Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Gay Pride Around the World

We begin in the US:

…the Dyke March Collective also ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).
According to one of those individuals—A Wider Bridge Midwest Manager Laurel Grauer—she and her friends were approached a number of times in the park because they were holding the flag.

“It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag,” she told Windy City Times.

She added that she lost count of the number of people who harassed her.

One Dyke March collective member asked by Windy City Times for a response, said the women were told to leave because the flags “made people feel unsafe,” that the march was “anti-Zionist” and “pro-Palestinian.”

“They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive,” Grauer said. “Prior to this [march] I had never been harassed or asked to leave and I had always carried the flag with me.”

Another of those individuals asked to leave was an Iranian Jew named Eleanor Shoshany-Anderson.

“I was here as a proud Jew in all of my identities,” Shoshany-Anderson asserted. “The Dyke March is supposed to be intersectional. I don’t know why my identity is excluded from that. I fell that, as a Jew, I am not welcome here.”

A statement posted June 25 on the Dyke March Twitter account read, in part, “Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer and trans solidarity was partly overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally. This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Dyke March Collective members.”

“Sadly, our celebration of dyke, queer and trans solidarity was partly overshadowed by our decision to ask three individuals carrying Israeli flags superimposed on rainbow flags to leave the rally. This decision was made after they repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations with Dyke March Collective members.”

“People asked me if I was a Zionist and I said ‘Yes, I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine,'” Grauer said. “It’s hard to swallow the idea of inclusion when you are excluding people from that. People are saying ‘You can be gay but not in this way.’ We do not feel welcomed. We do not feel included.”

In their statement, Dyke March Collective organizers singled out Grauer’s organization A Wider Bridge for what they called “provocative actions at other LGBTQ events [and] for using Israel’s supposed ‘LGBTQ tolerance’ to pinkwash the violent occupation of Palestine.”

Social-media posts in support of the Dyke March Collective also claimed that a rainbow flag with a Star of David is a form of pink washing (a theory postulated by a City University of New York professor which claims that Israeli support of LGBTQ communities is designed to detract attention from civil and human rights abuses of Palestinian people.)

At about the same time, in Turkey:

Turkish police on Sunday prevented an attempt by Gay Pride activists to hold a parade in Istanbul, the country’s largest city, in defiance of an official ban by the local authorities.
Police fired rubber bullets at a group of around 40 activists, an AFP journalist reported, a day after the city governor’s office banned the march citing safety and public order concerns.

Small groups gathered at Taksim Square but witnesses said there was a heavy police presence which outnumbered the activists, and at least four people were detained.

It is the third year in a row that the march has been banned, and organisers denounced the move.

“We are not scared, we are here, we will not change,” the Pride Committee said in a statement.

Of course they were not scared – there were no stars of David around.

In other gay pride news, last month in Tel Aviv:

Some 200,000 people took part in Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade on Friday, of which approximately 30,000 had joined the celebrations from abroad, organizers said. With many roads closed to traffic for the occasion, the parade made its way through the heart of the city to the waterfront in a display of floats, music, dancers and rainbow flags.

It was the city’s 19th pride parade and according to Tel Aviv’s municipality, the largest in the Middle East and Asia, with a high number of international revelers arriving over the course of the week to take part in the parade and its related events. This year, the theme of the parade was “bisexual visibility.”

Not everyone at the parade was there to celebrate, however. Dozens of Israeli LGBTQ activists at one point blocked the Tel Aviv parade in protest against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The protesters erected a mock separation barrier upon which was written, “There’s no pride in occupation,” the website +972 Magazine reported. The protesters prevented the parade from proceeding through the city center for a few minutes, but were swiftly moved by police.

Pride parades are expected to be held in Be’er Sheva and Haifa and August in Jerusalem later on this month.

Also last month

A gay Palestinian man appealed to the High Court of Justice on Thursday to overturn the Interior Ministry’s decision to refuse him residency status, saying he risks death if he returns to the West Bank.

His petition testified that Palestinian police had arrested, tortured and severely beaten him because he is openly gay. Most members of his family have disowned him, and those who haven’t have warned him by phone to never come home, he stated.

The man has lived in Tel Aviv — widely hailed as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world — with his partner for the last decade. The couple say that the Interior Ministry has repeatedly rejected their petition to legalize the Palestinian’s residence in Israel.

People who don’t understand how the world works do stupid things, make stupid assumptions, and ask stupid questions:

Why won't

Usually that sort of stupid brings on horrible consequences. Fortunately, the universe occasionally displays a sense of humor.
cbs sitcom

Click on images to embiggen.

 

More on the above photo here.

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Making Fun of Barack Obama

My wife has been enjoying the recent skits about the Trump administration on Saturday Night Live. I can see why. Even Melissa McCarthy has managed to be funny in her impressions of Sean Spicer. Until now I would have sworn that reports of McCarthy having a sense of humor were some sort of urban legend. SNL has a long history of generating memorable Presidential impressions: Chevy Chase (sort of Gerald Ford), Dana Carvey (Bush the Elder) and Will Ferrell (Bush the Lesser) come to mind.

But poking fun at Presidents has a long and storied history, and is probably a good thing. I enjoy comedy a lot, and I can safely say that every President in my lifetime has been the butt of a lot of jokes. Well, every President but one. It seems to me that almost nobody made fun of Barack Obama.

I thought it was interesting, so I did some searching. I found this NY Post article which has a bit of commentary from SNL’s Jim Downey:

Yes, data nerds, there is empirical evidence that Barack Obama gets a free ride from comics.

In a new book, “Politics Is a Joke!” three academics tabulated 100,000 jokes told by late-night comics over the last 20 years. They found that in 2008 only 6% of the jokes were about Obama (Palin attracted nearly as many jokes in four months as a public figure as he did all year). And those jokes had a tendency to be about as barbed as cotton candy. Example cited by Tevi Troy in The Wall Street Journal: Jon Stewart said Obama visited Bethlehem so he could see “the manger where he was born.”

In every presidential campaign since 1992, the researchers found, comedians aimed more jokes at Republicans than they did at Democrats. Overall, twice as many barbs flew at the GOP.

“Our job is, whoever is in power, we’re opposed,” “SNL” chief Lorne Michaels told The New York Times in 2008. Agreed. And so they’ve been doing their job badly. Says who? Says . . . Downey.

Now that he has retired from the show and gained a little perspective, Downey comments in “Live from New York,” “I have to say, and even [Al] Franken agrees with me — I’ve talked to him about this — that the last couple seasons of the show were the only two in the show’s history where we were totally like every other comedy show: basically, an arm of the Hollywood Democratic establishment. . . . We just stopped doing anything which could even be misinterpreted as a criticism of Obama.”

But I don’t know if this is being deferential to the Democrats, or to Obama. After all, comedians had a lot of fun at the expense of Clinton, and Jimmy Carter before him.

Another possibility was raised by no less an expert than than Dana Carvey, namely that making fun of Obama is seen as not PC and possibly racist. I suspect there is something there. For instance, NPR carried an article with this title:

Portraying Obama As Chimp Not Like Showing Bush As One

Personally, I think that regardless of the reason making fun of Obama was off limits, the fact that people mostly didn’t do it wasn’t healthy. Humor, particularly at the expense of the ruling class, is a safety valve for dissatisfaction. The victories that Obama provided the American people were sparse and weak. They were not great or grand, and they provided no justification for treating a leader like a holy man. And unearned privilege does nothing more than generate resentment. I think it created an “emperor has no clothes” mentality in a substantial segment of the electorate, many of whom had previously voted for Mr. Obama. I think that in turn helped elect a successor whose campaign essentially came down to repudiating Obama and everything for which he stood.

Your thoughts?

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The 2012 Version of a Very Old Joke

With apologies to Stan Collender’s Beautiful and Talented Wife (not to mention mine):

James had gathered a mix of friends, acquaintances, and random strangers at his Rent Party, but no one was talking to anyone else. So he decided to get people to talk to each other, using the easiest non-visible variable available:

“Don, what’s your IQ?”
“171.”
“Sharon, what’s your IQ”
“169.”
“Maybe you should take with Don”

James watched as Sharon and Don began a discussion of elementary particle theory, astrophysics, and Ken Rogoff’s chess games.

Encouraged, James continued his efforts.

“Lynn, what’s your IQ?” “151”
“Jorge, what’s your IQ?”
“149.”
“You should talk with Lynn.”

And they were soon discussing the biophysics of bacteriorhodopsin and Hilbert Space.

Thrilled this was working so well, James tried again.

“Steve, what’s your IQ?”
“51.”
“Lucy, what’s your IQ?” “49.”
“You two should probably talk,” James said.

Lucy turned to Steve, “So where do you teach Real Business Cycle Theory?” (h/t Mark Thoma)

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A bit of humor…there is a Republican with a brain

Lifted from Robert’s Stochastic Thoughts:

All evidence from the debates notwithstanding, there is a Republican with a brain. Asif Mandvi, reporter for the “Daily Show,” tried to prank Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, asking for a sample of her urine. She immediately forked it over, though it was only apple juice — yazakchattiest.

I want a brokered convention.

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Anerica’s Finest News Source Explains Glenn Beck Viewers

Passionate defenders, gather ye round:

“Right there in the preamble, the authors make their priorities clear: ‘one nation under God,'” said Mortensen, attributing to the Constitution a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, which itself did not include any reference to a deity until 1954. “Well, there’s a reason they put that right at the top.”

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No Pi for You!

I promise to try posting more this weekend, but this one is just too good to pass up.

Since most people don’t know it beyond three to six digits, today, 14 March (14.03)—er, oops, March 14 (3.14)—has been officially designated “Pi Day.”

Ten Republicans voted against the (purely symbolic) designation:

  1. Chaffetz
  2. Flake
  3. Heller
  4. Johnson (IL)
  5. Miller (FL)
  6. Neugebauer
  7. Paul
  8. Pence
  9. Poe (TX)
  10. Shuster

In fairness, I note that 30 Representatives (24 Dems, 6 Reps, and the total only comes to 431 so a few bodies appear to be vanished) did not vote, but 10 went to the explicit effort to signal their opposition to the motion, including Mike Pence, who is from the only state that ever did make a concerted effort to define Pi as 3:

In 1897 the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure redefining the area of a circle and the value of pi….The bill died in the state Senate.

Happy Pi Day!

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Interlude

What my brain wants to do:

Bank capitalisation, stress testing, book value, and discussion of other data that clearly indicates the need for the nationalisation of several LARGE banks.

What my brain is currently capable of doing:

The cheerleader who saves the world?

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