Reads.

library4

10 Situations Where Christian Bakers Should Refuse To Bake Wedding Cakes. Corey, B.L., Patheos (Mar. 2015). (“we need to have the courage to radically expand our discrimination as we apply the Bible to everyone but ourselves.”) [No cake for you! Or you! You either! –Ed.]

CIA Torture Whistleblower: Wake Up America, You’re Next. Abby Martin interview of John Kiriakou, Media Roots (Mar. 2015). (VIDEO)

Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy. Epstein, A., Quartz (Mar. 2015). [Yes we can’t! -Ed.]

Starbuck’s CEO Just Made A Shocking Announcement That Has Christians Standing Up For Their Faith. Rachel, Q Political (Mar. 2015). [Shocking. LOL –Ed.]

Forget terrorists — be terrified of Harperites. Siddiqui, H., The Star (Mar. 2015). (“Stephen Harper’s government wants us to be terrified of terrorists, niqabis, criminals, thieves, etc. But it’s the Conservatives we should be scared of.)

Women on 20s. (“It’s our mission to generate an overwhelming people’s mandate for a new $20 bill, to be issued in time for the 100th anniversary in 2020 of the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.”) [What are you doing lounging around the Palace? Go vote! -Ed.]

“You Grow Up Wanting to be Luke Skywalker, Then Realize You’ve Become a Stormtrooper for the Empire”. Crimmins, D. via Garret, Upriser (undated). [An amazing piece of writing from an Iraq veteran. -Ed.]

Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories. Ferdman, R.A., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015).

France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panelAgence France-Presse via The Guardian (Mar. 2015).

If Motivational Posters Were For People Who Hate People. Bailey, L., BuzzFeed (Feb. 2015). [I hate people, and I can attest that these posters are totally for me! -Ed.]

everyoneistheworstEven in nursing, no equal pay for women. Rapaport, L., Reuters (Mar. 2015).

Virtual reality is coming to sex, sports and Facebook. della Cava, M., USA Today (Mar. 2015). [h/t SJ]

Big Bank’s Analyst Worries That Iran Deal Could Depress Weapons Sales. Fang, L., The Intercept (Mar. 2015). [OH NOEZ!!! –Ed.]

Amazon’s trees removed nearly a third less carbon in last decade – study. Mathiesen, K., The Guardian (Mar. 2015). (“Fall in amount of carbon absorbed by rainforest means even greater cuts to manmade emissions are needed to combat climate change, warn scientists.”) [Today in We Are So Fucked. –Ed.]

Mother-Daughter Duo’s Photo Project Features 5-Year-Old as Iconic Black Women. Gilchrist, T., For Harriet (Mar. 2015). [Amazing and adorable. -Ed.]

If Purvi Patel delivered in hospital she could have declined neonatal care, but she delivered at home so faces jail. Gunter, J., Dr. Jen Gunter (Mar. 2015). (“So to be clear, had Ms. Patel delivered in a hospital she could have declined neonatal care had her baby been born alive. But because she delivered at home she is a criminal. Now tell me this wasn’t a reproductive witch hunt designed to both test the limits of Indiana law in curtailing reproductive rights and score points with pro-life donors and voters.”)

This Woman Says She Had A Miscarriage. Now She Could Face 70 Years In Prison. Culp-Ressler, T., Think Progress (Mar. 2015). (“Critics say there are a lot of issues with the way Patel’s case has unfolded over the past two years. For instance, Patel was first questioned in her hospital bed without a lawyer present. Expert witnesses could not come to consensus about the gestational age of her fetus. The prosecution relied on a highly unscientific method to try to determine whether her fetus was born dead or alive.”) [UPDATE: Purvi Patel was just sentenced to 30 years, with 10 suspended. -Ed.]

Two Cops Arrested for Beating 3-Month-Old Into Vegetative State; Baby Not Expected to Recover. Fairbanks, C., The Free Thought Project (Mar. 2015). [h/t Tony] [I can’t even. –Ed.]

Black Woman Locked In Psych Ward For 8 Days Because Cops Couldn’t Believe She’s A Businesswoman. Kerry-Anne, Addicting Info (Mar. 2015). [I. CAN’T. EVEN. –Ed.]

One Model Tried On 10 Different Pairs Of Size 16 Jeans And This Is What They Looked Like. Ospina, M.S., BuzzFeed (Jan. 2015).

This Photo Was Removed By Instagram. The Owner Writes A Powerful Open Letter In Response. Rupi Kaur via Chaudhary, S., Scoop Whoop (Mar. 2015).

Trillion Dollar Fraudsters. Krugman, P., The New York Times (Mar. 2015).

Shakespearean Insulter. [“Thou clouted fly-bitten boar-pig!” Hahaha. -Ed.]

Stunning Photos Reveal Beauty in Medicine. Live Science (Mar. 2015).

She’s back! Arizona legislator suggests church attendance should be mandatory. Mother Mags, Daily Kos (Mar. 2015). [Okay, player. –Ed.]

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For the Quote Collection:

I think America has the best assholes in the world. I defy the Belgians or the Japanese to produce something like a Donald Trump. –Matt Taibbi

Women have always been an equal part of the past. They just haven’t been part of history. –Gloria Steinem

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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.

Free Market™ Fail. Again.

A dated article I just came across today really pisses me off, so my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ will get a nice little rant this morning.

Workers at biggest fast food companies need billions in public assistance

Walmart isn’t the only corporate giant relying on government assistance to make up for the low, low wages it pays its workers. According to a new report from the University of California-Berkeley Labor Center, 52 percent of front-line fast food workers are on some form of public assistance, at a cost of nearly $7 billion a year. And the 10 largest fast food companies account for $3.8 billion of that, the National Employment Law Project estimates.

The UC-Berkeley study only looks at participation in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; if it included all government programs, such as child-care subsidies and reduced price school lunches, the total would be higher.

Accompanying the article are two charts that are quite revealing:

public_assistance_10_largest_fast_food_companies public_assistance_share_of_workers_by_industryIt is just so…interesting how the Free Market™ works best without any of that pesky government “interference.” Interesting, too, that of all the industries listed, public administration (i.e. government employment) has the lowest participation in public programs. I mean golly, why should ridiculously profitable corporations pay workers a living wage when they can soak their own taxpaying customers to pick up the tab? So their employees don’t, you know, starve or die of preventable diseases. Frankly, this should piss everyone off, liberal or conservative.

But remember, too, that the beneficiaries of this system are the exact same people lavishly funding right-wing politicians who are hell-bent on slashing, privatizing and ultimately destroying the already inadequate social safety net, in all its forms. (Among many other despicable aims.) I don’t know how they can sleep at night. But they do—and probably much better than you or I do. Operating in a Social Darwinist economic system will tend to foster a lack of conscience, especially among the fittest.

Here’s a thought: if it is just not profitable for McDonald’s to pay its workers a living wage, then it should go out of business. Perhaps all that capital can instead be put to use for businesses involving less factory farming, less trucking, less unhealthy food and less labor exploitation. Why not profit from sustainable industries that help instead of harm the very communities where they operate?

Any politician that does not support a living wage and a robust safety net including single payer healthcare—and I’m talking with actions, not just words—will never, ever get my vote. And they shouldn’t get yours, either.

medicare4all

 

Oh yeah, and one more thing:

nonprofitdefense

Reading.

library4An Ex-Jewish Camel’s Sad Epiphany on Israeli Fanaticism. Centre, B., Atheist Camel (Mar. 2015). [h/t SJ]

5 Near-Identical Jesus Myths That Predate Jesus. Richard, L., Liberal America (Mar. 2015). [h/t Ian]

Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum. Service, R.F., Science (Mar. 2015). [The headline overreaches, but the science is interesting. -Ed.]

Nightmare in Sin City: How a Rumor Sent a Teen to Prison for Murder in Vegas. Smith, J., The Intercept (Mar. 2015).

27 Black Women Activists Everyone Should Know. Foster, K., For Harriet (Feb. 2014). [h/t Sally]

Humanism and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement. Kirabo, S., The Humanist (Mar. 2015).

Support for government help has fallen among those who rely on it most. Ehrenfreund, M., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015). [Deja vu. *yawn* –Ed.]

Teaching Doubt. Krauss, L.M., The New Yorker (Mar. 2015). [h/t SJ]

Anti-Abortion Website Whines About Being Bombed… With Glitter. Merlan, A., Jezebel (Mar. 2015). [Hahaha. The fine folks at Glitter Bombs for Choice are clearly kindred spirits, although I prefer to mail coat hangers myself. –Ed.]

The Cops Don’t Care About Violent Online Threats. What Do We Do Now? Merlan, A., Jezebel (Jan. 2015).

Woman killed by flying plywood from NYC construction site. Rosario, F., et al, The New York Post (Mar. 2015). [The luxury condo construction at the site of my former neighborhood hospital now has a body count. (For background see here.) –Ed.]

Bad News for Those of You Who, Like Us, Drank Cheap Wine Each and Every Night of Your 20s. (Mar. 2015). [SPOILER ALERT! Arsenic poisoning. Which sounds almost as bad as the crap wine. –Ed.]

Intersex advocates correct and clarify Nightline news report. Murray, R., GLAAD (Mar. 2015). (with VIDEO)

How activists are responding to the NYPD’s attempts to thwart Black Lives Matter. Rugh, P., Waging Nonviolence (Feb. 2015).

How Prison Stints Replaced Study Hall: America’s problem with criminalizing kids. Owens, J., Politico (Mar. 2015). [An excellent piece on the school-to-prison pipeline by the managing attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mississippi office. -Ed.]

Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Promises Echo Clinton’s On NAFTA. Johnson, D., Campaign for America’s Future (Feb. 2015). [Lying liars lie: film at 11. –Ed.]

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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 reading.

library4
It’s Time for Atheists to Stop Debating God’s Existence and Decide What to Do About It. Lee, A., AlterNet via The Guardian (Mar. 2015). [h/t SJ] (“For too long, atheists have conducted abstract debates. It’s time to focus on the pursuit of justice.”) [IRIS Adam Lee, but this strikes me as hopelessly naive in in light of things like this. –Ed.]

10 stunning images show the beauty hidden in pi. Swanson, A., The Washington Post (Mar. 14). [h/t Mr. Born]

NYPD Edited Police Brutality Wikipedia Entries: IP addresses linked to the NYPD found to have altered Wikipedia pages about Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell. Kreps, D., Rolling Stone (Mar. 2015).

The CIA and America’s Presidents: Some Rarely Discussed Truths Shaping Contemporary American Democracy. Chuckman, J., Counterpunch (Mar. 2015).

Consent: Not actually that complicated. Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess (Mar. 2015).

Project Vox. (“Project Vox seeks to recover the lost voices of women who have been ignored in standard narratives of the history of modern philosophy…From Lady Masham, Margaret Cavendish and Anne Conway in England to Émilie Du Châtelet in France, many women played significant roles in the development of modern philosophy, but their contributions have often gone unnoticed.”)

related:

Finding Philosophy’s Female Voices. Ferreri, E., Duke Today (Mar. 2015).

Throw a Dinner Party with This Creepy Tableware and Watch Everyone Run Away. Zuras, M., Munchies at Vice (Mar. 2015). [WANT. –Ed.]

ronitbarangateacupI can haz dis teekup nao plz.

Homeopathy not effective for treating any condition, Australian report finds. Davey, M., The Guardian (Mar. 2015). [GTFO. –Ed.]

Anita Sarkeesian Describes the Fury She Cannot Express in Public. RH Reality Check via youtube (Mar. 2015). [VIDEO]

Best State for Business? Yes, California. Winkler, M.A., Bloomberg Business (Mar. 2015). [But high taxes! Evil regulations! BOOOOOTSTRAPPPPPS!!! –Ed.]

White Christian America in Decline: Why Young People Are Sick of Conservative Religion. Marcotte, A., AlterNet (Mar. 2015). (“White Christians are now a minority in 19 states.”) [Needz moar lionz? –Ed.]

Trans woman shows how ‘ridiculous’ bathroom bans are with urinal selfie campaign. Wee, D., Gay Star News (Mar. 2015). [I love everything about this woman’s campaign. Except, of course, the need for it in the first place. –Ed.]

related:

Trans selfies have caught bathroom bans and lawmakers with their pants down. Fae, J., Gay Star News (Mar. 2015).

Twitter Explodes With ‘Rap Albums That Caused Slavery’ After MSNBC Segment. Walsh, T., Talking Points Memo (Mar. 2015). (“Twitter blew up with the satirical hashtag #RapAlbumsThatCausedSlavery on Wednesday morning after a panel on MSNBC managed to blame rap music for a recent outburst of racism at the University of Oklahoma.”) [And I love everything about this too. Except the need for it in the first place. –Ed.]

Why White People Freak Out When They’re Called Out About Race. Adler-Bell, S., AlterNet (Mar. 2015). [An excellent interview with anti-racist educator and author Robin DiAngelo, who wrote the brilliant and insightful 2011 journal article White Fragility we linked for you before. –Ed.]

The melting of Antarctica was already really bad. It just got worse. Mooney, C., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015).

These Badass Feminist Tattoos Are the Perfect Accessory for Smashing the Patriarchy. Bianco, M., Mic (Mar. 2015).

An 11-year-old reported being raped twice, wound up with a conviction. Walters, J., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015). [TRIGGER WARNING: One of the worst stories I have ever heard. And that is saying something, my friends. –Ed.]

Eight Pseudoscientific Climate Claims Debunked by Real Scientists. Holland, J., Moyers & Co. (May 2014).

The Throwback Sexism of Kleiner Perkins. Williams, J.C., Harvard Business Review (Mar. 2015). (“Pao v. Kleiner Perkins is not just about the kind of subtle stereotyping that’s common at many large tech companies. Much of what Pao describes is something quite different: an atmosphere straight from the blatant bias playbook.”)

25 Times Tumblr Told The Truth About Mental Health. Nigatu, H., BuzzFeed (Feb. 2015).

Drones and the rise of the high-tech assassins: How twenty-three innocent Afghani civilians were wiped out by self-deceiving drone operators seven and a half thousand miles away. Cockburn, A., Boing Boing (Mar. 2015). [h/t Julie] [Our tax dollars at work Keeping Us Safe™. –Ed.]

How White Separatists Disable Native American Facebook Accounts. Bogado, A., Colorlines (Mar. 2015).

33 Things That Secretly Want To Kill You. Pulptastic [h/t Julie] [Hahaha. Pareidolia FTW. –Ed.]

Why death rates among white women are soaring. Paquette, D., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015). [SPOILER ALERT! Prescription painkillers. –Ed.]

A Woman Is Writing Feminist Messages On Period Pads And Posting Them Around Her City: One message reads “Imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as they are with periods.” Warren, R., BuzzFeed (Mar. 2015). [Indeed. –Ed.]

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie: The Insidious Threat To Reproductive Freedom. NARAL Pro-Choice America (pdf) (“Anti-choice organizations claim more than 3,500 of these fake clinics are in operation across the country, far outnumbering the ever-dwindling number of abortion clinics.”)

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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.

Ask Iris: WWID?

Loyal Subject™ SJ sent a righteous rant to me and Palace blogger Don Ardell along with following graphic:

homeopathyexplainedThe missive’s subject was “Shame on everyone associated with this.” He wrote:

It is beneath the dignity of human beings living in the 21st Century (or the 20th, or maybe even the 19th, for that matter) to believe in such utter and total nonsense. Yet millions do.

And it is shameful to be associated with the manufacture, marketing, selling and purchasing homeopathic products. (Homeopathy is far from the only quackery, but it is possibly the most ridiculous.)

We are not children anymore, although prodigious numbers of us think and act like low-information ten-year-olds.

In a rational world, CVS would never consider selling totally worthless products. And anyone doing so would be prosecuted, convicted and punished for fraud. By now we should be waaay above this [kind] of shit.

Don and I were in full agreement with SJ’s assessment here, but Don was troubled by something else, too:

Full disclosure: I recently bought CVS. I could say I did it because the company, like Ringling Brothers with elephants, quit the cigarette trade because it was the decent thing to do, as well as good business. But, as Tricky D would say, that would be wrong. I did it to make money on a rising stock. And rise it has.

Now this. I face a crisis of conscience. WWID? (Yes, I mean you, Iris.)

Don’s question inspired me to finally coalesce into words some thoughts I had been kicking around for a while spew forth hundreds of words in reply to my poor correspondents. What’s that old saying? “Never ask a question you don’t want answered.” Oh, and “opinions are like assholes: everyone has one.” Here is mine. My opinion, not my asshole. In case that wasn’t clear.

A. WWID? Well, that really is entirely between you and your conscience, Don. My thoughts are these.

For better and for worse, we presently exist in an uber-capitalist hegemon. Participation in this system is mandatory, at least if we wish to have a decent quality of life* (and of course we do). An intelligent, informed and empathic person such as yourself (and SJ) cannot possibly avoid crises of conscience, grounded as our system is in the unjust exploitation of people and natural resources, short-term thinking, rigid class hierarchies and unearned privilege. From all of this necessarily emerges a brutal manifestation of Social Darwinism. Therefore we must make our compromises with conscience, and that starts with acknowledging that we are all hypocrites in ways large and small.

That said, we can certainly make choices that mitigate our hypocrisy. For instance, a major portion of your life’s work is promoting reason and evidence-based thinking in the context of wellness; if we ever rid civilization of the pestilence that is homeopathic “medicine,” undoubtedly that will be the cure (hahaha. so-to-speak). Another example: as you know I am a fierce advocate for a US single-payer health care system, and an unrelenting critic of Obamacare. This terrible health care law was written in large part by Big Pharma to suit itself at grave cost to my fellow citizens. Yet the fact is that I am alive and healthy today because of cutting-edge pharmaceutical research (biologic insulin analogs, to be specific), which—in this system— would probably not be available to me without the incentive of obscene profits for development and manufacturing. Am I a hypocrite? Absolutely. But I still rail on about single-payer, because it is a far superior system by nearly any metric. I also want generous government funding of medical research, the results of which would belong to the public or to nonprofit public partnerships with the private sector. With a “defense” budget greater than that of the next 8 countries combined, we certainly have the resources to spare, and the savings from the efficiency of single-payer alone would finance even more of it.

Similarly, My Amazing Lover™ and I can (and do) drive a hybrid vehicle; we have also made a conscious choice to have none of our retirement savings invested in dirty energy. That doesn’t mean we can avoid filling up the car with gasoline, though, and thus contributing to climate change (to say nothing of the intractable violence and unrest in the Middle East and the profits of defense contractors who benefit immensely from the human misery that ensues).

WE. ARE. HYPOCRITES.

I guess the way I see it is that we have three choices:

  1. Ignorance. We can ignore the facts and their implications, or if we do become aware of them we can ignore our hypocrisy. This seems to come easier for some than for others…
  2. Rationalization. And yes, to some extent that is precisely what I am doing here. But I have more in mind things like “but jobs!” as a rationalization for fracking, say. Or “terrorism!” to rationalize all manner of evils like NSA surveillance and our bloated Military-Industrial Complex. Of course these break down under even the most minimal scrutiny; unfortunately they are not likely to receive even that by mainstream “journalists.”
  3. Subversion. Participate in the system to the extent we can and must, even as we actively seek to undermine it. Audre Lorde said that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house, and in many respects I think she is right. But I also believe that capitalism itself contains the seeds of its own destruction (and of democracy, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). What form that destruction will take is anyone’s guess at this point. But in the meantime, we can loudly advocate for leftist policies, especially with respect to health care, prison, and other arenas where government clearly should be the only institution responsible. Whatever happens, keeping these ideas in the public consciousness is absolutely crucial, if they are to stand a chance of ever being implemented.

Shorter Iris: CVS is hardly the worst purveyor of crimes against humanity; I think you might feel very differently about investing directly in the company that makes the homeopathic product. But again, you are the one who has to draw that line for yourself, and live with it. There can be no lasting shame in playing this game, when it’s the only game in town.

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* “Decent quality of life” has both objective and subjective meaning; it is objective with respect to needs like shelter, food, potable water, basic necessities such as electricity and tools, access to quality health care and education, positive bonds with other humans, safety and security—and, in this day and age, a reliable internet connection. The subjective part is more or less determined by each individual, but it’s important to note that by no means does it exclude altruistic endeavors, i.e. investing one’s time and money in the pursuit of helping others, and leaving this world at least a little better than one found it.

medicare4allOne more thing:nonprofitdefense

 

Recent reads.

library4DOJ Ferguson Report: How Elected Officials Used Racism To Generate Millions In Revenue. Morrison, A., International Business Times (Mar. 2015).

Justice Department Finds Bias In Ferguson But Clears Darren Wilson. India, L., UPTOWN Magazine (Mar. 2015).

U.S. millennials post ‘abysmal’ scores in tech skills test, lag behind foreign peers. Frankel, T.C., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015).

Sh*tting on the Israeli Flag: The Art of Natali Cohen Vaxbergyoutube (Feb. 2015).  (“a short documentary film about provocative Israeli playwright, actress and internet celebrity.”)

Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats? Greenwald, G., The Intercept (Feb. 2015). [To ask the question is to answer it. –Ed.]

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Long History of Crying Wolf About Iran’s Nuclear Weapons. The Intercept (Mar. 2015). (“The Israeli Prime Minister is expected to warn the U.S. Congress an Iranian bomb is imminent — just as he warned in 1992, 1995, 2002, 2009, and 2012.”)

How a Mid-Sized Tennessee Town Took on Comcast, Revived Its Economy and Did it With Socialism. Gibson, C., Nation of Change (Mar. 2015). (“Since its launch, the EPB’s network has proven to be 50 times faster than the average American’s internet connection.”) [But…but…the Free Market™ is superior and more efficient! Also, BOOTSTRAPS!!! –Ed.]

10 Tricks To Appear Smarter In Meetings. Bradford, H., Huffington Post (Mar. 2015). [LOL. -Ed.]

Two headlines perfectly sum up everything wrong with American drug policy. Ingraham, C., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015). [SPOILER ALERT! the headlines are “Colorado sold 17 tons of retail marijuana in first legal year” and “Life in Prison for Selling $20 of Weed“, both of which are well worth reading. –Ed.]

Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work. Appelbaum, B., The New York Times (Feb. 2015).

Bayes’ Theorem with Lego. Count Bayesie (Feb. 2015).

Petraeus reaches deal to plead guilty to misdemeanor; likely won’t face prison. Goldman, A. and Horwitz, S., The Washington Post (Mar. 2015).

At New York Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside. Spencer, K., The New York Times (Feb. 2015). [h/t Sunshine]

Native American Council Offers Amnesty to 240 Million Undocumented Whites. City World News (Jan. 2015). (“They all need to be deported back to Europe,” John Dakota from True Americans said. “They came here illegally and took a giant crap on our land. They brought disease and alcoholism, stole everything we have because they were too lazy to improve and develop their own countries.”) [Hahaha. Perfect. -Ed.]

Schizophrenic Brains Not Fooled by Optical Illusion. Buchen, L., Wired (Apr. 2009).

5 Women Cut from Pop Culture History for Being Too Important. Sargent, J.F., Cracked (Feb. 2015).

The Inside Story Of How A For-Profit College Hoodwinked Students And Got Away With It. Pyke, A., Think Progress (Feb. 2015).

Bush White House’s Repeated Torture Denials Led CIA Torturers to Seek Repeated Reassurances. Froomkin, D., The Intercept (Mar. 2015). [War criminals in the Bush administration lied?! GTFO. –Ed.]

War On Christianity? FBI Hate Crime Statistics Utterly Destroy Fox News Lies. Morris, R., Addicting Info (Feb. 2015). (“in far more cases than not, right wing Christians are the instigators or even the perpetrators of a very large majority of the hate crimes committed in the US… In 2013 there were 7,242 hate crimes committed in the US. In total, crimes against protestant Christians amounted to .0051 percent, a tiny fraction of a percentage point.”)

The cost of getting an abortion is higher if you’re poor. Dusenbery, M., Feministing (Feb. 2015). (“the process of obtaining an abortion could total up to $1,380 for a low-income single mother saddled with charges related to gas, a hotel stay, childcare, and taking time off work. For a middle-income woman living comfortably in a city with no children and public transit options to the clinic, meanwhile, those fees dropped to $593.”…”The idea that it is somehow not a serious burden for someone who is living paycheck to paycheck to be forced to — suddenly and entirely unexpectedly — come up with more than a month’s wages is absurd.”)

Drink In Style At Dear Irving, The Most Gorgeous Bar In Manhattan. Carlson, J., Gothamist (Mar. 2015). [h/t Vanina]

‘Is College Bad for Girls?’ cautionary pamphlet from 1905. Jardin, X., Boing Boing (Mar. 2015). [At least according to this pamphlet, college is absolutely fucking awesome for girls! –Ed.]

Nothing Is Wrong With Your Sex Drive. Nagoski, E., The New York Times (Feb. 2015). [The Palace’s favorite sex nerd and Your Humble Monarch™’s longtime correspondent not only has her first Op-Ed in the NYT, she also has a new book out: Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life. YAY EMILY! –Ed.]

How to Be the Perfect Welfare RecipientFeminace (Mar. 2015). (“where the fuck do people get off trying to talk about welfare while knowing fuck all about it?…allow me to tackle some of those shit excuses for arguments here, where I can be an uncivil as I please.”) [FIVE STARS.Ed.]

The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape. Macfarlane, R. The Guardian (Feb. 2015). [h/t Chris Clarke] [Gorgeous essay! If you love words and good writing, stop whatever you are doing and read this right fucking now. –Ed.]

Pioneering Women of PhysicsPerimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Feb. 2015).(“They discovered pulsars, found the first evidence of dark matter, pioneered mathematics, radioactivity, nuclear fission, elasticity, and computer programming, and have even stopped light.”)

Coalition of Police Officers Heads to D.C. to Demand the Broken and Brutal Police System Be Fixed. Syrmopoulos, J., The Free Thought Project (Feb. 2015).

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For the Palace Quote collection:

If your different-sex marriage isn’t special or “sacred” or whatthefuckever just because more people are allowed to do it, then that’s not a problem with the law; that’s a problem with your marriage. –Melissa McEwan

From Frida Kahlo:

FridaKahloFrida Kahlo
Mexican painter
(1907-1954)

I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damned things have learned to swim.

The most important thing for everyone in Gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody,’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody.

I paint flowers so they will not die.

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.

Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.

I hope the exit is joyful. And I hope never to return.

At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.

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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 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).

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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)

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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

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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]

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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

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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.]

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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

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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.