good news, so far

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:23 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Maybe it's a good thing that I put off driving to Quebec to look at the historical archives of the Revolutionary era -- because I found some of what I would have gone looking for online, in historical society volumes from Michigan.

Why Michigan? I have no idea. But they are there.

Five volumes. More than 700 pages in most.

I'm downloading them and plan to read them all. What I'm looking at is the correspondence of Gen. Frederick Haldimand, a Swiss-born British soldier who became the military commander in the Americas. He was Ebenezer's boss, during the time of the events I'm dealing with, and a lot of the other characters involved with Ebenezer are likely to be in them as well. So far I've run into Brigadier MacLean, who was in command at Fort Niagara, and whom I've met in other letters before -- he wrote a friend about how badly Haldimand was dealing with the Sullivan expedition and how disappointed the Indians who were British allies were about it: "The king has a fool for a general" (direct quote from the letter, which is in the Archives of Ontario, filed under Scottish Immigrant Papers.) In the current letter, he's talking about running out of trade goods, asking to be sure the proper things are sent to Niagara and to Erie (which fort he had to borrow supplies from, and promised to make it up to them) and it is clear from his clipped-off sentences that he is really pissed about it all but can't say that to his boss.

It's something like 1800 pages overall. I'm downloading it in PDF and in MOBI, so I can read it on Kindle and cross-reference with the PDF for documenting pages and such for bibliographic info, if necessary.

I'm looking for two specific things (but I'll take others as they come): Ebenezer's promotion to lieutenant and move to the Indian Dept. from Butler's Rangers, and Ebenezer's own letter(s) to Haldimand demanding a reason why he was being detained without being charged and describing how he was being treated in various places of imprisonment (the Ranger camp at Niagara on the Lake, Hamilton (which was called something else then) and Quebec. I would have checked for these in Ottawa on principle, but apparently Ottawa was not that big a deal back then.

So, I'll spend the time I might have spent on the road (and more) in reading this pile of British military correspondence and getting to know the guys better. I can think of worse things to do in August.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Just what the subject said. The road crew is digging up the place they dug up and then paved over last week. The kitchen sink has been clogged for two days; the plumber says the snake is pushing the clog but not going through it. He's trying to get at it in the basement now, with the SU's help. He's the one turning water on and off up here.

I am back in the bedroom with Beautiful, who informed me in no uncertain terms that the new paving stones are too hot for her to walk on. Either that or she doesn't like stone dust between her toes because it tastes gritty. Anyway, she's lying on my t-shirt, a sock and a carry bag on the bed near my feet.

And so you get the links I have found...

The Oakland police dept. has severed its ties with ICE. And I love body cameras on cops, especially when the camera footage shows the cops planting drugs and faking evidence.

A good airplane story: A flight attendant saw 'help me' written in the aircraft toilet, informed the pilot and there were police there to catch the kidnapper and free the girl who wrote it when the plane landed. And there's information about a group of flight attendants that fights human trafficking.

Federal Judge James Boasberg found that the federal permits justifying the Dakota Access Pipeline were not filled out legally -- they lacked vital information on the effect of the pipeline on Native water, among other things -- and the court seeks an additional briefing to consider whether to shut down the pipeline altogether. This is a huge step and victory for the Standing Rock Sioux and the waterkeepers, even if it is not yet the final victory.

Elon Musk says he has verbal approval for an underground 'pipeline' that would take people from DC to NY very fast.

Info on preventing dementia long before it starts.

They thought it was just a rock. It's a million-year-old dinosaur fossil, a rare one.

Confessions of a NYTimes copyeditor. You may or may not have heard that the Times is laying off something like 30 -- or was it 60? -- copyeditors, a move that I look at with horror since those are the people who catch the inadvertant errors before they get in print. When I worked at a daily paper, the news path was: reporter, region/city editor, copyeditor, back shop for compositing and layout. Whoever was copyeditor edited all the stories on the first page of the local news section and designed its layout, and changed it at half-hour intervals for the four editions. But this was a one-printing newspaper -- one paper a day, different editions for different sales regions, such as city, local county, neighboring NY county, neighboring PA county. The NYTimes, on the other hand, has an international edition, a national edition, and several local editions each day, at different times and deadlines. That's an all-day job. And the copyeditors have to be sure that every story is factually correct and matches the style of the paper. (One of these days I'll write about stylebooks.) Anyway, the mere thought of losing copyeditors makes my skin crawl.

Apparently, NY City does not allow pet-sitting without a kennel license, and kennels aren't allowed in the city. This does not make things easy for pet owners, though
the Bloggess's letter to the pet sitter that wasn't sent would scare me off.

Speaking of pets and runaways, Trump's personal lawyer has left, quit, run off, and so has the legal team's media spokesman. Now the head of the team is ... and no, baseball fans, I am not joking ... Ty Cobb. (The baseball player Ty Cobb scored very well and was a bloody sunovabitch to deal with; he wore spiked shoes and if he didn't like you and you were guarding a base, he'd slide into the base and aim the spikes at your legs. He aimed at black players in particular.) Hmm. He'd be right at home with Trump, wouldn't he?

A trying time on a grand jury.

***

A break: Women win the Internet in tweets. And #10 illustrates why women should be on *every* design committee.

Decolonial theory at work in Australia.

Agatha Christie's coming to your screens, along with a lot of other interesting stuff.

9 classic country songs and the books they pair up with.

Fancy cotton candy art in China.

Jeramiah Moss was here.

Are the 1930s returning in the Left?

Giant metal chicken. Need I say more?

What a president with nothing to hide would say to the NYTimes.

Abandoned spaces.

Seven provisions in the Senate health care bill that may not survive committee review. Read this, despite the eyeblinding art at the top.

But you do need to know that a bill funding arts and humanities has made it out of committee. Yay NEA and NEH!

Where does time go? I don't know. I do know that this last link is posted for reference and not for your reading pleasure -- in case you have to look something up: a chronological list of Trump's lies.

The plumber is done, so I'm going to finally get my morn-, no, afternoon coffee.

awake! awake!

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:17 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Remember the 17th Amendment, the one that made it possible for you to elect your Senators instead of having them chosen by power brokers and current Senators? ALEC -- the American Legislative Executive Council, a far-right pressure group designed to influence legislation their way -- and the Koch brothers want this changed. They want to go back to having Senators chosen by other Senators. Which is not a good thing for any of us. This is a Bill Moyers story -- read it.

Okay, this next one needs a little history. In the Constitution, war powers are given to the Senate: only the Senate, on majority vote, can declare war. George W. Bush managed to get war powers transferred to him, I think in the Patriot Act. A Dept. of Defense appropriations bill was approved that included removing war powers from the President, giving them back to the Senate. After it was approved, Paul Ryan took that wording out of the bill, which had been given bipartisan approval.

ETA: A scientist blows the whistle on the Trumpists moving scientists to non-science jobs in the hope they'll quit, while leaving their previous useful positions unfilled.

***

A Friend from my Meeting is walking, biking and rowing/paddling the US. Here's his blog, about his journeys.

The finding of a 14,000-year-old settlement verifies the land claim of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Canada.

Armed redneck lefties fight fascism.

Marble helped scholars whitewash ancient history.

Who's your hero?

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:57 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am reading The Geek Feminist Revolution, and it is making me think about heroes. Kameron Hurley, the author, has an essay about societally-based-in-the-1950s ideas of heroes (male, straight, white) and about how the only women who are killers and who could be considered heroes in movies are Thelma and Louise and Aileen Wuornos (in 'Monster'). She talks about Charlise Theron's Furiosa from the last Mad Max movie separately, and well, but Imperator Furiosa is not, overall, a killer. She may be one of the few women heroes who isn't propelled by rape -- once you look around, that trope is everywhere -- but her story starts with maintaining the status quo and ends with her having entirely overturned it.

(She isn't dealing with race here -- yes, of course, Luke Cage is a hero, how could he not be? And Falcon, and T'Challa. And many others whom I see on cable but whose names I don't know. But the field of combat/discussion is sexism here.)

So. Who are the women I see as heroes in movies, not as 'women heroes'? Not as sidekicks, or (forgive me, Rosalind Russell) as equal-to-men-but-in-a-men's-world, such as Hildy in 'My Girl Friday' (which was originally a man's role)? (I am exempting comedies from this, overall, because being a hero can be largely humorless. If someone has a hero who is female and in a comedy, I'd really like to know about it.) And what is a hero? For purposes of this post, I'm defining a hero as someone who goes up against impossible odds to achieve a goal that generally include keeping 'self and/or one or more other people alive, whether or not they are people the hero personally knows. (There are variations -- achieving an impossible goal can be heroic, but isn't always presented as such.) Another requirement is that the hero is someone with agency who chooses to use it to change the status quo for the better. By the end of the movie, something has to be different because of what the hero did. The stakes must be high, the difficulties many and the resources limited.

(Sexism example: Nobody complains about the Sundance Kid shooting people. They complain about Thelma and Louise blowing up the rude sexist trucker's truck. There's only one shooting in that movie, of a rapist, and I don't even want to hear about how he 'hadn't done anything yet' when he'd brutalized Louise in a way that made it clear that she's not his first victim.)

(Yes, Buffy and Faith are heroes -- but I'm thinking movies here, not tv, and the movie of Buffy was not so much about heroism as about overturning high-school and prom-night-movie tropes.)

Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, in Alien, Aliens, etc. My favorite is the second movie, because I went to see it with a really horrible boyfriend I was trying to break up with, and it gave me the courage to dump him. Ripley is a killer because of circumstances -- self defense and protecting the girl -- and her targets are the enormous aliens that are trying to kill them. Does it not count as being a killer if you use a spaceship to do it? Or if the victims are trying to kill you and are aliens?

(Ripley was originally a man's role -- it was written for Paul Newman, as was Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. The name -- Axel Foley -- is a give-away, half Swedish and half Irish. I can come up with a few reasons why a black character would have that name -- but I seriously doubt that many black kids were named Axel until after the movie came out.)

Sally Field, in both Places in the Heart and Norma Rae. Neither of them has rape involved, present or past. This is steadfast, plugging, get-it-done heroism, not flashy. What changes is that through her hard work and steadfastness, and befriending outcasts (Danny Glover and John Malkovich), she keeps her home. It probably helps that Sally Field looks like a fluffy bunny in Places, and is sweaty and ungroomed in Norma Rae. I've worked in a factory without AC in the summer -- she looked like I felt on the assembly line. And that scene where she is dragged away to the police car, fighting for her life? She broke two ribs on one of the guys carrying her that day; she was dead serious in that fight.

Leia Organa, whether princess, freedom fighter, or general, is a hero. She's also a killer, unless all those dudes in white plastic armor don't count when she shoots at them and they fall down. She's also the Hutt-slayer and a liberator of planets. Over the first three movies (they will always be the first three for me, not the prequels) her character grows and develops. What we have lost when Carrie died was the rest of the story for her -- at least we have Movie 8 coming, with more of General Leia. (I have no idea why The Geek Feminist Revolution didn't include her as a hero, unless she's in an essay I haven't gotten to yet. I mean, she's the one with the two male sidekicks who think it's all about them.)

Karen Silkwood, played by Meryl Streep, is a hero, killed for trying to tell people about workplace safety violations in a plutonium factory. Meryl Streep also plays more of an action hero in The River Wild, and there are no rapes there -- and she does kill Kevin Bacon's character, who richly deserves it. However, Meryl Streep can play anything except a doormat; the closest she came to that was in Sophie's Choice, early on, where she is powerless to save both of her children from murder by the Nazis and never completely recovers afterward. It's a powerful role and amazing acting -- but she is not a hero, she's a survivor, and the two aren't necessarily the same.

Arwen Undomiel, one of two named women characters in Lord of the Rings (seriously: Rosie Cotton is a walk-on so Sam will have someone conventionally female to come home to) is a hero, and a swordfighter, when she rides down to the ford to bring Frodo up to Rivendell. I have fantasized at times about a version of LOTR from her viewpoint -- being the witness, seeing what's happening but not able to change the war, then choosing mortality over immortality because with Aragorn she had found something she could not find with another elf. There are hints in the books of their marriage being considered miscegenation by Elrond and others, but it can't be said overly strongly because he is Elrond Half-Elven, after all. What would her story look like, from her viewpoint? She wasn't Eleanor of Aquitaine, riding bare-breasted toward Jerusalem with the Crusades -- "the troops were dazzled" -- because sexuality barely exists in Tolkien's writing other than bromance. If anything, she is stuck being more like Katherine in Henry V -- outside the "men's discussion" of war and tribute and appeasement, but she escapes being the property that must be exchanged for the treaty to take place. But to get back to Arwen, heroes are people who act, and Arwen does act, in the scenes we see -- that is her choice. The book and movie show us the aftereffect, the willing bride and queen -- they don't show the inner struggle she went through to get there. (FWIW, I have a hard time not reading Merry and Pippin as kid sisters to Frodo, but that's me. Tomboy kid sisters who get into scrapes and out of them.)

Eowyn, also LOTR, is certainly a hero -- gets into armor, rides into battle, kills the Witch King --"No man can kill me." "I am no man." She also shows 'womanly' virtues by caring for the ailing king, her uncle, and mourning her brother. I would dearly love to see a story in which she and Arwen are hanging out and talking, since they are the co-rulers of neighboring countries. Peter Jackson has much to answer for in not having Faramir's courtship of and marriage to Eowyn in the movie. Yes, it was three hours long. It could have been three hours and five minutes.

I don't see Galadriel as a hero. Yes, she turns down the Ring. But that's it. Nothing changes for her after the movie -- she goes into the Weat, where all the elves were going anyway. She's a queen, a wise woman, a visionary -- but not a hero in these terms. And -- JRR Tolkien, why could you not have put Arwen and Galadriel in the same room *once*?

Speaking of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katharine Hepburn plays her as a hero in her own eyes who is stuck in a proscribed women's role and trying her best to get out of it at times by manipulation and scheming (traditionally considered women's weapons). But she also brings knives to her sons when her husband has imprisoned them, so they can fight their way out --"It's 1183, and we're all barbarians." Much as I love Kate's movies, it's hard for me to call her a hero. A strong woman, yes, but in that narrative (play or movie) not heroic. She does not change anything. At the end of the story she's going back to her own prison, and everyone who was alive when the movie started still is, though their relationships have shifted a bit. Hepburn played the roles that were available, and women-as-equals or women-as-partners were her forte. But not heroes. But Kate Hepburn's movies could be an entire other post or three.

I am not sure whether Celie, in The Color Purple, could be considered a hero. She does not overturn the status quo as much as go along with it for her own survival. Much of the time she doesn't have agency, and when she does it's fairly minor -- designing women's trousers is not quite like going over a waterfall in a raft with your son and two murderers (The River Wild).

Regardless of Hollywood's prejudices, Black Widow is a hero, as well as a survivor. I would like to see a movie in which we see both of those -- the agency she has is to change herself after Hawkeye refuses to kill her. And yes, she's a killer -- it's her job. I'm not sure she's written as well as she deserves. Fanfic does better by her than the movies do, at this point, much of the time.

What women are your movie heroes, and why? (Y'all are forgetting to tell me why...)

ETA: It's a series, not a movie, but all the major women in Black Sails are heroes, in particular Eleanor Guthrie (who singlehandedly tries to keep the village of Nassau profitable), Max (who goes from slavery and prostitution to managing businesses, owning land, and not employing anyone enslaved), and Anne Bonney (who is a pirate, no excuses, no arguments, and who takes down a murderous thug who had already killed several men -- she noticed the shards of broken glass over to the side, and once she had them, it was as if she had her swords again.) They are all complex, complicated characters, who love and hate and make deals and make compacts and agreements and understand how their world works when many of the men around them don't.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Yes, yes, I said I was walking away for a while -- and then we got wall-to-wall contractors (today, stonemasons and the installer for a new garbage disposal, and possible another beyond that) and I have to be here.

ETA: Got the new disposal, but the pipe needs to be snaked *below* the disposal, and this was discovered after it was installed. Plumber won't come till Friday. We're going to eat out a lot.

Anyway, now you suffer through a few links I tripped over:

Let's look at matters educational (or not):

School should be impractical. hmm.

Women's colleges may say they support women, but that doesn't always show in the way they treat adjuncts.

As paperwork goes missing, student loans may be wiped away.

Predatory programs aren't just from for-profit colleges. Look again. One of them is at Harvard, the American Repertory Theatre Institute. And as a result of people learning that ART Institute burdens students with tons of debt, that program isn't accepting admissions for the next 3 years.

In theatre, seeing your own face, your gender, your ethnicity on stage is important. It can, in fact, be magic.

Marriage and Brehon law in ancient Ireland. And all 10 forms of marriage are listed.

Media:

Ken Burns is doing a documentary on Vietnam. It's taken 10 years -- he's done a lot of interview, and nobody agrees about anything. He wanted to avoid the old tropes and the old narrative, and here's why it was difficult. And it starts in September.

Disney wants to acquire a new generation of Star Wars fans.

Behind the scenes of The Last Jedi.

The voice of Kermit the Frog has been fired.

Arundhati Roy on writing, life, politics and the air we breathe.

TED: Life lessons from writers.


Black Lives Matter:

If you don't know Ida B. Wells Barnett, you should.

Why I'm leaving the Southern Baptist Convention.


Trumpery and WTFery:

The real plan is to cut legal immigration.

Jeff Sessions was the guest speaker to attorneys from the rabid Alliance Defending Freedom, and he made them some promises: he told them to go ahead and impose their Christianist beliefs on unbelievers, LGBTQ people and more.
Money quote:

In all of this litigation and debate, this Department of Justice will never allow this secular government of ours to demand that sincere religious beliefs be abandoned. We will not require American citizens to give intellectual assent to doctrines that are contrary to their religious beliefs. And they must be allowed to exercise those beliefs as the First Amendment guarantees.

Note that he is promising that the entire Justice Dept. will back up this behavior.

This town melts down.

Something good: The House rejected an Islamophobic proposal that would have required Muslims to receive special scrutiny from the Defense Dept.

Something not good: Trump only plays golf on courses he owns. When he plays at the course along the Potomac, wounded veterans doing on-the-water rehab and Olympic kayak and boating teams are banned from the water for security.

A lawsuit forced Trump to hand over the secret Mar-a-Lago guest list to three watchdog groups.

The closing of the Republican mind.

Yes, Trump Tower is being used for money laundering, according to the eighth man in one of the meetings with the Russians. *looks out the window* I can almost see the grimy soapsuds from here.


None of the above:

Oops!

400 soldiers from Maryland that disappeared during the Revolution may have been found, in NYC. And no, they have not been on a bender the whole time.

Sacred architecture, not necessarily welcome.

Polyamory, not necessarily unwelcome.

How a hunter-gatherer diet affects the body. Also thoughts on decolonizing your diet.

Climate change is making Native people adapt their rituals. And would a revenue-neutral carbon tax slow it down?

The Kitten Rental Program is saving lives.

The defiant, refugee-loving history of New Mexico.

Is R. Kelly holding women against their will, in a cult?

To be a genius, think like a 94-year-old.

what I should've said, maybe?

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:22 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I went to meet with one of the women's groups that's just starting up at my Quaker Meeting last night. And something happened that I both did and didn't expect.

I didn't know what to say. behind cut for length )

This is Jane Austen's 200th Birthday

Jul. 18th, 2017 10:31 am
twistedchick: (Young Carrie Fisher)
[personal profile] twistedchick
As of today, Jane Austen is the only woman besides the Queen who will be on British money. She will be on the 10-pound note. The note is polymer, not paper, and once it enters circulation the paper money will be withdrawn from circulation.

And not only was Jane not shy, or hiding her writing from family and friends, she was a political symbol for early feminists.

And she wrote great books! This article thinks her most widely mocked character is her most subversive.

***

The resistance is getting somewhere. People going to Town Halls and harassing their congresspeople not to remove health care -- it's working. It looks now as if the Trumpnocare proposal is dead -- it lacks two Republicans. One of those is Jerry Moran, a second-term Congressman from Texas, with 300 constituents -- 100 of them showed up at his Town Hall, telling him about their lives and how they need health care. He came back and opposed Trumpnocare. (I would link this but it's the NYTimes editorial newsletter, which shows up in my mailbox and doesn't have a link.) Quoting:

You may recognize Moran’s name from the news this morning. He was one of two Republican senators, along with Mike Lee of Utah, who appeared to doom the health care bill last night by announcing their opposition.

I’m not suggesting that the Palco meeting was the main reason for Moran’s decision. Yet he clearly felt political pressure to oppose the bill, and his recent meetings with constituents were a big part of that pressure.

One of this newsletter’s themes this year has been the potential effectiveness of grass-roots political organizing. The Tea Party showed as much in 2010, and the so-called Trump resistance has showed the same in recent months.

“The nation owes incredible gratitude to @Indivisible_KC @Indivisible_LFK @KansasACSCAN,” Topher Spiro, of the Center for American Progress, tweeted last night (referring to the Kansas chapters of both the Indivisible organizing group and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network). “It’s unbelievable what they’ve done.”

The fight to allow Americans to keep their health insurance still isn’t over, as Andy Slavitt, the former administrator of Medicare and Medicaid, noted last night. But the collapse of this bill is no small thing.

It would be excellent news if Congress now turned its attention to fixing the real problems with Obamacare and the health care system.


The Times editorial writer has some summer homework for readers who want to wrestle with a topic. (Not a requirement for you all, since you already do it, but may be of interest.)

And former EPA staffers have a how-to for resisting Trump's agenda.

***

Dress codes, appropriateness, Twitter, and so on. And in Saudi Arabia, a video of a woman in a skirts sparks outrage. Meanwhile, American tech companies -- and Netflix -- run afoul of censorship while trying to please the huge market in India, which is sexually conservative and doesn't want to see images of upset, injured or butchered cows. The part about trying to sell sex toys is interesting, too.

Finding deals in Barcelona.

Snail racing championships.

***

How to tell where broadband companies stand on net neutrality.

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:01 pm
twistedchick: (jesus juggling)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I did some manips of a really awful Sacred Heart image that The Bloggess commented on here. From her description, the original is an old household holy water font.

Here are a few of them, for you to take. My favorite is the Juggling Jesus that is on this post. Feel free to add text or other refinements (of a reasonable and non-hostile nature) to the ones without text.







And, as I said elsewhere, it's only sacrilege if you think that the image *is* God. And if so, I can direct you to a long list of theological articles about the error of confusing deity with a human-created object....

Besides, Jesus had a sense of humor -- how else could he have put up with the 12 Wiseguys?
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I don't know if you recall, but a month or so ago I wrote about how torrent-like flooding had come in through the brickwork in the fake fireplace behind the couch one night, during the kind of storm from the south that makes me feel as if I am truly down on the rocky ledge next to Niagara Falls, getting sprayed no matter what I do. The fake fireplace -- installed under a window, no, don't ask, I didn't do it, it's from the early 60s -- had a crack all the way across the brickwork. At that point I covered it with trash bags and rocks (to hold down the bags), and sought a stonemason.

We found one, a charming older man who, with his son, is tackling repairs on said bit of brickwork -- and the first part of it is using a big round disk-saw type of thing to cut away the broken brick. Hence the headache.

He had given us three options for repair: 1. fix the crack (which does not mean it couldn't open again, somewhere else), 2. take off the top layer of brickwork, put on one or two big pieces of slate and mortar them into place, 3. take the whole thing out, brick up the hole, redo that part of the patio. We went with #2 because Beautiful likes to sit on top of the thing when it's raining, far enough under the eaves that it's like she has her own back porch where she can sit and watch what's happening. And maybe the next person in this house -- several decades from now -- will brick up the window and reattach the gas main to the pipe and make it a fireplace. (I do not usually think of the wellbeing of the next person in this house because I probably won't meet them and when they are here it's their problem, not mine.) But at this point it's for the cats' sake, and for mine, so I won't have a cold draft down the back of my neck in the winter.

So it's loud out there, and I'm in here. I should go run errands but I want the headache to subside first.

Ultimately we will have a very nice fake fireplace thing, and then he's going to repair the stonework on the patio (yay!) and take a look at a place where some mortar-ish waterproofing is peeling away from the area between the poured basement and the brickwork above it. Yes, poured as in the entire set of concrete floor and walls was poured in one piece with a drain in the laundry room. It's like an enormous concrete cup, which confuses people, but hey, it's not cracked.

New Release – Waters of the Deep

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:10 am
alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)
[personal profile] alex_beecroft
Like busses, no matter how much I try to schedule releases so they’re regular, it always ends up with a long time of nothing and then a glut, so coming soon we have: Foxglove Copse and Heart of Cygnus Five, followed at a distance by Pride of Cygnus Five and Contraband Hearts.

However, today is the release day for Waters of the Deep

 
Charles and Jasper are brought in to investigate a fatal stabbing in (the cotton-mill town of) Paradise. But this time the only troublesome ghost in the case is their own adopted child Lily. So what’s leaving the glistening trail in the woods? Why did the vicar’s daughter suddenly kill herself? And what is happening to the extra cow?

This is the second novella length story in my Unquiet Spirits series:

  • Buried With Him – short story,
  • The Wages of Sin – novella
  • Communion – short story
  • Waters of the Deep – novella

Charles and Jasper have been living together for a while, having moved in to Jasper’s house and adopted the ghost girl, Lily. They’ve made a name for themselves as the people you call in to investigate when disasters happen that seem to have supernatural elements. But domesticity has been wearing on Charles, especially when he is ridiculed in the public papers for it, and it may take a murder or two to save their relationship.

~

If you haven’t read the previous stories in the series and you would like to get them for free, sign up for my newsletter

You’ll receive links for Buried With Him, The Wages of Sin (including Communion) and two other novels for free:

 

My Newsletter

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

Church welcome

Jul. 16th, 2017 03:57 pm
maco: white brunette woman with a white headcovering and a blue dress (Default)
[personal profile] maco
This morning I went and visited the Skyline Vineyard Church in Virginia. I was very impressed by how friendly they were, and I wanted to write it all down.

Welcome in the Vineyard church

It starts with arrival. I had my Google Maps telling me where to go, but you know how sometimes it's a bit off about exactly how far down the block a place is? Handily, they had these 10-15ft tall flags either side of the driveway. I spotted them before I even saw the steeple.

There was a greeter (in a Skyline Vineyard t-shirt) standing on the front porch. "Hi! First time here?" He shook my hand and introduced himself. Then he opened the door, pointed out the refreshments table, and introduced me by name to two people who'd been chatting in the lobby.

I went to get a cup of tea. They had someone stationed to pour coffee and hot water. That person also made a point to welcome me and introduce himself. As I was putting the lid on my cup, a woman walked up to me and introduced herself. She handed me an envelope (8.5x5.5) and told me this is their welcome packet. She told me that inside I'd find a connection card, and I probably should've let her finish explaining just to see what she said, but I knew what a connection card was thanks to the Church Communications group on Facebook. She did explain a little, that it's just to get some information, and that there's space on the back for feedback and space in case you have something you'd like them to pray for. You don't always see those on connection cards. The back also asked how you found them.

Also inside the welcome packet was a paper explaining what communion is and how they do it.

The guy who poured the hot water for tea/cocoa and poured coffee also pointed out snack trays. There were a few round cocktail tables near the snacks to encourage people to stand around and chat a bit rather than head straight to their seats.

Welcome in a Friends meeting

Often our meetings are in schools and other rented space. Even in meetinghouses, meetinghouses just aren't that recognizable to people who aren't already used to Quakers. I'm not sure I've ever seen a meeting with a lit-up sign until my meeting got some solar spot lights a few months ago (so good luck finding a meetinghouse at night). Mostly if there's a meetinghouse, the sign tends to be simple painted slabs of wood, with text of an appropriate size for foot traffic or perhaps the horse & buggy traffic that was common when the place was built. The text is usually too small for someone driving a car at speed to read, though. There's one meeting I've visited several times and accidentally driven by every time. You'd think I'd learn to recognize it, but I only visit annually, so it's like I'm a newcomer every time. If there's not a meetinghouse, just rented space, then a 1m tall A-frame sign (like you see for advertising the specials at a sandwich shop) seems to be normal.

So, off the bat (and really, this isn't just me, I've heard it from others before, including about the one I keep driving by), if you've had trouble finding the place, you're starting off a little harried and maybe a little late if you had to double back and look for the building.

Joshua from Church Hoppers podcast recorded an episode after he visited a Quaker meeting for the first time. He tells me nobody talked to him until after worship was over. I can see how that'd be the case. (And ok, I've finally listened to the episode now.)

From what I understand, tradition would have worship start as soon as the first person sits down to worship. Traditional meetinghouses don't have lobbies. Thus, if you're in a traditional meetinghouse and you follow that "worship starts on arrival" tradition, the porch is the only place to talk to a newcomer, say hello, chat a bit, explain the way we worship, etc. Given a goodly sized porch roof and nice weather, that probably works out. Winter's probably not so good, though. You'd want to get straight inside where it's warm, and then you get in there, and no matter how "early" you got there, everyone's already in worship, and... well, this is where that joke about the newcomer tapping the guy next to him to ask "when does the service start?" ("when the worship ends") comes in.

At least at Adelphi Friends and Friends Meeting of Washington (FMW), people file in ahead of time, and then the start of worship is actually announced. FMW has head of meeting read out a brief explanation of waiting worship. Adelphi has singing (call out a hymn number) until it's time. When the piano stops, the worship starts. Both have a lobby type area. Neither is very big, but you can fit a few people. This allows more chance to greet new people than the old fashioned way.

I've been to a bunch of other meetings (Pittsburgh, Marlborough PA, Fifteenth Street in NYC, Takoma Park, Bethesda, Stillwater, Greene Street, London-Euston, Frome). Some of them do the first thing. Some do the second. Pittsburgh has a larger lobby area. The really small ones, I've usually been there at the right time to be handed something and put to work with setup, so I don't know how showing up after setup would be. Or, you know, I've walked in late. That happens too.


My first visits at 2 Quaker meetings

I'm just going to use a couple meetings I know well as illustrations, but I assure you, I've seen these patterns elsewhere.

I don't think I ever had the "normal" new person experience at either FMW or Adelphi, though. At FMW, I went to the little meeting next door because I was nervous about the huge crowd in the main meetingroom. Turns out you can be anonymous in a crowd more easily. Oops. At Adelphi, my first visit was with my husband, who'd grown up as a kid in that meeting. I don't think I'll ever have the "normal" new person experience at any meeting, unless I wear my hair down and go in costume as a regular 21st century woman.

If I'm remembering December 6, 2009 correctly (not guaranteed), then I think someone was at the door to Quaker House when I arrived. A brief hello and a point up the stairs to the room where worship occurs. Afterward, there was an announcement of tea/coffee/cookies in the meetinghouse basement. I went over, and I'm not sure I even grabbed anything to consume. I walked into the assembly room door and stood just inside the door, against the wall. A young woman named Lucy saw me from across the room and made a bee line. "Hey, you're new here, right?" Turns out we were going to the same college (I as an undergrad, she as a grad student). She introduced me to some of the other young adults. The next week I went to the main meeting, and I absolutely did not introduce myself during "stand and introduce yourself" time. That was a room with 70 strangers. Heck no. What if that turned into an altar call like at that Baptist church I visited with my family the week before? Nope. No way.

I don't remember much about my first time at Adelphi. By then I'd worshipped at FMW for 3 years and Friends of Jesus for about 6 months, so there wasn't shiny newness about going to meeting. Like I said, my husband grew up in that meeting. I don't particularly remember anyone talking to me before going in to join in the singing, but there are greeters, so that probably happened. There's a potluck lunch every week after worship. We hadn't brought anything, so we didn't stay (thinking it'd be rude). Nowadays, they make a point to say "whether you brought something or not, you're welcome to join us." At the end, just like at FMW, newcomers (and "returning after a long absence") were asked to stand and introduce themselves. By this point I'd visited other meetings and was more used to that routine. And we'd shown up with the intention of asking the meeting he grew up in to marry us, so we weren't worrying about the ability to slip away.

The usual

Ordinarily, FMW has someone on the front bench stand at the start and read out a welcome and an explanation of what's about to happen with us all being very quiet. Ordinarily, someone is posted at the top of the stairs, at the indoor entrance to the meetingroom. I don't believe anyone is posted at the wheelchair-accessible entrance or the other two exterior entrances to the meetingroom. Someone might be at the entry door that's at the foot of the stairs. (I can't remember) Also, it's been a few years since I regularly attended there, so things could've changed—grain of salt.

I don't think I have ever been given a welcome/newcomer packet when visiting any meeting. I know Adelphi has them, and I know they're not new. Maybe things were just a little hectic at the time, or they'd been misplaced or whatever. They do give them out now. Most meetings seem to go for "there are pamphlets over there; help yourself."

Some meetings also have the doors close at worship time (what it seems Joshua was expecting, since he was surprised to find his noise had been audible to the worshippers). Some meetings expect latecomers to open the door and walk in. Some expect them to wait for a particular time before they go in (especially if they keep kids in for the first part of worship, then have them leave for kids stuff). Friends Meeting of Washington switched from one to the other while I was there. That they're supposed to wait until a certain time may or may not be clear to late newcomers. I don't know how common it is for the greeter to wait until the late arrival time to catch late-arriving newcomers.

The Differences

Here are the two main differences:
  1. who bears the burden of introductions?
  2. when do you get to meet people?
Who bears the burden?

At the Vineyard church, the greeter recognized me as new. The greeter introduced himself immediately. The greeter remembered my name long enough that he introduced me. The regulars were proactive about introducing themselves.

In every Quaker meeting I've been to, the guest is expected to proactively introduce themself. "Please stand up in a room full of strangers and introduce yourself to us." In many meetings, everyone wears nametags. Do we rely on our nametags and fail to introduce ourselves? Probably. I'm pretty sure I do. I need to work on that.

Do we know our own communities well enough to immediately recognize new people? I'm sure the small meetings do. It's easy to say "you're not one of the usual 8 people." It's harder with a bigger group, but it's worth the effort. Greeters really need a certain gift for recognizing faces.

When do you meet people?


At the Vineyard church, the time before worship was dedicated to getting to meet and talk to folks. Afterward, people seemed to just grab the kids and head out. I did chat a little with a couple of people who turned out to be very interested in Pennsic. (One had asked whether I had any travel planned.)

In most Quaker meetings, the time after worship seems to be dedicated to getting to meet and talk to folks. There either is no time before worship or it's dedicated to a Bible study, Bible reading, or hymn singing. Joshua says in his podcast that he found it awkward to find his way through to the right room, discover the door had been open and his saying "wait, which way do I go??" in the hallways had been intruding, and then sit down silently with a bunch of perfect strangers and no introduction. The "good morning" didn't come until the end. Awkward start; friendly end.

Conclusions

I think Quakers need to rethink these two points. Well, I'm sure many churches need to work on choosing and training greeters well and cultivating a culture of proactive welcome. A lot of them are bad at it!

I know, I know, we're a denomination full of introverts (speak for yourselves—I'll talk your ear off, once I have a topic). But there's a difference between being introverted and being rude. If you're an introvert and find yourself face to face with a guest, spot your nearest extrovert and introduce the two.

The part about making people feel comfortable before they enter worship is something I think is worth exploring. Joshua said in his podcast that even having signs saying something like "please join us in silent worship in this room" would've been helpful toward making him feel less awkward/embarrassed about his arrival. Is it actually a theological imperative for us to hold socialization until the end?

And I know those tall flags aren't cheap, but a 10-footer is $200 if you have dirt to jam it into or $250 if you need to set it out on the sidewalk. VistaPrint's probably got coupons too. They've always got coupons running. Maybe that's something your meeting can work into its budget if it's having trouble with visibility. (Yes, Philadelphia. I know, Philadelphia. You have gigantic highly-visible meetinghouses. Thanks for rubbing it in.)

Fic: Shining Armour (Yuri!!! on Ice)

Jul. 16th, 2017 10:04 pm
el_staplador: Yuri Plisetsky from 'Yuri!!! on Ice' sticking his tongue out; caption 'makes me wanna barf' (yuri on ice)
[personal profile] el_staplador
I posted a fic. It's not at all the sort of thing I usually write...

Shining Armour (1900 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Yuri!!! on Ice (Anime)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Michele Crispino/Emil Nekola, Michele Crispino & Sara Crispino
Characters: Michele Crispino, Emil Nekola, Sara Crispino, Yuri!!! on Ice Ensemble, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Alternate Universe - toyshop, Fluff and Angst, Angst with a Happy Ending, Experimental Style
Summary:

They came out of the factory on the same day. They were packed in the same box, sent to the same shop, displayed on the same shelf. But now somebody's bought the lady and left the knight behind. Nobody understands what a disaster this is, except maybe the robot on the shelf above...




I have also managed to post my assignment for Rare Ships!!! on Ice, a whole day before the deadline. This, by contrast, has my grubby fingerprints all over it. (At least, I think it does. I shall be interested to see if anyone guesses.)

5 Reasons to love the 18th Century

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:20 pm
alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)
[personal profile] alex_beecroft

My new novella, ‘Waters of the Deep‘ is coming out tomorrow.

It’s a gay historical supernatural murder mystery set in the 18th Century, and I’ve noticed that when I say this to people they generally reply “oh, right; the Regency period.”

While I would certainly like to read Pride and Prejudice, the GBLT version – where Darcy and Bingley end up together – the Regency is very different in terms of dress and social mores from the 18th Century proper.  The French revolution 1789-1799 may have lasted only 10 years, but it made a huge impact on the culture of the time.  In Britain, at least, society became much more anxious, much more inclined to self-discipline and morality, self restraint and prudishness – as if by being conventionally virtuous they could stop the same thing from happening there.

Before the French Revolution, British society had been noisy, bumptious, rude and confident.  You see a glimpse of it in Jane Austen with all those crass, vulgar, big-hearted old people who embarrass their more refined children and grandchildren.  In Patrick O’Brien’s series of sea-faring novels set in the Napoleonic era, Jack Aubrey’s father, who damages Jack’s prospects of promotion by being loud and annoying in parliament, and damages Jack’s prospects of inheritance by marrying his chambermaid, is also a nod to the livelier, cruder days of the 18th Century proper.

Five reasons to Love the 18th Century.

 

  1. Start shallow and work up 😉 The clothes! This was probably the last period in history when men were allowed to be as gorgeous as women.

http://www.antoinettescloset.com/realmenscloths.htm

This is the era of the poet-shirt with the big baggy sleeves and the neckline down to the navel, with or without ruffles or lace, as you prefer.  Rich men wore multi-coloured silk outfits with wonderful embroidery, contrasting waistcoats and knee breeches with fine silk stockings underneath.  Poor men wore the classic highwayman/pirate outfits complete with tricornered hats.  Did you know that a good calf on a man’s leg was considered such a desirable form of beauty that some men stuffed calf-enhancers made of cork down there?

  1. Pretty deadly gentlemen. The nice thing about all this male peacock display is that it could not be taken for a sign of weakness. All these gorgeously plumed lads had been training to fence and fight and ride and shoot since they were old enough to stand up.  Ever seen ‘Rob Roy’ where Archie Cunningham slices and dices Liam Neeson as Rob Roy, while wearing an immaculate ice-blue waistcoat and extravagant Belgian lace?

There’s something very attractive about a class of men with Archie Cunningham’s ruthless intelligence, masterly swordfighting skills and love of expensive tailoring, but with the ‘evil bastard’ gene turned down a little.  One of my heroes in the Unquiet Spirits series – Charles Latham – teeters on the edge of that refined man of honour/dangerous sociopath divide.  He is less murderous than simply spoiled, privileged and entitled, but at times it’s a struggle not to want to box his ears. Bless him.

  1. Science!

For the first time in history ships and the provisioning of ships had advanced to the point where navigation was relatively reliable.  Enough food and water could be stored aboard so that voyages could continue for months or even years at a time.  From the perspective of the West, this was an age of exploration and discovery, when the old superstitions of the past were for the first time being investigated to see how much was true about them. In Jasper and Charles’s world they are rather more true than in our own.

  1. Filth, pamphlets and pornography.

Unlike Jane Austen’s time, when a well brought up young woman could be horrified by the idea of acting in a play, or writing to a young man who was not her fiancé, the 18th Century was much more… robust.  Filthy, in fact.  Literally filthy – streets full of horse manure and dead dogs, through which live cattle were lead to slaughter at the markets every morning (sometimes escaping to break into banks and terrorise the bankers).  But also redolent with filthy language; swearing, f’ing and blinding, referring to a spade as a spade, and various bodily functions by their Anglo-Saxon names.  The 18th Century style of vocabulary in a gentleman’s coffee house would be too crude for me to subject refined persons of the 21st Century to.  But because of this overabundance of filth you do also get a great sense of vitality and humour, of people who are unashamed and determined to squeeze the last particle of enjoyment out of the world.  People who cannot be cowed.  Their pornography reflects this; bumptious but strangely innocent (or perhaps just plain strange.)  Very much not safe for work link: http://joyful-molly.livejournal.com/57556.html#cutid1

5. The Gay Subculture.

By the early 18th Century urbanization had reached a point in London that there were enough gay people in one place to begin to recognise each other and form a subculture of their own.  There were well known cruising spots such as the Inns of Court, Sodomite’s Walk in Moorfields or Birdcage Walk in St. James’ Park.  The technical term for homosexual people at the time was ‘sodomites’ but they called themselves ‘mollies’, and there were molly houses where they could go to meet up and ‘marry’.  Famous mollies like ‘Princess Seraphina’ – a London butcher – spent a great deal of time in drag.  He seems to have been accepted into his community without a lot of fuss, as there are records of him dropping round to his female neighbours’ houses to have a cup of tea and borrow their clothes.

I really recommend Rictor Norton’s ‘Mother Clap’s Molly House’ http://www.rictornorton.co.uk/ as a great guide to that culture; scholarly but easy to read, generous and fascinating.  So fascinating I had to set at least one of my stories around a fictional molly house in Bermuda.  That’s Desire and Disguise, in the ‘I Do’ anthology, in which an unwary straight guy stumbles into the house by accident and gets a little more than he bargained for.  You might also be interested in this ‘choose your own adventure’ site:

http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/forbidden/index.html

Mother Clap’s molly house, you’ll be relieved to know, was so called because it was run by a gay friendly lady called Margaret Clap, not because that was something you were likely to get there!

In short, the 18th Century in which the Unquiet Spirits series was set could not be more different than the prim and refined era of the Regency novel.  I can’t offer a comedy of manners, only a fair degree of lust and violence, badly behaved ghosts, bad language, and dangerous men in gorgeous clothes. But if you enjoyed The Wages of Sin, this is both more of the same and something a little bit different. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

PSA: taking a health break

Jul. 16th, 2017 12:40 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Here's the situation: I have spent so much time in the last three years sitting down (or lying down, back early last year when I was so anemic and gut-bleeding from IBS that it was all I could do for a few months, other than run to the bathroom) that some of my muscles have decided they wanted to be shorter and tighter -- that's leg muscles, and it's no fun. It doesn't hurt to sit down, or (after 10 minutes) to walk, Or to just stand. But getting up and down hurts.

What would help the most is more time not sitting down, off computer. However, if I'm newsblogging at the rate I've been doing it lately, that's several hours a day going through news articles and another hour or more writing it up. Which I love doing, and I know it helps you all, but it's not helping my body much.

So I am going to take a break for a while from intense newsblogging. When it doesn't hurt as much to get up and down, I will be back at it. I *will* do short posts of whatever is drastic that you need to know about, but otherwise, I apologize, you will have to look elsewhere for the news.

Here are (the majority of) my sources, all of which you can find online, and many of which will gladly send you updates daily or weekly in your email. Apologies for not hotlinking any of them -- I think you should be able to find them easily enough. If you have trouble, let me know:

NY Times
Politico
Washington Post (it may be kinder to you than to me; it has tried to get me to subscribe but runs the numbers on me when I try to -- changing bargains into non-bargains -- which I think happens because I am in their delivery area. If you are not, you may not have this problem.)
Mother Jones
Yes! magazine
CNN
The Guardian UK
Vanity Fair
The Independent
Religion Dispatches
NPR
Time magazine (occasionally)
Rochester Business Journal
Empire Report -- this is a compendium of all useful Page One links throughout New York state, plus hotlinks at the bottom of the page for every daily newspaper in the state. It's daily, 5 days a week. If you want all the dirt on NYS politics, or how the state is dealing with the rising water in Lake Ontario, or what New Yorkers think of Chris Christie's machinations, this is your go-to.
Flipboard
Slate

Above is the short list, not complete. That may give you some idea of what I read daily.

I apologize again for doing this -- I don't want to let you all down -- but my health matters.

And, like Gen. MacArthur, Iron Man/Ironsides, and Captain America, I shall return.

ETA: One more thought on contacting your Congresspeople and Senators: each of them has a personal webpage online through Congress. If you really want to be heard, instead of just signing petitions, rewrite a petition in your own words and copy/paste it into the email section on that personal page. Mass-produced petitions can sometimes be overlooked, but Congresspeople tend to pay attention to what is sent individually to them. Many Republicans will not accept email from people outside their own representation area -- so be sure to contact your own people first. Doesn't hurt to point out that you put them in office, and you can work to get rid of them, so you're paying attention to what they do on this issue. Choose only one issue at a time, and give no more than 3 reasons why you support/oppose the bill. You should get an email that may look routine -- think of it as a receipt. You may also get something far more personal in reply -- that happens with my Congressman and one of my Senators fairly often, as well as with state-level representatives. It's worth a try and it costs no more than a few minutes' time.

***

A very few political links:

These three lawyers are quietly purging voter roles across the country.

Award-winning journalist writes about Jewish women barred from the Chicago Pride march, and is removed from reporting duties.

Watch out for 'skimmers' attached to ATM card readers -- they can steal your info.

The first of the Marines who posted naked photos of Marine women on the Marines United webpage has been court-martialed and sentenced. More court martials are to follow.

A few non-serious fun non-political links:

15 roles that prove Emma Watson has left Hermione behind.

The Book of Diana: Wonder Woman as theological text.

Poe Dameron as Hamlet: a review of Oscar Isaacs in that role, playing now.

Busy day!

Jul. 13th, 2017 12:20 am
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Morning: feeding cat, finishing car registration.
Lunch: driving to Kirkland.
Afternoon: orientation for temp stuff.
Dinner: driving back, locating closed toe shoes and black pants.
Evening: catching up with Purple, sharing leftovers and various video content with partner.
Night: curled up happily.

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 12:11 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Alaska's bears will feel overheated this weekend. And the rest of us should find ways to keep cool also. However, weather change doesn't make caribou as anxious as logging does.

An iceberg the size of Delaware just broke off the Antarctic shelf. Maps will need to be redrawn.

The security company that tracked DAPL water protectors is off the job, no longer associated with Energy Transfer Partners.

After the first trial of Trump inaugural protesters, the first sentence is 4 months. Not 20 years.

Congress is unnerved by cyberattacks on the energy grid, possibly by Russians. Also, they're not especially happy that their pay and benefits are at a standstill -- but hey, what about the rest of us who don't have jobs with pensions and health care?

50 members of the KKK came to Charlottesville, VA. 1000 counterprotesters met them there. And then the police showed up.

In Mexico, spyware targeted investigators seeking lost students.

North Korea is exporting its citizens to Russia, where they work like slaves.

Israel to American Jews: You don't matter.

A portrait of Eric Prince (Betsy Prince De Vos's brother and founder of Blackwater mercenaries): tycoon, contractor, soldier, spy.

***

Yes, Donald Jr. met with Russians to get info to hurt Hillary. Did it occur to him that this is illegal? Does he comprehend the meaning of the word 'illegal'? Of course the official word at the White House is that the only thing 'illegal' about DJr's actions was the leaks that let the press know he'd done them. That sounds so much like some robber complaining that the only reason robbing a bank is illegal is that he was caught. And Mitch McConnell is punting questions about it. It seems that outraged Republicans want answers about the whole thing, and will not stop asking for them. The NYTimes weighs in: the moment Jr was approached, he should have contacted the authorities, preferably the FBI, as previous administrations did when approached by outsiders offering info. The Times says much more, of course, all of it valid. After all, when offered inside info, the Trumps embraced it like a long-lost relative. From this last article, a quote:

Read the whole email exchange, but here’s the key paragraph: “The Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

This passage undermines the Trump and White House position in three crucial ways — not attributed to vague “sources” but in black and white documentary form. Here’s what the email does:

1. It shows that the Russian government was behind the effort. This is the Kremlin, not random Russians.

2. The Russian government is offering “sensitive” information and “official documents” that would incriminate Hillary Clinton. The clear implication is that this material is stolen by spies, probably hacked, for how else would the Russian government have it?

3. The offer is part of a pattern of the Russian “government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Put these three points together, and it’s clear from the email that the Russian government has picked sides and is trying to secretly affect the outcome of the American presidential race by providing stolen information about a former secretary of state. For months, the Trumps have been publicly doubting that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election, when Donald Trump Jr. had email evidence of this effort in June 2016!


Any way you look at it, this is a major fail.

And Jared Kushner, Ivanka's husband, tried -- and failed -- to get a half-billion-dollar bailout from Qatar.

New Yorker: Donald Trump is dragging down America (and can't even tell the difference.) But Trump seems to think of himself as a Russian-style strongman, not a democratically elected president... well, he wasn't elected democratically in a free and fair election, was he?

Who can tell what's true in the histories of Trump and Putin?

Trump (for no good reason and against all advice from his own staff) wants to start a trade war; Europe says, "Bring it."

***

The Voter Fraud Commission grinds to a stop, faced with a torrent of complaints and lawsuits.

Mike Pence is using the Naval Observatory as a hub for big-ticket donors. Isn't that misuse of federal property?

During the break, Republicans heard from their constituents; as a result, they're not so eager to get rid of the Affordable Care Act or adopt the current Trumpnocare proposal. McConnell has called for August recess to start two weeks late, but who's to say they'll actually get anything done? Or are they going to play let's-make-a-deal? Apparently the Republican plot to kill Obamacare is falling to pieces.

The Office of Govt.Ethics director who resigned says he was threatened by Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican National Committee.

Joe Scarborough, disgusted with all of this, is through with the Republican Party. So is Bob Schneider, who was a Republican for 44 years and an Independent for one; he's becoming a Democrat.

***

The transformative power of landscape.

Mexico and the US are teaming up to make low-cost wheelchairs for disabled people who can't afford much.

Enrollment is down at University of Missouri two years after the protests about racism.

In California, a bill is proceeding through the state legislature that would require police camera footage of serious/fatal events to be released to the public.

A jiujitsu master is turning an art into a science.

A Buffalo suburb retires its coal plant and finds a new way to go.

Bots have turned Twitter into a powerful disinformtion/misinformation platform.

That newly rediscovered photo that was supposed to show Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan? It was taken -- and published in a book -- two years before they disappeared. So, a clue to finding them? Not so much.

Thoreau wasn't that alone. And some of his neighbors couldn't go back to Concord much, or to other places.

The remains of the Romanovs.

How Politico's new generation took over Washington.

a change, unfortunately

Jul. 11th, 2017 08:29 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Due to a torrent of Asian-language spam in comments, the comments here will no longer allow anonymous commenters. Perhaps a week or two of banning anonymous comments will stop whoever is sending me unreadable messes.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
First, from Bible-Belt Tennessee, a little satire.

Trump's son met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging info on Hillary. And, for proof, here's the email offering the evidence.

Texas Republican Joe Strauss blocked the Texas bathroom bill, saying,"I don't want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands."

In other less reputable Texas matters, "Attorney General" Jeff Sessions has approved a voter ID law that discriminates against people of color, students, and anyone who doesn't have any of the 7 approved forms of identification.

Meanwhile, the New Yorker thinks America's future is Texas. I think we're bigger than that.

Maryland Democrat Donna Edwards, who ran against former Rep. Chris Van Hollen for one of the Maryland seats in the US Senate (Chris won), has multiple sclerosis. She asks Congress not to make her insurance unaffordable. The article has a link to her editorial in the Post, which is blocking me; you might be able to get there.

A group of so-called representatives of Arizona is calling for delisting of all national monuments in their state and elsewhere. Arizonans reading this, if there are any of you: get these bozos out of office.

NYTimes editorial: how to make Congress bipartisan.

Also -- a New Jersey Court of Appeals affirmed that you have the right to protect yourself against police brutality.

Actors are people; they have no immunity from being human. They are not gods. They are also not the roles they play to entertain us. And with that in mind, we have to talk about Johnny Depp.

I don't care what they call it in Ohio; this is cruelty and police brutality and should not happen.

A bee problem closes the Southern Nevada Visitors Center Rest Area near Searchlight, NV.

To the men I love about the men who scare me. And Stop making women uncomfortable.

You probably figured this out already: the American middle class is no longer the world's richest. Canada and much of Europe are ahead.

Yes, there were Norse women shamans.

Remember the ozone hole? It's been recovering from damage, but paint stripper chemicals are threatening it. Again.

Sinclair Broadcasting is making its stations give way more airtime for a former Trump official.

Much of the rest of Fashion Week may be unwearable -- but I dearly love the coatdress in the first picture in this article.

Amy Pascal's Hollywood ending.

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Type 'Ha', not so much.

For this couple, it's death till they part.

In case you hadn't already heard, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are leaving Hawaii 5-O because they are being paid significantly less than their equally-billed costars.