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    • You will never be free of identity politics
      (MANDOS POST, people who don’t want to read things they disagree with pls stop here) I don’t normally watch horror movies, but I made an exception and recently watched the horror film Get Out.  It’s a horror-satire movie that constructs its underlying trope from the concept of racist microaggressions, and it’s one of the best […]
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Goodbye Open Internet? 

Yesterday, the House approved a bill that would allow telecoms to use your privacy data any which way they want and there’s not a thing you can do about it, so there. 

Christopher Ali from UVA’s department for media studies writes in The Conversation this morning:

Is it in the public’s interest to have an internet where ISPs can decide which websites load fastest? Is it in the public interest for AT&T to buy Time Warner, creating an even larger and more powerful media company? Is it in the public interest for incarcerated people and their families to pay exorbitant sums to speak to one another on the phone? Is it in the public interest to retain access to public broadcasting, which brings us everything from “Sherlock” to “Sesame Street”?
Media is more than just our window on the world. It’s how we talk to each other, how we engage with our society and our government. Without a media environment that serves the public’s need to be informed, connected and involved, our democracy and our society will suffer.
As former FCC chairman Nicholas Johnson put it:
“Whatever is your first priority, whether it is women’s rights or saving wildlife, your second priority has to be media reform. With it you at least have a chance of accomplishing your first priority. Without it, you don’t have a prayer.”

If only a few wealthy companies control how Americans communicate with each other, it will be harder for people to talk among ourselves about the kind of society we want to build.

This is why it was so important to vote last November. Now that an aggressive “rule by mob” and big business party is in charge of all three branches of government, it’s going to try to solidify its chokehold on government in perpetuity by 1.) curtailing voting rights to inconvenient citizens and 2.) controlling the message. Goodbye Public Radio, Sesame Street and ad free surfing. Hello monitors and speed lanes.

Quasi Meta Banana

If you wanted Hillary for president last year and were disappointed by the election outcome, the recent revelations about how Trump was the subject of a federal criminal  investigation should make you livid right about now. 

The Trump presidency has exposed the tender underbelly of our system. It is vulnerable when we rely on “norms” and one side playing by the rules while the other side does whatever the fuck it wants. 

Andrew Jackson said the courts could rule any way they wanted. They didn’t have an army. 

That’s about where we are right now. The system is getting squishy, gelatinous, amorphous. It’s very dangerous. A system as complex as ours is going to start showing the strain. 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Modern Irish music: 



Read it and weep

Here’s a breakdown of Trump’s proposed 2018 budget. The impact to science is devastating. The impact to the arts is catastrophic. 

But we’ll get a better police state, so… there’s that. 

People, if you think 2018 is just going to happen without our hard work, you’re going to be sadly disappointed the day after Election Day. 

Get your ass in gear. Start now. 

Green 

So the EPA won’t protect the environment anymore. 

Trump is turning out to be as awful as we predicted. 

And after teasing us in February, the weather has turned vicious on us. 

But it will be spring soon. I promise. Sit back, make some hot tea and take a short hike with me on the Trillium Trail. 

Disclosure: this was the first video I did from my own pics as a sort of an experiment to see how to upload to YouTube. It’s not meant to be perfect. But the music is great and I think I got every shade). 

The Whipping of Beggars -with iPhones. 

The American Health Care Act gives a whole new meaning to the word American. It reminds me of Freedom Fries, remember that meme?  Leave it to Republicans to put a creative spin on Orwellian language that makes the rest of the country cringe with embarrassment. 

John Oliver gets into the weeds and explains just how many people will get screwed by this bill while the top .01% walks away with an additional $197,000 that they’ll never even notice. 


That reminds me of this passage from Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies about how Thomas Cromwell tried to get an infrastructure bill through parliament so that the poor wouldn’t riot in the streets when they couldn’t feed themselves: 

“In March [1536], Parliament knocks back his [Thomas Cromwell’s] new poor law. It was too much for the Commons to digest that rich men might have some duty to the poor. If you get fat, as some men do who profit from the wool trade, you have some responsibility to the men turned off their land, the laborers without labor, the sowers without a field. England needs roads, forts, harbors, bridges. Men need work. It’s a shame seeing them begging their bread, when honest labor could keep the realm secure. Can we not put them together, the hands and the tasks?

But Parliament cannot see how it is the State’s job to create work. Are not these matters in God’s hands, and is not poverty and dereliction part of his eternal order? To everything there is a season- a time to starve and a time to thieve. If rain falls six months solid and rots the grain in the fields, there must be Providence in it. God knows his trade. It is an outrage to the rich and enterprising to suggest that they should pay an income tax only to put bread in the mouths of the work shy. And if Secretary Cromwell argues that famine provokes criminality, well, are there not hangmen enough?

The King himself comes to the Commons to argue for the law. He wants to be Henry the Beloved, a father to his people, a shepherd to his flock. But the Commons sit stoney faced on their benches and stare him out. The wreckage of the measure is comprehensive. “It is ended up as an Act for the Whipping of Beggars”, Richard Rich says. “It is more against the poor than for them.”

plus ça change…

Don’t expect Donald Trump to try to make this bill better. For one thing, he doesn’t know how. He’s not a politician or a policy expert. And that’s what Trump voters apparently wanted. Someone with zero expertise on a very complicated issue. They should be delighted to finally actually get what they voted for. 

Returning to the days of F#%^ and run

Oh, ferchristssakes, what the hell is wrong with Republican lawmakers?  Do they really think so little of women?  It’s bad enough that they want to cut off contraceptives and abortion to satisfy their “Christian” constituents. Now they don’t want to stick around for the inevitable consequences. Rep. John Shimkus wants to know why men have to pay for prenatal care. 

Here’s the exchange he had with my congressman Democrat Mike Doyle:

As a reminder, former president Barack Obama’s signature 2010 health-care law ordered that all health plans cover certain essential health benefits, such as doctor visits, hospital care and prescription drugs.
The law also required plans to cover pregnancy and childbirth. That’s where the fireworks started in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“What mandate in the Obamacare bill does he take issue with?” Doyle asked Shimkus, using the formal parlance of congressional committees.

“What about men having to purchase prenatal care?” Shimkus said.

At that point, one could hear the room start to stir.

“I’m just . . . is that not correct?” Shimkus said. “And should they?”

For that matter, why should men pay child support or wear a condom or change a diaper. After all, it’s not THEIR problem. 

Not only do they not have any idea what insurance is and how it works, they are deliberately going after pregnant women and their fetuses, who they claim to worship with maniacal intensity.  

There’s just not enough shame in the world. 

Never sleep with a Republican.