1. says

    This is good news from California. Chalk up a win for science:

    […] Bill SB277, which passed 6-2, would end vaccination opt-outs for children entering public schools unless there was a medical reason. Religious or “personal exemption” opt-outs would no longer be valid. […]

    Daily Kos link

  2. blf says

    Ummm, maybe its bc I just woke up, but I wanted to comment over at the Guardian link blf provided @487, but I couldn’t find the comment section.

    I’m checking right now, but I don’t think the Godzilla tourists-as-sushi article has a comments section (not all Grauniad articles do).

    (Update: No, I don’t see one either…)

  3. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I snipped the part where gay couples are compared to alcoholics and murderers.

    I note that neither group is barred from marrying.

  4. says

    In comment #1, I may have celebrated too soon:

    The bill now will be heard by the Senate Education Committee, followed by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. It will also need to make its way through the Assembly before Gov. Jerry Brown decides whether to sign or veto the bill.

    Quacks weighed in.

    Calling people who oppose vaccines “anti-vaxxers,” he said [Robert F. Kennedy Jr.], is “misogynistic.”

    “It is anti-woman and anti-mother,” Kennedy told the crowd, adding that the mothers he has met during his crusade “have read the science and … they could destroy any politician.”

  5. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    In keeping with the descriptor attached to my ‘nym:
    “An unbirthday is an event that is typically celebrated on any or all of the 364 or 365 days in which it is not the person’s birthday. It is a neologism coined by Lewis Carroll in his Through the Looking-Glass, giving rise to “The Unbirthday Song” in the 1951 Disney animated feature film Alice in Wonderland.”

  6. rq says

    Thanks, everyone, I wouldn’t have the right words to explain how great and understanding y’all are – and how thoroughly flattered I am to think I would have my own fan club (though it’s a bad idea, it would go to my head eventually and make me utterly unbearable).
    Gen, very good questions/suggestions. Some of which I already do, which has helped, but I’m starting to think that just me isn’t enough anymore. We’ll see.
    FossilFishy, you can write me a theme song. A short one. But you don’t have to perform it. :)
    I’m being terrible at responding to everyone, because I’m being lazy on account of the time. But *hugs* or *higs* as preferred to everyone! Long Live the Lounge!

    No, I kind of meant that – grow a salad bar: lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, all kinds of greens and herbs. Middle Child has already suggested that it will be cheaper in the summer because we won’t have to buy stuff for salads, we’ll have our own. And beans, they have a thing for beans. Probably no tomatoes or cucumbers this year (they’ll have a special spot that will be cleared out by next growing season but isn’t ready yet), but the greens and lettuce? Definitely. :) Grow a salad bar.

  7. says

    South Carolina is arguing that the Constitution enshrines discrimination against women, so, by extrapolation they can also discriminate against gays.

    Pretty low, ugly, nonsensical approach, but, hey, we’re talking rightwing dunderheads here.

    […] Here’s the gist of South Carolina’s fascinatingly sexist argument. The state wants to prove that the 14th Amendment—which guarantees “equal protection of the laws” to every “person”—was not intended to displace state marriage laws. And what did those laws look like at the time? One major feature: In many states, married women were not permitted to own property or enter into contracts and had no legal existence apart from their husbands.

    According to South Carolina, the framers of the 14th Amendment explicitly preserved the rights of states to deprive married women of the ability to function independently from her husband. This right to deprive married women of basic liberties, South Carolina argues, is enshrined in the 10th Amendment and is not at all undercut by the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equality.

    The crux of South Carolina’s brief, then, is this: If the 14th Amendment permits discrimination against married women, it surely also allows discrimination against gay people who wish to wed. In fact, according to South Carolina, the 14th Amendment forbids only racial discrimination, leaving states free to disadvantage women and gays in any way they wish. […]

    Slate link

  8. says

    I would like to graze at rq’s salad bar/garden spot. I don’t want to do any of the work, I just want to enjoy the fruits of the labor of rq’s children.

  9. says

    rq @6:

    No, I kind of meant that – grow a salad bar: lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, all kinds of greens and herbs. Middle Child has already suggested that it will be cheaper in the summer because we won’t have to buy stuff for salads, we’ll have our own. And beans, they have a thing for beans. Probably no tomatoes or cucumbers this year (they’ll have a special spot that will be cleared out by next growing season but isn’t ready yet), but the greens and lettuce? Definitely. :) Grow a salad bar.

    I wish I knew anything about growing veggies. I’d like to grow some of the items you talk about, bc while I love salads, whenever I buy a bag of salad mix at the supermarket, half of it inevitably goes bad bc I don’t eat the rest in time. If I had a garden, I could pick the stuff I wanted on an as-needed-basis.
    No idea if the soil in my yard is the right stuff for growing anything come to think of it though.

  10. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    When I lived in NYC umpty years ago we decided we should grow some tomatoes on the roof of our 4th floor walkup. You can see the end of this story in advance, I’m sure. After spending umpty dollars on containers, fertilizers, soil, plants, hoses, etc, etc, etc, we figured our paltry harvest ended up costing about $35 per tomato.

  11. says

    Tony 10

    If I had a garden, I could pick the stuff I wanted on an as-needed-basis.
    No idea if the soil in my yard is the right stuff for growing anything come to think of it though.

    You could always dig up a patch and mix in some humus or topsoil to make it better.

    I now have 4 planting beds in my back yard (two new ones put in this year because my tomato plants were exploding all over each other and becoming mostly useless). I’ll be getting some radish and carrot seeds and onions to get started tomorrow, I think. In another couple of weeks, I’ll put in tomatoes and peppers. Maybe a squash. I’ve tried cucumbers twice and they haven’t turned out well. I also use other containers for herbs — rosemary, thyme, basil.

  12. says

    ajb47 @13:

    You could always dig up a patch and mix in some humus or topsoil to make it better.

    Don’t I need to know what humus is before I use it?
    When I say I’m ignorant of gardening, I’m really ignorant about gardening.

  13. cicely says

    Also also, thanks Nerd for expanding on my Learning A Thing.


    Mind like a steel sieve, I got – trivia gets caught, important stuff goes right on through…

    You and me, both.

    Crudely Wrott!!!
    I was thinking/worrying about you just the other day.
    Glad to know that you and the mancubs are doing well; sorry that your daughter and SIL are doing less well.
    *moar hugs*

    *poucehugging-with-armflailing* a second time
    I hope we ‘see’ you well?
    No guilt-tripping yourself if you can’t hang out here, y’hear? There is no compulsion in Pharyngulizationing.


    From Think Progress- Has Bill Maher finally gone too far?
    Uh, there’s no finally about it. He went too far long ago. He’s in my atheists I want nothing to do with mental file, alongside Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Michael Nugent.

    He’s in my “want nothing to do with” file, too.
    And in the same company.
    I am 10% conservative and 90% liberal. It says.


    Utnapishtim rules!

    And Noah drools.

    *manyhugs* for rq.
    *tea*? *chocolate*? *Pepperidge Farm gingermen*?
    You are, as opposablethumbs says, and others concur, exceptionally good people.


    The article has a quote from the New York Daily News about how the NRA wants guns in schools, but not at its convention, then points out that there are going to be some Republican bigwigs at the convention. I have to ask why they think those Republican bigwigs are more deserving of protection from guns than my children are?

    *shaking head sadly*
    Oh, ajb47…your children would be, if not more, then at least as deserving of protection as said bigwigs are, if your children were in as good a position to vote the NRA more milk and cookies.


    Voters in Missouri’s third largest city of Springfield voted Tuesday to repeal an ordinance that provided protection against discrimination in housing and hiring based on sexual orientation and gender identity. […]
    The Springfield City Council passed the law in October, but opponents quickly began a petition drive to repeal it, forcing the public vote. Springfield has about 165,000 residents. […]

    I know.
    I can only say that all my friends voted against bigotry. I’m out in the county, so I couldn’t vote on it.
    Many of the churches really seem to have been pushing that repeal, in some cases from the pulpit—but good luck getting anything done about it. After all—various people want their votes to stay in their nice, cushy political posts.
    Great big signs everywhere.
    And voter turn-out was poor.


  14. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    Thanks carlie @17. That looks hilarious. I just downloaded it to my kindle.

  15. says

    I’m about at my wits end.
    For weeks now, Kayta (my orange tabby) has been eating erratically. As I mentioned months ago, she stopped eating dry food, but I found that she would eat moist food. But it had to be pate. She wouldn’t touch anything else. Now, for at least a week or two, even the pate I’ve gotten her, she won’t eat. I feed her twice a day, in the morning as soon as I wake up and at night as soon as I get home. Sometimes she’ll eat the food and sometimes she won’t. I thought maybe it was the flavor of pate, so I switched from chicken to fish, but that wasn’t it. Today, I put out two cans of different cat food and she barely touched either one. I’ve been off all day long and been monitoring her.
    I just opened *another* can of cat food, and as I type this, I’m watching her. She’s eating some of it. She *has* an appetite, but it’s like she won’t eat what I give her. But I’m not rich. I can’t keep opening can after can hoping she’ll eat what I give her.
    I also can’t afford to go to the vet and have her examined. I have no idea how much that’s going to cost, but it’s never cheap.

    And of course, last week, I had a conversation with a guest (call her E) about Kayta. When I told E about Kayta’s eating issues and her age, she said it could just be a decreased appetite with age. She also mentioned that I may need to mentally prepare myself for Kayta’s death, since she’s so old. There could be anything wrong with her, and I don’t know what to do. That wrecked my night. I don’t blame E, but thinking about my cat dying while I’m at work-at the beginning of my shift at that-was not what I needed. It ruined my night. I was not in the mood to talk to anyone. I had to step off the bar a few times to go cry.
    I’m crying now.
    I just feel like I’ve failed as her owner, and I don’t fucking know what to do about this.

  16. says

    Tony, you haven’t failed Katya. I don’t know how old she is, but as long as she’s not in pain and she’s enjoying life, you’re doing everything right for her. Hugs are offered.

    An afterthought – I’ve heard that sometimes a cat who’s lost its appetite can be tempted with strained babyfood meat. It might be worth a try.

  17. says

    Anne @20:
    Sadly, she’s at least 15 years old. I rescued her back in 2000 when I lived in North Alabama. I’d come home from a New Year’s celebration in Atlanta and saw her roaming the halls near my apartment. She was young, but I’m not sure how young. If I had to guess, she was in her first year of life.

    The other part of the problem is that she weighs so little and I can feel some of her bones. I can’t tell if she’s in pain either.

    If I wasn’t so scared that she’s suffering, it might be ironic that she’s so thin. For years, she was huge. She was nearly 20 pounds for the better part of a decade. Her belly dragged the floor and everyone thought she was pregnant. It wasn’t until last year that I noticed that she was losing weight. At first I thought it was because I fed her and Cassie (my other cat) together. So I began feeding Kayta in my room. Sure enough she ate her food. But now, as I said, things have deteriorated. I fear coming home from work and finding her unresponsive or limp. I don’t know what the fuck I’d do if that happened.

    Maybe I’m just freaking out, but I had a cat-a really loving, wonderful kitty named Kara-who developed kidney problems several years ago. She stopped eating her food and I was faced with the choice of trying to feed her intravenously for the few months the vet said she had left or putting her down. Given my schedule, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to feed her on a regular schedule. Plus I didn’t want her to suffer as she came closer to dying. So I chose to euthanize her. I’m really scared I’m going to have to do that for Kayta.

    I just want to crawl into a ball and cry. But even that’s not going to help her.

  18. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Oh, Tony!

    The same heart that is breaking over being unable to do more for her is the heart that gave her so much for so many years. it’s terribly difficult. I took it very badly when my husky died. But we’ll be here for you. As many times as you need.

  19. says

    CD @22:
    Thank you.
    Something else bothered me at work the other day as I thought about Kayta dying. There I was being emotional and striving hard not to cry while trying to bartend, and employees kept asking me what’s wrong. I didn’t want to tell anyone, bc I was afraid I’d be mocked by people for caring about my cat. I’ve encountered strange looks before, by people who can’t seem to comprehend the idea of having a deep emotional attachment to a pet. That was the last thing I wanted to deal with at work.

  20. rq says

    Sometimes I wish pets wouldn’t age at all, and it’s so very sad to see them go, but at least Kayta has you to care for her and to make sure she is comfortable in her last years of life.
    (Also, for what it’s worth, Dana Hunter has had a few old-kitty posts in the last month or so, it might help to read them or it might not? Mostly just about old cat getting older and less hungry and all that…)

    re: the gardening, What about growing something in a windowbox? Things like lettuce and herbs don’t need too much space. Plus they grow pretty quickly and aren’t as expensive to raise as tomatoes. :P

    You’re welcome to stare at the budding salad bar, but I’d have to ask you to do some weeding from time to time, too. And some pruning, while you’re out there… And… But I guess that doesn’t count as the fruits of my children anymore, then, does it? :)

  21. says

    Thanks for the hugs ya’ll.
    I hope I’ll have the money for a visit to the vet by the end of the month. That way I can find out for sure if anything is wrong with Kayta.


    rq @27:
    A window box might work. Of course I don’t even know how to set one of those up or if there is some special type of soil you need. I guess I could ask someone at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
    Of course I once killed a cactus (overwatered it), so I wonder about my green thumb (and now I’m wondering where the phrase ‘green thumb’ comes from).

  22. says

    Before I hit the sack (need to check on the origins of that idiom as well), an article from Gizmodo:
    This Craigslist ad for a genetic engineer is pure wonderful madness:

    I am a billionaire who needs help creating a mouth wash.solution.gum with CRISPR-Cas9 containing viruses that will change specific genetic loci in my cheek epithelial cells to prevent a positive match against DNA found at the scene of a crime (my DNA was planted by a Doctor who is Doomed).

    Skills Required

    *CRISPR-Cas9 engineering of mammalian epithelial cells

    *Experience in DNA forensics

    *Experience with Robotics

    *Between 5’9” and 6’0” in height and medium build in case I need you to wear a custom built “suit”

    *Must code in Python, Haha, joking, we will write everything in C and Assembly

    Ph.D. preferred.

    Non-Drinkers preferred (I am a recovering alcoholic)

    EMT Certified preferred. Please send CV.

    Since there are all kind of scientifically inclined people around here (as well as actual scientists), I thought this might amuse someone.

    ‘Night all. This Shoop is tired.

  23. chigau (違う) says

    Since we’re back to gardening…
    As your entry-drug to gardening:
    grow herbs in pots

  24. Crudely Wrott, lurching towards recrudescence says

    Oh, Tony!

    My friend, all pets go away. They live so much faster than we do. Happiness is in their presence, not their absence. Thinking further, happiness is in recalling their presences. They really were here, with us, in our lives.

    Perhaps the curse of humans is their longevity. We see so many small lives blossom and then wilt. Reminding us.

    Take a moment and remember with me, Buttons and Zipper, T’Chaka and Mercury, Big Guy, Lewis and Lestat, Whitey P. Dog, Tristar, Ming Ming and Sirikit . . . oh, the list is so long . . . still, beloved they all were and in their own distinct ways returned love. That’s what it’s all about.

    Tears are allowed.

  25. says

    Hitting the sack and hitting the hay both date to a time when a cheap mattress consisted of a literal sack of straw or hay. A green thumb (or fingers, which is apparently a popular phrasing in Britain) is less clear, but probably related to greenish stains from plant juices found on the hands of avid gardeners.

  26. chigau (違う) says

    Tippy was my first kitty
    me 6 years
    Tippy was a outdoor kitty
    got bit by something

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


    I didn’t know Tony Stark uses craigslist, but it somehow wouldn’t surprise me.

    Having and caring for pets is such a normal, common experience, I feel a bit strange not being able to related to something like that (never having owned/been owned by a pet).

  28. opposablethumbs says

    Tony!, all my sympathies re Katya’s loss of appetite. 15 is quite elderly for a cat, I suppose … it sounds like you’re doing all you can. Caring for her and looking after her – company, cuddles and catfood – they just have shorter lifespans than we do, and maybe she’s just getting on in years?
    All my sympathies and hugs. And gentle skritches for Katya if she’ll have ’em.

  29. bassmike says

    I am thinking of you Tony! and I hope that Kayta recovers. I think it’s perfectly normal to be emotional about the well being of a pet. If you have one for any length of time they truly become part of the family. I’ve only ever had a rabbit and he was a great comfort to me when I needed it and I was very sad to see him go, when it happened. Rabbit’s lifespan is much shorter than a cat’s, so I can only imagine the worry you’re experiencing at the moment.

    With regard to gardening I agree with Chigau : start with growing some herbs in a pot and see how you get on from there.

  30. Saad: Openly Feminist Gamer says

    Homophobic asshat Ben Carson flaunts textbook example of privilege:

    “It seems to be a topic — a person’s sexual orientation — that is of fair amount of concern to you. I don’t find it to be anywhere near as interesting,” Carson said Thursday. “I think it’s a personal issue and we ought to leave it as a personal issue.”

    [. . .]

    While he called for LGBT rights to remain a private issue, Carson called for a “much greater conversation about Christians and their rights.”

    “Why are we not talking about that?” Carson asked.

  31. Saad: Openly Feminist Gamer says

    “It seems to be a topic — a person’s religious affiliation — that is of fair amount of concern to you. I don’t find it to be anywhere near as interesting,” Saad said Friday. “I think it’s a personal issue and we ought to leave it as a personal issue.”

  32. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Meet Tippy Agogo He’s the most musical person I’ve ever met. Hand him damn near anything, instrument or not, and he’ll do something musical with it.

    He’s also fantastically nice person, which is all the more remarkable because it doesn’t seem to come easily to him. He was in the commercial music program at my college while I was in the Classical program. I saw him time and again get angry, annoyed and down right pissed off, usually for good reason, and every single time he dialled it back, and twisted it round until you’d never know it bothered him in the first place. It was amazing to watch.

  33. blf says

    I wish I knew anything about growing veggies.

    Actually, it’s quite easy:

     ●  Stick things into the ground (seeds, baby planets, a spare zombie, …).
     ●  Watch them (1) Die (except for any zombies), (2) Do nothing; or (3) Get eaten by hedgehogs or dragons. (Tip: Dragons are the bigger critters, and tend to roast the garden before consuming.)

    You can, if you want, play-about with watering, weeding, fertilizing (especially if you like weeding), various sorts of soil-moving activities (easier to wait for the dragon), and even massacring roses if you’re into that, but it all doesn’t matter. Gardening is all about the two items listed above.

  34. carlie says

    Cue the next — well, another — foolish fruitcake fecking frothing freakout, White House opens all-gender restroom.

    Aren’t conservatives always going on about how the White House should be running its budget the same way everyone runs their own household? (“You can’t run your household with a deficit, you have to balance your budget, so the White House should too!”) One would think that goes for the bathrooms, too.*

    *unless most conservatives actually have multiple gender-segregated bathrooms in their houses. I wouldn’t put it past Mitt Romney.

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

    I’m so angry with myself!
    I failed my driver’s examination. And now I have to dish out another significant sum to retake the exam, and for the obligatory extra hours. I also have to wait at least two weeks for the next exam.

    Such a stupid mistake, and I was nearly done with the exam and heading back.

    So angry right now, stupid me.

  36. says

    Beatrice, [hugs] it happens. Sounds like you were tired. You’ll ace the test next time.

    Tony! [more hugs] for you, skritches and pets for Katya.
    + + +
    In the “my life gets weird” category, I’m currently tracking the progress of a package from me to my brother who lives in Toronto*. Which wouldn’t be weird, except that the package contains a sword. An ancestral (dad’s side of the family) Masonic sword, not a weapon, but apparently that scares some shipping companies.

    UPS tried to ship the box for me a couple years ago; it got as far as LA and then came back with a note that UPS Does Not Ship Swords. Which isn’t what the UPS store guy said, but never mind. So the box sat in a corner gathering dust while I kept forgetting to load it in the car and try USPS, until Monday last, when I shoved it in the car and schlepped it to the local PO.

    The nice PO clerk helped me with the customs form so that it was clear that there were no actual weapons in the box, just an old ceremonial sword and pocket watch. I’ve been watching it progress across the continent. It cleared customs in Canada yesterday, and today it’s out for delivery. If all goes well, my brother should have it later today. We’ve been trading emails with the subject “the sword is in the mail”. I find that amusing.

    *He was visiting Aged Mum while he was out here for a conference. He wanted the sword. But he couldn’t take it with him because he won’t drive, and he won’t fly. He bicycles, he takes trains, he takes buses. Fortunately his employer is very understanding. Also fortunately, I am a nice big sister. I’ve already had to ship boxes of books and records (vinyl) across country to him, because he can’t carry much on the train. At least he makes the effort to visit Aged Mum, unlike my ratbag sister.

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


    Then it’s good* company.

    *today’s amusing offering to Tpyos: on the first try I typed goof

  38. says

    Sorry to hear about your kitty. I wish I could provide comfort with words. But instead, supportive hugz.

    I’ve failed a driver’s test. (Not sure what that does for “good” company). Sometimes you just have an off day.

  39. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Company tells mum they don’t feature girl characters ’cause girls are icky

    Was this company CFI? /ba-dum-baaaaaaaa

  40. says

    rq @27

    You’re welcome to stare at the budding salad bar, but I’d have to ask you to do some weeding from time to time, too. And some pruning, while you’re out there… And… But I guess that doesn’t count as the fruits of my children anymore, then, does it? :)

    Sigh. I suspected as much. There’s no free salad bar. rq, how about photos? I just take photos of your garden, and of your child labor.

  41. says

    I commented recently on the implosion of Kansas in financial terms. The state’s governor, Sam Brownback, had engineered the financial disaster by giving tax breaks and other goodies to the wealthy. Brownback is not alone.

    The Washington Post recently profiled one of the economists responsible for the Kansas financial meltdown, and it turns out the same economist is buddy-buddy with a lot of powerful Republicans, including presidential candidates.

    […] No one has influenced Republican candidates’ thinking on the economy for the past four decades as much as Laffer [Arthur Laffer], who is now 75. Laffer says he believes that limiting government and cutting tax rates, especially the rate levied on top earners, will unleash faster economic growth. Since he sold then-candidate Ronald Reagan on that prescription, every Republican presidential nominee has run on a Laffer-inspired economic platform.

    As the 2016 GOP primary season takes off, Laffer is more in demand than ever before, with Republican candidates embracing tax-cut-for-the-rich policies even as they bemoan economic inequality. Candidates have been meeting with him in recent weeks, and on Friday in Nashville, he says, his schedule includes Rick Perry at 10 a.m., Ben Carson at noon, Jeb Bush at 1:15 p.m. and Bobby Jindal at 5. Dinner is scheduled with Ted Cruz. He has already met at least once with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

    Laffer also met with Rand Paul. And Laffer said out loud, in public, that he thinks Kansas is doing just fine. That’s the same Kansas where some public schools will have to close early this year because they can’t keep the lights on, the same Kansas with the downgraded credit rating.

  42. says

    This is a followup to comment 55.

    Paul Krugman neatly summarized Arthur Laffer’s economic myths, and provided a thumbnail sketch of the source(s) for Republican love affairs with the myths.

    Since the 1970s there have been four big changes in the effective tax rate on the top 1 percent: the Reagan cut, the Clinton hike, the Bush cut, and the Obama hike.

    Republicans are fixated on the boom that followed the 1981 tax cut (which had much more to do with monetary policy, but never mind). But they predicted dire effects from the Clinton hike; instead we had a boom that eclipsed Reagan’s. They predicted wonderful things from the Bush tax cuts; instead we got an unimpressive expansion followed by a devastating crash. And they predicted terrible things from the tax rise after Obama’s reelection; instead we got the best job growth since 1999.

    And when I say “they predicted”, I especially mean Laffer himself, who has a truly extraordinary record of being wrong at crucial turning points. As Bruce Bartlett pointed out a few years ago, Laffer was even wrong during the Reagan years: he predicted that the Reagan tax hikes of 1982, which partially reversed earlier cuts, would cripple the economy; “morning in America” promptly followed. Oh, and let’s not forget his 2009 warnings about soaring interest rates and inflation.

    […] since 2009 the GOP has swerved hard right into fantasy land — and it has done so despite a remarkable string of dead-wrong predictions by the people peddling that fantasy.

    […] it’s about wanting economists who tell them what they want to hear […] What seems to have happened to American conservatives is that they have lost all the checks and balances that used to limit that kind of solipsism. […]

    What do we do in the face of a major party gone mad?

    What troubles me is that the current Republican presidential candidates are in agreement on one thing: they all want to duplicate the Kansas “experiment” of Governor Sam Brownback. They want to run the experiment on the entire USA. Proven recipe for disaster.

  43. says

    Rightwing politicians harp on and on about reducing the deficit. And yet, most of their top policy recommendations, (not to mention legislation they’ve already passed), raises the deficit.

    Here’s what the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan service department, says about the Republican proposal to scrap the estate tax:

    Republican legislation in the House to repeal the federal estate tax would add nearly $270 billion to federal deficits, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

    The office projects the legislation offered by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) would result in revenue losses starting in 2016. The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation produced the score.

    Other Republican initiatives that would raise the deficit:
    – changes to the work-week definition in Obamacare = $53.2 billion rise in the deficit over 10 years
    – banning abortions after 20 weeks increases Medicaid costs, and increases the federal deficit by $225 million over ten years
    – reversing President Obama’s immigration policies = increasing the deficit by $7.5 billion over ten years

    The federal deficit is not the boogey-man that it is made out to be by Republicans, but at the very least they should stop shouting about making deficits illegal, robbing our children’s children, etc. when they are the ones pushing lots of deficit-increasing policies.

    By the way, you and I are not likely to be affected by the estate tax. This is a tax on property (cash, real estate, stock, or other assets) transferred to your heirs when you die. It kicks it if your estate exceeds $5.43 million ($10.86 million per married couple). Wealthy households get large tax breaks; the estate tax is a kind of lame attempt to level the playing field. In 2015, 99.8 percent of estates in the USA owe no estate tax, none.

    Estates that are taxed pay less than 1/6th of their value in taxes anyway. The effective rate is 16.6 percent, while the statutory rate is 40 percent. Loopholes and assholes. Think Mitt

  44. rq says

    I could settle for photos. Dramatic shots of the radishes, a bit of melodrama with the brassica – mood-setting the basil. Sounds like it could work!

    Sometimes driving tests are failed for the stupidest of reasons, but rest assured, people far less competent have succeeded, so you should have no problem at all, next time out!

  45. says

    Okay, photo tour of a single garden in rq’s neighborhood needs to be planned.

    In not-so-nice news, Bruce Rauner, Republican Governor of Illinois, cut the funding of the state’s autism program. He cut it on World Autism Day.

    Advocates say for every dollar Illinois spends on its best-in-the-nation autism assistance programs, $7 are either earned or saved. So they say cutting well-honed programs that are doing right by their clients is at best misguided – if not plain cruel.

  46. says

    Yay! Moderate Republicans still exist in Montana. They finally kicked the Koch brothers to the curb and passed a Medicaid expansion bill.

    Poison pill amendments from Tea Party legislators were rejected. “Witnesses” from the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity (AFP) dominated committee hearings, but their tactics did not prevail.

    Montana is a big state with about a million residents, most of them clumped in a few mid-sized cities. 70,000 of these Montanans were uninsured. Now they will have health insurance. (One source says 45,000.)

  47. says

    Police tasered and beat another unarmed man. This time in San Bernadino County, California. NBC Los Angeles link

    In the two minutes after the man was stunned with a Taser, it appeared deputies kicked him 17 times, punched him 37 times and struck him with batons four times. Thirteen blows appeared to be to the head. The horse stood idly nearby.

    The man did not appear to move from his position lying on the ground for more than 45 minutes. He did not appear to receive medical attention while deputies stood around him during that time.

    They chased him down and beat the crap out of him. The man fled on a horse, but he then gave up by placing himself face down on the ground with his arms spread out, obviously surrendering. The police tasered him and beat him anyway, including kicking him in the head. A horse kicked one of the policemen according to the report. The suspect was not armed. A news chopper got the video.

  48. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Since we’re back to gardening…
    As your entry-drug to gardening:
    grow herbs in pots

    Oddly enough I’ve actually had a lot more success with tomatoes and squash than I have with herbs. On the other hand, herbs don’t need like a 12-14in pot minimum… (I was lucky to get some hand-me-downs).

  49. says

    This is a followup to comment 57, which focuses mostly on the estate tax and how it may or may not affect wealthy citizens of the USA.

    Here are a few details to back up my statement that wealthy families enjoy a lot of tax breaks and other goodies, and that the estate tax is an inadequate attempt to level the playing field.

    – if you are a US citizen who earns money, you only pay into Social Security for the first $118,000 of your income
    – investment income is taxed at a lower rate than income for which you work
    – you get a tax deduction for your yacht or boat if you claim it as a second home
    – retirement savings fund subsidies go mostly to the top 20% of taxpayers
    – you get tax deductions for business meals (meanwhile food stamp recipients in Missouri are banned from buying steak and seafood) — for example, if one dinner for executives costs $1,600, $800 of that is deductible, an approximate savings of $280 in taxes. Public food assistance for welfare recipients averages $279 per month per household.

  50. cicely says

    Crudely Wrott:

    Or, I now imagine, would my cometary on taxation be of interest?

    I’d read that.

    You know what? I think I’m going to stick around.

    Please do!
    :) :) :)
    Merlin. Runt. Arioch. Bast. Merp. D’Artagnan. Midnight.

    Happy recent birthday, chigau!
    If I’d known, I’d’ve eaten a cake.
    (It’s okay—I’d’ve brought plenty for everyone.)

    Hi, bassmike!

    Everything is violence. It’s some sort of Mandelbrot violence I think.

    Fractally violent?


    Bill SB277, which passed 6-2, would end vaccination opt-outs for children entering public schools unless there was a medical reason. Religious or “personal exemption” opt-outs would no longer be valid.

    *vigorous applause*
    It really is a public health issue, people.
    Like not allowing people to let their Sewage Containment Overflow into the public water supply.

    *hugs* for Tony!.
    Katya’s (not)eating habits sound familiar.
    We’re steeling ourselves for the certainty that one all-too-soon day, we’re going to either wake up to, or come home to, a dead Pixel-cat.
    She’s sixteen or seventeen years old.
    Getting old is, as has been noted Elsewhere, a motherfucker—and not just for humans. The clock runs down, all the water ends up in the sea.
    *additional hugs*
    On the more cheerful subject of killing cactuses (cacti? I’m sure Google could tell me, but I just can’t be bothered) and “green” thumbs, the mint I successfully grew last year and the year before is inexplicably continuing to thrive in my proximity…and I seem to be keeping a begonia alive. Miracles are real!


    “It seems to be a topic — a person’s religious affiliation — that is of fair amount of concern to you. I don’t find it to be anywhere near as interesting,” Saad said Friday. “I think it’s a personal issue and we ought to leave it as a personal issue.”

    I was about to say that very same thing!

    unless most conservatives actually have multiple gender-segregated bathrooms in their houses.

    carlie, some congresscritters seem to think that it’s a moot point. If you scroll down a bit, here, you’ll find the priceless quote:
    People are not forced to go to the restroom. People choose to go to the restroom.
    Representative Frank Artiles, everyone—Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 118th District.
    Feed that man a Big Gulp and send him on a long car trip.

  51. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m back home, looking forward to my own bed tonight.

  52. Pteryxx says

    Rawstory link: Big banks require tellers to use predatory practices

    Manipulating payment processing to maximize overdraft charges:
    When a savings account balance drops too low, the bank charges a hefty overdraft fee on each subsequent purchase. Both Bank of America and US Bank paid settlements for intentionally processing customers’ largest debit card payments first, regardless of chronological order, in order to hit $0 faster and maximize overdraft fees. US Bank was also accused of allowing debit card purchases on zero-balance accounts to go through (and incur overdraft fees), instead of denying the charges upfront.
    Forcing sale of unneeded products:
    Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup were accused of forcing customers to purchase overpriced property insurance.
    Manipulative sales quotas:
    Lawsuits show Wells Fargo and Bank of America created incentive programs for employees with the interests of the company — not the customer — in mind. Wells Fargo’s sales quotas encouraged bank workers to steer prime-eligible customers to subprime loans, while falsifying other clients’ income information without their knowledge.


    Bank workers report higher levels of sales pressure in 2013 than in 2008, and most do not have the job security or seniority to simply refuse to hawk credit cards or steer customers into risky financial situations. While the financial sector is turning near-record profits, the average bank teller made just $12.25 an hour in 2013 (a real-dollar decrease from 2007), causing 31 percent of tellers’ families to rely on public assistance. What’s more, 85 percent of these underpaid front-line bank employees are women, and one-third are people of color. Most are in no position to risk losing their job or having their pay docked for stepping out of line.

  53. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


  54. blf says

    I’m back home, looking forward to my own bed tonight.

    I read that as “…looking for my own bed tonight” and wondered what veggie or which aliens keep removing / transporting your bed, and whether or not you were in it when it (usually) happens.

  55. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Night mares are like that, aren’t they?

  56. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I read that as “…looking for my own bed tonight” and wondered what veggie or which aliens keep removing / transporting your bed, and whether or not you were in it when it (usually) happens.

    What, you’ve never been unsure which bed you were going to end up in? :P

  57. Saad: Openly Feminist Gamer says

    JPL astronomer Amy Mainzer names asteroid after Malala

    It is my great pleasure to let you know that I have named Asteroid 316201 after Malala.

    As the discoverer of this asteroid, I have the right to name it according to the International Astronomical Union’s rules; the IAU is the sole worldwide organization recognized by astronomers everywhere to designate names for astronomical bodies. It is an asteroid in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter; it orbits the Sun every 5.5 years.

    It is a great honor to be able to name an asteroid after Malala. My postdoctoral fellow Dr. Carrie Nugent brought to my attention the fact that although many asteroids have been named, very few have been named to honor the contributions of women (and particularly women of color).

    [. . .]

    My advice to young girls is that science and engineering are for everyone! We desperately need the brainpower of all smart people to solve some of humanity’s most difficult problems, and we can’t afford to reject half the population’s. Plus, it is a wonderful feeling to learn about the world around you – it’s a job you will fall in love with each day.

  58. blf says

    What, you’ve never been unsure which bed you were going to end up in?

    With a mildly deranged penguin in the near vicinity, the proposition that one wakes up in the same Universe as one when to sleep in it disproven. The current working hypothesis is one wakes up before, at the same time as, or after one goes to sleep, albeit evidence is lacking and the proposition itself is quite contentious.

  59. blf says

    Herbs, herbs, herbs, HERBS!
    I must remember to put them on the balcony and water them!

    A Triffid a day keeps the long pigs at bay.

  60. blf says

    Rand Paul ends Q&A when pressed on GOP voters’ views on race and policing:

    Republican presidential candidate walks out of Guardian interview in third testy exchange with media this week as rocky start to campaign continues

    The Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul walked out of a live interview with the Guardian on Friday, in his third testy exchange with a journalist since launching his campaign for president three days ago.

    The Kentucky senator abruptly ended the interview when he was pressed over whether his campaign focus on the racial imbalances of criminal justice reform would win him support among Republicans.

    “I think your premise is incorrect,” he said, in the interview in Iowa City. “Actually, I think I can take that message into a white evangelical church anywhere in Iowa and give exactly the same speech and be received well.”

    When the reporter attempted a follow-up remark – referring to a December Washington Post-ABC poll that showed roughly two-thirds of Republicans to believe minorities receive the same treatment as whites under the criminal justice system – Paul walked out of shot.


    Paul’s campaign team had agreed to an interview, which would be broadcast live on the smartphone app Periscope, that would last between six and eight minutes. Paul ended the exchange after four minutes and 50 seconds.

    Whether Paul’s focus on an unequal criminal justice system — a stance praised by liberals and some Democrats — will appeal to white Republican voters is an issue of some debate.


    [On] criminal justice issues — the agreed topic of the interview — Paul said he was “horrified” by the video which emerged this week of a police officer shooting an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in South Carolina, and emphasized the benefits of body-worn cameras.

    However the discussion became awkward when Paul was asked to give a “an example of a specific law” he would want repealed because it discriminated against minorities.


    Before the reporter had the chance to ask again about a specific law he would fully repeal, Paul replied: “Let me answer the question. You complain that I don’t answer the question … I am giving you the specifics.”

    Typical thug: When asked to explain, blames the reporter.

  61. blf says

    The cruddy fluffy “motherfucking, power hungry self-aggrandised bigot in the stupid fucking hat” shows how nice and reasonable he is (again), Vatican suspected of rejecting gay French ambassador:

    Vatican has not responded to nomination of Laurent Stéfanini, a senior diplomat described as an exemplary candidate in the Italian press

    The Vatican has been dragging its feet on the approval of France’s ambassador to the Holy See, raising suspicions that it has effectively rejected the nomination of Laurent Stéfanini because he is gay.

    The Vatican declined to comment on speculation about the delay.

    Stéfanini, a 55-year-old practising Catholic, has been described in the Italian press as an exemplary candidate and a man of “exceptional culture”. He is a senior diplomat and chief of protocol in the French government of François Hollande.

  62. blf says

    That was supposed to be cuddly fluffy, albeit cruddly fluffy also seems appropriate…

  63. Saad: Openly Feminist Gamer says

  64. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Well, so much for boundaries. Mom’s moving in temporarily since her husband is locked up for a bit. We’ll find out how long next Wednesday, and she’s thinking it’ll be awhile. She still hasn’t told me exactly what happened either. :/

    Turns out, we’ll be moving units next week and I’m pretty sure it’s a smaller 1-bedroom. :/

    Probably going to need Mom to pay rent next month, since she agreed, because apparently Roomie’s student loans are split up. So the one that isn’t on the repayment plan is going to yank his refund. She also said she’d help us move to another place at the end of May because this place isn’t worth 739.50, even if we could pay it. I’m pretty sure the new management is going to find that out soon enough since everyone who can is moving, everyone who can’t is getting kicked, and no one is moving in. The complex is pretty fucking empty.

    I also finally could go grocery shopping again. As I was in line, two people behind me left because I was using ads to get discounts. For all of 4 items. It took like a minute to ring up. I explained it wasn’t a lot, and my cart is tiny anyways but they still turned their noses up and fled. Whatever. At least I didn’t get shit for being on food stamps this time.

    And the two yay things I’ve got: the giant mass has fled and I’m feeling much better, only got to complete the antibiotic treatment now, and Little One got all her A.R. points for reading and is going to get a pizza party at the end of school. Of course, she’s still devouring books and now the teachers are coming up with ways to spend the points for kids who don’t complete the goal and the ones like Little One with more. (She’s the first to hit the mark too.) :D


    Tony, I’m so sorry about your kitty. :(
    *hugs for you and scritches for her*
    #84 Saad
    Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. :(

  65. rq says

    *hugs* and *higs* all ’round.


    How 100 Years Of Advertisements Created The ‘White American Woman’. This is actually incredibly interesting, a closer look at the imagery behind all the advertising in the 20th century. It’s… yeah.

    As the years progress, you can see the gradual evolution of the fictional “white woman,” as she slowly becomes sexualized in the ’20s, temporarily empowered during World War II, violently punished in the years that follow. “In a way, the project unfolds like a narrative. You’re watching this character through the times,” Thomas noted. Aside from depicting the changes in white femininity, the image cycle also traces the rise and fall of print advertising itself. “When the project started in 1915, print advertising and especially photography were very new. Graphic design and images were having a revolutionary moment. By the ’30s and ’40s, you can tell advertisers and graphic designers had kind of figured out something.”

    Using printed archives as his medium, Thomas has developed an unorthodox artistic process that works to ensure our past belief systems and accepted behaviors are not easily forgotten. “I like to think of myself as a visual culture archeologist, or a DJ,” explained Thomas. “I’m using these materials that have been discarded or forgotten, and am trying to elevate them to give them new life, new conversation and new purpose, that speaks to the original mission of selling a product. It’s interesting because you can rarely tell what the original product was for. The image and the product rarely have anything in common.”

    Using no as yes – What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand? For language nerds. And everyone else, too. Warning: cilantro on pancakes discussed within.

  66. says

    Fuck fucking Fox corporation in every possible way; they’ve completely destroyed L’s business. Ever since we had to take down the Firefly costumes, business and traffic have both been in the shitter, and I don’t have nearly enough hours to make up the lost income.

  67. says

    Fuck, I’m sorry.

    Me, I’m just whining.
    I needed to get the liquid detergent that is on top of the cupboard. Of course I’m too small, it slipped my fingers, fell, broke the lid, pushed something else off the washing machine which landed on my toe to leave a big cut. The only good thing is that now the whole bath smells of the liquid detergent.
    If you need me, I’m over in the pillow fort.

  68. blf says

    ‘They want to erase journalists in Mexico’:

    “I suddenly had a clearer understanding than ever of the power that journalism has to give a voice to those who have been silenced by the crushing weight of violence.”

    So wrote Mexico’s best-known journalist and human rights campaigner, Lydia Cacho, upon seeing her colleagues from the press gather to cover her arrival for interrogation before judges at Puebla, central Mexico, after what she calls a “legal kidnap” by the police.

    The first stage of that prolonged ordeal 10 years ago had been a terrifying 36-hour drive from her home in the coastal state of Quintana Roo to the courthouse and jail, during which she had been sexually violated, threatened with death and “disappearance”, and horribly intimidated.

    Cacho was to be charged with libel after the publication of a book, The Demons of Eden, which revealed a sex-trafficking and pederast-paedophile ring with connections to power on high. The appalling story of power’s revenge, its searing impact on Cacho and the implications of the affair for all reporters is told in a further book, Memorias de una Infamia (Memories of Infamy), in which, vindicated by subsequent events and trials, Cacho demonstrates that the pederasts and sex criminals were protected by the governor of Puebla state, by the judiciary and by people even higher up — with connections also to drug trafficking.

    The foreword is written by the one reporter who worked alongside Cacho during her ordeal, revealing crucial material — including phone taps — that swung the narrative from the jaws of incarceration and torture into her favour. This was Carmen Aristegui, Mexico’s most famous broadcaster, who was sacked last month by her employer, MVS Radio, after revealing that the wife of President Enrique Peña Nieto had acquired a vast luxury property from a group that had won several lucrative government contracts.

    The fate of the two journalists has stirred to fever pitch the discourse about repression of free speech and the acute physical dangers faced by journalists in Mexico. Scores of reporters have been killed — often tortured and decapitated — in what is now seen as a pincer-movement against their work by drug cartels and the state.

    The Los Angeles Times reported: “The loss of one of Mexico’s most critical journalistic voices comes as revelations of corruption and killings by police and the army have roiled the country and plunged Peña Nieto into the worst crisis of his 27-month presidency.”

    Cacho — who has won innumerable awards for her work and was made a Chevalier d’Honneur of the French Republic — will rally support this week for Aristegui and her endangered colleagues at the London Book Fair, part of a PEN festival focusing on Mexico.

  69. blf says

    The [USA] government will hide its surveillance programs. But they won’t eliminate them:

    Once again we have learned the lengths to which government agencies will go to keep their data collection a secret

    USA Today’s Brad Heath published a blockbuster story on Monday about the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) running a massive domestic spying operation parallel to the NSA’s that was tracking billions of international calls made by Americans. They kept it secret for more than two decades. According to USA Today report, the spying program was not only used against alleged terrorist activity, but countless supposed drug crimes, as well as “to identify US suspects in a wide range of other investigations”. And they collected information on millions of completely innocent Americans along the way.

    Heath’s story is awash with incredible detail and should be read in full, but one of the most interesting parts was buried near the end: the program was shut down by the Justice Department after the Snowden leaks, not because Snowden exposed the program, but because they knew that when the program eventually would leak, the government would have no arguments to defend it.

    The justification they were using for the NSA’s program — that it was only being used against dangerous terrorists, not ordinary criminals — just wasn’t true with the DEA. The public would clearly be outraged by the twisted legal justification that radically re-interpreted US law in complete secrecy. “They couldn’t defend both programs”, a former Justice Department official told Heath. The piece also reveals that Attorney General Eric “didn’t think we should have that information” in the first place, which is interesting because Holder was one of the first Justice Department officials to approve the program during the Clinton administration. It’s nice he came to his senses, but if the program never risked going public, would he have felt the same?

    There are many other surveillance programs the government is desperate to keep hidden. Consider Stingray devices, the mini fake cell phone towers that can vacuum up cell phone data of entire neighborhoods at the same time which are increasingly being used by local cops all around the country. The Associated Press reported this week that the Baltimore police have used these controversial devices thousands of times in the course of ordinary investigations and have tried to hide how the devices are used from judges.

    The lengths to which the FBI will go to keep these devices secret from the public is alarming. As a Guardian investigation detailed on Friday, the FBI makes local police that use them sign non-disclosure agreements, and goes as far as to direct them to dismiss charges against potential criminals if the phone surveillance will be exposed at trial (like is required by due process rights in the Fifth Amendment).

    As this opinion piece goes on to point out, neither the Stingray devices nor how they work is particularly secret. What is sort-of secret is how extensively they are used, and the extent to which they vacuum up information (for which there is usually not a warrant) on essentially anyone in-range who happens to be carrying a mobile device. What then happens to that sucked-in data is unclear, but there is no particular reason to think it isn’t stored, searched, and monitored. In addition, there is a presumption the people (agents) with access to the information are honest and won’t use it for personal (or professional) gain, which is simply ludicrous, even if “only” a “few” rotten apples exploit the obvious blackmail potential. Plus the possiblity of it being “hacked” (most likely, stolen, albeit sabotaged cannot be ruled out) by outsiders specifically for the purposes of blackmail and similar…

  70. blf says

    Were Lincoln and Nixon gay? The ‘history’ book that is dividing America: “Award-winning author and gay-rights activist Larry Kramer’s new book aims to counter the exclusion of homosexuality from history”:

    Whether it is absolutely accurate or not, The American People speaks to a need across gay and straight communities to revise historical accounts from which sexual orientation was absent. This can be seen in the mainstream — Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, for instance, or the story of Harvey Milk in Milk (2008) — but rarely goes further back in time.

    Cue another nutter explosion, over both the hypothesis in the book (and the book and the author and the reporting of the book and it’s hypothesis and yadda yadda…) and the very concept that some historical figures (with a handful of undeniable exceptions, such as Turing) weren’t stereotypicalfictional heroes.

  71. Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! says

    Read this today. Thought of the folks ’round these parts.

    To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses — that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things.

    – Pablo Neruda

  72. Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! says

    I’m sorry about Katya, Tony. That’s how my kitty went in the fall. If it makes you feel any better, I hid in my room and sobbed over him when he died even though I thought I was prepared. Sixteen years is a long time to love somebody. It doesn’t matter if they’re a cat.

    Yes, Saad. Fuck it very much. That poor kid.
    … All those poor kids.

  73. says

    It is really to bad that a mother had to go through the awful experience of having all seven of her children get whooping cough before she changed her anti-vaxxer mind.

    […] We had vaccinated our first three children on an alternative schedule and our youngest four weren’t vaccinated at all. We stopped because we were scared and didn’t know who to trust. Was the medical community just paid off puppets of a Big Pharma-Government-Media conspiracy? Were these vaccines even necessary in this day and age? Were we unwittingly doing greater harm than help to our beloved children? So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the ‘do nothing and hope nothing bad happens’ position. […]

    I am not looking forward to any gloating or shame as this ‘defection’ from the antivaxx camp goes public, but, this isn’t a popularity contest. Right now my family is living the consequences of misinformation and fear. I understand that families in our community may be mad at us for putting their kids at risk. I want them to know that we tried our best to protect our kids when we were afraid of vaccination and we are doing our best now, for everyone’s sake, by getting them up to date. We can’t take it back … but we can learn from this and help others the same way we have been helped.

  74. Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! says

    Thanks for the chocolate and hugs. What are they for?
    I missed something, didn’t I?
    From Ophelia’s “hug” I’m assuming it has to do with me saying that I’m not much into her blog anymore. I haven;t been back to that thread. I guess that’s a good thing.
    That’s really quite sad. I have a great deal of respect for her. I’m disappointed, but probably only momentarily. Sooner or later, we all disappoint someone. I’m not going to take it personally. I did bother me, but I have real problems. A writer’s bruised ego isn’t about to become one of them.
    I’m going to try and forget it ever happened.
    Anyway, thank you so much. I need those hugs and chocolate for totally unrelated reasons, but having them for this is nice too.

  75. says

    Forcing African American kids into the justice system, often with trumped up charges, is a specialty of the USA. Actions for which a white child would be forgiven, or for which a white kid would be offered treatment and supervision, those actions put kids with darker skin in the school-to-prison pipeline.


    A police officer assigned to the school witnessed the tantrum, and filed a disorderly conduct charge against the sixth grader in juvenile court.

    Just weeks later, in November, Kayleb, who is African-American, disobeyed a new rule — this one just for him — that he wait while other kids left class. The principal sent the same school officer to get him.

    “He grabbed me and tried to take me to the office,” said Kayleb, a small, bespectacled boy who enjoys science. “I started pushing him away. He slammed me down, and then he handcuffed me.” […]

    US Department of Education data analyzed by the Center for Public Integrity show that Virginia schools in a single year referred students to law enforcement agencies at a rate nearly three times the national rate. Virginia’s referral rate: about 16 for every 1,000 students, compared to a national rate of six referrals for every 1,000 students.

    In Virginia, some of the individual schools with highest rates of referral — in one case 228 per 1,000 — were middle schools, whose students are usually from 11 to 14 years old.

    The Education Department didn’t require that schools explain why, during the 2011-12 school year, they referred students to law enforcement. And a referral did not necessarily have to end in an arrest or charges filed, at least not immediately. But by definition, it did mean that students’ behavior was reported to police or courts. […]

    The authorities dealing with Kaleb, said that the need him to “man up.” They also said that “he needed to start controlling himself or that eventually they would start controlling him.”

  76. blf says

    Wacky political protests that grabbed the world’s attention:

    The naked potholers
    One man in Saskatchewan, Canada, managed to round up 11 other individuals who felt passionately enough about potholes to take their clothes off. The group agreed to pose naked in various positions inside the holes that lined local roads, and made a calendar out of the pictures. The calendars sold well, plus a picture of one naked resident in a canoe on the main road in the town went viral, and the residents finally got the attention of their ineffective local government.

    The face sitters
    After David Cameron [UK Prime Minister] threatened to legislate against what kind of porn the UK could watch, people came out to demonstrate for sexual freedom. The Conservatives decided that face sitting was too dangerous to feature on laptops when our bedroom doors are locked, so hundreds of people decided to prove him wrong by sitting on each other’s faces outside parliament while singing tunes from Monty Python.

    The duct-taped kid
    When a school in Connecticut decided to enforce a “no touching” policy between students that precluded hugging and high fives, eighth-grader Patrick Abbazia went to classes wrapped up in duct tape to protest. …

    The class sheep
    After a school in Saint-Nazaire, France, had its 12th classroom closed by authorities for being one pupil short, parents occupied the school and teachers registered a small black sheep as their 287th pupil to protest the decision. The sheep, named Vincent P, was given a school bag and lunch by students while their parents were inside.

  77. blf says

    Walter Scott: county sheriff punished with trash collection after dog attack on suspect (the title is misleading, this is not about Mr Scott’s murder, but the sheriff of the country where Mr Scott was murdered and the sheriff’s involvement in a different case of over-the-top policegoon reactions to poor decisions by the suspect):

    Al Cannon, sheriff of South Carolina county where Walter Scott was shot dead by police, had assault charge erased after completing 30 hours of clean-up

    The highest-ranking law enforcement officer in the South Carolina county where Walter Scott was shot dead was punished with trash collection duty after his team of officers dragged a man from his truck, punched him and allowed a dog to bite him as he lay on the ground.

    Al Cannon, the sheriff of Charleston County, had an assault and battery charge for hitting Timothy McManus erased from his record after completing 30 hours of litter collection and an anger management class, he said. No other officers were disciplined over the incident.

  78. says

    The National Rifle Association’s conference was turned into an anti-Hillary-Clinton rally. The right-wingers must be afraid of Hillary, very afraid. They are also making stuff up.

    […] NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre kicked off the event with a 20 minute speech dedicated almost entirely to blasting Clinton and warning of the “permanent darkness of deceit and despair” that would come if she were elected. […]

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush criticized Clinton and others who want to take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) also mentioned Clinton when he spoke about shrinking government dependency.

    The audience didn’t tire of the rhetoric and each jab at Clinton drew loud applause. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the last to speak, asked the conservative crowd if he was at the Ready for Hillary gathering, to which the room erupted in a loud “no.”

    Clinton, who is expected to formally launch her campaign on Sunday, has been a vocal supporter of gun control and making it more difficult for guns to get into the wrong hands. She has said that we need to “reign in” the idea that anyone should be able to possess a gun anywhere, anytime. Last year, she also said that opponents of gun control like the NRA have views that hurt the majority of Americans. […]

  79. says

    Arresting 17 year old kids [Amos Yee, for example] for violating stupid laws that really do restrict free speech — that’s the latest move from Singapore’s conservative authorities. My emphasis in the excerpt below.

    […] On Friday, March 27th, Yee uploaded a video that criticized Lee Kuan Yew, the recently deceased founding father of postwar Singapore, and also took a swipe at organized Christianity.

    By the following Monday, after formal complaints from some fellow Singaporeans, Yee had been arrested under Section 298 of the country’s penal code, which forbids the uttering of words that might hurt the religious feelings of any person, and the Protection from Harassment Act, a recent law ostensibly set up to guard against cyberbullying.

    His blog, where he had posted an illustration of Lee and Margaret Thatcher in flagrante, was censored; it earned Yee an obscenity charge under Penal Code Section 292. He was released on a bail of twenty thousand Singapore dollars, and is currently awaiting hearings. He has been ordered not to post anything more online. If he’s found guilty, he could face a fine of five thousand Singapore dollars and three years in prison. […]

  80. says

    The right-wingers must be afraid of Hillary, very afraid. They are also making stuff up.

    What else is new? That’s pretty much how the American Civil War got started; the slaveholders had worked themselves up into a fine froth convincing each other that Lincoln was going to free the slaves as soon as he was in office (he wasn’t), freaked the fuck out, and started shooting.

  81. blf says

    Have your Thug Sickness Bags© at the ready!


    Ok, ready? Remember, the vomit goes in the bag (or on the thug if you have the appropriate USB adapter). GOP hopefuls use NRA convention to bolster 2016 presidential platforms: “Bobby Jindal calls NRA country’s ‘most effective’ civil rights group…”.

    (Sorry about the mess, my Thug Sickness Bag overflowed and, well, let’s just leave it there…)

    By that standard, the KKK is the country’s best law enforcement agency, the Creation Museum is the country’s primary center of scientific excellence, the Earth is flat, and the mildly deranged penguin does not cheese. Peas, however, are still horrible.

  82. The Mellow Monkey says

    Fuck, fuck, fuck. Just got a text from my best friend’s roommate. He had to call an ambulance for her.

    Could this please stop already? Could somebody in my life here actually have good things happening?

  83. blf says

    Swedish tobacco company to challenge FDA demands for warning labels: “Swedish Match argues moist powdered tobacco product snus should not have to carry warning labels, citing studies that say it is less harmful than cigarettes”.

    Snus has a weird status in the EU. The stuff is legal (I’m unsure what sort of warnings it carries), but it is illegal to sell it (except in Sweden (and, if I recall correctly, Denmark), which has a special exemption from the EU).

  84. maddog1129 says

    Is this the right place to talk about sexist, racist, ableist, or other language in posts?

  85. maddog1129 says

    I’ve noticed people have been cautioned to be careful of saying things like “that’s stupid” or “that’s dumb” or anything with “-tard” as a suffix as ableist language. I have tried to be more sensitive to things that might be “-ist” in speaking about another person. But something that tends to persist here is reference to “clutching pearls.” Is that a sexist term? For me, it brings to mind uptight Victorian women who are made aghast at anything the slightest bit offensive. “Fainting couch” the same. Has that kind of term been dealt with here before?

  86. The Mellow Monkey says


    If you or someone you know should bleed through twelve menstrual pads in the course of a few hours, that’s not a normal period. And if someone you know is experiencing this and tells you what’s happening, don’t suggest that the solution to the problem is to calm down and deal with their anxiety.

    Yeah, my friend going to the hospital was delayed by her dad literally pulling the hysteria card.

  87. consciousness razor says

    I’ve noticed people have been cautioned to be careful of saying things like “that’s stupid” or “that’s dumb” or anything with “-tard” as a suffix as ableist language. I have tried to be more sensitive to things that might be “-ist” in speaking about another person.

    If you’re talking about an action or a belief or a claim, saying “that’s stupid,” then you’re not calling the person that. I’ve said and done and thought plenty of stupid things, which simply doesn’t mean the same to me as calling myself a stupid person. However, anything with “-tard” (or similar) clearly is punching down on mental disorders and disabilities, which are things people have. Ideas do not have those. One thing we should be sensitive to is the difference between criticisms of people/groups/characteristics on the one hand, and criticisms of their false/ridiculous/bullshit ideas on the other.

    Has that kind of term been dealt with here before?

    Yes, they’ve both been discussed before. Indeed, “monocle popping” was an equivalently Victorian term, suggested for men, although the general pattern of “fainting” (if not the couches) or being overwrought about trivialities seems to me like a generic feature of a lot of Victorians regardless of their gender. They took themselves too seriously and said/did a lot of silly things as a result. Now, if you’re also going to take the “monocle” example too literally, as ridiculing visually impaired men who are suffering anxiety or something absurdly specific like that, I really don’t know what to say. It seems like you’re really trying to misunderstand the point of the imagery/metaphor. I don’t think anybody actually goes there, as their first pass at interpreting it.

  88. rq says

    The Mellow Monkey
    I hope she gets adequate and successful care – that certainly doesn’t sound healthy by any means; the fact that some people with uteri bleed during their periods does not mean that they do so excessively.
    I would even go so far as to say that her dad is stupid and probably an asshole.

    Well, those are both terms that originally apply to Victorian ladies who go weak at any sign of excitement and outrage, but really, anyone can clutch pearls and anyone can have a fainting couch, if they feel the need for it.
    I can’t really answer better than that.

  89. rq says

    Geologists Unearth Fully Intact Rock.

    Describing the discovery as the most flawless specimen ever unearthed, a team of geologists working in northern Colorado announced Friday they had excavated a fully intact rock. “This stunning find provides an illuminating glimpse into what rocks may have looked like in their complete form millions of years ago,” said lead geologist James Powell, adding that the extremely well-preserved rock offers unprecedented insight into the physical structure, shape, and characteristics of early rocks in ways that incomplete stone fragments and shards never could. “Previously, reconstructing a whole rock from small remnant pieces was difficult, and we never had a complete specimen. We’d invariably end up with several missing parts, and we could only speculate about what might have filled them. But now, we can safely say that these empty spaces were most likely filled with other bits of rock. It looks nothing like we could possibly imagine.” Powell added that further research was necessary to determine if a geological link existed between rocks, pebbles, and boulders.

  90. opposablethumbs says

    Damn, TMM, I hope your friend is OK. And her father is an ignorant fool.

  91. carlie says

    Fuuuuuuck. I had my battery tested when I changed my oil a couple of weeks ago, and the battery failed the charge test. Yesterday the car wouldn’t start, so I figured yep, battery’s gone. So i just spent $100 on a new one, put it in, and… car no starty. I’ll have to have it towed to the mechanic and whatever replaced. And I was surprisingly low on coolant, which was full last week if the oil change people are to be believed, so that’s probably a problem too. This is on top of a few other big unexpected expenses in the last couple of weeks, and finding out that after this winter we now have a big crack in the outside foundation that’s going to take a loan to deal with (after we pay a lot for an analysis of what’s wrong, of course). It always all comes at once, doesn’t it?

  92. carlie says

    FuuuuuuUUUUuuuuuUUUUUuuuuk. I just put two and two together and realized that potential bad compression + no coolant = bad head gasket. I really, really, really hope it’s just spark plugs. Really.

  93. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    TMM. Fucking hell. I know that bad people have children, it’s simple statistics that tells me that, but I can’t wrap my head around a father being that uncaring. I just can’t. I hope she recovers well and quickly.

    carlie, ugh cars. They’re tricksy beasts whose perfidy knows no bounds. I hope things end up being cheap and easy.

  94. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    So I have a question that I’d appreciate some input on.

    An acquaintance of mine is dying. I know him from the open stage I play at, in fact that open stage was resurrected to give him something to do while he waited to die. He’s in palliative care now and not expected to recover.

    I really like him, but we only really interacted once a month for the last year or so. We were friendly but not friends if that makes any sense. One of the things that impressed me was that he was living, rather than waiting to die. He borrowed my e-bow* a couple of months ago, never mind that he didn’t have enough time left in his life to master it. Living, not dying.

    So here’s my question. I’m going to go visit him, assuming he wants visitors. I thought I might ask him if there was any idea for a song or piece of music that he’d always meant to write. I thought I might offer to write that for him. The idea being that it could be a useful distraction and possibly be something that he could see as a continuation of himself after he’s gone.

    Is this a stupid idea? I mean, none of us can know how he might feel about it. But does it strike anyone as insensitive? I can see a case being made for such an offer kind of rubbing the terminal person’s nose in the fact he’s dying and I’m not.


  95. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Er, forgot about that *

    *e-bow is an electronic device that vibrates guitar strings without plucking them. Much like a bow for violin but far more space-age.

  96. carlie says

    How are you? How is DarkToddler? Is she in school yet? Is she in college now? : ) WE MISS YOU

    FossilFishy – that is a lovely and touching idea. I might modify it a bit to ask him if he’d be willing to let you compose something in his honor, and then ask him what kinds of music he likes, rather than offering it as taking over a job he meant to do but can’t now.

  97. sff9 says

    consciousness razor@114

    If you’re talking about an action or a belief or a claim, saying “that’s stupid,” then you’re not calling the person that. I’ve said and done and thought plenty of stupid things, which simply doesn’t mean the same to me as calling myself a stupid person. However, anything with “-tard” (or similar) clearly is punching down on mental disorders and disabilities, which are things people have. Ideas do not have those. One thing we should be sensitive to is the difference between criticisms of people/groups/characteristics on the one hand, and criticisms of their false/ridiculous/bullshit ideas on the other.

    I am not clear with this, in part because the perception of what is ableist language varies a lot from blog to blog (e.g., “We Hunted the Mammoth” is stricter than Pharyngula, but I’ve read commenters over there criticize some Tumblrs for being over the top on this matter). What I don’t understand is this: If “what you’re saying is retarded” is punching down on retarded people, how is “what you’re saying is stupid” not punching down on stupid people? Admittedly, stupidity is not a mental disorder, but that’s still a condition one usually cannot do much about.

  98. Audley Z Darkheart says

    Hiya, Carlie!
    DarkToddler is good good good! Big and strong and smart and wonderful, and so ready for spring to start that it’s not even funny. No school yet, but we’re already weighing our options and considering some of the private schools in the area- which feels hella weird because I am so pro- public schools in general, but I’m sure you’re aware of the plight of NY schools.

    For the most part, I’m pretty good. I’m at the tail end of a 5 day long (I hope) stomach bug (I would only wish this agony on my worst enemies), but other than that I’ve got no complaints (except the weather. Have I mentioned the weather? Our weather sucks). Been reading a lot, started watching Daredevil on Netflix, you know: same shit. :)

    How are you? How’s everything?

  99. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    carlie, excellent suggestion, cheers. That helps with my misgivings. It also allows him to choose his level of participation. Smarts: you’ve got ’em.

  100. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Sorry to hear about the stomach bug Audley, but just wait until the DT gets to school. There’s nothing like loving a cuddly disease vector for giving the old immune system a workout. [remembers the snuffling and nose rubbing at breakfast, runs off to wash his hands again]

  101. cicely says

    A Kickstarter: Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi/Fantasy Comic Anthology

    Bravery By Any Other Name, by The Bloggess.

    This Octopus Was Trained by Sony to Take Pictures of Aquarium Visitors


    Transgender teen who was bullied commits suicide

    :( :( :(
    Fuck this culture, indeed.

    I’m so sorry, Dalillama.

    *hugs & kittens* for The Mellow Monkey.

    If you or someone you know should bleed through twelve menstrual pads in the course of a few hours, that’s not a normal period.

    It is not.
    My best wishes for your friend, and a dead fish up-side the head for her dad.
    With peas.


    Geologists Unearth Fully Intact Rock.


    Audley Z Darkheart!
    *running pouncehug*
    How’s the DarkKid?

    FossilFishy, it sounds like a lovely tribute to me—and one that the tributee will be in a position to appreciate (unlike the usual kind of post-mortem tribute).

    sff9, to me, ideas may be stupid, independently of the cognitive abilities of people. I don’t see ideas as being capable of being “retarded”. Or intrinsically characteristic of “retarded” thought processing.
    I’m saying this poorly.
    *leaving to search for better words*

  102. Funny Diva says

    Hey, FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Gosh, that doesn’t sound like a stupid idea to me at all! Sounds very thoughtful and caring and warm. Something that’s likely to be meaningful to your fellow musician and to you.

    Aaaand, i’ve been ninja’d by Carlie and maddog1129
    My only suggestion, FWIW, would be to find a way to make your offer sort of open-ended. Along the lines of “I know how much your music means to you. If there’s any I can be supportive or helpful, I’d really like to be here for you. Like with (X or Y composition-related thingie), or even just talking and/or listening together.”
    I suspect if he’s feeling in need of distraction or thinking of trying to leave a more permanent musical legacy, then that would be enough of an opening for him to tell you what he wants and if he wants help with anything specific.

    Anyway, hope this helps. I suspect it will be pretty clear that you’re genuinely concerned and really trying to be sensitive. Just make it as much as possible about what _he_ wants. If that’s just some conversation…there’s nothing stopping you from writing a memorial song of your own later on.

    As a (lapsed) violist, the e-bow thing sounds…interesting-but-weird. Because a guitar has all its strings in the same plane–there’s no curve at all to the bridge, unlike with the violin and double-bass families, where you can hit one, maybe two strings at once, and it’s harder to hit more than that!

  103. Funny Diva says

    Tony! The queer shoop

    Hey, I’ve just caught up with your unhappy news about your Katya kitteh.
    That’s so hard. I’m so sorry and wanted you to know you’re in my thoughts.

    As you can tell from the many responses here in Teh Lounge, there are many, many of us who see nothing strange in shedding tears at such a time. (Though, of course, preferring not to do so at work is also perfectly understandable.)

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Shoop, you are Good People. Katya’s lucky to have such a good hoomin to love her and look after her.

    who’s also had her heart broken by the loss of a beloved kitteh…and gets tearful for friends going through the same.

  104. numerobis says

    Tony, I’m giving my cats extra scritches tonight for you. “Can feel some bones” is healthy weight (my cats are on a diet to keep them there), and skinny bony cats can live long happy lives — but weight loss is rightly concerning. Best of luck for you two!

  105. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Thanks Funny Diva. That’s helpful too.

    An ebow doesn’t work at all like a violin bow. You don’t move it to create the vibration, an electro-magnet in the thing does that.

    Take a look here:

    Click on “How to Postition the Ebow” for a better idea how they sit on the strings.

    And electric guitars do have a bit of curve to the string height. The bridge is usually set up to match the radius of the fret board so each string is the same height over the frets. On older electrics that radius can be 7″ or so, quite noticeable. I had mine re-radiused at 16″ so it’s much flatter.

  106. numerobis says

    I came here to get off my brain a nagging nuisance that struck me last night.

    After being done climbing at the rock gym, I turned the corner into the locker room and my heart gave a little flip — there was a big scary BLACK MAN right there, next to my locker. Within a split second my conscious brain was able to shut up that bullshit; I’m moderately certain I didn’t have time even to skip a step. But I definitely felt fight-or-flight response going on at first, and it was conscious effort to nuke that.

    Just to put the cherry on the sundae of shame, said formerly-scary black man put on his spiffy work clothes, put away his shiny climbing gear, and got on the phone with a graduating engineer he was evidently mentoring to answer her questions about her rights and responsibilities as a member of the Order of Engineers.

    So this is an upstanding engineer who does a yuppie sport in a yuppie neighbourhood and takes time out of his Friday night schedule to mentor new engineers.

    And my lizard brain goes into fight-or-flight because society convinced me he was a threat on account of his skin colour.

    Fuck that brain weasel.

  107. numerobis says

    Note: rock climbing is not entirely yuppie. It’s actually much better integrated than other sports I’ve partaken of — indeed it’s where as a younger man I discovered that education was only loosely related to intelligence and largely uncorrelated to being a good human being.

  108. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Admittedly, stupidity is not a mental disorder, but that’s still a condition one usually cannot do much about.

    ….it is?

  109. cicely says

    Audley, I’m doin’ okay. I’m not sure whether you’ll have missed The Announcement, but since the first day of September, I have been rejoicing in the existence of my Grandson, who is made entirely out of 100% pure, fine-grained Awesome.
    :) :) :)

  110. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    And fucking hell. Once again death out-races me. I had the notion this morning on my ride to work. And just now I found out that he’s gone. I guess I got complacent because he wasn’t suppose to make it to Christmas. Shit, piss, damn, fuck.

    He’s out of pain. That matters. Those closest to him can now mourn and heal. That matters. My gesture, empty and incomplete doesn’t.

  111. chigau (違う) says

    just caught up
    hugs for everyone
    Tonight’s event at the community hall was a success.

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

    The Mellow Monkey,,

    *hugs* for you and your friend. I hope she recovers quickly.


    What kind of event?

  113. says

    Completely threadrupt. So here’s some general *hugs* for the taking.

    Now for the w(h)ine. My birthday was yesterday (checks to verify it’s after midnight), and my dad took Husband and me out to a winery local to him. He bought us a bottle of wine, didn’t help us drink it, and I wound up drinking 2/3 of a 12% bottle of wine.

    This is officially the drunkest I’ve ever been. And fuck me, but I’m not doing this again any time soon. I’m right on the edge of sleep it off or puke and get it over with. And I loathe vomiting, so I’ve avoided that so far, but sleeping ain’t working out real well right now, either.

    Yes, I’m drinking water, probably not as much as I need too, but as much as I can handle without upsetting my stomach further, since too much water at night has been known to do that also.

    Lesson learned: don’t let Dad pick the alcohol.

  114. rq says

    Damn. Do you think you might still write a song in his honour? Or write one to dedicate to him?


    I have also determined why women love shopping all the time and are so good at it: they must have accompanied men on their hunts, else how would the men have known which mammoth hide would be suitable for cavepeople outfits? “No, not that one dear, the coat is too ratty… wrong shade of dark brown… that pattern’s not in this season…” You can’t learn much about fashion if you’re wandering around picking berries.
    Admittedly, on yesterday’s semiannual clothing hunt for the kids, I had a lot of time for stupid ideas. Because stupid is a universal trait.

    *hugs* and *higs* for everyone, some names that haven’t been in the Lounge for a while! Lovely to see everyone.

  115. A. Noyd says

    I got smacked in the arm by an old woman yesterday for making her think I was a guy. She was behind the counter at the bookstore across from the cafe where I was going to have dinner. I went in to buy a magazine to read during dinner, and she started chatting with me in fairly rapid Japanese. Apparently at some point she said I was “pretty like a woman.” I didn’t quite catch the implication of that because I was struggling to keep up with even half of what she was saying.

    So then I bought a women’s magazine and she’s like, “Wait, are you a woman!? And I’m like, “Uh, yes?” Then she scolded me (not harshly or anything, despite the arm smacking) for fooling her and not correcting her when she said I was pretty as a woman. Meanwhile, I’m wondering what an actual Western guy would think of that compliment. Bit of a cultural divide there.

    Then she gave me a free catalog of men’s clothes because she’d been planning to before she figured out I was a woman, and if I was going to be all confusing, then why not?

  116. says


    So happy to see you!




    If you or someone you know should bleed through twelve menstrual pads in the course of a few hours, that’s not a normal period.

    Unless it is. My body sometimes thinks that “let’s get over with this within the next 4 hours” is a good idea. Which, for me, is completely normal.
    Let’s phrase it as “if somebody you know has an unusual period and is worried, support them in getting help.” Your friend’s dad is an asshole.

    Urgh, sorry about the car and house woes

    Ahhh, I love people who think that concepts they don’t understand are false because of that. And they’re from all walks of rifts. First this week there was the Nugent fanboy who thought that he got a “gotcha” by inserting himself in a conversation I had with somebody about cultural apropriation and enjoying and celebrating different cultures. Dude’s obviously oblivious that “cultural apropriation” is a term with a meaning and that liking curry does not fall under it.
    And then there was the TERFy feminist* who argued that the real definition of woman is the godsdamn patriarchal one of “having baby making facilities.” Basically, #whitefeminism “universal sisterhood of oppression”. I suggested she read some Foucault and Butler to which she replied “I’m not going to read PoMo, that’s just nonsense!”
    Ehm, not that I would file Butler under Postmoderism, but acting as if refusing to
    know something, whether you agree with it or not is a viable intellectual stance is so creationist.

    *I’m not even sure what her point was, since she was at least smart enough to realise that it’s the perceived baby making ability and admitted that this covers trans* women as well….

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


    Made my cry too. Must be sorcery.

  118. carlie says

    FossilFishy – I’m so sorry. If you still wanted to do it, though, I think his family would be really touched by it. But if you don’t want to do it because your main reason was to comfort him, that’s fine too.

    My favorite on the kissing article:
    “A court case of 1837 involved a man named Thomas Saverland who had kissed a Miss Caroline Newton at a party “by way of a joke” and in return she’d bitten off a chunk of his nose. Saverland took her to court but lost as the judge ruled, “When a man kisses a woman against her will, she is fully entitled to bite off his nose, if she so pleases”, to which her barrister added, “and eat it up, if she has a fancy that way”.”
    Notice that there was no whining that it was impossible for him to know that she wouldn’t want to be kissed if she hadn’t explicitly told him so beforehand, or that she should be much more tolerant of him and his personality.

    Audley! Good to hear things are going ok. Life sucks in several ways here, but all of them being minor problems in the big scheme of things, and I’ve been frustrated rather than depressed lately, which is a welcome change. We’ve started going out on college visits for Child 1, which is exciting and scary in its own way! (scary mainly being the cost). Overall good, but I am quite looking forward to after the semester ends. Oh – could you re-link to the blog that you helped start? The one with all the awesome women writers with the honeycomb logo? I keep losing the information on it.

  119. The Mellow Monkey says

    My friend’s losing a lot of blood. They started giving her transfusions at 4:30, D&C scheduled for later this morning. Considering some of the stupid shit these doctors have already told her (she’s a lesbian and was told this made her vagina too tight for a pelvic exam), I’m a bit…worried.

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

    The Mellow Monkey,

    That’s horrible. Both the blood loss and the incredible stupidity of her doctors. I hope everything goes well.

  121. rq says

    she’s a lesbian and was told this made her vagina too tight for a pelvic exam

    WHAT????? By similar logic, any woman who’s a virgin, or any teenaged girl, is too tight for a pelvic exam. I mean, what?
    I don’t supposed there’s any other hospital/medical centre she can transfer to? That attitude is incredibly worrisome.

  122. rq says

    Oh ye gods… So twitter. I follow this one guy who does interesting TV shows locally, he’s got some on driving, cars and rules of the road (laws, too!) and he often investigates transportation incompetence from the government – badly repaired roads, weird signage, incompetent law-making, etc. He also does a local travel show where his segment examines the tourism information centres and tourism opportunities of more out-of-the-way places. It’s really quite awesome and usually educational, with a good dose of (proper – by which I mean non-sexist, non-homophobic, non-racist, etc.) humour.
    ANYWAY. He just posted a tweet with a picture of himself with a couple of other men, featured in a (I think home improvement?) magazine… and the title of the article is ‘Woman-Free Zone’.
    It’s about garages.

    I just tweeted at him re: how it must not be important for women to learn to use tools. I’m dreading my response a bit, but okay – feeling brave. :P

  123. blf says

    she’s a lesbian and was told this made her vagina too tight for a pelvic exam

    (Adjust either the knobs, or if they are set correctly, the cootie-to-rationality ratio…) Sorry, this is not a laughing matter. Much more seriously:

     (2) File a complaint (almost (see below)) immediately with the hospital and relevant medical licensing board, with, if you know them, the names of the complete incompetents “treating” her. Point out that, by this logic, all bleeding children (especially girls) cannot be examined / are hard to treat (unless they have been had “private lessons” with priests).

     (1) Of more immediate importance is getting her treatment by actual, you know, medical professionals. Not whatever quacks are currently involved. (Extremely uselessly, I currently don’t have any ideas here.)

  124. rq says

    Umm, the statement ‘If only it were that easy.’ appended to the previous comment link.

  125. blf says

    Please amend above post to include “offers”. Hugs not mandatory, just offered if/when needed or wanted.

    You might be safe. The last person who hugged the mildly deranged penguin has possibly been found, albeit They are still reassembling that person’s Universe in an attempt to find enough atoms to absolutely confirm. (The current evidence is mostly based on that person’s last known whereabouts, and a lack of cheese in what is thought to be the same former Universe.)

  126. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    Sorry to hear about your car. Hope you dont have to spend an arm and a leg to fix it.


    My sympathies about L’s business. I wish I could offer concrete help.


    Mellow Monkey:
    I hope your friend gets the proper medical help she deserves.


    Our washing machine is dead. Doesnt work. E ran a load a few days ago and it wouldnt finish. Theres half a machine worth of water that wont drain. Outlet is fine. Checked the breaker too.
    So dont have the money for a new one.

  127. blf says

    I have also determined why women love shopping all the time and are so good at it…

    You mean as a very effective method of subduing the malesslaves? Dragging them around to look at one thing which seems identical to the last thirty-seven things they’ve been forced to look at and agree, for the two thousand and something millionth time, “Yes, it’s not quite right” and then going back to what seems to be the same shop albeit possibly in a different timezoneUniverse for a repeat performance is not only quite effective, it (usually) doesn’t leave any marks.

    Either that, or the accompanying cheese deprivation. My theory is the reason woman carry handbags / purses (depends on which side of the Atlantic you are on) is to hide the cheese so they don’t also suffer from cheese deprivation.

  128. says

    Dragging them around to look at one thing which seems identical to the last thirty-seven things they’ve been forced to look at and agree, for the two thousand and something millionth time, “Yes, it’s not quite right” and then going back to what seems to be the same shop albeit possibly in a different timezoneUniverse for a repeat performance is not only quite effective, it (usually) doesn’t leave any marks.

    Funny enough, that sounds like the times my family forced me to go shopping with my dad to make sure he doesn’t come home with green trousers and a red jacket…

    I’m sorry to hear. Your washing machine should have an emergency drain, at least if it’s somewhat similar to ours. Look at the bottom, usually close to the thing where forgotten coins accumulate

  129. blf says

    [T]hat sounds like the times my family forced me to go shopping with my dad to make sure he doesn’t come home with green trousers and a red jacket…

    Hey! Wait a minute here: My favorite trousers are green, and my favorite jacket is red. (Both are now, sadly, defunct — worn out.)

  130. says

    Hey! Wait a minute here: My favorite trousers are green, and my favorite jacket is red. (Both are now, sadly, defunct — worn out.)

    Well, the difference is that he’d never have known. He would have thought he’d bought perfectly matching grey clothing…

  131. says

    President Obama is to blame for “blood moons.” More rightwing folderol:

    WorldNetDaily (WND) is a rightwing rag […] For all of their endless articles blaming Obama for everything and questioning his time travel abilities concerning his citizenship, they have jumped the shark by even their absurdly low standards.

    WND recently published an article featuring conservative pastor Mark Blitz. Turns out the recent lunar eclipse was the fault of one President Obama. This is, unfortunately, not the first time they tied a lunar eclipse to Obama.

    The first article coincided with the April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse (also referred to as a “blood moon”). WND argued that the blood moon was actually a divine warning against Obama’s evil executive actions.

    Now, almost one year later, another WND article coincided with the April 4, 2015 blood moon. This time, the article stated that it was actually Obama’s negotiation over Iran’s nuclear program that was “totally tied to these Blood Moons”.

    As you can see, they can’t make up their mind why Obama is to blame, just know that he is.

    The conservative pastor they featured in the article also argued that the blood moons are coinciding pretty closely with major Jewish holidays. True, actually. If he had done even the smallest amount of research, he would know that is because the Jewish calendar is based on the LUNAR calendar rather than the 12-month solar calendar. But NO: a natural and predictable phenomenon that has occurred since our planet’s birth is due to President Obama. That makes more sense. […]


    Kind of funny … if you don’t care that many of the rightwing dunderheads running the USA read WorldNutDaily religiously.

  132. blf says

    Ah, I see, a clothing must match fetishist. Me? I find a lump on the floor that looks like it might be a shirt, chisel it free, shake off the loose dirt and termites, try it on as trousers first to make sure it really is a shirt, then put it on as a shirt (bonus points if the collar is adjacent to my neck, and the pockets are on the outside). Similarly for the trousers, albeit they are usually stuck to the ceiling for some reason. I think they’ve dissolved through from the upper floor. Most important thing is to put the left shoe on the left foot in no more than three tries. The unshod foot is then a clew as to where the right shoe goes.

    Except for the time consumed by the chiseling free, it’s fairly simple. However, the clothing does tend to be a bit itchy, and it’s annoyingly hard to bend over, sit down, or ascend/descend stairs. On the other hand, peas and horses usually bounce off, and there’s no problem getting a seat on the bus.

  133. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness, raising children category.

    So, I guess you are supposed to teach your children that OBEDIENCE is not optional, along with other advice guaranteed to make mormon children miserable. The goal for mothers and fathers is to produce good missionaries for the cult.

    […] If parents do not teach or expect their children to be obedient, how will they learn later in their lives to respect and obey their bishop or their boss? How will they follow the instruction and counsel of their stake president or mission president? How will they learn to follow the prophet in these latter days? […]

  134. Audley Z Darkheart says


    I have been rejoicing in the existence of my Grandson, who is made entirely out of 100% pure, fine-grained Awesome.

    AWESOME! *throws a baby party!*


    Sadly, that blog is lost to the mists of time. 1) Mr Darkheart has been without a job for over a year now and I can’t afford the hosting costs and 2) I had… some frustrations getting timely content.

    Sorry. :(

  135. says

    I promised you some more holiday pictures:
    Storks are a nice example how nature conservation and economy can go hand in hand. In the 1970’s they were nearly extinct in the region. Programs to reintroduce them and to educate the population were established. Now there are more breeding pairs than ever and they are THE animal of the region and a main tourist attraction.
    Mulhouse Zoo
    Quite a nice zoo. Huge area.

  136. The Mellow Monkey says

    Re: my friend. They think it’s cancer. I’m not sure if there’s anywhere better to get care for her, especially since she doesn’t have insurance.


  137. opposablethumbs says

    Oh, TMM. Oh shit. My heart goes out to you, and to your friend.

    Audley, it’s lovely to see you again! And my respects to DarkToddler (or should that be DarkChild?)

  138. says

    Oh no! We can’t shut them up! This is basically the response of Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter to atheists that speak their mind. Atheist’s speaking out includes, to O’Reilly and Coulter’s horror, criticizing christianity.

    O’Reilly bemoaned the fact that people in the USA have “a free pass to bash people of faith.” He characterized this behavior as “vicious.”

    Coulter weighs in with: ““It’s Christianity that the Left hates most of all because that is the foundation of our country . . . and all of our freedoms come from that, freedom of association, freedom of speech.” She goes on to say that liberals/atheists want to, “tear down the heart of this country by going directly at the heart of America, which is Christianity.”

  139. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness, white supremacy category.

    Cliven Bundy hosted a party this weekend. It was a reunion of all the white supremacists, mormon former sheriffs, etc. who backed Bundy when he fought the “tyranny” and “totalitarianism” of the federal government that was trying to get him to pay the same grazing fees everyone else in Nevada pays for grazing cattle on public land.

    Bundy owes $1.1 million in grazing fees, but so far he and his mormon and/or white supremacist buddies have succeeded in facing down federal law enforcement officers. They are still calling for new range wars.

    Ex-military men, former sheriffs, etc. are protecting an indicted criminal, Cliven Bundy.

    From last April, a description of the militiamen.