jump to navigation

Vintage selfies, immoral tea, and Victorian manspreading March 20, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Today in Older Than They Think: The first portrait photograph ever made, in 1839…and guess what, it was a selfie.

Tea causes lack of sleep, weakens the nerves, corrupts boys, and is a gateway to prostitution for girls: a Kids These Days screed from 1833.

Things that were sure to corrupt women over the years: bicycles, novels, the post office, and the telephone.

A writer hating on Kids These Days for no longer being able to speak proper English…in 1440, where those darn kids were ruining their Anglo-Saxon by using newfangled words from Norman French.

Cartoon from Victorian London about…what today we call “manspreading.” (They called it “sitting wide” or “the roomy dodge.”)

Three generations of slang, as of 1925. Fun to see which ones are normal in the present day (“wallflower”, “cheapskate”), which sound adorably outdated (“red-hot mama”, “bully!”), and which have morphed to mean completely different things (“guy”, “spoofing”).

Okay, that’s 2 pages of taxes down. How many to go? March 15, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Oil-exec-turned-Secretary-of-State Rex Tillerson used a secret email address to deal with climate change. And, in the process, seems to have deliberately hidden emails from a subpoena. Where are the Lock Him Up chants?

“Physicians with decades of experience studying death rates relating to changes in health coverage have concluded that repealing Obamacare is fatal. […] even under the most conservative estimates, getting rid of President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law will result in 43,956 deaths every year.

“I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”. How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic?

“In fact, laws in the U.S. did not even address the issue of separating public restrooms by sex until the end of the 19th century, when Massachusetts became the first state to enact such a statute.” (Turns out it’s part of the “more women in the workforce? we must come up with ways to protect their virtue!” ideology.)

But the NEA will also be remembered as the agency that created arts councils in every state and most cities; that spread the professionalization of arts organizations throughout America; and that generated important new fields, such as art therapy for war victims; creative place making and the rebirth of cities; research into economics, mental health, inequality and aging, among many; and whose leaders persuaded private funders of the value of artists and the arts.”

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind. February 26, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Political miscellanea.

News hoaxes are starting to spread faster among liberals, in part because Trump’s reality is so outrageously terrible that nothing sounds fake anymore. Be careful to double-check.

From the night before the election: Anons recall their first impressions of Trump and Clinton.

Warning people “some politically motivated groups are spreading lies about this fact” makes people less susceptible to lies about the fact. (No word yet on how to make people less susceptible to the obvious counter-tactic, i.e. falsified warnings that the facts are politically motivated lies….)

Trump fires one of Ben Carson’s trusted aides for disagreeing with him. Ben Carson is stunned and bewildered that his people are not exempt from Trump’s vindictiveness. Reality check, you moron: NOBODY is exempt from Trump’s vindictiveness. He is not your friend. He is nobody’s friend.

The Onion’s Jimmy Carter: “Did you worry I might be cutting deals in back rooms with the peanut butter lobby? Or that I might be too busy at harvest time to focus on the economy or the Middle East?”

Good things. (Racists reforming, disability savings, free art, and more.) February 20, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Leaving Westboro Baptist: “When Brittany Murphy died, Phelps-Roper had seen the disparity between her reaction and that of the rest of the church as a sign that something was wrong with her. Now the contradiction of her mother’s glee and her own sadness made her wonder if something was wrong with the church.

Leaving Stormfront: “But the unstated truth was that Derek was becoming more and more confused about exactly what he believed. Sometimes he looked through posts on Stormfront, hoping to reaffirm his ideology, but now the message threads about Obama’s birth certificate or DNA tests for citizenship just seemed bizarre and conspiratorial. He stopped posting on Stormfront. He began inventing excuses to get out of his radio show, leaving his father alone on the air each morning to explain why Derek wouldn’t be calling in.”

“Justin Bainbridge is 27 and works two jobs, but he wasn’t allowed to start saving money for his future until a few months ago. Bainbridge has Down syndrome, and like other people with disabilities who receive government benefits, he can’t have more than $2,000 in savings. If he does, he would start to lose those much-needed benefits. But a new type of savings vehicle is giving Bainbridge, and others, a chance to save more cash.”

I moved my whole company to a five-hour workday where everyone works from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Over a year later, we’re sticking with it.”

“As of [February 7], all images of public-domain works in The Met collection are available under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). So whether you’re an artist or a designer, an educator or a student, a professional or a hobbyist, you now have more than 375,000 images of artworks from our collection to use, share, and remix—without restriction.”

We know the right thing to do; it’s just a matter of finding the will to do it February 13, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Good people devoted to and focused on a single good cause come to see — precisely because of that devotion — the connections and intersections of that cause and of other good and worthy causes. They recognize the truth of the holy scripture that says ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.'”

“The CEO of a popular fast food chain said this week that he was “stunned” to see profits soar each time California passed minimum wage increases.” Your customers have more money, they buy more of your product! Shocking.

Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016.” A lot of it would be easy to duplicate in the US (more afterschool programs!), although I don’t think “nationwide curfew on teenagers” would fly.

“My oldest sister is dead (2013), from colon cancer. No Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, no screening. My youngest sister lives despite ovarian cancer. Her Obamacare meant screening, surgery, treatment.

Leaked audio from Republicans who have no idea WTF to do after repealing the ACA. And are scared of the political consequences of the clusterf@#k.

No wonder Republicans are the only ones to complain about in-person voter fraud: they’re the only ones anybody can find committing it.

“Official FBI guidelines acknowledge that white supremacists and right-wing extremists have infiltrated U.S. law enforcement agencies.”

At least 13 Jewish Community Centers were evacuated [January 31], after the third wave of bomb threats this month was made against the religious centers. This latest spate of threats, which came in between 10 a.m. and noon, targeted JCCs in at least 11 states and is being investigated by the FBI. ”

Sharpie swastikas in the NYC subway, versus a car’s worth of people with Purell. There are lots of ways to fight Nazis besides punching.

Undersea spaghetti monster, dinosaur tails, ancient cookbooks, and other fun things February 7, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

An interlude with nice things.

Dinosaur tail found fully preserved in amber, and yes, it’s feathery.

“A team from BP was carrying out routine operations near an oil well, using a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) at a depth of 1325 metres, when they spotted the creature, which they nicknamed the flying spaghetti monster.” The noodly appendages are real. RAmen.

Mall space got repurposed into gorgeous loft apartments.

“The Ptolemaic dynasty was able to spend big on the institution thanks to the riches of Egypt’s fertile land and resources from the Nile, including papyrus, the ancient world’s main writing material. As a result, the library had an edge in development over others. The Ptolemaic kings were determined to collect any and all books that existed—from the epics, tragedies, to cookbooks.

“Olio wants to make it easy for busy food sellers to avoid wasting food. ‘These vendors usually don’t have enough surplus to donate to a charity or something, but they still end up having to throw away quite a lot at the end of the day.'”

I asked other immigrants about their first moments of culture shock in the United States. Here’s what they told me.” Braces, junk food, chatty cashiers, and more.

“Hebrew marks gender prolifically (even the word “you” is different depending on genders), Finnish has no gender marking and English is somewhere in between. Accordingly, children growing-up in a Hebrew speaking environment figure out their own gender about a year earlier than Finnish-speaking children; English-speaking kids fall in the middle.

When pigs fly” and equivalent metaphors, in different languages, illustrated.

Cops that don’t shoot getting sacked; cops that beat a kid on his own porch not even getting charged February 6, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

People killed by police, 2017. The final total for 2016 was 1,153. This year, we’re already up to 124. It’s February.

White people shooting cops, to pointed silence from the #BlueLivesMatter crowd:

“Bill Jones, 35, allegedly shot two police officers after a standoff on Wednesday. Unlike the number of black men who’ve been shot at when police mistook cell phones for guns, Jones survived his tense standoff with police.” (He’s white. But you knew that.)

Two police officers were shot and killed, and I’m guessing you didn’t hear about it: “There was no massive national freak-out over these killings as there has been whenever the suspect is a person of color or has an Arabic-sounding name. The man accused of these killings is a white guy. Scott Michael Greene — whose home reportedly features a Trump/Pence sign in the front lawn — was allegedly upset with police after he was forced to leave a high school football game because he was waving a Confederate flag and threatening black students.”

Police brutality:

“The Detroit man charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and weapons felony firearm for killing a 19-year-old woman on his porch was found guilty on all counts [on August 4].” Justice for Renisha McBride.

“Officer Marco Proano faces two federal civil rights charges for the 2013 shooting [at a car full of teenagers; they survived], which was caught on a dash cam.”

They sit next to Mr. Crutcher’s daughter in class. They are her friends. Nearly every student has a tissue as we read the article together.”

He gives the officers his ID, which lists the address as his residence, and he suggests the officers ask a neighbor to verify that he lives there. ” Dejuan Yourse, thankfully still alive, beaten by police for sitting on his own front porch.

Police brutality through the looking glass:

“Give the Weirton, W.Va., police chief some credit. He’s come up with a new spin on the the same problem. He just fired a cop for not killing someone.

Notice when the #AllLivesMatter crowd doesn’t show up January 27, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

“Immediately after the reports, BLM was blamed because Black people are violent threats who hate police, right? But that entire narrative was wrong—it turned out that the perpetrators were two white men who were far from affiliated with BLM. At that point, the Blue/All Lives Matter crew dropped the subject, not because it suddenly didn’t matter that the cops had died, but because the people who had killed them were no longer part of the threat group.”

“British police used a Taser on a black man they thought was a robber. He was their race-relations adviser.”

Police officers responding to a burglar alarm fatally shot a homeowner, who had grabbed a gun when he spotted an intruder, after shots were fired in their direction as they arrived at his house.”

(Although most news stories about cops shooting homeowners involve a black victim, you can also read about the occasional white guy getting shot in his own house. Along with his dog.)

Dozens of Jewish Community Centers in the U.S. were evacuated [January 18], including in Manhattan and California’s Bay Area, after receiving near-simultaneous bomb threats, according to various local reports.”

Millions of Shia Muslims made the pilgrimage of Arbaeen this fall, in defiance of Daesh’s threats and deadly attacks against the pilgrims.

Here’s a list of things white friends have done/can do which actually make me feel safer.

Practical advice for white allies on how to talk to white non-allies.

A woman’s place is in the Resistance January 23, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Crowd estimates for the Women’s March on Washington are running to half a million people in DC alone.

Add in the rest of the companion marches in the US — from those with handfuls of people to those (including Boston’s) that joined DC in the six figures — and we’re talking 3 million, total. That’s one percent of the population of the country.

Swing Left: a guide to the most-contested House districts in 2018. Check your area for campaigns to support.

And take a fresh look at how your state stands on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. A bunch of new legislatures are working on it since the last time I checked! As of January 2017, bills are pending in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Old news, still worth sharing: Six record-breaking, history-making women who did get elected in November. All minorities, all Democrats, and the ones who are natural-born citizens might have the White House in their future. Keep your eyes on them.

Final note, some good news from outside the country: Finland is doing a trial of Universal Basic Income. We’ll see how it goes.

Stop talking about the disabled reporter, start talking about the disabled infant. January 12, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

So the story about Trump mocking a disabled reporter keeps making the rounds. Partly because it’s terrible, partly because his supporters keep insisting he didn’t do it, in defiance of the fact that he did it on video.

What gets to me, though, is how many people present it like that’s the pinnacle of his evil. Like it’s the worst thing he’s done. Like if you could still vote for him after seeing this, it proves your total moral bankruptcy as a human being.

People. Listen to me. Donald Trump canceled the health insurance plan that was covering his late brother’s disabled infant grandson.

Lots of people, trying to get a laugh, have been said mean things or done casually bigoted impressions. Take Jon Stewart — he’s done plenty. But he’s also been a ferocious advocate for the healthcare of veterans and 9/11 first responders, has thoughtfully and firmly spoken up for good causes, and has been known to put his money where his mouth is.

Donald Trump has lied about making large donations to 9/11 charities. There are no records of him donating at all. He once crashed an event at a charity for children with HIV, stole a donor’s front-row seat, and got his face in event photos without ever giving the charity a cent.

If you posted a clip reel of Jon’s most cringeworthy lines, and said “this sucks,” I would agree. If you went on to say “this proves he’s fundamentally a bad person, and I have no respect for anyone who supports or defends him in any way”…that would be overkill.

I’ve said and done things that were this mean. (Not recently, I hasten to add. And not on purpose.) Lots of Hillary supporters are in the same boat. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are folks who are shouting about the reporter-mocking clip as a way of overcompensating for the shame of their own past jokes.

And lots of Trump supporters thinking “I’ve done something this bad, and I know I’m a good person, so that probably applies to Donald too.”

I could pause here for a long list of Donald’s much-rarer failings in all kinds of fields, but in the name of sticking to a theme, once more for the folks in the back: he canceled the healthcare for his own brother’s disabled. infant. grandchild.

Doesn’t seem likely a lot of Trump supporters have done that. Seems likely, in fact, that some Trump supporters would never consider doing such a thing to their own children and grandchildren, their own nieces and nephews.

For crying out loud, even Ebeneezer Scrooge took a long hard look at himself when he realized he might cause the death of a little kid on crutches.

People who are explaining their hatred of Trump will give a shortlist of half a dozen things he’s said or done — usually including his racist comments toward Mexicans, his incitement of violence toward Muslims — and “mocking a disabled reporter” is almost always one of the items. I heard about it so many times in the runup to the election.

Somehow “was willing to let his baby grandnephew die in order to make a few bucks” didn’t come through any of those channels until the election was over.

One moment of bog-standard casual meanness is getting all the outrage-traction, from people who haven’t shared this incident at all. Even though this one makes it unambiguous that Trump harbors a much deeper and more entrenched form of ableism than the average edgy standup. Not to mention some fundamental lack of human caring.

…if you’re worried, and I know I was, the baby has grown up to be a happy and well-loved 17-year-old. His parents host regular fundraisers for the nonprofit that helped take care of him.