CNN Cuts Off Rush Limbaugh In The Middle Of An Apparent Gay Slur
In the middle of Rush Limbaugh's speech at CPAC today, CNN suddenly "lost" the signal just as Limbaugh launched into what seems to have been a Barney Frank impression. Did CNN just happen to have a malfunction at that moment? Whatever Limbaugh said, the knuckle-draggers at CPAC were in full "USA! USA!" mode when the signal was restored a moment later.
It's kind of fascinating that Utah turns out to be the highest per capita consumer of online porn, innit? A Harvard Business School study has compared two years of online porn purchases with the zip codes attached to the purchasers' credit cards.
"When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different," says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School. However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds. "Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by," Edelman says. The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. Number 10 on the list was West Virginia at 2.94 subscriptions per 1000, while number 41, Michigan, averaged 2.32. Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.
I found this bit of the story the most interesting:
Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage. To get a better handle on other associations between social attitudes and pornography consumption, Edelman melded his data with a previous study on public attitudes toward religion. States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement "I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage," bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behaviour."
"Girl, you are wearing that drag!" said Miss Patti Labelle to one of an endless stream of stagefront admirers at Thursday's over the top concert of the reunited Labelle at the Beacon Theater in NYC. Aaron and I had great seats just a few rows behind none other than Ashford and Simpson themselves. Fancy! The audience mostly comprised keening gay men in their late 40's and 50's and dressed-to-the-nines African American glitterati. Mink coats and hats abounded - including on one nonagenarian in a wheelchair (plus a mink hat.) Rough Gods photographer Michael Alago was seated next to me, drag impresario Joey Arias was a few rows away (and was called out from the stage by Patti.) And there was a posse of JMG readers in the house - hello to Ralph, Alberto, and Wilson. Swag tickets winner Mark and his hubby were down front.
The show was, as you might expect, a two hour love fest that began moments after Labelle was introduced by Joy Behar. Kicking off with Miss Otis Regrets [video below], the ladies rollicked through most of their new album Back To Now and tore up their classic Can I Speak To Before You Go To Hollywood? As is tradition, they brought up three volunteers from the audience to share vocal duties on Lady Marmalade. However, unlike their show at last fall's Out 100 Awards, there was no Wilson Cruz in the house for a proper battle this time.
As noted by the title of this post, Patti was nonstop with gay references and lingo, she clearly knows who's kept her in the limelight all these years. She even asked one well-aged gentleman if he recalled having seen the ladies perform with Bette Midler at the Continental Baths. Throughout the show, verklempt gay men streamed to the lip of the stage to present flowers and gifts. No opening act, no intermission, just three divas in their mid-60's whom you can easily see going on for another 20 years - especially when the cat-like Nona Hendryx pounced to the top of the drum kit to keep the beat with her feet.
Almost outshining Labelle was the fabulously remodeled Beacon Theater, which has to be seen to be believed. After a $16M facelift, the venue reopened two weeks ago to agog reviews from both music fans and design critics. While the ladies of Labelle and the Beacon may be in their dotage, all are extremely well preserved.
As you've probably noticed, we've installed a new commenting system here on JMG. A host of new features await you. You can vote comments up or down or you can mark then as "offensive." If ten or more of your fellow commenters find your message to be assholish, it will be collapsed. (Just like on YouTube.) Speaking of YouTube, you can embed clips into your comment, as well as photos. You can register as a JS-Kit commenter, use your old Haloscan handle, or be anonymous. Responses to previous comments are now nested within the original comment. Comments will be threaded at the bottom of the post for a few days, but we'll go back up to a pop up box after that. Unless you folks prefer the in-post style. Let me know.
UPDATE: Create your own JMG profile! Add your personal photo and links to your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, etc.
Nation's #1 Anti-Gay Hater James Dobson Steps Down At Focus On The Family
James Dobson, one of the architects of a rabidly anti-gay national evangelical movement, has resigned as chairman of Focus On The Family, which he founded thirty years ago to further Christianist moral crusades in pursuit of an American theocracy. But don't get too excited - Dobson is merely stepping down so that somebody younger can reinvigorate the hate.
Dobson, 72, will continue to host Focus on the Family's flagship radio program, write a monthly newsletter and speak out on moral issues, Daly said. Dobson's resignation as board chairman "lessens his administrative burden" and is the latest step in a succession plan, the group said. Dobson began relinquishing control six years ago by stepping down as president and CEO. "One of the common errors of founder-presidents is to hold to the reins of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority," Dobson said in a statement. "... Though letting go is difficult after three decades of intensive labor, it is the wise thing to do." While Focus on the Family emphasizes that it devotes most of its resources to offering parenting and marriage advice, it is best known for promoting conservative moral stands in politics.
With an annual budget of $128M, Focus On The Family devotes a large portion of its activity to funding anti-gay ballot initiatives and challenging legally mandated LGBT rights in court. The group deliberately bleeds funds from LGBT groups forced to defend legal challenges. Don't expect Dobson's stepping down as chairman to have the slightest change in their evil doings.
One day after local TV stations played toll booth surveillance video showing him laughing and joking minutes after committing a brutal anti-gay murder, Keith Phoenix has been arrested for the killing of Ecuadorean immigrant Jose Sucuzhanay. Phoenix's accomplice was captured and confessed on Wednesday. Sucuzhanay was beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat after being mistaken for gay because he was arm in arm with his brother.
Irish carrier Ryanair, Europe's largest budget airline, might start charging passengers for using the toilet while flying, chief executive Michael O'Leary said on Friday. "One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that people might actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future," he told BBC television. He said this would not inconvenience passengers travelling without cash. "I don't think there is anybody in history that has got on board a Ryanair aircraft with less than a pound."
Obama Nationality Myth Continues To Fester Across Wingnutosphere
Three months after the election and the wingnuts still are still devoting jillions of pixels to the "Obama is not a U.S. citizen" bunk. At the moment, no less than seven stories on WingNutDaily's front page are about lawsuits, recall petitions, "proof" of forged birth certificates, etc etc. Yesterday one of the chief architects of this ninnery, Peter Berg, went on Michael Wiener/Savage's radio show to demand that the president be deported as an illegal alien. Seriously. And at CPAC yesterday, Accuracy In Media (BWAH HA HA) spokesdouche Cliff Kincaid brought the subject up to loud cheers.
Dan Savage asks: "Um, is it just me... or are they trying to get the man shot? Sure seems that way."
Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver: Gay Marriage Will Lead To A Nation Of Violent Criminals
Liberty Counsel radio host Mat Staver spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday to warn everybody that the kids of married gay parents will grow up to be serial killers. Or something. Apparently, having no father figure around the home is a guaranteed express ticket to the big house. Hmm, what if you have two father figures at home, Mat?
ZOMG!1!! Federal Imprisonment For Christians Is Right Around The Corner!
According to the title of the latest missive from the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, if a federal hate crimes bill passes, "Federal Imprisonment For Christians Is Right Around The Corner."
Why should you be fuming and taking action before you even finish reading this? Because these two bills that are going to be sent to President Barack Obama's desk will silence Christians from speaking against homosexuality or teaching our children that it is wrong. You would quite literally be committing a Federal crime and convicted. If these bills get passed, not only will Christians be silenced -- but, the government is scheduled to swoop in with $10 Million dollars to drive a stake right into the heart of Christians by making sure your children hear and are taught everything against Judeo-Christian beliefs.
The two bills that I am talking about are the David Ray Ritcheson Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 262) coupled with the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 256). These two bills were just introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee and are expected to be signed by President Barack Obama who has supported this legislation at the state level in the past. These two bills CANNOT get to President Obama's desk! No way Christians! You must act now if you want to continue practicing your Christian faith and teaching it to your children. Sign the petition against Hate Crimes Legislation!
The original David Ray Act Of 2007 was sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee and preceded the Matthew Shepard Act, but was never approved. The Matthew Shepard Act passed both chambers of Congress later that year, but Duyba threatened to veto it when it was attached to a military appropriations bill. The act was then removed from the bill by Democratic leadership.
I'm not sure why Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee has submitted this bill under the old name. Can somebody clarify that? As far as I know, the plan is to resubmit the Matthew Shepard Act in the current session. And as you probably know, the Matthew Shepard Act contains specific provisions protecting freedom of speech.
For the third year in a row, the New Mexico Senate has rejected a domestic partners bill.
The New Mexico Senate just voted down a bill that would have recognized domestic partnerships by a 25-17 vote. Ten Democrats joined the body’s 15 Republicans in voting against the bill, which would have given many of the same benefits enjoyed by married couples to couples who don’t currently have the right, or the desire, to marry.
Some senators and domestic-partnership advocates said Thursday's lopsided defeated of a bill to establish domestic partnerships in New Mexico was due to the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had been neutral on the issue in previous years, coming out against the bill this time.[snip] Linda Siegle, lobbyist for Equality New Mexico, a gay and lesbian rights organization, said after the vote that the opposition of the bishops could have been a major factor in the loss of support. Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa, agreed. He listed several Democratic senators he thought had been greatly influenced by the bishops' stance including himself. Cisneros on Thursday initially voted for the bill. However before the final vote was announced, Cisneros asked Lt. Gov. Diane Denish to change his vote to "no."
The Conference of Catholic Bishops was apparently originally willing to support the bill as long they were satisfied that it could never lead to full marriage equality in New Mexico. Gov. Bill Richardson had promised to sign the bill into law immediately.
I don't usually do "news of the weird" type posts, but this one from New Hampshire amused me.
A Hazmat call to a Manchester Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was determined to have been sparked by a hoax call, police said. Firefighters were called to the restaurant on Hooksett Road because employees reported eye and skin irritation from a fire extinguisher. When emergency crews arrived, they found three employees disrobed outside of the building. The employees told police that the restaurant got a call from someone claiming to be from corporate headquarters who asked them to test their fire suppression system. When they did and reported that they had chemicals from the extinguisher on their clothes, the caller told them they needed to take their clothes off. The workers said they became suspicious when the caller then told them to urinate on each other.
"It's The Stupidest Tea Party I Was Ever At In My Life!" Said Alice
Wingnuts around the nation will gather today for symbolic "Boston tea parties" to protest the banking bailout and Obama's stimulus plan. Protesters will appear at various city landmarks and waterfronts around the nation to lower a ceremonial teabag into the ceremonial mouth of the government. Except in Iowa, where the state says you need an environmental impact study before you can dump anything in the Cedar River. :::shakes fist with impotent rage at fascist overlords:::
Virgin Megastore has announced that it will close its San Francisco location at the end of April. NYC's Times Square store closes then too, with the Union Square store following at the end of May. That leaves the chain with three remaining locations: Denver, Orlando, and Hollywood. However an industry insider tells me today that those three stores will shutter in May as well. Virgin just isn't saying so yet because they are trying to negotiate an exit with their landlords. Sad, sad, sad.
Residents of Washington DC will at last have representation in Congress. Probably.
By a vote of 61-37, the Senate passed a bill providing full voting representation for the nation’s capital in the House of Representatives, nearly ensuring that the measure will become law this time around. While advocates were declaring victory already, a court fight almost definitely looms over the constitutionality of giving the District of Columbia voting privileges in the House that are akin to those of the 50 states. The measure, if it became law, would increase the size of the House of Representatives to 437 from 435, adding not only a seat from the District of Columbia but also one from Utah. The Western seat was added in a compromise deal a few years back, to help attract Republican support and because officials contended that the state was deprived of an additional congressional district through an undercount in the 2000 Census. (Also Utah’s Republican lean would also help balance out the normally Democratic tilt of the district.)
The House is expected to approve their version of the bill, as they have done before. President Obama is expected to sign on. But there will still likely be a court battle because the Constitution limits representation in Congress to states only. Getting the required 38 of the states to approve an amendment specifically allowing an additional district for DC would prove quite cumbersome, if it could be done at all. Opponents have suggested giving DC back to Maryland or just allowing residents to vote for Maryland's congressional candidates. Arlington and part of Alexandria were given back to Virginia in 1846, which is why DC no longer has its nifty original square shape. We are the only democracy in the world in which residents of the capital city cannot vote on representation in the legislature.
Yesterday San Francisco's CBS station ran a piece about how blogs are killing newspapers, using the example of how many blogs used the SF Chronicle's story about legalizing marijuana as a source. Amusingly, the reporter used this here website thingy as one his examples, inserting his face into my facehole on this blog. Can't embed it, go look here. I guess he's making fun of me, but it's all good.
UPDATE: JMG reader Jon has put the story on YouTube. Thanks Jon!
The NYT City Room blog reports that RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Ongina has hand-delivered a $25,000 donation from the MAC Cosmetics AIDS Fund to NYC's Hetrick-Martin High school, which serves LGBT students who've had difficulty in regular public schools.
The school is noted for being a space where students do not have to conform, where girls can declare their orientation by wearing butch hip-hop baggy wear and boys come to school in wigs, dresses, high heels and makeup. But budget cuts, as with many nonprofit groups across the country, has strained the host institution. Hetrick-Martin, which provides many services to the school, recently let go 20 percent of its staff in December because of a drop in private and government funds in its $5 million budget. At the same time, the institute has seen a surge in demand for its services for gay youth, such as hot meals and homeless support, since the summer. “Young people are coming to us to seek out those services,” said Thomas Krever, the executive director of the institute. “Our numbers are growing.”
To help with the gap, the MAC AIDS Fund, a foundation arm of the makeup company, donated $25,000 to cover operational costs. “The funding is to support our relationship with the school,” Mr. Krever said. To make that gift, a 27-year-old drag queen who started his career in New York City visited Harvey Milk School on Wednesday. Ryan Ong Palao, who revealed that he was H.I.V. positive on television, is a contestant in the RuPaul Drag Race. He started suffering harassment when he first became more flamboyant after coming out in high school in a small town in Washington State. He would have appreciated a “school that provided me as much of an education as a comfort zone.” His drag identity is Ongina, a play off his middle name.
Good work and great PR for the show. In case I haven't made it clear by now, Ongina is my favorite to win.
Sigh. I thought we're supposed to be all post-ironic and shit now that it's Obama time. Anyway, go sign up here if you want to take part in the NYC Snuggie Pub Crawl. Benefits an orphanage. In Tanzania. For realz.
Jeffrey S. Crowley, MPH, has been named Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, the White House announced today. Crowley is currently Senior Research Scholar at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. “Jeffrey Crowley brings the experience and expertise that will help our nation address the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis and help my administration develop policies that will serve Americans with disabilities,” said President Obama. Crowley has served as Deputy Executive Director at the National Association of People with AIDS. He earned his Master of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. The LGBT community’s Presidential Appointments Project recommended Crowley for the appointment.
In January, Obama picked openly gay John Berry to head the Office of Personnel Management.
In another dramatic reversal of the previous administration's policy, the Pentagon has announced it will now all allow video and photo coverage of the return of dead U.S. soldiers to American soil.
At his daily briefing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "The president asked that the secretary of defense review our policy toward media and photos at Dover air base for victims returning of -- from Iraq and Afghanistan. And what the...president supports is a policy consistent with that that we have at Arlington cemetery, which allows at the families position for that to be open, which allows them to make that decision and protect their privacy if that's what they wish to do." President Obama said earlier this month he was reconsidering the policy, which was put in place during the 1991 Persian Gulf war and covers the solemn transfer of flag-draped caskets at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the first US stop on the journey to the final resting place for the military personnel. Press groups pushed for the change, but the American Legion and other military groups opposed lifting the ban.
It will now be up to the families of the killed soldiers whether to allow press coverage of the return of their loved ones' bodies. To my mind, this change will only speed the end of the war.
Colorado State Sen. Dave Schultheis: No HIV Screening For Slutty Moms
Yesterday Colorado state Sen. Dave Schultheis voted against a bill paying for the HIV screening of pregnant women because only sluts get AIDS.
Democrats were outraged Wednesday morning when Republican state Sen. Dave Schultheis said he planned to vote against a bill to require HIV tests for pregnant women because the disease “stems from sexual promiscuity” and he didn’t think the Legislature should “remove the negative consequences that take place from poor behavior and unacceptable behavior.” The Colorado Springs lawmaker then proceeded to cast the lone vote against SB 179, which passed 32-1 and moves on to the House.
When stunned journalists asked Schultheis to clarify his statement, he went even further:
“What I’m hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that,” he said. “The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior.”
Get that? He HOPES that a baby gets AIDS "seriously" so that his whore mother will feel guilty for being such a slut.
Just to recap the week in the Colorado state Senate: Gays are like murderers and should be put to death. And women who contract HIV are filthy whores who deserve babies with AIDS.
Yesterday a coalition of Maine innkeepers lobbied the state capital in support of that state's pending marriage equality bill.
[Innkeeper Jim] Davitt, 67, said Tuesday he supports the bill for business and personal reasons. “We get people from all over the world staying here — straight and gay,” he said. “We’ve had gay and straight guests here at the same time, and no one seemed to care. Passing the bill would be good for us and good for Maine.” Davitt, a retired attorney, and his wife, Mary Lou Davitt, have run the farm on the Hudson Road for 19 years. Five years ago, they opened the bed and breakfast with four rooms that can accommodate up to eight people. The Davitts also have a daughter who is a lesbian, another reason the couple supports efforts to allow same-sex marriage in Maine. “I’ve been following the issue for a long time,” Jim Davitt said. “It strikes me if I remain true to my calling as an attorney and practice what I preach, I’ve got to stand up and make my voice count.”
The money angle of marriage equality is bound to be more and more important these days, particularly for states like Maine who depend on tourism so much.
Kenneth The Page Responds To Bobby Jindal's Response To Obama
Bobby Jindal's much lampooned response to Barack Obama's speech has been compared to Jack McBrayer's Kenneth The Page character on NBC's 30 Rock. Last night on Jimmy Fallon's new show, McBrayer responded to the response as Kenneth. (You'll have to sit through a commercial first. Annoying.)
Eight More Blocks Of Broadway To Become Vehicle-Free
Mayor Bloomberg is expanding his program of making Manhattan more pedestrian-friendly by closing eight more blocks of Broadway to vehicular traffic. Gothamist reports:
Coming soon to Times Square and Herald Square: Vehicle-free Broadway! Starting on Memorial Day, two stretches of Broadway, from 42nd to 47th streets and from 32nd to 35th streets, will transformed into pedestrian plazas in an experiment that will last through the end of the year and may become permanent, the Post reports. Mayor Bloomberg is expected to announce the plan today, and promise that the change will actually improve the overall traffic flow, because Broadway disrupts traffic where it intersects with other streets. As part of the changes, Seventh Avenue will be widened from three to four lanes at 45th Street.
Last year another section of Broadway was turned into a pedestrian arcade with seating and plants. Reaction was fantastic, hence this expansion. The above image is an artist's imagining of the coming change to Herald Square.
Gays References Edited Out Of Oscar Broadcasts For 300 Million Worldwide
Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn's heartfelt Oscar speeches in support of gay rights were cut out of the broadcast by a satellite TV station which beams its signal to 300 million viewers in numerous Asian countries.
The STAR satellite channel, which broadcasts to more than 300 million viewers in 53 countries, also cut the sound when Dustin Lane Black, who wrote the screenplay for Penn's film, Milk, addressed "all the gay and lesbian kids". Milk is the story of Californian gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Both Penn and Black backed gay marriage in their speeches and called for equal rights for homosexuals. Penn opened by calling the audience "commie, homo-loving sons of guns".
Gay Asians voiced their anger at the broadcaster, which censored its evening telecasts of the awards ceremony. "As a gay man, I am truly offended," Pang Khee Teik, a prominent Malaysian arts commentator, wrote in a letter sent out to several media organisations. "Stop censoring the words that describe who I am." Pang said the move "sent a message ... that gays and lesbians are still shameful things to be censored from the public's ears."
Users of Internet forums in Singapore and India also complained about the censored speeches. Jannie Poon, STAR's Hong Kong-based spokeswoman, stressed that the company had no intention of upsetting any viewers, but said it has "a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration."
JMG reader Wayne sends us his video mash-up of NYC's recent Prop 8 protests with a RuPaul track from the upcoming album Champion. According to RuPaul, Let's Turn The Night was written during the Prop 8 protests in West Hollywood. UPDATE: Eric Leven points out that there's a shot of me at the 1:30 mark. I'm in a brown jacket.
Peter Staley at Poz.com dug into the stimulus bill for the NIH and determined that AIDS research funding will likely rise substantially under Barack Obama's plan.
Tucked away in the massive stimulus package signed by President Obama last week is the largest budget increase in the NIH's history. Thanks to Senator Arlen Specter, the budget of the National Institutes of Health will go from $29 billion to $39 billion — a whopping 34 percent increase (see this NYT story for details). I called Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the top federal official responsible for AIDS research, and asked him how much of this increase would go to AIDS. Short answer, we don't know the exact amount at this point, but it should get approximately the same boost as all the other research areas. The current AIDS research budget is $2.9 billion. That could go up by another $1 billion, give or take a couple hundred grand. That's some serious stimulus.
Arrest Made In Anti-Gay Murder Of Jose Sucazhanay, NYPD Gets Confession
Late Wednesday night, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the NYPD has made an arrest in the brutal murder of Ecuadorean immigrant Jose Sucuzhanay (left), who was beaten to death in Brooklyn two months ago when assailants mistook Jose and his brother for gay lovers because they were walking arm in arm. Hakeem Scott, 25, has confessed to the murder, but his accomplice is still at large.
Police are looking for his alleged accomplice, Keith Phoenix [Below right]. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said his detectives were able to make the bust thanks to good old fashioned police work. They tracked a Ford Explorer witnesses at the scene described. Not long after the attack surveillance video from the Triboro Bridge toll plaza showed Phoenix and Scott in an Explorer driving to their homes in the Bronx. Witnesses helped police track down the SUV, and through a prior accident report Phoenix was identified as a suspect and then linked to Scott, Kelly said. The investigation eventually led them to Scott, who has a lengthy rap sheet, including arrests for assault, robbery and weapons possession. Scott was apprehended without incident near his residence on East 161st Street in the Bronx on Tuesday.
As you may recall, I covered this horrible story extensively and attended the memorial march and vigil for Jose in Brooklyn. We should all congratulate the NYPD for their diligent work. And we should also thank the leaders of NYC's LGBT and immigrant activism groups for working together on this case to demand swift justice. Mayor Bloomberg: "In this city there is no such thing as a second-class citizen. There is one and only one standard of justice for all New Yorkers, immigrant and native-born. Anyone who commits a hate crime, we will not rest until we arrest them."
Who would you switch for? When I last asked this question two years ago, I mentioned that I've always had a thing for butch rocker chicks like Joan Jett. I'll update that to include butch-ish cable news anchors.
Spurred by President Obama's stimulus package, today the Oklahoma House passed a bill declaring the state sovereign from any rule of the federal government not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the first shot in a growing national movement intended to give states the power to defy federal laws on a broad range of issues from abortion to gun control to hate crimes.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 1003 Feb. 18 by a wide margin, 83 to 13, resolving, "That the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. "The language of HJR 1003 further serves notice to the federal government "to cease and desist, effectively immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers." The sponsor of the resolution, state Rep. Charles Key, told WND the measure was a 'big step toward addressing the biggest problem we have in this country – the federal government violating the supreme law of the land." "The Constitution either means what it says, or it doesn't mean anything at all," Key said. "The federal government must honor and obey the Constitution, just like the states and this citizens of this country are obligated to do, or our system of government begins to fall apart."
Eight other states have sovereignty bills pending, another twelve have bills on the way. Some legal sources call the bills merely symbolic, saying that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution renders such efforts moot. Others are calling the sovereignty movement the thin wedge of a coming secessionist effort largely driven by disagreements over social policy issues such as gay rights, immigration, and freedom of religion.
Here is the experience of lesbian blogger Keori outside the civil unions debate in the Hawaiian legislature.
You know, it gets really tiresome to be called diseased and a pedophile and a rapist and an abomination and a threat to America three dozen times in one day. It infuriates me to hear that yes, heterosexuals have special rights (at least they admitted it finally!) and that is how it should be because The Big Book of Bronze Age Fairy Tales says so. To hear little old ladies screaming that they would rather see their grandchildren commit suicide than "be part of that disgusting, filthy, evil lifestyle", isn't even remotely amusing anymore.
Even better is to, due to the concussion headache beginning to blind me, forget to take off my little green and gold "equality" sticker on the way out of the building, and be followed to the bus stop by a bunch of red shirts with signs. Three 6'5", 200 pound Islander guys with signs saying "Gay marriage is wrong" and "John 3:16" followed the lone little white girl with her laptop case across the street, yelling at me, "Repent!", calling me a bitch and a whore, telling me, "You just need a real man to fuck you straight." Nothing I haven't heard before.
Then one of them said, "We know who you are now, and what you drive. We saw you last Thursday. You better watch yourself, fucking haole bitch." Not one of the 20 people standing around the bus stop said anything to them. I got on the first bus that came along, got off three stops down the street, and caught my right bus a few minutes later. I rode home all alone, with my headphones on, praying no one bothered me. I don't want to ever hear another fake apology from these people saying that they don't actually hate queers, they're just "protecting traditional marriage". It's just the latest lie in their christian hate grab bag.
Keori's live blog of yesterday's floor debate is up at Pam's House Blend. You go, brave Keori! (And remember, folks. We're the violent scary people.)
Nanaimo students will wear pink today, along with tens of thousands of British Columbians, to show they will not tolerate bullying. As part of a provincewide campaign, Wednesday has been recognized as a day to don pink to deliver the anti-bullying message. The protest started after an incident at a Nova Scotia school in September 2007, when a Grade 9 high school boy was harassed, called a homosexual and threatened after wearing a pink polo shirt on his first day of classes. A pair of fellow students heard the story and launched a "sea of pink" campaign online. Since then dozens of schools across the country have worn pink to take a stand against bullying. Several schools in Nanaimo will participate in the campaign, including Dover Bay Secondary, which has provided 1,000 pink shirts for its students.
According to the Freepers, Canada is a fag country: "There are the descendants of Vietnam war draft dodgers, who, through excessive dope smoking and excessive tofu munching, gave birth to generation of fags. They were probably still born normal, except they were genetically "weak", and because of nanny state, whiney, "it's ok for little boys to play with dolls and dress up in mommys clothes" and forced tofu meat free diet kind of parenting, turned their offspring into fags."
Two key organizers of the Yes On 8 campaign, Frank Schubert and Jeff Flint, have written a fascinating assessment of the Proposition 8 battle. Here's just a snippet of their Politics Magazine piece.
Our strategy had anticipated that the No on 8 campaign would label as “shameful lies” any claim that gay marriage had anything to do with schools, so we went to great lengths to document our ads. We were prepared to play this scenario out to the ﬁnish, trading our ads of what happened in Massachusetts, with the No side’s ads saying it wouldn’t happen in California. But then we got the break of the election. In what may prove to be the most ill-considered publicity stunt ever mounted in an initiative campaign, a public school in San Francisco took a class of ﬁrst graders to City Hall to witness the wedding of their lesbian teacher. And they brought along the media.
Now we not only had an example of something that had happened in California (as opposed to might happen), we had video footage to prove it. Within 24 hours of the No side airing their best ad, the one featuring O’Connell claiming that Prop 8 had nothing to do with schools, we were on statewide TV showing bewildered six-year-olds at a lesbian wedding courtesy of their local public school.
There were multiple skirmishes in the press over the education issue during the ﬁnal days of the campaign. The other side claimed the wedding episode wasn’t really as we described it, while we defended the ad as accurate and highlighted other examples where gays had forced their agenda into the public schools (including an episode in Hayward where a school celebrated “coming out week” while urging kindergartners to sign pledge cards promising to be an ally of gay students). After several days of dueling ads featuring Jack O’Connell and kids at the lesbian wedding, the No side effectively conceded they had lost the education debate.
The minute the story about the first grade class came out, I predicted that the Yes On 8 people would land on it with both feet. And according to them, it handed them the election. Read the entire piece by Schubert and Flint, we could learn a lot from it.
According to this graphic, the current recession is only slightly worse than the '73-'74 event, at least in terms of the value of the stock market. And the Wall Street Journal -owned site MarketWatch says the recession has already bottomed out and recovery is now being seen in 21 leading economic indicator categories.
North Carolina Considering Same-Sex Marriage Ban For 7th Consecutive Year
Same-sex marriage bans have failed in North Carolina's legislature for the last six consecutive years. But the haters refuse to give up and have again proposed a constitutional amendment on the issue. The usual troglodytes have trotted out.
"Moms and dads are not interchangeable," says state Sen. Jim Forrester, R-Gaston County. [Pictured on right] Forrester is the lead sponsor of a proposal that would put this issue on the ballot for North Carolina voters. Advocates from many associations support this idea, including the North Carolina Catholic Diocese. "Throughout the entirety of sacred scripture, marriage is always and only recognized as a union between a man and woman," Bishop Peter Jugis, of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, said. Some say this amendment is not protection, but discrimination and that lawmakers should pass over this proposal once again. "You know that saying what would Jesus do? I think he would be crying right now. I honestly do," Ana McKee, of Durham, said. McKee's son is gay, and she says she doesn't want his rights limited in North Carolina.
Forrester's current bill has 21 co-sponsors including five Democrats.
Another blow to the unregulated supplements industry - the FDA has revealed that dozens of top selling "natural" weight loss supplements are actually full of dangerously high doses of prescription laxatives and diuretics.
The names of the weight-loss supplements say it all: 7 Day Herbal Slim, 2 Day Diet, and even 24 Hours Diet. Those are just three of dozens of different brands touted as all-natural ways to shed pounds, and lose them super fast. But according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nothing could be further from the truth. Many of these "herbal" weight-loss remedies -- 69 at last count -- are tainted with prescription drugs or mixtures of drugs, including laxatives, diuretics, and anti-seizure medications. And that list of 69 products will probably grow in the coming weeks, says FDA spokesperson Rita Chappelle. "Our investigation is ongoing and quite extensive, and more products will be added to the list," she says. Some supplements contain rimonabant, a prescription drug rejected by the FDA for use in the United States due to safety concerns. And others contain sibutramine, a prescription weight-loss drug sold as Meridia in the United Sates. However, the supplements often contain more than one drug, and in doses three to four times what you would get with a doctor's prescription. The supplements' labels don't mention the medications, much less the amount of the drug found in the pill
According to the story, many of these weight-loss supplements are manufactured in China. One of the most popular is StarCaps, which is promoted by Kathie Lee Gifford. StarCaps has been found to contain bumetanide, a dangerously strong prescription diuretic. Last fall the NFL suspended several major players for using bumetanide to mask steroid use. The manufacturer agreed this week to recall StarCaps, but so far only two other makers of the 69 named products have agreed to recalls.
This is actually a giant optical illusion painting by German artist Edgar Mueller, who paints what appears to be a 3D image directly onto a street surface. Drivers and pedestrians swerve to avoid "falling in." More examples of Mueller's work at the link, including a video of how it's done.
I thought President Obama's speech last night was fantastic. Almost as good is Rachel Maddow's take on Bobby Jindal's response and the rudderless GOP. I think Jindal was trying to channel a genial used car salesman or something. Fail.
Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner made national news a couple of years ago when he announced that he was transitioning into a woman. As Christine Daniels, she was feted by transgender rights groups and was profiled in Sports Illustrated. But in a rare, but not unknown move known as "transgender regret", Christine has decided to become Mike once again.
"It's unfortunate and it's relatively uncommon but certainly not unheard of," says Denise Leclair, executive director of the International Foundation for Gender Education, a Waltham, Mass.-based transgender advocacy group. "The simplest way to think about it is being trans is something that never goes away. ... There's just a fairly constant social pressure to just go back. You don't have to be a genius to understand that society doesn't really accept this."
Penner, a 24-year veteran of the newspaper, did not respond to calls and e-mails for comment and has not written about his decision to resume life as a man. The blog and bylines as Christine Daniels have been removed from the newspaper's website. Though there's no data available on how many transgender people abandon their new gender, psychologist Ron Lawrence of the Community Counseling Center in Las Vegas says about 5% of his transgender patients revert. Leclair echoes that estimate.
Noted transgender activist Donna Rose, who also once reverted to a male identity, notes, "The thing that people have to understand is that even though Mike decided to retransition, that doesn't mean he's not trans. It's not like you go all of a sudden, 'Uh, I'm better.' Going back doesn't automatically clear the conundrum that causes you to get there in the first place."
Following up on proposed California bill to legalize marijuana, Nate Silver notes that public opinion is now almost evenly divided on the issue.
We all know that Michael Phelps was on something. But perhaps he was also onto something. Three recent polls show that Americans are more sympathetic to the idea of legalizing marijuana than ever before. The first poll, conducted last week by Rasmussen Reports, has 40 percent of Americans in support of legalizing the drug and 46 percent opposed. The second, conducted in January by CBS News, has 41 percent in favor of legalization and 52 percent against. And a third poll, conducted by Zogby on behalf of the marijuana-rights advocacy group NORML, has 44 percent of Americans in support of legalized pot and 52 percent opposed.
Silver points out that there is no guarantee that support will continue to grow as during the "Just say no" years public sentiment actually turned more against legalization.
With the support of city officials, a Washington DC group is submitting a bid to host the 2014 Gay Games.
“We’re going to submit a great bid,” said Brent Minor, co-chair of the Bid Committee for the Metropolitan Washington Gaymes, the organization coordinating the city’s effort to host the 2014 games. “We are not taking anything for granted.” Vince Micone, president of the Metropolitan Washington Gaymes and the bid committee’s other co-chair, predicted that D.C. would beat Boston, Cleveland and Miami because of its long track record of hosting large athletic and political events, including the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Gay Games officials will start visiting the bidding cities late this summer to evaluate their facilities. Cologne, Germany hosts the games in 2010.
By recently claiming the "the gays" as the ""biggest threat to America", the Senator ignored climate change, economic disparity, racial inequity and xenophobia, and the other big challenges faced by America, Utah, and our cities and towns. All Utahns are invited to come the Capitol on Saturday, February 28th at 1pm to party for truth and justice. The event will be a lively and fun celebration of our diversity and inclusion of all in a fair and just society. The event will be MC’d by Troy Williams of KRCL and there will be great speakers, music, and other fun. Come celebrate with us!!!
Sen. Buttars lost two Senate committee chairmanships within days of his comments and some are also calling for his censure.
On the floor of the State Senate, right-wing Senator Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley) actually referred to gay and lesbian people as an "abomination" and an "offense to God.” It gets worse. Renfroe equated gay and lesbian people with murderers and quoted the Book of Leviticus suggesting that gay people should be put to death. He also said that women were created to be "helpers" for men, quoting the Book of Genesis. Renfroe was referring to Senate Bill 88, a bill that would extend healthcare coverage to the same-sex partners of state employees. SB 88 is about healthcare. It’s about gaining some measure of equality for gay and lesbian state employees. And regardless of how people like James Dobson and Scott Renfroe feel about gay people, their shameless hate-mongering has no place in public debate and we should reject them completely.
Audio of Renfroe's speech is below. Am I hearing something "funny" about his voice?
Saint Etienne's first single, a cover of Neil Young's Only Love Can Break Your Heart, topped the Billboard dance chart for two weeks in late February 1992. The song was Young's first Top 40 hit as a solo artist, reaching #33 in 1970. The vocals on Saint Etienne's version are by Moira Lambert of Faith Over Reason, current lead singer Sarah Cracknell joined the band later. I was fortunate enough to attend one of Saint Etienne's rare U.S. performances in 2006 at NYC's Irving Plaza, my review is here.
CATALOG: While Saint Etienne has long been a gay favorite in the U.S., they have had scant chart success here, only hitting the dance charts with a handful of singles, most notably with 1993's Who Do You Think You Are? (#5) and 2006's Stars Above Us (#6). Only Love Can Break Your Heart was their sole entry on the pop charts, petering out at a miserable #97. However in the UK the band has been tremendously popular, scoring 17 Top 40 pop singles to date. One of their biggest UK hits was my personal favorite Saint Etienne track, 1995's gay nightclub anthem He's On The Phone (#11 UK pop.) If you are a Saint Etienne newbie, I recommend checking out their 1994 album Tiger Bay, which is easily one of my favorite albums of all time. And for fun, check out their cover of Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy, which was done as an AIDS fundraiser for the Terrence Higgins Trust.
TRIVIA:Only Love Can Break Your Heart has been covered by several noted artists such the Mint Juleps, the Corrs (lovely!), Elkie Brooks (in 1978 and kinda disco-y) and Psychic TV. Australian act Damien Leith took his version to #1 there. My favorite cover (aside from Saint Etienne's) is by former House Of Pain lead singer Everlast, which was on the Big Daddy soundtrack.
Miracle Pilot: Airlines Are Putting Profits Ahead Of Safety
Chesley Sullenberger became a hero for the second time today when he testified before Congress and strongly criticized airlines for putting profits ahead of safety.
Sullenberger, a 58-year-old who joined a US Airways predecessor in 1980, told the House aviation subcommittee that his pay has been cut 40 percent in recent years and his pension has been terminated and replaced with a promise "worth pennies on the dollar" from the federally created Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. These cuts followed a wave of airline bankruptcies after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks compounded by the current recession, he said. "The bankruptcies were used by some as a fishing expedition to get what they could not get in normal times," Sullenberger said of the airlines. He said the problems began with the deregulation of the industry in the 1970s.
Sullenberger went to to say that inexperienced pilots willing to stay with the airlines for less money will result in "negative consequences for the flying public." He now works "seven days a week at two jobs just to continue a middle-class lifestyle."
25 gay nerd fellas. 25 gay nerd lasses. Since our first ever speed dating (hetero-style) went so well, as promised, we’re expanding. I’m happy to announce our first gay Nerd Nite speed dating event on THURSDAY March 12, followed by the regular Nerd Nite program which will feature Ben Bartelle of NYU discussing Genetic Engineering in Humans (less creepy than you might think), Mike Liss and Nathan Freitas talking about Messing with the Chinese Government at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and Kerry Donny-Clark talking a whole lot about where cancer comes from. But not in a depressing way.
Judging by buzz around the blogosphere, LOGO seems to have its first bona fide hit in RuPaul's Drag Race. This clip, which is also an elimination spoiler, shows Ongina's tearful revelation of her two years living with HIV, something her family did not previously know about.
Ted Baehr, founder of the Christian movie site MovieGuide, is very unhappy with the results of this year's Oscars. From his guest post on Peter LaBarbera's site titled "Hollywood Denounces God And Applauds Pedophila."
"The Academy Awards showed its support for sexual perversions last night at its annual Oscar ceremony. And, the Academy wrongly painted the Entertainment Industry as a bunch of Commie rats, as it applauded Communist sympathizer Sean Penn’s gleeful greeting after winning an award for portraying an assassinated homosexual leader, “You Commie, homo-loving sons of guns!” The Oscar audience applauded madly when Penn, who won Best Actor for his portrayal of murdered homosexual activist Harvey Milk in the movie MILK, angrily chastised voters in California, including 70% of black voters, for having the gall in last November’s elections to support the real definition of marriage. In a mean-spirited curse, Penn said, “I think it’s a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect on their great shame, and their shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.” [snip]
At the beginning of the show, host Hugh Jackman described the message of MILK as, “It’s okay to be gay.” Of course, Jesus Christ believes otherwise. “Haven’t you read,” he says in Matthew 19:4-6, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So, they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not tear apart.”
The movie industry also gave an Oscar to Kate Winslet for playing an illiterate escaped Nazi war criminal and pedophile who repeatedly seduces a 15-year-old boy. Even though she played a pedophile, Hollywood decided that Kate Winslet finally deserved to get an Oscar for her performance in THE READER. Earlier in the evening, actress Marisa Tomei, who plays a stripper in THE WRESTLER, was applauded for showing that “a stripper doesn’t have to lose her dignity when taking off her clothes.” The attack on biblical values continued as Meryl Streep was praised for portraying a strict Catholic nun who struggles with herself and the fact that modern times are passing her by. Later in the telecast, atheist Bill Maher was given a platform to rail against religion when he said, “Someday we’ll have to confront the notion that our silly gods cost the world too greatly.”
Baehr goes on to produce statistics showing that gay themed movies don't produce hundreds of millions in box office revenues like superhero blockbusters such as Ironman. And therefore, presumably, should not be made.
"The NAACP's mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law," wrote NAACP CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous (pictured) in a letter to legislative leaders. "Our mission statement calls for the 'quality of rights of all persons.' Prop. 8 strips same-sex couples of a fundamental freedom, as defined by the California state supreme court. In so doing, it poses a serious threat to all Americans. Prop. 8 is a discriminatory, unprecedented change to the California constitution that, if allowed to stand, would undermine the very purpose of a constitution and courts -- assuring equal protection and opportunity for all and safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority."
Kind of flies in the face of that "all blacks oppose marriage equality" myth, doesn't it?
GOP Head Michael Steele Calls Civil Unions For Gays "Crazy"
After weathering a storm of criticism for saying that the Republican Party should reach out to gay voters, RNC chairman Michael Steele said yesterday that the GOP would not budge on LGBT rights, calling even the consideration of civil unions "crazy." From a radio interview with Mike Gallagher:
GALLAGHER: Is this a time when Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions. Do you favor civil unions?
STEELE: No, no no. What would we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country? I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, “Oh well, today I feel, you know, loosey-goosey on marriage.” […]
GALLAGHER: So no room even for a conversation about civil unions in your mind?
STEELE: What’s the difference?
Think Progresshas the audio. You may recall my posting of Log Cabin Republicans president Patrick Sammon's enthusiastic endorsement of Steele when he got the job:
Log Cabin Republicans congratulate Michael Steele on his election as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. "Michael Steele is the right man at the right time to lead the GOP," said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. "It's a great day for our Party. Steele is an inclusive leader who will bring a new energy and a new vision to the GOP at a critical time." As RNC Chair, Steele will be the most important person in shaping the Party's future. Steele believes in a big tent GOP. In a media interview during his campaign for RNC Chair, Steele mentioned the importance of reaching out to Log Cabin and other mainstream GOP groups as the Party looks to chart a future course. "Michael Steele understands you win elections by addition, not subtraction," said Sammon. "He understands we must focus on what unites us, not what divides us as Republicans."
After a week of protests and demonstrations, New York Post owner Rupert Murdoch has issued an apology for last week's racist Obama=monkey cartoon.
As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me. Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted. Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you - without a doubt - that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such. We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.
Activists are continuing to call for cartoonist Sean Delonas to be fired.
Colorado Senate Gives Initial OK On Health Benefits For Domestic Partners
Yesterday a bill granting health benefits for the domestic partners of state employees was approved by the Colorado state Senate, although the bill must voted on one more time before it can move to the state House.
The measure (Senate Bill 88) would add domestic partners to the list of dependents eligible for coverage. Same-sex partners who have been in a committed partnership with a state employee for at least a year would qualify as a domestic partner. Sponsor Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, said it was a "fair and equitable" step that would help Colorado compete for employees with businesses and other states that offer such coverage. She also said 17 Colorado counties and cities already offer such benefits. But some Republican senators who opposed the bill said it violates the will of the voters. Two years ago, voters rejected Referendum I, which would have granted domestic partner status to same-sex couples. They also passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, ran down a list of the margins by which Referendum I had failed in several districts. Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, said he opposed the bill because it goes against his religious beliefs. He quoted Bible verses about creation and homosexuality during the debate. "Homosexuality is seen as a violation of this natural created law, and it is an offense to God," he said.
There are only an estimated 79 same-sex partners of state employees who would benefit from the bill.
Last night Little David and I attended Defying Equality, Broadways huge marriage equality fundraiser. I'll post more about the show once the Broadway sites get their coverage up, but a highlight for us was Matt Alber's fantastic performance of his single End Of The World. Alber plays an "impromptu" acoustic set tonight at the Ritz Lounge in Times Square. Highly recommended.