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Posted by Melissa McEwan

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.

I'm going to be otherwise occupied for most of the day Monday, so I will be taking the day off and return on Tuesday. See you then!

Quote of the Day

Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

"Graham-Cassidy, the health bill the Senate may vote on next week, is stunningly cruel. It's also incompetently drafted: The bill's sponsors clearly had no idea what they were doing when they put it together. Furthermore, their efforts to sell the bill involve obvious, blatant lies. ...Graham-Cassidy isn't an aberration; it's more like the distilled essence of everything wrong with modern Republicans."—Paul Krugman, in "Cruelty, Incompetence, and Lies" for the New York Times.

MAKE YOUR CALLS. RESIST.

Shaker Gourmet

Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

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!

Daily Dose of Cute

Sep. 22nd, 2017 01:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt and Dudley the Greyhound lying on the floor in Iain's office
The doggies chilling in Iain's office.

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

We Resist: Day 246

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:15 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

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: Bernie Sanders, What Are You Even Doing? and Two Terrible Men Escalate Their War of Terrible Words.

Josh Dawsey and Burgess Everett at Politico: Trump Publicly Backs Health Care Effort, Privately Harbors Doubts. In other words, he's just like the rest of the lying liars in his party with zero integrity and the singular principle that winning is everything. "Several White House officials described the president as determined to sign something — anything, really." Cool.

Jessica Glenza and Molly Redden at the Guardian: Republicans' New Health Bill Would Hit Women Hardest, Experts Say. "[E]xperts said funding cuts and weaker insurance regulations would leave more female patients worse off, hitting access to reproductive health hardest. 'The Graham-Cassidy bill is an assault on healthcare, period. But I really think women, particularly poor women, are bearing the brunt of this,' said Jessica Schubel, a senior policy analyst at the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. ...One of the most concerning provisions in the Graham-Cassidy bill, advocates said, was a push to defund the reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood." Fuckers.

Apparently, this tweet is evergreen. Unfortunately.


Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post: This Republican Health-Care Bill Is the Most Monstrous Yet. "There is a rational motive for all of this, although it's a nefarious one that the GOP doesn't like to talk about: Slashing Medicaid spending would make room for huge tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich. Yes, senators, we see that, too. It is tempting to let the Republican Party drive itself, Thelma-and-Louise style, off this cliff. But the human impact of the latest repeal-and-replace measure would be too tragic. Call your senator. Make a deafening noise. We must do everything we can to kill this bill." YES.

MAKE YOUR CALLS.


* * *


Y'all. I detest him so profoundly.

[Content Note: Islamophobia; video may autoplay at link] Toluse Olorunnipa and Greg Stohr at Bloomberg: Trump's Travel Ban Decision Could Set Off New Wave of Turmoil. "Donald Trump is on the verge of a fresh clash with business leaders and civil-rights advocates as he faces a critical deadline this weekend for continuing his travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries. The president hinted he might broaden the initial ban, which is set to expire on Sunday, in his response to a terrorist attack in London last week. Even mere renewal of the prohibition on entry into the U.S. by most citizens of those nations would reopen controversy over an action that provoked sharp criticism from prominent corporate leaders, multiple court challenges, and internal strife within the White House. Trump may announce his decision on the next step as as soon as Friday." Deplorable.

[CN: Nativism; carcerality; exploitation; video may autoplay at link] Aimee Picchi at CBS News: Working for Peanuts: Detained Immigrants Paid $1 a Day.
If there's one aspect in a new battle over the treatment of immigrant detainees that both sides agree on, it's this: They're paid just $1 a day.

But whether that meager pay is legal is now a contested issue, with the Washington state attorney general's office suing private prison operator GEO Group (GEO) over the detainees' work pay. The lawsuit alleges the $1 a day payment violates the state's minimum wage laws; it also claims the detainees sometimes don't even earn cash, but rather are paid in chips and candy.

The legal dispute, which appears to be the first of its kind, poses a host of questions about the treatment of detainees in the U.S. at a time when arrests of suspected undocumented immigrants is on the rise. Many of them are housed in facilities operated by private prison companies such as GEO as they await their immigration court hearings. The detention centers aren't jails or prisons, nor have the detainees been convicted.

"They are breaking Washington state law and exploiting detainees for their profits," Bob Ferguson, the Washington attorney general, told CBS MoneyWatch. "It's not OK."

...Yet detainees haven't been convicted of breaking the law, and they aren't facing criminal charges, Ferguson pointed out. Some are asylum-seekers, while others may be found to be legally residing within the U.S. and released.
Meanwhile...


I hate the way this administration treats people. I hate it so much. It feels like getting a million paper cuts every single day.

* * *


Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis at the Washington Post: White House Plan for Tax Cuts Moves Forward. "The White House plan for a massive package of tax cuts is gaining new momentum as Republicans attempt to set aside months of intraparty squabbling and unify behind a key part of [Donald] Trump's agenda. Two developments are accelerating the effort: Key Senate Republicans reached a tentative deal this week to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax reductions over 10 years; and there is a growing willingness within the GOP to embrace controversial, optimistic estimates of how much economic growth their tax plan would create." Fucking hell.

Nancy Cook at Politico: Trump Aides Begin Looking for the Exits. "Many who joined the administration in January did so with the explicit idea that they'd stay for at least a year, enough to credibly say they'd served. But in the aftermath of a wave of abrupt, high-profile departures over the summer that culminated with former strategist Steve Bannon's ouster in August, aides up and down the chain are reaching out to headhunters, lobbyists, and GOP operatives for help finding their next job. ...'There will be an exodus from this administration in January,' said one Republican lobbyist, who alone has heard from five officials looking for new gigs. 'Everyone says, 'I just need to stay for one year.' If you leave before a year, it looks like you are acknowledging that you made a mistake.'" OH YOU MADE A FUCKING MISTAKE. YOU WORKED FOR DONALD TRUMP. ONE DAY WOULD HAVE BEEN A HUGE MISTAKE. FUCK YOU AND WHOEVER HIRES YOU NEXT.

Teresa Walsh at McClatchy: Push to Unseal the Draft Whitewater Indictment Against Hillary Clinton Gets Court Date. "A federal appeals court will hear a case brought by Judicial Watch on Friday to make public draft indictments of Hillary Clinton from the Whitewater scandal in the 1990s." PERFECT. *jumps into Christmas tree*

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

Hello

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

There is a lot going on in the world right now. A lot of people are hurting. And the governing party of the United States is busily trying to hurt even more people.

It is overwhelming. It is enough to make a person feel scared, unmoored, lost.

Sometimes all of the feelings one has — while helplessly watching suffering from afar, or up close, and/or suffering oneself at the whims of nature or the cruelty of powerful villains thinly veiling their malice behind a veneer of civility — swirl together in a morass of emotion that congeal into an urgent need to be known by your community, the place where you feel safe.

I see you. And you are not alone.

selenak: (Schreiben by Poisoninjest)
[personal profile] selenak
Back when I marathon-read Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, I saw he's also authored a lot of novels for children, and had a new one coming out this month, a standalone called Frederick the Great Detective, which, however, mysteriously seems to be available in German before it is in English. (Mysterious because Kerr's Scottish and writes in English, and the novel, which got released today, is indeed translated from the English original, I checked the imprint.) Anyway, the novel has a very similar premise to a movie I saw at last year's Munich Film Festival, Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday - the review I wrote about the film is here: boy falls in love with Emil and the Detectives, befriends its author, Erich Kästner, in the twilight of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich ensues, boy tries to maintain ideals of novel versus increasingly awful reality. Having read the novel now, I can add a further parallel: both Friedrich in Frederick the Great Detective and Hans in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday have an older sibling who is enthusastically joining the Nazi cause. My original suspicion as to why Kerr picked a fictional main character instead of Hans, who actually existed and did befriend Erich Kästner, was because Hans' fate was sealed by history, and that Kerr wanted a better fate for his young hero. Spoilers ensue. )However, by that point, I had already guessed various other reasons why Kerr chose a fictional over a fictionalized "real" main character, and the differences to Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday are instructive here.

For starters, there's the difference in focus: Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday is, as far as Hans is concerned, a coming of age story - he goes from child to teenager and young man in the course of the story - and has Erich Kästner as the other lead, whose perspective through the movie is even the slightly favored one. Frederick the Great Detective, by contrast, has Kästner only as a supporting character, aside from a prologue and an epilogue ends in late 1933/early 1934, and is above all a homage to Kästner's novel in structure, focusing on Friedrich and his same-age friends, who play detectives until it gets lethally dangerous. (The adults, whether benevolent or malignant or in between, are seen from the outside, the point of view is Friedrich's throughout.) For, befitting the author of the Gunther mysteries, there are actually cases to solve. (Though as opposed to Bernie, young Friedrich - who wants to become a detective through much of the novel - gets the point that you can't be a detective in a system where the criminals have taken over when Kästner desperately tells him just this.)

Indeed, while reading I wondered whether the basic idea for the novel might not have been a wish to write a sequel to Emil which tackles how Emil & Co. would act when the Third Reich starts, because Friedrich's gang with its twins has some similarities. Then again, Friedrich has a distinctly different background to Emil (or Hans Löhr) - no working class single parent mother, instead, middle class parents with his father a journalist and friend of Kästner's, which is the original connection, which allows Kerr to depict the way the press lost its freedom within a year. It also allows Kerr to let Friedrich and his parents vacation on Rügen where Friedrich meets Christopher Isherwood and Isherwood's boyfriend Heinz on the beach. (Leading to a charming scene where Friedrich manages to solve his very first case by finding Isherwood's lost watch.) Kerr provides quite a lot of real life characters making cameos throughout the novel - Billy Wilder (during the premiere of the "Emil and the Detectives" movie version which he scripted), Max Liebermann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Walter Trier etc. - but the Isherwood cameo was for me the most vivid of these. (And I'm not surprised, having come across an interview where Kerr says bascially Berlin for him as a reader, before he got there, was invented by two British writers, Christopher Isherwood and John Le Carré.)

Kästner himself lis of course the real life character with the most page time, but he feels more like a generic version of Kästner's author persona than an actual attempt at depiction of the man. (As opposed to the Kästner in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday.) Meaning: he's a benevolent adult the way, say, Justus the Teacher in "Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer" is, with no hint of any inner conflicts, and Kerr slims down the biographical and authorial data about him to "wrote Emil and the Detective, also works as a journalist"; in this book, there are no mentions of either Kästner's other books for children or his adult novel, Fabian (the one who got burned by the Nazis at the 1933 book burning), nor of his sharp political poetry (which in Germany he was and is almost as well known for as for his prose). (Hence ahistorically Emil ends up as the burned book, when in rl Emil and the Detectives was so popular that it got published, as the only one of Kästner's works, within Germany until 1936. Then it was for the axe as well.) The one biographical background fact about Kästner mentioned in conversation by Friedrich's father is in fact a wrong one, or rather, a wrong assumption, that Kästner's mother, like Emil's, raised her son alone. In rl, not only was Kästner's father around and in contact with his son, but he outlived Kästner's mother. There is, however, a reason why I didn't mind this particular wrong statement, which is: Kästner kept his father and his relationship with him very low key as long as his mother was still alive, while his relationship with his mother was intense and very public, so a colleague from work like Friedrich's father could be forgiven for assuming the guy was either dead or had left the family. ( If you've read Kästner's autobiographical writings, one of the most memorable childhood scenes which makes you cringe in sympathy is his parents' christmas competition about him, when his father, a craftsman, proudly presented presents he made with his own hand while his mother spent all her money on presents, and both parents would regard whichever present their son showed any favour to as proof whom he loved more or a rejection respectively. And thus it went on for as long as Kästner's mother lived.)

What the novel does really well, though, is presenting a group of children responding to their world changing radically, and Friedrich as a likeable child hero who ends up rejecting the demagogery, scapegoating and promise of glory that lures his older brother in because he sees how both people he knows and strangers are abused in its name. Again, in an homage to Kästner's novel which has a memorable dream sequence, Friedrich's ongoing crisis of conscience and wonder how to avoid becoming a Nazi himself climaxes in a surreal dream where the various things he has experienced come together. The lesson he draws from this is simple and profound at the same time, very Kästnerian and indeed great advice in current day circumstances as well, to the question as ow to act: Be kind. Being kind and you can't become what you fear and hate. Be kind.

Mind you, the 1945 prologue and epilogue does spoilery things ) But all in all, Frederick the Great Detective is still a very readable children's novel set in a dark time which also manages to pay homage to a classic while being its own thing.
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

[Content Note: Disablism.]

Choe Sang-Hun at the New York Times: Kim's Rejoinder to Trump's Rocket Man: 'Mentally Deranged U.S. Dotard'.
Responding directly for the first time to [Donald] Trump's threat at the United Nations to destroy nuclear-armed North Korea, its leader called Mr. Trump a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" on Friday and vowed the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history."

The rejoinder by the leader, Kim Jong-un, who is about half as old as Mr. Trump, 71, added to the lexicon of Mr. Kim's choice of insults in the escalating bombast between the two.

"A frightened dog barks louder," Mr. Kim said in a statement, referring to Mr. Trump's speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in which he vowed to annihilate North Korea if the United States were forced to defend itself or its allies against it.

"He is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician," Mr. Kim said.
It's really neat (it is terrible) how these two dudes lob really specific insults at each other without a trace of fucking self-awareness. Or any detectable sense of irony.

Meanwhile...

David Nakamura and Anne Gearan at the Washington Post: Amid New Sanctions, Trump Calls North Korea's Leader 'Madman' Whose Regime Will Face New Tests.
Trump lashed back Friday at North Korea's leader, calling Kim Jong Un a "madman" whose regime will be "tested like never before" amid new U. S-imposed financial sanctions.

...Kim on Thursday reacted angrily to Trump's remarks and actions this week, calling the president a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" and Trump's earlier speech at the U.N. "unprecedented rude nonsense." Kim said that he was now thinking hard about how to respond.

..."I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation," Kim said, saying that he would "tame" Trump "with fire."

On Friday, Trump added the latest barb with a tweet calling Kim a "madman" who brings famine and death on North Koreans.

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!" Trump wrote.
So everything is fine, as usual. (Everything is not fine.)

If only someone had mentioned before Election Day that Trump is an erratic, reckless, provocative bully with a poisonous temperament who is catastrophically unfit to be president. OH WELL.
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Daniella Diaz at CNN: CNN to Host Town Hall Debate Monday with Graham, Cassidy, Sanders, and Klobuchar.
CNN will host a town hall with Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, who will be debating health care with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar on Monday, September 25 at 9 p.m. ET.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper and chief political correspondent Dana Bash will moderate the 90-minute live event from Washington.

Graham and Cassidy are the namesake sponsors of a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ahead of an end-of-the-month deadline, while Sanders introduced a new "Medicare for all" health care bill with a third of the Senate Democratic caucus by his side.
This is such a bad idea. It's a bad idea for a lot of reasons — not least of which is that Bernie Sanders is not actually a good debater (see: the 2016 primary) — but mostly because it's playing directly into the hands of Republicans who have been trying to frame the issue as "Republican garbage legislation vs. single-payer," pretending that improving on the Affordable Care Act isn't even an option, and now Sanders, with his shitty timing in introducing his bill and agreeing to do this fucking debate, has handed them precisely the optics they need to make that frame work.

It's a false frame, but it's one that Republicans want and need to make their heinous legislation appealing to people who are reflexively afraid of "socialist" healthcare.


Further, this debate shouldn't be happening on television; it should be happening in Congress.

Which I am hardly the first or only person to observe.


CNN will give Graham and Cassidy the freedom to lie their asses off without any pushback from the moderators, which will give the illusion of parity between their "facts" and Sanders' and Klobuchar's arguments. Just two sides to every issue!

Having the debate on TV means that it's incumbent on just two Senators to make sure the public understands that Graham and Cassidy are lying and that their bill is dangerous rubbish. If the debate were held in Congress, the pushback wouldn't have to come from just two Senators; every Democratic Senator would have a chance to make the case. The chances of failure would be significantly lower.

We don't need to be lowering our chances to defeat this horrible bill, for fuck's sake.


So do I.

Although, to be perfectly blunt, having agreed to this debate is already a pretty big fuck-up. Of course, that's only from my perspective, with an objective of protecting and expanding healthcare access for as many people as possible. That's not necessarily Sanders' objective.


And, just as a reminder: Sanders' plan still doesn't deal with the Hyde problem, so this debate is quite literally about two healthcare coverage options neither of which guarantee comprehensive care for more than half the population. Cool.

New Xena Vid: Airplane

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:11 pm
frayadjacent: Xena and Gab walking/riding away together, text says "Journeys" (Xena: Journey)
[personal profile] frayadjacent posting in [community profile] vidding
Title: Airplane
Fandom: Xena Warrior Princess
Vidder: [personal profile] frayadjacent 
Song: Airplane (edited for length) by The Indigo Girls
Characters: Gabrielle, Argo, Xena
Summary: Travelling with Xena is hard

Download and streaming at my journal

Reading Friday!

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:52 am
frayadjacent: Connie Maheswaran on a beach reading excitedly (!reading)
[personal profile] frayadjacent
I've been travelling a lot, which means plenty of time for reading but not much for DW posting.

What I've finished reading since my last post:

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty. What I thought would be a fun, tight-knit murder mystery turned out to be a big story covering hundreds of years, major political upheavals, and some thought-provoking ideas about clones. I enjoyed this a lot.

Redshirts by John Scalzi. It was a fun book and made me laugh, but as my first Scalzi novel, I can't say it made me want to read more.

The Thessaly series by Jo Walton (The Just City, The Philosopher Kings, and Necessity). An interesting series, especially as an exploration of utopia. I never thought I'd read a book that would make me excited about the god Apollo. I found that even though I wasn't enormously taken in by the plots or characters, I couldn't put them down, and I think that's just because the prose is so damn readable. I came to particularly love the character Maia, and was bummed that she wasn't in the last novel.

Lavinia, by Ursula K Le Guin. I've had the e-book for ages, and after I finished The Just City, but before I realised there were two more novels after it, I was in the mood for more Bronze Age fiction. Le Guin's prose is as wonderful as ever, and I loved the use of the device that Lavinia -- and everyone else -- was a character in the Aeneid, not a historical figure. I find Le Guin's tendency toward gender essentialism more annoying than I used to.

The Small Change trilogy by Jo Walton (Farthing, Ha'penny, and Half a Crown). Detective noir/political thriller series set in an AU where the UK made peace with the Nazis and the US never joined WWII. In the first book, one of the POV characters is happily married to a man with the same first and last name as Mr. Adjacent, and it was very strange! At several points I thought I'd have to stop reading it because this character was under serious threat and I thought he might die. The end of the series was narratively satisfying but politically annoying. Between this series and the Thessaly series I have read two instances in Walton where the oppressed and their allies basically convinced those in power (or rather, a sympathetic faction of those in power) to stop oppressing them. I'm with Fredrick Douglass on that one.

What I'm currently reading

My Real Children by Jo Walton. Yes, I'm on a kick. I've just started this, but I'm hoping it will be more the intimate, character-driven story that Among Others was. As much as I've enjoyed Walton's books that I've read since then, none of them can hold a candle to that one.

Also, I'm slowly re-reading Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand by Ursula K Le Guin. I read it for the first (and only) time more than 15 years ago, so all I really remember is the overall feel of the book.

What I'll read next

I pre-ordered the new Philip Pullman book, La Belle Sauvage, and it will be arriving in less than a month. I told myself I'd re-read His Dark Materials first. Also, last year I purchased N.K. Jemisin's Obelisk Gate but decided to wait until the third book was out before reading the whole trilogy (including re-reading The Fifth Season). Now the third book is out but I haven't bought it yet. And finally, I have four books on hold from the library and I plan to drop anything else to read them once they become available. In other words, I don't know.

Free book-shaped space

I finally got my account set up to get e-books from the library and my book buying is plummeting (excepting the Le Guin haul, described below) while my reading rate soars. I'm so pleased.

I recently learned that Worldcon 77 (in 2019) will be in Dublin! I really really want to go -- Dublin is cheaper to get to than London and almost as easy -- but it's within a week of my 10-year wedding anniversary, when we are also planning a big trip. I know this is nearly two years away, but August always ends up filled with family travel, so I feel like I do have to plan this far in advance in order for it to happen.

I went to Portland, Oregon in August, for the first time since probably 2003. I went to Powell's and re-purchased many of the Le Guin books I'd gotten rid of in a misguided purge a few years ago. All the books I bought were used -- I prefer to buy used books anyway, but these were necessarily so since I bought out of print books. Anyway, my Le Guin library is slowly being restored. Also, I almost bought a few missing Earthsea novels, but then a guy at the checkout counter told me that next year they'll be releasing a new illustrated version of the series, so I decided to hold out for that. Speaking of, the fancy illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is coming out soon. I seem to be collecting them all, but I'm really curious to see how they'll do the later books, as even The Philosopher's Stone is huge and unweildy.


Sidetracks - September 21, 2017

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:45 pm
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Sidetracks (sidetracks)
[personal profile] helloladies posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag. For more links and commentary you can follow us on Twitter, Tumblr. You can also support us on Patreon.


Read more... )

Question of the Day

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:00 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Suggested by Shaker jeanology: "What factor in your upbringing (like a choice your parent or guardian made, or the general philosophy with which you were raised) has had the most impact, positive or negative, on who you are as an adult?"

Two things immediately come to mind, and they were things that both of my parents and all three of my grandparents (my paternal grandfather died before I was born) did:

1. Encouraged reading in every possible way, from modeling being readers themselves to buying me books to reading to me every day and letting me read to them once I knew how.

2. Never using slurs or making bigoted statements of any kind, against people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, disabled people, minority religions, atheists, addicts, immigrants, etc. Every slur and stereotype I learned outside my house.

(The one exception to that was fat hatred. Which was mostly in the form of self-criticism from my parents. And that had an impact, too.)

This is not to suggest that there was never any uninterrogated prejudice or unexamined privilege modeled for me at home. There was. But I was told that all people were equal and deserving of respect, and, for the most part, that's what I saw practiced by the adults closest to me.

Throwback Thursdays

Sep. 21st, 2017 05:00 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

black and white image of me as a baby, trying to use a vacuum
Me, circa 1975, trying and failing to vacuum some gorgeous '70s carpet.

[Please share your own throwback pix in comments. Just make sure the pix are just of you and/or you have consent to post from other living people in the pic. And please note that they don't have to be pictures from childhood, especially since childhood pix might be difficult for people who come from abusive backgrounds or have transitioned or lots of other reasons. It can be a picture from last week, if that's what works for you. And of course no one should feel obliged to share a picture at all! Only if it's fun!]
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan


I am so upset about how awful the situation in Puerto Rico is for its residents right now, especially because there's nothing meaningful I can do.

I'm also wondering why the FUCK it is that I'm getting the best news on what's happening in Puerto Rico from the Guardian. The U.S. media is treating Puerto Rico like it's some far-off place, just another exotic locale in some other country.

Which isn't justification for ignoring people in need anyway, but: PUERTO RICO IS PART OF THE UNITED STATES. They literally don't have fucking drinkable water, and our media is barely paying attention and our Congress is dicking around with trying to kill people by taking their healthcare away.

And what does the president have to say about it? "The White House on Thursday morning declared Puerto Rico 'a major disaster' zone and ordered federal assistance to be directed to dozens of municipalities in the territory." How will that aid get there? When will it get there? Who knows — because Trump was too busy doing his gross superlative-hurling about the scope of the devastation, saying that Puerto Rico had been "absolutely obliterated" by the intense winds: "All you have to do is read or turn on the television and you will see a place that is practically leveled," he said.

A place where 70% of the population currently lacks access to clean water. That seems more urgent than virtually anything else in the country right now.
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

As grateful that I am — and I am, genuinely and abidingly — that Jimmy Kimmel is willing to speak up about his son's healthcare issues on behalf of people with preexisting conditions and/or without insurance, and is willing to keep speaking up about it, even after navigating lots of very personal criticism directed at him and his infant child (for fuck's sake!) for having spoken out in the first place, I'm not thrilled that his is the loudest — or indeed only — opposition voice lots of people in this country are hearing.

How many people have seen a single headline about anything Nancy Pelosi, for example, has said on healthcare this week? And it ain't because she hasn't said anything!

screenshots of a series of tweets on the healthcare bill posted by Pelosi this week

Et cetera. Her entire timeline is filled with RTs on the subject, and that's just what she's doing on Twitter.

This is, in large part, because of whom the media chooses to amplify. And it's worth taking a moment to consider why it is that Kimmel in particular is being amplified.

Sure, yes, it's because he has a compelling story and he is an extremely good teller of that story.

But Kimmel also works for ABC, which is owned by Disney, one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world. All of their media properties want to amplify Kimmel because it's good busine$$ for them.

Meanwhile, all their competitors will either decide to try to steal some share by amplifying Kimmel or amplify his critics, because it's a neat hit on the host of ABC's late night host, to try to ding his ratings with conservative viewers. (Or both. Whatever's good for business!)

Which means that the healthcare debate (such as it is) is primarily being driven by the networks' late night ratings wars, about which literal movies have been made, because the competition is so fierce.

Cool.

That's not, of course, the only reason that Kimmel is being amplified, nor the only reason that people are listening to him, but media profits are playing a big, if unseen, role.

The same networks whose political news properties host guests paid to publicly ponder: What do the Democrats even stand for?

That's a problem, my friends.

Daily Dose of Cute

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

The other night, Matilda and Olivia were napping on the sofa together, and they kept posing in synchronized positions, which was SO CUTE I didn't even know what to do with myself!

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat and Olivia the White Farm Cat both lying on the sofa on their sides, looking in the same direction
image of Matilda and Olivia both lying on the couch, looking toward me
image of Matilda and Olivia lying facing one another, with their legs stretched out toward one another, creating a shape not unlike an infinity symbol
CAT INFINITY SYMBOL!!!

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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