Tag Archive | blogging

Assessments, plans, and implementations: a metapost

Click to embiggen.

Some parts of this post may fall too far into the “what I had for breakfast” zone for some of you, but it helps me to stick to plans if I share them with people. Not that I get nagged often by my readers, I just am more motivated to do things I have said I would do than to follow through on plans that I keep to myself.

So I’ve been making some changes to my routines in an attempt to improve my writing productivity, and I’m thinking about some changes for this blog…
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Friday Links (marriage, riots, and weird dinosaurs edition)

Harlem United's H.O.M.E Program Group taking a stand in front of the notorious Atlah church sign.

Harlem United’s H.O.M.E Program Group taking a stand in front of the notorious Atlah church sign.

It’s Friday! A grueling week of work is very nearly over! It’s the first Friday in May!!! And my husband and I have an awesome date night planned for tonight. Then tomorrow I and a bunch of my nerdiest friends are going to go see the new Avengers’ movie! Wicked, right?

Anyway, here is a collection of some of the things that I ran across over the course of the week which struck me as worthy of being shared:

Former Homeless Teen Cyndi Lauper Testifies Before Congress On Ending LGBT Youth Homelessness.

Dan Savage Presents His Manifesto For Straight Guys Attending Pride.

The glaring contradiction at the heart of the anti-gay marriage argument.

The Long Road Ahead: the ongoing fight for justice after marriage equality.

Harlem United’s H.O.M.E Program Group Strikes A Unified Pose Outside Notoriously Anti-LGBT Church.

How Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped pave the way for marriage equality.

Outside the Supreme Court, ‘love conquers hate’.

Why the ‘Religion is against gay marriage’ line no longer works.

Bloomberg Quick Take: Gay Rights.

On marriage debate, GOP candidates forget what year it is.

The central delusion of the Christian right: Americans aren’t really churchgoers after all.

Marriage opponents protest D.C. church.

It’s Not Gay Marriage vs. the Church Anymore.

The best part of the Supreme Court oral arguments about marriage equality was when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg alluded to S&M. Sort of…

Two gay West Virginia high school athletes attend senior prom as couple, and no one freaked out. Their pictures are adorable!

5 Horrible Ideas Republicans Will Never Let Die.

Bobby Jindal just splintered the GOP: The unholy alliance between Fox News and the 1 percent can no longer stand.

The First Rule For Interviewing An Anti-Gay Hate Group. I refuse to use the scare quotes!

Rich Gay Republicans Very Sorry For Not Knowing Ted Cruz Is An A-Hole.

The joke was that Obama wasn’t joking.

Women are overpriced vagina buses that won’t let you ride them, Man Going His Own Way explains.

David Simon on Baltimore’s Anguish.

The night the news died.

In case you had any doubts, media is rolling with Washington Post’s stenography for Baltimore PD.

Larry Wilmore rips Fox and CNN for ‘thug’ debate: ‘Here’s an N-word’ for you — ‘news’.

Morgan Freeman: Unrest in Baltimore exposed ‘the terrorism we suffer from the police’.

This animal is so weird that researchers are calling it ‘the platypus of dinosaurs’.

Rosetta Captures Stunning New Images of Comet’s Surface and Activity.

A Million H-Bombs per Second Heat the Sun’s Corona.

Romer’s Gap and the Four-Limbed Critters of Nova Scotia.

Bizarre ‘Bat Dinosaur’ Discovered in China.

11 Amazing Images From the Final Days of NASA’s Messenger Probe.

Internet delivers justice to man who left snarky joke instead of a tip. Thanks to @seashellseller for the link!

NOM: We’re broke and need money before you see no reason to ever give to us again. My heart bleed purple peanut butter for them!

In much sweeter news: Homeless Pit Bull Found Nursing Abandoned Kitten On Roadside.

And I wrote How I learned to stop being a jerk and love the wish list.

And that It bothers some people that we exist, part 2.

And I confessed that I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached.

Misconceptions about Caffeine – mental_floss on YouTube (Ep. 24):

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Adam Lambert – “Ghost Town” [Official Music Video]:

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Barney Frank on the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling – speculates that Justice Scalia will go up in a puff of smoke:

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Why Action Movies Are Musicals For Dudes – Today’s Topic:

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Cyndi Lauper Testimony: Hearing on Effort to End Youth Homelessness:

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Alex & Pam: Hallmark #PutYourHeartToPaper:

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Conchita Wurst – You Are Unstoppable (I can’t believe how aweseome every song that has been released from Conchita’s upcoming album is):

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Oh, what was it?

The other night while I was walking home from work (which takes a bit over an hour) I had this brilliant idea. For a while last year I participated in Throwback Thursday (#tbt or #Throwback) by writing a blog post inspired by one of the large collection of scans of the contents of Grandma’s old photo albums. It was fun. It was an easy way to make me write about something other than politics or the news.

But it isn’t something I really wanted to do constantly. Particularly since I was trying to avoid posting pictures of living relatives without their permission—or at least to minimize it. So that limited which pictures could be used. There’s also only so many childhood memories that I can make at least potentially interesting to other people.

So I took a break, figuring I would do it occasionally, or maybe pick a month next time, or something. Anyway, there I was, walking home in the drizzle, listening to music on my headphones, cars zooming by in the dark, and I had an idea of something else that I could do on Thursdays; make it the usual Thursday thing. It was a topic that could include Throwback Thursday. So I would have the benefits I get from having a weekly scheduled task, that could sometimes be a Throwback Thursday post, but most of the time would be something else. And that something else would, I hoped, be of slightly more interest than just another walk down memory lane with Gene.

It was brilliant! I even thought of a cute name that had the same initials as the short hashtag (tbt). I resolved to start my first post as soon as as I got home.

When I walked in the door, my glasses fogged up. I heard my husband call to me from upstairs, but I couldn’t understand what he said because I still had my headphones on. I had to turn off my headphones, take off (get myself untangled from) my backpack, peel off my wet hat and coat, hang up the coat and the hat, get out of my shoes, get the rest of my damp work clothes peeled off and tossed into the hamper, then pull them back out to check the pockets which I always forget, figure out where I set my glasses down when I came in the door, put on some sweatpants and fuzzy socks—all the while as Michale and I babble at each other about dinner and/or our days or something else that one of us thinks is important—check the mail, collect my phone and iPad and watch and headphones to put on their chargers…

And finally I sat down and woke up my laptop. I jumped to WordPress right away to start the first post in the new Thursday idea…

…and I couldn’t remember what the nifty notion was. I don’t just mean that I didn’t remember what I meant to start writing for today’s post, I mean that I couldn’t remember the umbrella topic/personal meme that was going to be my new regular Thursday thing. The thing that had the initials T B T and could include Throwback Thursdays as a subset.

I remember having the thought. I remembered the entire internal conversation about how I’d do it. But the idea itself? Gone.

And it’s still gone, days later. I haven’t got the slightest idea what it was. None.

I hate when that happens!

Sometimes it’s the little things that keep us sane

© 2014 Gene Breshears

Coffee always helps.

Some time back a friend I follow on twitter re-tweeted a funny headline that began with the words “Florida Man” and included a link. I clicked on the link and read a short story about a guy in Florida doing something stupid or outrageous or something. It was funny, but I noticed that the headline of the story didn’t match the tweet. The headline in the tweet described the story perfectly, but it wasn’t the actual headline of the news story.

The original source of the tweet (which my friend had re-tweeted) was an account named @_FloridaMan. A quick check of the account revealed it was a long string of headlines and links to text or video news stories happening in Florida. And not just any news stories, but specifically stories of men doing things such as trying to shoot an iguana and nearly hitting people in a nearby house instead, or calling the police to complain that he thinks his drug dealer is cheating him, or trying to steal ridiculous amounts of food by stuffing them down his pants and thinking no one will notice, and so forth. Most of the tales involved the police eventually.

A recent example for @_FloridaMan.

A recent example from @_FloridaMan.

They are funny and often extremely sad at the same time. And the stories cover such a wide spectrum of activities, you never know what’s going to pop up next. I got a kick out of reading several of the stories, and considered following @_FloridaMan right away. The problem is that I could see how that constant stream of ridiculous and thoughtless and often fatally stupid things that people do could encourage my inner cynic to the point of making me an unpleasant person.

An example from @EmergencyKittens

An example from @EmergencyKittens

A couple of different friends occasionally retweeted cute pictures of cats with humorous descriptions of said pictures. Yes, they’re cute cat pictures. Yes, I am aware of the widely-held belief that only shallow people share cute cat pictures on the internet. But they made me smile. Sometimes they made me roll my eyes, but most often they made me smile. One day, by chance, shortly after I had been reading a heart wrenching story about a man murdering his own teenage daughter because she was lesbian, I flipped over to twitter to try to get my mind off the story, and one of my friends had re-tweeted something unbelievably adorable from EmergencyKittens again, and I no longer felt like my head was going to burst from the combination of rage at the father and sorrow for the girl and everyone who cared for her.

I checked the entire Emergency Kitten feed again, and yes, it repeats itself a bit more often than I’d like, and yes many of the humorous comments are rather obvious. If it was the only thing coming into my feed, it would become annoying after a while. Of course, it wouldn’t be the only thing happening in my feed, as I follow a bunch of people, but still…

And that’s when I had the idea. I followed both @_FloridaMan and @EmergencyKittens on the same day. Both of them give me laughs, but they aren’t the some kind of humor. Both make me roll my eyes or groan. But while one often reinforces my inner cynic, the other just as often reinforces my inner optimist.

Both of them, in different ways, act as antidotes to the outrage that can so easily by instilled reading more serious news stories and otherwise paying attention to what’s happening in the world. So, having both feeds randomly put funny, silly, bewildering moments into my day go a long way toward keeping me sane.

Do I have to explain everything?



I have about a dozen half-written blog posts that are, ultimately, all about the same thing: people come up with really dumb arguments to justify discriminating against or otherwise being awful to other people. Then I have a couple of partially-written posts explaining some fallacies in some supposed-science memes being passed around on social media—not being passed around by the usually anti-science folks, but by the people who are usually ridiculing the cluelessness of the science challenged.

A couple weeks ago there was a rash of op-ed pieces and blog posts debating whether it is the job of various people to constantly educate other people about the realities of oppression, unwitting misogyny, institutional homophobia and racism, and the ways that people unintentionally perpetuate those things. And I understand. Some days I’m just too tired to deal with yet another clueless person…. Read More…

Selection bias, confirmation bias, or…?

Conservatives Converge Around Fox News as Main Source; No Single Source Dominates on the Left (Source: Pew Research Center)

Conservatives Converge Around Fox News as Main Source; No Single Source Dominates on the Left (Source: Pew Research Center)

The news seems to have been dominated by a couple of themes this week. I could easily write a whole series of blog posts extending my “Bullied Bullies” series into the double digits, what with The entire Idaho wedding chapel story is a lie, and NC officials refuse to marry gay couples, claim religious oppression, and Gamergate Goons Can Scream All They Want, But They Can’t Stop Progress, and No, The City of Houston Isn’t Bullying Anti-Gay Pastors – This Is Basic Lawyering. I could go on and on.

But I don’t want to only write about people being clueless and/or bigoted all the time. I have to remind myself that one reason I see so many stories clustered around particular topics is because I tend to read news sites that report on topics of interest to me, and as an out gay man who was raised Southern Baptist, studied math and science at university, and have always been a sci fi/fantasy nerd, I gravitate toward news sites that cover social justice, science, technology, and nerd culture. So I’m going to see a lot of stories like Gamer Gate, or the propaganda efforts of anti-gay folks, and so on.

It’s not just which news sites I choose to go to, of course. If some sites are covering a story, similar sites will pick it up, even if only to summarize and point to the original piece. Seeing these stories, and seeing people respond to them, make the news gatherers, reporters, and editors look for similar events in subsequent news cycles.

Sometimes, of course, there really are a lot of things happening all related to a particular topic. The recent Appeals Courts’ rulings about marriage equality, and the Supreme Court’s decision to let them stand, has put a lot of states that no one expected to be dealing with marriage equality so soon into the crosshairs. This makes people who oppose same sex couples having the right to marry feel even more threatened. And because each circuit court covers a bunch of states, these people who feel threatened are scattered over a wide geographical area. You have a lot of people in a lot of places all reacting to a perceived threat, you’re going to have a lot of incidents that will rise to some level of newsworthy. A whole lot.

And of course, I’m not the only person who is reading selective news. The folks who feel exactly the opposite as I do about some of these topics are reading their favorite sites. Or should I say their favorite site, singular (Conservatives Converge Around Fox News as Main Source; No Single Source Dominates on the Left)? Where they find the same stories being couched in a very different light, fanning those flames of fear.

I had about four half-written pieces that I could have finished to post yesterday, but they were all about the sorts of stories I link to up in the first paragraph. One of my goals for the year has been to reduce the outrage, and focusing so much attention on those stories does not help me with that goal. The problem is, the only other topic I had nearly ready to publish was about people who look down on other people because of the kinds of books they like to read. Which had a very same-y feel to it.

Which all led me to here, contemplating how everything I’m writing about (other than my novel) is processing exactly the feelings I don’t want to be spending so much time on. I suppose it could be argued by writing them down, I have gotten some of it out of my system, but I’m not sure that publishing them all would further the purpose.

So I’m going to try to concentrate my attention for the next few days on my fiction writing. I’m overdue for writing about the craft of writing, any way.

Friday Links (with robots)!


It’s Friday! The week is nearly over. It’s time to celebrate!

As usual, here is a collection of news and other things that I ran across over the course of the week which struck me as worthy of being shared:

Fed Up With a Lack of Diverse Children’s Books, Queer Parents Write Their Own.

How Gamora Is Both The Least And Most Interesting Character In GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

Why Am I Moving Left? I used to be right down the middle. But America’s changed, and so have I..

Photos from the Mars Hill Church Protest in Bellevue.

How My Father’s Gay Marriage Trial Re-Ignited My Calling to the Ministry.

Exclusive: ‘Pro-Troop’ Charity Pays Off Tea Party Cronies Instead.

Paul Krugman cheers the Obama victory everyone else forgot.

Fun with Troglodytes: Battling Angry Right-Wing Trolls.

“Oppressed” Straight White Men Express Right To Hate Football Team For Being LGBT Inclusive. And apparently feeling left out, some baseball fans react just as ridiculously: Anti-Gay Fans Rant On Facebook Over White Sox LGBT Night.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Ugly and Wasteful Crusade Against Marriage Equality.

GOP wimps suddenly fear social issues: How tables turned on religious right.

Rocking The Boat: Fundamentalist Ministry Head Responds To ‘Ark Park’ Criticisms.

They’re Going to Blame the Gays for Climate Change. Some of the commenters on this article scolded the author for focusing on the anti-gay comments when other sins were mentioned. But then how about this other wingnuts: Ann Coulter: Christians Should Just Let Africans Die Of All Those Horrible Diseases. And: Harlem Hate Pastor James Manning: All Those Who Support Homosexuality, Be Thou Cursed With Ebola. (The minister starts shouting his hate partway through the video, be warned!) Even the White Supremacists are getting in on the act: African Negroes Blame Faggotry for Escalating Ebola Epidemic. And also: Pastor Rick Wiles: Ebola Could Solve America’s Problem With Gays & Atheists.

All these haters are just depressing. Let’s get back to science:

Zoologger: Hero ant jumps off cliff to eject invaders.

Astronomers find stream of gas – 2.6 million light years long.

Science and tech prints ads from the 50s-60s.

Scientists introduce new cosmic connectivity: Quantum pigeonhole paradox.

Why Your Supermarket Sells Only 5 Kinds of Apples. (Thanks to @tdjohnsn for the link)

Why Vaccine and GMO Denial Should be Treated Equally.

Giant Penguins Roamed Antarctica 40 Million Years Ago.

Supernovas Might Create Weird ‘Zombie Stars’.

Concerned about Ebola? You’re worrying about the wrong disease: Despite the terrifying headlines, almost none of us will get sick from Ebola – our fears often bear little relation to reality.

The Man Who Invented the 26th Dimension. How a scientist you never heard of made String Theory possible.

Sam Smith – I’m Not The Only One:

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Bear In Heaven – Time Between:

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Hips Don’t Lie – Charity Single – Out of the Blue – Shakira:

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Tom Goss’s Acoustic Cover of Iggy Azalea’s Fancy:

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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Native Advertising :

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Pentatonix – We Are Ninjas | Inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Short, sweet, fun… which I bet is more than we’ll be able to say about the next movie adaptation):

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Doctor Who Parody by The Hillywood Show®:

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Self-Folding Robot Assembles Autonomously:

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Sunday Funnies, part 5

Another in my series of posts recommending web comics that I think more people should read:

I’ve long been a fan of: “Mr. Cow,” by Chuck Melville… and not just because the artist is a friend! A clueless cow with Walter Cronkite dreams presides over a barnyard of a newsroom. And if you like Mr. Cow, you can support the artist by going to his Patreon Page.

dm100x80I’m also a big fan of “Deer Me,” by Sheryl Schopfer. This artist is also a friend. I have previously described this strip as: “Three roommates who couldn’t be more dissimilar while being surprisingly compatible.” Except in a recent story line Thomas has moved out! Eeek! And if you enjoy Deer Me, you can support the artist by going to her Patreon Page!

designall.dllIf you like epic fantasy with a lot of humor, check out Felicia, the Sorceress of Katara, by Chuck Melville. Felicia is a vixen sorceress who is trying to make her own fate, independent of the Magi Council. Felicia also appears in a series of books, and an actually-printed-on-paper series of comic books! Of Felicia’s prose books, my particular favorite is Felicia and the Dreaded Book of Un. However, if you were to ask my mom which book is best, she would tell you it’s Felicia and the Cult of the Rubber Nose.

And I love this impish girl thief with a tail and her reluctant undead sorcerer/bodyguard: “Unsounded,” by Ashley Cope.

The_Young_Protectors_HALF_BANNER_OUTSIDE_234x601The Young Protectors begins when a young, closeted teen-age superhero who has just snuck into a gay bar for the first time is seen exiting said bar by a not-so-young, very experienced, very powerful, super-villain. Trouble, of course, ensues.

Friday Links (with Weird Al)!


Yay! (www.lolfunnyspot.com)

It’s Friday! Again. And this week I really, really, really am glad that the weekend’s here.

Here’s a collection of news and other things that struck me as worthy of being shared:

Red Lobster Comps Widow’s Check on Anniversary.

In case you needed more proof that the ex-gay movement is a fraud: Pastor Duane Youngblood, author of the book Freedom From Homosexuality: No Longer Living The Lie, was arrested for molesting a teenage boy dozens of times. But wait! This should be a surprise to no one. Back in 2006, the very same year his ex-gay book came out, Youngblood was arrested for molesting a 15-year-old boy in his church office! And that 2006 arrest wasn’t the first time…

One of the very few attempts to render a male superhero costume in the same ridiculously “sexy” female supers are routinely drawn: Why Must Dudes Ruin Perfectly Good Superheroine and Action Franchises with Their Requests for Diversity?

Research: Human friendships based on genetic similarities beyond the superficial.

Church of England approves women bishops for first time in history.

CNBC’s Climate “Expert”: “Demonization Of Carbon Dioxide Is Just Like” Demonization Of “Jews Under Hitler”.

ENDA: The Nightmare Scenario in Which GOPers Push a Bad Bill That Gay Groups Dropped.

Non-Believers Win A Decisive Court Victory In Indiana.

Churyumov-Gerasimenko is a contact binary!.

The distorting reality of ‘false balance’ in the media.

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Calls for Death of Comic Creator.

A History of Throwing Shade for Black Women and Gay White Men. Before “white gays” copied it from black women, black women stole if from black gays…

Why do we have blood types? Scientists still trying to figure out the evolutionary reason for blood types.

Arizona Politician Mistakes YMCA Campers For Undocumented Children. Warning: auto-playing video on site (grrrr)

Marvel Comics Just Made Thor Female, And Conservatives Are Furious.


File this under “Duh!” Studies: Stand Your Ground Laws Lead To More Homicides, Don’t Deter Crime.

Salem Mayor: ‘Apparently, Glenn Beck Is Not Happy With Us’. City hall inundated with angry calls from homophobes, starts donating to gay youth charity.

Blues Guitarist Johnny Winter Dies At 70.

‘Nano-pixels’ promise thin, flexible, high-resolution displays.

Connecticut Supreme Court: Same-Sex Marriage Rights Are Retroactive.

California Experiences Warmest, 3rd Driest Year Since 1895.

Robert Reich: Deadbeat 1 percenters endanger U.S. democracy.

‘Bye Sierra’: A Slightly Angry Queer Response to the Sierra Mannie Controversy.

In case you missed it, earlier this week I had a more concise, less angry response to the same weird op-ed piece: Confessions of a white homo devil, part 3.

Matt Alber Covers “Walking on Sunshine”:

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National treasure “Weird Al” Yankovic is releasing a new video each doy this week of a parody of a hit song. This was Tuesday’s, which is my second favorite thus far, Weird Al’s parody of Blurred Lines, Word Crimes:

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Jenny Lewis – Just One Of The Guys [Official Music Video]:

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Church of England Votes to Allow Women Bishops:

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Exclusive “Weird Al” Yankovic Music Video: FOIL (Parody of “Royals” by Lorde):

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Friday Links – Happy Independence Day!

It’s Friday! It is the first Friday in July, it is a big holiday, and by the time you read this, I will be two days into my vacation where I am attending both a tabletop gaming convention and a My Little Pony: Friendship is magic convention. My husband and I are such nerds!

Here’s a collection of news and other things that struck me as worthy of being shared:

Avoiding “Sagan Syndrome.” Why Astronomers and Journalists should pay heed to Biologists about Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. This is awesome for the explanation of time scales alone!

GOP Candidate Charges Opponent Is Dead, Replaced By A Body Double. Also issues pledge that he, unlike dead, replaced opponent, is human. Wow. Big thanks to Deeptriviality for the link!

GOP Hopeful: My Public Masturbation Fetish and Felonies Were Bad Ideas.

The Normal Heart’s Problematic White Men. Not quite what you think.

“Rarely have so few overlooked so many to claim so much based on so little.” A review of a book by two guys patting themselves on the back for joining the marriage equality fight a couple of years ago.

Drain on My Parade: Did the Human Rights Campaign Sell Us Out on ENDA and Outsource LGBT Rights? Well, yes.

[GUEST POST] Catherine Lundoff on LGBT Science Fiction and Fantasy in the 1990s.

Extinct Humans Passed High-Altitude Gene to Tibetans.

5 states trying to make their kids scientifically illiterate.


Not a Former Lesbian: Bisexual Women Discuss Their Long-term Relationships with Men.

Funnel-Shaped Animals Invented Reefs Prior to Cambrian Explosion.

Fantastically Wrong: The Legendary Scientist Who Swore Our Planet Is Hollow.

‘Jesus’ Went To The Chicago Gay Pride Parade With A Very Important Message.

Kentucky Baptist Church Agrees To Hold Its First Same-Sex Wedding.

N.H. Supreme Court sides with birth mother’s ex-partner in custody case.

John Oliver on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Laws and the Role of American Hater Scott Lively:

Continuing the Daily Show’s tradition on his new HBO series by covering a serious, important story that the big media ignores. It really is worth the full 17 minutes. It’s funny, sad, horrifying, and an incredible interview at the end.
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♫ Ginsburg’s Hobby Lobby Dissent | Song A Day #2007:

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