Saturday, December 09, 2017

Tech giants, after Cloudflare and Stormer, warn of a slippery slope that can affect LGBTQ online speech and sites

Justine Quart writes a provocative post on tech that is very much of concern to the LGBTQ community, “Where the battle for free speech is being battled online.” 

Matthew Prince of Cloudflare and Ed Williams of Medium discuss the problem in the video on this article (on October).

Prince says that after be booted Cloudflare, he got over 3500 requests to boot other customers.  He says he is particularly concerned over the idea of getting demands from authoritarian countries to block LGBTQ content (and this probably could include Russia, although he didn’t name Putin). It sounds like this has been happening but not reported. 

It isn’t hard to see how this problem could mix in with the newest controversy over ending net neutrality, which would involve another set of companies.  There is definitely a lot of public confusion in distinguishing among publishers, distributors, social networks, and utilities. 
There are consequences to what we don’t see online as to what we do see. That's how I would warn people as a "gay conservative".

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Supreme Court hears Masterpiece Cakeshop oral arguments

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Human Rights Commission this morning, Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 10 AM.
First, I note that at 3:45 PM Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court website is down with Internal Server Errors, which could be a symptom of hacking rather than simply overloading. I’ll post their link for oral arguments as soon as it is available.

NBCNews has a detailed report and video..    CBS News covers the hearing here
The general consensus among most moderate observers is that the cakeshop cannot exclude gay customers, but it can refuse specific artwork common on wedding cakes for same-sex weddings on religious freedom grounds as a private entity.

But the cakeshop seems to have made the case more muddy by saying we don’t make products for gay weddings.  A wedding is not the same object as a person.  The shop apparently never got far enough to talk about artistic cake design. 

Media reports suggest a divided court.

The incident generating the case occurred in 2012, before Obergefell. 
I attended the demonstrations this morning and my report is here. At that link I also refer to the Cato Institute forum, which brings up the idea of “compelled speech”, and about the “regulation of speech” as opposed to “conduct”.   Cato also referred to cake-making as “sculpture” that can be copyrighted.    There is also mention of the 2000 Boy Scouts case. Should fashion designers be forced to make dresses for Melania Trump? 

George Will had taken up the "participation" issue, which National Review criticized. The New York Times has op-eds by Ria Tabacco Mar and David Brooks

Later today:

The SCOTUS website is back up, and the arguments are available now, as a PDF

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Sean Spicer, Sarah Palin get impersonated SNL style at a Freddie's drag show

I “checked in” at a bar for the first time ever on Facebook tonight after a movie, the impersonation contest at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Arlington, after a movie (“Marshall”) at nearby Potomac Yards.

The drag queens seem to be imitation political figures, especially Sarah Palin and her negative contribution to “Make America Great Again”, and then Sean Spicer, in falsetto, about to attack everyone from the podium.  Nobody imitated Trump with his $60,000 hair weave permanent while I was there.  (My mother used to get a permanent once every three months, took four hours.)  

The cover was $5 and I’m not sure what the prize was.

Freddie's is less than two miles from the Pentagon (an easy walk from Pentagon City or Crystal City) and you wonder if DOD planners knowledgeable about likely covert strikes against North Korea will come in for breaks from the gloom.  The country is, frankly, in serious trouble over this. That makes the reversal of Trump's trans ban (and the repeal of DADT in 2011) even more ironic. We probably need Kristin Beck in the Pentagon right now stopping Trump from being reckless.  It's also ironic that Kim Jong Un's intentional physical ugliness ("fat little rocket man") could become an emotional flash point as Trump imitates Milo Yiannopoulos's fat-shaming of Kim.  (CNN's Will Ripley had noted North Korean men's aversion to white men's hairy chests and big noses in his broadcast -- and then recently warned Trump about referring to Kim as a "puppy" on Twitter or in speeches -- the biggest insult yes.)

No one want to imitate Milo in a drag show yet. It's hard to be cis in a drag show.
We’re all waiting for the Masterpiece cake Supreme Court hearings Tuesday.  People (hardcore activists) are already camping out starting Sunday night. 

Friday night, HRC and Reel Affirmations screened “After Louie”.  Zachary Booth looks like the next hot star, in the fashion of Timo Descamps.  RA is quite unwilling to discuss its not screening “Lavender Scare” as covered in the Blade. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

DC Center holds "Small Business Saturday"; can estates help asylum seekers?

The DC Center for the LGBT Community held a “Small Business Saturday” this afternoon, Nov. 25.

I’ve posted some video from it on a Wordpress site, here

I was particularly intrigued by the booth for the book publisher Redbone Press, whch I will discuss soon on my books blog.
I did have some informal conversation about the asylum seeker problem now.  Since I have sold my estate house and moved into a smaller condo, I am not presently in a circumstance to host.  I’ll say in very general terms, my mother’s estate increased in liquidity as a result of the event.  It’s possible to conceive of purchasing an interest in a shelter or home for asylum seekers.  But the terms of the trust would require that it actually hold a title (not give it away), and that such a purchase would be a responsible thing to do from a fiduciary viewpoint. That would tend to mean that residents would have to be able to pay rent or find some subsidy for it.  This is a general observation on how inherited estates are likely to address a need like this. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Trump administration digs in, appeals DC court opinion on transgender ban

The DOJ has appealed an order from a DC court reversing Trump’s transgender ban, although it was a Maryland court that also turned it down this week.  Chris Johnson has the story in the Washington Blade here

Trump seems have dug himself into a hole with that tweetstorm this summer, over an issue that plays to his “base” but has very little effect on military readiness. 

The Blade carried the defendant’s notice of appeal here
Capitol Hill observed a Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.  A single protester disrupted the event in DC,  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

DC Center Thanksgiving Dinner

As with last year, I had Thanksgiving Dinner today at the DC Center.  There were about 30 people, including a few asylum seekers.

Before the food, there was a little 4-player Blokus game, as a kind of stadium gladiator event.  Remember, you have to put your pieces down adjacent to the color-coded pieces of opponents, but you can only attach diagonally to your own. It’s similar to the idea that pawns capture on adjacent files in chess but can move forward on the same file if the square is unoccupied. David Mariner won by two tokens (when no more pieces can be put down, the player with the fewest remaining pieces wins – but it is mathematically possible for that number to be zero).

In the meantime, I was passing around a smartphone with a beefcake picture of world chess champion Magnus Carlsen as a male model on the beach from Google images.  Here’s the notorious game that he lost with White in 22 moves (to a neo-Grunfeld). 

At the dinner, there was less talk of politics than last year, even if there was deference to resistance to Trump. 

Maybe I should buy the DC Center a chess set for the game room.

But there are also Go and Backgammon to consider.  Nobody plays Poker there;  there is no sense of Vegas. 

Note the blue lounge chair -- "The Puffy Chair" as in the Duplass movie. 

Also note the Blade article on the Colorado male couple and the Masterpiece Cakeshop case.  Libertarianism is taking a back seat to the abstractions of discrimination.

While we're on the subject of "game night", the Redskins won their first Thanksgiving home game at FedEx Field tonight against the Giants, 20-10.  Don't know if anyone from the dinner went.  I went to the movies at Landmark downtown after dinner. I could even have tried Atlantic Plumbing. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Liberal publications want to exile gay conservatives

Breitbart, and a Facebook post by Milo Yiannopoulos, have called out an article in the Guardian, “The Troubling Ascent of the LGBT right wing” by Arwa Mahdawi, link here
There is talk of “pink washing” of “white nationalism”, and that the idea that the gay right, believing it hs moved away from the group loyalty of modern identity politics, has succumbed to the “oldest form of identity politics”.
But Michael Musto in Out gets much more explicit when he admonishes, “What to do when your friend is a gay Republican”, link.   Short answer: unfriend or block him.

But is “inaction” an offense?  What about refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns?