C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vito Russo's Our Time, Episode 3

Episode 2 is missing from this YouTube collection, but Episode 3 aired on WNYC-TV on January 26, 1983:

Abbot and Costello: 13 x 7 = 28

Some arithmetic exercises to start your day with a chuckle.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Marriage News Watch, 7/21/14

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

And some long-awaited good news today from the White House, the Washington Post reports:
President Barack Obama on Monday gave employment protection to gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, after being convinced by advocates of what he called the “irrefutable rightness of your cause.”

“America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people,” Obama said at a signing ceremony from the White House East Room. He said it is unacceptable that being gay is still a firing offense in most places in the United States. . . .

Since Obama announced that he would take executive action, he’s faced pressure from opposing flanks over whether he would include an exemption for religious organizations. He decided to maintain a provision that allows religious groups with federal contracts to hire and fire based upon religious identity, but not give them any exception to consider sexual orientation or gender identity. Churches also are able to hire ministers as they see fit. . . .

The change for federal contracting will impact some 24,000 companies with 28 million workers, or one-fifth of the U.S. workforce. Many large federal contractors already have employment policies barring anti-gay workplace discrimination. However, the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School estimates that the executive order would extend protections to about 14 million workers whose employers or states currently do not have such nondiscrimination policies.

While few religious organizations are among the biggest federal contractors, they do provide some valued services, including overseas relief and development programs and re-entry programs for inmates leaving federal prisons. . . .

Obama also amended an order signed by President Richard Nixon in 1969 to prevent discrimination against federal workers based on race, religion, gender, nationality, age or disability. President Bill Clinton added sexual orientation, and Obama will include gender identity in a change that will immediately take effect.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Republican Mom Defends Transgender Kid

Debi Jackson, a self-described "conservative Southern Baptist Republican from Alabama" shares the story of her daughter A. J., who transitioned from male to female at age 4, in this speech given last May in Kansas City:

The family was profiled in the Kansas City Star in February of this year.  Debi has set up a blog called Trans-Parenting to help bring attention and clarity to the issue of transgender children.

Sunday Drive: I Can Hear Music

I may just do a string of Sunday Drives featuring some of my favorite beach music while the summer lasts, which as it happens is relatively mild this year here in Texas.  Enjoy.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Holy Crap, Electric Bacteria

Geobacter rockin' the electron gobble.

New Scientist reports:
Unlike any other life on Earth, these extraordinary bacteria use energy in its purest form – they eat and breathe electrons – and they are everywhere.

STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein's monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these "electric bacteria" are very real and are popping up all over the place.

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity. . . .

The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. "It is truly foreign, you know," says Nealson. "In a sense, alien."

Nealson's team is one of a handful that is now growing these bacteria directly on electrodes, keeping them alive with electricity and nothing else – neither sugars nor any other kind of nutrient. The highly dangerous equivalent in humans, he says, would be for us to power up by shoving our fingers in a DC electrical socket.

This modern world is just Too.Fucking.Weird. Can I please have a ticket back to the nice, quiet, normal 20th century? Pleeease?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Waitin' for the Weekend

Another Win for Marriage in Oklahoma

Freedom to Marry reports:
Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Oklahoma in January. It is the second ruling by a federal appellate court since last year's victory in the Supreme Court and, unless reversed, will pave the way for the freedom to marry throughout the 10th Circuit, including in Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas. Last month, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of marriage in a Utah case, Kitchen v. Herbert.

The ruling is stayed pending further action, which could include an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The state of Utah has already said that it will ask the United States Supreme Court to review its case, which received a ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last month.

Full text of the case, Bishop v. Smith, here.

Photos and background of the four plaintiffs here.

And a news report on plaintiffs Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin's ten-year legal case, produced at the time of the district court's ruling in their favor last January:

And in other news, marriage equality in Utah must wait a while longer, USA Today reports:
In a minor victory for opponents of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court ruled late Friday that Utah can ignore for now the marriages of more than 1,000 couples hitched there in late December and early January.

The apparently unanimous order blocked a decision issued by a federal district judge in May that required the state to recognize those marriages, even though it was appealing its loss on the broader question of allowing gay and lesbian marriages.

The state has since lost that appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, but it will ask the Supreme Court to take the case. (Oklahoma lost a similar appeal on Friday.) In the meantime, it won the court's blessing to keep those early marriages on hold.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Marriage OK'd in Key West

Weddings can begin next Tuesday, the 22nd, in fabulous Key West, Florida, but this is only a partial victory.  The ruling is by a state circuit judge, not a federal judge, and applies only to Monroe County, not the entire state. Freedom to Marry reports on the ruling.

The ruling applies only to couples who get hitched in Monroe County, not to couples who already got married out of state.  Full text of the ruling here.

Brits vs. Americans: Who's Smarter?

Anglophenia has a cute little YouTube series I'll be sharing here on the Blue Truck - here's Episode 1:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Andrews Sisters Meet the Supremes

Seriously. Just ran across this charming set from 1966, thought I'd share it with you fellas. Film quality is crappy, but the sound is great.

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