In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Video autoplays at link; misogynoir] In case you haven't yet seen Beyoncé's extraordinary new video for her single "Formation," here it is, if you can view video. The lyrics are here, and, in the video, they are set against a backdrop of images of black oppression in the US over centuries. One of many thoughts I had as I watched the video was recalling Whitney Houston, whose blackness was treated as something to be concealed and who was packaged as the "prom queen of soul" to make her palatable to white audiences, telling Rolling Stone in an interview in the '90s: "I am not always in a sequined gown. I am nobody's angel. I can get down-and-dirty. I can get raunchy." Beyoncé is communicating a lot of things in this video, and one of them is the explicit rejection of the expectation that black female artists wrench their blackness from their personhood.

Twitter "is planning to introduce an algorithmic timeline as soon as next week, BuzzFeed News has learned. The timeline will reorder tweets based on what Twitter's algorithm thinks people most want to see, a departure from the current feed's reverse chronological order. It is unclear whether Twitter will force users to use the algorithmic feed, or it will merely be an option." I've never seen a company so determined to destroy its own product. (Imagine if Twitter put half as much energy into meaningfully addressing harassment on its platform as it did into destroying its platform.) The thing is: Presumably, the algorithm is based on user interactions. And one of the best things about Twitter is the ability it gives privileged people to listen to and learn from marginalized people by following conversations without inserting ourselves. An algorithm dependent on interaction will fundamentally change how many of us use Twitter, in one of the best ways it can be used. Also? I don't just want to see things I "want" to see. I also want to see things I need to see.

[CN: War; death; torture] Fucking hell: "Detainees held by the Syrian government are dying on a massive scale amounting to a state policy of extermination of the civilian population, a crime against humanity, United Nations investigators have said. The UN commission of inquiry called on the security council to impose sanctions against Syrian officials in the civilian and military hierarchy responsible for or complicit in deaths, torture, and disappearances in custody, but stopped short of naming individuals. In their report released on Monday, the independent experts said they had also documented mass killings and torture of prisoners by two jihadi groups, al-Nusra Front and Islamic State, constituting war crimes."

[CN: Climate change; drought] "A new study finds that the semi-arid U.S. Southwest has begun to enter the 'drier climate state' that had been long-predicted from climate models. These findings match ones from September documenting an expansion of the entire world's dry and semi-arid climate regions in recent decades because of human-caused climate change. The new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) concludes that 'The weather patterns that typically bring moisture to the southwestern United States are becoming more rare, an indication that the region is sliding into the drier climate state predicted by global models.'"

[CN: Drought; death] Meanwhile, an ongoing drought in Somalia has left more than 50,000 children on the brink of death. "A stark warning issued by the UN's humanitarian office, Ocha, said the malnutrition situation is 'alarming.' It added that nearly one million Somalis, one in 12 of the population, 'struggle... to meet their food needs.' The drought in Somalia has been partly caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon which has affected east and southern Africa." Which has been exacerbated by climate change.

President Obama will reportedly "ask the US Congress for $1.8bn (£1.25bn) in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus. The virus, which is transmitted primarily through mosquitoes, has spread rapidly through the Americas. ...The money will go to mosquito control efforts and vaccine research programmes among other initiatives."

Today, the BBC "will air a documentary about the life of Misty Copeland, the first Black principal ballerina in the American Ballet Theater. ...These past few years Copeland has become the role model that young Black ballerinas have deserved."

[CN: Video autoplays at link] If you would like to watch UCLA gymnast Sophina DeJesus' 9.925 floor routine, here it is! And it is terrific!

[CN: Disablist language] James Cordon does some Carpool Karaoke with Elton John!

And finally! A man in India "is so dedicated to animals that he's spent the last 10 years saving up enough money to buy an ambulance, which he will use to save stray animals in need of urgent medical care. He's no veterinarian, but Balu has learned what he needs to handle a life or death situation, and now he and his wife have already saved the lives of a number of ill and injured dogs." Blub.

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The Super Bowl Thread

Here is a thread to talk about the Super Bowl, if you want to talk about the Super Bowl!

I did not watch the Super Bowl, because I loathe American football with the fiery passion of ten thousand suns. Instead, I chatted with a friend in Brazil and then Iain and I did our annual "have the world to ourselves" adventuring on Super Bowl Sunday.

I did get home just in time to watch the halftime show, though, so I could witness Beyoncé slaying the world. Which, of course, she did.

Coldplay perhaps a little less so.

Anyway!

Talk about the game, the advertisements (none of which I've watched), the halftime show, Lady Gaga's anthem, what you did instead of paying attention to the Super Bowl, whatever!

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Republican Debate Wrap-Up, Round Whatever

[Content Note: Rape culture; war on agency.]

Over the weekend, there was yet another Republican debate, featuring on the main stage seven of the nine remaining candidates. (Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore are still not polling high enough to make the cut.) The evening got off to a rocky start.

Video Description: Two anchors, a white man and a white woman, introduce the debate moderators, a white man and a white woman. Then, starting at 0:28, the male anchor says: "So let's welcome the candidates for the Republican nomination for president. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie." Applause as Christie walks out from a hallway leading to the stage. The female anchor says: "Dr. Ben Carson."

Over the noise of the audience applause, Carson doesn't hear his name called, and hangs out awkwardly in the hallway instead of walking onto the stage. The camera zooms in on him, and he smiles. Cut to the stage. Cut back to Carson standing in the hallway. In the background, a stage hand shoos him onstage, but he still doesn't move.

The male anchor says: "Texas Senator Ted Cruz." Carson walks forward, expecting his name to be announced, then stops. He turns and looks behind him, as Cruz comes walking out. Carson gestures for him to pass, and they smile at each other. Cruz walks onto the stage. The stagehand peeks out and tells Carson to go onstage, but he remains fixed in place.

The female anchors says: "Businessman Donald Trump." Trump also does not hear his name called, and stands there awkwardly beside Carson. The male anchor says: "Florida Senator Marco Rubio." The audience applauds as Rubio comes out and strolls by Trump and Carson and onto the stage. Trump smiles into the camera, looking vaguely annoyed to be standing there with Carson, not understanding he's been announced.

The female anchor says: "Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush." Bush walks by Trump and Carson, patting Trump on the shoulder and shrugging with a "sucks to be you!" expression as he passes.

The female anchor says, over the sound of audience applause: "Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican candidates!" Cut to the stage, where there are three empty podiums. The male anchor says, "Dr. Ben Carson, please come out on the stage." The female anchor says, "And Donald Trump." Carson walks out. Cut back to the hallway. Trump still hasn't heard his name called and stands there looking agitated. Behind him, John Kasich peeks his head out from backstage.

The male anchor says: "And lastly, we welcome back to the debate stage, Donald Trump." Applause as Trump finally hears his name called and walks out. Kasich still hangs back at the end of the hallway. Chris Christie asks, "Can I introduce Kasich?" OMG.

The male anchor says, "Yes, we're gonna introduce Ohio Governor John Kasich." Applause as Kasich walks onstage. And at long last, all seven candidates are onstage. GOOD GRIEF.
Naturally, the debate itself was full of the usual garbage. Bigotry interspersed with bad policy. Marco Rubio's third-place finish in Iowa made him the center of the soon-to-be-also-rans' attacks, and Chris Christie [CN: disablist language] was particularly effective in exposing Rubio's reliance on prepared talking points.

Rubio also got pushback for his ultra-extremist anti-abortion position, which includes no exceptions for rape and incest. Asked about it on Sunday by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Rubio defended his position, saying: "It's a terrible situation. I mean, a crisis pregnancy, especially as a result of something as horrifying as that, I'm not telling you it's easy. I'm not here saying it's an easy choice. It's a horrifying thing that you've just described. ...And that's why this issue is so difficult. But I believe a human being, an unborn child has a right to live, irrespective of the circumstances of which they were conceived."

Yeah, well, you know what I think about that shit.

All of these candidates are so aggressively terrible. It is, truly, difficult for me to fathom, emotionally if not intellectually, that there are millions and millions of people who support these jerks with abundant enthusiasm.

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I Want to Know

[Content Note: Misogyny; hostility to consent.]

So, one of the criticisms I have had of Bernie Sanders is the lack of detail he's provided about how he is going to deliver on the many promises he's making.

This is not an impugning of his integrity. I don't have any doubt at all that Sanders is utterly sincere in his belief that the radical changes he has proposed are necessary and that he wants to make them happen.

This is also not an objection to the positions he holds. I share many of them. I would like to see most of what he is proposing enacted.

My concern is that he does not have a plan for meaningfully addressing the significant obstacles he would face as president. I would like to know what his plan is.

That's not some sort of attempt at a gotcha, nor is it an attack. I genuinely want to know. It is a reasonable question to ask.

I want to know how Sanders will work with, or around, Republicans—especially if they have a majority in one or both Houses of Congress.

I also want to know how Sanders will work with, or around, Democrats—since many members of the Democratic Party with whom he caucuses are increasingly irritated with his campaign.

Sanders' response to questions about his strategy has been to invoke the movement of engaged people he will bring with him to Washington: "I don't have any illusion that I'm going to walk in—and I certainly hope it is not the case, but if there is a Republican House and a Republican Senate—that I'm going to walk in there and say, 'Hey guys, listen. I'd like you to work with me on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.' It ain't gonna happen, I have no illusion about that. The only way that I believe that change takes place…is that tens of millions of people are going to have to stand up and be involved in the political process the day after the election."

I have concerns about whether Sanders' army of revolutionaries, a significant number of whom have targeted Sanders' critics, especially women of color, with sustained harassment, are people prepared and capable of orchestrating a progressive revolution. Yesterday, Sanders was obliged to address this harassment on CNN, saying: "We don't want that crap" and "Anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things—we don't want them."

I have concerns about the people he's chosen to help lead his revolution, given that his team has twice now suggested in campaign advertisements that Sanders has endorsements he doesn't actually have and used images of people without their consent in campaign advertisements, in several cases leaving people with potentially dire professional consequences they had to address. I don't imagine these incidents to be reflective of an indifference to ethical campaigning; I think they are instead a reflection of the disorganization of a nationally untested campaign that doesn't have the competency to ensure these sorts of things don't happen.

I would like to know Sanders' plan for making sure, if he is elected, that these failures are not replicated as he embarks on his ambitious agenda, the enactment of which he says is dependent on his supporters and team.

I want to know this, because these are the sorts of problems that could be used to discredit a president's agenda. As a person deeply invested in progressive reform, I don't want to see progressive policy succumb to setbacks, even if unfairly, as a result of the failure to meaningfully strategize in preparation for foreseeable derailments.

I also have concerns about Sanders engaging in the very sexism he says he doesn't want, as yesterday, speaking at a community college in New Hampshire, Sanders complained that Clinton had been "lecturing" him on foreign policy. "Shouting." "Lecturing." If you think this kind of language evokes narratives of the hectoring nag used to silence uppity women, I don't disagree. Framing a female former Secretary of State, who is an expert in foreign policy, as a lecturing harpy, while you have "thin credentials on foreign policy," isn't setting a tone of respect toward women. And it further doesn't inspire confidence that Sanders is open to counsel from people with expertise he doesn't have, at least if they're women.

I want to know Sanders' position on trusting advisors, even if they are former adversaries and especially if they are women, who can complement his areas of weakness, particularly as his aggressive domestic economic reform will demand much of his time and focus, if elected. I would like details on how he will balance pursuing his sweeping domestic agenda with a global environment that demands an inordinate amount of any president's attention. It's not that I think it can't be done; I just want to know how it will be.

And then there is this: Even if those issues are resolved, the fact is that even an enormous number of people showing up and getting involved in the political process doesn't axiomatically translate into affecting progressive change, or even stopping regressive legislation.

Take, for example, Wendy Davis' filibuster in the Texas legislature. Despite the then state senator's 11-hour filibuster to block legislation that would severely undermine reproductive access in Texas, a packed floor of activists, a nationwide call to attention, and countless pro-choice people across the country taking action in support of her, the Republican-majority legislature, with a corrupt assist from then Governor Rick Perry, forced the measure through.

That moment is one of many examples of how an engaged citizenry is not always enough to overcome the steep power imbalance between an entrenched conservative legislature and We the People.

So I want and need to know what Sanders' plan is to effectively overcome this power imbalance.

I hear him saying that his revolution is dependent on the engagement of We the People. Okay, I'm on board. For a moment, let us imagine that Sanders gets the Democratic nomination and is subsequently elected president. I'm signing up to be part of the revolution. What does that look like for me?

Do I write letters to my elected representatives? Do I call them? Do I make signs and participate in marches? Do I write and tweet and sign petitions about the things that matter to me?

These are all things I have done and do. There are millions of people doing that now. Is Sanders' contention that we simply aren't effective? That we just need more people to get involved?

I watched what happened in Texas. I have so many friends in Texas that often people who follow me on Twitter think I live there. I lived and died with them as I watched the Texas legislature refuse to be overwhelmed by the citizens whose interests they purport to represent.

I have seen the same thing happen, over and over again, in my home state of Indiana, where the Republican legislature passes heinous bills that the majority of Hoosiers don't support, where the Democrats have literally left the state in order to try to stop the Republicans, where a very popular Democratic (and democratically elected) Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Indiana had her office disempowered because she was trying to stop Republicans from destroying the state's public education system.

These things didn't happen because people weren't engaged and weren't paying attention. They happened because we don't have, even in enormous numbers, the power to force a Republican legislature (or, frankly, even a Democratic one) to do our will.

I genuinely do not understand what Sanders imagines will be different in Washington.

One thing I do understand—and so does Hillary Clinton, who repeatedly says she refuses to make promises she can't keep, in defense of her incrementalist strategy—is that nothing more quickly disillusions, discourages, and demoralizes people new to the political process than making them promises on which there is no way to deliver.

So I want to know the details of Sanders' plan. Because this—

1. Run for president
2. Make lots of big promises
3. ????
4. REVOLUTION!!!

—isn't going to cut it.

I understand Bernie Sanders' argument for why he should be elected president, and now I want to know his plan for being president. That doesn't seem like it's too much to ask from someone who wants the job.

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Open Thread

image

Hosted by Xena: Warrior Princess.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

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

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by ash.

Recommended Reading:

Sarah: [Content Note: Racism; class warfare; displacement; police misconduct] The NYPD Is Kicking People out of Their Homes, Even If They Haven't Committed a Crime

Katie: [CN: Conflating of trafficking with sex work] 5 Sex Workers Speak out on the Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Myth

Hollis: [CN: Racism; misogyny; gaslighting] Sidekicked and Then Some: A Call for Journalistic Accountability

Saadia: [CN: Islamophobia] Let's Tell Stories about Pakistan

Caitlin: [CN: Racism; misogyny; female sexuality alarmism] Profiles in Black Cartooning: Matt Baker

Ragen: Fabulous Fat Comic Book Hero

Peter: [CN: Misogyny] Sexism Deniers Are Like Climate Deniers

Fannie: [CN: Misogyny; gaslighting] The Case of the Invisible, Non-Existent Misogyny!

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Earth, Wind & Fire: "Shining Star"

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The Make-Up Thread

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

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

Whatever you like—have at it!

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Last time, I featured some new nail polish I liked, so this time I thought I'd recommend a nail polish remover I really like:

image of Sephora's Instant Nail Polish Remover
Sephora's Instant Nail Polish Remover.

I've tried lots of different nail polish removal products, because lordy bejeebus do I hate removing nail polish, and this is, by far, the best one I've ever tried. I highly recommend it! It's currently out of stock on their website, unfortunately, but it's worth the wait for it to come back in stock, if you're looking for a quick nail polish remover.

Anyway! What's up with you?

* * *

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

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Daily Dose of Cute


Zelda, asleep on my lap last night.

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: Refugee crisis; war] "At least 15,000 Syrian refugees fleeing fighting in northern Aleppo province have gathered at a border crossing with Turkey, UN and Turkish officials said. The frontier is shut but Turkey has said it is prepared to feed and shelter the refugees. In the past few days, the Syrian army backed by Russian air power has made a series of gains in Aleppo province. ...Nato has accused Russia of 'undermining' Syrian peace efforts through its strikes, which it says is mainly aimed at opposition groups. But Russia insists it only targets what it calls terrorists. According to the UN, up to 20,000 Syrians have gathered at the Bab al-Salam border crossing. 'Humanitarian organisations are responding to the needs of those displaced, but ongoing military conflict is making access to populations in need increasingly difficult,' the UN's Linda Tom told the AFP news agency. She said another 5,000-10,000 displaced people had gathered at Azaz, a north-western Syrian city close to the Turkish frontier." Goddamn.

[CN: Misogyny] Hillary Sexism Watch Part One Zillion, care of Fox News anchor Heather Nauert: "I wonder how her remark about, oh, I'm certainly not an establishment candidate, I'm the first woman running for president. I wonder how that bra-burning is going to play this year." Bra-burning. Jesus Jones.

[CN: Racism; police brutality] Judge Vonda Evans, a black woman, let loose while sentencing former Inkster, Michigan, police officer William Melendez, who "was convicted in November on charges of misconduct in office and assault with intent to do great bodily harm for the January 28, 2015, beating of Floyd Dent," a black man. In a nearly 30-minute speech, she made plain her feelings about this shit: "The one image [from this trial] that stuck out to the court was looking at Mr. Dent in his cell, shaking his head in disbelief of what had occurred to him. If his conduct was indicative of what he was thinking, I would have thought this: 'What crime did I commit, being a Black man in a Cadillac, stopped for a minor traffic offense by a group of racist police officers looking to do a n----r?'" Damn. Good for her.

[CN: Misogyny; privacy violations] Fucking hell: Not only is U.S. Soccer U.S. suing the U.S. Women's National Team Player's Association "less than a year after the national team won the Women's World Cup in front of an American television audience of 23 million" in a dispute over the validity of the terms of their contract, but "the lawsuit itself—which has been released publicly—included the home addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of many of the U.S. Women's National Team players. 'We're public figures. There have been issues of privacy and hacking and stalkers,' USWNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe said. 'We're upset. To know that someone could show up at your door? That's extremely unsettling, and it's something that you can't get back.' U.S. Soccer has said that the release of the information was unintentional, and it has already been redacted. However, it was public for almost half of a day." What a bunch of fucks.

RIP Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind & Fire. Shit, 2016 is really trying to break my heart.

[CN: Racism] Joel and Ethan Coen are the latest white people to show their asses on the issue of diversity in filmmaking. Joel: "Why would there be [more diversity in our films]? I don't understand the question. No—I understand that you're asking the question, I don't understand where the question comes from. Not why people want more diversity—why they would single out a particular movie and say, 'Why aren't there black or Chinese or Martians in this movie? What's going on?' That's the question I don't understand. The person who asks that question has to come in the room and explain it to me." Just the fact that Joel Coen equates black and Asian people with "Martians" is very telling. He also said: "You don't sit down and write a story and say, 'I'm going to write a story that involves four black people, three Jews, and a dog,'—right? That's not how stories get written." Indeed. They get written by white men who think that equating people of color with aliens and dogs is an acceptable thing to do.

Yes, please! "An apocryphal tale of a night Princess Diana spent at a gay bar with Freddie Mercury as a drag king is the subject of a new musical." Will watch.

Woot! "Paul Feig's Ghostbusters Getting Their Own LEGO Set." Awesome.

And finally! This is the sweetest story of a mama dog without her puppies and some puppies without their mama. "The puppies needed her and she needed them. It was pretty perfect." Oh dogs. ♥

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Threats of violence; misogynoir.]

"Surprise! I'm still alive!"—Noela Rukundo, whose husband hired hitmen to kill her, but who, through a series of extraordinary events, ended up at her own funeral in order to confront the man who paid $7,000 in Australian dollars to end her life.

Noela Rukundo sat in a car outside her home, watching as the last few mourners filed out. They were leaving a funeral — her funeral.

Finally, she spotted the man she'd been waiting for. She stepped out of her car, and her husband put his hands on his head in horror.

"Is it my eyes?" she recalled him saying. "Is it a ghost?"

"Surprise! I'm still alive!" she replied.

Far from being elated, the man looked terrified. Five days earlier, he had ordered a team of hit men to kill Rukundo, his partner of 10 years. And they did — well, they told him they did. They even got him to pay an extra few thousand dollars for carrying out the crime.

Now here was his wife, standing before him. In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, Rukundo recalled how he touched her shoulder to find it unnervingly solid. He jumped. Then he started screaming.

"I'm sorry for everything," he wailed.

But it was far too late for apologies; Rukundo called the police. The husband, Balenga Kalala, ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison for incitement to murder, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (the ABC).

The happy ending — or as happy as can be expected to a saga in which a man tries to have his wife killed — was made possible by three unusually principled hit men, a helpful pastor, and one incredibly gutsy woman: Rukundo.
She is brave as hell, and I hope she remains safe.

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Today in What Fat People Have Been Telling You

[Content Note: Fat bias.]

So, here is something I, and lots of other fat activists, have been saying in multiple ways for a very long time: Fat is not a reliable indicator of health. And to treat fat as a reliable indicator of health is not only bad for fat people, who are axiomatically presumed to be unhealthy (and thus suffer the consequences of a perceived lack of health, like denial of access to insurance and medical care), but is also bad for thin people, who are axiomatically presumed to be healthy (and thus may be harmed by undetected health issues they are assumed not to have).

Well, whaddaya know?

Millions of Americans who have been labelled overweight or obese based on their body mass index (BMI) are in actual fact perfectly healthy, according to a new study.

Scientists in California say that 34.4 million Americans considered technically overweight due to their BMI are actually healthy based on a range of cardiometabolic health markers, as are some 19.8 million 'obese' people. The massive misclassification isn't just about which words we use, either, say the researchers, since the flawed BMI's usage in the health insurance industry unfairly penalises some, while rewarding others.

"In the overweight BMI category, 47 percent are perfectly healthy," said researcher Jeffrey Hunger from the University of California, Santa Barbara. "So to be using BMI as a health proxy – particularly for everyone within that category – is simply incorrect. Our study should be the final nail in the coffin for BMI."

The researchers looked at data from the most recent US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to analyse the link between BMI – a measure calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres – with a range of specific health markers. These cardiometabolic assessments included blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, among others.

What they found was that BMI incorrectly pegs people's health at both ends of the weight scale.

"Not only does BMI mislabel 54 million heavier individuals as unhealthy, it actually overlooks a large group of individuals considered to have a 'healthy' BMI who are actually unhealthy when you look at underlying clinical indicators," said Hunger.
This study, by the way, comes at a time when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has proposed a rule which "could penalise people with BMIs higher than 25...by making them pay higher premiums."

I've noted that these sorts of policies are, truly, nothing more than fat hatred that penalize fat people for the way we look—and this study confirms it. Despite the alleged concern about "health," it's really just a tax we're required to pay, irrespective of our actual health, because we don't conform to a kyriarchetypical Beauty Standard.

BMI is garbage. And using it as a metric to assess health is actively incompatible with meaningful healthcare.

[H/T to Shaker ariadne83.]

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Democratic Debate Wrap-Up

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

So, I had totally forgotten that there was another Democratic debate last night, until my phone lit up. And here is why:

Bernie Sanders: Secretary Clinton does represent the establishment. I represent, I hope, ordinary Americans—and by the way who are not all that enamoured with the establishment. But I am very proud to have people like Keith Ellison and Raúl Grijalva in the House, the co-chairmen of the House Progressive Caucus.

Hillary Clinton: Well, look, I've gotta just jump in here, because, honestly, Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me—a woman running to be the first woman president—as exemplifying the establishment. [cheers and applause] And I've gotta tell you that it is—it is really quite amusing to me.
BOOM.

Naturally, there is already an enormous amount of pushback insisting that Hillary Clinton does indeed exemplify the establishment, for this reason or that reason, but it really comes down to something as simple as this: A boys' club changes when they (are forced to) let a woman in. All you have to do is listen to the bitter complaints of the men who moan about having to share space with a woman to know this is true.

And I'll say again: One might reasonably ask if I imagine that Hillary Clinton, with all her privilege, is really some sort of definitive challenge to the establishment. No. That is not what I imagine. What I imagine is that her being a woman matters. Because paths littered with obstacles are always easier to traverse if someone has tread them before. What I imagine is a future in which there are so many women with influence, multiple female presidents with ideas more radical than Hillary Clinton can even conjure, that to suggest a woman is representative of the establishment might be more than a mirthless punchline regarded as fact by people who think gender is irrelevant.

It's not a coincidence that after Clinton's credible '08 run and President Obama's two terms the Republican clown car now includes two Latino candidates, a black candidate, and a woman. And, sure, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina have garbage ideas just like the rest of the white men in their field, but the point is that people other than white men now have the opportunity to espouse their garbage ideas on the same highly visible platform.

I want Cruz, Rubio, Carson, and Fiorina kept out of the Oval Office because their policies are hot dumpster juice, but I don't want them kept out of the contest because of their identities.

Anyway. The exchange at the debate continued thus:
Clinton: People support me because they know me. They know my life's work. They have worked with me and many have also worked with Senator Sanders. And at the end of the day they endorse me because they know I can get things done. [applause] I am not going to make promises I can't keep. I am not going to talk about big ideas like single-payer and then not level with people about how much it will cost. A respected health economist said that these plans would cost a trillion dollars more a year. I'm not going to tell people that I will raise your incomes and not your taxes, and not mean it, because I don't want to see the kind of struggle that the middle class is going through exemplified by these promises that would raise taxes and make it much more difficult for many, many Americans to get ahead and stay ahead. That is not my agenda. [applause]

Moderator Rachel Maddow: Senator Sanders, you'll have 30 seconds to respond to that.

Sanders: What being part of the establishment is, is, in the last quarter, having a super PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one's life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests. To my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed in this country for the middle class and working families.

Clinton: Yeah, but I—I think it's fair to really ask what's behind that comment. You know, Senator Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I've tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be. But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to—you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. And I just absolutely reject that, Senator. And I really don't think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough. If you've got something to say, say it directly. But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received. [applause]

Sanders: What—

Clinton: And I have stood up and I have represented my constituents to the best of my abilities, and I'm very proud of that.

Sanders: You know—

Clinton: So I think it's time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out [applause] in recent weeks, and let's talk— [crosstalk; booing] Let's talk about about the issues. Let's talk about the issues that divide us.
I am very happy to see her push back on this. And, to be abundantly, clear: I don't think that Clinton's views on corporate relationships are off-limits. To be frank, I would like to see her answer some direct questions about her views on the role private corporations should play in the government, as it is a central tenet of the Clinton Foundation to devise solutions through partnerships between business and government. Is that a position that would come with her to the White House? Or does she see that as a one-directional approach appropriate to pursue only from the private sector? What are her feelings on the increasing for-profit privatization of services formerly provided by the federal government?

This stuff is important to me, and I would like to hear her views on it. But we don't get into details when, instead of forthright questions, we're relying on "innuendo and insinuation" to suggest a nefarious agenda.

So, I second her request: If you've got something to say, say it directly.

Otherwise, enough is indeed enough.

MSNBC has provided a complete transcript of the debate. There was a lot of good stuff about foreign policy, which I've not even begun to address. All topics from the debate are on-topic for this thread.

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Open Thread

image of a Japanese woman yodeling

Hosted by yodeling.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker MostlyLurking: "If you could cast yourself in any movie, which movie would it be and what part would you take over?"

The Dark Crystal. And I'd be Aughra.

image of Aughra
Because obviously.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Homelessness; class warfare; displacement.]

"San Francisco has become uninhabitable for anyone but rich people and tourists. At the same time that the mayor is stonewalling investigations into racist police violence and political corruption in his administration, huge swaths of public space are inaccessible to residents for private parties. ...His policies created a crisis of eviction and displacement, and now police are rounding up and flooding the homeless encampments they caused so Super Bowl 50 VIPs don't have to see it. Mayor Lee is trying to make San Francisco into a managed simulacrum of a city, like Disneyland's Main Street with animatronic urbanism, and police are there to evict the remaining real residents who get in the way."—Activist Nato Green, quoted by Dave Zirin in his terrific, difficult piece: "The Streets of San Francisco: 'Super Bowl City' Meets Tent City."

A city with one of the most pervasive homelessness problems in the nation spends $5 million on hosting the Super Bowl, and then displaces people who are homeless so that the wealthy people who attend don't have their fun ruined by glimpses of human suffering.

America.

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Jeb Bush's Campaign Is So Depressing

It's not like I want Jeb Bush to do well. Like every Republican candidate, I want him to fail miserably because he's the worst and his policies are garbage.

But he's such a tremendous wreck at campaigning, that I'm overwhelmed with vicarious embarrassment every time I see him.

Exhibit A:


Video Description: Jeb Bush stands in the middle of a room of white people in New Hampshire. There is a huge sign behind him reading: "Trusted leadership for a stronger America."

He paces around as he speaks: "So here's my pledge to you: I will be a commander-in-chief that will have the back of the military. I won't trash talk. I won't be a divider-in-chief or an agitator-in-chief. I won't be out there blow-hardin', talkin' a big game without backing it up. I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter, but send a signal that we're prepared to act in the national security interests of this country, to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world." Awkward pause. "Please clap."

The audience politely complies.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Betty Wright: "I Am Woman"

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Hillary Sexism Watch, Part Wev in an Infinite Series

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Everyone in the multiverse (and my thanks to each and every one of you!) (for real!) (I love news tips!) has emailed me about notorious shitlord Bob Woodward's comments on Hillary Clinton's voice:

Journalist Bob Woodward lobbed a thinly veiled attack at Democratic presidential Hillary Clinton Wednesday, saying that the former secretary of state "shouts" too much on the campaign trail.

When asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" why he felt Clinton, who eked out a razor-thin victory over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, is currently being crushed by the Vermont senator in New Hampshire polls, Woodward said: "I think a lot of it with Hillary Clinton has to do with style and delivery."

"She shouts," he added. "There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating."

...Woodward did not, in the interview, criticize Sanders, who frequently shouts at campaign rallies, for his approach on the trail.
I don't even know what I could say that I haven't already said eleventy-seven times before.

Sean Hannity just described Clinton's Iowa victory speech as "angry, bitter, screaming," asking "What is likable about that?"

For years, her laugh has been referred to as a "cackle," often with some villainous descriptor, like, as but one recent example, "her hideous cackle is murderous."

During the 2008 election, Pat Buchanan, also on Morning Joe, said: "When she raises her voice, and when a lot of women do, it reaches a point where every husband in America has heard it one time or another."

And if she isn't talking, even her expressions come up for criticism: Also in 2008, again on Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle said: "When she reacts the way she reacts to Obama with just the look, the look toward him, looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court, okay? Looking at him that way, all I could think of was this fall—if it's McCain that she's facing, McCain is likable. She's not."

I could go on and on (and on and on and on and on forever), but you get the point. This is but one brick in the brick wall of misogyny through which Clinton is obliged to break. Through which every woman is obliged to break.

For the record: This is why it matters when Bernie Sanders says things like "As a senator from a rural state, what I can tell Secretary Clinton, that all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want," and then accuses her of "taking words and misapplying them" when she calls that shit out: "I'm not shouting. It's just when women talk, some people think we're shouting."

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