Friday, February 29, 2008

Daily Grumble

When I do these weekend trips, I rarely carry more than a backpack and small carry-on, but this time since I was bringing something for Father Tony, I had to use my big suitcase....which Spirit Airlines charged me $20 to check at the ticket counter.  Grrr.  I vaguely recall hearing about this new practice a few months ago, but since I never check baggage I hadn't thought much about it. I went back to my flight document and yes, the baggage charge is noted at the bottom.  But still. 

Oh, and on the flight there was no free beverage service and what you did order had to be paid by credit card only.  At least there were no drink trolleys blocking the aisles as everything was served off a tray, Vegas-style.  Seven bucks for a Bloody Mary.  I'm so going back to JetBlue.

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Obama Says Homophobia Isn't Christian

Speaking before a mostly black audience yesterday, Barack Obama chastised Christians that disrespect gay people.  Via Ben Smith at
Obama's rally in Beaumont today was the highest-energy of this Texas swing, with a crowd that was about three-quarters black cheering at almost every turn.

An interesting moment came when he was asked a question about LGBT rights and delivered an answer that seemed to suit the questioner, listing the various attributes — race, gender, etc. — that shouldn't trigger discrimination, to successive cheers. When he came to saying that gays and lesbians deserve equality, though, the crowd fell silent.

So he took a different tack:

"Now I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday," he said, to a sudden wave of noisy applause and cheers.

"I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian," he said, and the crowd seemed to come along with him this time.

The moment reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a senior figure in the national gay rights movement, who noted that Obama's deference to some black Christian discomfort with homosexuality — his refusal to dump the "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from a tour — angered some gays and lesbians; but conversely, that his ability to sell gay rights in the black church is unique and appealing.
I'm getting over the McClurkin thing, slowly, thanks to speeches like this.

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Ellen DeGeneres: Larry King Was Not A Second Class Citizen

On today's show, Ellen Degeneres makes a heartfelt commentary on the Lawrence King murder.

An excerpt: "Larry was not a second class citizen. I am not a second class citizen. It is okay if you're gay. I don't care what people say. I don't care what people think. And I know there are entire groups of people who face discrimination every single day and we're a long way from treating each other equally. All of it is unacceptable. All of it. But I would like you to start paying attention to how often being gay is the punchline of a monologue. Or how often gay jokes are in a movie. And that kind of message — laughing at someone because they're gay — is just the beginning. It starts with laughing at someone, then it's verbal abuse, then it's physical abuse, and then it's this kid Brandon killing a kid like Larry."

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Morning View - Fort Lauderdale

Ah, Fort Lauderdale. This is the view from Father Tony's 17th-floor pied-a-terre overlooking the ocean and the Intracoastal. I'm posting from Java Boys in Wilton Manor's all-gay shopping center, where the neighboring tenants are Gay Mart, Tops-N-Bottoms, and half a dozen gay bars. Blogging will be light today, obviously. Later this afternoon, I'll head down to South Beach for the Winter Party press event and will be covering some of the festivities from there over the weekend.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Matt Foreman Speaks To JMG Readers

Via Father Tony, outgoing Task Force executive director Matt Foreman speaks a few words of encouragement from the Fort Lauderdale vigil and remembrance of murdered trans teen Simmie Williams.

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NBC Sued For $100M Over
"To Catch A Predator"

A federal judged has ruled that the sister of a man who committed suicide after being filmed on NBC's To Catch As A Predator may sue the network for $100M.
Louis Conradt, a 56-year-old assistant district attorney, shot himself in November 2006 after he was confronted at his Terrell, Texas, home by police officers. They were accompanied by an NBC news crew that was there to film his arrest.

"To Catch a Predator," a segment of NBC's "Dateline" newsmagazine program, lures men to a house with hidden cameras in the belief that they are about to have sexual relations with underage girls or boys. There, they are confronted by the program's host and promptly arrested. In Conradt's case, he was expecting to meet up with a 13-year-old boy.

Critics of the show say it is a form of entrapment, and they have questioned NBC's partnership on the series with an online vigilante group called Perverted-Justice.

Conradt's sister, Patricia Conradt, sued the network, saying "Dateline" was responsible for his death and the harm to his reputation. She grew up in the house where Conradt committed suicide.
The suit charges NBC with intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of civil rights. In his ruling, the judge said, "A reasonable jury could find that NBC crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement."

The sister probably doesn't have standing to sue the cops for entrapment.


Who Wears Tort Shorts?

Cuz most gay men would surely sue if they discovered their conquest was wearing "Flashback" ass-enhancing undies. From designer Andrew Christian: "Surprisingly, I was actually inspired to create this technology while at the gym and seeing how hard men work on exercising their buttocks. I just knew that there had to be a way to achieve similar results by simply wearing underwear." Underwear technology. Got it?

(Via - Gawker.)

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Porn Twins Busted As Cat Burglars

Here's a bizarre one.

Twins Keyontyli and Taleon Goffney, who have appeared in a number of gay porn films together as Keyon and Teyon, were arrested in Philadelphia last week after sawing through the roof of a beauty shop and making off with cash, cigarettes and condoms.
The twins are the focus of a tristate Rooftop Burglary Task force, led by New Jersey investigators, the state where many of the 40-some rooftop burglaries have been committed over the last 18 months.

Several lead investigators with the Rooftop Burglary Task Force in Pennsylvania and New Jersey declined to comment yesterday on the case, fearing that it would jeopardize their ongoing investigations.

According to a police source and online court records, the Goffney brothers are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Philadelphia tomorrow on charges of burglary, trespassing, theft and related crimes.

According to the source, both men remain in prison. Online court records, however, indicate that Keyontyli may be free on $75,000 bail while his brother remains in prison on $150,000 bail.

Police described Taleon as a "bad, bad, dude."
Chief Dave Kunkel of Clementon, N.J., had no trouble recalling his department's run-in with Taleon in 2006. Officers conducting surveillance work at an apartment complex spotted Taleon running up the building's walls and turning back flips. "The officers said, 'We're glad we're not going after him,' " Kunkel recalled. "Lo and behold, after that, he began conducting open-air, hand-to-hand drug sales."

Police arrested Taleon for possessing about a half-ounce of crack cocaine and a loaded .25-caliber automatic handgun. While handcuffed in the back of the moving car, Taleon smashed out the rear window by head-butting it, police said. He then dove through the window and its steel frame, causing $1,800 in damage, Kunkel said.

After landing on his face, Taleon rose to his feet and, while still handcuffed, fled on foot and into a nearby pond, police said. "He swam across like Flipper, taunting the officers saying, 'You'll never catch me,' " Kunkel said. Indeed, they didn't. Two officers were injured while chasing Taleon. A week later, he turned himself in. But he didn't return the department's handcuffs, Kunkel said.
Of course, this story is a Freeper bonanza, as they tee off on the fact that the twins performed acts of ince*st on film. And I have to spell it that way because I'm continuously grossed out that one of the top Google searches that brings people to JMG is some variation on that term, usually involving mothers, sisters, and aunts. But not black gay twin porn stars. Yet.

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If You're Crazy And You Know It,
Clap Your Hands

According to WingNutDaily, liberals are a clinically insane.
Just when liberals thought it was safe to start identifying themselves as such, an acclaimed, veteran psychiatrist is making the case that the ideology motivating them is actually a mental disorder.

"Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded," says Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, "The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." "Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."
Here are the symptoms of your insanity:
Dr. Rossiter says the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:

* creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimization;
* satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;
* augmenting primitive feelings of envy;
* rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.

"The roots of liberalism – and its associated madness – can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind," he says. "When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious."
An "acclaimed, veteran psychiatrist." BWAH HA HA. I'm clapping, are you?

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NYPD's Gay Cops Angered As Felony Charges Dropped Against Alycia Lane

Charges were largely dropped this week against former Philadelphia CBS anchor Alycia Lane in her traffic altercation case in which she allegedly called a female NYPD officer a "fucking dyke" and struck her in the face. Lane was fired from her TV job after the incident.
The original police complaint against Lane said the female officer suffered lacerations and swelling on her face. This week in court, however, the Manhattan prosecutors office reduced the charge to obstruction and harassment, both misdemeanors, saying that the injuries sustained by the officer did not rise to the level of physical injury that a felony charge requires. In addition, Criminal Court Judge Dina Douglas said that if Lane does not get into trouble for the next six months the charges could be dropped.
NYPD's gay cop organization, GOAL, is outraged. "If people cannot control their anger and hatred and choose to confront and injure a police officer, then what chance does the everyday citizen have of expecting a general sense of personal safety in our city?" said GOAL executive director Thomas Verni.

Here's the original police report:

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Money Talks For Puerto Rico's Gays

Today Puerto Rico's House of Representatives will vote whether to move forward a ban on gay marriage. U.S. Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY) notes that such a move may imperil federal funding there.
Serrano says that passage of such an amendment would put Puerto Rico among those groups that promote hateful and discriminatory measures which might not be seen in a good light by the United States congress.

“This doesn’t help me to seek assistance for Puerto Rico,” he said during a telephone interview with El Nuevo Dia, “Puerto Ricans cannot ask demand equality and at the same time try to create discrimination.”

Serrano told the paper that such a measure would make it difficult to ask openly gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, for assistance indicating that Frank was opposed to such discriminatory measures.

(Via - Blabbeando.)

UPDATE: Andres Duque reports: "Apparently there were not enough votes to pass it (good stuff!). The measure was sent back to a lower commission that might decide to re-submit it on a later date."

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SF Pride Throws Pink Brick At HRC

San Francisco Pride has nominated the Human Rights Campaign for their annual Pink Brick award, the first time a LGBT organization has received such a dubious distinction. The Pink Brick is meant to recognize groups or persons on the wrong side of the fight for LGBT equality.
While no other LGBT groups have been nominated since the award was created in 2002, at least one LGBT ally has won the dubious honor. The community awarded the Pink Brick to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco) in 2005. The vote was prompted by Feinstein blaming the Democrats failure to win the 2004 presidential race in part on Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to marry same-sex couples in February of that year.

The other Pink Brick nominees this year are Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, who's spoken out against same-sex marriage, frequently denounces San Francisco values, and has attacked the Folsom Street Fair, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who's said there are no homosexuals in his country.

The unprecedented decision to include one of the community's own on the list is a sign of the lingering hurt feelings HRC's decision on ENDA, and Solmonese's continued defense of HRC's position, have generated in the Bay Area.

"I recognize the HRC has done a lot of good work, but last year, they really turned their backs on and betrayed the transgender community," said Mikayla Connell, who's openly transgender and president of the board of directors of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee.


Past Pink Brink honors have gone to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (2006), United States Attorney General John Ashcroft (2004), and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (2002). President George W. Bush has the distinction of being the only person to win the LGBT raspberry twice, first in 2003 and again last year.
HRC's Brad Luna: "We continue to work everyday to educate members of Congress and pave the way for a fully inclusive ENDA. Pink Brick, or not, we will not stop doing this type of crucial work in the struggle for equality for our entire community." Luna notes that HRC has allocated $100K and three staff members to Equality For All, a group fighting California's proposed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment.

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Barack Places Ads In LGBT Press

Barack Obama's campaign has bought full-page ads in four Ohio and Texas LGBT newspapers in an attempt to erode Hillary Clinton's long-standing gay support.
According to Eric Stern, a member of the Obama LGBT steering committee, the campaign has just completed an ad buy with queer newspapers in the four largest LGBT markets of those two states -- Columbus, Cleveland, Dallas and Houston.

Full-page ads will appear starting Friday in Outlook Weekly of Columbus, the Gay People's Chronicle of Cleveland, the Dallas Voice and OutSmart, which is based in Houston. Buying a full-page, four-color ad that appears one time typically costs anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 in weekly publications. In the Gay People's Chronicle, for instance, the ad cost about $850, according to the paper's advertising manager; the same ad went for about $1,500 in the Dallas Voice.

Stern called the coordinated buy "the icing on the cake" in terms of the Obama camp's outreach to the gay community in Ohio and Texas.

Go to Towleroad for an exclusive look at the ad.

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Bloomberg Says "No" To Prez Bid

In a NY Times Op-Ed piece titled I'm Not Running For President, But.., Michael Bloomberg appears to finally end the speculation regarding his possibly joining the race.
In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work to steer the national conversation away from partisanship and toward unity; away from ideology and toward common sense; away from sound bites and toward substance. And while I have always said I am not running for president, the race is too important to sit on the sidelines, and so I have changed my mind in one area. If a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach — and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy — I’ll join others in helping that candidate win the White House.
But who will he "help"?

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Open Thread Thursday

What's your relationship status? Single and happy? Single and looking? Domestic partnered? Civil unioned? Married? Coupled? Thrupled?


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ft Lauderdale Diner Owner Offers $5K Reward For Gay-Basher's Identity

Butch Samp, owner of Fort Lauderdale's Floridian Diner, has offered a $5000 reward for information leading to the capture of the person that committed a brutal gay-bashing at his restaurant earlier this week.
Police are looking for a 2002 or similar year, sage green, four-door Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with a bed cover and roll bar. A police report of the incident listed the assailant as 5-foot-10, about 165 pounds with a closely shaved head.
RELATED: Thursday, Feb. 28th, South Florida residents are encouraged to attend the Fight OUT Loud remembrance of 17 year-old Simmie Williams, a transgendered teen murdered on Sistrunk Boulevard this week. Meet at 4:30pm at 1000 Sistrunk for the remembrance, then regroup at the Gay & Lesbian Center at 6:30pm for a town hall meeting with city leaders and elected officials. Our own Father Tony will attend and provide photos for JMG.

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I Am A 12 Year Old Girl

Seriously, we're seeing something really amazing with this David Archuleta kid on American Idol, who last night very riskily took on perhaps the most beloved and sacred song in the history of pop music and knocked it into the bleacher seats. I came this close to actually calling and voting with the rest of America's 12 year-old girls.

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HomoQuotable - Wayne Besen

"Clearly, the answer to Jamaica's love affair with lynching is an aggressive campaign designed to put the clamp on tourism - particularly the cruise industry. The goal should be to strangle Jamaica's economy and force the island to change or suffer severe consequences. With tourism Jamaica's second largest source of revenue, such a campaign could have a powerful impact that achieves tangible results.

"It appears that four major cruise lines are the main conduits in which people infuse Jamaica's economy with blood money. They are Carnival, Costa, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. The ports where the ships leave are Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral and Galveston.

"It is imperative that one of the GLBT international groups or a major U.S. gay rights group create a campaign to shame these corporations and the passengers that travel on their ships. With so few ports, it would be relatively simple to call for a boycott and picket, while handing hand out informational flyers to cruisers. A "Boycott Jamaica" advertising campaign would greatly strengthen these actions. Billboards would need to be strategically placed along I-95 between Miami and Fort Lauderdale with the bold headline: "JA-MURDER."

"Undoubtedly, there are many passengers with gay friends and family members who are unaware of Jamaica's sickening and immoral violence against GLBT people. Once informed, many individuals would opt to vacation elsewhere. There is no doubt that with a concerted effort, Jamaica could be brought to its knees." - Activist and author Wayne Besen, responding to recent news reports of the ongoing violence against gays in Jamaica.

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Friendly Voices - Desmond Tutu

"As a moral leader we know that you do not wish to see Uganda citizens suffer unnecessarily, and we are therefore asking you to call an end to the witch hunt against the most vulnerable in your community.

"We are particularly concerned that members of your government have called for criminal action against people solely because of whom they love and have censored and silenced attempts by LGBT people to speak on their own behalf. These actions only promote fear, profound isolation and invisibility." - From a letter to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, cosigned by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and over 120 other Christian and Jewish leaders.

Homosexual sex in Uganda is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

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Lewis Black On Mike Huckabee

(Via JMG tipper Janice in Las Vegas.)

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Advertising Works

Walking past the playground at 1st & 67th....

Kid 1: You're a cootie queen!
Kid 2: You're a lint licker!

It took me a few blocks to remember where they got that.

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William F. Buckley Dead At 82

Blustery blowhard pleonastic conservative commentator and National Review founder William F. Buckley has died of natural causes at age 82. Buckley suffered from diabetes and emphysema and was found slumped at his desk, presumably working on another column railing against the moral decay of America.

I'll best remember Buckley for this quote: "Everyone detected with AIDS should be tattooed in the upper forearm to prevent common needle users, and on the buttocks, to prevent the victimization of homosexuals.”

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NY State Senate Closer To Dem Control

Via Famous Author Rob Byrnes:
[I]t looks like today's special election for a vacant New York State Senate seat is flipping the district from Republican to Democrat. [JMG: It did.] Which means that a 40-plus-year Republican hold on the State Senate is down to one seat in the 62-member body. (Democratic Lieutenant Governor David Paterson would vote in the case of a 31-31 Senate tie.)

Now, that's a good sign for one big reason. First, a Democratic Senate could make life far easier for gay New Yorkers. This is no slam dunk, of course... some of those Senate Democrats are somewhat conservative, and all of them are damned pragmatic. Still, it is probable that gay rights bills -- which in recent years have stalled in the legislature, largely because of the Senate -- will start to advance, especially if some Republican allies feel emboldened (like they did in the State Assembly) to vote their conscience, instead of following the party line to ruin.
Cross your fingers, kiddies. The NY State Senate has been all that stands in the way of marriage equality in New York. The State Assembly is already there and Gov. Spitzer is ready to sign.

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LUSTRE: A Mid-Winter Trans-Fest

An only in NYC must-see now running at PS122 in the East Village and starring the incomparable Justin Bond:
Ethyl Eichelberger Award recipient and Tony Nominated performer Justin Bond and friends heat up your winter nights with a heady mix of Glamour, Gender Queer Cabaret, and Sexy Provocation.

LUSTRE is a night of music, monologues and song and dance for, by, or about transgendered people. Justin’s friends include Our Lady J, Glenn Marla, Nathan Carrera, and The Pixie Harlots; plus special nightly surprise guests including Taylor Mac and M. Lamar!

LUSTRE features original songs by Our Lady J (a.k.a. the show’s musical director Jonnah Speidel), neo-pagan revolutionary Appalachian-inspired folk songs by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, and other songs written by Bambi Lake, Benjamin Smoke, Theo Kogan with Sean Pierce and Jemma Nelson. With sets and costumes by Machine Dazzle.
The show runs Wed.-Sun until March 9th, with additional shows on Saturdays at 11PM. Get tickets here. I'm going!

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Vanessa Williams At HRC Dinner

Vanessa Williams spoke eloquently at the HRC gala dinner here in NYC on Sunday. Like most, I tend to take a dim view of giving straight people awards for not hating us, but it is what it is. And I adore Vanessa Williams, who here gives an interesting chronology of her journey from beauty pageants to pop stardom. She also talks about her gay friends whose relationships have outlasted both of her marriages.

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Fort Lauderdale Stands Up To Hate

Press release from Waymon Hudson of Florida's Fight OUT Loud:
Fight OUT Loud is very disturbed to learn of the recent string of anti-gay crimes in Broward County. First, there was the senseless murder of 17 year-old Simmie Williams Jr, which Police are investigating as a possible hate crime based on his sexual orientation or gender identity. Then, a gay couple was brutally attacked and gay-bashed in the popular tourist area of Las Olas Blvd while having anti-gay slurs screamed at them.

These events point to a very unsettling trend in South Florida. There seems to be an atmosphere of intolerance being created in South Florida. We at Fight OUT Loud cannot help but see the connection between the virulent anti-gay rhetoric of people like Jim Naugle and the Florida4Marriage group and wonder if their continued demonization of the LGBT community is leading to this increase in anti-gay violence. The dangerous, hate-filled words of these people have inflamed violence against innocent members of our community and must not go unchallenged.
Join the coalition of community leaders and organizations as we gather to remember Simmie and stand up against the rising tide of violence Thursday, Feb 28th at 4:30 for a memorial service at the murder site at the 1000 block of Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. Immediately following, join community leaders and elected officials for a town hall at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center (1717 N. Andrews Ave.) at 6:30.
Yesterday the bashing victim from the Floridian diner incident blamed Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle for inciting hatred of gays. The police have not made an arrest in the attack.

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Talking To Kids About AIDS

Yesterday the NY Times published a piece about a film called Please Talk To Kids About AIDS, which explores when to teach children about safe sex. From the story:
In it, two incredibly sweet and precocious sisters — Vineeta and Sevilla Hennessey, ages 6 and 4 — accompany their parents, the filmmakers, to the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto. They interview top AIDS experts, gay activists, condom distributors, a sex toy saleswoman, a cross-dresser playing Queen Elizabeth II and an Indian transgender hijra in a sari.

The startling aspect is that, as one childish question leads to the next, they ask things like: “How does AIDS get into your body?” and “How come they want to have sex with each other?” For a reporter, it is a guilty pleasure to see some of the world’s leading scientists squirm — or not — when grilled by a child.

Aaaand here's the Catholic World News' reaction in a post titled The Facts Of Life And The Culture Of Death:
If the question was ever in doubt, it should be no longer: the great majority of sex-ed enthusiasts and AIDS educators are sexual misfits themselves, and their fervid interest in getting into the classroom with children -- other people's children -- stems not from a desire to protect those children from harm but from the need to vindicate their own sexual choices. Normal persons have an innate sense of the dignity of human sexuality that makes them reticent to broach the subject with children, and especially with the children of strangers. Normal persons believe human sexuality is governed by moral norms, even if they differ on where the lines are drawn.

But the folks coaching little Vineeta in the use of condoms are using her health as a pretext. They know perfectly well they're more likely give to her nightmares than to protect her from an unanticipated danger. They see her six-year-old's innocence, as they see all innocence, as a rebuke to their depravity. Hating that innocence, which must pain them whenever they encounter it, they want to extinguish it as soon and as thoroughly as possible. That's why they want into the first grade classroom.

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DC Times Drops "Gay" Scare Quotes

The new editor of the Washington Times, DC's Moonie-owned right-wing newspaper, has updated the paper's style rules. New rules:

1) Clinton will be the headline word for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

2) Gay is approved for copy and preferred over homosexual, except in clinical references or references to sexual activity.

3) The quotation marks will come off gay marriage (preferred over homosexual marriage).

4) Moderate is approved, but centrist is still allowed.

5) We will use illegal immigrants, not illegal aliens.

Good for him. Now let's see if his "paper" gets any "better".

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Lawrence King Story On CNN

The Lawrence King story got in-depth coverage on Anderson Cooper 360 last night. Some new details were revealed including that King's killer may have been bullied himself.

(Via - Towleroad.)

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Live-Blogging The Pink Flight

If you'd like to follow along, Ken Martino is now live-blogging (somehow) from the Sydney Mardi Gras Pink Flight which departs San Francisco tonight. The flight is hosted by Kathy Griffin, so expect shenanigans - at least for the first few hours until everybody sacks out on that looooong flight. Here's the first shot of Ken with the flight attendants.

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Cops Sweep Fake Goods From Chinatown

In one of the largest raids in NYC history, today the NYPD conducted a massive sweep of Chinatown's bustling counterfeit designer goods shops, clearing Canal Street of knockoff watches and handbags. Police padlocked 32 businesses whose owners now face stiff fines or imprisonment.

Mayor Bloomberg: "It is organized crime, frequently accompanied by bloody turf wars, stickups and armed assaults. Counterfeiters rob legitimate businesses of their customers and employees of their paychecks. It defrauds the purchasers of shoddy goods and it cheats the people of New York City of an estimated $1 billion a year in sales tax revenue."

Of course, you can still find street vendors hawking fake handbags on every block elsewhere in Manhattan, not to mention the East African men that work the subway stations with briefcases full of fake watches. I once tried to take a photo of the watch peddlers to use here as a "Morning View" and I nearly got my throat slit. Stupid. I'll confess that I've bought a couple of fake handbags on the request of my sister in Orlando. I am a tool of organized crime.

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DC Takes A Shot At Gotham's Subway

This is the new anti-litter campaign on DC's Metro in which they diss the rats in NYC's subway. I love the rats! They give you something to watch while you're waiting for the train. DC's subway is light-years away from Gotham's in terms of convenience, but the stations are quite beautiful and clean. But a few rats is still worth having 24-hour service.

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The Jokes Write Themselves

Have you planned your summer yet?

For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2008

Craig Accepting Applications for Summer Interns
Deadline Quickly Approaching

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Idaho Senator Larry Craig is currently seeking intern applications for the summer term, which runs from May to August. The application deadline is March 15, however if more time is needed for the application process, please contact Senator Craig’s office for an extension. Craig offers paid internships within the Washington, D.C., office. Preference is given to Idaho applicants attending Idaho schools who are in their junior or senior years of college (including graduating seniors).

(Via - Slog.)

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Prison For Would-Be Pride Bomber

A tiny bit of light in today's parade of horrors:
(Zagreb) A 25-year old man convicted of plotting to throw Molotov cocktails into a gay pride march last July in the Croatian capital has been sentenced to 14 months behind bars.

Josip Situm was convicted of endangering lives and property. He was arrested last summer as he prepared to hurl the first of several incendiaries into the parade. Police said that Situm had several bottles containing gasoline, rags as fuses, and matches. Extreme right wing militants had threatened to disrupt the parade. There were a number of skirmishes and several people were injured, none seriously.

Situm could have been sentenced up to eight years in prison. The judge ordered the young man to undergo at psychiatric examination during his time in prison. During the trial Situm said that he was a devout Catholic and had been taught that homosexuality is dangerous. He denied, however that he intended to throw the bombs. Situm admitted that he brought the bombs to the parade but changed his mind about throwing them.

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HomoQuotable - Andrew Sullivan

"A president Obama should offer the first SCOTUS vacancy to Senator Clinton. It's perfect for her: she gets to lord it over others, she's a sharp lawyer, it appeals to her vanity, she doesn't have to get elected, and as a sitting senator, she'd be a shoo-in. The base would love it." - Andrew Sullivan, responding to a column by Jeffrey Rosen suggesting that the Democrats face a shortage of viable Supreme Court nominees, should they take the White House.

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"Are You Looking At Me, Faggot?"

More ugly Florida news today. A gay man was brutally beaten at the Floridian, a popular diner on Fort Lauderdale's gorgeous Las Olas Boulevard, after his partner said "good morning" to another patron.
Police are searching for a man driven by hate, who beat a gay man and threatened him and his partner, after they finished a meal at an outdoor restaurant. The couple were dining at the Floridian restaurant on Las Olas Boulevard with a friend around 3 a.m. Saturday when they say a stranger verbally and physically attacked them. "I can barely see out of my right eye at this point, I got scrapes..." said Melbourne Brunner.

Brunner said he received the injuries from the stranger who walked by their table and targeted him for no other reason besides the fact that he is a gay man. Brunner said they tried to be cordial with the stranger when they first made eye contact. "He looked down at us, and my partner said, 'Good morning,' and that was it." Brunner recalled, moments later, the man returned visibly upset. "He just started with this barrage, of, 'Are you looking at me, you faggot? You know what I do to faggots? I break their necks!'"

After the verbal encounter, his partner and friend decided to ask for their check. They got up, left the restaurant and headed down the sidewalk to their car. That's when the attacker followed them and made his move. "As I was almost into the car, the guy had made it down the sidewalk and had reached inside and grabbed the edge of the door," explained Brunner. The verbal attack turned physical when Brunner stood up. "That's when he hit me, and I landed face-down on the concrete."

Mitchell Mart, the victim's partner, went to render aid to Brunner and noticed his injuries. "I came down the street to pick him up and put him in the car and saw he was badly injured," Mart said. "His forehead immediately swelled up, his eye closed, he was bleeding."

Mart tried to get the attacker's license tag number from his pickup truck, but the assailant went out of his way to keep it hidden. "He took off his shirt, covered his license plate, put down his tailgate," he said. Brunner said the attacker then threatened them. "'I'll kill you before you get my tag number, you faggot!' and jumped in his car, rolled down the window and was screaming, 'That's right, run, faggots, run.'"

Despite the attacker's attempts to keep his identity hidden, the victims did give a detailed description to police. Authorities are looking for a newer model, four-door Toyota Tacoma with a metallic green color, chrome rims, a black roll bar and a black bed cover. The attacker is described as a white male, in his early 30s, with a muscular build, clean-cut hair, standing about 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall.
The Floridian opened 63 years ago as a 24-hour diner and has been a popular destination for gay men for decades. I've eaten there countless times. It's just about the safest place on the safest street you can imagine.

(Via - JMG tipper David in Fort Lauderdale.)

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Is Romney Rejoining The Race?

You know, that whole "suspending the campaign" bit did sound fishy.
Josh Romney, one of former Gov. Mitt Romney's five sons, says it's "possible" his father may rejoin the race for the White House, as a vice presidential candidate or as the Republican Party's standard-bearer if the campaign of Sen. John McCain falters.

The 60-year-old Romney, who "suspended" his campaign for the GOP nomination after a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday and a week later endorsed McCain, was taking a break from politics this weekend on a skiing vacation in Utah with his wife, Ann, according to his 32-year-old son.

The elder Romney, who was unable to assemble sufficient conservative support to thwart McCain, has made no public comment since the McCain camp was rocked by a controversial article in the New York Times last week first revealed in December in a posting on the Drudge Report.
(Via - Los Angeles Times.)

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Florida Considers Rebel Plates

Via Think Progress:
Florida state Rep. Donald Brown (R) introduced a bill last week to create a “Confederate Heritage” license plate for the state. Saying “it would give motorists a way to show pride in their heritage,” Brown proposes a $25 charge for motorists to purchase a plate with “a shield displaying the rebel battle flag symbol surrounded by several flags from the Civil War era.” The money would benefit “educational programs run by Sons of Confederate Veterans,” which considers the Civil War to be “the Second American Revolution.”
I'd say this doesn't have much chance of passing, but Florida already has "Choose Life" and "Family Values" specialty plates.

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Another Trans Teen Killed

From Fort Lauderdale:

The shooting death of a gay teenage boy who was dressed in women's clothing is being investigated as a possible hate crime, while detectives try to determine whether he was targeted because of his sexual orientation.

Simmie Williams Jr., 17, was attacked on the 1000 block of Sistrunk Boulevard by two young men who wore dark clothing and might live in the neighborhood, police said. Williams, who was wearing a dress and was known in the area by his first name or as "Chris" or "Beyonce," was shot about 12:45 a.m. Friday and soon afterward died at Broward General Medical Center, police said.It's unclear what Williams was doing in the area, about four miles from his house, but police are investigating whether he was working as a prostitute, officials said.

Williams' mother said her son was openly gay, but she didn't know what he did when he went out at night, and she didn't know he wore women's clothes.

I'll report back when the police decide if this was a hate crime.

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Poll: Clinton & Obama In Virtual Tie

The latest poll result:
(Washington) Barack Obama has taken clear leads over Hillary Rodham Clinton among white men, middle-income earners and liberals, allowing him to catch his faltering rival in their race for the Democratic presidential nomination, a new national poll shows.

The Associated Press-Ipsos survey highlights how the bottom is falling out among some supporters of Clinton, the New York senator, since the last survey was taken two weeks ago. Since that poll, Obama has gained momentum by winning 11 consecutive primaries and caucuses while taking a small lead among delegates to the party's convention this summer.

The Illinois senator leads Clinton by 23 percentage points among white men and by 17 points among liberals - groups that were evenly divided between the two in early February. He has a similar advantage among people earning $50,000 to $100,000 annually - whom she led earlier by 13 points.

Clinton maintains robust leads among some groups that have been cornerstones of her candidacy, including those age 65 and up, white women and people earning under $50,000 annually.

Overall, Obama has 46 percent to Clinton's 43 percent, a virtual tie. Clinton had a slight 5 point lead nationally in early February.
Anybody bored yet?

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Monday, February 25, 2008

(Another) Blowoff Recap

I'm pretty sure Saturday's Blowoff was the best one ever. Pretty sure. The second half of the party is a teensy little foggy to me. Stupid tequila. Stupid beer. But it wasn't just me that got his drunk on - I got tons of great pics that I can't use here because everybody looks so freekin' hammered. The place was wall-to-wall fur (I think they stopped letting people in around 1am), but the club really had its act together and there were short lines at the bar and the coat check. Miracles happen, people.

I knew very little of the music that DJs Bob Mould and Rich Morel played, which is exactly how I like it. One big highlight was a killer remix Rich Morel did of Alice Cooper's 1980 single Clones (We're All). Rich also played his new Cyndi Lauper tracks. Big fun. Bob starts his tour to support District Line next week, and as I always do I warmed up for Blowoff by played nothing but Mould and Morel at the house before we headed out. When I finally got up at 2pm on Sunday, I realized that I had a new #1 on my iTunes playlist because I'd let Bob's new single, The Silence Between Us, play 381 times in a row on my laptop. Stupid tequila. Stupid beer. You can stream District Line here.

Almost everybody I love in NYC was in the house for this Blowoff. I briefly chatted with some guy from Project Runway (Rami) but had no clue he was a *star*. Ah, well. Pleasant guy, though. I also met a few JMG readers on the dance floor, so hello to Charles, Andre, Etienne, and the "A-T-L boys". Here's some handsome guys that I snapped before things got out of control.ABOVE: Matt and Clickboo.ABOVE: Dr. Jeff (right) and friends.ABOVE: Damian and Randy.ABOVE: Chris and Wolf.ABOVE: Michael and Franco.

ABOVE: Eddie and Aaron.
ABOVE: Click the pic to go to Dr. Jeff's excellent photo gallery.

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Protests At HRC Fundraiser,
Gotham Pols Steer Clear

The Radical Homosexual Agenda protested outside last night's Human Rights Campaign dinner at the midtown Hilton in Manhattan.

From Paul Schindler at Gay City News:
Faced with a boisterous picket line that drew a crowd of more than 50 and with the absence of every lesbian, gay, and bisexual elected official from New York City -- and nearly every other prominent city Democrat -- Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, used his keynote address at the group's annual Midtown Manhattan dinner to answer critics who fault it for going along with a version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that does not include protections for transgendered Americans.
[O]f numerous elected officials who in past years attended but were not there this time, only Micah Kellner [JMG: my Assemblymember], an openly bisexual East Side Democratic assemblyman, attributed his absence to the boycott. Others insisted, on the record, that they had scheduling conflicts, though Kellner's statement to Gay City News and off-the-record comments by staff members of several elected officials, pointed to a conscious effort to avoid the HRC event.

Kellner was among those that dinner officials from the stage announced as being on hand, but this reporter did not see him, and when reached by telephone the assemblyman said, "I was not there. I boycotted like everyone else. And I was really quite annoyed that they put my name on their press release. I phoned them late yesterday to make clear I was not coming."

Christine Quinn, the out lesbian speaker of the City Council who addressed the HRC dinner in past years, attributed her absence to "scheduling conflicts." In an email statement to Gay City News, a spokesperson for Quinn added, "However, the Speaker has also made clear that she was very disappointed that the action taken by Congress with the Employment and Non-Discrimination Act did not include gender identity. Moreover, the Speaker is stunned that the Human Rights Campaign is penalizing those Congressmembers who support a pro-LGBT agenda, and who voted against the Act because it didn't include transgenders. The Speaker applauds her colleagues from New York -- Congressmembers Clarke, Nadler, Towns, Velazquez, and Weiner -- for their stand."

None of the three Democrats mentioned as likely 2009 mayoral candidates -- Quinn, Congressman Anthony Weiner, or city Comptroller William Thompson -- attended the dinner. Quinn's lesbian colleague on the Council, Lower East Side Democrat Rosie Mendez was also absent, as were out gay and lesbian Democratic legislators Senator Tom Duane of Chelsea, and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick of the Village and Matt Titone of Staten Island.

As late as February 22, HRC had gay Upper West Side Democrat Daniel O'Donnell, who steered the marriage equality bill to passage in the Assembly last summer, slated on their program to present the group's community service award to Marriage Equality New York, but that same day O'Donnell's office told Gay City News that he too had a scheduling conflict.
The never-ENDA story continues.

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Dina Martina At Cutting Room

Friday night, Aaron and I visited Chris Noth's Cutting Room for the opening night of Provincetown legend Dina Martina's new show. If you've never experienced Dina, expect a bewildering cavalcade of songs, props and malaprops, spoonerisms and Norm Crosbyisms. The Dina Martina Show runs at the Cutting Room through March 9th. Highly recommended. Get tickets here.

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Oscar Winner Diablo Cody

Regarding Oscar winner Diablo Cody, in 2005 I wrote here on JMG:
The first blog I ever read regularly was Diablo Cody's Pussy Ranch, in which she frankly chronicled her life as a bisexual stripper in Minneapolis. Pussy Ranch was raunchy, enlightening and hilarious. I even sent her a couple of fan e-mails back in 2003. Now Cody has a book and a movie deal. A couple of years ago she announced that she was leaving blogging to concentrate on her newspaper writing, but now I see she has a blog on Minneapolis' CityPages site. I definitely recommend checking her out.
So as of today, Ms. Cody is the only Oscar winner who has ever written me an email. So far.

Jamaica: Most Homophobic Place On Earth

More anti-gay violence in Jamaica:
MANDEVILLE, Jamaica — One night last month, Andre and some friends were finishing dinner when a mob showed up at the front gate. Yelling anti-gay slurs and waving machetes, sticks and knives, 15 to 20 men kicked in the front door of the home he and his friends had rented and set upon them.

Inspector Claude Smith says of gays, “I don’t think they can survive in the open.”
“I thought I was dead,” Andre, 20, a student, recounted in a faint voice, still scared enough that he was in hiding and did not want his full name to be used.

The mob pummeled him senseless. His right hand, the one he used to shield himself from the blows, is now covered with bandages. His skull has deep cut marks and his ear was sliced in half, horizontally. Doctors managed to sew it back together and he can hear out of it again.

Being gay in Jamaica is not easy.
Is there a concerted effort out there to boycott Jamaica? All I've ever seen is the occasional outraged blog post or news story. Can't we persuade the cruise industry to leave Jamaica off their itineraries?

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NY Times Ombudsman Slams
His Paper's McCain Article

NY Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt has blasted his paper's recent McCain/lobbyist hottie article, calling it "wrong to report the suppositions or concerns of anonymous aides about whether the boss is getting into the wrong bed."
A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. And if a newspaper is going to suggest an improper sexual affair, whether editors think that is the central point or not, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide.

The stakes are just too big. As the flamboyant Edwin Edwards of Louisiana once said, “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”
As Hoyt notes, there is some meat to the story. McCain does get very cozy with special interest lobbyists. But ironically, the Times' story only served to help McCain raise more campaign funds as he played the "victim of the leftist media" card. This time, he's actually right.

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Manhattan Monday

- On the market: a five-story, century-old, 18,500 square feet Upper East Side townhouse listing for $64M. You get 30 rooms including 15 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, and a grand ballroom. The home sold for a mere $7.6M in 2003. Now that there's some flipping! If it goes for the asking price, it will eclipse the previous Manhattan townhouse price record of $53M.

- Bloomberg wants to close the city's Off Track Betting parlors, which annually run a budget deficit in the millions. There's an OTB near my apartment and the mostly-seedy crowd it draws really stands out on the prim Upper East Side. Kinda funny.

- Madonna, Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, and Demi Moore are among hundreds of people contacted by the New York Health Department after a bartender at Manhattan hot-spot Socialista came down with hepatitis A. The celebs were at the club to celebrate Ashton Kucher's 30th birthday, where the bartender handled drink garnishes with his bare hands. So far 90 people have come in for a vaccine shot.

- Would you buy wine from Staten Island? Didn't think so.

- The Upper West Side's Cafe La Fortuna, famous because John Lennon wrote many of his songs there, closed yesterday after 32 years due to an impending tripling of the rent.

- The PATH train celebrates its 100th anniversary today. Rides are free from 6am - 11pm. Now's your chance to finally see Hoboken.


Huckabee On SNL

Mike Huckabee was actually rather amusing on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

UPDATE: Sorry, kids. NBC has yanked the clip from YouTube.

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Hillary Slams Obama's "Shameful Behavior"

Didn't she say three times during last week's debate that she was "honored" to be in the race with Obama?

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Laurel Hester Story Wins Oscar

Freeheld: The Laurel Hester Story, which chronicles the fight of a terminally ill New Jersey woman to leave her pension benefits to her lesbian partner, won the Oscar for Best Short Documentary tonight.

Filmmakers Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth accepted by saying, "It was Laurel Hester's dying wish was that her fight against discrimination would benefit all same-sex couples across the country who face discrimination every day." They then lauded Hester's partner, Stacie Andree, who was seated with them in the audience, calling Andree "an auto mechanic by day, but hero by life."

In a truly ironic twist, the nominees and winner for Best Short Documentary were announced via satellite by American soldiers who, if killed in battle, could never leave their benefits to a gay partner. Unsurprisingly, the Freepers are going ballistic, saying the G.I.'s were "set up" and "used" and that the producers of the show deliberately chose them to give the Hester award, intending to embarrass the U.S. military. Let's hope so!

Another great gay moment came at the end of the show when No Country For Old Men producer Scott Rudin thanked his partner. "Without you, honey, this [holds up Oscar] is
just hardware."

Other Oscar winners:

Best Picture - No Country For Old Men
Best Director - Joel Cohen and Ethan Cohen
Best Actor - Daniel Day Lewis
Best Actress - Marion Cotillard
Best Supporting Actor -Javier Bardem
Best Supporting Actress - Tilda Swindon

I suppose it's mildly interesting that foreigners swept the major acting awards this year.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

$65M Weiland Bequest To
LGBT Orgs Largest In History

The Pride Foundation of Seattle today announced a $65M bequest from the estate of openly gay Microsoft mogul Ric Weiland, who committed suicide in July 2006 after a long battle with depression. The bequest in the largest gift ever to LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations.

Audrey Haberman, executive director of the Pride Foundation, said, "Ric was one of Pride Foundation's closest supporters, not just as a donor, but as a board member and volunteer. All of us feel such a tremendous loss with him gone. Ric's bequest will do what he always wanted-inspire others to give to the causes they care about to the full extent that they can."

The beneficiaries of the Weiland Designated Fund include:

. amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
. Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
. In The Life
. International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
. Lambda Legal
. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
. Project Inform
. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

Weiland also bequested $60M to his alma mater, Stanford University, and gave significant amounts to the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the United Way, and the Seattle Children's Hospital.

Weiland was one of the five original Microsoft employees, hired by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. Weiland developed BASIC and COBOL for Microsoft platforms, launching the company into its global dominance of personal computing.

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Unsafe At Any Speed

Hillary's reaction:
Speaking to reporters on board her campaign plane, Mrs. Clinton expressed surprise at the news that Mr. Nader planned to run. “I don’t know what to say,” she said, when a reporter asked for comment. “Wow, that’s really unfortunate. I remember when he did this before. It’s not good for anybody, especially our country. I didn’t know that he had said that this morning. Obviously it’s not helpful to whoever our Democratic nominee is. But it’s a free country and I don’t know what party he’ll run on. What did he run on last time, does anybody remember?

The Green Party, a reporter replied.

“Well, you know his being on the Green Party prevented Al Gore from being the greenest president we’ve ever had,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And I think that’s really unfortunate.”
For those who don't remember, in 2000 Bush "won" Florida by less than 500 votes after Nader took 97,000 votes.

And here we are in this mess.

Let's not forget that the Republican Leadership Council actually ran pro-Nader ads in states where they thought he could do the most damage to Al Gore.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hung Obama Top 4U, Can Host

From Craigslist Houston: "I am an attractive, in shape hung (9 inches) black male from Atlanta here on business. I am looking for a masculine white male to service me, then get pounded in my hotel room today or tomorrow (saturday). Send your pics, stats and background info. I want to wear my Obama mask while I pound you."I don't know what to say.

(Via JMG Tipper Chuck.)

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Spoiler Alert

Ralph Nader will appear on Meet The Press tomorrow (Sunday) morning to announce whether he plans to run for president.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Broadway Friday

- The Actors Fund will give a benefit performance of Seth's Broadway 101 at the New World Stages on April 14th. The show was written by Seth Rudetsky, who recently hosted Broadway Backwards and features Laura Benanti, Jonathan Groff, Andrea McArdle, Norm Lewis, Pamela Myers and a full orchestra. "Rudetsky shows what is brilliant about Broadway, how the whole thing works and why it can sometimes be a splitting headache!"

- Tony winner Gary Beach (The Producers) is joining the national tour cast of Spamalot.

- Four songs from Passing Strange, now in previews, are available for free streaming and download.

- Advance tickets to John Water's Cry-Baby, set to begin previews April 24th, go on sale this Sunday. Preview tickets are half-price.

- A Bronx Tale closes this Sunday.

- Stephen Sondheim's 1981 flop, Merrily We Roll Along, may have a revival in the 2009 season. The original production only played 16 performances.

- Despite a raft of bad reviews, The Little Mermaid is grossing $1M a week, proving that anything Disney on Broadway is bulletproof.

Big Gay Sketch Show mashes up Extreme Home Makeover and Grey Gardens:


Dallas Cop Killed Escorting Hillary

Hillary just cannot catch a break.
A Dallas police officer died Friday when his motorcycle struck a pillar on the Houston Street viaduct as he was escorting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to a rally in Oak Cliff. The motorcade was heading south on the viaduct when the officer apparently lost control of his bike about 9:20 a.m. "He just lost control and hit the pillar," said Assistant Chief Ron Waldrop, commander of the criminal investigations bureau.

After the rally, a somber Mrs. Clinton expressed sorrow over the officer's death. "We are just heartsick over this loss of life in the line of duty," she said. Mrs. Clinton said the accident should serve as a reminder of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make. She said it is important that people respect and appreciate their service. At her next stop, a rally in Fort Worth, Mrs. Clinton named the officer and expressed condolences to his family. She apologized to the crowd of about 1,000 people and said she could not conduct a rally.
Classy of them to cancel the rally, however.

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Snowy Mental Health Break

Dr. Jeff sends us some great shots of the snow in Central Park. I'd love to go sledding, but at my enfeebled age, I'd probably break a hip. These photos embiggen beautifully.

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SpecPubs Sued For $4M
After Kid Sees Gay Porn

Kent Blackwelder, a former Big Brother contestant, is suing Specialty Publications for $4M because his 12 year-old daughter opened a mailing from them which contained gay porn, including a sample DVD from Titan Media, Farm Fresh.

From the suit: "Mary Doe [Blackwelder's daughter], being a curious child and thinking the free DVD offer was for a Disney movie, opened the envelope at which time she was horribly shocked to see numerous sexually explicit photographs of completely nude males."

The suit is seeking damages for "extreme emotional distress" for both Blackwelder and his daughter. "As a result of the negligence of Specialty Publications, the [Blackwelders] have sustained great pain of body and mind and emotional stress, including shock, horror, humiliation and embarrassment as well as anxiety." Specialty Publications used to be owned by PlanetOut, which sold off the division last year.

Oh, the horror and humiliation of accidentally seeing a picture of people having sex! Ow, my freekin' eyes! And how did Blackwelder get on that list in the first place? I'd just like to get paid for having seen Two Girls, One Cup. Ow, my freekin' soul!

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Security Gaffe At Obama Rally

Questions are being asked why thousands were allowed to enter an Obama rally on Wednesday without being screened for firearms.
DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.
Unbelievable. And in Dallas, of all grimly historic places.

(Via - Pam's House Blend.)

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Cyndi Lauper's "Set Your Heart"

Here's a teaser snippet of Cyndi Lauder's new single, Set Your Heart, as used in a Japanese car commercial. The track was co-written and co-produced by Cyndi and Blowoff DJ Rich Morel, who promised me he'd play it tomorrow night at the Highline.

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The B-52's are streaming Funplex, the first single from their album of the same name, over on their MySpace page. The single is now available on iTunes, the album drops on March 25th.

This is the first new album for the B's in sixteen years. Did I ever mention that I got evicted from my first apartment in 1979 thanks to the B-52's? "Tenant persists in playing loud annoying sound-effects records." Thank you, Planet Claire.

A lyric sample from Funplex:

Chandalabra's in a wonder bra
Dress Barn runway-a real draw
Faster Pussycat thrill thrill
I'm at the mall on a diet pill

I. Love. It.

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Hillary: Barack Is Change You Can Xerox

Hillary Clinton drew boos at last night's Democratic debate when she again dissed Barack Obama for plagiarism, saying he represented "change you can Xerox." Obama turned the boos into applause when he countered, "What we shouldn't be spending time doing is tearing each other down. We should be spending time lifting the country up."

After making a thinly veiled reference to Monica Lewinsky ("Everyone here knows I've lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life.), Clinton turned conciliatory and said, "No matter what happens in this contest, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama."

Like others
, it seemed to me that Clinton's closing comments were almost a concession speech.

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Morning View - Snow Day

Gotham is being socked with its first decent snow storm of the winter. Other than a couple of dustings, today's 5-7 inches has been all we've gotten. In fact, January set a record for being the first time in something like 75 years that no snow had fallen during the month. If you're flying today, it sucks to be you. The airports are reporting delays of 3 to 7 hours.