good morning, it's 23 february 2017

Feb. 23rd, 2017 12:45 am
So many big problems.

Trump administration poised to change transgender student bathroom guidelines (And then did so, in "Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students"). Reportedly, there were conflicts between Ms. DeVos and Mr. Sessions (strongly for) but frankly I don't believe it, and it doesn't matter anyway.

The emails that the GOP didn't want to come out before the Pruitt vote came out; he "Was Arm in Arm With Industry," as in, let polluting industries write his policy papers and briefs. Basically, his whole career has been PR for serious-business toxin emitters, and that's why they didn't want the letters out.

In a similar "betrayal of everything" theme, the GOP will kill a House measure forcing release of data on Trump's various deep conflicts, in committee.

Another Federal amendment at the state level: a proposal in Florida to disable the Judicial branch by letting Congress override court constitutionality decisions with a 60% supermajority.

4chan/pol had a straw poll: "Is /pol/ for Milo, or Against?" A strong plurality is still fine with Milo, at 46%. If the "don't care" didn't care before (pretty likely), then 2/3rds of those who care about Milo still support Milo. This could be useful.

Washington State GOP release statement: "Exposed: The Democrats’ plan of disruption and intimidation," by which they mean the Indivisible groups specifically.

Other stories:
  • Trump’s America will be on vivid display at annual conservative gathering (CPAC) Relatedly:
  • Facebook gave $120,000 to CPAC, half in cash and half in-kind contributions. That's not cool.
  • Mr. Trump’s ‘Deportation Force’ Prepares an Assault on American Values
  • "We Will Never Stop": An EPA Employee Blasts the Trump Administration
  • Trump’s New Immigration Crackdown Has Private Prison Investors Salivating
  • How Trump’s campaign staffers tried to keep him off Twitter
It's February 23, 2017; this is the news )

"It's so hard to say goodbye"

Feb. 23rd, 2017 01:17 am
Kit's developing some separation anxiety (yes, only now, at nearly 14 months!) and started crying tonight when we began the bedtime routine because bedtime means saying goodnight and everyone going away. We still did what we always do: big family hug, two parents say night-night and leave, and the third reads stories and provides cuddles and puts the baby in the crib. They clung to all of us during goodnight hugs, glumly (and sleepily) submitted to storytime, and finally fell asleep after only a little more fussing. Then we all sat around feeling heartbroken because it is so hard to see the baby so sad.

Tonight's bedtime story was No Matter What, by sheer coincidence; I spotted it while Kit was demolishing their bookshelf (a favorite activity) and realized we hadn't read it in ages. I'm never sure how much Kit understands of the actual words we say, but I think the meaning was clear, especially with the way I kept kissing and hugging them as I read. And I think it helped.

They've started getting upset when books end, too. We always have to open the book again to reassure them that the story is still there and they can reread it whenever they want. Sometimes they flip through it to find a favorite page before reluctantly accepting that the book is done. When we let them turn pages, they turn them really fast, without waiting for us to finish reading any text; one long look at the images on the page and then it's on to the next. It's so very like the way I blaze through books and then feel disappointed when they're done that it makes me laugh every time.

Kit endured their first ear infection this week, poor thing, and has been taking amoxicillin for it. As soon as they started on the antibiotics, their fever went away entirely and their vigor and appetite returned. (Their first full day of betterness ended with them not being able to fall asleep until 11 p.m. because all the energy they'd lacked while ill came roaring back with a vengeance. Fortunately that was a one-time thing and they're back on their usual sleep schedule.) I'm so glad for our access to good medical care, and also extremely glad to have a baby who sucks obediently on medication syringes, even when they hate the taste of the medicine, and doesn't appear to have allergies to anything. We were all very relieved that they went back to daycare today, because five days in a row of sick (and then recovering) baby at home was very challenging for all of us, especially as we were dealing with another family crisis at the same time. As always, I have no idea how single and stay-at-home parents do it. No idea whatsoever.

We're all quite convinced that Kit has psychic powers that only activate when they're asleep. Whenever X goes to bed—which doesn't happen at the same time every night—Kit sleep-fusses just enough to set off the monitor. Just now I returned to writing this entry after a while of doing other things, and Kit promptly made a few tiny noises. So I'm thinking at them as hard as I can: See, silly baby, I told you that we think of you even when you're not right in front of us. Rest now. No one is too far away, and we'll always be there when you need us.
What I'm Reading 
I'm separately slogging through Queens' Play, the second Lymond book, and have just started the third Jaran book by Kate Elliott, An Earthly Crown. I am enjoying the Jaran books so far but they are quite…long…and I am less engrossed in them than in any other Kate Elliott book I have ever read. Otoh, I did, after finishing the first one, finally obtain a Kate Elliott backlist bingo. I am also engrossed in Lymond, but I don't know what is going to take the last 125 pages of this book and the plot seems to have temporarily becalmed, which is saying something for a book in which Lymond mostly drinks and fucks his way through the French court in disguise (the latter of which is, of course, offscreen). I have at least managed to internalize that whenever a character is doing something and I don't understand why, it's because they want to fuck Lymond. I hope, but doubt, that the upcoming TV series will make some of this rather unsubtle subtext visible onscreen.

What I've Just Read
Well, Jaran 1 and 2 and Lymond 1. Jaran 1 and 2: good, long, I have no idea how Gwyn Jones gets from Point A in book 2 to where he winds up at the beginning of the Highroad trilogy, which at least does not have the problem of not much happening for long stretches of time. Lymond 1: every man in Scotland is an idiot except Lymond, and Will Scott at the critical moment. I felt like I was being beaten over the head by Scottish history for most of it, but in an enjoyable way. I have been texting [personal profile] oliviacirce about the books, because she told me to, and at some point I will probably transcribe our conversations with her permission, because they are at least hilarious.

What I'll Read Next

You guessed it…Jaran 4. I would also say Lymond 3, but apparently it's best not to break between books 3-6 and my copy of 4 is the wrong edition, so I may hold off until I can solve that problem. Also I have a pile of comics that I need to read before ECCC.

Surely this has been used

Feb. 22nd, 2017 08:22 pm
A real estate developer who arranges for superhumans to scuffle in neighborhoods the developer wants leveled so they can buy the properties on the cheap and develop them.

[ SECRET POST #3703 ]

Feb. 22nd, 2017 06:37 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3703 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 14 secrets from Secret Submission Post #529.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Two Great Vids from the Festivids

Feb. 22nd, 2017 03:51 pm
Vidding defined )

Although the annual Festivids discussion and commenting happen on Dreamwidth (mirrored on Livejournal, Tumblr, IRC and so forth), the vids themselves are posted in many places. In my brief experience, the most lasting is Festivids' own site.

For now, all the 2016 Festivids are here

and for the future, visit

The two highlights for me: A Better Son/Daughter and Get Better )

Narnia fanfic

Feb. 22nd, 2017 12:26 pm
For the Chocolate Box exchange, which focuses on romantic or friendship pairings, I wrote The Gift for [personal profile] aurilly's request for Emeth/Tirian from The Last Battle. If you don't remember him, Emeth was the honorable young Calormene officer, who made a disproportionate impression in a very brief appearance, at least on those of us who like noble warriors.






     . . . . Much, much took place this last week; but the most significant is that boxes of the trade / paper edition of The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry arrived. The official publication date is the first week of April.  Some events have been lined up for that.  





However, this being Black History Month, things are going on this month too.  This evening for instance, we'll again be guests for the third time on "What's the 411" with Sharon Kay's syndicated program. part of the African American Public Radio Consortium (AAPRC) satellite programming options available to public, community & HBCU stations.  "What's the 411" home station is JAZZY 88 WFISK (Fisk University).  It can be tuned in online here.



We're so looking forward to this evening -- Sharon Kay, her staff and her station are are the best at providing the best radio experience for all involved from their guests to their audience.


     . . . .A couple of nights ago, a musician friend, having finally finished reading Slave Coast, met up with us so he could discuss his thoughts about all that text with which he'd spent so much time.  He's on the road constantly, so he downloaded the book to his -- phone!  It took him eight months to read, he said.  Not because he didn't keep at it.  It was that he was constantly leaving the book and following up figures and events that came up in the text to learn about them, having realized he knew nothing about anything that was in the boo -- despite always reading history and thinking he knew the history of the U.S.  He also told us something that we didn't know.  I think he downloaded it from Kindle . . . which has a feature that shows each reader how many other readers have highlighted the same passage that our friend highlighted.  So when he highlighted the passage in which we describe that many of the impulses that led to the declaration of independence from Britain was about protecting slavery -- he learned 70 some other readers had highlighted that passage as well.  Then he went hunting, looking up the various sources that we cited to learn more.




We never were satisfied with how TASC concluded.  But now, since the election of doom, we know how things are playing out, all pulled right out of the past that is so thoroughly covered in the book. Presently, with the anti-immigration ban, it's impossible for me not to recall vividly the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which did more to turn more people, more rapidly anti-slavery and actively antagonistic to that law and the people who rammed down everyone else's throats than anything that happened prior to that.  We are seeing much the same thing playing out now in many of our cities that have been designated with sneers as "Sanctuary Cities."  I am far from the only historian to recall this -- I'm seeing the Fugitive Slave Act cited everywhere in all media these days.  So, may I remind us all what the conclusion was for those who shoved it down the throats of all those who didn't agree slavery in the first place?


Full text of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act here.


Recall that by this time there had been so many generations of systemic rape of female slaves by white men that there was a significant percent of the enslaved population that was effectively white. Their price in the fancy slave market were extravagantly higher than even prime field hands who could reproduce. Nobody could tell they were one-drop, though court proceedings often went on for months attempting to prove that someone who lived white was black. As the provisions of the Act denied anyone claimed as a runaway slave from speaking on her / her behalf or a court hearing, at any time someone could claim your daughter, your son could be grabbed if convenient -- and some were.  So anyone can see how easily these new bans can be turned against anyone the regime finds inconvenient to have going about in the body politic who speaks in disagreement about anything.


What most strikes me right now is how the white supremacist nationalists' apologists are trying to flip the script, and per usual steal what progressives historically have done and pretend their cause is the same thing.*  Sheesh, that is so trashy.  But what would one expect from the likes of their ilks but this?

Anti-sanctuary agitators regularly claim that sanctuary jurisdictions defy federal law, and some (most recently Karl Rove) go so far as to suggest that cities and counties that seek to disentangle themselves from federal immigration enforcement are morally and legally equivalent to the slaveholding South.

Always the repressers, oppressors, abusers demanding they be recognized as victims!


     . . . .  As mentioned previously, last week was my birthday, during which was a landmark one, and not a pleasant landmark either.  But fortunately, el V, family and friends had rallied around -- even though most of them had no idea it was a landmark birthday, and a lot of them hadn't been informed beforehand by anyone it was my birthday -- they just . . . remembered!


This just remembering made their wishes, phone calls, post office card, e-mail cards, texts, dinners and meet-ups all the more valued and appreciated.  I had no idea I would be affected so strongly with so many conflicting sensations -- sadness, fear, validation, love, feeling valued by many, incomprehensibly neglected by some.  It was a lovely week of being wrapped in love and affection, and feeling frozen out by freezing weather and -- neglect.  I was being silly over the latter, but I am paying attention to that, as to what this means.  I've never had such a contradictory mess of emotions before.  Well, there will be no more milestone birthdays probably, so I won't have to go through it again!  




*  As per usual, whenever the white supremacist nationalist wants something good they steal it from black people.  Maybe they're doing this in honor of Black History Month?



I have some actual posts in progress but man oh man currently I am FREAKING OUT about this: NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

I texted this to my mother, who is currently in the basement. I'm on the second floor, at my desk, working. I just heard, up two flights of stairs and through a couple of closed doors, a dim shout of "OH MY FUCKING GOD!"

Literally said the first blessing here when I saw the story, because wow. WOW.

what keeps me going in all of this

Feb. 22nd, 2017 01:56 pm
Is you. And my SU and the cats. And the blue jays spreading word of the crows outside my window. And the snowdrops in the lawn. And the slanting sunshine pouring in the window so I can knit and not strain my eyes. And movies and books and fanfic.

But a whole lot of it is you all. You, who read what I put here and pass it along and comment intelligently. (Do you have any clue how rare intelligent comments are?) And you write fanfic about characters I care about -- you tell the truth aslant by putting it in the mouths of characters and making it real -- and record it so I can listen to it in the truck, and come up with alternate universes and ways to show me new worlds at an angle.

If I could, I'd buy you all coffee, or good wine, or sing you all a song I wrote about friends. (No, it's not on YouTube, and it won't be; it'll be some time before my voice is back to singing well.) I do what I can, which is to hold this space, to put things in it that I hope are helpful and that I hope aren't going to drive you to despair, and I try to put in some cheerful or offbeat things also. (I purely love the woman who stood off an intruder with a broadsword, for instance. SCA and similar for the win!)

What I am saying is this: if you weren't there, I wouldn't be here doing this.

Thank you.

on the Electoral College

Feb. 22nd, 2017 06:57 pm
I was asked to comment on this article about the Electoral College.

First I should add that most of my understanding of the Constitution’s intent probably comes from the Federalist Papers. Prof. Finkelman’s quotes all appear to be from Madison’s reports of the debates, which I’ve never read end to end, though I’ve certainly read a lot of works citing them.

Here is what I wrote directly in comment about the article:

That’s a very interesting article, but I’m not sure about accepting all of the arguments. It is, of course, dangerous for an amateur like myself to dispute with an expert when I haven’t even done any research directly in response to this, but I don’t have time to do anything other than lay out my thoughts based on my past education in the creation of the Constitution. I’ve tried to put the phrase “as I understand it” or “my understanding is” around everything I’m thus dredging up from memory.

I’d like to believe the argument that the construction of the Electoral College had nothing to do with protecting the interests of small states, because that would do away with the irritating Trumpista claim that the College’s purpose was to ensure that the presidency went to a winner of a wider variety of states. But I’m not sure I do believe it.

Certainly the Convention’s rejection of having governors choose the president is no proof that the interests of small states weren’t being protected. The governor system would mean one vote per state, which would give the small states too much power. My understanding has always been the makeup of Congress was intended as a compromise: the Senate was apportioned purely by state, while the House more closely approximated apportionment by population. Therefore, the Electoral College, whose numbers were tied to the number of members of Congress in both houses together, gave the small states more power in the Electoral College than they had in the House, but much less than they had in the Senate.

Also, because the number of electors per state was a second-order effect, derived from the numbers in Congress, I’m not surprised if there was not, as Prof. Finkelman states there was not, much discussion of using the Electoral College to protect the interests of small states. But I would be very surprised indeed if there wasn’t discussion of this point in the Convention’s consideration of the creation of the Senate.

Similarly, the 3/5ths clause was, as I understand it, intended to protect the slave power in the House. The Electoral College would again be a second-order effect, despite the quotes from Charles Pinckney and Hugh Williamson (which, as given here, don’t even directly address that point). In any case, because the Electoral College numbers were based on House + Senate together, the 3/5ths clause would be less powerful in the Electoral College than in the House. Although my understanding is that it is certainly true, as Prof. Finkelman states, that it was the 3/5ths clause that enabled Jefferson to defeat Adams in 1800.

(Incidentally, the description of Adams as one “who never owned a slave” reminds me that visits to historical sites have revealed to me that two presidents we don’t think of as slave-owners actually were slave-owners for brief periods, these being Van Buren and Grant.)

I’m also a bit bothered by an unspoken implication that the Electoral College is illegitimate because of the slave-based taint on its origin, even though the 3/5ths clause has been, by definition, a dead letter since 1865. Really it’s accusing the Electoral College of original sin, and as a Jew I find such an argument does not make much of an impression on me. In any case, I’ve seen people denounce the entire Constitution on grounds of one taint on the Founders or another, an argument that must go all the way back to the first Marxist who ever read Charles Beard’s Economic Interpretation.

Prof. Finkelman reports that James Wilson and Gouverneur Morris supported direct election of the president on the grounds that the people would be sure to elect a famous or distinguished candidate. I’m sure they said this. But I’ve always understood that the argument that prevailed against popular vote for president was that the general voters, being ill-informed of nation-wide affairs in days of poor education and when most voters thought of themselves as citizens of their state, not of the U.S. as a whole, would not know much about potential presidential candidates outside their state. But they would know who would know that, and the original intention was to have the electors of the Electoral College be the sophisticates of their states, men who knew the most eligible candidates from other states. But just in case the electors weren’t so sophisticated, there was the insurance clause preventing them from casting both their votes for candidates from their own state.

This argument contradicts the ones given by Wilson and Morris, but I would have thought that there were disputes over this point and that Wilson and Morris lost the argument. If that’s so, then to quote Wilson and Morris alone would be to misread the Convention’s state of mind.

I could be factually mistaken here, but only if I entirely misremember my own education on this matter. But these are my thoughts.
Deportees. Written 66 years ago by Woody Guthrie. Sung by Arlo Guthrie and Hoyt Axton.

Lyrics here.
14 brands NOT to buy for olive oil -- it's fake. And a list of trustworthy brands.

The Second Amendment does not grant any right to own an assault weapon. So says the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. So say we all. A similar ruling was decided by a court in Maryland, also.


As if there was anything else needed to make this Occupation look sleazier: how Rump and Bannon (I keep wanting to type Bannock, but that would slander a perfectly good pastry) are connected to pedophilia-advocate Milo Yiannopoulos.

The most important thing to know about Trump's deportation force is that they will be going after everyone they can. Any way they can. Every way they can. More here.

This is evil. Trump signed the bill getting rid of protection for streams. Say goodbye to trout, turtles, frogs and toads, and hello to mosquitos, poor water quality, and devastation for anything relying on that water. This is an attack on rural and urban America, on water flowing through farmland and through suburbs.


Two Russians admit to colluding with the Trump Campaign.


Independent film theatres are screening '1984' to protest the incremental authoritarianism. And would it surprise you to find that the Orwell novel is free on Kindle?

In Virginia, the governor vetoes a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Thank you for women's lives, Gov. McAuliffe.

Students at a high school in Carroll County, MD, one of the less diverse areas of the state, were forced to take down diversity posters as 'anti-Trump'. But there's a campaign on to put the poster images on t-shirts the kids can wear. The posters are beautiful works of art by Shepard Fairey.

What to do when a restaurant puts a 'minimum wage service charge' on your bill -- that is, asks for money that is not for tips or for the cost of the meal, but theoretically to offset the cost of paying an actual living minimum wage. Cheap-ass jerks would not get return business from me. I'd give a big cash tip to the server, give the owners a piece of my mind about their underpayment of hard-working employees, and leave. Permanently. I tend to be hot-headed about mistreatment of restaurant staff, since I worked hostess for the overnight shift in a pancake house for a while, dealing with drunks, cops, wedding parties, exchange student employees and a misbehaving dishwashing machine. As hostess, I got a nickel more an hour than the waitresses, but I didn't get any of the tips. I also had to go outside and wash the glass doors even in snowstorms. It was not worth the trouble after a couple of months.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Feb. 22nd, 2017 09:23 am
 to [personal profile] emceeaich !  Happy (and dry!) day!  

This I believe

Feb. 22nd, 2017 12:06 pm
When an elderly tomcat snuggles up next to a much larger, younger cat and then growls at him, it sends a mixed message.

(no subject)

Feb. 22nd, 2017 10:57 am
When did compassion become partisan politics?

ETA: Another way to think of it: when did legislating for the good of the majority, with as little harm to the minority as possible, become a rare bird, all but extinct?
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