Question of the Day

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:00 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

Suggested by Shaker jeanology: "What factor in your upbringing (like a choice your parent or guardian made, or the general philosophy with which you were raised) has had the most impact, positive or negative, on who you are as an adult?"

Two things immediately come to mind, and they were things that both of my parents and all three of my grandparents (my paternal grandfather died before I was born) did:

1. Encouraged reading in every possible way, from modeling being readers themselves to buying me books to reading to me every day and letting me read to them once I knew how.

2. Never using slurs or making bigoted statements of any kind, against people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, disabled people, minority religions, atheists, addicts, immigrants, etc. Every slur and stereotype I learned outside my house.

(The one exception to that was fat hatred. Which was mostly in the form of self-criticism from my parents. And that had an impact, too.)

This is not to suggest that there was never any uninterrogated prejudice or unexamined privilege modeled for me at home. There was. But I was told that all people were equal and deserving of respect, and, for the most part, that's what I saw practiced by the adults closest to me.

Throwback Thursdays

Sep. 21st, 2017 05:00 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

black and white image of me as a baby, trying to use a vacuum
Me, circa 1975, trying and failing to vacuum some gorgeous '70s carpet.

[Please share your own throwback pix in comments. Just make sure the pix are just of you and/or you have consent to post from other living people in the pic. And please note that they don't have to be pictures from childhood, especially since childhood pix might be difficult for people who come from abusive backgrounds or have transitioned or lots of other reasons. It can be a picture from last week, if that's what works for you. And of course no one should feel obliged to share a picture at all! Only if it's fun!]
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

I am so upset about how awful the situation in Puerto Rico is for its residents right now, especially because there's nothing meaningful I can do.

I'm also wondering why the FUCK it is that I'm getting the best news on what's happening in Puerto Rico from the Guardian. The U.S. media is treating Puerto Rico like it's some far-off place, just another exotic locale in some other country.

Which isn't justification for ignoring people in need anyway, but: PUERTO RICO IS PART OF THE UNITED STATES. They literally don't have fucking drinkable water, and our media is barely paying attention and our Congress is dicking around with trying to kill people by taking their healthcare away.

And what does the president have to say about it? "The White House on Thursday morning declared Puerto Rico 'a major disaster' zone and ordered federal assistance to be directed to dozens of municipalities in the territory." How will that aid get there? When will it get there? Who knows — because Trump was too busy doing his gross superlative-hurling about the scope of the devastation, saying that Puerto Rico had been "absolutely obliterated" by the intense winds: "All you have to do is read or turn on the television and you will see a place that is practically leveled," he said.

A place where 70% of the population currently lacks access to clean water. That seems more urgent than virtually anything else in the country right now.
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

As grateful that I am — and I am, genuinely and abidingly — that Jimmy Kimmel is willing to speak up about his son's healthcare issues on behalf of people with preexisting conditions and/or without insurance, and is willing to keep speaking up about it, even after navigating lots of very personal criticism directed at him and his infant child (for fuck's sake!) for having spoken out in the first place, I'm not thrilled that his is the loudest — or indeed only — opposition voice lots of people in this country are hearing.

How many people have seen a single headline about anything Nancy Pelosi, for example, has said on healthcare this week? And it ain't because she hasn't said anything!

screenshots of a series of tweets on the healthcare bill posted by Pelosi this week

Et cetera. Her entire timeline is filled with RTs on the subject, and that's just what she's doing on Twitter.

This is, in large part, because of whom the media chooses to amplify. And it's worth taking a moment to consider why it is that Kimmel in particular is being amplified.

Sure, yes, it's because he has a compelling story and he is an extremely good teller of that story.

But Kimmel also works for ABC, which is owned by Disney, one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world. All of their media properties want to amplify Kimmel because it's good busine$$ for them.

Meanwhile, all their competitors will either decide to try to steal some share by amplifying Kimmel or amplify his critics, because it's a neat hit on the host of ABC's late night host, to try to ding his ratings with conservative viewers. (Or both. Whatever's good for business!)

Which means that the healthcare debate (such as it is) is primarily being driven by the networks' late night ratings wars, about which literal movies have been made, because the competition is so fierce.


That's not, of course, the only reason that Kimmel is being amplified, nor the only reason that people are listening to him, but media profits are playing a big, if unseen, role.

The same networks whose political news properties host guests paid to publicly ponder: What do the Democrats even stand for?

That's a problem, my friends.

Daily Dose of Cute

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:30 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

The other night, Matilda and Olivia were napping on the sofa together, and they kept posing in synchronized positions, which was SO CUTE I didn't even know what to do with myself!

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat and Olivia the White Farm Cat both lying on the sofa on their sides, looking in the same direction
image of Matilda and Olivia both lying on the couch, looking toward me
image of Matilda and Olivia lying facing one another, with their legs stretched out toward one another, creating a shape not unlike an infinity symbol

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

We Resist: Day 245

Sep. 21st, 2017 12:15 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Lying Liars and Their Garbage Healthcare Bill and Trump's Administration of Toxic Masculinity.

There's a lot of notable foreign policy news today...

Anna Fifield at the Washington Post: North Korea Is Likely to Fire More Missiles After Trump's Speech, Experts Say.
Kim Jong Un's regime tells the North Korean people every day that the United States wants to destroy them and their country. Now, they will hear it from another source: the president of the United States himself.

In his maiden address to the United Nations on Tuesday, [Donald] Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea."

Analysts noted that he did not even differentiate between the Kim regime, as President George W. Bush did with his infamous "axis of evil" speech, and the 25 million people of North Korea.

"[Donald] Trump has handed the North Koreans the sound bite of the century," said Marcus Noland, an executive vice president at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and one of the authors of its North Korea: Witness to Transformation blog. "That footage will be used time and time and time again on North Korea's state television channel."

Hallie Jackson, Carol E. Lee, Vivian Salama, and Kristen Welker at NBC News: Trump Leaning Toward Decertifying Iran Nuclear Deal, Sources Say. "Donald Trump is leaning toward decertifying the Iran nuclear deal and putting the decision of whether the United States withdraw from the accord in the hands of Congress... Such a move would come before an Oct. 15 deadline and would trigger a 60-day window for lawmakers to determine whether to reimpose sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program that were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement. ...Still, several of the sources cautioned that the president could change his mind over the next three weeks as he faces pushback from allies internationally." Of course. Because he has no fixed principles and is a reckless mess constantly in search of approbation to satiate his voracious ego.

David Filipov and Liz Sly at the Washington Post: Russia Threatens Retaliatory Strikes Against U.S. Troops and Their Allies in Syria. "Russia on Thursday raised the threat of a direct confrontation with U.S. forces in Syria, saying that the Russian military would target areas occupied by American units and U.S.-backed militias if Moscow's troops come under fire. The warning came amid rising tensions in the Syrian desert between the United States and its Kurdish and Arab allies on the one hand, and Russia, the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed militias on the other, as both converge on Islamic State-held territory in eastern Syria." No big deal. Just Russia threatening to start a war with the U.S. in Syria.

Steve Dorsey at CBS News: As Number of Injured Diplomats Soared, State Dept. Kept Cuba Attacks Secret. "An internal Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs document obtained by CBS News shows the State Department was fully aware of the extent of the attacks on its diplomats in Havana, Cuba, long before it was forced to acknowledge them. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert only admitted the attacks were occurring after CBS News Radio first reported them August 9. ...At the time, Nauert said she didn't believe the number of Americans injured was in the tens or dozens. But a source says that by the time the State Department first publicly acknowledged the attacks, it knew the reports of Americans injured had reached double-digits. 'They for sure tried to keep the numbers secret,' the source said." JFC.

In addition to making an arse of himself by inventing an African country yesterday, Trump engaged in some unabashed colonialism while speaking to African leaders:

Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. [Grins and pauses like he expects laughter, which does not come.] I congratulate you. They're spending a lot of money. But it does — it has a tremendous business potential and representing huge amounts of, uh, different markets, and for American firms it's really become a place that they have to go, that they want to go.

Six of the world's ten fastest growing economies are in Africa. Increasing American trade and investment across diverse industries — including agriculture, energy, transportation, healthcare, travel, and tourism — will further transform lives throughout the continent.
Holy shit this guy. Capitalist colonialism being described to world leaders in the tone of a bored sixth grader giving a report comprised of facts he plucked off a Wikipedia page. Unreal.

* * *

On Tuesday, in comments of my piece on the latest with Mueller's Russia investigation, which included the report about former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort having been wiretapped, Shaker Brad C. noted: "I'm concerned to what degree Trump and his cronies will use this reporting as an excuse to justify his long-debunked 'Obama wiretapped me!' claim. Facts notwithstanding, of course, but he's never let that bother him before..." To which I replied: "They'll use it. Despite the fact that this does not, in fact, vindicate his ridiculous claims at all."

And as all of us knew as surely as we know our own names, Mike Pence was trotted out on Fox News to make precisely this horseshit argument. My favorite part is how he doesn't use Manafort's name, but instead refers to him as "someone who had a condominium in the Trump Tower." Someone who also hand-selected Pence to be veep, for fuck's sake!

In other Mueller and Manafort news...

Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, Carol D. Leonnig, and Adam Entous at the Washington Post: Manafort Offered to Give Russian Billionaire 'Private Briefings' on 2016 Campaign. "Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions. Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said. 'If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,' Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email." Just normal stuff.

Josh Dawsey at Politico: Manafort Used Trump Campaign Account to Email Ukrainian Operative. "Former Donald Trump aide Paul Manafort used his presidential campaign email account to correspond with a Ukrainian political operative with suspected Russian ties, according to people familiar with the correspondence. Manafort sent emails to seek repayment for previous work he did in Ukraine and to discuss potential new opportunities in the country, even as he chaired Trump's presidential campaign, these people said." Cool.

So, you might have noticed there's a lot of news focused on Manafort lately, all of these scoops care of anonymous sources. That's not an accident. Someone (WHO COULD IT BE?) wants to make Manafort the fall guy for Russian collusion. No doubt he was at the center and in the thick of it, but he was, ultimately, only the go-between for two much more powerful players. The buck shouldn't stop with him. It's pretty clear who benefits from making sure it does stop with him, though.

That such a brazen effort is being made to frame him in the press is a hint that, behind the scenes, the key players may be trying to shape what evidence (documents and testimony) are provided to Mueller to direct his investigation toward Manafort and steer scrutiny away from Trump, Pence, and Kushner.

I don't think for a second that Mueller is naive enough to fall for it, or corrupt enough to go along with it, but I do think there's a real possibility that he'll be effectively stymied by these corrupt liars who have zero respect for the rule of law.

Which is a big part of the reason I keep saying: Continue to maintain measured expectations.

* * *

Mike Allen at Axios: Another Potential Mueller Honey Pot: Spicer's Notebooks. "Former colleagues of Sean Spicer tell Axios that he filled 'notebook after notebook' during meetings at the Republican National Committee, later at the Trump campaign, and then at the White House. When Spicer worked at the RNC, he was said to have filled black books emblazoned with the party's seal. Spicer was so well-known for his copious notes that underlings joked about him writing a tell-all. ...When we texted Spicer for comment on his note-taking practices, he replied: 'Mike, please stop texting/emailing me unsolicited anymore.'" LOL.

Jenny Hopkinson at Politico: Trump Hires Campaign Workers Instead of Farm Experts at USDA. "Donald Trump's appointees to jobs at Agriculture Department headquarters include a long-haul truck driver, a country club cabana attendant, and the owner of a scented-candle company. A POLITICO review of dozens of résumés from political appointees to USDA shows the agency has been stocked with Trump campaign staff and volunteers who in many cases demonstrated little to no experience with federal policy, let alone deep roots in agriculture." Terrific.

[Content Note: Police brutality; disablism; racism] Matthew Haag at the New York Times: Despite Pleas, Oklahoma City Officer Fatally Shoots Deaf Man. "An Oklahoma City police officer fatally shot a man on Tuesday night despite pleas from neighbors that the man was deaf and could not hear the commands to drop a metal pipe he was holding, the authorities said. The man, Madgiel Sanchez, was shot around 8:15 p.m. outside his home soon after the police responded there to investigate a hit-and-run accident. The first officer to arrive called for backup, pulled out his Taser and ordered Mr. Sanchez, 35, who was on his front porch, to drop the two-foot-long pipe he was clutching, the police said. The officer's commands did not register with Mr. Sanchez. He ambled off the porch toward the officer, waving the pipe in his right hand, according to the police and a witness. ...[Mr. Sanchez] never left home without the pipe, wielding it shoo away stray dogs." Goddammit. My condolences to his family, friends, and neighbors.

[CN: Anti-Semitism; white supremacy] Rob Schultz at the Wisconsin State Journal: 'Trump Rules, Antifa Sucks': Graffiti and Swastikas Scrubbed from Monument Near Historic Madison Synagogue. "Vandals sprayed swastikas and other graffiti on a monument next to the Gates of Heaven Synagogue building in James Madison Park — in time for it to be discovered hours before the start of a Jewish holiday. The monument honors Americans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade that joined the international armies that fought the fascist forces of Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. 'Antifa sucks' and 'Trump rules' also were sprayed onto the monument in red paint. ...[Dawn Berney, executive director of Jewish Social Services of Madison] said the graffiti was particularly disturbing because Wednesday is the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. 'The person who did this knew that,' she said." Disgusting.

[CN: Toxic water; reproductive complications; video may autoplay at link] Keith Matheny at USA Today: Study: Fewer Pregnancies, More Fetal Deaths in Flint After Lead Levels Rose in Water. "Flint saw fewer pregnancies, and a higher number of fetal deaths, during the period Michigan women and their unborn children were exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water, according to a new research study that reviewed health records from Flint and the state. Fertility rates decreased by 12% among Flint women, and fetal death rates increased by 58%, after April 2014, according to research by assistant professors and health economists David Slusky at Kansas University and Daniel Grossman at West Virginia University. ...On fertility rates, 'Flint's numbers fell off a cliff, and the rest of the cities stayed pretty much constant' after April 2014, Slusky said." Awful.

[CN: White supremacy] Maggie Astor at the New York Times: South Carolina 5th Graders Are Asked to Explain K.K.K.'s Thinking. "'You are a member of the K.K.K.,' the fifth-grade homework assignment read. 'Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?' The worksheet, given on Thursday as part of a lesson on the Reconstruction period, caused an outcry after one student's uncle, Tremain Cooper, posted a photo of the assignment on Facebook. 'This is my little 10-year-old nephew's homework assignment today,' he wrote. 'He's home crying right now.'"

That assignment would have put me in tears instantly when I was a kid, too. Asking me to explain why I was right to hurt other people, to empathize with abuse, would have been so upsetting to me, even as a white child. I can only imagine the pain it would cause a Black child. Fuck this.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

In April of 2016, then-candidate Hillary Clinton was asked during a town hall whether women would make up at least half of her Cabinet were she elected president. She replied: "Well, I am going to have a Cabinet that looks like America, and 50 percent of America is women."

That would have been a historic — and radical — reimagining of the President's Cabinet.

Instead, in an election that was a referendum on how the nation values women, a large enough portion of the electorate voted for confessed sex abuser and rank misogynist Donald Trump that he won the presidency. And naturally, his administration is not a model of gender parity, to put it mildly.

image of Trump with his back turned to face a cheering crowd of Congressmen, to which I've added text reading: 'All (the all is crossed out) Some of the President's Men'

Molly Redden at the Guardian: Trump Is Assembling the Most Male-Dominated Government in Decades.
A new analysis shared exclusively with the Guardian has found that 80% of nominations for top jobs in the Trump administration have gone to men — putting Donald Trump on track to assemble the most male-dominated federal government in nearly a quarter-century.

Without a significant shift, men will outnumber women four-to-one in top positions of the Trump administration.

...Men also outnumbered women three-to-one in a separate group of about 400 people the administration hired as it transitioned into power, according to a Bloomberg analysis using data collected by ProPublica. These were appointees who did not require Senate confirmation.
With few exceptions, the men who have joined Trump's administration are wealthy, white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and Christian — men who abet and/or share Trump's patriarchal, white supremacist, nativist views.

Trump infamously surrounds himself with stooges and sycophants who won't challenge him. The men in his orbit reflect back to him his worst impulses and vile beliefs. Some of them are merely unprincipled yes-men; others, like Vice President Mike Pence, are true believers.

In either case, they serve (in every sense of the word) to uphold and empower the toxic stew of racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, disablism, nativism, nationalism, and Christian supremacy that are central to Trump's eugenical worldview.

It isn't just that his administration is full of men. It's that his administration is, by virtue of who those men are, full of toxic masculinity.

That has devastating consequences for marginalized people — most of whom voted for Trump's chief opponent, who promised she'd do precisely the opposite. And would have.
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

Senate Republicans' latest iteration of their "healthcare reform" legislation is garbage. They know it's garbage. But nothing matters to them besides winning. And if you think that's hyperbole, following are two examples of the cavernous lack of integrity among the Senators trying to sell this shit, including one of the men whose name is on the fucking bill.

1. Calvin Woodward at the AP: Sen. Graham Presses for Support for GOP Health Bill.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday appealed for support from fellow senators for his GOP health care bill despite "all its imperfections."

"We're going to vote," Graham told broadcaster Sean Hannity. "Everybody will be held accountable."

Graham made his comments in an overheard cellphone call in front of a passenger at Reagan National Airport before he boarded a flight.

...Graham said Republicans have for years been tripped up by their inability to offer a credible alternative to "Obamacare" even as they demanded its repeal. He said he thinks that alternative now exists with his bill and can prevail against tough odds with the help of [Donald] Trump.

..."I talk with [Donald] Trump like three times a day," he said.
Just get it done. Just get a win, at all costs. Vote for it despite the fact that it's shit. Says reputed fierce Trump critic Lindsey Graham, who actually talks with Trump "like three times a day."

2. Jason Noble at the Des Moines Register: [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Chuck Grassley: Fulfilling Campaign Promise Just as Important as 'Substance' of Health Bill.
Despite many evident shortcomings in a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act health care law, Republicans have a responsibility to pass it, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday.

In a conference call with Iowa reporters, Grassley expressed support for the Graham-Cassidy health care reform proposal currently before the Senate, arguing that the GOP has pledged to repeal the law known as Obamacare and must seize any opportunity to do so.

"You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn't be considered," Grassley said. "But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That's pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill."
This is a person who cannot be trusted to represent the people. He is a craven wreck, and his party is trash.


Feel the Breeze

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:30 am
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

I had the distinct honor of being a guest on the latest episode of my friend Andrea Grimes' Traitor Radio podcast. If you can't listen to it, no worries! Andrea provides a complete transcript for every episode, which you will find at the link. (Just scroll down.)

The format of Traitor Radio is really cool: Following an introduction by Andrea, guests tell a story, then do a brief Q&A with Andrea before giving "homework" — that is, practical advice for making change in their own lives and the rest of the world.

For my episode, I told a story about being a fat woman seeking the breeze, which may be familiar to some of you.

I hope you enjoy it! My thanks to Andrea for inviting me to be a guest on Traitor Radio. ♥

Question of the Day

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:00 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

Suggested by Shaker AmeliaEve: "How did you learn to cook?"

Some basics from family and home ec classes in middle school. Mostly just from trial and error on my own. Trying to recreate things I ate at restaurants was a primary way of expanding my cooking skills, which are decent. I make a few great dishes and a lot of competent ones, lol.

The Wednesday Blogaround

Sep. 20th, 2017 05:00 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

This blogaround brought to you by mint.

Recommended Reading:

George Dvorsky: [Content Note: Images of storm damage at link] Hurricane Maria Lashes Puerto Rico, Knocking out Power to Entire Island

Jenn Fang: [CN: Racism; nativism] US Immigration Denies Travel Visa to Sister Whose Stem Cell Donation Would Save Cancer Patient's Life

Lance Mannion: [CN: Bigotry; abuse] President of Their Dreams

Shay Stewart-Bouley: [CN: Racism; eliminationist violence] Navigating Racism, or Hate Exists Everywhere Whether You Admit It or Not

Mariame Kaba: [CN: Carcerality] Host Teach-Ins about Bail and Pretrial Detention This Fall

IWHC Staff: [CN: War on agency] Where Are We Now? A Snapshot of Some of the World's Most Egregious Abortion Laws

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

In Guinea and Nigeria, you fought a horrifying ebola outbreak. Nambia's health system is increasingly self-sufficient.
I don't even know.
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Posted by Mel @ brokeGIRLrich

Here’s something I don’t feel like we talk about much in the personal finance sphere – you don’t need to budget ALL the time.

Let’s compare budgeting to learning how to play an instrument.

When I was 8 years old, I dragged home a trumpet from school and started being forced to practice 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week. There was a little sheet stapled to the back of my little beginner trumpet practice book that my mom signed off on that I had practiced every day for twenty excruciating minutes (looking back, they were probably excruciating for the both of us).

Then I joined the school band and started practicing to 30 minutes a day and playing in the band for an hour twice a week.

By the end of high school I was still only practicing about an hour a day, but I was in marching band 3 days a week, wind ensemble once a week, jazz band once a week, and concert band five times a week, as well as playing in the school pit orchestra for any musicals we did. I was probably playing my trumpet about around twenty hours a week.

And while, overall there were challenges to be overcome, the ease with which I played the trumpet was way greater than those 20 excruciating minutes a day I started with.

Budgeting is the same. You start with a really basic idea of what a budget is. It starts to work, so you put more effort into perfectly fine tuning that sucker. After a while, an effective budget can take a good, little chunk of time weekly or monthly to stay on top of.

But then there’s this glorious moment in time where you can coast a little.

I initially had grand dreams of being a trumpet player for a living, but quickly learned in college that I would starve to death if I picked that path. Not only because I never really managed to have a tone that would make me any money, but, and this is a big one, I hated practicing.

The thing was though, by the time I stopped playing for hours and hours at a time weekly, I’d been doing it for twelve years. I had a good base going and I could coast. So I would pick up local gigs playing in pit orchestras around the area and make a little money and go about my day.

I do the same thing with budgets. I spent quite a while pouring hours of my life regularly into refining one and once it was running on it’s own, it just required the occasional check in when something came up and I’d otherwise forget about it.

Then I stopped doing anything with a trumpet for about five years. I went to grad school for theater and during that year, we had to create a devised theater piece. We decided part of our theater piece was going to involve a musical number since a quick discussion with everyone led us to realize we had enough former musicians to make a little band.

We picked a segment of It’s a Man’s World. Guys, that song is so, so easy to play. I pulled out my trumpet thinking of my twelve years of experience, the fact that I started college as a music major, all of the pit orchestras I’d played in, all of those years of band.

It's a man's world... even though it was all women who had the skills to perform the song and the man in our program stood in the back and clapped.

It’s a man’s world… even though it was all women who had the skills to perform the song and the man in our program stood in the back and clapped.

And the first time I tried to muddle through that song, I sounded almost exactly like I did at eight years old with my mom signing off on that practice sheet in the back of my beginning trumpet book.

It was horrific.

Even more so because I’d always been bad at playing by ear, but this was like… horrific. Let’s just stick with and repeat horrific.

The same happens when you skip five years of budgeting. You think everything is bopping along like normal below the surface, but when you actually check in, it’s a mess.

Here’s the nice thing though, it doesn’t take twelve years to get back to where you were. All the knowledge to get back to your previous skill level is already crammed in your head, you just need to put in a little hard work to get back to where you were.

Instead of twenty minutes a day, it became an hour a day that I just sat in my apartment and played the melody of Man’s World over and over again (I’m sure my neighbors wanted to murder me) and by the time we put the production on, it was not a terrible embarrassment. It was nowhere near as good as if I hadn’t just stopped playing for five years, but it wasn’t the sad sounds of a cow dying that happened the first time I tried to play the song a few weeks earlier.

The fact is the problem could be fixed.

The easiest way to fix it though would’ve been to just play a little more frequently over the years. I firmly believe that busting out my trumpet once a week or even once every other week would’ve kept that decline from being so severe.

The same with budgeting, even once everything is under control, you should still check in regularly. You don’t need to put in all the hard work you did when you were learning how to control your money, but you still need to use the tools you have once in a while to keep them sharp.

Anyone else had the horrific experience of trying to play an instrument they could, at one time, play in their sleep only to find they can barely play a concert B flat scale anymore?

The post Why Budgeting Matters Even When You Don’t NEED To (A Musical Analogy) appeared first on brokeGIRLrich.

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Posted by Melissa McEwan

image of Hillary Clinton in a blue jacket, smiling and clasping her hands together
[Photo: Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America.]

Hillary Clinton, commanding winner of the popular vote who nonetheless lost the presidency, continues to be very popular.

Her book is #1 on Amazon; she's sold "more than 300,000 copies in the combined formats of hardcover, e-book, and audio," and her book's "hardcover sales of 168,000 was the highest opening for any nonfiction release in five years"; her book tour is selling out; she's in demand as a guest on TV, radio, and podcasts; and her appearance on Rachel Maddow's show "was cable's most-watched news broadcast of the week, as well as the No. 1 non-sports show on cable."

Lots of people, millions of us, still like the unlikeable Hillary Clinton.

It was always a damnable and sinister lie that there was "low enthusiasm" for the country's first female nominee from a major party. A useful and ubiquitous lie, but a lie all the same.

It is a lie with which her most devoted haters have a hard time reckoning. She is, after all, the most scrutinized candidate ever to run, and, despite mendacious narratives to the contrary, the most transparent. If her supporters know her as well as any public figure can ever be known, and still like her, then how can she be the monster they accuse her of being?

The haters' rap on Hillary is that her supporters don't really know her — that she is deceitful, inauthentic, a chronic liar, a compulsive concealer of her multitudinous misdeeds, which include everything from accepting speaking fees to cold-blooded murder.

But we know. We know her actual failures, and we know all the invented malefactions that have been attributed to her for four decades. We have been urged to "wake up" and "do some research" on Who Hillary Clinton Really Is, but being a Hillary Clinton supporter means that you can't avoid the legitimate criticisms and wild-ass conspiracy theories about her powerful depravity even if you wanted to.

There isn't a valid concern or fringe-spun demon fantasy about Hillary Clinton that I haven't heard. There isn't a mistake she's made or a policy disagreement I have with her that I haven't long and thoughtfully considered. There isn't a horseshit nightmare narrative about her that can be posed to me which I haven't gathered the facts to dispute.

Which is a problem for her haters. They can't convince me not to like her.

And nothing annoys them more than that. Because it's not enough that they hate her. They want everyone else to hate her, too.

It's easy to imagine that this strange dynamic is unique to Hillary Clinton, but it isn't. It only seems that way because of her unusual prominence.

One of the most basic precepts of a patriarchal culture is that women aren't to be liked. Used, consumed, exploited, but never liked. Never respected. Never admired.

Especially not by other women.

Women who like and respect and admire one another are dangerous. We are socialized to hate each other (and ourselves), to think of ourselves and one another as less than, and to regard each other with suspicion and contempt — competitors for resources and opportunities and affection.

Even most feminist women have to make a habit of liking women, of rewriting that entrainment to reflexively see other women in negative terms, and replacing it with a spirit of sisterhood. A lot of women exceptionalize the women in their lives in the same way men do. My group of female friends having fun at this bar is awesome; that other group of female friends having fun at this bar is a bunch of skanks. That is the way we are all socialized to view women — their individual value determined by proximity and affiliation, rather than merit.

It is an insidious and intractable piece of systemic misogyny, this idea that women are simply unlikeable, as a rule.

And thus it is a radical act to like women.

Especially a woman as hated as Hillary Clinton. To like her is reject the cultural imperative to dislike and mistrust women — and it is a stubborn refusal to give her haters what they want; what they feel they are owed by a culture who promises them hatred of women.

All they're supposed to have to do is point out she's a woman. That is meant to be good enough to convince anyone of her loathsomeness! Instead, she is liked. Widely liked. Respected. Admired. Even losing hasn't dimmed the shimmer of her massive popularity.

They still can't get what they really want — which is for all of us to hate her the way they do.

We're supposed to be the irrational ones, but it's her haters who fixate on us, driving themselves to distraction by obsessively responding to any utterance, any written word, any simple tweet with reflexively disgorged hatred, unable to find contentment as long as there exist in the world people (women, especially) who don't share their low opinion of her.

Nothing provokes more outraged responses than my saying anything positive about Hillary Clinton.

(With the possible exception of saying anything negative about Bernie Sanders.)

There are abundant reasons that I like Hillary Clinton, and all of them more important than annoying the people determined to hate her. But I would be lying if I said the plethoric evidence that the mere act of my liking Hillary Clinton drives her haters utterly bananas doesn't bring me endless amounts of joy. It does.

And so they may harass me, they may insult me, they may even threaten me, but nevertheless, I persist.

I'm a nasty woman like that.

Daily Dose of Cute

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

image of Dudley the Greyhound standing at the top of the deck stairs, squinting into the bright sunshine
"Dudley, don't you want to come run around in the yard on this beautiful autumn day?"
"Nah, I'm good. Can we go back in and get a treat now?"

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in the garden beside some yellow and purple autumn blooms, looking to one side
Zelly in the garden, patiently waiting for me to start running
around so she can chase me, since Dudley won't oblige her.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

We Resist: Day 244

Sep. 20th, 2017 12:15 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Senate GOP Wants Healthcare Vote in One Week.

The Editors of the Washington Post aren't pulling their punches on Senate Republicans' latest attempt to repeal Obamacare. Today's editorial is headlined: "Another Execrable Health-Care Bill Proves Bad Ideas Never Die." Ouch! Also: Correct. "Some Republicans want to pass this policy disaster before the end of the month, in less than two weeks. A last-minute committee hearing would be nothing more than a fig leaf disguising a reprehensibly partisan process in service of an unworthy bill." Damn.

With more on said fig leaf, Amanda Michelle Gomez at ThinkProgress: GOP Rushes to Pass Trumpcare Through Irregular Order.
Now, looking to garner support from McCain, his Republican colleagues have scheduled one hearing that would unpack the Cassidy-Graham bill — legislation that undercuts consumer protections more so than any other GOP health bill.

The hearing, which will held by the Senate Committee on Finance, is scheduled for Monday, September 25.

...It's not yet clear who will testify before senators on the potential impacts of the proposal, and it's also hard to imagine they will have all the information they need about the legislation's impact.

Next week's hearing will proceed without a comprehensive analysis from the CBO, which announced Monday that it will only be able to provide a "preliminary assessment" given the limited timeframe — a deadline that's self-imposed by the Senate because it's unlikely senators will be able to get enough support for the Cassidy-Graham to pass the bill with anything but a simple majority.
However, even though the Congressional Budget Office score won't arrive in time (by design, as usual), Greg Sargent notes that the new "Avalere study means GOP Senators now know exactly what they're voting for, even without CBO score."

At the Washington Post, he writes: "The study, which was released this morning by Avalere Health, a consulting firm, finds that many states will see sizable cuts to the federal money that would flow to their states, relative to current law. ...[B]ecause of the bill's funding formula, a lot of states will end up with substantially less federal money to spend on health-care coverage than they would have under current law. ...[T]he bill also creates a massive fiscal cliff for many states who stand to take an enormous wallop after 2026 [when the cuts get substantially worse]."

To reiterate: Republican Senators now know, irrespective of the availability (or lack thereof) of the CBO score, that the bill on which they're voting is terrible and why it's terrible. If they vote for it anyway, they're doing it with full and public knowledge of the millions of people they'd harm.

For ourselves, for our countrypeople, and to give Topher a great birthday, MAKE YOUR CALLS.

* * *

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Morgan Winsor at ABC News: Nikki Haley Defends Trump's 'Rocket Man' Speech to United Nations: He 'Was Being Honest'. "In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump threatened to 'totally destroy' North Korea if the U.S. is 'forced to defend itself or its allies,' prompting astonished gasps from the audience. Haley said the president 'was being honest' and that his bluntness was in fact 'very much appreciated.'" 1. No he wasn't; and 2. Appreciated by whom? Also: "Being honest" isn't a defense for recklessly provoking a nuclear war. FYI.

Craig Silverman at BuzzFeed: Trump Is Using Targeted Facebook Ads to Reassure Supporters He Will Build the Border Wall.
Donald Trump is using targeted Facebook ads to reassure supporters that he still plans to build the border wall after his recent public comments caused many to question whether he would keep his promise.

"There's been a lot of noise and a lot of rumors," reads the text of a Facebook ad from Trump's personal Facebook page that was targeted to specific users in recent days. "....WE WILL BUILD A WALL (NOT A FENCE) ALONG THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF THE UNITED STATES..." The ad concludes with a pitch for donations.

...The personal Facebook page of Vice President Mike Pence is also running a version of the ad. One difference between the Pence and Trump ads is the VP's refers to "Fake News media," while Trump's calls out the "mainstream media." Both ads include a dig against "liberals in congress."

A White House spokesman told BuzzFeed News the ads are being run by the Trump campaign, and referred all questions to it. The Trump campaign did not respond to emails or phone messages about the ads.

The ads are not visible on the timelines of the Trump or Pence Facebook pages. They are, therefore, so-called "dark post ads" because they can only be seen by people the campaign chose to target with the message. This is the same type of ad Facebook recently acknowledged was purchased by a Russian troll factory in order to target Americans during the election.
RED FLAG. RED FLAG. RED FLAG. I mean, this is how confident Trump is that he's above the law and will face no consequences. It's just a brazen replication of the very thing for which he's being investigated.

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: More Details Emerge About Predawn Raid on Manafort's Virginia Home. "Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his wife were asleep in their Alexandria, Virginia apartment early on the morning of July 26 when a team of armed FBI agents burst through the door with a search warrant focusing on possible crimes committed as far back as 2006. ...A source briefed on the investigation told CNN that special counsel Robert Mueller's team explicitly notified Manafort that they planned to charge him with possible tax and financial crimes." Again: These leaks are not great.

[CN: Trans hatred; child abuse] Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczynski at CNN: Trump Judicial Nominee Said Transgender Children Are Part of 'Satan's Plan'; Defended 'Conversion Therapy'. "In a pair of 2015 speeches, [Donald] Trump's nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas described transgender children as evidence of 'Satan's plan,' lamented that states were banning conversion therapy, and argued that sanctioning same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality. Jeff Mateer, the current first assistant attorney general of Texas, was serving at the time as general counsel of the First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty advocacy group known before 2016 as the Liberty Institute. ...If confirmed by the US Senate, he will serve on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas." And Trump still has 100 federal court vacancies to fill, so that's cool and everything is fine. (Heaving sobs.)

Dan Diamond and Rachana Pradhan at Politico: Price's Private-Jet Travel Breaks Precedent. "In a sharp departure from his predecessors, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel. ...The travel by corporate-style jet comes at a time when other members of the Trump administration are under fire for travel expenditures, and breaks with the practices of Obama-era Secretaries Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially while in the continental United States. Price, a frequent critic of federal spending who has been developing a plan for department-wide cost savings, declined to comment." I'll bet he did. This is an entire administration of lying grifters.

Matt Shuham at TPM: Ousted White House Aide Gorka Joins Conspiracy Theory-Happy 'MAGA Coalition'. "Former White House staffer and self-styled counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka has joined a secretive pro-Trump super PAC whose leaders have pushed conspiracy theories about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer and 'Pizzagate.' ...MAGA Coalition asserted in an late August FEC filing that it 'exists to further the political influence of 'America First' policies; engineered to put the freedom, sovereignty, and economic prosperity policies for the American voters into practice in our government.' The group's known staff is extremely small, but Gorka's hiring as its 'chief strategist' shines a bright light on its habit of promoting extreme conspiracy theories." And empowering Nazis.

For more on the MAGA Coalition, see Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast: Seb Gorka Joins Pro-Trump Group Founded by Pizzagate Truthers and a Seth Rich Conspiracy Theorist.

[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] Nick Duffy at PinkNews: Kid Rock Opens Senate Bid with Anti-LGBT Rant. I'm not going to reprint his vile bigotry in this space. Instead, I just want to share this passage from the piece: "The outspoken Republican, real name Robert Ritchie, is reportedly planning to run in the US Senate election in Michigan next November, seeking to unseat incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. Polling has shown he has massive support among the GOP base, despite his lack of experience or policy knowledge or stated political agenda." Despite, or because of. Seethe.

[CN: Racism; police brutality] Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: Attorney Advocate in St. Louis Asks When Her City Will Begin to Value Black Lives.
Organizers and activists have been in the streets since Friday, protesting the verdict [in which officer Jason Stockley was acquitted on first-degree murder charges for killing 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith] and the system that produced it. Among the crowd: Nicole D. Nelson, a staff attorney with nonprofit civil rights law firm ArchCity Defenders. And as she writes in an op-ed published in The New York Times today, there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the city's treatment of its Black residents.

...Nelson closes by urging local leadership to heed the policy recommendations of The Movement for Black Lives, including demilitarizing law enforcement, putting an end to the cash bail system, and decriminalizing poverty. "Until then," she writes, "St. Louis law enforcement officials will continue to find themselves locked in this pattern, wondering why Black citizens take to the streets demanding that the police stop killing us."
Relatedly, after Pi Pizzeria owner Chris Sommers was targeted by the union representing St. Louis County police officers, directing people to harass him because he voiced opposition to the police having gassed his restaurant and patrons, Sommers published a thorough response, which is an absolutely devastating indictment of the police's tactics during the protests: "After they threw a tear gas canister at me (again, on video), a guy next to me picked it up and threw it back at them, either to get it away from him and others at Pi, or because he felt violated and wanted to return the poison. They certainly didn't like that, and finally crossed the street, rushing at me as I ran into my restaurant and barely got the door closed before they could break in. Yes, I had to lock down my restaurant for the first time from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. I then had to close the restaurant, buy dinner for remaining guests and ensure that my team, who were now all terrified from the gas and rush by the police, had a safe ride home. I repeat, we only closed our restaurant this weekend out of fear of police, not protestors or the shitheads vandalizing." JFC.

[CN: Carcerality] Matt Krupnick at the Guardian: Bail Roulette: How the Same Minor Crime Can Cost $250 or $10,000. "The Guardian looked at California to try and get a sense of the dynamics across a large state. An inspection of bail schedules in 56 of California's 58 counties — rural Humboldt and Amador counties did not respond to repeated requests — shows huge disparities in how misdemeanor bail is handled. The analysis showed big differences even regarding minor crimes that would lead to little or no jail time upon conviction. ...Bail schedules tend to reflect community values. If you sell drugs near a church in Florida's fifth circuit, west of Orlando, you can expect to pay $5,000 bail. But bringing a gun to school? That will cost just $2,000. 'That's an indication of where we are,' said Mike Graves, the fifth circuit public defender. 'It's a conservative place.'"

[CN: War on agency] Nicole Knight at Rewire: Pennsylvania Officials Still Won't Cut off Anti-Choice Group Misusing Taxpayer Money. "For decades, the anti-choice nonprofit Real Alternatives abused a multi-million dollar Pennsylvania state grant by spending a cut of the money on a network of crisis pregnancy centers, or fake clinics, and anti-choice activities outside the state. Pennsylvania's auditor general on Tuesday said the state was to blame for shoddy oversight of Real Alternatives, announcing it was time to go after the misspent money. But Auditor General Eugene DePasquale stopped short of recommending the state end Real Alternative's $30.2 million grant." OH WELL I GUESS. *headdesk*

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

The Swimming Thread

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:00 am
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Last month, I posted the first swimming thread, which was one of my favorite threads since last November, lolsob.

As I said then, because of the great feedback and conversations I've had since I started talking more about swimming, I'm going to keep talking about it and opening up space for other people to talk about it, too — whether it's sharing their own feelings about swimming, grousing about lack of accessibility, asking questions about how to dive in (literally), or anything else.

So, here's another swimming thread!

In comments the last time, Shaker ethel mentioned Aquagoggles, which are prescription goggles that sell for $24 plus shipping. That is much cheaper than the contact lenses I buy, primarily (and almost exclusively) for use while swimming, so I decided to give them a try.

image of me sporting my blue Aquagoggles, a pink swim cap, and a purple swimsuit top

I like them a whole lot! They aren't precise prescription lenses, which is how they keep the price so low, but they are close enough that they work perfectly for my purposes.

My only issue with them, which isn't a function of the goggles themselves, is that I can't see my way around the showers without them on, and I have very poor vision without prescription lenses of any kind. I don't love wearing my glasses into the shower, so I'm still sorting that out, but, like I said, that's not about the goggles!

In sum: A big thumbs up to Aquagoggles, and a big thank you to ethel for the recommendation. Thanks, ethel!

As before, please use this thread for all swimming-related discussion, and I am happy to answer any and all questions around being a fat woman who swims: How I navigate the locker room, what strokes I do, how I deal with shitty looks and comments, what's the best suit cut for what body shape to cover all the bits, anything.

Have at it in comments!
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain,

Over the last year, a once close friend of mine and I have been experiencing the African Violet of broken friendship. We had been through a very intense multi-year creative work project together, and after the project finished and she moved onto another job, we kind of drifted apart. For my part, I felt that sometimes she could say very unkind or cruel things. I noticed about two years ago that I was working very hard to win her approval, and felt very anxious if I didn’t get it and recognized that this friendship had become a bit unhealthy. I still valued many things about my friend, and thought that by setting some boundaries I could change the dynamic. After any incident where she said something unkind (for example, that half of the work on my part of the project was not my own work, which really hurt my feelings) or been judgmental (for example, negatively commenting on the dynamics of my relationship with my partner or how much I was eating and snacking during the intense project), I would take some space. Over the last couple of years my confidence has grown, not just in this area but in many other areas of my life, and I have been able to deal with some anxiety issues I had and learn how to set boundaries.

She started mainly hanging out with some different friends, and although we were still in touch, our conversation was becoming more and more surface-level. Anytime I suggested meeting up she would be really vague or say no. I was quite hurt at the time that she didn’t seem to want to hang out with me anymore, but I knew that we had just been through a really intense period in our lives and maybe she needed her space. There was always room for our friendship to get renewed further down the line. Before yesterday, we hadn’t been in contact for about four months. There wasn’t anything particularly negative about our last contact, it just tailed off.

I recently got a new job that I am very excited about and yesterday, in a whatsapp group she is also part of, someone congratulated me on my new job. About an hour later I got an feelingsemail from my friend. It’s not a nice email. It’s basically a bitter rant about how I have changed as a person. She said she didn’t recognize me anymore and how she had become fed up of what she perceives as my faults, and me being distant, over the last two years. She said that she didn’t deserve this kind of behavior from me and that she had never thought I would cut her off like this, although she had seen me do it to others (I don’t know where this comes from, I haven’t cut any one off apart from one girl back in high school which was 15 years ago!). In her mind, I am the bad guy, and it doesn’t sound like she is open to listening to anything else. She did say congratulations about the new job at the end.

I want to reply in a kind and compassionate way, because there were many things I valued about our friendship. We were so close, and I miss her. However, I don’t know what to say or how to respond to this email. I understand she sent it in a fit of overwhelming feelings, and underneath the accusations and manipulative statements, really she’s just sad about the loss of our friendship. I am open to being friends again, and rebuilding our relationship but it can’t be like this. I want to acknowledge the email, but I don’t want to get caught up in back and forth about who did what, or act in a way that says I think this email is acceptable, or apologize for things I haven’t done. How should I respond to this feelingsbomb? Should I even respond? How can people respond kindly and compassionately to feelingsmail in general?

Best wishes,
I’ve got feelingsmail

Dear Feelingsmail Receiver,

Your friend is projecting all over the place and all over you, a behavior where you take the stuff you are doing (especially stuff that you feel guilty about or ashamed of or upset about) and assign that behavior and the blame for it to someone else. Like the thing where you kept trying to make plans and she rebuffed you is now all about how you’ve abandoned her. Interesting.

Also Interesting: The less time you spend with her, the happier and more confident you’ve become over time.

Interesting Indeed: A really happy moment for you (congratulations on your new job!) has become the catalyst for her to criticize and accuse you of being a bad person and a bad friend. Not cool.

I don’t know how you repair that. It sounds like the way you’ve been drifting away from each other has been organic, with you taking care of yourself by taking space when you need it, and her choosing the company of other friends over you when she needs that.

Now she wants you to apologize and accept all the blame for the fact that your friendship isn’t as close as it was, and she also wants you to chase her. Do you want to do any of those things?

In your shoes I might just write back “Wow, okay??? Thanks for the good wishes at least. As for the rest, I miss spending time with you, too,” and just ignore the steaming pile of Feelings and Accusations. And then I’d let the ball be in her court to follow up, either to apologize or to suggest a time to get together.

I predict she will find this answer from you somewhat maddening and not see it as the face-saving mercy that it actually is, but that’s not your fault or your work to do to deal with. You don’t owe her a point-by-point response to her projection or the emotional catharsis she sought at your expense. (Note: You don’t actually owe friendship or any response at all to someone who sends you such a mean, rude message!) If she comes back with an apology or invitation to grab lunch or coffee, that will give you some useful information and if she comes back with renewed vitriol about what a terrible friend and person you are that will also give you some useful information.

If you do eventually sit down and address the issues in the friendship someday, you could say “Well, I’d been feeling like you didn’t want to hang out with me, so I stopped pushing and gave you space. I guess we’ve been mirroring each other.” It’s true and is neither an accusation nor an apology.

You can also ask her “Well, in a perfect world, where we have exactly the kind of friendship you want, how would you like this to work out?” and see what she says. In a difficult conversation where there’s a risk of getting stuck in a back-and-forth “It’s your fault”/”No it isn’t” about the past, this question can prompt people to stop and articulate a positive vision for the future. What’s the best case scenario where you get to recover a friendship that works for both of you? This “workable” version may be a very tiny, small-doses thing or no friendship at all, but I think this is your best chance for finding out if anything here can be saved.

[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Last night, Hillary Clinton was a guest on Stephen Colbert's show, during which she said plainly "I'm not going anywhere," told an amazing story about experiencing Vladimir Putin's misogyny firsthand, and drank a glass of chardonnay. Below, the first (and much longer and substantial) block of her appearance:

STEPHEN COLBERT: Folks, I am terribly excited, because she was first a First Lady, then a Senator, then Secretary of State, and I would have bet anything the next President of the United States. Please welcome Hillary Rodham Clinton!

[audience cheers and applause as Hillary Clinton walks out; she shakes Stephen Colbert's hand as they greet each other warmly; a large part of the audience gives her a standing ovation; she takes her seat on stage to extended cheers and applause]

COLBERT: Thank you so much for being here.

CLINTON: Oh, Stephen, it's good to see you.

COLBERT: It's good to see you. It's an honor to have you here.

CLINTON: Thanks!

COLBERT: You have a new book. It's called "What Happened." And I don't know how else to start this interview, other than saying: What happened?! [audience laughter; Clinton laughs] What happened?

CLINTON: Well, that's the question I try to answer.


CLINTON: Yeah, because it was the question I asked myself starting on election night.

COLBERT: Mm-hmm.

CLINTON: And I started—

COLBERT: What time on election night? [audience laughter]

CLINTON: Ugh! Well, as I write in the book: Midnight. [shrugs] Midnight.

COLBERT: Yeah, I remember.

CLINTON: The dark time of the soul. Midnight. [audience laughter]

COLBERT: Yeah, I'm waiting for it to not be midnight soon. [audience laughter]

CLINTON: Yeah, right. And so I — I was asking it like you just said: What happened?! You know? And I figured, maybe I'd better try to find out, to figure it out. So that's why I dove into this book. It was, ah, very painful and difficult, but, at the end, I really feel like I've done my very best to lay out what happened so that it doesn't happen again. I mean, that's my primary goal here is so that it doesn't happen again. [lengthy audience cheers and applause]

COLBERT: Well, a lot of people have said, "Oh, I, boy, I wish Hillary Clinton would just go away."


COLBERT: "Just go away."

CLINTON: Well, you know, if they take up a collection and send me somewhere really nice— [audience laughter]

COLBERT: Really? [chuckles]

CLINTON: I might consider it!

COLBERT: Really? Yeah!

CLINTON: But it, you know—

COLBERT: Obama's on David Geffen's yacht a lot. You could go with him. [audience laughter]

CLINTON: [shrugs] Well, you know, I — I am not going anywhere. [massive audience applause]

COLBERT: Well, I'm glad you're not!

CLINTON: So. [extended audience cheers and applause; Clinton smiles and chuckles]

COLBERT: I agree. At first I could understand some of those calls — people saying like, "The Republicans are tearing themselves apart; don't give them, you know, someone to rally around in opposition to," because you are a convenient figure for them to unite against.


COLBERT: But I actually do not think that's how what's happening to our government is going to be stopped. I think it's people who are willing to be civically engaged and believe in the promises and the progress of the last fifty years that will save this country.

CLINTON: I agree completely—

COLBERT: So thank you so much for not going away.

CLINTON: —absolutely completely!

COLBERT: But wait a second: It must not have been easy.


COLBERT: It must not have been easy to write this book.

CLINTON: It — it wasn't easy! I mean, it was painful. It was horrible reliving it, and, you know, being as candid, open as I could be about the mistakes I made and talking about those. But also trying to come to grips, as I write in the book, about everything from, you know, sexism and misogyny, to voter suppression, to the unusual behavior of the former director of the FBI, and the Russians. And the Russians! — and you have been sounding the alarm about this — because I believe so strongly that they think they succeeded in messing with our democracy, and I just can't abide that, so—

COLBERT: Do you think they succeeded in messing with our democracy?

CLINTON: Yes I do. I do. I do. Because—

COLBERT: To what degree? Like, influencing the vote? Or influencing opinion?

CLINTON: Influencing voters, and therefore influencing opinion, I think is becoming clearer and clearer. I don't know what the Congressional investigations and I don't know what the Special Counsel investigation are going to find; I'm gonna wait for that. But I don't think anybody can with a straight face say that the Russians did not set out to influence our election, and they did so. This latest revelation about the way they bought ads on Facebook and targeted them — we're gonna find out a lot more, Stephen.

And I am saying as clearly as I can — I feel like I'm a bit of a, you know, a Paula Revere; I'm trying to sound the alarm about this [audience laughter and applause] — is that the—

You know, you've gotta understand what Putin's strategy is. He really doesn't like democracy. He thinks it's an inconvenient, messy process. And he doesn't like us, and he wants to destabilize our country; sow doubt about our democracy.

I mean, these latest revelations, where you had Russians pretending to be Americans — so you had fake Americans, with fake news, and fake stories, and fake demonstrations — that wasn't just because he's bored and has nothing to do. He wants to undermine how we see each other, how we respect each other, how we support our institutions and our society.

So, I think that they believe they had a good outing in twenty-sixteen, and I think that they will be back in twenty-eighteen and twenty-twenty, unless we stop them. [audience applause]

COLBERT: Now, you mentioned that he — that Putin doesn't like democracy and he doesn't like America; part of the speculation is that he specifically doesn't like you. Do you think this was personal on a certain level?

CLINTON: I think it was mostly about the role I played as Secretary of State, which he did morph into a grudge against me, because I would say things like, you know, "The Russian people deserve free and fair elections. They deserve to have a democracy."

COLBERT: Questioning the legitimacy of his election in two-thousand eleven.

CLINTON: The parliamentary elections, that's right. And, so, our intelligence community and others have said that he did have a personal grudge against me— You know, I don't take it personally. I think it's part of his worldview, which is all tied up with his anger, his disappointment in the collapse of the Soviet Union, and his feeling that we're his number one rival — he wants to really undermine the European-American alliance.

And so I see it as: I was doing my job — I was honored to do my job, to stand up and speak out on behalf of American values and our democracy — and, partly because I'm a woman, which does seem to get him a bit agitated— [audience cheers and applause] And he actually has said that, um, some things about that—

COLBERT: Has he — did he ever say anything to you personally that demonstrated his misogyny?

CLINTON: Well, he demonstrated— As I write in the book, you know, there's an expression, we certainly know it in New York, called manspreading. [audience laughter]

COLBERT: [chuckling] Yes.

CLINTON: And every time I met with him, it would be— [spreads her arms and flops back in her chair, taking up lots of space] Okay? [audience laughter] The whole deal! And, so, I'd go to meetings with him— One in particular, we were in his dacha outside of Moscow, and the press comes in, and he just berates America about one of the many things that annoys him about us, and then the press leaves, and I've got four or five things we're trying to deal with him and Russia on — and I always came to my meetings with him trying to find something that I could actually engage him about.

So, we went through the economy and human rights and all these other things that are critically important, and he was, you know— [mimes staring off into space] Like, as President Obama once said, like the bored guy in the back of the room. He couldn't care less.

Then I said: "You know, I am really pleased to hear that you care about wildlife conservation, and that you are trying to save species in Russia, like Siberian tigers and polar bears." Then he came alive! And then we had an interesting conversation, so—

COLBERT: [mimicking Putin] "I wrestle polar bears!" [audience laughter]

CLINTON: Yeah! "I wrestle po—" No, he said to me, so he said: "Come with me!" He takes me down the stairs, down this corridor, into the door — all of his security guys are jumping up, because we weren't expected — into this inner sanctum with this huge desk and the biggest map of Russia I think exists, and he started telling me he's "going here to tag polar bears." And then he says to me: "Would your husband like to come?" [audience gasps and laughter; Clinton grins broadly] And I said, "Well, you know, I'll ask him, but, if he's busy, I'll go!" [she grins as the audience cheers]

COLBERT: We're gonna take a little break, and when we come back, Secretary Clinton and I just might break out the chardonnay.
And so they did!

[Images embedded in tweets are of Hillary Clinton smiling and talking animatedly while holding a glass of white wine.]

Everything about that was terrific, but this was my favorite part, for reasons I'm sure I don't have to explain: "I am not going anywhere." MA'AM.


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