Tag Archive | news

Weekend Update 9/19/2020: What the F*ck Else, 2020?

Photo of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with the phrase, "Can't spell TRUTH without RUTH."

Rest in Power, Justice Ginsburg


It is once more time for a post in which I link to stories that either didn’t make the cut for this week’s Friday Five, or broke after I composed the Friday Five, or are an update to a story I’ve linked to and ranted commented upon in a previous post. This is going to be a bit different than my usual Weekend Update, it gets personal a couple of time. You’ll understand why, I’m sure.

We’re going to start with sad (and for me, devastating) news first. I’ve already cried a few times over it: ‘Devastating loss’: Bay Area, state leaders react to Ginsburg’s death.

Special thanks to my friend, A Muse Dreams for sharing this post:

I know your first impulse is to despair. To say we’re fucked. To feel desperate and hopeless. I feel it. We all feel it.

But Notorious RBG would not have wanted us to lie down and accept defeat.

She’d have wanted us to fight like hell. And that’s what we’re going to do.

Call your house rep: Find them by Zipcode.

Script: “Hi, my name is ____ I am one of your constituents. I am calling to ask Congressperson ______ to go on the record saying they will respect Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wishes as well as the precedent set in 2016 to not nominate a new Justice until after a new president is installed. Thanks for your time.”

Call your senator: (202) 224-3121 Capitol Switchboard
Don’t know who your senator is? Find your senator.

Script: “Hi, my name is ________ and I live in (STATE). I am calling to ask Senator ______ to go on the record saying the Senate will not hold hearings on any potential replacement for Justice Ginsburg until after a new president is installed, per Justice Ginsburg’s last wishes and the precedent set in 2016. Thank you for your time.”

Gov. Cuomo planning statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Brooklyn.

McConnell Vows Quick Vote on Trump Pick to Fill Ginsburg Seat. Because of course the ghoulish bastards are going to try.

Let’s move on…

I have been trapped in the house since last weekend, thanks to the Air Quality Index ranging from Unhealthy for Everyone, Very Unhealthy, and not very far south of us sometimes Hazardous. When the haze first came in more than a week ago and they started forecasting worse to come, I replaced the Hepa filters and Charcoal filters in both of our air cleaners. Even so, by Saturday night I was coughing. We did our best to keep everything closed. I converted our two box fans to air cleaners (take a 20 inch Merv-13 rated furnace filter, bungy it to the back of the box fan, set up the fan somewhere in the middle of the room and let it run. Do not put the fan in a window. Keep the windows closed.).

I’ve been coughing all week. I started using an inhaler a few days ago and that helped a bit. But yesterday, finally, we got rain: Seattle Weekend Forecast: Less Smoke, More Rain – Rain showers this weekend should be enough to push out the rest of the smoke and keep it from returning. Here’s a look at what’s in store.

They had originally predicted thing would get better on Monday, but that was wrong for a variety of reasons: What makes smoke forecasts so hard to predict — and how tech could help. The fires themselves are not probabilistic, for one. Another is that the smoke itself changes the weather in ways that break our forecasting models.

We finally got enough rain over a wide enough part of the region to clean things out. I was so happy, after checking the Air Quality Index, to open our windows. It was too warm and stuffy inside!

And now to an old, old adversary...

911 Call From Intoxicated Jerry Falwell Jr.’s House Last Month Describes ‘A Lot Of Blood’ – Becki Falwell told the operator that her husband had cuts on his face from falling after he’d been drinking.

In case you need a reminder, I’ll just drop this hand sum-up I’ve referred to before:

Sometimes when a man and a woman love each other, and the man is the president of an evangelical Christian clown college and is friends with the pussy-grabbing authoritarian president of America, they get married and then they meet a 20-year-old pool boy named “Giancarlo” and they are like “Oh hey, Giancarlo, is that the Holy Bible in your pocket, or is it your boner?” and he is like “Oh it’s just my boner” and they are like “Good, we really aren’t into that Holy Bible shit when we aren’t profiting financially from it” and the pool boy is like “cool” and they are like “cool” and so they start having a sexual affair with the pool boy for years and years, where the lady does nakeds with the pool boy while the clown college Christian leader husband plays shadows puppets with his weener and watches in the corner, and they end up giving the pool boy SWEET business deals that kinda sorta look like payoffs, and fly him all over the country in their jet, and maybe there’s a similar arrangement with the hot jacked personal trainer, but we’re not sure yet, but anyway then everybody finds out and the man has to quit being a clown college Christian leader, WOMP WOMP.
The Wonkette

And there are continuing developments:

Text messages reveal Jerry Fallwell Jr’s wife told Miami pool boy to ‘stay off social media’ because it is ‘all left wing nut jobs’ after he threatened to kill himself over their affair.

Jerry Falwell Jr.’s fatal miscalculation.

Opinion: Bittersweet vindication follows Jerry Falwell Jr. scandal.

When Falwell Junior finally was forced to resign and the university opened investigations into possible financial improprieties, certain commenters out there opined that this was either part of Falwell’s kink (the pool boy and the other pool boy situations seeming to be on the cuckold fetish spectrum) because many cucks like being humiliated publicly, or that he was slamming his fist on the self-destruct button because he is tired of pretending to be an evangelical leader.

I didn’t buy either of those scenarios at the time for a variety of reasons. Only one of them being that first drunk call Junior made to a conservative radio show a few days after the Instagram post with his arm around a woman who wasn’t his wife, with his pants on done and a glass of what he later claimed wasn’t alcohol, but “black water” in his other hand.

No, the reason why is because I’ve known men like Junior before. White straight men, often from a conservative southern background (though not required) who are used to “getting away with it” over and over. They think they are invincible. They think the rules don’t apply to them. They have always been able to lie their way out of it before, and they are confident that they will continue to do so.

Let me give a very personal example. Content Warning: I’m going to be discussing my dad’s physical abuse of more than one family member and the death of a pet.

There are no further news links, so if you want to stop reading, now’s the time.

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Okay, mind the content warning…

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I was nine years old, my alcoholic and abusive father was hung over, and he had yelled at my four-year-old sister several times to keep it quiet. But she was in a hyper mood (many years later when she was diagnosed as, among other thing, bipolar, we would refer to these days as one of her manic periods). Eventually, Dad snapped and he beat her viciously… and left her lying apparently unconscious on the floor of her bedroom.

When she roused it was clear that something was seriously wrong. On the drive to the hospital, Dad drilled us with the cover story that we were all to stick to: she was being rowdy and won’t settle down and she fell down the stairs.

Among her injuries was a fractured skull. At some point during her medical treatment, she apparently told the nurse that “after the third time Dad hit me everything went blurry, so I don’t remember what happened.”

About a week later a state patrol officer or a county deputy (I don’t remember which) and a man from Child Protective Services showed up at our house. The tiny town we were in didn’t have any state agency offices, and the guy had had to come out from a city somewhere.

Each of us was taken by the guy from CPS individually to a nearby park to tell our version of events. I had learned my lesson about never contradicting Dad’s version years ago, so I dutifully repeated that Dad had told her to settle down several times, but she kept running around singing and then fell down the stairs.

I assume that Mom, my sister, and Dad all told the same story.

There was a glaring problem with our story.

There were no stairs.

We lived in a three-bedroom mobile home. It was a fancy mobile home, with an Extandal (as they called it at the time) which made our living room twice as wide as the rest of the trailer. But it was a single-story home with no stairs.

The CPS guy never asked any of us to show him the stairs.

The CPS guy and the officer left. Dad was angry for days afterward, but also on his best behavior even when no one was around. Eventually he learned that there would be no charges and the investigation was closed. Dad was still angry about my sister breaking the rule and contradicting his story, but because he was afraid people were still watching, he couldn’t do his usual thing of punishing one of us and explaining to my sister that he was hurting me or Mom because sister had screwed up.

So, instead Dad killed the family cat in order the punish my sister for telling the truth.

He got away with it. And his job had us move a few months later, and there was an incident where I was the one who wound up in the hospital… and he got away with that. And continued to with each of my younger half siblings and the only time he ever faced consequences was when he slapped one of the grandkids hard enough that she wound up in urgent care… but even then, the only consequence was that for a time all of my younger siblings had restraining orders on him that he couldn’t be around his grandkids without supervision.

Anyway, to get back to Falwell Junior…

I don’t have any knowledge that Falwell Junior was ever abusive of his kids or his wife, and I’m not claiming that he is that kind of abuser. But we know that for the last several years he has done other things that should have had consequences (talking repeatedly at work about his personal sex life, sending pictures of his wife in fetish gear to a number of university employees who didn’t ask to see them, attending nightclubs and consuming alcohol in direct violation of the university rules which are supposed to apply to employees, the shady real estate deals that some former employees started talking about last year, the pool boy’s shady real estate deal that reporters contacted the university about years ago, et cetera). And I’m pretty sure that Junior has been getting away with various things like that his entire life.

I know I’m bringing some of my personal baggage into this, but every time I have seen Junior speak, I have recognized that cocky smirk and the look in his eyes that say he knows the rules don’t apply to him. Because I spent 15 years of my life being raised by a man who had that some smirk and the same glint in his eyes.

Now Junior’s finally facing consequences, and he doesn’t know how to handle that. Self-medicating by drinking heavily constantly is only the tip of the iceberg, I suspect.

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.

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

I’ve decided to just embrace that fact that because I have blogged a lot about the bigotry and hypocrisy of so-called Christians in general, and one anti-gay grifter in particular, that it is okay to just embrace the fact that as long as this story is in the news, people are going to be clicking on a lot of those old posts.

I laughed out loud when I saw this headline, because (particularly if you read in aloud with a lot of dread in your voice) it sums up how I’ve been feeling: And Now For Your Daily Update On Jerry Falwell’s Dick. This article was from earlier in the week, but I love his summary of the scandal:

Sometimes when a man and a woman love each other, and the man is the president of an evangelical Christian clown college and is friends with the pussy-grabbing authoritarian president of America, they get married and then they meet a 20-year-old pool boy named “Giancarlo” and they are like “Oh hey, Giancarlo, is that the Holy Bible in your pocket, or is it your boner?” and he is like “Oh it’s just my boner” and they are like “Good, we really aren’t into that Holy Bible shit when we aren’t profiting financially from it” and the pool boy is like “cool” and they are like “cool” and so they start having a sexual affair with the pool boy for years and years, where the lady does nakeds with the pool boy while the clown college Christian leader husband plays shadows puppets with his weener and watches in the corner, and they end up giving the pool boy SWEET business deals that kinda sorta look like payoffs, and fly him all over the country in their jet, and maybe there’s a similar arrangement with the hot jacked personal trainer, but we’re not sure yet, but anyway then everybody finds out and the man has to quit being a clown college Christian leader, WOMP WOMP.

The story quotes heavily from this interview: Falwell sought to cut financial ties to pool attendant before Trump’s campaign – Giancarlo Granda, who met Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife at a Miami Beach hotel, offers new details on his relationship with the couple.

Note that Granda’s account in the Politico interview appears to change the timeline of events I and others have put together. But also note that some of it contradicts that photo of Falwell introducing Granda to Donald Trump at the rally at Liberty University 10 months after when Granda claims Falwell tried to cut all ties with him. On the other hand, if what the former pool boy says there is true, it’s possible that Falwell was trying to get out of the deal without actually coughing up the promised money, and since Granda wanted the promised money, while Mrs Falwell apparently didn’t want to give up the Pool Boy… well, it sounds like it was messy for months.

And, as many people have expected, a couple more guys are coming forward with their stories: ‘She was the aggressor’: Former Liberty student alleges sexual encounter with Becki Falwell – A former student at the evangelical university opens up about a 2008 incident with the wife of the school’s president. Warning! This story has a lot of creepy details about multiple instances of Mrs Falwell coming onto (and much more) a young man (in his 20s) who at the time was a bandmate of her son. That sentence alone may have already put too many bad images in your head. Sorry…

There are a few aspects of this story that I do want to comment. The young man was a student at Liberty University at the time, and he was a member of a band that had recruited the Falwell’s oldest son, Trey (who was also a student at the university, though a few years younger than they) as their lead guitarist. One of the stories the young man talks about he and Trey hanging out at the Falwell’s home drinking whiskey and jamming, and because he’d been drinking he stayed in the guest room, where things later happened.

I want to point out, however, that this is a violation of the Liberty University Code of Conduct: “Liberty University’s code of conduct, known as the Liberty Way, prohibits the consumption of alcohol for all students living on or off campus. This policy applies not only to those under the age of 21, but also those who are 21 and older… This policy not only applies for students during school, but also while they are on breaks or trips.”

At the time of this incident, Trey Falwell was both a student at the University and underage. The other young man was 22 at the time, but was still a student at the university, yet it seems that they were partaking of whiskey at the Falwells’ home with the knowledge of at least Mrs. Falwell… who was an employee of the University at the time, as well.

I mean, we shouldn’t be surprised at the hypocrisy and double standards are in play, but… well…

The young man who has now came forward says that part of the reason he kept the story to himself for over 10 years is because his mother has always admired the late Jerry Falwell, Sr, and that the young man himself didn’t want to detract from all the supposed good that Falwell, Sr accomplished.

Falwell, Sr accomplished no good in his entire life. He was a liar, a grifter, a proven-in-court chiseler, who promoted racial and anti-gay hate for many decades. He was one of the leaders of an evangelical conference in the mid-70s that met for the express purpose of trying to figure out how to get donations flowing in again like they used to be able to by preaching against racial de-segregation and women’s rights. He was one of the people who made the cynical decision to change their doctrine regarding abortion (which before hadn’t been exactly pro-choice, but had been this complicated ‘the old Testament says clearly that unborn babies are not yet people, so this prove Catholics aren’t real Christians because they insist they are, but we’re not saying the we approve of abortion, but…’) and to make Abortion and The Gays their new focus to see if that would fire up people to send in donations. He then formed the so-called Moral Majority and dragged the Evangelicals into the Republican base and amped up the bigotry on all levels.

The gospel was a tool Falwell, Sr distorted to manipulate people into giving him money and influence. It shouldn’t surprise us that his son is a grifter and abuser, too.

Falwell, Jr has tried to wiggle out of this scandal by throwing all the blame on his wife and claiming the Pool Boy was blackmailing him. Mrs Falwell has joined in, saying it was all her fault for being weak and sinning and bringing the Pool Boy into their lives. That doesn’t really Falwell sharing nudes and such of his wife with all sorts of people who didn’t want to see them, as well as the Pool Boy, Personal Trainer, and apparently several others. It doesn’t explain grooming college students as additional sex toys. It might possibly explain some of the multi-million dollar deals, but doesn’t really explain sending the jet for the Pool Boy again and again after the deal, nor enthusiastically introducing him to Trump (which we have not just photos, but Fox News video of).

Sorry, the Falwells are both predators and jerks. A pox upon them!

And now, I’m going to let Stephen Colbert have the final word:

Stephen Colbert Unloads on Jerry Falwell’s Cuck Affair, Shares Photo of Trump Shaking Hands with Pool Boy – “Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Link To Trump Is Far More Troubling Than His Sex Scandal”:

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

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

This is going to be a slightly different Weekend Update than usual. There is a lot of news that I came across after I finished this week’s Friday Five post on Thursday night, but as is often the case, a lot of it is either salacious or outrage-inducing of otherwise bad news. It’s also all over the map with various topics and sometimes the scatter shot of “and that’s f-ed up too!” can multiple the outrage. So I’m going to focus on only a couple of topics, and a certain amount of it is good, scientific information that you can actually use.

I’ll start with that. If you don’t want to be outraged, don’t read past the bold “Meanwhile” below.

COVID-19 Is Transmitted Through Aerosols. We Have Enough Evidence, Now It Is Time to Act.

When it comes to COVID-19, the evidence overwhelmingly supports aerosol transmission, and there are no strong arguments against it. For example, contact tracing has found that much COVID-19 transmission occurs in close proximity, but that many people who share the same home with an infected person do not get the disease. To understand why, it is useful to use cigarette or vaping smoke (which is also an aerosol) as an analog. Imagine sharing a home with a smoker: if you stood close to the smoker while talking, you would inhale a great deal of smoke. Replace the smoke with virus-containing aerosols, which behave very similarly, and the impact is similar: the closer you are to someone releasing virus-carrying aerosols, the more likely you are to breathe in larger amounts of virus. We know from detailed, rigorous studies that when individuals talk in close proximity, aerosols dominate transmission and droplets are nearly negligible.

If you are standing on the other side of the room, you would inhale significantly less smoke. But in a poorly ventilated room, the smoke will accumulate, and people in the room may end up inhaling a lot of smoke over time. Talking, and especially singing and shouting increase aerosol exhalation by factors of 10 and 50, respectively. Indeed, we are finding that outbreaks often occur when people gather in crowded, insufficiently ventilated indoor spaces, such as singing at karaoke parties, cheering at clubs, having conversations in bars, and exercising in gyms. Superspreading events, where one person infects many, occur almost exclusively in indoor locations and are driving the pandemic. These observations are easily explained by aerosols, and are very difficult or impossible to explain by droplets or fomites.
—Jose-Luis Jimeez, Professor of Chemistry and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulde

The killer phrase is here: “many people who share the same home with an infected person do not get the disease.” (emphasis added)

There’s more: We Need to Talk About Ventilation – How is it that six months into a respiratory pandemic, we are still doing so little to mitigate airborne transmission?

And: Hygiene Theater Is a Huge Waste of Time – People are power scrubbing their way to a false sense of security.

Basically, masks are a big help if you have to go out and be around people, washing your hands frequently is also good, but ventilation is more important that scrubbing every inanimate object in sight. Dr. Jimenez sums it up as: Avoid Crowding, Indoors, low Ventilation, Close proximity, long Duration, Unmasked, Talking/singing/Yelling.

So, don’t go to bars, don’t hang out in church, don’t got to concerts, don’t go to theatres… and wear the mask correctly!

Meanwhile…

More Portlanders Share Experiences of Being Snatched—and Detained—by Federal Police.

Feds in Portland Now Unrestrained in Removing Journalists at Protests.

‘Horrifying Situation’: ACLU Condemns Arrest Of Protesters By Officers In Unmarked Vehicles.

If you don’t understand that this is full fascism, direct attacks on the fundamental idea of freedom, I don’t know what to say.

Friday Five (the murderer is not a patriot edition)

“The only reason you are defending his actions is because you disagree with the politics of his victims. He was an out of state agitator, disobeying a police ordered curfew, illegally carrying a firearm, in 'defense' of property he didn't own. He is a MURDER, not a patriot.”

“The only reason you are defending his actions is because you disagree with the politics of his victims. He was an out of state agitator, disobeying a police ordered curfew, illegally carrying a firearm, in ‘defense’ of property he didn’t own. He is a MURDER, not a patriot.”
Click to embiggen!

It is the final Friday in August!

Because I wrote a number of posts over the last couple of years about the son of an anti-gay, racist televangelist with whom I had a bit of a connection, when the scandal many of those posts had been about exploded this week, I suddenly had many hundreds of clicks on all those old posts. One of them has now crossed into the thousands, and it left me feeling weird (even though I made two more posts about it this week because, he’s been trying to take away my rights for years) because I’d really rather some other topics I’ve written about where getting all those click. One friend pointed out that even though it isn’t my favorite subject, it’s still my writing people are clicking on, and another pointed out that this is just the weirdness of blogging. Anyway…

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 tropical storms/hurricanes, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about awful people, and five videos (plus a notable obituary and some things that I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

College Trombonist Brings His Instrument to Battle Against MAGA Cultist, Becomes Hero.

Do Some Damage: What Could Have Been and What Still Can Be – a former cop talks about what is needed for police reform.

Evangelical leaders denounce QAnon as ‘political cult,’ ‘satanic movement’ – Evangelical leaders denounce QAnon as ‘political cult,’ ‘satanic movement’.

‘God, this sucks’: Internet aghast at what Melania Trump has done to the Rose Garden.

Chris Wallace Shuts Down Fox News’ Support Of Vigilante Violence – Chris Wallace got into a heated argument with other Fox News pundits because they endorsed the idea that murderous vigilantes attacking protesters were justified because they were “filling a void” for the police.

This Week in Tropical Storms:

Tropical Storm Laura Moving Through the Mid-South With Gusty Winds, Flooding After Category 4 Landfall.

Hurricane Laura causes destruction across Louisiana.

Hurricane Laura damaged a Lake Charles Confederate monument, after parish officials voted to keep it. Heh

Hurricane Laura leaves at least six dead and a trail of destruction – “We have thousands and thousands of our fellow citizens whose lives are upside down,” Louisiana’s governor said.

Marco makes landfall, but it’s Tropical Storm Laura that has Gulf residents really nervous.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Federal appeals court rules that anti-trans school bathroom policies are unconstitutional – Gavin Grimm just won another court victory against the Gloucester County School Board of Virginia and its transphobic student bathroom policy.

State park renamed to honor legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson – The first state park in New York to honor an LGBTQ person will reflect “Marsha’s style and colors.”.

AOC endorses gay primary challenger Alex Morse over powerful incumbent Congressman – Out progressive candidate Alex Morse is within striking distance of knocking out the powerful chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal.

Coronavirus lockdown has led to depression in LGBTQ people – “One gay man described how his social isolation had become ‘unbearable’ and was ‘destroying my mental health.'”.

Study: Pride Games Decrease Antigay Slurs Among Players by 40 Percent.

This Week in the Pandemic:

New coronavirus cases are down nationwide. But the US is still averaging more than 900 deaths a day – The number of deaths related to the coronavirus in the US topped 180,000 on Thursday.

Fauci Says He Was Under Anesthesia When CDC Changed COVID-19 Testing Guidelines.

Almost 50 North Texans Drank Bleach This Month, Poison Center Warns ‘Stop, It Won’t Cure COVID’.

Big 12, Conference USA join SEC in conducting three COVID-19 tests per week during 2020 season.

Hate Group’s Office Listed As “COVID Outbreak Site”.

This Week in Deplorables:

Prosecutors announce homicide charges against Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old accused of shooting and killing 2 people at a Kenosha protest and Illinois teen arrested in connection to deadly shooting in Kenosha.

Jacob Wohl Accused of Starting a Voter Suppression Scheme – Michigan Attorney General Says Culprits In Robocall Voter Suppression Stunt Face Up To Five Years In Prison.

New Zealand mosque shooter sentenced to life without parole – Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 Muslims as they prayed, is first in New Zealand to be sentenced to life without parole.

Trump Has Now Moved $2.3 Million Of Campaign-Donor Money Into His Private Business.

Daniel Dale On Convention Lies: ‘It’s Hard For Me To Know Where To Start’.

In Memoriam:

Darryl Macdonald, co-founder of Seattle International Film Festival, dies of cancer.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 8/22/2020: At least justice for some….

Oh you cuckolded devil—or, the Evangelical Power Couple and the Pool Boy.

Tuesday Tidbits 8/25/2020: Acceptable deaths continue while stock market soars.

Pharisee says being held to his own standards is unfai.

Every starship needs a navigator, or, how librarians enabled my love for sf/f.

Videos!

The RNC’s Appeal to Black Voters & Don Jr.’s “Imagine” Speech | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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

Why Did the Police Shoot Jacob Blake? | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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

Stephen Colbert: I Didn’t Watch The RNC Tonight, And I Feel Great About It:

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

Chris Webber Holds Back Tears Speaking On NBA Players’ Strike after Police Shooting of Jacob Blake:

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

Kylie Minogue – Say Something (Official Video):

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

Pharisee says being held to his own standards is unfair

Apparently I’m writing about Jerry Falwell, Jr some more…

Joe Jervis at JoeMyGod.Com has a really good collection of stories summing up yesterday’s churn on this issue, as Falwell said he was resigning, then retracted it while issuing a legal threat to the university trustees, and then supposedly resigned for real this time. Maybe: Jerry Falwell Jr. Re-Resigns From Liberty University.

While talking to Fox News in the middle of all that churn, at the point when he was still threatening to sue the board he said: “The board put me on leave, took away my duties as prez, and that’s not permitted by my contract. And they put me on leave because of pressure from self-righteous people.”

Pressure from self-righteous people, which he thinks is unfair. Really? This from a man who has campaigned to keep queer people from getting various civil rights. A man who has campaigned to prevent trans people from getting medical care, among other things. Has campaigned for the rights of medical personnel to refuse to treat queer people if they claim a religious objection. He has publicly condemned abortion, pre-marital sex among straight people—has even called for laws criminalizing not just gay people having sex, but also straight people having sex with people they aren’t married to be reinstated.

And he’s complaining about pressure from self-righteous people?

Wow! Talk about having your head shoved so far up your own hypocrisy you can lick your own tonsils!

I should explain the title of this post. The Pharisees were an ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity. They appear in the Gospels on several occasions, usually being in opposition to Jesus. In many modern Christian circles that word Pharisee is often used to refer to any self-righteous person or hypocrite.

I already pointed out in yesterday’s post that Falwell’s claim that he wasn’t a willing participant in the sex going on between his wife and Giancarlo Granda is contradicted by Falwell’s actions during Donald Trumps visit to Liberty University in 2016. You don’t enthusiastically introduce your blackmailer to the candidate for President that you’ve just endorsed… I’m glad other people are pointing this out. I’m also glad people are pointing out that Falwell sent naughty pictures of his wife to Personal Trainer (the guy I have often called the Other Pool Boy)… and accidentally cc-ed a ton of staff members at the university. Again, not something one would do if they weren’t a willing participant in the sexual shenanigans.

I hope, I really hope, that some state tax examiners are going to look into these transfers of million-dollar-properties to the Pool Boy and the Personal Trainer. Because I can’t believe those don’t violate some laws governing how non-profits handle their assets. And if the anti-guy, anti-feminist, pro-racial segregations non-profit entity takes a big financial hit because of it, I won’t be complaining.

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