Sister Marches.

Wm

If you can’t make the women’s march on Washington, there are sister events! They are going on everywhere, not just here in uStates, but all over the world. Check out the sisters page, and see if you can find a march near you. (There are even three here in nDakota!)

World of Wonder has more details.

ACA Repeal: Catastrophic.

CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its estimate of how many people will become uninsured if Republicans move forward with their likely plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the numbers are brutal. Thirty-two million people would lose their health insurance by 2026, and premiums would double in the same time frame.

Americans would also see a sharp and immediate drop in insurance rates. According to the CBO, “the number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment of the bill.”

The CBO examined a bill pushed by Republicans in the previous Congress, the “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” which would phase out provisions of the Affordable Care Act that help make health insurance affordable — including subsidies for plans purchased on Obamacare exchanges and the law’s Medicaid expansion. It would also immediately repeal provisions, such as the law’s individual mandate, which are intended to bring people into the insurance market.

At the same time, this bill would also leave in place certain regulatory reforms, such as the requirement that insurers cover people with preexisting conditions.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I faced doubled premiums, that would be the end of healthcare coverage for me, and as someone who needs to have spinal and neck injections every 3 months, well, that would stop too, because I know damn well I couldn’t cover the procedure out of pocket. That would leave me in massive pain with no respite, because without the injections, I don’t get pain med scrips.

Nevertheless, partial repeal would lead to a massive expansion of the uninsurance rate. Indeed, many people would be unable to obtain insurance at any price. As CBO explains, “roughly 10 percent of the population would be living in an area that had no insurer participating in the nongroup market.”

A Massachusetts study found that “for every 830 adults gaining insurance coverage there was one fewer death per year.” If this figure is applied to the 32 million who will lose insurance if key provisions of Obamacare are repealed, it means that about 38,500 people will die every year who otherwise would have lived in Republicans succeed in their plans to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act.

Yeah. All that shit about death panels? Well, now we know for sure who doesn’t care about people dying, but that’s hardly news. Naturally, rethuglicans are attempting to discredit and dispute the report, but they are still offering nothing but vacant looks towards anyone who expects details about the so-called replacement plan.

Republicans have indeed suggested several possible replacements for the Affordable Care Act, such as dismantling state insurance regulation, giving states more leeway to deny Medicaid coverage to people who are now eligible, and tax cuts that would primarily benefit the wealthy. To date, they have not settled on a specific replacement plan, however, and the ideas they have floated so far would insure only a fraction of the people currently insured under the Affordable Care Act.

So, what we have to look forward to in this brave new world? Taxes, Pain, Death.

Via Think Progress.

Day One-ish.

Trump humps flag. Twitter.

Trump humps flag. Twitter.

Trump has disclosed to The London Times that his first day of working as president will be Monday, January 23rd, because I guess now presidents of whole countries don’t work weekends.

“One of the first orders I’m gonna sign — day one — which I will consider to be Monday as opposed to Friday or Saturday. Right? I mean my day one is gonna be Monday because I don’t want to be signing and getting it mixed up with lots of celebration,” Trump told the London Times.

Stephen Colbert had something to say about that one:

Via Raw Story.

Defining Diversity, Whitesplaining Edition.

Who, me? I'm diverse, I swear!via YouTube.

Who, me? I’m diverse, I swear! via YouTube.

On Saturday, two days before the national celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., Knoxville state Rep. Roger Kane opined that just because the Tennessee General Assembly is mostly white and male, that does not mean it’s not diverse.

Sigh. Here we go. Again.

“Women have actually gone down and minorities have gone up,” Kane said, talking about UTK enrollment. “Well, that’s just trading spaces. It’s really not creating diversity.”

Right. Women and minorities have absolutely nothing at all to do with diversity, no. It’s all about the white guys.

“If you look at this panel, that’s in front of you, we look rather homogeneous. But we’re incredibly diverse! We really are,” Kane said of the 12-person panel that consisted of 10 white men, one white woman (Sen. Becky Duncan Massey), and one African-American man (Rep. Rick Staples).

Insert a slight, nervous laugh here. Kane continues on in his diversity definition.

“You see me as a white, middle-aged man. But my mother’s Jewish, my father’s Catholic, and I’m a Baptist. Does that not make diversity?” Kane asked. 

Not really. It means you have a mixed religion background.

“I grew up in Houston, probably one of the most diverse towns you will ever see,” Kane said, accurately, mentioning the city’s large Chinese, Vietnamese, gay and black populations. “And that’s the school I went to. Does that not add to my diversity? But you see me as a white, middle-aged man, that’s all you see. But we’re so much more than that!”

People see a white, middle aged man because that’s what is there. Living in a high diversity town and going to a high diversity school doesn’t change the fact that you’re a white man. Diversity is not about personality or character traits.

Kane continued digging his hole, saying that UTK’s diversity office — which the Legislature defunded last session — doesn’t really show the true diversity on campus, because a lesbian Filipina only defined herself as that and not also as “a woman, she’s college-educated, she’s funny, she has black hair — those are all diversity things.”

“She had forgotten all of those things because in her strive to be diverse, she had honed in on two things, and that’s it,” Kane ended bitterly.

Oh for…yeah, no. Being a woman, a lesbian, and Filipino all matter when it comes to diversity. Once again, this is not about personality or character traits. I’m pretty sure you don’t get to count hair colour as a “diversity thing”.

These are the conservative white men who are in charge of education all over.

Via Nashville Scene.

Potential Grizzlies.

Waving Grizzly gif on Twitter.

Waving Grizzly gif on Twitter.

Betsy DeVos’s hearing veered straight into the absurd, citing potential grizzlies:

However, nothing quite caught the flavor of how poorly her hearing went than her response to Sen. Chis Murphy (D-CT) who asked her, “Do you think guns have any place in or around schools?”

After saying the availability of guns should be “best left to locales and states to decide,” Devos replied to further questioning on guns on campus by adding, “I will refer back to Senator Enzi (R-WY) and the school he was talking about in Wyoming … I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.”

Ms. DeVos is not only singularly lacking any qualification to head up the Department of Education, she’s not exactly stellar in the thinking department. She did note she had a bleeding heart:

If the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence.”

Buuuuuuut…potential grizzlies, man! I’m hearing Cheech & Chong in my head. The twittersphere erupted over the potential grizzly bears.

Mo Gaffney

@mogaffney

So DeVos won’t say guns don’t belong in schools. Except says yes when grizzlies are near. How many grizzly adjacent schools r there?

*

Adam B. @AllThingsBooks

“We need guns in schools because of grizzly bears.” You know what else stops bears? Doors.

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Sarcasticsapien @Sarcasticsapien

I’m confused. Betsy DeVos wants to bring God into schools but also guns because I guess God isn’t powerful enough to stop grizzly bears.

*

Gary @mrgaryhuang

I must REALLY live in a liberal bubble. I didn’t think grizzly bears were even remotely a problem in public schools.

More Tweets at Raw Story.  Also covering this story, Think Progress.

“Jade Eggs”

JAde-bag

A gynecologist, Dr. Jen Gunter, is taking Gwyneth Paltrow to task for hawking yet more crap at inflated prices. In this case, it’s ‘jade eggs’, which are claimed to do so much more than provide exercises of the kegel kind, oh yes! Goodness, there’s an intuition factory down there, and it requires feeding and care. This nonsense made me think back decades ago to a joke Roseanne Barr did about men thinking a uterus was a magical tracking device.

I read the post on GOOP and all I can tell you is it is the biggest load of garbage I have read on your site since vaginal steaming. It’s even worse than claiming bras cause cancer. But hey, you aren’t one to let facts get in the way of profiting from snake oil.

My issue begins with the very start of your post on jade eggs specifically that “queens and concubines used them to stay in shape for emperors.” Nothing says female empowerment more than the only reason to do this is for your man! And then the claim that they can balance hormones is, quite simply, biologically impossible. Pelvic floor exercises can help with incontinence and even give stronger orgasms for some women, but they cannot change hormones. As for female energy? I’m a gynecologist and I don’t know what that is!? How does one test for it? Organically sourced, fair trade urine pH sticks coming soon to GOOP for $77 I presume?

Queens and concubines, eh? Why would a queen need (or want) to impress an emperor? Besides getting her political classes all mixed up, citing concubines is on the really fucked up side. Perhaps Ms. Paltrow’s friends could chip in and purchase a dictionary for her, or some history books.

From the blather about jade eggs on Goop:

practice – there was not as much information about it then as there is now. But it made intuitive sense to me: The word for our womb, yoni, translates as “sacred place”, and it is a sacred place – it’s where many women access their intuition, their power, and their wisdom.

:Stifles scream: Oh gods, I can’t even say how much I loathe this sort of nonsense. No. No, no, no. I have a uterus, yes. It is by no means sacred, there’s no little altar in there, and it is not possible to access intuition, power, or wisdom from it. Pushing this absolute bullshit is not helpful, it’s not empowering, it’s simply reducing women down to parts, and misogyny and sexism already do that well enough. Dr. Gunter wasn’t impressed, either:

If the word for womb is yoni I hate to break it to you, but the uterus and vagina are different structures. If you are using the Sanskrit, while I admit I am no language scholar, it seems that yoni means the entire female reproductive tract and you should say that. Terminology aside, the vulva, vagina, cervix, and uterus are not intuition repositories and neither are they sources of “power” or “wisdom.” If fact, I find that assertion insulting. Do you really mean a woman who does not have a uterus is less effective? Is a woman without a vagina less intelligent?  Is a woman who had a vulvectomy due to cancer less creative?

Dr. Gunter also takes on some of the very real physical problems involved:

As for the recommendation that women sleep with a jade egg in their vaginas I would like to point out that jade is porous which could allow bacteria to get inside and so the egg could act like a fomite. This is not good, in case you were wondering. It could be a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis or even the potentially deadly toxic shock syndrome.

Regarding the suggestion to wear the jade egg while walking around, well, I would like to point out that your pelvic floor muscles are not meant to contract continuously. In fact, it is quite difficult to isolate your pelvic floor while walking so many women could actually clench other muscles to keep the egg inside. It is possible the pained expression of clenching your butt all day could be what is leading people to stare, not some energy glow.

Overenthusiastic Kegel exercises or incorrectly done Kegel exercises are a cause of pelvic pain and pain with sex in my practice. Imagine how your biceps muscle (and then your shoulders and then your back) might feel if you walked around all day flexed holding a barbell? Right, now imagine your pelvic floor muscles doing this.

Good advice, and people should keep in mind that Ms. Paltrow’s first concern is making money, regardless of what she says. She isn’t going to come rushing to the side of women who end up seriously ill because of the crap she hawks.

Dr. Gunter’s full post is here.

The Glass Room.

The Glass Room installation view. All photos courtesy of Tactical Technology Collective and the artists.

The Glass Room installation view. All photos courtesy of Tactical Technology Collective and the artists.

The Glass Room, a pop-up exhibition organized by Tactical Technology Collective, a Berlin-based non-profit working to promote technological activism, done in collaboration with Mozilla, the non-profit behind the popular web browser of the same name.

The glitzy and pristine white space was filled to the brim with tech-inflected artworks, many of which were disguised as objects you would typically find in a high-end tech store. But the sterile appearance was ultimately a façade; there was no consumer tech for sale within the space. The works were joined by the desire to expose viewers to the malicious underbelly of the wonderfully convenient Information Age.

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Separated into different categories depending on the type of issues explored in the works, the pieces were as compelling as they were harrowing. Forgot your password? by Aram Bartholl consists of a series of books where the artist compiled the 4.6 million passwords leaked by Linkedin in 2012 within their pages.

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Located in the Data Detox Bar section of the exhibition, Julian Olivier and Danja Vasiljev’s Newstweek is a device that manipulates online news headlines that you don’t like or don’t fit your narrative into ones that are more “appropriate” to your sensibilities.

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In Unfitbit by Surya Mattu and Tega Brain, a FitBit is attached to objects like a metronome or a drill to trick the device into thinking you are working out, thus selling fake, inaccurate data to your health insurance that hopefully lowers your premium.

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The Glass Room was inspired by two things: First, a desire to make the questions raised by living in a data society tangible and accessible using real projects, humor, and good design. Secondly, to use the language of commerce as a way to critique our enthusiasm for new technologies,” says Stephanie Hankey, a co-founder of Tactical Technology Collective and an organizer of the event.

[…]

Although The Glass Room has already concluded, full documentation of the works can be found on the project’s website, along with a series of informative resources, and a hilarious 8-day “Data Detox Kit” meant to cleanse you of your over-connectivity and oversharing tendencies.

Check out more of Tactical Technology Collective’s projects and exhibitions here.

You can see and read more at The Creators Project. I wish I could have seen this one in person, it’s bloody brilliant.

Underwater Sculpture Garden.

The Raft of Lampedusa.

The Raft of Lampedusa.

Many of you may be familiar with Jason deCaires Taylor, sculptor and environmental activist. His work is renowned and highly known. A new sculpture garden has been created in Atlantic Ocean, Las Coloradas, Lanzarote.

Working in partnership with The Cabildo of Lanzarote, Jason deCaires Taylor constructed the first underwater contemporary art museum in the Atlantic Ocean and Europe on the 28th of Feb 2016. Situated in clear blue waters off the south east coast of Lanzarote, Spain, the unique, permanent installation is constructed at around 14m deep and features 10 different installations with over 300 figurative works.

It most celebrated works include: The Raft of Lampedusa, The Rubicon and The Vortex.

The project draws on the dialogue between art and nature. It is designed on a conservational level to create a large scale artificial reef to aggregate local fish species and increase marine biomass whilst, on the other hand, questions the commodification and delineation of the worlds natural resources and raises awareness to current threats facing the worlds oceans. The central concept is depicted by means of a monumental gateway and wall, which include a series of installations based on the dialogue between past and present and the divisions within society with both political and social comment. The works incorporate for the first time large architectural components and an underwater botanical sculpture garden referencing local flora of Lanzarote, which has unique status as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

The Museum is constructed using environmentally friendly, pH neutral inert materials and the formations are tailored to suit endemic marine life. The museum was completed in December 2016, and is the first time large scale architectural elements have been deployed underwater occupying a barren area of sand-covered sea bed (approximately 50m x 50m), The artist invited local residents and visiting tourists to participate in the project by modeling for a life casts. A process where the body is covered in skin safe sculpting materials and a cast of the body and face is made to produce a figurative sculpture to be included in the museum.

The project has created a habitat area for marine life whilst defining Lanzarote as a modern, dynamic and cultural island celebrating its unique natural resources. The project is the first underwater museum in Europe and the Atlantic Ocean and over time will become the first destination of artificial reef diving among the European diving market, leading to increases in revenue for the local economy and help support the diving, snorkelling and sailing industries. It will also attract cultural tourism with higher purchasing power that will reaffirm Lanzarote´s cultural and artistic affluence based on the legacy of Spanish artist Cesar Manrique. The permanent installation is designed to last for hundreds of years but will be an ever-changing exhibition as marine life changes and transforms the surfaces of the sculptures.

For those who are unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor’s work, you can read up at The Creators Project.

Word Wednesday.

words

Demagogue

Noun.

1. A leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.

2. (in ancient times) a leader of the people.

verb (used with object), demagogued, demagoguing.
3. To treat or manipulate (a political issue) in the manner of a demagogue; obscure or distort with emotionalism, prejudice, etc.

verb (used without object), demagogued, demagoguing.
4. To speak or act like a demagogue.

1640s, from Greek demagogos “popular leader,” also “leader of the mob,” from demos “people” (see demotic ) + agogos “leader,” from agein “to lead” (see act (n.)). Often a term of disparagement since the time of its first use, in Athens, 5c. B.C.E. Form perhaps influenced by French demagogue (mid-14c.).

Demosthenes: A demagogue must be neither an educated nor an honest man; he has to be an ignoramus and a rogue.

Demosthenes [to the Sausage-Seller]: Mix and knead together all the state business as you do for your sausages. To win the people, always cook them some savoury that pleases them. Besides, you possess all the attributes of a demagogue; a screeching, horrible voice, a perverse, crossgrained nature and the language of the market-place. In you all is united which is needful for governing. -The Knights, Aristophanes.

 

The peculiar office of a demagogue is to advance his own interests, by affecting a deep devotion to the interests of the people. Sometimes the object is to indulge malignancy, unprincipled and selfish men submitting but to two governing motives, that of doing good to themselves, and that of doing harm to others. … The motive of the demagogue may usually be detected in his conduct. The man who is constantly telling the people that they are unerring in judgment, and that they have all power, is a demagogue. – The American Democrat, James Fenimore Cooper.

We Freed the Slaves, Say Thank You!

Gov. Paul LePage (YouTube/screen grab).

Gov. Paul LePage (YouTube/screen grab).

Supreme asshole bigot LePage is at it again, this time saying that Rep. John Lewis needed to show more gratitude to white people. C’mon, boy, tap those shoes and tip that hat, yeah? All the racist goons are delighting in slamming Rep. Lewis and all people of colour.

The Portland Press Herald reports that LePage slammed Lewis for questioning President-elect Donald Trump’s legitimacy during a regular appearance on a local talk radio show, and he said Lewis needed to show more gratitude to past white presidents who worked to free black people from slavery.

“John Lewis ought to look at history,” the governor told the George Hale and Ric Tyler Show on the Bangor-based radio station WVOM. “It was Abraham Lincoln who freed the slaves, it was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant who fought against Jim Crow laws. A simple thank you would suffice.”

Christopher Cousins of the Bangor Daily News writes that LePage is simply incorrect when it comes to the history of Jim Crow laws, however, as Hayes agreed to “an informal deal after a contested election that gave him the White House in exchange for promising to pull Northern troops out of the South,” which thus “allowed Jim Crow laws to take root.”

As usual, white bigots who just can’t keep their mouths shut also can’t manage to check a few facts first. How about a “fuck you, go back to school” instead of a thank you? I think that would suffice.

LePage, who this past summer was caught on tape calling a Maine lawmaker a “son of a b*tch socialist c*cksucker,” also criticized the American left for being “so hateful” and “trying to bully us out of believing our constitution.”

:Laughs: Oh, there really isn’t any need for commentary, bigoted cons always manage to swallow both their feet before anyone can get a word in edgewise.

Via Raw Story.