Sunday, June 07, 2009

Daily Grumble

New York driver, we SAW you dump your fast food garbage into the middle of I-81 at milepost 213 in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, you thoughtless pig. If our rental had been equipped with a laser-guided missile, the road crews would be picking up your body parts as well as your fucking Arby's trash.

UPDATE: Some wacko "devoted and daily" JMG reader has been sending me increasingly deranged emails, threatening to "make me sorry" for this post. While I'm not all at worried about the legality of posting a photo of a vehicle on an interstate highway (there are several NY-based sites exclusively devoted to posting photos/license plates of drivers committing illegal acts, not to mention numerous Flickr groups), I have blurred the photo so my "devoted" reader gets no satisfaction in contacting the driver, should he figure out how.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Marriage Rally In Rhode Island

Remember the very recent "6 x 12" slogan vowing to bring marriage equality to all of New England by 2012? Well, here we are at "5 x 9"...and folks are now looking to Rhode Island to bring us in three years early.

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HomoQuotable - Chris Crain

"Don't say I didn't warn you. HRC and the Democrats have been promising (with no plan to deliver) passage of a hate crime law and Employment Non-Discrimination Act for more than a decade, including before the 2006 election, and yet we are still expected to be satisfied by these same civil rights crumbs for the entire first year that Democrats are firmly in control of Washington.

"In some ways, delay is somewhat more justifiable on DADT than other gay rights measures, given the implementation steps to be taken in the midst of two foreign wars. But make no mistake: if DADT waits until 2010, then relationship recognition -- whether repeal of DOMA or a federal civil unions law -- won't get touched until after the midterm elections, if then.

"I hope that grassroots activists and gay folks nationwide play Bellini's report again and again, paying special attention to Smith's dissembling and Solmonese's smarmy status-whoring, along with the ridiculous excuse-making by Tammy Baldwin. Come on, Congresswoman -- there hasn't been enough "education" on gay rights issues? Polls show overwhelming public support for not just ENDA and hate crime laws, but repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and for marriage or civil unions. Enough with the lame, self-serving excuses!" - Former Washington Blade editor Chris Crain, writing on his blog.

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First Major Pride Event For China

China is seeing its first ever major gay pride event beginning today in Shanghai.
What organizers bill as “Shanghai's first ever PRIDE festival to celebrate Shanghai's diverse and quickly growing LGBTQI community” starts this weekend (Sunday June 7). It includes a busy week of activities through Sunday June 14, culminating with an all-day-all-night festival on Saturday, June 13. Although the semi-independent city of Hong Kong had a low-key pride march earlier this year, Shanghai’s Pride week is the first such event in mainland China. ShanghaiPRIDE spokesperson Hannah Miller said, “Shanghai is undoubtedly China’s most liberal and progressive city and it is the logical choice to host Mainland China’s first gay pride festival. It speaks volumes for China’s advancement that such an event can now be organized - it shows that China is becoming a modern, tolerant and forward-thinking nation.” Panel discussions, literary readings, and film screenings fill the schedule for the next week.
A schedule of Shanghai's very Western-type pride events can be found here. I'll get photos and video as soon as they become available.

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Tranquility Base

After congratulating ourselves for such a great job of packing the rental car, we arrived in the mountains to realize that we'd forgotten our largest item - the campsite canopy - forcing Chris to get a little inventive with a giant tarp. It poured most of last night, but the rain let up for the few hours of the bonfire party down at the rec hall, where we ran into half of NYC. At the moment, Aaron is off under the trees with a book and a cup of coffee and Chris is making us breakfast over the fire pit. And I'm on a picnic bench reading the zillion items that came in on my RSS feed during yesterday's day off. The birds are singing, the dappled sunlight is starting to warm things up, and off in the distance, very faintly, I'm quite certain I can hear the first track of Color Me Barbra. Ah, Hillside.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Gay Hip-Hoppers Pick Up The Mic

Pick Up The Mic, the documentary about LGBT rappers, comes out on DVD on June 23th. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and played at over 50 festivals around the world including SXSW, IFF Boston, Miami International Film Festival, Frameline and Outfest. The audio is the clip below is NSFW.

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Study Links Marriage Bans To Rise In HIV

An Emory University study has linked same-sex marriage bans to a rise in new HIV infections.
The study used data from the General Social Survey (GSS), which has tracked the attitudes of Americans during the past four decades. The economists calculated that a rise in tolerance from the 1970s to the 1990s reduced HIV cases by one per 100,000 people, and that laws against same-sex marriage boosted cases by 4 per 100,000. "Intolerance is deadly," Mialon said. "Bans on gay marriage codify intolerance, causing more gay people to shift to underground sexual behaviors that carry more risk."
Yeah, interesting, but I'm not so interested in making "but we'll get HIV if you don't let us marry!" into a new battle cry.

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Today: NGLCC Rings Closing Bell At NYSE

Representatives of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce will ring the stock market's closing bell today in recognition of Pride Month. The market closes at 4pm.
For one special day, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce®, NYSE Euronext, NGLCCNY, Members of Congress, other LGBT advocacy organizations, and corporate champions will gather at The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) - to celebrate the global launch of LGBT Pride Month. From Stonewall to Federal Hall will take place on Friday, June 5, 2009, and will commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that led to the push for equal rights for LGBT people. The event will include the ringing of the NYSE Closing Bell by the NGLCC, a symposium discussion on the LGBT movement in the 40 years since Stonewall followed by an exclusive cocktail reception on the NYSE Trading Floor. “We are honored to take part in the grand tradition of ringing the Closing Bell for the second time – and to pay tribute to those that have come before us and will come after us in the fight for LGBT equality,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “The LGBT movement has come a long way in 40 years, and there is no more fitting place than the seat of the financial world to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and to look ahead to tomorrow,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and CEO Chance Mitchell.
Has any other openly gay group run the NYSE bell, or is this a historic first?

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Afternoon View - Jefferson Diner

Aaron, Chris and I are having lunch in the fabulous Jefferson Diner in Lake Hopatcong, NJ - on our way to a weekend at Hillside Campgrounds in the Poconos Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania. The weather is crap - cold and rainy - but the bonfires and the menz will be hot. There's a couple posts in the queue that will go up later today, but otherwise I'll catch y'all from Tranquility Base up on the mountain.

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Shocker: The Cheneys Are Big Fat Liars

Rachel Maddow was on a roll last night as she ripped Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz for their latest claims that the Bush administration never claimed the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by Saddam Hussein. A freakin' classic Maddow takedown. "Maybe the Cheneys don't know that all this is on tape?"

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Tennessee: ACLU Wins Battle Over Blocked LGBT Websites In Public Schools

The ACLU has forced the Tennessee public school system to stop blocking educational LGBT websites.
Dozens of Tennessee schools have restored access to online information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, just over two weeks after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against two Tennessee school districts for unconstitutionally blocking student access to such sites. The company that provides Internet filtering software to as many as 107 Tennessee schools has adjusted the software to allow access to a variety of educational and political LGBT Web sites that were blocked before the lawsuit was filed. "All we ever wanted was to be able to get information out about LGBT issues, like what our legal rights are or what scholarships are available for LGBT students, so I'm really happy that the schools are finally making our Web access fair and balanced," said Bryanna Shelton, a 16-year-old student at Fulton High School in Knoxville and a plaintiff in the case. "These Web sites were never something dirty or inappropriate in any way and shouldn't ever have been treated like they were."
The ACLU reports that the company that makes the blocking software has also unblocked the public school systems of Indiana.

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Dueling Marriage Bills In PA Senate

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach (D) introduced a marriage equality bill as a Republican state Senator introduced a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Hoping to capture the pro-gay-marriage momentum in other state legislatures, Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) yesterday introduced the state's first bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, a colleague across the aisle, Sen. John Eichelberger (R., Blair), is preparing to introduce a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, to prevent court decisions, such as the recent one in Iowa, allowing gay people the right to marry. Leach said denying gay Pennsylvanians the right to marry robs them of the fundamental equal rights that heterosexual couples enjoy, such as the right of survivorship, power to make medical decisions, even the right to hospital visitation.
Sen. Leach says he considers his pro-marriage bill to be merely symbolic, acknowledging that Pennsylvania is likely years away passing such an item. Gov. Edward Rendell, a Democrat, favors civil unions only and would likely veto Leach's bill, if by some miracle it passed. Rendell would have no such say in a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, as such amendments must by approved by voters and only after passing two consecutive legislative sessions.

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But Still Better Than Poetry

For my pal Allen, who graduates tomorrow.

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New York's Catholic Bishops Step Up Attacks On Marriage Equality

Led by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the eight Catholic bishops of New York have released a statement condemning marriage equality. This is the first such joint statement from the group.
"We face today the prospect of a law in New York which would radically change the timeless institution of marriage. As pastors of citizens from every corner of our great state, we stand unified in our strong opposition to such a drastic measure," the bishops said, urging Catholics to contact their senators. Beginning with a historical approach, the group of bishops noted that "throughout history ... the one constant has been the conviction that marriage is the union of a man and a woman in an enduring bond, ordered for the procreation and stable rearing of children." Although Catholic opposition to same-sex "marriage" is frequently cast as solely religion-based, the New York bishops stated that, "Just as importantly, it is based on reason, sound public policy, and plain common sense."
The bishops close by saying that IF discrimination against LGBT exists in New York, that needs to be addressed in methods "other than radically redefining marriage." Then they went back to their orgy with altar boys.

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Maddow On Obama's Speech In Egypt

It was a fantastic speech.

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Pet Shop Boys Tour Announced

Pet Shop Boys have just announced the dates for a North American tour to begin at the end of the summer. The tickets pre-sale will begin Monday, June 8th, at 1:00 PM in the time zone of the performance.
Aug 29 Montreal Metropolis
Sept 1 New York, NY Hammerstein
Sept 2 New York, NY Hammerstein
Sept 3 Washington, DC Constitution Hall
Sept 5 Boston, MA House of Blues
Sept 6 Atlantic City, NJ House of Blues
Sept 9 Miami, FL Fillmore
Sept 10 Tampa, FL Tampa Bay PAC
Sept 11 Orlando, FL House of Blues
Sept 12 Atlanta, GA Chastain
Sept 14 Chicago, IL Chicago Theater
Sept 15 Milwaukee, WI Pabst Ballroom
Sept 19 Vancouver, BC Vancouver Centre of Performing Arts
Sept 20 Seattle, WA Moore
Sept 22 San Francisco, CA Warfield
Sept 23 San Francisco, CA Warfield
Sept 24 Los Angeles, CA Greek
Sept 26 Las Vegas, NV Joint
On the last tour, Aaron and I sat in the balcony at Radio City Music Hall, which is just under 12 miles from the stage. At times we couldn't even tell which guys on stage were the Boys. It's so not about the balcony at Radio City.

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Olbermann: World Net Daily Columnist "Worst Person In The World"

With Elizabeth Hasselbeck coming in a close second.

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David Carradine: INXS Part 2

After initial reports that actor David Carradine had committed suicide by hanging, comes word that he probably died accidentally after engaging in auto-erotic asphyxiation - just as in the case of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence.
Police sources have told The Sun in London that Carradine may have died after he attempted an erotic asphyxiation act when he wrapped a cord around his neck. A police officer said: "A rope was attached to his neck and also to his penis". Lieutenant Colonel Pirom did confirm the rope was connected to his neck and other parts of his body. The Carradine death will revive memories of how Michael Hutchence died in similar circumstances in Sydney in 1997 - after having been found hanging from the back of his hotel room door amid claims of a sex act gone wrong.
Dan Savage weighs in:
When the news first broke, no one hesitated to label Carradine a suicide. Now that more info has emerged and it seems clear that Carradine died during "an erotic asphyxiation act"—masturbating while depriving himself of oxygen (which is a highly dangerous thing to do)—people are saying it's rude to speculate, leave the man alone, have a little respect. But no one objected when people were saying that he killed himself. There was nothing rude about labeling the man a suicide, nothing disrespectful about leaping to the conclusion that Carradine was in so much despair that he took his own life. So it's worse somehow that his death was accidental? That he didn't mean to kill himself? That he died happy?

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Poll: Prop 8 Repeal Will Be Tough In 2010

Although activists banned the media from their post-Meet In The Middle For Equality leadership summit so that new polling data didn't "provide ammunition to opponents of same-sex marriage", the results were published by the Bay Area Reporter yesterday. According to the latest survey, which was taken the first week of May, the "movable middle" on marriage equality is quite small and a Prop 8 repeal effort made in either 2010 or 2012 will be quite the battle.
Overall, the poll shows that California is split down the middle when it comes to same-sex marriage, with 47 percent in favor and 48 opposed. Those figures mirror other statewide polls that have been done since last fall's election, suggesting that many voters' minds are made up on the issue and the percentage of persuadable voters is very small, about 5 percent, Binder said Sunday during an informal news conference after the closed session.

The poll also shows the marriage equality side doing better in 2012 than in 2010. On a series of similar questions, the poll results show more support for reinstating the right of same-sex couples to marry (46 percent yes, 49 percent no in 2012, compared to 45 percent to 51 percent in 2010), or a constitutional amendment to end California's ban on same-sex marriage (47 percent yes, 47 percent no in 2012, compared to 47 percent yes, 48 percent no in 2010). However, Binder noted that a ballot measure in either year would be close. "It's a very close race regardless of whether it's 2010 or 2012," Binder said. "People's opinions are very strong on both sides."
Read Rex Wockner's coverage of the controversy over the media ban.

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PhoboQuotable- Deacon Keith Fournier

"Some maintain that same sex attraction is a genetic predisposition. This is disputed. Even if it were the case, that does not give homosexual activity any more of a claim to being given a special civil rights status. Should we really give disordered appetites civil rights status under the law? Let’s consider an absurd example. I have struggled most of my life with fighting obesity. I am on the 'winning end' lately, but just give me another Holiday!

"A very good argument can be made that obesity also has a genetic predisposition. However, I will fight it my whole life because it is unhealthy. It is a disordered appetite. Should we as a Nation decide that fat people have a civil right to be fat? Should those who insist that they resist that 'genetic predisposition' to overeat be called Fata-phobic?

"Disordered appetites - and the actions engaged in by those who give into them – simply should not be called civil rights. Certainly, those who succumb to them should be treated with the human dignity that they deserve and not be discriminated against. However, that is because they are human not because of their behavior! Homosexual sexual acts are simply homosexual sexual acts. Our bodies do not lie, they speak the language written within their constitution and confirmed in the Natural Law which binds us all. " - Deacon Keith Fournier, writing for Catholic Online.

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Lesbian Collapses After Fresno March, Partner Refused Hospital Access

Kristin Orbin collapsed with an epileptic seizure after marching 14 miles from Selma to Fresno in Saturday's Meet In The Middle march. Her partner Teresa Rowe was then denied access to Orbin's hospital room and was not allowed to direct her medical care despite offering to provide documentation that she was entitled to do so.
Orbin said the paramedic told the nurse on duty that she had collapsed after marching 14 miles for civil rights, and the nurse gave her a dirty look and said "ooooh." She continued, "I asked if Teresa could come back with me, but the nurse told me I was in a no visitor zone. When I asked her why everyone else had visitors, she said 'those people are different'." Orbin said she went to sleep at that point, but she was awakened by a nurse giving her the benzodiazapine Ativan, a drug that causes her to have severe migraine headaches. It was then that she discovered just how bad the situation had become. "Teresa was finally able to make her way up to the front desk and convince them to get a cell phone to me. When I talked to her, she said she had told the nursing staff not to give me Ativan, but they refused to listen to her. They refused to take my medical cards from her. They refused Teresa's offer to have my advance directive and power of attorney faxed over from UCSF." Orbin said she asked the nurses several times if Rowe could join her, but each time they refused. "They just kept looking at my Marriage Equality shirt and giving me dirty looks," she said. Orbin and Rowe were not reunited until a doctor intervened a few hours later.
The couple plans to contact the ACLU for help in redressing the situation.

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NY Unions Back Marriage Equality

A coalition of New York's largest labor unions including the AFL-CIO are working with the Empire State Pride Agenda to sway state Senators into the light on marriage equality.
Community organizers from the powerful health care union 1199 SEIU and its sister union, building service union SEIU 32BJ, have worked for the past few weeks with the Empire State Pride Agenda, which has led lobbying efforts to promote the bill. The New York State United Teachers union and the New York City Central Labor Council have provided phone banks to assist the effort. The unions, as well as the AFL-CIO, municipal public employees union DC 37, Communication Workers of America Local 1 and 1180 and UNITE HERE have sent memorandums and letters of support to individual legislators. Michael Fishman, the building services union president, has used union resources to support the advocacy effort through lobbying calls and visits. He met with other labor leaders Thursday to discuss ways to galvanize support and step up the effort, said Matthew Nerzig, a union spokesman. In addition, labor leaders have advocated personally to their allies in the Legislature, asking for their support of the measure, which passed the Assembly easily.
Only nine days remain in the Senate's legislative session. Contact YOUR state Senator today.

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Radio Show Loses Sponsors After Hosts Suggest Beating Transgender Kids

Several major advertisers have pulled their support from Sacramento radio station KRXQ after its hosts suggested beating transgender behavior out of children. Via GLAAD, below is a partial transcript of the show.

ROB WILLIAMS [11:12]: This is a weird person who is demanding attention. And when it’s a child, all it takes is a hug, maybe some tough love or anything in between. When your little boy said, ‘Mommy, I want to walk around in a dress.’ You tell them no cause that’s not what boys do. But that’s not what we’re doing in this culture.

ARNIE STATES [13:27]: If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels.

ROB WILLIAMS [17:45]: Dawn, they are freaks. They are abnormal. Not because they’re girls trapped in boys bodies but because they have a mental disorder that needs to be somehow gotten out of them. That’s where therapy could help them.

ROB WILLIAMS [18:15]: Or because they were molested. You know a lot of times these transgenders were molested. And you need to work with them on that. The point is you don’t allow the behavior. You cure the cause!

You got a boy saying, ‘I wanna wear dresses.’ I’m going to look at him and go, ‘You know what? You’re a little idiot! You little dumbass! Look, you are a boy! Boys don’t wear dresses.’

ARNIE STATES [29:22]: You know, my favorite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.

GLAAD reports that Snapple, Sonic, and Chipotle have all pulled their advertising from the show after being made aware of how offensive it was. Sonic released this statement:
Sonic wants to assure you that the views of this station are in no way related to the views of Sonic. Sonic was alerted to the May 28th segment only yesterday and immediately began researching the segment, show and Sonic’s planned advertising on the station. SONIC in no way condones violence toward children and does not wish to be associated with media content that condones or promotes such activity in any way. We have decided to immediately withdraw advertising from this station and have notified the station of our decision.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Daily Beast Reports: HRC Told Congress To Wait On DADT, Push For ENDA, Hate Crimes Instead

In a video posted at The Daily Beast, reporter Jason Bellini claims that Sen. Chuck Schumer "let it slip" that the Human Rights Campaign told "Senators and members of the U.S. House" to put aside the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and instead focus on ENDA and the hate crimes act.

UPDATE: Michael Cole, Senior Communications Manager of the HRC, wrote me with this statement: "This story is not only an outright lie, it is recklessly irresponsible. HRC never made such a deal and continues to work with congress and the administration on a full range of equality issues including a swift end to the military's shameful ban on gay servicemembers."

UPDATE II: Jason Bellini wrote to direct us to this post from Michelangelo Signorile.
While Bellini had unnamed sources, I, however, have a named source saying exactly what Bellini reports, someone I interviewed several weeks ago on the show: Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center, the research institute that focuses on the military and sexuality, located at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Belkin writes often for The Huffington Post and interacts with members of Congress. (I have including a few-minute clip from that interview here as well). I didn't see or know about the Bellini piece when I interviewed Joe (it either had just posted or wasn't up yet), but I did ask him about what Belkin claimed. Belkin was relatively certain in what he told me:

AB: "...Our major national gay rights organizations -- it would be one thing to say nothing, but there is pro-active lobbying on the hill for Congress not to consider [the "don't ask, don't tell"] issue. And so the community has been appalling on this issue.
MS: Have you seen any response from any of those groups, and I guess we're talking about the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, other Washington groups?
AB:...We've heard from so many offices that not only are they not doing anything but they're pro-actively lobbying against consideration of the issue. I feel very confident in saying that.
Read Signorile's entire piece on this flap, it's very enlightening.

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Florida: Broom Handle Teen Rapists Charged As Adults

The four Florida middle school students arrested last month for raping a fellow student with a broom handle were charged as adults today in a Tampa court.
At a bond and arraignment hearing, the defendants appeared before Hillsborough County Judge Wayne Timmerman to hear the counts against them read in court. Prosecutor Kimberly Hindman described to the court how two defendants held down the victim while the other two defendants violently sodomized him with the sticks. "The victim screamed and cried, telling them to stop," Hindman said. The prosecutor said the victim's screams could be heard outside the boys' locker room at Walker Middle School, in southern Tampa, where the allegedly assaults took place. Multiple people witnessed the attacks, but no one reported the incidents, including the victim, Hindman said.
Multiple witnesses, but none came forward because they knew they'd be next. And the Christianist right continues to try to block anti-bullying ordinances, making them rapist enablers.

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NYC High Line Opens June 15th

The long-anticipated opening of the High Line, an elevated freight rail line turned into park space along the west side of Manhattan, is scheduled for June 15th. However the city is limiting admittance to 1700 persons at a time.
During peak periods, access to the facility would be limited to the southernmost entrance at Gansevoort Street and interested visitors would receive wristbands permitting admission to the park at allotted hours. Eventually, Bradley said, a live web link will allow people to check the park’s availability prior to making the trek west. “One of the things that we’re uncertain about is the number of visitors that we’re going to get,” Bradley explained, “so we’re putting in place a plan — which we’re not going to start unless we need to — where we’ll control access to the park.” While Friends of the High Line manages the project, the Parks Department is in charge of providing security.
It sort of figures that a park in Chelsea would have a bouncer and wristbands.

(Via - Gothamist)

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Cicadas Appear Four Years Early

Cicadas are appearing on Staten Island four years before their 17-year cycle due date. Scientists are blaming global warming.
Similar early risers have been detected all along the Eastern Seaboard, and an Ohio researcher who has studied the bugs for 35 years is sure warmer winters are to blame. "This is the fifth brood where part of it is coming out early," said Gene Kritsky, an entomologist and professor at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. "When you have a phenomenon that is that widespread, the most likely candidate is some kind of climate-driven response." The 2-inch-long insects, which do not sting or bite people, spend almost all their lives underground, sucking on fluid from tree roots, until they come out all at once every 17 years to mate. Kritsky suspects that unusually warm winters cause trees briefly to become active, effecting changes in the fluids that make the insects think an extra year has passed.
Only a fraction of the cicadas' total population have appeared and most are expected to emerge on schedule in 2013. Still, it's not a good sign.

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Wingnut Radio Host Arrested For Death Threats Against Gay CT Lawmakers

Deranged internet radio host Hal Turner, whom I have blogged about in the past, is under arrest for making death threats against gay Connecticut lawmakers.
Internet radio host Hal Turner — accused of inciting Catholics to "take up arms" and singling out two Connecticut lawmakers and a state ethics official on a website — was taken into custody in New Jersey late Wednesday after state Capitol police in Connecticut obtained a warrant for his arrest. Turner, who has been identified as a white supremacist and anti-Semite by several anti-racism groups, hosts an Internet radio program with an associated blog. On Tuesday, the blog included a post that promised to release the home addresses of state Rep. Michael Lawlor, state Sen. Andrew McDonald and Thomas Jones of the State Ethics Office. "Mr. Turner's comments are above and beyond the threshold of free speech," Capitol Police Chief Michael J. Fallon said in an e-mail announcing the warrant. "He is inciting others through his website to commit acts of violence and has created fear and alarm. He should be held accountable for his conduct."
Turner became enraged when the above-named officials launched an investigation into whether the Catholic Church violated its non-profit status by staging rallies at the Connecticut state capitol to protest a proposed law changing how it was internally governed. On his blog Turner said, "It is our intent to foment direct action against these individuals personally. These beastly government officials should be made an example of as a warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die...If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they're going to get uppity with us about this, I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down, too."

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How To Definitely Prove You Aren't Gay

When you are the rumored-to-be-gay Jonas brother, a very late-to-the-game, extremely badly danced Single Ladies routine should put those pesky net whispers to rest. As a bonus, you get to appear bravely gay-friendly for doing it in semi-drag.

RELATED: Mother Jonas says she won't hate her sons if they fail in their famous purity pledge."They are men. They have desires. They have testosterone. If they make a mistake, I'm not going to hate them. I don't think they are above or below being seduced. I would be foolish if I thought that. I pray for them."

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CBS To Birthers: Get Bent

World Net Daily is outraged because CBS is refusing to allow their billboard company (the nation's largest) to sell them space for their "Where Is The Birth Certificate?" campaign. The WND site presently has nine separate posts on its main page alleging that Barack Obama is not a "natural born" American citizen and is therefore ineligible to be president.
"Here we have one of the largest media companies in the U.S. now not only refusing to allow news coverage of a vitally important national question being asked by millions of Americans, but one that won't even permit the purchase of space to raise the question," said [WND founder Joseph] Farah. "What is the value of a First Amendment in a country when this kind of self-censorship is at work – self-censorship specifically geared to stifle inquiry and debate about the most powerful person in the country." "CBS is a company that is not squeamish about feeding America's children a steady diet of offensive movies, obscene rap music and even TV commercials that push the cultural and moral envelope," said Farah. "But CBS is afraid to put up a sign containing four innocent words of constitutionally protected, non-inflammatory speech. You explain that to me. This is a giant media conglomerate unworthy of operating under the protection of the First Amendment."
WND continues to beg for donations for the billboard campaign, which they say is going up in cities across the nation. They also claim to have deluged the White House with hundreds of thousands of letters on the issue, and are complaining that their posts on the topic are being deleted from the White House's "open dialogue" website.

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Disco Grandma

Yoko Ono, 76, scores her fourth #1 on the dance chart this week, continuing her impressive run as the oldest person (by far) to hit the top of that chart. From my January 2008 post, when she last hit #1:
A month shy of her 75th birthday, a remix of Yoko Ono's 1981 single No, No, No has hit #1 on the Billboard dance chart. It's Yoko's third #1 dance hit and her 11th appearance on the dance chart, beginning with her 1981 #13 hit Walking On Thin Ice, a remix of which hit #1 in 2003. Several months ago, Yoko hit #2 on the dance chart with You're The One, featuring a remix by my pal (and Blowoff DJ), Rich Morel. (Morel has had four of his remixes hit #1.)

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The Vendor-Client Relationship

Oh man, does this ever ring true - especially if you've ever worked in advertising.

(Via - See My Briefs)

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NYT To State Senate: Vote NOW

An editorial in today's New York Times strongly rebukes the state Senate and Majority Leader Malcolm Smith for dragging their feet on a vote on marriage equality and calls on them to immediately approve marriage equality.
Six states have now made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. New York is not one of them. Gov. David Paterson wants the state to guarantee that right, and the protections that come with it, and the Assembly approved legislation legalizing same-sex marriage last month. Malcolm Smith, the leader of the State Senate, insists that he, too, favors marriage for gay couples, but he won’t let a bill go to the floor unless he’s privately lined up enough votes. It is time for Mr. Smith and his fellow senators to decide this important matter in public.

There are few new arguments to be made behind closed doors. By now, the Senate’s 62 members have heard from every interest group. They know the polls and the politics. They know that New York is lagging behind others — including New Hampshire, where Gov. John Lynch, who had previously defined marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, signed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage on Wednesday. And if New York’s Assembly is any guide, once the matter comes to the floor, these senators will also recognize that same-sex marriage is a basic civil right that can no longer be denied to the citizens of this state.
Only 20 state Senators, all Democrats, have said they will definitely vote yes. However, openly gay state Sen. Thomas Duane claims that we do have the votes, much to the anger of anti-gay Sen. Ruben Diaz, who wants Duane to release the names "or shut up." Although Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos has said that GOP Senators are free to "vote their conscience" without repercussions from the party, getting the necessary 32 votes does appear doubtful. Do your part to change that - contact your state Senator today. The New York Senate's legislative session ends in two weeks.

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David Carradine Commits Suicide

David Carradine, the non-Asian actor who played the most famous half-Asian character in American television history, has committed suicide at age 72.
Actor David Carradine, star of the 1970s TV series “Kung Fu” who also had a wide-ranging career in the movies, has been found dead in the Thai capital, Bangkok. A news report said he was found hanged in his hotel room and was believed to have committed suicide. A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Michael Turner, confirmed the death of the 72-year-old actor. He said Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday, but he could not provide further details out of consideration for his family. The Web site of the Thai newspaper The Nation cited unidentified police sources as saying Carradine was found Thursday hanged in his luxury hotel room and is believed to have committed suicide.
Play him out, Carl Douglas.

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Bwah Bwah Bwah Bwaaaaaaaah

NOM is sounding the sad trombone.
"Governor Lynch and a narrow majority of the Legislature today have ripped a significant hole in the fabric of New Hampshire society by passing same-sex marriage legislation," said Brian Brown, executive director of NOM. "The institution of marriage has served our country well since its founding. The vote of the legislature sends New Hampshire into dangerous waters. It will not be long before young children are taught in New Hampshire schools that they can marry someone of the same sex if they wish – that gay marriage is just as good as marriage."
Even thought New Hampshire has no binding referendum mechanism, NOM plans punish lawmakers.
"We intend to put this issue on the ballot on municipal elections across the state of New Hampshire," Brown promised. "We want people to be able to express their views directly, even if it is nonbinding. We also intend to make the gay marriage issue the key issue of the 2010 state elections in New Hampshire. Legislators must be held accountable for their votes. And if Governor Lynch decides to seek another term, you can be certain that he will have to answer to voters over why he broke his word on this issue, despite repeated promises over the years that he did not support gay marriage."

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The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck

New to Gotham, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Via Serious Eats:
Rainbow sprinkles might mean something a little different on a soft serve cone from The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Doug Quint, a New York-based bassoonist who just finished coursework for his musical arts doctorate at CUNY, is rolling out his playful new mobile dessert business as soon as his permit shows up (hopefully next week). "Let's face it, ice cream trucks are kind of queer, and a middle-aged white man driving one is pretty suspect," Quint said. "That's not to say that I'm a rolling hotbed of perversion. Hardly the case. It's all in the name of silly." That means his Twitter updates (@biggayicecream—yes, he's another street vendor on Twitter) won't be limited to the truck's whereabouts, but also involve haikus and requests for good cha-cha music. There are a few noticeable differences between him and Mister Softee. For starters, his concern for Proposition 8 in California, but also his topping selection. The BGICT will offer olive oil and sea salt, Nutella, bacon, and any suggestions from his clientele, who will earn freebies when they sport his apparel (the tank top is called the "husband beater").
Visit the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck's blog. I want the official t-shirt.

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Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling

Don't usually dig the Peas, but I like this. I could totally see this getting played at Blowoff. Cameo appearance by Ongina at 1:40.

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PhoboQuotable - Matt Barber

"If freedom to marry means, as he [Dick Cheney] said, that people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, well then, he's virtually endorsing polyamory and polygamy, and incestuous marriage, and bestiality. [There are] no holds barred here." - Liberty Counsel spokesdouchenozzle Matt Barber, speaking to wingnut site OneNewsNow.

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Cooper Gets A Birthday Surprise

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Open Thread Thursday

Despite how much I blog about it here, I actually have no personal interest in ever getting legally married. If you feel the same, I'd like to hear why.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Barack Obama: The Federal Government Should Stay Out Of Marriage

The president says gays have a friend in the White House, but that the federal government should stay out of the business of marriage.

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Victory For Marriage In New Hampshire!

By a vote of 198-176, the New Hampshire House has just approved same-sex marriage, hours after the state Senate did the same. Gov. John Lynch is expected to sign the bill immediately, possibly as early as this evening. New Hampshire joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine as the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Congrats to all in the Granite State!

UPDATE: Gov. Lynch has signed, it's official.

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Instead Of Wiimotes Crashing Through The Screen, It'll Be Feet

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Rhode Island: Bury Him, Don't Marry Him

Although they resolutely continue to block any recognition of gay relationships, the Rhode Island legislature is poised to approve a bill giving gays the legal right to arrange for the funerals of their partners. The bill, which gives the surviving partner precedence over the deceased's biological family, was unanimously approved in the RI Senate yesterday and now moves to the state House. Three state Senators abstained from voting.

As there is no official recognition of same-sex relationships in Rhode Island, the bill defines a domestic partner as “a person who prior to the decedent’s death was in an exclusive, intimate and committed relationship with the decedent.” Detractors, of course, claim this funeral bill will open the door to gay marriage.

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Study: Gay College Students Do Better

According to a new study, gay male college students are better motivated, get better grades, and are more likely to seek out a mentor to aide in their education.
"The thing that really comes out (in the data) is that gay men see academic work as more important than heterosexual men," said study author Christopher Carpenter, an assistant professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Irvine. "They were 1.41 times more likely to say their academic work was important. "That could explain the GPA effect," he added. "It's plausible that if gay men perceive their academic work as more important, then they're trying harder." Gay men also spend 40 to 50 percent more time doing volunteer work or participating in student organizations, according to Carpenter's findings. "It's possible that these organizations they belong to could include fraternities," he said. "But I doubt that, because gay men were less likely to say participating in parties was important to them." Another possible factor in their success rate: Gay male students were about 13 percent more likely than straight male students to report they had a faculty member or administrator they could talk to about a problem.
The report states that lesbians do about the same as their straight counterparts, but that bisexual women study much less and get lower grades. Must be all that play they get from both sides.

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ACT UP: Protests Planned Over Governator's HIV/AIDS Funding Slash

As California reels deeper into its worst financial crisis in history, Gov. Schwarzenegger has proposed slashing a total of $80M from the state's HIV/AIDS budget. His proposal includes deep cuts in ADAP funding - money that provides life-saving medication to the insurance-less HIV positive. The ramifications of this move extend beyond the state budget as massive federal matching dollars would then also be lost.
The state currently gets $88 million in matching ADAP federal funds; however, in order to receive these matching funds, California must meet a “maintenance of effort” requirement, and by cutting all state ADAP funding, the state fails this requirement and will lose out on the $88 million in matching federal dollars. The state’s elimination of all ADAP funding will also mean a loss in rebates from drug manufacturers who sell AIDS drugs to the state. These rebates add millions of dollars to a special ADAP fund. This rebate fund has had as much as $233 million in at one point, money which also goes toward AIDS services. If the state halts all drug purchases for ADAP, this additional funding stream for AIDS treatment, care and services also dries up, say sources. The state’s action will trigger a huge across the board loss of funding—a significant portion of which isn’t even state money—for the care of some of its most vulnerable citizens living with HIV/AIDS.
Join ACT UP and other concerned Californians for a protest this Friday at 5pm at Los Angeles' Hollywood Forever Cemetery - a fitting location considering where some pozzers will quickly end up if this budget cut is approved. Another protest is scheduled for Sacramento on June 10th.

Dr. Judy Auerbach of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation: "Funding for all aids programs up and down the state will be cut, pretty much eliminated, and that's got all of us very worried."

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Anti-Gay Preacher Sues Philadelphia Over Removal From Gay Pride Event

Repent America founder Michael Marcavage is suing the city of Philadelphia and its police department because they have repeatedly removed him from the premises of Outfest, the city's annual gay pride celebration.
Lansdowne-based Repent America director Michael Marcavage says he was physically restrained by city police on four separate occasions and that an officer once put him into a chokehold. His civil-rights suit, which names the city and several individual police officers, was filed yesterday in federal court in Philadelphia. The events he cites occurred in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Craig Straw of the City Solicitor's Office says he has not received the suit and cannot comment on pending litigation. Marcavage has filed suits in other such cases twice before. One was settled out of court.
Marcarvage and his crew show up at pride events with "Burn In Hell, Homos!" type placards and shout anti-gay slogans through bullhorns. At times, he has been surround by whistle-blowing Pink Angels who have attempted to block his message from passersby. Marcarvage's arrests were repeatedly brought up during the recent U.S. House hate crimes act debate as an example of the potential stifling of anti-gay Christianist dissent, were the bill to be passed. Barney Frank has gone on record condemning Marcarvage's arrests.

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Tonight In NYC: Surprise Vanessa Williams Concert Benefiting LIFEbeat

I've been tipped off that tonight's Vanessa Williams "CD listening party" at Greenhouse will actually be a surprise live concert featuring Williams, her full band, and backup singers. Williams is promoting her new release, The Real Thing, and tonight's event is a fundraiser for LIFEbeat, the music industry's HIV/AIDS charity. Advance tickets are $20, $25 at the door (if available) and includes a two-hour open bar.

RELATED: Ugly Betty has been renewed for a fourth season, although the show is moving to the doldrums of Friday night.


Jill Biden On Anti-Gay Bullying

The Second Lady spoke at GSLEN's Respect Awards event and addressed anti-gay bullying in public schools. "How can expect kids to learn when they are taunted by their classmates?" Biden mentions Lawrence King and two boys who recently committed suicide.

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Is Today The Day For New Hampshire?

New Hampshire lawmakers meet this morning for the third consideration of their marriage equality bill. The bill was first approved by both chambers in late April, then was not approved on a second vote after religious protections requested by Gov. John Lynch were inserted into the bill. That language was been tweaked, the governor says he's satisfied, so as long as enough of the original "yes" folks show up today, New Hampshire should become the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. A supportive rally is taking place at this writing outside the State House in Concord.

UPDATE: The bill has passed the NH Senate. On to the House.

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Uniting American Families Act: Live Stream

The Senate Judiciary Committee hears the Uniting American Families Act at 10am today. The act would allow gay Americans to sponsor a foreign spouse for immigration to the United States. View a live video stream of the proceedings here or on C-SPAN.

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He's Unstoppable

This is really sweet. At the Sasquatch Music Festival in George, Washington, a lone man twitches arhythmically on a hill to Unstoppable by Santigold. And then one person joins him in his twitchy dance. Then another. Then just about everybody. The guy's name is apparently Colin, who says on one of the several clips on YouTube, "Sometimes rhythm is deeper than the appearance you are perceiving."

(Via JMG reader Russ)

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To PETA, Murder Is Just One More Opportunity To Promote Themselves

The ghouls at PETA are seizing upon the murder of Dr. George Tiller and using his murder to promote themselves in his Kansas hometown.
One version of the billboard says, "Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian." The other says, "Pro-Choice? Choose Vegetarian." Both feature a photo of three baby chicks. Lindsay Rajt, campaign manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the billboards were prompted by the recent shooting death of abortion doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday at his church. The discussion of the value of life is front and center right now in the public conversation," Rajt said today. "We think we would be irresponsible if we don't talk about how we're all guilty of extreme cruelty to animals every time we sit down to a meal that includes meat." Rajt says her group doesn't know where or when the billboards will be posted. Her staff "approached the billboard companies today, and we're waiting to hear back about availability."

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Olbermann: Limbaugh, WTF?

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NY Senate Poll: 12 Votes Needed

NY1 has conducted the first (to my knowledge) complete marriage equality poll of New York's state Senators. The outlook is not great.
As members of the New York State Senate ponder whether to hold a vote on legalizing gay marriage before the current legislative session expires, an exclusive NY1 survey of all 62 state Senators suggests that supporters of the bill are facing an uphill battle in their fight to get it passed this month. Twenty lawmakers tell NY1 that they would vote "yes" on the controversial bill, with 15 Senators either undecided or noncommittal. The measure would need 32 votes to pass. According to the NY1 tally, if only four more undecided lawmakers decide to oppose gay marriage, the bill would fail.
Darrel Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, Ruben Diaz, D-Bronx, Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, John Flanagan, R-Suffolk, Charles Fuschillo, Nassau/Suffolk, Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, Shirley Huntley, D-Queens, William Larkin, R-Cornwall, Kenneth LaValle, R-Suffolk, Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, Carl Marcellino, R-Nassau/Suffolk, George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Michael Nozzolio, R-Seneca Falls, George Onorato, D-Queens, Frank Padavan, R-Queens/Bronx/Nassau, Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst, Joseph Robach, R-Greece, Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, James Seward, R-Milford, Dean Skelos, R-Nassau, William Stachowski, D-Buffalo, Dale Volker, R-Depew, George Winner, R-Elmira, Catharine Young, R-Olean
John Bonacic, R-Mt. Hope, Brian Foley, D-Suffolk, Ruth Hassel-Thompson, D-Bronx/Westchester, Owen Johnson, R-Suffolk, Carl Kruger, D-Brooklyn, Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island, Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, Hiram Monserrate, D-Queens, John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, David Valesky, D-Oneida

Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens, James Alesi, R-East Rochester, Kemp Hannon, R-Nassau, Vincent Leibell, R-Westchester, Thomas Morahan, R-Rockland
Please consider all of the above Non-Yes people to be movable on this issue. We HAVE been surprised in the very recent past. Contact your state Senator here.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage

America's best Christian explain the Biblical origins of marriage. Cover your keyboards.

(Tipped by JMG reader Eric)

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Sec. Of Army Nominee Rep. John McHugh Wants To "Change" DADT

Barack Obama's new nominee for Secretary of the Army, Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), agrees with the president that DADT needs to be "changed," whatever that means these days. The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld pressed White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about the nomination, asking if McHugh's stance on DADT played into his selection. As usual, Gibbs gave an evasive answer.
"I think it's obvious from those statements and other statements that Congressman McHugh has made that he and the president are in agreement on changing the policy they both don't think is working for this country right now," Gibbs said in response to a question from The Advocate about the congressman's past remarks. "It's a priority of the president's and I think, for any number of reasons, we have a nominee that we hope will be confirmed quickly and will have -- ah, based on his background and experience -- will help to improve the lives of the Army."

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Tomorrow 9AM: Rally At NH State House

The New Hampshire Freedom To Marry Coalition will stage a rally tomorrow at 9am at the State House Plaza in Concord as the state legislature considers (for the third time) its newly-amended marriage equality bill.
One Vote! That was the margin of victory for the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage's attack on Equality. One Vote! On June 3rd let's make history in New Hampshire. This will be the final vote on marriage equality and it will be close - WE NEED YOUR HELP TO WIN! Please join us as we gather on the plaza of the State House to ask our legislators to support marriage equality and to witness an historic day in New Hampshire. This will be a time to thank the legislators who have taken a stand for all New Hampshire families by supporting individual liberties and religious freedoms, and ask them to vote yes on HB 73.
More information on the rally here.

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Jimmy LaSalvia, Head Of New Gay GOP Group, Co-Signs With Leaders of Anti-Gay Hate Groups

The eagle-eyed Jeremy Hooper at Good As You has noticed that Jimmy LaSalvia (left), the cofounder and head of GOProud, the new uber-right Log Cabin Republicans spinoff, has signed onto a document calling for a Senate filibuster to block the approval of SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

And who are LaSalvia's cosignees? How about Peter LaBarbera, Donald Wildmon, Rev. Lou Sheldon, Gary Bauer, and just about every vicious, right-wing, Christianist, "pro-family", homophobic shithead whose name has ever appeared on this blog, many of whom head certified hate groups.

Jeremy Hooper: "GOProud? When your form of 'pride' is this willing to join forces with your community's most heated opponents, who needs shame?"

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California: Haters Fail In Bid To Repeal LGBT Student Protections

Save Our Kids, an organization headed by the repulsive Karen England, has failed in their bid to repeal the California Students Civil Rights Act, as yesterday a Sacramento Superior Court dismissed their lawsuit. The suit specifically objected to discrimination protection granted to LGBT students. Via press release:
The court held that the plaintiffs had failed to show any way in which the statute was even allegedly unlawful. "We are pleased the court rejected this attack on the Student Civil Rights Act," said Carolyn Laub, Gay-Straight Alliance Network Executive Director. "School should be safe place for all children, including those who are-or are perceived to be-lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender." The lawsuit was filed on November 5, 2008. State Superintendent Jack O'Connell, represented by California Attorney General Jerry Brown, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on January 8, 2009. On March 19, 2009, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, the Transgender Law Center, Equality California, and Gay-Straight Alliance Network filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the motion to dismiss.
This is great win for the good guys, but also a chilling reminder of how vicious homophobic Christianists can be - they filed a federal lawsuit to allow the brutalization of gay youth. Save Our Kids previously failed to raise the necessary petition signatures to place a repeal of anti-bullying laws on the state ballot.

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Surprise Wedding Reception

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Today In Frivolous Lawsuits

A retired NYPD lieutenant is suing Bumble Bee Tuna for $100K because he choked on a tiny bone and now, tragically, can no longer enjoy tuna. In fact, he cannot eat fish of any kind! Which has left him with "permanent emotional pain and suffering." "I can't even be near tuna now," said the ex-cop. "Like a fish fillet sandwich? Forget it."

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Review: Trippin' On The Moon

Sunday night's Trippin' On The Moon - Saint reunion party was quite simply the best fucking night out I have had in at least a year. Maybe two. Maybe three. Dr. Jeff and I arrived at 8pm to find the venue already crowded and the steam never let up until we shut the place down at 3:30am. DJs Michael Fierman and Robbie Leslie gave us the full Saint journey - a soulful build-up, a joyous high-energy peak, and a lovely, lovely extended downtrip, complete with just about every Saint classic an old disco dog like me could think of. The sound system was pitch-perfect, clear, strong - but not too loud.

Dr. Jeff initially felt out of place in a sea of graying temples, but I reminded him how I feel dealing with the emo kids at the bars he takes me to. And our 23 year-old mascot Little Nick was a delight to watch as he furiously typed song titles into his phone for future downloads. Those who were there, please enter your set lists in the comments, I'll do the same when I get a moment. BIG thanks to event producer Christina Visca for a completely perfect evening. Christina promises another Saint reunion "within a few months." Judging by the response to Sunday's party, it will be an immediate sell-out. Full-screen versions of the above photos are here. Below are two short clips of the scene on the dance floor. I've annotated the songs being played.

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NY Sen. Tom Duane: We Have The Votes

Openly gay NY Sen. Tom Duane is continuing to claim that a win on marriage equality is possible in the state Senate, saying that he is confident that the required 32 votes are there.
Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan) said he's received assurances of support from more than the 32 senators needed to approve the bill. "I have the votes," said Duane, who predicted the Senate would vote on the matter before the end of its session this month. Duane declined to say which senators had agreed to support the bill, but said the list included some Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) and gay-marriage advocates stopped short of backing Duane's claim, saying only that the measure is gaining momentum. "There's still work to be done," said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has said that he will not allow the issue to come to a vote unless he is convinced that a win is at hand. Others suspect Smith of having made a secret deal with anti-gay state Sen. Ruben Diaz in return for Diaz having supported Smith for the leadership post.

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