Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fintan O’Toole: Ireland has left ‘tolerance’ far behind

Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times

We’ve made it clear to the world that there is a new normal — that “ordinary” is a big, capacious word that embraces and rejoices in the natural diversity of humanity. 

LGBT people are now a fully acknowledged part of the wonderful ordinariness of Irish life. 

It looks like a victory for tolerance. But it’s actually an end to mere toleration. Tolerance is what “we” extend, in our gracious goodness, to “them”. It’s about saying “You do your own thing over there and we won’t bother you so long as you don’t bother us”. 

The resounding Yes is a statement that Ireland has left tolerance far behind. It’s saying that there’s no “them” anymore. LGBT people are us — our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends. We were given the chance to say that. 

We were asked to replace tolerance with the equality of citizenship. And we took it in both arms and hugged it close.

Friday, May 22, 2015

(GOP) Virginia is for Haters

‘No Gays Allowed’ Law Set To Pass In Virginia

The state of Virginia is set to pass a law which would allow anti-LGBT business owners to bar gay people, purely on the basis of their sexuality.

 The Virginia Bill states that anyone seeking or holding a business license from the state of Virginia in the state can refuse service or entry to gay people, on the grounds it “would violate the religious or moral convictions of such person with respect to same-sex “marriage” or homosexual behavior.”

 This would make it lawful for LGBT people to be barred from hotels, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and any other premise where a good or service is exchanged by someone who dislikes their sexual orientation:

 Want to buy a bed? Prove you’re not sharing it with a member of the same sex.

Want to buy diapers but show up with your same-sex partner? No diapers for you, and don’t darken the door of this store again. 

 We aren’t going to enroll your kid in our school district because she has two moms. All these scenarios would be entirely legal under the new law. 

 The toxic bill has been spearheaded by Virginia’s virulently anti-gay lawmaker Bob Marshall. You might remember him for his fruitless effort to exclude gay people from the state’s National Guard, or his 2012 attempt to block the appointment of a judge on the grounds that the nominee was gay, saying that “sodomy is not a civil right.”

Video of the Week

Sorry I can't embed the video in this post, but please go to the link and watch Amy Schumer nail this subject:  Birth Control.   It's well worth watching.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Congratulations Boston!

And kudos to Mayor Walsh!

An enlightened city (catching up with Portland, Oregon?):

BOSTON - Monday, May 18, 2015—Mayor Martin J. Walsh today signed an ordinance establishing paid parental leave for City of Boston employees, Boston's first-ever Paid Parental Leave policy. The ordinance, which was proposed by Councilors Michelle Wu, Tim McCarthy and Tito Jackson, allows for up to six weeks of Paid Parental Leave to both men and women, as well as same-sex couples, who have worked for the City for at least one year. 

"I would like to thank the Council for working with the Administration to pass this important step forward for working families," said Mayor Walsh. "This is not only the right thing to do but it is important to the vitality and economy of our city. The benefits of this policy to both individuals and organization are a win-win and it is my hope that businesses will follow our lead and extend this benefit to their employees." 

Previous parental leave policies, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, have focused on protecting parents' jobs during unpaid leave. The lack of income during periods of parental leave is a factor in the wage gap experienced by many women, and forces employees to return to work sooner than their particular family may really need with their newborn or newly adopted child.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Science Blog

Light blogging over the next few weeks.   Family visiting and other important activities.

Be excellent to each other.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Intrinsic Qualities of White Guy Presidents

So.  Every single white guy who won the presidency won it on merit, but Barack Obama and, if elected, Hillary, win because of voters' "self-virtue?"

Laura Clawson of Daily Kos exposes Epstein's, and all who buy into this crock of crap, self-absorbed victimhood.  Sadly, many on the right buy into it as well.

So what would Epstein say about the motives of voters should Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio become president? 

Epstein = Derp. 

 Weekly Standard contributing editor Joseph Epstein:

"If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in 2016 she will not only be the nation’s first woman president but our second affirmative-action president. By affirmative-action president I mean that she, like Barack Obama, will have got into office partly for reasons extraneous to her political philosophy or to her merits, which, though fully tested while holding some of the highest offices in the land, have not been notably distinguished. 

In his election, Obama was aided by the far from enticing Republican candidates who opposed him, but a substantial portion of the electorate voted for him because having a biracial president seemed a way of redressing old injustices. They hoped his election would put the country’s racial problems on a different footing, which sadly, as we now know, it has failed to do. Many people voted for Obama, as many women can be expected to vote for Hillary Clinton, because it made them feel virtuous to do so. 

The element of self-virtue—of having an elevated feeling about oneself—is perhaps insufficiently appreciated in American politics. How have we come to the point where we elect presidents of the United States not on their intrinsic qualities but because of the accidents of their birth: because they are black, or women, or, one day doubtless, gay, or disabled—not, in other words, for themselves but for the causes they seem to embody or represent, for their status as members of a victim group? 

Yes, he's arguing that white men are elected because of their merit, their intrinsic qualities, and in no way because of the accidents of their birth. Somehow, everyone in American history who has been elected on merit has coincidentally been a white man. 

Everyone who has been elected or been a strong candidate for the presidency while failing to be a white man has also coincidentally lacked true merit. Funny how that works. 

George W. Bush, grandson of a senator, son of a president, one-and-a-half-term governor of Texas ... "notably distinguished" candidate composed of pure, shining merit. But Barack Obama, who got to Columbia and Harvard without family connections, had to build his own fundraising base and political operation rather than inheriting one, and was elected president without even needing the Supreme Court to put its thumb on the scale ... all "accidents of his birth" and affirmative action and victim mentality right there." 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Science Blog

Busy weekend.  Enjoy these cool science photos from HuffPost:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

"It's him!"

"When asked this week at an exclusive Manhattan gathering about who advises him on U.S.-Israel policy, Jeb Bush surprised many of the 50-plus attendees by naming his brother, former president George W. Bush, as his most influential counselor. 

 “If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him,” Bush said Tuesday, speaking to a crowd of high-powered financiers at the Metropolitan Club, according to four people present."

Yes.  That makes about as much sense as choosing Lizzie Borden as an advisor on parental relationships.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

This Nut Wants to be President?

With his Ivy League education and supposed "brilliant" intellect, this guy couldn't tell the difference between Right Wing Paranoid Idiocy and fact.

And neither could the Governor of Texas. 

These people are an embarrassment to themselves and this country.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson says he wants to be president...

and tells us all that welfare enslaves African-Americans.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday Science Blog

Rainbow colored images from Mercury

Friday, May 1, 2015


When we say the extremist TeaPublicans are looney, that's not an attack, that's the truth.

This sounds like something from a satire site, but it isn't.  These people actually believe the U.S. military (y'know, the group these people fetishize and call "heroes,") are coming to take over the state of Texas while on a military exercise.

The governor of Texas has put his National Guard on alert so that Texas will not be taken over by the US military.

No.  This is not satire.  These hysterical people really believe this lunacy:

Wingers Debate Why Obama Is Plotting Military Takeover of Texas

Texas residents were up in arms this week over a planned U.S. military training exercise that's been portrayed in right-wing conspiracy theory circles as everything from a ploy to confiscate Americans' guns to an excuse to abduct political dissidents.

 The speculation reached such a fever pitch that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday asked the State Guard to monitor the exercise so that "that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed."

Residents' fears can be traced back to a "leaked" slideshow presentation that outlined the operation's goals and logistics and made the rounds on the fringe of the conservative blogosphere.

The document was posted by the conspiracy theory website All News Pipeline to the document sharing site Scribd in March under the headline "Jade Helm Martial Law WW3 Prep Document 1."

As of Thursday, it had been viewed more than 2.1 million times. The document contained a map that labelled certain states, including Texas and Utah, as "hostile." So it comes as no surprise that rumors about a possible military takeover would run rampant among anti-federalists and conspiracy theorists.

It's worth noting that Brazos Valley, Texas radio station WFAW actually posted the U.S. Army's slideshow presentation back in February when county commissioners approved the military's request to conduct the training exercise.

More paranoid lunacy here:

Radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been sending out warnings for weeks regarding the exercise, saying it is the U.S. military positioning itself to take over the states and declare martial law.  

[Texas Gov.] Abbott apparently has heard the concern and ordered the Guard to monitor the training and U.S. military personnel. “To address concerns of Texas citizens and ensure that Texas communities remain safe, secure and informed about military procedures occurring in their vicinity, I am directing the TExas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm 15,” Abbott wrote in his letter to the commander of the Texas Guard.

There are 15 military bases in the state of Texas.  Fifteen!   And the wackos on the right are frothing over a military exercise?  Could this paranoia and fear have anything to do with the guy in the White House?   I mean if good ole boy "Dubya" were in the WH, would the governor of Texas be soiling his undies wondering if the country were headed for a coup d'etat?  

I'm guessing no, because in the TeaPublican's little minds, only a GOP preznit loves his country and the military.  Yes, they really believe that rot.  Oh, and Jesus.  Dubya loved Jesus, and the mental dwarfs on the extreme right believe Mr. Obama worships Allah.   And William Ayers.  

Since Mr. Obama moved into the WH, the extremists on the right have been riding the Crazy Train, but now, it's evident that they've exchanged the Crazy Train for a Looney Rocket that'll put them and their favorite conspiracy wingnuts in orbit around the Earth while howling about the black guy in the WH coming to take away their liberty and guns and their right to discriminate against gays!