November 30, 2015 | by Bryne Yancey

Here are some things I recommend.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood, depending on the location, provides sex education, breast and cervical cancer screening, STD testing, birth control including emergency contraception, abortions and other services to women in a safe, nurturing environment and often at little or no cost to the patient. For many low-income individuals, particularly young women of color, it is the only place where they can receive health care without paying an exorbitant amount for it or worse, being forced to seek unsafe care elsewhere. This is a good thing. Many Americans, most of them old, white, male, and “Christian,” would like to have you believe that Planned Parenthood is a scourge on the sanctity of women’s bodies that, through abrasive legislation, intimidating, hateful protests and other unfortunately and societally induced means, they wish to regulate and ultimately control. Politicians, many of them also old, white, male and “Christian,” and seeking to make a name for themselves in the most conservative extremist wing of the Republican party, vote to defund Planned Parenthood as a symbolic statement to their old, white, male, “Christian” constituents, regardless of the fact that by law (which is fucked up in its own right) government money cannot be allocated for abortions.

Even if abortions were the only service Planned Parenthood offered, it would be worth saving. Abortion is legal in the United States. Abortion is legal in the United States. ABORTION IS LEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES!!! No amount of domestic terrorism is going to change that and yes, what happened in Colorado Springs was an act of terrorism, but because the terrorist was an old, white male, he’s labeled by many as a “gunman.” So, just to clarify, based on cable news and by proxy, the thoughts of many Americans, a black guy with (or without!) a gun is a “thug”; a brown guy with (or without!) a gun is a “terrorist”; but a white guy with a gun is just a “gunman.” Glad that’s been cleared up. Throw your goddamn televisions in the dumpster.

Stand with Planned Parenthood, now and forever.

Makeshift Shelters

Good news, bad news time. The bad news is that Washington, D.C.’s Makeshift Shelters broke up earlier this year. The good news is that before they disbanded they released Something So Personal via Broken World Media, an album whose earworm hooks, soaring vocals and eminently memorable lyrics make the entire listening experience as exhilarating as it is bittersweet. For my money there hasn’t been a better opening 1-2 punch on an album in 2015 than “Opposite Directions” and “‘This Song Is Definitely Not About A Boy’.” Something So Personal is available as a name-your-price download from Broken World Media (there are also LPs; buy one).

Chipmunks On 16 Speed

This is the best album of 2015, though. Alvin and the Chipmunks slowed down this much sounds goth as hell and really, it’s the perfect soundtrack for the rapidly approaching cold season, or for just lying on your bedroom floor, staring at the ceiling. Blondie’s “Call Me,” a relatively uptempo new wave punk anthem in its original form, takes a much-needed sinister, almost Danzig-esque turn. Props to Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck for creating and uploading this.

Deleting Social Media Apps On Your Phone

Like most people of my generation, I’m a heavy user of social media. Browser tabs with Tweetdeck and Facebook are constantly in my line of sight no matter what I’m doing, ostensibly for “work” but as these things tend to go, the ratio of “working” to “wasting time reading the same updates over and over again” is rather unfortunately skewed toward the latter.

2015 is almost over and New Year’s Resolutions may mostly be cooked-up bullshit, but one of mine is to spend way, way less time on social media. In a lot of ways, social media has become an unsuitable, unfulfilling replacement for a social life, and distracted me with ephemera when I should be concentrating on writing and creating and living. Perhaps you can relate. These sites can be great tools, and I’ll fully admit that they’re a great way to meet new people with common interests—literally the only people I regularly hang out with here in Philadelphia, I met through twitter—but, this month and in 2016, I have shit to do. Delete the apps on your phone. Close the tabs. Be creative. Live your own life instead of constantly feeling the need to peek into the virtual lives of others. Your brain will eventually thank you.

This Photo of Killer Mike and Bernie Sanders

killermike_berniesanders

It’s probably not difficult to believe that we’re big fans of Bernie Sanders here; for my money he’s by far the best presidential candidate in my lifetime. He’s a compassionate, moraled, principled person, things that elude virtually all other politicians regardless of party affiliation. His ideas only seem radical because he’s the only one with that platform who’s willing to say them out loud. He’s still a long shot for the Democratic nomination, simply because he’s too principled to accept corporate money for his campaign, but even if he doesn’t get the nomination, his candidacy will hopefully just be the beginning of a revolution in American politics, which has badly needed a revolution for decades now. We were and are big fans of Killer Mike too, and this video of Mike introducing Bernie at an Atlanta rally will legitimately move you.

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