that and learn how congress works


Wondering what a call to Congress actually sounds like? We got you.

If you’re on this website (or a human alive today) there’s a really good chance you’re afraid to call your Senator/Representative because you don’t know how the phone call will go. We’re trying to remove some of the mystery around calling your elected representative to show you a few different examples of first time callers leaving a comment with their Congressional office. It’s so easy!

On this call, you see Victoria learning that sometimes you have to call a few different offices to get through. You should also know that if you’re not calling from a big state like New York or California, you’re much less likely to have this problem. Either way, on average even the long calls take less than five minutes. Just make sure you call during standard work hours. Take a bathroom break to make the call if you have to. Promise it won’t take too long.

Read more about how to call your congressional representative here.

Good News and Bad News

Pairing - Jamilton

Word Count - 4151

Prompt - 177. “I’ve got good news and bad news.” with Jamilton

Summary - It’s Thomas’s birthday, so Alex decides to surprise him. It goes about as expected. Fluff ensues.

Tags - @butlinislin, @serkewen12, @daveedish, @mysterywriter36, @crazypurplebananas, @small-stars, @futureauthor45, @itsgarbagecannotgarbagecannot, @iluvnialljameshoran, @spicydice, @darling-danger, @sunriseovertheroomwhereithappens, @getupoffathathang, @hamilton-gaygod, @rainstorms-by-june, @felix–feliciss, @a-random-girl-with-a-random-blog

Alexander looked at the calendar that hung on the kitchen wall and grinned. The date was circled in bright red ink, with “Thomas’s birthday” written in the southerner’s flamboyant cursive scrawl. Of course, Alex knew when Thomas’s birthday was, but the other man still liked seeing it in bright colors on the calendar. He’d even made a countdown at the beginning of the month, like a young child would. Thomas honestly loved his birthday, probably because it meant he’d be the center of attention. It was endearing how excited he got. At least it was to Alex.

But birthdays didn’t keep work away. Thomas was out working with Madison on his latest plan to get a bill through Congress, so Alex decided to come up with a plan of his own. He wanted to surprise Thomas, but how? Sex was too stereotypical, and besides, that was a given on such a special occasion. He couldn’t exactly go out and get Thomas a new book since Monticello had a library to rival any in the rest of the world. New equipment for Thomas’s treasured violin? No. Alex didn’t know enough about it to pick out what Thomas would need, though he had been learning. He furrowed his brow in thought. What could he do? His lover deserved a nice surprise on his birthday since he’d so generously given Alex vintage copies of every single one his favorite books on his last birthday.

Keep reading
“He’s a Charlatan”: How Trump Tricked the White Working Class
Keith Ellison opens up about the health-care debacle, winning over Trump voters, and why millennials are pissed.
By Maya Kosoff

In February, one month after President Donald Trump took office, some 400 Democratic leaders convened in Atlanta to assess the damage and elect a new Democratic National Committee chair—a perhaps unenviable job that includes rebuilding a party in disarray. While establishment candidate Tom Perez won the title, he immediately appointed his more progressive runner-up, Keith Ellison, a populist Minnesota congressman and Muslim who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, to the newly-created role of deputy party chair. A month later, Ellison is leading the charge against Trump’s travel ban, calling on Republicans to collaborate on infrastructure and tax reform, launching a nationwide “Democratic Turnaround Tour” to bring the party’s message to states it lost in 2016, and, among other things, restarting his podcast. We the People covers how working-class Americans affect the economy. The first episode will focus on women in the age of Trump, and includes an interview with NARAL’s Ilyse Hogue.

“If you look at the podcast in general, it really is about how people outside of the millionaire and billionaire classes experience the economy,” Ellison told me. “It really is about dealing with people who are struggling to get a union or right to work. How people’s faith informs their economic outlook. How money informs politics.” Past episodes have touched on working-class issues such as payday loans and prison phone rates. Here, Ellison talks about the recent health-care debacle, how his party can win back women who voted for Trump, and how to get millennials on board with the Democratic message.


Vanity Fair: You had a front-row seat to the G.O.P.’s health-care debacle. After eight years without the White House, is this Republican Congress incapable of governing?

Keith Ellison: It’s hard to see how they’re going to get their act together. People tend to do what they’ve been doing. So will they learn? I don’t know. We’ll see. The question is: will we learn? Will we learn that we have to promote unity, stick together, organize the grass-roots and always, always, always be on the side of the average American working person, male or female? Because women don’t get much attention when we talk about how the economy works. We sort of ignore the fact that women live longer, and therefore depend longer on Social Security, but they don’t get to earn as much because of discrimination. Therefore their pensions and retirement funds are lower. This is something the podcast is really going to focus on. We know that if we can correct this economy and make it fair and equal for men and women, America will be better off.

Vanity Fair: Republicans clearly have a different view, given how the American Health Care Act would have disproportionately raised premiums for women. What’s the strategy for Democrats going forward in terms of health care? Will you oppose Trump or try to work with him?

Keith Ellison: We’re not going to simply obstruct them for political purposes.

(Continue Reading)  

McKirk HP Universe AU. 

Mildly based on Fantastic Beasts, but with only a few references. No real spoilers with regards to the story of Newt & co.

  • Being a wizard in a 1920’s New York is not easy. In fact, all over America, the laws for witches and wizards require you keep your identity hidden from those with no magic; all too afraid it would scare them into starting a war. But Jim Kirk lives in a wizarding community in Brooklyn, and the strong spells protecting the area means he’s not afraid to be discovered. He’s also often incredibly bored. Even at work, as an Auror, most of his job entails chasing after minor lawbreakers. All the while he, himself, actually uses spells in the presence of people without magic. It’s a kind of thrill he looks for, and he never gets caught. 
  • Until one time he does. He walks the streets on fifth avenue, passing Macy’s, and he’s interested in one of those gorgeous suits displayed in the window. There’s no way he has any money for that, be it wizarding money or otherwise. So he takes out his wand, muttering a spell under his breath, and just like that his outfit changes. He’ll definitely get into that gala tonight when he’s dressed like that.
  • “Hey!” Leonard calls out to him, and Jim is startled when he feels someone grabbing his arm, “I saw that - how did you do that?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jim says, frowning at the stranger and trying to be as casual about the situation as possible. “I’m sorry, but I really have to go–” “Hey!” Another voice rings, and Jim sighs when one of the security comes running out of the store, “stop! Thief!” Cursing under his breath, Jim uses apparition to teleport out of the street, but because the stranger is holding on to him, he’s dragged along, too. And as soon as they reappear in a narrow alleyway, Leonard let’s go of him in an instant. “What was that? How did you… where are we?” “Of course,” Jim says, “you’re a nomaj.” “A what?” “No magic. I’m so sorry, you weren’t supposed to see any of that. But don’t worry, okay? You’re not gonna feel a thing,” he says, lifting up his wand to press it against the side of Leonard’s head, but Leonard swats Jim’s hand away. ”Don’t touch me with that thing.”
  • Uhura catches Jim off guard, approaching him and yelling at him for using magic to steal, and then apparate, too. Leonard uses the time Jim is distracted with this woman to sneak away. Jim turns to look at him, and then curses at the empty spot next to him. “Did you at least obliviate him?” Uhura asks, and Jim groans. “I was getting to it!” Jim says. “You better make sure you do it,” Uhura says firmly, “I don’t want to have report this to MACUSA,” she says, and Jim grits his teeth. “Then don’t.”
  • He doesn’t actually find Leonard again that day, and it makes him a little nervous. He’s trained to find wizards, and he’s very good at it, too. How can someone with no magic keep himself hidden so well? So he doesn’t find Leonard, but Leonard finds him instead. Jim got himself stuck in a duel between two dark wizards. He knows his spells pretty well, but he’s not at all prepared for one of the unforgivable curse thrown his way. Jim sinks to the ground, his entire body in so much sudden pain he passes out. He’s in a tiny apartment when he wakes up, lying on a couch with a cup of steaming hot coffee on the saloon table next to him. Sitting up straight, he looks around in confusion. Leonard’s reading a book on the lounge chair nearby, and Jim raises an eyebrow. “You.” “I found you in an alley,” Leonard says, “you were out for almost all night. Are you alright? You look like you got hit by a truck,” he says, and Jim rubs his forehead. “I feel like that happened.” “I’m a doctor,” Leonard explains, “I checked you over, but I found no external wounds.” “No,” Jim says, reaching out for the cup and holding it in his hands, “you wouldn’t have. It was magic.” “Yeah, I figured it was your hocus pocus,” Leonard says. Jim turns to sit comfortably against the back rest of the couch. “You know I’m going to have to remove these things from your memory,” Jim says, and Leonard raises his eyebrows. “That’s not happening.”
  • Leonard asks him so many questions, and he’s genuinely interested, too. Not at all scared and defensive like they always predicted the nomajes would react. Leonard wants to know about the Magical Congress of the US. He holds Jim’s wand in his hands, and nothing happens when he swings it, but Jim shows him how he makes objects float. It’s okay, because he’s going to remove all of this from Leonard’s memory anyway. “So what about a school?” Leonard asks, “where did you learn?” “Ilvermorny,” Jim says, “my house was a Wampus.” “I don’t know what that means,” Leonard says, and Jim grins. “Everyone is sorted in a house, and you compete with your house to be the best at the end of the year. It promotes team work and studying harder,” Jim explains with a smile. “What was this school called again?” Leonard asks, and when Jim repeats it, Leonard just suddenly gets up. Jim is left alone in confusion, until Leonard returns. He sits down next to Jim on the couch, and he holds a letter in his hand. Jim recognizes the logo immediately, and he frowns. “That’s from Ilvermorny!” he says, “how?” “My daughter,” Leonard explains, “I thought it was a prank letter at first, but they keep coming.” “That’s incredible,” Jim says, because really, in this time and age, children of those without magic rarely end up in magic schools. “That means your daughter’s a witch,” he continues. “Kind of like my ex-wife,” Leonard laughs, and Jim doesn’t realize that’s a joke at first, and when he does, he narrows his eyes. “Rude.”
  • But Jim can’t obliviate Leonard anymore. Not now. Not now Leonard has a child who’s going to need the support of an understanding parent. Leonard might not have magic, but him understanding the world a little better would still make such a big difference to a young girl, as opposed to having a parent who’s constantly losing all their memory over a young teenager’s school progress. So instead, when Joanna comes to visit, Jim takes Leonard and Joanna out to the magic shops. They find Joanna a suitable wand, and when Leonard flat out refuses to give her a cat to look after, Jim suggests an owl instead. That way, they can also easily write back and forth. “She doesn’t know how to take care of an owl,” Leonard says, “and neither do I!” “Relax,” Jim says, “you’ll learn.” Jim assists Joanna in buying books, and a cauldron, and Leonard looks increasingly more grateful the more weird stuff they’re buying.
  • “What if she forgot something?” “We’ll send it by owl,” Jim says. “What if she gets bullied for having, y'know, non-magical parents?” “I’m sure she’ll be fine.” “But what if she doesn’t like it? Or gets hurt? I don’t even know where this school is.” “Leonard,” Jim says, turning to face the other man, “she’s going to love it, okay? It’s just like any other school. Joanna’s smart, she could already use the Lumos spell after I showed her.” “Which is illegal, according to your law book,” Leonard points out as they walk home from the train station. “Oh, you really read that? I’m impressed,” Jim laughs, nudging Leonard’s side, “calm down about this, okay? Joanna’s a clever girl, they’ll love her. And I’ll never let anyone take your memory away, I promise.” Leonard huffs. “You’re terrible at your job, then,” he says, and Jim laughs. “Maybe.” 
  • When they arrive at Leonard’s apartment door, Jim slides his hands in his pockets. He doesn’t really have an excuse to hang out at Leonard’s place anymore now that Joanna is off to Ilvermorny. But he’s desperately trying to find an excuse to stick around. “Thank you,” Leonard says, sudden enough to get Jim’s attention. “For what?” “Sticking around. If you hadn’t been there, I don’t think I would’ve let Jo go to that school. I don’t know anything about it, and there are no records of it anywhere, so…” “Don’t worry about it,” Jim says, “and anyway, there’s not a lot I’m not willing to do for a handsome face and a good-hearted doctor.” Leonard laughs, soft, but genuine, and Jim loves the look in his eyes when he does. And so Jim leans in, pressing a quick kiss to Leonard’s lips. Mostly experimental, but it feels surprisingly right. Leonard looks at him in shock, but then he leans in, too. Slower, this time, lasting longer, and Jim’s definitely breathless when he pulls away. “This, for the record,” Leonard says, “is frowned upon in both your world and my own.” Jim laughs, grabbing Leonard’s hand and walking up the steps towards the front door. “It’s fine, Leo.” “Maybe you should obliviate the neighbors just to be sure.” “I’m not going to do that,” Jim replies, “I’m not sure how well it bodes for me that you’re starting to understand so much of my world.” Leonard uses his key to open the door, letting Jim inside first. “With you and Joanna in it, it’s part of my world, too.”
Realistic library/librarian AU prompts, taken from my 5 years' experience as a librarian

You are on your phone in the library which normally wouldn’t be an issue but you’re on the phone ON THE QUIET STUDY FLOOR and I’m going to kick your ass if you don’t take it downstairs

Hi you don’t know me but I’m looking desperately to borrow a private study room so I can write this paper in silence and all the other study rooms are taken with groups working on projects can I please share your study room with you I promise I’ll be quiet

This has been MY cozy study nook for the past three years who the FUCK do you think you are always stealing it when I come here to study

You keep borrowing stacks of bad romance novels and then sticking them in the indoor drop box instead of just handing them to me because you’re too embarrassed to let me see them but you know your name pops up when I check these in right, I already know who you are

You are here with your friends trying to ask me for the titles of your late books but they all embarrassing titles and I’m trying to spare you by telling you that you can check your account in private on your own but you’re insisting that I tell you aloud now

You come in once a week during my shifts to check out art books and smile and lean on the counter to chat me up while I check your items out and for chrissake are you flirting with me or not because I am easily embarrassed and you are very pretty

I don’t know what it is but every time you try to use a library computer something breaks and I, the lone library IT staff member, have to come fix your shit. This happens like every other day, how are you this unlucky

You are waiting in line to check out some books but I am tied up because some jackass is screaming at me over his interlibrary loan, which is not my department and which I have no control over, and we keep exchanging pained looks while he goes on his tirade

You have no idea how library of congress organization works and so you ask for me by name every time you come in to come with you and assist in finding your items; in turn, I’ve learned more about your thesis than I really cared to know, but it’s actually kind of interesting, can we swap emails so I can read it when you’re done?

You see me going around the entire building pushing in all 850 chairs back to their tables before closing and feel sorry for me, so you push in all the chairs on the top floor while I’m working my way up and honestly I could kiss you because I hate chair duty

You ordered pizza to be delivered to the library and that’s fine except you didn’t specify where in the library so now I’m stuck here with an angry pizza delivery man while trying to track you down if only so I can throttle you

You asked for help with typesetting your paper so I went to help you but you’re expecting me to type your entire 10-page paper myself which? No? That’s not my job??

Unfortunately our reference librarian is out for the day and can’t help you find sources, but fortunately I have the library of congress categories memorized so maybe I can go into the stacks with you and help you find the section books on your topic would be in

You accidentally kept a book past its due date and the system automatically charged you an exorbitant replacement fee plus the standard late fee so you brought the book back in tears because you can’t afford a $100+ charge to your account and now I get to look like the asshole as I awkwardly explain to you that it’s a scare fee to get people to turn in books and we don’t actually even charge late fees for books anymore

You are a much less polite person screaming at me to take the minuscule DVD late fee off your account and I might have waived it as a first-time courtesy until you started screaming at me, so look here, I found your membership contract here stating that you’re aware of our late fee policies so have fun with that fine, asshole

You make jokes every time you come in about how nice it must be to get to sit around and read all day and I’ve had such a long-ass day that I’m going to shut that joke down by explaining to you in exacting detail just what the hell I do every day

Some dude in front of you just turned in his stack of weird sex books but instead of walking away like a normal person he’s standing there at the desk as I check them in and obscenely panting and groaning every time I scan one in and actually do you mind if I pause before checking your books out because I need to douse myself in hand sanitizer rn

If I have to break up you two from making out in the stacks one more time you’re both getting banned


It’s not so much that history is happening in the Second Circuit, it’s that Judge Lanvin, writing for the court, has explained “The Law of Fair Use” clearly and comprehensively, whle acknowledging that it can happen even when the use is for commercial purposes. 

If you want to read the whole thing, here’s the case - in sum,  Google’s digital copy of the copyrighted works in question provides a “search function, is a transformative use [and] augments public knowledge [but is not] a substantial substitute for matter protected by the Plaintiffs’s copyright interests in the original works or derivatives of them.”

What’s important for everyone, and particularly relevant for transmedia creatives, fandomers and anyone who’s been inspired by something else and gone on to create a follow-on work? 


While authors are undoubtedly important intended beneficiaries of copyright, the ultimate, primary intended beneficiary is the public, whose access to knowledge copyright seeks to advance by providing rewards for authorship.

[The crucial question re Fair Use is ] how to define the boundary limit of the original author’s exclusive rights in order to best serve the overall objectives of the copyright law to expand public learning while protecting the incentives of authors to create for the public good.

As the US Congress regularly and continually examines changing our copyright laws, these are two things that are very important to keep repeating. 

Since we’ve had discussions here about what “transformative works” actually are, and how they differ from “derivative” works, the Court’s explanation is very handy: "The word “transformative” cannot be taken to literally as a sufficient key to understanding the elements of fair use. It … does not mean that any and all changes to original text will necessarily support a finding of fair use . … Derivative works generally involve transformations in the nature of changes of form. …“

A further frequent topic here has been whether fair use can ever exist when the follow-on user (like Google Books was here) is a commercial entity and/or making a profit with the follow-on work. The court said that while a commercial motivation can weigh against a secondary user, “we see no reason why Google’s overall profit motive should prevail as a reason for denying fair use over a highly convincing transformative purpose.” Whether a follow-on use is commercial or adjacent thereto is less important than the harm the secondary use can cause to the market for, or the value of, the copyrighted work. 

If there is no (actual or potential) harm and the copied material is used for for new, transformative purposes, Fair Use is likely. 

Even where there is a loss of a sale - or even multiple sales - of the copyrighted work that fact “does not suffice to make the copy an  effectively competing substitute that would tilt the weighty fourth factor in favor of the rights holder in the original. There must be a meaningful or significant effect “upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

(Note: if someone can tell me where the Schuyler Sisters pic comes from so we can credit, we’d really appreciate it!)

I was going on about what I’m learning in Copyright class and how you have to have your work registered in order to successfully sue for damages, so Gill got curious and Andrew Hussie did, in fact, register Homestuck in 2013.

Much weirder discovery: When we searched ‘Homestuck’ in the US Copyright Office registry, someone has copyrighted a Homestuck Homebrew rpg character sheet, which seems… dubiously legal. 

Imagine that you go to school

and your school is a gutted building, full of open space on the inside and very few closed off rooms.  There are no separate grade levels or classes.  There are stations scattered throughout the space.

Each station has a teacher (or three), some computers and books and relevant research material, and a task.  You have to finish the task.  There is not grade; it’s a pass/keep trying system.  The teachers are only there to guide you, ask leading questions, provide advice if asked, and break up the few fights that will inevitably happen.  You and your schoolmates have to figure out how to complete the task.  You’ve got all the resources to teach yourself right there.  All you have to do is read them, then apply that knowledge.

Every task requires a variety of skills.  In “Buying A Car,” you learn how to do basic research.  You compare cars to find which fits your needs.  You learn about how to read safety reports and how to recognize bias, how to amalgamate consumer reviews and pick out fact from fiction.  You learn how to barter and inspect.  You learn how to calculate interest rates as you try and secure a loan.

In “Playact A National Congress,” you learn how government works, of course.  But you also learn how to write.  How to write memos, how to write speeches, how to write letters.  How to deliver a speech.  How to persuade people, or avoid being persuaded by faulty logic.  You learn things outside of politics, because your fake congress is trying to pass a bill on environmental rights, so you need to do intensive research into natural sciences so you know how to vote.

There are no walls in this school.  If you need help, you go find it.  The “Roleplay WWII, D&D Style” station needs a new sandtable for their mock battles; they wander over to the “How To Woodwork” station and all the students conspire together to build it.  (And learn more math in the process.)

There are no grades in this school.  You need to complete X list of tasks to graduate.  No one assigns a number to your efforts, they just say “that is a damn fine robot you built, girl.”

There are no schedules at this school.  Want to spend all day learning how to test soil quality for your tomato garden?  Do it.  Is balancing your notional checkbook giving you fits?  Go work on cars for a few hours.  You’ve got years to get through your list at your own pace, and time management is a skill you need to learn, too.

Overwhelmed?  There’s a Quiet Room for you to relax and collect your thoughts.  Stuck on a problem?  There are game stations for you to practice simple problems and get your groove back.  Hungry?  Take your lunch break at your convenience.

Finish all your work years ahead of schedule?  Build your own station/project, or take an internship.  Volunteer.  Help your peers.

I like imagining that school… 

amelias-duckpond  asked:

How can I be a good straight ally?

Be able to stand up for us in your straight peer groups.  That can be uncomfortable at times, but being uncomfortable is a sign you are being a good ally.   Call out anti-TBLGQ bigotry and hate speech in your peer group. If you have the power to hire and employ people, consider hiring TBLGQ people and give them the support they need to thrive in that situation.  Make sure that your circle of friends includes bi, trans and SGL people and include them in the events and outings you plan.

We have come such a long way because of the relationship the community has cultivated, and we have our straight allies to thank. As a trans woman living with HIV, I would like my straight allies to defend us when we are not in the room to defend ourselves, share any employment opportunities with us, be sensitive to our preferred name and pronouns, and respect my privacy by not asking me about what I have done to transition. In the world of HIV, we know from research that the global burden of HIV for transgender women is 49 times higher than general population. Yet, we are still invisible in HIV surveillance data. So the simplest way to support us is to contact your local health department and ask the following questions:
1.    The size of transgender population in your region
2.    The rates of HIV among transgender women and transgender men
3.    How they collect data for those who identify outside the gender binary.

If enough constituents ask and advocate for these vital data, eventually it will become too difficult for them to ignore. Last but not least, tell your representative in Congress that you support H.R. 5373, a bill to enhance LGBT data collection.

Learn, do your best, learn more, and then do better. You do not need anyone’s permission to do social justice work even if you are an ally, or what some of us call, a co-conspirator to a community. It is your responsibility and your privilege to do good works. Always do it with as much integrity as possible. And keep learning and keep doing better.

Why I’m With Her

Hey friends, I have never written about politics before because I am not sure if its my place. It may or may not be, but I’m going to write about it anyways. Since I turned 18 a few months ago, this is the first presidential election that I will be able to vote for. As of now, I am voting for Hillary Clinton and I am about to tell you why.

I want to do this because I feel really strongly about voting for Hillary. There are so many posts about other candidates on this website and the only ones I see about Hillary are making fun of her appearance or social media presence. As Cecily Strong said at the White House Correspondents dinner, “That is not journalism.”

Why am I voting for Hillary when the majority of my generation is feeling the Bern? Well, its because of her experience. She is the most qualified candidate to ever run for office. She gets things done and has proven over and over again that she can work with Republicans. What about Bernie you ask? He wants free education and health care too? Thats true, but Bernie has no plan. When asked questions, he says he’ll tax the 1%, but with a mainly Republican Congress, I have no idea how he will accomplish that. Hillary has a plan. 

She said it herself, she is a progressive who gets things done. I even just learned the other day that she told China in 1995 that women’s rights are human rights, something that was unexpected and extremely risky to do in that country. Hillary has fought for gender equality longer and better than any other candidate. 

Bernie is awesome, I would love to see him run as VP with Hillary or be apart of her team. However, he has little experience. Out of the three bills he passed as Senator of Vermont, two of them were renaming post offices. He’s also very old, and if you look at President Obama, being a president ages you very quickly and I do not think someone of that age can handle the position.

I know a lot of people will disagree, but I also love that Hillary is a woman fighting for everyone. She is not going to let some old men make decisions about my body anymore. Growing up, the only female role models I had were Disney Princesses. I want my future daughter to grow up and see a courageous, qualified and bad ass women like Hillary running one of the most powerful nations in the world.

I believe in Hillary and trust Hillary more than any other candidate. I want to make it clear that you are more than welcomed and encouraged to make YOUR OWN political opinion. Do your research and find out who you believe in. I have done my research and this is my decision.