Question of the Day

Suggested via email by Shaker GoldFishy: "What do you consider to be the ultimate summer movie?"

Dirty Dancing.

(But you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?!)

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by fish.

Recommended Reading:

Nerdy Wonka: A Special Tweet of the Day

Rosana: 10 NOLA Groups Truly Doing the Work When the Cameras Aren't On

Libby Anne: [Content Note: Rape apologia] We Are Not All Josh Duggar

Zak: [CN: Racism; objectification; classism] 7 Things About Asian-Americans You'll Never Learn from the Mainstream Media

Colleen: [CN: Spoilers; discussion of illness] In Which I Attempt to Convince the World to Watch All Things Tig Notaro

Esther: You Can Actually Poison Yourself If You Eat Undercooked Beans

Andrea: You Can Buy a Life-Size Body Pillow of David Bowie on Etsy

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

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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 brown eyeshadow, red lipstick, and a brown tanktop
This is me trying not to look as exhausted as all hell.

Just a quick day look: Almay's Intense i-Color for blue eyes and black mascara; Maybelline's Brow Drama in Deep Brown; Neutrogena's Sheer Highlighting Blush; and some sample of an Urban Decay lip gloss I got that doesn't have the color name on it. (Useful!)

I normally don't like lip glosses a whole lot, but this one is pretty decent. I like the feel of it, and it has a bit more staying power than most lip glosses I've tried. (Which, to be honest, isn't a whole lot of them.)

Anyway! What's up with you?

* * *

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

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

The Bee Gees: "You Should Be Dancing"

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Your Republican Party

[Content Note: Anti-immigrationism; racism.]

Insert eleventy million articles here about how Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party, despite the fact that his extremist views are totally in line with the other candidates' positions. Here, for example, is Trump's fellow GOP candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at a townhall event in New Hampshire, on August 29, talking about tracking documented immigrants like FedEx packages:

Video Description: Chris Christie stands with a microphone in a room full of people, all of whom appear to be white and most of whom are elderly. Behind him is one of his campaign posters. He walks back and forth as he says: "Do you find it ironic, as I do, that if this morning, let's say, one of you have a child at college. They just left for college, like our daughter Sarah just did, to go back to Notre Dame last week. And, invariably, we will get a call from her in the next week or two, saying, 'Oh I forgot...this.' Fill in the blank, whatever it is. 'And I need it tomorrow!' So, we'll go to FedEx, right? And we'll package it up, and we'll drop that package at FedEx, and you can go online, and, at any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It's on the truck, it's at the station, it's on the airplane, it's back at another station, it's back on the truck, it's at a doorstep. She just signed for it. Yet, we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of 'em. We can't— So here's what I'm gonna do as president: I'm gonna ask Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, come work for the government for three months. [laughter] Just come for three months to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and show these people— 'Cuz guess what? Of the eleven million people who are here illegally, forty percent of them didn't come in over the southern border. Forty percent of them came in legally with a visa and overstayed their visa. We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in, and then, when your time is up, whether it's three months or six months or nine months or twelve months, or however long your visa is, then we go get you and tap you on the shoulder and say, 'Excuse me, thanks for coming, time to go.'"

* * *

First of all, FedEx loses packages. Secondly, the reason, of course, that FedEx knows where most packages are at all times is because they are inanimate objects with trackers embedded on them that are scanned at every point in their short journey.

The only way to accomplish what Christie is suggesting is to treat every documented immigrant like someone on house arrest with an ankle bracelet or some other form of tracker. Or, perhaps, he would like them to wear collars that shock them if they try to pass over the electric fence around enclosures in which he'll retain them during their stay.

Not only is Christie's proposal objectionable just for its sheer dehumanization, but embedded within his narrative is this contemptible idea that most immigrants only come to the United States either with nefarious purposes or because they are desperate for everything the US has to offer them. And, yes, some people come to this country for those reasons. (There are plenty of people born as citizens who have the same objectives.)

But lots and lots of the people who enter this country on visas come as students or employees with specialized skills. Some of them are researchers or doctors or tech developers or teachers, or artists or musicians or actors, or any one of a number of people whose presence in this country is a gift to us.

Many other people come on travel visas and extend the legally allotted stay because they are seeking amnesty. Not because they want to harm people here, but because they want to escape harm in their countries of birth.

And, let me also note, as someone who spent years navigating the tangled web of Escherian nightmares that is the US immigration system, it's extremely easy to fuck something up. Also? You can do your absolute best to keep the ICE informed when you change address, but (I hope you're sitting down for this shocking news) they're not always great at updating their records, even when you, in good faith, try to make sure they know where the fuck you are at all times, because you don't want to miss crucial communications from them.

Maybe before Christie shoots tracking devices into the necks of people who immigrate to the US, he could try securing funding for the ICE for better computers and more staff. Just a thought.

But naturally "the federal government needs more money to do a better job" isn't quite the red meat for which conservatives are slavering. They want to hear all about how terrible these dirty immigrants are and how they try to cheat the system and ruin the country.

On behalf of our family, created via immigration: Fuck off, Chris Christie. And take your disgusting base with you.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the arm of the loveseat with her tongue hanging out
I keep telling you: Matilda is the goofiest cat on the planet!

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: Racism] The tallest mountain peak in the US will no longer be officially known as Mount McKinley, but as Denali: "With the approval of President Barack Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has signed a 'secretarial order' to officially change the name, the White House and Interior Department announced Sunday. ...The tallest mountain in North America has long been known to Alaskans as Denali, its Koyukon Athabascan name, but its official name was not changed with the creation of Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980, 6 million acres carved out for federal protection under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The state changed the name of the park's tallest mountain to Denali at that time, but the federal government did not." Naturally, there are some people who are VERY ANGRY about this! Because they are terrible!

[CN: Anti-immigrationism] Speaking of Republicans: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, currently a presidential candidate, said over the weekend that building a border wall along the US-Canadian border "is a legitimate issue for us to look at." No, no it is not. Go take a nap, Governor Walker.

Well done, Indy Star: "The Indianapolis Star is launching an unprecedented campaign in support of LGBT rights that likely will set a new standard for what it means to be a gay-affirming daily newspaper. The Star's editorial board initiative is designed to convince GOP Gov. Mike Pence and state lawmakers to add LGBT people to the state's civil rights law during the 2016 legislative session." Naturally, there are some people who are VERY ANGRY about this! Because they are terrible!

Speaking of Republicans: Former New York Governor George Pataki gets the bestest headlines: "George Pataki waits for a lightning strike for his candidacy." LOLOLOL. That's gonna be one long wait, pal.

In good news: The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law "that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska. The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be 'medically necessary.' Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of 'medically necessary' arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services."

[CN: Worker exploitation; racism] Fucking hell: "Latino workers, some of whom are undocumented, went to New Orleans in the days and weeks following the disaster to help with reconstruction efforts and debris and mold removal. But even a decade later, many remain underpaid or unpaid. Over the past few years, the Workplace Justice Project, an organization that gives free legal assistance to help mostly Latino workers recoup their lost wages, has filed claims to try to recover more than $700,000 in stolen wages."

RIP Wes Craven. I'm not a huge fan of horror films, and the ones I like tend to be the deliberately terrible ones. (You're shocked; I know!) But one of my favorite horror/thrillers is Red Eye, starring Rachel McAdams, which was directed by Wes Craven. His films weren't exactly feminist masterpieces, but he was one of the few male horror directors who was capable of viewing female characters as more than bait for violent men.

[CN: Sexual assault; rape culture; victim-blaming] The Pretenders' lead singer Chrissie Hynde (who had to be convinced by k.d. lang that she's a feminist) has written a new memoir in which she says that she's responsible for her own rape. Now, I'm not inclined to audit other survivors' accounts of their sexual assault (although I will never agree that anyone is responsible for rape except rapists), but then she goes on to say that women who wear certain types of clothes are "asking for it." Nope. Shut up, Chrissie Hynde.

[CN: Racism; tone-policing] This is a pretty decent account of the backstory, personally and politically, behind Nicki Minaj calling out Miley Cyrus at the VMAs last night. What Cyrus said about Minaj "was a textbook example of what's come to be known as 'tone policing,' a common term in feminist and anti-racist circles—shifting the focus from what was said to how it was said, using the pretext of concern that someone's style might undermine substance to, well, undermine that substance." Yup. Minaj was right on. Cyrus was being a tone-policing asshole at the intersection of misogyny and racism. And, you know, not for nothing Everyone Who Criticizes Nicki Minaj's Tone Constantly, but there are some of us who appreciate and value other women for their "rude tones." Some of us are even women ourselves who have rude tones! And some people like us for that, too!

Neat! "Single black holes are impressive enough, but astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a galaxy being powered by a quasar that contains two of the time-space benders, 'furiously whirling about each other,' the space agency observed in a news release. ...As the first time such a binary black hole has been confirmed to exist in a quasar, the discovery has repercussions for their study. The binary structure may be more common than originally thought. 'We are extremely excited about this finding because it not only shows the existence of a close binary black hole in Mrk 231, but also paves a new way to systematically search binary black holes via the nature of their ultraviolet light emission,' said Youjun Lu of the National Astronomical Observatories of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences."

[CN: Moving GIFs at link] OMG SQUEEEEEE: "Seal Asks Diver for Belly Rub and Responds Just Like a Puppy." Sometimes I watch videos of wild animals interacting with humans, and I think that what looks like something ostensibly "cute" is actually an animal in distress seeking help. But in this case, that seal really looks like it wants a belly rub and is enjoying the heck out of it, lol! I wonder if maybe zie got a belly rub from a human as a pup and always thought, "I want to do that again someday!"

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Blog Note

I have an appointment this morning, but I should be back by noon. I'll see you then!

If you would like a topic for discussion, how about this terrific interview that Sarah Palin did with Donald Trump? And of course by "terrific," I mean TERRIBLE.

"Everything about Donald Trump's campaign, it's avant-garde." LOLOLOL. Okay.

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Good Monday to You!

How about a video of two raccoon brothers named Willie and Waylon on an adventure in a pool?

Video Description: Two raccoons are seen at the edge of a backyard in-ground pool. As one (Willie) begins to venture in, the other (Waylon) sits on the edge, reaching for his brother anxiously. Willie waves him off, and turns toward the water and gently glides in. Waylon reaches out, but Willie swims away confidently. He does a small circle and comes back; as he gets closer to Waylon again, Waylon reaches for him. "All right, that's enough of that!" he seems to communicate. He touches Willie's face and fusses with his wet fur. From off camera, a seemingly male voice asks, "Is Willie or Waylon in the pool?" From behind the camera, a seemingly female voice replies, "Willie." "Swimming?" "Yeah. Waylon's trying to save him." Willie swims around a bit more, and Waylon continues to reach for him. Willie is swimming literally maybe a foot from the stairs, lol, but Waylon DOES NOT LIKE IT ONE BIT! He grabs Willie's tail from the water and begins to groom it, then reaches and pulls Willie out of the water (although Willie was getting out anyway). They walk away and investigate a toy.

[H/T to Spudsy, who saw it at io9.]

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Open Thread

image of a small bird in a tree

Hosted by a yellow-bellied sapsucker.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Pro-Choice Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by seagulls.

Recommended Reading:

Miriam and Akiba: [Content Note: Racism; displacement; violence] INFOGRAPHIC: Race and Recovery 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina

Sesali: [CN: Fat hatred] Is "Confident" the New "Pretty for a Fat Girl"?

Feminist Aspie: [CN: Disablism] Expectations, Expectations Everywhere!

Aja: Adult Women Are Now the Largest Demographic in Gaming

Squinky: A Nonbinary Actor Playing a Nonbinary Character

Atrios: Why Is Lindsey Graham Always on My Teevee?

Veronica: [CN: Discussion of the beauty standard] Should Feminist Parents Tell Their Daughters They Are Beautiful?

Jessica: [CN: Misogyny] Star Wars Preaches Some Truth on Facebook About Female Armor

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

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Feminism 101: More Helpful Hints for Dudes

[Content Note: Misogyny; harassment.]

So, here's the thing about dudes who request, politely or not so politely, education from a feminist on demand: I can tell you, from more than a decade of experience as a feminist with an internet presence, that the vast majority of dudes who seek "education" don't really want education at all.

(And, as always, this same dynamic is applicable for any privileged person demanding education of any marginalized person.)

The vast majority of dudes who ask for education on some feminist issue or other want one of two things:

1. They want to prove me wrong. Specifically, they want to play Devil's Advocate, demand scientific proof quantifying my lived experiences, debate me, audit me, argue with me, and, when all else fails, insult me. They use a request for education as cover to get me to engage with them, just in order to try to discredit me.

2. They want to prove a point about how mean feminists are. These are the dudes who understand that feminist women are tired as all fuck of being asked to educate men on demand and are well aware that they're likely to elicit contemptuous responses if they do, so they request education in bad faith, recognizable as bad faith to seasoned feminists familiar with this tactic but possibly reading as good faith to casual observers, only to provoke hostile declinations and then crow about how mean feminists are—which was, of course, the whole point of the exercise.

That second one is a no-win situation for feminists, because if we know what game they're playing, but go along with it for the benefit of people watching, these dudes will simply revert to #1. It's a lose-lose proposition for any feminist who's approached by these guys.

This happens all the time. It is vanishingly rare that a dude approaches me asking for education who actually wants an education. And please note that I, as do all feminists, learned these patterns only by engaging in good faith over and over and over, only to discover that virtually none of the men were engaging in good faith with me.

So, if you're one of the #NotAllMen! who approach feminists for an education, here is some free education for you: Understand the above described dynamic, and understand that marginalized people do not owe privileged people an education, and then go spend some time with Google and leave us the fuck alone.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Beatles: "Hey Jude"

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Racism.]

"Xenophobia is the lowest form of political strategy. It is something we all need to fight together, not only for us, but also for the evolution of all humanity and those who will come after us."—Singer Ricky Martin, in an op-ed calling for Latin@ unity against Donald Trump.

I don't know that any population will ever be unified for or against everything, because people are different. (It's true!) But I understand the rhetorical strategy, and I take up space in solidarity with Latin@s and all immigrants who oppose Donald Trump and his reprehensible candidacy.

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Daily Dose of Cute

Yesterday, the puppehs got one of their FAVORITEST treats: Once every summer, they get a small cup of vanilla custard from Culver's, and that day is THE GREATEST DAY EVER!!!!!11!!!1!

They started out huddled together, Zelly underneath Dudley, which is a pretty common treat-consuming formation.

image of Dudley the Greyhound standing on the back patio eating out of a small plastic cup, while Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt eats out of a small plastic cup beneath him

Dudley luxuriates in ice cream: He licks it soooooo slowly, savoring every delicious morsel.

image of Dudley leaning down to lick out of his ice cream cup

Sitting on the back porch, I offered to hold the cup for him so he wouldn't have to bend over, but he was having none of it. ON THE GROUND, MA'AM.

Meanwhile, Zelly had pushed her cup straight under Dudley, between my feet, and halfway under the porch stair on which I was sitting. She picked it up in her mouth, carried it a few feet away to the grass, where it wouldn't slide, and continued to make sweet love to it, even long after all the custard was gone.

image of Zelda lying in the grass, her muzzle directed at the empty cup
Mmmmmmmmmmmm custard.

They are too hilarious and TOO CUTE!!!

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: Police misconduct; racism; possible self-harm] Goddammit: "Jamycheal Mitchell, who had mental health problems, was discovered lying on the floor of his cell [in Portsmouth, Virginia] by guards early last Wednesday, according to authorities. While his body is still awaiting an autopsy, senior prison officials said his death was not being treated as suspicious. ...Mitchell's family said they believed he starved to death after refusing meals and medication at the jail, where he was being held on misdemeanour charges of petty larceny and trespassing." Mitchell, a young black man, had spent almost four months in the jail without bail for stealing groceries worth $5. "A clerk at Portsmouth district court said Mitchell was accused of stealing a bottle of Mountain Dew, a Snickers bar, and a Zebra Cake worth a total of $5 from a 7-Eleven." Again, I will note that police are legally responsible for the safety of the people they take into custody. They did not have to murder Mitchell to be accountable for his death.

[CN: Rape culture; child abuse] In news that won't shock anyone who is paying attention: "A former Subway franchisee claims she warned Subway about Jared Fogle's sexual interest in children seven years ago and that the sandwich chain did nothing. ...Mills says she shared this information with Subway in 2008 but that the company ignored her complaints. That's when she decided to hire a lawyer. ...Subway didn't respond to a request for comment on this story." I'll bet they didn't.

[CN: Rape culture; child abuse; sexual assault; Christian Supremacy] Over at Love, Joy, Feminism, Libby Anne documents how the leadership of the Christian treatment center to which Josh Duggar was sent is allegedly involved in a sex abuse coverup. Yes, it's a real fucking mystery why this fucko keeps harming women and children. Rage. Seethe. Boil.

Neat: "The University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion is asking students and faculty to use [gender neutral] pronouns in order to create a more inclusive campus." By the way, here's how that news article opens: "The University of Tennessee is asking students to use 'ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr.' No, those words are not another language." Oh my aching sides.

Do you like actress Ellen Page? If you like actress Ellen Page, then maybe you will enjoy this interview with her, where she talks about disclosing she is a lesbian to the general public, and what that did for her personally and professionally. I like Ellen Page!

Whut: "Gay people are like an Army that has occupied America, and now they're about to start targeting pastors and churches, according to one Texas-based anti-LGBT hate group." Hahahaha okay! But don't get ahead of yourselves now, Gay People! You haven't even destroyed my marriage yet! First things first!

I love every single thing about this story: "Firefighters were called out to assist a cow after its head became stuck in a plastic chair. ...Officers from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service attended but said the cow managed to get out of its predicament without their help. It is not known how the garden chair came to be in the field or why the cow put its head through it." Perfection.

And finally! I cannot. stop. laughing. at these brilliant photographs of dog guardians mimicking their dogs' expressions. AMAZING.

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Finish This Sentence

My favorite game to play on my mobile device is...

...Peggle. Still forever Peggle. But I am currently engaged in a torrid love affair with Panda Pop, which makes me so happy when I rescue the baby pandas and they all cheer and makes me SO SAD LOL when I fail to rescue them and they cry. Hahahaha this game!

Anyway. What's your current or forever favorite?

Acceptable answers include, but are not limited to: I don't own a mobile device; I hate mobile devices; I hate games; and please for the love of Maude stop sending me Candy Crush requests.

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Donald Trump ♥s the Bible

On Bloomberg, Mark Halperin (who favors white men almost as much as Donald Trump does) was interviewing Donald Trump when he asked him to name his favorite Bible verse—which I frankly find an odious question for a number of reasons, but it's typically a standard softball for Republican candidates.

Halperin: You mention the Bible—you've been talking about how it's your favorite book, and you said, I think last night in Iowa, that some people are surprised that you say that. I'm wondering what one or two of your most favorite Bible, uh, verses are and why.

Trump: I—I wouldn't wanna get into it, because to me that's very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible, it's very personal, so I don't wanna get into verses; I don't wanna get into—

Halperin: There's no verse that means a lot to you that you think about or cite?

Trump: No, I— I just— [makes this face] The Bible means a lot to me, but I don't wanna get into specifics.

Halperin: Even to cite a verse that you like?

Trump: No. I don't want to do that—

John Heilemann (Halperin's co-host): You an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?

Trump: Uh, probablyyyyyy...equal. I think it's just an incredible— The whole Bible is an incredible— I joke, uh, very much so, they always hold up [my book] The Art of the Deal; I say: "My second favorite book of all time."
The Bible is super classy and incredible and I am a massive fan! Make America great again! Good night! *runs offstage*

Honestly, I don't think religion has any place in politics, and I don't think that any politician should be obliged to talk about their religion. But the fact is, Donald Trump goes around talking about how much he loves the Bible, because that's what Republican candidates do, so he can't then claim that questions about which parts of the Bible he likes are off-limits.

Especially when he says things that seem to indicate he has a unique, ahem, interpretation of the Bible and the central tenet of Christianity, like: "I'm not sure I have [ever asked god for forgiveness]. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so. If I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right. I don't bring god into that picture."

It seems pretty clear that Trump isn't actually desirous of privacy around his favorite Bible verses, but is using that pretense as a deflection because he doesn't actually know the first damn thing about the Bible. He loves all of those incredible verses equally—just like Sarah Palin reads all the magazines!

This fucking guy.

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[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Hillary Clinton went all in on the Republicans and their institutional misogyny yesterday during a speech in Cleveland:

Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world, but it's a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States. Yet they espouse out-of-date, out-of-touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st century America. We are going forward; we are not going back.

I would like these Republican candidates to look the mom in the eye who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening for cancer or the teenager who didn't get pregnant because she has access to contraception. Or anyone who has ever been protected by an HIV test.

This is happening all over the country, even here in Ohio. Programs and services women use to take care of themselves are being cut down.

I take it a little personal when they go after women.
Hell fucking yes.

Naturally, most of the coverage of these comments (example; video autoplays at link) is all about how OUTRAGED Republicans are to be compared to terrorists, and not about how Clinton has a point, considering the Republican support of one of the most flagrant domestic terrorism campaigns in the country.

Hey, "liberal media": Instead of seeking outraged quotes from Republicans, howsabout instead you ask them why, if they don't like the comparison, they are so keen to align themselves with anti-choice terrorists?

Because as much as I'm sure we all enjoy reporting on how Hillary Clinton has hit (yet another) "new low," it might be a nice break in your tiresome disgorgement of trite misogyny to read something that challenges Republicans to engage with the charge she's leveling at them for a damn good reason.

[I did some tweeting about this subject this morning. Those tweets are collected in a Storify, if you would like to see them.]

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Open Thread

image of an old comic advert for x-ray specs

Hosted by a x-ray specs!

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker kittenboots: "Should you 'just go for it'? What is 'it'?"

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Photo of the Day

image of a twin jet nebula, which looks like a shimmering butterfly in outer space
The Twin Jet Nebula, a bipolar planetary nebula. (Photo Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA)

Rachel Feltman at the WaPo:
This "butterfly" (which also kind of looks like two space squid head butting each other, if you're as into that as I am) is called the Twin Jet Nebula. Those gorgeous, iridescent colors come from dying stars within, casting out jets of gas and then illuminating the resulting clouds with their fading light.

The Twin Jet is a planetary nebula—so named for their usual round shape—but it's obviously not very spherical. Scientists believe that it gets its wings from the pair of stars at its center. The binary system includes two stars around the same size as our sun. One is already a white dwarf—the final stage of such a star's life—and the other is following close behind.

While only one star is giving off gases, the way the stars interact with each other (gravitationally speaking) causes the gas to spew out in two directions. The gas can travel more than 600,000 miles per hour, and the wings (which probably only formed about 1200 years ago) will continue to grow.

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The Walking Thread?

So, that The Walking Dead spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, premiered last Sunday, and I have a question for y'all: Are you watching it? Do you want a Fear the Walking Thread recap a la my Walking Dead recaps, or are not enough people watching it that it would be of interest?

Let me know in comments!

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Primarily Speaking

image of Rand Paul wearing sunglasses, to which I've added text reading: 'I am the fucking worst. Deal with it.'

[Content Note: Racism.] Today's WORST CLOWN IN THE CLOWN CAR AWARD goes to Senator Rand Paul, who lectures #BlackLivesMatter activists, by way of Sean Hannity because OF COURSE, that they should change their name and their tactics: "I think they should change their name maybe—if they were All Lives Matter, or Innocent Lives Matter... But commandeering the microphone, and bullying people, and pushing people out of the way—I think that really isn't a way to get their message across."

First of all: Fuck off. Secondly: Fuck off. Third: If commandeering the microphone weren't a way to get their message across, then why the hell is every presidential candidate being asked about their movement and message, hmm? Finally: Fuck off.

In summation: Fuck off.

[CN: Racism] Following Gold Toilet Aficionado Donald Trump's ridiculous and indecent attack on journalist Jorge Ramos, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said at a townhall event that "people in the press should be treated with more respect and dignity." Hahahaha I agree! Except I actually mean it!

Let's all bookmark that quote just in case WHY JEB ever holds office again and resumes treating the press with contempt as he did while governor of Florida, because accountability ain't his bag.

Blah blah Trump says he won't mount a third-party run. Who even cares. Because he was never going to mount a third-party run. If he doesn't get the nomination, he knows he can't win, so he wouldn't waste his time and money. It will stop being fun for Donald Trump the moment he actually has to work for it (and spend for it) and isn't getting loads of free press and every privileged wankstain in the multiverse stops drooling over how "hilarious" he is.

Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio says that Trump will never be the Republican nominee: "I don't believe Donald Trump will be our nominee. I think our nominee is going to be someone that embraces the future, that understands the opportunities before us, that's optimistic but realistic about the challenges before us." Wait—Hillary Clinton is going to be the Republican nominee?!

At the same campaign stop, which was held "outside a car service center" in Orford, New Hampshire (YOU'RE BURNING IT UP, RUBIO!), the Senator also had this shit to say about Trump and his HAT-BASED PHILOSOPHY: "There's another gentleman running for president whose slogan is Make America Great Again. And I understand what he's trying to say. But I would remind him that America is great. Ask yourself this question: Who would you trade places with? Would you rather be China? Would you rather be Brazil or India or anyone else for that matter? There's no nation on earth I'd trade places with. The issue's not that America isn't great. The issue is that America has the chance to be greater. And we're not fulfilling our potential."

The way these bozos talk! Honestly. Yes, correct, the issue is that the US has the chance to be greater (defined in ways with which Rubio would never agree, because his definition of "greater" is rolling back the clock on social progress and killing more people around the globe, but I digress), which literally has nothing to do with competing with other countries. But framing national greatness as a competition is the only way to satisfy nationalistic urges to chant "USA! USA!" while waving oversized foam fingers emblazoned with "We're #1!" so.

Pro-torture doc Ben Carson, pugilist Chris Christie, Joe McCarthy impersonator Ted Cruz, corporate power-failure Carly Fiorina, real person Jim Gilmore, reasonable-by-comparison Lindsey Graham, professor of bible bigotry Mike Huckabee, nerdiest clown Bobby Jindal, "moderate" John Kasich, charisma void George Pataki, trainwreck Rick Perry, waking nightmare Rick Santorum, and Indiana dumpster diver Scott Walker continue to run for president.

[CN: Video autoplays at link] On the other side of the aisle, Vice President Joe Biden isn't sure that he has "the emotional fuel" to run for the White House: "We're dealing at home with...whether or not there is the emotional fuel at this time to run," Biden told members of the Democratic National Committee on a conference call. "If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul, and right now, both are pretty well banged up."

I'm not a huge fan of Biden as a politician, never have been, but it breaks my heart how much he and his family have gone through. It's upsetting to me, even though I don't want him to run, to think that might be the reason he doesn't.

In other news, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that using a private email server wasn't the best decision: "I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why. I get it. So here's what I want the American people to know: My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn't the best choice. I should've used two emails: one personal, one for work. I take responsibility for that decision, and I want to be as transparent as possible, which is why I turned over 55,000 pages, why I've turned over my server, why I've agreed to—in fact, been asking to—and have finally gotten a date to testify before a congressional committee in October. I'm confident that this process will prove that I never sent, nor received, any email that was marked classified." All right then.

Senator Bernie Sanders makes his pitch to the Democratic establishment: "Sanders huddled with advisers at his home [on] Wednesday to chart what he describes as the second phase of a campaign that has exceeded all expectations but still lacks the infrastructure and support from the party elites that could help him compete with Clinton on a national level. He said he will issue a slew of detailed policy proposals, including for a tax system under which corporations and the wealthy would pay significantly more for initiatives that would benefit the poor and middle class, and will pour resources into voter outreach in early nominating states. The senator also will appear with other White House hopefuls this week at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee and will urge party leaders to embrace him as a candidate who can attract new voters and energy, just as President Obama did eight years ago." Good luck, Bernie! I hope that the Democratic elite changes their minds and suddenly welcome in a real way proposals to heavily tax corporations and the wealthy to fund a robust social safety net! That would be terrific!

Get a load of this fucking guy: "Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard professor who is exploring a long shot presidential run, said on Tuesday that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is 'running a campaign to win, not to govern.'" Hahahahahaha shut up, Lessig! This is the same guy who is fixing to run as a "referendum candidate" who "would remain in office just long enough to enact financing reform before stepping aside in favor of the vice-president." And he's accusing Sanders of running only to win but not to govern?! Okay, player.

Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb continue to run for president.

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Donna Summer: "Could It Be Magic"

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: White supremacy; racism; anti-immgrationism; antisemitism.]

"If Mr. Trump loses, this could be the last chance whites have to vote for a president who could actually do something useful for them and for their country."—A dude who runs a white supremacist website, whose name I'm not even going to mention because fuck him, in an article about how white supremacists love the fuck outta Donald Trump.

And why do they love him? Well, that should be obvious by now: It's because he's an inveterate, unapologetic racist.

In an interview on Wednesday with BuzzFeed News, [redacted, same dude as quoted above] further explained that his support for Trump was based on his desire for whites to remain the majority racial group in the United States.

"Why should whites want to be a minority?" he said. "Answer me that question. Why should we want to celebrate diversity when celebrating diversity means celebrating our dwindling numbers and influence? And to the extent that Trump succeeds in putting the brakes on immigration, he will also be succeeding at reducing the speed with which whites are reduced to a minority."

He added that this was the way "frankly that all whites feel, we just never dare say so."

[Another dude], who writes under the pseudonym [redacted] for the white nationalist blog [redacted] ("We don't want to see our peoples be submerged"), said in an interview that he supports Trump for other reasons. In addition to his staunch opposition to immigration, he also noted the candidate's positions on "trade, political correctness, and campaign finance."

"I like the fact that he's funny," Griffin added.
So. They don't just like him because he's a racist shitlord; they also like him because he tells it like it is, he says what "everyone" is thinking but refuses to say, and because he's funny.

Gee, where have I heard that before?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat standing on a glasstop table on the back porch, looking innocent
"What? I'm definitely supposed to be on this table!"

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] Absolutely awful: "As many as 50 refugees were found dead in a parked truck in Austria near the Hungarian border on Thursday, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the discovery had shaken European leaders discussing the migrant crisis at a Balkans summit. ...Merkel told a news conference at the summit on the West Balkans in Vienna: 'We are of course all shaken by the appalling news. This reminds us that we must tackle quickly the issue of immigration and in a European spirit—that means in a spirit of solidarity—and to find solutions.' Tens of thousands of people, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, have put to sea this year in the hope of reaching Europe, often dangerously packed into small vessels that were never designed to cross the Mediterranean."

[CN: Privacy violations] Annalee Newitz has found that the vast majority of female Ashley Madison members were probably faked accounts. "We're left with data that suggests Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren't there."

[CN: Transphobic violence] Your liberal media: "2015 has seen a disturbing spike in the number of recorded murders of transgender people, and especially transgender women of color, in the U.S. Though the trans community has historically been disproportionately targeted by violence, the murders of seven trans women of color in just the first two months of 2015 alarmed groups like the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which warned of an 'epidemic of violence' against trans women. ...But beyond [Janet Mock]'s powerful MHP segments, and despite growing national attention, national cable news outlets have largely ignored the alarming spike in murders of trans women of color. Between July 27 and August 21, neither CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC aired a segment drawing attention to the murders."

[CN: Mass shooting] James Holmes, the man who opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater in July 2012, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others, has been sentenced to 12 consecutive life sentences plus 3,318 years in prison.

In good news: "The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections. ...Voter registration began over the weekend in cities Madinah and Makkah, where a small number of women showed up to register. Jamal Al-Saadi was one such woman, saying that she was 'quite ready' for this time to come. 'The participation of Saudi women in the municipal elections as voters and candidates was a dream for us,' Saadi said. 'The move will enable Saudi women to have a say in the process of the decision-making.' Voting for all women will be opening in upcoming weeks."

[CN: Homophobia] What will it take for this person to be fired? "Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is trying for one last anti-gay Hail Mary after the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied her request to stay a federal order calling on her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis will petition U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan for a stay on the order, according to Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver who is representing Davis in court."

[CN: Flood; displacement; death] I can't imagine a more pitiful, contemptible thing: Former FEMA Chief Michael "Brownie" Brown marks the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with an article headlined: "Stop Blaming Me for Hurricane Katrina."

Whoa: "Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have reportedly created a school of synthetic swimming microfish, smaller than the width of a human hair, which can sense and respond to chemicals in their environment. The technology potentially could be used to neutralize toxins such as bee venom or even deliver drugs to targeted areas of the body. The multipurpose fish-shaped microrobots swim around efficiently in liquids, are chemically powered by hydrogen peroxide and magnetically controlled. These proof-of-concept synthetic microfish will inspire a new generation of 'smart' microrobots, researchers said."

[CN: Racism] Let the redemption begin! "Paula Deen Joins Dancing with the Stars Season 21 Cast." I can't wait to keep not watching that show!

Is a new Adele album imminent? I HOPE SO!!!

And finally! "20+ Crossbreed Dogs That Will Make You Fall in Love with Mutts." Zelda approves!

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Virginia News Shooting: Updates & Thoughts

[Content Note: Guns; death; self-harm; racism; homophobia; animal abuse.]

Background here.

[CN: Video autoplays at link] This morning, WDBJ had a moment of silence on air for reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. Blub.

Vicki Gardner, the chamber of commerce executive being interviewed by Parker at the time, who was shot in the back, has come out of surgery and is reportedly doing well, although she will have a long recovery, after losing a kidney and part of her intestines.

* * *

A lot of the early news coverage about yesterday's shooting was wrong about a few key details: It was reported that the shooter, Vester Flanagan (also known by his on-air name Bryce Williams) was an ex of one of the people he killed, which turned out not to be true. He was, however, a former colleague of both. It was also reported that he had ended his own life, while he was still alive, though he had shot himself and later succumbed to his injuries.

Later in the day, and this morning, much of the discussion around Flanagan has been about his motivation for the shooting, which he detailed in a 23-page manifesto faxed to ABC News after the shooting. The document alleges racial and homophobic bullying at his former place of employment, but also reveals Flanagan to be someone with deeply fucked-up thinking: He expresses admiration for other mass shooters, and, at one point, blames his former employer and coworkers for his decision to kill his own cats in a forest.

Flanagan is (as per usual) being routinely said to have been mentally ill. But the usual suspects, who reject out of hand that hatred plays a role in mass shootings when privileged straight white cis men do it, are highly focused on reports that Flanagan "played the race card."

screen cap of news headlines about Flanagan 'playing the race card'

His former employer and coworkers say that Flanagan was difficult, and that he saw discrimination, based on his race and sexuality, that wasn't there. Other former black employees, like Pamela Mack-Brown, who "worked for 16 years before retiring as a production coordinator at the station," have been quoted as saying there were not racial tensions at the station: "There was no tension. No racial issues. We were like family. That's all."

Let me be abundantly clear: Workplace discrimination of any sort is not justification for murder. The end.

But because so much of the discussion around Flanagan is centered around his assertions of discrimination, particularly racial discrimination, I just want to address this "debate" (such as it is) around whether he was imagining racism and homophobia: It is eminently possible—in fact, it is likely—that there was racism and homophobia in his workplace, that he had legitimate grievances, and that he also fixated on things both real and imagined.

Ultimately, because discrimination is not (nor should ever be) a defense of murder, it's irrelevant to Flanagan's motive whether he experienced racism and homophobia in the workplace. But it's not irrelevant to our cultural conversation when we pretend there's even a possibility that a workplace in the US exists that is wholly free from racism and homophobia.

It's okay—and necessary—to hold both thoughts in our heads: That Flanagan may well have experienced discrimination, and that Flanagan was a troubled and troubling coworker who committed a terrible, vicious act of deliberate violence for maximum notoriety, for which there can never be any defense.

* * *

It's also okay, it must be, to talk about the fact that these murders likely would not have happened had Flanagan not had access to a gun.

And, no, I'm not saying he shouldn't have had access to a gun because he was possibly mentally ill: I'm saying that the average person doesn't need access to guns, period. (Not sorry for thinking the word "regulated" has a meaning in the Second Amendment.)

But now is not the time to politicize gun ownership blah blah yawn. It never is. Not in this country.

Our president, for one, is tired of that rule, and I am glad.

Discussing the shooting, President Obama said: "What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism."

That is a good place to start this conversation. If only the rest of us were willing to have it.

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Non-Appropriative Halloween Costumes

Yesterday, in comments of my post about another appropriative Halloween costume, Shaker yazikus asked for a thread to share ideas for non-appropriative costumes. So here it is!

What are costumes you have worn yourself, are planning to wear, have seen other people wearing, etc. that don't borrow someone else's identity?

Last Halloween, I went as Grumpy Cat! A hat with cat ears (procured from Etsy), some face make-up to recreate her markings, and a white t-shirt onto which I'd spray-painted NO. Easy and fun.

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Today in Police Militarization

[Content Note: Police militarization; police brutality.]

Were I still capable of surprise at what police forces around this country are doing in order to harm people more effectively, this would surprise me, but I have been rendered unsurprisable at this point. Now I'm just perpetually angry:

North Dakota's police agencies can fly drones armed with Tasers, tear gas, bean-bag cannons, and other "less-lethal" weapons, thanks to fierce lobbying from the law enforcement industry on a bill that was initially meant to restrict police use of the flying robots rather than outfit them with weapons. While other local police departments have flirted with weaponizing their drones, North Dakota is the first state to explicitly allow the armaments.

When State Rep. Rick Becker introduced H.B. 1328, the law both banned weaponized drones and established a procedure for law enforcement to seek a warrant before using drones in searches. Only the warrant requirement survived. After stiff lobbying and a multi-stage public relations effort by law enforcement and drone proponents, first reported by The Daily Beast, the version of the bill that ultimately passed authorized police to arm their unmanned aerial vehicles with sound cannons, pepper spray, and other weapons not designed to kill.
Except: "39 people have been killed by police Tasers in 2015 thus far, according to The Guardian. Rubber bullets can kill, and most non-lethal weapons can inflict grievous and lasting harm."

I have a hard time believing there is any reason for this besides: We still definitely want to hurt people, but just want to reduce the risk of harm to ourselves while we do it.

If police are interested in convincing me of the oft-repeated refrain about how police don't actively want to harm people, this sure ain't the way to do it.

(Yes, I know: Not all cops. As always, I will advise: If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. If you're one of the "good cops," please don't waste your time arguing with me about how you're not like all those other cops and instead invest it in talking to those other cops to make them more like you claim to be.)

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Open Thread

image of a fruit that looks very much like a watermelon, but is yellow instead of pink on the inside

Hosted by a xigua.

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Question of the Day

Also suggested by Shaker GoldFishy, and the logical follow-up to yesterday's QotD: "If you were running a radio request show, what song would you play every time it was requested?"

So, so many songs I just can't get enough of, but the first one that came to mind from the "I could listen to this forever" file is 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton. The opening bars of that song are some of my favorite introductory measures in all of pop music ever.

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Quote of the Day

"I'm not sure whether to describe those comments as remarkably rich or utterly predictable."—White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, on Charles Koch whining like an aggrieved infant who doesn't understand the world yet, all because President Obama called out him and his brother for "pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding."

That is literally what they do, and yet Koch pitiably whined: "It's beneath the president, the dignity of the president, to be doing that."

I guess a conservative would consider it undignified for a president to tell the truth.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by soup.

Recommended Reading:

Michelle: [Content Note: Fat hatred; weight loss talk; beauty policing] We Deserve to Look Like Ourselves

Julia: [CN: Transphobia; racism; misogyny; homophobia] That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore (and It's Not Because of "Political Correctness")

Jenn: [CN: Racism; reproductive policing] Birthright Citizenship and How the GOP Is Abandoning Asian American Voters

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred; medical misconduct] When Prejudice Precludes Proper Healthcare

Sameer: [CN: Misogyny; rape culture] Steve Harvey's "What Men Really Think" Bit Reignites Accusations of Misogyny

Rob: [CN: Image of spiderweb at link] Oh God Spiders Are Using Textspeak Now

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

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Other People's Identities Are Not Your Costume

[Content Note: Transphobia; othering.]

Every year, as Halloween approaches, I'm obliged to write a post about how other people's identities are not costumes. We're getting an early start this year, as Halloween retailers are stocking, or promising threatening to stock, Caitlyn Jenner costumes. I won't post a picture of the "unisex" costume being modeled by a man, but there is one at this link, if you are inclined to take a look at how dreadful it really is.

The outrage began earlier this month after we reported Spirit Costumes' intention to sell the costume — though it still hasn't been listed on the company's website.

But Spirit Halloween publicist Trisha Lombardo said she personally didn't see any problem with it.

"Caitlyn Jenner has proven to be the most important real-life superhero of the year, and Spirit Halloween is proud (of) the costume that celebrates her," she said at the time.
This? Is bullshit. The costume is, like most Halloween costumes, meant to be absurd and comical. No cis person will be buying this costume to honor, or "celebrate," Caitlyn Jenner. It's a mockery. And Spirit Halloween publicist Trisha Lombardo knows that, even if she wants to pretend she doesn't.

But the quality and intent of the costume isn't even especially relevant, because even if it were somehow tastefully done (whatever the fuck that means), the issue is treating Caitlyn Jenner's identity as a costume in the first place.

Other people's identities are not your costume. Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary. For fuck's sake.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Suede: "Beautiful Ones"

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Trump the Terrible

[Content Note: Racism; privilege.]

This fucking guy.

Yesterday, Univision and Fusion reporter Jorge Ramos was [CN: video autoplays at link] thrown out of a Donald Trump campaign event after asking a question about immigration out of turn.

Trump told Ramos, who was trying to ask about immigration during the event in Dubuque, Iowa, repeatedly to "sit down."

"You haven't been called...go back to Univision," Trump can be heard saying.
If "go back to Univision" doesn't invoke the familiar cries of "go back to Mexico" which are shouted at any Latin@ person, irrespective of their nation of origin (even when it is the United States), then you haven't been paying attention to the way Latin@ people are treated by nativist racists.

Less than an hour later, Trump "adopted broken English (and possible stereotypically Asian r/l slurring) in a campaign speech. Trump was apparently trying to mimic Japanese or Chinese businessmen."

Is that what progressive dudes mean when they tell me that Trump is "entertaining"? I'll come back to that.

In other Trump news, odious Republican pollster Frank Luntz [CN: video autoplays at link] convened a focus group of self-identified Trump fans and discovered that, in news that ought to surprise no one, they are a terrifically scary lot.
"I think America is pissed. Trump's the first person that came out and voiced exactly what everybody's been saying all along," one man said. "When he talks, deep down somewhere you're going, 'Holy crap, someone is thinking the same way I am.'"

..."When Trump talks, it may not be presented in a pristine, PC way, but we've been having that crap pushed to us for the past 40 years!" said another man. "He's saying what needs to be said."

..."We know his goal is to make America great again," a woman said. "It's on his hat. And we see it every time it's on TV. Everything that he's doing, there's no doubt why he’s doing it: it's to make America great again.”
It's on his hat!!!

Luntz showed the focus group a series of videos showcasing instances of Trump's "misogyny, political flip flops, and awe-inspiring braggadocio," and, far from diminishing their ardor, the videos only elevated their devotion: "At the end of the session, the vast majority said they liked Trump more than when they walked in."

As for Trump, he continues to bask in the golden glow of adoration from people like those in attendance at the focus group and called Luntz "a low class slob." Perfect.

* * *

Meanwhile, ostensibly progressive straight white cis dudes continue to be delighted by Trump's campaign. Here, for example, is actor and "staunch liberal" Owen Wilson in a recent interview:
"Like everybody, I watched the GOP debates—and I don't know the last time I watched debates," he marveled. "It's usually almost like a football game—when it gets down to the final two, now we're going to watch the Democrat versus the Republican. But to watch this early on, when they've got 15 people on the stage, it would never have happened unless Trump was there."

There's a reason Trump is winning the media game right now with his brash headline-grabbing wizardry. "You can't help but get a kick out of him, and I think part of it is we're so used to politicians on both sides sounding like actors at press junkets—it's sort of by rote, and they say all the right things," Wilson laughed. "So here's somebody who's not following that script. It's like when Charlie Sheen was doing that stuff—like, wow! He's answering a question completely honestly, and in an entertaining way. You sort of feel he could be a character from Network."

The Dallas-born Wilson got a shade more serious pondering Trump's problematic border politics. "I don't know if I'm not taking it as seriously as I should," he said. "But when he said he was going down to the border and he showed up at a press conference and said, 'Now I'm going out to the border and I hope I'll see you later'—sort of suggesting that it was so dangerous that 'Who knows if I'll see you later'… I don't know, it was just funny to me. The guy is a showman. You have to sort of get a kick out of the guy. It is entertaining, for sure. That's why people are tuning in."
That shit, right there, is part of how rightwing extremism takes hold in this country—the mirthful indifference of super privileged men, who see naught but the entertainment value in extremist rhetoric, because they will never be the targets of the social policies it underwrites.

Further, men like Trump who disgorge undecorated bigotry are seen, even by these progressive men, as telling the truth, as "answering a question completely honestly," while progressive activists—whether it's #BlackLivesMatter activists telling truths about their lives living under white supremacy, or pro-choice activists telling truths about abortion and contraception and their own experiences with reproductive healthcare services, or feminist/womanist activists telling truths about their lives in a patriarchal system, or anti-rape activists telling truths about the rape culture and/or surviving sexual violence, or fat acceptance activists telling truths about their lives and their choices and their realities in a fat-hating society, or anyone else—are incessantly questioned and challenged and disbelieved and audited by these same privileged progressive men who hail Trump as a truth-teller.

I can't get through a single damn day without telling the truth about my lived experiences and getting pushback from some progressive bro who thinks he knows my life better than I do, but Trump—Donald fucking Trump!—is a truth-telling hero whose refusal to sugarcoat his rank prejudice is an entertaining spectacle for the same bros.

Get your shit together, progressive dudes. Because I see you—and what I'm seeing is nothing that looks like someone who's on my team, despite the fact you're constantly telling me otherwise.

As I said recently, while calling out similar statements by Bryan Cranston: It isn't straight white cis men at whose expense comes Donald Trump's contemptible rhetoric about women, people of color, immigrants, and others (not mutually exclusive groups). Professing delight at being able to sit back and laugh at Trump's campaign is indicative of profound privilege which has not been subjected to the most cursory examination.

There are plenty of news stories about how Trump will tear apart conservatives, but I daresay he's straining the already-frayed seams among progressives, too.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound sitting up on the loveseat, with his paws outstretched on a pillow in front of the camera
Happy National Dog Day, from Dudley (and Zelda, too)!

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: War] This is tentatively good news, provided the agreement lasts, which is no sure thing: "South Sudanese President Salva Kiir signed a peace deal to end a 20-month conflict with rebels on Wednesday after voicing reservations about the pact, according to a Reuters witness at the ceremony attended by African regional leaders. The presidents of Kenya and Uganda, and the prime minister of Ethiopia, who all helped mediate the negotiations, were at the signing event in the capital Juba. Rebel leader Riek Machar signed the accord in the Ethiopian capital last week." Also: Even a ceasefire does not guarantee safety for the people caught in the middle of this conflict.

[CN: Flooding; displacement; self-harm; racism; disablism] This is a powerful piece about one woman, Kathy Phipps, whose relocation story following Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, became a media sensation, and what her life actually was like after the cameras left.

[CN: Clergy abuse] Stephen Pohl, a former priest at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky, has been arrested for taking "erotic" (that is the legal term, because the children were clothed) images of "dozens of local children." He was arrested on a Friday, and resigned the following Thursday (because why would be fired jesus christ). The school apparently had no idea Pohl was taking images of the students, despite the fact they were taken at an after-school club, and it was only when one of the students, a 10-year-old boy, told his parents and the parents personally confronted the priest and demanded to see his phone and found the images did this come to light. Great job as always, Catholic Church.

[CN: Transphobia] An update on ending the military ban on transgender servicemembers: "The Pentagon is scheduled to end its ban on open transgender service next May according to an internal memo circulated among top personnel at the Defense Department. ...The memo also spells out how the Pentagon would handle servicemembers who wish to transition as well as what, if anything, to do regarding trans servicemembers who have been dishonorably discharged for being trans." Good momentum.

Hillary Clinton makes her pitch to rural USians, announcing "a multi-step plan on Wednesday to grow the economy and local services in rural areas."

[CN: Child sex abuse; fat hatred] Audra Williams makes a terrific point about how former Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle's highly celebrated weight loss created a narrative around him that he was a moral paragon, because we attach so much moral judgment to weight and weight loss.

Neat! A "University of Washington research team has found an extremely rare nautilus, Allonautilus scrobiculatus, after a gap of more than three decades. Professor Peter Ward had first time seen the elusive nautilus species in 1984. The nautilus with distinctive spiral shell has been recently spotted by biologist Peter Ward in the South Pacific."

If you love video games AND you love YouTube, then maybe you will love this item, or maybe not! "YouTube is to launch its spin-off platform for video gamers at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday evening. YouTube Gaming is a dedicated app and website focusing exclusively on gaming content, with a greater emphasis on live steams. The video sharing giant told the BBC it wanted tackle a 'fragmented' experience for the gaming genre. One expert said YouTube was 'fighting back' against rivals such as Twitch and Daily Motion."

And finally! This is a great story about veteran Army Specialist Tyler Roberts and his search for—and eventual reunion with—the bomb-sniffing dog named Donna whom he trained and with whom he served in Afghanistan. Best friends forever!

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Josh Duggar is an Abuser and a Predator

[CN: physical abuse, sexual abuse. A more detailed description of a violent sexual encounter is at the In Touch link.]

A woman has come forward to detail her sexual encounters with Josh Duggar in the pages of In Touch magazine. (Readers may recall that In Touch was the magazine which initially broke the news about Duggar's abuse of his sisters and a non-family victim, back in May.) Danica Dillon met Duggar initially when she was performing as an exotic dancer at the Gold Club in Philadelphia. The story she tells isn't very pretty:

“He walked into the Gold Club like a normal patron and said he’d been a fan for a long time and has watched my career grow — he even said from before my boob job until recently — and that he loved watching my very first scene on [an adult website],” she tells In Touch. “Then it got creepy.”

After watching her show and "eyeballing me," Danica says he bought $600 in private dances and then “asked me how would he be able to spend the evening with me.” She reveals to In Touch that Josh was violent with her when they had sex, he did not use protection and gave her thousands of dollars after their encounters...

“I actually really hope that his wife leaves him and takes his children away from him and leaves him a lonely, bitter man. I don’t think he deserves happiness.”

Yesterday, Liss drew the link between Duggar's upbringing and his history of predation, noting that "repression demonstrably breeds, and disproportionately so, a particular kind of male predator who acts out in coercive and/or violent ways so as not to be exposed—and grooms their female victims so that victimization seems both normal and their own responsibility." And that's the thing about the entire Duggar "scandal"--it isn't a tale of schadenfreude and comeuppance, but of abuse and predation. Josh Duggar's behavior isn't a bug of the Duggar's Gothardite religious philosophy; it's a feature, as the story of Bill Gothard himself illustrates. And that "feature" has very serious real-life consequences.

One consequence? Josh Duggar's acts of sexual violence against a woman involved in sex work. His entire upbringing and religious viewpoint, with its emphasis on "purity" and blaming women for men's sexual indiscretions, gives him permission (in his mind) to view a woman who's been involved in erotic dance and performance as an object, a woman who is the antithesis of what women are "supposed" to be and do. Of course he not only frightened her with his sexual violence, he refused to use protection, signaling his utter contempt for her safety, as well as the safety of his other sexual partners. And of course he used the abuser's typical method--expansive and expensive gifts--to manipulate his victim afterwards. These are plays from a textbook case of abuse, and in Duggars' case, the Gothardite religious curriculum provided him the textbook long ago.

Duggar counted on Dillon's professional discretion, as well as her vulnerability, to keep up the veil of silence around his activities, just as he is continuing to count on the misogynistic culture of his religious community to force his wife into taking the blame for his abusive ways, both towards her and towards other women. He's gotten the benefit of the doubt that he somehow magically changed since abusing his sisters as a teenager, despite receiving no credible counseling. Instead, he was assured that marriage would magically "cure" his abusive sexuality, and provided him a new person to blame for his own failings: his wife. His parents and supporters seem astonished that he hasn't repented and changed his ways. Why would he? He has not only the general society's enabling of abuse behind him, but his own religious subculture's scapegoating of women to excuse him.

But there's a funny thing that often happens to abusive, predatory assholes. Their victims have a way of coming forward once we realize that there may be other victims out there, that we may be in a position to at least offer support and reassurance to those who have also suffered at the hands of this dirtbag. (*coughcough* Bill Cosby *coughcough*)

Of course, not every survivor can come forward; for one thing, it's not always safe to do so. But when we can, we often do--not because most women are vindictive scheming bitches looking to "take down" innocent men, as rape culture would have us believe. But because it's one small way to help others as we help ourselves escape the abusive power of a predator. In that light, Dillon's wish for Anna Duggar to leave her husband reads not so much as a statement of bitterness but as one of solidarity.

My very sincere sympathy and good wishes to Danica Dillon, who had to go through a horrible experience with Josh Duggar, and who will doubtless face vilification from the Duggars' many fans, and others who will sneer at her testimony because of her profession. My good wishes and sympathy as well to Anna Duggar, who has been unwillingly thrust into the spotlight, once again, thanks to her husband's abusive actions. I sincerely hope she will find a way to do what is best and safest for her.

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Reporter and Cameraman Killed During Live Broadcast

[Content Note: Guns; death.]

This morning, in Moneta, Virginia, a gunman killed reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live news segment they were filming for the morning news, which was unrelated to the shooting, which apparently started as they were already filming the segment. A third person was injured. Although part of the shooting was captured during filming, I won't be sharing video or images of that here, and I ask that they not be shared in comments, either.

Police are investigating the shooting at the Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake that took place at about 6.45am ET. A news crew from WDBJ7 local news was on the scene to film a segment for the morning news when several shots rang out. Screams followed and the camera recording the feature fell, as producers cut to the shocked studio news team.

The station later announced that two of their team, Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, had been shot dead.

Police are searching for a suspect at the scene.

...Jeff Marks, the station's general manager, recounted what police had told the station. "Someone with a gun, we believe it was a man, barged into where they were and fired several shots, six or seven, it sounded like. We heard screaming, and then we heard nothing, the camera fell.

"The scene was described to us as chaos."

...Police from Franklin and Bedford counties as well as Virginia state police are searching for a suspect at the scene. They have not described the extent of the third victim's injuries.
My condolences to Parker's and Ward's family, friends, colleagues, and community. What a devastating event.

I will post updates in comments as more information becomes available, and please feel welcome to do the same.

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Today in Anti-Choice Terrorism

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

The anti-choice movement is, by any reasonable definition, domestic terrorism. This flagrant, shameless, decades-long campaign of intimidation, threats, and acts of violence against abortion-seeking people, the healthcare providers who offer abortion services (or are even presumed to offer abortion services), and the spaces in which they offer them, in defense of an inherently violent ideology, is a comprehensive terrorist movement which, from just 1977 to 2011, included multiple assassinations, multiple attempted assassinations, 4 kidnappings, 191 incidents of assault and battery, countless acts of vandalism, over 200 arsons and bombings, and the relentless harassment of people trying to access a legal healthcare procedure.

They continue to seek new ways to identify, target, threaten, and harm abortion providers and patients, and ProPublica's Charles Ornstein has written a piece for the Washington Post detailing their strategies for securing private medical records, under the auspices of, naturally, "protecting women."

Increasingly, abortion opponents are pursuing personal and medical information on women undergoing abortions and the doctors who perform them. They often file complaints with authorities based on what they learn.

...In recent years, abortion opponents have become experts at accessing public records such as recordings of 911 calls, autopsy reports, and documents from state health departments and medical boards, then publishing the information on their Web sites.

Some activists have dug through clinics' trash to find privacy violations by abortion providers — such as patient records tossed in dumpsters — and used them to file complaints with regulators.

...Coast to coast, they appear to be drawing from an unofficial playbook: Some wait outside clinics, tracking or taking photos of patients' and staffers' license plates and ambulances, if called.

They not only mine public records but also collect information leaked by sympathetic health-care workers — for example, emergency-room doctors and ambulance drivers — who are required to keep patient information confidential under HIPAA. The law, however, doesn't apply to advocacy groups.

...The leaked information is used by activists to bolster complaints they submit to health agencies against abortion providers, sometimes without patients' knowledge. Operation Rescue estimates that it has 100 complaints pending in different states.
And if you're one of those patients on whose behalf a complaint is filed without your knowledge, and you'd like to know who violated your privacy? Too bad.
Alicia said she asked state officials to identify who had filed the complaint that provided her name to state officials. To her amazement, she was told that information was confidential.

..."I don't understand why whoever did this gets to be anonymous while I was the one who was supposed to not have my information leaked," she said. "Why does that person get more rights than me?"
Why on Maude's green earth is this allowed to continue? Because the people being targeted are not cis men. The people being targeted by this hateful campaign are overwhelmingly women, along with transgender men and non-binary people.

Because one of the two major parties is a state sponsor of this terrorism, who do the legislative service of the anti-choice movement, running clinics out of business with TRAP laws and ensuring that fetuses are legally valued more highly than the people who carry them.

Because the people who are running for president in that party say things like they will use all resources available to them, including the military, to stop abortions if elected president.

Because most of the people in the ostensibly pro-choice party can't even brings themselves to say the word abortion, and use mealy-mouthed language about it that entrenches stigma.

Because our two-term ostensibly pro-choice president has failed to address the loathsome Helms Amendment, and has never given a major social address on the erosion of abortion rights, even as he has overseen the most aggressive erosion of those rights since they were first guaranteed.

Because there are precious few people in positions of power who are willing to put themselves in the crosshairs, literal and figurative, of the anti-choice movement, on behalf of women and marginalized men and their doctors.

Some of them are indifferent, but many of them are afraid. Because terrorism terrifies.

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Open Thread

image of a hairless dog with perked ears and a curled tail standing outdoors

Hosted by the Xoloitzcuintli. AKA the Mexican Hairless Dog.

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Question of the Day

(I'm starting to fade fast, so I'm going to wrap it up a little early today. I'll see you tomorrow.)

Suggested via email by Shaker GoldFishy: "If you were running a radio request show, what song would you never ever play no matter how many times it was requested?"

Every Breath You Take by The Police. Good gravy, I hate that song.

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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

Tori Amos: "Silent All These Years"

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Cosby, the 50 Threshold, and the Empty Chair

[Content Note: Sexual assault; rape culture.]

Last week, two more women "held a press conference in New York City to detail new allegations against" Bill Cosby, bringing the total number of women accusing Cosby of rape or attempted rape to 51.

Each new woman making allegations is said to be filling the empty chair, as depicted on the cover of New York Magazine to represent his victims who have not publicly identified themselves.

I have repeatedly seen this grim threshold marked with sentiments that are some variation on the idea that the sheer number of survivors who are speaking out is proof of Cosby's guilt. "You can't disbelieve 50 women."

Sure. But one is enough.

I invite the people who find proof in numbers to recall that empty chair, upon which so many of them also remarked as a powerful symbol.

Because the thing is, even when there is only one woman reporting a rape, there should be an empty chair.

We know that sexual predators have high rates of recidivism and that serial sexual assault is more common than we'd like to believe. Predators prey and rapists are liars and no one is more intimately familiar with the rape culture, and how to exploit it to his advantage, than a serial rapist.

Rape is not, in fact, as it is so commonly misrepresented, simply a "mistake" made by a "good guy" who "didn't understand" what he was doing.

There is almost always, especially without accountability, an empty chair.

Sometimes that chair could be filled by an existing survivor who has not spoken out, for any one of a number of legitimate reasons. Sometimes that chair will be filled by a future victim, after a predator is left to continue to prey, for reasons of institutional indifference.

Yes, 50 women are difficult to disbelieve. But one should be just as difficult to disbelieve, especially when we understand the enormous disincentives that any woman faces in reporting and how many rapes go unreported for just that reason.

If that chair seems compelling to you sitting beside 50 women, it should seem just as compelling sitting beside one.

Maybe even more so, when we consider what it means to be the first to report, or the only one who ever will.

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