Saturday, January 31, 2015

Whitney Houston's Daughter Bobbi Kristina Found Unresponsive In Bathtub

Via CNN:
Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unresponsive Saturday morning in a bathtub full of water in Roswell, Georgia, police in that Atlanta suburb said. Brown "was not breathing" when her husband and a friend found her around 10:25 a.m. at a home in a Roswell subdivision, police spokeswoman Lisa Holland said. "They called 911, started CPR on her, and police arrived first," the spokeswoman added. "We took over the lifesaving measures until the fire/rescue and an ambulance arrived." Brown was then transported to Roswell's North Fulton Hospital, where she was breathing, according to Holland. It was three years ago February 11 that Brown's mother, renowned signer Whitney Houston, was found dead in a bathtub in The Beverly Hilton, hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammys bash there.
Moments ago CNN reported on-air that Brown is said to be breathing, but may be on a ventilator.

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Harlem Hate Pastor James David Manning: Justin Bieber Is A Transgender Man

In the last few weeks Manning has declared that Starbucks laces their lattes with "sodomite semen" (which can get women pregnant), that former President George H.W. Bush has had "anal sex with 100 men," that all gay Americans will "become cannibals" by next year, and that Islamists are justified to execute homosexuals. Today he reveals that pop idol Justin Bieber is a transgender man who "threw his life away and at 20 years old can't grow his breasts back." Just wait until the Beliebers get a hold of this.

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DELAWARE: Legislature Approves Study To Implement Digital Driver's Licenses

Several states are looking into digitizing driver's licenses for display on smartphones and Delaware wants to be the first to implement the system. Via the Washington Post:
The Delaware legislature passed a bill last week asking the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles to “study and consider issuing” digital driver’s licenses that could replace the traditional plastic ones. This bill notes that since people in the state are already using their phones for things such as working and banking, so giving them the option for a digital driver’s license could be a way of “increasing convenience” for drivers in the state. And it would just be an option, giving drivers the choice of loading it on their phone or sticking with the plastic card wedged into a wallet. The First State isn’t the first to suggest such an idea — Iowa said last month it planned to have a pilot program testing smartphone driver’s licenses — but Delaware wants to beat them out of the gate, if possible. “We’d like to go first,” said Jennifer Cohan, head of the state’s motor vehicle division, told DelawareOnline. “If it works for Delaware, then it will be a new option for Delaware citizens to show proof of driver’s license and identification.”
The above-linked story points out obvious issues with the plan, noting that a driver pulled over with a dead phone would be a driver without a license. Also of concern are privacy issues - some would be hesitant to hand over their "digital diary" to a police officer.

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Australian Jewelery Retailer Michael Hill To Air Gay-Inclusive Ad During Super Bowl

Via Stuff New Zealand:
Michael Hill International has splashed out big bucks securing an ad slot during the Super Bowl, reaching an audience of millions. The jeweller's advertisements will play in Canada and Chicago during the NFL Super Bowl XLIX on Monday (NZ time). The company would not disclose what it spent on the project, but 30 second Super Bowl ads reportedly cost about $4.5 million. The ad was expected to reach up to 8 million viewers, he said. "We've been working on this campaign for over a year now and have invested a substantial amount in the development of the platform," Talcott said. The ads were filmed on the streets of New York and created in partnership with Colenso BBDO. The Super Bowl final is between Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
The ad debuts in Australia and New Zealand tomorrow night. Michael Hill has 240 outlets, about two dozen of which are in Canada and the Chicago area.

(Tipped by JMG reader Lynda)

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Bondi: No Marriage Brief To SCOTUS

Via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
Although she continues to defend Florida’s ban on same-sex marriages, Attorney General Pam Bondi will not be filing a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case that is likely to settle the issue of gay marriage in the nation. This week, Bondi told reporters and editors gathered at the Associated Press’ legislative planning session this week that her office has not decided whether to file an amicus — or friend-of-the-court — brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of Florida’s constitutional ban against same sex marriages.We’re holding off on that right now, on the amicus (brief). We’re reviewing that,” she said. But Friday evening, Bondi’s office said the attorney general would not be filing an amicus brief as the nation’s highest court in April hears a group of cases from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal that has upheld same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. That federal appellate court’s opinion is in conflict with other appellate courts that have held the gay marriage bans are unconstitutional.
Still pending is Florida's appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court.

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RuPaul's Drag Race: Dear Mary Cheney

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Friday, January 30, 2015

TRAILER: Game Of Thrones Season 5

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IDAHO: Plaintiffs Oppose State's Demand That SCOTUS Hear Marriage Appeal

The National Center for Lesbian Rights today filed a motion which opposes Idaho Gov. Butch Otter's petition that SCOTUS hear an appeal of his state's same-sex marriage ruling. Equality Case Files has the motion:
The Court has already granted four petitions for writs of certiorari to decide the questions presented in this case. There is no cause to add yet more petitions, especially ones with vehicle problems. Nor should the Court hold these certiorari petitions pending its decision in the marriage cases from the Sixth Circuit. The Court has previously denied petitions for writs of certiorari by state officials seeking to block same-sex couples from marrying and to withhold recognition of such couples’ lawful marriages performed in other States. The Court should do the same here, notwithstanding the pendency of other marriage cases. Two of the respondent-couples have already married (as have many other residents of Idaho) in reliance on the injunction issued by the district court in this case, and their marriages should no longer be subject to the uncertainty created by ongoing litigation. The petitions should be denied.
The NCLR notes that the Ninth Circuit Court has already twice slapped Otter down.

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Mary Cheney: Drag Is Like Blackface

"Why is it socially acceptable - as a form of entertainment - for men to put on dresses, make up and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.) - but it is not socially acceptable - as a form of entertainment - for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans? Shouldn’t both be OK or neither?" - Mary Cheney, writing on her Facebook page after seeing an ad for the upcoming season of RuPaul's Drag Race. (Tipped by JMG reader Scott)

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Trump: I Scared Romney Out Of The Race


Liberty Counsel: Repeal The Lemon Test

The Liberty Counsel yesterday filed an amicus brief with the Tenth Circuit Court in which they argue for the overturn of the so-called Lemon Test, an expression that arose from Lemon v Kurzman, the 1971 Supreme Court ruling which grants private citizens standing to complain when the government endorses a specific religion. From the Liberty Counsel's press release:
“Since 1971, the Lemon test has allowed mere offended observers to overturn years of religious tradition,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. In the case currently before the court, two Wiccans were offended over a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Bloomfield, New Mexico, municipal building.

“The Lemon test has meant that the Establishment Clause, designed to prevent federal establishments of religion, has morphed into a weapon aimed at eliminating all vestiges of public religious expression,” added Staver. “It is past time to abandon that judge-made rule and return to the actual words and intent of the First Amendment,” concluded Staver.

Federal lawsuits require that the complainant have standing, which means they must demonstrate that they have been injured by an act of government. Over the years, the Supreme Court has loosened the standing requirement for Establishment Clause claims, allowing people to file suit merely because they are offended. In Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Court ruled that religious activity must be diluted with secular influences.
The Liberty Counsel argues that recent Supreme Court decisions indicate that a repeal of the Lemon Test is possible. And then the Ten Commandments can be everywhere.

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TV Binge-Watching Linked To Depression

This can't be very surprising. Via Variety:
Put down that remote control, binge watchers, and get some fresh air. A new study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin discovered that viewers who gorge on multiple TV episodes in one sitting may be doing so to cope with feelings of depression and loneliness. “Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way,” said Yoon Hi Sung, author of the study. The study, which included more than 300 people ages 18-29, also linked binge-watching to a lack of self-control, fatigue and obesity.
Now excuse while I get back to my Law & Order marathon.

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Coca-Cola Takes On Internet Haters With Super Bowl Ad Starring Michael Sam

Via AdWeek:
If you've spent more than three seconds on the Internet, you know it can be a pretty horrible place, swarming with cyberbullies and trolls who've turned comment sections into rotting hate-fests and people's own personal social pages into sources of despair. Coca-Cola hopes to change all that—or at least, steer things in a different direction—with its 2015 Super Bowl campaign. Four longer online videos will roll out this week starring teens and celebs who've experienced online negativity (racecar driver Danica Patrick and football player Michael Sam will star in two of these) or who are devoted to spreading happiness online (Kid President stars in the one of these.)
Other clips are at the link.

(Tipped by JMG reader Lynda)

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Perkins: Gays Are Persecuting Christians With Photos On Their Facebook Pages

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ALABAMA: Governor's Brief Declares That Same-Sex Marriage "Demeans" Democracy

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley today filed an amicus brief with the Eleventh Circuit Court in support of Attorney General Luther Strange's petition for a stay on same-sex marriage until SCOTUS makes its ruling. Bentley's brief declares that it is "demeaning" to democracy to allow same-sex marriages to occur. Via Equality Case Files:
On a complicated and controversial issue such as this, with no clear warrant inthe Constitution for imposing one State’s conception of marriage on another, the judiciary has a duty not to do so. As the Supreme Court stated last term, the people of the sovereign States have a “fundamental right” that is “held in common,” the right“to speak and debate and learn and then, as a matter of political will, to act through a lawful electoral process.” Schuette v. Coal. to Defend Affirmative Action, 134 S.Ct.1623, 1637 (2014). And “[t]hat process is impeded, not advanced, by court decrees based on the proposition that the public cannot have the requisite repose to discuss certain issues. It is demeaning to the democratic process to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and rational grounds.”
The brief was filed by Al Algricola, the same lawyer who represents Alabama's association of probate judges.

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ALABAMA: NCLR Steps In To Represent Lawyer-Less Couple In Marriage Case

The first couple to win a same-sex marriage suit without a lawyer will not have that problem for their appeal. Just in from the NCLR:
Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) asked a federal appeals court to permit same-sex couples in Alabama to begin obtaining marriage licenses when an existing federal court stay expires on February 9. NCLR filed the request on behalf of a Mobile couple who were denied a marriage license and subsequently obtained an order from a federal district court prohibiting enforcement of Alabama’s laws prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples. NCLR will represent the couple as the State of Alabama’s appeal from that order proceeds.

James Strawser and John Humphrey applied for a marriage license in Mobile County, Alabama, but were denied. Strawser faces significant health issues. Despite having a medical power of attorney, Humphrey was told by a hospital where Strawser was receiving medical treatment that they would not honor the document because Humphrey was not a family member or spouse.

The couple filed a federal challenge to Alabama’s marriage ban without an attorney. After a hearing at which the couple testified, Judge Callie V. S. Granade of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Alabama issued an order on January 26, 2015, prohibiting the state from enforcing its marriage ban. The court temporarily stayed its order. Unless the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals or the United States Supreme Court enters a further stay, the district court’s stay will be lifted on February 9, and Alabama will be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples at that time.
Earlier this week Alabama AG Luther Strange petitioned the Eleventh Circuit Court to continue the stay until SCOTUS makes its ruling.

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Anguish Looms For The Hipster Express

Gothamist has unfortunate news for Billyburg nightlife:
Brokelyn reports that the L will not run overnight between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue on weeknights from March 24th to May 22nd. Indeed, it will turn into a pumpkin from midnight to 5 a.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, for six weeks. Hope you don't work in the service industry! And again, there will be no L service between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue on weekends from April 11th to May 18th. That joy kicks off at midnight on Saturday and ends at 5 a.m. Monday. The good news is, this track work will improve infrastructure on the L. And as always, there will be shuttle buses at Lorimer, and the JMZ/G trains will (hopefully) be running, but whatever, we're all dead when the East River overflows.

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Democrats Introduce Bill To Create Special International Envoy On LGBT Rights

Via Reuters:
U.S. lawmakers in both houses of Congress introduced on Thursday a bill to protect and promote the rights of the international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The International Human Rights Defense Act, spearheaded by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California, both Democrats, would appoint a special envoy within the U.S. Department of State to coordinate efforts to prevent discrimination and advance the rights of LGBT people worldwide. “When President Obama addressed the nation and committed to defending the human rights of the LGBT community, we made that commitment to the world,” Markey said in a statement, referring to the State of the Union address earlier this month. “With the rights of the LGBT community under attack around the globe, we must stand hand-in-hand with them in the struggle for recognition and equality everywhere," he said.
Markey introduced the same bill last year but it died in committee. Read the text of the International Human Rights Defense Act Of 2015 here.

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BREAKING: Romney Will Not Run In 2016

Via the Associated Press:
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will not run for president in 2016. Three weeks after unexpectedly saying he was considering a third campaign for the White House, the former Massachusetts governor told members of his staff during a Friday conference call that he is out of race. Romney jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he told a small group of former donors in New York that he was eyeing another White House run. But in the days since, as Romney tried to rally support for another campaign, he discovered that several of his past supporters and major fundraisers had defected to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Fixed polls! Romney landslide! 330 electoral votes! (Sorry, I accidentally went back in time for a moment.)

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NFL Tackles Domestic Violence

Via Slate:
An anti-domestic violence PSA will air during the Super Bowl this Sunday, courtesy of the No More campaign and the National Football League, which donated its internal ad agency to create the spot and, according to the Wall Street Journal, half a minute of air time on NBC, "where ad time costs roughly $4.5 million for 30 seconds." No More is billing it as the first of its kind. The NFL and No More previously teamed up for a series of PSAs titled "Speechless," which featured footage of current and former players emoting over domestic violence, that aired during NFL games on Thanksgiving; this ad downplays the NFL’s role, instead borrowing its conceit from a tale first published on Reddit last year by a former 911 dispatcher, who recalled taking a call from a woman who had feigned ordering a pizza in order to get police to respond to her home without tipping off her abuser.

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Today In Knowing Your Internet Acronyms

Details. (Tipped by JMG reader Mick)

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Maddow Follows Up On Fischer Story

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ExxonMobil Adds LGBT Protections

JMG reader Mike forwards us yesterday's message from ExxonMobil's LGBT employee group, which notes that the company's board of directors has approved the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. In July 2014 ExxonMobil announced that it would comply with President Obama's executive order regarding companies with federal contracts, but at that time a company spokesman would not say if that compliance would mean a formal change to ExxonMobil's equal employment opportunity policy. ExxonMobil's shareholders had long rejected such a change, voting it down for 17 consecutive years and earning the lavish praise of Tony Perkins, who will surely have the sadz about today's news.

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Not A Real Super Bowl Ad

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Jim Parsons To Play God On Broadway

Via the New York Times:
Jim Parsons is God – and not just to fans of his character, Sheldon Cooper, on the hit CBS series “The Big Bang Theory,” for which he has won four best actor Emmy Awards. No, Mr. Parsons is actually going to play the Almighty on Broadway beginning May 5 in the new comedy “An Act of God” by David Javerbaum, a former head writer and executive producer of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” the play’s producer announced on Thursday. The 90-minute production is based on Mr. Javerbaum’s 2011 book “The Last Testament: A Memoir By God,” a swirl of satirical riffs on Biblical passages, jokey anecdotes and comic pronouncements. Mr. Parsons was last on Broadway in 2012 starring as Elwood P. Dowd in a revival of “Harvey,” which was a hit with critics and at the box office. He will be performing “An Act of God” at the same theater as “Harvey,” Roundabout Theater Company’s Studio 54, although the new play is not a Roundabout production; the nonprofit is renting out the space to Jeffrey Finn, a producer, for a limited engagement of “An Act of God.”
For those unaware, Javerbaum is the author of the popular Tweet Of God account, which has over a million followers.

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TODAY: Mitt Romney's 2016 Decision

Via Bloomberg:
Late Thursday evening, Romney’s political operation sent scores of supporters an email under his name inviting them to join a Friday morning conference call to be led by Romney himself for “an update.” The email was signed “All the best, Mitt.” Those who have been helping Romney make up his mind say there are three factors in favor of a run, and two factors against. The main rationale on the “go” side is Mitt and Ann Romney’s strongly held conviction that no one in the current field would make a better president. Critics in both parties and the press may scoff at this view, but the Romneys believe it to their core and thus feel Mitt has an obligation to his country to once again shoulder the mantle.

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Here's Budweiser's Super Bowl Ad

Over 10M views since yesterday.

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TEXAS: Fort Worth To Extend Same-Sex Spousal Benefits To City Employees

Via Fort Worth's CBS affiliate:
Fort Worth police Cpl. Tracey Knight, it is a life-changing decision. "When I got the news last night," she said, pausing, tears in her eyes... "When I got the news last night, it was very emotional." The news that has Knight, all choked up came from a memo sent Wednesday to all Fort Worth city employees. It says starting February 1, the city will extend spousal pension benefits to all legally-married same-sex couples. It's a decision the city says makes sense. "I told my wife and we burst into tears," said Knight, who serves as the department's LGBT liaison. "We're like any other family. And God forbid if I'm ever killed in the line of duty, I want her and our child to be taken care of." It has been a journey for the city, gaining back the trust of the LGBT community after the widely-publicized 2009 police raid on a gay bar, the Rainbow Lounge. "I'm proud to say that as a result of that incident, many many good things have come out of it," Knight said.
Stand by for the screaming from Texas Values. By the way, Fort Worth already has one of them there liberty-destroying LGBT rights ordinances like the one under fire in Houston.

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Sen. Rand Paul Posts "Secret Phone Call" Between Hillary Clinton And Jeb Bush

Via Politico:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the 2016 field’s most prolific adopter of social media, has posted what aides wryly call a “secret tape” of a fake phone call between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. RAND PAC, Paul’s political organization, used actors to portray the conversation, which hits both rivals on the dynasty issue. “Bush” tells her he’s thinking about running for president: “I just wanted to call and give you a heads-up in hopes we could work something out.” “Clinton” says: “We both agree on so many issues: bigger government, Common Core, and amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

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LOUISIANA: State Supreme Court Urged To Rule On Same-Sex Marriage Case

Lawyers from both sides of one of Louisiana's same-sex marriage case yesterday urged the state Supreme Court to rule soon even though other cases are pending before SCOTUS.
Kyle Duncan, making the state's argument that its ban on same-sex marriage should stand, argued that the nation's highest court "needs as much input as possible on this issue, especially from state supreme courts." Paul Baier and Josh Guillory, arguing on behalf of two women legally married in California, said the case involves an urgent question about whether one can adopt the child of the other. "At the heart of this matter is a 10-year-old little boy," Guillory said.

Louisiana voters approved a 2004 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriages in the state and forbids the recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions. In September, state District Judge Edward Rubin of Lafayette ruled the ban unconstitutional. The case involved Angela Costanza and her wife, Chasity Brewer. Rubin ruled that Constanza may adopt Brewer's son and be listed as a parent on his birth certificate. Rubin's ruling, which was suspended pending appeal, only affects the state's 15th Judicial District: Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes. The case has been widely overshadowed by federal cases, including another September ruling in which U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans upheld Louisiana's ban.
The appeal of Feldman's ruling was heard by the Fifth Circuit Court earlier this month alongside cases out of Texas and Mississippi. That ruling could come at any time.

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Tony Perkins Cheers Idaho Rights Vote

"In Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, Republicans are moving quickly on measures that would penalize any government employee caught issuing same-sex 'marriage' licenses -- regardless of the courts' orders. Meanwhile, Utah, North Carolina, and South Carolina are desperately trying to give cover to anyone with religious objections to same-sex 'marriage' by drafting bills that would give government officials the ability to opt out of licensing or officiating same-sex couples. The brushfire over religious liberty continues in places like Idaho, where citizens are finally standing up to the government's anti-faith bullies. After three days and hundreds of testimonies (including FRC's Peter Sprigg's), the state's heated debate came to a sudden end when Idaho's House committee downed a Houston-type special rights ordinance that would have punished people with natural views on human biology and sexuality. By a 13-4 vote, Republicans succeeded in killing the measure. In the end, conservatives made it clear to the Left's Add the Words campaign that the only words that matter are the First Amendment's. Congratulations to our friends in the Gem State, who are adding their voices to those across the country who have the courage to fight back against these fierce assaults to our most basic freedoms." - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, via email.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

TEXAS: Christian Activist Christine Weick Hijacks Podium At Muslim Event

You'll remember Christine Weick for her conclusive proof that Monster Energy drinks were invented by Satan and from her disruption of a Muslim prayer event at Washington DC's National Cathedral. Today the allegedly homeless Weick found her way to Austin, Texas, where she rushed the microphone during Texas Muslim Capitol Day to scream about Jesus. Via the Austin Statesman:
What was supposed to be a rally at the Texas Capitol Thursday promoting political engagement and tolerance for Muslims and was largely derailed by sustained screams from protesters loudly advocating for something quite apart from peace and love. But not one of the 10 or so speakers at the hourlong event managed to finish a sentence without being heckled by noisome group of maybe two dozen that fanned out about 20 paces from the south steps of the statehouse. A patriotic song by the Houston Koran Academy didn’t even silence the screaming. CAIR-TX spokeswoman Ruth Nasrullah had barely begun the program when a woman briefly commandeered the podium and attempted to claim the Capitol in the name of Jesus Christ. The woman, a native Michigander who said she goes “wherever the Lord calls,” later said she was seized by “righteous anger” and felt she’d accomplished what she attempted to do Thursday morning. “I want to inspire Americans against this and proclaim for Jesus Christ and not their god, Allah,” Christine Weick said.

(Tipped by JMG reader James)

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VIRGINIA: Lawmakers Kill Bill That Would Have Legalized Anti-Gay Discrimination

John Riley reports at MetroWeek:
A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee dealt the LGBT community in the commonwealth a rare bit of good news after the eight-person panel rejected a bill patroned by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas Park, Sudley, Bull Run), a longtime foe of the LGBT community, that would have essentially allowed any person or business in the commonwealth to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Marshall’s bill, HB1414, would have allowed a “conscience clause” exemption for people or businesses who must obtain or renew a license, registration, or other certification from the commonwealth of Virginia, its political subdivisions, and its various agencies, boards or departments. Under the bill, those people would not be required to “perform, assist, consent to or participate in any action” that would violate their moral convictions as they relate, not just to to same-sex marriage, but to actual or perceived homosexuality, and behavior that can be interpreted as being homosexual in nature.
Today's news isn't all good as the same subcommittee also tabled a bill that would have outlawed anti-LGBT discrimination in housing.

PREVIOUSLY ON JMG:  Bob Marshall is the author of Virginia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and back in July 2014 he had an awful case of the sadz. In February 2014 Marshall filed an amendment that would grant Virginia state legislators the right to claiming standing in marriage lawsuits. In September 2013, Marshall petitioned the US Supreme Court to overturn Virginia's legalization of sodomy. In May 2012, Marshall attempted to block the appointment of an openly gay state judge because the nominee has "an illegal husband." In 2011 Del. Bob Marshall claimed it is a felony for a state office to fly the rainbow flag. Marshall has also called on Virginia to issue its own currency, and has claimed that God punishes women who have abortions by giving them deformed children. After the DADT repeal bill passed, Marshall tried to have gays banned from the Virginia National Guard.

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VIRGINA: Ted Olson's Law Firm Wins Settlement In Same-Sex Marriage Case

From the Associated Press:
Virginia will pay $520,000 to the lawyers for two same-sex couples who successfully challenged the state’s gay marriage ban. The settlement agreement was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Norfolk. The attorneys had sought more than $1.7 million. The law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher will receive $459,000. Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad & Morecock will receive $61,000. Court papers show that attorneys logged 2,372 hours on the case. Their fees will be paid by the state Department of Treasury’s Division of Risk Management.
Ted Olson is a partner in the first firm. The settlement comes out to about $219 per billed hour.

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American Family Association: Please Stop Attributing Bryan Fischer's Batshit-Crazy Comments To Our Organization

In a letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Family Association today denounced a laundry list of claims by their radio host Bryan Fischer and demanded that such batshit-crazy declarations not be attributed to their organization in the future.  

Right Wing Watch provides the text of the AFA's list:
AFA rejects the idea expressed by Bryan Fischer that "Free exercise of religion" only applies to Christians. Consequently, AFA rejects Bryan's assertions that Muslims should not be granted permits to build mosques in the United States;

AFA rejects the ideas expressed by Bryan Fischer that the violent expulsion of Native Americans was divinely ordained and that, "Superstition, savagery and sexual immorality" morally disqualified Native Americans from "sovereign control of American soil."

AFA rejects the ideas expressed by Bryan Fischer that "we" need to clamp down on immigration because Hispanics are socialist by nature and vote Democratic because it allows them to "benefit from the plunder of the wealth of the United States."

AFA rejects Bryan Fischer's characterization of minorities as "people who rut like rabbits."

AFA rejects the statement by Bryan Fischer that, "Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews."

AFA rejects the policy advocated by Bryan Fischer that homosexual conduct should be illegal.

AFA rejects the notion advocated by Bryan Fischer that, "We need an underground railroad to protect innocent children from same-sex households."

AFA rejects Bryan Fischer's statement that, "If Hillary Clinton becomes president In 2016, she will not only be our first female president, she could be our first lesbian president."

In light of this notice, do not continue to charge AFA with the statements by Bryan Fischer that we have repudiated. When identifying "hate groups" in the context of training military or law enforcement personnel, do not put AFA in a false light by quoting Mr. Fischer's statements that we have repudiated.
To the AFA's request we say FUCK THAT. Bryan Fischer is paid by the AFA, his office is staffed by the AFA, and his vile words are broadcast nationwide every motherfucking day by the AFA. As long at that continues to be the case, the American Family Association OWNS every fucking word that Bryan Fisher spews.

The SPLC feels likewise:
Without ending Mr. Fischer’s talk show, without apologizing for the bigoted statements that he, Mr. Wildmon, and others associated with the AFA have made, and without making it crystal clear that the AFA will not tolerate any such statements in the future, the AFA’s 11th-hour disavowal of Mr. Fischer appears to serve only one purpose: to give the AFA a degree of plausible deniability while it continues to spew hateful rhetoric. It’s a shell game and a transparent one at that.

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Meet Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's Son, Lover Of Poon, Hoes, And "Niggas"

Caleb Moore, the son of the holiest man in Alabama, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, seems to be a hard-partying lover of poon, hoes, and "niggas" - per the below images and tweets culled by JMG readers Jason and Lisa. Young Caleb is also, apparently, the former executive director of the Foundation For Moral Law, the pious Christian group founded by his father and currently run by his mother. As you know, the FML has been busy filing SCOTUS amicus briefs against same-sex marriage and trying to keep gay men from inheriting the estates of their dead husbands. Praise! Poontang! #NoHomos!
UPDATE: Caleb Moore has made his Twitter feed private.

UPDATE II: I pulled the 2012 990 form for the Foundation For Moral Law and Caleb Moore is indeed listed as their two-hours-per-week executive director for part of that year. Note his father's $180K compensation for the year he was reelected to the Alabama Supreme Court. That year's 990 lists over $535K in donations, $432K of which went to salaries and benefits. Ahem. According to Part X, Line 25, it appears that another $435K is "due to the Honorable Roy S. Moore." From what I can tell, it looks like the FML took in about $5M from 2006 to 2012. Aside from salaries, it seems likely that much of that money went to the FML's long list of amicus briefs in cases that often involve LGBT rights.
UPDATE III: As some of you have pointed out in the comments, in 2011 Caleb Moore was arrested on drug possession and DUI charges at the age of 20. It was following that arrest, apparently, that he was made the executive director of the FML, which "exists to restore the knowledge of God in law and government and to acknowledge and defend the truth that man is endowed with rights, not by our fellow man, but by God."

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Sen. John McCain To Code Pink Protesters: "Get Out Of Here, You Low-Life Scum"

Via The Hill:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called protesters "low-life scum," after they interrupted a hearing by calling for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to be arrested for war crimes. Protesters from the group Code Pink chanted, "Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes!" and raised signs in the air as Kissinger entered the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing room. McCain, the chairman of the committee, at first asked, "Could someone find out where the Capitol Police is?" Kissinger sat calmly in his witness chair, as protesters and photographers gathered around. The protesters were objecting to Kissinger's past roles in the Nixon administration during the Vietnam War, the bombing of Cambodia and other issues. As the protesters were led out by police, McCain said, "I've been a member of this committee for many years, and I've never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration." Finally, McCain said, "Get out of here, you low-life scum."

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Red-Caped Catholic Loons Petition Pope Francis Against Same-Sex Marriage

From the Red-Caped Catholic Loons:
Dissident Catholic pressure groups -- aided by the liberal media -- are feverishly working to dismantle vital Church teaching on marriage and family at the next Synod on the Family in Rome. In fact, they are bombarding the Holy Father and the Synod Fathers right now with messages of revolt against traditional moral values as they clamor for "change, change, change" inside the Church. At this critical time, we must defend the truth and ask the Holy Father to protect the future of the family. TFP Student Action is joining forces with over 20 more pro-family groups around the world to collect as many signatures as possible before the next Synod starts. This prayerful petition is a worldwide effort. Everyone is invited to sign. May God reward you.
From the petition:
Holy Father, In view of the Synod on the family to be held in October 2015, we filially address Your Holiness to express our fears and hopes regarding the future of the family. Our fears arise from witnessing a decades-long sexual revolution promoted by an alliance of powerful organizations, political forces and the mass media that consistently work against the very existence of the family as the basic unit of society. Ever since the so-called May 1968 Sorbonne Revolution, a morality opposed to both Divine and natural law has been gradually and systematically imposed on us so implacably as to make it possible, for example, to teach the abhorrent "gender theory" to young children in many countries. Catholic teaching on the Sixth Commandment of the Law of God shines like a beacon in the face of this ominous ideological objective. This beacon attracts many people -- overwhelmed by this hedonistic propaganda -- to the chaste and fecund family model taught by the Gospel and in accordance with natural law.
Tradition! Family! Fecundity!

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Tom Petty: No Lawsuit, No Hard Feelings

"About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam. All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by. Sam’s people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement. The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said about it. How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself. Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this. A musical accident, no more no less. In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all." - Tom Petty, swatting down rumors that he'd been forced to sue gay crooner Sam Smith for the song-writing royalties to his Grammy-nominated single Stay With Me.

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NORTH CAROLINA: Another Attempt To Allow Officials To Duck Marriage Duties

Yesterday was the first day of North Carolina's legislative session and already there's an attempt to legalize the refusal to issue marriage licenses and conduct courthouse marriage ceremonies. But since they'd likely fail if they attempted to target only gay couples, the new bill is broader.
Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, filed a bill to allow magistrates to refuse to preside at same-sex weddings and assistant and deputy registers of deeds to not issue licenses based on "sincerely held religious objection." But any such recusal must last at least six months, and the officials couldn't be involved in traditional marriages either. "What we're talking about is trying to protect or at least recognize and provide an accommodation for people who have sincerely held beliefs that are protected by the First Amendment," Berger said in an interview with The Associated Press. "So what we're trying to is find a balance." Democratic lawmakers and the gay-rights group Equality North Carolina said at a news conference such a recusal measure is discrimination in disguise against gays and lesbians. Berger said requiring the exemption for all marriages ensures court officials aren't picking and choosing whom they will wed. But Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, said it doesn't assuage the ulterior motive of bias and could lead to a slippery slope of court officials refusing all sorts of expected duties.
A separate bill to legalize anti-gay discrimination by businesses is expected to be introduced shortly.

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ACT UP To Protest HRC Gala In NYC

Via press release:
The AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) and other HIV activist organizations will converge to protest the neglect of the AIDS crisis by mainstream LGBT organizations at the annual self-congratulatory gala held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City by Human Rights Campaign (HRC). HRC has been absent on HIV in major ways. Even as HIV advocates go hat in hand begging for programs like PreP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), HRC throws galas for thousands of dollars a plate and is nowhere to be found in New York City on critical issues such as LGBT homelessness. ACT UP New York demands that HRC immediately appoint a liaison dedicated specifically to work on HIV—not a Fellow that works temporarily. HRC should work with grassroots organizers on the ground. While the party is going on at the Waldorf, countless homeless LGBT youth are in life-threatening need on the streets of New York.

We demand that HRC work to repeal the outdated CDC policy regarding federal funding for explicit and comprehensive sex education materials. Buried in Jesse Helms’ basement since 1992, his homophobic and HIV-phobic legacy continues to impede effective HIV prevention efforts. Speaking about the ban, ACT UP member Andy Velez said: “The Human Rights Campaign’s absence on a core issue like HIV prevention policies is more glaring evidence of their failure to demonstrate bold leadership.” A whopping thirty-three pages, buried somewhere on the HRC website, is devoted to HIV. By contrast, four hundred thirty-six are dedicated to marriage. It seems weddings are more important than the fag dying in Louisiana because he can’t get meds. Right here, there are more than a hundred thousand New Yorkers living with HIV and thousands more getting it every year, all relying on the same scant resources.
Their Facebook event page is here.

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ALABAMA: Ellen DeGeneres Calls For Donations To Retire Legal Debts Of Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiffs

From the Ellen DeGeneres Show:
Kim and Cari have been fighting for marriage equality in Alabama since 2008. Apart from their desire to bring equality to all of the citizens of Alabama, they’re fighting for their son, Khaya, and their right to be legally recognized as his parents. Their efforts have recently made incredible strides in Alabama, but their nearly decade-long battle has left them with many legal bills. You can help Kim and Cari, and their cause of equality in Alabama by making a donation to the LGBT Wave of Hope. Find out more about their story here, and make a donation right here.

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Right Wing Watch: AFA's "Firing" Of Bryan Fischer Is A Meaningless Trick

Kyle Mantyla writes at Right Wing Watch:
From what we have been able to gather, Fischer has not actually been dismissed by AFA but has rather merely been stripped of his title as director of issues analysis and his role as spokesman for the organization. Fischer will reportedly continue to produce his daily radio program for the AFA's radio arm, American Family Radio.

If this is indeed the case, then the AFA has literally accomplished nothing with this stunt and has utterly failed to distance itself from Fischer's utterly despicable views. The primary venues though which Fischer has managed to spread his bigotry for the last six years have always been owned, operated, and funded by the American Family Association and that relationship appears to remain intact.

Stripping Fischer of his title as AFA spokesman in no way alleviates the AFA of its responsibility for Fischer's toxic views given that the only reason Fischer even has a platform from which to spread those views is because AFA is providing it to him and paying him to do so!

From the very start of Fischer's time at AFA, the organization has pathetically attempted to have it both ways: providing the very microphone from which Fischer speaks while simultaneously claiming that it has bears no responsibility for the message that he sends.

The AFA latest effort to rid itself of Fischer's rancid reputation is little more than a rhetorical accounting trick aimed at creating the false impression that the organization has wiped Fischer's bigotry off of its books.
Hit the link for a recapping of Fischer's bizarre career before the AFA launched into national prominence. At the very least, perhaps after yesterday's stunt GOP leaders will be less willing to appear on Fischer's show.

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IDAHO: State House Committee Kills "Add The Four Words" LGBT Rights Bill

Via Boise Public Radio:
After more than 20 hours of public testimony, the Idaho House State Affairs Committee decided to kill the "Add the Words" bill that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Idahoans. In the nine years that LGBT activists have been fighting for it, this is the furthest the bill has come. Some of the debate among committee members this morning was emotional. "My heart has been touched by this hearing," said Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls. "I've gotten to know you, and I know from this point on forever I will be kinder and I will be compassionate to those who bear a heavy burden." 190 people testified since the hearing began this Monday. According to the Eye On Boise blog, 134 people spoke in favor of the bill, 54 spoke against and two were neutral.
The vote was 13-4 along party lines. Among those testifying on Monday was Family Research Council vice president Peter Sprigg, who has publicly called for "criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior."

RELATED: Yesterday the above sticky note appeared on the front page of the Idaho Statesman and other local newspapers.
Lance Wells, who placed the ad, says he is not in favor of making the change to add “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act. “Coverage has been slanted in one direction for most sources," Wells said. Wells says he is just standing up for his right to speak against adding the words. He says, so far, the feedback has been negative. "The majority of those were negative, some pretty aggressively so. Couple of words I can’t really repeat,” he said. Wells would not say how much he paid for the ad but he says it was worth every penny if it gets his message out there.
His website is here.

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Harlem Hate Church To Hold Manhattan March Against "Sodomite Cannibals"

Harlem hate Pastor James David Manning today announced that his church will soon march against "sodomite cannibals" in Manhattan because the gays are planning to become Night Of The Living Dead homo-zombies.

Manning: "God Almighty has given me the revelation that soon, after the court announces that they are to be protected by the Constitution to be sodomites, they're gonna also start cannibalism. Every sodomite, every lesbo, every homo, every fag, every transvestite, every LBGT person - by the year 2016 - will have participated in some sort of cannibalism. Because they are demon-possessed. And they will do it with a smile on their faces. In fact, they will be scourging through and rummaging through the hospital waste looking for human waste. A number of people are going to go missing and only their bones will show up."

(Tipped by JMG reader John)

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NOM To Issue Anti-Gay Marriage Pledge To Potential 2016 Presidential Candidates

"I have to tell you, I am really excited about our opportunities this year. We're in the best position we've been in in years thanks to the support of you and other members of NOM. With a solid pro-marriage majority in both the House and the US Senate, populated by real marriage champions like Representatives Raul Labrador and John Fleming in the House and Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and newly elected Thom Tillis and Tom Cotton in the Senate, we are in a great position to advance critical legislation. In fact, our federal team is already hard at work on several bills including protecting the right of every American to be free of government punishment for defending the truth of marriage in the daily lives.

"In addition to work in Congress, we're also working behind the scenes to advance critical legislation at the state level, where a huge majority of pro-marriage legislators and Governors now hold office across the land. We're also working hard to make sure the next Republican presidential nominee is a trusted conservative and marriage supporter. We'll have an announcement soon about our new presidential pledge that we will ask every candidate to sign. It could be a game-changer in the presidential contest, because it is going to put candidates' feet to the fire. But all of this and more can happen only if we have the continued support of members like you. Please renew your membership today." - Hate group leader Brian Brown, in his latest money beg.

RELATED: Among those who signed NOM's 2012 hate pledge: Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich. It will be very interesting to see who comes on board this time.

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Downton Abbey To Call It Quits

The next season of Downton Abbey will be the last one.
Writer Julian Fellowes is ditching the popular ITV show, which stars Hugh Bonneville as the Earl of Grantham, after its sixth series so he can work on a new project about 19th century New York. Last week, agents were seeking work for some of the main stars while they were in Los Angeles at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. One source said: “It’s an open secret that Downton is ending this year." Some of the actors are keen to let it be known they will be available for work after the summer. Some are interested in the US, where Downton is as popular as it is in the UK. “Joanne Froggatt, Edith Carmichael and Allen Leech were in Los Angeles for the awards last week and there were several meetings about both TV and film roles.”
The final season begins airing in the UK in September. Will evil Thomas ever find love?

NOTE: Americans beware, there are plot spoilers at the link!

UPDATE: Publicists for the show are denying the above-linked story.

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Viral Video Of The Day

From yesterday's Dallas Morning News:
Scot Pankey is the theater teacher at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School — and the co-star and director of the video you’ll find below, in which Pankey and his students dance ’round the Stag Road school to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” If you haven’t seen it yet, you will. "I heard the song before Christmas and fell in love with it,” he says. “We are a project-based school — there are only two in the Metroplex — and that means you give the students a project, put them in teams, and they have to come up with solutions. They had three weeks to work on it, then present as a group what they learned.” He decided to make this their first project of the new year. And he told his students — from six different theater classes — that he’d do it with them … if they’d let him. Count Bruno Mars among those viewers. His reaction, via Facebook: “I cried at the end. I'm still a thug though. Thank you to everyone involved in making this video."
6M views in four days. The teacher is adorable.

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2Cellos & Lang Lang - Live And Let Die

I first posted about these guys last year. Their new album, Celloverse, was released in the US this week.

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Ford Worker Files EEOC Complaint Over Firing For His Anti-Gay Email To Bosses

Via Detroit's ABC affiliate:
A former Ford Motor Company contractor says he was fired because he criticized the auto company for having a policy that is pro-gay, according to a complaint filed with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Thomas Banks of Ypsilanti, who also filed his EEOC complaint against Rapid Global Business Solutions, stated that the companies violated his civil rights, discriminating against him because of his religious beliefs. Banks was not available for comment. But Liberty Institute, which is based in Dallas, and is representing Banks, issued a press release criticizing both companies for the termination. In a written statement, Liberty Institute says that in July 2014, Banks received a Ford Motor Company newsletter, “…which shared its policy to promote pro-homosexual ideas. In the feedback section, Mr. Banks submitted a single comment, addressed to Ford, disagreeing with Ford’s policy based on his biblical views.”
Here is the text of Banks' biblical views:
“For this Ford Motor should be thoroughly ashamed. Endorsing and promoting sodomy is of benefit to no one. This topic is disruptive to the workplace and is an assault on Christians and morality, as well as antithetical to our design and our survival. Immoral sexual conduct should not be a topic for an automotive manufacturer to endorse or promote. And yes-this is historic-but not in a good way. Never in the history of mankind has a culture survived that promotes sodomy. Heterosexual behavior creates life - homosexual behavior leads to death.”
Both Ford and the contractor have issued statements affirming their anti-harassment policies. (Tipped by JMG reader Scott)

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Catholic & Evangelical Leaders Unite In Statement Against Same-Sex Marriage

Via the National Catholic Register:
A coalition of Catholic and Protestant leaders has united to call all Christians to an unwavering defense of the truth of marriage, rooted in nature as well as faith. "We affirm strongly and without qualification, following the clear testimony of holy Scripture, that marriage is a unique and privileged sign of the union of Christ with his people and of God with his creation — and it can only serve as that sign when a man and a woman are solemnly joined together in a permanent union,” reads a joint statement between Catholic and Protestant leaders. “If we are to remain faithful to the Scriptures and to the unanimous testimony of Christian Tradition, there can be no compromise on marriage.” Nearly 20 Catholics and evangelical Protestants signed the statement, “The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage.” Signatories represent the ecumenical coalition Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT), which is an initiative of the Institute on Religion and Public Life. The statement will debut in the March issue of First Things magazine.
More from Catholic Crux:
Signers of the statement include popular megachurch pastor Rick Warren and longtime gay marriage foe Maggie Gallagher, as well as prominent conservative Catholic intellectuals George Weigel and Robert George. Timothy George, a Southern Baptist and dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School; Mark Galli, editor of the evangelical magazine Christianity Today; and J.I. Packer of Regent University also endorsed the statement. The signers say they “do not dispute the evident fact of hormonal and chromosomal irregularities, nor of different sexual attractions and desires.” But they say that in legitimating same-sex marriage, “a kind of alchemy is performed, not merely on the institution, but on human nature itself.” “We are today urged to embrace an abstract conception of human nature that ignores the reality of our bodies. Human beings are no longer to be understood as either male or female,” it says. The result, it says, will undermine society by eliminating any moral compass except that which the state declares to be the norm, to the exclusion of all others.
More from Religion News Service:
"The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage,” comes from the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together, a coalition formed in 1994 under the aegis of former Nixon aide Charles Colson, an evangelical, and the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Catholic priest. One of their goals was to encourage the two Christian communities to overcome their historical suspicions and doctrinal differences in order to battle what they saw as a growing moral laxity in the U.S. Discussions on a document on same-sex marriage began in June 2013 — the same month the U.S. Supreme Court required the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages — according to Russell Reno, editor of First Things and a member of ECT; Reno provided a copy of the declaration to RNS. But Reno said the members first had to agree to set aside their differences on the legitimacy of divorce and contraception, for example, and even whether marriage is a sacrament.

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O'Reilly Jabs Back At Palin Over Reality Show Comment: Don't Be So Touchy

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Tony Perkins Has The Dan Savage Sadz

"Dan Savage says 'it gets better,' but don't be surprised if viewers get bitter after ABC's newest program. The Disney-owned network, for years a shill for the LGBT agenda, is taking their activism to amazing lows with its plans to bring the controversial 'sex therapist' to life in a regular feature. His dark and vile attacks on Christians have been well chronicled by Savage himself (so vulgar most are unprintable). Lately, though, the open atheist homosexual has taken a break from harassing high schoolers and Republicans to focus on this new fall sitcom, which, producers say, 'will follow the younger years of Savage's life and the experiences of his family following his decision to come out of the closet.' As desperate as the networks are to out-shock the competition, does ABC really want a pilot show based on an anti-Christian bully like Dan Savage?" - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, via email.

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This Week's Top Ten Pop Singles

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