Monthly Archives: February 2014

Russia’s Gay-Bashing Culture, Ctd

The Dish

HRW highlights anti-gay assaults in Russia:

I just recorded a new Deep Dish podcast with Masha Gessen on the state-of-play in Russia (stay tuned). Meanwhile, Jeff Sharlet traveled to Russia to meet with LGBT activists and their opposition. He talked to Timur Isaev, who torments gay Russians:

As young men, he and his friends liked to hunt and beat gays. “For fun,” he says. But then he became a father. Like many parents, he worried about the Internet. Late at night, he studied it. He watched YouTube. “Girls,” he says, “young girls, undressing themselves.” Using a special “tool for developers,” he says, he was able to discern that the other people watching these videos at 2 a.m. were homosexual men. “The analysis of their accounts,” he says, “showed that they also watched young boys.” That’s when Timur realized he must become an activist. For the children.

Timur bought a video camera…

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“A Man’s-Man Game”

The Dish

Missouri v Mississippi

Marc Tracy eagerly awaits the draft, which is in May:

A comparison to Jason Collins, the National Basketball Association player who came out last spring, is instructive … Collins came out at age 34 and near or at the conclusion of his career as a professional athlete, having made a living playing ball for 12 years. Sam came out at age 24 and the very beginning of his career, with all of his earning years ahead of him. Especially given where they respectively are, Sam is simply better, and therefore risking more.

Sports Illustrated lets anonymous NFL insiders sound off:

“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still…

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What The Hell Just Happened In Kansas?

The Dish

68 peoples drug 18'wide

The bill that just overwhelmingly passed the Kansas House of Representatives is quite something. You can read it in its entirety here. It is premised on the notion that the most pressing injustice in Kansas right now is the persecution some religious people are allegedly experiencing at the hands of homosexuals. As Rush Limbaugh recently noted, “They’re under assault. You say, ‘Heterosexuality may be 95, 98 percent of the population.’ They’re under assault by the 2 to 5 percent that are homosexual.” As its sponsor, Charles Macheers, explained:

Discrimination is horrible. It’s hurtful … It has no place in civilized society, and that’s precisely why we’re moving this bill. There have been times throughout history where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular. This bill provides a shield of protection for that.

The remedy for such a terrible threat is, however, state…

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Saint Gilbert?

The Dish

800px-G._K._Chesterton_at_work

William Doino Jr. offers reasons why recent moves to explore sainthood for G.K. Chesterton, the portly, cigar-smoking Christian writer, might gain traction:

Evidence of Chesterton’s holiness begins with his lifelong resolve to heed Christ’s teaching: “Unless you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Throughout his life, Chesterton’s faith retained a child-like quality: Dorothy Collins, Chesterton’s secretary, said that “Chesterton was so excited by meeting the Pope [Pius XI], that he could not work for two days after,” writes biographer Ian Ker. “She also remembered vividly how distressed he was when he lost a medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary that he always wore.”

Another virtue of Chesterton was his remarkable ability to make friends with his intellectual opponents. No matter how heated his arguments became, he never lost sight of their common humanity; and proof of that is the…

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What Do Marriage Equality And Capital Punishment Have In Common?

The Dish

Scott Bland draws a parallel:

oimg-1Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to suspend the state’s death penalty Tuesday fits into a national trend. Eight states in the past decade have rolled back the death penalty, an accelerated pace mimicking the rapidly changing public opinion surrounding same-sex marriage that started at the same time. Public opinion over these two cultural wedge issues of the 1990s has changed dramatically since that time. And in blue states, both public opinion and public policy have moved significantly since Bill Clinton said Democrats “should no longer feel guilty about protecting the innocent” with capital punishment. (To prove he was tough on crime, Clinton left the campaign trail in 1992 to preside over the execution of convicted murderer Rickey Ray Rector.) Clinton also later signed the Defense of Marriage Act barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages two decades ago. Now, more than 100 million people live…

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10 Great Quotations from Writers about Work

Interesting Literature

‘Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do.’ – Oscar Wilde

‘I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.’ – Charles Lamb

‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ – Samuel Beckett

‘Work is more fun than fun.’ – Noel Coward

‘The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up and does not stop until you get into the office.’ – Robert Frost

stephenking

‘I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.’ – Jerome K. Jerome

‘Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.’ – Robert Benchley

‘I don’t do anything. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don’t even do that any more.’

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Ask a Character

When I Became an Author

Out of my four published books, The Night I Walked off of Boot Hill has been the most popular so far. After reading a post about an author interviewing her own character, I was inspired to put a new twist on this idea. Since I feel like I already know everything about my characters, I’m wondering what kind of question you (yes, YOU! The person reading this right now!!!) might have for my character. Today I’m talking about Barbados Tom from The Night I walked off of Boot Hill. For those of you who had read the book, or are just curious about this (fictional) old west outlaw, bring on the questions!!! 🙂

Once I’ve got several questions for Tom, I’ll make a post answering your questions.

I’m thinking about doing this every Monday for a new book character each week. I know I interviewed most of the characters from my upcoming…

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Congress Warned About Evolution of Jihadist Networks

GulfDogs

WASHINGTON – Terrorism experts warned Congress last week that Islamist terrorist groups are expanding in complex networks across the Middle East, highlighting the evolving nature of the threat these organizations pose to the region.

Seth Jones, a national security analyst with the RAND Corporation, told the House Armed Services Committee that there has been an increase in the number of Salafi jihadist groups, particularly in North Africa and the Levant. Al-Qaeda is the largest one, and all emphasize the importance of returning to a pure Islam and believe that violent jihad is a religious duty.

He said that while about a half-dozen terrorist groups have sworn allegiance to al Qaeda’s core, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, there now exists various Salafi jihadist groups that have not formally pledged allegiance to the militant group, and yet they share a common goal of establishing an extreme Islamic emirate.

“They are committed to establishing…

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Debates and Racism Over Coca-Cola Super Bowl Ad

Life Through the Big Screen

If you didn’t watch the Super Bowl last Sunday (or turned it off out of embarrassment), you missed an ad put out by Coca-Cola that has sparked much debate and criticism.

In my family, we prefer Coke over Pepsi, even though only one of us can taste the difference. A big reason is because of their ads. Commercials and expensive advertising must work; we drink Coke because of those cute polar bears and vintage Santa Clauses. Their ads are catchy and classy, as opposed to Pepsi whose ads tend to be trashy and inappropriate by comparison.

coca-cola_polar_bear_always_cool_1993-610x809

On Sunday, February 3, 2002, during the Super Bowl, Pepsi-Cola North America unveils a new Britney S..

And let’s face it: if I drank, I’d choose Budweiser for the same reason.

But Coke’s newest ad, which you can watch on the video above, was anything but classy, according to a lot of people.

For a whole minute, Americans from all nationalities and languages joined in in singing “America the Beautiful.”

My…

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Ebook company Kobo replaces its CEO with exec from Japanese parent company Rakuten

For all of us self-published authors:

Gigaom

Canadian ebook company Kobo, which was acquired by Japanese retail giant Rakuten in 2011, is replacing its founder and CEO Michael Serbinis with a Japanese executive, the company announced Tuesday. Takahito “Taka” Aiki, who was the CEO of Rakuten’s telecom company Fusion Communications, steps into the new role effective immediately, while Serbinis remains involved with the company as vice chairman.

According to Kobo’s announcement, Aiki “was responsible for the online business of Japan’s top bookstore and video rental company Tsutaya, where he helped grow its online membership by 250% in only two years” — though his LinkedIn(s IN) profile says that was from 2002 to 2004, long before the rise of ebooks. “The Kobo team is extremely talented and, working together, I look forward to driving Kobo’s leadership in e-reading,” Aiki said in a statement.

Serbinis said, “I welcome Takahito as Kobo’s new CEO, and look forward to achieving Kobo’s future…

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