Influences

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I’m way too angry to do this point form, so we’re breaking out the old panel by panel analysis!

Panel One: I know I’ve been saying it out loud for about a week or so now, but I’m still amazed she just out and said it’s about Sal making them look like bad parents. Because you two sure had nothing to do with your own bargain basement bin low quality parenting, did you, Linda? Charles also doesn’t really seem all that concerned where she was or what she was doing, so I’m giving that a point too. I won’t give him one for being concerned she’s smoking though. That’s reasonable. Fuck you, Walkerton Parents Count: 3

Panel Two: And we all know what she means by that too. I wonder if Marcie would be a ‘bad influence’ if she were middle class and her parents were documented immigrants? Actually, nah, I think Linda’d still have ‘a bad feeling’ anyways. Regardless, I’m giving that a count because fuck off, Marcie’s stable and came out of her childhood, so far as we’ve seen, with considerably fewer issues than Sal has. Fuck you count: 4.

Panel 3: I love Sal. So much. Calling out her mom on her hypocrisy (yeah, I know, she SHOULD be worried her preteen/young teen is smoking so young, but she hasn’t said shit about her age, just that she smokes, so I’m calling hypocrite) and pointing out where that influence came from. I’m also appreciating that piece of info that Marcie did not in fact smoke yet. Interesting. I wonder when she took that up? Fuck you count: 5 for hypocrisy.

Panel 4: Fuck off. Marcie hasn’t done anything wrong so far as we can tell and Linda has no good reason to ban her from seeing Marcie except Marcie is poor and brown and Sal’s finally having enough of her mother’s bullshit so Linda’s blaming her friend. Count: 8 because all three of those reasons piss me off.

And you go, baby Sal for defending your friend.

Panel 5: Linda, this might shock you, but even if Marcie’s parents ARE shit, she cannot help that. She doesn’t get to decide where they live either because she is 12-13. And yeah, she probably hangs around with kids who live in her low income area, so clearly she’s co-signing everything they say and do even though we know she objects when her friends do things that make her uncomfortable or upset or she thinks are wrong.

And frankly? I’m not convinced her parents are shit. Bare minimum, they took her side when she was being bullied (even though they couldn’t help her much). More than you did, you fucking hellbeast. Better parents than YOU is the dictionary definition of damning with faint praise though, so I won’t waste too much time insulting the Diazes, you piece of shit.

Also, even if the kids in her neighbourhood ARE awful, Marcie pretty clearly prefers Sal. So I dunno what Linda’s Wannabe Perfect Upper Middle Class Suburban Americana ass is whining about. Fuck you count: 13.

Panel 6: Again, I’m so so proud of Sal here. She deserved better parents. Yeah, I see you there not saying anything about the bullshit your wife’s spewing, Charles, so I’m giving you a count too. Fuck you count: 14.

Panel 7: And yeah, totally dismissing Sal’s concerns about how she’s treated and belittling/ignoring her. Who wants to bet she’s done this before? Fuck you count: 15.

Holy fucking shit, I hate these two and I really wish Sal had better fucking parents.

Dumbing of Age

Hurricane Michael leaves ‘unimaginable destruction’

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Media captionAerial footage shows the destruction in Mexico Beach, Florida

Hurricane Michael left “unimaginable destruction” as it ploughed into coastal areas of Florida, the state’s governor, Rick Scott says.

“So many lives have been changed forever,” he said. “So many families have lost everything.”

The worst hit areas of Florida’s northwest coast saw houses ripped from their foundations, trees felled, and power lines strewn across streets.

Hurricane Michael struck on Wednesday with winds of 155mph (250km/h).

It weakened to a storm as it moved inland towards the north-east, but at least six people have died, most of them in Florida.

More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate but officials believe many ignored the warning.

Governor Scott said the US Coast Guard carried out 10 missions overnight, saving at least 27 people.

Which areas are worst affected?

Michael ploughed into Florida’s Panhandle coast near the town of Mexico Beach at 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the US mainland.

Ranked four on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and with a storm surge of 9ft (2.7m), it lifted homes from their foundations and heavily damaged others in districts closest to the sea in Mexico Beach, CNN helicopter footage showed.

Twenty survivors were found in the town overnight, AP reports, but 285 had refused to obey warnings to evacuate.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mexico Beach saw widespread destruction

Head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, called Mexico Beach “ground zero” due to the damage.

Trees were downed in Panama City, northwest of Mexico Beach, buildings flattened, boats and electrical cables scattered.

Apalachicola, with 2,300 residents, was also badly affected, the mayor reporting that downed cables were making it difficult to get through the town.

Debris and floodwater are also making some of the worst-hit areas difficult to reach.

Governor Scott urged residents not to return until the authorities “make sure things are safe”, given the danger from power lines and other debris.


Silence and sun

By Gary O’Donoghue, BBC News, Mexico Beach, Florida

One of the first things you notice as you walk into Mexico Beach is the stillness.

No wind, almost no-one on the street, just the beating hot Sun and the debris: debris everywhere, tossed and scattered – the calling card of a monstrous storm.

And then you hear faint bleeping sounds coming from all directions – a dissonant symphony of high-pitched notes that turn out to be myriad small alarms, still transmitting their warnings from the batteries which power them.

On the left, as we walk, there’s a mattress slumped at the roadside, on the right a Dean Koontz novel lies in the dirt.

Picking our way through a mass of rubble and detritus that was once a house, we spot an American flag on the ground; in amongst it all there is also a toy car and a cracked glass plate from a microwave.

A little further on, and a woman, accompanied by a friend, is sifting through the remains of her home, loading what she can salvage into the boot of a car. This was her dream retirement place she tells me – the last four years spent doing it up. “I’ll never step back in there,” she says through her tears.

The sheer force of Hurricane Michael has been well analysed, but it’s only when you see the everyday stuff of people’s lives crushed, broken, smashed to pieces, that you realise they will be living with this long after we have gone.

Who are the victims?

Six deaths have been confirmed – four in Florida, one in Georgia and one in North Carolina.

Florida officials say one man died when he was crushed in an incident involving a tree in Gadsden County.

In Seminole County, Georgia, a metal car-shelter lifted by a gust of wind hit a mobile home, killing a girl of 11.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Residents of Mexico Beach have returned to find homes heavily damaged

Travis Brooks, director of Seminole County’s emergency management agency, told ABC News there was “complete and total devastation”.

Michael earlier reportedly killed at least 13 people as it passed through Central America: six in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

Winds have knocked out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses across Florida, Alabama, the Carolinas and Georgia.

Around 6,000 are thought to have sought refuge in official shelters, mainly in Florida.

What is the storm doing now?

With reduced winds of 50mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Michael has moved north-east crossing Georgia and is now bringing heavy rain to North Carolina and Virginia.

The NHC warned that communities in north-west Florida and North Carolina faced the threat of life-threatening flooding as rising water moved inland from the coast.

The Carolinas are still recovering from the floods of Hurricane Florence.

States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

And further north, in Virginia 202,000 people are without power, officials said.

Hurricanes

A guide to the world’s deadliest storms

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.

Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters.
Warm air rises into the storm.

Air swirls in to fill the low pressure in the storm, sucking air in and upwards, reinforcing the low pressure.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.

When winds reach 119km/h (74mph), it is known as a hurricane – in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific – or a typhoon in the Western Pacific.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, we’re about to get punched in the face.”
Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ahead of Hurricane Irma (2017)

The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.
This eyewall has the fastest winds below it and violent currents of air rising through it.

A mound of water piles up below the eye which is unleashed as the storm reaches land.
These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

“Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma’s eye. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!”
Tweet from the National Hurricane Center

The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale – other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.

Winds 119-153km/h
Some minor flooding, little structural damage.
Storm surge +1.2m-1.5m

Winds 154-177km/h
Roofs and trees could be damaged.
Storm surge +1.8m-2.4m

Winds 178-208km/h
Houses suffer damage, severe flooding
Storm surge +2.7m-3.7m

Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused $71bn damage in the Caribbean and New York

Winds 209-251km/h
Some roofs destroyed and major structural damage to houses.
Storm surge +4m-5.5m

Hurricane Ike (2008) hit Caribbean islands and Louisiana and was blamed for at least 195 deaths

Winds 252km/h+
Serious damage to buildings, severe flooding further inland.
Storm surge +5.5m

Hurricane Irma (2017) caused devastation in Caribbean islands, leaving thousands homeless

“For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.”
Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin ahead of Hurricane Gustav, 2008

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Are you in the area? If you’ve been affected by Hurricane Michael and it’s safe to share your experiences, please email .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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Storm Michael: Record-breaking ‘hell’ storm mauls US

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Media captionDevastation as Michael makes landfall

The third-strongest storm in recorded history to hit the mainland US has battered north-west Florida, flooding beach towns and snapping trees.

Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday afternoon as a category four storm with 155mph (250km/h) winds in the state’s Panhandle region.

Two people, including a child, were killed by falling trees, officials say.

Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakened over Georgia on its way to the Carolinas.

Storm-surge warnings are in place between Panama City Beach and Keaton Beach in Florida, and between Ocracoke Inlet and Duck in North Carolina, the US National Hurricane Center says.

There are fears for people who ignored evacuation warnings in some of the areas now flooded.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were left without electricity in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

Florida officials said a man was killed when he was crushed by a tree in Gadsden County while a child died when a tree fell on a home in Seminole County, Georgia, CBS news reports.

Michael earlier reportedly killed at least 13 people as it passed through Central America: six in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

How powerful was Michael when it hit?

Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Only the unnamed Labor Day hurricane, which hit Florida in 1935, and Hurricane Camille, which struck Mississippi in 1969, made landfall with greater intensity.

The Labor Day storm’s barometric pressure (the lower the number, the stronger the storm) was 892 millibars and Camille’s was 900, while Michael blew in with 919.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trailer homes were ravaged in Panama City, Florida

Michael was so powerful as it swept into Florida that it remained a hurricane as it moved further inland.

Its rapid intensification caught many by surprise, although the storm later weakened.

Unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico turbo-charged the storm from a tropical depression on Sunday.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionHurricane Michael strikes Florida

Only on Tuesday it was a category two hurricane but by Wednesday morning it had reached borderline category five, the highest level.

How badly was Florida hit?

More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate but officials believe many ignored the warning.

The coastal city of Apalachicola reported a storm surge of nearly 8ft (2.5m).

“There are so many downed power lines and trees that it’s almost impossible to get through the city,” local mayor Van Johnson was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Images from Mexico Beach show many homes submerged in water, and there was severe damage to buildings in the state’s Panama City area.

“We are catching some hell,” Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their home in Panama City, told the Associated Press news agency.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption This McDonald’s sign was twisted by the storm in Panama City Beach

The storm knocked out power to a quarter of a million homes and businesses, as power lines were smashed by falling trees.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionHurricane Michael as seen from space

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said at the White House that he was especially concerned about buildings constructed before 2001, and not able to withstand such high winds.

“We just hope those structures can hold up,” President Donald Trump responded. “And if not, that they’re not in those structures.”

Hurricanes

A guide to the world’s deadliest storms

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.

Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters.
Warm air rises into the storm.

Air swirls in to fill the low pressure in the storm, sucking air in and upwards, reinforcing the low pressure.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.

When winds reach 119km/h (74mph), it is known as a hurricane – in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific – or a typhoon in the Western Pacific.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, we’re about to get punched in the face.”
Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ahead of Hurricane Irma (2017)

The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.
This eyewall has the fastest winds below it and violent currents of air rising through it.

A mound of water piles up below the eye which is unleashed as the storm reaches land.
These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

“Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma’s eye. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!”
Tweet from the National Hurricane Center

The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale – other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.

Winds 119-153km/h
Some minor flooding, little structural damage.
Storm surge +1.2m-1.5m

Winds 154-177km/h
Roofs and trees could be damaged.
Storm surge +1.8m-2.4m

Winds 178-208km/h
Houses suffer damage, severe flooding
Storm surge +2.7m-3.7m

Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused $71bn damage in the Caribbean and New York

Winds 209-251km/h
Some roofs destroyed and major structural damage to houses.
Storm surge +4m-5.5m

Hurricane Ike (2008) hit Caribbean islands and Louisiana and was blamed for at least 195 deaths

Winds 252km/h+
Serious damage to buildings, severe flooding further inland.
Storm surge +5.5m

Hurricane Irma (2017) caused devastation in Caribbean islands, leaving thousands homeless

“For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.”
Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin ahead of Hurricane Gustav, 2008

Click arrow to proceed

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States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week and Florida has activated 3,500 National Guard troops.

What happens next?

As of early Thursday morning local time, the storm winds had dropped to 60mph, the NHC said.

It warned that communities in north-west Florida and North Carolina faced the threat of life-threatening flooding as rising water moved inland from the coast.

The Carolinas are still recovering from the floods of Hurricane Florence.


Are you in the affected region? What preparations have you made? If it is safe to do so, please get in touch. Email .

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Asher

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So many notes!

– Sal, Marcie’s known you since you were five. She knows where this is going – straight off a cliff.

– It’s sweet Marcie doesn’t seem to blame Sal for what happened, although she seems to have more realistic expectations for her situation (and as such may not appreciate those comments – or, at least, not believe them).

– Sal’s face in that last panel. She’s BREAKING ME guys.

– Sal’s still clinging to that hope of this being temporary. Thanks a LOT, Charles.

– Shit. Sal’s smoking already? Oww. That can seriously mess you up. It can take up to 15 years to reverse damage done by cigarettes. I found that out googling health benefits for quitting for a story (and kinda felt pretty good about making my parents quit 18 years ago).

– I’m not quite sure what Marcie would mean. That Sal doesn’t smoke and Marcie wouldn’t approve? If so, why did Marcie take up smoking? Does it mean she already smokes? Did she meant Sal doesn’t chill?

– This Asher kid worries me. Sal’s said before she and Marcie have bad taste in people, other than each other, so I’m worrying we’re going to see this.

*clapping meme* Let. Sal. Have. Friends.

Just. Not. This. One.

Dumbing of Age

Purrfect job; Russian town hires cat chief to attend to strays

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – It was an unusual job advert. Wanted: Cat chief. Location: Zelenogradsk, Russia: Duties: Tending to the town’s approximately 70 stray cats.

Some 80 applicants applied for the new role with the municipality in the small town in the Kaliningrad region, which has also erected a cat statue and added a feline to its emblem in a bid to rebrand itself as Russia’s foremost cat-loving community.

In the end, local resident Svetlana Logunova was appointed guardian of the town’s felines. To help her with the task, she was given a bicycle and uniform, including a bright green jacket, black bow tie and hat.

She has been given a budget of 5,700 roubles ($85) a month to ensure all the seaside community’s cats are happy, dishing out food, strokes and free rides in the basket on her bike.

“I alone cannot care for every single one and a helping hand would go a long way,” Logunova said.

($1 = 66.1257 roubles)

Editing by Patrick Johnston

Louisville Voter Guide Takes It Up A Notch Locally

Louisville Voter Guides have in the past left something to be desired.  The official state guide at govoteky.com only gets a voter to register and understandably it leaves out most of the candidate information.

Louisville voters guide

Sean Delahanty’s campaign site similarly must remain neutral as a judge must remain nonpartisan but his voter guide includes candidates website links when available, and a side by side tweeter comparison for the Louisville Metro Mayor‘s race.  This adds a more rich experience to visitors looking for more than just a piece of the puzzle.

Local Election Coverage

The Complete Voter Guide as it is termed on the site aims to form a puzzle from all of the pieces of other sites.  Jefferson County Clerk’s site provides precinct and voter statistics, the Kentucky Secretary of State’s site provides voter information lookup capabilities and various mapping sites provide legislative districts for State House, State Senate, Metro Council Districts and suburban cities.

What District Am I In?

When Louisville merged with Jefferson County decades ago it did a secular thing in leaving all of the other cities in the county in tact.  This means that in addition to Louisville election districts the same voters may have additional cities and districts to vote upon.  The cities of Shively, St. Matthews and Jeffersonville are the largest of these examples.  Some cities barely cover a couple blocks such as Stratford Manor.  The voter guide at Sean Delahanty’s site provides a Louisville Neighborhoods and Districts map to aid voters in those regards.

Metro Council Districts Map
Metro Council Districts map in voter guide

Comparatively other voter guides are actually used in the voter guide such as Vote411.org and Ballotpedia.

Election Polling and Statistics

Its an interesting collection of info and insights that Louisville voters don’t usually see in local elections.  Polling is almost nonexistent at this level but the voter guide still makes an attempt with their polling for entertainment purposes.  The site’s inclusion of crime data for the last ten years is also unique as it divides incidents by category and zip code.

Its a good guide from a nonpartisan candidates campaign.

Jamal Khashoggi: Turkish TV airs video of missing Saudi journalist

This image appears to show Jamal Khashoggi entering the consulate last week Image copyright TRT World
Image caption This image appears to show Jamal Khashoggi entering the consulate last week

Turkish TV has aired video from CCTV said to show missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi monarchy, visited on 2 October but failed to re-emerge.

Turkish security sources say they fear he was killed there. Saudi Arabia denies this.

The video also shows vehicles driving up to the consulate, including a black van thought central to inquiries.

Footage broadcast by Turkey’s TRT World channel also shows a group of men apparently passing through security at Istanbul airport.

Turkey’s Sabah newspaper reports that it has identified 15 members of an intelligence team it says was involved in the Saudi’s disappearance.

Mr Khashoggi was visiting the consulate to finalise his divorce so he could marry his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

What has the international reaction been?

The UK’s foreign secretary has told Saudi Arabia that Britain expects urgent answers over the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi.

In a phone call to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Jeremy Hunt warned that “friendships depend on shared values”.

Earlier on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said he had not yet spoken to Saudi officials about the journalist’s disappearance.

“I have not but I will be at some point,” he told reporters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Saudi Arabia to “support a thorough investigation” of his disappearance and “to be transparent about the results”.

UN experts have demanded a “prompt independent and international investigation” into his disappearance.

Last week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg News that his government was “very keen to know what happened to him”, and that Mr Khashoggi had left “after a few minutes or one hour”.

Crown Prince Mohammed’s brother and the Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Khaled bin Salman al-Saud, has insisted all the reports about his disappearance or death “are completely false and baseless”.

How has Khashoggi’s fiancee reacted?

Hatice Cengiz has appealed to the US for help.

In an emotional article in the Washington Post, she wrote: “I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance.”

“We were in the middle of making wedding plans, life plans,” when he vanished, she said.

“Jamal is a valuable person, an exemplary thinker and a courageous man who has been fighting for his principles. I don’t know how I can keep living if he was abducted or killed in Turkey.”

Turkey says it will conduct a search of the Istanbul consulate.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said the country was “open to co-operation” and a search of the building could go ahead as part of the investigation.

Ankara is demanding that Saudi Arabia prove he left, while not providing definitive evidence to support the claim he was killed inside.

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

A critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the US and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before his disappearance.

A former editor of the al-Watan newspaper and a short-lived Saudi TV news channel, he was for years seen as close to the Saudi royal family. He served as an adviser to senior Saudi officials.

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Media captionJamal Khashoggi: Saudi Arabia needs reform, but one-man rule is “bad” for the kingdom

But after several of his friends were arrested, his column was cancelled by the al-Hayat newspaper and he was allegedly warned to stop tweeting, Mr Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia for the US.

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Alphabet

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Do you want to support me on Patreon but don’t like Patreon and wish you could support me in some other-but-similar way, possibly a way that currently has fewer features and perks than Patreon and is still in beta?  Then I have a Drip!  Drip is like Patreon, but by the Kickstarter folks!  And there’s just two days (one?) left to join my Drip and be forever labeled a “Founding Member.”  What does being a Founding Member entail?  I don’t know!  I think it’s just a title to make you feel special.

I’m really good at selling this, you guys, you have no idea of the level of my craft!

Dumbing of Age

Value

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To me, the issue with Walky’s joke/honestly I actually read it as him sincerely asking her for money was that Sal was clearly concerned at the time. Note here that Sal DOESN’T buy it because she feels so guilty (and probably feels guilty about thinking of spending money on Frivolous Things when Marcie Needs Her, which is its own brand of ‘kiddo NO.’)

Walky wasn’t displaying any concern for Marcie at all – hell, he came off as asking ‘if you only get $250 can we spend it on snacks since it won’t cover the bills anyway?’ Walky never mentions Marcie at all. That’s pretty insensitive given she’s Sal’s best friend. Not surprising given Walky and their supremely fucked sibling relationship, but still insensitive as hell.

That said, while Walky was being pretty bratty, the people I really blame for this are the elder Walkertons, for all the reasons outlined yesterday and upthread. This burden should never have fallen on the 12-year-old. The Walkertons have extremely influential contacts who could be convinced to raise this money with a very small amount of PR spin. The Walkertons could help contribute to the ambulance bill and it would almost certainly strain their finances less than it would the Diazes. The Walkertons could, at the very least, spearhead a town fundraiser on Marcie’s behalf and almost certainly raise more than $250 in the process. They are not. And if they aren’t willing to help, then Charles telling Sal exactly how much the ambulance costs contributes nothing to the situation except piling on more guilt for Sal.

If the Diazes had told Sal that information, it wouldn’t be great (again, way more than any 12-year-old can do anything about or emotionally handle,) but at least they would be doing so because their daughter is hurt, they can’t pay for her expenses, and people do not always react well under that stress. (The GoFundMe amount probably did come from them, but without knowing anything about Marcie’s parents but a lot about Sal, my guess is Sal was insisting on helping raise the money and they agreed to the crowdfunding because it can’t hurt and might help the clearly traumatized kid feel less powerless. We also don’t know who set the page up, for that matter – the way Walky phrased things last strip made me think Sal, but it’s at least as likely to be the Diazes and Sal just latched onto it. In which case, being frank about what they need on the page is totally the right call and they’re NOT expecting Sal to shoulder all this.)

But the Walkertons are supposed to be on their daughter’s side. They’re supposed to be looking out for Sal. And part of that is not letting a kid take so much on her shoulders, and keeping her from blaming herself, and telling her the best thing she can do for Marcie isn’t to worry about money or medical treatments, it’s to be there and be her friend and do nice things for each other while she’s going through something tough. They did not do any of this. Charles actively made the situation worse. So yeah, they suck.

Dumbing of Age

Trump apologises to Kavanaugh over ‘unfair’ treatment

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Media captionBrett Kavanaugh spoke of his record of promoting women

President Donald Trump has apologised to his new Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh for what he described as a “campaign of lies” during the confirmation hearings.

He was referring to the acrimonious debate over Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination, after sexual assault allegations were made against him.

Mr Kavanaugh said he was not bitter despite the “contentious” confirmation.

He has denied the claims made by several women.

The judge was confirmed by the Senate on Saturday, in a 50-48 vote that largely followed party lines.

It is seen as a major victory for President Trump, tilting the balance in the nation’s highest court in favour of conservatives for years to come.

One of the women accusing the judge, Prof Christine Blasey Ford, said Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party in 1982 when they were high school students.

She provided testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Mr Trump initially called her a “compelling” witness – but he later questioned her credibility and mocked her at a rally.

What did Mr Trump highlight?

As the White House ceremony got under way on Monday, Mr Trump said: “On behalf of our nation, I want to apologise to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure.”

And he decried a “campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception”, adding that “under historic scrutiny”, he had been “proven innocent”.

Last week, the FBI completed a report on sexual misconduct allegations against Mr Kavanaugh – but the findings have not been released to the public.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionTrump: “The main base of the Democrats have shifted so far left we’ll end up being Venezuela.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionDonald Trump’s nominee has been embroiled in a bitter battle over sexual assault allegations.

Prof Ford has been unable to move back home because of “unending” death threats, according to one of her lawyers.

Mr Trump says Democrats will lose in the 6 November congressional elections, which will shape the remainder of his presidency.

What did Justice Kavanaugh tell the ceremony?

The 53-year-old justice told the White House gathering that he would not let the “bitter” confirmation process affect his work on the highest court in the land.

“The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional,” Justice Kavanaugh said.

“That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be,” he added.

Without mentioning the sexual assault allegations, he touted his record of promoting women – and the fact he has become the first justice to have an all-female staff.

He will take his seat on Tuesday – on the far right of the bench, next to Justice Elena Kagan – hearing immigration and other cases.

Who wants Mr Kavanaugh impeached?

A handful of Democratic lawmakers, including congressmen Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and Ted Lieu of California, have pressed for Justice Kavanaugh’s removal over the allegations.

But top Democrat Nancy Pelosi has said trying to impeach the new justice “would not be my plan”.

A petition to impeach Justice Kavanaugh has more than 150,000 signatures.

Ms Pelosi says she will file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to make public the confidential FBI investigation into the claims against Justice Kavanaugh.

Justice Kavanaugh also faces more than a dozen judicial misconduct complaints over his public statements as a nominee to the Supreme Court.

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Jair Bolsonaro: Far-right candidate wins first round of Brazil election

Composite photo of Jair Bolsonaro (left) and Fernando Haddad (right) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jair Bolsonaro (left) and Fernando Haddad will face each other in a run-off

A far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, has won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election.

He will face the left-wing Workers’ Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, in the second round on 28 October after he failed to win the 50% of valid votes needed to win outright.

With almost all the votes counted, Mr Bolsonaro had 46% and Mr Haddad 29%.

Opinion polls conducted before the election predicted that in a second round the two candidates would be tied.

Mr Bolsonaro’s once insignificant Social Liberal Party (PSL) is poised to become the largest force in Congress following legislative elections held alongside the presidential vote, in what analysts have described as a seismic shift in Brazilian politics.

The politician and the PSL have ridden a wave of rising anger at the Workers’ Party, which their supporters blame for a prolonged recession, rising violent crime and widespread corruption in South America’s largest economy.

Why is Bolsonaro so controversial?

The former army captain has made provocative statements on a huge range of issues.

His hard-line approach to law and order has brought back memories of the two-decade military dictatorship, and earned him backing from the military and those demanding greater safety in a country with rising levels of violent crime.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jair Bolsonaro has strong support within the armed forces

Misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric has prompted outrage and protests, while his anti-abortion stance has won him support from millions of evangelical Christians.

His son, Eduardo, tweeted a photo of himself and former chief strategist to US President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon – who, he says, is “in touch” with his father’s campaign to help fight “cultural Marxism”.

Economically, Mr Bolsonaro favours a smaller state. He has announced plans to lower taxes, privatise state companies and limit foreign ownership of natural resources.

The candidate believes selling off companies will help fight government corruption – one of the focuses of Operation Car Wash, a massive corruption investigation.

Mr Bolsonaro was stabbed on the campaign trail, drawing intense media attention to him and what are seen by many as his divisive policies.

The ‘least worst’ candidate

Katy Watson, BBC South America correspondent

Jair Bolsonaro expected to win the presidency in this first round, even if the polls said otherwise. “On the 28th October, we can all go to the beach,” he said, as he turned up to vote on Sunday. His supporters had been saying for weeks that their candidate would win this straight out.

Mr Bolsonaro may have soared in the polls recently but Brazilians are going to have to wait another three weeks to find out whether it’ll be him or Fernando Haddad as Brazil’s new leader.

Brazil feels very divided – and fragile. You could feel it when you talked to voters. So many people have told me they would be voting for the “least worst” candidate. On one side, there are those determined never to allow the Workers’ Party to rule again; on the other, those desperately trying not to allow a far-right candidate to rule this young democracy.

A feeling of nervousness hangs over Brazil – and will do for the next few weeks as both candidates ramp up their campaigning once again. The future of Brazil will vary greatly, depending on who eventually wins.

How did the election pass off?

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrated outside his home in Rio de Janeiro

Mr Bolsonaro said that he was certain that if there had not been “problems” with the electronic voting system used in Brazil, he would have won outright.

“I am certain that if this hadn’t happened, we would have known the name of the president of the republic tonight.”

He did not specify what he thought those “problems” were.

Brazil’s electoral authorities have said the vote went ahead peacefully and without any major problems.

What are Bolsonaro’s policies?

Brazilians will have to choose between two very different candidates on 28 October.

Mr Bolsonaro, a Roman Catholic, won the support of many evangelical Christians by saying he would defend traditional family values. He has also won over many Brazilians who think his law-and-order stance will make Brazil safer.

On the eve of Sunday’s vote, he said that his government would hand down the tough punishments offenders deserved. He is also in favour of relaxing gun ownership laws and has spoken of torture as a legitimate practice. He also wants to restore the death penalty.

In his victory speech, broadcast live on Facebook and uploaded on to Twitter, he said there were two paths Brazilians could follow.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Bolsonaro did not turn up at the hotel where he was expected to give a news conference but spoke on Facebook Live instead

“[There is] the path of prosperity, liberty. family, on God’s side… and the other one is that of Venezuela,” he said referring to Brazil’s socialist-led neighbour, a country mired in a deep economic and political crisis which has driven more than two million people to leave.

“We can’t take another step to the left!” he urged voters. “We can’t go fraternising with socialism or communism,” he said.

He acknowledged that a lot of criticism had been levelled against him but vowed to “unite the [Brazilian] people”.

“Together we will be a great nation,” he said.

What does Haddad advocate?

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fernando Haddad was visibly relieved that there would be a second round

He has portrayed himself as a trusted candidate for those who baulk at Mr Bolsonaro’s style and rhetoric.

After reaching the second round, he said he and the Workers’ Party would “only use arguments, we don’t use any guns”.

Referring to Mr Bolsonaro’s lead, he said he felt “challenged by the results, which alert us to the risks Brazilian democracy is facing”.

“We need to approach this with a sense of responsibility,” he told his cheering supporters. “We want to unite the democrats of this country, to reduce inequality and to achieve social justice.”

He said he and his party had been presented with “a golden opportunity” by making it into the second round.

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Gofundme

I grew up with fraternal triplets as cousins. There is one they consider the “baby”, and there’s one who’s widely treated as the oldest, even though they were born literally less than two full minutes apart (emergency C-section). I also had two friends who were identical twins, and another two who were fraternal twins. Neither set of twins had an “older” kid except as a joke when we were little. When they were 8, the girl of the set of fraternal twins developed T1 diabetes. After that, her brother started calling himself her “big bro” and taking on more of a caretaker role.

From my experience, it seems to depend a lot on whether the parents treat one kid as younger or otherwise baby one kid over the others, and also on whether one kid has a health issue. In both cases where a “baby” developed, the “baby” had a health issue (CP and spina bifida in one case, diabetes in the other), but also, in the fraternal twins, the kid with CP and spina bifida wasn’t the only kid with health issues, just the one who got babied for it. If the parents treat one kid as younger, the kids will pick up on it and respond accordingly (which seems to be what Walky is taking advantage of here), even if they don’t register it consciously.

Side note: In every family that plays favorites that I’ve encountered, the kid(s) who’s not the favorite always knows who the favorite is. The kid who is the favorite almost always thinks they’re treated fairly. If that aint a great metaphor for privilege dynamics in society, I don’t know what is.

Dumbing of Age

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I really liked the strip where she was talking about how being trans doesn’t mean she needs to buy into the forever sweet and passive BS version of femininity and that she CAN be a female, trans AND an asshole.

It’s so HARD to reject that BS even when you recognise how harmful it can be. I can only imagine that it’s even harder for trans women, who (a) apparently STILL need to perform hyper-femininity to get taken seriously by professionals and access medical services to physically transition, (b) thanks to our awful society have even more reason than most women to at least sometimes want to blur silently into the background, (c) have spent some portion of their lives being told that they are not female, which must build extra internal pressure to embrace all aspects which can be spun as being female, even the cruddier ones. And she’s what, 19? She has her head more together than a lot of people twice her age.

So yeah, she’s being an asshole. It’s delaying plot from happening. It’s irritating. If she doesn’t knock it off soon it’ll cross over into bullying territory and that really isn’t OK.

But it’s still kinda awesome that she’s comfortable being such an asshole.

Dumbing of Age

Brett Kavanaugh confirmation: Victory for Trump in Supreme Court battle

Brett Kavanaugh, watched by his family, is administered the judicial oath by Justice Anthony Kennedy Image copyright US Supreme Court
Image caption Brett Kavanaugh, surrounded by his family, was administered the judicial oath by outgoing justice Anthony Kennedy

President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has been sworn in following weeks of rancorous debate.

The Senate earlier backed his nomination by 50 votes to 48.

Mr Kavanaugh had been embroiled in a bitter battle to stave off claims of sexual assault, which he denies.

But after an 11th-hour investigation by the FBI into the allegations, enough wavering senators decided to support the nomination.

His confirmation hands Mr Trump a political victory ahead of key mid-term elections in November.

Before the vote, hundreds of people protested against Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination at the US Capitol in Washington.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe moment Vice President Mike Pence announces Brett Kavanaugh’s win

During the vote, other protesters shouted “shame” from the public gallery and Vice-President Mike Pence had to call for order to be restored.

Mr Kavanaugh’s appointment is for life and he will strengthen conservative control of the nine-judge court, which has the final say on US law.

The 53 year old was sworn in on Saturday evening in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath and retired justice Anthony Kennedy – whom Mr Kavanaugh is replacing – administered the judicial oath.

Protesters had gathered outside the court and at one point some ran up the steps and banged on its ornate doors. Other demonstrators climbed on the nearby statue of justice.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters sat on the statue of justice outside the Supreme Court

What has Mr Trump said?

He sent out a tweet of congratulations:

Later he spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One, saying Mr Kavanaugh had withstood a “horrible attack by the Democrats” and that women were “outraged” at what had happened to the nominee.

Mr Trump also said he was “100% certain” that the woman who had accused Mr Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, had named the wrong person.

So what were the numbers in the Senate?

The upper house is split 51-49 in favour of the Republicans and the vote was largely along party lines. In the end, there was indeed a two-vote margin, the closest nomination vote since 1881.

The only party dissenters were Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who had intended to vote no, and Democrat Joe Manchin, who voted yes.

That should have meant a 51-49 tally, but the absence of Republican Steve Daines, a yes voter who was at his daughter’s wedding, altered the final figures.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionDonald Trump’s nominee has been embroiled in a bitter battle over sexual assault allegations.

Ms Murkowski opted instead to simply mark herself as “present”, leaving the final vote 50-48.

What was said in the Senate?

In their final summations, the two Senate party leaders reflected how bitter the divide had become.

Minority Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Kavanaugh did not belong on the bench as he had “obscured his views to the American people”, “repeatedly misled the Senate” and delivered one of the “bitterest and most partisan testimonies ever presented by a nominee”.

He also said Mr Trump had “stooped to new depths” in mocking the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The decision of Susan Collins to vote yes helped sway the final tally

Mr Schumer said that for all those who opposed the nomination, “there is one answer – vote” in the November mid-term elections.

Majority Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Mr Kavanaugh was a “serious scholar, a brilliant student of the law and a meticulous and dedicated public servant”.

He said events had “strained our basic principles of fairness and justice” and that the vote showed the Senate was “an institution where evidence and facts matter”.

He spoke of “intimidation by the mob” and said the Senate vote should be one “to turn away from darkness”.

Ms Murkowski had earlier said that although Mr Kavanaugh was a “good man”, he was “not the right person for the court at this time” and his “appearance of impropriety has become unavoidable”.

Joe Manchin is facing a difficult re-election campaign in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide. He said he “found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist”.

There were shouts of “shame” from the public gallery as he voted yes.

Two Republican waverers, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake, finally decided to back the judge.

Analysis: Just the beginning

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has been decided. The political war, however, is just beginning.

Donald Trump’s court pick generated a controversy that captured the nation’s attention in a way that few political issues do. It generated daily headlines rivalled only by the US quadrennial presidential elections.

Now that the bombs have been thrown, it’s time to assess the fallout.

Read more from Anthony

Why is the court so important?

Basically, it’s the final arbiter of US law.

It has the ultimate say on such contentious issues as abortion and gun control.

The Democrats are still smarting from the previous Supreme Court appointment. Republicans last year successfully stalled the process, meaning it fell to Mr Trump, not Barack Obama, to nominate the new justice. Mr Trump’s choice of Neil Gorsuch strengthened the conservative leaning.

All eyes will now be on November’s mid-term elections. Mr Trump will be able to campaign on the back of an important victory, but commentators will be watching closely how the Kavanaugh affair affects women voters.

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Healing

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Well, it’s not the worst superpower ever, but is “having nicknames ready to go for everyone” the lamest superpower ever?

I’m trying to remember the nicknames she bestowed, but this is one of those searches for which tags aren’t particularly effective. These are what I’ve been able to recall/find:

Danny: Wonderbread
Joyce: Blue Eyes
Jason: Bow Tie

Others?

Dumbing of Age

Brett Kavanaugh: Key senators back embattled Supreme Court choice

Brett Kavanaugh Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has been one of the most contentious for years

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court seat looks all but confirmed after he won the backing of key senators despite an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations.

Republican Senator Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, a Democrat, both indicated their backing for the judge on Friday.

Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation would tilt America’s highest court in favour of conservatives.

The court has the final say on issues such as abortion and gun control.

A final vote on whether Judge Kavanaugh will join the nine-member panel is scheduled for Saturday. If confirmed, the position is for life.

Hours before the undecided senators indicated their backing, the US Senate narrowly advanced President Donald Trump’s nominee to a final vote by voting to strictly limit debate on the issue.

Friday’s “cloture” vote – 51-49 in favour – was a test of support for the embattled nominee who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct from three women, including Prof Christine Blasey Ford.

What did the senators say?

Senator Collins ended hopes she would side with Democrats in the final vote, telling fellow senators she did not believe the “charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court”.

“The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard,” she said.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCollins: I vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh

Senator Manchin, who is up for re-election in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide, told the Senate moments later he “found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him”.

What has the reaction been?

The reaction has been swift, with former president George HW Bush and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders both tweeting their support for Ms Collins.

Mr Manchin, however, has found himself in the firing line.

A liberal group which raises money for Democratic candidates, Priorities USA, immediately said it would not be giving any funds to his re-election campaign.

Outside, protesters shouted “shame on you” as Mr Manchin spoke to reporters about his decision.

Meanwhile, a tweet asking someone to run for Senator Collins’s seat in Maine when it comes up for re-election in 2020 from former White House communication chief, Jen Psaki, had a swift response from former UN ambassador Susan Rice.

She later clarified she was “not making any announcements” but was “deeply disappointed in Senator Collins’s vote for Kavanaugh”.

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski – a Republican who voted against the nomination earlier on Friday – is yet to officially say which way she will vote on Saturday.

However, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted she could “see 2022 from my house”, suggesting Senator Murkowski would face a fight for her seat at the next election should she not side with her Republican colleagues in the vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

Analysis: Just the beginning

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is all but certain. The Republican Party has the votes and the battle appears over. The political war, however, is just beginning.

Donald Trump’s court pick generated a controversy that captured the nation’s attention in a way that few political issues do. It generated daily headlines rivalled only by the US quadrennial presidential elections.

Now that the bombs have been thrown, it’s time to assess the fallout.

Read more from Anthony

What was the FBI inquiry about?

In public testimony last week Prof Ford said she had been assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh when they were both teenagers in 1982.

Judge Kavanaugh denied the claim – and allegations that he drank to the point of memory loss at the time – in a feisty confrontation with senators.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionChristine Blasey Ford said she was “100%” sure Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her

After the testimony, President Trump agreed to a new FBI inquiry.

Federal agents are believed to have spoken to five witnesses regarding Prof Ford’s accusations and another four other witnesses involving a separate accusation by Deborah Ramirez, who said the nominee had exposed himself to her when they were both at Yale University. He denies Ms Ramirez’s allegations, too.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionFeinstein and McConnell have very different views on the FBI report

Mr Trump and his fellow Republicans said the new FBI report had cleared their nominee.

But Democratic senators said it had been incomplete.

The lawyers of both women have also complained that several witnesses they had offered to the FBI to corroborate their claims had not been contacted at all.

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