Archive for the ‘Current events’ Category

Odd Choice of Auxiliary Verb of the Morning

30 July 2014

Headline in yesterday’s New York Times:

Why Can’t the Banking Industry Solve Its Ethics Problems?

Can’t? Of course they can. I think the word you’re looking for is should.

Study on Children of Same-Sex Couples

9 July 2014

According to an article on Vox Media,

The largest-ever study of same-sex parents found their children turn out healthier and happier than the general population.

I’ve thought for a very long time that this would turn out to be the case, and it’s nice to see that it worked out that way.

However, the writer of this article thinks that the difference is about having parents who aren’t pressured into gender roles and therefore adapt more freely into the needs of the particular family. I’m skeptical about that. I think it’s a lot more likely that the most important (but slightly hidden) factor at work here is that a same-sex couple has to go over a lot more hurdles to have children, whether through adoption or a surrogate or whatever, than an opposite-sex couple does. For an opposite-sex couple, having children is often the path of least resistance due to pressures from family and society; for a same-sex couple, it almost never is. Among opposite-sex couples, then, a lot of those people will have kids anyway even though they haven’t thought about what it’s going to entail or aren’t really committed to making the effort to care for them; among same-sex couples, nearly all those people are going to get filtered out.

Indeed, until fairly recently, being gay or lesbian and having children meant knowing that your children could very well be taken away from you by some homophobic judge for flimsy reasons that children would never be taken from a straight couple. Seems to me you’ve got to really want a child in your life before you’d accept the possibility of facing that kind of pain.

Unless a family is so isolated from all other society that there are very few or no other adults of both sexes who play parts in the children’s lives, my guess is that the difference between having parents of the same sex or of opposite sexes is pretty trivial compared against other factors. Whereas whether the child is really loved and wanted by the principal adults in his or her life is always going to be a huge factor.

And my guess is that in another twenty years — maybe ten given how quickly society is changing now — it’ll be almost as easy for same-sex couples to have children as for opposite-sex couples, and the same sort of study will find no significant difference any more.

A Thought

29 April 2014

Look at it this way. For every new male-male couple, there are two more women left without husbands. So the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage actually increases the chances that frustrated straight young men can find women who’ll sleep with them.

See? The Family Research Council should be thanking us for preventing even more tragedies like this one.

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 than Wikipedia that the details and photographs available online 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 Breitbart.com 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.

Hooookay.

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

Thought

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.


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