnancies, without judgment. This is the exact opposite of that.

I don't wish a sad, disappointing pregnancy on Bristol Palin. What I wish is that she felt like she could get an abortion without shame, if being pregnant is not what she wants.

And I wish she could use this experience to understand why other women might want that option, even if she doesn't, and that it's okay.

Open Wide...