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“In consultation with the team of Illuminati, demons and robo-Hitlers who have been supervising Hillary Clinton’s progress…” October 22, 2016

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The Onion: “Saying he hoped the Republican nominee could clear up the matter for American voters, moderator Anderson Cooper reportedly began the second presidential debate Sunday night by giving Donald Trump the opportunity to explain exactly what the fuck is wrong with him.”

A secret history of the truth about Hillary Clinton. (1980: “In consultation with the team of Illuminati, demons and robo-Hitlers who have been supervising Hillary Clinton’s progress thus far, her robotic shell is replaced with another, different one that does not wear glasses and is blonder. The people of Arkansas consider this an improvement, although they complain about its inability to bake.”)

The best of #TrumpBookReport. (“It took Low Energy Harry Potter 7 books to defeat Voldermort. Sad! I would have beat him in the first book!”)

Meanwhile, in Real News That Sounds Like A Joke:

“On Wednesday, Congress was so determined to pass a law to sue Saudi Arabia that it overrode President Barack Obama’s veto. But possible backlash against America had top Republican leaders looking for someone else to blame [September 30]. And they appear to have settled on Obama.”

A Trump-vs-Clinton history matchup, comparing what the two were doing in various years.

Video after Pence’s showing at the VP debate: “Trump never said that” intercut with times when Trump said that.


Some IRL links about queer stuff March 3, 2013

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After two years of ACLU litigation the Pentagon has agreed to pay full separation pay to all service members involuntarily separated from the military after Nov. 10, 2004, because of their sexual orientation.” One more reason to ♥ the ACLU.

“These were people I had been deployed with. And they were telling me I can go to fight the war on terrorism with them, but I can’t attend a seminar with them to keep my marriage healthy.”

“It has come to light that House Administration Committee Chairman Dan Lungren (R-CA) secretly approved a $500,000 increase to a contract with a private law firm to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal court. While the increase was approved in September, neither the public nor the Democratic House minority was informed until this week.”

A gay man born in 1932, reacts to the then-impending vote on same-sex marriage in Maine.

The Obama administration threw its support behind a broad claim for marriage equality on Thursday, and urged the Supreme Court to rule that voters in California were not entitled to ban same-sex marriage there.”

On gun control in America. December 18, 2012

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I was going to do the usual one-line-each link roundup, but decided there was too much worth quoting. Paragraphs ahead. More to come.

Nicholas D. Kristof for the New York Times, “Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?

Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries, according to David Hemenway, a public health specialist at Harvard who has written an excellent book on gun violence.

So let’s treat firearms rationally as the center of a public health crisis that claims one life every 20 minutes. The United States realistically isn’t going to ban guns, but we can take steps to reduce the carnage.

American schoolchildren are protected by building codes that govern stairways and windows. School buses must meet safety standards, and the bus drivers have to pass tests. Cafeteria food is regulated for safety. The only things we seem lax about are the things most likely to kill. […]

As one of my Facebook followers wrote after I posted about the shooting, “It is more difficult to adopt a pet than it is to buy a gun.”

Look, I grew up on an Oregon farm where guns were a part of life; and my dad gave me a .22 rifle for my 12th birthday. I understand: shooting is fun! But so is driving, and we accept that we must wear seat belts, use headlights at night, and fill out forms to buy a car. Why can’t we be equally adult about regulating guns?

Cliff Schecter for AlterNet, “5 Issues That Divide Gun Owners and NRA Leadership

So whether the NRA is working to restore gun rights to violent felons , protect the ability of terrorists, drug kingpins and serial domestic abusers to purchase high-capacity clips at gun shows, or fighting for military style weapons to be available to the Jared Loughners, John Patrick Bedells and James Holmes’ of the world, you can bet that whatever comes out of LaPierre’s mouth, his only interest is protecting the real clients of today’s NRA: arms dealers .

This is made crystal-clear by the fact that the NRA’s own membership, many of whom joined only because of an outdated understanding of what the leadership of this organization actually stands for, agree with most Americans that our gun laws should protect our families, and not the financial interests of a clique of craven elites.


2. Terror Gap

If you are put on the U.S. terror watch list you cannot board an airplane. You can, however, still purchase guns and explosives. According to the Government Accountability Office , “From February 2004 through February 2010, 1,228 individuals on the watch list underwent background checks to purchase firearms or explosives; 1,119, or 91 percent, of these transactions were approved.”

NRA members understand this even if their leadership stubbornly tries to protect the gun-ownership rights of terrorists (but they’re patriots, I tell you!). Eighty-two percent of NRA members think this gap should be closed.

Mark Follman, Gavin Aronsen, and Deanna Pan for Jezebel, “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America

It’s perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened. The horrific mass murder at a movie theater in Colorado on July 20, another at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, another at a manufacturer in Minneapolis on September 27—and now the unthinkable nightmare at a Connecticut elementary school on December 14—are the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three decades. Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. We’ve mapped them below, including details on the shooters’ identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed.

Weapons: Of the 142 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semiautomatic handguns. (See charts below.) Just as Jeffrey Weise used a .40-caliber Glock to slaughter students in Red Lake, Minnesota, in 2005, so too did James Holmes, along with an AR-15 assault rifle, when blasting away at his victims in a darkened movie theater. In Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza wielded two handguns and a .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic assault rifle as he massacred 20 school children and six adults.

Ezra Klein for the Washington Post, “Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States

When we first collected much of this data, it was after the Aurora, Colo. shootings, and the air was thick with calls to avoid “politicizing” the tragedy. That is code, essentially, for “don’t talk about reforming our gun control laws.”

Let’s be clear: That is a form of politicization. When political actors construct a political argument that threatens political consequences if other political actors pursue a certain political outcome, that is, almost by definition, a politicization of the issue. It’s just a form of politicization favoring those who prefer the status quo to stricter gun control laws.


2. Eleven of the 20 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States.

Time has the full list here. In second place is Finland, with two entries.

Mark Landler and Peter Baker for the New York Times, “‘These Tragedies Must End,’ Obama Says

“No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society,” he said. “But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.” He added that “in the coming weeks I’ll use whatever power this office holds” in an effort “aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”

“Because what choice do we have?” he added. “We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”

The relevant WhiteHouse.gov petition is still open, and will be for several more weeks.

On Connecticut. December 14, 2012

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Transcript of President Obama’s remarks on the shooting.

The Onion, as usual, is on point.

Here is a petition. I almost never share online petitions, but I think perhaps you should sign this one.

So, hey, we had an election! November 7, 2012

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I was lurking on the Google map from early in the night. Ohio was already leaning blue when I got there, so the big vote wasn’t as much of a nailbiter as it could have been.

Can’t decide what my favorite part is:

* We got Elizabeth Warren!

* We got a bunch of female senators overall!

* Including Tammy Baldwin, our first openly gay senator-elect! Including Mazie Hirono, our first — well, in her own words: “I’m a woman. I’ll be the first Asian woman ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate. I am an immigrant. I am a Buddhist. When I said this at one of my gatherings, they said, ‘Yes, but are you gay?’ and I said, ‘Nobody’s perfect.’

* Creepy rape-apologist candidates who want to legislate about the female body without having the first idea how it works: kicked to the curb across the nation! Because Claire McCaskill has ways of shutting that whole thing down.

* “Stephen” managed within the space of half an hour to give us innuendo about spanking, lament the sight America (read: himself) in sexy high heels, and trade air-kisses with Jon before yelling “I love you!”

* Same-sex marriage all over the place! Maryland, the state I grew up in! Also Maine and Washington! And in Minnesota, an initiative to ban it was voted down!

* We get to keep our gay soldiers and our health care!

* Constant and flagrant lying: shown not to be a winning electoral strategy!

Also: Puerto Rico may possibly be on the path to becoming a state? I can’t wait to see the new 51-star design of our flag. Although it will be awfully inelegant to no longer have a 100-seat Senate. Does Hawaii still want to secede? (Of course, I’d rather not give up Mazie Hirono…) Or maybe we can merge the Dakotas. There’s no reason we need two of those.

And finally: after the votes were mostly counted and the concession speeches coming in, I got to cuddle with a pretty girl. So! All things considered…a good night :D

Erin Watches: Glee (still), Red Dwarf X, Political Animals, presidential debates October 18, 2012

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By the end of season 3 I was really only watching this for the schadenfreude of seeing it get torn apart in reviews. For season 4 so far, a lot of that hasn’t even been fun. They’ve thrown a bone or two (Rachel telling off Finn for being patronizing and trying to monopolize her away from her dreams? YES PLEASE, this was long overdue), but I’m starting to think it might be time to give up on the episodes and just watch Hulu’s videos of the songs, already.

…still, even with all the terrible excuses for story development leading up to it, when Santana sang “Mine” to Brittany? I can’t lie: there were some tears.


Red Dwarf X

The Boys from the Dwarf are back! And so far it feels like something straight out of the classic series. Hard to tell what the continuity is — they haven’t bothered to explain how the characters got from their situation Red Dwarf VIII to the one in Back To Earth to this. I hope there’s a clever backstory coming, but honestly, if there isn’t one and they just plan to proceed as if nothing happened between the start of “Stoke Me A Clipper” and the start of BtE, I would be okay with that.

It’s funny. Very funny. The first episode hit high notes over and over. The second one wasn’t as perfect, but still plenty solid.

I love how the atmosphere with the group has changed. They’re visibly older (well, except Kryten, thanks to the rubber head), and it works. They’re still bickering and snarking and being ridiculous at each other, but it feels like they’ve solidified as a family over the years. In the first episode Rimmer wants to look impressive in front of [spoiler], and the others are completely on-board for playing along. (To the point of Cat wearing a plain grey jumpsuit!) And when you compare and contrast it with “Kryten”…it’s so beautiful, you guys. Glee could learn a thing or two from this show.

Bonus points: they’re two for two so far with having their one-shot characters be women! Half bonus points: the women keep being [spoiler]. At least they’re still well-drawn individuals…and we have another four episodes to go.


Political Animals

The six-episode miniseries that is thinly veiled RPF about not!Hillary Clinton, if she had twin boys instead of a daughter and divorced not!Bill after the 2008 election, and also not!Obama was white Italian. (He’s played by Nathan Petrelli from Heroes, which is a very trippy crossover.)

Loved it. Hope they make more. It was sharp, it was rich, it was heartfelt and absorbing. There was a lot going on, but you never got lost or felt jerked around by it.

Also, the portrayal of journalism was approximately 1000% better — more professional, more realistic, more involved — than on The Newsroom. Just wanted to put that out there.


The second 2012 Presidential Debate

Oh, look! Someone decided to make sure the President was awake for this one! And citing numbers and specifics and everything, even.

And the moderator was awake too? Gosh, they spoiled us.

I will say this: I appreciate the idea of looking at a pool of applicants, saying to yourself “hey, this group is disproportionately male/white/straight/Christian/whatever — let’s actively seek out some qualified people who aren’t, and make sure they feel welcome and invited to apply.” So it would have been genuinely commendable if Romney had ever actually done that.

How’s that election scene looking? September 24, 2012

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Romney just gets creepier and creepier. Tales of “what the hell, he wasn’t even listening” from same-sex couples with heartfelt stories and policy petitions. Oh, and Paul Ryan was on Social Security as a teenager. (Nice companion to Romney’s dad getting that boost from welfare.)

Slacktivist has a nice rebuttal to Romney’s dismissal of the oh-so-entitled 47%.

American tourist complains about not getting to carry his gun in Canada, to “protect” himself from locals who sound ridiculously innocuous. Like, even by Canada standards, innocuous.

Barack Obama might have black ancestors subjected to American slavery after all. On his mother’s side.

Small business owner versus Obamacare: a case study. Elsewhere, an extensive, ongoing list of what Obama has accomplished (so far).

Hey! I just met you… August 23, 2012

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When Obama endorsed marriage equality I was all like May 10, 2012

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup, Personal.
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1) keysmash keysmash grin grin grin

2) So the political calculation is that marriage support is now predicted to gain him votes rather than lose them! The depressing news out of North Carolina is a throwback. The national trend is — forward!

(And no, I don’t think he should’ve made the announcement before the Amendment One vote. It would have brought out the kneejerk bigot vote even more than it was already.)

3) Time to run off to make a week’s worth of same-sex marriage Daily/Reports From Last Night :D

3) Ooh, look! It inspired a marriage equality bill to be introduced in Israel! START THEM DOMINOES FALLING.

4) This is a good GIF party.

5) …aaaaand the tearing-down has already begun.

I’m not talking about the freakout from the right, mind you. I’m talking about the left.

I hate it when this happens. Any time we make progress, any time an initiative comes together to do some good, out comes the head-shaking and the eye-rolling about how it’s not enough good. “How dare he only be the first sitting president to say he approves of same-sex marriage? Why can’t he also declare it a constitutional right, and make it instantly legal in all fifty states, and personally send a bouquet of flowers to every couple who ties the knot as a result? And he should have done it three years ago!”

Look, lots of things should have happened. The last President should also have been in favor of same-sex marriage since the beginning of his term. For that matter, the last forty-three Presidents should have been. Do people think the folks appreciating Obama’s announcement don’t know that? Were they not even following the Amendment One vote? Do they not realize that LGBTQ rights are a struggle, that every step forward has been clawed out of the grip of bigots and fundamentalists and centuries of ignorance, that milestones like this can’t be taken for granted?

In a perfect world Obama’s support of same-sex marriage would be a nonstory, because the rest of the country would be so far ahead that it wouldn’t even bear saying. But in the real world it isn’t, and we aren’t, and any progress toward our global acceptance is still cause for celebration.

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo! February 12, 2011

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A typical incendiary blog post. Be sure to read the amazing, amazing comments.

Fortune cookies you’d really like to see. Such as: “If you’d opened me first, I could have warned you about the shrimp.” And: “Me you can trust, but that Thin Mint on 5th and Park is a lying bastard.” And: “Be thankful that Chick Tracts don’t fit into these things.”

Why everything you know about studying is wrong. Or at least, quite a bit of it.

Trans chick in hot-pink wig wins…Scrabble tournament. FTW.

Obsolete English words that should really make a comeback. Compare with awesome non-English words that just don’t translate.

Google, in its ongoing quest to Organize Everything Ever, has a database of 500 billion words published in six languages between 1500 and 2008. Even its flaws turn out to be interesting.

Obama’s speeches become popular in Japan as a way to learn English.