Monday, November 30, 2009

Courage Campaign Pulls Out Of 2010 Proposition 8 Repeal Effort

The Courage Campaign today announced their withdrawal from the campaign to place a repeal of California's Proposition 8 on the 2010 ballot. Most major LGBT and progressive groups have opposed a 2010 effort, preferring to wait until 2012. Via press release:
"For months, we have laid out the criteria for moving forward. Like the Obama Campaign, we understand that we need a combination of powerful and clear research that informs an expertly run campaign, an unstoppable movement that harnesses the new energy we have seen since the passage of Prop. 8 and the connections through personal stories and outreach in order to win at the ballot box," said Rick Jacobs, the Courage Campaign founder and Chair. "We are taking the lessons learned from last year's Prop. 8 campaign, the campaigns in Maine and other states to understand the fundamental work that must be done before moving forward in California. We also must come together as a community to create a broad coalition and governance structure, put in place a strong manager and secure the resources to win. Right now, the pieces are not all in place to do so confidently."
The above excerpted press release also announces a partnership between the Courage Campaign and Lambda Legal. With the withdrawal of the Courage Campaign, that pretty much only leaves Love Honor Cherish working to get enough signatures to place a repeal on the 2010 ballot.

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Rescue Marriage! You Can't Have Spousal Abuse Without A Spouse!

The hilarious folks at Rescue Marriage, the group that faked out the American Family Association with their tongue-in-cheek campaign to ban divorce in California, have really stepped up their game.

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Daily Grumble

Realizing that complaining about one's cable provider is as fruitless as complaining about the weather, I still must vent about Time-Warner's "paperless" billing system. In addition to providing your 87 digit account number, to pay online one must also enter a "customer code," which, hello, is only available on the paper bills. And of course, to get your customer code you have to call them and spend 20-30 minutes navigating useless menus before finally getting a real person in Bangalore to scream at. Aside from the idiocy of requiring two unique codes to pay one's bill, requiring a phone call to get one of those numbers defeats the point of "online" billing, dunnit? The icing on the cake was the below message I got when trying to send an annoyed email. When is our communist/socialist leader going to nationalize the cable industry? I'm standing by.
UPDATE: Almost forgot. To pay by phone, as I finally did, Time-Warner charges a $1.99 "transaction fee." Five minutes later, I got a robo-call survey asking what I thought of their "customer service."

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Candidates Vie For Gay Vote In Atlanta's Mayoral Runoff Election

Atlanta, according to one survey, is the third-gayest city in the nation. That may be why both candidates in the city's mayoral runoff election are battling to win the LGBT vote.
"I cannot recall a mayor's race when there's been so much attention placed on the gay and lesbian vote," said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the state's largest gay rights group. "All of a sudden, overnight, it's like an unbelievable push [to prove] who's gayer," added Glen Paul Freedman, chief of staff for City Council President Lisa Borders. Eleven days after the November vote, Norwood -- who would be the first white mayor of Atlanta since the 1970s -- was outside the state Capitol for a rally protesting Proposition 8, California's anti-gay-marriage measure. She told the crowd she had sent a donation to the forces fighting Prop. 8, and called herself "the only mayoral candidate who supports full marriage equality." A rainbow flag icon is now featured prominently on Norwood's campaign website; it links to a page reminding viewers that "each person in a couple" can contribute $1,200 to a candidate in the runoff.

Her rival, Reed -- a favorite of Atlanta's civil rights establishment who favors gay civil unions, not marriage -- has touted his pro-gay-rights record in the Legislature, where he sponsored a hate crimes bill that extended protections to gays. Reed, in a recent televised debate, attacked Norwood for missing a City Council vote on a measure to extend pension benefits to domestic partners of city employees. "I think it's great that they're paying attention to our issues," said Philip Rafshoon, founder and general manager of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, in the heart of the heavily gay Midtown neighborhood. "And I think this community will hold their feet to the fire on those issues."
Gay turnout will likely be boosted by two openly gay candidates running for Atlanta's city council and for the state legislature.

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80's Flashback

The Flying Pickets, Only You, 1983. In 1980 Vince Clarke was going through two divorces, one with his wife and one with Depeche Mode. It's not known which divorce inspired Only You, but when Clarke's former band declined to record it, he brought the track with him to Yaz/Yazoo. As the new band's first release, in 1982 he and vocalist Alison Moyet took it to #2 in the UK and #67 in America, where the single's b-side, Situation, was also released separately as a 12", hitting #1 on Billboard's dance chart. The following year British acapella group The Flying Pickets (whose name indicated support for England's striking miners) covered Only You, taking it to #1 for five weeks in the UK, where it remains a Christmas-time radio classic. In 1984 the group returned to the UK Top Ten with an acapella cover of the Marvelette's 1967 smash When You're Young And In Love, but the act never had another hit. The Flying Pickets' Only You remains the UK's only acapella #1 hit single. Bobby McFerrin's 1988 single Don't Worry, Be Happy is the only such song to reach #1 in the states, but purists point out that McFerrin's track employs multiple overdubbings and cannot be performed live. Only You has been covered by many other artists, including Judy Collins, Rita Coolidge, and Enrique Inglesias. My favorite version is the one below. Dig the groovy hairstyles.

CORRECTION!: Sharp readers point out that the Housemartins' 1986 acapella cover of the Isley Brothers' Caravan Of Love also reached #1 in the UK - something not mentioned on the recap of acapella hit singles I used for this post. D'oh!

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Today In Viral Videos

The fakery tipoff is on the side of the bus.

(Via - Gothamist)

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Olson & Boies: Gays On Trial

Over at The American Prospect, Gabriel Arana discusses the risks and payoff inherent in David Boies and Ted Olson's gambit of taking the repeal of Prop 8 to federal court.
The stakes are high. If Perry v. Schwarzenegger reaches the Supreme Court and Boies and Olson are successful, gays and lesbians nationwide would not only have the right to marry, they stand to gain many of the legal rights they have sought for decades. Don't Ask, Don't Tell would be invalidated, as would employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. In the eyes of the law, gay people would be equal to straight people, and any legislation that discriminated against them could be challenged and easily struck down against this precedent. However, defeat could legitimize such discrimination against LGBT Americans, making it far more difficult to sue for parental or housing rights. The door to any federal litigation on marriage equality would be shut for decades. This is risky because Boies and Olson are entering a legal no-man's land. The coalition of lawyers who fought to overturn Prop. 8 at the state level decided not to mount a federal challenge "because federal litigation puts in play the federal doctrines that as yet are underdeveloped," Pizer says. Marriage and family law tend to be state law, she explains, and the federal framework is sketchy.
As Arana notes and as we have discussed here many times, major LGBT rights groups did not and do not want this case brought in federal court until they are absolutely certain of a win, as a loss could potentially set the movement back for decades. But Arana says that even a loss would not necessarily be the disaster that LGBT groups fear.
A Supreme Court loss could galvanize a movement that, at least in California, was dumbstruck that gay rights didn't just come as a matter of course. Indeed, as legislatures and city councils in D.C., New York, and Washington state move to enact gay rights, the promise of equality seems to lie increasingly in local, grass-roots efforts. Decades of fervent activism are what made the legislative victories in Vermont and New Hampshire possible, and they are an indication of public support that no court can grant.
(Tipped by JMG reader Huntington)

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Caption This

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NOM Included For Chase Bank's Charity Donations Contest

Chase Bank is running a holiday contest on Facebook in which readers can vote for which charities should get a chunk of Chase's $5M donation fund. Among the list of anti-gay (and gay-friendly) groups is NOM. Queerty notes that the drop-down menu of charities probably came from a "standard non-profit database provider, without much editing on Chase's part." But also pointed out is that NOM violates Chase's own policy that groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation (among other things) are not eligible for the contest. Click over to Facebook and help keep the haters out of the dough. You can also email Chase to request that they review the charities that they have on their list:

(Image via Queerty)

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Hollywood Vs. New York City

Four decades of the cinematic destruction of New York City, stirringly set to George Gershwin.

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Mustache Sexiness Timeline

I guess I'm presently rocking the "ironic" stache, but that's only because I accidentally left the guard off the clippers while trimming my beard.

(Via - The Daily What)

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Episcopal Priests In Massachusetts OK'd To Officiate At Gay Weddings

In a decision sure to rile the Christian right, the Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts has granted priests permission to solemnize same-sex weddings.
The decision by Bishop M. Thomas Shaw III was immediately welcomed by advocates of gay rights in the Episcopal Church, who have chafed at local rules that allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, but not sign the documents that would solemnize their marriages. The decision is likely to exacerbate tensions in the Episcopal Church and the global denomination to which it belongs, the Anglican Communion, which has faced significant division in the wake of the election of an openly gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. “The time has come,’’ Shaw said in a telephone interview. “It’s time for us to offer to gay and lesbian people the same sacrament of fidelity that we offer to the heterosexual world.’’

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American Right-Wing Christians Behind Uganda's "Kill Gays" Bill

Last month we learned that Uganda, where being gay can already bring a life sentence, was considering a death penalty for homosexual acts in certain situations. The proposed new law is now before Uganda's parliament.
Life imprisonment is the minimum punishment for anyone convicted of having gay sex, under an anti-homosexuality bill currently before Uganda's parliament. If the accused person is HIV positive or a serial offender, or a "person of authority" over the other partner, or if the "victim" is under 18, a conviction will result in the death penalty. Members of the public are obliged to report any homosexual activity to police with 24 hours or risk up to three years in jail – a scenario that human rights campaigners say will result in a witchhunt. Ugandans breaking the new law abroad will be subject to extradition requests. "The bill is haunting us," said Mugisha, 25, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a coalition of local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex groups that will all be banned under the law. "If this passes we will have to leave the country."
The bill has been denounced by the Swedish government and by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has condemned the bill as well.

Over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Timothy Kincaid and Jim Burroway have been tracking the connection to the bill by American right-wing Christians, in particular by the secretive "Family," which includes as members prominent GOP politicians like Sen. John Ensign and SC Gov. Mark Sanford. The push for the "kill gays" bill in Uganda is being promoted and funded by the Family. Go to Box Turtle Bulletin for an exhaustive recounting of the ties between Uganda, the Family, and the Christianist right.

Among those with close ties to Ugandans promoting the "kill gays" bill is Saddleback megachurch Pastor Rick Warren, who has hosted many appearance by Ugandan Pastor Martin Ssempa, one of the bill's leading advocates. Warren has since denounced Ssempa's extreme anti-gay stance. But yesterday on Meet The Press, Warren refused to distance himself from "kill gays" bill itself, saying, "I never take sides." Of course, we know differently from Warren's endorsement of Proposition 8.

What we are seeing in Uganda is a vivid depiction of what some on the Christian right would like to see in America. They are testing the waters there, dipping their vile toes into Uganda's government, seeing just how far they can take an anti-gay pogrom. Watch closely.

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Chinese Government Opens Gay Bar To Teach About Safe Sex

The Chinese government is opening a gay bar in the Yunnan province in order to help stem the country's rising incidence of HIV/AIDS.
The bar for gays will open tomorrow, World AIDS Day, financed by public funds to the tune of 120,000 yuan ($17, 576), the Beijing News said, offered by Dali Prefecture government, and is to be run by The Good Friend Center, a non-governmental organization for gay men. Yunnan has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country, official data indicates. Zhang Jianbo, the bar's manager, told the Global Times that the bar will not be operated for merely commercial purposes but rather serve as a platform to raise awareness of its gay clients about safe sex practice among them. "We might not even sell beverages in the bar. We will turn the bar into a tribune to offer lectures and training to gay people in order to reduce AIDS infections among them," he said. Health Minister Chen Zhu said days ago that homosexual sex among gay and bisexual men accounted for 32 percent of the total HIV/AIDS transmission in China, where sexual transmission was the main cause of the great majority of new HIV/AIDS cases last year.
Is a bar without beverages still a bar? In 2001, China removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

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Twitter: 2009's Most Popular Word

Earlier this month, Oxford American Dictionary declared "unfriend" to be the word of 2009. Now some outfit called the Global Language Monitor has named Twitter as the most popular English-language word of the year.
The Global Language Monitor has announced that Twitter is the Top Word of 2009 in its annual global survey of the English language. Twittered was followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire. The near-ubiquitous suffix, 2.0, was No. 6, with Deficit, Hadron the object of study of CERN’s new atom smasher, Healthcare, and Transparency rounded out the Top 10. In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words. Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor. “Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku. One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds.” The Top Words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers.
Here's how they got to Twitter as most popular word.
The analysis was completed in late November using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.
The top expression of the year was "King of pop." Runners-up: Obama-mania, climate change, swine flu, too big to fail.

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The Decade From Hell

Dubya, 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, Wall Street. TIME Magazine gets it right when they call the aughties "the decade from hell."
Bookended by 9/11 at the start and a financial wipeout at the end, the first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post–World War II era. We're still weeks away from the end of '09, but it's not too early to pass judgment. Call it the Decade from Hell, or the Reckoning, or the Decade of Broken Dreams, or the Lost Decade. Call it whatever you want — just give thanks that it is nearly over. Calling the 2000s "the worst" may seem an overwrought label in a decade in which we fought no major wars, in historical terms. It is a sadly appropriate term for the families of the thousands of 9/11 victims and soldiers and others killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the lack of a large-scale armed conflict makes these past 10 years stand out that much more. This decade was as awful as any peacetime decade in the nation's entire history. Between the West's ongoing struggle against radical Islam and our recent near-death economic experience — trends that have largely skirted much of the developing world — it's no wonder we feel as if we've been through a 10-year gauntlet. Americans may have the darkest view of recent history, since it's in the U.S. that the effects of those trends have been most acute. If you live in Brazil or China, you have had a pretty good decade economically. Once, we were the sunniest and most optimistic of nations. No longer.
On the gay side of the decade, it was a mixed bag. We gained marriage rights in seven states, but then lost them in two. In 31 states bigoted bans on same-sex marriage were passed, but a handful of states enacted some other recognition of gay relationships. Hate crimes legislation was finally passed, but other critical LGBT rights issues remain mired. Gay people have never been more visible, but our enemies have never been more emboldened.

We must all work together to ensure that 2010 ushers in a decade where complete civil equality for LGBT people exists at every level of government. Can you imagine the day when we can finally retire the entire LGBT civil rights movement? Dare we dream of a life without opinion polls, ballot drives, fundraising, and election night gut-clenching? Could the next decade be the one in which we can happily ignore the hatred of the Christian right and the vile actions of the likes of Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, James Dobson, and Peter LaBarbera? I think it's doable. It's going to get even uglier, I fear, before it gets much better. But I also think there's a very good chance that ten years from now, we here on this here website thingy might look back with fondness and pride on "the Gay Decade." Make it so.

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You Don't Get To Kill Somebody Because He Is Wearing A Dress

In his confession to the decapitation murder of gay teen Jorge Mercado, Juan Martinez Matos (left) claimed that Mercado had been dressed as a woman in an area known for prostitution, driving him, he claimed, to murder Mercado in "gay panic" once he discovered Mercado's true gender. But according to Puerto Rican activist Pedro Julio Serrano, those close to Mercado are calling bullshit on that claim. Via Doug Ireland at Gay City News:
“None of Jorge Steven’s friends, and I’ve spoken to many of them, knew anything about his ever having engaged in sex work, not his family, and not the police,” Serrano, who met with investigators on the case, told this reporter. “Nor was he known as a cross-dresser. He identified and lived as a very proud gay man, he was very genuine and authentic. He was just very fashion-oriented and what you could call a gender-bender, but not in a transgendered way.” Serrano added, “We do not know if the murderer’s claim that Jorge Steven was wearing a dress is true or not, because the body had been so dismembered, its legs and arms and torso strewn in different locations, and it had also been burned along with the clothes he was wearing.” In footage aired on Telemundo-Puerto Rico, Martínez was asked by a reporter if he was gay, to which he replied no, and added, López “tried to kill me.” When he realized that López was a man, Martínez said he regressed to an incident when he was sexually assaulted during a prison term, Telemundo and local reports said. “He had a deep-seated rage,” said prosecutor Bermudez. Martínez’ lawyer has since indicated that he will employ a “gay panic” defense.
Obviously, whether Mercado was in drag or not, or was a sex worker or not, is completely irrelevant to the horrific crime committed against him. That his killer is claiming such is evidence that he knows he can gain more sympathy if others believe he was "tricked" by a man pretending to be a woman. Sadly, that belief is not limited to outsiders. Below, Pedro Julio Serrano ferociously criticizes the audience at a gay nightclub for anti-trans comments made in the wake of Jorge Mercado's murder.

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Cooking Is Hard

Students at a culinary school in Colombia have created a Viagra-laced parfait called "the love dessert." But it can't actually be sold because of prescription drug laws. Points for passion fruit as an ingredient, though.

(Tipped by JMG reader Richard in Vancouver)

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The Problem With "No Problem"

A columnist in the Boston Globe notes the problem some folks have with "no problem."
As “no problem” has caught on and spread, replacing “you’re welcome” in situations ranging from casual personal encounters to business deals, the number, vigor, and shrillness of the complaints in etiquette columns and Internet forums has spread along with it. The reasons given - or unstated - are varied. Many especially dislike hearing “no problem” in commercial transactions and from folks in customer service jobs, since, as the customer is always right, nothing a customer could ask for could ever be “a problem.” “I assume my business is not a problem,” huffed one complainer on the message boards at the Visual Thesaurus. Others on the Internet have taken the same tack: “Why would it be a problem? It’s her job, isn’t it?” and “It better damn well NOT be a problem, because I just gave you my money.” Some dwell on the counterfactual: “I always wonder if the person would have helped me if they had known it would be a problem.” And from Twitter: “I know it’s no problem. You rang up my orange juice. How could that be a...problem?”
According to the language nudges, other no-nos include: anytime, no biggie, no worries, no problemo, don't worry about it. The only one I don't care for is "no worries," but I don't tend to like Australianisms and Britishisms in general. Unless you're actually Australian or British. In that case, no biggie.

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Irish Priest: Molestation Cover-Up Scandal Goes Right To The Top In Rome

BBC radio host and newspaper columnist Father Brian D'Arcy says that the blame for the Catholic Church's unfolding child molestation cover-up scandal in Dublin goes all the way to Rome.
One of Ireland's best-loved priests, Father Brian D'Arcy, has called for the resignation of clergy who knowingly covered up for child sex-abuse priests. Five bishops who once served in the Dublin Archdiocese when the abuse was taking place and took no action have faced resignation calls over the Murphy Report, which found child sex-abuse rampant. D'Arcy, a well-known media figure and commentator, said the findings of the Murphy Report were "absolutely sickening." And he said that when he served on the Council of Priests in Dublin during the 1990s, he never even "heard a hint" of accusations of abuse. This is not just in the Diocese, this goes right to the top in Rome," he said. "I must have read about a dozen reports from all over the world, from Boston right through to the Ryan Report, the Ferns report, the Dublin report and reports from Australia, and they seem just the same," he told the the "Eamonn Keane Show" on Newstalk Radio. "Yesterday, I just felt physically sick. This morning I have to get up and I try to read it again and I still felt physically sick and I still am physically sick having read the kind of abuse that was perpetrated on innocent children by people who, in a sense were colleagues of mine, because I did spend quite a number of years working within the Dublin Archdiocese in Mount Argus."
The leader of Ireland's Fine Gael political party has called on the nation's bishops to resign. Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick, who is named in the Murphy Report, has refused to step down. Ireland's Cardinal Seán Brady has issued a statement saying he is "deeply sorry and ashamed," and promises that no one in the Catholic Church "is above the law."

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Photo Of The Day - Burj Dubai

Gizmodo notes that the Burj Dubai, "the world’s tallest, most absurdly ostentatious building," has become the literal lightening rod of the Middle East. That lightning seeks out the Burj Dubai isn't particularly surprising; the Empire State Building gets hit all the time. But given the relative infrequency of electrical storms in that region of the world, folks are starting to wonder what's going on. Gizmodo has lots more cool photos and thinks that when the hotel portion of the 162-story building opens in January, the ad campaign should feature the lightning strikes. What's Arabic for "Put The Spark Back In Life"?

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday: A Very MARY Holiday

Broadway Speaks OUT's holiday concert to benefit the Ali Forney Center is tomorrow (Monday). Get tickets here.

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Los Angeles Times Condemns The Manhattan Declaration

In an editorial published yesterday, the Los Angeles Times strongly condemned the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration, calling it "irresponsible and dangerous" and warning that the document may embolden anti-abortion terrorists.
The impression left is that the legal environment in which churches must operate is reminiscent of the Roman Empire that threw Christians to the lions. Never mind that advocates of same-sex civil marriage and legal abortion have made significant concessions to believers or that religious groups have recourse to courts, which have aggressively protected the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. In 1993, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, exempting believers in some cases from having to comply with applicable laws.

This apocalyptic argument for lawbreaking is disingenuous, but it is also dangerous. Did the Roman Catholic bishops who signed the manifesto consider how their endorsement of lawbreaking in a higher cause might embolden the antiabortion terrorists they claim to condemn? Did they stop to think that, by reserving the right to resist laws they don't like, they forfeit the authority to intervene in the enactment of those laws, as they have done in the congressional debate over healthcare reform? They need to be reminded that this is a nation of laws, not of men -- even holy men.
Meanwhile Bill O'Reilly complains on Townhall that the "secular media" has given the Manhattan Declaration little attention and wonders "are people of faith as upset as some of their leadership with the secularism of America?"

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New Jersey's Catholics Asked To Pray Against Marriage Equality Today

The Catholic priests of New Jersey have been instructed by their bishops to ask their congregations to pray against the passage of same-sex marriage today.
The bishops’ letter restates Catholic teachings that marriage should be allowed only between a man and a woman. It says prayer is timely "because marriage faces challenges from a society more focused on individual satisfaction than on the Gospel. "One of the most serious challenges," it continues, "is the current effort to pass Bills in the New Jersey legislature that would change the very definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman in order to allow same-sex ‘marriage.’ We must not stand silent in the face of this serious challenge." The letter also asks Catholics to "pledge their personal support" for family members, including those "who choose to remain single" -- a reference to gay people and heterosexual people, according to James Goodness, a spokesman for the Newark Archdiocese.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Guest Post - Carl Siciliano

This has been a brutal year for LGBT youth. From the vicious murder last week of Jorge Mercado, to the deadly attack on the LGBT Youth Center in Tel Aviv, to the two thirteen year old boys who committed suicide in the spring because of anti-gay bullying in their schools, we see that youth are increasingly under attack by the forces of homophobia.

At the Ali Forney Center we see the cruel effects of homophobia on our youth as hundreds of kids who have been rejected and cast out by homophobic parents flock to us for help. Last year we served over 1000 kids. By housing and protecting them, and giving them the support they need to rebuild their lives, we send out a clear message that the lives of LGBT youth do matter. We show that they are just as deserving of love as anyone else.

In this last year, many JoeMyGod readers have been very generous to AFC. I am deeply grateful for the support. One very easy way to help us is by casting an online vote for us here. AFC is one of 25 charities nominated by the employees of Liquid Net for an online competition. The ten charities that receive the most votes will receive awards from $10K to $25K. If you could take 30 seconds to cast a vote for us, I would be very appreciative.

Carl Siciliano
Executive Director
Ali Forney Center

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Photo Of The Day - Analemma

Get your minds out of the gutter, you dirty birds. Analemma is the tracking of the positions of the sun in the sky. The above photograph was taken in Crimea at same time, every ten days, for twelve months. (A couple days were missed due to bad weather.)

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Trans LA Times Sports Columnist Mike Penner/Christine Daniels Dies At 52

In 2007 Los Angeles Times sports writer Mike Penner announced in his column that after a vacation, he would be returning to work as Christine Daniels, a transition that was met with surprising support from the sports world and Penner's colleagues. But in a decision commonly called "transgender regret," Penner revealed in February of this year that he was now once again Mike. Today the LA Times reports that Penner has committed suicide.
Colleagues said today that Penner was found dead at his Los Angeles home and that suicide was the suspected cause of death. He was 52. "He was one of the most talented writers I've ever worked with," said Times Sports Editor Mike James, adding that Penner covered numerous beats including the National Football League and sports media during his more than two-decade-long career at the paper. "He was a gentle man, a kind man," James said. "It's just a tragedy."
I imagine that the enemies of transgender rights will now attempt to spin Penner's tragic end into some kind of "proof" that all trans people are suicidal or mentally ill.

(Via - LGBT POV)

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Beck/Palin Or Palin/Beck?

In the clip on the left, Glenn Beck says about a Palin/Beck ticket: "Beck-Palin, I'll consider. But Palin-Beck -- can you imagine, can you imagine what an administration with the two of us would be like? What? Come on! She'd be yapping or something, and I'd say, 'I'm sorry, why am I hearing your voice? I'm not in the kitchen.'"

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Rush Limbaugh: West Point Cadets Should "Detain" President Obama

President Obama will make a speech about Afghanistan from West Point. Rush Limbaugh wants the cadets to "detain him," presumably for crimes against America.

(Via - Media Matters)

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Tweet Fail

The general manager and news director of an Alabama TV station were suspended for a week after their project to Tweet their news items directly to a roadside billboard resulted in the above image.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Glenn Beck In 1986

The so-called future of the GOP came from a "morning zoo" format radio show with a chimpanzee as a co-host. This is not surprising.

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The March Towards Theocracy

The Family Policy Council of Washington state, stinging from their R-71 defeat, says that any legal basis for separation of church and state is a myth. And it's perfectly fine to make laws based on the Bible. Transcript via Lurleen:
No, the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear anywhere in the United States or Washington State constitutions. Regardless, the fact that people of a particular religious faith share common ideas does not mean that those ideas are necessarily unconstitutional because nthey are religious. To the contrary, our laws against stealing, killing, lying, perjury, incest, rape, battery and destruction of property were all religious tenets long before they were laws. Now no one wants to repeal the criminal code because its major themes were first recorded in the Bible. Now the idea that a preference for heterosexual marriage is unconstitutional is [sic] simply because it is consistent with religious doctrine is legally and constitutionally unsupportable. Now our Founding Fathers wanted to avoid a situation where a religious organization wrote the laws for the county. However, they did not intend to create a country in which citizens and elected officials were forbidden from reading, discussing, thinking about or even legislating ideas that happen to be religious in nature.

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Tiger Woods Seriously Injured In Car Crash

Golf legend Tiger Woods was seriously injured early this morning in a single-car accident near Orlando.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the PGA star hit a fire hydrant and tree as he pulled out of his driveway in his 2009 Cadillac sport utility vehicle. Woods was taken to Health Central Hospital. Officials there did not have record of him as a patient, though the news release said Woods' injuries were serious. The highway patrol said the crash is still under investigation, and charges are pending. However, the highway patrol said the crash was not alcohol-related. Woods, 33, owns a home in the exclusive subdivision of Isleworth near Orlando.
According to CNN, Woods suffered facial lacerations and head injuries.

UPDATE: It's now being said that Woods was released from the hospital after treatment for minor injuries. Something is fishy here. A single-car crash at 3am, charges pending, no airbag deployment. Hmm.

UPDATE II: Yup, something was fishy.
Tiger has yet to be formally interviewed by the Florida Highway Patrol -- that should happen this afternoon. But we're told Tiger had a conversation Friday -- with a non-law enforcement type -- detailing what went down before his Escalade hit a fire hydrant. We're told he said his wife had confronted him about reports that he was seeing another woman. The argument got heated and, according to our source, she scratched his face up. We're told it was then Woods beat a hasty retreat for his SUV -- but according to our source, Woods says his wife followed behind with a golf club. As Tiger drove away, she struck the vehicle several times with the club. We're told Woods became "distracted," thought the vehicle was stopped, and looked to see what had happened. At that point the SUV hit the fire hydrant and then hit a tree.

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Sarah Palin Punked By Comedian, Says Canada Needs Health Care Reform

Posing as a reporter from a Canadian television station, comedian Mary Walsh punked Sarah Palin during a book signing, getting Palin to tell her that Canada needs to return to a U.S.-style system of health care.
Walsh is the co-creator and star of This Hour Has 22 Minutes -- a nightly news parody show in the same vein as The Daily Show -- and she arrived in character, as the conservative Marg Delahunty, to the Borders where Palin (the "Alaskan Aphrodite") was signing books. "I just wanted to ask you if you have any words of encouragement for Canadian conservatives who have worked so hard to try to diminish the kind of socialized medicine we have up there." Walsh shouted to Palin as she approached the table. Palin's handlers tried to help her by ushering Walsh out of the Borders, but Palin could not be deterred. When Palin left the signing, Walsh caught up with her in the parking lot, where Palin suggested that Canada should get rid of its public health care system. "Keep the faith" Palin said, "because common sense conservatism can be plugged in there in Canada too. In fact, Canada needs to reform its health care system and let the private sector take over some of what the government has absorbed."

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80's Flashback

The Singing Nun, Dominique (Disco Version), 1982. In 1963 Belgian nun Sister Luc-Gabrielle (real name: Jeanine Deckers) became a worldwide sensation as The Singing Nun when her album of original songs (recorded to be souvenirs for visitors to her convent) topped the charts across Europe. In the U.S. Dominique topped the pop charts for four weeks in December 1963, partially aided by the assassination of JFK as radio stations turned to softer and religious-themed selections. After a treacly 1966 biopic starring Debbie Reynolds (which Deckers denounced as complete fiction) and a failed second album, Deckers left the nunhood and became a birth control advocate, releasing the controversial single Glory Be To God For The Golden Pill, which also failed. In 1982, after a decade-long battle with the Belgian government over back taxes for income Deckers claimed had been taken by her former convent and her manager, she released the below disco version of Dominique in desperation. The single failed, despite its camp allure to gay men, who had become fans of Decker after she came out as a lesbian. (Full disclosure: I too bought the 12".) Three years later she and her partner of ten years committed suicide together by overdosing on downers.

TRIVIA: The Singing Nun remains the only Belgian act to have hit #1 on the U.S. pop chart. In 1988 Technotronic came close, reaching #2 with Pump Up The Jam.

MORE TRIVIA: Sally Fields' The Flying Nun debuted in 1967 as a spoof of the Debbie Reynolds movie.

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White House State Dinner Party Crashers May Face Criminal Charges

The two aspiring cast members of The Real Housewives Of Washington DC who crashed the White House state dinner may face criminal charges.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the couple who crashed the White House state dinner, may face criminal charges, the Secret Service announced today. Jim Mackin, the agency's spokesman, said this is one reason the Secret Service has kept mum about what happened when the couple, who are auditioning for the Bravo reality show "The Real Housewives of DC", arrived at the security checkpoint Tuesday. They were not on the guest list for the dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but managing to get into the party, where they posed for photos with Vice President Joe Biden and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. "As this moves closer to a criminal investigation there's less that we can say," Mackin said. "I don't want to jeopardize what could be a criminal investigation. We're not leaving any option off the table at this point." It was not immediately clear what charges would be pursued. The Salahis lawyer, Paul Gardner, posted a comment on their Facebook page saying, "My clients were cleared by the White House, to be there." He said more information would be forthcoming.
Conservative and wingnut sites nationwide are howling about the Secret Service's failure to properly identify the event's attendees. Many are pointing to the couple's Arabic-sounding names as evidence of some kind PC bias that prevented the Secret Service from singling them out for attention.

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Adam Lambert On Sirius OutQ

Adam Lambert appeared on Larry Flick's Morning Jolt show on Sirius OutQ to discuss the AMA controversy, male sexuality, his new album, and life as an overweight teenager.

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Study Claims Americans Waste 40% Of The Food That They Purchase

A new study that measures the amount of the American food supply and what is actually eaten claims that we throw out 40% of the food we purchase.
U.S. residents are wasting food like never before. While many Americans feast on turkey and all the fixings today, a new study finds food waste per person has shot up 50 percent since 1974. Some 1,400 calories worth of food is discarded per person each day, which adds up to 150 trillion calories a year. The study finds that about 40 percent of all the food produced in the United States is tossed out. Meanwhile, while some have plenty of food to spare, a recent report by the Department of Agriculture finds the number of U.S. homes lacking "food security," meaning their eating habits were disrupted for lack of money, rose from 4.7 million in 2007 to 6.7 million last year. About 1 billion people worldwide don't have enough to eat, according to the World Food Program. The new estimate of food waste, published in the journal PLoS ONE, is a relatively straightforward calculation: It's the difference between the U.S. food supply and what's actually eaten, which was estimated by using a model of human metabolism and known body weights. The result, from Kevin Hall and colleagues at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, is about 25 percent higher than similar estimates made in recent years.
A different study by an international group last year estimated American wastage at 30%, noting that the world food supply is ample enough to feed everybody.

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New Child Molestation Scandal Roils Ireland's Catholic Church

For the second time in a year, evidence has emerged of a massive child molestation cover-up in Ireland's Catholic Church.
Ireland's Catholic Church apologised Thursday after a damning new report showed it covered up child sex abuse over more than three decades. The Irish government also said sorry for failing to protect children in the wake of the latest report, published six months after a first landmark study revealed widespread abuse of children in Catholic care. "I offer to each and every survivor my apology, my sorrow and my shame for what happened," said Diarmuid Martin, archbishop of Dublin since 2004. "I am aware that no words of apology will ever be sufficient," he said, adding that "the fact that many abusers were priests constituted both an offence to God and an affront to the priesthood." The country's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Sean Brady, echoed the comments, saying "I want to apologise to all those who have been hurt and their families."

Following a three-year investigation in the Dublin Archdiocese, the country's largest, the report concluded that four archbishops routinely protected abusers and failed to inform police of the allegations. One priest admitted to sexually abusing over 100 children, while another confessed that he had abused on a fortnightly basis over 25 years. "The volume of revelations of child sexual abuse by clergy over the past 35 years or so has been described by a Church source as a 'tsunami' of sexual abuse," said the report.
An Irish Catholic group that runs the schools and orphanages behind the abuse has offered a $242M settlement to the victims.
A Roman Catholic group at the centre of an inquiry into child abuse in Ireland today offered €161m (£145m) in cash and land to make amends to its victims. The Christian Brothers, which ran the Republic's notorious Industrial Schools and orphanages, said they will hand over up to €30m to an Irish government trust fund, and will also give €4m for abuse victims' counselling services. In their statement the Christian Brothers said they will also transfer land valued at €127m to joint ownership of the government and the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. They said their decision had been taken in the light of the publication this May of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, known as the Ryan report. "The range of incremental measures outlined above follow the Christian Brothers' acceptance, shame and sorrow at the findings of the Ryan report," the statement said. "We understand and regret that nothing we say or do can turn back the clock for those affected by abuse.

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Goodbye Dubai?

The glittering city-state of Dubai, home to uncountable brand new skyscrapers and whimsical artificial islands, has asked for a six month reprieve on its $60B debt, sending the world's markets into something of a tumble.
Wall Street turned sharply lower at the open on Friday, as traders scrambled to play catch-up after sharp downturns in Asian and European markets over the Thanksgiving holiday. Investors were spooked by reports that Dubai World, the emirate’s investment vehicle, was seeking to suspend repayments on all or part of its $59 billion in debt. That pushed shares down more than 3 percent on European markets on Thursday; Asia markets posted similar declines on Friday. In early trading the Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.8 percent or 190 points. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 2.2 percent or 24 points, and the technology-dominated Nasdaq slipped 2.1 percent or 46 points.
This latest turn may renew the banking crisis seen worldwide last year, although analysts think the effect on U.S. banks will be significantly less than those in Europe and Asia.

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HomoQuotable - Lisa Neff

"Outing, to me, has always seemed like using sexual orientation as a weapon, like an act of violence. To out gay priests for an anti-gay Church policy, well, how is that different than outing gay and lesbian servicemembers because Congress adopted the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?

"Does anyone honestly think that by outing one or 100 gay priests, the Catholic Church is going to reverse course on same-sex marriage or extending benefits to partners of same-sex employees? No, if the Church takes any action, it will relocate, reassign or move to oust the priests. The cold-hearted, close-minded Church leaders who would abandon a mission to shelter or feed the homeless because it has qualms with treating its employees equally will not warm to the legislation because of an outing campaign — unless maybe someone once spotted the pope at any town’s Different Strokes bar.

"A better course would be to demonstrate to the Church that there are other institutions and caring people to provide the social services the Church has threatened to abandon, to demonstrate to the Church that a religious institution cannot bully a democratic body into allowing discrimination and injustice to continue, to demonstrate to the Church that it cannot hold poor people as hostages. And the best course of action in the long run would be to find a way to keep government funding for services for the poor and homeless from going to powerful, wealthy institutions of perpetual discrimination." - columnist Lisa Neff, expressing opposition to, which was launched last week.

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Tap, Tap, Tap

So who's out there today? Anybody at work? Or are you all doing the Black Friday thing?

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Evening View - Call PETA

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I just hate that GLEE can turn me into a 13 year-old girl sometimes, but last night's bit with the deaf chorus got me completely toh up. Starts at the 5:00 mark. Don't imagine this clip wiill have a long life on YouTube, but maybe the copyright Nazis have today off.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reality Stars Crash White House Dinner

How did two cast members from the Real Housewives Of Washington DC get past security at last night's White House state dinner?

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A Holiday Tradition

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Something To Be Thankful For

You may recall DC Podium's Chuck Fazio, the DC-based sound engineer hired to provide the PA system at the Power Rangers For Jeebus' failed anti-hate crimes rally. Fazio earned our admiration, the ire of the wingnuts, and a gleeful profile in the Washington Post when he turned over the podium and the microphone to a group of gay activists counter-protesting at the event and donated his fee (paid by the wingnuts) back to the activists.

Today one of those student activists, JMG reader Dave Valk, writes to let us know that Fazio's actions have been championed by Meeting Tomorrow, the national company that subcontracted the job to DC Podiums. From their website:
By several media accounts, it was clear that the event was not merely a political rally, but a forum the organizers used to enable and encourage hateful, inflammatory language and epithets. When the press conference ended, and his service to the organization had been rendered, Meeting Tomorrow’s contractor allowed a group of gay-rights activists who were present to use his equipment to voice their opposing perspective. Meeting Tomorrow supports the contractor’s actions and denounces the inflammatory behavior of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“While Meeting Tomorrow chooses to remain neutral regarding political matters, we believe that the actions of this organization crossed the line from politics into hate-mongering,” says Mark Aistrope, founder and CEO of Meeting Tomorrow. “We support the actions of DC Podiums and Chuck Fazio, and believe he was within his rights to offer his podium and audio visual services to the opposing protesters after his service obligation to this organization had been fulfilled.”

Meeting Tomorrow also announced that they will work with the opposing organizations present at the rally to provide in-kind donations of audio visual equipment rentals and services for a future event. Meeting Tomorrow will also refund the money collected from the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.
Tomorrow if you happen to give thanks for the good things in this world, be thankful for our straight allies like Chuck Fazio and supportive corporations like Meeting Tomorrow. We appreciate them. We need them.

NOTE: From the tone of Meeting Tomorrow's statement, it sounds like the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission may have tried to cause trouble for Fazio with them. I'll follow up on that.

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50 U.S. Catholic Dioceses Contributed To Maine Marriage Battle

A report just published by the National Catholic Reporter reveals that while half of the $550K donated by the Catholic Church to Maine's marriage equality battle came from the Portland Diocese, the rest came from 50 dioceses around the country. Portland Bishop Richard Malone brought in $86,000 in one fell swoop, from that infamous second collection taken at Mass statewide. Across the nation, Catholic dioceses kicked in amounts ranging from $50,000 to as little as $150.
After Portland, Maine, the largest diocesan contributors were the Philadelphia archdiocese and Phoenix diocese, each giving $50,000. The sees of Newark, N.J., St. Louis, Mo., and Youngstown, Ohio, each contributed $10,000. The Diocesan Assistance Fund of Providence, R.I., gave $10,000.00. Contributing $5,000 were the dioceses of Arlington, Va., Rockford, Ill., Crookston, Minn., and Pittsburgh, Pa. The Roman Catholic Foundation in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Inc. donated $2,500. Contributing $2,000 were the diocese of Portland, Ore., Jefferson City, Mo., Savannah, Ga., and the archdiocese of New Orleans. The Columbus, Ohio, diocese gave $1,500. Contributing $1,000 were the archdioceses of Cincinnati, Ohio, Hartford, Hartford, Conn., and Atlanta, Ga., and the dioceses of Fort Worth, Texas, Green Bay, Wis., Ft. Wayne-South Bend, Ind., Baton Rouge, La., Colorado Springs, Colo., Gary, Ind., Parma, Ohio, Erie, Pa., Joliet, Ill., Grand Island, Nebr., and the Diocesan Center for Family Life, Jacksonville, Fla.
Archbishops and bishops made personal donations as well.
The financial report says the bishop of Fall River, Mass., donated $5,000; the archbishop of Mobile, Ala., gave $2,000, and the bishops of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., Louisville, Ky., and Springfield, Mass., each donated $1,000. Individual bishops were named in the financial report. Giving $1,000 were Richard Lennon of Cleveland, Ohio, and William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. Giving $500 were Herbert Brevard of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and John D'Arcy of Fort Wayne, Ind. Giving $250 were Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, and John LeVoir of New Ulm, Minn. Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., gave $200.
The Knights of Columbus donated $50,000. The complete list of donors is here.

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80's Flashback

Fun Boy Three featuring Bananarama, It Ain't What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It), 1982. After reaching only #92 UK with their first single, 1981's Aie A Mwana (a cover of Black Blood's Swahili-language 1975 proto-disco hit), Bananarama teamed up with former Special's members Fun Boy Three for this cover of Ella Fitzgerald's 1939 recording. It Ain't What You Do proved to be their breakout, reaching #4 in the UK and introducing both groups to American audiences via the below clip, which garnered decent MTV play but yielded scant sales. Banararama teamed up again with Fun Boy Three on their next single, a cover of the Velvelettes 1964 hit, Really Sayin' Something, this time as the lead vocalists, again reaching the UK Top Ten, but again failing to hit the U.S. pop chart. After a couple of more UK successes, their American chart breakthrough finally came the next year with Cruel Summer, which topped out at #8 in both countries. Bananarama has scored 23 UK Top 40 hits to date, but only three in the U.S., including 1986's #1 cover of Shocking Blue's 1970 smash, Venus.

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Poll: Marriage Support Drops In NJ

Things continue to look bad in the post-Maine climate.
New Jersey voters are split on whether to legalize gay marriage, but more people now oppose it than support it, a poll found on Wednesday. The Quinnipiac University survey found 49 percent of voters oppose a law allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 46 percent support such legislation, reversing an April poll that found 49 percent supported it and 43 percent opposed it. "When we asked about gay marriage in April, it won narrow approval. Now that it seems closer to a legislative vote, it loses narrowly with the public," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Democratic New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has pledged to sign a bill into law if it is passed by the legislature before his term ends in January. Corzine lost re-election this month to anti-gay marriage Republican Chris Christie.
And hopes are dimming that the NJ legislature will take up the issue before Corzine's term ends.

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Italian-American Group Calls On MTV To Cancel Jersey Shore

An Italian-American group is calling on MTV to cancel its coming reality show Jersey Shore over anti-Italian stereotyping and the usage of the term "Guido," which the network is using prominently in its promotions.
A national Italian-American organization based in New Jersey says an MTV reality show that depicts Italian-American beachgoers as the "hottest, tannest, craziest Guidos" is offensive and should be scrapped before it airs. UNICO National said Tuesday that "Jersey Shore" relies on crude stereotypes and highlights cursing, bad behavior and violence in depicting renters at a New Jersey beach house. An MTV promo says the participants "keep their hair high, their muscles juiced and their fists pumping all summer long!" UNICO President Andre DiMino calls the show "trash television." It's scheduled to debut Dec. 3.
MTV responds:
"The show continues MTV's history of documenting various subcultures, rites of passage of young people, and the ways they self-identify," an MTV spokesperson says in a statement. "The Italian-American cast takes pride in their ethnicity. We understand that this show is not intended for every audience and depicts just one aspect of youth culture."
Even though the show has yet to air, spoofs are springing up on YouTube.

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United Nations: HIV Peaked In '96, Others Call To Move Funding Elsewhere

Experts from the World Health Organization and UNAIDS said yesterday that the global number of people with AIDS has been unchanged for two years and that the HIV outbreak period probably peaked in 1996.
Daniel Halperin, an AIDS expert at Harvard University, said it was good news the rate of new infections was dropping and that access to AIDS drugs was helping to cut the death rate. Earlier this year, the U.N. announced there are now 4 million people on lifesaving AIDS drugs worldwide, a 10-fold increase in five years. In the report by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, the experts estimate there are now about 33.4 million people worldwide with HIV. In 2007, the figure was about 33.2 million. The numbers are based on a mathematical model and come with a margin of error of several million people.
The news has renewed calls to redirect research and treatment funding to diseases other than HIV/AIDS.
With the U.N.'s confirmation HIV is now declining in most countries, some experts said the report should change the spending habits of international donors. Globally, HIV causes about 4 percent of all deaths, but gets about 23 cents of every public health dollar. "We shouldn't let this single disease continue to distort overall global funding, especially when bigger killers like pneumonia and diarrhea in developing countries are far easier and cheaper to treat," said Philip Stevens, of International Policy Network, a London-based think tank. [snip]Stevens said the fact that AIDS peaked more than a decade ago suggests it is now time for the global community to prioritize other health problems. Outside of the worst-affected countries such as South Africa, respiratory infections, heart disease and malaria are bigger killers. "Against this backdrop, it is unjust that AIDS should commandeer such a disproportionate level of funding," Stevens said.

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Anti-Gay Hate Group Liberty Counsel Files FCC Complaint Over Adam Lambert

Never one to miss a publicity opportunity, premiere closet case Peter LaBarbera has announced that the anti-gay Liberty Counsel has filed the first FCC indecency complaint (PDF) over Adam Lambert's performance on the American Music Awards.
The Lambert performance featured, among other things, simulated oral sex, suggestive crotch grabbing, simulated digital penetration, sadomasochistic conduct, and homosexual open-mouth kissing. The Lambert performance was obscene.

Broadcasting obscene or indecent conduct is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 1464 and 47 C.F.R. § 73.3999. Conduct is obscene if: “(1) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (2) depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct; and (3) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Infinity Broadcasting Corp., 3 F.C.C.R 930 (1987) (citing Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973)). The Lambert performance clearly appealed to the prurient interest and depicted patently offensive sexual conduct. The performance depicted, among other things, simulated oral sex, suggestive crotch grabbing, simulated digital penetration, sadomasochistic conduct, and homosexual open-mouth kissing.

The Lambert performance lacks serious artistic value. ABC touted the Lambert performance as “what everyone will be talking about tomorrow.” Lambert’s vocal performance was not the crux of the performance; it was the obscene sexual conduct that ABC touted. Thus, the purpose was not to display serious artistic interest.
From his gay porn-strewn dungeon in the Chicago suburbs, LaBarbera warns: Folks, we’ll have much more on Adam Lambert and his calculated use of his nationally broadcast American Music Awards stage act to advance homosexual immorality and sadistic perversions in the name of “nondiscrimination.”

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Puerto Rico To Investigate Murder Of Gay Teen Jorge Mercado As A Hate Crime

After an outcry from the LGBT community at home and here on the mainland, the government of Puerto Rico has agreed to investigate the murder of gay teen Jorge Mercado as a hate crime. Activists had called on US. Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene if Puerto Rico had refused. Via Michael Lavers:
Puerto Rican authorities have agreed to investigate Jorge Steven López Mercado's murder as a hate crime after they met with local representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union. Nuevo Dia reported William Ramírez, executive director of the ACLU and the University of Puerto Rico's Legal Clinic, pointed out to Puerto Rico Department of Justice Secretary Antonio Sagardía the Commonwealth has a history of "not investigating hate crimes cases" like the one he said to which Juan A. Martínez Matos reportedly has confessed. "The ACLU has tried to get the government to accept its responsibility to investigate cases... that are hate crimes, particularly that of young Jorge Steven López Mercado," Ramírez said in a statement. "We should not be satisfied with the possibility the federal government will do what our government is not interested in doing; which is to protect every citizen."
I'll follow this case to its conclusion.

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CBS' Early Show Blurs Out Adam's Same-Sex Kiss, But Not Britney-Madonna's

After Elton points out that Adam Lambert's point about a double standard for gay males does exist after CBS' Early Show this morning blurred out his American Music Awards kiss with a male band member, but did not do the same when rerunning Madonna's open-mouthed kiss with Britney Spears. Call CBS to complain: 212-975-4321.

(Tipped by JMG reader Lisa)

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Governors Of Maryland And Virginia Blast Catholic Charities On Marriage Threat

The governors of Maryland and Virginia, both of whom are Catholic, appeared on DC-area radio yesterday to blast DC's Catholic Charities over the organization's threat to suspend homeless services should same-sex marriage become legal in the District.
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley criticized the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington's response to the district's gay marriage proposal during a joint appearance on Washington radio station WTOP. The D.C. City Council is expected to approve gay marriage next month. The archdiocese says that unless the proposal is amended to add a religious exemption, its Catholic Charities won't be able to continue contracts with the city to run homeless shelters and provide other services to needy residents. "I'm Catholic and I think it's wrong," Kaine, who also is chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said of the church's position. "I don't think you take your ball and go home." Said O'Malley: "It would be very, very sad for all concerned. I don't understand how they can possibly do this."
The DC City Council takes the first of two required votes on marriage on December 1st.

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A Sweet Take On Cece Peniston

Gay popster Adam Joseph delivers a sweetly downtempo take on Cece Peniston's Finally, with help from actors Lars Stephan, Stuart Perkins and drag star Erickatoure Aviance. Lovely.

(Via - Queerty)

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Mike Huckabee Wants You To Sign The Anti-Gay Manhattan Declaration

Calling it a "historic document," Mike Huckabee is asking his viewers to sign the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration, which calls on Christians to disobey laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination. The DeMoss Group is hosting the declaration online and has the complete list of right wingers, clergy, wingnuts, and hate group leaders that have signed.

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AFA Suspends Gap Boycott

Saying they are going on "good faith" that a coming ad from Gap properly acknowledges Christmas, the American Family Association is suspending their boycott of the company's three retail chains. But only until they see the commercial. Via press release:
According to Bill Chandler, vice-president of Gap corporate communications, Gap's Old Navy division will launch a new television commercial this weekend which "has a very strong Christmas theme." Chandler responded to AFA last Friday, after a poll showed 90% of AFA supporters wanted to continue the boycott as a result of Gap's initial "holiday" ad that mingled Christmas with the pagan "Winter Solstice" holiday. Gap says the new ad will include the popular Supermodelquins proudly cheering “Merry Christmas", and features Christmas trees, lights and ornaments as well. In good faith, AFA is suspending the Gap boycott until it has an opportunity to view the new commercial this weekend. As a result of your dedicated actions, we believe Gap is beginning to realize that Christmas is not just another “holiday” and will begin to advertise in a way that is respectful to Christians and Christmas shoppers.
The above "action alert" from the AFA closes with a pitch to purchase a box of "God's Gift: Merry Christmas" buttons from them.

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