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Jets Fan Who Stands For National Anthem Sits On American Flag

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This man at Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game respects the United States and its national anthem so much that he turned the country’s flag into a picnic blanket. Reader Marshall spotted the patriot, who is better than all of us, at the Jets’ stadium.

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sandge
4 days ago
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Atlanta, GA, USA
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3 public comments
MaryEllenCG
3 days ago
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I await the legions of Proud Patriots denouncing this man and demanding he be fired.

::crickets::
Greater Bostonia
angelchrys
4 days ago
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It's....it's almost like the issue at hand is *not* respect for the flag, but something else. Hmmmm.....
Overland Park, KS
deezil
4 days ago
Shocking, I know.
acdha
3 days ago
Truly a mystery for the ages
deezil
4 days ago
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WELP.
Louisville, Kentucky

The Game Is Rigged

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The game is rigged.

It’s not a surprise, not a mystery, definitely not news to a majority of the country’s population — women, people of color, the LGBT community, the disabled, immigrants.

But the election of the Naughahyde Narcissist to the Highest Chair in the Land has given 2017 a near-perfect view of the game, exposed — all its crushing gears and choking chains, all the mechanisms laid bare. All the uneven scoring, all the tilted fields, all the corrupt umps.

Harvey Weinstein is a serial abuser, and Hillary gets the blame. The women who never spoke out get the blame. Obama gets the blame. Harvey’s own agency in his own rapist predations is cast further and further from Harvey himself. The women are told, yet again, they were wearing the wrong clothes. That they probably egged him on. And on the other side, the fact they didn’t protest, didn’t fight back against a system that would’ve crushed them, didn’t do more to protect other women, that’s a scarlet letter staplegunned to their sleeve.

Black Americans get executed in the streets by a police force out of control, so Black Americans stand in the streets to defend against that — but they’re tear-gassed, beaten, made to disappear, threatened, sued, told to find a place to protest quietly, peacefully, non-violently. They’re called animals and thugs, treated like criminals even when they’re just standing there. Colin Kaepernick kneels during an NFL game — protesting the deaths of Black Americans quietly, peacefully, non-violently — and he’s a traitor, a quisling, shut up and play ball, dance when we shoot at your feet, hurt yourself for the pleasure of those in the stands. Use your platform for good, they cry, and he does, every day, but they don’t notice, and they don’t care.

Nazis in Charlottesville are just good old-fashioned protesters, though, just exercising their First Amendment Rights — and, more importantly, their Second, am I right? — they’re ‘white activists,’ they’re ‘historical cosplayers,’ they’re ‘Nazi-adjacent freedom-seekers.’ They kill a woman, but it’s okay, and besides, didn’t someone introduce legislation where it would be okay to mow down a protester with a car? That makes it okay. It must.

A white man opens fire in Las Vegas, he kills scores, wounds ten times those that he murders, and so begin the stories of what a good man he was, how nice he was, he was a lone wolf, not one of our tribe, oh no, just a man without a home, a family man, a friendly man — and we’re told now isn’t the time to talk about guns, not now, and not tomorrow because another shooting will come, and not the day after that, because another shooting will come. But he’s not a terrorist, he’s not a thug, not an animal or a criminal, just a good man who went bad. Not his fault. Never his fault. If he were Muslim or black, well… those people…

Puerto Rico drowns in darkness. And it’s their fault. Something about loans or their economy, something about their woman mayor playing politics, and all the while the Ding-Dong Dictator pisses and moans about how now one appreciates him, how no one sees what he’s doing, because really, isn’t he the victim here? Isn’t he the victim because we don’t see the hero that he truly is, our Orange White Man, our Rubbery Russian Puppet, our Inglorious Leader?

Protections for our LGBT population are whittled once again to splinters because really, aren’t protections for them actually the opposite of that for us? What about our freedoms to religiously persecute them? Giving them equal freedom surely, surely means taking away the freedom we have now to discriminate against them. The disabled, too — why should they have access to healthcare and bathrooms and compassion, isn’t it really their fault for being born this way, and if they weren’t born this way, certainly they must’ve done something to deserve it in this Ayn Randian Hellworld we’ve built for ourself, where the rich are special, where geniuses deserve their power, where altruism is a disease and the uneven distribution of wealth is simply a rational principle like the way water and shit both run downhill.

Isn’t it really just about ethics in videogame journalism? It’s definitely not about the unwelcome presence of icky girls or queerness or disability or differently-colored skin in our videogames, oh no. It’s about objectivity in game reviews, obviously, definitely, don’t you say differently, SJWs, or we’ll dox you and SWAT your house and unleash literal years of abuse online, abuse that nobody ever does anything to fix, because that abuse serves the platform on which it is trafficked. And then that platform, unmitigated and unrefined, still trafficking in abuse, will help to elect the Grabber-In-Chief, the Racist Ringleader, the Tiny-Fingered Tyrant, to the most powerful office in all the world, and we will stumble, shrugging, toward nuclear war, toward unstoppable climate change, toward a depressed economy, toward the throat-cutting of American nobility on the world stage…

Toward both the bang and the whimper.

But don’t worry. It’ll be okay.

Are you white? Then we will protect you.

Are you also a man? Oh, boy howdy, then do I have good news for you.

Cisgendered? Able-bodied? Right this way, sir.

Are you wealthy? Then please, accept this bag of money, and this nice car, and this beautiful house, not to mention these endless safety nets, these trampolines to always catch you and bounce you back up no matter how rampant your mediocrity, we will always protect you, here is your blame-resistant tuxedo, here is your bubble of clean air, here is your perfect place at the center of the universe where nothing can touch you, nothing can hurt you, everything is warm like bathwater. Nothing is your fault, don’t worry. You will be safe. Because the game is rigged in your favor. The doors will always open for you. We’ll give everything to you. It doesn’t matter if it destroys the world — there’s an underground bunker with your name on it, and a rocketship that will allow you to depart for cleaner, freer skies.

* * *

I don’t have any good call to action here.

I wish I did.

Just be aware of this stuff, People Like Me. Elevate voices that aren’t your own. Listen to those voices. Hear them. Pass the mic. Boost the signal. When you see the system working for you and against others, say something. Try to do something. Don’t worry about perfect, just be better, for Chrissakes. Stand tall for people who can’t, for people who will be crushed underneath the machine. Get out of the center of the universe. Give money to good causes. Vote for interests other than your own. Find empathy and critical thinking. Do something. Don’t just sit there and be the casual, happy recipient of love and favors. Share the road. And see the game for what it is, and how someone has cheated for you on your behalf.

[Note: comments are on and open, but the spam oubliette is open and ready for trolls and other shitbirds. I need not abide your nonsense.]

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sandge
9 days ago
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Atlanta, GA, USA
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Harvey Weinstein and Other Abusers

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(For those who need it, a warning: I’m talking rape and sexual assault here today.)

First, the latest on Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse of women, from the New Yorker and the New York Times. There are more news stories out there — lots more — but those two cover a lot of ground on the present state of things.

And now, some thoughts, not necessarily in order of importance.

1. Harvey Weinstein is by all indications a rapist and general piece of shit. Just to put that out there up front, so there’s no confusion. He deserved to be fired by his company (as he was) and should almost certainly be in jail.

2. He’s also solely responsible for his own actions. Which apparently comes as a shock to the scads of people who, when the news got out, started wanting to blame prominent film people who knew him (particularly women) for their silence, and the people who worked for him for not taking a stand against him. I’ll get to both of these things in a minute, but look: Harvey Weinstein intentionally and systematically sexually abused women, sexually harassed women and targeted them for sexual coercion. He promised professional advancement and threatened professional oblivion in order to compel sexual compliance, and bribed and threatened women for their silence. And he did this, it appears, over three decades. He owns it.

3. But what about the systematic problem of harassment in the film and television industry, you ask? Well: Yes, it is there, and yes, Weinstein both participated in it and furthered it for his own pleasure, and yes, it needs to be addressed and rooted out, and anyone who sexually coerces another person should be punted hard on their ass. But let’s be clear that Weinstein was not compelled against his will to participate in it and to further it. He did that on his own. He was the author of his own moral story, and his moral story sucks. Acknowledging that Weinstein is solely responsible for his own choices neither ignores or exculpates the systematic issues of the entertainment industry. He raped and assaulted women. He owns that.

4. While we’re on the topic, let’s dispense of some other nonsense. Weinstein tried to imply that coming of age in the 60s and 70s meant his moral compass was pointed a few degrees off true. Well, that’s bullshit; I know lots of people who came of age in the 60s and 70s who know perfectly well sexual coercion and rape is immoral. Pretty much all of them, in fact. Donna Karan (who is apparently one of the few who does not) just made news by sort of airily suggesting that issue with Weinstein was more that he was a symbol of various sexual issues than a real live man who raped and sexually assaulted numerous women, and well. No. It’s possible he is both, but any story framing that attempts to keep his personal actions from being front and center is crap. He wouldn’t be a synecdoche for these issues if he wasn’t a coercive assaulting piece of shit. Any explanation of Weinstein’s behavior that does not center his own choices is a bad one. He’s a grown man. He knew what he was doing, and he knew what he was doing was wrong. He did it anyway.

5. What about the staff at Miramax and The Weinstein Company who knew — or at least could guess — what their boss was up to but did nothing about it? I’m not here to excuse them, and we are all responsible for our moral choices. I am also aware it’s easy to judge when your career and income aren’t riding on the necessity of not looking too closely at what your boss is doing. Bear in mind that the film industry is the industry that perfected blackballing — one day you’re fine and the next no one’s returning your calls. At the height of his powers there’s no doubt Harvey Weinstein could make working in the industry very difficult, and the further down the food chain you were, the more difficult he could make it.

I am fortunate that when I was working for others, I never had a boss whose moral baseline (as far as I knew) substantially conflicted with mine. I was never put in a position of having to cover for, or look away from, a bosses’ actions. I would like to think that if I had been, I would have done the correct thing, even in the face of losing my job. I’d like to think that, but it’s easy to think about what you would do when you’ve never been confronted by that actual decision point.

Again, I’m not here to excuse the moral choices Weinstein’s employees made — or didn’t make — and they’ll have the burden of their choices for the rest of their professional lives. I do know that the burden of their choices was placed on them because Weinstein chose to sexually assault and coerce women. His actions had consequences beyond him.

6. As for the issue of very famous people apparently not knowing what Weinstein was up to, I’m going to tell you a story. In my line of work there was an editor named Jim Frenkel, who worked for Tor, my publisher, and who as it turned out was a harassing piece of shit. It also turned out that he was very good at hiding that fact from his bosses and fellow editors and from authors, like me, who did not fit the profile of the sort of person he liked to harass. I was male, I was already published and successful, and I suspect Frenkel knew I would talk if I found out anything. I found out because Frenkel finally harassed a person who was more than happy to talk out loud about it, and who had people who would amplify her voice. Lots of people lateral to or above his status were shocked. Lots of women below his status asked how the hell the rest of us did not know.

We didn’t know because we didn’t see it personally; we didn’t know because the “whisper network” didn’t reach us. And why didn’t it reach us? Maybe because the women were scared about what Frenkel could do to their careers. Maybe because they assumed some of us already knew and were doing nothing about it. Maybe because some of us were men and the women didn’t want to have to deal with the emotional burden of trying to make us believe harassment was a real thing. “Whisper networks” can be useful, but as my friend Naomi Kritzer noted on Twitter, they’re full of holes. And more than that: They propagate downward and attenuate upward. After a certain height, you don’t hear many whispers.

No one knows a food chain better than a predator. Harvey Weinstein was not going to prey near or above his station; doing so served none of his purposes and represented risk. He wasn’t going to prey on (say) Meryl Streep or Hillary Clinton, and the chances that someone he would prey on would be able to tell either of those two women — or other women of a similar stature, or men on the same level — was pretty slim, and what reaches someone at that level is often spotty and inconclusive, for all the reasons noted above.

(Please note I’m not originating these observations; check out this Twitter thread yesterday from a woman screenwriter which makes basically the same point. It’s not the only thread like it out there.)

This doesn’t mean no people above certain level didn’t know. But it does mean predators are good at hiding their tracks, or at least making their path confusing. It also means that predators know how to leverage their power — and in the case of Harvey Weinstein, he was very powerful indeed.

And for the women of power who did know and who kept quiet, or at least quietish: Surprise! This is where the systematic sexism and harassment in the film/TV industry raises its head. You knew it would show up sometime!

7. Anyone who voted for an admitted sexual predator for president who is now blaming women for not knowing or not confronting Harvey Weinstein: Sit the fuck down. You don’t even have the veil of plausible deniability to cover the fact that you helped make Mr. “Grab ‘Em By the Pussy” the President of the United States. You knew and you didn’t care. To go after Clinton because she knew Weinstein after you cast your vote for Trump, well, shit. Got a Bible passage for you, son.

And, not that I’ve seen it, but in case it’s out there (and it probably is, somewhere): Anyone defending Weinstein on the basis of his ostensible politics or because of the great art he’s helped produce, you can sit the fuck down, too. The correct politics and the ability to spot good films and filmmakers isn’t a pass for being sexually coercive and a rapist. I’m happy to cede this piece of shit human has very fine taste in cinema. He’s still a piece of shit human.

8. I’m all for condemning both Trump and Weinstein, and any other man who uses his power to sexually coerce other people. Weinstein is a liberal and Trump is, well, whatever the hell he is (white supremacist authoritarian populist masquerading as a conservative), but both are men who have decided that they get to force themselves on women, and women should be happy or at least quiet about it. There’s no political angle to it; or more accurately, certain men of any political stripe seem happy to be predatory pieces of shit. Nor should there be any political separation to the solution to this problem: Kick all that shit to the curb.

9. And of course some of the backlash from this is that some men in corporate settings are now avoiding women, which makes me want to smack my head and wonder what the fuck is wrong with my sex. The solution is not to cut women out of your professional life, you assholes. The solution is to fix your goddamned corporate culture and root out the sexual harassers and predators so neither you nor any woman have to worry that a closed-door meeting means a quick two-step to the HR department. Redlining women from professional advancement because you don’t know how else to deal with the issues of harassment and predation means you are the problem, not them.

10. Harvey Weinstein is a piece of shit, but he’s not the only piece of shit out there. The film/TV industry has a sexism and harassment problem, but it’s not the only industry with a sexism and harassment problem. Today is Weinstein’s moment in the barrel, and he should be shot to the moon for it. But there’s a whole line of dudes waiting after him, starting from the president and working on down.

All of which you would know already, my dudes, if you listened to women and believed them. I’ve been working on that one myself a lot recently. I’m not perfect, but I like to think I’m getting better at it. We’ll see. Maybe you should make an effort at it too, if you’ve not done so already.


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sandge
9 days ago
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Atlanta, GA, USA
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The Selfishness of It All

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I’m warning you in advance this is going to be another rambling post.

Yesterday I was looking at the pictures of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, and I made it a point to read every bio that was provided. I figured it was the least I could do, because I know we aren’t going to do a fucking thing as a country to honor their memory with any meaningful action on the gun front. I was just struck, with few exceptions, how young they all were-

Quinton Robbins was 20. When I was 20, I was living in Germany, serving in the Army, and just having the time of my life. Seeing new things, doing something important for the first time in my life, on my own, paying my own bills, and making friends that I still to this day keep in touch with pretty regularly.

Sonny Melton was 29. When I was 29 was at the tail end of grad school, and I still went to a lot of concerts and went out all the time and was still pretty wild. That could have been me.

Rachael Parker was 33. When I was 33 I didn’t have my life in any sort of order, but I was finally making decent money and could afford to do things, and I had Tunch and lot of close friends.

And on and on and on. And now, they are just all gone. They are no more.

I know we have all sorts of differing opinions on the afterlife, but mine is pretty simple. When you’re dead you’re dead. That’s the ballgame, as they say. Roll the credits. It’s just over.

I know that’s really hard for people to comprehend, so that’s why I think we have so many myths made up to comfort people about the afterlife, because it’s really hard to contemplate not existing or the world continuing to exist without you- all of us are to some degree egocentric in that way. We’re the only thing that has been with us our entire lives- you always have to live with yourself, because you never go away until you go away.

And the euphemisms to soothe us- passed away, moved on, is in a better place, the long sleep. I find it hard to put a finger on, too. The best way I’ve come to imagine what the world would be without me is to try to think back to my earliest memory as a child, and then to go farther into nothingness. Just a void- you can’t remember any more before that. Well, that’s what it will be like when we are gone, I think.

And when you are dead, that’s the end of experience. On the drive home today I picked up a small Coke slush and had a sip and just smiled because it was so good. I listened to Kendrick Lamar DAMN. for the fifth or sixth time, and this time, for the first time, I kind of got it (you have to listen to it in reverse order). His others all made “sense” musically the first listening, especially Good Kid, which is another one of those perfect albums. And it happened while I was cruising along on the highway, with my polarized sunglasses on so everything looked so precise because my eyes didn’t have to filter out the glare, the fall foliage was amazing, the sun was filtering through the thick rain clouds that are a consequence of Hurricane Nate, the windows were down and the pollen was low and I just had that rushing “Oh, I think I get it and appreciate it now” feeling and the hair on my arms stood up a little bit. Later on I was driving down the back roads, and the smell of leaves and manure and the sweet country air filled the car, and I saw a beautiful Holstein just sitting down by the fence, chomping away, twitching her tail and I pulled over and watcher her for a bit.

None of those fifty dead will ever get to experience anything like that ever again. Not the feel of clean sheets, the cold floor when you wake up, the burst of hot water in the shower, the minty taste of toothpaste on a new tooth brush, the aroma of the morning coffee, or the feel of your kid’s hands as you walk them to the school bus or kiss your lover again. They will never get any of that ever again. Those things are just gone for them.

And this is where some will inevitably say but their memories will linger on. No they won’t. More than likely, history will not remember them as people- they might be known for a while as victims, but who they are as people will die off in a couple generations, as their loved ones move on. There have been billions of people- history remembers very few. Maybe if they had lived full lives, one of them might have done something extraordinary in the historical sense, but I doubt it. And I’m not saying that to be an asshole- people do extraordinary little things every day, from things as simply as slamming on the brakes to not hit a squirrel or saying something kind to someone who is having a bad day. Time washes all the stuff but the greatest achievements away- the Grand Canyon wasn’t always so grand.

It’s a fragile and short and wonderful thing being alive, and your life is really, truly, the only thing you have in this world. And that’s what is so damned maddening about these shootings. All of those people had the only thing that mattered stolen from them, literally robbed at gunpoint, just so a few people retain their unfettered right can have a little killing machine that makes their dick hard or gives them a grin for ten seconds at a firing range.

It’s sick. It’s a sickness. Like I said earlier, you have to live with yourselves your whole life, and I just don’t know how these people who oppose all gun control do it. There is just something wrong with them. They are broken. And worse still are the politicians who oppose it for a few coins and some political power.

Some of them, I suspect, know it, which is why they rely on nonsense arguments like “more people are killed by cars” or all the other bullshit that gets churned up. They’ll tell you if we ban guns only criminals will have guns. OK. Then we lock them up until we get all the guns. We can change- there used to be a time when there weren’t seatbelts in cars. Or “We can’t confiscate all guns.” Sure we can. It will just take time.

But even assuming they are right, why the fuck does it hurt to try?

Again, it’s a sickness. And everyone who continues to fight for the right to unfettered access to guns is complicit. They didn’t pull the trigger, but they might as well have.

It’s just a level of selfishness that I will never ever ever understand.

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sandge
11 days ago
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Atlanta, GA, USA
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Ears

1 Comment and 4 Shares
My theory is that most humans have been colonized with alien mind-control slugs that hold the earbuds for them, and the ones who can't wear earbuds are the only surviving free ones.
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sandge
14 days ago
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Atlanta, GA, USA
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1 public comment
roofuskit
14 days ago
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Every day...

Worrying Scientist Interviews

4 Comments and 12 Shares
They always try to explain that they're called 'solar physicists', but the reporters interrupt with "NEVER MIND THAT, TELL US WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE SUN!"
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sandge
23 days ago
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Atlanta, GA, USA
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3 public comments
jad
23 days ago
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Nightmare scenario: local journalist interviewing a panel of arachnologists
Rockville, MD
alt_text_bot
23 days ago
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They always try to explain that they're called 'solar physicists', but the reporters interrupt with "NEVER MIND THAT, TELL US WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE SUN!"
mareino
23 days ago
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Off the scale bad: you are a minor character in a movie, and your scene is interrupted by the TV news.
Washington, District of Columbia
HarlandCorbin
23 days ago
Not sure if the marine biologist should be much further down or higher. I'm ~6 hrs drive or so from the coast.
rraszews
23 days ago
If it's national news, lower. If it's local news, much, much, much higher.
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