Tag Archive | news

Friday Five (double videos edition)

Here we are at the third Friday of September.

I’m still sick. My husband is still sick. When I told a good friend that I had more than ten videos that I was trying to choose from for this week’s Friday Five (where I traditionally only post five videos), she suggested that I do a Vidoes section and then a Second Videos and make a Hobbit Second Breakfast joke… then I realized that I had five music videos and 7 non-music videos, and once split apart like that, it was much easier to pick only five of each kind, so…

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about sf/f & fandom, five stories about deplorable people, five non-music videos, and five music videos (plus things I wrote and notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

Why Don’t Police Catch Serial Rapists?

Newest Pterosaur Was Likely as Tall as a Giraffe – Ancient flying reptile dubbed Cryodrakon boreas, the “cold dragon of the north winds,” may shed light on the evolution of these dinosaur relatives.

There’s a Lost Continent 1,000 Miles Under Europe – Scientists tracked down the last remnants of Greater Adria, an ancient Greenland-sized landmass.

I Went to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is What I Saw..

Piece of missing sculpture resurfaces in antiques store 50 years later .

This Week in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fandom:

Fantasy and Science Fiction – a collaboration by two of the genre’s founders that was largely unknown ‘til a couple of years ago: Flora Columbia: Goddess of a New Age, by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.

LET’S FRIGHTEN CHILDREN! Vincent Price & Scooby-Doo.

Letting Go of Our “Heroes”: Ongoing Humanist Training and the (Ex-)James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

How Scooby Doo Revived Gothic Storytelling for Generations of Kids.

Truck Carrying Gaming Dice Spills Onto Highway, Rolls A Perfect 756,000.

Deplorables of the Week:

I’m a comedian. I know Shane Gillis’s words matter – Here are the problems with what Shane Gillis said: It wasn’t said on stage, it wasn’t said years ago, and it wasn’t a joke.

Republican state senator who blocked LGBTQ rights charged with sexual abuse of a minor – As a powerful committee chair, he had blocked LGBTQ rights legislation for years. For the umpteen-millionth time: if a politician is vehemently anti-gay, journalists should dig into their background! You will always find some scandal or crime. Always!

Kavanaugh ‘should be impeached’ just like Trump. He lied to the Senate under oath. Hell, yes, he should be impeached!

What Happens if Trump Won’t Step Down? – National security expert Josh Geltzer on why we should be prepared for the worst.

What happens when the administration won’t tell Congress about a whistleblower complaint regarding the president – ‘A deficiency in the law’: How Trump accidentally exposed a whistleblower loophole?

In Memoriam:

Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies At 75.

Eddie Money, ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ Singer, Dies at 70.

Ric Ocasek, frontman of new wave pioneers the Cars, dies at 75.

Things I wrote:

As mean as a cornered ocelot.

The Parable of the Speck and the Log, or, telling others how to love sf/f will never work.

Tuesday Tidbits 9/17/2017: On the taxonomy of devils….

All generalizations are dangerous* — especially about generations!

The importance of being seen.

Newsy Videos!

Out Celebs Have a #BiWeek Message for Bisexual+ Youth: You Matter:

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James Corden Responds to Bill Maher’s Fat Shaming Take:

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Filibuster: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

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Trump Threatens War with Iran on Saudi Arabia’s Behalf: A Closer Look:

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Beto O’Rourke: Current approach to guns no longer works:

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Music Videos!

Charli XCX – 2099 [Official Video]:

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PJ Brennan- Bones:

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Keiynan Lonsdale – Rainbow Dragon (Official Music Video):

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Kezar – Don’t Touch The Queen (Official Music Video):

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Cher Performs “Waterloo” LIVE On America’s Got Talent! – America’s Got Talent 2019:

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Tuesday Tidbits 9/17/2017: On the taxonomy of devils…

This is one possible list of the types of Republicans that exist. I’m going to suggest an alternate listing…

I started to do a Weekend Update post with a couple of these stories on Saturday, but got stuck in a bit of a spiral (and it was hard to concentrate between my sinus headache and the roofers pounding on the building) and ultimately decided to post something else. I figured, okay, tomorrow morning before the game… except the Seahawks game was at 10am, so as soon as I woke up I needed to start cooking, and then there was the game, and then I decided to watch part of two other games and then I got sucked back into reading a book I was nearly finished with. Anyway, given all the other things going on in the news, I’m pretty sure these wouldn’t make the cut for the Friday Five come the end of the week, and besides, they give me an opportunity to give you my list of the Types of Republicans (or Devils — same thing) by providing archetypical examples of the types.

So first, the Greed Monger who Grifts Money from the Other Types of Republicans While Doing Everything He Condemns: At Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr. bets on big-time football, with a disgraced coach – how Falwell’s been staffing the Liberty athletics department with Good Christian Guys with recent sex scandals of different sorts in their immediate past. . Surprise, surprise, surprise… Remember the strange deals where he found ways to give a handsome pool boy $1.8 million for a real estate deal after mysteriously spending a lot of time with his wife at the young hunky pool boy at various expensive vacation spots. And the $2 million real estate deal financed by the supposed non-profit university to a young hunky personal trainer who he is known to have sent sexy pictures of his wife to. And, of course, colleagues and former employees coming out of the woodwork with evidence that he’s turned his late father’s ministry, the so-called christian university, and other non-profits into a fund to enrich himself, family, and friends.

So, the coach mentioned mentioned in the first link was “forced out at Baylor — itself a private Baptist university — following a wide-ranging sexual and domestic assault scandal involving football players.” But he isn’t the first that Falwell has hired for the university. There’s another coach Falwell insisted the university hire after he lost his job at Ole Miss because he used his school-sponsored cell phone to call an escort service, not to mention previous allegations of inappropriate behavior with high school girls when he coached at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee. I guess all these sexual predators should feel right at home with Falwell, Jr.

Next, the Evangelical Literalist Who Takes Away the Rights of Women, Queer People, While Claiming He’s Not a Bigot: A thorough investigation just destroyed the White House’s attempt to rebrand Mike Pence as not anti-gay. Pence’s staff and the White House were claiming the Pence can’t possibly be homophobic, because he shook hands with the Prime Minister of Ireland, who is one of The Gays! See, he can’t be a bigot! Except that first article dredges up things Pence has been doing as an elected official for nearly 30 years to deny rights to LGBT people and/or take rights and healthcare away from them. Then, of course, there is this that happened just a couple days after is staff was trying to deny the bigotry: Mike Pence Spoke at Fundraiser for Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Group. (Note: the organization is also anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-women’s equality, and anti-accurate sex education in schools, plus very pro-bullying of queer children in schools). Pence is sure to feel home with all that hate!

The next type of devil/Republican is The Clueless Homocon who Enables and Encourages Neo-Nazis in Hopes Ignoring that Fact that when They Get Power They Will March Him Off to the Camps, Too:Homocon Troll Milo Banned From Midwest Furfest. “Yiannopoulos was banned from Australia earlier this year “on character grounds” and nearly every social media company has suspended his accounts for violating community guidelines against hate speech. Since losing access to his social media pulpits—and, more importantly, his Mercer family funding—Yiannopoulos has fallen millions of dollars into debt and spent his time almost exclusively blaming his self-inflicted wounds on others.”

Milo is only one of a bunch of people in this category (cf Andy Ngo, the entire membership of the Log Cabin Republicans, Peter Thiel, et cetera). Since he’s currently millions of dollars in debt and was just a bit of a week ago whining to is ~400 followers on the only social media platform that hasn’t banned him that not enough of them are shelling out donations to him for him to pay his bills… yet somehow he found the funds to try to buy a membership at Midwest Furfest (a convention that not only have I attended and love, but have had the privilege of being a Guest of Honor). And even though the convention has since banned him, he’s claiming he already has a room at the hotel “booked under someone else’s name” so they can’t keep him out. Never mind that being a guest at the hotel does not give one access to convention space. Also, if the room is his but booked under someone else’s name the hotel can eject him for that and/or revoke his room discount because he isn’t a convention member. If his name isn’t listed as an occupant of the room the hotel can eject him for trespassing. If he is, given his already made public statements that he tends to disrupt the convention, the hotel can legally eject him for that.

The fourth kind of devil is a bit more local, The Paranoid Anti-taxer Who Wants All the Benefits of Society as Long as He Doesn’t Have to Pay His Share of Taxes and THOSE Kind of People Do: Tim Eyman hit with new sanctions, ordered to disclose source of nearly $800K in donations. Eyman’s only income for a couple of decades are running various initiative campaigns to cut taxes, take away gay rights, prevent local tax payers from voting to raise taxes for services they want, and so forth. This is the second time he’s been on trial for mismanaging funds of this campaigns. The previous fines and settlements didn’t teach him a lesson. I hope he winds up penniless by the time this is over.

And now a Bonus category: White Supremacists Who Infiltrate Law Enforcement Institutions and Twist the Culture Until Ordinary Citizens are Perps by Default: Riotlandia: Why Portland Has Become the Epicenter of Far-Right Violence. “…on August 4, 2018, the police launched an unprovoked assault against peaceful protesters, nearly killing one when a flashbang grenade punctured his helmet, resulting in a brain hemorrhage. And on May 1 this year, 20 Patriot Prayer members led by Gibson and accompanied by Ngo attacked antifascists at a bar, fracturing the vertebrae of one woman (whose name was released by Ngo, leading to threats of violence against her, according to her friends). The bar owner claimed that it took police an hour to respond despite numerous emergency calls. The police released a lengthy statement seeking to justify why they didn’t respond until after the fight had ended despite knowledge of the attack as it was happening.” There’s more. So, so much more. Hit the link for the whole extremely well-sourced story.

Friday Five (ungodly manner edition)

It is the second Friday of September. Which is significant because Septemer is the month when superior babies are born.

I thought that the significant change in the weather last weekend had kicked up a new round of hay fever—plants throwing out more pollen cause they’re soaking up all the water, and so forth. So when I felt more tired and braindead at the end of my workday Monday, I just attributed it to that. Tuesday it was clear that my sinuses had something else going wrong. Wednesday morning I had a soe throat and my voice kept giving out. More symptoms piled on over the course of the day, including a cough that became the Cough of Doom™ during the night. Which meant I didn’t sleep well. And when I did drag myself out of bed my congestion was much worse and my whole body ached. So I took a partial sick day and worked from home again.

Anyway, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus things I wrote and notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire.

Seattle man reunited with beloved bulldog that was stolen from him.

‘We’re told to be grateful we even have readers’: pirated ebooks threaten the future of book series.

Gender and the Hugo Awards, by the Numbers.

Tina Turner Is Having the Time of Her Life .

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Homophobic hate crime charges fall despite soaring reports.

Elizabeth Warren Vows To Fight For LGBTQ Equality In Surprise DragCon Video – The 2020 presidential candidate’s virtual “appearance” also drew attention to violence against transgender people.

Edmund White to receive honorary National Book Award – White, 79, is among the most influential gay writers of his time, known for works such as “A Boy’s Own Story” and “The Beautiful Room is Empty” and for helping to create the market for openly gay literature.

Gay Maryland Couple Sues State Department for Denying Citizenship to ‘Out-of-Wedlock’ Daughter.

The sensational Candlestick Murder trial of 1958 struck fear in Charleston’s gay community .

This Week in Science:

1.7-Million-Year-Old Rhino Tooth Provides Oldest DNA Data Ever Studied.

Astronomers just found an interstellar comet, the second visitor of its kind ever detected.

Moon rocks could help reveal how life evolved on Earth – and may enable us to resurrect extinct species.

Lovers of Modena skeletons holding hands were both men.

The day the dinosaurs’ world fell apart.

This Week in Homophobes and Other Deplorables:

Mike Pence To Meet With Anti-LGBT Group Days After White House Claimed He Can’t Possibly Be Anti-LGBT.

Teachers, Students Leave High School After Official Email Requires Them to Disavow Same-Sex Relationships.

On Tuesday, Jerry Falwell, Jr. learned the definition of the word ‘receipts’ . . . the hard way.

In Defending Falwell, Liberty U Approvingly Tweets Link to Column Calling Him ‘A Greedy Hypocrite’ .

Broke Homocon Milo “Can’t Put Food On The Table”.

In Memoriam:

Meredythe Glass, Mercer Island resident who was in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ dies at 98.

Things I wrote:

Here comes the rain again… and I couldn’t be happier!

The Dark Domain, or a queer ex-evangelical looks at an agent of intolerance and his scandalous heirs.

Serious topic: and one I still can’t write about.

Videos!

Dion Diamond remembers the risks he took as a young civil rights activist:

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Trump Faces Scrutiny Over Personal Properties, Hurricane Lies:

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“Jerry Falwell’s God” by Roy Zimmerman:

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Ben Platt – RAIN [Official Video]:

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Pet Shop Boys (feat. Years & Years) – Dreamland (Official lyric video):

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The Dark Domain, or a queer ex-evangelical looks at an agent of intolerance and his scandalous heirs

One day in the summer of 1981, I was walking around the inside of a huge church sanctuary in Virginia, every now and then stopping to clap once, then listen to the echo. It was something I did just about every day that summer—each day in a different church. I was a member of an evangelical inter-denominational youth choir. I was one of the singers, but I was also the Lead Sound Technician. And while a bunch of the singers were carrying in the sound equipment, our risers, and other parts of our touring program, I would do this exercise to figure out where I wanted to place our speakers and where to aim them. I took this part of the job very seriously.

I was 20 years old. I was a deeply closeted gay guy who for several years had been struggling to reconcile my love of science and my sexual orientation with the religion I had been raised in (Southern Baptists) which is extremely anti-gay, anti-evolution, anti-birth control, anti-modernity, et cetera and ad nauseam. Only eleven years before that day had the Southern Baptist Convention adopted its resolution on race, which was intended to end segregation in Baptist Churches themselves. At the denomination’s founding in 1845, 12 of its 14 statements on faith had been explicitly in favor of slavery, the segregation of the races, and the supremacy of the white race.

That 1970 resolution didn’t make Baptists pro-equality. The very church that my parents had been members of when I was born, for instance, split after the resolution. A number of members forming a new “Bible Baptist” church the aligned itself with one of the other conventions that had split from the Southern Baptist in the previous couple of decades. And at the 1972 convention the convention adopted a resolution condemning public school segregation.

One of the pastors leading that charge to re-assert the church’s racist past in 1972, was Jerry Falwell, Sr. Falwell was the pastof of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was also the host of the syndicated radio program, the Old Time Gospel Hour, which my grandmother listened to faithfully, where he frequently preached against the civil rights movement, women’s rights, gay rights, and a boatload of other topics. In 1971 he founded Liberty University, which to this day still forbids students of differing races to date. And in 1979 he founded the so-called Moral Majority, a political organization bent on supporting conservative Republicans and rolling back what rights women, racial minorities, and queer people had won in the 70s.

In the mid-80s Falwell infamously lost a lawsuit to one of his former classmates from Baptist Bible College, Jerry Sloan. Sloan had come out of the closet after leaving Baptist Bible College, and had become active with Metropolitan Community Church, which was one of the few explicitly gay and lesbian inclusive denominations at the time. Sloan and Falwell participated in a television debate about, among other things, gay rights. After Falwell insisted that he wasn’t at all prejudiced against gay people, Sloan quoted Falwell as having publically called the MCC “brute beasts” and “a vile and Satanic system.” Further, he said Falwell had predicted “one day they will be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

Falwell said that it was a lie. And when Sloan said he had it on tape, Falwell bet him $5,000 (on television with millions of witnesses) he couldn’t produce it. When Sloan did produce the tape, Falwell refused to pay. So Sloan sued him, won the $5,000 plus court fees, and he donated it all to a queer community center: Falwell Pays $8,900 to Homosexual Activist.

Jerry Falwell, Sr, was a bigot and a liar (not to mention a chisseler for not paying his bet). And he became a multi-millionaire by preaching hate and promoting hate through his radio show, university, and his political organizations. And I, for one, did not shed a single tear when he died in 2007.

So, back to 1981. Earlier in that year, the Director of the touring choir mentioned that he was “this close” to getting us a tour date at Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. And without thinking, I blurted out, “if you do, I quit.” The Director was flabbergasted and tried to explain how much exposure we would get there—and possibly be on the Old Time Gospel Hour. I said, “I refuse to have anything to do with that evil man. I refuse to do anything that implies I support his divisive, hateful theology.”

A member of the board of directors who was literally helping me untangle some microphone cables when this exchange happened, chimed in, “Me, too. Falwell preaches the opposite of Christ’s teaching, and if you’re going there, I’m resigning from the board and pulling my kids out of the choir.”

The director made some sort of joke to diffuse and change the subject. Later he made sure to inform both of us that he had decided on his own against pursuing the Thomas Road gig because the strict dress code would, among other things, force us to change our uniform and force a lot of the guys to get extremely short haircuts. I like to think that excuse was his way of saving face, and that my threat had been effective.

And so while later that summer in 1981 we did perform at a Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, it wasn’t Falwell’s—it was a beautiful historical building, which is still there, though it has since merged with another church and changed its name and denomination. And I’m glad I didn’t have to quit the chorus over it.

All of these memories came to mind this week as there is a new (and to me totally unsurprising) development in the story of Falwell’s heir, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and his pool boy scandals: ‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence – More than two dozen current and former Liberty University officials describe a culture of fear and self-dealing at the largest Christian college in the world.

You may remember that the two pool boy scandals of which I’ve written before — besides having a lot of sexual innuendo — involved Falwell, Jr. finding ways to finance multi-million dollar real estate deals for the benefit of the handsome young men after spending a lot of time flying each young man to various luxurious places along with Falwell and his wife on their private jet.

The new article (interestingly enough written by a journalist who attended Liberty University) lists other financial deals, including loans of $300,000 and more to Falwell’s friends, funneling lucrative contracts related to the university to businesses owned by his son, and more. Plus, apparently Falwell is very fond of talking about his sex life with colleagues. With a lot of crude details of the things he and his wife do.

And most tellingly, in one incident involving the guy many of us have referred to as “the other pool boy” (though he was employed as a personal trainer when he met Falwell, Jr). Junior texted pictures of his wife in sexual fetish costumes—to a bunch of staff members, plus the trainer. He claimed afterward that he had meant to just send it to the trainer (I believe that), but he also tried to claim to the people accidentally included on the wayward message that the purpose of sharing the pictures was not actually sexual. No! Falwell, Jr sent the personal trainer pictures of Mrs. Falwell in fetish gear because the trainer had helped her lose a lot of weight.

Um, yeah, no I don’t believe that.

Remember: Junior's largest salary comes from being president of a religious school that forbids drinking and dancing, among other things. So why are he and his son partying at south Miami nightculbs?

Remember: Junior’s largest salary comes from being president of a religious school that forbids drinking and dancing, among other things. So why are he and his son partying at south Miami nightculbs? (click to embiggen)

Listen, hot-wifing, threeways, and cuckold fantasies are all perfectly healthy sexual things that a committed couple who are into ethical non-monogamy should be able to engage in without shame. But when you run a couple of massive non-profit organizations (and draw more than a million dollars in salary between those jobs) that explicitly condemn homosexuality, family planning, women’s rights, sexual liberty, drinking, and dancing (yes, dancing!)—well, then this kind of scandal becomes of interest to the public. Because remember, those non-profit organizations are tax exempt, and therefore all of these shenanigans are being subsidized by our tax dollars.

On top of that, Falwell, Jr effectively swung the evangelical base of the Republican party firmly behind Trump (and all of the evil, non-Christ-like policies that has unleashed on us). And apparently he did so because Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, made a blackmailer with more of those kinds of pictures of Mrs. Falwell go away.

You should go read the Politico story. It is full of fascinating details (and keeps the sexual stuff, as much as it could be, more tasteful than I would). The amount of information that people were willing to give the reporter is amazing, given that Liberty University and the associated businesses famously have very strict non-disclosure agreements that claim to stay in force even after a person leaves.

Speaking of those agreements: Jerry Falwell: I Called The FBI On Liberty U Traitors. That’s right! Junior has called the FBI on people for tattling on him.

Listen, some of those financial deals are clearly prosecutable crimes. Junior’s using tuition funds and donations to finance his jet-setting lifestyle and that of his friends—and probably sex partners.

“We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund,” said a senior university official with inside knowledge of Liberty’s finances. “We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.”

Given that he’s been flying some of these people across state lines in his private jet to close some of these deals, Junior maybe should have thought twice before calling the Feds.

Maybe he thinks that his buddy, Trump, will bail him out. After all, Trump’s very fine lawyer, Michael Cohen, helped get rid of that pesky blackmailer right? Except now Cohen is cooling his heels in federal prison, convicted of financial crimes on Trump’s behalf. Trump hasn’t shown any sign of being willing to pardon Cohen. Or any of the four other people Mueller got to plead guilty to related crimes, nor the four people Mueller got convicted, nor the 19 other people still under indictment whose cases are on-going.

So, Junior may need to start prepping for some less luxurious accommodations than those he is currently accustomed to.


Note:

(Part of the title of this post comes from the hymn, “Up from the Grave He Arose (Low in the Grave He Lay),” by Robert Lowry. It was hymn number 113 in the 1956 Baptist Hymnal.)

Friday Five (hypocritical version edition)

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It’s Friday! Friday! Friday! Friday! And it is the first Friday in September, the month in which superior babies are born!

We managed the impossible deadline… and much earlier than the previous two, which made the three-day weekend much more pleasant than I was afraid it would be. The weekend itself was very relaxing.

So, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about deplorable people, five stories about why we should impeach someone already, and five videos (plus things I wrote and notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

San Francisco Board Of Supervisors Votes Unanimously To Declare NRA To Be “Domestic Terrorist Organization”.

Have You Seen Any Nazi Uranium? These Researchers Want To Know.

History of ‘Cotemporary’: The Archaic ‘Contemporary’ .

Rich people are hoarding cash, and wealth managers are getting frustrated.

America, the Gerontocracy – Our leaders, our electorate and our hallowed system of government itself are aging. And it shows.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

An overwhelming majority of young people think trans people should use whichever bathroom they want.

Kristen Stewart Was Told to Stay Closeted to Get a Marvel Movie.

CNN To Broadcast Human Rights Campaign Town Hall On LGBT Issues With 2020 Dem Presidential Candidates.

Lil Nas X Gave a Masterclass on Dealing With the Gaslighting LGBTQ People Face Every Day – In an episode of The Shop: Uninterrupted, the musician turned a comment from Kevin Hart into an important discussion.

What happens when a man gets pregnant? – The medical system has always categorized these men as woman, so there’s no available date that shows just how many transgender men in America have given birth.

This Week in Homophobes and Other Deplorables:

Four High School Students Suspended After Crashing Gay/Straight Alliance Meeting With MAGA Flags.

Miriam Lord: How Mike Pence shat on the new carpet in Ireland’s spare room. Irish Times columnists don’t pull their punches!

Alex Jones Loses Sandy Hook Defamation Suit Appeal.

Jacob Wohl Charged With Felony in California.

GOP Congressman Blasted for Appearing to Suggest He Lends Guns to Friends Who Wouldn’t Pass Background Checks.

This Week in Impeach the Mo-Fo Already:

Trump May Have Broken Federal Law by Using Doctored Weather Map to Avoid Admitting He Lied About Dorian.

The Border Wall Is Trump’s High Crime.

Trump Admin Called Out For Colluding With Fox News In Violation Of Federal Law Against Covert Propaganda – Unearthed emails showed a Treasury official directing a Fox employee to use his preferred wording on a story. Democracy Forward wants the IG to see if that broke a federal law.

Trump’s Border Wall Funding To Come At Expense Of Military Hospital, Elementary Schools, Puerto Rico Aid.

House Panel Subpoenas Homeland Security For Docs Related To Promised Trump Pardons For Breaking Law.

In Memoriam:

Actress Valerie Harper Dead At Age 80 .

Valerie Harper: A Fighter Who Left a Complex Hollywood Legacy.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 8/31/2019: Dozens attend straight pride, and yet another ex-ex-gay.

Struggle against the darkness… or, an opening phrase isn’t the same as an opening sentence.

Videos!

Stephen Colbert – Colbert Questions Biden About Being a “Gaffe Machine”:

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Adam Lambert – Superpower (Official Music Video) – NSFW:

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Lil Nas X – Panini (Official Video):

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Katy Perry – Small Talk (Official):

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Maluma – No Se Me Quita (Official Video) ft. Ricky Martin:

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Weekend Update 8/31/2019: Dozens attend straight pride, and yet another ex-ex-gay

Mostly empty amphitheatre at today's Straight Pride in Boston.

Twitter user @SobaFett posted this picture of the crowd at today’s Straight Pride rally https://twitter.com/SobaFett/status/1167845221113180160

Was it really just this last Monday that I posted about the only one dozen people who turned out for the so-called Straight Pride parade in Modesto? That group (led by the guy who accidentally admitted that they were a racist group when arguing at a city council meeting) failed to get a permit, but the Patriot Front, American Guard, and Proud Boys (all neo-nazi groups) in Boston did get a permit… and boy, they had dozens show up!

The Boston police department contingent sent out to prevent violence outnumbers the straight pride idiots… and the cops are greatly outnumbered by the counter-protesters. You can find details here: Here’s what’s unfolding at Boston’s ‘Straight Pride’ event – Well, surprise surprise — it’s basically a pro-Trump rally featuring Milo Yiannopoulos. Also: Tens March In Straight Pride Parade.

Someone put up these fliers around the parade route in Boston.

Since I opined on this whole topic just a few days ago, I’m not sure if I want to say more. Other than to point out that the so-called Straight Pride Parade’s grand marshal, Milo Yiannopoulos, should only be remembered for when he cheerfully explained how beneficial it is to gay boys to be sexually molested by adults.

I realize the purpose of the event is to troll and get attention. But the old adage about not feeding the trolls is just like the useless advice that some adults give bullied kids: if you don’t react, they’ll stop bullying you. That advice is useless because the bully gets just as much enjoyment from the laughter of the bystanders as he does from any reaction of the target. So ignoring them completely isn’t what works. We have to counter lies with truth. But I don’t need to repeat myself, especially when this article explains why straight pride isn’t needed: On Eve of Straight Pride, Equal Rights Group Debunks ‘Heterophobia’.

In other news: Another Ex-Gay Torture Leader Denounces Movement. It’s a story some of us have heard a thousand times: bullied gay kid growing up in a religious family tries to pray his gay away, becomes involved in an ex-gay ministry, leads a double life pretending to be straight while secretly pursuing illicit relationships, and now he wants to apologize and admit he was gay all along.

Except McKrae Game didn’t just become involved in an ex-gay ministry: he helped found one, and did a lot of the (hypocritical) counseling himself.

Listen, I do feel sorry for Game’s younger self. I get it. I, too, was raised in Southern Baptist churches. I was teased and bullied at school and at church as a child because people thought I was gay. I prayed and cried and pleaded with god for years. And also, similarly to this guy, when I confessed to a good friend (who happened to be a young woman) that I thought I might be gay, I let myself be talked into giving a different orientation a try. Yes, I got married to a woman and then eventually divorced and came out.

So I certainly understand the sort of self-destructive toxic self-loathing that drives a queer person to try not to be queer.

But…

I never claimed to be straight. The lie I tried to live for a few years wasn’t much better, because I wasn’t bisexual any more than I was straight. But I didn’t try to tell other gay people that they could be cured. I didn’t found an organization that wouldn’t just spread that lie, but would sell the lie to other struggling queer people.

And maybe I just lucked out in that the first person I confessed my fear aloud to wasn’t anti-gay. Maybe I just lucked out that the attempts by family and church to intervene in my teen life weren’t as forceful and sustained as one of my cousins was subjected to.

But the thing that I keep coming back to with guys like McKrae Game is: it became his job to do this harmful and ineffective “treatment.” I said some pretty shitty things when I was a teen-ager and younger, trying to deflect people’s suspicions. I owe some people that I will likely never see again apologies for that.

But this guy charged the people he was lying to. Like other ex-gay leaders, he made people pay him for the lies he was telling. And some of those people killed themselves because praying didn’t make their feelings go away.

In the article he seems to understand that:

“Most people in the gay community have treated me ridiculously kind,” Game said, “liking me for me now and not who I was. And I hope they just give me the chance to talk to them so I can hear them out and apologize.”

Game said he realizes that for many an apology won’t be enough. And that he’ll likely be apologizing for the rest of his life.

Yes, yes he will.

Enough about that. Let’s close with this bit from June, when Stephen Colbert commented on the Straight Pride when the group first applied for their permit:

Stephen Colbert: What The ‘Straight Pride’ Parade Won’t Have:

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

Friday Five (save the planet edition)

This is not a movie. Photographer Jasper Reyes took the picture of part of the demolition of the Alaska Way Viaduct here in Seattle.

This is not a movie. Photographer Jasper Reyes took the picture of part of the demolition of the Alaska Way Viaduct here in Seattle. (Click to embiggen)

I really can’t believe that it is Friday! The last Friday in August. So summer is winding down. And this weekend is a holiday. Yay!

But first, I have to get through another impossible deadline at work. One the plus side, while I was compiling this I was also watching the Seahawks win the final game of the pre-season. Which was fun. Even if the gane doesn’t count.

So, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five science stories, five stories about a hopeful future, five stories about why we should impeach someone already, and five videos (plus things I wrote and notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

In The Matter Of Diamond And Silk’s Very Real Lawyer v. Wonkette: Bring It, Sh*thead. For the record: Diamond and Silk are black, but they also promote and defend white supremacists, so yes, they most definitely are black white supremacists. And should be deeply ashamed.

Undercover in Patriot Prayer: Insights From a Vancouver Democrat Who’s Been Working Against the Far-Right Group from the Inside.

Hurricane Dorian grazes Puerto Rico.

New Jersey woman won’t stop abandoning kittens at Whole Foods, shelter begs her to stop.

Now You Can Help Save the Environment by Watching a Bunch of Porn.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Superior, Wis., passes gay ‘conversion therapy’ ban – The city joins seven others in Wisconsin banning the practice.

‘We Don’t Promote That Here’: Kentucky School Administrators Force Students to Remove LGBTQ-Pride Tee Shirts – Student Says Principal Outed Several LGBTQ Students to Their Parents.

Former NFL Player: There Are Gay, Bisexual Players On Every Pro Football Team – Ryan O’Callaghan, who played for the New England Patriots and came out in 2017, said he regularly hears from closeted current athletes and as if on cue: Former NFL Player Comes Out As Bisexual.

Out candidate Pete Buttigieg would beat Donald Trump in presidential election – A new poll from Quinnipiac shows Mayor Pete winning the general election by 9 points.

Kentucky principal who tried to ban books over ‘homosexual content’ busted for child porn .

This Week in Science:

New landmark study finds that genetics influences sexual orientation – It turns out there isn’t just one gay gene. There are several.

Stone tools may place some of the first Americans in Idaho 16,500 years ago – Artifacts add to evidence that North America’s early settlers predated an inland, ice-free path.

Storms on Jupiter are disturbing the planet’s colorful belts: Radio, IR and optical observations show evolution of plumes and their impact on belts and zones.

NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars. It’ll be the first aircraft to fly on another planet.

These Experimental Shorts Are An ‘Exosuit’ That Boosts Endurance On The Trail.

This Week in the Next Blue Wave:

How Georgia could help Democrats win the Senate — but only if they play it perfectly.

Democrats’ Emerging Tax Idea: Look Beyond Income, Target Wealth – Lawmakers and 2020 candidates offer a range of options focused on capturing some of the trillions of dollars in assets belonging to the nation’s richest.

A goal for Democrats: Make the White House boring again.

Republicans grow anxious about the Trump economy – Trump’s trade war with China could undermine GOP chances of holding the White House and Senate in 2020.

Is The NRA Financially Bleeding Out?

This Week in Impeach the Mo-Fo Already:

Legal Experts: Trump’s Promise of Pardons to Aides for Breaking the Law to Build His Wall Is Impeachable.

Thank You for Your Service. Sorry, Your Kids Aren’t US Citizens: Trump Changes Rules on Military Families Overseas.

Trump sees all U.S. Jews as Israelis because his Christian Zionist allies do, too.

Trump Loots Millions From FEMA to Send Migrants Back to Mexico – Just as Hurricane Season Starts.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis Rips Trump’s Policies In New Book: Storm Clouds Are Gathering, America’s At The Breaking Point.

In Memoriam:

Attorney Who Challenged Arkansas Gay Marriage Ban Dies.

Gaming Legend Rick Loomis.

Things I wrote:

Oppressed oppressors: A Dozen Peaceful Racists Show Up for “Straight Pride”.

Frogs and scorpions, or, he was never a journalist.

Late Tuesday Tidbit: The evangelical leader and the other pool boy.

Astounding Stories of Super-Science, or name changes are nothing new in sf/f.

Hard Times reap hard lessons, or when did cyberpunk really begin?

Videos!

CHEETO CHRIST STUPID-CZAR – Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

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

Greyson Chance – white roses:

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Kygo & Whitney Houston – Higher Love (Official Video):

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Tegan and Sara – I’ll Be Back Someday [Official Music Video]:

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

David Archuleta – Paralyzed (Official Video):

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

Late Tuesday Tidbit: The evangelical leader and the other pool boy

Instead of finishing my binge watch of The Boys a glance at twitter is forcing me to update a previous post. Remember how Jerry Falwell, Jr. and is wife decided for some completely unfathomable reason to hand over $1.8 million dollars to be a gay-friendly flophouse in Miami as a gift to provide an income to a hunky pool boy they met at a very expensive hotel (and how they kept flying him around on their private jet)? Well, it turns out he isn’t the only one: Another ‘Pool Guy’? Falwell Jr’s Personal Trainer Scored $2M From Liberty U To Buy A Gym.

And while there were people trying to figure out if the previous deal used funds from the non-profit religious organization of which Falwell is leader, there is no doubt on this one: Exclusive: Falwell steered Liberty University land deal benefiting his personal trainer.

I’m just going to pull a few paragraphs from that latter story:

The support Falwell provided to the two young men, Granda and Crosswhite, has some parallels. Both were aided in business ventures and both have flown on the nonprofit university’s corporate jet.

One difference: When Falwell helped Crosswhite, he used the assets of Liberty, the tax-exempt university he has led since 2008. Among the largest Christian universities in the world, Liberty depends on hundreds of millions of dollars its students receive in federally backed student loans and Pell grants…

…As Liberty’s leader, Falwell draws an annual salary of nearly $1 million, and is obligated to put the university’s financial interests before his own personal interests when conducting Liberty business.

“The concern is whether the university’s president wanted to do his personal trainer a favor and used Liberty assets to do it,” said Douglas Anderson, a governance specialist and former internal audit chief at Dow Chemical Co, who reviewed both the transaction and Liberty’s explanation of it at Reuters’ request. That would be bad governance, he said. “At a minimum, the terms suggest the buyer got a great deal and Liberty got very little.”

I’m sensing a pattern, here…


Edited to Add: I wrote about the first pool boy scandal here? Oh, you dirty devil—or The preacher and the pool boy… and then…

On Sept 9 Politico posted an exhaustive exposé of Falwell Jr’s financial and sexual scandals. I have some things to say (and maybe talk briefly about my one personal encounter with Junior’s scamvangelist father) about that: The Dark Domain, or a queer ex-evangelical looks at an agent of intolerance and his scandalous heirs.

Oppressed oppressors: A Dozen Peaceful Racists Show Up for “Straight Pride”

“There's no 'straight pride' for the same reason we don't have soup kitchens for the rich, dumbass.”

(Click to embiggen)

Six years ago there was an ex-gay rally held in Washington, D.C. The organizers insisted that there would be thousands of participants. Several news blogs I followed at the time predicted that the rally would be attended by possibles tens of people. After the event, some of those sites issued a retraction—because the number of attendees was only nine people. And all nine of those attendees were employees of the ex-gay “ministry” that organized the event. When the various groups started applying for permits for straight pride events earlier this summer, I wasn’t quite so sure the crowds would be small—because the people organizing the events are groups associated with various violent white supremacist rallies over the last few years.

One such group failed to secure a permit in Modesto, California earlier this month. The video of their leader arguing at a city council meeting for why they should be allowed to have the event went viral because, after countless times earlier insisting that they weren’t white nationalist, nor white supremacists, nor otherwise racist, he angrily said, “we’re a totally peaceful racist group!”

The council didn’t grant the permit, though I should point out the reason why was not the slip of the tongue. The groups, because of the connection several of them have to those hate rallies I mentioned earlier, had been unable to obtain the necessary insurance coverage required for a parade or similar public event. The slip of the tongue was just icing on the cake.

Despite not getting a permit to shut down traffic, the group vowed to hold an event anyway. And this weekend they did: Modesto protesters outnumber straight pride supporters at tense but peaceful rally. Outnumbered is putting it mildly: California’s ‘Straight Pride’ aimed to celebrate straight, white Christians. Only 12 people attended — They faced 200 pro-LGBTQ counter-protesters “standing together to reject this group and what they represent”.

About a dozen proud bigots showed up for an event at a rented barn—which was cut short when the owners of the venue saw their hateful signs and other things. Then the 12 proud bigots walked to a nearby Planned Parenthood clinic (which was closed) and they chanted various slogans that, oddly enough, didn’t have anything to do with being straight. I mean, I suppose the anti-gay slogan kind of count. And the pro-Trump signs I suppose could be argued to be about the straightness of a philandering twice-divorced man who, by his own admission, loves to grab women by the pussy. But, um, I don’t quite get what the Build the Wall chants had to do with straight pride. Sounds like could old-fashioned racist xenophobia.

About 200 counter-protestors, on the other hand, showed up to express support for queer rights and to denounce hate. And while apparently some angry shouting happened at one point, no actual violence broke out.

We know that this is just a gimmick. The real straight pride happens 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year. It has never been illegal to be straight anywhere. It has never been legal to fire people because they are straight anywhere. Straight children aren’t shamed and bullied in schools for being straight. It has never been illegal in any country in the world for opposite-sex couples to marry. No one calls for a boycott of a television network when a male character goes out on a date with a female character on any television show. No local television stations refuse to broadcast a specific episode of a show because of the inclusion of a marriage between a man and a woman.

And if straight people think that they don’t have a holiday, go take a look at how many Hallmark Channel movie listings during Thanksgiving and Christmas time have a straight romance as the central plot. Heck, how many times does a kiss between an opposite-sex couple at the stroke of Midnight on New Year’s Eve figure into romance movies?

And let’s not forget Heteroween — a holiday that once did belong to the queers, but y’all took it away with all those sexy mummy and sexy nurse and sexy fireman and sexy pirate costumes that are sold in pairs that result in a clothed-male/nearly-nude-female. Please note, the only problem I have with straight people co-opting our fabulous holiday this way is that they don’t do it equitably. It shouldn’t just be the ladies in those straight couples showing off some skin. I mean, c’mon, isn’t the point of being a straight studly man that woman want your sexy body?

If straight people don’t want to embrace the values of throwing off sexual repression and insist that they are all about family values, I have a quibble about that, too: Straight Pride organizer criticized by her gay son for planning ‘straight, white, Christian’ event .

Maybe instead of attacking the rights and freedoms of their neighbors, co-workers, and even their own children, they should put a little more time into asking themselves why queer people make them so uncomfortable. A little self-reflection would do far more good than staging these white supremacist events masquerading as straight pride.

Friday Five (hold my beer edition)

Once again, Friday is upon us!

After a few hot and muggy days, we got a drizzly day followed by an cool overcast day. So far we’ve had a mild summer. Let’s hope it stays that way!

So, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about sci fi and fantasy, five science stories, five stories the impeachable one and related problems, five stories about domestic terrorist, and five videos (plus things I wrote and notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

The Second Amendment Has Always Been a Tool of White Supremacy – The U.S. has a long political tradition of marrying gun control legislation with racism and xenophobia.

Beto O’Rourke re-invents how to run for president. Is his ‘Bulworth’ campaign crazy enough to work? Beto isn’t my first choice, but I’m glad that someone had decided to take the gloves off vis a vis whether Cadet Bonespur is a racist.

Art Spiegelman: golden age superheroes were shaped by the rise of fascism.

Detroit Jewish group supports Tlaib, despite Donald Trump’s comments.

LGBTQ books are being censored in middle schools. Authors are speaking out.

This Week in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fandom:

8 Lesser-Known Works by Ray Bradbury.

These Nigerian Teens Are Making Sci-Fi Shorts with Slick Visual Effects.

Cory Doctorow: Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award acceptance speech, in which she correctly identifies Campbell as a fascist and expresses solidarity with Hong Kong protesters.

2019 Hugos in detail, and reflections on the viability of Best Fanzine.

Spider-Man and Tom Holland: Sony ‘disappointed’ over Disney split.

This Week in Science:

Nasa confirms ocean moon mission.

Meet Alice Ball, the Bad-Ass Seattle Scientist Almost Lost to History.

How a Cooling Vest Invented by a Furry Made Its Way Into the U.S. Military.

Astronomers just quintupled the number of known repeating fast radio bursts.

A 3-D map of stars reveals the Milky Way’s warped shape.

This Week in the Impeachable One and Other Deplorable People:

Trump’s Campaign Manager Brad Parscale Has Blown Millions.

Trump’s ‘Chosen One’ Comment and Spat with Denmark Shows His ‘Psychotic-Like State’ Says Doctor Who First Warned About President’s Mental Condition.

The Justice Department Sent Immigration Judges A White Nationalist Blog Post With Anti-Semitic Attacks.

Trump swats at Danish prime minister for ‘nasty’ statement on Greenland.

In Insane Tweet Trump Baselessly Accuses Democratic Lawmaker of ‘Violence’.

This Week in White Domestic Terrorists:

White Supremacist Who Attended Charlottesville Nazi Rally Busted For Terror Threat and Jewish Community FBI Says, Many Weapons Found.

Private militias must stop pretending to have authority they don’t have.

Proud Boys Rallying Could Ramp Up With Trump Re-election Campaign .

Feds Arrest Neo-Nazi Trump Fan for Threatening to “Exterminate” Miami Hispanics.

At least 27 people have been arrested over threats to commit mass attacks since the El Paso and Dayton shootings.

In Memoriam:

‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ Animator Richard Williams Has Died.

Things I wrote:

A Hugo of Our Own.

Tuesday Tidbit 8/20/2019: Closeted politician tries to co-opt us to dodge his anti-gay past.

Set our hearts at liberty — more confessions of a queer ex-evangelical.

That has always been here, or politics aren’t a new thing in sf/f.

Videos!

The Check In: Trump and Trucking:

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

Maddow: Racism Is ‘A Persistent Infection’ In White American Culture:

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

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance | Trailer:

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

Lostchild – Like Like (Official Music Video):

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MIKA – Tiny Love:

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