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New MLS team could be named Footy McFooty Face
Source:  New York Post
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:40

Soccer fans have spoken — by putting their foot in their mouth. Footy McFooty Face is the leading contender as the name of the San Diego team vying for one of Major League Soccer’s expansion spots. Votes for the name began pouring in a Facebook poll Friday morning, as the fourth and final round got underway....

Into the Depths
Source:  Rookie
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:40

Illustration by Robin Bray.

We rarely show our truest selves. These are the parts of us that are painful, broken, different, and strange. When our mental health is poor, just existing in this world is a radical act—even more so for those of us who are also neuroatypical, perhaps autistic, or living with a learning disability. That otherness makes doing what you want nearly impossible, as what you want is to just be you, and what you are is “wrong.” Martha Rose Saunders’s essay, below, is about how she embraces being herself as an autistic woman with mental health problems. It appears in Do What You Want, a new zine about mental health. All profits from Do What You Want go to mental health charities, and you can preorder it here. —Ruby Tandoh, co-editor, Do What You Want


I’ve had the same recurring nightmare since I was very young. In it, I am falling through the ocean into the depths, where giant squid hang, suspended like pale, repulsive angels, and a thousand strange and shapeless things move unseen in the darkness. It is the dream I dread the most.

This nightmare has often confused the people close to me. The ocean has been one of my lifelong special interests: As a child I pored over marine biology encyclopedias, obsessively memorizing names and collecting facts. I loved the Pacific red octopus with its three hearts and constantly shifting, kaleidoscopic skin; humpback whales with their haunting songs which never repeat; the ancient Greenland sharks that drift for as many as 400 years below the creaking Arctic ice with glowing parasites instead of eyes.

It doesn’t make sense to others that the ocean, which brings me such pure, enthralling pleasure, could also be my greatest subconscious fear. But it makes sense to me. This all-consuming fascination, known as a “special interest,” is one of the most well-known traits of autism, and anything that reminds me that I am autistic, or may convey it to others, is tainted with shame.

High-functioning autistic people are often able to navigate the world in ways that other autistic people perhaps cannot, blending in socially and living and working independently. The ability to “pass” as non-autistic is often considered a benefit or privilege. In reality, this endless performance of normality is exhausting and degrading.

What’s more, autistic girls like me exist in a particularly strange and dangerous contradiction. Women are taught their primary value is in their desirability; autistic people are publicly desexualized, infantilized, and stripped of dignity. This juxtaposition leaves autistic women in a constant state of desperate self-construction, obsessively chasing an elusive ideal that can only be obtained by attempting to completely erase any trace of our disability. John Berger once wrote “the surveyor of woman in herself is male;” the surveyor of me inside myself is also neurotypical, the traces of my neuroatypical autism erased. Even when completely alone I am always monitoring myself, a warm, sickening rush of self-disgust and humiliation washing over me when I do something visibly “autistic” like stimming. Stimming is short for self-stimulatory behaviors such as rocking, fidgeting, or feeling certain textures; it’s a soothing method autistic people use to manage feeling overloaded or anxious. Like many high-functioning autistic people, I have avoided the stigma attached to these behaviors by adapting my stims to appear as subtle as possible, replacing flapping my hands or rocking with picking and peeling back the skin on my cuticles ’til they bleed. Self-mutilation is preferable to the shame I associate with more stereotypical stimming.

Such aggressive self-policing is actively encouraged even by supposed autism advocates. The majority of parenting advice prioritizes hiding an autistic child’s symptoms over accepting them, and top autism specialists like Simon Baron-Cohen have suggested that high-functioning autistic women should not seek diagnosis or support if they can “pass” as non-autistic. These comments were made despite Baron-Cohen’s own research center finding that two-thirds of adults on the autistic spectrum have suicidal thoughts, and 35 percent have either planned or attempted suicide. Given our deeply ingrained sense of shame and the constant pressure to perform and conceal, these figures are unsurprising. To say that we are vulnerable to mental illness is almost too passive: poor mental health and rock-bottom self esteem are practically built into our brains, a logical consequence of growing up knowing that your very essence is shameful and must be hidden.

The cost of living your life as a constant performance of togetherness is that it becomes fatally dangerous to fall apart. I am terrified of speaking to mental health professionals, as I have grown up associating the inability to repress my inner self completely with failure. I often feel as though if I start to cry I will never be able to stop, and that the careful chrysalis I have spent my life building around myself will shatter, leaving exposed something I am not quite ready to confront yet. For autistic women, admitting that we need help doesn’t just require self-acceptance, but a deeply painful and introspective deconstruction which goes against everything we’ve learned to do to survive.

Imagining a future without this debilitating shame often feels impossible when right now I’m even embarrassed to be alone with myself. But I’m learning, slowly. I recently went on a date to the aquarium, somewhere I would previously only ever visit alone. It’s a strange place to feel at your most vulnerable, but in the soft blue glow of the shark tanks I felt more naked than I ever have in my life. Just a year ago it would have been inconceivable to me that I would share such an intimate part of myself with anyone, let alone a man who I wanted to fall in love with me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to feel completely comfortable with myself, but I’ve stopped having nightmares about the ocean. Baby steps. ♦

This is an excerpt from Do What You Want, a zine about mental wellbeing, from which all profits are going to mental health charities and not-for-profit organizations. Other features include interviews with Sara Quin (Tegan and Sara) and Mara Wilson, an essay by Heather Havrilesky (Ask Polly), and more. Pre-order the zine here.

Martha Rose Saunders is a psychology and sociology student and occasional writer with an interest in neurodiversity, gender, and mental health.

Robin Bray-Hurren is a queer, trans, disabled printmaker and calligrapher who enjoys architecture and natural history.


House Republicans pull health care bill
Source:  New York Post
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:40

President Trump and the House GOP on Friday abruptly cancelled a vote on the Republicans’ health care plan minutes before it was scheduled to begin, it was reported Friday. The move came as a growing number of Republican moderates and conservatives signaled they wold vote no. The lack of GOP support was an embarrassing rebuke...

Fri Mar 24 '17 Announcement from Psychic Pstories: A Short Film Trilogy
Source:  Indiegogo: Announcements
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:40

Hey Indiegogo backers. After an amazing premiere in Denver a few weeks ago, all three episodes of Psychic Pstories are now ready to view online! Please give em a watch and share!

https://vimeo.com/rainbownightmare

So what's next? Well you can expect to receive your donation rewards very soon. A Psychic Pstories LA premiere is in the works. And episode 3 has already received the Award of Recognition from IndieFEST and is being considered for over 15 other film festivals around the world!

So thank you all one last time for helping us create Psychic Pstories. That's a wrap!

 

Love,

Adam and Jason

 


Rep. Devin Nunes just canceled a crucial hearing on Russian meddling in the election
Source:  Vox
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:40

But his latest stunt could end up backfiring.

The chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, has spent the week trying to help President Trump deal with the aftermath of the collapse of Trump’s wiretapping allegations and the FBI’s formal confirmation that it’s probing the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

Instead, Nunes, a seven-term Congress member from California, may end up making Trump’s Russia problems worse.

The latest stumble came Friday, when Nunes abruptly canceled a planned public hearing with top former national security officials about Russian interference in the 2016 election. The House panel was originally scheduled to hear from President Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Tuesday. But Friday morning, Nunes abruptly pushed back the hearing.

That sparked a strong response from the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, who took to Twitter to slam the move as an “attempt to choke off public info.”

It also came just a day after Nunes had apologized to fellow members of the House Intelligence Committee for going to the White House to discuss information he had regarding Trump’s wiretapping accusations without first consulting them.

Nunes’s behavior shows that the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation is already being impaired by partisan warfare. That could help fuel calls for a special prosecutor or a select committee where both parties would have subpoena powers. Nunes, in other words, could wind up paving the way for exactly the things he and Trump most want to stave off.

Nunes is trying to shield Trump

Nunes claims he canceled the hearing because the committee needs to meet with National Security Agency head Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey first, in a private setting, ostensibly to discuss classified matters of some kind.

But the broader pattern in Nunes’s theatrics this week suggests he’s simply trying buy time and shield the Trump administration from what could be a high-profile and politically damaging hearing.

That would be in keeping with his behavior over the past week, which included an awkward attempt to try to validate Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Nunes claimed an unnamed source had informed him that the intelligence community had surveilled the Trump administration’s transition team. But over the course of the week he started to hedge and walk back the claim, and Friday morning he said he can’t be sure that Trump’s or his aides’ conversations were captured by surveillance at all.

During a press conference on Friday, Schiff said Nunes’s behavior this week was a reminder that an independent commission is necessary for Congress to properly investigate Russian interference in the election and any evidence of coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

“One of the profound takeaways of the last couple days is we really do need an independent commission here,” Schiff said. “Because the public at the end of the day needs to have confidence that someone has done a thorough investigation untainted by political considerations.”

There’s at least one prominent Republican who shares that view. Sen. John McCain repeated his calls for either an independent commission or a congressional select committee, which would give the investigation far more manpower and be handled in a far more bipartisan fashion than on a regular committee.

So, for example, while on the standing committees Republicans control which subpoenas get issues or which kinds of witnesses are called to testify for hearings, on a select committee both parties would have equal power to do so.

"No longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone, and I don't say that lightly,” McCain told MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday.

In a blistering editorial, the New York Times said Nunes’s had “destroyed the credibility of his committee” and “[made] clear that he is unfit for the job and should be replaced.”

Nunes’s various claims about Obama have been a mess

Nunes is going to extraordinary lengths to provide cover to Trump, and it’s unclear when he’ll stop. Here’s a comprehensive timeline of his actions this week:

On Monday, during a hearing of the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence, the heads of the FBI and NSA categorically denied President Trump’s tweets claiming that President Obama had ordered the US intelligence community to wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sometime between the hearing and Wednesday morning, Nunes claimed to have received a tip from an unnamed source that US intelligence had picked up the communications of some Trump staff during the presidential transition.

The raw intelligence that Nunes said he reviewed showed no evidence of a wiretap on Trump. Rather, it showed that the conversations had been intercepted incidentally under a court-ordered Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant. In plain English, that means Trump officials had spoken to a foreign national whose communications were being monitored by US intelligence, so their conversations were picked up despite the fact that they weren’t targets of surveillance.

Before taking this information to the FBI or the other members of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes briefed his political boss, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Around midday on Wednesday, Nunes went public, holding a press conference to announce that “the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.” During the press conference, he initially suggested the president’s personal communications had been hoovered up, but then backtracked to say it was merely “possible” that Trump was recorded.

Afterward, he went to the White House to brief the president’s team. He still had yet to meet with Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

After his briefing with Nunes, around 3 pm, Trump told reporters that the Congress member’s revelations “somewhat” vindicated his claim that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, even though they did nothing of the kind.

Around the same time as Trump’s comments, Nunes told NBC’s Kasie Hunt that he could not share the raw intelligence with the rest of the House Intelligence Committee because he doesn’t actually have the raw intelligence in his possession — raising the question of how he managed to vet it sufficiently before going public in the first place.

On Thursday, Nunes held another press conference. When a reporter asked him if the intercepts were given to him by members of the Trump administration, he refused to answer, saying, “We’re not going to ever reveal sources.”

Since then, there have two more developments. Nunes has apologized to fellow committee members for going to the White House with information about wiretapping without consulting them. And, crucially, as of Friday, he said he’s not actually sure whether the conversations of Trump and his aides were captured during surveillance.

Nunes’s partisan maneuvering on the House Intelligence Committee may be helping Trump a bit in the short term. But in the long run, it could end up helping his opponents push for an investigation that actually delivers on what it’s supposed to do.


Fri Mar 24 '17 Announcement from ShareIt: the most useful #mobile #app EVER!
Source:  Indiegogo: Announcements
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:39

Visit our landing page http://ishareitall.com/ and download iPhone ringtone which was composed and recorded by professional artist especially for YOU. Let us know if you like it :) Contact us - we hear YOU!


House Republicans forced to pull Trumpcare bill after failing to whip up enough votes
Source:  Raw Story
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:39

Despite President Donald Trump’s best efforts, the repeal and replacement of Obamacare has been “pulled” by Speaker Paul Ryan, according to the Associated Press. BREAKING: House Republicans, short of votes, withdraw health care bill. — The Associated Press (@AP) March 24, 201...

EPIC FAIL: Reports say Trumpcare vote pulled
Source:  Daily Kos
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:39

Multiple sources are reporting that the House has pulled the vote on Trumpcare, breaking their own promise of the past seven years to repeal and replace Obamacare.

x

Vote is pulled, per senior White House official.

— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 24, 2017

Seven years they had to come up with some kind of bill to replace it. Seven years they had every conservative policy wonk (the real ones, not Paul Ryan) providing advice and offering ideas. In seven years they did squat.

Well, not entirely squat. They had over 60 votes to repeal Obamacare in part or in whole. Every one of those votes was estimated to cost $1.45 million dollars—each vote—of taxpayer money. That's not counting all the staff time, the committee time, the opportunity cost of everything that was postponed or just not done because of their single-minded obsession on this one thing. Billions of dollars spent—just on votes—not on all the campaign ads for this.

Seven years. They had seven years. And all they had to show for it a crappy cut-and-paste job from the original law.  A bad bill that destroyed Medicaid (Paul Ryan's frat-boy "dream", destabilized Medicare, and threw 24 million people off of healthcare.

All for the tax cuts for the wealthy.

And in the process, they self-inflicted incalculable wounds. Ryan had to pull this vote, after strong-arming and threatening his members, even though it would be damaging to them back home. It damaged Ryan AND Trump in the process and makes it even harder for Republicans to pass anything in the future.

They've destroyed any hope they had of proving that a united Republican government could actually govern. And they did it for an incredibly cruel bill that demonstrated to the American people just how craven they could be in pursuit of those tax cuts.

Good.


BREAKING
Source:  TPM News
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:39

Paul Ryan yanked the Obamacare repeal bill before it went down to what appeared to be certain defeat on the House floor.


NBA POWER RANKINGS: Where the 21 teams still fighting for the championship stand in the stretch run
Source:  business insider
Friday, 24 March 2017 14:39

According to FiveThirtyEight, there are just 21 teams left with a shot at the playoffs. We ranked them with the race now beginning.

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