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  • Can someone who has a better historical grasp of the behavior of the NAACP membership at this sort of event tell us whether booing an invited speaker is as rare as my image of the group would have it?

    We’re so used to the behavior of Tea Party groups lowering the bar for public behavior that this seems minor, but it strikes me as very unusual – which to me, would indicate that this struck them very negatively indeed.

    How often do they boo people at events like this?

  • Does anyone know what assailants in Sweden are given for assault with intent to rape who are stopped by third parties or circumstances? I’ve seen headlines saying that the rape charges were dismissed, but all the texts still discuss assault and attempted rape.

    Or, for that matter, whether the Swedish was accurately translated?

    If rape is defined by penetration, then this was attempted rape, and most certainly assault, which appears to be what he was convicted of. The sentence seems inexcusably light.

  • lymis commented on the blog post So, should I go to see the Avengers?

    2012-05-18 08:31:58View | Delete

    I’m very picky about my superhero movies, and a comic geek from way back. I’d say that this movie is one of the best, if not the best, of all the superhero movies ever made.

    Usually it’s a “plot, characterization, special effects, or logical continuity, pick any two” sort of situation – but this one managed to pack kick-ass special effect with solid plotting, no glaring continuity holes, and exceptional character while moving along at a pretty great pacing. We were neither bored nor exhausted at the end – the balance of everything, including some non-gratuitous humorous moments and some solidly serious moments, is extraordinary.

    And, while it nicely wrapped things up so you don’t feel cheated, it also opened a number of doors for hooks into the next series of solo movies.

    If you’ve enjoyed any of the lead-up movies, you’ll like this one.

  • lymis commented on the blog post Religious right bearing false witness against Sandra Fluke

    2012-03-12 07:13:11View | Delete

    I’ve pretty much come to realize that for a lot of these people morality is exactly equal to sexual morality, as is immorality. That things like telling the truth, checking your sources, cheating, damaging other people, and so on simply are not on their moral radar. Lie, cheat and steal all you want, and if your pants stayed on, all is good.

  • You’re actually not quite right. I absolutely believe the Obama was born in Hawaii and is qualified to be President.

    But the requirement is not just that one of your parents be an American citizen who never renounced their citizenship. There are also residency requirements.

    At the time of Obama’s birth, if you were born abroad, if only one of your parents was an American citizen, that parent must have lived in the US for at least 10 years, at least five of which were after the age of 16 (unless you or your parents were in military or diplomatic service and stationed abroad.) Ann Dunham was only 18 when Barack was born, and therefore could not possibly have lived in the US for 5 years after her 16th birthday. If he had been born overseas, like Kenya, he would not automatically have been born a US citizen.

    (If both of your parents hold US citizenship when you are born abroad, the residency requirements are much looser – essentially, one of your parents actually had to live in the US at some point.)

    None of this applies if the child is actually born on US soil – as Hawaii was at the time of Barack Obama’s birth.

    He’s a natural born citizen, but it really is by virtue of where he was born.

  • Well, euphemism is always popular – the major actual war we had over whether states got to decide whether people of African descent counted as people was anything but civil.

  • Oh bullshit.

    It is not “way too early” to determine that all the horrible things that were inevitably going to happen immediately didn’t happen at all.
    And many of the longer term predictions are based entirely in the idea that things would start out bad and just get worse – do you really think that people are going to become MORE intolerant of professional and competent openly gay fellow servicemembers over time than they are now? And if they do, how is that the fault of the gay people rather than the bigots?
    If there was a sudden rise today in white-on-black violence in the military, would you blame the bigots or blame desegregation?

  • You don’t understand. If we’re just not uppity and we are well-behaved and know our place, everyone will love us.

  • When you price gouge by 10%, or cut a moderate amount of safety margin but stay within the law, or fudge some of your employees’ credentials, you can get away with “everyone else is doing it, too.”

    When your employees are raping children, and your management is actively working to cover it up, evade the law, and pressure witnesses and victims into shutting up about it, not so much.

    And when, even now, your organization is still doing squat about it, with no new policies, no in-depth investigations, no cooperation with civil authorities, and nothing but butter-wouldn’t-melt in your mouth smug self-righteousness, saying anything at all does far more damage than just shutting the hell up.

    No, Your Holiness, everyone else should sure as hell NOT be held to the same standards that the Church has been held to. The Church should start being held to the minimum standards applied to everyone else – beginning with the resignation in shame and dishonor of the people at the top. Come back and talk about high standards when that has happened.

  • lymis commented on the blog post Think you have what it takes to run HRC? It’s a tall order.

    2011-11-22 15:03:21View | Delete

    While it’s certainly related to the whole media/ answering questions on the fly thing, I think that HRC adds an additional level of complexity, because there are at least three wildly different media realities to deal with – the news media, which is often clueless, sensational, or both, the virulently anti-gay media like FRC and NOM, and the gay media, which often has a tendency to eat our allies alive and take almost any ambiguous or preliminary reporting in the worst possible light and then run with that rather than with later clarifications.

    And any missteps in any of these arenas get leapt on and blown up in the others.

    Some organizations can get by with spokespeople who are glib and assured on camera while being vague about details. HRC really can’t.

    Good luck to them. Everything you listed makes filling this position a tall order.

  • WE ask this question a lot, but I’ve never heard an answer to it. Does anyone have an understanding of what justification is given for not rounding up all these people and arresting them? If this were happening in any US corporate setting, they’d all be doing time.

    It can’t be that it never occurred to people to arrest them. I’m not even asking for reasons that might make me consider going “Oh, well, that sucks, but I guess it’s okay” because of some actual law (that I would likely hugely disagree with). But someone somewhere is giving real or BS answers to this question, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard one.

  • Check out the timelines of other major Supreme Court cases, or even high profile civil suits. This IS the fast track. Five years from initial incident to Supreme Court ruling is a fairly speedy one. Loving v Virginia, the current gold standard of marriage cases, took nine years. Brown vs the Board of Education, a landmark anti-discrimination suit, took only three years.

    So getting it to the Supreme Court by 2013 or so would be quite prompt.

    As to how it advances gay rights, if it had (and may yet) died for lack of standing, marriage would be reinstated in California, but nowhere else, and the decision, while a great model for future cases, wouldn’t be binding on anyone else. If it goes forward and we keep winning (and the bad guys sure have a pretty weak case), it will potentially apply to more and more of the country, Even if a higher court doesn’t specifically apply it directly to other states, it will still serve as a precedent and a clear higher court ruling. If, for example, the 9th circuit declares that California can’t deny same-sex couples equal marriage rights because it violates the US Constitution, it might not automatically apply to the other west coast states, but it sure as hell would after the immediate lawsuits that would be instantly filed.

  • I think you mean “whackadoo.”

    The Wackado is a Gilbert and Sullivan light opera, all spectacle and silliness, full of over-the-top characters that nobody would ever take seriously, just a bunch of pointless fluff with a good production budget.

    Oh, wait.

  • I expected this. Honestly, I expected more of it. Tellingly, what we aren’t seeing is the massive harassment of straight soldiers by gay soldiers or the massive exodus of straight soldiers unwilling to work with the newly out. Or, for that matter, a sharp rise in health issues from soldiers to terrified to shower for fear of rape.

  • The nagging feeling comes because it is a transparent bait-and-switch technique, but it isn’t so clear just what the switch is to.

    I think that there is more than just room for a serious, adult discussion of religious liberty and how it fits in our civil society, because the days when religious diversity was, for all practical purposes, a question of which Christian church you attended, or whether you were a casual enough Christian not to want others intruding on you are long gone. Adherents to vastly more religious traditions, as well as more outspoken atheists are mingling in the civil sphere in more and more complex ways, and we need to work out the details.

    But a part of that – the part that these people are trying to blur more and more energetically – is just what counts as religious behavior that liberty applies to, and where the boundaries of that liberty apply.

    These sorts of Christians are trying to write into law the same level of assumed privilege that they used to have simply by default, and want the right to not only practice their own religion without interference, but to prevent anyone else from practicing their own in their presence, or in some cases, at all.

    Because Christianity doesn’t bar someone from proofreading a license application, checking ID’s, or filing paperwork, and it doesn’t bar someone from baking.

    Making an observant Jew eat in a non-kosher employee cafeteria, for example, would be requiring them to violate their own religious practice. Making an observant Jew conduct a health inspection of a non-kosher restaurant probably doesn’t, and making an observant Jew issue a license for someone to open a non-kosher restaurant in another building most certainly doesn’t.

    Asking a Christian to have sex with someone of the same sex who comes into the office might violate their religious practice, but asking them to be polite and professional and fill out some paperwork manifestly doesn’t.

    The same with the baker – I could see the baker saying that they won’t make X-rated cakes or put blasphemous language in the icing, because that is asking them to actually do something they disapprove of. But refusing to sell the same cake that they would happily bake and sell to someone else isn’t asking them to personally DO anything different, and if doing it for straight people isn’t a violation of their religious liberty, doing the same thing for a gay person cannot be.

    Maybe there is an untapped area that needs to be discussed, but calling it “religious liberty” is wrong.

    And the searing irony of this tack coming from the same people who are so adamant about “redefining the concept of marriage” when this most definitely is unquestionably “redefining the concept of religious liberty” is something we shouldn’t overlook, or tolerate.

  • lymis commented on the blog post Scapegoating gay men for the Penn State tragedy

    2011-11-11 07:36:15View | Delete

    And while LaBarbera, in complete and deliberate defiance of actual studies and psychological understanding, insists on labeling pederasts who prey on same-sex victims as “homosexuals,” he never carries that to the next, and probably more important distinction – that whether or not you choose to use the word “homosexual” to discuss a straight identified, heterosexually married parent, what is true is that the men who prey on children are almost never openly gay, proudly out, and sexually active with other adult men in acknowledged relationships.

    Mental health professionals often make a strong point that most true pederasts are neither heterosexual nor homosexual in the sense of having strong attractions to adults of the target gender – they are attracted exclusively to kids.

    But even setting that aside, the people far, far more likely to molest kids are people who are either in no adult sexual relationships at all, or who have forced themselves into closeted, sterile, faux-heterosexual relationships, and their unmet urges slop over onto innocent victims.

    And what, exactly, is it that people like LaBarbera advocate for gay men? Why, precisely that – living either unhappy celibate lives or forcing themselves into opposite sex relationships that won’t meet their sexual and emotional needs.

    It isn’t the “agenda” of out, proud, healthy LGBT people that creates the conditions in which pederasty thrives – it’s the agenda of people like LaBarbera.

    No doubt, somewhere, sometime, there’s been an openly gay, openly partnered gay man who abused kids – gay people are not immune to sexual or mental illness -but that’s sure as hell not what the statistics say is really going on.

    Rather than trying to make the connection between homosexuality and pedophilia, let’s look at the connection between the closet, and the damage done to people’s hearts, minds, and spirits by homophobia, and pedophilia.

  • lymis commented on the blog post A whiff of the desperate from Archbishop Timothy Dolan

    2011-11-09 09:17:29View | Delete

    Except that 1. is not just about priests and deacons – it explicitly says “any person acting as an employee of the Church” – and that’s potentially fuzzy. Because if it simply means acting in an official role as a representative of the Catholic Church, that wouldn’t prevent a priest or deacon acting as the state’s agent in a civil ceremony or as a witness in one, particularly if there were no blessing, vestments, or any other indication that the person was acting in any religious capacity.

    And, if this was limited to priests and deacons, there wouldn’t be a need to talk about providing goods and services, and facilities for same sex weddings, as though priests routinely ran rectories as gay bed and breakfasts or moonlighted as florists and photographers.

    If all he wanted to say was “priests and deacons can’t preside over same-sex weddings as religious officiants in a Catholic ceremony” this statement wouldn’t even be necessary. So it HAS to mean something else.

    And if it means something else for priests and deacons, and “any person” is also included, it opens the door for all sorts of shenanigans.

    I’d want some express clarification on just what “while acting as an employee of the Church” means – does it mean “while expressly acting and speaking on behalf of the Church within the scope of their paid job description”or does it mean “while employed in any capacity by the Church” – because the difference would be huge. The first prevents priest, deacons, or administrators from expressly appearing to give church sanction to unapproved weddings, but the second puts someone at risk of excommunication for baking cookies for their neighbor’s civil wedding.

    Given that these are the people denying communion to elected officials who don’t vote the Vatican party line regardless of their own personal behavior, I wouldn’t put it past them.

  • lymis commented on the blog post A whiff of the desperate from Archbishop Timothy Dolan

    2011-11-09 05:54:30View | Delete

    It will be interesting to see how that #1 of his plays out in practice – because it could prevent a church organist from playing the piano at her son’s same-sex civil wedding in a non-Catholic venue, or the music director from singing a solo at such a wedding.
    “Cannot participate” and “but not limited to” could also be used against someone even attending a same-sex civil wedding.

    I hope he meant to say that you can’t do it and claim the Church approves, but given their track record, I wouldn’t count on it.

    The other stuff seems boilerplate to me. I don’t have an issue with not allowing vestments or altar vessels to be used in a ceremony they don’t approve of.

    It will be interesting when some of the groups like the Knights of Columbus which have been renting their halls to the public run afoul of civil anti-discrimination laws, and how they’ll justify renting to atheists or Jewish people but not to same-sex couples.

  • Silly. These folks don’t think students are people. Frankly, they don’t think most people are people.

  • lymis commented on the blog post Why We’re “Lumped Together” In LGBT Community

    2011-10-29 10:02:28View | Delete

    Autumn, I think it is a great answer, and certainly a keeper in terms of expressing a pretty complex issue in a few paragraphs.

    And, appropriately, for the most part, it is written from the trans point of view, explaining why it’s a good and necessary thing for the benefit of trans people to be the T in the LGBT mix rather than a standalone movement.

    But it leaves out, I think, what’s in it for the rest of us. Primary, of course, is that as a human being, I’m diminished when any of my fellow human beings are discriminated against, but for many people, that’s too abstract.

    I see too many people who try to take the approach that we’ll win people over purely with the “we’re just like you and that’s not scary, unlike those other, genuinely scary people” ploy – “See, we’re gay Republicans, and manly and traditional” or “we’re just as Christian and monogamous as you, unlike the promiscuous gays we all agree to judge” kinds of things.

    But as a pretty mainstream, not too obvious to the casual observer gay man, I realize that the casual and appropriate affection I show my husband will be FAR safer to engage in if society doesn’t care. Looking just at gay people, I would be far safer not by trying to “look straight,” but if the sissiest, nelliest, most flamingly flamboyant and fabulous queens were no big deal and not seen as threatening or frightening. A world where two butch leatherdykes with crewcuts and a toddler are seen as a family first, and lesbians second, is a world where we are all safer.

    It’s in my interest to have trans people who can’t pass be fully equal and accepted in society, because the relatively minor gender transgressions that are a part of my life would be complete non-issues in a world where trans people who can’t or don’t choose to pass are no big deal and not seen as threatening or frightening.

    The biggest hurdles about gay rights primarily involve gender stereotypes, especially the idea that other people’s expectations outweigh my personal experience in defining who I am – that it’s somehow meaningful for other people to get to “debate” my reality and my identity. A society that actually honors a person’s inner experience of their own identity with regards something as fundamental as gender will be a society that really gets things like sexual orientation, and when gender norms become fluid enough to embrace people’s fundamental right to identify their own gender for themselves, and yes, even choose their gender if that is their experience, then the pressures on me to equate masculinity with bullshit like whether I sit or stand when I pee would completely evaporate.

    A world where people can embrace the gender of their choice with full social support and full legal equality is one that won’t see the tiniest issue with same-sex marriage. Or orientation in the workplace. Or gay and bi teens living their lives without harassment.

    A world that doesn’t blink at a trans man or woman who doesn’t pass is a world that isn’t going to blink at a nellie or butch fashion sense, or a few piercings, or a person in leather, or drag.

    This whole issue is usually seen as making a case why LGB people should let T people tag along, when in very real and very practical ways, it should be cisgendered LGB people begging T people to join us, for our own benefit as well as yours.

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