Marriage Equality is a larger part of U.S. history than the confederacy

I was looking at various news sites and suddenly struck with the fact that as of this week, Marriage Equality, also known as Same-Sex Marriage had been the law of the land for 75 months, which was 50% longer than the total existence of the Confederate States of America, so all of those bigots who keep waving the Confederate flag are promoting something that has existed as at most two-thirds of the existence of Same-sex Marriage…


We needed a new meme, and I made one.

PLEASE… please, please: retweet, reblog whatever!

I am so f-ing tired of all of the confederacy/white supremacist/pro-trump/related racist posts. Can we please start a counter narrative???

Not a Weekend Update: the 20th Anniversary of a Turning Point

My 9/11 story isn’t very interesting. I was awakened, like most mornings at the time, by the clock-radio turning on to the local NPR station.

It turned on one minute after the first tower collapsed, because while that happened at 9:59am in New York, it was only 6:59am on the west coast. I hurried out of bed and headed downstairs to turn on the TV.

After watching that news for a bit and waking up my husband to tell him what was going on, I had to get ready for work, catch my bus, and try to get through a work day. It was obviously not a productive work day for virtually anyone in the country.

In the years since, I have always like to re-read this account:

Joe Jervis: My September 11th Short Story

Friday Five (smothering justice edition)

We have arrived at the second Friday in September. September, that most blesséd of months, when superior people are born.

We had to turn the a/c back on in the house this week. Workwise, the Monday holiday meant that some co-workers and customers decided to squeeze about fifteen days worth of urgency and lamentations into the first couple of work days. I’m glad I have to burn off a couple more vacation days this month, just sayin’.

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: two stories that need a special category, plus the top five stories of the week, and five stories of interest to queers and our allies (plus a notable obituary).

This Week in the Destruction of Democracy:

Senior Republican demonised by Trump reveals what’s behind GOP election suppression laws: ‘They got scared’

‘They don’t give a sh-t’: Seth Meyers slams Supreme Court for allowing Texas abortion ban – Meyers pointed out how the "odious" and "contentious" ruling was made by a Supreme Court that has three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump

Stories of the Week:

Biden announces sweeping new vaccine mandates for businesses, federal workers

Howard Stern ROASTS Anti-Vax Radio Hosts Who Died, Says Make Vaccine Mandatory: ‘Fck Them, Fck Their Freedom’

The top 1 percent are evading $163 billion a year in taxes, the Treasury finds

Two new Asian giant hornet sightings confirmed in Whatcom County – The new sightings were in the same general area the WSDA found Asian giant hornet nests in 2020 and 2021

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION SUES OVER BARBARIC TEXAS ABORTION LAW THAT WOULD FORCE A 12-YEAR-OLD TO HAVE HER RAPIST’S CHILD – The Justice Department argues that the law is “clearly” unconstitutional and sets a dangerous, chilling precedent

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Opinion: My journey from anti-gay activist to LGBTQ ally – The truth is, my religious freedom does not give me the right to discriminate against my fellow Americans. Today, I support nondiscrimination protections because of my faith

Catholic schools can’t fire teachers for being gay, federal court rules – The Catholic church said that the First Amendment gives it the right to fire LGBTQ teachers, but a federal judge has said that’s a bunch of hooey

Author Shon Faye on the agonising struggles affecting trans lives more than anti-trans feminists

Gay teacher forced to quit after school banned him from discussing his sexuality

Students stage defiant walkout after teacher reprimanded for coming out as bisexual

In Memoriam:

Carl Bean, singer, clergyman and queer rights activist, dead at 77

Friday Five (be like Dolly edition)

We have arrived at the first Friday in September. September, that most blesséd of months, when superior people are born.

I’ve had a low grade fever and weird mostly-cold symptoms for most of this week. I seem to be getting better, so I’m hoping it’s just a minor virus.

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: one story that made me cry, plus the top five stories of the week, five stories about the weather, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, and five stories about deplorable people, and five stories about the graveyard of empires (plue a notable obituary).

This Week in Stories That Made Me Cry:

I’m a White Cisgendered Straight Woman. ‘Pose’ Gave Me My History "I’m the daughter of a mom who came out and lost custody of me in 1979, the sister of a man who died of AIDS in 1990… How is it possible to live through your own history and only comprehend it 35 years later when you recognize it in a TV show?"

Stories of the Week:

Virginia Supreme Court Admits It’s 2021 – Turns out current-day Confederates cannot force "the Commonwealth to express, in perpetuity, a message with which it now disagrees." The Robert E. Lee statue comes down.

Afghanistan: 3 Unlearned Lessons – Why does America keep making the same mistakes over and over?

The Obscene Hypocrisy of Republicans Blaming Everyone But Themselves: The COVID Edition – They spent so much time owning the libs, they forgot to care about the lives of their constituents

Prosecutors say Jan. 6 rioters committed roughly 1,000 assaults on federal officers

John Roberts has lost control of the Supreme Court

This Week in Weather:

Weather disasters are getting worse worldwide, report says. But the good news is they aren’t as deadly

Scenes From Hurricane Ida’s Devastation in Louisiana – Hurricane Ida toppled trees and power lines and flooded homes in Louisiana before making its way inland. Eric Alvarez reports from Houma and talks to residents who are doing their best to rebuild

Millions in Louisiana still without power after Ida

Hurricane Ida’s remnants pound Northeast, killing at least 43

Hurricane Larry forecast to be a Category 4 with top winds reaching 140 mph

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Missouri says it pulled LGBT exhibit for bypassing state board that seldom reviews exhibits

Challenge to Washington’s law banning conversion therapy rejected in court – State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said it’s a "win for LGBTQ+ civil rights."

Washington man convicted of hate crime in transgender teen’s murder

Carl Nassib is now the first out NFL player signed to a regular season roster – Carl Nassib will break ground later this month as the first gay person to play in a regular season NFL game

These Portraits of (Literal) Gay Daddies Will Brighten Your Day – Bart Heynen’s book ‘Dads’ sheds light on gay dads and their families

This Week in Haters, Deplorables, and Seditious Traitors:

Democrats To Probe Secretive ‘Shadow Docket’ Following Supreme Court Texas Abortion Ruling

New policy for school district after Venice chiropractor signs 500+ mask exemptions Sarasota students

McCarthy faces ethics complaint after saying GOP ‘will not forget’ if firms hand records to Jan. 6 panel

[QAnon Adherent Must Return to Jail Ahead of Jan. 6 Trial Because He Watched MyPillow CEO’s Symposium Online](QAnon Adherent Must Return to Jail Ahead of Jan. 6 Trial Because He Watched MyPillow CEO’s Symposium Online](

Republican Demands ‘Documentation’ On School Mask Mandates. OOPS – Republican Tony McCombie filed a FOIA request for "feedback" on Illinois’ school mask mandate. Governor JB Pritzker responded with 870 thank you notes from relieved parents

This Week in the Graveyard of Empires:

Biden Deserves Credit, Not Blame, for Afghanistan – Americans should feel proud of what the U.S. government and military have accomplished in these past two weeks

Anti-Taliban Forces: U.S. ‘Won’t Have an Ally’ in Afghanistan to Fight Terrorism if We Losev

The Taliban Won Afghanistan’s Civil War. But Will it Win the Peace?

Afghan Women Stage Protest Demanding Role in Government, Education as Taliban Watch

Afghanistan resistance fighters clash with Taliban in Panjshir valley

In Memoriam:

Hollywood mourns Ed Asner, star of ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and ‘Lou Grant’

Ed Asner’s most beloved roles were curmudgeons with soft hearts

Judge Formally Denies SAG-AFTRA Health Plan’s Motion To Dismiss Ed Asner Lawsuit

Hollywood mourns Ed Asner: ‘You made and will continue to make this world a better place’

Friday Five (medically ethical edition)

I keep asking, why are we letting these anti-vaxxers fill ICU beds?

We’ve made it to the fourth Friday in August!

Work has been weird and stressful. I realize I say that a lot; yet then Thursday of this week good things happened. One of the good things was it was the the first time in well more than a week that my workday wasn’t interrupted by multiple calls from managers, directors, and veeps (both in and out of my chain of command) with emergencies that needed addressing now. I made more progress on my to-dos by midday than I had it the week proceeding. Make no mistake, I did lots of stuff during the last two weeks, it’s just that the majority were emergencies that hadn’t been on my to-do list at the time. There was also one piece of much appreciated good news, so even though I’d already been planning to make Pork Scallopini for dinner Thursday night — which, since 1/3 of a cup of wine is needed for the sauce that means that once I open the bottle I’m obligated to drink the rest — that first sip of wine felt very celebratory.

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about hateful deplorabloe people, five stories about the pandemic, and five stories about the graveyard of empires (plus something I wrote and some notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

13 U.S. troops killed in ISIS attacks on Kabul airport – The bombings came just hours after defense officials warned about an increased terrorist threat from the Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan – the rest of the Afghanistan news has its own section, "Graveyard of Empires" below.

Capitol Police officers sue Trump, allies over insurrection

White evangelicals are in precipitous decline — and the younger generation is pulling them in new directions

It’s time to give Republicans the fight of their lives on voting rights

The first ‘murder hornet’ nest of 2021 has been destroyed in Washington Yes, we found more…

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Statue of trans icon Marsha P. Johnson erected in New York City park – It is considered to be the first monument of a transgender person in the city park system

A School Board Will Pay $1.3 Million To Gavin Grimm Over An Anti-Transgender Bathroom Polic – The decision ends a yearslong battle that brought national attention to the rights of students to use the facility that corresponds with their gender identity

‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ is The Gay Coming-Of-Age Tale For Everyone With an Inner (and Outer) Drag Queen

Brothers Osborne’s TJ on Creating Safe Space for LGBTQ Fans: ‘That’s Worth More Than Anything’ – "I didn’t realize what a sense of purpose it would bring to my life to be here," the country singer said

How LGBTQ+ Excellence Helped Shape Broadway

This Week in Deplorable People:

Death sentence upheld for church shooter Dylann Roof – He was the first person in the U.S. to be sentenced to death for a federal hate crime

Trans teen required to undergo genital examination at airport & people are speaking out – Trans people called out TSA’s "sophisticated system of someone pressing a pink or blue button" after a mom sued the agency for demanding to see her daughter’s genitals because of an "anomaly." This is yet another reason why the TSA, which is 99.9% security theatre and not actually protecting anyone, needs to be disbanded.

School district may ban Pride flags after parent spots one inside a classroom & freaks out – "If a teacher is not even able to hang a flag which represents that protection, what does that say to the LGBTQ students in that community?"

Federal Judge Lets New York Attorney General Try to Sue Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman for $2.75 Million This is separate from all voter intimidation criminal charges in several states.

Josh Duggar wants his child pornography charges thrown out because of Donald Trump – Duggar’s attorneys are trying to get his charges dismissed because Homeland Security investigated him under the leadership of two Trump-appointed officials, both of whom were later deemed to have unlawfully held the positio

This Week in the Pandemic:

US COVID-19 hospitalizations top 100,000 for first time since January

100,000 more COVID deaths projected unless US changes its ways – Coronavirus case counts are once again rising across the US, near and far. Health officials are scrambling to vaccinate as the Delta variant takes hold

COVID Vaccines Show No Signs of Harming Fertility or Sexual Function

How to get the authoritarian far-right to cave in a hurry

Arkansas doctor under investigation for prescribing parasite pill thousands of times for Covid-19 despite FDA warning

This Week in the Graveyard of Empires:

Afghanistan News: ‘We Will Not Forgive,’ Biden Says, Vowing Retaliation for Kabul Attack

Planes, guns, night-vision goggles: The Taliban’s new U.S.-made war chest

Fearful LGBTQ Afghans can’t receive money raised for them through GoFundMe ‘due to Taliban control’

‘Let Me Explain to You How Our Process Works’: Psaki Derails Doocy’s Attacks on Administration’s Afghanistan Airlift

Hillary Clinton has been arranging charter flights out of Afghanistan for at-risk women, reports say

In Memoriam:

Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones Drummer, Dies at 80

Don Everly, Half Of The Quintessential Harmonic Duo The Everly Brothers, Dies At 84

Tom T. Hall, singer and ‘Harper Valley P.T.A.’ songwriter dies at 85

Things I Wrote:

That’s not what defines a complete story

That’s not what defines a complete story

I have been trying to circle back to writing a longer review of the finale to the Loki series, but I kept getting bogged down in a rant related more to other comments I had seen. So I decided to bite the bullet and give the rant its own blog entry.

The comments that set me off have been made about all three of the Marvel streaming series released thus far this year (WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki), specifically: these aren’t complete stories (and therefore inherently objectively bad) because they have loose ends which will presumably be subplots or even major plots in upcoming Marvel productions.

That’s not what defines a complete story, though.

Now, it is perfectly acceptable for someone to dislike a series for any reason at all. And it is always open to debate about whether a particular ending worked. That isn’t the issue that was being stated. It was specifically the claim that each of these series don’t tell complete stories. At least one such commenter included a rant that the art of storytelling is being ruined because no one is telling complete stories any more.

At some point I need to finish another post I started about the problems with having what are becoming our culture’s major myths be trademarked properties owned by corporations. But that’s also a separate issue.

For as long as storytelling has existed (and storytelling is an essential component of the definition of out species, so that’s a really long time), stories have had loose ends which potentially could be the seeds of more stories. Not just some stories, but all stories.

Let’s look at a classic for an example: Cinderella. It’s a story with which nearly everyone is familiar. After Cinderella’s mother dies, her father remarries, but then he dies, and she is left in the care of her wicked stepmother. She is forced to be a servant to her step-mother and the two equally wicked step-sisters, until one magic night (with the help of her fairy godmother) she attends a royal ball, meets and falls in love with the handsome prince. And through the macguffin of a lost glass slipper, she and the prince marry and live happily ever after.

A nice, complete story, right?

But hang on a minute! There are so many unanswered questions and loose ends to this story:

  1. What happened to the wicked stepmother after Cinderella went off with the prince?
  2. How did Cinderella adjust to royal life?
  3. Did Cinderella and the prince have children? If so, how did Cinderella’s experience with her wicked step-mother inform her parenting?
  4. Presuming that "happily ever after" meant a long life together, then they probably lived long enough for the king to die and the prince to inherit the throne. How did that go?

I have left at least one item out of the list: What happened to the wicked stepsisters?

I left it out because some versions of the story give us a bit more on this loose end. In the version recorded by the Brothers Grimm, the two wicked stepsisters are attacked by wild birds after the wedding ceremony and have their eyes pecked out. The brothers end the tail with the line, "And so they were condemned to go blind for the rest of their days because of their wickedness and falsehood."

So one version of the story tells us what happened to them, implying that the birds were sent as a punishment by the universe or god, right? But the stepmother was no less wicked to Cinderella, and told no fewer lies in the story than the two daughters. As a woman who took sacred vows when she married Cinderella’s father, she had a great obligation to care for and nurture Cinderella than the sisters did. Her not getting punished certainly opens even more questions that someone could turn into a sequel or a prequel.

And even with the Brothers Grimm ending for the stepsisters, it said they lived out the rest of their days blind. So:

  1. Did Cinderella and the prince take pity on them and provide them with caretakers?
  2. Were they left to suffer alone?
  3. Did their mother attempt to care for them?

Again, so many questions left open that could easily be turned into a sequel. Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that Cinderella isn’t a complete story (nor that it is objectively a bad story) because there are unanswered questions that could lead to a sequel.

It could be argued that what these commenters are saying isn’t that having a few loose ends isn’t the problem, but rather the issue is that the writer(s) intentionally left those loose ends and are plotting sequels. But again, it leaves me wondering how they managed to miss that fact that authors have been doing that on purpose for (at least) hundreds of years?

While I was ranting to a friend about this, they suggested that maybe the comments I’ve seen are referring to plotholes, which are frequently cited as proof that a story is flawed. I have two problems with this: several of the people I saw making the "it’s not a complete story!" are people who review other works and have used the term plothole before. So I don’t think that’s the argument.

Even if that were the case, a lot of times of time what people call plotholes are not that at all, as I’ve blogged about before. I listed then things that people often mistake for plotholes, which include:

  1. things an individual reader/viewer wish didn’t happen,
  2. character actions that contradict the version of the character the individual reader/viewer has constructed outside canon,
  3. things that contradict the political/moral preferences of the individual reader/viewer,
  4. things the author(s) intentionally plant to foreshadow something that will explain everything in a future chapter/episode/sequel,
  5. things the author(s) didn’t think they needed to explicitly explain because they thought you had critical thinking skills,
  6. things that are implied by the resolution of the main plot which are often variants of, "Now what?"

I’m more than willing to debate whether the endings of the shows could have been better, and so on, but the three series mentioned each answered the questions/mysteries that were posed in the opening by the end. And that is the definition of resolving a plot.

Finally, when each was released, all three were described as a streaming series. It said it right there on the tin that the stories were part of a serial tale.

Again, not saying that anyone is wrong for not liking any of these series or how they ended (in my reviews I had a lot of critiques about one of the series in particular, even though I was mostly happy with the ending). I’m just saying, if you know ahead of time that you don’t like stories which might have sequels planned, maybe you should not watch something that is explicitly labeled a series?

Friday Five (unwinnable war edition)

Well, here we are at the third Friday in August!

The air cleared up and the temps went down this week. I had to turn the a/c back on for part of Thursday, but the daytime highs are supposed to be even cooler in the coming days.

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: two topics stories in each of two unusual topics, plus the top five stories of the week, five stories about the pandemic, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, and five stories about deplorable people.

This Week in Confused Angry White Men:

A Man Who Had Ranted Against Joe Biden Surrendered To Police After Threatening To Blow Up His Truck In DC- The man appeared to have been livestreaming and threatening President Joe Biden and Democrats before surrendering Thursday afternoon I feel it necessary to point out that while he did call for Biden and other Democrats to resign, he said they reason they needed to resign is because no one can afford health care any more… in other words, what motivated him to his act of terror was a Republican-caused problem…

‘The revolution is on’: Would-be D.C. truck bomber demands Biden’s resignation, then surrenders

This Week in the Graveyard of Empires:

Americans rank George W. Bush as the president most responsible for the outcome of the Afghanistan war: Insider poll

America’s Afghanistan occupation was always going to fail – The unfortunate disaster we’re seeing right now underscores how much the U.S.’s extended occupation of the country was always a mistake

Stories of the Week:

Column: We can’t blame the unmasked and unvaccinated for being irresponsible? Really? – As thousands of unmasked motorcyclists carouse in the streets of Sturgis, S.D.; as protesters greet vaccine and mask mandates with comparisons to Hitler; as vaccination rates lag and COVID caseloads climb, we’re also seeing — paradoxically — a wave of sympathy for those who have failed to behave responsibly.

US Capitol riot judges step up as the conscience of democracy

OnlyFans Says It Will Ban Sexually Explicit Content How to say you want to go bankrupt without using the work bankrupt…

Haiti quake death toll rises to 1,419, injured now at 6,000

T-Mobile Investigating Claims of Massive Customer Data Breach

This Week in the Pandemic:

Nearly 5,600 Hillsborough students isolated or quarantined one week into school year

Vaccine Outrage: Why the Delta Variant’s ‘Sudden Doom Effect’ Is Making Us Snap – We’ve tried being resilient. We’ve tried having rational conversations with friends and family members about the importance of vaccines and face masks. We are long out of f–ks to give

Texas requests five mortuary trailers in anticipation of Covid deaths – The state’s seven-day average of coronavirus deaths is at its highest since March 2021

Fox News Is Requiring Its Employees to Disclose Their Vaccination Status – Mask-wearing will also be required of everyone irrespective of vaccination status in certain in-office situations

An Alabama doctor watched patients reject the coronavirus vaccine. Now he’s refusing to treat them

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Winston-Salem, North Carolina Approves LGBTQ Rights Ordinance

Illinois expands legislation to protect LGBTQ service members

LGBTQ freedoms — all of our freedoms — depend on restoring voting rights – Our democracy has long been improved by marginalized communities pursuing a place in American life

How Lil Nas X Is Revolutionizing Hip-Hop as an Empowered Gay Star

Residents build giant Pride flag in view of high school after school board bans it – "I wish it could be 10 times bigger," one of the organizers said. The school board said that Pride flags are "divisive" because they don’t include straight students

This Week in Deplorable People:

Grand jury indicts Minn. GOP operative on child sex trafficking charges

Pharmacist Arrested for Selling COVID Vaccination Cards Online – A licensed pharmacist was arrested in Chicago on charges related to his alleged sale of dozens of authentic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination cards on eBay

Oregon School Board Passes Motion to Ban Pride Flags, BLM Signs

‘A Big Win’: USPS Must Turn Over Docs About DeJoy’s Potential Conflicts of Interest – "The stench of corruption wafting up from Louis DeJoy’s office is so thick seagulls are flying in from the Jersey Shore and circling overhead."

Trump Gushed About Handing Afghanistan Over to the Taliban, Who Would Then ‘Kill Terrorists’

Weekend Update 8/14/2021: Get your jab

As a friend who retweeted this commented: “COVID is not our first rodeo, and the last one didn’t have a vaccine!”

It’s been way too long since I spent part of a Saturday morning composing one of these posts about a news story that I learned about after already assembling this week’s Friday Five. Let’s just hop in:

More Than 90% of LGBTQ+ U.S. Adults Have Received a COVID-19 Vaccine – That’s compared to just 71.3% of the country’s general adult population

More than one person I saw online (most of them either queer themselves or presenting themselves as allies) made a joke about the reason that so much of the LGBTQ community in the U.S. have rushed to get our vaccinations is because we’re all just dying to get out there and start hooking up for sex again.

And I know that is a sentiment many had expressed. Or that they missed going to bars or concerts and so on.

But I’m sorry, the friend I quoted in the caption of the graphic above has hit the nail on the head identifying not just why many of us got the vaccine as soon as we could, but also why most of the queer communities in various U.S. towns and cities, canceled 2020 Pride events mere weeks after the first lockdowns were announced.

For a lot of us, this isn’t the first time we have lived during a deadly epidemic.

In May of 2020, there was one of the Fox /(Propaganda/) network talking heads who tried to get a viral thing going about how all the queers and their liberal friends would stop supporting the idea of lockdown once late June rolled around at Pride Parades were cancelled.

She instead was dragged on social media and news sites with the fact that we’d already canceled the Pride Parades, on our own at least a month previously. I remember just weeks into the first lockdowns that on several queer forums people had already been posting, "We’re canceling in-person Pride events, right?"

I know I’ve told the following story on this blog and else where before: but there was one month in the early nineties where 12 people that I knew personally died from complications of AIDS. In a couple of cases, my late husband, Ray, and I had to decide which of the memorial services we weren’t going to attend. And that was after years of watching vibrant people we knew deteriorate before our eyes and die. It’s not that that was the only time a bunch happened close together, it just happened to be the worst.

For years we watching our neighbors, friends, acquaintances, community leaders, and more suffer and die with virtually no help from government health agencies. There were exceptions. Dr. Anthony Fauci famously (incognito) went to bathhouses and some other places queer men went looking for sex to get a better idea of the cultural reasons that a disease which could be transmitted sexually had spread so quickly. But most responses were like this:

Listen to the Reagan Administration Official and the Entire White House Press Corp Laughing at the AIDS Epidemic

The headline on that particular article at the site doesn’t mention what I think is a crucial aspect of those chilling recordings: most of the laughter you hear at the very idea that the government would concern itself at all with a deadly disease that was perceived as killing gays were members of the so-called liberal media.

In the early years hospital staff didn’t want to treat AIDS patients. What treatments that were offered were anti-viral medications most of which had been developed a decade or so before under military research grants because we were afraid future soldiers would face biological weapons in the field during conflicts. They actually hoped to develop a drug that would allow every soldier to be issued a few pills along with their other equipment and if they thought they’d been hit with a bio-weapon, they could take the pills and keep fighting. Didn’t quite work out.

But they were the only thing that seemed to slow down the virus, even though there were often some pretty severe side-effects.

In the early 90s someone came up with the idea of putting patients on not just one anti-viral, but three or more that each attacked different parts of typical viral replication process. By 1995, the so-called "antiviral cocktails" were approved for general use.

The result was startling.

The August 13, 1998 edition of the Bay Area Report was the first edition in over a decade that didn’t have obituaries of local residents who had died of complications of AIDS.

It seemed like a miracle. Some people who were already very sick and looked like shadows of their former selves seemed to rejuvenate in a matter of months.

Unfortunately, those anti-viral drugs are very expensive. If you need three or more in combination, that makes things even worse. So the cocktails have only performed their apparently miracles in countries that have reliable health care.

And note that it isn’t a cure. It’s not really a miracle (unless you want to talk about the insane profit margins of the pharmaceutical companies). Because in order to stay alive and healthy, people infected with the HIV virus have to take those very expensive drug combinations (which still often have wicked side effects) every day for the rest of their lives.

We don’t have an HIV vaccine. Forty years into the epidemic that still kills hundreds of thousands of people world wide every year doesn’t have a vaccine.

Queer people younger than me, who don’t have the same personal memories of the worse part of the HIV epidemic, still had their lives overshadowed by the disease. Because despite the fact that most new infections in the U.S. these days are straight people (that’s right!), and most of the people who are dying in the so-called developing world are straight women and children, the perception is still that AIDS is a "gay thing." I linked a year or two ago to a poignant story a young cartoonist posted about how when he was 15 years old and had never had sex with anyone, he went to an anonymous clinic for an AIDS test–because all he knew about the disease was the gay people got it. Nothing he had been taught in school or seen in the news or what very few media portrayals of people dying of the disease there were at the time, had conveyed two very important facts: 1) any human can get infected by the virus that causes AIDS, 2) it is most often transmitted sexually.

And part of his story is talking about when he came out in in twenties and started meeting other gay people, virtually all of them approximately his age had gone through a period in their teens where, after realizing they were attracted to members of their own sex, they also assumed that meant they would die young because of AIDS.

My point is, that once these younger queers do find out that his horrible specter which was part of their trauma growing up queer and closeted is a disease that was ignored for decades? Well, their attitude about health issues is a lot like us older queers.

And so that is the real reason that so many of us rushed out to get vaccinated. We know what happens when a health crisis is ignored. And we damn well refuse to take part in ignoring this one.

Friday Five (anti-vaxx crisis edition)

Well, here we are at the second Friday in August!

Heat. Poor air quality. Stress at work. All things I could talk about, but I don’t want to. Instead, I want to point out that my ongoing battle with one particularly persistent squirrel has entered a new stage. I was contemplating washing the bird feeder that has been hanging outside my window since the summer of 2017, and then coating several bags of bird seed with a more potent mixture of pepper-spray… when I realized that the plastic parts of that bird feeder had some cracks. So I ordered a completely different style of feeder which claims to be squirrel proof and I have since seen said persistent squirrel try few times to get to the seed, then give up, drop down to the deck, and pull food from the squirrel feeder. I am getting a LOT more birds at the feeder than I had during previous months, and also a whole lot more finches. So I think that so far this is a win!

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: two different stories that I think each deserve their own category, plus the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about deplorable people, plus discussion about a story that I think I must comment on, but I don’t really feel comfortable linking to.

This Week in It’s Not Over Yet!:

FDA set to authorize additional Covid-19 vaccine doses for certain immunocompromised people

This Week in Overcoming Oppression:

Congressional candidate’s campaign ad shows him being kicked out of the navy for being gay

Stories of the Week:

Hear Us Out: We Actually Need More Wildfires, Not Fewer The headline is VERY misleading. The experts interviewed call for more controlled burns, which are definitely NOT wild fires.

This terrifying ‘dragon’ was Australia’s largest flying reptile

‘Jeopardy!’: Mike Richards To Host Syndicated Show, Mayim Bialik To Host Primetime & Spinoff Series

A Carnivorous Plant Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight in North America – Triantha occidentalis is picky: It won’t eat insects heavy enough to be its pollinators

Marvel and DC face backlash over pay: ‘They sent a thank you note and $5,000 – the movie made $1bn’

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

How Howard Ashman (while dying of complications of AIDS) Forced Disney to Tell Queer Stories

A New Study Shows Queer Politicians Still Face “Electoral Discrimination” at the Ballot Box

Texas trans girl’s affirming mother gets full custody after father fails to pay child support – Luna Younger, now eight, has been the center of right-wing outrage over the existence and affirming of trans youth for the last two years. Her mother now has most parental rights

Heroic mom grabs phone from man following her trans son to the bathroom to take pictures of him – "What bathroom are you going to use, tranny?" the ex-trans activist shouted. That’s when mom intervened to protect her 17-year-old son

Smith College Alums Rally Funds for Gay Student Cut Off By Parents

This Week in Deplorable People:

Rand Paul discloses 16 months late that his wife bought stock in company behind covid treatment – An aide to the Kentucky Republican said he prepared the disclosure last year and only recently learned that it was never transmitted

Federal judge says Trump’s accountants must turn over tax records to House panel – The judge approved a subpoena for Trump’s records covering 2017 and 2018, but turned down most of the panel’s request for similar information dating back to 2011

Former U.S. attorney in Atlanta says Trump wanted to fire him for not backing election fraud claims

Dominion Lawsuits Against Sidney Powell, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell And Giuliani Can Move Forward, Court Rules

NJ conversion therapy “experts” lose big in court to tune of $3.5 million

This Week in Too Horrible to Link:

One of the news stories in my bookmarks for the week is truly horrific. So horrific that I have decided not to link to it. But it is an important news story, in no small part because I have seen a lot of people on the Progressive End of the political spectrum laughing at the people who believe the QAnon Conspiracy as it it is nothing more than a joke.

It is more than that.

So, I’m going to mention the story of the man who, having completely bought into the conspiracy theory, kidnapped his one very, very young children, ran off to Mexico, and murdered them. Because the theory convinced him that his wife wasn’t entirely human and the children would therefore be monsters. The conspiracy theory and the people who buy into it are NOT jokes. They are very really threats to the lives of innocent people, such as these two very young children. If you haven’t read the story, and think you can stomach it, then use Google to find the tale of the father murdered his down kids because of the QAnon theory.

Friday Five (nobody should be poor edition)

OMG, it’s the first Friday in August!

I don’t want to talk about work. It’s been weird. Our weather had also been weird. Earlier this week I started to freak out because the squirrel who was very obviously pregnant a week and a half ago (and has clearly given birth since) has continued to insist on ignoring the squirrel feeder on our deck and jump up on the bird feeder to the point that I saw birds flying toward the feeder the seeing the squirrel and veer away–but the point is one day she ate birdseed so fast that she was out there hanging on the perch choking for air and for about a minute or maybe two I thought I would have to go out there and try to perform a tiny squirrel heimlich manuever… anyway, after she coughed up and started breeding again and left the feeder, while I was checking it I realized that it was nearly four years old and the main plastic tube had cracks in it. So I ordered a different feeder whose design is supposedly squirrel proof. It arrived late Thursday. I filled it and put it out on the veranda and also cleaned out and refilled the squirrel feeder with fresh food. So over the next few days we will see if the new feeder is, indeed, squirrel proof.

Anyway, it’s time for this week’s Friday Five in which I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, and five stories about deplorables (plus a post I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

After a DNA test, he told a stranger: ‘I think you might be my father’

Poll Shows Many Seniors Would Switch Parties For Lower Drug Prices

2 dads say teachers at a New York school blamed their gay son for the ‘horrific’ homophobic bullying he endured and now they are suing for ‘justice’

‘Nobody’s ever seen a number like this!’ New data reveals just how bad the Trump economy actually was

Covid Booster Shots Likely Offered Soon To People With Compromised Immune Systems — Fauci ; Priority Include People With HIV

Stories of Interest to Queers and Our Allies:

Lawsuit: Tennessee Anti-Trans School Restroom Law Is Unconstitutional

Megan Rapinoe leads Team USA to Olympic bronze medal in incredible comeback – Rapinoe scored twice, including a rare "olimpico" goal, and teammate Carli Lloyd broke a record for the most career Olympic goals

Teen punished for saying she’s a lesbian on the school bus gets actual justice – The bus driver and the school’s principal lost their jobs

Olympic Diver Jordan Windle Credits & Thanks Gay Dad For His Success

From ‘kiss of death’ to competitive edge: Out athletes finally score big endorsements – Coming out as gay in the ’90s was referred to as the “kiss of death” for sports endorsements, but LGBTQ athletes are slowly starting to snag some of the lucrative sponsorship market

This Week in Deplorable People:

Trolls harass drag queen & call her “pedo” for helping gay bar employees get vaccine – Vandals spray-painted "pedo bar" near her bar because she is giving her employees more time to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Federal judge tells Capitol riot defendant what he did was ‘not patriotism’

‘It doesn’t leave you’: the toxic toll of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy

Tucker Carlson praises murderous regime

Bi man ordered to pay ex-wife “emotional damages” for coming out… but that got overturned – She said she wouldn’t have married him if she’d known he was bisexual – and she somehow won her case. And then lost again

Things I Wrote:

Tuesday Tidbits 8/3/2021: Some thoughts on masks

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