Saturday, June 07, 2008

Morning View - Quiet Under The Trees

I'm spending the weekend in the Poconos with Chris and Aaron at Hillside Campground. Site 62, stop by and say "Hello."

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Today: Ex-Gay Days In Orlando
Sunday: T-Dance At Parliament House

The wacky sad deluded "ex-gays" are having a conference in Orlando this weekend and have peppered the city with their dumbass billboards. (But this one is a parody done for this blog a couple of years ago by musical theatre star Steve Schalchlin.) Hey, why did the "ex-gays" pick the same weekend as Gay Days at Disney World? Hmmm. Anti-"ex-gay" activist Wayne Besen and his crew are down there.
Gay activists and clergy are planning a silent protest Saturday morning outside a conference of ex-gays who contend homosexuality can be cured by religious counseling. The conference, called "Love Won Out" and sponsored by the conservative Colorado-based Christian organization Focus on the Family, has sparked controversy and outrage with several billboards in Orlando and other cities that host the traveling event. The billboards declare: "I Questioned Homosexuality and discovered love won out." The group's message is that change is possible.

"For gays, this is the same as saying you don't have to be black, you don't have to be Jewish," said Wayne Besen, executive director of TruthWinsOut.org, a Brooklyn-based gay advocacy group. "They represent us as broken and incomplete people."

Protesters, organized by Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will meet outside First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, where organizers say the conference is expected to draw about 500 participants. The conference coincides with Gay Days, which annually attracts thousands of gays to Orlando and Disney World.

Earlier in the week, leaders of Orlando's gay community denounced the conference and the billboards as part of the larger agenda by Christian groups to deny gays rights -- including same-sex marriage -- and portray gays and lesbians as deviant and abnormal. Before Orlando, Love Won Out had erected the controversial billboards in eight cities. In some cities, the billboards have been vandalized.
You know at least half of these guys are going to slip away to the host hotels for a little poolside action.

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Dads, I'm Straight

Via Queerty, in this amusing viewer-created film from Current TV a kid has to break the news to his dads that he's straight.

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Chillaxicat

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Cabin Pressure

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Ikke Gjør Det Taze Meg, Bro!

Cubicle life can cause people to lose their minds, as amply demonstrated by this man going berserk in his office. And here we thought the Norwegians were so placid. There's no audio, so provide your own sound effects.

And here's an audio version (with fuzzy video) of the same incident caught on a coworkers cell cam. And as for this post's headline: You're. Welcome.

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Broadway Friday

- Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's musical Bounce will play the Public Theatre from Oct. 28 - Nov.30th, with a possible extension through the end of the year. Tony winner John Doyle will direct.

- A new movie version of Lerner & Lowe's My Fair Lady is coming from Columbia Pictures. Keira Knightley is in talks to star.

- Via Broadway.com: "Additional presenters for the 62nd annual Tony Awards, which will be presented on June 15 at Radio City Music Hall, have been announced. Gabriel Byrne, Julie Chen, Harry Connick, Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Mandy Patinkin, David Hyde Pierce, Lily Tomlin and John Waters have all signed on to hand out trophies in the ceremony's 25 competitive categories. Previously announced presenters include Alec Baldwin, Kristin Chenoweth, Glenn Close, Richard Griffiths, Laura Linney, John Lithgow, Liza Minnelli, Mary-Louise Parker, Daniel Radcliffe, Brooke Shields and Marisa Tomei."

- Ugly Betty cast member Alex Mapa is bringing his solo show, America's Gaysian Sweetheart, to Joe's Pub for two shows on gay pride weekend, June 28th & 29th. The show is billed as an "uncensored, unbridled evening of hilarity."

- Even though it only played 63 performances, the recent run of Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart somehow turned a tidy profit for investors. Maybe it was those $250 tickets? The show is up for six Tony Awards.

- Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are moving to Manhattan in advance of Holmes' debut in Broadway's All My Sons. Look for Cruise to man (ahem) the Scientology tables in the Times Square subway station.

- Via Towleroad, check out this hilarious installment in Cubby Bernstein's YouTube series. Nathan Lane, Cheyenne Jackson, dick jokes, dance belts. What more can you ask?

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Morning View - 2 Columbus Circle

Earlier this week, my shot of Columbus Circle prompted some commentary on the makeover of 2 Columbus, now home to the Museum of Arts & Design, so here's a better shot that I took from the fifth floor of the Time-Warner Center. And below is what it used to look like. Before the makeover, the building was listed by the World Monuments Fund as one of the 100 Most Endangered Sites. Nevertheless, preservationists lost the battle to retain the original look of the building. Believe it or not, I like the new version better. I know most of you will disagree.

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New House Caucus On LGBT Rights

Via- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Democrat Tammy Baldwin joined the only other openly gay member of Congress, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), on Wednesday to unveil a new House caucus focusing on gay rights.

The group, called the LGBT Equality Caucus, has received the support of 50 other members of the House, most of them from California, New York and the Northeast. None of Wisconsin's seven other House members has joined the caucus.

Baldwin said she hopes to use the caucus, formed to advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, to inform other lawmakers about issues important to those communities. "Corporate America and the American people are far ahead of where Congress is right now," she said. She also sees the caucus as a way for lawmakers to begin "building for the future" once a new administration is in place after the November election.

All of the caucus members are Democrats except Reps. Chris Shays of Connecticut and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. "This has not been part of the Republican agenda," Shays said. He added that he thinks advancing rights for all Americans is a matter of honor.

The idea for the caucus came about after Democrats took control of Congress and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who supports gay rights, became House speaker, Frank said. Before that, those who supported gay rights had focused most of their efforts on fighting proposals to diminish rights for gays and lesbians, Frank said. Now, he said, he and Baldwin are working together to act on Pelosi's commitment to helping gay people live and work free of discrimination.
But no Senate caucus yet, and none on the horizon with Ted Kennedy out of the picture, at least for now.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

And Then There Were None

Six months after the announcement that the Virgin Megastore in Union Square will be closing in early 2009, today comes the news of the same fate for the Times Square store, leaving Manhattan with zero music retail chain outlets. Unless you count joints like Best Buy or Starbucks, which I totally don't.

Says the company that bought Virgin Megastores North America last year: "We bought the Virgin business to wind it down to get a hold of the real estate. Virgin pays only a $54 per square foot when the market rent in the area is about $700."

Of course, when you consider that mega-club Bar Code has sat empty next door to Virgin for the last few years, you gotta wonder who will take the giant space currently held by Virgin. No, wait - I don't wonder at all. It'll be a bank. Sorry, I lost my mind there for a minute.

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Le Spider-Dork

A little excitement in midtown today:
A French stunt man known as Spiderman used only his bare hands to scale his way to the top of the 52-story New York Times building in Midtown before being apprehended by authorities around 12:20.

Alain Robert, 46, who has scaled the Eiffel Tower among other towering structures, got a boost from 10 cohorts who began handing out flyers, asking passersby to stand back and to speak out against global warming. Pedestrians and construction workers alike cheered and gasped as Robert made his way to the top of the north side of the building where authorities cordoned off the base.

"It was free entertainment, and the crowd loved it," said Tomas, 23, of Coop City, who watched the spectacle for more than an hour. "He was trying to make a point but it's not the way to do it. It got the crowd¹s attention, but it's a little risky."

The France native swiftly ascended the building, and a third of the way up unfurled a bright yellow banner that read "Global Warming kills more people than 9/11 every week." The rest of the way, he paused to rest or wave to onlookers.
The tourists were thrilled, but the dozens of cops and firemen who had to respond and prepare to rappel down the building from the top in case they needed to rescue Spider-Dork, not so much. The exterior lattice-work of the NY Times Building is nothing if not a 52-story ladder, so color me unimpressed. I was amused, however, by the breathless live report on NBC4 that gushed that Spider-Dork had climbed "5000 feet." Uh, what would that be? 300 stories? 400 stories?

UPDATE: A copycat is doing the same thing. As of now, he's 30 stories up. It's the latest fad! See you at the top!

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McCain: Charlie Crist Has The Experience To Be Vice President

Via the St. Petersburg Times:
Charlie Crist may not yet have a full gubernatorial term under his belt, but Sen. John McCain said Wednesday Crist has enough experience to be vice president. "Oh, I am sure that in many respects Charlie Crist is qualified. He's had other offices. As we know, he was attorney general as well. This is a big and diverse state," McCain said in an interview Wednesday evening before a $1,000-per-person private fundraising reception.

"But we haven't moved anywhere on the process that he would be under," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee stressed. "We have a large number of people that we are considering, but I just don't mention anybody's name because then it starts a process that could end up in an invasion of their privacy."
I'm totally hoping that Gov. Closet Case gets picked.

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Tivo Joins With Gay Haters?

In the most bizarre promotional pairing in recent memory, Tivo has apparently partnered with rabidly anti-gay group Focus On The Family for a Father's Day contest.Jeremy at Good As You opines:
Okay, so what we have here is a group that fights day and night against gay fathers teaming with a national brand on a contest honoring dads. Tivo is sidling up next to a group that propagates mean-spirited discrimination against an entire population sect! And while the vast majority of entries that will be received in this "SuperDad" contest will surely be from well-intetioned kids who want nothing more than to honor their pops, that's not going to change the fact that the organization that's fueling this whole thing is working for a world that keeps queer fathers and sons less-than-equal. We have a tough time remaining silent when we see a company getting in bed with that!
Jeremy points out that this may not be the first time that Tivo has gotten in bed with Focus On The Hate.

I've just had a conversation with the media contact person at Tivo and she was unaware of the promotion. Saying she is unable to speak for Tivo on this issue, she has promised to investigate and get back to me with a statement. Stand by. It's entirely possible that Focus On The Family has launched this contest without Tivo's knowledge or their permission to use their logo. Let's hope so.

UPDATE: I had another chat with Tivo and they have emailed me the following:
TiVo’s popular KidZone feature has been recognized by many organizations as a great way to protect children from mature programming. Focus on the Family is one such organization that is leveraging the benefits of KidZone for an affiliate promotion of their of own their own design - in this case a Father’s Day contest.
On the phone just now, their rep stressed to me that Tivo has supported various LGBT groups in the past and that this promotion is just one of many that highlights their KidZone feature. There is an apparent relationship between Tivo and FOTF, even if the haters designed the contest on their own.

UPDATE II: The Family Equality Council isn't buying it.
Dear Owners and Administrators of TiVo, Inc.:

My name is Jennifer Chrisler. I am the Executive Director of Family Equality Council, the national organization working to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families by building community, changing hearts and minds, and advancing social justice for all families.

On behalf of LGBT families everywhere, I am incredibly disappointed to see that TiVo, a national corporation providing entertainment services to millions of families in this country, has decided to sponsor and endorse the "I Know a SuperDad Essay Contest" with Focus on the Family.

Focus on the Family is widely known as one of the largest right wing organizations in the United States. People for the American Way remind us that, in particular, "Focus on the Family works against 'special rights' for homosexuals and hate crime legislation, and supports 'reparative therapy' for homosexuality, which has been widely discredited and rejected by the vast majority of doctors and physicians."

Additionally, Focus on the Family's leader, James Dobson, routinely makes false claims about gay and lesbian parents. In his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire, Dobson wrote that "[m]ore than ten thousand studies" support mom-dad families as the best for children, an assertion now widely debunked both by Dobson's lack of citation and the fact that LGBT families can show 30 years of scientifically valid research demonstrating that our children do just as well as children raised by heterosexual parents in all key areas of childhood development (see www.familyequality.org/resources/research).

Dobson has also made such outrageous and offensive statements as: Same-sex marriage would lead to "marriage between daddies and little girls.between a man and his donkey," as well as the destruction of the family and Western civilization entirely.

Aligning yourselves with Focus on the Family for the "I Know a SuperDad Essay Contest" sends the message that you support anti-LGBT politics and the hate speech Focus on the Family regularly spreads. It furthermore says to the millions of LGBT parents, their family members and friends in this country that you do not think gay dads can be "Super Dads," an assertion we know from the very real experiences of our lives to be completely untrue.

I encourage you to recant your support of this contest, and want to inform you that despite the exclusive nature of this contest gay dads, their children and family members who love them from around the country will be submitting their nominations regardless of Focus on the Family's disavowal of their worth.

That being said, I am happy to meet with you in person to discuss this issue and share with you real facts about LGBT parents. Our families want what all other families want. Our parents are just as "super" as any other.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I, and the millions of LGBT families and supporters nationwide, look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Chrisler
Executive Director, Family Equality Council

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Lesbians Tossed From Seattle Mariners Game For Kissing

A former contestant on MTV's A Shot Of Love With Tila Tequila and her girlfriend were asked to leave Seattle's Safeco Field after a fan complained about them sharing a kiss.
Anyone who has attended a Major League Baseball game in the past decade has probably seen a "Kiss Cam" where couples throughout the ballpark are featured locking lips on the big-screen JumboTrons. But controversy over ballpark kissing erupted at Safeco Field in Seattle this week when a same-sex couple claimed they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, which stadium officials deny.

Sirbrina Guerrero, 23, says she and her partner, who requested anonymity, were just "exchanging pecks," not acting any differently than heterosexual couples at the game, when park officials told them to stop "making out" or leave the facility.

"We were acting the same as any other dates that were out there, except we were a lesbian couple," she said. "When you bring a date to a game, you kiss once in a while. But it's not like we were making out. We were just kissing as regular couples do. I would never make out with anyone at a baseball game."
Via Associated Press:
On Monday, Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale said that the club is investigating but that the usher was responding to a complaint of two women "making out" and "groping" in the stands. "We have a strict non-discrimination policy at the Seattle Mariners and at Safeco Field, and when we do enforce the code of conduct it is based on behavior, not on the identity of those involved," Hale said.

The code of conduct - announced before each game - specifically mentions public displays of affection that are "not appropriate in a public, family setting." Hale said those standards are based on what a "reasonable person" would find inappropriate. Guerrero denied she and her date were groping each other, saying that along with eating garlic fries, they were giving each other brief kisses.

On Tuesday, Guerrero said a Mariners director of guest services had apologized to her. The team spokeswoman could not immediately confirm that. After the story broke, the Mariners were blasted by the sex-advice columnist Dan Savage, who wrote about the incident on the blog of the Stranger, an alternative weekly paper. "I constantly see people making out," Savage said. "My son has noticed and asked, `Do they show the ballgame on women's foreheads?'" Savage called for a "kiss-in" to protest against the Mariners.
It was a woman who made the initial complaint against the couple. I imagine that if these women had been featured on the "Kiss Cam", there would have been a roar of approval from the male audience in the stadium.

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Mark Leno Takes CA State Senate Seat From Carole Migden

San Francisco's gay vs. gay battle ended Tuesday when Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-SF) defeated incumbent state Senator Carole Migden in the primary. Leno is expected to coast to an easy victory in November in the heavily Democratic district. Leno will become the first openly gay man to become a state Senator in California history.
According to unofficial returns Wednesday, June 4, Leno netted 43 percent of the 102,109 votes cast in the race. His 43,853 vote total far outpaced his nearest competitor, Nation, who took second place with 29,902 votes, about 29 percent of the total. Migden trailed in third place with 28,354 votes, with about 28 percent.

In San Francisco, Leno walked away with 57 percent of the vote, more than 22,200 votes ahead of Nation. It was a large enough margin to compensate for Nation's strong showings in his home ground of Marin and Sonoma counties. "It's very thrilling. It's really a night of elation," said a beaming Leno, who was so confident of victory he scheduled a party in Nation's turf prior to showing up at a Castro celebration at Lime shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday night.
In March, Migden was fined $350,000 for 89 instances of campaign finance and disclosure violations and for personal use of campaign funds. Despite the support of both of SF's gay newspapers, Migden steadily lost ground over the campaign and according the Bay Area Reporter, by election day her candidacy was "all but ignored" by Leno.

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Boycott Bolthouse Juice

The gay blogosphere got angry yesterday upon news that the guy who founded juice company Bolthouse Farms, a brand popular with many gay health and fitness enthusiasts, has donated $100,000 to support the anti-gay marriage ballot measure in California.
Bakersfield carrot farmer William Bolthouse donated $100,000 to an initiative aiming to fight gay marriage — a measure that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot along with the presidential race. The initiative qualified for the ballot Monday, less than a month after the state Supreme Court overturned a ban on gay marriage. June 17 marks the date when California counties will be permitted to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The National Organization for Marriage California donated $700,000 to the campaign. One of the organization’s largest financial contributors includes Bolthouse, who declined to comment about his donation Tuesday. The measure’s proponents said the campaign to promote the initiative may exceed $30 million. Supporters have spent about $1.8 million to collect signatures and publicize the initiative, according to campaign filings. Other supporters include San Diego developer Terry Caster ($172,000); hotel developer Manchester Financial Group of San Diego ($125,000); Fieldstead and Co. of Irvine ($400,000) and Knights of Columbus Headquarters in Connecticut ($250,000).
According to Wikipedia, Bolthouse sold a 57% majority stake in the company two years ago but his family still controls the remainder. I suggest you switch to Odwalla. They haven't killed anybody in years. You can go to the Bolthouse Farms site and them know how you feel.

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Clinton To Endorse Obama On Saturday

Via NY Times:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will endorse Senator Barack Obama on Saturday, bringing a close to her 17-month campaign for the White House, aides said. Her decision came after Democrats urged her Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to coalesce around Mr. Obama.

Senator Barack Obama, now the prospective Democratic nominee, outside the Capitol on Wednesday. He told reporters that he and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton were “going to have a conversation in the coming weeks.”

Howard Wolfson, one of Mrs. Clinton’s chief strategists, and other aides said she would express support for Mr. Obama and party unity at an event in Washington that day. One adviser said Mrs. Clinton would concede defeat, congratulate Mr. Obama and proclaim him the party’s nominee, while pledging to do what was needed to assure his victory in November.

Her decision came after a day of conversations with supporters on Capitol Hill about her future now that Mr. Obama had clinched the nomination. Mrs. Clinton had, in a speech after Tuesday night’s primaries, suggested she wanted to wait before deciding about her future, but in conversations Wednesday, her aides said, she was urged to step aside.

“We pledged to support her to the end,” Representative Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has been a patron of Mrs. Clinton since she first ran for the Senate, said in an interview. “Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.”
Rangel=funny.

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Sore Losers

In this clip from his Sirius radio show yesterday, Michelangelo Signorile tears into a Hillary supporter because the guy says he'll now vote for McCain.

Here's Signorile's post about what he calls a "rough day" on the show. An excerpt:
That's why I got tough on Wednesday with many angry Clinton supporters -- understandably demoralized -- who called in to say that there was no way they could vote for Obama and would now be voting for McCain. This, even though they would rather a Democrat, and in some cases they are gay and understand that John McCain courts antigay bigots.

That, to me, crosses the line and is completely unacceptable and is, frankly, insane. Is it about race? In many cases, I'm sure. In other cases, perhaps not, but whatever it is, it's time we hash it out and get to the bottom of it and make sure people understand the stakes here. This clip was just one exchange from a very emotional day on the show on Wednesday, as Clinton and Obama supporters called in droves. Things are raw and tense, and a lot of people are grieving. But we have really got to come together. Hopefully Hillary Clinton will help to do that in her unity speech this weekend, something I wish she'd done on Tuesday night but which will still be enormously helpful.

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Morning View - Naumburg Bandshell

Built in 1923, Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell has been host to countless legendary acts ranging from Duke Ellington to the Grateful Dead. Still a popular destination for visiting orchestras and other acts, the bandshell was nearly demolished in 1991, back when Central Park and many parts of Manhattan were still dangerous. From the NY Times, Dec. 20, 1991:
Seeing it as a magnet for drug dealing, homelessness and vandalism, New York City parks officials want to tear down Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell, whose classical limestone dome has reverberated for generations with some of the stateliest -- and noisiest -- music ever heard under the trees.

The demolition plan, advanced by the Central Park Conservancy and endorsed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, has inflamed the descendants of Elkan Naumburg, the man who donated this "Temple of Music" in 1923. Given the officials' reasoning, said one, you might as well raze Manhattan.

"The whole city is vandalized and is an area for drug dealing and homelessness," said Christopher London, an architectural historian and one of Naumburg's great-grandsons. "The bandshell should not be torn down on such a fatuous argument. Should we tear down every building we can't secure?" Mall to Reopen

Demolition has not yet been considered by the city's Art Commission, whose approval would be required. Facing opposition in 1989, the Department of Parks and Recreation postponed the day of judgment. Now it has arrived because the Mall is to reopen next spring and the conservancy wants the bandshell gone by then.

Betsy F. Gotbaum, the parks commissioner, said yesterday that she would listen to objections from the Naumburg family. She added, however, that her mind was all but made up. "From an esthetic point of view," Ms. Gotbaum said, "and very, very much from a practical point of view, it's very bad. It's just awful to try to maintain," she said. "We can't keep people from sleeping in there. They set fires in it. It's a maintenance nightmare. And we can't put gates and locks on it. There's drug dealing, prostitution, all kinds of stuff that goes on. It's very hard to stop it."
Not the Central Park we know today, is it?

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Open Thread Thursday

What are you doing this summer?

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Jay Leno Comes Out
(In Support of Gay Marriage)

Perhaps as penance for his recent "gay face" controversy, Tonight Show host Jay Leno will appear at a gay marriage rally at a West Hollywood gay bar tonight.
Jay Leno will be among the boldfaced names at a gay marriage celebration and rally tomorrow night at the Abbey in West Hollywood. T.R. Knight will join the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s Judy Shepard and Love and Pride jewelry designer Udi Behr for a group wedding of gay and lesbian couples at the landmark gay pub on Robertson Boulevard.

The Tonight Show host decided to make an appearance in support of the recent legalization of gay marriage by California’s Supreme Court. “He said that he is from Massachusetts and that the sky did not fall in their state when marriage equality became the law of the land there," a rep for the event said. "He wants to impress upon everyone here in California that the sky will not fall here either.” The event will also encourage people to vote "no" on the upcoming ballot initiative that would reverse the court's decision.
Has any Hollywood celebrity come out against gay marriage? Would they dare?

UPDATE: Via Towleroad, here's Leno signing the pledge to support gay marriage.

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No Stay Of CA Marriage Ruling

This just in:
California's highest court has refused to stay until after the November election its decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

Conservative religious and legal groups had asked the California Supreme Court to stop its order from becoming effective until voters have the chance to weigh in on the issue.

An initiative that would amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage has qualified for the ballot. Its passage would overrule the court's decision. The Supreme Court says its ruling will be final at 5 p.m. on June 16.

Wednesday's denial clears the way for gays and lesbians in the nation's most populous state to get married starting June 17, when state officials have said counties must start issuing new gender-neutral marriage licenses.

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Folsom Street East XII - June 22nd

The 12th annual installment of Folsom Street East takes place on June 22nd in West Chelsea on W.28th Street.
Folsom Street East is New York’s premiere s/m-leather-fetish themed street festival. Produced by Gay Male S/M Activists (GMSMA), Folsom Street East is the largest outdoor event of its kind on the East Coast attracting nearly 10,000 visitors.

Performances already schedule this year will feature Bob Mould, Sylvia Tosun, Fredrick Ford, Kissy Kamikaze, Trai La Trash, The Imperial Court of New York, Noa Tylo and Supa Nova. Porn producer extraordinaire Chi Chi LaRue will serve as the event’s emcee.

The street will once again be lined with some 50 community groups and vendors that appeal to the LGBT and the kink communities and mobs of leatherclad musclehunks. A one-stop shop for leather gear, porn, and toys. And no throw pillow, magic mops, or tube socks – promise!

Proceeds benefit he LGBT Community Center, the NYC Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP), the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) and GMSMA. Admission $10 at the gate.
Congrats to the organizers for snagging Bob Mould for this year's fair. With the construction of luxury condos getting underway on W.28th, look for this year's fair to be an even crazier crush of menz. Who buys a "luxury condo" in between the Eagle and Scores, the biggest titty bar in town?

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New Morel EP - Flawed

In advance of his August full-length release, The Death Of The Paperboy, house music kingpin Rich Morel has issued a 5-track EP titled Flawed, which is now available on iTunes. Stream Morel's Pink Noise Mix of Flawed below. Morel's last full-length, Lucky Strike, remains one of my favorite albums ever and I'm besides myself waiting for Paperboy.


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You Drive All Night And You See A Light And It Comes Right Down And Lands On The Ground

JMG reader Lee in SF sends this to us.
If millions of Christians suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth as the opening act for Armageddon, Threat Level thinks most nonbelievers will be too busy freaking the hell out to check their e-mail. But if they do log in, now they can be treated to some post-Rapture needling from their missing friends and loved ones, courtesy of web startup YouveBeenLeftBehind.com.

For just $40 a year, believers can arrange for up to 62 people to get a final message exactly six days after the Rapture, that day when -- according to Christian end times dogma -- Christians will be swept up to heaven, while doubters are left behind to suffer seven years of Tribulation under a global government headed by the Antichrist.

"You've Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends for Christ," reads the website, which is purportedly run "by Christians, for Christians." The domain name is registered through an anonymous proxy service, presumably to protect the proprietors from the Forces of Darkness, and not because they're up to anything shady.

The e-mails will be triggered when three of the site's five Christian staffers "scattered around the U.S." fail to log in for six days in a row -- a system that incorporates a nice margin of safety, should two of the proprietors turn out to be unrepentant sinners or atheists.
A "nice margin of safety". Hilarious.

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Identical Cousins


Take the MoveOn.org Bush-McCain Challenge.

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NY State Assembly Approves GENDA

Via the Empire State Pride Agenda:
Today the New York State Assembly voted 102-33 to amend the state’s human rights law to include anti-discrimination protections based upon gender identity and expression. The bill (A.6584a), known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) bans discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, credit, public accommodations, and other areas of everyday life.

“The Assembly has solidly demonstrated once again that it is the leader on civil rights and providing equality for our community where it didn’t exist before in New York,” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle. “We thank Assemblymember Richard Gottfried for his sponsorship and steadfast support of this bill. We also thank Speaker Silver and the Assembly Majority, the 74 cosponsors and the 102 Assemblymembers who passed this bill and understand the importance of providing an umbrella of anti-discrimination protection for all New Yorkers.”
As with all things decent in the New York legislature, the bill faces a difficult future in the Republican-led Senate.

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HomoQuotable - Rupert Everett

"I'm totally off the States now. The reaction to 9/11 and then George Bush - really, they've got very blobby as a nation. Now they are whiny victims whose language is entirely taken from two TV shows - Friends and Sex And The City - and there's nothing sexy about them any more. And that kind of semi-blindness about the rest of the world, which was attractive when America was exciting, is really unattractive now." - Actor Rupert Everett, speaking to the UK's Radio Times Magazine.

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It's Been Broughten

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Morning View - NYSID

On E.70th Street on the UES, the New York School of Interior Design is "New York’s only private, not-for-profit college dedicated solely to interior design education."

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Guest Post: Mark Kane
Where The Kissing Never Stops

Mark Kane, of The Mark Of Kane, guest blogging for JMG.

So, a while back I went to San Francisco, and all you people got was this lousy....wait, y'all got nothing. I didn't write about it.

I know. It's weird. I just wanted to keep it to myself for a while. Talking about it, I mean. Just to maintain the buzz; keep it a little precious, keep it mine. I'll explain later.

After my long dark season, it was just ever so slightly amazing to have all our travel plans unfold before us so smoothly. In our household(s), I'm the one in charge of travel arrangements. Mostly this has worked out just fine, in spite of a few mishaps and one major blow-out akin to W.W. III in a hideously post-modern hotel in West Hollywood, but that's another story. In this story, the limo picked us up right on time. The plane took off on time and even got us into San Francisco early. Our luggage arrived with us. Our cab driver did wonderfully until he left the freeway and made a right turn on Market Street instead of a left, but we straightened him out fast. It's not like we're tourists, or something.

We arrived at the convent formerly known as Beck's, checked in, and headed out immediately, as is our wont to do. I love walking up Market to Castro, noting what's changed, what's new, what's gone. All of our old favorite haunts were still in place, some having received a new coat of paint, and so after a nightcap or two, we headed back to our monastic cell and crashed.

We really didn't veer too much outside of our regular program of things we like to do in San Francisco. These include walking, shopping, drinking and meeting up with scads of handsome men. I'm very thankful for my many years of service given at the Dugout. Almost to a one, so many of the men we saw were people we've met in the past decade or so at the bar. Over the years, some people have taken to referring to me as The Dugout's Mayor. When people laughingly approach me and ask if I am the Mayor, I always reply: "Why, yes I am, and I hope I can count on your vote and future support!". In fact, Tim's been working there for over 10 years, and we've been hanging out there much longer than that, and so it would seem a pretty sad state of affairs if I hadn't actually met all the people I have.

We spent Friday, navigating downtown, visiting the California Historical Society and doing some shopping at Gump's and Old Navy. Tim napped and I hit the gym. We headed up to the Edge for yet another festive Friday after-work gathering, where we were greeted by our pal (from the Dugout) Bruce, who tends bar there. It's a merry room, full of happy handsome men ending their week in much the same way we did so many years ago, but no longer do. After a couple of drinks and much flirtation, I spy Bob (from the Dugout), who's stopped by on his way to Michael and Larry's (from the Dugout) house for a drink. I shamelessly ply him with bourbon; we hug and kiss as we catch up. Just out of sight, I can catch the sound of one of Tim's old friends complaining that I'm hanging out with "that beary boy" too much. Tim shrugs. I send Bob weaving up Collingwood to Michael's house and talk to the new bartender, as the shift changes. A fireplug of a man introduces himself as Henry. I smile and shake his hand, just as he leans in and sinks his teeth into my left pectoral muscle. Hard. I yelp as Tim walks by, surveys the scene, smiles and says "I think you could do much better!" I gingerly extricate myself, and follow Tim into the bathroom, where, over the trough, we decide it's time for dinner and a change of scene.

Saturday, we trolley down Market to Polk Street, and walk it's length to Russian Hill. There exists a plethora of shops we like to poke around in, though, like everything else in the world, it's changing too. We go to the Swan and Bob's, rituals we'd never forgo. We try on several garments at Johnson Leather; the gentle people who work there could not be more accommodating. I spy a really nice CPO-style jacket that Santa will be bringing to a very deserving man this year. We drop into Naomi's and afterwards have a Bloody Mary at the Cinch, so potent and chock full of garnish that it almost requires a knife and fork to consume.

With new found vigor we climb up the hill to Lafayette Park, only gasping a little at it's summit, to watch the white caps break on the bay. San Francisco is in full bloom, and I stop every three minutes to inspect flora such as I have never seen before. I'm never going there without a guide again (this one will do quite nicely, if you're of a mind!). Tim is very patient with me, and indeed, enjoys pointing out the houseplants gone mad that we see all around us. We can't look at the towering Jade trees without thinking of those poor dessicated plants in dusty McCoy cachepots that we both remember from our varied childhoods. After a brief rest, we walk the rest of the way back to the Castro, through Japantown, haunting the edges of the Fillmore and collapsing in our room.

The evening is spent having pre-dinner cocktails at 440 Castro, where the boys are amusing themselves by reciting the dialog along with Mommy Dearest, which is being broadcast on half a dozen monitors. This movie has always made me itchy. It's so poorly done, and by one of my-then favorite directors, Frank Perry. It looks cheap. It destroyed Faye Dunaway's career. The child who plays Christina is frightening, as is the adult that follows her, and who did the wigs in this movie? Mostly, it's a bunch of mean-ass one liners strung together with some frighteningly violent scenes. My friend Eric always refers to the wire hanger sequence as Kabuki Joan. Needless to say, we don't stay long, but wander the area, dropping into various bars at our whim until it's time for dinner. The weather turns very cold very fast and my teeth chatter as they haven't since I was a child. We think we'll have a night cap at the Twin Peaks, but the bar has been commandeered by a gentleman who is clearly under the influence of something that has made him a desperate dervish. He bounces from lap to lap, begging people to come home with him. It's our turn to head home, instead.

The following morning, we rise early and cross the street for a quiet and lovely breakfast at 2223. We're among the first people to be seated, and it's a pleasure to watch the dim, coppery room fill up with handsome people. I'm so relaxed I almost hate to leave. Instead, we board the Divisadero line on Castro and hop off at Haight, where Tim walks me past the men and the mansions of Buena Vista Park and all the way to Amoeba Records. In the past, I've been so in awe of this temple, I walk out empty handed. Not so this time. I filled a basket with things I had to have, and two hours later paid just under $60.00 for a pile of music I'm still exploring. Tim loses himself in the extensive jazz and vocalist section, and even lucks out with a bargain priced sinister-looking Johnny Cash box set. Sated, we decide to take Stanyan Street back. Astute Tim points out the huge and handsome Victorian house that appeared for years on all of Rod McKuen's Stanyan Street records, and I could just hug him. We head up into the hills, admiring the groves of eucalyptus trees towering over our heads and the beautiful houses we pass. At 17th Street, we climb until the City and points beyond are completely laid out at our feet. Better than church, I tell you. We check out all the little staircases that abound in this area, stopping to admire the prehistoric plants that grow everywhere. I point out the turn, where just a year or so ago, Tim and I spent a morning dreamily exploring the Vulcan Steps and Saturn Street Stairs. We mosey downhill towards the Castro again, stopping at Medium Rare for some "good soul choices", as the proprietor once said of my selections. This time, I'm studying the galvanized box that contains Jerry Bonham's "Remember The Party". The shopkeeper asks if I'd like to see a copy of the play list, and I have to admit that I own the set, courtesy of a great friend, and listen to it frequently. He seems impressed.

We work our way down to the Eagle later, to continue our Sunday worship services. My old pal Doug is at the bar, and the patio is filled with friends: Stephen (the Dugout), Noah (ditto), and many others. We don't stay long at the Eagle these days; the collision of so many diverse tribes makes for a sometimes uneasy afternoon. This afternoon it's a group of gentlemen who seem to have engaged in either a riotous powdered paint pigment war or some arcane occult ceremony. Dreading the messy and inevitable contact, we head instead over to Bear Central and immediately find Guy (the Dugout) and his partner, Mark, and Chris (the Dugout) and so many others. Much hugging, drinking and general merriment ensues. At some point, Tim tells me that he's got to stop kissing guys who are standing around the peanut barrel. His allergy is kicking in and his lips are tingling. In the midst of all the fun, I am noticing the condos that tower over both patios at the Lone Star and the Eagle and know that there will be trouble ahead with both due to newest group of marauding Yunnies (Young Urban Narcissists, don'tcha know) that are invading our once crumbling turf again. We kiss all our friends, old and new, one last time, and bundle into a taxi and home.

The following day, we hike through Chinatown to North Beach, past the Italian restaurants, pausing only to watch the birds and the Tai Chi people in Washington Square. As Tim explains the meaning of the barnyard animals and angels that solemnly protect St. Peter & Paul's, we climb, climb, climb up Filbert Street to the top of Telegraph Hill, only to catch our breath before we trot down the Greenwich Stairs to the Embarcadero. We share a sandwich with some seagulls, leaning on a railing over the Bay.

Our last day is always sad. Both of us would like to be here permanently. But it would be very hard to extricate ourselves from our middle-aged lives here and re-settle. I have an elderly parent. We both have great long-standing real estate deals here, unmatchable in San Francisco today. It's like spending a week in the paradise of your choice, knowing that time grows short, the meter's ticking. We love the pace of this city; its decidedly unflashy demeanor. We long to be a permanent part of it's citizenry, knowing that it most likely will never come to pass.

I can see us growing old here.

So we dream.

And return every year.

Next year, if the Gods allow, we'll go twice!

- Mark Kane.

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Hillary Concedes?

It's OVER. Via Associated Press. Is acknowledging that Obama has enough delegates to win the same as a concession?

UPDATE: But not so fast. Her campaign manager is on the phone on CNN saying "Absolutely not true." Sigh.

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The Comeback Id

Interesting timing:

A new Vanity Fair article is ruffling feathers with statements implying that former President Bill Clinton has engaged in a series of extramarital affairs with high-profile women. The feature notes rumours of questionable relationships between Hillary Clinton’s husband and actress Gina Gershon and billionaire heiress Belinda Stronach, among others.

In the Vanity Fair story, writer Todd S Purdum delves into what he calls Clinton’s "post-White House escapades, from the dubious (and secretive) business associations… to the private-jetting around with a skirt-chasing, scandal-tinges posse."

Purdum claims Clinton’s "episodic friendship" with billionaire auto-parts heiress and Canadian Parliament member Belinda Stronah has long served as fuel for tabloid rumours. More recently, "high-end Hollywood dinner-party gossip" has linked the former President to actress Gina Gershon.

In addition, Purdum says there has been talk of several other ‘female friends’ Clinton has been rumoured to be associating with. While Purdum states that "none of these wisps of smoke have produced a public fire£ yet, he says that at least one unidentified Clinton aide was worried enough about the rumours going around to stage an "intervention," because he believed "Clinton was apparently seeing a lot of women on the road."

In a 2,476 word memo released on Sunday, Bill Clinton’s office vehemently attacked the Vanity Fair article’s commentary on his private relationships, his business connections and his health status.

Here's the Vanity Fair story. And HERE is Bill Clinton's tirade against Vanity Fair reporter Todd Purdum, caught on tape yesterday. Keywords: scumbag, slimy, sleazy, etc. Oh my!

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Who's More Excited?

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Morning View - Cigar Maker

Trendy Hell's Kitchen Cuban restaurant Guantanamera stations a guy rolling cigars out front on the sidewalk - so youse'll know they're all authentic and shit. You get a free cigar with your meal, but you have to ask for it.

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Gay Marriage Ban Qualifies For CA Ballot

Not really big news as the haters had twice the necessary signatures:
An initiative that would again outlaw gay marriage in California has qualified for the November ballot, the Secretary of State announced Monday. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen said a random check of signatures submitted by the measure's sponsors showed that they had gathered enough names for it to be put to voters.

The measure, known as the California Marriage Protection Act, would amend the state constitution to "provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." If approved by a majority of voters on Nov. 4, the amendment would overturn the recent California Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state. It is similar to gay marriage bans that have been adopted in 26 other states.

"This signifies the fact that California voters really do favor and will come out to vote for the protection of historic marriage," said Ron Prentice, executive director of ProtectMarriage.com, a coalition of religious and social conservative groups behind the initiative.

In response to the Supreme Court's May 15 ruling, California public health officials already have amended marriage license applications to read "Party A" and "Party B" instead of bride and groom. Local officials have been told to start issuing the revised licenses to same-sex couples on June 17.
With last week's Field Poll showing that a slim majority of Californians do support gay marriage, the next five months will undoubtedly prove nerve-wracking. And what will this wedge issue of all wedge issues mean in the general election?

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Guest Post: Eric Leven
Self-Destruction And Meth: An Ongoing Problem

Eric Leven of KnuckleCrack, guest blogging for JMG.

Hell I've even said it a few times myself, or maybe just hoped it, "Yeah I don't hear much about Meth anymore. The message is definitely out there so I guess people are finally listening."

I say this despite having lived in LA for two years which taught me that more people are casually using Meth than I thought. I say this despite the fact that I've seen a few friends continue to "recreationally" use even after losing a friend- or friends- in some way or another to Meth. I say this despite the fact that a close friend of mine tried to persuade me that there's doing Meth and than there's doing Meth. To me, doing Meth and doing Meth has always been same thing since nobody begins using Crystal Meth with the hopes they will become an addict.

So why are we still using meth? The answer has to be deeper- it has to go beyond wanting to feel good, or wanting to party or wanting to be uninhibited during sex. There has got to be something within our core, something strong enough that causes us to disregard all the warning signs, all the cautionary tales, and all that we've heard, seen, felt or whomever we've lost. So what it is it then? Can anybody say? Because the truth of the matter is: we all know meth is a terrible, toxic drug yet people who work in the Crystal Meth prevention world haven't seen any decrease in the number of people seeking help from it.

The NY GLBT Center recently held a forum entitled: "Meth Movie Night: Is the Meth/Sex/HIV Problem Over for Gay Men in New York?" and according to the article in Gay City News, "judging by the the comments from the audience and panelists, the answer was an unambiguous no."

Forum: Meth Still a Problem

Speaking at a town hall meeting, filmmaker Jay Corcoran asked, "Why are gay men of all different types and ages still self destructing?" Corcoran, whose 2007 documentary "Rock Bottom" followed seven gay men as they struggled with crystal meth, was addressing the roughly 50 people who turned out on May 20 at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.

"What I couldn't believe is that after everything we have gone through as gay men is that really nothing has changed since the '80s," he said. "It filled me with rage. It made me want to pick up my camera."

With an audience filled with former meth users, others who are recovering from sexually compulsive behavior, and some who are dealing with both, much of the two-hour event was taken up with men discussing their personal struggles with meth or sex and their efforts to end behaviors they are uncomfortable with.

The event was titled "Meth Movie Night: Is the Meth/Sex/HIV Problem Over for Gay Men in New York?" and, judging by the comments from the audience and panelists, the answer was an unambiguous no. Opening the evening, Dr. Frank Spinelli, a physician in private practice, described four of his patients who were dealing with meth. Some were occasional users and others were what he called "functional addicts."

Addiction specialists from the Community Center, the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), the Addiction Institute of New York, and the AIDS group Positive Health Project (PHP) also spoke. These groups offer harm reduction programs, which aid users in abating the negative effects of drug use without requiring that participants stop using, or abstinence programs in which users stop using. Some, like the Community Center, offer both.

Gay men who use drugs tend to use more than one and that makes the work of these groups more complicated. For many gay men who drink or use drugs, their sex and social lives are entwined with their drinking and drugging. "Some men are quizzical how are they going to meet other men if they give up drinking or using drugs," said Chris Cochrane, GMHC's coordinator of prevention services for gay men and men who have sex with men.

The groups also work in an environment in which public funding for such services is increasingly being cut and some Americans, gay and straight, favor law enforcement approaches to drug problems. "I'm astounded by the lack of resources that are out there," said Terry Evans, PHP's public health outreach coordinator. "We are also dealing with a public climate that believes that certain people are not worth it." Antonio Ruberto, a crystal meth prevention counselor at the Center, said, "There is a dire need for additional money and resources."

While he has not seen a reduction in the numbers of gay men seeking help for meth, Joseph Ruggiero, assistant clinical director at the Addiction Institute, thought the various anti-crystal campaigns have had an impact. "I feel like, as a community, people have a better sense of what is happening around crystal meth," he said. "The word is certainly out there more than it was before and that word has been strong and very controversial."

The evening's most heated moment came when Robert Brandon Sandor, producer of the sex party Brandon's Poz Party, said the problem was HIV not crystal meth. "I guess crystal meth is going to be the flavor of the month tonight," he said. "I can look you all in the eye and say you're wrong." Sandor, whose party caters to gay men who are HIV-positive, is a proponent of serosorting, or the practice of organizing sex partners by their HIV status. His comments were not well received in a room filled with former meth users and those still battling against the drug.
As audacious and bold as Robert Brandon Sandor's comment was, I have to say I can't help but think he might be onto something. Until reading this article, until seeing that quote I never put the two together- that crystal meth lends a hand in helping us forget, at least temporarily, that we live in a time of the incurable sexually transmitted disease, HIV. Maybe that's what it is? Maybe it is just that which pushes us beyond the warnings, dangers and examples and into using meth with a shrug, or a smile, or a sigh, or a slam. Who is to say? Who is to argue him?

Is it so far-fetched to think those who choose to use meth, despite the ubiquitous dangers, do so because it helps us forget who we are, the time we live in, the risks associated with sex and helps us become the uninhibited, sexually charged, sexually relaxed, sexually empowered people we so yearn to be?

Below a clip from Mr. Jay Corcoran's film: Rock Bottom



- Eric Leven.

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Hillary Dismantles Advance Campaign Staff

Ben Smith at Politco.com is reporting that Hillary Clinton's "advance" staff has been summoned to New York City for a meeting tomorrow. The staffers have been told that their roles in the Clinton campaign are ending.
The advance staffers — most of them now in Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Montana — are being given the options of going to New York for a final day Tuesday, or going home, the aides said. The move is a sign that the campaign is beginning to shed — at least — some of its staff. The advance staff is responsible for arranging the candidate's events around the country.

With the future of her campaign in doubt, Clinton hasn't announced her plans for the final election night of the primary cycle or beyond, but the aides said she would stage her election night event in New York City. Her entourage is currently expected to wake up Tuesday in New York and to arrive in Washington, D.C. Tuesday night. Clinton's senior aides didn't respond to requests for comment on her Tuesday night plans.
Is Hillary about to finally concede? I have my doubts.

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Guest Post: Bil Browning
Would That Be BitingTheHandThatFedMe.org?

Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project here, guest blogging for JMG.

Bob Dole has decided to let all hang out. The former presidential candidate made public an e-mail he sent to former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan after hearing details of McClellan's new tell-all book. I'm just going to go out on a limb here and guess that he's off the Bob Dole Christmas card list.
Scott,

There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues. No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.

In my nearly 36 years of public service I’ve known of a few like you. No doubt you will “clean up” as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, “Biting The Hand That Fed Me.” Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years.

I have no intention of reading your “exposé” because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job. That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively. You’re a hot ticket now but don’t you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?

BOB DOLE
I love it how Bob Dole's name is in all capital letters. Bob Dole would never be obsessive about Bob Dole's own name, would he? At least he didn't say, "In Bob Dole's nearly 36 years..."

McClelland was reportedly paid $75,000 for his tome. A White House staffer referenced the Bible (*gasp*) in response by telling the media, "Ironically, in today's dollars that amount is worth exactly 30 pieces of silver."

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And Now The End Is Near


Via FireDogLake, watch Hillary Clinton supporter Harriet Christian completely meltdown after being thrown out of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee meeting on Florida and Michigan. As Dan Savage notes, "with Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?" Ms. Christian is an embarrassment to New Yorkers.

Talking Points Memo
reports on the meeting's outcome:
In a huge blow to Hillary's hopes, such as they are, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee has now voted in favor of a compromise measure for Michigan, giving 69 pledged delegates to Hillary Clinton and 59 to Barack Obama at a half-vote each. This effectively ends Hillary's bid to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations in full -- which she was hoping for in a last-ditch effort to close the delegate count and, more importantly for her campaign's moral arguments, to try to narrow Obama's unofficial popular vote lead. Still, Hillary's chief delegate counter, Harold Ickes, seemed to signal that there's still a possibility that she might fight on. In a harsh tone of voice, Ickes told the committee that Hillary personally informed him that she reserves the right to take the dispute over Michigan to the Credentials Committee in Denver, on the grounds that the committee had no right to transfer 'Uncommitted' votes over to Obama.

The 69-59 measure was put forth by the state party's leadership, with Sen. Carl Levin arguing for full voting rights for each delegate. It remains to be seen whether he will fight on over the question of half-votes, or whether the matter is now effectively over. The vote was 19 in favor to eight opposed, less than the unanimity received by the Florida half-vote compromise. Hillary's total advantage in pledged delegates for Michigan and Florida is now set at +24 -- well short of the advantage of more than +100 that she once hypothetically enjoyed.
Obama is now 47 delegates short of securing the nomination, with tomorrow's Montana and South Dakota primaries, the last two of the season, offering a total of 31 possible delegates.
There are a total of 31 delegates at stake in Tuesday's contests in Montana and South Dakota. If Clinton and Obama split them, Obama would need to pick up about 30 superdelegates to secure the nomination. There are about 200 superdelegates left to be claimed. Clinton would need more than 180 of them. Superdelegates are the party and elected officials who automatically attend the party's national convention and can support whomever they choose, regardless of what happens in the primaries.

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Watching America

An interesting site, Watching America, provides translated commentary about the United States from the world press. Check out a letter to the Moscow Times in which a NYC-based Russian emigre claims that "America isn't much better than the USSR."

(Via - Pam's House Blend)

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Brain Surgery For Ted Kennedy Today

Ted Kennedy will undergo surgery on his brain tumor today at Duke Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.
Kennedy, 76, was diagnosed last month with a malignant glioma, an often lethal type of brain tumor. In a statement, the senator said he expected to remain at the hospital for about a week, after which he would begin radiation treatment and chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"I am deeply grateful to the people of Massachusetts and to my friends, colleagues and so many others across the country and around the world who have expressed their support and good wishes as I tackle this new and unexpected health challenge," Kennedy said in the statement. "I am humbled by the outpouring and am strengthened by your prayers and kindness.
Let's hope for the best.

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Gay Marriages To Boost CA Economy

Via the Los Angeles Times:
Forget economic stimulus checks. Same-sex marriages may give California just the financial boost it needs. Wedding planners, bakers and hotels began booking more business almost immediately after the state Supreme Court's May 15 decision overturning a ban on gay marriage. Citing pent-up demand, one UCLA study projects that same-sex unions could provide a $370-million shot in the arm to the state economy over the next three years.

"Being in West Hollywood, we've been inundated," said Tom Rosa, owner of the Cake and Art bakery on Santa Monica Boulevard. "After the ruling, the phone really picked up." Rosa said couples who had waited for decades to legally marry were splurging on 5-foot-tall confections shaped like carousels and cakes featuring handcrafted birds of paradise.

Mike Standifer and Marc Hammer were already planning a commitment ceremony for October, but when the court ruling came out, they decided to throw an even bigger bash and get married.

They plan on spending about $25,000, which includes renovations on their Hollywood home so they can have the party in their backyard. The new price tag includes rings, their suits and those of their wedding party, and the cost of flying in Standifer's priest from Tennessee -- all costs they wouldn't have incurred if they were just having a party.

"The wedding dynamic in the last two weeks changed everything," Standifer said. The wedding businesses he's worked with so far seem thrilled. "I think it's because the economy's not so great, but the vendors have been treating us like royalty," he said.

By some estimates, weddings and commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples generate $1 billion a year in revenue PlanetOut, a media and entertainment company that conducts surveys about gay and lesbian consumers, says gay consumers earn 20% more than their straight counterparts, on average, and spend about 10% more on nuptials.

The court ruling comes at a good time for many small wedding-related businesses, which are finding that their traditional customers are spending less on weddings because of the economy.

"Brides are being more frugal with things they don't see as a priority," said Richard Markel, president and director of the Assn. for Wedding Professionals International.

Things really slowed down in February, said Michael Willms, owner of Entertainment Design Events, an event planning company that's done big bashes such as a wedding for actress Lindsay Price, who stars in the NBC show "Lipstick Jungle." But they've picked up now. The day after the ruling, Willms booked a $55,000 same-sex wedding. "These weddings will be much more lavish," he said. "Everybody's been waiting for it to be legal to throw the big party."

California counties can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning June 17.

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Morning View - Columbus Circle

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