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Gender: Female
Hometown: London
Home country: USA/UK/Sweden
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 07:25 PM
Number of posts: 12,803

Journal Archives

Incremental Change Is a Moral Failure

Mere reform won’t fix policing.


I know that where I live is the hood, and not only because I am in a part of Brooklyn where a substantial number of Black people still live. Nor is it because, year after year, for a solid month before the Fourth of July, my neighbors and I all play the game “gunshots or fireworks?” It is not because of the constant police presence, though that certainly helps with identifying it. I witnessed half a dozen police officers respond to one shoplifting call, and that was after the accused had already been handcuffed. But still this is not the telltale sign of the hood. It is the trash. There is trash everywhere, always. Nearly 8.5 million people live in New York City, not including the tourists and bridge-and-tunnel folks who, in more normal times, flow in and out on a daily basis. Of course there is an abundance of trash. But when I get off the train to walk to my therapist’s office on the Upper East Side, a neighborhood devoid of any of the character that makes New York City appealing, I notice that there is no trash on the street. More people live in this neighborhood than where I live; presumably they are creating more garbage, but their clean streets suggest otherwise.

A casual observer might suggest that the people who live in my neighborhood—mostly poor, mostly Black, mostly immigrant—take less pride in where they live. They throw their candy wrappers and used napkins, their half-empty soda bottles and unfinished pizza, their Styrofoam to-go containers and paper receipts on the ground because they don’t care about keeping their sidewalks presentable and livable. And this, the observer may argue, is because of a cultural deficiency. They do not value this place, their home, because such value has not been inculcated by their surroundings. Some of these observations have been turned into academic studies that became the foundation for what we now call “broken-windows policing,” a theory that can be traced to a 1982 article in this magazine, which claims that if such minor infractions are allowed to fester, they serve as the prelude to much larger, more serious crimes.

Little, if any, consideration is given to the fact that my neighborhood has fewer public trash cans than neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side. On the walk from the train station to my therapist’s office, I see a trash can on every corner. They are fewer and farther between on the 10 blocks from my local subway stop to the next one, on the always crowded, always bustling Flatbush Avenue. The city could put more trash cans here, if keeping this neighborhood where mostly poor, mostly Black, mostly immigrant people live clean—as clean as the neighborhoods where mostly affluent, mostly white New Yorkers live and work and go to therapy—were important. But then the city would also have to pay someone to collect the garbage from those cans. The city’s elected officials would have to deem these residents worthy of that expense. What these officials have deemed the hood worthy of is policing, and not because it is so much cheaper. Policing is a costly public service, but the one most readily available here. There are undercover officers busting drug dealers. There are uniformed officers in patrol cars sitting on corners all day, all night. Sometimes they are standing next to huge, overpowering floodlights, warning the criminals off the street. Sometimes there are raids, 10 to 15 squad cars deep, in which one or two people are arrested.

The police are always on duty. The people here do not lack for police, the way they do trash cans. A casual observer may tell you that this is because there is so much crime in this hood. That the people here are lawless, violent. And it’s true, there is violence here, just as there is violence anyplace where the people are stripped of the means to build a good life. Casual observers, who aren’t always so casual—they begin to include academics, media professionals, policy makers, presidents—excuse the presence of the police here, and in other hoods like this one, because their position is that in order to stop the violence of the hood you must impose the violence of the state. The police are meant, in this view, to protect the people from themselves, to enforce the discipline their culture lacks. In reality, the police patrol and harass. They reluctantly answer questions better suited for town visitor centers. They enforce traffic laws at their discretion, or to shore up municipal budgets through the imposition of exorbitant fines. They arrest people who have disobeyed them and then make up the charges later. They dismiss the stories of rape victims; they side with domestic abusers. They break into homes via no-knock warrants. They introduce the potential for violence by responding to calls about loud music—or counterfeit $20 bills. They shoot and kill with impunity. Regardless of the other responsibilities police have assumed, they have consistently inflicted violence on the most marginalized people in society.


A Litany for Survival


For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.

A New Lifetime Holiday Movie Will Finally Center Around A Gay Couple

The network famous for its cheesy, feel-good holiday rom coms will be putting a gay couple front and center in one of its films this year.


Lifetime announced this week that the network is producing its first-ever holiday movie special to center a gay couple as the main romance. “The Christmas Set Up” will feature the story of corporate New York lawyer Hugo, who—like in many Lifetime rom coms—returns home for the holidays and kindles a flame with his old high school crush, Patrick (“who recently made it big in Silicon Valley,” according to the press release). “We’re proud that we were able to share an amazing storyline last year featuring a same-sex kiss in ‘Twinkle All The Way,’” said Lifetime Network head of programming Amy Winter, referring to a 2019 holiday movie that includes a kiss between two men at the end, but who weren’t the main focus of the film.

“This year, we’re even more proud to announce one of our Christmas movies will feature an LGBTQ lead story because, at Lifetime, the holidays truly are for everyone,” Winter said. The cable channel has 30 new films planned for its holiday slate this year. ABC News reported that other films will also feature more diverse storylines, like “A Sugar & Spice Holiday,” the first Lifetime movie to center around a Chinese-American family. Jennifer Liao will direct.

The network said casting is underway for both movies and it expects production to begin later in August. According to ABC, forthcoming movies from Lifetime will also include “Christmas Ever After,” starring Ali Stroker, who broke barriers in 2015 when she became the first actress who uses a wheelchair for mobility to appear on Broadway. Stroker was later nominated for and won a Tony for her role in Oklahoma!, also a first for a performer in a wheelchair.

The 2020 Lifetime holiday movie season will also include “Christmas Unwrapped,” executive produced by Tiffany Haddish. In mid-July, Hallmark announced it’s producing 40 holiday movies this year—and faced criticism over the fact that none of them featured an LGBTQ+ lead. A Hallmark Channel spokesperson responded to the criticism and told “Good Morning America” that “projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters and actors” will be announced in the coming months. “We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome,” the company statement said. No other details have been revealed yet.

The CDC: Please Stop Drinking Hand Sanitizer. It's Killing People.

The CDC implored people not to ingest alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol, while noting 15 recent cases in which people were hospitalized after doing so. All of the patients got methanol poisoning, and four patients died.


Federal health officials are warning the population not to drink hand sanitizer after two states reported several people had died after consuming contaminated disinfectants. In a Wednesday statement, the CDC implored people not to ingest alcohol-based hand sanitizers, as well as to avoid all use of any containing methanol. The CDC noted 15 recent cases of people who drank hand sanitizer and were hospitalized with methanol poisoning.

As hand sanitizer use and consumption has grown during the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC recommends an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol (which is also referred to as ethyl alcohol). Methanol can be deadly when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Products containing more than 4 percent methanol in the U.S. must be labeled as “poison,” according to Bioenergy International.

The cases between May 1 and June 30, 2020 flagged by the CDC were reported in Arizona and New Mexico. In the most severe cases, four patients died, and three were discharged with visual impairment, the CDC said. “Alcohol-based hand sanitizer products should never be ingested,” the report stated. “In patients with compatible signs and symptoms or after having swallowed hand sanitizer, prompt evaluation for methanol poisoning is required. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams echoed the CDC’s warnings on Twitter.
“Swallowing hand sanitizers that contain methanol can cause permanent blindness or death, if not treated,” he said.

In mid-June, the Food and Drug Administration, which approves which hand sanitizers are safe to use, warned consumers of a sharp increase in hand sanitizers that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol), but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. The administration also listed hand sanitizers and manufacturers to avoid. In April, President Trump floated the concept of coronavirus patients being injected with disinfectant — which health officials vehemently urged against. “Please do not ingest or inject disinfectant,” orthopaedic surgeon Dr. John Shields tweeted in April. “I feel like one should not have to say this.”

The spectre of a national collapse looms over America as this virus runs rampant, unimpeded

America has a terrible, horrific problem in that it can’t seem to find the ways to bring this virus under control.


A national collapse? Could such a catastrophe happen in and to America? You better believe lt because it, most certainly, could. That is, if the leadership of this country, from the White House to governors of states, don’t get their act together. Moreover, if they keep allowing millions of Americans to ignore the CDC guidelines. In effect, America is at war with Covid-19, and, right now, this virus is winning, hands down. The economy is on life support because of this pandemic and this government, which has no clue how to get back to nearly normal. It is spending trillions to prop up America’s beaten and battered businesses and people. How bad is this situation? Well, we keep hearing that America is 4% of the world’s population and has nearly 25% of the world’s Covid-19 cases. That is incomprehensible, something is terribly, radically wrong. Most other countries, except Brazil and a few others, have this virus under control. In America, it is spinning out of control.

Why is the situation in America so much worse, so much more dangerous than these other counties? I can best describe it with these five letters; T-R-U-M-P. No other country has a leader who is so grossly incompetent and has no plan of any kind to respond to this crisis. He has, almost single-handedly, caused the massive escalation of this virus that we are currently experiencing. Think about how many Americans would be alive today if we had had a different president. If America keeps racing down this road to disaster here are some of the things that will happen: The economy will tank, the job market will dry up, the stock market will go into a free fall, destroying Americans’ savings, and bankrupting big and small businesses. The “American bank” will be emptied. This will happen as this government continues to spend many trillions of dollars to combat the virus threat, with little revenue coming in. How much longer can hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel keep up this torrid pace in treating greater and greater numbers of Covid-19 patients? How much longer before many of them are burned out? What then?

Right now this country, because of reckless, irresponsible Americans who are defying CDC guidelines, can’t break free of the grip that this virus has on it. Some governors are mandating masks and social distancing, others refuse to force people to do so. If we had a country in which these governors, the White House, and the people were on the same page, and were all working in unison to eliminate this virus, we would see a massive recovery. America has been digging itself into a deep hole from which it will be almost impossible to climb out. As the old saying goes, when you find yourself in a very deep hole, the first thing you must do is to stop digging. America can’t seem to stop. The Senate Republicans watched as the Cares Act, which had provided several trillion dollars to Americans, expire. Democrats had sent them appropriate legislation to extend the funding over 2 months ago and they didn’t act on it. All Republicans had to do was to agree with Democrats to extend the current plan for, say 6 months, and that would have given them time to create a new one.

When the Cares Act expired, the provision that covered a moratorium on evictions ended and now there are some 40 million Americans who could lose their apartments or other living facilities at any time, with many becoming homeless. That would be more than tragic. But does that cause Republicans to have great concern for their fellow Americans, and motivate them to spring into action and burn the midnight oil to work out a new stimulus plan? No, they were not the least bit concerned and then went home on a 3-day weekend. And this workaholic president decided that he needed to play a little golf. So while America is burning these Nero-like politicians are fiddling around. You better believe Russia and China are closely watching what is happening to America and are, no doubt, ecstatic about it. To see America get weaker and weaker and, possibly, have a national collapse, would fulfill their wildest dreams. They would begin to fly over this country like hungry vultures. How much longer can America and its people stave off a national collapse? Who knows?

Right now America is its own worst enemy. It is, in effect, cutting its own throat, stabbing itself in the back, digging itself into a deep hole. America has a terrible, horrific problem in that it can’t seem to find the ways to bring this virus under control. Now, when someone needs to come up with a solution to such a problem the first thing that must be done is to determine its root cause, the underlying factor(s) that caused it. The big problem is with rogue, anti-CDC guidelines Americans. They currently are the root cause of this problem. I see them as being the equivalent of those radical protesters who loot and damage businesses. And, as such, some of them need to be arrested for doing great damage to other people. We can rightfully blame Trump because he failed to act when he first learned of this threat and then did a miserable job of managing the response. That’s for sure. But, let’s just push him out of the way and begin to pull together to stop the escalation.


This Supercut of Movie Characters Watching Jay Leno Joke About Their Lives Is Perfect

Look out for Jay Limo!


Imagine you're a movie character going through the worst moment of your life, a real emotional low-point where you're questioning everything, and you flip on the TV to see what's going on in the world, maybe take your mind off the crushing circumstances of your existence, and there's Jay Leno, the goofy host of The Tonight Show on NBC. Thank god -- some levity. But he's not riffing on the latest news about Bill Clinton or laughing with bandleader Kevin Eubanks, he's telling a monologue joke specifically about your sorry-ass life. How uniquely humiliating!

You've seen it in movies -- now experience it over and over in supercut form. Yesterday, Twitter user Buck LePard posted a supercut with a very simple description: "Movie characters watching Jay Leno talk about what is happening in the movie." Just watch it for yourself.

What a trip down memory lane, a perfect encapsulation of this very specific movie trope from Leno's reign of late-night terror from 1992 through 2014. Part of what's funny about the clip is just how unhappy everyone looks as they watch Leno deliver his material, powerless in the face of a media machine that chops up every scandal into monologue fodder. It's a mundane yet potent fear: You're the national punchline.

Who gets targeted by Leno's wit? In addition to movies about the perils of presidential politics like The President's Daughter, Dave, and Wag the Dog, you also get stories of a guy building a rocket in his backyard (Billy Bob Thornton in The Astronaut Farmer) and a washed-up baseball player making a comeback (Bernie Mac in Mr. 3000). And, yep, there's even a clip from Cars. The internet used to be filled with supercuts like this, bizarre and revealing bits of ephemera created for fun, but I haven't seen one this good in a while, so enjoy it while you still can. The modern equivalent where characters find out they're "trending on Twitter" will be less funny.

No new coronavirus deaths reported in Sweden for first time since March


No new coronavirus deaths were reported in Sweden on Friday, for the first time since March. In fact, the total death toll decreased. Sweden's official death toll was revised downwards by three on Friday. A total of 5,763 people have now died since the start of the outbreak after testing positive for the coronavirus (down from the 5,766 coronavirus deaths reported yesterday), according to the Public Health Agency's latest statistics. A total of 82,323 people have so far tested positive for the coronavirus, 356 more than Thursday. Sweden's new daily deaths have been falling slowly but steadily since the peak in mid-April.

If you look at the statistics, you will see a couple of days from late July onwards that also have no recorded coronavirus deaths. This is because when Sweden reports its figures they are not always from the past 24 hours, due to delays when its 21 administrative regions add their data to the centralised database. However, today was the first time since March that Sweden did not report any new deaths at all when it released its latest figures.

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports that the reason was that one of Sweden's regions, Dalarna, had updated its figures. Sweden's official statistics include everyone who dies within 30 days of testing positive for the coronavirus, but Dalarna had accidentally reported deaths that happened longer ago than that. "It's nothing strange. We recently carried out a quality control of our numbers and saw that three deaths should not be counted. They had Covid-19 so long ago that it wasn't the cause of death," Theresa Granqvist, press officer for Region Dalarna, told Aftonbladet.

This happened on a day when no other coronavirus deaths were reported to the Public Health Agency, which is why the total number decreased. The statistics show the number of people in Sweden who have died with coronavirus. That's everyone who has died after testing positive; it doesn't mean that the virus itself was a cause of death for all these cases.


highly instructive chart that looks at polling averages in battleground states this year and in 2016

Quote Of The Week

“As Donald Trump has secretly known all along — stupid, injured manchild that he is — none of the people in the privileged classes of New York or Washington or California who pretended to love and admire him truly understood his greatness, and now that the waves are crashing over the bow they’re scurrying off the deck.

He’ll be left at the end with the losers and incels and rubes in the red hats — stricken, lonely people who looked to him as a savior and for whom he feels only contempt. People he probably hates more than he hates Muslims or Mexicans or Black people, and possibly even more than he hates himself.”

- Andrew O’Hehir on Trump’s impending electoral disaster

Trump's Latest Declaration Is Beyond Terrifying

Trump said, “I have the right to do it. We haven’t gotten there yet. We’ll see what happens.”


WASHINGTON, DC -- In the past several weeks, we’ve been observing how Donald Trump is aggressively attacking both absentee ballots and the swing states that offer them. It’s well established that he intends to undermine as many state absentee ballot laws as he can get away with, through a well-funded series of legal challenges to the process. Most recently, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit to stop Nevada from offering absentee ballots. So far, the campaign to re-elect our first fascist president has spent more than $20 million in its jihad against voting during a severe pandemic, and there’s no end in sight. We can also count on Trump litigating absentee ballots during and after Election Day, likely targeting too-close-to-call counties that could flip the electoral votes of an entire state, if necessary.

This is real. It’s happening now.

And it’s getting worse.

I hate to add to the horror show -- I really do, but it’s crucial for us to be prepared by knowing exactly where Trump might be headed so we can fight back with equal or greater force. I’m talking about, at the very least, assembling an unstoppable Justice League of lawyers ready to swing into action with a game plan for defending the law -- plus, citizen activists should be prepared on a moment’s notice to surround the White House until Trump concedes, irrespective of whether he sends in his stormtroopers to attack again. You might recall that the Supreme Court ruled five-to-four that Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program was “arbitrary and capricious,” and that the administration had to immediately begin accepting applications from new Dreamers, young immigrants brought to the United States as children. Likewise, the only word from Homeland Security is that Trump officials are considering whether to try again to end the DACA program. In other words, the Trump administration has flagrantly defied the Supreme Court. For nearly four years, we’ve all wondered whether he’s capable of doing it. And now, he’s done it. Since the decision was handed down in June, not a single first time Dreamer application has been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency. We should absolutely assume that it’s because Trump has ordered the agency not to accept those applications. After all, Trump hasn’t given us any reason to assume otherwise.

Consequently, the door is wide open for Trump to do it again. It’s a chilling preview of what could happen in the event of a series of legal challenges to absentee ballots -- challenges that could end up before the Supreme Court. So, even if the conservative-leaning Bench rules against Trump, it might not matter. Of course, there also might not be any functional outcome to ignoring the Court, beyond simply refusing to concede or vacate the office. In other words, ignoring the Supremes might not win anything for Trump. However, Trump also thinks he can pass his own laws without the participation of Congress. Perhaps you’ve overheard him repeating the line: "The Supreme Court decision on DACA gave me the right to” create laws, a significant expansion of executive authority backed by former Bush administration torture-defender, John Yoo. So far, Trump hasn’t exercised this nonexistent power, but he’s threatened to authorize an alleged law regarding healthcare, which also hasn’t occurred yet. But it still might. Trump, during a recent episode of the Trump Show, live from the White House press room, said he has “the right” to pass a national law that bans the use of absentee ballots. Trump said, “I have the right to do it. We haven’t gotten there yet. We’ll see what happens.” No. He doesn’t have the right to do anything like that, but the law hasn’t really been a robust bulwark against Trump’s maniacal whimsy to date.

The truly scary thing about his declaration is this: by now he’s fully embraced the authority to deploy secret shocktroopers into American cities to enforce his will upon the people, making it quite likely he’ll try to do it again. This could end up being his enforcement mechanism for laws he claims to have passed himself. To be clear: We know he’s already defied the Supreme Court. We know that he’s entertaining the authority to make his own laws, including one that would apparently stop the use of absentee ballots -- state authority to conduct elections be damned. Look, practically speaking, it might all be moot, leading to almost nothing -- toothless executive orders to be overturned by the next administration, hopefully. Or he could be bluffing without any specific plans to even bother. So often, however, the notion that, “He’ll never do that!” quickly evolves into, “I can’t believe he actually did it!” Even if the election goes off without a hitch, there are many other ways he could exploit these powers to stir up all kinds of horrors aimed at other issue areas. Again, the intention here is to proceed with our eyes wide open so that we’re ready for action. Trump is absolutely a dictator with zero personal restraint. He’s capable of anything. Meanwhile, we should all add these Trump-exploited loopholes to the list of things that need to be permanently welded shut forever after Trump is finally airlifted out of the White House at long last. And he will be.

'P-Valley' Is the Sexy, Brilliant Strip Club Show You Should Be Watching

This Starz show is one of the best series on TV right now that you should get into ASAP.


"Down in the valley where the girls get naked," a voice sings in a nursery rhyme cadence over the opening credits for Starz's excellent new drama, P-Valley. Those words are a succinct summary of the show itself: P-Valley takes place in and around a strip club called The Pynk, located in a fictional town of Chucalissa on the Mississippi Delta. The series, created by playwright Katori Hall, is an intoxicating look at the lives of the people who orbit the venue, which appears decrepit during the day, but comes alive, flush in neon, at night. It's raucous and funny and filled with intrigue and should be your new must-watch. Hell, it's already received a second season order. And if that's not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons why you should jump in.

Katori Hall is one of the most exciting playwrights working today

There aren't any big-name stars in the principal cast of P-Valley -- at least, they aren't big stars yet -- but you should know the name of the woman behind it. Katori Hall is probably best known for her play The Mountaintop, a piece of magical realism about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last night alive, which premiered on Broadway in 2011 starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. More recently, she wrote the book for the Tina Turner musical, which was forced to close amid the coronavirus shut downs. P-Valley is adapted from another one of her plays, though it had a less euphemistic name: Pussy Valley. P-Valley is thoroughly cinematic, but you see where Hall's stage roots poke through in the long scenes of dialogue, especially backstage at The Pynk.

It's populated by a fascinating cast of characters

So what is P-Valley's plot? It begins with a young woman washed ashore after a hurricane. She finds a suitcase and removes clothes and an ID that are clearly not her own. She's on a bus ride to somewhere when she sees the pink lights of The Pynk off in the distance. She changes her plans and reinvents herself as Autumn Night (Elarica Johnson). There are echoes of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in that opening, and The Pynk is Autumn's Illyria. The overarching mystery of P-Valley is just who Autumn is and what trauma she escaped, but she is just one of an ensemble. The Pynk is run by Uncle Clifford (Nico Annan), who is nonbinary and constantly wearing flowing wigs and long nails as they struggle to keep the business afloat. Mercedes (Brandee Evans) is the current queen of the place, and is on her way out, but resistant to relinquish her status. She also coaches the local teen dance team on the side, and provides for her religious mother, who shames her in return. An interloper Andre (Parker Sawyers) arrives in town with a plan to open a casino on The Pynk's land, but he too is captivated by its aura. Along the way you slowly get to know the other dancers like Keyshawn, a.k.a. Miss Misssissippi (Shannon Thornton), and Gidget (Skyler Joy).

The dancing is amazing

P-Valley treats pole dancing like the artistic and athletic endeavor that it is, regularly featuring mind-boggling feats of strength, like the "double surfboard" that appeared in the third episode. The show is choreographed by Jamaica Craft, who told Vanity Fair that the cast went through an "extreme" pole dancing workshop, though there are also doubles performing. The astounding routines add to the notion that The Pynk, with all its drama and trouble, is also a wondrous place, where women are the strongest people in the room.

It's entirely directed by women

Hall also brought only female directors, including Karena Evans, best known for her music videos like Drake's "Nice for What," and Kimberly Peirce, who made Boys Don't Cry. These women are able to capture the carnal sexiness of The Pynk without objectification. Yet another reason P-Valley absolutely rules.

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