Ireland’s acting like the setting of a dystopian novel.

This is the sort of thing that happens when a suicidal woman requests an abortion in Ireland.

The poor girl must have been devastated. She was certainly traumatised enough to go on hunger and fluid strike. The HSE went to the High Court to get a care order to prevent her from starving herself. Eventually, she surrendered and allowed the baby to be delivered by Caesarean section sometime between 23 and 25 weeks.

She did what the law asked of her: presented herself to a panel of three psychiatrists and told them about her suicidal ideation. The psychiatrists agreed that she was a suicide risk and should be allowed a termination, but the obstetrician stepped in and insisted that the pregnancy was far along enough for a live delivery and therefore MUST have a live delivery.

She tried starving herself. No, she wasn’t allowed to starve; the state took her in and forced her not to starve or dehydrate. As long as she was pregnant, she did not have permission to die.

This is only a couple of steps removed from the setting of a dystopian novel I was working on (now shelved indefinitely) around the same time as beginning my urban fantasy work; in present-day Ireland, they only keep her hooked up for a short time, and they don’t appear to be forcing psychotropic drugs on her, but still, this is a very Handmaid’s Tale way to treat a young woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant.

Something tells me they don’t roll out the protective orders for suicidal people who aren’t pregnant. Now that the baby is out, there’s nothing stopping her from killing herself.

Delivery at 25 weeks is nearly the bare minimum required for a fetus to survive delivery. There’s a reason why nearly all parents with wanted pregnancies keep them going closer to 40 weeks if at all possible. Staying alive after such a premature birth is doable, but it’s not healthy.

The physical effects (her mental health is clearly irrelevant as far as the state is concerned) of Cesarean section are far from trivial, especially compared to abortion. She’s been forced into a major operation, with permanent effects, in order to deliver an extremely premature infant whom she did not want to conceive in the first place and will not raise.

I do understand where the Irish government is coming from, in handling such cases this way. If one pregnant woman can say she’s suicidal and get a safe abortion in an Irish hospital, it won’t be long until ALL women with unwanted pregnancies can get terminations just by claiming to have suicidal thoughts. Before you know it, the Republic of Ireland will be known as a country where any woman can get a pregnancy terminated legally by a qualified doctor. Everyone knows Ireland is supposed to outsource their abortion care to Great Britain. Anything less is a travesty. The woman in this case was unable to travel to the UK for a legal abortion. I’m seeing from other sources that she is not an Irish national, so it’s probably an immigration concern that kept her from making the trip. It’s the most disadvantaged and desperate women who can be forced to keep their pregnancies to the point of just barely viability, and who can be taken into state custody to keep from starving themselves. Those with more control over their life circumstances can exercise their right to reproductive freedom in other countries.

But that said, how far does it have to go? How many more women have to go on hunger strike, or successfully kill themselves, before the Irish government decides that allowing legal abortion to happen within its own borders would not be the worst thing ever? How many women will they incarcerate and force into major abdominal surgery for the sake of barely viable micro-preemies before they start re-examining their priorities?

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“What do you mean, you ‘do voices’?”

I came home last night, and at some point between checking my phone on the train, and opening Twitter at home, the news of Robin Williams’s death had entered the media. I think it was Danielle Brooks’s Tweet that I saw first.

Whatever plans I had for the evening went out the window. Now I have a hangover from an evening of ugly crying.

I don’t blame Mr. Williams for taking his life. I’m not interested in castigating the deceased for their failure to stay with the living. I’m devastated that he was so sick he had no better options.

As much as I loved his work, I haven’t seen all his movies. Now renting as many as possible so I can rectify that omission.

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Someone’s priorities are really skewed.

This asshole happened:

 “This Ebola epidemic could become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague,” said broadcaster Rick Wiles on his “Trunews” program.

“It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming,” Wiles continued. “Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography, and abortion.”

Someone is really, really eager for a new plague to come along and punish America for its overly accepting, pleasure-seeking, independence-oriented ways.

I don’t think it’s any accident that all the “problems” Mr. Wiles listed either pertain to enjoying sex, or refuse to put money in the church offering plate.

Of all the horrible shit that’s going on in our country, and of all the destruction we’ve wrought elsewhere in the world, there are plenty of people, like Mr. Wiles, who think the real problems are, respectively: not being Christian, fucking people of the same gender, fucking lots of people in a given stretch of time, watching other people fuck, and fucking while refusing to accept uncontrolled fertility.

We drove a wrecking ball through Afghanistan, we’ve jackhammered Iraq, we’ve failed to clean up our messes in both of those countries, we continue to enable the Israel/Palestine conflict, we waste absurd amounts of money and human productivity on punishing people for non-violent drug offenses, and we keep millions of families in poverty. Our entire nation owes its existence to genocide and slavery.

Enjoying sex and not apologizing, though? Now THAT is where this guy’s God is putting the smackdown on us.

Most people, including the vast majority of American Christians, tend to think that Wiles’s laundry list of sins ranges from “not a problem in the least” to “less of a problem than people dying of Ebola.”

And yet, there are still people who keep guys like this in business. Many of them do a lot of the same things that are supposedly bringing God’s wrath on us, but they feel bad about it, and that makes all the difference.

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My husband is more to me than a living jar-opener


I can open my own jars, haul furniture, mow the lawn, and get things off high shelves.

If I were unable to do any of those things, what would patriarchy have to offer?

Men don’t owe me their physical strength or time for help with activities that are beyond my muscular capacities. At the same time, I don’t owe them my gratitude for their existing with greater upper-body strength.
Patriarchy isn’t really interested in making women’s lives easier by persuading men to be available to help women when stronger arms are needed. Patriarchy is interested in making women dependent so that our assistance is constantly available to men. Differences are not written in stone.

Originally posted on Fit and Feminist:

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past week, you’ve probably already seen the Women Against Feminism tumblr going around, or at the very least read about it.

I didn’t think too much of it when I saw it, for two reasons. For one, most of the women had a tenuous grasp (at best) on the definition of feminism, one that seemed like it was informed in its entirety by Rush Limbaugh and Jessi Spano, and also the belief that “misandry” jokes are actually serious.

The other reason was that most of the “women” actually looked like teenage girls. Considering that I was super into Ayn Rand when I was a teenage girl, I can’t get too far up on my high horse with regards to the contributors. Let’s just say that if Tumblr was around in the late 1990s, I’m sure there’d be a photo of…

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On the Difference Between Ability and Priority

Miri at Brute Reason has a guest post from CaitieCat, in which she asks us liberal heathens not to harp on spelling and grammar in place of meaning:

Particularly in a US context, where educational options are very strongly influenced by class (and race, in an intertwined manner), riding the xenophobes for misspelling ‘illegals’ as ‘illeagles’, or “Muslim” as “muslin”, what we’re saying is, “You should have been smart enough to get yourself born to the right kind of parents, who’d give you access to the best education, who were educated themselves enough to teach you ‘proper’ English, and who were rich enough to make sure you never had to work after school instead of studying!”

I agree with her position, up to a point. And it’s possibly hypocritical of me to even share her post at all, as I’m given to writing up entire blog posts just to tell people how to use better grammar, but here’s the thing: I’m a writer, and I hang out with other writers. I think writers should know how to spell. I think writers should know their punctuation and conditionals, or be actively trying to improve their skills. And I tend to focus on giving advice on how to do it right, rather than simply declaring, “You don’t know how to spell ‘socialist’, so your argument is invalid,” because I actually do have some awareness that learning the finer points of the English language takes more work for some people than others. I think being able to do things like keep homophones straight and use apostrophes appropriately is an end unto itself, if you’re going to make a habit of writing things which you expect large numbers of people to read.

So that’s where I diverge from CaitieCat’s position: I think writers should have a solid grip on the spelling of whatever language they’re using, and in the examples that I’ve pasted above, we know that these are errors some people make because we’ve seen them on protest signs.

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You should not be raiding the Little Free Library for a quick buck.

Oh, now really, book-lovers? Really? Who does this shit?

This type of thing is, sadly, more common than you’d expect. I’ve read multiple posts and heard some sad stories about Little Free Libraries getting raided and having their books sold at used bookstores and such. I’ve even heard some REALLY sad stories about the libraries themselves being stolen. I’m glad that this is the first (and hopefully only) time this has happened to my library, but it’s really frustrating.

There are people who take books out of Little Free Libraries and sell them to used bookstores.

This is not cool. It is really, really not cool.

If a book is put into the “read books for free” system, it should stay in some sort of free-reading system. I don’t think it’s a problem if the occasional neighbor takes a book or two out of an LFL and likes it so much they keep it in their private collection, but they should not get money for that book. Do not steal from your community to make a few dollars at the used bookstore, you rampaging assholes. Maybe pass it on to a friend who hasn’t seen the LFL. Maybe put it in a different LFL. Maybe even donate it to the local public library, but don’t fucking sell it when you didn’t buy it in the first place and nobody gave it to you as a gift.


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BAD Federal Government! No cookie for you!

I work for a USAID subcontractor. You might call them a “Beltway Bandit,” but we’re a bandit that does good stuff for people in need, really we are. ANYWAY. My job demands meticulousness and efficiency rather than creativity and judgment, and every summer it’s horrible and disgusting. This summer it’s worse than usual. So I’ve been overwhelmed and preoccupied with how to keep up with my workload, as well as finishing a new book and buying a house, so that may explain some of why I’ve been such a lazy blogger. Anyway, I was feeling especially angry and indignant about what I’m forced to do at work today (angry with good reason, I promise), and I got to thinking about what might be done to avoid this situation with other subcontractors and their grunt-work employees.

(My hands and feet are overloaded, but my brain still has room to play around.)

The problem right now is that my employer is being audited by the Inspector General. I can say that without giving away any sensitive information, as there are plenty of companies that have to answer to the paper-pushers at USAID. I’m not telling you who my employer is, but we’re being audited. Not that we have anything to worry about. The fine people from the IG’s office have not found anything amiss with my employer’s records, and they will not find anything amiss, because we are perfectly ethical, transparent and in control of our shit. I’m speaking from experience. I work my ass off, my supervisors work their asses off partly by riding my ass, and our records are immaculate. We have a financial audit (read: not coming from USAID) every year, and we fucking nail it every time. We fucking nail it every time because we work like a damn beehive in which I comprise the lower 60% of the worker bees.

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Want some free books? Of course you do.

If you happen to be hanging out in Riverdale, MD, I can show you to a new place to get free books.


It’s not registered with the Little Free Library system, but it’s there, and it’s open 24/7.



It’s not “just” a question.

There’s this comic here on The Toast, which is all displayed in graphics, so it’s tricky to excerpt. In “What Would the Yellow Ranger Do?”, Shing Yin Khor shows us what it means to be asked “Where Are You From?” in various contexts. And then we get to this part:

My husband is a tall white man, of Italian, German and Irish ancestry.

No one asks where he’s from, and if they do, the conversation ends when he says “State College, Pennsylvania” or “Los Angeles.”

“It’s just a question. It’s harmless,” he says.

It’s a harmless question if you look sufficiently un-exotic compared to your surroundings that you can answer with “State College, Pennsylvania” and not get any more scrutiny.

If you live in a place where you’re the exotic one—regardless of how long you’ve actually lived there, even if your family’s been there since well before you were born—then you soon figure out just how loaded a question that is. If it is impossible to exist as a tall, blue-eyed American without being treated like a fucking zoo exhibit whenever you walk out the front door of your house in whatever far-flung locale you currently inhabit, then you come to realize that the “harmless” question is tied up with a lot of baggage, and some of those bags are filled with toxic waste.

(Now picture being treated like that in the country you call home.)


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Princeton Mom acts like this is a bad thing.

I’m sure this here is supposed to scare us into behaving like good little Stepford bots:

The controversial author criticized today’s women for “acting like such an entitled princess” and prioritizing careers ahead of their families. Men, Patton told the Fox hosts, must be appreciated and respected, perhaps with a drink at the end of a long work day or gratitude and kindness. After all, should a woman alienate her husband, she’ll spend the rest of her life searching for a suitable replacement.

“If you are in your mid-30s or older the idea that you’re going to find yourself another husband, almost impossible,” Patton predicted. “And if you don’t believe me ask your maiden aunt, she will tell you when she’s done feeding the cats.”

This is phrased as a dire warning, but to me it sounds more like reassurance. Let me translate:

Don’t worry if you find yourself shackled by a wedding ring to some egotistical, inconsiderate butt-nozzle: you can get out while you’re still young! Get out of that trap in your mid-30s, and you won’t have to deal with another King of the Castle calling you Wifey. Ever again. Go hang out with your favorite badass aunt, who will mix you a fabulous mojito while you stretch out in the easy chair and enjoy guilt-free kitty cuddles.

Someday, perhaps someone will prove to me how heterosexual marriage is the ultimate validation of a woman’s existence, while enjoying four-legged company is a mark of shame. So far, I am the opposite of convinced.

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