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Five years after the Pulse massacre, what can we do?

49 people were murdered that night. Don’t forget them! https://people.com/crime/orlando-pulse-shooting-tributes-to-49-victims/


Mayor Dyer: Honor Pulse victims by making Orlando more inclusive

Biden Marks Pulse Anniversary: We Must Acknowledge Gun Violence’s Particular Impact On LGBTQ Community

Joe.My.God – My Pulse Memory: Their Phones Kept Ringing

Pulse Shooting Survivor Brandon Wolf on the Meaning of June 12

It’s the fifth anniversary of the worst mass killing of queer people in U.S. history. Before the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre, the worst single event had been the UpStairs Lounge arson attack on June 24, 1973 in New Orleans.

I see that certain news sites and deplorables are once again trying to push the narrative that this event was a hate crime directed against queer people. I explained why they are wrong last year: Four years after the Pulse massacre and don’t feel the need to re-hash everything, other than to point out the the shooter’s own father was one of the people who thought the club had been picked because of how much his son hated queer people and that his son had ranted a lot the week before the shooting about how marriage equality was proof that American culture had embraced evil.

On this night five years ago, a lot of people were at Pulse celebrating Latinx Night as one of several Pride Month activities at the bar. They went out to have fun, to dance, to be with other queer people. To celebrate life. To celebrate Pride. To celebrate the concept that love is love.

Forty-nine of them never came home that night. I don’t personally know any of them, but when I am reminded of that night, I cry just as hard as a did when I was first reading news reports of the even the next morning. Because queer people are my tribe. Queer people are my community.

And the biggest fear I have had since realizing I was gay, is that some day a hater is going to kill me or someone I love because we’re queer.

Four years later, the Pulse massacre is still a gut punch.

Tuesday Tidbits: Tools Who Have Outlived Their Usefulness

There’s more than one way to be toxic…

You Know Things Are Bad if the Guy Whose Boots You’ve Licked for More Than Four Years Won’t Meet You

Embattled Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is denied a meeting with Trump

Meet Matt Gaetz’s PR firm, run by Trump ally who bailed on promise to eat his own shoe if Trump lost – Time to chow down!

Liz Cheney On Matt Gaetz: ‘As The Mother Of Daughters, The Charges Certainly Are Sickening’ – Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) on Sunday said that sex trafficking and other allegations against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are "sickening."

Glenn Greenwald Defends Gaetz’ Right To Have Sex With ‘Consenting’ Teenagers – Frequent Fox News guest, this week said that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has the right to have sex with a "consenting" 17-year-old girl.

Mass Shootings Everywhere

Toddler among 4 wounded in Seattle Central District shooting

4 injured, 1 dead after shooting at Memphis auto repair shop, police say

Four shot, one critically injured near Grand Valley State University

Cops Killing Unarmed People

Derek Chauvin’s defense begins its case by highlighting George Floyd’s prior arrest Because of course they do!

Officer identified as a 26-year veteran in fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright: What we know

Protesters, police clash at Brooklyn Center police station

King County Executive Dow Constantine urges Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht to retire – Sheriff sent an internal email to staff saying the settlement is “not a reflection of how I view the actions” of the deputy who shot unarmed 20-year-old Tommy Le This one has the complication that we King County voters approved a charter amendment last fall that ends Sheriff elections and makes the position of county sheriff an appointed position. In just 9 months the request from the executive (and calls from several county council members) will no longer be requests…

Weekend Update 4/10/2021: Hypocrites, volcanoes, vaccines, and humor

“Hypocrite”

“Did Republicans tell the CEO of Goya to stay out of politics between Fox News appearances or after he spoke at CPAC last month???”

Congressman Gaetz really should start listening to a lawyer and stop running around to all the news stations telling lies…
“Would it make you guys feel better if Lil Nas X gave Jesus a lap dance too?”
More hypocrites…
“If a woman sleeps with ten men, she’s a slut. But if a guy does the same, he is…” “…Gay, Karen. He is gay.”

Friday Five (purple unicorn edition)

Welcome to the first Friday in April. This year falling on Good Friday. And on the second day of NorWesCon.

NorWesCon 43 is the third virtual convention I’ve attended since the pandemic began. The first day had a number of panels I enjoyed. One of the best parts was getting to see and hear a friend that I haven’t seen since Christmas 2019.

Which brings us to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about so-called Christians, and five videos (plus something I wrote and notable obituaries).

Stories of the week:

A Dog Who Kept Sneaking into a Dollar General for a Unicorn Toy Gets His Plush and a New Start – The animal control officer who moved Sisu from the Dollar General store to the shelter bought the stray dog his unicorn toy before bringing the canine in

Former D.C. police chief: ‘There should be a higher standard for police’

The Dark Tales of the Christian Sex Addiction Industry – There’s a reason so many young men believe their sexual desires make them depraved—or worse

The GOP’s feverish hunt for NC election fraud uncovers a shocking result – clean elections

Conservative Christians are driving more Americans away from religion altogether – A new book finds that the more conservative politics and religion are inseparable, the more people identify as having no religion at all

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Nevada lawmaker Sarah Peters comes out as pansexual in moving speech – "Am I queer enough? Am I gay enough? What if I end up heteronormative, am I straight? Y’all, we are all enough and worth celebrating!"

Trans People Can Now Openly Serve In The US Military And Get Gender-Affirming Medical Care

Review: Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO” Music Video Is the Queer Visual We Didn’t Know We Were Waiting On

Lil Nas X’s proud dad is a gospel singer. A rightwinger on Twitter found out the hard way – While the religious right is flipping out over the new "satanic" video, it is officially Dad Certified

Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins Furious That Blinken Axed Pompeo’s Anti-LGBT Policy: He Doesn’t Care About “Biblical And Moral Law”

This Week in So-called Christians:

Oklahoma Pastor’s Midnight Execution Unravels Secret Threesome Love Affair

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz under investigation over alleged sexual relationship with teen. Like No Other: TIMELINE of Gaetz Headlines

Matt Gaetz paid prostitutes using Cash App and Apple Pay — and there are receipts: NYT bombshell

A middle school teacher reportedly told students that LGBTQ people are “sinful”

Masterpiece Cakeshop Once Again in Court for Alleged Anti-LGBTQ+ Bias

Things I wrote:

Confessions of an old white-bearded blogger

In Memoriam

Beverly Cleary, beloved children’s author, dies at 104

Beverly Cleary Wrote About Real Life, and Her Readers Loved Her for It – The creator of Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins constructed a world that children recognized — one that changed with the times

Larry McMurtry, Oscar Winner for ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and Author of ‘Lonesome Dove,’ Dies at 84

Larry McMurtry, author of ‘Lonesome Dove’ and other novels, dies at age 84

Videos

Click on the image to be taken to the video!

Stephen Colbert: The Establishment covers Matt Gaetz’s underage sex scandal Stephen Colbert: The Establishment covers Matt Gaetz's underage sex scandal

Trump’s Legal Tornado! Massive Lawsuits Put 45 In ‘Serious Trouble’ Trump's Legal Tornado! Massive Lawsuits Put 45 In 'Serious Trouble'

Rachel Maddow – Why Biden Infrastructure Plan’s Popularity May Represent A Political Turning Point Why Biden Infrastructure Plan's Popularity May Represent A Political Turning Point

Seth Meyers – CNN Lost 45% of Its Audience Since Biden Took Office, though it’s not what you think Seth Meyers - CNN Lost 45% of Its Audience Since Biden Took Office

NSFW – Lil Nas X – MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Official Video Lil Nas X - MONTERO Call Me By Your Name

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

“I send this lad and shamrock gay, With wishes for St. Patrick's Day.”

“I send this lad and shamrock gay, With wishes for St. Patrick’s Day.”

There are several blog posts I should be finishing. Instead you’re going to get a silly post. Because goodness knows we could all use a bit of silliness.

I’m trying not to be worried about the likelihood—thanks to so many people throwing off their masks and/or going out the bars and restaurants—that COVID cases are going to surge again in coming weeks.

I’m not going out partying. We’re cooking a beef brisket and staying home. Yes, I’m wearing new silly shiny green shamrock earrings. And my husband and I each have a silly shamrock-adorned mask to wear today. But I’m staying home all day, and he’s doing his usual workday then coming home.

Here is hoping that come this time next year, we’re all playing at being leprechauns and/or chasing after the end of the rainbow.

Hey, it’s March Fourth! So, let’s March Forth

“We don't know them all but we owe them all.”

“We don’t know them all but we owe them all.”

I’ve written before about an acquaintance in college who was shocked that I’d never heard the pun about this day: March Forth! It’s a date! It’s a command! It’s a date and a command!

I hesitated to post this, because the QAnon fuckwits think that today is a magical day when the former Traitor in Chief will be sworn in as president because original constitutional inauguration date and a mythical law in 1871 and blah blah blah.

But I can’t let fuckwits make my life decisions for me. So I’m going to continue to observe my personal March Forth tradition. I urge you all on this March Forth, to go please donate to The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

You can also go to this page on the NCHV website, click on the name of your state, and find a list of organizations helping the homeless in general and homeless veterans in particular in your community. Donate or volunteer.

March forth, and spread the word.

Friday Five (needs more dinosaurs edition)

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” ― Carl Sagan

(click to embiggen)

We’ve already reached the second Friday in February! Wow!

It has been getting colder and colder all week. We started getting snow Thursday. Overnight lows significantly below freezing, and much most snow is expected Saturday. And I live on a hillside with very steep hills the only way out of the neighborhood, so I probably won’t be leaving the house until next week when the temps are predicted to come back up.

Meanwhile, we have the Friday Five. This week I bring you: one story about why snow is such a catastrophe here, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about threats traitos, five stories about bad people getting their due, and five videas (plus things I wrote and some notable obituaries).

This Week In News Local to Me:

“To all the people who moved here in the last few years, and think you’re a great driver in the snow, you’re not,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan declared. “Seattle hills are notoriously difficult, in particular when the snow melts and then freezes.”

Stories of the Week:

8-Year-Old Calls Out NPR For Lack Of Dinosaur Stories.

They Stormed the Capitol. Their Apps Tracked Them. This story is not really about the murder mob, rather it is a fascinating and chilling example of what can be learned by aggregating anonymized ad network data. The graphics alone are worth the click.

KUOW – The last youth jail in the country moves to end contract with ICE.

Dozens of states see new voter suppression proposals after baseless fraud claims.

Essex academic’s imposter ‘copied work and tattoos’.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Arkansas senate passes bill to allow pharmacists & nursing home staff to turn away LGBTQ patients – The bill lists protected health care professionals, including doctors and nurses and any “individual who furnishes or assists in the provision of a healthcare service.” Employers could demand their health insurance refuse to provide LGBTQ health care.

Federal agency to crack down on LGBTQ housing discrimination.

Activists gathered 500,000 signatures to force Michigan’s legislature to vote on LGBTQ civil rights – The state legislature will have to vote to accept the petition for LGBTQ protections and make it immediate law or put it on the ballot in 2022.

C.D.C. Report: Gay and Bi People at Greater Risk for Severe COVID-19.

Transgender activists in the South are battling homelessness with tiny homes and private shelters amid COVID-19.

This Week in the Pandemic:

US could have averted 40% of Covid deaths, says panel examining Trump’s policies – The country began the pandemic with a degraded public health infrastructure, leading to more deaths than other high-income countries.

Biden just purchased 200 million additional doses of coronavirus vaccines — and we now have enough shots coming to immunize most Americans.

Drugmakers Look for New Ways to Test Covid-19 Vaccines – Researchers aim to measure how much immune response a shot triggers—potentially useful for assessing new shots and new uses.

Vaccinated workers at Massachusetts hospital volunteer to sit with Covid-19 patients.

GOP Rep. Ron Wright dies after Covid diagnosis – Dozens of members have also tested positive for the disease over the past year and one representive-elect died from it less than two months ago, but Wright is the first sitting lawmaker to do so.

This Week in Seditious Traitors:

No, the Trump Era Was Not a ‘Thrill’ – White political journalists distanced themselves from the horrors of the Trump administration in a way many of us couldn’t.

Trump-supporting evangelicals should share blame for January 6 insurrection.

Justice Department says an Oath Keepers leader waited for Trump’s direction before Capitol attack.

A majority of the people arrested for Capitol riot had a history of financial trouble – Trail of bankruptcies, tax problems and bad debts raises questions for researchers trying to understand motivations for attack.

At Trump Impeachment II, the Republican Party Is Also on Trial .

This Week in Deplorable People Facing Consequences:

Twitter Suspends Right-Wing Activist Group Project Veritas, James O’Keefe.

Judge Orders Dan Bongino to Pay The Daily Beast $31,000 in Attorneys’ Fees for Filing Defamation Lawsuit ‘Without Merit’.

Judge Orders OAN to Pay Rachel Maddow and MSNBC $250,000 in Attorney Fees For Filing Frivolous Defamation Lawsuit.

Tim Eyman violated campaign finance law, judge rules, is barred from controlling political committees Eyman is a horse’s ass, a grifter, and man who has devastated local government budgets.

Trump could be fined $12 million after an Illinois judge ruled his Chicago hotel violated an environmental protection law for 3 years.

In Memoriam:

Mary Wilson, founding member of The Supremes, dies at 76 – “She was a trailblazer, a diva, and will be deeply missed,” Motown founder Berry Gordy said.

Mary Wilson, longest-reigning original Supreme, dies at 76.

Christopher Plummer, actor of ‘The Sound of Music’ fame, dies at 9 – Plummer died at his home in Connecticut with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side.

Remembering Christopher Plummer for so much more than ‘The Sound of Music’.

Porn Mogul Larry Flynt, ‘Hustler’ founder and 1st Amendment champion, dies at 78.

Things I wrote:

WandaVision Goes Even More Meta in “A Very Special Episode…”.

Monday Update 2/8/2021: Infamy, Defamation… but also a bit of good news.

Ask the Next Question, or how SF/F has always been confronting social issue.

Bullying, gender, and the importance of horses – or, more of why I love sf/f.

Always re-blog.

Videos!

One Billion Years of Earth’s Evolution in 45 Seconds:

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Dolly Parton on Funding Coronavirus Vaccine and Teaming up With Barry Gibb:

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Reality Sets In After A Weirdly Normal Super Bowl Sunday:

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Trump’s Impeachment Lawyers Are Very Bad: A Closer Look:

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Never-Before-Seen Capitol Riot Videos Provide Damning Evidence Against Trump:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Ask the Next Question, or how SF/F has always been confronting social issues

I need to get my other hosting issues sorted out and get a couple of my other sites back up on the web. But a conversation elseweb made me dig out this essay I wrote and first published 22 years ago and resurrect it on this blog. Homophobia is not a recent development in the sci fi community. But also neither is allyship, so:

(Originally published 18 June, 1999)

Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985) was one of America’s finest writers. He was one of the great figures of the Golden Age of science fiction. During his lifetime he produced over 200 stories, several novels, film and tv scripts (including two of the most famous episodes of the original “Star Trek” series), plays, and dozens of non-fiction reviews and essays. His many literary awards include the Hugo, the Nebula, and the International Fantasy Award.

Sturgeon wrote such great fiction because his philosophy was “Always ask the next question.” He even created a symbol or personal shorthand for “Ask the next question,” a capital “Q” with an arrow through it. He was never satisfied with conventional wisdom or pat answers.

And that tendency got him in big trouble in 1953, making him the central target of an intense “anti-homosexual blacklist” within the publishing community. Prior to the 1970s, it was virtually unheard of for gay men, lesbian, or bisexual characters to appear in any kind of fiction, and when they did, they were either vile villains or tragically flawed creatures who committed suicide before the end of the story. While many science fiction authors were questioning racial stereotypes or decrying McCarthy’s rabid anti-communism, they closed ranks with the rest of the status quo on the question of homosexuality.

Not Theodore Sturgeon. At the time a father of four and somewhat notorious womanizer, Sturgeon still couldn’t help but ask the next question. If racism was wrong, why not sexism and heterosexism? He wrote three short stories in quick succession. The first, “The Silken Swift” was a twist on the unicorn legend that questioned society’s definitions of purity and innocence, while making some comments about the role of women in most cultures. It caused a slight stir, but didn’t seem too far out. Then “The Sex Opposite” started showing up in editor’s mailboxes, in which Sturgeon posited a whole subspecies of humans who could change their gender at will, and whom engaged in long term relationships with members of all three sexes. This provoked a mild uproar, and many editors shied far away from it. Sturgeon started receiving unsolicited advice, some of it implied that people were assuming he was homosexual (because only a “pervert” would even think of portraying such relationships as possible, let alone successful and happy) and suggesting that he tone it down, for the sake of his career.

Which seemed to firm up Sturgeon’s resolve. He sat down at his typewriter and created “The World Well Lost” in which homosexual characters were not only portrayed as normal, well-adjusted people in the future, the story came right out and referred to the homophobic past has a horrible time. Fear and loathing of homosexuals was a sign of an immature society, the story said. This was too much for some people. The editor of the magazine Fantastic, Howard Browne, was so outraged by the tale, not only did he reject it, he immediately started phoning all the other editors he knew to organized a boycott of Sturgeon. Browne wasn’t satisfied with bullying other editors into agreeing never to publish anything from Sturgeon again. He and his cronies promised to completely ruin the career of anyone who dared publish “The World Well Lost” itself.

Ray Palmer was a feisty man who was editor of Universe Science Fiction, a small pulp sci-fi zine at the time. Perhaps it was because Mr. Palmer had suffered from disfiguring disability since childhood, and had little sympathy for bullies, but in any case, Palmer put “The World Well Lost” into a fast track to get it published right away. And he publicly dared Browne’s group to make good on their threat.

Browne’s coalition quickly crumbled, and the “Homosexual Blacklist” faded away before it had a chance to damage any other careers.

Sturgeon kept on asking the next question, never afraid to broach topics just because they were controversial. And Palmer enjoyed a long and successful career in publishing. Thanks to them, other writers in the fifties, sixties, and seventies could explore the subject of homosexuality in a more balanced and tolerant fashion. While it was true that, even into the late seventies, most readers, critics, and editors assumed that any author who wrote such a story was probably gay, bi, or lesbian themselves, it was because of two courageous heterosexual men, Sturgeon and Palmer, that those authors could give us those rare, early glimpses into a world where homophobia was neither common nor acceptable.

This pride month, remember to raise a toast to Theodore Sturgeon and Ray Palmer, two people who knew it was better to do the right thing than to be perceived as the right kind of people. Where ever their spirits are now, I’m sure they are still asking questions.

Friday Five (stay ho-ho-home edition)

We have reached the fourth and final Friday in December. This is also the final Friday in 2020, and year that I think everyone agrees needs to be over.

It also happens to be Christmas Day. In a normal year that would mean that likely most people wouldn’t be reading things online until later in the day, after much of the festivities are over. But most people should be staying home, opening presents over zoom or facetime or something.

Because it is Christmas Day, I had mixed feeling about what kind of stories I ought to include. In doesn’t help that every day there are worse and worse headlines about the crybaby-in-chief and his latest temper tantrum. But in the end, the news is what it is. So, this Friday Five I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about science, five stories about people who definitely aren’t on Santa’s Nice List, five stories about the pandemic, and five videas (plus things I wrote and a notable obituary).

Stories of the Week:

Crying on the Clock Is the Best WFH Perk.

SolarWinds Adviser Warned of Lax Security Years Before Hack.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Fetterman relentlessly trolls Dan Patrick seeking $1M voter fraud bounty.

Arizona GOP May Face Sanctions for Filing Lawsuit Contradicted by Audit, Judge Suggests.

Secret Service Has No Plan if Trump Refuses to Go, Sources Say. A more accurate headline would be, “Secret Service Will Not Say Whether They Hava a Plan if Trump Refuses to Go”

This Week in Science:

Aliens at Proxima Centauri? A New Radio Signal Raises the Question.

‘Beautiful’ dinosaur tail found preserved in amber.

Ancient wolf cub found ‘perfectly preserved’ in Canadian permafrost. We even know what it ate.

The year 2020 in space discoveries.

The Forest in the City – Researchers are looking for answers to the mysterious die-off of sword ferns in Seattle’s Seward Park..

This Week in People Who Definitely Got Coal In Their Stockings:

Another Blow for QAnon as Voat (aka Alt-Right Reddit Knock-off) Announces a Christmas Shutdown.

NY Attorney General subpoenas pro-Trump troll Jacob Wohl for voter suppression scheme – Wohl and Jack Burkman have been criminally indicted in Ohio and Michigan in connection with the robocall scheme.

How Offshore Oddsmakers Made a Killing off Gullible Trump Supporters – The emotions and strategies behind record-setting bets on a MAGA victory that never came.

FBI: White Supremacists Plotted Attack on US Power Grid – The FBI alleges in an affidavit that white supremacists schemed to attack power stations in the southeastern U.S. and one Ohio teenager wanted the group to be “operational” on a faster timeline if President Donald Trump lost his re-election bid.

Christians Invaded Native American Sacred Space to Pray Away “Dark Energy”.

This Week in the Pandemic:

Misinformation about the vaccine could be worse than disinformation about the elections – The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines is presenting social media sites with fresh and daunting challenges.

Every US coronavirus death is preventable, health expert says.

U.S. to require all air passengers arriving from U.K. to test negative for COVID-19.

COVID-19: South African variant may be worse than UK variant.

Black doctor dies of COVID-19 weeks after turning to social media to chronicle racist treatment.

In Memoriam:

James E. Gunn, Science Fiction Author and Scholar, Dies at 97.

Things I wrote:

Playing catchup, virtual party, and counting down to Christmas.

A proper Christmas… however you define it.

Unintentional physics lessons, anniversary, and more.

We need a Rainbow Christmas—especially in quarantine.

Videos!

“Twas The Coup Before Christmas” A Late Show Animated Holiday Classic:

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Top Republican HUMILIATES Sidney Powell ON FOX NEWS:

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ARE YOU A DOUBLE DIPPER?:

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Steve Grand – I’ll be home for Christmas (Official Music Video):

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Tom Goss – Christmas 2020 – not all pandemic-themed holiday songs have to be melancholy (not that there’s anything wrong with that):

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“My name is Inigo Montoya. You tried to destroy my Republic. Prepare to lose the election!”

I’m doing NaNoWriMo, and have already diverted a lot of attention on the election and commentary thereof. So instead of a substantial blog post, here is a fun meme-set swiped from iamjohnlocked4life.tumblr.com:

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