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Member since: Tue Jul 29, 2003, 03:30 PM
Number of posts: 105,520

Journal Archives


Are indoor shopping malls dying? Sadly, confirmation of that fact was on full

view to me yesterday. One of our three indoor malls has been moribund for years so I had not given it much thought recently. But, yesterday, for the first time in well over a year, I went to the older of our two larger malls, and was absolutely shocked. The first thing that I noticed was that the space formerly occupied by Macy's (one of the two anchor stores), and vacant for several years, is now occupied by an apparent wanna-be mega church, called Zeal. Looking it up later made me ill. About what one could expect in the town of focus and new life. Then I walked through the mall, sadder with every step. So many closed storefronts, and the few that remain are apparently about to bite the dust. Three-story Dillard's long ago became a one-story clearance center. Burlington is one floor instead of two, and a disaster. JC Penny's. . .well, that has looked like it is closing for several years. Flooring at the mall entrances is a mess. Half the escalators out of service. Seating removed. Hours are curtailed. An aura of hopelessness pervaded the entire mall.

I worked in two of the first businesses in that mall while I was in college. I had loved going there whenever I am here. Alas, no more. There are other, better, shopping areas.

But the question, which many communities are, or soon will be, facing, is, "What are we going to do with them? How do we, or should we, give them new life and purpose? I started thinking about these questions first in terms of closed military bases, many years ago. Our world is changing, habits are changing, climate and economies are changing, and we have to figure these things out, preferably before it is too late. Sadly, here in fundieville, I do not hold out much hope for satisfactory, affirming, positive answers.

Happy Anniversary to me! As some of you already know, today is my

official 20th DU anniversary, having read here for some time before actually joining. My late friend Betty was a DU member first, and we shared the Top 10 conservative idiots list each week, racing to see who got to it, and giggling and chortling to each other as we went through the list.

Gradually, I ventured forth into the wider community of DU, and found a community of kindred minds and spirits. DU becme my home, my family, as we lived through, shared, mourned, anguished, screamed, cried, laughed, and celebrated, the horrors, the triumphs, the joys, tears, big events, small ones, victories, losses, at every level. When the news in this world is dark and depressing, there are animal videos and music. When anything of import happens, within five seconds, someone here has it covered. Those of my friends in the physical world who are not quite the political news junkies that we are, have long since known just to text or call me, because they know that I will immediately check DU for confimation or denial.

So, my dear DU Sisters and Brothers, thank you all for the amazing and wonderful gift andd blessing that you all are. Here is to the next 20!!!

Physicians Share Photos of Early Pregnancy Tissue: 'We Just Want People to Have Accurate Informati

(I thought it was time to repost this handy little reminder)

Physicians Share Photos of Early Pregnancy Tissue: ‘We Just Want People to Have Accurate Information’
11/4/2022 by Carrie N. Baker

Anti-abortion rhetoric and images saturating the internet and political discussions portray embryos in early pregnancy as fully formed miniature human beings. Recently enacted abortion bans refer to embryos as “babies” and claim there’s a “fetal heartbeat” at six weeks of pregnancy. But what does an early pregnancy actually look like? The MYA Network (short for “My Abortion Network”) set out to answer this question in their recent Issue of Tissue Project, which shows what tissue removed during early abortions looks like. The MYA Network is composed of clinicians working to expand early abortion options in primary care settings using abortion pills and manual uterine aspiration. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there and many people have come to believe it,” said MYA Network co-founder Dr. Michele Gomez, a family care physician in Burlingame, Calif. “There’s also accurate information out there but mostly in the form of highly magnified embryos at these early stages. People have a right to know and understand that they are magnified.”

In fact, before nine weeks of pregnancy—when 80 percent of abortions take place—the embryo is not visible with the naked eye in the pregnancy tissue removed during an abortion. There is no “heartbeat” at six weeks of pregnancy, only the electrical activity of cells before an actual heart is formed, said Gomez. “The anti-choice movement has been showing inaccurate and graphic pictures for a long time, and these images shock us so they tend to stick with us,” said Gomez. “Without factual images to counter the inaccurate images, many people just accept the only things they’ve ever seen, which is completely understandable. Seeing actual images of early pregnancy tissue, as seen with the naked eye, can help people replace the graphic and inaccurate images they may have come to accept as true.”

MYA Network created the Issue of Tissue Project to share accurate images of early pregnancy tissue. After manual aspiration abortions, they rinsed the blood from the tissue removed from the uterus and photographed it for pregnancies of five weeks through nine weeks.

These photos show pregnancy tissue extracted at five to nine weeks of pregnancy, rinsed of blood and menstrual lining. The images show the tissue in a petri dish next to a ruler to indicate its size. (MYA Network)

After an egg joins with a sperm at fertilization, it’s called a zygote. After five days of development, it’s called a blastocyst. In week four of the pregnancy, the blastocyst embeds in the uterine wall and becomes an embryo. At around the 10th week of pregnancy it becomes a fetus. Up to 50 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. In the MYA Network pregnancy tissue photos, the embryos are too small to see with the naked eye. At five weeks of pregnancy, the tissue is about one quarter of an inch wide.

Pregnancy tissue at five weeks of pregnancy. (MYA Network)

At six weeks of pregnancy, the tissue is a little over half an inch.
Pregnancy tissue at six weeks of pregnancy. (MYA Network)

At seven weeks of pregnancy, the tissue is one inch wide.
Tissue at seven weeks of pregnancy. (MYA Network)

At eight weeks of pregnancy, the tissue is two and a half inches wide.
Tissue at eight weeks of pregnancy (MYA Network)

At nine weeks of pregnancy, the tissue is about three inches wide.
Tissue at nine weeks of pregnancy. (MYA Network)

Gomez said the MYA Network’s decision to share these images grew from their own experiences as clinicians. “Many of us in the MYA Network provide in-office abortions by manual uterine aspiration, which a simple, non-surgical procedure that takes five to 10 minutes to complete and can be done with only ibuprofen for pain control,” she said. “We’ve often had the experience of a patient asking to see the pregnancy tissue after the procedure, and then being very surprised by what they see. “In my experience, pregnant people and their partners have felt some relief when they see the tissue, because it doesn’t look like what they’ve seen in anti-choice imagery,” Gomez continued. “We in the MYA Network discussed this, and decided that as clinicians we wanted our patients to have more information, so they could be better informed.”

. . . .

“A lot of people are comforted by seeing these images—they’re just so different from what they’d previously seen,” said Gomez. “People need and deserve facts, love and compassion to make decisions about their own bodies and their own lives.”

To learn more or support the work of the MYA Network, visit myanetwork.org/ (https://myanetwork.org/).


As I watch some of the comments here and elsewhere about turning the tables

on the haters, it strikes me again that it never seems to occur to the haters that that can happen. They call for boycotts of entities that they hate (or fear) but then whine and complain when the sane people do it.

Now, I, personally, have made it my business my entire adult life not to matronize any service or estalishment run by fundies, reichwingers, etc., if at all possible, and they somehow never had occasion to darken my doors.( The ocasional death threats were for my political activities, not the monetary ones.) It is going to be very interesting to see their reactions to receiving the same treatment they are so very eager, and pleased, to dish out.

Apparently, it never occured to them that their longed-for not-so-civil war could be a monetary one.

Be brave! Go by yourself! I do! And dare anyone to comment.

I only know one grandma whose grands are here for me to rent.

The Patriarchs' War on Women

(lengthy, urgent read)

The Patriarchs’ War on Women
5/15/2023 by Zoe Marks and Erica Chenoweth
The backlash against feminist progress that’s overtaking the U.S. is part of a global trend. Free and empowered women are a threat to authoritarianism worldwide—and the autocrats know it.

The United States was officially designated a backsliding democracy in late 2021—a full six months before the fall of Roe v. Wade. At the time, journalists warned that such a descent is precisely when “curbs on women’s rights tend to accelerate.” But can a country that has never truly addressed women’s equality ever be a thriving democracy? And are democracies that have abysmal records on gender equity destined to falter? Explore “Women’s Rights and Backsliding Democracies“—a multimedia project comprised of essays, video and podcast programming, presented by Ms., NYU Law’s Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network and Rewire News Group.

Inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was meeting to confirm the election of Joe Biden; autocrats try to maintain control by attacking the rule of law, separation of powers and fair elections. (Roberto Schmidt / Getty Images)

U.S. feminists have been raising alarms about persistent assaults on gender equality. Across the country, GOP-led legislatures are rolling back reproductive rights, legislating against trans youth and their families, and censoring school curricula about racism, sexism, LGBTQ+ issues and even what to expect at the gynecologist’s office. These developments in the U.S. reflect a troubling pattern: Around the world, patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. The connection between sexism and authoritarianism is not coincidental, or a mere character flaw of individual misogynists-in-chief. Women’s political power is essential to a properly functioning multiracial democracy, and fully free, empowered women are a threat to autocracy. Assaults on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights—and attempts to put women “in their place”—constitute a backlash against feminist progress expanding women’s full inclusion in public life. As women’s participation becomes more prominent in domestic and international politics, our research sheds light on why political sexism and gender policing are also becoming more virulent—and what to do about it.

Patriarchal Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism rejects political competition and promotes a strong central power that upholds the political and social status quo. Autocrats try to maintain control by attacking the rule of law, separation of powers, political expression and fair elections. But strongmen and their enablers also tend to usurp power in part by promoting a conservative and binary gender hierarchy. Patriarchy is, in the words of political scientist Valerie Hudson and her colleagues, the “first political order.” And it is closely related to authoritarianism. Authoritarian backsliding occurs when women are stripped of equal access, opportunity and rights in the workplace, in the public sphere and at home. By strengthening men’s control over the women and girls in their lives, authoritarian leaders strike a patriarchal bargain, doling out private authority in exchange for public loyalty to the strongman. Incidentally, many women buy into the bargain, too. Women from dominant groups and classes are often willing to promote conservative gender norms and policies that retrench the status quo. The policing of gender expression and relations becomes a powerful tool for promoting a hegemonic racial, religious or ethnic national identity.

. . . .

Lawmakers in Texas signing the six-week abortion ban into law. (Bryan Hughes @SenBryanHughes/ Twitter)

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11, 2021, in Austin, against S.B. 8, which prohibits abortions in Texas between the fifth and sixth weeks of pregnancy. (Jordan Vonderhaar / Getty Images)

. . . .

Toward a Feminist Democracy

There is much we can do to protect and expand the hard-won rights that are already enshrined in policy and which, in turn, protect democracy. First, it is crucial to fully understand that assaults on women’s and LGBTQ+ autonomy, well-being and rights are assaults on constitutional democracy. A country in which more than half the population is subordinated politically, socially, economically and culturally is not a democracy. Corresponding assaults on democracy—including restrictions on ballot access, protest and public expression, and weakening the rule of law—can unravel women’s equality, particularly for marginalized and subjugated groups. The fate of women’s rights is tied to the fate of democracy, and women’s mobilization can help to secure both.

More than 100 years ago, women worldwide mobilized for their inclusion in democracy. And they have since used their political power to demand fundamental rights in healthcare, employment and domestic life. As a result, women have become key constituents with whom authoritarian leaders and parties have to contend—and often seek to control. This finding is instructive: Women and their allies mobilize when their rights are under assault, but they are even more powerful when they mobilize on broad-based issues. Women from all walks of life must continue to be vocal champions of inclusive democracy. Feminist candidates, women elected officials and feminist policies are fundamental to the health and well-being of democracy. Feminists must find their political homes and invest in them. Women, gender minorities and feminists of all genders who are already engaged need to stay engaged. For those who have taken these hard-won rights for granted, the time has come to take a stand.


Sadly, right here in Colorado. I have actually seen this car being driven around

here. Have given it the appropriate salute.

Belated congratulations on your posting milestone!

Post 100,000!!!!!! Nothing profound, just heartfelt gratitude and thanks for

this incredible community that has been my sanctuary, my safe haven, my rock, these last 20 years. Thank you to our wonderful EarlG and Elad (and Skinner) for creating this space. And thank you to each and every member of this community for all the learning, the laughter, the joys and sorrows shared, from the most erudite of posts to pets, from heartbreak to truly tacky jokes.

You all have been keeping what little remains of my sanity through this century, through good times, and some truly terrible ones. I love you all!

May you all be blessed.

So mote it be.

A love/thank you note to EarlG, Elad, and the entire DU community. Do you

realize that you all are medical miracles?? This realization came during a discussion in the thread, "The Defendant", during which several of us were commenting on the anazing collection of wisdom and learning that is our community. Learning new things regularly keeps the brain functioning, and many of us delightedly find ourselves learning new things each and every day here. A university education, mental acuity healing, companionship, cihesion, joy, laughtet! All in one community, without nasty side effects.

Thank you, everyone!
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