Author Archives: Allison Hantschel

Not Everything Sucks: Free Food Edition

Whenever Black Lives Matter does anything in downtown Chicago, where, you know, people pay attention to stuff, the local newspaper’s highly paid scolds bitch that the young activists never “protest in their own communities” and ask where their attention is to the problems people in Chicago’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

Right here, you smug jackwagons: 

The location of the food box was picked when members of Black Lives Matter Chicago, who at the time were volunteering at the Bronzeville Community Garden, learned people in the community were going hungry, Ethan said. So they decided to commit to stocking the box with food. He said already there’s been a great deal of positive community feedback.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: In Milwaukee It’s Still Baseball Season

My dad has a tiny little radio, upright, leather wrist-strap. It’s at least 40 years old and spotted with paint from having sat on dozens of ladders while he painted the house. On baseball afternoons he put the radio on his nightstand and would nap beside it, and sometimes I could climb in bed, too, and we could listen to this voice together:

I grew up loving the Brewers, hating the Yankees (“bunch of millionaires,” said my father, with disdain), and laughing at the Cubs, whose fans Dad still loves to mock on sports radio the morning after a loss. I grew up loving the Brewers no matter how terrible they were, and they were terrible. Went to one series in 1982, lost, and then into the wilderness for the next two and a half decades, while Uecker tried to find something else to talk about: 

If the cause is lost, Uke tries to get you lost in something else. Sometimes he starts early, such as on July 4, 2007, after Uecker stumbled upon a convention of animal-costume fetishists at the Pittsburgh Westin, where the Brewers were staying. Uecker, his then partner Jim Powell recalls, “was like a kid on Christmas morning.” The game had barely begun when they went on a 15-minute digression:

“Furrier Society, I believe it is,” Uecker said. After putting the topic on hold to call a Braun home run, he resumed: “That’s no big deal, that’s what they feel. They wear animal costumes because they feel a little animalish. And I’ve felt that way myself a couple of times. I haven’t dressed up for it. I’ve worn a fig leaf or two.” Later Uecker emitted a sort of bird whoop and directed Powell to provide listeners with a website for more information on the Furry movement. Presumably this is the first time “alt dot lifestyle dot furry” was said during a major league broadcast.

Usually the one thing you could count on as a Brewers fan was being able to tune baseball basically out by mid-July, start making mental space for the NFL. This year took me entirely by surprise.

I really want them to win it all this time. That voice of my childhood is still at it, and my dad’s still listening.

A.

Keep Going

The war’s not over. It’s barely begun:

“Now wouldn’t it be splendid for us to be free & equal citizens, with the power of the ballot to back our hearts, heads & hands,” Anthony wrote, envisioning a time when women could also fight for “the poor, the insane, the criminal,” armed not just with moral suasion but “with power too.”

“I can hardly wait,” she continued. “The good fates though are working together to bring us into this freedom.”

The older I get, the shorter a hundred years sounds. Susan B. Anthony was jailed and threatened. Alice Paul went on a hunger strike behind bars, and today white women vote for men who hate women, because then, they think, those men won’t hate them. She made prison guards force-feed her. Emily Davison threw herself beneath the King’s horse. Businessmen beat Clara Lemlich in the streets. Dred Scott sued for his freedom and was told, you are not a person, you have no standing, you do not stand here.

Friday night, driving home, as police warned on the radio about riots and robberies that never happened, I saw a young man teaching a child to ride a bike in the parking lot beside a shabby convenience store. That store gets held up, once a month or so. The young man pushed the child and shouted with joy when, wobbling, he righted himself and rode, rode, rode.

I have great good fortune, just at the moment. Work I love, friends I love, abundance in many things. Two soft cats, a warm snug house, new shoes for the winter. Soup and bread and books and a circle of arms around me: husband, daughter. I completed a fundraising project that may prove significant for decades. This year, after a long hiatus, I started writing for publication again.

I have great good fortune, just at the moment and I am incandescently angry, all the time. It feels like whiplash, the contrast between these moments of victory and warmth, and the reality that faces many, a reality I’ve been taking in since starting work as a journalist 20 years ago, when our guiding principle was the instruction never to close our eyes to suffering and injustice.

Oh, but you get bummed out? TOUGH SHIT. Land hard, roll left, and get back up.

I go into Kick’s room at night, after a late work event or watching The Handmaid’s Tale or reading another news story about a little kid in a cage, a little kid in the morgue. I go into Kick’s room and lay down next to her sleeping small body. I do not touch her. I listen to her move around in her warm, safe bed. I sweep her hair off the back of her neck and I listen to her breathe.

Mothers rocked their children, lay down beside them, watched their chests move in and out. Just like this, in times like these, knowing everything they have can be taken away from them. How do you hold onto anything, knowing everything that happens? How do you remember the war when the war isn’t over? How do you survive the next one, when the war isn’t over?

We’re fast coming on to the dark, when we’ll be draping our homes in strings of stars and inviting strangers to come inside by the fire. How do we do that, when there aren’t enough fires, or enough rooms, or enough stars?

On Friday it felt like the world holding its breath: Here in Chicago, to see if a white cop who murdered a black teenager would be convicted, and he was. In DC, to see if the words of women would be enough to keep a rapist from a throne, and they weren’t. This time of year always feels like something to push through, and every time we lose a few people. I have great good fortune just at the moment and I am watching it from the outside, with unearned dread.

Like maybe it won’t be enough this time. Light the candles anyway. An immigrant family comes over for Halloween and their children laugh with mine, a cousin’s wedding brings together family too infrequently all in the same place, and last night I discovered that my daughter loves it when I talk in a silly voice like a robot, read her stories clipped and stilted to make her laugh. Our finest hours are always at someone else’s expense and it’s not a bummer to say that, it’s not a slur. Accounting isn’t blaming. Recognition isn’t erasure.

Susan, writing to her friends up there, didn’t dream of the ability to lay down her burdens and rest. She didn’t dream of a time without conflict, a far-off day of comity and comfort. She dreamed of a time when she and her sisters could do the work they wanted to do, without the fetters of prejudice. They wanted to fight, and were told they couldn’t, and every single day they screamed in frustration that they deserved to be able to. It was the worst feeling in the world.

I say this all the time, and most of the time I believe it, guys: The work’s never done. Earlier this year I rejoined a cause I’d left out of exhaustion and frustration and put my hands to it in a way I’d never done before, no holding back, no hesitation over looking ridiculous. And I felt so much better than I had in the two years since I’d left it, so much better working my fingers into callouses and driving hours by myself at night to get things done. Even the horrible hard parts felt better than the rest and relaxation.

That’s what we’re longing for right now, not a break from the world, but to find a handhold in it, a wheel to which we can lay our shoulders. These four weeks, these few days, under shrinking daylight, are us all holding our breath. Not waiting, not still, but burning through to something that feels like the humming of a rail miles before the train arrives, a current beneath the sandy floor, coming, coming, coming.

It’s always dark. There’s never enough room. Shove over a little, this time, will you? See if we can’t make some more.

A.

Moderates Not Gonna Moderate, or, This Didn’t Just Happen

One of the architects of the current disaster deplores the terrible blueprints he drew:

I’ve written many, many times about the passivity with which we characterize our current political moment. How everyone from congressional pages on up to the Wall Street Journal editorial board talks about our country becoming divided, our politics becoming rancorous, our society growing polarized, ALL THE WHILE FUCKING IGNORING THE PEOPLE WHO DIVIDED AND POLARIZED US AND PROFITED OFF OF IT ALL.

Good God. I know it’s never fun to think of yourself as having been at the mercy of a system you do not control but please take an honest look around and ask yourself who’s gained and kept power in the past decade and who’s made money off that power. Look around you. Who’s divided America? Who got richer off that division?

Someone DID THIS TO US and we’re acting like it’s the weather, like it’s a fucking UFO sighting, like we just have no idea how this could have happened and would you just look at that, Bobby Ray, have you ever seen such a sight?

It’s not like they’ve been keeping it a secret. Lee Atwater laid it out years ago and they’ve been telling us ever since, in louder and louder voices. They know exactly what they’re doing but we’re still out here all Earnest Editorials about The Appearance Of The Thing and The Sacredness of Ideas.

The Supreme Court’s legitimacy depends on most Americans viewing it as above the partisan fray, an institution whose decisions are driven by legal reasoning, not by the justices’ partisan leanings.

Spare me, by the way, the sanctifying of a court that upheld slavery and internment and every abuse of the war on terror, that told women they couldn’t vote and black Americans they were worth 3/5 of all others. This court is full of monsters, and it’s been so before, and we should question its legitimacy all the damn time. It should try to BE legitimate, not just be seen to be. Not that that matters to the fascisti who control it now.

It’s not even that we’re being lied to because they don’t respect us enough to lie anymore. It’s that we’re being told the truth, and we earnestly repeat last decade’s fiction because believing that means we don’t have to hurt or think or work or change.

Flake, up there. Collins, may she rot in hell. Sasse and Corker who were oh, so appalled until women talking appalled them further. They stand up there and pretend to deplore it all, the awful partisanship, counting on us all to believe our lying eyes. Our entire world hangs on their words and their words are empty, and we refuse to name them for what they are.

Frauds and cowards, all. We didn’t just get here. We were taken here, and the moderates drove stick.

A.

Go Ahead and Celebrate, Wingnuts. Me and Mine Have Work to Do.

You got what you wanted now.

He’ll overturn Roe.

He’ll side with businesses against unions. With wealth against powerlessness.

He’ll help politicians cut your goddamn sacred motherfucking TAXES.

Who cares if he’s a rapist?

WHO CARES IF HE’S A GODDAMN RAPIST, right?

Who cares how many women he hurt?

Who cares enough to even FIND OUT how many women he hurt?

You got what you wanted. You got what you wanted so why even bother.

You got what YOU wanted. You screamers outside the clinics. You affluenza-riddled tourists to the idea of America, policing the grocery carts of food-stamp recipients, angrily yelling MAGA at undocumented children. You got YOUR wish.

You selfish bastards. You support this man? You think he’s an imperfect tool of a perfect God? You think all of this is worth it for you to get your heart’s desire?

What even is that desire? To outlaw abortion? You’re outlawing abortion, fine. You’re not ENDING abortion. Only ending poverty and desperation and an enduring habit of treating women like dogs will end abortion. You’re just outlawing it.

Is that desire to save the unborn babies? You’re not doing that. Women will have abortions at the rate they always have. You will just not have to know about them. You will have an easier time pretending everything is fine. You will be more readily able to close your eyes.

Is that worth a few rapes? To keep YOUR precious conscience clear?

You’re willing to overlook a few rapes, ample and extensive evidence that this guy is an unsuitable, partisan douchebag, for … your moral comfort? So that you can say you were a part of making abortion illegal? So you can … like what do you get out of that? So you can fatten your bank account? Do you even hear yourselves?

Jesus God, do you hear anybody? There wasn’t even a criminal investigation. This was a job interview, for probably the highest job there is, and all anyone asked you to do was NOT PUT A PROBABLE RAPIST in that job.

“Don’t rush to judgment.” We’re not the ones demanding a vote before the elections.

“Innocent until proven guilty.” This isn’t a court of law.

“Anyone can be accused of anything!” She swore under penalty of perjury and you won’t support a call for witnesses to either confirm OR refute her testimony.

“It’s ruining his life.” It’s our court, we have a say in who sits there. We don’t have to hire anybody we don’t like.

I saw a friend get rape-splained on her own goddamn Facebook after she posted about her assault. You like being one of the people who does that? You like those people, hang out with them, want to be on their side? You’re out here screaming about due process, about abstractions, to people who’ve been assaulted. Physically assaulted, not just asked questions in a hearing room. You’re out here screaming about abstractions in the face of their reality. You want to be with those people?

FINE. You go do that then, and as for me and mine we will serve the Lord.

We have served the Lord before.

The Court upheld internment, and slavery, and forbidding women the vote. It turned a blind eye to the abuses of the war on terror. The Court has been ruled by monsters before, and may again, and is now. And there have always been those, since the beginning of time, who opposed it. Who worked to change it.

They lost and lost and lost, far more than they won, and they sharpened their teeth and died hard for it, and they will again. We will, again, while you celebrate with your rapist clown and his enablers. The world is always ending, and we are always beginning it again, and nowhere have I ever seen any contract says it isn’t supposed to hurt.

That’s the difference, between you and me. I’m not in this for peace.

More tomorrow.

A.

Tuesday Catblogging: Cold Weather Edition

We had a particularly chilly morning the other day and I came downstairs to find Slade cuddled up in the furry blanket we have for those days:

Best kitty.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: C-SPAN Edition

This hero: 

One of the things that we do best as a network is ― you know, we don’t have pundits. We don’t have talking heads. We just hear from the American people. And that was 27 years ago, but I do remember when we took calls then, and when we took calls after 9/11, the emotion just came pouring out. You had so many people ― they just had to speak. People wanted to be heard.

And we’re the one network that allows people to have a voice and share it with people around the country. You’re always going to get the emotion. But this one was a little bit different just because of the intensity of the calls that we were receiving.

It takes a lot to eat all that ugliness every single day and not spit it back out.

A.

School Segregation and Brett Kavanaugh’s Entitlement Complex

Shot: 

I saw this growing up with kids in private high schools who had never been to public school. They really thought public school kids spent their days drinking paint before inevitably heading off to juvenile hall for an extended stay. This is a slight exaggeration, of course, but if the base assumption is that your private school is better, and some of your classmates aren’t exactly perfect, then Those Other Kids must be soooooo bad.

Chaser: 

So imagine my surprise when, thanks to the Facebook page for an upcoming high school reunion, I learned the school is getting a new $5.7 million stadium. The stadium will have artificial grass and a new track for WIAA events. The report I saw didn’t mention metal detectors, but it would be a good idea.

The new stadium is part of an $11 million improvement in athletic facilities for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), presumably so the little convicts can have the best facilities before being sent to the penitentiary.

I went to a Catholic college-prep high school, after 8 years of Catholic elementary. I did this because my family was Catholic, and religious schooling was important to my not-rich  parents and grandparents. And a hell of a lot of my fellow students did the same because their families were wealthy, and the Catholic schools were predominantly white.

This isn’t unusual. The Catholic Church in America benefitted immensely from the fears of white-flight parents who didn’t want their children attending segregated schools after Brown v. Board. These were the days before anyone with a haircut and a handshake could open a charter school. Holy Mother Church offered a network of private schools, already in existence, segregated by income rather than by law. Sign us up, suburban parents said, and their kids followed suit with their children.

And the propaganda they subjected themselves to was that all the city schools were horrific shitholes where you’d as likely be shanked by a gang member as take a math test. Poor kids went to those schools. Nobody ever flat-out said black and Hispanic kids went there, but the implication was pretty clear: public schools were for trash. OUR education was superior.

I dated a boy, late in high school, who went to a public school. He was a sweet kid who wasn’t unintelligent, but the way people reacted, you’d have thought he was a knuckle-dragging thug unqualified to work in a car-theft chop shop.

That’s the mindset the blogger quoted second up there, talking about Milwaukee Public Schools, is parroting. Poor kids, kids of color, can’t be educated, they’re just future criminals and should be treated as such. Of course, since they should just be warehoused until juvie can take over, we don’t need to adequately fund them or treat them like they matter at all.

And then we can hold ourselves above them, and pretend our drinking and rapey escapades are sophisticated fun because we go to the finest academies and learn from the best teachers in the cleanest buildings. As if it’s a law of nature and money and will had nothing to do with it at all.

For such people, people like Kavanaugh, of course it comes as a shock that not everybody thinks he’s hot shit just because he went to Yale. He’s been sequestered away from THOSE PEOPLE his entire life, and now he has to answer to them. To us. To all of us.

A.

We’ve been showing up. Every damn day.

This kind of thing spread across the Twitters during the hours when it looked certain, instead of just likely, that the GOP was going to put a rapist on the Supreme Court:

And, I’m sorry, but no, they would not have shut down the country.

They would have shut down one hallway of one Senate office building, and occupied one suburban office park, and the national media led by Fox News and talk radio would MAKE IT SOUND LIKE they had shut down the country.

That’s what happened in 2000 and the way I know it would go else-ways for Dems is that I was at the Iraq War protests. Ignoring the media disparity to slag on the only viable opposition party as being insufficiently brave is not great, here.

I’m sick and fucking tired of this meme among Democrats that Democrats aren’t doing anything to stop this. Cory Booker tried to get himself and his colleagues frickin’ expelled, to stop this. Kamala Harris walked out of the hearing, to stop this. Maizie Hirono literally called bullshit, to stop this. Diane Feinstein, who is 400 years old, pinned Lisa Murkowski to the wall and yelled in her face, to stop this. None of it MATTERS without power.

Until November, giving speeches is all they CAN do. They do not command the U.S. military and they hold neither legislative house (yet). If every single Democrat walked out of Congress right now and sat down on the courthouse steps and vowed to stay there til the end of time, Republicans would … still have the votes to do everything they’re doing, plus all the TV cameras for them to call Democrats babies.

Dem legislators and activists held a whole ass protest on the steps of the courthouse Friday, anyway, not that anyone covered it with a fraction of the urgency they lend to a Republican county commissioner bitching about his taxes.

As for rank-and-file Dems, the outside-the-Capitol leadership? Well shit, every goddamn weekend and just about every weekday there’s a rally, a protest, a march. Against separating families, against mass incarceration, for racial justice, against voter suppression. There was a whole-ass Women’s March, fucking twice. Right now in Chicago there’s a hotel workers’ strike going on. There is no shortage of fights.

Women, especially black women, have been out here fighting the fights and running the races, registering people to vote, while Dem-bros lament the lack of, I dunno, physical barricades. And if there were physical barricades, you bet your ass women would be on them first.

Women are on them now, walking literal gauntlets to get reproductive healthcare, so let’s not forget whose bodies we’re advocating we throw on the wheels. A bloody revolution sounds like a fuckload of awesome fun if you’re not the one who’s gonna bleed.

There are a lot of people who aren’t fighting at all, much less fighting on our side. They’re the ones who need to be mobilized, not the people already at the front, raising their voices as loud as they can, despite the Fox News-following national press cutting their mics.

A.

Tuesday Catblogging

Have a dreaming Slade:

A.

Journalism Needs to Stop Showing Us Its Sausage

Well, yesterday was a clusterfuck of stunning proportions on the internets, the journalistic equivalent of two bears rolling down a hill, dead drunk, pawing at each other completely oblivious to the picnickers and punters they scattered in their furry, drooly, snarly wake:

And it was sort of like watching the process unfold in a newsroom during the reporting of a story, where one guy says one thing and another guy says another and then those two guys hammer out what the hell exactly is going on. It’s a natural process. It’s a normal process. It’s very, very common.

ONLY YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO JUST PUT IT ALL OUT THERE TIL YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS. Jesus Christ, Twitter is not your internal chat app, it’s a fucking BROADCAST mechanism, the equivalent of a party line where everybody can hear you scream. In the bad old days of LiveJournal, when Facebook was just starting to get racists fired and cheaters broken up with, I used to yell on a regular basis that EVERYBODY CAN SEE THE INTERNET, but I was yelling it at people insisting those kids who played the Hobbits were fucking each other.

It was not a lesson I thought we had to teach, like, professional political reporters who grew up with this here information super-cyber-news cycle.

And spare me the Poynter Institute of More in Disappointment Than in Rage jerking off, please:

Mostly you all need less of an urge to sound official with your BREAKING SCOOOOOOOP! SCOOPY BREAK BREAKY SCOOP!

God, no one gives a fuck. This is the thing. You do this long enough, you only talk to your colleagues and your bosses and your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/fuckbunny long enough, you start forgetting that your readers don’t care about your snide shit. They don’t care about your SCOOP and your BREAKING and your MUST CREDIT AXIOS WITH THE MORNING’S WIN and all that other shit that you think makes you sound cool.

I indulged in certain amounts of this myself back in the day, because I am a competitive hellbitch who needs to grind the heel of my Jimmy Choos in the face of my enemy, but I have never put myself out there as a role model. These are the same people who want to shame readers for not “paying for news” or “valuing a free press” when they’re ready to tear each other’s throats out to be 40 seconds faster on a tweet.

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU assholes is chronicling the burning of the fucking world and you are arguing about who is right about the temperature and you’re all only off by like 50 degrees. I swear I’ve never been so annoyed at journalism and I work in the same town as TRONC.

A.

Health and Public Policy

The comments on this piece and on the author’s Twitter have predictably been a total trash fire, and I don’t suggest reading them or the piece if these kinds of things make you crazy, but as someone deeply interested in man-made things we describe as inevitable, this section stuck out at me: 

Still, despite the Task Force’s explicit recommendation of “intensive, multicomponent behavioral counseling” for higher-weight patients, the vast majority of insurance companies and state health care programs define this term to mean just a session or two—exactly the superficial approach that years of research says won’t work. “Health plans refuse to treat this as anything other than a personal problem,” says Chris Gallagher, a policy consultant at the Obesity Action Coalition.

The same scurvy-ish negligence shows up at every level of government. From marketing rules to antitrust regulations to international trade agreements, U.S. policy has created a food system that excels at producing flour, sugar and oil but struggles to deliver nutrients at anywhere near the same scale. The United States spends $1.5 billion on nutrition research every year compared to around $60 billion on drug research. Just 4 percent of agricultural subsidies go to fruits and vegetables. No wonder that the healthiest foods can cost up to eight times more, calorie for calorie, than the unhealthiest—or that the gap gets wider every year.

It’s the same with exercise. The cardiovascular risks of sedentary lifestyles, suburban sprawl and long commutes are well-documented. But rather than help mitigate these risks—and their disproportionate impact on the poor—our institutions have exacerbated them. Only 13 percent of American children walk or bike to school; once they arrive, less than a third of them will take part in a daily gym class. Among adults, the number of workers commuting more than 90 minutes each way grew by more than 15 percent from 2005 to 2016, a predictable outgrowth of America’s underinvestment in public transportation and over-investment in freeways, parking and strip malls. For 40 years, as politicians have told us to eat more vegetables and take the stairs instead of the elevator, they have presided over a country where daily exercise has become a luxury and eating well has become extortionate.

I am, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, extraordinarily privileged, and I get home at 6 on a good night, put Kick to bed at 8-8:30, and hop on the exercise bike that doubles as a desk because I can either work out or write for an hour and I cannot choose either of those things exclusively.

I work out, after all my back problems, not to get skinny but to keep my muscles and bones from locking up and my nerve pain from reaching debilitating levels. I do yoga while trying to catch an hour of TV with Mr. A or talk in the middle of down-dog about what’s coming up in the week.

My commute is public transport. I take the stairs and can afford to buy salads. I drink a lot of juices and eat bananas and honestly, the only thing that’s gonna lose me 20 pounds at this point is to quit taking my anti-depressants, which will kill me. I mean that quite literally.

So alive with the muffin-top, maintaining a technically “overweight” BMI while eating nowhere near the amount of cake I really want, or dead and a size six, and our culture is so goddamn insane that sometimes I actually wonder.

And some nights, when I get home at 11 p.m. from standing all day at an event or a conference, I cannot face the fucking bike, and I just want some ravioli and a glass of wine and to lay down for a second.

These aren’t all personal choices. This isn’t all “just eat less.” This where we live, what we do, how we get around, and what we grow. This is who gets paid. It’s public goddamn policy and the people screaming in the author’s mentions about “just lose some weight then fatty” are the ones who made fun of Michelle Obama relentlessly for having a White House garden and reminding kids to play outside.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Help the Teachers Edition

If you’re looking for a way to help those affected by Hurricane Florence and the attendant flooding/water damage issues, Donors Choose is on it:

You’ll recall we used that site to help classrooms targeted by the NRA’s goons and those with underfunded journalism programs. Let’s see if we can do it again.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Jazz Edition

People are still making music, now: 

After a big laugh, the audience, musicians and performers all paraded across the street to the backyard of 7337. There, a jazz band shared the stage with a team of young women called Sydney Chatman and The Fly Girls, the youngest of whom wore an astronaut helmet and space suit. At the end of each set, they addressed the audience about Black women from different perspectives: as cosmic and universal (hence the space suit), as creative forces, as pillars of the community, and as warriors. The Fly Girls spoke about women living and past, including those who had been the victims of police violence. They said the names of Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Kendra James, and many others.

Things are universally terrible, but that never stopped anybody from singing. Read that, and realize it, and raise your damn voices.

A.

Wingnut Sites That Are Wrong About Everything Are Wrong Again, Surprise Duh

If you come forward to accuse a powerful man, a content farm might aggregate your RateMyProfessor.com reviews, which are themselves a collection of anonymous bullshit from who-knows-where, and use them to savage you in a story that turns out to be ABOUT THE WRONG CHRISTINE FORD: 

Brett Kavanaugh’s formerly anonymous accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, has come forward. She’s a professor in the Social Work Department at California State University – Fullerton. Many interested in learning more about who Ford is have come across her students’ reviews on RateMyProfessors.com. 

They’re … not good.

Overall, she scores 2.3 out of 5 (a failing grade if the roles were reversed). The reviews span from 2010 – 2014, which rules out students tampering with her reviews as part of the current Kavanaugh controversy. 

[snip]

Editor’s Note: We apologize for the error, but we’ve since learned there are two Christine Fords working in clinical psychology in California and we wrote this report about the wrong Christine Ford. We regret not going to greater lengths to ensure this was indeed the same Christine Ford. Please do not share this article with anyone (and if you have, delete it/withdraw it); we are only leaving the page up so you can see this important update.

So this gets posted, picked up by a bunch of wingnut sites, and goes everywhere before the idiots realize that they’ve got the wrong person. And over something so dumb as RateMyProfessor reviews, which are about as reliable as Yelp reviews of a concert where somebody died on stage.

This isn’t even a smear job from someone in authority (though plenty of people treated as legit journalists cough*DRUDGE*cough picked this up), just a bad, dumb, clickwhoring stab from somebody who thought hey, I’ll get a piece of this roiling clusterfuck for my very own!

This is why women don’t come forward to accuse the powerful: There’s an army of bootlicks out there, ready to tear the accusers down. Not for power or money but because it’s fun to cackle and make a mess. They’re chaos-causing shitlords who don’t give a damn about the damage they create, and once unleashed will deny all responsibility for the trash fire they lit.

And this is why I keep beating the drum that national media who let these types of people into their parties and treat them like respected colleagues (“Matt Drudge Rules Our World“) have contributed to the very atmosphere they now deplore, where things like this happen and are corrected after the fact, like the strikethrough makes it better, like it’s just an honest mistake.

Via Doc.

A.

Tuesday Catblogging: Fat Lard Edition

Kick has strict instructions to never say the words fat, fatty, fatso, Stay Puft, lardass, nor sing I Love It When You Call Me Big Poppa at any people at all, but she is free to do all those things in the presence of Slade, who looks like he ate a pillow these days as winter approaches:

A.

The Three Thousand & Where Power Lies

It doesn’t matter whose fault it is:

He’s a feral animal, of course, who can only see things in terms of how they affect him. You know this and so do I and I think so does he, not that it matters. I’m so tired of spending time in his psyche. Who cares if he’s crazy or evil or crazy-evil; three thousand still died.

And more will, and more. When this was all going down this week I thought of friends who died years after Katrina, after wars, after trauma. Kick and I drove home from a festival Saturday night listening to Springsteen’s concert in New Orleans in ’06, barely seven months after the storm:

And I thought of Ashley, who Adrastos wrote about this week, and Betty, and Morwen, and Greg, and all the people who died later, much later, because their lives got ripped to shreds and never quite got put back together, because everything that happens to you wears you down a little more, because it’s hard to tell when all the threads are woven together which one will unravel you when it’s pulled.

These things have long tails, have a half-life and you can’t just say the waters receded and then everything was all right again. More will die in Puerto Rico. More will die on the Carolina coast. More will die every day and the point isn’t how many, when. The point is we could have stopped it, and helped, and didn’t.

That’s all that matters to the three thousand.

The story in Puerto Rico, it matters less who’s to blame for it than who’s supposed to handle it. Yelling at Trump isn’t about finding someone to blame. It’s about getting someone to DO THINGS. Like okay, the bottled water isn’t getting where it should go, SO FIX IT ALREADY.

Government is, six days of the year, an actual job and not just cutting ribbons on new supermarkets and shit. I thought Trump was supposed to be this colossus. I thought he was this great legendary thing, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and overcome ordinary obstacles with his giant business penis or whatever the hell he was on about during the campaign.

“I alone can fix it” is a promise you’d best be prepared to make real, time comes.

The three thousand people who died in Puerto Rico don’t care if Trump is to blame or not. If he saved them, they’d just be glad to be alive. And we had the capability to save them; this “well, FEMA just drops stuff off, derp derp derp” is horseshit. We can override laws and rules and regulations whenever we feel like it, and there are lots of people at, say, Mar-A-Lago and in Iraq who can attest to those things.

It’s amazing how Trump wants to violate every norm and rule when it’s time to put some money in his bank account, and how Republicans are all WHAT EVEN IS REGULAR ORDER when they want to put the personification of 6-month-old sour cream on the United States Supreme Court, but when there’s bottled water to be distributed in Puerto Rico it’s “well, somebody else was supposed to do this one thing and we were powerless to override that vague convention.” Like just send in the 82nd, you’ve already proved literally nobody is gonna fuck with you.

I mean, even if you grant that we have an imperial presidency and have since around 9/11/01: PUT IT TO USE ALREADY. Unless you just didn’t want to do that, in which case, fucking own it. Admit that you have power where you want to have it, so that we can assess, and make decisions, without somebody throwing a giant tantrum all day long about FAKE NEWS and DEMOCRAT PERFIDY and other shit that doesn’t matter one bit to three thousand dead.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Musical History Edition

Music Edition: 

Wayne Bevis, principal of Lindblom Math & Science Academy, said “Quantum Englewood” will help expose Englewood students to the arts in their own neighborhood.

“It’s great because it’s local so our students don’t have to travel anywhere but they can experience it within the school environment,” Bevis said.

Graves said more performances of “Quantum Englewood” may be announced in the near future.

Music Moves Chicago is an Old Town School of Folk Music program that provides a platform for local teachers to work with students in a variety of musical genres like hip-hop, poetry, African drums and more.

A.

Can We Talk about How Shitty that Serena Cartoon Is?

We’ve been talking about how racist it is, but can we also talk about how it sucks? How it’s obvious and badly drawn and doesn’t make any point that anyone hasn’t ever made before about anything?

Australian cartoonist Mark Knight has defended his widely condemned cartoon of US tennis star Serena Williams, claiming that it was a true reflection of the events of the US Open women’s final.

The cartoon appeared in Monday’s edition of Australian tabloid The Herald Sun, and drew outrage on social media for depicting the 23-time Grand Slam winner with enlarged lips, a larger figure, a broken racket and a pacifier on the ground.

The guy who drew it says he “isn’t racist,” of course, because nobody “is racist” even if they are “doing racist things” and “saying racist stuff.” I’m less interested in how whether or not he’s racist than I am in how he’s so bad at his job.

I mean it. Our shittiest comedians and editorial cartoonists and columnists are so shitty because they grew up watching South Park and Bill Maher and reading The Onion and they think that anybody who says mean things is funny. So if they say loud rude fratty things about bitches and “aren’t politically correct” then that makes them comic geniuses or bleeding-edge social commentators. Usually this sort of thing gets beaten out of you in college but apparently these guys didn’t have editors who challenged their juvenilia.

“Area Homosexual Saves Four From Fire” is not a gay joke. The 9/11 issue wasn’t making fun of the terrorists. Bill catches shit not because he’s anti-Muslim and showily anti-religion but because he took on the powerful at a time when we didn’t do that so much. “Suicide bombers are braver than soldiers lobbing missiles from a distance” was a new thing to consider, at the time.

If you want to make people laugh or shock them, you have to be funny or original. You have to be smart, and willing to step to hard truths sure, but “black caricature” isn’t a hard truth. You think you’re the first person to make this crack, Mr. Australian Cartoonist? You’re not even the first person in a two-mile radius of my house to make this crack.

Someone needs to teach an entire generation or three the difference between an unpopular important opinion that people need to hear about because it’s truly critical, and something that will be “unpopular” because it’s just nasty and dumb.

A.