Archive for the ‘Current events’ Category

Fortunately, This Time We Were Not Condemned to Repeat History

5 January 2014

This is chillingly reminiscent of the Up Stairs Lounge massacre, but with a far happier ending. On New Year’s Eve in Seattle, somebody poured gasoline on the carpeted stairs to a crowded second-floor gay nightclub and tossed a match on it. Fortunately, some quick-thinking soldiers thwarted the attempted historical reenactment.

(For those who don’t know, the Up Stairs Lounge in New Orleans was a gay bar that was the target of a terrible arson attack in the 1970s. It’s an important part of our history as LGBT folks and worth at least knowing about. The Wikipedia entry is informative and not too upsetting, but be warned before searching further that the details and photographs are horrifying and the stuff of nightmares.)

Also fortunately, the Seattle club was sprinklered and had multiple fire exits. Yay for modern fire codes, too. And for newspapers that will report on these things and police departments that will investigate them, neither of which we had in the 1970s.

Being Just a Wee Bit Oblivious to the Irony Involved Here, Aren’t We?

5 January 2014

From a lengthy and rather snotty harangue on a few days ago:

Let us assume [Chris] Kluwe’s recollection is correct and Vikings top brass was not happy with his advocacy. Let us even assume that is what led to his being released from the team.

So what?

What Kluwe fails to grasp, as many in today’s society often do, is that NFL teams are private organizations: as such, they can release an employee for any reason that is not contrary to the law (e.g., race) and is not contractually forbidden. Moreover, the contracts players often sign with the teams include all manner of behavioral clauses, likely including that the player’s actions on-and-off the field not reflect poorly on the team. Oh, and did I mention the players have a very strong union that protects them? Somehow, however, Kluwe wishes for the reader to believe he is a victim of homophobes and cowardly-servants-of-homophoboes who wouldn’t just let-Chris-be-Chris.

If Kluwe’s stance was bringing unwanted attention onto the Vikings, and angering or alienating some Viking fans (which his views clearly did), the team would have been well within its rights to release him, if only from a purely public-relations-nightmare angle.

So let me be sure I’ve got this straight. If you’re suspended for a couple of weeks between episodes from your television series because you’ve made antigay statements, that’s a violation of your First Amendment rights. If you’re fired permanently from your football team because you’ve made progay statements, that’s a perfectly reasonable response to the offense you gave to some of your team’s fans.


(Also: Is it just me, or should somebody really lock down the hyphen on this guy’s keyboard for his own protection?)


30 August 2013

You know, this is only going to lead to people wanting to file joint returns with their horses.

Headline of the Afternoon

7 June 2013

From Slate‘s home page right now:

Obama Is Off to Scold the Chinese for Their Cyberspying. Awk-ward.

“Dog Bites Man” Headline and Lead Paragraph of the Day

6 June 2013

New report says US hasn’t seen expected ‘Great Recovery’ as economy continues to fall short

LOS ANGELES — The expected U.S. “Great Recovery” hasn’t materialized and the economy has fallen short of even normal growth, according to a forecast released Wednesday.

No freaking kidding.

I love how they just say expected in the headline and in the first sentence, as though it were an objective fact that this recovery was on the way, the commonest of common knowledge, something we all took for granted. From the beginning of the article to its end there is never any mention of who exactly was expecting this recovery to happen. Everybody was! We were all certain together that recovery was on the way, nourished by the spending cuts and tax cuts that every last one of us agreed were absolutely sure to do the job! And now we are all equally flummoxed together by this startling disappointment!

Of course, if this expectation had been mostly a delusion of the advocates of a particular partisan theory of how the economy works, it might be a good idea for people to take note, and maybe trust these folks’ advice on the economy a little less in the future. But fortunately that’s not an issue here, unh-unh! The recovery was simply expected and there are no lessons to be drawn here, none at all, about the folly of believing whatever somebody tells you just because it says on his business card that he’s an expert.

Why, look. It’s an AP story! Who’d’ve guessed!

After All, He Merely Conspired to Commit Multibillion-Dollar Fraud — It’s Not Like He Did Anything Serious

9 May 2013

From today’s New York Times:

Jeffrey K. Skilling, imprisoned for the last six years because of his role in the fraud that caused the collapse of Enron, has reached a deal that could reduce his sentence by more than a decade.

As part of the agreement with the Justice Department, the former chief executive of the energy giant will waive his rights to any further appeals. In addition, he has agreed to allow more than $40 million of assets that were seized from him to be distributed to victims of Enron’s failure.

Employees lost their retirement savings and shareholders lost billions of dollars after the once highflying company slid into bankruptcy in 2001.

Under federal prison rules, Mr. Skilling — who had been sentenced to 24 years and 4 months — could leave prison as soon as 2017.

Somehow I am doubting that this deal will be extended to, say, the drug addict who breaks into a house, steals a hundred bucks, and then offers to pay back twenty-five cents of it in exchange for having his sentence cut in half.

Favorite quote:

“The proposed agreement brings certainty and finality to a long painful process,” Daniel M. Petrocelli, a lawyer for Mr. Skilling, said in a statement.

Yes, by all means let’s do everything we can to keep prison a shorter and more pleasant process for wealthy white-collar criminals.

Oh Look, Another Person Cashing In on All of Those Wonderful Advantages That Being Openly Gay Brings in Our Society!

30 April 2013

If it’s such an obvious career move and nothing but a facile publicity stunt and required no guts at all and is just a way of getting a contract when he’s past his prime, why is it that it’s two-thousand-freaking-thirteen and nobody else has taken this easy-peasy path to instant fame and fortune in major league sports before?

Looks to me like Jason Collins has done a gutsy thing, and he’s going to be living with the repercussions of this decision for the rest of his life, long beyond whatever career he has in basketball, and he can’t know what all those repercussions will be, except that they sure as hell won’t all be positive. Sure, it’s not as gutsy as it would have been 25 or 50 years ago. His chances of ending up in prison or shot to death over this are quite a bit less than they would have been a few decades ago. But for all that, this is still a bigger step than anyone else in his position has been willing to take. He gets a lot of credit for that in my book.

So I’m already pretty sick of reading commentators pooh-poohing this and saying it’s no big deal. Sure, it’s no big deal as long as you’re straight or closeted and don’t have to think or know too much about all the things that being openly gay in this society still makes you a target for.

Quote of the Day

22 March 2013

From President Obama’s speech yesterday in Jerusalem:

Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do.

Now, If His Son Had Come Out to Him as a Member of Anonymous, Things Might Have Gotten Very Interesting

15 March 2013

I suppose the idea is that I’m supposed to find it heart-warming that Sen. Portman has changed his opinion about same-sex marriage since discovering that his own son is gay, but jeez, it sure sounds like “I’m against equal rights except for my own family” to me.

Sen. Portman said that his son’s coming out to him “allowed me to think about this issue from a new perspective and that’s as a dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister have.”

Aw, shucks, isn’t that just too darned nice? The guy is just an ordinary dad who loves his kids. Well, an ordinary dad who loves his kids and who can get onto the front pages of papers across the country to ask the Supreme Court to overturn a law, not because the law is unjust or because hundreds of thousands of Americans are put at an unfair disadvantage by it, but as a personal favor just so that his own son won’t lose out on any of the privileges his other children have.

No mention, of course, of any regret over his opposition to equality when he thought it was only other people’s kids who were disadvantaged by it. He may have changed his opinion, but it doesn’t sound like he’s had much of a change of heart. Somebody said to me today that this is the sort of thing that will cause other people as well to support equality, but I don’t see it. Seems to me more like the sort of thing that reinforces the idea that the American system is still broken, our so-called leaders are still interested only in getting what they can for themsevles, and anything resembling justice is only available to the wealthy and powerful.

Closet Drama

27 February 2013

It is impossible for me to convey how profoundly Ms. Hathaway has fallen in my estimation over this evening gown incident, but breakthroughs in nanotechnology may soon change that.


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