"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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Unintended Hiatus

Life has a way of happening, sometimes.

Marriage News Watch, May 25, 2015

Alabama has sent a minister to jail for 30 days for defying a local judge and marrying a lesbian couple. Irish voters support marriage equality in a landslide, but marriage could still start in America before they start in Ireland. And one more study shows support for equality on the rise.


Actually, the Irish government has already started drafting the necessary legislation with an eye toward having it passed before summer.

Work will begin this week to give effect to the referendum decision to amend the Constitution with the first same-sex marriages likely to take place as early as September.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said legislation would be brought before the Seanad and Dáil as early as possible, with the aim of getting it passed before the summer recess.

“That would mean that we would be in a position to have same-sex marriage celebrations, civil ceremonies by, probably, September,” she told reporters at the Africa Day celebrations in the Phoenix Park.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Marriage News Watch, May 18, 2015

Texas is setting itself up for a showdown with the Supreme Court. A bill to defy the court's rulings died in the House last week, but anti-gay politicians could find a sneaky way to revive it. Meanwhile, the Attorney General of Texas refuses to say if he'll obey the Supreme Court's ruling in June.


I really have nothing to say, except maybe the armed forces should invade Texas.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Image(s) of the Week

It's hard to explain, sometimes, why I shoot the pictures I shoot. Call it instinct, refined by a lifetime of making visual images in one medium or another -- and studying the work of other artists, of course. (No one works in a vacuum.)

At any rate, a couple more from the "Skylines" series:


And minus the fog:


It's still about edges. And diagonals -- can't do without diagonals.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Remember Mark Regnerus?

And his "study" on people raised by gay parents? Except that almost none of them were:

In an upcoming article, a pair of sociologists are putting what they call the “final nail in the coffin” of the much-criticized study by University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus that purported to show that being raised by gay and lesbian parents harms children. The Regnerus study has become a favorite tool of Religious Right activists seeking to show that households led by same-sex couples are bad for children. At the same time, the study has come under scrutiny for the funding it received from anti-gay groups and for its lack of respondents who were actually raised in same-sex parent households.

Indiana University's Brian Powell and the University of Connecticut’s Simon Cheng didn’t just find methodological flaws in Regnerus’ research — they took the data he collected, cleaned it up, and redid the study, coming to a very different conclusion about families led by same-sex couples.

It seems that not only was the methodology flawed, but a significant portion of the data was suspect:

By eliminating suspect data — for example, a 25-year-old respondent who claimed to be 7’8” tall, 88 pounds, married 8 times and with 8 children, and another who reported having been arrested at age 1 — and correcting what they view as Regnerus’ methodological errors, Cheng and Powell found that Regnerus’ conclusions were so “fragile” that his data could just as easily show that children raised by gay and lesbian parents don’t face negative adult outcomes. . . .

Many people who he categorized as having been raised by a gay or lesbian parent had spent very little time with that parent or with his or her same-sex partner. Even Regnerus admitted that his data included only two people who said they had been raised for their entire childhoods by a same-sex couple.

There are also serious questions about the genesis and conduct of the study, as well as its publication -- why was it accepted for publication before the data analysis was complete? for example. (The article at the link strikes me as a little shrill, even verging on sensationalistic, but seems, ultimately, to be well-documented. A more concise and less slanted summary is at Wikipedia.)

Of course, this won't affect Anti-Gay, Inc.'s use of the study -- they'll just mutter something about "the gaystapo" and keep on citing it.

Marriage News Watch, May 11, 2015

Texas lawmakers vote this week on whether the state should officially defy the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage. Alabama and Minnesota are debating bills to undermine marriage equality. At least one presidential candidate seems to think that if elected he could veto the Supreme Court. But a new survey shows that Americans are getting tired of these anti-gay shenanigans.


Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Pamela Geller and Free Speech

Not to mention a free press. Geller, via Digby:

I have been working closely with [Cliff] Kincaid (Ed.: another anti-Muslim extremist) for years to keep Al Jazeera off American airwaves. There is still time to keep this vicious jihadist network off American airwaves. Urge the House Homeland Security Committee to convene hearings into the national security threat posed by Al Jazeera on American soil.

From everything I've seen, Al Jazeera is more reliable than, say, Fox News.

"Free speech for me, but not for thee" -- how very right-wing.


Today's Must-Read

"How to Talk to Your Kids About Bernie Sanders," by Kimberly Harrington.

And I really don't have anything to add.

The Big Night

Remember the straight guy in Las Vegas who asked his gay best friend to the prom? Well, here's a mini-documentary of the big night:


They're so cute I can barely stand it.


Monday, May 04, 2015

Rights and Responsibilities

Well, Pam Geller got her wish:

Texas police shot dead two gunmen who opened fire on Sunday outside an exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad that was organized by an anti-Islamic group and billed as a free-speech event. . . .

The exhibit was organized by Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). Her organization, which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, has sponsored anti-Islamic advertising campaigns in transit systems across the country.

Organizers of the “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest” said the event was to promote freedom of expression. They offered a $10,000 prize for the best artwork or cartoon depicting the Prophet, as well as a $2,500 “People’s Choice Award.”

Depictions of the Prophet Mohammad are viewed as offensive in Islam, and Western art that portrays the Prophet has sometimes angered Muslims and provoked threats and attacks from radicals.

One thing we don't hear much about from the proponents of our "Constitutional rights" is the responsibility that goes with those rights. I mean, that's part of the deal, right? You exercise your right to free speech, but you also undertake to exercise that right in a responsible manner. After all, we live in a society in which everyone, at least theoretically, is equal and is treated fairly. The only way to make that work is for us to exercise some restraint. It's also known as "common courtesy."

What we've been seeing more and more in recent years is the demand that people be allowed to exercise their rights with no restraints: want to take your AK-47 to Chipotle? Well, that's your right. If it makes other patrons uneasy or concerned about their safety, well, that's their problem. Want to assert your right to religious freedom by refusing to offer to gay couples the same services you offer to anyone else, no questions asked? Well, that's your right. If the gay couple is hurt and insulted, well, that's their problem. Want to engage in inflammatory speech vilifying a group you don't approve of? Well, that's your right. If someone takes forceful exception to your words, that's not your fault.

It's really an infantile take on citizenship.

So, Pam Geller (who's a real piece of work -- a couple of her more outrageous escapades are noted in the article) wants to hold a "free speech" event deliberately designed to offend and insult Muslims? Well, that's her right.

And who's to blame if someone gets shot?

Pam Geller.

But you won't hear that from her -- she doesn't seem to be real big on taking responsibility.



Sunday, May 03, 2015

Another Upbeat Story

This is sweet, and once again, another indicator of how badly the "Christian" right is losing hearts and minds. I'm not going to recap -- the whole story's in the clip:


Did It Again: Image of the Week

I really do try to post these on Fridays. In fact, I remember thinking this Friday past, "I have to post and 'Image of the Week'." And then, for some reason, I didn't. Well, here it is, from Bernice:


It's particularly appropriate right now because I've actually been seeing butterflies out in the park, and even around my neighborhood. Maybe we really will have summer. Eventually.