Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Palin Pulls A Fast One With NOW
"I know Sarah Palin cares about women’s rights, she cares about equality, she cares about equal pay, and as Vice President she will fight for it. She cares about our children and she cares about women's lives. She's an athlete and she knows what Title Nine did for girls like her. It is an honor to call her sister. America, this is what a feminist looks like." - Los Angeles NOW chapter president Shelly Mandell, introducing Sarah Palin at a rally this weekend. (Video)
Conservative blogs and commenters are exulting. "Finally, an intellectually honest feminist!", crows the first commenter on the linked post. Some news outlets are mistakenly saying that LA NOW has endorsed Palin, prompting the state organization to shout that Mandell was not authorized to speak on behalf on NOW and that the McCain/Palin campaign deliberately "misrepresented" her as speaking for NOW. (Imagine that.)
Patty Bellasalma: "As President of California NOW and as a member and officer of Los Angeles NOW, I can assure you that there is no local or state affiliate of NOW, including LA NOW, which endorses or supports the McCain/Palin ticket. John McCain and Sarah Palin oppose many of the rights and freedoms we have fought for throughout NOW's 42 years, and we will not be pushed back to the days of back-alley abortions, forced pregnancies, and pay discrimination without remedy. Nor will we let the media distractions deter our members and activists from our organizing for freedom and equality for all women, putting our hopes and our dreams, our hard work and our hard-earned money, behind a proven team for women: the next President of the United States – Barack Obama – and his running mate, longtime friend and ally of women, Sen. Joe Biden With equal ferocity we will fight to protect young women by defeating Proposition 4 and to keep bigotry and discrimination out of our state constitution by defeating Proposition 8 here in California."
After Mandell's introduction, Palin went into her now-standard "Obama runs with terrorists" schtick. I'm wondering how the fuck Mandell got to be president of LA NOW. As Jen Graves says, "Revoke her vagina!"
There's Something Horrible On The Stairs*
Set your phasers on "fail." An American version of Absolutely Fabulous is coming to Fox.
Edina and Patsy are ready to take on L.A. Fox is developing a redo of Jennifer Saunders' enduring Britcom "Absolutely Fabulous," to be exec produced by Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum for Sony Pictures TV, Tantamount and BBC Worldwide America.*My favorite AbFab line and it totally works for this post.
Christine Zander ("Saturday Night Live") is set to write the script and will exec produce along with the BBC's Ian Moffet and original series creator Saunders. Fox has given Sony a script order with hefty penalty attached.
The latest attempt at a U.S. rendition of "Ab Fab" will be transplanted to L.A. but retain the basic template of the original, revolving around the friendship of two boozy, over-40 best friends who are desperate to stay hip and youthful and who carry on under the disapproving eye of Edina's teenage daughter, Saffy.
More than a decade ago, Roseanne Barr worked on developing a U.S. version of the show with Carrie Fisher for ABC. CBS' 1995-98 Cybill Shepherd comedy "Cybill" had an "Ab Fab" flavor to it. Another short-lived 1995 sitcom, CBS' "High Society," starring Jean Smart and Mary McDonnell, was a thinly veiled imitation.
(Via - Gawker)
Here's a NYT graphic showing the relative heights of US presidents for the last hundred years. (Embiggening required.) Since 1900 the taller candidate has won 17 out of 24 times. McCain is 5'7", Obama is 6'1".
Dubya did beat the taller Kerry, but we are so not counting his win over the taller Al Gore. If McCain were to win, he'd be the shortest president in 120 years and tied for second-shortest ever behind the 5'4" James Madison.
At 5'7" (and a HALF) myself, I usually resent these "taller man always wins" (the job, the game, the election) sort of stories. This one I can live with.
If you've been guilty of drunk mailing - sending regrettable emails while under the influence (and we've ALL done it) - Google has launched Mail Goggles, a user enabled program that forces you to solve a few math problems before sending late night emails. From the Gmail blog:
Sometimes I send messages I shouldn't send. Like the time I told that girl I had a crush on her over text message. Or the time I sent that late night email to my ex-girlfriend that we should get back together. Gmail can't always prevent you from sending messages you might later regret, but today we're launching a new Labs feature I wrote called Mail Goggles which may help. When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you're really sure you want to send that late night Friday email. And what better way to check than by making you solve a few simple math problems after you click send to verify you're in the right state of mind?Now they need to do something about drunk-blogging.
Billionaires For Bloomberg
SNL Wants The Real Palin
Saturday Night Live is working to get Sarah Palin to appear on the show before the election.
If you’re among those who speculate that the only thing better than Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live” would be Sarah Palin making a cameo on the show, there might be hope yet. If the buzz is to be believed, the NBC show is working to get the vice-presidential candidate and Alaska governor on air before the election. Although “Saturday Night Live,” like many other shows, doesn’t comment specifically on bookings, a rep said, “There are always talks with the candidates' camps.”A Palin-Fey face-off sounds potentially amusing, but I'd rather SNL stick to mocking her rather than honoring her with an invite.
There’s also some buzz about Palin making an appearance on “The View.” Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain have both made appearances, and “View” executive producer Bill Geddie says, “‘The View’ has established itself as a place to be seen for both the presidential and VP candidates, their wives and/or husbands and they all have an open invitation to appear on the show.’”
Weirdness From Flickr
Bride & Groom Returns To Califonia Marriage Licenses
After an outcry from Christianists who objected to the "Party A" and "Party B" designations on California's new marriage licenses, the state has decided to allow the option of checking boxes marked "bride" and "groom".
In a notice posted on its Web site, the California Department of Public Health says it is making the change because many couples still wanted the option of identifying themselves in traditional terms. When same-sex marriage became legal in the state on June 16, the health department issued new gender-neutral marriage forms with the words "Party A" and "Party B" where "bride" and "groom" used to be.Apparently same-sex couples will also be able to mark "bride" and "groom" if they choose, which should make for some amusing discussions.
The latest paperwork, which county clerks will be required to use starting Nov. 17, will have blank spaces for applicants' names and personal information next to the words "First Person Data" and "Second Person Data" and optional boxes for checking "bride" or "groom."
Because "bride" and "groom" appear in both sections, couples could check the same title twice to reflect a union between two men or two women. The health department also told county clerks that the designation of Groom or Bride is not required. But in the time since, state officials have looked for alternatives to satisfy couples who did not like the ring of "Party A" and "Party B," spokeswoman Suanne Buggy said Monday.
Are Terrorists Testing The Lincoln Tunnel?
Or Is This Part Of An "October Surprise"?
Last Friday one of the worst traffic jams in NYC history was created after the Lincoln Tunnel was closed due to suspicious bottles found glued to the traffic median. It was the third such incident in a month.
During last Friday evening's rush hour, the discovery of two suspicious bottles filled with an unknown liquid and glued to the median forced Port Authority police to close down the Lincoln Tunnel for hours. Police records we've obtained show it was the third such incident in a month. The first one occurring four weeks ago, when someone placed "3 plastic heart shaped bottles" of an unknown liquid on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel. One bottle had a ''gray wire inside" and a message, "don't look at me." And then again last Wednesday, two "red sealed bottles were glued" near a lamp post. "I would say they're studying what's going on at the tunnel," said Paul Nunziato of the Port Authority P.B.A. "Because they've been able to do it, 7 bottles placed on one of the busiest roadways in the world and no one sees them no one caught an eye on them, including the cameras."Port Authority brass are publicly theorizing that terrorists may be testing the security of the tunnel and others complain that the tunnel has been completely unguarded by police during several recent overnight shifts. But while these bottle incidents are worrying, we've all been turned into terrorism cynics - even here in NYC - and many suspect that the Lincoln Tunnel story may be part of a coming flurry of false terror warnings, the much predicted "October Surprise" from the Bush administration.
CA: 11,000 Gay Couples Have Married
An estimated 11,000 gay couples have married in California since the May ruling, more than in the first four years of legalized same sex marriages in Massachusetts, with the most weddings taking place Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County has been the venue of more same- sex marriages than any other California county since such unions were legalized in June, according to a study released today. The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law reported that 2,719 gay couples tied the knot in Los Angeles County, edging out San Francisco County's 2,708 same-sex marriages.There's no data on how many weddings were for out-of-state couples.
Five counties -- Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Riverside and Alameda -- account for 80 percent of the estimated 11,000 married same-sex couples statewide, according to the study. Researchers credited the counties' "large and visible" lesbian and gay populations, as well as the the fact that they make attractive tourist destinations for out-of-state couples wanting to get married.
Online ticket scalpers are having a field day with the upcoming Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel fundraiser concert for Barack Obama. And those who purchase the scalped tickets may be violating campaign finance laws.
Ticket scalpers profiting off the buzz created by the historic Bruce Springsteen/Billy Joel fundraiser appear to be breaking campaign finance laws. And fans who use scalpers could be complicit.The above-linked story delves into the legal mumbo-jumbo about how federal campaign finance law is being broken by going through the scalpers, but I have a feeling the feds are a little too busy to notice right now.
October 16th Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel will play a show at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom. This is the first time they have played together in this century. It's the night after the final presidential debate and the concert is a benefit for Barack Obama. Excitement about the show and "special guests" is skyrocketing. Obama himself is rumored to be scheduled to appear.
On Obama's Change Rocks website $500 balcony seats are already sold out. A premier seat costs $2,500. "Rocker seats" are $5,000 each, while a “lounge ticket” is $10,000. Buying these tickets is considered legally to be a contribution to Obama's campaign.
The first $2,300 of each contribution from an individual will be allocated to Obama for America and will be considered designated for the general election. The next $28,500 of each contribution from an individual will be allocated to the Democratic National Committee, per campaign finance laws.
As with any high demand event, scalpers are hawking tickets online. A sampling of Manhattan ticket agencies and Craigslist ads shows the balcony seats being scalped at prices ranging from $1,833 to $2,261 and floor seats for as much as $4,640. One Craigslist ad promises "the experience of a lifetime" for $25,000 a ticket. Considering $10,000 seats are still available, the mark up and its description seem rather extravagant.
Gwen Ifill On The VP Debate
"Terrorist!" "Kill Him!"
The Washington Post reports on how Sarah Palin riled up the audience in Clearwater, Florida by bringing up Barack Obama's relationship to Bill Ayers, causing one man to shout "Kill him!" Palin did not react or admonish the man.
At least McCain grimaced yesterday when someone in his audience called Obama a terrorist.
It was time to revive the allegation, made over the weekend, that Obama "pals around" with terrorists, in this case Bill Ayers, late of the Weather Underground. Many independent observers say Palin's allegations are a stretch; Obama served on a Chicago charitable board with Ayers, now an education professor, and has condemned his past activities.
"Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," Palin said.
"Boooo!" said the crowd.
"And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'" she continued.
"Boooo!" the crowd repeated.
"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.
Yes On 8 Takes Lead In Polls,
Huge Money Flows To CA
As insiders have been warning us for a couple of weeks, opinion polls are now showing that the Yes On 8 side has taken the lead in California.
A new CBS 5 poll finds that California's Proposition 8 has picked up support in the wake of a television ad campaign that features footage of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaiming same-sex marriage is here to stay "whether you like it or not."Christianists are far outspending the No On 8 side as tens of millions flow into California from out-of-state religious groups.
The poll conducted for CBS 5 by SurveyUSA indicates that support for the measure to ban gay marriage has grown among voters in the state over an eleven day period — most especially among young voters. According to the poll, likely California voters overall now favor passage of Proposition 8 by a five-point margin, 47 percent to 42 percent. Ironically, a CBS 5 poll eleven days prior found a five-point margin in favor of the measure's opponents.
The only demographic group to significantly change their views during this period were younger voters — considered the hardest to poll and the most unpredictable voters — who now support the measure after previously opposing it.
It should be noted that the poll, conducted statewide Oct. 4 and 5 among 670 likely voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent, and the pollster continued to label the race too close to call — just as it did eleven days ago.
Supporters and opponents of a ballot initiative that would outlaw same-sex marriage in California have funneled $41.2 million into the race, more than the combined total spent in the 24 states where similar measures have gone before voters since 2004.Don't let this happen! Goes California, goes the nation. If Prop 8 succeeds, we may never see nationwide marriage equality in our lifetimes. Donate now to No On 8.
Campaign finance figures show supporters of the gay marriage ban have taken a significant lead in fundraising even though Proposition 8 has lagged in public opinion polls. ProtectMarriage.com reported taking in $25.4 million through Sept. 30 of this year compared to the $15.8 million in donations raised by the main committee opposing the measure.
"It shows there is tremendous grassroots support for what we are trying to do," said Frank Schubert, co-manager of the Yes on 8 campaign.
Schubert said more than 60,000 people and businesses have given money to help pass the initiative, which would amend the state Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman. He provided the figures Monday before the group filed its official fundraising report with the secretary of state's office to meet the reporting deadline.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Says No To Prop 8
(So She Can Stay Married To Wanda Sykes)
Monday, October 06, 2008
Courtesy of the artist, this week's fab Swag Tuesday giftie is The Death Of The Paperboy, the new and fantastic double CD by superstar remixer/DJ Rich Morel.
If you've been to a dance club this century, you've shaken your groove thing to Morel's chart-topping remixes for Cyndi Lauper, Yoko Ono, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Pet Shop Boys, New Order and numerous others. And many of you will know Morel for Blowoff, the wildly popular gay dance party that he has been touring around the nation with co-DJ Bob Mould (aka the godfather of punk). Morel also performs as the keyboardist in the Bob Mould Band, which just finished a world tour.
Shane Percy writes in Xtra about The Death Of The Paperboy:
"Shoegazer disco" is how Richard Morel, aka Morel, describes the sound of his outstanding new project The Death of the Paperboy. Morel, who has been doing remixes for years under the name Pink Noise, has just released this, his fifth album, the follow-up to 2004's outstanding Lucky Strike. Morel's credentials are second to none: He's been behind some of the best remixes of the past decade, for the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Le Tigre, New Order and most recently a handful of tracks from Cyndi Lauper's excellent new dance album. His masterful blending of dance and rock have made him one of the most sought-after remixer/producers of our time and The Death of the Paperboy marks his strongest album of original material yet.It's been four long years since Morel's last solo album, the dark and brooding Lucky Strike, which became my soundtrack for that fall and will always remind me of moving to the Upper East Side. In 2006, he and Bob Mould released Blowoff, a dance-rock gem that didn't leave the player of my rental car for the week I was spending in San Francisco that fall for Folsom Street Fair. A friend of mine commented, "This music is always going to smell like leather to you from now on." Funny how that works. Similarly, I took my advance copy of Paperboy to Berlin last month and I suppose the songs on it will always smell like schnitzel. And leather. You know what I mean.
On the double-disc Paperboy, Morel musically separates his trademark mix of dance and rock. Disc one is pop-rock song oriented, while on disc two (dubbed "Disc-O." Get it?), Morel lets his dancefloor inclinations shine with amped-up, discofied versions of what's on disc one.
The separation of musical styles is intriguing indeed. Stripped of beats and effects, Morel's songcraft really stands out. On Anymore, Anymore he sings, "We can go for a walk/ And talk about the things that bring you down/ Like heaven and martinis/ And boys that hang around." Morel sings about modern life from a gay man's perspective, without for a second being camp or ironic. His plaintive voice is a bit of a sexy growl, but a captivating, meditative one at that. He's got the shoegazer part right.
As noted in the review above, The Death Of The Paperboy is two discs, the second of which contains remixes of the first and a fantastic cover of David Bowie's Sweet Thing. It also features my favorite song of 2008, Shoegazer Disco, a lovely, haunted, wistful bit of dance gloriousness that Lady iTunes tells me I've already played 81 times.
There’s a moment when everything changes.
A split second from which point everything that follows
Is forever different from what came just an instant before
Sometimes it’s a phone call
Sometimes it’s a handshake
Sometimes it’s a look in your best friend's eyes
You never expect it
You never forget the moment
When for the first time you realize that you can’t go back
The Death Of The Paperboy is now available on CD and at iTunes. You can stream tracks from album here. (Start with Shoegazer Disco!) Blowoff returns to NYC this Sunday for a special Columbus Day Weekend party at Chelsea's Highline Ballroom. Advance tickets are strongly recommended as the joint is usually at capacity by midnight.
Enter to win your copy of Rich Morel's The Death Of The Paperboy by commenting on this post. Only enter once and please remember to leave an email address you check frequently. Entries close at midnight on Wednesday. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.
Uganda Promises Gay Crackdown
The menace of homosexuality is apparently getting out of control in Uganda.
The Ugandan government said on Saturday it would strengthen anti-gay laws and step up police operations against homosexuals amid concern about the "mushrooming" number of gays and lesbians in the East African nation.Getting our own house in order will only be the beginning.
"The state of moral health in our nation is challenging and we are concerned about the mushrooming of lesbianism and homosexuality," Ethics and Integrity Minister James Buturo told a news conference. "Ten years ago, this phenomena was not there, but the disease has penetrated everywhere," he added.
Same-sex intercourse and marriage is illegal in Uganda. The official sentence is life imprisonment, but there is no record of anyone being convicted in Ugandan courts. Buturo said that the law would be changed to increase the number of prosecutions. Gays, who are believed to number in the tens of thousands, remain underground in Uganda as a result of the stringent laws.
Today's Freeper Prayer
The Freeper Prayer for Oct. 5th: "Lord, we thank You for answered prayers for Sarah Palin and we now humbly ask You to bless John McCain with a spirit of great courage and fill him with a holy fire to speak boldly in defense of what is right and in defense of America. Protect John McCain, Father, and give him great favor with the people and let them see a strong leader who will serve America and her people with wisdom and stand against the evil that wants to destroy America. Let him speak the truth about Obama and not hold back. Fill John McCain and all of us with a mighty warrior’s spirit to fight the socialist evil that wants to destroy America. Lord, give us all a desire to do Your will. please bless all the prayer warriors who are praying. we humbly ask all these things and thank You in Jesus’ Holy Name....amen."
And here I always read that Jeebus was a socialist.
Those scandalous Saudi women, daring to show BOTH eyes!
A Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has called on women to wear a full veil, or niqab, that reveals only one eye. Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan said showing both eyes encouraged women to use eye make-up to look seductive. The question of how much of her face a woman should cover is a controversial topic in many Muslim societies. The niqab is more common in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, but women in much of the Muslim Middle East wear a headscarf which covers only their hair. Sheikh Habadan, an ultra-conservative cleric who is said to have wide influence among religious Saudis, was answering questions on the Muslim satellite channel al-Majd.(Via - By The Bayou)
Matthew Shepard: Ten Years Later
It was ten years ago today that gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and left to die. Ten years and Wyoming still does not have a hate crimes law. This morning Matthew's mother Judy Shepard appeared on CBS News to discuss the continuing battle.
(Via - Towleroad)
Dave & Lonnie Talk About Gay Marriage
On The Bradley Effect
Bouncing around the Free Republic posts in their 2008 Polls folder, I've found that their forum commenters react to Obama's increasing lead in the polls with three different talking points.
1. All polls are skewed to favor Obama. McCain is really leading but pollsters are "in the tank" for Obama. They are either tweaking their data or only polling people and areas where they know Obama would lead.
2. McCain is getting what he deserves for not being a true conservative and for not getting "down in the gutter" with Obama. This group usually uses "Hussein" to refer to Obama and is more likely to repeat the "Marxist, Muslim, closeted homo" trio of descriptors.
3. The polls are real but we have nothing to worry about thanks to the Bradley Effect.
That last one is the one is the one that actually worries me. In case you're unaware, the Bradley Effect is used to describe the phenomenon of voters telling pollsters that they will support the black candidate but then vote for the white opponent. It's named after California gubernatorial candidate Tom Bradley, who in 1982 led polls before the election and even led in the exit polls, prompting the SF Chronicle to publish its Deweyesque headline Bradley Win Projected. White candidate George Deukmejian was the actual winner.
As Obama's lead has stretched in recent weeks, virtually all op-ed writers in the country have discussed the Bradley Effect. Google shows hundreds of Bradley Effect articles in the last month alone. Some say that polling in 1982 was not the exact science it is today. Some dismiss the phenomenon as a relic of racist America that has greatly dissipated since the Bradley election. But others say that in our increasingly PC times, even more voters are inclined to tell a pollster they'll support a black candidate when they actually have no such intent. I fear the last to be true.
Get Off My Lawn
When this "late night movie" graphic was flashed around 11:30PM last night, I was reminded of how adult I felt as a teenager if I was still awake when the post-Tonight Show programming began. The late show graphics usually included a crescent moon, or an owl, or an empty bed - all designed to say "You should be sleeping, you freak." Then after the (always terrible) movie, the test pattern. Haven't seen one of those in a couple of decades. Is it weird to fondly recall the test pattern? Shut up.
Chaplain Of London Stock Exchange:
Tattoo Sodomy Warnings On Gay Men
Rev. Peter Mullen, the chaplain of London's stock exchange, says that gay men should have warnings about the danger of sodomy tattooed on their bodies, much like the warnings on cigarettes.
Mullen, 66, wrote on his blog: "It is time that religious believers began to recommend ... discouragements of homosexual practices after the style of warnings on cigarette packets. "Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS."The head of UK gay rights group Stonewall has called for Mullen's resignation, saying, "If I was a member of the Stock Exchange I would be wondering whether he is the right person to be chaplain in the opening years of the 21st century. We have talked to one or two gay people in the City and they would be perfectly happy if he were to go."
In a statement issued to the Evening Standard, a spokesman for the Bishop of London said: "While clergy are entitled to their own personal views, we recognise that the content of this text is highly offensive and is in no way reflective of the views of the Diocese of London." A source at the Diocese said the chaplain may now face a disciplinary inquiry over his comments. The source said: "These comments are now being looked at internally within the Diocese and he faces disciplinary procedures."
Mullen now claims that he was joking and gives the usual "some of my best friends" disclaimer, but at the same time rails against militant homosexuality.
Butching Up The Cat
According to the New York Times, more and more hetero men are embracing cat ownership, upending the public's perception that cats are for women and gay men.
[A] growing number of single — and yes, heterosexual — men who seem to be coming out of the cat closet and unabashedly embracing their feline side. To that end, they are posting photographs and videos of their little buddies on YouTube and on Web sites like menandcats.com, and Twittering about them to anyone who will listen.Writer John Slalzi says the sissification of the cat began in '70s Hollywood when gay characters began to appear.
Indeed, it seems that man’s best friend is no longer a golden retriever, but a cuddly cat named Fluffy. This movement, such as it is, is in direct contrast to the most notable in the recent spate of reports about the relationship between a man and a cat, which were far darker; they focused on a young actor who was recently on trial in New York City for killing his girlfriend’s cat — he said it attacked him — only to have a jury decide after several days that it could not reach a verdict. If it had been a little less violent, that case might have been more in line with what the world seems to expect of men and cats.
Mr. Scalzi, who is now married and has a daughter, blames Hollywood for the continual bad rap that has befallen the male cat owner. Originally, he said, only strong men like Don Corleone, or the villains in a James Bond film, had cats. “But then in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, Hollywood decided that we need to have the token gay man as the witty sidekick friend of the main female protagonist,” he said. “ ‘What kind of signature thing can we give him to convey that he is not an entirely masculine being? I know! We’ll give him a big fluffy cat!’ ”Scalzi makes the argument that insecure men gravitate towards dogs because they are more subservient. That's an interesting theory. I think there might be a corollary regarding gay men who use big aggressive dogs as a masculinity amplifier.
Term Limits Repeal Backlash
While a small majority of New Yorkers support the idea of a third mayoral term for Michael Bloomberg, a near equal number, 58%, don't want the same deal for city council members. That may present a challenge to Bloomberg if those who want the issue put to a ballot measure get their way. It would be the third time Gothamites have voted on term limits. Rep. Anthony Weiner, a 2009 mayoral hopeful, is vigorously pushing for a referendum.
Contrary to previous reports, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says the term limit repeal would be permanent, not one-time, if done by the city council. That act would surely be challenged in court. If it does come to a vote, rather than by a legislative act of the council as Bloomberg wants, the result will likely depend on the state of the economy by then. Bloomberg continues to enjoy a sky-high approval rating; it's currently at 75%.
Cold Stone Creamery Founders Donate Against Gay Marriage in Arizona
JMG reader ChrisB in Phoenix tips us to the news that Cold Stone Creamery founders Donald and Susan Sutherland (no relation to the famous acting family) have donated $10,000 to Arizona's anti-gay marriage Proposition 102. You can find the Sutherland's donation on Page 16 of this Prop 102 donors PDF. The Tempe-based upscale ice cream chain has over 1000 locations nationwide and in 2007 merged with the Kahala Corporation, which has over a dozen fast food chains under its umbrella.
It's unclear whether the Sutherlands still profit from Cold Stone. Can anybody clarify this?
RELATED: Earlier this year William Bolthouse, founder of the Bolthouse Farms juice empire, donated $100K to support Prop 8 in California, prompting a nationwide boycott. Bolthouse officials claimed that the company had no business relationship with its founder's political advocacy foundation. It was later revealed that the Bolthouse Foundation is chiefly underwritten with profits from Bolthouse Farms and that the foundation also gives money to the Evangelical Christian Alliance Defense Fund. Recently the CEO of Bolthouse Farms made a token donation to fight Proposition 8, presumably to stem the calls for a boycott.
Over on Slate, grammarian Kitty Burns Florey attempts to diagram this Palin gem: "I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people."
I didn't stop to marvel at the mad thrusting of that pet political watchword "families" into the text. I just rolled up my sleeves and attempted to bring order out of the chaos. I had to give up. This sentence is not for diagramming lightweights. If there's anyone out there who can kick this sucker into line, I'd be delighted to hear from you. To me, it's not English—it's a collection of words strung together to elicit a reaction, floating ands and prepositional phrases ("with that vote of the American people") be damned. It requires not a diagram but a selection of push buttons.
Orlando Gives Domestic Partner Benefits
Nice news from my hometown*:
Orlando is expected to become the first Central Florida city to offer benefits to the partners of gay employees. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the employees will have to sign an affidavit declaring they are in a committed relationship. Orlando city commissioners are expected to approve the plan on Monday. There are currently 18 Orlando city employees who would benefit from the measure, which would cost the city about $37,000. Although Orlando may be the first city in Central Florida to adopt the policy, the city is not the first in Florida. "It's going to be a good thing. It shows we're progressive. It will help us attract good people. Benefits are an important package if you're going to work for government, and this will help us compete with other government agencies," Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said. The domestic-partner benefits will apply only to same-sex couples because unmarried heterosexual couples have the option to get married, Dyer said.*Is your hometown where you born, where you were "raised", or where you presently live? I think I refer to Orlando as my hometown because it's where I went to high school and college and where I lived the longest.
-Newport, NC: 11 years
-Orlando: 15 years
-Fort Lauderdale: 8 years
-San Francisco: 6 years
-New York City: 7 years
It doesn't feel like I've earned the right to call NYC my hometown yet, although I did score 80% on the How NYC Are You? thingy. Anyway, yay Orlando.
Queen Latifah Still Won't Say It
“I don’t have a problem discussing the topic of somebody being gay, but I do have a problem discussing my personal life. You don’t get that part of me. Sorry. We’re not discussing it in our meetings, we’re not discussing it at Cover Girl. They don’t get it, nobody gets that. I don’t feel like I need to share my personal life, and I don’t care if people think I’m gay or not. Assume whatever you want. You do it anyway.” - Queen Latifah, speaking to New York Times Magazine in one of the most fawning profiles I've ever read.
I've been a fan of Queen Latifah for many years, ever since Come Into My House in 1990. Even my rap-loathing mother likes her (but probably mostly because they went both went to Newark's Irvington High School). But I wish Latifah would drop the Luther Vandross routine and just say it. Yes, a closeted but otherwise gay-friendly star has the right to choose the time of their coming out. But in situations where it's such common knowledge, something about refusing to acknowledge it just feels....wrong. It's so Anderson Cooperish.
Gallup: Last Six Months
Note that Obama was down by 6 points just four weeks ago, versus up by 7 today. Things could easily swing back the other way. One month is forever in election time. The latest result comes from polling done Oct. 2-4 and presumably includes post-veep debate reaction.
Fundie Leader Complains About Mark Buse AND Sarah Palin
While the economy mess has made the MSM too busy to pay much notice to the revelation that John McCain has a gay chief of staff, notorious homophobe Bishop Harry Jackson has taken interest. Jackson is the pastor of Hope Christian Church in Maryland and is on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals. Jackson on the Mark Buse revelation:
"The pro-gay, anti-church groups see themselves in a death-lock in a war -- and they hope to create a sense of disunity among Christians around [the question] 'can we really trust McCain?'" According to Jackson, the announced "outing" of Buse is a calculated political move. "I think this attack has come at this moment because of the issues of marriage amendments in these states and the issue of a pro-family agenda," the pastor suggests. "And I wish [McCain] was more engaged positively, because he's getting the negative attack no matter what."On Friday Jackson appeared on Michelangelo Signorile's show on Sirius XM to complain that the Buse revelation should have McCain more forcefully defending "traditional" marriage so people don't think he's soft on gay issues. (Who could think THAT?) But Jackson also admitted that the right is fighting a losing battle, at least on civil unions.
"My concern about John McCain stepping up and being articulate about the marriage amendments is more about protecting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman as cultural guardrails...The reason I say I will work with civil unions, etc. -- that may not have been my original position, but I think it's a reality. We have had laws in New Jersey, all over the country. The reality is gay civil unions are going to be the law of the land all over the country...You may call it movement [on my part.] I call myself a realist...I think this would be a split issue [on the Christian right], a lot of people would disagree with me. But I think we're embroiled in a battle that's unfolding."Jackson then complains that Sarah Palin was "wishy-washy" on gay marriage during her debate.
"A lot of folks were upset that she didn't say there is a marriage amendment on the ballot in Florida, California and Arizona...She missed an opportunity to say 'I'm for marriage'...She could have defined that thing clearly and she would have a lot more people enthusiastic about her campaign. There have been people [grumbling]...I do think she seemed a little wishy-washy and unclear on the marriage issue. She left making it sound like she and Mccain and Biden and Obama were exactly the same and they're not."Whee! In-fighting amongst the fundies! Listen to Jackson's interview on Signorile's site.
McCain's "Dangerous" Ad
59% Would Boot Entire Congress
From the Rasmussen Reports:
Congress was front and center in the national news last week and the American people were far from impressed. If they could vote to keep or replace the entire Congress, 59% of voters would like to throw them all out and start over again. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 17% would vote to keep the current legislators in office. Today, just 23% have even a little confidence in the ability of Congress to deal with the nation’s economic problems and only 24% believe most Members of Congress understand legislation before they vote on it.Some historical context, also from the above:
When the Constitution was written, the nation’s founders expected that there would be a 50% turnover in the House of Representatives every election cycle. That was the experience they witnessed in state legislatures at the time (and most of the state legislatures offered just one-year terms). For well over 100 years after the Constitution was adopted, the turnover averaged in the 50% range as expected.
In the twentieth century, turnover began to decline. As power and prestige flowed to Washington during the New Deal era, fewer and fewer Members of Congress wanted to leave. In 1968, Congressional turnover fell to single digits for the first time ever and it has remained very low ever since.
The Real Joe Six-Pack
Fresno, CA: Catholic Priest Comes Out In Sermon About Proposition 8
Yesterday Father Geoffrey Farrow, a Catholic priest for the last 23 years, shocked his Fresno parishioners and likely ended his career when he defied his diocese and gave a sermon against Proposition 8.
After 23 years as an ordained Catholic Priest, Father Geoffrey Farrow has likely given his final mass. Sunday morning he invited us to hear his message, a message that shocked many parishioners. 11 o'clock mass began as usual Sunday. Father Geoff led parishioners through prayer and communion. The homily taught of acceptance, love and rejection. But it was his closing remarks that left some parishioners stunned.JMG reader Jeff, a friend of Father Geoff, tipped us to this story. I will follow up with whatever repercussions may follow.
"What most Catholics hear about being gay or lesbian at their parish is silence, Fr. Geoff says after numerous inquiries from parishioners asking for direction on Proposition 8, if passed would ban gay marriage, the Father said he must go against the Bishops recommendation and instead go with what he feels is right.
"In directing the faithful to vote yes on proposition 8, the California Bishops are not only entering the political arena, they are ignoring the advances and insights of neurology, psychology and the very statements by the church itself that homosexual is innate," says Fr. Geoff.
The priest acknowledges his controversial comments will have consequences. "I know that these words of truth will cost me dearly. But to withhold them would be far more costly and I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian couples, not only of their civil rights but of their human dignity as well."
We sat down with Father Geoff before mass, and he answered the question many are probably wondering... Is he gay? "It's a secondary issue. But yes, I am. And when I was a boy I asked God please make me normal and the prayer never got answered and I realized why. Because God would've made somebody else he wouldn't have made me." Sunday mass ended with about half the congregation giving a standing ovation. Outside parishioners had mixed reaction about the priest's remarks.
The Gay Virginity Auction
Real or hoax? This weekend Gawker reported that a 27 year old newly out-of-work Wall Streeter was offering up his "gay virginity" to the highest bidder. The guy says he looks like Adam Brody of tv's The O.C.
What I am explictly offering as part of this auction is the following - I will wear the same suit that I wore at my job interview at my ex-firm. I will meet the winner in a 100% LEGAL setting such as either at a licensed brothel in Nevada or Rhode Island, and I will spend some time having a drink with them, hanging out with them, laughing, breaking the ice, and so on. Afterwards, I will deliver what I would consider to be the ideal blowjob / handjob combination until the winner has an orgasm or 30 minutes passes whichever comes first. Sorry but no anal activity of any kind is part of this offer!Rhode Island has legal brothels? Who knew? Bidding apparently got up to $21K, but today the guy's website says the following:
The auction is annulled and canceled. No bids have been or will be accepted. A very amazing person has taken pity on me and offered me a real job in my chosen line of work. The fact that someone came forward to help me amidst all the hatred has completely changed the way I look at people. Sorry to sound cheesy, and I know that everyone will take great delight in mocking me, but you need to understand that I'm in somewhat of an emotional state right now -- the last 48 hours have been the most intense experience of my life and have taught me a tremendous amount.I recommend you read the original post and the comments on the controversially named Blogni**er, where the author posted the auction with a warning of serious physical harm should the story prove to be a hoax. Some damn funny stuff there.
The thousands of pieces of hatemail I received, while extremely painful for me to read (and I read every single one) had a profound effect on me. I ask that you respect my privacy. I choose to remain anonymous, my new employer (and this is the condition of my employment) chooses to remain anonymous.
Once I settle down a bit, I'll be writing an essay on this experience - no not a book deal (there were 2 offers) or anything for money -- just an essay and publishing it for free with the greatest blogger on the globe, Blogni**er. BN, thanks for the favor - I owe you one. BN community - thanks to you as well. You're harsh but loving in the end, and I appreciate what you did for me as well. Bye.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Biking The Bronx
Yesterday Dr. Jeff, Ned, Craig and I did another seven hour marathon on our bikes, this time exploring the mostly scary, but lotsa pretty Bronx. We started by taking the 6 train to its terminus at Pelham Bay Park, then biked out to City Island, which is a lovely New England-style fishing village in Long Island Sound. City Island is tiny, but filled with picturesque seafood shacks, antique shops, marinas, and yacht clubs.
After City Island we rode through miles of public housing projects, where residents eyed us suspiciously (four white guys with short hair) as probable cops. Outside the Castle Hill Houses, three young men tipped their ballcaps at us. "Hello officers." We went along the waterfront where the Throgsneck and Whitestone bridges are, then looped around the Hunts Points industrial area across from the massive prison complex of Rikers Island, where the security guard at a giant produce warehouse pointed out the Barge, a mainland correction facility "where they keep all the snitches." Then we visited Barretto Bay Park and gazed out at North Brother Island, where they used to keep Typhoid Mary. The famous 1904 General Slocum incident, the worst public disaster in NYC before 9/11, happened right off Baretto Bay Park. On the way back, we came across the below burgundy van. If you're an Ohio tourist and are missing your vehicle, we know where it is.
The ride was 22.5 miles (not including the subway portion) and coming back over the Triborough Bridge, I really didn't think I was gonna make it home. Oy. But it was a beautiful day and we discovered some quite lovely aspects of the Bronx. I know that Queens is the most ethnically diverse borough of NYC, but the Bronx gets the prize for most diverse landscape. We saw everything from miles of hardscrabble residential areas to desolate warehouse districts to horse stables to perfectly manicured surburbia. And we only really saw the waterfront areas. Lots more photos here.
With Queen Latifah As Gwen Ifill
Friday, October 03, 2008
House Approves Bailout 263-171
And Bush has already signed. Democrats: Yes - 172, No - 63. Republicans: Yes - 91, No -108.
The House of Representatives gave final approval on Friday to the $700 billion bailout for the financial system, reversing course to authorize what may be the most expensive government intervention in history. At 1:21 p.m., applause and cheers echoed through the House chamber as the number of “aye” votes crossed the threshold needed for passage with just seconds remaining in the official 15-minute voting period. The vote was 263 to 171.The stock market is still -144, two hours after the vote.
And in a sign of the urgency surrounding the package, Congressional staff rushed the newly printed legislation into a news conference where Democratic leaders gathered after the vote and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, signed it, at exactly 2 p.m.
Within an hour, the legislation had been conveyed to the White House and signed by President Bush. Standing in the Rose Garden shortly before signing the document, the president thanked Congressional leaders of both parties by name and said they had achieved something “essential to helping America’s economy weather the financial crisis.”
Help Gay Arizona Fight Hate
Via Box Turtle Bulletin:
Remember the state that became the first in the nation to defeat a so-called “marriage amendment” in 2006? Arizona desperately needs your help today in 2008:Go to Box Turtle Bulletin for their excellent ongoing coverage of the marriage battle in Arizona. And go here or click the above graphic to donate to No On Proposition 102. As Box Turtle notes, a donation of a mere $102 will pay for two drive time radio commercials.
Supporters of a measure that would change Arizona’s constitution to ban gay marriage have raised $6.9 million, 17 times more than opponents have raised, according to figures released Thursday.
Arizona became the first state in the nation to defeat the so-called marriage amendment in 2006. Today, our opponents are furious that they lost, and they are pouring millions of dollars into the state to upset the will of the voters. They threatened and coerced the legislature to put this on the ballot because they didn’t want to spend the money to mount a petition campaign. In other words, there has not been a single Arizona voter who signed on to have this put on the ballot. The legislatures actions amounted to a several hundred thousand dollar gift to put this on the ballot for free.
On the positive side, I firmly believe that Arizona is about to lose its distinction of being the only state to turn back one of these amendments — because this year California and Florida will have their own victories to add to the tally. And that will be reason for a huge celebration next month.
However, if things don’t change soon, then Arizona will lose something else: our historic 2006 victory. And if that happens, then the victories in Florida and California won’t be secure. If Arizona loses in 2008 what we won in 2006, our opponents will learn a very important lesson. If they don’t like the answer they got this year, all they have to do is come back again in a couple of years, spend millions of more dollars, and wear us down until they finally get what they want.
No Fault Divorce
Banksy On Wall Street
Full VP Debate Clip
Barney Frank & Bill O'Reilly Go To War
Mark Buse Worked For Freddie Mac
I totally missed it when I was looking at the list of his lobbying clients, but the Washington Post and others are reporting that openly gay McCain chief of staff Mark Buse once worked for Freddie Mac as a lobbyist.
When mortgage giant Freddie Mac feared several years ago that Sen. John McCain was too outspoken on the issue of executive pay, it pinpointed a lobbyist known for his closeness to McCain and hired him to work with the senator.I could kick myself for missing Freddie Mac on that list.
Mark Buse, a longtime McCain adviser who had been staff director of the Senate commerce committee, signed on as a Freddie Mac lobbyist, and his firm, ML Strategies, earned $460,000 in lobbying fees in late 2003 and 2004, according to lobbying disclosures. Buse is now chief of staff at McCain's Senate office.
Buse was one of many strategic hires made by Freddie Mac in its efforts to sew up support and manage opponents on Capitol Hill, a push that peaked in 2004 with the retention of 34 outside lobbying firms. Over the past decade, Freddie spent more than $95 million on lobbying, while its sister company, Fannie Mae, spent more than $79 million.
The story of how Buse came to get involved is emblematic of the interconnections among Fannie, Freddie and the lawmakers whose support was critical for their business.
McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said the hiring of Buse did not influence McCain. "I think the reality is that John McCain takes positions, you know, based on what he believes is in the public interest, period," Rogers said. "If these folks thought they were getting something out of John McCain . . . it's not based in fact."
Buse was providing Freddie Mac "with advice on how to deal with issues of concern to them, you know, both in the commerce committee and in the Senate at large," Rogers said. Through the McCain spokesman, Buse declined to comment.
Freddie Mac's interest in Buse dates back to mid-2003. That May, McCain presided over a hearing on executive pay at which he condemned "a disconnect between CEO pay and performance at many of America's corporations" and said that "these kinds of excesses are making a lot of Americans angry."
"Senator McCain was talking about limiting executive compensation, and Buse was retained to nip that in the bud," said a former lobbyist who insisted on anonymity because of continuing relationships with the companies.
The commerce committee, which McCain chaired, considered taking up legislation to address Fannie and Freddie in 2003 but refrained from doing so because it lacked jurisdiction, Rogers said.
McCain continued to talk about the compensation issue. But inside Freddie Mac, Buse's effort was viewed as "hugely successful," a former Freddie Mac lobbyist said. "The statements didn't go away completely, but in terms of Senator McCain doing anything about it, it just never materialized. As far as I know, Buse was the only person working that issue for Fannie or Freddie, so he got a lot of credit internally for the results."
As a Freddie Mac lobbyist, Buse participated in a meeting on executive compensation with aides to members of the commerce committee, said sources informed about the matter who insisted on anonymity to avoid professional repercussions. Freddie Mac spokeswoman Sharon McHale said she was unable to get any information on Buse's relationship with the company.
McCain campaign spokesman Rogers said Buse "met with, obviously, a variety of staff." He said Buse never spoke with McCain about Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or executive compensation.
McCain co-sponsored a bill to overhaul regulation of Fannie and Freddie in September 2003 and again in 2006. "He helped sound the alarm on the risk that Fannie and Freddie posed to the taxpayers unless they were reformed," Rogers said. McCain also advocated requiring companies to count stock option awards as expenses, a move opposed by many corporations because it could depress their earnings and make options less plentiful.
The lobbying reports filed by Buse's firm say his work for Freddie Mac involved "general issues affecting the mortgage industry." The forms listed four other ML Strategies employees as lobbyists for Freddie Mac, but a spokeswoman for the firm, Gina P. Addis, referred questions about their work to Buse.
Buse was nicknamed "The Ferret" because he helped his boss, McCain, find pork-barrel provisions buried in legislation. McCain has said he considered Buse to be like a son.
Buse left the commerce committee staff to lobby, signing on clients as diverse as oil giant Exxon Mobil, Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, according to the government records. He also represented telecommunications clients affected by the committee.
Buse returned to McCain's office this year as chief of staff. Davis, the McCain campaign manager, last week defended his long association with the Homeownership Alliance, saying he served as "the public face of an organization that promoted homeownership." But people who worked for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Homeownership Alliance said the group's central mission was promoting Fannie and Freddie.
Intrepid Returns To Manhattan
After a two year refurbishment, the aircraft carrier Intrepid is back at its dock on the West Side.
I'm losing all track of time in my dotage. If you had asked me yesterday when they towed out the Intrepid, I'd have said "six months ago."
The U.S.S. Intrepid made it back up the Hudson to Pier 86 on the West Side today. The aircraft carrier underwent a $120 million refurbishing over the past two years and is headed back to serve as the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum.
A little history from its press materials: "One of the most distinguished war ships in naval history, the USS Intrepid was first launched in 1943 during World War II, then aided in NASA spacecraft recovery and later served in Vietnam. In 1976, the USS Intrepid was decommissioned and established as a museum ship by Zachary Fisher and the Intrepid Museum Foundation. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum officially opened in New York City in 1982." The museum will be back open on November 8.
(Via - Gothamist)
Anti-Gay Books Battle In Virginia
It's Banned Books Week at the nation's libraries and Christianists in Virginia are using the opportunity to get anti-gay and "ex-gay" books into schools.
During a week that librarians nationwide are highlighting banned books, conservative Christian students and parents showcased their own collection outside a Fairfax County high school yesterday -- a collection they say was banned by the librarians themselves.Fairfax County librarians says the books do not "support the diverse interests, needs and viewpoints of the school community," as per library inclusion policy.
More than 40 students, many wearing black T-shirts stamped with the words "Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas," said they tried to donate more than 100 books about homosexuality to more than a dozen high school libraries in the past year. The initiative, organized by Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, was intended to add a conservative Christian perspective to shelves that the students said are stocked with "pro-gay" books.
Most of the books were turned down after school librarians said they did not meet school system standards. Titles include "Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting" and "Someone I Love Is Gay," which argues that homosexuality is not "a hopeless condition."
"We put ourselves out there . . . and got rejected," said Elizabeth Bognanno, 17, a senior at West Springfield High School, standing before a semicircle of television cameras outside her school. "Censoring books is not a good thing. . . . We believe our personal rights have been violated."
The History Channel has launched the MTA's first-ever "full body wrap" ad campaign on the exterior of a subway train.
So what is not for sale to advertisers in the subway system these days? The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has unveiled, for the first time, an advertisement that would cover an entire subway train, every single car, inside and out.Turnstyles? Where does it end? I have always enjoyed the full interior wraps of the S train in the past as they were rare enough to be surprising.
The campaign, for the History Channel’s series “Cities of the Underworld,” will run the month of October. The “full body wrap” will be done on one of the shuttle trains that run between Grand Central and Times Square. In addition, narrow advertising stripes, about two feet high, will run the length of subway cars on the No. 1, 3, 4 and 7 lines for the History Channel series.
Vinyl advertisements have blanketed the inside of subway cars before, starting in 2005 with HBO’s “Deadwood” series. Since then, the shuttle riders have been immersed in messages from The New York Times, Cottonelle and the Bronx Zoo, among others. The vinyl, which costs about $75,000 per car, requires a little heat and small rollers to apply. And vinyl technology has been used on city buses since 1992.
These are is just part of the aggressive advertising technologies that transportation authority officials said they were experimenting with this month. Stairs can be sold as advertising space (as they already have been in the Grand Central end of the shuttle). Turnstiles will also be wrapped with ads. (Turnstiles? Well, in the past they’ve already tried selling columns to advertisers.)
Even the tunnels are not sacrosanct. Video advertisements in tunnels, as currently appear in Boston and London, are also expected to be installed in the early part on 2009 in the shuttle line. Riders will be able to view a full motion video through the windows of the car as the train moves.
And in areas where there is high traffic but little advertising space (like the No. 1, 2 and 3 platforms in Times Square)? No matter, the transportation authority is looking into projection technology.