PETITION to UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Kaiser: cover birth control co-pays.

via UltraViolet:

Trump just announced he will take away free birth control from up to 55 million women, claiming it promotes “risky sexual behavior.”

How ’bout you worry about controlling your own sexual behavior, and I worry about mine.

Asshole.

Women use birth control for everything from calming menstrual cramps to family planning to managing crippling pain from endometriosis. In fact, sex becomes a lot riskier without access to birth control.

Gosh, ya think?

This is just the latest attempt by the Trump administration to pander to right wing extremists who want to sabotage women‘s health care.

FIFY. You’re welcome.

The good news is that we can still save free birth control for millions of women who need it. Insurance companies benefit from covering the co-pay–in part because birth control is vastly cheaper than childbirth or endometriosis treatment. Let’s make sure that every single health insurance company, starting with three of the biggest–UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Kaiser–hears from us right away.

Can you sign the petition and help pile the pressure onto insurers to continue to cover birth control?

__________

Under a capitalist healthcare system, rights and access are dependent on a profit motive. Not on what is moral and good and the right thing to do. Not on laws or constitutions. Certainly not on the best health care practices. So we must desperately appeal to the bottom line of a parasitic, profit-driven industry, one whose notorious and egregious abuses are legion, and which in any sane and just society would not even fucking exist.

But here we are. Please sign and signal boost the petition if you are willing and able.

THANK YOU.

medicareforallzstorebanner

Petition to St. Louis Mayor: Protect protesters, investigate cops.

[CONTENT NOTE: white supremacy, racist police violence (no images).]

Please sign and signal boost if you are willing and able. Thank you.

via Color of Change:

Police are out of control in St. Louis, and the Mayor has done nothing to stop them. Over the weekend of protests following the not-guilty verdict absolving Jason Stockley of accountability in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, police have taunted protesters saying Ferguson-era chants like “Whose streets? Our streets?”1–in the same manner of neo-nazi terrorists in Charlottesville2–and police even trampled over an older woman and pepper-sprayed the people who tried to help her.3

Mayor Lyda Krewson still has not condemned the rampant excessive force police are using to suppress the peaceful protesters she claims to support. After the verdict came down, Krewson was quick to express her disappointment and also made a statement in support of the peaceful protest.4 And today she said internal affairs division of the St. Louis police would investigate misconduct. But we know we can’t rely on the police to investigate themselves. We need Krewson to take REAL action to protect protesters. That’s why we’re calling on her to widely condemn any use of excessive force against protesters and call an independent commission to investigate the actions of police during this time. She won’t have a choice if enough of us join together in making the demand. Will you sign the petition?

Tell the St. Louis Mayor: Take a stand against police violence. Protect the right to protest in your city.

This weekend’s events are history repeating itself again and again since the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement. When Black people gather to demand an end to state violence, the state doubles down on the violence people were there to protest in the first place. We saw the St. Louis Police Department’s militarized response to protest in Ferguson in 2014, and we’re seeing it again today. St. Louis police department has one of the highest rates of police-involved killings.5 And instead of encouraging peaceful protest, St, Louis police invoked fear and provoked the confrontation. Using tear gas and riot gear, the police in St. Louis have arrested over 100 people since Friday that the police chief called “criminals.”6

In fact, the St. Louis Police Department has been overstating the supposed crime and vandalism to excuse their overly aggressive actions against mostly peaceful protests. Just yesterday, the police department tweeted a picture of a spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar–a remedy protesters use to alleviate the symptoms of tear gas–and called it a “chemical agent” they confiscated from people trying to use it “against police officers.”7 The truth is that St. Louis police agitated protesters, and none of their actions were centered in de-escalation. They came dressed for a riot. And it’s what they got. Taunting at protesters is not how police officers should be engaging during this time.

It’s unacceptable. Mayor Krewson has said she wants to come together as a united St. Louis–and that means speaking out against behavior that seeks to divide us and push back against the change our communities need. Protest is a right that should be protected. And the actions of St. Louis police need to be investigated by an independent commission immediately.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

— Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Clarise, Anay, Malaya, Enchanta, Katrese, and the Color Of Change team

References:

1. “St. Louis officers chant ‘whose streets, our streets’ while arresting protesters,” Washington Post, 09-18-2017

2. “A new generation of white supremacists emerges,” Louisiana Weekly, 08-21-17

3. “St. Louis cops trample, arrest woman at protest,” New York Post, 09-16-2017

4. “Mayor Krewson’s statement on verdict,” Twitter @LydaKrewson, 09-15-2017

5. “Letter to Mayor Krewson re: Police Conduct at Sunday Night Protest,” ACLU of Missouri, 09-18-2017

6. “St. Louis protests continue, police arrest more than 100 people and vow: ‘This is our city,'” Washington Post, 09-18-2017

7. “St. Louis Police Claim an ‘Unknown Chemical’ Labeled ‘Apple Cider Vinegar’ Maliciously Used Against Them,” The Root, 09-19-2017

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Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

I approve this message.

Today is primary day in NYC, and in a happy turn of fate, my polling place happens to be the amazing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center on 13th Street. As soon as I exited after voting, I spotted one of those big package drop boxes plastered with a graffiti tag and a big blue sticker with white block lettering:

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Dances with trolls.

[CONTENT NOTE: casual ableism]

Our troll story today begins as they almost always do: with an unprompted comment on an oooooold post. Behold my Facebook status from November 10, 2016:

irisselfieGLAM

Iris Vander Pluym
November 10, 2016 

JUST TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR: If you voted for Donald Trump, or you live in a swing state and voted for a third party candidate or declined to vote entirely, UNFRIEND ME. You are now and always will be dead to me.

Now I thought I was being clear and fair. Kind, even, if not particularly nice. I felt that not only was I was doing a service to myself and my own online spaces, but to those who would interact with me, or decide not to. I then went ahead and proactively blocked some people, and apparently I did a pretty good job since only one Trump voter slipped by:

[Former IRL “friend”] Really

Iris Is a dead person trying to communicate with me? No, that cannot be. I don’t believe in ghosts. (Unfriended/blocked)

THE END.

Oh, wait no. NOT the end. Eight months later:

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Beware aggressive, hostile, disease-ridden squirrels, Indiana University warns.

The Indianapolis Star reports:

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is warning about hostile and possibly disease-ridden squirrels.

“Recently, there have been reports of aggressive squirrels around the IUPUI campus,” IUPUI wrote in a Campus Life blog post July 25. “Squirrels may look cute, and they are fun to watch scampering about, but they should not be treated as pets.”

Good luck with that message, IUPUI. I’ve been desperately imploring my own mother for ten years to stop feeding the disgusting monsters, but she will. not. quit. (Then again, I’ve also been telling her I’m a fucking adult for at least twice that long, and she doesn’t accept that either. So.)

Squirrels are known to carry diseases, including rabies, salmonella and even plague, the university said. IUPUI advised students and workers to stop feeding the furry menaces.

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Yeah, I think we’ll be okay here without the Mooch.

I was terribly concerned about a dearth of fantastic blog fodder should the Mooch get the old heave-ho from the White Supremacist House. It turns out that I needn’t have worried.

Washington Post (via email):

Secret Service vacates Trump Tower command post in lease dispute with president’s company

The Secret Service has relocated its command post to a trailer on the sidewalk outside Trump Tower after a lease dispute with the Trump Organization. That means supervisors and agents have moved from one floor below the president’s apartment to more than 50 floors below.

There’s more if you’re interested in reading it. I find that unnecessary.

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Bleecker Street Fair.

Once upon a time, I ran kicking and screaming from the Philly ‘burbs to New York City. Once I got here, I felt like a kid in a candy store. A really fucking great candy store. One that has fantastic toys too. (Also: shoes.) There were, and still are, too many charms and treats to enumerate in a blog post, but a New York summer street fair is definitely near the top of that list.

Some street fairs have specific themes (like food, or art) but my favorites are the more eclectic affairs that feature local artisans and collectors. Sometimes the artisans run the booths, tents and kiosks themselves, and engage potential customers in interesting conversations about their work. It’s like shopping at the ultimate Anti-Mall: there is little on offer here that one can find in a retail chain store. (I often start my winter holiday shopping in July at city street fairs.)

I unexpectedly stumbled into a street fair in my neighborhood on Saturday afternoon. I had very little time, so unfortunately I could only walk about half the length of it. But I wanted to try and capture the experience in photos. For you.

xo
__________

bleeckerfair01

Bleecker Street
between 11th and Bank Streets
July 15, 2017

[NOTE: any unobscured face visible in this post is published with the express permission of said face’s owner. All rights reserved.]

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I will have a personal teleportation device very, very soon.

The first object has been teleported by Chinese researchers from the Gobi desert to an orbiting satellite 500 kilometers above the Earth. The teleported object was a “photon”—which, from what I understand about particle physics (nothing), is not the same thing as a “live human being.” But obviously that technical detail only presents a minor obstacle, one that will undoubtedly be overcome in short order.

The way teleportation works is this: quantum entanglement something something replicating information in space blah blah blah WHATEVER. The important thing to note here is that I have already developed not one but two Sooper Seekrit lists: one of all the places to which I will soon be teleporting myself, and another of all the people I will soon be teleporting to satellites orbiting the Earth.

Needless to say, the squirrels will be joining them.

Blooming on Hudson Street.

Spring in the city = riotous color. Even those of us with the most monochromatic black winter wardrobes – for all intents and purposes a required uniform for living here – yield, however slightly, to bursts of brightness.

And why not? The streets and parks are enchantingly abloom. Apparently miniature daffodils, which I had never seen (or noticed?) before, were all the rage in the Village this April. They are fucking adorable and make me smile. (Okay, or at least make me want to.) Alas, their little yellow petals have just started to crinkle and droop, and now I haz a sad. :(

But all is not lost! Because the tulips have begun crashing their party and stealing their show. Shopkeepers are suddenly engaging in some kind of botany arms race, taking full advantage of urns and planters outside their businesses. Come see for yourself.  Continue reading