Taking a shower at almost 3 am was probably a not terribly bright idea, but I was hoping it'd relax me enough to nap. No dice.
Taking a shower at almost 3 am was probably a not terribly bright idea, but I was hoping it'd relax me enough to nap. No dice.
Darkness Is Good is gone, though no one seems able to figure how that came to be: 1,040,000 Google results pronounce HE'S FIRED while 1,360,000 Google results suggest he resigned - twice (the first time effective Aug. 14th, but in the uproar over Charlottesville I guess he forgot to take himself out the door, though it sounds like once things calmed down Kelly reminded him to pack his bags).
Though my title invites him to switch sides and come swing from the branches with us, we're more likely to collectively win Powerball tomorrow night - without buying tickets - than for him to switch sides, so yeah, surely I jest. Anyhow, he claims he's not racist and Orangado likes to echo him on that for whatever reason (they'd poll better as avowed and even belligerent "racists" with their be-all, end-all base, don'tcha think?) but with the mouth on him he's got, he can go pound sand.
He who indirectly brought an entire right-wing, white nationalist so-called "news" agency into the Oval Office - along with the first program to ever essentially automate a president's tweets, speeches, news conferences and rally notes - surely won't be too sorely missed, and while I'll let bygones be bygones, I won't forget his every-weekend mayhem-wrecking of earlier this year, and neither will the liquor store where I get the vodka I started drinking because of it.
On "the first program to ever automate a president's tweets, speeches, news conferences and rally notes", thank Bannon for working with - and for Trump being funded by - billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. Cambridge Analytica does more damage to the Republican electorate - as low-information, conspiracy-embracing, false-danger-sensing and Faux Noize-prone as it is - than they could do to themselves.
And Bannon used it - this is my personal belief - to shape and script Trump's every public engagement, no matter how big or small. The general gist of his words was given to him daily by Bannon, after he distilled CA's results down into bullet points which he fed to Trump along with his well-done steaks and McDonald's.
That's my theory. But I have a strong hunch - beyond a hunch, I'd say I'm almost certain - that it's so, after Bannon's last words on that (and trust me, they were on that): "The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over". Does he say why? No. Does he drop hints? Sure. Try this (emphasis mine): "[...] that presidency is over. It'll be something else. And there'll be all kinds of fights, and there'll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over" and: ""There's about to be a jailbreak of these moderate guys on the Hill" — a stream of Republican dissent, which could become a flood."
When "asked what the turning point was" he blamed moderate Republicans, but the truth is without the messaging Cambridge Analytica gave him to advise Trump with, to keep the dude "on point" with his base, Trump will be like a little boy who can't find his way back home for the lost puppy he keeps chasing after in the woods.
To see why, you need only know how Cambridge Analytica works*: it uses deep data mining and polls social media for "likes" (the ubiquitous "thumbs-up"), then matches those data points against a "predictive personality model" to find its preferred targets. Right now it prefers right-leaning targets, but it could just as easily be programmed to prefer leftists or florists or Jehovah's Witnesses. As it finds new targets, it learns what each of them wants to see, watch, read and think about, then carefully spoons them more of the same, after tailoring it to their specific interests down to the most granular level. Think a bespoke Facebook or bespoke Twitter.
Which is how just one right-winger browsing Facebook might see video of a man arrested for flying a kite over, say, his state's (Democratic) governor's mansion last week that none of his Facebook friends will ever see because he in particular has shown a strong passion for kites, a strong dislike of Democrats, and happens to live in the same state where the criminal kite-flying occurred.
What CA does is reinforce each target's existing beliefs with more of the same until their thought processes are impossible to budge...almost like learning by rote. The end result is you take the base you want, shape it into the one you find the easiest to handle with the least amount of massaging, then use what you receive from the echo chamber you've created to target it even more repeatedly from within the Oval Office, on Twitter and Facebook, at rallies and pressers, or wherever. It's a brilliant, though insidiously awful, product.
And I'm making it sort of easy to grasp (I've read between 5-10 hours worth of articles over the last year in order to distill it down this much) but the sausage-making that goes into Cambridge Analytica is actually crazy-complicated, though suffice it to say, it works. It works almost too well. It's a form of AI which Mercer money - basically endless - has built into one of the best content and message-tailoring platforms on Earth.
Without it - assuming Bannon used it to influence Trump as much as I suspect he did, and that he pulled it for use in the Oval Office shortly before he was canned or resigned - Orangado will indeed soon be up the proverbial creek without his most precise, content-targeting paddle. But just as he said of Bannon: "We'll see what happens!"
*: Updated this paragraph shortly after posting to describe a bit better how Cambridge Analytica works.
I'm being cagey about the identity of the conference because of reasons. Suffice it to say I spent three days getting my radical on with people who, hmm, could be said to identify as "psychiatric survivors" – people whom the mental health system has done profound harm and violated their human rights – from around the world, many (most?) of whom might be described as activists and there in that capacity, some of whom are also clinicians or ex-clinicians or psychology researchers. Lots of very explicit intersectionalism and inclusivism. Very emotionally intense, super intellectually stimulating, enormously morally compelling.
Since the default assumption at the conference was that attendees were psychiatric survivors, I was "out" about not being a psychiatric survivor myself but a mental health professional and there as an ally. That was... a very hard experience to describe. To do such a thing, and do it ethically, is extremely demanding of energy, because it entails such a high level of self-monitoring and attention to others, at literally every second. Yet at the same time, it was so wildly validating of my ethical values as a person and a clinician, in ways I hadn't even realized I was hungry for, it felt very spiritually nourishing and emotionally supportive. I realized after the second day that just in the program book and in the presentations I'd attended, that I'd heard the word "humanistic" more times in those two days than I'd heard it used by anybody not me in the previous five years. Or maybe more. I'm a humanistic therapist, and I'm literally welling up again just reflecting on that, and how clinically-philosophically isolated this reveals me to have been. And, my god, the first, like, three times the term went zipping by I thought, Hey, do they know what that means, technically, to a therapist? Ah, they're probably just using it as a synonym for "humanely", as lay people usually do. And it became clear that, no, at least some of the people using the term really did mean it clinically. And I was like Oh. They don't need me to explain it to them. They already know. Which, is, like, the fundamental unit of being understood. Talk about your being called in from the cold.
I went to this conference thinking of myself as an ally, someone there to support another people as they do their thing – an in a really important sense, that is exactly right – but to my surprise, I discovered that these people, despite not being clinicians, were clinically my people. I wound up doing a hell of a lot more personal sharing than I would ever have expected – certainly vastly, vastly more than I have ever done in a mental health professionals context. It was like, I suddenly realized I was in an environment in which I could talk about how furious I am that I am forced to use diagnoses on patients without their consent, how frustrated I am by how the bureacratic systems in which I must work compromise the integrity of the treatment I try to provide, how disgusted I often am by the conduct of colleagues and mental health institutions (I discovered the wonderful expression, "psychiatric hate-speech"), how indignant I am at all sorts of idiocy and injustice and unfairness in the system – all the things I am so careful never to say because of how poorly my colleagues may take it. (Not my imagination: The last session I attended drew quite a number of clinicians, who were all "AND FOR ANOTHER THING!"; the presenter afterwards told me she had presented the same talk at a conference on the philosophy of psychiatry for an audience that was half psychiatrists, and, in contrast, they were furious with her for her temerity.)
I got to have conversations about capitalism and disability, culture and identity, the history of psychiatry, the history of nationalism, what you can and can't do inside the health care system, other countries' nationalized (or not, where mental health is concerned) health care, and how money affects mental health care; I heard a slew of what I would call "mental health radical coming out stories". I met someone who is as into the history of the DSM as I am, and someone who has written an academic article about the ethical and clinical problems of diagnosis. I got politely chewed out once, early on, for using oppressive language, and then immediately apologized to for it, them saying ruefully that they have "a chip on [their] shoulder" about mental health care professionals and shouldn't have talked to me like that, and I assured them I was there to be chewed out and have my vocabulary corrected and was fine with it; I'm pretty sure they were way more upset about what they said to me than I was, and I feel bad about putting them in that position by my ignorance – but we've exchanged phone numbers and I'm hoping I might yet make it up to them.
There was a point where somebody asked me something like whether I had been learning a lot at the conference so far, and I thought a moment and replied that I had, but, "I am at this conference not just to learn things. I am here because, as a person and a clinician, these are my values."
So it was an experience that was weirdly simultaneously hard and easy. If you had asked me four days ago I would have said that it's probably impossible for an experience to require a very high level of scrupulous self-monitoring and yet feel welcoming of and safe for emotional vulnerability and risktaking. Yet that was precisely my experience.
It was demanding and beautiful and powerful and huggy and astonishing and uplifting and I'm exhausted and weepy and have like twenty new best friends.
2. Someone is going through and reporting pins of celtic (gaul etc) coins and maps and similar on pinterest. Like??? Multiple sources so I'm pretty sure it's an individual. I don't get the point? Like how were pictures of pre-rome and roman-era coinage offending you? Why are you reporting maps of what tribes were where? What is the point?
3. I burned my hand not too terribly though I've got a slick spot on my right middle finger that hurts when I poke it. Icing my hand until I wanted to scream seems to have done some good.
Since the police refused to protect the Charlottesville synagogue, the synagogue has hired armed security guards.
You'll never be as radical as this 18th Century Quaker dwarf. So you know: Quakers did not wear military uniforms or take up arms. This is relevant.
White pride is not a culture. And Southern pride in a time of terror, which talks about real Southern culture.
A social justice syllabus.
The entire US military has broken away from Trump and openly denounced racism.
The ACLU will no longer defend hate groups protesting while carrying firearms. This is a first.
A 21-year-old Nazi sympathizer who marched in Charlottesville is now whining that his life is over because he was identified as marching with Nazis and KKK. I don't have a violin small enough.
The real horror of Trump's response to Charlottesville.
A Charlottesville ER nurse talks, after a day of decompression.
Retracing Willa Cather's steps in the south of France.
Are we different writers when we move from longhand to a screen? I can say that I write poetry differently with a pen in hand, and essays differently, and I don't write nonfiction there at all.
The landscape of Civil War commemoration. 13,000 monuments, and descriptions.
Churches Uniting in Christ statement on white nationalism and white supremacism. The member churches of CUIC include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.
The president's Arts and Humanities Council, founded by Obama, has resigned over Trump's Charlottesville response.
Bannon's out of the White House; Trumpists are more afraid of him now.
3 major charities canceled Mar-a-Lago galas.
Charlottesville forces media and tech companies to draw a line on what they will allow.
In Oregon, rural Muslims fight for safety and inclusion.
In Iran, cracking down on journalists.
Ranking countries by their blasphemy laws.
New Dallas police officers face questions on how an ethical officer would act.
It's hard to find an impartial jury for pharmaceuticals scammer Martin Shkreli's
The adolescent guineas and pheasants in the shed get meal worms as a treat. Meal worms are the BEST, according to them. The internet says that pheasants are wild and won't tame down, but apparently these sites don't know about meal worms. Anyways, today I picked up the bucket where they are stored, and one of the guineas was so excited that she Flew At Me, hit my chest, bounced off and ran away.
Abbie had a couple of good sprints down to the barn and back.
Today I saw:
A hummingbird feeding off the cannas
A Monarch butterfly
A female cardinal
A woodpecker (I just heard this)
Me: NINE HOURS OF SLEEP, STEAMY SHOWER WITH PINE AND MINT ESSENCE, NASAL RINSE, SALT-WATER GARGLE, ANTIHISTAMINE NASAL SPRAY, STEROID NASAL SPRAY, CLARITIN, AGGRESSIVE TOOTHBRUSHING
My body: —look, forget i said anything, okay?
I refuse to get sick. REFUSE. R E F U S E. J has had a horrid cough for a week and is on antibiotics and prednisone (when they prescribe prednisone to the guy with insomnia, you know it's bad), X is wrapping up a course of antibiotics for a throat infection, and J had to do that for his own throat infection last month. So far I've been fighting off all the respiratory bugs Kit brings home from daycare, but I don't take my ability to do that for granted. And I can't take most antibiotics without serious mood effects because apparently I depend on my gut flora for emotional management, so I have to be extremely diligent about my preventive care.
I'm going to go have spicy curry for lunch and drink some ginger honey tea. Fuck off, germs.
Went on a fridge-pickling rampage and did some tinkering to an initial recipe to rebalance it more to my liking:
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
Mix together and heat/stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over 2 cups cut-up cucumbers and bung in the fridge. Will allegedly keep for a month.
One notes that at current exchange rates 2 cups = +/- 1 cucumber. That big one on the left, for example, which I gave away to more responsible picklers than myself, would have been at least 3 cups.
i'm only part way though it, but it reads like fan fiction. not very good fan fic either. characters are out of character or almost parodies of themselves. there's a pack of assassins running around in almost comical fashion & the peabody/emerson clan's enemy sethos (mater criminal & master of disguise) seems almost shoehorned in. frankly, i'm not sure i really cared for the character anyway.
and now titles of previous amelia peabody novels are being randomly added to conversations for no goood reason other than this is the 20th novel in the series. it's kind of like when all of those nods to previous bond movies were in die another day for the franchise's 40th anniversary. i very nearly stopped reading it several pages back. but i will bravely plow though to the end.
i didn't notice a change to the avalon series by marion zimmer bradley after her passing. but maybe it's because; 1. diana l. paxson was her co-author on the last 3 before bradley passed. 2. i had not re-read the series at least twice like i have with the peabody series. 3. was not in the middle of yet another re-read of the series like i am with this one. 4. or a big fan of the avlaon series like i am with the peabody series.
tl;dr only read this novel if you want to complete the series. but it might disappoint fans of the amelia peabody novels.
1a. If there are fewer demonstrators than your available police and with less-able weapons, send the police to keep order. Or even if there are a few more but they are not heavily armed.
2. If there are more demonstrators than you have police, or they are better armed (though with all the gifts of military weaponry to local police groups this seems unlikely), get on the phone to call your State Police, local station or substation, and inform them of the situation and ask them for help. State police are well armed, generally extremely well trained, and just the people who should be there making sure things stay calm and the different groups of demonstrators stay clear of one another.
3. If for some reason (I cannot think of one but perhaps one exists in some alternate universe) you cannot call the State Police for help (or, in Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Police), get on the phone to the governor and ask for the local branch of the National Guard to be mobilized to protect the people of your constituency.
Dear mayor/supervisor/top elected official, it is your job to make sure that peaceful protesters are not beaten down either by police or by armed insurgents who consider themselves protesters although by being armed and hostile they do not come under the coverage of the First Amendment. It is your job to keep people safe. If you don't call out adequate police/state cops/Guardsmen, you are failing your job and your people, and you do not deserve to be in office.
Is that clear???
Text of the letter, because I couldn't find any convenient spot online with the whole thing.
"Speaking truth to power is never easy, Mr. President. But it is our role as commissioners on the PCAH to do so. Art is about inclusion. The Humanities include a vibrant free press. You have attacked both. ... This does not unify the nation we all love. We know the importance of open and free dialogue through our work in the cultural diplomacy realm, most recently with the first-ever US Government arts and culture delegation to Cuba, a country without the same First Amendment protections we enjoy here. Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed."
It has been a week. It's been a busy week, but a week none-the-less.
We have Nico this weekend because Jenna's gone to Florida to go get her dude and drive with him back so they can get Nico registered for school. School started a week and a half ago, but he couldn't be registered because the school district can't accept the notarized paper stating that Jenna lives in the house that doesn't have her name on it.
Weird, I know, the utility folks accepted it.
My meds have given me back my ability to eat. It's distressing because it's hard to feed yourself with a minimum of effort. I see a lot of oatmeal in my future. (It's easy to cook. It's easy to eat, especially if I put a glug of maple syrup in it.)
I did cookie balls so they can baked off at will and did up the five ingredient biscuits from Budget Bytes that require heavy cream instead of butter. They usually work pretty well. I like them. They're tasty and easy.
I have grapes, kiwi, a cantaloupe of some sort (it's got a fancy name), we'll have corn on the cob tonight and I need to figure out something for these beets.
The Independent: Steve Bannon: Trump 'decides to remove chief strategist' from White House role
CBS live updates (warning: autoplays stuff)
"A person close to Bannon" said it was TOTALLY HIS IDEA Y'ALL, IT'S ALL PART OF HIS MASTER PLAN DON'T YOU SEE.
ETA: Recommended: http://plaidadder.tumblr.com/post/
Solidarity Cville: Donate -- suggestions and links for local groups to support
Indivisble: Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville - Find an Event
The Nation: Here’s What You Can Do After Charlottesville
Indivisible: Are Your Members of Congress Doing Enough to Respond to the Charlottesville Terrorist Attack? -- though this is several days old and therefore lacks a script for HOLY FUCK THE PRESIDENT IS DEFENDING NEO-NAZIS (EVEN MORE) WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
SPLC releases new edition of Ten Ways to Fight Hate guide after Charlottesville attack
Politico: GOP chairmen resist hearings on white supremacy
They don't want it. Demand it.
plaidadder: Three Democratic members of the House have introduced a censure resolution.
You can read the text here.
Censure is a formal reprimand. It is not legally binding, but it is rare, and Sends a Message. MoveOn.org originally organized around a campaign to get Congress to censure Clinton instead of impeaching him.
This may be an attempt to accomplish something less difficult than impeachment; or it may be a trial run to see how many Republicans are ready to jump from the Trump Train.
ETA: Politico: Pelosi endorses censure of Trump over Charlottesville response -- apparently at least 79 Democrats have signed.
Not directly Charlottesville-related, but interesting and could be worth asking your reps to support:
H.R.1987 - Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act
To steal Wikipedia's explanation: "This bill would replace the Cabinet as the body that, together with the Vice President, determines whether Section 4 should be invoked. Under the bill, an eleven-member commission would conduct an examination of the President when directed to do so by a concurrent resolution of the Congress."
(Which, basically, shifts the power to forcibly 25th-Amendment the President back towards Congress to a greater degree, as opposed to depending entirely on the Cabinet which that President apppointed.)
I have tried to contact support, but it logs me out as I write the ticket, and then does the same thing when I write it again. And then tells me the entry is invalid and needs to be done over. For this reason I haven't been able to contact Support.
If anyone from Support is reading this, would you please do what you can to stop this frustrating situation?