on same-sex marriages and wedding cakes

So this week the Supreme Court sort of ruled in favor of the Colorado baker who didn’t want to make a cake for a same-sex wedding case. The case has to be heard again, and was a narrow ruling despite the 7-2 vote, or if you prefer in meme form:

But I wanted to talk about the case in general. I can understand feeling put-upon having to do creative work for something you don’t support. I think I’m kind of OK in this specific case with letting the guy not bake the cake, especially since in this day and age the number of people that would refuse to do so would be hopefully few, even in more conservative areas. (I think?)

The problem is that this is a pretty slippery slope. I’m not a huge fan in general of slippery-slope arguments, but what about:

  • A wedding photographer who doesn’t want to take pictures at a same-sex wedding
  • A cake baker who doesn’t approve of interracial couples and doesn’t want to bake a cake for them
  • A wedding DJ who doesn’t want to play music for an African-American couple
  • A pediatrician who doesn’t believe same-sex couples should have children and doesn’t want to treat them
  • A hotel clerk who doesn’t approve of same-sex couples sharing a room
  • A grocery checkout clerk who believes condoms are immoral and doesn’t want to ring them up

That hotel clerk one is not really a hypothetical – African-Americans had to deal with this sort of thing up until the 1960s, when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade that kind of racial discrimination.

For me personally, I generally feel like people should do their jobs, and providing a service to someone isn’t an endorsement of their life. If we have some sort of exemption for people producing a creative work for an actual wedding ceremony, I would probably be OK with that as long as it was extremely narrowly tailored.

Thoughts on the new house

Well, we’ve been living in the new house for *checks watch* wow, 2 months now! So here’s how it’s going:

the house itself is pretty great! We haven’t had any major problems, and it still has that new house feel to it. Vanessa loves her playroom and will happily play in there by herself for a short while, although she also seems to enjoy just running around 🙂 We’ve been enjoying all the extra drawers/cabinets in the kitchen area.

the house is big, like pretty darn big. We successfully hosted most of David’s family for Easter, which is one of the reasons we made the house so big. I do feel somewhat guilty about it, though…

the commute in to work takes right around 20 minutes if traffic is reasonable. I realize in the grand scheme of things this really isn’t bad (hi, friends in Bangalore!) but it is noticeably worse than the seven or so minutes we were used to.

there’s a park really close to our house, which is amazing! We’ve already walked there like ten times with Vanessa 🙂

living in the suburbs has taken some getting used to. I like living in cities, and while Pflugerville is close enough that I can still claim to live in Austin, it’s even further away from downtown and such. Not that we, like, go to downtown more than once in a blue moon, but something about the idea of living in a suburb bothers me. (I’ve been slowly working through this)

we live right down the street from the Mendezes, which is pretty great!

we live further away from everyone else, which is sad 😦

you can see lots of stars at night and it’s really quiet, which is a nice change from the old house!

not real thrilled about Oprah 2020

I think this sums it up best:

Look, Oprah seems great. (and to be clear, she’s not officially running for President as of right now) But if we’re going to turn elections into popularity contests we’re halfway to Idiocracy.

Yeah, one of the President’s many jobs is to drive issues and to communicate with the American people, and Oprah would be great at that! But there are so many other parts to it. One argument is “well, she could just pick good, qualified Cabinet secretaries and let them do their thing”, but that’s ceding a lot of power to people who aren’t elected.

My 2017 in review

2017 was pretty similar to 2016 – not great for the world but pretty good for David and me.

– Vanessa is, as expected, older now! Hard to believe she’s 16 months already. She has developed a personality, is walking all over the place, and is working on learning more words.
– With Vanessa we went on a vacation to Virginia Beach and a vacation to Disney World!
– We are building a house in Pflugerville! (that’s almost done!)
– I got more involved in politics: tried to explain why essential health benefits are important for health insurance, celebrated Obamacare’s survival, and asked y’all to call your senators about healthcare (yay!) and the Republican tax plan. (boo!)
– I also wrote a little about why the whole crowd size at the inauguration was a big deal (man that feels like a long time ago, right?) and why the “women in tech” screed was bad.
– I did have some time to work on some projects and added expected runs per inning to my baseball win expectancy finder and rewrote ThumbnailCopy for the new and improved Firefox.
– I bit the bullet and switched from Windows Phone to Android.

2018 promises to be a busy year between moving, Vanessa, and a work reorg!

Call your senators: oppose the tax cut for millionaires!

Yup, it’s that time again! There are many valid reasons to oppose the bill; since my Senators are conservative Republicans, here’s what I went with:

Hi, my name is , and I’m a constituent of Senator . I’m urging to oppose the tax bill in front of the House, as it would balloon the deficit by over a trillion dollars to provide tax cuts for millionaires.

Call today! It just takes a minute!

The tax bill is not particularly popular, so this is something we can beat, or at least convince them to make less terrible!

Here’s a helpful chart about the plan, and who wins and loses under it.

Senator Cornyn’s numbers are: (512)469-6034 (Austin office) and (202)224-2934 (DC office)
Senator Cruz’s numbers are: (512)916-5834 (Austin office) and (202)224-5922 (DC office)