Christmas Eve punk from Alex Baze

Car-with-bow Alex Baze twitter tweet

Google Doodle on Lucy steams the wingnuts

Christian conservatives are unhappy with the Google Doodle (see above) celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of Lucy.

Witness the stupidity. Someone call the waaahmbulance:

Lucy Google Doodle wingnuts

Three more days until Black Friday®

In honor of this uniquely American tradition, I will post a new Black Friday item every day until the blessed event  during which we all kick off the Season of Love with rampant consumerism. 

Today we enjoy a South Park take on this magical mystery of a day.

But first our intrepid grade schoolers must settle the most contentious of age-old dilemmas: XBox or Playstation?Black Friday South Park

Colo. juries buck prosecutors on weed and driving

Colorado weed marijuana jury nullification

Prosecutors in Colorado are concerned that juries in the Rocky Mountain state keep practicing jury nullification and letting people off the hook when arrested for driving while high on weed.

It appears, however, that at least one jury did weigh the evidence in the case of Melanie Brinegar, a medical marijuana user whose THC level in her blood was over the Colorado legal limit:

Brad Wood served as foreman on Brinegar’s jury,

“The law allows you to infer that the person was impaired if they have over 5 ng/ml. But you may also feel free not to infer that and in any case use all the evidence to make your judgement,” Wood

He says Brinegar’s defense attorney, Colin McCallin, highlighted this difference from alcohol on a poster board that hung in the courtroom.

Wood thinks the law was poorly written.

“If the law says we strongly encourage you to weigh this as the biggest factor, I think it would have been a whole different story.”

Wood said the jury believed Brinegar when she testified, “When I smoke I don’t get high.”

So while the THC level in her blood was over the state limit, she says that doesn’t mean her driving was affected and police did not witness her driving erratically.

“If the officer said, ‘We saw her weave,’ it probably would have been a different story,” said Wood.

Wood said jurors tried doing roadside maneuvers on their own and some completely sober jurors failed. So they concluded Brinegar may have been legally high, but wasn’t really impaired.

Seems reasonable. 

Prosecutors around the U.S. may have a simple incentive for ramping up marijuana-related arrests: money.

Police and prosecutors have long used simple marijuana possession arrests to use asset forfeiture laws to seize all manner of property — cars, boats, cash, etc. — which then goes into their coffers to buy everything from office furniture to surplus military hardware under the guise of law enforcement. When Colorado voters legalized marijuana those funds went away.

If police and prosecutors can inflate weed and driving numbers, those might be useful in repealing or blocking marijuana legalization efforts elsewhere.

One suspects that these jury nullification efforts by ordinary citizens are their way of letting police and prosecutors know they are being scrutinized on these matters, including weed and driving.

Pro skier clarifies Gus Kenworthy remarks

Gus Kenworthy Attitude magazine skiiing skiers Alex Schlopy Outports
Pro skier Gus Kenworthy.

So this happened:

  1. Gay pro skier Gus Kenworthy comes out.
  2. Longtime friend and straight teammate Alex Schlopy calls him “selfish” in an I-want-attention kind of way, and questions whether Kenworthy’s motives are pure
  3. Kenworthy (and gay sports site Outsports) pile onto Schlopy, with Outsports opining that “Schlopy’s view that coming out publicly is a selfish act (let alone comparing it to being a drug addict) shows he has no idea what gay people go through. “
  4. Schlopy then clarifies his remarks in an Outsports column he wrote, saying:

When my great friend, fellow skier and competitor Gus Kenworthy came out openly as gay, I was thrilled for him. I was so happy that Gus could finally be free from a secret that had been tearing at him for so long, and also to be a role model for many people, of all ages, dealing with the same issues. Gus is a very strong person and a very talented athlete and I’m proud he can finally stand up and be who he is. To me, people are beautiful regardless of their sexual orientation if they are a good person.

Soon after he came out, I wrote some posts on Instagram that made me look very close-minded. It made it appear as if I was bothered that Gus had come out, and that is the furthest thing from the truth. I believe everyone has the right to be who they are and not be discriminated against for it. I hope, and believe, one day more people will start to open their minds as well, and this includes the community of freeskiers and snowboarders.

I didn’t ever intend to start a fire and think some people used selective quotes to misrepresent my beliefs about Gus. This saddens me and denigrates my views on the LGBT community, because I fully support equality. Gus’ coming out to me was never anything “surprising” but was more of like, “YES!!!!” I’m stoked for you dude!”

I do stand by my feelings that Gus at first was looking for more publicity for himself, rather than intending to help the LGBT community as a whole. I want him to prove me wrong. I hope he uses his coming out to help the LGBT community and raise awareness. A lot of people think I wrote the post out of jealousy of his fame, but I’m nothing but happy for Gus. I have always been a person to accept people for who they are.

The world of dudes feels a little discombobulated, not least because we don’t often have a straight athlete having a public dust-up with a gay athlete over whose pro-gay motives are more pure.

Stay tuned. It’s an interesting development.


Having fun with sound-repeating snowmen

“Hail Satan!” has never been so cute.

Beware satanic snowmen.

Hail Satan Satananic snowmen repeating
Not actual size of satanic snowmen.

Astronaut snaps night pic of Chicago, Great Lakes

 Scott Kelly ISS International Space Station Great Lakes Chicago

EQIL to honor Nancy Pelosi at anniversary gala

Nancy Pelosi EQIL Equality Illinois anniversary gala 2016
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Citing what it calls her “visionary advocacy for the rights of LGBT Americans as a Member of Congress, Democratic Leader and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Equality Illinois (EQIL) has announced that it will give an award to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at a gala in February.

EQIL’s Bernard Cherkasov made the announcement in an email Nov. 17, saying in a letter to his members:

From her first speech in the House of Representatives in 1987, when she pressed Congress to take a leading role in fighting AIDS, to the present day and her leadership on the Equality Act, Leader Pelosi has always sought to address the challenges faced by LGBT Americans.

In 1996, Leader Pelosi was a leading voice against the passage of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.”  As Speaker of the House, Pelosi led the Congress in passing the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy restricting open service in the military in 2010 and the passage of the fully-inclusive Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009, which was the first LGBT-affirming federal law.  Equality Illinois anniversary gala EQIL
She has worked tirelessly to ensure that the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans were expressly addressed in landmark laws such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Affordable Care Act. An outspoken advocate for marriage equality for decades, Leader Pelosi was the first national elected leader to call for the inclusion of a marriage equality plank in the 2012 Democratic National Convention. 

For her devotion to the principle that LGBT Americans deserve to be able to live full, equal lives, for her understanding that government must play a role in achieving that, and for her outspoken leadership in the fight for equality, Equality Illinois is proud to recognize Leader Pelosi with the 2016 Equality Illinois Freedom Award.
I hope you’ll join us in celebrating Leader Pelosi at our gala. 

More information, including a link to a tickets ordering page, can be found here or by clicking one of the graphics above.


Picture of the day: civil disobedience

It was only 51 years ago that this happened, recalling also that small acts of civil disobedience could have gotten this man arrested or killed in many parts of the country where signs similar to this could be seen cross-country in the U.S.

drinking fountain bubbler whites only 1964
Civil disobedience in 1964


Paris: saved from the Bataclan gunfire

paris Islamic State ISIS ISIL Bataclan New York Times podcast iTunes

A young  Parisian explains how a stranger may have saved his life and the lives of others by pulling them from an emergency exit pile-up at the Bataclan concert hall.

This is from the New York Times iTunes video podcast. It’s very good. Enter this URL into your iTunes podcast directory or go here.

Just because you want to be informed doesn't mean you can't laugh along the way. Science, politics, religion, pop culture and the law.