The cat’s still away – open thread.

We can call Ta-Nehisi a cat, right? Like, in ’50s be-bop lingo?

Anyhoo, he appears to be away from his blog and doing his day-job again, so…. Open Thread at the Hauser place!

-> -> -> Don’t forget to check out the blogs of your fellow members of the Golden Horde, off to your right <- <- <-



  1. So if there’s anyone who hasn’t seen Stewarts reaction to Megyn Kelly’s maternity rant on FOX I demand you wander over to Fallows right now and watch. (Link not provided, because linking is hard when you’re typing from your iPod.)

    • I will provide the link!

      ‘Cause anibundel speaks the dang truth.

      Though I have to say — I also kind of felt like I want to leave room for her to evolve, to recognize that she’s come around to an important realization and try to open space for her to build on that. Because she’s really quite horrible otherwise. I think I’ll even drop a note to Fox, thanking her for her spirited defense of maternity and paternity leave as the building blocks of a strong family or sommat.

      Good lord I have delusions of grandeur, don’t I.

      • helensprogeny

         /  August 12, 2011

        See, this is why you are a much, much nicer person than I am. I just wanted to scream. Also, co-sign everything you said about the smug guy she was talking to. And Jon Stewart is worth his weight in gold.

    • taylor16

       /  August 12, 2011

      That clip just made me a little angry. Honestly, I’m so tired of the “you can’t have anything, but I get anything I want!!” attitude among conservatives that I don’t even find the evidence of hypocrisy amusing anymore.

      I’ll retract this if Megyn Kelly starts regularly arguing in favor of government-mandated paid maternity leave. I’m not holding my breath, though.

      Also, despite my disgust with her about-face, I really really really really wanted to reach through the screen and smack that smug @$$hole she was arguing wtih. Did you see him stifling laughter? What a dick.

      • I just sent her an email that went like this:

        Dear Ms. Kelly,

        I just wanted to thank you for your spirited defense of maternity and paternity leave on your show.

        It was so refreshing to see a woman in a position to shape our national conversation take a strong stand for mothers and children – and to remind the world that yes, fathers are parents too, and if they want to take leave to be with their babies, they should be able to.

        I’m often concerned by our willingness to forget the genuine needs of children and families as we ask people (women and men alike) to be dedicated to their careers and the pursuit of financial gain – as a working mother, it was music to my ears to hear you remind Americans that parents and children have the right to focus on their own needs from time to time.

        Indeed, it’s my opinion that society as a whole benefits when we genuinely support those who are raising our children, regardless of their career path – aside from anything else, it’s helpful for those of us with slightly less glamorous lives to see that, yes, even celebrities have to juggle the demands of work and family! Middle class, working class, Fox News personalities – we all have families, and we all have the right to the support of those around us.

        Thank you again!

        All the best,
        Emily Hauser

        One is gritting one’s teeth and hoping to encourage positive evolution….

        And yes. Dude needs a slap to the head. Preferably from my hand.

      • helensprogeny

         /  August 12, 2011

        I agree that the lack of compassion and the rampant hypocrisy among conservatives is infuriating. But I did like the larger point about the power of personal experience to change one’s views. Nothing like having to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.

        • Sometimes conservatives grow. You never know which seed responds to watering.

          • taylor16

             /  August 12, 2011

            Very true. Although I’m sure if she does start calling for paid maternity leave, she won’t be in the employ of Fox News for long. Gotta keep that conservative echo chamber pure!

  2. helensprogeny

     /  August 12, 2011

    Speaking of cats, are any of the cat-loving Horde fans of Maru?

    • scone

       /  August 12, 2011

      How could you be cat-loving and NOT love Maru?

      • helensprogeny

         /  August 12, 2011

        Oh, absolutely. It’s just that I don’t know any other Maru fans and am feeling lonely about it today. So, yay, Maru!

        • Kiran

           /  August 12, 2011

          Yes absolutely! I even read his (well, his owner’s) blog! And the book is coming out in English, which is very exciting. You can ‘like’ him on FB, too, and he’s on Twitter – though he doesn’t say much there.

    • Maru does what many cats only dream of doing… starring in YouTube clips!


  3. taylor16

     /  August 12, 2011

    And, the individual mandate was just ruled unconstitutional by the appeals court. Onto the Supreme Court. I’m not optimistic.

    Nobody likes that provision, but in the absence of the public option it truly is the only way for HCR to work in any meaningful way.

    Then again, I’ve thought that if the mandate is found unconstitutional, it might have the perverse outcome of driving premium costs so high that the feds would be all but forced to implement a public option of sorts.

    But along the way, there’d be a lot of unhappy people who would really struggle to pay their premiums.

    By trying to destroy Obamacare to win more elections, the GOP is just going to make the healthcare system worse. I suppose they know this, but don’t care.

    I don’t like the news today. Anyone care to join me for a margarita?

    • I so want a public option. We live in ME, one of the most expensive places in the country to buy insurance. We’re both self-employed artists, so no employer-provided options exist.

      The state just approved a 10% rate hike, and my husband just turned 55, putting us in a higher-rate group. Short of it, our $5,000/$10,000 deductible plan just jumped from about $850/month to $1,300 a month. And since we’re both healthy, it’s never paid a single penny of our health care costs.

      I’m about ready to drop it and pay the penalty, instead.

      But if I’ve got to pay $1,300/month, I’d much rather pay for Medicare then for the big fat nothing we get now.

      Worst of all, it’s going to go up again thanks to the health-care legislation just passed which allows insurers to gouge older folks even more so that insurance is cheap for younger families.

      We’ve given up cable, traded our cell phone plan for trac phones, switched from meat to beans/lentils most nights, only go out to eat about once a month, and let go the housekeeper who came to vacuum, etc. every two weeks (I have trouble with this because of disability). We’re going down to one car. There’s nothing left to cut; and we’ll still be behind with this rate increase.

      • taylor16

         /  August 12, 2011

        God, yes. I wasn’t around TNC’s during the health care debate, but I very nearly lost my mind debating HCR reform with people. The public option is NECESSARY. It’s not single payer, but it’s the only way that we can maintain a private insurance system and still keep healthcare options reasonably affordable.

        Premium costs are going to keep going up under Obamacare (although it does other good things that I like so I’m glad it passed in at least some form) … but they’ll go up even more quickly if the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional but the ban on preexisting clauses continues. People will start jumping in and out of the insurance pool only when they get sick, and that will drive up costs.

        But I’m with you … let’s bring on the public option. It would just be nice if folks didn’t have to suffer in the meantime.

        • My hope is that the penalty will turn in to a Medicare buy-in option.

          I’d do it in a heart beat.

          • taylor16

             /  August 12, 2011

            I would too … and I’m 32. 🙂

            Medicare is simply better coverage than what’s available to the vast majority of us. And I’ve never understood, honestly, why a buy-in has seriously never been proposed.

            • FYI, the helpful health insurance broker I spoke with this morning told me that Medicare pays $.40 on the dollar for medical costs, Maine Care (Medicaid) just $.25/$1.00, and that this is why private insurance is so expensive; the cost is shifted to the private insured.

              I don’t know the truth of it, and obviously this will vary by state. But. . . Medicare and Maine Care covered folks get a lot more coverage then any private plan I know of, and they have access to the same networks of providers I have with my ultra-expensive, pay-nothing plan.

              Something’s rotten in the system, and figuring it out is impossible.

              Back in the day I was reporting, I spent a good year trying to figure out what a given procedure should cost, would cost, did cost. There was virtually nothing about costs available. Now, I find the same thing with insurance costs.


              Please excuse the shouting.

              I wanna move to VT. Costs are revealed. Single payer coming. God Bless You, Vermonters, every one.

  4. James O’Keefe’s at it again; this time in my tiny state of Maine. He sent an actor into a welfare office, saying he was in the ‘pharmaceuticals import business,’ all cash, could afford a corvette, and wanted to apply for benefits.

    No discussion on how the video might have been edited. But in the long version, it’s obvious that he didn’t get anything except told he needed to supply ID and a form for MaineCare.

    • taylor16

       /  August 12, 2011

      How the heck is providing someone an application form showing “potential for welfare fraud,” governor? Sheesh. The form is available online! I just pulled it up on my computer, and I don’t even live in Maine. Did I commit fraud by looking at the form?

      I’ve about had it with James O’Keefe and the people who take him even halfway seriously.

      • You looked at our form?

        How dare you.

        Now go try and get a price for participating in the state-run insurance plan, Dirigo Choice. Or a price for any health insurance you can purchase privately in Maine.

        Not to be had. Must go through a broker.

        So freakin’ absurd, I want to weep.

      • helensprogeny

         /  August 12, 2011

        This is why I’ve adopted the very strict policy of NEVER clicking on ANY story about Sarah Palin. All these attention-seekers want is attention. I do what I can in my own small way to deny them, and to deny any financial reward to the organizations who carry the stories. Hopefully it contributes, however incrementally, to them going away.

        • taylor16

           /  August 12, 2011

          I’ve stopped clicking on stories about the Palins, but I try to stay involved in the O’Keefe stuff so that when I hear conservatives talking about how unethical these social services agencies are (“did you see what that investigative journalist found?”) I can refute them.

  5. dmf

     /  August 12, 2011

    speaking of o’keefes and honoring friday one might want to ask:

    What are the consequences of silence?


    Red Canna, I see you. Edge of. What I saw: a flower blossoming, in slow motion.
    Not specific enough. Okay. No. Cannot. Red Canna, I veer into you. I am not in
    one straight line. Red Canna, I see you. 1904. The University of Arizona Museum
    of Art. Opening in slow motion: are you okay? Are you okay? Can you hear me?
    (I can’t)

    That’s how it begins: impenetrable.

    The book of two words I happen to see, out of the corner of my eye, on a wall. Such

    These words took years to arrive.

    Bhanu Kapil Rider

  6. And on the super committee:

    every Republican on it has taken Grover’s pledge.

    How can they negotiate in good faith? Why aren’t we protesting this?

    • helensprogeny

       /  August 12, 2011

      “Why aren’t we protesting this?” It may well come to that. Maybe we should organize Horde protests in our individual locales? I’ve never protested anything in my life; I’m a very low key person who makes her voice heard by voting and email her reps. (You’d better believe Jon Kyl, my senator, is getting regular emails about this stuff.). But it may well come to action in the streets. And if these representatives don’t shift even with the threat of removal from office, well – there isn’t much that can be done at all but wait for election time and hope we can recover from whatever damage is done.

      • Maybe we should organize Horde protests in our individual locales?

        Maybe we should.

        I do know that it seems if you don’t vote for/contribute to Republican politicians, I don’t think any amount of constituent correspondence makes a difference. They have their hands over their ears and their mouths flapping, “na na nee boo boo, I can’t hear you.”

        • taylor16

           /  August 12, 2011

          You may enjoy this: the literal text of the email I sent to my Tea Party representative during the debt limit nonsense.

          I have absolutely no doubt that my email made no difference whatsoever, which is why I thought … why be nice about it?

          “Dear Rep Crazypants:

          While I know you get a lot of pleasure from being an extreme right wing Tea Party fanatic, I am asking that you vote to extend the debt ceiling so that our country does not go into default due to a selfish ideology that you cling to without any basis in how the world actually works. Your belief in not raising taxes is fine – as an American, you’re entitled to it. But by clinging to it with others at this time while you occupy a position of power, you’re putting the country at risk. As a US Representative, you should be putting the welfare and well-being of this country ahead of your personal political ideology. Please do the right thing and vote for the debt limit increase.

          While you will never win my vote, I ask you to do this on behalf of all of the Social Security- and veterans’ benefits-receiving constituents who voted for you and who I count as my neighbors. We may differ politically, but they don’t deserve to have their benefits cut off. Nor do my younger neighbors deserve to have to pay higher interest rates on new lines of credit or on mortgages simply because they are unlucky enough to be living their lives during the era of Tea Party selfishness and obstruction.

          For once in your career in the House of Reps, please do the right thing. Vote for the debt limit to be raised.

          Thank you.”

        • helensprogeny

           /  August 12, 2011

          I last emailed Jon Kyl during the debt ceiling debate, urging him to do the responsible thing and raise taxes. He’s not running for re-election, so as a lame duck he could very well do just that and suffer nothing politically. I got back a long response from his office which essentially said: fuck you. Which is what I fully expect to receive in response to any and all further emails I send in the future. But I also feel it’s my responsibility to voice my views, even though I know he won’t hear them. He’s my senator no matter how uncomfortable we both are with that reality.

  7. dmf

     /  August 12, 2011

  8. For the Fucking Feminists and everyone else interested in heterosexual sex, I highly recommend this post by Amanda Marcotte:

    It’s on a Dear Abbey column; letter from pregnant teen fearing her family’s response and taking the blame for the pregnancy because she seduced her step-brother. Nugget:

    The notion that a teenage boy cannot be expected to know that having unprotected sex with his stepsister is wrong probably seems ludicruous to most readers of this blog, but it’s what millions upon millions of Americans tell themselves and each other every day. Which isn’t to say this girl isn’t also responsible, but the responsibility is 50/50 here, not 100/0, as she imagines. Even though this is a consensual sex situation, this notion that a man who has been exposed to sexual temptation is a ravenous beast with no self-control feeds the narrative that when a rape occurs, it’s the victim’s fault for being tempting, because, you know, men can’t say no.

    And in grand feminist style, Marcotte also addresses the importance of assessing the potential for family violence the teen may find herself facing.

  9. Oh! What a depressing thread of news!
    Today in two year olds: They speak in partial sentences now! Yes they are of the verb noun variety, but in the course of three weeks since we last hung out, the growth in vocabulary skills is stunning.
    Also I taught them to eat dates. My work here is done.

    • A) THANK YOU.

      B) No, your work is not done, not until you reproduce at least one of the two-year-old sentences for our awwww.

      • Can i interest you in the following mental image?
        Girls are running about playing, SIL is grumbling to me how she hasn’t been able to vacuum recently, since the girls have decided they are afraid of the noise. Suddenly she turns to them and calls: “Girls! Want to play with your swiffers??”
        Girl drop little people, talking leapfrog pots and pans, screwdrivers hammers and whatnot and yell “Yay! Swiffers! Swiffers!!!”
        SIL goes to the closet and pulls out two matching swiffer dusters, complete with pads. The only difference is two of the handle segments have been left off, so they are the right length for two year olds. Girl squeal and seize them and start racing around the hardwood floors, bumping into napping pups, and swiffering diligently. They take special care to get under the chairs we’re sitting in, and down on their bellies to reach all the way under the couch, and under the dining room table. One declares herself headed for the kitchen while the other works under the high chairs. Once in the kitchen she makes sure to get all the corners under the cabinets, along the front edge of the fridge and the stove, as well as the hard to reach corners behind the doggy bowls.
        “I SWIFFERING!” she announces proudly. “Clean Corners!”

        *I died*
        (I mean, I knew my SIL was a neat freak, and that she was always tickled by the girls imitating her cleaning, but this was a whole new level of “Train them young.”)

    • by the way, if you could somehow figure out a way to get my eighth graders to speak in sentences, even of the verb noun variety, i would declare you a genius.

      (spoken after sixth period, friday, at the end of the first week of school.)

  10. Someone in another comment section in some other part of the internet posted a link to a Japanese show called “GameCenter CX” on youtube. Some guy subjects himself to playing (and, hopefully, beating) an old-school video game over the course of, I think, a day, without cheat codes or hint books or anything. It is weirdly fascinating. I watched the entire “Out of This World” episode, I forgot how opaque that game was.

    • I fear that you are the only gamer here today. What you have written here is complete gibberish to me, and I really wish it weren’t. But it is. Sorry about that dude….

      • Ian

         /  August 12, 2011

        I played some games once. To be fair, though, fg’s comment is about two things: gaming and Japanese television. He can’t be the only one who likes Japanese television. My wife’s favorite segment involved a crew that traveled the country asking Buddhist priests to talk about their favorite dish made from beef. Also a game show where comedians try to make the contestants laugh, and if they do, four burly men come out of nowhere and start beating the guy with flexible bats.

    • i haven’t watched it, but i bet if i went back and tried to beat some of those old games in one sitting i would end up breaking something valuable. i can’t believe sometimes the patience i had as a kid to keep coming back to some of those sisyphean nightmares.

  11. Kiran

     /  August 12, 2011

    I just caught up on all your Feministe posts, Emily, and all the comments therein, and I have to say GOOD GRIEF that was a tough crowd! Kudos to you for seeing it through. I don’t know if I’d have the fortitude for that.

    • caoil

       /  August 12, 2011

      ^I did not sign myself correctly today, for reasons known only to my addled brain. Correcting here.

    • Thank you so much! I knew going in that it wasn’t exactly my usual crew, so I just decided to address any, ahem, tough-crowd-ness once, and as long as there wasn’t bad escalation or bashing of fellow commenters, I would just step back. (I did tell one woman that she could choose not to read me, if she would rather…).

      • caoil

         /  August 12, 2011

        I felt a little defensive, like, *hey*, this is *Emily*, she’s several kinds of awesome, so be nice to her!

  12. dmf

     /  August 13, 2011