Happy New Year's Eve!

image of Matilda, Olivia, and Sophie, the Cats of Shakes Manor, in party gear

The Cats of Shakes Manor have graciously offered to host Shakesville's New Year's Eve party, so let's get this party started!

Thank you for another great year, Shakers.

We will be taking tomorrow off, and I'll see you back here on Monday.


Please indicate your excitement by checking this box: □

I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year! If nothing else, at least this dumpster fire of a year is over! Seeya, 2015! Ya jerk!

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Misogyny; spoilers for The Force Awakens at the link.]

"I'm delighted that [Rey] isn't just another version of the plucky heroine whose major obstacle is everyone else's limited view of what girls can do."—Sally Honeycutt, in "Why Rey from The Force Awakens Makes Me Cry."


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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat sitting on a pile of coats on a chair
"Your coats are my bed now."

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...

President Obama appeared on Jerry Seinfeld's web series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," and if you would like to see it, here you go!

Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza compiled his annual Year in Photographs, and there are a whole lotta great photos there. I am really going to miss President Obama when he leaves office. Damn.

[Content Note: Police brutality] The latest in the Guardian's "The Counted" series, examining how the "fate of police officers who kill often rests in the hands of the prosecutors they typically work alongside," is really terrific. The whole series is just great. Difficult but great.

[CN: Transphobia] Fucking hell, this is so cruel and disgusting and abusive: "A new bill [introduced in Indiana] would actually criminalize transgender people for using the restroom. Sen. Jim Tomes (R) calls his legislation 'a simple bill,' and he' not wrong. SB 35 does two things. First, it would prohibit schools from ever allowing transgender students from using restrooms that match their gender identity. Students would only be identified by the sex assigned to them at birth as determined by their anatomy and chromosomes, and that sex would determine which facility they can and cannot use. This would force schools to violate Title IX and discriminate against transgender students. The Department of Education has repeatedly found that schools can not refuse access to transgender students on the basis of their gender identity. Then, the bill mandates that any transgender person who uses a public sex-specific restroom, locker room, or shower room that matches their gender identity has committed a 'single sex public facility trespass,' which it deems a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is the highest non-felony charge in Indiana, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 dollars." Rage. Seethe. Boil.

[CN: Guns; death] In Florida, a woman who is a 911 dispatcher with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office and who is married to a St. Cloud Police Corporal shot and killed her own daughter after mistaking her for an intruder. "Her death is being characterized by St. Cloud Police as an 'accidental shooting.'" I guess. But it wasn't really an "accident," despite the fact that it's a terrible tragedy. The woman intended to kill someone she thought was an intruder. (Which also would have been legal.) Calling it an accident suggests the lesson here is "make sure you know who you're killing," but maybe it should be "don't fucking kill people." I don't know. I'm so sorry for this family, and I'm so angry at our culture.

Okay: "When Marco Rubio was majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives, he used his official position to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier, according to records obtained by The Washington Post." He seems neat.

[CN: Stalking; harassment; murder; spoilers for the series Making a Murderer] If anyone has watched the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, which I recommend, this article contains some important details about the case that didn't make it, for reasons I cannot understand, into the series. I share the author's opinion about both this series and Serial. (I also have the same concerns regarding consent of the victim's family that I had about Serial.)

[CN: Toxic masculinity; Star Wars spoilers] "Geek male identity has been reduced to Kylo Ren thrashing a computer with his sword; this needs to change."

"Hairstylist Ursula Goff Shares Selfie Photos to Show No One Is Perfect: We should keep in mind that behind every pretty face or perfect lifestyle is a regular person and that there's really no point in comparing amongst ourselves because this is all cultivated." A+

[CN: Moving gifs at link] "This Raccoon Who Stole a Doughnut in Toronto Is Your Inspiration for 2016." LOL! When Deeky tweeted this video last night, he said: "Raccoons don't give a fuck." To which I replied: "They have tiny hands and the laws of humankind cannot hold them. WHY WOULD THEY."

And finally! I love this sooooo much: In 2009, Patti Page rewrote her 1952 classic song "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" and recorded a new version called "Do You See That Doggie in the Shelter?" Blub.

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But We Are Each One and Deserve to Be Heard

[Content Note: Rape; rape culture.]

In case you have not yet seen it, this is the cover of today's New York Daily News.

image of the cover of today's New York Daily News, featuring Bill Cosby's mushot and a full-page headline reading HE SAID with 57 SHE SAIDs after it

It is a powerful image, and, much like the "empty chair" cover of New York Magazine, delivers a blunt commentary on how long Bill Cosby was allowed to carry on assaulting women and what it really looks like when rapists are not held accountable.

I am, however, concerned that the focus on the number of Cosby's victims, particularly as that number has been used to argue that the sheer number of survivors who are speaking out is proof of Cosby's guilt, is subtly but certainly reinforcing the cultural expectation that one survivor is not enough to be believed.

And there are a lot of problems with that dynamic. Not all survivors feel safe reporting, so there are almost always victims of serial rapists who do not publicly tell their stories. One survivor shouldn't be obliged to tell her story so that another will be believed. And what if there is only one victim at the point at which she comes forward? Are we meant to ignore her until there are more women harmed just to satisfy our desire for overwhelming evidence? What a heinous thought.

One person is enough.

Even when there are multiple victims of the same rapist, we are each one. And we each deserve to be heard.

And nothing should make that more plain than the fact that if one, just one, any one, of Cosby's victims had been believed, there wouldn't be as many as there are.

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Oh no!

Jeb! is in trouble!

Jeb Bush's campaign is canceling its Iowa television advertising buy and shifting money to double staff on the ground in January, the final month before the high-stakes Iowa caucuses.

The news will raise questions about whether the former Florida governor might pull out of Iowa given his fifth-place status here, with just 6 percent support of likely GOP caucusgoers.

That's not the case, Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz told The Des Moines Register.

...The larger context is that Team Bush is making similar shifts from TV ads to its ground game in other early states, too. In January, they'll deploy 60 staffers from the Miami headquarters to the early states, including about 10 to Iowa.
This isn't because Bush is running out of money. It's because his campaign has already spent millions of dollars on television ads and they haven't made any goddamn difference. He still can't find the double-digits in the polls, even with binoculars.

So he's gonna try more people on the ground and see if that works. Spoiler Alert: It won't work! The only thing that will work is if Jeb! can figure out a way to Men-in-Black-neuralyzer the memory of his brother out of the brainpans of everyone on the planet.

Not that Iowa even really matters. I mean, Rick Santorum won Iowa once, so.

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Today in Manclaiming

image of a Solo lemon-flavored fizzy drink can labeled 'MAN'S CAN' and 'THIRST CRUSHER'

Photo by my friend Kath and shared with her permission. This refreshing lemon-flavored drink ISN'T FOR YOU, LADIES. It doesn't merely quench human thirst, but CRUSHES IT! You can't handle the THIRST-CRUSHING POWER of the MAN'S CAN so don't even try!

Solo, I am mansplained by its website, has been "crushing the thirst of Aussie men since 1973" and is "outdoors, active, real lemon tang refreshment" that's "light on the fizz so you can slam it down fast."
Even our ads are famous. The legendary SOLO man, an Aussie icon, performed daring and adventurous feats in TV commercials right up until the late 90s - no challenge was too big if an ice cold can of SOLO was the reward!
What about the challenge of drinking a fizzy drink out of a can that hasn't been masculinized to indulge a fragile masculinity that is defined exclusively in contradistinction to the feminine?

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Open Thread

image of the color sapphire blue

Hosted by sapphire.

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Question of the Day

What was the most important thing you learned in 2015?

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by leaves.

Recommended Reading:

William: [Content Note: Racism; police brutality; whitesplaining] For Black Boys Who Considered Anime When the Nightly News Was Way Too Much

Charline: [CN: Images and descriptions of domestic violence/rape] Comedian Beth Stelling Reveals Abusive Relationship: "It's Not Simple"

Mariame: [CN: Racism; police brutality] All of Chicago—Not Just Its Police—Must See Systemic Change to Save Black Lives

Ragen: [CN: Discussion of fat hatred and diet talk] New Year's Revolutions

Jenn: [CN: Rape; misogyny; war] Deal Between Japan and Korea Regarding Comfort Women Deserves Criticism

Esther: [CN: Critter pic at link] Scientists Officially Pronounce the "Ninja Lanternshark" a New Species

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

[Content Note: There are camera flashes in this video.]

Oasis: "Wonderwall"

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Fantasy Casting: Indiana Jones

Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that a new Indiana Jones film is "coming," which has been rumored for quite some time, and it's likely the series will be a reboot with a new Indy, since Shia LeBeouf has already been used up and discarded by Disney and won't be able to relaunch the franchise as might have been hoped when he was cast in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Garbage.

We all know it's going to be Chris Pratt—

photoshopped image of Chris Pratt's face on Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
Shakesville: The only place on the internet where you get a photoshop
of Chris Pratt as Indy using AndyDwyer Pratt and not ChiseledHero Pratt.

—but let's pretend there's a chance in hell that it will be someone who isn't Chris Pratt, or another white dude, and do some fantasy casting!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand go!

I see no reason why John Boyega shouldn't be in the Indiana Jones franchise, too.

I also can't get the idea of Ellen Page as Indiana Jones out of my head. I would also very much like to see her fall in love with Karen Allen. I'm just saying.

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From the You Can't Make This Stuff Up Files

[Content Note: Privilege.]

"Twitter Criticized for Hiring White Male as New Diversity Chief."

I'm sure Cody Nickelback (or whatever his name is) is definitely totally for sure the best diversity chief that has ever diversity chiefed in the history of diversity chiefing, but when you are obliged to hire a diversity chief because your staff is too white and too male, then hiring a white male diversity chief is literally part of the problem.

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It Continues to Be a Real Mystery Why Republicans Aren't Connecting with a Majority of Female Voters

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

More terrific commentary on rape from another Republican legislator:

Using the profile name "Stick," [Republican Texas state Representative Jonathan Stickland] responded to a question about sex with his wife in a comment posted to a fantasy football discussion forum in 2008.

"Rape is non existent in marriage, take what you want my friend!" the lawmaker reportedly wrote to another forum user who complained that his wife would not perform the "reverse cowboy" position during sex.

Stickland suggested in another comment that he wanted to cheat on a drug test. ...The user called "Stick" later revealed that he had purchased a "detox drink" and was trying to hide it from his wife.
He seems neat! Since these comments were made public, Strickland, who obviously describes himself in his Twitter bio as a "Christian conservative liberty loving Republican" because what the fuck else would it say, has posted only "a single message on his normally busy Twitter timeline."

screen cap of tweet authored by Strickland reading: 'LIBERTY!!!! #txlege'


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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying next to me on the couch, with her head on my leg, grinning as I scratch her chin
I love this dog so much. ♥

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: Extreme weather; death] So awful: "Though the Mississippi River and its tributaries didn't top the 19 vulnerable levees that federal officials were monitoring, the dangers from a rare winter flood remained throughout Missouri and parts of Illinois on Wednesday. Swollen rivers and streams were pushed to heights not seen since the massive 1993 floods, causing Illinois to transfer an unknown number of inmates from a state prison and declare disasters in seven counties and prompting Missouri's governor to activate the National Guard to help divert traffic away from submerged roads. At least 20 deaths over several days in Missouri and Illinois were blamed on flooding, mostly involving vehicles that drove onto swamped roadways, and at least two people were still missing Wednesday. ...'Nobody that is living has ever seen anything like this,' [Pleasant Hope's director of emergency management] Rick Davis said."

[CN: Militarism] Welp: "The USS Harry S. Truman was crossing international waters in the Strait of Hormuz when Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRCGN) conducted a live-fire exercise right nearby, according to a statement. An Iranian navy attack craft fired several unguided rockets near the carrier, officials said. A French frigate, the U.S. destroyer USS Bulkeley and other commercial traffic were also in the area at the time of Saturday's incident. Only 23 seconds warning was given before the weapons were fired, according to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. The rockets were not fired at the Truman and other ships, and there were no direct communications between U.S. and Iranian navies, military officials said. 'The IRGCN's actions were highly provocative,' Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, spokesman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, said Wednesday in a statement." So everything continues to go great in that part of the world then.

[CN: Refugee crisis; xenophobia] For fuck's sake: "A group of Senate Republicans wants to largely pause the acceptance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees until the administration meets a wide-range of hurdles aimed at bolstering background checks. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has introduced legislation that would block the administration from accepting or resettling the refugees until the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Director of National Intelligence have determined that each refugee has passed a background check ensuring that they aren't a national security threat and haven't supported a terrorist organization." As Senator Dick Durbin rightly notes: "Refugees are the most carefully vetted of all travelers to our country." By the by, even the most absurdly untenable enhanced screening requirements cannot stop the "self-radicalization" about which we're hearing so much lately. People who are concerned about "self-radicalization" might do well to focus on stopping Islamophobic violence in the US, rather than worrying about whether refugees fleeing terrorists are themselves terrorists.

[CN: Police brutality; racism; death] Tamir Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, issued a statement on the grand jury's decision to refuse to indict the officers who killed her son, and it is heartbreaking: "My family and I are in pain and devastated by the non-indictment of officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for the murder of our beloved Tamir. After this investigation—which took over a year to unfold—and Prosecutor McGinty's mishandling of this case, we no longer trust the local criminal-justice system, which we view as corrupt. Prosecutor McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers' defense attorney. ...I don't want my child to have died for nothing and I refuse to let his legacy or his name be ignored. We will continue to fight for justice for him, and for all families who must live with the pain that we live with. ...[T]his entire process was a charade."

[CN: Misogyny; sex abuse] If you haven't yet read Rebecca Solnit's "Men Explain Lolita to Me," you should. It is great.

[CN: Worker exploitation] Damn: "Spotify Hit with $150 Million Class Action over Unpaid Royalties: Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery, retaining the law firm of Michelman & Robinson, LLP, has filed a class action lawsuit seeking at least $150 million in damages against Spotify, alleging it knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses."

This is why Aretha Franklin is the undisputed Queen of Soul.

John Boyega is everything. Like I need to tell you.

[CN: Body shaming; ageism] Carrie Fisher forever and ever. As I said on Twitter, Carrie Fisher has aged exactly as I want to age: By living. With panache.

And finally! This is just a ridiculously awesome documentation of doggy friendships. LOVE.

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And Then There Were 12

image of George Pataki making a pained face in front of a large US flag, to which I've added text reading: 'But I just got my giant flag tho!'

You jerks won't have George Pataki to not even care about anymore!
George E. Pataki, the former three-term New York governor who undertook a long-shot presidential bid that failed to catch fire, withdrew from the presidential race on Tuesday, urging Republicans in a televised message to nominate another candidate who could bring the country together.

In a two-minute advertisement that aired on NBC affiliates in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Mr. Pataki, seated before a flickering fire, announced he was suspending his campaign.

The next president must unite the country, Mr. Pataki said, "if we're truly going to make America great again," an allusion to the campaign slogan of Donald J. Trump, who Mr. Pataki has often criticized.
Yeah, that all sounds about right.

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Bill Cosby to Be Charged

[Content Note: Sexual assault.]

Well, this is certainly big news:

Two people familiar with a prosecutor's decision say Bill Cosby will be charged in the investigation of an alleged sexual assault more than a decade ago.

The two people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Montgomery County prosecutors had yet to make the announcement.

It's the first criminal charges against Cosby over his conduct with women, which has received new scrutiny in the past year.

A former Temple University employee told police the comedian drugged and violated her at his home near Philadelphia. Prosecutors are set to announce the results of their investigation Wednesday morning.

A previous district attorney declined to charge Cosby in 2005.

The 78-year-old comedian previously said under oath that he had consensual sexual contact with the woman.

Prosecutors reopened the case as new evidence was unsealed in the woman's related civil case and dozens of women came forward with similar accusations.
Cosby reportedly has no comment at this time. I bet he doesn't.

The statute of limitations has run out on many of the other cases. In this case, there is a cooperating victim, still time to bring charges, a prosecutor who evidently gives a shit, and an enormous amount of public pressure, care of numerous victims who were willing to publicly tell their stories, despite the backlash they knew they would get, and have, by making allegations against a famous man. After a male comedian mentioned the existence of those allegations, which obliged people to pay attention in a way they refuse to pay attention to abused women. Extraordinary.

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Care of Entertainment Weekly, and via Spinoff, here is a new image from the set of Ghostbusters, coming to OUR FACES in July of next year:

image of Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Leslie Jones in costume, running past an overturned and smoking firetruck

I can't wait I can't wait I can't wait!!!

In related news, there's a really great profile of Leslie Jones in the New Yorker. I especially loved this bit:
On the "Alias Smith and LeRoi" podcast, which was recorded in late 2013, Jones returned often to the topic of sexism. "You guys gotta support us," she said. "You have somebody like the dude from 'S.N.L.' say that black women are not funny? People listen to that shit."

LeRoi corrected her: "He didn't say 'funny.' He said 'ready.'"

They were referring to a recent TV Guide article noting that "S.N.L." had just hired six new cast members, five of them white men. The reporter asked Kenan Thompson, one of two black [men] on the show, why there hadn't been a black female cast member since 2007, when Maya Rudolph left. "In auditions, they just never find ones that are ready," he said.

...Around this time, Jones was at an L.A. comedy club called Inside Jokes, waiting to go onstage, when someone told her about Thompson's comment. "He should come battle me," Jones said. "Give me ten minutes and I'll ruin his life." That night, she had a strong set. After her closing joke, she said, "And they say we ain't funny, huh?," dropped the mike, and walked off to a standing ovation.

On the podcast, Jones said of Thompson's remark, "They're not 'ready'? That's bullshit. 'Cause I know I'm ready."

LeRoi, who has worked as a producer on several comedy shows, said, "'Ready' is not just the can-you-be-on-camera part. When you say 'ready,' it's, like, 'Yeah, bitch, you might have four impersonations, but can you write a fucking sketch? Yes—can you get ten sketches turned down and write an eleventh sketch?'"

Jones tried to speak.

"No, no, no—keep listening," LeRoi said.

She exhaled audibly, but let him finish mansplaining. "I have never said I would want to be on 'Saturday Night Live,'" she responded. "I don't do impressions. I don't know if I could write sketch. So, no, I would never put myself into that circle. Even if they asked me to come and audition, I'd really be, like, 'Eh, I don't know if I can do that.' But I do know women who can." Pounding a hand on the table, she added, "There's motherfuckin' three bitches I can call right now, goddammit, that will fill that spot. ...Just because you don't know them, that don't mean that they don't fucking exist. That's like saying Italy does not exist. Motherfucker, yes, it does. I've been there."
Jones, of course, was later hired as a writer on Saturday Night Live, became a featured performer, and it was during a sketch she did during "Weekend Update" that Paul Feig saw her and decided she was one of his Ghostbusters. Boom.

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Open Thread

image of the color rackley blue

Hosted by rackley.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker IrishUp: "Who is your go to person (non-human included) when you want to share good news? When you have bad news?"

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Berlin: "Take My Breath Away"

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Good Grief

[Content Note: Violence; nationalism.]

Another Trump rally disintegrated into violence last night, after one attendee shouted at Trump that he's a fascist and another attendee "slammed the unidentified protester onto the bleachers." At that point, a police officer arrived to break it up.

The officer escorted two protesters from the building as Trump led the crowd in chanting "U.S.A."
Trump. Led the crowd. In a "USA" chant.

I'm terrified by what's happening at his rallies, and I'm terrified by the fact that so many progressives just think it's so much hilarious entertainment.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism. Video autoplays at second link.]

"He wants his story to get out so that people don't see him as this coldblooded killer."—Dan Herbert, defense attorney for Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who pleaded not guilty today to murder charges for killing 17-year-old black teenager Laquan McDonald with 16 shots.

He wants his story to get out. He needs to "catapult the propaganda" that's making people see him as a coldblooded killer, like a video recording of his killing a teenager in cold blood.

It sounds like an absurd statement, unless you understand that what Herbert really means is that Officer Van Dyke wants the narratives of white supremacy and anti-blackness and victim-blaming to congeal into a defense that turns him from a remorseless actor in another vile state-sanctioned killing to a Good Cop Who Had the Misfortune of Encountering a Black Teenage Thug Who Behaved in a Way That Obliged His Death.

That's the story that needs telling. The same old fucking story. The story that continually exonerates white cops who kill black people.

[Related Reading: Protest in Chicago for Laquan McDonald, and for More.]

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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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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat with her face right in my face
"Hey! That food you're eating? Give me some. Give me some.
Give me some. Hey. Give me some. Please? Give me some."

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: Slavery; rape; torture; terrorism; misogyny] This is horrifying: "Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when 'owners' of women enslaved by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb what they called violations in the treatment of captured females. ...The fatwa was among a huge trove of documents captured by U.S. Special Operations Forces during a raid targeting a top Islamic State official in Syria in May. Reuters has reviewed some of the documents, which have not been previously published. Among the religious rulings are bans on a father and son having sex with the same female slave; and the owner of a mother and daughter having sex with both. Joint owners of a female captive are similarly enjoined from intercourse because she is viewed as 'part of a joint ownership.' The United Nations and human rights groups have accused the Islamic State of the systematic abduction and rape of thousands of women and girls as young as 12, especially members of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq. Many have been given to fighters as a reward or sold as sex slaves. Far from trying to conceal the practice, Islamic State has boasted about it and established a department of 'war spoils' to manage slavery."

I am sitting here recalling how former President George W. Bush and his entire disgusting administration and their disgusting neocon cheerleaders justified their Middle East interventions by routinely asserting they would be freeing women. "W is for Women" is an actual fucking slogan that was actually fucking used. And IS emerged from the chaos they created. War criminals, who plunged Iraqi women into this nightmare, under the auspices of "saving" them. There aren't sufficient words to describe the profundity of my rage and grief.

[CN: Terrorism; war; death] In other IS news: "US-led airstrikes have killed a Syrian-based jihadi linked to the chief planner of the November suicide attacks in Paris, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. Pentagon spokesman Col Steve Warren named the dead man as Charaffe al-Mouadan, thought to be French, who he said had a direct link to the Paris attack cell leader, Abdelhamid Abaoud, and was killed on 24 December. 'Al-Mouadan was actively planning attacks against the west,' Warren said. 'We will hunt Isil [Isis] leaders working to inspire attacks against US and our allies. As long as Isil external attack planners are operating, the US military will hunt them and kill them.'" Is anyone else getting that old "Al Qaeda #2" refrain stuck in their heads?

[CN: Terrorism; Islamophobia] Meanwhile, as we continue to disproportionately focus on threats to "us" (ahem) in the US, while largely ignoring what IS is doing to people in their occupied territories, we also ignore the increasing risk to Muslims resulting from the irresponsible conflation of Muslims with terrorist extremists: "Authorities are investigating a firebomb attack on a mosque in Tracy, California that took place on Sunday as a hate crime. 'It exploded all over the place,' Mohammed Arain, president of the Islamic Center, said of the molotov cocktail that hit the mosque. ...No one was injured in the attack, but it has made congregants feel ill at ease at a time when more and more mosques and Muslims have come under fire. 'It doesn't happen accidentally, so they have certain hate involved,' Saifi Raniwala, a member of the Islamic Center's board of trustees said."

[CN: Privacy violations] The hell? "We've seen boat loads of personal info dumps online in the last year, but none as bizarre as this: A discovery of personal data from millions of Americans who've voted since 2000, found by a researcher and sitting in a sloppily configured database. In other words, it was just hanging out on the web. For unknown reasons. And we have no idea who put it there. ...This mysterious voter database contains a mix of voters' personal and public information including Phone numbers, home addresses, party affiliations, email addresses, full names, ethnicity, gender, and age. Luckily, though, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, and sensitive financial data were not exposed."

[CN: Homophobia] The fuck? "Two men were caught on camera defacing one of Philadelphia's rainbow crosswalks in the city's Gayborhood on Monday night. Video recorded by an onlooker shows one vandal taking a sledgehammer to the crosswalk before being joined by another man who 'chiseled' away at the rainbow pavement. ...The rainbow crosswalks were installed in June to show Philadelphia as a LGBTQ-friendly city." What is wrong with people?! Seethe.

[CN: Privilege; video may autoplay at link] Hey, remember Ethan Couch, the 16-year-old wealthy white Texas teenager who received probation after killing four people while drunk driving, because he suffers from "affluenza," i.e. being a privileged shit who's never held accountable for his actions? Well, he broke his probation by traveling abroad and was just apprehended in Mexico. Where he was chilling with his mother. They seem like a neat family.

RIP Lemmy. "Ian Kilmister—the iconic Lemmy of British heavy metal pioneers Motörhead—died Monday at age 70... 'There is no easy way to say this,' Motörhead said. 'Our mighty, noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer.'"

If you've been waiting to see for whom Samuel L. Jackson will vote before you make up your mind, wait no longer! "I'm forever a Democrat, you know, and I'm gonna vote for Hillary. I mean, I love Bernie—Bernie's a man of the people—but he can't win. So I gotta cast my vote for a person that can keep those other people from winning, okay? Not to mention, you know, Hillary kinda knows the job, she can hit the ground running. She didn't have a huge learning-curve like Barack [Obama] had or some other people had. And hopefully she can open up the skeletal files of those do-nothing assholes that go to work, like, four times a year and not vote on things [an apparent reference to Sen. Marco Rubio and other elected officials with poor attendance records] and threaten them with whatever she and Bill [Clinton] uncovered on them years ago and make 'em do something and we can get something done." LOL!

The Olive Garden in Times Square will be "charging diners $400 a pop on NYE." NOBODY TELL IAIN!

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] "It isn't every day that a mystery from the deep swims into plain sight. But on Christmas Eve, spectators on a pier in Toyama Bay in central Japan were treated to a rare sighting of a giant squid. The creature swam under fishing boats and close to the surface of Toyama Bay, better known for its firefly squid, and reportedly hung around the bay for several hours before it was ushered back to open water. It was captured on video by a submersible camera, and even joined by a diver, Akinobu Kimura, owner of Diving Shop Kaiyu, who swam in close proximity to the red-and-white real-life sea monster. 'My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it,' he told CNN. 'This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward to the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea.'"

And finally! "15 Photos That Prove Goats Are Underrated, Majestic Beings." One time, at a petting zoo, I saw a goat eating another goat's poop directly as it was falling out of that goat's butt. "Majestic" is absolutely how I would have described it.

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An Observation

[Content Note: Privilege.]

It's interesting, ahem, how there are so many straight white cis men who are keen to tell me that visibility and diversity in films don't matter—until there's a film that doesn't exclusively center straight white cis male characters.

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Primarily Speaking

image of Donald Trump screaming, to which I've added text reading THIS IS MY PRESIDENTIAL FACE!!!!

Get ready for MORE TRUMP on your teevee! Republican front runner Donald Trump is reportedly planning a multimillion dollar ad blitz "to bolster his candidacy ahead of the Iowa caucuses. According to Fox News, the 'initial wave of ads'—which could cost upwards of $2 million a week—will focus on Trump's 'vision and his stance on key issues…but that could change if any GOP rivals target him with negative commercials.'" Sounds terrific! Can't wait to hear more about how Trump is going to make America great again through some combination of xenophobia, misogyny, fearmongering, braggadocio, and insults!

Can someone mention to Jeb Bush that he is a terrible candidate who is very bad at running for president? Because it doesn't seem like he knows. "Bush says he'd like to square off with real estate mogul Donald Trump in a one-on-one debate. Asked Monday what he would say to the GOP presidential front-runner if he walked into the room, Bush offered some tough talk. 'Donald, I'll take you on one-on-one in a debate, any time, any place,' Bush said at an event hosted by the Forum Club in Palm Beach, Florida. 'You name it and I'll do it.'" No, Jeb. No. I mean, listen, I love to watch this dipshit embarrass the fuck out of himself as much as anyone, but even I have my limits.

Sweater vest supermodel Rick Santorum is bragging about being mentioned in IS' official magazine, Dabiq. "'The only person that's been listed in ISIS magazine as an enemy of ISIS is me,' said Santorum." (Actually, Senator Lindsey Graham was mentioned, too.) I don't think that says as much about Santorum as it does that IS doesn't understand US politics as well as one might imagine they do.

[Content Note: Rape culture; sexual abuse] Professor of Bible bigotry Mike Huckabee incredibly claimed that he never defended Josh Duggar. Except whoooooooooooooops he definitely did.

Corporate power-failure Carly Fiorina defended Trump's attacks on Bill Clinton, saying: "Of course Bill Clinton is fair game. He's a former president. As I recall, Donald Trump threw George W. Bush under the bus way back in September." Once again, Fiorina simply ignores the context to spout a bunch of mendacious nonsense. Trump is attacking Bill Clinton personally to get at Hillary Clinton, not attacking Bill Clinton's presidency.

[CN: Christian Supremacy; terrorism; video may autoplay at link] This was from early this month, but I missed it until today: Thirty Jerk Marco Rubio says terrorist attacks are all part of god's plan. Asked during a campaign event "where god was" during the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and in Paris earlier this year, Rubio said: "Where God always is—on the throne in Heaven. The question was how could God allow these bad things to happen? It always challenges us to understand that God's ways are not our ways. What we may interpret as bad, and most certainly is in the case of Paris or 9/11, even that is part of a broader plan for the universe and for our lives that we are just not going to know the answer to. God's ways are not our ways." God's ways are not our ways, but let's definitely run our government on those ways we don't even understand! COOL IDEA.

In other GOP news, Dr. Ben Carson, pugilist Chris Christie, Joe McCarthy impersonator Ted Cruz, real person Jim Gilmore, "moderate" John Kasich, charisma void George Pataki, and proximate apple Rand Paul, are all still running for president.

On the other side of aisle, East Coast Gavin Newsom Martin O'Malley keeps agitating for more Democratic debates, which seems like an awfully strange strategy to me, given that his debate performances have not been stellar. His showing in the last debate, for example, generated headlines like "Martin O'Malley's Democratic Debate Performance Was Awfully Sad" and "Martin O'Malley's Saddest Debate Moments." Does he imagine more headlines like that are going to help him? Maybe he and Jeb Bush should debate each other!

Senator Bernie Sanders responded to Donald Trump calling him a "wacko" by saying, via a spokesperson: "Being called wacko by a pathological liar like Mr. Trump makes me think he is getting nervous that the American people are catching on to his pathetic policies, which include giving hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to billionaires like himself while refusing to raise the $7.25 an hour minimum wage." Kudos for getting some real policy stuff in there, but "Being called a wacko by a pathological liar like Trump is a compliment," would have been snappier.

#FeelTheSlowBernWithSeriousPolicyCriticismThatSortOfTriesToBeASlam is pretty cool, too, though.

[CN: Misogyny] And finally! Thank Maude for the bastion of totally trenchant journalism that is the Daily Mail, where we can get excellent reporting on the Democratic front runner and world's most admired woman like this prizewinner:

screen cap of headline and subheads reading: 'From funky florals to over-the-top ruffles: FEMAIL reveals Hillary Clinton's 20 WORST fashion faux pas from the past 50 years | The 68-year-old turned heads in New York City on Sunday when she wore an embroidered floral jacket while out with her family | However, the colorful coat was just one of her many fashion mishaps over the past five decades'

Ohmahgawd! Would you want anyone who wore that with her finger on the button?! *thisface*

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

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Weather Warnings

[Content Note: Extreme weather; death.]

Many parts of the world are still experiencing extreme weather at the moment, care of the most powerful El Niño in 100 years, which has been strengthened by climate change.

In South America, more than 150,000 people have been displaced by the worst flooding in 50 years.

In Australia, bushfires have destroyed dozens of homes and flooding has "forced the evacuation of almost 500 people and brought saltwater crocodiles into remote communities."

Across the US, flooding and damage from storms and tornadoes have left nearly 50 people dead, and thousands of homes have been damaged, with more storms on the way: "The Mississippi River remained in danger of flooding, with waters approaching record levels."

Britain is experiencing "some of the worst floods ever known" there.

And with all the rain elsewhere, there isn't enough rain in parts of Africa:

El Niño's reach is also being felt in the sun-baked farmlands of rural Zimbabwe, Malawi, and South Africa, where rains that usually start in October or November have simply not materialized this year.

Millions could suffer from famine if the pattern holds through the first few months of 2016 — as forecasters says it almost certainly will.

"Southern Africa is a particular and obvious concern," said Maxx Dilley, director of the Climate Prediction and Adaptation division at the World Meteorological Organization. "A canonical effect of El Niño is drought in that part of Africa."

...One reason for some hope is that El Niño does not always bring season-long drought in southern Africa — and in fact the 1997-98 season produced close to normal rains in the region despite that year's record El Niño.
Let us all hope for rains for southern Africa to avoid devastating famine if they do not come.

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Open Thread

image of the color quartz

Hosted by quartz.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Diverkat: "If you could go back in time and learn to be an expert at something, would you? What would that be?"

Bats. Obviously.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

John Legend: "If You're Out There"

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Tamir Rice's Killer Will Not Face Charges

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

A grand jury has declined to bring charges against Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot and killed 12-year-old black boy Tamir Rice in Cleveland last year. Rice was playing with a toy gun in a park when police officers pulled up and Loehmann fatally shot him less than two seconds after arriving. Loehmann's partner, Frank Garmback, will also face no charges.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty, who has been an unethical nightmare during the year-long investigation, made the announcement at a press conference earlier today. And, in what has been typical and indecent fashion throughout this farce, Tamir Rice's family found out via the media: "Subodh Chandra, an attorney for Tamir's mother Samaria, said they had been given no information about the announcement beforehand and had learned it was taking place through a public statement made by the county prosecutor's office about an hour earlier."

In a statement, Tamir's family said they were "saddened and disappointed" by the outcome, "but not surprised."
There is no surprise to be had. Not by anyone who has been paying attention and/or doesn't have the luxury of indifference afforded by privilege. There is only sadness and disappointment and grief and anger.

And the bitter taste left by the reality, deconstructed so powerfully by Prison Culture, that even if charges had been brought, even if these officers had been tried and even if they had been convicted and even if they were sentenced, it would 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.

People will protest this decision. Maybe some people will riot. And I will say once again: If a vile lack of even the most infinitesimal drip of accountability for the state sanctioned murder of a child isn't worth protesting, then I don't know what the fuck is.

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by apple pie.

Recommended Reading:

Erin: Ten Times I Knew I Loved You

The Feminist Griote: [Content Note: Misogynoir; abuse] Internal Abolition

Sarah: [CN: Fat hatred; privilege; body and emotional policing] The Real "Small Fat Complex"

Nina: [CN: Misogyny; queerphobia] United States Once Again Embraces Sexual Rights−with a Catch

Digby: We're Starting to Get Used to the Idea That a Puerile Braggart Is Running for President

Angry Asian Man: Poet Justin Chin Taken Off Life Support After Stroke

David: Prayers for Richard

Andy: 'Straight James/Gay James' Looks at Both Sides of James Franco, Through Poetry

Lauren: 10 Amazing Podcasts to Catch Up on This Season That Aren't Serial

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

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat lying on a pillow on the arm of the couch right beside Dudley the Greyhound, who is lying on the couch
Sophie and Dudley.

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: Video may autoplay at link] There is extreme weather on many parts of the globe right now, and some of it is making for uncharacteristically mild weather and some of it is making for dangerous weather. If you're in one of the latter spots, my sympathies and wishes for safety to you.

[CN: Terrorism] "Boko Haram militants struck the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Monday with rocket-propelled grenades and multiple [redacted] bombers, witnesses said. At least 50 people were killed and the death toll could go higher. Another twin [redacted] bombing killed at least 30 people in Madagali, a town 150 kilometers (95 miles) southeast of Maiduguri, witnesses said. ...'We are under siege,' [civil servant Yunusa Abdullahi] said. 'We don't know how many of these bombs or these female [redacted] bombers were sneaked into Maiduguri last night.' He said some residents have found undetonated bombs." (I continue to find it inappropriate that young women and girls who detonate bombs strapped to them are called "suicide" bombers, which connotes an agency that the women and girls kidnapped and forcibly sacrificed by Boko Haram do not have.)

[CN: War on agency] Goddammit: "A Tennessee woman accused of using a coat hanger to try to terminate her pregnancy pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder charges Tuesday. Prosecutors indicted Anna Yocca this month for illegally attempting to end her pregnancy herself. Yocca in September allegedly filled a bathtub with water, sat in it, and then took a coat hanger and attempted to abort her pregnancy, prosecutors said. Yocca reportedly bled heavily during the attempt, at which point her boyfriend rushed her to the hospital. Medical professionals at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville delivered a 1.5-pound infant boy. The baby survived and will reportedly need extensive medical care. Hospital staff alerted law enforcement officials after, they said, Yocca made 'disturbing statements' to them about trying to terminate her pregnancy. Abortions must be performed by a physician under Tennessee law. The state has no abortion clinic providing care after 16 weeks."

[CN: Police brutality; racism; guns] Fucking hell: "Chicago police shot and killed two people early Saturday morning after responding to what they called a domestic disturbance call. According to NBC 5, police fatally shot Quintonio Legrier, a student at Northern Illinois University, after responding to a call from Legrier's father. Family at the scene say that police were called after Legrier threatened his father with a baseball bat. However, Janet Cookery, Legrier's mother, said her son suffered from mental illness. 'He was having a mental situation. Sometimes he will get loud, but not violent,' Cookery told WLS-TV in Chicago. ...The second victim in Chicago, Bettie Jones, was a mother of five who lived in the same apartment building as Legrier and his father." The police say that Jones was "accidentally struck." Rage. Seethe. Boil. And all of this while Chicagoans, led by black Chicagoans, protest police violence.

RIP Meadowlark Lemon. "Meadowlark Lemon, the court jester of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team who delighted audiences around the world for some 25 years with an array of trick shots, comedy routines, and pure charisma, has died at the age of 83, the team announced on Monday. ...Lemon was the undisputed master of the long-range hook shot, rubber-band ball, and other crowd-pleasing tricks during the years he wore the Globetrotters' star-spangled red, white and blue uniform. The team's website said he played in 7,500 consecutive games—the equivalent of more than 92 NBA seasons—in some 100 countries before audiences that included everyone from Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to three popes."

Dear David Spade: I can think of few things thirstier than calling the president thirsty for appearing on a reality show. I mean, not for nothing, but have you even seen what the actual news looks like these days? Bear Grylls' show is like a million times more respectable than CNN. I'm just saying. No Love, Liss.

Welp, this is my new favorite website: "The new year is almost here, and fans of arbitrary starting points tend to use it as a time to make resolutions for ways they want to change their lives. Do you need a little extra motivation to try and get yourself going in 2016? Or maybe do you just want to feel bad about yourself? Then the website supbowie.com is perfect for you. The ethos of the website is set up with the simple, yet garish, text that greets you: 'What did David Bowie do at your age?' You type in your age, and the website tells you something that Bowie did at said age. Sometimes, the entry includes helpful video and or photographic evidence of what weird, yet incredibly successful, thing Bowie did at the time." LOL!

And finally! "A Dog's Life in London." Awwwwww!

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STAR WARS!!!!!!!

image of Carrie Fisher as General Leia from The Force Awakens
(Where have I seen that expression before? Oh right.)


Have you seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet?! Did you love it?! I LOVED IT!!! Here is an incomplete list of the things I loved about it!

bulletpoint lightsaber Rey. Finn. Rey and Finn. Finn and Rey. The moment when I was like OMFG A WOMAN AND A BLACK MAN ARE IN CONTROL OF THE MILLENNIUM FALCON AND THERE ISN'T A WHITE MAN IN SIGHT YES MAUDE YES.

bulletpoint lightsaber "Stop taking my hand. I know how to run without you holding my hand." YESSSSS.

bulletpoint lightsaber "That ship is garbage." Ahhhhhhhahahahahaha!

bulletpoint lightsaber Adam Driver's performance was exquisite! He really channeled Young Anakin's tantruming, but managed to play it with so much pathos. Oh goddddd when his eyes are tearing and then the light falls out of the sky and his expression hardens... ADAM DRIVER WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING TO ME? A+

bulletpoint lightsaber The scenes between Han and Leia were SO, SO GOOD! "We both turned to what we knew." Damn.

bulletpoint lightsaber When the big thing happened that I won't even put into writing lest someone scrolling by who wants to avoid spoilers accidentally sees it, and Chewy went apeshit. OH MY HEART.

bulletpoint lightsaber Maz. Lupita Nyong'o's voice work. MAZ. Maz forever.

bulletpoint lightsaber LADY STORMTROOPER BOSS.

bulletpoint lightsaber "You might not recognize me because of my red arm." Hahaha!

bulletpoint lightsaber "Is there a trash compactor?" Hahaha!

bulletpoint lightsaber "Keep the jacket. It suits you." MY HEART THO!

bulletpoint lightsaber When Rey forced the lightsaber out of the snow. OMG.

bulletpoint lightsaber When J.J. Abrams flip-flopped the traditional (and CONSTANTLY infuriating to me!) camera angles to shoot women (angle camera down) and men (angle camera up) during several key scenes. WE WERE LOOKING UP AT REY!

bulletpoint lightsaber Finn.

bulletpoint lightsaber Rey.

bulletpoint lightsaber Finn and Rey.

bulletpoint lightsaber Rey and Finn.

bulletpoint lightsaber That there are misogynists who can't enjoy the film because of their own bigotry. Haha! Sucks to be you! And no, jerkoffs, Rey is not a Mary Sue AND THE REASON SHE DEFEATED KYLO REN IS BECAUSE HE WAS INJURED AND ALSO CONFLICTED AND ALSO JUST KILLED SOMEONE IMPORTANT TO HIM AND ALSO HAS THE WEIGHT OF A MOVEMENT ON HIS SHOULDERS AND SHE WAS FIT AND FIGHTING FOR HER OWN SURVIVAL AND SURE IN WHAT SHE WAS DOING AND HAS BEEN A SCRAPPY SURVIVOR MOST OF HER WHOLE DAMN LIFE AND LITERALLY FIGURED OUT THE FORCE ON HER OWN. And if you can't appreciate any of that, then you deserve to not like Star Wars.

There is just soooooo much more, but I will stop myself now before I go on all day. (WHICH I COULD.) I will just say this one last thing: The Force Awakens reached $1 billion in box office in just 12 days, and is smashing just about every other record ever.

Maybe now we can put to bed the bullshit that movies with female and/or nonwhite protagonists don't make money?

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Primarily Speaking

image of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton standing beside each other at a debate, laughing, to which I've added text reading: 'Do you fear Trump getting the GOP nomination?'

Not only does Senator Bernie Sanders not fear gold toilet aficionado Donald Trump—he's coming for Trump's supporters! "Sanders told CBS's Face the Nation that many of Trump's supporters have legitimate fears stemming from income inequality that Sanders is best positioned to address. 'What Trump has done with some success is taken that anger, taken those fears, which are legitimate, and converted them into anger against Mexicans, anger against Muslims,' Sanders said. 'In my view, that is the not way we are going to address the problems facing this country,' he said. Instead, Sanders supports a platform of bringing citizens together to push Congress to pass laws that address income inequality. He said that many of Trump supporters are 'working class people and they are angry' because they are losing their jobs to overseas firms, cannot afford to send their children to college, and are working longer hours for lower ages."

I mean, no one will get any argument from me that Donald Trump is the uncontested champion of racist scapegoating, but he didn't invent it. When his supporters crow approvingly about how he says what "everyone" is thinking, they're indicating the preexistence of these beliefs, which Trump merely cynically and expertly exploits. It's naive to imagine that generations of conservative scapegoating can be eradicated simply by offering a legislative alternative to people who define themselves ("Real Americans") explicitly in contradistinction to the people they other and blame.

Economic policy is crucial to addressing endemic bigotry, but it must come packaged with intersectional analysis that straightforwardly deconstructs that bigotry in order to effectively dismantle it.

It simply isn't and never will be enough to suggest "a platform of bringing citizens together to push Congress to pass laws that address income inequality," not only because there are serious technical problems with Sanders' coalition fantasy, but because the very Trump supporters to whom Sanders imagines appealing with this platform are profoundly suspcious of and hostile to the federal government.

It's a nice idea, but it's unrealistic on every level. People sneer at Hillary Clinton when she describes herself as a pragmatic progressive, and there are lots of spaces in which we need big progressive thinkers who prioritize aspiration over utility, but the presidency isn't one of them.


Speaking of Clinton, she also tops, for the 20th time (!), Gallup's poll of most admired woman in the world. President Barack Obama is the most admired man in the world.

series of images of Clinton and Obama campaigning together in '08, smiling
Still some of my favorite pix of these two ever.

In other Clinton news, here's a really interesting piece in the New York Times about part of her work with civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman: In 1972, Clinton traveled to Dothan, Alabama, "to help prove that the Nixon administration was not enforcing the legal ban on granting tax-exempt status to so-called segregation academies, the estimated 200 private academies that sprang up in the South to cater to white families after a 1969 Supreme Court decision forced public schools to integrate." It's a compelling piece about a particular time in the nation's history, and the last paragraph is powerful. Damn.

Presumably, Martin O'Malley is still running for president.

On the other side of the aisle: Senator Lindsey Graham has dropped out of the presidential race. Sad trombone! And then there were 13!

Dr. Ben Carson, quickly fading fast after voters realized he is kind of a weird dipshit, is reportedly on the precipice of dropping out but is definitely still giving kind of weird dipshit interviews!

Even though President Obama stole the win, Trump took second place in Gallup's most admired man poll, tied with Pope Francis. Yeah, that sounds about right.

In other news, trainwreck Jeb Bush, pugilist Chris Christie, Joe McCarthy impersonator Ted Cruz, corporate power-failure Carly Fiorina, real person Jim Gilmore, professor of Bible bigotry Mike Huckabee, "moderate" John Kasich, charisma void George Pataki, proximate apple Rand Paul, thirsty jerk Marco Rubio, and waking nightmare Rick Santorum are all still running for president.

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

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Women Are Human

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

It turns out Hillary Clinton is not actually an inhuman soul-consuming shebeast from the netherdepths of Hades but is, in fact, a human being who occasionally has to visit the whiz palace:

As a lot of the world now knows, last Saturday night, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was late returning to the stage at the Democratic Debate after a five-minute break. Almost immediately media reported that she was delayed because of a line at the women's bathroom. As the break came to a close, with Clinton nowhere in sight, the moderators of the debate started without her. Within minutes, Clinton walked back onto the stage, smiling, and said, "Sorry," to knowing laughter. Women, the laughter acknowledged, live in the interstitial spaces of a world shaped by and for men.

Clinton's wry smile and later explanation, "You know, it does take me a little longer. That's all I can say," sent tetchy sexist commentators, and more egalitarian commentators, aflutter.
At the link, Soraya Chemaly does a great job of breaking down while access to toilets, and toilet equality, is a feminist issue, and also why disgust about women's bodies is central to conservative politics. Disgust like that expressed by Donald Trump, in response to Clinton's delayed return to the stage.
[Trump] took the opportunity, once again, to put his bottomless reservoir of shame and misogyny on public display. "I know where she went, it's disgusting, I don't want to talk about it," Trump said, talking about it. "No, it's too disgusting. Don't say it, it's disgusting, let's not talk."
Trump obviously isn't alone in believing that even the most benign reference to toileting is "too disgusting" to speak aloud. And while there is certainly a small percentage of germphobic people who cringe at any mention, Trump's disgust is more reminiscent of the legions of straight men who get grossed out by the thought of any woman carrying out any basic bodily function. To pee, to poop, to fart, to menstruate—disgusting! Because they are reminders that women are human beings.

There was something disgusting that happened, all right, and naturally we are not talking about it: The fact that the Democratic debate carried on without Clinton, instead of waiting for her to return.

Men's bathrooms are designed to minimize men's need to wait, while women's bathrooms are designed with little regard for whether women are delayed.

Looks like Democratic debates are designed so that men never need to be inconvenienced by having to wait, either.

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The Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2015

Jon Swift (aka Al Weisel), a brilliant blogger and satirist, and sometime contributor to Shakesville, used to wrap up each year by asking as many bloggers as he could contact to submit their best posts of the year for a massive roundup of awesome writing.

Weisel died in 2010, and, in his honor, Batocchio of Vagabond Scholar has continued to compile an annual Jon Swift Memorial Roundup.

Here is 2015's, and, as always, there's lots of good stuff there.

The piece I submitted this year is "Jeanie Bueller's Day of Feminist Killjoying." I don't know that it's precisely the best thing I've written all year, but it was a piece that I liked a lot.

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Open Thread

image of the color puce

Hosted by puce.

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Slàinte mhor a h-uile là a chi's nach fhaic!

[Translation: "Great health to you every day that I see you and every day that I don't!"]

image of a teaspoon in a snow globe, with the words 'Happy Teaspoons to all...and to all a good fight.'

Most of the contributors and mods will be traveling and/or holidaying over the next week, so we'll be taking the week off and will be back on Monday, December 28, at which time we will resume your regularly scheduled abundance of feminist commentary, political snark, pop culture deconstruction, cute things, pretty pictures, and sundry shenanigans.

See you then!

[My thanks to JupiterPluvius for the phrase used in the image.]

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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 squirrel taking a morning nap, its fluffy tail curled up over its back. It's not a very good photograph technically, but it's the best I could do without waking the squirrel. As soon as I crept closer, it woke up and scurried down the tree trunk, where a younger member of its clan immediately pounced and began a rip-roaring game of CHAAAAAAASE!

image of a squirrel asleep on a tree branch, with its tail curled up over its back

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by stripes.

Recommended Reading:

Sam: [Content Note: Transphobia; bullying] When Your Violin Is Supposed to Be a Cello

Chauncey: [CN: White supremacist patriarchy; gun violence] There Will Be No Effective Gun Control Laws in America Until We Can Talk Honestly about the Connections Between White Masculinity, Guns, and "Freedom"

TS: [CN: Violence against sex workers] Want to Be an Ally to Sex Workers? Here's What You Need to Understand to Help Keep Us Safe

Kenrya: [CN: Police brutality; misogynoir] Sandra Bland Rally Ahead of Civil Hearing

Victoria: [CN: Police brutality; racism] Officer Involved in Amadou Diallo Shooting Promoted to Sergeant

Lyle: [CN: Colonialism] A New Test on Hawaii's Future?

Taylor: [CN: Displacement] The Little Icelandic Town That Survived an Epic Lava Flow

Angry Asian Man: [CN: Yellowface] Oh Hell No: Yellowface in the Absolutely Fabulous Movie

THV: Tom Hardy Arriving at the World Premiere of The Revenant (You're welcome!)

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Hooverphonic: "Renaissance Affair"

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Anti-Muslim Crimes Are Sharply Increasing

[Content Note: Islamophobia.]

I've made no bones about the fact that I hold the Republican candidates responsible for the uptick in Islamophobic attacks on people and property. And I'm glad to see that the New York Times is reporting on the demonstrable connection between their inflammatory rhetoric and the attacks on Muslim people (or people wrongly assumed to be Muslim).

Hate crimes against Muslim Americans and mosques across the United States have tripled in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., with dozens occurring within just a month, according to new data.

The spike includes assaults on hijab-wearing students; arsons and vandalism at mosques; and shootings and death threats at Islamic-owned businesses, an analysis by a California State University research group has found.

President Obama and civil rights leaders have warned about anecdotal evidence of a recent Muslim backlash, particularly in California. But the analysis is the first to document the rise, amid a crescendo of anti-Islamic statements from politicians.

...In recent years, there has been an average of 12.6 suspected hate crimes against Muslims in the United States a month, based on F.B.I. data analyzed by the research group.

But the rate of attacks has tripled since the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 by Islamic State operatives, with 38 attacks regarded as anti-Islamic in nature, according to the analysis, which was based on reports from the news media and civil rights groups.

Eighteen of the episodes have come since the shooting in San Bernardino on Dec. 2 by a Muslim couple who were supporters of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which left 14 people dead.
Among the many reasons I'm relieved to see this connection getting wider attention is the fact it centers the harm being done to Muslim people because of this harmful rhetoric. Much of the progressive pushback against the Republicans' Islamophobic alarmism has centered on the argument that their hostile rhetoric makes "us" (which is supposed to mean all USians, but we all know how that works) less safe; that it will play into the hands of terrorists, who will use it as a recruiting tool.

I'm sure it will be used that way, but to imagine that these statements, no matter how outrageously odious they are, are enough on their own to radicalize Muslims into terrorists all by itself doesn't say much for what the people making the suggestion think of Muslims.

The premise that there is some sizable number of Muslims who can be convinced to do harm to civilians in the US just because they hear that Donald Trump said something horrible implicitly suggests "they're all on the precipice of becoming terrorists!"—and that's just as fucking gross as what the Republican candidates are saying. It's just not as overt.

The real danger in what the Republican candidates are saying is not that it will turn Muslims into terrorists who will harm Good White People; it's that it will turn Muslims into targets for white supremacist terrorism.

And that needs to be the center of our objections. Not some hypothetical harm that terrorists may do to "us," but the actual harm already being done to Muslims by "us."

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting and looking at me expectantly

"Zelly, who's such a good girl?"

"Is it me?! I hope it's me!"

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

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

Let's start out with some fun news: These Ghostbuster character posters are FUCKING AMAZING! Omgomgomg!

[Content Note: Violence; silencing; covers next three paragraphs] And now on to what tops the news all day every day—some more fuckery from Donald Trump: "During a Friday-morning interview with Donald Trump, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was baffled by the Republican front-runner's embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin. ...'Well, I mean, it's also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries. Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?' Scarborough asked. 'He's running his country, and at least he's a leader,' Trump replied. 'Unlike what we have in this country.'"

Okay, let's just stop right there for a moment to process that Trump just said that Vladimir Putin is a better leader than Barack Obama. Jesus Jones.

Continuing: "But again: He kills journalists that don't agree with him,' Scarborough said. The Republican presidential front-runner said there was 'a lot of killing going on' around the world and then suggested that Scarborough had asked him a different question. 'I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe, so, you know,' Trump replied. 'There's a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe. A lot of killing going on. A lot of stupidity. And that's the way it is. But you didn't ask me [that] question, you asked me a different question. So that's fine.' Scarborough was left visibly stunned. 'I'm confused,' the MSNBC host said. 'So I mean, you obviously condemn Vladimir Putin killing journalists and political opponents, right?' 'Oh sure, absolutely,' Trump said." Blink. Blink.

In other primary news: "Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign, struggling with its low standing in the polls and underwhelming fundraising, slashed the salaries of senior staffers amid the departure of its top communications aide." Good. Get lost, asshole. Sooner rather than later.

[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Rage seethe boil: "The lights are still dark at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood where on 27 November a shooter killed three people inside the clinic and wounded nine. But the protesters are already trickling back. ...The clinic itself is months away from being operational. ...But protesters are already prepared to take up old routines." My contempt for these people is a self-digging cavern that has nearly reached the core of the goddamn planet.

[CN: Fat hatred; disordered eating; childhood sexual abuse] I've written before about the correlation found between disordered eating and childhood abuse, so I was glad to see the issue getting some attention at The Atlantic, but I'm really pissed about this headline: "The Second Assault." Lest you imagine that means something other than getting fat, the subhead clears up any doubt: "Victims of childhood sexual abuse are far more likely to become obese adults." I'm a fat survivor, and equating being fat with being sexually assaulted makes me incandescently angry.

[CN: Sexual assault] A major progressive PR firm, FitzGibbon Media, has abruptly shut down after "allegations of sexual harassment and assault by the company's president. Trevor FitzGibbon and his team worked with some of the biggest progressive organizations, including NARAL, MoveOn, the Center for American Progress, and the AFL-CIO, as well as Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning, and The Intercept. The company sponsored an event with The Huffington Post earlier this year. Multiple female employees came forward with accusations of sexual harassment and assault against FitzGibbon, according to employees who spoke with The Huffington Post." Hmph. I wonder how long there were whispered warnings about this being ignored.

[CN: Rape culture; misogyny] This is rape culture: "National media heavily featured male reporters and sources in its coverage of campus sexual assault in 2015, although the majority of sexual assault victims are women, according to a new report released by the Women's Media Center on Wednesday. ...In their analysis of stories published between September 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015, researchers found stark gender disparities in both writing and sourcing related to sexual assault. Men wrote 55 percent of the sexual assault stories, compared to 31 percent written by women. Fourteen percent had no byline. Forty-eight percent of the quotes in the stories were from men, while 32 percent were from women. The researchers suggested that the gender of the writer affected how the stories were reported and written." Haha ya think?

Whooooooooooooops! Self-driving cars are getting into accidents because they drive too cautiously, i.e. actually follow the rules of the road, unlike human drivers.

And finally! "13 Funny Winners of the 2015 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards." Hahaha! Oh, animals. How I adore you.

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Clinton's Factsheet on LGBT Equality

[Content Note: Homophobia; transphobia.]

Hillary Clinton has released a new factsheet, "Fighting for Full Equality for LGBT People," detailing her six-point plan for extending queer rights beyond Obergefell.

Though there are some things I wish I'd seen, like some detail in the section on transgender prisoners regarding appropriate housing, there's a lot of good stuff there. (I don't fail to appreciate the magnitude of the fact that I even have the opportunity to nitpick a section on trans prisoner rights on a presidential campaign website.) There was stuff I didn't expect to see and was pleased to see, like addressing the specific needs of LGBT elders.

Because of her delayed support for same-sex marriage, Clinton has a reputation of being a Janie Come Lately on LGBTQIA rights, but this isn't the document of someone who's brand new. Once again, I'll note that Clinton was the only candidate in 2008 who promised to make global LGBT rights an active "part of American foreign policy."

She's been thinking about some of this stuff for a long time, and it shows.

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An Observation

I am tired of listening to Donald Trump talk. I am tired of reading about Donald Trump. I am tired of seeing Donald Trump's face on the news. I am tired of seeing Donald Trump trending on Twitter. I am tired of talking about Donald Trump. I am tired of writing about Donald Trump. I am tired of Donald Trump.

I would like nothing more than to not think about Donald Trump ever again.

But nothing would benefit Donald Trump more than people who really understand how dangerous he really is tuning him out and keeping silent.

Which is a real goddamn drag.

Because it means I have to keep thinking about Donald Trump.

But I'mma do it, dammit.


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Sanders Campaign Improperly Accessed Clinton Voter Data

[Content Note: Privacy violations.]

The Washington Post reports this morning that the Democratic National Committee has shut off Bernie Sanders' campaign access to voter information after staffers exploited a glitch in the software to improperly access "confidential voter information gathered by the rival campaign of Hillary Clinton."

Jeff Weaver, the Vermont senator's campaign manager, acknowledged that a staffer had viewed the information but blamed a software vendor hired by the DNC for a glitch that allowed access. Weaver said one Sanders staffer was fired over the incident.

The discovery sparked alarm at the DNC, which promptly shut off the Sanders campaign's access to the strategically crucial list of likely Democratic voters.

The DNC maintains the master list and rents it to national and state campaigns, which then add their own, proprietary information gathered by field workers and volunteers. Firewalls are supposed to prevent campaigns from viewing data gathered by their rivals.

NGP VAN, the vendor that handles the master file, said the incident occurred Wednesday while a patch was being applied to the software. The process briefly opened a window into proprietary information from other campaigns, said the company's chief, Stu Trevelyan. He said a full audit will be conducted.

The DNC has told the Sanders campaign that it will not be allowed access to the data again until it provides an explanation as well as assurances that all Clinton data has been destroyed.

...Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said four Sanders campaign staffers accessed Clinton data, and that three of them did so at the direction of their boss, Josh Uretsky, who was the operative fired.
So, first of all, I just want to underline that there is no indication that Senator Sanders directed his staff to breach Clinton's records. (And, for the record, I don't think he did.) What responsibility Sanders has is for his team, and this appears to be the third incident recently in which Jeff Weaver and Co. have made Sanders look bad: Weaver was the one who made the shitty comments about how Sanders' campaign would be "willing to consider" Clinton for vice-president, then defended his demeaning commentary as "edgy or snarky but nothing more"; Weaver was the one who "declared victory" after a Sanders staffer pitched a fit over last-minute changes to a debate format following the bombing in Paris, making the Senator look unable to effectively pivot to respond to crisis; and now Weaver is the one who is redirecting blame for his staff's unethical and illegal breach of confidential voter data that doesn't belong to them.

Further, the story reports that Weaver says "the campaign has flagged similar problems with the software for the DNC in the past," which he's obviously saying in order to reinforce his contention that the breach is the vendor's fault, but that raises the question as to why, if this was not the first time the campaign encountered the problem, the staff was not properly prepped to not exploit any breaches.

Also in the news today: "The week before the last Democratic presidential debate of the year began with Senator Bernie Sanders's campaign pulling a negative digital ad it was running against Hillary Clinton after reporters caught wind of it [despite the fact that Sanders] has said with pride that he doesn't run negative ads... The ad was pulled after reporters began asking about it. Aides blamed the spot on a misunderstanding."

Again, I don't think these things are happening under Sanders' explicit direction. But that raises concerns about how disconnected from and/or unconcerned with the actions of his staff the candidate is.

And it's important to understand that the sort of team a presidential candidate puts together for a campaign indicates what kind of administration they'd have in the White House. Campaigning translates into governing; campaign managers segue into chiefs of staff. The people with whom candidates surround themselves during campaigns are the people who end up surrounding them in the Oval Office.

So it matters a great deal that Sanders seems satisfied with Weaver, and satisfied with redirection of blame and "misunderstandings" as explanations for fuck-ups.

This is the nitty-gritty stuff of assessing candidates' ability to effectively govern. Positions are only one part of any candidate's qualifications.

Sanders is running for president, not polemicist.

What he says is important, but it's not the only thing that matters. The truth is, irrespective of what a strong advocate for terrific policy any president may be, that president will fail if s/he doesn't have an effective team.

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