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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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Madonna Falls Off Stairs At Brit Awards

The BBC reports:
Pop star Madonna has fallen off the stage during her performance at the 2015 Brit Awards. The singer tumbled down a set of stairs and landed awkwardly, apparently after a dancer tried to remove a cape she was wearing at the start of her routine. However, she recovered and returned to the stage to finish her song, Living For Love. She later released a statement saying she was "fine" and her cape had been "tied too tight". "Nothing can stop me and love really lifted me up," she wrote on Instagram, referencing the lyrics to her song. "Thanks for your good wishes!"
At least everybody knows she wasn't lip-syncing.

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CPAC 2015: We're All About That Base

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Madonna Vents On Ageism

"It's still the one area where you can totally discriminate against somebody. and talk shit. Because of their age. Only females, though. Not males. So in that respect we still live in a very sexist society. No one would dare to say a degrading remark about being black or dare to say a degrading remark on Instagram about someone being gay. But my age – anybody and everybody would say something degrading to me. And I always think to myself, why is that accepted? What's the difference between that and racism, or any discrimination? They're judging me by my age. I don't understand. I'm trying to get my head around it. Because women, generally, when they reach a certain age, have accepted that they're not allowed to behave a certain way. But I don't follow the rules. I never did, and I'm not going to start." - Madonna, speaking to Rolling Stone.

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Sarah Palin, Voice Of The Tower Erectors

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WEST VIRGINIA: Statewide LGBT Rights Ban Advances Out Of Committee

Del. Karen Arvon's bill to ban LGBT rights across West Virginia just advanced out of its initial committee hearing.

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AFA's Sandy Rios: Conservative Christians Must Be Prepared For Martyrdom


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2Cellos - Hysteria

This is a cover of the 2003 alt-rock hit by Muse.

RELATED: Justin Theroux of The Leftovers and Jennifer Aniston fame stars in the original Muse video.

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TOMORROW: CPAC Sucking Rally

This is a real thing.

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TRAILER: Frozen Fever

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Gaga Joins Cast Of American Horror Story

Via Entertainment Weekly:
Monster casting news: In a stunning coup, American Horror Story has signed Lady Gaga to star in the next edition of the FX anthology series. EW can reveal the Grammy winner will be a series regular in the fifth edition of the popular thriller, which is expected to air this fall. This will mark Gaga’s first starring role in a major production as an actress. What kind of character will Gaga play? Not yet known. What is the new season’s theme? Not yet known. The only confirmable news at this time is that Gaga is firmly in. The move follows the “Bad Romance” singer’s head-turning performance at the Oscars on Sunday where she surprised fans accustomed to her wild outfits and heavily produced pop hits by taking the stage in a traditional flowing white gown and belting out a full-throated tribute to The Sound of Music. One Time critic declared the performance “could redefine her career.”

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NORTH CAROLINA: Senate Passes Bill To Allow Refusal To Perform Gay Marriages

The bill would allow any state official to refuse to officiate ANY marriages based on "sincerely held religious beliefs."

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The First Oops Of CPAC 2015

Carson and Scott are the only African-Americans listed as featured speakers.

UPDATE: CPAC is claiming that the Washington Post photoshopped the image.
Ross Hemminger, a spokesman for CPAC, told The Hill that the photo is “not a real thing” and that it is a “Photoshopped” image. He forwarded technical emails that claim that there’s distortion around the sides of the Scott picture that stems from the alteration, but did not specifically blame Terris. Terris pushed back on the assertion in an email to The Hill. "This morning I wanted to see what time Dr. Carson was speaking so I went to the CPAC site on my phone. I saw that his bio was accompanied by a photo of Tim Scott. So I took a screen shot of it and tweeted it out," he said. "I can't claim to have any idea how or why his photo was there, but I can tell you I have literally no idea how I would even go about photoshopping that."

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Liberty Counsel To Eighth Circuit Court: Stop Same-Sex Marriage Because AIDS

Yesterday the Liberty Counsel filed amicus briefs with the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals in the marriage cases out of Missouri and Arkansas. Via press release:
The issue before this Court and courts across this country is whether the divine creation of natural marriage as the union of one man and one woman will be recognized by fallible judges, or whether judicial tyranny will manifest itself in print,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The judiciary is really what is on trial in the minds of the people. Marriage is objectively a union of a man and a woman. If the people lose confidence in the courts then judges lose their authority. Those are not my words. They are the words of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O-Connor in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey abortion opinion. Courts must rely on the executive to enforce their orders, and unlike the legislature, courts cannot make new law. The authority of courts rests upon the confidence of the people who trust judges are interpreting the law according the constitution and text under review. When judges veer too far away from this straightforward duty, the people lose confidence, and when that happens, their persuasive authority is undermined.
The briefs cite a cavalcade of crackpots including Maggie Gallagher, Mark Regnerus, and Judith Reisner. The bulk of the briefs are devoted to the position that some gay men have gotten AIDS and therefore all LGBT people are ineligible to be married. Hit the links above to see the full filings.

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Conan O'Brien Joins Grindr

This is pretty good. Language!

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CPAC Is Starting

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WEST VIRGINIA: Let's Copy Arkansas!

West Virginia state Rep. Karen Arvon (R-Duh) has introduced a bill that is pretty much identical to the Arkansas law that forbids all municipalities from enacting LGBT rights ordinances. 
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article relating to creating the West Virginia Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act; and ensuring that businesses, organizations and employers doing business in West Virginia are subject to uniform nondiscrimination laws and obligations. (a) No county, municipality or other political subdivision may adopt or enforce a local law, ordinance, resolution, rule or policy that creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in state law. (b) Any local law, ordinance, resolution, rule or policy adopted before the operative date of this act that violates subsection (a) of this section shall be null and void.
Just two weeks ago the smallest town in the state, Thurmond (population: five), voted unanimously to approve a sweeping LGBT rights bill. Similar ordinances exist in several other West Virginia towns including Charleston, the state capital. Arvon's bill would void all those laws.

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WYOMING: House Kills LGBT Rights Bill

Via the Associated Press:
The Wyoming House of Representatives has voted down a bill that would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The House voted 33-to-26 against the bill, which already had cleared the Wyoming Senate. Supporters have included Wyoming business groups, which have said enacting an anti-discrimination law would help the state recruit new corporations and help existing businesses attract good employees. Opponents included several church groups, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne. They maintained that the bill would crimp the right of people to make decisions about hiring and also infringe on freedom of speech. Rep. Mark Jennings, R-Sheridan, said the bill was being promoted as a way to improve Wyoming’s image. However, he said the state should have no concerns along those lines. "This bill is not needed, it aims to fix problems that don’t exist,” Jennings said. “I ask you to defeat this bill.” Rep. Nathan Winters, R-Thermopolis, said the problem with the anti-discrimination bill is that it removes all discretion from individuals as to how they choose to exercise their freedom of conscience. “And it enshrines forever in law, something that is detrimental to the First Amendment,” he said.
And anti-LGBT discrimination remains perfectly legal in 29 states.

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ALABAMA: Judge Denies Adoption In Marriage Case, Plaintiffs File New Suit

Via AL.com:
Less than two weeks after a federal judge ordered him to comply with her ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Mobile County's probate judge has indicated he will not process a couple's adoption petition until after the Supreme Court decides another case. That has put Cari Searcy's second-parent adoption in legal limbo and prompted her lawyers to filed a new lawsuit Tuesday in federal court asking for an order prohibiting Probate Judge Don Davis from "directly or indirectly" enforcing the state's same-sex marriage ban that the federal judge struck down last month.

It was Searcy's inability to adopt the boy that she and spouse Kim McKeand have raised since birth that prompted them to challenge Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage. David Kennedy, one of the couple's lawyers, expressed exasperation at Davis' decision. He noted that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. "Ginny" Granade's order to take effect and that Granade handed down a separate order on Feb. 13 specifically instructing Davis to stop enforcing the gay marriage ban.
And on and on it goes.

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New PrEP Study Shows 86% Effectiveness For Before/After Sex Dosing Schedule

Via the Associated Press:
For the first time, a study shows that a drug used to treat HIV infection also can help prevent it when taken before and after risky sex by gay men. The results offer hope of a more appealing way to help prevent the disease beyond taking daily pills and using condoms, although those methods are still considered best. The study, done in France and Canada, is the first to test "on demand" use of Truvada, a pill combining two AIDS drugs, by people planning to have risky sex. The uninfected men who took it were 86 percent less likely to get HIV compared to men given dummy pills.

"That impressed me," Dr. Scott Hammer said of the size of the benefit. He is an AIDS specialist at Columbia University in New York and heads the Retrovirus Conference going on in Seattle, where the results were discussed Tuesday. Daily Truvada pills are used now to prevent HIV infection in people at high risk for it, and studies show the drug helps even when some doses are skipped. Health officials have been leery of billing it as a "chemical condom" out of fear that people will not use the best prevention methods, but many won't use condoms all the time or take daily pills.

The study of Gilead Science's Truvada was led by the French national HIV research agency. Men were given fake or real Truvada and told to take two pills from two to 24 hours before sex, a third pill 24 hours later, and a fourth pill 48 hours after the first dose. The men also were given condoms and disease prevention counseling.
An important note of caution from the CDC:
Since available data suggest that men in this study were taking PrEP an average of three to four days per week, CDC cautions that researchers do not yet know if this regimen will work among MSM who have sex less frequently and would therefore be taking PrEP less often.

It is not known whether the regimen will work if taken only a few hours or days before sex, without any buildup of the drug from prior use. Studies suggest that it may take days, depending on the type of sexual exposure, for the active drug in PrEP to build up to an optimal level for preventing HIV infection.

There are also no data on how effective this regimen would be for heterosexual men and women and injection drug users or on adherence to this relatively complex PrEP regimen outside a trial setting. CDC continues to recommend only daily use of PrEP, as approved by the FDA. IPERGAY findings combined with other recent research suggests that even with less than perfect daily adherence, PrEP may still offer substantial protection if taken consistently.

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First Ladies Of Disco - Show Some Love

Every gay man of a certain vintage is very familiar with these ladies. Via Eurweb:
In case you haven’t heard, Disco queens Evelyn “Champagne” King, Martha Wash and Linda Clifford have come together as the “First Ladies of Disco.” Look for the ladies to soon be out and about promoting their new single “Show Some Love” which is is set for its worldwide release on March 25 via Purple Rose Records. The First Ladies of Disco Show is inspired by author/speaker/host James Arena’s tribute book “First Ladies of Disco: 32 Stars Discuss the Era and Their Singing Careers,” a best seller in the United States, Canada and Europe. These legendary vocalists come together to bring you one of the most talked about shows in dance music history. This collective of fiery songs, dynamic vocal delivery and non-stop energy makes the First Ladies of DiscoTM Show not only a historic phenomenon, but a uniquely personal and one-of-a-kind experience.
So far their website shows two tour dates: Palm Springs (May 3rd) and Lincoln Center (July 3rd). The first single, interestingly, is straight-ahead pop rock. There will surely be remixes.

(Tipped by JMG reader Wayne)

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Tweet Of The Day

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TEXAS: Hate Group Celebrates Tenth "Banniversary" Of Anti-Gay Marriage Vote

Photo caption: "Today at our Faith and Family Day celebration we honored the 10th anniversary of Texas' marriage amendment defining marriage as #1Man1Woman. We are thankful to have so many great Texas legislators committed to standing for marriage. No doubt Texas is committed to defending marriage!" FACT CHECK: The tenth anniversary of the Texas vote actually isn't until November, but hey - they must have been panicked by that one marriage in Travis County. The guy cutting the cake, by the way, is state Rep. Cecil Bell, author of the bill that would halt the paychecks of any state employee who issues a same-sex marriage license.

From the Texas Observer:
Hellfire may be licking at Texans’ heels, but bitter cold forced the righteous inside today. For months, groups such as Texas Values and the Texas Eagle Forum had planned to convene for Texas Faith and Family Day and give a mighty rebuke to changing cultural norms on the south steps of the Capitol, a venue that can lend grandeur to even small rallies. Instead, they filled a little more than half of the 350-seat Capitol auditorium. A pastor—one of the so-called Houston Five who’ve been involved in a fight with Houston mayor Annise Parker—delivered a closing prayer: “We declare this state to be the sovereign territory of Jesus Christ,” he said, eliciting “amens” from the crowd.

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Street Preachers At Mardi Gras 2015

Ruben Israel and his cast of idiots, of course.

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FRC's Wingnut Polling Outfit: Majority Of Voters Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

The Family Research Council was all over social media yesterday trumpeting a poll they commissioned from an outfit called WPA Opinion Research. You will will be shocked at the results. Tony Perkins writes:
The media would like for you to believe that society has come to one on marriage too. But our polling tells a different story. Asked if "states and citizens should remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the Supreme Court shouldn't force all 50 states to redefine marriage," a whopping 61% don't want the courts to decide the issue. Under the rule of law, changes like this should be made by broad social agreement -- which, the political landscape proves, doesn't exist. Only three states of the 37 with same-sex "marriage" policies had the direct approval of voters (unlike the 30 states who upheld natural marriage at the ballot box).

What this survey tells us is that the American people won't accept the redefinition of marriage by judicial fiat. Like other liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg insists that it won't take much for the country to accept same-sex "marriage" -- a claim this poll clearly debunks. Americans haven't reached a broad social consensus on marriage. Until and unless they do, unelected judges shouldn't force it on them -- and the deep division that will accompany it. The courts made that mistake when it imposed abortion on all 50 states and then declared the issue "resolved."
Five seconds on the polling company's website reveals client testimonials from Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, the lead Senate sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. And that's all we need to know about this poll. Dismissed.

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NOM Exploits Florist For Money Beg

"'I never imagined that using my God-given talents and abilities, and doing what I love to do for over three decades, would become illegal.' Those are the words of Baronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, in her letter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson. You see, AG Ferguson sued Ms. Stutzman for unlawful discrimination because she acted consistent with her faith and declined to use her creative skills to beautify a same-sex 'wedding' ceremony. According to AG Ferguson, freedom of religion means the ability to believe whatever you want, but does not include the freedom to act consistent with those beliefs publicly! Is that the America you know, love and believe in? Well, thanks to radicals trying to redefine marriage, it's increasingly becoming the America we live in. We must stand up to this radical and un-American gutting of our ability to live and act consistent with our faith! Will you stand with us by making a generous and fully tax-deductible donation today?" - Hate group leader Brian Brown, in his tenth money beg this month.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

CDC: Over 90% Of New US HIV Infections Come From Those Not Getting Treatment

Via press release from the CDC:
More than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the United States could be averted by diagnosing people living with HIV and ensuring they receive prompt, ongoing care and treatment. This finding was published today in JAMA Internal Medicine by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using statistical modeling, the authors developed the first U.S. estimates of the number of HIV transmissions from people engaged at five consecutive stages of care (including with those who are unaware of their infection, those who are retained in care and those who have their virus under control through treatment).

The research also shows that the further people progress in HIV care, the less likely they are to transmit their virus. “By quantifying where HIV transmissions occur at each stage of care, we can identify when and for whom prevention and treatment efforts will have the most impact,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “We could prevent the vast majority of new infections tomorrow by improving the health of people living with HIV today.”

The analysis showed that 30 percent of new HIV infections were transmitted from people who did not know that they were infected with the virus, highlighting the importance of getting tested. People who had been diagnosed were less likely to transmit their infection, in part because people who know they have HIV are more likely to take steps to protect their partners from infection.

“Positive or negative, an HIV test opens the door to prevention. For someone who is positive, it can be the gateway to care and the signal to take steps to protect partners from infection. For someone who tests negative, it can be a direct link to important prevention services to help them stay HIV-free,” said Eugene McCray, MD, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “At CDC, we’re working hard to make testing as simple and accessible as possible.”

Today’s analysis suggests that simply being in care can help people living with HIV avoid transmission of their virus. According to the model, people who were engaged in ongoing HIV care, but not prescribed antiretroviral treatment, were half as likely (51.8 percent) as those who were diagnosed but not in care to transmit their virus. Being prescribed HIV treatment further lowered the risk that a person would pass the virus to others.

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Bryan Fischer: The AFA's "Bigotry Map" Has Made Right Wing Watch Apoplectic

Kyle Mantyla writes at Right Wing Watch:
The usefulness of the AFA's map is debatable, since is seems to just blindly designate every gay, secular, atheist, or humanist group as a bigoted anti-Christian organization without providing any actual evidence to support such a designation. Nonetheless, the AFA's Bryan Fischer thinks the new map is a game-changer, crowing in a typically clueless fashion on his radio program today that the key difference between the SPLC designating the AFA as a hate group and the AFA labeling everyone else as anti-Christian bigots is that the allegation that the AFA is a hate group is false while the AFA's designation is true. "They falsely accuse of us hate," he cogently explained, "but we accurately and truly accuse these groups of anti-Christian bigotry."
RWW did take note of the map earlier today, but as you can see, they merely shrugged it off as nonsense. So much for their apoplexy.

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One Million Moms Vs Toilet Paper

Just in via email:
In Cottonelle's newest advertising campaign "Dare to Go Commando," a company spokeswoman asks individuals if they feel cleaner after using Cottonelle because of the ripple texture. The Cottonelle spokeswoman goes so far as to ask another woman if she feels clean enough to go commando now. The woman agrees and walks back into the restroom to return with her undies in a small shopping bag. The commercial ends with both women pulling down the waistbands of their pants just enough to reveal they don't have panties on. Cottonelle is encouraging consumers to go without underwear. Oh, please! This is ridiculous. This type of advertising is extremely inappropriate. The tissue paper company also has a similar ad, "Go Cottonelle. Go Commando." In this ad, the spokeswoman asks a man to go commando, and it ends the same way. TAKE ACTION: Please email Cottonelle and ask the company to put a stop to this marketing campaign and cancel the "Commando" ads immediately.

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OKLAHOMA: Bill To Prohibit Regulation Of Ex-Gay Torture Advances In House

With an eye on what has happened in California and New Jersey, today an Oklahoma House committee approved state Rep. Sally Kern's bill to prohibit the state from regulating "ex-gay" torture therapy. Kern, the chair of the committee, claims her bill is the first of its kind in the nation. Her bill is expected to face strong opposition before the full chamber.

Earlier today the "ex-gay" crackpots at Voice Of The Voiceless (Christopher Doyle's group) issued a ranting press release about the Oklahoma bill. An excerpt:
HB 1598 is a big step for parental rights and religious liberty for Oklahoma families, especially those who struggle with sexual and gender identity confusion. This bill protects the freedom of individuals to seek help from mental health providers and faith-based counselors for support, spiritual direction, and pastoral care and counseling. Oklahoma Children and their families should be provided with ethical, safe, and effective support to overcome conflicts surrounding their sexual identity/orientation and their spirituality, especially confused victims of childhood sexual abuse! HB 1598 ensures that children who are molested and/or are victims of sexual abuse and experience unwanted same-sex attractions as a result, have the freedom to get the counseling that aligns with their values!
As we all know, "ex-gay" torture often results in suicide. But that's apparently fine with Sally Kern, who is on record as saying that homosexuality is worse than terrorism.

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Google Bans Porn From Blogger

Via CNN Money:
In an announcement that was sent out to bloggers who use the company's blogging website, Google said people will no longer be able to "publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity" on Blogger as of March 23. Google said those Blogger sites that continue to host pornography after March 23 will be made "private." That means the content will be allowed to remain up, but it will only be accessible to the site's owner and the people who the user directly shared the blog with.

Google noted that it isn't completely banning nudity from being shown publicly on Blogger. The site will allow nudity "if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts." But it also puts Google in the position of deciding what is art and what is pornography -- a decision that Instagram and other sites have struggled with. Blogger previously allowed adult content on its sites, but it required users to mark their blogs as "adult." Those Blogger sites came with an "adult content" warning that would appear before a visitor could enter the site.
Two years ago Yahoo made a similar move with Tumblr, but reinstated porn blogs after a social media backlash.

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Walker Leads GOP Field In New 2016 Poll

Via Public Policy Polling:
PPP's newest national Republican poll finds a clear leader in the race for the first time: Scott Walker is at 25% to 18% for Ben Carson, 17% for Jeb Bush, and 10% for Mike Huckabee. Rounding out the field of contenders are Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5%, Rand Paul at 4%, and Rick Perry and Marco Rubio at 3%. Walker has more than doubled his support since his 11% standing on our January national poll, and Carson has moved up 3 points. Bush, Huckabee, Paul, and Perry have largely stayed in place while Cruz has dropped 4 points and Christie has dropped 2 points.

Walker is climbing fast in the polling because of his appeal to the most conservative elements of the Republican electorate. Among 'very conservative' voters he leads with 37% to 19% for Carson, 12% for Bush, and 11% for Huckabee. Bush has a similarly large lead over Walker with moderates at 34/12...the problem for Bush though is that there are two times more GOP primary voters who identify as 'very conservative' than there are ones who identify as moderates. Bush is really struggling with conservative voters. Among 'very conservative' voters on this poll, just 37% rate Bush favorably to 43% with an unfavorable opinion. By comparison Carson is at 73/2, Walker at 68/3, and Cruz at 68/8 with those folks.
Walker has been ramping up his anti-gay rhetoric in recent days, but that's still not good enough for Tony Perkins. Via press release:
In trips to Iowa and abroad, the Wisconsin politician has taken great pains to emphasize the pro-life and pro-marriage themes that have been sorely lacking from his vocabulary. The New York Times feels the shift, and in an article today, suggests that this pivot to win the base's heart could just be a temporary dabble in social conservatism. The cracks in that strategy started to show on Saturday, when the Governor was asked whether he believed President Obama was a Christian. "I don't know," he replied. (His office later backtracked. "Of course, the Governor thinks the President is a Christian," they tried to explain.)

When the reporter went on to say that Obama liked to reference his faith, Walker said, "I've actually never talked about it, or I haven't read about it. I've never asked him that. You've asked me to make statements about people that I haven't had a conversation with about that. How (could) I say if I know either of you are a Christian." Then, the conversation took a surprising turn. Walker suggested the President's faith didn't matter. "To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press," he fired back. "The things they care about don't even remotely come close to what you're asking about."

Unfortunately for Walker, the American people absolutely care about faith -- including the President's. When they see his administration abandon hundreds of thousands of persecuted Christians, or bring his own brand of hostility to bear on Christians here at home, it matters. The reality is, people want their politicians to recognize God.
Walker, by the way, is a college dropout. The last president not to have at least a bachelor's degree was Harry Truman, who was first elected 70 years ago.

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Martyr Tour: Anti-Gay Washington Florist Speaks At Christian Broadcasters Confab

The National Religious Broadcasters convention is taking place in Nashville today, just in time for everybody there pack up and head over to CPAC in DC. Anti-gay Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman was jut trotted out to tearfully declare that "God will not be mocked."

RELATED: Also making the rounds are the Oregon bakers.

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American Family Association Publishes "Bigotry Map" Of LGBT, Atheist, Humanist, And Civil Rights Groups

We can only presume that this is the secret weapon teased by the American Family Association late last year. Via press release:
The American Family Association has identified over 200 groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith. The website includes an interactive map that identifies groups whose actions are deeply intolerant of the Christian religion. Their actions have endorsed efforts to silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America.

A common practice of these groups is threatening our nation’s schools, cities and states. By threat of lawsuit, they demand that prayer be removed from schools and city council meetings, Ten Commandments monuments stricken from courthouses and memorial crosses purged from cemeteries and parks.

Because of anti-Christian bigotry, private business owners have been sued and forced to close their businesses. Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from anti-Christian zealots. Some members or supporters of these groups have committed violent crimes against Christians and faith-based groups. Physical and profane verbal assaults against Christians are methods frequently exercised in their angry methods of intimidation.
The "Homosexual Agenda" groups identified on the map are the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and dozens of local chapters of the Gay & Lesbian Student Education Network (GLSEN), who get this description: "GLSEN infiltrates public schools with pro-homosexual indoctrination tactics, confusing many young people and misleading them into making dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle choices that will negatively affect their entire lives." HRC's description: "Part of Human Rights Campaign’s driving agenda is legalizing homosexual marriage by judicial activism, bullying American corporations to embrace sexual perversion and encouraging lawsuits against Christian-owned businesses and states." Also listed under "Homosexual Agenda," interestingly, is the AARP.

Listed under "Anti-Christian" are the SPLC, People For The American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the ACLU. Listed under humanist groups are the Freethinkers Society and dozens of similar groups. Atheists groups listed include American Atheists and dozens of state and local atheist organizations.

Perhaps obviously, this AFA map is meant to counter the Southern Poverty Law Center's map of hate groups. For the last few years the AFA and other hate groups have demanded that the SPLC take down their map. Those demands escalated in 2012 after a mentally ill man shot a security guard at the DC office of the Family Research Council, later telling the FBI that he used the SPLC's map to find their office. Like the SPLC, the AFA's map only lists the city and state of each group and no actual address is provided.

It's rather amusing that a group whose de facto spokesman regularly calls for the imprisonment of millions of LGBT Americans and who has repeatedly declared that non-Christians have no place in the United States has the gall to publish a "bigotry map."

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