Otterday! And Open Thread.

Your open thread this weekend is hosted by these two playful-looking Small-clawed Asiatic otters, captured at Columbus Zoo by David Ellis, and shared on flickr.

Small Clawed Asiatic Otters - two otters are on a rock. One appears to be seated, leaning on a rock behind, and is holding up its paws as if clapping. The other is lying on its back with its hind end draped over the lap of the seated otter. It also has raised paws as if caught in the midst of applause.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: Life

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28 replies

  1. This week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder ( overturned Section 4(b) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which mandated federal oversight of changes in voting procedure in jurisdictions that have a history of using a “test or device” to impede enfranchisement. Here is one example of such a test, used in Louisiana in 1964.
    After the end of the Civil War, would-be black voters in the South faced an array of disproportionate barriers to enfranchisement ( The literacy test—supposedly applicable to both white and black prospective voters who couldn’t prove a certain level of education but in actuality disproportionately administered to black voters—was a classic example of one of these barriers.
    The website ( of the Civil Rights Movement Veterans, which collects materials related to civil rights, hosts a few samples of actual literacy tests used in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi during the 1950s and 1960s. In many cases, people working within the movement collected these in order to use them in voter education, which is how we ended up with this documentary evidence.
    Most of the tests collected here are a battery of trivia questions related to civic procedure and citizenship. (Two from the Alabama test: “Name the attorney general of the United States” and “Can you be imprisoned, under Alabama law, for a debt?”)
    But this Louisiana “literacy” test has nothing to do with citizenship.
    Designed to put the applicant through mental contortions, the test’s questions are often confusingly worded. If some of them seem unanswerable, that effect was intentional. The (white) registrar would be the ultimate judge of whether an answer was correct.
    There was little room for befuddlement. The test was to be taken in 10 minutes flat, and a single wrong answer meant a failing grade.
    So, shall we play a game?
    Set a timer for ten minutes and do this test.
    But remember — ONE wrong answer and you have lost your right to vote until the next election…

  2. This week I’ve been intermittently countering anti-anti-harassment-policy types over at Popehat (700+ comments and counting).

  3. Wow, so much fail in those comments…

  4. tigtog: I got as far as the first Joshua Kamens comment there, and then gave up. Congratulations to you for sticking with it.
    (I have plans for next year, which include getting much more involved with such things; my plan is I’m going to sit and read the comments on such articles with a large supply of small change, and for every comment that makes my blood pressure start to rise, I’m going to put 5c toward various feminist, QUILTBAG, mental health, pro-emigration, and pro-diversity charitable causes. That way, at least the strain on the veins is going to some good use, and the more poltroons I run across on the internet, the more money I raise for charity.)

  5. Nothing exciting happening here: knitting, tooling around on the Net and watching Mads play. (She’s now All Wore Out and having a nap.)

  6. tigtog – yum!
    Lazy Saturday night dinner here: toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches and lotsa cups of tea.

  7. We ate trifle for dessert tonight. I feel pleasantly like my grandmother.

  8. Today in outrageous requests from students: could I please scan the first two chapters of the textbook and send them to hir, because zie is going to away overseas for the next three weeks and can’t get hir copy of the textbook before zie goes.
    Gobsmacked. Problems with copyright law etc, but also, your social commitments don’t create an obligation on my part as your teacher.

  9. Deborah: Is there no big square-ish thing with lots of books and photocopiers in it? Huh.
    It’s an at-home weekend here. First two days of the school holidays, and we’ve already got Sleepover Two under our belt, so I think it’s going to be busy around here. There is gardening, and dog-walking, and sitting with cups of tea watching the chooks, and reading of books, and playing of Minecraft. Easy Saturday dinner here, too: homemade mini-pizzas. Tonight will be baked eggs on white beans and spinach.
    I’m currently reading The Secret Lives of Men, by Georgia Blain. In between Hugo reading, that is. I’ve finished novel/novella/novellette/short story reading, and I’m on to Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who now, so I feel like the bulk of that is under my belt. Of the reading I’ve done so far, I must highly recommend After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress, and In Sea-Salt Tears by Seanan McGuire (in the October Daye series, but it stands alone).

  10. Deborah, would “My freelance rate for work outside the remit of my university responsibilities is $X per hour, and I calculate that scanning two chapters of that book and taking it to the post office will take me Y hours, so do you accept my quote for a fee of $XY to perform this service for you? Considering that my current commitments won’t allow space in my schedule to perform this service until the end of next week?” be too snarky a response?

  11. Recommend reading: this post by Ami Angelwings on why the word “creep” gets so much pushback from some men:

    I think what bugs MRAs and guys like them so much about the word “creep” is that it’s the only word they understand means “Game over, you lose. Don’t ever go near me again.” Anything else, they feel they can work around, even a flat out “no”, just means “okay try again later” or “maybe it’s not a firm no, let’s see if I can talk my way into her phone number with another 5 minutes of pushing.”
    But “creepy” means that their “shot” is over. If they’re creeping us out, that means anything else they do will just creep us out more. Pushing the issue will just mean they’re being more of a creep. It’s over. She’s never going to be interested. Goodbye. It is the ONLY word we have that shuts off all opportunities for them. It is the only word we have to set our boundaries in stone.
    That’s why they’re obsessed with policing it, that’s why they want it to be unusable, or call it a slur, that’s why they keep wanting explanations and claiming creepy is too vague, because they can nitpick and rules lawyer and push against explanations.

  12. Need another SIWOTI Thread of Doom to procrastinate with – the Popehat one finally closed at 969 comments.

  13. Classy guy: Nigella Lawson’s husband announces divorce via newspaper – she’s moved out and is refusing to talk to him following last month’s paparazzi snaps of him clutching her throat, and also

    I am disappointed that she was advised to make no public comment to explain that I abhor violence of any kind against women, and have never abused her physically in any way

    Right. Because only somebody else could have persuaded her to decline making any such statement.

  14. tigtog – I saw in today’s paper that that scumbag is divorcing her because she “didn’t support him” over the row.
    He’s got abuser written all over him. Any bet he’s divorcing her so he can give her years of legal harassment and distress?

    • Kitteh, this is where having a Grand Old Man of Politics for a father might just come in very handy for her – Saatchi is famously anti-social, whereas Nigel Lawson is anything but. I bet the ex-Chancellor’s useful connexions outnumber the ex-adman’s useful connexions by a widely significant margin, and that Saatchi would soon get his nose swatted if he tried to keep on harassing her after a divorce goes through.

  15. Forgot to add – the Long Weekend Open thread on Manboobz isn’t a SIWOTI since the wall o’ text troll got modded, but it should hit the 1000 mark soon, feel free to come in and natter about knitting or whatevs! 🙂

  16. tigtog, damn straight. It’s so transparent a ploy to garner sympathy, and I’m so afraid it’s going to work. Or else a way to pull back power before she can divorce him.

  17. That’s good to hear, tigtog. I know little or nothing about either of them (I know about her cooking shows but don’t watch them). I notice there are plenty of blogs talking about what an abuser he is, and how he’s got form for exactly this sort of attack (on a man, as it happens) as well as generalised violence. Unfortunately of course there are also idiots/misogynists taking his side or saying she has to SPEAK OUT or she’ll be a terrible failure to abuse victims, blah blah blah. (Hmm, where does that line ring bells from?) /sarcasm

    • I don’t like her father’s politics or climate science denial (which he shares with her brother) but apart from the fatherly political clout they have both been senior journalists of major newspapers, so there’s lots of journalistic clout as well. The family is wealthy on both her father’s and mother’s sides, she’s independently a multi-millionaire herself through her cooking shows/books even if it’s a tenth of what he’s got from his advertising empire, several of her independently wealthy cousins are high flying legal eagles, most of the Brit celebrities with huge followings on social media are likely to know and like her much better than they know him, and all his advertising guru success is decades behind him.
      Nigella really does hold all the PR cards (which must gall Saatchi terribly), and has a bunch of elite legal support likely to help her pro bono (or at least family rates). She is in the fortunate position of having little to fear from him on the harassment/legal front compared to just about any other person leaving an abusive spouse. Which I suspect is just as well, because he certainly does have a lot of wealth and influence in London and the UK, but she happens through birth and her own efforts to have enough of her own to counter it.

  18. P.S. Courtney Hocking first pointed out that some of the Andy Murray champion celebrations has been vastly remiss in overlooking another British Wimbledon champion – A Reminder: Britain’s Last Wimbledon Champ Won 36 Years Ago, Not 77

    Andy Murray is the first British man to win in 77 years, but in 1977, Virginia Wade won a title for the home team on the tournament’s 100th birthday.

    mr tog pointed out that Ann Jones won the singles title in 1969 too.

  19. tigtog, you know a Wimbledon winner doesn’t count if it’s a woman. Get with the program! [/mansplain]

  20. Got home from holidays to find that the washing machine has decided to stop working. It must have heard me talking about how much drier my SIL’s washing machine spins out things.

  21. They’re sensitive, these whitegoods.

  22. It turns out that in order to really win Wimbledon as a woman, you need to be a tall skinny blonde, not just able to beat all the other competitors. Warning for abusive language:

  23. A Reminder: Britain’s Last Wimbledon Champ Won 36 Years Ago, Not 77
    That’s been bugging me in the coverage too.
    Ana Mardoll’s done a retrospective on Texas’ recent abortion rights debate (content note: reproductive coercion of serveral kinds).

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