We Resist: Day 125

  • May. 24th, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Posted by Melissa McEwan

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump and the Pope; Yeah, They're Virtually Indistinguishable; Trump and Duterte: A Match Made in Authoritarian Hell.

Shaun Casey at the Washington Post: I Counseled John Kerry on Religious Affairs: Trump Has No Idea What He's Doing.
Harvard professor Bryan Hehir once famously warned that government officials who deal with the role of religion in foreign policy should see their work as akin to brain surgery — necessary, but fatal if not done well. That thesis will be tested as [Donald] Trump concludes his journey to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Occupied Territories, and the Vatican, all on the heels of his worst week as president.

I should know what the stakes are. I was Secretary of State John F. Kerry's religion adviser as the special representative for religion and global affairs and founding director of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs. I worked in all three spaces Trump will be addressing on this trip: relations with Muslims around the world, Middle East peace, and relations with the Vatican. When Kerry met with religious actors or encountered religious dynamics around the world, he had expert resources to draw on to gain a deeper understanding. That is not the case for Trump.

According to Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker's Washington Post piece last week outlining the various tutorials Jared Kushner prepared for the president ahead of the trip, there seemed to be no presidential tutorial on the religious dynamics of each visit. (Indeed, it appears the first son-in-law reduced every pertinent issue to a one-page paper.) Yet the religious dynamics Trump has and will encounter are among the most complex on the planet. The thought of a one-pager explaining the intricacies of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity is so painfully frightening it leaves one speechless.
We hear a lot about Trump treating the presidency as an on-the-job training position, which is bad enough. But the fact is that he isn't even doing the learning that he so clearly needs to do.

Meanwhile, the bar has been set so low for this dangerous ignoramus that I'm seeing headlines about how "successful" his trip abroad has been, just because he hasn't made such a catastrophic blunder that he's inadvertently plunged us into a war. Congratulations? Fucking hell.

* * *

In the comments of yesterday's We Resist thread, I linked this BuzzFeed piece about European officials "expressing concern over the fact that much of the information that emerged in the wake of the Manchester bombing has been sourced back to US officials." Among that information was the name of the suspected bomber.
Even US officials were frustrated by the leak. Some called the US decision to release information about an ally's investigation before even that nation had released it "unprofessional." Others said that if it were the US investigating an attack, they could expect the UK to not release information about the case.

"The least we can do is give them that same respect," one US official told BuzzFeed News.
With more on that subject, David Smith and Ewen MacAskill at the Guardian: US Leak of Manchester Attacker's Name Strikes New Blow to Intelligence Sharing.
The disclosures renewed concerns over leaks from Donald Trump's administration two weeks after the US president revealed classified information, apparently from Israel, to Russia's foreign minister in a White House meeting. Critics warn that US allies may be less willing to share intelligence in the future.

...The Trump administration's apparent indiscretion seems likely to cause consternation in London and could raise questions about future cooperation in the long term.

Thomas Sanderson, director of the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies thinktank in Washington...warned of ill judgment and lack of discipline in the White House. "This is a leaky administration. What does that mean for sharing information we need to going forward? The UK and Israel are probably our two biggest sources of intelligence. Now they're thinking, 'Is this going to cause us damage every time we share?' Then you have to calculate every piece of information."

Perry Cammack, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, added: "I don't think in and of itself this episode will do lasting harm; I sense this was a miscommunication. But the context is that we're in the midst of a political crisis in Washington of the first order. The institutions are leaking at an unprecedented rate. It feels like things are under stress here."
As I have been saying for I don't even know how long, if the United States intelligence community stops getting intel from our allies, because they're afraid it will be leaked by Trump administration officials, we are going to exist in a dark void of information, which will leave us indescribably less safe.

And now here we are. Ken Bredemeier at VOA: Israel Alters Intelligence Sharing with US. "Israel says it has changed its intelligence-sharing protocols with the United States after [Donald] Trump disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats earlier this month that had come from Israel, even though Tel Aviv had not assented to his handing it to another country. Israeli defense chief Avigdor Liberman told Army Radio on Wednesday, 'I can confirm that we did a spot repair and that there's unprecedented intelligence cooperation with the United States.' ...Liberman declined to say what changes had been made. 'Not everything needs to be discussed in the media; some things need to be talked about in closed rooms,' he said."

* * *

More terrible news from Trump's proposed budget:

Ben Popken at NBC News: Trump Team Stands by Budget's $2 Trillion Math Error. "Donald Trump's newly unveiled budget contains a massive accounting error that uses the same money twice for two different purposes. Based on its supersized projections of 3 percent GDP, the president's budget forecasts about $2 trillion in extra federal revenue growth over the next 10 years, which it then uses to pay for Trump's 'biggest tax cut in history.' But then it also uses that very same $2 trillion to balance the budget. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney didn't deny the math, saying it was done 'on purpose,' during a press briefing Tuesday. 'I'm aware of the criticisms and would simply come back and say there's other places where we were probably overly conservative in our accounting,' he said. 'We stand by the numbers.'" Unfuckingbelievable.


Laura Bassett at the Huffington Post: Trump's Budget Would Cut Planned Parenthood out of All Federal Programs. "The freeze-out apparently goes beyond the House GOP's plan, which excludes Planned Parenthood only from Medicaid reimbursements. Trump's budget proposal bars the nation's largest family planning provider from participating in any federal program, including cancer screening programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zika virus prevention, HIV/AIDS testing and prevention, Violence Against Women Act grants to prevent sexual assault, maternal and child health programs, and sexually transmitted disease and infertility prevention grants. No president has ever attempted to exclude a specific health provider from the entire federal budget." This fucking asshole.

Molly Hensley-Clancy at BuzzFeed: An Education Department Official Resigned After DeVos Demanded He Testify Before Congress. "A top Education Department official in charge of the government's $1.4 trillion financial aid program abruptly resigned a day before Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to testify about [Donald] Trump's proposed budget. 'I cannot in good conscience continue to be accountable as Chief Operating officer given the risk associated with the current environment at the [Education] Department,' the chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid, James Runcie, wrote in his resignation memo, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News." Welp.

* * *

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Reports: Trump Hires Marc Kasowitz as Outside Counsel Amid Russia Probe. "Donald Trump has hired Marc Kasowitz to serve as outside legal counsel and help the President navigate the federal investigation into potential collusion between his campaign officials and Russia, according to several news reports. ...Trump's decision to hire Kasowitz may have thrown a wrench into the White House's plans to consider former Sen. Joe Lieberman as the next FBI director. Trump himself said last week that Lieberman, who is a partner at the same law firm as Kasowitz, was his top pick for the job. Lieberman is no longer the leading candidate for the position, CNN reported Wednesday."

[Content Note: Nativism] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Trump Administration: 'Protected' Haitian Immigrants Have to Leave in January. "Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly announced Monday a six-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian immigrants. Kelly said he believed 'there are indications that Haiti…may not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018.' The extension is effective between July 23, 2017 and January 22, 2018. Advocates are taking Kelly's statement to mean that in six months, the United States will begin mass deportation of the United States' 50,000 Haitian TPS recipients. TPS gives people from designated countries temporary permission, on humanitarian grounds, to remain and work in the United States during times of natural disaster or civil strife in their country of origin."

More fascist rallies, this time starring Mike Pence. Kyle Cheney at Politico: Pence Planning to Hold Rally in Louisiana. "Pence on Wednesday has scheduled a free rally in Louisiana on Wednesday that is being promoted by the state's Republican Party. An advisory from the Louisiana GOP says that Pence is headlining the event at Cajun industries in Port Allen, just outside of Baton Rouge, where he's also slated to hold a roundtable with small business leaders." Trying to shore up his popularity with the hoi polloi and the fat cats. You know. Just in case.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

Posted by Alison McCook

The authors of a popular — and heavily debated — F1000Research paper proposing a method to prevent scientific misconduct have decided to retract it. The paper was initially criticized for allegedly plagiarizing from a graduate student’s blog — and revised to try to “rectify the overlap.” But according to F1000, it is now being retracted after an additional […]

The post Authors retract much-debated blockchain paper from F1000 appeared first on Retraction Watch.

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

  • May. 24th, 2017 at 10:08 AM
to [personal profile] lydy! Have a magnificent day!

(Oooh, the sun just came out!)

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Posted by Melissa McEwan

[Content Note: Discussion of violence, killing, rape.]

In April, Donald Trump placed a call to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, during which he extended an invitation to Duterte to visit the White House. This was met with a significant amount of outrage, given that Duterte is an authoritarian nightmare who has been accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, has expressed antipathy for the LGBTQ community, and [CN: video autoplays] once said of the gang rape and murder of a woman held in prison in the town of which he was then mayor that he was disappointed the mayor wasn't given first dibs.

Now a transcript of that call has been obtained by the Washington Post, and it turns out that Trump's invite was merely the tip of an incredible iceberg.

1. Trump complimented Duterte on his murderous anti-drug campaign, insulting President Obama in the process.
[Duterte's] administration has overseen a brutal extrajudicial campaign that has resulted in the killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers.

Trump has not spoken out against that strategy, and in their call he praised Duterte for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem."

"Many countries have the problem, we have the problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that," Trump said, according to the transcript.

After Duterte replied that drugs are the "scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation," Trump appeared to take a swipe at his predecessor, Barack Obama, who had canceled a bilateral meeting with Duterte after the Philippines leader insulted him.

"I understand that and fully understand that and I think we had a previous president who did not understand that," Trump said.
At the time it was reported only that Trump had invited Duterte to the White House, John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, said: "By essentially endorsing Duterte's murderous war on drugs, Trump is now morally complicit in future killings." And that was before we knew that Trump had not merely tacitly endorsed Duterte's violent campaign, but had explicitly endorsed it and told Duterte he's doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem."

2. Trump disclosed to Duterte the location of two U.S. nuclear submarines, while discussing North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's mental health.
In the April 29 call, Trump sought Duterte's input on whether Kim is "stable or not stable" and expressed some satisfaction in North Korea's recent failed missile tests, noting that "all his rockets are crashing. That's the good news," according to a transcript of the conversation...

Duterte responded that Kim is "playing with his bombs, his toys" and offered that "his mind is not working well and he just might go crazy one moment." That prompted Trump to point out that the United States has "a lot of firepower over there," including "two nuclear submarines" sent by the Pentagon to the region last month.

Later in the call, Trump raised the stakes of the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula when he observed: "We can't let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that. We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20 — but we don't want to use it."
It's really something to read Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte ridiculing the stability of Kim Jong Un. The world is definitely in safe hands.

That aside, Trump's casual disclosure of the (secret) location of two U.S. nuclear subs is further evidence that this man has neither discretion nor sense. And any argument about the president having a right to share classified and/or sensitive information is moot when said information is circulated in a transcript prepared by a foreign government and we're all reading about it in the Washington Post.

On another note: It's not at all clear that the aggressively ignorant Trump even knows that a nuclear submarine is any submarine powered by a nuclear reactor, whereas a ballistic missile submarine is "a submarine deploying submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with nuclear warheads." He also imagines the U.S. military has only twenty times the firepower of North Korea.

3. Trump asserted that if China doesn't deal with North Korea, the U.S. will.
Most of his conversation with Duterte focused on how to deal with North Korea and whether China can exert more leverage on Kim's regime. Trump acknowledged after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in mid-April that "it's not so easy" for Beijing to alter Pyongyang's behavior.

But when he asked Duterte whether China has "power over" Kim, the Philippines president responded: "Yes, at the end of the day, the last card, the ace, has to be with China. It's only China."

...Trump told Duterte he hopes "China solves the problem … But if China doesn't do it, we will do it." Duterte then offered to call Xi and emphasize the importance of altering Pyongyang's behavior.

"You can tell him I am counting on him," Trump replied. "I have a very good relationship with him. I had him in Florida for two days and got to know him well. He is a good guy."

...Toward the end of the call, Trump switched topics to invite Duterte to the White House, calling him a "good man."

"I will love to have you in the Oval Office," Trump said. "Any time you want to come … Seriously, if you want to come over, just let us know. Just take care of yourself, and we will take care of North Korea."
"We will take care of North Korea." Rewind to Mike Pence using a dogwhistle aimed at North Korea while threatening: "Those who would challenge our resolve or our readiness should know: We will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response!"

It is also extremely troubling, to put it mildly, that Trump enlisted Duterte as a go-between with Xi on such a sensitive diplomatic issue.

Bluntly: This guy doesn't have the first clue how to president.

And his terrifying ignorance, his cavalier indiscretion, and his jovial chit-chat with a murderous dictator are pointed evidence that he has neither the competence nor decency to be president.

Which was glaringly apparent long before he held the office, to anyone who bothered to look. Or care.

Yeah, They're Virtually Indistinguishable

  • May. 24th, 2017 at 9:45 AM

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Donald Trump's proposed budget in cruel in the absolute extreme. Its rank hatred of vulnerable people perfectly, terribly reflects how Trump was and is the inevitable endgame of Republican politics: A 100% empathy-free zone whose antipathy for his fellow humans is evident in every syllable of his disgusting budget proposal.

Last night, Hillary Clinton gave the keynote address at the Children's Health Fund annual benefit, where she was being honored. She had a few things to say about Trump's plan:
"This administration and Republicans in Congress are mounting an onslaught against the needs of children and people with disabilities, women and seniors," Clinton charged.

She said the budget, which was released earlier in the day, "shows an unimaginable level of cruelty and lack of imagination and disdain for the struggles of millions of Americans, including millions of children."
There is more where that came from. You can watch the entire address here.

Here, then, is one exception to the "there's no difference between Clinton and Trump" narrative: Trump proposed a budget that will utterly destroy the safety net. Clinton said that budget "shows an unimaginable level of cruelty."

So, a wee difference there.

Yesterday afternoon, even before Clinton's address (not like I couldn't predict what her position would be), I had some thoughts about the people who incessantly chanted mendacious garbage about the false equivalence between Clinton and Trump during the election, and the other enablers of Trump.


I cannot emphasize this enough: The idea that from the rubble of Trump's annihilation of our democratic systems and government safety net will emerge the socialist wonderland of our wildest dream is a dangerous fantasy in which people indulge at the cost of people's very lives.

Recovering from fascism, if it happens at all, is a long and painful process. In the places it has happened, there were meaningful differences between those populations and the United States, not least of which is the availability of guns to the public. The United States is a geographically huge country, with numerous distinct regional subcultures. There has already been a massive concentration of wealth among a tiny elite. None of these things bodes well for restoring what Trump erodes every day, no less for a recovery that sees more progressive governance.

If it can be achieved, it will depend on a lot of things happening that are very unlikely and a lot of other things not happening that are difficult to prevent.

"Let him tear it down and then we'll build something better than we ever had" was always an incredibly dangerous gambit. And an incredibly foolish one.

I will never stop being angry at the people who thought that was a risk worth taking, at the cost of millions of people's safety and lives.

yet more watercolour updates

  • May. 24th, 2017 at 10:27 PM
So yesterday was the first session of Watercolour intermediate and I was so so excited!

We got to do flowers! With a range of fairly realistic to very expressive, we could pick whichever one we wanted to do.

I did a fairly realistic tiger lily first, but i had a free hour so I did the expressive water lily.

It was... not great...

Expressive waterlily.

semi-realistic pink tigerlily
In comparison, I much prefer the tiger lily lol. Might have to redo the expressive one.

Posted by Ian Nahan

When we see individuals holding cardboard signs and asking for spare change wearing camouflage, homelessness among veterans can seem like an epidemic. Recently, however, government efforts to reduce veteran homelessness have had great success. In response to a federal strategy known as Opening Doors, since 2010 veteran homelessness has declined by almost 50%. And in that time period some cities, such as New Orleans, have reported veteran homelessness at functional zero. 

You would never know it from social media. As the world has grappled with the Syrian civil war, political memes have emerged in the U.S. that make the case that we should prioritize homeless veterans over Syrian refugees. These memes foreground a competition between homeless veterans and Syrian refugees in order to make a misleading, emotionally-appealing argument against the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Deliberately or not, the online images are similar to propaganda. Actors create emotionally-charged illustrations with biased and one-sided evidence to encourage a political point. The memes push a narrative of homeless veterans as overlooked by the government, while this goes against the facts. They also suggest a fallacious argument that the Department of Veterans Affairs will lose funds because of the refugee resettlement program. This is not the case.

At the same time the memes appeal to our sentiments. Features writer for Mashable, Rebecca Ruiz, contends that memes like these pose the emotional question, “If people in the U.S. are suffering, why are we helping refugees?” What if veterans are those slighted? This is a powerful idea because Americans revere veterans.

In Coming Home: Attitudes toward U.S. Veterans Returning from Iraq, sociologists Alair MacLean and Meredith Kleykamp argue that male veterans involved in recent military-related combat are still supported by the general public, even in light of the idea that those exposed to combat have mental health issues and substance abuse problems. They add that veterans are privileged by symbolic capital, or prestige related to their service. A meme that presents veterans as treated unfairly is likely to produce an emotional reaction, something that is known to simplify our thinking and decision-making.

While the digital messages premised on helping veterans are compelling, they are false and a strategic exploitation of our feelings, one with xenophobic, white nationalist, and anti-immigrant goals. They urge us to advocate against Syrian resettlement to solve an unrelated problem that is already diminishing.

Ian Nahan has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in both sociology and social work. He plans on working with veterans once he obtains a master’s degree in social work at the University of Pennsylvania.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Trump and the Pope

  • May. 24th, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Posted by Melissa McEwan

On the latest stop of his whirlwind tour meeting all the greatest dudes of the world, Donald Trump met with Pope Francis.

There are stories about how the Pope told Trump to care about some stuff, like the environment and peace. And about how Trump said it was the best day ever meeting the Pope. Cool.

There are pictures. Lots of people have lots of jokes to make about those pictures. Some of them are funny.

As for me:


And that's really all I have to say about that.

Posted by Victoria Stern

The corresponding author of a 2015 nanotechnology paper has penned a lengthy — and revealing — retraction notice, explaining why he is not certain about the findings. In the notice, Chang Ming Li from the Institute for Clean Energy & Advanced Materials (ICEAM) at Southwest University in China, states that there is “insufficient evidence to conclusively” identify […]

The post Author retracts nanotechnology paper over doubts about key results appeared first on Retraction Watch.

Daily Happiness

  • May. 24th, 2017 at 2:09 AM
1. We had strawberries with whipped cream after dinner tonight and they were so good! The first really tasty berries of the season, I think.

2. I got another chapter of manga finished up tonight. I have several chapters out for typesetting, so hopefully one of those will be ready to post soon.

3. Last night and tonight I got in a lot of cuddling with Molly. She often comes up on my desk for pettings, but sometimes finds it hard to calm down and just get petted, but both nights she lay down on my desk and I was able to cuddle her as I petted and gave her lots of tummy scritchings too.

http://ew.com/movies/2017/05/22/justice-league-zack-snyder-daughter-joss-whedon/

TLDR: Joss Whedon, obviously the person whose resume most matches the position, will be taking over from Zack Snyder as director of Justice League. Snyder feels the need to spend more time with family in the wake of the suicide of his 20-year-old daughter. DC Entertainment seems a bit nervous in its declaration that the remaining directing is "minimal," but it's probably true that the finished result will feel much more like Snyder than Whedon. (Snyder's wife Deborah, a producer on the project, is likewise taking time off.)

If Snyder were departing for other reasons, I'd be cracking cheap jokes at him and a filmmaking approach that I think could charitably be described as "controversial." As it is, I find my heart going out to him. His vision of what makes a good movie will never be mine, but I have no doubt whatsoever that he deeply loves making movies, and I respect the hell out of him for walking away from his magnum opus for the few things in life that are more important.

Question of the Day

  • May. 23rd, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Suggested by Shaker BellsBromeliad: "What do you do when you're just so fucking sad all the time? When you can't stop crying? How do you get through the day when you're overwhelmed by all the bad?"

For me, it depends on the cause of the So Fucking Sad.

If it's something situational that I know will eventually pass, I do what I can to try to resolve the problem, and distract myself when the pieces I can't control start to overwhelm me. My key distractions are music and comedy, whether it's stand-up, films, or TV shows.

If it's something that won't change, for example the death of a loved one, I just allow myself to feel bad as long as I need to, and I give myself permission to say out loud that I'm sad and why, knowing that time is the only thing that will bring a space in which I feel better again.

If it's external stuff, like the work I do every day, some of which impacts me directly and personally and some of which makes me profoundly sad even if it doesn't touch my life intimately, I tend to dig in harder and try to find ways to engage in harm mitigation for other people, even if it's nothing bigger than validating what they're feeling. Trying to make other people feel better is an important way, for me, of coping.

I've only ever had one episode of can't-get-out-of-bed-for-weeks depression, my last semester of college. I dealt with it then by not dealing with it at all. I hid. I stayed in bed. I cried. I felt ashamed of myself. I nearly flunked out of school (and would have, if my ex hadn't been talking to my professors and bringing my papers to them). Nothing helped, because I didn't seek help. I just stayed in bed until one day I got out again. If that were to happen now, I would deal with it very differently (I hope), seeking out professional assistance.

Just Go Read This

  • May. 23rd, 2017 at 5:30 PM

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Bob Collins at MPR NewsCut: A Longing for Mr. Rogers. Particularly the story shared by threaded tweets at the end of Collins' piece. Blub.

[H/T to Shaker GoldFishy.]
Since I'm half-packed and we're leaving in less than 24 hours it's probably time to announce that I am coming to WisCon. (Now watch me wake up tomorrow with Lorayne's cold or something.)

I'm not signed up for any panels, I'm not volunteering this year. I'm not 100 percent sure that this isn't going to end in disaster again. Depending on how I react to the various allergens in Madison I may be very low-energy, I may be sneezy and stuffed-up, I may be spending a lot of time asleep, I may be slow and forgetful due to being low oxygen, I may recuse myself rapidly from controversy or trouble if I don't see an immediate way to be useful.

I may have to leave panels abruptly due to coughing fits. We may be leaving town abruptly to get me back to Canada for treatment. (My out-of-province insurance isn't going to cover me for another serious asthma event in the same damn' city as the last one. That's kind of the definition of 'pre-existing'). We have a plan for this. It's as solid as we can make it.

Or we may have trouble at the border and not get there at all.

Or it all may be just fine. I really don't know. There's no way to tell.

But I'm on a new med (Singulair), and taking ALL the other ones, religiously, and so far my lungs seem to be willing to stay fairly functional. I'm bringing my bike. I'm hoping to stay an extra week and see friends. I'm cautiously optomistic.

A small request: if you see me, and we're friends, and you possibly can, grab me for coffee or food or a quick chat? This is almost certainly my last WisCon for some time, and if I do have a dangerous reaction, it's my last WisCon, period.

I know that I've lost touch with a lot of you due to missing the con and generally being offline and preoccupied trying to get my health under control. I'm sorry about it, and I'd really like to connect this weekend if we can, because you all are one of the communities of my heart, and to be honest I'm coming much more for y'all than for the "official" con.

If you or someone near you is wearing scent, I may have to back away rapidly. I'm sorry.

I'm not really accustomed to being a fragile little flower, you know? I'm still working out how to handle it.

Also, if there's a volunteer task I can do, something you need help with, that you can grab me for on the spot, please do. It's hard to contribute meaningfully when you can't make any promises, and I'll appreciate any chances to do so.

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