Friday Morning Open Thread: Finding A Home

From the Washington Post, “Matthew Shepard Will be interred at Washington National Cathedral”:

When Matthew Shepard died on a cold night 20 years ago, after being beaten with a pistol butt and tied to a wooden fence, his parents cremated the 21-year-old and kept his ashes, for fear of drawing attention to a resting place of a person who was a victim of one of the nation’s worst anti-gay hate crimes.

But now with an anniversary of their son’s murder approaching on Friday, the Shepards have decided to inter his remains inside the crypt at Washington National Cathedral, where gay equality activists say they can be a prominent symbol and even a pilgrimage destination for the movement…

On Oct. 26 this year, his ashes will be placed in a niche in the National Cathedral’s columbarium, a private, off-limits area on the lower level of the massive Gothic cathedral, which is the seat of the Episcopal Church and a popular spot for high-profile national spiritual events. Shepard, who had been active in the Episcopal Church, will be one of about 200 people whose remains have been interred at the cathedral in the past century…

The Oct. 26 service will be open to the public and will be presided over by Washington’s Episcopal bishop, Mariann Edgar Budde, and Bishop Gene Robinson, whose 2003 ordination as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church set off a dramatic split in the denomination that is still unfolding.

Robinson is friends with Judy and Dennis Shepard…

Dennis and Judy Shepard said that their son loved the Episcopal Church. As a child, he was an acolyte while his mother taught Sunday school; when he moved to Laramie for college, he joined an Episcopal church community there, Dennis said.

“He loved the ceremony, the pomp and circumstance that went with it,” he said. “I think he’d be thrilled to know that he’s home, in a place that he would like, a sanctuary. … I think he’s laughing about the whole thing. ‘All this time, I finally ended up in the perfect spot. No wonder you wouldn’t do anything with my ashes.’ It’s like it’s meant to be.”…



Thursday Evening Open Thread: Still Good Stuff Happening!

Also…


Seriously.

And finaly…



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: We All Do What We Can


 
Since some people liked the idea (and nobody spoke up who hated it), let’s make it official: Every Wednesday, I’m going to do a “One Good Thing” post, where we can remind ourselves that even when almost everything is terrible there’s still some good left in the world. I plan to schedule the inaugural post tomorrow for approximately noon EDT, which should give the left-coasters a chance to chip in. Of course, since I keep vampire hours, this means I’ll be trusting the FYWP ‘schedule’ function to work… or at least hoping that one of the daylight front-pagers will notice & force-post if it doesn’t!

… “We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift’s post,” said Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for Vote.org.

For context, 190,178 new voters were registered nationwide in the entire month of September, while 56,669 were registered in August.

In Swift’s home state of Tennessee, where Swift voiced support for two Democratic candidates running in this year’s midterms, voter registrations have also jumped.

“Vote.org saw [Tennessee] registrations spike specifically since Taylor’s post,” Guthrie said. The organization has gotten 5,183 in the state so far this month — at least 2,144 of which were in the last 36 hours, she said, up from 2,811 new Tennessee voter registrations for the entire month of September and just 951 in August.

Guthrie said the site had also seen a big jump in the number of visitors since Swift’s post, with 155,940 unique visitors in the last 24 hours — second only to the number of people who visited on National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 25 when there were 304,942 unique visitors (The average daily users for the site are 14,078 in 2018)…



Monday Morning Open Thread: Happy Canadian Thanksgiving


 
Speaking of things that don’t completely suck, this seems like a useful tradition, especially right now:

So… I don’t think Mr. H.W.’s readership and this blog’s overlap sufficiently that he’d mind my stealing his idea. I’m thinking I’ll plan a mid-morning? early evening? post every Wednesday (Friday being too busy a day around here), posting something good from my life and giving y’all a chance to add your own stories. Let me know if you have opinions about the timing, or any related suggestions…



Open Thread: Things That Don’t Suck Department

Here’s the full list from NPR:

What could possibly bring together a painter, an economist, a pastor and a planetary scientist? If you ask the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the answer is simpler than you may think: They’ve all shown creativity, potential for future achievements — and the likelihood that $625,000, meted out over five years, will help them complete their grand designs…

That spectrum includes mapping legal aid across the country for the benefit of low-income populations, uncovering abuse in West Virginia’s coal industry, and coming up with radical fictions and bringing down pernicious artistic tropes…



There’s A Pony In There!

You might think that this morning’s shitshow had no redeeming qualities. I found one.

It appears that the Democrats actually have a plan if Robert Mueller is fired. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware was willing to go on the record.

Almost immediately, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would consult with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while Democrats would demand a floor vote on a bill retroactively protecting Mueller and protecting his materials. In both the Senate and House, rank-and-file Democrats would contact a list of sympathetic Republicans who have signaled privately that they’d be willing to act should Trump pull the trigger.

And in cities across the country, rallies would be hastily scheduled for 5 p.m., if Mueller is fired before 2 p.m. on any given day. If he’s fired in the late afternoon or evening, the protests would be set for noon the following day.

The Democratic group MoveOn.org has been organizing 933 such rallies, with locations picked out and sponsors enlisted to handle logistics. The list includes rallies in big cities like Los Angeles, along with protests in more remote areas, such as the federal buildings in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Hilo, Hawaii.

Sounds like Lucy and the football, but

Coons predicted that “within minutes” of a Mueller firing, dozens of Republicans would either voice opposition publicly or phone the president or his chief of staff to register their objection privately. But he acknowledged that many Republicans have been coy, refusing to say even behind closed doors what actions they’d be willing to take.

Here’s the MoveOn page for demonstrations. Put your zip code in and find out if one is planned for your area.

Paul Waldman is sanguine that Mueller will prevail.

And given how meticulous they’ve been, it would be a shock if Mueller and his team haven’t prepared for the eventuality of being shut down. Perhaps they’ve kept a running, frequently updated report outlining everything they’ve found, a report that would one way or another find its way to the public. I’m guessing that if Democrats take over the House in November as everyone expects, they’ll use their power to subpoena documents and witnesses to do everything they can to bring the information assembled by the Mueller team to light.



Late Night Happy Fantasies Open Thread: To the MOON, and BEYOND!

If you have a spare billion lying around, why *not* make a bet that in five years (or ten, whenever, ya skeptic) you’ll be in a position to be the very first space tourist? And if you can afford that bet, why not bring your own hand-picked entourage of professional artists to write up your adventures? Like Marco Polo, but without the nasty medieval bits!…

SpaceX said Monday night that it would send Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire entrepreneur from Japan, on a trip around the moon in 2023 aboard the company’s yet-to-be-built rocket. And Maezawa won’t be flying alone. Joining him will be six to eight artists, chosen from a pool of painters, photographers, musicians, film directors, fashion designers, and architects from around the world.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon,” Maezawa said. “This is my lifelong dream.”…

Maezawa and his fellow passengers will fly on the BFR, a massive launch vehicle capable of carrying several passengers, which SpaceX hopes will someday carry people to Mars. (Some SpaceX officials refer to the BFR as the Big Falcon Rocket; Musk has sometimes switched out Falcon with an expletive.) The BFR, which Musk first described in 2016, is still under development…

Maezawa is the founder of Zozotown, Japan’s largest online fashion mall. His net worth is $2.9 billion, according to Forbes. He is an avid art collector, and in 2016 he spent $80 million on paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso, two artists he cited as inspirations during Monday’s event.

Maezawa declined to say how much the BFR ride will cost him, but Musk added, “It’s going to be free for the artists.”…

Would’ve been a happier event, at least for Zozotown’s publicity department, if the SpaceX CEO hadn’t just been cited in a defamation case on the very same day. But that coincidence did lead to one of the best PopeHat openers ever…