Archive by Author | fontfolly

Friday Five (he let tens of thousands of people die edition)

Welcome to the third Friday in September. September, the month when superior people are born.

The air quality index has remained in either the Unhealthy for Everyone or Very Unhealthy range all week. I only started getting partial night’s sleep when my doctor confirmed that the inhaler I have incase I get a case of bronchitis can be used for this. I’m coughing slightly less now that I’m using the inhaler four times a day. I really hope the rain comes and cleans us out soon!

It’s time for me to roll out this week’s Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about the haters & deplorables & related, and five videos (plus something I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Alcohol possibly from Prohibition era found in walls of Queen Anne home.

CA governor signs law to equalize punishments for gay & straight sex offenders – The law gives judges the ability to keep LGBTQ teenagers off the state’s public sex offender registry if the teens are of similar ages, the same leeway the state already gives straight teens.

A gas found on Earth that signifies life has been detected in the clouds on Venus.

Culture Wars Masquerading as Social Science: New Survey Illustrates Evangelicals’ Election Year Anxieties .

Trump Admin Sues Grocery Giant Kroger Over Firing Of Two Staffers Who Refused To Wear “Rainbow” On Apron.

This Week in Haters and Other Deplorable People:

This ex-Trump voter got deprogrammed — thanks in part to watching Stephen Colbert.

911 Call From Intoxicated Jerry Falwell Jr.’s House Last Month Describes ‘A Lot Of Blood’ .

ICE whistleblower: Nurse alleges ‘hysterectomies on immigrant women in US’.

LGBTQ: The letters Republicans didn’t utter.

The Slow-Fingered President – Donald Trump has been eager to tweet on many subjects—but notably reticent to emphasize public health.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 9/12/2020: It’s 2020 Everywhere….

Videos!

Trump Blames “Blue States” For COVID Deaths: A Closer Look:

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Former Trump Officials Defect To Back Biden:

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Former FBI official Peter Strzok goes one-on-one with Maddow:

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The Pandemmy Awards: Honoring the Greatest Achievements of the Coronavirus Pandemic:

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Quarantinewhile… What Pairs Best With Taco Bell Wine?:

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Weekend Update 9/12/2020: It’s 2020 Everywhere…

“It's no longer 5 o'clock somewhere. It's 2020 everywhere. Drink whenever you want!”

“It’s no longer 5 o’clock somewhere. It’s 2020 everywhere. Drink whenever you want!”

First let’s start with some good news, since there seems to be precious little of that these days: Canada reports zero COVID-19 deaths for first time since March. At least some countries are handling this thing better than we are.

So, you may remember that some of us were sharing stories about how Malania Trump oversaw tearing up the White House Rose Garden that has for decades adhered the Jackie Kennedy’s design (including digging up a bunch of healthy crabapple trees and who knows what actually happened to them) and replaced it with something that was super ugly? Well… Three weeks after its unveiling, Melania’s rose garden is dying and needs emergency repairs.

But what else do we expect from people who are already known to never pay their subcontractors?

Speaking of the corrupt one… Donald Trump stole art pieces from the ambassador’s residence in France.

And this reaction to the “revelation” that Trump knew the pandemic was deadly but didn’t care is spot on: Oh, Come On. The Only Thing Trump Cared About ‘Panicking’ Was The Stock Market – We know Trump only cares about himself, and what affects him. Let’s stop pretending, shall we?

Meanwhile, in my neck of the woods, I’m staying indoors, have the windows closed, have all the air cleaners going, and hope that the weather turns soon: Dangerous air quality as smoke from fires in California and Oregon pours into Western Washington.

Seattle air among world’s worst: How to check your town’s air quality and protect yourself from wildfire smoke – Saturday morning, air quality ranged from unhealthy for sensitive groups to very unhealthy in western Washington, according to AirNow.

Related, it would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous: ‘Antifa Arson’ Hoax Rumors Spread About Wildfires In Besieged West Coast Areas – Right wing extremists are doing all they can to pin the west coast wildfires on liberals, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa. The “proof”? Police scanner recording where rangers, firefighters, and various levels of police are exchanging information and refer to territory that is under control of the Federal Bureau of Land Management (a rather large swath of each of the western states) and “BLM land”. The idiot MAGA-boys think that forest rangers are talking about Black Lives Matter protestors whenever they refer to federal land. Oy!

And I’m just going to close with this:

Wildfires on US West Coast turn day into night | DW News:

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Okay, not quite done. I decided the above meme needed a bit of Betty White, so I made this:

Friday Five (gender reveal wildfire edition)

Welcome to the second Friday in September. September, the month when superior people are born.

We’ve had a rare September heat wave this week, coupled with unhealthy air quality thanks to smoke from wildfires each of us and south of us.

It’s time for me to roll out this week’s Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about wild fires, five stories about science and sci fi, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things that I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Toppled Confederate monument in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery won’t be restored. This is one I’ve written about a fe times before, erected in a cemetery where the only Civil War veterans (a very small number) are Union soldiers and sailors. Not single Confederate grave in the place. Good riddance.

In a first, a person’s immune system fought HIV — and won – Analysis of 1.5 billion cells from this rare case found no trace of the virus.

How a Massive Bomb Came Together in Beirut’s Port.

Portland approves strictest ban on facial recognition technology in the U.S..

At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror.

This Week in Wild Fires:

West Coast fires: Hundreds of homes burned to ground, Oregon governor says.

Scores of wildfires scorch U.S. West Coast, killing at least eight.

California fire that killed 3 threatens thousands of homes.

‘The entire town is gone’; Malden devastated by wildfires, most homes destroyed.

California wildfires: Gender reveal party blamed for fire.

This Week in Science Fact and Science Fiction:

A weirdly warped planet-forming disk circles a distant trio of stars – The bizarre geometry of this system is the first known of its kind.

This hummingbird survives cold nights by nearly freezing itself solid – The black metaltail goes into a state of suspended animation, becoming ‘cold as a rock’.

Retro Review: “Black God’s Kiss” by C.L. Moore or How to Suppress Women’s Sword and Sorcery Writing.

‘Mighty mice’ stay musclebound in space, boon for astronauts.

Lovecraft Country: making the best of the horror icon – An interview with author Matt Ruff.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Georgia church splits from United Methodists over UM refusal to support gay rights – More than a third of the congregation at Asbury Memorial Church in Savannah are LGBTQ, according to its minister.

For His Birthday, a Gay Atheist Is Raising Money for an LGBTQ-Inclusive Church.

Donald Trump unveils new Supreme Court shortlist packed with deplorable homophobes and it’s bad, bad news for LGBT+ rights.

Texas Assistant AG Fired for Anti-LGBTQ+ and Other Outrageous Tweets.

Feds capture man who detonated bomb in front of a gay gym – He had “substantial quantities of bomb-making materials, numerous weapons,” and body armor in his home.

This Week in the Pandemic:

Emails show HHS official trying to muzzle Fauci – Emails obtained by POLITICO show a top aide at the department dictating what the nation’s top infections disease expert should say during media interviews.

It’s not a scam: Snohomish County contract tracers searching for people who tested positive for COVID – As the county monitors case counts after Labor Day weekend, the health district had to shut down some testing sites due to poor air quality.

‘This is deadly stuff’: Tapes show Trump acknowledging virus threat in February – In a series of on-the-record interviews with Bob Woodward, the president struck a very different tone about the disease.

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral – As the U.S. heads toward the winter, the country is going round in circles, making the same conceptual errors that have plagued it since spring.

As students return, the deaths of at least six teachers from covid-19 renew pandemic fears.

In Memoriam:

Dame Diana Rigg: Avengers, Bond and Game of Thrones actress dies at 82.

Diana Rigg, Star of ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Game of Thrones,’ Dies at 82.

Joe Ruby, TV writer and producer who co-created Scooby-Doo, dies at 87.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Meme-date 9/5/2020: Just some quickies.

And just what is a “weekend,” three-day or otherwise?

Tuesday Tidbits 9/8/2020: News cycle continues to be disheartening.

Videos!

Trump Lashes Out Over Report that He Insulted Fallen Soldiers: A Closer Look:

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Reformed Neo-Nazi Explains How People Fall Prey to QAnon Online | MSNBC:

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Gender Reveal Wildfires, Daniel Prude Protests & Jessica Krug | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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Bruce Springsteen – Letter To You (Official Video):

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Cameron Hawthorn – To Break Hers:

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Tuesday Tidbits 9/8/2020: News cycle continues to be disheartening

“You elected a billionaire that appointed other billianaires to fix the system that made them billionaires? You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?”

The meme omits a couple of important bits, though: “You elected a billionaire that appointed other billionaires to fix the system that made them billionaires BY STEALING FROM YOU? You’re a special kind of stupid, aren’t you?”

‘A tale of 2 recessions’: As rich Americans get richer, the bottom half struggles – The trend is on track to exacerbate dramatic wealth and income gaps in the U.S., where divides are already wider than any other nation in the G-7.

REPORT: Louis DeJoy May Have Broken Campaign Finance Laws AND Lied To Congress About It – DeJoy allegedly reimbursed employees from his company for donations to GOP candidates – which is illegal.

‘Conmen, grifters and criminals’: why is Trump’s circle so at odds with the law? – Apart from legal trouble, what Bannon, Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Stone, Gates and Papadopoulos have in common is the president.

“The history of Nazis holding rallies in lef-wing areas of Weimar Germany, instigating street fights, and then telling the press that only they could save Germany from the 'violent communists' seems like an important thing for people to be studying right now.”

Seems so, doesn’t it?

Department of Homeland Security draft document: Domestic white supremacists are greatest terror threat.

Lawyer of accused Kenosha shooter resigns from defense fund.

Kenosha shooting suspect faces more homicide charges.

Quote Of The Day: Armed Militias Target BLM Protests – Just when you thought right-wing militias were “anti-government,” they’re all for Trump’s fascism..

Jacob Blake appears in court from hospital on sex assault charge, while police gun down suspected Portland shooter.

“Never forget: the Trump family is not allowed to operate ANY charity in New York because they stole from a kids cancer charity.”

There is no low they haven’t already sunk to…

Trump campaign criticised for mocking Biden as he visited family grave – Biden’s late son, first wife and daughter are buried in cemetery.

Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ – The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic..

Fox News Correspondent: Two Top Officials Who Were on France Trip With Trump ‘Confirmed to Me Key Details’ of Atlantic Report – .

Trump Wants Fox Reporter Who Confirmed Atlantic Story Fired For Hurting His Wee Feelings.

Trump’s Contempt for the Sick and Disabled Is Written All Over His Covid-19 Response – The president’s disgust for anyone he deems weak is key to understanding his handling of the pandemic.

Room rentals, resort fees and furniture removal: How Trump’s company charged the U.S. government more than $900,000.

I don’t have a funny exit line, and I’m just not up to ranting about it.

And just what is a “weekend,” three-day or otherwise?

“30 days hath September, April June, and November, all the rest have 31, except for 2020 which has 5328”

Time has gown from being a river, to being a fog, to being a swarm of locusts…

I always feel guilty on days like Labor Day, because most of the people who work in the kinds of jobs that Labor Day is supposed to honor have to work on this day, while white collar office workers such as myself are goofing off. My father, for instance, was an oil field worker, and so far as I can remember he always had to work the holiday. Mom worked in retail, and since almost all of her positions were union jobs, she at least got paid more for working on the holiday (though management usually countered that by cutting her hours later in the week), but again, she seldom had the day off.

And as retail and other essential workers will all tell you, it’s not just that they don’t get a three-day weekend, most of them don’t get weekends. They get days of, but since they aren’t usually the same days that the rest of us think of a time when we could schedule fun activities with friends, it’s just not the same.

Thanks to the pandemic, and the huge number of us that are working from home, and all the school kids who are attending virtual classes from home, things get even more confounding.

So I think before I spiral down any rabbit holes, I will just repost this bit about what Labor Day is supposed to represent which I wrote a few years ago:

If you don’t know labor history, you’re doomed to repeat the bad parts

Originally post September 4, 2017

“Union Accomplishments: Safe working conditions; Safety regulations; No toxic dumping; No child labor abuses; Standard minimum wage; 40-hour work week; Overtime pay; Paid vacation; Pensions; Healthcare; Equal Pay for Equal work.”

“Union Accomplishments: Safe working conditions; Safety regulations; No toxic dumping; No child labor abuses; Standard minimum wage; 40-hour work week; Overtime pay; Paid vacation; Pensions; Healthcare; Equal Pay for Equal work.”

Both of my grandfathers were life long union workers. Dad moved in and out of union and non-union portions of his industry. When Mom re-entered the work force after my parents’ divorce, she became a union member and other then a few stints in management, remained one until she retired. I, on the other hand, work in an industry that has fought to keep unions out, and for various social reasons, the same co-workers who complain loudest about how everyone is classified as “professional” and therefore exempt from overtime pay and the like, are also convinced that unions would be a disaster.

Which is really sad. Mostly I blame the decades-long war on unions waged by mostly the Republican party. They have managed, somehow, to convince people to believe, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that businesses have always given out wages and benefits out of the goodness of their hearts.

I don’t understand how anyone who has worked for any business larger than a mom-and-pop operation can believe that.

“If unions are bad for the economy, why did America's greatest era of prosperity have more workers under union contract than any other time in history?”

“If unions are bad for the economy, why did America’s greatest era of prosperity have more workers under union contract than any other time in history?”

It’s not that profits are driving business decisions, it’s that maximizing benefit to business leaders while milking short-term profits without investing in workers and their skills for long-term benefits.

You can keep talking about the economic insecurities of angry white guys, but you have to recognize that the source of economic insecurity is not market forces, or immigrants, or equal opportunity laws. It’s the people in that top 1%. And somehow we’ve got to get those scared angry white guys to recognize that they are being duped.

“Did it ever occur to you that union workers aren't overpaid, maybe you're underpaid? Where are the gains going? From 1970 to 2010, in inflations-adjusted dollars, income of private sector workers fell from an average of $32,000 to $29,000, while income among 'job creators' rose from $2-million to $16-million.” Source: nyti.ms/saez-and-piketty-on-inequality

“Did it ever occur to you that union workers aren’t overpaid, maybe you’re underpaid? Where are the gains going? From 1970 to 2010, in inflations-adjusted dollars, income of private sector workers fell from an average of $32,000 to $29,000, while income among ‘job creators’ rose from $2-million to $16-million.” Source: nyti.ms/saez-and-piketty-on-inequality

Weekend Meme-date 9/5/2020: Just some quickies

“When someone tells me they are a christian... I ask!! Classic Jesus... or Republican Jesus?”

“When someone tells me they are a christian… I ask!! Classic Jesus… or Republican Jesus?” The second option can also be called White Supremacist Jesus

“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.”

“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” — That is correct, and so sometimes it means that you are the kind of person who recognizes an insensitive jerk.

“Vote out every Republican in 2020”

“Vote out every Republican in 2020” And keep doing it for the next few cycles, because nothing else is going to change that party from the alt-right neo-Nazi enabling wreck it has become.

“Vote” in bold letters in front of a rainbow flag.

“Vote”

Resist!

“Resist!” Because voting isn’t going to be enough.

Friday Five (how will you vote edition)

And here were are at the first Friday in September. September, the month when superior people are born.

We had a relatively cool week, though temps have been edging up into the range where I start to melt, and the long term forecast says we might be up in those insane temperatures late next week. Which is really weird, because September almost never gets that warm here. Speaking, my quest to find a replacement to local weather blog since my former favorite has, over the course of the last couple years: become a climate change denialist apologist, claimed that quarantines and other measures weren’t necessary to stop the pandemic, starting supporting Blue Lives Matter, and finally compared the Black Lives Matter protestors to Nazi Brownshirts. Fortunately a local nonprofit news blog noticed all of us searching and came out with a list of suggestions (only one of which I’d found before). So, yay!

It’s time for me to roll out this week’s Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about science and sci fi, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about good things, five stories about the pussy grabber in chief and his enablers, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and some things that I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

The Destabilizing Loss of Chadwick Boseman: Chadwick Boseman Gave Us Something We Had Not Had Before – He brought King T’Challa to life in a way that transfixed the world and spoke uniquely to Black Americans.

Athletes’ Racial Justice Protest Last Week Made History. But It Wasn’t the First Wildcat Strike in Pro Sports.

How Robert Mueller failed America.

Becky Albertalli: I know I’m late. A very interesting tale about coming out, denial, and other topics…

An Ohio man built a backyard squirrel bar with seven varieties of nuts on tap.

This Week in Science Fact and Science Fiction:

The Midwest Sees a Spike as Covid-19 Cases Decline Elsewhere – In nine U.S. states, case numbers are still rising or setting records. The virus is pummeling the economies of India and South Korea. Hong Kong began a Beijing-backed testing program.

Another astronomical doomsday that doesn’t actually exist: The solar micronova.

Cosmic signal rattles Earth after 7 billion years.

Ugandan gorillas in Bwindi park have ‘baby boom’.

Star Trek will get its first transgender characters this year – Congrats to actors Ian Alexander and Blu del Barrio who will play the first-ever out transgender and non-binary characters on the 54-year-old sci-fi TV series.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

California’s legislature just passed a bill to treat LGBTQ & straight sex offenders the same – The bill’s sponsor got death threats for saying that LGBTQ people should be treated the same.

LGBTQ advocates notch legal win in fight against Trump health care rule.

Federal judge: State Department must recognize U.S. citizenship of gay couple’s daughter.

Jacob Blake’s Transgender Cousin Responds to Anti-LGBTQ+ Threats.

Dictionary.com just added a lot of LGBTQ words but will use “homosexuality” less.

This Week in I Need a Break From Bad News:

I’m not going to reopen my shuttered restaurant. I’d rather feed children in need.

‘We’ll take care of you’: Tennessee Kroger gives job to woman who slept in the store’s parking lot.

Man‘s Best Buddy is a Red Robin That Helped Him Through Trauma – Watch it Feed From His Hand.

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones Raises $100,000 After GOP’s Anti-Gay Smear Effort – “Their efforts to attack an Air Force and Iraq War veteran who served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell clearly backfired,” said her campaign.

Cher raises $2 million for Biden at LGBTQ virtual fundraiser.

This Week in the Deplorable Thug Occupying the White House:

Operation Undermine 2020 at Full Throttle as Trump Again Suggests Voters Vote Twice.

New Study Shows Republicans Willing to Embrace Fascism to Preserve Dream of a White Nation.

Department of Health and Human Services Preparing to Launch $250 million Pandemic Propaganda Campaign- The proposed communications contract comes as the agency faces growing questions about its independence from the Trump White House.

Trump Flotilla Leader to be Charged with Felony, His Lawyer Says – The charge is “written threat to kill or bodily harm” and carried a potential sentence of up to 15 years. Gavidia previously served time for marijuana trafficking.

Facebook, Instagram Ban Pro-Trump Operative Jacob Wohl.

In Memoriam:

‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman dies of cancer at 43.

Remembering Actor Chadwick Boseman.

This 7-year-old boy held a heartbreaking memorial for Chadwick Boseman.

‘Black Panther’ Director Ryan Coogler Pens Emotional, Beautiful Tribute to Chadwick Boseman.

Chadwick Boseman visited terminally ill children during his own cancer battle.

‘We lost our own superhero.’ How Chadwick Boseman — as a Black superhero on the big screen — made families feel seen.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 8/29/2020: The virus and the fascism are the enemy, not the masks.

Dirty Deeds Coming Home to Roost, or, What’s Happening with those Evangelical Pool Boy Chasing Devils?

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion….

Tread all to pow’rs of darkness down, or a queer ex-evangelical looks at circular reasoning.

Confessions of a Rambler, or, my blogging style is verbose, okay?

Videos!

RNC 2020 & Kenosha: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

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Some Unconventional News | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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NO TIME TO DIE | Trailer 2:

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Do you like PDA?:

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The Boys in the Band | Official Trailer | Netflix:

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Confessions of a Rambler, or, my blogging style is verbose, okay?

Since the rich are the top of the food chain, bio magnification means that  they accumulate maximum toxins in their bodies. It is not safe to eat the rich. Better to compost them.

Since the rich are the top of the food chain, bio magnification means that they accumulate maximum toxins in their bodies. It is not safe to eat the rich. Better to compost them.

Some years ago a friend was explaining her taxonomy of blog styles and mentioned among them the “What I ate for breakfast” blogger. This was a person whose blog regularly was full of a lot of minute details of all the mundane aspects of their life. Which might well be of interest to close friends, but might seem more than a bit boring to the general public. From then on, we would occasionally warn each other, “You might want to skip my entry today, because it’s a ‘what I had for breakfast’ post.”

More recently I was explaining about something my husband and I had been talking about, and a different friend said, “That’s practically a recipe blog!” Since I was unfamiliar with the term, I had to ask what he meant. Turns out that it’s a joke which has spawned an entire genre of memes out there I’d never seen. The idea is you search for a recipe on line, but several of the hits are long, rambling blog posts about the day that the blogger first encountered this dish, and all the things about the experience that have remained important in their life, only to finally, deliver a very short (and sometimes not all that helpful) recipe.

I felt attacked.

Of course, I have just committed that kind of Recipe Blog, in that I have shared not one, but two anecdotes about the topic I intend to write this post about, without having yet gotten to the point.

On the other hand, several years ago after I had brought a casserole I call “Great Grandma’s Chicken Noodle” to a social event, a bunch of people asked for the recipe. Which wasn’t easy for me to share, because I had learned to make as a child by helping one of my great-grandmothers in the kitchen. At no time had I ever had a list of ingredients and the exact measures, because that’s not how my grandmothers and great-grandmothers cooked. So I spent an afternoon making the dish again, writing things down as I went along, and then converted my notes into a long post. I did include the approximate measurements of all the ingredients I used, but I also explained how substitutions could be made. And a lot of the process of the recipe were steps like, “stir the ingredients that are currently in a pan furiously until all the chicken pieces are white and the is a smooth, thick consistency–if your arm isn’t sore, you probably haven’t stirred long enough.”

After I posted it, more than one person who read it commented that never in their life had they been able to successfully follow a traditional recipe, because the writer assumed a lot of skills they didn’t have, but they felt this kind of recipe might be something they could do. One reported two weeks later they had followed my super-verbose recipe and it had tasted delicious.

Particularly if the subject I’m writing about is political or social commentary, I start with the anecdote because:

  1. It provides some context for my perspective, which may make it easier from someone who disagrees when I get to the point to at least see why I feel that way,
  2. It pre-empts accusations that I’m talking about something that never happens (a frequent tactic of bad faith trolls),
  3. It demonstrates that I have some experience with the topic under discussion,
  4. It helps to establish and nurture social glue.

Humans are social beings. We build trust and understanding through, among other things, sharing truths about ourselves. The more we know about someone, the more we feel we understand them. A blog is a type of social media (even if the long form that I am writing here has mostly been supplanted by tweets, instagram posts, and the like), so some social interaction is implied.

A lot of people misunderstand what it means that humans are social animals. It doesn’t just mean that we like to hang out together. Being social is a major survival trait of our species. We instinctively form communities, friendships, and so one, and we take care of each other. A lot of people think that taking care of each other is just about personal favors and charity. But it’s a lot more than that. All sorts of social customs, many of our ethical rules, and so forth, form an involuntary system of caretaking, as well. We punish individuals who do things that harm or imperil others–sometimes that punishment is formal, such as through the justice system, but far more of the punishments are informal and manifest in various social ways.

And we forget that notions such as private property, capital, and money as a means of regulating the exchange of goods and services are all artificial, and relatively recent inventions. Don’t confuse private property with personal property, those are vary different things. There is evidence that even before humans arose 200,000 years ago, some of our ancestral hominids had a concept of personal property: this sharpened stone tool I have made and use for various thing is my tool, that wooden carving I made with it and gave to the child of my sister is the child’s figurine.

Private Property is stuff such as Real Estate–specifically the notion that every square inch of the surface of the planet is available to be declared the private property of a specific person. There have been many human civilizations that existed for thousands of years that held as a basic concept that contrary idea that much of the land is common, rather than private, and if it belongs to anyone, it belongs collectively to the community. There are other types of metaphorical property that were also thought of as held in commons, that we have metaphorically fenced off and now require most people to pay for its use.

We have organized modern society so that most individuals must sacrifice a lot of their labor, time, and even their health merely to survive, while a smaller number are allowed to do way more than survive without expending the same amount of labor, time or health. The idea of taxation was originally an extension of those instinctive societal norms to keep us taking care of each other, but we’ve weaponized them in a way that instead allows some people to not just avoid doing their fair share, but to exploit that rest.

It can be argued (and has been) that the modern artificial notion of private property isn’t merely a bad idea, it is a deadly idea–for the majority of people. It is mathematically impossible for someone to become fabulously wealthy without exploiting and effectively stealing the value generated by hundred, thousands, or more individuals. And the system that has created that wealth is built on the notion that the wealth of those who have it must constantly expand, which means more and more exploitation of everyone else, which eventually means killing everyone else… and when there is no one left to exploit, the whole thing will collapse.

We have got to figure out how to unweaponize these systems, and make the parasites stop leeching off of everyone else, and actually pay their fair share to their fellow humans. Ignoring the problem is a recipe fo extinction.

And no one wants extinction for breakfast.

Tread all to pow’rs of darkness down, or a queer ex-evangelical looks at circular reasoning

“where did religion go wrong when gay kids grow up fearing god's wrath but racists don't??? seriously tho. imagine a where where people grow up policing every racist thought they have like i did my gayness”

“where did religion go wrong when gay kids grow up fearing god’s wrath but racists don’t??? seriously tho. imagine a where where people grow up policing every racist thought they have like i did my gayness”

Continuing to embrace the fact that most traffic coming to my blog right now is driven by a scandal in the news, let’s get some new headlines out of the way first:

Liberty Pastor Apologizes To Students For “Shameful” Falwell Scandal: “If It’s Christian, It Ought To Be Better”.

Pool Boy: Falwell Was Drunk And Giggling The First Time He Watched Me Screw His Wife, Said “Go For It”.

BREAKING: Liberty University Reveals Investigation Into Falwell Over “Financial, Real Estate, And Legal Matters”.

I’m not going to sum up the scandal yet again (if you really need to know, I quoted a great sum-up by one of thew writers at the Wonkette a couple days ago.)

Among the stories linked above, there is an official statement from the some leaders of Liberty University which claims that until last week there was absolutely no way to know that the former president of the University (and son of the scam evangelist who founded it as part of his multi-decade pro-racial segregation campaign) had been doing anything possible illegal or questionable with university funds, et cetera.

This is a blatant lie. If nothing else, because both major news organizations and dozens of bloggers like myself have been reporting on this issue for nearly three years. And one of the stories all of us covered in the last year was as a result of dozens of current and former employees of the university going to various Christian news sites to report the shenanigans. One former board member was widely quoted as saying they were no longer running a religious university, because Falwell Jr had turned it into a hedge fund that used student fees to finance his personal real estate deals.

And after that story broke, Falwell, Jr called the FBI to try to get the Feds to arrest all those employees… not for spreading false information, but for violating their non-disclosure agreements by revealing information they were supposed to keep secret.

Side note: I still have no idea why he thought calling the FBI of all people was the thing to do, but there you have it.

In other words, he essentially admitted that at least some of the allegations were turn.

That bit alone was months ago, not last week.

And again, the other news stories were published in the last few years. And at least when the mainstream news organizations were first publishing the stories, various board members and other officials of the university were contacted for comment.

Cynical people will say that “Of course they knew! But they are in on the deals, too!”

Most of the evidence is that, know, Falwell wasn’t spreading any of the money to anyone but his own family and apparently the young men who were schtupping Mrs Falwell.

No, it’s more complicated than that. And it is related to the structural forces in evangelical institutions (and probably other religious institutions, but let’s stick to what I know of personally) which enable abusers and turn the victims of abusers into villains.

First, most evangelicals believe that god is in control of the world. Which contradicts their equally sincerely held belief that satan causes all sorts of bad things to happen in the world, but such contradictions don’t bother them. Anyway, because god controls the world, then any person who is in charge of anything has been placed there by god. And god had to have a reason, even when it seems the person is completely unfit for the position. Therefore, if you question the actions of the leader, you are saying that god made a mistake putting him there. So the first line of defense when any wrongdoing of a leader is brought to light is to remind you that god works in mysterious ways, and eventually it will all turn out to be part of god’s plan.

Second, there is a section of the New Testament which is sometimes referred to as the Ministry of Correction, which details a process by which the faithful are to approach another member of the congregation/et cetera, when that person appears to have gone astray. And the first step in this process is to keep the problem private, do not share any concerns or issues with anyone outside the community. You are supposed to talk to the person directly, admit that you know that everyone including yourself sins from time to time, explain why you think what they are doing is wrong, invite them to pray with you about it, and trust in god to open their eyes.

You are only supposed to go to another person (and it is supposed to be someone who knows the person who you think has done something wrong, is a member of the same faith community, and preferably has some connection to the incident) if this conversation doesn’t lead to change and if, after you have spent time praying about it, you still think what they did was wrong. And you only take it to the entire church if none of that leads to changes and if the second person you brought into it agrees.

This process is easily subverted by a leader who doesn’t care whether what he is doing is right with god. He can pretend to take your concerns seriously, and then while you’re praying privately about it, start a whisper campaign undermining your credibility. That whole thing about everyone sin from time to time is practically inviting someone to claim some good ol’ what-about-ism—the leader may have made an unwise financial decision, but what about that time you did thus-and-so, hmmm? The Ministry of Correction is completely ineffective if any member of the leadership are acting in bad faith.

So even when you don’t have a legal non-disclosure agreement hanging over your head, if you grew up in these kind of churches, and you sincerely think that what the person is doing is wrong, your first instinct isn’t to save documents and emails and when you have enough to establish a case that the president of the university is diverting school funds to finance is luxurious millionaire lifestyle, turn said evidence over to the Department of Revenue or another agency that can investigate it, instead you go tell the grifter that you think he might be sinning and you ask him politely to think about not doing it any more.

This also how pastors who sexually abuse parishioners manage to abuse people again and again without consequence. The pastor or an ally goes to many members of the congregation, each time pretending that this person is the only one he’s talking to, and talk about their concerns about young Billy who seems to be light in the loafers, or whatever. Which is also how you end up with high ranking officials of a church telling reporters with a straight face that 11-year-old altar boys lead priests into sin, so it’s really the priest who is a victim, not the child.

I know that may seem like a big leap, but it is the same system. The default reaction from those around Falwell would have been to first assume that whatever the accusation is, it can’t be true, because god wouldn’t have allowed him to become president if he were that kind of man. And if any portion are true, it may not be quite what it seems because go works in mysterious ways. And if more of it turns out to be true, well, obviously the problem isn’t Falwell, but people around him who led him astray.

So Mrs Falwell is castigated as having a sexual addiction (and she joins in on the self-castigation!). The former pool boy, and various students who have begun to come forward are all characterized as tools of temptation that trapped poor, innocent Falwell (who was only trying to help them) into an impossible situation, and so forth.

Because the respected leaders can’t possibly be in the wrong, otherwise god wouldn’t have let them become leaders. It must be nice to be the benefactor of such blatant circular reasoning.


Note: Part of this post’s title comes from the hymn, “Soldiers of Christ, Arise” by Charles Wesley, #416 in the 1956 Baptist Hymnal.

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion…

August is almost over and I’m trying not to freak out at how fast the year has gone. Along with trying to maintain a reasonable level of anxiety (rather than completely falling about) as the political situation and the related pandemic and civil situations continue to get worse, dealing with the stresses at work, and so on. I keep meaning to write about things more mundane and personal that all the news related and sci fi related stuff that has been dominating this blog for the last many weeks. Let’s see if I can pull that off!

One of the challenges of me working from home every work day (and because of being in a high risk group the current guidelines are that I try to avoid going shopping et cetera more than once a week) has been just trying to keep track of what day of the week it is and what time it is and what I’m supposed to be doing on particular days.

Being home constantly does strange things to my notions of housework, as well.

For instance, I was finding myself getting more and more annoyed at how cluttered two parts of the kitchen counter were all the time. It was on either side of the sink, making it difficult to deal with dishes and the dishwasher, because there was always the chore of assessing and dealing with the clutter before I could get to the chore I had gone into the kitchen to do in the first place. And given how easily I distract myself and go down metaphorical rabbits holes and forget why I went into a particular room in the best of circumstances, this was getting much worse.

One day I made myself stop and look at all the clutter and ask myself why it was there. A small part of it is that both my husband and I have a habit of drinking multiple glasses of water a day, and so each of us has a glass or mug that sits next to the sink to be reused through out the day, then put in the dishwasher and a new one is used the next day.

But that was a miniscule part of the problem. A lot of the clutter were things that aren’t dishwasher safe. We have a rather lot of those. And what I realized was happening day after day was that I’d notice several of them beside the sink, and then not be certain if they had been washed out or not, so I would wash it out, and since and then I would sit it on the counter to dry… and later in the day Michael might to exactly the same thing, so I was come in and notice that one of the plastic water pitchers, for instance, which I thought I’d washed in the morning, is wet again. So I’d leave it. But then the next day I would find myself worrying that maybe I was mixing up a time it had been rinsed and waiting to dry a week ago, so I’d wash it again.

Several other things were items that don’t normally go in the cabinet after being washed, but instead have a spot in the pantry, which is slightly more work to get into, and so they were stuck in a similar cycle. And I realized there was a simple solution that we just hadn’t thought to put in place. So I bought one of those folder bamboo dish racks, cleaned everything and towel dried some things and put everything away.

The rack takes up one of the two places that used to be filled with random clutter all the time, but not the space is serving a purpose. If something in the rack and is dry, neither of us has to worry that it hasn’t been cleaned. We put it away, hand wash anything else that is on the other side of the sink, put in in the rack, and the rest of the counter is available for whatever.

It shouldn’t have taken me several months of being frustrated to think of that, I know.

So, we have replaced a bad habit with a more useful one, which is good. But I noticed a little wrinkle that has developed since. Every Sunday I put all the parts of the coffee maker that are dishwasher safe in the dishwasher and run in. I get down one of the antique bone china tea cups (which belonged to my late first husband’s grandmother), a saucer, and my infusing pot, and I drink tea all day instead of coffee.

At the end of the day I wash out the teacup and saucer and put them on the rack to dry, right? And the pot goes into the dishwahser when the coffee maker (and other cleaned dishes) come out. Throughout the week my husband and I wash other things, take dried items from the rack and them away… except we both keep leaving the teacup and saucer in the rack all week.

Most Sundays when I get ready to make tea, I put the teacup and saucer that have been sitting in the rack all week in the cupboard, each on the bottom of their respective stacks, and take another from the top of the stacks down to make tea. The latter part because I’m justifying hanging on to these small number of specialized dishes for all the years since Ray died by making sure I rotate so that all of them get used regularly.

Now, where I keep the teacups and saucers is on a high shelf in one of the higher cabinets precisely because unlike many other dishes and utensils they aren’t used every day. So I suspect I’m not putting them away sooner is because it’s fractionally more work. And I strong suspect Michael doesn’t want to put them away for fear that he’ll mess up my rotation system.

And it’s not really a conscious decision. At some point after we’d had the rack for a couple of weeks, I just started putting away everything on the rack except the cup and saucer, and now it’s like my brain literally doesn’t perceive them as being a separate object from the rack itself until the day that I go to make a cup of tea.

I know that it’s a very minor glitch in our improved habits on this issue. It just… when I notice that my brain isn’t doing what I want it to do, I get tetchy.

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