Thursday, January 07, 2010

Lambda Legal To Sue In NJ Supreme Court

Lambda Legal is taking today's marriage equality loss back to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Via press release:
"The requirement to ensure equality for same-sex couples, established by the New Jersey Supreme Court in its decision in our marriage lawsuit in 2006, has not been met," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director at Lambda Legal. "There is enormous, heartbreaking evidence that civil unions are not equal to marriage, and we will be going back to the courts in New Jersey to fight for equality. Too many families are at risk. We cannot wait any longer." [snip]

Lambda Legal filed Lewis v. Harris in June 2002 on behalf of seven same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. The New Jersey Supreme Court issued its ruling on October 25, 2006, unanimously agreeing that it is unconstitutional to give same-sex couples lesser rights than different-sex couples, but leaving the remedy up to the legislature. In December 2008 the Civil Union Review Commission, appointed by the legislature, issued its report documenting how civil unions fall short of the court-mandated equality for same-sex couples. Just since Thanksgiving, Garden State Equality reports that nearly 4,500 people have come to Trenton to lobby legislators to vote in favor of marriage for same-sex couples.

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Tweet Of The Day - NOM

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Anti-Gay Irish MP Iris Robinson's Adulterous Lover Was Under 21

Iris Robinson, the "Anita Bryant of the UK" who was mocked by floats of look-a-like drag queens during last year's Belfast Pride parade, not only was cheating on her husband at the same time she was on national radio called gays "abominations," she was committing that adultery with a young man said to be under 21 at the time. That would make Robinson three times his age.
News channel UTV, which broke the story of her affair and suicide attempt yesterday, reported the claim this evening. Robinson, who is 60, said the affair and suicide attempt took place in March 2008. She said the "brief" liaison began "completely innocently" when she offered support to someone who had suffered a family death. The man has not been named. She also revealed she had helped the man by encouraging friends to give him money for a financial venture. Earlier today, The Times reported that a BBC investigation into the finances of Robinson and her husband Peter, who is Northern Ireland's first minister, was what prompted her to reveal details of her affair and attempted suicide. The "embarrassing" television documentary was to be broadcast with allegations over the first family's financial affairs.
One Irish blog named the young man as Kirk McCambley, pictured above, and alleges that Robinson may have directed public money into supporting his cafe business. The BBC was said to be at the restaurant today with a camera crew, demanding answers.

Things are as they always are. God's Gentle Elected People infest the national media to scream about perversion and abomination, all while screwing the taxpayer AND cougaring the fuck out of a young hottie.

UPDATE: The BBC has confirmed McCambley as Robinson's boytoy. Head to Facebook and join the hilarious Kirk McCambley Appreciation Society, which instantly has hundreds of members.

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Equality California: It's Time For Obama To Join Prop 8 Repeal Fight

Equality California is calling on the Obama administration to pressure the Ninth District Court to overturn Proposition 8 in next week's Olson/Boies trial.
The time has come for elected leaders to empower all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Once again, we call on the Obama administration to join Equality California and others in urging the federal courts to strike down this grossly unjust law. In doing so, we will bring our nation one step closer to realizing its promise of equality for all. Our country’s bedrock principles of democracy and freedom are at stake. Sign our petition urging the Obama administration to join the federal challenge opposing Prop 8. Then, ask everyone you know to do the same.

President Obama, I urge you to immediately file a brief in the federal court challenge to Prop 8 and ask the court to rule that it is unconstitutional to allow a majority to take away the rights of a minority.
Their petition to the president is here.

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Live Stream: NJ Senate Marriage Vote

Here's the link for the live stream of today's marriage equality vote in the New Jersey Senate. The session is scheduled to begin at 2pm EST. Things should get underway shortly.

UPDATE: The session appears to be delayed for at least an hour. Here's a video live-stream link. The above is audio-only. NJ residents can also watch on Comcast 262 and Verizon 476.

UPDATE II: The debate is underway now. The vote will come after.

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Preshusssh: Mariah Carey (Hic) Winsh

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Glenn Beck On Racism

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NJ Senator Vs. Anti-Gay Hater

Good As You points us to this clip from today's morning news in which Len Deo of the NJ Family Policy Council and NJ Sen. Ray Lesniak trade jabs about this afternoon's vote. Surprise, surprise, Deo wants it put to a public vote. Lesniak says that if the vote fails as expected, they're taking their case to the Supreme Court.

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2009: Fewest NYC Murders In History

In 2009, NYC saw the fewest number of murders since comparable records began being kept.
The city's police department says the 2009 year-end total was 466, down from 523 in 2008 and 496 the year before. It's the fewest since comparable records were kept in the 1960s. Overall crime is down in the city 11 percent from last year and 35 percent from 2001. The only major crime on the rise is felony assault, which was up 2 percent this year according to a city program that tracks crime statistics daily. The figures reflect a nationwide trend. Preliminary FBI crime figures for the first half of 2009 show crime falling across the country. Murder and manslaughter fell 10 percent for the first half of the year.
Several other major U.S. cities have reported similarly record-setting low numbers.

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Symphony Of Science

As much as I make fun of Auto-Tune, I've really enjoyed the Symphony Of Science series, whose makers wrote yesterday to tip us that the fourth installment, The Unbroken Thread, is now up on YouTube. Free downloads at the above link.

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Lawyers Explain Prop 8 TV Ruling

Sergio at Lexicon Magazine sends in this clip of Ted Olson & David Boies explaining Judge Walker's ruling on televising the Prop 8 trial, due to begin January 11th.

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Bob Barker, Champion Of The Whales

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Weatherproof Obama

The White House is angry at the Weatherproof clothing company for installing a Times Square billboard that implies the president is endorsing one of their jackets.
Outerwear company Weatherproof used a recent news photo of the president in front of the Great Wall in Badaling, China, for the advertisement, with the tagline "A Leader In Style." The White House said Wednesday that it will ask Weatherproof to remove the billboard because the ad misleads by suggesting it was approved by Obama or the White House, which has a long-standing policy disapproving of the use of Obama's name and likeness for commercial purposes.
The New York Times and other NYC dailies have refused the ad. Weatherproof has pulled similar publicity stunts in the past.

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If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care

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From last night's favorite trending topic on Twitter...
  • Hey baby, only my government is small.
  • I wanna whisper sweet anti-immigrant, homophobic, racist, xenophobic nothings into your ear.
  • How about you and me go have sex - lights out, missionary position, for the sole purpose of reproduction?
  • I wanna unravel your conspiracy so my revolution can erupt all over you.
  • The real reason I'm against tax increases? So I can spend all my money on you, girl.
  • You're hotter than the burning cross I put in my black neighbor's front lawn.
  • Is that a Glenn Beck bobblehead in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
  • On the border I'm a Minuteman, but in the bedroom I'm alllll night.
  • Lets go back to my place and declare independence from our clothes.
  • Wanna see my paintings of an eagle crying over the New York skyline on 9/11?

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NYC This Weekend: Visual AIDS Benefit

Friday-Sunday this weekend in NYC the 12th annual Postcards From The Edge benefit for Visual AIDS will take place in West Chelsea.
Postcards From the Edge is a Visual AIDS benefit show and sale of original, postcard-sized works on paper by established and emerging artists. All works are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The works are signed on the back and exhibited so the artists' signatures cannot be seen. While buyers receive a list of all participating artists, they don't know who created which piece until purchased. All proceeds support the work of Visual AIDS. Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving the legacy -- because AIDS IS NOT OVER!
Check out the above link for directions, ticket information, and samples of the artwork.

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Obama Administration Adds Gender Identity To Jobs Protection

The Obama administration has quietly added gender identity protection to the federal jobs website. Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council is outraged, OUTRAGED I tells ya!
On New Year's Eve, when most Americans were waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square, the Obama Administration dropped another bombshell in its agenda to radicalize America by appointing its first openly "transgender" person to a high federal post. "Transgender" is an umbrella term for anyone who "expresses" a "gender identity" contrary to their biological sex at birth-in other words, men who claim to be (and dress as) women, and vice versa. Mitchell Simpson, a man who had sex-change surgery and now calls himself a woman (named "Amanda"), was appointed as Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department. Simpson announced that "as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds." The day after Simpson began work, The New York Times reported that the main website advertising jobs with the federal government now says there will be no "discrimination" based on "gender identity"-even though Congress has never passed a law saying that.
And then Perkins goes on to rail familiarly about mental illness, men in dresses, and ENDA.

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February: Sarah Palin To Headline First Tea Party Convention

The first ever Tea Party Convention will take place in Nashville next month with Sarah Palin and World Net Daily founder Joseph Farah billed as its headliners.
The event will also feature prominent speakers such as Rep Michele Bachmann, R- Minn.; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; WND columnist Judge Roy Moore; Phil Valentine, popular radio talk-show host and author of "The Conservative Handbook"; and Fox News Political Analyst Angela McGlowan, among others. The Tea Party Express will also arrive in Nashville for the convention. Additional sponsors of the conference include American Liberty Alliance, Tea Party Emporium, the Leadership Institute, National Taxpayers Union, American Majority, Surge USA and Eagle Forum. The convention is open to citizens who have stepped up and taken leadership roles in the tea party movement, including those who would like to be more involved this year. Tea Party Nation has allocated 600 tickets for the convention and 1,100 for the banquet with Palin. Tickets are available at the National Tea Party Convention website.
Palin, Bachmann, and Farah all in the same room at once! It'll be a cavalcade of crazy! The host hotel is the Gaylord Opryland, he said with a snicker. Tickets are $550 each and do not include accommodations.

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39 GOP Congress Members Join Fight Against DC Marriage Equality

This time with the support of 39 GOP Congress members, Stand For Marriage DC has once again filed a petition to force putting marriage equality to a vote in Washington.
Same-sex marriage supporters and opponents faced off in D.C. Superior Court for a hearing Wednesday on whether the city should be required to allow a ballot initiative that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Thirty-nine GOP legislators, including 37 members of the House and two senators, James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), have filed an amicus brief supporting a public vote on the issue. The House members include Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.). The filing asserts that the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics exceeded its authority by ruling twice that a public vote would discriminate against gay men and lesbians.
Local DC GOP leaders had requested that nationally elected Republicans stay out of this fight.

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Open Thread Thursday

When I was in Orlando last week, as always I was impressed with the airport. Easy access, close to town, beautiful terminal, cool monorails to the four airsides, loads of shops to kill time. For the 11th busiest airport in the country, it's quite a marvel. What's your favorite airport? What's your least? Mine is JFK, hands down.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Early Decision On Prop 8: Cameras, Yes. Live Streaming, NO.

Ninth District Court Judge Vaughn Walker has just nixed a request from two television groups to live-stream the proceedings during next week's Proposition 8 trial. But it appears that we may get to see YouTube'd clips on the following day. Via Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV:
Despite thousands of people responding to a request for comments on allowing a live TV pool camera in the courtroom for the federal Prop 8 trial starting next Monday, Judge Vaughn Walker just declined that offer by a Media Coalition and In Session TV. However, Judge Walker ordered a TV recording of the proceedings for delayed web distribution on YouTube the next day – pending approval by the 9th Circuit. Judge Walker did note in court that the public comment is still open but apparently did not indicate whether any public comment would change his decision. The deadline for public comment is Friday.
If this decision holds, I'd say this is still a win for us. Not many would be able to view the trial live during the daytime anyway and would probably look to blogs for highlight clips.

UPDATE: Maggie Gallagher is VERY unhappy.
This is no ordinary trial. This is a trial in a case where thousands of ordinary citizens have already faced a wave of hatred for participating in democracy. On Oct. 22, the Heritage Foundation released a report titled "The Price of Prop. 8," which concluded that "supporters of Proposition 8 in California have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, vandalism, racial scapegoating, blacklisting, loss of employment, economic hardships, angry protests, violence, at least one death threat, and gross expressions of anti-religious bigotry." (Read it at To deliberately and needlessly expose these people to a new wave of publicity and attacks by televising the trial is outrageous.

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Christine Quinn Holds NYC Speaker Post

Today openly lesbian NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn was re-elected by a near unanimous vote of her fellow council members.
There wasn't much doubt about the outcome, but the vote got rowdy as supporters of her only challenger, Charles Barron, who got one vote, yelled things like "sell out," after many of the votes were cast. On hand for the event right now are former speakers Peter Vallone Sr., and Gifford Miller. Quinn stood calmly as vocal Barron supporters left the balcony during her acceptance speech. One woman leaving asked loudly when Quinn would get "indicted" for "that slush fund," a financial scandal last year.
Quinn's acceptance speech can be found at the above link. And the Bloomberg juggernaut rolls on....

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Backlash Begins: Gay Orgs Denounce Anti-Trans Letterman Skit

GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign have issued denouncements of last night's anti-trans skit on the David Letterman show. GLAAD is asking that notes of complaint be sent to CBS. The HRC has sent a message directly to Letterman.

Depicting people reacting in horror to transgender individuals is a dangerous stereotype for popular media to perpetuate because it contributes to the societal conception of transgender people as abnormal and deceptive, which all-too-often results in anti-transgender violence and/or discrimination when played out in reality. We are reaching out to CBS “Late Show with David Letterman” with our concerns about this transphobic joke. Please send your concerns to CBS.
Human Rights Campaign:
You may not be aware that the punch line in your skit has been used as a defense in nearly every hate crime perpetrated against transgender people that has come to trial. For example, the “trans panic” defense was infamously used by Allen Ray Andrade, who was convicted in 2009 of beating 19-year-old Angie Zapata to death with a fire extinguisher after learning of her gender history. According to media reports, it has also been the main defense employed by Juan A. Martinez for the killing of Jorge Steven López Mercado, 19, in Puerto Rico last November.

Your skit affirmed and encouraged a prejudice against transgender Americans that keeps many from finding jobs, housing, and enjoying freedoms you and your writers take for granted every day. We ask that you apologize publicly to Ms. Simpson and the transgender community for this unfortunate episode.

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HomoQuotable - Simon Doonan

"The irony of Tinselgate is fairly breathtaking: A person donates his time and expertise—for free!—thereby saving taxpayer money. That same person then uses his ingenuity—incorporating the creativity of kids and needy folk and reusing tchotchkes from previous administrations, thereby saving even more dosh—and ends up on the receiving end of a torrent of threats and physical abuse from his fellow Americans.

"And so to you, Mr. Breitbart. Now that the dust has settled and the homicidal emails have slowed to a trickle, I realize that I owe you a debt of gratitude. By dropping the First Elf in the poop, you have unwittingly provided me with a searing insight into the pathetic and disastrous state of our comment-obsessed culture. Thanks to you, I see now that there are two kinds of people in the world: In the first group, we have those who “do,” and in the second group, we have those who sit at their computers on their ever-widening asses blogging, platforming and commenting on the not-always-perfect efforts of the first group. Tinselgate has renewed my commitment to keep my tight ass fairly and squarely plonked in that first group." Designer Simon Doonan, responding to Andrew Breitbart over the wingnut flap regarding Doonan's holiday decorations in the White House.

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Anti-Gay Irish MP Iris Robinson Committed Adultery While Calling Gays Abominations

Days after announcing that she was stepping down due to a lifelong battle with depression, anti-gay Northern Ireland MP Iris Robinson has revealed that she was committing adultery last year. She was cheating on her husband at the same time she was facing hate crimes charges for calling gays abominations on BBC Radio!
The wife of Northern Ireland's first minister, Peter Robinson, has said she tried to kill herself while suffering depression after she had an affair. Mr Robinson, leader of the DUP, said they would try to save their marriage. Iris Robinson announced in December she was stepping down from politics due to ill health. The couple were married in 1970 and have three grown-up children. Mr Robinson who has been first minister since June 2008, said he will continue in his job. In an interview on Wednesday, he said he first learned of the affair on March 1 2009, the night Mrs Robinson attempted suicide. Mr Robinson, who appeared close to tears, said he had been "deeply hurt" and that his immediate impulse had been to walk away from the marriage.
See? The UK isn't that different than America. The guilty dog barks the loudest there too.

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And After This, Chuck E. Cheese

For the last decade New Yorkers have bemoaned the Disneyfication of Times Square with its mall chain restaurants, its themed nightclubs, and its now well-scrubbed and well-fed middle American patrons. And with the below news, the Disneyfication of Times Square has become complete and literal.
Disney is going theme park with its new Times Square retail store. Perhaps trying to emulate the retail magic of Apple stores, Mickey Mouse & Co. will be transforming an old retail space in New York's Times Square into an interactive store with theme park attractions and children's exhibits. Hoping to attract young consumers and their parents, the store will conjure up an interactive princess castle and a kids' theater offering animation and storytelling for the younger crowd. Also on display will be specific activities for kids, special events, and even celebrity guest appearances timed with major Disney film releases. Much of the credit for the new store design, according to an October New York Times article, can actually be given to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who joined Disney's board in 2006, after the company bought Pixar Animation Studios. Just as he pushed for a certain design for the Apple stores, Jobs reportedly convinced Disney to fashion its own stores on a grand scale.
The Disney Store will be in the former Virgin Megastore, which was supposed to become a Forever 21 before it was supposed to become an indoor mini-mall. It will be right next to the Toys R Us, across from the Olive Garden, and diagonal from the M&M's Superstore.

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Sign Up Now: Petition Campaign To Televise Olson/Boies Prop 8 Trial

The Courage Campaign urges you to sign the petition urging the televising of the Olson/Boies Prop 8 trial. The presiding judge on the case is inviting public commentary prior to the decision.
The landmark federal lawsuit challenging Prop 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger (also known as the Olson/Boies case) is about to go to trial starting Monday, January 11. The presiding judge, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, is holding a hearing on whether the a pool television camera should be allowed to film the trial, given the unprecedented interest in the proceedings. Judge Walker is encouraging the public to submit comments on the issue, and set a deadline of Friday to receive comments. This is your one chance to urge Judge Walker to do the right thing in the name of equality, transparency and accountability. Join the Courage Campaign Institute and CREDO Action and sign this letter to Judge Walker. Optional: Please add your own personal comments. We will personally hand-deliver your comments. DEADLINE: Friday 9 AM.
Sign the petition now or write the Court directly yourself. Here's a PDF from the Court describing how the televising would work, if approved. Focus On The Family is circulating a petition of their own demanding that Prop 8 witnesses be protected from a "violent backlash" of homosexual activists. From the wingnut Washington Times:
Attorneys for Proposition 8 backers said television coverage would expose their witnesses to further harassment and intimidation. Backers of Proposition 8 were targeted for harassment in the months after the initiative's passage in November 2008. Some donors received threatening e-mails, letters and phone calls, while churches and businesses were singled out for boycotts and protests. Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, which campaigned for Proposition 8 but isn't a party to the case, said he is worried about the safety of witnesses, who could include contributors, campaign staff and volunteers. "The question is really whether Judge Walker can put people on the stand where they can be threatened," said Mr. Brown. "It's a question of people's safety."

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TransQuotable - Amanda Simpson

"Being the first sucks. I'd rather not be the first but someone has to be first, or among the first. I think I'm experienced and very well qualified to deal with anything that might show up because I've broken barriers at lots of other places and I always win people over with who I am and what I can do. [There will be] questions like: 'Is this a token? Are you here to do a job or just to fill a quota or appease other people?' In that regard it makes it a bit more difficult. I'm sure I will have to do and intend to do a far superior job than any other person. But I'm sure I will always be second guessed." - Amanda Simpson, the first trans person appointed by Obama, speaking to ABC News.

RELATED: The predictable attacks on Simpson continue today over on World Net Daily, where at the moment the top post screams: "See Obama's transgender 'pick' before and after surgery." The story puts Simpson's first name in scare quotes (as if it's imaginary) and uses the male pronoun to refer to her throughout the piece.

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Was The Prop 8 Vote Count Corrupted?

The Electronic Defense Alliance has published a lengthy analysis comparing exit polls and the actual Prop 8 vote count in Los Angeles County, concluding that the results discrepancy "cannot be explained away by demographics or polling factors."
Although this exit poll analysis cannot provide conclusive proof of election fraud (because such proof would require access to memory cards and computer code accorded proprietary exemption from public examination) it does provide the strongest indirect proof available that election results have almost certainly been altered by manipulation of the computerized voting systems. Deviations between exit polls and official results far outside margins of error, cannot be explained away by demographics or polling factors. The facts established in these reports cannot responsibly be dismissed or evaded. Election Defense Alliance calls on legislators, secretaries of state, attorneys general, the voting public, and especially candidates in upcoming elections, to read these reports and seriously confront their implications.
Their report is here. (PDF)

(Tipped by JMG reader Sean Chapin)

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Christopher Dallman - Gimme More

Those of you who didn't care for Kevin Aviance's cover of Britney Spear's Gimme More might enjoy this downtempo take by openly gay singer Christopher Dallman, who wrote yesterday to tip us to his Sad Britney EP, now available on iTunes.

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Evangelical Hate-Monger Scott Lively's "Nuclear Bomb" In Uganda

The guys at Box Turtle Bulletin are doing fantastic work exposing the American evangelicals behind Uganda's "kill gays" bill. Here's their first of three clips in a series about Scott Lively, who helped organize the conference that resulted in the bill. Lively's book, The Pink Swastika, claims that gay men orchestrated the Holocaust. Because we are all serial killers at heart. Watch the clip and head over to BTB for analysis and the rest of the series.

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NY Sen. Carl Kruger: I'm Am Not Gay

Anti-gay closet case NY Sen. Carl Kruger says local activist Allen Roskoff is a "bottom feeder" for saying that he's gay. Which he's not. Totally. No, really, he's not. At all.
Brooklyn state Sen. Carl Kruger became the No. 1 target of gay activists when he voted against same-sex marriage last month. Now, his enemies are circulating photos taken of Kruger at a birthday fund-raiser last year, where cross-dressing entertainer Leonid the Magnificent performed hula-hoop tricks in a skintight cat suit. "For hating gay marriage so much, Kruger sure loves watching tight, Lycra-clad asses," snarked Gay activist Corey Johnson and Allen Roskoff, the openly gay president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, have led demonstrations at Kruger's home. Roskoff wrote on his blog, "People ask us how we know he is homosexual. My immediate response is, how does one know that Paul Lynde and Liberace were gay?" Kruger, who denies being gay, called Roskoff "a bottom feeder," and said he was unfazed by the smear campaign. "It goes with the territory," he told Page Six. "I have not changed my position."

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Photo Of The Day: Lady Gaga In "McQueen Vs. Independence Day Alien"

(Via - Andy Reynolds)

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Rep. Michelle Bachmann: Put The Teabaggers In Charge of The GOP

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Iowa: Haters Aim For 2014 Marriage Repeal

It takes a lot of work to amend the Iowa state constitution, but anti-gay forces there have launched the first salvo in a campaign intended to result in the 2014 overturn of marriage equality. From the petition of LUV (Let Us Vote) Iowa:

Whereas: Marriage as established by God should be recognized by the civil power as legally, morally and historically between one man and one woman only; and

Whereas: A rogue Iowa Supreme Court has exceeded it proper constitutional authority, to claim legitimacy for so-called “marriages” of men with men and women with women, by usurping powers properly belonging to the legislative and executive branches of our state government; and

Whereas: A well funded, elite minority group of activists, supported by a wealthy, out-of-state homosexual instigator named Tim Gill, took advantage of an unaware public to plan and execute a judicial branch revolution to try to overthrow the settled law, and the will of the people, on marriage in Iowa; and .

There's a few more whereas-es, but you get the drift.

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The New Economy

Walgreens, Second Avenue, 9pm

Woman In Scrubs: I like to keep an unscratched $5 Lotto ticket on my desk. It feels like a mystery savings account.

Female Friend: You should upgrade to a $20 ticket. Then you can pretend it's a trust fund.

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Olbermann: Brit Hume Is A Holier Than Thou Cliche Come To Life

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NYC To Vote Via Optical Scan Ballots

This fall NYC will become one of the last places in the country to finally update to a non-mechanical voting system.
After years of delays and missteps, the city’s Board of Elections is expected to choose new electronic voting machines on Tuesday that will be rolled out in time for the September primary. In so doing, New York City will become one of the last places in the country to get rid of its lever-operated voting machines. The change will improve the way votes are counted, providing a paper trail backup for each vote, and make lines at the polls move faster, according to the Board of Elections. But it will also end another urban ritual, as tactile intimacy gives way to modern efficiency.

“In the context of the history of voting in New York, the shift away from lever machines is a huge milestone,” said Lawrence D. Norden, director of the Voter Technology Assessment Project at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. “Most New Yorkers are nostalgic about lever machines. I know I am. Ask a New Yorker about those machines and they will tell you that there is something reassuring about pulling the lever and hearing the choices register on the machine.”
Count me among those who will miss the old machines, as clunky and often-broken as they were. There was something really dramatic about yanking that giant metal lever and hearing that satisfying fwuuunck as you pretended you were opening a trapdoor under the feet of the person you had just voted against. Or was that just me who did that?

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The Not So Ugly American

My loyal companion Aaron tips us to a piece in the New York Times titled A Letter From London, in which an Englishman says that we're really not so bad. It's worth the entire read, but here's a short excerpt:
When I finally got to America myself, I found that not only were the natives friendly and hospitable, they were also incredibly polite. No one tells you this about Americans, but once you notice it, it becomes one of their defining characteristics, especially when they’re abroad.

This is very strange, or at least it says something strange about the way that perception routinely conforms to the preconceptions it would appear to contradict. The archetypal American abroad is perceived as loud and crass even though actually existing American tourists are distinguished by the way they address bus drivers and bartenders as “sir” and are effusive in their thanks when any small service is rendered. We look on with some confusion at these encounters because, on the one hand, the Americans seem a bit country-bumpkinish, and, on the other, good manners are a form of sophistication.
Read the entire essay.

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Maddow On Birther War Between Glenn Beck And World Net Daily

I knew we could depend on Rachel to report this story with the appropriate hilariousness and glee.

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Anti-Trans Letterman Skit Insults Obama Appointee Amanda Simpson

I've been a fan of David Letterman for decades and was reasonably impressed with his handling of his recent adultery scandal. But this insulting bit of anti-trans middle school assclownery is really fucking disappointing.

UPDATE: For those who don't see anything wrong about this, consider how it reinforces the age-old "tricked by a transwoman" claim that so many hate crimes defendants use, such as in the recent case of murdered teen Jorge Mercado. Aside from being sophomoric and a sitcom cliche, running off the stage as if about to vomit from the news that Amanda Simpson is trans is just not the sort of entertainment we should give a pass.

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Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) To Retire

Mere hours after the retirement announcement of Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) comes the news that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) will announce that he too is retiring at the end of this term. Unlike Dorgan, Dodd's retirement is actually seen as a good thing for the Democrats.
Embattled Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) has scheduled a press conference at his home in Connecticut Wednesday at which he is expected to announce he will not seek re-election, according to sources familiar with his plans. Dodd's retirement comes after months of speculation about his political future, and amid faltering polling numbers and a growing sense among the Democratic establishment that he could not win a sixth term. State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is widely expected to step into the void filled by Dodd and, at least at first blush, should drastically increase Democrats' chances of holding the seat.

Blumenthal, who has served as state Attorney General since 1990, is the most popular politician in the state and has long coveted a Senate seat; he had already signaled that he would run for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) in 2012. (A sidenote: Assuming Blumenthal gets in to the race, Rep. Chris Murphy could be the long-term beneficiary as he is widely regarded as a rising star and would be at the top of the list of Democratic hopefuls to challenge Lieberman in 2012.) Without Dodd as a foil, Republicans chances of taking over a seat in this solidly blue state are considerably diminished. Former Rep. Rob Simmons and wealthy businesswoman Linda McMahon are battling it out for the Republican nod but either would start as an underdog in a general election matchup with Blumenthal.
"Businesswoman" Linda McMahon, of course, is the wife of pro wrestling mogul Vince McMahon.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Rhode Island Legislature Overrides Veto Of Partner Funeral Rights Bill

As expected, today the Rhode Island legislature voted to override Gov. Don Carcieri's hateful veto of a bill granting same-sex partners the right to make burial decisions about each other.
The House -- and then the Senate -- voted to override Republican Carcieri's veto of a bill giving domestic partners the right to claim the bodies of -- and make funeral arrangements for -- their loved ones. The House vote was 67 to 3 and the Senate vote was 29 to 3. The only one of dueling defense-of-marriage, same-sex marriage and gay-rights bills introduced in Rhode Island last year that cleared the General Assembly, the legislation was an outgrowth of the personal tale that Mark S. Goldberg told lawmakers about his months-long battle last fall to persuade state authorities to release to him for cremation the body of his partner of 17 years, Ron Hanby.

In his veto message, Carcieri said: "This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue. "If the General Assembly believes it would like to address the issue of domestic partnerships, it should place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the State of Rhode Island decide," he wrote.

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Sen. Bryon Dorgan (D-ND) To Retire

Sen. Bryon Dorgan (D-ND) has announced that he will retire at the end of 2010, increasing Republican chances of diminishing the Democrats' filibuster-proof supermajority.
Asked about the retirement, a Democratic strategist told TPMDC, "It wasn't expected and comes as a bit of a surprise, but it's not shocking. Senator Dorgan has served for a long time and it's not surprising if he wanted to move on to a new venture or to no venture at all." But the loss of Dorgan leaves Democrats without a deep bench in North Dakota in a year when every loss counts if the party wants to maintain its 60-vote supermajority. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D), the state's lone member of congress, is an obvious choice but with Hoeven as popular as he is, Pomeroy would likely enter the race as the underdog. For their part, Republicans are happy to see Dorgan go, and expect to add his North Dakota seat to the GOP column.

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Fireworks At San Diego Pride

But not the kind that come after the parade. San Diego Pride's executive director has been fired and two members of its board of directors have resigned over an internal $5000 gift made to their board president, Phillip Princetta.

Reportedly, San Diego Pride executive director Ron deHarte had strenuously objected to the gift made to Princetta. When the three remaining board members learned that he'd taken his concerns outside of the organization, they "walked into the Pride offices, fired deHarte on the spot and escorted him out of the building." Those remaining three board members are said to be orchestrating the overturn of term limits so that they can serve indefinitely, a move that is bringing the resignation of more staffers. A town hall meeting about the fracas will be held at the San Diego LGBT Center this Sunday. More on the story here.

RELATED: In June 2009, deHarte was attacked by an anti-gay protester as he took part in the Equality Torch Relay, a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

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Live Mourn-streaming, Log In Now!

Upon hearing that the body of Johnson & Johnson heiress and Hollywood socialite Casey Johnson had been found lifeless, her girlfriend, one-time reality star Tila Tequila, tweeted pleas for Johnson to live, then tweeted a request for privacy, followed by two more tweets expressing eternal love for the late Johnson.

This is how the new class of celebrities grieve. Live and online. Worldwide and in real time.

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Times Square To Return To XXX

But only the kind of XXX you get in bowling, as the company that owns Union Square's Bowlmor Lanes plans a posh $20M venue in the former New York Times Building.
Bowlmor is owned by Strike Holdings, and at its downtown headquarters, Thomas Shannon, the chief executive, spoke about the old bowling, and the new bowling that might save New York. “It used to be that if you wanted to go bowling, you had to suffer some form of deprivation,” he said. “Bad food — you know, the hot dog on a roller. Stale tap beer. No service.” Bowlmor and the upscale alleys typically shun leagues. They don’t want guys who show up with bowling outfits and excessive stomachs and their own equipment and want to pay $1.95 a game. “They want the cheapest, most miserable experience,” Mr. Shannon said. “I would describe it as a Stalinist experience.”

At Bowlmor, games are generally $11 to $13. Mr. Shannon showed plans for the forthcoming Times Square alley. Adorning the entrance will be Bowlmor Bob, a giant bowler in a red dinner jacket. The front desk will have a concierge. When you get bowling shoes, you can have your street shoes shined for another few dollars. The 50 lanes will be separated into six themed areas. The Chinatown section will feature a gong to bang when you get a strike. To select the food, Mr. Shannon said he was negotiating with a “celebrity chef.”
The long-running bowling alley at the nearby Port Authority Bus Terminal has also gone "upscale" and will reopen this month as Frames, which will include a restrictive door policy, a fancy restaurant, VIP bowling lanes, and a nightclub. And just a few avenues west on 42nd Street, one finds the year-old and also fancy-schmancy Lucky Strikes Lanes.

Bowling will save New York City!

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SHOCKER: NJ Senate To Vote On Marriage Equality This Thursday

Stunning observers, this afternoon the NJ Senate announced that they would, after all, hold a vote on marriage equality on this Thursday. The bill is unlikely to pass.
There will in fact be a vote on gay marriage in the lame duck session of the New Jersey state legislature on Thursday, has learned. "We're gonna post the bill and see what happens," Senate President Dick Codey told us. Codey, and even sponsors of same sex marriage legislation are skeptical if there are enough votes to pass in the State Senate. For days now, Codey has been weighing whether or not to allow a vote in the waning days of this session, which ends next Monday. "The members for the most part said go ahead and post it," Codey explained in coming to his decision, while acknowledging there was a minority of his fellow democrats who urged him not to bring it to a vote. Codey said he will post it for debate and a vote Thursday afternoon.
At least, as in New York, we'll learn where to aim our efforts for the 2010 election.

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NYC Tops For Domestic Tourism

Long the #1 destination for international tourists, for the first time in 20 years New York City has topped Orlando and Las Vegas as the most popular vacation spot for Americans too.
Speaking at the Greenhouse Cafe in Brooklyn, Mr Bloomberg said: 'Over the past eight years, our efforts to make New York City an even more exciting place to visit have helped produce a record number of tourists and create thousands of jobs. 'Last year, while tourism declined significantly in cities across the country, we fared far better than most. In fact, for the first time in 20 years, we were the most popular tourism destination in the country, surpassing Orlando.' Visitor numbers are expected to increase further this year to reach 46.7m.
NYC's 2009 tourism figures are down 3.8% over 2008, a much smaller drop than was predicted. The now moot Orlando-Las Vegas rivalry for the top spot has long been a topic in Florida's newspapers. Orlando remains the second-favorite destination for foreigners.

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Quote Of The Day - Joan Rivers

“If I were going to make up an alias, I wouldn’t pick Rosenberg. I’d pick Jolie or Pitt…Do terrorists wear Manolo Blahniks? I can tell you Donna Karan does not make anything that hides a bomb…I tried the tears; they didn’t work. I tried reasoning. I couldn’t bribe because I didn’t have any money. I said ‘I’m going to have a heart attack over this,’ so the woman called the paramedics.” - Joan Rivers, who says she was bumped off a flight over security concerns because the gate agent found the name on her passport to be fishy: Joan Rosenberg AKA Joan Rivers.

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The STD From The Black Lagoon

Towleroad points us to this syphilis alert from the AIDS Committee of Toronto and notes that advertising critic Copyranter is unimpressed.
It’s the ‘ol vintage sci-fi/horror movie poster parody—a popular ad execution idea for social causes recently. And why not? Cause advertising is depressing as hell to work on these days, right? Because humans are a lost fucking cause! So, we human creatives might as well have some fun and get some pretty ads for our precious portfolios while the gettin’s good.
I don't think it's that terrible.

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Kevin Aviance - Gimme More

Via producers Jonny "The Gay Pimp" McGovern and Adam Joseph comes this Kevin Aviance cover of Britney Spears' Gimme More. To date, Aviance has scored five #1 hits on Billboard's dance chart. Aviance has bounded back from his brutal 2006 gay bashing in NYC, after which all four of his cowardly assailants received prison sentences of up to 15 years.

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Glenn Beck: The Birther Movement Is A Secret Obama Plot!

Glenn Beck says that not only are the birthers crazy, there is a secret Obama administration plot to get them on the airwaves in order to discredit all conservatives.
"There's always games being played behind the scenes at a talk radio show," Beck said. "Rush has always called them seminar callers. But instead of being coy with the seminar callers or with you, I'm just going to expose the game that is going on. Today there is a concerted effort on all radio stations to get birthers on the air. I have to tell you, are you working for the Barack Obama administration?"
World Net Daily, the most prominent proponent of the birther movement, is SO not happy with Glenn Beck. Those wacky birthers are so pissed, in fact, that today they launched a campaign to crash Fox News phone lines. They're calling it "Operation FLOOD IT":
Why is Fox afraid of this issue? This could throw Obama into jail, we are not talking about czars here. That is small potatoes compared to multiple felonies and a conspiracy to deceive 300 million Americans. The ENTIRE house of cards in the Democrat party would topple, because they were all most likely involved in this conspiracy as well. Fox has the guts to throw jabs at Obama for 4 years, but they do not have the guts to deliver the knockout punch, Obama’s ineligibility. WE have to change that
Crazy people in-fighting! Ahhhhh, that's satisfying!

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Kathy Griffin Banned From CNN?

Following her live New Year's Eve F-bomb, a CNN "insider" says they will not be inviting Kathy Griffin back, according to gossip columnist Rob Shuter.
"She was a total embarrassment to the network that calls themselves 'The Most Trusted Name in News.' Even Anderson (Cooper, her co-host) thinks it's time to say goodbye to Kathy," a CNN insider tells me. Not only did the potty-mouthed redhead drop the F bomb on live TV, she also made not-so-funny jokes about needing a "bump" of cocaine and asked Cooper if he pleasured himself while looking in the mirror. As sexy as the Silver Fox is ... that's just too much, Kathy. Even worse than the comedienne's desperate need to shock was the fact that the show was a ratings bomb, as it fell far behind the family-friendly 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve' on ABC.
CNN publicists are claiming that no decision regarding next year's show has been made. On New Year's Day the network issued an apology for Griffin's performance.

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God's Annual Message To Pat Robertson: Sorry, Nothing Specific. BTW, Gays Suck!

God's annual New Year's message to Pat Robertson is in. But this time Sky Santa had "nothing specific" to reveal. Oh, except that gays are perverted abominations.
Robertson said God won't bless an America that institutionalizes homosexual rights and abortion while prohibiting prayer and Bible reading in public schools. "How can we pray for his blessing when we have that going on?" he wondered. "When we have courts that have ruled repeatedly against him, when we have the Bible taken from schools, where we have prayer taken from children?"
In 2006 God told Robertson that millions of Americans would die an a terrorist attack "in the second half of 2007."

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PhoboQuotable - Peter LaBarbera

"Is there going to be a transgender quota now in the Obama administration? How far does this politics of gay and transgender activism go? Clearly this is an administration that is pandering to the gay lobby.We should consider what transgender activism is about, which is essentially recognizing civil rights based on gender confusion." - Peter LaBarbera, complaining to Focus On The Family about Obama's appointment of Amanda Simpson to a Commerce Department position.

LaBarbera's male lover Matt Barber is also quoted in the article. Anytime the religious right needs a hate quote on LGBT rights, Porno Pete and Bam Bam come gaily skipping forward with hands clasped.

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NYT Editorializes On Uganda

Following up their overdue but welcome entry into Uganda's "kill gays" bill outrage, the New York Times yesterday called out the involved American evangelicals in an editorial called Hate Begets Hate.
The government’s venom is chilling: “Homosexuals can forget about human rights,” James Nsaba Buturo, who holds the cynically titled position of minister of ethics and integrity, said recently. What makes this even worse is that three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” gays and lesbians have been widely discredited in the United States, helped feed this hatred. Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer gave a series of talks in Uganda last March to thousands of police officers, teachers and politicians in which, according to participants and audio recordings, they claimed that gays and lesbians are a threat to Bible-based family values. Now the three Americans are saying they had no intention of provoking the anger that, just one month later, led to the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. You can’t preach hate and not accept responsibility for the way that hate is manifested.
The Times closes by calling on the U.S. government to make it clear to Uganda that should the bill be passed, we will suspend their foreign aid and make sure they are "shunned globally."

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Dan Savage On Brit Hume

Dan Savage appeared on Keith Olbermann's show last night to rebut Fox anchor Brit Hume's claim that if Tiger Woods had only been a Christian, he wouldn't be the cheating pussy hound that he is. Classic Dan Savage.

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Brad Graham, Gay Man Who Coined The Term "Blogosphere", Dies At 41

Brad Graham, the gay blogging pioneer who coined the term "blogosphere" in 1999, has died unexpectedly at the age of 41.
His body was found Monday at his home in the city’s Shaw Neighborhood. Although the time and the cause of death remain unknown, Graham seems to have died of natural causes, said Steven Woolf, artistic director of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Graham was the theater’s longtime public relations manager. “We are all mystified,” Woolf said. Woolf said he last saw Graham on Dec. 31. “He was in a terrific mood, very upbeat,” Woolf recalled. “We had a great conversation. He was an important part of our family. Actors and artists all liked working with him, and he loved this theater. He was a real professional.” Although Graham started out as a writer in conventional media, he embraced new technology. He loved to blog and Tweet, and was known as a generous coach to those who needed advice and encouragement in new forms.
Graham's blog Bradlands, had not been updated since January 2009. Six years ago he gave me some very kind advice on setting up my blogroll. Nice guy.

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NJ Assembly Rebuffs Last Minute Plea For A Vote On Marriage Equality

Marriage equality activists and Bible-waving opponents faced off outside the New Jersey state house yesterday as Garden State Equality made a last-minute pitch to convince to convince lawmakers to make a vote on marriage before session ends on January 11th. Governor-elect Chris Christie takes office on the 19th. But the state Assembly Judiciary Committee refused the effort. Garden State Equality head Steves Goldstein threatened to abandon support for the Democrats, saying, “Either we will be able to march up the aisle and have marriage equality, or we will march across the aisle and have political independence."

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The Commubamanist Census Plot

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Sally Kern Tries To Ban Divorce

OK state Rep. Sally Kern must be among the wingnuts who don't realize that the attempt to ban divorce in California is a hoax, because now she's trying the same thing in Oklahoma.
Scheduled for introduction in the 2010 legislative session by state Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, House Bill 2279 would restrict the "use of incompatibility as a ground for divorce" in Oklahoma.The bill would not allow for divorce on the basis of incompatibility if:
  • There are living minor children of the marriage
  • The parties have been married 10 years or longer
  • Either party files a written objection to the granting of a divorce
If passed, the act would become effective on Nov. 1.
Miss Sally, who hasn't brought a loaded gun in the state house in months, was long overdue for something like this.

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Alan Grayon (D-FL) Rips GOP On Security

As the GOP and Dick Cheney rail against Obama over the Underwear Bomber, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) points out Dubya's failings on 9/11.

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Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of, today's Swag Tuesday booty is a special package of four fantastic items specially selected by for JMG readers: 1) Total Pop! - A four-disc box set from Erasure, 2) Break-Up, a musical collaboration between Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson, 3) $50 in Hi-Def Digital Downloads, and 4) Four classic New Order albums reissued on deluxe vinyl. Whew! pays Erasure more than "A Little Respect" with TOTAL POP! - DELUXE BOX, a 3-CD/1-DVD collection featuring remastered versions of the group's first 40 singles-sequenced chronologically on two CDs spanning 1985 to 2007-plus 20 years of vintage live recordings on a third CD and a DVD of rare BBC performances. An accompanying 76-page booklet boasting new notes and an exclusive interview lavishes even more "L'Amour."

In 2006, critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Pete Yorn contacted actress and Atco recording artist Scarlett Johansson with the idea to record a duets album in the spirit of Serge Gainsbourg's 1960s recordings with Brigitte Bardot. Win a copy of the results - Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson's "Break Up." Here's an audio sample.

$50 in Rhino Hi-Def Digital Downloads - these are CD-quality downloads that work on most MP3 players (including iPods), but blow MP3s away in sound & clarity, and is the only place to get them. Plus, if MP3s are still your thing,'s are encoding at 320Kbps, higher than iTunes or Amazon - plus the Album of the Week is Aretha Franklin's "Aretha's Best," just $5.99 for 20 unforgettable tracks!

And last but not least, is giving away four deluxe New Order reissues on 180-gram vinyl, complete with restored album artwork and inner sleeves - these are real beauties. Win deluxe vinyl copies of "Movement," "Power, Corruption & Lies," "Low-life," "Brotherhood."

Enter to win this special prize package by commenting on this post. Only enter once and please remember to leave your email address in the text of your comment. Entries close at midnight on Wednesday, west coast time. Publicists: If you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Times Are Hard All Over

When the man with the world's largest wang can't even get a job, the terrorists have won.

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Sunday: No Pants Subway Ride

Improv Everywhere's annual No Pant Subway Ride is this Sunday. Details here. Not to be a spoil sport, but when everybody knows it's coming, it doesn't seem very "improv" anymore. Here's how last year's event looked.

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Lincoln Chafee Announces 2010 Bid For Rhode Island Governor

Lincoln Chafee, the former Rhode Island GOP Senator turned independent Obama supporter, says he will run for governor of Rhode Island in 2010. Chafee has been an outspoken supporter of marriage equality, the only GOP Senator to do so.
Mr. Chafee, 56, left the Republican Party after his loss to Sheldon Whitehouse, saying the party’s agenda had become too conservative. He opposed President Bush’s tax cuts and was the only Senate Republican to vote against authorizing the war in Iraq in 2003. Gov. Donald Carcieri, a Republican who took office in 2003, cannot seek re-election due to term limits, and the only Republican who had entered the race dropped out last month. On the Democratic side, Patrick Lynch, the state’s attorney general, and Frank Caprio, its general treasurer, are competing for their party’s nomination. Both are well known in the state, but so is Mr. Chafee, whose family has loomed large in Rhode Island politics for more than a century. His father, John, served in the Senate for two decades and earlier as the state’s governor.
This will be very interesting. There are presently no independent governors in the U.S., but the last two have both been from New England.

(Tipped by JMG reader Bill)

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WaPo Watch

Via Media Matters:
The Washington Post published in its news pages an article by The Fiscal Times -- "an independent digital news publication reporting on fiscal, budgetary, health-care and international economics issues" -- that promoted the creation of a task force to reduce the deficit in part through cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But the Post did not disclose that the Times is funded by conservative billionaire Peter G. Peterson, whose organizations have long advocated reducing the deficit through entitlement cuts and have called for the creation of such a commission.
(Tipped by JMG reader Aaron)

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On Immigration Equality

Here's an interview with documentarian Sebastian Cordoba and a look at Through Thick and Thin, his film about the inequalities facing binational LGBT couples in the U.S.

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Photo Of The Day - Dale Robertson

Here's founder Dale Robertson expressing himself at a rally. Not too surprising, is it?

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"Fatties" Booted From Dating Site

"Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which was founded." - So says the site's founder after booting more than 5000 members for gaining weight.
The members were singled out after posting pictures of themselves that reportedly showed they had put on pounds over the holiday period. The site allows entry to new members only if existing members vote them as sufficiently attractive to warrant it. The US, the UK, and Canada topped the list of excluded members. The site has always been unrepentant about its selection process, calling itself "the largest network of attractive people in the world". The move was reportedly prompted by members themselves, who police the membership of the site to maintain a high - if highly subjective - standard of attractiveness.
And here we thought Bear411 was bad.

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Quote Of The Day - Bono

"Caution! The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files. The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of “24” in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free. A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business." - U2 frontman Bono, writing for the New York Times.

Bono blames ISPs for facilitating illegal file sharing and suggests that it's time to copy China's campaign to monitor internet content. This had made him very unpopular on Twitter and elsewhere today.

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Dying Mom Denied Blood From Gay Son

A 21 year-old gay man in Scotland was prevented from donating blood to his dying mother.
Dij Bentley's mother Christine, 47, died from acute myeloid leukaemia in August last year. Prior to her death, she had developed an infection and needed a blood transfusion. Friends and family members were asked to give blood to see if they were a match for her. Although Bentley did not know whether he was a match, he was prevented from donating under rules which bar men who have had with another man from giving blood. She died ten days after developing an infection in her brain on August 14th. Bentley, a 21-year-old student, told the Herald he had tried to give blood aged 17 but was told by a nurse he could not. He said: “My eyes have been opened to this since my mum died. Maybe gay men do have a right to give blood if they want to. Certainly for me, who was in a monogamous relationship, I think it would have been acceptable in these circumstances.”
Bentley is the president of the Glasgow University LGBT students group. As in the U.S., all gay and bisexual men in the UK are not allowed to donate blood. Late last year, Sweden lifted its lifetime ban on gay men donating, substituting a 12-month ban on all people who have had "risky sex."

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