--I updated [tumblr.com profile] jinksyandthebrain for the first time in a couple of months. Have some pics [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh took in March. (I especially love the three of Jinksy!bear sprawled on his back on the sofa. The belly is not a trap.)

--I promise not to get in the habit of signal boosting lots of [dreamwidth.org profile] aftertheendtimes posts over here, but [dreamwidth.org profile] cantarina is trying to gauge interest in a fanworks exchange covering all of [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire's worlds.

--[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose, Ginny, Kas, and I went to Happy Veal for lunch, and we're forced to conclude that while the food ranges from "tasty" to "AMAZING" (hello, green onion pancakes), the service is just always either mediocre or awful, so we're always going to have to calculate if we're up for dealing with that. TL;DR, the food arrived SLOWLY. No, more slowly than that ) And yet I can't swear off the place. The green onion pancakes are so good I could cry.

--Garden: [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose dug out the rough shape of the flowerbed, and it looks like getting that ready will be trickier than we'd hoped. OTOH, transplanting our six tiny Lemon Boy tomato seedlings into their interim pots was quick and simple. And in between those things, when Kas and Ginny dropped me and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose off, they came in to borrow a spade and see the breathtaking new openness of our small back yard. Ginny got a look at Neighbor L's dandelion ripper, and then [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose brought our shiny new one out...and Ginny proceeded to spend something like half an hour, in her Fluevogs and cute dress, merrily massacring dandelions for the sheer delight of using the thing.

It's remarkably satisfying. [/understatement]
(From here.)

DEAR CAROLYN: My 11-year-old daughter is going through a phase right now of extreme, black-and-white thinking. Right is right and wrong is wrong. This is challenging sometimes.

My mother-in-law loves to host but it’s pretty obvious she buys entire meals pre-packaged from a grocery store chain and passes them off as hers. The adults just pretend we don’t know.

Earlier this week my sister-in-law brought this up in a joking way and she, my husband, and I had a laugh about it. Well, my daughter heard this and confronted us about Grandma’s cooking. We tried to explain to her that it’s a kindness not to say, “You didn’t take the garbage out so I saw the takeout containers.” My daughter replied with, “So when you told Grandma her potatoes tasted good, it was a lie?”

She is right, really. We all sort of lie, and so does Grandma.

My daughter told us in no uncertain terms that she will not pretend that Grandma cooked the meal. She is also rather frosty toward us for our willing participation in this, her word, charade, and asked, “What else has Grandma been lying about?”

My husband thinks we should just let this play out, and that our daughter will not be able to look her grandmother in the eye and actually say this stuff. I am almost positive our daughter will say this stuff, and maybe we should warn his mother. Any advice?

We All Sort of Lie

DEAR WE ALL SORT OF LIE: Off the record, please don’t correct your future journalist/scientist/prosecutor too successfully.

On the record, the most important thing here is your daughter’s socialization. You can accomplish that whether you warn Grandma or not — because the consequences of not warning her just aren’t that dire, and because your mission is unchanged regardless. Your daughter has forced you to defend beliefs you probably haven’t examined for a long time, if ever, as kids do so mind-blowingly well.

So find a way to justify your approach to honesty that withstands scrutiny … or admit your daughter is right. “It’s a kindness” is fine as far as it goes, but where specifically are the lines between cruelty and kindness, and kindness and deceit?

Whether you tip off Grandma or let her startled face be part of your daughter’s education, the next dinner will be instructive for your daughter.

So, yeah, I’m giving you nothing. Tell us how it went!

At The Nation, Jimmy Tobias writes—What if People Owned the Banks, Instead of Wall Street? From Seattle to Santa Fe, cities are at the center of a movement to create publicly owned banks

Craig Brandt got pissed that the City of Oakland, California, had no choice but to do business with financial crooks—specifically the scamster banksters of the Libor scheme. They confessed and paid fines that didn’t come close to making whole the cities and states that lost billions because of their crime. Brandt wanted more. He wanted the city to stop doing business with any banking institution convicted of a felony or required to pay more than $150 million in fines. The city councilors said no can do. Because if they did, there wouldn’t be left a bank big enough to do business with. All of them crooks, in other words. Here’s Tobias:

After the City Council turned him down, [Brandt] started looking for other ways to wean Oakland off Wall Street. That’s when he fell in with a group of locals who have been nursing an audacious idea. They want their city to take radical action to combat plutocracy, inequality, and financial dislocation. They want their city to do something that hasn’t been done in this country in nearly a century, not since the trust-busting days of the Progressive Era. They want their city to create a bank—and, strange as the idea may seem, it’s not some utopian scheme. It’s a cause that’s catching on.


Across the country, community activists, mayors, city council members, and more are waking up to the power and the promise of public banks. Such banks are established and controlled by cities or states, rather than private interests. They collect deposits from government entities—from school districts, from city tax receipts, from state infrastructure funds—and use that money to issue loans and support public priorities.

They are led by independent professionals but accountable to elected officials. Public banks are a way, supporters say, to build local wealth and resist the market’s predatory predilections. They are a way to end municipal reliance on Wall Street institutions, with their high fees, their scandal-ridden track records, and their vile investments in private prisons and pipelines. They are a way, at long last, to manage money in the public interest.

Since 2011, advocates from a national nonprofit called the Public Banking Institute have traveled across the country, preaching the practical benefits of public banking and recruiting or training activists and organizers to take up the cause. They have found willing and enthusiastic supporters from coast to coast. The movement has been embraced in Philadelphia, where the city council held hearings on the idea last year. It’s been championed in Seattle and San Francisco, where a number of city supervisors are calling for a task force to study public banking.

It’s taken root in Santa Fe, with backing from the mayor, and in Oregon, Vermont, and even New Jersey, where a leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Phil Murphy, has proclaimed his desire to create a state bank right next door to the financial capital of the world.

“I believe this is the wave of the future,” says Craig Brandt, who is now a leader of Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland, the group advocating for public banking in the city. “And I hope Oakland will be the first one out the door to do it.” [...]



“He became convinced that ordinary commercial financing could be done for a service charge plus an insurance fee amounting to much less that the current rates of interest charged by banks, whose rates were based on supply and demand, treating money as a commodity rather than as a sovereign state's means of exchange.” 
                   ~Robert A. Heinlein, For Us, the Living: A Comedy of Customs  




At on this date in 2005Karzai Shoots Back:

After being the subject of a critical story emanating from Washington regarding the drug trade in Afghanistan, Afghani President Hamid Karzai shot back:

President Hamid Karzai today demanded justice for Afghan prisoner abuse by American interrogators, and he blamed the United States and Britain, not his government, for the slow progress of anti-drug efforts in his country. He also said he would ask President Bush for greater control over Afghan affairs as part of a longer-term strategic partnership.

. . . Mr. Karzai underscored cooperation with the United States, but also insisted that Afghans' sense of independence and self-reliance was growing. "No Afghan is a puppet, you know," he said in a Fox News interview. "There is a stronger ownership of the Afghan government and the Afghan people now."

It remained unclear how much his criticisms were intended for Afghan consumption, or whether his meeting with Mr. Bush might be rendered less comfortable than past such encounters, which have generally been portrayed as relaxed and amicable.

His comments, nonetheless, came at a delicate and unexpectedly contentious moment, a day after Mr. Karzai had expressed dismay over reports of abuses of Afghan prisoners - "it has shocked me thoroughly," he said Saturday in Kabul - and as Mr. Karzai's help in eradicating opium poppies in Afghanistan was being questioned by the United States.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin—on his birthday!—helps wrap up a weekend of Trumpshambles. Old scandal excuses are new again. CA Dem convention raises issues. Scandals heat up & Jared Kushner’s in the spotlight. Everyone says he negotiated an arms deal. But did he?

YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Keep us on the air! Donate via Patreon or Square Cash

A couple of years ago it came to the world’a attention that a certain star was behaving strangely. The Kepler Space Telescope had actually caught it in the act for several years, but it wasn’t discovered in that ginormous database until 2015.

The big dips in luminosity could not come from natural variability; the star is a main sequence type-F, almost the same as our own sun. We have observed millions of these kinds of stars, astrophysicists understand them, and they simply do not vary much in brightness. That brought up other explanations: clouds of comets, disintegrating planets, giant ring arcs, a small black hole eating the star from within, etc., and of course speculation of massive engineering projects like Dyson Spheres signaling an advanced alien civilization. 

It is classified as KIC 8462852, but it’s since been dubbed Tabby’s Star after Tabetha S. Boyajian, an astronomer who did some initial work on the anomaly. The problem is that up until now, all we had were some incidental observations over the last few decades when the star was caught in the background of other photos and the Kepler data. But the strange star has begun to dip again and now that we are looking with some of our best instruments, we may finally learn more.

At 4 a.m. on May 19th, Boyajian called Wright: Fairborn Observatory in Arizona had issued an alert that Tabby’s star had dimmed by 2% — a big dip in the star’s brightness. The team immediately sent out the call for more observations. … “This is the first time we’ve seen a clear dip since the Kepler mission, and also the first we’ve caught in real time,” says Wright. “The changes are as steep as we ever saw it change brightness with Kepler. It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks.”

For the record, one of the best explanations so far involves a swarm of large comets in a highly eccentric orbit with lots of smaller bodies and gas and dust in between them. How accurate that turns out to be—and how a presumably mature system ended up in this chaotic state—are some of the questions we may finally see answered in the next few months.

Sexual assaulters love Donald Trump. And why wouldn’t they? He’s clearly their man. He’s normalized their behavior and since a significant portion of the American population chose to vote for a serial predator even though he admitted, on tape, to grabbing women by their private parts without their consent, they don’t have a need to feel any real shame. They love him so much, they even came to Washington to celebrate his inauguration. John Joseph Boswell, a millionaire from Florida, was in town celebrating the swearing in of the new Groper-In-Chief when he decided that he liked the look of the maid who was hard at work cleaning his room. And without her consent, he proceeded to touch her. 

On Jan. 19, as the nation’s capital swelled with tourists and protesters, the millionaire and the maid met on the 10th floor of the Mayflower Hotel downtown, in Room 1065.

As she made his bed, he approached from behind and began rubbing her buttocks, according to a police report.

“This is very nice stuff,” he said, according to the report. “I like that!” [...]

She froze and, in shock, apologized to him, according to the police report. “Sorry sir,” she said. “Sorry sir!”

The woman cleaning the room was an African immigrant. She makes $20 an hour. In DC that’s a fairly high wage (though the cost of living is incredibly high too) so you can imagine she was likely terrified about causing any kind of trouble that would cause her to lose her job. Frightened, she ran off. When another maid entered the room to clean it, you’d think perhaps that Boswell might have learned his lesson. Except that’s not how predators think. Especially not the ones like Trump—the very ones who think that when they are rich and famous, women let them do anything, like “grab them by the pu**y”. So he tried it again.

Posted by Scott Lemieux

Another day, another scoop:

President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.


As if manhandling reporters wasn't enough of an attack on democracy, Ajit Pai's FCC has taken recent moves to shut down transparency as it moves to end the open internet. First, Pai is refusing to disclose the supposed evidence he has that the FCC's comment system was shut down by a denial of service attack, a claim the agency made after John Oliver directed his viewers and social media followers to make their comments in support of net neutrality. The FCC immediately claimed that it wasn't overwhelming public support for the open internet that swamped their servers, but hackers. The whole internet—and two U.S. senators—demanded proof, but Pai won't cough it up.

In a ZDNet interview, FCC chief information officer David Bray said that the agency would not release the logs, in part because the logs contain private information, such as IP addresses. In unprinted remarks, he said that the logs amounted to about 1 gigabyte per hour during the alleged attack.

From the interview, Bray said that FCC staff noticed a high volume of incoming comments in the early morning of May 8, hours after the John Oliver show aired. The log files showed that non-human bots submitted a flood of comments using the FCC's API. The bot that submitted these comments sparked the massive uptick in internet traffic on the FCC by using the public API as a vehicle.

The public—particularly the hundreds of thousands of real people who left real comments—deserve to know what really happened here, but the FCC refuses to tell us, or to answer concerns that their system is capable of taking comments and letting the public speak. At the same time, the FCC is going to honor half a million identical anti-net neutrality comments made by bots.

The FCC didn’t respond to repeated requests to specifically say whether it would filter out the astroturfed comments. Speaking to reporters after announcing a step toward rolling back existing net neutrality protections, FCC Chair Ajit Pai admitted “a tension between having an open process where it’s easy to comment and preventing questionable comments from being filed.”

"Generally speaking, this agency has erred on the side of openness," he said.

Pai said the agency wouldn't consider comments with obviously fake names, like Wonder Woman and Joseph Stalin, but declined to go further. Reached for comment after Pai's statement, an FCC official declined to comment specifically on astroturfed comments.

"You heard his answer on erring on the side of inclusion," the official said.

A ZDNet investigation showed that many of the real names behind those comments came from people who swear they didn't make them, in some cases people who don't even know what net neutrality means. Someone, somehow got their names and addresses and a bot used them to file the same anti-net neutrality comments tens of thousands of times. And Pai is going to count them, because otherwise he would be able to show no public support for his effort to end the open internet.

We'll keep fighting. Sign the petition to send the FCC and our elected officials in D.C. a clear message that we won’t stand by and let them kill net neutrality.

The Trump regime's decision to punt on payments to health insurers in the Obamacare markets is continuing to mess up the individual insurance market, and the next rate hikes and instability in that market—on and off of the Obamacare exchanges—are squarely the fault of Trump and the Republicans says the whole healthcare industry, but especially health insurers.

An alliance of health insurers, doctors and employers are urging the Trump administration and Congress to fund cost-sharing subsidies for millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act. Politico reported Friday that Trump is telling “advisers he wants to end key Obamacare subsidies.” […]

“There now is clear evidence that this uncertainty is undermining the individual insurance market for 2018 and stands to negatively impact millions of people,” several powerful groups representing hospitals, doctors, patients, insurance companies and U.S. employers wrote in a letter to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas.

Now that the regime has announced it will punt for another 90 days before making a final decision on the payments, the industry is blasting it for continuing to play this sabotage game.

Insurers responded to the administration’s delay by emphasizing how the uncertainty has been harming the health insurance market.

“We need swift action and long-term certainty on this critical program,” Cathryn Donaldson, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s main trade group, said in a statement. “It is the single most destabilizing factor in the individual market, and millions of Americans could soon feel the impact of fewer choices, higher costs and reduced access to care.”

The blame is going to fall squarely on Trump and the Republicans for playing this game—an extremely deep-pocketed healthcare industry will make certain of that. It's not going to be a hard case to make to the American public, the large majority of which already says that Trump and the Republicans will own the mess that they are creating out of Obamacare.

Details are unclear, but there is currently a massive police and rescue presence in Manchester, UK after reports of an “explosion” during an Ariana Grande concert.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

The cause is unknown, but injuries appear numerous. Police have closed all roads in the area and are treating the explosion “as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 · 1:56:27 AM +00:00 · Barbara Morrill

From CNN:

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a statement in the wake of the Manchester blast:

“We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack," the statement said. [...]

A Western law enforcement official has told CNN that a male at the scene in Manchester has been identified as the probable suicide bomber.

A US official said a suicide bombing is now considered to be the “likely” reason for the blast.

A pox on the Washington Examiner (even if it is a Republican rag) and on House Speaker Paul Ryan's PR people for creating this nauseating bit of fluff selling the guy who dreamed of kicking millions of people off of Medicaid when he was just college kid hanging out at the keg. Ryan, whose primary goal is making life as miserable as possible for the most vulnerable in society, is "Mr. Kindness" all of a sudden.

Tax reform, his self-avowed duty to fix Obamacare, poverty, opioid addiction and a 100-year correction of 20th century progressivism are foremost on his mind.

So is civility.

"It's pretty raw in the country right now," he says.

Wherever he goes, but especially when young people are in the audience, Ryan stresses the importance of spreading civility. "It is something I talk to my staff and the members of my committee about," he adds. […]

"We get hit so much, I say just don't respond in kind, just kill with kindness, just let people get stuff off of their chest," he says, explaining his instructions on civility.

Kicking 24 million people off of insurance is the kind thing to do. And in case you were wondering, lying to young people apparently is just fine in Ryan's ethos. "The problem, he believes, begins with people mistakenly thinking the bill affects job-based insurance. 'They just see 'healthcare' and they think their own healthcare may be at stake,' he says." Guess what asshole? That's because it is! Even The Wall Street Journal says so. Remember this, the report from a few weeks ago? This part:

Under the House bill, large employers could choose the benefit requirements from any state—including those that are allowed to lower their benchmarks under a waiver, health analysts said. By choosing a waiver state, employers looking to lower their costs could impose lifetime limits and eliminate the out-of-pocket cost cap from their plans under the GOP legislation.

And let’s not even get started on Ryan on tax reform.

The Trump regime will apparently tell the federal appeals court overseeing the challenge to the legality of cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies in Obamacare to hold the case over for another 90 days, during which time the payments will still be made. These cost-sharing-reduction payments are critical to insurance companies and to low-income people who receive the subsidized care. On its face that’s good news, but another delay in a final decision on the payments plays into Trump’s long game of sabotaging the law as former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt explains in a series of tweets. 

That’s because insurers are deciding in the next few weeks if they’ll remain in the exchanges for 2018, as well as the premiums they will charge. Slavitt says that insurance company actuaries “with no exceptions I'm aware of will price 2018 assuming no payment,” and will hike premium rates to make up the lost payments. He explains that this is a "’go for broke’ strategy to force Trumpcare. Ending lawsuit is explicit. Deferring gets same outcome w potential for deniability."

Complicating this, however, is the fact that the states are entering the legal fray. Fifteen states along with D.C. filed a motion last Thursday to be allowed to defend the payments, since Trump's White House can't be expected to. They’ve asked that the court hear the case promptly, which could force the issue, if the court decides to allow their intervention.

If the states are allowed to intervene, however, they could pursue the appeal even if Trump decides to drop it. With the appeal in place, the injunction couldn’t take effect until the case is heard and decided.

What’s more, the states are very likely to prevail. Not on the merits: as I’ve written before, the House is right that there’s no appropriation to make the cost-sharing payments. But the D.C. Circuit is likely to be skeptical of the district court’s conclusion that the House of Representatives has standing to sue. That’s why the states want the court to decide the case quickly: they hope to get rid of the lawsuit once and for all.

Allowing the states to intervene would not eliminate uncertainty. The D.C. Circuit could always surprise us and affirm the district court’s decision. Premiums for 2018 would still have to rise in response to the risk that payments might stop sometime next year. And even if the House loses, the Trump administration might be tempted to stop making the payments anyhow—although it’s not clear that it has the legal authority to do so without going through the cumbersome process of withdrawing an Obama-era rule.

Still, insurers could breathe a bit easier. If the states are allowed to intervene, Trump couldn’t blow up the individual markets in a fit of pique.

These are all ifs, and right now it’s unclear that the court is going to be willing to either let the states intervene or recognize that it needs to act quickly to end the uncertainty insurers are facing right now.

Trump administration officials are working hard to blunt the damage done by Donald Trump blabbering Israeli intelligence to the Russians visiting the Oval Office a couple weeks ago. While Trump blurted out to reporters Monday, unsolicited, that he never even “mentioned” Israel to the Russians (good call, Don!), U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is reassuring our allies that the U.S. can totally be trusted with sensitive intelligence. Haley made the admission Monday while appearing on the Today show, writes CNN:

"I've talked with (CIA) Director (Mike) Pompeo on this as well because so much of what I do at the United Nations is based on sensitive information. So much of what a lot of the Cabinet members, what they do, is based on sensitive information," Haley said.

"We're trying to reassure all of our counterparts what they tell us is kept, trust, and valued, and we will return the favor," she added.

This entire episode showcases Trump's governing capabilities perfectly. He says/does something totally stupid, his aides work to assure people that it's totally fine and, right as they're running clean up, he steps all over their messaging with something even more inane. Then he blows his stack and calls them "incompetent."

They may be—but you built that, Don.

cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
([personal profile] cereta posting in [community profile] agonyaunt May. 22nd, 2017 06:23 pm)
Dear Carolyn,

I am at my wits' end with family drama. I will spare you the very long and ugly details and start with the most recent heartache.

My husband's daughter from a previous marriage invited our son and his wife and 2-year-old to spend the weekend with them since they were going to be in town for a wedding. His wife accepted. My husband has been estranged from this daughter for over two years. She lives down the street from my husband and me.

When my son and his family arrived, they went to lunch with my husband and stayed through the evening with us. It was a lovely time. Our little granddaughter even went into "her room" and told her dad she wanted to sleep in her bed. It was cruel to see her cry when she had to leave and go to my stepdaughter's house.

My husband is furious. His feelings are crushed and he is angry they would subject her to such nonsense. My husband feels they have been disloyal to him by staying with his estranged daughter.

I have expressed to my son how I felt about his staying with his half-sister. Not because of her so much as how wrong it feels to me to not stay with us. After we are dead and gone, he will have time to stay with his half-sister.

My first thought was to leave town before they got here so I could avoid the whole ordeal. Now, my husband and I have hurt feelings, plenty of tears to go around, and lost sleep over this.

Heartbreak seems to follow wherever my stepdaughter is concerned. I don't want to alienate my daughter-in-law because she will cut my granddaughter out of my life. How can I manage to keep the peace and not "betray" my husband in the process?

-- C.

Your argument, recapped: It's your stepdaughter's fault that she wants to spend time with her brother. Except the part that's your daughter-in-law's fault for saying yes.

Maybe you won't like it in those words, but that's what you're saying -- and it's impressive that you're able to present this without attributing any drama to the man who was "crushed" and "angry" and suffering "tears ... and lost sleep" at the "ordeal" of witnessing the "cruel" and "disloyal" "nonsense" of a child "subject[ed] to" ...

[theatrical pause]

A planned visit to her aunt's house.

After spending an entire day with you two.

Drama, thy name is Grandpa.

I can understand your powerful incentive not to see this; even thinking it opens you to accusations of betrayal from your wounded husband, no doubt. And more tears and sleepless nights and garment-rending and whatever other tactics he uses to keep you emotionally at his service.

But the longer you remain faithful spokesbot for your husband -- or for Stockholm Syndrome -- and declare with a straight face that your son can't sleep at his sister's house until you're dead! (you really said that!), the more soul-rebuilding you'll need when you see the view I've got from here: that you've been devoured by your husband's narcissistic fantasy world.

Even if I'm way off, your family dynamic is still way off. Please find a well-recommended family therapist and go. Just you. Unspool those "very long and ugly details."
azurelunatic: The (old) Tacoma Narrows Bridge, intact but twisted. (Tacoma)
([personal profile] azurelunatic May. 22nd, 2017 03:13 pm)
Once I move at the beginning of June, there will be a new local set of people.

Me: y'all know me. Lunatic, infovore. Gender: no thank you. Pronoun set: plural-they.

Partner: a witty, kind geekfolk, fascinated by books and shows and links and sports and hardware and eking every last ounce of usefulness out of old gear. I have known them for about 10 years at this point. Infovore. Gender: has a lot of oppressive constructs which should be BURNED THE FUCK DOWN while not endangering the vulnerable folks who depend on some of its supportive ones. Pronoun set: anonymous-they.

Metamour: has been seeing my partner since February-ish. Met them over a game of CAH; knew they had to be friends when they had pretty much the same answer. Witty, beautiful. Likes baking. Gender: woman. Pronoun set: she/her.

Tay-Tay: my younger (biological) sister, and soon to be my roommate. I say she is my "baby" sister but she's actually a year older than my partner. Violinist and general ball of energy. Short and tiny; I can kind of lift her in one arm so she can be on eye level with my partner. Gender: probably woman-ish and she likes kicking over gender norms and dancing on top. Pronoun set: she/her.

The Kitten: a small, loud, grey indoor lap cat who loves my partner and will punch people who try to pet her without her permission. Previous owners declawed her. She is food-insecure, and cannot be left to free-feed. She's antisocial to other cats. She does not like Master Jerkface very much at all. She is most often found perched on the back of my partner's desk chair and getting hair on their jacket, on my partner's lap with her tail in their face demanding to be petted, or on top of them when they're asleep.

Master Jerkface (and other equally unflattering nicknames): the abusive ex of my beloved partner. I hope to not meet them. Gender: they have one. Pronoun set: as used here, anonymous-they.

The Man-Child: Tay's boyfriend, who I didn't hear about in the context of a Relationship until September 2016, literally as I was coming back from the Oakland radiation oncology department. Musician, outdoorsy hiker type. A few decades too old for man-childishness to be excused. Gender: man, probably. Pronoun set: he/him.

Team Partner: a bunch of people who came together to help my partner in their hour of need. They include:

an old internet friend of mine who reads the Vorkosigan books
their wife
a friend of theirs

The first hosts: one of my partner's former co-workers who went into tech and her husband

The second hosts: another co-worker-ish person and her husband

Assorted now-local friends of mine include:

Mr. Zune: a former co-worker from Virtual Hammer who is now at the SEA-TAC outpost as his career was portable
Mr. Zune's Girlfriend: got a dream job in the Seattle area

[livejournal.com profile] tygerr: an old friend and Listee
[livejournal.com profile] tygerr's wife: an excellent and fun geek lady

Carnelian: a friend of mine from the late 90s; we had various different paths in life but now we're talking again and comparing notes.
Terezi: Carnelian's daughter, who infamously needed two stacked baby gates to keep her contained as a toddler. Now a proud teenage tumblr bb. (I haven't seen her in Many Years, but I'm likely to run into her more often now.)

Various #dw, #dw_kvetch, and #lj_s folk!!!

Donald Trump was reportedly so upset about James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he sought out senior intelligence officials and tried to pressure them to ”publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election”. From the Washington Post:

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president

Like Comey, Rogers took and shared extensive notes on the conversation:

Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats. Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work.

At a minimum, the case for obstructing justice appears to be getting stronger by the minute. 

Fired FBI director James Comey had been scheduled to testify this Wedneday on the circumstances surrounding his firing. Now that’s not going to happen: House Oversight chair Jason Chaffetz confirmed that the hearing is being postponed, because Comey “wants to speak with Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] prior to public testimony.” Comey likely wants to ensure that his testimony does not interfere with Mueller’s investigation into the same matters—for example, Mueller may want him to demur on answering certain questions.

In what could be coincidental but, in the Trump White House, could also be something else, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also cancelled his planned testimony to the House and Senate this week. The hearings were routine efforts on Justice Department funding, but lawmakers were likely to have questions of their own on Sessions’ key role in the Comey firing. So for now, he won’t be showing up either.

DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said the canceled testimonies, which had been planned for Wednesday in the House and Thursday in the Senate, was due to a scheduling conflict. The Senate Appropriations Committee had announced Sessions’ appearance last week, although the testimony was not included in the weekly guidance from the Justice Department.

Comey’s move is certainly bad news for the administration, as it suggests Comey suspects his testimony on the White House’s actions may indeed pertain to Mueller’s own investigation of Russian election meddling and potential White House collusion. The Sessions news is less clear, but in an environment in which much of the White House staff is being encouraged to lawyer up he may have his own reasons for wanting to, at least for a few weeks, dodge lawmaker questions.

Richard Collins III was 23 and seemed like he had everything to live for. He was due to graduate from Bowie State University in Maryland on Tuesday with a degree in business, and had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was visiting friends at the University of Maryland this weekend when his life was tragically cut short by what the police and FBI are investigating as a possible hate crime. 

Collins was waiting with two other students for an Uber ride outside the Montgomery Hall dormitory on Regents Drive near U.S. 1 at about 3 a.m. Saturday when he was attacked.

The stabbing was captured by a surveillance camera, police said. They called it unprovoked.

Witnesses said the suspect was intoxicated and incoherent at the time of the attack, police said. Police have said the victim and suspect did not know each other.

Officers called to the scene found Collins wounded on the sidewalk, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Sean Urbanski, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Collins. What originally seemed to be a random and very unfortunate killing could now be tied to Urbanski’s membership in a racist group on Facebook.

The group, called "Alt-Reich Nation," contained racist posts, [University Police Chief David Mitchell said.]

"When I look at the information that's contained on that website, suffice it to say that it's despicable, it shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, persons of Jewish faith and especially African-Americans," Mitchell said.

The FBI digital forensics team will look for information online that sheds light on the case, Mitchell said.

This is devastating for Collins’ family, who now has to arrange for a funeral for their loved one instead of celebrating his graduation. But it’s also yet another reminder for black people that we are not truly safe anywhere, especially on predominantly white college campuses.



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