Tag Archive | news

Friday Five (f-ing guilty edition)

Charlie Brown and Snoopy sitting on a dock looking at the night sky. Charlie asks, “Why doesn't Trump just release the full transcript of the call and have the people who could prove his innocence testify on his behalf?” Snoopy answers, “Because he's fucking guilty.”

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Is it really already the fourth Friday in January? I guess it must be.

We have been having an exceptionally wet week. Really, record-breaking amounts of rain. It’s kind of scary.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: one story that gets its own category, then the top five stories of the week, five of interest to queer people, and five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and things I wrote).

This Week in Picard Day:

Star Trek: Picard Review: On Earth and in the Stars, an Old Captain Finds New Life.

Stories of the Week:

Wild elephant walks into Sri Lankan hotel and gently wanders around .

DDoS: Man who sold website defences pleads guilty to attacks.

You can visit a castle in Texas called ShangriLlama that’s full of adorable, friendly llamas.

FBI says ‘Bad Wig Bandit’ has robbed yet another N.C. bank.

This new dinosaur just called it: even feathered dinos were nothing like birds.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Indiana’s Discrimination Against LGBTQ Families Must Stop, Court Rules.

Utah bans conversion therapy on LGBTQ children as rule goes into effect.

Empowered VA Senate Passes Host Of LGBT Rights Bills.

New Jersey Becomes 9th State to Ban Gay, Trans ‘Panic’ as Defense of Homicide.

Parents Throw a ‘Gayceañera’ to Celebrate Son’s Coming Out.

This Week in Deplorables:

Napolitano: Impeachment Evidence Is Uncontradicted.

‘Crying Nazi’ involved in ‘Unite the Right’ rally arrested by the FBI – Christopher Cantwell became one of the most familiar faces of the rally after he was featured in a documentary that showed him chanting “Jews will not replace us.”.

Dozens of anti-LGBTQ state bills already proposed in 2020, advocates warn.

Church of England: Sex is for Married Straight Couples Only.

Bank calls police on black man trying to deposit checks from racial discrimination settlement.

In Memoriam:

From Judy Woodruff: Longtime PBS NewsHour Anchor and Co-Founder Jim Lehrer Has Passed Away at 85.

Jim Lehrer, journalist who co-founded PBS’ nightly newscast, dead at 85. “As an anchor of several iterations of the NewsHour, Jim reported the news with a clear sense of purpose and integrity, even as the world of media changed around him.”

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77.

Terry Jones, Life of Brian director and Monty Python founder, dies aged 77 – Jones, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, was the main directing force in Python’s films, as well a prolific creator of TV documentaries and children’s books.

John Karlen, Actor in ‘Dark Shadows’ and ‘Cagney & Lacey,’ Dies at 86.

Dark Shadows veteran John Karlen dies at 86.

Things I wrote:

Being a discerning reader: Explaining why you’re taking a pass is a valid form of criticism.

It’s not the truth that confuses kids, or, reflections from a closeted queer childhood.


These People Failed Martin Luther King Jr. Day | The Daily Show:

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YOU SAY VOTE with Jesse Williams:

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Horror Musical Instrument – The Apprehension Engine:

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THAT DON! – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

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Pet Shop Boys – Monkey business (Official video):

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Friday Five (political theatre edition)

And were’ already at the third Friday in January

I’m breaking a long standing tradition with my Friday post of links. No videos this week. I’ve been sick but have a crazy deadline at work, so I haven’t been looking at as much news. I didn’t have a single new video bookmarked, and decided not to spend a lot of time looking for them.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about interesting things happening in two genres of writing, and five stories about deplorable people (plus things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Researchers create new embryo of nearly extinct rhino species.

The estranged anarchist daughter of the Republican gerrymandering mastermind inherited and published all his files online.

Meet 2020 AV2, the first asteroid found that stays inside Venus’s orbit!.

Secrets of ‘1,000-year-old trees’ unlocked.

Donald Trump impeachment trial begins in US Senate — the same day the GAO said the president broke the law.

This Week in Genre Writing:

What We Talk About When We Talk About Gender: Lessons from a Recent Incident in Secular Storytelling.

An open letter to the author of “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter.”.

Inside the Spectacular Implosion at the Romance Writers of America: Racism Fight Over Romance Writers of America, Explained.

The New Rude Masters of Fantasy & Science Fiction – and Romance.

The Big Idea: Kameron Hurley looks at what it takes to get a book right — and how her latest novel.

This Week in Deplorables:

Chris Wallace Busts Trump Trying To Game Fox News Coverage During Impeachment Vote.

Parnas and Ukraine aid bombshells jolt impeachment trial.

FBI Arrests Alleged Nazis Ahead Of Virginia Gun Rally.

Virginia teen charged in ‘swatting’ ring linked to neo-Nazis – The U.S. Justice Department has charged a former Virginia college student with calling in fake emergencies to prompt law enforcement responses, in coordination with a group the FBI labelled as sympathetic to neo-Nazi ideology.

Trump releases ‘religious freedom’ plans to remind evangelicals why they support a profane adulterer.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 1/11/2020: Bitter lies, obscured truths, and the failure of “fairness”.

Confessions of a self-reconstructed queer.

Confessions of a former self-loathing closet case.

Perfect is the enemy of the good, or, how trying to be noble actually advances the cause of evil.

Perfect is the enemy of the good, or, how trying to be noble actually advances the cause of evil

“He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

“He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

There’s a topic I have commented on a few times, and have lately been feeling that I needed to do a much more in-depth post for, but I keep going down rabbit holes of various types each time I try. It hadn’t really occurred to me that one of the problems was that a crucial portion of the modern electorate is too young to have lived through some of the bad parts of our history, society, and political system that I (as an old fart) take for granted. So I kept not mentioning a lot of important background information in my rants. Fortunately, I happened across a wonderful post elsewhere that covered that ground as well as the points I was trying to make. So I am copying it below,

First there is an anonymous question:

I’m 21 and tbh feel like I can only vote for Bernie, can you explain if/why I shouldn’t? Thanks and sorry if this is dumb or anything

Then there is this incredible answer from qqueenofhades.tumblr.com:

Oh boy. Okay, I’ll do my best here. Note that a) this will get long, and b) I’m old, Tired, and I‘m pretty sure my brain tried to kill me last night. Since by nature I am sure I will say something Controversial ™, if anyone reads this and feels a deep urge to inform me that I am Wrong, just… mark it down as me being Wrong and move on with your life. But also, really, you should read this and hopefully think about it. Because while I’m glad you asked this question, it feels like there’s a lot in your cohort who won’t, and that worries me. A lot.

First, not to sound utterly old-woman-in-a-rocking-chair ancient, people who came of age/are only old enough to have Obama be the first president that they really remember have no idea how good they had it. The world was falling the fuck apart in 2008 (not coincidentally, after 8 years of Bush). We came within a flicker of the permanent collapse of the global economy. The War on Terror was in full roar, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were at their height, we had Dick Cheney as the cartoon supervillain before we had any of Trump’s cohort, and this was before Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden had exposed the extent of NSA/CIA intelligence-gathering/American excesses or there was any kind of public debate around the fact that we were all surveilled all the time. And the fact that a brown guy named Barack Hussein Obama was elected in this climate seems, and still seems tbh, kind of amazing. And Obama was certainly not a Perfect President™. He had to scale back a lot of planned initiatives, he is notorious for expanding the drone strike/extrajudicial assassination program, he still subscribed to the overall principles of neoliberalism and American exceptionalism, etc etc. There is valid criticism to be made as to how the hopey-changey optimistic rhetoric stacked up against the hard realities of political office. And yet…. at this point, given what we’re seeing from the White House on a daily basis, the depth of the parallel universe/double standards is absurd.

Because here’s the thing. Obama, his entire family, and his entire administration had to be personally/ethically flawless the whole time (and they managed that – not one scandal or arrest in eight years, against the legions of Trumpistas now being convicted) because of the absolute frothing depths of Republican hatred, racial conspiracy theories, and obstruction against him. (Remember Merrick Garland and how Mitch McConnell got away with that, and now we have Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court? Because I remember that). If Obama had pulled one-tenth of the shit, one-twentieth of the shit that the Trump administration does every day, he would be gone. It also meant that people who only remember Obama think he was typical for an American president, and he wasn’t. Since about… Jimmy Carter, and definitely since Ronald Reagan, the American people have gone for the Trump model a lot more than the Obama model. Whatever your opinion on his politics or character, Obama was a constitutional law professor, a community activist, a neighborhood organizer and brilliant Ivy League intellectual who used to randomly lie awake at night thinking about income inequality. Americans don’t value intellectualism in their politicians; they just don’t. They don’t like thinking that “the elites” are smarter than them. They like the folksy populist who seems fun to have a beer with, and Reagan/Bush Senior/Clinton/Bush Junior sold this persona as hard as they possibly could. As noted in said post, Bush Junior (or Shrub as the late, great Molly Ivins memorably dubbed him) was Trump Lite but from a long-established political family who could operate like an outwardly civilized human.

The point is: when you think Obama was relatively normal (which, again, he wasn’t, for any number of reasons) and not the outlier in a much larger pattern of catastrophic damage that has been accelerated since, again, the 1980s (oh Ronnie Raygun, how you lastingly fucked us!), you miss the overall context in which this, and which Trump, happened. Like most left-wingers, I don’t agree with Obama’s recent and baffling decision to insert himself into the 2020 race and warn the Democratic candidates against being too progressive or whatever he was on about. I think he was giving into the same fear that appears to be motivating the remaining chunk of Joe Biden’s support: that middle/working-class white America won’t go for anything too wild or that might sniff of Socialism, and that Uncle Joe, recalled fondly as said folksy populist and the internet’s favorite meme grandfather from his time as VP, could pick up the votes that went to Trump last time. And that by nature, no one else can.

The underlying belief is that these white voters just can’t support anything too “un-American,” and that by pushing too hard left, Democratic candidates risk handing Trump a second term. Again: I don’t agree and I think he was mistaken in saying it. But I also can’t say that Obama of all people doesn’t know exactly the strength of the political machine operating against the Democratic Party and the progressive agenda as a whole, because he ran headfirst into it for eight years. The fact that he managed to pass any of his legislative agenda, usually before the Tea Party became a thing in 2010, is because Democrats controlled the House and Senate for the first two years of his first term. He was not perfect, but it was clear that he really did care (just look up the pictures of him with kids). He installed smart, efficient, and scandal-free people to do jobs they were qualified for. He gave us Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to join RBG on the Supreme Court. All of this seems… like a dream.

That said: here we are in a place where Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren are the front-runners for the Democratic nomination (and apparently Pete Buttigieg is getting some airplay as a dark horse candidate, which… whatever). The appeal of Biden is discussed above, and he sure as hell is not my favored candidate (frankly, I wish he’d just quit). But Sanders and Warren are 85% – 95% similar in their policy platforms. The fact that Michael “50 Billion Dollar Fortune” Bloomberg started rattling his chains about running for president is because either a Sanders or Warren presidency terrifies the outrageously exploitative billionaire capitalist oligarchy that runs this country and has been allowed to proceed essentially however the fuck they like since… you guessed it, the 1980s, the era of voodoo economics, deregulation, and the free market above all. Warren just happens to be ten years younger than Sanders and female, and Sanders’ age is not insignificant. He’s 80 years old and just had a heart attack, and there’s still a year to go to the election. It’s also more than a little eye-rolling to describe him as the only progressive candidate in the race, when he’s an old white man (however much we like and approve of his policy positions). And here’s the thing, which I think is a big part of the reason why this polarized ideological purity internet leftist culture mistrusts Warren:

She may have changed her mind on things in the past.

Scary, right? I sound like I’m being facetious, but I’m not. An argument I had to read with my own two eyes on this godforsaken hellsite was that since Warren became a Democrat around the time Clinton signed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, she sekritly hated gay people and might still be a corporate sellout, so on and etcetera. (And don’t even get me STARTED on the fact that DADT, coming a few years after the height of the AIDS crisis where it was considered God’s Judgment of the Icky Gays, was the best Clinton could realistically hope to achieve, but this smacks of White Gay Syndrome anyway and that is a whole other kettle of fish.) Bernie has always demonstrably been a democratic socialist, and: good for him. I’m serious. But because there’s the chance that Warren might not have thought exactly as she does now at any point in her life, the hysterical and paranoid left-wing elements don’t trust that she might not still secretly do so. (Zomgz!) It’s the same element that’s feeding cancel culture and “wokeness.” Nobody can be allowed to have shifted or grown in their opinions or, like a functional, thoughtful, non-insane adult, changed their beliefs when presented with compelling evidence to the contrary. To the ideological hordes, any hint of uncertainty or past failure to completely toe the line is tantamount to heresy. Any evidence of any other belief except The Correct One means that this person is functionally as bad as Trump. And frankly, it’s only the Sanders supporters who, just as in 2016, are threatening to withhold their vote in the general election if their preferred candidate doesn’t win the primary, and indeed seem weirdly proud about it.

OK, boomer Bernie or Buster.

Here’s the thing, the thing, the thing: there is never going to be an American president free of the deeply toxic elements of American ideology. There just won’t be. This country has been built how it has for 250 years, and it’s not gonna change. You are never going to have, at least not in the current system, some dream candidate who gets up there and parrots the left-wing talking points and attacks American imperialism, exceptionalism, ravaging global capitalism, military and oil addiction, etc. They want to be elected as leader of a country that has deeply internalized and taken these things to heart for its entire existence, and most of them believe it to some degree themselves. So this groupthink white liberal mentality where the only acceptable candidate is this Perfect Non-Problematic robot who has only ever had one belief their entire lives and has never ever wavered in their devotion to doctrine has really gotten bad. The Democratic Party would be considered… maybe center/mild left in most other developed countries. It’s not even really left-wing by general standards, and Sanders and Warren are the only two candidates for the nomination who are even willing to go there and explicitly put out policy proposals that challenge the systematic structure of power, oppression, and exploitation of the late-stage capitalist 21st century. Warren has the billionaires fussed, and instead of backing down, she’s doubling down. That’s part of why they’re so scared of her. (And also misogyny, because the world is depressing like that.) She is going head-on after picking a fight with some of the worst people on the planet, who are actively killing the rest of us, and I don’t know about you, but I like that.

Of course: none of this will mean squat if she (or the eventual Democratic winner, who I will vote for regardless of who it is, but as you can probably tell, she’s my ride or die) don’t a) win the White House and then do as they promised on the campaign trail, and b) don’t have a Democratic House and Senate willing to have a backbone and pass the laws. Even Nancy Pelosi, much as she’s otherwise a badass, held off on opening a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump for months out of fear it would benefit him, until the Ukraine thing fell into everyone’s laps. The Democrats are really horrible at sticking together and voting the party line the way Republicans do consistently, because Democrats are big-tent people who like to think of themselves as accepting and tolerant of other views and unwilling to force their members’ hands. The Republicans have no such qualms (and indeed, judging by their enabling of Trump, have no qualms at all).

The modern American Republican party has become a vehicle for no-holds-barred power for rich white men at the expense of absolutely everything and everyone else, and if your rationale is that you can’t vote for the person opposing Donald Goddamn Trump is that you’re just not vibing with them on the language of that one policy proposal… well, I’m glad that you, White Middle Class Liberal, feel relatively safe that the consequences of that decision won’t affect you personally. Even if we’re due to be out of the Paris Climate Accords one day after the 2020 election, and the issue of climate change now has the most visibility it’s ever had after years of big-business, Republican-led efforts to deny and discredit the science, hey, Secret Corporate Shill, am I right? Can’t trust ‘er. Let’s go have a craft beer.

As has been said before: vote as far left as you want in the primary. Vote your ideology, vote whatever candidate you want, because the only way to make actual, real-world change is to do that. The huge, embedded, all-consuming and horrible system in which we operate is not just going to suddenly be run by fairy dust and happy thoughts overnight. Select candidates that reflect your values exactly, be as picky and ideologically militant as you want. That’s the time to do that! Then when it comes to the general election:

  • America is a two-party system. It sucks, but that’s the case. Third-party votes, or refraining from voting because “it doesn’t matter” are functionally useless at best and actively harmful at worst.
  • Either the Democratic candidate or Donald Trump will win the 2020 election.
  • There is absolutely no length that the Republican/GOP machine, and its malevolent allies elsewhere, will not go to in order to secure a Trump victory. None.
  • Any talk whatsoever about “progressive values” or any kind of liberal activism, coupled with a course of action that increases the possibility of a Trump victory, is hypocritical at best and actively malicious at worst.

This is why I found the Democratic response to Obama’s “don’t go too wild” comments interesting. Bernie doubled down on the fact that his plans have widespread public support, and he’s right. (Frankly, the fact that Sanders and Warren are polling at the top, and the fact that they’re politicians and would not be crafting these campaign messages if they didn’t know that they were being positively received, says plenty on its own). Warren cleverly highlighted and praised Obama’s accomplishments in office (i.e. the Affordable Care Act) and didn’t say squat about whether she agreed or disagreed with him, then went right back to campaigning about why billionaires suck. And some guy named Julian Castro basically blew Obama off and claimed that “any Democrat” could beat Trump in 2020, just by nature of existing and being non-insane.

This is very dangerous! Do not be Julian Castro!

As I said in my tags on the Bush post: everyone assumed that sensible people would vote for Kerry in 2004. Guess what happened? Yeah, he got Swift Boated. The race between Obama and McCain in 2008, even after those said nightmare years of Bush, was very close until the global crash broke it open in Obama’s favor, and Sarah Palin was an actual disqualifier for a politician being brazenly incompetent and unprepared. (Then again, she was a woman from a remote backwater state, not a billionaire businessman.) In 2012, we thought Corporate MormonBot Mitt Fuggin’ Romney was somehow the worst and most dangerous candidate the Republicans could offer. In 2016, up until Election Day itself, everyone assumed that HRC was a badly flawed candidate but would win anyway. And… we saw how that worked out. Complacency is literally deadly.

I was born when Reagan was still president. I’m just old enough to remember the efforts to impeach Clinton over forcing an intern to give him a BJ in the Oval Office (This led by the same Republicans making Donald Trump into a darling of the evangelical Christian right wing.) I’m definitely old enough to remember 9/11 and how America lost its mind after that, and I remember the Bush years. And, obviously, the contrast with Obama, the swing back toward Trump, and everything that has happened since. We can’t afford to do this again. We’re hanging by a thread as it is, and not just America, but the entire planet.

So yes. By all means, vote for Sanders in the primary. Then when November 3, 2020 rolls around, if you care about literally any of this at all, hold your nose if necessary and vote straight-ticket Democrat, from the president, to the House and Senate, to the state and local offices. I cannot put it more strongly than that.

If you do anything other than show up to vote in November and vote straight Democrat, no matter who is in any of those slots all the way down the ballot, than you are voting for Trump, the White Nationalists, and their enablers. Period.

Weekend Update 1/11/2020: Bitter lies, obscured truths, and the failure of “fairness”

“Firing a $70,000 missile from a $28,000,000 drone flying at a cost of $3,624 per hour to kill people in the Middle East living on less than $1 per day.”  “We live in a country where if you want to bomb somebody, there's remarkably little discussion about how much it might cost. But then you have a discussion abut whether or not we can assisst people who are suffering, and suddenly we become very cost-conscious.” —Prof. Andrew Bacevich

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“Firing a $70,000 missile from a $28,000,000 drone flying at a cost of $3,624 per hour to kill people in the Middle East living on less than $1 per day.”

“We live in a country where if you want to bomb somebody, there’s remarkably little discussion about how much it might cost. But then you have a discussion abut whether or not we can assisst people who are suffering, and suddenly we become very cost-conscious.” —Prof. Andrew Bacevich

Time for another of my Saturday posts where I talk about stories that either broke after I finished this week’s Friday Five or have had new information come forward after being linked and/or commented on in any of my previous posts. Let’s go!

We’ve reached a new high in journalists bending over backwards not to report that water is wet: Amash accuses Trump of selling military support to Saudi Arabia. The problem with this headline is that word accuses, because inside the story, Trump himself is quoted as saying in an interview on Fox. “We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank.” So no one needs to accuse the alleged president of selling troops, the guy is bragging about it!

Warren: Reasonable to Ask if Trump’s Iran Strike Is a Distraction From Impeachment. Reasonable is an understatement, especially when we learn that TRUMP ARGUED SOLEIMANI STRIKE WOULD BE POPULAR POLITICALLY, SAID IRAN WOULDN’T ‘DO ANYTHING TOO STUPID’.

Is there anyone on the planet less qualified to speculate about other people doing stupid things? This is the guy who, when warned not to look directly at a solar eclipse because it could burn the retinas in his eyes, went out of the balcony of the White House with a zillion cameras and reporters watching, and turned his head up to look directly at the eclipse! This is the man that we have seen doesn’t know how to fold up an umbrella! This is the man who went on a rambling rant proving that he doesn’t know how basic plumbing works, when discussing a drought. We can keep going… but there are other things to report.

Picture of a homeless man sleeping on a park bench, using newspapers for blankets. Headlines about soaring corporate profits and a surging stock market are visible. “We need to stop measuing 'the economy' by how well rich people are doing.”

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Here’s why the stock market is surging to records after an Iranian missile strike threatened to erupt into war. Yes, the Dow is surging to record highs… and I’m trying not to be superstitious here, but we’re entering the 2020s, right? And during the 1920s the stock market just surged and surged and surged and anyone who could afford to invest seemed to be making a killing and everything looked wonderful (at least if you believe the popular media at the time), until the market literally crashed and then we had the Great Depression.

And things aren’t looking good for much of the workforce as it is now: Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay. “In a recent analysis, we found that 53 million workers ages 18 to 64—or 44% of all workers—earn barely enough to live on.” The New York Times: After a Decade of Hiring, Plenty of Jobs but Raises Are Tiny. Again, I realize that most of you don’t need me or these stories to tell you that wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living. I think it’s useful, though, to have these facts to share when necessary.

“I'm sick of seeing 'are [we] ready for a woman president.' I'm sick of seeing 'are we ready for a gay president.' Don't remember being asked if we were ready for an incompetent, racist, homophobic, traitorous, cheating bastard, reality TV president, yet one is currently in the [White House].”

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Many Iowa Democrats are paralyzed by fear of choosing the wrong candidate to take on Trump. On any day I could find dozens of headlines talking about which Democratic candidate is in the lead in the early state polling or the national polls, and everyone of them included comments about how whoever has the lead is going to face trouble with this or that constituency. And I’m frankly more than a little tired of them.

In part because they’re stuck in the same kind of horse race mentality that threw the election to the guy who lost the popular vote by a couple of million last time. Somehow we have got to get the not-Fox press to stop falling into the trap of essentially shilling for the Republicans and White Nationalists under the guise of applying one standard of coverage to the Democrats, and frankly ignoring the problems of Trump and his ilk.

But we have one more topic to cover before I draw a conclusion:

“I believe Donald J. Trump was sent by god.” “Why? Did you run out of locusts?”

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Some quickies to establish the Plague of Destruction:

Gay Trump supporter trying to gaslight the LGBTQ community into supporting our own destruction.

Conspiracy Theorist: If Trump Isn’t Re-elected, Christians Will Go To Jail.

This Brilliant New Ad Highlights the Hypocrisy of Trump-Loving Evangelicals.

The Trump economy is hurting most Americans.

I’ve already spent so many pixels lamenting that fact that the people who most fervently defend Trump are the ones who are either getting most hurt by his policies, or are failing to recognize the hypocrisy inherent in that support. He’s the most anti-Christian president ever. He lies. He cheats. He steals. For his entire career! He has actually gotten out of one lawsuit from investors that he bilked out of tens of millions of dollars by arguing that they were are fault for not researching him enough to realize that he is a fraud. I’m not making that up!

And news outlets trot out those very people, sometimes literally the same dozen white trump-voting angry white people who claim to be “independent voters” and get them to parrot trump’s talking points even when they contradict the truth those people are living in.

We’re stuck in this asymmetrical situation where one side does outrageous criminal or immoral or unethical things—blatantly and sometimes bragging about it—and it is only the other side that is admonished for not being civil, for not being fair, for not compromising. And it is literally killing us! We have come to expect this from Fox News and Breitbart—they have made their pro-White Nationalist, pro-Dominionist, pro-Wealth agenda clear. It’s the remaining news outlets who think they are being fair who keep giving in to all these false equivalences in the interest of fairness.

  • You don’t need to quote formerly Republican Amash as say he accused Trump of selling the troops: come out and say in the headline that Trump admitted he did (or even better, that he bragged about it).
  • You don’t need to quote billionaires and their lapdogs when they spout lies about how the economy works: come out and say that the ultra-rich are hoarding wealth and wrecking the economy; report about the fact that the only thing that creates jobs is when ordinary people have enough money to spend on things other than minimal basic survival.
  • You don’t need to try to claim that minor quibbles on one side of the political spectrum are the equivalent of the racist, homophobic, genocidal and corrupt policies of the other side: come out and say that the Republicans promote the exploitation and even death of middle-to-low-income people in order to move more wealth to their billionaire buddies.
  • You don’t need to repeat Trump’s side’s blatant lies as if they are just one side of an opinion, while calling basic fact-checking an accusation: come out and say that Trump’s policies are hurting workers, killing people by taking away their health care, killing children by locking them up in cages, taking rights away from many Americans.

Start reporting the truth. Truth isn’t a bitter drink, it is a delicious tea!

Friday Five (not another war edition)

“There are men running governments who shouldn't be allowed to play with matches.” — Will Rogers

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It’s Friday and I should be happy about that but drone strikes and missiles are kind of putting a damper on everything.

We’re getting really cold temps here, but fortunately not coinciding with a lot of moisture, so we aren’t quite ready for a snowmeggeddon, but there’s more cold air masses and storm systems on their way, so that may change.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: the top five stories of the week, five stories about science fiction, five stories about science, five stories about deplorable people, five stories about the impeached one, and five videos (plus things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

This Activist’s Insightful Tweet About Queer Identity is Taking Social Media by Storm.

After Stranger Lawsuit, State Provides Previously Sealed Records.

LGBTQ heroes don’t need to be perfect (or even perfectly respectable).

Arizona city under siege by graffiti artist who keeps writing “Penis Man” on everything.

The US spent trillions trying to remake the Middle East. Trump’s strike may have undone it all.

This Week in Science Fiction:

12 Excellent SFF Books You Might Have Missed in 2019.

Iconic prop house closes after 42 years in business.

And the Hugo Goes to … Introduction – John Varley.

Hugo Book Club Blog: The Movement of Goods In Science Fiction.

Asimov’s Empire, Asimov’s Wall – He was both the most famous science fiction writer in the world and perhaps the most prolific author in American history, but over the course of many decades, he groped or engaged in other forms of unwanted touching with countless women.

This Week in Science:

Binary star system set to go nova by 2100.

The female scientist who changed human fertility forever.

Gender Variance Around the World Over Time.

Scientists Figured Out the Indian Cobra’s Genome—at Last – With the genetic recipe for the snake’s lethal venom in hand, researchers will have an easier time producing an antidote.

San Francisco Bay could triple otter population, study says.

This Week in the Impeached One:

Pompeo: Trump doesn’t want to bomb Iran’s cultural sites. Trump: Yes I do. – Mike Pompeo’s Sunday TV appearances illustrated the Trump administration’s complete lack of credibility.

Trump Doesn’t Want Voters to Know How Much His Family’s Trips Cost Taxpayers.

WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? Trump Had a Secret Oval Office Meeting With the Saudi Vice Minister of Defense – and Didn’t Reveal It Until Forced To.

Trump administration proposes rule to punish disabled people.

Shifting explanations raises questions about trump admin Intel on Iran.

This Week in Deplorables:

Why Joe Lieberman Is Suddenly All Over Your Teevee. “Lieberman (and virtually every other Very Serious Person who’s cheerleading the Iran strike on your teevee) makes his paycheck shilling for the defense industry.”

Wife Of Child Predator Sues Mormon Church for Reporting His Crimes to Police.

ICE Detention Center Captain Was on a Neo-Nazi Website and Wanted to Start a White Nationalist Group .

Doug Collins Attacks Democrats So Stupidly They Raise Money Off Of Him.

Texas School District Threatens Parents for Supporting LGBTQ Students.

Things I wrote:

The third workday after Christmas vacation, or Three Kings Day and returning to mundania.


Trump Lies About Iran Crisis, Blames Obama: A Closer Look:

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White House Officials “Shushed” Lawmakers Who Asked Questions During Iran Briefing:

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A Year’s worth of red-light runner car accidents at the same intersection (2019):

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Sex Education: Season 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix:

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BIRDS OF PREY – Official Trailer 2:

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Friday Five (appropriate responses edition)

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I’m not really ready for it to be the first Friday of 2020, and yet, here we are.

New Year’s Day was the last day of my Christmas vacation. Going back to the office on Thursday was not quite as much of a hassle as I thought it would be. Usually when it’s been a while since I went in it takes longer to find things and get out the door… but I was standing at the bus stop earlier than usual. It was very quiet at the office because it seems that about half my co-workers took all of this week as well as last week off, os I spent most of the day just going through my inbox.

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: then the top five stories of the week, five stories about science fiction, five stories about science, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and a some things I wrote).

Stories of the Week:

Network Building Anti-Gay Churches Shuttered .

Opinion | Bret Stephens and the Perils of the Tapped-Out Column.

The decade in dumb: Looking back on the silliest of Apple commentary.

John Lewis Diagnosed With Pancreatic Cancer – Civil Rights Icon Needs No Epitaph.

Dispensaries Are Still Not Selling Cannabis to Children.

This Week in Science Fiction:

The New Rude Masters of Fantasy & Science Fiction – and Romance .

A Perfectly Cromulent Review of Books — Every Heart Among Bones Beneath Sugar in a Dream Come Tumbling Down.


The 2019 Darth Vader Parenthood Award for Outstandingly Horrible Fictional Parents.

Jason Sanford – The State of Genre Magazines.

This Week in Science:

Stick-toting puffins offer first evidence of tool use in seabirds.

10 of the wildest discoveries Washington scientists made in 2019.

Bad Astronomy | Happy New Year! … but what exactly is a ‘year’?

500-million-old fossilized brain has totally changed our minds.

How Kepler Invented Science Fiction and Defended His Mother in a Witchcraft Trial While Revolutionizing Our Understanding of the Universe.

In Memoriam:

Jerry Herman, the Broadway composer who wrote ‘Hello, Dolly!’ and ‘La Cage aux Folles,’ is dead at 88.

Commentary: Jerry Herman, composer of ‘Hello, Dolly,’ should also be remembered as an early HIV survivor.

Things I wrote:

Monday Update 12/30/2019: Racist loudmouths, racist enablers, and acts of terror.

My New Year’s Wish for You, 2020.


Perry Mason – QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Perry Mason?:

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Harry Styles – Adore You (Official Video):

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Cub Sport – City of Angels (Official Video):

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Billy Porter – Love Yourself (Official Celeb Lip Sync Video):

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Pet Shop Boys – Monkey business (radio edit):

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Friday Five (end of a decade edition)

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And now we have reached the final Friday in 2019. It is also the final Friday in the decade of the twenty-teens.

Today is the eighth day of my Christmas vacation, and I’m finally starting to feel rested. After my husband and I went through our stockings from Santa and opened the presents under the tree, he asked me, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?” so I picked up my phone and called up so news sites. “Trump is still President, so no, I didn’t. But everything I did get was awesome.”

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: five stories about the return of one of the most beloved members of an NLF team, then the top five stories of the week, five stories about deplorable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and a some things I wrote).

This Week in Beast Mode:

(Those of you who were not Seahawks fans between 2010 and 2105 have no idea why this is a gigantic Christmas miracle… so just skip to the Stories of the Week if the phrase ‘Beast Mode’ doesn’t fill you with excitment…)

DONE — SEAHAWKS HAIL RETURN OF THE BEAST – In a whirlwind 24 hours, the Seahawks made emergency hires of Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin..

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch: Being back ‘a great feeling’.

Marshawn Lynch will give Seahawks a jolt — and maybe some production, too.

CHRISTMAS FILM THAT TELLS SEAHAWKS TALE – The hype around the return of Marshawn Lynch obscures the fact that the Seahawks’ most critical vulnerability is the wounded, reeling O-line.

What’s old is new again with Seahawks, and Marshawn Lynch will be the one initiating contact.

Stories of the Week:

Archaeologists may have found the remains of a trans man in a Byzantine chapel – The monastery of Mount Athos has forbidden women for 1000 years. Researchers are wondering why they just found “female” bones there.

Lesbian moms adopt 3 brothers to keep them from being split apart.

US spy planes fly over North Korea after ‘Christmas gift’ missile threat.

Public support for Trump conviction at all-time high, poll finds.

Hallmark movies are fascist propaganda. “…with their emphasis on returning home and the pleasures of the small, domestic life, also send a not-at-all subtle signal of disdain for cosmopolitanism and curiosity about the larger world, which is exactly the sort of attitude that helps breed the kind of defensive white nationalism that we see growing in strength in the Donald Trump era.”

This Week in Deplorables and People Fighting Them:

Televangelist Gets 1008 Years For Molesting Boys.

The FBI is asking questions about former Gov. Matt Bevin’s pardons.

Christian Post Editor Quits As Infighting Continues.

Trump Isn’t Playing Chess, He’s Playing Hungry-Hungry Hippos – CNN analyst Josh Rogan points out that the only way Trump benefits from an impeachment trial is if there’s chaos.

Former Hawaii Governor Calls On Tulsi Gabbard To Resign.

In Memoriam:

Legendary Gay Adult Film Director William Higgins Has Died at 77.

Things I wrote:

Everybody knows some turkey….

Carols and Kris Kringle—the fourth day of Christmas vacation.

Another Rainbow Christmas!

It’s Time for Mistletoe and Holly.

Getting Meta and Merry on Boxing Day.


Oscar Isaac Says He Lobbied for ‘Finn-Poe’ Romance in ‘Star Wars’ But ‘Disney Overlords Were Not Ready to Do That’ :

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Rachel Maddow says if not for Impeachment, “slow-motion crash” of NRA would be top U.S. story:

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“Once Upon Impeachment,” A Late Show Animated Christmas Classic:

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Adam Lambert Turns Cher’s ‘Believe’ into a Soaring Power Ballad::

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Pet Shop Boys – Decide :

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It’s Time for Mistletoe and Holly

Whatever holiday you celebrate, and however you celebreate it, I hope this week has been a time of joy and love for you and yours.

Merry Christmas!

Shabbat shalom!

Blessed Yul!

Joyous Kwanza!

Festive Festivus!

Happy Christmas!

Happy Hogswatch!

Feliz Navidad!

God Jul!

Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou!

Beannachtaí na Nollag!

Buon Natale!

Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus un laimīgu Jauno gadu!

Felix Dies Nativitatus!


This Children’s Book Is All About a Black, Gay Santa Claus.

Cat-astrophe averted: Longview firefighters resuscitate 4 cats after house fire.

The Pope’s Xmas Message: Don’t Be Such Dicks.

Dance Of The Sugar Plum Lesbians.

Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas Is You (Make My Wish Come True Edition):

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Have some more tunes: https://youtu.be/oO851xeYslI

Getting underwear for Christmas doesn’t have to be a bad thing…

Friday Five (impeached at last edition)

It is the final Friday before Christmas. 2019 is rushing to an end!

I am officially on vacation until 2020. As usual, of course, I have a lot of stuff to do on these days off. I have to finish the shopping before the party. I have a lot of presents to wrap. We both have some cooking to do. Oh, and I have about 800 word that I don’t hate in this year’s Christmas Ghost Story…

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: a story for the season, then the top five stories of the week, five stories of intesters to queers and allies, five stories about science, five stories about deplorable people, five stories about the impeached guy, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and a some things I wrote).

This Week in the Salvation Army is a Hate Group and You Should Not Donate to Them:

The Salvation Army says it doesn’t discriminate against LGBTQ people. Critics say that’s not true.

Stories of the Week:

Dear Democrats: Four religion requests from non-religious Americans.

Siri saves college student after icy car crash into the Winnebago River.

Paw Patrol truck boy, 3, takes to road to rescue dad – A three-year-old boy whose father suffered a seizure took to a main road on his toy truck to raise the alarm.

Atheists Appeal Ruling Banning “Secular Celebrants” from Solemnizing Marriages .

Don’t wait on Hallmark. Here are a few LGBTQ holiday films you can already watch.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Hallmark reverses position on same-sex couple ads after public outcry.

Miss Manners Responds to Christians Who Don’t Want Gays at Christmas.

Germany to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for minors.

Federal court demands the military turn over secret documents about the trans military ban.

No magical spell is going to protect JK Rowling from the ‘transphobic’ blowback this time.

This Week in Science:

Nasa releases never-before-seen image of mysterious object that arrived from another star system.

When a DNA Test Says You’re a Younger Man, Who Lives 5,000 Miles Away.

Visualizing Sex as a Spectrum .

World’s oldest fossil trees uncovered in New York.

A HIV vaccine could be available as soon as 2021, experts say.

It’s Impeach Navidad!:

For The First Time In His Life, Trump Is Held Accountable – Chris Hayes notes that impeachment marks the first time EVER that Trump is held publically accountable for his actions.

Impeachment and the crack up of the conservative mind.

Christianity Today Editor Condemns President Trump as ‘Morally Lost and Confused’: Christianity Today: Trump should be removed from office .

Widow, Republicans and Democrats blast Trump for crass Dingell ‘hell’ comment – The president spoke about the now-deceased lawmaker at a campaign rally in his home state of Michigan.

The Fox News impeachment poll isn’t an outlier (despite what Trump claims).

This Week in Deplorable People:

Colorado radio host fired for saying he wanted ‘nice school shooting’ to distract from Trump impeachment.

WA Rep. Matt Shea engaged in ‘domestic terrorism,’ helped plan Malheur standoff, investigation finds.

IOWA: Man Gets 16 Years In Rainbow Flag Arson.

Elder at Church That Condemns Homosexuality Arrested for Soliciting Sex from Male College Students on Grindr.

Whistleblower claims that LDS Church stockpiled $100 billion in charitable donations, dodged taxes.

In Memoriam:

The queer community lost two heroes you may not know. You should.

Gershon Kingsley, Electronic Music Pioneer, Dead at 97 – Composer and Moog adventurer wrote hit instrumental “Popcorn” and, with Jean-Jacques Perrey, “Baroque Hoedown”.

Things I wrote:

…paper packages tied up with string.

When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly face….


Santa Claus on Batman:

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Stephen Colbert – Hallmark Channel In A Tailspin After Same-Sex Wedding Ad Controversy:

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Senate Republicans Say They Won’t Hold a Fair Impeachment Trial: A Closer Look:

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Kay Thompson Jingle Bells:

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David Letterman – Darlene Love’s ‘Christmas’ Mash-Up:

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Friday Five (baby how ya feelin’ edition)

“"Over billions of years every action and inaction of the universe had to happen just so to bring you into this timeline, and now that you are here your voice is singular and unique and powerful, and most of all: important. You are just as rare in your way as your favorite author is, and the only difference between them and you is that they wrote their novel and you haven't yet. Until now. So pick up those pens buckaroos, because the hard part has been 6 billion years in the making, you are already special and the story in your heart is already rare and beautiful, now you get the joy of pushing it out and adding more love to this timeline. That's the best dang treat there is.” —Chuck Tingle

I should have posted this graphic last month, but I was too busy working on my own NaNoWriMo and did almost no blogging, still words of wisdom.

It’s already the second week in December. Let’s hope I can use this weekend to make a dent in my big to-do list of things to get done before the holiday!

I had a really bad day on my last day off from work. My doctor and I think that it was a medication issue, and not a new illness. And everything has been much better all week since switching to the brand new meds from the pharmacy, so, knock wood!

Meanwhile, welcome to the Friday Five. This week I bring you: a story for the season, then the top five stories of the week, five stories about deplorable people, five stories about impeachable people, and five videos (plus notable obituaries and a some things I wrote).

This Week in the Salvation Army is a Hate Group and You Should Not Donate to Them:

7 Organizations to Support That Aren’t the Homophobic Salvation Army.

Stories of the Week:

This ancient cave art is the oldest known ‘storytelling’.

Gender equality can shape men’s ability to recognize famous females .

‘Sneaky’ underwater robot spent 18 days recording sea creatures — and noisy humans, too.

Major League Baseball Drops Ban On Marijuana.

Half of homeless people have experienced traumatic brain injury: study .

This Week in Impeachables:

Gay Congressman explains Trump impeachment in just 7 words.

North Carolina towns forced to cancel Christmas celebrations over fear of violence from right wing extremist groups. Please note: the official statement from the police claims it is extremist groups on both side, but then it goes on to list the groups–and every single one if a white nationalist or neo nazi or rightwing racist group. So, no, not both sides.

BOOM: Hakeem Jeffries Steamrolls GOP Framing On Impeachment.

Rep. Hank Johnson: Rep. Gaetz ‘pot calling kettle black’ bringing up Hunter Biden’s DUI.

President Pays Gigantic Fine for Stealing From Charity.

This Week in Deplorable People:

‘Soldiers of Jesus’: Neo-Pentecostals torment Brazil?s religious minorities .

Kosher Deli Attack Being Investigated As An Act Of Terrorism.

The Vatican is using donations for the poor to fight its budget deficit, report says.

“Jews Go To Hell” Pastor Speaks At White House Hanukkah Event.

GEORGIA: Racist Pol Resigns Rather Than Give Voters The “Pleasure” Of Recalling Him From Office.

In Memoriam:

Caroll Spinney, Big Bird’s Alter Ego on ‘Sesame Street,’ Is Dead at 85.

Caroll Spinney, Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Has Died. Here Are Some of His Best Performances.

René Auberjonois, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Boston Legal’ Actor, Dies at 79.

Robert Walker Jr., ‘Star Trek’ Actor and Son of Hollywood Superstars, Dies at 79 – He also starred in the 1960s films ‘Ensign Pulver,’ ‘Young Billy Young’ and ‘The Ceremony.’.

Pete Frates, Inspiration for The Ice Bucket Challenge, Dies at 34.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 12/7/2019: So many bad men….

Jingle-janglin’ all the way, with coffee!.

The silent stars go by….

Timorous heroes and erratic phantoms—more of why I love sf/f.


Trump Blasts “Impeachment Light” at Deranged Rally: A Closer Look:

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Full Frontal on TBS – don’t let the GOP yell you to sleep:

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Wonder Woman 1984 – Official Trailer:

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Lizzo – Good As Hell (Official Music Video):

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Letterman at Christmas – Baby, Please come home – 1995:

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