Friday, October 31, 2014

KANSAS: Marriage Hearing Begins

The marriage equality hearing in Kansas has begun and NPR reporter Peggy Lowe is live-tweeting from inside the courtroom.

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Crazy Eyes: Obama Wants To Flood Nation With Democrats Via Immigration

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CALIFORNIA: Virgin Galactic Spaceship Crashes In Mojave Desert On Test Flight

It's been a horrible week for the space industry.

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CANADA: Porno Pete Pickets Courthouse Before Trial On "Mischief" Charges

Porno Pete and Canadian crackpot Bill Whatcott yesterday picketed outside a Saskatchewan courthouse before they had their trial on "mischief" charges for their April stunt in which they demonstrated without a permit on the campus of the University of Regina in a protest against "homosexualism." From the Leader-Post:
At their trial today, court heard they were asked to leave the campus because their activities violated the U of R's policy on maintaining a respectful work environment. In the morning, court was packed with their supporters while the Crown's arguments were presented. The defence presented evidence in the afternoon. LaBarbara and his supporters also protested with signs outside the courthouse before proceedings began. The judge will hand down a decision on Dec. 22.

Defence lawyer Michael Weger argued the men’s initial arrest on the wrong charge was only one of the reasons the current charges should be tossed. He said the mischief charge they are facing contains a number of legal “outs,” one stating that a person can’t be charged if they are attending a place simply to obtain or communicate information.


“Communicating information is exactly what happened on April 14 ...,” Weger said. “Isn’t university about different ideas and different viewpoints? As soon as we get to a point when we start sending young adults to an institution that tells them exactly how they must think and what to think, then our students stop getting an education.”

But Fitz-Gerald argued the men were not charged because they chose to communicate information; They were charged because they refused to leave private property after being asked several times to do so and thereby interfered with the lawful use and enjoyment of that property.

“It’s the Crown’s position, your Honour, that the University of Regina owns and occupies that property, that land, (and) it’s uncontroverted evidence before you of that,” he said, adding that the university has the right to direct people to leave under the Trespass to Property Act. “I say the university was completely within its rights to (ask them to leave). Mr. Whatcott and Mr. LaBarbera were not within their rights to refuse.”

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RUSSIA: Anti-Gay Lawmaker Calls From Banning Apple CEO Tim Cook "For Life"

"What could he bring us? The ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhea? They all have unseemly ties over there. Ban him for life." - St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, calling for Russia to ban Apple CEO Tim Cook from ever visiting. Milonov, who is partly responsible for Russia's ban on "gay propaganda," has led numerous anti-gay demonstrations, some of which have resulted in violence against LGBT Russians.

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LGBT Business Group Lauds Tim Cook

Via press release from Out Leadership:
Out Leadership, a strategic advisory firm dedicated to cultivating LGBT and ally senior leaders to create global business opportunity and drive equality forward, congratulates Apple CEO Tim Cook on the occasion of his coming out publicly.

“While Tim Cook chose to publicly identify himself as gay for the first time yesterday, he and Apple have long been allies to the LGBT community,” said Todd Sears, Out Leadership’s Founder. “We particularly applaud his choice to use this moment to underline the business case for diversity and the value of out leaders in the boardroom.”

“Though Cook may not consider himself an activist, the fact that the leader of the world’s most valuable company is proud to be gay will no doubt reverberate globally,” Sears continued. “Apple is admired and emulated worldwide, including in many places that have historically been unwelcoming to LGBT people and professionals. Today it’s going to be a bit harder to both love your iPhone and be a homophobe.”
The above-linked press release includes quotes from the CEOs of Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and Goldman Sachs.

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Ellen Goes Straight For Halloween

"I like Halloween because it’s the one time of year you can dress up however you want, and pretend you’re someone you’d never be in real life. For me, that’s married to a man."

(Via Towleroad)

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Robertson: For Halloween Give Satan A Black Eye For Legalizing Abortion

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Drug-Addled Christian "Zealot" Beheads Teen For Practicing Witchcraft

Via Patheos:
Christian terror? In a grisly murder an Oklahoma college student with strong Christian beliefs nearly decapitates a young man because the victim practiced witchcraft. Isaiah Zoar Marin, 21, is charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Jacob Andrew Crockett, 19. Marin is accused of using a “long knife or sword” to kill Crockett. According to a court affidavit, the suspect, Marin, is described as a “religious zealot” and “heavy drug user.” The victim, Crockett, is the son of an Oklahoma state trooper. Police report the victim had what appeared to be multiple deep slash and stab wounds and the “head was mostly severed from his body.” Marin was watching videos on YouTube “related to his Christian beliefs and the Book of Matthew” before the murder, according to the affidavit.
From the alleged killer's Facebook page: "Tried to take on a demon and God had to help me through the tough parts. Got to be careful with my words and pay closer attention to my emotions. Need to figure out how to keep on speaking when I'm with the presence of the Lord God." (Tipped by JMG reader Scott)

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Media Coverage: AIDS Vs Ebola

New York Times writer David Dunlap compares the US media's reaction to ebola to what followed after his own paper's Lawrence Altman made the first notable mention of AIDS in 1983:
I can easily imagine the metro desk of 2015 jumping in to follow up on Altman’s account: “Find out who’s died. Call Larry [Kramer]. Reach out to the families. Speak to neighbors. Try to talk to the patients. What hospitals are they in? Who are their doctors? Learn everything you can. When did they get sick? Where do they live? How old are they? And we’ve got to be clear about possible risks.”

The metro desk of 1981, to which I also belonged, did nothing.

The next article in The Times appeared in August. It was by The Associated Press. By then, more than 100 cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma and pneumocystis pneumonia had been reported, overwhelmingly among gay men, almost half of whom had died. Readers waited four months for the next report, on page D24, by United Press International, as five or six new cases were appearing each week.

The Times was “setting the tone for noncoverage nationally,” Randy Shilts wrote in “And the Band Played On” (1987). “There was only one reason for the lack of media interest, and everybody in the [Centers for Disease Control] task force knew it: The victims were homosexuals.”
To date only one person has died of ebola in the United States and President Obama has made numerous nationally televised speeches on the issue. We all know how Ronald Reagan handled AIDS.

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BOSTON: Former Mayor And Longtime LGBT Ally Tom Menino Dies At 71

Longtime LGBT ally and former Boston Mayor Tom Menino died yesterday at the age of 71.
Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year. “Visionaries don’t get things done,” he once said, crisply separating himself from politicians who gaze at distant horizons and imagine what might be. Leaving to others the lofty rhetoric of Boston as the Athens of America, he took a decidedly ground-level view of the city on a hill, earning himself a nickname for his intense focus on the nuts and bolts of everyday life: the urban mechanic.

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Lovely New Ad From Freedom To Marry

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HRC Reacts To Sen. Ted Cruz

"It's curious that virtually everything that comes out of Senator Cruz's mouth is either an insult or a put-down. Today, it was Tim Cook, LGBT Americans and three of the GOP's most revered leaders. Positivity training should be on his to-do list. Lighten up, Ted. Coming out is the most courageous and important thing that an LGBT person will do in their lifetime. Tim Cook showed great courage and leadership in doing so. He no doubt will save lives by inspiring those struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. All we get from Senator Cruz is either backhanded compliments or his backhand." - Fred Sainz, vice present of the Human Rights Campaign, via press release.

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From The North Carolina GOP

Matt Comer writes at Q Notes:
The North Carolina Republican Party has put their official stamp of approval on an anti-LGBT mailer sent to voters in and around Fayetteville, N.C., just days before the general election. The mailers decry the “Homosexual Agenda” and accuse LGBT groups of seeking “special rights for homosexuals.” The GOP’s mailer target Democratic state Senate candidate Billy Richardson, who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Wesley Meredith (Cumberland). In the mailer, state Republicans say Richardson “doesn’t have a moral compass” and points out his support for LGBT marriage equality. They also single out Richardson’s endorsement from “activist pro-gay groups like Equality NC Action Fund that support special rights for homosexuals,” the mailer reads, complete with an image of a campaign button emblazoned with Equality NC’s logo.
Embiggen the above image for the message.

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Wingnut Dennis Prager: Campaign Against Rape Is A Liberal Lie To Get Votes

"It’s a gargantuan lie to get votes. It’s as big a lie as the 'culture of rape' on your campuses. What nonsense. There is a culture of rape on campuses run by the feminist left? What do you cite to sell me this nonsense? One in five women are sexually assaulted on campuses. Do you know what sexual assault means? Did you ever look at what counts? An unwanted kiss is considered sexual assault. I’m stunned it’s only one in only. Four out of five women have not gotten an unwanted kiss? My wife gets unwanted kisses every so often. They make light of rape because they redefine these terms. We don’t make light of it. We think it is the worst thing possible short of murder. But they make light of it by trivializing it. Culture of Rape? No. I’ll tell you why it exists on the campus, and that is: a rape of the culture." - Right wing crackpot Dennis Prager, at a rally to support Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Wonkette notes that the Scott's campaign did not organize the rally.

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GOP: Please Don't Vote (Satire)

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Photo Of The Day

Via Pink News:
A picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visiting an orphanage has gone viral – and you will never guess why. The supreme leader of the secretive state was seen in photos released today, visiting a state-funded children’s home. However, eagle-eyed internet users spotted two plush toys behind Kim Jong Un – who appear to be simulating anal sex. While there’s nothing to confirm the placement of the toys was intentional, the winky face of one seems to be too good to be an accident.
The official position of the North Korean government is that homosexuality does not exist there.

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Philadelphia Approves Hate Crimes Law

Via the Philadelphia Inquirer:
City Council unanimously approved a measure on Thursday that would make it a crime to harm someone because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or disabilities. The proposal was triggered by the Sept. 11 assault on a gay couple in Center City. In that case, police arrested three people but could not charge them with a hate crime because neither state law nor the city code makes it a crime to harm someone because of sexual orientation. The measure approved Thursday, expected to be signed into law by Mayor Nutter, calls for up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 for crimes committed against a person because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
A similar bill remains stalled in the state legislature due to GOP obstruction. (Tipped by JMG reader Richard)

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IDAHO: Otter Vows To Keep Fighting

Via the Huffington Post:
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) vowed Thursday to keep fighting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in his state, even as that effort costs Idaho tens of thousands of dollars. "I'm not ready to surrender to a few folks in black robes," Otter said during a gubernatorial debate. "I'm not ready to surrender the will of the people in the state of Idaho, as they expressed in 2006 in an overwhelming majority." A.J. Balukoff, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, said Otter was fighting "a losing battle." "At this point, the ship has sailed," Balukoff said. "You're not going to win that battle in federal court. You might as well start arguing about interracial marriage."
Otter did say that if a bill to protect LGBT residents against housing and employment discrimination were to pass, he would sign it.

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Syndicated Radio Hosts Attack Tim Cook

Wikipedia: "The Rick and Bubba Show is heard each weekday morning on their flagship station WZZK and on over 50 radio stations in 15 states – mostly in the Southern United States."

UPDATE: Perhaps out of shame, but more likely due to the widespread outrage, the duo has removed the clip from their Facebook page and made it private on YouTube. If anybody has a mirror of their vile rant, please send it to me.

UPDATE II: Copy via JMG readers Jeremy and Andrea.

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TODAY: Kansas Marriage Hearing

Via the Associated Press:
A federal judge is to hear a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage. The hearing Friday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree in Kansas City, Kansas, is on the ACLU's request for an order to force Kansas to allow gay marriages. The ACLU filed the lawsuit for two lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses in Douglas and Sedgwick counties after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from five other states seeking to preserve gay marriage bans. The ACLU is seeking a temporary injunction to bring Kansas into line with 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals precedents in other cases.

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Perkins: Annise Parker Is A Totalitarian

"It may be Halloween, but even Mayor Annise Parker can’t mask her real agenda. The Houston leader couldn’t have been clearer yesterday that while she may have withdrawn the churches’ subpoenas, she has no intention of withdrawing from the battle over fundamental democracy. Remember, this whole saga began when the Mayor pushed a bad special rights ordinance, which morphed into a voting rights violation when she discarded over 30,000 signed citizen petitions. From there, it mushroomed into an attack on the First Amendment, and pastors started to challenge her totalitarian rule. While we’d like to think yesterday’s move was the result of the Mayor’s changed heart, it’s more likely the result of overwhelming public pressure. No doubt the Mayor would like the national scrutiny to go away, but as long as she continues to use her power to intimidate voters, the spotlight will remain." - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, via press release.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Starbucks Commercial Features Queens From RuPaul's Drag Race

Via TIME Magazine:
Everybody loves coffee and its healing powers — especially drag queens, as we now know from Starbuck’s latest ad. It features Bianca Del Rio and Adore Delano, fan favorites from the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race who are both very cranky and under-caffeinated while waiting in a long Starbucks line. They begin to argue and trade insults, but then the smiley barista hands them both their steaming beverages — and boom! Friendship repaired.
We look forward to NOM's reaction with glee!

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Bill Clinton Congratulates Tim Cook

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Pat Robertson: God Might Destroy Houston Because Of Mayor Annise Parker

Brian Tashman writes at Right Wing Watch:
Last week, Pat Robertson reacted to a case in Houston in which a group of pastors were subpoenaed as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit over the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance by calling gay rights advocates “terrorists.” The subpoenas have since been withdrawn, but that has done nothing to rein in Robertson, who warned today on “The 700 Club” that Houston could be punished just like the biblical city of Gibeah was when it defended what he calls a group of “militant homosexuals”…who raped a woman. Robertson suggested that Houston might face fate similar to that of the Benjaminites of Gibeah: “Benjamin had been annihilated. They had killed all the women, they had killed a good portion of the fighting men, they burned a number of their cities, it was a complete mess. Why? Because they had defended these rapist homosexuals. Is that a message for Houston? For someplace else in America?

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Free Republic Donation Image

The above money beg appears in the middle of Free Republic's sadz fest about Tim Cook.

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New From Rep. Scott Peters

Here's the latest campaign ad from Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), who has been endorsed by NOM because the only thing worse than another pro-LGBT Democrat would be gay Republican Carl DeMaio. Despite an avalanche of DeMaio scandals, the race remains locked in a dead heat.

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Judicial Legitimate Rape

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David Mixner Reveals Having Helped Eight Friends With AIDS Commit Suicide

Noted activist and former Clinton White House aide David Mixner made a startling revelation during the premiere of his show here in New York City. Via the Daily Beast:
It is the morning after. We are speaking about Mixner’s emotional on-stage confession—unelicited by anyone but himself—Monday night to the assisted suicides he oversaw of friends dying of AIDS in the 1980s. As Mixner bluntly revealed during Oh Hell No!, his one-man autobiographical stage show: “I killed eight.” One of those eight was his beloved partner Peter Scott, who—along with the seven others—was in the debilitating final stages of the disease and had asked Mixner to help him die. Mixner revealed that he had been part of an underground euthanasia network, aided by medical professionals, who were now “all gone” and could therefore not be punished professionally or prosecuted. Mixner, whose activism spans 40 intense years, himself consulted lawyers before confessing on stage and says he feels a legal prosecution is “unlikely. I am not worried, and what I did was right. In the end I wanted people to know about these decisions I had to take in my 30s that no one should have to take in their 30s.”
Mixner says he would insert a morphine drip into his friends' IV and then call their loved ones so they could be there at the end. Hit the link for much more about Mixner's work in the early years of the movement.

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Sen. Ted Cruz: Being Gay Is Tim Cook's Personal Choice But I Love My iPhone

The Hill reports on Sen. Ted Cruz' reaction to today's coming out by Apple CEO Tim Cook:
"Those are his personal choices. I’ll tell you, I love my iPhone," Cruz said. "Listen, Tim Cook makes his personal decisions, and that is his life. My focus is on the constitutional question of who has the authority to make decisions," he later added. Cruz said that marriage is a "question for the states" because of the country's federalist system. "This is something we’ve seen over and over again, which is the federal government and federal courts deciding they don’t trust the people," Cruz said. "They look down on the people, they don’t trust us to make judgments about our own lives, so the federal government and federal courts are going to step in and impose their own policy preferences."

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Updated Senate Race Map

It's not looking good. Via Politico:
Polling in Colorado misfired in both 2010 and 2012, and Democrats are banking on a similar mishap, along with the state’s new all-mail balloting, to deliver an upset victory for Sen. Mark Udall (D), who trails in nearly all independent polling to Rep. Cory Gardner (R). That’s possible, but there is also reason to be skeptical. For one thing, Gardner is unquestionably a superior candidate to Ken Buck, the Republican who fumbled the 2010 race against Sen. Michael Bennet (D). And some pollsters have no doubt learned from their past mistakes. Gardner’s lead in polling averages is around three points, right around where we’d expect him to be in good shape to win. So we’re now moving Colorado from Toss-up to Leans Republican. In South Dakota, ex-Gov. Mike Rounds’ (R) troubles don’t seem sufficiently large enough to open the door for Rick Weiland (D) or ex-Republican Sen. Larry Pressler, whose position in the race has faded to some degree. So we’re moving the Mount Rushmore State from Leans Republican to Likely Republican.
Hit the link for a large version of the map.

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Headline Of The Day

Via Raw Story:
A DNA analysis proves that Holy Communion is a “fraud,” according to a hedonistic religious sect that believes humans were created by extraterrestrials about 25,000 years ago. The Association of Raelian Scientists published a study on October 25 they say refutes the Catholic claim of transubstantiation, in which bread and wine and actually become the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ. “Nobody can contest a simple DNA test like that conducted by our scientists,” Brigitte Boisselier, spokesperson for the Raelian Movement, said in a news release. “Supernatural statements of long-established organizations like the Catholic Church can be exposed for what they are, a poor sham from the Middle Ages that has no place in this new century. All scientists should educate the public.”
There's usually one or two Raelians wandering around Union Square with signs about Earth being under surveillance by extraterrestrials who will only return to this world they created when humans end war.

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TRAILER: Banksy Does New York

Debuting on HBO tomorrow night.
Over the course of a month-long residency in New York, Banksy and his team took to the streets – secretly creating a variety of public work ranging from elaborate conceptual stunts to traditional graffiti art. Constructed under the dark of night, each new piece was then announced daily on his #BANKSYNY Instagram account and chronicled on his pop-up website creating a community wide scavenger hunt. Constantly evading a citywide search by the NYPD, Banksy’s work created a public response that was an equal mix of reverence and derision, with some of the more controversial statements sending waves of reaction throughout the city. From a Central Park stand where priceless original works were anonymously sold for $60 to a mural on the entrance to the Hustler strip club, to a junkyard in Willets Point, Queens; New York City served as the canvas for this street art vigilante.

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Open Thread Thursday

Quarterly book report time. What are you reading?

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Strongman Champion Comes Out

From the Facebook page of strongman competition champion Rob Kearney: "My ‪#‎mcm‬ goes to this guy, my boyfriend, Joey Aleixo! The past few months have been crazy, but throughout all of this you’ve given me a reason to smile. So I guess this is me coming out and saying… I’m gay!!" (That hashtag stands for "man crush Monday.")

From the sports site Next Level:
This particular Monday would be one where Kearney shifted the thinking of an entire community and stepped – quite suddenly – onto the pages of social change in the history America, and perhaps the world. He is no foreigner to the spotlight; Rob is not only a professional strongman (yes, that means he lifts heavy stuff for cash money, folk), but he is in fact an international-level strongman competitor, competing on the world stage among the strongest human beings currently documented. He even recently won in the middleweight division of this contest making him, in effect, officially the strongest middleweight man on planet Earth. You see, global acclaim is not a foreign thing to Kearney. And having managed these accolade's before age 25, he is clearly comfortable with being received with awe, envy and admiration. He knows what it is to become an icon of accomplishment. But what it is to become an icon of social heroism? Yeah, that would be a new one for Rob.
(Tipped by JMG reader Thomas)

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Kegel Exercises With An Assist

Last week I got pitched to promote glow-in-the-dark underwear with a padded bottom. Oy. Today I got pitched on this possibly more useful product:
The Private Gym, LLC announced today the release of its groundbreaking, innovative fitness program, Private Gym, the first FDA approved exercise program that strengthens the muscles supporting and controlling the penis. In less than 10 minutes a day, three days a week, men can experience more rigid erections, reduce premature ejaculations and heighten orgasms, as well as support prostate health. Private Gym promises to boost a man’s sexual performance as well as help prevent the onset of erectile dysfunction. The rationale behind Private Gym is simple and well established: work out a muscle and it gets stronger. These are the same well-known exercises performed by millions of women to increase pelvic tone, particularly after childbirth.
This is how it's described on Amazon, where the kit sells for $100.
The Complete Training Program starts with four weeks of Basic Training, which guides the user through a series of pelvic muscle exercises specifically designed to create initial pelvic muscle strength. Once Basic Training is complete, the program incorporates an additional four weeks of resistance training and the Private Gym's patented, FDA registered weighted penis ring and magnetic weight. The weighted ring is placed comfortably around the erect penis and lifted up and down, thereby placing just the right amount of resistance to maximize pelvic muscle growth and strength.
You lazy slob, get off that couch and exercise your penis! And for inspiration, there's a super very extremely not-even-remotely office-safe instructional video featuring porn stars Johnny Hazzard and Austin Wilde. This product makes me wonder if there's also a butt version of the Thighmaster.

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Tweet Of The Day

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SAN DIEGO: Appeals Court To Hear Case Of Man Busted For "Indecent" Pride Outfit

A California appeals court is about to hear the case of Will Walters, a gay man arrested at San Diego's gay pride event in 2011 because his outfit did not fully cover his rear end. Charges were dropped after the man spent the night in jail, but Walters is suing on the grounds that police targeted the pride event while ignoring the far more skimpy outfits worn daily at the city's beaches. Via the San Diego Reader:
The city attorney's office chose not to prosecute but the damage had been done. Walters wanted to expose what his attorney calls the city's "Gay Special Events Nudity Policy." "The city was asked to turn over copies of all public nudity citations and arrest reports issued by the San Diego Police Department over the last five years," attorney Christopher Morris wrote in the appeal. "The city produced 104 redacted citations and reports. In not one of those reports was a person arrested or cited for wearing a thong or a g-string type bathing suit bottom." Now, as the case makes its way through the courts, some have begun to speak out against the city's policy and the arrest. West Hollywood councilmember, attorney, and openly gay man John Duran wrote an op-ed for the Daily Journal, a legal publication for attorneys, denouncing the city's police force and the city for arguing that the arrest had nothing to do with sexual orientation or discrimination.
The date for Walters' hearing has not yet been set.

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TAIWAN: Pride Parade Draws 70,000

Yesterday the New York Times raved abut the difference between Taiwan and its Asian neighbors:
Waving rainbow flags and banners demanding same-sex marriage, the revelers set off from Taiwan’s presidential palace, drawing cheers and thumbs-up from spectators along the way. For the 13th year in a row, the gay pride march took over the streets of the capital on Saturday in a boisterous, freewheeling demonstration of how far Taiwan has come in the two decades since multiparty democracy replaced martial law and authoritarian rule. But the loudest applause rose when a Malaysian flag or a troupe of Japanese dancers in traditional folk outfits, envoys from more restrictive locales, were spotted amid the throng. When it comes to gay rights in Asia, Taiwan is a world apart. Openly gay and lesbian soldiers can serve in the military, and the Ministry of Education requires textbooks to promote tolerance for gays and lesbians. In recent years, legislators here have passed protections for gays, including a law against workplace discrimination. A bill to legalize same-sex marriage has been introduced in Taiwan’s legislature, although it still faces strong opposition from Christian activists and their allies in the governing Kuomintang. “Taiwan is an inspiration for much of Asia,” said Grace Poore, director of Asia and Pacific island programs at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. “They are way ahead of their neighbors.” With its lively news media, panoply of grass-roots organizations and a robust, if sometimes noisy, democracy, this self-governing island has become a beacon for liberal political activism across Asia.

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Janet Mefferd Slams Southern Baptist Leader For Denouncing "Ex-Gay" Torture

"Homosexuals can change and have changed through all types of helpful Christian therapy, Dr. Moore. I've met them. I Cor. 6 also clearly tells us that redeemed sinners of all stripes can change, else why the reference, 'such WERE some of you?' What galls me the most is how he's playing right into the hands of Big Gay, which is on a totalitarian course to rub out personal autonomy and liberty to choose whatever you want in the way of therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction. And he's playing right into their hands." - Christian radio host Janet Mefferd, in a Facebook slam against Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore, who earlier this week denounced "ex-gay" torture.

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Tim Cook: I'm Proud To Be Gay

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me. Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple." - Tim Cook, coming out formally at last in an essay published by Business Week.

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Chris Cristie Hecked At Sandy Event

Via ABC News:
This is why some people love him ... and some people hate him. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, appearing along the Jersey Shore to mark the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, got heckled by a local activist and former councilman. So Christie did what he does -- fire back. “I’m glad you had your day to show off, but we’re the ones who are here to actually do the work,” Christie said from behind an official podium placed in a Belmar, N.J., intersection. "So turn around, get your 15 minutes of fame and then maybe take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves and maybe do something for the people of this state." Christie summed up: “So listen, you want to have the conversation later, I’m happy to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up.”

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Seen In Florida

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NEW YORK CITY: Man Dies After OD'ing In Penthouse Of Gay Hotel Developer

A 25 year-old man died yesterday after an apparent drug overdose in the multimillion dollar penthouse of developer Ian Reisner (left), who in 2012 opened the posh Out NYC hotel and nightclub complex near Times Square.
Sean Verdi, of Bay Ridge, was rushed from 230 Central Park South to Saint Luke’s Hospital after Reisner called 911 about 8:20 a.m., police sources said. He died at 9:03 a.m. The death appeared to be a drug overdose, according to a police source, but the Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy on Thursday to determine the cause of death. Investigators do not believe that any criminality was involved, police said.   Verdi was found unconscious in a bathtub in hotel tycoon Ian Reisner’s penthouse apartment on Central Park South, police sources said. Verdi was graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., in May. He majored in bioengineering. He met Reisner previously in clubland, his parents told the Daily News on Wednesday night. Verdi, Reisner and a friend were at a bar in Hell's Kitchen before returning to Reisner's pad, Verdi's parents said, citing information given to them by NYPD investigators.
Reisner was arrested in May for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident in the Hamptons.
The officer found Mr. Reisner to be unsteady and slurring his speech. Roadside sobriety tests were administered, which police said he failed. He was taken to headquarters, where a breath test produced a reading of .06, too low for a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated but high enough for the drug-related misdemeanor charge. Mr. Reisner refused to have his blood drawn, the chief said. A blood test is the only admissible way for a court to determine the level and type of drugs in the body. Because he was arrested after East Hampton Justice Court had completed its Sunday arraignments, Mr. Reisner spent the next 20 hours in a holding cell at Cedar Street headquarters.
The nightclub at Out NYC opened as XL and is currently known as BPM. It's the largest gay nightclub in the city.

RELATED: In July, the New York Observer profiled Reisner's Central Park South penthouse, which he values at $25M.

UPDATE: Gay Socialites reports that Verdi was the manager of the popular Hell's Kitchen lounge Bartini.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Satan's Favorite City Wins World Series

UPDATE: JMG reader Kned sends us a photo from the celebration in the Castro.
UPDATE II: Another Kned photo, this time from the Mission.

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FLORIDA: Edith Windsor Tells Gov. Rick Scott To Stop Fighting Same-Sex Marriage

Orlando's Watermark has the transcript:
“I am Edith S. Windsor, the plaintiff in Windsor v. United States, the case that won federal recognition of marriages for same-sex couples. The two extremely positive decisions in favor of marriage equality were Justice Jacobs’ decision in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Kennedy’s decision in the Supreme Court, both self-described conservatives. Five judges in Florida have also ruled that it’s wrong to exclude same-sex couples from marriage. And the majority of Floridians agree. My dear Governor Scott, I employ you to use the power of your office to allow loving couples to marry now in your state. Very respectfully yours, Edie Windsor.”

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FRC: Houston's Mayor Only Rescinded Subpoenas To Hurt Hate Rally Attendance

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SINGAPORE: Court Upholds Sodomy Law

Via the Straits Times:
The highest court in Singapore has upheld Section 377A of the Penal Code, the law that criminalises sex between men, rejecting arguments that the provision contravenes the Constitution. In ruling that the provision is constitutional, the three-judge Court of Appeal on Wedesday rejected two separate challenges to strike down the law. Gay couple Gary Lim, 46, and Kenneth Chee, 38, as well as 51-year-old Tan Eng Hong, contend that the provision is discriminatory and should be declared void by the court.

Their argument is that Section 377A infringes their right to equal protection under the law, as guaranteed by Article 12 of the Constitution, and violates their right to life and liberty, as guaranteed by Article 9. The offence carries up to a two-year jail term for men who, in public or private, commit acts of "gross indecency" with other men. Mr Tan was the first to file a challenge against the statute in 2010 after he was charged with having oral sex with another man in a public toilet. Mr Lim and Mr Chee later filed their own challenge.
The law has been on the books since Singapore was a British colony. The photo above is from Singapore's annual Pink Dot event, which advocates for LGBT rights.

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One Million Moms Vs Verizon

You knew this one was coming.
Dear Joe, Verizon has a new commercial where the whole ad is based on the slogan "half-fast" internet. This double entendre is repeated over and over again. The entire commercial's dialogue has various people, mostly families, including a mother in front of her child, saying half-fast instead of half-a$$ed. Verizon should be more responsible in their marketing decisions. Let them know that as a parent and a consumer you are offended that they care more about their financial gain than what impression they are making on our children. Verizon executives apparently don't care about what children hear as long as it puts money in their pockets. Everyone knows kids repeat what they see and hear. This is weak marketing, and Verizon should have the corporate responsibility to not use an age old euphemism that offends families. Take Action: Please send Verizon an email letter requesting they cancel their new "half-fast" commercial immediately!

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Feds Fine Online Dating Company For Scamming Money Via Fake Profiles

Via The Hill:
England-based company JDI Dating and its owner, Mark Thomas, were the target of the $616,165 fines. The settlement forbids the company from misrepresenting facts about the service or its cancellation policy in the future. "JDI Dating used fake profiles to make people think they were hearing from real love interests and to trick them into upgrading to paid memberships,” said the FTC's Jessica Rich, who directs consumer protection at the agency. The company, which operates 18 websites, was accused of using computer generated profiles to send messages to users who had created free profiles. The FTC found that messages sent to users who created these free profiles were "almost always fake." Customers could not respond to other members unless they signed up for a subscription fee, usually $10 to $30 a month. The company boasts 12 million members on its website. "The fake profiles and messages caused many users to upgrade to paid subscriptions," the FTC said in a release.
Among JDI Dating's websites are Get Flirting, Flirt Crowd, and Naughty Over Forty. The FTC rejected the company's claim that its posted disclaimer about "virtual cupids" (embiggen the image above) was adequate notice that some messages are fake. The company claims to have 12 million members across its 18 sites.

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Barber: Executing Gays Is "Appalling" (But Brutal Anti-Gay Persecution Is Great)

I didn't catch Matt Barber's response to Right Wing Watch this morning, but he certainly ignored all of yesterday's tweets from the flying monkeys who pointed out that his newest columnist has called for executing homosexuals. Barber deleted that post, but here's an excerpt from how Right Wing Watch writer Peter Montgomery has responded to the above tweet:
Here are some other things we find appalling that Matt Barber seemingly does not: Jeff Allen, a BarbWire editor, compares the gay rights movement to “a malignant cancer” and says, “Each victory for the homosexual activists represents another nail in America’s coffin.” Allen has supported brutal anti-gay laws in Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, which include imprisonment not only for sexual conduct but also for joining social clubs or advocating for equality. Allen was upset when criticized for his “innocent mistake” of calling a fake photo of “NAMBLA for Obama” an example of “the undeniable link between homosexuality and pedophilia.” More Allen: “Satanism, sodomy, and slaughter are each part of the Devil’s sinister agenda to destroy America.”

BarbWire content editor Gina Miller has written that the “demonic” gay rights advocates are advancing “Satan’s tyrannical desire to crush Christianity” and warned last year that if gays get their way “Christians here in America will be in danger of state-sanctioned murder for their beliefs.” In June, Miller responded to the announcement that some Boy Scout troops would march in New York’s LGBT pride parade by calling it “a perverse attack on young boys who are being used as little tools by an evil movement of sexual degenerates who cannot reproduce, so they must recruit.” This spring, BarbWire published a column by former Indiana lawmaker Don Boys recounting his attempt to recriminalize homosexuality. In a similar column a few years earlier, Boys had explained that he wanted to make homosexuality a crime punishable by up to twelve years in prison.
Read Montgomery's full takedown.

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New Zach Dasher Ads: Bibles And Guns Brought Us Here & They'll Keep Us Here

In three new campaign ads, the US House bid of Louisiana's Zach "My Platform Begins With God" Dasher is endorsed by Phil Robertson (Dasher's uncle), and Sen. Ted Cruz, who's apparently OK with vertical cellphone video ads. Via NOLA.com:
Fifth Congressional District candidate Zach Dasher's new ad says he believes in guns, and he's just unloaded the biggest gun he has. Dasher's uncle, "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson, appears in two new television ads that will run district-wide Monday until Election Day on Nov. 4. The campaign described it as a "significant buy" but would not disclose exact figure for the buy.

Dasher, a Republican, is trying to unseat incumbent Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Swartz. McAllister is a former Robertson family ally, but he lost favor with the famous family from West Monroe after video surfaced earlier this year of the married congressman kissing a married female staffer.

The two 15-second ads show images of Robertson and Dasher while Robertson touts Dasher's conservative and religious values while praising his nephew for his strong moral character. One ad shows Robertson holding an assault-style rifle while he explains the importance of "Bibles and guns." "Bibles and guns brought us here, and Bibles and guns will keep us here," Robertson says in the ad. "Zach Dasher believes in both. That's why I'm voting for him."
Dasher has also been endorsed by Sarah Palin and by fellow Louisiana native Tony Perkins.


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NEW YORK: Court Allows "Incestuous" Marriage Between Niece And Half-Uncle

The New York Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that the marriage between a woman and her half-uncle is no more incestuous than marriages between first cousins, which are allowed in many states including New York. The case reached the appeals court after an immigration judge tried to have the woman deported to Vietnam on the grounds that her marriage was invalid.
Marszalkowski said he won the case by zeroing in on the language of the state’s domestic-relations law. The statute reads that “a marriage is incestuous and void whether the relatives are legitimate or illegitimate between either: 1. An ancestor and a descendant; 2. A brother and sister of either the whole or half blood; 3. An uncle and niece or an aunt and nephew.” Incest is a crime punishable by a $50 to $100 fine and up to six months in jail. Marszalkowski determined that as a matter of consanguinity, or blood relations, half-uncles and nieces share the same level of genetic ties as first cousins — or only one-eighth the same DNA. “It really was the equivalent of cousins marrying, which has been allowed in New York state for well over 100 years,” Marszalkowski said.
The couple, whose ages are only four years apart, has been married for 14 years and they have no children. The suit named US Attorney General Eric Holder, whose office is responsible for enforcing immigration laws. The case has already launched "we TOLD you!" articles in Teabagistan.

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Viral Video Of The Day

At an In-N-Out Burger in California, a man carrying a bible had been holding the door open for customers all day. Because reasons. When the staff declined to thank him for this strange behavior, the man had a screaming meltdown that was caught on a customer's cell phone. Via Raw Story:
When a manager asked the man to leave, he exploded in an expletive-laced rant before vandalizing the store’s plastic plant display. “Am I gonna get busted? No!” the man shouts at the beginning of the video as customers leave their tables to get away from the commotion. He goes on the vent loudly about the restaurant “bitching about someone holding a fucking door for people,” which he claims to be doing because he’s a “fucking Christian” who’s got to “stand up for other fucking Christians.”
Add a country accent and you've got our buddy Christmas.

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FLORIDA: Atlas Rocket Launches Safely

After yesterday's disaster in Virgina, all eyes were on Cape Canaveral this afternoon as an Atlas V rocket successfully launched.  The rocket carries an Air Force GPS satellite. Allegedly. Today's was the 50th successful Atlas launch.

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HOUSTON: Mayor Annise Parker Says She'll Withdraw Subpoenas Of Pastors

Via the Houston Chronicle:
The City of Houston will withdraw its controversial subpoenas of five pastors tied to a lawsuit over the city's equal rights ordinance, Mayor Annise Parker announced at a news conference Wednesday. The announcement came amid a national firestorm about the subpoenas, which have prompted outrage among Christian conservatives. Parker said two meetings yesterday, one with local pastors and another with national clergy, persuaded her to pull the subpoenas altogether. "The goal of the subpoenas is to defend against the lawsuit and not to provoke a public debate," Parker said. She is ordering the subpoenas removed for the sake of Houston, not because the request were in any way illegal or intended to intrude on religious liberties, Parker said. "I didn't do this to satisfy them," Parker said of critics. "I did it because it was not serving Houston."
Hate groups are already celebrating. From Tony Perkins:
Standing together across the nation, Christians have sent a strong message to Mayor Parker. While we are encouraged by this evidence that the Mayor is responding to pressure and withdrawing her unconstitutional subpoenas, this is about far more than subpoenas. As we have stated since the beginning of this intrusion into the private affairs of Houston churches; this is not about subpoenas, this is not about sermons, it is not even about biblical teaching on sexual immorality, it is about political intimidation and the bullying by Mayor Parker that continues.

“Despite the fact that the citizens of Houston gathered over 50,000 signed petitions in 30 days, which is 30,000 more than required by the city charter, the Mayor has refused to allow the people of Houston to vote on her unfair special rights ordinance that discriminates against religious freedom within the city and endangers citizens by declaring that public bathrooms can no longer be limited on the basis of a person’s actual biological sex.“The citizens of Houston have a right to vote, and Mayor Parker has denied them that right. America must see the totalitarianism that accompanies the redefinition of marriage and human sexuality, which results in citizens being denied their most fundamental rights.
Christian groups claim to have deluged Parker's office with hundreds of mailed bibles in the last ten days at the request of Mike Huckabee.

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Editorial Of The Day

From Montana's Great Falls Tribune:
One after another, federal appeals courts, including the 9th Circuit that covers Montana, have thrown out gay marriage bans in other states, and Montana’s position will be overturned. Why? Because that stance discriminates against gays, lesbians and others. It is unfair to these folks, regardless of some Americans who disapprove of their sexual orientation. The issue of homosexuality and marriage was easier to deal with when some researchers and, frankly, charlatans tried to prove that people could be cured of their gay nature. In recent decades, science indicates that sexual orientation is more likely to be based in a person’s genetic makeup.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris will hear arguments Nov. 20 on a motion for summary judgment in a case filed this spring by four gay couples. We’d like to see [AG Tim] Fox at that hearing accept the inevitable and agree with the motion. It’s time for the state of Montana to quit wasting taxpayers’ money and to accept gay marriage in Montana, even if churches can go their own way on this matter. Some people still want to make political points with this issue, but we say, it’s too late for that. It’s all over. Montana law should allow people committed to each other, whether straight or gay, to make their relationship legal and lasting.
(Tipped by JMG reader Sarah)

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New PrEP Study Upends Edict That Med Must Be Taken Daily To Be Effective

Gus Caims reports at AIDS Map:
In an extraordinary development, a second European scientific trial of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has had its randomised phase closed early due to high effectiveness, just two weeks after the UK PROUD trial did exactly the same thing. The investigators of the IPERGAY trial, which has six sites in France and one in Canada, announced today a “Significant breakthrough in the fight against HIV and AIDS” because IPERGAY had successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of its PrEP regimen.

IPERGAY’s early closure is significant not only because it adds confirmation that PrEP can be highly effective, but because it was testing an innovative, intermittent (“on-demand”) PrEP regimen. In this study, participants did not take PrEP daily, but only when they anticipated having sex. The regimen involved taking two pills of Truvada (tenofovir + emtricitabine) twelve hours before anticipated sex and then, if sex happened, two separate one-pill doses the following day. This extends the versatility of PrEP and provides an alternative regimen to daily dosing.

IPERGAY was run by the French national AIDS research institute, ANRS, and began in February 2012. It randomised gay men at high risk of HIV infection to the Truvada regimen or to a placebo – a protocol that caused some controversy among activists who felt studies such as iPrEx had already demonstrated that PrEP worked. All participants were also offered a package of measures including “personalised and frequent” counselling, repeated HIV testing, screening and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections, hepatitis B vaccination, condoms and lubricant. At the time of closure of its randomised phase, the trial had approximately 400 participants.
Perhaps it should go without saying, but Truvada users should remain on their daily dosing regimen for the time being and until after this study's results have been replicated and endorsed by multiple major HIV/AIDS experts. That said, the prospect of an intermittent dosing regimen versus a lifetime daily dosing schedule of a medication whose long-term side effects remain unclear - that is indeed appealing. However it seems that "anticipating sex," for many gay men, would require daily dosing anyway. I vaguely recall that sex can sometimes happen without anticipation, certainly much faster than 12-hours notice.

UPDATE: Via renowned activist Peter Staley's Facebook page, the chart below indicates that a 12-hour notice is not required. The first notation reads: "1st dose: 2 tablets, Max. 24h - Min 2h before first sexual relation."
UDPATE II: The source of the chart above and much more about this study can be found here.

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Sullivan Backs Matthew Shepard Truthers

"The question here is whether the crime was solely a function of the homophobic hatred of two strangers who beat up and brutally murdered someone merely because he was gay. That’s the official line of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign. Of course these motives could also have been involved. I’m arguing that meth can explain all of it, but may not be the only factor involved. I can’t read the meth-addled minds of the foul murderers. I can detect bullshit from the gay rights establishment. No one wants to confess a meth robbery gone haywire, and they may have thought the gay panic defense might work – and it didn’t. The Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign should not be smearing and demonizing good faith work by a courageous openly gay journalist. They need to apologize, and correct the record. At some point, their convenient untruth must stop." - Andrew Sullivan, responding to the uproar that followed after the Guardian this week published an essay in praise of the widely-debunked book which claims that Shepard's murder was not an anti-gay hate crime. Sullivan has long opposed hate crimes laws.

RELATED: Media Matters' Carlos Maza reports on the flap.
On October 25, The Guardian published an article by columnist Julie Bindel titled "The truth behind America's most famous gay-hate murder." The report focuses on the widely discredited 2013 book The Book of Matt, in which author Stephen Jimenez attempts to make the case that Matthew Shepard's brutal murder in 1998 was drug-related and not, as it is widely believed, motivated by anti-gay hate.

The book has been criticized for relying on shoddy sources and omitting key facts about the case, prompting the Matthew Shepard Foundation to condemn the book for being based on rumors and innuendo. Jimenez's book has been described as "fictional" by the lead detective in the case. People familiar with the murder - including one of the killer's appellate attorneys, Albany County Sheriff Dave O'Malley, and Albany County Undersheriff Robert Debree - have condemned the book as factually challenged.

But Bindel didn't include those criticisms in her piece. Instead, she portrayed Jimenez as a victim of gay activists' blind desire to hide the truth about Shepard's murder. It's unclear why Bindel failed to mention the numerous flaws with Jimenez's book. She has previously been criticized for claiming that she chose to be gay and for making inflammatory comments about the transgender community.
Excerpts from the book have been published on many anti-gay sites and hate groups leaders frequently cite it as evidence that hate crimes laws are unneeded and exist only to stifle Christianity.

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Daniel Radcliffe Raps Alphabetically

In an American accent.

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KANSAS: Crackpot Unruhs Try Again, File Amicus Brief Against Marriage Ban Repeal

The crackpot Kansas couple who were smacked down in their attempt to intervene in the Kansas marriage case are trying again, this time via an amicus brief which again claims that evil gays are trying to literally steal their marriage. Read the full brief from Phillip and Sandra Unruh at Equality Case Files.

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