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This week's Open Threads have been brought to you by citrus fruits.
(Sorry I forgot to post an OT yesterday! I'm such a dingaling!)
Here is some stuff in the news today...
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has died at age 90. His successor is his brother, Salman, who has already been crowned king. King Salman is expected to maintain King Abdullah's oil policy, which means that the US wil continue its "la la la we don't see any human rights abuses" policy.
[Content Note: Trans hatred; violence; death] RIP Lamia Beard, a black trans woman of 30, who was shot and killed January 17 in Norfolk, Virginia. There have been no arrests in her murder. Following the predictable story, local media misgendered and victim-blamed her. My condolences to her family and friends, and to everyone in the trans community who mourns another sister.
[CN: Misogyny; war on agency; sexual assault] The Republican Party continues to be a hot misogynist anti-choice mess.
[CN: Misogyny; war on agency; sexual assault] But they're still not the hotter even more misogynist anti-choicier mess that the "pro-life" movement would like them to be!
[CN: White supremacy; anti-blackness; discussion of racism, misogyny, and violence] Robert Jones, Jr. pens a stunningly moving open letter to Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma.
[CN: Harassment; abuse] So actress Jessica Chastain gave a speech at the Critics Choice Awards last week on the importance of diversity in the film industry, and now, after saying that artists must "stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and racist agendas," she's getting all kinds of pushback from people with those agendas: "I've had really terrible people who are racists comment on the speech and say really terrible things. I'm understanding that some people in this world, how much hate they can have." Prove her point more, assholes.
Neat! "Fish Found in Extreme Spot Beneath Antarctic Ice Shelf."
This video of whales and dolphins playing together is a couple of years old, but I only just saw it for the first time (thanks to Shaker aforalpha for passing it along). I was struck both by how little we really know about animals and play and interspecies play, and by how completely ginormous whales really are, when you see how tiny dolphins look beside them!
And finally! Reggie the Cat is the most patient puppy-sitter in the entire world. ♥
[Content Note: Sexual violence; rape culture.]
By now, surely you've heard that superstar Bill Cosby has been accused of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault by around 35 women. And maybe you've also read the number of defense of Cosby which have been offered by his family, friends, and colleagues, the latest of whom to weigh in was Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who played his son on The Cosby Show for many years:
"I can't really speak on any of the allegations because obviously, I was not there. The Bill Cosby I know has been great to me and great for a lot of people," he said.Dudes, we need to talk about this, because this response is a textbook example of What Not to Do, even though dudes do it all the time.
"What he's done for comedy and television has been legendary and history-making. What he's done for the black community and education has been invaluable. That's the Bill Cosby I know. I can't speak on the other stuff."
[Note: Video may autoplay at link.]
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Eallythirsty) is throwing his hat into the clown car:
Sen. Marco Rubio has begun taking concrete steps toward launching a presidential bid, asking his top advisors to prepare for a campaign, signing on a leading Republican fundraiser, and planning extensive travel to early-voting states in the coming weeks, ABC News has learned.Blah blah he's got a fundraising powerhouse in place, he's skipping Senate votes to go beg for money, and he "has also scheduled a book tour that will take him to all the early primary states." Yep, sounds like he's running for President!
"He has told us to proceed as if he is running for president," a senior Rubio advisor tells ABC News.
Suggested by Shaker themiddlevoice: "What kind of alternate world would you create if you had the chance?"
Nothing makes me feel older than...
...when I see an internet acronym that everyone else understands and I have to Google it. LOL.
[Content Note: Climate change.]
"New Senate Environment Chair Gets His Gavel, Goes on Rant Arguing Climate Science Is a Hoax."
Welcome to your new Republican-controlled Senate. Sob.
[Content Note: War on agency. NB: Not only women need access to abortion.]
Is anyone else watching Top Chef this season? Without giving away any spoilers in the main post, I am SO EXCITED about the finalists this season! It's basically my favorite season ever.
When the finalists were holding hands and jumping up and down in a circle at the end of last night's episode, I wanted to be jumping with them! Yayayayay!
[Spoilers will be stirring the pot in comments.]
by Shaker BigDots
[Content Note: Fat hatred.]
Last week I went to my psychiatrist for a regularly scheduled check-up, at which we discuss my anti-depressant medications and whether we should change anything. Because my psychiatrist is a resident, I consult with her for about 20 minutes, then she brings in the supervising doctor, who reiterates everything we went over. I've gone through this process several times over the past few years and had no problems.
This time around, though, was different.
My psychiatrist and I chatted about my medicine, which is working well and doesn't need to be changed. I mentioned to her that I've changed some of my eating habits to include more vegetables and that I've significantly reduced my caffeine intake—actions I've taken, as I told her, to be healthier.
She agreed, then took my blood pressure, a standard procedure, and remarked that it was good. I bristled a bit, because doctors tend to assume I'll have high blood pressure because I'm fat. But my blood pressure and cholesterol are fine. I actually have no health problems related to my fatness.
Anyway, after the blood pressure check, she left to get the supervising doctor, who came in a few minutes later. The doctor discussed my medicine and confirmed that it was working well for me. Then she said, "I hear you are concerned about your weight."
I stared at her. I said, "I didn't say that."
The resident spoke up and said, "Well, being healthy. You talked about being healthier."
I said, "Yes, but that is not the same thing as being concerned about my weight." Being healthy does not (necessarily) equal weight loss.
The supervising doctor retreated from her original remarks, but without apologizing. We discussed my healthier choices. I mentioned my good blood pressure and cholesterol readings. She asked if I was getting regular exercise. I replied that I was.
She then said that we might think about reducing Medicine A in the future, because it can cause weight gain. I said I was perfectly happy with the current dosage and did not want to reduce it.
We exchanged a few more words and then the appointment was over.
I walked out of there stunned. I've been fortunate that I haven't encountered such rank fat hatred from doctors before. It ruined my day. It makes me want to not return to that resident or that supervising doctor. I don't know what I'll do in three months, when I'm due for another appointment. My psychiatrist is supposed to help relieve mental anguish, not cause it.
Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: War on agency] Today is the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And Republicans in Congress are celebrating it by trying to push through an anti-abortion bill so extreme that female members of their own caucus have forced them to pull it (for now). And, in case you missed it the first time I linked it, this Guttmacher piece on the state of abortion rights in the US paints a grim but clear picture of how anti-choicers have endeavored to render Roe an empty statute.
[CN: Police brutality; racism; death] And again: "Jerame C. Reid was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was shot and killed by city police officers the evening of Dec. 30, police video shows. Video taken by a Bridgeton police cruiser's dashboard camera also shows Officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley shooting at Reid several times after an apparently unarmed Reid got out of the car in which he was a passenger." This happened in New Jersey.
[CN: State violence; torture; religious intolerance] This is so fucking awful: "Saudi Arabia has postponed the flogging of blogger Raif Badawi for the second week running, according to human rights group Amnesty International. Amnesty said the decision was made after doctors advised against this week's 50 lashes on health grounds. Mr. Badawi was sentenced last May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for 'insulting Islam' and disobedience. He was due to receive the lashes over 20 weeks and was given the first round on 9 January." He's not healthy enough to be flogged, so the next session has been postponed to let him regain his strength, not because flogging is cruel and indecent. "Earlier this week, the BBC learned that Mr. Badawi's case had been referred to the Supreme Court by the king's office." Let us fervently hope that the decision is made to end this reprehensible torture.
[CN: Racism] Dr. Brittney Cooper takes on Maureen Dowd's latest garbage column about Selma and Ava DuVernay's "artful falsehood" against LBJ. I love how many of the arguments defending LBJ are predicated on acting as though he sprang from the womb fully supportive of black people's civil rights. If you agree that he probably had to do some learning on the issue at some point in his life, what difference does it make if he's shown to do that learning in the White House? So many white people are pissed about this because they think it's shameful to have to examine your white privilege (instead of the truth: that it's shameful not to examine it), and that is very revealing. Anyway, go read Professor Crunk, because she is awesome.
Watch out, Utah! "Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are set to meet in Utah this week for a meeting that Bush scheduled before Romney announced this month that he's seriously considering a third presidential run. ...[The meeting] was requested by Bush as a gesture of respect for Romney's leadership role in the party... And now? 'Well obviously Governor Romney has changed the dynamics,' the source said." LOL!
This definitely doesn't sound like a trainwreck: "Nicolas Cage to Star in Osama Bin Laden Satire From Borat Director."
And finally! GOOD DOGS: "Two dogs saved two different families alerting them to fires in their homes in the early morning hours." Human rescue, y'all.
[Content Note: Fat hatred; disordered eating.]
Something that comes up a lot in conversations about privilege and marginalization is that marginalized people don't have a choice over their identities, either by virtue of birth or circumstance. This is a crucial step beyond the rhetoric of bootstraps, in which marginalized people are expected to will their way to privilege by hard work and conformity.
But it is also important to move beyond the idea of not having a choice, because it tends to suggest if marginalized people could choose to magically manifest the privileged characteristic, they should or would definitely want to. And also because, in some cases, marginalized people do have a choice, which they are not obliged to make.
This is extremely relevant to discussions of fat people.
It is absolutely a true thing that some fat people have no control over being fat, either because that's how our bodies work, or because of environmental factors, or because of a medicine we take for a medical issue, or whatever.
But I also want to note that fat people don't owe being thin to anyone else.
It has to be okay for people to choose to be fat, even if we do have control over it.
I know it's tremendously difficult for lots of thin people (and even many fat people) to understand, but some fat people want to be fat.
Among the wide spectrum of humanity, there are people who simply prefer the way their bodies look when they are fat. There are women who like being fat because they are left alone by men more. There are actors who aren't handsome enough to play leads and get more work if they're fat. There are all sorts of reasons that some people actively want to be fat.
And there are plenty of fat people who just don't want to be thin. (Which may or may not coexist with actively wanting to be fat.) People for whom losing weight would reactivate disordered eating. People for whom losing weight would disassociate them from an identity very tied to their being fat. People who simply can't afford to buy a whole new goddamn wardrobe if they lose weight.
I have no interest in losing weight at this point in my life. Coming to love my body has been hard fucking won, and I do love it. I don't want to change it. I don't want to even contemplate having to love a whole new body all over again—and, contrary to popular belief, that my body would immediately be lovable to me if it were a thin body is not accurate.
My body would change. I would probably have loose skin and I would l look older and my breasts would change and there are parts of my body I wouldn't even recognize. That would be a whole new body, and it would demand a whole new process of coming to love the things that my culture tells me are imperfect and ugly and wrong.
I have no interest in that, when I am perfectly content as I am.
I have two female friends who have lost a significant amount of weight, and both of them have talked to me about what a mind-fuck it is, to have people be nice to them, who never would have been nice to them before. People who were never nice to them. It makes one see the world differently. I don't have any interest in processing that shit, just to be thin.
I don't want to lose weight, even if I could. And I need for that to be okay. With my doctors and with everyone else.
[Content Note: Guns; racism.]
Raw Story: "White 'vigilante' puts 62-year-old black man in chokehold for legally carrying gun in Florida Walmart."
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has asked vigilantes to please be careful about which gun owners they choose to attack after a black concealed carry permit holder was wrongly assaulted at a Florida Walmart.Whoops.
According to the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office, 62-year-old Clarence Daniels was entering Walmart with his legally concealed firearm to buy coffee creamer on Tuesday when he was spotted by 43-year-old vigilante Michael Foster.
Foster, who is white, had observed Daniels conceal the weapon under his coat before he came into the store. When Daniels crossed the threshold, Foster tackled him and placed him in a chokehold, Hillsborough Sheriff's Office spokesperson Larry McKinnon explained.
"He's got a gun!" Foster reportedly exclaimed.
"I have a permit!" Daniels repeatedly shouted back.
After a struggle, the men were separated. Deputies later arrived and Foster was charged with battery.
"Unfortunately he tackled a guy that was a law-abiding citizen," McKinnon noted. "We understand it's alarming for people to see other people with guns, but Florida has a large population of concealed weapons permit holders."