Tag Archive | news

Friday Five (so frucking proud edition)

Welcome to the fourth Friday in February!

Temperatures are warmer here, although there is a lot of snow still coming down in the mountains not that far away. And I know much of the rest of the country is still dealing with the fallout of those severe winter storms. Our state wildlife department is still urging us not to put our bird feeders and such back up, and I must say I really miss seeing all the birds outside my window. Also, the coolest of the Valentine’s Day gifts my husband gave me was a hanging bird bath for our veranda, and as of now I’m not allowed to put it up until April.

Meanwhile, we have 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 stores from my local news, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about haters and other deplorables, and five videas (plus things I wrote and some notable obituaries).

This Week in News to Just Be Happy About:

I Miss My Bar – Recreate Your Favorite Bar’s Atmosphere. Yes, this link was in my Monday Update post, but I think it is worth linking to once again a free web site that allows you to generate a customized sound ambience as if you are out at a bar or restaurant rather than quarantine…

Stories of the Week:

Landmark LGBTQ civil rights legislation passes House in bipartisan vote – The Equality Act is now going to the Senate, where it faces an uphill fight against Republican opposition.

Lawyers have found the parents of 105 separated migrant children in past month – The parents of 506 separated migrant children still haven’t been found, however. Lawyers say the parents of 322 of them were likely to have been deported.

Baffled Canadians Spread Reports Of ‘Hard’ Butter.

Republicans Go To War While Democrats Try To Negotiate.

I’m Being Censored, and You Can Read, Hear, and See Me Talk About It in the News, on the Radio, and on TV.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Black & Gay Back In The Day: The Story Behind The Archive.

5.6% of American adults say they are LGBTQ. Over half identify as bisexual – The number of LGBTQ Americans coming out and claiming their identity just keeps growing.

Furious crowd forces armed police officers to release men arrested for kissing on a beach – Parents and locals started chanting “I’m gay!” and “I’m gay too!” in solidarity with the men as they surrounded the cops.

How Black LGBTQ talent helped shape the history of modern music.

What Trans Elder Miss Major Griffin-Gracy Wants You to Know.

This Week In News Local to Me:

Washington state wildlife officials: Leave bird feeders down until April.

Washington State Supreme Court Rules the Simple Possession Law is Unconstitutional – Former U.S. Attorney John McKay weighs in on a State Supreme Court ruling that found Washington’s simple drug possession law is unconstitutional.

Washington State Patrol worker arrested for child rape investigation in undercover sting.

WA Insurance Commissioner Calls for the Death of His Own Bill After Senate Democrats Gut It.

King County to reexamine decades-old bicyclist helmet law – The move by the King County Board of Health comes after a Crosscut report showing disproportionate enforcement toward homeless people.

This Week in the Pandemic:

Covid Hospital Admissions Drop 72%, Led by Oldest U.S. Patients.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine deemed “safe and effective” by the FDA.

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, flu has disappeared in the US.

Moderna says new version of vaccine is tailored to quell infection by South Africa variant.

Half Million US People Die Of The Coronavirus.

This Week in Haters and Other Deplorable People:

Southern Baptists oust 2 churches over LGBTQ inclusion.

Evangelical Leaders Condemn ‘Radicalized Christian Nationalism’. As my grandpa would say, “Y’all are closing the barn door long, long, long after the horses ran away.”

Rand Paul goes on unhinged transphobic rant at Dr. Rachel Levine’s confirmation hearing – “Genital mutilation,” Paul bellowed as he started questioning the first transgender person nominated to a Senate-confirmed position, Dr. Rachel Levine.

State judge rejects motion by right-wing robocallers to toss case.

Republican asks for a moment of silence for Rush Limbaugh during LGBTQ Equality Act debate – Over a week after Rush Limbaugh died, Rep. Ralph Norman wanted the House to take a moment of silence for the notorious homophobe during the historic LGBTQ debate – His request was rejected.

In Memoriam:

Pioneering Lesbian and Feminist Activist Ivy Bottini Has Died at 94.

Farewell to Jan Morris, Groundbreaking Trans Explorer of Realms.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights founder and champion of the Beat Generation, dead at 101.

‘It’s not in books, it’s in the world’: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s shining legacy.

James Burke, Five Stairsteps Singer Who Crooned ‘O-o-h Child,’ Dead at 70.

Things I wrote:

WandaVision goes Modern while really breaking all the walls.

Monday Update 2/22/2021: For whom the subpoena tolls… plus some free ambience!

Videos!

NASA’s Thrilling Mars Landing Is The Good News Pandemic-Weary America Needs:

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

The GOP Is Actively Working to Restrict Voting in Key States | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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Great Vaccine News Has Everyone Asking When Life Will Return to Normal: A Closer Look:

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Bernie Sanders on Raising the Minimum Wage, Big Lies from Republicans & Biden’s Health Care Plan:

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

Tina (2021): Official Teaser:

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

Monday Update 2/22/2021: For whom the subpoena tolls… plus some free ambience!

Time to cover some news that either broke after I composed the most recent Friday Five, or has had new developments since then, or didn’t quite make the cut for that post, or is simply an update to some news story I have previous linked and talked about. So let’s go:

Supreme Court won’t halt turnover of Trump’s tax records to New York prosecutor. Finally!

This related to the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into whether Trump’s company inflated the value of some of his signature properties to obtain the best possible loans, while lowballing the values to reduce property taxes. There may also be evidence of insurance fraud. This is completely separate from the New York State Attorney General’s investigation, though it includes similar allegations. The Manhattan DA only has jurisdiction over crimes that happened within New York City, whereas the state AG can be looking at potentially criminal activities throughout the rest of the state: New York Attorney General Letitia James says Trump Supreme Court ruling won’t affect her tax probe.

And this is separate from a criminal investigation in the state of Georgia over Trump’s attempt to bulling state officials into magically “finding” enough votes to flip the state: Georgia prosecutors open criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to subvert election results. And things are getting even more interesting in Georgia: A Trump criminal probe in Georgia expands to include Sen. Lindsey Graham – A Georgia district attorney is investigating whether Graham violated state law in a call with an elections official. Lady G just might wind up being deposed!

Moving on…

“Some of you may die, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.”There aren’t likely to be criminal charges coming for the Texas Senator over this, but: One night in Cancun: Ted Cruz’s disastrous decision to go on vacation during Texas storm crisis. Let’s be honest: Cruz has always been nothing more than an ambulatory tape worm badly pretending to be a human who somehow manages to keep getting re-elected. But this was a particularly tone-deaf decision, and illustrates how any signs of empathy for people outside his immediate circle is all performative. Meanwhile, Ted’s constituents are being left to fend for themselves: Hypothermia deaths in Texas mount amid severe weather conditions and Texas power outages left woman with over $10,000 electric bill.

What a mess!

At least some help is coming: Biden Declares Major Disaster in Texas as Federal Aid Flows – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has shipped dozens of generators and supplies, including fuel, water, blankets and ready-to-eat meals, to the affected areas. I want to point out that, unlike the previous president, Biden didn’t hesitate to declare and emergency and authorize aid to a state that didn’t vote for him, and whose governor has been a virulent critic of Biden and his party. Just sayin’…

Meanwhile…

Unfortunately, we still have other issues to worry about: Fauci calls 500,000 coronavirus deaths ‘terrible’. It is a horrible milestone that we never should have reached. And still there are idiots (including some elected officials) encouraging idiots no to wear masks and so forth! Also: ‘Rapid take-off’ of variant first found in Britain threatens US.

There is one tiny bit of good news for at least some of us: People who wear glasses may be up to 3 times less likely to catch COVID, new study suggests. I’ll take any good news I can get, right now. And I can start feeling less irritated that my glasses keep fogging up.

Here’s a weird one: Who’s the Homophobe Bothering Local Businesses and Ken Jennings’ Family? If you are aware of Ken Jennings, a multiple Jeopardy champion, you might also know that he lives in Seattle, where I live. Because he is local, he is probably a bit more of a celebrity here than other places. Anyway, a few years ago someone started mailing postcards containing very unimaginative homophobic rants to Ken and his wife. Jennings has never identified as queer, but there is at least one of two times that he has publicly stated his support for queer rights in general, and marriage equality in particular.

They’ve been getting this postcards for a while, as I mentioned, but in the last several weeks similar postcards, supposedly signed by Mrs. Jennings, have been being received by various small businesses around town. Most of these businesses are not owned by queer people, though I know at least two of the businesses have offered Pride Month specials in previous years. It’s a weird story and a weird way to harass people. I assume the homophobe signed the new cards with Mrs. Jennings’ name in hopes that some of the recipients would believe they were from her and go public with the news?

But again, whey have they sent these postcards to the barely semi-famous straight couple for the last few years?

If I weren’t running out of time on my lunch break, I’d go off in detail about how often homophobes always spout almost the same, unimaginative slurs and insults. But, let’s move one…

Let’s leave with something cool!

I Miss My Bar – Recreate Your Favorite Bar’s Atmosphere. If you go to this website, you can select various options to make your computer, tablet, or whatever you’re browsing on generate background noised that sound like a bar (or restaurant). You control the mix of which ambient sounds, want a very light rain on the window? Or maybe the sound of more heavy rain? A lot of background conversations? Or just a few other people in a mostly empty place.

It’s just a really cool concept. And even though I’m a big introvert, I can appreciate how odd it has been that I haven’t been in a bar or restaurant for over a year. For people who used to go out a lot more than I ever did, this may be even more interesting.

It’s not world-shattering or life-changing, thus a really cool project that someone has put together and then put out in the world.

Friday Five (rickrolling upgrade edition)

Bigot, misogynist, homophobe, crank - Rush Limbaugh Dead

Some editor at Huffington Post changed this headline to something less accurate than what the origionally posted. Meanwhile, may I remind you: Rush Limbaugh celebrated the deaths of gay men from AIDS on his radio show.

Welcome to the third Friday in February!

The snow here in the Seattle area started melting on Monday. Unfortunately most of the rest of the country is still experiencing much colder temperatures than usual, and then there is the disaster going on in Texas. So I’m feeling fortunate that right now we’re not worried about keeping warm or having safe drinking water.

Meanwhile, we have 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 related to science fiction, five stories about the future of democracy, and five videas (plus things I wrote and some notable obituaries).

Stories of the Week:

NASA’s Perseverance rover nails Mars landing, sends first images of Jezero Crater.

Texas was “seconds and minutes” away from catastrophic monthslong blackouts, officials say – Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that grid operators implemented blackouts to avoid a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months.

General Unstructured Thoughts On “Being Cancelled”.

Pentagon report reveals inroads white supremacists have made in military.

COVID shaving years off American life expectancies: – US life expectancy drops in pandemic, most since WWII.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) Reintroduce LGBTQ Equality Act.

State anti-transgender bills represent coordinated attack, advocates say – Many proposed bans on trans athletes and transition care for minors share identical language.

Hallmark to homophobes: More gay is on the way.

Chasten Buttigieg had the shadiest reaction to Rush Limbaugh’s death – Rush Limbaugh was obsessed with Chasten & Pete showing any affection for one another in public. So Chasten acknowledged that homophobia one last time.

Texas lawmakers are trying to pass pro-LGBTQ proposals. Do they have a chance?

This Week in Science Fiction:

Baen Books Forum Being Used to Advocate for Political Violence.

Opinion: On Baen Books, Moderating Discussion Boards, & Political Expression.

More bad Baen’s Bar defences.

Masks and Magic 2021 – A Round-up of Indie Mardi Gras Speculative Fiction.

2020 Locus Recommended Reading List.

This Week in the Future of Democracy:

Investigation finds Latino ballots in WA more likely to be rejected – Latino signatures are more likely to be questioned and less likely to be fixed during Washington state elections..

A GOP donor gave $2.5 million for a voter fraud investigation. Now he wants his money back.

After Weeks Of Being Offline, Parler Finds A New Web Host.

FBI Informant Panic Is Ruining Friendships All Over the Far Right.

Trump left them to die. 43 Senate Republicans still licked his boots.

In Memoriam:

Remembering Charlie Brydon, an Early LGBTQ Rights Leader and father of the LGBTQ Civil Rights Movement in Washington State.

Pioneering Out Recording Artist Ari Gold Dies at 47.

‘Extraordinary, trailblazing and inspiring’ trans writer and historian Jan Morris has died, aged 94.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 2/13/2021: The truth eventually comes out.

Happy Day Before Discount Chocolate Day.

In which I pedantically remind you that today is NOT President’s Day….

With great satisfaction.

WandaVision Brings Tricks, Treats, and a Growing Menace.

Videos!

The Next Pandemic: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

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Ted Cruz Jets To Cancun While Texans Freeze | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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‘Brazen Lie’: Chris Hayes Calls Out Gov. Abbott, Fox News For Texas Power Grid Lies | All In | MSNBC:

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Reporters WILL NOT STOP Humiliating Themselves with Jen Psaki:

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Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ Video Was Remastered in 4K and It’s So Damn Crisp Fans are Flipping Out:

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With great satisfaction

“All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.” — Clarence Darrow

It wasn’t Mark Twain who said the thing about obituaries…

Lots of people misquote an old Latin proverb and admonish us that we are never to speak ill of the dead. The actual proverb is more properly translated into modern English as, “Of the dead, speak nothing but truth.”

So allow me to speak some truth.

Rush Limbaugh was a racist, sexist, homophobic, hypocritical liar. His radio show normalized a form of hateful demonizing of political opponents in addition to people of color, queers, women, and anyone who had the audacity to show compassion to their fellow humans. And he frequently insisted that there was no proof that nicotine was addictive (there is tons), and likewise no proof that smoking tobacco could cause cancer, emphysema, or heart disease (there is a lot).

And today he succumbed to lung cancer.

Maybe there is some justice in this world after all.

Weekend Update 2/13/2021: The truth eventually comes out

“It appears we have some breaking news.” “Good lord, what the fuck now?”

“It appears we have some breaking news.” “Good lord, what the fuck now?”

Time once again for stories that either didn’t make the cut for this week’s Friday Five, or broke after I finished that weekly news post, or update stores I have linked to and/or commented upon previously..

Christian Prophets Are on the Rise. What Happens When They’re Wrong? – They are stars within one of the fastest-growing corners of American Christianity. Now, their movement is in crisis..

“Brought to you by the same people who claim that football players kneeling was disresptful to America and unpatriotic”

(Click to embiggen)

Popular Information: The next insurrection.

‘Hold the Line’: QAnon Adherents Claim Trump Will Become President Again on March 4.

Some Republican Leaders Call Capitol Riot a ‘False Flag’ –.

“The Republican Party does not want unity. If they did they wouldn't still defend the man who orchestrated the coup & refuse to punish those persons involved. Democrats need to RAM every bill through through the next 2 years. Stop being polite. Being polite got us the insurrection.”

“The Republican Party does not want unity. If they did they wouldn’t still defend the man who orchestrated the coup & refuse to punish those persons involved. Democrats need to RAM every bill through through the next 2 years. Stop being polite. Being polite got us the insurrection.”

Trump’s political operation paid more than $3.5 million to Jan. 6 organizers.

‘Smoking gun’: House Republican admits Trump made an explosive comment during the Capitol attack.

Why a GOP senator’s accidental revelation about Trump’s attacks on Mike Pence matter.

Witch offering the poisoned apple to Snow White: “For unity's sake, eat it!”

“For unity’s sake, eat it!” The apple is POISONED!

Georgia DA Gets Threats After Announcing Criminal Investigation Into Trump.

Biden leaves Republicans behind on $1.9tn bill.

Why a GOP senator’s accidental revelation about Trump’s attacks on Mike Pence matter.

Friday Five (needs more dinosaurs edition)

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

(click to embiggen)

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

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

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

This Week In News Local to Me:

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

Stories of the Week:

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

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

Federal agency to crack down on LGBTQ housing discrimination.

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

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

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

This Week in the Pandemic:

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Seditious Traitors:

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Deplorable People Facing Consequences:

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

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

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

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

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

In Memoriam:

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

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

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

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

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

Things I wrote:

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

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

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

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

Always re-blog.

Videos!

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

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

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Reality Sets In After A Weirdly Normal Super Bowl Sunday:

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

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

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

Let’s play…

I put all my blogging time over the weekend into finishing my WandaVision episode review and a book review that will publish later in the week. There were a number of news stories that broke or had new developments after I composed this week’s Friday Five, So here are a few of those stories that I want to share and comment upon before next Friday.

First up, we have a number of news stories involving media, social and otherwise:

Rudy Giuliani lashes out at his employer, WABC, for adding a legal disclaimer to his radio show – Giuliani: This “gives you a sense of how far this free speech thing has gone and how they frighten everybody. I mean we’re in America, we’re not in East Germany. They’ve got to warn you about me?”. Giuliani has been pushing the lies about the election everywhere, including on his radio show. That includes unfounded (and in some details, impossible) claims about one voting machine manufacturer and an unrelated election software maker. The two companies have filed lawsuits against some of the networks that repeated those lies for weeks. So, the radio station decided to try to avoid being named in one of the lawsuits by putting a disclaimer on the show. Exactly what a lawyer that is worth his fees would advise, right? Rudy’s reaction is wrong in so many ways.

I mean, it’s been clear for a while now the Rudy is woefully ill-informed, has very poor reasoning skills, and doesn’t actually understand the law very well. I keep running into people online who point out that Rudy was a successful prosecutor years ago. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything. He could well have been one of the guys who was completely reliant upon his staff to write all the briefs, draft this questions for witnesses, and so forth. He may have been really good when he was younger at delivering the lines that had been scripted for him by his staff, without much understanding. But clearly he doesn’t have that kind of assistance now. It is also possible that he’s just suffering some sort of mental decline/neurological issue. In any case, the radio station that pays him to make his show is not censoring him if they put a legal disclaimer in front of it. They are still broadcasting his show in its entirety.

Free speech has always meant the government can’t stop us from speaking in advance, and that many types of speech are protected from legal repercussions. It has never mean that there will never be any consequences when we shoot off our mouths. Sometimes the consequence is that someone argues with us. Sometimes the consequence is that make fun of us. Sometimes the consequence is they block us on social media. And in the case that we knowingly lie about someone in a manner that harms their reputation, and so forth, the consequence can be getting sued.

If the statement is false, is published (or broadcast, et cetera), caused harm to the person—then it is defamation. It could be argued that the two corporations qualify as public figures, and if so, to prevail in court they would have to prove that the statements were made and/or published with malicious intent. And it looks like they have a good argument for that.

Meanwhile: Trump Lost Twitter and the Presidency. Guess Which One Hurts More? One of the stories that almost made it into another post asserted that the Grifter has been writing down insulting things he wants to say about certain election officials and public figures and trying to get other people who haven’t been banned from Twitter to post them for him. That’s just so pathetic. But that also tells us both how twitter aided and abetted the Grifter’s agenda, and why he didn’t just start walking into the press room the make statements once he was suspended: his twitter account was never about communication. It was always about trolling, bullying, and harassing. And even the most sycophantic news networks would try to phrase things to have at least the appearance of being news.

And somewhat related: Parler Wanted Donald Trump On Its Site. Trump’s Company Wanted A Stake – Documents seen by BuzzFeed News show that Parler offered Trump 40% of the company if he posted exclusively to the platform. The deal was never finalized. I’m not completely certain, but it seems to me offering the sitting president a large chunk of stock in exchange for him granting them exclusivity windows on each of his public statements would constitute a bribe, right?

Of course, the so-called Free Speech alternative to Twitter has other problems: Parler CEO Is Fired After ‘Constant Resistance’ Inside The Conservative-Friendly Site. And they still don’t have the service up. The managed to get a static page back on line, but so far that’s it.

Meanwhile, Twitter permanently suspends Gateway Pundit Homocon founder’s account. This guy has been pushing racist lies conspiracies from many years. A long overdue ban.

Speaking of long overdue things: Facebook to take down posts with false claims about vaccines.

And also: We Won’t Have Lou Dobbs To Kick Around Anymore. Dobbs was even more in the tank for the former Grifter in Chief that any other Fox host. A lot people are assuming the sudden cancelation of his show is because of the big lawsuits being filed about the false election stories. Dobbs is mentioned as a co-defendant and if the suit proceeds through discovery, he’s going to be deposed under oath. And Dobbs’ show was the highest rated of the Fox Business shows, so they didn’t cancel it because of bad ratings. There are other Fox hosts named in the lawsuits that haven’t been fired—at least not yet. On the other hand most of them have—after being forced by the network to read on air a statement disclaiming all those election stories—shift emphasis away from those election claims. Whereas Dobbs couldn’t seem to stop bringing them up. So maybe the network did fire him because of the lawsuit. It’s possible that Dobbs had become a problem in some other way that hasn’t been made public.

Dobbs, of course, isn’t taking it well: Lou Dobbs is lashing out at Fox on Twitter for dropping his show.

The important thing is that the lying racist homophobe is off the air. At least for a while.

Let’s shift gears to something more pleasant:

Dr. Fauci talks about his visits to gay bars & bathhouses (for scientific reasons) – He also contrasted the AIDS activists that once targeted him with COVID deniers, saying the former “ultimately were on the right side of history.”. I love the bit where he talked about going to meet about 100 angry AIDS activists by himself: “not for a second did I feel physically threatened to go down there, not even close. I mean, that’s not the nature of what the [AIDS] protest was.” The COVID deniers, on the other hand..

You can hear the whole interview on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast: Dr. Fauci On Vaccinations And Biden’s ‘Refreshing’ Approach To COVID-19.

Friday Five (baseless lies edition)

Randy’s parody gets the best recognition…

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

It’s been very rainy, but the temps have been just a bit higher than average, and it is starting to look as if this might be the third winter in the last 100 years where the daytime high never fell below 40ºF… Meanwhile, both my husband and I have been having extra bad allergy symptom all week.

Meanwhile, we have the Friday Five. This week I bring you: one special story to bring a smile, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about threats to the future of democracy, five stories about the seditious traitors, and five videos (plus things I wrote and some notable obituaries).

This Week In News to Lighten Your Day:

Trans lesbian destroys transphobic trope in viral video – She responded to “You know, wearing a dress doesn’t make you a woman” by showing off butch fashion.

Stories of the Week:

Can shortage leaves Chicago breweries scrambling, adding yet another COVID-19 hurdle — and spelling the demise of at least 1 brand. This article focuses on the Chicago area, but the aluminum can shortage is effecting beverage producers everywhere.

Seanan McGuire, award-winning fantasy author, talks new novel and her Marvel Comics dream.

‘Meme stock’ rally rescues AMC theaters from $600M debt.

Has science solved the Dyatlov Pass incident, one of history’s greatest adventure mysteries?

Media Literacy 101: 5 Steps to Help You Avoid Fake News.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

TJ Osborne, One Half of ‘Brothers Osborne’ Country Duo, Comes Out as Gay.

Markey, Lowenthal to reintroduce bill requiring US to promote LGBTQ rights abroad.

Biden issues presidential memo protecting rights of LGBTQ people internationally – The United States will welcome and protect LGBTQ asylum-seekers and refugees again.

Federal court nixes Alabama’s ban on trans people correcting driver licenses without surgery – The judge said the state couldn’t even say why it required both top and bottom surgery to correct the gender marker on a driver license.

For First Time Ever, Three National LGBTQ Orgs Have Black Leaders.

This Week in the Pandemic:

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may be even more effective than previously thought, new data suggests – Data from large-scale Israeli trials indicates high levels of protection against COVID-19.

Biden administration weighs plan to directly send masks to all Americans – The Trump administration scrapped a plan last year to deliver cloth masks to every U.S. household.

COVID deaths are starting to drop in every part of the US – Covid-19 deaths have begun to decline in every section of the U.S., the latest sign of relief as cases continue to drop and the vaccination push accelerates.

The mystery of the missing vaccines.

Race and ethnicity data missing for nearly half of coronavirus vaccine recipients, federal study finds.

This Week in the Future of Democracy:

Senate approves power-sharing agreement, allowing Democrats to take control of committees. By dragging his feet, Moscow Mitch managed to steal a whole month from the Democrats…

From banging on doors to hiding on the floor, congresswoman describes moment pro-Trump rioters stormed Capitol .

Facebook Knew Calls for Violence Plagued ‘Groups,’ Now Plans Overhaul – The giant struggled to balance Mark Zuckerberg’s free-expression mantra against findings that rabid partisanship had overrun a feature central to its future.

Exclusive: Dozens of former Bush officials leave Republican Party, calling it ‘Trump cult’.

Republicans outraged by Dems’ willingness to govern without them – Republicans genuinely seem to believe Biden has a responsibility to give the GOP the power to veto his own COVID relief bill.

This Week in Seditious Traitors:

DOJ debating use of RICO law to charge insurrectionists involved in Capitol coup: report .

Men who are anxious about their masculinity are more likely to support aggressive politics and to have voted for Trump.

Arizona GOP lawmaker introduces bill to give Legislature power to toss out election results – One section grants the Legislature the ability to revoke the secretary of state’s certification at any time before the presidential inauguration.

Brian Williams Roasts Kevin McCarthy with ‘Exclusive Video’ of Mar-a-Lago Meeting with Trump.

Madison Cawthorn is a Republican creation and North Carolina embarrassment.

In Memoriam:

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick lies in honor in Rotunda.

Remembering Officer Brian Sicknick, an American hero.

Former Tarzan Actor and NFL Player Mike Henry Died Aged 84.

Hal Holbrook, prolific actor who played “Deep Throat” in “All the President’s Men,” has died at 95.

Ex-Pirates pitcher, World Series champion Grant Jackson dies at 78.

Paul Crutzen, Nobel Laureate Who Fought Climate Change, Dies at 87 – He named our age the “Anthropocene” and warned the world of threats that certain chemicals posed to the ozone layer.

Andrew Brooks, who led development of the first FDA-approved Covid-19 saliva test, dies at 51.

John Chaney, Temple’s towering Hall of Fame basketball coach, dies aged 89.

Joseph Sonnabend, pioneering AIDS physician, dies at 88.

Things I wrote:

WandaVision Interrupts the Program to Give Some Answers, and Raise More Questions.

When the lightning burns, the wolfsbane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright – or, more of why I love sf/f/a>.

Videos!

House Votes to Remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from Committees: A Closer Look:

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My Pillow Guy Spouts The Same Election Fraud Lies The Ex-President Plans To Use At Impeachment Trial:

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‘These are her words, her lies’: Cooper calls out Rep. Greene:

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Boyfriend D vs Vacation D (NSFW):

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MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody:

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Friday Five (the cycle continues edition)

And here we are at the final Friday in January. It seems as if it was only 10 days ago that we were still shaking off the vestages of 2020… oh, wait, we were!

It has been cold and damp all week. Sometimes so cold that there was the possibility of snow in the forecast. So far we have been spared a snowpocalypse, but it could still happen!

Meanwhile, we have the Friday Five. This week I bring you: one special story to bring a smile, the top five stories of the week, five stories of interest to queers and our allies, five stories about the pandemic, five stories about the seditious traitors, five stories about deplorable people, and five videas (plus things I wrote and some notable obituaries).

This Week In News to Lighten Your Day:

Remember when Dolly Parton fully subverted the ‘dumb blonde’ cliché with her ’80s excess styling?.

Stories of the Week:

The Advocate, Plus Among 2021 GLAAD Media Award Nominees.

Charles Payne Furious That Wall Street Is Now ‘Whining’ Over GameStop Short – “They want to change the rules of the game now because the general public is making money after decades of the shorts crushing thousands of stocks into the dirt,” the Fox Business host said.

Dogs likely migrated to the Americas with humans over 15,000 years ago, study says.

The War on Professionalism.

Burial ground reveals Stone Age people wore clothing covered in elk teeth.

This Week in News for Queers and Allies:

Biden’s pro-LGBTQ executive order is his most popular according to new polling – Even most Republicans say they support Biden extending discrimination protections to LGBTQ people.

Trans student goes viral with amazing response to teacher who refused to use correct pronouns – The professor said her “convictions” prevent her from using trans people’s pronouns. Not even the school’s gay-straight alliance will help.

State of emergency declared in Puerto Rico after killings targeting women, transgender people.

Joe Biden Repeals Donald Trump’s Transgender Military Ban – The new president is also expected to reinstate a rule protecting transgender students’ right to use the bathroom that best aligns with their gender identity.

They lived a ‘double life’ for decades. Now, these gay elders are telling their stories – In a new exhibit, LGBTQ elders share what it was like to spend most of their lives in the closet.

This Week in the Pandemic:

The reason I qualify for a Covid-19 vaccine has nothing to do with the fact that I’m immunocompromised. That needs to change.

January has been the deadliest month for Covid-19 with nearly 80,000 lives lost so far in the US.

Oklahoma trying to return its $2m stockpile of hydroxychloroquine, Trump’s Malaria Drug.

Everyday activities are more dangerous now that new Covid-19 variants are circulating, expert says.

10 Covid-19 vaccine dos and don’ts – It’s an all-out sprint to get Americans vaccinated against the deadly novel coronavirus. As you prepare to get your shot, here are 10 actions experts suggest doing — and avoiding.

This Week in Seditious Traitors:

The Resistance hasn’t won yet. The war isn’t over – To keep and to ever improve our democracy takes constant work, constant resistance, and constant vigilance. But the work pays perpetual dividends.

Trumpism isn’t ‘history’: But our blindness to history could lead to its comeback.

It’s Time to Talk About Madison Cawthorn.

Dominion Files $1.3B Defamation Suit Against Giuliani.

Parkland Dad: Taylor Greene ‘Needs To Be Out’ Of Congress ‘Today’ – Fred Guttenberg is fed up with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene denying his daughter’s murder in the Parkland shooting but that’s only one of many reasons he’s demanding her immediate expulsion from Congress.

This Week in Deplorable People:

DHS Issues Nationwide Alert For Real Terrorist Threat – Homegrown Right Wing Extremists – How long did it take for Republicans to (falsely) label Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization? Let’s see how they like it from the DHS.

Fired Fox News political editor calls out ‘hype men in the media’ who helped Trump attempt to ‘steal an election’.

A few miles from Mar-a-Lago, white supremacists set up headquarters.

Here’s how right-wing media will lie about the Equality Act .

Man arrested with gun and 20 rounds of ammunition near US Capitol.

In Memoriam:

Joanne Rogers, Widow Of Fred Rogers, Dies At Age 92.

Mira Furlan Dead: ‘Babylon 5,’ ‘Lost’ Actress Dies at 65 .

Babylon 5 And Lost Star Mira Furlan Is Dead At 65.

Braves legend Hank Aaron dies at age 86, daughter says.

Hank Aaron remembered at funeral by Bill Clinton, Bud Selig, others.

Gregory Sierra, ‘Barney Miller’ and ‘Sanford and Son’ Actor, Dies at 83.

Larry King, Veteran TV and Radio Host, Dead at 87 – Award-winning TV and radio host who became a household name on CNN show Larry King Live.

Walter Bernstein, Celebrated Screenwriter, Is Dead at 101 – His movies included “Fail Safe,” “Paris Blues” and, perhaps most notably, “The Front,” based on his own experience of being blacklisted.

Cloris Leachman, Emmy and Oscar Winner, Dies at 94.

Remembering Cloris Leachman, an Oscar- and Emmy-Winning Actor of Stunning Range.

Cloris Leachman, Emmy and Oscar-Winning Actress, Dies at 94 .

Remembering Cloris Leachman, LGBTQ+ Icon and Ally.

Cicely Tyson, Iconic ‘Sounder’ and ‘The Help’ Actress, Dies at 96.

Cicely Tyson: An Actress and Civil-Rights Icon for the Ages.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 1/23/2021: Lord of the Rings isn’t a legal document, and other revelations.

Catching myself being a jerk in a dream.

That song isn’t the one I think it is, or catching up from December.

Tuesday Tidbits 1/26/2021: Let’s worry about the pandemic for a change.

A bit of rock (sugar), a lot of rye, some sliced citrus, and a bunch of spice.

What do you call a fourth wall that’s entirely inside the production, or, Let’s talk about WandaVision.

Videos!

Returning To Norms: Biden Rips Putin In Tough Phone Call, Immediately Releases Details:

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Reddit’s GameStop Stock Boost & MLB’s Hall of Fame Drought | The Daily Social Distancing Show:

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Republicans Try to Dismiss Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial: A Closer Look:

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Can We Do a Monologue Without Mentioning You-Know-Who?:

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“We Seem To Not Get Tired Of Each Other” Colin Firth & Stanley Tucci On Co-Starring In “Supernova”:

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Tuesday Tidbits 1/26/2021: Let’s worry about the pandemic for a change

Marco Rubio: “I elbowed my way to the front of the line for the vaccine that I said was a hoax, even before doctors & nurses received it.”

Marco Rubio: “I elbowed my way to the front of the line for the vaccine that I said was a hoax, even before doctors & nurses received it.”

Now that we aren’t worried about an illegal overthrow of the government (or at least less worried for now), it’s easier to both find and pay attention to news about the other existential crisis, the pandemic. So much so that these eight can’t wait until Friday:

I’ve linked to this continuously updated interactive map and article before: Tracking Covid-19 cases in the US – Since January 2020, the novel coronavirus has spread to each state and nearly every territory.

In a mix of good news and bad news: Coronavirus deaths and cases dip nationwide, but variant is on the rise.

And speaking of the variants: Moderna making booster shot to fight Covid-19 variants – New strains of the coronavirus have emerged in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. Given how rampantly it’s running in the U.S., its only a matter of time before it mutates here, too, and we have a U.S. variant to add to the mix. Related: Moderna Says Vaccine Still Protects Against Virus Variants – The vaccine yields fewer antibodies against the variant discovered in South Africa, and so the company plans to test an alternate version.

The fact that viruses mutate is one of the reasons that the whole herd immunity argument is BS. If we and other nations had properly flattened the curve, this could have gone like the swine flu (H1N1) outbreak in 2009 or the SARS-CoV-1 outbreak of 2002. Public health measures (quarantine, case tracking) contained those so that they didn’t become widespread pandemics and more importantly didn’t start mutating in millions of simultaneously infected people. But because we let COVID-19 get into so much of the population, we’ve almost guaranteed that this is a virus, like influenza, that will be mutating, re-infecting, and killing some fraction of the population year after year. We’ll probably rolling out a new vaccine every year like influenza. And like influenza, getting the vaccine won’t guarantee that you never get infected, it just increases that chances that when you encounter new strains, you may of very mild symptoms or none at all. Which means you probably won’t die, but it also means that you’ll be contagious for a few days and perhaps not know it, and some none-zero number of people who interact with won’t be so lucky.

In other news: In a major setback, Merck to stop developing its two Covid-19 vaccines and focus on therapies. It was always likely that some of the vaccines would be less effective than others, so this isn’t a big surprised. Further down in the article they explain that one of their vaccine variants still shows signs of clinical usefulness, and some of the other treatments they’ve been trying to develop for people after they get sick are also looking promising. So all the the research is still going to be useful.

The sports world has been having mixed results dealing with the virus: Miami Heat to use coronavirus-sniffing dogs to screen fans at games. Given the screaming fits people have thrown in stores about masks, I’m not sure how this is going to work out…

Meanwhile, in companies decided to spend their money in ways that might keep more of their customers alive: Budweiser skips Super Bowl ad for first time in 37 years, will use money for COVID-19 vaccine awareness.

“Doesn't believe in social programs - First in line for social program.”

“Doesn’t believe in social programs – First in line for social program.”

We always knew that rich and powerful people would find ways to skip the line, but this particular couple are extra special: Covid vaccines: Casino boss resigns after jumping queue – CEO And Wife Posed As Motel Workers To Get Vaccine. They are also a great example of the problem with levying fines for things. They clearly spent way more than the $575 fine just to travel to the area and pull off their scam, and that fine is loose change compared to his salary. When the only penalty for a crime is a fine, all that means is that it is only a crime for the poor and working class…

Hollywood Elite in COVID-19 Vaccine Scramble: ‘It’s the Hunger Games Out There’.

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