Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker eyeballsmccat: "Is there a question you wish people meeting you for the first time would ask? If so, what is it, and what would be your answer?"

I wish people meeting me for the first time would ask me what my preferred pronouns are. My answer would be she/her.

It's not because people are likely to misgender me, or ever have. I just wish that the question was so standard that it was asked of everyone.

I realize there will be people who roll their eyes and snort about "political correctness," but, seriously, I have a first name that has lots of different common nicknames — Liss, Lissa, Missy, Mel, Mellie — and probably 75% of the time I'm introduced to someone, they ask if I have a nickname I prefer, so I don't really think inquiring about preferred pronouns is really that big a stretch. Shrug.

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by ambivalent feelings about shiplap at best.

Recommended Reading:

Katherine Fugate: [Content Note: Domestic violence; child abuse; descriptions of violence] Nobody Would Have Been Surprised If I Had Died

Monica Roberts: [CN: Trans hatred and violence] Moni's 2017 TDOR Thoughts

Tim Rogers: [CN: Death; neglect] How Donald Trump's Fragile Ego Corrupted Puerto Rico's Death Toll

Andy Towle: A Growing Number of Men are Identifying as 'Mostly Straight' over 'Bisexual'

Sameer Rao: [CN: Racism; hostility to consent] How One Artist Turned a Microaggression Into Your New Favorite Game

Marykate Jasper: The New Wrinkle in Time Trailer Is Absolutely Stunning

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

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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!

* * *

Since this is Thanksgiving week in the U.S., please feel especially encouraged to share Thanksgiving dishes, in case anyone is hosting or bringing a dish and needs some good ideas!

Shaker GoldFishy shared an amazing recipe recently, and I am totally making it as our "stuffing" this year: Bacon Gorgonzola Pull Aparts. If you're someone who likes to see video of recipes being made, All Recipes posted a video here. YUMMMMMM!

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To the Women

[Content Note: Misogyny; sexual violence.]

Hello, Shaker women.

We are in the middle of a vicious misogynist backlash right now. And, on top of that, a tidal wave of news about sexual assault which brings with it a second tidal wave of rape apologia. And, on top of that, there are the fissures emerging between those of us with a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and abuse and people we thought were our allies but who are actually fine with some number of women being abused as the cost of enacting (other parts of) a progressive agenda.

And our sitting president is a confessed serial sex abuser.

And the Republican Party is working at every level — local, state, federal — to enact profoundly misogynist policy that denies the bodily autonomy of women et. al. and turns our bodies into government property.

And women are still obliged to encounter misogynist microaggressions every the fuck where we go. And street harassment. And being hit on when we're just trying to live our lives.

And women and girls (not exclusively) are still being sexually harassed and assaulted, even in this moment of awareness-raising.

And also there are still just a million shitty sexist jokes about women in virtually every bit of entertainment you might try to enjoy to take your mind off of all of the above.

It's a lot.

And it's enough to make many of us feel pretty worthless. Especially if we have survived trauma that left us struggling to feel that we have value.

If you are struggling to feel like you have worth as a woman in this world, that is okay.

If you are struggling to feel like you have worth as a woman in this world, you are not alone.

If you are struggling to feel like you have worth as a woman in this world, please know that you have value to me.

I see you. I see you.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the sofa, looking like a limp bag of fuzz
This is a pretty excellent exhibit of why Matilda's nickname is "Rags."

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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We Resist: Day 305

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: I Can Also Walk and Chew Gum and Mueller Is Still Investigating.

David Nakamura at the Washington Post: Trump Puts North Korea Back on State Sponsors of Terrorism List to Escalate Pressure over nuclear Weapons. "Trump on Monday announced that his administration has re-designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terror, a move aimed at increasing pressure on Pyongyang a decade after the George W. Bush administration removed the rogue nation from the list. Trump made his decision public during a brief photo op at a Cabinet meeting, calling it 'a very critical step' that 'should've happened a long time ago.' ...Trump vowed that Pyongyang will face further sanctions in the near future and that this will be the 'highest level of sanctions by the time it's finished.'"

Cool. Everything is fine.

* * *

[Content Note: Environmental contamination; environmental racism and classism — covers entire section]

Oliver Milman at the Guardian: A Civil Rights Emergency: Justice, Clean Air, and Water in the Age of Trump. "The Trump administration's dismantling of environmental regulations has intensified a growing civil rights battle over the deadly burden of pollution on minorities and low-income people. Black, Latin[x], and disadvantaged people have long been disproportionately afflicted by toxins from industrial plants, cars, hazardous housing conditions, and other sources. But political leaders, academics and activists spoke of a growing urgency around the struggle for environmental justice as the Trump administration peels away rules designed to protect clean air and water. 'What we are seeing is the institutionalization of discrimination again, the thing we've fought for 40 years,' said Robert Bullard, an academic widely considered the father of the environmental justice movement."

Michael Hawthorne at the Chicago Tribune: U.S. Steel Dumps More Toxic Chromium Near Lake Michigan, Faces Lawsuit. "A review of online press releases shows neither state officials nor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency informed the public about [the malfunction of a wastewater treatment system] at the plant, part of a complex of steel mills that divides the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Portage. An EPA spokeswoman said Indiana officials didn't tell the agency about the spill until Tuesday morning, following inquiries from the Tribune. ...Unlike the previous spill, which occurred in April, U.S. Steel did not report the latest incident to the National Response Center, a warning system overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard to alert local authorities about oil spills and chemical releases, records show."

Ellee Achten at Rewire: The Fire Is out in West Virginia's 'Chemical Valley,' But Health Fears Remain. "The warehouse in south Parkersburg — owned by Intercontinental Import Export, Inc., also known as IEI Plastics — was full of plastic recycling, had been quickly engulfed in flames. Multiple explosions were reported. Residents from miles around watched the dark skies and smelled the acrid air. Many streets around the warehouse were closed. But two weeks later, the cause of the fire still remains unknown. What's most concerning for Way, and thousands of other residents in the affected area, is: What exactly burned? What fell from the sky and coated yards and roofs and cars? And what may have found its way into the water? ...An official report has yet to be released."

Sarah Sax at Vice News: Keystone Pipeline Oil Spill Could Be Worse Than We Thought. "TransCanada shut down a portion of its highly contested Keystone Pipeline, which transports oil from the Canadian tar sands to refineries in the U.S., at 6 a.m. on Thursday after 210,000 gallons, or around 5,000 barrels, of oil spilled across South Dakota farmland. The type of oil in the pipeline, however, makes pinpointing the size of the spill more difficult than usual, worrying local environmental groups and landowners about its environmental effects. ...Kent Moeckly, a nearby landowner and member of the Dakota Rural Action Group, told VICE News he's concerned that the spill could be much larger though, in large part because the computers used to detect oil pressure drops don't always detect small leaks. 'TransCanada thought it was 200,000 gallons. What we found out working with TransCanada, it could very well be 600,000 gallons,' Moeckly said."

* * *

[CN: Sexual assault and harassment; descriptions of sex abuse; rape apologia — covers entire section. Video may autoplay at first link.]

MJ Lee at CNN: Woman Says Franken Inappropriately Touched Her in 2010. "A woman says Sen. Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010, telling CNN that he grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair. It is the first allegation of improper touching by Franken, who is a Democrat, while he was in office. ...In a statement to CNN Sunday, Franken said he did not remember taking the photo with Menz and that he felt 'badly' that she felt disrespected. 'I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don't remember taking this picture,' Franken said. 'I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.'"

I tweeted this latest allegation against Franken this morning with two words of commentary: "So upsetting." The pushback was fast and furious. People howled at me that it was a Roger Stone hit job and demanded to know if I'd read the article. Yes, I did. Including the part where the accuser posted a Facebook comment in reply to her sister about how Franken molested her right after it happened. I guess I'm a big dum-dum because I don't believe that Stone colluded with this woman 7 years ago in preparation for this moment and instructed her to leave a Facebook comment viewable by friends only.

Here's the thing: It can simultaneously be true that Franken has done these things and that conservatives are making hay out of them. Just like it's simultaneously true that Roy Moore is a serial predator and that many progressives (some of whom don't otherwise give two shits about victims of sex abuse) are making hay out of them.

Politicizing assaults does not render null the veracity of the allegations. Period.

Ben Beaumont-Thomas at the Guardian: Russell Simmons Accused of Sexual Assault Alongside Brett Ratner. "Russell Simmons, the hip-hop mogul who co-founded Def Jam Recordings, has been accused of sexual assault amid new accusations against the Hollywood film producer and director Brett Ratner. Model Keri Claussen Khalighi alleges that in 1991, when she was 17, she was invited by Simmons and Ratner to Simmons' apartment to look at a music video the pair were working on. She says that Simmons tore off her clothes and attempted to [rape her]. 'I fought it wildly,' she told the LA Times, saying she eventually 'acquiesced.' She added: 'I looked over at Brett and said, 'Help me,' and I'll never forget the look on his face. In that moment, the realisation fell on me that they were in it together.' Ratner has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by actors including Olivia Munn and Ellen Page."

Sonaiya Kelley at the LA Times: Terry Crews Says Russell Simmons Asked Him to Give Target of Sexual Assault Allegations 'a Pass'. "Terry Crews on Sunday posted a screenshot of an email he said was from entrepreneur-producer Russell Simmons that urged the actor to give the target of his sexual-assault allegations a pass. ...A representative for Simmons could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday evening."

Sarah Jeong at the Verge: In Chatlogs, Celebrated Hacker and Activist Confesses Countless Sexual Assaults. "The Verge has corroborated six separate allegations of physical and sexual assault by Morgan Marquis-Boire, with four self-identified victims located in Marquis-Boire's home country of New Zealand. We also spoke to others in New Zealand, including former friends of Morgan Marquis-Boire, who say that this pattern of behavior was well-known in their community. ...Although Lila had explicitly asked him how many women he had raped, in all of their conversations, he never gave her a precise tally. 'I have drunkenly sexually assaulted or raped women — the exact number of which I am currently determining,' he admits in the chat log. In the PGP-encrypted email, he never uses the word 'rape,' but in referring to an 'inventory of my sins,' he writes, 'I don't have a number for you yet, but it's going to be worse than anything anyone has documented.'"

Mark Townsend at the Guardian: Harvey Weinstein Had Secret Hitlist of Names to Quash Sex Scandal. "The Observer has gained access to a secret hitlist of almost 100 prominent individuals targeted by Harvey Weinstein in an extraordinary attempt to discover what they knew about sexual misconduct claims against him and whether they were intending to go public. The previously undisclosed list contains a total of 91 actors, publicists, producers, financiers, and others working in the film industry, all of whom Weinstein allegedly identified as part of a strategy to prevent accusers from going public with sexual misconduct claims against him. The names, apparently drawn up by Weinstein himself, were distributed to a team hired by the film producer to suppress claims that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women." I mean, that sounds an awful lot like a list of victims.

That former Oklahoma state senator was also Donald Trump's 2016 Oklahoma campaign chair.

Dominic Patten at Deadline: Jeffrey Tambor Exits Transparent After Sexual Harassment Allegations. "Facing two accusations of sexual harassment by members of the Transparent team that he has strongly denied, Jeffrey Tambor today has decided not to return to the Amazon series. ...While a stunner on one level, this move by Golden Globe winner Tambor comes as the show itself was seemingly gearing up to shuffle him off the show. As Deadline was first to report on November 14, since the first allegation against Tambor was made by his former assistant and transgender actress Van Barnes earlier this month, there have been discussions about writing the actor's transgender Maura character out of the show for the upcoming fifth season."

(That the show Transparent might carry on without the trans parent goes to show how much that show was about trans people in the first place!)

Dave Jamieson at the Huffington Post: What Housekeepers Endure to Clean Hotel Rooms. "Many of the stories that have hit front pages ― Weinstein, journalist Mark Halperin, comedian Louis C.K. ― center on powerful men who preyed on underlings or colleagues in hotel rooms ― a trend that would surprise no woman who's ever worked as a housekeeper. If famous A-list actresses must deal with unwanted advances in the privacy of a hotel suite, imagine the vulnerability of an immigrant woman cleaning the room alone, for close to minimum wage, plus tips. 'Frankly, I don't think much of the public understands what housekeepers go through just to clean these rooms and carry out the work,' said Maria Elena Durazo, a labor leader with the hospitality union Unite Here. For several years Durazo's union has advocated for housekeepers to be given handheld, wireless panic buttons that can alert hotel security when a worker feels threatened ― a sign of how dire it views the problem of sexual predation in the hotel industry."

Maura Judkis and Emily Heil at the Washington Post: Rape in the Storage Room; Groping at the Bar — Why Is the Restaurant Industry So Terrible for Women? "Women are vulnerable in just about every inch of a restaurant. Behind the bar. The hostess stands where patrons are greeted. Behind stoves and in front of dishwashers. From lewd comments to rape, sexual misconduct is, for many, simply part of the job. ...[I]ts perpetrators might just as easily be owners as lowly barbacks. The reasons are many, and they're complicated: Many kitchens are boys' clubs, dominated by machismo and flashing knives; many women rely on pleasing their male customers and managers for tips or good shifts; human resources departments might be nonexistent or toothless; and restaurant staffs are often hard-partying posses that blur professional lines."

* * *

If you're wondering if that is what prompted my earlier spleen-venting, the answer is yes.

Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: White House Officials Just Called Losing Your Health Insurance a Tax Break. "Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday that the president 'is not going to sign a bill that raises taxes on the middle class, period.' Unfortunately for Mulvaney, both the House and Senate tax bills would do just that, but he's now trying to spin millions of people losing their health insurance as them getting a tax break. ...[Mulvaney] said Sunday there is a 'benefit if the [individual mandate, a measure in the Affordable Care Act that requires individuals to be covered by health insurance] goes away' because it is a tax on middle class families. Marc Short, the White House Director of Legislative Affairs made the same argument on ABC's 'This Week' Sunday morning. Short says the mandate harms middle-income families most and applauds the Senate's decision to include it in their tax bill."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Laura Koran at CNN: Tillerson Rejects Criticism over State Department Management.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended his management of the State Department Monday, following a host of recent criticisms from members of congress, a diplomatic union, and — most recently — The New York Times Editorial Board.

"This department is performing extraordinarily well," Tillerson insisted to reporters at a photo opportunity. "And I take exception to anyone who would characterize it otherwise. It's just not true."

He made the comments in response to a question about low morale within the agency — an issue his own spokeswoman acknowledged on Friday. "Sure, there is a morale issue in this building," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert acknowledged Friday. "And that's why I say, you know, 'Folks, hang in there. We have a lot of work to be done. Please don't give up. Don't give up on this building. Don't give up on what America is doing. Don't give up on the importance of this job and career.' "

Responding Monday, Tillerson expressed confidence that his ongoing reorganization of the agency will eventually allay any concerns, saying, "the redesign is going to address all of that."
Oh, okay. Meanwhile, in an interview with April Ryan, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notes bluntly: "You cannot substitute tweeting for diplomacy." Indeed.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Mueller Is Still Investigating

Breaking News: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still doing the job he was appointed to do. That is all this story says. That's (hopefully) a good thing, of course. But, once again, I find myself in the position of urging readers not to read more into any news item about Mueller's ongoing investigation than is actually there.

Anyway, here's the update from the investigation trail, care of Mike Levine at ABC News:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether [Donald] Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned.

In particular, Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter, according to a source who has not seen the specific request but was told about it.

Issued within the past month, the directive marks the special counsel's first records request to the Justice Department, and it means Mueller is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation.

...Mueller's investigators now seek not only communications between Justice Department officials themselves, but also any communications with White House counterparts, the source said. Before this request, investigators asked former senior Justice Department officials for information from their time at the department, ABC News was told.

The latest move suggests the Special Counsel is still actively digging into, among other matters, whether Trump or any other administration official improperly tried to influence an ongoing investigation.
Yep. Exactly so. The latest move suggests the Special Counsel is still doing precisely with what he was tasked. We can't discern anything more than that about the investigation.

The optimist's view: This report is reassuring, as it seems as though Mueller is being very methodical and deliberate while also moving as quickly as he can.

The cynic's view: This report is designed to reassure us that something meaningful is still underway, and gives The Resistance a basket in which to put its hope for accountability eggs, thus deterring civil unrest while Trump and the Republican Party usher in authoritarian rule.

No matter your position, optimistic or cynical, we all need to be concerned about how, the longer this investigation drags on, the worse the best possible outcome gets. Even if Mueller's investigation results in Trump's removal (or resignation) from office somewhere down the road, which is still incredibly unlikely, how much irreversible damage will be done in the interim, with a vice-president and his entire party positioned to protect every erosion of our norms and liberties?

We are running out of time. If we already haven't.

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I Can Also Walk and Chew Gum

To be clear: White people who yell at anyone else talking about Donald Trump's white supremacy are doing his work for him. Stop.

And let's be frank: If I don't qualify as someone who can multitask on Trump, then nobody does.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance

[Content Note: Transphobia; violence; neglect; sexual assault; self-harm.]

image of a candle burning at my home this morning
A candle burns at Shakes Manor.

Today marks the 19th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is "set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the 'Remembering Our Dead' web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester's murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved."

Transgender Europe's Trans Murder Monitoring Project reports: "In the past 12 months, 325 trans and gender-diverse people were reported murdered globally. Of the reported killings worldwide, migrants and sex workers make up the majority of victims." (Additional information on the project here.)

The official TDOR website remembers many of those people, sharing their names as available. So many of the victims are simply remembered as "Name Unknown."

Every year I quote this and this year will be no different, because it is so important: Julia Serano, a trans activist and author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, has noted that transphobia kills not just by violent action, but apathetic inaction.
Trans people are often targeted for violence because their gender presentation, appearance and/or anatomy falls outside the norms of what is considered acceptable for a woman or man. A large percentage of trans people who are killed [work in the sex trade], and their murders often go unreported or underreported due to the public presumption that those engaged in sex work are not deserving of attention or somehow had it coming to them.

Some trans people are killed as the result of being denied medical services specifically because of their trans status, for example, Tyra Hunter, a transsexual woman who died in 1995 after being in a car accident. EMTs who arrived on the scene stopped providing her with medical care—and instead laughed and made slurs at her—upon discovering that she had male genitals.
The 2001 documentary Southern Comfort details the last year in the life of Robert Eads, who died of ovarian cancer after two dozen doctors refused him treatment.

That's the kind of hate crime that doesn't make headlines. Or even federal hate crimes statistics.

Just last week, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jules Williams, a transgender woman who "suffered sexual and physical assault and harassment multiple times while detained at the Allegheny County Jail between 2015 and 2017 in Pittsburgh. Even though she is a woman, which the state recognizes on her identification card, Ms. Williams was processed and incarcerated with men."

Her harrowing case is indicative of the vile treatment of trans inmates in civilian prisons, military prisons, and immigration detention centers.

Many of them lose, or take, their lives as a result of this systemic hostility.

We remember all the victims of violence and apathy and institutional transphobia today.

A day that I wish, that we all wish, didn't have to exist at all.

I hate that there are trans people who die because of hatred and neglect and ostracization, and I hate there are people who have to document the most violent of these deaths, committed to an important project the best possible result of which would be that it ends because we don't need it anymore. Because there are no more deaths to document.

In 2014, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, the founder of TDOR, wrote movingly here about the history and import of the day. About why we need it still.

No oppression has ever been eradicated by a careful, polite, diligent deference to pretending it doesn't exist. That is the importance of a day of remembrance.

No oppression has ever been eradicated without meaningful inclusion and visibility, either, which slowly chips away at the privilege that underwrites marginalization. That is the importance of vigilance in community every day of the year.

* * *

I recognize that trans people have all kinds of different feelings about the Day of Remembrance, and if you're someone who needs to express distress about it, please know you have a space to do that here.

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Open Thread

image of a purple sofa

Hosted by a purple sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

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

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

(And please don't forget to tip your bartender!)

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by autumnal colors.

Recommended Reading:

Mariame Kaba: [Content Note: Sexual violence; carcerality] Help Criminalized Survivors of Violence for the Holidays!

Imani Gandy: [Content Note: Sexual harassment/assault] When It Comes to 'What About the Clintons,' Journalists Keep Playing Into Conservatives' Hands

Rhett Jones: New FCC Regulation Raises Concerns over Spying TVs and Obsolescence

Kenrya Rankin: [CN: Racism; carcerality] Report: Black Men Sentenced to Substantially Longer Time in Prison Than White Men

Sue Kerr: [CN: Sexual harassment and assault] Saying #MeToo for My Own Sake Because I Can't Count on You

Dr. Punita Rice: [CN: Racism] The Problem with Apu Is a Problem with America

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

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Just to Be Clear

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

There has been an enormous amount of "defense" of Al Franken that looks an awful lot like abuse apologia (because it is), and I don't have the energy to debunk each fetid thread, but I do want to say this: Al Franken admitted he posed for the photo we've all seen of his hands hovering on or over Leeann Tweeden's breasts, and I am amazed (not really) at how many people are okay with that photo.

She alleged much more than just what was captured in the photo, but, even if it were only the photo, the thing to which Franken has confessed and for which he's apologized, I am not okay with that.

I don't care if she's wearing a flak jacket and if he's not touching her and if if if all the other things that are supposed to mitigate the photo, even the claim that she was "in on it," because even if all those things were true, that's still a photo of a man who thinks that pretending to molest a sleeping woman is hilarious.

Jokes about sexual assault ("rape jokes") are not just a matter of taste. Irrespective of whether one finds them amusing, or tolerable, or whatever, and regardless of the intent of the people who make them, rape jokes serve a very particular purpose: Communicating to abusers that sexual assault is okay, and validating their belief that everyone commits abuse.

They are not neutral. They empower abusers.

So even if, as many of Franken's fervent defenders argue, it was just a "stupid photo," that "stupid photo" is still a big goddamned problem.

I don't trust any man who believes that rape jokes are funny. I can't.

It's not because I'm a "humorless feminist." It's because I have a zero tolerance policy on upholding the rape culture.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound sitting on the couch, looking at me with perky ears
"Hey, Dudley, who has cute ears?"
"Is it me?!"

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

Open Wide...

We Resist: Day 302

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Somebody Struck a Nerve!

There is just so much news regarding Russian interference and associated investigations today. I'm sure I didn't even manage to collect all of it, but here's a heaping helping...

Natasha Bertrand at Business Insider: Senate Judiciary Committee: Kushner Forwarded Emails About a 'Russian Backdoor Overture and Dinner Invite'. "Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, forwarded emails about a 'Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite' to Trump campaign officials and failed to produce those emails to the Senate Judiciary Committee, two senators on the committee said in a letter to Kushner's lawyer on Thursday. Kushner also failed to produce emails he was copied on involving communication with the anti-secrecy agency WikiLeaks and with a Belarusian-American businessman named Sergei Millian, the senators said. Millian most recently headed a group called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce."

Esme Cribb at TPM: Mueller Issued Subpoena to Trump Campaign Officials in October. "Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, issued a subpoena in October to more than a dozen members of [Donald] Trump's campaign, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, that Mueller requested documents and emails from a number of top officials on Trump's campaign, but did not ask any of them to testify before his grand jury. According to the report, the subpoena was a surprise to Trump's campaign, which is providing documents on an 'ongoing basis' in response."

Michael Gerson at the Washington Post: The Russia Investigation's Spectacular Accumulation of Lies. I strongly disagree with Gerson on just about everything, including a significant part of this piece, lol, but this is a good observation: "In all of this, there is a spectacular accumulation of lies. Lies on disclosure forms. Lies at confirmation hearings. Lies on Twitter. Lies in the White House briefing room. Lies to the FBI. Self-protective lies by the attorney general. Blocking and tackling lies by Vice President Pence. This is, with a few exceptions, a group of people for whom truth, political honor, ethics, and integrity mean nothing." Yep!

Tucker Higgins at CNBC: Russian Ambassador Says He Won't Name All the Trump Officials He's Met with Because 'the List Is So Long'. "Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ]First, I'm never going to do that,' he said. 'And second, the list is so long that I'm not going to be able to go through it in 20 minutes.' Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel. ...[H]e also joked about American investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, called [Donald] Trump 'witty,' and said that U.S.-Russian relations were worse than at any point since the end of the Cold War."

Abigail Tracy at Vanity Fair: The Ex-Spy Behind the Trump-Russia Dossier Left a Clue for Mueller.
In December of last year, Steele informed Luke Harding, a journalist for the Guardian, that "the contracts for the hotel deals and land deals" between Trump and individuals with the Kremlin ties warrant investigation. "Check their values against the money Trump secured via loans," the former spy said, according to a conversation detailed in Harding's new book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. "The difference is what's important."

According to his book, Steele did not elaborate on this point to Harding, but his implication was clear: it's possible that Trump was indebted to Russian interests when he descended Trump Tower's golden escalator to declare his candidacy. After the real-estate mogul suffered a series of bankruptcies related to the 2008 financial crisis, traditional banks became reluctant to loan him money—a reality he has acknowledged in past interviews. As a result, the Trump Organization reportedly became increasingly reliant on foreign investors, notably Russian ones. As Donald Trump Jr. famously said in 2008, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."

The significance of such transactions is not lost on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Josh Meyer at Politico: Papadopoulos Claimed Trump Phone Call and Larger Campaign Role. "George Papadopoulos claimed last year that Donald Trump telephoned him to discuss his new position as a foreign policy adviser to his presidential campaign and that the two had at least one personal introductory meeting that the White House has not acknowledged. Papadopoulos also claimed that he'd been given a 'blank check' to choose a senior Trump administration job and authorized to represent the candidate in overseas meetings with foreign leaders, and at a campaign event in New York."

Tom Winter and Julia Ainsley at NBC News: Does Cooperating Witness Have Info on Flynn Tie to Turkey? "A gold trader who is close to Turkish President Recep Erdogan is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money-laundering case, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, and legal experts say prosecutors may be seeking information about any ties between the Turkish government and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national, faces charges in federal court in Manhattan for skirting sanctions on Iran by allegedly moving hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iranian government and Iranian firms via offshore entities and bank accounts. But Zarrab is now out of jail and speaking to prosecutors — a move Erdogan had been desperately hoping to avoid."

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: 5 Points on the Cleric Targeted in Mike Flynn's Shady Dealings with Turkey. "The focus of former national security adviser Mike Flynn's tangle of business dealings with Turkey is one man: Fethullah Gulen, an ailing septuagenarian Muslim cleric who lives in a Pennsylvania compound. Plenty of ink has been spilled about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Flynn received to produce negative PR materials about Gulen and about Flynn's alleged discussions with Turkish officials about forcibly removing him from the U.S. What's received less attention is why Turkey would take such extraordinary steps to take down the aging cleric, and why President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government thought Flynn would be able to facilitate them."

Ari Berman at Mother Jones: Hillary Clinton on Trump's Election: "There Are Lots of Questions About Its Legitimacy".
A year after her defeat by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton says "there are lots of questions about its legitimacy" due to Russian interference and widespread voter suppression efforts.

In an interview with Mother Jones in downtown Manhattan, Clinton said Russian meddling in the election "was one of the major contributors to the outcome." The Russians used "weaponized false information," she said, in "a very successful disinformation campaign" that "wasn't just influencing voters, it was determining the outcome."

Republican efforts to make it harder to vote, through measures such as voter ID laws, shortened early voting periods, and new obstacles to registration, likewise "contributed to the outcome," Clinton said. These moves received far less attention than Russian interference but arguably had a more demonstrable impact on the election result.

...She noted that this was the first presidential election in more than 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court gutted the law in a 2013 ruling, and 14 states had new voting restrictions in effect for the first time. "So many places have really tried to make it as difficult as they possibly could for young people, for African Americans, the elderly, to vote," she said.

For Clinton and others who question the legitimacy of the election results, particularly due to Russian interference, there's not an obvious next step. "We don't have a method for contesting that in our system," she said. "That's why I've long advocated for an independent commission to get to the bottom of what happened."
Ben Popken at NBC News: Russian Trolls Duped Global Media And Nearly 40 Celebrities. "What do [Donald] Trump, CNN anchor Jake Tapper, The Washington Post, Breitbart, and Jack Dorsey, the head of Twitter, all have in common? They and nearly 40 celebrities and politicians were all roped into retweeting or otherwise engaging with accounts created by a Russian 'troll factory' to millions of followers, according to a new exclusive analysis. Over 3,000 global news outlets also inadvertently published articles containing embedded tweets by the confirmed Kremlin-linked troll accounts in over 11,000 news articles in the run-up to the 2016 election, separate exclusive reporting shows."

Phew! In other news...

Brian Fung at the Chicago Tribune: FCC Repeals Decades-Old Rules Blocking Broadcast Media Mergers, Possibly Easing Way for Sinclair-Tribune Deal. "Federal regulators rolled back a series of decades-old regulations on Thursday, in a move that will make it far easier for media outlets to be bought and sold — potentially leading to more newspapers, radio stations, and television broadcasters being owned by a small handful of companies. The regulations, eliminated in a 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission, were initially put in place in the 1970s to ensure that a diversity of voices and opinions could be heard on the air or in print." This is bad. This is very, very bad.

Aggelos Petropoulos and Richard Engel at NBC News: A Panama Tower Carries Trump's Name and Ties to Organized Crime. "Ventura did sell the initial units, and later hundreds more. He is now a fugitive. In May 2009, Ventura was arrested in Panama for real estate fraud, unrelated to the Trump project. Mauricio Ceballos, a former financial crimes prosecutor in Panama who investigated Ventura, said that dozens of complaints against Ventura crossed his desk accusing him of double- and triple-selling apartments, both at the Trump Ocean Club and other developments. ...The investigation revealed no indication that the Trump Organization or members of the Trump family engaged in any illegal activity, or knew of the criminal backgrounds of some of the project's associates. But Ventura said that the Trumps never asked any questions about the buyers or where the money was coming from."

[Content Note: Targeting dissidents] Breanna Edwards at the Root: Texas Motorist Whose Vehicle Boasts Profane Anti-Trump Sticker Arrested on Previous, Outstanding Warrant. "Nothing to see here. Nothing at all. It's just that a Texas motorist whose truck caught a lot of attention in the past 24 hours over a bold sticker in its rear window declaring, 'FUCK TRUMP AND FUCK YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM,' has since been arrested." Like I keep saying, targeting dissidents is a central feature of authoritarian regimes. Brace yourselves for more of this.

[CN: Sexual harassment] Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Florida Dem Chair Resigns After Allegations of Inappropriate Comments. "Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel resigned on Friday after several women accused him of making inappropriate comments and leering at them, creating an uncomfortable work environment. In a statement announcing his resignation, Bittel apologized to 'all who have felt uncomfortable during my tenure.' Six women who spoke with Politico said that Bittel made suggestive comments, invited women on his private plane, remarked that women were attractive, and had stress balls in his office shaped like breasts. 'There was a lot of boob stuff in his office,' one woman who encountered Bittel while working as a fundraiser told Politico. 'I was told by other women not to go into his bathroom. I was warned.'" Rage.

[CN: Sexual harassment] Seth Abramovitch at the Hollywood Reporter: Transparent Star Alleges Jeffrey Tambor Sexually Harassed Her, "Got Physical". "[Trace Lysette], who is transgender, is the second on the Transparent payroll to come forward with allegations that Tambor, 73, has subjected them to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and generally abusive behavior on the set of the critically adored series. The first accuser, Van Barnes, is a trans woman who worked as Tambor's personal assistant, and whose allegations have led to an internal investigation by Amazon Studios." Seethe.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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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.

* * *

On my way out the door for Iain's birthday dinner recently:

image of me standing in our entryway, wearing a sheath dress in a navy pattern and brown knee-high boots

He never tells me when he's about to snap the picture, which is why I'm not smiling, lol; it was actually a very enjoyable evening!

The boots I'm wearing are the ones previously featured in this series (three years ago!), which I got at SimplyBe. The dress is ModCloth's Idea Exchange Sheath Dress in navy, which I purchased on clearance for $19.97! It's no longer available in navy, but it is still available in coral, in limited sizes.

(I'm not getting anything from ModCloth or Simply Bee in exchange for writing about these items. I just really like them!)

I absolutely adore this dress. It's so easy! Just throw it on, add a necklace and some nice boots or shoes, and I feel like a million bucks. If it's not exactly the best twenty dollars I've ever spent, it's close!

This pic isn't the best lighting to show off the colors, but I carried a bright coral purse with it, which was a terrific pop of color against the sedate navy.

Anyway! As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: What's your favorite bargain piece in your closet?

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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Somebody Struck a Nerve!

An interesting scene at the Senate Finance Committee meeting during which the Republican's garbage tax plan was under discussion: Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown called out that the plan is just a giant piece of class warfare designed to redistribute wealth upwards, and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch was not happy about it.

SENATOR SHERROD BROWN: —Senator McCaskill and Senator Casey and Senator Stabenow and Senator Nelson are voting against a four thousand dollar raise that this tax cut is going to bestow on them. We know it's coming. We know you'll have way more money to promote that than we will have to defend it, but that's why the Wyden Amendment's so important. And I just think it would be nice, just tonight, before we go home, to just acknowledge, well, this tax cut really is not for the middle class; it's for the rich. And that whole thing about higher wages, well, it's a good selling point, but we know companies don't just give away higher wages. They don't just give away higher wages, just 'cause they have more money. Corporations are sitting on a lot of money now; they're sitting on a lot of profits now. I don't see wages going up. So, just spare us, spare us the bank shots, spare us the sarcasm and the satire—


SENATOR ORRIN HATCH: I'm gonna just say to ya that, ah, I come from the poor people. And I've been here working my whole stinking career for people who don't have a chance. And I really resent anybody saying that I'm just doing this for the rich. Give me a break! I think you guys overplay that all the time, and it gets old. And frankly ya oughta, ya oughta quit it!

BROWN: Mr. Chairman, the public believes it.

HATCH: [holds up his hand] Wait a minute, just — I'm not through!

BROWN: Okay.

HATCH: I get kinda sick and tired of it. True, it's a nice political play, but it's not true.

BROWN: Well, Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, I get sick and tired of the richest people in this country getting richer and richer—

[crosstalk; calls to order]

HATCH: [bangs gavel] Listen! I've honored you by allowing you to spout off here. And what you said was not right! That's all I'm saying. I come from the lower middle class originally! We didn't have anything! So don't spew that stuff on me! I get a little tired of that crap. And let me just say something — if ya didn't, if we worked together [hits hand on table] we could pull this country out of every, every mess it's in! And we could do a lot of the things that you're talking about, too. And I think I've got a reputation of having worked together with Democrats!

BROWN: Let's start with CHIP.

HATCH: Not starting with CHIP. I did it — I've done it for years. I've got more bills —

BROWN: Start with CHIP today.

HATCH: I've got more bills passed than everybody on this committee put together! And they've been passed for the benefit of people in this country. Now all I can say is: I like you personally very much, but I'm telling ya, this bullcrap that you guys throw out here really gets old after awhile. To do it right at the end of this [hits hand on table] was just not right! And I just — it takes a lot to get me worked up like this!
A lot of the truth, apparently.

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And I don't mean a fake-ass shit apology. I mean a real one.

Which he would never give in ten bajillion years.

So, in other words, I will never care, ever, about anything Trump has to say about sexual assault. The end.

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Open Thread

image of a pink couch

Hosted by a pink sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker alanaskye: "Which famous/well-known people, alive or dead, would you like to be at a dinner party you hosted? (This question prompted by an interview with Hillary Rodham Clinton in a free magazine handed out in my city and other cities across the UK every Wednesday; I found myself thinking that I would love to meet her.)"

That is an interminable list, but, since I'm deep into watching One Mississippi on a loop lately, I'll just say: Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne.

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