[Previous FYI: Rick Astley; Eddie Murphy; The Eurythmics; Eddie Rabbit; Sinéad O'Connor; Was (Not Was); Bon Jovi; Kenny Rogers; Bobby McFerrin; Starship; Dead or Alive; Right Said Fred; Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians; Salt n Pepa; Nelson; The Cure; The Soup Dragons; Europe/BushCo; Elton John; Eddie Money; Human League; Glenn Frey; Van Halen; Alanis Morissette; Depeche Mode; The Beatles; The Proclaimers; Bruce Springsteen; Meat Loaf; Cyndi Lauper; Cole Porter; Tina Turner; The Jets; Starland Vocal Band; Kenny Loggins. Hint: They're better if you click 'em!]
[Content Note: Homophobia; gender essentialism; gender binary.]
"You know, maybe part of the problem is we need to go back into the schools at a very early age, maybe at the grade school level, and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young boys and say, you know, this is what's important. This is what a father does that is maybe a little different, maybe a little bit better than the talents that a mom has in a certain area. And the same thing for the young girls, that, you know, this is what a mom does, and this is what is important from the standpoint of that union which we call marriage."—Republican Representative from Georgia Phil Gingrey, on the House floor, expressing his continued support for the Defense of Marriage Act.
Everything about this quote is genius, obviously, but I especially like the part where only dad does something "a little bit better" than mom.
Someone please send Rep. Gingrey a memo that not all marriages/families have a mom and a dad. Some of them have one or the other. Some have two moms. Some have two dads. Some have three moms or four dads, and some have parents that are neither moms nor dads. And some have zero, because not all marriages are for babymaking.
This fucking guy.
And his entire fucking party.
But don't worry! It's only a few of them and their use is totes limited! Nothing to see here! MOVE ALONG.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told senators the agency uses drones infrequently for surveillance in the U.S., and only in regards to specific investigations.Ha ha it's cool how they're in "the initial stages" of developing privacy guidelines, but in "the totally already fucking doing it stages" of using drones to spy on USians.
"Our footprint is very small," Mueller said in testimony. "We have very few and have limited use."
Mueller said the FBI was in "the initial stages" of developing privacy guidelines for how the agency balances civil liberty concerns with security threats.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Mueller that she believes drones are the most dangerous threat to the privacy of Americans, particularly the use of drones by private companies.Well, this program just sounds TERRIFIC. No transparency in the development of parameters for drone use, no oversight from Congress, and no accountability because TRUST US. What could possibly go wrong? [Spoiler alert: Everything.]
Mueller sought to assure Feinstein that the FBI's use of drones was "very seldom" and only used in isolated instances.
"It's very seldom used and generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability," said Mueller. "It is very narrowly focused on particularized needs in particularized cases, and that is the principle of privacy limitations we have."
Mueller said he wasn't certain whether the FBI had any official agreements with other agencies — such as the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security — to receive assistance in the agency's use of drones.
"To the extent that it relates to the air space there would be some communication back and forth [between agencies]," Mueller said.
I don't even know what I can possibly say anymore that I haven't already said in this space a thousand times, through the Bush administration and the Obama administration. We are tumbling ass-over-teakettle into a police state, and we're meant not to care; instead, we're meant to trust that the government institutions who weren't willing to have an open debate about these encroachments into our privacy won't abuse their power as they continue to operate in secret. Sure. Sounds legit.
And even if you're the most partisanny partisan who ever partisanned, and can excuse this gross breach of public trust on the basis that you believe this administration wouldn't abuse the immense power afforded a government allowed to use, in accordance with guidelines it self-defines, drones for surveillance of its population, this administration won't be in power forever. Someday, we're again going to have an administration that calls the citizens who disagree with their policies "traitors," and that administration is not going to voluntarily give up the power of using drones to spy on US citizens.
That administration? Is going to double-down.
If you know who these two
puppets creatures are, then you might be kind of excited about this:
From October 1st, 2013 to December 31st, 2013, The Jim Henson Company and Grosset & Dunlap of the Penguin Young Readers Group will be accepting writing submissions to find the author for a new novel set in the world of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. This author search is open to all professional and aspiring professional writers.
Tell me I'm not the only one who loved that movie beyond reason as a kid. (Even if I noticed a few flaws when I got older, okay, OKAY.)
So if the sequel isn't happening-- again! -- officially licensed novels sound pretty good to me. Good luck, writer-fans (especially feminist writer-fans)! I can't wait to see the results.
(Hat-tip to my cuz ACB.)
This blogaround brought to you by vines.
Jess: Serena Blames the Steubenville Rape Victim and Breaks My Heart [Content Note: Rape culture; victim-blaming.]
Note: Serena has apologized, sort of.
Trudy: It's Not Just "Mean" People Who Proliferate Rape Culture [Content Note: Rape culture; racist narratives.]
Transgender Law Center: American Medical Association Supports Accurate Birth Certificats for Transgender People
Sikivu: Race, American Atheists, and "The Movement" [Content Note: Racism.]
BYP: Hadiya Pendleton's Parents Discuss Chicago Gun Violence Crisis [Content Note: Guns.]
Adrienne: The Paul Frank x Native Designers Collaboration is Here! Also: Genesis Amnesia [Content Note: Racism; appropriation.]
Fannie: Reporter Shocked That Women Can Be Vulgar [Content Note: Misogyny.]
Veronica: Review: Nine for IX—espnW's Documentary Series on Women's Sports
Brooke: Katee Sackhoff on Riddick, Getting out of Bed, and Why She's Not Leaving Sci-Fi Flicks Any Time Soon
Leave your links and recommendations in comments...
[Content Note: Fat hatred; eliminationism.]
Yesterday, the American Medical Associated voted to declare obesity a disease, "a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment."
The nation's leading physicians organization took the vote after debating whether the action would do more to help affected patients get useful treatment or would further stigmatize a condition with many causes and few easy fixes.Emphasis mine.
In the end, members of the AMA's House of Delegates rejected cautionary advice from their own experts and extended the new status to a condition that affects more than one-third of adults and 17% of children in the United States.
This reprehensible decision will make fat people's visits with doctors, which are already frequently fraught with fat-shaming, sizest refusal of treatment, and attributing to fat all manner of life-threatening conditions not solved by weight loss, even more contentious. This reprehensible decision will not improve fat people's healthcare. This reprehensible decision will only entrench fat hatred in the medical community and serve as another disincentive to fat people seeking/needing medical care.
There are not sufficient words to express my rage, my sadness, my fear, my contempt.
I am not a problem to be solved. My body is not a disease to be cured. I cannot overcome my very physiology and make my body do something that it is simply unable to do. The only "cure" for my "disease" is to be a person I am not and cannot be.
This is eliminationist garbage. Being perpetrated by the American Medical Association.
* * *
Marilyn Wann has started a petition asking the AMA to reverse their decision. Go here to sign it.
Living ~400lbs: Why I Think Declaring Obesity a Disease Is Harmful.
Kath: I Am Not a Disease.
Ragen: AMA Says Obesity Is a Disease.
Normally when I open the door in the morning to let the dogs back in for breakfast after their morning constitutional, they are waiting at the door. This morning, there was Important Squirrel Business:
The camera looks out at the backyard from where I'm standing in the doorway of the garage. First Zelly is seen running through the garden toward a big tree, then Dudley quickly follows behind her. Zelly looks up at the tree's branches, which are like 15 feet off the ground. "Puppies, c'mere!" I say. Dudley comes galloping toward me along the path. He's usually the one who never listens, and Zelly's usually the one who is, so I know there's something afoot, lol. Dudley realizes Zelly isn't behind him and turns around, looking for her. Once she comes trotting toward us, he runs in the house. But Zelly stops and turns and looks back at the tree. "What are you doin'?" I ask her. She takes a step back toward the tree and stands at attention. "You're never gonna get that squirrel," I tell her. She takes another step forward and lifts a paw. "Never," I say. She turns and walks toward me, but can't resist turning back around at the door for one last look. I make kissy noises. "Come on." She ignores me. "Zelly." She turns and comes into the house, thwarted!Pix from the garden this morning:
Paul Feig, the creator of Freaks & Geeks, director of Bridesmaids (as well as the upcoming Melissa McCarthy-Sandra Bullock vehicle The Heat, and author of the hilarious memoir Kick Me, is reportedly developing "a female spy movie titled "Susan Cooper" that he hopes will become a franchise for 20th Century Fox."
"Bridesmaids" director Feig is currently searching for a leading lady to star in "Susan Cooper," which will be a realistic comedy about a female James Bond, rather than a parody along the lines of "Get Smart" or "Johnny English." ...Feig wrote the script and will produce the movie through his Feigco Entertainment banner,Well, that sounds vaguely promising.
..."Susan Cooper" was inspired by the reintroduction of James Bond in 2006's "Casino Royale," which Feig recently told Variety ranks among his favorite movies.
Feig has publicly lamented the lack of female-driven projects in Hollywood, particularly after the surprise success of Universal's hit comedy "Bridesmaids," which grossed $288 million worldwide.
The vast majority of female characters in Feig's projects are white, with Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids being a notable exception, so I hope Feig will consider women of color for the role of Susan Cooper. I may have to start a campaign for Rosario Dawson right now.
Who would you like to see play Susan Cooper? FANTASY CASTING GO!
[Content note: Misogyny, gun culture, homophobia]
Wednesday News Spurts:
An Ohio anti-choice group is getting all pro-life (HA!) by auctioning off assault rifles in a fundraiser. Super.
Huge explosions have ripped through a munitions depot in Russia where up to 13 million shells were stored.
Chipotle promotes butt stuff! (Not my experience, but hey.)
A national study confirms that same-sex couples experience discrimination in the rental housing market.
Men in tutus, this guy is on to you! Also: whut?
Country singer Slim Whitman, whose song saved the world in the film Mars Attacks!, died today. He was 90.
[Image via Monica.]
Today is Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the US. If you aren't familiar with the history of Juneteeth, this is an excellent primer.
Currently, 42 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or state holiday observance. There are celebrations is many parts of the country, often parades or cookouts or community parties or fairs, at which attendees, depending on what's been organized for the local observance, can dance, sing, have poetry slams, play games, participate in Miss Juneteenth pageants, all kinds of fun stuff! Often following a public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Local to me, in past years, there have been outdoor concerts and picnics, public readings, and free community financial seminars. Which might not seem so celebratory, but read this report today care of Algernon Austin at the Economic Policy Institute about "50 years of recessionary-level unemployment in black America," and the relevance of financial empowerment as part of a celebration of black freedom quickly becomes evident.
This is a good resource for finding Juneteenth celebrations near you, but not everything is listed, so check Google if you don't find what you need. And if there's nothing near you, you can always put up a yard sign to help celebrate, and do some awareness-raising in communities where Juneteenth isn't being marked with a public event.
[Please feel welcome and encouraged to leave information about Juneteeth events in comments.]
Isaac Chotiner interviews two of the co-founders of Politico for The New Republic, and it is exactly as nauseating as you'd imagine it to be, as two privileged dudes navel-gaze about the importance of their inside barfball publication that passes off political gossip and scandal as news and yawns in the face of anything that affects anyone beyond the borders of Cities That Matter.
This is one of the most incredible things I have read from political journalists:
Isaac Chotiner: But what is the larger mission, besides bringing this news to your niche audience? When The New York Times does some story on pensions and the Long Island Rail Road, that story might not come out and say, "Our goal is to fix the pension system at LIRR," but that is the upshot.HA HA MAYBE.
Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris: [impersonating a pompous Times editor] "Our goal is to win a Pulitzer Prize, and this is the project for that."
IC: So what is it for you? Do you want good government? To keep politicians honest? What?
Executive Editor Jim VandeHei: Helping people understand Washington. Not how they want it to be, not what you think is important, but how it operates. We also really want to save for-profit, nonpartisan journalism. We want to prove there is a business model that works.
JH: We have an obligation to be interesting. We don't think of ourselves as the electric company or the water company: [impersonating a virtuous but self-righteous public-utility CEO] "Well, we have a responsibility..." That was a mindset in a previous generation of journalists. That mindset might have even been legitimate. There really were only a handful of establishments reporting on this stuff and making judgments on its relative importance. People were looking to editors to say, "Tell me what I should think about." We are in an era where everyone is his or her own editor and will decide what they care about. If we are boring, there is no market for that. Nor is there a public calling to be boring.
IC: You don't think there is any public calling to be perhaps boring if pensions are being stolen?
JH: I don't know. Maybe if I lived on Long Island, it wouldn't be that boring.
You know, there are a lot—a lot—of problems with the US press, and many, many, many very smart people have been writing about these vast and varied problems for years, but perhaps there is no single greater problem among them than the unrelenting contempt that so many national journalists have for the average citizen outside of major media centers. At best, this contempt manifests as pandering sops to caricatures of the saintly but simple residents of the heartland. At worst, it's just naked disdain. Maybe if I lived on Long Island, it wouldn't be that boring. Fuck. You.
* * *
This part of the interview is pretty incredible, too:
IC: I am sure you have heard the criticism that Politico is a tough place for women to work. Do you think that is a fair criticism?Whooooooooops nope. Actually the premise which I find deeply condescending is the conflation of being a woman in a male-dominated (by "happenstance"!) work environment with being a person with a sore foot. Fuck. You.
JH: During our launch, we were starting from scratch—it was a tough place to work, period. Not just for women. The happenstance that the four co-founders were men was just that. It has become a better place to work. The place is now built for the long haul. I don't view creating opportunities in a gender context.
IC: But there are statistics that I am sure you have seen. The departure rate for women at Politico is twice as high as it is for men. The Washington Post wrote about this. There were also statistics about how, when one of you guys publishes a piece that is co-bylined, it is almost 100 percent of the time with another male writer.
JVH: Wait a second. I want to add to what John said. I find this critique both offensive and wrong. Go ask any of the women in the newsroom if it is a hard place to work. More of our leadership jobs are filled by women than men. The company is run as much by women as men. Three or four years ago, did some women leave? Did some men leave? Certainly. Certainly. We were a start-up. It is an intense culture. And I am sure you could find people saying, "I didn't like it because I was a guy, because I was tall, because I was short, because my foot hurt." I am sure some women felt like it was a macho environment. I don't think women would say that today.
IC: The critique I've heard is that it's an atmosphere rather than overt sexism.
JVH: You have heard it where?
IC: From people I have talked to.
JVH: Like who? I don't mean to be combative, but talk to people who work at Politico now—
IC: I talked to people who worked at Politico.
JVH: How would you like me to talk to people at The New Republic who told me you guys don’t have any women? Why is that?
IC: I am not—
JVH: No, you respond to that charge. If you are going to make that charge, and you are going to make it on the record—there is no one here who would make that allegation now. It was offensive to me, just like it was offensive to you.
IC: If I had hiring power at The New Republic, that would be a fair question to ask.
JH: I think women would find the premise deeply condescending.
These are the people moderating the national conversation, folks.
[Content Note: Hostility to agency.]
Last night, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks, with exceptions for pregnancies as a result of rape or incest, but only if the crime is reported to law enforcement. The bill passed 228-196.
It has no chance of passing in the Democratically-controlled Senate, which has not even scheduled a vote on the legislation, and "the White House issued a veto threat Monday, calling the bill an 'assault on a woman's right to choose.'"
The passing of this bill in the House, and the attendant debate which preceded its passage, was all theater for the benefit of the Republican base. But it also matters, because the war on agency which has seen an unprecedented number of anti-choice pieces of legislation in state houses across the nation has now arrived on the federal level, empowering the anti-choice movement.
This is state-sponsored terrorism on behalf of an inherently violent ideology that values fetuses more highly than the people who carry them.
Will our President give a national address about the war on agency now, at long last, now that the House is passing legislation designed to chip away at Roe and render it an empty statute? Or is a statement from the White House all we're going to get?
I expect more.
I expect the ostensibly pro-choice Democratic leadership to get as involved in this fight as the anti-choice Republicans are. I expect national pro-choice legislators to use their platforms to change the conversation about choice, instead of hiding from the word abortion like it's a grave shame. I expect our President and his still overwhelmingly male party to stop treating the fight for reproductive rights like woman's work.
That this legislation has no chance of becoming law (right now) is good news. But this escalation in the war on agency is intolerable. Our national conversation still treats abortion like it's shameful, a "necessary evil," but the shame—the "evil," if you believe in that sort of thing—is a nation that refuses to trust women and other people with uteri, that refuses us our agency, that refuses us our autonomy, that refuses us decency.
What popular band do/did you just never understand the appeal of?
I never really got 'N Sync, and I'm saying that as someone who saw NKOTB in concert not once, not twice, but five times. And, I kinda like some of Justin Timberlake's solo stuff. The whole 'N Sync thing just baffled me, though.
[Originally posted November 08, 2010.]
From the Telegraph's Pictures of the Day for 18 June 2013: Protestors march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Protests set off by a 10-cent hike in public transport fares have clearly moved beyond that issue to tap into widespread frustration in Brazil about a heavy tax burden, politicians widely viewed as corrupt, and woeful public education, health, and transport systems. The protests come as the nation hosts the Confederations Cup soccer tournament and prepares for next month's papal visit. [AP Photo]These protests are the largest in Brazil in over 20 years, "as more than 200,000 demonstrators take to the streets of Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and four other major cities to rally on a range of social issues."
Flula, a young white man speaking in German-accented English directly to the camera while sitting in his car: I'm hearing now that, you know, this NSA, they are tapsing everything—my phone conversation and email to messagings with people, you know, computer, hacksing my data of things in my laptop... [shrugs] I say: Okay. You know? NSA, please, do it. My doors, my doors have open, you know? I am not a hider of things; I'm not a dirty, dirty person; you know, I'm squeaksy clean. I think. So do it.Seems fair.
I—I only think perhaps maybe we, you know, make some—make some trade together. You know? If I trade and give to you my data, you know, my privates, perhaps you can give to me something, you know? Maybe you might be like, like my secretary, you know, for a little bit.
Um, for example, um, when you are inside hacksing my laptop, at next time you're doing it, um, as you are hacksing and looking at data, perhaps also you may, ah, clean it up my desktop. You have seen it. It is a— [sighs] I cannot find anything on this—on this desktop! So many icon and [points in the air as if around a desktop screen] photo, photo, photo, image, image, file, file, file, Microsoft Word document, Word document, oh look Excel, and watch out there's 18 of the PowerPoints here, here, here... [sighs]
I cannot find things, so, you know, perhaps clean this for me, you know, on the next time you's here. Or if you are listen to my call, and you can hear I'm maybe in argument, um, with person, you just start to speak, and say, "Excuse me, excuse me—sorry, guys, I must interruption. This is Stacy, uh, you know, Secretary of Flula; he have another call with, like, you know, President of, who knows, Bulgaria or something. [shrugs] You know? BOOM. Problem done; we are out. You know? You have helped me.
These tasks—I think these tasks are nice. I give to you my privates; you give to me, ah, some secretary work. We are evening stevening, so, I think. [shrugs] What do you think? You know? Tell me. Tell me, NSA, what you think—yes or no we should do it—in your secrets way, you know. Send to me a fly robot [mimes a fly buzzing around and flying to his ear]—tiny fly robot who whisper "yes, let's do it," or I don't know what is your system.
Yeah. Okay. Thank you! Bye-bye!
"Smart parents are more likely to have smart children, and their greater intelligence will be reflected, on average, in higher incomes. Of course, IQ is only one dimension of talent, but it is easy to believe that other dimensions, such as self-control, ability to focus, and interpersonal skills, have a degree of genetic heritability as well."—Greg Mankiw, former economic adviser to President George W. Bush and Not-President Mitt Romney, in a new paper entitled "Defending the One Percent."
At long last! Finally someone BRAVE ENOUGH to defend the One Percent!
(As you may recall, Mankiw is also a stupendous comedian, who's got some great material about the social safety net.)
You know, leaving aside the total bullshit of IQ being an effective measure of some arbitrary definition of intelligence, I just love the bootstraps-flavored idea that the US rewards intelligence, diligence, and interpersonal skills with wealth. Sure. If there's one thing I always say after meeting a privileged corporate CEO who spends more time on the golf course than in the office where his average employee annually makes a fraction of his hourly wage, and whose primary long-term contribution to the firm will be a PR disaster after he's fired by the board for ethics violations and sent on his way with a seven-figure golden parachute, it's: "What an intelligent and diligent worker with great interpersonal skills that fancy gentleman is! Couldn't we pay nurses less to give him more money?"
From a conversation after I randomly texted Deeks an image of Val Kilmer one day. I think it was after seeing Val Kilmer talking about how he's been writing a screenplay about Mark Twain for ten years. For the record, neither of us really wants Val Kilmer to be galactic king. And I don't really want to run everything. Deeky does, though.