Saturday, February 28, 2015

NASA Pays Tribute To Leonard Nimoy

From NASA: "Astronaut Terry Virts captured this photo from the International Space Station flying over Boston, where Leonard Nimoy was born. #RIPLeonardNimoy"

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Rand Paul Wins CPAC 2015 Straw Poll

This is the third win in a row for Rand Paul. Romney won in 2012. Rand Paul's father won in 2011 and 2010. To recap the last six years: Paul, Paul, Paul, Romney, Paul, Paul. And speaking of not wanting dynasties, all day long the Tea People have been screaming about reports that Jeb Bush bussed in supporters to freep the straw poll. Via Breitbart:
Perhaps in fear that he didn’t have enough backers willing to show up on their own, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign organized to bus supporters to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to cheer during his appearance on stage and vote for him in the straw poll. The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin writes that Bush brought people in from Washington, D.C.: “Mr. Bush’s supporters organized caravans of his Washington backers to attend his speech, and they cheered whenever anyone else booed,” Martin wrote. Those same bused in cheerers also will likely be expected by Bush’s campaign to vote for him in the famed straw poll. Betsy Woodruff at the liberal outlet Slate also obtained emails that prove Bush’s team was busing in supporters from K Street.

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CHARLOTTE: Haters To Stage Monday Rally Against LGBT Rights Ordinance

Via press release:
The City of Charlotte is poised to pass a burdensome ordinance that will further regulate businesses, involuntarily shackle them to a political agenda, and erode their clients’ most basic sense of security that many have come to expect and enjoy in North Carolina’s premier city. On March 2, 2015 the Charlotte City Council will vote on whether to amend the non-discrimination policy requirements for businesses that offer their services to the public (i.e. public accommodations), businesses that have contracts with the city, and businesses that offer vehicles for hire such as taxis and limousines. Public accommodations include retail stores, counseling businesses, schools, parks, gyms, museums, athletic stadiums, whether these are privately owned businesses or not. If you conduct business in Charlotte you will be required to allow men to use the female restrooms, showers, and locker rooms. Most businesses already have all-encompassing non-discrimination policies that have worked effectively for many years. Additionally, this law is unnecessary because there is not widespread discrimination of these groups to begin with.
Bolding is motherfucking mine. The hate rally is at 4PM outside the Charlotte City Council chamber.  JMG readers in Charlotte, please send us your photos and video if you attend.

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Eurovision 2015: Ireland's Entry

Via the Irish Times:
Molly Sterling, a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Nenagh in Co Tipperary, has won Eurosong on the The Late Late Show and will represent Ireland at the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna this May. The song, Playing with Numbers, co-written by Greg French, was announced the winner when it topped the scoreboard, which comprises a combination of public and jury vote. Molly is currently in 4th year in St Andrew’s in Booterstown, Dublin 18. She and songwriter Greg co-wrote Playing with Numbers as part of her upcoming album. She says the song is about the risks people take every day in love and in life, and the experiences of taking the road less traveled. This year’s Eurovision will be held in Vienna, Austria in May, with Ireland competing in the second semi-final. The Eurovision final takes place on Saturday, 23rd May.
Big improvement over Jedward. She sure doesn't seem 16.

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NYC Sees Coldest February In 81 Years

The weather has been particularly hard on restaurants and nightspots, but has been a boon for all delivery services.

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NEW YORK CITY: Guinness To Return As Sponsor Of St. Patrick's Day Parade

 Via the Wall Street Journal:
Guinness has decided to resume sponsorship of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue after dropping out last year, sparking criticism from gay activists who want a broad boycott because of what they call the organizers’ discriminatory policies. Diageo PLC, the parent company of Guinness, cited parade organizers’ decision to allow one gay group to march this year as a prime factor in Guinness’s decision. In September, the parade organizers announced that Out@NBC-Universal, a group of gay employees at NBC, would be permitted to march under its own banner. “While there is still work to be done, we are pleased that the parade organizers have taken steps to allow the LGBT community to be represented,” Diageo said in a statement. A spokeswoman for Guinness didn't respond to a request for comment beyond the company’s statement. Heineken U.S.A. also withdrew its sponsorship of the parade last year. A spokeswoman didn’t respond Friday to an inquiry; the spokeswoman said two weeks ago that a “decision had not been made” at that time.
When Guinness pulled out last year, Bill Donohue launched a boycott campaign that ultimately went nowhere. Heineken also dropped its sponsorship of the 2014 parade, but its not yet known if they will follow Guinness back to this year's event. A spokesman for Irish Queers has expressed "disappointment" with the decision by Guinness.

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David Benham: How To Cure Gayness

"We had so many people from the gay community reaching out to us and one man in particular from the city of Chicago reached out and he said things to me that made me lose my appetite. But I simply responded in love. After a little conversation back and forth, I found out he loved baseball and I got him tickets to a Cubs game. He shot me a Facebook post and said, ‘I was not expecting that  and I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’ve chosen to walk away from my lifestyle.’" - David Benham, telling the audience at the National Religious Broadcasters convention that he cured a man's gayness with a gift of baseball tickets. In two days Benham and his brother will gift the city of Charlotte with a hate rally against a proposed LGBT rights ordinance.

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Viral Video Of The Day

Nearly one million views in two days.

(Tipped by JMG reader Daddy Ray)

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Friday, February 27, 2015

RUSSIA: Top Putin Opponent Shot Dead

Four bullets in the back. The murder took place just a few blocks from the Kremlin.

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Bush At CPAC: No To Same-Sex Marriage

So much for the whisper campaign that Bush has evolved. Via the Washington Blade:
Despite a perception that he’s the most LGBT-friendly Republican in the field of potential presidential candidates, Jeb Bush said Friday he remains opposed to same-sex marriage. Onstage at the second day of the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, Bush was asked if his views had changed on same-sex marriage by conservative commentator Sean Hannity. The former Florida governor was succinct in his reply: “No. I believe in traditional marriage.” The potential candidate — who once backed the efforts of his brother, former President George W. Bush, to pass a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage throughout the country — made the comments before a conservative audience as he tried to play down his support for immigration reform and federal education standards under Common Core.
Tim Miller, the just-hired openly gay head of the Bush communications team, is tweeting away about CPAC but has said nothing about the marriage comment.

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House Dems Reject Stopgap Homeland Security Funding Bill By 222-204 Vote

The GOP put forward a bill to fund Homeland Security for the next three weeks only. Democrats just refused and unless another vote is taken tonight, the agency will effectively shut down at midnight. As you can see, 50 Republicans refused to even vote for three more weeks. The Senate has approved a bill to fund Homeland Security until the end of the fiscal year.

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Phil Robertson Rants About Hippies, STDs, and Jesus Jesus Jesus At CPAC 2015

This afternoon Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson was bestowed with the Andrew Breitbart First Amendment Award at CPAC in recognition of his righteous battle against the HGTV branch of the federal government. Pulling open his bible at the start of his acceptance speech, Robertson proceeded to launch into a strident call for a Christianity-based theocracy, at one point declaring that STDs are "the revenge of the hippies." (This from a guy who looks like he lives in a '66 VW bus.) The STDs rant is excerpted in the first clip below but I encourage you to watch the entire speech. The Democrats themselves could not have a cast a better spokesbagger for the Tea People than Imam Bin Robertson.

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ARKANSAS: NOM Backs Bill To Allow Businesses To Reject LGBT Customers

"In Arkansas, two courageous state legislators, Rep. Ballinger and Sen. Hester, have introduced HB1228, the Conscience Protection Act, in the Arkansas state assembly. The legislators of the state of Arkansas need to hear from you right away... ask them to support HB 1228 and protect the individual conscience rights and religious liberties of the people of Arkansas. The consequences of this legislation passing or not will be felt nationwide as same-sex 'marriage' activists become increasingly emboldened by activist judges, they won't stop pushing their agenda until everyone who conscientiously objects to their vision of a radically altered America is silenced. Please, call the Arkansas Senate at (501) 682-2902 and let one of the state Senators know that the Conscience Protection Act enjoys support from all across America. And then, please call the Governor's office at (501) 682-2345, and let Governor Hutchinson know the same. Please take a moment to make a couple of phone calls and help advance this critical legislation." - Hate group leader Brian Brown, in his first email this month that did not include a money beg.

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CHARLOTTE: Benham Brothers Oppose "Depraved" LGBT Rights Ordinance

The Benham brothers have long battled against LGBT rights in their hometown and on Monday they will lead a hate rally against Charlotte's proposed rights ordinance.

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Hannity Slams "Stupid Liberals" At CPAC

Hannity: "Let's say I had a bees nest at my house. If I was stupid, like a liberal, and I took a baseball bat and I knocked down the wasp nest and the bees sting me, it wouldn't be my fault, it wouldn't be the wasp's fault."

Huh?

More via Mediaite:
Fox News star Sean Hannity took the CPAC 2015 stage by storm, railing against “stupid liberals” in a speech that clearly energized the room full of conservatives. Hannity began his remarks with something of a stand-up routine, throwing footballs into the crowd and asking for a call-and-response polling on each possible 2016 Republican candidate. Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Ted Cruz received the loudest applause. Perhaps even more notably, upon mentioning their names, Govs. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie both received boos. The Fox host also turned heads while setting up a joke about personal responsibility with this Biden-esque line: “I have x-ray Fox vision and I can see some young women — you don’t even know it yet but you’re pregnant. But it’s not your fault!”

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Wingnut Handouts: Swag At CPAC 2015

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Unions Demand Apology From Gov. Scott Walker After CPAC Comparison To ISIS

Via press release:
We’re not going to stand by and let Scott Walker smear hard-working Americans, simply because the exercise their first amendment freedom to disagree with him. You don’t attack good men and women who give their time every day to make this country a better place.

Public service workers have confronted terrorism. In the aftermath of September 11, they performed search and rescue operations and helped the devastated city recover. Halloveen Brightly, an AFSCME DC37 police communications specialist, stayed on the line with those who would never make it out of the towers. Patrick Bahnken of DC37 in New York City dug by hand for victims. Leonard Benjamin, a mortuary care technician from DC37, picked up the remains of the deceased at the World Trade Center. And Father Mychal Judge, an AFSCME member, arrived on scene as the towers burned, to provide aid and comfort to the injured, before falling victim himself.

To compare the 100,000 men and women who stood up in Madison and called Governor Walker out for his attack on workers’ freedom to terrorists is disgusting. That’s the desperate act of a craven, career politician, not a leader whose values are aligned with what this country stands for. In Madison, we marched alongside military veterans, firefighters, police officers, nurses, librarians and teachers. There were senior citizens and children. College students and clergy.

This cannot stand, Governor Walker, and the nation deserves an apology.
We hope they aren't holding their breath.

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MISSISSIPPI: State Supreme Court Says Marriage Should Not Wait For SCOTUS

From the Associated Press:
Two Mississippi Supreme Court justices say the court should find the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and not wait for a gay marriage ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. Thursday's 26-page statement, written by Justice Leslie D. King and joined by Justice James Kitchens, was attached to an order by a six-member court majority. The order seeks more briefs on the question of whether a same-sex couple legally married in another jurisdiction can get a divorce in Mississippi. Justice David Chandler objected to more briefs, saying there is no need to delay a ruling that the divorce cannot be granted under Mississippi's constitution. King agreed there should be no delay, but he and Kitchens said the same-sex marriage ban should be struck down and the divorce should proceed.
(Tipped by JMG reader Lulu)

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ARKANSAS: Apple Denounces Bill To Allow Businesses To Refuse LGBT Customers

Via the Human Rights Campaign:
This week, Apple Inc., the world’s second largest information technology company, issued the following statement condemning the anti-LGBT bill in Arkansas, HB 1228 - a bill that could allow any person to undermine state laws by citing their personal religious belief as an excuse to discriminate against others: "At Apple inclusion inspires innovation. Our employees in Little Rock have a right to equal treatment under the law, as do their coworkers in Cupertino and around the world. We join the many voices across Arkansas in opposing HB1228 and we urge the State's legislators to vote against the bill." As written, HB 1228 would allow individuals to sue government actors—including teachers, firefighters and police officers—if that individual believed that their personal religious beliefs were being violated. Yesterday, the bill suffered a setback in the Senate Judiciary Committee. HRC Arkansas remains committed to fully defeating the bill.
Similar bills are in progress in multiple states. Last week Arkansas banned any municipality from enacting an LGBT rights ordinance.

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Leonard Nimoy Dies At Age 83

Via the New York Times:
Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83. His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week. His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).


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This Guy Is Planning To Stage A Walkout During The CPAC Speech Of Jeb Bush

Via the Washington Times:
A movement is underway to stage an informal protest when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hits the CPAC stage Friday. William Temple, a member of the Golden Isle Tea Party, told The Washington Times that the party doesn’t need another Bush in office, and said that the party should listen to the grass-roots activists that helped fuel their gains in the 2014 election. “A lot of peoples were not going to come here because they heard Jeb Bush was speaking,” Mr. Temple said before laying out his plan at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “We are going to get up en masse, and we are going to walk out on him,” the 64-year-old said. “We are not going to interrupt anyone’s speech, but we are all going to exercise our right to [use] the bathroom at the same time.” Mr. Bush is expected to take part in a 20-minute question-and-answer session on Friday with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Bush is scheduled to take the stage at 1:30PM.

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More Net Neutrality Sadz From Drudge

At this writing the Drudge Report is completely blank.

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Google Backs Down On Porn Ban

Via the Guardian:
Google has backtracked on plans to ban sexually explicit images from its blogging platform Blogger, in the face of widespread opposition from users. The company had initially announced a ban on “sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video”, with just a few exceptions for content which offered “a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts”. It planned to enforce the ban from 23 March, when any user with offending material still on their blog would be forced to turn it into a private site. Now, the company has backed down. Jessica Pelegio, a social product support manager at Google, wrote: “We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities. “So rather than implement this change, we’ve decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.”
(Tipped by JMG reader Eddie)

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Crackpot Brent Bozell To CPAC 2015: Cultural Fascism Has Arrived In America

This is the guy who called President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead" during an appearance on Fox News in 2011.

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Obama Thanks Reddit On Net Neutrality

A longer message was sent to the Reddit blog: "Earlier today, the FCC voted to protect a free and open internet — the kind of internet that allows entrepreneurs to thrive and debates over duck-sized horses and horse-sized ducks to persist. This would not have happened without the activism and engagement of millions of Americans like you. And that was a direct result of communities like reddit. So to all the redditors who participated in this movement, I have a simple message: Thank you.  —President Barack Obama"

This has made the Tea People furious, of course.

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Viral Video Of The Day

1.4M views in three days.

(Tipped by JMG reader Paul)

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MISSOURI: Leading GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Dies In Apparent Suicide

CNN reports:
A leading Republican candidate for Missouri's governor's office died in an apparent suicide on Thursday morning. ​Thomas Schweich, the 54-year-old state auditor who'd just won a second term while running unopposed in 2014, was pronounced deceased from a single gunshot wound, possibly self-infliction, according to a Clayton Police Department press release. Detectives are conducting an investigation and an autopsy is pending, authorities said. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Schweich's wife, who was in another room, heard him making phone calls -- and then a gunshot. It happened just hours after Schweich had requested interviews with the Post-Dispatch and The Associated Press at his home. Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock asked for prayers for Schweich's family.
An editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has posted an accounting of the phone calls made by Schweich before he made the final request for a press conference. An excerpt:
Mr. Schweich said that over the past few months he had heard from campaign donors that while political consultant John Hancock was doing work for gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway, he would mention in passing that Mr. Schweich was Jewish. Mr. Schweich, who says he is an Episcopalian, said he believed the mentions of his faith heritage were intended to harm him politically in a gubernatorial primary in which many Republican voters are evangelical Christians. He said his grandfather was Jewish, and that he was very proud of his connection to the Jewish faith. He said his grandfather taught him to never allow any anti­-Semitism go unpunished, no matter how slight. Mr. Schweich said he had a donor who would confirm Mr. Hancock's comments on the record. He said he had an email from another donor mentioning the conversations.

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Madonna Ties Billboard Chart Record

Via Billboard:
The Queen of Pop reigns again with 'Living for Love,' tying with George Strait, the King of Country, for the most leaders on a single Billboard chart. Madonna makes Billboard chart history, as she earns her 44th No. 1 on Dance Club Songs, where "Living for Love" lifts 2-1. With the coronation, Madonna equals George Strait, who's logged 44 No. 1s on Hot Country Songs, for the most leaders ever by an act on a singular Billboard chart. It's fitting history for the artists also known, respectively, and reverently, as the Queen of Pop and the King of Country. With her 44th leading title on Dance Club Songs, Madonna pulls further ahead of runners-up Beyonce and Rihanna. In fact, Madonna has tallied as many No. 1s as they have combined: 22 each. (The chart launched as a national survey in the Billboard issue dated Aug. 28, 1976.)
Living For Love has failed to make the Hot 100 pop chart, however. Madonna's first #1 on the dance chart came in 1983 with Holiday.

RELATED: Since Madonna just vented about ageism, perhaps it's worth noting that the oldest artist to achieve a #1 dance single is Yoko Ono, who last year scored her 11th dance chart topper at the age of 81 thanks to a remix by popular EDM artist Dave Aude.

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Matt Baume: The Map To Rights Bans

Clip recap: "Scheming villains thirst to rollback the progress our nation has attained toward full LGBT equality. But, could they actually do it? Insidious laws like Arkansas' innocent-sounding Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act (sb202) may provide the roadmap."

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RUSSIA: Police Raid Nightclub Owned By Lesbians Who Trolled Anti-Gay Lawmaker

Early this month I reported that the owners of a lesbian nightclub in St. Petersburg had an in-flight encounter with infamous anti-gay politician Vitaly Milonov:
When two Russian lesbians noticed notorious anti-gay lawmaker Vitaly Milonov sitting behind them on their Moscow to St. Petersburg flight, they decided to Instagram some photos of themselves kissing with Milonov in the shot. After their photos went viral on Russian social media, Milonov vowed revenge: "This animal offended all the passengers on the plane with its extravagant, terrible, inhuman antics. I can call the Cossacks - they’re already on their way, with whips and torches. We will expel all the perverts from St. Petersburg."
Following that incident an anti-gay group called "Moscow Isn't Sodom And Petersburg Isn't Gomorrah" filed complaints that over 500 of the nightclub's fans on social media are underage, which would make promoting the club online a federal offense under Russia's so-called propaganda laws. A police raid soon followed:
“I have every reason to believe,” the scripted complaint reads, “that the promotional activities carried out at the lesbian club Infinity pose a serious threat to the physical and mental health of minors who manage to enter the establishment.” The anti-gay group makes no secret of why it targeted club Infinity, citing the “kissing selfies” incident with Milonov on the airplane. According to Vitaly Cherkasov, a lawyer at the Russian human rights organization Agora, police raided the club after receiving roughly 100 complaints from local residents about the supposed presence of minors and illegal drugs. Police have also called in for questioning the nightclub’s general director and social media administrator. Cherkasov says Infinity’s owners believe the police investigation is tied directly to the “kissing selfies” incident earlier this month.
(Tipped by JMG reader Mike)

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Nebraska Revises Marriage Applications

Last Thursday a federal judge promised a quick ruling following oral arguments in Nebraska's marriage equality case. That ruling hasn't come yet but the state has already revised its marriage license forms, which now say "Applicant #1" and "Applicant #2." (Via Equality Case Files)

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Sen. James Inhofe Conclusively Disproves Climate Change By Tossing A Snowball Across The Senate Floor

Via Slate:
During rambling remarks Thursday afternoon, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, used a snowball as a prop on the Senate floor. The apparent purpose of this stunt: to show the recent spate of cold weather in the Northeast is a sign that human activity isn’t causing climate change. The snowball was brought to the Senate floor in a sealable plastic bag. Inhofe began his speech with the snowball at his side on the speaker’s podium. After he was introduced, he removed it from the bag, held it in his hand, and said, “I ask the chair, you know what this is? It’s a snowball, just from outside here. So it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonal. Mr. President, catch this.” Inhofe then underhand tossed the snowball in the direction of Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who was presiding over the Senate at the time.

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Scott Walker At CPAC: If I Can Beat Union Protesters Then I Can Beat ISIS

The DNC reacted immediately: "If Scott Walker thinks that it’s appropriate to compare working people speaking up for their rights to brutal terrorists, then he is even less qualified to be president than I thought. Maybe he should go back to punting."

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Seen At CPAC 2015

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

WEST VIRGINIA: GOP Senate Leader Says "No Way" To Ban On LGBT Rights

Via the Associated Press:
Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael says there's "no way" the Senate will consider a proposal to nullify local ordinances that protect gay and transgender people from housing and employment discrimination. The Jackson County Republican made the remarks Thursday to the AP. The West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act would prohibit any local nondiscrimination ordinances stricter than state law. West Virginia doesn't include gay and transgender housing and employment protections. A House committee cleared the bill Wednesday. Five cities, including Charleston, have similar nondiscrimination ordinances. Republican bill sponsor Del. Karen Arvon said rules should be uniform and predictable. Democratic Del. Stephen Skinner, the only openly gay state lawmaker, said it's "legislative gay bashing." The House has a public hearing on the bill Friday. A similar law took effect this week in Arkansas.
BOOM! And from a Republican. Double boom!

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NRA Guns Giveaway At CPAC 2015

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Homocon Tammy Bruce Tells CPAC How To Expand The Conservative Base

Opening with the music of Avicii (How au courant, Francine!), homocon radio shrieker Tammy Bruce joined today's CPAC panel on how to expand the conservative base. Her bit starts at 13:00 with the declaration that she used to be a liberal, but now knows the truth.

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Matt Drudge Has The Net Neutrality Sadz

UPDATE: All the homocons have the sadz.

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Sen. Ted Cruz Rants At CPAC 2015

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FCC Approves Net Neutrality

Via TechCrunch:
As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed new net neutrality regulations today on a vote of 3-2, with the Commission’s two Democratic appointees joining Chairman Tom Wheeler in voting yes. The Commission’s two Republican-appointed members both voted no.

Notably, the FCC’s plan is now known to have undergone a last-minute revision to remove a potential weakness in its formation, pointed out by Google, that might have allowed for some paid prioritization. If you were curious about Google’s take on net neutrality, that fact should settle the question. The CEO of Etsy, an online marketplace, spoke before the commission voted to “applaud” the FCC for putting into place “bright line” rules, and “voting to protect the Internet.”

Up first from the commission, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in her remarks that the “framers” of America “would be pleased” with the FCC’s plan. The commissioner went on to call today’s vote the FCC’s “third bite at the apple.” Clyburn also disclosed, as was previously reported, that she had helped shape part of the order, and also listed a number of changes she would have preferred to see in the order itself. The commissioner wrapped by arguing that individuals who are worried about rate regulation are worrying unnecessarily.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel argued that the United States’ “Internet economy is the envy of the world. We invented it. The app economy began right here on our shores.” She went on to call the Internet “our printing press” and “our town square.” Rosenworcel also called attention to the massive outpouring of public response to net neutrality: “Four million Americans wrote to this agency…Whatever our disagreements are on net neutrality, I hope we agree that this is democracy in action and something we can all support.”
More from Wired:
With the vote, the FCC is changing the way it views both wireless and fixed-line broadband service providers, reclassifying them as “Title II” common carriers under the nation’s telecommunications laws. The Title II designation, which already covers voice services, gives the FCC the ability to set rates, open up access to competitors, and generally more closely regulate the broadband industry. It’s a reversal of course for the FCC, which until now did not even enforce net neutrality rules on wireless broadband services, and very lightly regulated fixed providers. But it’s also a return to the regulatory regime that governed consumer internet services 20 years ago, when hundreds of dial-up internet service providers competed on Title II-regulated phone networks.

Internet service providers and Republican commissioners on the FCC see the new rules as unnecessary and dangerous government interference. “The internet is not broken,” said FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. “There is no problem for the government to solve.” Ironically, today’s vote was first set in motion by a series of lawsuits dating back several years, which challenged the FCC’s ability to enforce it’s own net neutrality regulations. Last year the latest legal challenge ended when a D.C. court ruled in Verizon’s favor, saying that the way that the FCC had classified internet services didn’t give it the right to enforce net neutrality.
Conservative groups and the American Family Foundation have vigorously opposed net neutrality. Because Obama.

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MEXICO: Marriage Rights On The March

Buzzfeed reporter J. Lester Feder today examined the complex and rapidly changing status of same-sex marriage across Mexico's 31 states.
Courts in more than two-thirds of Mexico’s 31 states have granted same-sex couples the right to marry over the past two years in a series of rulings that will likely make marriage equality a reality nationwide in the near future. The wave of rulings throughout Mexico hasn’t caused the uproar that has followed rulings in the United States over the past year striking down state laws barring same-sex couples from marrying. Couples have not rushed to marry nor have conservatives organized major protests.

This is in part because the technicalities of Mexican law have meant these decisions have been much more narrow in their immediate impact. Each decision applies only to the individuals who have brought the cases, and other same-sex couples will still have to sue in order to marry. It takes multiple cases meeting certain technical requirements for the courts to nullify a state law in Mexico — a hurdle that has not yet been met. But with new rulings being announced almost every week — judges in six new states ruled in favor of marriage equality in the first two months of 2015 alone — it seems almost inevitable that this day is coming, say legal experts who have closely followed the litigation.
Same-sex marriages legally conducted in any Mexican jurisdiction are recognized by every state and by the federal government. Hit the first link and read the full report.

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Seen At CPAC 2015


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Senate Panel Approves Nomination Of Loretta Lynch As Attorney General

Via the New York Times:
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved Loretta E. Lynch to be the next attorney general, sending her nomination to the full Senate for what is likely to be a contentious vote. The panel voted 12 to 8 to advance Ms. Lynch, President Obama’s pick to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. as the nation’s top law enforcement official, with all of the votes against her coming from Republicans. The full Senate will most likely vote in the next week or two. While praising Ms. Lynch’s credentials, Republicans made it clear that their objections to her nomination hinged on her belief in the legality of the president’s executive action on immigration, the same issue that has tied up the approval of funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
Republicans voting against: Grassley, Sessions, Cornyn, Lee, Cruz, Vitter, Purdue, Tillis. Republicans voting for: Graham, Flake, Hatch. The Tea People are already calling for the heads of the three "yes" voters.

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Ayn Rand Fans Have A CPAC Booth

The Ayn Rand Institute argues that Social Security is "legalized theft." At the end of her life, Rand was collecting both Social Security and Medicare benefits, but that was only fair, they say, because that money had already been stolen from her.

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TRAILER: Love & Mercy

Stereogum recaps:
Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson is one of the most legendary figures in music, a guy who wrote and produced dozens of classic songs and helped shape the album as music’s preeminent artistic statement. He’s also a bit of an oddball, which makes him an ideal subject for a Hollywood biopic. Just such a movie is coming to theaters this June. Love & Mercy stars Paul Dano and John Cusack as Wilson; Dano plays the younger Wilson, while Cusack depicts the musician’s older years. Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti have prominent roles, too.

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KANSAS: Military Court Reverses HIV Assault Conviction For Swinger Airman

Via the Associated Press:
The highest U.S. military court's reversal of a Kansas airman's aggravated assault conviction for exposing multiple sex partners to HIV at swinger parties in Wichita will effectively end such prosecutions in the armed forces, his attorney said. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces unanimously ruled Monday that prosecutors failed to prove that any of David Gutierrez's acts were likely to transmit HIV to his partners. That decision overturns a 25-year precedent that had allowed military personnel to be convicted of aggravated assault solely on the basis of a positive HIV test, attorney Kevin McDermott said Tuesday. Gutierrez was not accused of infecting anyone with HIV.

Gutierrez could still be issued a bad conduct discharge, rather than the more severe dishonorable discharge that he had previously faced. In his appeal, Gutierrez challenged whether the risk to his sexual partners was high enough to constitute aggravated assault. Defense lawyers argued the risk of infection by an HIV-positive man during sexual intercourse with a woman ranged from a 1-in-10,000 to 1-in-100,000 chance per sexual encounter, which they contend is so low that it doesn't meet the legal standard for assault. Prosecutors countered that the exposure risk was closer to 1 in 500. The court concluded that even if the risk were 1 in 500, transmission of the disease was not "likely" to occur.
The airman has been imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth for almost five years and should be released shortly.

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Inside An "Ex-Gay" Torture Camp

Vice reports:
Regardless of a nationwide battle toward the acceptance of same­-sex marriage and equal rights for gay people, conversion therapy is still a problem, and it's being practiced every single day in the United States and throughout the world.

In this special report, VICE gets exclusive access to one of the hundreds of gay-conversion-therapy organizations, groups, and sessions in the United States. At the Journey into Manhood program, men pay more than $600 to attend a weekend retreat where they participate in exercises and activities the staff members claim will help them battle their same-sex ­orientation. The only qualification to become a staff member is to have successfully completed the program.

The report meets with the founder of reparative therapy, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who is illegally practicing on minors in the State of California, and investigates the controversial legal battle to fight conversion therapy for individuals under 18 years of age. We also travel to the annual Gay Christian Network Conference, speak with former "ex-gay" leaders including John Smid of Love in Action, who is now married to his gay partner, and hear the grueling stories of the individuals who have survived this brutal practice.
Below is the trailer for their report. Click over and watch the first full installment of their video report.

(Tipped by JMG reader Claudio)

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DC Legal Pot Law Goes Into Effect, GOP Threatens To Have Mayor Arrested

Via USA Today:
Despite warnings from congressional Republicans, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser allowed D.C.'s marijuana legalization law to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, told Bowser that if she continued with her plan to implement marijuana legalization she would face "very serious consequences," The Washington Post reported. "You can go to prison for this," The Post quoted Chaffetz as saying. "We're not playing a little game here." Bowser was undeterred by the threat of prison time. "We are acting lawfully," she told reporters. "I have a lot of things to do, being in jail wouldn't be a good thing." Nearly two thirds of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 in November. Under Initiative 71, people ages 21 or older will be allowed to possess two ounces or less of marijuana, use marijuana on private property and give one ounce or less to another person as long as no money, goods or services are exchanged. Residents will also be permitted to cultivate up to six marijuana plants — although no more than three mature plants— in their primary home.
Recreational use of marijuana is also legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state.

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Crowdfund Launched For Anti-Gay Florist

It's not clear who is behind this GoFundMe money beg, but here it is. (Tipped by JMG reader Christopher)

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LIVE: GOP Leaders Speak At CPAC

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Scott Lively: Obama Started The Ukraine Conflict To Punish Russia On LGBT Rights

"Regardless of where one stands on Ukraine or Vladimir Putin, just for a moment consider where the pro-family movement would be if it hadn’t been for the Ukraine coup. Russia would still be (relatively speaking) a respected member of the international community offering an alternative, genuinely pro-family model for social policy. There would likely be at least a half-dozen nations which would have adopted the anti-propaganda law for themselves (with many more considering it) and there would be a healthy international debate raging on pro-family vs LGBT visions for the future. I believe the tide would probably have begun to turn in our favor, at least on the global scene, if not yet in the US or EU. Is it really so far-fetched to believe that morally wicked, Imperialistic, Alinsky-ite Obama (credibly alleged to be a homosexual himself) started the Ukrainian civil war to punish Russia for opposing the 'core value' of America, the priority of his State Department? Or (more importantly to the 'gays') to prevent the Russians from leading a pro-family counter-revolution in the world?" - Scott Lively, writing for his personal site.

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Martyr Tour: Florist Goes To Fox News

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More CPAC Trolling By Bloomberg Politics

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Headline Of The Day

From the Washington Post:
This time, Donald J. Trump says, he really means it. The billionaire real-estate mogul, who has long amounted to a one-man sideshow in GOP presidential politics, said in an interview Wednesday that he is “more serious” than ever about pursuing a run for the White House in 2016. In recent days, Trump said, he has hired staffers in key primary states, retained an election attorney and delayed signing on for another season as host of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” because of his political projects. “Everybody feels I’m doing this just to have fun or because it’s good for the brand,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Well, it’s not fun. I’m not doing this for enjoyment. I’m doing this because the country is in serious trouble.” The moves are the most significant steps yet by Trump, 68, toward a bona fide presidential bid, which he considered briefly and flamboyantly in 2011 before deciding against a run.

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Harlem Hate Pastor: Christian Preachers Need To Call Gay People "Faggots"

More unhinged than usual. If that's at all possible.

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Open Thread Thursday

What was the first record you ever bought? Mine is above.

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Donny Osmond Slams NPH: "No Class"

Osmond's Wikipedia page notes that he performed in a loincloth for over 2000 performances of Joseph And The Technicolor Dreamcoat. But that was classy! 

RELATED: In 2008 Osmond wrote about same-sex marriage in a now-deleted response (check the URL) to a fan on his personal website. An excerpt:
"There are many gay individuals that are members of our church. I know many of them. In fact, some of my best friends are gay. You ask how I react regarding their marriages. Well, I do support our Church leaders who say that we can accept those with gay tendencies in our church as long as they do not act upon their temptations. Everyone has tenancies to succumb to temptation, but we all have the same standard given to us by our Father in Heaven. Whether we may be tempted to be immoral with members of our own sex or of the opposite sex, we are expected to live chaste lives. This is very well explained not only in the Book of Mormon, but in the Bible as well."
Osmond also included this quote from a Mormon document:
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

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