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!

I have a speaking engagement this weekend, and I'm going to be traveling tomorrow and traveling home Sunday. Previously when I've had weekend speaking engagements, I just come right back to work on Monday, and then I'm a burned-out wreck, and that's when I haven't had the zombie flu for two months, lol, so I'm going to take Monday off and see you back here Tuesday. :)

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Listen to Survivors

by Shaker Cafeaulait0913

[Content Note: Domestic violence; culture of abuse.]

During the Superbowl, the anti-domestic violence group No More partnered with the NFL to do a public service announcement on domestic violence:

Video Transcript: The camera shows a house, just after a fight. Things broken and out of place. The phone rings, and a masculine sounding voice answers: "911 operator, 911, where's the emergency?"

Woman: 127 Brinmere.

Operator: Okay, what's going on there?

Woman: I'd like to order a pizza for delivery.

Operator: Ma'am, you've reached 911. This is an emergency line.

Woman: Yeah, a large with half pepperoni, half mushroom.

Operator: Um, you know you've called 911. This is an emergency line.

Woman: Do you know how long it'll be?

Operator: Okay, ma'am. Is everything okay over there? Do you have an emergency or not?

Woman: Yes.

Operator: And you're unable to talk because...

Woman: Right, right.

Operator: Is there someone in the room with you? Just say yes or no.

Woman: Yes.

Operator: Okay, um, looks like I have an officer about a mile from your location. Are there any weapons in your house?

Woman: No.

Operator: Can you stay on the phone with me?

Woman: No. See you soon. Thank you.

The ad goes to black and the following text appears: "When it's hard to talk , it's up to us to listen. Help end domestic violence and sexual assault. Pledge to say
The ad says to listen to what abuse victims are saying. To listen to our cries for help and to intervene. The NFL's message feels especially hollow, considering that they allegedly knew about abuse being committed by a number of their players and did nothing.

As the ad ends, we, as viewers, feel its emotional impact and promise to listen, to continue this conversation. We pat ourselves on the back for helping out with this important issue. When we do this, we ignore the fact that we've been having this conversation for years with little impact. We've had this conversation since Ike and Tina Turner, since Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, since Chris Brown and Rihanna. The Battered (White) Wife has been a running staple on Lifetime Movie Chanel for years now. But little has changed. Abusers still abuse and leave a trail of victims in their wake. We, as a society, still blame victims, call them complicit in their own abuse.

The Superbowl ad focuses on the most dramatic and observable type of abuse, not the insidious verbal and emotional abuse that erodes a victim to his or her very core. In this way, the ad is dangerous, portraying abuse exclusively as a Lifetime movie kind of thing. This kind of portrayal makes many abuse victims discredit their own abuse, just as I did.

This ad offers nothing, and, to borrow a phrase from Liss, I expect more. I expected a promise to help, funding for shelters, information that people can use to help loved ones. This ad is nothing but a PR move to try to fix the fallout from the Ray Rice video.

"Listen to the victims," the ad says. But so many of us victims muffle our cries, so that they're more like whimpers. After all, we don't want to bother the neighbors with our silly fights. We're strong and tough, we can get through this. I can't call the police—this isn't abuse, and I really do love my partner.

On a personal level, this ad is hard to deal with for me as a survivor. The ad says to listen, and I've been talking for years, only to be silenced or told that I'm obsessing over the past. I know there are people out there still in abusive relationships and I hope that this PSA helps them get out.

But I can't handle the casual way people spoke about the ad. Like it was such a downer, and "can't we get back to the game?" People talked about this ad like it was an annoying commercial, not understanding that this is my life. It's not a casual conversation. It's not something I can idly speculate on and return to my day. Dealing with this guts me. And the worst part is that this ad tells people to talk about abuse, without teaching them how, setting them up to step all over the open wounds of survivors.

[Related Reading: No More; No More, Again.]

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Yes, Please!

Fly me to the moon—or, you know, just "thrillingly close" to outer space:

Instead of rocket-powered sub-orbital flights like those of Virgin Galactic, could high-altitude ballooning become the most viable way of letting paying tourists experience space — or at least something thrillingly close to it?

Ballooning is already tried and tested technology: "It's the origin of space travel," explains Annelie Schoenmaker, external relations and legal officer for Zero2infinity, a Spanish company that plans to launch passengers to near space using balloons known as "Bloons" for €110,000 ($124,000) a time.
Okay, so I could never afford to do this in one million years, but IF I COULD, I would Bloon the fuck outta my fat ass right into the stratosphere!
Of course, it's not actually space — balloons only travel to a height of between 30-40km, with 36km being seen as optimum; to reach what is defined as space, you need to travel to a height of 100km. "But it is pretty close and it gives you a totally different experience," says Michael Lopez-Alegria, former NASA astronaut and president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

You are still high enough that you are above 99% of the Earth's atmosphere and although you don't experience weightlessness, you are able to see something that most humans haven't — the "Thin Blue Line" of the Earth's atmosphere. Passengers would also be able to see the Earth in the blackness of space, as well as the sun rise over the curvature of the planet.

...Balloons can in theory launch from anywhere in the world, as long as the weather is favorable. Unlike rockets, there is no big acceleration, with a balloon taking between 1.5-2 hours to reach maximum altitude. Once there, inside a capsule attached to the balloon, crew and passengers can bob along on the edge of our atmosphere for up to two hours. Once built, both the Bloon and World View cabins will have toilet facilities and you'll even be able to dine on board.

...To return to Earth, helium is vented from the balloon, then a ParaWing, which is already deployed, takes over the remainder of the descent. Schoenmaker explains: "For safety, we also have a further two back-up chutes." The descent back to Earth takes around an hour, meaning there is no big acceleration, with the capsule landing in a predetermined location, guided back to Earth by a pilot and the support of mission control.

...As with all forms of commercial space experiences, safety is a huge factor in determining when paying passenger flights will realistically take place. "We will not launch until we are completely satisfied and confident with our testing," explains [Jane Poynter, CEO of World View, which will offer near-space ballooning trips for $75,000]. In late February, World View announced it had successfully flown a parafoil from a height of 102,000 feet (31 kilometers). With extensive unmanned testing already underway, the hope for World View is that it could launch as soon as the end of 2016, with Bloon expecting to begin flights in the next few years.
So, the only question I have is: Given the opportunity, would you take a Bloon ride?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Cat batting at Sophie the Cat's tail, while Olivia the Cat looks on and yawns
Matilda bats at Sophie's tail. Olivia yawns, unimpressed, in the background.

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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[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Here is a man writing a garbage piece about how difficult consent is.

And here is a woman writing a terrific piece about how easy consent is.

The thing about consent is that it comes down to this: Everyone must be empowered with the right to say no—and, as Brienne of Snarth has been very eloquently talking about today on her Twitter timeline, the right to say yes—and everyone is obligated to hear and respect that no or yes.

Beyond that, all the discussion about the "murkiness" of consent, whether it's the invocation of "implicit consent" or intolerable thinkpieces about "drunk sex," is just a confluence of colossal horseshit that acts in service to the idea that consent is difficult to establish, in order to underwrite narratives about how rape is a crime committed by good-intentioned, gold-hearted boys who just made a mistake because of a perfectly understandable miscommunication.

Hostility to consent is not a bug of the rape culture; it's a feature.

And all of the nonsense about the alleged difficulty of consent is just a red herring to avoid talking about that fact. Rape doesn't happen by accident. Rape is an act committed by people who don't give a shit about consent.

Except, perhaps, insomuch as a lack of consent is central to their enjoyment of said act.

We need to stop pretending this is difficult. It is not difficult. It is a distraction, so that we don't talk about rape honestly. And, more importantly, so that we don't talk about rapists honestly.

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Number of the Day

[Content Note: Racism; voter suppression.]

40: The number of years it has been since a Latin@ candidate was elected to the Yakima, Washington, city council, despite the city's population being one-third Latin@.

Why? Because: "Cities Are Quietly Reviving a Jim Crow-Era Trick to Suppress Latino Votes."

Yakima, WA is one-third Latino, but a Latino candidate has not been elected to the city council for almost 40 years. Santa Barbara, CA is 38 percent Latino, but only one Latino has been elected to its council in the last 10 years. And Pasadena, TX is 43 percent Hispanic, but the ethnic group is not even close to being proportionately represented in the city government.

All three cities have been or are currently being sued for allegedly using discriminatory at-large voting systems, a voter dilution tactic that has been recently and frequently been employed against Hispanic voters. In an at-large system, every city resident votes for each member of the governing body and the city does not divide voters into districts.

As the Latino population grows across the country, cities have employed at-large voting to dilute the Latino vote and maintain white control of local governing bodies. Instead of allowing each district to elect its own representative, an at-large system means that unless Hispanic populations reach a majority in the entire city, they will have no influence in electing their local members of government. According to Fair Vote, at-large systems allow 50 percent of voters to control 100 percent of seats, typically resulting in racially homogeneous elected bodies. The tactic used to be popular in the South to discriminate against neighborhoods with large African American communities but is now targeting a new threat: Latinos.
There is much, much more at the link.

Remember this Quote of the Day from last week?
"The fundamental challenge for my side is the seemingly inexorable change in the composition of presidential electorates. And there's no reason to believe that that's going to stop magically."—Republican pollster Whit Ayres, discussing a new report co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Brookings Institution, which found that "about 70 percent of the Americans eligible to vote are white, a decline of 15 percentage points since 1980."
About which I said: "The GOP will continue to double-down on racebaiting, voter suppression, and gerrymandering."

Yeah. Well. This is what that looks like.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Lighthouse Family: "High"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

Another major winter storm is hitting large parts of the US: "Snow was falling from northern Texas to Connecticut on Thursday morning, as a storm system expected to badly affect travel stretched from northern Mexico to New England. The storm is likely to hit some of the busiest travel corridors in the country, dumping snow from Washington DC to New York City, before moving off the coast Thursday evening. ...On Wednesday evening the storm had already produced rare bipartisan agreement in Washington, where lawmakers scrambled to get out of town before government offices closed for the day on Thursday, the Associated Press reported." LOL. Sob.

[Content Note: Violence] Fucking hell: "U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert underwent two-and-a-half hours of surgery after he was slashed in the face by a Korean nationalist in an attack at a breakfast forum in Seoul on Thursday to discuss Korean reunification. Lippert, 42, was bleeding from deep wounds to his face and wrist but was able to walk after the attack. Doctors said later his condition was stable after 'very successful' surgery that required 80 stitches in his face. The assailant was caught and identified by police as 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong. ...The attack was a protest against joint military exercises by South Korean and U.S. troops, which Kim said interfered with reconciliation between North and South Korea, according to police following an interrogation."

Chief Justice John Roberts gives a possible clue as to where his thinking may be on the healthcare case before the Supreme Court: "Roberts, usually among the most active questioners on the court, scarcely said a word throughout the highly anticipated clash." He asked only one question, which "may turn out to be extremely important. ...Anthony Kennedy had asked about 'Chevron deference,' a doctrine of law that describes how much leeway the executive branch should have in interpreting laws. [Solicitor General Donald Verrilli], not surprisingly, said that the Chevron doctrine gave the Obama Administration more than adequate permission to read the law to allow subsidies on the federal exchange. 'If you're right about Chevron,' Roberts said, at long last, 'that would indicate that a subsequent Administration could change that interpretation?' Perhaps it could, Verrilli conceded. ...To limit the Obama Administration in this case would be to threaten the power of all Presidents, which Roberts may be loath to do. But he could vote to uphold Obama's action in this case with a reminder that a new election is fast approaching, and Obamacare is sure to be a major point of contention between the parties. A decision in favor of Obama here could be a statement that a new President could undo the current President's interpretation of Obamacare as soon as he (or she) took office in 2017. In other words, the future of Obamacare should be up to the voters, not the justices."

[CN: Racism; misogyny] To the fainting couches! "The Writers Guild of America West issued a new report this week on diversity in TV writers' rooms. The stats for women or for people of color are not good. Eleven percent of TV shows have no women writers on staff. Over one-third of TV shows have no minority writers on staff."

[CN: Animal abuse] In good news, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is retiring its elephant acts: "Feld Entertainment, the company that owns the circus, said Thursday that it will phase out the 13 elephants from its traveling circus performances. By 2018, the popular pachyderms will be relocated to a conservation center in central Florida, where they will join the rest of the Ringling Bros. herd of more than 40 elephants. ...'This is the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995,' Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld said in a statement." Which is not totally out of the goodness of their hearts, but because of the work of animal activists advocating for "anti-circus" and "anti-elephant" ordinances, which are increasingly costly for Feld Entertainment to fight.

As has been well-documented, Lena Dunham is pretty much an asshole who resists all criticisms of privilege in the making and content of her show Girls, but the male protagonist of the show, actor Adam Driver, isn't making the same mistake: "I'm a straight, white male, and I've had more opportunities than other people have, unjustly. And I've been lucky on top of that. ...I see so many actors and friends who are so fucking good—but for one reason or another, because they're female or African American, there aren't as many opportunities for them. It's total bullshit. My wife is an actress. She's had to audition for, you know, 'Blonde Girl #3.' There's just such shitty writing and not as many opportunities."

This is not only a terrific headline, but a great story: "Police rescue young harbour seal taking leisurely stroll down middle of Halifax street." LOL aww!

And finally! I love this story for a number of reasons, not least of which is that a friend I've known since middle school is part of Lucky Dog Rescue: "The Shedd Aquarium [in Chicago] has adopted its fifth rescue dog, as part of its ongoing effort to demonstrate how to build strong relationships with animals. Kobe, a 3-year-old Dogo Argentino mix, was found thin and dirty in Kendall County in 2013, and was on the euthanasia list until he was taken in by Lucky Dog Rescue, a volunteer-run animal rescue group. It was suspected he was a junkyard dog, because of how thin and dirty he was, and because a rope was tied around his neck when he was found. After nursing Kobe back to good health, and training him, Lucky Dog Rescue found him a foster family, but he apparently had a little too much energy for them, and the Shedd ended up adopting him for their 'One World' program. At the Shedd, he'll get further training through positive reinforcement before joining the 'One World' show, which showcases human connections to animals." Blub!

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[Content Note: Sexual violence; disablism.]

Leonardo DiCaprio WILL win an Oscar, dammit, and he's pulling out all the stops to make sure it happens with what Kaiser hilariously (and accurately) calls "possibly the biggest Oscar-bait role in history." If we just give him an Oscar now, will that mean this movie will never get made, because it will be a garbage pile three miles high:

Leonardo DiCaprio is getting closer to playing a role he's eyed for nearly 20 years — that of Billy Milligan, who was the first person to successfully use multiple personality disorder as a defense in a court of law.

...Published in 1981, [The Minds of Billy Milligan, Daniel Keyes' nonfiction tome about Milligan, who had 24 personalities] chronicles Milligan's story, including his court trial in the late 1970s in Ohio after being charged with robbery and raping three women on the Ohio State University campus.

In the preparation of his defense, Milligan — who died in December 2014 — was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. Pleading insanity, he and his lawyers contended that two of his alternate personalities committed the crimes without his knowledge. He was the first to use this defense, and the first to be acquitted for this reason.

Milligan's various personalities included Adalana, a lesbian taking responsibility for the rapes; Ragen, a Yugoslavian communist who admitted to the robbery; and Arthur, an uptight Englishman.
Playing multiple characters? Check. With multiple accents? Check. Playing someone with a disability? Check. Playing a woman? Check. Playing an antihero? Check. Dramatic courtroom scenes? Check. Opportunity to film lurid sexual assaults of women? Check.

All with cool bonus messaging about a lesbian rapist who made this poor man rape those girls! Neato!

Seriously, I am begging the Academy to just give Leo the golden statue now and never, ever, let this shit see the light of day. I don't have even the tiniest shred of faith that it will (or could) be anything but a gross and problematic simplification of Billy Milligan and his case.

No word on how Milligan's victims feel about their stories being turned into a movie. But Leo hasn't been wanting to play any of them since 1997, so who cares.

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[Content Note: Racism; police misconduct.]

On Tuesday, the Justice Department found a pattern of bias and excessive force in the Ferguson Police Department. As part of the report, released yesterday, the Justice Department highlighted seven racist emails, containing "jokes" about the President, the First Lady, and black people generally.

Yesterday, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles disclosed that "one police official had been fired and two others were on administrative leave" as a result of the racist emails.

"This type of behavior will not be tolerated in the Ferguson Police Department," Knowles said in an evening news conference, without taking questions from reporters.
At least not while anyone's looking. And, not for nothing, but I suspect "administrative leave" isn't exactly what most people interested in meaningful accountability have in mind.

By way of reminder, Mayor Knowles once called civil unrest in Ferguson the "worst case scenario" if Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted (which he wasn't). The worst thing he could imagine was people exercising their constitutional right to protest, worse than communicating to white police officers that they can kill unarmed black people without consequence, and worse than communicating to black people that their lives don't matter.

So, I don't have a lot of faith in what this guy is willing to "tolerate," in the Ferguson Police Department or anywhere else in town.

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Chalachew Seyoum, an Ethiopian graduate student at Arizona State, has found a fragment of jawbone which "is the oldest known fossil from an evolutionary tree branch that eventually led to modern humans."

The fossil comes from very close to the time that our branch split away from more ape-like ancestors best known for the fossil skeleton Lucy. So it gives a rare glimpse of what very early members of our branch looked like.

At about 2.8 million years old, the partial jawbone pushes back the fossil record by at least 400,000 years for our branch, which scientists call Homo.

It was found two years ago at a site not far from where Lucy was unearthed. Africa is a hotbed for human ancestor fossils, and scientists from Arizona State University have worked for years at the site in northeast Ethiopia, trying to find fossils from the dimly understood period when the Homo genus, or group, arose.

Our species, called Homo sapiens, is the only surviving member of this group.

...Analysis indicates the jaw fossil came from one of the earliest populations of Homo, and its age helps narrow the range of possibilities for when the first Homo species appeared, Kimbel said. The fossil dates to as little as 200,000 years after the last known fossil from Lucy's species.

The fossil is from the left lower jaw of an adult. It combines ancestral features, like a primitive chin shape, with some traits found in later Homo fossils, like teeth that are slimmer than the bulbous molars of Lucy's ilk.

Despite that mix, experts not involved in the paper said the researchers make a convincing case that the fossil belongs in the Homo category.

And they present good evidence that it came from a creature that was either at the origin of Homo or "within shouting distance," said Bernard Wood of George Washington University.

...It's the first time that anything other than isolated teeth have turned up as a possible trace of Homo from before 2.3 million years ago.
That is truly remarkable. What a fascinating find.

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Open Thread

image of a dalmatian standing on pavement near a patch of grass

Hosted by a dalmatian.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker TyphoidMary: "If you were to be summoned by occult means, what three items would be placed in the summoning circle?"

Shoes, pet hair, and a quill.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by gingham.

Recommended Reading:

Imani: [Content Note: Police brutality; racism] Cleveland Isn't Blaming Tamir Rice for His Own Death. Not Really.

Mariame: [CN: Police brutality; racism. Note: This is an older piece, but relevant again, as Officer Wilson was not indicted on federal charges.] Whether Darren Wilson Is Indicted or Not, the Entire System Is Guilty

Amadi: [CN: White supremacy; sexual harassment] They're as Ubiquitous as Daylight

Sydette: Why the Dress Matters

David: [CN: Anti-semitism] What Leonard Nimoy and Spock Meant to Me as a Jewish Conservation Biologist

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred and eliminationism; bariatric surgery; disordered eating] New Horrifying Medical Device for Weight Loss: The Full Sense Device

Anthony: [CN: Homophobia] Nebraska Lesbian Couple's Pride Flag Stolen and Burned by Neighbor

Mitch: Jess T. Dugan's Photo Project, 'To Survive on This Shore,' Offers Moving Portraits of Transgender Elders

Jamilah: New Nina Simone Film Will Be Available on Netflix This Summer

Leave your links and recommendations in comments...

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Domestic violence; misogynoir; guns.]

"Florida has a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence for firing a gun and you can't get time off for good behavior. You have to do every single one of those days. You'd think that kind of sentencing is intended for violent offenders who use guns while committing crimes, not somebody who is protecting herself."—Marissa Alexander, telling her story in her own words, in Essence.

Florida, of course, also has a Stand Your Ground law. But those sorts of laws aren't intended to allow black women to defend themselves. And anyone who thinks otherwise just needs to read Marissa Alexander's story.

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This is so the worst thing you're going to read all day.

[Content Note: Misogyny; violence; rape culture; reproductive coercion; MRA talking points.]

A friend of mine got into it with a bunch of MRA douchebags on social media today, because: 1. He is awesome; 2. He was pushing back on one of the most incredibly stupid articles asking "What about female privilege?"

I'm not going to link to the article, because fuck that, but I thought we'd all enjoy having a go at the list of alleged "female privileges" put forth by its author.

1. As a rescue worker I learned that the women and children get special treatment and men are secondary creature. Women never have to worry because in a natural disaster they get pulled out first during an evacuation.

2. College campuses have Women Only clubs but Male only clubs tend to be prohibited.

3. If a guy runs away from a fight he is a coward but if a woman does so she is praised for her nonviolent actions.

4. If a guy starts a fight he is likely to go to jail, if a woman does she is considered sexy. Hell the woman can hit a dude in the face and expect not to be hit back.

5. If a man and a woman have a physical altercation, it is assumed the man was the aggressor.

6. If a man cracks a joke about the rape of a woman he is attacked and ostracized but if anyone cracks a joke about raping a man, everyone laughs.

7. If a woman and a man commit a crime, the woman in most cases will get less significantly less time.

8. In most states, if the mother wants to keep a child in a custody battle, she gets the child unless the father can prove she is unfit. Where is the equality in that?

9. In the cases of divorce, men are often forced to pay the living expenses of their former spouse.

10. It is socially acceptable that a woman has a social support network but if a man has one he is considered weak.

11. Lets look at Breast cancer, it is in the news, sports teams flaunt it in our face, and it gets constant national attention but you never hear about prostate cancer and prostate cancer kills more men than breast cancer kills women.

12. Male soldiers are expected go into battle but female soldiers are not. On top of that men have to fear the draft and women are exempt from it.

13. Men are assumed to be Misogynist unless they are very vocal and active in proving otherwise.

14. Men are barred from the debate of gender issues while women control and direct the debate in the direction of their choosing.

15. Men are often victims of domestic violence at about the same ratio as women. The police do nothing to stop it and the man is considered weak and spineless if he does nothing about it.

16. Men are portrayed as lazy and stupid in the media while women are portrayed as sexy and smart.

17. Men are twice as likely to be the victim of an assault but the media reports far more often if the victim was a woman.

18. Men are viewed as a potential rapist simply because they have a penis. If they look at a woman appraisingly, they are considered lewd and violent. If a woman stares at a man appraisingly or even suggests sexual acts to him, she is applauded for being a free spirit.

19. Men constantly have to live with the fear of being accused of being a sexual predator if the show any interest in interacting with children not their own. Women can freely talk to and play with other people’s kids.

20. Men get labeled a sex offender for peeing in an alley. Women get a warning from the cop.

21. Men get to watch women on talk shows laugh about a man getting his penis chopped off. If a man laughed about a woman getting her breast chopped off, his media career would be over.

22. Men in America get their penis cut and mutilated at birth and no one speaks out about it. Yet if women got their genitals mutilated at birth we would hear a loud and vocal outcry of injustice.

23. Men pay more for car insurance than women do.

24. Men who make a sexual joke at work are likely to be fired for sexual discrimination but women who say the exact same joke are not.

25. Woman decide if they will carry a child to term once pregnant. The father has no so whatsoever. And if the man doesn't want the child, the woman can take him to court and force him to pay her for 18 years so that she can care for the child.

26. Women have several organizations that provide free housing in times of need and a single woman finds it easier to get social services from the government than a man.

27. Women live longer than men. While this is not a social construct it is an awesome privilege.

28. Women never have to worry about getting their life ruined with a false accusation of rape following an evening of consensual sex. I am glad that I am married because I am afraid to have sex without proof that it was consensual.

29. Women often go on dates for free as the man pays for everything.

30. My final point, Misandry is ignored by our society and if it is called out, no one hears or pays attention. Women are allowed to show hatred of men while men cannot even ask a question that might imply a woman is hateful. When a man tries to debate the whole women rights issue, he is accused of being a Misogynist.
I am very tempted to write a rebuttal to each of these items, but I don't want to hoard all the fun for myself!

So instead, I'll leave it for all of us to discuss in comments, and just note that many of these are patently false; many of them elide that the reasons for these "privileges" are because women are objectified and dehumanized and viewed as "the weaker sex," which sure as fuck doesn't feel like a privilege; it is possible to believe that many of these alleged "privileges" exist only by disappearing all but the most privileged women; and all of the items that have even a shred of truth to them (e.g. routine circumcision) are issues regularly addressed by feminists.

And I'll leave it there with this final observation: MRAs are the most likely and insistent yielders of the accusation that feminists and womanists view ourselves as "victims." But there are no bigger imaginary victims on the planet than these fucking bozos.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt curled up on the chaise between two pillows, fast asleep
Little Lady Snugglesworth.

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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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.

* * *

This past Christmas, Paul the Spud got me a gift certificate to Goorin Bros. Hat Shop, of which I finally made use, and this little beauty just arrived:

image of me wearing a black and white striped sweater and a black fedora with a gold and blue ribbon above the brim; I'm sitting on the stairs and Sophie the Torbie Cat is at the top of the stairs paying no attention to me
Sophie couldn't care less.

The hat is Billy Batts. (Thank you, Spudsy! ♥) The sweater is an old one from Avenue, about which I've blogged previously.

I've mentioned once or twice or a million times that I am a big fan of hats. Not only are they fun to wear, but they're especially useful on days when I can't be arsed to do my hair haha. Just stick a hat on it!

I know fedoras are so overdone these days, but I couldn't help myself. I really love this one!

Anyway! As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: What's your favorite style of hat? Or are you hat-averse?

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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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

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

Depeche Mode: "Master and Servant"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

The AP reports that Hillary Clinton private email account used to conduct government business while she was Secretary of State was run on her own private email server registered to her family's home in New York. "The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives. ...In theory but not in practice, Clinton's official emails would be accessible to anyone who requested copies under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Under the law, citizens and foreigners can compel the government to turn over copies of federal records for zero or little cost. Since Clinton effectively retained control over emails in her private account even after she resigned in 2013, the government would have to negotiate with Clinton to turn over messages it can't already retrieve from the inboxes of federal employees she emailed." See, this is my problem with this entire thing: Irrespective of how much Clinton's team says she "complied with the letter and spirit of the" Federal Records Act, we just have to trust that. There's no oversight and no transparency. That is not good, and I honestly don't care who it is, because everyone in government needs meaningful accountability. And there can be no meaningful accountability without real transparency.

[Content Note: Descriptions of injuries; worker exploitation] A joint project of ProPublica and NPR documents "The Demolition of Workers' Comp" in the US. "Over the past decade, state after state has been dismantling America's workers' comp system with disastrous consequences for many of the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer serious injuries at work each year... The changes, often passed under the banner of 'reform,' have been pushed by big businesses and insurance companies on the false premise that costs are out of control. In fact, employers are paying the lowest rates for workers' comp insurance since the 1970s. And in 2013, insurers had their most profitable year in over a decade, bringing in a hefty 18 percent return."

[CN: Domestic violence; racism; misogyny] This is horrendous: "A unanimous jury found Korean immigrant detainee and domestic violence survivor Nan-Hui Jo guilty Tuesday of child abduction charges filed by her child's father and alleged abuser, Jesse Charlton. Now, Nan-Hui is also facing deportation and permanent separation from her child immediately after the hearing. ...The case highlights how instead of being granted protection and given support, survivors of domestic violence (who are disproportionately women and children) are often criminalized or ignored while their abusers enjoy immunity."

This video, a PSA challenging implicit bias by the Ad Council, featuring people dancing behind a screen so only their skeletons can be seen, before they reveal who they are, is really terrific. The campaign, Love Has No Labels, challenges viewers to examine their expectations rooted in internalized bias: "A lot of us make snap judgments based on what we see—whether it's race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability. Yet most of us aren't even conscious of our prejudice. That's why it's called implicit bias." I just wish the campaign included sizism. A big miss there.

[CN: Animal endangerment] So awful (and so concerning): "The monarch butterfly population has plummeted in less than 20 years, leading one environmental group to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action. The Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit in a New York City federal court seeking an order to force the EPA to review an emergency petition that it filed last year. The NRDC claims the EPA never responded to the request. The group also wants the agency to review within six months its rules governing glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, a commonly used herbicide that has wiped out the milkweed plant in many parts of the country. Monarch butterflies rely on the milkweed for their survival. The monarch population has dwindled from 1 billion in 1997 to 56.5 million this winter—a drop of 90%, according to the complaint."

[CN: Images of shark at link] Everything you ever wanted to know about the very cool and very creepy goblin shark!

Sony has announced its Project Morpheus virtual reality headset will go on sale next year. (Time for Oculus to make its announcement BECAUSE I WANT ONE OF THOSE STAT!)

And finally! This is the sweetest story about a scared kitten who was rescued by someone special who knew just how to give her the perfect home. "Now she's the queen of the castle." Blub.

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