Link Love

I’ve been busy this week with activism (and class prep and research, but lots of activism).  I’ve been calling and talking and doing my best to protect the affordable care act.  Don’t let anybody tell you that your calls don’t matter.  THEY MATTER.  If you’re in a blue state, your representatives want your calls and letters and emails.  This information helps bolster their claims about what their constituents want and really care about.  So don’t think, well I know my reps are in favor of this so I don’t need to call.  Call.  Leave a message, or talk briefly with a staffer.  Email or fax if you can’t call.  If you’re in a red or purple state, your calls and faxes really matter.  I have been amazed how my senators’ staffers message has changed just over the course of two weeks from of course we will repeal immediately without replacing to… well, people will still have the ACA for 2 years.  Similarly on getting in ethics reviews before hearings.  We are pushing that dial and we can keep pushing it.  Bad legislation is still going to get passed.  People are still going to die, but if we are vocal and continue being vocal, we will drown out some of the voices of evil (I’ve recently started believing evil exists again).  Bad legislation will be passed, but it will be less bad than the legislation that would have been passed without our efforts.  Let them know we’re watching.  Keep them accountable.  We are saving lives.

My local legislators are undecided on a couple of extremely vile bills coming through the pipeline.  That means that they’re waiting to hear which direction their vocal constituents are leaning.  Be those vocal constituents.  (Today one staffer told me she agreed with me, but the legislator had not talked with staff about his view yet.  She hoped he voted no.  The staffer for my other guy ended saying he was excited to pass along my thoughts and my argument.  They’re both against evil too.  But they need our voices to add to theirs.)

And if you don’t want to make calls, don’t tell people calls don’t matter.  That’s the same mistake anti-vaxxers make– if you truly believe that you don’t want your kid vaccinated, you should want everyone else to vaccinate their kids in order to keep your kid safe.  Instead, do what you can (which hopefully is faxing or letter writing or emailing or limiting to 15 min per week of activism or whatever it is you are doing to protect your time and sanity) and praise the person who is trying to get you to pick up the phone for what they’re doing on your behalf.  People will understand that you need to get tenure or you’re dealing with grief or your children need your attention but you’re doing what you can.  And you know, three years ago, your lone voice might not have mattered.  But that’s the thing.  With the Trump presidency, people like me who only vaguely knew the names of their representative or that other senator are making phone calls *every single day*.  People like my sister are calling AND are organizing local groups to meet each other and talk to each other and get things done.  People like wandsci are keeping us aware of what is going on via social media and are calling too.  That means your voice isn’t the only voice.  It’s one of many, but of a small enough of many that your voice still matters.  You need to keep calling because your voice amplifies other people’s voices.  And there are enough other people’s voices that we can get change.  Your voice can be that voice that causes more change.  Even if it’s just 15 min a week.

How to best use your activism time? 

If you have a lot of energy, get with other groups and help them organize.  Figure out what issues to address and how to address them.  Then get the message out.  However, most of us have jobs that make doing all of that difficult.  (DH and I are mostly lending support on this front, though we are trying to find a group to be active with!)

If you only have a little time or a little mental energy, do one of two things.

1.  Check in your area to see if there’s an indivisible group in your state that is organized enough to have a mailing list or online webpage of weekly items.  This is ideal for you because they will be covering state and local issues as well, and your voice has a lot more power, even if you’re gerrymandered, on state and local issues.  And, of course, state and local affects federal.  There may not be one in your city, but check the biggest city in your state and the most liberal city in your state to see what their indivisible group is up to.  You may also have an indivisible group in your district.  Many of these smaller groups are going to die from disuse, some will merge, etc.  But if they’re giving action items each week you’re golden.


2.  If 1 isn’t working out for you or if you want a sure thing, go to our activism tab and pick one of the (now 5) different list-serves of action items.  My favorites are still Actions for Americans and Wall of Us, but they all have their own styles and you may prefer a different one.  After having done that, pick which 15 min you’re going to use to do phone calls (Moral Mondays are a good time) and do their items using their scripts each week.  If you don’t want to talk to a staffer, do it after hours and leave messages.  If you want to make the most impact use a more combative script if your representative is making a bad decision.  If you have extreme phone phobia, fax instead.  Get that box checked and if you have more energy, make some noise while doing it.  Most of us will probably have brief and polite conversations where we read off a script and the staffer says “Thank you I will pass that along”.

Next weekend I’m going to the women’s march in the city near me.  Is there one in a city near you?  If so, there may be bus transportation.  Several of our local churches have buses and our local dems office does as well.  If you call, you may be able to reserve a slot.  Men are included too– my whole family will be going, even though the shirts I got for the DCs are too big.

And now for some links.

If you’re calling and the vm box is always full and you can’t get through to a person, tell David Yankovich.  Stonewalling is illegal and he’s doing a story on it.  In retrospect, I suspect this is why one of my senators’ aides kept me on the phone for 30 min the other morning.  (Note:  You do not get the 30 min response unless you’re combative with them which I was because they were spreading falsehoods about the ACA– so don’t let that keep you from calling and voicing your opinion!)

You can call the leader of a senate committee even if you’re not a constituent in that senator’s state.

Interesting Times Suck.

Federal bill introduced in the house to prohibit abortions at the time of heartbeat.  Kentucky also enacts bad anti-abortion legislation.

Breitbart alumni are creating a pro-fascist group.

There’s a lot of Republican hypocrisy on Obamacare.   Also, one of my senator’s current lines is that the ACA shouldn’t have been passed without GOP votes.  I told one staffer who tried to push this harder that made total sense and that the Republicans should stop voting on partisan legislation RIGHT NOW.  If they can’t get full democratic buy-in, then they shouldn’t be passing any laws.  He was a political science major and I’m a lowly economist so I deferred to him on that one.

My senator’s staffer told me that hospitals are closing because of the Affordable Care Act.  That’s not true.  And more rural hospitals will close if the ACA goes away.  The only part that’s true is the effect of decreases in Medicare payments which were put in mostly in an attempt to get the GOP on board with the ACA.

Similarly, why did insurers withdraw from state marketplaces?  Because the GOP did things to get that outcome.  GOP who support these things care about politics over people.  They’re willing to let people die in order to gain political power.  And one wonders why I’m beginning to believe that evil exists.

What health policy experts think of Lamar Alexander’s plan for O’Care transition.  The answer may not surprise you.

A TX congressman calls for silencing of the press.  Let’s vote out the fascists.  I want to see primary challenges in Red districts.  Republicans against fascism!

Map of Trump’s Russian Connections.

Stories to watch.

Congress passes rule to allow house members to hide records from ethics probes.

Trump national security pick is a serial plagiarist.  (The linked story is an early one from this week, later stories find her dissertation and other articles.)

Trump has more debt than expected.  Breathtaking conflicts of interest.

Pay black women.

What it’s like to be at the center of a fake news conspiracy.

Presidential reading.

Trump vs. Plato.  Indeed, this seems to be the strategy of one of my senators’ offices.  They tell me so many lies when I call (and when DH calls and so on).

Poe’s Law?


Who is in a bubble?  What is the real bubble?  Who are the elitists?

When smart people get politically active you end up with something like this.

Do they want us to get into a war with China?

Mystery dot for twitter

Obama successes in tweetstorm form.

Gigzig is a fun way to come up with career path possibilities.

We have a potty tag.  If you have small children and are interested in the science of potty-ing.  Or just reading potty jokes.

Wall E

Let’s get to Link Love

Next Wednesday the Republicans are going to shock and awe us through 6 highly controversial hearings about Trump’s cabinet.  They’re using all sorts of dirty tricks thinking they won’t get caught.  If you haven’t done any political activism yet, try to spare some time on Monday to make calls and/or leave messages today.  If you have been making calls, make some more.  Probably the best way to figure out who to call/what to say/what number to use is to go up to the Activism tab on the upper right then pick one or two of the newsletters and sign up for them.  My favorites are Wall of Us and Actions for Americans.  Each week they come out with specific action items and do all the figuring out details parts so you can focus on making your voice heard.  You can find contact information for your elected officials here.

It’s going to be a long slog going forward, but this coming week really is especially important.  They’re counting us to be caught off-guard and overwhelmed.  If you’re into twitter, @wandsci and @ActionsUSA have been tweeting out things to do sporadically during the week.  I’m sure there are other good twitter people who tweet specific and followable action items– let us know in the comments!

If you live in Iowa, contact your legislators about this Voter Suppression Bill.

Share your obamacare story.  I don’t know why McConnell is doing this.

Good headline, but the plan to defund Planned Parenthood is horrific.  If George HW Bush were dead, he would be spinning in his grave.

I hope TX legislators get a lot of angry letters and emails from Percy Jackson fans.  And, of course, if you live in Texas, you can tell your own state legislators that the Bathroom bill is ridiculous, cruel, and will cost Texas businesses a lot of money.  Just like in North Carolina.

House Republicans revive obscure rule that allows them to slash the pay of individual federal workers to $1.  Fascism here we come.

They also hope you forget about Russian influence on the election, now made public.


Sit-in in Sessions office

The ACA did not increase premiums!  There was a pre-trend of rapid increases in premia and the ACA slowed that down.

More BS from the WSJ


Santa didn’t know

Just subscribed to Teen Vogue for DC1.  For the articles!

You are 16 going on 17

This year’s resolution

Like Scalzi says, the arc of time will not bend towards justice without us doing our part.

Verbal abuse is still abuse.

This meshes with some of my recent work

Twenty mighty girl classics

Are shopkins bad for your kids?

Is screen time bad for your kids?

I keep getting emails from these scam artists.

When you stop relying on resumes.  (Or:  why networking is so important given that most companies don’t do what this one does.)

Miser mom talks trash.

How to donate 100K.

Flavors of financial independence

Yuri on ice (review contains spoilers– you can watch Yuri on crunchyroll)


all outliers



Missing kitty.  Found kitty.

Before and after being called a good boy


Link love link love roly poly link love


2016 in harassment

GOP readies swift ACA repeal with no replacement

GOP to punish filming on the house floor.

Professors receive emails from fake students asking about their courses.

Trump voters live in a crazy alternate reality

Post-election anxiety is real.

Things could be worse so don’t complain is a way to keep the oppressed down.

Hope is something you create.

Missoula Montanans put menorahs in business and home windows to show solidarity with the Jewish community after anti-Semitic rhetoric.

“It’s Ben and Jerry, not Ben and Mary”

The real danger of treating people with respect.

Do your syllabi approach gender equity?  Do you represent the under-represented?

Wealth, risk, and stuff.

Katharine Hepburn’s brownies

I got this for Christmas.

baby has a buddy

A while back, DH and I were watching an American songbook documentary and there were these two black tap dancers who were more amazing than Fred Astaire.  And we were like, who are these two guys and doesn’t it suck that we’ve never heard of them even though we have heard of Astaire.  Turns out they’re the Nicholas Brothers and Fred Astaire agrees that they had the greatest dance number of all time.



Link love Eve

There’s still a lot of horrible stuff in the news.  Donald Trump, apparently doesn’t celebrate the holidays.  Or rather, he celebrates them by increasing the probability of nuclear war.  But we have given up on sending each other links about such things this week.  Please do, however, click on the Activism tab, sign up for any one of the weekly newsletters or find an action group in your area, and if you can, talk with friends and family about what you can do and what they’re doing going forward.  Our combined actions will make a difference and every step we take has a positive probability of saving lives.  It can be scary and I know my DH is dreading bring up politics with his family because sometimes it is hard to do the right thing, but we all need to do the right thing as best we can.

Texas (illegally) kicks planned parenthood out of Medicaid

Treating people with respect


toxic, toxic masculinity in rural white men (whatta shock I know)

News organizations are so important.

nightmare fuel

in memoriam

bonus points for misunderestimate

Preschool is good for society?

higher priced majors => more financial aid => better representation of disadvantaged students


only if you move

Walking dresses


mouseover has a heartwarming story

stress and memory

escapetop five?



Seems like making the last mortgage payoff might not be as easy as writing the final check.

I want this, preferably filled with cherries and marzipan.

Fibonacci poem!

should not exist

Just for a tiny bit of joy, here’s a repost of a favorite Christmas post.



Also, for your enjoyment, a soliloquy from earlier this week:

I want more presents
like the order I bought for myself but it isn’t coming until Wednesday
we don’t have anybody picking up packages for us while we’re gone :(
so I am glad the order is taking less time than usual
I feel like I have become an IM advertisement for nuts.come except they’re not paying me!, the only place I know you can get dried dragonfruit, now with free holiday tin! home of delicious indian snackfood, where you can try bizarre superfoods you’ve never heard of
also they have these fruit gummies that are made out of actual fruit, they’re really really good but also just as bad for you as regular gummies,  so DH wanted to get some, but I was like, DH, the first ingredient is sugar.  Like, they take actual strawberries and shoot them up with the stuff fruit gummies are made out of.  They’re like frankenberries or zombieberries something like that unnatural [ed: embalmed mummy berries?], yet what gummy fruit wishes it could be. Also not as pretty as fruit-snacks because there’s no artificial coloring. /en fin

Lately link loves

… have been late

Last chance to sign up for this year’s ACA health insurance is Dec 19th!

Jerry Brown is pretty awesome.

A guide for resisting the Trump Agenda

Cloud’s activism agenda

South Africa in 1948 and parallels to Trump.

A small subset of Trump’s conflicts of interest.

Voting rights

Ohio’s 20 week abortion ban is pretty horrific.

How google search empowers racists.

How to help syria

We gave books to the liberation library

another charity


We agree

local cat unfazed

fragile masculinity imagined

Vanity Fair (similarly:  Mother Jones)

Don’t sneak.

How to save on required minimum distributions when you have a lot of money saved for retirement.  (Also see the comments sections for discussion.)

throwaway mentality

food processor recall

need this

I already knew about the baldness, but the rest of this interview is quite delightful.

retail therapy

excellent cat drawing

Adorable kittens

Link love

Why it matters that HRC got 2.7 million more votes and counting.

Why Pat McCrory lost and what this means for what we can do going forward.

Donald Trump still doing nothing about conflicts of interest.  Here’s more on that topic.

Education secretary pick also has conflicts of interest.

Evan McMullin on what we should do going forward.

Important thread on how the nytimes whitewashes white supremacy.

Pope Francis on fake news.

They want to hurt their fellow Americans.

Love is not enough.

Stop blaming the victims.

GOP should have run on gutting Social Security in the most recent election.

Trump transition is ousting civil servants who helped with Obama climate policy.

More FBI harassment.

This makes me feel queasy (domestic violence, OH abortion law)

So creepy.

Hairspray today.

Poverty line.

Financial planning for the top 1%.


steampunk parrot does science

Behavior study wants to know how cats learn.

The 2016 annual hater guide to the williams sonoma catalog.

Dec 14-25 for a very special BCN.

Link Love

If you’ve been hearing about Trump “saving” jobs in Indiana, first off, they’re paying the company $7000oo/year for those “saved” jobs (and many of the jobs are still going to Mexico) and SECOND, and more importantly Donald Trump owns shares in the company (according to the Indiana Star).  Check the Activism tab for how to call the house financial oversight committee (202 225 5074), your congressperson to support the presidential accountability act, and email the GAO ( ) to audit Trump’s finances.  This is insane!   (Even Sarah Palin says so.)

More voter restriction in North Carolina

This is true

Wandsci on politics

Wake-up Call

Turns out being president is a bigger job than Trump thought.

This parody of merriam webster’s word of the year is actually not quite as horrible as the word that’s actually on track to be word of the year.

“By rules of their philosophy, you are only folks they take seriously. Stop telling the rest of us how to change their minds. You go do it.”

Some garbage a guy used to believe about equality.

27 women waiting patiently for men to stop talking in 2016.

BCN fixes its lighting

This opens up the question:  should you trust the Washington Post about what news outlets you should be reading?

Go back to fairyland

Uber is unprofitable and will increase prices after it has become a monopoly.

#2 wants this shirt

Disclaimer:  I have never watched the Gilmore Girls

Sleep restriction is bad

Zika in TX


Advent calendar!

doubting your charitable giving

This mcmansion hell is especially…special.