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

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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

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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?”

A partial list of good and worthwhile things the GOP is out to destroy. February 24, 2017

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A federal civilian hiring freeze ordered by President Donald Trump has forced at least two Army bases to indefinitely suspend some child care programs. Okay, louder for the folks in the back: Republicans do not support our troops. They pay lip service when it’s convenient and screw them over once it’s not. The party that gives a damn about the military is the Democrats.

“[The Obamacare removal of health-insurance lifetime limits] took effect September 23, 2010. Timmy was born September 29. On December 17, he surpassed $1 million worth of bills in the neonatal intensive care unit. He didn’t leave the NICU until he was 6 months old.” One of the many American children that Republicans don’t care about.

In El Paso, 11-year-old Rudy Smith lost most of the therapy services that helped him cope with cerebral palsy and a severe form of epilepsy, which plagues him with 50 to 100 seizures a day. His mother says she’s having trouble getting prescriptions filled, and the insurance company keeps sending her incorrect or faulty medical supplies.” A subset of the many children in Texas that Republicans don’t care about.

I thought I should try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration, in order to give the new president and his aides a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America’s Muslim citizens. I lasted eight days.”

One more way the Trump administration is killing jobs: he’s on track to devastate our tourism industry. “A drop of that magnitude, if continued, would reduce the value of foreign travel within the U.S. by billions of dollars. And the number of jobs supported by foreign tourists and their expenditures in the United States—and thus lost—would easily exceed hundreds of thousands of workers in hotels, restaurants, transportation, stores, tour operations, travel agencies, and the like.”

A case from 2011, with lessons for today: “Cash gets angry when people tell him that his Hispanic workforce was taking jobs away from Americans. Since the new law began two weeks ago only two American citizens have come by his farm asking for work.”

Thousands of photographs showing what America looked like before the EPA. (Hint: there’s a whole lot of smog.)

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

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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

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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.

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

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“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

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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.

Monday Works Roundup, 1/16/17 January 16, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Sparrow x2 (sketch | Sparrow | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Gay Knights With Magic Swords (art | Del, Juniper, Leif/Thorn, Rowan, Violet | worksafe)
Doll-Size Wedding (art | Mata/Pato | worksafe)
Character vs. Inspiration: Miners (comic | Mata/Pato, Phineas, Ferb, Bram, The Boulder, The Rock | G)
Mine Rescue Gems (art | Bram, Gil, Mata/Pato, Tansy | worksafe)

Attack on Titan
RivaMika (art | Levi/Mikasa | worksafe)

Fake News
We could’ve had it aaaaaaall (art | Michelle, Barack, Hillary, Kaine, Huma | worksafe)

Hello From The Magic Tavern
Usidore Loves Birds (art | Usidore, birds | worksafe)

Yuri!!! on Ice
He was a skater boy (sketch | Yurio/Otabek | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Figure drawings 1-7-17 (sketches, NSFW)
Clover (reward chibi, worksafe)

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Wedding preparations above and below ground, as a water mage gets to work.

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

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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.

The one where Trump tantrums *at* Twitter, and other politics December 20, 2016

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News That Sounds Like A Joke: “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was not invited to Donald Trump’s summit with major tech leaders Wednesday in retaliation for reneging on a $5 million emoji deal.”

How that recount went down: “I did not count a single vote during my entire first four-hour shift. Trump’s legal team was there in force, circling the room like sharks. They were challenging everything, gumming up the works and disqualifying whole precincts. I was only aware of a single Green Party attorney plus one law student in my (large) room.”

The Department of Energy pushes back: “We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.”

Good explanation of the Carbon Bubble: “If we can’t burn oil, it’s not worth very much. If we can’t defend coastal real estate from rising seas (or even insure it, for that matter), it’s not worth very much. If the industrial process a company owns exposes them to future climate litigation, it’s not worth very much. The value of those assets is going to plummet, inevitably… and likely, soon.”

The Smithsonian has a whole rundown on how journalists covered Mussolini and Hitler’s rises to power:

When Hitler’s party won influence in Parliament, and even after he was made chancellor of Germany in 1933 – about a year and a half before seizing dictatorial power – many American press outlets judged that he would either be outplayed by more traditional politicians or that he would have to become more moderate. Sure, he had a following, but his followers were “impressionable voters” duped by “radical doctrines and quack remedies,” claimed The Washington Post. Now that Hitler actually had to operate within a government the “sober” politicians would “submerge” this movement, according to The New York Times and Christian Science Monitor. A “keen sense of dramatic instinct” was not enough. When it came to time to govern, his lack of “gravity” and “profundity of thought” would be exposed.

A point of hope: “I’m going to talk about some other examples of this, some smaller scale and some larger, all of which go to make the point that although Trump Nation may have Twitter, its citizens evidently do not like to put their money where their anonymous trolling is.”