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Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 07:33 pm
I was looking at a catalog today and found the most frightening t-shirt I've seen in a while.

The design was meant to be patriotic and comforting -- a kitten looking out from under a draped American flag. I can't fault the idea, though it's not to my taste.

However-- on a shirt? The kitten is all head and it's huge -- the size of a small leopard. And with the shading, it appears to be emerging from the wearer's chest, confidently searching for more food...

Facebook Kittens/Alien.

Not for the win. ewwww.
Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 10:35 am
Some Confederate statues are being removed, some covered, some may be moved, and some won't go anywhere.

I have no problem with the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. They mark the locations where people stood or died when stuff happened; they are largely markers saying this unit was here, sometimes with names, sometimes not. They assist with understanding what happened in the battle. I don't recall offhand that there was anything glorifying the South there, in the way that there is elsewhere; but it's been a few years since I walked the entire battlefield, tracking troop movements.
Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 10:08 am
I'm rereading Georgette Heyer's 'These Old Shades' and I just came to the place where it mentions, in a phrase in one sentence, Justin Alastair's secret efforts to put Charles Edward Stuart on the throne instead of George I. And that made me imagine a fanfic crossover that I have brain enough to write, though I'd love to read it. The other source would be Outlander, specifically the second volume where Jamie and Claire are in France attempting, subtly, to stop the Stuart uprising because Claire knows its outcome and wants to save the lives that would have been lost at Culloden, not to mention the destruction of the Highlands. The main problem in writing it would be viewpoint and style -- These Old Shades is written in a very mannered style, and the Outlanders, which are mostly from Claire's viewpoint, are a modern view of a past era. If it were from Justin's viewpoint -- he would not be quite the cynical onlooker that he is in 'Shades', at 45. He'd be a bit more like young Rupert, and I'm not sure how to do that. If it were from Claire's viewpoint, he might come out looking like a younger version of St. Germaine, which would not do. But what I would love to see is Justin's reaction to one of Claire's famous set-downs, whether aimed at him or at someone else. I suspect they would end up good friends, though I have no idea what Jamie would think of that.

Unfortunately, Leonie would not be able to be there in 1745 -- and her next appearance is in 'Devil's Cub', which I think dates to something like 1775 or 1780. By that time Jamie and Claire are in the Colonies, and I don't think they visit Paris together again for a while, though Jamie is there before that with his print shop. So the dates don't line up for a confrontation between Dominic, Leonie and Justin's son, and Bree, Claire and Jamie's tall, outspoken, red-haired daughter who wears breeches (Leonie would like that, though.)
Monday, August 21st, 2017 03:58 pm
We had an 85% eclipse, which means it got a little darker and the birds weren't singing though the insects were -- nothing shuts up a cricket. I have some phone photos of the light coming through the leaves in crescents on the sidewalks. And then it poured rain for ... 10 minutes? And the sun came out again, starting to strengthen. So, not the biggest deal -- but we were out on the front steps with our homemade cereal box viewers and so on, and the neighbors on either side came over and hung out and watched it with us, which was very cool.
Monday, August 21st, 2017 05:22 am
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Sarah is raising funds to help save her family's house, where they are facing eviction. They are dealing with her mother's illness and recent unemployment, and they are trying to raise $100K to cover hospital bills and mortgage payments. You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for the legal fees for protestors in Durham, who pulled down the Confederate statue. You can read more and support their legal defense here.

[personal profile] spasticat has been unemployed since October of last year, and while she's been actively looking for work, her benefits and savings have run out; she's raising funds for utilities, medication, and rent. At the end of September she is also moving back home, and needs funds to cover the move. You can read more and support her YouCaring here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

[tumblr.com profile] magpiesmiscellany has a selection of tree-of-life pendants in various shapes, colors, and sizes for sale, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and the National Immigration Law Center. You can read more and purchase them here.

Housing:

[personal profile] in_the_bottle is looking for a new housemate in London, in Fulham SW6, bordering Hammersmith. Two professional females, at least one fandom friendly. You can read more and get in touch here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
Sunday, August 20th, 2017 02:05 pm
When I ask you not to show images of that torch march, or of the Swastika, it's not because I think sweeping them under the digital rug will Solve All Our Problems about race in America.

We all have to work through our own mental crap, the stuff we inherited from parents and society and friends. That's our job. That's each individual person's job -- to figure out for 'self what is true and right and honest and compassionate.

But that doesn't mean we are obliged to take on what those symbols represent. We are not obliged to be on the side that believes that hatred, racism, and genocide will make a better world.

We know that's not true.

In the meantime, we do not have to do the Nazis' work by spreading their images, by giving them our minds. We don't owe them that. We don't owe them anything, not one thing.

In Second Life terms, they're griefers. They get their rocks off by causing trouble, by hurting people, by causing damage. Unfortunately, in real life, I cannot press two buttons and ban them from the US. I don't have that power here. Neither do you.

So we need to keep them out of our heads. And not allow them to add to the pile of stuff we're already dealing with.

It's important to know who your enemies are. It's also important to know when they are trying mind games and to not let them win.

(Apologies if this is not as thoughtful as usual. I have a hell of a headache.)
Saturday, August 19th, 2017 11:10 pm
Here's the thing. The point of the white supremacists' march in Charlottesville was to make us feel afraid and helpless. You know this and I know this. But there's a psychological bit in there that a friend on Facebook pointed out that I had missed.

It's this: the symbolism of them carrying torches. Something about that apparently goes back to a primordial bit of the brain that keeps the fear going. Maybe it's the shared ancestral memory of towns and cities burning centuries ago -- every one of us has, somewhere in our history, some ancient family member who was burned out of a home in some war or other. (I can tell you that my own ancestral fear of being burned out goes back two generations, to when my grandfather's blacksmith's shop went up in flames in midwinter, and it was a hard fight by the local fire brigade to keep the house nearby from going up as well. If both hadn't been next to the river, the family would have been homeless.) But the point is that something nearly primordial in us sees campfires as friendly (we cook over them) and torches as hostile, unfriendly and dangerous. And when it's a mob with torches? Especially dangerous and frightening.

And those of us who post and repost news items are spreading images of torches. We're doing the frightening for them and keeping it going. Think about what happened when we kept seeing the Twin Towers collapsing in the weeks after 9/11, when the horror and the fear just did not go away because those images kept feeding it.

So this is what I am asking you to do:

1. If, anywhere on any social media, you have posted a picture from Charlottesville with torches in it, please delete it. Or edit it so it's a bunch of ugly white men without torches. We already know what happened there -- everyone knows. We don't have to see that picture any more. We don't have to spread their message of hate for them. That's not our job.

2. Take extra care to keep your own mind free from that image, and from the fear that it and other images of the Charlottesville riot can foster. Make sure to spend time with loving pets, or out in nature, or with people you love or doing things you care about. Make sure to put joy in your life on purpose, not by accident, in whatever way pleases you. Take time to appreciate good things around you. Joy and appreciation are powerful weapons against fear; they set the ground for generosity, caring and peace.

Thank you.
Saturday, August 19th, 2017 11:00 am
Dreamwidth will not allow me to respond to replies to comments in other people's journals now. It simply will not allow me onto the page.

Petra: when I was there, St. Bonaventure University was 1800 people in all, plus 200 or so grad students, so fairly small. Not without its bad behavior by some and a number of outright scoundrels, but I don't recall Paladino being one of them.
Friday, August 18th, 2017 08:19 pm
"Things won't change if the Grand Wizard remains in office." And he's running out of Republicans to alienate. Mitt Romney called on him to back away from his response to Charlottesville.

Since the police refused to protect the Charlottesville synagogue, the synagogue has hired armed security guards.

You'll never be as radical as this 18th Century Quaker dwarf. So you know: Quakers did not wear military uniforms or take up arms. This is relevant.

White pride is not a culture. And Southern pride in a time of terror, which talks about real Southern culture.

A social justice syllabus.

The entire US military has broken away from Trump and openly denounced racism.

The ACLU will no longer defend hate groups protesting while carrying firearms. This is a first.

A 21-year-old Nazi sympathizer who marched in Charlottesville is now whining that his life is over because he was identified as marching with Nazis and KKK. I don't have a violin small enough.

The real horror of Trump's response to Charlottesville.

A Charlottesville ER nurse talks, after a day of decompression.

Retracing Willa Cather's steps in the south of France.

Are we different writers when we move from longhand to a screen? I can say that I write poetry differently with a pen in hand, and essays differently, and I don't write nonfiction there at all.

The landscape of Civil War commemoration. 13,000 monuments, and descriptions.

Churches Uniting in Christ statement on white nationalism and white supremacism. The member churches of CUIC include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

The president's Arts and Humanities Council, founded by Obama, has resigned over Trump's Charlottesville response.

Bannon's out of the White House; Trumpists are more afraid of him now.

3 major charities canceled Mar-a-Lago galas.

Charlottesville forces media and tech companies to draw a line on what they will allow.

In Oregon, rural Muslims fight for safety and inclusion.

In Iran, cracking down on journalists.

Ranking countries by their blasphemy laws.

New Dallas police officers face questions on how an ethical officer would act.

It's hard to find an impartial jury for pharmaceuticals scammer Martin Shkreli's
trial.
Friday, August 18th, 2017 02:47 pm
1. Look out the window and see how many demonstrators there are and how well armed they are. If you can't see them from there, go where you can. Take a picture with your phone - if you don't have a cell phone, get your aide to do it. Estimate the number of people in the group, their general ages and level of organization, and the visible armaments present. Is it signs on wood, not cardboard, posts? Is it flags on wooden flagpoles? Clubs? Swords? Is it pistols? Shotguns? Semi-automatic weapons? You should be able to tell from the photo. Are there insignia or symbols present? What groups do they represent? What is the goal of those groups?

1a. If there are fewer demonstrators than your available police and with less-able weapons, send the police to keep order. Or even if there are a few more but they are not heavily armed.

2. If there are more demonstrators than you have police, or they are better armed (though with all the gifts of military weaponry to local police groups this seems unlikely), get on the phone to call your State Police, local station or substation, and inform them of the situation and ask them for help. State police are well armed, generally extremely well trained, and just the people who should be there making sure things stay calm and the different groups of demonstrators stay clear of one another.

3. If for some reason (I cannot think of one but perhaps one exists in some alternate universe) you cannot call the State Police for help (or, in Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Police), get on the phone to the governor and ask for the local branch of the National Guard to be mobilized to protect the people of your constituency.

Dear mayor/supervisor/top elected official, it is your job to make sure that peaceful protesters are not beaten down either by police or by armed insurgents who consider themselves protesters although by being armed and hostile they do not come under the coverage of the First Amendment. It is your job to keep people safe. If you don't call out adequate police/state cops/Guardsmen, you are failing your job and your people, and you do not deserve to be in office.

Is that clear???
Friday, August 18th, 2017 10:41 am
I am having an extreme amount of trouble logging in and staying logged in. Dreamwidth is requiring me to log in every time I go to a different page for the last two days. I had to log in to go from my reading page to here. It doesn't recognize my login sometimes and asks if I want to start an account -- when I have been here since the beginning. It is ignoring me when I check 'remember me' at login.

I have tried to contact support, but it logs me out as I write the ticket, and then does the same thing when I write it again. And then tells me the entry is invalid and needs to be done over. For this reason I haven't been able to contact Support.

If anyone from Support is reading this, would you please do what you can to stop this frustrating situation?
Friday, August 18th, 2017 12:01 am
From a Charlottesville resident:

"There seems to be a perception from people outside of Charlottesville that what is going on here is two opposing groups coming to town and fighting some ideological battle that has gotten messy. That is not what is happening here. What is happening here is that several hate groups from the extreme right have come together under the "unite the right" banner here in our town and basically started acting as terrorists. This may seem like an exaggeration but it's not...."
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 08:03 pm
Confederate-honoring statues are going down. In Hollywood Forever Cemetery, LA. And Lexington, KY. And quite a few other places. And Nancy Pelosi wants them out of the Capitol. Here's a list across the country.

And whose heritage do public symbols of confederacy belong to, anyway?

Florida has more racist hate groups than any other state; I wonder how old the members are.

Texas A&M cancels a rally by white supremacists, because of the possibility of violence against students.

Congressman Will Hurd and others say Trump should apologize for his remarks about Charlottesville.

Not only did Trump's business leaders walk away from him, they're not quiet about why. Here's another statement of why, including the following: "To be clear, the council never lived up to its potential for delivering policies that lift up working families. In fact, we were never called to a single official meeting, even though it comprised some of the world’s top business and labor leaders. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. joined to bring the voices of working people to the table and advocate the manufacturing initiatives our country desperately needs. But the only thing the council ever manufactured was letterhead. In the end, it was just another broken promise."

It took quite a bit of behind the scenes discussion, apparently.

And a look into the past history of American racism in the other inconvenient truth. Note the role Nixon had in creating hatred and persecution that continues to this day.

The racist who organized the Charlottesville white separtists ran away from his own press conference. Another white separatist was stuck having a press conference in his own office after two hotels turned him down.

I am not sure I agree with this idea of how to handle Trump, by making him say only what is written down. Why? I'm not sure he's literate enough to deal with the concepts. Even when he writes things down, they're offensive, ignorant, ahistorical and just plain wrong. And he's as much of a racist in private as in public. It's not just for show. He's bad enough at being president that the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is saying, publicly, Trump lacks the stability and competence to do the job. Is he about to go down in flames? The big question: What do you do when the President is unAmerican?

At this point, domestic terrorism is not a federal crime; that may change soon. Or we may have to consider if we are heading for another civil war.

Bannon doesn't understand about interviews. He should. He was a founder of Breitbart, and fell down their hole long ago.

And Silicon Valley is having an anti-Nazi purge. Twitter is shutting down white supremacist accounts. Can they shut down Trump now? Maybe the damaging myth of the longer genius nerd is involved.

The NYTimes has thoughts on how to roll back fanaticism.

***

Is there a better way to protest?

Malala is going to Oxford.

New Jersey introduces a fund to support local journalism.

A new poem by Sherman Alexie.

Trump's anti-abortion policies could keep girls around the world out of school.

Top journalists talk about the best job advice they were ever given. And 7 quick tips for conducting tough interviews.

When someone is hit by a train in the NY Subway, where do they put the body? In the MTA lunchrooms!

Some thoughts on signaling behavior and decisionmaking in government.

Buddhist wisdom: Everything we do matters, but two things are critical.

You don't know about Vernice Warfield, but you should.

Meg Wollitzer on feeling strong without a security blanket.

Talking with Lili Taylor and Janeane Garofalo.
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 11:34 am
In Baltimore, four Confederate statues were taken down at night and without prior notice, by order of the mayor. The City Council had called for their removal, also.

In Durham, NC, the night after Charlottesville, citizens tore down a Confederate statue. Police are investigating. Three of the crowd are turning themselves in. And, in a genuine I-Am-Spartacus! move, others are joining them.

Why quiet liberal Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, became ground zero.

A positive and creative reaction to Nazis marching through your town -- don't just donate to anti-Nazi groups, but get out there and cheer them on as helping anti-Nazi groups. Confuses the hell out of them.

Why Robert Mueller is looking at Trump SoHo. Not about Confederates, but about working to throw a fascist out of the White House. And another piece of the Trump/Russia puzzle. Yes, it's probably slashy but I'm not interested to know the details.

And because of Charlottesville, Trump's two business councils dissolved themselves -- walked away. He, of course, took credit for disbanding them, but it was another lie.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are moving to formally censure Trump over his response to Charlottesville that indicated he was on the side of the Nazis and white supremacists.

***

In China, Facebook tests a stealth app. And how stealthy will it be if the NY Times is writing about it? Do they think they have no readers in China?

TED: How your brain decides what is beautiful. And let's end ageism. And the fascinating reason children write letters backward.

"Virtue signaling" isn't the problem. Not believing each other is. I'd add, not trusting each other.

Why some famous singers are ruining their voices. And yes, there are people whose voices I hear and it makes my own throat hurt.

Libraries are the real punk rock.

100 law professors have written to Trump to tell him there is no question that the Dream Act is Constitutional.
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 10:45 am
First -- you need to know that the March for Racial Justice has been scheduled for Yom Kippur, excluding anyone Jewish who might want to participate, and the organizers refuse to reschedule: behind cut for length )

ETA: They changed the date.

Second, a Quaker response to Charlottesville from Baltimore Yearly Meeting Quoting: behind cut for length )

Third, the experience of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville. Behind cut for length, but please, please read it. )

Fourth, a philosophical principle coined in 1945 could be a key US defense against white supremacists. It's the Paradox of Tolerance:

1. A tolerant society should be tolerant by default,
2. With one exception: it should not tolerate intolerance itself.
Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:18 am
On taking action against white supremacists as metaphorical rock-paper-scissors.

I'm not going to repeat all the links in the superb posts I'm seeing. Instead, I'm asking you to go read this one by [personal profile] rydra_wong and this one by [personal profile] kore because they're brilliant. And they have good historical info on the way the Klan has moved through the last century of US history, what knocked them down and what's different now. For instance, I don't recall any other time when KKK/white supremacist members rallied without their robes, with their faces uncovered and in bright torchlight so they're identifiable in the camera photos that are posted online -- and then must account to the others in their lives (bosses, families, universities) for their actions.

And yes, Trump did not slip when he said the alt-left in Charlottesville was attacking "us". He did mean that he identifies with the white supremacists/Nazis/KKK. It wasn't a slip-up, no matter what you hear from "unnamed White House sources". Watch the Rachel Maddow videos in [personal profile] kore's post; she puts it together well. Ignore the toadies from the staff. But do take note of them as untrustworthy; they have already sold themselves to Trump.

ETA: [personal profile] rachelmanija is planning to be part of a counterprotest, to oppose Nazis at a rally in Los Angeles this Saturday, and invites those of you who wish to join her to let her know. Be safe, please, and counterprotest while keeping a good distance from people with clubs and other weapons, okay?

In the middle of this hatefulness, I implore you to find something that feeds your spirit, your soul, whatever you want to call the deepest inmost part of yourself, that makes you happy, that gives you joy, and keep doing it. The only way to do this kind of work, opposing hate, and get through it sanely is to fill yourself first with joy and love and peace to give you strength. Whatever it is, let it be your refuge. We will not see the last of this for a long time; best to start now to create your own inner sanctuary that nobody can mess with. For me it is meditation, prayer, shamanic practice, and tai chi. Handwork also helps-- knitting, spinning, weaving. Walking on the woods trails, when my foot is up to it again. Music, always. You can't give to others from your own lack; fill yourself first.
Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 02:15 pm
Does anyone know when the Shakespeare fiction exchanges assignments are to come out? I can't find it in my calendar, and I'd like to know so I can set the time aside for it.
Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 01:03 pm
An arc of arms are reaching out from distant
Suns whose gestures stir the life of seeds.
To be here, now, requires our hearts to listen,
Watch, and know that Light fulfills our needs.

When gripped by stagnant vines of fear, relief
Springs from the pulsing centers of our chests.
False boundaries dissolve in prayer; peace weaves
The seeming chaos into something blessed.

Stay rooted. Stand witness. Be upholding.
Guidance from great Mother Oak whose limbs will
Move ours to join in sacred dance, singing
Aloud that work is love made visible.

Roused by poetic muse of rainbow voice,
What stirs us also presses us against
The tide of thick embranglement of choice
In which our spirits rise and fall, unfenced.

One truth: that drawn by gravity and awe,
The world is in relationship with all.

***

This poem accompanied a five-panel watercolor painting about 30 feet long in all, which was displayed at Pendle Hill, the Quaker 'experiment in living', in 2011.
Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 11:45 am
I'm really excited about this. I stepped outside my comfort zone and volunteered to write a monthly Column about Marvel comics over at Women Write About Comics.

My first post went up today and you can read it here.

This is my first time in a long time writing for an audience that isn't people I already know and I'm both nervous and excited about it. Mostly excited, I think. Ask me again when I have to put together my August post.
Tags:
Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 11:35 am
When I do not go on and on about them here, it isn't because I want to ignore them. It's because I don't want to give them my space here. I want to keep this space for things that we need to know -- yes -- but in particular for stories and issues and art and music and anything else that is about life, culture, love, joy and peace.

I am not ignoring the warmongers -- they are out there. You see them screaming in many places. I do not want to endorse their screams. I am not silent and consenting to anything; I am trying to offer alternatives.

One alternative that I endorse is the Alternatives to Violence Project, which teaches ways to resolve differences without violence, manipulation or deception but honestly, thoughtfully and with consideration.

You will still see news items here about them, but probably not the ones that are everywhere else. You can get those everywhere else.

We are already in a war of the mind and the heart, holding fast to peace and courage against hatred and ignorance. I want to feed your heads (thank you, Grace Slick!) and hearts with words that nourish and inform and enjoy and celebrate life; that is what you need to stand up and stay standing.

Stay rooted. Stand witness. Be upholding.

(and when I find the rest of that poem I will put it here.)

ETA: In Second Life, the equivalent is griefers -- people who come into SL only to create trouble for others. They can't actually destroy anyone else or anyone else's things, but they come in to disrupt events, to cause problems for entire regions by filling them with trash, animations, particle storms (think fiery clouds) so that all the extra space is used up and the region crashes. Some of them are overt Nazis or white supremacists; they are banned from Oxbridge, the newcomer education region where I volunteer, as soon as they are seen. The standard policy, though, is not to give space to them -- not to talk about griefers in public chat rooms or at events -- because they monitor these areas and want to know if what they did affected anyone. We wish to rob them of that satisfaction.

I realize SL is not RL, real life. If you have an organization to promote that confronts and fights White Supremacy in any fashion and you want to spread the word, I will be glad to include it here.
Monday, August 14th, 2017 02:42 pm
I went with the SU to pick up his new glasses this morning. When I got out of the car, not in the usual place, I tripped and face-planted on the sidewalk. Or, to be more precise, chin-planted.

Since this was right in front of Kaiser, within 10 seconds (while I was still getting used to being horizontal not vertical and ow) three people asked how I was, one told me not to get up because they'd called a nurse, another offered to help me up. A nurse came with a wheelchair. After they'd determined that no, I hadn't fainted and no, I wasn't having a heart attack or stroke, they asked for my doctor's name and wheeled me up to one of the examining rooms near her office.

My doctor: "What happened?"

Me, for the 10th+ time: "I tripped."

While I was getting patched up, she told me a funny story from my doctor (pulled in to patch me between scheduled visits) on how she once whacked her head and cut her scalp and was too embarrassed to get it fixed so just drove away, blood dripping, to do it herself.

Total damage: scraped and bruised chin (but not a broken nose or broken teeth), scraped and bruised foot, broken toenail and cut on the front of the toe. Could've been a lot worse.

Still, gonna work on the tai chi more. That was not at all my most graceful moment.
Monday, August 14th, 2017 08:12 am
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon linked to a fundraiser for Mike "Mictlan" Marquez, one of the MCs in the rap co-op Doomtree (featured several times on Welcome to Night Vale's weather reports). He was recently diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes and like many artists is uninsured; he's expecting significant expenses for treatment he's already had (an ER visit and Diabetic Ketoacidosis) as well as ongoing treatment. You can read more and support his medical fundraiser here.

[profile] demond119 is raising funds with husband Jeremy to help with after-care costs of his heart transplant; he's currently on the waiting list at the Mayo Clinic, and once he has the transplant, he will need an extended stay at a transplant house (Gift of Life) for several months. You can read more and reblog here and support the fundraiser here.

[profile] emeraldonyxdragon is raising funds to support herself while studying in London this fall. She was accepted to a graduate program there but her savings have gone to help her parents with debts; in joining the program she would also be able to escape an abusive household. To help raise awareness, she is holding a contest -- reblogs and likes on her fundraising post could win you a fanfic of your choice. You can support the fundraiser directly here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Activism

We're all aware of what happened in Charlottesville this weekend; there are some concrete ways to take action here and orgs to support here and just in case you need a little encouragement here is Asiatic Clam Man to remind you that you can do it.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

[tumblr.com profile] magpiesmiscellany has a selection of tree-of-life pendants in various shapes, colors, and sizes for sale, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and the National Immigration Law Center. You can read more and purchase them here.

News To Know:

Leverage Big/Mini Bang signups are open! I ran RFM items letting people know about the Bang for a few weeks, and now you can register to participate. You can read more and sign up here (sign up links are at the bottom of the post -- at least on my screen they don't actually look like links but they are, I promise!)

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
Sunday, August 13th, 2017 10:03 pm
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, was killed on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia in an act of terrorism by a white supremacist. Heather Heyer was protesting against hate when she was murdered by a white supremacist terrorist who had been standing alongside members of the Vanguard America hate group mere hours before and who was undoubtedly encouraged to act by the presence of throngs of swastika-waving Nazis.

On Twitter, Gabriel Sherman writes: 'When I asked senior WH official why Trump didn't condemn Cville Nazis, he said: "What about the leftist mob. Just as violent if not more so"'

For most people, condemning the white supremacist hate that fueled the domestic terrorist who murdered Heather Heyer and injured many others would be a no-brainer. A statement unequivocally condemning Nazis who have caused the deaths of Americans should be a gimme.


And for most of us, it is: Estimates say there were 500-700 nazis in #Charlottesville yesterday. America responded: 778 events across every state in the nation.
pic.twitter.com/3LU7hKOT8w



Mood: Anger. Fear. Grief. Hope. Love. All of it, all together, all mixed up, with all of us.
Sunday, August 13th, 2017 09:20 am
Remember the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies who tried to slant the ballot for the last two years to get more "traditional" -- aka white male authors -- works to win?

Look at this slate of winners: nearly all female, and women of color.

True quality wins.
Sunday, August 13th, 2017 12:30 pm
I am home! 

I broke camp around six this morning, and when I started the hike it was 6:35 exactly, because I for once had the presence of mind to log it. Just getting to the trailhead was a couple of miles, due to some unforeseen obstructions (I did not get lost, there were just two unexpected fences, and also a long stretch of “closed” road that was a weird little detour through a post-apocalyptic landscape), so while I had planned to do about six miles, I ended up doing a little over eight and a half in three and a half hours, which considering I was carrying a 40lb pack I think was pretty good. 

I missed the 9:49 train to Chicago by two minutes. I literally saw it pulling away from the station as I arrived. The next train was at 1:15, but it’s just as well I was delayed, since it meant I got to rest my feet for a while and also got to help at least a half dozen people figure out a) how the train worked, b) how much tickets were, and c) which train to get on. 

So, I think the trip was a success. I worked out how the camp-reservation system at Dunewood functions, I tested out all my equipment (all remarkably functional, though I think I need to work on sleeping comfort issues), and I measured my endurance limit for hiking with a weighted pack. 

It is about eight miles. That last half mile nearly killed me. 

Also I got to return the Diane Mott Davidson book to the donation rack so someone else can enjoy it, and I added a book or two as well, which is a good thing since someone just offloaded a shitload of Clive Barker and it’s nice to have a little variety. 

Now I am going to sit on the sofa, possibly order a pizza, and deliberately not empty out my pack until tomorrow. 

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Saturday, August 12th, 2017 01:43 pm
In NYC, city Housing Authority attorneys will help evictees battle the city.

IHOP and Applebees will close 160 restaurants.

Also in NY, the Niagara County Legislature is calling for a criminal investigation into why the water over Niagara Falls ran black during what was supposed to be a 'routine' wastewater discharge into the river -- and during the height of tourist season. I'm not fond of that image of black water facing the Maid of the Mist boat either. And Westchester County (just above NYC) is creating an Office of Immigrant Affairs.

The Democrats need to rethink their 'better deal' and include abortion and health care -- or lose many more women than they want to think about.

Nepal outlaws the custom of exiling women to 'menstrual huts' during their periods -- in part because of a girl who died of snakebite because she could not get help in time because of taboos.

***

What can North Korea reach with its missiles? Besides China and Japan and South Korea? Guam, Russia, and much of southeast Asia. And most of the US, Iran, Somalia, Spain and Portugal.

The decades-long campaign to cut legal immigration.

TED: What six years in captivity taught me about fear and faith. Quote (from the translation from Spanish):

Now, I know they can divide all of us, they can manipulate us all with fear. The "No" vote on the peace referendum in Colombia; Brexit; the idea of a wall between Mexico and the United States; Islamic terrorism -- they're all examples of using fear politically to divide and recruit us. We all feel fear. But we can all avoid being recruited using the resources we have -- our principles, unity, faith. Yes, fear is part of the human condition, as well as being necessary for survival. But above all, it's the guide by which each of us builds our identity, our personality.

It's true, I was 41 years old the first time I felt fear, and feeling fear was not my decision. But it was my decision what to do with that fear. You can survive crawling along, fearful. But you can also rise above the fear, rise up, spread your wings, and soar, fly high, high, high, high, until you reach the stars, where all of us want to go.


And, speaking of fear: the political payoff of making whites feel like a minority.

The hidden racism of young 'white' Americans. And don't confuse white-male resentment with the entire working class. And the policies of white resentment. But the centrality of 'whiteness' will fade away.

(One of these days I'm either going to find the essay on the origin of 'whiteness' or paraphrase it here; the sum of it is this: Whiteness was created to distinguish those who enslave others from their slaves; Confederate-sympathizers and neoNazis are white, no matter their ethnic background. (The irony of neoNazis with last names that are Polish or Dutch does not escape me.) Not all of
us whose skin may be paler or whose ancestors may have haled from Europe are "white" in that sense. I can say more, but I'll leave it till later.)

What helped convince someone to stop being a hardcore Republican: eavesdropping.

***

Whatever happened to mass incarceration reform?

No child deserves a life sentence, but try telling prosecutors that.

A Kentucky circuit court judge has ruled that it is unconstitutional to give the death sentence to anyone under 21.

***

Elizabeth Olsen, cooking. And when the prescription is a recipe.

CVS Health is being sued over 'clawbacks' of prescription drug co-pays.

In Tallahassee, Florida, the newspaper builds an interactive refugee database.

The limits and freedoms of speech on campus.

Ava DuVernay to adapt Octavia Butler's novel "Dawn" for a tv series.

Invisible poems hidden in one of the world's oldest libraries.

Living like the women of Viking literature, where 'princess' is an insult.

Appreciating Stephen Stills. And as the article mentions his songs, the music rolls through my mind...

Claire Messud's 'difficult' women.

Annie Dillard's essay Total Eclipse.

Writers, protect your inner life.

Yes, there are sand dunes in Japan. And the occasional camel.

Outdoors lovers move a $45 million trade show out of Utah because the state tried to remove protections on public lands.

A literary activist's guide to the PEN America Digital Archive.

Patti Smith on Sam Sheppard.

A review of the movie 'Wind River'. With Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner.

Mimi Choi gave up teaching to create optical illusions with makeup. Some need a strong stomach.

The Theoi Project -- all about Greek deities.
Saturday, August 12th, 2017 11:14 am
Don't mess with warlord Olive Yang.

***

How about greeting refugees with welcome blankets?

In Canada, an ice-cream maker saves the local school. And Canada is straining a bit to welcome refugees who were immigrants to the US -- this is a link to a group of stories. And there are more Mounties at the border to help asylum seekers. (No, not necessarily in dress reds, Benton Fraser.

You cannot imagine how angry I am that this country, which welcomed (in its own way, with prejudice and difficulty, but welcomed, let them come and make lives here) my mother and my grandparents and my uncles and many other relatives who came here for various reasons from other countries is now the place from which people are fleeing. None of them would meet the immigration criteria that are now being proposed; they were, variously, a secretary, a sailor/dockworker/furcutter, a housewife and mother, a fisherman, a refugee and several others whose work I don't even know. None had been to a university or had advanced degrees, which are among the new criteria -- even with my MS I would not qualify to enter this country because I don't have a job that pays $70,000 or more a year. Retirees not wanted, regardless of relationship to those already here who could help to take care of them.

Children's books about refugees.

***

Jack Rabinovitch, founder of the biggest literary award in Canada, has died.
Thursday, August 10th, 2017 10:12 pm
So everyone is talking about the opioid addiction crisis and I have to be honest, I know ZERO people using them. I am, honestly, the only person I know with any opioids. I have horrible reactions to ibuprofen - as in I can die if I take it - so the doctors go from naproxen right to things like Vicodin without passing go.


And it isn't that I do not understand the issues involved - the withdrawal and the addiction. I come from a long line of alcoholics and people with mental issues who like to self-medicate. When I had my foot surgery the pain got HORRIBLE. I took that stuff every 6 hours like clockwork. I'd had some very low dose stuff before when my back when out and when I twisted up my ankle really bad that last time. It worked fine. I had one before bed usually to be sure I could sleep through the night and called it a day. But the surgery - ouch. And I waited too long to start so the first night was complete hell. After that I didn't wait.

I took that stuff like candy for about three weeks. I made sure to do my research about the withdrawal issues and I ramped it down easy over a course of two more.

OMG. Fuck.


I was bone cold for days and the only way I could get warm was to sit in a mega-hot bathtub. I had the runs so bad I literally shit myself twice because I couldn't get from my bed to the bathroom 20ft away in time. The headaches were migraine level for two solid weeks. I spent the first 48 hours unable to sleep at all and started to fear for my sanity. I had these totally vivid fucked-up dreams. There were so many times - particularly in the first 3 days - when I thought, "Jesus, if taking one of those things will stop this I totally understand why people say fuck it and just keep taking them." And I was only on Vidocin for like a month. I wasn't even close to some of the high-level stuff other people take and have taken for extended periods.

But the thing is, they never made me feel GOOD. Sure, they make my body pain stop (man was I grateful when it did) but it never made me what I might call "high." I have literally never taken any drug that gave me any kind of side effect that felt good. They make me feel sick to my stomach, or tired, or strung out and wired, or even as if I'm not really attached to my body. And I find NONE of those things appealing because I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. We got control issues and anything that makes me feel out of control makes me go, NOPE. NOPIE McNoperson. NOPE with NOPE sauce and a NOPE cherry on top.


So I have this dual thing: I can't understand how opioids make someone feel good enough to WANT to take them without an underlying horrible pain issue. I also don't know anyone (to my knowledge) who takes them and it makes them feel good so I can't ask what it is like for them so I can have some kind of sympathetic understanding of WHY they do it.

Now that first thing is partly my body chemistry and partly my baggage but that second one is, I think, a sign of my overwhelming privilege.

Now I'm not saying I think everyone addicted to these things is in an inner city slum or living in a trailer park. I am pretty darn sure that this is not the case. I think there are plenty of middle and upperclass people on this stuff for various legitimate medical reasons and I am pretty sure, after my experience, that they are addicted enough to experience some super shit withdrawal. Read more... )
So, I guess I'm baffled here on multiple levels. My nurse friend - on loads of stuff but stays as far from that shit as possible. My hub - novocaine and locals tend to not work on him at all because of his screwed up chem so he sticks to Tylenol unless he is literally in a hospital. Another friend is a psyc so no thanks. His wife - more messed up chem so she says no thanks.

HOW DO I KNOW THIS MANY PEOPLE WHO JUST TOTALLY REJECT PAIN MEDS OF ANY KIND?

I totally think these meds have a place. I think chronic pain management people have need of things to help them get along. I have been there. I am probably going to be there again. And I am sure that there is a serious social problem happening. I do not doubt that it is going on even if it is not directly touching me. I guess I'm just at a loss here trying to figure out HOW it got to this point.

Because body and control issues and, I am pretty sure, privilege.

And I hate being that privileged bitch that doesn't get it. I hate that.
Thursday, August 10th, 2017 11:29 pm
So I got my new temporary crown put on my molar today.  

Me before the procedure: So are you taking off the old one and putting on a new one, or just like, remolding the old one?

Dentist: We’re putting on a new one. Unless we can somehow fit your head in an eight thousand degree oven.

Me: Don’t do that. I sunburn easily. 

At which point the dental assistant lost her shit and let out the loudest cackle I’ve ever heard in a dental office. 

They put the temporary crown on and told me to bite down to affix the glue, but when I bit down I cracked the damn crown in half. Apparently it was a defective crown, but many jokes were made about my jaw strength and how maybe I should fuckin’ relax a little if I can bite through a crown while off my face on nitrous. 

Even with insurance it ran me $400 for the temporary crown, the permanent crown, and a surcharge for nitrous (because fuck having dental procedures without nitrous). That hurt worse than my tooth does. Fortunately for my pocketbook I have a medical flex-spending card, but I used up the last of it today, so let’s all hope I don’t break any limbs between now and January. I’ve gone over a year without having to have surgery upon my insides or a cast affixed to my person, so I think we can keep the streak alive. Traditionally I only get seriously injured in the summer months at any rate, so there’s that at least. 

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Thursday, August 10th, 2017 12:22 pm
This is a follow-up to my article "Refusing to Empathize with Elliot Rodger: Taking Male Entitlement Seriously".

As I mentioned initially, Lundy Bancroft lists a number of tactics abusive men use in conversations. In Why Does He Do That?, he notes that when one of the abusers he works with attempts to use one of these tactics on him or another group participant, and Bancroft calmly names which tactic it is instead of reacting, the abuser usually gets even angrier. So in that spirit, I thought I would compile a list of responses to my article and classify them according to the abuse tactics they use.

Here is a subset of Bancroft's list of conversational abuse tactics in p. 145-146 (n.b. all page-number references are to Why Does He Do That?)

  1. Sarcasm
  2. Ridicule
  3. Distorting what you say (this was one of the most common responses I saw, in which the interlocutor would make up a caricature of what I wrote and then attack that, instead of engaging with the actual ideas).
  4. Accusing you of doing what he does, or thinking the way he thinks (AKA projection, as discussed on p. 142)
  5. Using a tone of absolute certainty and final authority -- "defining reality":
    When Mr. Right decides to take control of a conversation, he switches into his Voice of Truth, giving the definitive pronouncement on what is the correct answer or the proper outlook. Abuse counselors call this tactic defining reality. Over time, his tone of authority can cause his partner to doubt her own judgment and come to see herself as not very bright. (p. 82)
  6. Not listening, refusing to respond -- I've rephrased this as "dismissal", since the original list was concerned with in-person conversations where one person can literally ignore the other. Online, the equivalent of this is not ignoring, but replying in a way that doesn't at all engage with the content, rather labeling it in ways that create negative sentiment without actually trying to refute ideas. Dismissal is not ignoring (it's great when people ignore things they don't like or don't care about!) -- the effort that the abuser puts in to communicate "I didn't read this, I didn't think it was worth reading, but I'm still going to attack it" shows that it is important to them that the person being abused not be heard. (Compare Kathy Sierra's "Trouble at the Kool-Aid Point" and my own previous discussion of false dismissal.)
  7. Changing the subject to his grievances
  8. Provoking guilt
  9. Playing the victim
  10. Name-calling, insults, put-downs. I'm calling out "insulting intelligence" as its own subcategory:
    The abuser tends to see his partner as less intelligent, less competent, less logical, and even less sensitive than he is.... He often has difficulty conceiving of her as a human being. (p. 63)
    One of the primary rhetorical weapons used against underrepresented people in tech is that we're not intelligent, and indeed, that was a large part of what made the original manifesto abusive.
  11. Threatening to harm you
There are others, but I listed the ones that are most relevant to online conversations. And I would add two more:
  • Demanding explanation, where the interlocutor asks for more justification either in ways that make it clear they didn't read the entire piece, or didn't read it carefully, or don't actually want to debate and are just asking in order to steal attention. Sort of like a human denial-of-service attack. The person demanding explanation is like the type of abuser Bancroft describes as "Mr. Right":
    "Mr. Right tries to sanitize his bullying by telling me, 'I have strong opinions' or 'I like debating ideas.' This is like a bank robber saying, 'I'm interested in financial issues.' Mr. Right isn't interested in debating ideas; he wants to impose his own." (p. 83)
    "It is frustrating, and ultimately pointless, to argue with someone who is certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that his perspective is accurate and complete and that yours is wrong and stupid. Where can the conversation possibly go?" (p. 144)
    Demanding explanation is abusive because it's deceptive: the abuser who demands an explanation holds out the promise that he is reasonable, he can be persuaded, and the conversation can go somewhere positive if you just explain more. In reality, he is not open to being changed by what he hears, and is just trying to waste your time and/or entrap you for more abuse. Demanding a 1-on-1 conversation also reflects entitlement to the time and attention of the writer, who has already provided plenty of explanation. It is pretty obvious to me when someone is asking questions out of genuine openness to change, and when they're doing it in a rude and entitled way.
  • Gaslighting; Bancroft discusses discrediting extensively (p. 125, p. 146) but doesn't call it out in the above list. "You're too sensitive", "You're overreacting", and -- when not justified, other than by the purported oversensitivity of the writer -- "You can't make that comparison, it's ridiculous" are all forms of gaslighting. They attempt to make the listener doubt their own perceptions and judgment. I included gaslighting comments under "ridicule", but it's worth pointing out that this is a common and insidious form of ridicule, since it seems superficially reasonable (of course we all think that nobody should be too sensitive, or react too much, though the boundary for how sensitive it's acceptable to be is rarely discussed).

The analysis

I read:
  • All of my mentions that were replies to tweets (from me or other people) linking to "Refusing to Empathize with Elliot Rodger, or that linked to the essay without replying to me.
  • Two comments on my Dreamwidth post that were screened and that I deleted.
(I excluded a lot of mentions that could also have gone on this list, but were replies to tweets unrelated to the essay. My favorite one of those, though, was a response to a picture I posted of a display of boxes of LaCroix sparkling water, which said something like "looking for something to drink so you can get fatter?")

The following table lists all but one of the responses, along with the abusive tactics each one employs.

There was one response that didn't use any of the abusive tactics above. It was illogical (blaming Marc Lépine's actions on Islam because Lépine's father was Algerian), but may have been written in good faith, even if it was ignorant.

So in short:

  • 27 critical/negative replies
  • 26 out of 27 use at least one abuse tactic identified by Bancroft; most several
  • The remaining one is illogical / primarily based on religious stereotyping.
  • No substantive criticisms. At all.
I am often wrong, and many times, people have had critical things to say about my writing. Sometimes they were right. Often, they were non-abusive. But something about this essay drew out many abusive responses, while no one had a genuine intellectual criticism. When you call out and name abuse, a way that you can tell that you were right is that the abusers get more abusive. I'm sure there are places where this essay falls short, logically, or could be better expressed. But no one has pointed them out.

CW: verbally abusive comments; slurs )

Conclusion

The dominance of abuse in the negative responses to my piece doesn't prove I'm right, of course. It doesn't prove there's no good argument against my core theses, and it doesn't prove I didn't make any mistakes. But given that a lot of people were so eager to debunk my article, if there was a good argument, don't you think one of them might have found one?

I think giving names to abusive conversational patterns is extremely powerful and I think it's important to distinguish between criticism and abuse, and notice when the only thing people can seem to muster up in response to anti-abuse discourse is more abuse.

Tags:
Thursday, August 10th, 2017 01:10 pm
When Dad went into the US Navy in 1942, he went in as a chief, not because they needed more chiefs but because they needed more engineers, machinists and tool-and-die makers. They needed people, in short, to make sure that what the designers wanted to do with metal for the ships would work (designers don't always think about things like metal stress) and to fix ships when they needed it. For a while he was stationed in the Navy Yard here in DC, which he didn't much like but put up with; then he was stationed in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which he liked better because Mom could take the train down to visit a few times. He was in San Francisco's Navy Yard also, though I forget for how long -- one of his brothers, in the Army, found him there and they went into town and had a good time, from which, somewhere, I have one of those four-photo strips from a 25-cent photo booth with both of them looking goofy. Then in 1944, after it was captured from the Japanese during horrific fighting,he was sent to Guam, to oversee ship repair at the new naval base being built there.

I heard a lot of stories about his time in Guam while I was growing up. They didn't have a lot of fresh water at times (not sure why), so when it rained a warm tropical rain every afternoon you'd see men out in their skivvies using it as a public shower. There were still a few Japanese sharpshooters up in the mountains, so you didn't go exploring too far off base or out of town. The enlisted men like Dad who were neither officers nor draftees didn't get as much in terms of rations -- they assumed all the really good food was going to the guys at the front, wherever the front was at the moment -- and for a while, six weeks, they had Australian mutton three times a day. Dad and the guys in his shop made do by trading extra jobs for food with the ships that came in -- a little extra welding and they'd get a case of some kind of food they hadn't seen in ages. When they got a case of onions one of the guys made an onion sandwich, just onion and bread, and, eyes streaming, said he wouldn't have to take his vitamins today. Ships would come in with all sorts of holes blown through them, all sorts of stuff that needed welding, but the weirdest one was probably the Pittsburgh (I think that was the name). The bow of the ship broke off during a typhoon, and drifted away. Everyone assumed that it was gone -- until the message came in from another ship: "Have sighted a suburb of Pittsburgh." The other ship towed it into Guam, where the rest of the ship was being repaired. (Wikipedia article. )

I've been thinking about this a lot because of Trump's mouthing off. This is Guam today, with people eating at Applebee's and having parades on holidays and going about their lives. This other article talks about the situation but doesn't show the people as well, other than the enormous military base with the anti-ballistic missiles. And this article looks at it in some economic terms.

The thing is, North Korea's not just thinking of aiming at Guam; it's also looking at its other half, South Korea, and at Japan. This does not make anyone happy. As a result, Japan is thinking of a pre-emptive strike, which is against its own postwar constitution.

I realize that everyone who was on the island in WWII is extremely elderly or gone now -- but my mental image is of 19- to 30-year-old guys out in the rain next to their quonset huts, or sharing a huge tub of popcorn that the wife of one of the guys sent (she sent unpopped popcorn in a coffee can, and he popped it all and carried a huge tub of popcorn around the shop: "have some popcorn, my wife sent it".) Or of Dad sending an overstressed machinist into town when nobody was supposed to be on leave -- by giving the guy an order to bring back a postage stamp for him. That way, he was there on orders to get something for his chief, and he wasn't AWOL.

They're all gone now. But when I imagine that island going up in flames, my mind's eye sees them, and the local Chamorro people, and the mountain of trees and mystery and unknown threat -- the last Japanese soldier there came down in...something like the 1960s? Someone who spoke Japanese told him the war was over, and he couldn't believe it. The world had changed.

Can it change back now, please, so that people in the Marianas don't have to look over their shoulders at the sky?
Thursday, August 10th, 2017 12:19 am
I am going CAMPING this weekend, I am DETERMINED, and I take it as a sign that after having bought a whistle and promptly lost it, when repacking my backpack tonight I FOUND IT AGAIN. (It was, for some reason, in the very bottom of the bag. Why would I put it there? Nobody knows.) 

I have the third Diane Mott Davidson book from the library, ready for reading, and also I’ve packed the second book and an additional book to leave at the Dune Park train stop, to repay the world for the joy I had from reading Dying For Chocolate. 

I have spent all summer doing recon and building up my supply stash, and now I AM READY. 

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Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 07:30 pm
This is the summary of the draft of the global warming/climate change report put together by 13 federal agencies; it was leaked to the press so Trump could not bury it. And here's the full draft.

Old, but good, from the New Republic (a right-leaning, conservative magazine): Amazing Disgrace, how Trump hijacked the Religious Right. A quote: behind cut for length )

Why are there no new major religions? I happen to think there are, just not in the way this article does.

Farewell, rhinestone cowboy, Wichita lineman.

A chain of sexual misconduct among teachers at prep schools.

No exceptions from deportation for Trump supporters at Mar-a-Lago.

I spent two years studing policy analysis in grad school, including statistics, economics, history of policy and much more. I expect that none of the people from the program I was in, which went back long enough that some graduates are in high places in government now, are among the shadowy group of business execs that Trump has selected to write policy.

And I am not happy about more coal mining on public lands -- this is not underground mining, the traditional version from Appalachia, but open-pit mining that tears the land apart and poisons streams and watersheds. None of the aftereffects of mining seem to be considered by the "policymakers" who are pushing it -- but they don't have to live there afterward, do they? The major point of good policy is to make things better for as many people as possible, harming as few as possible. This does not fit that criterion.
Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 10:46 am
The Senate, unanimously, has made it impossible for Trump to fire anyone and make a recess appointment by not completely going on recess.
Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 08:40 am
So, about that Googler's manifesto... he was completely wrong about everything and here's why.

Army Corps of Engineers invades Texas, clearing land for the border wall. And yes, trespassing without permission on private land. Did anyone ask the people who own the land if they want the wall?


Rather than steal land legally through eminent domain, they have arrived without permission or notification. Instead of cutting through ranchland, they have begun where it will hurt the most — nature preserves. The first location to fall beneath the saw, machete, and blade is a strip through the National Butterfly Center. Scientists had purchased the area from farmers and restored it with plant species vital to the survival of the threatened monarch butterfly. Now, only brown stubble remains. The wall will block the migration of thousands of land-based animals, cutting their territory in two.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the region contains “a few remaining wild tropical cats like ocelots and jaguarundis. Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, Green jay, Elf Owl, Texas tortoise, Indigo snake and Mexican burrowing toad are also found in this region. Rare plants, especially in the cactus family like Albert’s black lace cactus, star cactus and Runyons cory cactus” still remain in the area, but “Today, most of the region has been bulldozed, plowed or otherwise fallen victim to urbanization.” Invaders from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the ACoE will now take away a large piece of the remaining wildlife habitat and sever migration lanes vital to the survival of these rare species.


Don't miss this weekend's Perseid meteor shower.

One guy who thinks he's very smart, and isn't. Five women. This story doesn't go the way you expect. It's better than that.

Cleaving to the medieval, journeymen ply their trades in Europe.

Don't disturb a fairy fort. Ever. For any reason.

That Neanderthal build in the cave in France? It's a lot older than was thought.