"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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Today's Must-Read: Now They're Going After Citizens

who happen to be brown. Tom Sullivan has a post at Hullabaloo that details Trump's attacks on immigrants, or suspected immigrants.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last year issued a directive for additional background checks for non-citizen troops and extended the active duty time required before they were eligible to apply for naturalization. Applications dropped 65 percent.

Earlier this summer, news broke that the sitting president had tasked U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna with tracking down and "denaturalizing" American citizens suspected of falsifying their citizenship applications.

In July, AP broke news that the Army had begun discharging foreign-born troops after promising them "expedited naturalization" for service. Those with expired visas now risk deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has detained hundreds of U.S. citizens an average of 180 days, a Northwest University study found last August.

The Washington Post reports today the State Department is denying passports to Americans born along the Texas-Mexico border. Government officials question their citizenship based on suspicion that decades ago midwives may have falsified the birth documents of newborns

I can't help but wonder who's next.

Oh, wait -- Google, of course. Because their search algorithm is biased.

Welcome to Trump's America.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Culture Break: Rolf Lislevand Plays Corbetta

Rolf Lislevand is a lutenist and guitarist who specializes in early music -- which is to say, medieval and early Renaissance. Ran across this on YouTube, in which he does three pieces by Francesco Corbetta: Prélude, Caprice de Chacone, and Folies d'Espagne:

And, as it happens, I've reviewed a couple of his albums: Diminuito and his most recent, La Mascarade.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Height of Stupidity?

Or the depths of ignorance? This story has to be read to be believed. The best summary is at Snopes:

In late January 2018, reports surfaced that supporters of Donald Trump confronted a Native American legislator during an anti-immigration protest at the Arizona state capitol, demanding to know whether he was in the country legally. The viral stories on various web sites (including The Hill and the liberal RawStory.com) were all aggregated from the original reporting of the Arizona Capitol Times, a nonpartisan weekly newspaper focused on Arizona government and state politics.

We confirmed that one of the anti-immigration protesters did indeed ask an indigenous state representative whether or not he was “legal,” both through video footage of the incident and three corroborating interviews with Arizona state legislators who witnessed the scene. In the background of the following video, a protester asks Rep. Eric Descheenie whether he is “legal.” Descheenie is Navajo.

Get that? He's Navajo. His family has been here about 12,000 years longer than the protesters'.

There's really not much to add, except that the anti-immigration protesters were protesting a group that was lobbying for pro-labor legislation, not immigration.

It's worth reading the whole story -- these people were totally out of control.


Nature Note: Dogs Do It, Too

I like to sit outside the Zoo reading in the summer; there's usually a breeze, and I like watching the people. My favored spot is right outside the wolf habitat in the Children's Zoo, which is populated by red wolves. They have been extinct in the wild, and Lincoln Park Zoo is participating in a breeding program to beef up their numbers and reintroduce them to their previous range.

Mike Collins, UK Wolf Conservation Trust
At any rate, any time an emergency vehicle goes by with sirens wailing, the wolves start howling in response.

I was just outside when an ambulance went by, siren screaming. Someone had tied their dog outside the Dunkin' Donuts across the street, a standard poodle, and sure enough, it started howling.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

What's New At Green Man Review

Yes, we're still here, and there's a new edition today:

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Imagine film, Mint juleps, First chapter of an Emma Bull novel, Leonard Bernstein, Aretha Franklin, Peter Beagle on chocolate and other end of summer matters

Leonard Bernstein was born a hundred years ago yesterday, and, if I remember correctly, today is Aretha Freanklin's funeral.

Click through to see what all this is like in real life.

In Memoriam: John McCain

These things always happen sooner than I expect. It was just a couple days ago that this family announced he was leaving off treatment for cancer.

John McCain died yesterday:

John McCain, who endured more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam before becoming the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and serving Arizona for more than 30 years on Capitol Hill, died Saturday at age 81.

McCain died at 4:28 p.m., his office announced. His wife, Cindy, and other family members were with him.

Destined to be remembered among the political giants of Arizona history, the six-term U.S. senator disclosed in July 2017 that he had been diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.

At one time I considered McCain one of the few true statesmen in Washington, and then he seemed to junk principle for party. However, he somewhat redeemed himself by standing in open opposition to Trump.

We won't mention the White House's empty response, but this is worth noting. From Barack Obama:

John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher-the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed.

We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.

Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.

I have nothing to add to that.

PC Amok: The "N-Word"

Just to show how off the rails some people can get, see this story:

The leader of the nonprofit arm of the Human Rights Campaign (the HRC Foundation) has resigned after an investigation found she’d used the n-word twice.

Mary Beth Maxwell, who is white, previously worked for Barack Obama’s administration.

Maxwell was exposed in an email sent to staff by HRC President Chad Griffin which was obtained by Politico.

The email said an investigation was launched after an employee had complained about Maxwell’s use of the term.

No, Maxwell didn't use the word as an insult to anyone; she was relating a couple of incidents in which the word was used.

The President of HRC also wrote that Maxwell did not use the term with intent to insult someone else at HRC, and said that in the first incident she “recounted an upsetting personal story in which the term was used.”

“In the second instance she repeated the word in describing an external situation that they found horrifying, in which racial and homophobic slurs were used,’ Griffin wrote.

What kicks the whole thing up into the realm of face palm is this:

“I share this context because the lesson learned here is that not having bad intent in using the word does not make it acceptable,” Griffin added. “I want to be clear: intent does not matter. It is the impact of the word that matters.”

In other words, Big Brother is watching you.

Let me point out that, Griffin's comment notwithstanding, intent is everything. When it gets to the point where you can't even quote someone else's use of a particular word for fear of offending someone, then we're headed down a steep, nasty slope. This is really nothing more than a few snowflakes setting themselves up as thought police.

The irony here is that this is the position of an organization that regularly uses the word "queer". From HRC's website: "The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer equality." Some of us remember when being called "queer" was an insult.

I had hopes when Griffin became head of HRC that he would whip the organization into line -- historically, it's one of the least effective civil rights groups ever. Instead, it looks like HRC has whipped Griffin into submission.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Saturday Science: On Racial Purity

"White supremacists" and other racists are in the news a lot over the past eighteen months (wonder why?). From a scientific standpoint, they're full of shit: genome mapping of individuals from various races has demonstrated that individuals from different races may be more similar than individuals from the same race. (Keep in mind that we share about 98% of our genes with chimpanzees, so how much difference is there going to be between human races?)

New findings make it even more depressing for racial purity advocates:

Denny was an inter-species love child.

Her mother was a Neanderthal, but her father was Denisovan, a distinct species of primitive human that also roamed the Eurasian continent 50,000 years ago, scientists reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Nicknamed by Oxford University scientists, Denisova 11 — her official name — was at least 13 when she died, for reasons unknown.

“There was earlier evidence of interbreeding between different hominin, or early human, groups,” said lead author Vivian Slon, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

“But this is the first time that we have found a direct, first-generation offspring,” she told AFP.

Denny’s surprising pedigree was unlocked from a bone fragment unearthed in 2012 by Russian archeologists at the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia.

Analysis of the bone’s DNA left no doubt: the chromosomes were a 50-50 mix of Neanderthal and Denisovan, two distinct species of early humans that split apart between 400,000 to 500,000 years ago.

And then there's interbreeding between those groups and Homo sapiens:

But the most compelling evidence that inter-species hanky-panky in Late Pleistocene Eurasia may not have been that rare lies in the genes of contemporary humans.

About two percent of DNA in non-Africans across the globe today originate with Neanderthals, earlier studies have shown.

Denisovan remnants are also widespread, though less evenly.

“We find traces of Denisovan DNA — less than one percent — everywhere in Asia and among native Americans,” said Paabo.

“Aboriginal Australians and people in Papua New Guinea have about five percent.”

Side note: Moderns humans migrated to New Guinea and Australia about 40,000-50,000 years ago.

And another note: In classical taxonomy (the "science of naming") a species consists of a population whose members produce viable (i.e., fertile) offspring among themselves, but produce sterile offspring (is any) when they mate outside the group. Orchids, however, blow this idea out of the water: they are what's known as "genetically labile," which is a face-saving way of saying that they interbreed freely and produce fertile offspring across species -- and even genera: hobbyists have produced hybrids from up to five genera that are viable. From the findings in this article, it looks as though that genetic lability isn't confined to orchids.

So, it starts to look as though the only "racially pure" modern humans are Africans (and even there, there are traces of as yet unknown non-Homo sapiens ancestors).

Take that, David Duke.

Further reading:

On Neanderthals.

On Denisovans.

On interbreeding between archaic and modern humans.

On the genetic difference between "races".

Friday, August 24, 2018

Today's Must-Read: Warren Throws Down the Gauntlet

Tom Sullivan has an eye-opener at Hullabaloo on two bills Elizabeth Warren introduced this week, which got pretty much lost in the brouhaha over Trump's cronies being convicted.

The first is the Accountable Capitalism Act:

Warren's first, the Accountable Capitalism Act, we discussed here on Saturday. It is nothing less than an attempt to save capitalism from its worst excesses.

A sign Warren's Accountable Capitalism Act has hit its mark are the squeals from the right. A hyperventilating Kevin Williamson claims in the National Review the Accountable Capitalism Act calls for “the wholesale expropriation of private enterprise in the United States, and nothing less.” Adding, "utterly bonkers." A blog headline at Reason blasts, "Elizabeth Warren Plans To Destroy Capitalism By Pretending To ‘Save’ It".

The second is ever worse, from the viewpoint of our elected representatives and their owners:

Warren's followup punch, a nearly 300-page Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act dropped on Tuesday and must have sent D.C. insiders rushing to cover their punch bowls. Except with #TrumpfellasTuesday news alerts booming like a trailer voiced by Don LaFontaine, Warren's roll-out may have been lost among the headlines announcing convictions of Trump's known associates. More the shame. This second bill is an attempt to save Washington from its worst excesses.

She's thrown down the gauntlet, all right, not only for the Republicans and the money guys, but for Democrats as well. (Who, as tristero points out in another post at Hullbaloo, are gearing up once again to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Trump's Horrible, Terrible, No Good Day

I didn't comment on this when the stories came down, but Mustang Bobby has a nice summary, with links.

At least someone is draining the swamp.

Taking the Knee: Beto O'Rourke Gets It Right

O'Rourke is running for Ted Cruz' senate seat from Texas, and he's got Cruz worried. Episodes like this are one reason why:

And in case you were wondering, yes, I support the football players and anyone else who protests the rampant murder of blacks by police. Don't forget it was Trump who shifted it to disrespect for the flag and the military -- another lie from the primary source of fake news.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Today In Chinese Hoaxes

Because, after all, climate change isn't real. Except when the Arctic starts melting:

Photograph: Nick Cobbing/Greenpeace

The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer.

This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere.

One meteorologist described the loss of ice as “scary”. Others said it could force scientists to revise their theories about which part of the Arctic will withstand warming the longest.

The sea off the north coast of Greenland is normally so frozen that it was referred to, until recently, as “the last ice area” because it was assumed that this would be the final northern holdout against the melting effects of a hotter planet.

It's not just American democracy Trump is destroying -- it's the whole planet.

Via Joe.My.God.


The news if full of what's his name tweeting all over the place, assorted neo-Nazis and "Christian" dominionists feeling persecuted, and a thunder storm is moving in just when I'm getting ready to go out.

And that's all I have to say about it.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Today's Must-Read: "Christian Nation"?

This story starts off as a report on abuse of power by an Air Force general, but does much deeper than that:

According to a press statement from MRFF founder and president Michael L. Weinstein, a former Air Force officer, on Teichert’s website he has “denigrated LGBT individuals, slammed American society at large, and, of course, delivered election voting mandate directives” urging that only certain categories of Christians should be elected to public office.

Military officers enjoy the same freedom of religion as everyone else in America, so Teichert’s religious faith is not an issue in itself. But military service entails special restrictions on how religion is expressed, particularly if that expression is deemed to undermine military effectiveness, a point that lies at the heart of the MRFF’s complaint.

This is just another ugly tentacle of the monster known as Dominionism.

This is all justified, it would seem, by the mythology of America’s supposedly pure Christian origins, which supports a multitude of false or distorted historical narratives. This is a subject long studied by Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank in Massachusetts.

“Teichert’s blog posts epitomizes a kind of historical revisionism that historian Frank Lambert calls creating a ‘usable past,’” Clarkson told Salon. “This is done by selecting tidbits from history and suggesting that they support contemporary conservative Christian political views and candidates, or more importantly an interpretation of the Constitution. This is how Christian nationalists create a history that they use to justify not only their favored politicians and issues du jour, but often the more profound vision of political dominion we call ‘Dominionism.’”

In its starkest forms, the ideology known as Dominionism is clearly anti-democratic and un-American. Laws passed by overwhelming majorities are invalid if they conflict with “God’s law” — separating the races, for example, which was long perceived as a biblical mandate in the pre-civil rights South. So for obvious reasons most American Dominionists of the 21st century shield or shade their beliefs, sometimes even from themselves. But their underlying logic is broadly influential, Frederickson argues[.]

This is the result of the Republicans' embrace of the Moral Majority and other "Christian" extremist groups over the past several generations. And as we know from past behavior, they won't quit -- they'll just keep coming back, chipping away at the foundations of American society.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Today in "Real Christians"

Most of them are more subtle than this:

Evangelicalism’s newfound obsession with the notion of ‘social justice’ is a significant shift — and I’m convinced it’s a shift that is moving many people (including some key evangelical leaders) off message, and onto a trajectory that many other movements and denominations have taken before, always with spiritually disastrous results.

So much for "love thy neighbor" -- and just forget about Mark 25. (I wonder if this guy has even read the Gospels)

And just out of curiosity, if it's not social justice, just what is the "message"?

This Week At Green Man Review: We're Back!

Finally, after a nerve-wracking couple of weeks (it seems like longer), we've moved to a new host and everything seems to be working just fine. Check out this week's offerings, which include:

an exhibition hall of all things Chinese, Irish music live and reviewed, fantasy reading, a fantasy film, salmon bites and other tasty things

And scroll down -- we have a story and a What's New post that you may have missed.

Today's Must-Read: Corporations as Responsible Citizens

I'm not alone in thinking that Citizens United was one of the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court, on a level with Dredd Scott and Bowers v. Hardwick.* Well, Elizabeth Warren is taking the first steps toward bringing some sort of accountability to corporate "persons". From Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts this week offered a game-changing plan for leveling the playing field for the little guys. As a senator in the minority, she may not have the leverage to bring corporate criminals to justice. But Warren has instead drafted a plan for rewriting the DNA of large corporations and bringing them to heel. That is long overdue. A former legislator I heard from called the plan transformational.

In a press release announcing her Accountable Capitalism Act, Warren makes her move against the system as it stands:
"There's a fundamental problem with our economy. For decades, American workers have helped create record corporate profits but have seen their wages hardly budge. To fix this problem we need to end the harmful corporate obsession with maximizing shareholder returns at all costs, which has sucked trillions of dollars away from workers and necessary long-term investments," said Senator Warren. "My bill will help the American economy return to the era when American companies and American workers did well together."

Sullivan goes into a lot of detail on this one. Read it.

* The idea that a legal fiction, which is what corporate "personhood" is, has all the rights of natural persons is ludicrous. What makes Citizens United (aside from its bastard offspring, such as Hobby Lobby) so egregious is that it granted all the privileges of personhood with none of the responsibilities.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Culture Break: Aretha Franklin: Respect

Believe it or not, it took some searching to come with a video of her performing the song. This is from 1967:

And in the news:

An ailing Aretha Franklin was visited on Tuesday at her home in Detroit by Stevie Wonder and her ex-husband Glynn Turman, as tributes to the Queen of Soul poured in from around the world.

A spokeswoman for the Franklin family confirmed the visits and said in a statement that Ms. Franklin, 76, is “seriously ill and surrounded by family members who appreciate the outpouring of love and support they have received.” Don Terry, a representative for the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said Mr. Jackson will be visiting Ms. Franklin on Wednesday.

No additional details of Ms. Franklin’s illness were given, and the spokeswoman, Gwendolyn Quinn, declined to answer further questions.

Via Joe.My.God.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Todfay's Must-Read: The Enemy Within

This post from Tom Sullivan summarizes a lot of what I've been thinking about the GOP's disdain for American democracy, with specific examples. Starting off with an OpEd by Joe Scarborough:

Since 2017, Republicans have put party ahead of country to protect a "buffoon," Scarborough scolds. Gary Trudeau more graphically suggests a spineless GOP is well on its way towards putting its collective head where the sun never shines.

But the truth of it is the GOP has simply made a foreign adversary an ally in its own attacks on democracy. The headlines may hail from Washington, D.C., but the fighting is out in the provinces. The Post's Editorial Board rolls out the map to highlight the battle in North Carolina "where African Americans’ voting rights have been under siege."

Sullivan focuses mostly on attempts at voter suppression in North Carolina, but it's something you're going to find to one degree or another in any state government dominated by Republicans.

And now they've got a federal government that will back them -- as soon as they finish packing the courts.

You're probably getting sick of reading my comments about how "conservatives" and their constituent elements -- evangelical "Christians," Wall Street oligarchs, neo-Nazis, etc. -- don't like the American system. Well, it's true.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

This Week at Green Man Review

We're still moving the site to a completely different hosting service. We should be up and running within the next day or so, but there's cleanup to do.

I'll let you know.

Antidote: Election Season Edition

I have to admit, the news this week (the last eighteen months?) has been pretty depressing, and now that we're heading into the midterms, it's going to get worse. So, this:

Via Balloon Juice

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Today in Trump's America: Campaigning While Black

This is getting just a wee bit beyond ridiculous:

An angry white woman who identified herself as a Trump supporter called police Thursday morning to report a black state senator who was merely talking with voters outside a Brooklyn subway station.

Sen. Jesse Hamilton was speaking with constituents at the Parkside Ave. subway entrance in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens when the woman, who spoke with an Eastern European accent, accused Hamilton of being too strong in his support for immigrants, his office said.
(Emphasis added.)

Of course, they have to be the right kind of immigrants.

I don't mean to make light of this sort of thing -- it's really more than a little disturbing. I blame Trump, even though this is a drum the GOP has been beating for decades; Trump is just the useful idiot du jour, but he does spew his racism with gusto. Sadly, he's played into an element that's always been with us and somehow parlayed that into the presidency, which even more unfortunately has given him the bully pulpit as he has gone about destroying our standing in the world. And they still support him even though he's screwing them over.

Here's video. And, in the irony department, her accent is so thick that she's barely comprehensible.

Via Crooks and Liars.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Today in Really Digusting People

This story is actually a couple of days old, but it's getting so much reaction that I thought I should catch up. From one of our favorite racists, Laura Ingraham:

In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically, in some ways, the country has changed. Now, much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.

I guess it's supposed to be in right-wing code, but she seems to have traded in the dogwhistle for a bull horn.

Oh, by the way -- our immigration policies were enacted by our elected officials. They weren't "foisted upon" anyone.

And under the heading "You're Known By the Company You Keep," guess who jumped right in supporting her:

He deleted the tweet almost immediately, but not soon enough.

Needless to say, most of the reaction was not positive, even on the right.

So of course, she's being misrepresented:

I want to start tonight by addressing my commentary at the top of last night’s show. A message to those who are distorting my views, including all white nationalists and especially one racist freak whose name I will not even mention. You do not have my support, you don’t represent my views and you are antithetical to the beliefs I hold dear. The purpose of last night’s angle was to point out that the rule of law – meaning secure borders – is something that used to bind our country together.

And despite what some may be contending – I made explicitly clear that my commentary had nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but rather a shared goal of keeping America safe, and her citizens safe and prosperous. My concern will continue to remain with the families who have suffered the tragic results of illegal immigration, the children put in dangerous and unfair situations at the border, and all those border agents around the country who work to keep our country safe.

The "rule of law"? As personified by Donald Trump and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III?

I almost had to wipe down my keyboard after that one.

Liar du Jour

Why, it's none other than Tony Perkins, calling for prayers to defeat California's AB 2943, which would class offering sexual-orientation change therapy for money as consumer fraud. The preamble to the "prayer" is classic Perkins:

California AB2943 Counseling BAN Vote Expected Tomorrow — Believers are rallying in California to prevent the criminalization of counseling, speech, books, advertising, and every kind of therapy to help people who seek to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion. The U.S. Supreme Court, in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, rebuked Colorado Human Rights Commission officials for contending “that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain.”

1: No, the bill does not do what he says. It's very clear that offering SOCE for money is consumer fraud. Here's the text of the bill. From the Legislative Counsel's Digest:

This bill would include, as an unlawful practice prohibited under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, advertising, offering for sale, or selling services constituting sexual orientation change efforts, as defined, to an individual.

2: The Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, based on a really fanciful reading of comments by members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, is irrelevant. And that's not what the Court said to begin with.

3: At least one court has already found that offering such "therapy" for money is consumer fraud, in Ferguson vs. JONAH. It's a very interesting article (at least for legal geeks), but here's a summary of the decision (citations removed):

On June 25, 2015, after a three-week trial, the jury deliberated for only three hours before returning a unanimous verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. After the ruling, one juror told Equality Case Files that the JONAH program was not therapy and the decision was “cut and dried.” In addition to this first-in-the-nation verdict, a pretrial ruling by the Court declared for the first time in American history that homosexuality was not a mental disease, disorder, or equivalent thereof as a matter of law. David Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director said, "this verdict is a monumental moment in the movement to ensure the rights and acceptance of LGBT people in America...Conversion therapy and homophobia are based on the same central lie — that gay people are broken and need to be fixed. Conversion therapists, including the defendants in this case, sell fake cures that don’t work but can seriously harm the unsuspecting people who fall into this trap. We’re proud of our clients, who survived these so-called treatments and had the courage to call to account the people who defrauded them with their false promises.”

Let's hope this trend continues.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Today in Disgusting People: Pick One

Your choice: Either Alex Jones or his lawyer:

When radio host Alex Jones published a video in 2017 titled “Sandy Hook Vampires Exposed,” the parents of a little boy killed in the Sandy Hook shooting bought security alarms for their homes, fearful that they would once again be harassed by Jones’ legion of followers convinced the shooting never happened.

Now a lawyer for Jones wants to make the parents’ home addresses public.

If I have to pick one, in this case I'd pick the lawyer:

[Mark] Enoch [Jones' lawyer], for his part, would not defend his newly filed objection to HuffPost when reached by phone Wednesday.

“I have no comment,” Enoch said. “The statute said what it said.”

When asked if he understood how this could further damage the lives of the parents, Enoch hung up.

If he's defending Alex Jones, he doesn't care about Jones' victims.

Read the whole article -- Jones is being sued six ways from Sunday. I hope he gets taken to the cleaners.

Via Joe.My.God.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Today's Must-Read: Compromise?

Hemant Mehta has a good post at The Friendly Atheist about an article in the Washington Post about how Christians and the LGBTQ community need to compromise. He's not sympathetic:

To be sure, Rodgers says Christians should be the ones taking that first step, and that no resolution will make everybody happy, so both sides have to give something.

But trying to appease both sides is a problem when one side did nothing wrong.

Consider what same-sex couples are requesting: The right to be treated the same way as straight couples. The ability to buy the same products as straight couples. The chance to be seen as humans instead of monsters.

What do conservative Christians want? The ability to discriminate. And they do it by pretending that selling a cake to a gay couple makes them an integral part of a wedding they would never be invited to in the first place.

These aren’t two sides of the same coin. They’re different currencies.

As for both sides giving something, just what are we supposed to give up?

Review: Yamimaru Enjin: The Way to Heaven

I did a lot of BL manga at Epinions. This is one you won't find there any more.

Yamimaru Enjin's The Way to Heaven is one of the stranger BL manga I've run across, and also one of the most powerful. Enjin provides a basis for the story that allows her to play with time and character in ways that, so far in my experience, are unique.

Keigo Moriya is crossing a pedestrian bridge when he discovers a small dog tied to one of the supports under the walkway. He leans over the rail to try to save the dog and begins to fall. Kifumi Watase, who is crossing the same bridge, attempts to save Moriya, but both men fall into the highway, where they are hit by a speeding truck. They awaken in a room with a woman who claims to be from another galaxy, come to save Earth from ecological disaster through an energy-recycling technique that her people have discovered. Each of the men is typed: Watase's type is "vampire" and his part in the experiment is to harvest blood, while Moriya's type is "werewolf" -- he is to harvest semen. They will be allowed to go back in time based on how much of each fluid they harvest. However, it seems that Watase remembers Moriya from their previous lives: Moriya was a boxer and Watase saw him at his first professional bout, which also ended his career. Moriya lost the fight, but wasn't knocked out; he stayed conscious long enough, however, to suffer permanent damage to his eyes. Watase says that witnessing Moriya's fighting spirit and determination changed his life: part of a yakuza gang, he went straight.

This story is centered on the growing bond between the two men, starting with Watase's admiration for Moriya and Moriya's attraction to Watase -- an attraction that Moriya will not admit. In fact, although Moriya had a male lover in life, it is Watase who initiates their intimacy. The episodes that show them back in time center on Moriya's relationship with that "lover" -- Watase's boss, Akutsu, whom Watase idolized. However, the Watase then was nothing like the Watase that Moriya knows, which adds a nice tension to the story as Moriya tries to reconcile the lying con artist described by Akutsu, whose attitude toward his "plaything" is cold and disdainful (that Watase is totally straight) with the caring, affectionate man he knows in their temporary afterlife.

Graphically, the drawing displays that lean clarity that so attracts me to this genre, coupled with the expressiveness I've come to expect. The style is spare but marked by a strong, definite line, and narrative flow is always clear, even though Enjin makes full use of the conventions of shoujo manga in her layouts. There are a couple of sex scenes, which make use of the "invisible" option. From a visual standpoint, this is a very appealing volume.

What strikes me most about The Way to Heaven, is Enjin's subtle but unequivocal focus on the emotional tie between Moriya and Watase: long before there is a sexual component, it's apparent that these two men have come to care deeply for one another, and I think that's what gives the story its power. It's a subtle portrayal, created bit by bit and mostly as subtext, and becomes truly affecting.

(Digital Manga Publishing, 2009)

This Week at Green Man Review

Well, actually, there isn't a this week at GMR -- we're still working on moving the site to a new host, and its been one snafu after another.

Maybe by next week. Maybe.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Antidote: Sometimes It Works Out -- With a Little Help

You may have heard the story of Seth Owen, the valedictorian who was all set to start Georgetown U until his parents kicked him out:

On paper, everything was going well for Seth Owen. A valedictorian of a high school in Jacksonville, Fla., with a 4.16 grade-point average, the 18-year-old had been accepted to Georgetown University as part of its Class of 2022.

But he had left his parents’ house in February after they had given him an ultimatum to attend their church, after years of disagreements related to his sexuality — Owen is gay — or move out, he told NBC News. And Georgetown’s financial aid package for him had been calculated based on what his family was expected to contribute, leaving him with a $20,000 gap to pay the tuition for his first year.

GoFundMe to the rescue: as of yesterday, people had contributed $130,000 to Owen's college fund. And now, Georgetown has stepped in (via Joe.My.God.):

“While the campaign has been ongoing, the professionals at the Office of Student Financial Services have continued to work with me to make my dream a reality,” Owen said on Friday in a statement sent to NBC News. “Due to their efforts and attention, they were able to adjust my aid package even further, my expected contribution is now $0. With these new adjustments, I will be able to attend Georgetown University this fall.”

Owen plans to set up a scholarship fund for people in similar circumstances.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Today In Disgusting People: Hitler Was a Progressive

At least, according to Jerry Falwell, Jr., who's really a chip off the old block:

It's the "progressive elites" who are doing to most for the welfare of "freedom loving average Americans." Shills for the oligarchy like Falwell could care less, as long as they get theirs. ANd it's worth noting that the comments at that tweet aren't particularly supportive.

Via Joe.My.God.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Culture Break: Arvo Part: Fratres

Performed by Endymion. I'm not familiar with the group, but it's a good rendering:

Fratres is a piece that suddenly I was hearing all over the place when I was studying modern dance. It's not really that easy to dance to. Maybe that's why.