Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blowoff San Francisco Photo Recap


Here's a slideshow of last night's sweaty shenanigans. Go here for full-screen versions of the shots. If you don't want your photo included here, please email me.

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Afternoon View - Given

In the former location for Harvey Milk's camera shop is the gift store Given, above which is a painting of Milk looking out his apartment window.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Impressions

Castro Street, Saturday, 12:30 PM

Leif and I are walking up the crowded Castro Street sidewalk when he calls out to a handsome bearded cub.

Leif: Andy, you sexy motherfucker!

Andy : Oh, hi....Leif....uh, these are my parents.

Introductions were made to Andy's tiny elderly parents who politely pretended not to have heard. I didn't catch their names because I was hiding in a storefront, cracking up. Good times.

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Tonight: Blowoff San Francisco

Serendipitilicious = happening to be in San Francisco on the same weekend that Blowoff is in town. The fur begins to fly at Slim's at 10PM. Every single person we ran into on the street today said they're going, it should be a crazy night.

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Morning View - Market Street

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NY Senate Democrats Back Off Promise For Marriage Equality In 2009

New York Senate Democrats are now telling the press that they may not bring up marriage equality in the upcoming session and may not do so at all until after the 2011 election. This, after encouraging boatloads of campaign donations from the LGBT community with the attached promise of bringing same-sex marriage to a vote.
“We want to get there, but we want to get there the right way or else we risk setting ourselves back another decade,” said Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat who represents the Upper East Side. “I think the California proposition and the recognition that entities with large amounts of money who oppose same-sex marriage have decided to be large players in this have a lot of people going back to the drawing board.” [JMG: Krueger is my senator.]

In addition, shoring up the state’s depleted treasury and repairing the economy have become the most pressing issues for Albany lawmakers, who return to the capital in January to face a reconfigured landscape. Democrats hold a majority of seats in both chambers of the Legislature, along with the governor’s office, for the first time since the 1930s. Some Democrats are not even confident they have the 32 votes necessary to pass a same-sex marriage bill in the Senate. The Democratic-led Assembly passed the measure last year by a sizable margin, but the Republican-controlled Senate declined to bring it to the floor for a vote.
Openly gay state Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, who successfully led the Assembly to approve marriage equality last year, disagrees with the strategy:
“Since when are fixing the economy and civil rights mutually exclusive?” said Daniel J. O’Donnell, an assemblyman from the Upper West Side who led the push for the bill in the Assembly. Mr. O’Donnell added that expectations are high in the gay community that New York will be able to deliver the movement’s next victory. “The leadership of the Senate and others in our community collected a lot of money from a lot of people with the promise — spoken and unspoken — that if the Democrats won the Senate, they would take a vote,” he said.
Some would say that what we're seeing here is the Democratic party in full retreat, terrified by the prospect of a repeat of the Prop 8 debacle in New York. And I can understand that the Democrats are soft-pedaling marriage equality at least until the majority leadership issue is resolved, but check out THIS corker from the above-linked story:
The Empire State Pride Agenda, an organization known for aggressively pursuing news media attention, said through a spokesman that it was in a “quiet period” and would not respond to questions.
A "quiet period"??? What. The. Fuck? And here I had dismissed it when I was told at the marriage equality rally at New York City Hall that the Pride Agenda had been telling people not to attend. Later that same day, somebody else told me they'd called the Pride Agenda to see if that was true, and he said he was told, "We're not telling people to go and we're not telling people not to go."

Here we are in the midst of the greatest resurgence of gay activism seen in decades and our own people are putting on the brakes. The Wicked Witch of the West said, "These things must be done delicately"...and I get that. But fucking hell, this is frustrating.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

"Own It, Work It, Grab An Ankle"....

....so said our waiter as he took this picture after our big homo-family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. We were the last party to leave the dining room and I guess he finally felt safe to come out to us, although we'd instantly pegged him when we were seated.

It was another wonderful holiday meal, our third consecutive year at this restaurant, made all the better as SuperDaddy had procured us a round table for the first time, making cross-table chatter much easier. Speaking of which, when the topic turned to "Famous People I Have Done", we were all blown away by the story of one of our group who'd very recently hooked up with an iconic TV star of the late 50's. Demands of proof were made and let's just say we were all convinced. (And it sure turned my measly story about hooking up with a mid-90's reality show character into a big "meh.")

The only downside of the evening was the keenly-felt absence of our beloved Farmboyz, who were packing up their just-sold Connecticut home. We toasted the Farmboyz with our first round, then I called my mom and passed the phone around the table so all my boys could say "Hello." It made her feel good to know I was spending the holiday in such wonderful company.

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Wal-Mart Death Stampede

It truly is Black Friday.
A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island store Friday morning, police and witnesses said. The 34-year-old employee, a temporary maintenance worker, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m. Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back." The unidentified victim was rushed to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m., police said
Killed over a discount X-box or whatever. This country.

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New World Waking!

I'm heading back to San Francisco this weekend to attend the SF Gay Men's Chorus' world premiere of New World Waking!, the latest work by my fabulous pal Steve Schalchlin, whom you may recall from his recent Off Broadway hit, The Big Voice: God Or Merman? Three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie will introduce the evening, which features Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday as a guest vocalist. The show takes place Monday night at Davies Symphony Hall, get tickets here.

The night will be very special for me, because the closing song of Act 1 of New World Waking! is about me, sort of. Years ago, I belonged to an online discussion forum for aspiring writers and other artsy types, which is where I first met Steve Schlachlin. Back in January on JMG, I talked about how I met Steve in that forum, and explained how the song came to be:
Steve is a long-term AIDS survivor and he and I spoke many times about the horrors of the epidemic and the people we have lost. Discussion on the forum also often turned to the topic of dating, as those things usually do, and when questioned by Steve and other participants about my very long-running singleness, I would usually reply flippantly that I was burned out on losing people and was now officially "dead inside".

Steve was intrigued by the concept of the emotional surrender implied by the phrase "dead inside" and thought it could make an interesting platform for a song. He asked me for some sample lyrics and being the great songwriter that he is, he immediately discarded my very lame attempt and went to work. A few months later, he sent me an audio file of his performance of Dead Inside and I was instantly wrecked. He nailed it. Last year he recorded another version using noted Chicago-based transgender cabaret singer Alexandra Billings. You can download the demo of the recording here.
It's a beautiful/tough song - mournful and wistful - and I'm sure I'll be a complete wreck by the second bar. Steve writes about how his conversations with me brought about Dead Inside:
In describing his life, he would frequently use the term "Dead Inside," as a way to describe himself and other people who had simply stopped even trying to love because of the pain they've experienced. Expanding on his theme, "Dead Inside" evolved into a song about the kind of lost lives some GLBT people suffer as a result of homophobia that evolves into a kind of self-inflicted violence. In the song, which takes place in a bar, a man warns a prospective suitor that he has lost the ability to love only find out that that is precisely what the other man is seeking.
Luckily, there will be another nine songs in the show, during which I can hopefully pull it together enough to walk out under my own power. Below is a clip of the chorus rehearing the closing number, My Rising Up, which will be led by Jennifer Holliday. I hope to see and meet lots of you there.

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On Rosie Live

We had to watch Rosie Live two times yesterday just to convince ourselves how incredibly, mind-bogglingly bad it was. I loves me some Rosie, usually, but dayum. From TV Guide:
If the TV variety format weren't already dead, the ghastly ego trip of NBC's Thanksgiving-eve turkey Rosie Live would surely have killed it. Like the pie Alec Baldwin predictably pushed into Conan O'Brien's face that fell to the floor without sticking, the entire hour landed with a sickening, sad, ill-conceived thud. It felt like an off night at America's Got Talent, bookended by wobbly appearances from Liza Minnelli and Gloria Estefan, each forced to perform with the caterwauling host, Rosie O'Donnell.

The low point? There were so many. I ran to the kitchen to see how our sweet-potato casserole was progressing so I could escape Jane Krakowski's career-low stripper-ish ode to product placement, warbling new lyrics to Gypsy's "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" that listed all the giveaways the live audience would get, everything from a Vudu player to White Castle hamburgers and Crest Whitestrips (probably not a bad idea after gorging on those stomach bombs). But even that was a treat compared to Clay Aiken, arriving in his Spamalot costume, engaging in who-loves-who-more banter with Rosie, coyly dancing around the gay issue. "We're both Gayyy-briel Byrne fans," Rosie sorta joked.
I can't find it at the moment, but I read another review that described Liza Minnelli's entrance from beneath the stage as, "And then Liza arose, as if from the grave." Stupendously bad television.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Open Thread Thursday

For the first 18 years after I left Orlando, I always came home for Thanksgiving. But three years ago I told my bio-family that I was building a new tradition with my homo-family in NYC and would henceforth be spending Thanksgivings with them here. They understand that while I'm single and childless, I have another family here that's as real and as close and as loved as the one with whom I share DNA. It's a beautiful thing.

Tell us about your situation.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Donny Osmond On Gay Marriage

In the "About My Beliefs" section of Donny.com, the second-most famous Mormon in the country posted an undated response to a fan's question about his stance on gay marriage:

"My beliefs about marriage is beautifully stated in The Family - A Proclamation To The World, a document published by the leaders of our church back in 1995. I am going to include it here:
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
"There are many gay individuals that are members of our church. I know many of them. In fact, some of my best friends are gay. You ask how I react regarding their marriages. Well, I do support our Church leaders who say that we can accept those with gay tendencies in our church as long as they do not act upon their temptations. Everyone has tenancies to succumb to temptation, but we all have the same standard given to us by our Father in Heaven. Whether we may be tempted to be immoral with members of our own sex or of the opposite sex, we are expected to live chaste lives. This is very well explained not only in the Book of Mormon, but in the Bible as well.

"You see, the whole beauty of God's plan is that we all have our free agency to live our lives the way we want to live them. Personally, I believe in the words stated above and that they came from a living prophet, so I abide by them.

"We all determine for ourselves what is right and what is not right for our own lives and how we live God's commandments. I am not a judge and I will never judge anyone for the decisions they make unless they are causing harm to another individual. I love my friends, including my gay friends. We are all God's children. It is their choice, not mine on how they conduct their lives and choose to live the commandments according to the dictates of their own conscience. I hope this helps. Sincerely, Donny Osmond."

Donny Osmond "loves" his gay friends, even though he believes they are immoral whore-sluts bringing "calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets" upon the nation. How does that work, exactly? For what it's worth, there's no evidence that Osmond donated to Yes On 8, nor has he spoken publicly on the issue other than on his website. However as a devout and wealthy Mormon, some portion of his tithing probably went into the campaign.

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NY GOP Tries To Bribe Renegade Dems, Offers $6M To Stop Marriage Equality

The Republican leadership in the New York Senate is trying to bribe the three renegade Democratic senators to support their choice for majority leader with promises of committee leadership positions and access to a multimillion dollar budget.
In a move that could help woo three Democrats whose votes will determine which party will control the New York State Senate next year, Republicans are planning to grant more autonomy and power to key committees, officials said on Monday.

The most striking change will involve the Senate Finance Committee, which plays a major role in budget planning and has the power to approve all of the governor’s nominations to top executive branch jobs. Under the plan, the Finance Committee would be given its own funds in the state budget, allowing it to operate almost independently from the rest of the Senate. Traditionally in the Legislature, committee leaders are effectively figureheads who defer to the Senate and Assembly leaders.

But the change would also empower Senate Republicans to offer an especially attractive post to one of the three Democrats — Senators Rubén Díaz Sr. and Carl Kruger and Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr. — who have not yet committed to supporting Malcolm A. Smith, the Senate’s top Democrat. Mr. Smith needs their votes to become majority leader when the Senate meets in January.
The dangled fund is reported to be about $6M.
Senate Republicans, who narrowly lost majority control on Election Day, are moving to create a nearly $6 million honey pot designed to encourage one of the "Gang of Three" Democrats to defect to the GOP side, The Post has learned. The highly unusual move involves the $95 million 2008-09 budget that the still GOP-controlled Senate must submit to Gov. Paterson's office by the end of next week.

For the first time in 14 years, the Senate budget, which cannot be altered by the governor, will contain a separate $5.9 million expenditure for the powerful Finance Committee, the chairman of which will be chosen in January by the next majority leader. "It's a carrot that people will take a look at," a Senate source said. "The money will be there for whoever heads the Senate Finance Committee next year, it means power and influence and a seat at the table for whoever is the chairman."
If the Democrats do not win the majority leadership position, it is highly unlikely that marriage equality will come to a vote in the New York Senate during the next session. While the GOP has many reasons to lust over the majority leadership job, this outrageous bribe can only be read as a deliberate attempt to buy their way to continued discrimination against gay New Yorkers.

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Terror Attacks On Tourists In Mumbai

A coordinated series of terror attacks aimed at Western tourists took place across Mumbai, India today with scores of people killed.
At least 78 people were killed and 200 injured today when gunmen opened fire on a crowded Mumbai railway station, luxury hotels and a restaurant popular with tourists. Johnny Joseph, chief secretary for Maharashtra state in India, of which Mumbai is the capital, says the death toll could rise further. The gunmen attacked the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai landmark, along with the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels. The motive for the attacks was not immediately clear but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terror attacks, often blamed on Muslim militants, including a series of blasts in July last year that killed 187 people.
CNN International is reporting that the attackers were demanding to know who had British or American passports and that an unknown number of tourists are being held captive.

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The Mormon PR Disaster

The Salt Lake City Tribune notes the backlash against the LDS:
Although they live a continent away from California, LDS Church members Gregory and JaLynn Prince, of Washington, D.C., still have felt the backlash from their church's involvement in the traditional marriage initiative known as Proposition 8. Their daughter, Lauren, a Boston University student, has lost friends over the issue, while their son, an LDS missionary in San Bernardino, Calif., has had a disproportionate number of potential converts cancel appointments.

About two weeks ago, during a first-ever class on Mormonism at Wesley Theological Seminary, where the Princes have built bridges for years, students pointedly asked them: "What was your church thinking?" "We are not taking sides on the issue, but the way this was done has hurt our people and the church's image," JaLynn Prince said. "It reminds me of the naive public relations strategy we had regarding the Equal Rights Amendment."

In some minds, the so-called "Mormon moment" heralded at the start of 2008 has stopped short. Just 10 months after the death of LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, who spent nearly 70 years burnishing his church's public image, goodwill toward Mormonism that culminated during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games seems to have faded in a haze of misunderstanding and outright hostility.

Mean-spirited critiques of Mormonism during Mitt Romney's unsuccessful presidential campaign were followed by persistent news-media reports linking Latter-day Saints to the FLDS polygamous sect raided by Texas authorities. Now, angry opponents of Proposition 8 are demonstrating at Mormon temples, accusing the church of being anti-gay.
Interestingly, the very same Christianists who have long ridiculed Mormon beliefs are now rushing to their defense. Hate creates very strange bedfellows.

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JMG Keywords!

This is how the mouth-breathers at Free Republic just tagged their commentary on my post about the Obama birth certificate lunacy:

TOPICS:
Chit/Chat
KEYWORDS: antichristian; bigot; birthcertificate; celebratesin; certifigate; conspiracytheory; crackpot; dnctalkingpoints; gaystapotactics; hedonist; homosexualagenda; ifitfeelsgooddohim; larrysinclairslover; lavendermafia; liberalbigot; missingbirthcert; moonbat; obama; religiousintolerance; sodomite; woowoo

My favorite: ifitfeelsgooddohim. Loves it!

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Put A Ring On It

Surely by now you've heard about the latest YouTube sensation, Shane Mercado, whose fabulously swishy home video performance of Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) has garnered a zillion views. Mercado recreated his moves on the Bonnie Hunt Show last week with the help of a green screen.

There are now loads of other YouTubers with their own versions of the dance, and browsing the clips I learned that the Beyonce's choreography was a move-for-move homage to the late Gwen Verdon, Bob Fosse's wife. Here's the '60's-era clip that inspired Beyonce's moves, set to Single Ladies.

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"Protect DOMA" Site Launched

Terrified at the prospect that Barack Obama will actually make LGBT Americans the full citizens they deserve to be, the Christianist right has preemptively launched Protect DOMA, a site designed to build opposition in minority communities to the repeal of the Defense Of Marriage Act.

All of the photos and quotes on the main page are from black and Latino people, including the notoriously closeted Mexican-American actor Eduardo Verastequi. Funded by the Alliance for Marriage Foundation, the site's list of their board of directors is a who's who of black, Latino, and Asian religious leaders, as well as one Muslim imam. The logo for the Hispanic Evangelicals Coalition is on the main page.

From their press release:
"The repeal of DOMA is the legislative Holy Grail for activists who want to impose their radical social agenda upon America through the courts," said Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Jr., an AFM Advisory Board Member and President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC).

"As demonstrated in California, over 70% of the African-American community rejects the utterly false argument that gay activists have a 'civil right' to redefine marriage for our entire society," said Niger Innis, an AFM Advisory Board Member and National Spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality.

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NYTimes: Milk Is A Marvel

Milk gets a fantastic review from A.O. Scott in today's NYTimes. An excerpt:
That power lies in its uncanny balancing of nuance and scale, its ability to be about nearly everything — love, death, politics, sex, modernity — without losing sight of the intimate particulars of its story. Harvey Milk was an intriguing, inspiring figure. “Milk” is a marvel.
Last Wednesday I attended a press conference with most of the cast, director Gus Van Zant, and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. A lot of the questions were the usual "What was your motivation?" sort of stuff you hear at these things, but several of us asked about Proposition 8 and the timeliness of the film.

Photos weren't allowed and I didn't have a voice recorder with me, so here are a few quotes that I scribbled down. Some of them I've confirmed as verbatim from published accounts of the press conference.

Sean Penn: "It's only an issue [Prop 8] because of ignorance in the first place. We don't have any excuse for being ignorant of the law...or ignorant of human history... In fact any support of Prop 8 would be minimally manslaughter. Because human history tells us that teenage boys are going to hang themselves out of a reach for an identity that they can't get.... And if this movie is a part of an engine to help reveal that, that's going to make us all happy and proud."

Gus Van Zant: "Prop 8 has mobilized and brought everybody together. The young gay community has responded. This is a new energy that's kind of inspiring."

Sean Penn: (On the parallels between Harvey Milk and Barack Obama.) "Well, they both used the word 'hope'."

Dustin Lance Black: (On first learning about Harvey Milk.) "It was a personal story that I heard as a teenager at a time when I needed to hear it."

Josh Brolin: (On playing Dan White.) "During the filming, I stayed at my ex-wife's brother's place just above the Castro and I was afraid that I was going to be shot if I went down there." (He was joking.)

I got one question: "We've seen some escalating confrontations between the gay and faith communities since the Prop 8 vote and there's a lot of anger at gay people over their reaction to the vote. How do you think the faith community will respond to this film about what most would see as an entirely sympathetic character?"

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence and I started to regret the question. Gus Van Zant looked at Sean Penn and seemed to toss the question over to him.

Sean Penn:
"I don't think they deserve the term 'faith community'. They're a pseudo-faith community. Hypocritical hatred doesn't deserve the name 'faith community'."

Not really an answer to my question, but I'll take it. Milk opens nationwide today. I suggest taking your family after that nice Thanksgiving dinner.

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A Roadblock For Hillary?

Constitutional scholars have pointed out an odd twist in the road to Hillary Clinton's appointment as Secretary of State. Apparently, members of Congress are barred from taking other jobs in government if the salary for the new job has been raised in the last year, as has been done this year for Cabinet positions. Here's the archaic language of the law:
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Emoluments means salary or perks. Matthew Berger:
The question is whether this would be an issue at confirmation - if Clinton is nominated to the post - and who would raise it. Senators traditionally grant their colleagues some deference and it could be considered politics at its worst if Republicans try to block her nomination with this argument. But senators may be loathe to vote for something scholars tell them is unconstitutional. That being said, this development may make Obama, or Clinton, think twice about the appointment.
This will be interesting.

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LA Film Festival Director Resigns Over Anti-Gay Donation

Los Angeles Film Festival director Richard Raddon has resigned after his donation to Yes On 8 caused some major Hollywood figures to threaten to boycott the events.
In a statement, Raddon said, "I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights. As many know, I consider myself a devout and faithful Mormon. I prefer to keep the details around my contribution through my church a private matter. But I am profoundly sorry for the negative attention that my actions have drawn to Film Independent and for the hurt and pain that is being experienced in the GLBT community."

Raddon's support for Proposition 8 has sparked debate within both the gay community and Hollywood, as many publicly worry about punishing people for free speech, even speech they deemed hateful, and his departure has already provoked ambivalence.

"I'm personally saddened by the outcome," said Film Independent board member Bill Condon, the writer-director of "Dreamgirls." "Someone has lost his job and possibly his livelihood because of privately held religious beliefs. I think the organization was ready to tough this out, but Rich ultimately decided it wasn't worth the cost. I'm not sure he was right."
He's "sorry for the hurt and pain" he caused us. He should have thought about that before he paid $1500 to write discrimination into state law.

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Burnt Offerings

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Layoffs At GLAAD

Citing reduced donations due to the poor economy and the Prop 8 battle, GLAAD has announced staff reductions across all departments.
GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano said that he has not seen actual numbers of positions eliminated, but that "the reduction in force touched all departments." "We looked at the work we're doing and the mission we have and we had to make a strategic plan to make reductions," he said. "Fundraising has slowed dramatically and the non-profit sector is not immune to what's going on, and sometimes we're impacted more."

Giuliano said the election impacted donations to GLAAD. "People were donating to the candidates and also gave a historic amount to fight anti-gay ballot measures," he said. He said the reduction in donations coupled with the financial crisis meant that GLAAD had to make job cuts in order to stay within budget and prepare for 2009. The way I look at it is that it is the responsible thing to do to protect the long-term health of the organization, and be good stewards of the revenue that donors have provided," Giuliano said.
(Via - Washington Blade)

UPDATE: GLAAD public relations director Richard Ferraro writes to clarify the above story:
"The Washington Blade incorrectly reported that Neil Giuliano 'has not seen actual numbers' of positions eliminated. In fact, he was a part of the decision-making process around cost-containment as a member of the Senior Management team. Recommendations were made by this team and decisions made by Neil."

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Bragging Rights

Christine "I Was Beaten With A Bible By Murderous Homos" Cloud is being deified all over the wingnut-o-sphere. Sample quotes from Freepers:

- "God bless that young lady, a true soldier!"
- "CHEERS for the brave evangelical girl!"
- "It’s just another daily example of the global Christian persecution.”

It therefore pleases me endlessly to see the top result when you Google her name.

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Candace Gingrich Talks Prop 8


Candace Gingrich went on Keith Olbermann's show to discuss the post-Prop 8 landscape, the letter she wrote to her brother, and the recent poll that shows if the vote were held again today, it would fail.

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Ann Coulter: "Mbbmlsfffooog!"

Santa Christ has brought you an early present. Via Page Six:
WE HEAR...THAT although we didn't think it would be possible to silence Ann Coulter, the leggy reaction- ary broke her jaw and the mouth that roared has been wired shut...
Did she finally call the wrong dude a faggot? It IS her favorite word.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Boy George's Trial Begins

Boy George's trial for false imprisonment began in the UK yesterday.
A Norwegian escort told a court Monday that Boy George manacled him to a bedroom wall and beat him with a metal chain after accusing him of hacking into his computer. The former Culture Club singer is on trial for the false imprisonment of 29-year-old Audun Carlsen. The 47-year-old singer, who is standing trial under his real name, George O'Dowd, denies the charge.

Carlsen told London's Snaresbrook Crown Court that he met the singer through a Web site and went to his London home for a naked photo shoot. After the encounter Boy George sent a series e-mails accusing Carlsen of hacking into his computer, but Carlsen nonetheless agreed to return for a second photo session several weeks later in April 2007. Carlsen told the jury that when he arrived Boy George and another man held him down and beat him before the singer handcuffed him to a hook in the bedroom wall. "George was slapping me and beating me and punching me and screaming things," Carlsen said. Carlsen said he was able to escape by unscrewing the hook and running for the door.
Earlier this year, the pending case caused the United States to deny O'Dowd a visa, causing the cancellation of his tour. In 2006 he had to perform community service in NYC after falsely filing a police report.

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Christianists Ramp Up Obama Birth Certificate Attacks

The right-wing just won't let go of their "Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen" bit of nonsense. Today the Christiantist site World Net Daily is asking their readers to FedEx letters to the Supreme Court demanding they hold a hearing on the subject. They also want letters sent to Republican members of Congress saying, "Please hold congressional hearings to investigate whether Barack Obama meets the basic constitutional requirements for the highest office of the land."

They are also demanding that the members of the Electoral College prove Obama's citizenship before their December 15th vote that will officially make him president-elect.
A one-time vice presidential candidate who is considered an expert on the U.S. Constitution says it is up the electors from the 50 states to make certain President-elect Barack Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen before they cast votes for him in the Electoral College Dec. 15. If they do their duty, they would make sure that if they cast a vote for Mr. Obama, that Mr. Obama is a natural-born citizen," Herb Titus, the Constitution Party's running mate to Howard Phillips in 1996, told WND today.

"I think it should be resolved. The duty is in the Electoral College. Every Obama elector that is committed to casting a vote on the 15th of December, they have a constitutional duty to make certain whether Mr. Obama is a natural-born citizen," he said. If the electors fail their duty and Obama proves ultimately to fail the eligibility requirement of the U.S. Constitution, there would be only the laborious, contentious and cumbersome process of impeachment available to those who would wish to follow the Constitution, he suggested.

At this writing, the top nine stories on World Net Daily are all on the subject of Obama's nationality. In the top-linked story, Queen of the Wingnuts Janet Porter (pictured left) cites these "obvious" reasons that the "Certificate Of Live Birth" posted online by the Obama campaign is a forgery:

  1. The problem of the pixels: When you have a green patterned document such as this, there should be a lot of green pixels from the background showing up between the letters that appear on the certification. But in this case, instead of green pixels, there are white and grey pixels between the letters, which result when you replace existing text with other text.
  2. There is no second fold line. The pictures show two folds – necessary to fit any COLB into an envelope for mailing, but the document itself shows only one fold. This is another indication of document alteration.
  3. There's a blurred border. The border has a lower resolution than the rest of the document, which is another indication that it has been altered.
  4. The border is one that is used in 2007 COLBs. As a security measure, Hawaii changes their borders every year. This is when the Obama campaign claims the certificate was obtained. That is fine except for the problem that …
  5. The seal and signature stamp are from a 2008 COLB. As revealed by a process called edging, the Hawaiian seal and signature stamp on the back of the document are revealed to be from the wrong year!
Snopes has already debunked this dumbassery, but Porter's column is being gleefully linked around the loon-o-sphere. Hey, is that Bigfoot?

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New Yorker Stands By Prince Story

I never mentioned it here (because..hello...the source was Perez Hilton), but moments after it made the news, a flack for Prince was denying his anti-gay quotes in the New Yorker, saying that the Artist Formerly Known As Interesting had been "grossly misquoted and misinterpreted."

Misinterpreted? "God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, 'Enough'." Unless that line was delivered in a foreign language, there isn't any room for misinterpretation.

Anyway, the notoriously rigorous-with-the-fact-checking New Yorker is standing by their story and manages a jab at Perez Hilton at the same time. Beginning with Prince's reference to the Bible, they say:
At the other end of the literary spectrum is PerezHilton. The publication claims an outraged source within Prince's camp accuses the New Yorker of misquoting Prince. The source also apparently claims that the New Yorker's reporter, Claire Hoffman, did not record the interview, which could make it hard to unravel what really happened. However, the New Yorker stands by its story, as a spokeswoman confirmed to Wired.com on Tuesday morning. It sounds like this Prince insider may have been doing some damage control for his client, whose views may come as a surprise to some of his fans.

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Oregon Town Shows Support For Their New Transgender Mayor

After the Westboro Baptist Church nutters slithered into Silverton, Oregon yesterday, a supportive crowd of counter-protesters showed up to rally for their newly-elected transgender mayor.
The counterprotesters outside City Hall in this Marion County town today significantly outnumbered the protesters who inspired them: three young women and a man from a Kansas church, here to register their disdain with the recent election of the nation's first openly transgender mayor, Stu Rasmussen.

The quartet spread out along one side of North Water Street, feet planted on American flags spread on the sidewalk and hoisting large laminated posterboards on each arm. Double-sided and easy to read from passing vehicles and local television trucks positioned half a block away, the signs offered assorted damnation -- "Barack Obama = Antichrist," "God Hates You," "You're Going to Hell" and "Fag Media Shame."
The best sign in the above photo: "My Love Is Bigger Than Your Hate."

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Wingnuts Call On Governator To Condemn Marriage Activists

The Liberty Counsel has gathered 12,000 signatures on an "emergency petition" demanding that Arnold Schwarzenegger condemn the "hate-filled" marriage activists in California.
Following California’s statewide vote affirming one-man, one-woman marriage, radical homosexual activists have resorted to hostile protests against churches and pro-marriage advocates. These attacks pose a threat to safety and civility across the nation.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has done nothing to stop these attacks. In fact, in the midst of some of the most hate-filled protests to date, Schwarzenegger urged those opposing marriage by saying “don’t give up” and then calling on the state Supreme Court to overturn the constitutional amendment as unconstitutional! Arnold Schwarzenegger is acting in a lawless manner – refusing to accept even an amendment to the state constitution that has been affirmed by the people of California. And now his actions are inflaming hatred and animosity toward Christians and pro-marriage advocates and putting marriage supporters at risk!

That’s why Liberty Counsel has launched this Emergency Petition to Gov. Schwarzenegger demanding that he act immediately to quell this anti-marriage revolt which threatens the safety and well-being of pro-marriage citizens. Please sign to add your name to this petition.

To Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:
As a concerned citizen, I am signing this petition urging you to take immediate actions opposing the hate-filled anti-marriage protests that threaten the rule of law and the safety of pro-marriage citizens. Your actions to date have only added fuel to the fire of anti-marriage activists. Instead, as Governor, you must uphold the validity of the marriage amendment as voted upon by the people of California. Then, in the strongest possible terms, you must condemn the hate-filled protests and actions by anti-marriage advocates.

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The Happy Couple Is Registered At Closets-To-Go

The wedding invitations have gone out for Florida Gov. Charlie "Closet Case" Crist and his beard-to-be.
Invitations to Gov. Charlie Crist's upcoming nuptials are in the mail, and the guest list to the Dec. 12 event has become a source of chatter around the state. The cream and pale pink invitations to Crist and fiancee Carole Rome's ceremony at First United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg began arriving last week. State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said his fellow legislators are wondering who has been invited to the ceremony, which is black-tie optional. Guests who are planning to attend won't be bringing gifts to the wedding's reception at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. A card enclosed in the invitations reads: "No gifts please, due to Florida law.''
No gifts, because Florida law bans gay marriage?

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Kenneth Starr May Defend Prop 8

According to Mother Jones, Bill Clinton's nemesis Kenneth Starr will bat for the haters in the coming Prop 8 case before the California Supreme Court.
Overheard last week in DC at a right-wing legal convention: "We've all but confirmed that Ken Starr is going to take the case."--Jordan Lorence, senior counsel, Alliance Defense Fund.

The involvement of the former Clinton special prosecutor in efforts to preserve California's new ban on gay marriage really wouldn't come as much of a surprise. Two years ago, Starr, now dean of the Pepperdine law school, represented a bunch of anti-gay marriage groups, including the Mormon Church, in amicus briefs in some of California's gay marriage litigation. He's been involved in the issue for a while, now. Given the intense interest in other people's sex lives that Starr demonstrated during his investigation of the Lewinsky scandal, he seems a perfect fit for the job.

Of course, when I asked him at the Federalist Society conference to confirm the gossip, he said with a laugh, "No comment." Later, I asked Lorence whether he had indeed confirmed Starr as counsel. Looking a bit shocked that he'd been caught blabbing out of school, he pleaded ignorance, suggesting that he had no intelligence on the matter whatsoever, despite his earlier boasts to a Harvard law student about his inside line to Starr. He did confirm that he would not be doing the arguing himself, nor would another lawyer from the alliance who has argued such cases before. I take all this to mean that Starr is likely to take the case.

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UK: Two IDs For Those Transitioning

The British government is about to roll out its voluntary biometric national IDs and folks that are transitioning between genders are eligible to get two cards.
The Identity Cards Act became law in March 2006 and the Home Office are rolling out biometric residence permits for foreign nationals in 2008, with the first ID cards to be issued to British citizens in 2009. ID cards will be issued to critical workers at Manchester and London City airports late next year.

"If that project is successful, the cards could ultimately be required identification for all critical airport workers," according to the Home Office. "From 2010, young people will be offered the chance to sign up for cards. And, from 2012, ID cards will roll-out for the general population." Trans people will be issued a card in their birth gender, but those undergoing treatment to change sex will be allowed to buy a second card in their new gender.
The biometric IDs have been heavily criticized by civil liberties groups.

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HomoQuotable - David Mixner

"[W]e laughed Brokeback Mountain right out of an Academy Award. Please lets not allow the same thing to happen to Milk this year.

"Milk is a movie about our history, our heroes, our struggle and the power of one individual to create change. The movie is a universal story to inspire and give hope to everyone. The movie depicts how hatred can lead to assassination of not only, Supervisor Harvey Milk, but also Mayor George Moscone, because of their ideas and courage. There is nothing funny about this powerful and well done drama.

"So what did David Letterman and James Franco talk about on the Letterman show the other evening. Almost the entire interview was about Franco and Penn kissing. Letterman even left the impression of "ugh" when they talked about two men sharing an intimate moment. This is not acceptable from Letterman and GLAAD should be all over it. Also the producers of Milk should better brief their stars, like Franco, about not falling into the Brokeback Mountain trap. Franco's response should have been to Letterman, "This is not a comedy. It tells the story of an assassinated leader of a civil rights movement and the epic struggle for freedom." Trust me, that would have ended the discussion of kissing.

"If this kind of treatment of Milk continues, we will once again lose the powerful message of an amazing film, lose the awards and lose our history. It is not too late to speak out. Watch the Letterman segment below." - Gay rights activist and author David Mixner, complaining that jokes cost Brokeback Mountain its Oscar and that it may happen again with Milk. Read the entire piece.

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FL Judge Finds Ban On Gay Adoption Unconstitutional

UPDATE: I've deleted the previous post in this space with this excellent news.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman Tuesday declared Florida's 50-year-old ban on gay adoptions unconstitutional -- a ruling state lawyers immediately said they would challenge.

The ruling sets the stage for Frank Gill, a gay man from North Miami, to adopt two foster children he has raised since 2004. In a 53-page ruling, Judge Lederman said, ``It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent.'' Two lawyers from the Florida Attorney General's Office said they would file an appeal Tuesday.

''We respect the court's decision,'' said Assistant Attorney General Valerie Martin. ``Based upon the wishes of our client, the Department of Children & Families, we will file an appeal.'' Gill, who is raising the half-brothers, ages 4 and 8, said he was ''elated'' by the ruling and ``I cried tears of joy for the first time in my life.''

The opponents are expected to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

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"Legislating Immorality"

The drooling stuffed shirts at National Review continue to channel the rotting corpse of William F. Buckley:
Where do they go from here? Gay activists are already using the legal system to try to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church. If you believe that churches and synagogues, priests and rabbis won’t eventually be sued for their statements on sexuality, you’re kidding yourself. Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and gay activist who helps draft federal legislation related to sexual orientation, says that, when religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” A National Public Radio report on the conflict noted that if previous cases are any guide, “the outlook is grim for religious groups.”

Given their cavalier disregard for the freedom of conscience, it’s little surprise that the gay lobby is equally disdainful of democracy: They began pursuing legal challenges to Proposition 8 practically before they were done tallying the votes. Lamentably, the state attorney general defending the will of the people will be former Jerry Brown, the liberal former governor who was an open opponent of the measure and tried to sabotage it. The legal challenges will be heard by the same state Supreme Court that overturned California’s previous law forbidding gay marriage back in May. There’s a real possibility the will of the people will be spurned a second time, democracy be damned. They’ve already burned the Book of Mormon. The First Amendment is next.
You should read the entire piece, they manage to hit on almost all the favorite examples that folks in Wingnutistan use when describing "gay fascism": the New Mexico wedding photographer case, the lesbian insemination case, and the latest chart topper: eHarmony.

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California To Investigate Mormon Church On Prop 8 Financials

Californians Against Hate is seeing some action on their complaint.
California officials are planning to investigate whether the Mormon church gave an accurate accounting of its role in the campaign that succeeded in getting a same-sex marriage ban approved in the state. The action by the California Fair Political Practices Commission came in response to a complaint filed two weeks ago by a gay rights activist.

Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, accuses the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of failing to report the value of the work it did to support Proposition 8. Roman Porter, the agency's executive director, said Monday that the decision to open an investigation does not mean staff members have determined there was any wrongdoing, only that Karger's complaint merits further inquiry. A representative from the Salt Lake City-based church could not be reached for comment.

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Did The Prop 8 Rallies Help?

According to a poll taken by Survey USA, California voters are evenly split on this question: "Will the recent rallies held by 'No on Prop 8' protesters ultimately help their cause? Hurt their cause? Or will it not make a difference one way or the other?"

Another question asking "Have the protesters changed your opinion on Prop 8?" has 8% saying "Yes", but there's no indication how the changed opinions break down. I think we need Nate Silver on this.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Guest Post - Carl Siciliano
Executive Director, Ali Forney Center

At the Ali Forney Center we work hard to provide a holiday season of joy for the homeless LGBT youth who come to us for help. Many of our kids find this season challenging; it's getting colder outside, and they really feel the pain of being rejected by their families during a time that so emphasizes family togetherness. We try to show the kids as much love and warmth as we can, cooking holiday feasts, and giving as many presents as we can pull together.

Usually, this is the time of year when we receive the most support from the community. But this year I am in a panic. Corporate and foundation grants have dried up since September, and most of our government contracts are late in reimbursing us. Our bank account is empty, and our line of credit has been depleted. I am laying awake at night worrying about our overdue utility bills, and how to pay the December rents on our eight shelter apartments. More than ever before, I need the generosity and goodness of our community in order to provide for our kids.

If parents refuse to love and provide for their LGBT kids, then it is up to us, the LGBT community, to see that they are protected and nurtured. I am deeply moved as I see our kids struggle to overcome the cruelty and inhumanity they experienced when they came out. As I watch them struggle to rebuild their lives I see them as symbols for how all of us struggle to overcome homophobia and live proud and open lives.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the accomplishments of our kids. I think of Andre, who recently graduated from NYU and received a full scholarship to study dance at the Alvin Ailey School, and of Lamont, who was profiled in the Daily News for his courage in founding the first LGBT student group at Medgar Evers College (they received so many threats from fellow students that the school posted guards outside their meeting room!).

I know these are tough times for many, but I still need to ask for help. Please help the Ali Forney Center give our kids the holidays they deserve. Online donations can be made at here.

Checks can be sent to the Ali Forney Center at the address below.

Thanks so much.

Carl Siciliano
Founder/Executive Director
Ali Forney Center
224 West 35th Street, Suite 1102
New York, NY 10001
www.aliforneycenter.org

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Ted Kaufman To Replace Biden In Senate

Uh, who?
Edward "Ted" Kaufman, a former aide to Sen. Joe Biden, was named Monday by Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner to fill the Senate seat Biden is leaving for the vice presidency. Kaufman is president of a political and management consulting firm based in Wilmington. Speculation on Biden's successor had centered in recent weeks on his son, Attorney General Beau Biden. Last week, however, the younger Biden announced that he planned to fulfill his National Guard duties and wouldn't accept an appointment to his father's U.S. Senate seat.
I had been hoping for Beau Biden.

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HomoQuotable - Bill Condon

"If you're asking, 'Do we take discrimination against gays as seriously as bigotry against African Americans and Jews?' . . . the answer is, 'Of course we do.' But we also believe that some people, including Rich [Raddon], saw Prop. 8 not as a civil rights issue but a religious one. That is their right. And it is not, in and of itself, proof of bigotry." - Dreamgirls director Bill Condon, referring to the brewing controversy over LA Film Festival director Richard Raddon's $1000 contribution to Yes On 8.

Raddon has offered to resign and some in Hollywood are uneasy with what many perceive as a witchhunt against marriage equality opponents in the film industry. The LA Film Festival may suffer from the Raddon disclosure, already gay filmmaker Greg Araki has said he will not allow his films to play there. Read today's story in the Los Angeles Times for quotes from numerous film industry figures on the issue.

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Thank You, Sarah Palin


I totally expected this to be a joke, but Our Country Deserves Better PAC plans to air this around the country on Thanksgiving.

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San Diego: Prop 8 Apology Billboard

The Missiongathering Church in San Diego has put up a billboard apologizing for the Christian support for Proposition 8.

(Tipped by JMG reader Dorothy D.)

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Pat Boone: Marriage Equality Activists Are Like The World Trade Center Terrorists

"Marriage itself, the sacred institution around which all society is built, is being attacked and shaken. Yes, attacked with intent to contaminate it in a way that will eventually cause the collapse of American social order.

[snip]

"The first time the Islamic jihadists tried to destroy the WTC, they did it the smartest way – they attacked the foundations, down in the subterranean garages, planting huge bombs that would surely have toppled the massive buildings. But they were foiled at the last minute, and had to try again. So on Sept. 11 in 2001, 23 trained and disciplined terrorists attacked the Towers at a much higher and totally unexpected level. They commandeered some jetliners, filled with unsuspecting passengers, and plunged them into the upper floors of the Towers, accomplishing the unthinkable. Two giant buildings, with thousands of people in them, crumpled to the ground in cataclysmic annihilation.

[snip]

"And now a much greater shaking is affecting our national life. In a terrible pincer movement, an assault is taking place on two fronts simultaneously – one all-out attack on the foundations, the very pillars of our society, and the other on the executive suites in the ivory towers of business and finance. The jihadists in these organized, hugely funded attacks on our morality and virtue are not Middle Eastern – they're homegrown Americans who actually believe they're promoting a better America by destroying the foundations on which this nation was built!

"Recall that George Washington declared, 'Religion and morality are the twin pillars of liberty' … two foundational supports. Well, on one front, our jihadists would grant homosexual activity 'marriage rights', which outweigh the will of the majority and defy the societal structuring of all human history. On the second front, leftist political genetic engineers are moving into power, taking advantage of immoral and irresponsible greed in the economy to socialize industry and finance, and make Big Brother government everybody's boss and banker." - Washed up pop singer Pat Boone, in a WingNutDaily column titled Thank God For Earthquakes. Marriage equality, you see, is like the first attack on the foundation of the World Trade Center, and the economic crisis is like the second attack at the top.

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Supersized

Some guy is suing McDonald's for $3M because he left his phone at one of their franchises and although staffers apparently found the phone and promised to hold it for him, nude photos of his wife stored on the phone ended up online.
Here's some food for thought: If you have nude photos of your wife on your cell phone, hang onto it. Phillip Sherman of Arkansas learned that lesson after he left his phone behind at a McDonald's restaurant and the photos ended up online. Now he and his wife, Tina, are suing the McDonald's Corp., the franchise owner and the store manager. The suit was filed Friday and seeks a jury trial and $3 million in damages for suffering, embarrassment and the cost of having to move to a new home. The suit says that Phillip Sherman left the phone the Fayetteville store in July and that employees promised to secure it until he returned. Manager Aaron Brummley declined to comment, and other company officials didn't return messages.
Is there anything on your phone that shouldn't be on the intertubes?

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The Bloggers Bailout Plan

Six Apart, the company that owns the popular blogging service TypePad, is offering a small number of free accounts to recently laid-off bloggers and journalists.
It’s a long way from $700 billion, but the media start-up Six Apart is introducing its own economic bailout plan. The TypePad Journalist Bailout Program offers recently terminated bloggers and journalists a free pro account (worth $150 annually) on the company’s popular blogging platform. In addition to the free yearly membership, the 20 to 30 journalists who are accepted will receive professional tech support, placement on the company’s blog aggregation site, Blogs.com, and automatic enrollment in the company’s advertising revenue-sharing program.

Anil Dash, a former blogger and current vice president at Six Apart, announced the program Nov. 14, shortly after the company made its own staff cuts. Mr. Dash fired off a blog post: “Hello, recently-laid-off or fearful-of-layoffs journalist! We’re Six Apart (you know us as the nice folks who make Movable Type or TypePad, which maybe you used for blogging at your old newspaper or magazine) and we want to help you.” On Monday morning, he had roughly 50 e-mail applications in his inbox, and they have continued to pour in, totaling nearly 300 so far. “It was a bit of a surprise how quickly word got out,” Mr. Dash said. “This has struck a nerve.”
As is being documented daily in almost gleeful fashion over at Gawker, dozens of magazines and newspapers have folded in the last few weeks.

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Rachel Maddow On Fan Mail


Friday night on Conan O'Brien, Rachel Maddow said she gets a lot of nice fan mail, but lots of not-so-nice messages too: "You also get the hate mail where people write in specifically to tell me that I'm gay. As if I didn't know. Oh my God I had no idea. I'll get off television. That is the single best thing about coming out of the closet, is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you just told them."

I love that the band played Earth, Wind & Fire's Shining Star as her entrance music.

(Via - Towleroad)

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300 Protest At Chicago-Area Cinemark Theater

More than 300 marriage equality activists protested at a Chicago-area Cinemark Theater on Saturday in response to the company's CEO having donated $10K to support Prop 8. JMG reader Michael Lehet sends us his firsthand video.

A nationwide boycott of Cinemark has been brewing for the last week, with many upset that the chain will be showing Milk. The website No Milk For Cinemark asks moviegoers to refuse to view the film at any of the chain's outlets.

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Margaret Cho Sings About Mormons


Over 5000 marriage equality activists rallied at the capitol in Sacramento on Saturday, where Margaret Cho performed a filthy protest song about the Mormon Church. Audio NSFW.

(Via - Queerty)

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Burundi Outlaws Homosexuality

Mixed in with otherwise positive reforms, Burundi's parliament unanimously voted to outlaw homosexuality this week. Box Turtle Bulletin has the report:

The central African nation of Burundi adopted a new set of laws abolishing the death penalty for the first time in the troubled nation’s history. The sweeping law was seen as an important reform. It incorporated parts of international law on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It includes important safeguards against torture as well as sexual violence against women and children.

It also criminalizes homosexuality.

The law was overwhelmingly passed by Burundi’s Parliament, 90-0 with ten abstentions. It still needs to be ratified by the Senate and signed by President Pierre Nkurunziza, which is seen as a mere formality. Nkurunziza is described as an ex-Hutu rebel leader and born-again Christian, whose presidency has been marred by accusations of assassinations and torture. Burundi is still emerging from a twelve-year civil war that engulfed neighboring Rwanda.

One of the smallest countries in the world at only 11,000 square miles (about the size of Belgium), Burundi is also among the ten poorest. Due to the prevalence of AIDS, life expectancy for Burundi citizens is only 40 years. Reaction to the vote from African LGBT activists was immediate:
The Association for the Respect of Homosexuals' Rights (ARDHO) protested vigorously. "We at ARDHO are outraged by this decision to criminalise homosexuality. We don't understand how educated people can adopt such a law because homosexuality is neither a disease nor a deviance," an official told AFP. He was speaking on condition he not be named, citing "security reasons", ahead of a crisis meeting with the association's 35 members in Bujumbura. "How are we going to be able to continue the struggle against AIDS in our community if every homosexual has to go underground," he asked.

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Vermont Gov Says No To Marriage Equality

Vermont's Republican governor says he opposes moving the state from civil unions to full marriage equality, although he refuses to say if he'd veto such a bill.
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas said Thursday he would oppose legislation allowing same-sex marriages, saying the state's civil unions law is adequate and that lawmakers should be focusing on the state's money problems.

State Sen. John Campbell says he plans to introduce such legislation in the Legislature's upcoming session. "I think the current civil union law is sufficient," Douglas said. "It accords equality of rights to Vermonters in terms of their relationships and I think we should leave the law as it is." Campbell said the bill is unlikely to gain support in the Legislature unless Douglas gives a clear signal he would sign it – or allow it to become law without his signature.

But Douglas balked at sending any such signal. "I never indicate what I might do when a bill gets to my desk, but I've been quite clear that I don't support the legislation," said Douglas, a Republican.

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Hairspray Authors On Prop 8


Hairspray coauthors Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman appeared on local NYC show Theater Talk on Friday night to discuss Proposition 8 and the resignation of musical theater artistic director Scott Eckern in Sacramento. (This clip does not cover the Eckern portion of the discussion - if anybody has that, please send it to me.)

Eckern left his job of 25 years after it was revealed that he'd personally donated $1000 to Yes On 8. Prior to Eckern's resignation, Shaiman had called to chastise him and then announced to the press that no Shaiman-Wittman shows would play his theater again. Since then, Eckern's situation has been used by the right-wing press as an example of "gay witchhunts" and how anybody in the arts that opposes marriage equality will have their careers wrecked by gay activists.

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Married Gays Have Full Insurance Rights In New York State

New York's top insurance regulator says that insurance companies must treat gay couples legally married in other states the same way they treat straight married couples.
"We expect insurance companies to provide the same rights and benefits to all legally married couples, regardless of the sex of the spouses,'' Superintendent Eric Dinallo said today in an e-mailed statement. The insurance department's decision covers "virtually all'' types of insurance, including life, health, disability and long- term care coverage, the statement said. An insurer's refusal to extend coverage equally to all couples may prompt disciplinary action from the regulator.

"This applies to all licensees of the department, that's going to be insurance companies, agents and brokers,'' said Martha Lees, deputy general counsel at the New York State Department of Insurance. "What is key is that the marriage be validly entered in the jurisdiction where it took place,'' she said. Only such marriages are covered by the decision, and should California overturn same- sex marriages, they may not be recognized, Lees said.
This announcement is the result of Gov. Paterson's earlier decree that all state agencies must honor out-of-state same-sex marriages.

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O'Reilly: San Francisco Is An Example Of What Is To Come Under Obama


Last week Bill O'Reilly, using some cleverly edited images, attacked San Francisco as an example of what is to come for the rest of the country under the Obama administration, citing homelessness, open drug use, and the toleration of the commercial sex industry. The homelessness situation in San Francisco is indeed horrible- it can feel like a third world country sometimes - but it's a seemingly unsolvable problem that stretches back to the Reagan era when it became a lot harder to forcibly commit the mentally ill.

(Via - Good As You)

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Tonight: Town Hall Meeting On Marriage Equality In New York

Tonight at the LGBT Community Center in NYC there will be a town hall meeting on the state of the marriage equality movement in New York.
"What's Next for Marriage Equality in New York?"

Town Hall to discuss what's next? How will we achieve marriage equality in 2009?

Time and Place
Date: Monday, November 24, 2008
Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Location: The LGBT Center
Street: 208 W. 13th Street
City/Town: New York, NY
Email: Info@marriageequalityny.org

On Monday, November 24th, we will join with Marriage Equality New York for a town hall meeting to discuss impact of the election results, not just in California, Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas, but also right here in New York State. We'll have a full update on the New York State Senate, the situation with Senators Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Malcolm Smith, and a discussion of next steps for achieving marriage equality in New York State.

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Will Gov. Paterson Appoint An Openly Gay Replacement For Hillary Clinton?

Politicos are speculating that among the candidates to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate are two openly gay NYC politicians: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Daniel O'Donnell (left), who represents the the Upper West Side in the state Assembly.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, however, is considered the leading contender.

There has never been an openly gay U.S. Senator. Openly gay North Carolina businessman Jim Neal ran for Elizabeth Dole's seat this year, but was soundly defeated by eventual winner Kay Hagan in the primary.

BACKGROUND: In June 2007, O'Donnell was the prime sponsor of the Marriage Equality Act, which passed the state Assembly 85-61 following his humorous and impassioned speech that included the line, "I want a license that all of you have; some of you have had it two or three times." (Marriage equality has never come to a vote in the state Senate.) O'Donnell first won election to the Assembly in 2002, taking 82% of the vote.

Christine Quinn was elected City Council Speaker in 2006 after spending seven years representing a section of Manhattan that includes Chelsea, the West Village, and Hell's Kitchen. Widely considered the likely successor to Michael Bloomberg, Quinn's star dimmed considerably this year after financial scandals plagued her office and she championed the unpopular repeal of term limits for the City Council and Bloomberg. Although she does not hold state or federal office, Quinn is considered one of the most powerful openly gay politicians in the country.

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