Monday, July 07, 2008

Reggae Label Plans "Straight Pride Parade" In Brooklyn

Via Good As You comes word of a "Straight Pride Parade" to be staged in Brooklyn on August 31st. The parade is being organized by a reggae music label who is pissed off because a hit song by their artist Stapler, Hit Them Hard, has been banned by some radio stations because it encourages violence against gays. From the press release:
Productions the label behind the "18 Karat Reggae" CD series is holding the first ever Straight Pride Parade in Brooklyn, New York on August 31, 2008. The parade will take place on Eastern Parkway along the same route as the annual Caribbean labor day parade.

New reggae / dancehall sensation Jango Fresh said, "the Straight pride parade is a great idea because when a song like "Hit them hard" by my label mate Stapler can be banned just because it stresses the importance of a male and a female in every family, it is a sign that heterosexuals need to wake up.

The Straight Pride Parade is a chance for Heterosexuals to gather together and proudly embrace their sexuality. The Parade will also allow reggae and dancehall fans who are in New York City for the Labor Day celebrations to get together and celebrate reggae, dancehall and family in love and unity. Adults are encouraged to bring their children along for the celebrations, as the event will be family oriented.

The president of TCOOO said he hopes the event will unify the reggae community who has seen many reggae events cancelled recently not only in the United States but all over Europe and the Caribbean. "I sat quietly and watched as they cancelled artists like Buju Banton, Sizzla Kalonji and Capleton" he said, "but when the gay community went after TCOOO artists like Vineyard the Rebel Priest, Stapler and Jango Fresh we decided that we must make a show of strength."
Lyrics from Hit Them Hard:
Jah Jah gonna hit them hard
All the men who visit men backyard
Leaving all the women to starve
One thunder ball and all of them pause

Hand in hand with my lady
Hug her and kiss her cause she carried my baby
But some boys moving shady


The label contends that the song is "pro-family." Yeah, right. The "Straight Pride Parade" will coincide with the Brooklyn West Indian Carnival, guaranteeing them of at least some attendance and interest.

Thanks to the work of gay activist Peter Tatchell and Stop Murder Music, increasing scrutiny and pressure has been placed on the violent and homophobic lyrics of some reggae and dancehall artists, causing concerts to be canceled and airplay to cease. It will be interesting to see how the LGBT activism community reacts to this parade. I am thinking it may not be a good idea to appear in person to protest.

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HomoQuotable - Michelangelo Signorile

"The news on Friday about Helms' death was certainly satisfying for those of us who experienced his reign of terror, and I among others gave him a fitting send off.

"But let's not let history forget that a powerful gay man was instrumental to Jesse Helms, even as Helms was vilifying and demonizing gay men and allowing them and and many others to die throughout the 80s and 90s. Conservative, then-closeted, Republican political operative Arthur Finkelstein (pictured here in one of the only known photos of the guy) helped engineer Helms' racist campaign against African-American Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt in 1990, as Helms was vilifying gay sexuality, blocking AIDS funding, stalling prevention and attacking queer artists.

"Had Jesse Helms not had the handiwork of Finkelstein, who worked for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and various right-wing senators, he might have lost that race. Instead, we had another decade of his antigay grip on the Republican Party, as he blocked HIV prevention measures and thousands more died.

"Finkelstein is today still working as a strategist for right-wing Republicans, as are many other closeted and not-so-closeted gay Republicans. Finkelstein was outed in 1996 in Boston magazine, and a few years ago he quietly got married to his partner in Massachusetts -- benefiting from the hard work of LGBT activists while he promoted and worked for a vile antigay crusader like Jesse Helms.

"Jesse Helms is dead but his legacy lives on. Republicans today similarly bash gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in order to win elections -- maybe not so vociferously, maybe on different issues than those in the 80s and 90s, but no less opportunistically. And people like Arthur Finklelstein and many other gay Republicans work for them and endorse them.

"Here we are, currently in a presidential election season in which the Republican candidate John McCain supports the California ballot measure banning marriage, has left the door open to a federal marriage amendment, is opposed to lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military, is opposed to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. And yet, we've seen Patrick Sammon of the Log Cabin Republicans and his group carry water for McCain as the group mulls whether or not they should endorse him -- as if it's a difficult decision. John McCain may not be ideologically in the same place as Jesse Helms on homosexuality, but what does that matter? If Jesse Helms were in the Senate today John McCain's voting record on gay rights wouldn't be that much different from that of Helms. And John McCain is busy promising to defeat gays to all the same people who supported Jesse Helms.

"Let Jesse Helms' death be a reminder of the kind of gay-bashing the Republican Party has promoted and exploited for decades among its politicians -- and which continues today -- and of the selfish and self-deluded gay people who give the party cover, help, strategy and support. And let's vow not to let it happen again. " - Activist, author, and radio host Michelangelo Signorile.

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Bristol Bushes Brouhaha

In light of last month's stories about sex arrests on Fire Island, it's interesting that gay activists in the UK are calling the plans to raze a local cruising area "discriminatory."
Scrub clearance work on Bristol Downs has raised concerns among some gay men who use the area for sex, the city council has said. The authority's lesbian, gay and bisexual advisory group said the action was "potentially discriminating". Work on the Circular Road above Avon Gorge would open up the area to wildlife and visitors, the council said. The Terrence Higgins Trust said it was in talks with the police and council.

Plans to clear the overgrown landscape follow consultations three years ago, when some Downs users complained about "inappropriate sexual activity". A meeting of the Bristol Downs Committee on Monday was told: "Concerns were expressed by the city council's lesbian, gay and bisexual group that this action was potentially discriminating against gay and bisexual men whose activities on this part of the Downs were objected to by other members of the local community and Downs users."

Head of parks Peter Wilkinson said the council had strong equality policies to protect the interests of all groups, irrespective of their sexuality. "The general public are unhappy about people taking part in lewd behaviour in public spaces, whether it's between men and women or people of the same sex," he said. "We are working together with the Terrence Higgins Trust to make sure any work we will do is sensitive. We're making sure people know what we are doing so we are not seen to be discriminating."
George Michael has yet to comment.

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The Bulging Bible Belt

From Strange Maps:
Mississippi is the fattest state in the Union, with 30.1% of Mississippians being obese. That’s almost one in every three inhabitants. Not that the Magnolia State (in red on this map) should be singled out for its massiveness. It is surrounded by four of the eight other fattest US states (in brown on this map): Tennessee (29.0%), Arkansas (29.3%), Louisiana (29.5%) and Alabama (30.1%). Being overweight clearly is a Southern thing - even if the second-fattest state, West-Virginia (30.6%), broke away from the rebellious South in 1863 to join the North.

The other states in the top obesity bracket are Oklahoma (28.1%), Kentucky (28.4%) and South Carolina (29.2%). The next bracket (26 to 28% of inhabitants obese) is filled out by nine states, three of which are Southern (Texas, Georgia and North Carolina), three adjoin the Great Lakes (Michigan, Indiana and Ohio) and three are clustered in the Midwest (Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri).

The leanest states also tend to cluster: states in the least but one category (22 to 24%) include Maine and New Hampshire; New York and New Jersey; and California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Some of the least obese (20.7 to 22%) states are Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Another one, Utah, is adjacent to Colorado, which is by far the leanest state of them all (18.4%). Overall, the Southwest and New England are counting calories, while the South and to a lesser extent the Midwest are piling on the pounds.

Obesity, it may be useful to repeat, is not a euphemism for being overweight. It means being so fat that one’s health is affected. You are defined as obese if you have a body mass index of 30 or over (with a bmi of between 25 and 30, you are merely overweight). The US is the most overweight nation in the world, with over a quarter of the total population being obese. Obesity is a global phenomenon, however. It was recently reported that for the first time in history, there are now more overweight than malnourished people in the world.
If you move to a skinnier state, do you pick up their healthier habits? Or do you drag them down with you? What does Colorado know that we don't?

(Via- Andrew Sullivan)

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McCain Urged To Begin Gay Bashing


Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes went on Fox News yesterday to urge John McCain to start gay bashing if he's going to win in November. On which campaign wedge issues McCain should use, Barnes said:
"In particular, gays in the military for one. We know Barack Obama is for allowing gays in the military, and Bill Clinton tried to do, but backed off. This is not a popular issue. Gay marriage is another one. These are both issues that I think McCain’s going to have to use. You can’t ignore the right. If he does, he’ll lose."
Think Progress responds:
Barnes is advocating that McCain embrace the well-worn right-wing tactic of discriminating against the LGBT community for electoral gain. But he has his facts wrong when he claims that letting gay men and women serve in the military “is not a popular issue.”

Polling consistently finds that the public supports allowing openly-gay people to serve in the military. In fact, that support is growing even stronger with time:

The poll also finds less opposition to gays serving openly in the military and a greater public willingness to allow gays to adopt children. A 60% majority now favors allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, up from 52% in 1994, and 46% support gay adoption, up from 38% in 1999.

It wouldn’t be shocking if McCain takes Barnes advice, especially since his chief strategist, Charlie Black, has previously acknowledged the use of gay issues as a wedge. It’s “a game of margins” that “could make a difference,” Black told the New York Times in 2006.

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New To The Dictionary

Among the new words added to this year's Merriam-Webster dictionary: netroots, webinar, air quotes, Texas Hold 'Em, mondegreen, pescatarian, infinity pool, dirty bomb, mental health day, subprime. I'm still waiting for "embiggen" to make it. Also: "greedy bottom."

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DJ Cary Stringfellow, 36

Renowned circuit party DJ Cary Stringfellow was found dead on Saturday after he failed to appear for his headlining performance at California's IndepenDance party in Long Beach. Last weekend Stringfellow headlined at San Francisco Pride's Saturday night event, Frisco Disco. I'm told that Stringfellow committed suicide and left a note.

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I'll Email You When I Land... Or Not.

I've lost stuff at airports over the years, usually a hat or a jacket that I took off while waiting for a flight - but this surprises me.
Lost your laptop at a U.S airport and thought it was bad luck, well guess what? You are one of 12,000 in a week. According to a study published by the Ponemon Institute and Dell Computer. "It’s staggering to learn that up to 600,000 laptops are lost in U.S. airports annually, many containing sensitive information that companies must account for," said Larry Ponemon. This report offers a very different view from sources that collect breach disclosure information, such as Attrition.org, where only a few companies disclose laptop thefts each week mostly because the employees and the companies are embarrassed of the numbers.
According to the story, only 30% of lost laptops are recovered. Where do they all end up? I'm guessing Ebay.

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West Village Rite Aid Manager Loses Mind

Queerty is reporting that this lovely sign appeared in the window of a West Village Rite Aid yesterday.
Rite Aid simply ain’t right. A reader sent in this image from one of the pharmacy’s New York City locations (on Sixth Avenue at West 13th Street) and, as you can see, it’s not the most welcoming message.

This isn’t the first time Rite-Aid has found itself in a queer controversy. A DC-based manager came under fire last year after booting an “overly affectionate” gay couple.

The best part of this sign, we think, is mention of “anything that would make our customers uncomfortable is prohibited in the store.” We suppose manager Tom Marquez didn’t consider the gay customers in that one, huh? Someone else must have, because the sign, which appeared around 7am on Sunday, was soon removed…

And, just for your reference, here are Rite Aid’s corporate numbers and the number for Mr. Marquez’s location: 212-727-3720. Do with that what you will…
Somebody's about to get demoted to the stockroom. At the least.

UPDATE: According to Gothamist, there's no Tom Marquez working at the store.
Queerty has it that a Rite-Aid on Sixth Avenue and 13th Street posted this anti-gay P.D.A. sign in their store over the weekend. If true, it doesn’t seem like the smartest way to win over the Greenwich Village/Chelsea clientele. But employee Kularee Kamhal, who worked there all weekend, swears “it’s a lie.” There is no manager or employee named Tom Marquez; according to her the store’s manager is one Jose Santos. Something doesn’t add up here; maybe this is all just a desperate attempt at sabotage from a rival Duane Reade?

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The Stall Of Fame

Sen. Larry Craig's world-famous airport men's room stall is about to be back in the news.
Thousands of members of the international media will have to walk past it when they land at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for the Republican National Convention in St. Paul at the end of the summer.

Many will feel obligated to stop and file a story.

For the party that bills itself as stronger on family values than the Democrats, it likely will prove an unwelcome distraction. The parade of airport tourists asking for directions to the stall (right at the Chili's, left at the Royal Zino shoeshine) has died down a bit since last summer, but is expected to pick up as the GOP and the press arrive in town in late August, whether or not Craig himself shows up as a delegate.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Violence, Arrests At Budapest Pride

Neo-Nazis disrupted the Budapest Pride parade this weekend, pelting marchers with stones and eggs and hurling fire bombs at police. Police were forced to use water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters.
Right-wing extremists hurled stones and eggs at a Gay Pride procession in the Hungarian capital on Saturday before clashing with police called in to protect the marchers. Police arrested more than 40 of the assailants, who threw firebombs at the officers and set alight a police minibus. At least five persons were injured, two of them policemen.

A jazz concert due to be held at the end of the rally was cancelled for security reasons. Politician Gabor Horn, a leading member of the liberal Association of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), said he was spat upon, slapped and doused with beer by neo-Nazis.

It was the worst violence during the 12 years the Gay Pride parade has taken place in Budapest.

Hundreds of of extremists gathered along the route taken by the 1,500 marchers to give vent to their anger at gays and lesbians. In the days leading up to the parade, calls were made on Neo-Nazi internet forums for violence to be used against the "unnatural perverts."

No marchers were injured. Parade organizers had prepared them for the protests by advising that they carry umbrellas or wear helmets to protect themselves from hurled objects.
"There was one street where literally a shower of eggs and stones was poured on us," Gábor Kuszing of Hungarian human rights group Patent Association said. "I was lucky to have a placard in my hand, and others used umbrellas, but most people just came in their regular clothes." Organisers advised participants to carry large umbrellas or wear helmets.

"This is outrageous and shameful that some 20 years after the change of regime, this is what we have … such intolerance," Socialist European Parliament member Katalin Levai told Reuters after a stone smashed the window of a police car she was being escorted in.

"It was great to see the police protecting us, after the police chief tried to ban the march earlier," Mr Kuszing commented. "The fact that the police were protecting us is an important message to the neo-Nazi criminals and the public at large."
Quite the contrast to the post below, isn't it? Count. Your. Blessings.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pride 2008 Photo Recap

I finally found my memory stick from Pride 2008, so here's a quick photo recap of the day. Our gang gathered at the corner of Christopher & Gay, as always, and while the intermittent rainstorms drenched the crowd and the marchers, each crack of thunder only brought a joyous roar from attendees and nobody seemed to flee.

Below are the first few Dykes On Bikes, rainbow flag creator and grand marshall Gilbert Baker coming over to greet us, Eric Leven waving from one end of Gilbert's banner, crowd favorites the gay cops, assorted hotties and flamers, a family photo courtesy of Father Tony, and some baby Dominican dykes having a party stomping in the puddles.ABOVE: Pier Dance was mobbed with its usual 6000 happy men. BELOW: Gorgeous DJ Tracy Young likes to come out from behind her turntables and work the front of the stage.ABOVE: Eric Leven, bookended with handsomeness. BELOW: My longtime pal Mark Fernandez, looking just as he did when we were tearing up the clubs of South Beach twenty years ago, damn him.My buddy Ned and I happened to be trapped against the front of the stage when Pier Dance headliner and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson closed the day with a three song set including her new single Spotlight and, of course, And I'm Telling You. I got sweated on by an Oscar winner! I think you can spot Ned and I in the clip below that a party attendee has YouTube'd. Hudson seemed to have a great time and turned the mic over to the audience many times.

The perfect day (made more so by the rain, somehow) ended with the usual fireworks show, only this year the fireworks barge began firing shells when it still quite downriver, only finishing the show when it actually got up to the pier. Curious. Thanks to all my pals and all the JMG'ers that I met for such a great day. And here's a couple dozen more pics from the previous night's Blowoff, in case you want to oogle some furry monsters and rock stars.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Jesse Helms Is Dead Dead Dead

Former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), the most notoriously racist and homophobic politician in the history of the United States, has died at the age of 86. Happy Independence Day!!!

And now for some choice quotes from DEAD Jesse Helms, the greatest embarrassment to my home state of North Carolina and the nation:

- On threatening the life of a sitting president: "Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He'd better have a bodyguard."

- On gays and AIDS: “It's their deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct that is responsible for the disease”

- On equality: "I've been portrayed as a caveman by some. That's not true. I'm a conservative progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they slants, beaners, or niggers."

- On education: "Your tax dollars are being used to pay for grade-school classes that teach our children that cannibalism, wife-swapping and murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior."

- On civil rights: "The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights."

- On journalists: "The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian."

- On the Duke University students upset by Martin Luther King's assassination: "They should ask their parents if it would be all right for their son or daughter to marry a Negro."
Some choice commentary from around the web:

Michelangelo Signorile:
No, I do not have any sympathy for his family at this time or anyone else connected to this man, so fuck that usual nicety reserved even for the family of those with whom you disagreed. This is beyond a "disagreement ." Jesse Helms almost single-handedly allowed the deaths of thousands -- willfully denied them help -- while pushing his moral agenda in the Senate. His faint supposed apology in recent years -- for not doing more on AIDS, not for his vicious homophobia -- was far too little, too late, designed to clean up his ghastly legacy a little bit before he croaked. Throughout the 80s and 90s my friends died, and perhaps some of your friends died too, because this man stalled vital research and prevention efforts and vilified gay people.
A commenter on AmericaBLOG:
“A lot of crackers have their burning crosses at half-mast today in his honor.”
From CNN.com:
"If you’re a Christian, Jesse is probably in a very hot, unpleasant place. If you believe in Karma, he’s probably reborn as a poor black child in Somalia."
Via Dan Savage, this bit of unintentionally amusing animation on the Daily Oklahoman was screencapped. Dan's commenter writes:
I went to the Daily Oklahoman website to see what they were saying about the Seattle basketball team moving to OKC, and this was on the front page. The animated ad trotted out from the right side and landed right on Jesse’s mug. All I did was take a screenshot and add the text in the gray box at the bottom.
Classic video: In 1991, Treatment Activist Guerrillas (TAG) of Act-Up placed a giant condom over Jesse Helms' Arlington, Virginia home.

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Broadway Friday

- Critics are predicting that next month's opening of All My Sons starring Katie Holmes will be a major flop. Advance sales have been abysmal. The cast includes John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest.

- Spike Lee will film Tony winner Passing Strange over several performances later this month for release as a feature film. The movie will likely air on cable.

- Many Broadway houses will be dark tonight for the holiday. Check the special holiday weekend schedule of all Broadway houses here.

- Check out the reviews for the cast recordings of A Catered Affair, Xanadu, Passing Strange, In The Heights, and South Pacific.

- Actors Equity reached an agreement with theatre owners and producers on Wednesday, averting a strike. The new deal covers the next 39 months and includes added compensation for internet use of performances.

- Yesterday Phantom Of The Opera became the first show in Broadway history to reach 8500 performances. The show became the longest-running ever back in January 2006.

- Xanadu star Kerry Butler and the cast of Forbidden Broadway will perform at the ribbon-cutting for the new TKTS booth in Brooklyn on July 10th. The booth is above the Jay Street-Borough Hall stop of the A-C-F lines.

- Cast members from Altar Boyz, Blue Man Group, The Fantasticks, The Hip-Hop Theater Festival, and Noche Flamenca will participate in a special Off-Broadway concert at 5:30pm on Thursday, July 10 in Union Square Park, to be hosted by Jim Caruso.

- Head to Joe's Pub for: BE IN: A Night of Music and Love with members of the Public Theater's cast of Hair, a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on Mondays, July 7th and August 11th, 9:30pm. Tickets available here, only $20.
Members of the cast of The Public Theater's production of "Hair" is holding a Be-In! Come celebrate with the Tribe as they sing songs of peace, love, and freedom in a night that will leave you inspired to "Let Love Rule". An evening of surprise guests and great music will surely be the perfect soundtrack for your very own "Summer of Love". All proceeds to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, $20.

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Wingnuts Launch McDonald's Boycott

The American Family Association has launched a boycott against McDonald's (with its own website, no less) in protest that an openly gay McDonald's executive has joined the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. From the site:
What the boycott of McDonald's IS NOT about
  • This boycott is not about hiring homosexuals.
  • It is not about homosexuals eating at McDonald's.
  • It is not about how homosexual employees are treated.

What the boycott of McDonald's IS about

It is about McDonald's, as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars. McDonald's has chosen not to remain neutral but to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.

Here's a commercial that McDonald's ran last year in support of San Francisco Pride, which the AFA has posted on their boycott site.

The AFA's site provides a petition for fellow wingnuts to sign and deliver to their local McDonald's outlets. Me, I having a Big Mac for lunch.

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Obama In Another Flip-Flop Flap

Barack Obama is defending his Thursday announcement that he may slow his promised withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, saying that he has said all along that he would work with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to effect a withdrawal timetable that would not destabilize Iraq further.

After his first comments on slowing the withdrawal caused a firestorm in the press, Obama hastily called a second news conference later in the day to clarify his remarks.
Mr. Obama said at his first news conference on Thursday that he planned a “thorough assessment” of his Iraq policy when he visited that country this summer. “I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability,” he said. “That assessment has not changed. And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.”

Mr. Obama has long spoken of consulting with commanders in the field as part of his plan for a phased withdrawal, but his shift in emphasis in the way he spoke about the situation on Thursday — after weeks in which Republicans and even an outside Iraq policy adviser to his campaign argued against a withdrawal along the lines he had proposed — fueled speculation that he might not be wedded to his timetable.

So the Obama campaign scheduled a second news conference to try to clarify his remarks. “We’re going to try this again,” Mr. Obama said. “Apparently, I wasn’t clear enough this morning on my position with respect to the war in Iraq.”
From the Guardian UK:
Obama's most leftwing supporters have dutifully played the role expected of them, howling betrayal, with the activists of MoveOn leading the lamentation. But even centrist Democrats, who understand the politics of the Potomac shuffle only too well, are troubled. "He's overdoing it," says a longtime party strategist (who, admittedly, did not back Obama in the primaries). "He's reversing too many positions too quickly."
From Liberal Values Blog:
There are at least two key differences between Obama and McCain on the war. Obama realized going to war in Iraq was a mistake from the beginning while McCain was in favor of the war. Obama realizes that our national interests, as well as the interests of those in the region, are best served by a policy aimed at getting out of Iraq while John McCain is willing to remain for one hundred years. The media is resorting to trivialities in making an issue over whether Obama will get out in exactly sixteen months, along with being incorrect if they claim that this represents a change in his position.
This whole thing is a non-story, really, despite the glee with which the McSame camp has jumped upon it. Obama is saying, essentially, what he's always been saying. But even the hardcore Obama supporters are dismayed by this latest opportunity that Obama has given the GOP to cry "flip-flop!" Bad week for Obama. Bad week.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Charlie Crist "Engaged" For Fifth Time

Well, that didn't take long. Florida Governor Charlie Crist became engaged today to Carole Rome, 38, a woman he met only nine months ago on a trip to New York. Rome has two daughters, 9 and 11 years-old, from a marriage that ended in 2007. She is president of the Franco-American Novelty Company, a century-old Glendale, NY-based Halloween costume wholesaler owned by her family. (Maybe he was first attracted to her by the music that plays on her company's site? GAY.) The company's motto is "Where Fashion Meets Halloween." Rome currently lives on Miami's exclusive Fisher Island, an artificial island in Biscayne Bay formerly owned by the Vanderbilts.

Crist, 51, says Rome accepted his proposal "without hesitation" and that he hopes he and Rome can have a child of their own. Crist has been single for nearly 30 years after a six month marriage in 1979. Crist's father has claimed that his son has been engaged three other times since then.

Most of you skeptics will say, "Oh, come on! Crist is clearly a closet case who is rapidly engineering a sham marriage in order to amplify his chances of being chosen as John McCain's running mate!" What, a 30-year bachelor who used to patronize gay bars can't coincidentally fall in love with and marry a zillionaire "socialite heiress" at the same time he's being considered for Vice President?

HEH.

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Thomas Beatie Gives Birth

World-renowned "pregnant man" Thomas Beatie gave birth today to a healthy baby girl.
The birth - at a hospital in Bend, Oregon - was natural, according to a source, who added that earlier reports that Beatie had planned a caesarean section are false. "She's really cute, really pretty,'' the source told ABC News Thursday afternoon.

Born a woman, Beatie, 34, who had his breasts surgically removed and legally changed his gender from female to male, leaped to prominence around the world in April when the wispy bearded man revealed he was pregnant. Despite years of taking hormones and living outwardly as a man, Beatie maintained that he retained his female sex organs because he intended one day to get pregnant.
Interestingly, Beatie left the hospital under his own power very shortly after the birth.
Beatie was caught on tape leaving St. Charles Medical Center by TMZ.com. He was not carrying the infant. A woman who appears to be a nurse carried a combination car seat/baby carrier with a white blanket over it. Beatie walked a few yards behind her. The new dad walked easily, although he appeared tired, and despite the warm weather he wore a white hooded sweatshirt along with sunglasses and black shorts. Someone opened the car door for him.

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Has Ted Haggard Found A New Way To Fleece People?

An eagle-eyed JMG reader has found Ted Haggard's new business site, a mortgage reduction scheme company called United First Financial with the URL: KeepYourOwnMoney.com.
Entering the company's site through their main portal (not Haggard's) one finds a link to another company site called ThinkBeyondMortgages.com. JMG reader David ponders:
Glancing through the "agent manual" it appears to me to be something like a Multi-Level-Marketing scheme, and the "customers" at the bottom are lured in by promises of tens of thousands of dollars in EVENTUAL savings on mortgage interest, in exchange for a $3500 upfront fee (as nearly as I can tell) which gets gobbled up by however many "agents" are in the food chain above them. Unlike MLM schemes, this one may actually produce an actual major savings for the "customers", but it does seem to me to have the flavor of taking advantage of some people in specific situations.

It also seems to me that this is PERFECT for TH's talents and resources -- he has thousands of people at NLC who still trust him and who believe what he says, many of whom probably want to help him, and I bet a lot of them have home mortgages to pay off. I'm sure he can be VERY convincing, especialy when he's in a face to face situation trying to sell someone something.
How about it, you financial types out there? Is this a legit business or has Haggard glommed onto yet another way to defraud people? Pyramid / Ponzi schemes ARE, after all, a traditional scam of evangelicals. Remember Jim Bakker's famous Heritage USA scam? What's the real story behind Ted "Completely Heterosexual" Haggard's new line of work?

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Hater Gets Silly Stringed At SF Pride


Technically, I believe that Silly Stringing somebody might be construed as battery. On Sunday, an anti-gay pastor at Wichita Pride was charged with battery for throwing his admission pin at a Pride employee. Lawyers?

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Sauna Bombed In Budapest

Hungarian nationalists fire-bombed a Budapest bathhouse yesterday as that city readied for this weekend's gay pride events.
A gay establishment in the Hungarian capital has been targeted, the second attack in a week. Four petrol bombs were thrown into sauna called Magnum in the early hours of yesterday morning. One man was slightly injured by fumes. The bombers had called the sauna before their attack and warned people to evacuate. A similar phone warning was used last week when a gay club was attacked with a petrol bomb. The sauna had kept several extinguishers at hand since last week’s attack and so the fire was promptly extinguished.

The gay community in the city is fearful that more violence could occur during this week's 13th LGBT Film and Cultural Festival and at the Pride march on Saturday. "We are doubtful if the police are really protecting the gay establishments as they promised," said Gábor Kuszing of gay rights group Patent Association. "Police were present around the cinema housing the Festival, however they left after the politicians opening the Festival finished with their speeches," he added.

Yesterday's attack comes after repeated threats against the LGBT festival and the Pride march from right-wing groups during the last few weeks. Activists said it could be the work of a group who use a website called kuruc.info. Described as "an extremist nationalist hate site targeted against gay people, liberals, Jewish people," the phone numbers and other details about gay activists are regularly posted on the site. "This site, although Hungarian, is hosted in a US server, so there is nothing we can do to stop them," a Hungarian activist from Budapest told PinkNews.co.uk.
The sauna's website (NSFW) appears to make no mention of the attack. Anybody speak Hungarian?

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Transman Booted From Bi Dating Site

A 25 year-old Boston transman had his profile removed from a bisexual dating site last week after revealing to the site's operators that he had recently transitioned.
When Nick Teich created a free account on the online personals site BiDatingNow.com last week, he decided to disclose that he is transgender. Perhaps he shouldn’t have. "They say, tell us about yourself in your own words. And I stated, ’I’m a 25-year old trans guy living in Boston.’ ... I didn’t want to mislead anyone looking at my profile, so that’s why I put that," said Teich. Within a day he had received three "smiles," which members send to express their interest in getting to know each other.

Teich thought little of his decision until he wrote to the site’s customer service staff about a problem he was having using the site. He exchanged e-mails with a customer service representative named Kiar Dupuis, and after reading his profile Dupuis informed him that the site does not allow transgender users.

"I am sorry, as a transgender, our site would not meet your needs. I am afraid we have to remove your profile," wrote Dupuis, according to an e-mail provided to Bay Windows by Teich. His profile was deleted shortly after he received the e-mail.
Site officials defended their action by saying that prior to his transition, Teich had registered on their lesbian dating site, which shares profile information with BiDatingNow.com
"We do not have a site appropriate for transgenders. You joined our lesbian site, which is not your sexual preference. You then listed yourself as a bisexual man. This is absolutely a violation of our community rules because we do not allow any man on a lesbian site," wrote Dupuis. "You are NOT a lesbian therefore you cannot and will not be a part of our lesbian community."
Transmen are not a part of the lesbian community? That'd be a shocker to just about anybody at last week's Dyke March.

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European Union Citizens: We'd Rather Have A Gay Leader Than A Grey One

According to a survey of 27,000 citizens of European Union nations, they'd rather elect a gay leader than one who is elderly, a minority, or of a different religion.
According to the Eurobarometer study of 27,000 EU citizens across the bloc, just 17 per cent of Europeans would be totally comfortable with someone over the age of 75 in their country's highest elected post. European Union citizens would prefer to elect a gay leader than have one they consider too old, a study released in Brussels has revealed.

That is less than half than the 36 per cent who would be at ease with a homosexual leader, and well below the support for a leader drawn from an ethnic minority (26 per cent totally comfortable) or a different religion (30 per cent totally at ease). It is also substantially below the support for a national leader who is younger than 30 - an idea with which one in four Europeans said they were completely comfortable.

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Brits To Pay Gay Troops To March In Pride Parades

The British government has told gay soldiers that they can expense their participation in gay pride parades, much to the dismay of straight soldiers.
Gay troops have been told they can submit claims for their car mileage or train tickets to marches in London on Saturday and in Brighton next month. Heterosexual soldiers have criticised the move saying they are not allowed to claim money for trips to important functions, including the Queen's Garden Party. It will also be the first time Army and RAF troops will be allowed to march in uniform, Royal Navy soldiers are already allowed.

One homosexual soldier said: "Any straight guys wishing to have a piss-up in London should just sign up to go on the Gay Pride march. "It's a no-brainer – especially if you're stationed in Scotland. "A refusal of expenses claims would be a breach of the Sexual Orientation Discrimination Regulations. It would also be a breach to stipulate that you have to be gay to go."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "Personnel will be considered on duty for the uniformed parade element of the Gay Pride event. "It is normal practice for personnel attending an event on duty to be able to claim for travel expenses." The spokesman said soldiers are not allowed to claim for trips to the Queen's Garden Party because they are not considered "on duty" when at the event.
How many straight soldiers would consider marching in the pride parade just to get a free trip to London? Interesting dilemma, I imagine.

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Trickle Down Economics

According to a press release from a porn industry group, the biggest beneficiaries of last month's economy stimulus checks from the government may be porn sites.
An unforeseen and surprising beneficiary of the Economic Stimulus Plan, a plan that George Bush contends will "boost our economy and encourage job creation," has surfaced this week. An independent market-research firm, AIMRCo (Adult Internet Market Research Company), has discovered that many websites focused on adult or erotic material have experienced an upswing in sales in the recent weeks since checks have appeared in millions of Americans' mailboxes across the country.

According to Kirk Mishkin, Head Research Consultant for AIMRCo, "Many of the sites we surveyed have reported 20-30% growth in membership rates since mid-May when the checks were first sent out, and typically the summer is a slow period for this market."

Jillian Fox, spokeswoman for LSGmodels.com, one of the sites reporting figures to AIMRCo, added, "In a June 15, 2008 survey to our members, thirty two percent of respondents referenced the recent stimulus package as part of their decision to either become a new member, or renew an existing membership."

The economic stimulus plan, which includes a check for up to $600 for individuals and $1200 for married couples (among other benefits), is the product of an agreement between House leaders and the Bush Administration, focused on reviving a struggling economy in the wake of a flagging economy. Fox also added, "Getting more people to buy porn was probably the last thing Bush had on his mind when he came up with his 'stimulus package,' but we'll take it."
Did your check buy you some stimulation?

(Via - Pam Spaulding)

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Open Thread Thursday

What was your first car? Mine was a 1971 Pontiac Lemans (although mine was mint green, unlike the car above.) When new, the car sold for about $3500, but my dad got it for me as a high school graduation present in 1977 at the low price of $1500 (thanks to a massive dent on the right rear fender.) No $40K Beemers in our family.

The first thing I did was superglue green and gold-flecked shag carpet onto the dashboard. (Um, with an "accent" piece of carpet on the gear shift. Gay.) One 8-track player and ten Parliament/Funkadelic tapes later and that baby took me through my senior year in college. I named her "Loretta", which I told people was after Loretta Lynn, but was more because I liked the alliteration of Loretta Lemans. In the following years I had Renee Renault, Lola Corolla, Joan Jetta, and Jane Honda.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Haloscan On The Fritz

Sorry folks. Looks like Haloscan is having its semi-annual meltdown today. Hopefully commenting will be back up soon.

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Marilyn Muskrat Back To Hating

Homegirl of the KKK, Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Duh), is making her third run at instituting a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and has signed on as co-sponsor of the latest attempt.
After more than a year of silence on amending the Constitution, and now facing a tough battle for re-election to a third term, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) has signed on as a co-sponsor of the latest attempt to gain Congressional approval.

"The sponsors of the amendments asked her to be a co-sponsor. The congresswoman supports traditional marriage so she agreed," Musgrave Chief of Staff Guy Short told the The Coloradoan newspaper. In 2006 Musgrave narrowly won re-election and has said little about marriage ever since. Last year the congresswoman said she would not reintroduce the legislation because it would have little chance of acceptance in the Democratically-controlled Congress.

But three other Republicans did introduce separate versions of the amendment. Musgrave is cosponsoring two of the versions. One was introduced by Rep. Daniel Lungren (R-Calif.); the other by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.).
It was Musgrave who introduced the anti-gay amendment in 2003 and in 2006 - back when Republicans ruled Congress.

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Starbucks To Close 600 Outlets

Oh no! Now you'll have to walk two blocks to find one!
As many as 12,000 Starbucks workers will lose their jobs when the company begins closing 600 U.S. stores this summer. The Seattle coffee company is cutting 5 percent of its U.S. locations as part of a wide-ranging effort to boost its bottom line and its stock price. The chain is accelerating international growth. Most customers whose Starbucks stores close will be a short walk from a caffeine fix, the company said, because many of the unprofitable stores were being cannibalized by nearby Starbucks locations.

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Backlash On Obama's FISA Flip-Flop

Barack Obama has had his right-turn blinker on for several days. More backlash:
Senator Barack Obama’s decision to support legislation granting legal immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants has led to an intense backlash among some of his most ardent supporters. Thousands of them are now using the same grass-roots organizing tools previously mastered by the Obama campaign to organize a protest against his decision.

In recent days, more than 7,000 Obama supporters have organized on a social networking site on Mr. Obama’s own campaign Web site. They are calling on Mr. Obama to reverse his decision to endorse legislation supported by President Bush to expand the government’s domestic spying powers while also providing legal protection to the telecommunication companies that worked with the National Security Agency’s domestic wiretapping program after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos, the most widely-read and influential online forum for Democrats and progressives, says, "I will continue to support him. But I was going to write him a check, and I decided I would rather put that money with Democrats who will uphold the Constitution."

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You Give Peace A Bad Name

Remember during the 2004 Republican National Convention when anti-Iraq War activists were denied permission to use Central Park's Great Lawn because it would damage the grass?

Well, apparently peace activists are considered more likely to rip up sod than rock fans. Bon Jovi has just been given the OK for a July 12th free concert for 60,000 on the Great Lawn. The concert is a precursor to baseball's All Star Game which takes place at Shea Yankee Stadium.

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SF Mayor Gavin Newsom Enters CA Governor Race

Riding high in popularity with the recent gay marriage triumph, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has filed the paperwork to begin his run for governor of California in 2010.
Newsom, a Democrat best known for challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage in 2004, is six months into his second and final term, which expires in 2011. Speculation over whether he would run to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has pursued him since before his re-election, but the mayor always deflected it by saying his attention remained fixed on the city.

The establishment of an exploratory committee will allow Newsom to start raising money and conducting polls. In announcing the committee Tuesday, Newsom's campaign consultant, Eric Jaye, said it demonstrated the mayor's custom of "listening to people before acting" and that would allow him to launch a campaign "from a position of knowledge and strength."

[snip]

Newsom made headlines early in his first term when he directed city workers to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, three months before Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Some Democrats, including California's senior U.S. senator, Dianne Feinstein, blamed him for helping fuel a conservative backlash that propelled President Bush to re-election that same year, while some political observers speculated that he may have irrevocably doomed his chance to secure a statewide office.

At the moment, the only other Democratic candidate that seems likely to challenge Newsom is former Gov. Jerry Brown, who is currently state Attorney General. Brown is 30 years older than Newsom.

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Rubyfruit To Close

One of Manhattan's few remaining lesbian nightspots, Rubyfruit, is closing.
RUBYFRUIT, the beloved West Village lesbian bar and restaurant, is closing after 15 years - a victim of rising rents and smaller crowds. "It was the first of its kind as a meeting place for local lesbians and those visiting New York from all over the world," owner Debra Fierro told Page Six. "But there have been great strides, and I think lesbians are comfortable anywhere now." The bar, named after Rita Mae Brown's best seller "Rubyfruit Jungle," was written about in Patricia Cornwell's thrillers and hosted Martina Navratilova's retirement party. It once employed as a bartender Tammy Lynn Michaels, who later "wed" Melissa Etheridge. Straights like Liza Minnelli and Ashford and Simpson also dropped in. Fierro is talking with Socialista owner Armin Amiri and others about taking over the space. But her last few weeks at Rubyfruit have her "totally heartbroken. I love this place. When I told some of the women at the bar the other night, they were crying."
And that leaves, what, two lesbian bars on the island? Cubbyhole and Henrietta Hudson?

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Leona'$ Be$t Friend$

Remember all the hullabaloo about Leona Helmsley leaving $12M for the care of her bitey little Maltese, Trouble? Well, that's just puppy chow compared to what Helmsley's estate may providing for the dogs of America.

According to unnamed insiders, from $5-$8 billion dollars, her entire estate, has been left for the "care and welfare of dogs" in a mission statement to her charitable trust. That amount is more than 10 times the total annual budgets of the over 7000 animal welfare groups in the nation. Lawyer types say that Helmley's directive may not be legally binding, but that courts tend to favor the intent of the deceased.

The most unliked billionaire in the history of New York may just end up with in the "good" column yet.

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Devo To McDonald's: Whip It (Out)

Devo wants McDonald's to whip it out and pay them for appropriating their iconic flowerpot hat costume for a Happy Meal toy.
The U.S. rock band Devo is suing McDonald's over the New Wave Nigel toy the restaurant chain is including in its Happy Meals. The New York Post said the new wave band, whose song "Whip It" was one of the most popular songs of the 1980s, is suing for copyright infringement because the "American Idol"-themed Happy Meal character is dressed in a costume, similar to the ones Devo wore on stage, and plays music much like the group's. "This New Wave Nigel doll that they've created is just a complete Devo rip-off," the Post quotes Devo member Gerald Casale as saying. Casale added that McDonald's did not reach out to the band before distributing the toys.
When a problem comes along, you must sue them.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama On The Dignity Of Work


Barack Obama's latest ad hits on themes that are more commonly seen from Republican candidates - getting people off welfare and ending the outsourcing of American jobs. Interesting commentary can be found at MyDD.

Via Ben Smith:
Obama's new spot weaves his biography into themes of his fighting for workers. He also brags of legislation aimed at moving welfare recipients to work. Complete with hard-hats and a mildly wacky scene at the end of Obama joking around in an industrial kitchen.

It's going up in 18 states, 14 of which Bush won in 2004, plus New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The rest: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Virginia.

There is a brewing criticism of the line in the ad in which Obama appears to take credit for slashing welfare rolls by 80%.

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Photoshop Of The Day

(Via - Princess Sparkle Pony)

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Blogger Goes Undercover In The Meat Rack

Choire Sicha, the Radar Online blogger who broke the story of last week's sex arrests in Fire Island's Meat Rack, decided to do some first person investigating over the weekend.
This Saturday afternoon, in the aftermath of a number of arrests by the National Parks Service in the gay cruising grounds of Fire Island, your intrepid reporter camped out in some fairly short shorts with a book and waited for more drama to unfurl. It was sort of like going undercover, but not really?

But first, a note! Gay publications (including The Advocate, but also Next and Edge) have happily quoted the Department of the Interior's assertion that "no arrests were made." This is parroted by Fire Island residents with the sort of relief that any kind of denial brings. Quick, to West's Encyclopedia of American Law! "[T]he detention of a person need not be accompanied by formal words of arrest or a station house booking to constitute an arrest." If you are not free to leave—for instance, if you are in handcuffs, and a federal agent is searching your pockets—you are most decidedly under arrest. So, for starters, it's a shame that the National Park Service is lying and that gay publications believe it.

[snip]

So out in the Meat Rack, the federal forest between Cherry Grove and the Pines, I met a man who described his "flavor" as "Blatino" and who suggested, unprompted, for himself the pseudonym of "Max." He reported that he had seen a timid, anxious three-way taking place in the bushes that afternoon and not much else—but that the Meat Rack had, last night in the wee hours, been hopping. No one expected the park rangers to have the budget for night patrols.

A Suffolk County police officer cruised along the sand road on an ATV. She didn't even slow down. On July 24, 1967, the New York Times reported on that department's now long-extinct campaign of arrests: in 1966, there were 60 arrests, mainly for disorderly conduct, with most of the gay men pleading guilty. Anonymous reports of the arrests were mailed to their employers, but the cops claimed they only did so "with certain occupations, such as schoolteaching." And: "Repeaters are sometimes given jail sentences of up to a year."

Max said he had recently, prompted by the annoyances of New York-area sex venues being shuttered, taken it upon himself to, with a friend, host a private party: no drugs, well-hung only, of eight men. It was, he reported, a big success! Though, as you might expect of a group of men, it really only lasted for an hour. There were a few other lurky turkeys hanging out, but skittish. For the next few hours, nothing happened. The proposed protest of a "circle jerk for freedom" never encircled.

And the following day, Sunday, things were pretty quiet; no cops of any stripe. Everyone had heard that the new park rangers put on staff at the Fire Island National Seashore had been informed by their superiors that arresting gay men for lewd behavior was not a priority here. How that might have been put to them was not explained. The Superintendent's office and the Regional Director's office never returned phone calls.

The brief return of Fire Island to the '60s was, apparently, over

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Cops Close Major Clubs On Pride Weekend

The big story buzzing through the crowds on Pride Sunday was the Friday night closures of some major Manhattan nightclubs - including Pacha, which was to host the official Heritage of Pride closing party, an event which was promoted here on JMG.
The NYPD shut down two of the city's most popular clubs - in the middle of Pride Week festivities - after spending nearly a year posing as partying druggies, police said. Undercover vice investigators spent months working in the dark rooms of Pacha and Marquee nightclubs buying an array of narcotics - including marijuana, Ecstasy and Special K, court records showed.

Pacha was set to hold the official after-party of the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday night. Promoter Stephen Pevner said he spent more than $40,000 on the event, but cops stopped him from going into the shuttered venue.

"The timing couldn't have been worse," said Pevner, 48, who had to "scrounge around" for another home to quickly slap together a mega-dance. Capitale in the Bowery took him in. Police said they closed the two hot spots on Friday night, a day after the department's legal team sued the clubs' owners.

"We don't check the schedule of the clubs," NYPD Assistant Chief Michael Collins said about the raids, which have caused ire among the city's gay community. "I am not surprised," said Michael Musto, the iconic gay columnist with The Village Voice. "The cops are not overly sensitive to gay issues. When they want to make a statement against a club, they raid it before a big event, by hitting the club where it hurts - the wallet."
As noted above, the Saint-At-Large found a last minute home for their event at Capitale in the Bowery. "Where the hell is Capitale?" seemed to be the most common question of the day. I've heard the party was well-received nonetheless. Other popular bars such as Splash and G Bar were rumored to have been raided or fined as well, but not closed (although I've found no confirmation of that.)

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Conflicting Signals

Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement that he opposes the gay marriage ban referendum in California, Barack Obama announced that if elected, he will expand Dubya's controversial "faith-based initiatives" programs.
Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and - in a move sure to cause controversy - support their ability to hire and fire based on faith.

Obama was unveiling his approach to getting religious charities more involved in government anti-poverty programs during a tour and remarks Tuesday at Eastside Community Ministry in Zanesville, Ohio. The arm of Central Presbyterian Church operates a food bank, provides clothes, has a youth ministry and provides other services in its impoverished community.

"The challenges we face today, from putting people back to work to improving our schools, from saving our planet to combating HIV/AIDS to ending genocide, are simply too big for government to solve alone," Obama was to say, according to a prepared text of his remarks obtained by The Associated Press. "We need all hands on deck."

But Obama's support for letting religious charities that receive federal funding consider religion in employment decisions was likely to invite a storm of protest from those who view such faith requirements as discrimination.
Yes, let's give hundreds of millions of dollars to right-wing Christian groups who work day and night to thwart LGBT rights. We'll get a bowl of soup and a good talking to!

UPDATE: More on the story from the Washington Post..
Sen. Barack Obama will travel to a swing district of eastern Ohio this morning to propose strengthening the White House program extending assistance to faith-based and community social service organization while insisting those organization not discriminate against aid recipients. The $500-million-a-year program would also create 1 million new slots for summer jobs and education programs.

"I'm not saying that faith-based groups are an alternative to government or secular nonprofits, and I'm not saying that they're somhow better at lifting people up," Obama's prepared remarks say. "What I'm saying is that we all have to work together -- Christian and Jew, Hindu and Muslim, believer and non-believer alike -- to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

George W. Bush first proposed federal assistance to religious organizations during his 2000 presidential campaign, a proposal seconded by then-Vice President Al Gore as both were reaching out to evangelical voters. But Bush's faith-based initiative has been mired in controversy. It's first director, John DiIulio, quit the White House and charged the administration was stocked with "Mayberry Machiavellis" more interested in politics than policy.

Obama aides said the current program requires faith-based organizations interested in assistance to attend conferences in Washington to learn how to apply, which has reduced participation to a few savvy groups. Instead, he would set up "community partners" to "train the trainers" to apply in a more streamlined fashion.

But Obama aides said an Obama administration would get tougher on groups that discriminate in hiring practices and assistance. The groups would have to abide by federal hiring laws which reject discrimination based on race, sex, religion and sexual orientation. And the groups could use federal funds only to assist anyone in need, not anyone from a certain background or religion. Nor could federal funds be used to prosletyze or spread religious beliefs.

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NAACP Likes The Ex-Gays

According to a press release from the nutters at Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays, in 2006 they were allowed to have an exhibit at the annual NAACP convention and have been invited back.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) sent out a mailing today titled “NAACP Rocks,” referencing a 2006 letter of appreciation from the organization to PFOX. According to the attached copy, PFOX held an exhibit at the NAACP annual convention that year. It is not yet known if they participated in 2007 or if they will be there this year, but the email suggests they plan on participating in 2009
Read the entire story on Ex-Gay Watch. This is surprising and disappointing news, especially in light of NAACP head Julian Bond's numerous expressions of support of LGBT rights.

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We've Got Your Family Values Right Here

(Courtesy of Jesus' General via Pam Spaulding.)

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Morning View - Sidewalk Talk

While taking shelter from a thunderstorm during the Pride parade, JMG regular Crixi Van Cheek and I puzzled over this bit of sidewalk mysticism. According to our pal Ned, this message has been appearing all around Manhattan this year. "Become a more and more perfect instrument of the divine." Shrug.

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