Recent reading.

library4The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’. Ackerman, S., The Guardian (Feb. 2015). (“‘The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,’ Siska said. ‘They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.'”) [Gosh, who could have predicted this? -Ed.]

Dear Patricia Arquette: Blacks and gays owe white women nothing. Telusma, B., The Grio (Feb. 2015).

Room for Improvement: Clean up cities. Give the homeless a place to live. And save money too? The shockingly simple, surprisingly cost-effective solution that won over a bunch of conservatives in Utah. Carrier, S., Mother Jones (Feb. 2015). (“You actually need housing to achieve sobriety and stability, not the other way around…giving people supportive housing cost the system about half as much as leaving the homeless to live on the street.”)

The school to prison pipeline, explained. Nelson, L. and Lind, D., Vox (Feb. 2015).

Ax-wielding hair designer burns down Michigan adult store to please God. Kaufman, S., Raw Story (Feb. 2015). [Ugh, this god is THE WORST. -Ed.]

Gazi Kodzo. (youtube channel). [Brilliant, hilarious and scathing. -Ed.]

Abused, isolated and offered for a $25,000 arranged marriage: The extraordinary upbringing and daring escape of a victim of America’s homeschooling fundamentalists. Gould, M., The Daily Mail (Feb. 2015). [WHAT. THE. FUCK. -Ed.]

U.S. Geological Survey: Fracking waste is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in earthquakes. Hayden, J., Daily Kos (Feb. 2015).

8 Things Some A$$#ole Says in Every Debate About Sexism. McKinney, L., Cracked (Feb. 2015). [D00d nails it. -Ed.]

Ending the Neoliberal Neopatriarchy. Campbell, B., iai news (Feb. 2015). (“Global capitalism works with patriarchal principles, institutions, cultures and psyches. So, our liberation from this tragedy is inconceivable − it is, literally, unthinkable − without feminism.”) [h/t Vanina] [Meet the new patriarchy. Same as the old patriarchy. -Ed.]

Feminist writers are so besieged by online abuse that some have begun to retire. Goldberg, M., Washington Post (Feb. 2015). [Huh. -Ed.]

Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves? Lien, T., The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 2015). [Huh. -Ed.]

Thaddeus Murphy arrested for January Colorado Springs NAACP bombing. King, S., Daily Kos (Feb. 2015). (“Murphy claims he wasn’t trying to harm the NAACP office, but a local tax office connected to it.”) [Or maybe it was the abortion clinic. Or the sex toy store. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to. -Ed.]

How our microbes make us who we are. Knight, R., TED Talks via youtube (Feb. 2015). [VIDEO] [h/t SJ] [Amazing. -Ed.]

What The Atlantic Left Out About ISIS According To Their Own Expert. Jenkins, J., Think Progress (Feb. 2015).

30 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship. Davenport, B., Live Bold & Bloom (Nov. 2014).

Letter to My Rapist, Jailed for Raping Women Who Are More Respectable Than I Am: I’m writing to you to tell you that we’re both human. Burns, T., AlterNet (Feb. 2015).

__________

For the Quote collection:

No institution in modern civilization is so tyrannical and so unjust to woman as is the Christian Church. It demands everything from her and gives her nothing in return. -Josephine K. Henry (1897)

__________

PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

BREAKING: King weasel infests Palace inbox, craps all over the place.

Oh. No. He. Didn’t.

whitehousemastheadFrom: President Barack Obama <info@mail.whitehouse.gov>
To: Iris Vander Pluym
Subject: Writing the rules for 21st century trade
Date: February 18, 2015

My top priority as President is making sure more hardworking Americans have a chance to get ahead. That’s why we have to make sure the United States — and not countries like China — is the one writing this century’s rules for the world’s economy.

Trade has an important role to play in supporting good-paying, middle-class jobs in the United States. Unfortunately, past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype. That’s why I’ve made it clear that I won’t sign any agreement that doesn’t put American workers first.

But we also should recognize that 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders. Exports support more than 11 million jobs — and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. Failing to seize new opportunities would be devastating not just for our businesses, but for our workers too.

That’s why my Administration is currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership — so we can benefit from trade that is not just free, but also fair.

Watch this video my team put together, and then share it with anyone who needs to know exactly what’s at stake.

We have the chance to open up more markets to goods and services backed by three proud words: Made in America. For the sake of our businesses, and American workers, it’s an opportunity we need to take.

But beyond greater access to the world’s fastest-growing region, the agreement will establish enforceable commitments to protect labor, environmental, and other crucial standards that Americans hold dear.

Right now, China wants to write the rules for commerce in Asia. If it succeeds, our competitors would be free to ignore basic environmental and labor standards, giving them an unfair advantage over American workers.

We can’t let that happen. We should write the rules, and level the playing field for our middle class. The first step is for Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority.

Watch the video, and then pass it along.

After years of shipping jobs overseas, our manufacturing sector is creating jobs at a pace not seen since the 1990s. Rather than outsourcing, more companies are insourcing and bringing jobs back home. Today, more than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re looking at bringing jobs back from China.

Let’s give them one more reason to get it done, by giving me the tools I need to grow our economy, boost exports for our businesses, and give more hardworking middle-class families a chance to get ahead.

Thanks,

President Barack Obama

The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111

__________

I have taken the liberty of highlighting only the most bald-faced, blatant lies. That bolded statement in red, however, is particularly weaselly: the problem the TPP addresses is not other countries being “free to ignore basic environmental and labor standards, giving them an unfair advantage over American workers.” The problem the TPP addresses is that, so far at least, U.S. corporations have not been entirely free to ignore basic environmental and labor standards themselves—though not for lack of trying. Also, the interests on whose behalf the TPP is being negotiated are literally the last people in the world to give a flying fuck about improving the fortunes of U.S. workers. Please.

For more on the depth of the Democratic president’s depravity here, please go (re-)read my post from November 2013. Among other things, I noted that upon ratification of the TPP (and its transatlantic doppelganger the TTIP), corporate control of governments around the world—including ours—will be complete. Since then, more information has leaked out of the TPP negotiations (see e.g. this Wikileaks press release and linked documents therein) but very few people have seen a draft of the whole thing. My BFF Congressman Alan Grayson is one of them, and he says flat out: “This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.”

Here is how it works. The TPP has a binding “proactive requirement” that participating countries conform their laws and regulations to the desires and whims of Big Business. In practice, this means gutting already weak environmental protections, labor laws, banking regulations, public safety rules, you name it: it eviscerates virtually any law or provision that can be construed as compromising profits in any way. Draconian, right? But it’s the enforcement mechanism that is the real coup for America’s Owners: investor-state dispute settlement. Corporations can sue noncompliant governments to recover the “loss” of anticipated future profits—and not in a court of law, either, but before a secret(!) panel of three corporate lawyers(!). There are no appeals from these rulings. If a government loses, taxpayers are on the hook to pay the lucky winning corporation.

We are not talking about chump change here, either, nor are we talking about some imagined dystopian future. This is already in force in some countries, via NAFTA and other terrible trade agreements:

During its financial crisis, and in response to public anger over rocketing charges, Argentina imposed a freeze on people’s energy and water bills… It was sued by the international utility companies whose vast bills had prompted the government to act. For this and other such crimes, it has been forced to pay out over a billion dollars in compensation. In El Salvador, local communities managed at great cost (three campaigners were murdered) to persuade the government to refuse permission for a vast gold mine which threatened to contaminate their water supplies. A victory for democracy? Not for long, perhaps. The Canadian company which sought to dig the mine is now suing El Salvador for $315m – for the loss of its anticipated future profits.

In Canada, the courts revoked two patents owned by the American drugs firm Eli Lilly, on the grounds that the company had not produced enough evidence that they had the beneficial effects it claimed. Eli Lilly is now suing the Canadian government for $500m, and demanding that Canada’s patent laws are changed.

The TPP is “NAFTA on steroids.”

It’s not enough to stop this fast tracking bullshit the president wants, the TPP deal itself has to go down in flames. What are the chances of killing it? Well, just ponder for a moment what it means that it’s Barack Obama and Republicans who want the TPP deal fast-tracked—signed, sealed and delivered to America’s Owners a.s.a.p.

obamarepublicanLoyal Readers™ can attest that I am not particularly prone to hyperbolic hyperventilation. But that sound you just heard? Shhh. Listen carefully—it’s barely a whisper. Hear it? That is the sound of the last few tattered threads of democracy whizzing right past your head.

This webcomic provides excellent infotainment on the subject, and I really cannot recommend it highly enough. Well, except for one thing. The d00d serving the poison Kool-Aid is a piss-poor rendering of Barack Obama.

economixcomixThere is no scenario I can envision in which my fellow citizens and I are not forced to drink it.

Recent reads.

library4Emails and Racist Chats Show How Cops and GOP Are Teaming Up to Undermine de Blasio. Blumenthal, M., AlterNet (Dec. 2014).

The NYPD’s ‘Work Stoppage’ Is Surreal. Taibbi, M., Rolling Stone (Dec. 2014). (“In an alternate universe, the New York Police might have just solved the national community-policing controversy.”)

How Low Income New Yorkers Are Benefiting From The NYPD’s Work Stoppage. Lerner, K. & Volsky, I., Think Progress (Jan. 2015). [I got yer silver linings right here. -Ed.]

When New York City Police Walk Off the Job. Editorial Board, The New York Times (Dec. 2014).

When History Knocks. Gindin, S., Jacobin (Dec. 2014). (“Naomi Klein rightly blames capitalism for climate change. But she doesn’t go far enough.”) [Well to be fair, who does? -Ed.]

I’m trying not to hate men. Bogart, L., Salon (Dec. 2014). (“After a year when misogyny and male violence dominated headlines, I want to find a way out of fear and bitterness.”) [TW: physical and emotional abuse including child abuse, child sexual assault.]

British couple faces $200,000 hospital bill after son born prematurely in New York City. The Guardian via Raw Story (Jan. 2015).

Robots are starting to break the law and nobody knows what to do about it. Rivero, D., Fusion (Jan. 2015). [h/t Angie] [BAD ROBOTS! Hahaha. -Ed.]

MIT professor explains: The real oppression is having to learn to talk to women. Marcotte, A., Raw Story (Dec. 2014). [Marcotte at her best. LOL. -Ed.]

Agates – Time Compiled. Prudence, P., Dataisnature (Nov. 2014). [Ooooh. Pretty. -Ed.]

Ancient Trees: Woman Spends 14 Years Photographing World’s Oldest Trees. Julija K., Bored Panda (Dec. 2014). (“Beth Moon, a photographer based in San Francisco, has been searching for the world’s oldest trees for the past 14 years. She has traveled all around the globe to capture the most magnificent trees that grow in remote locations and look as old as the world itself.”) [h/t SJ]

 __________

For the fabulous Quote Collection:

I persist in preferring philosophers to rabbis, priests, imams, ayatollahs, and mullahs. Rather than trust their theological hocus-pocus, I prefer to draw on alternatives to the dominant philosophical historiography: the laughers, materialists, radicals, cynics, hedonists, atheists, sensualists, voluptuaries. They know that there is only one world, and that promotion of an afterlife deprives us of the enjoyment and benefit of the only one there is. A genuinely deadly sin. -Michel Onfray

__________

PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent reads.

library4Transgender teen commits suicide, cites Christian parents in blog. Stone, M., Patheos (Dec. 2014). [HEARTBREAKING. Anyone reading this who is trans* and struggling, or who knows someone who may need help:

Trans Lifeline
US: (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366
http://www.translifeline.org/

-Ed.]

Christians More Supportive of Torture than Non-Religious Americans. Posner, S., Religion Dispatches (Dec. 2014). [And they worship a (fictional) torture victim. Nice people. -Ed.]

House Majority Whip Scalise confirms he spoke to white supremacists in 2002. O’Keefe, E., The Washington Post (Dec. 2014).

#BlackLivesMatter: More Than Just Shootings. Feminace, Seriously?!? (Dec. 2009).

Irony 101: Study Ethics with Legal Ace Who Sanctioned NSA Wiretapping, CIA Torture. Silverstein, K., The Intercept (Dec. 2014). [Heh. Hahaha. HAHAHA. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! -Ed.]

The Price of Private Prison. Rosenblatt, S., Truthout (Dec. 2014). (webgraphic) [h/t SJ.]

How many days did the #TeaParty “cease protest activities” after their supporters Killed Cops? Walton, F.V., Daily Kos (Dec. 2014). [Remind me again? Oh. I see… -Ed.]

Police Chief’s Perfect Response: Respect Protestors, Keep an Open Mind. Hongo, H., Gawker (Dec. 2014). [Amazing. I looooove this d00d. We need many, MANY more like him. -Ed.]

The Buy Nothing Project.

On The Silencing of Trans Women of Color: A Response to Trans Glamour vs. Trans Activism. Ailith, L.J., Autostraddle (Dec. 2014).

Domestic Violence Is Violence: Mass killers often start by stalking or assaulting women. Leong, N., Slate (Dec. 2014).

Hell Yes, I’m a Feminist. Scalzi, J., Whatever (Dec. 2014). [h/t PZ] [See also: this superb piece of mockery—this is how it’s done, people. -Ed.]

The Invisible Backpack of White Privilege from L.L. Bean. Miller, J., McSweeney’s (Dec. 2014). [Brilliant. -Ed.]

The Year In (Peer) Review: Nine Great Moments for Women In STEM From 2014. And counting! Cox, C., The Mary Sue (Dec. 2014).

Kid who made good comes home and tells his parents he paid off their mortgage. McNulty, J., Happy Place (Dec. 2014). [What the hell is this…this…watery stuff on my face? -Ed.]

How to Stop Violence: Mentally ill people aren’t killers. Angry people are. Hayes, L.L., Slate (Apr. 2014).

White Wealth & the Cult of White Victimhood. Hutchinson, S., blackfemlens (Dec. 2014).

Billion Dollar Surveillance Blimp to Launch over Maryland. Froomkin, D., The Intercept (Dec. 2014). [I find this absolutely fucking hilarious. -Ed.]

__________

For the Quote collection, the first three courtesy of Loyal Reader™ PN.

Conservatives lie when they say they are for families, liberty, and religious freedom. What they really mean is that they want to control others’ families, take away others’ liberties, and foist their religion onto others. Religious freedom means that I can be free of the murderous fraud known as Christianity just as others are free to uncritically support it. -Don Baker

The most obvious way of reducing abortions is to increase contraceptive use and education, but Christians have worked overtime against these obvious and proven techniques. They have worked overtime to close down Planned Parenthood, an organization that has actually prevented more abortions than any Christian organization has ever done. -Don Baker

Do we require that parents donate their organs to their children if that’s the child’s only hope for life, even if the hope is most desperate or even truly hopeless? Do we prosecute parents who fail to rush into burning buildings to save their children, who may or may not have a chance of survival anyway? … So why the double standard for “children” not yet born? Since when does the “pre-born” have the right to jeopardize the woman’s life, to suck literally dry her very precious bodily fluids, when the “post-born” most certainly doesn’t?  Of course, the real answer has something to do with Exodus 20:17… -Ben Goren

[E]mpathy — not squishy self-serving conflict avoidance — is the hand-maiden, not the enemy, of reason and intellectual inquiry. -Ta-Nehisi Coates

Violence by those with mental illness is so small that even if you could somehow cure it all, 95 percent of violent crime would still exist. -Paolo del Vecchio, of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

__________

PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

New Yorkers: 1, Motherfrackers: 0.

New Yorkers: 1, Motherfrackers: 0.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of uncertainty over the disputed method of natural gas extraction.

You’re welcome, New York! I don’t like to toot my own horn or anything, but it’s pretty clear the good governor really took to heart the letter I wrote him in July. I kid, I kid. He doesn’t give a flying fuck what I think. Hell, I didn’t even vote for the guy. And therein lies a lesson.

As New Yorkers may remember, Andrew Cuomo, the incumbent Democratic governor, faced a Democratic primary challenger on September 9: Zephyr Teachout. While it was universally acknowledged that she had no chance of actually winning, she put up fight with the backing of environmentalists (and other lefties who see Cuomo for the corrupt, conservative opportunist he is). While Cuomo continued to drag his feet and waffle on deciding the fracking issue, Teachout flat-out stated that she would ban it.

She had me at hello.

And oh, how I heard that I’d be wasting my vote, and/or to not even bother voting in the New York primary because after all, Cuomo was a shoo-in. And that was just from people who had heard of Teachout. More often the conversation started and ended with who?

Nevertheless, this upstart with a pittance of a budget went up against a Democratic icon with a massive war chest and the backing of a well-oiled party machine—and she came away with 33% of the primary vote. Not enough for a win, of course. But Cuomo is a scion of Democratic politics who harbors national ambitions, and, well, that certainly does not bode well for him. While he may not give a shit about me, or about New York’s ground water, he sure as hell gives a shit about that.

Environmentalists are fawning all over Cuomo:

Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said Mr. Cuomo “set himself apart as a national political leader who stands up for people” over the energy industry.

But tonight I’ll be toasting Zephyr Teachout, and those of us who showed up on September 9 to vote for her. Especially in primaries, it doesn’t take a “win” to win.

By the way, if you want to actually waste your vote, just keep right on voting for the “lesser of two evils.” They’re counting on you.

Recent reads.

library4The Staggeringly High—And Shockingly Under-Reported—Rate of White on White Murder. Allon, J., AlterNet (Aug. 2014). (“36 percent of those killed by whites are women, a far higher percentage than what you see with murderers who are black.”)

Video Game Reviewer Is Contacting the Mothers of Her Online Harassers. Aran, I., Jezebel (Nov. 2014). [Hahaha. Awesome. -Ed.]

8 Ways You Can See Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in Real Life. Emspak, J., Live Science (Nov. 2014).

Police Behaving Badly 12.1.14. Tony, The Shoops Roost (Dec. 2014).

The Ferguson Masterpost: How To Argue Eloquently & Back Yourself Up With Facts. Manduley, A., [smut & sensibility] (Nov. 2014). [h/t Tony].

Tiny 23,000-year-old limestone ‘Venus’ unearthed in France. Agence France-Presse via Raw Story (Nov. 2014).

Former Philadelphia Police Officer Ray Lewis Explains Why He’s Standing With Protesters In Ferguson. Levine, S., The Huffington Post (Nov. 2014).

7 hipster ‘superfoods’ that aren’t really that super. Barrett-Ibarria, S., Raw Story (Nov. 2014).

A Student Has Died After She Confronted A Group Of Men Harassing Teenage Girls. Mack, D., Buzzfeed (Nov. 2014). [Remember, people: street harassers are only trying to make the world a better place by giving compliments! -Ed.]

The Long, Dark Shadows of Plutocracy. Moyers & Company, youtube.com (Nov. 2014). (VIDEO). [h/t nubs]

__________

PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Conscience, consumerism and cephalomugs.

New York’s thrift shops are legendary, and Housing Works is among my favorites. Their mission is “to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.” They advocate for marginalized people in particular, including active drug users, homeless people and sexual minorities: they’re like the anti-Salvation Army*. I donate goods and funds to them regularly, and I shop there. Like, a lot. (More on that in a minute.) But beyond the obvious charitable aspects, there are other considerable benefits to shopping at thrifts.

Cost.

If you are cost-conscious, you will rarely find better deals than you will at a thrift shop. Sometimes those doing the pricing know exactly what they have, and they will upcharge accordingly. For example, a valuable antique, an item with high-end branding, or something that’s obviously beautifully crafted from quality materials won’t be super cheap. But the pricing will still be nowhere near what you would pay for the same item at retail, even on sale. Want to save more money? Your donations of goods and funds are also tax deductible (although your purchases are not, at least not in New York). And sometimes a price is so low you just know it has to be a mistake. But it isn’t. :D  

The thing is, you can almost always find something cheap, but all too often you will get what you pay for. Thrift stores provide an opportunity to find really nice stuff cheap—or at least a lot cheaper than you will find it elsewhere.

Labor and the environment.

If you’re environmentally conscious, this is the ultimate in recycling. A lamp or table for which one no longer has any use—or, more likely in NYC, any space—would normally end up in a landfill. Instead it takes on a second life, filling a niche for someone who can really use it. If you’re sweat-shop conscious, the clothing and accessories (handbags, ties, scarfs, shoes, belts, etc.) come with a lot less guilt: by purchasing an item here you’re supporting a good cause, and not so much a system of labor exploitation in, say, China. Many thrift shop clothing items have never been worn and still sport the original tags; if that seems odd to you, consider how many times you received a gift of clothing you know you will never, ever wear, or purchased something at a retail store that has lived in your closet for years. Uh-huh. I thought so. Bonus: if you’re the imaginative sort and handy with paint or a needle and thread, your furniture and clothing options at a thrift shop are considerably more vast.

Gifts.

platterI bought this platter for $40 as a gift for someone I don’t even like
Turns out it’s worth a couple grand. Fuck.

Housewares are probably my favorite stuff to peruse. I collect eclectic silverware—no two pieces the same—so I’m always on the lookout for a single place setting to add to the mix. Ditto: coffee mugs, serving platters and table linens. (Dishes and glassware, however, must be strictly matched and neutral-toned because (a) I am really weird and (b) this is a monarchy.) Many times I’ve come across enormous troves of donated silverware, serving pieces, plate settings and tabletop accoutrements, presumably from restaurants and hotels who are switching theirs up or going out of business. I’ve also found Candlewick pieces, which my mom collects, in addition to scented soy candles, gorgeous coffee table books, candle holders and picture frames, all of which have made really nice gifts.

cutleryFrom the Palace cutlery collection.

And then there is the jewelry**. I don’t wear very much of it myself, and I tend to rotate a few pieces pulled from the same small collection every day. (Until, that is, unbeknownst to me, I lose one of the earrings, or a stone pops out, or the catch on a necklace breaks. This is why I can’t have nice things.) Although I may rarely indulge, I do frequently buy gifts of jewelry for friends and family. And d00d, I have scored.

earringsL: sterling silver fleur-de-lis earrings. R: pink & amber studded post earrings.

Magic.

Finally, I want to talk about the magic. Yes I know, that’s quite the word to be flinging around willy-nilly on a godless blog, but hear me out. I am not talking about anything supernatural here; what I mean is something more like “a fortuitous confluence of matter and spacetime events in the natural universe.” Life in New York City generally meets that definition for me; so does fall color, and being in love. On a much smaller scale, if I don’t feel like drying my (plain and perfectly matched) dishes right after I wash them, I might wander off and quip that “the faeries can dry them.” And when I return from my errands, lo and behold the faeries have done my bidding, and the dishes are all perfectly dry! It’s a goddamn Christmas miracle, is what that is.

lampcakeplateL: glass-beaded tealight lamp; R: silver cake plate and server with mother-of-pearl inlays.

And so it is with scoring a find when thrift shopping. The trick to the magic is this: be open-minded, shop early and shop often. It is generally not a good idea to have a particular item in mind when you go; there is a constant churning of merchandise and thus the selection can vary wildly from week to week or even day to day. My fellow New Yorkers tend to have keen eyes and impeccable taste, so if I don’t grab that really cool thing when I see it, it will almost certainly be gone in an hour. There are not one but two thrones that I do not possess because I dallied (and/or I listened to My Amazing Lover™, who for reasons I cannot fathom does not share my glorious vision):

throne2throneI needed these thrones, people, and now they are gone. Forever.

But my point is that if I went looking for a throne in a thrift shop, the odds I would find one are virtually zero. The same holds true for finding the perfect gift for someone on the exact day you need it. By far, the most important thing to take with you to a thrift shop is an open mind, and again, go early and go often. That is how I crossed a few items off of my holiday gift list before August.

It is true that for some things I will have to resort to retail. It turns out that some people, especially kids, have no appreciation whatsoever for vintage martini shakers or embroidered eyeglass cases. But seriously? Fuck Wal-Mart and K-Mart and Target and Macy’s and everywhere else. Or at least, fuck them as much as possible. I’ll be doing most of my holiday shopping at places like Housing Works (and Greenmarkets) this season. And if for some reason I have not yet convinced you to do the same, behold my latest find:

 cephalomugsHand-painted Cephalomugs, $2 (each).

^This is what winning looks like, my friends. Happy holiday shopping.

__________

*To be clear: I do not repudiate anyone who relies on Salvation Army’s services in New York, or anywhere else. I do, however, repudiate donors and patrons who have the opportunity to make a better choice but don’t: there are networks of thrift shops that benefit local veterans, domestic violence shelters and programs, animal rescue and many other causes that are not right-wing Christian churches. (NOTE: I recommend doing your research to make sure any charity you’re inclined to support is reputable.) And I really repudiate a government and economic system that requires charities to ensure the barest survival of its most vulnerable citizens, including disabled vets and AIDS patients. Such a system is not only morally grotesque, a charity approach to these issues is itself a terrible idea.

**Iris’s trusty sparkly sanitized jewelry trick:

  • place jewelry in an aluminum vessel of some sort. I use aluminum cupcake pans, or you can rig something up with foil yourself. It just has to be aluminum because SCIENCE.
  • sprinkle baking soda on the jewelry.
  • pour boiling water onto the baking soda and jewelry.
  • let cool, rinse and dry.

Do this to clean and brighten your own jewelry whenever it begins to tarnish. I don’t know how it works. Probably magic.

Reads.

library4

“Down Outright Murder”: A Complete Guide to the Shooting of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson. Devereaux, R., The Intercept (Nov. 2014).

After 13 years, 2 wars and trillions in military spending, terrorist attacks are rising sharply. Ingraham, C., The Washington Post (Nov. 2014).

As Sioux Tribe Calls Keystone XL an “Act of War”, TransCanada Hires PR Firm to Probe Critics. Democracy Now! (Nov. 2016) (with VIDEO).

Topless Femen deface Christian cross in Vatican. RT.com (Nov. 2014) (with VIDEO). (“Femen have taken their brash form of activism to shockingly new heights (or depths), simulating anal sex with crucifixes outside the Vatican to protest the Pope’s alleged meddling in politics.”) [Hahaha. Awesome. For a…different take, which I first thought was satire, see here. -Ed.]

Insecure Men Outraged That Smarter Man Recognizes Sexism And Apologizes to Women. Opal, K. (Nov. 2014). (“This is no longer about Matt & Rosetta. This is now about men being outraged that women made Matt reconsider…Matt Taylor apologized and moved on. But it seems that a lot of men were pissed off that a man apologized to women for having done something that perpetuated sexism.”)

Black students walk out over school official’s tweet: ‘Every white girl’s father’s worst nightmare’. Edwards, D., Raw Story (Nov. 2014). [Jeezus. -Ed.]

Lack of access to health insurance keeps U.S. premature birth rate near Somalia’s. Ingraham, C., The Washington Post (Nov. 2014). [USA! USA! USA! -Ed.]

Barbie F*cks It Up Again. Ribon, P., Gizmodo (Nov. 2014) [OMFG. LOL! -Ed.]
(related: Barbie computer engineer story withdrawn after sexism row.)

Surprise! The war on abortion rights is actually a referendum on women’s “place” in society. A group of protesters explain why they believe motherhood is the only and most important choice for women. McDonough, K., Salon (Nov. 2014) (with VIDEO). [Wow! I am so surprised! -Ed.]

The Rehtaeh Parsons Verdict Just Set a Horrible Precedent for Rape Victims Everywhere. Plank, E., Mic (Nov. 2014).

Transgender activists seek laws, acceptance, to combat violence. Guilbert, K., Reuters (Nov. 2014).

Congress Is Irrelevant on Mass Surveillance. Here’s What Matters Instead. Greenwald, G., The Intercept (Nov. 2014).

Sexual Surveillance of Women is a Consequence of Conservative Norms, Not Liberal Social Mores. Chemaly, S., Huffington Post (Nov. 2014).

Canadian Mother Gives Birth While On Vacation In The U.S., Faces $1 Million Hospital Bill. Culp-Ressler, T., Think Progress (Nov. 2014).

A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA. Erdely, S.R., Rolling Stone (Nov. 2014).

Geckos inspire ‘Spider-Man’ gloves. BBC News (Nov. 2014).

Who Profits From Poverty? Films for Action/The #GlobalPOV Project (Nov. 2014) (VIDEO). [h/t nubs]

Why No One Can Design a Better Speculum. Eveleth, R., The Atlantic (Nov. 2014). (“The gynecological device may have an ethically fraught history, but it’s hard to improve on the design.”)

__________

For the Quote collection:

A lot of times, the simple answer to the specious question, “Why would he do something like that?” is, horribly, “Because he can.” -Melissa McEwan

__________

PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent readz.

library4The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare. Taibbi, M., Rolling Stone (Nov. 2014). [Important reading, especially for anyone who mistakenly believes the U.S. is a democracy operating under the rule of law. -Ed.]

Top 10 Jesus Pranks. JUST FOR LAUGHS GAGS via youtube. [h/t SJ] [OMFG LOL. -Ed.]

Forget the 1%. It is the 0.01% who are really getting ahead in America. The Economist (Nov. 2014). (“Rising wealth inequality could presage the return of an 18th century inheritance society, in which marrying an heir is a surer route to riches than starting a company.”)

Nigel Farage’s new friend in Europe: ‘When women say no, they don’t always mean it’. Graham-Harrison, E., The Guardian (Nov. 2014). [I swear this article reads like an Onion satire, and this Janusz Korwin-Mikke d00d comes off like a comic book supervillain—and yet people vote for him. He says there is no proof Hitler knew about the Holocaust, and that Mussolini was trying to protect Jews; also FYI “the attitudes of men are passed to women by way of the semen which penetrates the tissue”; and he wants to convert part of the EU headquarters into a giant brothel. WHAT. He might actually be onto something legit about abolishing democracy, though, since it gives power to people like him. -Ed.]

Life Size Tyrannosaurus SkeletonHammacher Schlemmer (Nov. 2014). [Grab this year’s hottest holiday gift for each of your friends and family for the low, low price of $100,000! Treat yourself to one, too. -Ed.]

trex
CHAPPIE – Official Movie Trailer. Sony Pictures Entertainment via youtube (in theaters March 2015). [OMG OMG OMG I LOOOOOVED Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 and Elysium—plus there is no such thing as “enough Sharlto Copley.” -Ed.]

Even if you believe women “should” like cat-calling, that’s no excuse to do it. Marcotte, A., Raw Story (Nov 2014). (“My boyfriend doesn’t like eggs. My mom doesn’t like punk rock. These are things I like. Do I react to this difference of opinion by constantly shoving eggs in his face or blaring punk rock at her while saying, ‘You SHOULD like it and I’m going to KEEP DOING IT until you learn to like it!’ No, that would make me an asshole. So even if you think women should like being hollered at all fucking day—and again, I recommend having someone text you banalities 100 times a day to make sure you really think that it’s so wonderful getting all this attention before you open your fool mouth again on the subject—women told you they don’t like it. Persisting is clearly just an effort to hurt and punish them for not giving you what you want.”)

Separating Church and State Still an Issue in the US. Bader, E.J., Truthout (Nov. 2014). [h/t SJ] [Christ. This is just what we need: theocracies. Dear Lard, won’t someone think of the children? -Ed.]

__________

For the Quote collection, a new acquisition from the late, great Carl Sagan, whose birthday is today:

“If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote. As with the face on Mars and alien abductions, better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. And in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy.”
Please join the Palace’s Carl Sagan Day celebration in The Bar today, where we will be serving Pale Blue Martinis.
bluemartini-with-twist-david-thompsonPHOTO: Blue Martini with Twist, David Thompson.
The Carl Sagan Pale Blue Martini:
Grey Goose vodka, Blue Curacao, fresh lime juice, twist.
Cheers for a man who inspired so many people to pursue science, skepticism and critical thinking. Our pale blue dot is a better world for having had him on it.

__________

PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Reads.

library4

Federal appeals court rules in favor of gay marriage ban. Sewell, D., ABC-TV Eyewitness News (Nov. 2014).

Americans Are Working So Hard It’s Actually Killing People. Kaplan, E., The Nation (Oct. 2014). (“businesses are not hiring new workers; they’re just expecting the old workers to work more, and spitting them out after they get injured.”)

Despite Election Losses, Obama Still Sees Hope For Bipartisanship. McMorris-Santoro, E., BuzzFeed (Nov. 2014). (Dear Lard, we are soooo fucked. -Ed.)

Could a common blood pressure drug completely reverse diabetes? Medical News Today (Nov. 2014).

Why Feminism Needs Men. Solnit, R., The Nation (Nov. 2014).  [h/t SJ]

The 5 Most Important Things They Never Taught You in Sex Ed. Thomas, M., Cracked (Nov. 2014).

Bats Make Calls to Jam Rivals’ Sonar—First Time Ever Found. Arnold, C., National Geographic (Nov. 2014).

Adam Savage on #Gamergate and Harassment of Women Online. Watson, R., Skepchick (Nov. 2014). [with VIDEO.]

__________

PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.