The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Shakesville Alehouse'
[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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Quote of the Day

"I wish to emphasize our genuine wish to have a constructive relationship with The New York Times. But we also are extremely troubled by the events that went into this erroneous report, and will be looking forward to discussing our concerns related to this incident so we can have confidence that it is not repeated in the future."—Jennifer Palmieri, Communications Director for Hillary for America, in a letter to the New York Times' Dean Baquet, detailing the "campaign's grave concern with the Times' publication of an inaccurate report related to Hillary Clinton and her email use."

Via Atrios, who notes: "What went on at the NYT is even more horrible than I assumed."

I definitely recommend reading the letter in its entirety to understand the scope of that happened. What was done.

I shall observe once more that, even if one doesn't like Hillary Clinton, one should be very alarmed indeed by the evident double-standard to which a woman running for the US presidency is subjected by our ostensibly objective press.

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by cackling.

Recommended Reading:

Kenrya: [Content Note: Police brutality; misogynoir] Raynette Turner: The Latest Black Woman to Die in Police Custody

John: [CN: Police misconduct; homophobia; disablism] Gay Texas Man Dies in Custody After Jail Fails to Administer Medication

Melissa: [CN: Transmisogynoir; police misconduct; sex worker bias] Young, Black, Trans, Arrested: How Women Like Meagan Taylor Are Made Invisible

Trudy: [CN: Disablism; self-harm; misogynoir] #NoShameDay: On Blackness and Mental Health

Feminist Aspie: [CN: Disablism] A Headcanon Named Autism: In Defence of Finding Our Own Representation

Shane: [CN: Colonialism; bootstraps narratives] Why Do We Show Such Loyalty to Royalty?

Germain: Nic Cage Says You Can See Superman Lives with the "Power of Imagination"

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Adele: "Love Song"

(See what I did there?)

This week's TMNS has been brought to you by The Cure.

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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 on my porch wearing minimal make-up and a black t-shirt

This is my quickie "cover up and even out" look, typically used on days when I have to make myself "presentable" to offer "proof" that I care about myself to be taken seriously as a fat lady: Juice Beauty's CC Cream in Natural Glow (which I got as a sample in a Birch Box, and have now gotten many uses out of!); Missha's Sheer Fluid Blusher No. 2 (Morning Rose); Almay's Intense iColor Mascara in Black Steel; and some generic lilac eyeshadow I bought at Big Lots.

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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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on a pillow with the sun streaming in through the window behind her
Little Ms. Sophie.

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

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

This is very good news: "The World Health Organization announced Friday that an Ebola vaccine has shown great promise in halting the spread of the deadly virus during a clinical trial in Guinea. 'We believe that the world is on the verge of an efficacious Ebola vaccine,' Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director general for health systems and innovation, said in announcing the results of a preliminary study on the vaccine trial. ...According to results published in the journal Lancet on Friday, the vaccine was found to be 100 percent effective in people treated. More than 4,000 people have been vaccinated with VSV-EBOV, and none have developed Ebola after between six and 10 days, the amount of time needed for people to develop immunity."

[Content Note: War on agency] Senate Republicans continue to find excellent (sarcasm) ways to spend their time: "The Senate is poised to vote Monday on a Republican proposal to defund Planned Parenthood and divert the funds to other health-care entities. The bill, S. 1881, was drafted by a 'working group' led by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and James Lankford (R-OK), and has at least 32 Republican co-sponsors." Fuck all of these people.

[CN: Misogyny; war on agency; violence] Relatedly: Today at 2pm ET, join @reproaction on Twitter for a discussion about "what women actually need, deserve, can do." Because "women are betrayed…by all manner of things."

This is also very good news: "Prison inmates will be eligible to obtain federal Pell grants to finance college education while they are behind bars under an experiment announced Friday, two decades after Congress banned prisoners from receiving such grants. Under the experiment, Obama administration officials said, a limited number of prisoners could begin receiving Pell-financed instruction from a select number of colleges as soon as fall 2016. ...This experiment will be called the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program. It aims to help prisoners work toward an associate's or a bachelor's degree while incarcerated. Obama officials said research shows that correctional education helps reduce the likelihood that prisoners will commit crimes again after they are released, ultimately saving taxpayers money." Also, just by the by, it's a decent fucking thing to do, irrespective of whether it saves money.

[CN: Wildfires] Goddamn: "A grass fire fueled by strong winds destroyed seven homes in a mobile home park Thursday as fires continued to rage in Northern California. The fire swept through the Isleton mobile home park Thursday, forcing residents to run for their lives. A small vegetation fire in the Solano County delta town got out of control and reached the homes before firefighters could quell the flames. Meanwhile, the destructive wildfire burning north of Napa Valley has scorched 13,000 acres, damaged multiple outbuildings and forced 650 people to flee."

This is just a real headline in the world: "Facebook Ready to Test Giant Drone for Beaming Internet Via Lasers." Sure. Gleep glorp.

[CN: Privacy violations] Shiiiiiiiit: "Windows 10 is under attack over default settings which users say compromise their privacy, just days after the operating system's successful launch saw more than 14 million installs in the first 24 hours. Hundreds of commenters...have criticised default settings that send personal information to Microsoft, use bandwidth to upload data to other computers running the operating system, share Wi-Fi passwords with online friends, and remove the ability to opt out of security updates. ...Users are given the option to opt out of most of the data collection, but critics say that that isn't enough. ...'There is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes 'real transparency.''"

Do you like Meryl Streep? Do you also like Mamie Gummer? I like Meryl Streep AND Mamie Gummer! If you are like me, then you might enjoy hearing Mamie Gummer talk about working with her mom, Meryl Streep. And about other stuff!

[CN: Misogyny] Of course Jon Stewart is having Louis CK as one of the guests on his final show. OF COURSE he is. Hopefully they can tell us more about how humorless, scary, and violent feminists are!

Okay! "In the series, Tom Hardy plays James Keziah Delaney, a rogue adventurer who returns to London in 1813 after spending 10 years in Africa, only to discover that he has been left a mysterious legacy by his father, who has been killed. Delaney refuses to sell his family's business to the East India Company, and opts to build his own trading and shipping empire instead, which thrusts him into the middle of the War of 1812, between the U.S. and Britain. ...Hardy actually crafted the original story himself with his father Chips Hardy." I will never stop being delighted that Tom Hardy's dad is called Chips Hardy!

And finally! Proof that cats have been hilarious assholes since at least 100 AD!

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Charly "Africa" Keunang: Update

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death; descriptions of violence; victim-blaming.]

In March, I wrote about the police killing of a homeless man known as Africa in Los Angeles. Five officers descended on Africa, with one of the officers (wrongly) claiming that Africa had seized his gun. Africa was Tasered and then shot six times while he was on the ground.

Days after the killing, LAPD spokesperson Sergeant Barry Montgomery said: "It's going to be a long investigation."

And so it has been. Only now, months later, has the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office finally issued an autopsy report. And here is one example of how the information contained therein is being reported:

screen cap of a news article featuring a large picture of Africa, a black man, beside a headline reading: 'Unarmed homeless man shot by LAPD officers had meth, marijuana in system, report says'

The opening paragraph reads: "A new report by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office reveals an unarmed homeless man shot by LAPD officers on Skid Row in March had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system."

We don't even learn his name. We only learn that he had drugs in his system.

It isn't until the fourth paragraph that we learn the autopsy report contains the information that two of the six shots that killed Africa were "contact gunshot wounds."
One bullet entered his torso, exited his chest and re-entered his right arm, according to the autopsy report. Two were "contact gunshot wounds."
The story doesn't even explain what that means. Contact gunshot wounds are "defined as a gunshot wound incurred while the muzzle of the firearm is in direct contact with the body at the moment of discharge. ...Wounds caused by contact shots are very devastating, as the body absorbs the entire discharge of the cartridge, not just the projectile."

These were not shots from a distance, not even "close range." These were shots made by a police officer who had the muzzle of his gun pressed against a man's chest. Twice.

"Contact shots are often the result of close range gunfight, suicide, or execution. Some slaughterhouses use contact shots with firearms to stun or kill livestock."

That's the kind of shots fired into Africa. Twice. In addition to four more shots, two of those lethal.

That is rather more important than the fact Charly had been doing drugs (especially when the video of the incident makes clear he wasn't out of his mind on those drugs).

Unless, of course, your objective is blaming the victim for his own murder.

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Primarily Speaking

image of Rand Paul standing in front of a US flag with his hand on his chin looking thoughtful, to which I've added text reading: 'Should women have freedom too? Nah.'
[NB: Not only women need access to abortion, but Rand Paul doesn't think about that.]

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! I love I love I love the primaries and I just can't hide it! Are you as excited as I am! I BET YOU ARE! If you are so excited about all the cool people running for president, please check this box: □

[Content Note: Misogyny; war on agency] Today, we begin with Senator Rand Paul, who is a libertarian, which means he believes in FREEDOM! Unless you are a pregnant person. Then your body should be a ward of the state and you should have no agency, no autonomy, and no choice—which Paul believes isn't incompatible with FREEDOM! for reasons that are a mystery lost to the sands of time or whatever.

image of Wolf Blitzer during the celebrity Jeopardy tournament with -$1,000 and a confused look on his face, to which I've added text reading: 'I'll take 'The Patriarchy' for $200, Alex.'

In other news that exemplifies the quiet dignity and serious policy discussions that define this Republican primary, former Texas Governor Rick Perry has challenged Donald Trump to a pull-up contest. "Trump scoffed at the idea of Perry running a successful campaign, telling the Daily Mail that the governor lacked the 'energy,' 'brainpower,' and 'toughness' to do so. When question, Perry, not one to be out-toughened, said, 'Let's get a pull-up bar out there, and let's see who can do the most pull-ups.'"


Meanwhile, Gold Toilet Aficionado Donald Trump is still Donald Trump's biggest fan: "I think that I would be a great uniter. I think that I would have great diplomatic skills. I think that I would be able to get along with people very well. I've had a great success in my life. I think the world would unite if I were the leader of the United States." Does Trump realize that you can't just threaten other world leaders with $500 million lawsuits if they don't do what you want?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is getting all the hottest headlines this week: "Jeb Bush Takes Positions on Climate Change, EPA Rules, Other Energy Issues." Naturally, those positions are garbage, but at least he's recycling!

Someone shoot Jeb Bush the memo that this year's primary isn't about "taking positions." BO-RING! If he wants votes, he needs to make a cool video in which he's playing Twister with Dubya or challenge George Pataki to a duel.

I'm sure all thirteen (!!!!!!) other Republican candidates are getting up to typically terrific things today, but moving on to the Democrats...

Something something Hillary Clinton emails something something. I promise if anything of any nefarious nature ever comes from a bunch of nerds pawing through Clinton's emails, I will tell you. Otherwise: Who cares.

Senator Bernie Sanders vows to "not run for president as an Independent if he falls short in his bid to secure the Democratic 2016 nomination. Speaking at the Newseum in Washington on Thursday, Sanders said that if he ran a third-party campaign, it would draw support away from the Democratic nominee, potentially handing Republicans the White House. 'I would not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican president,' Sanders said." Thanks, Bernie!

Finally: Remember when I mentioned that Sanders was going all-in on a $15 minimum wage? And I said: "There are multiple schools of thought about this on the progressive side of the aisle: Some progressives support the across-the-board $15 minimum wage hike; some progressives support a minimum wage increase that's tied to a percentage of local cost of living (because $15/hour doesn't mean the same thing in NYC as it does in Smalltownville, Indiana). I am in the latter faction, because I think it should be more than $15 in a lot of places, and also because there are lots of small business owners in much of Middle America (especially small business owners who are white women or people of color who started with a minority business loan) who can't afford a $15/hour minimum wage, but could afford a locally livable wage less than that. But other people, like Sanders, support the flat minimum wage increase."

So, Sanders has been hitting hard at Clinton for not supporting the $15/hour minimum wage, but, earlier this month, when Clinton noted she supported an increase to $15/hour in some places, I hoped that would mean she might support a minimum wage increased tied to cost of living.

Now Clinton has offered some support for a proposal for a $12/hour minimum wage and: "Clinton advocated an unspecified increase in the federal minimum wage—which has stood at $7.25 per hour since 2009—and then allowing states and local governments to make adjustments as they see fit based on regional cost-of-living variations."

Which is a nuanced position that takes into consideration vast variations in cost of living across the country. But you will almost certainly see this framed as "Sanders supports $15/hour minimum wage and Clinton supports $12/hour minimum wage." Because reasons also lost to the sands of time.

For what it's worth, I think progressives should be talking about a basic guaranteed income, not a minimum wage, but that is why I am not a partisan Democrat! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

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

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"Surveyors were unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations."

[Content Note: War on agency.]

Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence, along with several other Republican governors, thought it would be a terrific idea to exploit whatever public disapproval of Planned Parenthood had arisen from CMP's release of undercover footage of Planned Parenthood employees discussing something totally legal and routine, the fourth of which was released last night. So Pence, who is the worst, ordered the Indiana State Department of Health to investigate Planned Parenthood facilities in the state.

And—brace yourselves—the investigators found exactly nothing untoward.

State health officials have confirmed Indiana Planned Parenthood clinics that perform abortions follow all requirements for the proper disposal of fetal remains.

On July 21, inspectors with the Indiana State Department of Health investigated the Merrillville, Indianapolis and Bloomington Planned Parenthood facilities, as directed by Gov. Mike Pence.

According to an ISDH follow-up letter sent to the three locations, "Surveyors were unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations. Therefore, no deficiencies were cited."

The health department said it considers each of the complaints closed.
So, Pence just wasted a bunch of taxpayer money to pursue a politically motivated investigation that was nothing but, and was never going to be anything but, intimidation of people who provide (and seek) abortions.

If the anti-choice movement is a terrorist movement—and it is—Governor Pence's wholly unjustifiable use of state resources to launch this official flourish of inimidation, in support of and because of an anti-choice group, is state-sponsored terrorism.

Just to make clear how comprehensively and exclusively this investigation had no purpose other than to intimidate:
Betty Cockrum, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said their clinics do not even participate in the tissue donation program.
There was literally nothing to investigate.

The anti-choice movement is a terrorist movement with an inherently violent ideology. And Republican state and federal officials are supporting and acting in concert with them, and using taxpayer money to do it.

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Open Thread

image of Luke on Tatooine, from Star Wars

Hosted by Tatooine.

This week's Open Threads have been brought to you by the letter T.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Amarie: "What is your favorite music/background noise to work to? And it can be any kind of work you do: writing, exercising, painting..."

I hardly ever listen to music while I work, because I prefer to write in silence. But I love listening to music while we're doing household chores, and then it's basically any music at all that I and/or Iain like. I usually let Iain chose the playlist, which means ALL THE RIHANNA AND ADELE, lol. And I am very okay with that!

(Got a suggestion for a Question of the Day? Let me know here!)

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Eeeeeeeeeeeee! THE CUTE!

Below: A video of a baby elephant playing with birds. I repeat: A BABY ELEPHANT PLAYING WITH BIRDS.

Video Description: A baby elephant stands in the middle of a paved road, with wild grass and trees on either side. A bunch of small birds (possibly sparrows?) fly around the elephant, teasing her. The baby elephant runs toward the birds, reaching with her trunk, her tail swishing back and forth. The birds swirl around her playfully, and she turns in circles, her ears flapping as she futilely tries to catch up to them. The sound of cameras clicking as they take photos can be heard in the background, and two women comment on how cute it is that she's chasing the birds. Eventually, the baby elephant gives up and scampers across the road to catch up with her mama.


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Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Cure: "The Last Day of Summer"

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[Content Note: Misogyny; street harassment; patriarchy. CN: Video autoplays at second link.]

This is a great piece by Jess Zimmerman about a video produced by Cosmo entitled "Men React to Their Girlfriends Getting Catcalled," in which, naturally, the men get shocked and outraged that other men are harassing their girlfriends.

Presumably, I'm supposed to be cheering. I'm supposed to relish seeing it finally click that this is the daily experience of living in a female-presenting body (and not just a young, pretty one, like the women in the video). And yet, all I can think is: "Where have you been?"

It's true that men who don't commit street harassment don't see it in action. Women who are walking alone get catcalled; women who are walking with men do not, because the man's presence tacitly asserts ownership. So this is probably the first time these guys have seen it play out—unless they watched the last widely-publicized street harassment video, of course, but that one wasn't about their girlfriends.

But why did they need to see it play out to take it seriously? And furthermore, why did they have to watch it happening to a woman they have a stake in? "You're somebody's daughter, somebody's sister," says one of the irritated boyfriends. "Like, I'm sure if somebody did that to their mother or their cousin, they wouldn't appreciate it." Why did it need to be brought to their front door to feel real?

...For a lot of men, it takes the "wives, mothers, and daughters" framing to make them sit up and take notice, preferably when that framing is brought to them by a man. That approach situates women's issues within a framework they're conditioned to accept—one in which important problems are those that affect men and are discussed by men.
And, crucially, a framework in which their patriarchal entitlement is upheld: These are their women. These women are their property, and they are tasked with their protection and defense by virtue of their ownership.

What this video demonstrates, although this is certainly not its intent, is a struggle between men who treat women as public property and men who treat those same women as their private property.

In either case, none of the men—not the ones doing the harassing, nor the ones getting angered by it—demonstrate respect for women's autonomy. None of them center, nor even seem to be aware of, the fact that women own themselves.

Dear Men: You don't own women. Love, Liss.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death] Raymond Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati police officer who has been charged with murder for shooting and killing Sam Dubose during a traffic stop, pleaded not guilty this morning—and his attorney says "he was shocked by the charge, saying the former officer 'feared for his life.'" Yeah, well, you know what I think about that.

[CN: Rape culture; sexual violence] Blah blah rape accusations ruin men's lives blah blah fart: A year after Dylan Farrow publicly disclosed surviving sexual abuse perpetrated by her then-father Woody Allen, NPR runs a glowing interview with Allen which includes Allen saying that his marriage to his ex-wife's daughter Soon-Yi Previn worked because "I was paternal. She responded to someone paternal. I liked her youth and energy. She deferred to me, and I was happy to give her an enormous amount of decision-making just as a gift and let her take charge of so many things." This man is a fucking abuser and a fucking rapist.

After Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced earlier this month that the US military would "create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly," that six-month process will begin next Monday. Earlier this week, "Carter sent a memo to top military brass and civilians formally outlining his plan that would protect transgender troops from being discharged and directs officials to develop a plan within six months to incorporate those troops into the ranks."

[CN: Plane crash] Wreckage found "on the French island of RĂ©union in the Indian ocean is very likely to be wreckage from a Boeing 777," and the serial number appears to match that of Flight MH370, which disappeared 17 months ago. The discovered aircraft wing section will be shipped to France for verification.

[CN: War on agency] Again, a fetus is more important than the person carrying it: "Alabama officials are currently seeking to prevent a pregnant prison inmate from obtaining a legal abortion by stripping her of her parental rights, in a case where a lawyer has been appointed to represent the interests of her fetus. An unnamed woman, who is referred to in court documents only as Jane Doe, is asking for permission to travel to Huntsville to end her pregnancy. She says she was unable to get an abortion before she was taken into custody and is now feeling desperate. 'I am very distraught, and do not want to be forced to carry this pregnancy to term,' she wrote. Jane Doe—who has to get permission from the court to be transported to the nearest clinic because prison officials consider abortion to be a non-emergency procedure—is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that it would be 'cruel and unusual punishment' for the state of Alabama to deny her constitutional right to abortion." Yes, yes it would be.

President Obama keeps the executive orders rolling: "President Obama has signed an executive order calling for the US to build the world's fastest computer by 2025. The supercomputer would be 20 times quicker than the current leading machine, which is in China. It would be capable of making one quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per second—a figure which is known as one exaflop. A body called the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) will be set up to research and build the computer." Cool!

Melissa McCarthy has finally launched her long-awaited fashion label, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, and it looks amaaaaaaazing! The line will range from sizes four to 28.

[CN: Video autoplays at link] Last night, Late Night with Seth Meyers featured a performance by the Broadway cast of Fun Home, the musical based on Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir of the same name. The scene depicted is middle-aged Bechdel recalling her first sexual experience at college, when she realized she's a lesbian.

[CN: Video autoplays at second link] And finally! Battle of the adorbzlarious: French Bulldog Puppy playing with a doorstop vs. Unsuspecting Cat surprised by cucumber. I think it's a draw!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat curled up asleep on a pillow
Olivia Twist

It's so misleading that I post so many pictures of Livs when she's sleeping, because she is THE BUSIEST CAT who ever catted. Basically, the only time she slows down enough for me to get a picture of her is when she's asleep, lol!

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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Primarily Speaking

image of Donald Trump making an outrageous angry screaming face, to which I've added text reading: THIS IS MY PRESIDENTIAL FACE!!!!

Since I've already covered what the Democratic candidates are (not) doing, here's a round-up of some of the goings-on with the Republican candidates. All eleventy million of them.

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president, making him the 17th major Republican candidate. "'I bring to the table experience that others don't have,' Gilmore said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch in July." Not true. There are definitely other Republican candidates that no one has ever heard of.

Speaking of former New York Governor George Pataki, here's the top recent news story on Pataki: "Why is George Pataki running for president?" Hahahahaha great campaign coverage! GIVE YOUR COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR A BONUS, PATAKI!

[Content Note: Anti-choice rhetoric] In other terrific headline news, Senator Marco Rubio was the beneficiary of this gem: "Marco Rubio: 'All this outrage over a dead lion, but where is all the outrage over the Planned Parenthood dead babies.'" Which, by the way, is a real thing in the world that this bozo actually tweeted.

Senator Ted Cruz made a desperate bid for attention by calling President Obama a sponsor of terrorism: "If this [Iran] deal is consummated, it will make the Obama administration the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism." Mmm, nice try, Cruz—but you're gonna have to do better worse than that to stand out in a field that includes Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump!

[CN: Holocaust reference] Speaking of whom: Professor of Bible Bigotry Mike Huckabee stands by his comment that President Obama is naive to "trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven," and now says that "looking back, I think that maybe the metaphor is not a good one. It should be strictly used. But in this case, it's absolutely appropriate because the Iranians are threatening the murder of millions of Jews." So the metaphor is inappropriate, except for how it's absolutely appropriate. This guy's not only a terrific theologian but also a stupendous philosopher!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, goes out on a limb condemning Huckabee's fuckery (worst band name ever) with this impassioned defense of decency: "I don't agree with the hyperbolic nature of the comment, and I also think that it's somewhat offensive to the Israelis. ...I thought it was kind of off-key in a number of different ways, and something I wouldn't have said." WHOA SLOW DOWN THERE, CHRISTIE! DON'T GET TOO IMPASSIONED ABOUT IT! Obviously, I'm being super unfair to Chris Christie, who is known for his calm, level-headed demeanor and not getting worked up about stuff.

In fundraising news, Ohio Governor John Kasich, one of the more recent gentlemen to take up occupancy in the clown car, has already raised $11 million. Or, rather, his superPAC, with which his campaign is definitely not coordinating because that's against the law and thus no presidential campaigns ever do it, has raised $11 million.

*takes a breather.* Jesus fucking Jones there are so many of these assholes! *deep breath*

In case you've been holding out on making your Official Republican Clown Selection, waiting to see at whom to direct your millions of donations in Ronpaulbuxxx until John McCain made his pick, your long national nightmare is over: "John McCain to Campaign for Lindsey Graham Next Week." Congratulations, Lindsey Graham! That's a real "get." Maybe McCain will even lend you the Straight Talk Express! Or the McCain Plane.

Speaking of Lindsey Graham, the same comedy geniuses behind his "How to Destroy Your Cell Phone" video have made a video with Dr. Ben Carson, in which Carson, who is a surgeon, plays a game of "Operation" and makes an Obamacare joke. Terrific stuff. *thisface*

Corporate power-failure Carly Fiorina is still definitely a Republican candidate for president who is presumably somewhere talking about Hillary Clinton right now.

Rick Perry is still definitely in the race! He has not dropped out yet! (Awwwww, just like old times!)

Something something Ron Rand Paul. (Like father like son!)

Sweatervest aficionado Rick Santorum says that the Republican Party will need a skilled communicator to win in 2016. Well, I guess that leaves you out, Lord Winsome.

*oh godddddd there are still four more to go Maude help meeeeeeeeee*

Here's just a great bit of coverage for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal: "Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal accused rival Jeb Bush on Wednesday of backing 'amnesty' in the former Florida governor's interview with msnbc's Jose Diaz-Balart—even though Jindal's own rhetoric on the issue sounds nearly identical." LOL! In case you're wondering if their identical immigration policies are any good, they are not! I'm sorry—I should have warned you to repose on your fainting couches before delivering that news!

I love every single thing about this article on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's CHEESESTEAKGATE. From the fact that it exists at all to the photos of protesters holding up signs reading "Scott Walker lives inside my butt" and "Scott Walker sniffs his own poop." Perfection.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is doing awesome in a bunch of polls that don't matter, losing even in the state he once governed to Donald Trump. Keep up the good work of at least not saying THE WORST things, Jeb Bush! It might see you through, this flying under the radar as only the ninth-worst terrible or whatever.

Which brings us to the belle of the bozo ball: Donald Trump. We've now discussed many times how Trump's bluntess is valued by conservative voters because he's delivering the polished turd of conservative politics without the polish. JUST STRAIGHT-UP TURDS ALL DAY EVERY DAY ALL THE TIME. And also how his bluntness is mischaracterized as "truth-telling," because he's simply reflecting back conservative voters' bigoted opinions to them. Well, here is just the most amazing and horrifying piece in which New Hampshire Trump-lovers are interviewed about why they like him so much:
"He says it like it is," said Jessica, a data analyst, during the focus group in the first-in-the-nation primary state, conducted by Purple Strategies at St. Anselm College in Manchester. "He speaks the truth."

"He's willing to tell you his opinion," Andrew, an educator, said. "So many other politicians won't take an opinion."

Many said Trump's success in the business world appealed to them.

"Business, we need business and I like his roughness," said Danielle, a financial-planning consultant, adding, "He's just tough, we need someone tough."

"Donald Trump is strong," Nick, a home inspector, said. "He carries a sentiment and frustrations that I think a lot of Americans are going through and feeling right now. He's the one that's able to articulate that, and bring those frustrations to light. I believe him when he talks."

..."He's like one of us. He may be a millionaire, which separates him from everybody else, but besides the money issue, he's still in tune with what everybody is wanting," Janet, a former dog breeder, said.

..."I haven't heard a lot of positions," Andy said. "But one thing is when he takes a position, and I'll use the John McCain thing, he didn't turn around two days later and say 'Oh no, that's not what I'm supposed to say.' He stayed with what he believed in, and that's, to me, what I'm looking for."
It just goes on and on and on like that. The Republicans can try to disown him all they want, or call him an extremist, but the reason he's popular is because he's saying exactly what their base wants to hear.

The first Republican debate is August 6 (HOW CAN IT BE NEXT WEEK ALREADY OMG HELP ME) and all the other candidates who are participating (only the top 10 polling will be allowed) are scrambling to figure out how to deal with Trump. Well, here's an idea: Just let him talk, and we'll find out if your base is really ready for the rest of the country to see your policies in all their naked glory, or if it's flinch time—and back to the careful rhetoric of the chronically cynical.

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

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The War on Agency, Continued

[Content Note: Anti-choice terrorism; war on agency.]

In good news: The Los Angeles Superior Court has issued a temporary restraining order which prevents the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video of employees of StemExpress, a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers. CMP, the organization releasing the videos to discredit Planned Parenthood, furtively filmed three StemExpress officials at a restaurant in May.

In a statement Wednesday, center leader David Daleiden said StemExpress was using "meritless litigation" to cover up an "illegal baby parts trade."

"The Center for Medical Progress follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work," he said.
Dubious. Very dubious.

Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates are all showing their asses when it comes to defending reproductive rights and the people who provide abortions.

Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb have given no comment to news outlets asking them for one. Martin O'Malley's only comment I've been able to find was: "I haven't seen the videos. And I don't generally make a habit of responding to right-wing videos. [I will] defer to others for commenting on that video and whatever videos they're pumping out there."

In fairness to O'Malley, he was responding to a question from Fox News there, so it makes sense that he would respond by treating those videos with the contempt they deserve. But he has not, that I can find, issued any statement of support for Planned Parenthood.

Hillary Clinton hasn't done a whole lot better, frankly, saying that she has only seen pictures from the videos "and I obviously find them disturbing." (And, unfortunately, I don't think she meant, "I find them disturbing because they are a gross product of terrible people are participating in a brazen terrorist campaign against abortion providers.") She continued:
Planned Parenthood is answering questions and will continue to answer questions. I think there are two points to make. One, Planned Parenthood for more than a century has done a lot of really good work for women: cancer screenings, family planning, all kinds of health services. And this raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about, you know, the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country. And if there's going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one part of it.

Question: Quick question, follow-up. As you mentioned out there, there is a fundamental right, or fundamental protection...

Clinton: Yes, that's what the Supreme Court said.

Question: Are you worried that the videos and the controversy might lead to activist groups chipping away at the funding for abortions and women's services?

Clinton: Well, there is no funding that, you know, would be any more at risk than it already has been for years because this has been an ongoing dispute, and I'm well aware that passions are very high. I have said for more than 22 years that abortion should be legal, safe, and rare. And as First Lady, I led an effort to try to lower the number of teen-age pregnancies and we succeeded, and as President I will continue to work toward that so that women are fully empowered, they can afford to make responsible decisions, and I hope that we will be successful with that.
Oof. I would have much preferred that Clinton not even give any credence at all to the idea of Congressional inquiries, even though I understand the point she's trying to make is that Planned Parenthood should not be targeted and singled out for "the whole process" of tissue donation. Really, that is just a subject that does not need a Congressional inquiry, period.

And I am for real for real for real tired of the "reduce teenage pregnancies" pivot on abortion. Lots of people need access to abortion, not just teenage girls with unplanned pregnancies. We could reduce the number of teenage pregnancies to zero, and lots of people would still need access to abortion.

Bernie Sanders started out absolutely dreadfully, saying [CN: video may autoplay at link]: "Obviously, I think [Planned Parenthood president] Cecile Richards apologized for the tone of that video. I think her apology was exactly right. I think that the staffer, the tone was terribly wrong." Tone policing? Really? Good grief.

But after Republicans escalated their efforts to exploit these videos to justify defunding Planned Parenthood, Sanders gave a pretty decent statement [CN: video may autoplay at link; NB: not only women need access to abortion]: "The attempt by Senate Republicans to cut off support for Planned Parenthood is an attack on women's health. The current attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies. Cutting that funding will be devastating to the health needs of millions of women who desperately need the quality services Planned Parenthood provides."

It never ceases to impress me (and not in a good way) how the ostensibly pro-choice Democrats refuse to say the word "abortion." Honestly, Democrats: If you can't even say the fucking word, you cannot expect me to believe you're going to vigorously defend it.

Also, the decade of failing to vigorously defend abortion rights and access as they have been eroded across state legislatures gives me the sense that you're not as pro-choice as you'd like me to believe. Funny how that works.

When the best any of the Democratic candidates can do in describing a decades-long terrorist campaign—which has resulted in more than 200 arsons and bombings, 4 kidnappings, 9 murders, and countless threats and incidents of harassment—is describe it as "long-term smear campaign," you are not a serious party that cares about reproductive options, the people who need them, and the people who provide them. Get it together, Democrats.

Naturally, every Republican candidate's response to these videos is so reprehensible it doesn't even merit comment.

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image of the Milky Way galaxy arching across the night sky, over Yellowstone National Park

This is one of a series of images by photographer Dave Lane, taken of the Milky Way following a storm at the Abyss Pool in Yellowstone National Park.

Via Mika, who writes that Lane "spent 4 months colour-correcting the night time images to match them to the natural colours seen in the daytime at Yellowstone National Park. When asked about his astrophotography, Lane practically glows with awe in our astonishing, beautiful universe: 'Get away from the light drive out 20-30 miles out of town and look up on a clear dark nite and you may see something that will forever change your life. This is what a galaxy looks like from the inside.'"

You can see more of Lane's stunning astrophotography on his Facebook page.

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Open Thread

image of a clear glass teapot and a clear tea glass, filled with tea

Hosted by tea.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Alison Rose: "What is one of your most memorable live music experiences?"

I spent so many years going to zillions of concerts that my brainz short out even trying to filter through all of them to pick just one, so, given today's TMNS, I'll just say that among the many memorable live music experiences I've had was a Cure show at the World Music Theater in 1992. And all you have to do is watch that video to understand why!

(Got a suggestion for a Question of the Day? Let me know here!)

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by whiskers.

Recommended Reading:

Kenrya: [Content Note: Death; police misconduct] Native Woman Sarah Lee Circle Bear Died in Police Custody in South Dakota

Alexandra: [CN: Rape culture] "I certainly didn't expect the policy to change my behavior, but it has."

TLC: [CN: Transphobia; misgendering; carcerality] Guardian Series Examines Barriers to Transition in U.S.

Lindsay: [CN: Misogyny; hostility to consent; moving GIFs at link] It's Time to Retire the "Lovable Misogynist" Movie Hero

Valerio: Stella Lux: The Solar-Powered Family Car That Creates More Energy Than It Uses

Mustang Bobby: Going to 10

Xeni: Breaking Bad Fans—Jesse Pinkman's House Is for Sale: $1.6 million

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

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For the Lonely

[Content Note: Isolation.]

There have been a lot of stories about loneliness in the news lately. Stories about people who live in big communities, but can't find meaningful friendships. Stories about people who feel alone at work. Stories about how social media can create feelings of isolation, as much as it can create community. Stories about how loneliness can have physical effects on the people who suffer from it.

Loneliness is different from being lonesome. Plenty of people are lonesome, but not lonely. Plenty of people who are lonely aren't lonesome; they may be surrounded by people, but nonetheless feel isolated, longing for meaningful connections that elude them.

I'm a lonesome person. I like lots of time to myself, and I have even more time to myself than would be my preference, by virtue of this job. Many days, Iain is the only other person to whom I speak, face-to-face. But my days are filled with interactions with terrific people. The contributors and moderators, who give me air in my lungs every day. Distant friends, who offer laughter and support. Local friends, with whom I meet for coffee and boozy brunches. We often have visitors, who seek a getaway filled with friendship and furry snuggles. And no one can feel truly lonely when they regularly receive packages of Garbage Treasures in the mail from Deeky.

So I'm not lonely, most of the time, despite being lonesome.

But sometimes I get lonely, in a way I didn't when I worked in an office and thus had lots more face-to-face interactions with other people every day. Even though many of those interactions were undesirable ones, heh.

Loneliness hurts, for me, in a way that it hard to describe. It reverberates intensely, and it puts me completely out of balance—and out of sorts.

I feel deeply for people who are lonely in a sustained way, and don't want to be.

There is community in this space, like many spaces, but it isn't always easy to get what you need to alleviate loneliness, even in a non-virtual room filled with people. Because sometimes it isn't company we need; it's to be seen. To matter.

I don't know what it would look like to subtly create the space to be "seen" within this one. So here is a not-subtle thread, for anyone who needs to ask for something that can be provided here to ask for it. Maybe you just want to say hi, and see some likes on your comment. (I promise you will get at least one!) Maybe you want to ask that people see you, and get replies that you are seen. Maybe you just want to express that you're lonely, and have a safe space to talk about it with other people who feel the same, in the hope of feeling a little less alone.

And maybe you can't bring yourself to comment, but I hope just having the option lets you know that you are not alone and that you matter to me.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Misogynoir; appropriation; war on agency.]

"When it comes to advocating for policies that would actually support Black women and help them raise healthy children, far too many anti-choice activists are silent. But when it comes to using Black women as a cudgel to make a point about the evils of abortion and Planned Parenthood, it's damn near impossible to shut these activists up. The latest coordinated smear against Planned Parenthood—that they traffic in black-market fetal parts—is one of the most despicable attacks mounted by anti-choice fanatics in their long history of vilifying Planned Parenthood. And simmering just below the surface of this smear campaign is their go-to tactic: using Black women as chess pawns in their ideological campaign to end legal abortion care in this country."—Imani Gandy, in a must-read piece about anti-choice activists' cynical exploitation of Black women, whom they shame for their abortion choices even as they refuse to support policies that enable having and raising children in a safe environment.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

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

The Cure: "A Forest"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Anti-choice terrorism; war on agency] Yeah, the thing about terrorist campaigns is that they terrorize and harm people: "In a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, 32 attorneys from across the country asked that her investigation of the anti-choice front group behind the Planned Parenthood attack videos be conducted with the 'utmost urgency,' due to what they call 'a real threat to abortion provider safety.' ...On Tuesday, the group of attorneys argued that in exposing the identities of abortion providers, CMP may have put them at risk of harassment, intimidation, or worse. ...Writing for RH Reality Check, David S. Cohen, one of the letter's signatories, discusses the threat of violence abortion providers must live with: 'This kind of individual targeting takes on a variety of forms—from hate mail and death threats, to regular large-scale demonstrations in front of people's homes and stalking providers outside of work. At its most extreme, this kind of targeting has resulted in eight abortion providers murdered since 1993, the most recent being Dr. George Tiller in the foyer of his Wichita, Kansas church in May 2009.'"

[continued CN; graphic anti-choice image at link] And it's incredible that anti-choice terrorists are trying to sway opinion with a new variation on "the oldest tactic in the book: Distributing graphic images of fetuses to construe abortion as a barbaric procedure that Americans cannot in good conscience allow to continue," given that what they are doing turns my stomach more than any abortion ever could.

[CN: War; terrorism; death] The Afghanistan government said today that "Mullah Omar, elusive leader of the Taliban movement behind an escalating insurgency against the government in Kabul, died more than two years ago. The announcement came a day or so before a second round of peace talks had been tentatively scheduled, and news of [his fate] could deepen Taliban divisions over whether to pursue negotiations and who should replace him. ...'The government...based on credible information, confirms that Mullah Mohammad Omar, leader of the Taliban, died in April 2013 in Pakistan,' the presidential palace said in a brief statement, without specifying what the information was. 'The government of Afghanistan believes that grounds for the Afghan peace talks are more paved now than before, and thus calls on all armed opposition groups to seize the opportunity and join the peace process.'"

[CN: Homophobia] Good Maude Almighty! "Two rabidly anti-gay billionaire brothers from Texas have made a record contribution to Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign. Dan and Farris Wilks, who made their fortune in the West Texas fracking boom, have contributed $15 million to Keep the Promise, a super PAC supporting Cruz. According to, it's the largest contribution so far in the 2016 race, and represents nearly half of the $38 million raised by Keep the Promise." What. The. Fuck.

[CN: Hunting for sport; animal abuse] The dentist who killed Cecil the Lion has a history of sexual harassment and once "pleaded guilty to a federal charge of making false statements in relation to a bear hunting incident." He was also a Romney supporter, probably because Romney treats animals terribly and lies about it, too. He seems great. (That was sarcasm.)

Twitter, you are not Facebook. Why are you even imagining that you are, or should be?! "Twitter is in trouble. With user growth stalled, staff fleeing the company by the hundreds, and the company's stock still at the bottom of the cliff it fell from in April, sources say the company's futile obsession with matching its biggest competitor for scale is costing it dearly. ...'Honestly, I think part of the fundamental issue is their relentless fixation on how they compare to Facebook, and I think that's in some ways a fatal posture,' one former Twitter executive told the Guardian. 'I mean, no one will say on the record 'We compare ourselves relentlessly to Facebook,' because that's a losing position, but of course they do.'"

[CN: Image of insect at link] Neat-o! "Scientists in Israel have discovered how ants co-operate to move big chunks of food back to their nests. A large team of ants does the heavy lifting but they lack direction, while a small number of 'scouts' intervene and steer for short periods. They appear to have a mathematically perfect balance between individuality and conformism, the researchers said."

This is so cool: "Facebook-owned Oculus VR on Tuesday presented Henry [a short animated film about a lonely hedgehog who just wants a hug] to an exclusive audience during an invite-only event in Beverly Hills. Attendees strapped on consumer versions of the Oculus Rift headset, and were immersed in a 360-degree view of Henry's world as he made his birthday wish." The potential applications for this technology are extraordinary. Iain got a chance to try one and it BLEW HIS MIND. I can't wait to try one myself!

Are you a major Married with Children-head? Then you might be excited to hear that David Faustino (Bud) is reportedly developing a spin-off of the series, in which the other lead actors will have at least bit parts.

And finally! A border collie on a sheep farm helps save a newborn lamb. Oh dogs!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting on the loveseat with her chin resting on top of a remote control on its arm
This face. Irresistible!

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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Samuel Dubose Updates

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death.]

Last Friday, I mentioned the police killing of Samuel Dubose, a 43-year-old black man in Cincinnati, who was shot in the head by University of Cincinnati Campus Police Officer Ray Tensing following an altercation during a traffic stop for a missing front license plate.

Today, the Hamilton County's prosecutor "will hold a news conference on the investigation into a fatal officer-involved shooting and body camera video of the shooting will be released."

Prosecutor Joe Deters will hold the news conference on the Samuel Dubose case at 1 p.m., a news release stated. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, UC President Santa Ono and City Manager Harry Black will hold a 2 p.m. news conference.

...A grand jury has been looking at evidence, including a body camera that University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing was wearing during the July 19 traffic stop.
Dubose's family has been asking for the body cam footage to be released. There has been little public comment from authorities on the video being considered by the grand jury, but what comment there has been has indicated that it will generate public outrage, especially if the grand jury does not return an indictment after viewing it.
Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said he's seen the unreleased footage from a University of Cincinnati officer's body camera during last week's fatal shooting and "it's not good."

"The video is not good," Blackwell said. "I think the city manager has said that also publicly. I'll leave it there."

...City Manager Harry Black also spoke about the unreleased body camera video of the shooting.

"It's not a good situation," Black said. "It's a tragic situation, someone has died that did not necessarily need to die."

...Black said he hasn't seen the video but that his understanding is the video "is not good."
Not that video of someone being killed could ever be "good," but obviously this sounds particularly bad.

A spokesperson for Black Lives Matter [CN: video autoplays at link] has said that "the group will take action no matter what the grand jury decides."
"If there is no indictment clearly we'll be calling up to talk about the injustice of that and making demands that are related to that injustice. If there is an indictment, as we know around the country, they don't automatically lead to convictions, so we will be pushing for a conviction," Taylor said. "Our plan is to honor the aggravation and the desire for justice from the community and to give a vehicle for people to be able to express their discontent."

Black Lives Matter said it stands with the Dubose family and is working with them closely as this case unfolds.

"Anybody to come out and go out there on the battlefield with us, I love them people because they fighting for a good cause. They're standing with me for my son," Audrey Dubose said.
Because I don't have any other words, once again I want to recommend this piece by Prison Culture, who wisely notes that, even if this officer is indicted and even if he is convicted and even if he is sentenced, it will not truly be justice. Meaningful justice will only be achieved by dismantling the (in)justice system which is catastrophically contaminated by white supremacy.

Which is a daunting task to contemplate, but the enormity of the task before us shouldn't let us treat as justice what will be, at best, limited individual accountability in a comprehensively corrupt system.

Mychal Denzel Smith once wrote: "Justice for Renisha would have looked like Michael Brown being able to attend college. Justice for Trayvon would have looked like Renisha McBride getting the help she needed the night of her accident. Justice for Oscar Grant would have looked like Trayvon Martin making it home to finish watching the NBA All-Star game, Skittles and iced tea in tow. And so on, and so on. Justice should be the affirmation of our existence."

Real justice will be no more death.

UPDATE: Officer Tensing has been indicted for murder. Prosecutor Joe Deters said "the act was the most 'asinine' thing he had seen a police office do in 30 years, and he said Tensing's actions were so inexcusable he 'should never have been a police officer.'"
"This is without question a murder," Deters said.

He said Dubose slowly rolls away from the officer, but he said Tensing was never in danger and escalated the encounter quickly and unnecessarily.

"He lost his temper because Mr. Dubose wouldn't get out of his car," the prosecutor continued. "When you see this you won't believe how quickly he pulls his gun. Maybe a second — it's incredible."

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Trump: Still Terrible

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Another day, another eleventy-seven pieces of news about how Donald Trump is fucking terrible. The highlights:

1. Yesterday, a tweet from April which Trump immediately deleted, but was screen-grabbed by Lenny Jacobson, was making the rounds again: "If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?" Charming.

2. The New York Times highlights some of Trump's bullshit that he's said under oath, including calling a female lawyer who needed a break to pump breast milk "disgusting."

3. Donald Trump says that everyone loves Sarah Palin and he would totally find a place for her in his imaginary presidential administration:

Yesterday, Donald Trump appeared on "The Palin Update," a show dedicated to all things Palin. After Trump hailed Palin as a "tough and smart" leader who bravely stood up to "disgusting lies," host Kevin Scholla asked the GOP presidential candidate, "If there is a Trump administration, could you see picking up the phone, giving the governor a call and picking her brain on some things, or perhaps having her along in some official capacity."

"I'd love that," Trump replied. "Because she really is somebody who knows what's happening and she's a special person, she's really a special person and I think people know that."

"Everybody loves her," he added. Trump went on to say that unlike the former half-term Alaska governor, his current Republican rivals are "weak" and "ineffective" leaders "to a degree that's actually almost hard to believe."

Voters, Trump explained, "like the Sarah Palin kind of strength, you just don't see very much of it anymore."
Here, too, is an example of how Trump is not actually outside the GOP mainstream, but perfectly centered within it. Sarah Palin was, after all, a vice-presidential candidate on the Republican ticket. And the GOP might have since disowned her, but once they rallied around her like the second coming of Reagan.

And the "strength" to which Trump is referring is Palin's penchant for the same unvarnished rhetoric that he uses. That is, they don't couch their hideous policy positions in six layers of focus group tested language; they just say ugly shit as the ugly shit it is and don't try to dress it up as anything else.

Which appeals to a certain (and not small) segment of conservative voters, specifically because it does reflect their views. Here is, for example, billionaire asshole Mark Cuban on Trump: "I don't care what his actual positions are. I don't care if he says the wrong thing. He says what's on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years."


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[Content Note: Illness; surgery.]

Last night on the news, I saw a story about this remarkable little boy who just received new hands during a groundbreaking surgery. Eight-year-old Zion Harvey lost both his hands and both his feet following a serious and mysterious infection that he got at two years old. He also needed a kidney transplant, for which he mother volunteered. The transplant was successful, and, because he was already on anti-rejection drugs for his kidney, he was a great candidate for the dual hand transplant surgery, the first in the world, done by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who offered to do the surgery for no cost beyond what their insurance would cover.

Zion was as active as any other eight-year-old, using prosthetics on his legs and even learning to play video games and use a smartphone with no hands. But he really wanted hands to be able to do all the things he couldn't do without them. So when the opportunity came up, his mother assessed whether she thought the surgery would be safe for him and then asked him if he wanted to do it. He did.

During the operation, a 40-person medical team, including 12 surgeons, used steel plates and screws to attach the old and new bones. Surgeons then painstakingly reconnected Zion's arteries, veins, muscles, tendons and nerves.

The entire operation took nearly 11 hours.

"He woke up smiling," Dr. L. Scott Levin, who heads the hand transplant program, said Tuesday at a news conference at the hospital. "There hasn't been one whimper, one tear, one complaint."

Zion himself was in attendance at the news conference. His forearms heavily bandaged, he was beaming as he told everyone about his new hands.

During the event, Zion asked the many family members in attendance to stand and be recognized, telling them: "I want to say to you guys, thank you for helping me through this bumpy road."

He said that, for him, "family means trust hope support and if you fall down they always catch you."

His mother, Pattie Ray, called her son "amazing."

"For me it is a blessing," she said. "I have been blessed with a son and an angel. He is my strength."

Now that Zion has his new hands, he's most excited to be able to play with his little sister. He's also hoping for a new dog.

"I'll take care of it," he told his mother after the press conference. "You don't have to walk it. I will take care of it."
Zion is currently in physical therapy, and his casts will come off soon.

[CN: video autoplays at link] Here is the NBC News report I saw last night, if you are able and want to view it.

I am just overwhelmed by this entire story. In awe of the medical advances that made this possible, thrilled for Zion, hopeful that the surgery works and that he remains free of complications, deeply admiring of his mother, who just seems like about the most awesome person on the planet, and happy for his whole family. Wow.

Not everyone who is missing a hand or hands via birth or circumstance would want a surgery like this, and certainly not everyone has access to it, and nor should anyone ever be made to feel less than if they don't want or can't get a surgery like the one Zion got. But Zion wanted it, and because he was willing to subject himself to an extensive surgery with lots of (continuing) risks, he (and his incredible medical team) have moved us one step closer toward making sure this sort of surgery becomes available to more people who want it.

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Open Thread

image of two tabby kittens

Hosted by tabby kittens.

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Question of the Day

It's that time again: What would you like to see asked as a future Question of the Day? Either something that's never been asked, or something that I haven't asked for awhile and you really enjoyed the first time around.

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TV Corner: So You Think You Can Dance

[Content Note: Spoilers for last night's episode of So You Think You Can Dance.]

Since a bunch of us are watching this season's SYTYCD, I thought I'd open up a thread to discuss last night's episode.

My two favorite routines were the last two (aside from the group numbers) of the evening:

Video Description: Kate, a young white female contemporary dancer, and Neptune, a young black male freestyle dancer, perform a contemporary routine choreographed by Justine Giles and set to "Promise" by Ben Howard. In the video package before the performance, Giles explained the story is about a married couple who experience anxiety every time before the husband has to leave for days at a time for dangerous work.

[CN: Strobe effect in following video.]

Video Description: Hailee, a young white female contemporary dancer, and Virgl, a young black male hiphop dancer, perform a hip hop routine choreographed by Pharside and Phoenix and set to "Runnin'" by Noahplause. In the video package before the performance, we learn that the two characters are alien robots.

* * *

Overall, I thought it was a pretty solid episode—but can we talk about the judges' decision to save Asaf? Frankly, I find the entire narrative around Asaf hugely annoying. He had a shitty attitude during auditions; he only got into the competition because someone else got injured and had to drop out; he can't pick up choreography for shit; his more talented partners have to scale down their performances so as not to embarrass him (and then the judges lecture them for not bringing it); and yet he's constantly coddled and congratulated for "trying so hard."

Listen, judges: I don't watch SYTYCD because it looks like an episode of Dancing with the Stars—one professional dancer and someone who "tries really hard." I'm not interested in watching Asaf turn into a butterfly, or whatever garbage metaphor Nigel enlists week to week.

This guy isn't any good; I don't find him charming; and when the choreographers are obliged to water down their routines to accommodate him, don't keep scolding the choreographers about it—get rid of him already!


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Lying Liars

[Content Note: War on agency; privacy violations; identity theft; anti-choice harassment.]

Sharona Coutts and Sofia Resnick, two members of RH Reality Check's investigative team, have written a great piece, "The Faces and Fake Names of People Behind Planned Parenthood Attack Videos," in which they detail how the anti-choice operatives posing as employees of a fake company called BioMax "may have violated California and federal law on forgery, credit card fraud, and identity theft" by using apparently false identities. And, among their findings is this fuckery, detailed in an incredibly creepy passage:

[A]nother detail from the a/k/a Bistro video suggests [David Daleiden]'s group may have gone beyond simply concocting identities, and might have co-opted the identity of a real person—one who shares the name of a California woman who went to the same elementary and high schools as the leader of this attack campaign.

Toward the end of the film, the woman who identifies herself as Susan can be seen removing a Bank of America card from her wallet, and using it to pay the bill.

Yet the name on the credit card is not Susan Tennenbaum, but rather, appears to be Brianna Allen.

BioMax's alleged employees refer to "Brianna" in the three videos that have been released so far. RH Reality Check emailed the address provided by the BioMax operative who called herself Brianna Allen but received no response. BioMax has not connected RH Reality Check with any real person who will publicly identify herself as Brianna Allen.

However, RH Reality Check has obtained evidence that suggests the group's leader, Daleiden, does know a woman named Brianna Allen.

After seeing her name referenced in our earlier reporting, Brianna M. Allen of Davis, California, contacted RH Reality Check to let us know that she had no ties to Daleiden's organization and has not been in contact with him for 15 years.

Allen was the president of the student feminist club at Davis Senior High School at the same time that Daleiden was a student there, she said.

"Even in high school I knew he was adamantly against it [abortion]. He was very outspoken about being Catholic and more conservative. And we were very open about being liberal and pro-choice," she told RH Reality Check. "Last night I just thought, 'Oh God, what if that's why he chose my name?' But I kind of wrote it off as, 'No, that's ridiculous.'"

If Daleiden's group used Brianna M. Allen's information to open a credit card account, they could have violated state or federal laws that prohibit credit card fraud, which carries a potential three-year prison sentence and would be easy to prove, Kraut said.

Allen stressed that she does not feel any ill will toward Daleiden personally, nor does she have definitive proof that Daleiden created a credit card in her name. Indeed, Brianna Allen is a fairly common name in the United States. Yet, Allen has been unable to access her credit reports online in the past few days, despite having been able to do so in the past.

"If it is just a weird coincidence, it would be a really, really weird coincidence," Allen said.
These fucking people.

My contempt for this shit cannot be measured on a scale fathomable by human intellect.

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Social Media Etiquette 101

[Content Note: Rape culture; harassment.]

So, I write a lot of criticism of public figures, especially male public figures, especially around topics like rape culture.

This, as you may have noticed, tends to evoke a lot of harassment, from those public figures' defenders and from defenders of the rape culture. Or white supremacy. Or fat hatred. Or whatever.

When I link the things I write about these public figures on Twitter, I tend not to tag (or @) the public figures, if they have Twitter accounts, for a couple of reasons:

1. I'm generally under the impression that the public figures about whom I'm writing aren't interested in learning or doing better. (When I believe they are, then I do @ them. See, for example, my tweets at John Oliver, over a segment with which I took issue.)

2. I have no interest in getting into a protracted Twitter war with these fools.

3. I have even less interest in garnering the attention of their fans, who aggressively defend them in the most heinous ways, sometimes including threatening me. Sometimes this escalates to the point where they spill out of my mentions on Twitter and into comments at the blog, creating extra moderating work.

So I have a few solid reasons for not @-ing these dudes when I write pieces about them. Because I don't write them for their attention; I write them for my existing audience, or people desperately googling resources to push back on this kind of shit, to help tease out what's wrong with something that's problematic, or to be one voice saying something is wrong, or to provide a space for people to collectively process some bit of harm.

But there's always gotta be one asshole on Twitter who quotes my tweet and then tags the person about whom I'm writing. Because they just want them to see it so bad. They're mad about whatever it is about which I've written, but they don't want to personally engage with that person, so they send them my work instead.

(And, sometimes, people do it specifically to try to target me: "Look what she's writing about you!")


If I really want someone about whom I'm writing to see what I'm writing, then I'm perfectly capable of @-ing them myself. And if I haven't @-ed them, then there's a reason for that.

Don't do it to me, and don't do it to anyone else. You're not the one who has to deal with the fallout that creates.

If a critic wants a person to see their criticism, let that be their choice.

And, if you don't, own the fact that you're potentially harming us by exposing us in a way we didn't seek to be exposed. It's not a neutral act, elevating someone's criticism with the express intent of bringing it to the attention of people with sometimes millions of followers.

I don't not know how to @ people. I'm just thoughtful about it, for good reason.

If you follow anyone who similarly has reason to be thoughtful about it (any woman, for a start), then I urge you to be thoughtful about it, too.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

[Content Note: There's some flickery editing in this video, so you may want to avoid it if you're sensitive to that sort of thing.]

The Cure: "Pictures of You"

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Your Best Photograph

If you're a photographer, even if a very amateur one (like myself), and you've got a photo or photos you'd like to share, here's your thread for that!

It doesn't really have to be your best photograph—just one you like!

Please be sure if your photo contains people other than yourself, that you have the explicit consent of the people in the photos before posting them.

* * *

Here's one I took recently of a weird and beautiful stump next to which we were parked while stopped by a train:

image of a tree stump covered in long, twisting vines

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fluffy Sealpoint Cat lying on the couch giving me A Look

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: Anti-choice harassment; privacy violations; war on agency] Anti-choice hackers have attacked Planned Parenthood's website and "released Planned Parenthood's website databases as well as names and email addresses of the organization's employees. It does not appear that the breach exposed the personal data of patients or employees of Planned Parenthood's affiliate organizations. ...One of the hackers, who goes by the pseudonym 'E,' told the Daily Dot that the cyberattack was politically motivated. 'Trying to mold an atrocious monstrosity into socially acceptable behaviors is repulsive,' said E. 'Obviously what [Planned Parenthood] does is a very ominous practice. It'll be interesting to see what surfaces when [Planned Parenthood] is stripped naked and exposed to the public.' ...On the website featuring the database dump, the hackers gave some insight into their possible motivations. 'We've noticed quite a lot of attention has been diverted to a supposedly malicious organization known as Planned Parenthood. The actions of this 'federation' are not seen as right in the eyes of the public. So here we are, the social justice warriors, seeking to reclaim some sort of lulz for the years and thousands of dollars that Planned Parenthood have wasted and made harvesting your babies.'" Jesus fucking Jones.

[continued CN] Meanwhile, this is how the Washington Post opens their story on this attack: "Planned Parenthood has been swept up in a storm of controversy in recent weeks, after an antiabortion group started to release undercover videos of officials at the organization discussing how it provides organs from aborted fetuses for research. Now, even the group's Web site is on the defense." FUCK YOU. That is not how any responsible news organization should talk about the latest attacks in what is the most brazen, unapologetic terrorist campaign in the US.

[continued CN] In good news: "California Attorney General Kamala Harris will review whether the group behind the Planned Parenthood attack videos violated any laws in making the deceitful recordings, which depict Planned Parenthood officials talking about the organization's legal fetal tissue donation program."

In other "liberal media" news, the New York Times has published the most absurdly anodyne "Editors' Note" about their terrible and irresponsible coverage of Clinton's personal email account usage while serving as Secretary of State.

[CN: Violence; death; assault] A woman who is a sex worker killed a client in self-defense after he assaulted her, and police suspect the man she killed may have been a serial killer responsible for the deaths of other women. I grieve that she was placed in that situation, but she may not have just saved her own life, but the lives of many others. Wow.

Congratulations to Jen Welter, who has been hired by the Arizona Cardinals football team as an assistant coaching intern, making her "the first woman to hold a coaching position of any kind in the NFL." I don't give the tiniest shit about the NFL, nor am I inclined to give their foul organization an ounce of credit for hiring a woman, but good for her for achieving something she really wants!

[CN: Hunting; animal abuse; images of killed animals] As if hunting for sport isn't repulsive enough, these big game hunters who don't even "hunt" so much as walk up to lured, drugged, or captured animals and shoot them are disgusting human beings: "Cecil the lion—the most famous creature in one of Zimbabwe's national parks—was killed by an American hunter who has boasted about shooting a menagerie of animals with his bow and arrow... Conservation groups in Zimbabwe reacted angrily to the news that the 13-year-old animal had been killed: partly because the lion was known to visitors and seemingly enjoyed human contact, and partly because of the way in which he was killed. He was lured out of the national park [using bait] and shot. ...Animals cannot be killed within the confines of the park." Sob.

[CN: Homophobia] Honestly, if it weren't the Pride flag that had accidentally been flown in place of the US flag, would anyone have even noticed and would the Mayor of Reno be expected to apologize? Good grief.

[CN: Climate change; disablist language] Well played, Hillary Clinton. Well played.

Boo: Rihanna wasn't allowed to walk with protesters in Baltimore and give a free concert. The permit was denied, or never granted. Shitty.

Wow: "Europe's Sentinel-2a satellite is on course to go into full operation in early or mid-October. The spacecraft, which takes visible and infrared pictures of the Earth, was launched in June and is now undergoing a period of commissioning." There are some sample images at the link, and they are pretty incredible.

[CN: Gifs at links] Tom Hardy and a baby elephant! I repeat: TOM HARDY AND A BABY ELEPHANT!!!!!!!

And finally! Animals who want to be photographers. Aww, lol.

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