The Virtual Pub Is Open (+ Programming Note)

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The No Buffoonery Saloon'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

We've got a friend visiting for a couple days, who is due to arrive shortly, so I'm going to wrap up a little early this week, and I will see you back here on Monday! ♥

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat sitting in the sunshine; Olivia the White Farmcat is just visible in the far background
Matilda in the sunshine. With Olivia photobombing, obviously.

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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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

Melissa Manchester: "Don't Cry Out Loud"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Domestic violence] Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has been suspended for 10 games following an investigation after Hardy's domestic violence case was dismissed in North Carolina state court. I like (ahem) how he was suspended because his "conduct [was] detrimental to the league." THE LEAGUE. "Detrimental to the league" essentially translates to: He wasn't suspended for committing domestic violence, but because it made the papers.

[CN: Police brutality; stalking; racism] The Baltimore police officer who chased Freddie Gray, who later died in police custody, has a history of violence and intimidation. "Lieutenant Brian Rice was ordered to stay away from the man [who sought a restraining order] after a series of alleged confrontations, including one armed standoff that led to a 911 call and officers from two police departments spending 90 minutes defusing the situation, according to court filings. 'I am seeking protection immediately,' the man wrote to a court in Carroll County, Maryland, in January 2013. He alleged Rice's behaviour had caused him 'to have constant fear for my personal safety' and a 'fear of imminent harm or death from Brian Rice.'" Whyyyyyy was this asshole still on the job?! (That question is, of course, rhetorical.)

[CN: Police brutality; racism] Michael Brown's family is suing the city of Ferguson: "The family of Michael Brown plans to file a civil lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Mo., for his death last summer. Members of Brown's family will announce the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit on Thursday at the St. Louis County courthouse, attorneys for the Brown family said Wednesday night." There will be people who make all kinds of gross accusations against this family about attention- and money-seeking, without a single shred of regard that they were denied accountability by the criminal courts.

Clinton charities will have to refile tax returns: "Hillary Clinton's family's charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors. ...The charities' errors generally take the form of under-reporting or over-reporting, by millions of dollars, donations from foreign governments, or in other instances omitting to break out government donations entirely when reporting revenue, the charities confirmed to Reuters. ...The unsettled numbers on the tax returns are not evidence of wrongdoing but tend to undermine the 990s role as a form of public accountability, experts in charity law and transparency advocates interview told Reuters."

A vaccination bill in California may, if passed, influence vaccination laws across the nation: "Vaccine laws across the nation may be toughened, observers say, if California passes a fervently debated bill that would strip parents' rights to exempt kids from immunizations based on personal beliefs. A potential end to California's opt-out provision gained ground Wednesday when the state senate's education committee voted 7-2 to require full vaccinations for almost all public school students. ...'Other states will be looking carefully at the California experience if this goes through,' said Dr. Eric Kodish, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Ethics, Humanities and Spiritual Care. 'If they become a place where, as I would predict, fewer children get sick and die, it's something other states would want to look at.'"

[CN: Class warfare; environmental contamination] Every person in this country should have the right to safe drinking water: "Sherry Gobble has been wary of drinking the tap water in her neighborhood for more than a year. 'I feel like I've become very suspicious of all water,' she told ThinkProgress in November. 'When I go to a friend's house, and they offer coffee or tea, I don't drink it because I don't know where it came from.' On Monday, her fears were confirmed. Nineteen households and a church in her community of Dukeville, North Carolina were sent letters by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) warning them not to drink or cook with well water due to elevated levels of toxic heavy metals, the Associated Press reported. Like Gobble's home, each is located within a quarter mile of a coal ash pond owned by Duke Energy."

[CN: Fat hatred; death] Fat hatred kills: "A 21-year-old woman died recently after she ingested diet pills made with an 'extremely dangerous' industrial chemical. On April 12, Eloise Aimee Parry of Shrewsbury, England, took eight diet pills containing dinitrophenol or DNP, according to a statement from her mom, Fiona Parry, released Monday by the West Mercia Police. The pills were purchased online. 'She had taken even more of these 'slimming tablets' than recommended on the pack and had no idea just how dangerous they really were,' Fiona Parry said." My condolences to Eloise's family and friends.

[CN: Anti-feminism; misogyny] Soraya Chemaly with "50 Reasons Everyone Is Now an 'Offensive' Feminist," in response to an eighth-grade girl having her t-shirt reading "feminist" censored in the class photo.

Stunning: "The Hubble Space Telescope has celebrated its silver anniversary with a picture featuring a spectacular vista of young stars blazing across a dense cloud of gas and dust. The 'Westerlund 2' cluster of stars is located about 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina." Happy Birthday, Hubble!

Mattel has announced a new line of female action figures: "The toymaker announced today that it is partnering with DC Comics and Warner Bros. to launch a new franchise centered on teenage female superheroes. The initial lineup will include heroes such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl, as well as prominent female villains, including Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn (both of Batman fame)." Also in the line-up: Bumble Bee and Katana!

And finally! This is one the cutest rescue/adoption stories ever: A kitten left in a mailbox is rescued and eventually adopted by—wait for it!—a retired mail carrier. "Dan Shaw says, 'I took one look at her and I knew right away that I wanted her.'" Blub!

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What In the F#@k Is This?

[Content Note: Misogyny; whorephobia; disablism.]

Marvel Avengers Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye, and Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, sat down for an interview to promote the upcoming Age of Ultron, and this shit happened:

Video Transcript (of first part of video only): A white female reporter for Digital Spy sits across from Renner and Evans. She says: "I have a very serious question to start with about shipping. Because I know a lot of fans were actually pretty invested in the idea of Natasha [Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson) with either or both of you guys, and now obviously she's with, she's with Bruce [Bruce Banner/The Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo]. What do you guys think about that?"

Renner: "She's a slut."

Evans: [throws his head back and laughs out loud] "I was gonna say something along that line! She's a complete whore."

[They both laugh uproariously.]

Renner: "A trick, man."

[They laugh and laugh.]

Evans: "She's a slut!"

Reporter: "Whatever movie it is, she'll just be the sidekick? She'll be flirting away—"

Renner: "That's right."

Evans: "Yeah, man, just flirting with everybody."

Renner: "She has a prosthetic leg, anyway."

Evans: [laughs out loud] "Leading everybody on."

Renner: "That's right."
So, a fictional character—who is a token woman among men in the Avengers franchise—is not dating either one of their fictional characters, which makes her a "slut" and a "whore" who flirts with everyone and leads people on, and who the fuck wants her, anyway, because she's got a prosthetic leg and thus is not even deserving of their FICTIONAL CHARACTERS' attentions.

I know, I know—I'm the Most Humorless Feminist in all of Nofunnington, and don't I get that they were just joking geeeez?

Yeah, I get it. I get it big time.

Forgive me (or don't) if I don't find the humor in "jokingly" invoking narratives of toxic masculinity which slut-shames women for having the audacity to believe we are not the wholly owned property of any man who tries to stick his flag in us; to believe we have the right to choose our partners.

What say you, Marvel?

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Primarily Speaking

image of Carly Fiorina, a thin, white, older woman, standing in front of a US flag, to which I've added text reading: 'Unlike Hillary, I actually do stuff. I stand in front of flags.'

Corporate power-failure Carly Fiorina, whose entire raison d'ĂȘtre for running is apparently to fill the crucial "point out that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has flown on a lot of airplanes" and "absurdly claim Clinton has never accomplished anything" role in the Republican primary, will reportedly launch her presidential campaign on May 4.

I love the new trend of pre-announcement announcements. "Get ready for Carly Fiorina to tell you she's going to run for president!" OKAY! I am doing all the things I need to do to prepare myself! 1. Sit here. 2. Not care. ALL SYSTEMS GOOOOOOOOOOO!

Fiorina is about as qualified to be president as I am. (Possibly even less so, since I'm at least familiar enough with US politics to know that Hillary Clinton has accomplished a few things.) But that never stops Republicans. Why bother learning about government when you just want to destroy it, anyway?

I suspect the GOP leadership is hoping to turn Fiorina into, at minimum, a solid vice-presidential candidate by encouraging her to run the gauntlet of a primary, in the hope of avoiding a repeat of this fucking mess:

Video Description: Scene from Game Change, a movie about Sarah Palin's vice-presidential candidacy. Palin (played by Julianne Moore) sits on the McCain campaign bus with Republican operative Steve Schmidt (played by Woody Harrelson), practicing interview questions. Schmidt: "Umm, let's start with something simple. Uh, how do you plan on maintaining our alliance with Great Britain on Iraq, even though support for the war there is at an all-time low?" Palin: "I think the United States has always maintained a great relationship with the Queen, and John McCain will continue to have an open dialogue with her." Schmidt: "Ahh, Governor, the Queen is not the head of government in England; she's the head of state." Palin: "Well, then who's the head of government?" Schmidt: "The Prime Minister." Laughs uncomfortably; gulps his tea.

Good times!

Meanwhile, here are a few fun reminders about how Citizens United is obliterating the last vestiges of a functional democracy:

1. Marco Rubio Takes Lead in Sheldon Adelson Primary: "Before Iowa and New Hampshire, GOP candidates are competing in the Sheldon Adelson primary, and some will travel to his posh Venetian hotel in Las Vegas this in hopes of winning it. But one candidate—Marco Rubio—has emerged as the clear front-runner, according to nearly a half-dozen sources close to the multibillionaire casino mogul. In recent weeks, Adelson, who spent $100 million on the 2012 campaign and could easily match that figure in 2016, has told friends that he views the Florida senator, whose hawkish defense views and unwavering support for Israel align with his own, as a fresh face who is 'the future of the Republican Party.' He has also said that Rubio's Cuban heritage and youth would give the party a strong opportunity to expand its brand and win the White House. ...In 2012, Adelson's financial support allowed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to stay in the presidential race long after other donors gave up on him."

2. Secret Koch Memo Outlines Plans for 2016: "The Koch brothers' political machine is expanding into new states and recruiting new donors as it seeks to shape the Republican Party—and its presidential field—headed into 2016, according to interviews with multiple sources, as well as confidential donor briefing documents obtained by Politico. The documents detail plans to beef up the network's state-of-the-art data system, and pay hundreds of staff embedded in local communities across the country in preparation for get-out-the-vote efforts that are unprecedented from a third-party group. The plan comes with a $125 million 2015 budget for Americans for Prosperity, the most robust arm in the network of small-government advocacy groups helmed by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. That's the most the group has ever spent in a non-election year and the documents call the plan 'beyond the biggest, boldest, broadest effort AFP has ever undertaken.'"

3. Jeb Bush Is Tearing Down What Little Campaign Finance Law We Have Left: "In February, the Campaign Legal Center, a group which works on campaign finance reform issues, released a 'white paper' contending that many of the leading potential presidential candidates were likely breaking federal law by not declaring their candidacy or setting up a 'testing the waters' committee for a presidential election run. Such a declaration, among other things, limits donors to giving only $2,700 to the (would-be) candidate for the presidential primary season. It was an excellent report, but many shrugged off its findings as just one more way in which the campaign finance system has begun to unravel since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. But news this week that Republican (pseudo-non)candidate Jeb Bush intends to outsource much of his campaign to an allied super PAC reveals that Bush's decision to delay declaring his candidacy has allowed him to undermine one of the last rules in campaign finance law. Worse, his approach will be the new model of presidential funding in future elections and greatly increases the threat that large donors will have even greater influence over electoral and policy outcomes than they already have."

Welcome to your oligarchy!

In other news:

Republican Senator Marco Rubio is courting gay Republicans. Lucky them!

Republican Senator Rand Paul says fuck you—YOU'RE the REAL sexists!

Republican Senator Ted Cruz has a cool history of making creepy misogynist jokes. [Note: Video autoplays at second link.]

Democratic former governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley finally says something I really like! "It is not true that regulation holds poor people down or regulation keeps middle class from advancing. That's kind of patently bullshit." HAHA YES IT IS! HIGH FIVE, O'MALLEY!

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

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Open Thread

image of a stone gorgon; the face of a woman with horns and hair of snakes

Hosted by a gorgon.

(I totally want a gorgon tattoo.)

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker masculine_lady: "Who are your current celebrity crushes?"

For the purposes of this question, one needn't assume "crush" means a romantic crush. Platonic crushes, professional crushes, etc. also count!

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Quote of the Day

"With Project Fi, your phone number lives in the cloud."—From Google's introduction of their new mobile service, Project Fi.

GLEEP GLORP! Your phone number lives in the cloud now!

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Hillary Sexism Watch, Part Wev in an Endless Series

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

We're like five seconds into Hillary Clinton's campaign for a presidential election that's still 18 months away, and already the stories about her "lack of authenticity" and her "iciness" are already coming fast and furious.

And, you know, I always find the charge that she is inauthentic to be completely hilarious, because Hillary Clinton has about the farthest thing from a poker face as exists in US politics.

series of images of Hillary Clinton making different excited, angry, happy, thoughtful expressions

In politics, as in life, being the sort of person whose every emotion clearly registers on one's face can be an asset in some situations and a liability in others. But leaving all of that aside, there's no argument that Hillary Clinton is one of those people.

And it's the people who are most inclined to use one of the countless pictures of her making a big expression in a mocking way who are also most inclined to make arguments about her inauthenticity or her chilly personality.

They know better than anyone what a goddamned lie it is they're telling, as they scroll through Google images looking for the perfect picture of her making the exact expression to accompany their bullshit stories.

She gives them an embarrassment of photographic riches of her inimitably expressive face, and they use it against her to claim that she's cold and inauthentic.

Meanwhile, if she actually tried to reel in her expressiveness (and I hope she never does), and tried to run on a singular stoic expression, they'd police the shit out of her for that. Saying, naturally, that she's cold and inauthentic.

Can't fucking win. Can't fucking win.

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Obama Marks Earth Day at the Everglades

[Content Note: Climate change.]

President Obama made a trip to the Florida Everglades to deliver his Earth Day speech:

President Barack Obama arrived at Everglades National Park on an overcast and muggy Wednesday to deliver an Earth Day speech intended to connect climate change impacts already unfolding in the imperiled wetlands of South Florida to wider risks across the nation.

...In addition to making an economic, public health and national security case for confronting the risks of rising seas, the president was expected to tout his administration's record on tackling environmental problems, including imposing a historic cap on carbon pollution and spending $2.2 billion on Everglades restoration projects. He further plans to unveil new ways to assess the value of the country's national parks, including a study that shows protected wild lands play a major role in keeping carbon out of the atmosphere. Visitors to parks also poured $15.7 billion into surrounding communities, the administration said.

...In addition to highlighting his environmental record, Obama's trip is intended to pressure Republicans into a more robust climate-change debate. Voters will elect Obama's successor in 18 months, and the GOP field so far is teeming with would-be candidates who question whether climate change is man-made, despite significant scientific scholarship concluding that it is largely a result of carbon emissions.
In addition to the fact that his giving a speech on climate change is just the right and necessary thing to do, I also want to note that this comes the week after Democratic nominee frontrunner Hillary Clinton announced that climate change would be a central part of her campaign, making her the first presidential candidate ever to do so.

As I previously noted, because there are already stories about whether President Obama is doing enough to help Hillary Clinton, or whoever the eventual presidential nominee is, I want to point out—and I will continue to point this out, whenever I see it—the crucial assists the President is giving to the next Democratic nominee.

Here, he's not only setting up climate change as a Democratic priority, but he's also challenging the Republicans to get on board or look like the dangerous fools that they are.

There are, of course, plenty of reasons to criticize the Obama administration's environmental record. I suspect, regrettably, that there will never be a US President about whom I won't be obliged to say the same, despite the fact that I will keep expecting more. But provided Clinton is serious about meaningfully addressing climate change, this is another big assist to the (at this point) likely nominee.

And, provided Clinton is serious, and it helps her get the nomination and then get elected, the President keeping a spotlight on climate change is a big assist to environmental activism and thus to us all.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by freshly cut grass.

Recommended Reading:

Kali: [Content Note: Misogynoir; police brutality] Silence on Black Female Victims Weakens Fight Against Police Brutality

Digby: [CN: Sexual violence] A Rapist's "Parental Rights" Really Shouldn't Be All That Complicated

TLC: [CN: Transphobia] The Bathroom Police Are at It Again—This Time, in California

Andy: [CN: Homophobia] Rick Perry Says He 'Probably Would' Attend a Same-Sex Wedding

David: [CN: Transphobia] Fox Pundit Belittles Transgender Kids: It's Like Thinking You Are a 'Cocker Spaniel'

Rinku Sen and Jay Smooth: [CN: Racism; video] What Is Systemic Racism?

Kevin: Simon Pegg Confirms Idris Elba Will Play a 'Kickass' New Character in 'Star Trek 3'

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

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"Football Town Nights"

[Content Note: Sexual violence.]

Last night, on Inside Amy Schumer, there was a sketch about football and rape culture that was absolutely amazing. Tough, terrible, and extraordinary.

Now, before I even get into the sketch, I want to note a couple of things:

1. Amy Schumer has dealt with rape using humor previously. I don't think she always successfully navigates that area, but I do think she did here.

2. This is not a rape joke, but a rape culture joke—that is, it doesn't seek to normalize rape and uphold the rape culture, but to examine, challenge, dismantle it.

3. Nonetheless, it still may be triggering, because there is a lot of discussion of rape culture tropes and examples of rape apologia and victim-blaming.

4. Although I find this sketch to be successful, that doesn't mean anyone else has to agree. I understand and respect that some survivors do not and cannot find any rape-related humor funny or effective, no matter what its target. I don't think that makes them "oversensitive." I think that means they've got a different sensitivity than I do.

So, all of that said, here is the sketch, which is a send-up of the TV show Friday Night Lights, which centered around the high school football program in a small town in Texas:

Video Description: Actor Josh Charles, a thin, white, middle-aged man, is playing a high school football coach who is new to town, in a community where football is everything. Comedian Amy Schumer, a thin, white, young woman, is playing his supportive but concerned wife, who always has a glass of white wine in her hand.

Montage of scenes from around town. Text onscreen: "Football Town Nights." More montagery. Text onscreen: "Monday." A male voiceover, meant to sound like a newscast, talks about the new coach coming to town to coach the "Bronconeers." Cut to a scene of an elderly male neighbor bringing Coach and Coachwife a baked good while they're unpacking and moving in. He tells them the old coach was like family, and Coach has some big shoes to fill. "Ain't it good to be the coach?" Coachwife asks, and sashays away, drinking and spilling a glass of white wine.

Text onscreen: "Tuesday." The locker room at the high school. The coach walks in to meet the team, which is mostly white teen boys and a couple of black teen boys. He tells them that he does things differently than the way they're used to. He gives them three rules, written on a whiteboard: 1. No huddle offense. 2. Two days every day. 3. "NO RAPING!!!"

The team reacts with sighs and mutters. "But, Coach—we play football!" one of the players tells him. "My team; my rules," says Coach. "You don't like it; don't let the door rape you on the way out." The assistant coach throws his clipboard to the floor and storms out. "Can we rape at away games?" asks one of the players. "Nope," says Coach. "What if it's Halloween, and she's dressed like a sexy cat?" asks another player. "Nope," says Coach. "What if she thinks it's rape, but I don't?" asks another player. "Still no," says Coach. "What about like a sexy ladybug?" asks another player. "Nope," says Coach. The players moan exasperatedly. "A ghost? What about a sexy owl?" Coach makes a WTF face.

Shot of the school front and the sound of a bell, indicating time has passed. Coach sits with his head in his hands. On the whiteboard is written: "Adopted?—No. Dad's dead?—No!" The players continue to question Coach. "A sexy Transformer?" asks one. "What if my mom is the DA and won't prosecute? Can I rape?" asks another. "No you cannot," says Coach. The other players exhale disappointedly. "What if she's drunk and has a slight reputation and no one's gonna believe her?" asks another. "That ain't allowed," says Coach. "Okay, the girl said yes to me, the other day, but it was about something else," says another. "NO!" says Coach. "What if the girl said yes, but then she changes her mind out of nowhere, like a crazy person?" asks another. "You gotta stop," says Coach with a shrug, shaking his head. "NO YOU GOTTA STOP!" yells one of the players, lunging for Coach; the other players grab him and hold him back. Coachwife shows up with a larger glass of white wine, and leans in the door of the locker room, sipping it. She and Coach shake their heads at each other.

Text onscreen: "Wednesday." Coach and Coachwife are walking from their truck to the front door when two elderly white ladies pass by. "Hey!" one of them shouts. "You're that new coach who don't like raping!" Coach and Coachwife turn and look at them. "How are our boys supposed to celebrate when they win?" asks the other lady. "Or blow off steam when they lose?" asks the first. She spits on the ground and they walk away. Coachwife tells them they're not being very neighborly, then tells Coach that this is just this town's way, and asks him if he thinks he needs to back off "this whole no-raping thing," and he protests and she says she knows, but she is so tired. She sips from an even larger glass of white wine.

Text onscreen: "Thursday." One of the players shows up at Coach's front door. Coach lets him in, and the player sits down and tells Coach that Coach is the closest thing he's ever had to a dad and needs to ask him something. "Go ahead, son," says Coach. "But, like, what if someone else is raping her, right? And I'm just like filming it on my phone?" the player asks. "It's still a no; you're just as guilty!" says Coach. Coachwife comes into the room, drinking from a glass of wine that is as long as her torso.

Text onscreen: "Friday." It's the night of the big game. The football stadium is filled with people. An announcer says, "The Bronconeers are taking a beating out there!" One of the players takes a hard hit and has to be carried off the field. In the locker room, he lies on a gurney in a neck brace, being examined by a doctor. "Just give it to me straight, doc," says his worried father. "Will my boy ever rape again?" The doctor looks down sadly. "I'm afraid not," he says, and the injured player's parents clutch each other and cry. Coach storms away, angry and confused.

At halftime, the Bronconeers are down 15 points. Coach rails at the players in the locker room. "We should not be losing this game! Doogan, what the hell were you thinking out there during that last play, son?" The player who came to Coach's house replies, "I was thinking about raping." Coach convulses with anger. "Goddammit!" he says, throwing a helmet.

"How do I get through to you boys that football isn't about rape?!" he thunders. "It's about violently dominating anyone that stands between you and what you want! Now, you gotta get yourself into the mindset that you are gods!" He clenches his fists and the team rallies enthusiastically. "That you are entitled to this!" The team cheers in agreement. "That other team? They ain't just gonna lay down and give it to you! YOU GOTTA GO OUT THERE AND TAKE IT!" The team shouts. They all come together and raise their hands against Coach's raised hand. "Now let's get out there!" Coach says. "Clear eyes, full hearts." All together they yell, "Don't rape!"

The team runs back toward the field. Just inside the locker room door is Coachwife, standing and leaning on a ginormous glass of white wine. "Ain't it good to be the coach?" she asks Coach. "I love you, baby," he says.

* * *

Wow. That last bit? Devastating.

It's essentially the idea I wrote here, after an(other) NFL player was arrested for domestic violence:
The truth is, we need to take a long, hard look at celebrating a game that is deeply rooted in and profoundly encouraging of aggressive masculinity. We ask these players to conform to stereotypes of toxic masculinity; we oblige them to spend their entire lives immersed in a culture of toxic masculinity; we turn our heads away when they take drugs that make them stronger and tangentially more prone to rage; we treat with indifference the head injuries they sustain, which can affect judgment and impulse control; we pay them enormous sums of money to play, in front of cheering crowds, an aggressive sport that consists primarily of bashing into other men to physically achieve their objective of winning; we shame them when they fail to be sufficiently aggressive; and then we expect them to turn off the "smash to win" impulse they spend most of their lives perfecting, the moment they walk off the field.

We reward them handsomely for demonstrations of physical aggression on the field, and then we hold them uniquely, exclusively, individually responsible when they do the same thing off the field.

Maybe we need to ask ourselves, as a culture, if we're really okay with asking women and children to continue to pay the price for our entertainment.
Except, in the sketch, it's wrapped in the additional commentary of how even coaches that seem like the good guys are still using violent rhetoric to motivate their teams.

There are a whole lot of layers to this sketch. I kind of can't believe I saw that on television. Damn.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Janet Jackson: "The Pleasure Principle"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Racism; police harassment] This is an absolute must-read piece by Desmond Cole: "The Skin I'm In." Cole, a black man, recounts how he has been stopped by police more than 50 times, and the effect it has had on him. "After years of being stopped by police, I've started to internalize their scrutiny. I've doubted myself, wondered if I've actually done something to provoke them. Once you're accused enough times, you begin to assume your own guilt, to stand in for your oppressor. It's exhausting to have to justify your freedoms in a supposedly free society. I don't talk about race for attention or personal gain. I would much rather write about sports or theatre or music than carding and incarceration. But I talk about race to survive." This is an extraordinary piece of writing.

[CN: Class warfare] Imani Gandy on the gross welfare legislation in Kansas (background), which Republican Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law, that "prohibits people who rely on government assistance to make ends meet from using the money in the way it was intended. It treats poor people like they're stupid or wasteful, and siphons government funds from them and diverts it into banks' coffers. The new law is, essentially, a tax on the poor."

[CN: Racism; disablism; over-policing] David Perry on how zero-tolerance policies in schools are getting out of control and harming kids: "For those like Kayleb who live at the intersection of race and disability, these manifestations of what I call the cult of compliance can destroy lives. It threatens anyone who might fall outside the dominant norms. The cultural forces that punish diversity aren't new. In the past, however, such perceived deviance might have met with bullying from peers or various forms of exclusion by teachers and other staffers. Today, jail beckons."

[CN: War on agency; trafficking] Emily Crockett on how the compromise Democrats struck with Republicans on the anti-trafficking bill, to secure Loretta Lynch's nomination as Attorney General, will deny abortion funding to survivors.

[CN: Class warfare] A cook in the US Senate explains why he is going on strike: "Every day, I serve food to some of the most powerful people on earth–including many of the senators who are running for president: I'm a cook for the federal contractor that runs the US Senate cafeteria. But today, they'll have to get their meals from someone else's hands, because I'm on strike. ...I'm a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week–putting in 70 hours between my two jobs–I can't manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids, or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don't go to bed hungry."

[CN: Racism; police brutality; video may autoplay at link] Protesters are demanding accountability on behalf of Freddie Gray, who was killed while in Baltimore Police custody. "Speaking to CNN's 'Anderson Cooper 360,' Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she understands where the protesters are coming from. She understands their frustration. 'Mr. Gray's family deserves justice, and our community deserves an opportunity to heal, to get better, and to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again,' she said." Words we have heard before. But when do these words translate into meaningful action, across the entire nation?

In news from the Conservative Legislation Lab: Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz's days are numbered. Again, I want to underline that this is what happens when Hoosiers vote in Democrats. The Republicans just remove them, because they don't give a fuck about democracy or the people's will.

Here's what you can expect from the new book on Hillary Clinton and foreign donations.

Right now, plastic waste has the same non-hazardous ranking as "food scraps or glass clippings," and a new study has questioned that ranking, based on plastic's environmental impact. Good.

[CN: Misogyny] David Letterman continues to be a misogynist dirtbag: "David Letterman silenced his Late Show audience at his studio on Monday... Letterman, 68, was first asked by a college staffer what kind of advice he would give to the class of 2015. 'Treat a lady like a whore,' the longtime late-night host suggested. 'And a whore like a lady.' The quote's origins come from Wilson Mizner, a screenwriter from the 1930s. The insider told Page Six that Letterman's joke was met with ice-cold silence." Jesus Jones. I really love the idea that a woman who does sex work and a woman who is "a lady" are mutually exclusive. Almost as much as I love that Letterman thinks a joke from the 1930s is "edgy."

Christopher Nolan says his favorite sequence from all of his films is the airplane abduction scene from The Dark Knight Rises. WELL OBVIOUSLY! Although: "Any and all scenes with Tom Hardy" would have been an acceptable answer, too.

And finally! Here is a terrific story about a program in Indiana that pairs shelter cats with people in prison. "'No matter what your stress is, I always look forward to coming here for those nine hours. It takes a lot of stress away. It keeps my mind on good things, positive things, rather than just sitting in a cell for the majority of the time, pondering on things that may have happened to you. It's definitely a stress reliever,' said offender Lamar Hall, who works with the cats. 'Love will change characteristics from anybody's tortured past. That goes for animals and humans, really.'" Blub.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound sitting on the ottoman with one ear flipped up and backwards
Dudley. ♥

April is National Greyhound Adoption Month!

Five years ago today, we met Dudley for the first time when his foster dad brought him to our home for an introduction. Before they arrived, Iain and I had resolved that we weren't going to make any decisions that night; it was just a meeting. Two hours later, we were writing the check for Dudley's adoption fee.

On the one hand, I can't believe it's already been five years since he arrived. On the other, I almost can't remember life without him, because he is so tightly woven into the fabric of our lives that it feels like he's been here forever, that we've always had a giant, two-dimensional dog strutting about the place and taking up egregious amounts of space on the furniture.

Dogs aren't for everyone, and Greyhounds aren't for every dog-lover. If you want a high-energy dog who can be your companion in cold-weather sporting and run around off-leash, the Greyhound probably isn't your dog. But if you want a low-key dog who can be your companion on the couch and is happy with a walk and the occasional breathtaking burst of speed at the dog park, the Greyhound may be just the dog for you.

image of Dudley lying on his back on the loveseat, asleep, with a big toothy grin
45-mile-an-hour couch potato.

In the five years we've had Dudley, I've had people occasionally express surprise that he is so sweet-natured, so friendly, so ebulliently full of life. There is some prejudice about Greyhounds that they are broken, that they are pitiable creatures who need a special kind of owner to love them despite their brokenness.

This is simply not true. Greyhounds are goofy, gangly packages of indomitable effervescence, whose capacity to give love and willingness to receive it, in spite of their beginnings, is extraordinary. They are survivors. And given the chance, they'll rescue you right back.

image of me napping on the couch with Dudley; his long snout is resting across my neck

Dudley has been an extraordinary ambassador for his breed. He There have been at least a dozen Greyhounds (that I know of) adopted by Shakers who credit the pix and stories of Dudz with inspiring them to rescue a(nother) retired racer. He is a dog with a mighty teaspoon, which happens to be covered in peanut butter.

series of six images of Dudley the Greyhound licking peanut butter off a spoon

If you are considering a dog, please consider adoption/rescue, and please consider a retired racer. I am, as always, happy to answer any questions anyone might have about Greyhound rescue, life, care, cost, companionship, or anything else.

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Fat Fashion

This is your semi-regular thread in which fat women can share pix, make recommendations for clothes they love, ask questions of other fat women about where to locate certain plus-size items, share info about sales, talk about what jeans cut at what retailer best fits their body shapes, discuss how to accessorize neutral colored suits, share stories of going bare-armed for the first time, brag about a cool fashion moment, whatever.

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I haven't bought anything new in ages, and I haven't worn anything old that's worth posting (or which I haven't already posted), but I just saw this terrific piece at Buzzfeed by Sheridan Watson and Kristin Chirico documenting "What Plus-Size Clothes Actually Look Like on Plus-Size Women."

image from a catalog of a model wearing an eggplant-colored dress, next to an image of Kristin, an in-betweenie white women wearing the same dress, next to an image of Sheridan, an in-betweenie black woman wearing the same dress; the dress appears to fit well and lay smoothly on the model, but is bunchy and tight on the two women

Kristin and Sheridan measured themselves according to the sites' size charts, ordered the size that corresponds to their measurements, and then modeled themselves in the clothes, from various retailers. It's a really elucidating look into what is an extremely common experience for in-betweenie and fat women. The clothes just don't fit right!

And this is particularly a problem for women who wear plus sizes because so many of us don't actually have access to brick-and-mortar plus size retailers, where we can go try on clothes in person. Some stores, like Old Navy, exclusively carry their plus size lines online, so even if there is a brick-and-mortar Old Navy near you: Tough shit. Sucks to be you, fatty. If you want a cheap t-shirt, you're gonna have to order it online and hope it fits you.

And, if it doesn't, like so many things don't, you're gonna have to haul your ass to the post office to return it. Or eat the cost of the garment.

This is a serious issue for lots of plus size women. It costs us money, time, and energy just to access clothing. And because so many plus size clothes don't fit, and aren't cut to accommodate a variety of fat and in-betweenie body shapes, unless we can afford tailoring, we end up with ill-fitting garments that then contribute to marginalizing narratives about how fat people are "sloppy" and/or don't take care of ourselves.

And let us note that, despite the constant barrage of news stories about the "obesity epidemic" replete with ominous statistics about the growing percentage of the US populace who is "obese," many of us can't walk into a single local store to shop for clothes that come in our size.

We're epidemic, but somehow there aren't enough of us to warrant retailers to take our money.

In fact, even many plus size retailers are increasingly failing to carry top sizes in-store. The last time I visited the local Lane Bryant, I couldn't find a single thing that I wanted in my size. When I asked the salesperson why it was that they were stocking virtually nothing above a size 18, I was told I should check out their outlet store or shop online.

This is how fat women are treated even by the retailers who are ostensibly designed to serve us.

Anyway! As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: What are some of your frustrating, or successful, experiences with just trying to get clothes that fit you?

Have at it in comments! Please remember to make fat women of all sizes, especially women who find themselves regularly sizing out of standard plus-size lines, welcome in this conversation, and pass no judgment on fat women who want to and/or feel obliged, for any reason, to conform to beauty standards. And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions.

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The Marines' Ink Policy, Again

[Content Note: Body/choice policing.]

Sgt. Daniel Knapp, a US Marines infantryman with multiple meritorious promotions and a combat valor award, has been denied re-enlistment by Marine Corps headquarters because he has a tattoo the placement of which violates the service's tattoo policy.

Knapp's predicament highlights a generational disconnect on attitudes towards ink and what Marines say is the need for lax regulations that reflect changing societal perceptions of tattoos. When paired with a widespread lack of understanding among the rank-and-file of lengthy tattoo regulations, the service is losing many otherwise-good Marines. Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford said during a recent trip to Japan that the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps would lead a review if policy, but if the effort would lead to changes remains unclear, for now.

...Ironically, the tattoo that cratered Knapp's career is Marine Corps-themed. However, its size and placement amount to policy violations.

Society sees it differently, Knapp argues. "The top people grew up in a different time when they were not acceptable," he said. "So that is shaping their decision making. Decisions should be made based on what is good for Marines, to fight wars and be ready."

The Army appears to agree. Its top general, Chief of Staff Ray Odierno, made similar remarks in April upon ordering the service to relax its tattoo standards. Offensive tattoos are still banned, but restrictions on number, size and location have been lifted so long as they aren't on the face, neck or hands, with the exception of one ring-finger tattoo.

"Society is changing its view of tattoos," Odierno said, "and we have to change along with that. It makes sense. Soldiers have grown up in an era when tattoos are much more acceptable and we have to change along with that."
I absolutely support restrictions on content, especially when white supremacists are using the US military as a training ground. Tattoos indicating racial hatred, or any other kind of hatred, absolutely should be banned.

And I can understand restrictions regarding placement on the face, neck, and hands, although I have mixed feelings about that.

But the Marines' policy, instituted in 2007—to which I objected way back then, long before I had any ink myself—bans large tattoos below the elbow or the knee, and justifies it with the contention that "such body art is harmful to the Corps' spit-and-polish image."

That is, for sure, partly a generational thing: I don't find body art/modification incompatible with a polished image, and I expect more people my age (40) and younger share that opinion than older generations.

There's a long tradition of servicemembers documenting their service with tattoos, which is part of an even longer human tradition of documenting one's place in one's culture or some other aspect(s) of one's life with tattoos. And it's become much more common among the general population in the US, to turn one's body into a canvas to tell one's stories.

So, yeah, part of this is just the need to get with the times.

But even if tattooing weren't increasingly popular, marking one's body as an expression of self is a freedom. A pretty terrific one. And I am just constitutionally resistant to the idea that someone who is willing to give their very lives to (ostensibly) defend this nation's freedoms isn't allowed to enjoy them.

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Open Thread

image of a mama gorilla holding her tiny baby gorilla

Hosted by gardenias.

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