Ella Whelan: We need to start telling the image censors to back off (Spectator)
Almost two and a half years ago, feminists called on Transport for London to remove adverts of a scantily-clad Australian from the tube. Protests against the infamous 'beach body ready' adverts claimed that showcasing a woman in a bikini to peddle weight-loss pills was offensive to women. Apparently the sight of a skinny woman was upsetting to all of us non-skinny women.
Josh Marshall: Do What I Want'n No One Gets Hurt, Alright? (TPM)
Setting aside any moral calculus, this is folly in political terms. A lot of Senate Republicans get this. This hurts millions of Americans. But Trump is doing the damage in plain daylight. He's shooting himself without even realizing it. If the 'deal' Trump wanted was one that helped people, Democrats might face a dilemma over whether to follow their political advantage or making good policy. … But there's no conflict. For Democrats politics and policy line up entirely.
Marc Dion: Trump Should Take the Rap (Creators Syndicate)
It took black football players to show us what the flag really means, and what a lot of white people think it means. Maybe 100 black rappers can finally get everyone to understand what Donald Trump really means.
Lenore Skenazy:"It's a Dog's Life (And I'm Envious)" (Creators Syndicate)
Pet owners, I know your animals are cherished members of the family. What they aren't, however, are neurotic 21st-century Americans. So why are we starting to treat them that way? For instance, there is flavored water for dogs these days, the options ranging from spearmint to peanut butter to parsley.
Susan Estrich: Be Well (Creators Syndicate)
The Trumps have nothing to worry about. They have federal-government insurance - one of the best plans that money can buy, with the most options and the most comprehensive coverage. It's good enough for the Trumps - though they are, after all, among the very few Americans who could actually afford to pay for their own health care if they got sick. This is not the 1 percent but the 0.1 percent. Lucky them.
Susan Estrich: Old Dogs (Creators Syndicate)
Judy couldn't get up this morning. She's 14, my oldest, and she's named after my best friend, who died. A brilliant idea, it seemed, at the time. I was missing her, and this would be a way to talk to her every day. The first Judy taught me not to be afraid of dogs. It sounds silly, but my mother raised me to fear them. She couldn't bear the thought of losing a dog, so we never had one; my mother was so afraid of life that sometimes it seemed she hardly dared to live.
Froma Harrop: Will You Wed Work Till Death Do You Part? (Creators Syndicate)
Savvy Americans with high net worth seem quite able to guarantee clear sailing in retirement. Others who don't plan, can't plan or are in too desperate straits to put anything aside may end up working for the rest of their lives. That presupposes they can work. What if they can't?
Froma Harrop: A Nobel Prize for Cosmetic Science? (Creators Syndicate)
Warning: What follows here is of no national consequence whatsoever.
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Michelle in AZ
Predator doesn't know who the president of the Virgin Islands is, but Twitter does.
We are all only temporarily able bodied.
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
"REFUGEES" ARE HUMAN BEINGS.
GOING FOR THE RECORD!
THE RACIST WHITE MEN!
BURN! BABY, BURN!
EAT THIS DEADBEATS!
THE RISE OF SATAN.
THE RISE OF SATAN! PART TWO.
THE RISE OF SATAN! PART THREE.
SATAN RISES! PART FOUR.
'HE BELIEVES HIS OWN LIES'
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
One of my favorite movies, Night of the Living Dead was on last night, and I stayed up way too late watching it.
My first viewing of it was decades ago, on Chiller Theater, hosted by Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille at 11:30pm, Saturdays, on WIIC in Pittsburgh.
For 4+ years I spent almost every Saturday night babysitting, and watching Bill Cardille & Chiller Theater.
Bill Cardille also played a reporter in Night of the Living Dead.
So, for years after I left PA, whenever I felt a tinge of homesickness, all I needed was to see Night of the Living Dead - it was my first VHS purchase, and also my first DVD.
Here's Chilly Billy.
Pulled From Mississippi School
'To Kill A Mockingbird'
Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" was removed from the 8th-grade curriculum Thursday at a Biloxi, Mississippi, school. Administrators from the Biloxi School District worked in conjunction with the Biloxi Junior High School's English department to remove the classic novel because it "makes people uncomfortable," according to reports.
Several complaints emerged about the book's content, citing the language as a reason for concern. Administration and department heads also determined that the lesson's conveyed within Lee's 1960 novel set in Alabama during the Great Depression can be taught through other books, which led the school to cycle it out of its curriculum - a change that is said to occur periodically.
"To Kill A Mockingbird" was previously an integral part of the 8th-grade curriculum. Students were required to partake in several formative and summative assessments on the book, including an argumentative essay.
The book will still be available at all Biloxi school libraries.
Some Twitter users were baffled by the sudden curriculum change. Many considered the modification to be "sad" because the book is "too important." Several echoed that books like "To Kill A Mockingbird" are essential because of the "hatred and racism" embedded in American society. Others argued that the book should remain in school classrooms because of the teachable lessons.
'To Kill A Mockingbird'
Stripped of Academy Membership
The Board of Directors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has stripped disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein of his membership in the organization.
The move comes after a New York Times report that alleged decades of sexual misbehavior by Weinstein, and a New Yorker story that brought more disturbing details to light, including allegations of rape. Further accusations surfaced throughout the week.
In its statement, the Academy emphasized that its decision was about more than just Weinstein.
"We [have voted to expel Weinstein] not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over," the statement reads.
The Academy's decision also follows the British Academy's announcement last week that that organization had suspended his membership.
'Just Not What I Do'
In the ratings battle between the late night hosts, Jimmy Fallon is currently in danger of slipping to third place behind Jimmy Kimmel. Fallon already lost claim to the top ratings spot to Stephen Colbert earlier this year, but now a once huge lead over the other Jimmy has evaporated to just a few hundred thousand viewers.
The dramatic downward trajectory is likely due to Fallon's decision to refrain from having hard-hitting segments about President-for-now Donald Trump's (R-Crooked) administration, while Colbert and Kimmel have had massive success doing just that.
Amid the ratings drop (and to promote Fallon's new children's book, Everything Is Mama), fellow NBC show "Sunday Today" will have Fallon on for an interview about "The Tonight Show" this weekend. As a teaser, "Today" released a segment of the interview where host Willie Geist asks Fallon why he isn't going after Trump.
"It's just not what I do," Fallon said in response. "I think it would be weird for me to start doing it now. I don't really even care that much about politics. I've got to be honest. I love pop culture more than I love politics. I'm just not that brain."
Critics have branded Fallon as being too soft for these times ever since he had Trump on as a guest back during the current president's candidacy. In that interview, Fallon infamously ruffled Trump's hair.
Illustration Sells For Record
An original illustration for the cover of one of the early Asterix comic books sold for a record 1.4 million euros (1.7 million dollars) at auction on Friday, more than seven times its expected price, an auction house announced.
The drawing for "Asterix and the Banquet" ("Le Tour de Gaule" in French), signed by the creators of the legendary series, Albert Uderzo and Rene Goscinny, was sold by the Drouot auction house in Paris.
The story, first published as an album in 1965, recounts the travels of shrewd Gallic hero Asterix and his rotund sidekick Obelix as they travel round France collecting local delicacies and wine.
It had been expected to sell for 180,000-200,000 euros, a statement from Drouot said.
Another cover illustration for the "Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield" volume sold for 1.2 million euros.
Also A Misogynist
White Nationalist Richard Spencer's tiki torch rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his distant dream of forming a white ethnostate steal headlines, but his views about women-that their role in politics be shrunk down to a barely visible place that would be unrecognizable to almost anyone in modern America-is seldom highlighted.
I spoke to Spencer this week, and in the context of a discussion about two documents that he admires, the American Naturalization Acts of 1790 and 1795, laws that once set out rules for the United States in limiting naturalization to only free white persons of good moral standing, I pointed out that the U.S. was a fundamentally different country at the turn of the 19th century. More specifically, I asked him if he wanted to return to a time in which women weren't allowed to vote.
"I'm not terribly excited about voting in general," Spencer said. "I think that mass democracy is a bit of a joke to be honest."
The subject of misogyny in alt-right circles has been well documented, not only in terms of its prevalence in the movement, but as being a fundamental part of why the movement exists in the first place. Angela Nagle, a leftist writer, for example, catalogued the movement's journey from frequently apolitical, primarily misogynistic threads on the imageboard site 4chan into the kind of "blood and soil" racial nationalism embraced by men like Spencer in her book Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right. But Spencer's comment perhaps hints at how he and other alt-right leader's views about women might manifest in terms of actual policy, should they be able to gain direct access to the levers of power.
"Women should never be allowed to make foreign policy," he wrote about then candidate Hillary Clinton in September of 2016 on Twitter. "It's not that they're 'weak.' To the contrary, their vindictiveness knows no bounds."
'A Malignant Narcissist, A Sociopath and A Racist'
A special adviser to the UN has launched into an extraordinary outburst against Donald Trump (R-Odious), calling him a 'malignant narcissist, a sociopath and a racist'.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at Colombia University and special adviser to several UN secretary generals, made the comments on Radio 4's Today Programme this morning.
Speaking about The President-for-now, he told presenter Sarah Montague: 'I believe on an individual level he is profoundly psychologically ill.
'He is a malignant narcissist and he is a sociopath and he's a racist so so we've seen all of that unfold. It's hard to say it but this is the grim reality that we face right now.'
Keeps Getting Worse
Record numbers of Americans are obese, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obesity means having a body-mass index of 30 or over, whereas a BMI of between 25 and 29.9 earns the classification of "overweight." (It's worth noting that the BMI measurement system is controversial among physicians.)
More than 70% of Americans are now either obese or overweight by this measure. However, the statistics are particularly worrying. Almost 40% of adults are obese. The childhood obesity rate, for ages 6-19, has increased to 20%.
Childhood obesity is linked to increased mortality rates in adulthood, and obesity can lead to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
It's hardly a uniquely American problem though - the World Health Organization (WHO) warned this week that the number of obese kids and adolescents has risen tenfold over the last four decades, around the world.
A federal plan to let hunters shoot trumpeter swans has drawn fire from some of the people who toiled to bring the majestic white birds back from the brink of extinction.
Trumpeter swans, North America's largest waterfowl species, have made a comeback in recent decades thanks to efforts to reintroduce them to their former breeding range. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a plan that would let hunters shoot them in several states that allow the hunting of tundra swans, a more numerous species.
"Trumpeter swans are a conservation success story," said Brad Bortner, chief of the service's migratory bird management division. North America's population is estimated at more than 63,000 adult birds and it's growing by more than 10,000 a year, he said.
No state is currently proposing trumpeter swan seasons, he said, and the proposal is mostly aimed at protecting tundra swan hunters in five states who may mistakenly kill trumpeter swans. But he acknowledged the proposal opens the door to the possibility that some states could offer such a hunting season. The soonest the proposal could take effect is 2019-2020 season.
Tundra swans look almost identical to trumpeter swans, especially at a distance, and a tundra swan hunter who mistakenly shoots a trumpeter is subject to a fine. That rarely - if ever - happens. But the risk is expected to grow as trumpeter swans spread from states that have invested heavily in restoration efforts, such as Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan in the Mississippi Flyway.
How Medieval Fake News Brought Down
The declining value of the truth may seem to define a particularly modern phenomenon. This week saw U.S. President-for-now Donald Trump (R-Corrupt) continue his Twitter accusationsagainst so-called "fake news"-after a year in which Oxford Dictionaries made post-truth the word of the year for 2016. This trend reflects an apparent shift into an age where politicians and campaigners jettisoned their traditional desire to avoid being caught telling blatant, demonstrable lies. Yet of course, as the ancients knew, there is no new thing under the sun.
If there were ever such a thing as a post-truth era, it began precisely 710 years ago, at dawn on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, in the kingdom of France. On that day, government agents swooped in on every property belonging to the world-famous Knights Templar, arrested their members on false charges and began a process of interrogation, public examination and reputational demolition that ended four and a half years later with the order being dissolved. Though the events of that day are not the source of superstition about Friday the 13th-contrary to rumor-they do hold lessons for today.
The Templars were a medieval military order, set up during the crusading period, named for their initial headquarters on the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif) in Jerusalem. They recruited western, Christian warriors who took an oath to live quasi-monastic lives devoted to the principles of chastity, poverty and obedience, and wore iconic uniforms of black or white robes emblazoned with a red cross.
The methods used to bring down the Templars were chillingly efficient and post-truthy as hell. Prior to the Friday 13th arrests, the king's ministers had spent more than a year interviewing disgruntled former Templars and compiling a small, questionable, sexed-up dossier of supposed misdeeds, including allegations that Templars had spat on the cross, denied Christ, kissed one another in homoerotic induction rituals and worshiped false idols.
Over several years, this medieval "fake news" was repeated over and over again, its loudness and frequency making up for the fact that it was a lie, until in 1312 a council of the Church reached the conclusion that the Templars' name had been so blackened the order's members ought to be forcibly retired.