The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Shakesville Alehouse'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

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Quote of the Day

"I wish to emphasize our genuine wish to have a constructive relationship with The New York Times. But we also are extremely troubled by the events that went into this erroneous report, and will be looking forward to discussing our concerns related to this incident so we can have confidence that it is not repeated in the future."—Jennifer Palmieri, Communications Director for Hillary for America, in a letter to the New York Times' Dean Baquet, detailing the "campaign's grave concern with the Times' publication of an inaccurate report related to Hillary Clinton and her email use."

Via Atrios, who notes: "What went on at the NYT is even more horrible than I assumed."

I definitely recommend reading the letter in its entirety to understand the scope of that happened. What was done.

I shall observe once more that, even if one doesn't like Hillary Clinton, one should be very alarmed indeed by the evident double-standard to which a woman running for the US presidency is subjected by our ostensibly objective press.

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by cackling.

Recommended Reading:

Kenrya: [Content Note: Police brutality; misogynoir] Raynette Turner: The Latest Black Woman to Die in Police Custody

John: [CN: Police misconduct; homophobia; disablism] Gay Texas Man Dies in Custody After Jail Fails to Administer Medication

Melissa: [CN: Transmisogynoir; police misconduct; sex worker bias] Young, Black, Trans, Arrested: How Women Like Meagan Taylor Are Made Invisible

Trudy: [CN: Disablism; self-harm; misogynoir] #NoShameDay: On Blackness and Mental Health

Feminist Aspie: [CN: Disablism] A Headcanon Named Autism: In Defence of Finding Our Own Representation

Shane: [CN: Colonialism; bootstraps narratives] Why Do We Show Such Loyalty to Royalty?

Germain: Nic Cage Says You Can See Superman Lives with the "Power of Imagination"

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Adele: "Love Song"

(See what I did there?)

This week's TMNS has been brought to you by The Cure.

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The Make-Up Thread

Here is your semi-regular make-up thread, to discuss all things make-up.

Do you have a make-up product you'd recommend? Are you looking for the perfect foundation which has remained frustratingly elusive? Need or want to offer make-up tips? Searching for hypoallergenic products? Want to grouse about how you hate make-up? Want to gush about how you love it?

Whatever you like—have at it!

* * *

image of me on my porch wearing minimal make-up and a black t-shirt

This is my quickie "cover up and even out" look, typically used on days when I have to make myself "presentable" to offer "proof" that I care about myself to be taken seriously as a fat lady: Juice Beauty's CC Cream in Natural Glow (which I got as a sample in a Birch Box, and have now gotten many uses out of!); Missha's Sheer Fluid Blusher No. 2 (Morning Rose); Almay's Intense iColor Mascara in Black Steel; and some generic lilac eyeshadow I bought at Big Lots.

What's up with you?

* * *

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

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on a pillow with the sun streaming in through the window behind her
Little Ms. Sophie.

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

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

This is very good news: "The World Health Organization announced Friday that an Ebola vaccine has shown great promise in halting the spread of the deadly virus during a clinical trial in Guinea. 'We believe that the world is on the verge of an efficacious Ebola vaccine,' Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director general for health systems and innovation, said in announcing the results of a preliminary study on the vaccine trial. ...According to results published in the journal Lancet on Friday, the vaccine was found to be 100 percent effective in people treated. More than 4,000 people have been vaccinated with VSV-EBOV, and none have developed Ebola after between six and 10 days, the amount of time needed for people to develop immunity."

[Content Note: War on agency] Senate Republicans continue to find excellent (sarcasm) ways to spend their time: "The Senate is poised to vote Monday on a Republican proposal to defund Planned Parenthood and divert the funds to other health-care entities. The bill, S. 1881, was drafted by a 'working group' led by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and James Lankford (R-OK), and has at least 32 Republican co-sponsors." Fuck all of these people.

[CN: Misogyny; war on agency; violence] Relatedly: Today at 2pm ET, join @reproaction on Twitter for a discussion about "what women actually need, deserve, can do." Because "women are betrayed…by all manner of things."

This is also very good news: "Prison inmates will be eligible to obtain federal Pell grants to finance college education while they are behind bars under an experiment announced Friday, two decades after Congress banned prisoners from receiving such grants. Under the experiment, Obama administration officials said, a limited number of prisoners could begin receiving Pell-financed instruction from a select number of colleges as soon as fall 2016. ...This experiment will be called the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program. It aims to help prisoners work toward an associate's or a bachelor's degree while incarcerated. Obama officials said research shows that correctional education helps reduce the likelihood that prisoners will commit crimes again after they are released, ultimately saving taxpayers money." Also, just by the by, it's a decent fucking thing to do, irrespective of whether it saves money.

[CN: Wildfires] Goddamn: "A grass fire fueled by strong winds destroyed seven homes in a mobile home park Thursday as fires continued to rage in Northern California. The fire swept through the Isleton mobile home park Thursday, forcing residents to run for their lives. A small vegetation fire in the Solano County delta town got out of control and reached the homes before firefighters could quell the flames. Meanwhile, the destructive wildfire burning north of Napa Valley has scorched 13,000 acres, damaged multiple outbuildings and forced 650 people to flee."

This is just a real headline in the world: "Facebook Ready to Test Giant Drone for Beaming Internet Via Lasers." Sure. Gleep glorp.

[CN: Privacy violations] Shiiiiiiiit: "Windows 10 is under attack over default settings which users say compromise their privacy, just days after the operating system's successful launch saw more than 14 million installs in the first 24 hours. Hundreds of commenters...have criticised default settings that send personal information to Microsoft, use bandwidth to upload data to other computers running the operating system, share Wi-Fi passwords with online friends, and remove the ability to opt out of security updates. ...Users are given the option to opt out of most of the data collection, but critics say that that isn't enough. ...'There is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes 'real transparency.''"

Do you like Meryl Streep? Do you also like Mamie Gummer? I like Meryl Streep AND Mamie Gummer! If you are like me, then you might enjoy hearing Mamie Gummer talk about working with her mom, Meryl Streep. And about other stuff!

[CN: Misogyny] Of course Jon Stewart is having Louis CK as one of the guests on his final show. OF COURSE he is. Hopefully they can tell us more about how humorless, scary, and violent feminists are!

Okay! "In the series, Tom Hardy plays James Keziah Delaney, a rogue adventurer who returns to London in 1813 after spending 10 years in Africa, only to discover that he has been left a mysterious legacy by his father, who has been killed. Delaney refuses to sell his family's business to the East India Company, and opts to build his own trading and shipping empire instead, which thrusts him into the middle of the War of 1812, between the U.S. and Britain. ...Hardy actually crafted the original story himself with his father Chips Hardy." I will never stop being delighted that Tom Hardy's dad is called Chips Hardy!

And finally! Proof that cats have been hilarious assholes since at least 100 AD!

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Charly "Africa" Keunang: Update

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death; descriptions of violence; victim-blaming.]

In March, I wrote about the police killing of a homeless man known as Africa in Los Angeles. Five officers descended on Africa, with one of the officers (wrongly) claiming that Africa had seized his gun. Africa was Tasered and then shot six times while he was on the ground.

Days after the killing, LAPD spokesperson Sergeant Barry Montgomery said: "It's going to be a long investigation."

And so it has been. Only now, months later, has the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office finally issued an autopsy report. And here is one example of how the information contained therein is being reported:

screen cap of a news article featuring a large picture of Africa, a black man, beside a headline reading: 'Unarmed homeless man shot by LAPD officers had meth, marijuana in system, report says'

The opening paragraph reads: "A new report by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office reveals an unarmed homeless man shot by LAPD officers on Skid Row in March had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system."

We don't even learn his name. We only learn that he had drugs in his system.

It isn't until the fourth paragraph that we learn the autopsy report contains the information that two of the six shots that killed Africa were "contact gunshot wounds."
One bullet entered his torso, exited his chest and re-entered his right arm, according to the autopsy report. Two were "contact gunshot wounds."
The story doesn't even explain what that means. Contact gunshot wounds are "defined as a gunshot wound incurred while the muzzle of the firearm is in direct contact with the body at the moment of discharge. ...Wounds caused by contact shots are very devastating, as the body absorbs the entire discharge of the cartridge, not just the projectile."

These were not shots from a distance, not even "close range." These were shots made by a police officer who had the muzzle of his gun pressed against a man's chest. Twice.

"Contact shots are often the result of close range gunfight, suicide, or execution. Some slaughterhouses use contact shots with firearms to stun or kill livestock."

That's the kind of shots fired into Africa. Twice. In addition to four more shots, two of those lethal.

That is rather more important than the fact Charly had been doing drugs (especially when the video of the incident makes clear he wasn't out of his mind on those drugs).

Unless, of course, your objective is blaming the victim for his own murder.

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Primarily Speaking

image of Rand Paul standing in front of a US flag with his hand on his chin looking thoughtful, to which I've added text reading: 'Should women have freedom too? Nah.'
[NB: Not only women need access to abortion, but Rand Paul doesn't think about that.]

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it! I love I love I love the primaries and I just can't hide it! Are you as excited as I am! I BET YOU ARE! If you are so excited about all the cool people running for president, please check this box: □

[Content Note: Misogyny; war on agency] Today, we begin with Senator Rand Paul, who is a libertarian, which means he believes in FREEDOM! Unless you are a pregnant person. Then your body should be a ward of the state and you should have no agency, no autonomy, and no choice—which Paul believes isn't incompatible with FREEDOM! for reasons that are a mystery lost to the sands of time or whatever.

image of Wolf Blitzer during the celebrity Jeopardy tournament with -$1,000 and a confused look on his face, to which I've added text reading: 'I'll take 'The Patriarchy' for $200, Alex.'

In other news that exemplifies the quiet dignity and serious policy discussions that define this Republican primary, former Texas Governor Rick Perry has challenged Donald Trump to a pull-up contest. "Trump scoffed at the idea of Perry running a successful campaign, telling the Daily Mail that the governor lacked the 'energy,' 'brainpower,' and 'toughness' to do so. When question, Perry, not one to be out-toughened, said, 'Let's get a pull-up bar out there, and let's see who can do the most pull-ups.'"


Meanwhile, Gold Toilet Aficionado Donald Trump is still Donald Trump's biggest fan: "I think that I would be a great uniter. I think that I would have great diplomatic skills. I think that I would be able to get along with people very well. I've had a great success in my life. I think the world would unite if I were the leader of the United States." Does Trump realize that you can't just threaten other world leaders with $500 million lawsuits if they don't do what you want?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is getting all the hottest headlines this week: "Jeb Bush Takes Positions on Climate Change, EPA Rules, Other Energy Issues." Naturally, those positions are garbage, but at least he's recycling!

Someone shoot Jeb Bush the memo that this year's primary isn't about "taking positions." BO-RING! If he wants votes, he needs to make a cool video in which he's playing Twister with Dubya or challenge George Pataki to a duel.

I'm sure all thirteen (!!!!!!) other Republican candidates are getting up to typically terrific things today, but moving on to the Democrats...

Something something Hillary Clinton emails something something. I promise if anything of any nefarious nature ever comes from a bunch of nerds pawing through Clinton's emails, I will tell you. Otherwise: Who cares.

Senator Bernie Sanders vows to "not run for president as an Independent if he falls short in his bid to secure the Democratic 2016 nomination. Speaking at the Newseum in Washington on Thursday, Sanders said that if he ran a third-party campaign, it would draw support away from the Democratic nominee, potentially handing Republicans the White House. 'I would not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican president,' Sanders said." Thanks, Bernie!

Finally: Remember when I mentioned that Sanders was going all-in on a $15 minimum wage? And I said: "There are multiple schools of thought about this on the progressive side of the aisle: Some progressives support the across-the-board $15 minimum wage hike; some progressives support a minimum wage increase that's tied to a percentage of local cost of living (because $15/hour doesn't mean the same thing in NYC as it does in Smalltownville, Indiana). I am in the latter faction, because I think it should be more than $15 in a lot of places, and also because there are lots of small business owners in much of Middle America (especially small business owners who are white women or people of color who started with a minority business loan) who can't afford a $15/hour minimum wage, but could afford a locally livable wage less than that. But other people, like Sanders, support the flat minimum wage increase."

So, Sanders has been hitting hard at Clinton for not supporting the $15/hour minimum wage, but, earlier this month, when Clinton noted she supported an increase to $15/hour in some places, I hoped that would mean she might support a minimum wage increased tied to cost of living.

Now Clinton has offered some support for a proposal for a $12/hour minimum wage and: "Clinton advocated an unspecified increase in the federal minimum wage—which has stood at $7.25 per hour since 2009—and then allowing states and local governments to make adjustments as they see fit based on regional cost-of-living variations."

Which is a nuanced position that takes into consideration vast variations in cost of living across the country. But you will almost certainly see this framed as "Sanders supports $15/hour minimum wage and Clinton supports $12/hour minimum wage." Because reasons also lost to the sands of time.

For what it's worth, I think progressives should be talking about a basic guaranteed income, not a minimum wage, but that is why I am not a partisan Democrat! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

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

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"Surveyors were unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations."

[Content Note: War on agency.]

Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence, along with several other Republican governors, thought it would be a terrific idea to exploit whatever public disapproval of Planned Parenthood had arisen from CMP's release of undercover footage of Planned Parenthood employees discussing something totally legal and routine, the fourth of which was released last night. So Pence, who is the worst, ordered the Indiana State Department of Health to investigate Planned Parenthood facilities in the state.

And—brace yourselves—the investigators found exactly nothing untoward.

State health officials have confirmed Indiana Planned Parenthood clinics that perform abortions follow all requirements for the proper disposal of fetal remains.

On July 21, inspectors with the Indiana State Department of Health investigated the Merrillville, Indianapolis and Bloomington Planned Parenthood facilities, as directed by Gov. Mike Pence.

According to an ISDH follow-up letter sent to the three locations, "Surveyors were unable to find any non-compliance with state regulations. Therefore, no deficiencies were cited."

The health department said it considers each of the complaints closed.
So, Pence just wasted a bunch of taxpayer money to pursue a politically motivated investigation that was nothing but, and was never going to be anything but, intimidation of people who provide (and seek) abortions.

If the anti-choice movement is a terrorist movement—and it is—Governor Pence's wholly unjustifiable use of state resources to launch this official flourish of inimidation, in support of and because of an anti-choice group, is state-sponsored terrorism.

Just to make clear how comprehensively and exclusively this investigation had no purpose other than to intimidate:
Betty Cockrum, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said their clinics do not even participate in the tissue donation program.
There was literally nothing to investigate.

The anti-choice movement is a terrorist movement with an inherently violent ideology. And Republican state and federal officials are supporting and acting in concert with them, and using taxpayer money to do it.

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Open Thread

image of Luke on Tatooine, from Star Wars

Hosted by Tatooine.

This week's Open Threads have been brought to you by the letter T.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Amarie: "What is your favorite music/background noise to work to? And it can be any kind of work you do: writing, exercising, painting..."

I hardly ever listen to music while I work, because I prefer to write in silence. But I love listening to music while we're doing household chores, and then it's basically any music at all that I and/or Iain like. I usually let Iain chose the playlist, which means ALL THE RIHANNA AND ADELE, lol. And I am very okay with that!

(Got a suggestion for a Question of the Day? Let me know here!)

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Eeeeeeeeeeeee! THE CUTE!

Below: A video of a baby elephant playing with birds. I repeat: A BABY ELEPHANT PLAYING WITH BIRDS.

Video Description: A baby elephant stands in the middle of a paved road, with wild grass and trees on either side. A bunch of small birds (possibly sparrows?) fly around the elephant, teasing her. The baby elephant runs toward the birds, reaching with her trunk, her tail swishing back and forth. The birds swirl around her playfully, and she turns in circles, her ears flapping as she futilely tries to catch up to them. The sound of cameras clicking as they take photos can be heard in the background, and two women comment on how cute it is that she's chasing the birds. Eventually, the baby elephant gives up and scampers across the road to catch up with her mama.


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Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Cure: "The Last Day of Summer"

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[Content Note: Misogyny; street harassment; patriarchy. CN: Video autoplays at second link.]

This is a great piece by Jess Zimmerman about a video produced by Cosmo entitled "Men React to Their Girlfriends Getting Catcalled," in which, naturally, the men get shocked and outraged that other men are harassing their girlfriends.

Presumably, I'm supposed to be cheering. I'm supposed to relish seeing it finally click that this is the daily experience of living in a female-presenting body (and not just a young, pretty one, like the women in the video). And yet, all I can think is: "Where have you been?"

It's true that men who don't commit street harassment don't see it in action. Women who are walking alone get catcalled; women who are walking with men do not, because the man's presence tacitly asserts ownership. So this is probably the first time these guys have seen it play out—unless they watched the last widely-publicized street harassment video, of course, but that one wasn't about their girlfriends.

But why did they need to see it play out to take it seriously? And furthermore, why did they have to watch it happening to a woman they have a stake in? "You're somebody's daughter, somebody's sister," says one of the irritated boyfriends. "Like, I'm sure if somebody did that to their mother or their cousin, they wouldn't appreciate it." Why did it need to be brought to their front door to feel real?

...For a lot of men, it takes the "wives, mothers, and daughters" framing to make them sit up and take notice, preferably when that framing is brought to them by a man. That approach situates women's issues within a framework they're conditioned to accept—one in which important problems are those that affect men and are discussed by men.
And, crucially, a framework in which their patriarchal entitlement is upheld: These are their women. These women are their property, and they are tasked with their protection and defense by virtue of their ownership.

What this video demonstrates, although this is certainly not its intent, is a struggle between men who treat women as public property and men who treat those same women as their private property.

In either case, none of the men—not the ones doing the harassing, nor the ones getting angered by it—demonstrate respect for women's autonomy. None of them center, nor even seem to be aware of, the fact that women own themselves.

Dear Men: You don't own women. Love, Liss.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death] Raymond Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati police officer who has been charged with murder for shooting and killing Sam Dubose during a traffic stop, pleaded not guilty this morning—and his attorney says "he was shocked by the charge, saying the former officer 'feared for his life.'" Yeah, well, you know what I think about that.

[CN: Rape culture; sexual violence] Blah blah rape accusations ruin men's lives blah blah fart: A year after Dylan Farrow publicly disclosed surviving sexual abuse perpetrated by her then-father Woody Allen, NPR runs a glowing interview with Allen which includes Allen saying that his marriage to his ex-wife's daughter Soon-Yi Previn worked because "I was paternal. She responded to someone paternal. I liked her youth and energy. She deferred to me, and I was happy to give her an enormous amount of decision-making just as a gift and let her take charge of so many things." This man is a fucking abuser and a fucking rapist.

After Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced earlier this month that the US military would "create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly," that six-month process will begin next Monday. Earlier this week, "Carter sent a memo to top military brass and civilians formally outlining his plan that would protect transgender troops from being discharged and directs officials to develop a plan within six months to incorporate those troops into the ranks."

[CN: Plane crash] Wreckage found "on the French island of RĂ©union in the Indian ocean is very likely to be wreckage from a Boeing 777," and the serial number appears to match that of Flight MH370, which disappeared 17 months ago. The discovered aircraft wing section will be shipped to France for verification.

[CN: War on agency] Again, a fetus is more important than the person carrying it: "Alabama officials are currently seeking to prevent a pregnant prison inmate from obtaining a legal abortion by stripping her of her parental rights, in a case where a lawyer has been appointed to represent the interests of her fetus. An unnamed woman, who is referred to in court documents only as Jane Doe, is asking for permission to travel to Huntsville to end her pregnancy. She says she was unable to get an abortion before she was taken into custody and is now feeling desperate. 'I am very distraught, and do not want to be forced to carry this pregnancy to term,' she wrote. Jane Doe—who has to get permission from the court to be transported to the nearest clinic because prison officials consider abortion to be a non-emergency procedure—is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that it would be 'cruel and unusual punishment' for the state of Alabama to deny her constitutional right to abortion." Yes, yes it would be.

President Obama keeps the executive orders rolling: "President Obama has signed an executive order calling for the US to build the world's fastest computer by 2025. The supercomputer would be 20 times quicker than the current leading machine, which is in China. It would be capable of making one quintillion (a billion billion) calculations per second—a figure which is known as one exaflop. A body called the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI) will be set up to research and build the computer." Cool!

Melissa McCarthy has finally launched her long-awaited fashion label, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, and it looks amaaaaaaazing! The line will range from sizes four to 28.

[CN: Video autoplays at link] Last night, Late Night with Seth Meyers featured a performance by the Broadway cast of Fun Home, the musical based on Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir of the same name. The scene depicted is middle-aged Bechdel recalling her first sexual experience at college, when she realized she's a lesbian.

[CN: Video autoplays at second link] And finally! Battle of the adorbzlarious: French Bulldog Puppy playing with a doorstop vs. Unsuspecting Cat surprised by cucumber. I think it's a draw!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat curled up asleep on a pillow
Olivia Twist

It's so misleading that I post so many pictures of Livs when she's sleeping, because she is THE BUSIEST CAT who ever catted. Basically, the only time she slows down enough for me to get a picture of her is when she's asleep, lol!

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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Primarily Speaking

image of Donald Trump making an outrageous angry screaming face, to which I've added text reading: THIS IS MY PRESIDENTIAL FACE!!!!

Since I've already covered what the Democratic candidates are (not) doing, here's a round-up of some of the goings-on with the Republican candidates. All eleventy million of them.

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president, making him the 17th major Republican candidate. "'I bring to the table experience that others don't have,' Gilmore said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch in July." Not true. There are definitely other Republican candidates that no one has ever heard of.

Speaking of former New York Governor George Pataki, here's the top recent news story on Pataki: "Why is George Pataki running for president?" Hahahahaha great campaign coverage! GIVE YOUR COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR A BONUS, PATAKI!

[Content Note: Anti-choice rhetoric] In other terrific headline news, Senator Marco Rubio was the beneficiary of this gem: "Marco Rubio: 'All this outrage over a dead lion, but where is all the outrage over the Planned Parenthood dead babies.'" Which, by the way, is a real thing in the world that this bozo actually tweeted.

Senator Ted Cruz made a desperate bid for attention by calling President Obama a sponsor of terrorism: "If this [Iran] deal is consummated, it will make the Obama administration the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism." Mmm, nice try, Cruz—but you're gonna have to do better worse than that to stand out in a field that includes Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump!

[CN: Holocaust reference] Speaking of whom: Professor of Bible Bigotry Mike Huckabee stands by his comment that President Obama is naive to "trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven," and now says that "looking back, I think that maybe the metaphor is not a good one. It should be strictly used. But in this case, it's absolutely appropriate because the Iranians are threatening the murder of millions of Jews." So the metaphor is inappropriate, except for how it's absolutely appropriate. This guy's not only a terrific theologian but also a stupendous philosopher!

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, goes out on a limb condemning Huckabee's fuckery (worst band name ever) with this impassioned defense of decency: "I don't agree with the hyperbolic nature of the comment, and I also think that it's somewhat offensive to the Israelis. ...I thought it was kind of off-key in a number of different ways, and something I wouldn't have said." WHOA SLOW DOWN THERE, CHRISTIE! DON'T GET TOO IMPASSIONED ABOUT IT! Obviously, I'm being super unfair to Chris Christie, who is known for his calm, level-headed demeanor and not getting worked up about stuff.

In fundraising news, Ohio Governor John Kasich, one of the more recent gentlemen to take up occupancy in the clown car, has already raised $11 million. Or, rather, his superPAC, with which his campaign is definitely not coordinating because that's against the law and thus no presidential campaigns ever do it, has raised $11 million.

*takes a breather.* Jesus fucking Jones there are so many of these assholes! *deep breath*

In case you've been holding out on making your Official Republican Clown Selection, waiting to see at whom to direct your millions of donations in Ronpaulbuxxx until John McCain made his pick, your long national nightmare is over: "John McCain to Campaign for Lindsey Graham Next Week." Congratulations, Lindsey Graham! That's a real "get." Maybe McCain will even lend you the Straight Talk Express! Or the McCain Plane.

Speaking of Lindsey Graham, the same comedy geniuses behind his "How to Destroy Your Cell Phone" video have made a video with Dr. Ben Carson, in which Carson, who is a surgeon, plays a game of "Operation" and makes an Obamacare joke. Terrific stuff. *thisface*

Corporate power-failure Carly Fiorina is still definitely a Republican candidate for president who is presumably somewhere talking about Hillary Clinton right now.

Rick Perry is still definitely in the race! He has not dropped out yet! (Awwwww, just like old times!)

Something something Ron Rand Paul. (Like father like son!)

Sweatervest aficionado Rick Santorum says that the Republican Party will need a skilled communicator to win in 2016. Well, I guess that leaves you out, Lord Winsome.

*oh godddddd there are still four more to go Maude help meeeeeeeeee*

Here's just a great bit of coverage for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal: "Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal accused rival Jeb Bush on Wednesday of backing 'amnesty' in the former Florida governor's interview with msnbc's Jose Diaz-Balart—even though Jindal's own rhetoric on the issue sounds nearly identical." LOL! In case you're wondering if their identical immigration policies are any good, they are not! I'm sorry—I should have warned you to repose on your fainting couches before delivering that news!

I love every single thing about this article on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's CHEESESTEAKGATE. From the fact that it exists at all to the photos of protesters holding up signs reading "Scott Walker lives inside my butt" and "Scott Walker sniffs his own poop." Perfection.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is doing awesome in a bunch of polls that don't matter, losing even in the state he once governed to Donald Trump. Keep up the good work of at least not saying THE WORST things, Jeb Bush! It might see you through, this flying under the radar as only the ninth-worst terrible or whatever.

Which brings us to the belle of the bozo ball: Donald Trump. We've now discussed many times how Trump's bluntess is valued by conservative voters because he's delivering the polished turd of conservative politics without the polish. JUST STRAIGHT-UP TURDS ALL DAY EVERY DAY ALL THE TIME. And also how his bluntness is mischaracterized as "truth-telling," because he's simply reflecting back conservative voters' bigoted opinions to them. Well, here is just the most amazing and horrifying piece in which New Hampshire Trump-lovers are interviewed about why they like him so much:
"He says it like it is," said Jessica, a data analyst, during the focus group in the first-in-the-nation primary state, conducted by Purple Strategies at St. Anselm College in Manchester. "He speaks the truth."

"He's willing to tell you his opinion," Andrew, an educator, said. "So many other politicians won't take an opinion."

Many said Trump's success in the business world appealed to them.

"Business, we need business and I like his roughness," said Danielle, a financial-planning consultant, adding, "He's just tough, we need someone tough."

"Donald Trump is strong," Nick, a home inspector, said. "He carries a sentiment and frustrations that I think a lot of Americans are going through and feeling right now. He's the one that's able to articulate that, and bring those frustrations to light. I believe him when he talks."

..."He's like one of us. He may be a millionaire, which separates him from everybody else, but besides the money issue, he's still in tune with what everybody is wanting," Janet, a former dog breeder, said.

..."I haven't heard a lot of positions," Andy said. "But one thing is when he takes a position, and I'll use the John McCain thing, he didn't turn around two days later and say 'Oh no, that's not what I'm supposed to say.' He stayed with what he believed in, and that's, to me, what I'm looking for."
It just goes on and on and on like that. The Republicans can try to disown him all they want, or call him an extremist, but the reason he's popular is because he's saying exactly what their base wants to hear.

The first Republican debate is August 6 (HOW CAN IT BE NEXT WEEK ALREADY OMG HELP ME) and all the other candidates who are participating (only the top 10 polling will be allowed) are scrambling to figure out how to deal with Trump. Well, here's an idea: Just let him talk, and we'll find out if your base is really ready for the rest of the country to see your policies in all their naked glory, or if it's flinch time—and back to the careful rhetoric of the chronically cynical.

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

Open Wide...

The War on Agency, Continued

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

In good news: The Los Angeles Superior Court has issued a temporary restraining order which prevents the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video of employees of StemExpress, a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers. CMP, the organization releasing the videos to discredit Planned Parenthood, furtively filmed three StemExpress officials at a restaurant in May.

In a statement Wednesday, center leader David Daleiden said StemExpress was using "meritless litigation" to cover up an "illegal baby parts trade."

"The Center for Medical Progress follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work," he said.
Dubious. Very dubious.

Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates are all showing their asses when it comes to defending reproductive rights and the people who provide abortions.

Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb have given no comment to news outlets asking them for one. Martin O'Malley's only comment I've been able to find was: "I haven't seen the videos. And I don't generally make a habit of responding to right-wing videos. [I will] defer to others for commenting on that video and whatever videos they're pumping out there."

In fairness to O'Malley, he was responding to a question from Fox News there, so it makes sense that he would respond by treating those videos with the contempt they deserve. But he has not, that I can find, issued any statement of support for Planned Parenthood.

Hillary Clinton hasn't done a whole lot better, frankly, saying that she has only seen pictures from the videos "and I obviously find them disturbing." (And, unfortunately, I don't think she meant, "I find them disturbing because they are a gross product of terrible people are participating in a brazen terrorist campaign against abortion providers.") She continued:
Planned Parenthood is answering questions and will continue to answer questions. I think there are two points to make. One, Planned Parenthood for more than a century has done a lot of really good work for women: cancer screenings, family planning, all kinds of health services. And this raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about, you know, the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country. And if there's going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one part of it.

Question: Quick question, follow-up. As you mentioned out there, there is a fundamental right, or fundamental protection...

Clinton: Yes, that's what the Supreme Court said.

Question: Are you worried that the videos and the controversy might lead to activist groups chipping away at the funding for abortions and women's services?

Clinton: Well, there is no funding that, you know, would be any more at risk than it already has been for years because this has been an ongoing dispute, and I'm well aware that passions are very high. I have said for more than 22 years that abortion should be legal, safe, and rare. And as First Lady, I led an effort to try to lower the number of teen-age pregnancies and we succeeded, and as President I will continue to work toward that so that women are fully empowered, they can afford to make responsible decisions, and I hope that we will be successful with that.
Oof. I would have much preferred that Clinton not even give any credence at all to the idea of Congressional inquiries, even though I understand the point she's trying to make is that Planned Parenthood should not be targeted and singled out for "the whole process" of tissue donation. Really, that is just a subject that does not need a Congressional inquiry, period.

And I am for real for real for real tired of the "reduce teenage pregnancies" pivot on abortion. Lots of people need access to abortion, not just teenage girls with unplanned pregnancies. We could reduce the number of teenage pregnancies to zero, and lots of people would still need access to abortion.

Bernie Sanders started out absolutely dreadfully, saying [CN: video may autoplay at link]: "Obviously, I think [Planned Parenthood president] Cecile Richards apologized for the tone of that video. I think her apology was exactly right. I think that the staffer, the tone was terribly wrong." Tone policing? Really? Good grief.

But after Republicans escalated their efforts to exploit these videos to justify defunding Planned Parenthood, Sanders gave a pretty decent statement [CN: video may autoplay at link; NB: not only women need access to abortion]: "The attempt by Senate Republicans to cut off support for Planned Parenthood is an attack on women's health. The current attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies. Cutting that funding will be devastating to the health needs of millions of women who desperately need the quality services Planned Parenthood provides."

It never ceases to impress me (and not in a good way) how the ostensibly pro-choice Democrats refuse to say the word "abortion." Honestly, Democrats: If you can't even say the fucking word, you cannot expect me to believe you're going to vigorously defend it.

Also, the decade of failing to vigorously defend abortion rights and access as they have been eroded across state legislatures gives me the sense that you're not as pro-choice as you'd like me to believe. Funny how that works.

When the best any of the Democratic candidates can do in describing a decades-long terrorist campaign—which has resulted in more than 200 arsons and bombings, 4 kidnappings, 9 murders, and countless threats and incidents of harassment—is describe it as "long-term smear campaign," you are not a serious party that cares about reproductive options, the people who need them, and the people who provide them. Get it together, Democrats.

Naturally, every Republican candidate's response to these videos is so reprehensible it doesn't even merit comment.

Open Wide...

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