Friday, December 07, 2007

Sister Wendy On Gay Marriage

Art critic, author, PBS host, and Carmelite nun Sister Wendy spoke to the Huffingon Post about her new book, Sister Wendy On Prayer, but was also asked about her stance on gay marriage.
Huffington Post: You've spoken out about gay marriage. How do you balance what you believe with what you have sworn to uphold?"

Sister Wendy: I believe in loyalty. We should respect our church, but never believe that the church has the last word. The church is saying "this", but I believe that sooner or later "this" will change. "This" is not the mind of our Lord. God is all love. It's a delicate balancing thing. The Church has changed it's position over the years, and because the spirit is with the Church, in the end the Church will always get it right. But in the end. The spirit of the Church is the meaning of love, which hasn't yet, perhaps, been fully understood.
It's too bad that Sister Wendy lives according to her vow of solitude, rather than taking a leadership role in the Catholic Church.

RELATED: Has anybody seen Nathan Lane's impression of Sister Wendy? It kills. Lane should totally play her in the West End musical based on her life.

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Matthew Shepard Act:
Progress Screwed By Principles

Democratic Senate leaders, acquiescing to their anti-war constituents, yesterday stripped the Matthew Shepard Act from the defense funding bill to which it was attached. Matthew Shepard's mother has released a statement regarding yesterday's decision:
We are truly dismayed to find that Congress now will put aside its leadership on passage of federal hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

At this time of year that fills us all with hope for humankind, we are sad to find that a Congressional majority of each House who have already adopted the Matthew Shepard Act cannot yet come together.

If not here, where? If not now, when?

Make no mistake; this is a small triumph of process over principle. We are dedicated to redoubling our efforts next year to achieve our vision of a hate-free America that truly includes everyone. This has never simply been about Matthew Shepard and our family, this legislation is a gift delayed but never forgotten for all America's families.

We thank our friends, allies and champions in Washington and around the world who have struggled so hard this year. We know that we will unite once again next year to achieve passage of this milestone human rights legislation.
So the hate crimes bill is dead for this year, basically due to the unwillingness of Democrats to fund the war, even though the bill will pass easily now that the Matthew Shepard Act has been removed. Rep. Barney Frank is calling for the Senate to consider it as a stand-alone bill as early as February. The House passed a stand-alone hate crimes act earlier this year.

What a fucked-up scenario. Republicans threatened to vote against the bill because it protected dirty queers. Democrats threatened to vote against the bill because it funded a dirty war.

Solution: toss out the queers, FUND THE WAR ANYWAY. Is anybody surprised?

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Broadway Friday

- John Schneider will join the cast of Chicago to play Billy Flynn for nine weeks beginning January 14th. Now in its 11th year, Chicago is the 8th-longest running show in Broadway history and the longest running revival ever.

- The cast recording of Xanadu hits stores on January 8th but will be available online two weeks earlier. The disc has 14 tracks and includes a 24-page booklet.

- The 2007 Grammy Awards nominations were announced yesterday. Nominated for Best Musical Show Album: A Chorus Line, Company, Grey Gardens, Spring Awakening, West Side Story. The soundtrack for Hairspray in among the nominees for Best Compilation Soundtrack.

- Oprah Winfrey is working on adapting the musical version of The Color Purple for the big screen. Fantasia is considered a lock to reprise her Broadway role.


Gen. Keith Kerr: A "Real" General?

Right-wing talk shows and forums are lighting up with accusations the Brigadier General Keith Kerr is not a "real" general because that rank was attained with the California State Military Reserve, not the federal armed forces.

Kerr, the openly gay retired soldier whose question during the Republican YouTube debate launched accusations that he'd been planted by the Clinton campaign (with CNN's help), retired from the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of Colonel in 1986 then joined the CMSR where he was appointed Brigadier General in 1991, a rank that is considered by some to a be an honorarium similar to doctoral degrees universities grant to certain luminaries. It appears the highest rank Kerr achieved in the active federal military was Lieutenant.

Blowhard radio rightie Michael Savage attacked Kerr on his show earlier this week, calling Kerr a "phony" and saying, "I don't care about this old queen, frankly. He disgusts me to make -- my flesh crawls from the old queen. That was a general? Now you wonder why we're still in Iraq five years later. General -- with General Keith Kerr, you know why we're still in Iraq five years later. That's all. He wasn't just racking up cue balls at the pool table."

Surprising support for Kerr can be found on Stop The ACLU, which says, "Now, here is the thing folks. Kerr is rightfully called a general despite that his official Federal rank was never higher than a Colonel. It is true that he was not a General in the U.S. Army, it is true that his rank of general is only a State rank, and it might be true that he cannot officially wear his state rank of general outside the state of California. But, again, he is still a general."

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Australia's New PM: Civil Unions OK

Newly elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said yesterday that his administration will not interfere with states or territories that move to legalize civil unions for gay couples. The state of Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory are both expected to pass civil union laws early next year.

Previous attempts to pass such legislation were thwarted by previous Prime Minister John Howard. Rudd has said that he opposes the approval of civil unions or gay marriages on the federal level, so like in the United States, Australia will likely be advancing on marriage equality state-by-state.

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Morning View - Manhattan Municipal

The 40-story Manhattan Municipal Building was completed in 1915 and is considered the final building of Gotham's City Beautiful movement. It's one of the largest governmental buildings in the world and the place where 28,000 New Yorkers get married every year. Another Stanford White beauty!


Legendary Gay Rights Activist
Bob Kohler, Dead Of Cancer At 81

New York City and LGBT people everywhere have lost one of their giants in the fight for fairness and equality. Bob Kohler, Stonewall veteran and co-founder of seminal 60's gay activism group, the Gay Liberation Front, died of cancer on Wednesday at age 81.

For more than 40 years, Kohler relentlessly advocated for gays, transsexuals, blacks, PWAs, immigrants, sex workers, queer youth, and many other just causes. In 1999, he was arrested protesting the police killing of Amadou Diallo (just one of the 32 times he was arrested for his activism.) In 2001, it was Kohler that forced NYC to comply with laws requiring emergency housing for PWAs. More recently, he supported FIERCE!, the LGBT group that advocates for queer youth in the West Village.
On the second night of the Stonewall riots in 1969, Bob and other West Village community members called the first meeting of the Gay Liberation Front, which Bob (and historians) credit with “establishing radicalism in the New York gay community.” He went on to work with direct action and advocacy groups including ACT UP, Sex Panic!, The Neutral Zone, Fed Up Queers, the NYC AIDS Housing Network, Irish Queers, animal rights groups, and others. Throughout his work, Bob was a father figure to activists and street kids, including Sylvia Rivera, who herself grew up to be a parent and mentor to queer youth.
Kohler was a WWII veteran who lost a kidney in combat in the South Pacific. After the war, he worked in television, starting a talent agency to represent black performers who could not find work. As manager of the Club Baths in NYC, he advocated against the closing of bathhouses when the AIDS crisis began, arguing that educating gay men about safer sex in the actual place where they would be having sex, was more effective than unnoticed pamphlets stacked in bars. He was unsuccessful. Kohler later opened The Loft, a popular store on Christopher Street and on Fire Island.

There will be a "political funeral" for Bob Kohler this Sunday at the NYC LGBT Community Center at 4pm, followed by a march down Christopher Street to the West Village piers. Please consider attending to honor a man who helped you live the life you have today.

More on the remarkable life of Bob Kohler:
-Gay City News, Bob Kohler Dead At 81
-Village Voice, Bob Kohler, Gay Rights Pioneer, 1926-2007

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

On The Radio, Whoa Oh Oh

By request, a pussy hat-trick. Shelley sits on the radio in my bathroom while I shave. She likes to perch on the strangest things: the tires of my bike, the top of the microwave. She's getting weirder by the day.


Something Is Wrong With Dawn

Staying with the pussy motif, here's the trailer and synopsis for upcoming horror movie Teeth.
High school student Dawn works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group's most active participant. Her task is made even more difficult by her bad boy stepbrother Brad's increasingly provocative behavior at home. A stranger to her own body, innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the object of violence. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of being a living example of the vagina dentata myth.
Am I wrong in thinking this movie looks hilarious?

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Patti LaBelle: I Am Not A Vagitarian

Patti LaBelle does not appreciate attention from the ladies.

LaBelle: “When I got my divorce, the women jumped on me like white on rice! I said, ‘Look, I ain’t ever did fish, I don’t intend to do fish so leave me alone.’”

OK, we hear ya, Patti. But maybe Massengill will want you as their next spokesperson.

(Via - Queerty.)

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LaBarbera On Hannity & Colmes

Last night Porno Pete LaBarbera of the Americans For Truth About Homosexuality was on Hannity & Colmes to parade his Folsom Street Fair video and to call for Nancy Pelosi to do something to end the fair. Naturally, in addition decrying the "shocking depravities" that took place in "broad daylight", LaBarbera focuses on the idiots who brought their children to the fair. Alan Colmes wasn't having it and ripped LaBarbera for giving Folsom even more publicity.

LaBarbera has been touring his Tolerance Gone Wild movie around the country and held a press conference at the National Press Club in DC this week. Washington Blade reporter Rebecca Armendariz attended and reports that only one other news outlet was there with her.

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Breaking: Hates Crimes Bill Dead

From the Washington Blade:
Capitol Hill sources are telling the Blade that the hate crimes measure has been stripped from the National Defense Authorization Act. The House passed a freestanding hate crimes bill in May, but lawmakers in the Senate, led by Sen. Edward Kennedy, attached it to the spending bill as part of a strategy to avoid a presidential veto.

An official announcement is expected within the hour. Check back for more details as the story develops
I'll follow up on this as more is known. Sigh.

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Recap: Reading For Filth

Last night's Reading For Filth show was moving, hilarious, historic. I read something from the JMG archives, Tripping Over The Tubs, and that went over pretty well, but then my former co-worker, the dynamic one-woman circus called Robbyne Kaamil (above, before the show) blew me off the stage with a rousing part-poetry, part gospel, sex-positive performance that had the audience shouting her mantra, "Fucking is a GOOD thing!" I really needed that, because prior to taking the stage, I (and most of the audience) was completely verklempt from Eric Leven's moving story about meeting an HIV+ man and his own later close call with the virus.

But more tears would come immediately after Robbyne's performance as the surprise special guest we'd been promised turned out to be an actual (and legal) transgender wedding. Rapture Books owner Joe Birdsong called the wedding party over from a nearby restaurant and the room was suddenly flooded with 50 new people, including the happy couple and the reverend. And suddenly a room that moments earlier had been raucous with talking and house music became pin-drop silent and reverent. It was beautiful, just lovely, and I had to use my touk to dab my eyes.After the wedding, we schlepped over to Eastern Bloc where Eric was co-hosting a Hanukkah party. Eric handed out the yarmulkes (mine said "Bat Mitzvah of Meridith Haley Spiegel") and thanks in part to the Ginch Gonch-clad Manischewitz shot boy, we were soon rocking out to some Klezmer-techno. My yarmulke kept falling off my giant head, but Wayne Hoffman (below, with Eric) sort of screwed it on so it would stay. Next year, I'll bring a bobby pin. What a great night! And this time, I actually got to bed by 1am.

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HomoQuotable - Jodie Foster

".....and my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and all the bliss." - Jodie Foster, concluding her thanks at Tuesday's 16th Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast.

Most are accepting this little snippet of a glimpse into the intensely private Foster's home life as a coming out. It would be nice to hear something more, but that's not Foster's style.

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Morning View - New Yorker Hotel

On 8th Avenue near Herald Square, the 43-story New Yorker Hotel opened in 1929 with 2500 rooms and a private tunnel that brought guests in directly from Penn Station. Today it's a Ramada owned by the Unification Church (Moonies!) and is just about finished with a major remodeling. Dr. Jeff and I grabbed this photo late on Tuesday afternoon when the sun broke through the clouds for about 30 seconds.


Open Thread Thursday

What's it all about, Alfie?


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Iran Executes Gay Man After All

We celebrated prematurely.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has learned today that despite an order by the Iranian Chief Justice to nullify his death sentence, Mr. Makvan Mouloodzadeh was executed in Kermanshah Central Prison at 5 a.m. this morning, Iranian time. Neither Mr. Mouloodzadeh's family or his lawyer were told about the execution until after it occurred. IGLHRC is still investigating the facts in this case.

"This is a shameful and outrageous travesty of justice and international human rights law," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director. "How many more young Iranians have to die before the international community takes action?"

Mr. Mouloodzadeh was a 21-year-old Iranian citizen who was accused of committing anal rape (ighab) with other young boys when he was 13 years old. However, at Mr. Mouloodzadeh's trial, all the witnesses retracted their pre-trial testimonies, claiming to have lied to the authorities under duress. Makvan also told the court that his confession was made under coercion and pleaded not guilty. On June 7, 2007, the Seventh District Criminal Court of Kermanshah in Western Iran found him guilty and sentenced him to death. Despite his lawyer's appeal, the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence on August 1, 2007. The case caused an international uproar, and prompted a letter writing campaign by IGLHRC and similar actions by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Outrage! and Everyone Group.

In response to mounting public pressure, and following a detailed petition submitted to the Iranian Chief Justice by Mr. Mouloodzadeh's lawyer, the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, nullified the impending death sentence of Mr. Mouloodzadeh. In his November 10, 2007 opinion (1/86/8607), the Iranian Chief Justice described the death sentence to be in violation of Islamic teachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics, and the law of the land.

In accordance with Iranian legal procedure, Mr. Mouloodzadeh's case was sent to the Special Supervision Bureau of the Iranian Justice Department, a designated group of judges who are responsible for reviewing and ordering retrials of flawed cases flagged by the Iranian Chief Justice. However, in defiance of the Chief Justice, the judges decided to ratify the original court's ruling and ordered the local authorities to carry out the execution.

Mr. Mouloodzadeh's execution came days after a panel at the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.

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Love, Laughter, Longevity

My beloved Farmboyz celebrated their 24th anniversary on Monday. An excerpt from Father Tony's blog:

I watch others tread water for the length of their lives, using curious tools to stay above its surface. The morphine of religion. The aquarium of wealth. The fanning gills of sex. The antifreeze of drink. Their sharks never seemed much to care for me, though I would have been easy prey.

Imagine my surprise twenty-four years ago when someone passing took hold of me and pulled himself up and into the listing vessel of my life. Turned about in winter, I felt warmth for the first time. Good and playful work. An ease of course through dire straits. Laughter in the clearing of the drain.

Go read the rest. Take a tissue with you.


Three Thousand

This is my 3000th post. As I said a thousand posts ago, what have we been going on about?


Sisters And Dragsters And Models, Oh My

Last night Aaron and I waded into the downtown hipster scene to attend a release party and screening of the new Scissor Sisters concert DVD, Hurrah - A Year Of Ta-Dah. We got to the party a little late and spent much of the rest of the night celeb-spotting all the Gotham bold names in the house: model/singer Amanda Lepore, party promoter and owner Daniel Nardicio, Kiki & Herb's Justin Bond, French Vogue cover model and Bruce Weber subject Andre J, and on and on.

After the party, we moved into the theater next door where the Scissor Sisters gave a brief Q & A session before settling into the seats with us for the movie. Part behind-the-scenes documentary, part performance, the movie was just terrific. The audience particularly seemed to dig the multiple opportunities Jake Shears takes to remove his clothes on the stage. Props to Fly Life PR guru Carmen Cacciatore for a great event. Here's the trailer from the movie:

After the movie, we moved across Houston Street to raunch institution The Cock for their 9th anniversary party, which around 1am hit the usual Cock tipping-point from regular bar night to full-out, naked drunken bacchanal. I chatted a bit with electro legend DJ Man Parrish and Rapture Books owner Joe Birdsong, discussed fake fur with an 11-foot tall tranny, and schooled some youngsters on the merits of Vanity vs. Apollonia. Good times.

Justin Bond took the stage around 2am with a couple of able bandmates and treated the very frisky crowd to a couple of songs which may or may not be a part of next week's Kiki & Herb holiday concert at Carnegie Hall. I got home at 3am on a school night and am really paying for it today. Grampa just can't play with the cool kids anymore.

BELOW: Justin Bond and band.
BELOW: Amanda Lepore, Andre J.

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More On "Intent" Crimes

The NYPD is conducting a subway sting called "Operation Lucky Bag" in which undercover cops plant bags and wallets containing credit cards,, then wait around to see who picks them up. Unlucky Samaritans who pick up the bags with the intent on contacting their owners are detained, frisked, and their criminal backgrounds are checked.

If I found a wallet on the subway, I certainly wouldn't turn it in to a station agent, I'd take it home and find the owner myself - something that someone once did for me when I left a satchel of office documents on the Times Square shuttle. If the cops humiliated me with a public frisking, as happened to the man in the above-linked story, I fear that my reaction would make the situation much, much worse.

The ACLU is calling for the NYPD to end Operation Lucky Bag. The cops say that anyone they believe has the intent to steal the items can be charged with an Class-E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison. What a world we've created.

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Tonight: Get Filthy

Tonight I'll be appearing again at Reading For Filth at Rapture Books in the East Village. Other performers will be D-List Radio diva Robbyne Kaamil, Eric Leven, Our Lady J and a "surprise guest". I look forward to seeing some of you there!

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Morning View - Downtown Veggies

A street vendor on the corner of Broadway and Canal was selling a few a things we couldn't identify. I think the white things are coconuts.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Former Low Level HRC Staffer Busted In Pedophile Sting (And How It Relates To Blogging Ethics)

Aide to Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell and former Human Rights Campaign staffer James Michael McHaney, 28, was arrested by the FBI in Washington, DC on Friday in an internet sex sting. McHaney is being held without bond after arranging to meet what he thought was a 13 year-old boy for anal sex. According to Gay News Watch, McHaney worked for the HRC from September 2005 to May 2006. McHaney may have been an aide to HRC head Joe Solmonese, but that is unclear at this time. Prior to the HRC, McHaney worked on the 2004 presidential campaigns of John Kerry and Richard Gephardt.

If the charges are true, McHaney is without doubt a vile creature deserving of whatever prison time his crime may call for. But to my mind, the more interesting aspect of this story is how it relates to what gay news outlets, journalists, and bloggers consider "newsworthy". Even though the story was covered earlier today on several major gay or left blogs, I originally passed. McHaney's time at the HRC had not yet been uncovered and I looked at the news reports and couldn't see how the sadly ordinary arrest of yet another (alleged) internet perv related to gay activism and the usual subject matter of this blog.

Over at the right-leaning gay blog Malcontent, under the headline "Lefty Blogs Yawn Over Gay Democratic Pedophiles", Matt makes the accusation that the gay blogosphere falls over all over themselves to trumpet the sex scandals of Republicans, yet remains shamefully silent when the shoe is on the other foot. (Well, not TOO silent, considering the above-linked coverage.) Still, after reading Matt's post, I revisited the story and decided once again that the sex crime arrest of a low-level Dem staffer, a person who presumably hasn't helped the "enemy", didn't fall under the hypocrisy litmus test I tend to rely upon when it comes to reporting on these sorts of things.

But then former Washington Blade editor Chris Crain, a vigorous critic of the ethics of gay bloggers, emailed me to note the HRC aspect of the McHaney story and I finally decided that perhaps this story merited mention here, at least for the questions it raises about what caused McHaney's departure from the HRC and how or if they assisted in his placement with Sen. Cantwell.

Still, I'm not sure. Sex crimes, gay and straight, occur every day. Does the gay blogosphere have a moral imperative to cover the crimes of relative nobodies, just because they work for politicians, especially when the perpetrators have no known anti-gay track record? I don't think so. I've exhaustively covered the stories of major hypocrites like Ted Haggard and Larry Craig, and dangled unproven theories such as the recent Trent Lott hooker nonsense. But I've also left other unpleasant stories about Democrats and Republicans alone, for the reasons mentioned above.

By Malcontent's standards (and probably Chris Crain's), my hands are not clean. There may indeed be some "meat" to the McHaney story, that remains to be seen, and Crain is absolutely correct that we need to call out our own, even if it damages the movement. I just don't agree that we've been doing that bad of a job.

UPDATE: Chris Crain has responded to this post.

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Manhattan Question Of The Day

What is the appropriate waiting time before calling police when your neighbor has been blasting Midnight Train To Georgia on repeat? We're at the two-hour mark now. I'm wondering if she's lying twitching and unconscious with the remote lying by her side. She'd better be.

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The Diva Stampede Continues

Via Bilerico:
At long last, the most important endorsement of the 2008 presidential election is here. During a press event last night in New York, Madonna made it official: She's backing Hillary Clinton for the White House.

According to Madonnalicious - the online community of all things 'Material,' - her Madgesty responded, when asked "Hillary or Obama?," with an enthusiastic "Hillary."

"I've gotta support the girls," Mrs. Ritchie told the crowd, adding that, ". . . I'm a big fan of the Clintons."

Loud stampedes of Prada-heeled gay men could immediately be heard running over to the gay Hill camp.
At least Hillary hasn't signed Madge up for a bus and stripper pole tour. Yet.

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Read Between The Coloring Lines

The Archdiocese of New York has released a coloring book for preschoolers in which an angel warns: "If a child and an adult happen to be alone, someone should know where they are, and the door should be open or have a big window in it."

Note the male (priest?) figure waving a fey hand at the young boy. Is the Archdiocese actually warning kids about pedophile priests? That seems to be the implication. Or maybe it's just the nelly ones that kids need to worry about. And what's that kid doing, anyway? Delivering a baby?

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says, "We welcome any innovation, especially from an institution that has such a horrific track record." I'd like to get Cardinal Egan to autograph a copy.

UPDATE: Blogger has repaired their photo glitch. You may now embiggen.

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Gen. Kerr On The O'Reilly Factor

Openly gay former Brigadier General Keith Kerr appeared on the O'Reilly Factor last night to deny allegations that he was planted in the audience at CNN's YouTube debate among Republican candidates. Watch until the end of the clip. Does O'Reilly actually admit that he might be wrong on DADT?


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Fundies Surrender On NJ Gay Marriage

Via Pam's House Blend comes news that New Jersey is getting so close to having the votes necessary to approve same-sex marriage, even the "family values" crowd is ready to throw in the towel.

From Blue Jersey:
Last week Garden State Equality chairman Steven Goldstein projected that they are just a few votes short of a majority in support of marriage equality, with about 19 votes in the Senate and 39 in the Assembly, where 21 and 41, respectively are needed for a majority.

In an email to supporters, Len Deo of the NJ Family Policy Council - a right wing group trying to impose it's extremist theocratic agenda on New Jersey - said that their "own contacts confirm support for the same-sex "marriage" bill is a couple legislators short."

That huge admission must be discouraging to his followers, but Deo assures them "we will continue to fight the good fight," a political euphemism for "we're going to lose."

It's far from a done deal, of course. But when the other side is ready to pack it in, you've got to feel optimistic.

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Oh, Hai. I Kan Eatz Jeebus?

Over on Whateveresque they are giving the LOLcats treatment to the Creation Museum, where visitors wander among dioramas depicting the dinosaurs as present during Biblical events. High-larry-us.

(Via - Mountains Of Madness.)

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Westboro Redux

I'm kinda curious why the gay blogosphere is lighting up today with the video of Westboro Baptist Church's parody of USA For Africa's We Are The World, which Westboro performs as God Hates The World. Didn't we talk about this back in May?

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No Nukes In Iran, Dubya Accused Of Lying

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — A new assessment by American intelligence agencies released Monday concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting a judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb.

Senator Harry Reid said the assessment was “directly challenging some of this administration’s alarming rhetoric” on Iran. The conclusions of the new assessment are likely to reshape the final year of the Bush administration, which has made halting Iran’s nuclear program a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is likely to keep its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”

During his press conference this morning, reporters blasted the president for invoking the horror of a third world war in recent speeches while knowing that Iran did not in fact have a nuclear weapons program.

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Morning View - Chinatown Dragon Fighters

Firefighters on Canal Street have personalized their station to fit the neighborhood.

Blogger Bug: Photos may not embiggen for you today. If you attempt to do so, you may be prompted to download the photo instead. Blogger is working on a fix.


Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of the artist Himself, today's Swag Tuesday item is Circle Of Friends, the new live concert DVD by openly gay rock god Bob Mould. Unless you spent the last 20 years listening to all-polka radio, you'll know Mould as the co-founder and voice of pioneering 80's punk band Hüsker Dü and 90's college radio hitmaker Sugar. This month Blender Magazine named two of Mould's albums among the 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever. For the last few years, Mould has been again mining aural gold with Blowoff, the DC-based monthly dance party he co-DJs with mack daddy remix king Rich Morel.
Circle Of Friends is the first authorized video release of Bob in live concert. Filmed at the legendary 9:30 Club in Washington, DC on October 7th, 2005, Bob Mould reaches deep into his songbook and plays a set that touches on all phases of his legendary career. Joined onstage by Brendan Canty (Fugazi), Richard Morel (Morel), and Jason Narducy (Rockets Over Sweden), the electric band performance features Bob’s compositions from Hüsker Dü, Sugar’s Copper Blue, and his most recent solo release, Body Of Song. This live performance is the definitive collection for new and longtime fans alike.
Enter to win Bob Mould's Circle Of Friends concert DVD by commenting on this post. Only enter once and please remember to leave your email address. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please contact me.

RELATED: This Saturday, Mould and Morel bring the wildly popular Blowoff party to the Meatpacking District's posh new venue, the Highline Ballroom. The first NYC Blowoff back in September was fantastic!

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Evening View - Bryant Park

Skating is free at Bryant Park's big holiday rink, but folks still line up a few blocks away to pay to skate at Rockefeller Center's smaller, but infinitely more chic rink, where it's $14 and a long wait to get on the ice.

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Newark Gay Life: Bleak And Dangerous

Here's why the PATH station on Christopher Street disgorges hordes of LGBT youth every night.

New Jersey has become a national beacon for gay equality. It boasts some of the toughest anti-discrimination laws in the country, and recent legislation makes it one of only three states that recognize same-sex civil unions. Gay marriage, some say, is just around the corner. Across the state, same-sex couples and their children have become integrated into suburban life. But here in the state’s largest city, gay men and lesbians might as well live on another planet.

“You wouldn’t know that Greenwich Village is 10 miles away,” said James Credle, 62, a Vietnam veteran who is working with about a dozen other activists to revive the Newark Pride Alliance, a group established three years ago after a 15-year-old lesbian, Sakia Gunn, was stabbed to death by a man who, the police said, was infuriated that she had rejected his advances. “People here feel like we don’t deserve to be alive.For us, it’s about survival,” Mr. Credle said, “and all this talk of gay marriage is just a luxury.”

The city has no gay community center, no gay pride parade, no established gay organizations; there are no bars devoted exclusively to gay or lesbian clientele. “Newark is like one big closet,” said Ron Saleh, a consultant to the John Edwards presidential campaign, who moved here two years ago. “And there’s nothing going on for gay people. It’s like a desert."

Remember this story the next time you feel like complaining about those noisy kids in the Village.

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Caption This


Dean Johnson Death Probe Inconclusive

The DC medical examiner has ruled that the September deaths of NYC nightlife pioneer Dean Johnson and another gay man found dead in the same apartment a week earlier were the result of "acute intoxication" from drugs or alcohol, but could not state whether the deaths were accidental or because of murder or suicide.

Johnson's system was found to contain Amitriptyline, Clonazepam, Oxycondone, Ramelteon, and Tramadol. The cause of the other man's death was listed as "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of oxycondone and alcohol." There appears to be no charges pending for Steven Saleh, who owned the apartment where both men were found dead.

It seems we'll never know what really happened.


More On Dwindling U.S. Gay Bar Scene

From the article Last Call, by Robert David Sullivan in the Boston Globe:
In all, there were 16 gay bars in Boston and Cambridge, according to Pink Pages directories from 1993 and 1994.

Today, that number has been cut to less than half. None of the bars I've mentioned are still in business, and most of the city's seven remaining gay-every-night bars have sparse customers for most of the week. (Lesbian bars were never numerous to begin with.) The gay population may have political clout and the right to marry in Massachusetts, but it has fewer and fewer public spaces to call its own.
The lengthy article goes on to discuss the disappearance of gay bars in the larger framework of the loss of other vital, unique community gathering places: Jewish delis, indie bookstores, etc. It's a great piece, I recommend you read the entire thing.

As Sullivan notes, as far as gay bars disappearing, there are a number of other factors at play besides the Long Tail economy, but what we are seeing happen to gay nightlife nationwide is frighteningly similar to what has happened to record stores.

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Life On The Upper East Side

Dr. Jeff and I found this receipt hanging in the machine when we visited an ATM on Second Avenue last night.

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Gay Rumors Continue To Dog Condi

London's Sunday Times on the gay rumors that continue to swirl around Condoleezza Rice:
It should have been Condoleezza Rice’s finest hour as US secretary of state: at last President George W Bush was hosting a Middle East peace conference that she had been struggling to organise for months.

Yet when Rice’s photograph appeared on the front page of America’s bestselling weekly newspaper last week, it had nothing to do with her peacemaking efforts. She had been dragged into a National Enquirer article headlined “Who’s Gay and Who’s Not”.

The article revived long-standing Washington gossip about Rice’s sexuality and sparked off the usual flurry of internet chatter about her high-profile role in a Republican administration widely regarded as hostile to gays.

It also underlined the increasing friction in American politics between a high-minded media establishment disdainful of bedroom gossip and the no-holds-barred, consumer-driven world of instant internet scandal. A Google search of the words “Condoleezza” and “lesbian” last week yielded 146,000 hits.

Rice was not alone in falling victim to what the US media elite invariably decries as corrupted journalistic standards but what the rest of America seems to regard as the real story in Washington: who is sleeping with whom?
"Internet scandal" versus "high-minded media". In this case, at least, I think the internet has it right.

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Morning View - U.S. Courthouse

The 32-story neo-classical U.S. Courthouse on Centre Street was finished in 1936. It was designed by architect Cass Gilbert, who also created the nearby Woolworth Tower, the George Washington Bridge, and many other Gotham landmarks. The Courthouse was built over the infamous Five Points section of lower Manhattan, home to the notorious Irish gangs that once ruled that part of the city.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Move Over, Miss South Carolina
You've Been Out-Stupided

American Idol finalist Kelli Pickler is a high school graduate. And the world gets more dimmerer for U.S. Americans. I think this clip aired a couple of weeks ago, but I was watching Dancing With America's Runway Chef Idol.

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Idaho Paper Publishes Four Accounts Of Gay Sex with Senator Larry Craig

After months of investigation, today the Idaho Statesman published the stories of four gay men who describe their sexual encounters with Senator Larry Craig. The paper's web version of the story includes graphic audio clips from the four men. Two of them, Mike Jones and David Phillips, have previously told their stories on blogs (here and on Wonkette.)

From the Statesman story:
David Phillips. Mike Jones. Greg Ruth. Tom Russell.

Four gay men, willing to put their names in print and whose allegations can't be disproved, have come forward since news of U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's guilty plea. They say they had sex with Craig or that he made a sexual advance or that he paid them unusual attention.

They are telling their stories now because they are offended by Craig's denials, including his famous statement, "I am not gay, I never have been gay." Those words, spoken on live national TV on Aug. 28, are now memorialized on a just-released-for-Christmas Talking Senator Larry Craig Action Figure.

David Phillips is a 42-year-old information technology consultant in Washington, D.C., who says Craig picked him up at a gay club in 1986 and that they subsequently had sex.

Mike Jones is a former prostitute who told the world he had sex with the Rev. Ted Haggard last year. The former Colorado Springs evangelist at first denied it but eventually confessed. Jones says Craig paid him for sex in late 2004 or early 2005.

Greg Ruth was a 24-year-old college Republican in 1981 when he says he was hit on by Craig at a Republican meeting in Coeur d'Alene.

Tom Russell, now 48, is a former Nampa resident who lives in Utah. Russell said his encounter with Craig occurred at Bogus Basin in the early 1980s.

A fifth gay man, who is from Boise but who declined to be named for fear of retaliation, offered a recent and telling account: He was in a men's restroom at Denver International Airport in September 2006 when the man in the next stall moved his hand slowly, palm up, under the divider. Alarmed, the man said he waited outside the restroom and then identified the man in the adjoining stall as Craig, whom he had met in Idaho.
As the story states, there is no smoking glory hole here. No voice mails, no emails, no photographs. But I quite glad that the Statesman felt confident enough in their sources and the corroboration of Craig's travel records to put these mens' stories on the record, particularly Mike Jones'. Now let's see what the MSM does with this on Monday.

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