We guess it's better than Melania.
Ivanka Trump, whose greatest single accomplishment is standing upright, went on a tour of the Mideast where she stared poignantly at random objects. She also took time out of her never busy schedule to give a speech Sunday to women entrepreneurs and regional leaders in Dubai. She praised such countries as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates for their "significant reforms" in advancing women's rights. For instance, Saudi Arabia recently allowed women to get their own passports and leave the country without a male relative's permission, so ... yay!
Trump gave the keynote address at the two-day Global Women's Forum. She was qualified to do this because she is the president's daughter and a woman — often both at the same time!
TRUMP: I am delighted to be attending the Global Women's Forum Dubai to advance women's economic empowerment around the world and highlight the progress of the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. This initiative has impacted over 12 million women in its first year, well on its way towards our goal of economically empowering 50 million women by 2025.
The Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative is Trump's pet project. It's supposed to do great things for women while her father's administration works to roll back abortion rights. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen have teamed up to have Trump's initiative written into law. The proposed legislation would establish an Office of Women's Empowerment at the State Department and ensure something survives the Trump administration beyond the flaming dumpster fire of our democracy.
What's that like?
For nearly a decade, as male politicians have repeatedly sought to chip away at our reproductive rights, female legislators have responded with bills of their own, meant to regulate theirs. In 2012 we had a whole slew of them — Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Illinois proposed adding an amendment to a bill requiring those who get abortions to watch an ultrasound beforehand that would also require men who get Viagra to watch a graphic video about its potential side effects; Sen. Janet Howell of Virginia thought men who wanted Viagra should probably get a rectal exam first; and Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner felt that the best way to show men who feel they need a drug for erectile disfunction "that we care" about them would be to require a psychological examination beforehand, and then a cardiac test every 90 days after that, and that they should also be required to sign a form saying they understand the side effects.
Then, in 2017, Texas state Rep. Jessica Farrar "A Man's Right To Know Act" proposed fining men $100 for masturbating (every sperm is sacred!), allowing doctors to refuse to perform vasectomies or prescribe Viagra if they feel they have a religious objection to it, and requiring all men to read an informational booklet before getting Viagra or a vasectomy or a colonoscopy. So good! All of them!
The latest of these bills comes from Alabama state Rep. Rolanda Hollis (D-Birmingham), who on Thursday filed a bill (HB 238) that would require men to get a vasectomy prior to their 50th birthday or after their third child. Naturally, this would be at the man's own expense. And Ted Cruz is positively outraged!
AMERICA IS THE ASSHOLE.
Ah Reddit! Sometimes it is really, really bad. Sometimes it's really, really good! And sometimes it is good/bad in a very satisfying kind of way that lends itself very well to falling into a four-hour internet hole. Perhaps the subreddits best suited to that sort of time-wasting misadventure are r/AmITheAsshole — a forum in which people ask if they are actually the asshole in whatever situation they are currently in — and r/relationships, in which people seek advice from strangers on the internet on issues in their relationships. It's sort of like a modern version of advice columns and Ricki Lake. I also "enjoy" r/legal_advice for when I'm just not having enough nightmares, r/IDontWorkHereLady, and r/AskTrumpSupporters for when I am just not jaded enough about humanity, and the many skincare and nail art subreddits I am subscribed to for when I decide to fuck it all and just be really shallow.
But I digress.
Last night, just in time for the holiday, a very particularly American post appeared on Am I The Asshole? A post from a man who was wondering if it's bad that he is telling his fiancée she has to work 80 hours a week and live off of cheese sandwiches and eat zero avocados in order to be debt free by the time they are married. Said fiancée has accrued $60K in debt because she had to finance her father's cancer treatments.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Congresswoman grills Fed chair about a jobs guarantee.
It's Black History Month and not just because all the black Democratic primary candidates are now history. No, this is the one month out of the year where we remind people that black people exist. That's why the South Carolina primary is at the end of February. We all just come out and say, "Hello there!"
Jerome Powell is chairman of the Federal Reserve. He's in charge of our monetary policy. He has a degree in politics from Princeton and a law degree from Georgetown. However, Tuesday, Ayanna Pressley, our badass representative from Massachusetts, gave Powell a remedial black history course for free.
Powell had stopped by the House to recommend that now was a good time to reduce that pesky budget deficit, which has increased by about $3 trillion (with a "t") since Donald Trump gave massive tax cuts to all his golf buddies and the dumber members of his Cabinet. There's probably no connection. Besides, Bernie Sanders might wind up president next year so we need to start using our money responsibly, like on a Space Force.
There are no pro-choice violent extremists.
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray announced his new plans to deal with domestic terrorism. Some of it, as we have noted, was good. They will now be taking violent white supremacists more seriously, and that will probably save some lives.
Some of it, however, is stupid.
The really, really stupid thing is that in Wray's description of one of the domestic terrorism issues, "abortion violent extremism," he pretended as if the actual terrorism threats came from both anti-choice people and pro-choice people — referring to "people on either side of that issue who commit violence on behalf of different views on that topic."
The problem with that is, while the anti-choice crowd has killed lots and lots of people and bombed lots and lots of buildings, the pro-choice side has not done any of that. At all. For any reason.
They actually are this stupid.
Abortion is one of those things about which almost everyone has an opinion. However, there was once a time (or it seemed to me that there was a time) when people who were opposed to abortion were actually opposed to abortion, as opposed to weird stuff they made up about abortion. I don't know if that was necessarily better, but it was at least somewhat grounded in reality. There was somewhere to go with that, I guess.
But now, thanks to years and years of misinformation efforts, there are a lot of people out there who are positively outraged about allegedly abortion-related things that are definitely not possible. Like the idea that post-birth abortions are a thing.
The first time I heard anything close to this theory was when then-candidate Donald Trump tried to claim, during a debate, that under the current laws "[y]ou can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day." At the time, it seemed that everyone knew this was bullshit. Pro-choicers thought it was ridiculous, and anti-choicers assumed that he was just new to their cause and thus not clear on the rhetoric yet. Like the time when he said that he would love to throw women in jail for having abortions, and the anti-choicers had to reel him back and do the whole "actually we don't tell people that's what we want" thing.
Surely there are many 'Republican Goddesses' who read Wonkette
Finding true love is never easy. Or maybe sometimes it is, I don't know your lives. But clearly, it hasn't been easy for the Reverend William. Who is the Reverend William, you say? I'm not actually sure. Mostly he is a guy who seems like he'd be a vaguely spooky non-main character in a Stephen King movie — and he is going ALL OUT to find the "Republican Goddess" of his dreams. And by "all out," I mean handing out business cards and creating a janky looking website with 85,000 pictures of himself looking increasingly unhinged.
I came across this self-described "awesome gentleman" through a tweet from Vice's Anna Merlan, and boy — if there has been any time in my life where I have regretted being a Republican, this was not it.
Nope, nope, this is not OK.
Actor Kirk Douglas died yesterday at the age of 103. I am not a massive Kirk Douglas fan. In fact, I am still mad about the time this guy took me to see Paths of Glory at a revival theater, as I will never get those 87 hours of my life back. As far as old Hollywood male stars go, I am much more personally invested in Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, and Paul Newman.
Yesterday, as happens when a big star dies, Douglas trended on Twitter. Soon after, Natalie Wood started trending as well. I am, in fact, a big Natalie Wood fan, so that I paid attention to.
And I was horrified. Because the reason she was trending, I saw, was because loads and loads of people — some very prominent people whom I generally respect — were chastising those celebrating Douglas's life and career, because he "brutally raped a teenage Natalie Wood for hours." This was entirely new information to me. Sure, I knew at least one of Wood's biographers and her sister had said she was raped by a big Hollywood executive, but as far as I knew, no one had given an actual name.
So I Googled. And the only thing I was able to come up with was one Gawker article from eight years ago regarding an anonymous comment on a blind item gossip blog by someone that people commenting on the blog speculated was Robert Downey Jr. Are you fucking kidding me?
But how will they become rugged individualists if they don't face postpartum stress and depression alone?
If this week has you doubting there's any hope at all, read this: New York City is doing something neat and smart and kind. Starting this spring in Brooklyn, and eventually expanding to the entire city, a new program will let new parents request home visits from baby experts -- that is, adults who know about babies, not babies, whose expertise is often limited to chewing their own feet and pooping. The idea is to help new parents make sense of the small squalling human beings who have suddenly invaded their homes, and to check up on how the parents are doing, too.
The program, with the straightforward name "New Family Home Visits," will provide up to six home visits from a nurse, community health worker, or doula, and will be available to all new parents. Heck, the visits will even be available to new adoptive parents and parents who used surrogates.
Blue babbling binkies! Did Finland (home of the free baby-supplies box that doubles as a crib) go and annex New York City while we weren't looking? If so, can Finland just take over altogether? This is what governments should be doing everywhere!
Wingnuts: You mean OBAMA'S camps, hurr hurr!
At a campaign rally in Keene, New Hampshire, Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren took a question from a little girl about immigration policy. It was a pretty good question!
Girl: My name is Elizabeth [last name inaudible, thankfully for her family]
Warren: Oh wow! Double Elizabeth. I feel the power.
Girl: I'm seven years old.
Warren: I'm not.
Girl: [purest loudest girly giggle you'll hear on video all week]
Predictably, the prude brigade came out in force.
The Super Bowl is over, and reports confirm we have a winner. The Kansas City Chiefs rallied to victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Both teams provided an admirable diversion between the commercials and the halftime show. But you can't have a Super Bowl without some controversy. We'll get the easiest one out of the way first. Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations for Kansas City but he forgot which state the team represents. He thought the Chiefs are from Kansas but they are in fact from Kansas City, Missouri. (The city gets its name in part from its proximity to the Kansas river.) Former Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who might've had a few beers in her, gently corrected the president's geography.
She's got a plan for that!
Clare Malone chatted with Stacey Abrams last November for FiveThirtyEight's "When Women Run" project. The interview dropped Friday and the BIG SCOOP is that the immensely talented and brilliant Abrams, who came within a few poll taxes of defeating Brian Kemp in the Georgia governor's race, is actively planning to run for president. This ain't breaking news, y'all. I know women aren't supposed to seriously pursue powerful positions unless their husbands, fathers, or Victorian-era guardians grant them permission first, but c'mon, who isn't running for president these days? It's like a political Olympics where all that's required to participate is bringing your own track shoes or ice skates. Abrams should be president now, but we'll have to restrain our inner Veruca Salts and wait a couple decades.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Trump administration.
Breaking! Achtung! Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a hot sack of garbage! Okay, that's not really news. But really, this weekend Pompeo has outdone himself.
It started yesterday when NPR's Mary Louise Kelly, who has been a national security reporter for 20 years, sat down for an interview with Pompeo at the State Department. The Secretary blurped nonsense for several minutes about how the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, which caused Iran to restart its uranium enrichment program, is actually a sign of Trump's rousing success in stopping that country from getting nukes.
KELLY: My question, again: How do you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.
SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.
SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them. The president made very clear – the opening sentence in his remarks said that we will never permit Iran to have a nuclear weapon. The coalition that we've built out, the economic, military, and diplomatic deterrence that we have put in place will deliver that outcome. It's important, because this will protect the American people.
Please note how Kelly does not just transcribe what Pompeo says and move on. Which may explain his ... displeasure at what happened next.
Crews is a regular 'see no sexism, hear no racism' about 'America's Got Talent' set.
Gabrielle Union is the badass sister who was unceremoniously fired from "America's Got Talent."
Variety reported in November on the NBC production's "toxic culture," as well as the racist treatment Union personally received. For instance, she was reportedly told that her changing hairstyles were
"too black" for the reality TV show audience. White folks coped just fine with Whitney Houston's rotating wigs almost 40 years ago but in the Trump era, we have to tread lightly.
Terry Crews is still a host on "America's Got Talent." I will never judge how a brother pays his bills unless he's on the Supreme Court chipping away at my rights. But Crews was a guest on hour eleven of the "Today" show Friday and when asked about the "Gabrielle Union controversy," he went full Mariah Carey on my girl.
CREWS: First of all, I can't speak for sexism because I'm not a woman.
What is he talking about? Of course, he can "speak for sexism." He's a man and we're the ones who bring the sexist. Without men, it's just Paradise Island and Amazons on horseback. Sexism isn't some horror movie monster that preys on women but is invisible to men. We just wonder what happened to that lady in sales: "We were both up for the same promotion. Then she vanished. That's peculiar."
And no, they don't care.
Yesterday, Donald Trump became the first US president to attend the March For Fetuses Who Can Go Fuck Themselves The Moment They Leave The Womb. He even gave a little speech. You know, because he very sincerely gives many fucks about abortion and is definitely not just groveling before the religious Right in hopes of keeping their approval, as if any of them even believe, as their signs say, that he is "the most pro-life president ever." We know and they know that he has probably paid for at least a few abortions in his time, and that he's almost certainly never cracked open a Bible.
Oh, how the man who put babies in cages and cut benefits to our most vulnerable families waxed on about how much he loved children. How in awe he was of all the wonderful, smart, kind people who showed up that day to agitate for the right to keep us all barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen where we belong.
Can't we have anything?
Yesterday, a bomb was dropped upon a nation still reeling from the untimely death of Mr. Peanut: Dynamite comics would be "celebrating" the 90th anniversary of Nancy Drew, Girl Detective, by straight up killing her and, wait for it, having the Hardy Boys investigate her death.
That is just rude. Carolyn Keene must be rolling over in her imaginary grave right now.
All bets are off, as the series by writer Anthony Del Col (Luke Cage: Everyman, Kill Shakespeare) and artist Joe Eisma (Riverdale, Morning Glories) opens with Nancy's iconic friends, the Hardy Boys, at Nancy's grave. Through twists and turns, this dark noir-infused story unfurls as the biggest Nancy Drew mystery of all time. Nancy's mysterious death follows one of her highest stake investigations into organized crime. Del Col and Eisma are joined by colorist Salvatore Aiala and letterer Crank! for this case. [...]
"Over the years, there have been a lot of difficult mysteries to solve in the lives of Nancy Drew as well as the Hardy brothers," said writer Anthony Del Col. "But I wanted to top them all, and so put together the ultimate case – solving Nancy's death! Joe Eisma and I have had a blast really coming up with some twists and turns that all fans – new and old – of Nancy, Frank and Joe will enjoy."
Oh yeah, that's a great way to celebrate the 90th anniversary of one of the most iconic girls in all of children's literature. Killing her, and then letting some dudes no one cares about handle it. The Hardy Boys are gonna solve Nancy Drew's murder? I don't think so. They simply don't have the chops for that. They better call in Trixie Belden for this one.
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