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How to Responsibly Dispose of Kitty Litter

Disposing of kitty litter once it’s past its prime may not be a favorite chore, but it’s a necessary one. Unfortunately, cat?litter?is no joke. The cat?feces?it holds?sometimes carries?a dangerous parasite?called Toxoplasma gondii?that can cause the formation of cysts in the brain. As such, getting rid of it in a responsible manner is super important! Here’s what I recommend:

First, never?flush litter. This practice?has been shown to directly harm?marine life.

Even if the product says it’s flushable, you should absolutely never send it down the drain. That parasite we mentioned earlier sheds active spores that are not eliminated by wastewater treatments. Flushing them simply sends the parasite?out into larger bodies of water where it may be contracted by sea otters who are particularly vulnerable to infection. Just don’t do it!

Second, quit using clay litter and choose a more eco-friendly?biodegradable product.

Nearly all the bentonite clay mined in this country is obtained by an environmentally destructive process called strip mining which involves bulldozing precious natural areas?(and the living things that inhabit it)?to get to mineral deposits underneath. It’s an icky process – one we should never support. Your cat litter just isn’t worth that.

As an alternative, look at one of the many biodegradable options on the market. Here are a few options worth considering:

Grass seed
Pine cobble

If your cat tends to be picky about its litter and switching to a new product sounds risky, try this method: replace one quarter of your cat’s litter with a new litter each week. By the end of the month they’ll have adjusted, no problem!

Third, retool your litter disposal routine.

When it comes to responsibly disposing of kitty litter, you have two primary options: composting or scooping and tossing in?a safe bag. If you can swing it, composting is absolutely the best option out there.

To compost cat waste, you’ll?need to make sure your compost pile heats to more than 145 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure bacteria and pathogens are removed. It’s a bit of extra effort, but?well worth it in the end.

If composting isn’t in the cards,?scoop feces into a biodegradable bag and toss in your curbside garbage with the rest of your household waste. When it’s time to change out your litter entirely, empty the box?in the same fashion then wash with a gentle but effective cleanser like?Castile soap or white vinegar.

Oh, and before you go, be sure to check out this easy-to-keep-up litter box routine. It will make keeping that litter box in check so much simpler!

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How to Responsibly Dispose of Kitty Litter

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Please Tell Us Why These Movie Stars Are Paid Less Than Men

Mother Jones

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In early December, Emmy Rossum became the latest actress to demand the appropriate pay for her work. Rossum, who plays the feisty Fiona Gallagher on the hit Showtime series Shameless, asked for greater compensation than her co-star, William Macy, who has more experience but less screen time on the show. Variety reported that the studio offered Rossum pay equal to Macy’s, but that her team asked for more in order to compensate for her previous seven seasons of lower earnings.

Hollywood’s wage gap can’t compare with the wage gap affecting everyone else, particularly the working class and, to an even greater degree, women of color. But these movie stars show that no woman, regardless of her status, is completely exempt from gender-based disparity in pay. A report released by Forbes earlier this year reviewing Hollywood salaries found that the nation’s top actresses collectively are paid less than half of what their male counterparts earn. Top-earning actress Jennifer Lawrence was paid $46 million from June 2015 to June 2016. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, America’s top-earning actor, was paid $64.5 million. Melissa McCarthy, the runner-up for the top female earner, earned $33 million, compared with Jackie Chan’s $61 million.

Some leading ladies have spoken out about the wage gap and how they handle it. Here’s what they have to say:

Felicity Jones: The female lead for the latest installment in the Star Wars universe negotiated a seven-figure salary for her role in Rogue One. Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn, the male leads in the blockbuster, earned six figures. “I want to be paid fairly for the work I’m doing,” Jones said in an interview with Glamour. “That’s what every single woman around the world wants.”

Robin Wright: During an event called “Insight Dialogues,” billed as a series of conversations with thought leaders and activists hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, Wright said she had recently demanded pay equal to that of co-star Kevin Spacey on the Netflix political drama House of Cards. “I was looking at statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than Frank’s for a period of time,” Wright said. “So I capitalized on that moment. I was like, ‘You better pay me or I’m going to go public,’ and they did.”

Michelle Rodriguez: The Fast and Furious actress told TMZ she gets paid less than her colleagues. “It’s like, ‘Oh damn. Darn my luck. I wish I was born somewhere else or maybe some other way,'” she said. “That’s the world we live in, it’s a patriarchal society.”

Jennifer Lawrence: In an essay for Lenny Letter, Lawrence wrote about her frustration with the wage gap and, not surprisingly, the 26-year-old Hunger Games star did not mince words. “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony,” she wrote. “I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.” Lawrence went on to describe how women have been socialized to not seem “difficult,” and how any hint of such behavior will garner negative responses from male colleagues. As of 2016, Lawrence is the world’s highest-paid actress.

Sharon Stone: Last year, the actress and producer told People that after her 1992 performance in Basic Instinct, she could not get the pay she knew she deserved. “I remember sitting in my kitchen with my manager and just crying and saying I’m not going to work until I get paid,” she said. “I still got paid so much less than any men.” She observed that eliminating the earning disparities has to start with “regular pay, not just for movie stars, but regular pay for regular women in the regular job.”

Rooney Mara: Perhaps best known for her jarring performance as the lead in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Mara told the Guardian about her own experience with the wage gap. “I’ve been in films where I’ve found out my male co-star got paid double what I got paid, and it’s just a reality of the time that we live in,” she said. “To me, it’s frustrating but, at the same time, I’m just grateful to be getting paid at all for what I do.”

Patricia Arquette: The Boyhood actress made headlines last year when she used her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress to speak out against the wage gap. She told Mother Jones that her fight goes far beyond Hollywood—Arquette has gone to the halls of Congress to lobby for the Equal Pay Act. “I don’t want the wage gap to be viewed as this myopic problem, because it’s not,” she said. “It’s in 98 percent of all businesses, and it’s easy for people to dismiss the conversation when they think it’s around white women entertainers. But this is about all women in America.”

Viola Davis: In an interview with Mashable, Viola Davis, who recently won an Emmy for her role on in How to Get Away With Murder, said the wage gap sends the wrong message to young women. “What are you telling your daughter when she grows up?” Davis asked. “‘You’ve got to understand that you’re a girl. You have a vagina, so that’s not as valuable.'” But the barriers are much harder to surmount for women of color. “The struggle for us as women of color is just to be seen the same as our white female counterparts.”

Rose McGowan: Last year, McGowan, best known for her roles in Charmed and Grindhouse, hijacked a bipartisan political gala in DC to take a stand against unequal pay. “And I would say to you: One, get out of my body; two, equal pay for women; three, integrate,” she shouted before storming out. She had not been invited to speak at the event. McGowan had been fired by her agent months earlier after her very public criticism of a casting call for an Adam Sandler film that called for actresses to wear pushup bras.

Gillian Anderson: Twice Anderson was offered less pay than her co-star David Duchoveny on The X-Files—first when the show aired in the ’90s, and again when they revived their roles for a new season in 2015. The second time, Anderson objected and reportedly won out in the end. The two actors were paid the same for the reboot.

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Please Tell Us Why These Movie Stars Are Paid Less Than Men

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20 Female US Presidents, as Imagined by Hollywood

Mother Jones

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If the odds-makers have it right, Hillary Clinton will soon be America’s first female president. But Hollywood, for better or worse, has been imagining women in the Oval Office for more than half a century. Here’s a taste of some scenarios the men of Tinseltown have come up with:

Kisses for My President (1964 movie): Leslie McCloud (Polly Bergen) is elected the first female commander in chief, leaving hubby Thad stuck in traditional first-lady roles—like attending garden parties. (‘Cuz it’s all about the guy.) All is made right again when President McCloud learns she’s pregnant and resigns.

Warner Brothers

Whoops, Apocalypse (1986 movie): Veep Barbara Jacqueline Adams (Loretta Swit) is elevated to the Oval Office after her boss, a former clown trying to prove his mettle, challenges a journalist to hit him in the stomach (fatally, it turns out) with a crowbar.


Mars Attacks! (1996 movie): First daughter Taffy Dale (Natalie Portman) succeeds her dad (Jack Nicholson) as president after cartoonish aliens gleefully kill everyone else in the government.

Chain of Command (2000 movie): Vice President Gloria Valdez’s (María Conchita Alonso) boss is shot and killed in a struggle over the “football.” As his successor, Valdez must face down China in a nuclear exchange.

Commander in Chief (2005-06 TV series): Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis), a Republican congresswoman turned vice president, ignores the dying request of President Teddy Roosevelt Bridges that she step aside to make way for a successor who sees “the same America” as he does.

Contact (1997 movie): In Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel, a female “President Lasker” presides over radio contact with extraterrestrials, but she doesn’t survive Hollywood’s knife: In the 1997 movie version, Lasker is replaced by cleverly edited footage of Bill Clinton.

XIII: The Conspiracy (2008 TV miniseries): President Sally Sheridan is assassinated during a Veterans Day speech—her own brother is behind it. The ill-fated series was canceled after only two episodes.

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016 movie): Elizabeth Lanford (Sela Ward) and most of her cabinet are obliterated by nasty alien invaders. (Film critics are forever traumatized.)

20th Century Fox

Hitler’s Daughter (1990 TV movie): So, it turns out the mother of President Leona Crawford Gordon was impregnated by the Fuhrer, brought to the States by U-boat, and then killed by the Nazis shortly after giving birth to America’s future commander in chief. Got that?

USA Network

Prison Break (TV series, 2004-2009): As vice president, Caroline Reynolds (Patricia Wettig) collaborates with “the Company” to fake her brother’s death. When the shadowy group turns on her, she arranges for the president’s assassination so she can assume control.

20th Century Fox Television

Divergent (2011-13 novel series, 2014 film)
In a society sorted by personality type, President Jeanine Matthews—actress Kate Winslet likens her character to a “female Hitler”—aims to kill factionless Divergents, whom she sees as a threat to her dominion.

Scandal (TV series, 2012-present): Ultraconservative VP Sally Langston (Kate Burton) kills her husband and hides the evidence. Then, after a would-be assassin leaves President Fitzgerald Grant in critical condition, she takes over the White House.

Hail to the Chief (1985 TV series): President Julia Mansfield (Patty Duke) struggles to run the country while keeping tabs on her philandering husband and wild teenagers. The series was canceled after seven episodes. Go figure.

Mafia! (1998 movie): Diane Steen (Christina Applegate) almost achieves world disarmament—but peace is put on the back burner when her mobster ex-boyfriend comes around looking to win her back.

The Simpsons (2000 “Bart to the Future” episode): Lisa Simpson, the “first straight female president,” is elected in 2030—following in the footsteps of Donald Trump and Chastity Bono.

Iron Sky (2012 movie): An unnamed Sarah Palin spoof (Stephanie Paul) sends a black model to the moon as a publicity stunt to get herself reelected—and later leads an attack on a Nazi moon base.

Veep (TV series, 2012-present): Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) starts this HBO comedy series as a perpetually dysfunctional vice president. She moves up during season three, after her boss resigns to care for his mentally ill wife.

Special Report: Journey to Mars (1996 TV movie)
President Elizabeth Richardson’s (Elizabeth Wilson) support of a Mars mission gets her reelected, but the mission is sabotaged. Crisis ensues.

24 (TV series, 2001-10):
Republican President Allison Taylor “has nothing to do with Hillary,” insists actress (and Hillary Clinton doppelganger) Cherry Jones. Nope. America’s first female president in this thriller series is “a combination of Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meier, and John Wayne.”

State of Affairs (TV series, 2014-2015): Before Sen. Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard) becomes America’s first black female president in this widely panned series, her son is killed by terrorists in Kabul.


Homeland (TV series, 2011-present): Sen. Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel of House of Cards) is elected president in the upcoming season of Showtime’s terrorism drama. Co-creator Alex Gansa says she’s basically a composite of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders. Keane “challenges the norms,” Homeland star Claire Danes noted in a live appearance, and “is a little scary for that reason.” You’ll catch some glimpses of her in the trailer.

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20 Female US Presidents, as Imagined by Hollywood

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Big Sale in Progress on Trump Gold Executive Membership Cards!

Mother Jones

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As near as I can tell, pretty much everyone in America is on Donald Trump’s email list. But just in case you’re not one of the lucky ones, I thought I’d bring to your attention that Trump is having a big sale on Gold Executive Membership Cards:

During the past year, we have given them to especially generous and loyal patriots who can be trusted to guide our campaign and support us all the way through Election Day. So I want you to carry your own Donald J. Trump Gold Executive Membership Card.

….Only supporters who have donated $100 or more are carrying these Executive Membership Cards. But Kevin, I know you can bring a lot to our team, so if you’ll donate just $35, I will make sure you get your own personalized Gold Executive Membership Card.

You can keep it in your wallet right next to your Trump Decoder Ring (everything decodes to “the media is against me”).

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Big Sale in Progress on Trump Gold Executive Membership Cards!

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Listen to Donald Trump’s Pathetic Fakery on ISIS

Mother Jones

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A few days ago I was griping about armchair generals who demand that we get “serious” about ISIS but don’t have the guts to endorse the one thing that would truly do that: lots of American ground troops in Iraq and Syria. Tonight on 60 Minutes we got to watch Donald Trump peddle this flimflam:

This is pathetic. Trump acts like he’s back in the Celebrity Apprentice boardroom playacting a tough guy for the cameras. He declares that he will get “unbelievable intelligence”; he will “get rid of ISIS big league”; and he will “wipe them out.” But when Lesley Stahl repeatedly asks him about ground troops, he repeatedly says this isn’t in the cards. Maybe NATO will do it. Maybe other Arab countries will do it. Maybe troops will magically appear from a genie’s bottle. Even though Trump claims that we’re at war and President Obama is too weak and stupid to get it, in the end he basically endorses what Obama is doing right now. Like all the other armchair generals, he doesn’t have the backbone to risk taking an unpopular stand, even if it’s the only thing that would actually make a significant difference.

And when he’s done with this empty blather, what does Mike Pence say? “This is the kind of leadership America needs.” Heaven help us.

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Listen to Donald Trump’s Pathetic Fakery on ISIS

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The Surprising Gaps in HIV Care for Louisiana Prisoners

Mother Jones

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With the highest diagnosis rate of any state, Louisiana is a hotbed for new HIV cases, and the groups at greatest risk of infection are the same as those most likely to be imprisoned in the state’s sprawling corrections system: people who inject drugs, sex workers, the poor and racial minorities. But a new report from Human Rights Watch found that for some HIV-positive Louisiana prisoners, medical care is delayed or non-existent, depending on the facility where they are housed.

Louisiana’s nine state-level prisons operate testing programs and transfer inmates to HIV case management resources when they are released. However, only a handful of the state’s 104 parish jails conduct regular testing, with some HIV-positive inmates experiencing treatment that is “delayed, interrupted, and in some cases denied altogether,” according to the report.

That’s significant because more than 40 percent of Louisiana’s incarcerated population is housed in parish jails—including 16,877 convicted offenders and a whopping 12,602 pre-trial detainees at the end of last year. Officials in the Louisiana Department of Corrections told Human Rights Watch that all HIV-positive inmates are transferred from parish jails to states prisons. Yet, Human Rights Watch researchers found that jail inmates don’t get HIV care in state prisons unless the inmates already know their status and choose to disclose it, or until they develop symptoms.

What’s more, in some cases, when inmates did disclose their status, some still did not receive testing or medication unless a friend or family member could bring their pills into the jail. Although the East Baton Rouge Correctional Center has a large medical staff, it does not test new arrivals, the jail’s director of medical services Linda Otteson told researchers. “We cannot afford to treat them if they are positive,” Otteson said.

The result? Parish jail inmates can go weeks or months without treatment, potentially resulting in higher viral loads, increased resistance to medication, and a greater likelihood of infecting others, according to the report.


The Surprising Gaps in HIV Care for Louisiana Prisoners

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Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity Is Costing It Millions. Here’s Why.

Mother Jones

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The movie industry’s glaring whiteness may be costing Hollywood millions of dollars. A new report from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, found that films with more diverse casts have higher global box-office sales and a better return on investment than their less-diverse counterparts.

The researchers examined 163 films released in 2014, and found that the films with truly diverse casts (there were only eight) also had the highest median global revenues and returns on investment. The median film among the 55 with mostly lily-white casts grossed less than half as much—and barely broke even:

This isn’t happenstance. The diverse films did better because they attracted diverse audiences. Using data from RenTrak—a company that surveys moviegoers—the Bunche Center estimated that nonwhite audiences accounted for 58 percent of ticket sales for the eight most diverse films, and nearly half of all movie tickets sold in the United States. More than a quarter of the total tickets were bought by people of Hispanic origin.

Diversity is good for domestic TV ratings, too, the study found. The most-watched broadcast TV shows—not just in minority households, but also within one of the most coveted age demographics—had majority nonwhite casts. Even the most-watched shows in white households had casts that were 41 to 50 percent nonwhite. And since people of color make up 38 percent of the population, the study points out, it stands to reason that shows reflective of that fact would perform better.

Hollywood, alas, have yet to embrace this reality. For another recent study, researchers at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism analyzed 109 films from 2014 along with 305 broadcast, cable, and digital (Amazon, Netflix, etc.) TV series across 31 networks from the 2014-15 season. Only 28 percent of all the speaking roles, they found, went to people of color. And then there’s this:

The studios, in short, are leaving a ton of money on the table. “The conventional wisdom has been, you can’t have a film with a minority lead because it’s not going to travel well overseas—and films make most of their money overseas,” says Darnell Hunt, director of the Bunche Center. “What our study is suggesting is that that logic is false.” The same goes for TV, he says: “People want to see themselves reflected in media. You relate better to characters who kind of look like you, who have experiences that resonate with your own.”

The Bunche Center calculated that just 17 percent of broadcast TV shows in the 2013-14 season roughly mirrored America’s population (31 to 40 percent nonwhite). Hunt points to shows like Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder—both created by Shonda Rhimes, who is black—as examples of shows that perform well in part because their casts are diverse. “You have a little bit of something for everybody,” Hunt explains. “And over the long haul, you’re going to make a lot more money if you do that, as opposed to where there may be one token person of color and you’re hoping that’s going to be enough to get the rest of the audience interested.”

So why does Hollywood keep using the same old formula? The biggest reason, Hunt says, is that the creative pipeline is dominated by white guys: “They’re making projects they know how to make, projects that they think are good, with people whom they’re familiar with and whom they think will sell, and so we tend to get more of the same year in, year out—the same types of leads, the same types of stories.”

There’s another behind-the scenes-culprit, too, Hunt notes:

The talent agencies (the “gatekeepers,” Hunt calls them) pitch most of the projects to the networks and film studios—complete with writers, directors, and leads. The top three—Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor, and United Talent Agency—represented a majority of the credited writers, directors, and actors on 2014 film projects. They also repped the majority of broadcast TV show creators and lead actors for the 2013-2014 season. But minorities make up only around 2 percent of the credited show creators on their rosters, and 6 percent of the credited lead actors. Which means the deal makers have few minority clients to pitch.

Why are the talent rosters so white? Maybe because the agents are. According to the Bunche Center, the agents of the Big Three were 90 percent Caucasian and 68 percent male—hello Ari Gold! The agency partners—who develop business strategy and share in the profits—are amost entirely white and 71 percent male. This lack of diversity, unwittingly or not, dictates the kinds of stories that end up in production, and who we see on the screen. “The question is, how many people of color are involved in the earliest stages?” Hunt says.

The makers of at least one would-be blockbuster hope to break the old mold. We recently talked with the scriptwriter of Marvel’s Black Panther, the forthcoming film about an African superhero, about that studio’s efforts to get more diversity in the pipeline.

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Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity Is Costing It Millions. Here’s Why.

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Clinton Beats Sanders, 50-50

Mother Jones

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I’m not much of a horse-race guy, but it sure seems like the horse race is now key to the future of the Democratic primaries. The problem for Bernie Sanders is that he has an obvious structural disadvantage—superdelegates are almost 100 percent Clinton supporters—as well as a problem in the states following New Hampshire. So he needs to follow up his good showing in Iowa with electrifying results in New Hampshire.

But he can’t. He started opening up a big lead in New Hampshire at the beginning of January, and the polls now have him 20 points ahead. To generate any serious shock waves he’d have to win by 30 or 40 points, and that’s just not in the cards. Obviously anything can happen, but at this point it looks like Sanders wins in New Hampshire; it’s entirely expected and ho hum; and Clinton then marches implacably on to the nomination. It’s hard for me to see a likely scenario in which anything different happens.

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Clinton Beats Sanders, 50-50

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Gillian Anderson Reveals the Hardest Part of the "X-Files" Reboot

Mother Jones

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When it comes down to it, actress Gillian Anderson is way more Gibson than Scully.

Or at least Stella Gibson, the no-nonsense detective she portrays on BBC’s The Fall (Dana Scully needs no such introduction), is the character Anderson likes best. In the decade-plus since The X-Files wrapped up its nine-season, two-movie run, the British-American actress and mum of three has moved on to roles that are more complex and fulfilling than the maddeningly skeptical FBI agent who made Anderson a household name.

Now, of course, she’s returning for the six-episode X-Files reprise that kicks off January 27 on Fox. Although the premiere was widely panned, TV critics promise it gets better: Many are raving about the third episode, which was written by fan favorite Darin Morgan and includes a role for X-Files superfan and Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani.

Once Anderson’s initial tenure as Scully concluded, she moved back to London and did a play in order to “take a breath…It was important for me to remove myself from the intensity of the business as I had experienced it during the show,” she says.

That break was short lived. The British-American actress has been busy ever since, co-starring in dark TV dramas such as The Fall and Hannibal and pursuing numerous other screen and stage projects—if you’re lucky, you can still score tickets for her upcoming stint as Blanch DuBois opposite Ben Foster’s Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Anderson also has a role in War and Peace, a new BBC miniseries based on the epic novel, which premiered in the United States on January 18. And while most all of Anderson’s work is pretty great, this interviewer, at least, is overwhelmed with nostalgia for Scully’s signature eye roll. Watch the trailer, and then we’ll talk.

Mother Jones: So, how did you react when you were approached to do The X-Files again?

Gillian Anderson: My initial reaction wasn’t very positive because my experience of doing it before was doing 24 episodes a year! That’s just not feasible with three kids and other commitments. When it appeared that Fox would be willing to do a smaller amount of episodes, I suddenly had a bit more interest in having the conversation.

MJ: Was it difficult to play Scully again after all this time?

GA: It was natural to a certain degree, in that it’s a little like getting on a bicycle. But because it’s been so long, and because I’ve tried really hard to get as far away from her as possible in the other roles I’ve been playing, she was a bit further away than I had expected.

MJ: How has Scully changed since we last saw her?

GA: She hasn’t really changed that much. They’re no longer on the X-files, so she’s not an active FBI agent. She’s working as a surgeon, and her day-to-day life is pretty simple. She’s refocused.

MJ: What’s your favorite X-Files episode ever?

GA: “Bad Blood,” one of our comedic episodes. It’s been my favorite for a long time. I find it funny. It’s a very effective premise to have the two agents just about on trial for what may or may not be the death of somebody, and they have very different takes on what transpired. The nature of the different perceptions are quite extreme and show a lot about Mulder and Scully’s internal thinking.

MJ: I’ve always been struck by how your character paved the way for more diverse portrayals of women in sci-fi.

GA: It was a groundbreaking role for women, period. When The X-Files launched, there wasn’t anything else that was sci-fi on television and barely anything on film. So it not only was the first for a female character like that in sci-fi; it was the first female character like that on TV.

MJ: How did your preparation for playing Stella Gibson on The Fall compare with your prep for Scully? I mean, both are investigators, but they’re totally different.

GA: Scully—I don’t know how much proper research I did back then. I didn’t really have time. I got the job on a Thursday and we started shooting the following Monday. At some point, Fox arranged for us to go to the FBI and talk to a couple of agents. I did a lot more work for Stella Gibson to understand the nature of the troubles in Northern Ireland and the British occupation, the police presence in Northern Ireland and the impact that had on the ground, and also what it meant to be detective superintendent.

MJ: I love that The Fall highlights how sexually empowered women are judged by men, even as the male lead is a sexually motivated serial killer.

GA: I felt like I had never read a character like Stella before. There was something extremely enigmatic about her. She’s still a mystery to me, and that’s very unusual. Usually so much information is revealed about characters. But the lack of information matches who she is. It’s a sly way for the writer to lead people on. She continues to be compelling and interesting, even though we don’t know very much about her.

MJ: Do you prefer playing her to playing Scully?

GA: Yeah. She’s probably my favorite character I’ve ever played. I feel compelled by her in a different way. I don’t know how much of that is because I played Scully for such a long time that I appreciate the change of scene. I feel like I identify with Stella more, and I am more curious about where she’s headed.

MJ: She’s complicated, and not hesitant to tell people to fuck off. It’s refreshing to see that in a female TV character.

GA: Yep. Well, I don’t know if we need more women out there to say, “Fuck off!” But television isn’t the issue. There are a lot of female characters on TV who are intelligent, and a good enough portion of them aren’t all about the date and the car and the plastic surgery. It’s in film that it’s lacking! It would be great to see more women in a wider range of characters—and better populated in film.

MJ: It seems like that problem stems from a dearth of female directors and writers.

GA: I think there’s a lot of them out there—I just don’t think their material gets made. Studios don’t believe they’ll have an audience if women make it. A lot of female directors can’t pay somebody to hire them.

MJ: Would you say that situation is slowly improving?

GA: Laughs. I think it’s stagnant, in a big way. That’s what makes the change difficult. The numbers are astounding.

MJ: Vis-a-vis your upcoming role as Blanche DuBois, what’s the biggest difference for you between stage acting and your work on camera?

GA: You’re doing the same thing over and over onstage, so one of the biggest challenges—aside from being live in front of an audience—is keeping it fresh and new every night.

MJ: What do you like about playing Blanche?

GA: She’s one of the most extraordinary and complicated characters ever written. Tennessee Williams is extraordinary—playwright, poet, writer of letters. He was a brilliant man who had a tragic life experience, and his experience dramatically affects the pieces that he created. Blanche got all of his pain. In the South, where the play is set, you don’t show your pain—especially back then. Women are meant to behave in the world, and she’s a victim of that time. I find her an extremely moving and challenging character.

MJ: Tell me about War and Peace.

GA: This adaptation was done by Andrew Davies House of Cards, a British writer who has a talent in adapting large novels to screenplays. This is probably one of his best works. It’s directed by Tom Harper, and it’s a massive, massive accomplishment: It’s so beautiful and rich, you really feel like you’re in Russia—even though everyone is speaking with a British accent. Laughs. It’s very detailed in the relationships between these families, which was so integral to the story and the history of Russia. It’s got some of the most moving war scenes I’ve ever seen. You really get to care about the characters that are in this story, and that’s quite rare, I think. You have the intimacy of the relationships to invest in. People seems to be liking it in the UK and I hope they like it over here.

Originally posted here: 

Gillian Anderson Reveals the Hardest Part of the "X-Files" Reboot

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Fabulous New Blood Test Technology Not Quite as Fabulous as Advertised

Mother Jones

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Last year, when I was getting my blood drawn with dismaying frequency, I sang the praises of Elizabeth Holmes, a young billionaire who founded a company that promises to perform lab tests with only as much blood as you get from a finger prick. That sounded great.

My blood tests have gotten much less frequent these days, and I’ve mostly gotten over my needle phobia anyway,1 so I haven’t paid much attention to Theranos, the Silicon Valley darling Holmes founded. But this morning, John Carreyrou of the Wall Street Journal reported that Theranos was basically a house of cards. It actually does very little testing using its “Edison” finger-prick technology, and has had trouble getting FDA approval for its tests due to questions about the accuracy of its results.

Tonight, Carreyrou reports that things are even worse than that:

Under pressure from regulators, laboratory firm Theranos Inc. has stopped collecting tiny vials of blood drawn from finger pricks for all but one of its tests….That test detects herpes and was cleared by the FDA in July.

….Theranos has since nearly stopped using the lab instrument, named Edison after the prolific inventor, according to the person familiar with the situation. By the time of the FDA inspection, the company was doing blood tests almost exclusively on traditional lab instruments purchased from diagnostic-equipment makers such as Siemens AG , the person says.

….Most of Theranos’s blood-drawing sites, which it calls “wellness centers,” are located inside Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. drugstores….A blood-drawing technician at a Walgreens in the Phoenix area, reached by phone late Thursday, said Theranos had “temporarily suspended” finger-prick draws and was only drawing blood from patients’ arms with needles at that store.

That doesn’t sound very promising. I have a feeling that Elizabeth Holmes might not make the Forbes list of billionaires next year. She might be lucky if Theranos even still exists.

1So far, the upsides of my chemotherapy have been (1) better hair, (2) weight loss2, (3) less dread of blood draws, (4) forbidden to clean the litter box,3 and (5) the purchase of a powered bed, which is really cool.

2Though, sadly, I’ve gained most it back.

3Though, sadly, I’ve since been given permission to do this again.

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Fabulous New Blood Test Technology Not Quite as Fabulous as Advertised

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