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Possession Of Bong Water Could Get Minnesota Woman 30 Years In Prison

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TIL that you can buy meth bongs on Amazon and also that they are very expensive.

There are a lot of problems with our criminal justice system in this country. One of those problems, at the root of so many others, is that no one with any power ever seems to take the time to ask Does this make any goddamn sense?

Case in point! Jessica Beske of Fargo, Minnesota, is currently facing up to 30 years in prison … for bong water. Bong water. Like, the actual water from a bong. Not marijuana, not methamphetamine, not any actual controlled substance, bong water. Thirty years, in prison, for bong water.

Marijuana, by the way, is entirely legal in Minnesota. Also, as of last year, drug paraphernalia, even drug paraphernalia with drug residue in it, is legal in Minnesota. Apparently it’s just the bong water, in particular, that is a problem.


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Here’s what happened, as per the Minnesota Reformer:

On May 8, the 43-year-old Fargo resident was pulled over for speeding on Highway 59 in Polk County, Minnesota, according to charging documents. Deputies smelled marijuana and searched the car, where they allege they found a bong, a glass jar containing a “crystal substance” and some items of paraphernalia, including pipes.

The residue on the paraphernalia tested positive for methamphetamine, as did the water in the bong and the substance in the glass jar. Deputies further reported that the bong water weighed 8 ounces and, somewhat confusingly, that the crystal substance weighed 13.2 grams “in total with the packaging.”

But 13 grams is a considerable amount of meth, you are saying, because you were not aware until this sentence that the 13.2 grams was almost entirely the glass jar in which the meth was held, the meth residue being so small as to be unmeasurable.

So, basically, there were not enough actual drugs to charge Beske with anything serious, so the cops charged her with the weight of the bong water and the glass jar as if they were all made of straight crystal meth. This takes Beske from the threshold for personal use, which carries a much lower sentence, to the threshold for “distribution,” a felony that could lead to those 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Authorities also seized Beske’s car and $2,400 in cash that she had won at the casino (and for which she had shown the deputies the receipt), permanently, thanks to another state law that allows the police to take and keep any vehicle involved in “intended for distribution or sale” — which, by the way, is a whole ass scam in and of itself.

Would you like to know why this is? It is because, in 2009, a Minnesota State Trooper told the state supreme court that users sometimes save bong water “for future use … either drinking it or shooting it in the veins.”

The court decided 4-3 in favor of categorizing bong water as a “mixture” — defined as a “a preparation, compound, mixture, or substance containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity.” Regardless of purity? Like, what is this? Homeopathy?

Now, this sounds bizarre to me, but I have next-to-no knowledge about meth, so I looked it up and this, according to some meth users on Quora, is actually a thing people do sometimes. Though not often and it’s not exactly recommended.

That being said, we are talking about distribution here. In the history of the world, has anyone ever stood on a street corner selling meth bong water? Again, not a meth expert here, but that seems unwieldy at best. If you’re going to charge someone with “distribution” levels of meth, then you should be able to prove that anyone, in the history of the world, has distributed it in that matter.

The other reason this has happened is because the prosecuting attorney is a complete jackass.

Scott Buhler, the assistant county attorney prosecuting Beske’s case, said, “I will not comment on any pending cases. The criminal complaint filed in Ms. Beske’s case speaks for itself.” He added that his office “simply enforces the laws of this state as written.”

Buhler gained statewide attention in 2014 when the Star Tribune reported he was one of the few attorneys in the state charging people for violating an archaic law requiring them to pay taxes on illicit drugs.

“I simply charge it a lot because it leaves all options available regarding plea bargaining and sentencing,” he said at the time. Lawmakers tried, but ultimately failed, to repeal that tax during this legislative session.

That philosophy may explain why he’s throwing the book at Beske. In addition to first-degree possession, he charged her with a violation of the illicit drug tax law, which carries the potential for seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. She was also charged with refusing a drug test at the time of her arrest.

So now we’re going to keep a woman in prison for, ostensibly, 37 years because of an empty bong in her car and a glass with an unmeasurably small amount of meth in it. Sure! Seems very reasonable. That’s almost the rest of her life. Is that how little this guy thinks of human life? If so, that’s pretty sick.

There’s an old saying: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.


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Beske admits that she has a drug problem, which she said started while she was trying to leave an abusive ex.

“The only thing I’m guilty of is using substances to lessen my mental suffering caused by a sick and abusive predator,” she told the Minnesota Reformer. “Addicts—women especially—are made to feel like public enemy number one, when in fact most of us have been victims of serious crime that will never be prosecuted.”

On the semi-bright-side, in the only other instance I can find of someone in Minnesota being arrested on this charge, the case ended up getting tossed … though this was after he served seven months in prison.

Sending Beske to prison for 37 years is not going to help her, it’s not going to make the world a better place, it’s not going to discourage anyone from doing meth or selling bottles of bong water on the street. It will also likely cost a hell of a lot more than sending her to rehab will.

One of these options is a reasonable option that will potentially save a life, the other is not just a stupid one, but a cruel and unusual one that could take away almost the whole rest of a woman’s life. Can’t we please, for the love of God, be less stupid?

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hannahdraper
16 hours ago
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Would you like to know why this is? It is because, in 2009, a Minnesota State Trooper told the state supreme court that users sometimes save bong water “for future use … either drinking it or shooting it in the veins.”

The court decided 4-3 in favor of categorizing bong water as a “mixture” — defined as a “a preparation, compound, mixture, or substance containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity.” Regardless of purity? Like, what is this? Homeopathy?

Now, this sounds bizarre to me, but I have next-to-no knowledge about meth, so I looked it up and this, according to some meth users on Quora, is actually a thing people do sometimes. Though not often and it’s not exactly recommended.

That being said, we are talking about distribution here. In the history of the world, has anyone ever stood on a street corner selling meth bong water? Again, not a meth expert here, but that seems unwieldy at best. If you’re going to charge someone with “distribution” levels of meth, then you should be able to prove that anyone, in the history of the world, has distributed it in that matter.

The other reason this has happened is because the prosecuting attorney is a complete jackass.
Washington, DC
HarlandCorbin
15 hours ago
The cruelty is the point. That and the state trooper is probably the same type who goes into hysterics if he touches an unknown white powder, thinking he's been fentanyl poisoned.
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This is what the fight is like

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kawuli:

bemusedlybespectacled:

cobragardens:

prismatic-bell:

obliquecompendium:

purpleprincesseater:

brightlotusmoon:

prismatic-bell:

star-anise:

Sooo, apparently the extremely tenuous and recent nature of the LGBTQ+ community’s legal right to exist was not actually super widely known to a lot of people on Tumblr?

Which clarifies some stuff in retrospect. I have so often wanted to grab people by their lapels and shout, “Stop picking on someone for not meeting your entry requirements! We need everyone we can get, you asshole! DON’T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THEY HATE US OUT THERE?”

Aaaapparently… no, they did not know. Or they knew and were a conservative psyop preparing the ground for our loss of legal rights. Fun times!

So: Look, it is bad. Shit is scary. They really do hate us out there. You’re not wrong.

But: This is what we’ve always fought. This boat we’re in with its antique fittings and strange markings on the floor is a battleship. Work has always been going on in the basements, and when shit gets tough, we clear away clutter and roll out the cannons.

I found this chart a couple weeks ago and hung onto it because it felt like the map to my first 25 years on this earth:

[Image description: A graph titled “Same Sex Marriage: Public Polls since 1988.” It is from FiveThirtyEight’s NYT column. It records the percentage of US Americans polled who would say yes or no to legalizing same-sex marriage, from 1988 to 2011.

The two lines begin with roughly 10% saying yes in 1988, and 70% saying no; the two lines gradually draw closer over the years, until by 2011, the percent saying finally dips under 50%, and the group saying yes makes a tentative reach for the majority. End of image description.]

After some great social change has happened, when everyone has admitted that gay marriage is very cute and Pride is a colourful parade, hooray, people like to pretend that it was just natural and inevitable and happened on its own. People just became less prejudiced! Courts just decided on a case! Governments just passed a law!

In reality, it was a vicious fucking fight, every fucking time. Every fucking where. There are a lot of people who deeply, sincerely believe that a hundred years ago, society had good rules about sex and gender and intercourse and marriage, and that changing those rules has made the world worse. They don’t always agree on the specifics, but they can work together far enough to fight anyone with new ideas.

This is why we are a community. Even when we don’t have the same experiences of attraction or identity, even when we don’t do the same things, even when we have wildly different ideas of a good time. Because when these groups take aim, we’re all under fire, and none of us is responsible for why they hate us.

In some ways I think it’s a miracle that there seems to be a generation that did not grow up, as I grew up, constantly glued to news reports about What Percentage of Society Hates Us this month. I can’t imagine who I’d be if my brain and heart and soul hadn’t been tied up, that whole time, in the political question of whether I’d get to dream of a decent future.

I think that it will give us strength to have people who can imagine a world where no one hates us. Who believe in it so strongly they can taste it. That’s my prediction: If you didn’t know this was coming, you’ll be a boon to us, because we have always needed joy so fiercely, in this fight, to keep us going on. We have needed drag queens and punk bands and “her wife” and safe space stickers. Parade floats and wedding days and little dogs with rainbow collars, badges and banners and meetups, because more than anything else we need to fight our own despair, and our fear that the world will never get any better than this.

It will. We know it will. We can taste it.

Look up to the history, organizations, and people who’ve got us this far for information on what forms of activism will actually advance our political goals. Look to the side to make sure the comrades within reach are keeping their heads above water, and that you’re keeping enough joy going to stay alive. Look back to see who’s more vulnerable than you are that you might have forgotten or been tempted to leave behind. Look after each other. Look after yourself.

We can do this.

To your battle stations.

If you are only-just-barely old enough to be on this website, if you JUST turned 13….you still predate, by a few months, the day I got spit on by a member of the Westboro Baptist Church for being in an equality march. Here’s the event. I was 21.

My role in the spitting was standing by a barricade. I wasn’t engaging at all, because we’d already been warned several of the counter-protestors had been attempting to incite riots, so we weren’t even LOOKING at the WBC. And apparently I just happened to be close enough to spit on.

And as a protestor whose future depended on not being arrested several hundred miles from home, I had only one choice. You’d probably like to hear that I beat the shit out of Shirley Phelps-Roper, and trust me, I wish I could tell you the Hollywood version of this story where I did that and everyone went “wow! This person was just standing there and got spit on! Clearly this is a sign bigotry is the wrong choice and we should grant full queer rights RIGHT NOW!” But that would be a lie. So instead I’ll tell you what really happened: with the words “trying to incite a riot” clanging in my head and the specter of jail time as a visibly queer person dancing in my mind, I smiled at her, and said “Jesus loves you, ma’am” and did not wipe her spit away until she was out of sight. I walked about a quarter of a mile with her spit drying on my cheek, to protect the thousands of people around me and the millions for whom we marched.

Less than thirteen years ago. If you’re just old enough to vote, you were probably literally in your kindergarten class when this happened. If you’re just old enough to drink, you were in third grade. A teacher might even have flipped on the TV to let you watch A Historic March, if you happened to be in a place like LA or Maryland (as we used to put on our signs in those days, Maryland, the Marry-Land, because it was the first state where same-sex marriage was legal). Most places certainly not, but perhaps in a few.

The battle never ended. But I want to leave you on a note of hope, not despair. And I want to underline what OP said about needing every person we can get.


I did not cry when Shirley Phelps-Roper spit on me. I didn’t cry when we started reciting the Constitutional right to assembly off the side of a building. I didn’t cry standing outside the White House, wondering if Malia and Sasha were seeing what was happening outside and if so, what their dad would tell them about it, or listening to any of the speeches. But I did cry that day, and thinking about what made me cry is bringing tears to my eyes again now.

It was a straight couple along the side of the protest route. Probably in their 40s or 50s. Black man, white woman, holding a sign they’d made out of a bedsheet.

It said “STAY STRONG 40 YEARS AGO OUR MARRIAGE WAS ILLEGAL TOO WE STAND WITH YOU.”


We’d been instructed under no circumstances whatsoever to leave our groups, because of the whole they-might-incite-a-riot thing and also because it simply wasn’t safe to be alone and confused and visibly queer in a city that wasn’t your own, surrounded by people who said you didn’t have the right to exist. So I couldn’t hug those people. But I waved at them, along with a whole bunch of other protestors, and they waved back at us.

It was a pair of allies who’d faced similar discrimination and hardship who’d made me feel hope. The other queer people around me were amazing, but that couple is the one that stayed in my mind. They represented a world where we could win, because they had won. And I promise you, not a single person around me was suggesting they didn’t belong there. I think we all fell a little in love with them, actually, for accepting the risk and putting themselves out there and finding a way into DC (which is no small feat even when there’s no protest on, DC transportation is horrible) to hold up their bedsheet and tell us they loved us.

If someone says “you have my gun and sword, let me help,” you don’t stop to ask what army they’re from or tell them they’re in the wrong uniform. You shove over a little and you let them get in line, and you ask how many bullets they have.

I’m tired. I don’t have all that much ammunition left. But you’ve got me as long as I can keep shooting.


Let’s go.

You have my spear, my little revolver, my husband’s handguns, my axe, my sword, and my Maryland pride.

Living this close to DC for my whole adult life has been… interesting.

That graph is from 2011, and shows a very slight majority of the population approving of same-sex marriage.

For some perspective, here’s the current graph:

Yes, that’s right, 67% or over 2/3 of the population are on our side now.  25 years ago it was the opposite.

Another interesting tidbit, just for fun:

“People often say that same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 60s. But in terms of public opinion, same-sex marriage now is like interracial marriage in the 90s, when it had already been legal nationwide for 30 years.” –Randall Munroe, XKCD

And before anyone points out that marriage is just a reiteration of heteronormativity, my answer is: yes, and? If this many people object to us doing something that boring, how do you think they feel about us the rest of the time?

We need to hang together.

Nobody is free until everyone is free.

If you think that, then you’re probably quite young, and need to learn a little more about the AIDS pandemic and why we picked marriage as the nail to hang our hat on.


For a more immediate view, I’m going to ask my elder queers to provide some information on trying to see your hospitalized partner or correctly execute their estate. I’m just a little too young for the first-hand view of that.


But I will share this shocking fact I learned during my marching days, and it should explain a lot:


In the United States of America, OVER A THOUSAND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES are granted to married couples, but not to unmarried couples or domestic partnerships.


These range from hospital visitation to paying inheritance tax to how you do your income taxes.


We didn’t pick it to be boring. There are many huge reasons we picked it, and tbh calling it “boring” is a huge disservice to those who died on the steps of the CDC to bring you that right.

I’ve been an adult longer than gay sex has been legal in the U.S. (2003)

I’ve been an adult longer than same-sex marriage has been recognized everywhere in the U.S. (2015)

I’ve been an adult longer than same-sex couples have been able to adopt children in the U.S. (2017)

I didn’t fight in WWII or some shit, I went to HS in the late 90s. The rights LGBTQ people have in the U.S. haven’t even existed 25 years.

The concept of Superwholock is older than both U.S. vs. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell vs. Hodges (2015). An entire fandom craze was born and died before same-sex couples could marry in every state. Dashcon happened before Obergefell.

not to mention, in the horror show of US healthcare, you can usually add a spouse to your insurance but it’s much rarer to be able to add a partner if you’re not married

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hannahdraper
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Washington, DC
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Working together we can defeat socialism

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hannahdraper
21 hours ago
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Bitches in Drag

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Photo: Sofie Vasquez

Over an hour after their promised appearance, the starlets are still not ready for the red carpet, only half-dressed and trailed by a fussing entourage of gay handlers trying to wriggle them into couture. An expectant crowd of even more gay people loiter in the yard, chitchatting among themselves while sporadically craning their necks for a coveted glimpse of the VIPs. Some of these observers have trekked from as far as Ridgewood to be here. Oh, well — at least the weather is superb. Paper Plane cocktails glow tangerine, speckling the summer scene like mini-lanterns.

I am ordering a humble Miller High Life when someone rushes to the bar, announcing a minor emergency: One of the divas has pooped on the floor.

The offender turns out to be a delicate Chihuahua–Italian-greyhound mix named Pearl, one of the pint-size queens competing today in Singers’ 1st Annual Doggy Drag competition. Singers is “a bar but also a commune — a creative tour de force,” according to its herculean events coordinator, Erik Escobar, who has been circling the premises and tapping his phone screen, seeking the whereabouts of no-show bitches. It’s a queer hot spot in Bed-Stuy famous for its fuck-it-we-ball ethos toward events (and for begrudgingly hosting every impromptu gay birthday party in Central Brooklyn). On any given day, you might be surprised by a United Nations simulation or a rolled-up Kevin Carpet waiting to be trampled on; as Escobar informs me, allowing himself a spare minute, he recently found a board covered in pubic hair in Singers’ shed from a performance piece presented there three weeks ago.

Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez

Pride Month is go season. Up next is a lesbian sauna rave and the third edition of the viral Twinks vs. Dolls Olympics, during which fearless contestants from each subgroup suck toes, speed-inhale cigarettes, and wrestle in spaghetti to determine who is the true backbone of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a who’s who of brain-scrambled internet microcelebrities; Blizzy McGuire, the visionary behind “Christian Girl Autumn,” was there last year standing next to shirtless himbos in pink body paint who collectively spelled out GEEP! (This, I learned later, is one of the dolls’ nicknames.)

Fatigue settles into Escobar’s face as he contemplates it all. “I need a vacation,” he says, sighing.

The doggy drag competition is sponsored by Pebot, a queer-owned canine-fashion brand that contributed hound-shaped lawn décor and prizes for the top-three contestants. (Whether the company is pronounced PEE-bot or the sophisticate’s PeBEAU, no one seems to know.) Pebot’s Instagram displays a handy Pride infographic decoding every letter of LGBTQIAP+; for example, L is for lesbian and Labrador retriever, while A is for asexual and Australian shepherd. By that criterion, every pup today occupies the dubious “plus” category. This includes Chappell Ralph, a feather-boa-wrapped chiweenie wearing a tiny sombrero instead of what I imagine should be a cowboy hat, and Bouguior the Cunt, an unusually googly-eyed pug rocking body glitter and, right now, the bottom half of a ruffled, striped bikini.

Bouguior, real name Booger, had been the first pooch to arrive. “Pugs are the clowns of the dog world,” her owner and stylist, Shan, notifies me while detangling the missing bikini top. Shan is a professional clown, the third I’ve encountered in the past two weeks; their repertoire includes impersonating JoJo Siwa. This partially explains why they had the material for a “Britney Spears meets Little Bo-Peep meets Malibu” ensemble just lying around their apartment, including a miniature blonde braided wig with a hot-pink bow.

Whether these references land is up to the afternoon’s hosts and judges, the comedians Kaye Loggins and Spike Einbinder. Einbinder has such perfect credentials for the job that he declined to judge a competing doggy drag event in Chelsea to be at this one. A canine obsessive who held a Westminster Dog Show–themed birthday party as a kid, he now walks dogs for a living despite being pretty allergic. “I understand that I’m gonna get hives and have a little bit of a respiratory event, but nothing can keep me away,” he asserts with unnerving tenderness. A multi-hyphenate, Einbinder is also a drag performer with arcane, of-the-moment personae like Liza Minnelli and the slutty green M&M’s right-wing mother. He taps me later with another résumé item. “Sherita,” he says, referring to the vanished dinosaur-minx thing that once reigned over Atlantic Avenue. “I feel like that will be important for people.”

Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez

Loggins, whose sole pet is a crested gecko named Naner, is mostly here to hang. “I have no credentials to be hosting this,” she boasts to the audience when the festivities finally start a little past 4 p.m. Einbinder warms up the crowd with some customary anti-bisexual snark. “Are there any cat people in the audience?” he yells. “I’m both,” someone replies, to which he snaps, “We don’t need that representation in the audience.” (The much-maligned “bi girl with cishet boyfriend” demo will be represented today by Lady Gaga, who is not here physically but sonically, though we always carry her in our hearts.)

But wait — I’m getting ahead of myself. The first contestant is the aforementioned Pearl (drag name: Pearl Next Door), who brushes off her earlier oopsy and debuts to hoots and hollers in a regal floral-bouquet headpiece and corseted black gown. “You better work, honey!” a supporter cheers. She’s wearing a meticulous re-creation of Zendaya’s Givenchy Met Gala ensemble, designed by her date and spokesperson, Hannah, who’s suited up with a radish brooch like Mike Faist. (Tragically, Josh O’Connor is nowhere to be found.) As Pearl ascends the stage, her long train fluffed out and adjusted, Loggins advances with a microphone.

“Pearl, what is the biggest problem in your generation?” she probes. Pearl sniffs around, perhaps thinking herself above the question. Hannah ventures an answer: “… Not enough off-leash time at parks?” Astounding applause.

Next up is Booger — tongue out, wig on, and cradled by Shan, who reveals that Booger’s favorite things are blueberries and cuddles. Chappell Ralph proves feistier and more controversial given her intense religiosity and taste for Chick-fil-A. (Not sure how the human Chappell Roan would react to that, though I’m sure she’d piss herself laughing watching this event generally.) The contestants are overwhelmingly tiny and overwhelmingly Chihuahuas. A microscopic punk-rock biker named Fettuccine snoozes onstage, my view unfortunately eclipsed by an ill-placed inflatable disco ball. Another pop princess, the tutu-wearing Ballerina Carpenter, scampers away with her pink balloon. When she’s scooped back to place, she licks her genitals.

Could it be? Soaring to the prepubescent squeals of his hit single “Baby” is Justin Bieber, another pug whose real name is Lois. His much larger wife, Tailey Bieber (a.k.a. middle-school teacher Gabe Gordon, a.k.a. drag queen Svetlana Del Rey), has hoisted him up Simba style. Stopping to pose for the paparazzi, she tucks him under her arm like a football. A plastic cone circles Tailey’s honey-colored mane; curls of chest hair peek out from her “God’s Favorite” Praying slip dress. (“Learning how to do makeup was my sourdough-bread-making of quarantine,” Gordon told me earlier.) As per usual, Justin appears to have missed the style memo, lazing in orange basketball shorts and teeny-tiny Converse. In a mortifying faux pas, his mop of brown hair flops to the floor. One of his crew members rushes to refasten it onto his wrinkled head.

No problem. The audience Awwwws as the lovebirds lean to consult each other on Justin’s favorite New York City memory. “Ummm … 11 VMAs?” Tailey chimes.

Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez
Photo: Sofie Vasquez

Just when everyone thinks Tailey and Justin have it in the bag, out comes Dogatella Versace, dropping jaws in that dress, a version of the iconic safety-pin gown Elizabeth Hurley immortalized in 1994. (You can imagine Pop Crave drafting the tweet: “Dogatella stuns in Versace.”) The boxer mix struts audaciously off-leash, her black-rimmed eyes smoldering. (Au naturel eyeliner, of course.) Standing to her side is a towering Prince Charming with her strap slung around his neck like an unbuckled belt — her owner, Patrick, or perhaps arm candy she’d picked up off the street.

“Do you think that humans should be forcibly sterilized like dogs are?” Einbinder inquires.

“Absolutely — for fashion crimes,” Patrick, translating for Dogatella, replies unequivocally while everyone admires her fierce red nails.

All of this provides much to consider. The judges confer, bring out the top-three contestants, then confer again while the audience members sit at the edge of their seats.

At last, they count down to the victor. Pearl receives the Bob Barker Award; Justin and Tailey are handed the Silver Fox — which means the ultimate winner is … DOGATELLA!

The crowd erupts into cheers. Accepting her prize, the high-fashion doyenne licks the mic. Speeches are overrated.

As owners trade congratulations, and audience members sneak forward to pet the stars, the Singers staff, who have been operating regular service inside, return the tables to the yard. Everyone is buzzing. “That was the best show of my life! Dogatella deserves it,” a girl behind me screams to her friend. Unpacking their goody bag of prizes, Dogatella’s owners admit to me that they’re a little surprised by the victory given that they made her costume last minute. Justin Bieber’s Miu Miu–wearing owner attempts a bit of diplomacy but is unable to resist throwing in some (joking) shade: “It’s good for rescues to have their moment.” As the pups return home for belly scratches and treats, the only canine left at Singers is a lone dachshund balloon bobbing idiotically in the wind.

Photo: Sofie Vasquez

Production Credits

Photography by Sofie Vasquez

,

The Cut, Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples

,

The Cut, Photo Director Noelle Lacombe

,

The Cut, Photo Editor Maridelis Morales Rosado

,

The Cut, Deputy Culture Editor Brooke Marine

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hannahdraper
1 day ago
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I love this but have absolutely no idea what half of it means.
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The White House Doesn’t Deserve Chappell Roan

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Photo: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

Chappell Roan is known for skewering her exes by way of pop ballads littered with daggers. But during her Sunday set at Governors Ball, the singer directed the sonic fury often reserved for those who break her heart at a new target. Dressed as Lady Liberty with an exposed backside, a mint-painted Roan addressed the crowd at the annual festival to take the White House to task. “In response to the White House, who asked me to perform for Pride, we want liberty, justice, and freedom for all,” she said, pausing the set to dedicate “My Kink Is Karma” to the current administration. “When you do that, that’s when I’ll come.”

While the impromptu-seeming statement was vague, Roan’s reps confirmed to Variety Monday that the campy pop star had been invited to perform at a White House Pride event — an opportunity that she, through her management, ultimately turned down. (The White House has not yet responded to Variety’s request for comment.) Later in the New York performance, Roan expounded on her political ideology, presumably explaining why she would skip a White House–sponsored event.

“I am in drag of the biggest queen of all. But in case you had forgotten what’s etched on my pretty little toes, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’” Roan said, quoting the poem etched on the Statue of Liberty. “That means freedom in trans rights, that means freedom in women’s rights, and it especially means freedom for all people in oppressed … for all oppressed people in occupied territories.”

Though she immediately launched into the horny anthem “Hot to Go!” after her emotional speech, the message seemed to resonate with festivalgoers, who cheered and screamed in response. Besides, Roan’s right: The Biden administration has the devastation of countless Palestinian lives to answer for before getting to slap its name on a celebration of queer joy. And while not a perfect balm, watching Roan dressed as a copper statue with her ass out pointedly telling the White House to get it together feels healing somehow. All hail the green lady.

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hannahdraper
1 day ago
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To U.S. Cits Arrested Abroad: Help Us Help You, and Read the Country Information Pages

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You may have read about several American tourists who were recently busted in the Turks and Caicos islands for carelessly leaving a few cartridges in their carry-ons. One of them was just released after paying a large fine (rather than jail), and naturally he blames the State Department for his troubles: American arrested in Turks and Caicos says it's unclear if State Dept. was on 'US side' or 'Turks side' 

Here's something that I find perfectly clear. The State Department's first responsibility is to warn and advise travelers, and it does so. But that requires the travelers to read, which is where even the best of intentions can go wrong.
"We went on a vacation. Our biggest concern was making sure the kids had their swimsuits, their puddle jumper, sunscreen," Hagerich said. "It wasn't looking for travel alerts. I didn't believe we were going to an area in place that we would feel unsafe."

That's an expensive lesson learned. In retrospect maybe he should have looked for those travel alerts. There are plenty of them out there, especially the warning here, and most especially the country travel page here, where you will find this warning in large red text:

We urge all travelers going to the Turks and Caicos Islands to carefully check their luggage for stray ammunition or forgotten weapons before departing from the United States. Read the "Local Laws" section and our alert titled "Check Your bags!" below for more information.

If our returning tourist feels underloved by the USG, well, then he ought to have taken the State Department's advice and read up on local laws at his destination. He would have discovered that the Second Amendment does not travel with you to foreign jurisdictions, and maybe even would have checked his bag for loose rounds. That would have been a precaution more important than double checking on the sunscreen.

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hannahdraper
5 days ago
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Washington, DC
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