1. says

    Thanks so much for the cheering-up, Loungers. You’ve helped a lot already.

    Plans are a foot.

    Her Ex-cellency is coming over tomorrow afternoon, both to help me get to the bank to arrange rent-paying, and to hold my hand while we dig through the papers (with luck, alongside a helping virtual hand from Portia’s un-damp eyes).

    Now…lying-down time. The RQ/CC Selfie of Infamy has moved closer to posting; it is now on my laptop, instead of just on my phone. From there, it becomes easier to post.

    After LDT, when my meds have kicked in for the afternoon shift, Craig and I are going to a combined BBQ/game night at his bother-in-law’s (I kid, Chad’s an alright bloke). If I have time between LDT and leaving, then RQ/CC SoI will find itself posted then. If I do not, then it will not, and it will instead probably happen int’ morning.

  2. says

    As I understand it, the main rule is “say whatever keeps them filling the pews (and collection plates).”


  3. says

    Shoops go to a nice bar where they can run the place, and have interesting customers all the time, and drunkenness never makes people obnoxious or violent.

    Sheep Go To Heaven, Goats Go To Hell, Shoops Go Out For A Drink With Friends.

    Best Afterlife Ever.

  4. opposablethumbs says

    Dalillama, I hope you and L can get some enjoyment out of the gathering and that it is not too over-pressuring.

  5. says

    Good news:,0,6007059.story

    Starting this fall, all Chicago Public Schools students will be able to get free breakfast and lunch at school.

    The high number of students living at the poverty level in the district qualified CPS to meet the required threshold for full reimbursement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to CPS officials.

    In the past school year, lunch at a typical elementary school for students who didn’t qualify for assistance cost an average of about $2.45. High schools charges slightly more.

    The district expects to serve 72 million meals to students in the coming year, two million more than during the last school year.

    “If a student eats that day, the district gets reimbursed,” said Leslie Fowler, executive director of CPS’ nutritional support services. “But if they don’t eat, then CPS doesn’t get reimbursed and there’s no cost associated with that meal. We can’t predict what they do or don’t do, but we hope we can encourage them to participate.”

    I think this is a good thing. It is in society’s best interests to make sure children are fed. Not having to worry about having the money for lunch will ease the burden for poor families.

  6. says

    HI there
    Well, France is officially off my list of favourite countries now. I could have forgiven those 25% of votes for fascists, but losing against Germany really is the final straw.

    Obviously you’re on a different continent, but what was really helpful with gran’s applications were advocacy groups for disabled people. Because they know exactly how to formulate applications and stuff and where to go.
    Glad the Ex-cellence is coming over

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think this is a good thing. It is in society’s best interests to make sure children are fed. Not having to worry about having the money for lunch will ease the burden for poor families.

    And a back of the envelope calculation is that the program doesn’t even cost me 1 cent of my tax monies. About a ten-thousandth of a cent. I think we can afford it.

  8. says

    Apropos of nothing, I tried to friend request PZ on Facebook and was told I couldn’t, bc he reached the maximum number of friends allowable. I didn’t know that was possible.

  9. says


    And a back of the envelope calculation is that the program doesn’t even cost me 1 cent of my tax monies. About a ten-thousandth of a cent. I think we can afford it.

    Heck, if we cut back on defense spending, we could probably give free meals to every kid in the US from pre-school through high school.

  10. says

    When you’re desperately looking for a weather forecast that doesn’t spell doom for a birthday party at the zoo…
    Sadly, no luck.
    Also, when did goodie bags for the uests happen? I remember when I was a kid being invited actually was pretty cool anyway…

  11. carlie says

    Oh fuuuuuck goody bags. When the kids were little it took almost as much time to plan and buy the goody bag stuff as it did to plan the whole rest of the party. it’s like a little bag of portable judgment for parental ranking purposes.

  12. says

    How about more good news:
    (cross posted from my Facebook page)

    I have hope.
    Artist Emily Page (of Cartoon Networks show Adventure Time) recently came out with allegations of sexual assault by Skyler Page (creator of ‘Clarence’, another CN show).
    Guest what Cartoon Network wasted no time doing–terminating Skler Page. He no longer works for Cartoon Network. I applaud the actions of Cartoon Network in supporting Emily Page. This sends a message to their female employees, that they will treat allegations of sexual assault with the seriousness they are due. It also sends a message to the public that sexual assault is a problem and it warrants support for the victim and action, rather than sweeping the problem under the rug. I don’t watch either show, but these actions by Cartoon Network make me want to show them support.
    Thanks for doing the right thing.

  13. says

    Just sent this email to CN:

    Dear Cartoon Network,
    I’m a 39 year old male feminist. I have recently become aware of the allegations by Emily Patridge that Skyler Page had sexually assaulted her. I was prepared for the worst. I’m so accustomed to hearing about the concerns of women being swept under the rug. I’ve gotten tired of hearing people doubt women when they claim they were sexually assaulted, or demanding evidence. Sexual assault is a huge problem across the United States-the entire planet even. It behooves us all to treat accusations of sexual assault with the seriousness they deserve. That means believing the victims. That means showing them empathy and compassion and taking steps to investigate the matter. This is not done often enough.
    In this case however, it was done. You took the necessary steps to investigate her claims, and you took action against Skyler Page. I can’t thank you enough for your response. It sends a message to your employees that you treat accusations of sexual assault with grave seriousness and you’re willing to penalize anyone found guilty. It helps employees know that their employer will have their backs. It also sends a message to the public that there you are a company that values a safe working environment for all your employees, and to women in specific-that their concerns will not be ignored.
    Thank you for doing the right thing.

    Dammit. Found a typo. Grrr. I wish every preview were a function everywhere.

  14. says

    Alexandra (née Audley)

    My parents used to buy one of those plastic and cotton- disposable tablecloths that they spread over the backseat with cut outs for the seatbelt, and that way, no matter how messy I got the backseat, they could throw it all away.

  15. says

    So. Scott Clifton is going to be speaking at Skepticon.

    His YouTube channel is great- one exchange I really appreciated was when he read some book, and bought into some conspiracy theory. He was called out on this by another YouTuber- and responded, not defensively, but to admit he screwed up. He seems firm in his beliefs but not so firm that he won’t rethink them as necessary. One of the better YouTube atheists.

    I do wonder, though, how many people are going to see the name, be unaware of his YouTube work, and wonder why the hell Skepticon invited a soap opera actor to speak.

  16. Nutmeg says

    Hey, folks! I am back from my road trip. I had a great time and saw lots of cool things, and I feel recharged and more able to take on life.

    I’m still trying to cut back on my internet time, so I think I will make Pharyngula a weekend check-in kind of place. But I did want to let you all know that I’m alive and well. I thought fondly of many of you as I drove through your general areas.

  17. says

    Glad you had a good time.
    Can’t wait to hear any details that may be forthcoming.


    Hoping your presentation went well.


    Hope your trip with the little one goes smoothly.

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, finally figured out why the wider wheelchair seemed so cheap. I received the bare-bones chair, sling seat and sling back, with foot rests, (and I ordered the extended footrests, extra charge). This left the chair seat pad and chair back pad missing. I did order a gel seat cushion when I ordered the wheelchair, so today I ordered just a foam cushion so there are two different types of seats, which is important when you moving around pressure points. I did order the 20″ back support, but was unable to get the desired model, with improved lumbar support. It appears it is only available in 16″ and 18″ widths. *shakes Redhead’s hemiwalker at Drive Medical*

  19. says

    I’m kinda pissed off right now. I’ve checked several times with my apartment complex to make sure we could use the pool balcony to view the fireworks.

    Ask the front desk just now if there’s any extra protocols for bringing friends to find out the pool deck is closing an hour early tonight.

    We have one of the best views of the Metro cityscape.

    And they are closing the best possible viewing location.

    Why the fuck aren’t they having a viewing *party*?


  20. says

    Went to the barbecue. Pretty much everyone I knew had been and gone by the time we got there. Spent about an hour being uncomfortable in a crowd of strangers and went home. Very depressed now.

  21. says

    Alexandra (née Audley), we car-tripped all the time when I was little. Some of my earliest memories are going to car shows.

    After that we drove from Dallas to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400 every year.

    They would cover the backseat, give me crayons, etc. and craft sets when I was real little, ten books, video games and Barbies as I got older. Also prevents any food and drink stains.

  22. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    So…my across-the-street neighbor is setting off professional-quality fireworks from his lawn.

    I’ve set my fire extinguisher by the door.

  23. says

    I think one of our dogs is scared of the fireworks. It’s pretty hot during the summer here, so I’ve kept them inside most of the day, taking them out to the side yard to poop or pee. I just tried to take them outside, and my roomies dog, Sham went right outside. My dog, Krystal, didn’t even come near the sliding glass door. She normally runs right out there. Poor girl. I wasn’t about to force her to either.

  24. cicely says

    Supreme Court Upholds Little Caesars Right to Feed Christian Employees to Lions


    Is there a word for a person one once considered a friend, until one realized that said person was actually more interested in being a drama vampire, rather than helping one through difficult times, so one took steps to remove said person from one’s life?

    A drama llama?

    Also, is there a word for being so drunk that when said person calls, one makes the poor decision to commit to seeing that person tonight?

    A drama llama ding-dong?
    *wide-eyed innocent look*

    CaitieCat, might there not be a legal advocacy program for disability challenges? Something like a public defender? I’m sure that there are lawyers specializing in disability law, but that’d likely be expensive, and if you could afford them, you wouldn’t be in such urgent need of their services. Catch-22.
    It’s worth checking into, at whatever the equivalent to the Department of Human Services, is.


    In any case, it’s now advisable for me/us to get lined up as straight in front of the door as possible.

    So you don’t use the mildly deranged penguin’s approach of going though the wall instead?

    No; that would bruise and contuse my knees, which are already Made of Suck and FAIL.
    Unfortunately, the Hoverchair10000 Project is still in limbo, pending the securing of a source of funding, or I could just vaporize the offending doors/walls/ceilings with the dual-mounted, Acme-brand Disintegrator Rays.

    Dalillama, *hugs* and sympathies.
    *insert Color Commentary re the American Medical System*
    Extra *hugs* for post-party depression.

    Alexandra, I strongly recommend taking along a whole roll of trash bags. And a roll of paper towels.
    ‘Cause Surprise Projectile Vomiting is no joke.


  25. carlie says

    Alexandra – do not give DarkToddler all the toys at once. Get a few new ones if you can, cheapo ones from the dollar store (that are childproof for the age). Give her one new toy at regular intervals – not when she starts to get fussy, that makes it a reward for fussing, but often enough that there’s not a lot of time for crabby inbetween. Plan to stop altogether every 2 hours for a stretch, even if it’s not entirely needed – it breaks up the trip and halts the crabby for awhile (unless she’s asleep, then drive like the wind). It can be done -we took regular 6 hour road trips right after the kids were born, and by the time they were 2 and 3 it was 16 hour trips.

    Northeast weather sucks. Last weekend into this week it was SO HOT we couldn’t do anything, couldn’t move, it was 95 outside and 87 in the house. Then a storm came through just in time to sink the temps down to 59 tonight (with wind!) while we were outside for hours waiting for fireworks. SO COLD.

  26. Menyambal says

    I have had to escort the dogs out into the yard, what with all the fireworks going off, and talk to them. I call it being the “poop coach.”

  27. says

    I even tried that too, though not to the extent of being poop coach. I took Krystal outside into the main yard to play with her, and see if she’d poop or pee. She usually is excited to go outside, and I know she hasn’t done either in at least 8 hours. Unfortunately my roommate came home and the minute he opened the door, she darted inside. I didn’t want to force her back out. I’ll try again in a few hours, when (hopefully) the fireworks will have died down.
    Worse comes to worse, they poop or pee in their cage, and I’ll clean it up. It’s not like I’ve never done that before. I check on them often enough that if it happens, I should discover it fairly quickly (they’ve rarely done that in their cage ((it’s two extra large crates; i took the side off of one and connected them together so it’s a decent size)) though, even when they’ve been inside all day–such as when we’ve had extremely bad weather)


    Are there benefits to taking fish oil, and what should you take it for?

    Fish oil, according to a significant amount of research, is supposed to be beneficial for everything from your heart and your brain to your lungs and your eyes.

    But other studies suggest fish oil’s health benefits may have been overstated; so what are we to make of this?

    A recently published Australian study argues research into fish oil highlights how evidence can’t always be taken at face value. The authors described several pitfalls in the way into the benefits of fish oil have been conducted and interpreted.

    They said using a randomised controlled trial (RCT) – the gold-standard for testing a new therapy – was harder to design and interpret when testing fish oils than for other therapies because most people eat omega-3 fatty acids somewhere in their diet.

    This study is a great example of the complexities and uncertainties involved in the way evidence is collected, interpreted and used in real life.

  28. Menyambal says

    I, too, have read that the initial fish-oil study was flawed. Was it here on Pharygula? Or elsewhere on FTB. Maybe Bad Astronomer?

    I would look it up, but one of the cats did a righteous hairball on a pillow. The deaf dog pooped in his carrier—the dog who can’t even hear the dang fireworks. And the child of the house is agitating for a hamster.

  29. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Even if they can’t hear fireworks, I’m betting that the lower frequencies can be felt at such volumes.

  30. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    *waves madly*
    Good morning!

    *hugs* to distribute as wanted/needed

    Trip went well. I have just enough time to wash everything, finish up some things at work and then I’m off again. I think this is the only one of my “what I wanted to do when I grow up” plans that actually happened – I’m traveling a lot. Although, I was imagining months in big European capitals like Paris and London… so that part is quite a bit off.
    Oh well. It’s all good.
    At least I’m not bored and settled into a life of groundhog days. That would be horrible.

    Extra *hugs* for Dalillama and kudos to rq for not even trying to lose any of the choir members at Niagara falls, as well as for the successful concert.

  31. opposablethumbs says

    Hugs to Dalillama. I’m really sorry it went down all wrong, I hate that. Commiserations and sympathies; I’m in precisely no social arenas 99% of the time and scoring zeros in every social arena in the remaining 1% except for the ones where I’m into negative numbers and I have bunches of privilege (white, cis, neurotypical afaik, “educated”) so it’s only my own stupid fault.

    Huge congratulations to rq! That’s fantastic! Pics? Recordings?

    Beatrice, are you going to be stopping in London …..? Who knows, maybe we could ::gulps nervously:: meet in town somewhere for a Nice Cup of Tea?!? (I’m scared even to say that because I’m scared to even think of trying to make plans but I know if I don’t say it I’ll regret it). I managed to meet rq and the world didn’t come to an end so I know it isn’t contrary to the laws of physics.

  32. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, when I said that bit about spending months in big capitals like London was off, I meant waaay off. Like, I’m going east of Croatia instead of west. :)

    But if I manage to go west, and in London’s general direction, we’re on.

  33. opposablethumbs says

    Ah, I see – slightly different! Never mind, who knows what the future will bring :-)
    Happy travels!

  34. says

    Big birthday party -60 minutes and we’re kind of ready.
    The first Lego Friends set made its way into our home. While the figures are actually quite nice and you have to build as much as with the original Legos, everybodyi>, including the fucking bear hunting for salmon wears a pink or purple ribbon and bow.

  35. says

    Well yes, Giliell, but if they didn’t put bows on them, how could you tell they’re lady bears? If they don’t enhance the dimorphism, then the men-bears wouldn’t know who to do the sex to. Then they might end up doing Teh Ghey Secks to each other, and who, other than Rush Limbaugh, wants that?

  36. opposablethumbs says

    I suppose we should be grateful that an oh-so-helpfully-tagged female bear is even hunting. Or is she supposed to just sit and look at it and wait for a male bear to come along and catch the fish?

    What genius felt a godsdamn bear needed a hair-bow, ffs.

  37. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    I have decided that the Fourth of July period in the US (usually a week of idiocy) should be renamed “National PTSD Awareness Week.” I’m (sort of) lucky — my panic attacks are not set off by loud noises (the Cub Scouts, however, should arrive in about 35 minutes, so . . . (then again, I many not set myself off and I may be able to deal with them professionally — not sure yet)). So, hugs to Inaji and all the others hereabouts who are set off by loud noises. Be safe.

  38. says

    Good luck today :)


    You may need a lot of tissues available after seeing this pic:

    Photographer Lindsay Foster captured the moment when two anxious dads finally got to meet their son, born to a surrogate mother.

    BJ and Frankie from Ontario, Canada, welcomed the little boy they named Milo on the same day as World Pride. Lindsay caught the moment when the new dads removed their shirts in order to begin the bonding process.

  39. says

    Aw…poor pup. Hope she’s feeling more confident today.


    A drama llama?…A drama llama ding-dong?

    I love you.


    Kind thoughts and hugs for you.

  40. says

    Thanks. She’s fine now. When I woke up today, my roomie had taken them both outside. When I went to check on them, she was her normal self. I presume she did her business at some point already.


    I have another job interview on Monday. Hope this one goes well.

  41. says

    The Wall Street Journal has fired between 20 and 40 staff members in recent weeks as part of a “re-evaluation” of its newsroom.

    Its parent company, Dow Jones, a division of News Corp, confirmed that it was “eliminating certain positions… to target areas for growth and deploy our resources globally”. But it refused to talk numbers and details.

    When they hire the next crop of journalists, I wonder where they’ll fall on the political spectrum…

  42. chigau (違う) says

    Best of luck for your interview, Tony!
    Well, not ‘luck’ but you catch my drift.

  43. opposablethumbs says

    Tony! I hope the next interview person/people who see(s) you is/are lucky enough to realise they would be fools not to leap at the chance. All fingers crossed for you.

  44. says

    I’ve posted before about the Moments of Mormon Madness that have led to a Justice Department investigation of attempts to control the daily newspaper market in Salt Lake City, Utah. Steve Benson posted an update and a very good summary.

    […] It appears that LDS Inc.–Navuoo Expositor style–may be attempting to kill bad press through disingenuous and devious attempts to strangle the Salt Lake Tribune–in order for the Mormon Church’s compliant theocratic organ, the Deseret Snooze and Schmooze, to emerge as essentially the sole and uncontested source of “news” in Salt Lake City, where major independent newspaper counterweights to the Mormon Church-owned and -controlled press would be rendered extinct. […]

    A deal reached last fall between Salt Lake City’s two main newspapers is unraveling into an angry controversy as the Justice Department looks into allegations that the Salt Lake Tribune, in return for a lump-sum cash payment, is quietly ceding the market to the Mormon Church-owned Deseret News.

    “The deal, an amendment struck last fall to a longstanding Joint Operating Agreement, would give the News 70 percent of the print revenues generated by the two papers, in return for the payment, the amount of which is undisclosed. The one-time payment, critics claim, would benefit the New York parent, Digital First Media, owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, while choking off revenue needed to sustain the Tribune’s newsroom.

    Joan O’Brien, an ex-Tribune reporter who now teaches has taught media law and runs a local group opposed to the amended JOA, wrote a detailed letter to the Justice Department saying the pact will cripple the Tribune, ‘drastically intensifying the media monopoly power of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Northern Utah. [from the Columbia Journalism Review]

    I have talked at length with a former Trib employee who emphasized repeatedly that the financial model being proposed by the Desperate News is indeed designed to kill the Trib, and that this death would most likely occur, given the extreme drop in revenues that it would entail, before this new plan’s implementation time frame was even completed. That is why there are proposed efforts to convert the Trib into a publicly-owned, independent-run community newspaper in which shareholders would buy stock.,1313694

    Read a few issues of the Deseret News, if you can stand it, to see what sort of pro-mormon pablum and white-washed “news” they print. As Steve Benson said,

    Sucking the voice out of the Trib is what the Morgue is up to. It is a cult, powered by pyramidal, hierarchal control from the top down, which twists and redfines reality, replacing it with its sanitized, immunized brand of fiction. If you don’t get that, then you don’t understand what fiercely-practiced, accountability-demanding journalism is all about. Thank goodness there are those in this fight who do.

    The Mormon Cult may be able to keep a muzzled, neutered, watered-down Trib (indeed, at the very least, that’s what it wants to do). An open society, on the other hand, cannot afford to put up with a cult masquerading as a source of reliable information.

    This is more than just a bad business plan. This is bad for the truth business. […]

    As to the Internet rushing in to save the day, the best sources of reliable news on the Internet are professional organizations with journalism-trained editor/reporter crews, guided by strictly adhered-to ethics policies. (That, therefore, automatically eliminates the Mormon Cult-owned Desperate News). With the Trib’s independent voice removed from the Net should the DN be successful in its effort to eliminate meaningful, countervailing journalism from the Salt Lake market, that simply means one more reliable news source is removed from the Internet.[…]

  45. says

    This is incredibly disheartening:

    The United Nations Human Rights Council is tasked with the universal protection and promotion of human rights, and is the UN’s principal human rights body. Yet it is being used by known rights abusers to produce “soft law” that allows them to erode fundamental rights.

    Rather than protecting individuals, countries like Russia, Egypt and Venezuela (to name but a few) are using the Council to advance their own objective of making rights dependent on behaviour, rather than being afforded to all people by virtue of their being human.

    This erosion of the most basic tenet of international human rights law is occurring with almost no public interest, let alone outcry. Countries from the EU, the global north and Latin America are seemingly powerless to stop it, since the Council is currently dominated by African states and members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

    The Council’s most recent session has now concluded – and once again, the body has taken several steps backwards thanks to those countries’ aims.

  46. says

    Ogvorbis @550, I don’t have PTSD related to war experiences, but even I see/feel the war connection.

    In my neighborhood, local authorities do not enforce fireworks bans. Being awakened at 1 AM and a 2 AM by powerful explosions that sound like they’re in one’s backyard is common. And this goes on for days, not just on the 4th of July.

  47. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    Ogvorbis @550, I don’t have PTSD related to war experiences, but even I see/feel the war connection.

    I’m sorry. I was not trying to imply that PTSD and reaction to loud noises had to be combat related. I knew a man who almost died in a kayaking accident (we’ve fallen out of touch). For the ten years I knew him, any loud, sudden noise would put him into a severe panic attack — his one clear memory from the accident was the sound of his helmet breaking as his head wedged between two rocks. So, no, I didn’t mean to imply that the noise related stress reactions were necessarily combat related PTSD reactions.

  48. says

    Long post ahead. Was curious if anyone had thoughts on this. Cross Posted from B&W.

    I think it’s often the case that rude words are used as insults simply because they’re rude words. There’s not necessarily any connection to the literal meaning. (I doubt that most people who use the words “fuck” or “fucker” as an insult actually think sex is disgusting.)

    But seriously, you’re very good at explaining the rationale behind your thinking. Please keep commenting.

    I appreciate the compliment.

    I get where you’re coming from re: rude words. But all words have meaning. For them to have impact they must mean something. Some words have multiple layers of meaning. Look at the difference between shit and nigger. Both are insults. Both are considered rude words. But nigger is worse. Why? It’s a word used to dehumanize black people. It’s specific to that group of people (even when it’s used by white people to one another, the history of the word, and the predominate way it is utilized is to dehumanize black people). The word derives it’s additional layer of evil bc it’s a bigoted slur that targets a group of oppressed people. Shit does not. Also, shit isn’t specific to any group of people. It’s a word that can be directed toward anyone and lacks the association with an oppressed group (unlike nigger; I’ll abbreviate the word as N* from here on).
    When people use N* as an insult, the word has a meaning. People might quibble over the specific meaning, but the core of the word expresses prejudice and contempt for a group of people based on their actual or perceived race. I’ve been called a nigger in my life twice. The first time occurred when I was a teenager. I remember riding my bicycle to the comic book store and passing through a neighborhood and a young girl was playing in the yard with her parents. She looked up at me, then said to her mother “mommy, it’s a N*”. I remember being taken aback. I didn’t stop, nor did I say anything, but it still stung. And that was before I had any true understanding of the word. I just thought it was bad word white people used to denigrate black people (which was bad enough). I knew little of the history behind it.
    That leads to another layer of insult for the word. The history of oppression of black people in the US is long, storied, and still continues to this day. Not in the same ways, true. Black people aren’t-by and large-lynched or mobbed. However, institutionally, socially, politically, economically…racism is still intact. It can be traced back to the days of slavery (and before that really). That history creates a backdrop for the use of a bigoted slur like N*. The word is made worse by being used in a society where black people are still struggling to achieve equality. Were this a more egalitarian society, the use of the word might still sting, but it wouldn’t be backed by a culture that’s permeated with racism. Oddly enough, some people think racism is over and thus, using the word really isn’t that bad (I saw this firsthand on the second occasion someone called me a nigger). But racism still exists, so using that word still stings deeply.
    It stings because it’s demeaning. It’s dehumanizing. It’s a word that-at it’s core-is about reminding black people of “their place”.

    A word like cunt (C*) is similar in many ways to N*. It’s a word used to denigrate and demean women. It has a long history of usage as a slur. It gains added power bc its used in a society where sexism and misogyny are rampant. It, like N*, means something. At the core, it means a contemptible person. It’s an expression of disgust. . When someone says “You’re a C*”, they’re expressing disgust or contempt with another person, but due to the origins of the word, it still has a strong association with women’s sexuality. It’s saying “you’re a contemptible, disgusting person bc you are, or you are like a woman”.

    The same is not true of dick. Historically men have not been subjected to oppression, marginalization, or discrimination (individually, yes, but on a large scale? No). As a result, when the word is used as an insult, it lacks the socio-cultural power that backs N* and C*. They take extra power from social context. There is no social context to grant added power to dick.

    So while N*, C*, and D* are all insults and bigoted slurs, D* lacks the social backing of the other two, and as a result it is nowhere near the same type of slur. It simply lacks the weight of oppression to provide a backbone.

    I find it odd that you find room to disagree with that, yet in your next post, you say this:

    … Oh, BTW, for the record, I am opposed to the use of gendered insults. I completely agree that (especially in international fora) they cause splash damage, whether intended or not, and there is simple no sustainable argument for using them when genderless alternatives are available.

    Ricky has had this explained to him and is being an obstinate asshole.

    You seem to recognize a difference between insults and gendered (bigoted) slurs. You mention the splash damage caused by using bigoted slurs. I would think you can see how they differ from non-bigoted slurs.

    Related to all that, I like that you brought up the word fuck. I comment at Pharyngula a lot, and I use the word with great frequency. In recent months Jason over at Lousy Canuk had a discussion of the word stupid. As I read it, I started thinking about what the word meant. What is it that one is trying to convey when calling someone stupid? That’s neither here nor there at the moment, bc that’s not what I really want to discuss, but it provided a springboard for me to start thinking about other words and insults. Which led to thinking about fuck.

    I realized that the word means so many things that I feel it’s lost a lot of impact. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still used as an insult, and people take offense. There are people who are so attached to antiquated and overrated notions of civility, that the mere presence of a word like fuck causes them to lose any ability to parse meaning from sentences. They turn into blithering, foolish, tone trolls. Then there are the religious people who take issue with the word bc profane words…swear words…curse words…they’re an affront to god. It’s not dignified to use such language. God doesn’t like that. To which I flip the bird, bc I’m an atheist and I don’t give a fuck what an imaginary being thinks.

    That last sentence there? My use of the word fuck has to mean something, no? In the context of that sentence, I’d say it is meant to grant added weight to my statement. I felt it wasn’t enough to simply say I don’t care. I wanted to apply greater emphasis, thus I used fuck. I’m not an English major, and I suck at breaking down sentences and tenses and all that, but the word almost means “I don’t care”, but more strongly stated.

    That’s one usage. I’m sure you’ve seen it.
    There are, of course, many more:
    Fuck you.
    Fuck off.
    What the fuck?
    Shut the fuck up.
    Even assuming that the sexual meaning of the word doesn’t apply (and I’m not so sure that’s the case, but I won’t argue that here), the word still has to mean *something* in those sentences, no? Whatever the meaning is, however, differs in each case. Fuck you is some sort of insult, often conveying anger, extreme disappointment or disgust, or contempt. Fuck off is often used in a manner similar to go away or leave me alone but it’s more intense, more forceful. What the fuck often indicates shock or surprise. But the actual word in the sentence must have some meaning for the sentence to make any sense. What is that meaning? Likewise, shut the fuck up means something. You can tell the fuck is meant to modify something in the sentence. But the actual word fuck appears to mean something different than the way the word is used in the other examples. *

    I think this can be confusing when trying to parse the exact meaning of this particular word. Not confusing in that people don’t understand the overall message being conveyed. After all, when someone tells me to Shut the fuck up, I know what message they’re sending me. But to dig deeper, into what fuck means in that sentence, one finds that it’s not entirely clear. And it’s made worse by the fact that fuck means many different things. It’s become the swiss army knife of insults.

    *I won’t even touch on insults like ‘fuckface’ or one I _think_ I coined- ‘fucknugget’. Or ‘fucker’. Or ‘You fucking fucker’.

    BTW, I appreciate your willingness to talk about this in depth. I’ve encountered some people that tell me I’m thinking too deeply, and while they may have a point, I find nothing wrong with giving this topic considered thought. I’m not harming anyone, just trying to come to a better understanding.

  49. blf says

    I have decided that the Fourth of July period in the US (usually a week of idiocy) should be renamed…

    What are you going to rename the 50-odd — some very odd — weeks of the orbit? They are also idiotic is USAlientstan.

    I suggest, for simplicity and so it can be remembered by the USAlienstan users, renaming all the weeks to be the same: “Week of the Stoooopid am I”.

  50. blf says

    Tonight I found a cauliflower hidden in the refrigerator that was starting to be a bit lively, albeit it wasn’t yet trying to kick open the door, plus some cheese which had, amazingly, survived for at least a whole day.

    Dinner solved! Cauliflower-and-cheese soup. No onions, so use a ton of garlic, some vin, some fermented goats milk, butter, olive oil, pepper, cauliflower, cheese, tomatoes, and paprika. Very loosely followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but omitted the liquidation step as I don’t have the equipment, and besides, don’t mind “chunky” soup.


  51. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    What are you going to rename the 50-odd — some very odd — weeks of the orbit? They are also idiotic is USAlientstan.

    No. The week in which July 4th resides is, every year, the week in which almost every street sounds like a combat area. I was trying to express sympathy with those who suffer from PTSD and are set off by loud noises. Sorry I was unclear.

  52. carlie says

    A friend of mine just directed me to this article, which is pretty stunning. What happens when, instead of comparing US student scores to those in other countries, you compare how teachers are treated and their working conditions?

    “In short, the survey shows that American teachers today work harder under much more challenging conditions than teachers elsewhere in the industrialized world. They also receive less useful feedback, less helpful professional development, and have less time to collaborate to improve their work. Not surprisingly, two-thirds feel their profession is not valued by society — an indicator that OECD finds is ultimately related to student achievement.”

    “Nearly two-thirds of U.S. middle-school teachers work in schools where more than 30 percent of students are economically disadvantaged. This is by far the highest rate in the world, and more than triple the average TALIS rate. The next countries in line after the United States are Malaysia and Chile. Ignored by our current education policies are the facts that one in four American children lives below the poverty line and a growing number are homeless, without regular access to food or health care, and stressed by violence and drug abuse around them. Educators now spend a great deal of their time trying to help children and families in their care manage these issues, while they also seek to close skill gaps and promote learning.”

    “Along with these challenges, U.S. teachers must cope with larger class sizes (27 versus the TALIS average of 24). They also spend many more hours than teachers in any other country directly instructing children each week (27 versus the TALIS average of 19). And they work more hours in total each week than their global counterparts (45 versus the TALIS average of 38), with much less time in their schedules for planning, collaboration, and professional development. ”

  53. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I emailed you. (I know you’re busy with birthday party, just let me know what you can when you can)

  54. says

    Back from a short shopping trip with Her Ex-Cellency*, who always remembers my cheer-up stuff (a bit of pubgrub and nostalgic sweets from the local Anglo-Scots import store – a nice steak-and-mushroom pie and some Jacobs’ Club bars, today – or some Jelly Tots and/or weak tea, pretty much any time ever). Got the rent paid, after the Great Form Fiasco of 07/14, thankfully my lovely superintendent Doris is an understanding woman with a strong empathic sense. And she likes me.

    Monday, HEC will come over, and we’ll make some phone calls to arrange legal aid for the appeals process (I’m not sure who suggested that above, and I’m out of Can-Do for now, so it’ll have to be post-LDT, but thank you, nameless benefactor, good suggestion!). She’s also printing off the appeals form for me, and will file a personal letter in support, as someone who’s known me intimately for 20 years and watched my disability grow steadily more disabling. She’s an MSW with 20 years’ experience as a social worker and therapist (though she hasn’t practiced in seven years, having moved on to tech writing after burnout), so that will probably help. It’s not allowed in the initial application. Between Portia and HEC, we’ve got a plan sorted out.

    Gaming was fun last night; played a game of Battlestar Galactica, which the humans lost (ran out of fuel due to Cylon sabotage). We sorta lost for a metagame reason: I’ve played the game a few times before, and twice been a wildly successful hidden Cylon, subtly sabotaging things until the humans lose. I thus have a reputation as being someone to watch while playing the game, as I am good at that part. So last night, at a crucial moment, they sent me to the Brig (I was Starbuck) instead of into my Viper, and we lost two civilian ships to a second group of Raiders. Both ships were fuel carriers. Lee Adama had gone for one group, but the NPCs after the second group had failed utterly.

    And the worst part was, I wasn’t Cylon. The guy who was (playing Chief Tyrol) managed to screw things pretty badly for the BSG, costing us Pegasus before we’d even jumped twice, and they still didn’t believe me that it was him and not me.

    But, since that kind of paranoid interaction is part of the spice of what is otherwise a cooperative game, even though we lost, it was fun to play. :)

    All of which has meant my pulse is back down to 55 (it was 90+ on Thursday night), and I’m not getting the rushing/pounding noise in my ears that was symptomatic of the bad blood pressure thing I had in March. I was on Thursday and Friday, but a good night of gaming with friends has helped a lot, and so has making A Plan to keep working on the ODSP.

    We’ll also be starting to try and organize my existing ability to bring in income, and see what we can do to regularize/enhance it. Things like teaching languages at community centres, developing an accent-modification course for the same milieu, finishing paintings, designing t-shirts, writing, editing, translating, all the things I do, I need to organize myself into how to get them rolling as regular sources. Do a new t-shirt once or twice a week, sort of thing, and a new painting, whatever.

    Hopefully. :)

    * My ex, bio-mom to my stepchildren, with whom I spent 11 years before she broke up with me 8 years ago. We were able to maintain cordiality through the break-up, for the most part, and have since regained our close friendship. She helps me a lot, I help her when I can – a few spare meds a month can help with her serious chronic migraine problem somewhat – and so I am pleased to dub her thus in the Lounge, where ‘nyms are norms.

  55. says

    More creationism in the class room, courtesy of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis:

    Students in a freshman biology class in Atlanta’s Grady High School were shown a PowerPoint presentation that linked evolution to Satan, abortion, divorce, racism, and homosexuality.

    The Grady High student newspaper, the Southerner, reported that Anquinette Jones used the PowerPoint presentation to teach the theory of evolution to her students during a freshman biology class last spring.

    One slide in the 52-slide presentation included an illustration that shows creationism and evolution as two sides in a war between good and evil. Creationism is shown to be from Christ, while evolution is from Satan. The illustration suggests evolution is the driving force behind euthanasia, homosexuality, pornography, abortion, divorce, and racism — social ills that are all defeated by creationism and Christianity.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted the PowerPoint presentation also includes “grammatical errors and odd illustrations including a photo of Octomom,” along with the creationism picture.

    Jones told the Southerner that the PowerPoint presentation originated with the Atlanta Public Schools system. But students told the paper that Jones had brought up creationism and criticized evolution in her biology class before.

    “She always had random comments about [creationism],” student Lily Soto told the Southerner. “If someone would ask if we were going to learn evolution, she was like, ‘No, I don’t teach that.’”

    “[I] have gay parents, and [the cartoon] said that evolution caused homosexuality and it implied that to be negative, so I was pretty offended by it,” another student, Seraphina Cooley, said

    The illustration appears to have been created by Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham, who operates a creationist museum in Kentucky.

    I’m glad there’s pushback on this. Fucking Ken Ham and his lies. Again and again and again.

  56. cicely says


    And the child of the house is agitating for a hamster.

    If you acquire a house-hamster, I would strongly advise against sinking money into the cute, plastic habitrails tubing, unless you avoid having any of the tubes end with a likewise-plastic cap. Their teeth can gnaw right through those things, without the hamster even having to breathe hard, and then you have a possible demonstration of the food chain as applied to cats and rodents. Un-fun. Expensive.

    *waving back at Beatrice*
    Good prevening!

    Giliell, that bowed bear just looks ludicrous.

    *hugs* for Ogvorbis, too late though they be.

    Tony!, I never un-crossed my tentacles.
    Best of good fortune—and good hiring sense in your potential employer—for Monday’s interview.

  57. says

    Trust me, we know from surprise projectile vomming. I was thinking of dressing the Darkling in one of my old t-shirts, so if we had an unpleasant episode, we could just toss the shirt ASAP.

    Excellent! I picked up a couple of coloring books just today and haven’t given them to Darkling yet. I’ll keep them hidden and pick up a couple of new toys this week.

    Thankfully, most of my trip is on the Mass Pike, so there will be plenty of places to pull over to stop.

  58. A. Noyd says

    Visited my mother for the 4th. Her cat is a total stoner. She regularly goes out and rolls her face all over the pot of catnip on the back porch. Last night, my mother thought she needed a break from this and set the plant out of reach. So stoner cat woke me up at 5am this morning by yowling right in my ear.


    Portia (#437)

    Her husband was so enthusiastic he opened the carrier right away before we could stop him. The kitty is now a forest animal, I’m afraid. Maybe he’ll come back, not sure. But….sigh.

    If there are any TNR programs in the area, they might have a cat trap they could lend your cousin to get the cat back.


    Giliell (#512)

    Also, when did goodie bags for the [g]uests happen? I remember when I was a kid being invited actually was pretty cool anyway…

    That’s been a thing for ages. I mean, they gave them out at birthdays when I was a little kid 30-some years ago. We called them “party favors.” If you had a theme party, you got party favors to match.

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One of the Redhead’s friends wants to start up another Mah Jongg group. They don’t know how to play, so the Redhead will get back into teaching mode. Meanwhile, the chronically tired Nerd has to clean up the house a bit for the teaching session here. Since the Redhead’s parents are coming in a couple of weeks for an extended visit, just a preliminary cleaning (guest bed? I don’t see it due to the debris). At least a chunk of the house plants are outdoors and soaked with the watering wand tonight, and might catch a grumble storm tomorrow.

  60. A. Noyd says

    In which misogyny makes people so clueless they end up being accidentally helpful: Dipshits on 4chan try to “prank” the Tumblr staff by sending them free tampons.

  61. says

    A. Noyd

    Visited my mother for the 4th. Her cat is a total stoner. She regularly goes out and rolls her face all over the pot of catnip on the back porch. Last night, my mother thought she needed a break from this and set the plant out of reach. So stoner cat woke me up at 5am this morning by yowling right in my ear.

    “Hey. HEY! I know you can get the good shit, man, now hook me up!”

  62. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A real oopsy this week. Cleaning my office at work, and moved the Merck Index (about a 3.5″ hardcover reference book) and Aldrich Catalog (same size, but softcover) to do some rearranging. Unfortunately, I had moved them to a piece of paper on top of my trifocals. Frame squashed, lenses fine. Able to get by due to the fact I bought trifocal safety glasses when I bought the others. Finely able to get over to Gurnee Mills (on the other side of Great America from me, took the long road) today, and replaced the frames. Got back just in time, as the Redhead needed the commode.

  63. says

    Maybe PZ will blog about this:

    In what states are guns most likely, and least likely, to kill people? Every day in America, nearly 90 people are killed by guns, a total of roughly 32,000 annually, according to federal gun violence statistics.

    But blue states are far safer than red states, according new analyses of the most recent data. That’s because states with the most gun controls, which are almost all blue, tend to have fewer gun owners and fewer guns used in suicides, crime and domestic disputes.

    just to drive the gundamentalists out of their gourd. How long has it been since he tried to increase his page hits?

  64. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Don’t have time to hang out, though I’d like to. Mom and I are having a movie night. But I wanted to update that the kitty came back to Cousin’s house. They haven’t physically lured him inside yet, fireworks spook kitties too, it seems. But he came back for food. Good call, Dalillama. :) Thanks for the idea, A. Noyd, too. Hopefully it won’t be necessary.

    *hugs* all around, as desired.

    ~whirls back away~

  65. says


    ~whirls back away~

    Funny you said that. I’m sitting here reading a few comics. With Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The idea of you whirling away reminds me of how Diana Price would whirl in circles and transform into Wonder Woman back on the old tv show. Then that circles back around to your dual occupations-firefighter and lawyer. I’m imagining you whirling around and transforming from your day to day lawyer attire-where you’re battling injustice-to your firefighter uniform-where you help put out fires.
    You’re kinda cool.

  66. says

    Good morning
    I survive dthe party and so did all the guests.
    I had a few things prepared to calm them down when they got a bit over-excited (I didn’t fancy explaining to some parent that their kid fell head first out of the upper bunk bed).
    And now for being stupid: One of the kids is muslim (not the refugee girl, who didn’t come). I remembered this when I made the cake. No gelatin or such. And then I packed the goodie bags and packed gummibears. head->desk
    She asked if they were with gelatin and since I didn’t have the packing aymore I said yes, but I was sure I had I had some without. Guess what shape they were…
    Yes, piggies. While this was good enough for the kid, she also ate them all before going home. I’m not sure if that was just binging on sweets…
    Also, apparently at 7 years the word “penis” is in and on itself hilarious. Then they started to endow their femalish shaped colouring figures (that Topmodel bullshit, you remember) with penises.
    “Look! The woman has a penis!!!!” To which my reaction was “Yes, that happens. There are actually women who have a penis.”

    I’ll get back to you this morning

    Don’t worry, there are no male characters in the girl sets. Children’s toys are as neatly segregated as an islamistic conference on gender equality.

    Is the kid aware that hamsters are usually awake at night?

    As a long term investment (if you do such trips more often) I suggest a portable DVD player with car screens. You can call me names for not being crunchy enough, but this thing makes our holiday trips much more comfortable.

  67. says

    Glad the party went relatively smoothly.

    You can call me names for not being crunchy enough, but this thing makes our holiday trips much more comfortable.

    “crunchy enough”? I don’t understand what you mean here.

    Sorry to hear that your mother didn’t even call. Did your daughter notice?

  68. says

    Ah, you don’t know the trope of the holier than thou crunchy granola mum whose children only have all organic, all natural, “chemical free” things and whose mothers are religiously devoted to their offspring and who will tell you that you’re guilty of child abuse if you’re not.
    Don’t know if the kid noticed with all the fun and attention she got. I won’t ask, because if she didn’T notice, I’d bring it to her attention….

  69. opposablethumbs says

    there are no male characters in the girl sets.


    Srsly, though, sheesh ::rolleyes::

    Sorry your mum didn’t call her,and I hope she never noticed. Pity the recent-arrival little girl couldn’t make it. Sounds like the party was a success, though!

    Argh for accidentally trashing your glasses, Nerd – is that covered by insurance?

    Fingers crossed for your appeal plans, CaitieCat.

  70. blf says

    Argh for accidentally trashing your glasses, Nerd — is that covered by insurance?

    No, couldn’t see at the time, and therefore is an “act of sky faerie”.

    Had he been able to see at the time (that is, wearing the things), it still wouldn’t count, since he then obviously failed to take preventive action. And besides, sacking yerself on the head with a big book (or a desktop) is not covered.

  71. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Argh for accidentally trashing your glasses, Nerd – is that covered by insurance?

    Probably, but I have a high deductible.

  72. blf says

    I survive dthe party and so did all the guests.

    No texac tly .. .. .

    Besides, how can it possibly be a party if there are survivors?
    (I suppose this may explain the mildly deranged penguin’s continuing absence, she found a really good party…)

  73. blf says

    [S]toner cat woke me up at 5am this morning by yowling right in my ear.

    You prefer the cat to widdle in yer ear ?

  74. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just for the record, the glasses incident happened at work, where I had my home trifocals (used to drive to work), my work safety trifocals, and my work safety bifocals (medium and close lenses) which I use in the office and lab. It was my home trifocals that got trashed. But I was able to drive around safely thanks to the work safety trifocals.

  75. blf says

    Another reason insurance won’t cover any portion of the loss. The glasses are for use at home. Nerd wasn’t. Which means when he isn’t at home or work, he isn’t covered at all, he doesn’t have any “driving” or “shopping” or “eating in a restaurant” or “defending the cheeseboard” eyeglasses…

  76. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    *hugs* It’s so hard to force oneself to go to those things. I hope you’re feeling a little less crappy by now, but I’m really sorry it got you so down. *hugs* and kudos for getting up the gumption to go.

    You sound very happy. :D Enjoy the travels.

    Glad you survived the party – sounds like it was without major problems, and you handled the minor ones with aplomb. Glad the kid was a good sport about the pig-shaped candy:) Sorry your mom was not a good sport, as usual. *hugs*


    I have decided that the Fourth of July period in the US (usually a week of idiocy) should be renamed “National PTSD Awareness Week.”

    I second the motion.

    A. Noyd:
    Well, did you help the cat out? It was counting on you! ^_^


    I’m imagining you whirling around and transforming from your day to day lawyer attire-where you’re battling injustice-to your firefighter uniform-where you help put out fires.

    That’s the coolest compliment I’ve heard in a really long time. Even moreso because Wonder Woman is kind of my favorite. I have WW jammies, and a WW workout bag. A friend got me two LEGO figures at the Chicago LEGO store: a firefighter and a WW :D
    Thanks for making my morning:) (That transition does sometimes happen with shocking speed, ha, if I have to change out of a suit into clothes that will go under fire gear).

    Giliell (again) got your email, thanks for sending that. Hopefully I can sort it out with customer service.

  77. carlie says

    Missing Crudely Wrott – hope he’s doing ok.

    I think I might have hypercalcemia from the vitamin D supplements my doctor put me on a couple of weeks ago. Took until last night to realize that might be why I suddenly have a constant headache and have been falling asleep several times a day. I’m currently in that “I’ll treat it at home myself until the office opens tomorrow because I hate calling after hours” mode. Blargh. Off to drink more gatorade and tomato juice.

  78. A. Noyd says

    Portia (#594)

    Well, did you help the cat out? It was counting on you!

    Then she should have woken me up with bacon and a bowl of fresh picked thimbleberries! She was so rude I ignored her and went back to sleep for a few hours.

  79. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Little evil crawly things warning:

    Something that isn’t a mosquito bit me (my arm actually hurts a bit). Since I haven’t been out today, it means the bite has come from inside the house.

  80. says

    Do I understand correctly that Nerd trashed his glasses while cleaning up or straightening up his work area?If so, let this be a lesson to us all. Cleaning up is dangerous.

    In other news, /a> has a roundup of gun accidents that is impressive, deadly, and depressing.

    Another relatively quiet week saw most of the action confined to people accidentally shooting themselves (14) or their close friends (11). Just two incidents involved family members accidentally shooting one another. By far the most dangerous gun-related activity of the week: just plain playing with or showing off loaded firearms. Nine people were accidentally shot that way. And for a week with fewer than forty listings, ten fatalities is pretty high. We include in that total one fatal mistake during a defensive gun use, in which a man defending against a home robbery accidentally shot and killed his friend while wounding the perpetrator.
    Six people had GunFAIL accidents while cleaning, repairing or attempting to unload loaded weapons, including one man who managed to shoot himself in the head while cleaning a single shot, bolt-action rifle, and a law enforcement officer who accidentally discharged a weapon removed from a patient in a hospital. He was one of three law enforcement officers involved in last week’s GunFAIL count. Three people helpfully shared spent ammunition with their neighbors in “home invasion shootings” last week, and someone granted a bullet its freedom while riding a city bus in Philadelphia.

    Last Saturday also saw the fifth time in the past three and a half years that there were accidental discharges at more than one gun show on the same day. Bullets unintentionally flew at shows in Bloomsburg, PA, and Cedar Park, TX, the latter ending in a fatality. The Bloomsburg shooting drew a lot of attention, largely because it involved a dealer accidentally Second Amendmenting a prospective customer, but also because the dealer was both: 1) in violation of the show rule prohibiting loaded weapons, and; 2) a NRA-certified firearms instructor.

    Six children were accidentally shot last week, ages 11, 11, 14, 15, 15, and 16. That would actually have to be considered a pretty good week. Not for those kids, of course, but only compared to the carnage we usually see. […]

  81. says

    I had a bill coming due for $50, which I had just enough to cover, but when I went to check my account, a debit for $49.70 was taken out for *something* and I don’t know what. I’m going to contest it with the bank, but that doesn’t get the money back immediately. I did not need this shit.

  82. says

    Tony, you has empathy from me. My bank just charged me $40 for some kind of funds transfer that I did not initiate (that I did not initiate knowingly at least).

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Cleaning up the front room for Redhead’s Mah Jongg lesson tomorrow. Got the table and chairs out, table cloth in the washer, debris cleaned up, and showed it the vacuum. I’m trying to get through tomorrow. The Redhead is thinking about getting ready for her parents visit and thereafter. Augh.

  84. rq says

    [‘rupt] with *minion umbrellas*
    Oooooh maaaan… So yesterday was supposed to be the happy end of big concerting, and with that in mind, we all headed back to our rooms after the group choir concert with thoughts of parties and going out that evening.
    Until our conductor discovered that someone booked him for the wrong dates and all his stuff had been bagged and removed from the room and left in storage. Chaos and frustration ensued. I feel guilty for that, even though I wasn’t the one taking care of his rooms, but I was promised it would be taken care of, and was fairly confident of that, since the head guy organizing the festival was taking care of it. And I know the guy, he’s a close family friend, and I’m just so disappointed. Especially since he tried making stupid jokes about it, once he actually started picking up his phone and realizing there was an issue to resolve.
    And here I thought all drama would be over. (Things got settled enough for them (conductor + concert pianist wife) to stay the night in the soloist room, but nobody’s particularly happy or satisfied today.)

    Anyway, I went out last night and danced on some tables to relieve frustration. It worked rather well, especially since, at the very close of my night, I ran into the lead singer of a very popular Latvian band, and being in a rather uninhibited state, I took the chance and shook his hand and told him he did a good job, and told him about our conductor, since he also works part-time as a clarinetist for the professional brass band, whose artistic director happens to be my choir’s conductor. Instant friendship, haha! :P Then my brother took me back to my hotel room. :)
    Also, despite all our friendly conversations, I have a feeling the Chorister Who Offered is having a difficult time with all the feelings. :( Oh well, as of tomorrow we won’t be living in such close quarters and things will get better.

    This awesome trip is coming to a close. Too much emotions all over, for me. In a good way. Just unaccustomed and really intense, and I’ll be sad and relieved when it’s all over.
    *hugs* for the HugTruck!


  85. says

    I’m pretty much the anti-crunchy mom. I limit Darkling’s tv time in regular circumstances (she watches a little bit because, hell, I like tv), but I’m cool with her watching more in this kind of circumstance. I was actually trying to think of a cheap/easy way to attach my tablet to the back of the seat in front of her and let her watch movies.

  86. says

    Fucking christian bigots:

    Given its relatively small numbers, Christian organizations are forming alliances with Taoist and Buddhist groups to influence government policy on same-sex marriage.

    The main drivers behind last year’s anti-same-sex-marriage demonstration on Nov 30, which attracted tens of thousands of people and reportedly one of the largest mobilizations of Taiwan’s religious groups in recent years, comprised Christian, Taoist and Buddhist groups.

    According to a special report by the Taiwan Times early this week, the organizers included the Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan, a network of Christian organizations, Buddhist sects, the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference and I-Kuan Tao – a religious movement that combines Confucianism, Taoism and Chinese Buddhism, and which also recognizes non-Chinese religious traditions such as Christianity and Islam.

    Before last year’s protest, the most notable anti-gay mobilization occurred in 2011 when the Chen Ai Alliance, a self-proclaimed parents group successfully pressed the Ministry of Education (MOE) to suspend the release of three reference books that contain gender and sexual diversity teaching materials, as required by the Gender Equity Education Act for teachers in elementary and junior high schools, with help from several legislators.

    In the 2-part [part 1 and 2] report by staff reporter Ho Yi, Chen Chih-hung, a Taiwan Lutheran Church bishop who also serves as the alliance’s spokesman, was quoted as saying that Christian churches are the driving force behind the crusade.

    ‘To a certain extent, Christian groups take the lead on this issue since Asian religions haven’t traditionally seen homosexuality as a big deal. Churches in the US and Europe have confronted the impact of gay marriage directly… Since only a small percentage of Taiwanese are Christians, we share what we know with other religions so that they understand the seriousness of the situation,’ Chen said.

    The journalist noted that both Chen and Paul Chang, vice president of the Unification Church Taiwan and one the alliance’s spokesmen, in separate interviews spoke of a ‘dark, hidden agenda of the LGBT movement in Taiwan.’

    The report reads: ‘The most active elements of the movement, they say, are not gay rights activists but libertines, with LGBT equality only part of their mission. The ultimate goal is to replace the institution of marriage and family with a culture of sexual promiscuity.’

  87. says

    Governor Rick Perry clings to conspiracy theories, and has trouble with dependent clauses:

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Sunday did not back down from his suggestion in June that President Obama may have been part of a conspiracy to let migrants from Central America enter the U.S. illegally.

    “I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from,” Perry said on ABC’s “This Week” when host Martha Raddatz asked him if he really believes there is a “conspiracy to get people into the United States by the federal government.”

    Perry made the initial claim in June during an interview with Fox News.

    “We either have an incredibly inept administration, or they’re in on this somehow or another. I mean I hate to be conspiratorial, but I mean how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and then into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?” he asked. […]

  88. says

    That’s right, the anti-abortion forces are winning.

    Abortion physician Dennis Christensen wants to retire. But he can’t, the 71-year-old says, because no one wants to take over his Milwaukee clinic, a condition he set for himself for retirement.
    Christensen and his professional partner, Bernard Smith, both of whom have performed abortions for more than four decades, hope they can hand over the reins of the Affiliated Medical Center to younger physicians, but so far no one has come forward. […]

  89. says

    Dear god!
    What in the ever loving FUCK was that?!!!!
    (I know, you don’t know…I just needed to get that out there)
    OMG, that was retch-worthy.
    Goosebumps up and down my body!

  90. A. Noyd says

    WMDKitty (#611)

    I need someone to identify this. (Image NSFL.)

    It’s a lotus flower pod photoshopped to look like an abcess. Here’s a Google translation of some info in Italian about how it’s a hoax.

    We have to thank Focus for exposing the hoax on Facebook [of an] abscess relative to shampoo. The story is this. For some time is running on Facebook a viral video that shows a hypothetical monstrous abscess caused by a well-known shampoo, also famous in Italy. Video prophesies misfortune and terrible infections if you use this shampoo.

    Now, looking at the picture you smile: Who could ever believe that this is an abscess? Who believes has never seen an abscess live? Maybe if it were an alien or abscess if we were in a Japanese comic book then it could happen, but let’s not forget that we are in reality.

    Many of us have fallen [for it], but do not worry this abscess does not exist, it is simply a montage made ​​to art by some master of Photoshop. In fact, the photo depicts a human shoulder on which you placed the photo of a pod of a lotus flower Asia, which has precisely this aspect pockmarked from which seem to come out of the eyes.

    The authors of this hoax could at least do not choose a plan so recognizable and popular: especially in Asia the lotus flower (Nelumbo nucifera) is used to treat diarrhea and also has anti-inflammatory properties and emollients. So, no harmful chemicals, no aliens implanted under the skin, just a trivial hoax. Oh, be careful not to click on the link of this video hoax: it seems that lead to pages full of viruses. And thank you for Focus discovered the hoax.

  91. opposablethumbs says

    Oh, apropos of nothing much but thinking of Darkling and kids in general and films – we totally limited TV when they were little, and because kids often like to eat while watching – and sometimes it’s desirable to increase fruit and veg intake – we would always give them a big (sometimes huge) lot of fruit and carrots all chopped into bitesize pieces for snacking while watching films or documentaries and stuff, and they have been devoted fruit and carrot devourers ever since.

    rq, what a pain to have to deal with shenanigans just at the end! But congrats on the tour – and on the table dancing too :-)

  92. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    All ready for the Mah Jongg lesson except for vacuuming the sun room where the Redhead hangs out. Since the doors can be closed, I don’t have a problem. My ginger haired life’s partner has other ideas….

  93. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    I hate accounting. I keep the books for the firefighter fundraisng/community engagement group, and I haaaate it. We all take a turn. I am not good at this. It’s not even that complicated.

    I have a new prospective friend whom I met at court, she’s a young attorney at a local firm. We became facebook friends, and I see that her husband is a Lutheran pastor. My first thought is “I wonder if I can evangelize to her about the joys of unbelief.” ;) Though I guess I have no reason to know if she herself is religious.

    I’m proud of myself for doing better at building new friendships and sustaining old ones, though. I realized that that part of my life had gone by the wayside during my looooong relationship. And to the end of giving and receiving fulfilling friendship, I’m making an effort and getting myself out there more. I invited another newer friend to see a play next week. Go me.

  94. says

    Thank you my friend.


    Florida could be next:

    Key Westers Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones sued Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavilin, whose office issues marriage licenses, on April 1. The suit challenges Florida’s Amendment 2 — a 2008 voter initiative pushed by the Republican-controlled Legislature that defines marriage in Florida as “the legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

    Judge Luis Garcia is scheduled to hear the case Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Plantation Key courthouse. If he rules in favor of Huntsman and Jones, the decision could pave the way for other gay and lesbian couples to marry in Florida.

    “This is why you go to law school,” said Bernadette Restivo, Huntsman and Lee’s Key Largo attorney. “Cases like this are once in a career.”

    Even if Garcia rules against Florida’s gay-marriage ban, the state Attorney General’s Office could ask for an immediate stay, which would indefinitely delay plans by gay and lesbian couples wanting to marry.

    By law, Heavilin’s office had no choice but to deny the couple a marriage license when they applied for one in Key West April 1.

  95. cicely says


    Another one for my private store of special surprises for player characters!
    Thanks, Tony!.


    Is the kid aware that hamsters are usually awake at night?

    Especially when they’ve gnawed their way out of the habitrails and to what they think is freedom?
    Luckily, I would always be awakened by the sound of their little nails ticking away on the floor as they scuttled along the baseboards…and look to the foot of the bed to see a most alert Junior Carnivore wearing a look of keen and focused interest.
    “Well, hello, little ambulatory cat treat!”
    Son’s young-boy-hood pre-dated the wide availability of portable DVD players with car screens, but was luckily just in time for the first-gen Game Boys (which we still have, and which still even works!, which got him quietly and happily through many an eight-hour trip across Oklahoma. I will always harbor a soft spot for Nintendo on that account.


    Missing Crudely Wrott – hope he’s doing ok.

    Me, too…and me, too.
    Does anybody know?


    Also, has anyone heard from Crip Dyke’s ?

    Another good question.
    And what of JAL?
    Improbable Joe?
    Can you check your account on-line? The time some asshole in Saudi Arabia amused hirself with our bank account, that’s where we caught it, first.


    Something that isn’t a mosquito bit me (my arm actually hurts a bit). Since I haven’t been out today, it means the bite has come from inside the house.

    Quick! Get out!!!
    There’s a chainsaw-wielding insect (or possibly an arachnid) in your house!


    Cleaning up is dangerous.

    Indeed! My shoulders are indignantly telling me that I should not have risked scrubbing down the kitchen cabinets (or at least, such of them as could be scrubbed from a sitting position).
    Even now, I can feel them plotting vengeance.

    *hugs* and sympathy for Nerd.
    I wonder if simply showing the cleaner and rags to the remaining cabinetry would be efficacious….
    Otherwise, The Husband will have to do it, which makes me feel bad, ’cause he has to do so much already.

    *hugs* for rq. I’m sorry that you are experiencing unnecessary drama.

    WMDKitty, I’m holding hard to the hope that that is either photoshoppery, or make-up and latex appliances.
    (Slightly Later)
    *whew!* Photoshoppery. Hurray!
    Thank Glob for Snopes!

  96. thunk: totally inconvenient raingauge says

    Hello! I’m here.

    Also tired, and no closer to solving my problems.


    Oh, and Typhoon Neoguri is looking very dangerous for the Ryukyus.

  97. says

    Good morning


    the first-gen Game Boys (which we still have, and which still even works!

    Hehe, I still got mine. Though I was already a bit older then. Our holiday trips were even before Walkmen were a thing for common people, so there were always fights about casettes.

    hugs for Tony

    Joe is quite active on twitter

    What a mess.
    HOw’s everything else going? Did you reschedule your flights?

    TW transphobia
    Last night I watched a documentary about the NY Pride.
    They talked a lot about Stonewall, and for the first 2/3 they completely erased trans* people. When they then mentioned them i wished they’d kept being quiet. The sentence was, I kid you not, ” the riot was started by the most marginalized group, t-slur, gay men in women’s dresses”. My chin still hurts from hitting the table. I tweeted at the tv channel, but they haven’t replied yet.

  98. bassmike says

    Hi everyone.

    *hugs* and *confetti* in equal measure to all.

    My daughter has not been well over the weekend (running nose, temperature and conjunctivitis) and this morning she was still not quite right so she’s gone to my mother-in-laws. I made her breakfast and sorted a few things out, so ended up later for work than I’d like. Not that anyone particularly noticed!

    ….and it’s my birthday! Things could be better. I may manage a drink later.

  99. opposablethumbs says

    Happy birthday, bassmike – hope the day improves! And I hope daughter’s health improves too, poor mite (and poor parents dealing with it). Here’s to the chance of a drink later.

  100. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Happy Birthday and chocolate and confetti, bassmike!

    hope the little one feels better soon. *hugs*

  101. chigau (違う) says

    I hope things improve for you.

    Happy Birthday.

  102. rq says

    Happy birthday, bassmike!! Here’s a song for you – not one of our newest, but one of the better ones we have online. :) Hope your daughter gets well soon, and that the rest of your day improves. :) *hugs* and I hope you manage that drink later!
    (Also, I’ll soon be back to ‘normal’ timezones… ;) )

    Everything else is going well. Because it’s all done.
    Today I’m being carted off to my Big Brother’s up in Sudbury (yay!!!), and no tickets need rescheduling (well, it just can’t be done, but we talked to my mum and it shouldn’t be too bad since the two older ones are quite sensible most of the time, and if they don’t have too much external stimuli, they should keep well in hand).
    I’m part-relieved, part-sad. It was a grand adventure. :)

  103. says

    Happy Birthday, bassmike

    Just my luck:
    For school today I made #1 a special cake, one with the number 7 backed in in rainbow colours. They didn’t cut it into slices but into smaller pieces so they could better share… That was like 2 extra hours of work…

    Yay rq
    *hugs* thunk

    Alos, my tablet died. Every time I’ve saved enough money to replace the still functioning yet getting old camera, some device that I can’t do without dies…

  104. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    *shambles into the lounge, mechanically flipping through a pile of correspondence he must have found on his office desk*

    Ahoy hoy everyone! First of all, Happy Birthday bassmike. May all thy wishes come true (please be careful though).

    In other news, back from a wondrous and terrible trip to Washington I am. Thanks for the good wishes, my presentation went well. Even more so, it was pretty awesome, owing mostly to a very benevolent and interested audience.

    Had a few seriously strange experiences up there:

    Dinner on Thursday with a real bro who pretty much started out by relating his “funny” experiences in Europe when he and his buddy wanted to go to a strip club but accidentally ended up in a brothel… plus some prostitute stories about Amsterdam… etc. (I was restrained by the fact of being a guest-who-could-not-afford-to-leave, so I could steer the conversation only slowly away from that).

    Lunch on Friday (and fireworks on the National Mall, for that matter) with what turned out to be a catholic parish – they were nice and all, but damn I had to tiptoe my way around certain topics and had to swallow some comments. At least they were not (outwardly) judgemental of my professed atheism.

    Hanging out on Saturday night while having to fend of notions that the Israelis should “just level the whole Gaza strip” and similar awkward opinions…

    Breakfast on Sunday including an awkwardly superstitious mother who related her story of how some catholic rite cured her daughter from some strange disease after a year of failed treatment by physicians.

    Seems that whenever I enter a new surrounding here in the US, something weird is bound to happen.

    In any case, please excuse my rambling – I’m naturally threadrupt (if still annoyed by Holly Hobby Lobby), so I’ll try to catch up!

  105. bassmike says

    Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes. rq the song was very good as I’ve learned to expect from your choir. Giliell the cake looks great!

    Sadly, I’m not feeling in a particularly celebratory mood at the moment. Maybe I will later. Please feel free to celebrate on my behalf. Have a hang-over on me.

    Gorogh I’m pleased the presentation went well. It’s a shame that you had to experience so much other crap on your trip.

    rq re your choir tour: I find that the come-down from such trips is proportional to how good the trip was. It sounds like everyone had a good time despite the odd issue here and there.

  106. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    For now and for what it’s worth, …

    Tony, your Lovecraft-copyright posts miraculously reappeared, or were (less miraculously) regurgitated. More importantly, good luck for your job interview today!

    rq, congratulations on your successful trip.

    Alexandra and/or carlie, DarkToddler is an awesome expression. I still won’t like to have children around, but giving them funny names makes the thought less disconcerting.

    Off to lunch, see you later.

  107. says

    bassmike, I offer hugs if wanted, and something a friend decided in regards to birthdays: Your birthday isn’t over until the next one, so you have a whole year to feel celebratory. Or not. Whatever you decide.

  108. opposablethumbs says

    Gorogh, you may be unaware of the origins of the name which has a royal and ancient history. Alexandra (née Audley) was formerly Darkheart by nym. There has thus been, at the appropriate time in each case, a certain DarkFoetus (or DarkFetus, as some people will persist in spelling it ;-) ), subsequently DarkBaby and now DarkToddler.

    There is also a truly stunning blanket of DarkDuckies made for her by the amazing Inaji, which is awesome to behold; their number includes a ZombieDucky, a VampireDucky, a PirateDucky and other duckies whose names for the moment escape me.

    Perhaps someone will be kind enough to link the pic.

  109. says

    Do you know why people form corporations? One of the most important reasons is to protect the personal property of business’s owners from creditors seeking payment for debts that business might incur. To put it more simply, corporations exist in order to create a legal separation between a business and its owners.

    Such separation is a good thing. It encourages us to be entrepreneurial by ensuring that if a business we start goes belly up, we won’t lose our house and our savings account with it. The corporation—whatever else it is—is not its owners. Corporations exist “precisely to distinguish their activities from those of their owners.” Corporate separateness is “the foundational principle of corporate law.” The 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby makes an absolute farce of it. […]

    Daily Kos link.

  110. says

    Okay, let’s repeat this once again: contraceptives work to lower the number of teen pregnancies. Abstinence Only sex education does not

    More data, this time from Colorado.

    Colorado’s teen birth rate dropped 40 percent in five years—years during which a donor-funded initiative provided 30,000 free or low-cost contraceptive devices to low-income women:

    The decline in births among girls 15 to 19 years old served by the program accounted for three-quarters of the overall decline in the Colorado teen birth rate, the state said in a news release.
    That rate has fallen from 37 births per 1,000 girls in 2009 to 22 in 2013, officials said.

    The teen abortion rate dropped 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in those counties where the initiative is in place, Hickenlooper said.

  111. says

    […] According to Al Jazeera, federal courts have previously ruled that Guantanamo detainees were not “persons within the scope of RFRA” and therefore did not have any guaranteed rights to religious exercise. […]

    So, Gitmo detainees are not people, but corporations are. Lawyers for Gitmo detainees are now using the Hobby Lobby decision to fight for more religious rights for their clients.

  112. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    There has thus been, at the appropriate time in each case, a certain DarkFoetus (or DarkFetus, as some people will persist in spelling it ;-) ), subsequently DarkBaby and now DarkToddler.

    Where will it end! opposablethumbs, thanks for the excursion on blog history… and wow, Inaji, that is one inspiring piece of work you did there. That must be one happy Darkling.

  113. says

    If James Lincoln Collier refers to others calling President Obama, “the [N-word] in the White House,” should you use that quote in a newspaper headline?

    A local New York newspaper ran an op-ed that used the N-word in its headline about President Barack Obama.

    The op-ed, in the monthly West View News of the West Village in New York, by James Lincoln Collier, was actually not a piece criticizing Obama. Collier argued that “far right voters hate Obama because he is black.”

    “The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism,” the op-ed said. “America’s increasing tolerance of far-right opinion has made racism more acceptable.”

    The New York Post printed an image (pictured) of the headline with the n-word blurred out.

    The West View News also ran a column below Collier’s by Alvin Hall, an African-American columnist, titled “This headline offends me.”

    According to West View News editor George Capsis Collier was able to convince him to print the headline even though the editorial staff had reservations. […]

  114. says

    Some truckers have come up with a new way to troll environmentalists in a new fashion: rigging their trucks to blow out more, rather than less, emissions into the air.

    “Rolling coal” as it’s called is in response to environmentalists looking to lower carbon emissions in cars.

    Truckers essentially trick their vehicles into thinking they need to use more gas than it actually needs. The more fuel that’s used up, the more exhaust comes out thus the big plumes of dark emissions from a “rolling coal truck.” […]

    Video at the link.

  115. cicely says

    Happy birthday, bassmike!
    *cake&ice cream&hugs*
    I hope your daughter’s health, and life in general, improves soon.
    Immediately would be good.

    Gorogh, I’m glad that your presentation went well.

    Ah, the awesomeness of the DarkDuckies, revisited!
    I think I like the VampireDucky best.

  116. says

    Fox News is, once again, on the case when it comes to fighting the evil scourge of feminism.

    “When did it happen when men and husbands became doormats?” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy asked a guest on Monday morning in a segment Fox News called, “Husband Appreciation: Sage Advice For Wives.”

    What followed was a litany of tips for how a woman can become “the good wife” and “keep your husband happy” from Susan Patton, the so-called “Princeton Mom” who attracted considerable attention in 2013 after penning a letter to her alma mater encouraging young women spend 75 percent of their college career focused on finding a husband.

    […] Men, Patton told the Fox hosts, must be appreciated and respected, perhaps with a drink at the end of a long work day or gratitude and kindness. […]

    “If you are in your mid-30s or older the idea that you’re going to find yourself another husband, almost impossible,” Patton predicted. “And if you don’t believe me ask your maiden aunt, she will tell you when she’d done feeding the cats.”

    And who’s to blame for society’s unappreciative attitude towards men? “Antagonistic feminists,” of course. […] In one particularly strange example, Patton has complained that the rape that occurs between acquaintances — commonly referred to as “date rape” — should be called “mistake sex” to avoid diminishing “the true horror of rape.”[…]

    Think Progress link.

  117. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    I think I like the VampireDucky best.

    Well cicely that’s probably because CthulhuDucky is still work in progress. Me, I’m more into ZombieDucky right now, but will gladly acknowledge any octopoid usurpation.

    Lynna, thanks for the links, as usual. I wasn’t ragey enough, now I am.

  118. blf says

    [Instead of yowling in my ear, the cat] should have woken me up with bacon and a bowl of fresh picked thimbleberries!

    You prefer bacon and berries shoved in yer ear ?!
    With or without hairballs ?

  119. says

    Federal judge tells SCOTUS to ‘shut the fuck up’:

    In the Hobby Lobby cases, five male Justices of the Supreme Court, who are all members of the Catholic faith and who each were appointed by a President who hailed from the Republican party, decided that a huge corporation, with thousands of employees and gargantuan revenues, was a “person” entitled to assert a religious objection to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate because that corporation was “closely held” by family members. To the average person, the result looks stupid and smells worse.

    To most people, the decision looks stupid ’cause corporations are not persons, all the legal mumbo jumbo notwithstanding. The decision looks misogynist because the majority were all men. It looks partisan because all were appointed by a Republican. The decision looks religiously motivated because each member of the majority belongs to the Catholic church, and that religious organization is opposed to contraception. While “looks” don’t matter to the logic of the law (and I am not saying the Justices are actually motivated by such things), all of us know from experience that appearances matter to the public’s acceptance of the law.*

    The Hobby Lobby cases illustrate why the Court ought to care more about Alexander Bickel’s “passive virtues“–that is, not deciding highly controversial cases (most of the time) if the Court can avoid the dispute.** What would have happened if the Supreme Court simply decided not to take the Hobby Lobby cases? What harm would have befallen the nation? What harm would have befallen Hobby Lobby family members who would have been free to express their religious beliefs as real persons? Had the Court sat on the sidelines, I don’t think any significant harm would have occurred. The most likely result is that one or more of the political branches of government would have worked something out. Or not. In any event, out of well over 300 million people, who would have cared if the law in different Circuits was different or the ACA’s contraception mandate was up in the air?

    Next term is the time for the Supreme Court to go quiescent–this term and several past terms has proven that the Court is now causing more harm (division) to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the Court has the power to avoid. As the kids say, it is time for the Court to stfu.***

    I’d add that it doesn’t look misogynistic and religiously motivated.
    The Hobby Lobby decision *was* misogynistic and religiously motivated.

    I also find it odd (as a layperson with no understanding of law) that SCOTUS took up this case, but has thus far not ruled on marriage equality. Of the two, one-the bans on same sex marriage-have been ruled by judges across the country as unconstitutional.

  120. says

    somewhat ‘rupt. Still in a finacial hole with utilities coming due this week and no money to pay them. I didn’t work on the 4th, so my check this week will be smaller, and L’s business has been deeply slow still. Feh.
    Happy bday.
    Best wishes for the interview.
    A Noyd#575
    Some years back our former roommates had a cat who loved him some catnip. At one point he shoved his nose into a small dish full of weed and snuffled and licked a bit before rearing back his head with an expression of horrified betrayal on his face that said “This is not catnip!! What have you done?”

  121. blf says

    The raping children cult in action, Inquiry opens into Calabrian church’s ‘homage’ to ‘Ndrangheta mafia boss: “Clergy and mayor defy pope’s attack on mafia by reportedly diverting church parade past mobster under house arrest”.

    Another attempt to blow smoke in peoples eyes, Pope Francis lambasts Catholic bishops who helped cover up child abuse:

    Pontiff makes strongest condemnation yet of paedophile priests and senior clergy who obfuscated rather than punished

    [T]he main US victims’ group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (Snap), did not appear to have been won over, arguing that words were no substitute for concrete policy changes. The church needed a leader who was not only kind but had “the toughness to fire complicit church officials, it said in a statement.

    “The pope says the church should ‘make reparations’ to victims. That’s secondary. Stopping abuse and protecting children comes first. And sadly, no child on earth is safer today because of this meeting.”

  122. Pteryxx says

    re Lynna’s #650 on the teen birthrate in Colorado: I clicked through to the original source article. Here’s the headline the Denver Post used.

    Colorado claims contraceptive program caused big drop in teen birth rates

    They claaaaim contraceptives cause teen birth rates (and abortion rates) to drop.

    Complete with fair-and-balanced-both-sides-reporting:

    Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of public policy for the conservative Christian ministry Focus on the Family, said she was skeptical of the state’s claim that increased access to IUDs and other birth control caused the steep decline in teen birth rates.

    “What we have seen over many years is that access to contraception does not equal fewer unintended pregnancies and fewer abortions,” Earll said. “Availability of contraception leads to increased sexual activity, which leads to unintended pregnancies and abortions.”

    Earll said she found it offensive that the state was dispensing IUDs and that teens don’t need to be accompanied by an adult to receive these forms of contraceptives.

    “It totally undermines parental rights,” Earll said.

    The five-year program provided low-income teens with IUDs and implants, forms of contraception that are expensive up front but essentially mistake-proof, sabotage-proof, and often concealable once placed. It was funded entirely by a private, anonymous donor.

    The family-planning program has saved $5.68 in Medicaid costs for every dollar spent on the contraceptives, the state said. The state has saved millions in health care expenditures — $42.5 million in public funds in 2010 alone based on the latest available data.

    The decline improved Colorado’s standing among states from having the 29th-lowest teen birth rate in 2008 to being ranked 19th among states and the District of Columbia in 2012.

    My hat’s off to this anonymous donor for improving so many lives across an entire state at a single stroke. Now that’s the way to use private wealth for good.

  123. blf says

    I also find it odd … that SCOTUS took up this case, but has thus far not ruled on marriage equality.

    Nothing odd about it at all. The case involved Big Money Intere$t$, so it was important they got their way, and those pesky lower courts weren’t giving in.

    The other example does not have a direct connection to any BM$$ and hence is not important.

  124. says

    So, #1 got “Frozen” on DVD for her birthday and we watched it today. Now, the setup, 2 sisters close enough in age to play together as kiddies is not that unfamiliar a scenario here, minus magic and kingdom, so #1 was very, very upset when Elsa fucked everything up, sent her sister away and seriously hurt her. “but they are sisters, they need to get back together again!!!”
    Maybe I can appeal to her better nature in the future by reminding her not to go all Elsa on her sister…
    In general I liked the film, especially Anna, of course, who is kick-ass, gets shit done and who grows from a silly girl swayed by the first guy to talk to her to a sensible young woman who takes charge of her own love life. But as usually, even a movie with two female leads manages to seriously lack in female support characters. Really, would it have been so hard to make the reindeer a female? the shopkeeper? One of the bazillion officials? The troll society looked much more appealing…

  125. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    Giliell, my niece (~4 years) has acute princess-mania, it’s really disheartening sometimes. But then she loved Merida and Frozen, which indicates there is some hope for that to change.

    Really, would it have been so hard to make the reindeer a female? the shopkeeper? One of the bazillion officials?

    Aware of the fact that this question is rhethorical in nature: It’s ridiculously easy, especially if your story takes place in a fantasy setting – i.e. you don’t try to emulate the really existing status quo. As a personal aside, for my role-playing campaigns* I simply role a dice for most random characters, and for the important ones I just try to consciously balance it out. One could extend that to gender and sexuality, of course…

    *With modern rulebooks like D&D’s or Pathfinder’s doing an IMHO great job in conveying an equality ideal, up to the point of alternating between the male (“generic”) and female grammatical genus, but also switching sexes between characters. I don’t know all too many RPG systems though, I’m sure there are counterexamples.

  126. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Thanks, friend.

    Hope today goes well. *hugs*

    I missed your good news before. So glad Her Ex-cellency is taking good care of you. *hugs*

    I have a work-out date tonight (again) with a Person In Whom I Have An Interest. I’m not sure it will go anywhere, but I think I’m getting good signals from him. We shall see.

  127. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    Good luck Portia (or whatever it takes… maybe just absence of bad luck…)!

  128. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Happy birthday, bassmike!

    Today at McDonald’s:
    Man buying happy meal for little kid. Asks about the toys.
    Server: “Oh, a girl? But we only have dragons.”


    Only!? He wasn’t happy about the dragons for his girl either.

    People are dumb.

  129. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I have a work-out date tonight (again) with a Person In Whom I Have An Interest. I’m not sure it will go anywhere, but I think I’m getting good signals from him. We shall see.


    Have fun! (with extra shoulder bumps, nudge nudge wink winks and go get him! :D)

  130. says

    I went down to the restaurant around 2:00. They were still on a wait, which is not the time to apply for a job (even though 2-4 is usually the best time). I asked for an app, and was told that policy is to fill it out off premises (which I can understand). As I didn’t have an official meeting (my friend told her bosses about me), I opted to fill out the app and I’ll return it tomorrow, that way management has my information on hand and know something about me.
    Thankfully a friend of mine loaned me $500 so that I don’t have to stress about money for a few weeks, aside from cab fare. Even there, thankfully the regular drivers I call have cut me a few deals (heck my guy today told me he’d swing by my house tomorrow and drop off my app so I don’t have to spend money for a round trip; he’s also told me that he’ll set me up on a discounted payment plan when I get a job so I can pay him something weekly until I get money in my pocket–he’s a nice guy).

  131. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Any body have a good solution for moron, juvenile bosses?

    I suggest Aqua Regia. :3

  132. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    Hm it’s nice you have some decent folk around, Tony, this place’s social security sucks big time.

    My best wishes for the interview still apply of course! I don’t really get the fill-it-out-outside-the-premises part though – is it so customers don’t feel unduly exposed to the backend of the business?

    *scratches head*

    As to moron, juvenile bosses, could you elaborate, original Sandi?

  133. says

    Dallas News link.
    Texas attorney General Greg Abbott wants to be the next governor of Texas. So far he’s looking like a total fool … so maybe his dreams will come true.

    I like the Dallas News story for the way it highlights people trying to follow Abbott’s advice to find out where dangerous chemicals are stored.

    Boy, did Attorney General Greg Abbott step in it.

    The occasion was Abbott’s explanation for how Texans could find out about volatile chemicals in their neighborhoods, in the wake of a ruling by his office restricting access to records on chemical inventories.

    “Drive around,” was the AG’s advice. “You can ask every facility whether or not they have chemicals or not.”

    […]To test Abbott’s “just ask” advice, a WFAA-TV news crew visited two Dallas plants to inquire about the chemicals on hand. The response from one place was the corporate runaround. The response from the other sounded like “get lost.”

    If a TV reporter can’t extract information from a nearby business owner, where does that leave everyday residents? The answer: potentially vulnerable. […]

    For decades, information about chemical stockpiles was available under the federal Community Right to Know Act, passed after a toxic cloud from a pesticide plant killed thousands in Bhopal, India. Then came 9/11 and passage of a 2003 state law that tightened up potential release of information on substances that could end up in a bomb.

    Abbott’s recent ruling, in an open-records case, relied on the state’s anti-terrorism statute. It told the Department of State Health Services that it may withhold information collected on dangerous chemical inventories. The fact that Abbott has taken thousands of dollars from political donors related to Koch Industries, a multinational corporation with extensive chemical interests, creates particularly noxious “optics” for the Republican attorney general in his campaign for governor. […]

  134. says


    I don’t really get the fill-it-out-outside-the-premises part though – is it so customers don’t feel unduly exposed to the backend of the business?

    Yeah, it puzzled me too. If I had to guess, they don’t want to take seats away from potential customers. Of course it was 2pm, and some of the sections were closed so it’s not like there were no tables one could sit down at. Oh well.

  135. says

    A super typhoon is headed for Japan. Already damaged nuclear plants may suffer more damage. The NASA images from space are mondo scary.

    Japanese forecasters are calling it a “once in decades storm.” And at Kadena Air Base, a US military installation on the island of Okinawa, one commander dubbed the storm “the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 15 years.”

    Super Typhoon Neoguri, currently sporting maximum sustained winds of nearly 150 miles per hour and just shy of Category 5 strength, is heading straight at Japan’s islands, and its outer bands are currently battering the island of Okinawa. […]

  136. says

    Al-Jazeera is on point about the discussion surrounding spree killers in the US:
    Hardly a week goes by, it seems, without another mass killing. The imagery has become clichéd, routine, perhaps more horrible for its banality. The somber tones of the newscasters, the middle school, strip mall or college campus empty and covered in police tape, a grief-stricken father calling for gun control, a huddled group of crying young people. Another town going down in infamy, another mass murder in the streets. Another day in America.

    Why does this keep happening, and why does it happen so much more in the U.S. than in other affluent countries? For a long time, we heard variations on the same answer: The killer was crazy. Maybe it was because he played Doom and listened to Marilyn Manson (like the Columbine kids), or maybe he received insufficient psychiatric monitoring (as was said of both Fort Hood shooters, in 2009 and 2014), but it was always something fundamentally wrong with the killer. This focus on mental illness has always been a depoliticizing move, a way of explaining these events as random, stripped of history and context and, as such, unsolvable. This explanation is so effective that when Jared Lee Loughner shot a politician, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tuscon, Arizona, in 2011, it was chalked up to his schizophrenia.

    But the frequency of these “random” acts of violence in America and the increasingly visible online lives and manifestos of the killers have started to change even the mainstream analysis. That Jerad Miller and Amanda Miller, the married couple who killed two policemen and a third man on June 8, considered their Las Vegas killing spree the start of a violent libertarian revolution has been widely discussed. Two weeks earlier, a media attempt to depoliticize the Isla Vista, California, murders by Elliott Rodger was met with a powerful activist campaign, #yesallwomen, which emerged to frame and understand his violence for what it was: everyday misogyny and patriarchy turned material.

    As a result, even the mass media can no longer ignore the political nature of this violence. Even still, few are understanding it as part of a historical trend of American terrorism, the context in which those actions make the most sense

  137. A. Noyd says

    blf (#658)

    You prefer bacon and berries shoved in yer ear ?!

    I’m not sure it’s even possible to shove a thimbleberry in your ear. They’re very fragile.


    Dalillama (#661)

    At one point he shoved his nose into a small dish full of weed and snuffled and licked a bit before rearing back his head with an expression of horrified betrayal on his face that said “This is not catnip!! What have you done?”

    Well, of course he looked betrayed. Cats need serious help if they’re going to smoke weed. Their thumbs don’t work for rolling joints or flicking lighters.

  138. says

    I can’t imagine how much cat food I’d go through if my cats smoked weed.

    Dutch court tells Amsterdam to rethink ‘Black Pete’:

    Black Pete, the helper of Sinterklaas, the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus, is in for a makeover.

    A Dutch court ruled Thursday that Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) is a negative stereotype of black people and said the city of Amsterdam should rethink its yearly tradition that welcomes him into its harbor. In December, the popular character descends on the city to hand out candy to children and assist Sinterklaas with his duties, but the judge ruled that his looks and behavior can be hurtful to the country’s black community.

    “The judge, juridically speaking, has wrung Zwarte Piet’s neck,” the complainants’ lawyer Frank King told the Dutch news agency ANP.

    The court’s ruling is the start of “an essential change in our society,” he said.

    The verdict comes after years of heated debate on the tradition, which some trace back to a cartoon artist’s creation of a dimwitted character with fat lips, an Afro wig and ears pierced with a golden earring, a decade before slavery was abolished in former Dutch colonies. According to folklore, Sinterklaas arrives on a ship from Spain surrounded by a flotilla of black men, who serve him.