Recent reads.

library4

Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants. Timberg, C., The Washington Post (Sep. 2014).

Newest Androids will join iPhones in offering default encryption, blocking police. Timberg, C., The Washington Post (Sep. 2014).

7 Famous Artists You Didn’t Know Were Perverts (Pt. 2). Lacerda, R. and Hossey, M., Cracked (Sep. 2014).

Another week, another atheist demands we call his sexism not-sexism. (This time, Sam Harris.) Marcotte, A., Raw Story (Sep. 2014).

Poverty and Language Development: Roles of Parenting and Stress. Perkins, S.C. et al., Innov Clin Neurosci. (Apr. 2013). (“with poverty, disparities in the development of language processing are arguably among the most consistently found— with decreases in vocabulary, phonological awareness, and syntax at many different developmental stages.”)

A New Yorker Expertly Teaches The Unwritten Rules Of Living In NYC In These Illustrations. Marino, A.S., Distractify (Sep. 2014).

If you’re a feminist you’ll be called a man-hater. You don’t need rebranding. Penny, L., The Guardian (Oct. 2013).

Feminists are not responsible for educating men. Winterfox, C. (Oct. 2013).

5 Things I Learned as a Sex Slave in Modern America. Evans, R., and Anonymous, Cracked (Sep. 2014).

Spanking Is Great for Sex. Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting. Keenan, J., Slate (Sep. 2014).

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NOTE: The acquisition of links for the Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual. Except for Amanda Marcotte’s piece on Sam Harris up there—that one gets the Palace Seal of 100% Approval™.

Major Award: Badass of the Day.

Tiana Ramos hails from Front Royal, a Northern Virginia town of 14,000 people, that lies within commuting distance from Washington, DC. Ramoa is a 17 year old high school senior, who opened her own bakery at a local mall in June. Naughty Girls Donut Shop is a kitschy mash-up of Tiana’s twin passions for World War II-era pinup art (Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Bettie Page) and rockabilly culture; it evokes a 1950’s diner, splashed with hot pinks and bold reds, black-&-white tile floors, and glass showcases glistening with gooey confections. Tiana’s mom (and business partner) Natalie describes the place as “rockabilly and fun, family friendly, chalkboard walls, bring your kids, you can have them standing on the table, we don’t care.”

donuts2Tiana and a handful of her staff bake donuts every morning before their school day, then return for shifts afterward; she also works every weekend. Her employees “have all been through tragedies in their past,” she says, “between bullying or fighting with their parents so that they are no longer living with their parents, or living in a car.” She hopes her bakery will provide a refuge for anyone bullied at school, or who feels they don’t belong in Front Royal.

wakinbaconThe Waken Bacon.
A Madagascar vanilla yeast donut topped with caramel espresso glaze, crispy country peppered bacon and homemade toffee bits.
(I iz dyin’…)

The “naughty” in the name gives a flirty wink to the portraits on the walls—and to those calorie-laden confections we all know we should probably resist, but don’t stand a chance. (Ingredients are sourced from local farmers when possible.) “Naughty” is also a nod to Tiana’s personality: “I dress like a total rebel,” says Tiana. “I got ripped jeans on and have shirts that have my favorite bands on it.” Moreover, “I have tattoos, and I don’t dress like the good kid that goes to church every Sunday.”

talkdonutsIn other words: Tiana Ramos is a lovely, fun-loving teenager—if considerably more ambitious than most.

donutfriedchicken

Donut Fried Chicken. Chicken fried in donut batter, with Honey Pecan Glaze.
Also available: Sriracha Glazed, Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Orange Chipotle Glaze, Jalapeno Herb Glaze and Traditional Buffalo Sauce.
(All entrees come with a side of donuts because of course they do.)

irisdonutTiana donates considerable time and money to her community, so far contributing more than $28,000 to support local businesses, and $2,000 to purchase back-to-school backpacks for underprivileged kids. She supports the local homeless shelter, 4-H club, athletic associations and high schools, Elk lodges, hospitals and charities. She was recently awarded a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America. Oh, and she mentors younger high school students harboring entreprenurial ambitions.

Very “naughty,” indeed.

tripletreatsO. M. F. G.

Now readers might be under the impression that all of this would be enough to merit Tiana Ramos the elusive and highly coveted Perry Street Palace Major Award for Badass of the Day™. And I have to tell you, it would be a close call. But what catapulted her over the top is something she said—but we’ll get to that in a minute. First a little background (via Raw Story):

[T]he store’s name, and its framed artwork featuring photos of Marilyn Monroe and Betty Page, have drawn the ire of “a strong Conservative Alliance group” in the town, accusing Ramos and her business of promoting promiscuous behavior.

Within a week of opening, the teen’s mother said, someone drove past and threw garbage at the door.

“They literally threw trash at the door and said, ‘Naughty girls burn in hell,’” said Natalie Ramos. “I started bawling, right there.”

Harassment from cretinous conservatives has continued online: Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and email. Here’s one:

lanapooleemail

Comment: That is a ridiculous name for a donut shop, especially if you want customers! Perhaps you only want to attract male customers. I can assure you that I WILL NOT be patronizing your establishment, and will be sure that none of my friends will. I have a feeling we won’t have to worry about you for long.

Some outfit called “Local Catholics of Front Royal” are threatening a boycott, and a whisper campaign got back to the shop when the mother of a Naughty Girls employee reported being asked to boycott because…their logo features a stylized devil’s tail.

naughtygirlslogoThe road to hell is paved with…delicious donuts.

evilhussies“They were talking about how the girls look like hussies. They didn’t talk about the food or the service,” Natalie Ramos said. “They were saying that the shop represents sluts and anyone who works there is promiscuous. It was a lot of negativity that didn’t need to be there.”

“I wish they would actually get to know me, because I’m not the person they think I am,” Tiana said.

Oh, I don’t know about that. Maybe you are, Tiana. You’re an ambitious, grounded, talented, independent, amazing young woman. And that’s exactly what terrifies them.

Fort Royal, as it turns out, has recently seen some other newsworthy happenings: the town has been embroiled in a heated controversy over efforts to overturn a decades-old ban prohibiting fortunetelling, “gypsies” and other “magic arts.” You see, some residents really want to keep that important ban (which by the way has never been enforced) on the town’s books because they fear—I shit you not—“Satanism.” (Note: The Palace does not endorse con artists plying their trades on the unwitting and desperate, and that goes for clergy, too, who are spewing exactly the same supernatural bullshit. But the fact remains that it is all constitutionally protected speech.) Let’s listen in on the Town Council’s public hearing on the witchcraft ban, shall we?

[Resident] Elizabeth Poel asked council why it would take the action to benefit pagans — a small part of the population…Poel also linked the thrift store on Main Street and the tarot-card reading operation to the Center for Workforce Development and its efforts to provide opportunities to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Poel said she surmised the center plans to recruit youth to increase the number of homosexuals in Front Royal.

“We do not advocate abuse or harm to any homosexuals,” Poel said. “Such would be contrary to the virtue of charity. However, homosexuals do not usually extend such charity much less tolerance toward homosexuals who do not agree with them. You need to understand that most parents want neither pagan practitioners nor homosexuals to have access to the minds, bodies and souls of their children.”

Poel told council a “strong connection” exists between homosexuality and paganism.

She seems nice. Not to mention very knowledgeable.

Thomas Centrella spoke against the repeal and warned that the presence of fortunetelling would cause crime to increase in town.

“Do you want it to be your legacy that you are the ones who opened the door in this community to make Front Royal a haven for witchcraft, fortunetelling and other pagan practices?” Centrella asked council. “I guarantee you that no American family, religious or not, will want to raise their children next to a shop that sells fortunetelling, tarot cards, witchcraft and so forth.”

See, Thomas, this is where your disconnect from reality just makes you look silly. Because I can guarantee you that American families are indeed raising their children next to a shop that sells fortunetelling, tarot cards, witchcraft and so forth, on Christopher Street right up the block from where I am presently sitting. (And it ain’t exactly cheap, either).

And speaking of Manhattan:

Eleanor Kelly speaks to Front Royal Town Council at a public hearing Monday on the repeal of a ban on fortunetelling. “I have come from Manhattan where I have seen a multitude of activities and, please, let me assure you that this activity is not one that will keep our community the wonderful community it is and it is in your hands, your responsibility, to keep it.”

Poor Eleanor has been here, and she has seen a multitude of activities! Apparently she missed out on the drag show at Lucky Cheng’s, though, because otherwise she would know that virtually every American community would be improved by that particular…um, multitude of activities. How one could even call Fort Royal a “wonderful community” without a Lucky Cheng’s is frankly beyond me.

(The town council d00ds were evenly split on the witchcraft ban: the mayor broke the tie to overturn the ban.)

But in all fairness, Fort Royal does have one Tiana Ramos going for it. Tiana was asked whether these crackpot loons could convince her to relocate her bakery. “Heck no,” she said. “They’re the reason we’re staying here.”

BOOM. There it is. That is the reason we are pleased to announce that Tiana Ramos is the recipient of the elusive and highly coveted Perry Street Palace Major Award for Badass of the Day™.

tianaramosmajorawardCongratulations. Well done, madame.

tianaramosTiana at the Palace’s award ceremony.

donuts1While I absolutely adore, admire and applaud Ms. Ramos for this statement, it is my fervent hope—and I say this selflessly, with no ulterior motives on my part whatsoever—that as soon as she finishes school, she will open a Naughty Girls Donut Shop in NYC. In my neighborhood. On my block. On the ground floor of my building. IN MY APARTMENT.

She’s going places. Watch her:

Recent reads.

Radioactive Boar Roam The Forests Of Germany. Alford, J., iflscience (Sep. 2014). [WHAT.]

Scalia cited now-exonerated man as reason to support the death penalty. Clawson, L., Daily Kos (Sep. 2014).

After earthquake, Ohio suspends two wells for fracking wastewater. Hayden, J., Daily Kos (Sep. 2014).

Men, Women, and Gods, and Other Lectures. Gardener, H.H. (foreword by Ingersoll, R.G.), Truth Seeker (1885).

Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Breiding, M.J. et al, CDC / 63(SS08);1-18 (Sep. 2014).

It’s Pronounced Metrosexual. (“online resource about snap judgments, identity, and oppression.”)

GoFundMe bans all content “relating to” abortion — leaves antiabortion campaigns active. McDonough, K., (Sep. 2014). (“The crowdfunding site allows users to raise money to ban abortion, but won’t allow women to raise money to get one.”

How Police Caught The Cop Who Allegedly Sexually Abused 8 Black Women. Testa, J., Buzzfeed (Sep. 2014).

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PLEASE NOTE: Acquisition of links for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual.

Recent reads for your infotainment.

PLEASE NOTE: The acquisition of links for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual.

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Online list IDs water wells harmed by drillingAssociated Press via The Wall Street Journal, (Aug. 2014). (“Six years into a natural gas boom, Pennsylvania has for the first time released details of 243 cases in which companies prospecting for oil or gas were found by state regulators to have contaminated private drinking water wells.”)

Pleated-Jeans.com (“no filler, just funny!”)

If Unions Are Breaking Automakers, Why Are BMW and Mercedes So Rich? Hartmann, T., Yes! Magazine (Aug. 2014).

North Carolina brothers declared innocent, freed after 30 years in prison. Maguire, M., Reuters (Sep. 2014).

10 Things The Internet Told Me When I Wrote About My Rape. @missmarcello, Medium.com (Sep. 2014).

6 Things White Parents Can Do to Raise Racially Conscious Children. Ervin, B., Everyday Feminism Magazine (Aug. 2014).

Jacky Fleming cartoons.

Model Shames Swimwear Company For Drastically Photoshopping Her Entire Body. A+ (Aug. 2014).

Drug company admits it concealed debilitating side effects, fatalities from government regulators. Agence France-Presse via Raw Story (Sep. 2014).

Years of Rape and ‘Utter Contempt’ in Britain: Life in an English Town Where Abuse of Young Girls Flourished. Bennhold, K., The New York Times (Sep. 2014).

South Carolina Sued For Forcing Teen To Remove His Makeup: ‘He Needs To Look Like A Male’. Badash, D., The New Civil Rights Movement (Sep. 2014).

Texas pastor demands public library ‘purge’ vampire books: I think it’s dangerous for kids. Dolan, E.W., Raw Story (Sep. 2014).

Why We Didn’t Vaccinate Our Child. Night of the Living Dad (Aug. 2014).

What your 1st-grade life says about the rest of it. Badger, E., The Washington Post (Aug. 2014).

UNDRESS ME.

No, I didn’t accidentally post this blog title instead of texting My Amazing Lover™ at the office. UNDRESS ME is the title of a new short film. Director Tatia PIlieva asked 20 strangers to “undress each other and get in bed. Nothing else. No rules.” (The film was made in collaboration with Showtime for their series Masters of Sex.) The result is oddly engaging, charming and captivating.

You might also enjoy PIlieva’s film FIRST KISS (this one was an ad for clothing company WREN), wherein 20 strangers are asked to kiss for the first time.

Sexy stuff.

Church sign trickery.

[NOTE: sexual content; wanton blasphemy.]

Loyal Readers™ will no doubt recall the Palace’s ongoing mission to extract $82 billion in benefits from the Religion-Industrial-Complex on behalf of U.S. taxpayers, on account of our $82 billion yearly taxpayer subsidies to same. One of the ways we accomplish this is amusing ourselves by regularly mocking a particular church sign in the small town where my mother lives.

This one’s fresh off the godbot brain:

seegodchurchsignDO OTHERS SEE GOD
THROUGH YOUR LOVE?

Hmm. Well sometimes others have claimed to see god when I fuck them. Does that count? Hell, even I am not immune from that delusion myself! But I’m going to have to say no, on account of there being no actual gods to, you know, see. So that’s my final answer.

Wait, was this a trick question?

Republican Governor Wants to Preserve Nevada’s ‘Clitoral Resources’.

Now here’s a Republican governor I can totally get behind, possibly with a strap-on:

A staff member who wrote a gubernatorial proclamation declaring this week State Employee Appreciation Week, when praising the hard work of employees, misspelled the word “cultural” pretty badly, causing it to honor their hard work in protecting the state’s “clitoral resources.”

The proclamation was distributed to some employees before the error was caught and ended up on imgur.com.

Sandoval said his office regrets the error. This document included an embarrassing typographical error,” Sandoval said. “I sincerely apologize for this mistake, and take full responsibility. It won’t happen again.”

Don’t apologize, Governor! You’ve perhaps unintentionally made the most effective effort toward women’s outreach that the GOP has made all year!

On second thought, I’m pretty sure we should not be letting the GOP exploit our nation’s clitoral resources on behalf of their corporatist benefactors. Nothing good can come of this.

Hahaha.

High budget gay porn.

[CONTENT NOTE:  This post contains a discussion of gay pornography, as well as links to graphic, sexually explicit, NSFW content on other websites. If you are under 18 or you find this subject matter offensive or problematic, please go away. I don't know, go visit my zoo or something. Just don't feed the conservatives in the mammal wing.]

The WordPress gods have helpfully informed me that a popular search term that drove people to storm the Palace gates this week was this: “high budget gay porn.” A few weeks ago it was “gay arab porn.” Longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall the genesis of this phenomenon a year ago, with the search phrase “is there any gay porn with decent dialogue?” Then as now, I cannot figure out how this blog turned up in that search, but I am beginning to detect a pattern here: these particular gay porn googlers are nothing if not discerning. And if there is one word I would use to describe my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™, it’s discerning.

So welcome, discerning high budget gay porn googlers! You are among friends here. I myself am an unrepentant snob about many, many things, although I must confess I do not have nearly enough knowledge on the topic to be a snob about high budget gay porn. What I do have, however, is an Official Gay Porn Consultant™, who is “always queer to help.”

He notes that the genre is relatively new, and offers this for my new discerning readers:

Heavy on plot, and shot in gorge locales, these HD fantasies become travelogues with sex! They are often released in both hardcore and less graphic “erotic” versions, so as not to be too distracting to plan the next vacay [at the location].

He offers this as a theory:

I guess gays figured if a cable network could make luxurious, expensive TV movies, the most taste-saturated group on Earth could too!

If, on the other hand, you’re really only interested in high quality HD video production, this site and this one look like they’ve got some pretty slick, bandwidth sucking content. If you know what I mean.

World Aids Day, and a plug for Planned Parenthood

Today is the 25th annual World Aids Day. This piece in The Advocate by Vanessa Cullins, M.D., the vice president for External Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, notes some critical progress against the disease as well as the scope of work yet to be done. Her ambitious call to action is nothing short of achieving an “AIDS-free generation” in less than thirty years.

Of particular note is the disproportionate impact of HIV on sexual minorities and people of color:

In the United States, gay, bisexual, and other “men who have sex with men” have the highest rates of HIV infection in the nation; within this group, young African-American men are at even higher risk. Also among those highest at risk for HIV infection are transgender people, especially African-American transgender women.
And the impact of HIV and AIDS on members of the LGBTQ community goes beyond infection rates. LGBTQ people have unique health care needs: in addition to high rates of stress due to systematic harassment and discrimination — which has been shown to affect physical and mental health — LGBTQ people are less likely to be insured or adequately insured, and are more likely to face discrimination from medical providers. LGBTQ people of color are at an even higher risk for these disparities — which means they often face greater obstacles, delays, and cost barriers to getting testing and treatment for HIV.

Early treatment helps those with HIV live longer and healthier without symptoms, and early treatment reduces risk of HIV spread to others.

Because our government is hopelessly conservative (with all of the inherent corruption that implies), Americans do not have universal single-payer healthcare. The tragedy of AIDS is exacerbated by this inexcusable situation, compounded by piss-poor sexual health education and little or no access to preventive care for teens and young adults. While the ACA promises to make a dent in treatment access for some of those who presently have no health insurance, Planned Parenthood has long been on the front lines in this fight:

On World AIDS Day, as every day, we are committed to helping create the healthiest generation ever, by working to increase sex education and HIV testing, and by helping patients who need additional care connect with trusted, quality resources. These are effective and essential HIV prevention tools.
In 2011, Planned Parenthood health centers provided 680,000 rapid HIV tests (a 16 percent increase from the previous year); reached more than 1 million people through education programs; and served more men than ever — primarily for STD testing services.
By investing in sex education, fully implementing the Affordable Care Act, and increasing access to sexual health care from diagnosis to ongoing treatment, especially for those communities hardest hit — young, black gay and bisexual men, and black trans women — we can help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS and reverse the course of this epidemic.

Remember this next time your congresscritters are willing to cut Planned Parenthood funding. It’s a major health care issue, and at least Planned Parenthood is working to solve it.

All Americans deserve better.

medicare4all

Let’s all undermine NSA porn surveillance.

In the least shocking revelation yet from Greenwald & Co., we learn that the NSA is spying on the online porn proclivities of its surveillance targets—i.e., you, me and everyone else.

Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit ‘Radicalizers’

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target’s credibility, reputation and authority.

Ah! As long as it’s only used against those dastardly Muslims, it’s all good. As we all know, this tactic will never, ever be used against against political dissidents. Despite, you know, all of Western history. Here’s digby:

And why are they doing it? For the usual reasons: defamation and blackmail.

And let’s be honest.”Radicalization” is a very elastic term, isn’t it? It’s not going to just be Muslims, although they are certainly at the leading edge of government paranoia. This is exactly the sort of thing that’s routinely used against political dissidents in times of crisis. We know this because it’s happened. We don’t even have to go back to hoary old 1960s COINTELPRO stuff. Recall that after 9/11 they did stuff like this:

The demonstration seemed harmless enough. Late on a June afternoon in 2004, a motley group of about 10 peace activists showed up outside the Houston headquarters of Halliburton, the giant military contractor once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. They were there to protest the corporation’s supposed “war profiteering.” The demonstrators wore papier-mache masks and handed out free peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches to Halliburton employees as they left work. The idea, according to organizer Scott Parkin, was to call attention to allegations that the company was overcharging on a food contract for troops in Iraq. “It was tongue-in-street political theater,” Parkin says.

But that’s not how the Pentagon saw it. To U.S. Army analysts at the top-secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), the peanut-butter protest was regarded as a potential threat to national security. Created three years ago by the Defense Department, CIFA’s role is “force protection”—tracking threats and terrorist plots against military installations and personnel inside the United States. In May 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy Defense secretary, authorized a fact-gathering operation code-named TALON—short for Threat and Local Observation Notice—that would collect “raw information” about “suspicious incidents.” The data would be fed to CIFA to help the Pentagon’s “terrorism threat warning process,” according to an internal Pentagon memo.

That’s not all, though. One of the things we must understand about all this is the fact that if any part of the US Government dragnet turns up what they think is evidence of a crime, they can pass it on to other agencies. So basically, if they are monitoring all of us,which they are, that means all of our private information can theoretically be used by the government if they can find some connection to a potential crime. All police agencies, whether it’s the DEA or the FBI or Homeland Security (or the Commerce department!) can use such evidence to squeeze possible witnesses, set up stings, infiltrate what they believe to be criminal associations, create informants and otherwise use people who they believe might have something to hide in order to make a case. It’s done all the time. But until now there was no central database available to go fishing in for blackmail material.  (And keep in mind that we now know they routinely go back and dummy up the paper trail so the court and the suspect never knows where the original “tip” came from, a practice that might be understandable if it only pertained to confidential informants, but apparently is also used to cover up government surveillance.)

These programs create a huge, global matrix of associations (and associations of associations) and a massive record of information about individuals, all of which could be accessed to provide the government with private and intimate details that people might not want the world to see and which could be used to discredit them or get them to cooperate. I think we know where this sort of thing can easily lead. It’s not just “terrorism” at stake here. We have an entire police state apparatus that could use this information and no way of knowing how or why they might be allowed to do it.

Clearly, people, as U.S. citizens we need to fuck this shit up. Like our brilliant Brazilian counterparts, we can take matters into our own hands. I propose a three-pronged approach:

  1. Destigmatize sex and kink. This step alone will go a long way toward disempowering hypocritical shitweasels. NEWSFLASH: Lots of people fuck! Including your mom! Also: lots of people like kink! Yep. So? If you have sprogs, make sure your kids understand from an early age that sex is normal, natural, nothing to be ashamed of—and can be an amazing and joyous part of their lives. Promote enthusiastic consent as an inviolable principle.
  2. Demand discovery of the porn viewing habits of anyone presuming to accuse, embarrass or prosecute you—or anyone else. Does anyone seriously believe that the very same panty-sniffers monitoring your online porn habits aren’t getting off on the very same porn they’re monitoring—plus a little voyeuristic boost to boot? Of course not. That’s exactly how we got here in the first place.
  3. MOST IMPORTANT: Fill your browser history with the nastiest, dirtiest, boundary-pushing porn searches you dare. You don’t actually have to view any of it: FFS we don’t get scat—but what’s the harm in running scat videos on mute while I’m out grocery shopping? If this isn’t patriotism, then nothing is. Also, this should go without saying, but just in case:

If you are a hapless sociopath and/or a total dumbass,
DO NOT SEARCH FOR PORN THAT IS ILLEGAL/NON-CONSENSUAL.
E.g., no snuff, no pedophilia.

When in doubt, DON’T CLICK. Mmmkay?

We need everyone on board with this. Get your freak on, people. Otherwise, the terrorists win.