by Ed Rhoads @ Prophet Thinking
Mon Sep 18 03:14:59 PDT 2017
Big data and AI continue to transform the healthcare industry. Learn how life sciences marketing should prepare for opportunities and implications.
In the Age of “Revenge Porn” and Celebrity Nude Hacks, Paris Hilton’s Sex Tape Looks a Lot Different
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Aug 15 14:52:32 PDT 2017
In a Marie Claire profile published on Monday, Paris Hilton reflects on how her life might have played out differently if she hadn’t dated Rick Salomon. The professional poker player reportedly made millions of dollars off the couple’s famous 1 Night in Paris sex tape, which Hilton says she didn’t intend for the public to see. She claims she never saw a cent from that tape, but in the years after its release, the tape became widely credited in entertainment-industry media for accelerating her rise to fame.
Hilton tells writer Irin Carmon, whose piece is well worth a read, that she “really looked up to Princess Diana, all these elegant, amazing women,” but Salomon released the tape of the two of them having sex, tarnishing what might have been a more innocent reputation. “Because of that tape, I will always be judged and thought of as whatever they say about me because of a private moment between my boyfriend and me,” Hilton says. “I wish I had never met him. That is actually the one regret in my life.”
Even if you remember the buzz about that sex tape just before The Simple Life aired, Carmon offers, “you probably don't remember that she says she never consented to the tape's being public; that she was only 18 and her then-boyfriend, Rick Salomon, was 33; or that she sued the company distributing it for invasion of privacy.” Carmon is right: At the time, in 2004, there was little public outrage over Hilton’s alleged nonconsent, at least not at the volume we’ve come to expect after celebrities have their naked images aired against their will these days. “Spare us the outrage at how you feel sooooo betrayed, how you have no idea how this could have fallen into the wrong hands,” a Salon writer begged celebrities in 2010. “This whole pretext of ‘I didn’t really make and distribute my own little porno here’ so you can give the public something that appears furtive and dirty and secret while still showing off how weird you look in night vision? Enough. And if you are actually dumb enough to make a sex tape and think it won’t get leaked, you are too dumb to ever have sex again.”
In her 2015 Slate history of the celebrity sex tape, Amanda Hess pointed out that what seemed sexy and exciting in the era of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson’s VHS video seemed like a potential violation by 2013, when Kim Kardashian explained to Oprah what devastation the release of her own sex tape wreaked on her self-image. Men hacked into the private photo libraries of Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, and other celebrities in multiple separate attacks, then shared nude images with the entire internet. Lawrence made a point of calling it “not a scandal…a sex crime,” arguing that her status as a sex symbol did not make her an acceptable target for abuse. Detractors told her she should have never taken the photos if she didn’t want them to get leaked, but Lawrence’s statements were the ones that stuck. By speaking openly about the real psychic injury the hackers caused, Lawrence and other victims of the hackings made themselves more human to people watching from the sidelines who might have previously seen them as spectacles willing to be exploited for fame. The “sex tape leaked by an ex” of yesterday is the “revenge porn” of today.
As Carmon notes in her profile of Hilton, Hilton did say in 2004 that she never intended the private 2001 sex tape to be distributed and sold; she even sued the distributor on that point and settled out of court. In that sense, there’s nothing new in her remarks to Marie Claire. The only thing that’s changed is the public’s tolerance for celebrity sexual humiliation—and the belief that such humiliation is possible, even for a superstar trying to promote a television show.
by MICHAEL HARE @ McSweeney’s
Tue Sep 19 10:01:00 PDT 2017
— Hear that new one from the BSO?
— Shit, yeah, that Brahms? That one knocked me square on my ass. Even more so than the Shostakovich. Pardon me, the Grammy Award-winning Shostakovich.
— We should repeat.
— We should but we won’t, because the Recording Academy hates Boston. Watch. Watch them give it to the frigging New York Phil, which is a fine orchestra if you like listening to a bunch of soulless prima donnas collect paychecks.
(They nod, drink.)
— Gotta respect Andris Nelsons.
— The kid can conduct his ass off, in the bravura tradition of Seiji Ozawa.
— Friend of mine down in Quincy just named his pit bull “Ozawa.”
— Remember ’02, when Ozawa did Beethoven’s Seventh?
— Course I do.
— Course you do. We all do, because it was an indelible performance. An indelible performance that the New York Times called “plodding.” Please. Please do me one favor, Mr. Big New York City Critic, please don’t talk to me like I don’t got two ears and a brain. Because I do, and also a heart, which Seiji touched with that masterful Seventh.
— They act like there’s no culture north of the Triborough. Like guys like us don’t know a sublimely realized Seventh when we hear one.
— Just don’t talk shit about Seiji, all right? You come up here and you try to talk shit about Seiji — I don’t care if you got a Pulitzer or a MacArthur or a Pulitzer and a MacArthur and an award from the frigging National Book Critics Circle — I’ll lay you the fuck out.
— Figuratively speaking.
— Of course. This city once aspired to be the Athens of America. I’m not about to disrespect that majestic civic aspiration by acting like a goddamned fucking barbarian.
— Other day I went over to the Museum of Science.
— How was it?
— Well it was the fucking Museum of Science, so how the fuck do you think it was? It was superlative. It was a testament to our region’s proud tradition of rational inquiry.
— Meanwhile, all you hear is, “Silicon Valley this, Silicon Valley that…”
— Because they hate Boston, because they’re jealous of Boston. And I’m sorry, but making an app to call a cab isn’t science. You know what is science? Life science is science.
(They nod, drink.)
— Gotta respect our biotechs.
— I swear to God, I get all these disgusting frigging fantasies about a bunch of these Silicon Valley guys coming up here and talking shit about our biotechs. Being like, “Oh yeah, Boston’s got a nice little biotech scene.” And I’m like, “Little?” And then I very figuratively lay them all out. I very figuratively beat them back to Cali using the gold Nobel medal awarded to Dr. H. Robert Horvitz.
— Friend of mine out in Walpole just got a Horvitz tattoo.
— So I’m in the MFA last weekend, where I volunteer as a docent.
— A valuable service to an invaluable institution.
— I’m in Gallery 242, and this kid comes over, says, “Are these are the only Rembrandts?”
— And this kid is from where?
— From a state that wants so hard to be part of New England but is actually just part of New York, and it knows it, and so it’s got all this twisted anti-Boston resentment.
— Friend of mine up in Lowell deals cards down in Connecticut. Says it’s awful.
— What it is is anti-Boston.
(They nod, drink.)
— Kid asks for more Rembrandts. That’s some true Connecticut bullshit.
— You want to see a hundred Rembrandts? Here. Here’s a bus ticket. Enjoy Manhattan. P.S., it sucks. You want to see five Rembrandts, and really see them? Really engage with each canvas? Come to Boston.
— Because there’s far, far less to see and do here, and so it’s easier to concentrate.
— Know where I haven’t been in a wicked long time? Plimoth Plantation.
— I’m there two, three times a month. It’s a jewel.
— You wonder why it’s not constantly crammed with people coming in from all over to experience what life was like in the seventeenth century in a fledgling agricultural settlement on the outskirts of what would one day become Boston.
(They nod, drink.)
— Could be the thing about people hating Boston.
— So it’s guys in costumes speaking in an archaic vernacular and churning butter under a hot sun or whatever. Not flashy enough for you? Here. Here’s a bus ticket. Go numb your brain in Times Square.
— The quiet of the place, its frank modesty, that’s part of what makes it so moving. That, and its brave refusal to ignore the darker aspects of our history.
(They nod, drink.)
— Ever feel like some people, like non-Bostonians most especially, might be sleepwalking through something major? Like, not the shit we see, but the shit behind the shit?
— Like America’s silent epidemic of depression? Its festering addiction to distraction? Like how some people mistake conspicuous consumption for meaningful experience? And how some others mistake hatred for virtue? Like how so many have lost contact with the communities that should help to sustain them and that they should help to sustain?
— Yeah, dude. Basically that. I worry that one day soon we’re all going to find ourselves condemned to lives of isolation and sorrow, all trapped inside the same airless, boundless nightmare anti-community.
— Like Fairfield County, Connecticut?
— If the whole world turns into one big Fairfield, that’ll make us two guys from Connecticut.
— Two guys from Connecticut, just begging to get laid out.
A U.K. Store Will Stop Labeling Its Kids Clothes as “Boys” and “Girls.” But It’s Not About the Kids.
by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Fri Sep 08 11:53:00 PDT 2017
The venerable British department store chain John Lewis announced last weekend that it would remove “boys” and “girls” labels from its brand of children’s clothing. Instead, the store will label its clothes, including dresses and skirts, as “Girls & Boys” or “Boys & Girls.” “We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear,” the brand’s head of children’s wear told reporters. The store also plans to stop marking separate sections for girls’ and boys’ clothes.
Reactions to the move were as divided as children’s clothing labels used to be. Outlets such as Teen Vogue and New Scientist approved, and the activist group Let Clothes Be Clothes hailed it as “fantastic news” that could influence larger and lower-cost brands. But the backlash has been notable, with one member of Parliament calling it “the onward march of the P.C. brigade.” When a private school in East Sussex announced later in the week that it was changing its uniform policy so that all students will wear pants, it seemed to confirm a larger shift. “SCHOOL BANS SKIRTS,” one tabloid blared in a front-page headline. Self-described “genderneutralphobe” Piers Morgan kvetched online about both stories.
John Lewis will almost certainly not be the last to toss gender-specific labels into the dustbin. Retailers that silo clothing and toys into separate areas for boys and girls are increasingly targets of woke ire on social media. “Everyone thinks that girls should just be pretty and boys should be adventurous,” an adorable 8-year-old lamented last year in front of a T-shirt display at a different British department store. Sometimes, viral complaints get results: When the mother of a science-loving 9-year-old girl complained to Lands’ End that its NASA crew T-shirts appeared only in the boys’ section, the brand developed a line of science-themed T-shirts for girls. Meanwhile, Handsome in Pink, Jill and Jack, Free to Be Kids, and many other aspirants on Kickstarter have framed stereotype-defiance as the core of their small brands.
This week’s pearl-clutchers—ladies only, please!—may be reassured to learn that going fully gender-neutral is harder than it looks. In the United States, Target announced a gender-neutral children’s line produced by the digital game company Toca Boca this summer and reaped a wave of positive publicity. “Target’s New Gender-Neutral Kids’ Collection Is Way Too Cute,” one parenting blog gushed. Toca Boca said its displays would be located between the girls’ and boys’ sections, but when a blogger visited a few stores over the summer, she found the line’s dresses in the girls’ section and graphic tees in the boys’ area. When I perused the Toca Boca brand on Target’s website this week, every single item of clothing was labeled for “girls” or “boys.” Only accessories like backpacks and bedding remained un-gendered.
Both the you-go-girl cheerleading and the aghast tut-tutting over unisex clothing for prepubescent children can feel overwrought. After all, parents can buy whatever clothes they want for their kids. My daughter wears dinosaur- and insect-patterned shirts I found in boys’ sections and pink sneakers and florals categorized for girls. There’s no electric fence that zaps you if you try to buy a sparkly shirt for your son and no law that will force British parents to dress their boys in John Lewis skirts. Far fewer people seem to be fretting over girls in dinosaur tees than boys in dresses.
The outsize reaction to John Lewis’ announcement this week is a reflection of the ambient gender anxiety of the moment. It’s grownups collecting all their hopes and uncertainties about toys and bathrooms and marriage and sex and shrinking them to fit onto the labels inside child-size pairs of pink pants. The war over children’s clothing isn’t about what any one child wears out in the world. It’s about the kind of world that greets that child, no matter what he or she is wearing.
A while back ago, I tried microwaving a bar of soap, basically in an effort to entertain my kids on an oh-so-boring cold-weathered Saturday. The only bar soap in the...
Brit + Co
These memes are hilarious.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Aug 29 15:54:28 PDT 2017
The president and his wife boarded Air Force One on Tuesday morning to visit southeastern Texas and survey the devastation Harvey has wrought. It was a chance for Donald and Melania Trump to set their egos aside and humble themselves before the victims of a tragedy whose scope we are only beginning to understand.
It was also a chance for them to sell their merchandise and play blue-collar dress-up. The president showed up in a white “USA” baseball cap, embroidered with his own last name, that he sells on his website for $40. Melania opted for a satiny olive bomber, tailored black trousers, aviator glasses, and a pair of teetering snakeskin stilettos. Her shoes attracted the most criticism from internet observers, prompting a White House spokeswoman to assure the Washington Examiner that Melania was planning on changing her shoes on the plane. Vogue, a known champion of garments that serve the gods of fashion over the false idols of function, said the heels were “better suited to a shopping afternoon on Madison Avenue or a girls’ luncheon at La Grenouille” than a trip to the site of an ongoing natural disaster.
True, Melania would risk an ankle sprain by merely stepping out of a climate-controlled limousine in those shoes, never mind walking through mud and debris to comfort evacuees recouping in shelters. But the rest of her outfit was just as obnoxious. It was as if an assistant told her they’d be roughing it on a mission to an inhospitable place of unimaginable devastation, and Melania thought “war zone.” Her aviators and bomber jacket are playing at the courage and ready-for-anything spirit that defines most mainstream depictions of the military, as if she were risking anything or helping anyone at all on this trip to Texas. (She’s not.) Melania was trying to use military signifiers to simulate utility and a willingness to get her hands dirty when she’ll likely return with her manicure intact, making a mockery of those whose olive drab and aviators come standard-issue.
By the time Melania disembarked in Corpus Christi, she had changed into white sneakers, a crisp white button-down with a popped collar, and a baseball hat that read “FLOTUS.” On a trip ostensibly made to support people who’ve lost everything and the agencies trying to help them recover, Melania found a way to make her visit about herself. One wonders when that hat will be up for sale on the president’s merch page.
No one expects the first lady to traipse through flood waters to save stranded Texans—that’s not her job, and her help would be far more trouble for rescue agencies than it would be worth. She didn’t need to show up in thigh-high waders and a poncho; anything that didn’t turn her trip to a flood zone into a platform for showing off the contents of her designer closet would have been fine. But for this former model, there can be no sublimating of the wardrobe to keep the attention on those in need. Fashion doesn’t take a break, and white is a perfectly good color for a blouse in a rainstorm.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Sep 19 14:27:18 PDT 2017
If you have an Amazon account, you might be freaking out right now. You just got an email congratulating you on a gift from your baby registry that recently shipped, but you don’t remember notifying Amazon of your pregnancy, choosing items for a registry, or conceiving a child in the first place. What does Amazon know that you don’t?!
Don’t worry—you’re not secretly pregnant. (Unless you are, in which case: Mazel tov!) It looks like Amazon accidentally sent the same email to a lot of people, regardless of the occupancy status of their uterus.
We’ve confirmed that both men and women got the email, so it’s not a sexist “Amazon sent a thing to all women because women love babies” thing. (One Slate colleague who got the email does in fact have his own baby registry, as he and his wife recently had a baby, so he assumed an actual gift was heading his way.) But a little unscientific polling of my friends and colleagues has revealed that the recipients are mostly women. What gives?
I didn’t immediately think anything was off about this email because I purchased something off my friends’ Amazon baby registry earlier this week, and assumed this email meant it had shipped or something. It wasn’t until I saw Maria Konnikova’s tweet that I realized what had happened, and that I wasn’t the only one. What I’m saying is, I think Amazon accidentally sent possibly millions of people an email that was just meant for me. Sorry!
More unscientific polling of my people reveals a significant but not exclusive correlation between getting the email and having purchased items off friends’ baby registries. And the link in the email goes to the general Amazon page used to set up baby registries. So here’s another theory: Amazon looked at users’ previous purchases, tagged those who’d bought baby things, figured that those users are in the time of life when and social circles where people are starting to have babies, and guessed that they might want to set up a registry sometime soon, too. Or maybe a baby just crawled across the Amazon master keyboard. It’s anyone’s guess!
Update, Sept. 20, 2017: Amazon has issued the following statement on its weird baby email: “We are notifying affected customers. A technical glitch caused us to inadvertently send a gift alert e-mail earlier today. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.” Cool.
by Micah Hauser @ The XX Factor
Tue Aug 22 16:34:53 PDT 2017
Inside a narrow storefront wedged between the butcheries, cheese shops, and street vendors of Philadelphia’s historic Italian Market, Cybil Sanzetenea plunged a serrated kitchen knife into a dense, Styrofoam ball. “These are the heads,” she said, shoving what looked like an oversized tongue depressor into the newly formed slot. “And these are the bodies.”
For the past six weeks, Sanzetenea has led a puppet-making workshop at El Futuro, an outpost of the nonprofit Mighty Writers, in which a dozen elementary schoolers wrote monologues about their own immigration experiences and built puppet alter-egos to perform them. The idea was hatched in the run-up to the 2016 election, as Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric intensified and the organizers of Mighty Writers detected a growing sense of nervousness and fear among the young students they work with, many of who come from families with undocumented parents.
“I was so surprised to hear how genuinely scared these kids were on a daily basis of coming home to find that their parents or family members had been taken,” Sanzetenea said. “They had such elaborate plans that had been so clearly discussed about what to do in those scenarios. Every single time they opened the door there were strategic measures.” Tim Whitaker, who founded Mighty Writers in 2009, explained that they wanted to find a way to relieve the students’ anxiety. “These kids walk around with a cloud over their head about possible deportation,” he said. Many of the children understand with surprising clarity the precariousness of their situation. They know they have access to a certain level of safety from which their parents are excluded. And yet, there are few opportunities, especially outside the home, to commiserate, express frustration, or even joke with other kids who face similar challenges. From an early age, most are taught that being undocumented, or having an undocumented family member, is a secret to keep closely guarded. Simply to have a creative venue to talk about it –in ways unexpectedly humorous and serious, in turn–can spell big relief.
The programming at El Futuro is geared mainly toward the neighborhood’s large Mexican community—like a trading floor, the space has multiple clocks on the wall, one set to the time in Philadelphia, the other, Mexico City. For the first workshop, conceived by Mexican artist Nora Litz and held early in the summer, each student made a comic book to convey some aspect of how it felt to be an immigrant in the United States. Despite the broad instructions, almost every one dealt with Trump, the wall, or some form of family separation. In one, stick figures lurch through space, desperately reaching toward each other. In another, a wall labeled “America” looms in the foreground, as horrified children gather around a living room window, peeking out. Another depicts an enraged Trump yelling “GET IN THE WALL!!!”, while two characters in the next frame, described as “Donald Trump’s friends,” laugh as an image of Earth floats above them, surrounded by question marks.
For the puppet-making workshop, Sanzetenea and her co-teacher Isabel Díaz Alanís explicitly instructed the kids to focus less on politics and more on the quotidian aspects of the immigrant experience, from having to translate for your parents to carrying a lunchbox full of food that looks different from your peers’. They hoped to counteract the tendency, increasingly prevalent, to view immigration as a sob story, something shameful, and emphasize instead the hard work and bravery that comes along with straddling two cultural worlds. It was meant to be a respite. But in the end, the reality of our political moment was inescapable. The final puppet show was this past Tuesday, days after the white supremacist march in Charlottesville.
Standing in front of a cardboard stage, painted aquamarine and adorned with neon pom-poms, Díaz Alanís began: “The events that have unfolded since white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia last Saturday remind us once again of an obligation that might feel burdensome: speaking up. Speaking up to say I am here, my story is relevant, and I will be heard.” It was a heavy opening. The kids sat attentively, wiggling their puppets, while a few parents held up their cellphones, poised to record.
One by one, the performers approached the stage, animating their puppets as they narrated their stories.
“I am Indonesian, because my parents are Indonesian. I know this because they eat Indonesian food.”
“As the child of Russian immigrants, some people make unfair judgments about my life.”
“I like to watch TV in English and in Spanish.”
Charlottesville was not mentioned again. But its violence hovered in the wings. In this context, these light-hearted monologues, which chronicled the joys and challenges of life in an immigrant family, felt almost like tiny radical acts. They were comprised of small, silly embarrassments involving a culturally confused parent or needling friend, the kinds of things any child, immigrant or not, would recognize. As Sanzetenea performed last-minute glue gun surgery on the cardboard set, a young Indonesian boy named Hilmy was readying his puppet, which had a blue body, a red belt, and a white star on his chest. “Like Captain America,” he explained. Then he zoomed off toward the stage.
by Benjamin Pineros @ Lost At E Minor: For creative people
Sun Sep 24 14:00:26 PDT 2017
What do you think will happen if you apply pink, glittery poster paint all over your face? We’ll tell you what happens. IT WON’T COME OFF! One good day, Twitter ... Read more
The post This is why it’s NEVER a good idea to cover your face with poster paint appeared first on Lost At E Minor: For creative people.
These Old Photos of Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer Are a Deeply Moving Portrait of Queer Love and Desire
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Sep 13 11:27:00 PDT 2017
On Tuesday, one of the heroes of the modern gay rights movement died at the age of 88. Edie Windsor, whose Supreme Court victory slayed the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, quickly rose to fame in the years that followed, becoming a recognizable face at queer benefits and celebrations. Her platinum-blond bob and impeccable style made her a ready icon, emanating the kind of joy and defiant glamour on which gay communities have thrived for generations.
If you follow a critical mass of queers on social media, your feeds, like mine, have filled with posts memorializing Windsor in the day since her death. Many include old photos of Windsor with her late wife, Thea Spyer, who died in 2009 after living for years with multiple sclerosis, just two years after the couple married in Canada. Because their marriage wasn’t recognized in New York, where they lived, Spyer’s death stuck Windsor with an estate tax bill in excess of $600,000. A legal wife would have been exempt from the tax—a fact of inequality that the Supreme Court used to justify its overturning of DOMA.
Now, that marriage serves as a vital symbol of queer love flourishing in the inhospitable landscape of a homophobic society. Scrolling through the photos that document their more than four decades together is an affirming experience unmatched by most other posthumous tributes to famous political figures. In images of Windsor and Spyer loving on one another, queer people can see themselves.
Part of the magic here is that the couple’s photos span several decades, from times that didn’t produce many photos of queer couples. Windsor and Spyer got engaged in 1967, when cameras were a luxury and film processing took some effort. Plus, back then, many gay couples lived in secret; they didn’t document their relationships on paper at all. Any old photos we see today are usually pictures of family members, famous people, or historic events. Unless one’s parents or friends are gay and past middle age, it’s incredibly rare to see a collection of photos of a gay couple that date back to the ’60s and march right up to present day. The existence of these images is a reminder that queer love has persisted throughout history, that mid-century queer life meant not only gay-bashings and clandestine bars, but also transcendent connection.
Then there are the photos themselves, which testify to a profound, radiant love. Windsor has spoken eloquently about what it’s like to care for someone with a debilitating illness, recounting how they spun around dance floors on Spyer’s wheelchair and how insulting it was when people treated Windsor like her caretaker. “I was never her nurse—I’m her lover!” Windsor once told the New Yorker. “I was just doing things to make her comfortable—and that was with loving her and digging her.” She said they never abandoned their hot-as-hell sex life, even when the physicality of the act became complicated as Spyer’s condition worsened. In images of the couple from decades past, that desire is palpable: They frequently lean on one another, press their cheeks together, lock eyes like they’re about to kiss. The photo used to promote Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, a documentary about their relationship, is bracingly intimate, as if the viewer happened upon the couple in their own bedroom.
These pictures hit me straight in the gut, both because of what Windsor gave us and because, in her love with Spyer, I see my own lovers and friends. Some of the photos seem to capture ordinary moments, when a pal with a camera saw a happy couple and hit the shutter. At the beach, in the city, in cluttered rooms and front yards, Spyer and Windsor could be any pair of lesbians navigating everyday life. I recognize their body language, the way they fit together as a butch-femme pair; I can see why Spyer made Windsor’s heart quiver and why Windsor made Spyer’s turn to mush. Even their old-school clothes, important markers of gender presentation, resonate with gays of today: I know at least three dykes with the oversized frames Windsor sported in this poolside shot and several dapper queers who would kill for Spyer’s tailored trousers and loafers this fall. They are an undeniably beautiful couple. That helps.
Long after these photos were taken, after Spyer’s death and her Supreme Court win, Windsor got remarried to a woman more than 35 years her junior. (Respect.) She spent the last several years of her life with her arms wide open, showing up all over the damn place to embrace the queer community she’d long loved, which finally got to love her back, loud and in public. Windsor was honored in several Pride parades, sure, but she also walked in the dyke marches, the more radical, in-your-face celebrations, better known for exposed breasts and protest chants than rainbow lanyards and celebrities on floats. She was one of the best of us. More importantly, in both her world-changing activism and her passionate, everyday love, she was one of us.
“He Looks Like a Dick”: The Transcript of Jurors Explaining Their Biases Toward Martin Shkreli Is a Gift
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Aug 16 15:25:00 PDT 2017
Self-care can take many forms, and it doesn’t have to involve funneling money toward your bath bomb collection. For instance, today, you can reclaim your time with a quick skim through a random sampling of Americans’ opinions on one Martin Shkreli.
Harper’s has published selections from the June transcript of voir dire in the fraud trial of the famously besmirked pharma bro, wherein prospective jurors were forced to reveal to a judge any biases that might prevent them from making a fair decision in Shkreli’s case. More than 200 people were dismissed from the pile of possible jury members because, it seems, Shkreli’s reputation as a smug jerkoff who price-gouges HIV and cancer patients preceded him. Their in-court explanations are positively healing to read.
“The only thing I’d be impartial about is what prison this guy goes to,” one juror declared. Said another: “I don’t like this person at all. I just can’t understand why he would be so stupid as to take an antibiotic which H.I.V. people need and jack it up five thousand percent. I would honestly, like, seriously like to go over there—” “Sir, thank you,” the judge interrupted, presumably to protect the potential juror from drawing charges of his own for threatening the defendant.
These hero almost-jurors prove that effective shade need not be complicated nor particularly creative. Some of their simplest phrases are their best. “I have total disdain for the man”; “I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him”—if these people weren’t standing before a judge, they would 100 percent be blowing on the tips of their nails, flipping their hair, and flouncing away before their interlocutors could utter another word. Everything they said—“he’s a greedy little man”; “he’s the most hated man in America”—is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but reading the comments as a whole feels even better than truth-telling. It feels like watching that inauguration Nazi-punching GIF over and over again, but without people fighting all over your Facebook wall about whether or not it was okay.
The most honest juror self-disqualifications concern Shkreli’s face, which nine out of 10 faceologists* (*not a real medical specialty) agree is yearning to be knocked around. “I was looking yesterday in the newspaper and I saw the defendant,” one person said. “There was something about him. I can’t be fair. There was something that didn’t look right.” Yes, yes, that sounds right. Another juror explained that “when I walked in here today I looked at him, and in my head, that’s a snake—not knowing who he was—I just walked in and looked right at him and that’s a snake.” Perceptive!
Of course, none of these people made it onto Shkreli’s jury, because judges must strive to get a set of 12 people who know as little about the involved parties as possible, and who have no preconceived notions about their innocence or guilt. That’s great for the justice system, but sad for me, because I would very much like to hear more sharp observations from the mind of juror No. 144. “The question is, have you heard anything that would affect your ability to decide this case with an open mind. Can you do that?” the judge asked the prospective juror. “I don’t think I can,” the juror replied, “because he kind of looks like a dick.” That kind of well-reasoned argument belongs in every good jury deliberation, or at least in the miniseries adaptation.
by mariayagoda @ PEOPLE.com
Wed Jun 22 13:24:04 PDT 2016
Samoas in cupcake form was a thing we never knew we needed, but now it’s the only thing we can think about.
Pillsbury just unveiled Girl Scout Cookie baking mixes, which are available in Thin Mints and Caramel & Coconut – a.k.a. Samoas – flavors. The four new mixes are for baking cupcakes, brownies and blondies — unfortunately, you won’t be able to make actual Girl Scout Cookies, because that would put a lot of 7-year-olds out of business.
“Families can try out their favorite cookie flavors in the form of brownies, cupcakes, and blondies, while they wait for the real thing once a year during Girl Scout Cookie season,” said Girl Scouts of the USA chief revenue officer Barry Horowitz in a statement.
GSC loyalists are, to put it mildly, freaking out.
— Elizabeth Sowers (@easowers) June 22, 2016
— Doug Delony (@DougDelonyKHOU) June 22, 2016
The mixes, now available nationwide, retail for $3.29 each — almost $2 less than what you’d pay for a box of cookies.
WATCH THIS: The Girl Scouts Cookie Oven Will Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Year Around
RELATED: The Best Girl Scout Cookie Recipes
Easily the best part of all this news is the fact that we will now be able to eat Girl Scout Cookie dough, something we never thought would be possible in our lifetimes!
Also Thin Mint brownie sundaes.
Also Samoas-flavored birthday cake.
Can you tell we’re excited about it?
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Thu Aug 31 13:04:00 PDT 2017
After years of battling ex-fiancée Sofía Vergara in court for custody of a pair of frozen embryos they once made together, condiment entrepreneur Nick Loeb might finally be out of luck. Last week, a federal judge in Louisiana dismissed Loeb’s suit, saying that the embryos are “citizens of California,” where Vergara and Loeb conceived and froze them. Thus, the judge ruled, embryos have no legal standing to sue in Louisiana, the only state that gives embryos the right to sue and be sued.
Embryos are frozen when they are just clumps of a few dozen cells, equivalent to a vaginally inseminated egg that would still take another week to become embedded in the uterine wall. Louisiana law deems these cells “juridical persons”—not quite human beings, but deserving of legal rights. In Louisiana, embryos are not merely property of the two people who made them, so any legal disputes must meet “the best interest of the in vitro fertilized ovum.”
That’s the most likely reason why Loeb sued Vergara in Louisiana despite the fact that neither party maintains a residence there.* (Loeb says he chose the state because the couple broke up there; he dropped an earlier California suit because he didn’t want to name his previous girlfriends who’d had abortions.) Actually, Loeb didn’t exactly sue Vergara—the embryos, “Emma” and “Isabella,” did. “Plaintiff EMMA is a female human being at the embryonic stage of life, five days old developmentally,” the “right to live” suit read, claiming that Vergara had “effectively abandoned and chronically neglected” her children by keeping them frozen in a medical tank since 2013. Though Vergara and Loeb had signed a contract when they were together agreeing that the embryos would never be implanted anywhere without both parties’ consent, Loeb wanted to nullify the agreement and implant them in a surrogate.
Over the past couple of years, the Vergara–Loeb embryo battle has become a proxy fight for anti-abortion advocates who think frozen embryos should be treated like people. Anti-abortion groups have funded or filed amicus briefs in the embryo disputes of split-up couples, including the case of a Missouri woman named Jalesia McQueen. In the middle of her own court battle over two frozen embryos (“Noah” and “Genesis”) with an ex-husband who wanted to dispose of them, McQueen founded an organization called Embryo Defense to advocate for all excess embryos in legal limbo. She aggregates news on the Vergara–Loeb case and uses their photos in images made for sharing on social media. The graphics say things like “Sofia says it’s ‘selfish’ to let the embryos be born without both parents being in a loving relationship. Shouldn’t both parents just love the child?” and “Please pray for Sofia Vergara and those she called her ‘frozen babies,’ that she’d open her heart so they could be a blessing in her life.” One pairs a picture of Loeb’s face with the question “what about a father’s right to choose?”
The concept of “a father’s right” to procreate without input from the woman whose egg created the embryo is a favorite rallying cry of the embryo-protector set. Loeb himself made this argument in a 2015 New York Times op-ed with the magnificent headline “Sofía Vergara’s Ex-Fiancé: Our Frozen Embryos Have a Right to Live.” “A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects,” Loeb wrote. “Shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects?”
The federal judge’s decision against Loeb is only the latest in a string of disappointing court losses for those who believe embryos should be treated like people. When Barack Obama lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in 2009, he was hit with a lawsuit from one Mary Scott Doe, a “frozen embryo symbolizing all existing frozen embryos.” A federal appeals court ruled that Doe had no standing as an “amorphous” class that could not prove any actual harm. In 2015, a California Superior Court judge ruled that a contract a divorced couple signed at the medical center where they created the embryo prevented either party from taking unilateral custody of the embryos unless one of the parties died. Even McQueen, the founder of Embryo Defense, lost her suit late last year when a St. Louis court ruled that embryos are “marital property of a special character,” not human beings with unalienable rights.
That St. Louis case might be the most promising decision yet for those who believe that no person should be able to incubate an embryo without the consent of the other person whose genetic material it carries. The others, which rest on the tenets of contract law, legal standing, and jurisdiction, say more about how the suits were filed than what rights adults have to the embryos they create. Still, Loeb’s loss could set a welcome precedent in these kinds of cases: Jurisdiction-shopping embryo protectors might find Louisiana to be a less hospitable home for a lawsuit than they’d imagined.
*Correction, August 31, 2017: This piece originally referred to “the most likely reason why Loeb sued Vergara in California, despite the fact that neither party maintains a residence there.” It should have said Louisiana.
by Jeff Gourdji @ Prophet Thinking
Mon Sep 18 03:24:56 PDT 2017
As most industries shift focus toward delivering meaningful consumer experiences, healthcare lags behind. Explore 5 key shifts healthcare organizations need to make to become more consumer-centric.
The post Five Shifts Healthcare Organizations Need to Make to be More Consumer-Centric appeared first on Prophet Thinking.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Aug 25 15:27:53 PDT 2017
Whenever Taylor Swift drops a new single, her fans are quick to scour the lyrics for references to real-life beefs and beaus. Her work has been reliably, if loosely, autobiographical throughout her career, down to the secret messages she leaves with capitalized letters in her liner notes.
Well, viewing the much-hyped song Swift released late Thursday night, “Look What You Made Me Do,” through an autobiographical lens is a real bummer. The song elevates Swift’s pitiful spoken-word capabilities at the expense of her immense songwriting talent, forcing her to almost rap the chorus of a tune that describes a pathetic existence I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
It sounds like her grudges occupy so much of her psychic space that there’s hardly room for a personality, let alone anything resembling joy. “The world moves on, another day, another drama drama,” she sings. “But not for me, not for me—all I think about is karma.” While others forgive, forget, and move on to more fulfilling relationships, Swift is consumed by resentment, unable to see past those who’ve wronged her until they suffer. Instead of making a life on her own terms, she follows her nemeses around, obsessing over their slights long after they’ve forgotten them, while she waits for her revenge to chill.
Smart people have said that forgiveness offers a greater benefit to the forgiver than the forgivee, a lesson Swift would have us believe she has yet to learn. “I got a list of names, and yours is in red, underlined” she sings in “Look What You Made Me Do.” There’s another young woman with a list of names in our current pop-culture milieu, and she’s currently sabotaging her relationship with one of her few surviving family members over an affront that’s been gathering dust for several years. Arya Stark’s preoccupation with revenge makes for good, action-packed TV. In real life, the immediate gratification of vengeance soon evaporates to leave a gaping hole, a welcoming nest for a snake.
Like Stark, Swift’s self-isolation seemed empowered at first. They don’t need anybody but themselves, and their sharp tongues (or swords) are powerful weapons against those who cause them harm. But the line between self-preservation and self-destruction is thin. Swift makes it clear in “Look What You Made Me Do” that she’s crossed it. When she sings that “the world moves on” while she’s still waiting to get her payback, she’s saying that she stands apart from the world; it’s her against everyone, with no one on her side. “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me,” she sings proudly. It sounds dangerously close to “Nobody likes me / everybody hates me / guess I’ll go eat worms.”
The lyric video Swift dropped along with the song has a paranoid vibe, with messages scrawled on leafless trees, shifty eyes in rearview mirrors, and spray-painted threats inside dark tunnels. There are multiple mentions of Swift rising from the dead and killing old versions of herself, as if every time she’s hurt, she has to create a whole new person to contain the growing mass of fermenting rage that’s chomping away at her insides.
Speaking of which: The video illustrates the chorus of “Look What You Made Me Do” with an ouroboros. Traditionally, the snake eating its own tail is a symbol of regeneration, an infinite circle of life. Swift will always rise from the grave or bounce back from hardships, the image seems to say. But the snake is also nourishing itself on its own flesh. “Ooh, look what you made me do,” Swift sings as the animal annihilates itself. She has no agency, no ability to step away from the edge of the chasm her self-destructive impulses have led her to.
If this song isn’t written as an earnest description of her mental state—if, instead, it’s a send-up of the image the media has created for Swift, which, to be fair, is a real possibility—it’s a pretty lame one. “Blank Space” worked as a light-hearted tribute to Swift’s tabloid reputation as a man-eating cyclone of drama; “Look What You Made Me Do” is neither fun nor funny enough to make for a satisfying meta riff on her reputation. The narrator sounds more bitter than self-aware and, given Swift’s history of well-placed disses, the story sounds too close to the truth.
The Daily Dot
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes—and so do dank memes about Dove.
by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Wed Aug 09 14:16:49 PDT 2017
What’s the only thing more frightening than an unstable man with the nuclear codes? A unstable man who is being told that God himself has given his blessing to push the big red button.
On Tuesday, President Trump said North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continued to threaten the United States. Soon afterward, an evangelical adviser to the president released a statement saying that God has given Trump authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear,” Robert Jeffress, pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Dallas, said in a statement given to the Christian Broadcasting Network. “God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary—including war—to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un.”
Jeffress, who was one of Trump’s earliest and loudest evangelical supporters during the 2016 campaign, later tweeted praise for the president’s reliability and predictability:
In a follow-up interview with the Washington Post, Jeffress elaborated that he was referring to Romans 13, which includes a passage on how Christians should relate to political authorities. The passage says that government authorities have been installed by God, and a ruler is the “servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.” In Jeffress’ interpretation, that gives leaders freedom “to do whatever, whether it’s assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong Un.”
Christian media outlets regularly cover the plight of the estimated 300,000 Christians in North Korea, where citizens are required to worship the Kim family and other religious practices are banned. The latest issue of the conservative evangelical magazine World, for example, features a long reported story on efforts by Christian defectors to draw attention to human rights abuses in their home country. (On Wednesday, North Korea released a Canadian pastor who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015 on charges of using religion to overthrow Kim’s government.)
It’s one thing to pay close attention to religious persecution in a totalitarian nation. It’s another thing to give a confident thumbs-up to nuclear war, especially since many Christian groups have long been on the forefront of the anti-nuclear movement. (Catholic groups have arguably been the most consistently outspoken.) But evangelist Billy Graham, an influential spiritual adviser to American presidents starting with Harry Truman, also called the end of the nuclear arms race his “No. 1 social concern” in the early 1980s and set off on a college speaking tour about the need for disarmament.
But times have changed, and now evangelicals such as Jeffress have the president’s ear. Before last year, Jeffress was best known nationally for his occasional pronouncements on topics like the satanic origins of Mormonism, Catholicism, and Islam. Jeffress was a member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board during the campaign and appeared with Trump several times at rallies, reassuring attendees that the thrice-married casino mogul would be a “true friend” to evangelicals as president. He preached at a private ceremony for the Trump family before the inauguration, and he has been a frequent visitor to the White House since then. Last month, his church’s large choir performed an original song titled “Make America Great Again” at the Celebrate Freedom Rally in Washington. Trump apparently loved it.
Jeffress’ statement about North Korea makes clear that he is not claiming to have received a new revelation from God that Trump should go after Kim. These days, that counts as reassuring news. Rather, the pastor is offering a controversial interpretation of a tricky piece of scripture he sees as applicable to the current moment. Still, in order to argue that God has granted political authorities the right to do evil to combat evil, he has to brush away significant other chunks of the New Testament. Romans 12—the chapter just before the one Jeffress cites—explicitly commands readers not to repay evil with evil. Jeffress brushed that off to the Post, saying the command applies only to Christian individuals, not governments. And what about Jesus’ sermon in which he sweepingly upends traditional hierarchies in order to elevate the meek, the merciful, and the peacemakers? “A Christian writer asked me, ‘Don’t you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?’ ” Jeffress told the Post. “I said absolutely not.”
by Peter Dixon @ Prophet Thinking
Thu Aug 31 07:35:19 PDT 2017
Consumer expectations are constantly being reset, and with digital technologies and […]
The post If You Are Not Working on Customer Experience, You’re Working on the Wrong Thing appeared first on Prophet Thinking.
by Heather Schwedel @ The XX Factor
Mon Aug 07 12:31:13 PDT 2017
When a celebrity couple breaks up, of course the decent thing to do would be to pay no mind, to “respect the couple’s privacy at this difficult time.” But when we’ve spent years watching them on red carpets, reading about their relationship in magazines, liking their cutesy Instagram posts, and gobbling up their anecdotes on talk shows, the impulse to react personally is hard to subdue. And in the case of Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, who announced their separation on Sunday, the overwhelming reaction is one of sadness. These two weren’t an Angie and Brad–style tabloid staple, nor were they a flavor of the week, destined to burn out before their next press tour. Instead, they seemed to be that rare thing—a low-key (for Hollywood), actually-likes-each-other couple that could be in it for the long haul.
Their statement about the separation, which they both released on social media, is shattering in its plain-spokenness (“We tried hard for a long time, and we’re really disappointed”) and offers a hint at the “real deal” factor that made their union so compelling. Of course, the idea that a casual observer of any marriage, let alone a celebrity one from a distance, could have any idea what it’s like on the inside is flawed, yet Farris and Pratt had that spark of authenticity that made people root for them. Part of that charm has its origins in the story of how Faris and Pratt got together about a decade ago, on the set of a now-forgotten romantic comedy, when she was the more famous of the pair. (She was married at the time but began dating Pratt when that relationship ended, and they got engaged and married soon after. The two had a son together in 2012.)
When they met, Pratt had appeared on TV shows like Everwood and The O.C., but Faris had made a name for herself as the ditzy blonde in the Scary Movie franchise, headlined a few movies on her own, and was poised to become the next big thing. In a 2011 profile, the New Yorker called Faris “Hollywood’s most original comic actress,” and though she’s held several starring roles since then, including one on the CBS sitcom Mom, her career didn’t end up taking the A-list, it-girl trajectory such a writeup hopes to foretell. But during the same period, Pratt’s did. He parlayed a beloved ensemble role in Parks & Recreation to landing lead parts in blockbusters like Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy, and along the way, he went from beer-bellied goof to hard-bodied heartthrob. This seemed to add another dimension to their relationship—she had her success, now he’ll have his. But viewed in hindsight, it now sounds like both typical Hollywood and high school all over again: A guy goes away to summer soccer camp, has a growth spurt, and gets cool. When he comes back, he breaks up with his old girlfriend and starts hanging out with the popular kids.
Of course, this is all speculation, and Pratt’s career hasn’t been without its setbacks. (Remember Passengers?) But part of what feels heartbreaking here lies in the way this breakup resonates with Hollywood’s tradition of treating men and women very differently, which gives context to Pratt’s ascent. Faris’s career may be chugging along beside it, but her lack of astronomical success ends up looking like she got the short end of the stick. Their ages further flesh out this reading: At 40, Faris might be considered past her prime by Hollywood standards, whereas Pratt, slightly younger at 38, is just coming into his and can look forward to another decade or more of lead roles. Faris will be fine—she’s got that CBS money—but where’s her franchise?
Having a career in the public eye exerts an unmeasurable toll on relationships, and Faris herself spoke recently to People about the pressure she and Pratt faced. “I don’t think that’s something, when you’re an actor, that you’re prepared for,” she said. “There are two different roles that you play—the one on-camera and the one in public. That’s the tricky part.” We can never know what really broke the two up, but the meta narrative is enough to make you give up on love—and hope for women in Hollywood—completely.
"Dove I have arms please advise."
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Aug 23 15:11:44 PDT 2017
The Boy Scouts of America are conducting a “covert campaign” to get girls into their programs, according to a stern letter the Girl Scouts of the USA sent the Boy Scouts board on Monday. The letter, obtained by BuzzFeed, says that the BSA’s plan would "result in fundamentally undercutting [the] Girl Scouts.” A BSA spokeswoman confirmed that the organization has been “exploring the benefits of bringing Scouting to every member of the family—boys and girls,” though no final decisions have been made.
If BSA leaders are considering admitting girls to boost membership numbers, as the Girl Scouts allege, can you blame them? The group is one of the best-known civic organizations in the country, but it only markets to half the population in its target age group. Little girls and parents have accused BSA of engaging in gender discrimination, pushing for the organization to let kids of any gender join a troop and earn merit badges like any other scout. And with the public-relations deficit BSA has racked up with its ban on gay leaders (which they recently reversed after much criticism) and its chillingly warm reception for Donald Trump, the Boy Scouts could use a highly publicized, progressive win.
None of that makes girls in the Boy Scouts a good idea. The organizations were founded on two very different visions of gender in America. While BSA began as a response to turn-of-the-century worries that rugged American boys were becoming urbane weaklings, GSUSA began soon after as a space for girls to explore the adventuresome, outdoorsy sides of themselves that were discouraged by mainstream society. The Boy Scouts were affiliated with a different girls’ organization for a time: the Campfire Girls, which represented a more traditional gender paradigm with an emphasis on domestic handiwork. If the Boy Scouts were founded to tether boys to stringent gender norms, the Girl Scouts were founded to challenge them.
Ever since then, GSUSA has helped girls exercise their power and test their capabilities in a space set apart from the boys by whose skill sets they might otherwise measure their own accomplishments. When girls don’t have to worry about how they’ll look if they perform a task better or worse than a boy, they’re more likely to explore the far reaches of their own potential. They also get opportunities that are harder to find in organizations where boys make up the majority—or even minority—of participants. When girls and young women must occupy all leadership roles, girls and young women learn how to lead.
According to the letter GSUSA sent to BSA leadership, the organization is considering gender-neutralizing some of its programs to appeal to millennial parents, who may see less value in signing their boys up for single-gender activities. In the U.S., much to the chagrin of men’s rights groups, most men-only colleges and civic organizations have started accepting women, while many women-only groups have resisted such integration. Perhaps young parents don’t want their kids associated with a group known for its history of regressive politics, or maybe they don’t think their boys need the roughening-and-toughening of an organized boys’ club that hasn’t much changed since their fathers were scouts in the ’60s. (The Girl Scouts, in contrast, have readily evolved with the times in both curriculum and stances on social issues.)
If boys have a special, specific need today, it’s not for a group that reinforces traditionally masculine behaviors and activities. The biggest benefit kids can get out of a single-gender social group is a chance to experience life outside the confines of ubiquitous gender dynamics. The 21st century doesn’t need Boy Scout troops with girls in them. It needs a Boy Scout curriculum that challenges and expands traditional notions of masculinity, doing for boys what GSUSA has done for girls. Instead of chipping away at the Girl Scouts’ membership, the Boy Scouts should heed its example.
Help! I Just Clicked Gmail’s Automated Responses and Now I am On a Deserted Island in Fiji for Having Accrued Too Much Debt
by BROTI GUPTA and KAREN CHEE @ McSweeney’s
Tue Sep 19 08:01:00 PDT 2017
“Thank you! You, too!”
“What was that?”
“That sounds great!”
“That also sounds great!”
“That doesn’t sound as good.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older? Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long. And wouldn’t it be nice to live together, in the kind of world where we belong?”
“What do you mean these ‘lyrics’ are taken? I just published it as an original poem.”
“No, I thought of them independently! I’ve never even met a Beach Man before.”
“OK, well it seems like they should be Men by now.”
“No, I would not like a lawyer at this time.”
“Actually, I would like one immediately. A female lawyer is fine. I am a male feminist.”
“The legal prep is going well. I’m picking up good vibrations. She’s giving me excitations.”
“Of course I did not mean that sexually. I read bell hooks once, and it was good.”
“Hold on, those are also lyrics?”
“Maybe I’m a musical prodigy.”
“THEY want to meet ME?”
“Oh, well can I ask for their autographs in court?”
“Yes, fine, I will flee the country until you figure this out.”
“One way sounds fine, I’ll book when I get there.”
“Quick question: where exactly is Fiji and how many islands does it have? Is there Wi-Fi?”
“My lawyer, lost at sea?? Good luck, fish!”
“Oh, I didn’t mean to make light of it.”
“Yes, I can make the memorial service next week.”
“Bring the body?”
“Please resend longitude and latitude.”
“Weak signal, but sailed to neighboring island. Will loop you in soon.”
“Boat sailed away. Cell tower was mirage. Turned out to be a tree.”
“Lost the case? Lost the lawyer too.”
“Sand tastes terrible.”
“It’s been one week on the island.”
“Sand is tasting better now.”
“Week seventy: my only dreams are about the island. Life before it means nothing.”
“I’ve been so bored that I started writing music. No lyrics though, don’t worry. Wanna listen?”
“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. The MELODY?”
“No, of course I didn’t! Has anyone ever surfed the U.S.A.? That’s not even possible with all the land!”
“So far I have to pay for the funeral, a new lawyer, the court fees, and now three songs?”
“Okay, ha-ha, you created an email address for my landlord.”
“So far I have to pay for the funeral, a new lawyer, the court fees, three songs, and RENT????”
“Week one-hundred forty: I’m married to Philip. We had been dating on and off for a few months. At first, I thought I wouldn’t get into anything serious, but as time went on, our relationship solidified. He is my soul. He is my purpose. He is my rock. He is a coconut. He fell out of a tree and landed directly onto me, forever changing my life and permanently damaging my left knee. I am devastated to report that he is cheating on me. The last thing I wanted was to be clingy, but while I was working through my trust issues, he found solace in Elizabeth, another coconut, who is not in debt because, again, she is a coconut. The nights are sad, dry, and lonely, and the days are exactly the same, but drier. I keep running into Philip and Elizabeth rolling around together and it wrecks my heart. My only respite from this hell are the moments that I spend looking after mine and Philip’s son. Yes, I am a mother — a good mother at that. My boy used to be part of the boat that brought me here. I think we’ll be alright, Danny and I. We’ll have to be.”
“Thank you! You, too!”
by ELI BURNSTEIN @ McSweeney’s
Thu Sep 21 05:01:00 PDT 2017
1. If sitting is the new smoking, you nine-to-fivers are suckin’ em back like there’s no tomorrow. Studies show that long periods of seated inactivity have been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even early death. So get out of those chairs and on to those treadmills — it’s easier than you think!1
2. “What about standing desks?” No way, jose! The results are in: standing is bad for you too. So unless you want lkp;ower back pain, don’t just stand up while typing—follow my lead and start mp0opving your body!
3. Walking burns calorieaaaaaaaaaca, so why wait to hit the gym when you can do it while firing off a few emails? Kill two birds with one stpne!
$. Exercise isn’’t just great for your body—it’s great for your minf!1 Whether you’re interval training like me or going at a steady paaAAAAAAacewreef, turn that frown upside down with some good old-fashioned cardiovasscaluzlrik;exalfkj
5, Last but not lea , aa walking improves job satisfaction. So fire up that computer, hop on that treadmill, and start doing the finest work of your careeeeq3!r
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Jul 25 13:02:00 PDT 2017
If you’d like to test whether your human capacity for shock has been overworked to the point of total ruin by Donald Trump’s presidency, watch his Monday evening address to the Boy Scouts of America’s quadrennial jamboree. Every beat more self-obsessed, petty, and hateful than the last, the speech found Trump cussing and alluding to sexual exploits in front of a crowd of children, congratulating himself and demeaning his ideological opponents at an event that has pretty much steered clear of partisanship for 80 years.
Plenty of member of Trump’s audience were right there with him. They clapped when he insulted the press and the specific videographers at the event. They booed when Trump made a passing mention of Hillary Clinton during an extended rant about how thoroughly he won the presidential election. They chanted “USA!” when he said that former Boy Scout and current Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is “helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy” by getting the Senate votes necessary to start “killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us.” (If Price didn’t get those votes, Trump told the scouts, he’d fire the secretary.)
Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.
In some ways, the Boy Scouts represent a perfect slate onto which Trump can project his fantasies about authoritarian rule and a bygone era of white men saying and doing whatever they wanted. As Amanda Marcotte wrote in Slate in 2011, the Boy Scouts were founded in 1910 in response to a “crisis in Anglo-American masculinity.” The growth of U.S. cities had parents worried that their sons were turning into soft, urbane sissies—the cucks and betas of yesteryear. Scouting was supposed to hone a kind of pioneering, colonialist sensibility in these young men, toughening and roughening them up through outdoor excursions and wilderness skills-building. Trump won the 2016 election in part because of a related panic over the slow-declining supremacy of white men in the U.S. There is reason to believe that the proudest misogynist in public life could not have won over anyone but a woman, and that the most openly racist candidate in modern history could not have succeeded any president but a black one. Building campfires and tying knots soothed the masculinist anxieties of the last turn-of-the-century; a Manhattanite heir to a real estate fortune has soothed the masculinist anxieties of this one.
Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts, and the scouts’ demoralizing response, makes one wonder what a parallel Girl Scout event would have looked like. The Girl Scouts of the USA have jamborees, too, after all, and the organization was founded just two years after the boys’ group. Unlike their male counterparts, though, the founders of the Girl Scouts championed a more forward-thinking conception of their gender. Girls were, and still are, encouraged to embrace outdoor adventure just as the Boy Scouts did and do. “The Boy Scouts had previously backed another girls’ organization, the Campfire Girls, which incorporated some elements of scouting, but with more of an eye towards domestication,” Marcotte wrote in 2011. “Not so surprisingly, the national leadership of the Boy Scouts reacted poorly to the Girl Scouts, which had girls acting more as the Boy Scouts imagined boys should act.” Girl Scouts of the USA is still more welcoming and broad-minded than Boy Scouts of America. In 2015, weeks before the Boy Scouts decided to start accepting gay leaders, one regional branch of the organization returned a $100,000 donation after the donors demanded that the group stop serving transgender girls. For more than a century, Girl Scouts leaders have advanced a generic brand of women’s empowerment that teaches girls they can do and be anything they want—just today, the organization introduced 23 new STEM-related badges—while keeping neutral on political matters.
That hasn’t stopped right-wing organizations from casting the Girl Scouts of the USA as a band of radical leftists indoctrinating young girls into some kind of sex cult. Family Research Council head Tony Perkins has gone after the Girl Scouts for years, suggesting that money from cookie sales goes to Planned Parenthood and accusing leaders of “leaving the door wide open at the chicken coop for the fox” by hiring LGBTQ staff members. (He recommends girls join the Christian-based American Heritage Girls instead.) Some conservative groups once concocted a completely false rumor that the Girl Scouts gave a “graphic sex guide” prepared by Planned Parenthood to a group of girls at a United Nations conference. In 2014, anti-abortion activists signal-boosted by Megyn Kelly boycotted Girl Scout cookie sales after the organization tweeted a link to a Huffington Post discussion of “incredible ladies” who “should be woman of the year for 2013.” The discussion included a mention of pro-choice Texas legislator Wendy Davis, leading right-wingers to accuse the Girl Scouts of endorsing Davis and, thus, abortion rights.
Because the actual curriculums of Girl Scout troops are laughably benign—girls earn badges for first aid skills, pottery, and researching family history—the right-wing fixation on the Girl Scouts as some kind of socialist abortionist training ground seems based in the idea that a group that emits any faint scent of women’s empowerment must, by definition, contain the seeds of a misandrist revolution. Their frenzied boycotts betray the idea that any gathering of women not explicitly devoted to patriarchal ideals, as the American Heritage Girls are, is a threat. On the other end of the ideological spectrum is Trump’s address to the Boy Scouts: a speech akin to any he’d give at a rally of supporters, comfortable in the knowledge that he would not be challenged, that his audience would play along. If a group of empowered, confident girls represents a threat to oppressive systems of power, to Trump and his supporters, a group of young, mostly white men trained to be obedient represents their comfort zone: an insulated, impressionable boys’ club.
It’s no wonder some people find it hard not to politicize the very act of girlhood—female bodies are on the docket in every state and federal lawmaking body, in every legislative term. But the Girl Scouts are not inherently political, and they’re far from a political monolith. I know one Trump-supporting Girl Scout troop leader, and I’m sure there were at least a few Boy Scout troops that boycotted Trump’s speech or sat horrified through the whole sickening thing. If there had been a different outcome in last year’s presidential election, perhaps President Hillary Clinton might have addressed the Girl Scouts and attracted criticism for poisoning members’ young minds with feminist propaganda—or, in other circles, for declining to do so.
The Boy Scouts of America have defended Trump’s speech by reminding observers that his appearance was not politically motivated, since they invite every sitting president, regardless of party, to address their jamboree. Imagine hypothetical President Clinton accepting that invitation, a woman audacious enough to believe she has something to say that men and boys should hear. Would the scouts and troop leaders who cheered on Monday when Trump criticized a sitting female Republican senator, Shelley Moore Capito, have chanted “lock her up” when Clinton took the stage? Or is it Trump’s victory—a triumph of man over woman—that’s begun to erode the Boy Scouts’ capacity for nonpartisanship, respect, and common decency? Under better leadership, a single-gender group of service-minded Boy Scouts could do a lot of good. In the hands of a spiteful misogynist, a crowd of pliable young male minds goes to dangerous waste.
by BOB VULFOV @ McSweeney’s
Fri Sep 15 08:00:00 PDT 2017
Cain and Abel
The first two sons of Adam and Eve are at it again. Cain is FURIOUS that Abel’s sacrifice was better received by God and now, the battle lines are drawn in sheep’s blood. Drama alert! Abel took out a restraining order against Cain last month, claiming in court documents that Cain kept asking him to go into the fields with him alone. Abel said to the judge, “I know he’s just gonna kill me out there!” Cain vehemently denies these allegations and plans to file a countersuit for libel. God offered some straightforward advice to the two siblings: “Work. It. Out.”
Martin Luther and Pope Leo X
The Pope has a clear message for Martin Luther when it comes to the Catholic Church: You’re outta here! Martin Luther’s manager tells TMZ that his client has been EXCOMMUNICATED from the Church. The latest blowup between these two comes on the heels of Luther accusing the Catholic Church of nepotism, corruption, and the sale of indulgences. Uh, was one of the 95 Theses an invitation to Martin Luther’s barbecue? Because we smell beef!
Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke
Royal Society sources tell TMZ that Isaac Newton still really, really, really doesn’t like Robert Hooke and thinks he’s a “punk with a microscope.” Hooke came after Newton in his latest diss letter, accusing the latter of plagiarism and saying, “Stop comparing me to Newton, he doesn’t even write his own theories!” The allegation is even more shocking because Hooke featured ON NEWTON’S LATEST ACADEMIC WORK, PRINCIPIA! Newton fired back by scrubbing every reference to Hooke in Principia. Looks like we’ve found two objects that can’t be brought together by gravity.
The Hatfields and the McCoys
These two Appalachian families are embroiled in a nasty feud that’s burnin’ hotter than a skillet full of spoonbread. Last evening, William Anderson Hatfield hopped on a table at his local tavern and yelled to the patrons: the McCoys CROSSED A LINE by stabbing two Hatfield brothers. The patriarch of the McCoy family, Randolph “Old Ranel” McCoy was livid after hearing about Hatfield’s tavern call-out, telling him, “You know what, dude? Let’s just f***ing fight already! Me and you. Enough of this family drama.” We’ll reach out to Hatfield for his reaction … stay tuned.
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
It’s official! TMZ spoke with representatives from both sides, who said that a date has FINALLY BEEN SET for the long-awaited duel between Hamilton and Burr. Both men will use Wogdon duelling pistols and will square off in Weehawken, NJ. The trash talk has already begun, with Burr calling Hamilton a “Federalist coward of low stock.” Wow, more like Aaron Burn! We’re in line for a lot more epic trash track as both duelers have signed on to do press conferences together in Toronto, Brooklyn, and London before the duel on July 11th.
Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla
Sorry, Nikola Tesla, but Thomas Edison won’t be apologizing anytime soon for calling Tesla’s alternating current technology “impractical” and “lame.” The Edison Electric Light Company frontman LAID INTO Tesla during an interview with TMZ, calling Tesla a “lunatic germaphobe with a ridiculous wardrobe.” Ouch. Edison claims he wasn’t trying to start beef, but the damage has been done. Tesla has apparently locked himself inside his laboratory/home, going full-recluse and only interacting with pigeons. As sources put it, “Nikola is slipping into a dark place.” Our thoughts are with Tesla… hopefully he builds some sort of machine that’ll light up that dark place for him.
Join us to help young people overcome anxiety and understand media influence on body image, improving their body confidence and self-esteem
by JOHN LONG @ McSweeney’s
Mon Sep 18 05:01:00 PDT 2017
First of all, let me make something crystal clear: I’m not an “anti-vaxxer.” I’m an educated, concerned citizen who loves my companion animal and is just asking questions. And the most important question I’m asking is: why should I risk my sweet Labradoodle Lucy developing autism to prevent her from getting a practically extinct disease like rabies?
Before you say something like, “Don’t be stupid, rabies are terrible!” — let me stop you right there. I’m not ignorant — I’ve done the research. I know that rabies, in certain cases, can be serious. But the fact is, almost no dogs get rabies these days. It’s incredibly rare! That’s why pet vaccines, which aren’t 100% reliable and are known to cause a myriad of health problems, should be a matter of choice.
What happened to personal choice? Our grandparents weren’t required by law to inject their animals with chemicals and preservatives — yet their dogs and cats lived long, happy lives. It’s true the occasional stray would come down with a case of rabies and, within a few days, transform into a snarling, deranged predator, indiscriminately attacking everything in its path from horses to small children. And sure, that rabid dog might eventually have to be hunted down by a posse organized by the town and shot several times before eventually dropping like a stone, still foaming at the mouth, jaws frozen wide open in a macabre grin — even in death. But that almost never happened!
So the question for responsible dog and cat guardians like me becomes: why risk the dangers posed by vaccines just to prevent the incredibly unlikely scenario in which my Lucy goes on a rabid rampage?
What dangers, you ask? Dogs can’t get autism, you say. Well, how do you know that? There simply haven’t been enough studies on canine autism, mostly because the pharmaceutical companies, pet food companies, the American Veterinary Association and the universities they fund — don’t want them to happen. But I saw up close how devastating canine autism can be when I decided to vaccinate my last dog, Cooper.
When I brought Cooper home from the vet after he had his vaccines, he was never the same again. Before, he was playful, energetic, and would hump practically everything in my apartment but his food dish. Afterwards, he was listless and rarely barked — he’d lost his spark. The fact that I observed this marked change in behavior after he got his vaccines is irrefutable proof that vaccines are harmful. End of story.
Of course, my Western medicine-trained veterinarian tried to tell me, condescendingly, that Cooper’s personality changes were the result of his neutering. But after googling it, I’ve come to believe it was due to the fact that he got both the distemper and Lyme disease vaccines at the same time. Why can’t they space those out? And for that matter, how bad can distemper really be?
But here’s the point. I don’t think I should be discriminated against and shamed for making the choice not to vaccinate Lucy for every disease under the sun. It’s not fair that I can’t find a doggie daycare that will accept my healthy, homeopathically-treated girl — because I know what’s best for my dog. And believe me, I know for a fact she has absolutely zero chance of getting paroviris, hepatitis, canine adenovirus-2, parainfluenza, bordetella, leptospirosis, coronavirus, Lyme disease, or measles.
The good news is, I’m not alone. I’ve found a group of like-minded, concerned liberal arts majors who are skeptical of the profit motives of the companies that manufacture canine vaccines — and we’re banning together. We’ve formed our own Vaccine-Free Companion Animal Co-Op. And it’s working! Last week, when one of the dogs came down with kennel cough, we put them all together in the same room, just like our grandmothers did — to allow their natural immune systems to heal them.
At the moment, my Lucy can’t stop coughing, has a fever, is vomiting — and won’t eat or drink. But I can sleep at night knowing she’s free from all those unnatural drugs pumping through her veins. She’ll recover in a few days, unless she develops secondary bacterial pneumonia, which can be fatal. But that almost never happens.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Mon Aug 28 10:36:35 PDT 2017
At the National Rifle Association’s Carry Guard Expo in Milwaukee this weekend, firearm fanatics attended workshops that taught them how to protect themselves from “today’s unprecedented violence and global threat,” employ jiujitsu moves to supplement the bullets they put in people’s bodies, and use flashlights.
They also got a tastemaker-curated peek at fall fashion trends in hiding deadly weapons on the human body. At the organization’s first Concealed Carry Fashion Show, models showed off ready-to-wear designs from a bunch of up-and-coming fashion houses you’ve never heard of, including Man-PACK, Packin’ Neat, and Lady Conceal. Here, we’ve collected some of the most notable designs from the show, coming soon to your local duel.
For a higher-end consumer who likes to protect her privileged class standing with hollow-points, a white leather handbag provides a touch of class. The shoulder strap chain symbolizes the shackles of oppression that keep Second Amendment advocates from bringing their weapons anywhere they damn please.
WERQ! A holster worn under a safari-inspired shirt does double duty, cinching in belly fat while preparing the wearer for life-threatening encounters en route to the drug store or dentist.
When “I’d like to speak to your manager” comes with the threat of violent death.
You’ve probably heard that skinny jeans are out, but did you know the wider-leg trend started with gun owners who wanted a little more room for their calf holsters?
Quilted totes that camouflage both pumpkin-spice spills and lethal weapons: in for fall!
Last week, you swore you’d kill your barre instructor if she told you to do one more “little pulse.” Now, with a pistol under your leggings, you can!
The NRA should be applauded for spotlighting “real” bodies, like that of this dollar-store Fabio. (Some fashion critics have disagreed, saying the show needed more “sex appeal,” “babes,” and “himbos.”)
This model committed to a matchy-matchy look with a manicure in the same “sea to shining sea” blue as her fake gun. The show’s use of training guns did not inspire particular confidence in the safety of these holsters, but the saturated color provided visual interest.
A shirt with quick-release snaps is essential for those who keep their guns in their cleavage.
Join in the feminist T-shirt trend with a shirt that screams “the only good Women’s March is the one to the firing range!” Then, channel fashion icon Plaxico Burress by tucking a very safe object into your waistband.
The Anna Wintour of the NRA looks unimpressed, but his famously chilly expression could belie internal fits of ecstasy at the sight of a truly transcendent lewk.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Thu Jul 20 12:00:00 PDT 2017
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to prohibit employers from asking job applicants for their salary histories, a move several progressive cities and states have made in recent years in an effort to narrow the gender wage gap. Mayor Ed Lee signed the legislation into law on Wednesday, but it won’t take effect until 2018.
The legislation will also prevent an applicant’s current or previous employers from releasing her salary information without her consent. Advocates say that the salary-history question keeps women and people of color in a cycle of low pay, where one boss who pays white men more than their peers—or one bout of poor negotiation—can diminish a worker’s earnings for the rest of her career.
Mark Farrell, the supervisor who proposed the legislation, told Fortune that the idea appealed to him as a way to make “an immediate impact” on wage inequality by changing the behavior of the supervisors who make salary decisions. Other equal-pay legislation, like the Equal Pay Act of 1963, has proven easier for companies to wiggle around by keeping employees’ salaries confidential and arguing that almost any conceivable reason but gender justifies pay gaps between male and female employees. Farrell has noted that the national gender wage gap has only narrowed by a half cent each year since that act was passed, and if it continued at that rate, women and men won’t make the same salaries until 2059.
That’s a grossly misleading calculation, of course: Women’s work in the ‘60s was largely confined to domestic and service-industry positions, and women’s advancement into positions of leadership in every industry in the past couple of decades has contributed to as much of the wage gap’s closure as the general decline in wage discrimination. But Farrell’s point about the potential immediate benefits of the law is a good one. In the best-case scenario, prohibiting salary-history questions would stop unequal pay before it starts, or at least give employees a way out of underpayment with each new job.
Opponents of such laws, which currently exist in Philadelphia, New York, California, and Massachusetts, say that employers will still be able to introduce discrimination or unconscious bias into salary decisions by assuming that women and people of color are getting paid less at their current jobs and giving them lower starting offers anyway. Advocates argue that applicants can still voluntarily offer their previous salaries if they think it will help them in a negotiation. In an editorial published earlier this year, Bloomberg called a ban on salary-history questions a “gag rule” that hasn’t yet been proven to work as intended.
It’s true that these laws aren’t proven vanquishers of gender and race wage gaps, and there’s a simple reason why: They’re brand new. The first salary-history question ban took effect in California in January; Philadelphia’s was supposed to take effect in May, but it’s on hold while the city’s Chamber of Commerce challenges it in court for allegedly infringing on businesses’ rights to free speech. There is no data on these laws yet because they’ve barely begun to exist. Policymakers and advocates will need at least a few years of data to analyze before making a judgment on the impacts of this kind of legislation.
Still, there is a wealth of research on the gender wage gap, the psychology of negotiations, the trajectories of women’s careers, and the difference in starting salaries offered to men and women for the same jobs at the same companies. The thrust of that research points to a simple conclusion: Tying an employee’s pay to her previous salary will forever exacerbate a gender wage gap that exists even in the first jobs women and men take after college, even when controlling for major, occupation, location, and hours worked. The more cities and states that pass these laws, the better and more diverse data experts will have to help them quantify the impact of this worthy experiment a few years down the line.
A new advert forces women to confront the negative thoughts they have about their own bodies
by Justina Bakutyte @ Konbini United States
Thu Sep 21 15:01:38 PDT 2017
Wedged somewhere between a yoga retreat and a full-on Hot Wet American Summer experience, the Ganja Goddess Getaway offers a unique blend of health, body and mind-oriented events united by one crucial element – weed. Taking place in locations around Northern and Southern California, the Getaway invites all female-identifying marijuana lovers (you don't even have to […]
The post A Cannabis Retreat Run By 'Ganja Goddesses' Takes Places In California appeared first on Konbini United States.
Steve King Wants Planned Parenthood Funds to Pay for a Border Wall. How Much Wall Could Those Funds Buy?
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Jul 12 14:47:58 PDT 2017
It’s not every day Rep. Steve King comes up with a novel thought—most of his brain waves waft out of racist novels from the ‘70s. But on Wednesday morning, the Republican Congressman from Iowa managed to come up with one original idea: Take away Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, and use it to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall!
King popped out his precious thought-baby while speaking on CNN about the House Appropriations Committee’s recent bill that proposes allocating $1.6 billion to Customs and Border Protection for the purpose of Donald Trump’s promised wall. If King had his way, he said, the wall would get $5 billion more. “I would find a half of a billion dollars of that right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget,” he said. The other $4.5 billion would come from cuts to food stamps.
Why hasn’t any other intrepid legislator suggested taking away poor women’s pap smears and spending the money on a giant fence instead?! Let’s pause for a moment to imagine how big and beautiful a wall could be with all that health-care money that usually subsidizes birth control for women on Medicaid.
Now let’s calculate it. An internal Department of Homeland Security report obtained by Reuters earlier this year estimated that the border wall could cost about $21.6 billion to build. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood got $554.6 million in government reimbursements (from, for instance, providing services to people on Medicaid) and grants (from, for instance, family-planning programs like Title X). Some of that money comes from state governments, and some comes from federal funds, but Planned Parenthood doesn’t disaggregate the funds in its annual reports.
So let’s be generous to King and assume that every state “defunded” Planned Parenthood and donated the resulting funds to the cause of the U.S.-Mexico border wall instead of putting them back into public health.
$554.6 million in government funds goes into a $21.6 billion wall 38.95 times. Customs and Border Protection has estimated that the wall could be 1,827 miles long. Divide that by 38.95, and Planned Parenthood’s $554.6 million could build a wall segment just under 47 miles long. Not bad! That would span about the length of the very top tip of New Hampshire, where it brushes up against Canada before spooning Vermont.
Ah, wait a second. That $21.6 billion? Just an estimate. When the Trump administration actually asked for money for the wall, it wanted $2.6 billion for fewer than 75 miles of wall. According to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, that would bring the total cost of the wall to about $66.9 billion. Plug that into the equation:
$66,900,000,000 / $554,600,000 = 120.63
1,827 / 120.63 = 15.15 miles
That’s more than 15 miles of border wall, and no Medicaid reimbursements or family-planning subsidies for Planned Parenthood patients. Not much of a dent in the blocking-Mexico department, but think of what else it could do! A 15-mile wall in D.C. could encircle Ivanka Trump’s Kalorama house, the White House, the D.C. Trump Hotel, and all the drunk bros at Nationals Park. Fifteen miles is just enough for Manhattan to build a wall below Central Park and around the lower coastline of the island, enclosing Trump Tower in a quarantined zone. Or, with just under 15 miles of wall, Trump could build his way from his golden Fifth Avenue tower to the Pizza Hut in downtown Newark. It’s no well-done steak, but with just 15 miles to work with, a few plates full of cheesy bites is about as good as it’s going to get. Defunding PBS should cover the bill.
by Shane Kosch @ Prophet Thinking
Tue Sep 19 02:33:43 PDT 2017
General Data Protection Regulation intends to strengthen data protection and becomes enforceable across Europe on May 25, 2018. Here’s what brands need to know.
The post Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) appeared first on Prophet Thinking.
by Brian Griffith @ Blog - Cairn Guidance
Wed Aug 30 07:36:12 PDT 2017
By Brian Griffith, Health Educator and guest blogger for Cairn Guidance
Skills based health education has been around for years but has really gained support and steam over the last few years. Many state, district, and national conventions are hosting presentations that focus on integrating skills based health. Classrooms are shifting from “let’s do a fun project” to “let’s do a fun project that allows students to practice a skill aligned to content that will promote health literacy.” Simple projects, lessons that are embedded in PE or other content areas, or lessons that are done sporadically throughout the year do a good job with presenting what students should know, the what of the lesson. In order to develop health literacy, we also need to share the why and how. Why do they need to know this information and skill and how does it connect to wellness? What are you going to do with the information and how does it support a lifetime of health literacy?
Many teachers were trained on basic health topics and how to teach those independent topics. We know students learn best when they are shown the bigger picture of health (holistic approach) and how all aspects of health are connected. Shifting the classroom focus to skills based health isn’t difficult, the students will still be learning familiar topics. The difference is now the lesson will focus on a skill while teaching the content. Students will be learning about decision making while learning nutrition content, accessing information and mental health, analyzing influences and drug prevention, or one of the other skills with a content that has been identified by your state or local school system.
There are many resources available to teachers to support them shifting to a skills based health classroom.
I suggest reading these two books:
“Skills Based Health Education” by Mary Connolly and
“The Essentials of Teaching Health Education” by Sarah Benes and Holly Alperin
Jeff Bartlett, a great health educator in MA compiles a weekly Health Education blog here.
And, SHAPE America has been adding resources to the health education teacher’s toolbox.
RMC Health, located in Colorado, is another great resource that supports quality health education. From their website, “RMC Health has promoted the health and success of children and youth across the United States, and helped to transform the organizations that support them.” RMC Health has created skills based health models that provide guidance and skill cues by grade band/span. These health skills models have resources on how to teach the skills effectively to students.
Remember to always teach your local and state requirements. You don’t want to teach something that could get you fired or removal of your teaching certificate. Many requirements can be adjusted to address skills. If you know your curriculum, use CDC's Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) to evaluate your information to see if you are covering items that CDC believes is critical to health education. The HECAT shares outcomes that students should reach based on grade bands/spans. The outcomes are divided into the National Health Education Standards. A teacher can identify a topic they want to teach (tobacco prevention), identify the grade band (6-8), identify the skill (accessing information), and then identify an outcome that matches their local curriculum (access valid and reliable tobacco-related prevention and cessation information from home, school, or community.) I might replace tobacco with nicotine because of vaping and e-cigarette use. I would use: “Access valid and reliable nicotine-related prevention and cessation information from home, school, or community.”
For example, when a health literate person accesses valid and reliable information, we want them to identify sources of health information, explain how to find the source, and explain why it’s a good source. For example, RMC Health has identified six steps to access reliable information:
Step 1: Identify the Question
Step 2: Locate Accessible Resources
Step 3: Analyze for Validity
Step 3: Analyze for Reliability
Step 5: Determine the best Answer
Step 6: Reflect on your Answer
How do you “Analyze for Validity” or “Analyze for Reliability”? RMC Health has a resource students and teachers can use to evaluate websites here. Librarians at CSU Chico created a tool called the CRAAP for evaluating resources. CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.
Health on the Net has been evaluating health information on websites for twenty years. They have a search tool individuals can use to locate valid and reliable information. The site is designed to support patients/individuals, medical professionals, or web publishers. Anyone can access the resources on their site. The site also shares the tool they use to evaluate information and students can use the tool to evaluate a website.
Health on the Net also create a quick guide on eight questions a person should think about when accessing a website.
The lesson will ask students to look for nicotine prevention and cessation services and evaluate those resources with one of the tools the teacher selects. What will the student with that information? The students could simply create a list of quality resources. Is that very engaging for your students? Does creating a list engage higher order thinking skills? If your school is tech focused, you could use google maps to pin key locations in the community. Students could also identify the barriers to health on that same map. Our main goal is to have them analyze these sites and identify ones that would provide valid and reliable information. Both of these activities meet that original objective. Should we provide a more engaging environment though? Students could work on advocacy by developing resources to be distributed at the local health department, hospital, clinic, PTA meeting, or health fair. This lesson could connect to environmental literacy by researching high pollution points of cigarette butts or vaping devices and organizing a student service project to clean up the area. Once the locations are identified, receptacles could be placed with signs about quitting smoking.
Skills based health education means students are practicing skills and learning how to apply those skills in multiple settings. Teachers need to introduce the skill, allow students to practice the skill with multiple content areas, and then allow the students to be given a scenario where they have to identify the skills to use and successfully apply those skills. Then with any skill, those skills must be practiced over time. We all know having healthy citizens makes our communities and businesses more productive and better places to live.
What are some of your skills based health lessons?
I hope you make today a healthy day for you and all those you meet!
Ariel Winter is teaming up with Dove's Self Esteem project to inspire young women to accept and love their bodies, and we LOVE it.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Mon Jul 10 14:15:07 PDT 2017
In case anyone was worried about Leonardo DiCaprio having a crisis of confidence as he settled into middle age, the baby-faced climate activist put concerns to rest at a party in Malibu last week. Page Six reports that DiCaprio allegedly spent his time at an early Fourth of July shindig “bragging” to a group of models at a private estate “about how he doesn’t work out.”
No surprises here! DiCaprio was never particularly ripped. The unremarkable thorax of the man who used to be America’s most lusted-after heartthrob has been wonderfully described by the Daily Mail as a “middle-age spread” and “the body of a fellow who likes to live the high life.” At least one website has called his “the DadBodiest Bod of All.”
Indeed, DiCaprio’s shape is the prototypical naturally-occuring dad bod: a bit of pecs, a bit of delts, a fair bit of gut, and an all-over layer of jiggle. His body exudes laidback, catered-to, unselfconscious luxury—the human equivalent of a first-class airline seat—and he loves to show it off. I think two-thirds of the photos of DiCaprio I’ve consumed in my lifetime have involved him laying on a yacht, plowing through ocean waves, or lounging by a pool. His torso is an integral part of the American celebrity lexicon, and in this age of performative body positivity, its lack of particular grandeur makes women’s magazines swoon.
But according to Page Six’s source, the models at last week’s Malibu party “weren’t impressed” by DiCaprio’s boasts about avoiding the gym. “Does he think that’s attractive? It’s not like he’s in Titanic shape anymore,” the women allegedly said.
No one’s body deserves to be insulted, and Slate wishes DiCaprio all the confidence in the world—his muscles and skin are perfect just the way James Cameron created them. However! Followers of DiCaprio’s romantic exploits may derive a droplet or two of pleasure from this anecdote. This man, who goes around bragging that he never exercises, does not date anyone except bathing suit models, whose entire livelihoods are based on constant exercise and caloric deprivation. The man who is so proud of his soft bod he mentions it at parties does not see fit to associate romantically with anyone whose job is not folding her tiny body into shapes that minimize any visible flesh fold or movement.
To the best of public knowledge, the 42-year-old actor has never even dated anyone over the age of 25. That includes recent ex Nina Agdal, with whom he split just a few months after she turned 25, a pattern he’s repeated with about half his roster of young exes. Since the average working model age is 17 (!), one can assume that the recipients of DiCaprio’s body boasts were in his romantic sweet spot. It’s nice to hear that some women he tries to woo are able to take his exceedingly high aesthetic expectations and turn them back around on him. Of course DiCaprio doesn’t look like he did in his Titanic years! When it filmed, he was but a wee 22—three years from his expiration date.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Sep 19 12:49:57 PDT 2017
Hillary Clinton opened her What Happened book tour on Monday night with what sounded like a retort to the critics who’ve said she should have never written the book in the first place. In a bit of self-aware justification, Clinton told her interlocutor—former speechwriter and campaign advisor Lissa Muscatine—that the writing process gave her the “discipline and deadline” she needed to sort through both her own feelings and her shock at America’s election of a malicious wannabe tyrant. It was an act of “catharsis,” Clinton said. “It was my therapy.”
The product of her efforts seemed to have a similar effect on her audience. The bodies filling the seats at Washington, D.C.’s Warner Theatre quaked when Clinton walked onto the stage, giving her an ear-splitting standing ovation that shook the floor of the venue. Every minor attempt at a joke was met with riotous laughter, every dig at Trump with a lengthy round of applause. There were more than a few tears.
You’ve got to be a pretty big Hillary Clinton fan to spend up to $82 to sit in a room and listen to her say things you’ve probably heard her say before. Because it’s D.C., the theater also contained several former campaign staffers. These weren’t casual Clinton voters. They were her diehards, the people for whom the termination of a potential Clinton presidency was nearly as devastating as the bombshell of a Trump one. Their enthusiastic support wasn’t just about making the first female president, but electing this specific candidate, with her formidable resume, unflagging composure, and history of pressing on in the face of sexist attacks. The election and American democracy as we once knew it may be over, but the cult of Hillary Clinton is not.
Anyone who doubted Clinton’s “likability” or capacity to inspire hope in young women during her campaign should look to the crowds who’ll flock to her 15-city book tour to understand the magic some attributed to her candidacy. Monday’s event felt strangely intimate, with audience members eagerly nodding along as if they were at a cozy reunion with a friend they hadn’t seen in years. They erupted in cheers when Clinton spoke about turning to friends and family in the difficult days after the election. They booed and hissed when she mentioned Matt Lauer, whom Clinton calls out in the book for incessantly harping on her emails while letting Trump babble nonsense about ISIS. The audience seemed equally enthralled with Clinton the person as with Clinton the candidate, and genuinely concerned for her well-being.
Underlying their concern for Clinton the woman is a deep sense of identification with her. On Monday, Muscatine gave Clinton several pairs of nouns and had her choose her favorite: coffee or tea (Clinton chose coffee); yoga or Pilates (yoga); shower or bath (“it depends on how much time you have”); and vodka or chardonnay (“again, it depends on how much time you have”). It was silly and banal, but dozens of audience members clapped and hooted after each answer. So eager were these people to identify with Clinton that they screamed in a public place simply because she too prefers coffee over tea, like the majority of other U.S. adults. When it came time for audience questions, which were submitted in advance, several were just messages of thanks. One noted that the writer was drinking wine with Clinton “in solidarity.”
This book and attendant publicity tour will mark an important step in the grieving process for those Clinton fans who see themselves, and perhaps their own thwarted ambitions, in her struggles. For them, grappling with the daily horrors of the Trump administration has probably left little time or mental space to process Clinton’s loss. There is no shortage of policies to protest amid righteous, chanting hordes, but few outlets for feelings about the candidate herself. Seeing her onstage, back in the public eye on her own terms and in visibly good spirits, will give some a sense of closure they need. If Clinton can rebound and crank out a book after the worst setback of her professional life, maybe the rest of us can churn on, too.
Clinton made exactly this point on Monday night. “At the end of the day, everybody has disappointments. Everybody has losses,” she said. “I view this book as much about resilience as about running for president. … I want others, no matter what happens to you in life, to understand that there are ways to get up and keep going. Don’t give up on yourselves.” You know else recently wrote a book about resilience? Sheryl Sandberg, whose co-written book Option B chronicles, among other things, her emotional journey after the death of her husband. Clinton and Sandberg are acquaintances, and Sandberg starred in a prominent anecdote about women in leadership that Clinton shared on Monday. In the story, Clinton repeatedly referred to the Facebook COO’s previous book and business philosophy, Lean In, as “Lean On.”
It was a rather endearing flub-up that Clinton never caught and Muscatine was too nice to correct. But, looking out on a sea of faces eager to process their lingering devastation in the company of hundreds of other Clinton fans, the former candidate might have committed a Freudian slip. As far as advice for recovering from electoral trauma goes, “lean on” isn’t half bad.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Mon Jul 24 11:05:23 PDT 2017
Wall Street lifer Anthony Scaramucci got a new job Friday, and he spent the weekend trying to prove his worth to his new boss. When the freshly minted White House communications director shared his inspired vision for the role with Jake Tapper on CNN on Sunday morning, he said things that sounded nice, then immediately contradicted them. “Let’s soften up our relationship with the press,” Scaramucci said. “They’re tough on us, but let’s be tough on them. I have no problem with that.” Soft, but tough—like toilet paper meant for the world’s dirtiest yet most sensitive butts.
Scaramucci had kind words for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the disarmingly familiar press secretary who will take over for Sean Spicer now that he’s resigned. “I think Sarah does a great job. She’s an incredibly warm person, she’s incredibly authentic,” Scaramucci told Tapper. “I want to do everything I can to make her better at that podium. I think she’s phenomenal there now, but like every athlete that’s training for the Olympics, every day we got to make ourselves incrementally better.” Then, the Mooch used Tapper’s TV show to send a message to his new direct report: “The only thing I ask Sarah—Sarah, if you’re watching, I loved the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday, so I’d like to continue to use the hair and makeup person.”
It sounded to some journalists like Scaramucci thought Huckabee Sanders looked great on Friday, when the two made an appearance together in the White House briefing room, or that he thought she looked kind of blah in her previous appearances, and Friday marked a vast improvement. (To an eye less attuned than Scaramucci’s to the aesthetic particulars of Trump hires, Huckabee Sanders didn’t look all that different in her Friday briefing, though her hair was curled, a look she usually reserves for TV news spots.) Either way, it’s a bizarre first bit of feedback for a new subordinate, both because it has nothing to do with her job performance and because he delivered it via CNN.
Scaramucci insists that the remark was a self-deprecating commentary on his own appearance. “For the record, I was referring to my hair and make up and the fact that I like the make up artist. I need all the help I can get! #humor,” he tweeted Sunday afternoon.
For a man making a sad stab at #humor, Scaramucci looked awfully serious on Tapper’s show. But hey! He’s not a comic—he’s a Trump flack, and he has a lot to learn. His justification of his odd plea to Huckabee Sanders suggests that he thinks hiring and managing a makeup and hair stylist is the White House press secretary’s job, which it almost certainly is not. One wonders whether he would have assumed the same of Sean Spicer or Obama press secretary Jay Carney. In Scaramucci’s first press conference on Friday, a reporter asked whether he’d continue to allow cameras in the White House briefing room, a tradition that came under threat when Spicer was at the helm. “If [Huckabee Sanders] supplies hair and makeup, I will consider it,” Scaramucci replied. “I need a lot of hair and makeup.”
This running joke (?) also betrays Scaramucci’s preoccupation with looks, a fixation he shares with the president who hired him. When a New York magazine reporter interviewed him for a piece on Trump’s Wall Street connections that ran earlier this year, Scaramucci asked her how old she was. “You look good,” he said. “No lines on your face. What are you, a Sagittarius?” The very weird, inappropriate compliment sounds a lot like Trump’s remarks to French first lady Brigitte Macron, who is in “good physical shape,” the president said. Perhaps he demands the same ageless, made-up beauty of his communications directors.
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What’s it like to work at Prophet? There’s plenty of opportunity to be a part of the firm’s growth & grow personally. Take it from someone who’s been around to experience it.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Aug 01 12:59:43 PDT 2017
For about a decade, researchers at the University of Southern California have been tallying up the speaking and named characters in each year’s 100 top-grossing films in the U.S. Each year, the study’s authors hope they’ll see the demographic makeup change.
But, by and large, the proportion of female characters in the country’s top films has stayed constant since 2007. In a new analysis, USC researchers report that in 2016, just 31.4 percent of the films’ 4,583 speaking roles were female characters, up from 29.9 percent in 2007. That proportion never rose above 32.8 percent in the intervening years. Action and adventure movies included the smallest segment of female characters, at 23.4 percent of all speaking roles. Comedies, with 40.8 percent of roles occupied by women, were the most gender-balanced.
When researchers added race to the equation, the picture looked even grimmer. Of the 100 most successful films in 2016, only 34 had at least one female leading or co-leading role, and just three of those were women of color. There were no black women in 47 of the 100 films, no Asian women in 66 of them, and no Latina woman in 72 of them. More than half of the films had no Latinx or Hispanic characters at all; such characters made up just 3.1 percent of the films’ speaking roles, about one-sixth the size of what the segment would be if it mirrored the U.S. population.
The roles that went to women in 2016 were far more likely to be explicitly sexual than those that went to men. More than a quarter of the female roles in the top 100 films of 2016 involved “sexy attire,” and an equivalent proportion got at least partially nude. Only 9.2 percent of the male roles involved any nudity, and just 5.7 percent of male characters wore sexy clothes. Researchers found that female characters aged 13 to 20 were just as likely wear sexy clothing, get partially nude, and be called attractive as those aged 21 to 39.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen a mainstream film. Previous analyses have shown that while male actors age, the love interests in their films don’t. Women playing the sexy roles in film and TV (read: the major roles) are forever young, seeming not to notice or care how old and decrepit their onscreen boyfriends are getting. Female roles may be hard to come by, but there’s at least one kind of woman who is way overrepresented in films: the woman who fetishizes and lusts after men two or three times her age.
Another recently published USC study analyzed more than 53,000 dialogues in almost 1000 film scripts and found that films with at least one female writer had about 50 percent more speaking women onscreen. But when they spoke, their dialogue was usually written within gendered boundaries. Women were more likely to speak in positive terms and talk about “family values,” while men swore more and talked more about “achievement” and death. The study also found that characters of color were largely written along the lines of racial stereotypes. Black characters, who made up an almost exactly proportional 13.6 percent of all speaking roles in the top films of 2016, speak with a higher concentration of swear words than characters of other races, according to the study. Latinx and multiracial characters talked more about sexuality than their white, black, and Asian peers.
Women were generally not central to the plots of the hundreds of films in the study. The researchers mapped out the characters’ relationships and dialogues, making each character a “node” connected to all the rest. When they removed the female nodes, the plots and other character relationships remained largely intact. Horror films were a major exception, since women were more likely to be the victims in those movies.
These two studies add up to a discouraging assessment of Hollywood today, which is depressingly similar in its treatment of women and people of color to the Hollywood of 10 years ago. Two of the most successful and buzzed-about films of 2017—Wonder Woman and Girls Trip—center women in their narratives, giving advocates for gender equity in film reason to hope. But even in a movie that was supposed to be a major feminist win, at least according to the men who protested it, the title character in Wonder Woman spent a decent portion of the film being ogled and lusted after by men. After so much talk about equal pay and better representation in the film industry, women have ended up with bigger roles that reflect the same narrow tropes.
by Felicia Rosenzweig @ Prophet Thinking
Thu Sep 07 01:36:28 PDT 2017
Through market penetration and expansion, organizations can develop a business growth strategy that works in the long-term. Here’s how.
The post How to Develop a Successful Business Growth Strategy appeared first on Prophet Thinking.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Aug 09 11:45:00 PDT 2017
Wonder Woman hit a major milestone on Tuesday, when its North American box-office take topped $400 million. The film is now the highest-grossing film ever made by a female director and the third highest-grossing domestic release in Warner Bros. history.
Woohoo! Feminist #win! Think of all that money flying out of women’s paychecks and into the pockets of female actresses and a female director, keeping it in the sisterhood! And also, think of the way, way, larger sums of money going into the bank accounts of the right-wing billionaires who funded it!
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It turns out that the feminist fave of the summer reportedly counts among its investors not just any rich dudes, but the literal Koch brothers. These are the men we can thank for the Tea Party, the funding of the “education reform” movement and organized opposition to Obamacare, and some of the most concerted efforts against environmental regulations the country has seen. They are some of the wealthiest men in the world, and they use their money to influence policies that protect the rich at the expense of the poor.
The Hollywood Reporter published a piece Wednesday morning describing Charles and David Koch’s “significant stake” worth “tens of millions of dollars” in RatPac-Dune Entertainment, which invested $450 million in 2013 to cover Warner Bros.’ entire slate of up to 75 movies over four years. That includes the “masterpiece of subversive feminism” that argues, according to the Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg, that a world without misogyny “would be liberating and wonderful for men.” Post-Wonder Woman, misogyny is still around, but the success of the film has no doubt been liberating and wonderful for the men who funded it. (A Koch Industries spokeswoman gave THR the vague assurance that the brothers themselves and Koch Industries “do not have any involvement with this investment.”)
Full disclosure: I did not find Wonder Woman to be the tear-jerking feminist masterwork so many of my colleagues and contemporaries claim to have seen. To me, the movie baited women into the theater with some heavy-handed surface-level empowerment schtick, then gave us 180 minutes of jokes about how sexy half-dressed women are when they know how to fight. That normally wouldn’t have bugged me so much—blockbuster films are blockbuster films, and superhero movies are among the most formulaic of blockbuster genres—if critics and lay-viewers and men’s rights activists alike hadn’t made the movie out to be some kind of monumental step for womankind. Of course Wonder Woman wouldn’t star an average-looking bulked-up fighter, because they don’t look hot on movie posters. Of course the titular character would sleep with the first man she meets in her entire life, because otherwise people might think an athlete from an all-woman island was a lesbian.
I don’t think many, if any, of the people extolling Wonder Woman’s feminist bona fides believe that supporting the film meant they were supporting feminist causes in any significant way. Warner Bros. is not a nonprofit, and big profits are how big, splashy movies get made. But it’s just so rich to consider that the money it cost to send these little girls who “might make your heart explode” to see Wonder Woman now support the Koch brothers’ efforts to call climate science into question, making it measurably less likely that those little girls will grow up with a livable Earth to inhabit. The price we pay to see a woman kick ass with killer CGI effects is the continued electoral dominance of Koch-funded politicians who want to force women to give birth against their will. It’s no surprise—it’s how the system is designed. It’s what happens when unimaginable wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few white men looking out for themselves and their buddies. It’s called capitalism.
And under capitalism, in case you haven’t heard, there can be no ethical consumption. Every dollar spent in this messed-up marketplace supports exploitation, a fact that’s become even harder to swallow since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision allowed corporate entities to all but cast physical ballots for their preferred political candidates. The Koch brothers aren’t the first right-wing puppeteers to invest in a corporation that produces a seemingly feminist product, and Wonder Woman is far from the only girl-power movie to enrich men working hard to make the world a harder place for women to thrive.
In fact, one of the last blockbuster action movies with a woman in the leading role, Mad Max: Fury Road, was also funded by RatPac-Dune, the company that bankrolled Wonder Woman. One of the founders of that company, Steven Mnuchin, was the finance chair of Donald Trump’s campaign, donated $425,000 to the campaign and the Republican party to help him win, and now serves as his Treasury Secretary. In other words, if you bought a ticket to see Imperator Furiosa bust the heads of a bunch of sexual abusers, you may have helped America elect one.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Aug 02 11:40:02 PDT 2017
In the early 1970s, the law didn’t care if pregnant women drank alcohol. Bars didn’t have to erect warning signs in their bathrooms. Doctors didn’t have to report women to Child Protective Services if they suspected alcohol use. State authorities didn’t commit women against their will to treatment programs if they drank in their third trimester.
By 2013, nearly every state in the U.S. had put laws on the books addressing alcohol and pregnancy. Some laws, like those allowing the prosecution of pregnant women for child abuse if they drank, were punitive. Others, like those providing education on alcohol risks and giving pregnant women and new mothers priority placement in substance-abuse treatment programs, were supportive. Many states have a mix of supportive and punitive policies, though punitive policies have become more common over time. According to a new report published in Alcohol and Alcoholism, states with a greater number of punitive pregnancy and alcohol laws are more likely to have greater restrictions on women’s reproductive rights.
The study comes from researchers at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, San Jose State University, and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. Authors cite previous research that showed that between 1980 and 2003, after accounting for political and socioeconomic differences, a higher proportion of women serving in a state’s legislative body was the one predictor of whether a state would pass a supportive law on pregnancy and alcohol. After completing their analysis of reproductive-rights restrictions and alcohol-use laws, the authors concluded that neither a state’s number of punitive laws nor its number of supportive laws are associated with a greater efficacy of its alcohol policies as measured by policy experts’ estimates.
“Punitive alcohol and pregnancy policies are associated with policies that restrict women’s reproductive autonomy rather than general alcohol policy environments that effectively reduce harms due to alcohol use among the general population,” the authors write. “This finding suggests that a primary goal of pursuing such policies appears to be restricting women’s reproductive rights rather than improving public health.”
In recent years, more and more women’s health advocates have taken cues from hundreds of studies indicating that light drinking later in pregnancy is probably okay. Last year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued new guidelines that prohibited bars and restaurants from refusing to serve alcohol to pregnant women. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that all women of reproductive age abstain from alcohol unless they’re on birth control, as if they were nothing but fetal incubators–in-training.
Of course, an occasional drink is not the same as alcohol abuse. But the new study in Alcohol and Alcoholism notes that the most common punitive U.S. pregnancy-alcohol policy requires or encourages medical practitioners to report a pregnant woman or new mother’s suspected alcohol use to Child Protective Services. Such laws exist in 21 states. They often don’t take effect until babies are born and tested, the report says, putting the emphasis on punishment rather than harm prevention or reduction. Babies would benefit from policies that make it easier for pregnant women to find subsidized spots in alcohol treatment programs. They don’t benefit from policies that leave them in state custody or put their mothers in jail. Research has shown that the threat of being jailed for illegal drug use keeps many pregnant women from seeking treatment for substance-abuse issues. If the same holds true for women who need treatment for alcohol addiction, punitive policies would pose an even greater threat to fetal and infant health.
Another report released this week, this one from the Center for Reproductive Rights and Ibis Reproductive Health, claims that states with the highest number of restrictions on abortion rights are more likely to have comparatively few policies that support women’s and children’s health. They also generally score worse on indicators like maternal mortality and child health. The authors included Medicaid expansion, required screening protocols for domestic abuse, prohibitions on shackling pregnant prisoners, mandatory sex education, and smoking bans in restaurants on their list of 24 policies that have been shown to improve the wellbeing of women and children. States with 12 or more supportive policies in place had a median of four abortion restrictions, researchers found, while states with 11 or fewer supportive policies had a median of 12 abortion restrictions on the books.
The results suggest that state legislatures that prioritize passage of abortion restrictions are not doing so out of an abundance of concern for women’s health, as anti-abortion advocates have recently argued in legislative debates and before the Supreme Court. It should be noted that legislators that support reproductive rights also usually support policies like paid family leave, increased Medicaid income limits, and increased family-planning funding, all of which the study names as policies that support women’s and children’s health. But the fact that these policies usually align with one of the two parties in the American political system doesn’t negate this analysis. Instead, it should be seen as another addition to the already gigantic pile of evidence that one party consistently conspires to force women into unwanted births, then makes it as hard as possible for them to raise healthy children.
Texas is one of the biggest and best-known offenders of the bunch, with an ever-increasing roster of abortion restrictions and a maternal mortality rate that almost doubled between 2010 and 2014 to become the highest rate in the developed world. Just this week, as they mull even more rollbacks of reproductive rights, members of the state’s House of Representatives passed four bills that would give financial incentives to managed care organizations with good track records on postpartum health and help a special task force established in 2013 continue to study maternal mortality. Hopefully, that task force will informlegislators that the start of the maternal-mortality spike coincided with a two-thirds cut to the state’s family-planning budget, closing more than 80 women’s health clinics in the state. But if history prevails, neither data nor pleas to legislators’ humanity won’t be enough to change their minds.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Mon Aug 07 13:27:00 PDT 2017
White men, studies have shown, do not like diversity policies. White men feel threatened by attempts to nurture diverse and inclusive workforces, so companies create special diversity-education seminars tailored to the unique, valid needs of white men, gently coaxing them from their knee-jerk hostilities. White men, as it happens, are also the only people who don’t suffer negative consequences in the workplace for promoting diversity.
But one guy at Google took his objections to programs and policies built to advance women and people of color a few steps further than a run-of-the-mill diversity skeptic: He circulated a 10-page manifesto to fellow Google employees explaining why diversity efforts are discriminatory to men and why women are biologically unsuited to tech careers and leadership roles. Motherboard reported the existence of the document on Saturday morning; Gizmodo published the whole thing later that afternoon.
The memo makes it plain that the author has spent far more free time researching biological sex differences than any healthy adult male should. Women have inborn tendencies toward neuroticism, he writes, which may explain why women report higher levels of anxiety at Google, and they have “a harder time … speaking up and leading.” The document reeks of misplaced frustration, of a man who started with a scapegoat and a stereotype, then sought out legitimate-sounding “evidence” to prove himself right. He diminishes the mental and emotional impact of microaggressions, then complains that Google employees suffer from a lack of “psychological safety” because they’re scared to air their doubts about diversity programs.
No respectable reader will trust the gender critiques of a man who is so incensed by company efforts to advance women in tech roles that he sinks hours of his own time into explaining why lady brains cannot execute the technical, high-pressure roles occupied by men at Google. But there is a sizable built-in audience for this kind of lament for the days when men were men and women just didn’t want to do man jobs. That audience is the men’s rights movement.
The document’s arguments owe a great deal to men’s rights activists, who have maintained for years that programs devised to advance women are hurting men, the real victims. “The same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths,” the Google author writes in his manifesto. MRAs tirelessly employ this factoid in documentaries and Reddit threads to argue that men shoulder the world’s toughest burdens while women reap the rewards. The “death and injury gap” is a handy distraction tool, a foil MRAs like to present when the gender wage gap comes up in discussion, as if one gender disparity cancels out the other.
The Google guy also complains about “exclusory programs” that allow women and people of underrepresented racial groups to share skills and experiences. These constitute “discriminatory practices,” he writes, and leave “swaths of men without support.” Women-only networking groups have been some of the most visible targets of lawsuits from MRAs, who claim that such organizations are engaging in “reverse sexism.” One attorney, the secretary of an MRA haven called the National Coalition for Men, has won hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements after filing sex-discrimination suits against companies that do things like give away free baseball hats on Mother’s Day and let women into bars without paying cover on ladies’ night. He also recently got a settlement from a group called Chic CEO, a small business founded to help women become entrepreneurs, which held a women-only networking night in California. “Imagine the uproar by women business owners and entrepreneurs, feminists, and other equal rights advocates if a business consulting company in partnership with a business networking firm brazenly touted a no-women-allowed business networking event,” the attorney’s complaint argued, stating that “struggling single dads” and male “disabled combat veterans” deserve the same networking opportunities as women.
Of course, there’s a big difference between a struggling single dad (or the other “swaths of men” who earn the Google guy’s sympathy) and a struggling single mom: When the dad faces obstacles to success in his field, it won’t be because his bosses think men are too neurotic to hold leadership positions or his co-workers think men are biologically inferior at software development. Men don’t need gender-specific support in the tech industry because the industry—and, therefore, almost every general-interest industry support group—is already dominated by men. To agree with the MRAs and the Google anti-diversity man, you must believe that the world would be better off without programs to support women and other demographic groups that have been historically excluded from positions of corporate power. To believe that, you must start with the premise that human beings function without unwarranted biases, and thus gender gaps are almost entirely attributable to natural differences between men and women.
That is exactly what MRAs and the Google man believe. In his memo, the Google employee invokes evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology to explain why women don’t want or can’t get promotions into tech leadership positions. MRAs have manipulated the same fields of science to excuse rape as inbred behavior and argue that men are naturally wired to cheat on their girlfriends or dote on them in exchange for sex acts. “The movement’s use of evolutionary psychology convinced my rational mind that everything I read was a scientific fact suppressed by feminists,” one former MRA told the New Statesman earlier this year. Facile stereotypes and smears sound a lot less offensive when there’s an –ology word in the same sentence.
MRAs are undesirable company, for sure, but the Google guy’s memo aligns him with an even more despicable crowd: white supremacists. In the Google document, the author tosses in criticisms of programs that support people of “a certain race” and dismissals of calls for racial diversity. If programs designed to support women are bogus because women are naturally inclined to shun stressful jobs and analytical work, what’s wrong with programs designed to support people of color? The author doesn’t attempt to explain whatever evolutionary arguments undergird his opposition to racial diversity efforts, probably because there is a much smaller (though quite enthusiastic) audience for that kind of bunk. Blanket claims about why women aren’t born to lead are bound to go further, especially in an industry that rewards single-minded, self-promoting men.
For decades now, people have debated and discussed the negative (and positive) ways images we see in media impact the way we perceive ourselves—especially...
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Thu Aug 24 12:36:00 PDT 2017
After years of hawking mysterious health supplements and making dubious claims about the brain-boosting powers of butter in coffee, Gwyneth Paltrow’s bougie health site is finally seeing its chickens come home to roost. Those chickens lay $66 jade eggs marketed as vaginal “detox” devices that, once inserted into the human body, can “intensify feminine energy” and prevent uterine prolapse.
At least, that’s what Goop says. The site, along with its affiliated newsletter and live events, is the target of a new complaint Truth in Advertising Inc. filed with California health regulators, calling attention to several dozen products Goop sells or promotes using unsubstantiated claims about curing, treating, or preventing illness. “The company does not possess the competent and reliable scientific evidence required by law to make such claims,” the advocacy group said in a blog post about the filing. Truth in Advertising warned Goop in a letter earlier this month that if it didn’t take down or modify its “deceptive” claims within a week, the organization would contact district attorneys on the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force. The group followed through on that promise on Tuesday.
It’s not surprising that it’s taken such a long time for Goop to come under potential regulatory fire for its bizarre health advice. To someone outside of Los Angeles who isn’t drunk on Moon Juice—one of the many Goop-endorsed products that sound like period euphemisms—the site’s use of mystical potions and magic crystals to supposedly keep away real-world microbes can sound too ridiculous to take seriously. Sure, walking barefoot to absorb negatively-charged electrons from the ground may not cure anyone’s insomnia, as the site once suggested, but it probably wouldn’t do gullible readers any harm, either. Then again, that’s exactly what consumer protection agencies are for—to prevent companies from disabusing customers of their dollars with uncorroborated statements about dildos that can heal infections or seaweed products that can protect against radiation drifting overseas from a nuclear reactor meltdown.
Some of the practices Goop and Paltrow endorse can do real bodily harm, too. Consider her recommendation to treat a bout of influenza with a shvitz in the sauna, which could lead to dangerous dehydration. Gynecologist Jen Gunter has helpfully noted that jade is porous, making it a very bad, potentially bacteria-nurturing material for long-term intravaginal use. In response, Goop published a blog post–long subtweet of Gunter, comparing her skepticism of the benefits of reverse egg-laying with the skepticism of ye olde doctors who didn’t believe smoking caused lung cancer. And the skin-care products that have been infused with chanting and prayers? Those could be tomorrow’s penicillin, I guess.
Even benign yet ineffective substances could prove dangerous if they’re advertised as potential health cures. People who fear the side effects and costs of Western medical treatments (or who’ve been convinced by Goop that prescribed medicines contain “toxins” or Dementors’ breath or something) may forgo necessary therapies in favor of, I don’t know, ringing a $700 bell every time they take a poop. Goop has said that wearing stickers “pre-programmed to an ideal frequency” can help ease anxiety. Unless the stickers are tuned to the “frequency” of a walkie-talkie carried by a therapist, they probably can’t. That won’t stop some people trying to cure what might be a serious mental illness with elementary school art supplies. The gospel of Goop is as seductive as it is fake, and the company will need more than a standard crystal chant to ward off the energy imbalance a regulatory crackdown could bring.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Sep 06 12:29:56 PDT 2017
Now that the gyrating hordes have returned from Burning Man, it’s time to catch up on all the beautiful acts of intention and community and MDMA they committed on the playa. This year’s star is Miki Agrawal, former purveyor of Thinx period underwear and living, breathing TED talk. In an Instagram slideshow Agrawal posted on Tuesday, the new mother described pumping breast milk for her three days at the annual dust bowl.
“So many people told me that they had no idea that I had to keep pumping every three hours because they didn’t know that breasts would become engorged and super painful if they were not pumped,” Agrawal wrote, “nature's way of keeping mama and baby working together :-)”
Because Burning Man encourages an ethos of gift-giving, Agrawal didn’t keep her nutritious secretions to herself. She gave most of it away to consenting adults, who apparently couldn’t get enough. “Some people downed a whole four ounces hoping for a hangover cure,” Agrawal wrote on Instagram. “Some wanted it for their coffee to make lattes. So many were excited and curious to try it. I drank some too when I ran out of water, it tastes like sweet coconut milk!” Apparently this is common practice on the playa: Other breast-feeding commenters on the post wrote that they “loved sharing all the wonders of breastmilk” with other burners and served it to patrons at a Burning Man diner.
This endorsement of public breast milk consumption, accompanied by several photos of Agrawal wearing her breast pumps around the playa, is truly the ne plus ultra of posts about breast-feeding shaming. Not only is Agrawal proudly asserting her need and right to pump in a place that doesn’t look particularly hospitable to pumping, but she is passing the pump tube to another burner like she’s administering a beer bong. Women have said in their social media accounts of breast-feeding and pumping in public that it is natural, necessary, and a perfectly OK thing to do around strangers. To that, Agrawal adds: a fantastic source of party refreshments.
Agrawal is pretty much the personification of Burning Man, making her the perfect vessel for this peak–Burning Man performance of radical self-reliance. She digs startup wordplay—she called herself the “She-E-O” of Thinx and is writing a book called Disrupt-Her—and peppers her personal website with identifiers like “social entrepreneur,” “impact investor,” “dreamer,” and “societal-norm-busting-millennial.” She considers herself a capitalist revolutionary, wrote a book called Do Cool Shit, and has a fetish for ill-proportioned hats. She sometimes plays the DJ at parties for the organization her sister founded: Daybreaker, which, like Burning Man, is a gathering of forced profundity where people wear lamé and, you know, connect.
She also loves talking about bodily fluids. In addition to the period underwear, Agrawal has launched a line of underwear for urinary incontinence and a portable bidet called Tushy. A former Thinx employee filed a sexual harassment complaint against Agrawal for, among other inappropriate office behaviors, FaceTime-ing employees from the toilet. One wonders if Agrawal’s “got breastmilk?” post is a low-key ad for some forthcoming venture centered on a better breast pump—or as is Agrawal’s shtick, subverting the taboos around breast pumping. “Every human has been birthed and raised somehow and yet even the smartest people have no idea what this process looks like,” she wrote on her Instagram slideshow. “Nobody learns how to become a parent, let alone a good one. Time to change this! Great parenting can change the world! More conversations about this soon!” Soon.
But if Agrawal’s breast-milk bistro—“Miki’s Milk Bar,” an Instagram commenter said it was called—was a promotion scheme for some future innovation around her new favorite secretion, it would violate one of Burning Man’s core principles: decommodification, which forbids sponsorships and advertising. “Breast milk” would also screw up the pneumonic device of her current brand, the four Ps: pee, poop, periods, and pizza. That incongruous last entry refers to a gluten-free pizza chain she started in New York. No word on where they get their cheese.
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by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Fri Sep 01 09:41:00 PDT 2017
If you’re not a parent, you may remember shopping for school supplies as an enjoyably quaint activity: a quick trip to the store to pick out a new Trapper Keeper, and some shiny folders, along with a few boxes of crayons, pencils, and a bright pink eraser.
When I asked parents on Facebook to share their children’s lists, my inbox started filling up immediately with exasperated responses. One mother who has two kids in public school outside Dallas said she spent $180 fulfilling their “ridiculous” lists this year. Her third-grader’s extensive list includes six plastic pocket folders with brads (specifically: red, blue, yellow, orange, green, and purple), Fiskars-brand scissors (sharp point), a four-pack of Expo markers, and 48 No. 2 pencils. As the lists have become cumbersome to fulfill, PTAs and online services have stepped in to bundle supplies for a fee. (Many parents who contributed to this story asked that their names not be used to avoid upsetting their children’s teachers and school administrators.)
Today, many parents describe it differently. School-supply lists are now often shockingly long, requesting dozens of specific and sometimes expensive items. They include particular brands: Prang watercolors, Ticonderoga pencils, Elmer’s glue sticks. “Pens” are no longer good enough; only “Black Papermate Flair Porous-Point Medium-Point Pens” will do. And the definition of “school supplies” has expanded to include items like tissues, sanitizing wipes, locker shelves, and plastic baggies. The requests are the stuff of parody in parenting magazines and laments on private Facebook pages. Comedian Dana Blizzard’s response to the belly-aching was passed around widely on Facebook this week. “I’ve been noticing lately, when people are doing their back to school shopping, everybody’s complaining,” she tells the camera, tossing microwaves and jugs of glue into her cart as she wheels through Target. “My thing is: Listen. It’s the end of August. I will give you anything to take my kids.”
The lists vary widely between classrooms and schools, even within the same city. One single working mother whose daughter is starting kindergarten on the Upper East Side of Manhattan estimates that fulfilling the detailed 38-item list will cost her $300. The list includes foaming hand-soap (Babyganics or Method brand), four rolls of Bounty Select-a-Size paper towels, and Staples white shipping labels (2”-by-4”). “I think it’s absurd,” the mother told me. No working parent “has this kind of money or leisure time to surf Amazon Prime for this crap.” Meanwhile, the father of a second-grader in Park Slope, Brooklyn, got a note asking for just $20 to cover four simple items that the teacher will purchase for the students. “Over the years I have felt that school supply lists have become expensive and specific,” the teacher wrote to parents. “It is my hope that by eliminating the expense of exhaustive supply lists, budgets might be freed up for your family and field trip admission over the course of the school year.”
The short explanation for supply inflation is that as education budgets shrink so, too, do schools’ stores of basic items. Teachers routinely spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on classroom supplies, especially in poor areas. Jane Steffler, who recently retired as a kindergarten teacher outside Chicago, had free access to a well-stocked supply room when she taught at a wealthy district in the 1970s. At the low-income district she worked for in the late 1980s, supplies were kept in a locked closet but could still be freely requested. Later, the supply room closed for good, and teachers were given a small fixed budget for their classrooms—forced to spend their own money or make requests for parents if they ran out of supplies during the school year. “We really tried to not ask more of the parents than we thought we needed,” she said. “I don’t know a teacher who hasn’t paid for everything in their room.” Another teacher told me she usually spends about $500 a year on stocking her classroom. Some teachers now set up Amazon wish-lists or otherwise let parents know how they can contribute beyond basic supplies.
Long lists aren’t strictly a public school phenomenon, but that seems to be where the most public parental umbrage is focused. One teacher told me that at his wealthy private school, spare lockers were stuffed to the brim with leftover supplies, and yet some classroom’s annual lists cost parents $150 to fulfill. Complaints were rare. At the low-income public school at which he taught before that, teachers worked hard to keep supply lists sparse, but they had to account for the fact that only about half of the students would arrive in September with all the requested items. When he wanted to make sure that every child in the classroom had access to certain items, he simply bought them himself.
Paltry budgets explain why many lists are so long—though I admit it’s hard for me to peruse the Upper East Side kindergarten’s list and wonder if kids really need six different Crayola marker packs to succeed. (In case you’re curious: thin “classic,” thin “bold,” thick “classic,” thick “bold,” thick “tropical,” and “multicultural.”) But why do teachers request such specific brands and sizes? In many cases, they pool all the supplies together in order to help families who can’t afford to contribute supplies. It is not uncommon in low-income districts for some children to show up with no supplies from home. And quality really does vary widely, teachers told me: Cheap pencils snap frequently and sharpen unevenly; no-name watercolors are more like useless plastic pods than paint. Most teachers do factor in the cost for parents when making their lists. “One year some parents got together and made a large push for all eco-friendly supplies,” described one teacher, who declined the request due to cost. “While their hearts were in the right place, they were very out of touch with the population of the families at the school since roughly 60 percent fall below the poverty line."
The cost of all these pens, pencils, and Fiskars Blunt-Tip Safety Scissors is obvious. Less obvious is who is paying the price. When I asked parents on Facebook for feedback on their children’s lists, I got more than 40 responses. Two were from men replying in their capacity as teachers, and two of them were from fathers with information about their children’s supply lists. The rest were from mothers. Many of the women sent along homemade spreadsheets and described detailed plans to visit multiple stores to save money; they keep track of local sales, and devise systems for consolidating leftover supplies at the end of the school year and preparing them for next year’s requests. Meanwhile, women make up about three-quarters of public school teachers—the ones spending hundreds of dollars of their own salaries to stock their classrooms. As education budgets shrivel so dramatically that Kleenex have become luxury items, it’s women who are spending the time and money to keep schools running.
by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Thu Sep 14 15:35:00 PDT 2017
Pity Ted Cruz. No one likes the guy. (“I just don’t like the guy”—George W. Bush) He’s spent the last few weeks being called out for his hypocrisy over hurricane aid. And now, just when he’d rather be selling his tax reform plan, he has spent almost an entire week talking about a pornographic tweet.
It is by now the stuff of legend: On Monday evening, Cruz’s official Twitter account clicked “like” on a tweet featuring hardcore porn, causing the tweet from account @SexuallPosts to show up on a section of Cruz’s public profile. Speculation ran wild, including at Slate. Did Cruz himself hit the like button? Did a staffer do it, and under what circumstances? On Tuesday, Cruz called it a “staffing issue,” furthering the story without clarifying it. Concerned watchdogs like CNN’s Chris Cillizza put Cruz on notice, treating the errant finger-twitch like the matter of national security that it was: “Cruz needs to clear this up. Immediately. Possibly sooner.” On Wednesday, he cleared it up—or at least tried to. In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, he said a staff member “accidentally hit the wrong button.”
Cruz seems to be in a forgiving mood toward the mystery staffer. He called it an “honest mistake” and said he wouldn’t throw the “fella” under the bus by revealing his name. Then again, Cruz is a forgiving guy: Then-candidate Donald Trump insulted his wife’s appearance and insinuated that his father was involved in the Kennedy assassination, and Cruz still endorsed him.
But the interview was notable for more than just Cruz’s awkward attempts to move past SexuallPosts-gate. When Bash brought up a 2007 case in which Cruz, then Texas solicitor general, defended a state law banning the sale of sex toys, Cruz got huffy. He called the ban a “stupid law” and said he only defended it because it was his job to do so. “Consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want in their bedrooms,” he said. “The media and the left seem obsessed with sex. Let people do what they want!”
Cruz’s newfound persona as a chill, sex-positive free spirit is all well and good. But back in 2007, Cruz showed no sign of thinking that the Texas sales ban on dildos and vibrators was “idiotic,” as he told Bash. His team filed a 76-page brief arguing that Americans have no right “to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.” When a court of appeals panel struck down Cruz’s argument in a 2–1 decision in 2008, the judges in the majority noted that the case was very specifically about controlling what consenting adults do in their own bedrooms: “It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the State is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct.” After his loss, Cruz and the state’s attorney general (now-Gov. Greg Abbott) asked the full court of appeals to hear the case, and Cruz’s office filed another brief suggesting it might take the case—defending what he now calls a “stupid law”—to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Cruz’s approach to LGBTQ issues also does not suggest a mellow disinterest in other people’s bedroom habits. During his 2012 Senate campaign, he criticized his opponent for marching in a pride parade as Dallas mayor, saying it’s “not a statement I agree with.” He spoke publicly during that campaign about his record of “standing and fighting to protect traditional marriage between one man and one woman.” In the run-up to the 2016 election, he told NPR that opposition to same-sex marriage would be “front and center” in his campaign. Except he also he assured a gay-rights supporter at a private fundraiser that he would not make fighting same-sex marriage a top priority. That’s Ted Cruz: Consenting adults can do what they want behind closed doors as long as it’s politically convenient for him.
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by Grace Ballenger @ The XX Factor
Fri Jul 14 07:57:58 PDT 2017
Andy Murray is known for many things: his crosscourt slice backhand, his deft grass court play, his occasional on-court remonstrations of his friends and family. He’s also, uniquely in the world of high-level men’s tennis, an ardent and unapologetic feminist. Most recently, when a reporter declared that Sam Querrey—who beat Murray in the Wimbledon quarterfinals—was the first American tennis player to reach the semis of a major championship since 2009, Murray quickly and coolly corrected him: “male player.” (Serena Williams has won 14 grand slams since that year.) When other folks in the press room chuckled, Murray didn’t crack a smile.
This wasn’t a one-off remark from the No. 1 (male) player in the world. Murray, who was famously coached as a child by his mother Judy, regularly touts the achievements of his female counterparts, and he does so in a way that feels natural and automatic rather than performative. Here is a surely not-quite-comprehensive history of Murray’s off-the-cuff feminist remarks.
June 27, 2013: He said he’d be down to play Serena Williams.
Murray kicked up considerable media buzz by saying he would play a match against the world’s best woman. “I’ve never hit with her but she’s obviously an incredible player,” Murray said in the Telegraph. “And I think people would be interested to see the men play against the women to see how the styles match up.” This is the rare instance in which a male tennis player talked about a hypothetical match-up with a woman without stressing that he would totally kick her butt. Serena replied that she would be up for it, too, but alas they have yet to meet on the court.
Sept. 2, 2013: He said he watches women's tennis and that it’s no big deal.
In an interview with the New York Times, Murray explained that he enjoys keeping up with women’s matches, and that he particularly admires Polish drop shot artist Agnieszka Radwanska. “I mean, I just like tennis, so I follow it,” he said.
June 22, 2014: He defended his decision to hire a female coach.
Just before playing at Wimbledon, Murray was forced to defend his new coach Amélie Mauresmo against criticism from, among others, former British star Virginia Wade. “If it helps bring more female coaches into men’s sport—and women’s sport—that’s a good thing. Because there’s absolutely no reason why someone like Amélie can't help me,” he said.
Nov. 29, 2014: He defended his coach again.
After Tim Henman questioned whether Mauresmo was good for him, Murray flatly told reporters, “There’s no reason for her to be criticized for anything.”
Jan. 29, 2015: And again.
This time, he spoke up for Mauresumo after a match at the Australian Open: “I think so far this week we have shown that women can be very good coaches as well.”
June 4, 2015: He used the f-word.
In a big day for Murray’s evolution as a feminist, he declared himself one in a post for French publication L’Equipe. In the post, Murray addressed those near-continuous critiques of Mauresmo and credited his family background for his respect for women. “Have I become a feminist?” he asks himself. “Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have.”
March 23, 2016: He gave his thoughts on equal pay.
“Women should have equal pay, 100 per cent … the whole [controversy] is pretty disappointing,” he said, per the Guardian.
Aug. 15, 2016: He gave credit where credit was due (to the Williams sisters).
When BBC host John Inverdale declared that Murray was the first person to win two Olympic gold medals in tennis, Murray was quick to correct him. “Well, to defend the singles title,” he said. “I think Venus and Serena have won about four each.”
July 12, 2017: He schooled another journalist.
Once again: “male player.”
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Aug 29 13:13:12 PDT 2017
Kathy Griffin posed for a photo with a model of Trump's decapitated head three months ago—in Trump presidency time, that’s about seven years—but it might as well have happened yesterday. A new New York magazine piece on Griffin finds her struggling to get work, still fielding new death threats, and distancing herself from friends like Anderson Cooper who she says didn’t check in with her for months, even as she was being dragged in both the left- and right-wing press.
Griffin has also been subjected to unsolicited advice from other industry professionals purporting to want to save her career. According to Yashar Ali, who wrote the New York piece and is something of a friend to Griffin, Billy “lol Trump is funny man” Bush told Griffin to keep her head down and meditate until people moved on to something else. And Arnold Kopelson, a CBS Corporation board member and Oscar-winning producer, sent Griffin a wonderful email suggesting that she humble herself before the president, who has been “known to be compassionate.”
That line was probably Griffin’s first indication that Kopelson’s suggestion was some nonsense. Trump has about as much experience with compassion as Steve Bannon has with unconscious bias training. Would the man who defamed a mother who lost her son in an American war accept an apology from a loud-mouthed left-wing comedian? Trump doesn’t have a gracious sweat gland on his body: He sees apologies not as opportunities for forgiveness, but as weak points waiting to be pummeled over and over again.
Kopelson, who was not Griffin’s boss, addressed her like an employee on the verge of ruining his business or a child who’d brought shame to his family. “You have one chance left if you send the following letter (NOT AN EMAIL) to the President,” he advised in his email, as if he had some special knowledge of Trump’s capacity for forgiveness. “DON’T CHANGE A WORD OF IT.”
What followed was a hilarious feat of groveling and self-humiliation. “Please, I beg you to not stop reading,” the letter begins. It continues: “Now with my world crumbling around me, I am listening for the first time about the great things you have done and are doing. How stupid I was to follow the lies from the ‘Left.’ It took my terrible mistake to finally see the false news. … How warped and misguided I was. My stupidity is overwhelming. I do not deserve what I am asking of you.”
For Griffin, an outspoken progressive and dedicated follower of politics, sending this letter would have meant peeing all over her most cherished values for the slim possibility of getting on the good side of a man she believes to be a cruel demagogue. Sure, her photo was a tasteless bit of shock comedy that looked more like a shallow publicity grab gone awry than any kind of pointed political commentary. But she was quick to apologize, and unlike other comedians who’ve earned widespread public ire (see: Michael Richards and the N-word) her target was a politician, not a marginalized or oppressed population. Comedians are not known for debasing themselves at the feet of the powerful after an (admittedly bad) joke lands the wrong way, especially if the target of the bad joke is a public, privileged figure. The suggestion that Griffin besmirch her own political comrades, affirm Trump’s routine incitement of violence against the media, and praise some imaginary set of good deeds he’s done is unbelievably cynical. It assumes that Griffin would gladly sell her soul for the chance to maybe make more money.
Kopelson’s insistence on his proposed plan of action for Griffin also speaks to a rash, if well-meaning, overconfidence. “IF YOU DON’T DO EXACTLY WHAT I’VE WRITTEN, YOUR CAREER IS OVER,” he kindly advised in his note. He told her in all caps not to “CHANGE A WORD” of his disgusting note of self-flagellation, but the note itself is riddled with typos (“Thank you sir for hearing meh plea”) and grammatical errors. If you’re going to claim to hold the one true key to a person’s career survival, you’d best make sure not to confuse your “my” with your “meh.”
Griffin told Ali that Kopelson is just another one of those “men who control the checkbooks” in Hollywood, who are quick to trade in any semblance of liberal values for the security of their business interests. She and Ali make all kinds of good arguments in her defense that should seem obvious: The Trump family’s personal attack on a second-tier entertainer was unprecedented and wrong; Trump himself has championed those who’ve advocated for the actual assassination of his political opponents; Trump is doing far worse concrete damage than Griffin, and she’s not the president, so why should she be forced to kiss his ring to get back in the industry’s good graces?
It all points to one very unflattering truth about the entertainment industry. No surprise here: Despite the supes empowering storylines, nice platitudes about equality, and resistance-baiting tweets, money, not any notion of right and wrong, is the guiding light. Griffin says she’s gotten lots of sympathetic messages of support from fellow industry folks; none agreed to speak with Ali for his story. Surely none of them think Griffin was truly threatening an attack on Trump, and most probably feel that her subsequent career tailspin was undeserved, but none were willing to associate themselves with someone who’d angered a president every moral person believes is a stain on humanity. Trump can bully his critics for their bad jokes all he wants, but his overblown attacks only gain power when everyone else agrees to play by his messed-up rules.
by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Wed Jul 26 16:22:34 PDT 2017
President Trump nominated Michael Dourson last week to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical and pesticides office. Dourson is a toxicologist at the University of Cincinnati and founded a nonprofit consulting company called Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment in 1995. Before that, he spent 15 years working for the EPA. But his appointment is raising eyebrows not just because of his professional qualifications—more on those later—but because of his hobby: self-publishing books he describes as “science-Bible stories.”
As BuzzFeed News reports, Dourson is the author of a series titled “Evidence of Faith,” in which he explores the science surrounding key events described in the Bible. Messiah’s Star focuses on the astronomical events around the time of the birth of Jesus. (He theorizes that Jesus was born on June 17, 2 BC. Sorry, Christmas!) The Beginning: Let there be light, focuses on the creation of the universe. And The Linen Cloths…Jesus left behind, published in February, focuses on the Shroud of Turin, a relic purported to be Jesus’s burial cloths. The books are almost trippy in tone, melding historical and scientific evidence with narrative interpretations of how, say, the three magi would have experienced the events around Jesus’ birth.
BuzzFeed warns that Dourson’s books suggest he “may read the Bible literally.” Few conservative Christians self-identify as literalists; it’s a term that is handier as a shorthand pejorative than a meaningful descriptor. More to the point, Dourson’s books are attempts not to discredit scientific explanations for natural phenomena, but to reconcile Biblical and scientific accounts. In The Beginning, for example, he interprets the six-day creation story in Genesis as a story spanning hundreds of millions of years—hardly a Creationist-approved approach. Dourson places angels on the scene: “The angels saw unmistakable evidence of the big bang,” he writes:
[Michael] and the other angels had the privilege to experience time as God did, and they noted that it took approximately 300 million or so years for the matter from this first explosion, primarily hydrogen, to coalesce by way of gravity into large masses. And then a surprising thing occurred.
These masses self-ignited into glowing, burning objects: the first stars. The light of the second “day” had begun! “Wow!” exclaimed Gabriel, Satan, Michael, and the other angels.
It’s not exactly sophisticated, literarily speaking. Or theologically. Or scientifically. But it also doesn’t sound like the work of a fundamentalist trying to wave away science. It’s the work of a devout scientist trying to blend two belief systems. And it’s worth pointing out that it’s not unusual at all for a scientist to be religious, though admittedly few of them spend their free time spinning tales of a prelapsarian Satan witnessing the Big Bang. The work of sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund suggests that American scientists are not radically out of step with the general public when it comes to religious beliefs and practices: 18 percent of scientists attend weekly religious services, for example, compared with 20 percent of the general population. About the same percentage pray several times a day. And 17 percent of scientists identify as evangelical Protestants—that’s about 2 million people.
So it’s not Dourson’s hobbies nor his faith that should prompt questions about his fitness for the job. Rather, it’s his resume itself. A 2014 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News found that Dourson’s firm had inappropriately close connections to chemical manufacturers and other industry players, for example. Some critics are concerned about his approach to risk assessment. And the Environmental Defense Fund accused Dourson this week of a “history of failing to appropriately address his conflicts of interest.” BuzzFeed also interviewed another toxicologist who has worked with Dourson and is concerned that the nominee tends to believe the EPA overestimates risk.
As it happens, Dourson’s self-published books lend some insight into his thinking on chemical risk. In the last chapter of The Linen Cloths, Dourson peeks in on a thinly fictionalized “older medical scientist” returning home after a day at work studying chemical toxicity at a university. (This character definitely feels like a thinly veiled Dourson—even his description of his wife mirrors how Dourson has described his own wife.) The scientist had published a study on a particular flame-retardant that was toxic at high levels, he writes, but actual exposures from consumer products were relatively low and therefore harmless. (The dose makes the poison, as toxicologists say.)
Actual exposures from consumer products were much lower than this, he thought, and would not cause any harm, even in sensitive people, like his four-year-old grandson, Finn, who had just spied him from across the room and who was even then making a beeline to run into his arms. Besides, he thought as he raised up Finn for a swooping hug, I will take the flame retarding benefits of these chemicals any day because destruction of lives and property by fire was a daily occurrence throughout his country.
The question of how the EPA’s next chemical and pesticides authority approaches issues of risk, toxicity, industry standards, and consumer safety is the right conversation to have. The fact that he writes stories about the Shroud of Turin on the side is not. As Jesus himself said, in a passage quoted by Dourson: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
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by Marissa Martinelli @ The XX Factor
Thu Jul 13 15:27:00 PDT 2017
In the wake of an affectionate butt-tap between French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, here’s some decidedly unromantic news out of Paris. A video of Donald Trump commenting on the French First Lady’s physique is making the rounds on Twitter, and it is about as unpleasant to watch as you might imagine.
“You’re in such good shape,” Trump says in the video, with incredulous delight, while gesturing with both hands toward the first lady’s body. He then turns to the French president to repeat the comment. “She’s in such good physical shape. Beautiful.” Brigitte, who is facing away from the camera, takes a step back and touches Melania on the arm, as if in solidarity.
Trump making gruesomely objectifying comments about female appearances is clearly old hat at this point. But still: this one's a doozy. Setting aside the general appropriateness of the American president commenting on the body of the French president's wife in public, there's the way he pays the "compliment" first to Brigitte, and then to Macron, as if to praise him on her upkeep, too. And most of all, there is a big difference between telling a woman she looks good and informing her, with a note of awestruck surprise, that she’s “in such good shape.” His choice of words is telling, because the unspoken end of the sentence “you’re in such good shape” is “for your age.” It's a formulation that highlights a core Trumpian trait: just how obsessed he is with the specter of female decline.
Brigitte is 64 years old, making her 24 years older than her husband and 7 years younger than Trump. Trump's disgust toward both the aging process and, paradoxically, women's attempts to combat that process, is a deep current in his general worldview. There was, of course, the “bleeding badly from a face-lift” tweet about Mika Brzezinski. There was the news that he allegedly told Melania that she could only have a baby if she promised to “get her body back” after her pregnancy. There was his fun joke to Howard Stern that he would still love Melania after a disfiguring car crash if her breasts remained intact. And also his relentless fixation on Hillary Clinton's health.
Both Macrons seem cordial and friendly throughout the skin-crawling exchange in Paris, which is hardly surprising, given that the French president has been strategically turning on the charm throughout Trump’s visit. But it sure would have been satisfying if Brigitte, or her husband, had replied to doughy Trump by deadpanning, “Same to you.”
After Charlottesville, Trump’s Spiritual Adviser Doubles Down: Resisting Him Is Resisting “the Hand of God”
by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Wed Aug 23 14:31:00 PDT 2017
Televangelist and pastor Paula White has known Donald Trump since the early 2000s, and she is thought to be the president’s closest spiritual adviser. She prayed at his inauguration, appeared with him when he signed his executive order easing restrictions on pastors engaging in politics, and told evangelical TV host Jim Bakker she is in the White House at least weekly these days. This week, as Trump faced sustained criticism over his response to the violent white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, she proved her loyalty once more, appearing on the Jim Bakker Show to defend Trump’s presidency and his spiritual bona fides in apocalyptic terms. While White has condemned white supremacy as evil and has a racially mixed fan base, she didn’t mention Trump’s equivocations that have roiled the nation.
Instead, she made an extended comparison of the president to the biblical figure Esther on Bakker’s show Monday in an interview that at times sounded more like an impassioned sermon. Like Esther, White said, Trump is a come-from-nowhere figure elevated to leadership against all odds in order to do God’s will. She described Trump as a generous, humble man of “character and integrity” and vouched repeatedly for the state of his soul. “He surrounds himself with Christians, and he is a Christian,” she told Bakker, about a man who’s been widely reported as being irreligious for most of his life, prompting applause from the studio audience. “He loves prayer.”
White didn’t need to convince Bakker’s audience that a flawed man can be redeemed to do the Lord's work; the Bakker himself went through a high-profile sex scandal in the 1980s and later spent time in jail for mail and wire fraud before returning to ministry. White’s case for Trump’s divine mission was based not on his character, but on the future of the Supreme Court and other judicial appointments. To White, Trump is doing exactly what conservative Christians elected him to do. She called the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court a “miracle” and spoke fervently about future court appointments. “We’ve got 130 vacancies in the lower courts, and he is appointing exactly what we asked for. ... We wanted originalists; we want constitutionalists,” she said. “Right now, we’re scaring the literal hell out of demonic spirits by me saying this right now,” she added, indicating she sensed her words were summoning opposition from dark forces.
In adamning investigative piece written for the now-shuttered conservative site Heat Street, Jillian Melchior reported this spring on her dubious record as a televangelist and pastor. White’s church outside Orlando, Florida, attracts an almost exclusively black audience, many of whom have low incomes and little savings. That doesn’t stop White from asking for what they have. White asked congregants to donate up to a month’s salary as a one-time special offering to mark the beginning of the year. At her previous church, White often asked congregants to donate jewelry and other valuables, which White would later sift through herself and pluck out valuable items, according to another pastor interviewed by Melchior. That church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy several years after White left.
Trump’s roster of spiritual advisers is heavy on televangelists and prosperity Gospel preachers such as White, who suggest God will reward believers for their generosity toward their churches and spiritual leaders. Even as Trump’s business advisory boards fell apart and the majority of his arts and humanities committee resigned in the wake of his response to Charlottesville, the members of his evangelical advisory board, who informally advise him on spiritual and political matters, have largely stood by him. When ABC’s This Week reached out to the administration to request someone to speak for the president, they offered up Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University who dutifully reported that the president “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.” A.R. Bernard, the pastor of a megachurch in Brooklyn, New York, is a notable exception. He announced last week that he had “quietly stepped away” from the board months ago and formally resigned the day of Trump’s disastrous “both sides” press conference.
Pressure is mounting on the group from other corners of conservative Christianity. Some Liberty students are returning their diplomas as a protest against Falwell’s backing, for example. In an interview with Emma Green in the Atlantic, advisory board member Tony Suarez, the executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, argued that much of the group's work with the president is invisible. Just because they aren’t rebuking him publicly, he implied, does not mean that they aren’t delivering bracing truths in private. “I can tell you there have been legitimate, straight meetings where we delve into these issues,” he told Green. “There is an open door from the Oval Office to be able to express praise, criticism, and concern to the president. And he receives it.”
But critics are skeptical that Trump would tolerate criticism from his religious advisers, given his apparent inability to accept criticism from anyone else. “What is Trump doing with them if he’s not listening to them?” Bryan McGraw, a political scientist at evangelical Wheaton College, said by email. “Using them as props in his White House Reality TV Show.” As long as Trump is able and willing to make conservative judicial picks, it appears White has no temptation to critique the man she believes has been installed by God to the hall of power—and who has brought her right along with him.
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Fri Oct 31 12:19:31 PDT 2014
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by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Thu Aug 31 15:22:00 PDT 2017
Seven current and former employees of LifeZette, the news website founded by right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham, have accused the site’s CEO and co-founder of using their workplace as his private sexual water cooler. According to sources interviewed by Daily Beast reporters, Peter Anthony made repeated sexual remarks about his female colleagues both behind their backs and when they were close enough to hear him.
Anthony allegedly loved “talking about other women’s boobs, butts” and how he wanted to have sex with women in the office, a former IT employee said. Another former worker said Anthony wondered aloud “Is it just me or are [female co-worker’s] tits getting bigger?” and said another colleague looked like “a bitch” who would be “sexier” if she smiled. Others said Anthony would talk to a senior editor in the office, loudly enough so that others could hear, about the body parts of young women in the office.
These allegations shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed Ingraham’s career. Two decades before she supported a serial sexual harasser for president, she cut her teeth at the Independent Women’s Forum, a nonprofit that grew out of a committee formed to support Clarence Thomas when Anita Hill testified that the then–Supreme Court nominee had subjected her to persistent sexual harassment. The group sought to discredit Hill, arguing that she was making it all up. Since then, the IWF has taken a vocal anti-feminist stance on almost every social and fiscal issue—and Ingraham, as a member and one-time spokeswoman, has amplified the group’s message.
The IWF worldview holds that women who allege harassment, sexual assault, sex discrimination, and domestic violence are often exaggerating and making themselves into victims when they should be taking responsibility for their own roles in the harm that’s come to them. University efforts to combat campus rape are causing boys to die by suicide, IWF worries. Efforts to prevent wage discrimination are unfair to men who are just plain better than women at their jobs. Sexual harassment training is “harmful” because it leads to “people assuming the worst of each other and forcing everyone to walk on eggshells lest they offend someone else,” the IWF contended in 2016, arguing that women encourage a double standard—they love sexual advances from hot guys, but cry harassment when the advances come from less desirable men. The IWF has called National Pay Inequity Awareness Day a “hoax…designed to brainwash girls and young women into believing they are victims.” The IWF’s Elizabeth Larson has written extensively on the supposedly trumped-up nature of sexual harassment charges, claiming that women now think “a wink or a leer can be money in the bank” and, inspired by Anita Hill, find it more profitable to litigate than to work.”
Ingraham herself was vocally opposed to the Violence Against Women Act, a bill she called “pork” with a “tear-jerker” of a title. In a 1996 op-ed, buoyed by her IWF membership, she encouraged then–presidential candidate Bob Dole to “point out what domestic abuse advocates often ignore: that women who are married are safer than women who are not. Seventy-two percent of domestic abuse fatalities occur at the hands of boyfriends, not husbands.” Women, in other words, could avoid domestic abuse if they’d only make honest men out of their partners.
It’s easy to imagine how someone who believes that the systemic ills women complain about are overblown, fake, or partially their fault could preside over a workplace that allows a committed harasser to thrive. The Daily Beast writes that some of its sources said Ingraham was probably too busy with her radio show and other career obligations to keep track of whether or not her company’s CEO was sexually harassing the women who worked there. (Anthony, for his part, refutes the allegations.) But Anthony is Ingraham’s “longtime friend and business partner,” the Daily Beast reports, and she trusted him enough to found a website with him. A person who talks incessantly about young female colleagues’ bodies, even to co-workers who want nothing to do with the conversation, does not start up out of the blue. If Ingraham is oblivious to the specific anecdotes described in the allegations published Thursday, she certainly isn’t ignorant of Anthony’s disposition.
The LifeZette work environment calls to mind another right-wing media outlet full of predatory men, and Ingraham may be on her way there. The host is reportedly in talks with Fox News— whose late abusive founder she mourned as her friend—about taking on a primetime slot. When it costs tens of millions of dollars to oust the sexual harassers from a company, it’s probably a lot cheaper to hire someone who won’t take issue with the status quo.
Gina Crisanti was taking out the trash at work one day when a stranger approached her with an odd request. It was a talent scout who wanted her to try out for an ad campaign to sell Dove beauty products _ wearing nothing but her underwear.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Jul 19 15:26:12 PDT 2017
Anyone currently hosting a dance party on the grave of the Senate’s disastrous health care bill can thank Republican women for the freshly-packed soil. After Republican men failed to come up with a health care proposal their own party could abide, a desperate Sen. Mitch McConnell tried on Tuesday to simply repeal Obamacare as a half-measure that might help the legislators save face. Three Republican women—Sens. Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito, and Lisa Murkowski—refused to go along, derailing the plan.
It was almost too perfect a conclusion (for now) to a health care debate, and I use the word debate loosely, typified by its exclusion of female legislators. The House’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace shenanigans were held hostage by a sizable caucus of white men whose group photo became one of the most powerful emetic objects in modern political history. When it passed, their Rose Garden celebration looked like a cookout at the world’s oldest, most boring fraternity. On the Senate side, 13 Republican men wrote their party’s bill in secret. They insisted they were not excluding women, and yet, none of the five Republican women in the Senate gained admission to the committee. Capito was invited to meet with the committee to discuss the needs of her opioid-afflicted state of West Virginia, but never became a member.
Any of the health care bills these Republicans proposed would have meant sweeping rollbacks of women’s health care that would have reverberated for generations. They all would have cut off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursements for at least a year, which the Congressional Budget Office predicted would cause thousands of unwanted pregnancies and unplanned births due to a steep reduction in contraception access. They would have let insurers charge women out of pocket for birth control, price women out of health care if they had a “pre-existing condition” like a previous Cesarean section, and potentially drop maternity care coverage. All versions of the Republicans’ plan could have completely dismantled private insurance coverage for abortion, keeping the procedure out of reach for most Americans.
It’s likely that the three women who stopped Obamacare repeal in the Senate were swayed in part by their fellow party members’ disregard for women’s health care and the opinions of their female colleagues. Sens. Murkowski and Collins have both been vocal and steadfast supporters of Planned Parenthood and its continued federal funding through family-planning grants and Medicaid reimbursements. Murkowski has also expressed frustration with the secrecy with which Republican men carried out their legislative deliberations. Capito has identified as “pro-choice”; she has also voted to defund Planned Parenthood. But her reasoning for opposing Obamacare repeal—“I did not come to Washington to hurt people”—echoes the concerns of Collins and Murkowski, who recognized the advances Obamacare made in women’s health care and programs like Medicaid, which disproportionately help women.
Watching three women stand against their own party to help Americans keep their health care makes a great argument for the importance of efforts to get women into political office. Numerous studies have shown that female legislators are more likely than men to champion progress in areas frequently dubbed “women’s issues,” such as child care, reproductive rights, equal pay, and women’s health. Women are also more likely to introduce legislation on education, health, and housing, though their proposals on these issues are more likely to get squashed than equivalent proposals put forward by men. A 2016 study of two decades of congressional information found that Republican women are more likely than their male counterparts to get members of the opposing party on board with their legislation. This effect is particularly pronounced on legislation related to—you guessed it!—education and health care. The defection of three Republican women from their party line on this health care issue fits comfortably in that pattern.
One 2013 study found that the more women there are in a legislative body, the more those women talk about the specific needs of female constituents and raising concerns about so-called women’s issues. The study also indicated that, weirdly, having more women in a legislature also makes male legislators more likely to talk about women’s issues. And when a legislative body reaches a certain critical mass of women, everyone starts talking more about the needs of families, children, and low-income people, resulting in decisions that better benefit the poor.
It’s no coincidence, in other words, that Murkowski and Collins, the two Republican senators who most reliably support Planned Parenthood and oppose attacks on women’s health care, are women. It’s no surprise, either, that they’ve become role models for recent efforts by Trump-opposing, centrist Republican women to get more of their kind into office. Their views are much more closely aligned than those of their male peers with public opinion, which has overwhelmingly opposed every version of Trumpcare and supported public funding for Planned Parenthood. Because there are two of them—maybe three if Capito continues to succumb to the captivating thrill of screwing up the terrible plans of arrogant men—they are enough of a bloc to draw strength from one another and have an outsized influence on policy. If three women in the Senate can save health care, imagine what 50 could do.
Bachelor in Paradise’s Cast-Wide Convo About Consent Was a Ridiculously Transparent Bid to Rehab Its Brand
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Thu Aug 17 16:32:56 PDT 2017
This season of ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise caused controversy before it had even begun. Two months before this week’s premiere, producers suspended taping within the first week of production in Mexico amid allegations of sexual misconduct within the cast. DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios had hooked up after a day of drinking, and she alleged that she was too drunk to really remember (or consent to) the encounter. Contestants who gave anonymous accounts to media outlets said they were angry at producers who saw the encounter take place and did nothing to stop it; one producer even sued the production company for allegedly letting an assault occur.
But an internal Warner Bros. investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by any cast members, so the remaining contestants returned to carry on with the season as planned. On Tuesday, the second night of the two-day premiere, they showed up on the beach like they were returning to the scene of a tragic shipwreck, uttering breathless musings like “I don’t think anyone expected to be back here” and “I hope this is a fresh reset on love.” Before they got to work finding love, host Chris Harrison sat the cast members down to have a heart-to-heart about alcohol, racism, consent, and restoring the reputation of the Bachelor franchise.
No reasonable person would expect a reality-show host to be an adequate guidance counselor—Harrison is far better qualified to coax romantic platitudes out of fame-hungry meatheads than to lead a reflection session on sexual propriety. He had to fill that position anyway, no matter how uncomfortably the “very special episode” shoes fit, because the sexual assault allegations had called the very premise of Bachelor in Paradise into question. Unlike the regular Bachelor and Bachelorette, this more gender-balanced iteration keeps a steady supply of fresh bodies coming in as others are eliminated, encouraging contestants to partner-swap and explore new options. With an equally steady stream of alcohol flowing and the pressure to do enough interesting stuff to get airtime and stick around for the next episode, it’s almost surprising that there hasn’t been a public accusation of sexual misconduct on Bachelor in Paradise before.
The main objective of the sit-down chat about the assault, then, was to convince viewers that nothing untoward happened during taping, that the media blew the whole incident out of proportion, that Jackson was a victim of racist stereotyping, and, crucially, that the events depicted on the show are spontaneous reflections of the true selves of the cast. Luckily, Harrison is well-practiced in feeding lines to willing participants. Did the cast trust the conclusion of the WB investigation? Did they think race played a role in the unfair treatment of Jackson in the press? Yes, they all nodded. “Taylor, have you ever had a drink on any of the Bachelor shows?” Harrison asked the one sober contestant, Taylor Nolan, in a back-and-forth on how involved producers are in the show. “I’ve never had a drink on the show,” she replied. Harrison pressed on: “Have you ever been asked to have a drink?” “Nope,” Nolan answered. Those answers may be true, but they’d be a lot more convincing if Harrison didn’t sound like he was direct-examining a witness for the defense.
Drunken hookups happen all the time on the show, but this is the first time both a producer and a cast member have made allegations of a sexual assault against a contestant. That suggests that something out of the ordinary went on: Maybe Olympios looked really out of it during the sexual activity, or was drunk enough to raise questions of consent among viewers, even if investigators saw no reason for concern. Either way, the producers of Bachelor in Paradise recognized that the show looked bad for allowing it to happen in press accounts of the alleged encounter. So they took a page out of the president’s book and started casting doubt on the press. “Journalism is dead, and long gone on every level,” Harrison told Variety in a promotional interview for the show. “What really astounded me was the level of incompetence—things that were said and printed by quote-unquote reputable media, and reputable print, and even TV.” He accused news outlets of printing things that weren’t true; during the cast chit-chat that aired this week, cast members said members of the media shamed Olympios for having sex and calling Jackson a sexual predator when he hadn’t been charged with a crime. “I think there was a lot in the media regarding the producers, as if they’re not our friends, and that they’re just using us to make us do things, like we’re gonna just do whatever they say,” one contestant said. “And maybe you can explain what really does happen,” Harrison urged. Another guy explained that the producers aren’t doing the “puppetmaster thing,” that all the friendships on the show are totally real. “You guys aren’t mindless robots?” Harrison asked with a laugh. It couldn’t have been a better plug for reality TV if they’d planned it.
For all the purported neutrality of the discussion, Olympios’ reputation came away with the bulk of the damage, while Jackson’s got a fair bit of rehabilitation. Nolan noted that the cast members shouldn’t expect to “be babysat by production,” that “the things we say, how much we drink, who we kiss, we’re responsible for all of it.” “Just like the real world,” a contestant named Derek said, shaking his head with a smirk. “If we order a drink, we order that drink. We request that drink.” The implication there is that neither DeMario nor producers should be held responsible for any overintoxication that led to a less-than-consensual sexual encounter—that any alleged harm Olympios suffered was her own fault. Harrison drove the point home: “In Corinne’s statement she referred to herself as a victim. Why do you think she did that?” The cast accused Olympios of trying to “save face” after being promiscuous, then hiding behind a vague “lawyer statement.” No one—not even Harrison, who was supposed to be leading an adult conversation on slut-shaming and consent—challenged that notion.
The most insulting part of the whole ordeal involved race, another complex topic a reality show about finding true love in two weeks is ill-equipped to confront. After Diggy Moreland, a black contestant, said he worried for DeMario’s future job prospects, a white woman, Raven Gates, chimed in with her experience as a Southerner. “We have a stigma where seeing a white woman with a black man is wrong, and that night, what happened wasn’t wrong,” Gates said. “And so I was super empathetic with DeMario, because … not only is consent important, but it’s also to get rid of the stigma that interracial couples can’t be, or blaming African-American men for crimes they didn’t commit.” Yes, there is a long history in the U.S. of black men losing their freedom and, in some cases, their lives because of white women’s false accusations of sexual assault. But invoking it in a case where there’s still a lot of unknowns trivializes a vitally important issue and may lead some viewers to question the truth of that history. Since there’s been no trial or verdict, it’s wrong to say Jackson committed a crime. It’s equally wrong to say Olympios lied, or that she did so to get Jackson in trouble.
By the end, what should have been a quick acknowledgement of the alleged misconduct and a run-through of best practices for sexual consent had turned into a self-exonerating press release for the Bachelor franchise and a thoroughly imbalanced trial of the woman who drew attention to the show’s potential ethical weak spots in the first place. Despite his leading questions, Harrison was unable to cover up one of those spots, leaving viewers with some unanswered questions. The WB investigation found “no evidence of misconduct by cast on the set,” he said at the start, choosing his words carefully. That’s the cast—what about the production team? How are the people who make the show and ultimately shape the experience of the contestants going to move forward? Harrison seemed to show concern for the safety of the contestants, but never contested any of them when they blamed Olympios for drinking too much or accused her of ruining Jackson’s life. Bachelor in Paradise could have made a genuine statement about the importance of consent without taking the side of either Jackson or Olympios. Instead, it used its platform to try and repair its reputation by making a case against the woman who threatened it. What a lesson for its national audience to learn.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Jul 28 14:00:57 PDT 2017
There are a few things you could say about White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s reliance on penis-related imagery to insult his colleagues. One is that his puns could use a little work. (Pubis would have been a way more creative replacement for Priebus than Penis. Penis is pretty good, though.) Another is WOW does it feel good to be able to laugh at some Trump administration screw-up, because this one doesn’t substantively destroy people’s lives! The third thing you could say is this: In any other workplace, under any other boss, Scaramucci would probably be in the middle of a damning, possibly career-disrupting human resources investigation by now.
According to Slate’s HR head, Heidi Grothaus, claiming that Steve Bannon tries to “suck” his own “cock,” as Scaramucci did in a statement to a New Yorker reporter on Wednesday, is a clear-cut case of spreading lies or rumors about someone’s personal sex life. Because Scaramucci is in a position of authority—he reports directly to the president—this is a textbook example of sexual harassment.
From a legal standpoint, it’s easier to prove sexual harassment if the victim is a member of a protected class. Since Bannon is not suffering discrimination based on, say, sex, race, religion, or disability, he would have a far more difficult case. But Scaramucci’s actions toward Bannon may be severe enough to override that consideration. The communications director of the president of the United States told a national news media outlet that a co-worker attempts to perform fellatio on himself, a vivid, demeaning, widely publicized remark that could very well interfere with Bannon’s ability to do his job effectively. If he spoke up and raised a fuss about it, the president would probably fire him or reduce his already-diminished influence even further, though that would technically be illegal. Enduring Scaramucci’s rumors about his sexual behavior sure seems to be a condition of Bannon’s employment at the White House.
Because let’s be real: A man who deploys the word cock at least three times in a single one-sided rant to a reporter is not going to cool it with the penis talk anytime soon. Penis imagery is Scaramucci’s poetic crutch, a way to sprinkle some colorful man-dust on any otherwise boring sentiment. It’s a jarring form of macho intimidation surely based in deep insecurity, meant both to establish power and to give Scaramucci an inch or two of an advantage in the dick-measuring contest that is taking place in every White House conference room as you read these very words.
Usually, employees trying to prove a case of hostile work environment have to show evidence that it’s a pervasive problem occurring over a period of time. Daily Beast sources say that Scaramucci has been calling Priebus “Penis” for some time now, but that was before he joined the White House staff. If he continues with that moniker, that would almost certainly constitute a hostile work environment for Priebus. If the White House were any other employer, Scaramucci’s behavior would likely mean legal trouble for leadership, too. “The employer becomes liable for the harassment if they know about it, which we know they do, because [New Yorker reporter Ryan] Lizza’s interview was widely shared, and [Scaramucci] acknowledged it on Twitter,” Grothaus told me. “So everybody knows that this is happening, and they didn’t do anything to reasonably prevent it, and they didn’t seem to do anything promptly to correct it.” This could make the White House liable for creating a hostile work environment among its employees.
Needless to say, Americans shouldn’t let some boner-headed notion of an HR investigation get them too excited. In general it is hard to imagine that there is even a shred of HR oversight in this particular White House. But the White House does have an HR department of sorts—the Office of Administration, which manages administrative business within the Executive Office of the President and should handle human resources problems like this one. (Marcia Lee Kelly, director of the Office of Administration, has not responded to a request for comment.) According to Axios, Trump allegedly “loved” Scaramucci’s remarks.
So impressed is the president with Scaramucci’s command of the art of genital metaphor that he seems to be okay with employing a communications director who doesn’t even understand the proper use of the term cock-block. In his New Yorker tirade, Scaramucci used the colorful phrase to mean general obstruction, not the very specific deterrence of sexual success it implies. By adding cock to block, he brought a penis into a matter that had no connection to penises whatsoever. In the world Mooch shares with Trump, there is no block without a cock, no annoying hanger-on with a last name that starts with “P” without a “Penis.” Their circle of allies is shrinking by the day, and it is positively overflowing with dicks.
There’s one other major barrier to holding Scaramucci and the White House accountable for enabling public sexual degradation in the workplace: Someone has to complain. Bannon and Priebus, the direct targets of Scaramucci’s sexual harassment, don’t have to be the ones to report a hostile work environment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—any employees who can prove that Scaramucci’s behavior has made their workplace an abusive or sexually intimidating place, and that their endurance is a condition of their employment, can make a claim. Who in the Trump White House would do such a thing? The chances of a person who willingly joined the offices of a man whose most famous one-liner includes the words “grab” and “pussy” deciding that another one-liner involving the words “suck” and “cock” was one step too far are teensier than Bannon’s torso would have to be for him to successfully commit the alleged act. No one’s going to tattle on Scaramucci when the big boss is the crudest offender of them all.
Lost At E Minor: For creative people
The latest part of Dove's Real Beauty campaign have seen the company's message made physical. Dove and advertising company Ogilvy UK have launched a limite
by Susan Etlinger @ Prophet Thinking
Tue Aug 22 09:35:56 PDT 2017
How organizations can create more fluid interactions between humans and machines.
The post 6 Practical Guidelines For Implementing Conversational AI appeared first on Prophet Thinking.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Aug 30 12:31:00 PDT 2017
The Trump administration sent a memo on Tuesday announcing its plan to halt a planned Obama-era rule meant to advance equal pay. Starting in the spring of 2018, businesses with 100 or more employees would have had to add salary information to their existing federal reporting on the race and gender demographics of their workforces. Neomi Rao, who runs the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to stop the rule from going into effect, claiming that it would be “enormously burdensome” to companies.
Rao also wrote in her memo to Acting EEOC Chair Victoria Lipnic that the rule may violate the Paperwork Reduction Act, a federal law meant to reduce unnecessary mandatory paperwork. The Office of Management and Budget “is concerned that some aspects of the revised collection of information lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues,” Rao wrote.
The Department of Labor has been collecting demographic data from employers for half a century to assess possible cases of hiring discrimination. Currently, companies with 100 or more workers report their race and gender stats in 10 job groups. The rule the Trump administration has stayed would have required that they also report those stats across 12 “pay bands.” The Obama administration introduced the rule in January 2016, on the seventh anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. At the time, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and the then-chair of the EEOC applauded the new rule as a way to beef up the federal government’s enforcement of existing equal-pay laws. When she unveiled the rule, Yang said the data would help the EEOC analyze pay disparities in different industries, launch “larger, more complex investigations” into wage discrimination, and make stronger cases when people report their employers for unequal pay.
Tuesday’s news wasn’t a complete surprise, because Trump thinks wage discrimination isn’t a real issue. Four days ago, he issued a memo declaring Aug. 26, the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, “Women’s Equality Day,” as previous presidents have done. “My Administration is committed to fostering an economy where all women can succeed and thrive,” he wrote, praising efforts to help women entrepreneurs and establish universal paid family leave. But he’s previously said that “you’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job,” and “when you have to categorize men and women into a particular group and a particular pay scale, it gets very—because people do different jobs,” implying that the gender and race wage gaps are attributable to poor performance and self-selection into different careers. He’s also repealed rules that forced federal contractors to be transparent about their wages and stay away from forced-arbitration clauses that make it easier for companies to cover up cases of sexual harassment.
But while Trump’s new blow to equal pay is right in line with the values he espouses, it’s a telling change of tune for Ivanka, who has made equal pay a core part of her campaign to seem like a reasonable, trustworthy, pro-woman foil to her father. One might have expected her to anonymous-source her way out of this debate, leaking that she tried to get Trump to reconsider his plans to declaw the EEOC’s anti-discrimination investigations. Instead, she said she agrees with her dad’s decision. “While I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.” Her statement is transparently dumb: There is no way to make an honest case for the position that more data and transparency will not help the EEOC identify possible cases of wage discrimination or prosecute those flagged by employees. If Ivanka wants to close the gender wage gap, letting companies keep their wages secret is a bad way to start.
Ultimately, the Trump calculus here was simple. Businesses know they’ll be more likely to get on the hook for unequal pay if they have to report their pay structures disaggregated by demographics, so that's likely why they don’t want to do it. The Wall Street Journal reports that Lipnic once said of the rule that the “benefits of this are not worth the costs” to businesses. Businesses already have the information they’d need to report, since they already report demographic data—all it would take to organize it by pay would be a bit of futzing with a spreadsheet the first year. It’s not the cost of reporting that’s so unacceptable to businesses that they’ve gotten the Chamber of Commerce to lobby against the rule. It’s the cost of being sued for discrimination. In the power struggle between the victims of that discrimination and the mostly white men who exploit them for profit, Ivanka has publicly chosen her side.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Mon Jul 17 12:48:41 PDT 2017
R. Kelly has led a charmed career. Through a trial on child pornography charges, repeated allegations of sexual manipulation, and multiple lawsuits from teenage girls claiming he raped and abused them, the singer has remained a bankable superstar. He collaborated with Lady Gaga in 2014 and toured on a new album to roaring arenas as recently as last summer.
A new report from music critic Jim DeRogatis, who first broke the story of Kelly’s alleged pattern of abuse in the late ‘90s, may at last chip away at the singer’s enduring reputation among his fans. At BuzzFeed, DeRogatis relays the strikingly similar stories of two sets of parents who say they saw their teenage girls courted, subjugated, and essentially brainwashed into sexual arrangements with Kelly. Three of Kelly’s former lovers and employees confirm that Kelly puts up several women in two of his properties in the Chicago and Atlanta areas, where they are forced to cut off all connection with family, friends, and the outside world. Two sources call the setup, in which Kelly financially supports the young women in exchange for total control of their movements and appearance, a “cult.”
The parents who spoke to DeRogatis say Kelly wooed their respective daughters, who were 19 and 17 at the time, with promises of a leg up in the music industry. He invited them backstage at his shows, listened to their demos, and convinced their parents that he could help realize their dreams. Soon, the parents say, their daughters moved into Kelly’s (multiple) homes and stopped returning parental phone calls. According to named sources who used to live or work with Kelly, the women who occupy Kelly’s properties must obey his orders on their diets, bathing habits, and daily schedules. They are not allowed to laugh at other men’s jokes or look at other men in the room, the sources say, and they cannot contact family members or leave the house without permission. All their sex acts with Kelly, for which they’ve been coached by older girlfriends of his, are allegedly recorded. When the women disobey, sources told DeRogatis, Kelly doles out physical punishment. They must ask him before doing so much as using the toilet. But when two parents filed a missing-person report for their daughter and asked police to check up on her after they hadn’t heard from her in a while, they were told that their daughter was fine and simply asked to be left alone. Though her parents say she’s being held against her will in a “cult,” the young woman is above the legal age of consent and has every right to enter a nonmonogamous relationship in which her every move is prescribed by a man 30 years her senior.
Many readers will absorb DeRogatis’ report with shock and disgust, but many of the conditions he describes, like Kelly requiring that the women call him “Daddy” and inform him of their daily underwear color, would not be out of place in an account of a consenting dominant-submissive relationship. Others, like Kelly’s isolation of the women from their families and friends, are clear tactics of emotional abuse. And his pattern of luring teenage girls into his orbit with promises of stardom, only to groom them into devoted concubines, is obviously immoral.
Even if the women living together at Kelly’s behest decided to leave, though, they would have a hard time making a case against him. By all accounts from DeRogatis’ sources, including police reports, Kelly’s lovers have not been kidnapped or falsely imprisoned. And unlike previous survivors of his manipulation and sexual intimidation, none are underage. The seeming legality of Kelly’s coercive arrangement may give committed fans and money-hungry entertainment corporations yet another reason to blow off the incessant accusations of his misconduct. Some may hear about this new report and think, “Who am I to judge another man’s sex life?” or, worse, “Sounds like he’s living the dream!” There will always be an acceptable justification available to someone dead set on buying Kelly’s records or hiring him to help make an R&B hit.
But DeRogatis’ piece could still be the death knell to the 50-year-old singer’s reputation. In the fall of 2014, amid resurgent public interest in longstanding sexual-assault allegations against Bill Cosby, Josh Levin wondered in Slate what it would take to bring Kelly down, too. A named victim coming forward with her story could do the trick, he suggested, since the general public has given far more credence to sexual-assault survivors in the past few years. A dozen or more of Kelly’s previous alleged victims have settled out of court for cash and nondisclosure agreements, preventing them from talking about their lawsuits. In his article, DeRogatis names two former lovers of Kelly’s who offer details of his obsessive control over several women’s lives. Their decision to use their real names could give them some credibility among Kelly stans who still believe members of a highly sophisticated conspiracy manufactured a tape depicting child rape to try to bring him down.
The BuzzFeed piece also offers a narrative proxy for Kelly fans who are skeptical of his alleged victims. The devastated mothers of two of Kelly’s current girlfriends say they were R. Kelly fans—“a lyrical genius,” one says—and trusted him to guide their starstruck teens through the music industry. One mother says she was “led to believe there was no truth” to the sexual-abuse allegations against Kelly, since he was acquitted of the child pornography charge in 2008. “Now I got all of these people asking about why my daughter is there, telling me, ‘All of that, the charges against Kelly, was true,’” she tells DeRogatis. “Well, how come you didn’t tell me that before?” The other mother says she wasn’t concerned about Kelly’s 1994 marriage to then-15-year-old Aaliyah because she grew up listening to one of the more creepily-titled songs the two artists created together, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,” and liked it.
All the tools the public needs to snuff out Kelly’s career are here: a demonstrated pattern of preying on teen girls, an easily available online chronicle of the allegations against Kelly, on-the-record sources with firsthand knowledge of his abuse and sexual manipulation. But a fire with a healthy supply of oxygen will continue to burn. As long as celebrities and music-industry executives keep working with Kelly—in other words, choosing moneymaking over the safety, dignity, and wellbeing of young women—fans will have plausible deniability of Kelly’s alleged deeds. If you can’t trust a man who sang holiday tunes against a backdrop of twinkle lights on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show just seven months ago, that means you can’t trust Jimmy Fallon. For people invested in the art and image of Kelly, it may be easier to call dozens of unfamous women liars than to face one man’s unfortunate truth.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Sep 15 11:15:00 PDT 2017
There’s no wrong way to read Playboy’s new coffee table book of naked ladies. You can breeze through the encyclopedic collection of centerfolds in chunks, stopping when a shiny lower lip or well-groomed clitoral hood catches your interest. You can use the index to find a favorite Playmate, if you’re the kind of person who has a favorite Playmate. You can turn to the year you were born or bat mitzvahed and see what the residents of dudeland were drooling over that month. You can flick the pages like a flipbook, watching faces and skin blur together like a demonic wormhole that really, really wants to have sex with you.
But if you’re going to drop up to $75 on an 8 1/2-pound volume of exposed flesh, I’d recommend taking an hour or so to leaf through the entire thing, page by page. Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds, 1953–2016 offers exactly what it advertises: every single centerfold the magazine has published through February of last year. That is a remarkable number of bodies to trap in one volume. Taken together, they offer a kind of biological survey few humans will experience in their lifetimes. Even the world’s busiest doctors and most-overbooked porn stars don’t see 700-some-odd naked women in a single hour.
If you take this route, as I did on Thursday afternoon in a painstakingly sequestered corner of the Slate office, you will catalog approximately 1,400 nipples of various shades, textures, and surface areas. You will see several hundred labia and, if you have a set, think carefully about your own. You will despair at how the satin robe and garter belt industries have escaped any attempts at meaningful innovation in the past half-century. You will wonder why, in the 2010s, just as Earth was experiencing the hottest temperatures in recorded history, all women suddenly got visibly cold.
This volume is actually something of a reprint. The first edition was published a decade ago; the book that came out on Tuesday includes the most recent 10 years and a new short essay from Elizabeth Wurtzel on the centerfolds of the 2010s. Playboy is marketing it as a kind of chronology of the female body seen through the proverbial male gaze, a way to track how beauty ideals and sexual fantasies have evolved since Hugh Hefner printed the magazine’s first issue.
The most obvious signifier of the passage of time, and the thing every person has asked about when I’ve mentioned this book, is pubic hair. For the first two decades of centerfolds, there was none at all because it was obscured by strategically placed pillows, undergarments, or even roomy-cut khakis. Bits of hair didn’t start peeking out until around 1972, but by the mid-’70s, bushy vulvas were showing up in almost every photo. A decade later, hairstylists started to groom the puffs, though it wasn’t until the mid-’90s that what’s now known as a “landing strip” hit the runway. The relative newness of the thing about 84 percent of women now do to their genitals was a life-affirming revelation for this millennial, who suffered puberty in the aughts, or as Maureen Gibbon’s essay in The Complete Centerfolds dubs it, “the decade of the smoothie.” After enduring the entirely bare, child-like crotches of the 2010s, flip back to July 1977, where one magnificent image of pubic hair straight-up poking out of a butt crack will restore your internal calm.
The maturation of photo-retouching techniques, which begin in the 1980s and ramp up in the ’90s, delivers another major sea change in the book. Earlier photos exhibit a kind of Vaseline-on-the-lens radiance, with softer lighting than the high-def flashbulbs of later years. Before Photoshop made every limb a perfect cylinder with a computer-assisted color gradient, skin had actual texture, betraying goosebumps, peach fuzz, and tiny wrinkles where the legs meet the hips. In fashions, too, the Playboy timeline charts a shift from the natural-ish to the absurd. Peasant dresses and open argyle cardigans gave way to bathing suits fit for Borat and webs of spangled fabric that wouldn’t impede any sex act the average mind could invent. Mascara and rouge gave way to silicone, suntans, and gigantic, heavily-lined lips. The fantasy of the ’50s was that the women on these pages might actually succumb to the average schmuck’s pick-up lines at the sock hop or milkshake counter or wherever white folks performed their mating rituals in those days. The fantasy of the ’90s and ’00s was that these glistening, medicine ball–breasted women existed at all.
But for all the differences that emerge while flipping through generations of nudies, the similarities stand out far more. After looking at 734 photos of naked women, one can’t help but conclude that the human body has some very strict limitations and the human mind lacks any substantial creativity when it comes to sexy poses. There are only so many ways to slightly part a set of lips, only so many ways to mimic the act of putting clothes on or taking them off, getting in or out of a body of water, and stepping onto or off of a surface that looks reasonably prepared to support sexual intercourse. Some themes have always been hot: cowboy stables (chaps, lassos, bolo ties dangling between breasts); sportsing (phallic sticks and bats, mesh jerseys, kneesocks); childhood (glasses of milk, merry-go-rounds, dolls); servile domesticity (aprons, pies, and once, disturbingly, pinking shears).
It’s a pleasure to see this kind of Playboy world-making get more elaborate and less self-conscious as time goes by. There are a few funny scenes in earlier years: One deeply weird 1967 shot shows a woman standing on a primitive Onewheel with her toe resting on a shuttle cock, and one from 1983 has a gal luxuriating in a tanning bed, eye shields and all. But the fantasies get way more specific in the ’90s, with a flight attendant exiting an airplane bathroom, a military jacket with dog tags worn as a belly chain, more nautical dioramas than a landlubber might expect, and a prescient cigar situation in July 1996, just before the Clinton–Lewinsky “it tastes good” moment became public. Around the turn of the millennium, schoolgirls started dominating the pages of Playboy, with some dorm room arrangements so scrupulously imagined, they could be ads for PBteen. The effect is a creeping feeling that any place can be a sexual place, and any activity a woman does—even those performed in the course of her job—can be a sexual activity. Playing golf, taking your order at a diner, exercising on a Stairmaster, applying a lure to a fishing rod, cuddling with a kitten, delivering the nightly news at a TV station—if you look hard enough, with a few years of Playboy centerfolds filed away in your brain, these everyday pursuits are actually a kind of foreplay. That cyclist lady is naked underneath her flannel, you know.
Should you, like me, choose to absorb each and every centerfold in rapid succession, the outfits will eventually cease to matter. So, strangely, will the human forms. If you say a word too many times in a row, it starts to lose its meaning. If you review hundreds of naked women in one sitting, the fact of their nudity will lose its meaning, too. Curves and lumps and flaps of flesh punctuated by the occasional dimple or mole will become indistinguishable shapes in the void. By the 40th minute of scrutiny, the nearly half an acre of human skin you’ve seen will have lost all erotic potential, each body just another disgusting bag of organs and blood. As one Amazon reviewer put it, “What an awesome treasure for men!!!”
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Jul 12 12:34:54 PDT 2017
For a while there, the future didn’t look so hot for Dov Charney, the ousted American Apparel founder you’ve probably confused for Terry Richardson more than once. After weathering several years of sexual-harassment lawsuits and assault allegations from former employees, the man who calls himself “one of the most forward-thinking industrialists and entrepreneurs of his generation” found himself booted from his own company, which soon after filed for bankruptcy twice, in 2014. The new leaders refused a $300 million offer to put Charney back in charge before selling off the company’s intellectual property to a Canadian T-shirt maker for just $88 million.
Charney was the living embodiment of the brand he’d helmed for two-and-a-half decades. He wore a uniform of basics—white T-shirts, crewneck sweatshirts, sweatpants, and simple slacks—paired with so-unflattering-they’re-flattering thick-rimmed aviators. He matched his commitment to fair labor practices and progressive politics on issues like immigration with an unredeemably skeevy attitude toward young women’s bodies. Who would he be without the company he’d painstakingly created in his own image? What could he create, unshackled from the suffocating confines of high-waisted shimmery jeggings?
We now have an answer: the same exact damn thing. Charney’s new company, Los Angeles Apparel, is now selling a collection of tops to wholesale printers, and they may as well be hanging off the flashbulb-lit frames of 80-pound teens already. (The current models are decidedly unsexualized, though Charney has promised that “human sexuality is part of the reason that people wear clothes,” so “you’re not going to escape our sexuality from a narrative about a clothing company.”)
The slim-cut tri-blend crewnecks you gifted your boring boyfriend in college; the red-and-white raglan tees you bought when you and your friends were zombie old-timey baseball players for Halloween; the white-zippered hoodies that were as close to a fashion status symbol as hipsters got in the early aughts—they’re all here!
The company admits, or maybe boasts, the garments’ indistinguishability from Charney’s old goods. The “classic originals” Los Angeles Apparel sells “are equivalent to the styles Charney has offered in the past, from a specification, color and textile perspective,” the site reads. It also states that any other “style that was made by Dov in the past” could be available for a custom order.
If you’re looking for something a bit more cutting-edge that could give Los Angeles Apparel a leg up over its American (now Canadian) counterpart, check out the company’s “new innovations” page, where you’ll find—more solid-colored tees and sweatshirts?
These appear to be crafted from thicker and coarser fabrics than American Apparel standards, and built in baggier cuts. This has the effect of making Charney’s female model, who might have been slinking around with her nipples poking out of a sheer tank in years past, look almost comically lost in a gigantic, shapeless cube of undrapeable fabric.
Having pioneered the mass-produced fitted “women’s” tee more than a decade ago, Charney has now taken his powers of creativity in the opposite direction: making soft, flattering essentials less comfortable and more awkward to wear.
On the surface, that wouldn’t seem like a promising solution to American Apparel’s fatal flaw: nobody buying its clothes. Then again, Charney was doing elastic-ankled sweatpants and puffy-abdomened, high-waisted jeans long before anyone could have imagined they’d become long-lasting trends. If he is the marketing genius he claims to be, we can expect to be swallowed up by stiff, boxy T-shirts for years to come.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Sun Sep 17 19:18:00 PDT 2017
The 2017 Emmys got started Sunday night with a parade of precious metals outside the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Actresses and actors in sparkles, spangles, sequins, and all-over shine made the biggest footprint on the red carpet this year, reflecting the sunny-mood-in-the-face-of-impending-doom of Stephen Colbert’s opening sequence.
Westworld’s Tessa Thompson and Big Little Lies’ Zoe Kravitz, who described her dress as “fairy-like,” projected rainbow prisms from their skirts. Jessica Biel wore another of the best looks of the night, a sweeping Ralph & Russo couture gown with a sparkling top half that echoed the texture of micro chainmail.
Yara Shahidi of Black-ish wore tulle in a perfect shade of nude with kelp-like flourishes of green sequins. In vivid blue, Ellie Kemper went the rhinestone route with her appliques.
Last year’s Emmys saw Sarah Paulson in head-to-toe Kelly green sequins and shoulder pads—one of my favorite looks of the 2016 show—and she went a similar route on Sunday with a puff-sleeved column of semi-matte sequins designed by Carolina Herrera. Laverne Cox and Uzo Aduba, too, glimmered in total silver, while Priyanka Chopra braved the heat in a full-coverage Balmain number quilted with jewels.
Plunging necklines that require body tape are standard fare on any red carpet. Here are three very different interpretations of the silhouette: The Handmaid’s Tale villain Yvonne Strahovski in elegant red satin, Shailene Woodley in cheeky-casual autumn velvet, and Anika Noni Rose in a striking Thai Nguyen Atelier gown with sequined stripes.
Allover lace can look fussy or infantile at a black-tie event. Chrissy Metz, Felicity Huffman, and a breathtaking Ryan Michelle Bathe did it right: smartly tailored in sophisticated shades.
With sheer panels and floral patterns, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gabrielle Union, and Leslie Jones elevated long black gowns to a statement-making level.
The best colors of the night came from Viola Davis in a shade that’s quite rare for a gown, Samantha Bee in a set of enviably structured shoulders, and Westworld’s Angela Sarafyan in a chartreuse off-the-shoulder Elizabeth Kennedy number—one of the few dresses out there whose useless sleeves actually prove worth the extra fabric.
Master of None’s Lena Waithe, the first black woman nominated for a comedy writing Emmy award (and the first to win!), wore a showy gold patterned jacket; Brad Goreski of Fashion Police was her shimmering silver counterpart. Tituss Burgess, known for his flowing scarves and extravagant fabrics on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, toned it ever-so-slightly down in glowing marigold. With a persona that glaringly bright, it would have been foolish to let a sparkling garment compete for the spotlight.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Sep 15 14:52:55 PDT 2017
When clear-knee jeans hit the internet this spring, regular jeans knelt on their sorry opaque knees and wept. For generations, jeans had been the trusty, self-effacing backdrop upon which other showier garments could shine. Jeans let lighter blues join navy in its coveted spot on the lineup of neutrals. They were humble, and in their humility, they found strength.
Now, weird jeans with the capacity to achieve viral fame are everywhere. They are, Slate has learned, called “statement jeans”—like a statement necklace, but for pants. Some stores (ahem) will file anything with distressing or a little embroidery under the moniker. These jeans count as their ancestors those pants with rhinestone pocket designs that were popular in the late ‘90s. According to Glamour, there are some pairs of statement jeans with subtler embellishments that “aren’t crimes against humanity,” including ones with rhinestone flower patches, giant grommets, and floppy denim bows. (Guess there’s many definitions of what constitutes crimes against humanity.)
Those are not the real deal. The true statement jeans are the ones that defy not only the traditional structure of jeans, but the entire concept of pants. Take, for example, these pairs that have taken on capes and skirts where the normal pants parts should be.
Or these, with lace ruffles that draw the eye to a part of the body eyes were not meant to be drawn to.
Or these, which ruin a perfectly fine pair of cigarette pants with the look of the pleated, baggy shorts your dad might wear to wash the car.
The only “statement” these jeans, descendents of JNCOs, are making is “help, I think a Juggalo is in me.”
Anyone wearing these pants, which come with a flannel butt-flap in case you’re too poor to buy a flannel shirt but can afford a $560 pair of jeans, should be forced to travel back in time and suffer the withering side eye of one Kurt Cobain.
But the mother of all statement jeans is this pair, brought to my attention by a friend of a friend. This garment offers the look of wearing a pair of jeans on top of another pair of identical jeans, for absolutely no reason at all. It looks like it was trying to be maternity pants but forgot that the top part was supposed to be stretchy and comfortable.
The Dove campaign features 32 real women across ages and nationalities to show a diverse range of beauty.
by Liz Thorne @ Blog - Cairn Guidance
Mon Apr 17 17:25:42 PDT 2017
By Liz Thorne
I was recently in Austin, Texas for the 6th annual Ready by 21 Annual Meeting. Organized by the Forum for Youth Investment, the meeting focuses on ensuring all youth are ready and prepared to meet life’s demands. It brought together folks in youth development, program quality, education, government and community based organizations all focused on ensuring youth are ready.
A major focus of the meeting was on promoting equity through the lens of readiness as a right. It’s not enough to help young people beat the odds but we need to work with the adults and leaders in communities to change the odds.
Research tells us that just one supportive adult relationship can help buffer young people against risk and help them overcome challenging life circumstances. But let’s zoom out and talk about supportive communities, or as Dr. Shawn Ginwright describes, radical healing.
In his keynote, Dr. Ginwright compared the idea of radical healing to experiments conducted on plants. Researchers would place one plant in a chamber of poisonous gas to test the plant’s response. As you might expect, the plant shriveled and died. But, when the researchers placed multiple, or a community, of plants they didn’t die. Rather, they cleaned the air of the poisonous gas. Together the community of plants garnered their collective strength to change their circumstances.
How can we harness the collective strength of communities to change the odds for youth? During Dr. Ginwright’s address on radical healing, there were three thoughts going through my head as this relates to our work in adolescent and school health:
- We have to take care of the adults in schools. Youth are often placed at the center of our work. Resources, opportunities, and training must be made available to provide physical, emotional and professional support to the adults that show up every day. Particularly, educators and professionals working in economically disadvantaged schools or communities, and those who have faced generations of trauma and marginalization.
- We need more opportunities for Participatory Action Research or experiential learning opportunities. PAR is one way for young people to reach into their community, examine the context and begin to understand and garner their strength as an agent of change.
- There is room in ESSA for a focus on readiness, but we need advocates in the states. ESSA provides an opening, but we will need to focus on state-level efforts to address social, emotional and physical needs of students and staff in schools. (Check out our ESSA State Plan Page for more information).
Whether you call it a supportive relationship, radical healing or trauma-informed education, to me it all boils down to one thing. More love in education. Showing, not just telling our young people, that they are valued. Demonstrating they are valued by equipping them with the skills to harness their power and change their environment for the better. Dr. Enwright ended his keynote with a quote from Dr. King that I think sums up the relationship between love and power.
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by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Jul 19 12:02:20 PDT 2017
When Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, was a law student, she clerked at the district attorney’s office in Alameda County, California. This was in the late ‘80s, in the middle of the crack epidemic, and Harris was tasked with processing cases from a major drug bust on a Friday afternoon. One arrestee was an “innocent bystander,” a woman with young children, Harris said in opening remarks at a Washington, D.C. conference on incarcerated women on Tuesday. The woman’s case probably wouldn’t go before a judge until that Monday, leaving her to sit in jail for the weekend. She might miss work or lose her job. If there was no one to care for her children, they might be seized by Child Protective Services.
Harris was able to find a judge to release the woman “with the swipe of a pen,” demonstrating for the future attorney general how easily a life can be derailed or disrupted—or not—in the banal, everyday workings of a system that currently holds more than 215,000 U.S. women in prisons and jails. “In the criminal justice system, individuals have so much discretion,” she said. “I, as a 20-something-year-old law student, could make a decision about someone’s liberty and life.”
As a U.S. senator, Harris is trying to do more. Last week, along with fellow Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Dick Durbin, Harris introduced the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, an ambitious bill that would enact much-needed reforms in the treatment of women in federal prisons. A few of the bill’s provisions cover issues of basic safety and dignity: It would ban the shackling of pregnant women, prevent officials from putting pregnant inmates in solitary confinement, and require prisons to provide free menstrual products to inmates, who currently may be given limited supplies or made to buy their own. Male guards would no longer be allowed to supervise female inmates in bathrooms except during emergencies, and inmates would no longer have to pay to call friends and family members.
Other parts of the bill target incarcerated mothers, who have a special set of needs. About 65 percent of women in U.S. prisons and jails have children under 18, and most are primary caretakers. According to Holly Harris, executive director of the Justice Action Network, the convener of Tuesday’s forum, one in four women who become incarcerated are pregnant or have a child under the age of 1. The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act would require the Federal Bureau of Prisons to take children’s locations into account when choosing a facility for an inmate who is a parent. Inmates who are pregnant or primary caretakers would also be eligible for a residential drug abuse program. The bill would also provide for more generous visitation hours, physical contact in visits, parenting classes, and a pilot program for overnight visits. About half of incarcerated mothers in the U.S. are more than 100 miles from their families, and the facilities where they’re held are often in remote locations, “not on the commuter line,” Sen. Harris noted in her remarks. Andrea James, the formerly incarcerated founder of an advocacy organization for incarcerated women and girls, says mothers in prison serve a “dual sentence,” because they spend their time locked up worried about their children’s well-being. “The lives of their children do not get better” with their mothers gone, James said at Tuesday’s conference. “It causes further harm.”
But if the Senate bill passes, it will only apply to the 12,700-or-so women in federal prison, leaving out the more than 200,000 women in state and local prisons and jails. Women make up the fastest-growing segment of incarcerated people in the U.S., and about half are in jails, where people are held before their trials, after violating the terms of their parole, or after being sentenced to less than a year in lock-up. Between 1970 and 2014, the country saw a 14-fold increase of the population of women in jails, mostly for low-level drug offenses, loitering, and other crimes associated with broken-windows policing. More than 8 in 10 women in jail have survived sexual violence; nearly as many have experienced domestic abuse. About one-third of women in jail are living with severe mental illnesses, more than twice the rate of men in jail.
These troubling statistics point to what Sen. Booker, D-NJ, dubbed “a survivor-of-sexual-trauma to prisoner pipeline.” In a rousing address at Tuesday’s conference, Booker called on attendees to “get folk woke” on mass incarceration, the “biggest cancer of our body politic, the biggest shame of our national society.” Without proper diagnosis and treatment of the mental repercussions of trauma, advocates say, women who’ve been sexual assaulted or abused may self-medicate with drugs, leading to arrests on charges for possession or addiction-adjacent crimes like burglary and prostitution. In jail or prison, they’re often re-traumatized by searches, shackling, and abuse at the hands of guards or other inmates. And once they’re out, with a criminal record, they’ll struggle to find work and face limits on what kinds of government assistance they can receive.
Policymakers of both parties are looking for ways to break that cycle. Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, a conservative Republican, spoke to conference attendees on Tuesday about her efforts to reduce the state’s incarceration rate for women, which is more than twice the national average and higher than any other state’s. “For low-level, nonviolent offenses, there are alternatives that work better,” she said, to prevent crime and keep children out of foster care. Those alternatives include diversion programs that scrub felony charges from graduates’ records, reforms of policies that send released women back to jail for failure to pay fines, and more accessible substance-use treatment programs for pregnant women and mothers. On the federal level, Harris is working on a piece of legislation that would create competitive grants for states to devise pilot reforms of the cash bail system, which keeps people in jail for months or years before they’re ever convicted of a crime if they’re too poor to pay. In D.C., one of the few jurisdictions that don’t require arrestees to pay for pre-trial release, more than 90 percent of defendants are released without bail. Only 10 percent are arrested again before their trials, the vast majority for nonviolent offenses.
“We’ve been offered a false choice in criminal justice policy,” Harris said. “A choice that suggests one is either soft on crime or tough on crime, instead of asking are we smart on crime.”
Harris is optimistic that if the civil rights argument doesn’t resonate for fellow legislators, the fiscal one will. It cost about $32,000 a year to keep each U.S. inmate in federal prison locked up in 2015. In California, the annual cost per inmate is more than $75,000. One year of methadone treatment cost $4,700 in 2012. Studies have shown that the U.S. could save several billions of dollars by diverting drug offenders into treatment programs rather than prisons. “If we, like our friends in the private sector, are judging ourselves in government, unburdened by ideology, then this information forces us to … ask the question our friends in the private sector ask every day,” Harris said on Tuesday. “What is the ROI? What is the return on our investment? Because guys, as taxpayers, we are not getting a good return on our investment on this issue.”
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Sep 12 12:12:12 PDT 2017
Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Abortion access in Missouri is booming. Until this month, the state had only one abortion provider—a Planned Parenthood health center in St. Louis. On Monday, the organization announced that its clinic in Kansas City is now offering medication abortion. Its Columbia outpost will soon offer surgical abortions, too, and two others will likely follow.
For the past several years, Planned Parenthood and other women’s health clinics in Missouri have been targeted by restrictions that forced abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and retrofit their facilities to meet surgical center standards. Those laws eventually became common goals of anti-abortion legislators around the country, but Missouri was ahead of the curve: In 1986, it was the first state to enact mandatory hospital admitting privileges. After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling that overturned similar restrictions in Texas, Planned Parenthood and two other reproductive rights groups took Missouri to federal court, arguing that it had four clinics in the state that could provide abortions—in addition to existing contraceptive care and health services—if the regulations were lifted.
A federal judge sided with Planned Parenthood in April and blocked officials from continuing to enforce the two anti-abortion provisions in Missouri. Now four clinics are working to get licensed for abortion care in the state: In addition to the Kansas City location, which stopped offering abortions five years ago, and the Columbia one—which stopped in the fall of 2015 when University of Missouri administrators voted to revoke its hospital admitting privileges—Planned Parenthood intends to offer abortion care at its Joplin and Springfield centers after their state inspections.
This rapid turnaround makes the state an illustration of the best-case scenario when courts reverse abortion restrictions. Other states aren’t so lucky. Often, such restrictions cause abortion providers to close completely, especially if the clinics aren’t affiliated with larger national organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which can provide some measure of stability as regulations shift. And when a clinic shuts down, there’s no guarantee that it’ll reopen once the restrictions that caused its closure fall away. A year after the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, only two of the nearly two-dozen abortion providers that shuttered due to the two provisions axed by the court had resumed abortion services.
Missouri’s recent stroke of good fortune in the reproductive rights realm may have to do with intervention from the fiery underworld. On Monday, the Satanic Temple argued in a Missouri court that the state’s abortion restrictions violate worshippers’ rights to free religious practice. The organization is challenging two Missouri laws: one that requires patients to look at unscientific anti-abortion propaganda and another that forces them to wait 72 hours between their initial consultations and a second appointments for their abortions. Satanic Temple members argue that their religion prizes rational, independent thought and that forcing Satanists to read anti-abortion pamphlets and “consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree” during the 72-hour waiting period constitutes a violation of their beliefs.
The Satanic challenge to the laws began in 2015, when a pregnant Satanist from rural Missouri identified as “Mary” tried to use a religious waiver to exempt herself from the state’s many requirements designed to prevent women from going forward with abortions. Mary said she had the $800 she needed to get the abortion, but to get to the clinic in St. Louis for two separate appointments, she needed to save up for gas money, a hotel, and child care. As a Satanist, Mary said, she believes her body is “inviolable”—thus, a mandatory waiting period with no medical justification that hampers her bodily autonomy inflicts a “substantial burden” on her “sincerely held religious beliefs,” as does the law that requires she be informed that “abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.” The temple filed both state and federal lawsuits challenging the restrictions; a judge tossed out the federal case in 2016 because Mary was no longer pregnant.
Missouri argues that just because the laws align with the tenets of certain religions doesn’t mean the state is advocating on behalf of those religions. But don’t tell that to the Missouri state legislator who slaughtered a chicken on camera in June to make some kind of statement against legal abortion. “God gave us man dominion over life. He allows us to raise animals properly and care for them and then process them for food so we can sustain life. And that’s what I’m doing here with this chicken,” Rep. Mike Moon said before ripping out the animal’s heart. Three cheers for Missouri, the upside-down land where Christians perform the gruesome animal sacrifices and Satanists bring the religious freedom lawsuits.
It’s Hard Not to Feel a Bit Wary About Ivanka Revealing Her Postpartum Depression on The Dr. Oz Show
by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Thu Sep 21 15:22:00 PDT 2017
Postpartum depression is a potentially serious condition with symptoms that can range from anxiety and irritability to panic attacks, suicidal impulses, and a feeling of detachment from one’s newborn. The condition affects about one in 9 women, according to the CDC.
But it’s hard not to feel a bit wary of the way in which Ivanka Trump revealed her own PPD struggle on Thursday’s episode of the syndicated Dr. Oz Show. “With each of my children, I had some level of postpartum depression,” Trump told Oz, perched on a white armchair in front of a studio audience. “It was a very challenging emotional time for me because I felt like I was not living up to my potential as a parent or as an entrepreneur and executive.” The interview was taped Monday.
The conversation included other tidbits, including Trump’s insistence that she doesn’t view it as her role to be a “voice of moderation” in her father’s administration. But the PPD reveal was the one that made headlines. It’s not clear from early clips whether Trump was formally diagnosed with PPD, or whether she self-diagnosed in retrospect. (The so-called “baby blues” are distinct from PPD, and much more common.)
There’s an interesting kernel in this otherwise anodyne bit of puffery from the land of Oz. The Dr. Oz “reveal” felt like evidence of Ivanka’s greatest talent: recognizing when a topic is innocuous enough that she can safely use it to build her personal brand at no risk to her reputation. She is against human trafficking and racism. She is in favor of “empowerment” and working women. When it comes to politics, she thinks whatever you do. “Like many of my fellow millennials,” she told the Republican National Convention, “I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat.” In June, she told Fox & Friends, “I try to stay out of politics.” Her views on controversial topics like abortion remain unknown, and her supposedly progressive beliefs on topics like climate change remain publicly unspoken.
In light of that, the revelation of her postpartum suffering makes perfect sense. It was once taboo for role-model mothers to talk about PPD, regarded as a confession of weakness or unnaturalness. But it has now become a mainstay of women’s magazines and tabloids. Adele, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chrissy Teigen, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Drew Barrymore are just a few of the many celebrities who have revealed their diagnoses in interviews. In the real world, there remains an intense stigma attached to mothers who are consumed by negative emotions in the early weeks and months of motherhood. In the glossy realm, though, 12 years after Brooke Shields published a breakthrough memoir about the topic, talking about PPD is no longer controversial at all.
It’s surely a good thing that another high-profile woman is discussing her postpartum depression in the public sphere. Still, it’s striking how canny Ivanka’s instinct is for feeling out when an issue has become so uncontroversial that discussing it imposes no cost on her. If she’s determined that her struggles with difficult feelings in the wake of childbirth is worth discussing on daytime television, it likely means she is confident that no one will judge her harshly for it. If only women who don’t get invited on the Dr. Oz Show had the luxury of feeling that way, too.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Jul 11 14:56:03 PDT 2017
When Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education, anti-rape advocates worried about the damage she might do. The Obama administration had pushed universities to better address sexual assault on their campuses, prescribing stricter guidelines for adjudicating accusations and publishing lists of schools under investigation. DeVos refused to say whether or not she’d uphold that guidance, but the prospects looked grim. She and her family foundation had both donated money to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an advocacy group working to undo the progress Obama’s Department of Education had made on campus sexual assault.
Now that she’s in office, DeVos has to choose: Will she let the Obama guidance, which lowered the burden of proof required in sexual assault cases, stand? Or will she let schools revert back to their old practices, like forcing victims to sign nondisclosure agreements and letting accusations stand for months—or even years—without taking action?
To help her decide, DeVos is meeting with several organizations that do work on this issue. Victims’ rights organizations, including Know Your IX and the National Women’s Law Center, are on the list. So are a few men’s rights groups that see campus rape as a faux crisis manufactured to demonize and damage men and boys. Politico reported last week that the Department of Education has contacted Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), and the National Coalition for Men to set up meetings about the campus sexual assault guidance, which all three organizations oppose.
The National Coalition for Men, as its name implies, is one of the largest, longest-running, and shameless men’s rights organizations out there. It is founded on the belief that domestic violence and sexual assault are widely overreported (in other words, that women regularly invent incidents of these crimes) and that some of the blame often lies with the female victim. President Harry Crouch calls this alleged conspiracy of women, the media, and law enforcement the “men’s violence industry.” The organization has a history of harassing and intimidating alleged sexual-assault survivors, ThinkProgress points out: Chapters have published photos, names, and biographical details of women who have accused men—falsely, the National Coalition for Men insists—of rape. Its members routinely bring lawsuits against women-only networking groups and social events, crying discrimination.
Crouch has argued that women are too rarely held responsible for domestic violence they “instigate.” “I’m not saying he’s a good guy,” Crouch said in 2014 of football player Ray Rice, who knocked out his then-girlfriend in an elevator. “But if she hadn’t aggravated him, she wouldn’t have been hit. They would say that’s blaming the victim. But I don’t buy it.” He also claimed that “if a little person without a penis instigates, she will never be accountable for her actions” and wondered why the NFL can’t “have a week, or just one day, where they celebrate men?” as when the league wears pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness.
The other organizations from which DeVos plans to learn aren’t any better. The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified SAVE, which opposes rules that prevent defense attorneys from entering evidence of a survivor’s sexual history in a rape trial, as a planet in the “manosphere” of misogynist online forums. SAVE lobbies against domestic violence protections, claims that the “leading reason” for abuse is “female initiation of partner violence,” and calls falsely accused perpetrators the “true victims of abuse.” And then there’s FACE, which claims that colleges are expelling innocent students “with increasing frequency” due to made-up accusations. “If the school investigators feel that there is even a slight chance that your accuser might be telling the truth, you will almost certainly be suspended or expelled,” the organization’s site says. “If your accuser had any alcohol at all, you will most likely be expelled.” This is untrue. According to federal data, of 478 sanctions dealt for sexual assault on about 100 U.S. college campuses between 2012 and 2013, just 12 percent were expulsions. That doesn’t include the cases that were dismissed with no sanctions ordered at all.
These are the experts the Secretary of Education is trusting to school her on campus sexual assault: people who lie to advance a worldview of women as pathological liars, who believe women receive unfair preferential treatment in abuse trials, and who think false accusations are the real rape problem. This is a classic case of false balance, because the two sides here do not have equal merit. Meeting with advocates for sexual-assault victims is not the same as meeting with trolls who have made it their lives’ work to defend domestic violence and end women-only happy hours. But as a representative of an administration run by a man with an interest in protecting sexual harrassers, DeVos has every reason to side with the latter.
by MATTHEW DISLER @ McSweeney’s
Fri Sep 22 07:20:00 PDT 2017
Well, there’s another effort to repeal Obamacare, and once again there are a handful of fringe groups speaking out against the new bill, like the American Medical Association, the National Council for Behavioral Health, the American Cancer Society Action Network, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Arthritis Foundation, the National Health Council, the March of Dimes, the American Hospital Association, AARP, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and America’s Health Insurance Plans.
But Americans know that we can’t trust people like doctors and insurers to tell us about our health and our insurance. It’s time for other industry groups to take a stand. That’s why the coffin industry is proud to support the new health care bill.
Whenever we evaluate a piece of legislation, the coffin industry asks two questions. One: Will it help Americans? And two: Will it help coffins? I think the answer, in the case of this bill, is clear.
Let’s put it this way: There are millions of Americans without work. But each new coffin requires the labor of five employees to cut the wood, assemble the wood, insert cushions, polish everything, and test the coffin’s durability by dropping it from six-foot ledges. That’s not even counting all of the other professions in dozens of coffin-related industries, from the truck drivers who transport the coffins to your Main Street funeral parlor to the security guards who have to fight off people who think they are vampires and try to steal the coffins.
If Congress passes the new health care bill, there will be a boom in demand for all of these jobs, and America’s unemployment problems will be solved. The economy will become as shiny and sturdy as a new oak coffin.
Is that cheering I hear?
If you still aren’t sure what to think about the new health care plan, just picture two things: millions of new coffins, and the legislators supporting the plan. Associate those two things forever in your brain. And then try telling me that you’re still not sure where you stand.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why should I trust the coffin industry? What has Big Coffin ever done for me?” To that I can only point to our decades — no, centuries — of experience working with people in dire need of health care. Coffins and sick people have been connected since long before insurance companies, or doctors, or the March of Dimes, or dimes. So I’m pretty confident that we know a thing or two about how to keep Americans’ bodies healthy-looking and well preserved!
At least for a few days.
But imagine a new America, built on a coffin empire! A coffin in every home! Crowds of people, marching off to the coffin factory in the morning, and coming home to their own house on Coffin Drive at night. Sports teams sponsored by coffins. A coffin company buying NBC. All of these are within our reach, if our representatives just vote for the new health care bill.
Only with concerted public pressure will your representatives listen to you and make the right choice. So call your senator and tell them that you want to see more coffins! Coffins everywhere!
And don’t mention the urn industry. They’re against the bill.
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by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Jul 28 15:22:17 PDT 2017
Two female senators, perhaps the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, have gotten many well-deserved thank-yous for going against their party and voting down a “skinny” repeal of Obamacare late Thursday night. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have stood stalwart against a few instances of GOP B.S. this year, including the Senate’s initial Obamacare repeal attempt and Betsy DeVos’ nomination as Secretary of Education.
But their votes on Thursday came at a particularly critical moment, under extreme pressure and gendered attacks from members of their own party. One unforgivably doofy Republican Congressman from Texas said on a radio show that he would like to have a duel-to-the-death with the “female senators” who stood in the way of Obamacare repeal, but since they are but ladies, he would hold himself back. (Wonder if he’d roll back that statement now that John McCain, a verifiable man, cast the final, deciding vote against the legislation.) When asked about Murkowski and Collins, a Republican Congressman from Georgia said someone should “snatch a knot in [the Senate’s] ass,” meaning hit them. Trump specifically targeted Murkowski on Twitter, riling up his supporters to go after her, and the Secretary of the Interior threatened to stop Alaska drilling projects if she didn’t vote the president’s way.
Weaker legislators might have stuck to the party line in defiance of their consciences. (See: the Republican senators who said they’d only vote for the bill if they got a guarantee that it wouldn’t become law.) Standing up to a crowd of peers making glib references to physical violence and real threats to legislative priorities could not have been easy.
Braver still was Collins’ public statement on why she voted against the bill. She makes arguments against both the Affordable Care Act as is and the plans Senate Republicans have proposed, then outlines a key reason for her opposition to the bills her peers wrote: the provision that would have prevented Planned Parenthood from getting reimbursed for any services provided to patients on Medicaid, who make up more than half the health organization’s client base. Collins’ defense of Planned Parenthood was as accurate and passionate as any Democrat’s should be, far beyond the compassion or mental capacity of her male contemporaries in the GOP:
Millions of women across the country rely on Planned Parenthood for family planning, cancer screening, and basic preventive health care services. Denying women access to Planned Parenthood not only runs contrary to our goal of letting patients choose the health care provider who best fits their needs, but it also could impede timely access to care.
If Planned Parenthood were defunded, other family planning clinics in Maine, including community health centers, would see a 63 percent increase in their patient load. Some patients would need to drive greater distances to receive care, while others would have to wait longer for an appointment.
Collins also did away with the persistent right-wing lie that federal taxpayer money is funding abortions:
Let me be clear that this is not about abortion. Federal law already prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk.
This is about interfering with the ability of a woman to choose the health care provider who is right for her. This harmful provision should have no place in legislation that purports to be about restoring patient choices and freedom.
It’s so unnerving to read an honest, humane assessment of women’s health care from a Republican! Murkowski, too, has been a vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood’s continued eligibility for Medicaid reimbursements and federal family-planning grants. This in spite of the very real risk that being women advocating for so-called women’s issues could further alienate Republican men in the Senate who didn’t even think women belonged at the drafting table in the first place. Together, with their adjoining desks, Collins and Murkowski have proven that female legislators have some of the strongest spines in Congress. That strength comes in numbers, even when that number is two.
How Ariel Winter Overcame Internet Bullying to Embrace Her Personal Style: ‘I’m Unapologetic About It Now’
She’s the new face of Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful campaign
by SHANNON REED @ McSweeney’s
Wed Sep 20 05:01:00 PDT 2017
I am outraged beyond belief by the despicable opinion I have convinced myself you have posted on Facebook. I have thus written this diatribe as a response, tagging you, so that your mom, that guy you met at that conference in Miami, and the other three people you know who still bother to read Facebook responses of more than ten words will all be briefed on the fact that I am extremely irate about what I think you wrote.
It is true that I have lately been looking for a reason to go apeshit on anyone, even to the point of driving slightly over the white-dotted line on the parkway, in hopes of causing another driver to give me the finger while passing me so that I could blame him for sparking a road rage incident that could potentially land me in the morgue. This is no doubt due to a potent combination of the unusually rainy weather; the current state of American politics; and the plot twists in this season of Game of Thrones. Nevertheless, because it is out of my power to change any of those, I have chosen to misread your status and place my anger squarely on your shoulders (and Facebook page).
In fact, even though we have known each other for over half of our lives, I hereby disown you entirely. Later today, after I have read all of the responses that our mutual friend Marie will post to this tirade, and pose a few rhetorical questions and logical fallacies in response, I will destroy all reminders that our lives have ever intersected in any way. If this means burning my copy of our high school senior yearbook, changing my daughter’s middle name, and serving our parish priest with a cease-and-desist order so that he no longer asks me how you are, so be it. What I think you wrote is more upsetting than doing all of these things. You are dead to me.
The depth and vigor of my response may be surprising to you, especially since I have entirely and completely misinterpreted what you wrote, failing to grasp the tone, substance, and point of your status. Yet I hope you will understand that in these trying times, it is extremely important — nay, it is of utmost importance! — that I be allowed to jump wildly to a conclusion that is not supported by the facts in any way. Further, instead of being abashed by Marie’s replies, which will point out that I am “completely wrong” and possibly “did not read the status the whole way through” and might even be “in need of some serious downtime, like, get offline, friend-o,” I intend to use them as further proof that everyone is against me in every way and that I have nothing in common with any other human being on this planet. I will then post a meme quoting the Dalai Lama.
That I will try to connect your status to my growing concern about my ability to protect my children’s health and well-being (emotional, mental, and physical) must be allowed without comment, at least if you hope that we can ever be friends again — which we cannot, at least until a year goes by, and Facebook shows me this posting as a memory. Then, I’ll re-read your original status, and it will make me chuckle, because now I will finally get the joke, and then I’ll realize, Oh, Lordy, I completely got the whole thing wrong last year, and I’ll wonder how I could have ostracized one of my oldest and dearest friends even to the point of burning my National Honor Society pin because we were inducted together in our junior year (and which, by the way, was not easily set on fire, so it ended up burning me pretty badly on on my right finger in a way that still hurts from time to time). Full of remorse, I will reach out to you to say I’m sorry, and you’ll be like, “Well, everyone was crazy at that time because of the president,” and I’ll say, “I’m uncomfortable with you using the adjective ‘crazy’ so cavalierly,” and you’ll say, “But seriously, weren’t you crazy?” I will really want to push the point about the importance of thoughtful language choices, but I won’t. I’ll decide to just let it go, and we’ll grab a beer at Ralph’s Inn just like we used to and things will almost be back to normal because a relationship based on trust and loyalty can withstand even my needing to go apeshit so badly I kinda deliberately misunderstood your harmless Facebook status.
But! In the meantime, we’re all stuck here in this miserable cesspool that is the current epoch in American history, so I’ll conclude this onslaught by saying that I have never been so outraged as I am by my partial reading of your status and I wish you ill, based on the extreme hurt you have not actually caused me, but which I caused myself by wildly misunderstanding your status update.
In conclusion, I’d also like to take this opportunity to blame your Facebook status update for the fact that I will be a little brusque with my children tonight, and that I’ll be upping the stakes on my commute tomorrow to driving 5 miles under the speed limit, because I already suspect, as I near the end of this tirade, that writing this is actually not going to make me feel better in any way at all.
Now that I am done, I see that it did not. I blame you.
Dove is making headlines again, for yet another misguided advertising campaign. Do we really need soap bottles to evoke body positivity?
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Sep 05 11:50:00 PDT 2017
The imperial family of Japan is facing a looming succession crisis. Current law forbids female family members and their children from ascending to the throne, meaning only male children of male family members may become emperor someday.
But of the 19 people in the Japanese royal family, just five are men, including 83-year-old Emperor Akihito, who plans to abdicate his position next year. He’ll pass the throne to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito. Naruhito has no sons, so he’ll pass it to his younger brother Akishino. Akishino’s only son and Akihito’s only male grandchild, 10-year-old Hisahito, is next in line. If he doesn’t have any sons, there will be no one left to take his place.
The fast-approaching end of Akihito’s reign isn’t the only cause for concern among those invested in the future of Japanese monarchy. On Sunday morning, Princess Mako, Akihito’s oldest grandchild and Akishino’s oldest child, announced her engagement to a commoner. Japanese law dictates that male royals can marry outside the imperial family and retain their status, but women cannot. When 25-year-old Mako marries legal assistant Kei Komuro, her college boyfriend, she’ll finally get the right to vote but forfeit her allowance from the government, her title, and her last name.
A large majority of Japanese residents—86 percent, according to a May 2017 poll—believe that women should be eligible for the throne, and 59 percent think the children of female family members should also count in the line of succession. Sixty-one percent want princesses to be able to stay in the imperial family after their marriages to commoners, helping to expand the family tree as those couples grew their own branches of descendants. Now, Japanese legislators must decide which is more important: the continued existence of a dwindling imperial bloodline or its strict patrilineal heritage.
The country’s parliament is already in the midst of shaking up the imperial rules. Over the summer, legislators passed a popular bill allowing Akihito to abdicate the throne as per his wishes, an option that was previously forbidden to monarchs who had to serve for life. More conservative members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party worried that considering such a bill would force them to open debate on the female succession issue, which is governed by the same 1947 law. Abe shut down these nascent debates earlier this year, suggesting that some former “collateral” branches of the imperial family, which were cut off with that 1947 law, be let back in or have their sons adopted by current princes to expand the pool of potential heirs. The largest opposition party in Japan, the Democratic Party, is advocating for a legal shift that would let women already in the family to reign instead.
By some accounts, even Emperor Akihito supports such a change. Empresses are not unheard of in Japan: Though emperors used to have concubines to increase the likelihood of producing male heirs, eight women in the family have sat on the throne in the 125 recorded generations of the imperial family. They were largely considered stand-ins until patrilineal successors could take over. There are few good arguments beside tradition for the endurance of government-supported monarchs, and even fewer for the restriction of the throne to men. Mako could just as easily perform the duties of an empress, minimal as they are, as her grandfather, and imperial genes will persist in her future children as much as they will in her brother’s. There’s another word for a tradition that would rather reintegrate families who have been commoners for generations into the imperial line than treat women as equally valued members: sexism.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is about to see a recent measure for monarchical gender equality finally come into play. Kensington Palace announced early Monday morning that Kate Middleton is pregnant with her third child, adding another heir to Prince William’s growing lineup. In previous generations, a new baby boy would have taken the place of older sister Charlotte, baby No. 2, in the line of succession. But a law passed soon after Middleton joined the family in 2011 ensured that any daughter of a U.K. monarch would have an equal shot at ascending to the throne as a son would. Royal families are indefensible mooches on the government, but as long as they exist, a Charlotte or a Mako shouldn’t have to see her rightful place on the throne usurped by an annoying younger brother.
Critics Aren’t Taking Issue With the Content of Hillary Clinton’s New Book So Much as Its Right to Exist
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Mon Sep 11 13:18:00 PDT 2017
There is no one who loves talking about the 2016 election more than Donald Trump, who brings it up in public more than once a week on average. There is no one so keen to linger over the outcome of Election Day, to pick at old grudges, and dress down old opponents than Trump. No one, some prominent Democrats would have you believe, other than Hillary Clinton.
“I love Hillary,” Sen. Al Franken recently told Yahoo News. “I think she has a right to analyze what happened. But we do have to move on.” On the Late Show, Sen. Bernie Sanders reminded Clinton that she “ran against the most unpopular candidate in the history of this country” and still couldn’t eke out a win. “She was upset about it and I understand that,” Sanders said. “But our job is not to go backward. ... I think it’s a little bit silly to keep talking about 2016.”
Given that 2016 saw an unprecedented electoral upset that resulted in the least-qualified president in U.S. history, nine months seems an awfully short grace period for acceptable discourse on the outcome. And Clinton isn’t just talking about the worst setback of her professional life—she’s selling it. What Happened, her highly anticipated 494-page postmortem on her last campaign, hits bookstores on Tuesday, ensuring that the conversation some Democrats don’t want to have will continue for at least as long as Clinton’s book tour.
Early reviews take issue with the book’s right to exist as much as the quality of its contents. “Was this book necessary?” asks Doyle McManus in the lede of his Los Angeles Times review, suggesting that Clinton should have shoved her manuscript into a desk drawer rather than offer it up for public consumption. Doug Schoen, a former Clinton ally, told the failed candidate in a Hill piece that it is “time to exit the stage” and stop doing harm to her political party by simply showing up. “Friends don’t let friends read Hillary Clinton’s new book,” wrote a critic at the Week who refused to even crack it open before making her judgment. “Whatever you want to read this book for, chances are, there’s something else that does it better.”
Conservative media outlets show particular glee in their reporting that Clinton’s book will ravage the Democratic Party and her own future in politics. The world is “sick of hearing from her,” writes Katherine Timpf at the National Review, calling it a feat of “self-indulgent dead-horse-beating” and the product of a “selfish urge to present as many excuses as you can to absolve yourself of any blame for your embarrassing defeat.” In the Washington Times, Ben Wolfgang argues that “the American people simply don’t want to hear from [Clinton],” quoting a poli-sci professor who believes Clinton should have “not written a book and been quiet for another eight months.”
That Washington Times piece calls What Happened a “blame book”—and certainly, most assessments of the tome are preoccupied with the question of blame. The juiciest excerpts so far are those that find Clinton casting shade on Sanders (he emboldened Trump’s attacks and promised every American a free pony), James Comey (he “shivved” her and “badly overstepped his bounds”), the New York Times (it dragged her over her emails but glossed over Trump–Russia connections during the campaign). But the bigger question with which critics are grappling is whether or not Clinton claims enough blame for her own unexpected loss. “Despite seemingly suggesting the fault is hers alone, Clinton also clearly believes that a lot of other people are responsible, too,” writes Bess Levin in her Vanity Fair roundup of “People Clinton Blames for Her Election Loss.” Another Washington Times piece reported that What Happened is “yet another campaign to blame everybody she can for her crushing loss.” Schoen wrote that “the only person [Clinton] does not seem to blame is herself.” Even the Associated Press claimed in a straight news piece about the book that Clinton “has a reputation for avoiding blame for her failures.” It seems that these critics, unsatisfied with Clinton’s concession speech, are holding out for a full-blown apology.
But Clinton could hardly have been more explicit about where the buck stopped in her campaign. “I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made,” she writes in one oft-quoted excerpt. “I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want—but I was the candidate. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.” There it is: Clinton blaming herself for her loss. If that’s where her critics would have rather she stopped, What Happened would have been a PR statement, not a book.
It's true that the democracy-defying 2016 election merits more than a five-sentence mea culpa from the woman who lost. Clinton as a bad candidate is just one sliver of the rancid pie that caused America to vomit up President Trump. Even the election analyses most critical of Clinton don’t dare place all the blame on her Wall Street speeches, email-management missteps, or comments about putting coal companies out of business. The additional facts she offers as contributing factors to her loss—Sanders’ “attacks caused lasting damage”; sexism helped make her “a lightning rod for fury”—are measured and probably true. They’re nothing readers haven’t encountered before in the thousands of thinkpieces they devoured in the months after the election. Almost nobody thinks Hillary Clinton alone is responsible for the defeat that shocked the entire world.
When Clinton acknowledges that truth, as she does in What Happened, critics portray her as a petty shirker of accountability. Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman of California told Politico that Clinton is forcing the party to endure endless “media cycles about the blame game, and the excuses.” In a recent Morning Consult poll, 39 percent of 2,000 respondents said Hillary Clinton should cease all influence on the Democratic Party. Just 40 percent said it would be OK for her to write books. That the public was asked to weigh in on the seemliness of Clinton’s post-election plans is itself a marker of how personally the country takes her every move, as if she were not a politician but a despised national mascot.
What if, just like much of the rest of the electorate, she’s simply looking to make meaning out of an event that shattered her illusions about the country she calls home? The 2016 election was unlike any other: Nearly a year after the election, conversations with my friends and colleagues still occasionally end up in “what happened?” territory. Ordinary people are still piecing the 2016 narrative together. It’s no surprise that they might want to hear the loser’s perspective, even if members of her party don’t.
by Roland Phillips (D.C.) @ Desert Dove – Holistic Chiropractor, Chandler, AZ
Mon Dec 16 12:37:46 PST 2013
There are currently 27 million American with Hypo- (low) thyroidism, mostly female, and nearly half are undiagnosed. The majority (90%) of adult hypothyroidism is due to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s Disease. This is an Auto Immune process, inflammatory in nature, where the body’s immune system is attacking its own thyroid. It will begin with acute […]
by David Aaker @ Prophet Thinking
Tue Sep 12 03:09:29 PDT 2017
Consumers and employees are seeing the importance of social & environmental higher purpose programs. Here are 5 benefits of having one.
by Aaron Phillips @ Desert Dove – Holistic Chiropractor, Chandler, AZ
Wed Jul 24 11:32:33 PDT 2013
In his new book ” Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind” Henry Grayson Ph.D. has some useful information and tools to help us on our healing journey. It is a must read for those who aspire spiritual, mental and emotional growth, as well as optimum health of body. We know in B.E.S.T.- Bio Energetic […]
by Heather Schwedel @ The XX Factor
Tue Jul 11 11:52:33 PDT 2017
There’s a certain class of public figure whose face routinely gets described as “punchable.” He’s usually male; though arguably society shouldn’t be encouraging the punching of anyone (with possible exception for Nazis), good etiquette would seem to indicate that women are considered the less punchable sex. The guy with the punchable face is usually white; it’s hard out there for white men lately, in case you hadn’t heard. He’s usually young, too: What’s more annoying the know-it-all grin of impetuous youth? In addition to the privilege that being young, white, and male already affords him, he of high punchability often has a look that somehow scans as extra-privileged, a mouth seemingly born with a silver spoon in it.
Martin Shkreli, Scott Disick, Ryan Lochte, Miles Teller, Justin Bieber, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr.: All these men fit the aforementioned criteria and have been described by at least one, and often many, press outlets as being in possession of punchable visages.
The most recent addition to these ranks is Ansel Elgort, 23, who broke out as the goofy-gangly-cute (post-adorkable?) male lead in the teen cancer schmaltzfest The Fault in Our Stars a few years ago. Several biographical details have always have always carried a faint whiff of punchability. First off, there is his moonlighting as an EDM DJ; his DJ alter-ego is, I’m sorry to say, Ansolo, but it is no better when he releases music under his own name—the cover art for his single “Thief” is an awful sight to behold, a tableau of unironic douchiness. Backgroundwise, he’s an upper-crust New Yorker: He went to the Fame high school, and his father is a fashion photographer. These facts, combined with his capacity to give crazy quote, all added up to a certain impression. In 2015, Pajiba cited Elgort’s mug as punchable; the site did it again just days ago, this time upgrading to “uber-punchable.” The Ringer joined the fray too, writing that Elgort “has flown past Shia LaBeouf and Miles Teller for the top spot on my list of Inscrutably Talented Actors with Highly Punchable Faces and Swag-less Swag.” So what exactly makes a face punchable? What could Elgort, Bieber, and Eric Trump possibly have in common?
The beauty of the punchable designation is that it sounds almost like an impartial fact. In Ansel’s case: Eye color? Brown. Height? 6 foot 4. (Ugh.) And face? Punchable. Last year, ThinkProgress endeavored to find out if there was a scientific explanation for what made Shkreli’s face so punchable. One psychologist interviewed for the piece posited that calling Shkreli’s face “punchable” is satisfying because it frames it as an objective truth: “When you say Martin’s face needs a fist, it seems as if the feature is out there, in Martin, and it’s objective,” the psychologist said; that “motivational” quality transfers the emotion from you to Shrkeli. It’s not that he makes you angry enough to want to punch him but that he simply needs to be punched, by anyone, as soon as humanly possible.
Shkreli seemed to reach his most punchable state when he was testifying before Congress in 2016, captured on camera looking exceedingly pleased with himself. Punching him wouldn’t have accomplished much—Shkreli would still be the guy who became a public villain for raising drug prices to exorbitant levels—but it would at least temporarily wipe that look off his face. LaBeouf’s punchability numbers have spiked around his arrests for public shenanigans and attempts to parlay his acting career into a series of “performance art” stunts—you may recall that last year it got so bad that a New York City man got punched on the street for the crime of simply resembling LeBeouf. Justin Bieber has similarly fallen victim to brushes with the law that seem to emphasize his youth and privilege. Ryan Lochte went from loveable goon to international disgrace somewhere around the time his lies about getting held up at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics started to blow up in his (punchable) face. For Miles Teller, the early promise of a critically acclaimed performance in an awards-season darling was undercut by a disastrous magazine profile and a colossal box-office flop. And obviously the Trump sons are beady-eyed paragons of smugness.
There is a relationship, then, between punchability and self-knowledge. Misbehaving so badly when they have the advantages that they do is what tends to raise the public’s hackles. Can they all be so blithely unaware of the tiredness of the “bad boy” trope, or the many overgrown babies who have already trod this ground? And yet they continue to smirk.
With the release, and success, of Baby Driver, the tide on Elgort, at least, may be turning. As New York magazine’s the Cut put it in a recent headline, “Baby Driver Will Make You Forget That You Hate Ansel Elgort.” Surely a film can’t, without the aid of computer-generated imagery or special effects, alter the bone structure of a well-known actor such that your fist is less attracted to his face. Yet if you enjoyed Baby Driver—and with a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating at the moment, it seems like a lot of critics did—the movie certainly helps recontextualize him.
In the film, it’s clear that some of the other characters find Baby’s face punchable. Baby wouldn’t keep so many spare pairs of sunglasses on him if people like Jamie Foxx’s Bats weren’t always yanking them off him in exasperation. Where he previously came off as annoying because it seemed like he found himself just so charming all the time, now he’s taking a chance on playing a character who’s cool, it’s true, but a little less obviously flattering to his self-image. Above all, in shrewdly choosing to play a punchable character, he’s demonstrating that most unpunchable trait: self-awareness.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Mon Jul 17 16:34:00 PDT 2017
Most people know that online firearm sales create big loopholes that allow customers to bypass background checks—but who knew e-commerce pioneer Jeff Bezos was hawking guns like these?! The Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner showed up to an Idaho conference in a skintight T-shirt last week, displaying a set of arms most reasonable observers would classify as assault weapons.
Bezos used to be a giant baby-faced, Kevin-Spacey-faced nerd who sold textbooks on a website and looked ecstatic merely to be alive. Now, he’s buying up bougie grocery stores and publishing a newspaper with a metal-ass tagline. He’s in the putting businesses out of business business, and he’s got the muscle and shaved head to prove it.
This extreme dome makeover has inspired Twitter people to make a meme of sorts.
Whoa there! Looks like someone matured over summer vacation! Bezos has either been been spending some overtime moving boxes in an Amazon warehouse (probably not true, because as any girlfriend who does CrossFit will tell you, biceps are vanity muscles that don’t serve much practical function) or beefing up to intimidate any Trump-loving thugs who wish death upon the Washington Post. Either way, he has the body of a swole J.K. Simmons and the face of a non-swole J.K. Simmons. It’s a good look!
Swole Jeff Bezos is nice to look at and fun to tweet about, but the true genius of Swole Jeff Bezos is its applicability as a descriptor in everyday life. When you take any aesthetically unremarkable, utilitarian thing and add conspicuous glamour or decorative flourishes, you have created a Swole Jeff Bezos. If you move into a cheap, functional apartment with drop ceilings and wall-to-wall beige carpeting, then add a disco ball and an Eames chair, you are living in a Swole Jeff Bezos. A 7-year-old Prius with a unicorn hood ornament and cow-hide seat covers is a Swole Jeff Bezos car. That “Life Is Good” cap whose graphic you covered with a Chanel logo patch? Swole Jeff Bezos on your head. And thanks to the groundbreaking reporting of BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel, I am able to crown the world’s purest Swole Jeff Bezos: Hot, Hairy Elon Musk.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Tue Jul 11 11:27:50 PDT 2017
Four out of 10 American adults have been harassed online, according to newly released data from the Pew Research Center. In a nationally representative survey administered in January, 41 percent of the 4,248 participants said they’d been victims of at least one form of online harassment.
Pew divided the types of harassment into two categories: less severe and more severe. The former involves offensive name-calling or deliberate attempts at humiliation. More severe behaviors include threats of physical harm, stalking, long-term sustained harassment, and sexual harassment. Of the survey participants who reported experiencing harassment, 22 percent said they’d only experienced less severe varieties, while 18 percent said they’d faced at least one of the more severe behaviors.
Among young adults, those numbers are even worse. More than two-thirds of people aged 18 to 29 have been targeted by harassment—a proportion twice as large as that of people 30 and over who’ve faced harassment—and 41 percent of young adults reported being victimized by one or more of one of the most severe varieties of harassment. That may be a function of young internet users spending more time on social media (58 percent of harassment victims say their last encounter occurred on a social platform) and having more contact with strangers, who were responsible for more than half of reported harassment incidents in the survey.
These stats aren’t necessarily shocking. It’s hard for the average person to do anything online and not endure or witness some kind of harassment. In the Pew survey, 66 percent of respondents said they’d seen other people targeted by harassment online, even if they’d never experienced it themselves. Still, it’s sobering to see statistics spell out the price of letting people “speak their minds freely” online, which 45 percent of participants said was more important than providing for users’ safety and comfort. One in ten respondents said they’d been physically threatened over the internet, and one in four black respondents said they’d experienced racial harassment online.
When using the internet is necessary for so many elements of modern life and work, statistics like these should alarm and trouble tech companies whose platforms enable such abuse. As technology advances, opportunities for online harassment will multiply. See, for example, the recent case of a woman who was ridiculed for speaking out against a man who groped her in a virtual reality game. In the Pew survey, victims of online harassment reported curtailing their online activities and experiencing severe anxiety or stress after being targeted.
But some people still believe online harassment isn’t a big deal. More than half of the Pew survey respondents, including 73 percent of young men, said that people take offensive online speech too seriously, and only 54 percent of men would call online harassment a major problem. Women were significantly more likely than men to say online harassment isn’t taken seriously enough. Unsurprisingly, young women reported the highest rates of sexual harassment in the survey. Two in 10 said they’d been sexually harassed online and more than half said they’d received sexually explicit images they didn’t solicit. The harassment they experience may be more severe than what men encounter: Thirty-five percent of women who’ve been harassed said their last experience was extremely or very upsetting, more than twice the proportion of men who said the same.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Thu Aug 10 14:19:21 PDT 2017
Taylor Swift took the stand on Thursday in a Denver federal courthouse to describe the moment in 2013 when she says she was “violated” by a then–country radio DJ in a way she “had never experienced before.” David Mueller, who was 51 to Swift’s 23 at the time, “grabbed my ass underneath my skirt,” Swift said in her testimony. He “stayed latched on to my bare ass cheek as I moved away from him, visibly uncomfortable.”
Mueller claims he never touched Swift’s butt, explaining at various points that he only touched her “rib cage” and that a colleague was probably the one who groped her. They were posing for a photo, he said, and their body language was awkward but not inappropriate. On the witness stand, Swift did not suffer that argument, insisting that the grope was intentional and could not have been an accident. “It was horrifying, shocking,” she said, according to a BuzzFeed report. “He had a handful of my ass. I know it was him. I thought what he did was despicable.”
On Wednesday, Swift’s mother, Andrea, testified that the family hadn’t gone to the police after the alleged assault because they didn’t want to cause a public uproar. “I did not want this event to define her life,” she said. “I did not want every interview from this point on to have to talk about it.” Instead, they contacted Mueller’s employer—he was backstage at Swift’s concert on a work assignment when the alleged incident took place—who fired him two days later. Two years after that, Mueller sued Swift for $3 million, alleging that she cost him his job for an assault that never happened. She countersued for $1, determined to prove that she wouldn’t back down from what she says is the truth.
When Swift and her team told Mueller’s radio bosses about the alleged assault, they enclosed a photo that appeared to show Mueller with his hand behind Swift’s butt. In court this week, both parties attempted to use that photo, a sealed document that leaked last year, to prove their respective points. Swift’s side says it shows that she’s edging toward Mueller’s girlfriend and away from him, and that his hand is clearly far below her ribcage. Mueller’s attorney Gabe McFarland asked Swift why the photo shows the front of her skirt in place, not lifted up, if Mueller was reaching underneath to grab her butt. “Because my ass is located in the back of my body,” Swift replied. She offered a similar response when asked whether she saw the grope taking place. When McFarland pointed out that the photo shows Swift closer to Mueller’s girlfriend than Mueller himself, Swift answered, “Yes, she did not have her hand on my ass.”
Swift has said several times that she wouldn’t settle with Mueller or let his claims stand because she wants to be a visible example of strength to other women considering their options after a demoralizing sexual violation. Full of rightful exasperation, her testimony on Thursday was a galvanizing example of a so-called victim testimony in which the victim refused to be victimized. Swift was confident in her version of the story, unintimidated by a cross examination that implied she was a liar and unmistakably incensed when McFarland tried to cast doubt on her behavior during the evening in question. Wasn’t Swift critical of her bodyguard, who didn’t prevent such an obvious assault? “I’m critical of your client sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my ass,” she told the attorney. But, McFarland said, Swift could have taken a break in the middle of her meet-and-greet if she was so distraught. “And your client could have taken a normal photo with me,” Swift countered, explaining that a pop star has a responsibility to her fans.
For young fans of Swift’s, hearing a beloved artist speak candidly about the emotional damage of sexual assault and stand up to a courtroom of men trying to prove her wrong could be a formative moment for their developing ideas of gender, sex, and accountability. Swift certainly has advantages most women who endure similar violations will never have: the money and time to mount a strong case against her alleged assailant, the jury-endearing privileges of white skin and a beautiful face, and millions of supporters rallying publicly behind her. And since he’s suing her for money and she’s already one of the biggest superstars in the world, detractors can’t argue, as they so often do in sexual-assault cases, that she’s making up a story for money or fame.
But Swift also faces some of the same obstacles other assault survivors endure if they bring their perpetrators to court. She must relive a distressing moment over and over again to dozens of observers, recounting in detail how her body was allegedly touched without her consent, while lawyers on the other side try their hardest to make her look unreliable, petty, and fake. When McFarland asked her how she felt when Mueller got the boot from his job at the Denver radio station, Swift said she had no response. “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is any way my fault, because it isn’t,” she said. Later, she continued: “I am being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions and not mine.” Women who allege sexual assault are scolded all the time for ruining men’s lives, even if those men are proven guilty. Swift’s sharp testimony is a very visible condemnation of that common turn in cases like these. That’s an important message for women who may find themselves in Swift’s position someday, and maybe even more so for the men who’ll be called on to support or rebuff them.
Governor General of Canada Thinks It Would Be ‘Marvelous’ If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Got Married
by Stephanie Petit @ PEOPLE.com
Sun Sep 24 14:06:44 PDT 2017
David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, told ITV that the romance is strengthening ties between the U.K. and Canada, where the American actress films her show Suits and has adopted as a second home.
“I think it would be quite marvellous and I hope it would be quite marvellous for him and obviously it will help to bring us together,” Johnston said. “But, you know, that reflects so many of the people-to-people ties that are so strong. I think about 20% of our citizens would claim British heritage so those ties are very strong.”
Johnston said that he “didn’t know” that Markle, 36, was sitting near him at the opening ceremonies for the Invictus Games in Toronto.
“ was alone but you say, I gather, there was a young lady in the audience who was watching him with great interest,” he said.
RELATED VIDEO: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s History (So Far)
Markle was all smiles as she cheered on the athletes in the Paralympic-style Invictus Games for wounded service members from around the world. Meanwhile, Harry sat a few rows away next to First Lady Melania Trump whom he met with earlier in the day.
Toronto has become a special place for the couple. Harry made a secret detour from the Caribbean to spend time with Markle in her adopted hometown in December. The royal couple also spent Easter weekend together in Toronto. Harry also called Toronto a “home away from home” when he met with Johnston.
“Despite the distance, the media attention and everything else, there’s a real ease to their relationship,” a source previously told PEOPLE. “It just works. They are deeply happy.”
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Thu Jul 13 11:08:06 PDT 2017
The burdens of global statesmanship have apparently not dampened the irrepressible lust alive in the heart and hands of French president Emmanuel Macron, the world has learned. Macron and wife Brigitte joined Donald and Melania Trump on a Thursday tour of Les Invalides in Paris, where France’s youngest-ever leader took a gentle swipe at his beloved’s derrière.
“Both couples held hands down the steps,” wrote a particularly observant pool reporter on the scene. But later, “when POTUS and FLOTUS started walking again, your pooler saw Macron tap his wife on the rear end. She looked surprised and smiled.”
Ooh la la! A public display d’amour at Napoleon’s tomb—is that not the dream of every little French girl growing up baking baguettes in the countryside (or at least of every American who's dreamed of being a French girl baking baguettes in the countryside)? Macron’s no conspicuous looker on the level of fellow francophone Justin Trudeau, but he does give off a certain self-possessed charm, especially when he does silly things like pronounce “engineers” like “vaginas.” That, plus his marriage to a woman 24 years his senior (she was his high-school teacher!), plus the fact that he is not an admitted sexual abuser trying to dismantle democracy itself, has earned him the pseudo-sexual admiration of many stateside observers.
Thus, Macron’s butt tap functions as a bit of fan-service wish fulfillment. Even at a boring meeting with a wannabe despot from across the pond, the tap says, this French president cannot suppress his playful desire for his older lover, even at a very unerotic military hospital! What a guy. There are several exacting conditions a butt tap must meet to pass muster in a staid diplomatic setting. Macron’s hit all of them: He’s the young one, she’s his senior, they’re married, all signs point to them actually loving each other, and it sounds like he was doing it as a private gesture of affection, not to show off for the press or as a creepy demonstration of macho power. Macron’s audacity and Brigitte’s surprise make us feel like we were granted a little glimpse into the fresh jocularity of their decade-old marriage. Many props to the pooler who kept a close eye on the president’s hands (or his wife’s rear?) during the otherwise unremarkable outing.
There remains, of course, the possibility that Brigitte was embarrassed by the encounter, and that her smile was of the “I am forced to remain calm but we’re talking about this later in the limousine” variety. One might also interpret Macron’s tap as more of a statement of ownership, in the way a certain kind of cornhole-playing dude will smack his girlfriend’s butt and ask her to go fetch him a beer.
But because Bastille Day is upon us, we’re going to revel in the assumption that it was a lighthearted, loving gesture of liberté/égalité/booté, or perhaps an inside joke about how Brigitte would have to watch out for Trump’s clammy, wandering hands during the state visit. In fact, the only certain bad thing that will come of this is a giant blow to Trump’s ego, which will likely prompt him to one-up Macron by grabbing one of Melania “Don’t You Even Touch My GD Hand” Trump’s body parts in public. May the spirit of le petit caporal bring her strength.
Acceptance is one thing. Asking women to visually categorize their bodies is quite another.
With their #IAmPerfect movement, three U.K. residents are saying the lingerie brand is body shaming and promoting an unrealistic standard of beauty.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Mon Aug 14 14:09:26 PDT 2017
The Texas Legislature is in the home stretch of a special session Gov. Greg Abbott called last month to push through a slew of his legislative priorities, including restrictions on where transgender people can use the bathroom. That bill is losing steam in the less conservative House, but another bill restricting abortion access is headed to the desk of the governor, who has indicated that he’ll sign it into law.
The bill would prohibit all insurance companies from covering abortion care in their standard plans, requiring women to pay extra premiums for coverage if they think they may need abortions at some point in the next year. The ban would apply not only to insurance plans on the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, but also to any plans sponsored by employers or purchased on the private market. A plan would only be allowed to cover an abortion in the case of a pregnant woman’s life-threatening health emergency and not those performed in cases of rape, incest, or extreme fetal abnormalities.
This weekend, the GOP-led Texas Senate approved the bill after it passed the House. (Similar bills were raised and debated during the regular legislative session, which closed in May, but none passed.) Right-wing legislators and advocates in Texas say they are currently forced against their will to help fund abortions simply by taking part in a health insurance system that covers them. Rep. John Smithee, who sponsored the bill in the House, said in floor debate that the bill promotes “economic freedom” for people who oppose abortion rights.
Half the states in the country prevent insurance policies purchased on ACA health exchanges from covering abortion procedures. Ten of those also restrict insurance coverage for abortion in all private insurance plans. Only two of those 10—Utah and Indiana—make exceptions for abortions sought in cases of rape and incest. That’s why Democratic Texas legislators say this bill would necessitate “rape insurance”—no one expects to have an unplanned pregnancy, and no one can predict the likelihood that she’ll be raped in a given year. It is a demeaning form of gender discrimination to ask women to lay down extra money just in case they get pregnant through sexual assault.
According to a national 2014 survey of abortion patients, 53 percent paid for the procedure or pill out of pocket, and another 24 percent paid for their abortion care with Medicaid. (Federal Medicaid dollars cannot go toward abortions in most circumstances, but a handful of states use their own health funding to cover abortion care for women on Medicaid.) Just 15 percent of abortion patients used private insurance to pay for their abortion care, while 61 percent of women with private insurance said they paid out of pocket, due to either high deductibles or a lack of coverage. Without insurance coverage, an abortion can cost between $300 for an early medication abortion in some places and a few thousand dollars for a surgical one later in pregnancy. The later, more expensive ones are often those performed under the most heart-wrenching circumstances, due to fetal anomalies undetectable in early pregnancy or a woman’s inability to access earlier health care because of her age, remote location, financial resources, or immigration status.
By restricting abortion care to those who can either afford an additional monthly health care expense or a hefty one-time payment out of the blue, Texas is ensuring that low- and middle-income women with health insurance will find it significantly more difficult to access a constitutionally protected medical procedure. To satisfy the whims of anti-choice advocates, the Texas Legislature has used one population’s personal beliefs to justify what amounts to a sexual-activity tax on Texas women.
Jennifer Lopez Announces She’s Donating $1 Million to Aid Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean
by Maria Pasquini @ PEOPLE.com
Sun Sep 24 12:45:36 PDT 2017
On Sunday, Jennifer Lopez joined New York governor Andrew Cuomo in a press conference announcing she was donating $1 million from the proceeds of her Las Vegas show to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
First in Spanish and then in English, Lopez, 48, shared her announcement in a speech that was live-streamed on Twitter.
“Alex Rodriguez and I, who are both New Yorkers, are utilizing all our resources and relationships in entertainment, sports and business to garner support for Puerto Rican and Caribbean relief efforts,” Lopez said.
In addition to her own personal contribution, Lopez announced that the New York Yankees and the MLB “have both committed to join us in giving a significant contribution to this cause.”
RELATED VIDEO: Watch Jennifer Lopez Tear Up Remembering Her Twins Being Born
Lopez shared that together with her ex-husband Marc Anthony, they were working to spearhead “additional relief efforts” to “rush the relief that our brothers and sisters in Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean desperately need.”
She announced she was also working with Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban and Dallas Mavericks Puerto Rican player J.J. Barea to send over two airplanes filled with supplies and generators to San Juan, Puerto Rico — they’re just waiting for air clearance.
“I’ve been so moved by the initial responses,” she continued. “They have been overwhelming, nobody has said no. Anybody we’ve have called is right there asking what they can do. They’re all very eager to help.”
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 24, 2017
In her speech, Lopez confirmed that she still has not heard from all of her family members in Puerto Rico.
“My cousin and I and our family still haven’t been able to hear from all of our family over there and we are concerned for them and for everybody on the island,” she said, echoing the news she revealed on Thursday.
“The conditions are dire,” the star told PEOPLE. “We need to do as much as we can to help the people of Puerto Rico.”
In the meantime, Lopez is doing everything she can to help raise awareness and money for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the devastating storm.
“Jen and Alex are making personal phone calls to their celebrity friends and heads of corporations and asking them to donate either funds, planes or money to get supplies to Puerto Rico,” says a source.
Lopez, Rodriguez and Anthony are among other stars with ties to the island making impassioned pleas for donations and aid. Ricky Martin, “Despacito” singer Daddy Yankee and Rosie Perez are also using their star power to help raise awareness and money.
“What’s on my mind is what’s going on in Puerto Rico. The devastation is beyond belief,” J Lo said in an Instagram post backstage from her Las Vegas residency show. “Me and my cousin still haven’t been able to hear from our families over there.
“What’s foremost on my mind and many others is trying to figure out the best way to help,” she added. “Today, Puerto Rico needs our help. I urge you to support and donate to the efforts of the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Areizaga. Together we can help rebuild our island, and the Caribbean.”with reporting by ELIZABETH LEONARD
Why It’s So Disingenuous for Republicans to Call the Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill a Public Safety Measure
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Jul 26 12:12:47 PDT 2017
Since last week, Republicans in the Texas state Senate have been sprinting through a marathon-length list of Gov. Greg Abbott’s legislative priorities, suspending rules and cutting short deliberations to rush a handful of right-leaning bills to the House during a 30-day special session. Democrats say GOP leaders are suppressing the democratic process by depriving legislators and citizens of time to read the bills and advocate for or against them.
One such bill is a regulation on transgender people using single-gender public bathrooms that don’t match the sex on their birth certificates or state-issued IDs. The Texas Senate passed a similar bill earlier this year, but its momentum petered out in the House. Polls have found that only about one-third of Texans support the so-called bathroom bill, and more than half oppose it. Still, for more than a year, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made keeping trans people out of bathrooms one of his pet issues. The Senate passed the bill after midnight on Wednesday morning, sending it to the House, where it will likely stall again, as Republican Speaker Joe Straus opposes it.
So do plenty of other people who know a thing or two about public safety, which Republicans have held up as the ostensible goal of the bathroom regulation. While the Texas Senate debated the bill, the police chiefs of Houston, San Antonio, and Austin held a joint press conference at the state Capitol to publicly oppose the proposed legislation. “It may be great political theater, but it is bad on public safety,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said. Other representatives from the police forces of Corpus Christi, El Paso, and elsewhere said the legislation would take time away from investigating violent crimes and put it into enforcing nearly unenforceable rules, endangering community safety. Chief William McManus of San Antonio, a city that passed an ordinance in 2013 protecting trans people’s rights to use whatever bathrooms match their gender identities, said he had members of his department search the succeeding years’ records for any evidence of assaults in public bathrooms by men pretending to be trans women. They found nothing. “I am a believer that if you propose a bill to address a criminal justice concern, it is important to determine if there is an actual problem you are trying to solve,” McManus said.
This is an important point that exposes the hate and discrimination that underlies transgender bathroom restrictions. Republican legislators don’t want to protect their constituents who aren’t trans—they want to keep trans people out of the public sphere altogether. There is no way to station a police officer or security guard as an ID-checking bouncer at every public restroom that would be affected by the legislation. The proposed bill wouldn’t even penalize trans people who used bathrooms that didn’t match their IDs. Instead, it would nullify laws like San Antonio’s that prohibit bathroom discrimination and impose financial penalties on schools and government entities that don’t police bathroom use based on birth certificates.
In other words, there is no good way to enforce this kind of law, and there is no public interest in passing it. It’s not a public safety measure. It is a message to trans people that they are undeserving of basic dignity and comfortable participation in public life. It is a go-ahead to cis people to harass anyone in a restroom who doesn’t look like their idea of a gender-normative woman or man. And it is tantamount to emotional abuse for trans kids, who would arguably be most affected by the legislation because they spend all day in schools, which are among the primary targets of the bill. When the police chiefs of some of the state’s biggest cities are begging legislators to give their transphobia a rest, it’s well past time for the governor and lieutenant governor to rethink their priorities.
by ZOE DANIELS @ McSweeney’s
Thu Sep 21 05:02:00 PDT 2017
Holy shit holy shit holy shit. That cordial was cor-dialllll, right, Anne? Anne? ANNE! ANNNNNEEEEEEE! Hahahahah, oh my god I’m just here like screaming your name and you’re right there! On the other side of the kitchen island! I mean, it’s not an island in the kitchen, like we’re in a kitchen on an island. Like Prince Edward Island! Where we LIVE! Ahahahahah oh my god whoa. Like, whoa. Do you know what? You are my best friend, do you know that? You know that. Can I see your bosom? Ew, no, not like that, just, like, I don’t know. I’ve never seen any except on the pigs and I don’t think that’s what they’re supposed to look like anyway. God, come on. Don’t be such a prude! I’ll show you mine!
Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaa! You gotta do it, go real low then stand up. Try it! Seriously! Oh my god, it’s like… WHOA, you know? Ugh, where is all the DICK! I’m so horny I’d fuck Fred — what’s his name? The pink-faced one? He’s like, ugly hot, you know? Like, you hate yourself but that’s part of it. Omigod, shut up Anne you’re gonna marry Gilbert Fuckin’ Blythe but the rest of us gotta eat, too. Is Ruby Gillis’s brother around? Still? Because I would. You know I would.
Shhhh! Shhhh! Oh shit oh shit is that my mom. Oh shit, shut up. Anne! No, I’m down here behind the cupboard. Say I’m sick! Say you’re sick! Say I’m a pig because I’m on the floor and my tits are out! Hahahahah! No, no, no, okay, no. MAMA? HI, MAMA! I’M JUST LEAVING WITH ANNE! SHIRLEY! YOU KNOW, MY BOSOM BUDDY! YEP! BYE! Hahahahahah oh god Anne she knows. WE’RE GOING FOR A WALK AROUND THE FIELDS! BYEEEEE!
Close the door. Anne! The door! Oh my god oh god okay. Whoa, it’s cold. I feel way better. I feel good. I’m fine. Walking is fine. No, hold on to my arm! Ah! Isn’t this great? Two gals, our whole lives ahead of each other? Except, I guess, me, because I know this is impossible but I just have this feeling that, like, I’m not going to get old. Or, like, I’m not going to age. I know that’s ridiculous, but look at me! I’m so ALIVE! I’m so HUMAN! Anne! Anne! Look at that fence! Don’t you think sometimes that it’s so sad how we keep horses in FENCES? Like, they were made to run free. To walk around and, I don’t know, eat apples? Have their own lives? But I guess they want to stay with their horse families. We sold a horse once, but I was glad. He was really scary, like, big and had these teeth like an old-timey puppet. I guess the puppets maybe had horse teeth. I’ve never made a puppet. I bet Matthew would love to make you a puppet! You should ask him. What do you do with the teeth when you kill a horse? I’ve never seen a dead horse. Saw a really sick one, so you can kind of guess what’d it look like dead, but not a real dead one. Anne? Anne! Where are you? Oh my god, Anne, you can’t pee there! That’s Mama’s secondary garden!
Anne, can I just say and I know I’m being a little bit serious but let me just say — wow, I feel like Jane Andrews — No, I just mean because I’m being so SERIOUS! Can I just say I love you? So much! You’re the best thing that ever happened to—
Sorry, sorry, sorry. No, that cordial was probably bad or something. I normally don’t puke from sugar. I have a very strong sweet tooth — Hah! God, I wish I was thin. I mean! I don’t, because obviously my body is the ideal for this time and place, plus I’ve got this adorable mouth, and, yes, you’re right, this hair, but Anne. Seriously? Seriously. You are so pretty. I wish I looked like you. Seriously! I wish I—
No, I’m sorry. I’m done. I don’t need any water. I’ll just—
Seriously, this time I’m done. Absolutely. Phew.
It’s not big deal, really! I know you meant well. You know how much I love sugar, ha. No, of course I know you did it to be nice. What do I even know about calories, you know? At least you’re not a Pye. Those bitches bring me straight butter to eat and laugh while I do. They want me to get lumpy but I’ve got a corset so joke’s on them. Wow, yeah, anyway I should definitely get back inside. Mama’s gonna wonder what we went outside for. What did we go outside for? Okay, one question then we go back in.
What are Marilla’s tits like? Anne! I’m just curious! Because the pig thing! Come on! Don’t tell me you’ve never—
Honestly, that’s the last time. Honestly. I swear. The bottle was only like half full and I’ve definitely puked like three litres. Oh man. I love you. You’re the best. Seriously? Anne? YES, MAMA WE’RE OUT HERE! I’M COMING INSIDE IN A MINUTE! WE HAVE BLANKETS! WE’RE NOT COLD! You don’t have to show me your — WHOA, hahaha okay good! Because honestly I thought the little hairs were a me thing, but the pig has them too, so I was like… but no, normal! Oh god thank god I’m so glad. Okay. THANK YOU. I feel so much lighter! Probably the puking, yeah. Probably the puking. Okay, bye Anniekins, I love you, I loved your JUICE you brought! And your boobs. Your hairy boobs! Like a pig! Like me! God, I’m tired.
I wonder what a dead horse looks like.
by Roland Phillips (D.C.) @ Desert Dove – Holistic Chiropractor, Chandler, AZ
Thu Jul 11 16:13:51 PDT 2013
Today is a great day and I have the opportunity to show up as the BEST me ever! My life is a HUGE success! My beliefs create my reality I think BIG thoughts Relish small pleasures and handle all setbacks gracefully I am deeply grateful for all I create and receive My life is now […]
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Aug 04 15:14:00 PDT 2017
While kiddos are decorating their binders and notebooks with stickers this fall, men around the country are finding more controversial uses for tiny bits of adhesive. At least, that’s what Jiftip would have you believe. The company is encouraging men to buy little stickers and affix them to the tips of their penises, sealing off the hole to keep any and all the ejaculate inside.
Wait whaaaat, you might wonder. That’s not how penises work, you may say. I came up with that idea once, too, but I was supes faded and immediately realized that shutting off a natural exit channel for bodily fluids was a) ill-advised, and b) impossible, you’re probably thinking.
It seems like Jiftip’s founders agree, which makes the product they’re pushing—an alternative to condoms, they say—seem rather strange. Jiftip’s website claims that “nothing gets in or out until you remove” the barrier, but it also says users must pull out and take off the sticker before they feel like they’re going to climax. The site also says the pasties-for-penises, designed by the founders “as a desperate attempt to avoid using condoms,” are not to be used to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
Okay, so: The pros of using condoms are that they protect against most STIs, prevent pregnancy, and don’t make you pull out or complete a task before you ejaculate somewhere in mid-air. The main con is that condoms can feel weird. The pros of using a Jiftip are—what? That it looks like a tiny fidget spinner and keeps lint from accumulating in your penis hole? The cons, obviously, are that it doesn’t perform any of the intended functions of a condom, and you have to rip adhesive off your penis in the middle of sex.
There is so much misinformation on Jiftip’s site, a Jiftip user could create a dozen 8.5”-by-11” Jiftip sticker collage versions of “Starry Night” before I had time to address them all. Here’s one of the best bits: “Healthy skin is a virtually impenetrable natural germ barrier,” the brand’s FAQ reads. “If you trust it, isn’t wearing a raincoat double-wrapping?” Gaaaah! Healthy skin does not protect against STIs! Friction during sex causes tiny skin abrasions; skin is not virtually impenetrable. Condoms, it should not have to be said, exist for a reason.
Jiftip is counting on a fair number of curious, gullible dudes to drop $6 on a pack of the stickers just to see what’s what. (They are probably also counting on some incredulous articles like this one to boost visibility.) The brand’s response to skeptics is this: “WILL IT WORK? HOW CAN YOU KNOW? HOW CAN ANYONE KNOW—UNTIL THEY TRY?” But on Twitter, the proprietors behave like people who have no clue how to run a business. They’ve retweeted Jill Stein’s invitation to Edward Snowden to be a member of her cabinet and suggested that the global HIV rate isn’t declining because people don’t like condoms and choose not to use them. They also tweeted a link to a story about a Malawian man raping children, commenting that “some cultures are practicing stupid and giving their young daughters HIV.” Is this magical, utterly useless dick sticker supposed to combat child rape, too?
At least one anonymous “beta user” claims to love the product. Well, kind of. “My partner and I can't use condoms and the pill messed up my body, hair fell out,” Jiftip quotes. Here’s her pitch for the product itself: “@jiftip has no side-effects.” A ringing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one!
Dove has grown tremendously in an intensively competitive arena with established competitors largely through their brand building efforts. Learn more.
by Plaid Swan @ Plaid Swan
Mon Aug 14 09:00:05 PDT 2017
I hate when a sentence doesn’t end the way I think it octopus… I’m sorry, what was I saying? Distractions. They tend to happen, especially at work. There are only so many hours in the day for us to get our tasks done. Would you rather put in more work or work more efficiently? We’re […]
by Heather Deckard @ Blog - Cairn Guidance
Mon Jul 17 04:20:58 PDT 2017
By Heather Deckard
The theme of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Annual Conference in San Diego, CA June 30- July 1 this year was From Evidence to Action. It was a great experience to represent the Dove Self Esteem Project (DSEP) as an exhibitor to share a range of curriculum-relevant teaching resources, developed in collaboration with educators and students. The DSEP tools take evidence to action and are proven to make a positive impact in body-confidence.
The DSEP Teachers program Confident Me has been proven to:
· Improve body image
· Boost self-esteem
· Reduce social impairment (likelihood of opting out)
The DSEP lessons and materials were well received by school nurses from all over the US – many of whom shared they could use this project to augment their puberty lessons. Research shows that one in five high school students reported being bullied on school property.  We know that young people are bullied for a number of reasons, but appearance, including body shape, weight, and skin, are common. The school nurses we met with reported needing something on this topic for their middle school and high school students, as bullying, low self-esteem, and access to social media can impact student’s health and ability to learn. Those that do not teach were happy to pass the information onto their Health or Physical Education teachers.
The Evolution and Change One Thing films created by DSEP are engaging and impactful assets shared through the Confident Me! Toolkit, well-liked by educators and teachers, alike. Remember, the program is absolutely no cost! Find the programs here: www.dove.com/selfesteem
Cairn Guidance has partnered with the Dove Self-Esteem Project to reach young lives with self-esteem curriculum across the country.
 Diedrichs, P.C., Atkinson, M.J., Steer, R.J., Garbett, K.M., Rumsey, N. & Halliwell, E. (2015). Effectiveness of a brief school-based body image intervention ‘Dove Confident Me: Single Session’ when delivered by teachers and researchers: Results from a cluster randomised controlled trial. Behaviour Research & Therapy, 74, 94-104. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2015.09.004
Opening Remarks from This Year’s Annual Rosh Hashanah Satanic Conclave Hosted by the Global Zionist Cabal
by ANDREW PAUL @ McSweeney’s
Wed Sep 20 10:01:00 PDT 2017
Good morning and yom tov, fellow Jewish blood brethren! On behalf of all of us here on the Supreme Council, I’d like to welcome each and every one of you to 5778’s Annual Rosh Hashanah Satanic Conclave. It’s been quite the year for string-pulling, shadow financing — hell, just for general machinations overall — and I want to first thank you all for really putting in the extra work in kicking off what I think will be our greatest Western Cultural Purge to date. I mean this from the bottom of my heart: we couldn’t have done this without your tireless scheming.
In terms of public outreach, I think our Hate Crime Hoax Unit did a particularly bang-up job. According to the forged data they supplied to the media and other outlets, anti-Semitic “occurrences” have soared across the board. In New York City, we convinced the NYPD of a 110% increase in reported incidents within the first two months of the gentiles’ 2017 alone! Great work, guys. This has done a fantastic job of really throwing the general public off our trail while we further our conquest of American society. I hear that many of them actually think this is some of the highest levels of anti-Jewish sentiment since before 1933’s Great Hoax! Incredible work.
On a bigger level, the Shadow Government really knocked it out of the park with this sham White House administration. I know a lot of you raised an eyebrow when we chose people like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, but I want to shine a spotlight on them there at the back table. Steve, Sebastian — please take a stand. No, no, you earned it. These two mole operatives spent years supposedly advancing white identitarian ideals and nationalist jingoism to the forefront of America’s dialogue, further ensuring that the goyim are distracted with bigoted fervor while the Shadow Government puts the finishing touches on replacing all of Congress with our recently-acquired shapeshifting reptilian slave army. I know of few people more devoted to the cause of Jewish domination — Gorka even spent time with an obscure Hungarian Nazi-sympathizing political party, going so far as to walk around wearing one of their medals! That’s method acting that some of our Hollywood brothers and sisters still struggle to achieve. Great job, you two. You’ve more than earned your condos on our Moon Base.
As for social media infiltration, well, I think that speaks for itself. While everyone is in a titter about Acolyte Mark Zuckerberg potentially running for “President,” Facebook’s ad targeting has allowed us to "market specifically to “Jew Haters.” Our enemy database is now that much more thorough in time for the Reckoning. Also, I’d be remiss in not admitting that PewDiePie’s success has gone far beyond what I thought possible. I know I was initially on the fence about employing an Aryan traitor as YouTube’s biggest star, but man, did he pull out all the stops with those Nazi jokes. On top of that, those subtle jabs at our Media Division by saying that we were “out to get him?” Genius, pure and simple. He’ll be spared sacrifice at the Reckoning, for sure. Goes to show that even the Chief Elder Rabbi is wrong sometimes!
I know that sometimes, at first glance, these all might not seem like the most straightforward approaches to overthrowing capitalism. Heck, some of our choices might sound plain counter-intuitive, bordering on nonsensical. But that, my brothers and sisters, is the key to our success after all these generations. Dizzying plots and logistically inconceivable feats of conniving are our matzoh and butter, people! And, if I may be so bold, I predict that 5778 will be the year it all falls into place for us. Now, let’s top off our goblets of Christian babies’ blood and raise a toast to this past year and all its successes. Praised be to Mammon!
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Jul 21 14:01:31 PDT 2017
R. Kelly’s alleged sexual misdeeds have been in the public record for decades. Half his lifetime ago, in 1994, he married his then-15-year-old protégée Aaliyah with a falsified legal document. At the turn of the millennium, thanks to the reporting of Jim DeRogatis and Abdon M. Pallasch at the Chicago Sun-Times, the world learned that Kelly had paid several settlements to the families of underage girls he’d allegedly raped. Soon after came the actual videotape of a man who looked like Kelly engaged in sexual activity with a girl whom witnesses identified as his then-14-year-old goddaughter. He was later acquitted of charges that he’d produced that piece of child pornography.
In the years that followed, Kelly had no trouble getting gigs. He made albums, toured arenas and stadia, and made fluffy appearances on late-night shows. After BuzzFeed published new allegations against the singer this week from parents and former lovers who say he sexually manipulates and essentially brainwashes teen girls with promises of music stardom, the site asked the publicists of 43 former Kelly collaborators if their clients would ever work with him again. After giving the stars’ representatives “at least 24 hours to respond,” very few had gotten back to the site. Those who did either said they had no comment or couldn’t reach their clients for comment.
As the Outline rightly pointed out in a post yesterday, it’s hard to draw any conclusions from this seemingly clever conceit. Celebrities rarely comment on anything, especially in a relatively short period of time on an extremely touchy issue that doesn’t directly concern them. They would have nothing to gain from staking out any definitive ground on R. Kelly, even if they fully intend to never work with him again. Some of the stars on BuzzFeed’s list hadn’t worked with Kelly in many years: Celine Dion made one song with him in 1998, for example, and Keri Hilson’s Kelly collaboration dropped in 2009.
Still, the vast majority of the artists on the list worked with Kelly after all-but-irrefutable evidence of his pattern of preying on young girls became public. They knew that dozens of people had accused him of child rape, and they worked with him anyway. Their participation in his career both elevated and sanitized his public profile, showing music fans that if Mary J. Blige, Nas, Chance the Rapper, and Pharrell (the Happy guy!) were cool with Kelly, we should probably be cool with him, too. Worse, every collaboration with Kelly helped funneled money into the bank account of a man who has allegedly continued his abuse for at least 26 years and shows no signs of stopping.
We should have raised a stink about artists who collaborate with Kelly a long time ago; some of us, including journalists like DeRogatis and Jamilah Lemieux, have. But news cycles cycle on, outrage dims, and momentum stalls. Each new allegation or reentry of an old one into public discourse offers music consumers another opportunity to ask artists why they participated in the music industry’s cover-up for Kelly and why they haven’t, as a booster of his career, condemned his actions. There is no statute of limitations on the crime of enriching an alleged child rapist. By coming out against him late in the game, these artists still have an opportunity to publicize his pattern of victimization and get their fans to support an industry boycott of his work.
Celebrities already use their public platforms for advocacy against sexual predators all the time. Lady Gaga, who’s spoken publicly about being sexually assaulted when she was 19 by a man 20 years her senior, made an earnest, graphic music video about sexual assault for her song “Til It Happens to You” in 2015, depicting survivors with messages like “BELIEVE ME” scrawled on their bodies. She invited 50 survivors of sexual assault onstage with her to perform the song at last year’s Oscars. Of her friend Kesha, who accused producer Dr. Luke of years of emotional and sexual abuse, Gaga has said, “I feel like she’s being very publicly shamed for something that happens in the music industry all the time, to women and men. I just want to stand by her side because I can’t watch another woman that went through what I’ve been through suffer.”
Yet Gaga made “Do What U Want” with Kelly in 2013, mimed fellatio with him onstage at the American Music Awards, then pulled the already-taped video for the song due to growing allegations against Kelly and director Terry Richardson. (Yes, Gaga made a video with two alleged sexual abusers for a song that advises the listener to “do what you want with my body.”) Gaga blamed her team and her tight schedule for a video she says she didn’t like and didn’t want to release, but other sources claimed that Gaga thought the highly sexual video wouldn’t play well after DeRogatis’ reporting on Kelly resurfaced in December 2013 and reports of Richardson’s alleged harassment came out in early 2014. Instead of addressing the allegations against Richardson and Kelly and taking an ethical stance, Gaga spun her scrapping of the video as a move of artistic self-editing.
In other industries, we expect major players to defend or end their personal and financial connections to bad actors almost as a matter of policy. Dozens of companies pulled their ads from Bill O’Reilly’s show after the New York Times revealed that Fox News had paid $13 million to settle five separate sexual harassment claims against him. Lately, when women come out with stories of discrimination and harassment in the tech industry, big names in the field are pressed to speak up, even if they’re not directly involved. (Venture capitalist Chris Sacca recently bragged about doing just that—tweeting support for Ellen Pao after she lost her discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins—in a post about his own role in Silicon Valley’s mistreatment of women.) But in the entertainment industry, with a few major exceptions like the singular case of Bill Cosby, celebrities are usually forgiven their connections to abusers, even as they help those abusers appear harmless and amass wealth.
The recent example of Kesha and Dr. Luke provides useful contrast to the nonreaction of music stars to Kelly’s documented history of sexually manipulating teen girls. Taylor Swift publicly donated $250,000 to Kesha for her legal battle against her alleged abuser, a well-known pop producer. Miley Cyrus and Kelly Clarkson, both of whom had worked with Dr. Luke in the past, also came out with public statements to put themselves on Kesha’s side. Adele, the biggest recording artist on Sony, which owned the Dr. Luke’s Kesha-producing label, made a statement in support of Kesha while accepting a BRIT award last year. Sony happens to be R. Kelly’s label, too, but Adele isn’t saying a peep about him. His alleged victims are far more numerous than Dr. Luke’s, as far as the general public knows, but they aren’t famous and, crucially, it seems most of them aren’t white. In a Colorlines piece published this week, Lemieux writes that Kelly’s continued career success is indicative of “the idea that black men are more in need of protection than black women.” Research has shown, she continues, that “black girls are widely perceived as being older or more mature than they actually are, which helps to explain the number of people who don’t see teenage girls who have sexual relationships with men like Kelly as victims, even when they are legally unable to consent.” The women who’ve charged Kelly with rape, assault, and abuse have to watch their alleged assailant make millions off his music because his colleagues have kept mum and recorded with him in spite of his history.
Pushing for Kelly’s former collaborators to renounce him works in two ways: First, it pressures individual artists to stop enriching him and supporting his public profile. It also sends a clear message to unaffiliated observers that the swell of public opinion is falling against Kelly, and they’d be better off not booking him in their arena, hosting him on their talk shows, or inviting him to do a guest spot on a new track. True, it would be sad if DeRogatis’ most recent revelations in BuzzFeed (nearly the only allegations of abuse against Kelly that involve women above the age of consent) were the thing that finally convinced Kelly’s one-time associates to speak out against him. But you know what they say about apologizing for lining the pockets of alleged child rapists—better do it late than never. When some next set of accusations lands on Kelly, as it almost certainly will, Gaga the survivor’s advocate will be glad she did.
by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Thu Jul 20 10:09:38 PDT 2017
Mindy Kaling is pregnant! The respectful response to this morsel of information is: “Congratulations, actress and author who has already given me much joy and owes me nothing.” The less respectful but more realistic response is, “Ooh, who’s the father?” And herein lies a quandary for self-respecting gossip consumers and producers: Kaling isn’t telling.
In theory, this seems like a potentially satisfying way to thwart the media’s sick obsession with the contents of famous uteri. A source told People that Kaling isn’t even sharing with her close friends who the father is, and also that she is not currently dating anyone. When E! News broke the story of her pregnancy earlier this week, it quoted an “insider” who simply called it “an unexpected surprise.” There’s the ambiguous fact that Kaling has said in the past, “I think I’ve decided that unlike everything else in my life, I’m going to be fast and loose about kids.” We just don’t know, in other words, and it’s perfectly possible that we will never will. How, then, will the media handle this dangling mystery? Is there a chance celebrity news outlets might treat Kaling’s decision to withhold paternity info as the privacy-protecting measure she surely intends it to be, rather than a thrilling whodunit to be collectively solved? Of course not. As it happens, we have a prime recent example of the way this dynamic plays out in the press: the pregnancy of January Jones.
Jones, best known for playing Betty Draper in Mad Men, gave birth to a son named Xander in 2011. Almost immediately after the pregnancy became public, the gossip press began speculating openly about the identity of the child’s father, which Jones had notably not offered. Suspects included Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Piven, director Matthew Vaughn, and chef Bobby Flay, with whom she was rumored to have had an affair while he was married to actress Stephanie March. “The mystery of who fathered January Jones’ unborn child seems like a case tough enough for Maury Povich,” the New York Daily News trumpeted. Quoting from an interview in which Jones joked that she wished she had “something weird to tell” about her healthy, happy pregnancy, the paper concluded: “How about we start with the name of the father first?”
The Daily News was far from alone in treating the identity of Xander’s father as an exhilarating communal cliffhanger. ABC News produced a slideshow titled “Top 5 Prime Suspects for January Jones’ Baby Daddy.” The Los Angeles Times’ gossip blog called her “classy” under a headline touting “7 baby-daddy conspiracy theories” regarding her “virgin birth.” Fox News: “Ashton Kutcher, January Jones Mum on Rumors He Is Father of Her Infant Child.” TMZ published a scan of the child’s birth certificate, with the space for his father a blank, or as the website put it, “a big, fat BLANK SPOT.”
Jones has resolutely maintained her silence on the question as the years have passed, which only makes the press’s half-decade of tireless prying even more dispiriting. In 2013, she gave a circumspect interview to a fashion publication. ”It’s just not something the public needs to know,” she said. “I don’t divulge my sexual preferences. There are parts of your life—no matter what your job—that should remain private.” US Weekly turned that into the headline “January Jones Talks About Xander’s Father, Her Sexual Preference.”
None of this is surprising, of course, but it still feels like a bleak harbinger for Kaling’s next nine months. The news of her pregnancy is more than just a ray of sunshine in a dark time; it is also a chance for a media do-over. The actress is, presumably, only a few months pregnant. Gossip purveyors and enjoyers have almost a year of pregnancy news to come, followed by a birth announcement, and then years of childhood. Sure, Google already auto-completes “Mindy Kaling” with “husband,” “father,” “baby father,” and “baby daddy.” But we could choose not to speculate wildly about affairs and flings! We could acknowledge that real life doesn’t often resemble the rom-com sitcoms that Kaling herself is so adept at producing. At least until the first slideshows of baby pictures mashed-up with photos of B.J. Novak.
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What Do Rick Ross and Mike Pence Have in Common? An Inability to Platonically Interact With Distracting Women
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Thu Jul 27 10:34:52 PDT 2017
Noted gentleman Rick Ross appeared on a New York radio show Monday morning to promote his new VH1 reality series Signed. In the series, he and two other hip-hop moguls will audition and develop aspiring artists, who will get the chance to sign with one of the three big dogs’ record labels.
“When I’m looking for an artist, I’m really just looking for something I’ve never seen, first and foremost,” Ross told the Breakfast Club radio hosts on Monday. “If it’s something that’s unique, I feel that’s something that’s in demand. After that, I want to see that hunger.”
But what if that unique, in-demand, hungry young artist is a woman? As Breakfast Club host Angela Yee pointed out, Ross’s Maybach Music Group label has no female artists on its current roster and has only ever signed one, singer-songwriter Teedra Moses. Ross shared his well-thought-out reasoning with Yee. “You know, I never did it because I always thought I would end up fucking the female rapper and fucking the business up,” he said.
“That’s awful,” Yee replied.
“I’m so focused on my business. I got to be honest with you,” Ross went on. “You know, she looking good. I’m spending so much money on her photo shoots. I got to fuck her couple times.”
What a conscientious businessman! If you cannot interact with women without having sex with them and losing your focus on moneymaking, the responsible thing to do, Ross says, is avoid contact with women in the first place.
It is exhausting to imagine the life of a man who sees every female colleague and industry contemporary as a predestined sex partner. How do you have any time for artist development, business strategy, and radio-show appearances if you’re constantly having sex, scheming about how to have sex, or being distracted by people who, because they are women, remind you of sex? How do you sit through dinner with a buddy and his sister? How do you handle meetings with female marketing executives and record distribution heads while maintaining a constant erection? How much does your life suck because you can’t have any female friends?
Those are questions many posed to Vice President Mike Pence earlier this year, when it came out that the guy refuses to break bread alone with any women who aren’t his wife. The famously chaste ‘n’ Catholic Pence initially comes off as the anti-Ross: The rapper’s promiscuity is as much a hallmark of his brand as the vice president’s condemnation of almost every type of sexual contact is a hallmark of his. One thinks you should almost never have sex, the other thinks yachtloads of sex is the way life was meant to be lived.
But these two men are a lot alike. Ross has women call him “Daddy”; Pence calls his wife “Mother.” Both are gatekeepers at the top of their respective industries. And both use their warped, semi-Biblical views of women as inevitable temptresses to keep non-men out of their inner circles. To Pence, all women—no matter how random or disinterested—represent potential detriment to his marriage. To Ross, they are poison to his business. Women already face significant structural barriers to advancement in politics and the music industry. Men like Ross and Pence, who explicitly limit their contact with women, codify sexist notions of women as sex objects who divert attention from the important work at hand. (See also: dress codes that force underage girls into bulkier clothing because their bodies are burdensome distractions for innocent, hardworking boys.)
Ross continued his Monday interview by asking Yee several times to reveal her legs to him, implying that he would have to have sex with her if she signed with his label, telling her he wants to see her twerk at an upcoming pool party, and posing for a photo while grabbing her hair and pretending to lick her face. If his goal was to keep distracting women out of the music industry—or broadcast journalism, for that matter—Ross can count this interview as a major win.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Aug 04 14:19:46 PDT 2017
Much has been made of the gender imbalance in the U.S. Congress, where just 21 percent of senators and 19.3 percent of representatives are women. But the country’s record for governors is even worse: Only six women currently hold their states’ top executive office, and the most female governors the U.S. has ever had at one time is nine.
That gives the current slate of female gubernatorial candidates a decent chance of making history. If she wins her 2018 campaign, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic minority leader of the Georgia General Assembly, would be the state’s first female governor. She would also be the state Democratic Party’s first female gubernatorial candidate and the country’s first black female governor.
Then there are the Republicans. Three women are currently competing with two men for the GOP nomination in the governor’s race in Tennessee, which has had neither a female governor nor a female gubernatorial nominee from a major party. All three of the female candidates have been hardworking opponents of reproductive rights. Beth Harwell has taken up the cause of several abortion restrictions as the speaker of the state’s House of Representatives, including mandatory waiting periods and mandatory pre-abortion counseling. Mae Beavers, a state senator, was the primary sponsor behind a mandatory ultrasound bill and a ban on abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Rep. Diane Black was the latest to enter the Tennessee race this week with a video seemingly crafted to counter the perception of women as too wishy-washy or fragile to properly hold executive leadership offices. In her video, Black uses metaphors of war and violence to describe just how not-fragile she is. She blasts “weak-kneed” members of her own party, claims most politicians are “too meek, or maybe even too weak” to “fight for the right things,” and promises to focus on “beating the liberals instead of caving into them.” “In Tennessee, we’re conservative, and we do things the right way, no matter what Hollywood or Washington thinks about it,” she says in the clip. “We believe in absolute truths: Right is right, wrong is wrong, truth is truth, God is God, and a life is a life.”
Black loves lives-that-are-lives so much, she has made disrupting women’s health care one of her primary goals in Congress. On her website, “Defunding Planned Parenthood” has its own page, in addition to and separate from the page titled “Pro-Life,” which shows the Congresswoman cuddling an infant. She accuses Planned Parenthood of being part of “the big abortion industry’s trafficking of baby body parts for profit.” In 2015 and 2016, she was an active member of the House’s investigative panel formed in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that claimed to show fetal tissue trafficking. (They did not, and the producers were later indicted for identity theft and charged with several felonies.) Black has also introduced bills to prevent Planned Parenthood from getting federal family-planning grants and getting reimbursed for services provided to Medicaid patients.
In South Carolina, an equally hardcore right-wing woman is running for governor. Catherine Templeton, who headed up a couple of state agencies under Gov. Nikki Haley, gave a few alarming answers to questions posed at a GOP town hall this week, one of her first major events since announcing her candidacy in the spring. She promised to stand in the way of any efforts to remove monuments of Confederate soldiers, saying she was proud of the Confederacy and doesn’t “care whose feelings it hurts.” Of transgender soldiers serving in the military, Templeton said “If you sign up and join as a man, you serve as a man. If you join as a woman, you serve as a woman,” and, likewise, “If you’re a boy, you go to the boys room. If you’re a girl, you go to the little girls’ room.” And, she added, “if you’re a pervert, we throw you in jail and throw away the keys.” She didn’t clarify what she meant by “pervert.”
The moderator also asked Templeton about abortion rights in the state. “Until we can overturn Roe v. Wade, the best we can do is restrict it as much as possible,” he said. “How far can we take those restrictions? What’s the next step to make it—to protect life?”
Templeton responded with a story about carrying her now-middle-school-aged twins, boasting that she never considered aborting one of the fetuses, even when she developed “a life-threatening illness brought on by pregnancy.” She is “the only girl running” for governor in South Carolina, she said, so the question is “personal” for her. “You’re not going to find anybody that’s more pro-life than I am,” Templeton went on, explaining that she only supports exceptions in cases of incest and a threat to the life of the pregnant woman. One audience member asked Templeton to reassess her support of the incest exception, because a fetus conceived in incest “doesn’t deserve to be killed just because of the sin of the parents.” Templeton nodded. “And that’s why I’m not for the rape exception,” she said. “We agree.”
The same audience member asked the candidate about “homosexuality and transgenders,” claiming that “God says it’s wrong and it should be wrong in the law.” Templeton didn’t challenge the attendee’s assessment of the “sin” of LGBTQ people, but again invoked her love of her children, as if queer and trans South Carolinians pose a threat to their well-being.
Templeton, Black, and their kin aside, there are plenty of worthy female candidates running for governor in 2018. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, a former Michigan state Senate leader with a history of reproductive-rights activism, has broken fundraising records in her gubernatorial campaign. In May, she’d attracted about three times the number of donors as her Democratic competitor, though he’s since been closing the gap. Kate Brown, who in 2016 won a special two-year term as Oregon’s governor, was as the country’s first openly-LGBTQ person to win a gubernatorial election. (She’s bisexual.) And gender-equity advocates can celebrate the 16,000 women who’ve asked EMILY’s List about running for office since the election. The Democratic Party itself may be cool with funneling money toward politicians who vow to curb abortion rights, but EMILY’s List only supports female candidates who are pro-choice.
Update, August 7, 2017: This post has been amended with updated fundraising information on the Michigan governor’s race.
A Textbook Now Features Brock Turner’s Crime As the Literal Definition of “Rape.” There’s One Key Problem With That.
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Wed Sep 13 15:08:00 PDT 2017
Brock Turner earned national fame last summer not for his sexual assault of a passed-out woman behind a dumpster, but for his punishment: six months in county jail, of which he only served three. The internet’s consensus, after reading the victim’s viral statement on BuzzFeed, was that it was far too short a stint for a crime that carried a possible sentence of 14 years in prison.
But, though he left jail just over a year ago, Turner’s consequences are far from over. HuffPost reported on Wednesday that the former Stanford swimmer’s mugshot appears next to a section titled “Rape” in the second edition of Introduction to Criminal Justice: Systems, Diversity, and Change, a book used in college-level criminal justice courses. It sounds like a snarky insult come to life: “Your photo should be in the encyclopedia under ‘rapist!’ ” The crime Turner’s father famously characterized as “20 minutes of action” is now immortalized as the literal textbook definition of rape.
This should please those who chastised media outlets that didn’t out-and-out label Turner a “rapist” in coverage of his sentencing. But there was a good reason for careful language in his case: Turner wasn’t convicted of rape. He was convicted of three felonies: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated person, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. In California, a charge of rape requires forcible sexual intercourse, which Turner did not commit.
Putting Turner’s photo next to the heading “Rape,” then, is more than a little misleading in an introductory textbook that should help students differentiate between crimes that are similar but not identical. The description under the heading also identifies the photo as “rapist Brock Turner”—an inaccurate characterization of Turner’s crimes. Under the FBI definition of rape proffered in the book, the crime does include penetration with a foreign object. But under the penal code of California, where Turner was charged, his crime was not rape, and he is not a “rapist.” It wasn’t the particulars of his assault that made him a newsworthy sexual assailant. It was the response to the crime, both from the judge in his case and from the general public.
But to its credit, the textbook does seem to want to present Turner as a case study through which to examine the subjectivity of the justice system. “Some are shocked at how short [Turner’s] sentence is,” the book reads. “Others who are more familiar with the way sexual violence has been handled in the criminal justice system are shocked that he was found guilty and served time at all. What do you think?”
With her heartwrenching statement, the victim in Turner’s case changed the way many people viewed sexual assault. She opened the door for difficult discussions about theories of fair sentencing, including the idea that a permanent spot on a sex offender registry is too harsh a punishment for Turner, or for anyone else—theories that students should absolutely dissect in criminal justice classrooms. If Turner hadn’t become one of most famous noncelebrity sexual assailants of all time, for better or worse, the textbook authors might have chosen another lesser-known figure to illustrate the topic or left the concept in the realm of theory. With the public discourse Turner’s victim began, at least the authors were able to use a familiar case to bring a vivid urgency to both a terrible crime and our inadequate system for punishing it.
Ever casually call yourself or someone else something negative? You're not alone — women across the country and world constantly take to social media to
by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor
Fri Sep 22 15:32:28 PDT 2017
When Alabamians go to the polls next fall, they may have more than one extreme anti-choice man to vote for. They are Sam McLure, a nutso adoption lawyer seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general, and fellow Republican Roy Moore, who is currently leading in the polls and wants to unseat Luther Strange, the Trump-backed U.S. Senator appointed to fill Jeff Sessions’ seat.
McLure, a Macklemore-looking dude with a dimpled chin, lists four main issues of concern on his campaign website. The first is “Prosecute Abortionists Who Profit from Killing Children.” The man does not mince words! Rewire has done some excellent reporting on McLure’s history as an anti-abortion activist: He claims to engage in regular “sidewalk counseling” outside abortion clinics, though the director of one of the spaces he claims to harass told Rewire that he’s a “brand new” addition to the crowds outside, just there “to get his name out there because nobody knows who he is.”
The Facebook Live video is McLure’s preferred messaging method. One from the beginning of August is titled “Babies are Murdered Here”; in it, McLure stands in front of pro-choice demonstrators holding a printed-out photo of a doctor who provides abortion care. “This woman…profits from deceiving parents into killing their children,” he says. Another video from September finds McLure pointing at abortion clinics, saying “I want to eradicate places like this.” McLure has posted links on his social media pages to one doctor’s personal information, including photos of what is allegedly her car and license plate, challenging anyone to give him one good reason why he shouldn’t prosecute her for murder. In a September 8 video, McLure says that although “it’s not nice” to dox abortion providers, “it’s not nice to kill babies” either. His repeated posts on abortion have prompted one Facebook commenter to wonder, “does he have any stances on other issues?”
McLure has argued in interviews and Facebook videos that, as attorney general, he could “eradicate legal abortion” by making life “hell on earth” for abortion providers and bringing homicide charges against them. He has proposed removing the abortion exception from the “fetal homicide” section of the Alabama penal code and establishing a state militia to defend any state official who might otherwise be jailed for disobeying federal court orders that protected abortion rights.
“A well-regulated militia is necessary for the protection of a free state,” McLure said at a summer gathering for the Alabama Constitution Party, according to Rewire. “Where is Alabama’s militia? If the governor or attorney general of our state defied the federal government and said ‘We’re going to protect babies from murder,’ and some federal law enforcement officer tried to drag our governor into a federal jail, who will protect our governor?” McLure reiterated that stance to Rewire, calling himself “a proponent of the idea that the states need to exert their sovereignty [and] ignore Roe v. Wade.”
Alabama’s got at least one other political candidate who advocates for ignoring federal laws establishing basic rights. Moore, who joined McLure in a 2012 attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that shot down Oklahoma’s proposed constitutional amendment on “personhood,” was twice kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court—once because he refused to abide the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of marriage equality.
On Thursday, in a debate against Sen. Luther Strange, Moore enumerated several evils that are plaguing America. “Abortion, sodomy, [and] sexual perversion” are hobbling the nation, Moore, said, in addition to a few other combinations of right-wing buzzwords, like “transgender troops in our bathrooms.” The militant wing of the anti-abortion movement loves this candidate’s commitment to the cause. Matt Trewhella, who once did jail time for blocking the driveway of a doctor who provided abortion care, is listed on Moore’s campaign website as a prominent endorser. In the ‘90s, Trewhella and several other activists signed a statement asserting that “lethal force” is “justifiable” to protect “the lives of unborn children”—in other words, that murdering an abortion provider is an ethical act. Between the company Moore keeps and his proven record of flouting federal law as a justice, it’s not hard to imagine the kind of absurd anti-woman (and, of course, anti-sodomy) shenanigans he’d get into in the Senate.
PRINCETON, NJ -- If companies ever wonder whether their next big marketing campaign will be a hit or miss, they should just consult social media.Dove is no different. The brand has just launched their new 'Real Beauty Bottles,' where they've matched your body type with a kind of body wash.In social media fashion, people have come clean about it-- turning it into a hilarious soap opera!
by KATE VILLA @ McSweeney’s
Mon Sep 18 10:00:00 PDT 2017
Find a relaxing place
Whatever that means to you
A chair or pillow or snowbank will do
Begin to breathe
Think about Target
And how great Target is
Did you know that your great state is the home of Target?
Whatever that means to you
Take that in
Have you ever pronounced it Tar-jhay?
Let your body melt into the snowbank you’ve chosen
Breathe in through your nose
Take in the air that’s coming off all those lakes
How many lakes are there?
Begin to count
Stop when you get to 10,000
Because that’s how many there are
Open your eyes slowly
Find a place that is warm and comfortable
Probably in your car
Just find your car
Did you park it on Montana?
You definitely parked it on Arizona.
Have you ever been to Arizona?
Let your muscles go
Drive Sit on the 405
Drive Sit on the 405
Drive Sit on the 405
You’re out of new podcasts
How does that happen
How many hours have you spent in your car this week?
Maybe you should take Wilshire
That was a mistake
Who is going to Beverly Hills at 4 pm on a Tuesday?
Clear your mind
You’ve seen the inside of the Universal lot more times this month
Than you’ve seen your mother
Soften your fingers
Soften your palms
Forget about your dog
He pooped on the floor
But you have a view of the valley
And a personal assistant job
You are paid hourly to pick up someone’s
You asked for this
Open your eyes slowly
Maybe you should go to law school?
Find a comfortable spot
Soften your muscles
Light up a joint
Breathe out in rings if you can
You are not high
You are getting high
You are almost high enough
You are high
Shit a little too high
Finish your hike
Plan tomorrow’s hike
Take off your VR headset and close your eyes
Settle into your ergonomic desk chair
Make sure your feet are flat on the floor in your Vans
Let your body relax
Take your hands off the keyboard
Breathe in through your nose
Breathe out through your mouth
take your hands off the keyboard
Let your muscles go
from the tip of your head all the way down to your toes
Hands off the keyboard
I’m going to unplug it if you can’t keep them off
I know it’s wireless
I was testing you
drain the stress from your fingertips
Make 1 million dollars
Open your eyes slowly
Flutter your eyes closed
Begin by getting into a comfortable place
Like June or July
Let the very small tide of Lake Michigan wash over you
Feel how cold the water is
Don’t fish in it
Palms to heart-center
Feel that Italian beef coming back up
Never mind it’s just a burp
Let it out
Figure out where you’re having brunch
The Cubs won the world series
The Cubs won the world series
The cubs won the world series
Whatever that means to you
Think about how many times you posted about the Cubs on social media this year
Open your eyes slowly
Flutter your eyes closed
Listen to the waves
You can’t sleep
Take in the rain as it hits the roof
Let it calm you
Slow your breathing
Your son hands you the phone
It’s a radio show
They know about your wife’s death
Give in to the sensation
Talk about your perfect match
Your son is ruining your life
But also helping?
You get fan-mail
Is Meg Ryan out there?
Wait for Meg Ryan to fly across the country
Because she will
Surprise you on a highway
Empire state building
Amicable fiancé break up
You are Tom Hanks
You have always been Tom Hanks
Open your eyes slowly
Where is Chet?
Begin your meditation by thinking about a small, backroom bar that you’ve played your miniature guitar in recently
Breathe in the smoke
Take a sip of a free beer
Remember, you get free beers because you play music
You also get away with wearing fedoras
Now imagine you’re at a brunch place
Sit there for three hours
Remember to be gentle to your body
Have another bloody mary with bacon and shrimp on it
Listen to the sounds of coffee brewing
Notice a new sound
It’s 19-year-old girl who dropped out of college to sing at the Planet Hollywood next door
Do you remember that whiskey bar next door to that all-glass pop-up creative agency?
Take a sip of whiskey
Running down your throat
A little gets on your tweed vest
Ask the mustached man next to you for his pocket square
Breathe in the polka dots
Let your body relax
What exactly is a creative agency?
Open your eyes slowly
Fluttah yah eyes closed
In ya cawfee
Remembah how wicked sweet Havahd yahd is
Entah a dahk pahty
Eat some chowda
Cheeah on the Red Sahx
Open your eyes slowly
Recite: “Charlie on the MTA”
Check in with your body
Pass the Japanese embassy
Where are you today?
Somewhere on a rooftop with twinkle lights
Sipping recently distilled whiskey
Soften your shoulders
Let go of the tension
In your arms
What used to be on this corner?
A middle-class immigrant family’s home
With a hair salon below it
Now it’s a Whole Foods
Buy some kale
Because you’ll probably use it soon
It’ll go bad
In your fridge
Pass the vice president’s house
Bring yourself back
To your breath
Soften your gaze
Pass the National Cathedral
Is there a good wood-fired pizza place close?
Pass the Washington monument
Begin to move your toes slowly
Feel the power
Of old white men
You have never seen the inside of the capitol
Open your eyes slowly
Buy artisanal goat cheese from what used to be
A crack den
Find a comfortable place
Somewhere you can de-stress
Don’t go to midtown
I’m not kidding
Check in with your body
Do you have everything you need for the day?
Spend 5 minutes trying to swipe your metro card because you’ve started this now
Swipe again, I guess
Take the A to the 1 and transfer at Columbus circle
Unless the B is running
Then just take the B
You could also transfer to the F or even take the L across
But then you would have to walk
But it would be faster
Just Be in your body
Now you’re in Times Square
Being humped by the man in the Elmo costume
Relax into your breath
Feel the tips of your fingers
Feel the pavement under your feet as you walk
End up in a Chinese restaurant
Eat your fill
Realize it has a C rating
Vomit into a trash can
Breathe in through your nose
Breathe out through your mouth
Relieve yourself on the sidewalk
Open your eyes slowly
Burn a 20 dollar bill
Breathe in through your nose
Soften your hands
Soften your eye lids
Breathe out through your mouth
You flew to the wrong Portland
Open your eyes slowly
Call your fiancé because you’re not making it to Oregon for your wedding tomorrow
by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor
Thu Jul 13 11:45:32 PDT 2017
Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared in a twin-engine plane 80 years ago this month. Since then, seemingly every piece of flotsam and jetsam in the South Pacific has been analyzed for connections to the fatal flight: bone fragments, sheets of aluminum, “ointment pots,” and scents perceptible only to dogs. In 2011, researchers announced they would harvest the aviator’s dried saliva from envelopes and use the DNA to test future bone discoveries. One of that project’s funders, meanwhile, was the grandson of the author of Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved, a book based on “long-lost radio messages from Earhart’s final flight.” In other words, Earhart speculation has been around long enough to become a multigenerational hobby.
This past Sunday, the History Channel aired a documentary that trumpets yet another new piece of evidence: a blurry black-and-white photograph that purportedly shows Earhart and Noonan milling around on a dock in the Marshall Islands. A retired U.S. Treasury agent named Les Kinney found the photograph in a “formerly top secret” file in the National Archives in 2012. Believers say the photograph proves the theory that Earhart and Noonan were not killed in a crash, but instead were captured by the Japanese, who controlled many islands in the area at the time of their flight. “When you see the analysis that’s been done, I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers that that’s Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan,” said Shawn Henry, a former assistant director for the FBI who hosted the History Channel special.
Unfortunately, the History Channel’s analysis now seems to be crumbling under 30 minutes of internet research by one military history buff. Kota Yamano, a Tokyo-based blogger, found the same photograph printed in a Japanese-language travelogue published in 1935, almost two years before Earhart and Noonan disappeared. The caption underneath the photo says nothing about the identities of the people in the photograph, which apparently depicts a regular old harbor, rather than a harbor and two missing celebrities.
Yamano told the Guardian that he had never believed the theory that Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese, so he decided to look for more information on his own. He did an online search of Japan’s national library for images of the Jaluit atoll between 1930 and 1940, and voila: The “lost” Earhart photo was the 10th search result. Clearly the History Channel learned nothing from Catfish: When confronted with a photo of a woman who seems too good to be true, always do a reverse image search.
by WEN POWERS @ McSweeney’s
Fri Sep 15 10:00:00 PDT 2017
Walking down any average street in America, one can find themselves surrounded by extremists on both sides of the aisle. Whether they be the right-wing Nazis that have murdered a young woman in the streets, or the left-wing antifa who have broken SEVERAL windows, America is calling out for sanity. Sanity that can only be found in our new far-center political movement.
We’ve managed to look at the views of both the extreme right and the extreme left, and have come up with middle grounds that we truly believe will bring this country right where it belongs, right in the center with no chance of rocking the boat. Imagine, solutions that don’t just cater to the far ends of the political spectrum, but rather, fixes that leave each and every single American the exact same amount of unhappy.
The statues of confederate generals that have sparked so many protests these past few weeks? On the left, you have people saying that these statues are racist, and to see these men idolized makes them feel alienated in their own communities. On the right, you have people saying that this is their heritage and that removing these statues would be taking away a proud part of their identities.
How about we take them down, but once a month every minority in the south receives a post card that says, “your neighbors are proud that their ancestors were slave owners”? Does that sound awful to you no matter where your allegiances lie? Perfect! That’s the centrism at work!
Maybe the issue that vexes you is Trump’s ban on transgender soldiers serving in the American Military? Republicans would say that the amount that the U.S spends on treatments is too great and that their presence would be a distraction to other soldiers. Democrats argue that the cost is minimal and any distraction would come more from creating bigoted policies. Here in the middle, we think that the government should pay for the treatment of every single transgender American service person, but that they can only serve in the police department of Trousdale County, Tennessee.
People still get a hateful policy, transgender Americans can still serve and have their healthcare provided, and Trousdale County Tennessee becomes the safest place in the U.S!
Perhaps you’re someone who thinks the healthcare system in this country is broken and needs to be fixed immediately. If you’re a liberal, you may think that the only way to fix it would be to give Medicare for all so that every single citizen of the United States receives adequate medical care. If you’re a conservative, you may believe that medical services should be a profit industry. Well, extreme centrism tells us that the best way to deal with that would be to keep it a for-profit industry, but on the back of every cereal box, people can get a coupon for a free health service. Dental, vision, gynecological, you name it!
Does that seem unfeasible? Like we’re just trying to get people to shut up? That we’re in the pocket of some kind of big cereal lobby? Yes, we are! Now you’re finally starting to understand!
So, if you think the hateful speech on the left is the same as the right, if you think people who punch Nazis are just as bad as Nazis themselves, if you think a urine soaked sock is the same as a bowl of chicken soup, then The Mayor of Trousdale County, General Mills, and I would be proud to have you aboard.
No curves? You shall be a banana. Large waist and small hips? Yes, you are an apple. Little upper body but large hips? Nailed it, you’re a pear. Women. Fruit. What do these two things have