Thursday, March 31, 2016

Random Musings

I was at my dentist’s office this morning and while getting a cleaning, I lay back in the chair and they have covered their overhead lights with pictures.

Waterfalls and forests to make me forget that this girl I have never met is millimeters from my face with her hands in my mouth.

Peaceful, eh?
Last weekend we saw ‘Pride,’ a British film based on a true story about how LGBT advocates in England worked to help out miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.

It was a good film, but what I loved was a simple message early on about how, when you are a group of people being discriminated against, then it is your duty to help any other group suffering discrimination because if it isn’t ‘us’ feeling the pain, it’s someone else, and if it’s someone else, then you can guarantee that one day it’ll be ‘us’.

And it didn’t hurt that the film starred one Andrew Scott, left, and Ben Schnetzer, right.


Eye candy.
So, remember when the FBI was gonna sue Apple to unlock the terrorist’s phone, and Apple said they didn’t know how and I called BS?

Well, it might still be BS, but the FBI found a way to unlock the phone and now Apple says they want that technology.

I still call BS.
While we were watching the Bigots Of North Carolina, AKA the GOP, roll back anti-LGBT discrimination ordinances because, well, how dare anyone say The Gays and our Trans Brothers and Sisters need protection from discrimination, this happened in Delaware:

The state has quietly become the 15th in the nation to prohibit insurance companies from limiting health care coverage for transgender individuals; as a result, private insurers will no longer be allowed to deny, cancel, terminate or refuse to issue healthcare plans based on a person’s gender identity.

In addition, insurance companies will not be allowed to impose different premiums or rates based on a person’s identity and the policy in-hand applies to any person, even one undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart issued a bulletin stating that a denial or cancellation will now be considered a violation under Delaware’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.

So, just a little reminder that not every state is North Carolina.

The march goes on …
The people that brought you Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder have unleashed a new slick sexy private eye caper to your TV sets, and it’s called The Catch.

I’d like to “catch” Alimi Ballard, top, Jacky Ido, bottom left, and Jay Hayden, bottom right, if you know what I mean.
Sam Nunberg was an aide to Donald [t]Rump and his campaign but he was fired for referring to Al Sharpton’s daughter using the N-word and referring to Obama as a “Kenyan Muslim” and “Socialist Marxist Islamo Fascist Nazi Appeaser.”

Nunberg has resurfaced to endorse Texas Senator Ted Cruz because, he now says, [t]Rump refused to distance himself from racists. So, um, Sam, why the endorsement?
“The last straws were the KKK Tapper interview.”
That was the CNN interview in which Trump did not disavow the support of former KKK leader David Duke but, seriously, someone like Sam Nunberg, who blatantly spews racist remarks expects anyone to believe he left [t]Rump for Cruz because of racism?

Bitch.Please.
From our Get The &%$@ Off Social Media comes the story of Brit Ben Innes pausing to take a selfie with suspected terrorist-hijacker-jilted-ex-husband, Seif Eldin Mustafa.

Yes, he did. He stood right beside Mustafa, who hijacked an EgyptAir plane, while Mustafa was wearing what, at the time, was believed to be a suicide belt.

Seriously? Reminds me of the time I stopped by Sharon Tate’s house and asked the Manson Family to take a snapshot with me while they were in the middle of murdering a group of people.

Seriously. It’s enough you Social media whores.
Great news in the area of trans visibility … Ben Melzer, second from right, has become the first trans person to ever cover a men’s fitness magazine by appearing on the cover of the April issue of Men’s Health Europe.

Bravo, sir, bravo!
Meanwhile, on the Hate Side of trans, “Stand with McCrory” — as in North Carolina Bigot Governor Pat McCrory — a new disgusting fundraising site paid for by the North Carolina Republican Senatorial Committee, features an image of the Bigot Governor and a man—one of those nonexistent trans predators they’re trying to scare everyone about—entering a women’s bathroom.

Fear.Mongers. The site then says:
“Stand with Gov. McCrory and PROTECT OUR CHILDREN: The ACLU and other radical, left-wing special-interest groups are suing North Carolina to create an extreme national mandate forcing women and young girls to share locker rooms and bathrooms with grown men. Thank NC Governor Pat McCrory and Legislative Leaders for fighting to keep our children safe and passing a common-sense law to stop grown men from sharing locker rooms and bathrooms with young girls.”
I think McCrory needs to sit down, and hopefully, come November, the good people of North Carolina will send him packing and put a Democrat in his place.

ISBL Asshat of the Week: Nebraska GOP State Senator Bill Kintner

Some folks get on an anti-LGBT tear and there’s just no stopping ‘em …

Days after voting to kill a proposal to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in Nebraska, Republican … of course … state Senator Bill Kintner took to the radio to explain that gays don’t deserve protected class status because … “men in dresses.”

Oh, but he did. Kintner argued that there are no problems with discrimination in Nebraska and that the US Constitution allows people to violate gay individuals’ civil rights, and that businesses should be able to “make it known” if they don’t want to serve LGBT people by providing them with bad service.

Oh, but he did. And then he dared Nebraskans to vote him out of office if they don’t like his positions on LGBT equality:
“When there’s a majority of people in our state that thinks [LBGT rights are an] important issue, and thinks that they want representation to do that, it’ll happen. There were 40,000 people who elected me to represent them … they sent me down here to do this job.”
To hate; to legislate hate; and, well, to be a dick. Of course, Kintner’s comments are coming at a time when states everywhere are passing, or trying to pass, so-called “religious discrimination” laws that allow people to discriminate against LGBT Americans because the Baby Jeebus said so, though where in the Bible that speech occurs, I have no idea.

And Bill Kintner is the worst of a large, sad, pathetic, hate-filled bunch because he says LGBT individuals don’t deserve a protected class status and then explained it like this:
“So if you get an employee who is habitually late — he’s just not a very good employee — and you sit him down and say ‘Joe, you’re late too often, you don’t get your work done on time, you’re not doing the job right, you’ve gotta straighten up or we’re going to replace you. And he says, ‘You know, I feel like a woman today. Now we’ve got a whole problem if you’re trying to get rid of him.”
Oh, but he did. And when he was confronted with his stupidity by radio host Matt Tompkins, who reminded Bill Kintner that transgender people don’t choose their gender identity, Kintner said:
“Let’s think about Bruce Jenner. Because he wears a dress, does that make him a woman? Of course it doesn’t. Of course it doesn’t.”
First off, dick, her name is Caitlyn, and maybe you should educate yourself about gender identity before you flap your lips again … like that’ll happen.

Tomkins then reminded elected official Kintner that the First Amendment doesn’t grant anyone the right to discriminate against other people and violate their civil rights, something the Constitution also protects, and Kintner said that it does: discrimination is in the Constitution:
“Well, if you have a restaurant, and they’re not overtly discriminating but, you know, they’re kind of making it known that you know, we don’t like men sitting around in dresses, you now, that stuff takes care of itself. Word will get out that this place doesn’t serve everyone. It doesn’t give everyone equal treatment. If you’re a man wearing a dress it takes you an hour to get waited on, and for everyone else it takes 20 minutes … that’s called bad service.”
It’s called discrimination, and when we pass laws against Asshattery, and how Asshats should not be treated equally, I will be standing at the front of that protest line arguing that, while I don’t necessarily agree with asshats, and I don’t really understand asshats, asshats are people, too. And they deserve to be treated equally and hopefully reeducated so they stop saying stupid things … even though that is their right.

I’d still call them out on being an asshat, but, hey, no one’s perfect.

Bill Kintner, the ISBL Asshat of the Week.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Architecture Wednesday: Casa Chontay

This home is on a large rural plot south-east of Lima, if you follow the 25 mile driveway from the road that borders the Lurin River; the road that leads to the house is surrounded by a beautiful landscape where stone, wood, clay and local flora stand out.

The house sits about 229 feet above the river so the views are spectacular, and with the ample amounts of stone, clay and wood found onsite, there was no need for additional building materials to be trucked in.

Still, choosing an exact location on which to build the home was challenging and lead to a solution of two independent volumes articulated by a garden lined up with the existing trees and the valley which allows the homeowners to have constant connection with nature and outdoor activities.

Access to the house is via a pedestrian pathway through a field and one enters the living, dining and kitchen spaces. The lower volume has an open hall to the three bedrooms, an attic, 2 bathrooms and the terrace.

It’s not a large house, but it maximizes the views, and the terrain, and the environment, making it a perfect home to sip wine and watch the sunset, to create your own fruit and vegetable gardens, and the enjoy the lush surroundings.

It’s a drive to get to the house, but it seems to be worth it.

Big Business Takes On North Carolina Over Hate Law

Dear Governor McCrory,

We write with concerns about legislation you signed into law last week, HB 2, which has overturned protections for LGBT people and sanctioned discrimination across North Carolina. Put simply, HB 2 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies, of our country, or even the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.

We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development. We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the nation. It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity.

Discrimination is wrong and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you and the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session.

Sincerely,

Karen Appleton, Senior Vice President, Box
Brandee Barker, Cofounder, The Pramana Collective
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce
Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.
Michael Birch, Founder, Blab
Ed Black, President and CEO, Computer & Communications Industry Association
Nathan Blecharczyk, Cofounder and CTO, Airbnb
Steven R. Boal, CEO, Quotient Technology Inc.
Lorna Borenstein, CEO, Grokker
Brad Brinegar, Chairman and CEO, McKinney
Lloyd Carney, CEO, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.
Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb
Ron Conway, Founder and Co-Managing Partner, SV Angel
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Dean Debnam, Chairman and CEO, Workplace Options
Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square and Twitter
David Ebersman, Cofounder and CEO, Lyra Health
Jared Fliesler, General Partner, Matrix Partners
Joe Gebbia, Cofounder and Chief Product Officer, Airbnb
Jason Goldberg, CEO, Pepo
Alan King, President and COO, Workplace Options
Kristen Koh Goldstein, CEO, BackOps
Mitchell Gold, co-founder and chair-man, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
John H. Graham IV, President and CEO, American Society of Association Executives
Logan Green, CEO, Lyft
Paul Graham, Founder, Y Combinator
David Hassell, CEO, 15Five
Charles H. Hill III, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources, Pfizer Inc.
Reid Hoffman, Chairman, LinkedIn
Robert Hohman, Cofounder & CEO, Glassdoor
Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox
Chad Hurley, Cofounder, YouTube
Dave Imre, Partner and CEO, IMRE
Dev Ittycheria, President & CEO, MongoDB
Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective
Cecily Joseph, VP Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer, Symantec Corporation
David Karp, Founder and CEO, Tumblr
Travis Katz, Founder and CEO, Gogobot
Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel                 
Joshua Kushner, Managing Partner, Thrive Capital
Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm
Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson
Shan-lyn Ma, CEO, Zola
Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo
Melody McCloskey, CEO, StyleSeat
Douglas Merrill, CEO, Zestfinance
Dyke Messinger, President and CEO, Power Curbers Inc.
Hari Nair, Vice President and General Manager, Orbitz.com & CheapTickets.com
Michael Natenshon, CEO, Marine Layer
Alexi G. Nazem, Cofounder and CEO, Nomad Health
Laurie J. Olson, EVP, Strategy, Portfolio and Commercial Operations, Pfizer Inc.
Bob Page, Founder and CEO, Replacements, Ltd.
Michelle Peluso, Strategic Advisor and former CEO, Gilt
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
Mark Pincus, Founder and Executive Chairman, Zynga
Hosain Rahman, CEO, Jawbone
Bill Ready, CEO, Braintree
Evan Reece, CEO, Liftopia
Stan Reiss, General Partner, Matrix Partners
John Replogle, CEO, Seventh Generation
Virginia M. Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM Corporation
Dan Rosensweig, CEO, Chegg
Kevin P. Ryan, Founder and Chairman, Alleycorp
Bijan Sabet, General Partner, Spark Capital
Julie Samuels, President, Engine
George A. Scangos, PhD, CEO, Biogen
Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal
Adam Shankman, Director and Producer
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association
David A. Shaywitz, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, DNAnexus
Ben Silbermann, CEO, Pinterest
Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft
Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International
David Spector, Cofounder, ThirdLove
Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp
Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip
Todd Thibodeaux, CEO, CompTIA
David Tisch, Managing Partner, BoxGroup
Nirav Tolia, Cofounder and CEO, Nextdoor
Kevin A. Trapani, President and CEO, The Redwood Groups
Ken Wasch, President, Software & Information Industry Association
Bob & Harvey Weinstein, Co-Founders and Co-Chairmen, The Weinstein Company
Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook

If You Think Voting Doesn't Matter Think Again

I get tired of people who saying voting doesn’t matter … and then bitch about politicians and politics. I have a rather simple philosophy:
Vote… or shut the f**k up.
And I am annoyed by folks who are Bernie supporters who say they won’t vote Hillary in November because they want Bernie or no one because, if you follow that logic and you don’t vote, prepare yourself for a President [t]Rump or a President Cruz next year. And then shut the f**k up about that, too.

Now, before any Bernie fans get twisted, I say the same to Hillary voters who say they won’t vote Bernie if he gets the nod. It plays out like this: the GOP wins when Democrats stay home, and we cannot afford a Republican in office, so you need to vote Blue.

Oh, you need some proof of that? Here goes:

Yesterday — on the heels of GOP Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s veto of that so-called “religious freedom” bill — the Democratic Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, announced that he will rescind the sweeping anti-LGBT executive order his predecessor, Republican Bobby Jindal, signed into law last May that allowed businesses and state agencies to turn away LGBT people based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Yup, because people in Louisiana went out and voted Blue in their last election, the state’s Hate Law is done. Voting matters; voting Blue matters. And if you don’t, well then, shut the f**k up when things turn ugly.

PS Governor Edwards also plans to sign an executive order extending nondiscrimination protections to LGBT government employees and contractors.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The GOP and Bathrooms

I have been wondering lately about the GOP and bathrooms, since Republicans seem hell-bent on passing laws deciding who can use what bathroom.

See, Republicans feel that transgender people go into bathrooms to sexually assault regular folks instead of going into bathrooms, or locker rooms, to pee or change clothes, or whatever, even though statistics prove that there has never been one trans person arrested for sexual misconduct in a public bathroom anywhere, ever.

But they use fear; the fear that cisgender — a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex, i.e. not transgender — men will don women’s clothes to use a women’s bathroom to assault or ogle women.

Um, okay, well, then wouldn’t that make for a law saying that cisgender men cannot use public restrooms? I mean, why you gotta punish trans folks for the perverted nature of some cisgender men?

That’s point one: punish the perverts who would sexually assault women in bathrooms, not the trans people who just want to pee.

Point two: punish the Republicans who use bathrooms, because, as I said, while there has not been one arrest of a trans person doing anything other than peeing in a bathroom, we have seen a few cases of Republicans using bathrooms for, well, other things:
In 1981, Mississippi Congressman Jon Hinson was arrested for engaging in oral sex with a male staffer in the House of Representatives bathroom and yet no law was passed in Mississippi to keep Hinson from using the men’s room.
In 2007, Idaho Republican Larry Craig was arrested in the restroom of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer and, again, no GOP lawmakers tried to keep Craig from his Wide Stance.
Also in 2007, Florida state Representative Bob Allen was arrested after he agreed to give an undercover police officer $20 for oral sex in the men’s room of a public park; no laws passed there either.
So, is the problem trans people using the bathroom, or is the problem Republicans using the bathroom?

And if it’s the GOP doing the nasty in the boy’s room, why are Republican legislators trying to single out and punish transgender people for using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity … in states like Kansas, North Carolina and South Dakota; other states such as Arizona, Florida, Texas and Kentucky were also looking at enacting so-called ‘bathroom bills,’ targeted at transgender people.

Let’s hear from one of those fear-mongering Republicans, Florida State Representative Frank Artiles who sponsored the Single Sex Public Facilities bill:
“While I understand there are transgender people who want to use bathrooms however they want to feel, that is irrelevant to me.”
In other words, he doesn’t care that a trans person has to pee because he’s uncomfortable, which kinda makes me wonder if he’d be fine sharing a men’s room with Larry Craig, Bob Allen or Jon Hinson.

And when Frank Artiles was asked to name a case, one case, any case, where a trans person had tried anything funny in the bathroom, he could not cite one single example … because there are none.

Look, it’s fear, plain and simple, and it’s how the GOP operates; it’s lies, and, again, it’s how the GOP operates, but, given the way things have played out, we should not be afraid of a trans person in the bathroom, but we should be terrified of having a Republican in the next stall.

Just sayin’.

Oh, and here are just a few people who, according to the new law in North Carolina, need to  rethink where they can pee ...

In South Carolina ...

… because we have a law on the books that, perhaps unintentionally, fails to protect domestic violence victims in same-sex relationships and since that feels all kinds of unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court is trying to decide what to do.

Um, change the law seems the simple choice, but, as we’ve come to learn about South Carolina, the state “don’t do simple.”

It all began when a woman tried to get a protective order against her former fiancée, also a woman, and was denied because the state’s domestic violence law defines “household members” as a spouse, former spouse, people with a child in common, or specifically men and women who are or have lived together , but does not mean unmarried same-sex couples.

I have a thought, howsabout rewording the law from “man and wife” to “spouse”? Howsabout rewording the law and making it gender-neutral? Then it would apply to two male spouses, two female spouses, two opposite-sex spouses … or two people. Simple, but alas, South Carolina.

Perhaps the state could take a page from Ohio, where the same issue came up and that state’s Supreme Court adopted the use of gender-neutral references in family court cases.

Huh, where did I hear that … oh, yeah, I said it.

South Carolina Chief Justice Costa Pleicones is just as flummoxed by the law:
“The only people who are not protected under this statute right now are same-sex cohabiters or former cohabiters, is that it? This statute is pretty clearly unconstitutional in its discriminatory impact upon same-sex couples. So tell me, what’s the remedy?”
Semantics. Change the wording. Call someone in charge in Ohio and ask how they did it.

But wait, it gets more stupid, because the law used to apply to anyone, same-sex or opposite sex; it applied to fathers beating sons; against the law. It applied to Mama’s beating their daughters; a crime. Husbands and wives; two men living together.

They were all guilty of committing the crime of domestic violence but a while back South Carolina changed the wording in the law making it restrictive to male-female couples only, which Associate Justice Don Beatty says clearly shows that state lawmakers were specifically keeping same-sex, unmarried couples from being included under South Carolina’s criminal domestic statute.

Naturally, state prosecutor Emory Smith has a differing view and says the changes were part of a “general cleanup” of the law, but that the overall intent of which was to protect people … even if it doesn't protect all people. And he feels that the law doesn’t need to be rewritten but instead suggests the court simply interpret the law as “male or female,” not “male and female.”

Except that’s not the way the law was written, it is not the wording in the law, so any court in this state, any police department , can say that a same-sex couple does not deserve protections from domestic violence.

Just change the words. Protect all South Carolinians from domestic violence.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Georgia Governor Vetoes Hate Bill But GOP Threatens A Fight

Earlier today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced he will veto HB 757 — that so-called "religious freedom" bill that was really an anti-LGBT bill — in part because discrimination is wrong and because hate could have cost Georgia a pretty penny. Dozens of multi-national corporations warned they would leave the state if that discriminatory bill becomes law, and over 500 companies have joined Georgia Prospers, a coalition devoted to opposing discrimination. 
“Our people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way. For that reason, I will veto HB 757.”
Naturally Deal’s veto has pissed off those religious conservatives who believe the Baby Jeebus actually said, Discrimination is good, if it’s against The Gays.

And even though Deal said he wouldn’t kowtow to threats by big business, he does know how Georgia fills her coffers: the state enjoys a $1.7 billion film and television industry, and many of those companies—Disney, Time Warner, AMC, Viacom—urged the governor to veto the bill. In addition, the NFL warned that it would not allow a Superbowl to be held in the state under such discrimination.

Money talks, y’all, but some Republicans in the state aren’t listening, and from the moment Governor Deal announced his veto, state lawmakers threatened to convene a special session for the sole purpose of overriding Deal’s veto.

State GOP Senator Mike Crane, who is also running for Congress, instantly launched a campaign to convince fellow lawmakers that an "emergency" exists and that they must return to the state capitol to override his upcoming veto.

And, luckily, that might prove daunting; three-fifths of House and Senate members have to 'certify to the governor in writing … that in their opinion an emergency exists in the affairs of the state.'" And that would require 108 members of the House and 34 members of the Senate to call themselves back in to work, which may prove difficult since the original bill itself received only 104 of the 118 GOP members of the Georgia House and of 37 of the 39 Republican members of the Senate.

But Mike Crane will not go silently:
"This fight is not over. Today I am calling for a special session to override the Governor’s veto and protect the First Amendment rights of law abiding and hardworking voters throughout this state."
Except, you know, The Gays.

A special session to override Deal’s veto would cost Georgia taxpayers at least $41,000 a day.

Like I said, Hate costs.
GA GOP Threatens To Override Veto