Open Thread

image of the movie poster for the film Xanadu, starring Olivia Newton-John

Hosted by Xanadu.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

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

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Police brutality; police militarization; violence; racism.]

"The use of heavy-duty riot gear and military-grade weapons and equipment to police largely peaceful demonstrations intimidates protesters who are practicing their right to peaceful assembly and can actually lead to an escalation in violence. Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict is inevitable rather than possible, escalating tensions between protesters and police."—From an Amnesty International report released today, "On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson," which details the killing of Michael Brown and the resultant police tactics in response to protests, and makes recommendations for meaningful change directed toward the Ferguson Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Governor of Missouri, the Department of Justice, and the United States Congress.

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Today in Proving the Point

[Content Note: Misogynist terrorism.]

Hey, do you think anyone has pointed out to the Gamergaters that trying to convince people you're not just a bunch of misogynist shitlords by being a bunch of misogynist shitlords isn't a very good idea? Someone should mention that to them.

(Everyone has mentioned that to them.)

Prove the point more, assholes.

Actually, don't.

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Shooting at High School Outside Seattle

[Content Note: Guns; shooting; self-harm.]

There has been a shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School outside Seattle. Right now, there aren't a lot of details. The school is currently in lockdown, as police assess what's happened. NBC News is streaming live coverage.

The Seattle Times is reporting that the shooter "is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to two law-enforcement sources."

Reports are that as many as seven other students may have been shot, but those reports are unconfirmed. It's still very early, and students are still being escorted out of the building.

I will continue to update as more information becomes available. Please feel welcome to share resources in comments. As always, we ask that this remains an image-free thread. Thank you.

UPDATE: The shooter has been identified as Jaylen Fryburg. Many witnesses have confirmed that he was indeed targeting a girl who had rejected him; she and Fryburg were the only fatalities at the scene. Reportedly, Fryburg also targeted his cousins.

There are some reports that a member of the cafeteria staff or a teacher might have wrestled briefly with Fryburg before he shot himself.

I will updates again as and when more details become available.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat, sitting on the arm of the loveseat, looking adorbz
Olivia Twist.

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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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by leaves.

Recommended reading:

Mannion: Our Good Friend Phil

Dr. V. Pasupathi: Phil Barron

PaKou Her: [Content Note: Police brutality; racism] Ferguson, Asian America, & Performative Solidarity: Showing Up, Staying Shown

Jos: [CN: Transphobia] Trans people need more than beloved celebrity spokespeople. We need equality.

Anita: [CN: Misogynist terrorism] Media Interview Link Round up for October 2014

Kyler: [CN: Homophobia] Utah Supreme Court Lifts Stay on Gay Adoptions

BYP: [CN: Police brutality; racism; death] Autopsy: Vonderrit Myers Shot 6 Times from Behind

Digby: [CN: Classism] This Is Why People Have No Respect for Rich People

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



The Beatles: "With a Little Help from My Friends"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Guns; death; terrorism] The Globe and Mail has a comprehensive compendium of information about the Ottawa attacks and immediate political responses to the attacks: "Ottawa aftermath: What we know so far."

[CN: Illness] Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola after providing care for Thomas Eric Duncan, "is now virus-free and will be discharged on Friday, National Institutes of Health officials confirmed." Hooray!

[CN: Terrorism; misogyny; abduction] This is so fucking awful: "Despite Nigerian military officials announcement last week that they had negotiated with militant group Boko Haram for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped in April, it appears the girls have not be brought home—and residents say more women and girls have been kidnapped since." According to residents of the Wagga community in northeast Nigeria, members of Boko Haram went "door-to-door looking for young women and girls and abducted 40 of them. Lazarus Baushe, an elder of the Wagga community, said: 'They left 1,500 naira (£5.67) and some kola nuts in each home where they seized a woman, apparently as a bride price.'" An additional 20 women and girls were abducted from Gwarta, according to witnesses.

[CN: Misogynist terrorism] Prove the point MORE: "Actress Felicia Day Opens Up about GamerGate Fears, Has Her Private Details Exposed Minutes Later."

[CN: Police brutality; racism] Levar Jones, the South Carolina man who was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop for a seatbelt violation, speaks out about the incident, saying of the officer: "I really feel he needs to be charged with something that holds felony status. That way he will have to sign the Gun [Control] Act, will no longer be able to carry a gun, will no longer be able to be a police officer." YES.

[CN: Misogyny; harassment] This report by Meagan Damore on Marvel Comics' annual "Women of Marvel" panel at New York Comic Con last weekend is amazing. Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of Captain Marvel, asked all the women in the audience who currently or aspire to work in comics industry to stand, then told them: "Before you sit back down, take a moment and look around at each other. You need community to do this. You need the support of one another. Writers, find artists. Artists, find writers. People who do the whole ballgame yourself, you need to get out of your room every once in a while, find a friend. Making a living in any creative endeavor is difficult. The most important bit of advice that we can give you is: You need to start; you need to start now. I am 44 years old and I have two children and I don't sleep enough… So those of you who are young, especially, but those of you who are even older than me, it is not too late. But you haven't a moment to spare. You have to start making comics... Be brave. Do it. We believe in you and we are here for each other. Most importantly, we need your voices."

[CN: Fat hatred; food policing; classism; privilege] Former model Twiggy goes off on how obesity is "a tragedy," blames it on people eating fast food, and, incredibly, in the same interview, says: "Some models starve themselves but I was just a naturally skinny kid. I used to eat everything, even big bars of chocolate, but I could not put on weight." It never ceases to amaze me how someone who can't put on weight, no matter what, can't imagine that there are people who can't lose weight, no matter what. BODIES ARE DIFFERENT. This is not a difficult concept. For fuck's sake.

Madeleine Albright 2, Conan O'Brien 0.

Wow: "Science Graphic of the Week: Spectacular, Twisted Solar Eruption."

I mean: A dog who survived Hurricane Katrina is now working in the Arizona Humane Society's kitten room as a nanny dog, to help kittens become comfortable around dogs. ♥

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Poor, Misunderstood Chris Christie

[Content Note: Class warfare; worker exploitation.]

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says everyone misunderstood him when he said he was tired of hearing about the minimum wage.

The governor, speaking at a Garden State diner, explained that most people missed his point — and he's come to accept that.

"My comments are never almost universally interpreted the way I mean them," he said. "But that's OK. I'll be very clear. I'll say it again."

The potential GOP presidential candidate reiterated his statement that nobody's parents were hoping for their kids to earn minimum wage.

"The President wants to focus (on minimum wage) because he's a class warrior," Christie said. "What he wants to focus on is the minimum wage. I don't believe that that's what our focus should be. Our focus should be on creating better paying jobs for everyone in our country."
Hey, Republicans—you know who would make a terrific presidential candidate? Someone who says his comments are never interpreted the way he means them. Please nominate this guy immediately.

Anyway.

Christie says he didn't mean exactly what he said, because what he really meant was that people like President Obama who want people to earn a livable wage are waging class warfare, but people like him who want to entrench the exploitation of low-wage workers to continually enrich the already-wealthy are not waging class warfare, because up is down.

And, like most of the mendacious shitlords in his reprehensible garbage party, he pretends that the redistribution of wealth upwards is not class warfare by masking his contemptible policies behind facile rhetoric about "creating better paying jobs for everyone in our country."

But literally the only way to actually do that is by raising the minimum wage, unless he is proposing to eradicate every minimum wage job in the country.

Let me repeat myself (again): What these insufferable, vainglorious, classist captains of self-aggrandizing bullshit seem never to grasp, or possibly just acknowledge, is that if you want to live in a capitalist society that gives you the opportunity to get nasty rich, then we can't all be wealthy. And if you want to be the kind of person who doesn't pump your own gas, or make your own sandwiches, or clean your own house, or manicure your own fingernails, or drain your own dog's anal glands, or build your own car elevator, then there are going to have to be people who fill all those jobs.

And most of those professional, hard-working people will put in at least 40 hours a week, or more, and even still, many of them won't be given healthcare benefits, and many of them won't earn enough money to feed a family, and many of them won't be able to save as much as they'll need for their retirement.

People who honorably dedicate their time, energy, and talents to jobs that might not pay well are indeed entitled to something—to not work their whole lives only to find themselves poverty-stricken, or hungry, or homeless after one small (or not small) financial crisis. And if we're not going to ensure that every job comes with a livable wage, access to affordable healthcare, and retirement benefits, then we've got to provide a robust and well-funded social safety net.

I don't think that's asking for much, in exchange for a lifetime of providing service to their chosen vocation.

But Christie does. His party does. They think it is asking too much for people to be paid a livable wage and to be guaranteed healthcare and food and shelter until they die, in exchange for their labor.

(Which is to say nothing of their contempt for people who cannot provide labor, for any one of a number of reasons, not least of which is prejudice and inaccessibility.)

And then they have the unmitigated temerity to accuse advocates for a livable wage of being the ones waging class warfare, while refusing to even be honest about the fact that their "solution"—CREATE GOOD-PAYING JOBS FOR EVERYONE!—is completely incompatible with their capitalist model, which is built on the foundation of innate exploitation and the fallacy that the market fairly determines the value of labor.

Even in the most generous interpretation of what Christie's saying, at best he intends to imply that minimum wage work should only be done by teenagers or part-time workers looking for a little extra cash, not people trying to support themselves and/or their families. Which is still a totally shitty position. No one should be exploited for their labor. No one's job should be treated like it isn't a real job.

"Our focus should be on creating better paying jobs for everyone in our country" just isn't an honest or meaningful or remotely reasonable suggestion.

It's appalling that our media does not push back, hard, on this rank nonsense, by asking one entirely simple question: "But what does that actually mean, Governor?"

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Doctor in NYC Tests Positive for Ebola

[Content Note: Illness.]

Dr. Craig Spencer, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, has tested positive for the virus. After starting to feel sluggish Tuesday, he developed a fever yesterday, and, upon reporting his symptoms, was taken by people in protective gear to Bellevue Hospital Center and placed in isolation. There, tests confirmed he had contracted the virus.

At New York Magazine, Margaret Hartmann documents what we know about Dr. Spencer and his case so far.

Dr. Spencer is one of more than 400 healthcare providers who have contracted the virus while working on the front lines of the epidemic in West Africa.

The good news is that "there is reason to be optimistic that the disease will not spread."

I hope that no one else has been exposed, and that Dr. Spencer, who has access to extremely good care from well-prepared healthcare providers, will make a quick recovery.

I also hope that Dr. Spencer having fallen ill will not discourage volunteers from traveling to West Africa to help, because health workers are desperately needed there, where there is a severe crisis.

UPDATE: In related news, the first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in Mali. Mali is the sixth West African country to report a case of the virus. The two-year-old girl, whose family had traveled from Guinea, is one of nearly 10,000 people infected with Ebola so far this year, about 4,900 of whom have died.

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Open Thread

image of a fruit that looks very much like a watermelon, but is yellow instead of pink on the inside

Hosted by a xigua.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker plot_thickens: What is the most recent lovely moment you experienced?

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How to Celebrate Halloween for Real Jesus-Loving and History-Hating Christians, by Kirk Cameron

[Content Note: Christian Supremacy.]

Hey, remember how in his new movie Saving Christmas, former teen TV hunk and current peddler of nonsense Kirk Cameron introduced us to the FACTS! about how Christmas doesn't have pagan roots and something something Christmas dancing? Well, he's got some FACTS! about Halloween for your faces, too:

In light of his new film "Saving Christmas," Kirk Cameron is also speaking out on Halloween celebrations, urging Christians to participate in the holiday this year.

..."The real origins have a lot to do with All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve," the actor told The Christian Post. "If you go back to old church calendars, especially Catholic calendars, they recognize the holiday All Saints Day, with All Hallows Eve the day before, when they would remember the dead. That's all tied in to Halloween."

..."Early on, Christians would dress up in costumes as the devil, ghosts, goblins and witches precisely to make the point that those things were defeated and overthrown by the resurrected Jesus Christ," Cameron continued. "The costumes poke fun at the fact that the devil and other evils were publicly humiliated by Christ at His resurrection. That's what the Scriptures say, that He publicly humiliated the devil when He triumphed over power and principality and put them under his feet. Over time you get some pagans who want to go this is our day, high holy day of Satanic church, that this is all about death, but Christians have always known since the first century that death was defeated, that the grave was overwhelmed, that ghosts, goblins, devils are foolish has-beens who used to be in power but not anymore. That's the perspective Christians should have."

Lastly, the "Fireproof" star urged Christians to use Halloween as an opportunity to inform others about God with the biggest celebration around.

"You should have the biggest party on your block, and you should have the reason for everyone to come to your house and before anyone else's house because yours is the most fun," he told CP. "Halloween gives you a great opportunity to show how Christians celebrate the day that death was defeated, and you can give them Gospel tracts and tell the story of how every ghost, goblin, witch and demon was trounced the day Jesus rose from the grave. Clearly no Christians ought to be glorifying death, because death was defeated, and that was the point of All Hallows Eve."

Halloween arrives on Friday, Oct. 31 this year.
Yep. Just like it does every year, thanks.

If you're not familiar with the "gospel tracts" Cameron is recommending handing out on Halloween, you can explore two that my nephew got in his trick-or-treat bag one year. They're obviously terrific.

It's obvious why any person who understands FACTS! would easily see how handing out these masterpieces would definitely make your house the most fun on Halloween.

"Do you want to go to that Halloween party the McAtheistmonsters are having? Theirs is known all over town as the best Halloween shindig every year!"

"Heck no! I want to go the biggest and best party on our block, where they are handing out gospel tracts and celebrating Jesus rising from the grave!"

"Graves are very Halloweeny—but isn't Easter about Jesus rising from the grave already?"

"Yes, but SO IS HALLOWEEN! Learn your FACTS!"

Kirk Cameron's history of Christianity reminds me of the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, who can tell you how the root of any word is Greek, including kimono. Give Kirk Cameron a holiday or tradition, and he can tell you how Christians invented it!

Given the success of prosperity gospel, it was only a matter of time before consumerist gospel: You are rich (or not!) because god loves you (or not!), and now you need to go spend all your money buying lots of shit from Walgreens! Just like Jesus instructed! FACTS!

[H/T to Amy McCarthy, who is the worst foolish goblin has-been.]

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: War on agency.]

"It is ironic that personhood Measure 1 will eliminate the possibility of having a family for many North Dakota and Minnesota residents."—Dr. Kristen Cain, on North Dakota's Measure 1, a proposed personhood amendment in the state which would effectively make in vitro fertilization illegal and force the closure of the only clinic offering IVF in the state.

Like "heartbeat bills," fetal personhood bills, which seek to ensure the potential life of every fetus while denying abortions that could save the actual life of a pregnant person, expose the truth of the anti-choice position: Fetuses are valued more highly than the people who carry them.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound sound asleep on the couch, lying on his back with his legs in the air and his tongue hanging out
Dudley, having a wee nap on Tuesday.

Keeping on the theme of dogs who come from shelters, or rescue, having the undeserved reputation of being broken, Dudley was, as I've often mentioned, in bad shape when he came to us. He'd suffered serious injuries at the track, and he was profoundly scared of people. Especially me. The first night he was home, I reached out to pet him while he was lying at my feet, and he jumped up, peed on himself in fright, and ran away.

I cried. Partly because I was afraid this dog I already loved would never trust me, and partly because I was mourning whatever had happened to him to make him so frightened.

He's been here four and a half years now. Yesterday morning, when I woke up, he was lying across the back of my legs, with his head on my bum, fast asleep. I didn't even realize it was him, until I opened my eyes and saw Zelly, who usually takes up residence on my legs sometime after I fall asleep, lying on the floor beside the bed. Dudley's never done that before.

The president of the rescue says Dudley was the brokenest dog off the track he's ever seen, out of the thousands and thousands of greyhounds they've rescued.

Some dogs in need of rescue are "broken." Some of them badly. They deserve a chance, too.

If I'd passed on Dudley, because he came with lots of problems, I'd never have awoken yesterday with 75 pounds of love on my legs, keeping me warm. In every way.

* * *

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: Guns; death; terrorism] The "mental illness" narrative has begun: "Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal—a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable."

[CN: Police brutality; racism; death] After a report allegedly supporting Officer Darren Wilson's account of his fatally shooting Michael Brown was leaked to the media, the Justice Department is not happy: "The U.S. Department of Justice condemned the leaks Wednesday as 'irresponsible and highly troubling' and said, 'There seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence public opinion about this case.'"

[CN: Racism and spoilers for Dear White People ] Carimah Townes explores "The Kind of Racism That Dear White People Overlooks."

[CN: Fat hatred; misogyny; use of marginalizing language at link] A new study has found that fat women face lots of discrimination in the workplace (which fat women have been saying for years, of course): "[Fat] women are more likely to work in lower-paying and more physically demanding jobs; less likely to get higher-wage positions that include interaction with the public; and make less money in either case compared to [thin and in-betweenie] women and all men. ...A [very fat] woman working in an occupation with an emphasis on personal interaction will earn almost 5 percent less than a [not-fat] woman working in an occupation with exactly the same emphasis. Even after taking differences in education and socioeconomic status into account, there seems to be no scenario where being overweight becomes an advantage for a woman."

Here's a great interview with Jeff Bridges being typically terrific.

A shitty quality trailer for Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron got leaked online, so Marvel went ahead and just put it online. Are you excited about this film? Couldn't care less? Utterly indifferent? James Spader is voicing Ultron, so that means I am going the end.

Here's an interview with Keanu Reeves, for all the Keanu-heads. Dear Studios: Offer him all the roles. Love, Liss.

And finally: Stop doing the weather report and play with meeeeeeeeeee!

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RIP Phil Barron

image of Phil Barron, a middle-aged black man with a mustache and beard; he is looking at the camera and smiling broadly
Phil, August 2008, at home.

Yesterday, Phil Barron died very suddenly from complications of a bacterial infection that went septic.

Phil wrote at his blog inauthentic (which was the successor to recursiveLoop, which was the successor to Philip Barron, which was the successor to Waveflux), was a former contributor at Shakesville (though always retained his account, in case he ever had anything else he wanted to say here), and was a popular presence on Twitter. This is just a document of his online life—the spaces in which he shared pieces of his offline life.

Phil was married to M; together they had (currently) seven cats: Baxter, China, Jack, Kismet, Leon, Roxy, and Venice. Their life is not mine about which to speak. I will only say that I had the pleasure of visiting their home, and it was a happy and warm and welcoming space, full of love.

Yesterday, my day became full of talking to people about how great Phil Barron is. Was. The day started as is, and became was. I want to tell you that it was not the first day on which I spoke to multiple people using adoring tones about him. That was not uncommon, actually, for several people who'd had some interaction with him on Twitter—about cooking or cats; or anything, really, but certainly cats and cooking top the list—to mention how great he was, on the same day.

Lots of people spoke of his abundant kindness, and his grand humor, and his sensitive intellect, and his enormous heart. All of these things are true. He was also a beautiful writer, and this is one of my favorite pieces he ever wrote: Black. White. And Asparagus.

He was also a passionate advocate, and if you ever heard the name Pfc. LaVena Johnson, it was probably because of Phil. It wasn't just that he championed justice for Pfc. Johnson; it was the way he wrote about it. With care and thoughtfulness and righteous anger and hope.

He was a liberal favoriter of tweets, and quick with a compliment or a word of support. He was, as but one of many examples of his friendship I could offer, extremely encouraging of my participation in the #365feministselfies project, and often boosted my confidence and helped me keep going.

Phil always sent me Golden Girls stuff, whenever he saw it.

I spoke to dozens of people yesterday, who were devastated by his death and shared stories of the times Phil had made them laugh, or said a nice thing right when they needed it, or engaged them in a good conversation. I hope he felt as loved as he was.

I don't intend to lionize him, just because he's gone. The truth is, although I'm sure he had his flaws, being human and all, I never saw them. Yesterday, Spudsy and I were reminiscing about my asking M if Phil was always so kind and patient, and she laughed and said, "No!" with great affection, in the way of someone who really knows another person.

Those of us to whom he gave his extraordinary friendship were privileged to know him and laugh with him and be the beneficiaries of part of the immense amounts of love he put into the world.

When Iain got his US citizenship, Phil sent this note:
Iain/Liss:

Just wanted to pass along congrats to Iain from M, me, and the five kitties. Welcome to it, sir. Need more like you.

all best,
phil
Need more like you. We need more like you, my friend.

I am going to miss Phil Barron tremendously, and forever feel grateful to have known him.

* * *

If you would like to make a donation in Phil's memory, his family asks for donations to be made to Planned Parenthood or ShadowCats Austin.

Phil's friend @javachik is collecting remembrances of him to send to his family, if you have any to share.

On Twitter, @graceishuman has started #ThanksThursday, to remember Phil and thank others who make Twitter a good place for you.

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Open Thread

image of a xylophone

Hosted by a xylophone.

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Question of the Day

Have you made any close friends online? If so, tell us all about it! (If you are so inclined.) How and when did you meet? Have you ever met in person? What has the friendship meant to you?

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