Friday, July 31, 2009

Portugal Upholds Gay Marriage Ban

The Constitutional Court of Portugal has upheld a ban on same-sex marriage, denying the claim of two women who demanded the right to wed.
The court said its five judges ruled 3-2 against an appeal lodged by the women two years ago. Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao, divorced mothers in their 30s who have been together as a couple since 2003, were turned away by a Lisbon registry office when they attempted to marry in 2006 because the law stipulates that marriage is between people of different genders. Portugal's constitution, however, also forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. The women took the case to a Lisbon court, which rejected their unprecedented challenge. After considering their appeal against that decision, the Constitutional Court said in a statement posted on its Web site that the constitution does not state that same-sex marriages must be permitted. The court said the question before it was not whether the constitution allows same-sex marriages, but whether the constitution compels them to be accepted, which it does not.
The women plan to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

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Promo Clip: March On Washington 2009

JMG reader Sean Chapin sends us his official promotional clip for the 2009 National Equality March on Washington.

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80's Flashback

Grace Jones, Pull Up To The Bumper, 1981. Last night my ex Ken and I saw Grace in concert at Manhattan's Hammerstein Ballroom, almost 25 years after we last saw her at Fort Lauderdale's Copa, where she appeared exactly three hours late. Grace took the stage a mere 90 minutes tardy last night, performing the first number entirely shrouded in a mylar burka. What followed will go down in Grace legend, with almost each of 17 numbers accompanied by a change into a costume more outrageous than the last. I think some of the queens near the stage spontaneously exploded into a cloud of glitter and unicorns. Check out Flickr user Mikey IQ for a great photo set. Fabulous shots can be found on Music Slut too. Grace's set list is here.

Judging by the Mission Control-like computers and cameras set up at the back of the room, the show will be released on DVD. Perhaps because of that, Grace was in uber-diva form, complaining continously about the spotlights, the back lights, the light from the wings, the volume of her microphone, etc. Ken and I started the show just a few feet from the stage, but were forced to retreat to the rear so we could see better, because everybody at the front had their hands over their heads to record the show on their phones. ANNOYING, people. But overall, the show gets a "WOW" from me. Amazing, amazing.

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World Net Daily: Obama Is The Anti-Christ

The loons at World Net Daily have top-posted an "exclusive" story today, claiming that Jesus prophesied that the name of the anti-Christ would be Barack Obama. From WND executive editor Joe Kovacs:
For centuries, many have wondered about the identity of a biblical leader who will do Satan the devil's bidding, trying to thwart the plans of Jesus Christ shortly before His prophesied return to Earth. That character has come to be known as "the antichrist," even though the Bible never uses that word to describe any single person. Now, after endless speculation suggesting Presidents John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush could possibly be the End Times Bad Boy, there's a new viral video placing the current occupant of the White House into the club. An American Christian has produced a brief film for YouTube that connects one statement by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke to President Barack Obama.

His 4-minute video focuses on the direct quote: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." (Luke 10:18) "When I started doing a little research, I found the Greek word for 'lightning' is 'astrape', and the Hebrew equivalent is 'Baraq,'" said YouTube contributor "ppsimmons," a self-described Christian with a theological education and many years in the ministry, who spoke to WND under condition of anonymity. "I thought that was fascinating." As he continued looking into the rest of the words in the phrase, he focused on "heaven," and found that it can refer not just to God's dwelling place, but also "the heights" or "high places."

He then recalled Isaiah 14:14, where Lucifer, another name for Satan, is quoted as saying, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." "I wondered what the word 'heights' is," said ppsimmons, "and I looked it up in the dictionary, and it's 'Bamah.'" Thus, on the video, the announcer notes, "If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, He (Jesus) would say these words in Hebrew ... 'I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah.'" "Gosh, was Jesus giving us a clue or was this just a freak coincidence?" thought the filmmaker at the time of his research.
World Net Daily is the most widely-read Christian site in the nation.

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"Belarus? BelaWEAK!"

Last week I mentioned that copies of Pride '09 magazine, featuring my cover story interview with Rachel Maddow, were seized by customs officials in Belarus, who don't want any damn homo magazines marring their picturesque countryside. Rachel and her team covered the story briefly and I just got the clip from her fab assistant, Alana. It's a cute bit and Rachel says she's "not taking it personally."

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Most Birthers Are Southern

Obviously this poll speaks to the lingering racism of the U.S. south, where 53% of the respondents said "no" or "unsure" when asked if the president was a U.S. citizen. And 58% of Republicans answered the same way.

(Via - Andrew Sullivan)

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Maine Haters Turn In 100K Signatures

Maine's anti-gay Stand For Marriage group today turned in 100,000 petition signatures to the secretary of state, almost double the required 55,087 names. The names must be verified, but with a margin like this, the repeal of same-sex marriage will surely be on the November ballot.

Maine Freedom To Marry reports that they have gathered 60,000 pro-marriage equality pledge cards from Mainers, with more to be gathered over the summer.
Maine Freedom to Marry organizers announced at a noon rally Thursday at Portland City Hall that more than 400 volunteers had collected the cards from across the state. The announcement came a day before opponents are scheduled to deliver signatures to Augusta to put the issue of gay marriage on the November ballot. The rally was the latest development in a campaign that is expected to be highly emotional and very expensive. By mid-July, the coalition of opponents of gay marriage, the Stand for Maine Marriage political action committee, had raised more than $343,000, while those fighting the repeal had taken in $138,640 in contributions.
Maine Freedom To Marry has legally changed their name to No On 1/Protect Maine Equality.
[Photo credit: HRC Backstory]

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Anti-Gay Referendum 71 Nut: You Can't Videotape Me, I'm FAMOUS

Anti-gay Referendum 71 wackjob Greg MacPherson didn't want to be videotaped turning in petitions and screamed for the police, saying he was a famous public figure and therefore could not be taped without his permission. State troopers showed up to school the asshole. Via Pam Spaulding:
As if trying to prevent Washington families from having solid legal protections isn't harassment enough, one Referendum 71 supporter attempted to intimidate Chris Mason of Driving Equality and blogger Joshalot as they recorded the public sorting and submission of petitions sheets from the very public steps of the Washington state capitol. The attempted intimidation by the Referendum 71 supporter starts at about 2:20 into the video.

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Football Coach Apologies For F-Bombs

University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin apologized yesterday for using the word "faggot" several times while mocking a dance performed by Notre Dame players.
McMackin used the slur during a speech to reporters yesterday at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview, where each of the nine WAC coaches was allotted 30 minutes to talk about his football team. In recalling a battle of chants between Notre Dame and UH players, McMackin used the derogatory phrase in describing the performance by the Fighting Irish. "They get up and do this little cheer ... this little f----- dance," McMackin told reporters, who chuckled as he demonstrated the dance. But the mood turned stone-cold sober as McMackin uttered the slur two more times while clumsily trying to apologize. Before the next coach's session, McMackin returned to the conference room and offered another apology. A half-hour later, WAC officials called a news conference, and McMackin issued a more formal apology.
McMackin faces discipline or termination. University of Hawaii administrators immediately denounced his words.

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Broadway Friday

- Two-time Tony winner Chita Rivera will receive the Presidential Medal Of Freedom at the White House on August 13th.

- Avenue Q celebrates its sixth year on Broadway today. The show closes on September 13th.

- Dolly Parton's 9 To 5: The Musical will close on September 6th after a mere three month run.

- The Broadway-bound First Wives Club - The Musical has its world premiere in San Diego today. Tony nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph (Dreamgirls) stars. The show features new songs by Motown legends Holland-Dozier-Holland.

- Hamlet begins previews at the Broadhurst on September 12th for the limited run of 12 weeks. Cast: Jude Law, Ross Armstrong, Harry Attwell,, Ron Cook, Ian Drysdale.

- Howard McGillin exited Phantom Of The Opera this week, taking with him the world record for playing that show's lead - 2500 performances over ten years.

- Ballroom dance show Burn The Floor opens Sunday at the Longacre Theatre. The show features Maksim Chmerkovskiy of Dancing With The Stars.

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Tomorrow: Australia Marriage Rallies

Equal Love advises us that tomorrow (ish...depending on where you are right now) will see Australia's largest same-sex marriage rallies ever. Protests will take place in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Canberra. Go here to find locations and times.

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DUI Locks May Be Coming Soon

The federal government is considering legislation that would make the installation of anti-DUI devices mandatory for the vehicles of anybody convicted of drunk driving. The driver must blow into the tube and register a legal level for the vehicle to start.
The current version of a federal transportation funding bill, which could be debated by Congress this fall, requires all 50 states to mandate the devices for anyone convicted of drunken driving or risk losing federal highway money. Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia have interlock ignition laws for at least some offenders. Alabama, South Dakota and Vermont have no such laws. They are installed in about 150,000 vehicles in the USA — a number that would approach 1 million if they were required for every convicted drunken driver. Proponents of broader use of interlock systems — including MADD, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Governors Highway Safety Association — say they would save an additional 4,000-8,000 lives a year.
A trade group representing bars and restaurants opposes the legislation.

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UK Quakers Support Marriage Equality

The Quakers, one of the UK's oldest denominations, are going to perform same-sex marriages in their churches and will ask the British government to make them legal.
The Quakers - also known as The Religious Society of Friends - are likely to reach consensus on the issue of gay marriage without a vote at their annual gathering in York on Friday. They will also formally ask the government to change the law to allow gay people to marry. Quaker registrars, like rabbis and Church of England priests, have the authority to marry heterosexual couples on behalf of the state. But many British Quakers feel it is wrong to exclude a religious commitment from civil partnerships and want the right to marriage extended to same-sex couples too. The Quakers has welcomed same-sex unions for more than two decades, allowing local groups to celebrate same-sex commitments through special acts of worship.

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Caption This

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Bill O'Reilly On Oregon's Trans Mayor

Bill O'Reilly doesn't attempt to hide his contempt. His cohost Megan Kelly joins in with some eyerolling and snickering, but ultimately says some very supportive things about transgender folks.

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Rhode Island: Four Lesbians Arrested For Assault On Anti-Gay Catholics

Rhode Island police have arrested three young women and a female minor for assaulting a group of anti-gay Catholic activists who were protesting same-sex marriage. Red-sashed members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property were waving anti-gay signs at a Warwick intersection when the women stopped to confront them.
The salsa and eggs stopped flying, but the police continued to investigate. Now four young women face charges of assault and disorderly conduct. They're accused of hurling food and drinks and spraying pepper spray at a group of men who stood in the median on Bald Hill Road and East Avenue Tuesday afternoon carrying signs supporting traditional marriage, Capt. Robert Nelson said Thursday morning. The men all gave the police an address in Spring Grove, Penn. -- 1358 Jefferson Rd. -- that's the location for the Foundation for a Christian Civilization Inc., a group that's in the midst of a caravan along the East Coast. The group states on its Web site that they make themselves "visible to motorists by engaging them to support traditional marriage." [snip]

Thursday evening, the police arrested four women: Melissa Migliaccio, 22, Amanda L. Zangrilli, 23, Kristen A. Scungio, 19, and a 17-year-old female from Pontiac Street in Warwick, whom the police have not named because she is a juvenile. All are charged with at least one charge of battery or simple assault, and with disorderly conduct. The 17-year-old faces a more serious charge as well -- felony assault with a dangerous weapon or substance, according to the police.
The Providence Journal posted an update on the story early Friday morning.
Amanda L. Zangrilli, 23, of West Warwick, said she and her girlfriend had seen the men in the same spot for a few days, and had “every intention” of bringing opposing signs of their own. Then, Tuesday afternoon, Zangrilli said, she and her girlfriend, Kristen A. Scungio, 19, also of West Warwick, saw the men again. She says they were pointing at the women, in a way that told her they realized the two were gay. Her girlfriend threw the soda bottle out the window –– missing the man she threw it toward, just as she had intended. “We heard him yell, ‘Ha ha, you missed,’ ” Zangrilli said.

The two drove to a friend’s house, gathered whatever they could get their hands on and returned with the friend. Zangrilli and Scungio said the men yelled at them when they returned, calling them the Antichrist, homosexuals and sinners. The men shouted anti-gay slurs at them, the women said, and one pushed his camera into Scungio’s face; she “pushed it away on instinct.” “And then the flagpole guy raised his pole to me, and I turned around and punched him because I wasn’t sure what he was going to do,” Scungio said. “I was wicked scared. It turned into, like, a riot.” Another woman driving by, an acquaintance of the women, jumped into the fray.
One of the women says she regrets the incident and feels "immature" for taking part. Members of the Catholic group deny having hurled anti-gay epithets at the women.

As I did in yesterday's first post on this incident, again I must condemn the actions of these women, regretful though they may feel. We MUST always, always, always take the high road in these situations. No matter how hateful or hurtful the words, a physical response to offensive speech, no matter how justified it may feel in the moment, does absolutely nothing to further our cause and usually ends up providing the other side with anti-gay campaign talking points and fundraising opportunities. How many times did we have to hear about that miserable styrofoam cross woman last year? You can bet the story of the Warwick Four (or however the Christianists will dub them) will become yet another burdensome obstacle to marriage equality in Rhode Island and elsewhere in the nation. The entire situation is a fucking disaster and we can do better. We have to.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Billboard Buddies

From Buzzfeed's "15 Billboards That Don't Belong Next To Each Other."

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LDS Plaza Kiss Surveillance Video

The Salt Lake Tribune has obtained the surveillance video showing Mormon security guards handcuffing the two gay men whose kissing caused such a ruckus. Yesterday local police announced that they were dropping the trespassing charges against the men. The clip is murky and contains no audio, but it does look like the men were handled somewhat roughly.

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Harvey Milk To Receive Presidential
Medal Of Freedom

The Victory Fund reports that Harvey Milk will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States. Stuart Milk, Harvey's nephew, will accept the award at a White House ceremony to take place on August 12th.
“We are thrilled President Obama is honoring Harvey Milk with the Medal of Freedom. He’s an American hero and trailblazer whose election more than 30 years ago triggered a political awakening that inspires us still today. This recognition sends an important message about how critical political leadership will be in making all Americans equal in the eyes of the law,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

Stuart Milk echoed Wolfe’s praise, saying, “The President’s action today touches the core of our very human hearts and my uncle would be so proud of this high honor. His election was, for him, a beginning–a chance to make real change. That change is happening, but we still have so far to go. I hope this recognition inspires LGBT Americans everywhere to heed Harvey’s call to run for office, to serve openly, to live proudly with authenticity and to demand the equality that we all deserve.”
Also receiving the Medal Of Freedom that day will be famed lesbian tennis player Billie Jean King and Sen. Ted Kennedy, both longtime advocates for LGBT rights.

UPDATE: The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force responds:
"Today's White House announcement of Medal of Freedom awards to the late Harvey Milk and to Billie Jean King honors two openly gay and lesbian people for their outstanding contributions to the nation. We applaud and cheer that Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King's dedication to freedom and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and for women and girls is at last being recognized with our country's highest civilian honor. Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King are trailblazers whose courage, commitment and perseverance have brought our country to a better place. How utterly appropriate that they will receive an award named the 'Medal of Freedom.'

"We also applaud the inclusion of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has been a longtime advocate and leader in the U.S. Senate on a host of legislative initiatives pertaining to HIV/AIDS and LGBT equality; and of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, two faith leaders who have been outspoken on and supportive of LGBT issues. Each of these recipients has indeed made important contributions toward equality and justice."

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80's Flashback

Paul Hardcastle, 19, 1985. Who could have predicted that a dance record about the average age of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam would be a global smash, going to #1 in 13 countries? Strange, and the video was disturbing as well. Trivia: Mike Oldfield successfully sued Paul Hardcastle for plagiarizing his Exorcist theme, Tubular Bells, with this track. (I've never been able to hear any similarities.) More trivia: Simon Fuller, the creator of American Idol and all its franchises around the world, was Paul Hardcastle's manager when this record came out. Hence, American Idol finalists are in the employ of 19 Entertainment.

NOTE: YouTube's preview snapshot isn't displaying today, hence the black box. Grumble. The videos play fine, however.

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Two Gay Iraqis Accuse U.S. Military Of Joining In Executions

The Washington Blade is reporting that two gay Iraqis claim to have photos of U.S. soldiers preparing to execute gay men in Iraq. The men displayed some of their photos at a Washington fundraising event last week.
One of the Iraqis, who goes by the name “Hussam,” showed the audience of about 80 people gruesome images, including shots allegedly of a beheaded man who was gay and another of the victim’s twin brother grieving over the severed head. While asserting that anti-gay violence in Iraq is often committed by Iraqis, Hussam also said U.S. service members were involved in anti-gay hostility. For example, he said service members displayed signs in front of their barracks with the words “Fuck Off Fags.”

But the reaction from the audience turned from anger to shock when Hussam said U.S. service members had detained Iraqi civilians perceived to be gay and executed them. He then showed an image of what appeared to be an American soldier standing in front of a small group of four or five kneeling naked men who were chained together. Hussam claimed the men were gay Iraqis and that he possessed images of their execution, which he did not show the audience.

Dana Beyer, a transgender activist and Chevy Chase, Md., resident who attended the event, said she was “appalled” by the images of the atrocities, but especially by the allegation that U.S. service members were murdering gay Iraqis. “When it comes down to our armed services … who potentially have contributed to atrocities like that, I’m just appalled,” she said. “And I hope that we will pursue this through the government, through the State Department and through the Department of Defense because this just can’t be left standing.”
The men refused to turn over their photos to the Blade, saying their release might incite further attacks in Iraq. Several LGBT and human rights groups are investigating the claim.

Read the entire Blade story by Chris Johnson and Lou Chibarro.

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Gays Behave Badly At Catholic Protest

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, those red-caped Catholic loons who are on a six state hate tour of the northeast, claim they were assaulted by "pro-homosexual activists" in Rhode Island yesterday. Via Christian Newswire:
Volunteer, Rex Teodosio described the scene: "We were at a busy intersection, getting strong support for traditional marriage. Three women approached us -- one threw mayonnaise, while the other two grappled with our photographer. "Then we were sprayed with mace. Finally, a burly woman got out of a car and punched our photographer in the face. They shouted obscenities the whole time. "It happened suddenly. But we got the license plate number of the second car; someone in the first car had covered its license plate with a shirt. We filed a report with the police."

Pro-homosexual individuals have thrown water bottles, pesticide, rotten eggs and soda at TFP volunteers. But this is the first time the Catholic group was pepper sprayed, punched and sustained head injuries. Police at Warwick station responded promptly and have opened a case. Pictures and video footage of the assault are helping the investigation. "So much for tolerance," said Joseph Ferrara who was hit by the attackers. "Homosexual activists talk about tolerance, but everyone who saw the attack, saw their 'tolerance' in action. For me, these attacks reinforced my resolve to defend traditional family values. It's so important" he added.
A short account of the incident in the Providence Journal tells a slightly different story, making no mention of any punching, but confirming the use of pepper spray and the throwing of food and drink items.
The police are investigating an assault Tuesday on Bald Hill Road. The weapon of choice: soda, salsa, eggs ... "Your basic garden variety of food condiments," Capt. Robert Nelson said Wednesday. It started as the four men stood at the median on Bald Hill Road and East Avenue around 2:40 p.m. protesting against same-sex marriage. The location, Nelson noted, afforded them a roomy median and prime visibility. They caught the attention of a group of women in one of the cars. The women, who apparently objected to their message, flung a soda bottle at the men and vowed to return. And back they were, about 15 minutes later, hurling at the men a mélange of food ingredients and drinks and a full repertoire of profanities, Nelson said. One of the women swashed a protester with pepper spray. No one was hurt and no arrests have been made, Nelson said

This incident is a terrible black eye for our side if true. Can you imagine how nuts we'd all be going if marriage equality activists were pelted with food and pepper sprayed? We'd be screaming "hate crime!" We must never allow our righteous passion to devolve into any kind of physical assault. Ever. You can expect our enemies to make hay over this this incident for a very long time. We can only hope the video isn't too bad.

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Charges Dropped Against Gay Couple In Salt Lake City Trespass Case

The gay couple whose arrest for kissing on Mormon Church property in Salt Lake City spawned protests in several cities, have had the charges against them dropped.
The LDS Church always has desired its Main Street Plaza to be an inviting, beautiful space for all to enjoy. That's the problem. The privately owned plaza, with its wide promenade and gate-less entrance, is too inviting and appears too much like a public passageway. Consequently, Salt Lake City Prosecutor Sim Gill said Wednesday he will not prosecute a gay couple cited for trespassing after they shared a kiss on the plaza. "The two individuals believed -- albeit mistakenly -- that they had the right to be there," Gill said. "Fairness requires that either that property be not open to the public or you condition that [openness] in a way that the person who comes on understands that it is private property."
The couple has vowed to avoid the Main Street Plaza in the future. A national kiss-in to protest their arrest will continue as planned on August 15th. Visit the Facebook page for the Great Nationwide Kiss-In for a list of cities and times around the country.

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Neigh Means Neigh

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. Except when she's an irresistible hottie like Sugar.
A South Carolina man was charged with having sex with a horse after the animal's owner caught the act on videotape, then staked out the stable and caught him at shotgun point, authorities said Wednesday. But this wasn't the first time Rodell Vereen has been charged with buggery. He pleaded guilty last year to having sex with the same horse after owner Barbara Kenley found him in the same stable and was sentenced to probation and placed on the state's sex offender list. Kenley said she noticed several weeks ago her 21-year-old horse Sugar was acting strange and getting infections again. She noticed things in the barn had been moved around – dirt piled up and bales of hay stacked near the horse's stall at her Lazy B Stables in Longs, about 20 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach.
It's a crazy world, people.

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Albania Goes For Gay Marriage

Perhaps to bolster its campaign to join the European Union, the government of Albania has proposed legalizing same-sex marriage.
Prime minister Sali Berisha told a cabinet meeting yesterday that the law was an important move against discrimination. Albania is deeply secular but is also one of only two countries in Europe which is predominantly Muslim. Religion was banned during the Communist rule between 1944 and 1990. Although the government has admitted the move is controversial, it is thought the law is likely to pass, as Berisha's Democrats have a majority of 74 out of 140 members of parliament. The country is hoping to join the European Union. Until 1995, homosexuality carried a ten-year prison sentence in the country.
Living an openly gay life can be risky in Albania and the Council Of Europe last year called for improvements, citing widespread gay bashings and discrimination.

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WA: Judge Cloaks Names Of Haters

At the demand of right-wing Christiantists, a Washington judge has blocked the release of the names of the people who signed Referendum 71, a petition to repeal the state's new domestic partners law.
A federal judge in Tacoma has temporarily blocked release of the names and addresses of those who signed Referendum 71, which would repeal a law giving gay couples new marriage-like benefits. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle this afternoon granted a temporary restraining order requested by Protect Washington Families to stop the Secretary of State's Office from making the signers' names public. The TRO will remain in place until a hearing set for Sept. 3.

Earlier this morning, the Secretary of State Office had said that while it has no statutory authority to withhold the names, it also did not plan to contest the effort to temporarily block their release. No one from the state attorney general's office was present at this afternoon's hearing. Judge Settle cited that absence in his written order, and also gave what appears to be a nod to the strength of the referendum backers' case, writing that they "have sufficiently demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits" of their First Amendment claim, and "a reasonable likelihood of irreparable harm if the names are released."
Remember, the Ku Klux Klan wears hoods for a reason.

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HomoQuotable - Lorri Jean

"California already has the second highest prevalence rate of HIV infection in the nation and the impact on our community is grossly disproportionate. Seventy-three percent of those living with HIV/AIDS in California are gay or bisexual men (of all races and ethnicities).

"With an unemployment rate over 11% and a growing number of uninsured people, these cuts could not come at a worse time and are so severe that they even eliminate funding for viral load testing! Expecting us to provide appropriate medical care to people with HIV and AIDS without the ability to do viral load testing is like expecting a surgeon to remove a tumor without being allowed to do an x-ray or MRI to determine its location. It’s outrageous!" - Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center director Lorri Jean, on Schwarzenegger cuts to the California's HIV/AIDS programs.

RELATED: Visit Rex Wockner's blog for an important collection of quotes and statements from various HIV/AIDS organizations on the issue of cutting funds for viral load testing.

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Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Try

Rep. Alcee Hastings speaks to Rachel Maddow about how he was "thwarted" in his attempt to submit an amendment suspending the enforcement of DADT.

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Top Birther Site Goes Dark, one of the most widely-read anti-Obama and birther movement sites, has posted a "closed for lack of support" notice. World Net Daily:
"This guy is coming down, there's nothing anybody can do about it," declares Parker Shannon, a 70-year-old retiree who has documented alleged violations by Obama for the past two years from his home in suburban Boston. But Shannon stresses his decision to shut down the site had nothing to do with any kind of pressure from the government. "The Obama camp didn't get to me. They can't," he told WND. "What got to me is my fellow Americans, the cheap bastards." "I'm disappointed," he said, explaining he lives on Social Security and a small amount of retirement money. "I just am tired of doing what I'm doing, and I get 50 e-mails a day telling me I'm a great patriot and they're praying for me. I don't want to hear it. Just send me $10."

Shannon says he spent 60 to 70 hours a week on his efforts and received only $240 in the entire two years despite displaying prominent donation buttons. The home page now just has a logo and the words, "Closed. Lack of support." "There was no warning. This is freaky scary. " said Tony Licursi of Kennesaw, Ga., of the sudden shutdown. "There was more info there than [Roman historian] Tacitus could've ever dreamed."
Stand by for the "Obama had it shut down" stories.

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Texas: Black Panthers Vs. Nazis

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Open Thread Thursday

I mentioned a misheard song lyric in yesterday's 80's Flashback post and a couple of you chimed in with your own experiences with mondegreens. Let's open it up to everybody. Song title, misheard lyrics, actual lyrics.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Home Depot Is Making Children Gay!

Did you know that Home Depot is turning children around the country into baby 'mos? Cuz they totally are. From Christianist news site OneNewsNow:
Home Depot is helping to introduce children to the homosexual lifestyle. The Nashville Gay Pride website notes that Home Depot contributed more than $5,000 to help finance the 2009 festival. The retailer also participated by conducting children's craft workshops at a special booth set up for them. The company has sponsored similar children's venues at pro-homosexual events in Atlanta, Kansas City, Durham, Portland, and San Diego. Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel tells OneNewsNow the home improvement store is facilitating the exposure of children to sinful behavior. "Out of some kind of notion of political correctness and being tolerant, Home Depot is contributing to all of this," he notes. "They're contributing to the corruption of children, and they need to answer for that."
Arts & crafts booths = homosexual indoctrination. Got that?

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Sen. Chuck Schumer Introduces National Bill To Ban Texting While Driving

As only 14 states presently ban texting while driving, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today introduced a bill which would ban the practice nationwide.
The bill would force states to write laws to prohibit messaging in vehicles or risk losing 25 percent of their annual federal highway money. Federal lawmakers have used similar strategies to force states to curb speeding and pass seat-belt laws. The new legislation would also set deadlines for regulators at the U.S. Transportation Department to devise minimum penalties for states to implement. States would have two years to enact their own laws. Other sponsors of the bill include Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez (N.J.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Kay Hagan (N.C.). The introduction of the bill comes a day after the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released a study on commercial truck drivers that found texting drivers to be 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or a near miss.
NYC might consider banning texting while walking.

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WA: Haters Want To Hide Their Names

Protect Families Washington is suing the state to prevent the publication of the names of people who signed the Referendum 71 petition, which would overturn the state's brand-new domestic partners law. Washington's secretary of state says the request will be heard in court, but that the haters shouldn't hold their breath.
U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle is hearing the request for a temporary restraining order at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in Tacoma. The state will not resist the request, pending a full hearing on the merits of the case. Nick Handy, state elections director, said Wednesday, “Referendum petitions become public records under the law once they have been turned over to us by sponsors. Our consistent practice has been to make these available upon public request. By early next week we will be in a position to make these available, and absent a court order, our intent has been to respond to public records requests in a timely way.”
State officials are in the process of verifying the 135,000 signatures submitted. There is a good chance that enough of them will be judged invalid and the referendum drive will fail. In either case, the names should be made public, of course.

(Via Dominic Holden @ Slog)

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Shipping Out The Homeless

New York City is offering homeless families free one-way plane tickets if a relative elsewhere agrees to take them in.
It's part of a Bloomberg administration program to keep the homeless out of the expensive shelter system, which costs $36,000 a year per family. More than 550 families have left the city since 2007. All it takes is for a relative to agree to take them in. The city employs a travel agency to book one-way tickets for domestic travel and the Department of Homeless Services handles all international travel. City officials say there are no limits on where a family can be sent and families can reject the offer and stay in city shelters. So far, families have been sent to 24 states and 5 continents, mostly to Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. City officials say none of the relocated families have returned to city shelters.
This doesn't seem like a terrible idea. I've heard of smaller towns giving the homeless free one-way bus tickets, but at least in NYC's case, Bloomberg tries to ensure they have at least a temporary home on the other end.

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Mika - We Are Golden

(Via - Towleroad)

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Pope Angry About Gay Bible Exhibit

Pope Palpatine is pissed about an art exhibit in the UK that invited gay folks to "write their way back in" on a bible on display.
The exhibit, Untitled 2009, is part of the Made In God's Image exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow and was thought up by local artist Anthony Schrag. The intention was for gays and transsexuals who felt left out of religion to "write their way back in" to the holy book. But visitors offered pens by gallery staff had other ideas, and have scrawled a series of puerile and obscene remarks. One person wrote: “This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all,” while another wrote: "Mick Jagger and David Bowie belong in here," and another described the book as "the biggest lie in human history". Some remarks were simply offensive, with one person writing "---- the Bible". The message "I am Bi, Female & Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this,” was written on the first page of Genesis. The subsequent complaints have led to the organisers of the exhibit putting the holy book on show in a locked case and inviting visitors to write their comments on blank sheets of paper instead.
The Pope's adviser called the exhibit "disgusting and offensive" and one that the artist "would not think of doing to the Koran."

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HBO Launches Tru Blood Drink

HBO is launching a real retail drink to mirror the synthetic blood product consumed by True Blood's nicer vampires.
The blood-orange carbonated drink has a slightly tart and lightly sweet flavor that is sure to taste better than the O negative blood consumed by the show's fictional vampires. Crafted to replicate the appearance of the synthetic blood beverage preferred by the undead in the series, the real-life drink will also be called Tru Blood. "From its first season, fans have been enamored with the show and have expressed a keen interest in the Tru Blood beverage," added James Costos, vice president of licensing and retail at HBO. "We're extremely excited to be able to bring this original drink to life." Allan Ball, creator and executive producer of the series, announced the launch of the bottles at the San Diego Comic-Con convention and joked that the drink was a mixture of "wine, vodka, Vicodin, Viagra and Ecstasy" and that it was "completely illegal."
A 4-pack of Tru Blood will retail for $16. Yeah, I'll buy some as soon as it comes with a side-order of Jason Stackhouse.

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He Shot A Man In Weeno

I'm hoping for his cover of NIN's Hurt.

(Tipped by JMG reader Alan, who apologizes.)

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Lesbian Couple Celebrates 70th Year

Caroline Leto and Venera Magazzu of Dania Beach, FL, met at a party in 1939. They're still together.
Yes, couples in their 90s still argue occasionally. This is how it went recently for Caroline Leto and Venera Magazzu as they sipped lemonade on their couch in Dania Beach: "We're not going to have a party," said Magazzu, 97, insisting they are too old for such things. "Oh, yes we are," responded Leto, 96, who noted the two can still polka. "This is a big one." Indeed. A party celebrating 70 years together is a big deal for any pair. But a celebration of this couple's love takes on special meaning, considering they had to keep silent about it for decades. "You just couldn't tell everyone we were lovers," said Leto. "You tell people we're friends, and some thought we were sisters." Leto and Magazzu downplay their pioneering role in the gay and lesbian community. But many of their friends and relatives talk it up anyway, marveling at how their love was able to transcend a lifetime's worth of obstacles. To mark their Aug. 17 milestone, members of Etz Chaim, a gay and lesbian congregation in Wilton Manors, are planning a party. They hope Leto and Magazzu will attend and show everyone how to do the polka.
The pair became domestic partners in NYC in 1996. In 2001 they cowrote a self-published book titled An Unadulterated Story: Young and Gay at 90.

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80's Flashback

Yello, Bostich, 1980. The song that launched my decade-long obsession with this Swiss trio/duo. The 1980 album version of Bostich was only just over two minutes long, but the track was extended slightly for this video done four years later. And for about 15 years I had been convinced that Dieter Meier was saying, "Everybody! Pizza party!" Only when Ruffneck sampled Bostich with their 1995 hit, Everybody Be Somebody, did I realize the real lyrics. Be somebody. Pizza party. I still like my version. Trivia: Yello means "a yelled hello," according to the band.

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TN State Sen. Paul Stanley Resigns

Tennessee GOP state Sen. Paul Stanley has resigned over his adultery and blackmail scandal.
"Due to recent events, I have decided to focus my full attention on my family and resign my Senate seat effective August 10," Republican Sen. Paul Stanley wrote in his resignation letter. Court records show that Stanley, 47, told agents investigating a blackmail case that he had a sexual relationship with intern McKensie Morrison. Her boyfriend, Joel Watts, is charged with trying to extort $10,000 from Stanley in April in return for explicit photos of Morrison that Stanley had taken.
During his tenure Stanley fought to ban gay adoptions and tried to defund Planned Parenthood because "unmarried people shouldn't be having sex." Unmarried people like Stanley and the intern young enough to be his daughter? The guilty dog barks the loudest.

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CNN's Lou Dobbs: Rachel Maddow
Is A "Tea Bagging Queen"

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Bombing At Copenhagen Outgames

UPDATE: Initial press reports described the explosive devices as "small bombs," but Danish media is merely describing them as "powerful firecrackers."

The World Outgames in Copenhagen were interrupted yesterday when four explosive devices were hurled onto a running track. One athlete suffered an injury to his hand. American competitors Sam Felker and Keith Little write on their blog:
The camaraderie of the Outgames was temporarily broken this afternoon when unknown assailants tossed two explosive devices onto the track during the start of a relay," the men wrote on their blog. "One runner who was in a starting position near the explosions sustained a minor injury to his hand and was treated at the scene by paramedics. The large crowd of athletes and spectators was stunned by what can only be described as a hate crime attack. Competition resumed after consulting with the athletes who were determined not to let this incident succeed in stopping the Outgames. Police were called to the scene and were searching the premises when two more devices exploded on the track. Shortly thereafter the police arrested a suspect who was seen fleeing from a nearby church tower where it is believed the attack was launched. Police are still searching for a second suspect.
On Saturday, two local men were also arrested for the gay-bashings of three visiting athletes in central Copenhagen. All three victims were hospitalized after being kicked and beaten. There are 5000 competitors at this year's Outgames.

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Australian PM Kevin Rudd: I Said No Gay Marriage And I Meant It

Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd is "pushing back" against a Labor Party call for the federal government to legalize same-sex marriage.
Mr Rudd says he will not change the policy he took to the last election. "We went to the last election being very clear-cut about our position on marriage under the Marriage Act being between a man and a woman," he said. "We've also said that in terms of all legal discriminations against same-sex partners that we would act to remove them, and the Attorney-General has been hard at work."
The Labor Party's national conference is taking place this week.

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Rep. Alcee Hastings Submits And Withdraws DADT Suspension Amendment

Yesterday Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) submitted and then almost immediately withdrew an amendment demanding that no further funds be spent on ousting gays from the military. Hastings says he withdrew his amendment to a defense appropriations bill due to pressure from colleagues and the White House.

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SyFy Promises Gayer Future

Smarting from GLAAD's "F" rating over their lack of LGBT characters, a SyFy Channel vice president has revealed that several characters in two new series will be gay.
"On Stargate Universe, one of the main female characters, we discover, is a lesbian and has a wife at home. It's a pretty important facet of who that character is," he says. ER alum Ming-Na plays intergalactic diplomat Camille Wray, while 24's Reiko Aylesworth recurs as her wife. Similarly the Galactica prequel spin-off Caprica has at least two main characters depicted as being in gay relationships. "[One] is a 'goodfella'-type, and we discover in a nonchalant way that he is gay, with a husband," Stern says. "It was very interesting to me to take what is traditionally a very heterosexual role in an organization that we think of as being extremely homophobic, and put a gay character in that world in a very normalized way." The other aformentioned Caprica character is part of a communal marriage featuring "heterosexual as well as homosexual couplings." In both the SGU and Caprica examples, the character's sexuality is merely one facet of who they are, says Stern.
Stern says the characters' gayness will be "naturalistic," with no commentary necessary about their sexuality.

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Governator Slashes AIDS Funding

As feared and protested, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has dramatically slashed funding for California's HIV prevention and AIDS treatment programs. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation laments:
Today’s cuts to HIV/AIDS programs include: an 80% reduction in funding for Education & Prevention, a 70% cut in HIV Counseling and Testing, a 50% cut for Early Intervention (that provides primary medical care), a 100% cut in Therapeutic Monitoring Program (the program that monitors the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS drugs administered through the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program), a 20% cut in Housing and more than a 50% cut in funding for Home and Community-Based Care.

“With a single stroke of his blue pencil, Governor Schwarzenegger has terminated the state’s AIDS programs and, along with it, the lives of some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The Governor’s heartless act is not only deadly, but guaranteed to cost California taxpayers millions more in the future. With HIV testing programs sidelined and the state’s ability to prevent new infections stymied, new infections in California will increase—each new infection can mean up to $600,000 dollars in lifetime health care costs. A 100% cut to the Therapeutic Monitoring Program is the definition of penny-wise and pound-foolish—with the ability to monitor the effectiveness of lifesaving AIDS drugs hampered, the state’s already cash-strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Program will only end up spending more for drugs.”
AHF is the nation's largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Miss Universe On Gay Marriage: Why Not?

Since we've been forced to care about the opinions of beauty queens this year, I suppose it's worth noting that Miss Universe endorsed marriage equality on the Howard Stern show today.
Howard Stern took a cue from Perez Hilton and asked Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza if she would support the legalization of gay marriage. Mendoza danced around the issue a bit at first, stating that Carrie Prejean had the right to think whatever she wanted and “why should I care” what the second-runner up to the Miss USA crown thinks. When pressed further, Dayana Mendoza stated that she had several close gay friends in her life that she would like to see be able to spend the rest of their lives with the people that they loved. Howard Stern cornered her on what has apparently become the most compelling pageant question of our generation: “Should gay marriage be legal?” “Why not?” responded Dayana Mendoza. Dayana Mendoza joked that if her stance on gay marriage conflicted with her Miss Universe title, she only has about a month in her reign anyway. “Bravo!” called out Howard Stern Show openly gay guest announcer George Takei.
Like the Miss California USA pageant, Miss Universe is owned by Donald Trump.

(Tipped by JMG reader John)

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NBC Responds To GLAAD

NBC has issued a response to GLAAD's failing grade for their lack of gay characters.

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Glenn Beck Calls Obama A Racist

Beck: "I'm not saying Obama doesn't like white people, but I am saying that he's a racist." Wait, what?

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Record Season For Broadway

Despite the miserable economy, the just-finished 2008-2009 Broadway season brought in a record $943M in ticket sales, more than any in the 24 years since collective records were kept. And the 2010 season looks promising.

Once wary of the recession’s potential effect on tourists filling theater seats, Broadway producers have brightened their outlooks on the upcoming season, Variety reports. “It feels like there’s a lot of excitement early,” Broadway League executive director Charlotte St. Martin said. The upcoming season is slated to include high-profile productions with equally high hunk quotients like A Steady Rain, starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. Julie Taymor, who won the 1997 best director Tony Award for The Lion King, collaborated with U2’s Bono and the Edge for a musical superhero send up titled Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming.

I still need to get to Hair, dammit.

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Sotomayor Moves Forward, 13-6

As expected, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was the lone GOP vote for Sonia Sotomayor today, joining a dozen Judiciary Committee Democrats in forwarding her nomination to the full Senate for approval.
Two of the veteran GOP senators who voted against her, Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) and Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), have never before opposed a Supreme Court nominee. The committee's vote was more polarized than its September 2005 vote on the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr., who is now the court's chief justice, when three Democrats joined the panel's Republicans in supporting his confirmation. Tuesday's vote, however, was less divided than the vote on the most recent nominee, Samuel A. Alito Jr., in January 2006, when the panel endorsed him by splitting entirely along party lines.
The full Senate will begin debating Sotomayor's nomination next week.

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Wardrobe Malfunction

Olympic gold medalist Ricky Berens split the backside of his bodysuit just before his heat in the world championships in Rome, but decided to swim anyway. He won. Unrelated to Berens' buttcrack, swimming's governing body decided today to ban the full bodysuits in future competitions after numerous speed records were broken thanks to their high-tech materials.

(Tipped by JMG reader Matthew)

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Mmmm, Bouncy

Time-lapse video shows us how the Manhattan Bridge bounces as subway trains cross over. Which is how suspension bridges are supposed to work, but it's a little freaky to watch, nonetheless.

(Tipped by JMG reader BKDan)

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Remember The Party - October 11th

Remember The Party, the annual reunion of San Francisco's legendary Trocadero Transfer disco, takes place October 11th.
The Mothership S.S. Trocadero Transfer is ready to transport all earthlings on an interplanetary, most extraordinary trip across the universe and back! In this incarnation of Remember The Party, all passengers will be experiencing Close Encounters Of The Disco Kind! Commencing countdown. Engines on. Fasten your seat belts, it's gonna be an exhilarating ride. Your pilot and tour guide for this extra terrestrial flight of disco fantasy will be the legendary Starfleet Crew Captain DJ Jerry Bonham. His cockpit is ready for inspection, all systems go. The RTP lighting team have their phasers set to stunning and will be materializing a heavenly show of shimmering cosmic lights that would make the Aurora Borealis blush. With Cpt. Jerry at the helm, we are assured of a journey which will soar beyond the clouds into a heavenly soulful upper atmosphere, then into the stratosphere where we go back to another space and time.
Advance tickets are $20 and are available here.

RELATED: As I mentioned back in May, I'll be celebrating my 50th birthday at Remember The Party. (Sorry, Cleve.) We've got a huge NYC crew coming, as well as some of my peeps from around the country. Jerry Bonham (my favorite DJ in the world), all my BFFs, and a night of disco classics. It just doesn't get any better.

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Sarah Palin, Poet

Only William Shatner. Classic!

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The Cost Of Equality

Newly released documents reveal that pro-marriage equality advocates outspent the opposition in Vermont by more than 7-1.
The leading proponent of Vermont's gay marriage bill spent about $294,000 on lobbying and advertising in advance of the Legislature's vote -- more than seven times as much as opponents did, according to disclosure forms filed Monday. Through its task force and an action committee, Vermont Freedom to Marry spent $65,866 of that in the week before the April 7 vote by the Democrat-controlled Vermont house, which passed the bill in a 100-49 vote to override the veto of Republican Gov. Jim Douglas. Under the state Constitution, the override vote needed a two-thirds majority, or at least 100 votes. Meanwhile, same-sex marriage opponents spent only $41,769 on their campaign, according to final disclosure forms filed Monday.
The anti-gay group Take It To The People says that gays "should be embarrassed" that they spent so much money only to win marriage equality by one vote. I don't know about being "embarrassed," but what happened in Vermont should be instructive for what is coming in Maine.

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80's Flashback

Malcolm McLaren, Madame Butterfly, 1984. One of my absolute favorites of the decade. There's not much to the video, just a bunch of bored Robert Palmer girls pouting in a sauna, but man this track used to kill during morning music sets at Fort Lauderdale's Copa. Wait for Betty Ann White's last note. Take it away, Cho Cho.

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The Magic Of Blue

Urban legend says the green M&Ms make you horny, but there's something in the blue ones that really might prove useful.
The food dye that gives blue M&M's their colour can help mend spinal injuries, researchers say. The compound Brilliant Blue G blocks a chemical that kills healthy spinal cord cells around the damaged area - an event that often causes more irreversible damage than the original injury. BBG not only reduced the size of the lesion but also improved the recovery of motor skills, tests on rats showed. Those treated with BBG were later able to walk, although with a limp. Rats that did not receive the BBG solution never regained the ability to walk. On the downside, the treatment causes the skin to temporarily turn bright blue and BBG needs to be injected soon after the trauma. The test injections were given within 15 minutes.
Human trials will not begin until more animal testing has been done, but researchers say they are optimistic that acute spinal cord injuries could be treated with the compound within a few years.

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Brazilian LGBT Group Granted UN Status

Over the objections of 19 countries, the United Nations has granted official status to a Brazilian gay group. The Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders will now be able to take part in meetings on a broad range of topics, including health and human rights. Last year similar organizations from Spain and Sweden were granted official status.

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Proposed DOMA Repeal Would Force Full Faith And Credit Issue

A proposed repeal of DOMA floated by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) would not include federal rights for couples in domestic partnerships and civil unions, but would force states to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. The Bay Area Reporter:
Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-New York), in an exclusive interview with the B.A.R. while attending the annual Human Rights Campaign gala in San Francisco Saturday, July 25, ruled out including anything other than legally recognized marriages in the legislation he plans to introduce either this week or once Congress returns from its August recess. "No, it will not include domestic partnerships or civil unions. It is going to be just marriage," said Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and therefore, will be the lead sponsor of legislation aimed at repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Under DOMA's Section 3 the federal government is forbidden from recognizing LGBT couples married in the six states where same-sex marriage is legal. Section 2 of the law says those states that outlaw same-sex marriages do not have to recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states. Nadler said his bill would repeal both sections of DOMA.
Nadler says he won't speculate on the eventual outcome of his bill, but he is sure that "it won't pass this year."

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Amnesty International: Irish Civil Partnerships Are Second-Class Citizenship

Amnesty International is issuing a stern condemnation of the Ireland's plan to offer civil partnerships for gay couples, saying the unions are for "second-class people."
Amnesty International Ireland executive director Colm O'Gorman is to describe civil partnerships as "a second-class form of marriage for what the government clearly feels is a second-class group of people" in a speech tonight in Belfast. In a statement, O'Gorman said: "At a time when countries around the world are moving forward, ending inequalities, we are enshrining discrimination in Irish law. This is not about the right to marry; it is about the right not to be discriminated against because of who you love. Failure to provide full marriage equality means that same-sex couples will not have full protection under the law." Describing the decision as "cowardly", he pointed to scare stories about "gay bogeymen" stealing children and also cited a recent newspaper columnist arguing that women will be more likely to have abortions rather than have children adopted out of fear they could end up with a gay couple.
The Irish government says it will not consider same-sex marriage as it would require a change in the national constitution.

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