"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Is Pride Day in Chicago -- the day of the Parade. That means that the North Side, from about Armitage to Wilson and east of Damen, is going to be a wee bit crowded. (Well, with a million visitors crammed into that space, what do you expect?)

And of course, as always, it's clear and bright because it never rains on our parade.

A few shots of Prides past:

Image result for pride parade chicago

It's all about color and motion and celebration -- it's a happy thing. And it's a family event -- people bring their kids to watch the dancers and the balloons and the streamers and the excitement.

I started attending the Parade, if not right at the beginning, very soon thereafter. The route was somewhat shorter, the Parade was much smaller, and the crowds were nowhere near what they are today. I've marched -- at first, it was spontaneous: the last float went by, I looked at my friends, they looked at me, and we just joined the Parade -- I've ridden floats, and I've watched from the sidelines.

These days, the idea of watching the Parade with a million of my closest friends is a bit more than I can deal with -- I'm not good with crowds. So I will most likely find a bus that will leave me somewhere in the park and watch the kids wearing rainbows when the Parade is over. That's something that makes me happy: the kids get very involved. That's a good thing.

What's New at Green Man Review

Yep, it's that time of the week again, and some wonderful stuff is up at GMR -- very summerish. Take a look.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Antidote: The Ultimate Go-Go Boy

It's the simple pleasures that are best:

Via AmericaBlog.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Resistance: One Chicago

I've been seeing these posters on bus shelters around town, from One Chicago. Strangely enough, I can't find images of them online -- this must be a very new part of the campaign, which was launched in late May. Hah! Found one, which is one I haven't seen yet:

The ones I've seen read "100% Mexican, 100% Chicagoan" and "100% Somalian, 100% Chicagoan." Considering the ethnic makeup of my neighborhood, which is about as mixed as it gets, that's not so strange.

At any rate, Chicago is not about to put up with Trump's inflammatory immigration rhetoric or his policies. From WLS:

The city's "One Chicago" campaign kicked off Sunday at the DuSable Museum of African American History as part of Chicago's sanctuary city role.

There is a PSA and a website which explains "One Chicago" was established in response to the emerging needs of Chicago's immigrant and refugee communities most affected by recent federal policies. The slogan of the campaign is, "Three million residents, three million stories, one Chicago."

U.S. immigration arrests are up nearly 40 percent from January to April under President Donald Trump compared to the same time last year, according to the acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director.

President Trump has threatened to cut off federal funding to so-called "sanctuary cities," but so far, a federal judge has blocked that executive order. And now cities, like Chicago, are sending a direct message to their residents, you are home here.

Take that, you racist asshole.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Special Elections: An Update

This, via Betty Cracker at Balloon Juice, has the right take:

Process is not just something that Mitch McConnell fucks with to suit his purposes. Process is what history is. We're in the middle of the process.

You don't turn a country around in a few months. Look how long it took the Republicans to turn the country into a plutocracy.

Today's Must-Read: Military Justice

If you or anyone you know is thinking of joining the Air Force -- or any branch of the military -- think again:

At the end of the week, Mario Manago, 33, will be out of the Air Force after 12 years.

But he's not just out of a job -- he's now a felon.

His crime? Being six minutes late to a meeting.

Manago, of Willingboro, was convicted at court-martial March 9 of failing to go to his "appointed place of duty." He was late to a meeting he requested with his commander to discuss his concerns that he was being treated unfairly by his supervisors at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington County, according to him and his attorney.

You might well ask "Why was he late?"

He got a meeting with his commander, Lt. Col. Eric B. Quidley, to discuss his concerns that he was being targeted. But that morning, he was told he couldn't leave his post on the base because things were too busy. He called to reschedule the meeting, but was told he could not.

This is sort of like having the police department investigate charges of policy misconduct.

His commanding officer will probably get a promotion.


Completely forgot (well, not completely, just when I was sitting in front of the computer): Yesterday was the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Here's a video taken at Stonehenge:

Relive the summer solstice, as we welcome in the longest day of the year at Stonehenge with sunset on 20 June and sunrise on 21 June, 2017.

Happy Litha, everybody!

Over the Edge

Presented without comment:

Conspiracy theorist broadcaster Alex Jones alleged on his radio program today that liberals are inciting violence and leading the U.S. into a civil war.

Jones claimed, absurdly, that liberals are advocating on “every publication outlet they own” for people to “kill the president, kill his family and kill his supporters.” The result, according to Jones, is that “people are getting beat up in the head with clubs, with bike locks, they’re getting stabbed. It’s happening everywhere. The Islamicists know it’s their time.”

Without referencing any specific events, Jones described what he interprets as signs of the impending war: “Communists here in Austin openly attacking our camera crew and our reporters, and having semiautomatic rifles with their fingers on the triggers. I mean, they are ready to go. They are ready to bring in the civil emergency.”

He then warned “our military, our police, and our citizenry” against acting “like cowards during the civil emergency” and instead encouraged them to “offensively in a defensive move, politically get back in their faces and also defend ourselves from physical attacks.” Otherwise, Jones said, the left will “intimidate the nation into a new dark age.”

“I’m encouraging people to hold the line, like Gandhi or Martin Luther King, and not strike out offensively because it’s politically hurting the left,” Jones added. “But if they launch a full offensive, then we’ve got to really launch back physically.”

I mean, what can I say?

Via Joe.My.God. Video at the link.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Georgia 6th

Well, Karen Handel, who has got to be one of the least appealing candidates in modern election history, won -- by about 5 points. There's been a lot of wailing and rending of garments on the left -- sure, it would have been stupendous if Ossof had taken the seat, but what's not being looked at by a lot of people is the actual numbers. Josh Marshall has what I think in the right perspective on this one:

All this being said, this is a heavily Republican district and Republicans just barely held on to the seat. Yes, nbspDemocrats gave it everything they had, with small donors from around the country pouring money into the race. But Republican SuperPacs poured millions into the race too. In the last three elections, Tom Price won this seat by 65%, 66% and 62%. A significant part of those almost 2 to 1 margins was due to the fact that Democrats fielded only nominal candidates who raised little or no money. But these are chicken and egg type questions. It is precisely because this is a strongly Republican district that Price drew no serious contenders. A better measure are the recent presidential results. There John McCain won the district by 62% and Mitt Romney won it by 61%. To use yet another measure, 538 rates it a +9.5 Republican district, which means it’s 9.5 percentage points more GOP than the country as a whole.

Democrats have lost five special elections to fill seats left vacant by Trump's cabinet appointments -- but they have lost by narrow margins. As Marshall points out, these were all "safe" Republican seats. They're not so safe any more.

Which all boils down to one thing: the GOP is going to have a fight on its hands in 2018. Can the Democrats take back Congress? Frankly, I doubt it, although the Senate might be a possibility. (Don't forget how heavily the Republicans in state legislatures have gerrymandered congressional districts to dilute minority/Democratic votes.) There might be some surprises, and a lot is going to depend on how horrible the Republicans' secret health care "reform" turns out to be -- and how smart the Democrats are about using that.

It's going to be issues like health care, jobs, and national security that are going to be key. Harping on how Trump and the Republicans are destroying American democracy isn't going to cut it: most people are very confident in the strength of our system, and Republicans don't think much of democracy to begin with.

And don't think Republican strategists aren't very aware of how their base is being eroded. They'll go low, because that's all they have. (And I can't quite shake the feeling that the press will fall in line.)

It's going to be an interesting couple of years.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Antidote: A Coming Out Story

I don't usually remark on this kind of story, but this one is exceptional:

I also decided that it was then time to officially come out to everyone at school. I remember the first teacher I told was my biology teacher, Mrs. Broomas. We had a sex-ed quiz and one of the questions asked, "How could you prevent getting a girl pregnant while having intercourse?" My reply was, "I'm GAY so I don't have to worry about that.”

As she got to my paper she broke out laughing and just smiled at me. She then asked if she could read it to the class, and with confidence I told her she could. When she did, all the kids laughed and gave me a hug afterward and told me no matter what that they would always be my friends and still support me.

It's worth reading the whole thing.

(Via RawStory.)

Today in Disgusting People: Rhetoric (Update)

There've been too many disgusting people in the news lately to single any one of them out. Here's a brief list:

Let's start with Erick Erickson:

"There is only a one way street and the crowd that demands tolerance only wants tolerance for themselves. All others must be silenced," Erickson writes. "The political left is becoming the American ISIS."

He also throws in the required Nazi comparison.

And then there's "Coach" Dave Daubenmire, addressing more moderate (i.e., real) Christians:

"Don’t you understand what’s going on? Don’t you know it’s a war? Don’t you know they want your children? Don’t you know they’re occupying your pulpits? Don’t you understand that those same people singing ‘Jesus loves you this I know’ want to kill us?”

Then there's Pastor-Governor Mike Huckabee (who doesn't know the difference between the two):

Appearing on Fox & Friends this morning, the ex-Republican presidential candidate tied in James Hodgkinson’s shooting spree that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) in critical condition to a leftist movement.

“This is a bigger issue,” Huckabee said. “This is an attempt to overthrow the elected government. And I don’t want people to lose sight of the fact that what we’re seeing is not necessarily an organized attempt but a widespread attempt by people who hate the results of the election. Who want to overturn it not by another election, but by violent means. By any means possible!”

The one-time Fox News host, whose daughter works for the Trump administration, went on to say that this is a much greater threat to America’s democracy than anything Russia has attempted to do.

That's just skimming the top -- or the bottom -- over the past couple of days. Two observations: these are characters who used to be on the fringes of the right; they're now being mainstreamed by the alt-right and the Trump cheerleaders at Fox (well, OK, the "independent" press in general).

Second, they're prime examples of pure projection. The overwhelming majority of incidents of political violence in the past few years have come from the right. But then, "conservatives" have all bought in to "alternative facts."

What's worrisome is the degree to which the rhetoric has ramped up: they're doing nothing more than normalizing politically motivated violence, and the rest of us will pay the price.

Update:And of course, Republicans are building on this foundation:

Coming Attractions

I've missed the last few movies wanted to see (or thought I wanted to see), as much through inertia as for any other reason. This one looks like something I'll make the effort for:

Making waves at this year's Sundance Film Festival was God's Own Country, a small but perfectly formed British indie from debut feature director Francis Lee, telling the story of a rural romance that dare not speak its name in the rolling West Yorkshire countryside. . . .

It's been described – a little lazily, you might argue – as "Brokeback Mountain set in Yorkshire". But it's a comparison that Lee, speaking to Empire for the current issue (on sale now), appreciates. " I love Brokeback Mountain," Lee says. "The comparison feels like an honour, but they are very different. Brokeback is of a particular time and place – its two central characters can't be together because of society's attitudes. In God's Own Country, it's all to do with the central character's inability to open up."

That central character is Johnny Saxby (Josh O'Connor), a young farmer in West Yorkshire, who is joined on the farm by Romanian worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) when Johnny's father suffers a stroke. As they work together, early hostility gives way to something physical.

I'll confess that trailers, as often as not, turn me off to the film. I'll withhold judgment on this one, though.

September 1 release.

(Via Towleroad.)

Monday, June 19, 2017

GIggle du Jour

I just had to laugh at this one:

Metropolitan Kornily, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church (RPSC), a friend of Vladimir Putin, urged Russian men to stop shaving to “protect themselves from homosexuality,” the Moscow Times reports:

Metropolitan Kornily, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church (RPSC), said that men with beards were less likely “corrupted” by same-sex relationships.

“God set down certain rules. The Lord created everyone with a beard. No man can resist his creator,” Kornily told Russia’s National News Service. “It’s made a monstrous thing to see men’s clothing and hairstyles changing.”

This guy should walk down Halsted Street on any evening if he wants men with beards.

How Trump Got Elected, #432

Because his supporters are idiots.

You've no doubt heard or read about the two trumpanzees who disrupted a performance of Shaekspeare's Julius Caesar by the New York Public Theater that depicted Caesar as -- well, he looks a lot like Trump. (Here's a bit of background on the attention-starved miscreants.)

And here's Raw Story with commentary on the reactions:

According to the Boston Globe, theater companies across the country that perform Shakespeare are getting death threats over a New York Public Theater play in Central Park that depicts the death of Ceasar — but who looks like President Donald Trump.

The senders of these death threats are “outraged over the Public Theater’s controversial staging” of Shakespeare’s “Caesar” that features the infamous stabbing scene with a character inspired by Trump — but they appear to have gotten the locations a little off.

One such theater is Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, who have been “inundated with a flood of venomous e-mails, phone messages, and social media posts condemning them for the Central Park production.”

One sender told the management of the Lenox theater that they wish “the worst possible life you could have and hope you all get sick and die.” Another told them their “play depicting the murder of our President is nothing but pure hatred.”

The Lenox Shakespeare company is far from the only Shakespeare-performing theater who’ve gotten these kinds of threats. Raphael Parry, the director of Shakespeare Dallas in Texas, told the Globe that his theater “has received about 80 messages, including threats of rape, death, and wishes that the theater’s staff is ‘sent to ISIS to be killed with real knives.'” Theaters in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in New York said they’ve received threats as well.

So these idiots look up "Shakespeare in the Park" on the Internet and call the first company that comes up on the list. These are people who voted based on slogans. Nasty slogans.

The directors quoted have some interesting theories as to why this is happening, but I have a slightly different take: these are the people who voted for Trump because they feel powerless. Well, there, they've done something, so they don't feel quite so powerless any more.

Meanwhile, the Senate Republicans are working behind closed doors to take away their health insurance.

(I wonder if Chicago's resident Shakespeare company has gotten any calls.)

Now Playing

Kronos Quartet performing Terry Riley's Salome Dances for Peace.

It's a Terry Riley sort of morning.

Couldn't find a live performance video, so this will have to do:

(I may do this periodically, just to give you an idea of the weird and not-so-weird stuff I listen to while I'm surfing in the morning.)

Thought For the Day

From Tom Levenson, at Balloon Juice:

One last thought: I had dinner last week with a Democratic Party senior statesman. He told me that in his view we’ve made the mistake of thinking better policies are argument enough for elections. They’re not; we surely know that now, right?

Instead we have to convey something more, the framework in which specific good policies can work. DeVos’ current obscenity gives us a hint as to what that might be. Republicans throw obstacles in the way of Americans making better lives. Democrats are — and we should say so as loud as we can — the party of opportunity.

Yeah. What he said.

Most people, at least most people who vote instead of staying home and pouting, don't know from policy: it's too complicated. The Democrats need to translate policy positions into everyday life. If the Democrats can just get their shit together and keep harping on this, especially in state and local elections, we ("we" being the vast majority of the American people) can start taking back the government.

(Read Levenson's whole post -- about education, student loans, the obscenity that is Betsy DeVos, etc.)