Open Thread: RuPaul Is A Wise Soul

And I’m not just saying that because he’s a Clinton supporter (though that doesn’t hurt). In light of his first Emmy nomination, NYMag‘s E. Alex Jung interviewed RuPaul:

What do you think about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats?
[Laughs.] I fucking love them. I have always loved them. And let me just say this: If you’re a politician — not just in Washington but in business and industry, you have to be a politician — there are a lot of things that you have to do that you’re not proud of. There are a lot of compromises you have to make because it means that you can get this other thing over here. And if you think that you can go to fucking Washington and be rainbows and butterflies the whole time, you’re living in a fucking fantasy world. So now, having said that, think about what a female has to do with that: All of those compromises, all of that shit, double it by ten. And you get to understand who this woman is and how powerful, persuasive, brilliant, and resilient she is. Any female executive, anybody who has been put to the side — women, blacks, gays — for them to succeed in a white-male-dominated culture is an act of brilliance. Of resilience, of grit, of everything you can imagine. So, what do I think of Hillary? I think she’s fucking awesome. Is she in bed with Wall Street? Goddammit, I should hope so! You’ve got to dance with the devil. So which of the horrible people do you want? That’s more of the question. Do you want a pompous braggart who doesn’t know anything about diplomacy? Or do you want a badass bitch who knows how to get shit done? That’s really the question…

I wanted to talk about the shooting at Pulse in Orlando. You made a statement at the Trailblazer Awards, and I wanted to hear about when you first heard the news and how it impacted you.
I have a long, long relationship with Pulse nightclub for years and years. It’s a safe space. It’s a safe haven — a place where people can meet our tribe. It always has been. To have it encroached by such an evil force hurts very deeply. I’m 55. I’ve witnessed so many assaults — emotional assaults, physical assaults, all of that. I was assaulted after the first attack, assaulted again just by how the media handled that stuff. So, it was a hurtful situation, and even more hurtful that I don’t believe that we as a people, as a culture, have really learned from it and how to deal with it.

What do you think needs to happen?
We need to talk about the subconscious mind. We need to talk about the hateful darkness that lives in each of us. We don’t all have it to that extent, but we definitely need to shed light on that area of us. All of us have been sold this idea that we deserve the whole world, and that everybody’s going to get the big house, the big cars, the two and a half children, and all of this stuff that the media sells us. And then people who don’t get it get angry. And they say, “Dammit, if I’m not going to get mine, no one’s going to get it!” So we get angry, and from the anonymity of a keyboard online, we troll people, we put them down. Some people go to the extent of killing people or being horrible in that way. And that’s obviously the extreme. But we all have that element. I think the way we approach this is we need to acknowledge that area of our consciousness that lives in all of us, and we need to start that dialogue. We need to recognize it when it pops up.

It’s all throughout the whole Trump thing: Ego wants to divide us up. Ego wants to believe that we’re separate from one another, but the truth is there’s only one of us here. So for us to move forward, we have to acknowledge that element in us, and then when it comes up, say, “Thank you for sharing, but I’m going do this, because I’m not going to act on my fragile ego.”…



Open Thread: When Does “Badly Dated” Age Into “Charmingly Retro”?

Although the novels have not aged well, I’ll always have a soft spot for Patrick Dennis (especially The Joyous Season and The Pink Hotel). His most famous character never stole my heart, but she’s still got major fans, according to Vanity Fair:

Bridesmaids, which was based on many of Annie Mumolo’s experiences serving as a round-the-calendar bridesmaid to her many cousins, resonated with a wide audience, including one revered dramatic actress who became an unlikely pen pal: Tilda Swinton…

“She’s like, from another world,” Mumolo says, in awe of her e-mail pen pal—the type of mythical celebrity who inspires the best fan fiction. “She’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever encountered. She’s so funny. Her e-mails are like works of art, truly. They should be published. The way she communicates is just beautiful and poetic.”

With time, the e-mails built to a professional collaboration.

“She asked me, ‘Have you read Auntie Mame?’” Mumolo remembers, referring to Patrick Dennis’s 1955 novel about a boy and his over-the-top eccentric aunt. “I said, ‘No, I haven’t read the book but I’ve seen the other version of it made into a film version in the 50s.’ She said, ‘Would you take a look at it? I want to see if you are interested in writing a modern-day adaptation.’ I said yes, because you say yes to Tilda Swinton when she asks if you want to do something.

“I read the book and it was one of the most fun reads I’ve ever had. It’s totally different from what I had seen in the movie versions,” Mumolo says. “We had meetings and then, as I got a little overwhelmed with a few other work things, I brought on a co-writer to work together on this, because it’s a huge job and an adaptation. I brought on a friend of mine—Stan Chervin [the Oscar-nominated Moneyball co-screenwriter].”…

But speaking of outdated cartoons…



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Nerd Alert Updates

It’s been a busy week. What else did we miss, while glued to the DNC news? What’s on the agenda for the weekend?

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From NYMag‘s Vulture blog:

Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of the beloved book A Wrinkle in Time just got blessed from on-high, as Oprah Winfrey has entered final negotiations for the role of Mrs. Which. Mrs. Which is one of three celestial beings that accompany the story’s protagonists on their journey to find the father of the only girl in the group, Meg…

DuVernay has not directed a feature film since 2014’s Selma, which also featured Oprah, flung both her and star David Oyelowo into the mainstream consciousness. She famously turned down an offer to helm Marvel’s Black Panther, saying she didn’t know if she could give it the identity of “an Ava DuVernay film,” but apparently felt comfortable enough with Marvel’s parent company, Disney, to proceed with bringing Madeleine L’Engle’s story to life under their banner. You will be able to give DuVernay and Oprah more of your money sometime in 2017.

pokemon no keith knight

(Keith Knight via GoComics.com)
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Saturday Afternoon Open Thread: Graphic Images

My inner teenage comix geek still gets excited when new, diverse writers get top billing… especially when they’re highlighted in the NYTimes!

Her story, written with Mr. [Ta-Nehisi] Coates, will follow Ayo and Aneka, two lovers who are former members of the Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s female security force. “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that,” she said.

The first issue of World of Wakanda will include a 10-page second story by Ms. Harvey about Zenzi, a female revolutionary who incited a riot in the first issue of the Black Panther series. Mr. Coates, who recruited both writers, said he thought it was important to have female voices help breathe life into these characters. “The women in Black Panther’s life are very, very important,” he said…

Apart from celebrating a wider world inside our imaginations, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

(Yup, that’s great, too.)



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Uptown Sophisticates

tweedles anne m

From commentor Anne M:

Meet the Tweedles, a.k.a. Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The picture was taken during a relatively calm moment – these 8-month old kittens go balls-to-the-wall most of the time. They were feral kittens who were rescued when very young. One of my friends says that they “went uptown” from a cage at Petsmart to a 2000 sq. ft. house with a 5-foot cat tree, drinking fountain, and automated litter box (thanks Werebear!).

For the curious, the edgy bodymods are how some trap-neuter-release groups identify the ferals who’ve already been doctored. Since the clipped eartip is obvious even in low light conditions, rescuers don’t have to keep putting those cats through the stress of being trapped & handled. Fortunately these guys were young enough to overcome their aversion to warm beds and modern litterbox technology!

Apart from watching (or not watching) the ongoing RNC meltdown, what’s on the agenda for the day?

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Also, John Williams is a very nice man:


(via)



Open Thread: Pocket Monsters

“At least they’re outside in the fresh air, getting some exercise.” How long before Pokemon GO is proposed as an Olympic sport? From the Washington Post:

People are really getting into Pokemon Go, a new mobile take on the classic franchise. In fact, they’re maybe getting a little too into it.

The game, made by Niantic and the Pokemon Company, was released late on July 6, and allows players to capture Pokemon in real-world locations. The app makes the little monsters appear on your smartphone screen, through the camera, as you walk through your neighborhood — making it seem as if they are right in front of you. The game quickly shot to the top of the charts for Apple’s free apps and has gathered at least 100,000 downloads on Google’s Play store. It also quickly led to an unexpected side effect: a number of reported Pokemon-related injuries…

The Pokemon Go app itself includes a warning in the loading screen asking players to pay attention to their surroundings, but it’s clear that some people are getting so excited that they forget to heed it. Niantic, which partnered with the Pokemon franchise to create the game, has some rules of the road for it’s other major title, “Ingress,” that may prove useful.

“Pay attention to your surroundings; you never know what beautiful or interesting things you’ll see while playing the game,” the company cautions in its advice to players…

Buzzfeed, which aims for the kewl-kidz (as opposed to the WaPo get-off-my-lawn-you-kidz) crowd, helpfully posted “13 Pokémon Go Hacks To Help You Be The Very Best“. Some odd phrasings for those of us who didn’t grow up on the anime…

1. You can spin your Poké Ball for a nice curve…

3. To catch Pokémon properly without wasting Poké Balls, make sure you tap and hold…

6. If you have some time to play, use an incense to get a bunch of Pokémon to come to you…

7. If you’re out of incense and don’t want to spend money, try heading to a well-populated Pokéstop…

Which, I assume, is the real easter egg: The game is free, but if you choose to spend your money, they have a store where real cash can be converted into virtual “accessories”.

Not that I can be sniffish — if I had a smart phone, I could no more resist a game like this than a cat can resist a laser pointer.



The Politicization of Policy

Earlier today the Supreme Court, in a 4-4 deadlocked ruling pertaining to President Obama’s Executive Order pertaining to the status of the parents of American citizens or legal residents who are in the country illegally, issued the following ruling: “The judgement is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” In the short term this means that the original District Court ruling, affirmed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, stands. It is unclear whether this means that the President will seek to enforce his executive order to not deport the parents of American citizens or legal residents outside of the 5th Circuit or not. The ruling is partially the result of Texas and 25 other states shopping for a sympathetic District Court Judge, which is why they filed it in Brownsville, not Austin the state capitol. It demonstrates both the challenges of a divided Supreme Court and the politicization of policy.

While Speaker Ryan has issued a statement lauding the decision and claiming it as a victory for the Constitution and Congress, specifically under Article 1, this is simply part of the politicization of this particular policy. And that comes at a price. Both in lives affected and in dollars spent. The reality that no one wants to mention when discussing the President’s DAPA and expanded DACA order to defer deportations for specific, low risk classes of undocumented people in the US, and which demonstrates why Speaker Ryan’s claiming victory for Article 1 and the Congress’s power to write the Law, not the Executive Branch, misses the point is that Congress did write the Law. Congress made it a misdemeanor to improperly enter the US; specifically entering in an undocumented capacity without papers while avoiding immigration control. Unlawful presence, overstaying one’s visa or not leaving the US and returning to one’s home country when one is supposed to is not actually a crime at all. The Executive Branch, however, has to administer (execute) this law. But here’s where the rubber of making Law hits the road of enforcing it: Congress also has to provide the ways and means.

Currently Congress only appropriates enough money for the Department of Homeland Security to deport approximately 450,000 undocumented immigrants that have illegally entered or overstayed their visas. This is not something new. Congress never appropriates enough money to deport everyone who has entered illegally or overstayed their visas. The cost for trying to identify, round up, and deport all of the estimated 11 million undocumented people – both improper entry and unlawful presence – in the US right now is estimated at no less than a $100 billion and up to $600 billion. As a result every Presidential Administration has had to prioritize who to focus on. The focus is always on those who have been arrested and/or previously convicted of engaging in violent crimes or who are tied to human or drug trafficking or terrorist/extremist organizations. And this makes sense from a domestic, public policy standpoint: focus on those who present the greatest potential threat to the US, American citizens, legal residents, and those visiting the US. What Speaker Ryan, Governor Abbot of Texas and his 25 colleagues from when he was the Texas Attorney General, Federal District Court Judge Hanen, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the four Supreme Court Justices that voted to uphold the lower court rulings against the Administration’s Executive Orders have chosen to ignore is that tomorrow the Obama Administration still only has enough Congressionally appropriated funding to deport 450,000 people in the US illegally. And tomorrow the Department of Homeland Security is still going to have to prioritize who they focus on – the parents of an American citizen who other than the Federal misdemeanor of improper entry or the not an actual crime at all of unlawful presence are otherwise law abiding or the guy trafficking women for the sex trade.

We’ve reached this moment of policy and juridicial stupidity because both the President and those opposing his policy of prioritization politicized the issue. The President publicly announced the policy of placing the parents of US citizens and legal residents on the low priority list for deportation, which provided them with an effective exemption. President Obama did this as part of a strategic communication strategy to signal to an important constituency that he, and the Democratic Party, were not going to forget them even if Congress was unable or unwilling to act. The House GOP majority, as well as twenty-six Republican controlled states, responded by also strategically communicating to their constituencies that they would sue the President to overturn his Executive Order to ensure that the Law was administered and that only Congress, as Article 1 states, can write Law. The issue, which was already politicized, was dialed up to 11.

There is no way of knowing if, had the President not publicly announced what he was doing, the GOP House Majority or one or more of these 26 Republican governed states would have still objected as vehemently or opposed the President’s actions through a lawsuit. Moreover, there isn’t equal guilt for politicization on both sides. Until or unless Congress appropriates more funds for deportations, which they do not seem to be inclined to do, the Obama Administration, and any subsequent administrations, will only have the funding – the means – to identify, arrest, detain, and deport 450,000 undocumented people per year. No matter what Judge Hanen, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court rules, tomorrow the Department of Homeland Security, part of the Obama Administration’s Executive Branch, will still have to prioritize who to deport. I fully expect that they will continue to prioritize their efforts on those accused of and/or convicted of violent crimes, as well as those suspected to be trafficking drugs and people or of being affiliated with extremist or terrorist organizations. Focusing on less dangerous cohorts among the undocumented would create an actual threat to the safety and security of the US, its citizenry, its legal residents, and those visiting for work, school, or enjoyment.