Self-made martyr

Canadian Broadcasting Company

“Porno Pete” LaBarbera tried several times to goad Canadian authorities to arrest him. They finally did.

Pete LaBarbera, head of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (an organization designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center since 2010, among others), has the colorful nickname “Porno Pete” among gay and liberal bloggers because he is famous for going to churches and showing slide shows of photos he takes at places like the International Mister Leather Conference and similar events of men scantily clad in leather and fetish gear. He makes a big deal in his talks and on his website about how he disguises himself and sneaks in undercover to these events to get these shocking pictures and reveal the hidden truth. Which he then posts all over his organization’s website, includes in all his mailings begging for donations, and displays in those slide shows.

Why that is so hilarious is that the IML conference, the Folsom Street Fair, and the pride events he “sneaks into” are all open to the public. Furthermore, all of those events encourage their members to send in the pictures they themselves take at events to post on their web sites. You can go to the IML website and find links to attendees’ Instagram streams of themselves and their partners in all their naughty gear. In other words, he doesn’t need to go in disguise. He doesn’t need to sneak in. He doesn’t even need to attend in order to get all these shocking pictures. He can just go to a few social media sites and search on a few hashtags to gather all the shocking pictures he wants.

So in addition to being a hate monger (he and his organization continue to quote long-debunked and wholly disproven “research” claiming that all gay people are pedophiles, that being gay is caused by incest, that kids who come out as gay will rape their siblings, et cetera, et cetera) and a sleazeball who leverages prurient imagery to titillate and shock in order to manipulate people into donating to his cause, he’s also a liar. Because he isn’t sneaking into any of these places. He isn’t uncovering things that people are trying to keep hidden.

On Friday he was briefly detained at the Canadian border because the literature he was carrying with him appeared to violate Canada’s hate speech laws. Not surprising, given how hateful his stuff usually is. Eventually they decided to let him and his papers enter the country, but he spent the entire weekend appearing on every rightwing radio show and so forth that he could, talking up how horribly he was treated and how the Canadian policies violated his religious liberty.

He has since escalated, having gone to a university to distribute his literature and spout off his hate. And when he was asked to leave, he refused, then proceeded to kicked up a fuss until the police were called to arrest him. I think he assumed he would be released on his own recognizance right away, just like the Canadian anti-abortion/anti-gay activist who was arrested with him. But he’s been held in custody until he can face a deportation hearing.

Given his long-running history of using lies, titillating imagery, and shocking “facts” to attract attention and donations, one must conclude that this was all on purpose. We know from tax filings of most of the other anti-gay organizations that donations have been plummeting the last several years. Support for gay rights in general and gay marriage in particular has been going up, up, up throughout the country.

We also know he’s done this sort of thing before: picking fights with audience members at the speaking events of gay rights activists, getting removed by police, then going on the rightwing talk circuit to explain how he was abused “merely for stating his religious beliefs.”

He isn’t merely stating his beliefs. Demonizing gay people has been his livelihood for about two decades. For nearly twenty years he has earned his living by doing things like convince evangelical and fundamentalist parents that they must kick their gay kids out or bully them (often leading to suicide), then turn around and use those gay homeless teen death and gay teen suicide statistics to beg for more donations and convince more parents to abuse and reject their children.

And now the money seems to be drying up. So, sitting in a jail cell in a nice, civilized country like Canada is probably a smart move. It will amp up the sympathy from that shrinking rightwing base. It will get him appearances on radio and TV shows where if he doesn’t get paid, he’ll at least get free advertising. It will probably land him some new paid speaking gigs. Donations will take an uptick for a while.

A few nights being held by the mounties in a low security cell is a very small price to pay for that.

Rinse, don’t wash

This is really close…

One of my grandfathers had a coffee mug that was “his” mug. No one else used Grandpa’s mug. It was a yellow mug, but not a really bright yellow. Very similar to the one pictured here.

It was nearly identical in shape to a set of sage green and brown mugs that matched grandma’s everyday plates. That particular shape of stackable coffee mug was very popular when I was a kid. My other grandparents had a set that was very similar in a dark blue—though the bottom, narrow section of the mug was a little taller. And my parents had a set that was a darker, brownish-yellow than grandpa’s, was a gradient of the dark yellow at the top of the mug, becoming dark chocolate brown by the bottom. I remember seeing similar mugs at the homes of many friends.

This set is very similar to my other grandparent’s set, though theirs were all one color, and the blue was a different shade.

But, as I said, Grandpa’s mug was different. It was only for Grandpa to use. No one got yelled at if you used Grandpa’s mug by mistake, it was just someone would say, “You can’t use Grandpa’s cup!” or something. Grandpa would laugh if someone else used it. He’d say something like, “Just tell me you didn’t put it in the dishwasher! Never wash my coffee cup, only rinse it!”

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(A whole lotta) Friday Links!

It’s Friday again! Where does the time go? Here’s a collection of news and other things that struck me as worthy of being shared:


Head of Anglican church: We must discriminate against gays lest someone think we’re gay and bash us. “Yes, because everyone knows that Jesus’ principal message for those confronted with dangerous exposure was to have you “deny” it, preferably three times.”

FBI Smashes Alleged Radical-Right Terror Plot in Texas.

Check out the all-American lunar eclipse on April 15!.

The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene. (Thanks to Chip Unicorn for the link!)

Elizabeth Warren schools Paul Ryan on poverty in 80 seconds.

New method confirms humans and Neandertals interbred.

“Anti-Christian religious bigotry” is apparently what conservatives are now calling LGBTQ rights.

These Are The 10 Biggest Myths In Psychology.

Tramp stamps, racism and “icky” pronouns: 8 new life tips from “Bell Curve” author Charles Murray. Surprise! Surprise! Racist author is bigoted about other things, too.

OP’s woman-haters club swells: Why their hatred is actually getting worse.

The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. The Bank of England’s dose of honesty throws the theoretical basis for austerity out the window.

Atheists are adoptive parents, too! Why agencies must stop discriminating.

German Neo-Nazi Party Rocked by Interracial Porn and Penis Cake Scandals.

Mike Huckabee: Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Not ‘On The Right Side Of The Bible’.

Senate Republicans Block Bill on Equal Pay. But remember, the war on women is a myth!

How the “Gooey Universe” Could Shed Light on the Big Bang.

I Have No Idea How I Ended Up in That Stupid Geocentrism Documentary.

All set for our first comet landing.

Why Stephen Colbert is dangerous — and invaluable.

Noah: the movie and the myth. And the power of stories. (Thanks to Seashellseller for the link!)

Utah Gay Marriage Opponents Drop Debunked Research, Reduce Argument to Gibberish. (Though, let’s be honest: it wasn’t much better than gibberish to begin with)

Homophobe in denial: Why it’s important to call Mike Huckabee the H word.

Ludus Imperatorum. Or, The Latinist Dies Hard.. Game of Thrones’ family’s slogan translated to Latin. (Thanks to Foalie for the link!)

13 Year Old Liza Minnelli sings OVER THE RAINBOW :

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Brendan Velasquez – Things That Go Bump In The Night:

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Karmin – Crash Your Party:

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Explaining that he’s “not homophobic,” but believing marriage should be between one man and one woman is being “on the right side of the Bible.”

I get tired of people telling us that it’s intolerant of us to point out when certain people make bigoted remarks. Especially when they insist that the reason we should not call a bigot a bigot when he or she says such things, is because we’ll never be able to change their mind. As if people who say things such as being gay is “an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle” are open to discussion on the topic.

The folks who quote Leviticus are so deeply mired in superstition and fear of an angry god that logic is just lost on them.

I say superstition instead of faith because the ones that are choosing to fight for the six or so times that English translations of the Bible seem to be talking about same sex sexual activity, but not the dozens of times that Jesus said to love one another, to stand up for the downtrodden, to place compassion over a literal interpretation of the law—those people don’t have faith. They are not engaged in a spiritual journey of discovery in hopes of a deeper understanding of their fellow humans. They want something that justifies their dislike of anything different. They want assurance that they are right, and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong.

Unless they are willing to pull their heads out of the dark place they’ve shoved it, there is no reasoning with them. There is no persuading them. And it’s really not worth our time and energy to try to convince them. Nothing any of us can do or say is going to be able to trump the very simplistic (and limited) notion of god they have enshrined in their head.

This is why I get so tired of people admonishing us with arguments that begin, “You can’t persuade people if you…”

Because folks like Mike Huckabee or Brendan Eich are not persuadable. They have demonstrated that they are not making their decisions based on any semblance of rationality. When Huckabee says that marriage equality opponents are on the right side of the Bible, he’s saying that he rejects logic, science, and even the possibility that any other perspectives are worth consideration. When Eich said that he had nothing to apologize for his participation in an effort to not just ban marriage equality in California, but to literally undo the marriages that had already taken place, that demonstrates that he’s not open to other opinions. When he doesn’t see how giving money to the campaign that went to court after Proposition 8 passed and demanded that judges declare the marriages that had already happened null and void, goes beyond “holding a private opinion,” he proves that he is not using anything a rational person would call logic.

There is nothing private about forcing other people to divorce. And demanding that the courts and state officials undo all those marriages was precisely that: forcible divorce. Forcing other people to end their marriage is not “expressing an opinion.” Forcing children of some of those same sex couples off of one parents’ health insurance (which was another thing that Eich’s money was used to ask the courts to do) is not “expressing a private belief.”

And not being able to see that people would feel hurt by that, and that perhaps some acknowledgement that he contributed to the pain and suffering of a lot of people shows that he isn’t able to see things from another perspective. That means he’s not persuadable.

Not seeing that people would be loathe to trust someone who would do that sort of thing six years ago to make fair and equitable decisions about promoting and compensating his current employees? Not willing to even admit to the possibility that he might owe an apology some of the people who were hurt by the campaign to pass the law and the law itself? He refused to even issue the classic non-apology, “I’m sorry if someone was offended.” He even refused to say something along the lines of, “When I donated, I had no idea that the campaign would go to go and demand this other things.” Instead, he insisted that it was just an opinion, and not anyone else’s business.

Forcing other people to divorce isn’t the business of those other people? Or their friends and family? It isn’t the business of any of your customers or employees who might be members of that community? Really?

Where, in any of that, do you see a person who is willing to be persuaded?

The more things change…


I keep telling people it wasn’t that long ago that opposition to interracial marriage was stronger than the current opposition to same sex marriage.

A common point of contention in discussions of gay rights is whether it is appropriate, logical, or even accurate to compare the struggle for equal rights for gay people with the struggle for racial equality. There are a wide variety of rationalizations given for saying they are not comparable. Rather than pick each of those apart, I’m more concerned with two undeniable ways in which they are similar:

  • The arguments that opponents to gay rights use are identical to arguments that the opponents of racial equality use or have used in the past.
  • The demographics of the people who most adamantly opposed racial equality are nearly the same as those people most opposed to gay rights.

A friend shared the graphic I’ve included above from @HistOpinion on twitter recently, and I was most amused by the people who were shocked to learn two things: as recently as 1970 there were still several states with laws against interracial marriage, and as recently as 1970 a lot of people approved of those laws.

I was alive in 1970, but even more important to this discussion, I was alive in 1967, the year that the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that those laws against interracial marriage were unconstitutional. It is true that I was only in grade school when that ruling came down, but I remember the time clearly. Suddenly, it seemed as if every adult in my life was talking about interracial marriage. None of them—not my parents, not my parents’ friends, not my Sunday School teacher, not my friends’ parents, not the pastor at church, not any of the adults at the monthly church potluck, not my grandparents—bothered to tell me why they were talking about it, but they were all talking about it.

And these are things I heard with my own ears at the time regarding interracial marriage: Read More…

A 70-year nap sounds tempting

We saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier with a bunch of friends Saturday, and it was fun. If you liked the 2011 Captain America movie, or The Avengers you’ll probably like this, as well. I thought it was awesome. I confess I’d been a teeny bit worried because I liked the previous movie a lot, and that one got so much of its appeal from the 1940s setting; I was afraid they’d try to grit Cap up and ruin him. They didn’t. The story has plenty of darkness, but the script and Chris Evans make you believe someone can face that darkness, fight it, and come out with an old-fashioned sense of honor and justice intact.

A major part of Captain America’s story is that he is a man out of his time because survived being frozen for 70 years after crashing that doomsday plane at the end of the first movie to save the world. Lately, I’ve been thinking a 70 year long nap might be a good thing.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to figure out why I’ve been tired all the time. When we were both suffering from the Martian Flu it made perfect sense why we were tired, taking frequent naps, and so on. But it’s been about a month since either of us had symptoms, yet almost every week night since, I have to take at least a short nap after getting home. And at least once a week I conk out for several hours, only to wake up just in time for bed time!

Part of it is that with heavy pollen season underway, I frequently have severe enough hay fever that I’m not sleeping very well at night. But the other thing is just that while we were sick I let my sleep schedule go to whatever it wanted. If left to my own devices, my body likes to stay up until about 3am or 4am, then sleep until noon. It’s just the way my diurnal cycle is wired. I haven’t managed to land a job that lets me work that schedule (and still pay the bills plus give me the sorts of mental challenges to keep me from being bored), so once I finally accepted that this is what the neurochemicals are going to try to do, I realized the rest of my professional life would be a battle to keep the sleep schedule from drifting to default.

This means that I can’t let myself stay up as late as I want on weekends, as tempting as it it. And it also means that about once a week I have to take a melatonin tablet at about 10:30 or 11pm, lay down, and trick my brain into sticking to a sleep schedule compatible with work.

I haven’t done that in months. And I’ve been staying up way to late working on writing projects on the weekends.

So, I need to hammer the neuroreceptors with some melatonin. I’ll probably need to do it a couple of nights in a row to make any progress. Unfortunately, that means I have to both remember to do it, and be awake at the right time in the evening to take the pill. Which I haven’t managed to do since having the realization.

I’d like to stop having these random nap attacks. So I need to get this done.

Never thought I’d be happy to do the taxes

Us, at our reception.

It isn’t primarily about the legal stuff, of course. Except when it is.

The last few years our taxes have been very unpleasant. When Washington state voters approved the “everything-but-marriage” domestic partnership referendum a few years ago, our separate incomes became community property. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act forbade the federal government from recognizing our relationship, except that other parts of the tax code (voted in by the same congress critters who passed DOMA) required that anything which your home state considered community property had to be taxed as jointly owned property.

The upshot was that we had to file extra forms, but none of the forms that existed had places for folks in our situation to list the name or social security number of our partner. The first year that was the case, the IRS didn’t properly inform their own people, so same sex couples in the relevant states who filed early had their returns rejected and received letters threatening fines and penalties.

That got straightened out quickly, but the IRS never put out comprehensive instructions for taxpayers in our situation. Even after three years. Everyone was having to refer to one article from a gay rights lawyer posted on the web that walked you through all the different IRS publications—a few rules from this publication, the form from that, and these instructions from this other one. Yes, even the tax professionals were referring to that site.

It was a mess. And we weren’t even allowed to mail our separate filings in the same envelope.

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Why I hate hay fever reason number 5871, plus 4312 & 3786 & 3113 & 2488 & 2149, and don’t forget number 1364


Except I’m too grumpy to remember to say please.

Because I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo, I had sworn that I wouldn’t post blog updates on the weekend, using all of that time to write. But this morning’s hay fever misery is too overwhelming.

Yesterday wasn’t too bad. I had to take over-the-counter meds in addition to my prescribed allergy pills to keep things to a point where I was mildly uncomfortable all day while hanging out with friends and working on editorial tasks (and later to go with said friends to see the Captain America movie). But about 11:30 or so last night, the headache and itchy eyes got much, much worse. I took some more meds and tried to sleep, but couldn’t get beyond dozing until sometime around 5 in the morning.

I crawled out of bed today, head and eyes still too miserable for words, and just wishing that I could destroy every last plant on the entire frickin’ planet. With fire.

Friday Links!


It’s the first Friday in April! Where does the time go? Here’s a collection of news and other things that struck me as worthy of being shared:

‘Persecuted:’ Christian Conservatism Is Now A Movement Of Querulants.

Mudslide survivors, rescuers tell their stories of tragic day.

PHOTOS: Real Vintage Men In Their Undies Put Others To Shame.

The Meaning of Life Revealed.

The House of Representatives Committee on Science is turning into a national embarrassment. Turning?

Multiverse Controversy Heats Up over Gravitational Waves.

Gene Robinson: Religious Conservatives Aren’t Victims.

10 weirdest things the Christian right thinks will turn your kids gay.

Will Christians condemn persecution of gays?

How The Supreme Court Just Legalized Money Laundering By Rich Campaign Donors.

GOP’s hideous strategy to survive as the “white party”.

Maybe time’s arrow needs ergodicity as well as entropy .

Judges Now Recognize Anti-Gay Marriage Laws Are Irrational. Rational basis is the lowest hurdle, and judges are finally pointing out that these laws can’t even get over that one.

A Groundbreaking Court Ruling Suggests Anti-Gay Job Discrimination Is Already Illegal.

The Myth of Christian Discrimination in the LGBT Rights Movement .

Why Coming Out Is A Question Of Safety, Not Honesty.

Brendan Eich Steps Down as Mozilla CEO.

What a fool am I! I did not post an April Fool’s day joke.

Sweet little girl takes her horse, Cinnamon, for a walk:

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Mister Chase – Wonderful (A Message For The LGBT in Russia):

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Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel Sing “Confrontation” from Les Mis:

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Honey Maid ran a commercial that included families of many kinds. Some people got angry. The company didn’t back down:

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Classixx – “A Stranger Love”:

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Confessions of a technology addict

Just waiting my turn for the microwave.

When our microwave died late in February, it was a bit grumpy-inducing, but it wasn’t really a disaster. A microwave oven is a convenient appliance, and while my first reaction when Michael sent the text message that it seemed to be dead was annoyance, my second thought was that at least it wasn’t an important appliance, like the stove.

That was the thing: the stovetop and oven were still working just fine, and we have a nice toaster oven for those times you don’t want to heat up the entire oven just to cook one small thing, right?

In the three or four days that we didn’t have a functioning microwave, it seemed that I had a hundred moments when I wanted to use it—to heat up some leftovers, or to heat up a cup of coffee I’d let get cold, et cetera. Each time I would get a little more grumpy about not having the option I was used to. But what made me even more grumpy is the knowledge that it was really a minor inconvenience at most (not to mention a first world problem), and I shouldn’t have been letting it get to me like that.

While the latest statistics I can find indicate that an estimated 90% of U.S. households have microwave ovens, when I was growing up my family didn’t own one. For most of my teen years, the estimates are that only between 1% and 5% of households had them. I got by for years as a young adult without a microwave. I remember one time being appalled when I found out a friend who wasn’t that much younger than me had never cooked anything on a stove—because his family had owned a microwave oven for as long as he could remember. He was genuinely afraid to even try to heat up water on a stovetop.

While I had laughed and rolled my eyes back then, it was a little weird to catch myself reacting as if it was a great hardship to get by without a microwave for just a few days.

One of our neighbors had her microwave die this week. I happened by while she was unboxing the new microwave, and we got talking about our experiences. This woman used to run her own catering business, so she is no stranger to cooking, right? But she had the same sort of issues I did. Particularly because she lives alone, since retiring she’s gotten into the habit of doing virtually all of her cooking in the microwave. As she said, it seems a waste to heat up the whole oven for just one potato.

No one wants to become so dependent on something that we’re unable to function for a few days without it. Things happen, and we have to get by. Of course, I did get by. It was not a hardship, just an annoyance.

But while humans are tool-making animals, it’s important to remember that we’re also tool-using animals and social beings. An important part of our species’ survival traits is our ability to share knowledge. We don’t each of us have to re-invent everything. We can use what has been learned and made by others to learn and make new things.

Using technology doesn’t mean we’re helpless, it simply means that we stand on the shoulders of giants. And from there, we do what we can to make the world a better place, so that those who come after us start on our shoulders, and can reach heights we can only imagine.


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