Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Brenda A.: "What is a strange coincidence that has happened to you, or that you have witnessed?"

One of the strangest coincidences that ever happened to me started in a book club chat room circa 2000. There was a dude who was having technical problems as he was trying to join the chat room, and he was asking for help in a most hilarious way, and everyone else was ignoring him, so I private messaged him to try to provide some tech support.

After we managed to solve whatever problem he was having (I can't even remember), we got to chatting and became friends. He lived in Nottingham, England, and I was living in Chicago at the time. After a few conversations, he mentioned to me that his best friend since childhood had moved to Chicago. He started telling me about him, and it turned out that not only did I know his friend's wife (!) but that his friend DJed in a club directly across the street from my apartment. (!!!)

That has to be the biggest "small world" coincidence I've ever experienced.

A couple of years later, Iain's and my last stop in the UK before we headed back to the States for good was at that bloke's flat in Nottingham. :)

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Lesley Gore: "You Don't Own Me"

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Here We Go

[Content Note: Disablist language; bigotry.]

For a very long time, as Donald Trump was emerging as the Republican frontrunner, prominent members of the GOP were wringing their hands about it and pretending that Trump's policies (such as they are) were outside the mainstream of their platform. It was always bullshit: The only thing that's "extreme" about Trump, by the measure of the GOP platform, is his refusal to conceal it with dogwhistles and doublespeak.

As seas of digital ink were spilled on stories about how the GOP was going to implode, I said over and over that they would coalesce behind Trump, specifically because he isn't truly outside the mainstream of Republican politics. And because they want to win, at any cost.

And so here we are. The coalescing has begun.

Lest there be any doubt how thoroughly cynical the Republican Party really is, today former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said that he will vote for Trump, if he is the nominee:

"[I]f he is the nominee I will be voting for him, I will be supporting him," he said, explaining that there are "quite simply too many important issues," giving it "a chance" that Trump would get rid of Obamacare.

"I think there's a zero percent chance that Hillary Clinton would do that. So yes," Jindal continued. "If it comes down to a binary choice between Donald Trump, I'm supporting the party's nominee. I'm not happy about it. I don't think he's the best qualified, I don't think he's the one most likely to be successful, but I would vote for him over Hillary Clinton."
Let us recall that, last September, Jindal wrote an essay for CNN entitled "Trump is a madman who must be stopped," in which he called Trump "a shallow, unserious, substance-free, narcissistic egomaniac" whom conservatives "need to stop enabling... They need to stop praising him, stop being afraid of him, and stop treating him rationally. ...Conservatives need to say what we are thinking: Donald Trump is a madman who must be stopped."

Fast forward eight months, and suddenly Donald Trump is now the nominee who must be voted for.


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The Media Must Change Their Approach on Trump; Our Nation's Future Depends on It

[Content Note: Bigotry; privilege.]

The media has positioned itself as Hillary Clinton's second opponent by running more negative stories about her than any other presidential candidate. Not only are they running against her with disproportionate negativity toward her, but with disproportionate positivity toward Donald Trump.

As I mentioned last week, former NBC News and CNN correspondent and anchor Campbell Brown has written a remarkable piece in which she calls cable news onto the carpet for having cravenly caved to Donald Trump so thoroughly that they've clearly abetted his rise to the Republican nomination.

Writes Brown:

I would really like to blame Trump. But everything he is doing is with TV news' full acquiescence. Trump doesn't force the networks to show his rallies live rather than do real reporting. Nor does he force anyone to accept his phone calls rather than demand that he do a face-to-face interview that would be a greater risk for him. TV news has largely given Trump editorial control. It is driven by a hunger for ratings—and the people who run the networks and the news channels are only too happy to make that Faustian bargain.

…We all know how it started. Early on, even before he was the front-runner, TV news was giving Trump far more attention than other candidates and far more than he deserved. …Trump gets about six appearances on the major networks for roughly every one his rivals Ted Cruz or John Kasich get. In fact, Trump's exposure has been three times greater than that of Cruz and Kasich combined. He received 50 percent of the exposure when there were more than a dozen candidates—a percentage that has only grown. Of course, by now, you've all also read the figure of close to $2 billion worth of free media the New York Times cited for Trump's TV bonanza. And that story was back in March. No campaign's advertising budget can compete.

…It is not just the wall-to-wall coverage of Trump. It's the openness with which some are reveling in his attention. It's the effort, conscious or not, to domesticate and pretty him up, to make him appear less offensive than he really is, and to practice a false objectivity or equivalence in the coverage.
She calls Trump's candidacy "largely a creation of a TV media that wants him, or needs him, to be the central character in this year's political drama." And "character" is a good word to use—it's a word that's used a lot around Trump, in endless cable news discussions wondering (with no conclusion) whether Trump is playing a "character," or whether he's really as odious as he seems.

The reflexive generosity of treating Trump as just a "character" is why the media greeted his candidacy, and long continued to regard it, as a bit of amusement. That he is entertaining has been enough to justify the endless coverage given to him.

Only now, as he closes in on the Republican nomination and takes one step closer to the US presidency, is cable news beginning to wonder if they made a terrible mistake.

Well, let me assure them: They did.

Trump's "shtick" has never been entertaining, or fun, or amusing to the people who are targeted by his heinous rhetoric. Many people who are members of communities at which he's directed his nationalistic bombast are terrified of a potential Trump presidency—and have been, understandably so, all along.

There's a reason that, for example, "registration among Hispanic voters is skyrocketing." And it isn't because they're laughing it up about what a "character" Trump is.

Maybe if the opinion-makers on TV news weren't "overwhelmingly white, conservative, and male in every category measured," there would have been someone to tell these mirthful Trump cheerleaders ages ago that there was nothing funny about his bigoted rhetoric.

Brown recalls CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves saying, regarding Trump's candidacy, "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." And she observes: "This is a statement of the obvious to anyone in TV news. My wonder at it stems from how long we've managed to treat this as our dirty little secret, that thing we all know: that what's damn good for CBS is damn bad for American journalism."

If only it were just bad for American journalism. But it is bad for America. This glib submission to Trump because he is "damn good" television stands to be ruinous for the nation.

Trump's candidacy is spiraling out of control. World leaders fear his presidency. Many women, Latinxs, Muslims, and other marginalized people are frightened of what a Trump presidency could mean for their very safety. Even his rallies have turned dangerous: Last week in California, his overflow crowd again clashed with protesters, resulting in violence and more than 20 arrests.

This is a mere snapshot of what is possibly to come, if his candidacy continues unchecked and upheld.

The media has a choice to make. They can continue chasing ratings by engaging in sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton while ignoring Donald Trump's rank sexism and other bigotries, or they can start delivering fair and just coverage of both candidates.

So far, they've shown a potentially catastrophic unwillingness to make the right choice on either point.

Prioritizing profits over people doesn't cut it as a justification for this obscene dereliction of their duty. While they keep raking in the dough, it's the rest of us who will pay the price.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat lying on the couch next to Iain, with her tiny paw on his arm

You might have noticed by now that lots of the pictures of Sophie show her with one of her tiny paws resting on either Iain or me. This is definitely one of her most adorable and endearing habits: If she's not able to lie directly on top of one of us (because we're working, for example, and there's a laptop where she wants to be), she will lie as close to us as possible, and put one of her paws on an arm or a leg. It's so cute. She is just the sweetest thing.

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

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War; terrorism] "A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed Tuesday in an attack by Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq, highlighting the evolving nature of the Pentagon's mission in Iraq and how American troops are serving closer than ever to the front lines. The SEAL, an enlisted petty officer first class whose identity was withheld until family members were notified, was killed by enemy fire about 9:30 a.m., said U.S. military officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly. ...It marks the third time a U.S. service member has been killed in combat since the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State began June 2014." My condolences to the SEAL's family, friends, and colleagues.

[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Another must-read from Jessica Mason Pieklo: "Dillard, Daleiden, and Dear: A Summer of Abortion Violence Trials Starts Now." I am so deeply grateful for all the work she and Imani Gandy do covering the legal aspects of the war on agency and anti-choice terrorism.

[CN: Misogyny] New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continues to be terrible: "New Jersey's lawmakers want to require employers to pay women the same as men for essentially the same work. But Gov. Chris Christie (R) thinks they went too far." Why? Because it actually addressed pay equity or comparable worth, i.e. requiring that women must be "paid equally if they're doing the same tasks in a different role," thus denying businesses the ability to pay women less by giving them a shittier job title, basically. "Christie specifically objected to this piece of the bill in his veto, calling it 'nonsensical' and saying that it 'makes New Jersey very business unfriendly.'" Of course he did.

[CN: Disablist language; discussion of bigotry] Donald Trump isn't actually "literally delusional" because he thinks beating Hillary Clinton will be "easy," but he is hilariously and aggressively wrong. And Greg Sargent makes a strong case for precisely why he is so hilariously and aggressively wrong.

[CN: Misogyny] GOOD FUCKING GRIEF: "How Bernie changed Hillary: Sanders has left a lasting imprint on Clinton's candidacy, even if few in her camp are willing to admit it." A+ Politico. If only her campaign videos from 2008 were available online to show what she was talking about then! OH WELL. (P.S. No, Bernie Didn't Make Hillary a Better Candidate; She Did That Herself.)

In related news: Here's a story about Hillary Clinton addressing some of her critics and their criticisms. And apologizing for using imprecise and scary language. And promising, with regard to protests outside the venue: "I will do whatever I can regardless of whether people are yelling at me and whether people are misrepresenting me or whether people are not looking at everything I say and taking something out of context. That's part of it, I understand that. But I'm gonna get up every single day trying to figure out what to do to help you provide the kind of future for your children that they deserve to have." Somehow, I don't think Bernie Sanders taught her to do any of that.

[CN: Racism] Another company (Old Navy) features an akyriarchetypical family (interracial) in an advert, and bigots (racists) lose their shit over it, but love wins as many families who look like the family in the ad (interracial) post pictures of themselves and thank the company (Old Navy) for recognizing their existence, prompting the company (Old Navy) to vow their commitment to diversity. It's a MadLib at this point, because bigots are so infuriatingly predictable. Just fill in the blanks.

Congratulations to Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast and the crew and the fans and everyone !!! after the show made history by receiving 16 Tony nominations. Sixteen!!!

This is the most David Bowie thing ever: "David Bowie's final album, Blackstar, was a 'parting gift' to fans before his tragic death, according to his long-time producer Tony Visconti. ...Users of imgur, the image-sharing website, have discovered something quite touching about the vinyl edition of the album. If you leave take the gatefold sleeve, which contains the record (and which you'd be wise to remove first, lest you damage the record) and leave it in the sun, it transforms and depicts a different image. Instead of the titular black star, you're greeted by an entire galaxy." Blub.

Neat! "A Belgian-led team reported Monday that it's discovered three Earth-sized planets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star less than 40 light-years away. It's the first time planets have been found around this type of star—and it opens up new, rich territory in the search for extraterrestrial life. Because this star is so close and so faint, astronomers can study the atmospheres of these three temperate exoplanets and, eventually, hunt for signs of possible life. They're already making atmospheric observations, in fact, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope will join in next week. Altogether, it's a 'winning combination' for seeking chemical traces of life outside our solar system, said Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Julien de Wit, a co-author of the study, released by the journal Nature."

And finally! This made me laugh out loud SO HARD! "Hilarious Bulldog Repeatedly Rolls Herself Down a Hill." As advertised!

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Balancing the Scales

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

I got an email asking me why I don't "write more bad stories about Hillary Clinton." Not critical stories. Bad stories.

It's interesting how many people seem very angry with me that my coverage of Hillary Clinton is one-sided. These people are clearly not paying attention if they believe I've never made a criticism of Clinton, but, even if they were, they wouldn't be satisfied by thoughtful criticisms and stated disagreements based entirely on reasoned analysis.

What they want is for me to hate her.

The only sufficient proof I can possibly offer to satisfy them is to write "bad stories" about Clinton. Stories that indulge conspiracy and cynical misrepresentation. Stories that are riddled with misogyny, preferably as overt as possible. Stories that satiate their need to hate her.

Stories at all. Tales. Pieces of writing that ignore the facts.

I'm guessing that the many corporate media outlets who routinely deliver precisely these sorts of "stories" about Clinton aren't approached by the same people criticizing their one-sided coverage. Because of course the people who email me aren't seeking fairness. They're seeking the precise opposite. They're seeking as much vitriol delivered by trusted sources as possible.

And when I fail to deliver, they accuse me of bias. As if I haven't made my bias abundantly clear.

Being biased, however, doesn't require an abdication of facts. Every supportive thing I have written about Clinton is supported by facts. The truth is, there is no shortage of good things to say about Clinton—and her supporters. I don't have to invent anything or reshape anything or even sand off any rough edges to write positive things about Clinton.

If it seems like I'm conjuring the things I write from nothing, well, frankly that isn't a commentary on me. That's a commentary on how insistently the corporate media conceals the many good things there are to say about Clinton, that what I write feels jarring or discordant or false.

What bias I have is this: I support Clinton, and I do not support a concerted effort to derail the career and attempt to discredit any woman on the basis of anything but the relevant facts.

There are more than enough people willing to talk shit about Hillary Clinton. There are far fewer people who are willing to talk about her many accomplishments.

I'm just trying to balance the scales.

And I don't feel even the tiniest bit obliged to apologize for that.

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Ughhhhhhh This Guy and Also That Guy

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

While campaigning in South Bend, Indiana, yesterday, Donald Trump opened his mouth and poured out this toxic sludge:

Trump also addressed one of his biggest general election liabilities: His terrible standing among female voters, who in Clinton could have the chance to vote for the first female president. "Women are looking for security in our country and they know I'm going to do the best job," he said, pivoting to attack Clinton's record in that arena. "When they called her on Benghazi she was sleeping, folks."

Earlier in the day in Carmel, Trump seized on Bernie Sanders' contention that Clinton isn't "qualified" to be president. "Bad judgment. I didn't say it," Trump said. "A lot of people said it. … It was said by Bernie. But I can't take any any heat if it was said by Bernie."
Great job, Trump! Great job, Bernie! You make quite the impressive team of dudes running against Hillary Clinton by saying totally stupid shit about her.

Also: I am already 100% exhausted with Trump making claims about what "women" think about him. I'm sure there are indeed some women who believe that Trump will "do the best job" on national security, because this is a big damn country with lots of people who have lots of different opinions! But not all women agree. To the absolute contrary, I would sooner trust a monkey with a head injury to make better foreign policy decisions than Donald Trump.

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Indiana Primary Day!

Today is the Indiana primary for both Democrats and Republicans! It's gonna be a wild one! Or not! Since it will definitely not change the shape of either race no matter what happens!

In any case, there are 92 delegates up for grabs on the Democratic side, and 57 delegates up for grabs on the Republican side. As always, the Democratic delegates will be proportionally awarded, and, this time, the Republican contest is winner take most.

The best news for Hoosiers is that, after today, Bobby Knight can crawl back into whatever hole Donald Trump dragged him out of! Huzzah!

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[Content Note: References to violence. Video may autoplay at link.]

This is just a real headline in the world: "Heidi Cruz responds to people who call her husband the Zodiac Killer."

I mean. I MEAN.

Heidi Cruz knows that her husband, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is not the Zodiac Killer, no matter what people online say.

Heidi spent Monday morning traveling across Indiana in support of her husband's presidential campaign. At a cafe in Carmel, Yahoo News asked for her reaction to a series of jokes that Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore made at the White House Correspondents' dinner on Saturday night, where he repeatedly called her husband "the Zodiac Killer."

"Well, I've been married to him for 15 years, and I know pretty well who he is, so it doesn't bother me at all. There's a lot of garbage out there," Heidi said.
Of course, the whole reason this particular garbage is out there is because Ted Cruz is probably the Zodiac Killer. Just kidding. He definitely isn't. He's just an ordinary human man who wants to "carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion."

Which, of course, would make him a much more prolific killer of innocent people than any serial killer.

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Open Thread

image of a 'woman's cut' white lab coat on a mannequin

Hosted by a lab coat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker yes: "What was a recent 'AHA!' moment you had? Sort of like an epiphany, but not necessarily profound."

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

[Content Note: There is a strobe light effect in this video.]

Snap!: "The Power"

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Bernie Sanders, What Are You Even Doing?

So, Bernie Sanders sent out a press release today accusing Hillary Clinton of "money laundering" and "looting." It's one of the most incredible things I've ever seen in presidential politics.

I've got a piece on it at BNR:

To be clear, there is always some tension, during every presidential election, in both parties, about how a finite amount of resources will be allocated. There are a lot of candidates up and down the ballot who are in need of funding, and a limited number of donors from whom to secure it.

...What we're seeing, yet again, is the Sanders campaign trading on the fact that many of their supporters are new to the political process and aren't familiar with the intricacies of the electoral process.

Without any understanding of the history of political fundraising, it's easy to imply that this is something unique to Hillary's campaign—and that it's just more evidence of her insidious corruption.

This is a profoundly deceitful insinuation.
Click on through to read the whole thing.

I honestly barely know what to say anymore. This is just gobsmacking.

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by gardens.

Recommended Reading:

Miranda: [Content Note: Transphobia] Anti-LGBT Activists 'Testing' Target by Sending Men into Women's Rooms

Nicole: First and Last: Notes on Adoption and Names

Latonya: [CN: White straight cis male privilege; othering] White Men Don't Own Nerd Culture, and I'm Not Stealing It

Mynette, Andrew, and Jeff: [CN: Whitewashing; white supremacy] Hollywood's Asian Whitewashing: Why It Happens So Often and Why It Must Be Stopped

Bina: [CN: Misogyny; white saviorism; descriptions of violence] The Afghan Woman Is Not a Project

Kenrya: [CN: Misogynoir] Black Women File Class Action Suit Against the New York Times

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

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[Content Note: Misogyny.]

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Shaker Gardens Thread: Early May Edition

Photo_of_a_dianthus_flower photo dinathusmay_zpsjes4qey1.jpg

Hello Shakers! It's May, and in this part of the world, that means lots of gardening has been going on! As you can see from the picture above, my dianthus are doing well. This is a variety I sowed last year, informally known as "Gillyflower," one of several flowers to be called by that name. (It's also one of a few different flowers called "Sweet William.") Whatever you call it--it's nice to see every morning as I step out the door!

I'm a little behind this year, due in large part to some academic work. That means I don't have vegetables like I usually do by now. We've had a cooler spring than usual, which for Southern gardeners means a longer spring than usual. Great news if you're growing radishes, or daffodils:

Daffodil photo photo dafmay_zpsthq3snyq.jpg

I also had some later-blooming tulips this year that did unusually well. This is a peony-flowering tulip. I planted a bunch of these last fall from a Van Engelen collection and they really did look nice:

Picture of a red and white double  flowered tulip photo tulipmay_zpskvoeytt3.jpg

I was really happy that they turned out so well. We had a mild winter, but I'm pleased to report that my perennials that need chilling hours seem to have gotten enough to come back. I have rhubarb coming up, and my gooseberries and jostaberry are coming out of dormancy. I know they are never going to be totally happy in this climate, but if I can get enough for pies, they will have been worth babying along with afternoon shade and lots of watering.

One plant that doesn't seem to need a lot of babying is my miniature rose bush. This was a gift from colleagues when my mother passed away in 2013. It blooms its heart out every spring and summer since, and it takes up very little in the way of space. It's disease resistant and handles bugs quite well. The colors are very intense in the right light...this picture does not so it justice. The flowers are big enough to cut and put in a bud vase.

 photo rosemay_zpsk3a5l3ud.jpg

I've been busy planting tomatoes, peppers, cukes, zukes, luffah gourds and several kinds of pumpkins, along with lots of pollinator-attracting flowers: calendula, zinnia, allysium, marigolds, nasturtium and dill. The latter also double as kitchen herbs, so it's a win-win. I am also trying interplanting oinions with my pumpkins to discourage squash bugs. They did a number on my cushaw squash last year, and, while I can mostly keep them down by hand harvesting, I am going to see if this helps at all.

Another challenge I have set myself this year is finding a good place to plant my iris. My neighbors have iris flourishing, so it's not the climate. It's my light levels. I have a likely spot marked out; of course the test will come next spring when they are supposed to bloom. I did have some later-blooming Dutch iris to brighten things up. They are easier to grow:

 photo of purple Dutch Iris irismay_zps4bkw9t65.jpg

One plant I am really happy about is my "Peggy Martin" heirloom rose. This rose has an interesting story, relating to it surviving Hurricane Katrina. I bought this last year and it starting blooming the very first season. It went dormant in the winter and is blooming again--profusely. It's an old variety, clearly, and seems incredibly vigorous. Looking forward to seeing how long it blooms this early summer!

 photo katrinarosemay_zpsomsaa3bw.jpg

Shakers, how does your garden grow? Whether it's a window box, an acre or two, a flower bed, or a single houseplant, feel free to share your garden stories and pictures below. If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, feel free to join in with your fall garden stories! If it's still too cold to garden where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, feel free to share your plans for the season! As a commenting reminder, please remember that everyone has different priorities and needs when gardening: cost, food production, organic, low water, etc. Please be respectful of this in comments.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat sitting on the floor; she's pictured from behind, and her fuzzy tail is curled into a question mark

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

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Terrorism; death] Fucking hell: "Two [redacted] car bombs claimed by ISIS killed at least 32 people and wounded 75 others in the center of the southern Iraqi city of Samawa on Sunday, police and medics said. The first blast was near a local government building and the second one about 65 yards away at a bus station, police sources said. The death toll was expected to keep rising. ...Meanwhile, two police officers were killed and 23 people wounded in a suicide car bomb attack on police headquarters in the south-eastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, the governor and police sources said, in one of two attacks on security forces on Sunday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but security sources said police raided the home of a suspected ISIS militant believed to have carried out the attack and detained his father for DNA tests and questioning." I am just so deeply sad and angry about the death and injury and terror and destruction wreaked by IS. And horrified by how little coverage this weekend's terrorist attacks in Iraq and Turkey have gotten in Western media.

[CN: Financial insecurity] "Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced that Puerto Rico's government will not make nearly $370m in bond payments due Monday after a failure to restructure or find a political solution to the US territory's spiralling public debt crisis. Garcia said Sunday that he had issued an executive order suspending payments on debt owed by the island's Government Development Bank, a default that will likely prompt lawsuits from creditors and could be a prelude to a deadline to a much larger payment due 1 July. The governor said Puerto Rico can't pay the bonds without cutting essential services." If you haven't already seen [CN: video autoplays] John Oliver's terrific segment on Puerto Rico, I highly recommend it.

[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Jessica Mason Pieklo has another great piece on Robert Dear: "After a full day of testimony, which included an investigator's account that Dear had stopped at a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) before moving on to the Planned Parenthood, it was clear that neither the prosecution nor the defense wanted to talk about the central issue of Robert Lewis Dear Jr.'s case: anti-choice rhetoric and violence."

[CN: Breast cancer] This sounds encouraging: "Scientists say they now have a near-perfect picture of the genetic events that cause breast cancer. The study, published in Nature, has been described as a 'milestone' moment that could help unlock new ways of treating and preventing the disease. The largest study of its kind unpicked practically all the errors that cause healthy breast tissue to go rogue. Cancer Research UK said the findings were an important stepping-stone to new drugs for treating cancer. To understand the causes of the disease, scientists have to understand what goes wrong in our DNA that makes healthy tissue turn cancerous. The international team looked at all 3 billion letters of people's genetic code—their entire blueprint of life—in 560 breast cancers. They uncovered 93 sets of instructions, or genes, that if mutated, can cause tumours. Some have been discovered before, but scientists expect this to be the definitive list, barring a few rare mutations."

At Think Progress, Ian Millhiser details "Four Major Decisions to Expect from the Supreme Court Soon," on Affirmative Action (Fisher v. University of Texas), Birth Control (Zubik v. Burwell), Abortion (Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt), and Immigration (United States v. Texas).

[CN: Child abuse] Ted Cruz continues to be comprehensively awful: "A youthful protester who interrupted his rally late Sunday evening should get a spanking, Ted Cruz suggested to his audience in La Porte, Indiana. Such a punishment, he added, would have gone a long way in changing the behavior of Donald Trump. 'All right, apparently there's a young man who's having some problems,' Cruz said, as the young heckler shouted, 'You suck!' Cruz responded, 'Thank you, son.' 'Children should actually speak with respect,' he continued. 'Imagine what a different world it would be if someone told Donald Trump that years ago.'" This gross comment comes right on the heels of new research that finds " spanking is associated with troubling outcomes—like increased aggression, increased anti-social behavior, and mental health problems later in life."

[CN: Fat hatred; weight loss talk; disordered eating] I don't even know where to fucking begin with this article in the New York Times about "Biggest Loser" contestants gaining back weight. On the one hand, it's great that here is more evidence of what fat people have been saying about our own lived experiences. On the other hand, the abysmal language peppered throughout the piece! Like "what obesity research has consistently shown is that dieters are at the mercy of their own bodies" and "that shouldn't be interpreted to mean we are doomed to battle our biology or remain fat." As but two examples. I don't feel like I'm "at the mercy" of my body (as if I am somehow a separate thing from my body!) and I certainly don't feel "doomed to remain fat." For fuck's sake.

In better news, this is very neat: "The comet known as C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS) has a lot going for it. For starters, it's the first comet ever detected without a tail—a trail of dust and ice that sublimates into space as the sun heats the frozen artifacts. It's also thought to have formed in the same time and place as Earth, meaning that the strange comet may contain the same building blocks that formed our planet, kept chilled and pristine and waiting for scientists to study them."

Cool! "Newfound Jellyfish Looks Like an Alien Spacecraft." I love jellyfish. As is probably obvious given that I have one tattooed on my body, lol!

And finally! "Why Rescued Is My Favorite Dog Breed." Love. ♥

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Stop It, Trump. Just Stop It.

[Content Note: Rape culture. Description of sexual assault at BNR link.]

Yesterday, during a rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Donald Trump was on his usual tirade about the United States' trade deficit with China, when he said: "We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing."

I have a new piece about this at BNR: "Trump Defends Comparing Trade Deficit to Rape."

It is very blunt—and, frankly, graphic, in elucidating for Trump exactly why and how a trade deficit is not like sexual violence.

I utterly refuse to keep silent about Trump appropriating "rape" to describe a trade deficit, and how profoundly gross it is. That is not his (or anyone else's) to use as a casual metaphor.

And I am incandescently angry that Trump is going to make this election as triggery and hurtful as possible for women.

On the one hand, we are on the verge of electing our first female president. On the other, we've got to navigate the most ugly misogyny being constantly disgorged by her likely opponent.

This guy makes me sick.

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