Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ashes, Part 2

Continued from last week's reposting of Ashes, Part 1.

When Gary died, we scattered his ashes into the Gulf Of Mexico off Pass-A-Grill beach. That was the gay section of the beach in St. Petersburg and Gary had stipulated that we release his ashes in that place where he'd spent so many languorous afternoons with his best friends. Then we went to T-dance at the nearby club and got spectacularly drunk on a bar tab that he had pre-paid for us.

When Michael Paul died, his friends scattered his ashes off Haulover Beach, the nude/gay section of the national seashore near North Miami Beach. Then they all got stoned out of their gourds on some killer weed that Michael had been hoarding for the occasion.

When Martin died, his lover Angelo placed his ashes in their prized Baccarat crystal decanter, from which Martin used to serve his famous "Martin-eees". The decanter sat right on their antique serving cart, because as Angelo put it, "More than anything in his life, Martin hated to miss a good party."

Naturally, all these ceremonies made us all contemplate our own disposal. It was a common topic in my circle, sometimes discussed with silliness and frivolity, sometimes with sincerely delivered drunken pledges to honor each other's plans.

For myself, I gave everyone instructions that if I met an untimely demise, I was to have my ashes fired out of the confetti cannon at the Warsaw Ballroom, on a Saturday night, over the packed dance floor, at the precise peak moment of The Communards' cover version of Never Can Say Goodbye. And the crowd would squint and spit out the ashes and say, "Ew, yuck! Tastes like.....Joe!" When the Warsaw fell out of favor, I changed the location to Paragon, then to Amnesia, then to another club, then another, and so on, for several years.

Sometime around 1993, my roommate Jim had his boyfriend Jeff move in with us while they looked for a place of their own. The first time I visited the house that they eventually found was when I arrived for Jeff's memorial about a year later. At the door, I was handed a Florida Lottery scratch-0ff ticket, because Jeff so loved his scratch-offs. Similarly, only Miller Lite in the can was served, along with Skittles and Cool-Ranch Doritos. Jeff's ashes sat on a shelf in Jim's closet, where they still were ten years later when I asked Jim about it.

Ask any gay man over 40 and he'll likely have a couple of ashes stories for you. I suppose the fact that so many gay men are cremated, rather that buried, is a function of several influences. Among them are a lack of interest in religion, a disconnection from biological families, and in the early years, an unwillingness of funeral homes to handle the bodies of AIDS patients. And certainly, the cost of burial was/is a factor, as AIDS impoverishes almost everybody it touches.

I have friends who have the ashes of lovers, the ashes of roommates, and in one case, the ashes of a lover's roommate. These ashes are sometimes prominently displayed in tasteful urns, positioned in places of honor. Sometimes these ashes are quietly stored out of sight in a closet or in a box under a bed, their caretakers unwilling to dispose of them, yet unable to cope with a constant visual reminder.

My friend David F. used to say that gay men tend to create such ceremony over these ashes because it's part of our new and still-evolving unique tribal culture. Some cultures create funeral pyres. Some float their dead down a river. Gay men largely ignore the physical body after death, it seems. I can't remember having been to a viewing or a burial. But we do sometimes turn the ashes into ceremonial props, potent visual effects best used in celebrating love, or so we try to convince ourselves as we force ourselves to forget the suffering and remember the smiling. And sometimes we turned the ashes into potent weapons of dissent, hurling them onto the lawn of the White House.

After David F. died, his lover David R. and group of their friends, myself included, scattered David F.'s ashes from the back of their boat just offshore Miami Beach. We were each given a small portion of the ashes, which were divided into fancy individual fabric bags. It was beautiful, it was heartwrenching, but above all, it was David F. entirely. Martha Stewart had nothing on David F. when it came to fabulous event planning.

One by one, we untied the ribbon around our bag of ashes and said a personal farewell, all as stipulated by David F. As I tossed the contents of my bag into the breeze, I said, "David, even from beyond the grave, you are a drama queen. And I will always love you."

It was one year and one day later when we repeated the ritual for David R.

Originally posted September 2004.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Wyoming: No Prop 8 For Us

Today the Wyoming legislature voted down a public referendum on same-sex marriage.
The Wyoming House has voted down a bill that would have allowed Wyoming voters to decide whether to amend the state constitution to deny state recognition of same-sex marriages. Rep. Owen Petersen, R-Lyman, sponsored House Joint Resolution 17. It failed by a vote of 35-25 after frequently emotional debate that lasted more than an hour on Friday. Supporters say the proposal would allow Wyoming to reconcile conflicting state laws. Wyoming law already specifies that marriages must be between a man and a woman. But the state must also recognize marriages performed in other states, some of which allow same-sex couples. Opponents of the bill say it's an attack on lesbian and gay citizens.
It was a pretty good week for the movement.

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Vermont Marriage Bill Introduced

A marriage equality bill was introduced today in Vermont's House of Representatives, although it may not be voted on during the current session.

A bill that would allow same-sex unio A bill that would allow same-sex unions was introduced in the Legislature, causing a crowd of about several hundred supporters to gather at the Statehouse in celebration. "This really is a great day and a part of moving forward to a time when all Vermont couples will be treated equally under our laws," said a sponsor, Rep. Mark Larson. A similar bill is expected to be introduced later in the state Senate.

The House legislation has 59 sponsors, none of them Republican, though some GOP lawmakers have said they'll vote for the bill, Larson said. "I know that there's broad support in the House," he said. Despite the enthusiasm, it's unclear if the measure will see any action this session, with lawmakers preoccupied with the state's fiscal crisis that has led to voluntary pay cuts, court closings and Gov. Jim Douglas's proposal to lay off more than 600 state workers. "We're still trying to decide whether it's something that we would do this year," said Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith, who supports the bill. Supporters don't expect the debate over gay marriage to be as rancorous as the one over civil unions, which triggered a yearlong battle and the ballot-box defeat of some supportive lawmakers.
Nine years ago Vermont became the first state to offer civil unions.

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The Kids Are Alright

Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas has a Gay and Straight Alliance club and last year elected an openly gay homecoming king. And yesterday, hundreds of its students poured into the streets to counter-protest the Westboro Baptist Church. The school's administration and principal worked with local police and dismissed classes so that these hundreds of beautiful future voters could swarm three corners of the intersection opposite the Phelps' loony outpost on the remaining corner. Know hope.

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The Internet Is Fast

In response to Wednesday's story about the Passion 4 Christ Movement, somebody is already out with these. You can also get one that says "Liberal Masturbator", but sadly there's no "Ex-Ex-Homosexual." Yet.

(Via - Slog)

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Beau Breedlove Talks To CBS

Portland mayor Sam Adams' one-time paramour Beau Breedlove has given his first on-camera interview on the controversy. The state is continuing to consider criminal charges against Adams.

(Via - Towleroad)

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There's a mini-storm of controversy sweeping the gay blogosphere regarding the use of the word "tranny" to describe a broad range of gender nonconforming people - transsexuals, drag queens, cross-dressers, etc. The use of the word is being vigorously objected to by some trans folks and their supporters, but is also strongly defended by some trans people themselves.

GLAAD's media reference guide to defamatory language lists "tranny" as a term to be avoided. Last year GLAAD took Project Runway winner Christian Soriano to task for his catch-phrase "hot tranny mess", leading Soriano to issue an apology of sorts.

The National Gay & Lesbian Journalist Association says it depends on who is saying it.
Tranny: Often a pejorative term for a transgender person, it is now being reclaimed by some transgender people. Caution: still extremely offensive when used as an epithet and should be avoided except in quotes or as someone’s self-identified term.
RuPaul may have kick-started the current flap with this:
"Okay, Let me put on my Judge Judy robe,” RuPaul says. “People really need to get a life. And quit taking every opportunity to be offended by the world. Years ago, political correctness made it unbearable for anyone to have a laugh or be free. You can’t make the whole world ‘baby safe.’ That’s really the uneducated approach to dealing with issues. There are more things to do in this life than to try to correct people with how they should refer to you. That’s your problem. That’s not their problem.

“We are obsessed with trying find areas where we get offended,” RuPaul says. “And people who identify as being victims have a hard time accepting a new identity. They hold their ‘victim identity’ in place. And they continue to look for people or organizations where they can point their finger at and, in essence, confirm their victimhood.”
Pam's House Blend blogger Autumn Sandeen responds with a two-part series on this issue.

Most in the LGBT media understand that reclaiming the term queer doesn't make the terms LGBT and queer interchangeable, yet some LGBT media professionals have begun using tranny and transgender -- and even transsexual -- interchangeably, using the reclaiming justification for their use of the term tranny.

And, just as legacy and new LGBT media publications -- as well as individual new and legacy LGBT media reporters -- are for the most part nuanced in their use of the word queer, they need to be equally nuanced in their use of the word tranny. And, just as legacy and new LGBT media publications -- as well as individual new and legacy LGBT media reporters -- should be held to account for misusing the term queer, they should be held to the same account with they misuse of the term tranny.

I would prefer that LGBT media use alternatives to tranny (for example: transgender people, trans people or transpeople) when describing groups of trans people, but there are times when the term tranny may be the most appropriate term because of the self-identification of an individual or a particular group.

Trans activist Lena Dahlstrom disagrees with RuPaul:
I do agree with RuPaul that one does need to take intent into account. I've got gay friends who've thrown around "tranny" -- but when I've gently mentioned that it's a term that a lot of trans people find problematic when used by people who aren't trans (or friends and allies), guess what, they stopped using it. But no, you had to go pissily justify your right to use the term and accusing people who complain of "Nazi-like" rigidity. That's hardly "coming from a place of love and respect" now is it? The place that comes to mind is: asshat-ism. Because bottom line, if you have to have to ask yourself whether a term you're using is offensive, that's a pretty good clue that it's not a good idea to use it. Words may never hurt me, but they can piss me off -- and I think RuPaul might also have something to say about the folly of getting on the wrong side of an angry drag queen.
I actually agree with RuPaul AND Dalhstrom. I think we look for offense sometimes where none is intended AND I think it doesn't make sense to use a word knowing that somebody else doesn't like it. That said, it seems that "tranny" is inevitably destined to be as defanged as "queer" now is for most people.

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Peter LaBarbera Hates Everybody Equally

Porno Pete LaBarbera is determined that no one in United States be allowed to enjoy sexual freedom. To that end, he's now turned his piggy lust-filled eyes to the straight world's cavalcade of kinkster and swing events, calling on his erect-for-Jeebus followers to deluge an Ohio hotel with complaints about a planned swinger/SM party.

In his latest missive, LaBabera's tongue hangs out as he details all of the various demos and activities slated for this weekend's Winter Wickedness, but he fails to mention the slight detail that this is an event primarily for heterosexuals.
Americans For Truth has confirmed that the Holiday Inn Columbus-Worthington Hotel, at 7007 North High Street in Worthington, Ohio, is hosting a sadomasochistic celebration called (appropriately) “Winter Wickedness” this Friday and Saturday– featuring classes on “gangbang” fantasies and various acts of sadomasochistic perversion and consensual sexualized violence including subjecting fellow participants to hot wax torture, whipping, “cutting” and needles, and being stapled with an electric staple gun.

TAKE ACTION: 1) call the Holiday Inn Columbus-Worthington today at 614-436-0700 and urge them to cancel this event for the sake of decency and public health. Pass this story on to your friends to call; and 2) call Holiday Inn’s corporate offices (the chain is owned by Intercontinental Hotels Group) by going to their website HERE or by calling their guest relations department at 800-621-0555 ext. 1. Tell them that is wrong to profit off of degrading and dangerous perversions that could present a health hazard to hotel workers or other guests.
Earlier this week, the National Coalition For Sexual Freedom called for a counter campaign of support calls to the host hotel:
Please make a phone call now to support the Holiday Inn Worthington, the host hotel for Adventures In Sexuality's (AIS) Winter Wickedness Event taking place February 6-8th. The religious extremist group, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, along with a local religious radio station in the Columbus, Ohio, area are running a smear campaign against this pansexual BDSM event. Peter LaBarbara of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality calls the event "a freakish sadomasochistic perversion-fest" and urges people to call the hotel's corporate headquarters to pressure them into canceling "for the sake of decency and public health."

Bob Burney, a religious extremist Talk Radio DJ, devoted an entire segment of his show slamming Winter Wickedness and attempting to link the event with non-consensual and criminal activities. He urged his listeners to call and mount a campaign against the hotel. (Tuesday, Part 3 starting at 10 min 42sec: ) Click here to listen. It will only take a minute for you to help! It doesn't matter where you live or if you're not going to attend this event. Please call the Intercontinental Hotels Group Corporate Customer service line at 800-621-0555, then press option 1, then option 5, and thank them for not discriminating against groups, and for being willing to face minor adversity for the sake of our freedom. You can also call the Holiday Inn Columbus-Worthington today at 614-436-0700 – they'll be very glad to hear a friendly voice to counter the hatred of the religious extremists.
LaBarbera claims that the hotel has received thousands of complaining calls, probably from people who couldn't get laid with a roll of hundreds and a suite at the Ritz-Carlton. Meanwhile he makes more money, this time by pretending that a straight swinger event is yet another pervy hotbed of dirty homos.

(Photo credit: Michael Petrelis)

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PhoboQuotable - Sally Kern

"I've done a lot of reading on this. I wish I could describe to you their behavior. I will not because I would be redder than this suit. It's their behavior that we oppose. This theme of equality and freedom is the approach that the homosexuals are using today - totally perverting the true intention of what our Constitution meant. ... The homosexuals get it - it's a struggle between our religious freedoms and their right to do what they want to do.

"The solution is another Great Awakening, folks. We need a spiritual revival, and that will only come if God's people, especially you pastors, will stand in your pulpits and vocally preach the word of God and thus declare the Lord this sin, and preach it in love, only then does our nation have a chance of overcoming the scourge of AIDS, HIV and the devastating destruction that the homosexual lifestyle is bringing on your children and our grandchildren." - Oklahoma politician Sally Kern, speaking to the John Birch Society, a conservative wingnut group of conspiracy theorists.

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Tonight: Blowoff At The Highline Ballroom

Bob Mould and Rich Morel's Blowoff party returns to NYC tonight at the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea at 431 W.16th Street. Doors open at 11:30pm. $15 advance, $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available online. Having been to Blowoff parties in four cities now, I can tell you that the NYC parties are the wildest. I have no explanation for this.

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Phelps Suspended By USA Swimming, Loses Cereal Endorsement Deal

And it just gets dumberer.
Michael Phelps was suspended from competition for three months by USA Swimming, the latest fallout from a photo that showed the Olympic great inhaling from a marijuana pipe. The sport's national governing body also cut off its financial support to Phelps for the same three-month period, effective Thursday. "This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero," the Colorado Springs-based federation said in a statement. "Michael has voluntarily accepted this reprimand and has committed to earn back our trust."
Yesterday Kellogg's announced that they will not renew their endorsement deal with Phelps because his behavior "is not consistent with Kellogg's image." Toucan Sam and Dig 'Em are planning a protest.

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Top 25 Hook-Up Sites

A year ago I posted the list of the most popular online "dating" sites as measured by an outfit called Online Personals Watch. Below is their most recent ranking, listed by number of visits, not membership. On the homo hook-up tip, was #11 last year, now it's dropped entirely off the chart. Manhunt moved up a notch to #7 and Adam4Adam jumped up two rungs to #5. The traditional marriage redefining Ashley Madison site for cheating heteros makes its debut at #20. I have no idea what any of this means. Note the absence of Craigslist's popular hook-up service, which probably can't be measured.

1 Singlesnet
2 PlentyofFish
3 Match
4 Yahoo Personals
5 Adam4Adam
8 eHarmony
9 Blackpeoplemeet
11 Onlinebootycall
12 OKCupid
13 Mingle2
14 OutPersonals
17 Mate1
18 SingleParentMeet
19 Love and Seek
20 Ashley Madison
21 Christian Mingle
22 Forums
24 Chemistry
25 Black Singles

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Gay Partners Immigration Act To Be Reintroduced To Congress Next Week

The Uniting American Families Act will be reintroduced to the House next Friday by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). The act would allow the same-sex partners of legal U.S. residents to enjoy the same immigration rights as heterosexual couples. The unfair current law has stranded thousands of gay couples overseas or forced them to separate to their native countries. Please use this contact form created by Immigration Equality to contact your member of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the act with Rep. Nadler.

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Obama's Bitchy Stimulus Speech

Damn, Mr. President. Tell us what you really think. Seriously, this rocks.

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Winter Party 2009: Spend Your Money Where It Does Our Community Good

About twenty years ago, gay pride in major cities and the circuit party scene began to explode from single-day events to a stamina-testing series of parties stretched over long weekends, as glinty-eyed promoters swooped in to take advantage of a captive and restless audience.

While the unprecedented successes of these events offered attendees a long menu of party destinations on each day, attendance often suffered at the very namesake event for which these thousands of revelers had ostensibly traveled. How could you get up for the pride parade when you'd only left the club at 10am? Why would you actually go to the Magic Kingdom during Gay Days and stand in lines for rides when there were half a dozen mammoth pool parties at nearby host hotels? I think I first observed this phenomenon in the late 80's when it became apparent how few attendees of the Hotlanta River Expo actually made it to the banks of the Chattahoochee.

This has always been an annoyance to me, not only for the illogic of flying thousands of miles to not attend the namesake event, but also (and much more importantly), because that title event is often a benefit for a vital LGBT charity which then suffers because outside promoters have descended with big name DJs and performers to siphon away the business. At this month's Winter Party Festival in Miami Beach, the daytime title event on the beach is happily unchallenged, other than by the fatigue of attendees who were out late the night before. Yay!

But the WPF's benefit closing party later that night, which is a huge source of revenue for the organizers, is facing a rival for-profit event with a curious history.

Via Steve Rothaus at the Miami Herald:
Popular DJ Peter Rauhofer enraged local gay activists last fall when he produced a South Beach "Main Event" dance party in direct competition with White Party Week's Noche Blanca AIDS fundraiser. Now, national gay activists are angry with Rauhofer: He is reprising his Main Event party at Mansion on March 1 opposite the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Winter Party Orbit fundraiser at Cameo. "It hurts the community. That's what it comes down to,'' said Chad Richter of Miami Beach, festival chairman of this year's Winter Party. "We have volunteers who are working hard all year long. To have someone who is also gay and is doing a competing event, it's almost hard for a lot of people to believe."
While this practicing of dropping monster unofficial parties into an existing event has gone on for at least two decades, this one really pisses me off even though it doesn't compete with the title event. Peter Rauhofer, who is arguably the most popular DJ in the country, is going up against the fundraiser closing party with a for-profit event that may leech an enormous amount of money away the Winter Party's beneficiary, the Dade Community Foundation's GLBT Community Project Fund.

Last year the Winter Party Festival, which is run by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, contributed $180,000 to the fund, money that went to local LGBT youth services and to SAVE, Miami-Dade County's gay rights group. Even the name of Rauhofer's party, "The Main Event", seem designed to confuse attendees into thinking they are contributing to the cause.

And just to add some alleged shadiness to the Rauhofer story, some are saying that while his event throttled attendance at the AIDS fundraiser for Care Resource last fall during the White Party, he did it with flyers claiming that his event was sanctioned by and would be making a donation to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. From a letter to the South Florida Blade:
Dear Editor,

There was a fundraiser for the Elton John AIDS Foundation during White Party Weekend, at the nightclub Mansion in South Beach. Peter Rauhofer and Tracy Moran were DJs. I heard it was not a fundraiser—they were just using the Elton John AIDS Foundation name to compete with The White Party, a fundraiser for Care Resource. My friends went to the party because they thought it was for charity. Do you have information on this situation?

Editor’s note: It is true Peter Rauhofer planned a party, called “The Main Event,” the same weekend as The White Party. On his MySpace blog, he voiced grievances with Care Resource, but said he was producing the event at Mansion “with no malicious intent.” He also said he would “donate proceeds” to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, in as his party was in competition with another AIDS fundraiser. However, EJAF representatives say they did not agree to participating in this event, and they did not have an agreement on donations from Peter Rauhofer. They would not choose to compete with a fundraising event for a local HIV/AIDS organization such as Care Resource, and they did not authorize the use of their name in advertisements for Rauhofer’s party. Blade staff attempted to contact Rauhofer for a statement, but he did not respond.
If the above is true, I'd say that's fucking unforgivable. And I say that not only as a devoted attendee of the Winter Party Festival and as a friend of many of its tireless volunteers, but as a very longtime fan of Peter Rauhofer himself. I probably own more than a dozen of his CDs and have patronized many of his parties.

So please, if you're traveling to Miami Beach at the end of the month to soak up some well-deserved sun and enjoy the wide variety of events offered by the Winter Party Festival, DO PAY ATTENTION to who is behind that party you are interested in. The official, volunteer-run, 100% benefit event on Sunday night is at Orbit (also known as the Cameo Theater), where world famous DJs Tony Moran and Chus & Ceballos will rock the house from 8pm - 5am. Spend your hard-earned money where it does the community good. That, gentle readers, is the true "main event."

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Please Don't Divorce Us - The Video

Six weeks ago I told you about the Courage Campaign's request for photo submissions to their "Please Don't Divorce Us" project. Here's the lovely video they've created from the photos.

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9th Circuit Court Rules Against DOMA

This is MAJOR, people. Via Jen Nedeau at
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just ordered Federal Health Insurance Benefits for same sex married couples. The case involves Deputy Federal Public Defender Brad Levenson, who married Tony Sears last July 12, and 9th Circuit staff lawyer Karen Golinski, who married Amy Cunninghis last year.

The LA Observer reported today that the ruling by Judge Stephen Reinhardt says the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies benefits to gay federal employees' spouses. The ruling filed under the Order, Employment Dispute Resolution Plan for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says:
"The denial of federal benefits to same-sex spouses cannot be justified simply by a distaste for or disapproval of same-sex marriage or a desire to deprive same-sex spouses benefits available to other spouses in order to discourage exercising a legal right afforded them by the state," Reinhardt wrote in his Feb. 2 order....Both orders are internal employee grievance decisions.

Both found in favor of the gay employees, directing court administrators to give health insurance benefits to their spouses. The orders also represent direct challenges to DOMA, the 1996 act that forbids the federal government from treating same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose.

A lawyer for the staff attorney said this is believed to be the first time federal employees will get benefits covering a same-sex spouse.
[skip] Reinhardt and Kozinski wrote the orders in their roles as hearing officers for some circuit employee disputes."
Stand by for the meltdowns of Christianist and right-wing sites everywhere.

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Silencefiction & Fauxnique - Lipstique

Via SFist:
National treasure Fauxnique and Silencefiction (the swellest chap you'll ever run into at a club) collaborated on this smashing project. "Lipstique," which boasts former Miss Trannyshack Fauxnique listing her favorite lipstick colors backed by an addictive disco beat. But it's so much more than that. Silencefiction's "Lipstique" (Looq Records) is meshed with cameos by Fauxnique, Peaches Christ, Kiddie, Vinsantos, Katya Smirnoff-skyy, and Hoku Mama who give makeup tips while delivering out a fresh perspective on drag. Perfect. "Lipstique" is available on iTunes. Download it. Now.
Fauxnique is the first biological woman to win the Miss Trannyshack pageant. The faux queen phenomenon has always tickled me greatly.

(Tipped by JMG reader Adam)

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TIME Hates Facebook's 25 Things Meme

In another one of those items that Gawker always derides as "trend pieces", TIME Magazine's Claire Suddath takes on the latest Facebook meme, that "25 Things About Me" bit that so many of you have done. And she hates it.
Facebook's "25 Things About Me" meme seems harmless enough; people write 25 facts about themselves and post them on their Facebook pages, just as they do with videos, status updates and photos of last weekend's party. An estimated 5 million of these notes — that's 125 million facts — have appeared on the website within the past week. Assuming it takes someone 10 minutes to come up with their list, this recent bout of viral narcissism has sent roughly 800,000 hours of worktime productivity down the drain.

But it's just so stupid. Most people aren't funny, they aren't insightful, and they share way too much. Facebook is a loose social network; a "friend" on Facebook might translate to someone you'd barely recognize in real life. I don't care that my college roommate's sister is anemic or that my stepcousin's boyfriend gets nervous around old people (apparently he's afraid they're going to die). I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've finally found something more stupid than Twitter.
Back in the early days of this here website thingy, the blogosphere version was "100 Things About Me', which I suppose says something about the limited attention span of Facebookers. Unless it doesn't. Anyway, I was ahead of these abbreviated times because I only posted 50 items. Here's the post if you want to go look at it. (Two of my 50 items are no longer true.)

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NY Man Wins Inheritance Rights To Partner's Estate

In the first case of its kind, a New York judge has ruled that the surviving partner of a gay couple married in Canada has the right to inherit his deceased partner's estate.

Recognizing the validity of a same-sex marriage between New Yorkers contracted in Canada, a Manhattan surrogate has ruled that a man is entitled to inherit the entire estate of his deceased male partner. Surrogate Judge Kristin Booth Glen last week in Matter of the Estate of H. Kenneth Ranftle, 4585-2008, designated J. Craig Leiby as the "surviving spouse and sole distributee" of H. Kenneth Ranftle, who died on Nov. 1, 2008, just five months after the pair married in Quebec.

Her decision comes 4 1/2 months after Queens Surrogate Robert L. Nahman took a more cautious approach in holding that the validity of gay marriage had not been "definitely determined." Nahman ruled that the deceased partner's parents had to be included in probate proceedings. By contrast, Glen determined that Ranftle's three siblings were not entitled to notification of the probate proceedings under Surrogate's Court Procedure Act §1403(1)(a). She cited the Feb. 1, 2008, decision of Martinez v. County of Monroe, 50 AD3d 189, in which the Appellate Division, 4th Department, ordered Monroe County to extend health insurance coverage to the same-sex spouse of a female employee working at a community college.

The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that same-sex marriage is not valid if contracted in New York. But the court in Martinez held that, with a few exceptions, state agencies should recognize marriages solemnized in Canada, Massachusetts and other states where it is legal. Gov. David A. Paterson also has instructed state agencies to recognize such marriages.

IMPORTANT: While the deceased partner's family was supportive of his marriage and did not contest the will, this case sets the precedent in New York state that biological family members may not contest the validity of same-sex marriages in order to gain inheritance rights.

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SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized With Pancreatic Cancer

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in a Manhattan hospital after undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer earlier today.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery Thursday after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the court said. Ginsburg, 75, had the surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She will remain in the hospital for seven to 10 days, said her surgeon, Dr. Murray Brennan, according to a release issued by the court. The court announcement said the cancer is apparently in the early stages.

In 1999, Ginsburg, had surgery for colon cancer and had chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She has been a justice since 1993. The pancreatic cancer was discovered during a routine, annual exam late last month at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. A CAT scan revealed a tumor measuring about 1 centimeter across the center of the pancreas, the court said. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers: Nearly 38,000 cases a year are diagnosed and overall, fewer than 5 percent survive five years.

The reason: Fewer than one in 10 cases are diagnosed at an early stage — like Ginsburg's appears to be — before the cancer has begun spreading through the abdomen and beyond. That's because early pancreatic cancer produces few symptoms other than vague indigestion. Even when caught early, surgery for pancreatic cancer is arduous. Doctors typically remove parts of the pancreas, stomach and intestines. Radiation and chemotherapy are common after surgery. Ginsburg has recently told her former law clerks and others that she had no plans to retire any time soon, although those comments were made before the latest diagnosis.
President Obama may face replacing a SCOTUS judge even sooner than expected. I imagine the next few days will be full of speculation regarding Ginsburg's potential replacement.

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Gay Nazis Are After Maureen Mullarkey!!!

New York artist and art critic Maureen Mullarkey is pissed off about all the negative attention she's getting after the NY Daily News uncovered her $1000 donation to Yes On 8.
Artist Maureen Mullarkey, known in the gay community for paintings depicting drag queens and scenes inspired by gay pride parades, responded to criticism of her donation to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California this week by attacking the intimidation of artists who supported Proposition 8.

Mullarkey said she supported the measure, which passed in November overturning an earlier court ruling legalizing gay marriage in California, because she believes "marriage is the union of husband and wife - a premise so simple, so fundamental that nature and civilization itself both testify to the truth of it." Gay rights groups and Web commentators said Mullarkey was hypocritical to make money off gay people and then donate it to a cause that denying them what they consider a fundamental legal right.

Mullarkey likened the attacks to Nazi "brownshirt tactics." "Artists are not in the habit of imposing ideological conformity on one another or demanding it from others," she said. "Moreover, regard for individual gay persons does not require assent to a politicized assault on bedrock social reality and the common good."
Maureen, you can take your common good and shove it. Good luck getting another show in NYC.

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Etta James Is Pissed

"You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears? Wait a minute, he ain't my president. He might be yours; he ain't my president. But I tell you that woman he had singing for him, singing my song — she's going to get her ass whipped. The great Beyoncé. Like I said, she ain't mine. ... I can't stand Beyoncé. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol' president day, gonna be singing my song that I've been singing forever." - Etta James, complaining about Beyonce performing the James classic At Last at Barack Obama's inaugural ball. Just a few months ago, Etta raved about Beyonce's portrayal of her in Cadillac Records. Meow!

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Proven: New Jersey Smells

Stop the presses! Mayor Bloomberg went live on NYC television today to announce that the source of maple syrup smell that has mystified Manhattanites for the last couple years has been discovered. Via Gothamist's liveblog of the press conference:

Bloomberg, who has not doffed a Sherlock Holmes cap, says that NYC, NY and NJ agencies have been working together to solve the maple syrup smell mystery (he says "maple sugar"). He emphasizes it's not a health hazard. The Mayor is detailing how the OEM put together the data about the ester (aka the smell reaction from the organic compound) from the past few years. He listed the clues:

1) Most complaints came from UWS and Morningside Heights
2) Winds were moving from West to East
3) Winds at the time were also blowing at a specific speed--fast enough to move smells across the river but not fast enough to disperse the smell.
4) OEM compiled list of smelly factories (okay, odor-producing factories)

The smell was tracked to a NJ company called Frutarom, which processes feugreek seeds for food additives. It does not appear that the company is violating any rules or laws. Mayor Bloomberg: "It's just one of the many aromas we're going to have to live with. I can think of a few things worse than maple syrup." He considers the case CLOSED and thinks the hero is 311, due to all the calls to the system querying the smell.

Three government agencies and who knows how many man-hours to prove that New Jersey smells. Like delicious syrup-drenched pancakes, that is. So all you "the gubmint is testing chemical weapons!" conspiracy nuts can rest easy. OR CAN YOU?

(Graphic via Gothamist)

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Daily Grumble

And the coldest NYC winter in five years rolls on. Yeah, yeah, I know it's -22 or +80 where YOU are.

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Tell 3 (About Your Gay Life)

Via the ACLU:
Join the Impact has partnered with other national LGBT groups to develop a web based public education campaign,, to encourage LGBT people and their supporters to have three conversations with friends and family to help build support for LGBT equality. “The passage of Prop 8 in California has motivated LGBT people and their supporters like never before,” said Amy Balliett of Join the Impact, a grass roots organization with more than 15,000 members that has helped to organize massive demonstrations throughout the U.S. since the November elections. “Now that we’ve had some time to get over our anger and sadness, we’re ready to act. And the single most important thing we can do to guarantee we don’t find ourselves on the losing side of another political campaign is to have conversations with our friends and family about what it means to be LGBT.”

Other organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union; Equality California; the Equality Federation; Freedom to Marry; The National Lesbian and Gay Task Force; the National Center for Lesbian Rights; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will be rolling out their own versions of the campaign on their websites. The goal of the campaign is for all LGBT groups and individuals to seize upon the momentum that has been generated since the passage of Proposition 8 in November and work together to tell their stories to build support for all of the issues affecting LGBT people.
As noted above, this will be a huge joint campaign of many LGBT and progressive groups. I recommend you visit the Tell 3 site.

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The WPA On The UES

My congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (whom I adore) is telling her constituents how the Second Avenue subway construction is helping the city economically.
Yesterday, Representative Carolyn Maloney released a report detailing how construction for the Second Avenue Subway, as well as the East Side Access plan, have helped out the economy. According to the findings, the Second Ave Subway has created 16,00 jobs, generated $842 million in wages, and produced $2.87 billion in economic activity, while East Side Access has created 22,000 jobs, generated $1.176 billion in wages, and produced $4 billion in economic activity. And by the end, she said, “The stock market may be slumping, but these two transit megaprojects are delivering a very healthy return on the federal and state investments in them... While these projects won’t cure everything that ails our economy, they are a huge help in getting us back on track.” Last month, NY1 focused on 2nd Avenue businesses that have taken a hit since the dig—Second Avenue Business Association says, "Within the first six months of the construction process commencing, business declined between 15 and 20 percent."
This is probably a good example of what Obama hopes to do with his national infrastructure plans to rebuild the nation's bridges and highways. It's the WPA all over again. On the downside, the sidewalks on my stretch of Second Ave have been sliced to one-third of their former width and three of the twelve storefronts on my block have closed - two restaurants and a bodega. That may or may not be related to the construction, however. On the really downer side, the subway won't be finished until 2017.

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BREAKING: Christianist Website Tells Truth About Gay Parenting

So I was reading this typically OUTRAGED!! story on World Net Daily about the state of California having pitched in for two measly billboards promoting gay adoption....
Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, a California pro-family organization, released a statement saying the state has no business sponsoring the campaign when it has decided to issue taxpayers IOUs in place of their annual returns. "At a time when the state doesn't have enough money to provide hard-working people with their tax refunds, it's a shame that state and county funds are being wasted on this propaganda," he said.
Pretty typical stuff, right? But then near the bottom of the story, I almost fell out of my chair to see that, for ONCE, the site had included some honest-to-gosh true information.
  • A significantly greater proportion of young adult children raised by lesbian mothers than those raised by heterosexual mothers say they have experienced sexual intimacy with a partner of the same sex. They were not, however, statistically more likely to identify themselves as gay or lesbian.
  • Young girls raised by lesbians are more likely to be sexually adventurous and active than their counterparts raised by heterosexual parents. However the sons of lesbians exhibit "an opposite pattern" and are likely to be less adventurous and active than boys raised by heterosexual households.
  • Lesbian mothers reported that their children behave in ways that do not conform to "sex-typed cultural norms." And the sons of lesbians are reportedly less likely to behave in traditionally masculine ways than those raised by heterosexual couples.
Did you see that? Something actually true about gay people has been posted on a Christianist site. Insanity! Gay people really DON'T adopt children to recruit them into our perverted lifestyle.

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Massachusetts Businessman Donates $100M To AIDS Research

A straight married tech exec in MA is giving one of the largest private donations to AIDS research in world history.
A Massachusetts businessman has donated $100 million to fund research into the development of an AIDS vaccine, according to Massachusetts General Hospital, which received the gift. Phillip T. Ragon, provider of the gift, is the chief executive of a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based software company called InterSystems Corp. The money will establish the Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Institute, to be based at MGH.

The gift, which will flow through MGH, will be shared with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. "By providing flexible funding and by connecting science and engineering at MIT and Harvard with the research and clinical resources of MGH, we intend to empower many of the world's best researchers to focus on what they view as the most promising research," Ragon said in a statement.

The institute will bring scientists and clinicians together to better understand how the body fights infections and ultimately to apply that understanding to a broad range of infectious diseases and cancers. It will be lead by Dr. Bruce Walker, an MGH researcher and physician and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The initial work of the institute will focus on identifying the effective immune responses in a small group of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, who are able to keep their virus in check without medications. It will work to design strategies to reproduce those responses.

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In Christ's Name, Stop Being Human!

Direct from the Passion For Christ Movement is this line of T-shirts so you can tell the world you are no longer a dirty homosexual, no longer a depraved compulsive masturbator, and no longer a damned-to-hell out of wedlock fucker. A satisfied P4CM customer raves:
Simply stated.... How might I assist in this mighty endeavor? See, I, myself am an EX-homosexual... Ridiculed, mocked, abandoned, questioned and disrepected, but here.... Standing on the mighty rock which is the word of the Utmost.. calling out, crying out, screaming ou... JESUS, pull this from me. Kill this in me, so that I mght have a new life in you. Bend me, Break me, Mold me, Create me.... Keep me safe in thy shelter O' GOD... I need thee, I plead to the, I call on you in humility, asking that you simply turn your ear and hear.... JESUS, Savior, Master, Redeemed, Creator, I BEG OF THEE... KILL this in me that I might live... And HE did. I am living proof, and I shall scream it from the depths of the valley, to the hight of the clouds... I AM SAVED... I AM FREE... I AM AN EX---- ex- drug abuser-YES, ex-thief-Yes, ex-doer of iniquity-YES, ex-lost,soul Oh YEs, EX-HOMOSEXUAL---YES, YES, YES... and YES!!!
Whew! That last "yes" got me really close. No, no, I kid, I kid. I've stopped masturbating too! In fact, yesterday I stopped TWICE!

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Open Thread Thursday

Inspired by Monday's #1 This Week post, what are your most hated songs? I'll start.

American Pie - Don McLean
We Built This City - Starship
Rhythm Is A Dancer - Snap
Broken Wings - Mr. Mister
Ebony And Ivory - Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder

(And everything ever recorded by Creed and Air Supply.)

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The World's Youngest Transsexual

German pop star Kim Petras has revealed that she underwent gender reassignment surgery late last year at the age of 16, becoming what some are calling the world's youngest transsexual.
In Germany, such operations are not usually allowed until the patient is 18. However Kim managed to convince doctors when she was just 12 that she should have the surgery. By 14 she was officially registered as a girl - and was already famous for her choice. The costs of her procedure were covered by health insurance as her condition was officially diagnosed as an illness.

Last year Kim was signed to Joyce Records and released online her first single 'Last Forever'. It became a YouTube and MySpace hit. In September - just weeks before the cosmetic surgery finalising her transition from a male to a female -she released her first commercially available single 'Fade Away' into the German market.
Below left is an audio clip of Fade Away, which sounds like every other bit of overly vocodered/Britney stuff out there. Below right is Kim's video blog in which she answers viewers' questions. Kim sounds like she's from the valley. The Frankfurt valley maybe, but yeah, totally, fer shure, she's a val.

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Lance Sea Kitten

Okay, PETA, I give. This IS funny.
Not content with the reams of newsprint that have already been dedicated to our Save the Sea Kittens campaign, we're going for a little more face time for our finned friends by asking Lance Bass, the former 'N Sync singer and "Dancing With the Stars" alum, to change his last name from "Bass" to "Sea Kitten." We hope Lance goes for it hook, line, 'N Sync-er. (Badump-bump.)
(Via - Good As You)

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Wyoming's Is Best

Via StrangeMaps, above are the mottos of all states, translated into English where necessary. Embiggen to read the small states or go to the link for a list.
The two-and-a-half score state mottos display a wide variety, of quotations, languages and underlying messages. English is the favourite language, but not even by half: only 24 state mottos are originally in English; Latin, once the language for all solemn occasions (and not just exorcisms), accounts for 20. Two mottos are in native languages, and French, Spanish, Italian and Greek account for one each. The system of checks and balances seems to work for mottos too: if the national motto is overtly religious (In God We Trust), then only six of the state ones refer to God, either directly or obliquely. Most deal with secular rights, and the readiness to defend them. The Bible is tied with Cicero as the source for the most mottos (three), while classical literature has proven a particularly fertile breeding ground for inspirational quotes (mottos originate with Lucretius, Aesop, Virgil, Brutus and Archimedes).
I never knew the New York state motto was "Excelsior". Isn't that what they stuff teddy bears with?

(Tipped by JMG reader Adam)

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Daily Grumble

I can't decide what's more annoying - the ridiculous Extenze commercials or the double-dumbass rubes who think a pill will really make their dicks grow. Never mind the fact that the company knows how dumb their customers are and immediately begins automatically billing their credit cards despite the promise of a 30-day trial period. Apparently the only way out is to cancel your card. They're raking in millions in fraudulent billings and the cable channels just continue to cheerfully run the infomercials. I just want to kill them all.

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HomoQuotable - Aubrey Sarvis

"A story in Sunday's Boston Globe asserts that the Obama Administration is telling the Pentagon and gay rights activists that "it will have to study the implications for national security and enlist more support in Congress" before trying to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The sources cited for this information are "people involved in the discussions" -- in a word, that well known and ever useful reporter's friend 'anonymous.' [snip]

"Let's be clear: a commission or a study group is not about change. That's business as usual. We do not need another report to tell us what we already know and what earlier reports have long since concluded: the sexual orientation of a service member is irrelevant. What is relevant is how well he or she does the job.

"So let's just skip another study. Let the new Administration display the courage of its convictions instead. Let them match their campaign promises with timely action. We'll continue to hold the President's feet to the fire but not in it -- yet. I'm optimistic that Congress and the Administration, without resorting to yet another study, can throw out the single remaining law that permits, indeed demands the firing of someone because of his or her sexual orientation. Despite the fears of some, sexual orientation is not contagious nor is it a choice. Tinky Winky the Teletubby never made anyone gay -- or straight, for that matter. As mounting evidence suggests, we're born that way.

"In this country, we don't fire people because of the genes they're born with. We've come to understand that to protect the rights of the minority is to protect the rights of the majority as well. We're all in this together, folks. Put those outdated fears aside and just do it. Yes, you can. Yes, we can." - Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, writing for the Huffington Post.

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NYT Online May Go Back To Pay-To-Read

The editor of the New York Times says the paper may go back to the paid subscription model for some of its online content, a format the paper abandoned two years ago.
Executive Editor Bill Keller gave no specifics or timetable, and company officials characterized the internal discussions as general and ongoing. In an online question-and-answer exchange with readers this week, Keller said that although advertising generates the bulk of online revenue, "a lively, deadly serious discussion continues within The Times about ways to get consumers to pay for what we make." Possibility include charging for full-access subscriptions, developing a micro-payment model in which readers pay a few pennies each time they click on a page and selling news to be distributed on reading devices, as the Times already does with Inc.'s Kindle.
Under the old system, you couldn't access the NYT archives or read many of their op-ed columns without paying. The Wall Street Journal still works that way.

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Ashley Judd Goes After Sarah Palin

From the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund: "Governor Sarah Palin continues to push extreme methods to kill wolves and bears, seeking to eliminate hundreds of wolves this season through Alaska's aerial wolf killing program. Her state's Board of Game has even approved the killing of young wolf pups in or near their dens, a controversial practice that was illegal until 2008."

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Gay Historian Donn Teal Dies At 76

Noted gay historian and pioneering activist Donn Teal (pictured above in a 1971 photo) has died in NYC at the age of 76. From an obituary written by David Carter:
G. Donn Teal, of 304 West 75th Street, New York, died February 3, 2009 after a long illness. He was 76 years old. Born in Columbus, Ohio, on October 26, 1932, he was one of the founders of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) organization in late 1969. On February 23 of that year, his pro-gay New York Times article, "Why Can't 'We' Love Happily Ever After, Too?" appeared: a protest against the "doomed misfit/sinner" stereotype of American gay men and lesbians in film, on stage, and in literature. The article provoked great response, and was followed on June 1 by "Why Record Homosexual Anguish?", a Times review of A&M Records' original-cast recording of Mart Crowley's play "The Boys in the Band."

More importantly, he wrote the first history of the gay liberation movement, "The Gay Militants" (Stein & Day, 1971; St. Martin's Press, 1995), as well as articles in The Advocate, Ovation, Musical America, and other magazine and newspapers, notably the Village Voice, in which appeared "Straight Father, Gay Son: A Memoir of Reconciliation" on June 26, 1978; the article was later republished under Mr. Teal's nom de plume, Roger Forsythe, in Ralph Keyes' 1992 collection for HarperCollins, Sons on Fathers.

He was the only child of Gerald Donaldson Teal and Helen Pearl Hileman. Sometime after his mother's death in 1944, Mr. Teal went to live with his maternal grandparents, Jesse and Katherine Hileman, and later moved with them to Bradenton, Florida. He graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the Florida State University, Tallahassee, and received a Master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After a few years of teaching high school French in Philadelphia and New York State, he settled in New York City, where he pursued a career in publishing, most notably at Ovation Magazine, where he wrote interviews and reviews, Harry N. Abrams, and Charles Scribner's Sons. Starting in the early 1960s, he made several trips to France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, where he reported on music festivals, and Italy. He eventually became a freelance editor, with clients such as Sarpedon, a publisher of military history books, the Sterling Publishing Company, and Shapolsky.

Mr. Teal will be buried in Columbus, Ohio. A memorial service will be held in New York at a time to be determined. Please do not send flowers; donations may be made in his memory to GMHC.

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HIV Gene Therapy Trial Begins

A minute percentage of the population is naturally immune to HIV due to a mutated gene called CCR5. Just launching is a trial which seeks to immunize against and cure HIV by clipping CCR5 out of the t-cells of infected patients.
Since the discovery that a small portion of people who are exposed to HIV do not get infected, scientists have been working to discover the secret to those people's resistance and how to make others resistant as well. It turns out that most people have a gene called CCR5, which makes them vulnerable to HIV infections. The naturally resistant people have mutant CCR5 genes that inhibit HIV.

Previously, scientists found that by cutting the CCR5 gene out of white blood cells involved in the immune response known as T-cells, they could protect a tube full of human cells from the virus. The gene editing technique relies on proteins called zinc finger nucleases that can delete any gene from a living cell. In theory, zinc finger nucleases could give that immunity to anyone.

The procedure is simple: Take some healthy T-cells out of an HIV patient, clip out their CCR5 genes, grow more of these clipped T-cells in a dish, and then put them back in the patient. "In this first study we will re-infuse approximately 10 billion of these cells back into the participants, and we will see if it is safe and if those cells inhibit HIV replication in vivo," said Tebas. "We know they do in the test tube."
If this works, the technique could both cure HIV in infected patients and provide immunity to the uninfected. The study is being launched only in patients who are resistant to existing HIV medications. It should be noted that even if this technique is completely successful, such a process is out of the reach of the vast majority of people in the world.

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Dept. Of Justice Rehires Attorney Fired Over Lesbian Rumor

More change from the Obama administration. Via Matt Corley at Think Progress:

In October 2006, Leslie Hagen, who was working as the liaison between the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys’ committee on Native American issues, was informed that despite her “outstanding” job performance reviews, her contract would not be renewed. In April 2008, NPR reported that the Justice Department was investigating whether Hagen was fired after a rumor reached former Justice Department official Monica Goodling that she was a lesbian. When the DoJ Inspector General report on Goodling was released in July 2008, it concluded that Goodling was motivated by Hagen’s perceived sexual orientation and “that Goodling’s actions violated Department policy and federal law, and constituted misconduct.” Last night, however, NPR reported the good news that Obama Justice Department has re-hired Hagen for old position:

Last year, the Justice Department posted Hagen’s old job again. The department conducted a national search. Applications came in from around the country. After several rounds of interviews, Hagen eventually won the job. The paperwork makes it official as of Monday, Feb. 2. Hagen now has her old position back, but this time it’s a little different. Her contract no longer comes up for renewal every year. Now, the job is permanent.

NPR’s Ari Shapiro notes that “it is not a perfectly happy ending for Hagen” because “nobody official from the department ever apologized to her for what happened” and she still owes thousands of dollars in attorney fees that the Bush Justice Department refused to pay.

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$500K Salary Cap For Bailout Firms

The Obama administration is planning to impose a $500K annual salary limit for the executives of companies receiving federal bailout money.
Executives would also be prohibited from receiving any bonuses above their base pay, except for normal stock dividends. President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner plan to announce the executive compensation plan on Wednesday morning at the White House. The new rules would be far tougher than any restrictions imposed during the Bush administration, and they could force executives to accept deep reductions in their current pay. They come amid rising public fury about huge pay packages for executives at financial companies being propped up by federal tax dollars. Executives at companies that have already received money from the Treasury Department would not have to make any changes. But analysts and administration officials are bracing for a huge wave of new losses, largely because of the deepening recession, and many companies that have already received federal money may well be coming back.
That's a pretty dramatic pay cut for these guys and I wonder if some of these companies will be able to hold onto their leaders when non-bailed out firms are offering much more.

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Grant Haas On Signorile

Here's the first portion of Grant Haas' appearance on Michelangelo Signorile's show in which he talks about his first meetings with Ted Haggard. A partial transcript:
Immediately Pastor Haggard’s eyes light up and he became very concerned. He insisted that I take his personal cell phone number and give him a call Monday morning so he could take me to lunch and discuss my problems....He began to explain that most men struggle with homosexual desires and began to regurgitate information that would be found in Alfred’s Kinsey’s sexual research reports. He described that some of his staff had strong homosexual desires, some had no homosexual desires, but most fell somewhere in the middle (the Kinsey scale of sexuality)..He began asking me questions about my sexual preferences in the bedroom. Questions about what types of sex I like (example: bondage, toys, groups, bathhouses, top, bottom, versatile, drugs). Ted explained to me that since I preferred to be in a “top” position that it would be easy to become straight because “an asshole is similar to a vagina.”

As things progressed Haggard told him about the "party formula:"

Eventually he started asking me what kinds of things I was into (oral, anal, rimming, bondage, porn, etc.). Then he began to explain a “party formula” to me. He explained that the “party formula” usually involved taking crystal-meth, poppers, Viagra, renting pornography and jerking off alone or with others. He told me that he knew a lot of people who were into this type of activity and found it very enjoyable.

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