Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker airbornemihir: "How does being among friends make you feel?"

Wow. What a big and wonderful question that is.

Among the best of my friends, I feel known and accepted, which is an incomparable gift. I hope I make them feel the same in return.

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Deadly Flooding in South Asia

[Content Note: Extreme weather; flooding; death]

While many of us in the United States have been preoccupied with the flooding in Texas and Louisiana, monsoon rains across South Asia have done an extraordinary amount of damage, displacing millions of people from their homes and taking nearly 2,000 lives.

More than 1,200 people are believed to have died across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal as a result of the flooding, which reached Pakistan today, killing at least 14 people in the port city of Karachi.

The flooding is so severe that they have caused buildings to collapse. In Mumbai, a four-story residential building "gave way on Thursday morning in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar, after roads were turned into rivers in India's financial capital. ...Thousands more buildings that are more than 100 years old are at risk of collapse due in part to foundations being weakened by flood waters."

One third of Bangladesh was believed to be underwater and the UN described the situation in Nepal, where 150 people have died, as the worst flooding in a decade.

The floods have also destroyed or damaged 18,000 schools in the south Asia region, meaning that about 1.8 million children cannot go to classes, Save the Children said on Thursday.

The charity said hundreds of thousands of children could fall permanently out of the school system if education was not prioritised in relief efforts.

...Floods have caused devastation in many parts of India. Unprecedented rainfall in Assam in the north-east has killed more than 150 people. About 600 villages are still underwater even though the torrential rain began earlier this month.

...[In Mumbai], children swam or paddled down the streets lying on planks of wood. ...Others living in the low-lying areas most affected by the flooding were swept away into the sea or died when walls collapsed.
People who have made a run for it are saying they've weathered these monsoon rains every year of their lives, but this is unlike anything they're used to navigating. Climate change has intensified monsoon season.

It's just devastating, in every way.

If you would like to help, Will Worley has some ideas at the Independent. Please share additional ways to help in comments, and, as always, let's keep this thread image-free. Thanks.

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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!

* * *

My cousin-in-law made stained glass potatoes, of which I'd never heard, and shared a post about them on social media, and now I am obsessed with them and cannot wait to try to make them!

If you, like me, have never heard of stained glass potatoes, they are thinly sliced potatoes cooked with an herb pressed between two slices.

image of a hand holding up a stained glass potato, with a leafy herb visible in the middle

I love love love parsley with potatoes, so I am keen to try it with fresh parsley. There are two ways of cooking them. I'm not a skilled fryer, so I'd probably go for the baked method, but I've included both below, so you can choose according to your preference, should you also want to give them a try!


* 2 TBL unsalted butter, melted (alternative: olive oil)
* 3 large potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1/16 inch slices using a mandolin or handheld slicer
* 1/2 cup flat parsley leaves, washed and dried (or basil leaves, or fresh rosemary, or...)
* Salt


Lightly butter half of the potato slices on one side using a pastry brush (or a mister if you use oil) and place them buttered side down on parchment paper. Top each slice with chosen herbs in the center. Sandwich with another potato slice, lightly buttering the outside. Press gently to bind and smooth out any air pockets. Sprinkle tops with salt to taste.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment with potatoes on sheet pans. Bake for about 15 minutes, flipping them over every 5 minutes to avoid burning.

Frying Instructions:

Melt a bit of extra butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add slices to pan. (Flipping may not be necessary, but if you want to flip, it's probably better to use tongs to gently cinch them together as you turn them over.) Saute until golden brown.

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Trump May End DACA Tomorrow

[Content Note: Nativism.]

Noor Al-Sibai at Raw Story: Trump to End Obama-Era Dreamers Program as Early as Tomorrow. "Donald Trump could announce his plans to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program 'as early as tomorrow,' Fox News reports. As The Hill notes, DACA granted work permits and deferred deportation for nearly 800,000 undocumented people who arrived in the United States as children."

DACA is an effective and compassionate program. There is literally no sensible or decent reason to end it. The only purpose of ending it is to pander to white supremacist nativists.

This is truly malice just for its own sake.

Even crueller given that Trump said in January that DREAMers "shouldn't be very worried" about being deported, because "I do have a big heart."

I loathe him.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on the back of the sofa, surveying the room
"I'm queen of the world!"

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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We Resist: Day 224

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump's "Tax Reform" Speech Is Another Dumpster Fire.

Julia Manchester at the Hill: Top Russian Official Tells Tillerson New North Korea Sanctions Would Be 'Dangerous'. "Russia's top diplomat warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson against new sanctions on North Korea, saying additional penalties against Pyongyang would be 'dangerous.' Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the warning during a phone call with his U.S. counterpart on Wednesday evening, according to The Associated Press, which cited a readout of the call from Russia's foreign ministry." Sure. This is normal. Everything is fine. There's nothing weird at all about having a president who's a wholly owned subsidiary of the fucking Kremlin.

Speaking of which...

Chad Day and Eric Tucker at the AP: Source: Grand jury Hears from Lobbyist in Trump Tower Chat. "A grand jury used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has heard secret testimony from a Russian-American lobbyist who attended a June 2016 meeting with [Donald] Trump's eldest son, The Associated Press has learned. A person familiar with the matter confirmed to the AP that Rinat Akhmetshin had appeared before Mueller's grand jury in recent weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secret proceedings. The revelation is the clearest indication yet that Mueller and his team of investigators view the meeting, which came weeks after Trump had secured the Republican presidential nomination, as a relevant inquiry point in their broader probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election."

Josh Dawsey at Politico: Mueller Teams Pp with New York Attorney General in Manafort Probe. "Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter. The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into [Donald] Trump's former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump's campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes." Emphasis mine. Important bit of info there.

David Kocieniewski and Caleb Melby at Bloomberg: [Content Note: Moving GIF at link] Kushners' China Deal Flop Was Part of Much Bigger Hunt for Cash. "Federal investigators are examining Kushner's finances and business dealings, along with those of other Trump associates, as they probe possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Kushner has already testified twice before closed congressional committees and denies mixing family business with his official role. This article, which describes new details of the company's troubled finances and its overseas fundraising efforts, is based on a review of thousands of pages of financial documents and interviews with more than two dozen executives, business partners, real estate agents, deal participants, and analysts. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deals. Some feared legal reprisals or other retaliation from one of the country's most powerful families."

* * *

Because we now live inside a cuckoo clock, Snopes had to debunk the ubiquitous claim that President Barack Obama was president during Hurricane Katrina. FAKE HISTORY!

Aaron Rupar at ThinkProgress: White House Acknowledges Trump Lied about 'Witnessing Firsthand' the Devastation of Harvey. "On Thursday morning, [Donald] Trump tweeted that '[a]fter witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!' [But] Trump didn't visit any of the hardest-hit areas, and he didn't he meet with any Harvey victims." He reflexively lies about everything. Things that don't matter and things that do.

Yeganeh Torbati at Reuters: Russia Must Close Consulate, Annex Buildings in U.S., State Department Says. "The United States is requiring Russia to close [by September 2] its consulate in San Francisco and two annex buildings in Washington, D.C. and New York City, the State Department said on Thursday, in response to the Kremlin's decision to shrink the U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia. Last month Moscow ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half, to 455 people, after Congress overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against Russia." Although this order is ostensibly just about Russia's retaliation for sanctions, the timing of the announcement serves as pushback for lecturing Tillerson on North Korea sanctions (mentioned above).

Charlie Piece at Esquire: Put Them in Prison: The Ugly Wells Fargo Saga Takes an Uglier Turn. "I'm no lawyer, although I occasionally act as legal counsel in the shebeen here, but it seems to me that what we're dealing with here are 3.5 million individual acts of fraud by Wells Fargo. They opened fake accounts with the real names of their customers, and then charged those customers for the privilege of being defrauded. This seems neither difficult nor complicated. It seems to me that you'd have to transport the RICO indictment on this criminal enterprise by barge. Instead, Wells Fargo paid a $185 million fine to the regulators, and it settled a class-action suit brought by its universe of marks to the tune of $142 million."

* * *

Breanna Edwards at the Root: [CN: Police misconduct; eliminationist rhetoric; racism] Georgia Cop Caught on Camera Reassuring Terrified White Female Driver Pulled Over During DUI Traffic Stop: 'Remember, We Only Kill Black People'. "Y'all, these cops ain't even trying to pretend anymore. Released dash-cam footage provided to a local Georgia news station shows an officer's interaction with a white female driver who claimed she was afraid to move her hands during a traffic stop, due to all the recent videos of cops shooting and/or attacking folks. That's when the Cobb County, Ga. police officer could be heard reassuring the woman that she won't get hurt, because she's not black. 'But you're not black. Remember, we only kill black people. We only kill black people, right?' the officer, identified as Lt. Greg Abbott by WSBTV could be heard saying."

The defenses for this are, of course, amazing. He was just joking; he was being sarcastic; and, per his attorney: "He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger. In context, his comments were clearly aimed at attempting to gain compliance by using the passenger's own statements and reasoning to avoid making an arrest."

It's the passenger's fault! Never mind that the passenger never said anything about police killing Black people. She referred to the police killing people at traffic stops. It was the officer himself who injected the "context" of police murders of Black people. So it's pretty rich to try to justify this vile garbage by attributing it to a noncompliant subject's "own statements and reasoning." JFC.

Btw, if you watch the video at the link, Police Chief Mike Register tells the press ways in which the department has responded: "He says the brass has responded by instituting a faith forum, precinct discussion groups, training changes, and more."

A faith forum?! Well, gosh. I can see the department is taking this very seriously.


* * *

Trump should commit to it just so he can claim not to be a racist. It would be a damnable lie, but at least we'd get our Tubmans.

In good news...

Tom Dart at the Guardian: Federal Judge Blocks Texas Ban on Sanctuary Cities in Blow for Trump. "A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction that blocks key parts of Texas’s ban on so-called sanctuary cities two days before the law was scheduled to go into effect. The decision from judge Orlando Garcia on Wednesday is a victory for immigration rights advocates and a potential blow for other Republican-led states that may be keen to follow Texas – as well as for the Trump administration, which has vowed to crack down on sanctuary cities." YES.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Remembering Princess Diana

The People's Princess with the People's President. I love that.

I love it because Princess Diana, who died 20 years ago today, was a profoundly misunderstood women in many ways during her life — particularly because of a media, which dogged her literally to her death, determined to misrepresent who she was.

It seems to me that's true of many of the women I admire.

I admired Princess Diana for a lot of reasons, chief among them her perseverance. There has always been something powerful to me about tenacious women who persist under unfathomable scrutiny. Living a relatable, if not precisely universal, experience of womanhood on an impossibly visible scale.

Having not been a little girl who dreamed of my wedding day, nor a little girl who picked a princess costume for dress-up, I never shared the (quite understandable) moments of enamorment with Diana's and Charles' extraordinary wedding, nor the opulent trappings of her extraordinary life. I liked to watch her interact with people, with children especially, and I loved to listen to her speak.

I remember seeing an interview with her, when I was still quite young, and hearing her voice for the first time. She was quiet; shy. This was revolutionary, to a child whose face would flush bright red if she were obliged to speak out loud in class.

That I could be shy and strong had maybe never occurred to me before. Not without such certainty, at least.

Diana was the People's Princess because of her charitable work, because of her fearlessness, because of her (literal) touch, and most of all because — despite her own shyness and the immense, relentless scrutiny of becoming a royal, and then infamously un-becoming one; despite her personal struggles and the enormous pressures and the softpedaling of her successes and magnification of her mistakes — she managed to balance a determined strength with a vulnerability that made her accessible; that made her human.

I remember Princess Diana with fondness. My condolences on this sad anniversary to all who knew and loved her, especially her sons.

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Hurricane Harvey

Here again is a thread for info-sharing, updates, checking in, and sharing additional resources on how we can support those affected by the hurricane and flooding. As always, let's keep the thread image-free. Thanks.

A few items: [CN: Death; displacement; video may autoplay at link] Harvey Flooding Prompts New Evacuations Near Houston's Barker Reservoir; Death Toll Climbs to At Least 29.

The death toll from Harvey climbed to at least 29 Thursday, as new mandatory evacuations were issued around Houston's Barker Reservoir.

...Even as Houston began to pick up the pieces left behind by the storm, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that "the worst is not yet over" for the southeastern part of the state, where widespread flooding continues.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration says nearly one million people have registered for assistance, while the Texas Department of Public Safety says more than 48,700 homes have been affected by flooding and other damage since Friday.

...Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told the Associated Press Tuesday that his agency has rescued roughly 4,100 people, and Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said his agency has saved more than 3,000.

Harris County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Parisa Safarzadeh said her agency has rescued more than 3,000 people, and U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Mike Hart says they have also rescued more than 3,000, both in Houston and in outlying cities and subdivisions.

Overall, more than 13,000 people have been rescued in the Houston area, and roughly 18,000 people have been rescued in southeast Texas.
The worst of the flooding is not yet over in some areas; in others, the water is beginning to recede. It's when the water begins to recede that the scope of the devastation becomes clear. Casualties will rise, and the extent of property losses will be evident. People will have to begin dealing with the stress of rebuilding and navigating an overwhelmed insurance system. There will be so much mold. Trauma of loss and survival will emerge in unexpected ways.

Media attention on the effects of Harvey will fade, but those of us outside the affected areas should prepare ourselves and resolve to keep the people there in our thoughts for much longer than the camera will stay focused on them.

* * *

Keri Blakinger, Matt Dempsey, Andrew Kragie, and Margaret Kadifa at the Houston Chronicle: [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Explosions Reported at Flooded Crosby Chemical Plant. "A fire broke out at the Arkema plant in Crosby early Thursday, following chemical explosions overnight that sent plumes of black smoke into the air. Arkema officials warned that more explosions should be expected because there are eight additional containers of the same product at the plant, which is 25 miles northeast of downtown Houston. Nearby residents should stay inside, turn off their air conditioning, and close their windows and doors. 'You shouldn't be here, but if you haven't left, shelter in place,' Arkema spokesman Jeff Carr said."

Rachel Maddow mentioned the Arkema plant on her show the other night. The chemicals held there must be refrigerated to remain stable. Even their backup generators were flooded, so the refrigeration went down.

Fifteen deputies were hospitalized "after being affected by an irritant in the smoke of the fire. Eight of them have since been released."

* * *

Joanna Walters at the Guardian: How to Help People Affected by Storm Harvey. Also good advice here for avoiding "charity" scams.

There is also list of ways to help here. Please feel welcome and encouraged to share additional ways to help in comments.

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Peak 2017: The Lord of the Flies Remake...with Girls!

Last night, Mike Fleming Jr. at Deadline reported that two dudes, Scott McGehee and David Siegel, "have made a deal at Warner Bros to write and direct a new version of Lord of the Flies, based on the iconic William Golding novel. They plan to be faithful to the novel with one major twist: The young students stranded on a remote island who descend into a savage social order will be girls."

Hahahahahahahaha of course.

If I had been asked to conceive of the perfect parody to encapsulate the mainstream film industry's creative bankruptcy, insistence on retelling white cishet male stories, and complete failure to understand the purpose of gender- and race-swapping, I probably would have suggested: "What about Lord of the Flies, but with girls?"

Anyway. Last night, I tweeted about this impending dumpster fire.

As you can see, it's been shared quite a lot! Which means an unusual number of responses. If you guessed that many of them were from dudes who wanted to tell me that Lord of the Flies was not about toxic masculinity (even though the author William Golding has said as much), give yourself a million gold stars!

Then there were the dudes who were super mad that I used the word "mansplaining," who created an inception of mansplaining in my mentions.

[Image embedded in tweet is a screenshot of a tweet authored by a dude reading: "Mansplaining, womansplaining— can't we just call it EXPLAINING or COMPLAINING. This isn't Spanish. Words don't need a sex."]

Many dudes were also quite certain I've never read the book. (Whooooooops!) And those were the nicest retorts from the angry men who responded to me. The rest was the usual name-calling and assorted harassment.

In defense of a book about toxic masculinity. To convince me it isn't about toxic masculinity. By demonstrating toxic masculinity.


This movie is a very bad idea, and I desperately hope it does not get made for a number of reasons, chief among them this:

Please don't try to do us any favors, fellas.

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Open Thread

image of a yellow couch

Hosted by a yellow sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker wakeuptothemoon: "How has your pallet changed over time (as in, what foods did you love as a child which you now dislike, or vise versa)?"

As I've said before, I didn't have a bitter palate at all until about 10 years ago, so anything bitter or tart I didn't like as a kid but love now.

I liked eggs when I was a kid, and then, somewhere along the line, lost the taste for them so completely that I can't stand them now.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by cola.

Recommended Reading:

Monica Roberts: Mixed Houston Harvey Emotions

Auditi Guha: [Content Note: Violence; abduction; murder] Two Charged in North Dakota After Missing Pregnant Woman's Body Found

Matt Wilstein: [CN: Sexual violence] Tig Notaro: Louis C.K. Needs to 'Handle' His Sexual-Misconduct Rumors

Ragen Chastain: [CN: Fat hatred] Forever 21 & the 'All Shapes And Sizes' Lie

Jenn Fang: [CN: Whitewashing] Ed Skrein Withdraws from "Hellboy" Following Whitewashing Outcry

Erin Tatum: Why "The Bold Type" Is Exactly the Feminist TV Show We Need Right Now

Rae Paoletta: [CN: Animal endangerment] The Adorable Pika, Who Subsists on Wildflowers and Kindness, Is in Serious Danger

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

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Quote of the Day

"The question is whether [Donald Trump] can learn and change. If so, I believe he can be a good president. ...We'll have to see if he can forget himself enough and have the type of empathy and direction the country needs."—Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, during an appearance in San Francisco Tuesday night.


I get why some Democrats don't feel like they can't tear into Trump (although I'm hard-pressed to understand why a Senator from California feels that way). But there is a vast cavern between tearing into him and running interference for him.

If she felt obliged to be circumspect about it, all she had to say was, "I'm going to keep trying to work with him, no matter his disposition toward working with me." Done. The end.

But this dreck! What the almighty fuck is she talking about?

Trump cannot learn.

Trump cannot change.

Trump cannot be a good president.

Trump cannot forget himself.

Trump cannot have empathy.

Trump cannot have direction the country needs.

No, no, and more no.

Today, Feinstein [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] issued a statement saying, in part: "The duty of the American president is to bring people together, not cater to one segment of a political base; to solve problems, not campaign constantly. While I'm under no illusion that it's likely to happen and will continue to oppose his policies, I want [Donald] Trump to change for the good of the country."

And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. But they aren't. So what is the point, exactly, of saying this garbage, except to extend Trump the assumption of being able to change when he absolutely never will?!

I mean. This is her clarifying statement after she had a day to fucking think about it! FAIL.

Good day, ma'am.


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A Bit of Progress

The Los Angeles City Council voted today to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. GOOD.

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Trump's "Tax Reform" Speech Is Another Dumpster Fire

screenshot of MSNBC while Trump was giving his tax reform address; the chyron reads: 'TRUMP TALKS TAXES AS GULF DEATH TOLL CLIMBS TO 19'
[Image via Igor Volsky.]

Earlier today, I noted that Donald Trump would be delivering a speech in Springfield, Missouri, introducing his tax reform before a captive audience of employees of Springfield's largest manufacturer. He just gave that speech, and it was exactly as terrible as you'd expect.

This is why tax reform must dramatically simplify the tax code. Eliminate special interest loopholes. And I'm speaking against myself when I do this, I have to tell you. And I might be speaking against Mr. Cook [of the Loren Cook Company, where Trump was speaking] and we're both okay with it, is that right? It's crazy. We're speaking— Maybe we shouldn't be doing this, you know? But we're doing the right thing.

As Trump wrapped up his speech, Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted: "@POTUS is absolutely right. America's tax code is way too complicated. Congress is committed to working w/ the @WhiteHouse to simplify it."

And meanwhile:

Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the couch with a serious look on her face
Matilda isn't having any of it.

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

Open Wide...

We Resist: Day 223

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump Is a Terrible Person and a Terrible President.

This afternoon, Donald Trump will give a speech in Springfield, Missouri, where he will deliver a speech introducing his tax reform before a captive audience of employees of Springfield's largest manufacturer.

The speech will reportedly be short on details about the plan, which were secretly negotiated, and instead we'll get a bunch of dishonest populist rhetoric about his wealth redistribution upwards plan will "'un-rig' the economy, resurrect 'Main Street,' and end 'the special interest loopholes that have only benefited the wealthy and powerful few.'"
The Wall Street Journal's top tax reporter Richard Rubin asked the officials on [a preview call with the White House] how they could claim their tax reform was taking things away from the well-connected few when the president's plans so far have repealed the estate tax, lowered the top rate, and lowered the corporate rate.

A White House official on the call responded to Rubin by portraying a massive corporate tax cut as a populist measure. "How I would look at this, from an American worker's perspective, it's basically a 'made in America tax.'"
Sure. Why not. *jumps into Christmas tree*

Utterly reprehensible. And totally predictable.

Patrick Kulp at Mashable: Trump's White House Nixes Obama Effort to Collect Data on Pay by Gender and Race. "The White House says it will halt a rule that would make businesses report how much they pay workers of different genders and races. The announcement takes aim at a major plank of President Barack Obama's equal pay legacy. His administration expanded the scope of the equal employment opportunity survey to include the requirements through an executive action last year. The hope was that the change would help illuminate systemic wage discrimination against women and minorities, a problem that persists in part because of limited available data. But businesses immediately complained of the administrative strain the regulation would put on their operations and questioned whether the information would be useful or securely handled. As was widely expected, Donald Trump's administration sided with them." Of course.

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: After Critical Fox Segment, Trump Claims He Purposefully Left Admin Posts Open. "After conservative commentator Laura Ingraham on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration for letting key posts go unfilled, [Donald] Trump fired back on Twitter, claiming that those positions had been left vacant on purpose. '.@foxandfriends We are not looking to fill all of those positions. Don't need many of them — reduce size of government.'" Ah, the old Pee-wee Herman defense. "I meant to do that!"

Brad Lendon and Joshua Berlinger at CNN: [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Next Target Guam, North Korea Says. "North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan was a prelude to more military operations directed at the American territory of Guam, North Korean state media warned Wednesday. The country's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported leader Kim Jong Un presided over the dawn launch Tuesday of the 'ultra-modern rocket system,' the first missile ever fired from the capital Pyongyang." Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

(Why is the New York Times even giving Erik Prince a platform to make this disgusting argument?! The Times is a real shitshow today. Even more than most days.)

Betsy Woodruff, Katie Zavadski, and Ben Collins at the Daily Beast: [CN: Misogynist and homophobic slurs; scatological references; harassment] Trump Pal Bought [Offensive URLs], Then the Sites Attacked Their Mutual Enemy.
Documents disclosed this week show just how far former Trump Organization adviser and convicted felon Felix Sater will go to help his one-time business associate [Donald] Trump. In emails released by The New York Times on Monday, Sater bragged to the president's lawyer in 2015 that, with Kremlin help, "our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it."

Now a dive into Sater's history on the web and in courts suggests the lengths Sater is prepared to go to damage a common enemy of himself and Trump.

Sater used his email and office address to register websites including,, several variations of and,,,, and dozens of other crudely named domains.

While registered to Sater, some of those sites attacked Jody Kriss, Sater's former business associate. The two used to work together at the Trump Tower-headquartered real-estate firm Bayrock, where Kriss served as CFO until he left the company and sued them for money laundering, according to Bloomberg. Donald Trump was initially targeted in court by Kriss, as well.

Sater's email and office address were used to register more than a dozen domain names relating to Kriss. Those sites then attacked Kriss for his lawsuit against the Trump family, among others.
What the hell did I just read?

* * *

Andrew Kaczynski at CNN: Rep. Rohrabacher Says 'Rendezvous' Being Set up with Trump to Relay Info from WikiLeaks' Assange on DNC Hack.
Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said Monday that a "rendezvous" is being set up between him and [Donald] Trump to relay information he received from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about the hack of the Democratic National Committee last year.

Rohrabacher, who is considered to be among the most pro-Russia members in Congress, met with Assange earlier this month and claims Assange told him that Russia was not involved in the hacking. Rohrabacher said after the meeting that he wanted to brief Trump on what Assange told him. Appearing on the Sean Hannity radio show Monday afternoon, the California congressman said that meeting was in the process of being set up.

"It is my understanding from other parties who are trying to arrange a rendezvous with myself and the President, it is being arranged for me to give him the firsthand information from (Assange)," Rohrabacher said.
What in almighty fuck?! I don't even understand how any of this is legal, which is to say nothing of how aggressively unethical it is.

* * *

Tierney Sneed at TPM: Mueller Probe Issues Subpoenas for Manafort's Spox and Former Lawyer. "Unnamed sources told CNN that Akin Gump attorney Melissa Laurenza and PR rep Jason Maloni were issued subpoenas. The subpoenas were 'seeking documents and testimony,' the CNN report said, adding that it was 'unclear what specific information the Mueller investigators believe Laurenza and Maloni may have.'" Oh.

Lindsay Gibbs at ThinkProgress: [CN: Rape culture] The Trump Administration Is Beginning to Undermine Protections for Sexual Assault Survivors. "On Tuesday night, Tyler Kingkade of BuzzFeed reported that Candice Jackson, the current head of the Office for Civil Rights, has been privately expressing her intent to begin a process that could potentially end a 2011 directive that lays out the Title IX guidelines that schools must follow when a student reports a sexual assault on campus. ...And on Wednesday morning, Alexandra Brodsky, the co-founder of Know Your IX, a project that works to empower students to end gender violence in schools, reported that the Trump administration had removed the 2014 White House 'Rape and Sexual Assault: Renewed Call to Action' report on the official White House website." Rage seethe boil.

Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: [CN: Homophobic and transphobic hatred; Christian supremacy] Nashville Statement: 150 Evangelical Leaders Release Disgusting Anti-LGBTQ Manifesto. "A coalition of more than 150 evangelical leaders has released a manifesto stating that 'it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism.' ...The statement was issued following a meeting last Friday of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) at the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's annual conference in Nashville. CBMW president Denny Burk said the statement aimed to mitigate Christians' 'confusion' over issues of sexuality." In other words, they were worried that some of their parishioners might have been getting a little too tolerant, so they felt obliged to put the kibosh on that nonsense! Assholes.

Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: [CN: Racism] Predominantly White State Legislatures Are Blocking Laws That Benefit Black Workers. "On Monday (August 28), a Missouri state law went into effect that stripped more than 30,000 workers in St. Louis of a hard won local minimum wage increase, dropping their hourly pay floor from $10 an hour back to just $7.70. But St. Louis isn't the only city where state laws stand in the way of progress. A new brief from advocacy network Partnership for Working Families found that this legislation is rampant, with predominantly-White legislative bodies passing laws that circumvent legislation that would benefit communities of color." Goddammit.

Greg Bluestein at the Atlanta Journal Constitution: [CN: Misogynoir; threats of violence] Georgia Lawmaker: Talk of Ditching Confederate Statues Could Cause Democrat to 'Go Missing'. "A Georgia Republican lawmaker warned a Democratic former colleague who criticized his support for Civil War monuments on Facebook that she won't be 'met with torches but something a lot more definitive' if she continues to call for the removal of statues in south Georgia. State Rep. Jason Spencer, a Woodbine Republican, also wrote former state Rep. LaDawn Jones that 'people in South Georgia are people of action, not drama' and suggested some who don't understand that 'will go missing in the Okefenokee.'" Fucking hell. This is what Donald Trump has empowered. This is what we must resist with everything we've got.

In good news...

Between mayors of U.S. cities suing this administration on behalf of undocumented residents; governors and mayors announcing that they will still meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord irrespective of Trump's decision to pull out; people across the country resisting in persistent, resolute, and creative ways; and people doing things like getting in fucking boats to pull their neighbors out of floods, Donald Trump and his deplorable party are going to have a goddamned hard time ruining this country.

They may succeed, but we're going to give them all kinds of hell before it's over.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Hello Again

I see you. The things you are feeling right now are valid, no matter how much Donald Trump, his administration of vandals, and large swaths of the corporate media try to gaslight you.

Whether you feel angry, scared, confused, hopeless, resolved to fight, or any combination thereof, those feelings are legitimate.

And you are not alone.

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Hurricane Harvey

Here again is a thread for info-sharing, updates, checking in, and sharing additional resources on how we can support those affected by the hurricane and flooding. As always, let's keep the thread image-free. Thanks.

A few items:

George Dvorsky at Gizmodo: Harvey Just Broke the Record for Wettest Tropical Storm in US History.

The National Weather Service is reporting 49.32 inches of total rainfall at a site southeast of Houston, which now marks the greatest accumulation of rainfall ever recorded in the contiguous United States on account of a single tropical storm.

This latest rainfall figure still needs to be verified by other sources, but it's likely to hold — and even increase — given that Harvey is in the midst of making its third landfall, where it's expected to dump even more rain on the already waterlogged states of Texas and Louisiana.

...Harvey's total concentrated rainfall, says Nielsen-Gammon, is 19 times the daily discharge of the Mississippi River — the most of any tropical system ever recorded. This tremendous amount of precipitation has fallen onto an area measuring 20,000 square miles, much of it now underwater.
St. John Barned-Smith and Mike Morris at the Houston Chronicle: [Content Note: Drowning; video may autoplay at link] Houston Police Sgt. Steve Perez Drowns in Harvey Floodwaters.
Steve Perez, a 34-year-veteran of the Houston Police Department, drowned in his patrol car in Harvey floodwaters, a tearful Chief Art Acevedo said Tuesday afternoon.

Perez, days shy of his 61st birthday, was in his patrol car driving to work downtown Sunday morning when he got trapped in high water.

Acevedo said Perez left home at 4 a.m. and spent more than two hours trying to get to his duty station in downtown Houston. When he could not find a path, he followed department protocol and tried to report to the nearest station, in Kingwood.

...Acevedo, with tears in his eyes, said officers believed they had found Perez on Monday night but could not recover his body.

"We could not put more officers at risk for what we knew in our hearts would be a recovery mission," he said. Search and rescue crews, including a dive team and a "Cajun Navy" member, recovered his body from an underpass on Tuesday, Acevedo said.

...The officer's death is the 15th fatality in Texas claimed by Hurricane Harvey or the rains it spawned after making landfall.
Avi Selk and Lindsey Bever at the Washington Post: [CN: Drowning] Six Family Members Swept Away Trying to Flee Harvey. Great-grandparents Manuel and Belia Saldivar and their great-grandchildren Devy, 16; Dominic, 14; Xavier, 8; and Daisy, 6. All lost when the van in which they were trying to escape the floodwaters got into water too deep, lost traction on the road, and floated away.

My condolences to the rest of their family, their friends, and their community. My condolences as well to Officer Perez's family, friends, and colleagues.

I am so deeply sad. I hate that so many of my fellow countrypeople are going through such a horrendous time and there's virtually nothing I can do to support or comfort them.

Tom Dart at the Guardian: Hundreds Feared Cut off by Floods as Harvey Pushes East into Louisiana.
Hundreds of people were feared cut off by rising flood waters on Wednesday as Tropical Storm Harvey spared Houston overnight but moved east, inundating the industrial Texas cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur and making landfall for a second time, coming to shore in south-west Louisiana.

There were reports by local officials of as many as 30 deaths. The toll was expected to rise.

In Port Arthur, near the coast, rescue teams struggled to reach desperate residents.

"Hundreds, if not thousands of people are stranded because of high water," Jeff Branick, a senior administrator in Jefferson County, told the Beaumont Enterprise. "There are people that have crawled into their attic, are on top of the cars because they were not physically able to get on to their roofs."

..."Our whole city is underwater right now but we are coming," Port Arthur mayor Derrick Freeman posted on Facebook overnight.
There is a list of ways to help here. Please feel welcome and encouraged to share additional ways to help in comments.

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Trump Is a Terrible Person and a Terrible President

At the Washington Post, Jenna Johnson succinctly summarizes the shitshow we've all been witnessing as Donald Trump fails his basic duties as a president and as a human being during Hurricane Harvey:

Yet again, Trump managed to turn attention on himself. His responses to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey have been more focused on the power of the storm and his administration's response than on the millions of Texans whose lives have been dramatically altered by the floodwaters.

He has talked favorably about the higher television ratings that come with hurricane coverage, predicted that he will soon be congratulating himself and used 16 exclamation points in 22 often breathless tweets about the storm. But as of late Tuesday afternoon, the president had yet to mention those killed, call on other Americans to help or directly encourage donations to relief organizations.

...At a news conference Monday, Trump continued to gush over the storm. "I've heard the words, 'epic.' I've heard 'historic.' That's what it is," he said, adding that the hurricane will make Texas stronger and the rebuilding effort "will be something very special."
What a disgusting person he is.

And even now, even now, there are members of his party and members of the press who are still willing to afford him the good faith of assuming he's just getting the messaging wrong, as opposed to being a compassionless wreck whose only interest in a catastrophic storm is how much its vast destruction delights him.

Last night, I heard a cable news anchor say the actual words: "Trump failed to tap into his empathetic side in Texas."

The people affected by Hurricane Harvey are in my thoughts — and among those thoughts is this: I am truly sorry that our president is such a dirtbag.

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Open Thread

image of a red couch

Hosted by a red sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

As a follow-up to yesterday's QotD: "Is there anything you've been dead set against getting, even though everyone has been raving about it, but no one has yet convinced you, so you're still holding out?"

I still really have no idea WTF Snapchat is or does, lol.

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An Observation

image of Hillary Clinton looking at Donald Trump during a debate with an 'OMG' look on her face, to which I have added text reading: 'OH GODDDDDDDDD THIS FUCKING GUY.'

Hey, you know how lots of people say shit about how it's supposedly impossible to tell what the Democrats stand for, because all they do is oppose Donald Trump? Which is a variation on the theme that Hillary Clinton lost the election because she "talked about Trump too much" and made her campaign all about him?

Trump is a villainous nightmare. He is an authoritarian white supremacist who is actively working to turn this nation into a police state. He is a destabilizing force around the globe, imperiling billions of people.

If all the Democrats talk about is Donald Trump, FINE. If all Hillary Clinton had talked about was Donald Trump and the threat he posed to us all, that would have been PLENTY.

What I know when I hear people complain about anyone talking too much about Trump is that they definitely aren't talking about him enough.

Which I say as someone who would like very much never to write another word about him, listen to him, look at him, or think about him again for the rest of my days.

But I know how important it is that we do. Even though it is hard. Because it is hard.

Dismissing people who warned us urgently about Trump did not work out so well. I see no reason why anyone would want to repeat such a grim mistake.

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What Republican Legislatures Have Wrought

Emily Bazelon has an important piece on gerrymandering at the New York Times: The New Front in the Gerrymandering Wars: Democracy vs. Math. I highly recommend reading the entire thing, because I'm just going to highlight one bit.

A central issue of the gerrymandering problem which subverts the democratic process in the United States is the increasing number of state legislatures held by Republican majorities — who continually fix election rules to ensure not only Republican majorities in national elections, but to protect and maintain their majorities on the state level.

They don't only pass election laws favorable to themselves, but all kinds of retrograde social policy that appeals to their base.

This isn't generally seen as an electoral strategy, but it is. From Bazelon's piece:

Since 2010, the number of competitive races in House elections has shrunk. That's partly because Democrats increasingly cluster in blue cities, geographically limiting their voting power. But it's also because redistricting has become more targeted as voters have become more predictable. Once you join Team Red or Team Blue, you're likely to stay on it. "If you know how everyone is going to vote, and where they're going to live, then you have all the information you need," says Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford law professor who has served as a court-­appointed redistricting expert in several states.
To say that Democrats "increasingly cluster in blue cities" is an accurate statement, and a profoundly important one. But without any context, the casual reader might pass right by it without considering, critically, why it is that Democratic voters are clustering in "blue cities."

This is something I've addressed previously:
Millions of the people who are concentrated in cities like New York, Chicago, Austin, and San Francisco (among others) are there because they were persecuted in their homes, and find greater safety in spaces where laws have been passed to protect them. Millions of queer people who are targeted by Republican legislatures in their home states; millions of women who fear childbearing in an area without robust reproductive choice; millions of Black people who are the descendants of elders who were kept out of small Northern sundown towns. Etc.

Republican legislatures have enacted regressive social policy (or failed thoroughly to progress on social issues), making their states unattractive to employers (so there are fewer jobs) and to progressive and/or marginalized residents, many of whom move (if they are able) to find work and to escape oppressive social policy. And sometimes for even more personal reasons: It may be difficult, if you're a feminist or an atheist or a progressive etc., to find a partner — hell, even friends — in many very conservative areas.

These policies are a big part of what's created the imbalanced concentrations in California and New York. And one of the things about which we simply refuse to have a meaningful national conversation is that it's increasingly difficult for Democrats to win in "middle America" because there are fewer and fewer Democratic voters left there.

Yes, of course we should and must address voter suppression and gerrymandering, and building bridges to old and new communities of Democratic voters, but we also need to be honest that none of that deals with the problem of Democratic voters who simply leave for states with more opportunity, better infrastructure, and welcoming social policy.

That's a conversation that makes people uncomfortable because it veers dangerously close to the idea that we are becoming an irreconcilably divided nation. Ignoring it isn't going to make that better.
Let us be blunt here: The Republican Party knows that, in states like Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and West Virginia, they can pass policies which are heinous to everyone but their base — because if those policies, and/or the lack of educational and employment opportunities they create, drive progressives and moderates out of those states, it doesn't matter. To the contrary, it helps solidify Republicans' electoral dominance in those states.

It doesn't matter if, say, Montana has a population of one million or ten thousand: They still get two Senators. And even at a population of one million, they already, along with the other aforementioned states, "wield disproportionate power in the upper chamber compared to their populations."

And if/as their populations dwindle, the Republicans are then left to only represent (and be accountable to) their base. No worries about being primaried. No worries about having to be a "big tent." None of the worries with which a political party like the Democrats, the GOP's only real competition, has to contend.

The Republicans have long sought, and are slowly enacting, total dominance in every place they can. And a part of that strategy, whether originally by design or the result of happy coincidence, is exploiting the fact the people most disposed to vote Democratic are increasingly concentrating themselves outside of Republican strongholds.

As I have long argued, no progressive should be told to "just move" (as if it's that easy) when they live in a state with a Republican legislature who is hostile to their values and agency and very existence. That said, no one should blame any progressive who has the resources and desire to self-select the fuck out of that situation, either.

Progressive clustering does, however, put us in a dire electoral predicament. The country is changing; the Republicans are accelerating these divisions; and the laws need to change.

But the Republicans won't change them.

So where will that ultimately leave us? In an increasingly divided country, with an increasingly concentrated leadership who foments those divisions. And that is a very dangerous place indeed for a country to be.

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Trump Is Deplorable in Texas

You would be forgiven if you imagined that was a bit of gallows humor; if it were someone making a bit of pointed commentary by suggesting that Donald Trump, famously obsessed with his crowd size, stooped to commenting on his crowd size even in the midst of visiting a small part of the vast site of a deadly hurricane, which continues to engulf streets and homes and businesses and plains and property.

But it is not a bitter commentary. It is a straightforward report. The President of the United States actually said this.

Thank you, everybody. I just wanna say: We love you. You are special. We're here to take care — it's going well. And I wanna thank you for coming out. We're gonna get you back and operating immediately. Thank you, everybody. What a crowd. What a turnout.
He then added: "It's historic. It's epic. But I tell you, it happened in Texas, and Texas can handle anything." Then he waved the Texas flag for the crowd.

Tell the families of the people who have died that "Texas can handle anything," Trump. Tell the people who have lost every single thing they own that they'll be "back and operating immediately."

Covering Trump's administration, being obliged to watch him and listen to him and sift through the assailment of vile indecencies he wreaks upon this nation and its most vulnerable citizens every day, gives me a physical feeling that I cannot precisely describe. All I can tell you is that there are moments when his villainy causes a sensation that I believe is every cell of my being vibrating with rageful resistance to his very presence on this planet.

I feel that way right now. I feel it mightily.

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Daily Dose of Cute

On Saturday, for National Dog Day, I tweeted a picture of Dudley and Zelda looking smiley and adorbz, as usual.

[Image Description: Dudley the Greyhound and Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sit in the kitchen threshold, looking up at me and grinning. Zelda's tail is a wagging blur.]

@profc71 said: "I can't imagine how you ever got them to both smile and face the camera at the same time!" To which I replied: Asked them if they wanted a treat, lol. This is them saying, 'Yes, please!'"

The truth is, I don't even need to offer them a treat to get a picture of them both looking at me and grinning, because they are the happiest and goofiest puppehs ever. But I was just about to get them a treat when I snapped that particular photo.

So when @firstlastsecond requested "some pup pics" late yesterday, I tweeted another photo from the same series.

[Image Description: Dudley and Zelda stand beside one another just inside the kitchen, both looking up in the same direction as my hand, offscreen, reaches for the treat jar.]

LOL. They are the best.

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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We Resist: Day 222

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Mueller Scrutinizes Trump's Role in Cover-Up; GOP Rep Floats Plan to Defund Probe and Republicans Think People Aren't Entitled to Food.

Always a grifter. Always.

[Content Note: Nativism.]

Horrendous. And if he does, he will no doubt brag about how he did it because attention was focused on Houston — as he did regarding his pardoning of Joe Arpaio, as Brandon Carter [CN: Video may autoplay at link] reports at the Hill:
Trump on Monday said he announced his pardon of former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas because he "assumed the ratings would be far higher."

"In the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally," Trump said during a press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö. "You know, the hurricane was just starting."
There aren't words to sufficiently convey the depth of my loathing for this man.

Meanwhile... Margaret Newkirk at Bloomberg: Trump's Immigration Crackdown Is Making New Homes More Expensive.
A high-end home builder who supported [Donald] Trump last year, Brown said the president's immigration policies have dried up the already stretched supply of Hispanic-dominated framing labor. That has driven up home prices by slowing the supply of new houses as well as raising the cost of building them. A 3,000-square-foot house that cost $9,750 to frame even late last year now costs $18,000, he said, while last year's six-month supply of homes in the construction pipeline is down by half. And that's even before Trump pursues promised trade rule changes that could drive up other home building costs.

...The dearth of framers is part of a national shortage of construction workers that dates back to the recession. It's gotten worse under Trump, because framing has one of the highest concentrations of immigrant Hispanics in the industry, said Mark Boud, a California-based chief economist for Metrostudy, which provides intelligence to the U.S. real estate industry.
There is much more at the link. The gist is this: Trump's immigration and trade policies are significantly driving up the cost of housing.

And right at a time when countless people in Texas are going to need to rebuild their homes.

* * *

Justin McCurry at the Guardian: Trump and Abe Vow to Increase Pressure after North Korea Fires Missile over Japan. "Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe have vowed to increase pressure on North Korea after the regime launched a missile over Japan on Tuesday morning. The Japanese prime minister denounced the launch as an 'unprecedented and grave threat' to the country's security. In a 40-minute phone call with the US president they agreed to call for an emergency meeting of the UN security council to discuss the situation. Officials in South Korea said the missile may have flown further than any other tested by North Korea. The test, one of the most provocative ever from the reclusive state, sent a clear message to Washington just weeks after Kim Jong-un threatened to target the US Pacific territory of Guam with similar intermediate-range missiles. It also demonstrated the regime's willingness to raise the diplomatic stakes by sending a missile directly over Japanese territory." Not good. Not good at all.

Louis Nelson at Politico: Trump on North Korea's Missile Launch: 'All Options Are on the Table'. "North Korea's most recent ballistic missile test 'has signaled its contempt' for its neighbors and the international community, [Donald] Trump said in a statement released Tuesday morning, reiterating his threat that 'all options are on the table.' 'The world has received North Korea's latest message loud and clear: This regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior,' Trump's statement said. 'Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.'" Also not good.

That Trump can accuse Kim Jong Un of signaling "its content for its neighbors...and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior" and note that "threatening and destabilizing actions only increase [a country's] isolation" without a trace of fucking irony really tells you everything you need to know about this guy's catastrophic inability to self-reflect.

* * *

[CN: Nativism; carcerality; abuse; death; sexual violence.] Victoria Lopez at the ACLU: ICE Plans to Start Destroying Records of Immigrant Abuse, Including Sexual Assault and Deaths in Custody.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently asked the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), which instructs federal agencies on how to maintain records, to approve its timetable for retaining or destroying records related to its detention operations. This may seem like a run-of-the-mill government request for record-keeping efficiency. It isn't. An entire paper trail for a system rife with human rights and constitutional abuses is at stake.

ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement, and even deaths of people in its custody. Other records subject to destruction include alternatives to detention programs, regular detention monitoring reports, logs about the people detained in ICE facilities, and communications from the public reporting detention abuses. ICE proposed various timelines for the destruction of these records ranging from 20 years for sexual assault and death records to three years for reports about solitary confinement.

For years, advocates and communities across the country have denounced human rights abuses in the detention system. Many of the records that ICE proposes for destruction offer proof of the mistreatment endured by people in detention. Given the Trump administration's plans to increase the size and scope of the system substantially, it is all the more disturbing that the agency wants to reduce transparency and accountability.
There is no reason to request this change except to reduce transparency and accountability, in order to increase abuses against detainees.

It is extraordinarily bad, especially in combination with pardoning Joe Arpaio, removing the roadblocks to police militarization, and possible ended DACA, all within days. Following his threats to unleash martial law in Chicago, his encouragement of police brutality, and his ceaseless support of white Christian supremacy.

Trump is building a police state, right out in the open. Brazenly and quickly and relentlessly. So comprehensively that I don't even know how to begin to resist it in a meaningful way.

* * *

David Smith at the Guardian: Republican Trump Ally Reportedly Says: 'He's an Asshole, But He's Our Asshole'. "'He's just like he is on TV,' [Rep. Duncan Hunter] reportedly told colleagues on Friday. 'He's an asshole, but he's our asshole.' ...'The crowd ate up Hunter's assessment,' said Whitney Walsh, who also was there. 'Very much. They were fine with that answer,' she said." Of course they were.

Speaking of Trump being an asshole... Margaret Hartmann at NY Mag: Trump Fires Longtime Event Organizer over Sparse Crowd at Phoenix Rally. "If you watched the TV broadcast of [Donald] Trump's rally in Phoenix, Arizona, it might have looked like the event went exactly as planned. ...As soon as Trump took the stage he marveled, 'What a crowd,' and claimed (falsely) that there weren't many protesters outside. 'A lot of people in here, a lot of people pouring right now,' Trump said. 'They can get them in. Whatever you can do, fire marshals, we'll appreciate it.' A short time after the event, Trump noted the crowd size again, tweeting: 'Thank you Arizona. Beautiful turnout of 15,000 in Phoenix tonight!' But according to Bloomberg, Trump was actually very upset by the 'beautiful turnout' — so much so that he's fired George Gigicos. Or rather, he had top security aide Keith Schiller tell Gigicos that he'll never manage a Trump rally again, because Trump doesn't actually like to fire people."

[CN: White supremacy; misogyny; violence] Sharona Coutts at Rewire: How Hate Goes 'Mainstream': Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys. "Gavin McInnes, the 47-year-old co-founder of VICE Magazine, announced last week that he will be going 'mainstream.' ...Last year, McInnes founded the Proud Boys, a growing movement aligned with [Donald] Trump, for men who identify with a nebulous philosophy called 'Western chauvinism,' and are willing to literally fight for their beliefs at rallies, political events, and even in everyday life. Through their posts, their official magazine, and their online presence, the Proud Boys have broadcast their commitment to this creed. ...Oren Segal, who leads the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)'s Center on Extremism, told Rewire that McInnes' combination of social media talent, with his embrace of physical violence, make him stand out as especially dangerous, even among the ideologues of the far right."

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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