Thursday, August 07, 2008

Florida Man Arrested In Obama Assassination Threat

I just have the sickest feeling that we're going to be hearing about more of these.
A man is being held in Florida on charges he threatened to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, according to court documents. An affidavit filed by a Secret Service agent in U.S. District Court claims that Raymond Hunter Geisel, of Marathon, Florida, threatened to "kill, kidnap and cause bodily harm upon a major candidate for president of the United States, that is, Senator Barack Obama."

The affidavit says Geisel made the threats while attending a bail bondsman training class in Miami. During an interview with the Secret Service, Geisel denied threatening Obama, but told agents that "if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he would simply shoot him with a sniper rifle." He later said that comment was a joke, the agent said in the document.
OK, so it appears to have just been a verbal threat, a "joke", and not an actual plan. But you know there will be many Freeper posts cheering this creep.

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CDC: Men Adopt Twice As Often As Women

Perhaps spurred by gay male couples, a new report on adoption in America from the CDC reveals that men have adopted children at more than twice the rate of women.
Men are twice as likely as women to adopt a child, the CDC's latest adoption figures show. There are a number of surprises in the CDC data, which come from 2002-2003 interviews with a nationally representative sample of 12,571 U.S. residents aged 15 to 44.

It's the first time the CDC collected adoption data from men. Those data yield the study's most surprising finding: 2.3% of American men -- but only 1.1% of women -- have ever adopted a child. It punctures an American myth, says study author Jo Jones, PhD, a statistician for the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

"Folklore tells us it is the childless couples, or the women who want more children in the house, who seek adoption," Jones tells WebMD. "This tells us there is another face of adoption. It is more complex than we had thought."

Why might men adopt more often than women? Jones points to divorce arrangements. Children of divorced parents usually live with their mothers. When men and women remarry, men are more likely than women to adopt children that come into the household.

Another point of view comes from Kim M. Hober, LMSW, an obstetric social worker at New York's University of Rochester Medical Center. For 20 years, Hober has worked with women who place children for adoption.

"We've seen an increase in same-sex couples adopting, and this is a trend all over the country," Hober tells WebMD. "If you think about same-sex couples, gay men who want children really have to adopt, but gay women can have their own children. I don't see as many gay female couples adopting as gay male couples."
It will be quite fascinating to watch how this new data is used by forces on both sides of the gay adoption issue.

(Via - WebMD)

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Three Years Later: 1% Divorce Rate For British Gays

File under: Hard to believe. Three years after civil unions became legal for UK gays, new figures indicate that the 'divorce' rate is only 1%.
Between December 2005, when gay and lesbian couples gained the legal right to formalise their relationships, and December 2007, there were 24,629 civil partnerships in England and Wales. Couples have to wait at least a year before they can apply for a dissolution of their partnership. Her Majesty's Court Service told that between December 2006 to 28th July 2008, there have been just 245 petitions for a dissolution. Of those, 108 have been granted a final dissolution, one partnership has been declared null and three have had separation orders issued.
Of course, most of those civil unioned in the first year were probably long-time couples whose relationships had already weathered many years, possibly making them less likely to separate quickly. Still, I find this 1% number rather remarkable.

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Thirteen Month Old Baby, Broke The Lookin' Glass

Eight is considered a lucky and "auspicious" number in China and that's why the Olympics will begin on 08/08/08 at 8:08:08PM local time. Just so you know. "When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer..."

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McCain To Gay Supporters: Ssssh!

Craig Brownstein, a gay McCain supporter in Washington DC, tried to order a banner for his home from McCain's campaign site, where $250 will get you a personalized sign. However, the campaign refused to allow his message: "A Proud Gay Democrat For McCain." Oh, pity. A rep from the campaign said they'd allow "Craig And Doug For McCain", but that's as far as they'd go.

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Friendly Voices - Kanye West

"Open your fucking minds. Open your minds. Be accepting of different people and let people be who they are. You know how many people came to me calling me gay cause I wear my jeans the fresh way? Or because I said hey, dude, how you gonna say 'fag' right in front of a gay dude's face and act like that's ok. That shit is disrespectful.

"Coming from Chicago, where if you saw somebody that was gay you were supppoed to stay ten feet away. It should be time to break out of the intuitions that I was sayin', the steretypes, or the fear, the backlash that I would get if you don't believe in what I believe in, acceptin' people for who they are...they're very talented and if they do something special in the world and they're discriminated. I've flown across the world y'all, and I've come back here to tell you — open your minds and live a happier life..." - Hip-hop star Kanye West, speaking to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

(Via - Towleroad)

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HomoQuotable - Michael Joseph Gross

"As a normative way of socializing for gay men, online cruising is a disaster. We need to recognize its effects -- including its tendency to isolate us, encourage objectification, and diminish our sense of life’s nonsexual possibilities -- as disasters. We need to recognize that too many of us, too much of the time, are cruising online because it is easier and feels safer than thinking about the love we are missing and the power we do not have. Too many of us, too much of the time, are cruising online because it’s easier and feels safer than mustering the courage, patience, discipline, and imagination required to help ourselves and each other become the men that, in our strongest moments, we want to be.

"Gary Cohan, a physician who treats half of A-list gay Hollywood, says we have to start thinking in a deliberate way about what normal social interaction consists of. “For a long time,” Cohan says, “it has been considered normal to be on the Net. We need to start thinking, That’s not normal.”

"We need to put our heads together and try to figure out what we want normative social life to look like. Whatever the answer turns out to be, it will involve creating social structures that serve and gratify our desire to have sex with each other and also promote and support the possibility of developing and sustaining intimate relationships. Gay men came close to the goal of building such a society when they were hit with the plague of AIDS. That generation learned the rewards of sacrifice and of setting limits on the place of sex in our culture. But to those of us who were children or teenagers during the epidemic, AIDS made coming out so scary that we preferred to avoid getting too involved in our gay forefathers’ world.

"And along came the Internet, a tool that let us build gay lives without having to get very involved with older people -- not that, if we’d wanted to, there were a whole lot of them still living. Now, though, it seems our avoidance has created a different kind of society, more isolating, more brutal, and weaker. We still don’t know how to have enduring relationships. We still don’t have examples. We still don’t have mentors. We still don’t have courtship rituals. We are still getting HIV.

"We celebrate the fact that we’re out to the straight world, even though the only thing that means, in many cases, is that they know we’re gay.

"When we logged on, I don’t think most of us realized we were creating new secret lives. I don’t think we knew what we were getting into. But we got into it. For most of us, this is not working. And if it’s not working for you, then it’s time to get off." - Michael Joseph Gross, in an Out Magazine story titled Has Manhunt Destroyed Gay Culture?

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Paging Brünnhilde

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It Don't Gitmo Better

New on Coney Island's boardwalk, the Waterboard Thrill Ride, where beach lovers can add torture to their mix of sun, surf, and sand.
If you climb up a few cinderblock steps to the small window, you can look through the bars at a scene meant to invoke a Guantánamo Bay interrogation. A lifesize figure in a dark sweatshirt, the hood drawn low over his face, leans over another figure in an orange jumpsuit, his face covered by a towel and his body strapped down on a tilted surface.

Feed a dollar into a slot, the lights go on, and Black Hood pours water up Orange Jumpsuit’s nose and mouth while Orange Jumpsuit convulses against his restraints for 15 seconds. O.K., kids, who wants more cotton candy!
The more you pay, the more the robot dude gets tortured. (Not unlike the nearby Shoot The Freak exhibit, except there you're shooting a live freak.) The proprietors of Waterboard Thrill Ride originally wanted to waterboard actual customers, but decided there might be a teensy legal problem there. But the dummies don't seem to provide much of a thrill.
Many people stroll by the installation without even stopping to look. As for those who do, Jodi Taylor, house manager for the freak show, said: “Adults find it very shocking, and kids are like, ‘That stinks.’ They’re so desensitized. They have no idea what the ethical issues are. They wish there was water spraying in their face.”

Last Monday a family of former New Yorkers now living in Israel climbed up the cinderblock steps and peered in the barred window. The first thing they saw in the darkened room was the orange-jumpsuited detainee — and Mr. Powers’s son, sitting atop him with a merry grin on his face. (His father was tinkering in the background.)

“I love it,” said Ricki Rosen, the mother of the family. “Hilarious!” Her daughter asked what it was all about, and Ms. Rosen responded: “Waterboarding, Sweetie, is a kind of torture where they pour water on people’s faces so they feel like they’re drowning. But then there was a big controversy because a lot of Americans are saying you shouldn’t torture people even if they are terrorists.” She paused. “The baby is hilarious!”
"The baby is hilarious." Headdesk.

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E-Passport E-Z To Hack

The UK Times Online tested some of the new electronic passports and discovered that they can be hacked and cloned in under ten minutes.
In the tests, a computer researcher cloned the chips on two British passports and implanted digital images of Osama bin Laden and a suicide bomber. The altered chips were then passed as genuine by passport reader software used by the UN agency that sets standards for e-passports.

The Home Office has always argued that faked chips would be spotted at border checkpoints because they would not match key codes when checked against an international data-base. But only ten of the forty-five countries with e-passports have signed up to the Public Key Directory (PKD) code system, and only five are using it. Britain is a member but will not use the directory before next year. Even then, the system will be fully secure only if every e-passport country has joined.

Some of the 45 countries, including Britain, swap codes manually, but criminals could use fake e-passports from countries that do not share key codes, which would then go undetected at passport control.
The tests suggest that if the microchips are vulnerable to cloning then bogus biometrics could be inserted in fake or blank passports.

Tens of millions of microchipped passports have been issued by the 45 countries in the belief that they will make international travel safer. They contain a tiny radio frequency chip and antenna attached to the inside back page. A special electronic reader sends out an encrypted signal and the chip responds by sending back the holder’s ID and biometric details.

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Rich Rooftops

Gothamist points us to a Flickr group called "Rich People Rooftops", which chronicles the high-roller apartments that crown some of Manhattan's buildings. Let's see, in this one we have a swimming pool, a playground. and a hundred feet or so of windows. It's livable. But also seems like it could be a health club.

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Open Thread Thursday

The American broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics will begin tomorrow at 7:30PM Eastern. Which events will you follow?


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wilze Ilzare Plilzayin Dizouble Dizutch

The skip they do's the double dutch. That's them dancing. Double dutch will become a varsity sport at New York City high schools this fall. Gimme a "ho" if you got your funky bus fare.
Double dutch, an urban street staple that dates back centuries and, come next spring, will become the newest of 35 varsity sports played in New York City schools. As part of an effort to increase the number of students — particularly girls — participating in competitive athletics, the city will create coed double-dutch teams at 10 high schools, many in predominantly black neighborhoods like Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Harlem where the ropes have long swung on asphalt playgrounds.
Here's Malcolm McClaren's 1982 classic, Double Dutch. I don't have the heart to inflict The Double Dutch Bus on you. The title of this post is painful enough.

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Tap, Tap (Tappin' In The Tearoom)

Drag queen Candy Samples gives us a preview of the Republican convention.

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Christianists Take Gov. Paterson To Court Over Gay Marriage Recognition

Tomorrow the New York Supreme Court will hear the petition of the Alliance Defense Fund, who is suing Gov. Paterson over his order that state agencies recognize out of state gay marriages. Hilariously, their suit claims that Paterson doesn't understand the dictionary definition of marriage.
The Alliance Defense Fund is suing Mr. Paterson, citing an online dictionary's definition of the word "marriage," and claiming that legal recognition of such marriages "will undermine the democratic process and force taxpayer dollars to fund benefits for same-sex couples."

Other plaintiffs in the suit include the state Assembly's minority leader, James Tedisco, as well assemblymen Daniel Burling and Brian Kolb and senators Martin Golden and Serphin Maltese. "This isn't about morals or ethics, it's about a legal standard in New York," a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, Brian Raum, said.

In May, Mr. Paterson issued the executive order directing state agencies to "ensure that terms such as 'spouse,' 'husband,' and 'wife' are construed in a manner that encompasses legal same-sex marriages." In the suit, the Alliance Defense Fund says the order was an illegal breach of the separation of powers, in that Mr. Paterson did not consult the Legislature about revising the legal status of those terms before issuing the order. The suit also cites the online edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary as evidence that the word "marriage" applies only to a bond between a man and a woman.
Because the meaning of words never evolve. Online. Troll. Spam.

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For When The Spork Is Not Enough

File under: cubicle life. Biodegradable cutlery pen-caps. I don't know, I'd probably lose them immediately. I guess this is for you greenies who don't want to use disposable plastic. But since the average delivered lunch in midtown seems to be a tray in a box in a paper bag in a plastic bag, you know you're still killing the world, right?

(Tipped by Kitchenbeard)

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Rich Media

Via Valleywag:
Maybe you haven't heard about the $999.99 "I Am Rich" iPhone App by Armein Heinrich yet. We'll catch you up, poor thing. Purchase this app for your iPhone 3G from the iTunes App Store now and it will do two things: display a glowing red gem for an icon and tell everyone who handles your iPhone 3G that you have more money than you know what to do with. It's a bargain compared to a Patek Phillipe watch which does the same thing.
Five years ago, I bet they'd have sold a few of these. Today, not so much.

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LOGO: The Money's In The Gaybies

Cable network LOGO has issued a press release touting what it calls a "striking shift" in gay demographics. According to LOGO, most young gays now want to live in the suburbs and raise kids. The full release:

NEW YORK, NY – August 5, 2008 – Logo, a division of Viacom Inc.’s (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) MTV Networks, today revealed groundbreaking research developed in partnership with Simmons and TRU, that shows a vast generational shift among LGBT people. Findings from the months-long national project conducted earlier this year indicate a greater expectation by LGBT people to lead an integrated life raising families in suburbs or small towns, ultimately living life the way they choose while maintaining their identity and sense of community.

Among the key findings of the national qualitative and quantitative research:

· A vast majority (79 percent) of gay people think it’s important to integrate into the greater culture and 64 percent are open about their sexual orientation to at least their family members.
· Less than half of gay people want to live in the city and a majority want to live in suburbia or small-town America. Regardless of where they want to live, 58 percent want to live closer to other gay people.
· Two-thirds of younger gay people expect to be partnered with kids at some point in their adulthood, while less than a third of gays 35 and older expect the same.
· Younger gay people have an even mix of gay and straight friends.
· Overall, gay people rank marriage equality as the number one issue about which they’re passionate, followed by the environment, health care and the economy.

“We’re trading in West Hollywood for West Texas and big disposable incomes for disposable diapers,” said Lisa Sherman, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Logo. “Most important, we’re integrating without abandoning our community or sense of identity. These developments are good for LGBT people and good for America.”

The research also found that despite gay people’s love for mainstream media, they want entertainment that speaks to their uniquely gay lives and experiences. This finding supports Logo’s efforts to develop programming like the recent Sordid Lives: The Series that tell authentic LGBT stories, sometimes with many LGBT characters and sometimes only a few.

Logo’s research was concluded earlier this year and involved a qualitative study in partnership with TRU Research of 21-45 year olds in New York and Dallas as well as a qualitative national survey in partnership with Simmons of 1,800 21-59 LGBT people.
Trading disposable income for disposable diapers? I don't know how that's inherently good for gay culture. Unless, of course, you feel that a wholesale aping of the white picket fence lifestyle is, by definition, good. It's fine for the folks that want it, and the fact that gay folks who want a subdivision life now feel more comfortable pursuing it, yeah that is good. But it's merely a different life, not a better one.

My buddy Rod Townsend, the Manhattan Offender, notes:
LOGO, the CBS for gays, released a press release today addressing research that essentially shows a younger generation of gays that don't really see a need for LOGO. Granted, the data is parsed in an intriguing way to prove the network's need to exist, but when a company pays out to a research company to create such data, they often receive back information tailored to make the company return to that research company again. By needing to study their demographics though, LOGO is really telling us, "We have no inherent feel for our viewer, but some dude with an MBA in the marketing department thinks this might help."
With gay nightlife shuttering nationwide and gaybies on every block, you really have to wonder what this life is going to look like in ten years. I guess LOGO better cut back on the Queer As Folk reruns and start booking gay versions of Leave It To Beaver.

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Not Straight, Bisexual

Details has published a rather dumb story called What If You Only Thought You Were Gay? in which the author recounts the stories of a number of men who married women after years of living as gay men. It's not a story about "ex-gays", more a few anecdotal instances in which gay men fell in love with women.
For Andrew Brin, who grew up in Milwaukee, it was all about girls—until he had sex with a guy at the end of his senior year of high school. "It was fun and I had a great time, but I remember having the feeling that I was doing something that wasn't right," he says. In his early thirties, Brin started dating a man and came out to his brother. When he later fell in love with a woman (who was at the time a lesbian) and realized he was straight, he didn't inform anyone that he'd been waving that rainbow flag mistakenly.

And although there aren't statistics to show how many men go through a similar sexual shift, anecdotal evidence suggests that some men who consider themselves to be gay experience this kind of change not because of sexual experimentation or peer pressure but because they decide that they want to sleep with women instead of men.
Obviously, these are actually examples of men discovering their innate bisexuality, not coming to a realization that they'd been "mistakenly gay." Plenty of noted gays have ended up in hetero marriages, including singer Tom Robinson, whose Glad To Be Gay remains a gay rights anthem.

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Paris Hilton Takes On "That Wrinkly White-Haired Dude"

And in the process, makes us like her a whole lot more. Seriously funny and totally the way to bite back.

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Obama On Gay Families

Last month Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, wrote identical letters to both presidential candidates to ask about their positions on gay families. Barack Obama has responded with a letter (PDF) that mostly talks about his own family and offers some general platitudes about family life, but closes with this paragraph:
[W]e also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families. Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it’s about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom. That’s why we have to repeal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. That’s why we have to eliminate discrimination against LGBT families. And that’s why we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws.
I’ll be a president that stands up for American families – all of them.
McCain apparently has not responded.

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Record Number Of LGBT Delegates To Attend Democratic Convention

The Stonewall Democrats are reporting that a record 358 openly LGBT delegates will represent the community at the Democratic Convention. Via PageOneQ:
A total of 358 participants from 48 states have signed on for this year's Denver event, running from August 25 to August 28, directly after the Stonewall Democrats National Convention, also taking place in Denver from August 21 to August 24. Notable names in these ranks include 21-year-old Jason Rae of Wisconsin, the youngest superdelegate, Latina lesbian Sonya Lewis of Colorado, transwoman and aerospace consultant Amanda Simpson of Arizona, Minnesota labor leader Javier Morillo-Alicea, and Young Stonewall Democrats founder and Texan Paul Tran.
According to the DNC's official convention site, there will be a total of 4440 delegates in Denver, giving us a percentage of representation that probably slightly exceeds our population.

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Obama Heckled From Press Pit

A man heckled Barack Obama from the photographers' pit at an appearance in Ohio yesterday, causing some to question the Secret Service and their vetting of press credentials at Obama events. The man shouted down Obama as he began to speak, demanding that he lead the crowd in the Pledge Of Allegiance, which Obama did with the crowd joining in.

Reporters rushed to interview the man but he refused to identify himself. Via Blogger Interrupted:
Then this man began taking photographs. As Secret Service began to hover, numerous reporters, including myself, asked the man repeatedly who he was and who he worked for, and the man never answered. He was allowed to keep photographing. After the event ended, the man was surrounded by about 10 reporters and cameramen who kept asking who he was and who he worked for. He never answered.

I must say, this event really made me nervous. In the current environment, when a man shouts at Barack Obama from the press riser, in this way, over the Pledge of Allegiance, from a place reserved for media who are told not to disturb the event, that is troubling. Heckling from the crowd is standard - heckling from the press riser is almost never heard of. Then to watch the man go about lifting his camera to point it at Barack Obama, my heart skipped a beat.
Scary, perhaps. Annoying, definitely. But illegal, no. And Obama handled it perfectly. The man was later identified as photojournalist John Quinn, who has worked Rolling Stone and TIME Magazine, among other publications. Therefore, I don't think the Secret Service let Obama down on this, but it does illustrate how easily an ill-intentioned person can get close to presidential candidates.

(Via - Pam Spaulding)

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

CA Senate Approves Harvey Milk Day

Today the California Senate approved a bill designating May 22nd as Harvey Milk Day, the first such state holiday honoring a LGBT person in the history of the United States. The state Assembly approved the bill last month and the bill will return to the Assembly one more time for a "concurrence" vote before landing on the desk of Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Harvey Milk Day, if approved by the governor, will be a "day of significance," or non-fiscal state holiday, meaning government operations will not suspend and state employees will not get a paid day off. Milk, considered to be the first openly gay man in the world to be elected to a "substantial" public office, was murdered by fellow San Francisco Supervisor Dan White in 1978.

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JMG: The Fire Island Cocktail

Via Dr. Jeff comes this shot of the drink menu at Jumpin' Jack's Seafood Shack in Fire Island's Cherry Grove. The drink is the invention of their bartender, a JMG reader who used to work at the NYC Eagle and who has been the subject of an Overheard post on this here website thingy. Anyway, I sound delish but I don't know if I'm worth $10.

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National Go Topless Day: August 23rd

I was handed a flyer for National Go Topless Day as I was leaving Central Park over the weekend. Organizers hope to draw attention to public nudity laws that allow moobs but not boobs. The flyers were being handed out by a cute young chick, but the presence of a sign-carrying Raëlian nearby should have tipped me that those very gay-friendly but otherwise wacky cultists were behind this. But as "we are descended from sexy aliens" cults go, the Raëlians seem fairly harmless. I think we should get a giant posse of bears to come out and support the public boobage movement. Moobs + boobs = party time.

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Weirdest. Ad Campaign. Ever.

Extended Stay Hotels want you to know that their hotel rooms are so clean you can safely lick any surface. (Click the room key on their home page.) In any case, as Slog notes, surely there is some freak out there masturbating to this. And yes, she licks the toilet.

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Charlie Crist Comes Out....
Against Gay Marriage

Florida Gov. Charlie "Closet Case" Crist has reversed his previous "live and let live" position on gay marriage, saying that he now supports the ballot referendum to amend the state's constitutional against gay couples. Gay marriage is already illegal in Florida, but as in other states, the haters want to make it extra illegal.

Crist has also finally responded to rumors about his sexuality and that he is only engaged to Halloween costume heiress Carol Rome in order to get on John McCain's ticket.
The governor says he's not surprised that some people think he's getting married, to improve his chances of being picked by John McCain as the Repubican vice-presidential candidate. He said nothing could be further from the truth.

Governor Crist also responded to rumors about his sexuality. A reporter asked Crist his reaction to some people's preoccupation with his sexuality, and sexual orientation. Crist responded, "Well, you know, when you're in the public eye, and being governor of Florida that's inevitable, you know, I don't really focus on it, I'm just damn glad I found such a wonderful lady."

He was also asked if rumors about his sexual orientation or other rumors that he may be a heterosexual serial philanderer bother him. Governor Crist replied, "Well, lack of truth always would be disturbing to somebody."
It doesn't look like Crist will be McCain's veep anyway, but at least ole Charlie now has a limitless supply of beards.

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Hate Crimes Charge For Transwoman's Killer

The murderer of Colorado transwoman Angie Zapata has been charged with a hate crime, adding a potential 18 months to his sentence. Zapata's supportive sister says that she had long been worried about the crowd of "dangerous men" that Zapata had been hanging with.
“One time she came home crying saying, ‘Why, Monica, why won’t people accept me?’ ” Monica Zapata said. “All my sister wanted was somebody who would take her down the street and be proud of who she was.” Monica Zapata said her sister had drifted into drugs and at one point talked about prostitution to make extra money. “I worried about her every time she left my house,” she said. “I couldn’t fix her loneliness.”
Allen Conrade, 31, has confessed that he beat Zapata to death with a fire extinguisher the morning after they had sex. Conrade says that photographs in Zapata's apartment raised his suspicions, causing him to grope her groin and discover a penis. Hopefully the judge in Conrade's trial will not allow him to raise a transpanic defense. Murder is murder.

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Beijing Restaurants: Dogs Are 86'd, May We Suggest The Whale Penis?

China has taken dog off the menu at the official Olympic eateries and is asking local restaurants to do the same.
Those who hope to taste dog meat when they visit Beijing for this summer’s Olympics may be disappointed. The Beijing Catering Trade Association has ordered all 112 designated Olympic restaurants to take dog off the menu, and has strongly advised other establishments to stop serving it until September. Waiters have been urged to “patiently” suggest alternative dishes to customers who ask for dog. It’s all part of a wider campaign to avoid offending foreigners during the Games.
Summer is considered off-season for dogs anyway. For realz. As the linked story points out, dogs may be man's best friend, but pigs too are smart, friendly, and affectionate. Not to mention delicious. I think I might taste dog meat, once, just so I could say I'd done it. Not sure about that. Would probably give me nightmares. Which I never have about bacon.

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CA Bishops: Marriage Is For Making Babies

The bishops of the California Catholic Conference, which comprises all of that state's dioceses, have signed on with the haters of Protect Marriage, saying that marriage is meant for procreation. They then went on to condemn marriages for infertile men and post-menopausal women. PSYCH! From their press release:
Same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex unions. The marriage of a man and a woman embraces not only their sexual complementarity as designed by nature but includes their ability to procreate. The ideal for the well being of children is to be born into a traditional marriage and to be raised by both a mother and a father.
The press release goes on to urge their congregants to donate to Protect Marriage.

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McCain Trailing In Crucial Stage Mothers Demographic

Paris Hilton's mom is pissed about the McCain ad that compares her daughter and Britney Spears to Barack Obama. From her Huffington Post column:
I've been asked again and again for my response to the now infamous McCain celebrity ad. I actually have three responses. It is a complete waste of the money John McCain's contributors have donated to his campaign. It is a complete waste of the country's time and attention at the very moment when millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs. And it is a completely frivolous way to choose the next President of the United States.
Amusingly, both of the Hilton parents have made the maximum personal contribution to McCain's campaign.

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Bipartisan Crazy

An Indiana preacher is reaching out to everybody. Cute.

(Via - Wonkette)

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White Power Groups Like Obama

White supremacist groups are claiming that Barack Obama's candidacy is boosting their membership.
Tom Prater, Florida spokesman for the white power group Euro and a member of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, says the Illinois senator's success is a boon for his cause. "I've gotten more calls in the last two months about interest in our organizations than I got in all the years in the past," said Prater, who lives in Jacksonville. August Kreis, national director of Aryan Nations, another white supremacist and anti-Semitic organization, agrees. "Obama's done my group a lot of good," said Kreis, who lives in South Carolina and says he keeps a Nazi flag over his mantel. "He's polarizing Americans, black and white. "Especially in Florida, affiliates have increased recently," Kreis said, although he did not produce membership figures.
According to the story, some of these wackos are considering actually voting for Obama because they believe his election would drive even more people to their cause.

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Robert Novak Retires, CIA Operatives Relax

Conservative blowhard columnist Robert Novak has announced his retirement due to last week's brain tumor diagnosis. Novak revealed his illness shortly after he committed a hit-and-run on an 86 year-old homeless pedestrian.
Novak has been diagnosed with cancer at least three times. He underwent surgery in 2003 to remove a cancerous growth on his kidney and was under medical observation for a possible recurrence.

He came under sharp criticism for a column in 2003 in which he identified Valerie Plame, the wife of a former diplomat who had become a Bush administration critic, as a CIA operative. The column led to a lengthy investigation that culminated with the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a top aide to Vice President Cheney, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. President Bush subsequently commuted Libby's sentence.
I've never understood why Novak never got charged with treason in the Plame scandal. Trivia: Novak's son is the marketing director for the publishing company that put out the Swift Boat Veteran's attack on John Kerry.

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CA Attorney General: If Prop 8 Passes, Existing Gay Marriages Will Remain Valid

California Attorney General Jerry Brown says that even if Proposition 8 is passed and gay marriage is overturned, existing gay marriages will likely remain valid.
"I believe that marriages that have been entered into subsequent to the (May 15) Supreme Court opinion will be recognized by the California Supreme Court," Brown told The Chronicle. Noting that Prop. 8 is silent about retroactivity, he said, "I would think the court, in looking at the underlying equities, would most probably conclude that upholding the marriages performed in that interval (before the election) would be a just result."
Some of you folks might consider hurrying up with those nuptials, just in case.

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JetBlue: $7 For Pillow & Blanket

More jet fuel fallout:
JetBlue Airways Corp. said Monday it will begin charging customers for pillows and blankets. The carrier has done away with the recycled blankets and pillows used on its flights, and will begin offering an "eco-friendly" travel blanket and pillow that can be purchased for $7 on flights longer than two hours. A JetBlue spokeswoman declined to predict how much the sale of these kits will bring in, saying that the company only provides revenue details for specific items in its quarterly earnings conference calls. The carrier said last month it expects to collect about $40 million from customers buying seats with extra leg room this year. Its $15 fee for a second checked bag is expected to translate into about $20 million in additional revenue. A ticket change fee, which doubled to $100 in the second quarter, is part of a "basket of fee changes" expected to produce about $50 million in extra revenue in 2008.
I find those tiny pillows useless for sleeping anyway and if I can remember to do it, I'll sometimes just a buy a cheapie big pillow to use and throw away later. On the other hand, at least now on JetBlue you'll get a new pillow that's free of stranger cooties. In other airline fee news: US Air has done away with free soda and water ($2 each now), and Delta has doubled the fee for a second checked bag to $50.

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Morning View - Madison & 69th

Dr. Jeff snapped this on our way back from Central Park last Saturday afternoon. This town can sure feel empty on summer weekends.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Transwoman Gives Eyewitness Account Of Knoxville Church Shooting

Michelangelo Signorile has interviewed Carla Lewis, a transgender woman who was inside the Knoxville Unitarian Church when last week's shooting happened. Signorile:
This is a clip from my interview with Carla Lewis, who was inside the Tennessee Valley Universalist Unitarian Church when a gunman opened fire little over a week ago. She came on the program last week to take us through the tragic event, talk about the gunman's motives of hatred against gays and liberals and tell us a bit about hero Greg McKendry. The 60-year-old church volunteer was killed in the shooting, jumping in front of the gunman to protect others. He and his wife had recently taken in a transgender foster child.

Carla, a transgender woman and a lesbian, runs the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition web site, and is a regular listener to the show. She began by telling us about the service, which was a production of "Annie," in which children were participating. Carla and her partner Jamie had arrived a bit late to church that day. They were still standing, when the gunman, 58-year old James Adkisson, a man brought up in a Christian fundamentalist home and who had recently had some hard times, walked in behind them.

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Latest Veepstakes Odds

From online gambling site

Evan Bayh: 11/4
Joe Biden: 6-1
Kathleen Sebelius: 7-1
Hillary Clinton: 10-1
Chris Dodd: 14-1
Bill Richardson: 18-1
Al Gore: 20-1

Tim Pawlenty: 2-1
Mitt Romney: 5-1
Sarah Palin: 7-1
Tom Ridge: 10-1
Bobby Jindal: 12-1
Charlie Crist: 12-1
Mike Huckabee: 20-1

UPDATE: Bil Browning at the Bilerico Project makes a pretty good case that Obama will indeed pick Bayh on Wednesday.

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Lost In Translation

West Village, Weehauken Street, 7PM

Spanish Bear: You guys, I've got to show you the new tattoo I just got on my ass.

Passerby: I hope it says "Wash Me."

Spanish Bear: [Several dozen angry words in Spanish]

And again I regret taking German in high school.

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HomoQuotable - Neil Patrick Harris

"Mmmmmmmm. Anderson. He’s dreamy. Just dreamy. I’ve been a fan of his since season 1 of The Mole. I just thought he was so cool when he talked in this cool, low, secret-agent voice -- 'If you can accomplish this task...' Listen, no one can tell anyone how big their steps should be or when they can take them. You can take issue with someone making overtly denying statements, and you can take issue with people straight-up presenting themselves as someone that they’re not -- because I think that’s kind of shady and not very stand-up.

"But you can’t fault someone for going through the process at their own time. You can’t. But again -- to speak to the public nature of things -- it is in our capacity to respect the job descriptions that people have separate from the life that they live. And I don’t care about the person on the news…I literally tune in to hear the news. I might find them dreamy, but I don’t really need to know much more about them." - Neil Patrick Harris telling Out Magazine how he feels about Anderson Cooper and whether gay celebrities have a responsibility to come out.

(Via - Towleroad)

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Solar Power Breakthru At MIT

You couldn't get away from this story on the news this weekend, but it's so cool, I've got mention it here.
MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy. With Daniel Nocera's and Matthew Kanan's new catalyst, homeowners could use their solar panels during the day to power their home, while also using the energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen for storage. At night, the stored hydrogen and oxygen could be recombined using a fuel cell to generate power while the solar panels are inactive.

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."

Inspired by the photosynthesis performed by plants, Nocera and Matthew Kanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Nocera's lab, have developed an unprecedented process that will allow the sun's energy to be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. Later, the oxygen and hydrogen may be recombined inside a fuel cell, creating carbon-free electricity to power your house or your electric car, day or night.
According to the linked story, if this discovery bears out, within ten years you'll be able to power your home entirely from your own photovoltaic cells. "Electricity-by-wire from a central source could be a thing of the past."

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Westboro Church Burns

The Westboro Baptist Church was set on fire this weekend (only minor damage, pity) and the Crypt Keeper blames "fags and fag enablers."

Oh, and while the fire department put out the fire, church members picketed them. Seriously. These loonbags are the best thing to happen to gay rights, like, ever.

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Haters Lead Prop 8 Fundraising

The right-wing has surged into the lead in the contest to raise money over the Proposition 8 battle.
Proponents of Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage, raised about $3.7 million from Jan. 1 through June 30, according to state filings. In contrast, gay-rights activists who oppose the measure raised about $2.5 million through June 30. The groups are battling over a divisive ballot measure slated for November that would amend the California constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, thus barring same-sex marriage.

The measure was put on the ballot after the state's Supreme Court said in May that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. That paved the way for the legalization of gay marriage in California on June 17.

The voting on Proposition 8 will be close, pollsters predict. Fifty-one percent of Californians are likely to support same-sex marriage and oppose the ballot measure in the November election, according to the most recent Field Poll in July. Forty-one percent of voters said they would vote yes on the measure and oppose gay marriage, according to the same poll.

According to Thursday's filings with the Secretary of State, the Protect Marriage coalition, the biggest committee backing Proposition 8, raised approximately $2.6 million through June 30. Other supporters of Proposition 8, including the National Organization of Marriage-California, raised about $1.1 million over the same period. Gay-rights activists say they gained fund-raising momentum in July, which is not reflected in Thursday's filings. "Just this month, we have raised approximately another $2 million," Dale Kelly Bankhead, campaign manager for No on Prop 8-Equality for All, wrote in a release.
Out of state money continues to play heavily in the battle, with 33% of the money supporting the ban coming from outside California.

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The Trolls Among Us

I've read this weekend's lengthy New York Times Magazine article on internet trolls three times now and I still don't know what to think. (Did the reporter himself get trolled by his subjects?) In a way, I came away feeling like the troll nonsense we have to deal with in the LGBT blogosphere is waaaay less severe than the shit the guys in the article are doling out on their victims. And that made me feel good for a minute. Then I reread the article again and just wanted to machine-gun them all to death.

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Joe Lieberman Visits The West Village

Yesterday around 6PM I was in a cab stopped at a light in the West Village, just about to cross 6th Avenue at 9th Street. Looked out the window and three feet away was Sen. Joe Lieberman and his wife getting into their car. He couldn't open his car door until we moved, so he kinda gave us a look. I should have screamed something horrible at him, but my window was rolled up and instead I just gave him a weak smile. Dammit. And my camera was in my hand and I didn't even think to take a picture. Dammit. By the way, his Connecticut license plate number is "2". Just "2". Guess that's some wry comment on his veep slot in 2000. Lieberman will speak in support of John McCain at the Republican convention.

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Coffee And Donuts

Some outfit called the Center For An Urban Future has conducted what it's calling the first ever count of all retail chain outlets in NYC. You'll have to embiggen to see the chart. The chain with the most outlets in Manhattan is, unsurprisingly, Starbucks. Most in all five boroughs: Dunkin' Donuts. The complete list (PDF) includes all chains that have two or stores in the city.

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Morning View - Lexington & 68th

Dr. Jeff grabbed this shot as we were crossing Lexington Avenue. Those overpasses connect the buildings of Hunter College.


CDC: HIV Underreported By 40%

The CDC says that due to better reporting and improved blood tests, they now estimate the annual number of new HIV infections in the United States to 40% higher than previously thought.
The number of Americans infected by the AIDS virus each year is much higher than the government has been estimating, U.S. health officials reported Sunday, acknowledging that their numbers have understated the level of the epidemic. The country had roughly 56,300 new HIV infections in 2006 - a dramatic increase from the 40,000 annual estimate used for the last dozen years. The new figure is due to a better blood test and new statistical methods, and not a worsening of the epidemic, officials said. But it likely will refocus U.S. attention from the effect of AIDS overseas to what the disease is doing to this country, said public health researchers and officials. “This is the biggest news for public health and HIV/AIDS that we’ve had in a while,” said Julie Scofield, executive director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.
Gay men continue to comprise more than half of new infections annually.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Afternoon View - Flushing & Forest Hills

The Farmboyz and I did one of our outer borough explorations today, venturing out into the wilds of far Queens. We usually take our bikes on the subway, but Farmboy C (above) blew a tire so we spent the afternoon hoofing around Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (site of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs), which today was hosting the 18th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.ABOVE: We got a look at the soon-to-be demolished Shea Stadium and the almost-finished Citi Field. BELOW: We came across Andy Warhol's 1964 tile mosaic tribute to reviled urban planner Robert Moses, the man who successfully rammed expressways through many of Gothams's neighborhoods.ABOVE AND BELOW: We were among the very few in the crowded park who were not speaking Cantonese or carrying a parasol. Tons of companies were on hand to give out branded trinkets, which people gladly waited in long lines to receive.
ABOVE: Many of the 7 trains spend their weekends sleeping in the shadow of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, host of the U.S. Open. BELOW: On the west side of the park, we walked under this train station to stroll around Forest Hills, the mostly-fancy, mostly-Jewish neighbood whose tennis club was genesis of the U.S. Open. Forest Hills, with its lovely Tudor homes, looks much like an English village. Trivia: the world's first radio commerical advertised homes in Forest Hills.
ABOVE: The '64 World's Fair Sky Streak lifts are rotting away. One has already been torn down and the plan is to demolish the remaining two, pending a $500,000 study into their stability. I can vividly recall riding to the top of the tallest tower during the fair, even though I was only five years old at the time. Preservationists want to keep the towers of course, but hey, you can always see them in Men In Black.

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Tinkers To Evers To Chance

What a weird last few days on teh interwebs, a regular triple play of nonsense. First Haloscan crashes, then Google locked thousands of bloggers out of their accounts, then on Friday afternoon any site with the Sitemeter script on it would no longer open in IE, affecting many thousands of sites.

We got a heads-up from the CEO of JS-Kit, the new owner of Haloscan, who let us know that they are installing new features and better stability. Over at the Blogger, the always devious spammers had hacked their CAPTCHA program, forcing them to change their spam algorithm, causing the lockout. And Sitemeter's issue was actually related to a bug in IE. Bah humbug. Looks like everything is back to normal at the moment, but I thank the many JMG readers who sent puzzled emails. PS: Use Firefox!

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