Category Archives: Uncategorized

Not Everything Sucks

This guy’s still catching lobster: 

John shows me the lobster fisherman’s license he received at age 16. Dated July 1, 1938, the creased and torn document is a remnant from the Depression, when lobsters sold for 15 cents a pound. After high school, he bought a brand-new boat, paying for it the Maine way: “I went into the woods and cut 100 cords of pulpwood with a bucksaw and ax,” John remembers. “There weren’t no chainsaws.”

Via Virgotex.

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Asylum

These are the people we’re turning our backs on: 

The first two months at the Kenosha Detention Center felt like a nightmare. You are so enclosed you don’t have the opportunity to move around. That’s how you start going crazy. That’s how Kenosha was for me.

The detention center was a mix of immigrants and actual criminals. We were in the same detention as criminals who’ve committed murders, gang bang, and stuff. You don’t have time to rest. You don’t have the pleasure of going outside to play or having social time—none of that. At the detention center, you don’t really have privacy. They are making you understand that you’ve come into America and it’s not all rosy.

After the first month or so, I forced myself to read books to pass the time. I read about the history of Native Americans. The Americans we see today are actually immigrants; the real Americans, which are the Native Americans, you barely see. So I felt empowered when I read books like that. It gave me the courage to say, Yes, I have a place here too.

I ended up staying close to four months in detention before I was released. It’s not been easy staying here in Chicago without family. I miss my little kid. I am trying to figure out how to get them here. I grew up without a father and I don’t want my little girl to go through the same process. Everyone says America is a haven and they see America as a paradise where everything works smoothly. But it’s a different story.

I know it’s tired and bullshit to say “this is not my America” since in many cases yes, this has always been this America. But it’s not bullshit to say this SHOULD NOT BE my America, that we should not be liars and hypocrites just because we’ve been so in the past. The whole entire ass point of bringing up bad shit we’ve done before is to not do that shit no more.

We can afford to do better, and more than that we are obligated to do better. Or we are obligated to shut up about whose America this is.

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The Capacity for Joy

If they haven’t taken it from Ilhan Omar you don’t get to despair:

I get that it’s easier to say “meh, nothing’s going to change, Trump’s going to get re-elected because the Democrats are having a primary” than it is to look at everybody fighting like hell and decide you need to do that too, but come on. If the very faces of what Trump’s supporters hate can dance, you can work.

I post these “not everything sucks” posts not to be like LALALALALA THERE ARE STILL CUTE ANIMALS IGNORE THE FASCISM but to say that if you mean to give up, here’s what you’re giving up on. Get tired. Everybody’s tired. Get some sleep and keep going.

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Punishment is the Point

I wrote this shortly after Trump took office and it remains true even if no one listened: 

 FOR TRUMP means they get to bully right back. FOR TRUMP means they get to tell their liberal sister-in-law that she’s a stupid bitch. FOR TRUMP means instead of respecting a black or brown person, they get to call that person names. FOR TRUMP means they get to turn off that nagging instinct, nurtured by the churches they say mean so much to them, that maybe they should help the big scary world that’s burning down outside their windows. FOR TRUMP means they get to feel like being mad is enough.

I thought of that again reading this:

Like … hold them accountable how? Hold people who don’t like the president accountable? By … re-electing the president they don’t like? I make as many jokes as anyone about how Owned I, a Lib, am all the time by their stupid non-conspiracy conspiracies, but this is truly how performative the GOP and its hate-radio larvae are. They want to be seen to punish people for daring to disrespect Trump. They want to hold people accountable for existing in opposition to someone they like. This is their most sincerely held belief. This is it. This is, in fact, the ballgame.

Don’t just vote against whoever the Democrat puts up. Vote against that person’s supporters. Vote against everyone you don’t like. Vote against everything that annoys or inconveniences you. Vote to hold people who boo a president accountable. It’s so bone-deep and blood-simple, the rage they’ve nurtured and convinced people is some kind of principled stand. Re-elect Trump to hold the people who booed him accountable? You have got to be kidding me.

And this:

Everybody pointed out that they could have been in the hearings all along, which of course they could have been. They know that. That’s not the point. The point is to perform for their audience and goddamn, they did that really well.

We gotta stop acting like we’re gonna point out some blatant hypocrisy and they’ll be like oh, I’m so sorry, you’re right, I didn’t realize I was doing the very thing I’m accusing you of doing, how gauche of me. They don’t care. They know and they know their supporters know, and neither of them gives even one single shit about it because this is fandom, at this point, it’s cosplay, it’s a stage and all they have to do is get the laugh.

It’s why appealing to them through policy is laughable. It’s why arguing the facts is too naive to even be charming. You have to leave the venue. You have to end the discussion. You have to drown out their shouting not with facts in opposition but with your own motivating stories and stop worrying if they listen or not. The ONLY thing you can do is change the subject. The only thing you can do, in the face of someone who just wants to OWN you, is to be somewhere else.

I suggest we start with polling places.

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Our Politicians and Pundits Know Nothing About Politics

This was dumb:

This was dumber:

This has got to be some kind of peak dumbass but what fresh hell will today bring?

I mean, honest to Cheeto Christ, it is astonishing how many of these people are listened to on politics when they don’t understand politics very well.

Take Pete up there, for whom I will enthusiastically vote should he be our nominee, and who has unquestionably the best spouse in the entire race. He’s just saying what he thinks he needs to say, which is that he likes a moderate, because moderation is good, and middle of the road is good, and nothing too extreme is good, and the things Everybody Knows are true. He’s doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do, because he’s supposed to do it, and he’s not thinking about Kennedy’s actual decisions or what they mean, he’s thinking about how he sounds, which is Reasonable.

The goal of all our politics, and the past 36 hours of civility garbage inspired by the World Series crowd booing the orange motherfucker, is to make us all feel Reasonable and Good. And that involves Two Sides Respecting Each Other, and Listening, and blah blah fucking blah de fuckity blah.

What a fucking stupid puppet show. What a goddamn embarrassment, a parade of supposed adults on TV and at podiums talking about how it’s beneath us all to upset anyone. What a fucking load. We’re adults and if we can’t disagree without getting heated oh, the fucking earth will just cave right in, won’t it? God forbid anyone raises their voice, or our fragile bodies might just utterly collapse.

I mean do we hear ourselves, middle class white people of mine, with our book clubs and our tote bags and our declarations of friendship for war criminals? Do we hear our selfish screaming need for comfort not only in life, not in where or how we live, but in our goddamn CONVERSATIONS? Do we hear how absolutely chickenshit we sound? “Oooh, I don’t want to, like, ARGUE with you.” Well guess fucking what, we live in a democracy, so if you’re gonna open your cakehole and yell “blue lives matter” at me I’m gonna give you the hiding you so richly deserve.

We don’t get to create this society and then get out of defending and justifying it because doing so is really hard. Land hard and roll, motherfuckers, because if you want to live like this you’d better be ready to own it in the face of the strenuous objections of the people you’re stomping on to do so. You don’t like to watch the president get booed at a baseball game, well, there’s a really easy way to get out of that happening and it’s don’t elect a fucking cheeto-faced fascist who everyone hates.

It’s really not hard. Give up civility as a goal. We’re almost to the holidays, hell, make it a resolution. Civility is not the meaning of things. If people are nice to each other and keep dying, how does that help anyone? We have a limited time on this planet and your comfort isn’t our priority, shit is on fire.

And if you’re not loaded for bear, don’t show up for the hunt, because once upon a time you might have been able to get away with this stuff because nobody wanted to argue. We want to argue now, and we should.

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Sunday Catblogging: Our Heroine

Last week I wrote that post about what a bitch Ada was and how she never shuts up about anything ever, so I basically deserve what happened yesterday.

It had been raining all day so Kick and Mr. A and I took advantage of being forced indoors to clean out closets and prep the house for an onslaught of holiday visitors and figure out where the mates to all our gloves had gone over the summer. The cats get profoundly, comically offended when we clean, as if us moving things is a personal affront to them and they were very, very close to the dust bunnies we just cavalierly hoovered up.

Which is why it took me a while to figure out something was up with Ada. She was yowling. Not her usual “hey, pay attention and pet me” yowling. She was YOWLING. “Hey IDIOTS something is WRONG here” and so I spent a good 60 minutes roaming the house with her at my heels. Was her brother trapped in the bedroom? Had she shoved her mouse under a closed door? Had a critter gotten in somehow? What was happening?

Finally I went down into the basement to see if her food bowl was empty again somehow and the moment I stepped off the bottom step onto the floor … squish.

Our basement had flooded before after a torrential downpour, but the rain yesterday wasn’t anything like that. And this wasn’t really a flood, just a damp-ish spot near one wall. Mr. A and I checked the perimeter of the rest of the basement. Nothing. Just this one spot, and Ada looming above it, meowing her best “YO MORONS WHAT DO YOU THINK I’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU” indignancy.

We couldn’t figure out if the water was coming in or up. It didn’t appear to be spreading, so we went outside, walked the perimeter and discovered a whole-ass swimming pool’s worth of filthy rainwater that was backing up because its normal route out was clogged with leaves and roots and dirt. Mr. A and I got flashlights and shovels and a bucket and started digging and bailing, and pretty soon, all was well.

We might have to replace a small spot of carpet pad, but thanks to Ada, that was it. Our heroine, still not ready to stop saying I TOLD YOU SO:

20191027_075830

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A Diversity of Views

Do we? Do we need this? 

I’m asking, because I don’t actually grant that we do.

Do we need the “view” that Bill Kristol, however abominable he may be, is a “renegade Jew?”

Do we need the “view” that there exists in the world something called “Big Trans Hate Machine,” somehow granting vast power and influence to people whose right to exist is being legislated right out of existence?

Do we need the “view” that women “just suck at interviews” for tech jobs? Do we need the “view” that Gabby Giffords is a “human shield?” Do we need the “view” that an aide to Hillary Clinton is a “Saudi spy?” That young Muslims in the West are a “ticking time bomb?”

Forget asking if we need them. Are those “views,” even?

Even if they are, who are “we” in this scenario?

I ask these questions because I see a lot of well-meaning people — along with the usual “I’m not fascist, just fingerbanging fascism after class” disingenuous assholes — taken in by this kind of rhetoric. It’s incredibly dangerous to present virulent racism as something that needs promotion lest we, I dunno, miss out.

Like, miss out on what, exactly, without this diversity of views? What does it cost me to not be Skyped into a Klan rally every single second? What is the harm to me in not mainlining every single crackpot manifesto in doomsday prepper sales site comments? What is the lack that that would remedy? Where is the harm to be addressed?

I am not arguing here if Breitbart has a right to exist on the internet. That’s a given, should they find businesses willing to back them in the form of hosting and support. Nazis have always had the right to go off. I’m arguing about taking on faith the need for a “diversity of basically views,” because the people who say such things are the least likely to be able to tell you what in the unholy cornflake-breaded purple fuck it actually means.

What is a view? What is a diversity of them? Why are we better off knowing there are people who think Jews will not replace us, for example, I mean aside from as a cautionary tale? Why is everything due a hearing at equal volume? At what point do we, as a society, the preponderance of us, get to decide that nah, fuck that, this “view” is not welcome in our “diversity” of them?

Define that, and maybe I’ll listen about why we need headlines like “It’s time to get back in the closet.”

Don’t throw the slippery slope in my face, either. If I was standing on the corner accusing George W. Bush of colluding with Trump to rape babies in the utility closet of a KFC I would not EXPECT you to include that view in the diversity of them. I would not expect you to make that a main-stage attraction in your production of Life’s Rich Pageant. Time was, you got a letter to the editor written in purple crayon addressed to the lizard people’s Supreme Gecko, you threw it out. I would expect you to do the same with Brietbart’s contention that Pam Gellar is some kind of visionary political leader.

But then, I haven’t spent the last 40 years bitching and whining that your refusal to hang on my every word is evidence of your evil liberal bias, so I didn’t have a standard playbook I could just switch out a few words in.

Part of this clusterfuck is, of course, the decision to treat Facebook as some sort of public entity whose inclusion and appeasement is non-negotiable, instead of treating it as a private company we can nope the hell out of anytime we want. This is without getting into how publishers are falling all over themselves to pivot into this mess, just like they pivoted into everything from paywalls to hyperlocal to video to chat rooms. These aren’t imperatives. Facebook, and going along with whatever it decides to be, is not an imperative.

A diversity of views isn’t an imperative either, if that diversity includes “would you rather your child had feminism or cancer.” They’re offering “views” in much the same way as the fellow opening his trenchcoat on the subway. There’s no inherent virtue in looking, so stop trying to tell me I owe him my attention so that my views remain diverse.

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Not Everything Sucks: Baking Edition

It’s cold and rainy here. You know what that means: It’s gingerbread season, motherfuckers.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes.

Here’s another, which is labor-intensive but results in this fluffy spicy heavenly cake that my little sister used to beg me to make every Christmas.

It’s got all the yum but none of the “ya basic” judgement now shamefully associated with that most heavenly of things, pumpkin spice. Fuck everyone who hates on pumpkin spice, by the way. You can tear my overpriced calorically bloated latte from my cold dead mitten-clad hands, and the same goes for my Pumking beer. I’m sorry you hate joy and love.

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Sunday Catblogging: Chatty Catty Edition

Mr. A and I recently left our cats (and, you know, kid) with my parents while we went on a quick trip to a wedding, and before we left I sat down and wrote out instructions about how and when to pick Kick up from school and what packages we were expecting and how to work the coffeemaker.

I then devoted two entire long paragraphs to how Ada never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, shuts the fuck up even for a second:

Dear Mom and Dad, Miss Kitty-Witty will yell at you from the second you let her out of the basement in the morning until the moment she goes back down there willingly for her bedtime. She will yell at you if she has pushed her mousie under the front closet door and can’t reach it. She will yell at you if her food bowl is empty. She will yell at you if her water is not to her liking. She will yell at you if her litter box is less than pristine. She will yell at you if you are petting Slade. She will yell at you if you are petting her. She will yell to be brushed and have her nails clipped and while you are doing these things, which you do not need to do because I’ve just done them, she will continue to yell.

She will yell and yell and yell and you will text me to ask if she needs to go to the vet because maybe she is sick, and I will text you back that we have taken her to the vet for this exact reason and the vet has examined her and she is fine. She just likes to talk. She likes to chitter and chirp and she thinks it’s the funniest thing on earth if you meow and then she meows and then you meow and then she meows and so on and so forth forever and ever, amen. Please feed her and try not to turn her into a hat, we love her tremendously but she’s absolutely the worst.

Love,

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Not Everything Sucks

Native people are creating a safe place for LGBTQ & two-spirit kids: 

In addition to fellowship and support, members learn about LGBTQ friendly community resources for mental health, counseling and substance abuse needs.

Janis invites representatives from various tribal agencies to speak at circle meetings and get to know its members.

“We’ve brought in people from the Public Safety Department. We want people to get to know us so our young people aren’t afraid to call police if needed,” Janis said.

Family members of LGBTQ people also attend the meetings.“We have mothers bringing their children to meetings; we have lesbian mothers bringing their children here for support too,” Janis said.

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First Draft is the Official Home of #DraftJimmy2020

I’m just saying he’s fucking immortal and we owe him a term: 

Jimmy Carter sat in his Plains home this week, tired but thankful.

Five months after breaking his hip, he had just finished up a tough session with his physical therapist. “She pushes me almost to the limit every time I have physical therapy, which is twice a week,” Carter said. “… I encourage her to give me all I can take.”

And he’s somehow managed to avoid that Old Man Thing where he’s threatened by Kids Today and/or thinks they’re useless layabouts who just text all the time:

Thunberg and young activists “are tackling the right project and going about it very effectively,” Carter said. “It was exciting to me and inspirational. The project in which they are working is worthwhile for all adults to adopt. I am sorry that Republicans have not adopted global warming as one of their challenges.”

I mean, for his birthday “all” he has planned are a half-dozen neighborhood keggers, nothing really wild:

Preparing the gear for an early morning fishing trip, Chip Carter says he feels lucky to have both parents around and to see his father mark another milestone birthday.

The former president has nothing spectacular planned.

“My goal is to stay home with my wife and have a few local birthday parties around Plains,” Carter said. “Nothing extraordinary or grandiose.”

I’m 44 and if I go to two events in one night I need to be put to bed with an Alka-Seltzer, meanwhile Jimmy’s out here all “COME ON YOU PUSSIES, LET’S HIT ONE MORE BAR.”

This is the big presidential energy we need right now.

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Not Everything Sucks

Elaine Chao might be going down and that’s good bad news for Mr. Elaine Chao, who we know and loathe as Mitch McConnell:

The House Oversight Committee sent Ms. Chao 18 different document and information requests related to the two matters, including requests for copies of any communication since January 2017 between Ms. Chao or any employee at the Transportation Department with her father or her sister Angela Chao, who is now the chief executive of Foremost.

The committee also asked for copies by the end of this month of all documents related to a trip that Ms. Chao planned to take to China in October 2017. The trip was canceled after State Department officials raised ethics concerns about her plan to include members of her family in meetings with Chinese government officials, as was reported in June by The Times.

Couldn’t be happening to a nicer family.

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Not Everything Sucks: WWII Badass Edition

If you need some motivation on your way to Crossfit or whatever, look at this blistering badass, Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, who is about to jump into Holland again 75 years after Operation Market Garden.

May these bad motherfuckers live forever, as they deserve.

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If you value what you read here, including all our thirst posts about WWII veterans who could still get it anytime, please contribute to our ongoing fundraiser. 

Help Women Spread the Vote

DAME magazine, which occasionally lets me write things for them, is running a GREAT campaign to help get out the vote and sustain their women-run journalism at the same time. 

Between now and November 3rd, 20% of DAME’s membership proceeds will go directly to Spread the Vote’s fight to increase access to the polls, remove barriers to voting, and GOTV efforts.

Go, read about it, help if you can!

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Not Everything Sucks

National Farmworkers Week exists: 

Now in its third year, the event helps mark National Farmworker Appreciation Day, which takes place Aug. 6 each year.

It’s an event that’s dear to Jaime Valero. Valero, workforce consultant at the organization, worked in the fields after school starting in seventh grade.

Farmworkers’ contributions to the community extend beyond the field, he said, and the work they do deserves appreciation.

“It’s how everybody eats. Onions are a big cash crop here and the workers make money and then use that money in this area,” said Valero.

Appreciate the people who make your food possible.

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Not Everything Sucks

Future President Cardi B exists:

I love her willingness to talk about things like this with her followers, most of whom seem otherwise pretty disengaged (mercifully so) from the day-to-day nonsense of this administration and the primary crap. She’s not speaking in Beltway-ese but she’s not stupid, plus her very existence pisses off all the right people:

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‘knowing that some of my friends would dislike it’

Let’s unpack Donna Brazile, who like most of Clinton’s staffers has been using her ex-boss’s victory as her entire resumé for years, agreeing to be in a book intended to launch Mark “I Masturbate To My Subordinates” Halperin back in to the mainstream:

Because there’s something more going on here than just Donna deciding that her friendship with this filth pig is worth more than the women he assaulted, and it’s particular to the Clinton Democratic Generation who are running around all mad right now that nobody’s listening to them about the future of the party.

I don’t know what kind of friends Donna has, but when mine tell me things like, “you are doing this thing and it’s dumb” or “your behavior is problematic” or “knock this off, asshole” I tend to … listen to them. They’re my friends. I respect their opinions and experience and understand they love me and have my best interests at heart even when I am doing my best to set my whole life on fire.

So if all my friends were like, “why would you choose to deal with this disgusting jerk” I would take that as a caution, not an endorsement. But Clinton Democrats, who saw their ex-boss and themselves rewarded by the national press for shitting non-stop on their own base and their own beliefs, see criticism from fellow centrists and liberals as validation.

My friends hate this, therefore it has value! My friends are advising me not to do this, so full speed ahead! My friends are hosting an intervention, therefore I’m on the right track with this whole heroin thing!

And you can trace an entire generation lost to pointless triangulation and political calculation that people will value you more for being contrary than being, you know, right, back to this impulse to go against the grain, because mavericks and bucking trends and new and different and etc. Never mind the grain is fine and maverickness is less valuable than, say, competence.

They’ve always been like this because when they were coming up “Democrat” meant losing loser who loses, and “liberal” meant hippie pussies spitting on troops. The only way to win elections in the face of that was to be a Democrat but not one of THOSE Democrats, you know, the ones who suck. How do you do that? You pick a random Dem and you shit on them, or you pick a policy central to your party’s existence and you kick the crap out of it on TV.

This is the environment Donna thrived in and she thinks she’s still in it because it worked once. That everyone involved in that victory was immediately enshrined in our national media (looking at you, Stephanopoulos) seems to them like proof it’s the right way to go. It explains everything about our national discourse, about what Democrats have refused to stand for in the past 30 years.

Democratic support for welfare reform. For increased policing and incarceration. For tax cuts for the rich, for pointless foreign wars, for refusing to punish war criminals and tax cheats, for Joe Lieberman’s VP candidacy and subsequent invitation onto every TV in the land to trash the few people who got it and fought back.

So when Donna’s friends say she’s making a bad decision — like when they said she shouldn’t go on Fox— where the rest of us would hear a note of caution, she hears the kind of approbation she’s always received, and thinks their condemnation is praise.

It was never really defensible but at one time in the past it was effective. Now it’s neither. It’s just sad.

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Not Everything Sucks

Muslim women are playing polo and kicking ass:

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Free Somebody Else

In honor of Toni Morrison, who never stopped working, who published a book this year, who kept looking straight at a world that hates and polices black women’s bodies and telling that world what she saw, for God’s sake, do something today to make somebody else free. 

“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’

“This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn’t matter to me what your position is. You’ve got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you’ve got.”

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Not Everything Sucks: Women’s History Edition

This is so cool: 

Mammadbeyova had her first child by the age of 16. Whilst attending Abilov’s Club, an educational resource for women, Mammadbeyova’s friend Zibeyda Ahmadova told her that that a flying club had been established in Baku. Excited, the two young women decided to sign up together. Zibeyda was rejected due to a heart condition, but Mammadbeyova was accepted. It was decided that her attendance should be kept secret, in order to protect her from negative reactions from people who believed that a woman’s place was in the home, not the cockpit. Indeed these sexist attitudes were to follow Mammadbeyova throughout her life: in Kchachmaz, a town in north-eastern Azerbaijan, she even survived an assassination attempt.

She made her first flight in 1931 whilst she was still in her early 20s.

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