Monday, June 30, 2008

Tyson Homosexual

Oh those wacky gay-hating fundies. Check this out :
OneNewsNow, the "Christian news service" covertly owned by the AFA, receives syndicated content from providers like the Associated Press and edits instances of the word "gay" to read "homosexual." Although the site is registered to the conservative, anti-gay organization, the fact is not disclosed anywhere on the site.

An article posted Sunday night about Olympic track and field star Tyson Gay was no exception.

"Tyson Homosexual easily won his semifinal for the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials," the article read, "and seemed to save something for the final later Sunday." The headline read "Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic events."

"On Saturday," it went on, "Homosexual misjudged the finish in his opening heat and had to scramble to finish fourth, then in his quarterfinal a couple of hours later, ran 9.77 to break the American record that had stood since 1999. Asked how he felt, Homosexual said: 'A little fatigued.'"

This morning, OneNewsNow changed its stance on 'Gays' (but not 'gays') and changed the article back to the way the AP had first written it. As late as 9:45am ET today, the online version below referenced the runner as "Tyson Homosexual"; by 10:06am ET the headline and story text had been edited to reunite Gay with his original name.
The Associated Press is looking into the situation.

(Via - PageOneQ
)

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Creepiest Cell Phone Ad Ever

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NRA: We Need More Guns In The Projects

Less than 24 hours after Thursday's handgun ruling by the Supreme Court, the NRA sued the city of San Francisco to overturn its ban on guns in public housing projects. Interestingly, another pro-gun group joined the suit on behalf of a gay man living in the projects who says he needs a gun to protect himself from bashing.
The National Rifle Association sued the city of San Francisco on Friday to overturn its ban on handguns in public housing, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a handgun ban in the nation's capital. The legal action follows a similar lawsuit against the city of Chicago over its handgun ban, filed within hours of Thursday's high court ruling.

In San Francisco, the NRA was joined by the Washington state-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and a gun owner who lives in the city's Valencia Gardens housing project. The gun owner, who is gay, says he keeps the weapon to defend himself from "sexual orientation hate crimes." He was not identified in the complaint because he said he fears retaliation.

Mayor Gavin Newsom said the city will "vigorously fight the NRA" and defended the ban as good for public safety. "Is there anyone out there who really believes that we need more guns in public housing?" Newsom said. "I can't for the life of me sit back and roll over on this. We will absolutely defend the rights of the housing authority."
I have a feeling that the NRA likes the idea of more guns in the projects for reasons outside of their stated mission.

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Schwarzenegger On Meet The Press

On Meet The Press yesterday, Tom Brokaw asked California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about the gay marriage ballot referendum.
MR. BROKAW: You have a lot of propositions on the ballot again this fall. One of them would mean a constitutional ban on gay marriages. Do you support that?

GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I think the Supreme Court made a decision there. It was apparently unconstitutional to stop anyone from getting married. It's like 1948, the interracial marriage, when the Supreme Court of California has, you know, decided it was unconstitutional and then later on the Supreme Court of the United States followed, I think 10 or 12 years later. So I think it is, it's good that California lead--is leading in this way. I personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But at the same time I think that my, you know, belief, I don't want to force on anyone else, so I think we should stay with the decision of the Supreme Court and move forward. There are so many other more important issues that we have to address in California. So I think to spend any time on this initiative I think is a waste of time.
It's just so interesting that a die-hard Republican and McCain supporter like the Governator would come out in support of marriage equality. It's been, what, a month since he first did so? I still kinda can't get over it.

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Gay Marriage Back On AZ Ballot

Just as in 2006, an anti-gay marriage ballot referendum will go before Arizona's voters in November.
In the final hours of one of the longest state legislative sessions on record, state Senators approved a measure sending a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the fall ballot.

The long-anticipated vote on the measure followed hours of angry, raucous debate, in which the legislative rule book was used as a weapon to both stall the vote and cut short debate. Senators on both sides of the aisle and the issue lamented a melt-down in the higher chamber, as most of the day's work was scrapped so that the marriage amendment could be voted on while key senators were present.

Senate President Tim Bee cast the decisive, 16th vote in favor of the referendum that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman – the only referendum likely to be on the fall ballot from lawmakers, as the session draws to a close.
Sigh.

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Our Marching Governor

Via the NY Times:
If there was ever any doubt that gay people form one of Gov. David A. Paterson’s most loyal and enthusiastic constituencies, that doubt was erased on Sunday by the howl of a drag queen on Fifth Avenue.

The drag queen, standing at the foot of the steps to the New York Public Library dressed in a green Afro wig, a red miniskirt and candy-cane-striped stockings, had the duty of announcing the notables marching down Fifth Avenue in the gay pride march.

She introduced Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and the onlookers who had gathered along the parade route politely applauded. But when she bellowed, “Let’s hear it for the governor of New York, David Paterson!” the crowd roared.

“I predicted a hero’s welcome for him,” Ms. Quinn said. “And I think my expectations have been blown out of the water.”

Few governors have made advancing gay rights as central to their policy making as Mr. Paterson. Even liberal Democrats who have long advocated equal rights for gay men and lesbians, like Mr. Paterson’s predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, have not embraced the gay community so publicly.
Paterson only marched as far down as 34th Street so we didn't get to see him. We did see Speaker Christine Quinn, Sen. Schumer, Rep. Weiner, but this year - no Hillary. I'll have recap with photos posted later tonight.

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Morning View - 14th Street & Park Avenue

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Watching The Defectives

Gentle readers, I'm rerunning my annual Pride rant for the fourth year. I wrote this post in 2005 a couple of days after attending Pride here in NYC. In the following years I've reposted it in advance of the day in the hope of encouraging you to attend. My apologies to those that have read it before. Have a wonderful weekend. Love each other.

Watching The Defectives

Last Sunday, at 12:30pm, I was in position on Christopher Street with Terrence, his glamour boys, and touring UK bloggers Dave and Darren. The Pride parade was due to round the corner any minute, but I tore off in search of a bodega, crossing my fingers that my desperate need for a soda wouldn't cause me to miss Dykes On Bikes. Half a block away, I found a little place and ducked in, weaving thru the customers clogging the aisles on rushed missions like mine. I was third in line, two bottles of Sprite under my arm, when the man in front of me spotted a friend entering the store.

"David! Sweetie! Where are you watching from? Come hang out with us on Allen's balcony!"

David, a bookish looking middle-aged man, destroyed the festive mood in the little store in an instant. "Absolutely not. Those defectives and freaks?" he spat, indicating the colorful crowd outside the store, "They have nothing to do with MY life, thank you very much. This parade has as much dignity as a carnival freak show. It's no wonder the whole country hates us."

Luckily for David, the Asshole Killer mind ray I've been working on is not yet operational. I settled for pushing him a little, just a tiny bit, just to get by him in that narrow aisle, of course. I returned to my sweaty little group and tried to put what I'd heard out of my mind for the remainder of the day, because I knew that by the next morning, the thousands of Davids of the world, the ones who have media access anyway, would all issue their now familiar day-after-Pride rant. The one where they decry the drag queens on all those newspaper front pages. The one where they beat their chests and lament, "Why don't the papers ever show the NORMAL gay people? Where are the bankers and lawyers? Why must all the coverage be drag queens and leather freaks in assless chaps?"

And every year, the logical answer is that bankers and lawyers are boring to look at and that pictures of marching Gap employees don't sell newspapers. There's no sinister media agenda intent on making gay people look ridiculous, no fag-hating cabal behind the annual front page explosion of sequins and feathers. It's just good copy. Drag queens are interesting. Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones.

Yet right on cue, the day after Pride, the Davids of the blogosphere dished out their heavy-handed dissections of parades around the country. Only this year, there was a palpably nastier tone to an already traditionally nasty annual debate. Blame the election, blame the recent avalanche of anti-gay legislation, but this year, the usual assimilationist arguments went beyond the hypothetical speculations that maybe our Pride parades were too outlandish, that maybe we weren't doing the movement any favors by showing the country a face that happened to be wearing 6-inch long false eyelashes. This year there was some actual discussion about HOW we were going to "fix" Pride parades. Of how we might go about "discouraging" certain "elements" from taking part in the parades.

This is the part of the story where I have my annual post-Pride apoplectic attack. This is the part of the story where the swelling volume of Nazi analogies overwhelm my ability to speak and all I can do is twitch and bark out little nonsensical bits. This is where I always forget the name given to the Jews who went to work for the Nazis, helping load the trains. "Because that's what you are asking us to do, you assholes!" Then I always ask, "Who are we going to sacrifice to 'save' ourselves? Which child will it be, Sophie?" And this is the part of the story where my friends accuse me of being a hyperbole-laden drama queen, wasting spiritual energy on a non-crisis, and of co-opting the Holocaust as well. More on that later.

These people that want to "fix" Pride don't understand the role that Pride parades have come to play. Initially, the gay parade was about visibility. It was about safety in numbers, and more importantly, "normalcy" in numbers. It was about the idea that if only straight America could see us, could just SEE US, that they'd love us. And accept us. That if we'd mass and march by the righteous millions, the sheer unstoppable force of our collective image would topple bigotry. Would right wrongs. Would stop hate.

Of course, that didn't happen then and it doesn't happen now.

What DOES happen, is that Pride parades, at least in the big cities, have become nothing more significant to straight America than an annual traffic nightmare. As a tool of the gay movement, the Pride parade is now merely a walking photo op for politicians and perhaps not much more. A couple of years ago, the ultimate arbiter of America's cultural zeitgeist, The Simpsons, made note of this:

(The gay pride parade is going past the Simpson house.)

Chanting marchers: "We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!"

Lisa Simpson: "You're here every year. We ARE used to it."

What does all of this mean to the Davids of the world, the gay assimilationists that want to, wish they could, somebody do something, there's gotta be a way we can, Dignify This Parade? The ones begging: "Can't we get our people to at least DRESS respectfully for one lousy day? Is that too much to ask of our people? "

Yes, yes it is.

Because you are kidding yourself if you think Pride parades, in any form, will EVER change the minds of homophobes. The straight people who show up to see Pride parades are already largely convinced. We're parading to the choir, Jesse. Those straight people love our freaks, bless them.

Oh, you could test run a "defective" free parade. You could form urban anti-tranny squads and go around to all the gayborhoods on the morning of the parade and give all the drag queens 50% off coupons for Loehmann's, offer good during the parade only. And they'd GO, of course, cuz hey, those girls love a bargain. But the resultant bland, humorless, "normal" gay parade wouldn't change the course of the gay movement one bit. The part of straight America that is repulsed by drag queens is quite possibly even more terrified by the so-called "normal" gays, because "those clever calculating creatures look JUST LIKE US, and can infiltrate and get access to our precious children. And that's been their disgusting plan all along, of course."

So where does that leave us? Are we post-Pride? Is the parade just a colossally long waste of a miserably hot summer day? Is the Pride parade just an event that does a better job of moving chicken-on-a-stick than it does of moving hearts? I'd say that, yes, as an effective tool of the gay movement, Pride's usefulness has largely waned in many U.S. cities. So do we even need to keep having these parades, since they no longer seem to have much of an impact on the state of the movement? No, we don't.

But...YES, WE DO.

Because even if Pride doesn't change many minds in the outside world, it's our PARTY, darlings. It's our Christmas, our New Year's, our Carnival. It's the one day of the year that all the crazy contingents of the gay world actually come face to face on the street and blow each other air kisses. And wish each other "Happy Pride!" Saying "Happy Pride!" is really just a shorter, easier way of saying "Congratulations on not being driven completely batshit insane! Way to go for not taking a rifle into a tower and taking out half the town! Well done, being YOURSELF!"

I'm not worried what the outside world thinks about the drag queens, the topless bulldaggers, or the nearly naked leatherfolk. It's OUR party, bitches. If you think that straight America would finally pull its homokinder to its star-spangled bosom once we put down that glitter gun, then you are seriously deluding yourself. Next year, if one of the Christian camera crews that show up to film our "debauched" celebrations happen to train their cameras on you, stop dancing. And start PRANCING.

All you suburban, lawn mowing, corpo-droid homos out there, hiding behind your picket fences, the ones wringing your hands and worrying that Pride ruins YOUR personal rep, listen up. Do you think that straight Americans worry that Mardi Gras damages international perception of American culture? America, land of the free, home of "Show Us Your Tits!"? They don't and neither should we. Our Pride celebrations are just our own unique version of Mardi Gras, only instead of throwing beads, we throw shade. No one has to ask US to show our tits. We've already got 'em out there, baby. And some of them are real.

A co-worker of mine heard me discussing my Pride plans last weekend and said, "I really don't understand what it is you are proud about. I mean, you all say that you are born that way, so it's not like you accomplished anything." She wasn't being mean, just genuinely curious, and I think that a lot of gay people probably feel the same way. On this subject, I can only speak for myself.

I'm proud because I'm a middle-aged gay man who has more dead friends than living ones and yet I'm not completely insane. I've lived through a personal Holocaust (here we go again) in which my friends and lovers have been mowed down as thoroughly and randomly as the S.S guards moved down the line of Jews. You, dead. You, to the factory. And you, you, you, and you, dead. I am inexplicably alive and I am proud that I keep the memories of my friends alive. I am proud of my people, the ACT-UPers, the Quilt makers, the Larry Kramers, the Harvey Fiersteins. I'm proud that I'm not constantly curled up into a ball on my bed, clutching photo albums and sobbing. And that happens sometimes, believe it.

And outside of my personal experiences, I am proud of my tribe as a group. Sometimes I think that gay people are more creative, more empathic, more intuitive, more generous, and more selfless than anybody else on the planet. Sometimes I think that if an alien culture were surveying our planet from light years away, they might classify gay people as an entirely separate species of humans. It's easy to spot us because of our better haircuts.

But sometimes I think we are the worst people in the entire world when it comes to standing up for each other. The gay people who'd like to soothe their personal image problems by selectively culling some of our children from Pride events? They disgust me. They appall me. They embarrass me. To them I say: the very road that YOU now have the privilege of swaggering upon was paved by those very queens and leather freaks that you complain about,as you practice your "masculine" and give us butch face. If you want to live in the house that THEY BUILT, you better act like you fucking know it. United we stand, you snide bitches. America's kulturkampf ain't gonna be solved by making flamboyant people go away.

I'll end this by making one final Jewish reference. Possibly you've heard the Jewish in-joke that sums up the meaning of all Jewish holidays? "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat." My Pride version?

They wish we were invisible.

We're not.

Let's dance.

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HIV In Humans For 100 Years

Fascinating story from Science Magazine:
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) responsible for most of the AIDS cases in the world infected people approximately 100 years ago, more than 20 years earlier than previously believed, according to findings presented here this week at the Evolution 2008 meeting. Its lesser known cousin, HIV-2, jumped into humans decades later, from a monkey species that carried the virus for just a couple of hundred years, not the millions of years researchers had assumed, according to other research presented at the meeting.

[snip]

Marlea Gemmel, analyzed HIV-1 genetic material obtained from lymph tissue collected in 1960 from the University of Kinshasa pathology department in the Democratic Republic of the Congo--only the second HIV sequence predating 1976 deciphered to date. Thus far, she has sequenced about 1000 DNA bases, which she has compared with the previously reported sequence of HIV-1 extracted from a frozen blood sample from 1959. Since it entered into humans, HIV-1 has been evolving into different substrains--but the 1960 and 1959 sequences were much more divergent than expected, Gemmel reported at the meeting. "It reflects a long past of diversification before 1960," she said.

By comparing the two sequences with more recent ones, Gemmel was able to show that HIV-1 first entered humans about 1908, not 1931, as earlier analyses with just the 1959 sample found. Her analysis also indicates that the virus existed in low levels in humans until the middle of the 20th century. "That matches the rise of population centers," Gemmel explained, suggesting that urbanization around that time paved the way for the AIDS epidemic.

[snip]

AIDS experts have assumed that the disease is so severe in humans--yet less so in most monkeys--because humans have not had the time to evolve the proper defenses against the virus that many other primates have. "But the origins are around the same order of magnitude," and still the monkeys don't get sick, says Hillis. "It points out that there are other directions we need to go to understand [virulence]
."
The key question seems to be if monkeys have only been infected with SIV for a hundred years longer than humans have had HIV, a mere blip in evolutionary terms, by what mechanism have they been able to withstand the virus?

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Friday, June 27, 2008

McSame Joins Gay Haters In CA

It took McSame a long time to finally say what we knew was coming. Here's his short email to the haters of Protect Marriage.
"I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions."
And in Ohio, he promised a crowd of supporters that would consider an anti-abortion running mate.

/false suspense

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You Just Have To Laugh

Check out the co-sponsors of a new federal "Marriage Protection Amendment".
Two United States Senators implicated in extramarital sexual activity have named themselves as co-sponsors of S. J. RES. 43, dubbed the Marriage Protection Amendment. If ratified, the bill would amend the United States Constitution to state that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."

Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), who was arrested June 11, 2007 on charges of lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport terminal, is co-sponsoring the amendment along with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).

Craig, who entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, was detained and charged for attempting to engage in sexual activity with a male undercover police officer. His arrest and plea became public two months later. At that time, Craig attempted to withdraw his plea and enter a new plea of not guilty. To date, his efforts have been denied by the courts.

In July of 2007, Vitter was identified as a client of a prostitution firm owned by the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, commonly known as The DC Madam. With a Democratic controlled Congress it is unlikely the bill will be brought up for a vote in either the Senate or House of Representatives.
A tearoom troll and a diaper fetishist hooker patron, protecting the sanctity of marriage. And these guys think they have the moral high ground necessary to amend the U.S. Constitution, the most hallowed document in our history. Again, you just have to laugh.

(Via -PageOneQ)

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Today: National HIV Testing Day


Today is National HIV Testing Day. The above video is Part One from a web series called HIV Big Deal, which follows the lives of young gay men in Manhattan dealing with life, love, health, and HIV. Watch the clip. The acting is quite good, but be aware that the language is very frank and NSFW. And consider today's news from the CDC:
A new report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that between 2001 and 2006 gay male sex was the largest HIV transmission category in the U.S. and also the only one which recorded an increasing number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses.

The most affected are gay boys and men between the ages of 13 and 24 years, with minorities even more. The findings were released in this week's issue of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Other factors such as genital herpes could actually double a person’s risk for contracting HIV.

Also, The New York City Health Department’s Bureau of Epidemiology Services issued the results of a survey revealing that 40 percent of New Yorkers with multiple sex partners did not use a condom the last time they had sex. Also about 11 percent (610,000 adults) of them had multiple sex partners, a fact that increased their chance of contracting sexually transmitted infections.


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30 Years Of Rainbows

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of the rainbow flag by Gilbert Baker, who will head the 38th NYC Pride March on Sunday as a Grand Marshall.

The use of a rainbow flag actually goes back for hundreds of years, but it was Baker, the "gay Betsy Ross", who turned it into a globally recognized symbol of LGBT pride and solidarity. Yes, there have been some ridiculous appropriations of the rainbow flag (rainbow thongs anyone?), but our appreciation goes out to Gilbert Baker for his enduring and unifying idea.

So please give Gilbert an extra round of applause when he passes you on Sunday. And keep an eye out for our boy Eric Leven, who'll be helping carry the flag.

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Monday: Trevor Project Gala

The Trevor Project, the nation's only suicide prevention hotline for LGBT youth, will stage a fundraiser gala this Monday at Manhattan's Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Hosted by comedian Alec Mapa, this year's gala honors Alan Cumming with the Trevor Hero Award. Sandra Bernhard and Idina Menzel will perform. Presenters include Cheyenne Jackson and Rosie Perez. Get tickets here.

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Obama Gaining Clintonites, But Loons Abound

Steve Ralls at Huffington Post reports on the latest poll of Hillary supporters.
A poll released this afternoon, examining the seemingly ever-shifting loyalties of Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential supporters (of which I have been an enthusiastic one), finds that, while 53% of Clinton's backers are now firmly on-board with Senator Barack Obama's White House bid, there are some who are simply incorrigible... and, increasingly, intolerable to the ears.

While it would be admirable for any voter to decide their campaign allegiance, and their vote, on honest ideological differences with a particular candidate, the resistance among some Clinton supporters to Obama's campaign is rooted, instead, in half-truths, no-truths and flat-out ignorance about who Senator Obama is and what his campaign stands for.

In a country where we have paid a too-heavy price for electing the ideal drinking buddy rather than real, competent leaders, we have now devolved to "name games" in our quest to fill the world's most important job.

Barack Obama "sounds to me like a Middle Eastern type of name and whether or not he's born here in the United States, he doesn't seem like, to me, somebody who is trustworthy," Kristie Hartle told the AP pollsters. "You can't trust anybody these days, so who's to say he's not a terrorist and we just don't realize it yet?"

Apparently, you can't trust somebody with a name like Kristie Hartle to make a rational, informed decision before she goes to the polls, either. Has Ms. Hartle talked to the soldiers in Iraq? Would they rather continue the quagmire in the desert under a commander named John than come home under one named Barack?

Are Americans really going to be comfortable with an economy running on empty if it's under the direction of a president named McCain? While they may seem to think so, the truth is that the answer is "no."

"When asked an open-ended question about the first words that come to mind about Obama, some former Clinton supporters used words like Muslim or terrorist," AP reports. And yet, "An analysis of Clinton supporters who are backing McCain shows they are more liberal than the Arizona senator on the issues. The majority favor removing troops from Iraq as soon as possible, a single-payer health care system funded by taxpayers and repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy."
And these are Democrats?

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Attack Of The Gay Zombies


Yeah, not very PC...but damn funny. Wait for the last line.

UPDATE: For those of you questioning the possibly homophobic intent of the clip's makers, here is a comment they made on YouTube: "Actually you must have missed the satirical commentary on how we view gay relationships in this country. We find homophobia ridiculous and immature. In the video, us believing too much homosexuality can be "contagious" was the joke. But THAT must have been a bit over your head ;) "

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British Tab Attacks Heinz

A British tabloid based in gay-friendly Brighton published a front page photo of two men kissing in a story attacking Heinz for pulling their now world famous mayonnaise ad.
“We were disgusted at Heinz for pulling their ‘gay kiss’ ad and for apologising so readily for their own ‘offensive’ imagery,” said Torsten Højer from One80news. “We just couldn’t believe that in 2008, the sight of two men affectionately kissing really offends that many people - so we thought we’d put an image of a gay kiss out there.

"It’s well-documented that familiarity can combat prejudice, and One80news is available throughout Brighton and Hove, in bars, cafes, shops, libraries and even leisure centres – and online. "The more people that see positive images of same-sex affection, the better.”

The newspaper reports that community leaders in gay-friendly Brighton and Hove are joining gay equality organisation Stonewall in condemning Heinz’s anti-gay decision to axe the advert. “This ad was imaginative and represents a massive leap forwards in that it dared to represent gay parents, say Phelim MacCafferty, LGBT spokesperson for the Brighton Green Party. “This cowardly withdrawal by Heinz reminds us that there are organised forces which have vested interests in keeping all LGBT people off the screens altogether.”
The paper is encouraging Brits to call Heinz and complain. It's the story that will not die. I imagine that Heinz is not entirely unhappy.

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Michelle Obama Rallies The Gays

Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Committee's Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council dinner last night at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan.
A week after her smash appearance on "The View," Michelle Obama returned here Thursday night to win more kudos - this time from well-heeled gay activists at a Waldorf-Astoria party fund-raiser. The wife of Democratic candidate Barack Obama spoke before the Democratic National Committee's Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council about civil rights struggles "from Selma to Stonewall."

She showcased what she called her husband's long record of pushing for equal treatment for all, spinning his refusal to endorse gay marriage by noting he supports civil unions and would let states decide what's best. Mary Snider, co-chair of the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign, said Obama seemed at ease with the crowd, which paid $1,500 to $28,500 for tickets: "I think she was very gracious and comfortable and genuine," Snider said.
Also taking the podium last night was New York's First Lady Michelle Paterson.

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Kindle's Killer App?

Could textbooks be Kindle's killer app? I sure would have loved not to have to lug around a giant pile of over-sized textbooks. To say nothing of the their outrageous prices and the bother of selling them at the end of the term. On the other hand, I'm not so sure I'd be able to get a handle on flipping to the place in the book where I needed to be. Another downside: black and white photos and graphs.

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Risseldy Rosseldy Mow Mow Mow

Coming this fall, the Tippi Hedren Barbie. They say when she got there, the whole thing started. I think she's evil! EVIL! (And you know only gay men will be buying this doll.)

(Via - Slog)

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HIV Travel Ban Repeal Near

Congress appears poised to lift the ban on HIV+ people traveling to the United States. And who's the lone Senator opposing the repeal? None other than David "DC Madam Diaperboy" Vitter (R-LA), pictured above with his mortified wife. Way to stay classy, Vitter. According to Senator Harry Reid, the repeal may come in the next few days.

(Via - Andrew Sullivan)

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Morning View - 5th Avenue & 41st Street

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Guns

In a judgment that gun advocates are calling as historic as Brown V. Board of Education, the Supreme Court today issued its first ever ruling on the Second Amendment,saying that the long-contested amendment does protect the right of individuals to own handguns, not merely a "well-regulated militia."
Americans have a right to keep a gun at home for self-defense, the Supreme Court ruled today in striking down part of a handgun ban in the District of Columbia.

By a 5-4 vote, the court concluded that the 2nd Amendment and its famous right "to keep and bear arms" protects the gun rights of individuals, rather than just a state's right to maintain a militia. Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking for the court, said the history of the 2nd Amendment shows its authors intended to protect the "right of the people" as individuals to have weapons, both to defend themselves and their community.

The ruling is the first in the high court's long history to strike down a gun law based on the 2nd Amendment. But the court's ruling appeared to be narrow. Scalia stressed that nothing in today's decision casts doubts on laws that forbid felons or the mentally ill from having guns.

He also said the government can strictly regulate when and where people have guns. For example, he said guns may be prohibited near schools and in or near government buildings. "Like most rights, the right secured by the 2nd Amendment is not unlimited," Scalia said.

But the four dissenters faulted the majority for opening the door to legal challenges to various gun-control measures. Justice John Paul Stevens, speaking for the dissenters, said the 2nd Amendment "was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several states to maintain a well-regulated militia."

"The court is making new law today" to extend this right to individuals acting on their own, Stevens said.

The White House issued a statement calling the case historic. "The president strongly agrees with the Supreme Court's historic decision today that the 2nd Amendment protects the individual right of Americans to keep and bear arms," it said. "This has been the administration's long-held view. The president is also pleased that the court concluded that the D.C. firearm laws violate that right.
John McCain is over the moon, having been party to a friend of the court brief in support of individual gun ownership. John Lennon, JFK, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were not available for comment.

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The Un-Closing Of Florent

After several hundred breast-beating and wailing posts from the gay and foodie blogosphere (including here on JMG), not to mention a zillion-word eulogy from the New York Times, today comes word via Eater that Florent is not closing this weekend after all. Except it is. But not really.
Though the MePa institution Florent will close this Sunday night, landlord Joanne Lucas has confirmed that she will reopen the space as R & L Restaurant, the restaurant that preceded Florent, just two days later. Lucas tells us that she initially shopped around the lease to a couple of retailers and eventually changed her mind: "We thought about having someone lease it but then I decided to just take it over myself. It used to be my father's diner before it was Florent."

And get this: she will be keeping pretty much the same menu as Florent and will keep on all the staff members that still work there. When asked why Florent isn't involved in the new evolution she responded, "Florent from what I understand is moving on to a new chapter in his life." Many will see this as a happy ending for the Florent saga. He may be gone, but the space will remain unchanged. Yet you still have to admit this was a clever move on Lucas' part, a way to rake in the revenue from an established restaurant at a time when even retailers aren't willing to pay the rent she was reportedly asking. This could be a temporary solution while she waits for a tenant.
What will Florent be like without its iconic namesake? No way to tell, but for now this is good news. And even if you aren't a foodie, you should really read the Times piece for insight into the formerly gritty and gay Meatpacking District, which these days is really good place to get run over by a strappy-sandled, stroller-pushing, Carrie Bradshaw wannabe.

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Fasting In The Name Of Hate

San Diego-based Pastor Jim Garlow will make a 40-day fast leading up to election day in order to rally evangelical attention to the anti-gay marriage ballot measure.
On Wednesday, Garlow took a first step toward organizing clergy in the state, convening a conference call in which more than 1,000 ministers, most from evangelical congregations, discussed tactics for passing a fall ballot initiative that would amend California's Constitution to ban gay marriage.

The strategy session, which included input from lawyers and political consultants, was the opening of what conservative religious leaders hope will become a massive Christian outpouring of support for the proposed amendment.

The effort will include a 40-day fasting period leading up to election day, along with 100 days of prayer. On the weekend before the election, Garlow told the ministers, the goal would be to fill Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego and other amphitheaters with people praying for a ban on gay marriage.

Opponents of the amendment were quick to downplay the significance of Wednesday's call to arms. "There are certainly thousands of people of faith who are supportive of the freedom to marry," said Kerry Chaplin, the organizing director for California Faith for Equality, a coalition of more than 2,000 faith leaders and congregations supporting same-sex marriage.

Although some religious leaders, particularly Catholics and Mormons, were involved in passing Proposition 22, the 2000 initiative that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman and that was overturned by the state Supreme Court in May, strategists predicted a much greater involvement by evangelical churches in this election.

"We are working with all the churches who are willing to work with us," said Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for the initiative. "It's woven together to form what we hope will be the largest grass-roots campaign in California history."

Organizers said the ministers on the call lead congregations totaling about 1 million people.
Garlow is the author of debunking books Cracking Da Vinci's Code and The Secret: Revealed.

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John McCain's Pride Message


The Log Cabin Quislings Republicans have been meeting in secret with McCain and are expected to issue their endorsement shortly.

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Dee-Eye-Vee-Oh-Arr-Cee-Eee

Well, this is a gay blog...therefore by law I must mention that it looks like Madonna is divorcing Guy Ritchie. They didn't have a pre-nup so he'll probably end up with with at least as good a settlement as what's-her-name McCartney.

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The Waterfalls Are Flowing


Artist Olafur Eliasson's Waterfalls installations on the East River have begun flowing today, but probably don't give quite the intended thrill when the weather is as dark and gloomy as it is right now. The four waterfalls will run through October 13th, 7am -10pm. Via Gothamist, here's some good viewing spots. I'll put up some pictures later as they come in.
UPDATE: Aaron sends us this pic of the Governor's Island waterfall, taken from his 35th floor apartment in Jersey city.

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An HIV Test For Every Adult In the Bronx?

An interesting proposal from NYC leaders:
The city is planning to step up HIV testing in The Bronx, in an aggressive campaign to have all adults in the borough screened over the next three years, officials said yesterday. The initiative, set to kick off tomorrow, will target the estimated 250,000 untested 18- to 64-year-olds in The Bronx, which has the city's highest AIDS-death rate, the officials said.

The borough's residents account for one-third of the city's annual deaths from the illness and one-fourth of all new cases. In 2006, a quarter of the people who tested positive for HIV in The Bronx already had full-blown AIDS, the officials said. "The Bronx has the opportunity to lead the city in the fight against HIV/AIDS by being the first borough to have all residents tested," said Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden. Voluntary testing will be offered at dozens of sites around the borough, including hospitals and clinics. The $12 cost will be absorbed by the city, sources said.
But it won't be easy. Gothamist notes that a major roadblock will be the state law regarding consent.
Essentially, the law has stayed the same since the 1980s and requires patients to "give written permission for testing after being counseled on the process, which many doctors found onerous and time-consuming." An oral consent process, many experts agree, would increase the number of people who would be willing to be tested.
Free and confidential HIV testing is always available at numerous locations in all five boroughs. Put it on your Pride weekend to-do list.

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CNN Takes On Heinz Mayo Story

NYC-based gay activist Wayne Besen appeared on CNN last night as the Heinz Deli Mayo story continues to grow.

Why oh why do all the anti-gay callers on these shows have to have country accents?

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Arizona Marriage Ban Not Dead Yet

On Tuesday, Arizona's state Senators narrowly voted down a bill that you put gay marriage on the November ballot. But wait, the bill isn't quite dead yet.
A proposed amendment that would limit marriage in Arizona to opposite-sex couples has more lives than a cat and still could appear on the November ballot. Each time the measure comes to a vote in the state legislature is appears dead, only to rise again.

Wednesday it fell just one vote short in the Senate Republicans who support the amendment used a procedural tactic to ensure the measure would not die. Sen. Linda Gray (R) and a supporter of the amendment switched her vote, necessitating a re-vote. That buys time for Sen. Karen Johnson, another supporter of the amendment (R) to return from vacation.
It appears that the Senate will re-vote on the issue tomorrow.

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MTV To Start Taking Political Ads

He'll be preaching to the converted, but it looks like Obama's gonna get to put some ads on MTV after all, thanks to a reversal of long-standing policy at Viacom.
"MTV Networks will accept political advertising that is national in scope, sponsored by a legally qualified candidate, a candidate's official campaign committee, a nationally recognized political party, or the official congressional campaign committee(s) of a nationally recognized party."

Jeannie Kedas, exec VP-communications for MTV's music networks, said the change is effective immediately and reflects the importance of the youth vote.

"Given where we are in the election cycle, and how the youth vote has increasingly engaged and played a crucial role in past presidential elections, we re-evaluated the MTV policy and decided that campaign-approved ads would be a good fit for our audience, and would complement our 'Choose or Lose' campaign efforts," she said. "It's a good thing when candidates want to reach out to young people, and the best way to do that is through MTV."
Totally nice of MTV to say "yes" to a few million dollars from probably the first politician that has interested their viewership since, like, ever.

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Morning View - Park & 41st

This is the reverse shot of yesterday's Morning View. The ramp on the left takes cars on a elevated dogleg around Grand Central and drops them back on Park Avenue behind the fugly MetLife Building. Under the ramp's arches is a pretty good restaurant called Pershing Square, as long as you don't mind dropping $40-$50 on lunch. I recommend their chicken pot pie, huge and only $16.

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Ted Haggard Finally Admits Having Gay Sex And Using Drugs (But Still Lies)

A Colorado Springs television station has obtained an email sent by disgraced former televangelist Ted Haggard to a personal friend in which Haggard for the first time admits having had sex with escort Mike Jones and having used unspecified drugs on several occasions.

But considering what the thus far unimpeached Mike Jones has said, Haggard's email doesn't tell the "hole" truth. I've bolded the apparent lies below.
In an e-mail obtained by NEWSCHANNEL 13, former New Life Church Pastor Ted Haggard admits to sexual contact with a gay escort and using drugs. This is the first public revelation of what Haggard claims is the full story of what happened between him and his accuser, Mike Jones.

Haggard sent the e-mail to close family friend Kurt Serpe back in October. In it, he writes: "I was referred to Mike Jones from the concierge at a Marriott hotel when I asked for a masseur." The e-mail then becomes more detailed and sexual in nature.

"It was during the massage that it started to become sensual, and that led to him masturbating me," writes Haggard. He continues with "That was and is our only sexual contact." Haggard adds because it was immoral it was this experience that caused him to confess immorality.

Jones went public about his alleged three-year paid relationship with Haggard in November 2006. Haggard was forced to quit as leader of New Life Church and head of The National Association of Evangelicals.

The e-mail also talks about drugs Haggard bought from Jones. "During the conversation with Mike during and after the time he masturbated me, he told me about some drugs that he could get for me that would enhance my masturbation experience."

Over the course of five visits, Haggard bought those drugs, but never specifies what kind. "I actually used them three times, throwing them away in shame before use two times. It is for these offenses that I confessed being immoral and deceitful."

Serpe tells NEWSCHANNEL 13 he asked Haggard point-blank for the truth. "I thought it was important to know, so I could have clarity." Serpe has known the Haggard family for more than 20 years. His family began going to New Life when Haggard held services in the basement of his home. Serpe stopped going to New Life after Haggard was forced to resign.

"He craved sex, he was a sexaholic," says Serpe. He believes it had nothing to do with homosexuality, but more about masturbation and gratification. "This is something that he has been struggling with all of his life," says Serpe. He says Haggard told him the relationship lasted only three-months, not three years.

Oh, now I get it. Haggard is a heterosexual sex addict whose need to whack off so overwhelmed him that he had to hire a male hooker to help. Isn't that what all horned-up straight guys do? Unfortunately for Ted, Mike Jones has described the sex he had with Haggard and it was far more than mere masturbation.

Haggard and his family moved back to their $700K home in Colorado last week after he flunked out the restraightification program he'd been sent to in Arizona.

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Open Thread Thursday

With the economy the way it is and where it seems to be heading, how secure do you feel your job is?

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So You Should Cawl Us!

Someone has finally YouTube'd my favorite New York commercial. The collagened-to-fuck lips! The hair extensions! And the nails! My god, the nails! So you should cawl us! Linda Richman should sue.

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ACLU Wins Big In CA School District

Without a lawsuit, the ACLU has won a broad list of measures to protect LGBT students in a northern California school district.
The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU-NC) has reached a settlement with the Upper Lake Union School District that contains a comprehensive series of steps the district will undertake to protect students from anti-gay harassment and discrimination. The agreement is on behalf of a student who was persistently subjected to verbal taunting and physical abuse throughout elementary and middle school based on his perceived sexual orientation. The ACLU-NC sought this settlement in light of federal and state laws that allow for school administrators to be held liable if they fail to take adequate measures to remedy anti-LGBT harassment and discrimination.

“I can’t remember a day at school when I wasn’t called a faggot or gay,” recalled the student, Robby. Since the third grade Robby has been the target of taunts, bullying and anti-gay name-calling on a regular basis.

The years of harassment finally culminated in Robby being attacked by a group of boys in the school locker room after gym class last fall. The boys knocked Robby to the ground and kicked him in the stomach, head and sides while screaming “fag” and “queer” at him. Robby received medical care for his injuries. That is when his parents contacted the ACLU to try to finally put a stop to the abuse, believing that the district was not going to independently take the appropriate steps to respond and protect Robby.
Among the steps that the school district has agreed to make are a revising of student/teacher handbooks to include anti-harassment policies, the implementation of GLSEN's "No Name Calling Week", the support for a Gay/Straight Alliance club, and number of measures to educate teachers and staff on how to respond to reported incidences of bullying.

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Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy

A DC-based gay cowboy dance troupe advanced to the finals in Las Vegas on last night's episode of America's Got Talent. Cute guys, but their self-description of their act as "Brokeback meets Broadway" is a groaner.

(Via - Queerty)

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June 1970: The Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March

Richard Davis at the NYC Gay & Lesbian Community Center sends us this wonderful clip about the very first gay pride march in June 1970: The Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March. Watch members of SAGE reminisce. It's lovely. Watch the entire show here. Tomorrow night the SAGE members featured in this clip will appear on a panel to discuss their experience.

If you'd like to join up with our posse of JMG readers and pals at this year's march, we'll be congregating on the southwest corner of Christopher and Gay in the West Village - the gayest corner of the gayest street on the gayest day of the year. We may just explode in a fireball of glitter and rainbows.

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GLAAD Pissed At Gay Adoption Show

Last night FX aired the first episode of the third season of Morgan Spurlock's dickwad switcheroo series, 30 Days. For those unfamiliar with the show, for most episodes the premise is to take somebody who espouses hate for a particular group of society and immerse them among the people they most detest, ostensibly to show how once the seemingly strange becomes familiar, the hate fades away.

GLAAD gave the series an award in 2006 for the episode in which a homophobic military man is put to work in a Castro gay bar. But GLAAD was singing a different tune about the series on Monday when it issued a "Call To Action" about last night's episode.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today urged community members to contact FX Networks to express their concerns about a defamatory claim by an anti-gay activist that will appear, unchallenged, in the June 24 episode of 30 Days.

30 Days, FX Networks’ original series produced by Morgan Spurlock, "examines social issues in America by immersing individuals in a life that requires them to see the world through another’s eyes,’" according to the show’s Web site. In 2006, the series won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program for the "Gay/Straight" episode.

During the June 24 episode, entitled "Same Sex Parenting," Kati, a woman who opposes gay and lesbian parents and their families, lives for 30 days with gay parents Dennis and Thomas and their four adopted sons. The episode includes the personal stories of kids raised by lesbian and gay parents.

Regrettably, the episode also features a defamatory statement by Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, an anti-gay activist organization, who claims: "Homosexuality is associated with higher rates of sexual promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse, and those are all reasons for us to be concerned about placing children into that kind of setting." While there is no credible scientific research that backs Sprigg’s claim - and much that disputes it - the episode presents his assertion as if it were fact and offers no credible social science experts or child health authorities to challenge Sprigg’s assertion. Indeed, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America, and many other child health and social services authorities who support parenting by qualified lesbian and gay parents dispute Sprigg’s claim.

After reviewing a screener supplied by FX Networks, GLAAD and the Family Equality Council, a national non-profit working to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families, contacted FX Networks last week, requesting that the inaccurate claim be removed from the episode or that a credible social science expert or child health authority be brought in to provide an on-air correction. FX Networks, however, refused to remove the defamatory content or, at minimum, address it during the course of the episode.
I recorded the show last night and here's the bit that got GLAAD so torqued.

Take action with FX Networks if you agree with GLAAD:

Nick Grad
Executive Vice President of Original Programming
(310) 369-0949
ngrad@fxnetworks.com

Eric Shrier
Executive
eric.shrier@fxnetwork.com

Scott Seomin
Vice President of Public Relations
(310) 369-0938
scott.seomin@fxnetwork.com

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Rea Carey Takes Over Task Force

Rea Carey, deputy executive director under Matt Foreman for the last four years, has been tapped to replace Foreman as executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. Foremen left the Task Force four months ago to helm the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.

Foreman reacts to Carey's appointment:
“Rea is an extraordinary leader, a brilliant thinker and passionately committed to complete equality for our people. Her appointment as the new executive director is not only wonderful for the Task Force and its future, but for the entire movement."

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Much Ado About Mayo

Well, now there's an online petition to get Heinz to put the New York Deli Mayo ad back on the air in the UK.
At least 205 people have so far complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about an advert featuring two men kissing. An ASA spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk they had also received around 50 emails and calls from people who are upset that Heinz decided to take the ad off the air.

Gay equality organisation Stonewall said the complaints were part of an orchestrated campaign, similar to the one that targeted their "Some People Are Gay: Get Over It" billboard adverts.

Another orchestrated campaign, this time an online petition demanding that Heinz reinstate the advert, has already collected 1,300 signatures. "We originally only intended it to gain a few signatures more than 200, for argument's sake," said petition creator Sam Bannister.

"But as the day has worn on we ended up with nearly 1,000 in the space of 12 hours."

The petition reads: "We feel that the decision to withdraw the advert is wrong in the face of a small number of narrow-minded individuals. By doing so, Heinz have given the impression that they would prefer to cater for the homophobic than the free-thinking, and the decision has provoked upset, brand distrust and outrage among the LGBT community and outside of it. Do not bow down to these homophobic individuals."
Sign the petition here, if you are so inclined.

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Big Bad John (Cornyn)

You probably best know Dubya's BFF and major asshat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) from his 2004 quote about the Federal Marriage Amendment: "It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right ... [N]ow you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife."

But Cornyn may have outdone himself with this new campaign ad. "He kept Texas in power and made lesser states squirm!" The Daily Show has already done a great parody and I'll post it here when it becomes available.

Also: Poor Jimmy Dean.

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Civil Partnerships For Ireland

Coming soon:
The Irish government moved a step closer Tuesday to legalizing civil partnerships for same-sex couples, unveiling details of the proposed legislation.

The bill to be presented to Parliament later this year will allow same-sex couples over the age of 18 to enter into civil partnerships. They will not be open to opposite-sex couples. Nor will they be available to other pairs such as siblings in symbiotic financial relationships.

Gay and lesbian couples intending to have civil partnerships will have to give 90-days notice of their wish to register. The legislation covers areas such as pensions and property rights for partners and it provides for ending relationships which fail. Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said that despite a strong lobbying effort by gays for full marriage, the Irish Constitution prevents redefining marriage. A clause in the constitution says the government must protect the institution of marriage. Eamon Ryan of the Green Party said Greens would support the bill but had hoped that the legislation had gone further.
The new partnership law will be very similar to that already in effect in the UK.

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Marion Barry Endorses Gay Marriage

Former mayor and current Washington DC City Councilman Marion Barry has come out in favor of gay marriage there.
D.C. Council Member Marion Barry said that he would vote for a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the city, if such a measure is introduced. It’s the first time the former mayor has publicly revealed his position on a marriage bill. His remarks came on June 18 at a meeting of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Washington’s largest gay political group, Until the Stein Club’s meeting last week, Barry had declined to say whether he would support legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. In response to a question at the meeting, Barry said, “I don’t think you should make that question a litmus test. But if a bill like that were to come up, I would vote for it.”
Although Barry's turbulent four terms as DC mayor have arguably marked him forever as the most infamous big city mayor in American history, he was an early and ardent supporter of LGBT rights going back to the 1970's. Besides, bitch set him up!

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Caption This

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Morning View - Murray Hill Tunnel

The Murray Hill Tunnel drops two lanes of Park Avenue traffic underground from 33rd Street to 41st Street, rising back to street level just in front of Grand Central. Built in 1834, it originally carried the New York and Harlem Railroad (now Metro-North) and years later, that company's streetcar line. The tunnel was originally an "open cut", but was roofed over in the 1850's. The eight blocks of the Murray Hill Tunnel are the longest stretch of Manhattan's streets without a traffic signal and baby, at night the cabbies freakin' roar through that sucker. This pic embiggens nicely.

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Obama To Donors: Let's Retire Hillary's Campaign Debt

Now this is what I call generous.
Barack Obama asked his finance committee this afternoon to help Senator Hillary Clinton retire her debt. On a conference call that lasted about 45 minutes Obama made a personal plea to his top donors, telling them he considered it a personal imperative now that Democrats are all “one big family,” a donor who was on the call recounted to TIME. The Illinois senator praised the historic campaign run by Clinton. “You could tell these two folks have come together because, quite frankly, they are the only two people who knew what it was like,” the donor said. No amount was mentioned on the call, though Clinton has an estimated $11.4 million in personal debts to the campaign and more than $10 million in outstanding vendor debts.*
Obama is only asking for help on Clinton's vendor debt. While I don't want to see all those small businesses that worked for Clinton getting stiffed on their invoices, I think I'd rather see that $10M go to work to defeat McSame. Either way, Hillary's just going to have to eat that $11M she lent herself.

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Racist Or Not?


Tech blogs like Gizmodo are all over this Japanese mobile phone company's ad in which a monkey (long their official corporate mascot) appears as an Obama-like figure exhorting the crowds to "Change!" to their phone. Totally racist.

Unless it isn't. Maybe we shouldn't expect a local Japanese ad campaign to be sensitive to America's racism trigger points. Unless we should. Crap, I don't even know anymore. But it's worth mentioning how Japan's all-consuming pop culture worships monkeys in general. Chi Chai Monchan, anyone? Maybe like most advertising, it boils down to intent. Unless it doesn't.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Conservative CA Paper Endorses Marriage Equality

The Orange County Register, the conservative voice of California's most notoriously conservative county, has published an editorial in support of gay marriage.
Our preference would be for the government not to be involved in marriage, the most fundamental of institutions in a civil society. Why two people who want to be married should be required to get a license from the state is something of a mystery. Marriage existed long before the California or U.S. governments came into being and will continue long after they have been consigned to history. Whether a marriage is valid should be up to the people involved and the churches, synagogues, mosques or other religious institutions that choose to perform them or not.

As a practical matter, however, the government has so entwined itself into our daily lives that state recognition is important. Filing taxes as a married couple or as individuals makes a difference, as does the ability to own real estate, make end-of-life decisions or adopt children. Considering all this and the importance of equality before the law, the high court's decision was justified.
Squee! The Freepers will completely lose their shit over this. They quote the OC Register all the time.

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Meatrack Sex Busts Rock Fire Island

Under the headline "Gay Men Arrested For Gay Sex On Gay Island", Radar Online's Choire Sicha reports that for the last two weekends police have made unprecedented arrests for public sex in Fire Island's famed Meatrack, the notoriously cruisy area between the towns of Cherry Grove and The Pines.
On the last two consecutive weekends, gay men on Fire Island have been arrested and charged with lewd conduct. These are the first known arrests for public sex on the federal land.

Few details are known—the National Park Service has not yet confirmed the arrests or said why they have now begun patrolling the land. On the weekend of Friday, June 13, at least one gay man was detained in the small wooded area popularly called The Meat Rack, which is both a cruising ground and also a thoroughfare between the two gay towns of Fire Island, Cherry Grove and The Pines. The following weekend, at least two were arrested.

In the first event, an eyewitness said he saw five or six rangers with a gay man (described as somewhat overweight and clad in khakis and a polo shirt) on his knees and in handcuffs. The men were searched after their arrests. In the other event, a man was stopped and "panicked and tried to get rid of the drugs," according to a second-hand report by one Cherry Grove resident; that man was either charged with possession or detained further and charged. The man arrested with him was given a citation for $125 for engaging in lewdness, that resident said.

This coming Saturday, June 28, one Cherry Grove resident is proposing—via posters around the towns—a day of action, what he is calling "a circle jerk for freedom" around the park service's (abandoned) building in the Meat Rack at the edge of the Pines.
Up on Cape Cod, park rangers are stepping up public sex citations (but apparently are not making arrests) around Provincetown.
The rangers have been trying to crack down by enforcing a federal misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, which prohibits obscene acts, the Cape Cod Times reported. Seashore rangers issued 132 citations for public sex acts last year, compared with about 70 annually from 2003 to 2006, and about 40 citations annually in prior years, Seashore acting chief ranger Craig Thatcher said.

A New Jersey family walking with children in the dunes wrote in a September 2007 letter that they encountered "several couples and then a large group of men having group sex in the nude, including oral and anal sex right out in the open," the park service said.

A whale-watch boat captain carrying a boatload of tourists also reported seeing 20 to 30 nude men "playing around" near Wood End Lighthouse, another letter from August 2007 reported. Provincetown has a large gay population and attracts large numbers of gay tourists, according to the Times. Rangers said they are working with Provincetown police and town officials to start a public education campaign aimed at discouraging the behavior.
According to Radar Online, it remains unclear which agency is making the Fire Island arrests.

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Female General As Obama's Veep?

These "who's the veep?" stories are coming fast and furious. Via Pink News:
The highest-ranking female officer in the history of the United States Army is a contender for the Democratic party's Vice Presidential nomination. Lieutenant General Claudia J Kennedy, a retired three star general, has publicly supported campaigns to end the ban on openly gay, bisexual or lesbian people serving in the US Armed Forces.

While more than a dozen people are being considered as Barack Obama's running mate, there is a core of his advisers that argue he should appoint a woman to assist him in retaining Democrats and Independents who supported Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

Ms Kennedy, who served for more than 30 years, has a background in Army Intelligence. She served as an adviser to John Kerry during his unsuccessful bid for the Presidency in 2004 and endorsed Senator Clinton for President. Choosing her as the Vice Presidential nominee would help to counter the expected Republican focus on Senator Obama's perceived lack of military and international experience.
But PoliGazette says:
It seems that Barack Obama is seriously considering asking Retired Army Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy to be his running mate. Kennedy would obviously bring military experience to the ticket, foreign policy experience as well, and she is a supporter and friend of Hillary Clinton; all pros.

The article points out that Kennedy is also an opponent of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” which makes her quite loved by the LGBTQ community. Kennedy would make quite some sense indeed; it would also send a message to white woman that Obama realizes the importance of Hillary’s White House run for them, and it would counter some of the ‘no experience’ criticism used against Obama for months now.

It’s an interesting pick; at first sight, there isn’t much to criticize about Kennedy… which probably means that Obama will not choose her of course. Why? Because that’s how Democrats work.

I'd never even heard of Kennedy until I read this story. But I like what I see. So far.

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HomoQuotable - Jonathan Rauch

"Re-enter your childhood, but imagine your first crush, first kiss, first date and first sexual encounter, all bereft of any hope of marriage as a destination for your feelings. Re-enter your first serious relationship, but think about it knowing that marrying the person is out of the question.

"Imagine that in the law's eyes you and your soul mate will never be more than acquaintances. And now add even more strangeness. Imagine coming of age into a whole community, a whole culture, without marriage and the bonds of mutuality and kinship that go with it.

"What is this weird world like? It has more sex and less commitment than a world with marriage. It is a world of fragile families living on the shadowy outskirts of the law; a world marked by heightened fear of loneliness or abandonment in crisis or old age; a world in some respects not even civilized, because marriage is the foundation of civilization.

"This was the world I grew up in. The AIDS quilt is its monument." - Jonathan Rauch, from an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Rauch makes some interesting points elsewhere in the piece, but I'd hardly blame the AIDS pandemic on the unavailability of gay marriage.

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