April 20th, 2014
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll at 03:13pm on 2014-04-20
They are reported to be:

Gareth L. Powell’s ACK-ACK MACAQUE

Short Story:
Nina Allen, “Spin.”

Joey HiFi, with the art for DREAM LONDON.

Jeff Vandermeer, WONDERBOOK

I will tidy this up I get home.
posted by [syndicated profile] rue_deday_lj_feed at 02:49pm on 2014-04-20
Tina Fey is surprisingly cuddly.

Although I was not, technically, awake for that revelation.

It might not be a factual observation.
posted by [syndicated profile] cellio_lj_feed at 06:39pm on 2014-04-20
Tuesday night I had assorted friends over for an all-adults, talk-as-long-as-we-want seder. I thought it went quite well. There were ten of us (planned to be eleven but somebody stayed home sick, alas).

As we did last year, we had the first part in the living room -- if we're reclining in comfort, why not use the comfy chairs? (I think, but am not certain, that I have Lee Gold to thank for this idea.) The haggadah I use (Silverman, revised/enhanced) has transliteration for many of the key parts -- part of why I chose it, for accessibility -- but not all of them, so I made a supplementary sheet with the rest of what we'd need. With luck I got everything this year that I had missed last year; it's an iterative process. People were good sports about faking their way through unfamiliar melodies, and I got to hear one or two new ones from others. (When you bring diverse people together you don't all have the same traditions, which is cool because we can learn from each other but can leave people feeling a little off-kilter while they get used to it.)

Somebody brought the Velveteen Rabbi's haggadah and shared some readings from it. Note to self: go download that. One thing in particular that I want to pick up for future years: as pointed out by one of my guests, the haggadah spends more time recalling discussions of the exodus than the exodus itself; we don't read from the book of Exodus, for example. The VR haggadah has a nice engaging summary that we inserted into the magid to good effect.

Note to self: get more grape juice next year! Last year we only used one bottle and this year I bought two (had a couple more people); three would have been better. Also, it's worth it to get the nice bottled sparkling grape juice, not the stuff from the juice section of the grocery store.

We went for about 2.5 hours before the meal, I think, with lots of good conversation. The meal was pleasant and we did the rest of the haggadah and sang some of the songs after.

Note to self: get a different, or additional, folding table for next year. There was no good way to seat 11 people with the tables and chairs I had; I set up something that I thought would work but people rearranged while I was getting the soup ready, so I guess it didn't. Since we only had 10 they were able to make that work. But I don't want my furniture to limit my guests in the future. (When the dishes start to limit the guests I'll just get more or use plastic or something.)

I'm glad my friends were able to be part of this, and I'm glad Dani was there this year.
posted by [syndicated profile] cellio_lj_feed at 06:09pm on 2014-04-20
Monday night I went to Chabad for the first seder. This was new for me; the only other community seder I've been to was a university Hillel, and the only other time I've been to anything Chabad was a Shabbat dinner when traveling once. The people there were nice, and it turned out I knew one person at my table, someone who was in that class I took last year.

Unanticipated (but if I'd thought about it...): a community seder draws people who don't have anywhere else to go, which includes people who aren't otherwise very Jewishly involved. (So it's great that somebody is there for them.) Being asked to teach somebody the blessing for candle-lighting came as a surprise to me. (She was very nice, and at my table. Later I taught her the blessing for hand-washing.)

Halachically speaking there is a minimum amount of matzah you have to eat and a minimum amount of wine (or grape juice) to drink. Handing out maatzah in pre-measured bags makes sense in retrospect, but I was surprised by it at the time.

Acoustics in a large room with children running around making noise where the leader can't use a microphone are challenging. I hope the poor rabbi had a voice left the next morning.

Noted in passing: Chabad doesn't do matzah balls. (I don't know if that's "at all" or "at the seder". I think the former, and that this is something called gerbrokts.)

Interesting logistics: they gave us a small meal (which they called a "snack") before the seder got started, which was after 8PM. We probably got to the meal around 9:15 or 9:30, which I don't think of as terribly late, but people with kids may have a different view. (In a similar vein, both last year and this I put out munchies -- raw veggies, pickles, etc -- during the first part of my seder, so people would have more than a sprig of parsley before the meal.)

Contrary to what I've heard about the length of Chabad seders, we were finished before 11.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
Today is the last day of the half-price sale in the series Polychrome Heroics.  Links have been added for recently posted poems.  I still have one more sponsored poem to post later today.  There are lots of poems left if you're still shopping.  Some are epics but there are plenty of shorter ones starting at $2.50.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the April 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "hands" square on my 3-30-14 card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll at 02:07pm on 2014-04-20
Scalzi tries to put as nice a face on the current situation, which I guess he has to because it was the normalization of blatant self-promotion that got us here and he played a significant role in making it acceptable.

Anyway, since we're stuck in a situation where organized slates enjoy an advantage (at least as far as nominations go), the next step would seem to be formal parties, each offering a different slate of candidates. How many of those do you think are viable in a system like the Hugos?

Posted by David

Franklin Graham: The Anti-gay Crackdown Is Putin Doing 'What's Right For Russia'

Rev. Franklin Graham on Sunday said that he stood by earlier comments agreeing with so-called gay "propaganda" bans in Russia because President Vladimir Putin was doing "what's right" for the country.

During a March interview with the Charlotte Observer, Graham had asserted that LGBT people were trying to "recruit" children by adopting them, and suggested that it was "exploitation."

He also said that he "agreed" with Putin because "protecting his nation's children was a pretty smart thing to do."

Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Graham doubled down on his praise of the Russian president.

"Putin is going to do what's right for Russia, and not what's right for America, but for Russia," he opined. "We used to have a president in this country that did what's right for this country, but we don't seem to have that right now."

"Putin is going to make these decisions that he thinks is best for the Russian people, and he thinks that taking advantage of children -- exploiting children -- is wrong for any group so they passed a law," Graham added. "So, I do agree with him."

When asked about his father, Rev. Billy Graham, he again brought the discussion back around to the issue of same-sex parents.

read more

Posted by John Amato

And the wanking never dies.

The NY Times' David Brooks is a platinum card-carrying wanker of the highest order as he and other conservatives continue to portray President Obama as Weak and Weaker in matters of foreign policy. If Democratic politicians had attacked George Bush in this way during his presidency, the Beltway and right wing villagers would have attacked and vilified them as traitors for sure.

Even Chuck Todd joins the David Brooks party when he parroted Bill O'Reilly's crazy Doomsday scenario.

Here's Brooks on presidential testicles:

DAVID BROOKS: And, let's face it, Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a (I'll say it crudely) but a manhood problem in the Middle East: Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad, somebody like Putin? I think a lot of the rap is unfair. But certainly in the Middle East, there's an assumption he's not tough.

Brooks' crack analysis is that in foreign affairs, if you talk tough and threaten military action at every turn, then you've got balls of steel, but if you try to find solutions without sounding like a nut, you've been castrated.

Chuck Todd then outlined Bill O'Reilly's psycho worldwide doomsday theory which was instigated because Obama just hasn't been "alpha male" enough while going up against the very manly Putin. This is truly mind boggling.

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Map of Ukraine
Vladimir Putin provided a glimpse into what he thinks the map of Eurasia should look like when he offered this thought on the current crisis in eastern Ukraine: Those territories, the Russian president noted, were part of Russia "in czarist times." One can almost hear him thinking to himself: And so why shouldn't they be part of Russia today? After all, the lands he referred to as "New Russia" only became part of Ukraine in 1920, and only "God knows" why that happened.

It is one thing to cite (false) accounts of ethnic Russians being abused as a pretext for intervening in a neighbor's sovereign territory. It is another to cite the historical borders of a country that was twice as large not that long ago.

Know who else was Russian "in czarist times?" How about NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, not to mention much of Poland, as well as non-aligned Finland. Know who else in Europe had larger borders before 1918 (i.e., in czarist times) than they do now? Hungary, Serbia, Germany, Turkey, Austria ... you get the picture. For example, I don't trust Hungary's semi-authoritarian, sharply nationalist government to resist the opportunity to restore its Habsburg-era borders if it got the chance, something that would tear NATO apart.

But let's keep the focus on Russia. Putin's citing of historical borders created by czarist conquest (which, of course, altered even older, more "historical" borders) opens up another justification for him to wreak havoc all over the area of the former Soviet Union.

As a historian, I can tell you that virtually all of today's borders (including our own) resulted in part from conquest and often resettlement. War has long been how disputes over territory are settled. But since the establishment of the United Nations, countries are not supposed to be allowed to take land from one another. More specifically, Russia agreed to respect Ukraine's borders when Kiev gave up its nuclear weapons 20 years ago. Putin has shredded that historical document.

And since we are on the subject of history, please remember that Putin once described the breakup of the USSR as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the previous century. I guess he likes some parts of history better than others. That's what concerns me about the future.

otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

OTW Legal has filed an amicus brief in Garcia v Google because fanwork archives could be under threat - find out why: http://bit.ly/1r4DQJu
posted by [syndicated profile] snopes_feed at 03:00pm on 2014-04-20
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)

The guy is technology correspondent on The Observer, reviewing a book, The People's Platform, about The Internet. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/19/peoples-platform-review-astra-taylor-internet

In this he mentions the 'startling' instances of gender imbalance and asks:
Why there is not more public debate on this?


Okay, maybe it is the particular corners of the Web that I frequent, but yr hedjog notes no lack of debate, comment and protest precisely on this issue. Which suggests to me that Mr N is not looking in the right places, no?

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith at 12:38pm on 2014-04-20 under ,
This article suggests that consciousness is a state of matter.  Well, yes.  It's kind of like how little whizzing bits of energy get together and pretend to be solid.  But consciousness is also a lot more fractal and holographic than most people realize.  It's not indivisible.  Parts of it can be lost and other parts still function, or conversely, parts can be lost but then regained from unexpected angles.

Posted by Nicole Belle

Poor widdle Sharyl Attkisson, victim of that crusading liberal bias in the media. She knew she had no chance to do the kind of journalism she wanted to do when the suits at CBS News started questioning her story pitches.

Why, they didn't want her to report anything bad about the administration, donchaknow?

It had nothing to do with the irresponsibility of her reporting, right? Just because she...

read more

conuly: (Default)
And he shows no inclination to lick his wounds, so I've gone and taken his cone off. It was actually a great day. Because I've now gotten several cats fixed at the van, I qualify as an old hand and an expert, and was able to engage in one of my favorite pastimes - giving barely solicited advice to strangers! Two of those strangers didn't make this session, but were convinced to go to the next one, and here is the advice I gave:

1. Get 7am out of your head entirely. People start lining up for the van at about 4. Which is insane, yes, but you still need to be there by 5:30 or 6 to be guaranteed a spot. If you mosey up at 7 there's no way. Any later and even if they miraculously have room they won't let you in.

2. There will be a sign-up sheet if anybody else has done this before. When you show up, find out who has it and put your name on it. If nobody has it, start it yourself and put your name on first. That happened to somebody this week, she didn't know about the list and somehow the person running it didn't see her enter the parking lot, so she waited a long time for nothing.

3. There is no point bringing an animal that hasn't been fixed. They don't give shots without the operation.

4. There is a $120 discount if you're on any form of benefits, including Medicaid and food stamps. They don't care whose card you use, so if you're lucky enough not to need assistance you can borrow a neighbor's. (Everybody I say this to says they use food stamps. Damn, this is a poor area! Even if you consider that of course people with tons of money don't use the ASPCA vans.)

Now that he's been to the vet, I can start, finally, with acclimating the other cats to him.

The girlcat has been wary of attention ever since Ana, thinking she was Tommy, ran up and gave her a big hug and got her in the stomach. I've seen glimpses of her, but she's avoiding most people right now. After we deal with Tommy I may end up borrowing a trap. Better line somebody up first to take her, I think. She seems to have recovered, anyway.
posted by [syndicated profile] crooks_and_liars_feed at 04:45pm on 2014-04-20

Posted by scarce

Elizabeth Warren, The Fighter

Elizabeth Warren continues to give her best Shermanesque reply that she's not running for President in 2016.

via CBS

Elizabeth Warren is a freshman Senator from Massachusetts whom some Democrats are talking up as a Presidential candidate -- reason enough for Mark Strassmann to seek her out for some Questions-And Answers:

If you ask many progressives voters from Harlem to Hollywood, they'll say a woman should run for president in two years: Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The Massachusetts Democrat is both revered and reviled; her style is aggressive, and her message is economic populism ("Everyone who works hard and plays by the rule should have a real chance to get ahead."), that Main Street is under siege by Wall Street.

"How can it be," she told Strassmann, "that if you're just big enough and you commit big enough crimes, that there's no one out there who wants to hold you accountable? This is the consequence, again, of too much concentration of money and power."

lovelyangel: (Kagamin Pleased)
posted by [personal profile] lovelyangel at 10:07am on 2014-04-20 under
Shiro and Sora
Shiro and Sora
No Game No Life, Episode 2

Here are my quick takes on the episodes I watched this week...

Black Bullet: Episode 2
The story is interesting so far; this was a pretty good episode. I don’t like the current situation, so I hope our team gets back together soon.

No Game No Life: Episode 2
Head-smashingly funny. It’s nice that this series has a sense of humor. I’m looking forward to watching the two siblings conquer this strange world.

Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara (If Her Flag Breaks): Episode 2
More added to the harem... but thankfully they are Kana Asumi (Yuno!) and HanaKana (as a Trap!) This show oscillates between extremely silly and darkly somber – but mostly silliness rules. The show is nothing special, but I haven’t lost my patience with it – yet.

Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (Is the Order a Rabbit?): Episode 2
Um. Well. That was fluffy. A substance-free slice-of-life full of teh cute. Not much to say about that.

Ryūgajō Nanana no Maizōkin (Nanana’s Buried Treasure): Episode 2
Ha! HanaKana’s second Trap role of the season! The adventure is starting out just fine. And Kana Asumi is in four shows this season! Closing in on (but not catching up to) the super-popular HanaKana!

Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san: Episode 2
Dog and cat... and now mouse and cow, who aren’t quite as cute but are OK additions to the cast. All I know is that I continue to be mesmerized by the ponytail in the ED. (^_^)

Mushi-shi 2: Episode 3
A classic Mushi-shi episode – that says it all. Very nice!

Nisekoi: Episode 15
New OP. New ED. But Kosaki and Raku are still wimps. At least Raku was straightforward with Marika’s dad at the end. And I’m glad the three girls all know about the three keys and meeting in the past – finally. It took only 15 episodes to get here. I hate this show.

Mekakucity Actors: Episode 2
We have to get through all the introductions... and Shaft did a nice job with Shintarō’s sister, Momo. I’m happily waiting for the cast to come together.

Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei (The Irregular at Magic High School): Episode 3
Tatsuya is cool, and I’m rooting for him all the way. He’s kinda like Batman.* I liked this episode; Tatsuya again made a very good showing.

(*I write up these series notes in my journal notepad immediately after watching an episode, collecting them for posting later on Sunday... so I claim the Batman comparison before it appeared in Random Curiosity. Great minds think alike yadda yadda.)

Captain Earth: Episode 3
The arrival of mahou shoujo Akari livens things up! Finally each of the four contributes to the fight. The show is really hard to take seriously, but hopefully we’ll just have fun watching the four kids at work.

La Corda d’Oro: Blue Sky: Episode 3
Three-episode trial complete. This series is turning out to be a bit too stiff and clumsy. My Saturdays are oversubscribed... and although this show could be entertaining at some level, I think I’ll drop it from the schedule and free up some time.

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii (The World is Still Beautiful): Episode 3
I am liking this show a lot. Character development and relationship development are paced nicely – and the artwork is decent, also. Nike-hime makes me smile.

Bokura wa Minna Kawai-Sou (The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior): Episode 3
More of the same. I don’t really know how to comment on this series. It’s entertaining – but not great and not bad. It’s funny – but not hilarious and not stupid. The interesting characters continue to do smart, stupid, nice, insensitive, hopeful, and annoying things. I get the same sort of mixed feelings that I got from Maison Ikkoku way back when.

Haikyū!! Episode 3
I am really liking this series, and I don’t usually care for sports anime. Last week Sawamura buchō made a strong impression. This week I thought the 3rd-year setter Sugawara was really cool; I like him a lot. I’m not sure why the characters in Free! never really interested me, while I am really drawn to the guys on the Karusuno High School volleyball team. After the three-episode trial, I’m bumping up this series to Watching With Enthusiasm category.

Gokukoku no Brynhildr (Brynhildr in the Darkness): Episode 3
Things are getting more interesting – although not always making good sense. Still, the show seems to be worth following. It has passed the three-episode trial, and I’ll keep it on my watchlist.

Isshūkan Friends (One Week Friends): Episode 3
Three straight weeks of getting my heart ripped out – gently, of course... this series continues to prove itself. There were so many beautiful moments – sad and happy – and I collected a bunch of screenshots. I love this show!

Isshūkan D’Awww!
Kaori Fujimiya • Isshūkan Friends, Episode 3

It looks like the 15 shows (+ a 3-minute shorty) I’m following this season are set. A few shows are borderline but aren’t yet in any serious danger of being dropped.

Next week’s writeup will be delayed until Sunday evening or possibly Monday. More about that later.

Posted by John Scalzi

Just to pull this out and give it its own post for emphasis.

So, apparently Larry Correia and Vox Day offered on their Web sites a slate of suggested nominees for several Hugo categories, and several of their suggested nominees hit the final ballot. This has made a number of people feel things ranging from annoyance to outrage, with the commensurate suggestion that, if such a thing is not illegal, then it’s at least just not done. So let me offer a couple of thoughts.

1. Does what these two fellows have done contravene the actual Hugo nomination rules? If they answer is “no” (and it does in fact appear to be “no”), then fair play. Game on.

2. As to the “it’s just not done” thing: Well, now it has. And as it’s been done, and it’s by all indications entirely legal, wasting time griping that it’s happened, with regards to this year’s voting, seems like frittering to me. Again: Game on.

3. But it’s also not entirely honest to say that it’s not been done before, either. Lots of people suggest or at least remind people of their own works for consideration (I do the latter); lots of people suggest or at least remind people of the works of others for consideration. Just this year I suggested Abagail Nussbaum for Fan Writer; there she is on the ballot. Was my recommendation causative? Maybe, maybe not (I suspect not — she’s built a reputation over a number of years), but the point is I made the recommendation.

The new wrinkle here would be Correia/Day allegedly exhorting a comprehensive slate of nominees for the purpose of annoying people they would like to annoy, rather than with regard to the quality of the works offered. I’m not sure that’s the whole story (From what I can see, I think the list was composed to highlight works these fellows found worthy, and also, as a bonus, they thought they’d annoy some folks in the bargain). But again, even if the least charitable interpretation holds, see point one and point two. You may see this as a cynical, contemptuous of the awards and the people who vote for them, and just a real dick move. But even if it were, eh. Yet again: this is the hand the Hugos are dealt this year. Let’s go ahead and play it.

4. More to the point for me, even if we were to grant that a slate of nominees was engineered to get on the ballot for the purposes of annoying some voters, and to make some obtuse point about politics and the Hugos, why should anyone be obliged to play along by those assertions? To paraphrase a point I made yesterday on Twitter, how terrible it would be if someone elbowed their way onto the Hugo list to make a political point, and all that happened was that their nominated work was judged solely by its artistic merits.

If work was shunted onto the list to make a political point and without regard to its quality, and it is crap, you’re going to know it when you read that work, and you should judge it accordingly. And if a work was shunted onto the list to make a political point and without regard to the quality, and it’s pretty good, you’re going to know that too — and you should judge it accordingly. If you believe that these fellows pushed their way onto the list to make a political point, nothing will annoy them more than for their work to be considered fairly. It undermines their entire point.

It doesn’t mean you give a work an award, if you find it lacking. But you treat it fairly. And yes, it’s entirely possible that in this formulation, anything less than a win will be seen by them as evidence of politics. But again: Why would you accede to such assertions? If their works win, good for them. If they lose, that’s life. Speaking as a six-time Hugo loser, who once lost a Hugo by a single vote, let me just say that when you’re a grown-up, you learn to accept you don’t get everything you want.

5. Please also keep in mind that even if you believe that the list is a cynical exercise, there are people and work on that list who may be well worth consideration, who may or may not have even known they were part of (or would have consented to) being part of a cynical exercise. Consider that you would be doing them (and the Hugos) a disservice to dismiss them out of hand. I’ve seen rumblings of people suggesting they’ll put everyone on the Correia/Day slate below “no award” no matter what, but if you’re doing that, you’re making these fellows’ alleged point for them. Again: Why do that? It’s nearly as easy to read a work (or at least, read as far as can) and decide it’s just not for you. And if it is for you, well. Surprise!

6. On a strictly personal note, at least one of these fellows apparently wishes to assert that the reason they’re introducing politics into the mix here is because I did it before them, i.e., that this is somehow really my fault. Well, no. One, just because this dude doesn’t like me, it doesn’t make me responsible for his actions. That’s the sort of “he made me do it” logic you give up when you’re twelve. Two, I’ve certainly made people aware of my work, and given space on my site to let others do the same; I’m not aware of ever having said “here’s a slate of people you should nominate for this award, including me.” Totally legal and no reason not to, if you think it’s something you want to do. Not something I would want to do, or have done.

But if the suggestion is that I’ve been strategic about getting onto the Hugo ballot at times, well. It would be disingenuous of me to suggest I haven’t. I have, and certainly I know that’s annoyed people before. But, oh well — and no matter what at the end of the day what I was on the ballot for had to fact the other nominees in the category. Sometimes that work fared well, and I took home a Hugo. But I also have my share of fifth place finishes, too.

I think maybe this is why I’m less annoyed with the Correia/Day slate than others. If they’re on the ballot due to crafty strategy, well, good for them. A nice trick if you can manage it. But now they have to compete. I look who’s on the ballot with them, and this is what I have to say about that: Good luck, guys. You’re gonna need it.

7. Ultimately, here’s what I think about this year’s slate: It’s got some stuff on it I already know I like. It’s got some stuff on it that I already know I don’t like. And it’s got some stuff on it I haven’t read, so I’ll read it and decide what I think.

In other words; it’s a Hugo slate pretty much any Hugo slate in any year. I plan to treat it exactly like I treat any Hugo slate in any year. You might consider it, too.


kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Interestingly, this is one of the relatively few things my father got right in bringing us up - for values of "right" that do not include "actually expressing it well or compassionately", in that he tended to phrase it not as "intent isn't magic" but "intent doesn't matter".

I think this plays into some of what I've been working through. To use the treading-on-toes example, how badly something affects me has two components: the direct physical effect ("someone trod on my toe") and my emotional response ("and I'd repeatedly told this specific person that it's currently broken, and trusted them to be careful of that" has very different impact to "and they're a stranger on the tube").

Intent can't fix the direct damage (it isn't magic), but can be taken into account in modulating the emotional response of the person suffering it (intent can matter). However, whether it matters and how much it matters is entirely up to the person damaged: it does not automatically absolve the person who caused the damage.

It's about agency and respect and all that good stuff.
posted by [syndicated profile] feministing_feed at 04:23pm on 2014-04-20

Posted by Courtney Baxter

Why are we sending so many women to prison?

The “evolution” behind Obama’s views on same-sex marriage.

Taking a critical eye to the leadership in LGBT organizations.

WTF of the week: many young girls think that sexual assault is the norm.

Dear political media: please be way less wrong about Hillary Clinton’s future grandchild

Women are still underrepresented and underappreciated in the media start-up world, but they’re founding their own digital media companies.

New study shows that half of all teens behind bars in NYC have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Adrianne Wadewitz, one of Wikipedia’s most prolific and influential editors, has died.

The secret anti-abortion law that’s sweeping America.

Navigating the public school system with a disabled child.

Today is the 15th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.

Beyond Benetton ads: what does “diversity” really mean at colleges?

The faces behind America’s food stamp program.

American University frat emails exposes rape culture.

San Francisco’s housing crisis, explained.

In Mongolia, introducing young women into the art of the eagle hunting tradition.

The 10th anniversary of Mean Girls.

Sia: the life behind our favorite pop songs.

A debate on Twitter has led the University of Michigan to increase black enrollment.

“They don’t care if we freeze”: how New York’s billionaires are destroying the affordable housing market.

Get even more links and updates in our weekly newsletter ——> sign up here

Samuel Barnett and Mark Rylance in Twelfth Night.
There's nothing wrong with watching television. You will never find a "kill your television" bumper sticker on any car of mine. But there is something special about live performance. It's more difficult to do, for one thing—and again, difficult isn't always better, but sometimes it's good to trade our couch-sitting clothes for going-out clothes. There's a particular pleasure to following the same story and set of TV characters week in, week out, to sharing that experience via social media with friends we don't often see. There's also a particular pleasure to hearing and seeing something live and available only in that moment, something that will be different in the next performance, something shared by everyone in the room with you, whether you know them or not. And sometimes it's transcendent.

At intervals, I become obsessed, or maybe possessed, by a live performance. Usually it's music; the creak and throb and texture of the live voice not smoothed and perfected in the studio, the way sound becomes a tactile experience, the sway or stillness, the silence or shout of the people around you. When you get down to it, being part of an audience is a collective experience we don't most of us get on a regular basis, and it can heighten the immediacy of the performance itself. Then, too, we are seeing the performer unedited and in 3-D. Even if we don't get the close-ups of TV, we see or hear things we wouldn't in the physical effort of performance.

For years my ongoing performance obsessions have been two musicians: Australian country singer-songwriter Kasey Chambers, and "hardcore Americana" musician Tim Eriksen. You may gather, if you listen to them, that I have a thing for intense, stripped-raw vocals. When you see a musician perform over decades of your life, and still more when your relationship with the music and musician become deeper and more complex, music can raise the ghosts of your own past, of where and who and how you were other times you heard a song. I see ghosts, too, as well as rapturous dancing and virtuosic choreography during performances of the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Sometimes, though, a performance comes from nowhere to grab you, enchant you, tear your heart out. The mime show (no, really) I saw a couple years ago that shocked me by delighting me. And, recently, two performances a metaphorical world apart: the recent Broadway production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and figure skater Jeremy Abbott performing in Stars on Ice.

Like I said, different.

Posted by David

George Will: Supreme Court Proved Obamacare Is Unconstitutional By Not Striking It Down

Fox News contributor George Will on Sunday argued that the United States Supreme Court had inadvertently made President Barack Obama's health care reform law unconstitutional when the justices ruled that it was not unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court decided in 2012 that the Affordable Care Act's individual insurance mandate fell within Congress' power to levy taxes.

Almost two years later, Will used this decision to bolster the idea that Republicans could run for office in the 2014 midterms on the platform of destroying the health care reform law.

"On May 8, here in the second-most important court in the land -- the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals -- there will be an argument that this is objectively a revenue measure," Will explained. "The Supreme Court said as much, a tax measure."

"It did not originate in the House. And under the standards of origination, the whole thing is unconstitutional," he added. "So this argument, again, is far from over."

The Atlantic's Jack Balkin pointed out in 2012 that past Supreme Court decisions had held up laws with tax amendments that had been added to bills by the Senate.

nostalgia: (never trust a hippy)
I assume that I started this for some Valentine's Day or other. Anyway I just made more words and thus finished it. It it thus entirely unseasonal and even more ridiculous than it might have been.

The Doctor sat bored in the 1970s (or possibly the 1980s), toying with his broken dematerialisation circuit as he tended to at times like this. )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll at 12:13pm on 2014-04-20

What none of that clade has ever answered is the question of why nearly all separatist utopian fantasies — e.g. those of Charnas, Tepper, LeGuin etc — begin built upon mountains of corpses. Nearly all of the systems that they have extolled (many of them vastly harsher to males than anything in Glory Season) seem to have derived from apocalyptic downfalls of a previous (presumably unjust and oppressive) civilization.

A: Which LeGuin is Brin referring to here?

B: Aren't piles of polished skulls somewhere in the background a common feature in utopias of all kinds? I can think of examples where utopianification was a gradual process - I believe that's how it worked in Looking Backward: 2000 - 1887 by Edward Bellamy - but clearing off the Old Order with some kind of grand calamity is a great time saver.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mdlbear at 08:59am on 2014-04-20 under , , , , , ,

A rather boring week bracketed by great music. Last Sunday we had Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps at Rainbow's End's first house concert. And this weekend we're at Norwescon, with both concerts and filking (see notes)... and the high point was, definitely, Glenn proposing marriage to Naomi during the intermission. She said yes. Heather had ended her first set with "As I Am".

The second set was all about love and marriage. (Not both together, necessarily -- it included "The Devil and the Farmer's Wife".)

On the flip side, I continue to be arthritic and mildly depressed. The low point of the week was filing for an extension on my taxes. Which was a mistake -- I should have filed and then filed an amended return when I finally get all the deductions and business expenses together. It was, of course, horrendous: I sold a lot of stock to buy and renovate Rainbow's End.

I haven't been enjoying Norwescon all that much. Mostly hiding in a corner reading on my laptop. Grump. Grumpity grump. Oh, and the hotel's wifi is seriously overloaded, and the restaurant service is slow and barely competent. *sigh*

There are links in the notes, as usual. The perceptive reader may also notice an item at the end of the notes that will, hopefully, turn into a post sometime soon.

raw notes, with links )
location: Seatac Doubletree (Norwescon)
Music:: Yes
Mood:: ok?

Posted by John Scalzi

Swancon being Western Australia’s premier science fiction convention, don’t you know. Yes, next year I will be in Perth, round about Easter-time. It’ll be fun! And if you’re in Australia, you should pop by. I mean, everything in Australia is close to everything else, right?

I made a video for Swancon to show when they announced my IGoHness. Here it is:

I stand by every word, especially the words about the Tim Tams.

posted by [syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed at 02:25pm on 2014-04-20

Posted by John Scalzi

Every year since Athena was an infant, this particular Easter bunny has shown up with a basket of treats for her. And look! The bunny’s back! Good to see some things don’t change.

A very happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it. And for those of you who don’t, have a wonderful day anyway.

President Obama stepped into the press room to discuss the crisis in Ukraine yesterday and to provide his sympathy for the Korean maritime tragedy on Thursday. And he had a confident hop in his step as he approached the podium—because he had something big to say about health care.

Actual Obamacare results are in. And in most cases they are exceeding expectations.

  • 8 Million+ citizens are now enrolled in Obamacare.
  • 35% of citizens enrolled in Obamacare are under 35 years old.
  • Obamacare has brought economic security to all consumers of health insurance.
  • Over 14 million have received insurance over the exchanges and via the Medicaid expansion to Obamacare.
  • Medical cost is now growing at less than 1/2 the previous rates.
  • Obamacare is shrinking the deficits.
  • It is fact that repealing Obamacare would increase the budget deficit, raise premiums, and take away insurance from millions of Americans.

When asked if Democrats should campaign on Obamacare, President Obama said:

Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact that millions of people like the woman I just described who I saw in Pennsylvania yesterday we’re helping because of something we did. I don’t think we should apologize for it. I don’t think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong good right story to tell. I think what the other side is doing and what the other side is offering would strip away protections from those families and from hundreds of millions of people who had health insurance before the law was passed but never knew if the insurance company would drop them when they actually needed it or women who were getting charged more because they are a woman.
Please read more about this strong stand below the fold.

Posted by David

Fox's Wendell Goler: Atheists Who Use Free Speech On Easter Need God's 'Forgiveness'

Fox News broke the news Easter morning that the image of Jesus Christ had been found on a pancake, and even had a Catholic priest on hand to evaluate the breakfast food prior to a segment about the "War on Easter."

KABC on Friday reported that employees at a Southern California restaurant were making a "Mickey Mouse" pancake for a child customer when the "face of Jesus" appeared on the pancake.

"A pancake cooked up on Good Friday had an image of Jesus Christ," Fox & Friends host Wendell Goler told Father Jonathan Morris on Sunday.

"It looks like Forest Gump when he was running," co-host Ainsley Earhardt pointed out.

"Or John Lennon," co-host Clayton Morris added.

"Is it Jesus?" Goler laughed.

"Let's ask Father Jonathan Morris to weigh in on it," Morris said, turning to the Fox News contributor.

"I did not make that pancake, and I don't claim that is Jesus," Morris insisted. "For the record."

"Jesus is not a pancake!" Earhardt announced.

The remainder of the segment was dedicated to outrage over a group of atheists who had put up anti-religion signs in Chicago, which Fox News has dubbed a "War on Easter."

read more

Posted by Heather

From this Friday's PBS Newshour, NYT's columnist and regular, David Brooks did his best to downplay the antigovernment 'Patriots' that gathered near the scene of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's dispute over cattle grazing rights.

It looks like Bobo and Dana Milbank were reading the exact same set of talking points, with both of them claiming that this protest in no way is representative of a rebirth of the militia movement. Brooks wants us to believe these people only engaged in "pseudo-militia activity" and that they're "otherwise politically un-ideological." I would beg to differ.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, David, is this something — I mean, does this man have a legitimate grievance against the federal government?

DAVID BROOKS: Not the way he’s doing it.

I mean, he’s self-discrediting, the way he’s doing it. You know, you go out West and you hear grievous against the BLM constantly. There’s — and I think there’s probably a lot of frustration with working with the BLM. But it comes in waves. And I would not say we’re at a high wave.

read more

princessofgeeks: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] avevale_intelligencer at 02:52pm on 2014-04-20
Part 25 of The Overly Obnoxious OIK Operation, in which Quest holds a hearing, Aphrodite disappears and the Emperor meets his Council, is up at www.avevale.org/index.php/episodes-plays/10-epsodes-plays/23-the-overly-obnoxious-oik-operation now!

And so is part 5 of A New Chapter, in which Mary-Sue discovers that she is not alone in Hob's Hurst, at http://www.avevale.org/index.php/guests.

Please read and enjoy, and if you do, please consider leaving a donation. Some kind souls already have, or promised to, and heartfelt thanks go out to them, but things are still tight this month what with one thing and another. Thank you.

And a very happy Easter, or whatever you celebrate, to all our readers.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll at 09:28am on 2014-04-20 under
Legend Award
(Best novel)

The Daylight War by Peter V Brett (Harper Collins UK)
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Gollancz)
A Memory of Light by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan (Tor/Forge)
War Master's Gate by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor UK)

Morningstar Award
(Best debut novel)

The Garden of Stones by Mark T Barnes (47 North)
Headtaker by David Guymer (Black Library)
Promise of Blood by Brian McLellan (Orbit)
The Path of Anger by Antoine Rouaud (Gollancz)
The Grim Company by Luke Scull (Head of Zeus)

Ravenheart Award
(Best cover art)

Benjamin Carre for the cover of The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch(Gollancz)
Jason Chan for the cover of Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)
Cheol Joo Lee for the cover of Skarsnik by Guy Haley (Black Library)
Gene Mollica and Michael Frost for the cover of Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (Orbit)
Rhett Podersoo for the cover of She Who Waits by Daniel
Polansky (Hodder)

Award                 T    F    M    F/T
Legend Award          5         5     0
Morningstar Award     5         5     0
Ravenheart Award      5         5     0
Total                15        15     0

Which by British standards is very inclusive.
President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009. The youngster wanted to see if the President’s haircut felt like his own. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Jacob Philadelphia touches President Obama's hair.
I happened to run across this item in the Washington Post this week, Is Barack Obama ‘black’? A majority of Americans say no, penned by Chris Cillizza (Jon Perr has described him as a "conventional wisdom regurgitator"). Cillizza links to data in his article from PEW Research (which gets it wrong) and natters on and on about a topic that should be case closed. We discussed it in Black Kos, and we all had the same reaction.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and young, black Jacob Philadelphia touching Barack Obama's close-cropped black hair said it for me. As Jonathan Capeheart wrote in Photo speaks volumes about Obama and race:

A black man allowing his head to be touched by a stranger. But not just any stranger. A child seeking a familiar link between himself and the black man, who also happens to be the leader of the free world.
I'm already worn out from the relentless racial obduracy of Jonathan Chait, last seen defending himself again on the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC after his back-and-forth with Ta-Nehisi Coates—who scored point, game match against Chait.  

The rabid racist right-wing in this country already knows that "their" White House has been violated by blackness. The birthers and their ilk still spew venom (see Rand Paul's new pollster). Klan-fueled, white supremacist haters murdered people at a Jewish Center, slayed Sikhs and plot to kill the president. This is familiar news.

That's why the timing of Cillizza's piece is curious.

Could it have anything to do with the recent activities of President Obama and upcoming elections?

Follow me below the fold for more.

posted by [syndicated profile] crooks_and_liars_feed at 01:00pm on 2014-04-20

Posted by Infidel753

Mike's Blog Round Up

Frankly Curious: Those who pay no income tax aren't so "lucky".

Fair and Unbalanced: Monsters seldom realize they're monsters, and often, neither do we.

Sarah Jones: The readers at fringe-right sites aren't quite what they say, but they're what you'd expect.

Earth-Bound Misfit: Remember real history, not worthless thugs.

Blog round-up by Infidel753. Tips to mbru [at] crooksandliars [dot] com.

giandujakiss: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] avevale_intelligencer at 01:32pm on 2014-04-20
The dead tree version of The Overly Obnoxious OIK Operation is ready to roll as soon as the last episode has been posted.

It's, erm, big.

150,000 words. 560 pages. It's a doorstop almost worthy of the great [personal profile] grrm himself.

I'm kind of pleased about this, given that almost everything else I've been responsible for has been on the rather too short side. It shows what Soren and I can do when we really get going.

The only question is, should I bring it out in one hefty volume (with a correspondingly hefty price) or split it at some suitable point and make it two (which might end up costing more but would be easier to handle)?

I leave it to you. I will follow the wishes of my small but incredibly tasteful and discerning fanbase.

Lost Goats will be considerably lighter, even with three other Nyrond stories bundled in and as many extras as I could come up with. Also it's giving me formatting problems, so will take a little longer.

Meanwhile, the next episodes of OIK and of A New Chapter will (subject to internet access) be available on avevale.org later on today. Tireless I am in your service. You can tell by the way the wheel rims scrunch on the gravel. :) Watch for the announcement.

And, of course, if you have read anything that I/we have produced and have something to say about it, comment here, there, or anywhere. I would love to know what you think.

Posted by Heather Greene

Last week notorious “witch-hunter” Helen Ukpabio, known as Lady Apostle, arrived in London to hold a 3 day revival meeting called a ”Season for Disconnections From All Spiritual Attack.” Ukpabio’s message is made very clear in a widely circulated poster that asks “Are you under Witchcraft attack? Mermaid Attack? Ancestral Spirit Attack?” It adds: “Come and be disconnected” a service that is “free of charge.”


Ukpabio is the founder of Nigeria’s Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries which claims to have more than 150 churches in that country alone. Allegedly Ukpabio is looking to open one in the UK to serve its large African-born population. More specifically she is targeting its large Nigerian-born population which has grown over 110% since 2001.

Unfortunately for Ukpabio, the UK did not welcome her with open arms. When the event was announced, there was immediate backlash. The planned venue, Albany World Music Theater, canceled her booking due to its content. In a statement, the Albany said:

We only cancel bookings in very exceptional circumstances. In this instance we were not given full information about the nature of the booking by the booker, which is at odds with our terms and conditions and ethical policies as an organisation. As soon as we became aware of the full details of the booking, it was canceled and the booker was issued with a full refund.

The Witchcraft Human Rights and Information Network (WHRIN), The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) all reportedly contacted Home Secretary Theresa May and requested that Ukpabio be deported and permanently banned from the UK. Why? Gary Foxcroft, Executive Director of WHRIN explains:

We believe that her presence in the UK is pursuant to section 3(5) of the Immigration Act 1971 on the basis that her presence here is not conducive to the public good and request that she is immediately deported and has her UK visa revoked. There have been numerous cases of children in the UK being tortured and sometimes killed due to the beliefs that Helen Ukpabio espouses … We cannot afford to wait for another such case before the Government takes action to put a stop to such preachers.

For many Ukpabio is the one performing the “spiritual attacks” rather than saving anyone from them. In March, WHRIN released its “2013 Global Report” to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council on faith-based, witchcraft-related violence. During that year Ukpabio’s home country of Nigeria along with South Africa had the highest number of reported acts on the African continent. Unfortunately the statistics are flawed because there is “considerable under reporting, particularly when children are accused.” WHRIN explains:

These figures are inconsistent with the experience of organisations providing support to child victims in these settings. It may be that such accusations have become so common they cease to attract attention. It is also possible that previous unwelcome international media coverage discourages local or national reporting.

This past week’s events in London certainly did stir the international media. Despite all that attention and outrage, Ukpabio successfully held her meeting in an small, undisclosed venue. A group from IHEU discovered that location and managed to stage a small protest. In an interview with Channel 4 London, IHEU’s Bob Churchill called Ukpabio’s work a crime because it “incites people to abuse.” The TV station sponsored a short but comprehensive report on the subject:

Ukpabio has since left the UK. However many are hoping that the government will permanently ban her from the country. Foxcroft says:

The issue of children being abused due witchcraft accusations in the UK has been recognised by the Government who established a National Working group to tackle the problem. However, as yet, there have been no successful convictions of pastors whose preachings are known to lead to child abuse and there is no law in place to stop such harmful practices.

London’s Metro Police operates a special task force called Project Violet to interface with local communities and organizations specifically working to prevent abuse. Additionally the national government has created an “action plan to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief.” It states:

This action plan is intended to help raise awareness of the issue of child abuse linked to faith or belief and to encourage practical steps to be taken to prevent such abuse … The beliefs which are the focus of this action plan are not confined to one faith, nationality or ethnic community. Examples have been recorded worldwide among Europeans, Africans, Asians and elsewhere as well as in Christian, Muslim, Hindu and pagan faiths among others. Not all those who believe in witchcraft or spirit possession harm children.

Within the UK there are also a number of charitable organizations, like Afruca, who work to raise awareness within African immigrant communities as well as in Nigeria itself. Afruca has offices in both London and Lagos, where it operates the Foundation for the Protection of the Rights of the Vulnerable Children. When Ukpabio left the country, Afruca tweeted:

It is the right direction for the UK and does send a message to the  international community. However the problem in Nigeria persists. Within the borders of her home country, Ukpabio is not only a respected minister but also a celebrity, a musician and a filmmaker. Her film production company, Liberty Films, is a household-name and a force in Nigeria’s film community Nollywood. Like her books and broadcast sermons, Ukpabio’s films are a delivery method for the anti-witchcraft message.

In a 2010 New York Times interview she defended her films saying, “It is only because I am African that people who understand that J. K. Rowling writes fiction would take literally Ms. Ukpabio’s filmic depictions of possessed children, gathering by moonlight to devour human flesh.” In another 2012 interview with Nigerian Yes! International Magazine, Ukpabio blames atheists for the continued backlash saying, “I marvel at the way people can easily use their demonic wisdom to kill, murder and slander another person.” When asked why she has so many enemies she says:

 I think [they fight me] because I preach the truth. Because I don’t compromise … So, people want to see me fall, people want to see me compromise … and I’ve refused.

Yes! International Magazine and other similar Nigerian pop media give Ukpabio a positive public voice in a country where she has millions of followers. However they do not speak for the entire country. The recent buzz on social media, blogs and in the Nigerian general media demonstrates that Ukpabio faces strong opposition among her own people. Here is a tweet from a mother and business woman residing in Lagos,

In addition there is a growing Nigerian child rights movement supported in part by international organizations such as UNICEF and Stepping Stones Nigeria. Ukpabio’s followers were caught on tape disrupting a meeting held by one these organizations.

As the fight for Africa’s children continues, the global community appears to be closely monitoring Ukpabio and other Pentecostal ministers like her. In 2008 Mags Gavan and Joost van der Valk released the documentary Saving Africa’s Witch Children which focuses on the dangers in Ukpabio’s ministry. The film was broadcast internationally over several years. In the U.S. it appeared on HBO in 2010 while Ukpabio happen to be in the States. When she tried to return in 2012 the U.S. refused to grant her a VISA.

UNICEF Nigeria has posted a series called Radio by children accused of being witches which catalogs the experiences of the child victims in their own words. As we reported Wednesday, South Africa Pagan Rights Alliance is now holding its yearly 30 Days of Advocacy campaign to raise awareness in its own country  – another hard hit by these witch accusations. The list goes on.

While the world grapples with this wide-spread problem, it raises many questions concerning religious freedom and more. Where does religious practice end and child abuse begin? Who gets to draw that line? Even if Ukpabio and others like her are stopped, there are still millions who have been raised with this very real cultural fear of witchcraft as defined by those teachings. Where and how does the process of effective education start in order to prevent future abuse by new ministers who could easily step into Ukpabio shoes?


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