For 12 weekends in a row, Donald Trump has spent time at a Donald Trump-owned or managed property in what has to be a financial boon for the Trump family. Of course, everywhere Donald Trump goes, gaggles of Secret Service agents, staff and pool reporters follow—many or most of them staying at a Trump property, using taxpayer dollars, directly benefiting Donald Trump and his family. Paying members of these clubs regularly take to social media bragging about access to Trump and his offspring. And now, the official website of the U.S. Embassy & Consultants in the United Kingdom is featuring a glowing article on the “winter White House” that is a barely disguised advertisement:

Mar-A-Lago featured on the U.S. Embassy website
All aboard the Emoluments Clause Express

Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s Florida estate, has become well known as the president frequently travels there to work or host foreign leaders.

The first meeting between Trump and President Xi Jinping of China will take place April 6–7 at Mar-a-Lago, which is located at the heart of Florida’s Palm Beach community.

Trump is not the first president to have access to Mar-a-Lago as a Florida retreat, but he is the first one to use it. By visiting this “winter White House,” Trump is belatedly fulfilling the dream of Mar-a-Lago’s original owner and designer.

When socialite and cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post built Mar-a-Lago — Spanish for “Sea to Lake” — in 1927, she spared no expense. The 114-room mansion sits on 8 hectares of land, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and an inland waterway on the other.

Upon her death in 1973, she willed the estate to the U.S. government, intending it to be used as a winter White House for the U.S. president to entertain visiting foreign dignitaries.

House Democrats have been constrained by being a distinct minority since November 2010. But popular vote loser Donald Trump and his disastrous poll numbers, as well as the total dysfunction in the fractious Republican party is giving them both hope and the drive to follow the lead of the people and resist.

House Democrats are ready to flex their muscles, providing a list of demands Republicans must meet if they want Democratic votes to keep the government running beyond Friday. And they could be key players on tax reform and infrastructure in the coming months, if Trump ends up needing bipartisan buy-in.

“It’s a great time to be a Democrat,” said Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, warning Republicans that even if they do achieve some of their biggest goals—like dismantling Obamacare—they will pay at the polls.

“We know we’re going to lose some battles between now and 2018, but every one of those losses costs the other side votes,” he said. […]

In the immediate future, House Democrats have significant leverage in ongoing talks to keep the government open beyond the April 28 deadline.

With hard-line conservatives frequently opposed to spending bills, Republican leaders will likely need a number of Democratic votes to avoid a government shutdown. And [Democratic leader Nancy] Pelosi is nothing if not an expert vote counter.

The energy of the people—we saw it again this weekend in the nationwide March for Science—is certainly helping strengthen their backbone. That's not just showing up in the streets in these huge marches and protests, but also in public polling, where there's a massive enthusiasm gap in favor of Democrats, as shown in a survey from Global Strategy Group and Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, Priorities USA conducted at the beginning of April.

Posted by Paul Campos

Alice Goffman is in the news again:

A group of “students, alumni, and allies” of the sociology department at Pomona College have written an open letter to the department and senior executives of the college to protest the hiring of the ethnographer Alice Goffman as a visiting professor of sociology.

The college confirmed in a statement emailed to The Chronicle on Sunday night that it had offered Ms. Goffman a position as a visiting scholar, starting this fall, and that she had accepted.

The letter’s authors, who remain anonymous, demand that the college rescind the hire and give students more voice in future hiring decisions. The authors protest Ms. Goffman’s hiring because they say it fails to “address underrepresentation of faculty of color” and demonstrates an “institutional inadequacy to recognize and advocate for the best interests of students of color.”

They base their objections in part on the recent controversy over Ms. Goffman’s research methods in her 2014 book, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. Those methods, they say, have contributed to false perceptions about black people and have harmed black communities.

I’m not going to address the letter’s various claims, some of which seem highly problematic. Instead I’d like to focus briefly on the fact that Goffman got this job — it’s an endowed two to three year visiting position at a top liberal arts college — over two other finalists who have academic publication records that consist of something other than one in no small part fabricated book.

That the two other finalists were African American women just puts an exclamation point on the dispiriting fact that the sociology department at Pomona decided to stick its collective head in the sand in regard to Goffman’s history of publishing lies and/or confabulations in the guise of legitimate ethnography.

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And here it is.

A note: Insults or terms that can be insulting are pretty common. While I included a lot of them, I've declined to include any explicit slurs of the sort that will get you snubbed from polite society - I find them all interesting from an academic distance, but I don't really want to be on the internet saying these things. I'm the arbiter of what sort of slurs get me snubbed from polite society, so if you're thinking "Why include this slur against over religious Christians who push their religion onto others but not that slur against blacks/gays/Muslims", the answer is "because I think that second slur is just a bit more offensive".

I've defined the ones I see less often, or that I've only read in books and never seen IRL, or that I just generally think people might not know.

Read more... )

I'm also debating with myself whether or not I would count any of the numerous colorful ways to say "vomited". That's like a whole list in and of itself.

The struggle is real for prospective 2018 GOP candidates: Should they or shouldn't they jump in?

With a commander in chief who's as predictable as an untethered balloon in a tornado touting a list of legislative accomplishments as short as his stubby thumbs, many would-be GOP candidates are strongly weighing becoming 2018 won't bes.

For instance, former Florida Rep. David Jolly won a 2014 special election, lost in 2016, and is having heartburn over whether to take a stab at reclaiming his seat in 2018. Jolly said watching the GA-06 special election where Democrat Jon Ossoff will be facing Republican Karen Handel in June has been instructive. Alex Isenstadt of Politico writes:

“Ossoff simply has to speak to the president's failure, while Republicans have to wrestle with whether and how to defend Trump's historically low approval ratings and how closely to align with a president who at any moment could undermine Handel's entire messaging strategy with an indefensible tweet or an outright lie.”

Jolly, who lost reelection in 2016 and is considering running again, said he and other would-be GOP midterm contenders are struggling to take measure of what they’d be getting themselves into. The election is bound to be a referendum on Trump’s first two years. Two Republicans, Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy and Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks, recently announced they will be forgoing Senate runs.

"If you're a prospective candidate, boy, it's tough," Jolly said.

That's the exact ambivalence that not only has Paul Ryan but also Mitch McConnell fretting over the upcoming midterms.

Democrats will need about two dozen pickups to retake the House in 2018; they need only three pickups to flip the Senate, though they'll be defending 25 seats (including those of two independents who caucus with them) to only nine seats for the GOP.

On the positive side, Democrats are seeing a surge in interested candidates, small-dollar donations, and voter enthusiasm. That’s a lot of momentum. Godspeed, Trump.

sally_maria: (Here and There)
([personal profile] sally_maria Apr. 24th, 2017 05:56 pm)
Last weekend it was time for the Tolkien Society AGM again, and this year we were visiting Warwick. It's actually not that far from here - less than an hour away, but therefore I'd never actually visited the town, only the castle, and that longer ago than I care to think about.

It's actually a very interesting town, with quite a few historic buildings and museums, and I wouldn't mind going back again to see more of them.

First of all, I was trying to meet up with [personal profile] wellinghall, [personal profile] adaeze and Little Star at lunchtime on Friday, at the Thomas Oken's house tea rooms. It was well worth a visit, if only for the unexpected member of our party...

Warwick 2017
click through for the rest of my photos.

Other highlights of the weekend included )
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)
([personal profile] zulu Apr. 24th, 2017 01:46 pm)
I’m at home today awaiting the furnace repair guy. Hopefully, he is only a thermostat repair guy. Naturally, the day our heat stopped working, the weather decided that rain, snow, and/or slush should probably start falling from the sky indefinitely. L was pretty impressed by thunder last night and kept asking me to show it to him. I told him, “Thunder is a sound,” but that didn’t seem to make a difference. Lightning was too quick for him to realize it was a thing.

Anyway, being at home, the real task is willpower: to work on thesis and not to a) nap or b) spend all day cleaning (because I certainly could and the place certainly needs it). Therefore I’m writing this to-do list to force myself to sit down at the computer and start typing.

- Put L’s laundry away
- Dishes
- More dishes
- Wash downstairs bathroom
- Vacuum downstairs
- Tidy toys upstairs
- Vacuum upstairs
- Take out recycling
- Take out garbage
- Scoop cat boxes
- Dust the furnace (obviously I would be shamed beyond measure if the furnace guy showed up to a dusty furnace) (people think like this, right?)
- Two loads laundry washed
- Two loads laundry dried
- Make bed
- Wipe surfaces (table, desk)

There. That’s a nice list. Now to ignore it and write instead.
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([personal profile] splix posting in [community profile] smellsgood Apr. 24th, 2017 01:30 pm)
I swapped out my cold-weather perfumes for my warm-weather fragrances and snapped a picture, because I like how they look on my dresser. I didn't include the glass bowl of tiny bottles and sample sizes and so on - these are just the full size bottles.

pretty )
govworkslink_%281%29.jpg
  • What you missed on Sunday Kos …
  • Ooh la la. (Note: Major eye-roll at “firebrand” and “global populist wave.”)

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right firebrand Marine Le Pen appeared positioned Sunday to move to the second round of the most tightly contested French presidential election in decades, in the latest test of a global populist wave that led to surprise electoral results in the United States and elsewhere.

New Orleans officials removed the first of four prominent Confederate monuments early Monday, the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as a representation racism and white supremacy.

The first memorial to come down was the Liberty Monument, an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League. Workers arrived to begin removing the statue, which commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans, around 1:25 a.m. in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay, some of whom city officials said have made death threats.

The workers inspecting the statue ahead of its removal could be seen wearing flak jackets and helmets.

Harassment, vandalism and other hostile acts against Jewish people and sites in the U.S. increased by 34 percent last year and are up 86 percent through the first three months of 2017, according to data released on Monday.

President Donald Trump raised more than a few eyebrows during his first visit as president to Walter Reed National Medical Center on Saturday when he awarded the Purple Heart to Army Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos.

"When I heard about this, I wanted to do it myself," Trump told Barrientos as he placed the Purple Heart on the soldier's lapel. "Congratulations … tremendous." [...]

This isn’t the first time the president has been criticized for remarks he made about the Purple Heart. During the campaign, a veteran gave the then-nominee his Purple heart.

"I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier," Trump said at the time.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin rounds up weekend news, the worst of the gobbledygook AP interview, the science march, and the search for self-reflection on 2016. As sexual harassment suits come in from all quarters, a reminder that the culture at Fox begins with Murdoch.

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

Popular vote loser Donald Trump claimed last week that his mass deportation dragnet is “not after the Dreamers,” but “after the criminals” and those bad hombres. Department of Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions also tried to offer similar reassurances, but it’s really best to just file every single one of their claims under “bullshit.” Just ask Juan Manuel Montes, a Dreamer who was arrested by immigration officials despite having valid DACA status and deported to Mexico three hours later:

Montes’ situation came to light Tuesday when he sued the Trump administration in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego. The civil suit alleges that he had been wrongly deported to Mexico by officials who refused to tell him why.

The suit claims the government is in violation of the Freedom of Information Act because no records have been released on Montes’ case, despite numerous requests, which is a violation of the statute. It asks the court to order the government to release those records.

“Under Trump, ICE has already arrested several beneficiaries of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,” notes Roque Planas. During his arrest, Juan was not allowed to retrieve his DACA card from a vehicle, with federal officials later trying to save their butts by lying and claiming it had expired. They were forced to walk back the claim after USA Today publicly verified it didn’t expire until 2018. The truth is that immigration officials have been unmercifully targeting Dreamers for arrest, which is why so many are not one bit reassured by Trump’s claim that they are safe from his grasp.

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([personal profile] schneefink Apr. 24th, 2017 09:05 pm)
Taken from [personal profile] nenya_kanadka:
Comment with one of my fandoms, and I'll tell you:

the character I least understand
interactions I enjoyed the most
the character who scares me the most
the character who is most like me
hottest looks character
one thing I dislike about my fave character
one thing I like about my hated character
a quote or scene that haunts me
a death that left me indifferent
a character I wish died but didn't
my ship that never sailed
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Democrats are putting the responsibility for any potential border wall-related government shutdown right where it belongs: on Donald Trump.

“If the president stepped out of it, we could get a budget done by Friday,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday in a conference call with reporters, referring to Democratic and Republican budget negotiators.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed. She said that while Trump had promised during his campaign to build the barrier, “He did not promise that he would take food out of the mouths of babies” and cut programs for seniors, education and the environment to pay for it. She called the wall an “immoral, ineffective, unwise proposal.”

Trump is still making the ludicrous claim that Mexico will pay for the wall. “Eventually, but at a later date ... in some form.” But Congress should definitely make massive cuts elsewhere to give him the giant pile of cash needed to get started on a project that could cost tens of billions of dollars. You know, while we all wait for Mexico to do something its leaders have made absolutely clear will never happen.

This fight isn’t a straightforward Democrats vs. Republicans one, Schumer made clear, saying “Instead of risking a government shutdown by shoving this wall down Congress’s and the American people’s throats, the president ought to just let us come to an agreement”—the wall wouldn’t be a priority for many congressional Republicans without White House pressure on them. But Donald wants his precious wall, so that’s a Republican priority now and Democrats just have to keep saying no and reminding the media whose fault this really is. 

Trumpidation (noun): That uneasy sinking feeling you get when you realize that the guy who infiltrated your party and took it over is going to take you down with him.

Folks, the enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican voters is real, and everyone from White House aides to Mitch McConnell to Democratic groups are obsessed with it.

At the White House, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon have been studying the special elections thus far in Kansas and especially Georgia, where Democratic candidates ran far better than would be expected in any environment that didn't include Donald Trump's wild misfires and dreadful approval ratings. They breathed a sigh of relief when Democrat Jon Ossoff didn’t clear the 50 percent mark necessary for him to avoid a June runoff with a Republican, writes Politico:

Yet as Republican strategists examine that special election, and one for a conservative Kansas seat a week earlier, they’re seeing evidence of a worrisome enthusiasm gap. In the run-up to the Georgia election, low-propensity Democratic voters — people who in years past did not consistently turn out to the polls — cast ballots at a rate nearly 7 percentage points higher than low-propensity Republicans, according to private polling by one Republican group.

In Kansas, the chasm was wider. Infrequent Democratic voters cast ballots at a rate of 9 percentage points higher than low-propensity Republicans did.

Democratic voters are essentially champing at the bit for any opportunity they get to grind Trump's administration to a halt, though the popular vote loser's overall ineptitude has been giving progressives a huge assist. While many Republicans worry about losing some two dozen seats that would flip the House majority to Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't taking the Senate for granted either:

McConnell has privately expressed concern about Trump’s approval ratings and lack of legislative wins, according to two people familiar with this thinking. A student of political history, the Senate leader has warned that the 2018 map shouldn’t give Republicans solace, reminding people that the party in power during a president’s first term often suffers electorally.

Missouri lawmakers are hellbent on making sure that women in the state are unable to obtain abortions and it seems that nothing will stop them. With GOP leaders emboldened by the new Trump era of politics (which means even more open misogyny than ever), state legislators have already filed a number of anti-abortion proposals (including 14 prior to the start of the legislative session alone) in what is a clear violation of women’s access to reproductive justice. As it stands, one Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis remains the sole licensed abortion provider in the state.

"People are driving hours to St. Louis, or they’re crossing over the state line into Kansas or other states in order to access services," says Laura McQuade, the President and CEO of Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, one of the Planned Parenthood affiliates that filed a lawsuit last year challenging the Missouri restrictions.

As a leader in restricting abortion access, Missouri passed laws more than a decade ago that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and abortion clinics to meet the same structural requirements as ambulatory surgical centers. 

Last week, US District Court Judge Howard Sachs agreed with Planned Parenthood that these restrictions had a negative impact on the women of Missouri and that they failed to comply with an earlier Supreme Court ruling that these kinds of laws violate the Constitution. 

"The abortion rights of Missouri women, guaranteed by constitutional rulings, are being denied on a daily basis, in irreparable fashion," he said. "The public interest clearly favors prompt relief." The restrictions will be halted while the effort to permanently strike down the laws moves through the courts.

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([personal profile] mangosteen Apr. 24th, 2017 02:17 pm)
It's going to be a fun day when you turn on the streaming radio-not-radio that's really only radio because it's over wi-fi so there's an antenna involved, streaming into your beautiful unibody laptop into your beautiful unibody headphone amplifier into your beautiful headphones around the world of your ears and brain that does something delightfully abstract in exchange for vouchers predicated upon the future production levels of your planet.

The beat starts moving and you start moving, bopping up and down on the pneumatic cushion of your carefully calibrated office chair as you start to float down a solid channel of productivity writing things that a some people will read and only a couple will understand, but they're the right people with the right signatures and the right authorizations and that's the only thing that matters really.

So there you are listening to old standbys of your youth, while the new standbys of your middle age are coursing through your veins courtesy of the United States Pharmacopeia and trying to figure out where you left that notebook and coffee cup and extra dozen pens and the chinese-made rubik-esque speed cube that you're finally getting around to solving as the focus drugs finally hit your system.

Bring The Funk Back, Let's Go.
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