Tag Archive | news

Weekend Update 4/29/2017: Show me what a man hates and I’ll tell you what he is

“So many homophobes turn out to be secretly gay that I'm nervous I'm secretly a giant spider.”—Jeremy Kaplowitz

“So many homophobes turn out to be secretly gay that I’m nervous I’m secretly a giant spider.”—Jeremy Kaplowitz

We are deep in the shack nasties as we’re trying to get moved, but a couple of things popped up in the news since I posted this week’s Friday Links that I just have to comment. First up, Study confirms some men use anti-gay and sexist & homophobic jokes to shore up their masculinity. Many of us have observed this anecdotally, but it’s nice to have some new science on it. “The study, from researchers at Western Carolina University, assessed how heterosexual men responded to various forms of humor when they felt their masculinity was being questioned. The men who placed more value on how they conform to expectations of masculinity were more likely to embrace humor that denigrated women and gay men if they felt they had to prove that their masculinity was in check.” Note that the study specifically looked at how the men responded to jokes and then what sorts of comments they might make while discussing humor in general. So the context was reading, writing, and discussing humor. The study is therefore revealing a single manifestation of a deeper phenomenon—the more insecure a man is in is own masculinity, the more likely he is to denigrate women and queers. Note also that the study shows the other side of the effect: a guy who feels secure in his masculinity was less likely to bash women and queers.

Keep that in mind as you read these news stories:

Tennessee Passes ‘Natural and Ordinary Meaning’ Bill Which Will Strip Rights From Same-Sex Couples, Women

Rep. Randy Weber Tearfully Begs God To Forgive America For The Sins Of Legal Abortion And Marriage Equality

Fox Contributor: Gay Men In Bars Should Expect To Be Assaulted And Women Shouldn’t Breastfeed In Church

The Alabama Legislature Voted To Let Adoption Agencies Turn Away LGBT Parents

Kentucky Judge Refuses to Hear Any Case Involving a ‘Practicing Homosexual’ Wanting to Adopt a Child

Chechnya’s President Vows To Eliminate Gays By The Start Of Ramadan

Gee, what has all of these men so angry at gay men, lesbians, and women?

Also, remember that it isn’t just one study from this year. Here are a few more: Homophobic Men Most Aroused by Gay Male Porn for 2011, and Study Reveals Homophobic Men Are, In Fact, More Likely To Be Gay from 2014, and Scientific American: Scientific American: Homophobes Might Be Hidden Homosexuals – A new analysis of implicit bias and explicit sexual orientation statements may help to explain the underpinnings of anti-gay bullying and hate crimes from 2012, and Homophobia correlated with Homosexual Arousal from 2010, and let’s not forget from 1996 Is Homophobia Associated with Sexual Arousal? (spoiler: yes), and… and…

Draw your own conclusions.

One last thing, the new study that I cited at the beginning? It also showed that test subjects who showed, on a pre-study survey, a higher degree of Precarious Manhood Beliefs, and then were exposed to information that affirmed that a man being able to see things from a women’s perspective and a woman being able to see things from a man’s perspective were both good things? They were less likely to verbally bash women or queers. Which seems to back up the notion that all this misogyny and homophobia within the culture is causing harm. Gee, who’d a thunk?

Friday Links (100 days of scandal and lies edition)

It’s Friday!

We’re still packing and moving and packing and packing and… I finally had a responce to me ad giving away two four-drawer steel filing cabinets… and a few hours later the guy who responded said “never mind.” I really don’t want to have to pay someone to haul these away…

Anyway, here are the links I found interesting this week, sorted into categories.

Links of the Week

Tiny Jyn Erso Heads to Star Wars Celebration, Hands Every Leia a Copy of the Death Star Plans.

Stories Of Gay Men Tortured In Chechnya Read By Refugees In Heartbreaking Video.

This Week in Restoring Our Faith in Humanity

Someone Chained A Cross To Gay Street In NY. What Happened Next Was Beautiful.

Restoring Our Faith in the Rule of Law

Judge blocks President Trump’s order that cut off funds to ‘sanctuary cities’.

This week in the war on trans people

Undocumented Transgender Immigrants Can Either Hide Under Trump Or Face Death At Home.

This week in international hate crimes

Trump’s been silent; Putin’s shrugged it off. But you should care about Chechnya. Chechnya wants to ‘eliminate’ its gay population by the end of May. We can’t sit back and watch.

This week in bi erasure

Report: Fear of Being Outed Prompted Killing by Aaron Hernandez.

Aaron Hernandez proves we have no idea how to talk about bisexuality.

This week in abusive people

10 Things I wish I’d known About Gaslighting.

My abusive narcissistic ex-husband — Part 1: Falling in the hole.

This week in awful people

Scott Baio on ‘Happy Days’ Co-Star Erin Moran’s Death: ‘For Me, You Do Drugs or Drink, You’re Gonna Die’. (For the record, autopsy says she had stage four cancer and was likely the cause of death)

Erin Moran’s Brother Didn’t Hold Back While Shitting On Chachi And Chachi’s “Tiny” Dick .

News for queers and our allies:

Senator Patty Murray Is Trying to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy Nationwide.

Indiana transgender man named high school prom king.

This “13 Reasons Why” star explained why he decided to be open about his sexuality, and it’s so important.

Science!

Another rain record falls for Western Washington: Seattle just broke a 122-year-old record for rain. That makes this October-through-April the wettest such period since record-keeping began in 1895 — and there was still another week of April left to go when this was published!

Fossil find reveals skunk-sized predator roamed Egypt 34 million years ago.

Earliest Fungus-Like Fossils Date Back 2.4 Billion Years.

Mammoths, sabre-tooth tigers and other megafauna went extinct because of ancient climate change.

What happens when you get a crayfish drunk.

Heliosphere, Our Sun’s Sphere Of Influence, Is Not Shaped Like A Comet.

Cassini Photos: Probe Snaps A Spectacular Shot Of Earth In Between Saturn’s Rings.

Caterpillars Saving The Environment: Worm Parasite Could Stop Plastic Bag Pollution.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

Fix the Slating Problem Forever.

John Scalzi Ventures into The Collapsing Empire.

The Problematic Presentation of Gender in Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning.

Will We Ever Know Why Disney Remade The Jungle Book? (Yes, it’s from a year ago, but still worth a read!)

This Week in History

From Germany to Mexico: How America’s source of immigrants has changed over a century.

Culture war news:

Homeless Youth Shelter Refuses Donation From Gay Men’s Chorus.

Seattle is investigating possible recruitment violations tied to the Garfield High School football team in light of allegations made by a youth from Texas who arrived in Seattle without any family here and played as a running back last season, then was tricked into flying home for the holidays and only learned later he had been deleted from the student database.

Viet Thanh Nguyen Reveals How Writers’ Workshops Can Be Hostile.

Benny Hinn’s Texas headquarters raided by feds.

NOM To Stage Yet Another DC Hate March After Drawing A Humiliating Crowd In The Tens Last Year.

This Week in Fighting Back in the Culture War:

Hacker aims to rub out ISIS with porn and LGBT imagery.

This Week in the Resistance:

The March for Science Shows How Bad Scientists Are At Politics.

This Week Regarding the Lying Liar:

The Drumbeats Don’t Add Up to Imminent War With North Korea.

Yes, Donald Trump set up senators for a photo op on North Korea.

Senators: Little learned during rare all-hands North Korea briefing.

The Scandals of Donald Trump: New documents show Michael Flynn was warned in 2014 that he needed to get permission before taking any money from foreign governments.

Trump administration talks tough on North Korea, but frustrated lawmakers want detail.

News about the Fascist Regime:

Amidst Backlash, Ivanka Trump Clothing Is Secretly Relabelled as Adrienne Vittadini.

John Oliver Calls Out Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner for Duping America.

Hate group leader: Our allies ‘are now very well placed’ in the Trump administration.

Secret Service bans NRA members from bringing guns to President Trump’s NRA convention speech.

Department Of The Interior Scrubs ‘Climate Change’ Page.

This week in Politics:

Can Someone Remind Bernie Sanders That Abortion is an Economic Issue?

Obama returns — and avoids Trump. In his first event since leaving the White House, Obama sidesteps talk of his successor as he nudges future political leaders

Democrats Choosing Sanders to Lead are Leaving Too Much of their Base Behind.

GOP Leaders Weigh Saturday Health Bill Vote Amid New Support.

Troll This Politician And He Just Might Call Your Grandma — Literally.

This Week in Racists, White Nationalists, and the deplorables

The president of Gays for Trump thinks the “trans agenda” may slow down gay progress.

A GOP Lawmaker Has Been Revealed As The Creator Of Reddit’s Anti-Woman ‘Red Pill’ Forum.

http://nypost.com/2017/04/26/anti-semitic-politician-tricks-critics-into-raising-money-for-him/.

Farewells:

Erin Moran, Who Played Joanie on ‘Happy Days,’ Dies at 56.

Erin Moran was ‘happy’ and ‘active’ in final days and died holding husband’s hand.

Things I wrote:

They’re just things, that’s what we keep saying….

You can have my Andre Nortons when you pry them from my cold dead fingers, & other lessons of moving.

Videos!

Cell Block Tango – Broadway Backwards 2015:

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CHAINSMOKERS – SOMETHING JUST LIKE THIS PARODY 🦇:

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UEEN | Somebody to Love (4K HD Visual Cover by José Rivera Jr.):

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Blondie – Long Time (Official Video):

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Big Spender – Twisted Broadway Melbourne 2013:

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Hurts – Beautiful Ones:

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[OFFICIAL VIDEO] Can’t Help Falling in Love – Pentatonix:

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Friday Links (we’re in the middle of the move edition)

It’s Friday!

I haven’t been posting much this week because we’ve been packing. My work week has consisted of going to work, coming home, loading the car up with as many packed boxes as will fit, driving to the new place (a 25-35 minute drive depending on traffic), carrying all the boxes in the car up a flight of stairs to the new apartment, then driving back home to pack some more until bed time. My husband is still in the recovery stage from surgery, and I’m not letting him lift anything until the doctor clears him (he sees the surgeon again next week, so, fingers crossed!). We’ve hired movers who will take care off all the big furniture and anything we’ve packed by then but haven’t moved, and we could let the movers do everything, except that we literally don’t have enough room here to pile everything once it is packed.

Anyway, here are the links I found interesting this week, sorted into categories.

Links of the Week

ADD YOUR GENDER PRONOUNS TO TWITTER. This post is from a couple of years ago, but the issue was only recently come to my attention. And I agree, cisgender people who consider themselves allies of the trans community should add their pronouns to their social media profiles because this normalizes the practice.

The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black. ‘I am beginning to wonder if it isn’t blackness that Dolezal doesn’t understand, but whiteness. Because growing up poor, on a family farm in Idaho, being homeschooled by fundamentalist Christian parents sounds whiter than this “silver spoon” whiteness she claims to be rejecting.’

Religion Is Just Common Sense With Added Bits of Nonsense. I don’t have a problem with the conclusion, but I quibble with the comedian’s example. He says all religions can be boiled down to five don’ts, four of which make sense and one is nuts, but then he lists five, of which only three make sense and two are nuts. Oh, well…

This Week in Seattle Area News

KUOW Employee Woke Up to Find Swastikas Painted on Her Cars, and Cars All Down the Block. Um, this is uncomfortably close to my new neighborhood…

Edmonds Police Backtrack Earlier Decision, Will Investigate Swastikas as “Possible Hate Crimes”. Ya think?

Facing Allegations of Child Sex Abuse, Mayor Ed Murray Vows to Stay in Office and Keep Running for Reelection.

This week in the war on trans people

Change the Rating of “3 Generations” to PG-13.

This week in what the Frak?

Silicon Valley’s $400 Juicer May Be Feeling the Squeeze.

This Week in Difficult to Classify

More Dangerous Myths About Child Abuse.

This week in awful people who only have themselves to blame

A Timeline of Bill O’Reilly’s Vileness – Some of the allegations against the newly ousted ‘O’Reilly Factor’ host, dating back to the early 2000s.

Massachusetts Throws Out More Than 21,000 Convictions In Drug Testing Scandal.

News for queers and our allies:

The problem with problematic.

Texas ordered to pay $600,000 to couples who fought gay marriage ban.

New Font Honors Rainbow Flag Creator Gilbert Baker.

Science!

A New “CRISPR Pill” Makes Bacteria Destroy Its Own DNA.

Microsoft is buying another 10 million strands of DNA for storage research.

Researchers use frog mucus to fight the flu.

Live, long and black giant shipworm found in Philippines.

This 17 Year Old May Have Revolutionized Brain Injury Treatment.

Scientists create negative-mass fluid that flows against the force.

Scientists Genetically Engineer Luminescent Bacteria to Detect Landmines.

Antarctic Scientists Go Chasing Waterfalls.

… and Proxima makes three: Alpha Centauri really is a triple star!

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

How Wondercon Failed Disabled Attendees.

David Lynch’s Dune is What You Get When You Build a Science Fictional World With No Interest in Science Fiction.

This Week in Tech

That Four-Star Rating You Left Could Cost Your Uber Driver Her Job.

HOW GOOGLE ATE CELEBRITYNETWORTH.COM.

Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove. “The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments.

Climbing Out Of Facebook’s Reality Hole.

Culture war news:

Lesbian Couple Sues Christian Courthouse Clerks After Being Harassed While Getting Marriage License.

Court upholds suspension of judge who abused his power to block gay weddings.

KING: Conservatives don’t hate a golfing President, but they hated an uppity Negro golfing President.

Words Which by Their Very Utterance Inflict Injury.

Robert Maginnis: Washington D.C.’s Gays And Witches Corrupt Politicians.

This Week in the Resistance:

Dan Savage resistance organization donates $100,000 to ACLU, Planned Parenthood and IRAP.

This Week Regarding the Lying Liar:

How Trump Is Trying to Govern America Like an Internet Troll.

A Trump district co-chair just called me: ‘I am off the train. We were trumped.’

Trump getting hot and bothered by protesters.

Trump admin pursues law-enforcement goals without U.S. attorneys.

News about the Fascist Regime:

Trump’s Camp Is Spending Millions On Legal Fees To Defend Against Allegations Of Illegal Behavior.

This week in Politics:

Nikki Haley: Detentions and Killings of Gays in Chechnya a ‘Violation of Human Rights’ That ‘Cannot Be Ignored’. That’s nice, Madama Ambassador, but could you tell your boss?

ARKANSAS PLANS TO EXECUTE SEVEN PEOPLE THIS MONTH, CONTINUING LONG TRADITION OF ASSEMBLY-LINE KILLING.

Justice Gorsuch Finds His ‘Easier’ Solution Has Few Takers On 1st Day.

Court Rules Republican Lawmakers Intentionally Diluted Minority Clout When Drawing US House Districts.

This Week in Racists, White Nationalists, and the deplorables

Fear of Diversity Made People More Likely to Vote Trump.

Survey says: Political polarization isn’t the internet’s faul – A study says hyper-partisanship is more common among older people who barely use the internet.

White Nationalist Richard Spencer Says He’ll Speak At Auburn Despite His Event Being Canceled Over Security Fears.

I Went Behind the Front Lines With the Far-Right Agitators Who Invaded Berkeley – Here’s what I saw when white supremacists, Trump fans, and other factions clashed.

Things I wrote:

Personal update: We’re moving to Shorelin.

Da, DA, da-da-da-DAAAA-da, da-da-da-DAAAA-da, dut-dut-da-daaaaaa! I love sf/f soundtracks.

Videos!

Dalai Lama: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):

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Broadway Bares 2017: Strip U:

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Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life (Official Audio) ft. The Weeknd:

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A Farewell To Bill O’Reilly From Stephen Colbert And ‘Stephen Colbert’:

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Friday Links (we’re not at NorWesCon edition)

“Hands up if you love Fridays.”

“Hands up if you love Fridays.”

It’s Friday! Under our original plans for the year, we were meant to be attending NorWesCon with a bunch of friends. But we put down a deposit on a new apartment a few days ago, and we’re scheduled to sign the lease on the day Friday Links posts, and we would like to start moving in to the new place. Earlier in the week, when we were still waiting to hear whether we would get this place, we decided that if we did get it, we didn’t want to have to leave the con and drive back to Seattle and then out the other side of Seattle to the neighboring community where the new apartment is just to sign papers and not start moving. And if this somehow fell through, then we needed to spend these days of paid time off I already had scheduled at work scrambling to sign one of the other places we’d looked at or a new place altogether.

Because we have so, so much stuff packed into our current living space, despite the fact that there are piles of packed boxes taller than me in most of the rooms, there is still a lot of packing to do. Which will be easier to do if we get some of this stuff moved this weekend to make room to pack in.

Anyway, here are the links I found interesting this week, sorted into categories.

Links of the Week

Get Out Perfectly Captures the Terrifying Truth About White Women.

Beverly Cleary, Author of Ramona the Pest, Turned 101 Years Old This Week.

Crucified man had prior run-in with authorities.

Say no to Christian seders.

This Week in Restoring Our Faith in Humanity

Ludhiana man thwarts robbery bid in Jammu Mail, rescues 3 women.

This week in the war on trans people

Anti-transgender bathroom legislation has been filed in 15 states so far, but it’s only a coincidence that all 15 bills contain the same typo.

MINNESOTA: Hate Group Drops Lawsuit Seeking To Bar Transgender Students From School Locker Rooms.

Beyond the bathroom: Report shows laws’ harm for transgender students.

This week in international hate crimes

Chechnya detains 100 gay men in first concentration camps since the Holocaust.

Chechnya has opened concentration camps for gay men.

CHECHNYA: STOP ABDUCTING AND KILLING GAY MEN.

This week in the World

Russian ‘Open Skies’ spy plane flew over the US.

The United States Just Dropped a 21,600-Pound Bomb In Afghanistan. “That bomb cannot be targeted, it cannot be proportional and it cannot but kill civilians.”

UK Foreign Secretary condemns alleged detentions of gay men in Chechnya.

This week in awful news

United Video and San Bernadino Shooting Made for a Violent Day in America.

News for queers and our allies:

Why It Took Barry Manilow So Long to Come Out. “When someone in their 70s comes out as gay, especially a famous someone like singer Barry Manilow, the first question is always, what took so long? But there are very good reasons.”

Republican bill that would have banned marriage equality in North Carolina is DOA.

Nebraska Supreme Court: Ban on Gay Foster Parents Is Indistinguishable From a “Whites Only” Sign.

Science!

Newfound Tusk Belonged to One of the Last Surviving Mammoths in Alaska.

The Art of Plasma at Museum of Neon Art.

Are These Trilobite Eggs? Mystery of trilobite reproduction may at last be solved

Science Proves Trans People Aren’t Making It Up.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

Creatyvebooks: 7 THINGS I HATE ABOUT FANTASY.

Why clipping.’s Hugo Nomination Matters for Music in Science Fiction.

TOP 5 DEAD OR ALIVE: EARTHA KITT (CATWOMAN).

Why You Should Read Romance.

FRESHLY REMEMBER’D: KIRK DRIFT.

GUEST OF HONOR MONICA VALENTINELLI WITHDRAWS FROM ODYSSEY CON AS ‘KNOWN HARASSER’ IS ON EVENT’S STAFF.

In which Mary takes off her gloves and discusses the OdysseyCon fuck-up.

Cons Need to Stop Using the “We’re Just Fans” Defense When Things Go Terribly Wrong.

OdysseyCon and Why Serial Harassers Are Safe In Our Community.

Rocky Mountain Fur Con canceled following neo-Nazi associations, tax irregularities. And don’t forget, sending threatening letter to a fan!

THE BIZARRE FALL OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN FUR CON. Best line, regarding the Furry Raiders: “So yeah, they say they’re not Nazis, but they’re totally Nazis.”

And an actual lawyer who had not connection to the fandom weighed in hilariously: Free Furry of The Land: When Sovereign Citizens and Furries Collide.

The Fallacy of Agency: on Power, Community, and Erasure.

Things that are technically “Addams Family” canon whether we like it or not.

And even more reactions to the 2017 Hugo Finalists.

This week in Topics Most People Can’t Be Rational About

NRA employee shoots himself by mistake during firearms training at the NRA’s headquarters.

Culture war news:

“Confront hate with love.” (Click to embiggen)

5 Fast Facts You Need to Know About Kenneth Adkins, Anti-gay pastor who said Pulse victims ‘deserved’ massacre and has now been found guilty of 8 counts of child molestation.

Kevin Swanson: Pastors Who Have Gay Children Must Resign.

This Law Firm Is Linked to Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bills Across the Country.

What Do We Know About the Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016?

VIRGINIA: State Supreme Court Rejects Hate Group’s Attempt Overturn School District’s LGBT Protections.

NORTH CAROLINA: GOP Rep Melts Down Over Blocking Of Marriage Ban, Compares Abraham Lincoln To Hitler.

This Week in the Resistance:

The big civil rights protest in Dallas that you missed over the weekend.

This week in so-called Christians

Anti-gay pastor who cheered Orlando nightclub massacre found guilty of child molestation.

Alabama Governor Resigns After Allegations He Used State Money To Cover Up Love Affair.

Bigoted Christians Are the Most Special Snowflakes.

This Week Regarding the Lying Liar:

(Click to embiggen)

Robert Reich: There are at least four grounds to impeach Trump.

One Missile Strike Does Not a Syria Strategy Make.

Chinese media: Trump ordered strike to overcome accusations that he was pro-Russia.

Trump Admits Health Care Cuts Needed For Tax Cuts To Billionaires.

Donald Trump’s Six Flip-Flop Wednesday – It was a bad day for Trump campaign positions. NATO? Not ‘obsolete.’ China? ‘Not currency manipulators.’ Janet Yellen? ‘I like her.’.

The Sessions speech at the border and the leaked DHS plan make it clear: the nativists are going for broke.

Donald Trump Says He Didn’t Realize North Korean Diplomacy “Isn’t So Easy”.

The U.S. Military Just Dropped the Largest Nonnuclear Bomb in Its Arsenal on Afghanistan.

News about the Fascist Regime:

(Click to embiggen)

Is Trump gonna ax Bannon and Priebus?

A Battle Between Nepotism and Nationalism. Stephen Bannon’s right-wing populist project is at odds with the interests of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Twitter Drops Lawsuit Against the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Because the government backed down on its summons requesting information about an anti-Trump account.

State Dept. mum on gay ‘concentration camps’ in Chechnya.

Jeff Sessions’ prepared speech at the border referred to immigrants as ‘filth’.

FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page.

This week in Politics:

Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America.

Alabama governor resigns after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges.

How Alabama’s ‘Luv Guv’ Broke New Ground in a Scandal-Plagued State.

This Week in Racists, White Nationalists, and the deplorables

Why Trumpian Conspiracy Theories And Anti-Semitism Are Intimately Connected.

Who Needs Alt-Right Conspiracy Theories About Jews When You Have Politico? Politico has written an indictment of an entire sect of Judaism, getting basic facts wrong and making wild implications about a Jewish conspiracy in Russia tied to the Trump family.

Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof Pleads Guilty to 9 State Murder Counts. The 23-year-old white supremacist already received a federal death sentence earlier this year for killing black churchgoers in hate crime.

Trump faces ‘open warfare’ with Breitbart if Bannon is fired, says former executive of the far-right website.

This Week in Hate Crimes

Pulse shooter’s wife pleads not guilty to federal charges.

Farewells:

Dancer-actress, ‘Laugh-In’ regular Chelsea Brown has died. (She also played Rosie Gier’s girlfriend in the movie _The Thing with Two Heads_)

Dorothy Mengering, David Letterman’s Mother, Dead at 95. “Dave’s Mom” was a ‘Late Show’ fixture, appearing in cooking segments, “Guess the Pie” and as Winter Olympics correspondent

J. Geils, Longtime Leader of The J. Geils Band, Dies at 71.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 4/8/2017: Show of farce, anti-gay judge, and clowns.

Confessions of a guy who cries….

Confessions of a guy who likes the rain.

Videos!

The Try Guys Wear Boob Weights For A Day:

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THOR RAGNAROK Trailer (2017) Marvel:

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Bohemian Rhapsody – Pentatonix [OFFICIAL VIDEO]:

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Trey Pearson – Silver Horizon (Official Video):

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Weekend Update 4/8/2017: Show of farce, anti-gay judge, and clowns

“If Donald Trump has no obligations to Russia, then why did Trump seek Putin's permission instead of Congress's to bomb Syria?”

“If Donald Trump has no obligations to Russia, then why did Trump seek Putin’s permission instead of Congress’s to bomb Syria?”

So, Thursday Donald ordered the navy to shoot a bunch of Tomahawk missiles at an airbase in Syria, presumably to punish Assad for using nerve gas on his own people. Donald did this because people here were up in arms because a bunch of children were killed in that gas attack. And the next day all the media talking heads were acting as if Donald had done something brave, effective, and presidential.

Bull.

First, Donald gave Russia a head’s up that we were going to bomb Russia’s ally. Whitehouse spokespeople claim it was just before the attack, using normal de-conflict procedures. But according to the BBC, all the Russian trucks and so forth left the airfield an entire day before the attack. ABC News, meanwhile reports that Russia wasn’t the only ones: Syria evacuating their people and equipment a day ahead of the supposed surprise strikes, too.

(click to embiggen)

The problem is, not that long ago Donald literally said, in answer to question about his ban on Syrian refugees, that he would look Syrian children in the face and tell them they can’t come to America. So nobody should think for one moment that Donald was moved to attack Syria because of some dying children. And the attack was entirely for show. We already have drone footage showing that none of the runways were damaged, none of the hangers were damaged, and there are a whole lot of planes parked undamaged on the taxi ways. Russia claims six older planes were destroyed and a few people were killed. But Russia was also pretending just a bit over a day ago that they were shocked and angry and completely surprised by the attack. And we now know that was a lie.

Tomahawk missiles are meant to blow up buildings (not necessarily hardened buildings). They’re not meant to destroy something like a runway: Why Firing Tomahawk Missiles At Syria Was A Nearly Useless Response. And they didn’t destroy any runways or apparently do much of anything to the base’s effectiveness: Syrian jets spotted taking off from airbase bombed by U.S., according to human rights group

And it should surprise no one to know further: White House has no clear plan for next steps in Syria after missile strike.

And let’s not forget that in 2013 private citizen Donald and all the Fox newsniks who are praising this week’s action, were all insisting that Obama should not take any action against Syria without Congressional approval. Something that Congress refused to provide (and now they’re acting like it’s no big deal).

But the attack accomplished one thing: all of the news services stopped talking about how the Senate just destroyed decades of tradition to confirm a man to the Supreme Court who was chosen by anti-gay groups because of things like this: Gorsuch: Skeptical That LGBT People Deserve Rights and Neil Gorsuch Has an Unacceptable, Hostile Record Towards LGBT People.

LGBT Organizations Respond to Confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court: “Securing a ‘Political Win’ Was More Important Than Safeguarding the Rights of Millions of Americans”.

So, thanks for throwing us under the bus, America!

It's illegal in Russia, now, to share an image of Vladimir Putin as a “gay clown.” There's a specific image that prompted this, but no one is completely sure which one, because Russian media can't share it, right?

It’s illegal in Russia, now, to share an image of Vladimir Putin as a “gay clown.” There’s a specific image that prompted this, but no one is completely sure which one, because Russian media can’t share it, right?

But while we may not have equal rights for long, at least for now, we can share the banned images of Vladimir Putin as a gay clown. Right after this image started going around the internet with various comments about not sharing it because it make Putin mad, some other people were sharing a tweet claiming that those of us sharing it are being homophobic. Oh! Hey! Again with the straightsplaining! No, I am not being homophobic when I share this, because I think there is nothing wrong with a guy wearing makeup. I mean, all clowns do wear makeup, anyway, right? Straight, bi, asexual, whatever the clown’s orientation or gender, makeup is okay. Anyway, let’s end this depressing update on a funny note. Stephen Colbert has a very short take on this story that’s worth a look:

WATCH: Colbert Unleashes Vladimir Putin, Gay Icon:

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Friday Links (denial and deflection edition)

Gilbert Baker, the artist who created the rainbow flag in 1978 for Gay Freedom Day, died in his sleep earlier this week in New York City. He was 65 years old.

Gilbert Baker, the artist who created the rainbow flag in 1978 for Gay Freedom Day, died in his sleep earlier this week in New York City. He was 65 years old. (Today.com)

It’s Friday! And we’re into April already.

We’re still packing like crazy and looking for a new place to live. I’m trying not to stress and probably failing at it. There has been a weird mix of good news and absolutely horrific news among our extended friends circle and it’s all a bit overwhelming.

Anyway, here are the links I found interesting this week, sorted into categories. You will notice it is a shorter collection than usual.

Links of the Week

On Sanders’ Denial of the Role of Race and Gender in Election 2016.

About ‘Black-on-Black Crime’.

Four maps show 50 states and european countries best and worst qualities. I would like to know the methodologies of these claims…

Happy News!

Seattle Dreamer released after more than six weeks in custody.

How Seattle police, local prosecutors address and investigate hate crimes.

BOB FERGUSON, LITERAL ANGEL, IS SUING TIM EYMAN.(If you aren’t from Washington state, you don’t understand what a big and wonderful deal this could be)

FERGUSON FILES $2.1M CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWSUIT AGAINST TIM EYMAN.

This Week in Difficult to Classify

Seattle toasts the tunnel. Lawyers prepare for war.

rotester gives Oregon mayor a Pepsi, and the response wasn’t good.

This week in awful people

Bill O’Reilly Thrives at Fox News, Even as Harassment Settlements Add Up.

AG sues Tim Eyman for $2M, says he profited from campaigns.

Former NC Gov. Pat McCrory Mocks LGBT Activists Over Compromise HB2 Repeal: They Lost The Battle.

High School Football Coach Suspended After He Allegedly Put His Dick In A Hot Dog Bun And Showed Players. “Not meant to be inappropriate” — how on earth is a teacher calling a female student a “puck slut” ever to be considered appropriate?

Here Are All The Advertisers Fleeing Bill O’Reilly’s Show.

News for queers and our allies:

“Monday you can hold your head. Tuesday, Wednesday, stay in bed. Thursday watch the walls instead. It's FRIDAY, we're all in love.”

“Monday you can hold your head. Tuesday, Wednesday, stay in bed. Thursday watch the walls instead. It’s FRIDAY, we’re all in love.”

The Supreme Court quietly handed some very bad news to anti-LGBT businesses.

Barry Manilow Reveals Why He Didn’t Come Out for Decades: I Thought I Would ‘Disappoint’ Fans If They Knew I Was Gay. I wish he’d felt free to come out sooner, but unlike other closeted people I have written about recently, Manilow never spearheading homophobic laws or programs, so welcome out, Barry!

When a celebrity comes out, we judge. Why is that fair?

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters: Hate group furious that court says civil rights laws protect gays from job discrimination.

THE MOST LGBTQ-FRIENDLY CITY IN EVERY RED STATE IN AMERICA.

Federal judge rules fair housing law protects Colorado LGBT couple.

Science!

scatter plot: adventures in garbage millennial confirmation bias. Awesome graphs!

A Japanese Man Just Got Another Person’s Stem Cells Transplanted in His Eye.

GERMAN RESEARCHERS SEQUENCE RYE GENOME FOR FIRST TIME.

We might have just tracked down the mysterious Planet Nine.

Why Have Humpback Whales Formed Mysterious Super-Groups Off South Africa?

Juno has sent back more photos of Jupiter, and the results are spectacular.

No more ‘superbugs’? Maple syrup extract enhances antibiotic action.

First fluorescent frogs might see each others’ glow.

Let Science Be Science Again.

Myopic Political Bubbles Apply to Science Books, Too.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

NO, DIVERSITY DIDN’T KILL MARVEL’S COMIC SALES.

The Obligatory Hugo Nominations Reaction Post 2017 – and the first ever Nommo Awards.

Here Are the 2017 Hugo Award Finalists but Spoiler Alert Chuck Tingle Should Win Every Award.

Measuring the Rabid Puppies Effect on the 2017 Hugo Ballot.

THE HUGO REPORT: FINALISTS 2017.

2017 Hugo Award Finalists.

Asking the Wrong Questions – he 2017 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees.

NOMMO Nominations for 2017.

Netflix Whitewashed Its Death Note Remake, and That’s Not Even the Only Reason It’s Problematic.

The Best Series Hugo Is the Hardest Decision on the Ballot.

And other news:

Harry Shearer: Why My ‘Spinal Tap’ Lawsuit Affects All Creators.

This week in Words

singular they in the news.

Use gender-sensitive language or lose marks, university students told. Some people gripe this is language policing; news flash, so is basing any grade on grammar or punctuation!

Harvard study: When telling a story, aim for clarity over cutting edge.

This Week in Tech

Justice in the age of big data.

The Mac Pro Lives.

Twitter Sues Trump Administration Over Demand That They Unmask Person Behind Anti-Trump Account.

This Week in Misinformation

William Shatner’s Tweets Are a Classic Case of Misinformation Spread – It was frustrating to watch but also instructive.

I’m not going to answer the same question about being fat any more. Ask me something else.

Culture war news:

The rainbow is ours, now. You can't have it!

The rainbow is ours, now. You can’t have it!

Bryan Fischer: “LGBTs Stole the Rainbow From God. It’s His. He Invented It… Give It Back.”

Bryan Fischer Epically Mocked on Twitter for Claiming LGBT People Stole God’s Rainbow.

God remains silent in response to Bryan Fischer’s claim we stole the rainbow.

Economic Policy Institute: Low-wage African American workers have increased annual work hours most since 1979.

Boy Butter TV commercial banned in Chicago.

Activists Chase NOM’s Hate Bus Out Of Connecticut.

A Judge Has Temporarily Stopped Kentucky’s Only Remaining Abortion Clinic From Closing.

Creationist (and Convicted Felon) Kent Hovind Spoke To a Sparse Crowd in Mississippi.

How The Hate Group Alliance Defending Freedom Is Infiltrating Public Schools.

NCAA caves, rewards North Carolina for stigmatizing transgender people: The NCAA thinks North Carolina is just fine now — “outside of bathroom facilities,” of course.

This Week in the Resistance:

Kirsten Gillibrand Is an Enthusiastic NO.

Washington state legislators fights for internet privacy that Congress took away.

Opposing a Corrupt Transaction. (This was written before the Republicans made their hatred of democracy official, but it is still a good analysis)

The Internet Is Absolutely Loving Ivanka Trump’s ‘Petty’ Neighbor: She grabbed her fur and some wine to watch a protest outside Trump’s house.

This Week Regarding the Lying Liar:

Donald Trump’s Ignorance Extends to Foreign Affairs. That’s A Big Problem.

What the Woman Who Invented the Term “White Fragility” Thinks About Trump.

Donald Trump Approval Rating Declines Among White Men: Polls.

Trump Syria attack raises questions about whether it was authorized.

Can the President Attack Another Country Without Congress?

Syria strike reactions: what top Republicans and Democrats in Congress are saying.

News about the Fascist Regime:

The Long, Lucrative Right-wing Grift Is Blowing Up in the World’s Face.

agazine owner Jared Kushner doesn’t understand a free press.

Ivanka Trump interview: “If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good … then I’m complicit”.

Joint Chiefs invite Jared Kushner to Iraq, because Ivanka’s husband is in charge of everything now.

Steve Bannon Calls Jared Kushner a ‘Cuck’ and ‘Globalist’ Behind His Back. (BTW, in case you didn’t know, “globalist” is an alt-right dog whistle meaning “jew” in a pejorative fashion)

C.I.A. Had Evidence of Russian Effort to Help Trump Earlier Than Believed.

One week, three more Trump-Russia connections.

Why the Trump-Russia investigation may continue for years.

This week in Politics:

(click to embiggen)

The Fundamental Dishonesty of the Gorsuch Hearings.

Devin Nunes shouldn’t resign from the intelligence committee—he should resign from the House.

The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs, and how much it cost to buy them: They betrayed you for chump change.

Russians used ‘Bernie Bros’ as ‘unwitting agents’ in disinformation campaign: Senate Intel witness.

Out of options, Spicer attacks Hillary, suggests Obama engaged in illegal surveillance.

Former Trump campaign chair in Virginia spent campaign money on Trump party.

How We Got To The Point Of Republicans Ready To Invoke The ‘Nuclear Option’ In The Senate.

Senate approves ‘nuclear option,’ clears path for Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination vote.

This Week in Racists, White Nationalists, and the deplorables

Judge Rules That Trump May Have Incited Violence Against Protesters, Allowing Case to Move Forward.

Trump Ally Alex Jones Threatens To “Beat” Rep. Adam Schiff’s “Goddamn Ass” In Anti-Gay Tirade.

Trump Voter Furious that Border Wall will Fence Her House into… (Wait For It)… Mexico!

How Many Of Trump’s Supporters Really Are ‘Deplorable’?

TOP DEMOCRATS ARE WRONG: TRUMP SUPPORTERS WERE MORE MOTIVATED BY RACISM THAN ECONOMIC ISSUES.

This Week in Hate Crimes

Police: Armed with guns and racial insults, Jacksonville man assaults Muslim neighbor.

This Week in Sexism

Uber’s Korean Escort Visit Shows Sexism Cover-Up Goes To The Top.

It’s a problem when men avoid one-on-one meetings with women.

Fox News Reeling As A Big Bombshell Just Dropped In The Bill O’Reilly Sexual Harassment Scandal.

Farewells:

Gilbert Baker, Creator of the Rainbow Flag, International Symbol of LGBTQ Pride, Has Died at 65.

Key West remembers Gilbert Baker, creator of rainbow flag.

Gilbert Baker Film Festival still a go despite its namesake’s death.

Gilbert Baker, rainbow flag creator, dies.

Things I wrote:

Not fooling around with my goals this year!

Weekend Update 4/1/2017: No need for jokes while we have these clowns in the news.

Reblog: The first openly queer person to run for U.S. public office and win was not who you think.

More adventures in straightsplaining—bless your heart.

Confessions of an unrepentant rationalist.

The incredibly true confessions of a totally queer sci fi geek.

Time to say bye-bye to LiveJournal.

Confessions of a pink and purple flaunting dandy.

Videos!

Get Churned!:

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

Expiration Date – Brett Gleason (Official Video):

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

Lana Del Rey – Love:

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

2CELLOS – Moon River:

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

Confessions of an unrepentant rationalist

“This pretty much sums up everyone's feelings about ignorant hate.”

“This pretty much sums up everyone’s feelings about ignorant hate.” (Click to embiggen)

Bryan Fischer hosts a show on the American Family Association’s (a certified hate group) radio network, and is frequently referred to as a former AFA employee (though all that really happened was that his official title of Director of Issues Analysis was revoked after he made some ridiculous comments about the Jewish religion being counterfeit—literally the day before 100 members of the Republican National Committee were being flown to Isreal at the expense of the AFA; Fischer still receives a salary from them, so the firing was a sham). Fischer made some new ridiculous comments this weekend. In a tweet he claimed that gays have stolen the rainbow from god, the original inventor of the rainbow, and that we should give it back.

Fischer is described over on Rational Wiki as someone who “makes even the most cuckoo-bananas conservative talk radio pundits seem sane and reasonable in comparison.” He’s always going on about gay people (and how gays and nazis are the same thing) and gay sex (and how hyper masculine aggressive gay sex is destroying everything). Besides making him sound like a kook, it also proves that he thinks about gay sex a whole lot more than most gay people do. Hmmmm, where have we seen that phenomenon before?

Screenshot of Fischer’s tweet, in case he wises up and deletes it: “Worst example of cultural appropriation ever: LGBTs stole the rainbow from God. It’s his. He invented it. Gen. 9:11-17. Give it back.”

There are so many things wrong with this assertion that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, he quotes from the end of the story of Noah in the old testament to justify his claim that queers have stolen god’s invention. I’m going to quote a bit of that: “13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” That’s god talking to Noah, and please note what god himself says: the rainbow is a sign of a covenant between god and the entire planet. A moment later he emphasizes that it is a sign of a covenant between him and all living creatures of every kind. Gay people are part of the planet. Gay people are a kind of living creature.

So, if you believe (as Fischer frequently claims to) that the bible is the inerrant word of god and literally true in every word, well, that means that queers have just as much a claim on the rainbow as any inhabitant of the earth or god himself. I’m just quoting god from Fischer’s holy book, here!

Lots of people had fun with Fischer’s tweet. Part of what cracked me up about it is that this is one of the sections of the Bible that got me in trouble when I was a kid, because I kept having questions that my Sunday School teachers and other church leaders couldn’t answer. Such as, how did all of the land species that live only in Australia get to Noah’s boat? Seriously, did a bunch of kangaroos and koalas and so forth build a mini ark and cross the ocean to get to the Arabian Pennisula? And if they did have a way to survive crosses the Pacific and Indian Oceans, why did they need to get on Noah’s ark to begin with? How did they get to Noah’s ark? And how big was this ark, really, because just assembling every species of, say, feline is going to require a very big boat. And then how are you going to keep all those big cats away from the pairs of the 20+ species of deer?

But let’s get back to the rainbow. The sorts of Christians who insist that every word in the Bible is literally true absolutely despise the notion of evolution. And one of their favorite arguments against evolution back when I was a kid, was to look at the complexity of the eyeball: you have the lens and receptors and tiny muscles to adjust the lens in order to change focus and so on and so on, and just a beautiful perfect organ for focusing and interpreting light could not possible have evolved by chance! Seriously, they think that’s an argument the undoes all of science. Anyway, when making this argument they get very insistent that god design the eyeballs of humans (and every other species on the planet that sees the way we do) and they have all had them since god created the world in a famous six-day run, right? Here’s the problem: the very same laws of physics that allow that lens in the front of those perfectly designed eyeballs to focus images on the retina? They are also what make rainbows appear when there is sunlight shining through an atmosphere littered with tiny water droplets. If god didn’t tweak the laws of physics to allow rainbows to appear in the clouds until after Noah’s flood, then none of the characters in the Bible who lived before Noah could have had the power of sight. They would have all had these perfect organs for seeing in their heads that didn’t work at all.

And they had to be able to see because sight is mentioned in several of the Bible stories before Noah. Also, god is supposed to have created humans in his image and we still are supposed to be in his image (Jesus affirmed that in the same story in which he endorsed paying your taxes), so that means we’ve always had these eyeballs, which were apparently useless appendages until after Noah’s flood.

And I’ve completely skipped over the parts of this story in which god admits he’s very forgetful and prone to rash, unwise decisions. He says he put the rainbow in the sky to remind him from time to time that he’s promised never again to destroy the world with a flood. So god needs to leave himself post-its, “Don’t commit mass genocide.” And the whole flood story begins with god realizing that he should have never created humans to begin with, because all of them are dirty rotten scoundrels. Then god reconsiders and decides that maybe Noah, his sons, and his daughters-in-law might be worth keeping around. But only them! Everyone else has got to go! And how does this supposedly all-powerful, all-knowing, wise and loving god decides to get rid of the scoundrels? Does he unleash a plague that would only infect humans, so that all of them die off and leave the planet to the birds and animals and plants? No, he takes out the dirty rotten people by wiping out every living thing on the surface of the earth. Wipe out billions of innocent mice and puppies and so forth to get rid of a few thousand or maybe millions of humans. That sounds like a plan that a smart omnipotent being would cook up, right?

When I brought up these inconsistencies as a kid, the adults would usually try to handwave about god’s plan, and us poor mortals not understanding. As I entered my teens and got better about pointing out the problems with that, they would talk about symbolism and poetic language. Which of course completely contradicts the notion that ever word is literally true. Then I would usually be admonished for being obstinate and willfully difficult and wasting time on trivial technical questions.

But complaining about who gets to use the rainbow as a symbol of hope isn’t wasting time being obstinate over trivial things?

Queers aren’t the first people to latch onto the rainbow as a symbol of diversity, freedom, resistance to oppression, and so on. There are several reasons for this. Just because the International Cooperative Movement (since 1921), or the Peace Movement (since 1961), or the Rainbow Coalition (since the mid-sixties), or the LGBT community (since 1978) and so on use the rainbow as symbols doesn’t do anything to the rainbows that appear in the sky after a storm. Those rainbows that god talked about in the book of Genesis are still there. We haven’t taken them away. According to Fischer’s religion’s own holy book, the rainbow is given as a symbol to every living creature on the earth. It even literally says “every kind” of creature. If you think you have the right to tell any of us that the rainbow isn’t ours, well, then you just don’t understand the real meaning of rainbows or love or dreams…


Muppet Movie – The Rainbow Connection:

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

More adventures in straightsplaining—bless your heart

“Go ahead! Explain to us how you, a straight person, know more about homophobia than we do.”

“Go ahead! Explain to us how you, a straight person, know more about homophobia than we do.”(Click to embiggen.)

In a recent post I commented on the case of Andrew Shirvell, a former Michigan assistant attorney general who lost his job because he mounted a harassment and stalking campaign (using state resources) against an openly gay college student. During the post I commented on how Shirvell pings everyone’s gaydar and talked about the roots of his particularly vicious and obsessive homophobia. And a new commenter decided to explain to me how very homophobic it is for me to characterize Shirvell’s mannerisms and speech patterns as prissy.

Oh, straightsplaining again! Hurrah! Thank you, so much, anonymous straight person, for explaining homophobia to me. How foolish of me to think that my 50+ years of surviving the slings and arrows of homophobia gave me any understanding of it.

Okay, let me clarify a few things:

Fact the First: you are correct, not every gay man is a sissy. Bully for you for being so open-minded!

Fact the Second: there are actual studies that show that, while not all queer men are sissies, at least 75% of boys who exhibit the characteristics causing them to be labeled “sissy” during childhood grow up to come out as queer.

Fact the Third: no matter what their actual sexual orientation, every boy who ever lived in our society who exhibits any of those gender-nonconforming behaviors was bullied because of them.

So, whether you believe that Shirvell is a closet case or not, my assertion that homophobic bullying is part of the root of his insanely over the top obsessively vicious homophobic campaign against that college student is still valid. You’re barely technically correct that we don’t know Shirvell’s orientation for certain (though I’m 99.99999% certain that he is queer of one sort or another). But the sheer level of sissy behavior one sees in any of the video interviews Shirvell gave back when he was defending his campaign tells me that he wasn’t just bullied occasionally as a child, but quite viciously and continuously. And we know from many studies that enduring that kind of bullying is one of the sources of adulthood excessive homophobic attitudes and behavior.

While we’re on the topic of those studies: those studies also show that the more virulent an adult man‘s homophobic attitudes and opinions are, the more likely it is that their body will exhibit involuntary arousal at the sight of scantily clad men. In other others, the more homophobic, the more likely that they are a self-loathing closet case. Add that to the study above, and it’s possible that my 99.99999% assessment is too low.

Fact the Fourth: I was a sissy. My childhood bullies included not just my classmates, but many of the adults in my life: family members, some teachers, and many adults at church. Yes, during my early teen years I was verbally homophobic. In my later teen years the only reason I wasn’t was not because I had become enlightened, but rather because as I had given in to my hormones a number of times, I wasn’t willing to be a hypocrit. But I was still convinced that I was going to go to hell for giving in to those feelings. So I understand Shirvell’s situation.

I do feel sorry for Shirvell the child. I know he had a horrible experience, even though I don’t know all the details. However, he’s an adult, now. He’s been exposed to information about sexual orientation, including the medical studies that it is not a choice (and therefore, since part of the theological definition of sin is being a willful disobedience, that means homosexuality cannot be a sin). He’s had more than enough time to start coming to terms with his childhood trauma and at least make the decision not to be the kind of bully that made his childhood hell. He has very emphatically chosen not to do so. Shirvell the adult deserves not one iota of sympathy. Not one.

Fact the Fifth: Please understand, I’m not stereotyping Andrew Shirvell as a gay man, I’m stereotyping him as a self-hating closet case—and he’s given us so, so much ammunition. It’s not just about the way he prances or speaks, it’s what he says as he’s ranting about the imagined sexual depravities of the targets of his homophobic rants—he simply sounds like he spends an inordinate amount of time imagining queer sex.

And there isn’t a plausible heterosexual explanation for that.


Note: Comments on this entire blog have always been moderated. Specific commenters have been whitelisted, but everyone else’s comments sit in a queue until I approve them. And I don’t see any point in approving comments that are insulting, or obviously coming from sock puppets or—such as the comment alluded to here—indicate the person isn’t interested in listening.

Weekend Update 4/1/2017: No need for jokes while we have these clowns in the news

“Sir, I have had enough of your shenanigans, so I bid you good day. I said good day to you sir!”

“Sir, I have had enough of your shenanigans, so I bid you good day. I said good day to you sir!”

Whenever Aaron Schock is in the news again, hits on one particular old post about him suddenly spike on my site. This happened Wednesday, which sent me looking for the story: Ex-Rep. Aaron Schock Alleges FBI Had His Staffer Wear A Wire, Steal Docs. Schock is on trial for all sorts of financial shenanigans while he was in office (Conning some constituents into paying over $7000 into a fake account allegedly for travel expenses which he actually billed to tax payers, $140,000 in false mileage claims, a $5,000 chandelier for his office also billed to the tax payers, et cetera), which had driven him to resign. I’ve described Schock before as badly-closeted because he’s a Republican with a perfect anti-gay record who not only lived with his boyfriend while he was a congressman, but took the boyfriend on official trips, where even though said boyfriend was listed as a staff photographer, he never took any photos and Schock but rather posed at Schock’s side along with the other congressmen and their wives, at dinner sat beside Schock as the other spouses did, conveniently had an adjoining hotel room et cetera, et cetera. Never mind the times he’s been photographed or videoed in gay bars, or the time he led reporters and a camera crew around a gay neighborhood and kept (on camera) getting destracted with his gaze lingering on hunky shirtless men as they walked by.

It’s kind of pathetic.

I keep half expecting Schock to eventually come out and try to claim that the pressure of the closet unbalanced his mental health and all of his wrongdoing was the result. Or maybe just to claim that the FBI’s investigation into his financial wrongdoings was all some sort of homophobic plot. Which, given that Schock on at least one occasion gave a speech in the House of Representatives chambers in which he insisted that it should be legal for employers to fire people just because they think they might be gay, landlords to evict or refuse to rent to people they suspect are gay, and so on.

Once he’s convicted I hope he gets a long sentence.


He’s not the only homophobe formerly employed by the government in the news this week: Former Michigan Asst AG Andrew Shirvell Loses Law License for Anti-Gay Attack on UM Student Chris Armstrong. Shirvell’s story is weird. Back in 2010 Chris Armstrong, was elected student body president at the University of Michigan. Armstrong was the first openly-gay person elected to that office. Shirvell, meanwhile, worked as an assistant attorney general in Michigan. The minute Shirvell saw a news story about Armstrong’s election, he logged onto Facebook and created a page called Chris Armstrong Watch and posted a bunch of barely coherent anti-gay rants. Facebook suspended the page as a violation of community guidelines, so Shirvell created is one blog (which for a long time had as a banner a picture of Armstrong with an image of a gay pride flag with a swastika superimposed on it and the word RESIGN scrawled across Armstrong’s face).

But it wasn’t just hundred s of anti-gay blog posts. Shirvell spent nearly every night parked in his car across the street from a house where Armstrong and several other students lived, taking pictures of everyone who came in and out of the house. He posted the pictures (and when he could the names) of each one, writing about what sorts of lewd sexual depravities he assumed had to be going on inside the house. On one occasion when Armstrong and his housemates hat a party, Shirvell drove around the block for hours, taking pictures and trying to get proof that they were serving underaged people alcohol. We know he drove around the block for hours because a) he blogged about it extensively, b) he called the police at 1:30 and tried to get the partiers arrested for disturbing the peace and in his official statement to the police told them he had been driving around the block for hours, and c) several of the neighbors had called in the suspicious car circling the neighborhood. And just to be clear, Shirvell didn’t live nearby!

Andrew Shirvell (left), with a defaced image of gay college student Chris Armstrong that Shirvell posted on his blog in 2010. ( photo © LGBTQ Nation)

Andrew Shirvell (left), with a defaced image of gay college student Chris Armstrong that Shirvell posted on his blog in 2010. ( photo © LGBTQ Nation)

When Armstrong attended various gay student alliance events and similar public activities, Shirvell was there with homophobic banners. When Armstrong got a summer intership with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Shirvell called Pelosi’s office and ranted at staffers about why Armstrong should be fired. Most of this during Armstrong’s senior year at college. Shirvell was eventually fired from his job as an assistant Attorney General not for the hate speech and protesting, but because he had done some of the harassment when he was supposed to be working, used his state-owned work computer for some of it, conducted some of the harassment in a way that implied he was acting as a state official, and then lied about it to internal investigators. He tried to sue the state because he claimed all of the activity was protected under the first amendment (the judge found that the reason for firing was for specific conduct and not for stating his anti-gay opinions).

Armstrong eventually sued Shirvell for harassment, stalking, and related things asking for legal fees and $25,000 in damages. The jury awarded $4.5million in damages. On Shirvell’s appeal, that judgement was reduced to $3.5million, but otherwise all findings of the jury were upheld by the appeals court. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Shirvell’s appeals. It’s unlikely that Armstrong will ever get the money, but the principle at least has been upheld that a government employee can’t harass a queer kid (Armstrong was 21 years old for most of this, but he was a college student, for goodness sake!).

No one has ever been able to get a reasonable explanation from Shirvell for why Armstrong of all people became the target of his fierce and vitriolic obsession. Even under oath on trial (where acting as his own lawyer, he questioned himself for two hours, and then under cross-examination was forced to admit everything he had just testified about Armstrong and the situation was a lie)! Sure, Shirvell was a University of Michigan alumnus (he graduated 8 years before Armstrong became student body president), so you can argue that his initial interest was simply because he followed news about his former school, but the obsessive behavior against someone he otherwise didn’t know was really over-the-top.

The reason he can’t explain himself is that that there isn’t a rational explanation. There is, sadly, a very understandable irrational one. Shirvell is a 36-year-old man who has never been married and never been known to date a woman. In video appearances he doesn’t merely ping a lot of people’s gaydar, it’s like a mega-super-gay four-alarm alert. Shirvell is a self-loathing closet case. And I’m hardly the first person to realize this.

Shirvell had been involved in a few public anti-gay activities before the Armstrong case (my favorite was the campaign to get a local pizza parlor to stop putting a rainbow flag in its window during Pride Month), and his rants then were a bit crazy. He appears to have been raised in a conservative Catholic family (he attended private Catholic schools for his primary grades and high school, and got his jurisdoctorate at a Catholic law school—in fact the University of Michigan is the only public school he ever attended). In interviews Shirvell comes across as not just mildly effeminate, but very prissy. I have no doubt that he was bullied throughout his childhood. So Shirvell’s spent his entire life desperately trying to prove to people that he’s straight. He hid himself and denied his feelings and subjected himself to the torture of the closet his entire life. He’s likely never had even a clandestine romantic relationship!

…And then he sees that news story about an openly gay student being elected student president at his alma mater. He sees the smiling pictures of a young man who isn’t hiding those feelings, isn’t suffering alone in the closet, isn’t loathing himself. Shirvell sees that this good-looking, happy-looking young queer man isn’t merely being tolerated by his family and fellow students, but he’s well-liked and even celebrated! No wonder Shirvell over-reacted. Shirvell has been a powder keg of self-hatred and insanity just waiting to explode. So far he’s destroyed his own reputation, gotten himself saddled with an impossible financial obligation, and now even lost his law license because his actions weren’t just creepy and crazy, they constituted legal misconduct.

“Contrary to popular belief I do not hate gay people - God”

(click to embiggen)

Some would argue we should feel sorry for Andrew Shirvell. But honestly, the number of times during the trial that Armstrong said if Shirvell would just apologize he would drop the case represent only a fraction of the opportunities that Shirvell had to get off this particular crazy train. At this point he has no one to blame but himself.

Friday Links (questions that aren’t really questions edition)

It’s Friday! We’re at the very end of March. Wow. The year is whizzing by and we’re behind on everything!

We’re still packing like crazy and looking for a new place to live. My husband is recovering from his surgery. The doctor is happy with how things are going. My hubby is getting a bit impatient. I’m not sure I’m doing a good job of convincing him not to push himself too hard. Camp Nanowrimo starts tomorrow and usually I’m the one nagging friends to do it, but I don’t think I’ll have much time for writing this next month.

Anyway, here are the links I found interesting this week, sorted into categories. You will notice it is a shorter collection than usual.

Links of the Week

Gender Analysis: No More Rachel Dolezals.

Baby otter’s first time in the water.

Happy News!

Seattle Dreamer released after more than six weeks in custody.

This week in what the Frak?

CNY students upset after being asked to defend Nazis, Holocaust for homework.

This week in the World

Merkel party wins state vote as election year starts.

Survey Finds Foreign Students Aren’t Applying to American Colleges.

This week in Fonts

60 fonts you should never use on your book cover design. I understand where they are coming from, but 1) Never say never, and 2) a couple of these are perfectly good if you know what you’re doing.

Science!

Expanding super bubble of gas detected around massive black holes in the early universe.

Why Aren’t All Members of a Species the Same? Exploring the Pangenome.

Backwards asteroid shares an orbit with Jupiter without crashing.

Largest-Ever Dinosaur Footprint Found in Australia’s Jurassic Park.

‘Sightings’ of extinct Tasmanian tiger prompt search in Queensland.

Spiders are everywhere. And they could eat all of us in under a year.

The World’s Rarest and Most Ancient Dog Has Just Been Re-Discovered in the Wild.

Australia Just Experienced Some Stunning Southern Lights.

How Mars lost its atmosphere, and why Earth didn’t.

The Mysterious Origin of Our Galaxy’s Gold.

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculation!

Neil Gaiman Has Been Thinking a Lot About the End of the World Lately.

This week in crooks who used to be politicians

Angela Rye Calls Deadbeat Dad Joe Walsh A Bigot To His Face.

Ex-Rep. Aaron Schock Alleges FBI Had His Staffer Wear A Wire, Steal Docs.

Culture war news:

YouTube Restricts LGBTQ+ Content to “Protect Children” and Pisses Me the F*ck Off.

Felony Charges for 2 Who Secretly Filmed Planned Parenthood.

Anti-LGBT Activists Launch Complaint Campaign Against Vimeo Over Reported Ban On Ex-Gay Torture Videos.

LGBTQ Rights Groups Slam Discriminatory Late Night Deal to Repeal HB2 Ahead of NCAA Deadline.

This Week in the Resistance:

Dear Republican Members of Congress….

This Week Regarding the Lying Liar:

Hate Crimes: Where Is The Response?

Trump steps in to keep 30-year-old NSC aide.

News about the Fascist Regime:

Sean Spicer Tells Journalist April Ryan to ‘Stop Shaking Your Head’ During Press Briefing.

2 White House Officials Helped Give Nunes Intelligence Reports.

Pence Breaks Tie in Senate on Planned Parenthood Funding Vote, Because Of Course He Does.

This week in Politics:

For sale: Your private browsing history.

This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account.

Chuck Todd: GOP alliances ‘dramatically breaking down’ despite being majority in Congress.

This Week in Racists, White Nationalists, and the deplorables

It’s 2017 and American Nazis Are Still Cowards.

This Week in Hate Crimes

Man Pleads Not Guilty In Possible Terror Plot Against 2016 West Hollywood Pride Parade.

Things I wrote:

Weekend Update 3/25/2017: Fake healthcare, fake dealmaker.

Sunday Funnies, part 23.

Everything I need to know about responding to reviews of my books I learned from my choral directors.

What if someone says my book is racist/ sexist/ homophobic/ et cetera?

Handling feedback, critique, and suggestions for your book.

“YOU must be oppressed because WE are terrible people”.

Videos!

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – Official Trailer #2 (HD):

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

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 Extended TV Spot #6 – Fate (2017):

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

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