Wednesday, May 07, 2008
PA Senate Gives Up Gay Marriage Ban
Thanks in part to the snark of Democratic state Sen. Vincent Fumo [left], the Pennsylvania Senate yesterday abandoned their latest anti-gay marriage bill.
The main sponsor, Sen. Michael Brubaker, R-Lancaster, said it had become clear to him that the bill would not pass in the House and he therefore saw no point to a lengthy debate in the Senate.Nicely played, Sen. Fumo!
The bill might have passed the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans 29-21. Up to 14 amendments were planned on the bill, which would have meant a long night. One of the amendments was by Sen. Vincent Fumo, D-Philadelphia, who proposed that Pennsylvania outlaw most divorces.
His amendment would "outlaw the dissolution of most marriages in Pennsylvania," he said in a news release. That would mean there would be few legal ways for the divorce of a married couple, a man and a woman.
Mr. Fumo, who leaves the Senate on Nov. 30, said the stated goal of Senate Bill 1250 is to "protect the sanctity of the marital institution" by defining a legal marriage as only between one man and one woman.
The next logical step, according to Mr. Fumo, is to also outlaw divorces, except for five specific reasons: if one spouse "willfully or maliciously" deserts the other; if one spouse uses "cruel and barbarous treatment" on the other; if a person endangers his or her spouse's health or life; if one spouse is found to be a bigamist; or if one spouse "imposes indignities to make the other spouses's life intolerable and burdensome."
Because Republicans control the Senate, there was virtually no chance that Mr. Fumo's radical amendment would have passed. But it would have given Mr. Fumo a chance to attack the marriage amendment for "taking away the rights of some citizens based on their sexual orientation," as his release states.
VA Elects First Openly Gay Black Candidate
Via the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund:
Last night, while most political onlookers were watching the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Indiana and North Carolina, a Virginia resident quietly made history as he became the state’s first openly LGBT African-American elected to public office.Congratulations to Councilman Webb!
In his first bid for elected office, Lawrence Webb won a seat on the Falls Church City Council by a margin of 39 votes. He joins two other candidates on the City Council: Nader Baroukh and Robin S. Gardner.
“I am grateful that the citizens of Falls Church have entrusted me with the responsibility to help guide the direction of our city’s future, and I thank them. I look forward to working with Council to make Falls Church an even better city than it is now,” Webb said.
Rep. Paul Broun: No Porn For G.I.'s
As if things didn't suck enough for our guys overseas:
GRAFENWOHR, Germany -- Legislation that would restrict the sale of certain men's magazines on U.S. military bases around the world would be bad for morale, according to soldiers at Grafenwohr.Send them to fight an obscene war, but don't let them read "obscene" magazines. Typical wingnuttery.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-GA [right], has introduced legislation that would close a loophole in the current law that allows the sale of some sexually explicit material on military bases by lowering the threshold required to deem material "sexually explicit."
A Department of Defense committee that reviews materials sold on bases ruled last year that magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse are not pornographic. But Broun's Military Honor and Decency Act includes language that could make those magazines eligible for the ban. The prospect of missing out on men's magazines was not welcomed by soldiers at Grafenwohr.
"We all read 'em," said Pfc. Paul Rubio, 31, of Bakersfield, Calif. "There are times we just read 'em for the technological parts like the new gadgets that come out. They have good stories sometimes too." Sgt. Simon Brown, 34, of Daytona Beach, Fla., said men's magazines build morale. "It's not all about the pictures, although 80 percent of it is," he said.
Good Work Wednesday
This Sunday join Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for a few rounds of Broadway Bingo at Spotlight Live in Times Square, where Charles Busch, Jackie Hoffman, and Karen Finley will be among the celebrity callers. There will be special musical performances by Joyce DeWitt (!), the cast of Naked Boys Singing, and Amber Martin. Prizes include paraphernalia from and tickets to hit Broadway shows such as Xanadu, Avenue Q, and Cry-Baby. Doors open 7:30pm. Advance tickets $10, $15 at the door. Get tickets here. Take your mom, it's Mother's Day.
A Little Fussy, But It Would Do
The late Brooke Astor's Park Avenue apartment has just gone on sale for $46M. Six terraces, fourteen rooms, including four for the maids. Oh, and don't worry about a mortgage, it's 100% down. Conveniently located several blocks and one universe from my apartment.
Appeals Court: NY Must Recognize Out Of State Gay Marriages
Yesterday the New York Court of Appeals refused to hear a case that challenged a lower court's decision that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. The court's refusal means that the earlier ruling stands and New York must recognize same-sex marriages performed in jurisdictions where they are legal.
The original case stemmed from a complaint from two women married in Canada in 2004. The women sued Monroe County Community College, where one of them is employed, when the school refused to add the other partner to a health plan. The school later expanded its health plan to include domestic partners.
The Empire State Pride Agenda welcomed the decision, but with a caveat.
"Despite today's good news, the state of marriage for same-sex couples in New York is still unsettled," said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle.The GOP holds their state Senate majority by a very slim margin, although there are Democrats there who do not support marriage equality.
"Until a law is passed by the New York State Legislature, there will always be the possibility that another court decision could undo Martinez v. County of Monroe and strip away from otherwise legally married same-sex couples all of the 1324 state-based rights and responsibilities that come with a marriage license in New York."
In 2006 the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled that same-sex couples do not have an automatic constitutional right to marry in the state. It said that the issue, however, could be taken up by the Legislature. Last June the Democratically-controlled New York State Assembly passed same-sex marriage legislation (story) but the GOP-controlled Senate has refused to take up the bill.
Morning View - Not A Keno Board
I found this odd bit of artwork downtown near the South Street Seaport. I thought it looked like a giant keno board, but I'm told it's some kind of calendar, part of what was once many interactive art installations in the area. Can anybody tell us about it?
Labels: Morning View
Jim Neal Loses NC Senate Primary
Openly gay U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal was trounced in yesterday's North Carolina primary, taking (as of this writing) only 19% of the vote to state Sen. Kay Hagen's 62%. Hagen will now face incumbent Elizabeth Dole, who breezed to an easy win on the Republican side with 90% of the vote.
Neal's underfunded campaign ran no television ads and lacked the endorsements of some major PACs, perhaps most notably the Human Rights Campaign.
Clinton's Vanishing Point?
Obama won easily in North Carolina and Clinton won Indiana by a teensy margin. Or not. Issues with the absentee ballots. Again. But even if Clinton sqeaks by, Indiana's delegates will still be split 50-50. [UPDATE: Indiana was called for Clinton around 1AM.]
Last night some of the pundits were calling yesterday's primary the end of Clinton's campaign. Prematurely so perhaps, but her campaign is virtually penniless; Obama's is neck-deep in bars of gold. At one point on both CNN and MSNBC the talk turned to how Clinton needs to reconcile with Obama in order to get the nod as his VP. In blogland, Matt Drudge posted a picture of Obama with the headline: "The Nominee." And unsurprisingly, Andrew Sullivan is already doing a victory dance.
Via Politico.com, a quote from Clinton may reveal what's coming:
“I’m going to work my heart out in West Virginia and Kentucky this month,” she said. She cast her potential victory in Indiana — citing her opponent’s words — as a “tiebreaker” after the two split victories in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.I'm not sure Clinton is gonna pack it in. I think she might limp right up to the convention, even if she has to do it on her own dime. But even hardcore Clinton supporters might breathe a sigh of relief to have all this over.
But Clinton also thanked her family, her staff and her supporters at unusually great length, giving the speech a somewhat valedictory tone. She promised to fight for a Democratic victory in November “no matter what happens.”
Barbara Walters: Why I Was Roy Cohn's Beard
In an interview promoting her new memoir, Audition, Barbara Walters tells the San Francisco Chronicle about her relationship with Roy Cohn, the most despised gay man in American history, explaining why she allowed Cohn to pose as her boyfriend.
Many of Walters' other friends were horrified that she would even talk to Cohn, but what Walters reveals for the first time in "Audition" is that Cohn somehow got a warrant for her father's arrest dismissed. He had failed to show up for a New York court date because the family was in Las Vegas at the time.Some background for the youngin's who somehow may not know who Roy Cohn was:
Cohn liked to hint that they were more than friends "because I was his claim to heterosexuality," Walters says. "He never said that he was gay, he never admitted to me that he had AIDS. He was a very complicated man. He died, alone, up to his ears in debt. He had been disbarred and he was hated. And I might have thought the same way, but he did something when my father was in trouble, [and] I never forgot that."
Loyalty, she says, means everything to her. "I still have many of the same friends I had when I was younger," she says.
Did Cohn have a secret "nice" side?
"I would not use the word nice," she laughs. "He was very smart. And funny. And, at the time, seemed to know everyone in New York. He was very friendly with the cardinal, he was very friendly with the most famous columnist in New York, Walter Winchell, he had a lot of extremely powerful friends."
When he was 24, as Assistant District Attorney of Manhattan, Cohn's eviscerating questioning of nuclear scientists Ethel and Julius Rosenberg was widely credited with their espionage convictions. In his autobiography, Cohn claimed that the judge imposed the death penalty on the Rosenbergs on his recommendation. The actual guilt of the Rosenbergs (Ethel, in particular) remains a topic of great debate. Cohn's performance in the trial led FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to recommend him to Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
As McCarthy's chief counsel during the communist witch hunts of the 1950's, Cohn and his boss called hundreds of government employees to testify before a Senate subcommittee on accusations of communism, espionage, and homosexuality. (That subcommittee continues to operate today as part of the Senate Committee On Homeland Security.) Thanks to Cohn's vicious interrogations, many of these gay people lost their jobs, homes, and families. This was all done with Cohn's purported lover G. David Schine, a handsome young lawyer, working at his side as an unpaid consultant. (Some historians say Cohn was merely infatuated with Schine and that they were not sexually involved.)
After Schine was drafted by the Army and was in danger of being sent to Korea, Cohn attempted to intervene and get Schine a safer assignment. He then accused the Army of holding Schine "hostage" unless Cohn ended his investigation of communist infiltration of the armed services. The hearings into Cohn's allegations backfired (with Senators snickering that Schine was a "fairy"), resulting in Cohn's resignation and McCarthy's later censure by the Senate, effectively ending the witch hunts.
In his private practice over the next 30 years, during which he often defended mafia bosses, Cohn also lobbied strongly against homosexual rights, all while visiting gay clubs and chasing "muscle men." One of his last acts was to work against NYC's gay rights ordinance. Cohn's death from AIDS in 1986 was immortalized by playwright Tony Kushner in his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play, Angels In America. (Cohn was also a character in Kushner's lesser known play, G. David Schine In Hell.)
Previous to this revelation about his helping her father, Barbara Walters' devotion to Roy Cohn had been explained as gratitude for his role in the adoption of her daughter. You have to wonder how Walters managed to have a such a successful career in journalism while being lifelong friends with such a famously evil person.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
The Transgender Third-Grader
In the Philadelphia suburbs, the cross-dressing of a 9 year-old transgender child has caused some parents of students at her elementary school to object to the school's apparently respectful and conscientious handling of the issue.
For school officials in Haverford Township, the challenge was daunting: What do you do when a 9-year-old student, with the full support of his parents, decides that he is no longer a boy and instead is a girl? Parents of a third-grade student at Chatham Park Elementary School approached the administration on April 16 to ask for help in making a "social transition" for their child.It's interesting that even one of the objecting parents says that the students don't appear to have an issue with the child's situation. The bigger question here, of course, is when it's appropriate to assist a transgender child with their transition. From what I've read, the prevailing opinion today seems to be to delay any surgical or hormonal treatments until after puberty, at the earliest. According to the story, one of out every 5000 persons is transgender.
The Haverford School District consulted experts on transgender children, then sent letters to parents advising them that the guidance counselor would meet with the school's 100 third-grade students to explain why their classmate would now wear girls' clothes and be called by a girl's name.
Some parents objected. Eight called the principal to ask that their child not attend the session, and some posted angry messages on the Haverford Township blog. "Why is the school introducing this subject to 8- and 9-year-olds?" wrote the parent who started the blog thread, which had been viewed more than 3,000 times as of yesterday. "Why were we not notified sooner. We received the letter today, the discussion at school is tomorrow."
Other parents thought the school should not have called attention to an already delicate situation. "I did not think that the letter needed to go out," said Valerie Huff, whose daughter is friends with the transgender student. "The kids don't make any big deal about it at all."
Mary Beth Lauer, district director of community relations, said there were no easy answers for school officials. "This is something that was going to come out," Lauer said. "Isn't it better to be proactive, and let people know what is happening and how we're dealing with it?" The student has not received medical treatments to change his sex, but has told others that he considers himself a girl, according to several people who know the family.
He had begun wearing girls' clothes, Huff said, and an approaching school event would have made the child's gender identity an issue, according to Lauer, who declined to discuss the matter in greater detail.
Bloggers On Blogging
Cody Lyon of Edge New York has posted short interviews with several Gotham-based gay bloggers including myself, Eric Leven, Lady Bunny, Andres Duque, and Josh Meltzer, who speaks for the Empire State Pride Agenda's blog. Lady Bunny in particular has an excellent point to make. Check it out.
According to the just-released diary of Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi dictator feared that his American captors would give him AIDS by using his prison clothesline to dry their clothes.
Saddam Hussein feared catching AIDS or other diseases during his U.S.-supervised captivity, a leading Arab newspaper said in publishing excerpts of his prison writings.
The London-based Al-Hayat said the comments came in portions of Saddam's prison dairies that it obtained from U.S. authorities. The U.S. military confirmed some of the late Iraqi leader's writings had been released.
When Saddam found out his U.S. military guards were also using his laundry line to dry clothes, he wrote that he demanded they stop, according to the excerpts. "I explained to them that they are young and they could have young people's diseases," Saddam wrote. "My main concern was to not catch a venereal disease, an HIV disease, in this place." He said some soldiers ignored his request.
Friendly Voices: Mildred Loving
"The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry. Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry.
"I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights. I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about." - Mildred Loving, in a 2007 interview marking the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark civil rights case that overturned laws against interracial marriage in America. Loving died this week at age 68.
(Via - Towleroad)
Tomorrow: Rugby Bachelor Auction
Stop by Manhattan's Splash Bar tomorrow night for the annual Gotham Knights Rugby Bachelor Auction which benefits Immigration Equality, a group that works to keep bi-national gay couples and families together. How much does a rugger go for these days?
Girls Just Wanna Be Remixed
Rich Morel's fantastic remixes of his production of Cyndi Lauper's new single Same Ol' Story are now available on iTunes. Below you can stream Morel's extended mix of the single, one of several versions available. Lauper's full-length, Bring Ya To The Brink, goes on sale on May 27th.
May is National Masturbation Month, in case you didn't know. San Francisco's Center For Sex and Culture will be staging a "masturbate-a-thon" on May 28th, so start your training now. The event will be streamed live online and participants from outside SF are invited to take part via their home cams. Sounds like a regular weekend on DudesNude.
PA Senate To Vote On Marriage Ban
The Pennsylvania Senate will vote today on the issue of placing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on the 2009 ballot. The proposed amendment passed a committee review yesterday. If approved in the Senate, the bill will go to the House for approval and then must be approved again in the next session of the legislature before it can go on the ballot.
Marriage is presently restricted to opposite-sex couples in Pennsylvania, but conservatives are worried that a more precise definition of marriage is required to prevent judges from overturning the first law.
Following the committee vote LGBT rights groups and their supporters demonstrated inside the Capitol, shouting "Stop this bill."
"Pennsylvania's constitution was never intended to be a tool that restricts people's rights," state Sen. Connie Williams (D) told the protestors. v"When the basic human rights are threatened then no one's rights are safe," said Sen. VIncent Fumo (D). Both Fumo and Williams said they would vote against the measure when it comes before the Senate.
Rep. Dan Frankel (D) vowed a fight in the House. "It takes a lot of chutzpah to talk about putting discrimination into the constitution of Pennsylvania," he told the protesters.
Morning View - Dick's Hardware
Yeah, I know. I'm a third grader.
Labels: Morning View
Courtesy of the promoters, this week's Swag Tuesday prize is two tickets to Boy George in Concert: All The Hits From Culture Club And Beyond, which takes place August 14th at Terminal 5 in New York City.
BOY GEORGE is coming to Terminal 5 to sing "The Hits of Culture Club and Beyond" on Thursday, August 14. It's his first major NYC concert appearance in ten years, and we're giving away a pair of tickets!Advance tickets for Boy George at Terminal 5 are available now for $35. Terminal 5 is located in Hell's Kitchen at West 56th & 11th Avenue. Enter to win your tickets by commenting on this post. Only enter once and please remember to leave an email address you check frequently. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.
As lead singer and chief provocateur of Culture Club, Boy George was one of the most iconic pop stars of the 80's, responsible for hits like "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," "Karma Chameleon," "Miss Me Blind," "Church of the Poison Mind," and "Victims." As a solo artist, his hits have included "The Crying Game," "Everything I Own," "Generations of Love," and "Bow Down Mister." He wrote the music for the Broadway/West End musical "Taboo!," in which he starred as Leigh Bowery.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Memphis School Board Backs Principal Who Outed Students
According to the school board of Memphis, the principal who outed two gay students did nothing wrong. You may recall last week's story in which the ACLU demanded that Hollis F. Price Middle High School Principal Daphne Beasley be reprimanded for her actions.
According to the ACLU, Beasley included the two boys on a list she posted of students thought to be romantically involved, outing them to other students, faculty, and their parents. Beasley allegedly told the mother of one of the boys that she "would not tolerate homosexuality" at her school.
But the school board says that Beasley did nothing wrong and was following policy. In a reply to the ACLU the board said that the middle school is located on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College and that the college had complained "that some of our student couples were involved in explicit sexual behavior in public view on the college campus."Yet the mother of one of the boys says, "I couldn’t believe it when I went to meet with the principal and that list was right there by her desk where anyone could see it." The ACLU is continuing to investigate. I'll post an update as soon as it becomes available.
As a result, the school board said "faculty and staff, the principal of Hollis F. Price made several general announcements to the student body that this behavior would not be tolerated."
"Regrettably, the improper behavior continued," the school board said in its reply to the ACLU. "Therefore, the principal felt it appropriate to notify the parents of those children she knew to be involved romantically."
The board said that the parents of students who were opposite sex couples also were notified that Beasley "certainly did not specify the sexual orientation of any student. Additionally, the list was never posted publicly anywhere at the school."
Anita Mann's TV Set Number
Mildred Loving, 68
Mildred Loving, the black woman whose fight against Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to the Supreme Court overturning all such laws nationwide, has died at age 68. Loving's cause of death was not disclosed.
Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. The ruling struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.Loving v. Virginia was a landmark victory for civil rights in America and overturned the state's Racial Integrity Act Of 1924 which required that the race of all people born in Virginia be categorized as either "white" or "non-white" and made interracial marriage a felony.
They had married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Returning to their Virginia hometown, they were arrested within weeks and convicted on charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," according to their indictments.
The couple avoided a year in jail by agreeing to a sentence mandating that they immediately leave Virginia. They moved to Washington and launched a legal challenge a few years later. After the Supreme Court ruled, the couple returned to Virginia, where they lived with their children Donald, Peggy and Sidney. Richard Loving died in 1975 in a car accident that also injured his wife.
In a rare interview with The Associated Press last June, Loving said she wasn't trying to change history — she was just a girl who once fell in love with a boy. "It wasn't my doing," Loving said. "It was God's work."
I was a third-grader living in North Carolina when the Loving decision was handed down and NC was one of the "slave states" affected by the ruling. It's hard to believe now that I once lived in a time and a place when interracial marriage was illegal. But there are millions of 8 year-olds alive today who will one day say the same thing about same-sex marraige.
Hillary's Gas Tax Holiday
"Boys Are Boys, Girls Are Girls"
In Racine, Wisconsin:
A Park High School student who thought he might have a shot at being prom queen could still get crowned king. School officials have said they won’t allow Uriel Gomez, 18, to stay on the girls’ ballot for prom court, which could have put him in the running for queen. Park students started voting for prom court early this week. With a little encouragement from Gomez and his friends, he ended up getting enough votes to get on the girls’ ballot.On Friday night I attended the Transgender Prom at the NYC LGBT Community Center. It would have been interesting to ask attendees about this.
Classmates had nominated Gomez for prom king, too. He might have to settle for a crown instead of a tiara. Uriel Gomez poses Thursday outside of Park High School. Gomez, a senior, is openly gay, and was on the ballot for both prom queen and prom king. On Friday, school officials said his name will not be allowed on the girls’ side of the ballot. “Right now it’s kind of confusing. All I know right now is, I’m on the guys’ side,” Gomez said.
Gomez, a senior at Park, insists the push to keep his name on the list of senior girls who might be chosen prom queen has nothing to do with grabbing “15 minutes of fame.” When Gomez learned he had enough votes that he might get elected to the prom court — on both the boys’ and girls’ sides — he asked a teacher if he could stay on the girls’ side. The teacher told Gomez, and his friend Matthew Harris, to talk with Jim Kerkvliet, the school’s activities director.
Park officials weren’t thrilled with the idea that Gomez wanted to run for prom queen, regardless of his reasoning. A former high school football star recently donned a skirt as a joke during a homecoming contest. Gomez didn’t see any difference. School officials did. “The school is standing with the regular policy,” Kerkvliet said. “It’s the same for everything. Boys are boys. Girls are girls.”
Evangelicals: We Have Become Useful Idiots
Some evangelical leaders say America's Christians have been become too political and are asking Christian groups to sign a manifesto pledging to reform.
Conservative Christian leaders who believe the word "evangelical" has lost its religious meaning plan to release a starkly self-critical document saying the movement has become too political and has diminished the Gospel through its approach to the culture wars."We must reform our own behavior." Anybody holding their breath?
The statement, called "An Evangelical Manifesto," condemns Christians on the right and left for "using faith" to express political views without regard to the truth of the Bible, according to a draft of the document obtained by The Associated Press. "That way faith loses its independence, Christians become `useful idiots' for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology," according to the draft.
The declaration, scheduled to be released Wednesday in Washington, encourages Christians to be politically engaged and uphold teachings such as traditional marriage. But the drafters say evangelicals have often expressed "truth without love," helping create a backlash against religion during a "generation of culture warring." "All too often we have attacked the evils and injustices of others," they wrote, "while we have condoned our own sins." They argue, "we must reform our own behavior."
Paid Family Leave For Garden State Gays
In another step forward towards marriage equality, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed a law on Friday which mandates paid family leave for same-sex partners as well as married heterosexuals.
Under the New Jersey law, workers can apply for up to six weeks off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or a sick parent, child, spouse or partner, and collect up to two-thirds of their pay, up to a maximum of $524 a week.New Jersey becomes the second state after California to offer paid family leave for same-sex partners. Washington is the only other state to offer such paid leave at all, and there it only covers leave to care for sick children. Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality, says, "This new law is the latest indication that our state is ready to give same-sex couples the freedom to marry."
The new law explicitly includes married spouses, as well as civil union partners under the Civil Union Act enacted in December 2006, and domestic partners through the Domestic Partnership Act enacted in January 2004.
Gay Rugger Break
Fellow blogger Jess, the official photographer of the Gotham Knights, sent me along the link to his photo gallery of last week's match against Landsdowne. (Gotham is in the blue and gold uniforms.) Next week Gotham plays in the Long Island Rugby Tournament in Lido Beach.
HomoQuotable - Pete Burns
"I view marriage as a sacred institution. I think two men naturally are predators. Gay relationships are a commercial break, not a whole movie. The relationships I'm aware of, apart from one ... it's as though there's some kind of emotional inadequacy or narcissism, where they feel emotionally inadequate and need more validation, from either a father figure or a mirror image of themselves. I'm not condemning it, I think it needs researching and help." - Dead Or Alive lead singer, Big Brother contestant, and admitted plastic surgery addict Pete Burns, talking to the press after breaking up with his partner ten months after their civil partnership in the UK.
The 48 year-old Burns was married to a woman for 28 years and in 2003 met his male partner Michael Simpson, announcing their engagement on national television in 2006. Last week police responded to Burns' charge that Simpson had assaulted him, breaking his collarbone. Burns plans to file for divorce.
Although Dead Or Alive has had only modest success on the pop charts and (outside of dance clubs) are known primarily for their 1985 breakout smash You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), the band is massively popular in Japan, where they have had 18 #1 singles.
Morning View - Municipal Building
Gay Candidate Loses, London's Gays Worry About New Mayor
Openly gay Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick (left) failed in his longshot bid to become London's mayor on Friday, losing to Conservative (Tory) candidate Boris Johnson. Paddick ended a 30-year career with the Metropolitan Police last year, a job he left as one of the top-ranked openly gay police officials in the world. Had Paddick been elected, London would have joined Paris and Berlin as major world cities with openly gay mayors.
The election of Boris Johnson (right) has alarmed London's gay community (and not just because of his Donald Trump hairstyle.) Johnson has been outspoken in his views against same-sex unions and has criticized attempts by his Tory party to reach out to gay Brits.
Pundits say that Johnson's win was not necessarily a disapproval of incumbent Mayor Ken Livingstone, but more a dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labor Party in general. Johnson is considered by many to be a wacky celebrity-obsessed "character", and before the election was quoted as saying, "Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3."
As London has traditionally been a Labor stronghold, Johnson's election is thought to be a harbinger of the return of the Conservative Party to nationwide power in the next general election, which must be held by 2010. The Labor Party has been in control for 11 years.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
The first recognizable e-mail marketing message was sent on 3 May, 1978 to 400 people on behalf of DEC - a now-defunct computer-maker. The message was sent via Arpanet - the internet's forerunner - and won its sender much criticism from recipients.My Google spam filter is actually pretty good, only a handful of spams get through on a given day. Almost all the ones that do get through are some variation on the Nigerian bank scam.
Thirty years on, spam has grown into an underground industry that sends out billions of messages every day. Statistics gathered by the FBI suggest that 75% of net scams snare people through junk e-mail. In 2007 these cons netted criminals more than $239m (£121m).
Statistics suggest that more than 80%-85% of all e-mail is spam or junk and more than 100 billion spam messages are sent every day. The majority of these messages are being sent via hijacked home computers that have been compromised by a computer virus.
Via the New York Times:
At 12:04 P.M. on April 25, a skirmish broke out on Jezebel.com.Well, I damn sure never "set out to be nice", but I definitely understand the "mean girl" issue.
It began when the upstart Web site for women, whose slogan is “Celebrity, sex, fashion. Without airbrushing,” posted a photo of Angelina Jolie in a low-cut yellow dress. As part of a popular feature called Snap Judgment, readers offered biting comments on everything from Ms. Jolie’s eye-popping neckline to her possible state of mind.
Then a commenter with the screen name Calraigh wrote that, despite being pregnant, Ms. Jolie looked like “an Ethiopian famine victim.” Within minutes, a half-dozen angry readers had made their own snap judgments of Calraigh:
“Are you serious?”
“That comment is inappropriate. I don’t know what website you think you are on, but that is not how we roll.”
The Jezebel blog was founded last spring by Gawker Media as a smart, feisty antidote to traditional women’s magazines (or “glossy insecurity factories,” as Jezebel describes them). It quickly developed a loyal following and has seen an influx of new visitors, after being name-checked on the official blog for “Gossip Girl,” the prime-time soap opera.
But as Jezebel’s first anniversary approaches on May 21, its readers and editors are learning a lesson right out of high school: popularity has its pitfalls, and mean-girl behavior is hard to quash.
Some readers, in comments on the site, have accused editors of political bias and misogyny. Readers have called one another, by turns, immature, boring and cliquish. This spring the editors responded by banishing certain commenters and putting others “on notice” for being nasty or, worse, not funny.
“I feel like Jezebel is a club more than a blog,” wrote Elizabeth Palin, 26, an accountant from Fayetteville, N.C., who comments under the screen name Muffyn.
All this over a Web site that set out to be — dare one say it? — nice.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
The Empire Strikes Barack
Friday, May 02, 2008
We, The Fewer?
A new survey from Hunter College suggests that the number of gay people in America is lower than previously thought.
A new poll published in the United States on Wednesday claims that there are considerably less gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans than previously estimated. A Hunter College poll of 768 people who took part online found that just 2.9% identified as LGB. The gay population is normally estimated at around 5%.I suppose an online poll might incline folks to be more honest, always an issue when trying to determine the size of our community. But you have to wonder about the methodology by which people were asked to complete the survey.
The survey threw up some interesting results. Just 3.5% of the LGB population is over 65, while the average age of LGBs over 18 is lower than in the general population. "Exit polls are based on voters, the people who show up at the polls. Gays and lesbians vote much more consistently than the general population," Professor Patrick Egan of New York University, one of the poll's authors, explained to The Advocate.
"It's this sort of illusive concept that good political theorists want everyone to do, which is to be engaged with their community and by every measure, LGBs are more engaged with their communities than the general population." Women made up two thirds of those who said they were bisexual, whereas men made up two thirds of the gay/lesbian respondents.
Labels: LGBT cutlure
Audio: Eric Leven On Sirius OutQ
Here's the audio of Eric Leven's appearance on Michelangelo Signorile's show on Sirius OutQ yesterday in which Eric talks about his HIV/gay youth activism. He's got some great ideas. Eric has a wonderful radio voice, maybe Sirius should offer him a show too. Eric gives me a kind shout-out at the 9:30 mark.
Anderson Cooper Loves Bears
In Beijing: World's Largest Building
Twice the size of the Pentagon at 240 acres, Beijing's new airport terminal, takes the title of world's largest building*.
Adorned with the colors of imperial China and a roof that evokes the scales of a dragon, the massive glass- and steel-sheathed structure, designed by the renowned British architect Norman Foster, cost $3.8 billion and can handle more than 50 million passengers a year. The developers call it the “most advanced airport building in the world,” and say it was completed in less than four years, a timetable some believed impossible.*Contrary to the linked NY Times story, Wikipedia shows the the Aalsmeer Flower Auction in the Netherlands as slightly bigger.
It opened in late February with little fanfare, but also without the kind of glitches that plagued the new $8.7 billion terminal at Heathrow in London, a project that took six years to complete.
This is the image China would like to project as it hosts the Olympic Games this summer — a confident rising power constructing dazzling monuments exemplifying its rapid progress and its audacious ambition.
Florida Approves Anti-Bullying Law
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has indicated that he will sign the anti-bullying law which passed in Florida's Senate yesterday after being approved by the House earlier in the year.
The legislation mandates that school districts throughout the state must put in place specific policies to deal with bullying that includes methods of investigating and punishments. It also bans cyber bullying. The districts would have to comply by December 1 or risk losing state funds.It's interesting that while specific protections for LGBT students are not mentioned in the bill, Equality Florida appears comfortable that a senator's word on the record that they'll be protected will be enforceable.
The legislation does not, however, list specific categories of students that are protected.
During debate Sen. Nan Rich (D) asked, "Does the bill prohibit harassment based on a student’s actual or perceived disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation or other distinguishing personal characteristic in the exactly the same way that it prohibits sexual, racial or religious harassment, which are specified in the bill?" Sen. Carey Baker, the bills sponsor responded, "Yes it does."
''The intent of this legislation is to protect all children from all types of bullying,'' said Baker. The bill had the endorsement of most LGBT rights groups in the state who have been fighting for eight years to get the legislation passed. Equality Florida said that Baker's response on the record makes it clear that the legislative intent requires schools to ensure LGBT protections at the local level.
"The legislature has made clear that any school that fails to prevent and respond to anti-gay bullying and to protect every student will be in violation of this law and will face consequences," said Nadine Smith, Executive Director for Equality Florida. "We will hold them accountable."
Jeebus II: ETA 2015
According to a minister quoted on WingNutDaily, the second coming of Jeebus has been nailed down to the the time of a rare "blood moon eclipse" in 2015.
Biltz began focusing on the precise times of both solar and lunar eclipses, sometimes called "blood moons" since the moon often takes on a bloody color. He logged onto NASA's eclipse website which provides precision tracking of the celestial events.The second coming of Jeebus will be immediately followed by the ninth coming of Godzilla. And then another Cher farewell tour.
He noted a rare phenomenon of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, known as a tetrad. He says during this century, tetrads occur at least six times, but what's interesting is that the only string of four consecutive blood moons that coincide with God's holy days of Passover in the spring and the autumn's Feast of Tabernacles (also called Succoth) occurs between 2014 and 2015 on today's Gregorian calendar.
"The fact that it doesn't happen again in this century I think is very significant," Biltz explains. "So then I looked at last century, and, believe it or not, the last time that four blood red moons occurred together was in 1967 and 1968 tied to Jerusalem recaptured by Israel." He then started to notice a pattern of the tetrads.
"What's significant to me is that even before 1967, the next time that you had four blood red moons again was right after Israel became a nation in '48, it happened again in 1949 and 1950 ... on Passover and Succoth. You didn't have any astronomical tetrads in the 1800s, the 1700s, the 1600s. In the 1500s, there were six, but none of those fell on Passover and Succoth."
When checking the schedule for solar eclipses, Biltz found two – one on the first day of the Hebrew year and the next on the high holy day of Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the seventh Hebrew month. Both of these take place in the 2014-2015 year. Biltz says, "You have the religious year beginning with the total solar eclipse, two weeks later a total lunar eclipse on Passover, and then the civil year beginning with the solar eclipse followed two weeks later by another total blood red moon on the Feast of Succoth all in 2015."
"If you think that this is a coincidence, I want you to know that it's time!" exclaimed Prophecy in the News host J.R. Church. "There are no more of these for the rest of the century
And All The Girls Dreamed That They'd Be Her Partner, They'd Be Her Partner
Carly Simon outs herself, sort of, to the Bay Area Reporter:
Bay Area Reporter: After speaking with you this morning, I'm going to be interviewing Cyndi Lauper regarding her True Colors tour, which features gay and straight artists performing to raise money for the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT organizations. I'm wondering if Cyndi called you and asked you to be a part of the True Colors tour, might you get involved?
Carly Simon: Well, the part that I could be involved in is the gay and lesbian part. The part that would be hard for me is to commit to a tour because I'm not very comfortable being onstage. But the part that would be easiest for me would be singing on behalf of all of us. I don't consider myself to be not gay.
BAR: Wow! Well, it's great to have you as part of the family.
Simon: Thank you! I mean, I've enlarged all of my possibilities. There are a lot of extremely personal stories to tell about that, but we won't go into that right now. Let's just say that it just depends upon who I'm with.
- The Second Annual Broadway Beauty Pageant saw five musical theater hunks compete as the show raised $10,000 for the Ali Forney Center, NYC's homeless shelter for LGBT youth. The winner: Xanadu's Marty Thomas, who reportedly performed the showstopper of the evening, a take on Tina Turner titled Proud Marty.
- Kiss Of The Spider Woman returns to Broadway in the fall, but this time in non-musical form. Interesting. Non-musical movie to Broadway musical to non-musical Broadway play. Has that ever happened before? Peter DuBois will direct, other casting TBD.
- Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire, the lyricist of Broadway's soon to open Shrek: The Musical, has won the Kleban Award for his work on the musical. Lindsay-Abaire will receive $100,000 - $150,000 over the next two years. Edward Kleban, lyricist of A Chorus Line, created the award in his will to encourage writers in musical theatre. Kleban died of throat cancer in 1987.
- According to the Broadway League, the Great White Way contributed $5.1B to the economy of NYC over the 2006-2007 season. Of the 12.3 million tickets sold, 82% went to non-New Yorkers, almost half of which said they came to town expressly to see Broadway shows. And go to Splash.
- Generally fantastic reviews for the revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which opened yesterday at the American Airlines Theatre. Preview reviews weren't as great.
- Gone With The Wind: The Musical, currently playing in London, may be Broadway bound.
- From backstage at A Catered Affair, star Harvey Fierstein tells of recently turning down a film role: "I've been offered a bit part in the Sandler movie - me and another well-known gay guy. That's the whole gag, one line. I think I have more life in me than being a side gag in an Adam Sandler movie."
- At the Broadway Beauty Contest: "Tommy Berklund (A Chorus Line) sang "Take Me Seriously," a song in which he boasts about his hotness and his intelligence, while tearing his clothes off, ultimately stripping down to the tiniest blue 2(x)ist undies known to mankind." [Photo credits: Michael Portantiere]
Labels: Broadway Friday
Thursday, May 01, 2008
DC Madam Found Dead
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 52, the infamous "DC Madam" was found dead in a shed outside her mother's trailer near Tampa today. Police are calling it suicide.
The woman convicted of running a high-end Washington prostitution ring that snagged a senator killed herself Thursday, police said, weeks after she was convicted on charges she vowed not to go to prison for.Hmm. The head of Washington, DC-based prostitution service, somebody who had many highly-placed men on her customer list, is found dead. Palfrey had recently predicted on radio talk shows that she would be "suicided":
The body of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 52, was found in a shed near her mother's manufactured home about 20 miles northwest of Tampa. Police said she left at least two suicide notes and other writings to her family in a notebook, but they did not disclose their contents. The mother found Palfrey, who had apparently hanged herself with nylon rope from the shed's ceiling.
Palfrey was convicted April 15 by a federal jury of running a prostitution service that catered to members of Washington's political elite, including Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican. She had denied her escort service engaged in prostitution, saying that if any of the women engaged in sex acts for money, they did so without her knowledge.
She was convicted of money laundering, using the mail for illegal purposes and racketeering. But the trial concluded without revealing many new details about the service or its clients. Vitter was among possible witnesses, but he did not take the stand. Channing Phillips, the spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in the District of Columbia, said that under sentencing guidelines, Palfrey faced 57 to 71 months in prison. She was free pending her sentencing July 24.
During several recent appearances on The Alex Jones Show, Palfrey also said that she was at risk of being killed and that authorities would make it look like suicide. She made it clear that she was not suicidal and if she was found dead it would be murder. Palfrey had threatened to release the names of well-known clients of her upscale call girl ring in the nation’s capitol, and had indicated that Dick Cheney may be one of them. "No I’m not planning to commit suicide," Palfrey told The Alex Jones Show on her last appearance, "I’m planning on going into court and defending myself vigorously and exposing the government," she said.I can't wait to see where THIS goes.
(Via - Pam's House Blend)
Eric Leven On Sirius OutQ Today
Young NYC-based gay activist, writer, and filmmaker Eric Leven will appear on Michelangelo Signorile's show on Sirius OutQ today at 3:30PM. Tune and hear about Eric talk about gay youth and HIV activism.
UPDATE: Courtesy of my favorite Sirius insider, here's a pic of Eric and Michelangelo in the studio today. I'll have audio of Eric's interview later.
An Apology To Cooper
UPDATE: A retraction of this post can be found here. You won't believe the REAL story.
In Tuesday's post about gay parenting, many of you weighed in on this growing phenomenon and what it means in the larger picture of our rapidly changing gay culture. Overwhelmingly, you expressed support for gay parents, with small minority expressing strong distaste for gay people who desire to have children. A few commenters directed readers to a blog called Cooper's Corridor (a site unknown to me) for insight into the life of good gay dad.
Late in the day, Cooper's Corridor disappeared.
With his permission, here is Cooper's explanation:
I have deleted my blog. I'm very sad that I have felt the necessity to do this, because I loved the Corridor and feel it had a unique voice of its own. I started getting many hundreds of hits on my blog and multiple e-mails, some very nice, but others full of vitriol and judgement. Yet others poked fun at me. I feel threatened. I won't expose my sons to that kind of scrutiny, so I ended it right then and there. I'll continue writing privately, but never again will I expose my heart and soul and those of my children to public consumption. It may seem like an over-reaction, and although it hurts terribly, I feel I had no choice. It's a sad world we live in when gay men denigrate and deliberately choose to hurt others.I feel awful. I have pleaded time and time again for a civil tone in the comments of JMG. With a weekly comment volume in the thousands, I don't have the time to moderate or even read many of the comments and I depend on our (mostly) thoughtful and smart community of JMG participants to keep the peace. And it works, mostly. Reviewing the comment thread of the post in question, with a handful of exceptions, there's really not too much there that is very offensive.
But the idea that an apparently great blogger and fantastic gay father could be silenced by nasty JMG readers, even if they were directed to his blog by commenters and not me....well, that really fucking bothers me.
I offer my embarrassed apologies to Cooper.
To Hurl Or Not To Hurl
Well, this show sounds as appetizing as Hell's Kitchen.
In G4’s new series, Hurl!, competitors will not only speed-eat, but they’ll also be made to participate in physical challenges between binges. For example, after stuffing their faces with more chicken pot pie (or blueberry pie, hot dogs, fish sticks, or whatever else is on the menu) than any human being should ever ingest in a lifetime (let alone, one sitting), the participants who eat the most will get to advance to stage two. The second round involves the contestants performing physical challenges that include things like riding on a carnival ride, doing belly flops off a high dive or riding a mechanical bull – basically anything you wouldn’t want to do with a belly full of New England clam chowder.I will definitely not be watching this show. I'm a sympathetic hurler.
Whichever contestants make it through the physical challenge without chucking up the contents of their stomachs will get to enjoy another round of eating. If more than one person makes it through that round they do another physical challenge.
Only A Dozen
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
My hometown of Orlando has been rousting the homeless from downtown streets, causing them to go live in the woods outside of town.
The homeless crackdown in downtown Orlando has forced many homeless to migrate near east Orange County suburbs. Within four miles of the busy intersection at Colonial Drive and the Econlockhatchee Trail, News 13 was told as 20 homeless camps were set up deep in the woods. News 13 used pictures from Sky 13 after being warned by several homeless people not to enter.I suppose they have it better than NYC's mole people.
One homeless man, who did not want to be identified, said many walked for miles to east Orange County to get a fresh start. "The cops and society is just downloading on ‘em. It makes it hard. So everybody is coming to a new area, new surroundings. To make their life a little bit easier, I guess," said an unidentified homeless man. Some homeless people said they traveled to east Orange County because there are lots of undeveloped areas, with lots of woods where they can set up camp and hide.
Wingnuts Seek "Online Army" Of Hate
The Heckler's Veto
On Wednesday, students at the all-female Smith College invaded the auditorium where anti-gay author Ryan Sorba was giving a speech in support of his new book, The Born Gay Hoax. Chanting and banging pots, the students forced Sorba to abandon his lecture.
And played right into the right's evil hands.
Wingnuts continuously accuse progressives of stifling dissent, of shouting down the opposition. Which is exactly what happened at Smith College. Protest yes, but do it outside the venue. Yes, it's thrilling to see so many passionate Smith students defending themselves against Sorba's asshattery and perhaps we can forgive their youthful zeal. And yes, Sorba was sort of asking for it by appearing at the famously pro-gay Smith College. But that shoe can be worn on the other foot. We wouldn't stand for that, would we?
NYCLU: Pot Arrests Up Tenfold
According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, arrests for the possession of small amounts of marijuana have increased tenfold in NYC over the last decade. Via Gothamist:
That isn't all, the reports are also showing that the NYPD are weeding out Blacks and Latinos, with more than half those arrested being black, and 31% being Hispanic.Tenfold? TENFOLD? I know violent crime has dropped a zillion percent or something, but are the cops really that fucking bored? And doesn't a stop-and-frisk policy violate the Fourth Amendment? You have to wonder how many of these busts are mere harassment and don't even go to trial.
A NYPD spokesperson said the system the NYCLU used to cull its numbers is flawed, but many are still taking note, especially since the NYPD itself is criticized for pressuring people into searches and stop-and-frisks (police commish Kelly denies using racial profiling). The NYPD spokesperson denies the report all-together, calling the NYCLU's numbers "absurdly inflated".
The NYPD claims there were only 8,770 marijuana violations during the years 1997 to 2006. But the NYCLU is standing firm by their report, saying that in those years "205,000 blacks, 122,000 Latinos and 59,000 whites for possessing small amounts of marijuana."
Clinton, Obama Talk To NC Gay Press
Open Thread Thursday
If you had your entire life on TiVo, what one scene would you watch over and over?
Labels: Open Thread Thursday
Strange week, eh? Everybody pretty much sucked with Neil Diamond's material. Paula reviewed a performance that hadn't yet occurred, prompting renewed gossip that the producers were rigging the show. Especially interesting in that regard was Syesha Mercado landing in the bottom two - when the usually reliable Dial Idol had placed her at a comfortable first place. My early favorite David Achuleta continued his month-long run of blandness, but since his puppy dog looks and "aw shucks" personality will sell millions of records to pre-teen girls, I can see why suspicions of favoritism are high.
Brooke White's departure was long-overdue, but the producers might have considered cutting her mike during all that sobbing. Sheesh. Another cruel hallmark of Idol is that departing contestants have to perform a departure song moments after being cut, tears still streaming down their face. But at least Brooke stayed true to form and forgot the words.