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Good news about escaping from Irma, Chechnya, and/or the KKK September 10, 2017

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The last flight out of Puerto Rico, ninja’ing its way out the narrow spiral between the body of Hurricane Irma and one of the arms. These pilots, and the people on the ground who plotted that flight, deserve some kind of medal.

“They helped him get job training. They helped him get counseling. And now, as a former white supremacist himself, he will receive training on how to help other people. It’s a very individual program and it really works.” The important work of Life After Hate (whose government funding got cut under this administration, because of course).

I was a neo-Nazi. Then I fell in love with a black woman.” It’s more complicated and less Pollyanna than the headline suggests, but the progress is genuine.

“For three months, the [Canadian] federal government has been secretly spiriting gay Chechen men from Russia to Canada, under a clandestine program unique in the world.”

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our letters could be published in the future in a more enlightened time. Then all the world could see how in love we are.

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stop this country, I want to get off April 13, 2017

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Everything this week is horrible and heartbreaking, and I hate it. Trying to make it stop feels like trying to hold back a runaway train with a rope.

This weekend is the Tax March. Find one near you.

Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first Muslim woman to serve as a US judge, found dead in a river. Whoever did this should be strung up by the thumbs.

Trump can’t remember whether he just bombed Iraq or Syria. To everyone who ~*couldn’t trust Hillary*~ to run our military responsibly, I wish I could personally slap all of you in the face.

Democrats are consistent in how much we approve of missile strikes. Republicans swing from 22% in favor of a Democrat doing it, to 86% in favor of a Republican. That comes out to 64% of Republicans who have no principles whatsoever, just slavish loyalty to anyone who puts an R after their name.

Trump’s policies are hurting poor majority-black Democratic-voting communities as hard as any poor white Trump-voting district. The only difference is that they saw it coming.

Tom Price acted to help kill a rule that would hurt drug company profits shortly after his broker bought him up to $90,000 worth of pharmaceutical stock.” And now he’s running the Department of Health and Human Services.

Chechnya is rounding up gay men in what Amnesty International calls “secret detention sites.” Reports are coming out about horrific physical abuses. Straight people of Chechnya, what is wrong with you?

(Amnesty International could use your donations, and so could RUSA LGBT, a group that supports LGBTQ Russian-speakers — including asylum-seekers.)

A bridge collapses in Atlanta, causing millions of dollars in damage. You could blame the companies that stored flammable materials there, or you could pin the whole thing on a homeless black guy who slept there. Guess which one the city is doing.

Chicago detective Reynaldo Guevara: “accused by at least 51 people of framing them for murders from the 1980s through the early 2000s in the rough-and-tumble Humboldt Park section of Chicago. His alleged misdeeds led 48 men and one woman to be sentenced to a total of more than 2,300 years in prison. Three were acquitted. Five received life sentences. Three were sentenced to death but spared when in 2003 Gov. George Ryan, disturbed by a rash of wrongful convictions, commuted all death sentences to life or less. Two men died behind bars, including Daniel Peña, an illiterate man who testified Guevara beat him into signing a confession he couldn’t read.” Lock this guy up. Also, strive to be George Ryan.

So they made a Cat in the Hat Christmas special in 2012… December 9, 2016

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…in association with this TV series, and the art is this unholy hybrid of Flash animation and Dr. Seuss’s original drawing style. It’s such a trainwreck. Especially when you compare it to something like How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which animates Seuss’ character designs with so much love and care in order to make them work.

Although I do give them points for making the reindeer look like actual caribou, not Rankin-Bass-esque white-tailed deer standing in snow.

Early in the episode, the plucky kid heroes arrive home, and one of them goes “Look! Our dads are bringing in the tree!” Smash-cut to two clean-cut men, one black & one white, carrying a giant fir.

I was briefly so excited. Casual same-sex couple in a children’s show, and not just any children’s show, but a Seuss adaptation?!

…and then the moms showed up, and eventually it sank in that these weren’t the divorced moms spending Christmas with their exes and the kids to round out the blended family, these were just two unrelated heterosexual couples, having Christmas dinner in the same house for some reason.

Which makes it all the more annoying that the Cat (voiced by Martin Short) is played with the most exaggerated, campiest, lispiest voice you could imagine.

Sigh. I’m gonna go look up shippy Cat/Grinch fanart, just to cleanse my soul.

From the Tumblr facepalm brigade December 7, 2016

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Ace Tumblr: Support asexuals and asexuality!
Me: Sure thing.
Ace Tumblr: Acephobia in the queer community is a real problem!
Me: Some people are definitely dicks about it, yeah.
Ace Tumblr: Ace people should be welcome in queer spaces!
Me: People should be chill, I’ll give you that.
Ace Tumblr: Why are people threatened by asexuality anyway? What’s the problem here?
Me: Good question.
Ace Tumblr: It’s not like our lack of sexual interest is oppressing you!
Me: It definitely isn’t!
Ace Tumblr: You know what makes us feel threatened? When people, queer and straight alike, hit on us when we aren’t interested!
Me: …
Me: Okay, that. That was it. The part where you feel unsafe because queer people are expressing their sexualities in ways you don’t like. Where queer people being attracted to someone who doesn’t return that attraction is a threat, and we ought to keep a lid on it, even in the queer spaces we’ve created for ourselves. (Specifically a threat to asexual people, too, as if un-returned attraction can’t happen to anyone else.) The part where sweet chocolatey sentiments like “be more welcoming to asexuals!” keeps turning out to have stuff like this as the icky toffee filling. That is the problem.

Hillary Clinton’s lead is up to 2.2 million, and other politics news November 25, 2016

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From the Cook Political Report’s numbers as of November 22: HRC is up to 64,500,489 while Donald is only at 62,371,681.

Obama in 2012 clocked in at 65,446,032 — and there are still enough uncounted ballots in California that Hillary has a good shot at matching him.

So there’s that.

***

I knew about HRC making it easier for trans people to get passports, but I just now learned that she did a whole truckload of other things for LGBT people at the State Department. Making the passport office recognize the name you were married and/or civil-unioned under! Extending spousal benefits to the same-sex partners of American diplomats!

So many of us faffed around arguing over whether she was quick enough to make a public statement in support of legal same-sex marriage. When it was a symbolic move anyway, given that the decision had nothing to do with her. We should’ve been looking at her actions where she did have the power to change the lives of same-sex couples, because, guess what, she had our backs.

***

…and now I have a lot of terrible Trump headlines to unload.

Headlines that you wish were a joke: “Sane, Competent Official Uncovered on Trump Transition Team and Is Immediately Fired.”

The Trump Foundation’s self-admitted law-breaking .

Megyn Kelly opens up about the potentially-fatal level of harassment the Trump campaign sent her way. “We had security guards the whole year. I mean the threat level got so high that it was impossible not to take that seriously.”

A cohesive and source-link-filled history of rape allegations against Trump, up to and including the case that would have gone to trial next month if Jane Doe hadn’t dropped it because of, again, an unbearable level of death threats.

Law & Order: SVU keeps pushing back the airing of a Trump-inspired episode. “The first air date would have been just after the notorious Access Hollywood recording, in which Trump spoke of using his fame to make sexual advances on women, and just before the third and finale debate. The second back-pedaling for the episode came after numerous sexual assault allegations against Trump surfaced.”

“Starting when I was 15, my life was not my own. For years, I had no control over what happened to me. Being in the spotlight makes me wary and self-conscious again. I am overwhelmed with fear that an overzealous Trump supporter might take matters into his or her hands.

“Rightfully, the kids in York who chanted “white power” were suspended. But Bauman feels any anti-bullying initiatives in schools will be easily undermined, considering the biggest bully of them all is leading our nation.”

“What may seem like a dramatic rise in the number of hate harassment and hate incidents happening across the country in the wake of Tuesday’s general election is not in anyone’s imagination…A representative for one group, in fact, said the rise appears to be even worse that what was took place immediately after the terror attacks in 2001.

***

The Stein campaign has officially filed for the recount in Wisconsin. (Incidentally, so did the Rocky Roque De La Fuente campaign. Maybe they can split the filing fees.)

The WI Election Commission currently lists Trump as having 22,177 more votes than Clinton. For perspective, Jill Stein got 31,006 WI votes. “Unregistered write-in candidates” — there’s no breakdown, but some portion of this is Bernie write-ins — got 26,002.

Deadlines in Pennsylvania and Michigan are next week, and the Greens are still fundraising to cover the Michigan costs. If you’re in the US, consider slinging a few dollars their way.

Fun stuff: Trump leaks, drunk Stonewall, and more November 2, 2016

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I’ve been sick since Friday, which means my days have been passing in a blur of naps, coughing, periodically getting up to make another bowl of chicken soup, and watching the clock to see if it’s time for another dose of Nyquil yet.

I tried to go in to work on Monday, and boy, was that a mistake. Staggered home after an hour. Current plan is to give it another shot on Thursday, so we’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, here’s some fun Internet things.

Owen Ellickson’s TRUMP LEAKS — pinned on his Twitter — are a delight.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Kickstarter for a GOP-inspired dating sim. With Megyn Kelly as your roommate/wingman. I really hope they get enough to make the stretch goal where they’ll add Fiorina to the cast of romanceable candidates.

Marsha P. Johnson sparks the Stonewall Riots, as told by Drunk History. Apparently they even took the time to find trans actors to play the trans historical figures! Good times.

“We asked the BuzzFeed Community to highlight moments in television shows that have helped them when they were experiencing depression.” At first I thought this was going to be a figurative “happy scenes that people really enjoyed” list, but no, it’s genuine “I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out” scenes.

“The [Trans-Neptunian Object] orbits in a plane that’s tilted 110 degrees to the plane of the solar system. What’s more, it swings around the sun backwards unlike most of the other objects in the solar system. With this in mind, the team that discovered the TNO nicknamed it ‘Niku’ after the Chinese adjective for rebellious.”

Mini wind turbines shaped like artsy sculptures. Imagine if we could get a few in every park.

So here’s a thing I didn’t know about Monstrous Regiment. September 3, 2016

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Section 28 of the UK’s Local Government Act 1988 put a ban on things like “promoting homosexuality” and “portraying homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle” by “local authorities” in the UK.

Part of that was inspired by the AIDS panic, part of it by voters being mad that Arts Council funding was going to, in short, gay stuff. Or just general feminist stuff. Theater companies with names like Gay Sweatshop or Monstrous Regiment (that last one named after a 16th-century polemic against women getting to rule anything).

In practice, this spiraled out into a broad climate of caution and self-censorship. School boards were afraid the law covered them, so they shied away from anti-bullying initiatives that would have protected LGBT+ students. Support groups for these students shut down. School libraries wouldn’t even stock books with LGBT+ characters….

And publishers, knowing that would put a crimp in their ability to sell and market those books, generally erred on the side of “not even gonna try it.”

Only four Discworld books had been published before 1988. Another 26 were published over the next decade and a half. None of them had any of the gay stuff.

The 31st Discworld novel — also called Monstrous Regiment — is the one with the lesbians. Lots of crossdressing, characters trying to hide their genders, some whose actual gender identities are arguable, and two who are undeniably girlfriends.

Section 28 was repealed on September 18, 2003.

Monstrous Regiment came out in hardcover on October 1, 2003.

Which means Pratchett, and who knows how many people at all the other stages of publication, had it ready. They had it queued up and on-deck, and must have put things in motion literally as soon as they found out it was marketable, because it was on shelves two weeks later.

You did good, Pterry.

Erin Watches: Adventures with Tip & Oh (with some Phineas and Ferb thrown in) July 30, 2016

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The Home sequel cartoon just dropped on Netflix, so obviously I’m all over this.

Oh’s new voice actor does a really good job of capturing Jim Parsons’ speaking style. The voice of Tip is more recognizably not-Rihanna, but still works.

Some new characters. I’m in the weird position of feeling like I should be offended by Sharzod, but between the alien culture and the art style I’m not sure on whose behalf. Women? Trans women in particular? Gay men? Drag queens? Some subset of races and/or ethnicities?

The little lessons are pretty good. And very 21st-century. Episode 3b is all about how you shouldn’t take mean Internet comments to heart.

They’re using stuff from the books! It’s unambiguously movie continuity, but I love the tie-ins. Tip’s mom calling her “turtlebear.” The Boov raising Koobish. The seven glorious Boov genders! (For the record: boy, girl, girlboy, boygirl, boyboy, boyboygirl, and boyboyboyboy.)

And the fact that Oh’s dialogue is always so wordy means they can throw in the word “misgendering” and have it sound completely natural. In a cartoon with a target demographic of elementary schoolers.

Episode 4a features Oh having a crush on Krunkle, an old-fashioned Boov of “the gender that Oh likes the best — the rarest!” Without specifying which. (Although the English pronouns still shake out to one “him” and one “her”, because I guess we still need some baseline level of hetero.)

Next episode may answer the question — Lucy gives Oh fake eyelashes, and assures him, “A couple bats of those things, and all the girlboys will come running!”

They’re good about continuing the theme of Boov using human objects in frickin’ weird ways. A toilet seat as a hat (shades of Princess Beatrice). A classy musician playing a cello…using a trumpet.)

It’s not all domestic shenanigans, our heroes still get to go on interplanetary trips. Turns out Slushious can be adapted for space travel if you fuel it with 24-hour energy drink.

***

Splitting it up with other things so I don’t run out of episodes all at once. I’m almost finished with a long-running Phineas and Ferb rewatch.

The whole “villain/nemesis as romance” thing gets kicked up so hard by this point. When Doofenshmirtz gets his plans thwarted by a non-Perry secret agent, he downplays it as a “thwarty call.”

All things considered, my fave is still Candace/Vanessa.

A more coherent #StandWithOrlando post. June 14, 2016

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The latest Savage Lovecast opens with almost twenty minutes of Dan channeling grief and heartbreak and hope into words I needed, that a lot of us probably need.

I’m doing okay again. Got to work like a functional person and did not once start crying at my desk, although it was a close thing a couple of times. Especially when Dan started choking up. Especially when he talked about how incredible it is, what a breathtaking sign of progress in the midst of all the horror, that when a gay club was attacked and the police showed up, they were there to help.

There’s anger to be articulated too. Neither TDS nor TNS hit the right note for me, but Full Frontal was cathartically furious.

And Roy Zimmerman just put out a new recording of the incandescently bitter “Thoughts And Prayers.”

Speaking of: you may have heard that it’s a cheap gesture when politicians offer their “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting. Igor Volsky demonstrates that it is, in fact, a very expensive gesture. Hundreds of thousands of NRA dollars went into these gestures.

Equality Florida is handling the funds for victims and survivors of the Pulse massacre, and has other resources, particularly for family members.

People who don’t live in Florida, this is also a good time to throw a few dollars at your own local LGBT+ rights organization. Mine is MassEquality. The one where I grew up is Equality Maryland.

And as with any tragedy, if you’re eligible to give blood and don’t have an appointment scheduled…get one for next month. Or the month after that. For when the surge of interest has receded, but the need is still there.

I thought I was handling this June 13, 2016

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and then a photoset of the victims’ faces came across my Facebook feed and now I’m not handling it.