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Star Trek: Discovery Returns Next Week. Here's an Easy Way to Get Caught Up

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by Erik Henriksen
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It was a rocky beginning. The first season of Star Trek: Discovery—the series that, in the US at least, exclusively streams on the deeply annoying, otherwise useless, pay-per-month service CBS All Access—had its share of stumbles, and it wasn't until the season's final episodes that it started to gel. When it it finally did, it started to feel like a promising new Trek—one that embraced both exploration and humanism. Or... whatever the interstellar equivalent of humanism is?

The second season starts next week, and luckily, there's a better place to jump in than having to watch the entire first season, with its interminable scenes of gnashing, subtitled Klingon and tiresome, Battlestar-lite intrigues. That place is with four short episodes—"Short Treks"—that are now available on CBS All Access, each of which takes 15 or 20 minutes to examine a different character or facet of Discovery. They range from the lighthearted ("Runaway," in which Discovery's awk ensign Tilly, played by Mary Wiseman, meets a stowaway) to the expansive (the eerie, bittersweet "Calypso," written by Michael Chabon, is set 1,000 years into Discovery's future).

Original showrunner Bryan Fuller initially envisioned Discovery as something of an anthology show, and though it ended up just being a straight prequel to Star Trek's original series, there's something of that welcome, grab-bag spirit in "Short Treks." On one hand, watching these mini-episodes feels like an easy way to reacquaint oneself with (or get to know) Discovery, but on the other, they feel fresher and more daring than Discovery was in its first season. It's a sensation not unlike flipping open an old sci-fi pulp magazine and finding a slew of stories that range in tone and subject. Don't like one? Start another. Experience them all in order, or skip around.

It's a ridiculously good time to be a sci-fi fan watching TV, with the great The Expanse, the continually surprising The Orville, and Jodie Whitaker's excellent new Doctor on Doctor Who. True, in its first year, Discovery felt as it if it was still finding its footing, but these "Short Treks" imply that the show's found both confidence and originality. Fingers crossed for season two—and more "Short Treks" in the future.

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jaimeshade
7 days ago
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@. Beb
Atlanta, GA
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Conservative Gays Need To Shut The Fuck Up

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On Tuesday, conservative rag The Federalist—a website perhaps best known for its endorsement of statutory rape and its former use of a “Black Crime” tag—published an opinion blog by a gay guy named Chad Felix Greene titled “The Stigma Against My Conservative Politics Is Worse Than The Stigma Of Being Gay.”

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rocketo
36 days ago
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“in a utopian society, nobody would much care who other people prefer to fuck or fall in love with, but everyone would care deeply about the laws and policies that actually impact the world”
seattle, wa
jaimeshade
35 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
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DNC Rips Mike Pence for Lying, Failing to Mention LGBTQ People in World AIDS Day Speech for Second Year in a Row

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Vice President Mike Pence, who said in 2000 that he was in favor of sending money allocated to care for people with HIV/AIDS to organizations that provide gay conversion therapy, failed to mention the LGBTQ community in his World AIDS Day speech for the second year in a row.

The Democratic National Committee blasted Pence in an email, listing some of the lies he told, and some of the truths he forgot to mention:

THE LIES HE TOLD

Pence boasted about the success of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, despite the fact the Trump administration diverted funds from the program to offset the costs of its family separation policy.

Pence celebrated the 15th anniversary of PEPFAR, calling it “one of the most successful investments in health care and humanitarian aid in American history,” while Trump’s budget proposal slashed the initiative’s funding.

Pence claimed Trump brought a “renewed energy and focus” to the battle against HIV/AIDS.

I mean, come on. [see below]

THE TRUTHS HE FORGOT TO MENTION

Trump fired the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS after several members quit because Trump “doesn’t care” about the issue.

Trump still hasn’t appointed anyone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.

Trump announced the “Deploy or Get Out” rule, which could remove HIV+ military personnel from service.

Pence, while governor of Indiana, opposed a needle exchange program and exacerbated the local HIV/AIDS crisis.

The post DNC Rips Mike Pence for Lying, Failing to Mention LGBTQ People in World AIDS Day Speech for Second Year in a Row appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.

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jaimeshade
45 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
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I KNOW WHY YOU'RE SAD.

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On paper, Tuesday was a good day for Democrats. They took the House for the first time in eight years. Several important Governorships (in advance of post-Census 2020 redistricting battles) were won. Notably vile Republicans like Kris Kobach, Scott Walker, and Dana Rohrabacher lost. The high-visibility Senate races Democrats lost (Missouri, Tennessee) were pipe dreams anyway. You already knew that Florida sucks, hard. So you're not sad because "The Democrats did badly."

You're also not sad because Beto lost, or Andrew Gillum lost, or any other single candidate who got people excited this year fell short. They're gonna be fine. They will be back. You haven't seen the last of any of them. Winning a Senate race in Texas was never more than a long shot. Gillum had a realistic chance, but once again: It's Florida.

No, you're sad for the same reason you were so sad Wednesday morning after the 2016 Election. You're sad because the results confirm that half of the electorate – a group that includes family, neighbors, friends, random fellow citizens – looked at the last two years and declared this is pretty much what they want. You're sad because any Republican getting more than 1 vote in this election, let alone a majority of votes, forces us to recognize that a lot of this country is A-OK with undisguised white supremacy. You're sad because once again you have been slapped across the face with the reality that a lot of Americans are, at their core, a lost cause. Willfully ignorant. Unpersuadable. Terrible people. Assholes, even.

You were hoping that the whole country would somehow restore your faith in humanity and basic common decency by making a bold statement, trashing Republicans everywhere and across the board. You wanted some indication that if you campaigned hard enough, rednecks and white collar bloodless types alike could be made to see the light that perhaps the levers of power are not best entrusted to the absolute worst people that can be dredged up from Internet comment sections running on platforms of xenophobia, nihilism, and racism. In short, you wanted to see some evidence that corruption, venality, bigotry, and proud ignorance are deal-breakers for the vast majority of Americans.

And now you're sad because it's obvious that they aren't. Even where horrible Republicans like Walker or Kobach lost, they didn't lose by much.

So I get it. It's depressing. There's no amount of positives that can take away the nagging feeling that lots and lots of people in this country are just…garbage. They're garbage human beings just like the president they adore. These people are not one conversation, one fact-check, and one charismatic young Democratic candidate away from seeing the light. They're reactionary, mean, ignorant, uninteresting in becoming less ignorant, and vindictive. They hate you and they will vote for monsters to prove it.

Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.

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rocketo
72 days ago
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How many words fit on a sampler? I don’t want to get this as a tattoo.

“Remember this feeling. Remember it every time someone tells you that the key to moving forward is to reach across the aisle, show the fine art of decorum in practice, and chat with right-wingers to find out what makes them tick. Remember the nagging sadness you feel looking at these almost entirely positive results; it will be your reminder that the only way to beat this thing is to outwork, outfight, and out-organize these people. They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.”
seattle, wa
jaimeshade
71 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
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5 public comments
zwol
71 days ago
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This seems like the right place to tell the story of the dude who drove me to the airport the other day. His other job, apparently, was owning a gun store, and when talking about guns his opinions were informed and reasonable , e.g. "banning bump stocks won't stop school shootings, but we should require gun owners to go through safety training and have proper gun safes," ok, I can see that. But then the conversation took a hard right turn into Fox News conspiracy land: all politicians are corrupt, Planned Parenthood spends 10x as much money on lobbying as the NRA, etc. etc. etc. and I just didn't know what to say.
Pittsburgh, PA
tdarby
72 days ago
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Yes.
Baltimore, MD
lelandpaul
72 days ago
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Oh, this is so hard for me. On the one hand, the piece is dead right: This is exactly what I'm feeling today.

On the other: I fundamentally believe people are redeemable and that we shouldn't write them off. (That's sort of core to Christianity...)

I don't know how to reconcile these two things.
San Francisco, CA
sirshannon
71 days ago
You can’t redeem the unwilling.
lelandpaul
70 days ago
But does that give you the right to stop giving them opportunities to redeem themselves?
sirshannon
68 days ago
Yes. You’re not powerful enough to stop someone from redeeming themselves any more than you are powerful enough to make them redeem themselves. As long as you’re not actively working to prevent them from doing the right thing, you’re good.
notadoctor
72 days ago
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“They are not going to be won over and they will continue to prove that to you every chance they get.”
Oakland, CA
cjmcnamara
72 days ago
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gin and tacos absolutely spot on once again

Abrams’ Flag-Burning Incident: That’s What They Force You to Do as a Black Person in the South

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In 1992, when Stacey Abrams was in college, she participated in a protest where there was a burning of a Georgia state flag that had been redesigned in 1956 specifically to incorporate the Confederate battle flag emblem in it, in a clear attempt to make a statement against the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. That…

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jaimeshade
86 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
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A Seahawks Fan's Defense of Kshama Sawant

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The Seahawks aren’t going anywhere thanks to Allen, but the powerless have been forced to relocate over and over again over the past decade within and outside of the city. by Spike Friedman
Kshama Sawant
Kshama Sawant Karen Ducey / Getty

Shortly after former Seahawks owner and Vulcan chairman Paul Allen’s death last week, Seattle City Councilmember Ksahama Sawant made the following Facebook post:


This was, to put it lightly, not received well. Sawant has drawn the ire of Seahawks fans and mainstream columnists, for both the timing and content of her post. As a Seahawks fan and, well, not-so-mainstream columnist, I wanted to weigh in with what is maybe a counterbalancing view of this comment.

First though, as a Seahawks fan, let me give Paul Allen credit. Allen’s wealth kept the Seahawks in Seattle. He hired Pete Carroll, ensured the team drafted Walter Jones, and jammed out after the team won the Super Bowl. I love the Seahawks, and it would have crushed me as a kid if they had left. Allen gave me some of my favorite memories. Allen’s wealth also funded cancer research. It led to scientific breakthroughs and the rediscovery of the treasures of the deep. His wealth funded the arts and endowed large cultural institutions in the region. That he also owned fancy yachts is a symptom of the inequity of capitalism, but is hardly a great sin. As billionaires go? Paul Allen could have been a lot worse (see: Bezos, Jeff).

That said, Allen’s wealth also reconfigured Seattle to conform to a mental map of the city that disproportionally benefitted a small subset of the region while neglecting a large portion of the area’s residents. His work with Vulcan is perhaps the most important spatial transformation that Seattle has undergone since the Denny Regrade, making Allen Seattle’s equivalent of Robert Moses. Like Moses he was unelected, and like Moses, he reshaped the area while privileging an image of the city seen from basically a bird’s eye perspective. This was true of South Lake Union when he proposed the Seattle Commons, and only more true when he developed the area into Amazon’s campus. It is not Allen’s fault per se that he was allowed to act as the de facto city planner of a wide swath of the city, but he was, and he leveraged his vast wealth to make choices that disrupted a lot of lives.

The most vulnerable populations in this city have suffered as a result of Allen’s massive interventions. The gentrification caused by the recentering of the tech industry to the spatial center of the region has led to massive waves of displacement and dispossession. The middle and lower classes of the city have effectively been shunted out of Seattle proper and into outlying areas. This spatial reconfiguration may not have been Allen’s intention in redeveloping South Lake Union, but it has been the effect of what he did. This could have been mitigated through progressive taxation. It was not in large part because of Paul Allen.

In this respect, Sawant was right: Allen funded anti-tax campaigns (including the opposition of I-1098 in direct conflict with the Gates family) that would have had a redistributive effect on the benefits reaped by those lucky enough to thrive over the past decade. She cited former Stranger writer Dominic Holden’s piece “Remember the Greediest,” which may be a relatively unfair characterization of Allen when compared to, say, Bezos, but speaks to his desire to control not only where the wealth he distributed went, but also the shape of the city he lived adjacent to.

Seattle is a profoundly and increasingly unequal city. And this inequality persists along racial, gender and class lines. Allen’s work with Vulcan inscribed these power imbalances in the spatial configuration of the center of the city. The people who lost out in the reconfiguration that created our new Seattle are angry and have every right to be angry because of systemic structures of power.

Which is to say that while essentially dancing on Paul Allen’s grave before he was lowered into it was gross, and I understand why people are mad at Sawant, I also understand why she and others are mad at Allen. Reading Sawant’s comment generously, she is attempting to give a voice to this anger, to preempt a hagiography of a man who wielded a lot of power and did so in the service of only a subset of the people affected by that power.

And to the large number of Seahawks fans out there who are really pissed at Sawant right now? I’d ask them to take a second and think of the relatively powerless to whom she’s giving voice. The Seahawks aren’t going anywhere thanks to Allen, but the powerless have been forced to relocate over and over again over the past decade within and outside of the city. I know how rough it would have been if the Seahawks had lost their home; consider sympathizing with someone giving voice to people who have lost theirs.

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rocketo
85 days ago
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seattle, wa
jaimeshade
86 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
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