The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by whiskers.

Recommended Reading:

Hari: [Content Note: Racism] Facebooker Posts Slave Jokes About Coworker's 3-Year-Old, Faces Very 2015 Consequences

Chelsea: [CN: Transphobia; gendered body policing; abuse] Military Haircuts

Brittney: [CN: Racism] The Big Father Figure Lie: Race, the Kardashians and the Latest War on Black Moms

TLC: [CN: Transphobia; carcerality] Statement on Ninth Circuit Ruling in Michelle Norsworthy Case

Carolyn: [CN: Misogyny; rape culture] Women: They're Just Like Us! Aaron Sorkin Reveals Approach to Writing Female Characters

Sam: Indigenous Inspiration: 7 Winners of the Indspire Awards in Canada

Trudy: Farewell ❤

I don't think I need to tell the readers of this space how much I like and admire Trudy and value her space, Gradient Lair. I am grateful that she has shared her challenging and exquisite thoughts with us, I am inspired by her firm boundary drawing and insistence on self-care, I am forever appreciative that she consciously made and kept her space safe for fat readers, and I will welcome her back if ever she decides to return. Much love always, Trudz.

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

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Fu@#ing Hell

[Content Note: Guns.]

Welcome to the Wild West 2.0:

A concealed-carry license holder is now cooperating with police after she opened fire on a shoplifter who was fleeing a Home Depot on Tuesday afternoon, Auburn Hills Police said.

The shooting happened in the store's parking lot at around 2 p.m., when Home Depot security was chasing a shoplifter in his 40s who jumped into a waiting dark SUV, said Lt. Jill McDonnell, an Auburn Hills police spokeswoman.

But when the SUV began to pull away, a 48-year-old woman suddenly began firing shots at the fleeing vehicle. The vehicle escaped – but possibly has a flat tire, McDonnell said.

The woman who fired the shots has a license to carry a firearm and is cooperating with police.

It’s not clear whether the woman would face charges in the incident.

The Home Depot, located on Joslyn, is part of a retail district with hundreds of stores in the area.
So, in a busy parking lot surrounded by a ton of retail shops, in the middle of the afternoon, a woman just opened fire on someone because he shoplifted, which, last I checked, wasn't a crime punishable by death.

This is fucking ridiculous. And the story also notes: "The shooting comes just weeks after a bank customer in Warren opened fire on an armed robber, causing him to collapse from injuries. It's not yet clear whether that man will face charges, either."

I can't imagine that the police actually want this kind of "help." The kind of help that escalates a basic theft case into an active shooter incident, which puts lives at risk and creates more work for police.

And I sure as fuck don't want to be living in a society in which this is considered acceptable. I don't want average people carrying guns around and using them for vigilante justice in the middle of open areas, determining whether it's appropriate to stop what appears to be (and MAY NOT BE) a crime, any crime, with deadly force.

Fuck this. Fuck all of it.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

[Content Note: There are some flickery lights in this video.]

Nelson: "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection"

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound lying on the couch fast asleep with his tongue hanging out
Just a totally typical, tangled leg, lolling tongue, couch disheveling greyhound nap.

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

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War] It continues: "Russia says it has launched rocket strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria from warships in the Caspian Sea—about 1,500km (930 miles) away. ...Meanwhile, Syrian ground troops have launched an offensive under Russian air cover, Syrian officials say. Russia denies claims that its week of strikes have mainly hit non-IS targets. ...Russia says it is targeting 'all terrorists,' but at least some of its air strikes have reportedly hit civilians and Western-backed rebels. US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said that coalition forces fighting IS in Syria would not co-operate with Russia. 'We believe Russia has the wrong strategy,' he said. 'They continue to hit targets that are not IS. We believe this is a fundamental mistake.'"

[CN: Flooding; death] An update on South Carolina: "The state faces what will surely be billions of dollars in damages once the waters recede and it attempts to rebuild and replace lost property. President Obama declared a state of emergency in all 46 South Carolina counties on Saturday, which facilitates federal and state response efforts. North Carolina sent 70 members of its National Guard to aid in response efforts. ...The situation in the Palmetto State has somehow only gotten worse since the bulk of the rain hit the state over the weekend. As of Tuesday afternoon, 16 people had died in the floods, the first last week, and tens of thousands lost power. At least 18 dams breached or failed, causing thousands to have to evacuate their homes on short notice before millions of gallons of water burst out of lakes and holding ponds. This makes life even more perilous for a populace told by state officials to stay home and off the roads if their area is safe. Dam breaks will continue to happen even with the sun shining bright because the state received so much rainfall inland that is now gushing downstream into the ocean in a second wave of deadly water." Fucking hell. I'm thinking about you, South Carolinians.

[CN: Transmisogynoir; transphobia violence; death] RIP Kiesha Jenkins, who is "the 20th trans woman reported murdered in the US this year. ...The vast majority of the women killed this year have been transgender women of color." My condolences to her family, friends, and community. I am so sad and so fucking angry about the epidemic of violence in this country against trans women. This is one of those times where my metaphorical teaspoon feels so goddamn inadequate, and I really wish I had a metaphorical dumptruck instead. We desperately need to move the earth faster.

[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says that the Obama administration is not ready "to endorse the Equality Act, which would expand non-discrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide," because the legislation—which would "amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system"—is "still under review by the administration" as there are "significant consequences to this bill going into effect. It has an impact on housing law and a variety of other policies in the federal government, so it's something that's still being carefully reviewed by the administration." Well, hurry up!

[CN: War on agency] This Republican caucus can fuck directly off: "On Saturday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced House Republicans will assemble a new select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood... According to Blackburn, the committee's creation is the first part of a three-pronged strategy devised to limit abortion rights in the wake of CMP's fraudulent videos. The committee, to be chaired by Blackburn under the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee, plans to push the passage of 'additional pro-life measures' through Congress and 'break the Senate logjam' by crafting a budget reconciliation package with the intent of defunding Planned Parenthood. House Democrats, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, were swift to condemn the House Republicans' actions, alleging the lawmakers are 'trying to make it easier to shut down the government and harder for millions of women to access the lifesaving health care.'" Goddammit.

[CN: Carcerality; reproductive injustice] This is a must-read piece about Amanda Kimbrough, an Alabama woman who was sentenced to 10 years in prison after her son was delivered stillborn at 25 weeks and she "was prosecuted for the 'chemical endangerment' of her fetus relating to her on-off struggle with drug addiction. The case was pursued so forcefully by the state of Alabama that she was charged with a class A felony—equivalent to murder." Rage. Seethe. Boil.

[CN: Carcerality; war on drugs] In better news: "Roughly 6,000 federal inmates will be released in the coming weeks in an effort to ease prison crowding and lessen harsh penalties for non-violent offenders, US media report. The release is the biggest of its kind in US history, the Washington Post reported. The inmates being released early were all convicted of drug-related charges. An additional 8,500 inmates will be eligible for release starting in November. The US Sentencing Commission unanimously approved the reductions to the jail terms of inmates last year. Up to 46,000 of the nation's about 100,000 drug offenders could qualify for early release under the commission recommendations."

[CN: Rape culture; sexual harassment] Ashley Judd continues to speak out as a survivor and advocate against the rape culture, recounting the time she was groomed and sexually harassed by a studio chief, and how she overcame her feelings of shame and responsibility.

Oh damn! "Hillary Clinton got fed up with her Republican rivals criticizing her record as secretary of state, so she had a solution—send each of them a copy of her book. 'I'm trying to be a good fellow candidate and give them some help,' the Democratic front-runner said during a rally in Iowa. Apparently each GOP candidate (except for Jim Gilmore) received not only a copy of Hard Choices, her 2014 memoir, but also a personalized letter. Clinton, on a bit of a joke spree after her appearance on Saturday Night Live last weekend, got in another jab in Iowa, deadpanning that there are so many candidates on the other side, 'they could have a book club.'" LOL! "Except for Jim Gilmore." LOL!

Oh my heart: "The True Story of the Ugly Duckling." ♥

And finally! Via Shaker AnnaAnastasia, here is just a terrific video of hippos eating watermelons whole. CHOMP! It's basically like when I give Olivia a treat, except on an epic scale, lol.

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See You in Hell!

Did you know the world is going to end today? Well, get ready!

While our planet may have survived September's "blood moon", it will be permanently destroyed on Wednesday, 7 October, a Christian organization has warned.

The eBible Fellowship, an online affiliation headquartered near Philadelphia, has based its prediction of an October obliteration on a previous claim that the world would end on 21 May 2011. While that claim proved to be false, the organization is confident it has the correct date this time.

"According to what the Bible is presenting it does appear that 7 October will be the day that God has spoken of: in which, the world will pass away," said Chris McCann, the leader and founder of the fellowship, an online gathering of Christians headquartered in Philadelphia.

"It'll be gone forever. Annihilated."
OH NOES! The saddest part for me about instant global annihilation is that I'll never get a chance to eat all the Spam I stockpiled in my doomsday prep shelter.

Okay, time to come clean: The reason I am posting this is not because I am sad about the nonexistent Spam in my imaginary bug-out bunker, but because of the following paragraph, which is a real thing in this real Guardian article, and which I love with one million hearts:
Scientists have several theories about when Earth will be destroyed, although none of the data points to this Wednesday. The most widely accepted theory is that the sun, which is already gradually increasing in temperature, will expand and swallow up the planet. Some scientists believe this could happen as soon as 7.6bn years' time.
LOLOLOLOLOLOL foreverrrrrrrrrrrr.

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This Guy Wants to Be President

[Content Note: Guns; violence; anti-choicery.]

Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has published quite the rant on his website about the UCC Shooting and who is to blame.

Under the title "We fill Our Culture with Garbage, and We Reap the Result," which is certainly a curious choice for someone running for president and hoping to "reap the result" of our culture-wide choice, he begins: "I'm going to start today by venting, and I will warn you in advance that this is going to be a sermon, but someone needs to speak the truth for a change."

You know when a conservative dude warns you that he's about to bravely engage in some truth-telling, you'd better buckle up and get ready for some hot trash.

Another week, another mass shooting, another press conference by the President lecturing us on the need for gun control, and now Hillary and Obama are in a race to see which of them can be the most extreme in trying to destroy the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Rinse and repeat.

But there is something missing from this discussion, and it's a glaring omission that everyone knows deep down, but politicians are afraid to talk about.

I'm going to go ahead and talk about it, and I don't care at all if some people don't like it, the truth is important.

What is the root cause of all these evil acts? These people who go into classrooms and churches and murder innocent people? How did we get to this place?

These shootings are a symptom of deep and serious cultural decay in our society.

Let that sink in for a minute.
Okay. Well, I don't need a minute to agree that mass shootings are a symptom of something fucked up in our society. I have the distinct feeling, however, that Governor Jindal and I don't agree on what, exactly, are the fucked up dynamics underwriting mass shootings. It would be pretty extraordinary if a conservative Republican made the case that unregulated gun access, toxic masculinity, white supremacy, and kyriarchal privilege were the hideous stew from which mass shooters emerged.

And, naturally, those are not the things to which Jindal is referring. He blames instead: Violence in pop culture, a disrespect for women and God in "our music," boys who play video video games, abortion, the breakdown of the family (a classic dogwhistle for same-sex marriage), and absentee fathers.

Then, very specifically and personally, he blames Christopher Harper-Mercer's father, who, as you may recall, argued for stricter gun laws.
Now, let's get really politically incorrect here and talk specifically about this horror in Oregon. This killer's father is now lecturing us on the need for gun control and he says he has no idea how or where his son got the guns.

Of course he doesn't know. You know why he doesn't know? Because he is not, and has never been in his son's life. He's a complete failure as a father, he should be embarrassed to even show his face in public. He's the problem here.

He brags that he has never held a gun in his life and that he had no idea that his son had any guns. Why didn't he know? Because he failed to raise his son. He should be ashamed of himself, and he owes us all an apology.

When he was asked what his relationship was with his son, he said he hadn't seen him in a while because he lived with his mother. Case Closed.
Case closed! Well, since Governor Jindal is so interested in the truth, here's a little of it: Lots of people have absentee fathers. Lots of people have fathers who are physically present but emotionally unavailable. Lots of people have fathers who died. Lots of people have two moms. All of those people don't become mass murderers. This is about as thoughtful (that is to say: not at all) as attributing mass shootings exclusively to mental illness, with zero acknowledgement of the fact that most of the people with mental illness don't pick up guns and shoot people.

And here's a little more truth: Harper-Mercer's mother was well into guns. Given the cultural propensity for (erroneously) blaming mothers for all their children's ills, it's pretty neat how suddenly a mother who was into guns and went to the shooting range with her son comes up for no share of the responsibility.

I'm not saying she necessarily should be; just that it's a telling omission from Jindal, who speaks THE TRUTH, except when it comes to addressing that access to and a fascination with actual guns might be more relevant than seeing guns in a video game or a movie.

Jindal concludes:
This mess is not nearly as complicated as we pretend.

It's the old computer axiom – garbage in, garbage out. We fill our culture with garbage, and we reap the result.

If anyone is at all serious about changing any of this, they must address the root problems, and those are cultural decay, the glorification of evil, the devaluation of human life, the breakdown of the family, and specifically the complete abdication of fathers.

Meanwhile, the shallow and simple minded liberals will continue to blame pieces of hardware for the problem, and they will long for the days before firearms were invented.

But the simple truth is, as long as we place no value on human life, as long as we glorify senseless violence and evil, we will get the exact same result.
Lots of blame to go around. Pop culture, lack of religion, abortion, gays, absentee fathers, liberals.

The one person who appears to bear no responsibility whatsoever in Jindal's thesis is Christopher Harper-Mercer.

The party of personal responsibility suddenly decides to take a look at the role culture plays in mass shootings when there is literally nothing else left to let them avoid talking about unregulated access to guns.

And in his determination to assign cultural blame on the other side of the aisle, Governor Jindal has failed entirely to mention that the man who did the shooting bears some responsibility for his actions.

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Cruel and Usual

[Content Note: Self-harm; transphobia.]

It looks the Wisconsin legislature is about to debate a bathroom bill, because of course it is.

I don't see much point in going over the same old arguments. I've yet to see any examples of predators pretending to be trans in order to hurt people in bathrooms. People don't have a right to feel safe in their bigotry. We just need to pee. Etcetera, etcetera.

The timing of this bill is particularly callous. Last week, a sixteen-year-old trans boy in Madison took his own life. He was pretty clear that he didn't want his death to become a cause. I respect that, and since I didn't know him, that's all I'm going to say.

However, I think it's worth noting that a lot of folks in Madison are still mourning. Students, teachers, and community members are redoubling their efforts to make sure that all young people feel welcome in their schools, their neighborhoods, their city. It's an understatement to say that debating trans students' right to use the bathroom feels even more counterproductive than usual.

I'm sure that Representatives Kremer and Nass would say that the timing of their bill is a coincidence. They'll likely plead ignorance. That's the whole problem. They're not interested in our community. They can't be bothered to look into the damning testimony that's come up every other time a legislature has proposed a "bathroom bill." They can't even be arsed to poke their heads out of the Capitol to see what things are like up the street.

They're bullies. They're interested in advancing their own careers at the expensive of other people's well-being. And as usual, they're not even bothering to hide that ugly little fact.

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Open Thread

image of Ben Nevis in Scotland

Hosted by Ben Nevis.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker DesertRose: "Do you remember the first adult (as in 'not written for kids,' not as in 'sexy') book you read? If so, what was it? How old were you? Have you re-read it in more recent years?"

I'm sure this wasn't actually the first "grown-up" book that I read, but the first one I can remember is Pet Sematary by Stephen King. My mom was a huge Stephen King fan at the time, and I asked her if I could read it, and she said yes, as long as I promised to come talk to her if anything scared or confused me. It was published in 1983, and I think I read it fairly soon after she read it, and she would have read it as soon as she could get her hands on it, so I was probably around 9 or 10.

At the time, watching horror flicks at slumber parties was THE COOLEST THING, so it wasn't even a little weird I was reading horror novels by the time I was a tween. Ah the '80s!

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This Fu@#ing Guy

[Content Note: Guns.]

Your Republican front runner, on why he's changed his mind and now believes assault weapons should be legal:

Donald Trump, on the telephone with CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo, who keeps trying to interrupt Trump but Trump just keeps ignoring him and plowing forward with his rant: —the bad guys are gonna have 'em, Chris! You can say, 'Okay, we're not gonna have 'em,' and you know who's not gonna have the assault weapons? The people—the law-abiding people won't have 'em, but the bad guys won't even look at it. It's like the whole thing with the magazines. You can't put more than seven bullets in a magazine. Now they'll have: You can't put more than two bullets in a magazine. You know, the law-abiding people will listen, and they'll do what they have to do, but the bad guys—the bad guys, you think they're gonna say, 'Oh gee! The law says I'm gonna only put seven bullets in a magazine!'

Cuomo: Well, just because people are gonna break the law doesn't mean that you don't have a law. But you're saying that you're okay with assault weapons as well?

Trump: Well, you have to be, because the bad guys are gonna have 'em anyway! And the answer is yes! And you know a lotta that stuff is used for recreational purposes. They use [sic] for recreational purposes. But you're not gonna have problems with people that are law-abiding people. But what happens when the bad guys have the assault weapons and you don't?!
I mean.

Everything about this is unadulterated horseshit, but nothing is quite so unapologetically foolish as this false dichotomy between "law-abiding people" and "the bad guys." (And don't even get me started on adult human beings talking about "bad guys.") Anyone who legally purchases an assault weapon is a "law-abiding person" until they're not.

That's why every goddamn mass shooting is followed by (quickly fading) news reports about how the guns were all legally purchased.

And, yes, there are crimes in this country committed by people using illegally obtained assault weapons, and none of them (that I recall) are mass shootings, and none of them have been stopped by people (outside law enforcement) who own legally acquired weapons.

The world just doesn't work this way. People who have guns in active shooter situations don't pull them, because they are afraid to be mistaken by law enforcement for the shooter. And people who have guns and try to intervene as heroes sometimes shoot in the head the people they're trying to save.

This idea that more guns will stop gun violence, and that we must keep legal all manner of weaponry because it's the only way to stop the "bad guys" who have illegal weapons (and why must someone with an illegal assault weapon be stopped only with another assault weapon, anyway?), is a fantasy. A ridiculous, dangerous fantasy.

Every single time Donald Trump says anything, I just hear Jerry Orbach as Lenny Briscoe uttering my favorite Law & Order line of all time: "The last time he had an original idea he left it swirling in the bowl."

The glimmering gilded bowl.

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Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Racism; white supremacy; erasure.]

"Only a T-shirt, strident and boastful, hip and simple, that cuts right to the chase: We don't see you. We don't see you as rebels, and we don't even see you as slaves."—Rebecca Carroll, in a must-read piece about "Suffragette's publicity campaign and the politics of erasure."

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Bros: "When Will I Be Famous?"

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On Women Being Expected to "Tame" Men

[Content Note: Toxic masculinity.]

I tweeted a few thoughts about toxic masculinity and the idea that women are expected to "tame" (straight) men. For those who aren't on Twitter, and to open a place for further discussion, here are those tweets.

screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: ''He didn't have a girlfriend' isn't why he was a resentful violent shit. Being a resentful violent shit is why he didn't have a girlfriend.'
screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'Women are expected to 'tame' men, but we're loathed & abused for drawing boundaries, i.e. communicating how we want to be treated.'
screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'If a woman suggests some patriarchal behaviour be set off limits, she's despised. Yet we're tasked with 'taming' men.'
screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'To criticize toxic masculinity is to be deemed a 'man-hater,' to try to convince us to care for men and gently 'civilize' them.'
screen cap of a tweet authored by me reading: 'What 'taming' men really amounts to is indulging them & personally sucking up their abuse so it isn't directed at other people.'

I can't put this any more plainly: Women were not put on the planet to "tame" men. But it's the people who believe that we are who most aggressively push back on attempts by women to challenge the toxic masculinity that harms us.

They don't really want women to "tame" men. They want women to submit to men, and they want to blame women for men's violence.

[Related Reading: You Don't Own Women; You're Not Entitled to Women's Affection.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat, sitting on the piano, behind a figurine of a cat reading a book

I caught Sophie sitting on the top of the piano, having neatly tucked herself just behind a figurine, given to me by a friend who knows me well, of a cat reading a book. So freaking cute!

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] I just read these two stories back-to-back: "Suspected gunman at Philly college in custody" and "11-year-old 'bully' murdered 8-year-old neighbor with a shotgun after dispute over puppy: police." For fuck's sake. Is there any point at which the right not to be murdered by a shitlord with a gun and a grievance trumps the right to bear arms?

[CN: Disablism; regionalism] The rest of the world thinks USians are ignorant lunatics for not changing our gun laws and instead allowing these mass shootings to happen at a rate unseen elsewhere. Which, you know, isn't really helping. Especially the shit about how the fault lies with "middle America." (Doesn't it always?) The US is certainly not a monolith when it comes to how we feel about guns, and it would be better if people outside the country allied themselves with those of us who are trying to put pressure on legislators to enact gun reform. It would be helpful if you identified yourselves as supporters of gun reformers, rather than suggesting the entire country is full of gun-crazed bumpkins.

Here are some ways that you can help South Carolinians affected by devastating floods. (I wouldn't recommended all of them, so please always do your own vetting re: charitable giving.) Please feel welcome and encouraged to leave suggestions for other ways to help in comments.

[CN: Image of insects] This is how fire ants are surviving the flooding, which is a pretty interesting nature story in the middle of a terrible disaster, but also kind of a moving metaphor for how humans survive such disasters. At least to me.

[CN: War; bombing; death] Amy Davidson has "Five Questions About the Bombing of a Hospital in Kunduz." Meanwhile, Spencer Ackerman notes that "the US account of the Saturday morning airstrike [has shifted] for the fourth time in as many days." One constant is that is was just a big mistake: "Campbell instead said the hospital was 'mistakenly struck' by US forces." That is woefully insufficient.

[CN: Homophobia; racism] I don't even know: "Alabama judges are using a Jim Crow-era law to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That law, passed in 1961, makes the issuance of marriage licenses optional rather than mandatory." What I do know is that Imani Gandy is a champion for wading through this stuff.

[CN: Racism] In case you weren't aware, Donald Trump not only says heinous racist things about immigrants and refugees, but also says heinous racist things about Native Americans.

[CN: Privacy violations] Welp: "The personal data of Europeans held in America by online tech corporations is not safe from US government snooping, the European court of justice has ruled, in a landmark verdict that hits Facebook, Google, Amazon and many others. The Luxembourg-based court declared the EU-US 'safe harbour' rules regulating firms' retention of Europeans' data in the US to be invalid, throwing a spoke into trade relations that will also impact on current negotiations on a far-reaching transatlantic trade pact between Washington and Brussels. The ECJ, whose findings are binding on all EU member states, ruled on Tuesday that: 'The United States … scheme enables interference, by United States public authorities, with the fundamental rights of persons…'"

Are you a huge fan of McDonald's breakfast? Then you will probably be excited to hear that McDonald's [moving gif at link] is now serving breakfast all day. Or maybe not! If part of the reason you liked it was its pre-10:30am exclusivity!

Mad Max director says there will be at least two more installments. Yay! But will they be as good as the first one? I bet not! But I hope I'm wrong! Will one of them be a Furiosa film? I wish! And I say that as a human being who is physically incapable of wanting to see more Tom Hardy than I already do! But MORE FURIOSA PLZ!

And finally! A chihuahua mama who was mourning her stillborn pup adopts (with the help of her guardians and a pet rescue) some newborn kittens without a mama. Blub. ♥

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3rd World Conference of Women's Shelters Offers an Opportunity to Connect and Act to End Violence Against Women

by Bina Shah, a writer and columnist living in Karachi, Pakistan. She blogs at Bina Shah and can be found on Twitter @binashah.

[Content Note: This post contains discussion of violence against women and girls. Below the fold, there is an image of a woman with injuries from domestic violence. She publicly posted those images to raise awareness and challenge the stigma of surviving abuse.]

image of a banner promoting the conference

It's a matter of grave concern and great sadness that in the 21st century, despite all the world's advances in technology, science, society and economics, violence against women remains endemic. In fact, one out of three women around the world is a victim of gender-based violence: domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, sexual harassment, honor killings and many other permutations of this crime play out in millions of homes, workplaces, streets, villages and cities in every part of the globe. Violence against girls and women is rightly called one of the greatest crimes against humanity, occurring across all nations and cultures, classes and religions.

Women have been joining hands since time immemorial to help each other out of violent situations, when lack of money, resources, or family support stand in the way of a woman's ability to leave an abusive situation. One of the most important aspects of this help involves finding a safe place for a woman to go when she experiences violence in her home. Women's shelters provide those safe spaces where a woman can take her children and find safety away from her aggressor, knowing that he won't be able to find her when she's gone. Women's shelters help save lives, because domestic violence kills.

To help raise awareness about the worldwide problem of violence against women, and to help people involved in the battle to stop violence against women, the 3rd World Conference of Women's Shelters will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 3-6th November, 2015. Organized by the Dutch Foundation of Women's Shelters and its partners, the conference is a unique opportunity to connect and act to end violence against women, and there are many ways in which you can participate!

Over the four days of the conference, 1000 participants from more than 100 countries will share and increase their knowledge with their fellow delegates about the causes of violence against women and girls (VAWG). This will happen through keynote speeches, workshops, focus groups, and formal and informal networking opportunities with practitioners, case workers, legal professionals, and survivors of violence against women.

The conference organizers want to involve economists, businesses, scientists, technology specialists, and many other disciplines not traditionally involved with the area of VAWG, in order to increase and expand knowledge, as well as coming up with creative solutions to the problems that women face when trying to escape violence. One of the biggest problems for these women is lack of economic resources, so helping women to become economically empowered and strengthening their economic positions is a vital part of combatting the issue.

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The Media Is Failing Women

[Content Note: Toxic masculinity; violent misogyny; disablism.]

Today, I read this AP headline [video may autoplay at link]: "In Writings, Ore. Gunman Ranted about Having No Girlfriend." And I thought: I'm glad at least one mainstream media outlet is finally going to dig into the toxic masculinity underwriting this shooting. But of course that did not happen.

It's instead all about how Christopher Harper-Mercer was "crazy." The sum total of commentary regarding the entitled toxic masculinity that underwrote his violent rage consists of: "The gunman who killed nine people at an Oregon community college said in writings he left behind that everyone else was 'crazy' and ranted about not having a girlfriend" and "Harper-Mercer complained in writings about not having a girlfriend, and he seemed to feel like he was very rational while others around him were not."

That's it. There is not even the most cursory connection drawn between Harper-Mercer's actions and the culture of male entitlement that has underwritten other recent mass shootings. There's not even a mention of Elliot Rodger. Or Ben Moynihan. Or Marc L├ępine. Or Seung-Hui Cho. Or George Sodini. Or Anders Behring Breivik. Or Jaylen Fryburg. Or Mark Dorch. Which is not even the complete list of misogynist mass killers.

The media refuses to connect these dots. And the women who do are called man-hating hysterics, despite the fact that many of these men, like Christopher Harper-Mercer, participate in a public culture of violent misogyny in which entitled men blame women's failure to fuck them for their woes and for their dysfunction and for their abusive behavior.

Even when a media outlet obliquely, or overly, references the "beta uprising"—the nomenclature for which is rooted in this bullshit about how (desirable) women will only fuck "alpha males," and thus "beta males," who often identify as "unwilling virgins," are denied sex service to which they believe men are entitled—they fail to connect that dot to all the other dots.

This, from [video may autoplay at link] a USA Today article, for example: "Investigators say the gunman appeared to be involved in a loosely-affiliated online community known as the 'beta boys' that glorifies mass shootings, similar to the Oregon attack, the official said."

Yes, it's true that the "beta boys" community "glorifies mass shootings," but the reason they glorify them, which is right in their fucking name, is because so many men who commit mass violence share their vision of male entitlement and their vengeful frustration that women don't fuck them on demand.

Connect. The goddamn. Dots.

And this, from the New York Times:

The gunman who killed nine people on a college campus set out on his rampage armed with six guns, a flak jacket and enough ammunition to do far more damage — an angry, isolated young man whose rage was fueled by animus toward religion and resentment at how his life was unfolding, law enforcement officials said Friday.

..."He didn't have a girlfriend, and he was upset about that," said a senior law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. "He comes across thinking of himself as a loser. He did not like his lot in life, and it seemed like nothing was going right for him."
It's interesting, ahem, how routinely "he didn't have a girlfriend" is treated as synonymous with "no women were fucking him, and he felt entitled to women fucking him, and so that enraged him."

The Times piece also notes the official adding "it does not appear like he was part of some larger group."

Yeah. I guess it wouldn't appear that way, when you deliberately refuse to connect the dots.

It's the same refusal we see regarding anti-choice terrorism. Just a series of unconnected events, each of which happens in a vacuum! So we're meant to believe.

That similar failure is no coincidence. It's all violence done against (primarily) women, targeting women who are exercising sexual and reproductive agency, who want control over our own bodies, who insist on deciding for ourselves who we fuck and whether we birth (their) babies.

Violent, entitled men who subscribe to narratives of a profoundly toxic masculinity are waging a terrorist campaign against women's autonomy, agency, and consent. They are killing us (and other men in the process) in order to terrorize us into yielding our independence.

And the media is complicit in their terrorism, because it flatly refuses to call these acts what they are. The media is failing women by refusing to connect the dots.

Open Wide...


[Content Note: Military aggression.]

Hey, remember when Russia launched airstrikes in Syria last week? Well, over the weekend, Russia's fighter jets violated Turkish airspace during its air campaign, and Turkey is not happy about it.

Russia's violation of Turkish airspace over the weekend "does not look like an accident", Nato has said.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia had not provided "any real explanation" of the violation, which "lasted for a long time."

Russia says Saturday's incursion was brief and due to bad weather. It is examining claims of another violation.

Turkey's army also says an unidentified fighter jet locked its radar onto eight of its jets on Monday.

...Turkey's government has been enraged by these Russian incursions - and by Moscow's military intervention in Syria as a whole.

First, any violation of Turkish airspace could lead to the object being shot down, which would dramatically escalate events. Second, there could be a mid-air collision close to Turkey's borders, as this is the first time since World War Two that Russian and American combat planes have been in the skies over Syria. But third, Russia's air strikes are the final nail in the coffin for Turkey's "buffer zone" idea in northern Syria.

...Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that "an attack on Turkey means an attack on Nato".

"Our positive relationship with Russia is known. But if Russia loses a friend like Turkey, with whom it has been co-operating on many issues, it will lose a lot, and it should know that," he said.

Mr Stoltenberg called the Russian violation "unacceptable", saying Nato was taking it "very seriously" and warning that "incidents, accidents, may create dangerous situations".

...The head of Nato also said Russia's deployment in Syria was of "great concern", and he called on Moscow to avoid further escalating tensions with Nato.
The incursions into Turkish airspace, combined with the fact that Russia's airstrikes are clearly targeting the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including rebel groups backed by the US, is creating a very dangerous situation.

I don't have any insightful commentary; all I got is OH SHIT. But I want to share this stuff as it's happening, because if and when something kicks off because of this fuckery, and I hope it doesn't, it'll be useful to understand all these (not so) little incidents that paved the path.

Open Wide...

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