Saturday, October 24, 2015
From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.
The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day — violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world…or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.
After growing up in the south where she was "homeschooled for hippie reasons", Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.
Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism — just like her memoir.
Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now — even for a digital misfit.
From the author of the award-winning novel Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic comes an eponymous novella and three stories that range fluidly across time, tenderly exploring the act of writing and the moment of creation when characters come alive on the page; the lifetime consequences that can come from a simple act; and the way our lives play across the world, marking language, image and each other.
Thirteen Ways of Looking is framed by two author’s notes, each dealing with the brutal attack the author suffered last year and strikes at the heart of contemporary issues at home and in Ireland, the author’s birth place.
Brilliant in its clarity and deftness, this collection reminds us, again, why Colum McCann is considered among the very best contemporary writers.
On December 11, 1973, Mark Segal disrupted a live broadcast of the CBS Evening News when he sat on the desk directly between the camera and news anchor Walter Cronkite, yelling, "Gays protest CBS prejudice!" He was wrestled to the studio floor by the stagehands on live national television, thus ending LGBT invisibility. But this one victory left many more battles to fight, and creativity was required to find a way to challenge stereotypes surrounding the LGBT community. Mark Segal's job, as he saw it, was to show the nation who gay people are: our sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers.
Because of activists like Mark Segal, whose life work is dramatically detailed in this poignant and important memoir, today there are openly LGBT people working in the White House and throughout corporate America. An entire community of gay world citizens is now finding the voice that they need to become visible.
Legendary influential performer Grace Jones offers a revealing account of her spectacular career and turbulent life, charting the development of a persona that has made her one of the world’s most recognizable artists.
As a singer, model, and actress—a deluxe triple threat—Grace has consistently been an extreme, challenging presence in the entertainment world since her emergence as an international model in the 1970s. Celebrated for her audacious talent and trailblazing style, Grace became one of the most unforgettable, free-spirited characters to emerge from the historic Studio 54, recording glittering disco classics such as I Need a Man and La Vie en Rose. Her provocative shows in underground New York nightclubs saw her hailed as a disco queen, gay icon, and gender defying iconoclast.
In 1980, the always ambitious Grace escaped a crowded disco scene to pursue more experimental interests. Her music also broke free, blending house, reggae, and electronica into a timeless hybrid that led to classic hits such as Pull Up to the Bumper and Slave to the Rhythm. In the memoir she once promised never to write, Grace offers an intimate insight into her evolving style, personal philosophies, and varied career—including her roles in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and the James Bond movie A View to a Kill.
Featuring sixteen pages of stunning full-color photographs, many from her own personal archive, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs follows this ageless creative nomad as she rejects her strict religious upbringing in Jamaica; conquers New York, Paris, and the 1980s; answers to no-one; and lives to fight again and again.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Photo by Jessica Ebelhar for The New York Times
MOREHEAD, Ky. — Nearly two months after the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, a county clerk’s office here — in defiance of a federal court order — turned away two gay couples seeking marriage licenses on Thursday, taking a stand that has infuriated gay rights advocates but buoyed Christian conservatives who insist their religious freedoms are being violated.
Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, who says her Christian faith bars her from authorizing same-sex marriages, has refused to issue any licenses, either to same-sex or heterosexual couples. Her actions come in the wake of the historic ruling in June in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, despite a direct order from Gov. Steven L. Beshear, that she do so.
On Wednesday, Judge David L. Bunning of the United States District Court of Eastern Kentucky, ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of four couples — two same-sex and two heterosexual — ordered Ms. Davis to resume issuing licenses. But lawyers for Ms. Davis immediately appealed, and Thursday morning, Ms. Davis did not show up at work.
“People are cruel, and this is wrong,” said David Ermold, 41, who with his partner, David Moore, 39, went to the clerk’s office here, where they were told that no licenses would be issued today. Roberta Early, a deputy clerk, said the matter was “still under litigation, and nothing has changed, and we still can’t issue them.”
Read more via the NYT
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
London awakes one morning to find itself besieged by a sky full of floating icebergs. Destroyed oil rigs, mysteriously reborn, clamber from the sea and onto the land, driven by an obscure but violent purpose. An anatomy student cuts open a cadaver to discover impossibly intricate designs carved into a corpse's bones—designs clearly present from birth, bearing mute testimony to…what?
Of such concepts and unforgettable images are made the twenty-eight stories in this collection—many published here for the first time. By turns speculative, satirical, and heart-wrenching, fresh in form and language, and featuring a cast of damaged yet hopeful seekers who come face-to-face with the deep weirdness of the world—and at times the deeper weirdness of themselves—Three Moments of an Explosion is a fitting showcase for one of our most original voices.
What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.
Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.
In the tradition of Paula Hawkins's instant New York Times bestseller The Girl On the Train and S. J. Watson’s riveting national sensation Before I Go To Sleep, this gripping literary debut from UK novelist Ruth Ware will leave you on the edge of your seat through the very last page.
Thomas Piketty ― whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century pushed inequality to the forefront of public debate ― wrote The Economics of Inequality as an introduction to the conceptual and factual background necessary for interpreting changes in economic inequality over time. This concise text has established itself as an indispensable guide for students and general readers in France, where it has been regularly updated and revised. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer, The Economics of Inequality now appears in English for the first time.
Piketty begins by explaining how inequality evolves and how economists measure it. In subsequent chapters, he explores variances in income and ownership of capital and the variety of policies used to reduce these gaps. Along the way, with characteristic clarity and precision, he introduces key ideas about the relationship between labor and capital, the effects of different systems of taxation, the distinction between “historical” and “political” time, the impact of education and technological change, the nature of capital markets, the role of unions, and apparent tensions between the pursuit of efficiency and the pursuit of fairness.
Succinct, accessible, and authoritative, this is the ideal place to start for those who want to understand the fundamental issues at the heart of one of the most pressing concerns in contemporary economics and politics.
In his meticulous notes on the natural history of Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau records the first open flowers of highbush blueberry on May 11, 1853. If he were to look for the first blueberry flowers in Concord today, mid-May would be too late. In the 160 years since Thoreau’s writings, warming temperatures have pushed blueberry flowering three weeks earlier, and in 2012, following a winter and spring of record-breaking warmth, blueberries began flowering on April 1 — six weeks earlier than in Thoreau’s time. The climate around Thoreau’s beloved Walden Pond is changing, with visible ecological consequences.
In Walden Warming, Richard B. Primack uses Thoreau and Walden, icons of the conservation movement, to track the effects of a warming climate on Concord’s plants and animals. Under the attentive eyes of Primack, the notes that Thoreau made years ago are transformed from charming observations into scientific data sets. Primack finds that many wildflower species that Thoreau observed—including familiar groups such as irises, asters, and lilies—have declined in abundance or have disappeared from Concord. Primack also describes how warming temperatures have altered other aspects of Thoreau’s Concord, from the dates when ice departs from Walden Pond in late winter, to the arrival of birds in the spring, to the populations of fish, salamanders, and butterflies that live in the woodlands, river meadows, and ponds.
Primack demonstrates that climate change is already here, and it is affecting not just Walden Pond but many other places in Concord and the surrounding region. Although we need to continue pressuring our political leaders to take action, Primack urges us each to heed the advice Thoreau offers in Walden: to “live simply and wisely.” In the process, we can each minimize our own contributions to our warming climate.
When Noel Bostock—aged ten, no family—is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge — a thirty-six-year old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.
Noel’s mourning his godmother Mattie, a former suffragette. Wise beyond his years, raised with a disdain for authority and an eclectic attitude toward education, he has little in common with other children and even less with the impulsive Vee, who hurtles from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s provided unprecedented opportunities for making money, but what Vee needs — and what she’s never had — is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.
On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.
Together, they cook up a scheme. Crisscrossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war — and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all…
Upon it's initial release, the BBC banned the single Relax, though it continued to be played on some stations and eventually reached No. 2.
Here in the States, Relax was one of my favorite childhood songs. Even as a child, I wondered why the song was played on my country-bumpkin pop station out of Evansville, Indiana. And though I didn't have the words to describe what I knew, I knew the song was about something that I wanted and liked and knew.
I remember having a boyhood, unnameable crush on Paul Rutherford, and now seeing this version of the video, Holly Johnson was everything that I want to be - a clean cut looking perv.
Monday, August 10, 2015
My friend Jimmy and I went to Fandomfest in Louisville yesterday. I have another picture to post but first I need to buy the digital copy of it: it's of me and Eva Myles (Gwen Cooper) and Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones)! Both were very sweet and I had a very enjoyable time - temporary incarceration by members of the Empire notwithstanding.
Friday, August 7, 2015
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Saturday, July 18, 2015
The Ouerbacker House. Abandoned in Louisville, KY.
Thanks to the Internet, I was able to find a pdf of Julio Cortezar's classic (creepy) short story "House Taken Over" (though I've seen some issues with either the translation, the transcription or possibly the scanning of it into a pdf, but still...)
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
So in February 2014, Treasure Island Media released a 3-DVD set called Legendary: The Best of Christian, and I will be ordering this as soon as I get paid on Thursday - Christian is possibly the hottest bottom on the planet and the DVD-set includes a 90 minute cumpilation, if you will, of all of the loads that Christian has ever taken.
What I don't understand, given the internet/porn buzz of Devin Moss having his first bareback scene with Morgan Black, why I don't really see anything online - at least none of the trumpets I expect - that there is a previously unreleased scene on the set featuring a bareback gangbang in which Devin Moss is one of the tops!
This seems important - or possibly it is just me. But for anyone else out there who cares, there are now officially TWO bareback scenes involving Devin Moss. (Three if you count an amateur vid that I once saw. You never see his face but it's obviously his dick and his tat, but I've never been able to find it since.)
So enjoy, but be sure to use some lube to combat chafing.
So for Harper Lee fans, today is D-Day: Go Set a Watchman has been released and I personally just checked in roughly a dozen copies here at my library and sent them on their merry way to customers.
But what about Maureen Corrigan's NPR review of Watchman? Is it just me, or is she suggesting that Scout is a lesbian, without actually saying as much, and that Harper Lee, who has never married, didn't have the language or the "social imagination" to describe that experience? And if you aren't savvy to what exactly Fun Home is and who it is by, that reference may sweep right past you.
And given that we've had the language of the gay experience (or at least the homosexual experience) for a good 100 years before the writing of Watchman (the 1950s), even if in veiled terms reminiscent of what Ms. Corrigan is doing herself now in the 21st century, and that in To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee shows herself to have quite a bit of "social imagination," why Corrigan's namby pamby, tiptoeing around the issue now?
I mean didn't gay marriage just become the law of the land? Is she worried that she might turn someone off from the book by *gasp* saying that Scout could potentially be a dyke? Is that somehow worse that Atticus joining the Klan?
Read the review at NPR
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Image via HuffPo
Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a chronicle [word choice? Greek, epic poem connotations?] of her life during a time when her partner Harry Dodge is transition to a Butch on T while Maggie is attempting to become pregnant. Well, while, and before and after. There's a lot of discussion on gender, sexuality, queer theory, and family.
I highly recommend it - though be prepared to keep your laptop or phone nearby so you can google people, theories and quotes - it made my head hurt some - honestly, I told a coworker who read it before me, that I didn't think I was intelligent enough to read it, but well worth the effort.
I beheld and still behold in anger and agony the eagerness of the world to throw piles of shit on those of us who want to savage or simply cannot help but savage the norms that so desperately need savaging. (32)
How to explain, in a culture frantic for resolution, that sometimes the shit stays messy? I do not want the female gender that has been assigned me at birth. Neither do I want the male gender that transsexual medicine can furnish and that the state will award me if I behave in the right way. I don't want any of it. How to explain that for some, or for some at some times, this irresolution is OK - desirable, even (e.g., "gender hackers") - whereas for others, or for others at some times, it stays a source of conflict or grief? How does one get across the fact that the best way to find out how people feel about their gender of their sexuality - or anything else, really - is to listen to what they tell you, and to try to treat them accordingly, without shellacking over their version of reality with yours? (53)
Homonormativity seems to me a natural consequence of the decriminalization of homosexuality: once something is no longer illicit, punishable, pathologized, or used as a lawful basis for raw discrimination or acts of violence, that phenomenon will no longer be able to represent or deliver on subversion, the subcultural, the underground, the fringe, in the same way. That's why nihilist pervs like painter Francis Bacon have gone so far as to say that they wish that the death penalty was still the punishment for homosexuality, or why outlaw fetishists like Bruce Benderson seek homosexual adventures in countries such as Romania, where one can still be imprisoned for merely hitting on someone of the same sex. "I still see homosexuality as a narrative of urban adventure, a chance to cross not only sex barriers but class and age barriers, while breaking a few laws in the process - and all for the sake of pleasure. If not, I might as well be straight," Benderson says. (73)
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
So my experience reading Robert Penn Warren's Jefferson Davis Gets His Citizenship Back was one of basically mentally adding the word "SLAVERY" after every sentence. I've never read such a gloss job. I mean he does mention it: mentions that Jefferson Davis owned slaves and that he apparently treated them well - you know, as slaves. But towards the end Warren starts to wonder how Davis would feel having his citizenship restored to him, asking: "...suppose Lincoln or Grant should have citizenship thrust upon him by the America of today. Would either happily accept citizenship in a nation that sometimes seems technologically and philosophically devoted to the depersonalization of men?"
Um...wasn't that what the South did to every person of African descent that was brought to this country from its inception to the end (and some would argue well past) of the Civil War? Are the people condemned to slavery, then, not "men"?
But other than that question, which makes me scream quite a bit in frustration, I did find an answer to another question I have - the question of what is this Southern "heritage" that so many white people of a certain stripe make reference to and try to defend. Here:
It is true that in France as well as in England there was strong sentiment against slavery, but when the idea of offering emancipation as a bribe for recognition was finally beginning to be put forward in the Confederacy it was too late to be of any use, besides striking paradoxically at a necessary, if not sufficient, reason for the war: slavery. And a parallel instance appeared when the idea of enlisting blacks for Confederate armies (with the implied promise of freedom) was successfully brought forward - a paradox best formulated by the politician Howell Cobb, of Georgia, who opposed the idea: "If slaves will make good soldiers, our whole theory of slavery is wrong." Actually, some blacks were enlisted and wore the gray, but only toward the end of the war.
So, with states' rights obviously bringing disaster [states in the Confederacy were withholding troops and supplies cause that didn't feel obligated to supply them], King Cotton dethroned [the world started getting cotton from India and other countries], and blacks wearing Confederate gray, little was left of the ideas that had made the Confederacy - only secession, in fact. But with the armies of Sherman and Grant closing in and defeatism stalking the land, what would become of that notion - a notion that for many eminent Southerners, including Davis and Lee, had been from the first dubious or rueful? Merely some notion of Southern identity remained, however hazy or fuddled; it was not until after Appomattox that the conception of Southern identity truly bloomed - a mystical conception, vague but bright, floating high beyond the criticism of brutal circumstances.
The emphasis is mine and is, to my mind, that Southern heritage which like concepts of God is so vague as to be both inexplicable and untouchable. Even Warren's "brutal circumstances" while pointed obviously at the institution of slavery is so vague that it could just as likely be about cholera or not having enough mint for the tea.
Basically, I feel that Warren shows his entitled whiteness, and overall I was left for the desire of a biography on Jefferson Davis (whom by the end of the book I felt...something for...during his imprisonment, abolitionists came forward (albeit white abolitionists) to express their desire for him to be released) written by an African American author. Because till then, his biographies I think will only get bogged down in concepts of Southern "chivalry" and "honor."
Sunday, July 5, 2015
When I was in the 3rd grade, we were having one of those paperback book sales at our school library that now always makes me a little misty with nostalgia. At this particular sale, there was available a boxset of C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. I'm sure by this point I'd seen the animated (and by far much better) version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I pined for the boxset. I pined and I protected. I allowed no other student near that collection, knowing full well that someone else, someone who wouldn't love the books as much as I would, would rip it away from me, and I'd never see these rare and precious books ever again.
I asked Ms. Dossett if I could call my Mom and begged Momma to come, to come quickly, because these had to be purchased - even if they were about $10 - which in my 3rd grade mind was more money than I had a right to ask from my parents.
Momma came, she bought, and just a few months shy of 40, I still have those same books.
Just recently I picked up The Horse and His Boy, book 5 in this version of the series (not in chronological order - which IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE READ - what do you have to be spoon-fed everything?). I've been kinda depressed and dealing with anxiety issues, so I've been reading kids books.
And "Horse" I remembered as my favorite of the books: a boy brought up by someone who didn't love him, escapes with a horse who is secretly a talking, Narnian horse and they escape through the hot desert make it to Narnia, avert an invasion, and lo and behold, the boy is discovered to be long lost royalty. It was everything I wish my life was.
Needless to say, the story has not survived well over the years. The racism is fairly blatant (just as in Lewis's buddy Tolkien's Lord of the Rings), but what can you do.
But I did read something that touched me in my current depressed, unhappy-with-everything state. In this scene, the talking horse Bree is feeling poorly because while he ran away from a lion (it ends up being the lion Aslan), Shasta (the boy/prince) stands his ground against the lion's attack, and the hermit, who is caring for the characters while Shasta is away averting an invasion, says the following:
My good Horse, you've lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don't put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You're not quite the great horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn't follow that you'll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you're nobody special, you'll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole, and taking one thing with another.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
I'd like to draw your attention to fellow blog Arion's Archaic Art where you can find that blogger's comic Un-American Chronicles available via ComiXology. This looks amazing! And apparently there is a sweepstakes that will allow you to win other comics.
Hey, Arion! If you see this, tell us what the comic is about in the comments section.
Friday, July 3, 2015
In 1979 Robert Penn Warren returned to his native Todd Country, Kentucky, to attend ceremonies in honor of another native son, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, whose United States citizenship had just been restored, ninety years after his death, by a special act of Congress. From that nostalgic journey grew this reflective essay on the tragic career of Jefferson Davis -- "not a modern man in any sense of the word but a conservative called to manage what was, in one sense, a revolution." "Jefferson Davis Gets His Citizenship Back" is also a meditation by one of our most respected men of letters on the ironies of American history and the paradoxes of the modern South.
With "The South" being so much in the news lately, I (re) picked up this book (I'd read it several years ago and don't remember much of it.). This is actually the only book by Warren that I've ever read but I know enough about him - Kentucky author, Todd County is just south of my own Muhlenberg, poet - that I think I trust his view of the world and the world he comes from.
Someone that I respect went on a "the Confederate flag is a matter of heritage" tirade on Facebook, so I "unfollowed" him, but I understand where the tirade comes from. You really have to get away from the world that reared you to see the falseness of some of the things that are held dear. It's a matter of perspective. So in this instance I'm turning (as I typically turn to Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken) to Robert Penn Warren for perspective.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
While looking for something else in the June 1981 Lexington Leader I found this picture from that year's Tony Awards.
From left: Kevin Kline, Jane Lapotaire, Lauren Bacall, and hot as fuck Ian McKellan.
Source: The Lexington Leader, 8 June 1981.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Image and quote via NPR
"When I'm not creating or focusing on something I can imagine or invent, I think I go back over my life — I don't recommend this, by the way — and you pick up, 'Oh, what did you do that for? Why didn't you understand this?' Not just with children, as a parent, but with other people, with friends. ... It's not profound regret; it's just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn't recognize as mess when they were going on."
As a kid, the 001 and 133 sections of the card catalog were my favorite: vampires, UFOs, Atlantis, Bigfoot and Nessie were some of my favorite reads.
In maturing, I've upgraded to the 398 section: fairy tales and folklore.
Or haven't. Depending on your perspective.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Game of Thrones presents a particularly striking example of the complicated interplay between time and spoilers. Because the television series has hewn unusually closely to the books on which it’s based (though that may be changing), those who’ve read its source material come to each episode with a great deal of knowledge about what to expect. This threatens to layer spoilers on top of spoilers in discussions of the show, as readers gleefully anticipate events that mere viewers could never predict. Before long, that situation will be reversed, as the show will surpass the plot of the novels. Because the show’s creators claim they’ll be working from George R.R. Martin’s plot outlines, this means those who prefer the books may have the subsequent volumes spoiled years before they have the opportunity to read them. Their less well-read siblings, however, will be safer than ever before, finally watching the story as it unfolds.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
So apparently a bunch of straight, white, conservative guys came up out of their parents' basements and decided to take over the Hugo Awards.
Read about it via Slate - also that's where the image comes from too.
Monday, April 6, 2015
Image via Brick Row Book Shop
If we would stop condemning conservatives and begin talking to them, I am confident that we can convince them that libraries fit very nicely into their political agenda:
- Conservatives say they are into self improvement—the great American pastime of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps. The library is probably the number one self-help institution in America. It’s where immigrants go to learn how to assimilate and succeed.
- Conservatives say they believe strongly in family values. What institution in America does more to serve families than libraries? We cater to the needs of everyone in the extended family from infants to great-grandparents. Go to any (open) public library on a Saturday morning, and you will see that it is filled with families.
- Conservatives say that they believe in fiscal responsibility. What American institution does more with less than the library? What government agency serves more people? What city department gives you more bang for the buck?
- Conservatives say they believe in the Bill of Rights and in particular the protection of their religious liberties afforded by the First Amendment. What profession does more to protect First Amendment rights than the library profession? Our profession’s First Amendment emphasis may differ from the conservative movement’s emphasis, but here at least is a place to start a constructive give and take of views.
- Conservatives say they believe strongly in the importance of religion. What institution does more to provide a wide range of information about all the world’s religions than the library?
In related news, this is what so-called conservatives aren't happy about when it comes to Kentucky libraries: KY Appeals Court: Library Taxes Legal
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Image of Mike Pence doing a crossword puzzle poorly from The Daily Beast
Facing a national uproar over a religious freedom law, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana said Tuesday that he wanted the measure changed by week’s end, even as he stepped up a vigorous defense of the law, rejecting claims that it would allow business to deny services to gays and lesbians.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to discriminate against anyone,” Mr. Pence, a Republican, said at a news conference in Indianapolis.
He acknowledged that the law, called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, had become a threat to the state’s reputation and economy, with companies and organizations signaling that they would avoid Indiana in response to it. Mr. Pence said he had been on the phone with business leaders from around the country, adding, “We want to make it clear that Indiana’s open for business.”
But the governor, clearly exasperated and sighing audibly in response to questions, seemed concerned mostly with defending the law and the intent behind it, saying, “We’ve got a perception problem,” not one of substance. He referred to “gross mischaracterizations,” “reckless reporting by some in the media,” “completely false and baseless” accounts of the law, and “the smear that’s been leveled against this law and against the people of Indiana.”
Via the New York Times
More than 80 people [in a community of about 4200] in Scott County have tested positive for H.I.V. since December, mostly in the last few weeks. They range in age from 20 to 56, and health officials say almost all of them live in Austin, which sits along Interstate 65 about 80 miles south of Indianapolis, surrounded by rural space. The outbreak, the worst in Indiana’s history, stems largely from the intravenous use of the prescription painkiller Opana, which everyone from the police to pastors to the owner of the city’s sole grocery recognizes as a plague on one ragged neighborhood in particular.
Via the New York Times: Gay Marriage State by State: a trickle became a torrent
Image and quote from Buzzfeed
"Lifestyle"? Really? What is this 1994?
Sen. Rand Paul said he doesn’t buy into the concept of gay rights because they are defined by a gay person’s lifestyle.
“I don’t think I’ve ever used the word gay rights, because I don’t really believe in rights based on your behavior,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters in a videotaped interview that has received little attention since it was recorded in 2013.
But it’s unclear how far — and to whom — Paul extends the argument that rights cannot be defined by behavior.
Practicing religion, for example, is a behavior enshrined as a primary American right. Free speech is behavior protected by the Bill of Rights. Likewise, a person’s right to be free from discrimination for his or her nation of origin — which entails the behavior of moving from one country to the United States — is embedded in America’s civil rights laws and broader code of values.
Does Paul believe those behaviors are protected rights?
Eleanor May, a spokesperson for Paul’s 2016 reelection campaign to the U.S. Senate, said the rights that count are those in the country’s founding charter. “What he is saying in this video is that he does not classify rights based on behavior, but rather recognizes rights for all, as our Constitution defines it,” May told BuzzFeed News.
“Sen. Paul is the biggest proponent for protecting the Bill of Rights, which, as you know, protects the rights of all Americans as stated in our Constitution,” May said.
The campaign did not reply to BuzzFeed News’ question seeking clarification on gay people’s rights not associated with their behavior.
Reports have shown gay people are the victims of persistent discrimination — perhaps most notably, in the workplace, as this Williams Institute report found — not because of any behavior they have engaged in, but for being gay or being perceived as gay. Of the 5,928 hate crimes reported by the FBI in December 2014, 20.8% were against people for their their sexual orientation, overwhelmingly in public places including streets, sidewalks, stores, schools, and public transit where victims are unlikely to be engaged in homosexual behavior.
This is not the only time Paul has commented on gay rights — not that he would call them that. Earlier in March, he said same-sex marriage “offends myself and a lot of people.” And last week, Paul argued same-sex marriage results from a “moral crisis” that will require “another Great Awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, ‘reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform.’”
Sadly, the only ways to fix what is happening in Indiana - repealing the law or declaring the LGBT+ community a protected class - Governor Mike Pence has already said aren't options.
More via NPR
That claim [that the Indiana's Religious Freedom is not an attempt to discriminate but to empower people] is impossible to square with his [Indiana Gov. Pence] refusal to consider a statewide law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination (about a dozen Indiana cities, including most of the largest ones, already have such laws). On Sunday, Mr. Pence said he agreed that it would be helpful to “clarify” the law’s intent, even though it is already perfectly clear. The freedom to exercise one’s religion is not under assault in Indiana, or anywhere else in the country. Religious people — including Christians, who continue to make up the majority of Americans — may worship however they wish and say whatever they like.
But religion should not be allowed to serve as a cover for discrimination in the public sphere. In the past, racial discrimination was also justified by religious beliefs, yet businesses may not refuse service to customers because of their race. Such behavior should be no more tolerable when it is based on sexual orientation.
...against the First Amendment? I mean, the language is "prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion...."
Via the Herald-Leader's Kentucky.com
As a lifelong liberal Democrat, former state treasurer Jonathan Miller was very disturbed to hear about Indiana's recently signed religious freedom law, which opponents fear could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Basketball luminaries such as Charles Barkley have said the NCAA Final Four shouldn't be held in Indiana because of it, and NCAA President Mark Emmert said Monday that his Indianapolis-based group might have to rethink holding major events there.
But on Monday, Miller was still looking for tickets to UK's game against Wisconsin on Saturday in Indianapolis.
"As a good progressive and a good liberal, I live in a state with a religious freedom law," he pointed out. "It's quite disturbing, but I'd be a hypocrite if I boycotted Indiana when I don't boycott my home state."
Kentucky passed its religious freedom law two years ago to ensure that government action does not interfere with religious belief protected by the First Amendment.
It, too, was bitterly fought over, and even vetoed by Gov. Steve Beshear before legislators overwhelmingly overrode the veto.
That bill emerged after a group of Amish refused to place orange safety signs on the backs of their buggies, saying the rule infringed on their religious freedom. Opponents warned that the law might be used instead to legalize discrimination.
The law has not provoked a rash of lawsuits in Kentucky, said Martin Cothran, a senior policy analyst for the Family Foundation of Kentucky, which helped shepherd the law through the General Assembly in 2013.
"All these charges that the apocalypse is going to come once these laws pass, that has never happened," Cothran said.
But the law has been cited in an appeal of a long-running discrimination case in Lexington.
Last year, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission determined that Hands On Originals violated the city's fairness ordinance and discriminated against the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington when it refused to print the group's Lexington Pride Festival T-shirts in 2012. The company argued that its Christian values disagreed with the T-shirts' message. The company appealed the commission's decision in Fayette Circuit Court last year.
The appeal, prepared by Jim Campbell, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, in Scottsdale, Ariz., argues that the commission's ruling — including an order requiring company employees to undergo diversity training — puts too much of a government burden on the owner's deeply held religious belief, therefore violating the state law. The appeal also argues the commission did not prove "compelling governmental interest" in infringing on the owner's refusal to print the shirts.
That fight between state laws and local fairness ordinances will continue, experts say.
Kentucky and 19 other states have religious freedom laws; Kentucky also has seven cities with fairness ordinances — Louisville, Lexington, Vicco, Covington, Morehead, Frankfort and Danville. Indianapolis also has such an ordinance.
It's not clear whether the state law could be used to overturn a city ordinance or vice versa, said Joe Dunman, a Louisville attorney who is part of the legal team in Bourke vs. Beshear, the case attempting to strike down Kentucky's ban on same sex marriage that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
As Dunman pointed out, in neither Kentucky nor Indiana is it illegal to discriminate against gay people, but many religious freedom advocates worry that those states will someday enlarge their constitutions' civil rights protections to include sexual orientation.
Still, the religious freedom laws are not "get out of trouble free cards" for potential discriminators, Dunman said. Those people would have to prove "a substantial burden" on their religious freedom.
There's also a federal version of the religious freedom law, which has had a bigger effect. In a decision involving Hobby Lobby last year, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the corporation that the federal health-care law's mandate for employers to provide birth control to employees would violate the company's religious freedom.
Amber Duke, spokeswoman for the ACLU of Kentucky, said the Indiana law seems like a reaction to the growing marriage equality movement. In the two years since Kentucky passed its religious freedom law, many courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans.
"As a country, we seem like we're in a different place than we were a couple of years ago," she said. "As marriage equality gains ground, there have been more religious freedom bills coming up in reaction."
But, she said, the vague language in most religious freedom bills will mean that courts ultimately decide whether state laws outweigh city fairness ordinances.
Chris Hartman, director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign, said UK fans should feel fine about heading west to the Final Four.
"What we say to fans is go to Indianapolis, have fun and if you are the victim of discrimination, file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission there," he said. "We think the fairness rules would stand up even against the freedom of religious laws."
As for Miller, he hopes the religion of basketball can outweigh disputes over religious freedom.
"I really doubt that everybody who voted for this is prejudiced against gays and lesbians," he said of the laws in Kentucky and Indiana. "I think they wanted to take a strong stance for religious freedom. I don't think everyone intended to discriminate, but my great fear is that is the intent."
Image via Insider Louisville. Here I'm using the map which shows the counties that Mitch McConnell won and lost in the last election as a metaphor for the places that have Fairness Ordinances in the state (the blue) vs. the rest of the state.
Kentucky governor Steve Beshear via Politico
Recalling Virginia's rationale for banning mix-race marriage 50 years ago, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage isn't discriminatory because neither gays nor straights can get gay married.
Via the Courier-Journal:
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the state's ban on gay marriage should be upheld in part because it is not discriminatory in that both gay and straight people are barred from marrying people of the same gender.
In an argument labeled absurd by gay marriage advocates, Beshear's lawyer says in a brief filed last week at the U.S. Supreme Court that "men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, cannot marry persons of the same sex" under Kentucky law, making the law non-discriminatory.
The argument mirrors that offered by the state of Virginia nearly 50 years ago when it defended laws barring interracial marriage there and in 15 other states, including Kentucky, by saying they weren't discriminatory because whites were barred from marrying blacks just as blacks were barred from marrying whites.
The Supreme Court in 1967 rejected that argument in the historic case of Loving v. Virginia, in which Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a black woman, were charged with a crime for marrying.
Monday, March 30, 2015
In December 1995, the FDA approved the release of protease inhibitors, the first effective treatment for AIDS. For countless people, the drug offered a reprieve from what had been a death sentence; for others, it was too late. In the United States alone, over 318,000 people had already died from AIDS-related complications—among them the singer Michael Callen and the poet Essex Hemphill.
Meticulously researched and evocatively told, The Battlefield of AIDS is the celebrated historian Martin Duberman’s poignant memorial to those lost to AIDS and to two of the great unsung heroes of the early years of the epidemic. Callen, a white gay Midwesterner who had moved to New York, became a leading figure in the movement to increase awareness of AIDS in the face of willful and homophobic denial under the Reagan administration; Hemphill, an African American gay man, contributed to the black gay and lesbian scene in Washington, D.C., with poetry of searing intensity and introspection.
A profound exploration of the intersection of race, sexuality, class, identity, and the politics of AIDS activism beyond ACT UP, The Battlefield of AIDS captures both a generation struggling to cope with the deadly disease and the extraordinary refusal of two men to give in to despair.
Image of John Thomas Scopes via CreoFire
Quote via Slate
We live in a nation where public acceptance of evolution is the second lowest of 34 developed countries, just ahead of Turkey. Roughly half of Americans reject some aspect of evolution, believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, and that humans coexisted with dinosaurs. Where I live, many believe evolution to be synonymous with atheism, and there are those who strongly feel I am teaching heresy to thousands of students. A local pastor, whom I’ve never met, wrote an article in the University Christian complaining that, not only was I teaching evolution and ignoring creationism, I was teaching it as a non-Christian, alternative religion.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
During the summer of ’69, Elliot Tiber helped start the gay liberation movement and saved the Woodstock Festival from cancellation. But some of the best and most significant events of Tiber’s life did not happen until After Woodstock.
In this third volume of his memoirs, following the critically acclaimed Palm Trees on the Hudson and his breakout bestseller Taking Woodstock, Tiber chronicles his hilarious, madcap, and often heartbreaking adventures in the entertainment industry. Guided as much by chutzpah as by his creative drive, Tiber travels around the world, always looking to grab the brass ring. And everywhere he goes, from Hollywood to Brussels, Tiber makes his indelible, irreverent, unique mark.
Along the way, Tiber meets the celebrated Belgian playwright and director André Ernotte. Over the course of his decades-long relationship with Ernotte, Tiber realizes his potential as a humorist and writer, and finds a way to cope with his difficult mother, whose second wedding in the hills of Israel gives new meaning to the Wailing Wall. The relationship is tested by the AIDS crisis and a string of professional disappointments, but ultimately endures the test of time. With Ernotte, Tiber finally learns the true meaning of love.
A passionate and joyful evocation of a very different time, After Woodstock reminds us how the search for love and meaning drives us forward.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
A photo posted by Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) on
Well, I mean Amanda Palmer is pregnant. Congratulations!
More via Buzzfeed