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([personal profile] sauergeek Oct. 17th, 2017 11:38 pm)
To the tune of "The Sound of Music", perhaps if Lovecraft had been the librettist instead of Hammerstein:

The hills are alive, and I think they're hungry
No one has come back for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with a dreadful terror
I fear for my life with each sound I hear

We're told not to look at the hills when we're on
The trails near the lake in the trees
And travel with friends when the black birds fly
In the woods like bees

But leave friends behind when they trip and fall
Over stones in the way
So someone survives
And can tell everyone "keep away!"

Stay here in the town, even if you're lonely
Close your house at night, always bar the door
Don't mention the hills in your conversations
Or they'll take one more

Google is honoring the memory of the late Mexican-American superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez in her first-ever Doodle, which also launched on the 28th anniversary of her first solo album’s debut. Having sung almost exclusively in Spanish throughout her childhood and later youth, the 23-year-old was on the cusp of crossover stardom when she was shot and killed in 1995. Despite the fact that Selena has been gone for more than 22 years, her music and spirit have never left. Mexican-Americans, in particular, see her as one of their own, a hometown girl who never forgot or felt ashamed of her roots, and to honor her is to honor them:

"I grew up as the daughter of a Mexican immigrant single mom living in a small (primarily white) town outside of Fort Worth, Texas," Perla Campos, Global Marketing Lead for Google Doodles and project manager for the Selena Quintanilla Google Doodle told Billboard in an exclusive interview. "There were always two women who taught me I could do anything and be anything I set my mind to: my mom and Selena. Selena has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember."

“She was the girl next door,” tweeted Mexican-American actor and comic Cristela Alonzo, who was the first Latina to create, produce, write, and star in her own U.S. television network show. “We knew and still know women like Selena.”

alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
([personal profile] alatefeline Oct. 17th, 2017 08:00 pm)
Stunning views of Mt. Hood on the drive home on a couple of clear days lately.

Autumn leaves!!! The red-violets, the scarlets, the golden yellows, the lemon-lime yellow-greens, the rich bronzes, the purples and olive-greens! The chiaroscuro of wind movement, the ombre effect of different amounts of light on different heights, the subtle changes day to day!

Talked to my sibling B last weekend. They are doing well, being absurdly domestic with their adorkable partner, and in touch with our parents.

Noticed feeling unusually upbeat in car on the way home, compared to usual after-work blahs.


Read more... )

Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has a son who is also named Michael Flynn. Flynn the younger is best known for his outlandish statements in support of every possible conspiracy theory, such as a Russian bribery scandal involving President Obama, a secret group behind the Las Vegas shooting, and a fresh set of accusations against Hillary Clinton. And all that is just today. Which makes this a fairly typical day in the life of blowhard racist golf bro, Michael Flynn—whose biggest accomplishment in life is spreading the insane “Pizzagate” story.

But the scruffier, pudgier Flynn—whose only military experience is dodging duck hooks on the golf course—was employed for a bit packing his father’s briefcase, accompanying him on overseas trips, and possibly little things like helping poppa plan to kidnap people and hand them over to foreign dictators. Which has earned him some time with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and has now brought him to the attention of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The committee, which is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, is interested in Flynn’s work as his father’s aide and travel companion with Flynn Intel Group, the consulting firm retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn formed after he left government service, the sources said.

In particular, Junior Flynn was along for that trip.

The younger Flynn, 34, accompanied his father on a 2015 trip to Moscow, where the elder Flynn sat next to Vladimir Putin at a dinner to celebrate Russia’s state-funded media network, RT. The younger Flynn can be seen in video from an associated event.

The one person who is likely edging out Paul Manafort for “most likely to draw serious jail time” in the whole Trump-Russia affair is Michael Flynn. And we can only hope that’s another trip where Junior goes along.

Good God:

U.S. President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow Tuesday that "he knew what he signed up for ...but when it happens it hurts anyway," when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens.

"Yes, he said it," Wilson said. "It's so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn't have said it."

It took the Idiot-in-Chief almost two weeks to come up with those words of comfort? Maybe he needs to go back to ignoring military deaths and stick to (cheating at) golf. 

alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
([personal profile] alatefeline Oct. 17th, 2017 07:04 pm)
A friend of a friend is looking for an apartment to share and/or a place to crash while apartment-hunting.

If this is not you, but you think you might know someone who knows someone, please boost the signal! You might save someone's life.

I mentioned a friend looking for roommates in California earlier this month. She's still looking, and it's getting bad -- the end of this month means basically be homeless in LA or come back to Florida, and both of those are gonna be really hard on her mental health. So I'm putting out the word again and hoping some kind of miracle comes through.

If anybody is looking for a roommate in the downtown LA/Hollywood/Wilshire area -- or knows somebody looking for, or knows someone who might be looking for, or knows someone who might know someone, or any kind of lead at all -- please, please hit me up and I can get people in touch with her. Or honestly, at this point, if anyone knows somebody in other areas of California willing to house a couch surfer for a month to give her a little more time to look, I can send that to her and maybe she can work things out. She's not good with dogs or cats but other pets are not a problem, and ideally looking to pay around $600/month.
EDIT: After some discussion, if there's anyone in the area of San Diego -- or possibly anything else within about that far from LA (so 2-3 hours, so not all the way up the state but a much larger range than before) -- that might be able to put somebody up for a couple of weeks to a month, that would be really appreciated as well, as it would give her more time to try and look.

Help seriously, greatly appreciated. I'm really worried about how this is going to end up.

Ask [personal profile] balsamandash for more details.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
([personal profile] alatefeline Oct. 17th, 2017 06:59 pm)
there has to be a finite number of kids at our school

but sometimes it seems like eleventy zillion

Trump golden boy son-in-law Jared Kushner and a number of other top Trump officials have been using private email addresses to do official business all along, we learned last month, despite that whole Trump campaign “lock her up” thing because Hillary Clinton used a private email server. And, of course, the White House is now rejecting congressional inquiries into the matter:

In a terse letter to Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) — leaders of the House oversight committee — President Donald Trump's congressional liaison Marc Short declined to indicate whether any administration officials had used personal email accounts or messaging services, despite reports suggesting such communications were common in the West Wing.

"The White House and covered employees endeavor to comply with all relevant laws," Short wrote in a two-page reply delivered late last week and obtained Monday by POLITICO.

Do they “endeavor to comply” in the same way that Jared endeavored to fill out his security clearance questionnaire, only to revise it repeatedly because, whoops, he made more than 100 errors and omissions? While Short’s letter goes into slightly more detail about what the “relevant laws” are, this is the Trump White House. If there’s not a loophole, there’s a lie.

Campaign Action

If you're downright sick of the media narrative that no matter how ignorant and incompetent Donald Trump proves to be, his true believers just won't abandon him—here's some polling data to delight in taken from a grab bag of outlets.

At Bloomberg, Jonathan Bernstein writes that Trump has once again edged out every other modern-American president for last place in approval ratings at this juncture of their presidency. But it's Trump’s dismal net approval ratings where he really outpaces the competition.

His "net" approval (subtracting disapproval) has been the worst among those 13 presidents every day of his presidency, and it's never been particularly close. Currently he's within a single percentage point of same-day Gerald Ford in approval, but at -18.3, his net approval is 9 percentage points worse than Ford's, and every other president was in positive territory at this point.

Trump is not only dead last in net approval ratings, he's managed to do it at a time of relative peace and prosperity—the two factors that tend to serve as a drag on a president's approval.

To get this unpopular, this fast, and to do it in an era of relatively good times, is just breathtaking. [...] I've seen people claim he's winning his fight against the NFL, for example, but the numbers certainly don't suggest that's the case. [...] In fact, Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight estimates that Trump's net approval is a whopping 30 percentage points below where the economy suggests it should be. [...]

And yes, I think as a whole Trump's unpopularity has been massively underplayed in the media throughout his administration so far.

Now isn't that refreshing.

Trump’s net approval rating among rural voters has fallen from +16 percentage points to zero since the beginning of his presidency, according to Ipsos polling.

Campaign Action

Senate Democrats hold a lot of cards right now as Republicans are scrambling to clean up the mess popular vote loser Donald Trump has dumped on them with just about every action he's taken, but particularly with regards to the Affordable Care Act. His sabotage efforts have been both broad and deep but the latest, most extreme action of cutting off cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers who are legally obligated to subsidize some lower-income customers’ costs has Republicans panicking. That leaves Democrats in a position to hold firm on protecting the law.

Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Patty Murray of Washington have been working in the Senate Finance Committee on legislation to make it abundantly clear to Trump that he has to pay the CSRs, clearing up any legislative language to the contrary. But Republicans being Republicans, they want to do what they can to undermine the law while they're doing that.

That means giving states more "flexibility," and when they say "flexibility" they mean making it easier for insurance companies to only cover healthy people, or as The Hill, a right-leaning D.C. paper puts it, "to expand a program that allows states to waive Affordable Care Act regulations." Democrats, however, are coming around to to the idea that they don't have to play any part in that

“Republicans in the House and Senate now own the health-care system in this country from top to bottom, and their destructive actions, and the actions of the president, are going to fall on their backs,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Friday.

Or as one senior Democratic aide says, "[Trump]  is taking hostages you can't shoot. […] Add his personal unpopularity and I promise you no Democrat is feeling the heat  […] to cave to what the president wants because he is asking for unpopular things and threatening things [that] are popular."

Health insurance that you can afford and that you can't lose because you get sick is one of those popular things, the thing that got so many people outraged that it meant the Senate couldn't pass Trumpcare to take it away. There's no reason on earth for Democrats to negotiate on that, not as we're inching closer and closer to an election year. Republicans, for the first time, are negotiating to make Obamacare better—that's how scared they are by this. Democrats really seem to get that, and really seem to have internalized the idea that they don't have to make concessions that will hurt people.

In what is being described as a “transformational” moment in astronomy, scientists for the first time have verified the existence of an explosion known as a “kilonova” thanks to detectors across the globe that spotted gravitational waves triggered by a collision between the remnants of two dead stars.

The discovery announced Monday was made using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which has detectors in Louisiana and Washington, along with a third detector near Pisa, Italy, known as Virgo.

At 8:41 a.m. Eastern time on Aug. 17, a gravitational wave hit the Virgo detector in Italy and, 22 milliseconds later, set off the LIGO detector in Livingston, La. Three milliseconds after that, the distortion rippled through Hanford, Wash. 

LIGO detects black hole mergers as quick chirps that last a fraction of a second. This signal lasted for 100 seconds, and it vibrated at higher frequencies. From the smaller amplitude of the signal, the researchers could tell this event involved less mass than the previously observed black hole collisions.

Or described more eloquently

The collision rattled space-time and sent a wave of fireworks across the universe, setting off sensors in space and on Earth on Aug. 17 as well as producing a long loud chirp in antennas designed to study the Einsteinian ripples in the cosmic fabric known as gravitational waves. It set off a stampede around the world as astronomers scrambled to turn their telescopes in search of a mysterious and long-sought kind of explosion called a kilonova.

Einstein first predicted a century ago that waves could ripple through space and time as black holes and other massive objects moved around. But scientists hadn’t confirmed that these gravitational waves existed until 2016, when the merger of two black holes was detected by LIGO.

Now, with the discovery of kilonovas, scientists have taken another step in verifying something that up until now had been strictly theoretical.

Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly interviewed former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday, and Spicer appears to have had a lot to say. Politico writes:

President Donald Trump’s former press secretary Sean Spicer met with special counsel Robert Mueller's team on Monday for an interview that lasted much of the day, according to multiple people familiar with the meeting.

During his sitdown, Spicer was grilled about the firing of former FBI director James Comey and his statements regarding the firing, as well as about Trump’s meetings with Russians officials including one with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office, one person familiar with the meeting said.

Beyond providing some of the best comedic relief of Trump's early presidency, Spicer has also drawn attention for his compulsive documentation of events. Specifically, he took notes on almost everything that happened in his day-to-day life, which could provide investigators with a roadmap of inquiry not to mention an almost real-time recreation of key events involving team Trump.

As one White House official noted, a lot of people will wish they had been “nicer” to Spicer. Hmm, wonder who?

From Trump’s Surgey sandwich meeting in the Oval Office in May—man, those were the days!

([syndicated profile] atrios_feed Oct. 17th, 2017 10:48 pm)
Talking about your pets is boring for most people. I get that. But, hey, it's my blog and I gotta post some stuff so it's gonna be cats.

The brothers have been with me basically since I started the blog. They are old men now! Almost 16! A bit cranky, but surprisingly spry. Their behavior has evolved over the years, though recently they have settled into a pattern.

I have a dumb 4 floor rowhouse. (Basement+3 floors). I actually do work in the basement (cue jokes) these days. It's a nice basement. There is a big TV and a treadmill when I am not lazy.

The brothers get along. They sleep in a pile frequently. But they've also divided up the house. One rarely goes up to the top 2 floors, the other spends a lot of his time there.

The basement cat either spends his time sleeping on his special blanky, or sleeping on my arms as I type (as he is doing now).

The other cat waits in bed (top floor) at night for bedtime. He spends about 15 minutes there wondering why he isn't being petted as I try to sleep. Then he runs down to the basement to fetch a toy and brings it all the way upstairs. And again gets puzzled why I don't pet him (I am sleeping).

During the day the basement cat only goes upstairs to...fetch the toys that the upstairs cat brought up the previous night. When he does this he has a nuclear siren level meow to inform me of this. I do not know how he produces his sound. I don't think he does, either. He is so proud of his nuclear siren.

....I guess any pet post needs a picture. Here are the little assholes when we lived in California.

Donald Trump’s treatment of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (you’re president of that too, Donald) has been criminally negligent. As he’s golfed five times in nine days, it’s been civilians like chef José Andrés who are filling the vacuum to assist their fellow Americans. But while his efforts and others are no doubt saving lives, too many people remain in crisis.

The Wall Street Journal profiles Sonia Negrón Bell, who trekked from Chicago to Puerto Rico to aid her ailing parents after her father—normally a subdued man, she says—texted to say that “things are bad here.” Negrón Bell called airline after airline until she found one that would allow her to ship a new generator and supplies, and after arriving on the island, drove hours in treacherous conditions to her parents’ home:

She felt a pang when she saw her parents’ pitch-black two-story house. The homes on either side had light from generators. She feared she would find her parents starving or bedridden—or worse.

As soon as Ms. Negrón Bell pulled up, her father appeared in the driveway.

Mr. Bell got out and hugged him. Her mother shuffled slowly out to the porch. “I love you,” she said to Ms. Negrón Bell, who replied, “I love you too.”

Her parents appeared to be holding up—just. It was sweltering inside the house. Pedestal fans stood idle. The refrigerator door was open and inside, it was bare. On the floor were a few buckets partially filled with water.

Ms. Negrón Bell and her husband opened their luggage and began pulling out supplies. They turned on solar-powered lamps and several battery-operated fans. Ms. Negrón Bell made her mother a plate of Vienna sausages and crackers.

“Thank you, Sonia,” Ms. González said. “Thank you.”

According to the town’s mayor, Aguada didn’t see any regular truck shipments with supplies until 12 days after Maria hit.

The poultry industry really, really wants to process the chickens you eat at rates of more than 140 per minute. Under former President Obama, the USDA considered and then backed off of an increase to 175 chickens per minute going down the line being eviscerated and inspected. Under Donald Trump, the National Chicken Council hopes that the sky’s the limit, asking for plants to be allowed to operate “at any line speed” if they adopt a new inspection system.

The Obama-era cap is an "arbitrary" limit that is holding back the industry's ability to compete in the global marketplace, the National Chicken Council stated in its petition.

Granting waivers would help the Trump administration achieve its goals of "reducing regulatory burdens on the industry," the council said, adding that it would help poultry plants cut costs and expand production to meet rising demand.

Because what you really want to hear about the meat you’re eating is that cutting costs was the producer’s primary goal, and that the government went right along with that.

Do chicken eaters trust the safety of that new inspection system? The jury is out on that and under Trump we can be sure of never getting trustworthy data. But one thing is for damn sure: if line speeds increase, the workers who process chickens will lose limbs.

Poultry workers are almost twice as likely to suffer from serious injuries as workers in private industry, and more than six times as likely to have a work-related illness. Two poultry and meat processing plants, Tyson Foods and JBS/Pilgrim's Pride, are among the 10 companies with the highest number of work-related amputations and hospitalizations, out of more than 14,000 companies reporting to the federal government, Berkowitz, a former Obama Labor Department official, discovered.

But what are the hands and arms of a heavily immigrant workforce when a bunch of big companies could profit? Nothing, in Trumpworld.

yhlee: red and black tentacle heart pendant (tentacle heart)
([personal profile] yhlee Oct. 17th, 2017 05:50 pm)
So Joe was at D.C. as a LIGO Livingston representative for the press conference on neutron stars gravity waves blah blah and just came home but that's not the part that's making me scream.

He stayed at a hotel four blocks from the White House, which is also not the part that's making me scream.

No: his hotel was ONE BLOCK away from a fountain pen store (Fahrney's) AND HE DIDN'T BUY ME ANYTHING AND BRING IT HOME AS A YOON-OFFERING.

I wasn't expecting him to buy me a fountain pen! (Among other things, Joe has not the faintest clue about fountain pens, let alone what I like.) But he could have bought me a bottle of ink! They would have had ink. And ink is relatively affordable.


Next time he goes to D.C. I'M COMING WITH.

I have informed him that my favorite colors are red and blue. I mean, I like a lot of colors, but this is Joe. He is confused by stationery supplies, so I want to keep it simple for him. He's only an astrophysics Ph.D, not expected to understand things like ink colors. ;)


(He read this over my shoulder then laughed at me. *shakes tiny fist* CURSE YOU, MY BELOVED JOE. CURSE YOU VERY MUCH. Imagine this said in the tone of Batman in the LEGO Batman Movie when he says, "I...hate you.")

In the meantime, I backed the Marigold Tarot (hat tip to [personal profile] pengwern) so I shouldn't complain. :p

Good news. The head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, understands that we have a First Amendment and how it works. That was kind of in question, because he was keeping his head down and refusing to answer questions after the short-fingered vulgarian fascist in the White House attacked the free press, threatening to "challenge their License." He was threatening NBC in particular. Which doesn't have a license. Because networks don't. Individual stations do. But Pai kind of cleared that up, too, when he was finally forced to respond Tuesday, speaking at a telecom law conference.

"I believe in the First Amendment," Pai said at a telecom law event in Washington, without mentioning Trump by name. "The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment, and under the law the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on content of a particular newscast."

Pai was looking more and more pathetic as his silence on the issue, particularly when his current and former fellow FCC members like current member Jessica Rosenworcel and former chair Tom Wheeler were calling him out.

Democrats have refused to let the issue die in recent days, with FCC Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel warning in a weekend television appearance that “history won't be kind to silence" on Trump's threats to the First Amendment. […]

"He is making himself complicit in the coercion that the president was engaging in," former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, said in a weekend interview on CNN, calling Pai's failure to address the issue "shocking."

Better late than never?

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([personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets Oct. 17th, 2017 06:42 pm)

⌈ Secret Post #3940 ⌋

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


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 25 secrets from Secret Submission Post #564.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
I first saw Fies' work with Mom's Cancer, a sweet and terrifying tour of hope and loss (now available free online):

He and his wife just lost almost everything in the Santa Rosa fires blazing in central California, and he's made an almost instantaneous comic about it:

A Fire Story.
(thanks to [personal profile] umadoshi for the link)

I've started to make a transcript/image description:

Ping me here if you'd like to help create this.


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