The Pentagon thinks that there are 15,500 transgendered people secretly serving in the military.

Some quick math:

There are 1,369,532 active duty military personnel. If 15,500 of them are transgendered, it means that 1.13 percent of our armed forces are transgendered.

For comparison’s sake, according to the CDC, 1.6 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian. So either:

(a) The number of transgendered people approaches the number of homosexual people, which seems, based on most anecdotal evidence to be unlikely.

(b) The military population is significantly more transgendered than the general population. Which also seems somewhat unlikely.


(c) The number reported by the Pentagon is a fiction.




About that Action Comics #1

August 26, 2014

The world perked up when a 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1 sold for $3.2 million on eBay the other day. The real news is buried in Chuck Rozanski’s helpful weekly Mile High Comics newsletter:

It might surprise you to know that my reaction to that sale was that it was no big deal, as it was only to be expected. That’s because I was already aware that the owner of the ACTION COMICS #1 copy from the Mile High Collection (which I sold in 1982…) reportedly turned down an offer of $5,000,000 cash, over three years ago. That Mile High copy of ACTION COMICS #1 has never been professionally graded, but having looked at it many times, I believe that it would grade significantly better than the copy that sold over the weekend.


An honest question for super trooper Sunil Dutta, who says that if citizens would like to avoid being shot (or tasered or pepper sprayed or beaten) by their law enforcement agents, they simply must not “challenge me.” Here’s his relevant advice to citizens:

[I]f you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me.

It sounds so easy! We’ll leave aside the First Amendment, which clearly says that you have the right to free speech unless the speech hurts the feelings of agents of the state, in which case the police are free to strike you with a baton. (It’s in one of those penumbras and emanations, I’m pretty sure.) Yes, let’s leave that for the moment and focus on compliance. “Just do what I tell you.” It’s simple!

But what if–just to pick an example at random–you’re a woman and the cop asks you to show him your boobs? You’re supposed to show them, right? Otherwise it’s totes okey-dokey for the officer who wants to see your boobs to tase you, right? Or does it turn out that Officer Dutta’s simple rules aren’t that simple and that there are some actions with which citizens should not be forced to comply?

One other thing: Officer Dutta talks about how hard life is as a police officer, and all of the nasty things he has to deal with:

Working the street, I can’t even count how many times I withstood curses, screaming tantrums, aggressive and menacing encroachments on my safety zone, and outright challenges to my authority.

Which, of course, is terrible. We should treat all people with respect–from cops to homeless people to strangers on a train. We’re all God’s children. But it’s worth noting that citizens often have to deal with police cursing at them and screaming at them and acting with aggressive menace, too. Remember this encounter where Philadelphia police tried to arrest a man legally carrying a gun? Go listen to the audio and see how the man being detained addresses the police and how the police speak to him. And remember, in any encounter between police and the citizenry, only one side is being paid to act like a grownup.

Exit Question: How about colonoscopies? Should citizens be forced to submit to a colonoscopy because one of Officer Dutta’s colleagues says so? To refuse a colonscopy is to challenge his authority, after all. It’s so confusing.


#183,877–with a bullet!

August 20, 2014

The Seven Deadly Virtues is screaming up the Amazon charts already–and it doesn’t even come out until the Halloween book-buying season.

More to follow.


Big News

August 19, 2014

Blogging has been light because I’ve been busy with two other projects. One of which is now available for pre-order.

I’ll tell you more about it later in the week, but the short version is that it’s really funny.


God and the Squeegee Man

August 13, 2014

Kevin Williamson has a typically smart and charitable essay about the emergence of what he calls the “Sunday Hijacker.”

The “Sunday Hijacker” is a vagrant who stakes out city churches and accosts worshippers, sometimes begging, sometimes being intentionally disruptive of services until he’s paid to go away. Having lived in–not really “in,” but rather “of”–Washington for almost two decades, I’ve seen a little (but not a lot) of this behavior. I understand what Williamson is talking about.

My favorite church in Washington has a normal retinue of beggars outside. I’ve never been sure how needy they are. Once, I saw one of them getting out of a car, a few blocks away from church. But by the same token, I don’t know that they’re not needy, either. And I’ve seen, more or less, the same contingent on the church steps since I first started attending Mass. They’re never threatening. They’re always kind, even to people who don’t offer them support. They’re also friendly and respectful to the monseigneur. Like most people (I suspect), I wrestle with whether or not it’s prudent to offer help directly to them, or rather direct my support to Church services. The uneasy conclusion I’ve reached is that while giving money to a panhandler who’s just a rational economic actor might have some negative consequences, it also might help someone in need. And since I can’t know which is which, it’s probably best to err on the side of trying help.

But that’s neither here nor there. What I wanted to do was share with you the story of Jean. Jean is a homeless woman who lives, more or less, on the steps of my favorite church. I couldn’t tell you how long she’s been there–she predates me. But her story is part of the church’s legend. A long while ago, Jean showed up. She had had a vision, in which God spoke to her, and told her that it was important that she be at this church. And so she came. And has never left.

Jean spends most of her time during the day inside the church, in prayer. If you pop into church mid-morning, say, for confession, you’re likely to see her contemplating Mary in the Chapel of Our Lady. Or praying to St. Anthony, in another chapel. During Mass, she often assists in the collection of the gifts. In conversation she is friendly, lucid, and serene. Whatever you might be thinking, she does not come across like a crank. She seems, actually, rather holy. The priests at the church trust her implicitly and try to look after her, but she is clearly not on the make. She views herself as having been given a duty to watch vigil over this church, until further notice.

A thousand years ago, Jean would have been regarded quite differently than she is today, and the idea of being given a mission from God–even an obscure, difficult one–would have been more readily accepted.


Robin Williams, Live at the Met

August 11, 2014

I always got the sense that other comics held Robin Williams not in the highest esteem. Not that they disliked him personally–just that they believed that his material wasn’t particularly strong and that Williams got by on delivery, which often meant impressions that weren’t all that skillful, but were dazzling to the layman because of […]

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Dept. of Racism

August 8, 2014

Here’s the first line of a Valleywag story yesterday: “Is there any way to keep white people from using computers, before this whole planet is ruined?” Oh. My. There are levels.

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The Cult Obama (cont.)

August 5, 2014

The great Mollie Hemingway has a piece up at the Federalist about the weird, impersonal, mass-celebration of President Obama’s birthday. I’m glad she wrote this, because yesterday I got the single creepiest fund-raising email I’ve ever seen. And it was situated around the Joyous and Patriotic Birth Celebration of The One. From “Grant Campbell” of, […]

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Who you gonna call?

August 4, 2014

Ghostbusters was a pleasant enough movie. But even as I child, I remember thinking: This would be so much funnier if they were girls women. Then it could be hilarious and pass the Bechdel Test! Well, my prayers may finally be answered. I just hope the filmmakers don’t fall into the transphobic trap of making all […]

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Real American Heroes: Paul Ryan Edition

August 1, 2014

In the August issue of Newsmax magazine, Paul Ryan is asked what he’s reading. He gives two replies: Captain Underpants and . . . wait for it . . . In case you don’t want to blow it up, Ryan says: This is an insightful work for anyone interested in how demographic trends are changing our economy […]

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Tapping Out of ‘Game of Thrones’

August 1, 2014

In which I give up on what I’m sure is really awesome fantasy nerd culture. But I still want to see Battle of the Five Armies. That is, if I ever get around to seeing Desolation of Smaug.

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