Question of the Day

What's for dinner? Or whatever the next meal of the day is in your part of the world.

I don't even know yet, lol. I've got to go look in the fridge and see what we've got. Probably chicken of some description.

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Congratulations, Aisha Moodie-Mills

National LGBT org the Victory Fund and Institute has chosen Aisha Moodie-Mills as its new president and CEO, making her the first black woman to lead the organization:

Both within the organization and among leaders of other national LGBT organizations, Moodie-Mills' presence as a black lesbian stands in contrast to the predominantly white and gay male makeup of these groups.

She began her LGBT activism in 2009, advocating for the DC Council to pass marriage equality legislation — a campaign that was noted for its outreach to communities of color.

At the Center for American Progress, where she has worked since 2010, she began the FIRE initiative to talk about and advocate for issues at the intersection of race, class, and sexuality.

Now, she'll take the helm of the Victory Fund and Institute, overseeing a $4 million annual budget, 18 employees, and a mission to support and train out LGBT people to run for office and staff political jobs.

Talking with BuzzFeed News, she said that she knows that needs to change — and that part of what has her excited about the job, which she starts April 7, is her belief that Victory's leadership knows that as well.

"Victory has been thinking about this, certainly before me, and I think I am a manifestation of the forward-thinking of the organization, and that's a great legacy to be able to build upon," she said. "I was impressed that they, as a … not really diverse group — there are only like a handful of women and everyone there is white, so they're not a very diverse group — how they came to it themselves that they need to do something different and that they needed to think much longer into the future — a 20-year plan — and that this 20-year plan needs to reach people that they've never reached before."

...As the new president of Victory Fund and its educational arm, Victory Institute, she said her focus will be on time-consuming, grassroots work in places where there are no or very few out LGBT elected officials, specifically pointing to "the South and the plains states" and other areas lacking out LGBT representation, from city councils to statehouses.
Moodie-Mills says that political fundraising and consulting was "all I ever knew" before her LGBT activism. But that was "before I fell in love with this lovely girl named Danielle, and the politics became very personal to me." Blub.

[H/T to Pam Spaulding.]

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: White Supremacy.]

"In indie rock, white is the norm. While indie rock and the DIY underground, historically, have been proud to disassociate themselves from popular culture, there is no divorcing a predominantly white scene from systemic ideals ingrained in white Western culture. That status quo creates a barrier in terms of both the sanctioned participation of artists of color and the amount of respect afforded them, all of which sets people of color up to forever be seen as interlopers and outsiders. Whiteness is the very ideal for which art is made in Western culture, be it the cinema of Wes Anderson or, say, the artists on Merge Records."—Sarah Sahim, in a must-read essay for Pitchfork, "The Unbearable Whiteness of Indie."

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[Content Note: Fat hatred; diet and surgery advertisements.]

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about writing a post on the ubiquity of weight loss and/or body shaming advertisements. They are everywhere in my every day: I see them on the television, in magazines, in junk mail, in billboards along the roadways, in content-generated online ads prompted because I often use the word "fat" in my work. (Oh the irony.)

They are ads for diet pills, diet programs, diet food delivery services, weight loss supplements, fat-busting miracle elixirs, gyms, workout equipment, restrictive "shaping" garments, body mutilating surgeries, and every other conceivable variation on weight loss and/or body shaming one can imagine.

This is the time of year when there's a lull between the "New Year's weight loss resolution" theme and the "get your body ready for a bathing suit" theme. So, at the moment, it's mostly just run-of-the-mill "you're fat and you shouldn't be" stuff.


I thought that I would keep track of how many of these ads I saw during one 24-hour period. A typical day.

So, one day I started counting, while I was watching the morning news. By the time I'd turned off the television, I realized I'd already forgotten to keep counting.

I had another couple of false starts, where I'd lose track during the day, so I decided to carry my notebook around with me, to write down a mark for each ad.

By midway through the day, I'd again failed to keep up.

The problem is not that I get distracted, or that I don't care about the project. The problem, I realized, is that I am so inured to advertisements admonishing me that my body must change that they barely register anymore.

This is a commentary on their terrible pervasiveness, but it's also a commentary on the coping mechanisms fat people must employ. I have to turn off my conscious mind to these things, to this incessant messaging that my body is gross, sick, less than, because if I stopped to register every one, I would never escape the crushing oppression of being urged to loathe myself.

I literally wouldn't have enough psychological capacity to process each one of them, if I let every one of them penetrate.

So I am obliged to turn off part of my mind, part of myself, to the world around me. Because the world is so intent on telling me that I am broken and need to be fixed.

Ultimately, that realization felt even more important than reporting the number of ads I'd seen in a day. The realization that I can't even see all of them. If I want to survive.

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Daily Dose of Cute

Virtually every time I sit down on the couch, even for a moment, Sophie immediately jumps on my lap or chest, Zelda jumps up beside me to my left, and then this happens to my right:

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat lying on the arm of the sofa, and Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the perpendicular arm of the loveseat

Olivia stretches out one way, and Matilda stretches out the other. And, let me tell you, the place in which Matilda is inhabiting there, just below the lamp, is the Most Coveted Spot. There are battles fought over that spot. Legendary battles.

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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.

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I haven't bought anything new in a long time, so, instead of doing a post about something new, I figured I'd do a post about something old! I bought this red "54" baseball tee at Lane Bryant in 2001 (!!!), and it is still my favorite t-shirt:

image of me wearing a red baseball tee with '54' on it

The "54" had some bling on it when I first purchased the shirt, but now all that remains are six sparkles and a bunch of dull backing circles. The red has faded, and the seams are getting pretty rough. Every time I put it in the washer, I pray that it's going to come out intact on the other side.

It's not a great shirt, and wasn't even when I bought it, but it's just so damn comfy, and it hangs in a flattering way; I like the rounded hem in front. That cut works really well on my particular body shape.

But, truth be told, mostly this shirt is just sentimental to me because it's the shirt I was wearing when I met Iain in person for the first time.

Anyway! As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: What's your favorite article of clothing of which you won't let go until it falls to pieces?

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.]

Paula Abdul: "Straight Up"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Extreme weather; death. Video may autoplay at link.] Tulsa area hit by deadly tornadoes: "One person was killed and several others were injured when a series of 'extremely dangerous' tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma, knocking out power and leaving a massive trail of destruction. The twisters targeted the Tulsa area, and the state Emergency Management Services Authority confirmed that one person died at a mobile home park in the nearby town of Sand Springs. Three other people were injured—one critically, it said. ...Utilities companies said that more than 79,000 customers were without power across the state as of late Wednesday night. At least 10 Tulsa public schools were without power, prompting the city to cancel classes for Thursday."

[CN: War] Shit: "Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shi'ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen's president on Thursday, a gamble by the world's top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from Washington. Riyadh's rival Iran denounced the assault on the Houthi militia group, which it backs, and made clear the kingdom's deployment of a Sunni coalition against Shi'ite enemies would complicate efforts to end a conflict likely to inflame the sectarian animosities fuelling wars around the Middle East." I just feel immensely sad for all the moderate and peaceful people in this region who just want to get on with the business of living their lives, but are constantly being subjected to danger, violence, and death.

[CN: Police brutality; racism] "Why are you beating on me like this?" Three white Inkster, Michigan, police officers were caught on tape dragging Floyd Dent, a black man, from his car, putting him in a chokehold, hitting him 16 times in the head, and Tasering him three times. "Dent says the bag of crack cocaine the officers claim they found was planted and, according to his attorney, there is unreleased video which shows the officers planting the drugs. The officer who repeatedly punched Dent was 'was charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for planting evidence and falsifying reports' in 2003. He was ultimately found not guilty. 'I'm lucky to be living. I think they was trying to kill me, especially when they had choked me. I mean, I was on my last breath. I kept telling the officer, 'Please, I can’t breathe,'' Dent said in a media availability today." Fucking hell.

[CN: Addiction; illness] In other news from Indiana: "Indiana is battling the worst HIV outbreak in its history: The HIV epidemic that now grips Austin, Ind., seemed to come out of nowhere. Since the first diagnosis in mid-December, the number of infected there and in the surrounding region has skyrocketed—26 by the beginning of March, 72 as of this Wednesday. It's the worst HIV outbreak in state history, and has local and federal officials scrambling to stem the spread of the disease. But to William Cooke, who runs the only doctor's office in this city of about 4,300, this epidemic has been years in the making. 'We identified long ago there was an undercurrent there that was very unhealthy,' he told NBC. Poverty and drug addiction in Austin created 'a recipe for disaster.' Long before the first HIV diagnosis, the city has been coping with another epidemic: intravenous drug use. Used needles can be found strewn across yards and roadsides, but just as often wind up in the hands of other users, contributing to the spread of infection." My state is in trouble. In many, many ways. And it all comes back to this: No political will among our conservative leadership to provide for vulnerable people, nor to stop the skyrocketing numbers of vulnerable people, as our middle class crumbles through lack of jobs with a livable wage.

Well, if Elizabeth Warren won't do it... "Joe Biden may come under pressure to decide whether he will challenge Hillary Clinton for the White House sooner than anticipated, as liberal anxiety has prompted multiplying grassroots supporters to wonder if the vice-president might be knocked from his perch of studied neutrality and into a presidential bid. A third-party political action committee urging Biden to challenge Clinton from the left in the smoldering controversy over her email arrangements has ballooned tenfold in the past week alone, the Guardian has learned, even as advisers close to the vice-president insist that he will wait and see about a 2016 run."

Something something Chris Christie blah blah presidency fart.

Wow: "They must be the two most audacious space missions currently in development. Solar Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus will venture inside the orbit of Mercury to study the Sun."

I love Dolly Parton so much: "There's a brain under the wig and a heart beneath the boobs. I may look artificial, but inside I'm totally real."

The second season of Fargo is shaping up nicely: "Taking place in the late 1970s, Season 2—a prequel to Season 1 that stars Patrick Wilson as a younger version of Keith Carradine's Lou Solverson—is set against 'the cultural transformation that was going on at that time,' as well as Reagan's first campaign for President of the United States, previewed FX Networks CEO John Landgraf back in January. 'He's on his first campaign [and he] makes a swing through Fargo. Some of the characters have some interactions with him. And some of his movies are also a part of the show.'" And who's gonna play Reagan? Why, Bruce Campbell, of course!

[CN: Images of animal abuse/neglect but with happy endings] This is the power that love has: "Powerful Before and After Pics Show How Rescue Can Change a Cat." We domesticated them; we made them dependent on us; we have the responsibility to care for them.

And finally! Cats stealing dog beds. LOL FOREVERRRRR.

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Jeb Bush: "I'm the Worst!"

[Content Note: War on agency; sexual violence; disablism.]

If you thought that George W. Bush was terrible on abortion rights, get a load of his terrible brother:

As former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) fundraises with his brother George W., the likely 2016 presidential candidate is widely being positioned in the media as the more moderate of the two. But on the issue of abortion, Jeb actually stands to the right of his elder sibling.

...[Jeb] declared in 2003 that he was "probably the most pro-life governor in modern times." As governor, Bush signed a law to create "Choose Life" license plates in Florida, the proceeds from which flow to anti-abortion advocacy organizations. He also aggressively intervened in two high-profile cases to prevent a [survivor of rape with developmental disabilities] and a 13-year-old girl from being able to have abortions.

In the former case, involving a 22-year-old rape victim who was both pregnant and developmentally disabled, Bush asked a court to appoint a guardian to represent the woman's fetus. The woman had been raped while living in state-supervised facilities, but did not have the mental capacity to identify her attacker.

"Given the facts of this case, it is entirely appropriate that an advocate be appointed to represent the unborn child's best interests in all decisions," the governor said at the time.

In 2005, Bush fought to prevent a pregnant 13-year-old girl, who was a ward of the state, from having an abortion. He was overruled by a judge, and CNN later reported that Bush's "abortion activism shocked some state officials who believed he was reaching beyond the powers of his office."

...The former governor recently embraced a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy—a law that anti-abortion activists hope will be a vehicle through which to challenge Roe.

..."When it comes to access to restricting access to abortion, Jeb Bush is as far to the right as you can go," said Marcy Stech, a spokeswoman for the pro-choice PAC EMILY's List. "Jeb makes W. look like a pillar of reasonable humanity."

One of the worst things of any Republican primary is watching the parade of (usually) white men try to out-extreme each other on the issue of abortion. I suspect that this round is going to be even worse than usual, and I am not looking forward to it.

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Germanwings Crash Update

[Content Note: Description of airline crash; death.]

On Tuesday, I mentioned that a Lufthansa Germanwings airbus had crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board. The cockpit voice recorder has revealed that the crash appears to have been intentional:

The chief Marseille prosecutor handling the investigation into the crash of a Germanwings jetliner said on Thursday that evidence from the cockpit voice recorder indicated that the co-pilot had deliberately locked the captain out of the cockpit and steered the plane into its fatal descent.

"At this moment, in light of investigation, the interpretation we can give at this time is that the co-pilot through voluntary abstention refused to open the door of the cockpit to the commander, and activated the button that commands the loss of altitude," the prosecutor, Brice Robin, said.

He said it appeared that the intention of the co-pilot, identified as Andreas Lubitz, had been "to destroy the aircraft." He said that the voice recorder showed that the co-pilot had been breathing until before the moment of impact, suggesting that he was conscious and deliberate in killing 144 passengers and five other crew members in the French Alps on Tuesday.

The inquiry had shown that the crash was intentional, Mr. Robin said, and he was considering changing his investigation from involuntary manslaughter to voluntary manslaughter.

...The prosecutor said that the authorities had a full transcript of the final 30 minutes of the voice recorder.

"During the first 20 minutes, the pilots talk normally," he said, saying they spoke in a "cheerful" and "courteous" way. "There is nothing abnormal happening," he said.

The prosecutor said the transcript showed that the captain was preparing a briefing for landing in Düsseldorf. The co-pilot's answer, the prosecutor said, was "laconic."

The commanding pilot then asked the co-pilot to take over, and the noise of a seat backing up and a door closing could be heard.

"At this stage, the co-pilot is in control, alone," the prosecutor said. "It is when he is alone that the co-pilot manipulates the flight monitoring system to activate the descent of the plane." The prosecutor said that this action could only have been "voluntary."

The captain is heard begging to get back in to the cockpit, but the co-pilot, heard breathing normally until the plane crashed, did not react, Mr. Robin said.
In fact, other reports describe the captain "banging on the door" and "trying to smash the door down." It sounds like it was a very desperate, chaotic, terrifying scene, and passengers can be heard screaming on the recording, just before the impact.

At this point, there is no indication that Lubitz was carrying out a terrorist act; he has not been red-flagged by law enforcement officials, nor were any of the passengers on board. Still, an investigation into Lubitz is now underway, to try to find any explanation for his apparent decision to kill himself and everyone else on the airbus he was piloting.

I feel so profoundly sad for the people who lost family members, friends, and/or colleagues on the flight. It would be devastating to lose someone in a crash that was caused by some mechanical failure or weather event, but to lose someone in an inexplicable, deliberate crash committed by one of the pilots is unimaginable.

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Pence to Sign "Religious Freedom" Bill

[Content Note: Christian Supremacy; homophobia; transphobia.]

Today, despite the fact that three major conventions have threatened to pull out of Indiana and corporations are balking, Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence has promised to sign the heinous "religious freedom" bill in a private ceremony, shut away from any criticism or dissent.

There is a lot of talk in Indiana about a recall for Pence over this, but whooooooooooops Indiana has no recall provision for statewide office-holders, because of course we don't.

This bill is going to affect a lot of people—it's already tough to be a public atheist in Indiana, and it's about to get a lot tougher—but it is going to affect LGBTQIA Hoosiers most of all.

This legislation is, quite literally, a license to discriminate against queer Hoosiers.

Although the Republican-controlled state legislature, nor the Republican governor, won't say it plainly, this reprehensible bill is their fuck-you to the federal government for thwarting their efforts to continue to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana. They want the right to make LGBTQIA Hoosiers second-class citizens, and they couldn't do it by banning same-sex marriage, so they'll do it this way.

Even at the expense of much-needed income brought to the state by conventions and corporations.

It's shameful and hateful and utterly contemptible.

But, despite our government's queerphobic fuckery, plenty of Hoosiers are protesting this codified bigotry. One of my favorite local places, Valpo Velvet Ice Cream, posted this to their Facebook page:

image of Valpo Velvet Ice Cream's storefront, with a sign shaped like Indiana reading 'Discrimination has never been, nor will it ever be, cool. Get it together, Indiana.' and large letters on the window reading 'THIS BUSINESS SERVES EVERYONE.'

The state might be able to tell business owners that they're allowed to legally discriminate, but they can't force business owners to discriminate. The business owners who will proudly SERVE EVERYONE will make it known, and Hoosiers who don't support discrimination will take our business there.

I am not the only Hoosier who feels very strongly that if you don't SERVE EVERYONE, you won't be serving me.

Which doesn't ameliorate the fact that LGBTQIA Hoosiers feel like second-class citizens in their own state, nor stop the feelings of alienation and pain and anger that will come with being turned away by a business and having no legal recourse for that grave indignity.

The only thing that will do that is getting rid of this detestable law. That's going to take awhile. In the meantime, the market will decide, just like Republicans always wanted.

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Open Thread

image of Claypotts Castle in Scotland

Hosted by Claypotts Castle.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker invisibilia: "What lesson you learn from your grandparents stuck with you? Could be something like 'Granddad taught me to love nature by taking me walking in the forest' or 'Granny showed me how to knit' or even something negative like 'Grandmother was a racist, and showed me how NOT to be.' Obviously 'didn't have any grandparents' or 'other elderly relative/friend of the family is the reason why I love card games' are perfectly OK answers."

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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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[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link.]

Woolly Mammoth Could Walk Again after Genes Spliced with Asian Elephant. You know, I'm just as excited to add "trampled by rampaging woolly mammoth" to the list of my possible demises as the next nerd, but maybe we should focus on preventing the extinction of living species to protect our delicate ecosystems before we start reintroducing extinct species to potentially wreak havoc on our delicate ecosystems.

That was my first thought after I read the headline. Then I made my way to the end of the article, and it turns out I'm not alone in that thought, or at least a similar one:

Other experts worry cloning mammoths could also lead people to overlook the threat of extinction of current living animals.

Ancient DNA expert Professor Alex Greenwood told The Telegraph: "We face the potential extinction of African and Asian elephants. Why bring back another elephantid from extinction when we cannot even keep the ones that are not extinct around?"

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Daily Dose of Cute

Sophie loves to sit on towels. Especially clean towels, because why wouldn't a human want cat hair all over a clean towel? So of course as soon as I put a hand towel on top of the toilet tank, Sophie took up residence.

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on top of a folded towel on the back of the toilet, looking at me disdainfully
Me: Sophie, don't be a toilet cat!
Sophie: Don't tell me what to do!

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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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Sexual violence; rape culture.]

"If [black women] report our assaults to police, we risk being retraumatized not only by the inhumane process of reliving a violent experience through sharing its gory details—but also by the violence of the criminal justice system itself, which treats rape victims like suspects. Worse yet, the police themselves commit assault with impunity; often, they target black women in particular, knowing our existence at the intersections of racism and misogyny make crimes against us far less likely to be investigated. To be a 'good rape victim' is to immediately report your assault to the police (even knowing you will likely never see 'justice'), but to be a good black person is to avoid the police entirely because your life quite literally depends on it. The tightrope walk is impossible."—Hannah Giorgis, in a must-read essay, "Many women of color don't go to the police after sexual assault for a reason."

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by mud.

Recommended Reading:

Anne: [Content Note: Misogyny; choice policing] Dear Everyone: Here's Why I Don't Want to Read Your Crappy Opinions on What Mothers Should Do

Jennifer: [CN: Kierarchal hierarchies] The Limits of Diversity

Andy: [CN: Self-harm; transphobia] RIP Blake Brockington

Qimmah: Black Women Sweep the NCAA D1 Swimming Championship

Sam: [CN: Transphobia; body dysmorphia] 5 Ways to Support a Trans Person Experiencing Body Dysphoria

Diamond: [CN: Racism] Chicago Police Made More Street Stops Last Year Than NYPD

Nick: [CN: White supremacy] In These Times of Racial Strife, a White Professor Explores the Prevalence of 'White Fragility'

Evan: [CN: Gender essentialism] "Concerns: None."

Chloe: [CN: Misogyny] Why Don't Men Read Books by Women?

Trudy: At-Home Manicures & Self-Care

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

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes: "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Misogynoir; disablism; hostility to consent] Kam Brock, a 28-year-old black woman from Long Island, was forcibly committed, held for eight days, and injected with powerful sedatives by medical staff at the Harlem Hospital psych ward because they didn't believe her that President Obama follows her on Twitter. (He does.) (Which they could have easily checked.) (But inexplicably didn't.) And then she was billed $13,637.10 for the experience. This all started with (ahem) a traffic stop. Municipal violations. I'm telling you.

[CN: Police malfeasance; violence; carcerality] Debra Milke, a white woman from Arizona, has been released after spending 22 years on death row for the murder of her own child, all because a police officer lied about her involvement: "On Monday, a judge formally dismissed murder charges against Debra Milke, ending what her lawyers called a 'living nightmare' that spanned nearly half her life. After her son was found dead, the now-discredited Phoenix police detective Armando Saldate claimed Milke confessed to arranging her son's murder, even though there was no witness or recording." And, in fact, the two men she allegedly recruited to kill her son, according to Saldate, never testified to her involvement. Her conviction was based solely on Saldate's word. "Saldate's testimony was the only evidence that connected Milke to the murder. However, at the time, prosecutors did not disclose, and defense attorneys did not have access to, the detective's personnel records, which showed a history of lying under oath and misconduct."

[CN: Police brutality; animal abuse] Goddammit: San Diego police respond to a domestic violence call, but go to the wrong address, and end up killing the resident's service dog for no fucking reason. Goddammit.

[CN: War on agency; mandatory ultrasounds] North Carolina really wants to force abortion-seeking people to submit to unwanted ultrasounds: "Attorneys for the State of North Carolina have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a state law that requires patients to undergo a narrated ultrasound before having an abortion, even if the patient objects. ...The legislation, considered by reproductive health advocates to be one of the most extreme ultrasound laws in the country, requires that abortion providers perform an ultrasound and place the image in the patient's line of sight." A federal court blocked the law, and now North Carolina wants the Supreme Court to let them enact it. Fucking hell.

[CN: Racism] Whoooooooooops your social media fail! "Jill Renslow, senior vice president of development and marketing for the Mall of America tweeted Monday that the mall was launching the #ItsMyMall hashtag to encourage the community to share Mall of America stories... By Tuesday evening, the hashtag was trending on Twitter, but probably not in the way mall officials intended. Members of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis were among many Twitter users who recounted their encounters with police at the mall by using the hashtag: [e.g.] 'That one time 3,000 of our closest friends showed up to sing carols and were met with riot gear. #itsmymall.' Members of the group Black Lives Matter organized a Dec. 20 protest of at least 1,500 people at the mall that was part of a nationwide wave of protests following grand jury decisions in Missouri and New York not to indict white police officers who killed black men. Although the protest was largely peaceful and there was no property damage reported, Bloomington City Attorney filed trespassing and other charges against some of the protesters and said they face thousands of dollars in fines and restitution for extra security costs." That response to Mall of America was well-deserved.

[CN: Fat hatred] You know how I always say that we're indoctrinated with fat hatred our entire lives? Well, I'm not kidding: Wry Baby discontinued its "I Hate My Thighs" baby onesie after complaints.

[CN: Racism] A new report finds that "African Americans are grossly overrepresented on local news broadcasts about criminal activity. ...In New York City alone, black people make up 75 percent of criminals discussed on local channels, whereas they only make up 51 percent of the actual arrest rate." This is not surprising, but it is nonetheless infuriating.

Heads-up if you drive a Ford SUV: "Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it is recalling more than 220,000 vehicles in North America for potential issues with door handles, vacuum pump relays and sensors. The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it is recalling 212,911 Ford Explorer SUVs and Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicles from model years 2011 to 2013 because a spring that controls the interior door handle may become loose and cause the door to become unlatched in a side-impact crash, increasing the risk of injury."

Neat! "A fingernail-size frog that can morph its skin texture from spiny to smooth in just minutes is the first shape-shifting amphibian ever found, according to a new report. The tiny 'mutable rain frog' (Pristimantis mutabilis) was discovered on the western slopes of Ecuador's Andes Mountains, in a protected cloud forest reserve."

Yay! Madrid becomes a no-kill city "after the government signed in a new law making the euthanasia of strays or abandoned animals illegal. From now on, all pets in Madrid will have the right to enjoy their lives even if they have no homes or responsible owners." This isn't easy to achieve, but it's possible, and clearly Madrid expects more.

Meanwhile, in the States: Lawmakers in Nevada and Kentucky have just passed legislation to better protect horses. Woot!

And finally! Here is a terrific story about a recently rescued cat who saved her new family's home from what could have been a devastating flood. Oh cats! ♥

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