Feb. 8th, 2017

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Devos might have gotten confirmed, and that’s BAD, but don’t think your efforts have not been worth it. Because of your actions:

Devos confirmation got pushed back as much as possible

two GOP senators defected

Mike Pence had to be the tie-breaker, something that’s has NOT happened for a cabinet confirmation and the Trump Tower is already whining about it

While it is likely all other cabinet nominees will be confirmed, because of protests and calls from the public and actions taken by senate democrats, these confirmation hearings have been taking longer than previous cabinet confirmations. And just because they’ve been confirmed, the fight does not stop. 

Put your senators who voted for DeVos on notice and that they’ll pay for their vote in 2018, thank those who voted against her. To keep fighting Devos, pay attention to your local school board. They are your best defense against her and many municipalities will be voting for a new school board this year. Make sure you vote then, or even consider running. If you know someone qualified to run, convince them to run. We all know someone who is a teacher or an educator, and I bet that you or someone you know in the education sector is infinitely more qualified than Devos. Attend school board meetings as well. 

Vote for a democratic governor and state legislature. 

If there’s some silver lining, maybe now we will continue pay attention to public education outside of an election year, and make it hard for Devos to push any of her agenda.

Here’s the other postmortem analysis I haven’t really seen:

Clearly the two senators who defected were allowed to do so. Others, apparently (haven’t verified this source, who is this? bio says “journalist”) wanted to, but “were not allowed”. 

ANYWAY– clearly, these types of things are all worked out in advance behind closed doors, but the Rs who all promised to vote “yes” had not taken into account how incredibly, unprecedentedly mobilized and upset their constituents would be. I saw memes on Facebook, I heard chatter from apolitical randos in my daily life– people all over are mad about DeVos. And they let their senators know. And their senators ignored them, and dismissed them, and came up with flimsy excuses, and deflected, and in general pretended nothing out of the ordinary was going on.

But those senators are not on Trump’s level of delusional, here. They know that these aren’t paid protestors. They don’t truly believe that there will be no consequences for this. They sure hope that as the rest of the plan proceeds, they’ll be able to do what they originally intended– scrape scandal off the bottoms of their shoes after they’ve walked over Trump’s corpse, is the pretty obvious plan– but they’re definitely starting to worry that the scandal’s not going to come off. Some of them are going to lose their seats, and they’re starting to realize that.

We have to keep the pressure up. We have to do this for the rest of the Cabinet nominees getting shoved through this week. 

Our explicit goal has to be to convince the Rs that their plan of using Trump and discarding him is not going to proceed in the way they’d planned. He’s going to destroy them on the way down. Every minute he’s in power stirring up shit and destroying things, they’re going to pay for. 

That has to be the end goal. That has to be the long game. We can’t let anything slide. We have to remember all of this. I know it’s different for me in a blue state; I have to keep pressure on my reps to let them know to keep pressure on. I have to keep my state legislature strong to pick up Federal slack as crucial programs get defunded– I live in a powerful, rich blue state. It’s going to be different for most people. 

This is a defeat, but it wasn’t pointless. We gained a lot. We don’t know what we gained, yet, but we know we did. 
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By focusing so much on GMOs, you’re not paying attention to species loss or the decline in aquifers or soil depletion or greenhouse gasses or all the other problems tied up on industrial food production. And I’m sympathetic to that argument. I think GMOs have gotten a lot of attention because they elicit a visceral fear from people, but really we have a lot of other agricultural problems that predate GMOs. If you think about factory farming or fossil fuels or toxic chemicals or soil loss — those things all existed before GMOs, and GMOs just scaled them up.
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This is a section of the Kes-POV story that took over my brain after I read that Poe went home to Yavin post-Jakku. It’s very freshly written and thus may change when the story is finished, but I kinda like how it stands alone.


When you are twenty-five years old and the structures of justice have faltered before your eyes, you fight. It isn’t necessarily one thing, one moment, that pushes you into the battle, but when you make the choice you are certain. There are others who are certain, and they have friends, and resources, scant though they are. You are galvanized by the strength of your convictions, and they sustain you through operations that test your physical limits and choices that test your emotional and moral ones.
But after months and years of war, always looking over your shoulder, always having three contingency plans, eventually it’s no longer really about the future of the galaxy. It’s about the people beside you, cut down in twos and threes and sometimes tens, about protecting them as best you can. It’s about the pilot in the orange-striped A-wing who is too good to be beaten, and too strong to be beaten down, and too beautiful and smart for any words with which you could try to capture her. It’s about the amazing, perfect child you’ve made together, who knows nothing of the Empire but also knows nothing of freedom or safety.
And when the blasters fall silent at last, you seize that fragile peace with both hands, less because you are confident in its permanence and its virtue than because you have so little left to give of yourself. You make a new life with your luminous wife and bright-eyed son, and you spend years just catching your breath, learning how to sleep easy.
And the Force scorns you for a fool.
She slips away, in spite of every prayer, because even the strongest heart cannot power a failing body. She takes some of her son’s innocence with her, some of the radiance of his smile. And yours as well, surely. And maybe it’s not just you—maybe her absence tugs at the loose threads of the universe, because slowly, inexorably, the fallibility of man cannot be outrun, and the Republic you shed blood to establish begins to fracture.
You cannot hold your beloved to this life.
You cannot force your world into the destiny you desire for it.
You cannot tether your son to the future you desperately wish he would choose.
The Force flows on.
The boy becomes a man, and he becomes his mother, and you are resigned. You must let him fly or else truly lose him. He flies, with skill and honor, and all his limitless courage cannot mask the disease that is growing in the very organization he defends, the one you built for him. Soon it is too much for him to ignore. He asks for your guidance and your blessing on his next step, and you know it would be better for you both if you could give it.
Nonetheless you hesitate. A distance grows. It will be bridged, but it will not be closed. You cannot make him understand why or how the path he takes has already broken you once. He has not yet lived it, and you want nothing more than to spare him that.
You cannot. All you can do is wish him well.
Because when you are twenty-five years old and the structures of justice have faltered before your eyes, you fight.
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You are an anonymous professional assassin with a perfect reputation. You lead an ordinary life outside of your work. You’ve just been hired to kill yourself.

My first thought is that the middle man I use–calls himself ‘Leader’, real name Brett Thompson, 46, balding, lives in PA–has uncovered my identity. Why else would I be staring down at a picture of my own face? I think it’s a warning, that he knows about the Sanchez job, and I nearly reach for my go bag.

Then I see the client’s name.

Vi Larson, the file tells me, male, 32, computer analyst.

I close the manila folder, tossing it away from me. The whiskey sour’s gone warm in my hand, but I drink it down anyway, eyes distant. I don’t need to read any more of the file. I can fill in the gaps well enough.

Funnily enough, this betrayal is just as sharp and unpleasant as the first one, the one that got me into this business in the first place.

“You at least owe me a crime of passion, you bastard,” I mutter into my drink. I close my eyes and sigh, willing away the stinging in my heart. I knew that my relationship was in trouble, but this is just cold. 

 In a way, I can’t believe it. Is a divorce really that hard?  But, no, I know Vi. He’s methodical, analytical, and competent. If anything, hiring an assassin with a reputation like mine is right in line with his personality. Nothing but the best, even in the murder game.

I should be flattered, really. My rates aren’t cheap. Whatever I did to make him send this in–and he did, there’s his social security, his fingerprint, everything–it must have been killer.

I set my glass down on the counter and tuck the folder under my arm. I need to think and I do my best thinking in the tub. Vi won’t be back from his “business” trip for another three days, during which I’m supposed to kill myself.

As I head up the stairs, I can’t help but laugh. Finally, after three years of marriage, my husband does something interesting. And it breaks my fucking heart.


He wants me to make it painless but horrific. There’s a script in the document, something that’s more common than people think, and it’s hard to read it, even surrounded by bubbles and soothing music.

“Your husband sent me. Said he needed to shed some dead weight.” I snort at the pun and close my eyes, resting the file against my face so it doesn’t get wet. Unfortunately, the tears do that anyway.

“Fuck,” I say. “You bastard.”

Keep reading

@caffeinewitchcraft is the literal best at these prompts. This one is excellent (and oh, the twist)

GLODDAMN that is a good story
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Better said than my addendum last night, from markpopham on Twitter: A message of support to red state liberals/leftists. 
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People are turning Mitch McConnell’s dig against Elizabeth Warren into a feminist rallying cry
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‘Relationship’ isn’t the right word. ‘Relationship’ implies something between them, the existence of ties beyond spy and senator, general and soldier, and that just isn’t true. (A pyromaniac has no relationship with the matches she tosses into the pool of accelerant. There’s no special love between between a weapon and the hand cradling the blaster.) Whatever they have lives in the negative space of what they are. ‘Relationship’ isn’t the word.

But then again, Cassian suspects matches don’t feel anything about the pyromaniac. Or about the fire, either.


Technically, Cassian has a supervisor, the way that technically, the rebellion is a coalition of militarized terrorist cells undermining a democratically elected authority. (Namely, these things might be true, but they’re not exactly relevant. They’ve waded too far out into the storm to be discussing whether the water is cold.)

Still, Mothma likes to bring it up sometimes. Mostly when he sidles into her meetings, her office, her caf breaks, her—

“I’m fairly certain you are meant to report to General Draven, Captain Andor,” she says coolly after her rank and file have filed out, and he ducks his head, smiles. His smile is like a blaster-shot, brutal and unerring, carving bloody lines into where it lands. Mon Mothma is draped in stainless funerary white, she is a woman already wearing her shroud, but she let out an awful hiss of breath the first time Cassian Andor smiled at her. (It still aches.)

“And you, Senator Mothma?” he asks, his dark eyes fixed on her, already flaying her open, bloody. “Who do you report to?”

“All free peoples,” Mon answers with the practiced ease.

“I don’t think I know them,” Cassian says mildly, because Mon is good at nothing so much as finding these men, full of so much unrealized and violent strength; their sharp teeth, their bright determination, all masked beneath mildness. “You should introduce me, next time.”

“I shall,” Mon Mothma says, and then Cassian Andor is very close to her, smelling of the particular bitter chemical discharge of a blaster. “Do you doubt me?” she asks archly. (When she turns her head, her jugular is bared. Is this deliberate, or weakness?)

“Of course not,” Cassian Andor says. “To doubt you is to doubt the Rebellion.”

“That is not an answer,” Mon Mothma says sharply, but he is already gone, vanished from the space she commands. And then she is alone.


There’s a very beautiful lie he tells sometimes, about how they met. That he was a boy with a flower in his hand, and she was a junior senator, very young and yet already grave, draped in purple. That he had made her smile.

The truth is that he burned her in Separatist effigy before he ever met her. Knew her name, and cursed it. When they did meet, she was still young but he was younger, rawboned and furious, just over the edge of youth into manhood. (It was strange to see her in the flesh at last; how small she was, standing there before him. 

They’d gotten her eyes wrong on the effigy, he thought.)

“War makes strange bedfellows,” are Senator Mon Mothma’s first words to Cassian Andor.

His first words to her are crude and unrepeatable. "Senator,” he tacks on after a long minute of silence.

“You do not have to like me,” Mon Mothma says, though the corner of her mouth quirks, and he knows then that she likes him. “You do not even have to speak to me, after this. What—will be asked of you, you do for the Rebellion. I do not enter into its calculus.”

Cassian Andor looks at her. Remembers flames.



She kills him.

She kills him over and over, on a dozen, two dozen planets. Not herself, of course—he doesn’t think she’s ever actually held a blaster, regards them with thinly-veiled contempt whenever they enter into her line of sight, which means her mouth is always pinched in a thin, unpleasant line, as though to keep her lip from curling. But she authorizes Draven’s orders regarding his missions and that’s much the same. 

Cassian is a good soldier. (Has been, since—) He doesn’t take it personally.

“Your microexpressions indicate anger,” the Imperial droid they’ve saddled him with for this mission says, in the neutral, pleasant voice that drives Cassian mad. Gods spare him from kriffing droids.

“Do they,” he answers dryly, watching as Mon Mothma disappears into one of Yavin’s makeshift conference rooms. She does not look in his direction, though she only just signed the order to make him a killer.

Well. More of a killer.

“In fact, there is a ninety-four percent correlation between Senator Mothma entering your line of vision and—”

Cassian whips around to glare at the droid. (Kaytoo, to his credit, does not bring up this subject for discussion again.)


She is still there, posture very straight and draped in white, whenever he returns. She is always there, standing or sitting at the head of the war-table, watching someone else speak her orders for her. (She doesn’t talk much. It’s an odd realization, when she looms so large in Cassian’s mind, when her voice, her commands, seem thick in the air on Yavin. But she lets others give orders, and Cassian isn’t certain how to feel about that.)

Once—exactly once—he comes across her falling asleep, her head tilted back against the cushion of the chair. It is just between shift-change, and so they are alone in the command center. Her face is older, asleep; she has lines at the corners of her pursed mouth, her shuttered eyes. Her copper hair is falling in her eyes.

He gets close enough to his breath stirs her hair, and he very gently touches her forehead, just with two fingertips.

Cassian doesn’t feel the knife until it is already between his ribs and twisting home. He drops to his knees, finding himself laughing despite himself. (He can feel the warmth of blood gathering thickly at the back of his throat.) He has the unique pleasure of watching Senator Mothma blanch, shoot to her feet and shout for a meddroid—

“Knife?” he rasps, as she drags in a ragged breath.

“Vibroblade,” she says dazedly, sounding more shellshocked than Cassian feels. She can’t stop staring at the hilt, sticking out of his chest. “We’re at war. No—traitor to the Empire would go unarmed. Even among friends.”

“And here I thought you were incapable of violence, Senator,” he says, grinning, and the grin is helpless too.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she breathes. Her eyes are wide and very pale, colorless fish-eyes, reflecting light when they flick to the door. The med staff rushes in, their noise almost eating up the next words: “I send sentients to their death every day.”

(When Cassian returns to the command center, still smelling of bacta and metal hands, Viceroy Organa stands at the head of the war table. “Chancellor Mothma has recused herself from duty, citing lack of sleep,” Organa says. “She’s—she regrets the harm her lack of judgment caused,” he adds, glancing at Cassian’s chest and then away.

Cassian is disappointed, for reasons he can’t quite name.)


The first time—

She is thirty-four, and is sure she will die sooner rather than later. But then, she has known that since she stood up in the Senate chambers and called for a vote to remove the usurper snake from his Imperial throne.

(She had been alone, more alone than she had been before or since, and looked into Sheev Palpatine’s eyes. She had thought, I am not afraid. You can hurt me, but you cannot use me, because I am not afraid.

Palpatine had smiled.)

Cassian Andor is twenty-five, and dead. He shows her the holonet notice with a grin, all his teeth bared the way Mon’s noina cat had once left mice on her doorstep. ANDOR, CASSIAN (CONFIRMED DEAD) watches her face as she reads the official Imperial record, which says he was blasted apart by a trooper on Morand.

His skin is smooth and brown, for someone who was supposed to have died with a hole burned through his skull.

“A dangerous rebel has been eliminated,” Mon says dryly, handing the datapad back to him. “Hurrah.”

“Aren’t you proud of me, Senator?”

She’s not, really. She’s somehow annoyed he made it to the grave before she did. (MOTHMA, MON is only LOCATION UNKNOWN.)  “Of course, Captain Andor. It was a successful mission, losses were minimal and we have every hope the intelligence you gathered will lead us to Imperial weapons caches. You have a good deal to be proud of.”

“Not the same thing.”

She glances at his face. He is better than he used to be at keeping it blank. “No.”

“No,” Cassian echoes, a little more softly. 

Something about the way the shadow falls on his face is—

He bridles when she reaches out, though he forces himself back into stillness so quickly she almost misses it. (He is better at that too.) Still, he does not resist when she presses her fingertips just below his jaw, where the stubble softens into throat. Underneath her hand, his pulse beats, fast and strong. “You seem very alive to me, Captain.”

He swallows, her hand moves. She can feel the rumble of his voicebox when he says, “Yes, Senator.”

She withdraws her hand, but he catches her by the wrist, tightly as binders. She wonders if he can feel her pulse, how hard it’s beating against her skin. But he doesn’t say anything, a faintly quizzical look on his face, as though he’s not sure how to proceed. 

She kisses him out of clumsy uncertainty, more than anything. (She skipped the mother, went directly from virginal maiden to sexless crone without stopping. She has practice in defying demagogues, ordering men to die, not to—)

It is a fumbling, cold affair. But afterwards, he rests his cheek against hers, and she rests her palm over the place where her blade went in between his ribs. It is the closest to human contact either of them has come in some time, she thinks.


“What will you do, after?” Mothma asks once. Cassian is gathering up his things, pushing an errant lock of hair behind his ear, and she is studying the way the light slants onto the dust. Neither of them is thinking about the other, but then, they are not supposed to be. (It is easier, if they are looking separate ways.)

“After what?” he asks.

“After the war. What will you do?”

He twitches, and then goes very still. “You seem sure there will be an ‘after’ for me, Senator,” he says lightly, the corner of his mouth curling.

Mon has no answer for that.


She keeps killing him; there’s a war on.

He keeps killing; ditto.

(Who cares what the dead do, in those snatched moments between dying?)


Senator Mon Mothma is forty-one, and sure she will die—sooner, rather than later. But she has known that for nineteen years now; its sting no longer can pierce her. She is a dead woman, she wears her white shroud. Everything else is…

Captain Cassian Andor is thirty-seven, and dead. Truly dead, this time, nothing to reach for and assure herself with, no proof of life.

(She does not think of his pulse, hot and steady under her hand. She does not think of his mouth curling, the way he had said after. She does not think of anything. No true pyromaniac would pity a match burnt up to ash. No soldier cries, firing a blaster.

She hates blasters.)

She personally changes his Alliance file to read ANDOR, CASSIAN (CONFIRMED DEAD).



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