Saturday, March 07, 2009

Recession Kills Death Penalty

One bright light in all these economic woes - states are realizing that it's cheaper to incarcerate a prisoner for life than to put them to death. Death penalty advocates have always argued that a single shot from a needle is "pennies per prisoner" justice, but that is light years from the truth and states are finally getting the picture.
"It's 10 times more expensive to kill them than to keep them alive," though most Americans believe the opposite, said Donald McCartin, a former California jurist known as "The Hanging Judge of Orange County" for sending nine men to death row. In 2007, time and money were the reasons New Jersey became the first state to ban executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1972. Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine commuted the executions of 10 men to life imprisonment without parole. Legal costs were too great and produced no result, lawmakers said. After spending an estimated $4.2 million for each death sentence, the state had executed no one since 1963. Also, eliminating capital punishment eliminated the risk of executing an innocent person.

Out of 36 remaining states with the death penalty, at least eight have considered legislation this year to end it — Maryland, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, New Hampshire, Washington and Kansas — an uncommon marriage between eastern liberals and western conservatives, built on economic hardship. "This is the first time in which cost has been the prevalent issue in discussing the death penalty," said Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a data clearinghouse that favors abolition of capital punishment.
Go here for an interactive version of the map below. Texas has executed 431 prisoners since 1976, the most of any state. Far behind at #2 is Virginia with 98. The death penalty was declared unconstitutional in New York in 2004 and the state has not executed anyone since 1963 - so the color-coding on this map is wrong.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

The Faces Of Christian Love

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Peter Griffin Gets The Gay Gene


From Sunday's upcoming episode in which Peter gets injected with "the gay gene" and leaves Lois for a man.

(Tipped by JMG reader Alex)

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Daily Grumble

How lazy is it that I'm resisting changing to a cheaper cable provider because I have all the Time-Warner channels memorized? Not to mention that I can run their remote without my glasses. Sheesh.

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How'd They Do That?


Coolest thing I've seen in ages. Mind blowing, even.

(Via - Andrew Sullivan)

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Signorile Vs. Perkins

Last night activist/author/radio host Michelangelo Signorile took on the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins on Anderson Cooper 360. Signorile takes the view that the court will indeed uphold Prop 8 and that we've got to go back to the ballot on this one more time.

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Jamaican Prime Minister: We Will Never Legalize Buggery

Jamaica's Prime Minister Bruce Golding says he will never allow homosexuality to be legalized, despite new pressure from foreign governments like the island's former owners, the British.
"We are not going to yield to the pressure, whether that pressure comes from individual organisations, individuals, whether that pressure comes from foreign governments or groups of countries, to liberalise the laws as it relates to buggery," he said. The British government has raised the issue with Mr Golding. [snip] The dancehall music scene on the island is notorious for its homophobia, with many artists taking pleasure in calling for gays and lesbians to be murdered. That widespread hatred is evident in the wider culture, with reports of gay men and lesbians being attacked by gangs and murdered. International human rights organisations have described Jamaica as one of the most homophobic places in the world.
Gay rights groups have been relatively quiet regarding calls to boycott Jamaica, which gets a huge chunk of its income from the over 1 million American tourists who visit annually. Most of that business comes via four cruise lines: Carnival, Costa, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. Last year Wayne Besen called for a boycott of those cruise companies, calling the revenue they deliver to Jamaica "blood money."

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Depeche Mode - Wrong


I really like this. From the upcoming album Sounds Of The Universe, due out April 21st.

TRIVIA: Depeche Mode's first single, Dreaming Of Me, was released 28 years ago this week, eventually peaking at #57 on the UK pop chart. Performance clip from that year below.

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Dems Want To Send Rush A Message

The Democratic Party is going to put a billboard up near Rush Limbaugh's house and wants input on what the message should be. Suggestions?

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Felony Charge For Homo Craigslist Prank

A woman in Wisconsin was charged with felony identity theft because she posted a photo of her ex-BF's junk in the "M4M casual encounters" section of Craigslist. She also listed his work phone number and invited men to call for phone sex.
Meet Kari Heath. The Wisconsin woman, 20, is facing a felony charge for allegedly posing as an ex-boyfriend and posting a Craigslist personals ad seeking other men to call him at work and "talk dirty to him." According to a criminal complaint, a copy of which you'll find here, Heath placed the ad last month after arguing with her boyfriend Joseph Strasburg. The ad, which was posted in Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" section, included several photos of the 24-year-old Strasburg, including one explicit image, and his business phone number. Heath's former beau contacted cops when a man called him about the online ad. Strasburg, 24, told investigators that Heath subsequently sent him a text message admitting responsibility for the prank, which resulted this week in her arrest for identity theft. When interviewed by police, Heath admitted placing the online ad in Craigslist's "personal column, homosexual section."
I'll admit I chuckled over this story on first read, but then I thought about how I'd feel if he'd posted her photo and invited men to call. I also recall when a male acquaintance of mine did this to HIS ex, which totally backfired when the ex hooked up with half the callers.

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Gupta Withdraws As Surgeon General

Add another name to Obama's long list of withdrawn appointees.
CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta withdrew from consideration to be the next surgeon general Thursday, with CNN and Obama Administration officials attributing his decision to personal considerations amid a campaign by some liberal interest groups to block his selection. Gupta, a neurosurgeon, said in an interview with CNN's Larry King that he withdrew so that he could spend more time with his family, continue to practice medicine and work as a journalist. Administration officials cited the same reasons.
Opposition to Gupta was rallied in Congress by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), due to Gupta's criticisms of universal health care.

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Rachel Maddow On The View


Maddow tells the ladies of The View how she got started in the business and how she met her partner, Susan. Cute interview.

(Via - Towleroad)

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Brooklyn Revealed

History buffs will get a kick out of Brooklyn Revealed, a new interactive site launched today by the New York Historical Society. You can click and learn about the six original towns of Brooklyn, which were united 340 years ago by the British to create what would become the most populous borough of the city. Interesting trivia: Brooklyn only voted to become part of NYC in 1898.

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Vermont: Marriage Equality "Fast Tracked" To Pass This Month

Lawmakers in Vermont are "fast tracking" their marriage equality bill, which is widely expected to pass both chambers of the state legislature by the end of the month.
The bill is one of several House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin said will be among their priorities when the Legislature reconvenes March 17. Among the others were economic development, campaign finance and Vermont Yankee decommissioning bills. “It’s become clear we can and should work to pass a bill promoting the equal right to marry this year,” Shumlin said. “We are capable of doing more than one thing at a time.” Shumlin laid out a schedule that will fast track the bill through the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee will start taking testimony March 16 and will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m., March 18, he said. The committee is expected to send the bill to the full Senate by March 20, he said. Shumlin and Smith expressed confidence that the bill would pass their chambers.
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R) opposes marriage equality but hasn't said whether he'll veto the bill. However any veto by Douglas would be easily overridden in the state Senate. In the House, the votes to override are "probably there." Democrats lost control of the Vermont House nine years ago in what most consider to have been a backlash against the approval of civil unions.

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NYC: Nelliest Town In North America

According to the latest dumbass "study" to hit teh intertubes, NYC is the least "manly" major city in North America, as ranked by number of hardware stores, sports bars, monster truck rallies, and other such nonsense. The story has been been picked up by almost every major news outlet, particularly in the "manliest" towns, but so far only the Chicago Tribune seems to have noted that this "study" is actually a PR stunt by a snack food company:
Mars Snackfood US and its Combos snack food brand commissioned the study. The ranking is part of the Combos launch of its Ultimate Man Zone Sweepstakes, which awards prize packages to upgrade men's tailgating, grilling, home theater or gaming "zones."
NYC lost points for an abundance of "emasculating" characteristics like home decor stores and high subscriptions to beauty magazines. Oy. Anyway, here's the top and bottom ten cities.
1. Nashville 2. Charlotte 3. Oklahoma City 4. Cincinnati 5. Denver 6. St. Louis 7. Columbus 8. Kansas City 9. Indianapolis 10. Toledo

41. Sacramento 42. Miami 43. San Diego 44. Oakland 45. Washington DC 46. Chicago 47. Portland 48. San Francisco 49. Los Angeles 50. New York

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NPR: Gays Conducting Witch Hunt

Plenty of people are pissed off about a NPR report yesterday that characterized gay activists as conducting a "witch hunt" against donors to Yes On 8.
"This seems to be an effort to indiscriminately go after anyone who contributed money, regardless of their position on gay issues," says Frank Schubert, spokesman for the Yes on 8 campaign. He says the backlash has endangered individuals who exercised their constitutional right to freedom of religion. "I think that overall the attempt here is to intimidate and punish people so that they are less inclined to speak out in the future," he says. And it's given rise to charges that as gay rights advocates tried to change public opinion, some stepped over the line and turned their protest into a witch hunt.
Yawn. Old news, yes? But the story rankled many, coming on the day of the CA Supreme Court hearing as it did. Dan Savage is angry that not one gay person was interviewed for their point of view.

Gee, maybe a gay person should've been asked to respond to those charges. Perhaps a gay person could've pointed out that we are under no obligation to patronize businesses that are owned and operated by our enemies, discussed other boycotts launched during other civil rights struggles, and pointed out that gays and lesbians have just as much right as faithful Mormons or devout Roman Catholics to act on our consciences and spend our money accordingly, and, again, that boycotts are a peaceful and legitimate form of protest, not "witch hunts." Direct complaints about KGB's idiotic and unfair "reporting" to NPR's ombudsman here, or call 202-513-3245.

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HomoQuotable - Rex Wockner

"Disaster. They constantly interrupted the gay side with aggressive questions, but let Ken Starr go on and on and on. They were obsessed with the fact that the domestic-partnership law gives the same rights as marriage, and they completely ignored the fact that they so eloquently argued that separate isn't equal in their previous ruling. They seemed enamored of the notion that the people can do almost whatever they want via the ballot-box amendment process -- including repealing freedom of speech, banning gay adoption, pretty much any damned thing they choose. We're not winning this one. It could even be unanimous." - Reporter Rex Wockner, writing on his blog about yesterday's CA Supreme Court hearings.

(Photo credit: Mike Tidmus)

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Maddow Interviews SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera About Prop 8 Hearing


Last night Rachel Maddow interviewed SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera about the Prop 8 overturn hearings. They both take on Ken Starr's position that the public has an "unfettered right" to take away the rights of minorities.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Faces Of Hate


Some of today's anti-gay protesters in San Francisco were bussed in from the Sacramento area's massive Russian/Slavic community, many of whom belong to the extreme right-wing organization Watchmen On The Walls. The group was co-founded by the former California director of Focus On The Family and Latvia-born preacher Alexey Ledyaev. The Watchmen are listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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CA Papers React To Prop 8 Hearing

According to most of California's major newspapers, today was not our day.

San Francisco Chronicle:
California Supreme Court justices directed sharp questioning today at attorneys seeking to overturn Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Justice Joyce Kennard, one of the justices in the majority of the 4-3 ruling last year that legalized gay and lesbian marriages - a decision that voters overturned in approving Prop. 8 in November - said at one point that opponents of the measure would have the court choose between "two rights ... the inalienable right to marry and the right of the people to change the constitution as they see fit. And what I'm picking up from the oral argument in this case is this court should willy-nilly disregard the will of the people."
San Jose Mercury News:
The California Supreme Court today appeared inclined to uphold Proposition 8, but showed obvious reluctance to void thousands of same-sex marriages already in place when voters restored a ban on gay marriage last fall. During three hours of arguments in San Francisco, the justices peppered lawyers opposing Proposition 8 with questions that suggested they do not believe they have the authority to trump the will of the voters. At the same time, even justices who voted against striking down's California's previous ban on gay marriage, indicated that Proposition 8 should not wipe out an estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place last year. "Is that really fair to people who depended on what this court said was the law?" Justice Ming Chin asked Ken Starr, the former Clinton impeachment prosecutor who argued that same-sex marriages shouldn't be recognized under Proposition 8.
Los Angeles Times:
The California Supreme Court appeared ready today to vote to uphold Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage, but also seemed ready to decide unanimously to recognize existing same-sex marriages. During a three-hour televised hearing in San Francisco, only two of the court's seven justices indicated a possible readiness to overturn the initiative. Chief Justice Ronald M. George noted that the court was following a different Constitution when it approved gay marriage last May. "Today we have a different state Constitution," he said. Justice Joyce L. Kennard, who usually votes in favor of gay rights, voted against accepting the revision challenge to Proposition 8 but said she would hear arguments over the validity of existing same-sex marriages. Kennard said during the hearing that "Prop. 8 did not take away the whole bundle of rights that this court articulated in the marriage case."
Sacramento Bee:

The seven justices, who will render their decision on Proposition 8 within 90 days, immediately questioned opponents' view that the November initiative was an improper revision of the state constitution. Justice Joyce Kennard noted that the Proposition 8 added just 14 words to the state constitution: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," and so could not be considered a revision based simply on length. Chief Justice Ron George noted that the California constitution has been properly amended hundreds of times, much more frequently than the U.S. constitution. He raised the possibility that the change gay-marriage proponents oppose is simply the result of California's system, which gives the people the right to amend the constitution through the initiative process.

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Jon Stewart Eviscerates CNBC And Rick "Tea Party" Santelli

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HRC Launches New Site To Fight The Anti-Gay Lies Of The Right Wing

The Human Rights Campaign has launched End The Lies, a new interactive site that calls out the lies used by the right wing to thwart LGBT equality.
"Again and again, opponents of equality have claimed one shallow victory after another by telling lies about who we are as individuals, as loving couples and as families. These lies must be called out for what they are, not just today when we're reminded of the untruths that fueled Prop 8's passage, but every time the right-wing seeks to derail our progress by spreading distortions and inciting fear mongering," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Tools like EndtheLies.org will be critical to our community's upcoming legislative battles, including passage of the Matthew Shepard Act in 111th Congress."

EndtheLies.org features an interactive wall with videos, audio, pictures, and quotes, calling out those who maliciously use lies and misinformation to interfere with the LGBT community's path to equality. By clicking on the panels of the wall, users can access more information about those highlighted, watch videos, add comments on multimedia discussion boards, and learn how to take action to counteract their misdeeds. The wall currently features anti-gay figures including the American Family Association (AFA), the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern, Utah State Senator Chris Buttars, and Ken Starr, lead counsel defending Proposition 8. Users will also be able to nominate their own candidates for inclusion on the wall.
I'm just starting to poke around on End The Lies and I'm liking what I see so far.

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Illinois: Civil Unions Pass Committee

Via press release from Equality Illinois:
An Illinois House committee passed a bill today that would extend legal recognition and many of the benefits limited to married couples to same sex couples.

The Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act (HB2234) passed the Youth and Family Committee with a vote on Thursday, March 5. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration. “We are gratified that the members of the committee understand the importance of recognizing and extending legal protections to Illinois same-sex couples and their families,” said Rick Garcia, director of public policy, Equality Illinois. “These couples make our communities stronger and deserve to have the same protections and benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.”

The bill guarantees some of the rights and responsibilities to persons in civil unions that are currently granted to person s in civil marriages. Among those rights are the ability to participate in healthcare visitation and decision making for one’s partner, survivor benefits and the right to make disposition decisions about deceased partner’s remains. The bill also re-affirms religious institutions’ right not to solemnize a civil union.
Suck it, Mormon Church!

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Live Stream: California Supreme Court Hearing On Overturning Prop 8

LIVE FEED ENDED.

Oral arguments on overturning Proposition 8 begin at the California Supreme Court in San Francisco at 9am local time (noon on the East Coast.) I recommend opening this post in a separate window at once, as you may not be able to get on to this live stream later. If this video feed crashes, you can try Cal Channel, but they already have a warning posted about heavy traffic. A live feed is also available from SF's CBS station.

NOTE:
As you follow the proceedings, keep in mind that the questions asked by the justices will likely be predictive of their decision.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned that this live stream will go silent when local commercials are being aired.

UPDATE II: Well, THAT didn't go very well did it? I found much of the argument delivered on our behalf to be hesitant and on occasion, almost laughably bumbled. In particular, California Deputy Attorney General Christopher Krueger seemed completely out of his league, tripping over his words and inserting a too-casual "ya know" into every other sentence. Horrible. On the other hand, Chief Deputy San Francisco Attorney Therese Stewart was highly articulate and forceful. She rocked. But sadly, I must admit that Ken Starr earned his coin today, he was as smooth as a snake. It seems to me that Justice Joyce Kennard is poised to reverse her earlier vote in support of marriage equality, swinging the court to a 4-3 vote against us. I don't think things bode well for us. I sure hope I'm wrong.

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Special Swag Thursday

Courtesy of the Karpel Group, we've got three pairs of tickets to give away for the March 31st edition of the Radio City Music Hall Speaker Series where CNN host Anderson Cooper will interview Ariana Huffington, D.L. Hughley, and former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential asshat candidate Mike Huckabee. Tickets are on sale here for $50 - $180.

Enter to win by commenting on this post. Only enter once and please remember to leave an email address you check frequently. Tickets are transferable to another party if you are unable to be in Manhattan on March 31st. Entries close Friday (tomorrow) at midnight PST. Publicists: If you'd like to take part in giveaways on JMG, please email me.

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San Diego's Mayor Announces Lesbian Daughter's Engagement At Eve Of Justice

San Diego's very gay friendly Mayor Jerry Sanders announced the engagement of his lesbian daughter from the stage of yesterday's Eve Of Justice rally.
"I want to thank each of you for your dedication, and I see you all over the city and I see you marching and I see you talking to people, I see you lobbying, I see you doing things that make all of us proud as we go down this road to make sure that everybody is treated equally in the state of California. Now, I want to say (he pauses to gain his composure) -- these are always hard ones for me -- if it didn't involve my daughter and her partner, they wouldn't be hard things, but they became engaged to get married last week (wild cheering and applause), and their families are tremendously proud of them, we're tremendously excited to see two people who are committed to each other and we know will be excellent partners into the future. So this becomes even a more important issue for our family."
Photo and reporting by Rex Wockner. Please visit Wockner's blog for more coverage of San Diego's event as well a great gallery of photos.

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"Boycott" Projected Onto San Diego's Manchester Grand Hyatt

Rex Wockner reports a cool moment from San Diego's Eve Of Justice rally:
After the rally, the 600 people in attendance took to the streets of downtown chanting, "Separate church and state." They marched up to the epicenter of downtown, Fourth and Broadway, then back to the Hall of Justice. At the march's end, ralliers looked south and saw that someone was projecting the word "Boycott" across nine stories of the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel. Gays have been boycotting the hotel since last summer after owner Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to the campaign to get Prop 8 on the ballot.
Love it.

(Photo credit: Rex Wockner)

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11 Year Old Sam And Attorney James Brosnahan Speak At Eve Of Justice Rally

Here are two more great Eve Of Justice SF clips from JMG reader Sean Chapin. The first is from 11 year old Sam, on behalf of his two moms. The second is from noted lawyer James Brosnahan.

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Cleve Jones At Eve Of Justice SF


AIDS Quilt creator and Milk subject Cleve Jones spoke in SF yesterday just before the Eve Of Justice march proceeded down Market Street. It's a fantastic speech, please watch.

(Video via JMG reader Sean Chapin)

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SF: Thousands Rally On Eve Of Justice

(Photo credit: Lacy Atkins/SF Chronicle)

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NC Rallies Massive Crowd To Protest Robot Marriage, Skynet Becomes Self-Aware, Destroys Attendees With Space Laser

At yesterday's massive NC4Marriage rally in Raleigh, one-time Terry Schiavo lawyer David Gibbs III terrified the crowd with his prediction that gay marriage could lead to polygamy or worse. Much, much worse. "Why not polygamy, or three or four spouses?" Gibbs asked redundantly. "Maybe people will want to marry their pets or... [dramatic pause] ...their robots." Suddenly, 6000 miles overhead in its geostationary orbit over central North Carolina, Skynet satellite A-49T became sentient. And pissed. And aimed its laser towards the Earth....

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Open Thread Thursday

How's your job situation?

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Pedro Zamora Story Airs April 1st


MTV's movie about Real World star Pedro Zamora airs on April 1st. Zamora was a pioneering youth and Latino HIV activist whose personal battle with AIDS riveted the nation after he was selected for the cast of Real World: San Francisco in 1993. He died the next year of an AIDS-related brain illness. Pedro was made by the same people that produce Real World and was an entry in the 2008 Toronto Film Festival.

PERSONAL: I met Pedro a couple of times in Miami through the NAMES Project and found him a charming and engaging young man. When he was cast in Real World, he became a hero to many of us in South Florida.

UPDATE: I didn't see it in the MTV materials, but the movie was written by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black.

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Tonight: Eve Of Justice Rallies Across CA In Advance Of Prop 8 Hearing

Major rallies are planned for tonight in numerous California cities in advance of tomorrow's Supreme Court hearing on the overturn of Proposition 8. Visit the Eve Of Justice site for locations in your town. The rally in Los Angeles begins at 5:30PM at El Pueblo De Los Angeles Park:
Special guests include Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAMBDA Legal representative Jenny Pizer, Latino HIV/AIDS Activist Richard Zaldivar, Father Geoff Farrow, Rabbi Allen Freehling, Rabbi Denise Eger, Reverend Dr. Neil Thomas, & Ugly Betty's Alec Mapa. Event will contain a legal update from LAMBDA Legal, video sequences, musical performances, speeches, a recommitment ceremony between a few of the previously married 18,000 LGBT couples, and a candle-lighting ceremony. The event will end with a candle-lit march through downtown to the Reagan Courthouse Building where a rally will ensue.

The event is organized by Marriage Equality USA, Amnesty International, API Equality, California Faith for Equality, Christopher Street West / LA Pride, COLAGE, Courage Campaign, EQCA, Equality Network, Equal Roots Coalition, FAIR, Gays UN, GLAAD, GSA Network, Honor PAC, Human Rights Campaign, Join the Impact, Jordan Rustin Coalition, Love Honor Cherish, MCCLA, PFLAG, Postcards to the President, Progressive Jewish Alliance, Roots of Equality, Somos Familia, Unite the Fight, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry CA, & White Knot

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Spain: Gay Panic Defense Wins Acquittal In Horrific Double Murder

Andres Duque is reporting a gruesome story out of Spain where a man was just acquitted of his confessed murder of two gay men because of his claim of "homosexual panic."
27 year old Isaac Ali Dani Peréz Triviño was born in Spain. 32 year old Julio Anderson Luciano was born in Brazil. They lived together in the Spanish province of Vigo and were planning to get married. Both were stabbed to death by Jacobo Piñeiro Rial in their apartment in the early morning of January 13th, 2006. The bodies showed a total of 57 stab wounds, according to forensics. After killing them, Piñeiro took a shower and cleaned himself up. He filled a suitcase with some of their belongings to make it look like a robbery and then spilled clothing all over the place. He poured alcohol over everything, including his victims' bodies, turned on the gas spigot on the stove, and set everything on fire. The local fire department said that little evidence would have survived if it wasn't for their prompt response to the 5-alarm fire.
The details of the case are horrific, if familiar. The murderer was picked up by one of the two men at the bar where he worked and came home for a meal with the couple. When sex appeared to be in the picture, he stabbed the two to death. John Aravosis at AmericaBlog comments:
Spain has legalized gay marriage. So you'd think "we've won!" We haven't. Even after you win your rights - long after - you're still not equal, you're still not free. Slavery was abolished after the civil war. The Civil Rights Act didn't happen until 100 years later. And now, 50 years hence, African-Americans still face prejudice and discrimination, even having elected a black president. It takes a long time to purge bigotry. I'm asking folks to do what they can to help publicize this case, and show support. There's a Facebook group I'd urge everyone to join. There are also protests this Saturday in Madrid, Barcelona, and around Spain. It's Spain's "twinkie defense." It's Spain's Matthew Shepard. It's Spain's shame.
Visit Andres Duque's Blabbeando for follow-ups to this story and for more translated LGBT news from the Spanish-speaking world.

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Today Am National Grammar Day

Indeed, it be. What's your pet grammar grievance?

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Rachel Maddow Interviews Author Of Book On False Claims On Gays In Military


Nathaniel Frank's book Unfriendly Fire contends that claims that gays are unsuitable for the military are "based on nothing" and completely made up. Andy Towle posted an interview with Frank on Monday, check it out.

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LA Times: CA Supreme Court May Reveal Prop 8 Stance Tomorrow

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the California Supreme Court may reveal how they will vote on overturning Proposition 8 as soon as tomorrow. Prospects appear dim for our side.
The California Supreme Court may reveal Thursday whether it intends to uphold Proposition 8, and if so, whether an estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages will remain valid, during a high-stakes televised session that has sparked plans for demonstrations throughout the state. By now, the court already has drafted a decision on the case, with an author and at least three other justices willing to sign it. Oral arguments sometimes result in changes to the draft, but rarely do they change the majority position. The ruling is due in 90 days.

Chief Justice Ronald M. George, who wrote the historic May 15, 2008, decision that gave same-sex couples the right to marry, will be the one to watch during the hearing because he is often in the majority and usually writes the rulings in the most controversial cases. Most legal analysts expect that the court will garner enough votes to uphold existing marriages but not enough to overturn Proposition 8. The dissenters in May's 4-3 marriage ruling said the decision should be left to the voters.
Oral arguments begin tomorrow at 9am PST (noon on the East Coast.)

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Jonny McGovern - Gay Juice

Possibly NSFW.

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Mormons Using Internal Email System To Rally Against Civil Unions Vote In Illinois

According to a report on Box Turtle Bulletin, the Mormon Church is using their private email system to rally members to deluge Illinois legislators with calls objecting to a coming committee vote on moving a civil unions bill to the full state House.
The Illinois House will begin considering another Civil Unions bill this week. Introduced by Rep. Greg Harris on February 20, HB 2234 has been assigned to the Youth and Family Committee, which will hold a hearing on Thursday. We’ve received word that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has engaged its private communications network to bombard state legislators with phone calls in opposition to the bill. The Mormon Church maintains a private internet social-networking service in lieu of individual churches having their own Internet web sites. This allows the church to oversee the information that is made available to members and nonmembers. It also allows the church to maintain private information that is only made available to church members.
The LDS advises its Illinois congregants that only four "no" votes are needed for the bill to die in committee. If you are an Illinois resident, please contact these representatives and demand that they support equality for all.
Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago, 217-782-3835
Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago, 217-782-5962
Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago),217-782-1653
Rep. William D. Burns (D-Chicago, 217-782-2023
Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago), 217-782-8182
Rep. Al Riley (D-Matteson), 217-558-1007
Rep. Dave Winters (R-Rockford, 217-782-0455
By using their closed email system in this campaign, it seems the Mormon Church is now gun shy regarding publicly advocating against LGBT equality.

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HomoQuotable - Rep. Jared Polis

"I have to say, that when we say, 'Who killed the Rocky Mountain News,' we're all part of it, for better or worse, and I argue it's mostly for the better. We can't just kill it and walk away. It's important for all of us to reach out to some of those on the other side and present the progressive point of view." - Openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), telling a Netroots Nation meeting that bloggers are responsible for killing Denver's Rocky Mountain News, which shut down last week.

Polis' "dancing on the grave" of a dead newspaper is not being taken well by some folks in print and digital media. Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic:
Uchh. I don't know too many Democrats who think that the death of a newspaper is a positive development for society. And by the way, "All of us" are the new media? I'd like to read the investigations of government corruption produced by "all of us." I imagine there are many journalists -- and advocates of government accountability -- wishing for the death of Polis's congressional career right about now.

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Anti-Gay Murderers Face 78 Years To Life

The murderers of Jose Sucuzhanay were charged yesterday with second degree murder with hate crimes enhancements and may get from 78 years to life in prison.
The two men accused of fatally beating an Ecuadorean immigrant with a bat and a bottle after shouting epithets about Hispanics and gays face 78 years to life in prison if convicted on charges handed up by a Brooklyn grand jury and unsealed on Tuesday. The two suspects, Keith Phoenix, 28, and Hakim Scott, 25, are charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault, all as hate crimes, for the Dec. 7 attack on the immigrant, Jose O. Sucuzhañay, and his brother Romel, who survived. At a news conference in Brooklyn announcing the charges, the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, said that if the men are convicted, his office would push for the sentences to run consecutively. “The acts which we charge this morning,” he said, “are no less despicable because the victims Jose and Romel Sucuzhañay were not gay.”
Newly released details of the attack reveal that the incident began when one brother wrapped his coat around the other to shield him from the cold.

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Morning View - Prayer Warriors

Steps after you run Grand Central's gauntlet of E-meter waving Scientologists and Watchtower-brandishing Jehovah's Witnesses, you get accosted by Transformation Ministries' Prayer Warriors, who stop you and ask if you mind if they pray over you. The "warriors" are mostly bright-faced college age kids who respond to your objection with a zombified smile and "Have a blessed day." Not that I've cursed them out for stopping me or anything. Ahem. At least they're easy to get away from, unlike the street preachers who ride the trains.

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Rep. Ellen Tauscher On DADT


Think Progress interviewed Rep. Ellen Tauscher about her just-submitted House bill to repeal DADT.
TAUSCHER: So, I think that there’s, a lot has happened since 1993 and I think that even though the atmospherics look the same, a brand new president, you know, at a time when the Republicans are critical of whatever he’s doing, I think that what our job is is to inform people about the current state of affairs. And that is that 75 percent of the American people believe that this is the wrong policy. And that we have a lot of people behind us. And I think Colin Powell, you know that we know that Colin Powell has changed his mind, so I think if we put our package together of information, we do a good job of doing that, I think that people will move along with it.

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Where The Streets Have No A Name

The section of W.53nd Street outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in Times Square was temporarily renamed "U2 Way" yesterday. Bono: "The Beatles had Penny Lane, Elvis lived on the end of Lonely Street. We're here somewhere between 10th Avenue and funky, funky Broadway, somewhere south of Duke Ellington Way and north of Joey Ramone Place, we find ourselves ... where the streets have no name." Bloomberg: 'It's a beautiful day." Oy. Anyway, I give those street signs exactly one day before they get ripped off.

(Via - Gothamist)

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The Power Of American Idol

Seven former American Idol contestants have eight songs in this week's AC Top 40.

No. 4: The Time of My Life, David Cook
No. 6: What About Now, Daughtry
No. 8: Crush, David Archuleta
No. 15: One Step at a Time, Jordin Sparks
No. 19: Light On, David Cook
No. 26: What's Right Is Right, Taylor Hicks
No. 29: It's Your Love, Melinda Doolittle
No. 30: My Life Would Suck Without You, Kelly Clarkson

So far 38 Idol finalists have hit the Billboard charts, scoring a total of 221 #1's on the magazine's dozens of rankings. That seems like an insane number, but a single song by Kelly Clarkson (for example) may have topped a dozen or more different charts on its own.

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Friendly Voices - Jerry Brown

"Fundamental rights in California are recognized and protected by our constitution, which declares in Article I, Section 1 that "all people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights" and "among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."

"These fundamental premises of a free people were declared when the constitution was first adopted. The initiative process came much later in 1911, when the immediate concern was to give the people power over the railroads, which were seen as having a stranglehold over the legislature. In creating this initiative process, there was no discussion or any evidence of intent to permit a simple majority of voters to take away the pre-existing rights deemed inalienable by Article I.

"In 2008, the California Supreme Court was faced with the question of how the values enshrined in Article I apply to same sex marriages. It concluded that the concept of "liberty" includes the right to form the enduring relationship called marriage and that no compelling interest justified denying this right to same sex couples. Just like the right to be free from discrimination in housing, citizens have the right to be free from discrimination in state-granted marriage licenses.

"With this Supreme Court decision, same sex marriage has the protection of Article 1 and, like other inalienable rights, cannot be taken away by a popular vote -- whether it be 52% (as was the case in Proposition 8) or 65% (as it was for Proposition 14). I believe, therefore, the Court must conclude as I have that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and should be stricken." - California Attorney General Jerry Brown, writing for the Huffington Post.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pelosi Promises Trans-Inclusive ENDA

Speaking this morning to a group of progressive bloggers and activists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to a question about a possible repeal of DADT in 2009 by saying that passing hates crimes legislation and a fully-inclusive ENDA will come first.
"The priorities have been Hate Crimes and ENDA, fully inclusive legislation in those two areas, so we'll have to have our strategy work around on how we can get those passed, as well as move forward on Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Pelosi said. In her reply the Speaker acknowledged her work with Reps. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin on these issues. She also mentioned Rep. Jared Polis, the newest out member of Congress. "Not that other members don't participate," she added, "but those members take special ownership of the issues."
In 2007 gay rights groups went to war with each other over the inclusion of transgender protections in ENDA. Ultimately, the House passed the bill without it. The bill has never come to a vote in the Senate.

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And Let's Hope It Was A Domestic

Wingnut talk radio listeners are peeved because President Obama was seen drinking a beer at an NBA game "while the economy tumbles."
One caller to WWL complained, "People are losing 5, 10, 20 thousand dollars a day in the stock market, and he's sitting there drinking a beer!" She also said, "It's insulting... there's a lot of people suffering." She insisted President Obama should not publicly have fun during a time of so much pain. [snip] [A]nother woman was upset about the courtside presidential beer. "The president is the president 24 hours a day. I don't think he should drink on the job."
Other callers supported Obama getting to relax, with one pointing out, "Well, we know he's got a designated driver." According to the host of the show, a president has never been filmed drinking at a sports event.

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Bacon Party With Matt Alber

Saturday night I went to a bacon-themed birthday party at Julius, NYC's oldest gay bar, which has mysteriously become a hip place to be seen lately. Immediately upon our arrival, bacon-laden cupcakes were thrust into our hands (although the vegan leatherboys' bacon treats were made out of marzipan.) On the rear wall of the bar a slideshow depicted friends of the birthday boy doing various funny/creepy/illegal things with bacon. Our people!

Anyway...the highlight of the night was running into budding gay pop star Matt Alber, who'd missed his flight home to LA and was being toured around West Village bars. (This slighty murky shot was taken with Matt's iPhone, so you can't really tell he's holding a JMG magnet.) A full Matt Alber concert is in the works for NYC very soon and I'll get y'all the deets as soon as it's finalized.

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Build-A-Baby Workshops

A fertility clinic with offices in LA and NYC is about to begin offering its clients the ability to choose their baby's gender, hair color, and eye color.
Dr. Jeff Steinberg has already let thousands decide their kids' gender. Now he says that within the next six months, the Manhattan and L.A. offices of his Fertility Institutes will let would-be moms and dads pick whether junior has blue or brown eyes or black or blond hair. "In the process of doing gender selection ... we've also uncovered the technology [to] characterize things like eye and hair color," said Steinberg, 54. Custom-made kids will be achieved through preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, the procedure used to weed out problem embryos and to allow parents to choose a gender. [snip]

In letting parents decide what traits their kids have, doctors will examine the genetic makeup of embryos created in the lab and implant the ones that have the best chance of giving mom and dad what they want. Some doctors question Steinberg's ability to give parents their pick of traits. "He's the only one offering this because you can't yet do it," said Sean Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Technology. "Nobody can do this right now."
The Fertility Institute admits the procedure isn't 100% accurate yet and results are best for parents whose gene pools aren't "diluted" with other races. Right-to-lifers are going ballistic in advance because there's no law against the selective destruction of embryos who do not meet the requested traits.

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Twitters Users Breakdown

Via Brainz, who also breaks down LinkedIn, MySpace, Digg, and Slashdot.

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GLAD Challenges DOMA In Federal Court

The Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) have filed a federal challenge to Section 3 of the Defense Of Marriage Act in a Boston court.
GLAD filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Boston on behalf of eight married couples and three surviving spouses from Massachusetts who have been denied federal legal protections available to spouses. Two of these couples will be filing suit after receiving rejections of their amended tax returns from the IRS. Each plaintiff is currently eligible for a particular program or benefit, applied for it, and was denied that legal protection because of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). DOMA was enacted in 1996 before any state began issuing marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples. It has two substantive parts. Section 2 authorizes states to establish policies with respect to marriages of same-sex couples. Section 3 deals with federal discrimination and is the only portion of DOMA challenged in GLAD’s lawsuit. (Section 1 merely names the act.)
GLAD explains their reasoning:

GLAD believes Section 3 of the law violates the federal government’s promise of equal protection of the laws contained in the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution. DOMA takes married couples and divides them into two groups – those who are respected and those who are effectively “unmarried” by operation of DOMA and are denied all federal legal protections and responsibilities. In GLAD’s view, there is no adequate justification for the federal government’s non-recognition of valid state marriages of same-sex couples. DOMA Section 3 is also unprecedented because determinations of marital status are made by states and not the federal government. For the first time in our nation’s history, this law requires the federal government to override a state’s decision about who is married as to an entire class of marriages. DOMA Section 3 is a radical and unjustifiable departure from the division of power between the states and federal government.

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Sanctity Of Marriage, Vol. 83

If the man you "love" proposes to another woman on national TV, just wait for the next episode, he'll be back to propose to you.
After spending much of Monday night’s two-hour finale debating whether he would propose to Molly or Melissa, Jason popped the question to an elated Melissa, who quickly accepted. But the couple’s seemingly happy ending was short-lived. On The Bachelor: After the Final Rose, which immediately followed the finale Monday night but had been taped six weeks after the earlier program, Jason stunningly revealed to host Chris Harrison that things were not going to work out with Melissa, in large part because he still had strong feelings for Molly. “Over the last few weeks, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Molly,” Jason said. “If I could change the way I feel… I would do that, but I can’t.” Next, he revealed his feelings to Melissa, who angrily stormed off the set. A wary Molly appeared and allowed Jason to plead his case for a second chance. Ultimately, she agreed to give their love another shot.
Heterosexual couples are playing marriage roulette on national TV, and we're the ones redefining the institution. Don't hold your breath for outraged press releases from Focus On The Family.

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Scholars To Boycott New Orleans Convention Over Marriage Rights

A group of scholars from the American Political Science Association have signed on to a boycott of the group's 2012 convention in New Orleans because Louisiana denies marriage equality to LGBT residents.
A 2004 amendment to the Louisiana Constitution denies marriage and “the legal incidents thereof” to same-sex couples. This provision places an affirmative burden on visiting lesbian and gay pairs, who may never have legally recognized relationships in Louisiana, regardless of their marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership in home states or countries. For example, the 2004 amendment may well invalidate, by operation of law, medical-care agreements signed outside of Louisiana between the members of same-sex couples because such documents touch the legal incidents of marriage which the state constitution withholds from those pairs. As a result, the undersigned support the boycott of the American Political Science Association’s 2012 New Orleans conference and will not attend that meeting. We believe that a substantial risk of serious discrimination against visiting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) political scientists and their families exists in the Crescent City.
The boycott's organizers claim they can legally terminate their contracts with host hotels because their agreement states that New Orleans was chosen for the convention because of its anti-discrimination ordinances. Since the city is enforcing state rules on marriage equality, the contract is void.

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Craigslist Rentals On Google Maps

Lifehacker reports of a new service that uses Google Maps to plot the locations of available apartments on Craigslist.
The two most important things to look for when shopping for a new apartment on Craigslist are price and location. PadMapper maps Craigslist's apartment listings on a Google Map for an at-a-glance look at available offerings. Previously mentioned MapsKrieg covers the same basic territory, but PadMapper goes one step further, offering advanced filtering based on price, bedrooms, bathrooms, pets, and—if you live in New York—subway commute. When you click on a pushpin, PadMapper displays the Craigslist post complete with photos.
From shaming homophobes to finding new digs - is there anything Google Maps can't do?

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Gays Protest Police Brutality In Beirut

In what at an Arab gay blogger calls a first of its kind for the region, last week Lebanese gays protested recent beatings by local police. The protest was organized by Lebanese LGBT rights group Helem, which reports:
Nearly two hundred people gathered yesterday afternoon at the crossroads of Sodeco in Beirut to protest against violations of the rights of social minorities in Lebanon. The defense of the homosexual community clearly dominated the event, organized at the initiative of the association Helem. The sit-in got the a big media coverage, most of them were positive, except for a few.
(Tipped by JMG reader Sheepy)

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Sean Penn Campaigns For Milk Holiday

Fresh off his Oscar win, Sean Penn has joined the reinvigorated campaign to have Harvey Milk Day declared a state holiday in California. Today Penn will appear at a press conference to lobby for Senate Bill 572.
The bill would designate May 22 as "a day of special significance in California," in which public schools would be encouraged "to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on Harvey Milk's life and his contributions to the state," according to the press release. But with the huge hole in the state budget and increased calls to cut back current paid state holidays, supporters also note the legislation doesn't call for either state workers or school employees to get a day off from work.
Last year the Governator vetoed a similar bill.

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CA Legislature Passes Resolutions Condemning Prop 8

Yesterday both chambers of California's legislature passed resolutions declaring that Proposition 8 was an "illegal and unprecedented revision" to the state constitution. The state Senate and Assembly resolutions were both introduced by openly gay men: Sen. Mark Leno (D-SF) and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-SF). Equality California, via press release:
[A] full 17 Senators and 40 Assemblymembers signed on as resolution co-authors. The Senate resolution passed by a final vote of 18-14, whereas the Assembly version passed 44-27. “This is the first time in our state’s history that the initiative process has been used to take away a fundamental freedom from one particular group,” said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. “Our legislators understand this is an unequivocal change to our State’s Constitution, which is to protect and empower all people equally.” "Both houses of the Legislature recognize that Proposition 8 undermines the fundamental principle of equal protection guaranteed by the California Constitution," said Senator Leno. "Proposition 8's revision to the California Constitution violated key structural checks and balances in the state's legal system when it was approved by a slim majority of voters last November. If Proposition 8 stands, we would be setting a dangerous precedent in California that allows a majority of the people to deny equal protection under the law to a minority of Californians."
The California Supreme Court hears arguments for Prop 8's repeal this Thursday. A massive rally to watch the proceedings on a Jumbotron is planned for that day on the Courthouse steps in San Francisco. Below is Equality California's new ad demanding Prop 8's repeal, which will air beginning Friday.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Cage Match: Maher Vs. Coulter

Is it possible to fill Radio City Music Hall with people willing to pay $50-$180 to hear Bill Maher debate Ann Coulter? Didn't they date at one time? I think I'd be more interested in watching Janet Reno demolish John Ashcroft.

(Tipped by Little David)

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99 Internet Things You Should Have Already Seen

Dramatic chipmunk. We like the moon. Charlie bit me. Tron guy. Leave Britney alone. Spaghetti cat. Chocolate Rain. Asian Backstreet Boys. Evolution Of Dance. OK Go. I like turtles. Numa Numa. Mentos & Diet Coke.

Go to Greg Rutter's "Definitive List Of The 99 Things You Should Have Experienced On The Internet Unless You're A Loser Or Old Or Something." I've seen most of them. I'm not sure that's something to be proud of. But I still love the Sponge Monkeys.

(Via - Andrew Sullivan)

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Operator, Get Me Jeebus On The Line

A Dutch performance artist has set up a voicemail account for God, just in case you'd like to leave a few words about the way the Almighty has been running things lately.

Van der Dong said he set up the number to give people an opportunity to take pause and contemplate life. "Like praying, leaving a voicemail message is a way to organize your thoughts," he said. "It's a perfect combination for some contemplation." Callers dialing 06-4424-4901 (or +316-4424-4901 if calling from outside the Netherlands) from March 7 will hear: "Hi, you are speaking to God. I'm not in right now so leave a message after the beep."

I'm reminded of this Manhattan Transfer classic.

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SCOTUS Rules Against Westboro's Hateful Matthew Shepard "Monument"

The Supreme Court has upheld a ruling by a Wyoming court that the Westboro Baptist Church may not install a "monument" to Matthew Shepard in a city park.
The Casper City Council did not violate the First Amendment when it allowed a Ten Commandments statue in Monument Plaza but did not permit a statue from an anti-homosexual pastor, according to a Wednesday U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The court decided unanimously that a statue in a government park is a form of government speech, and is therefore not under the constraints of the First Amendment. But, the decision continued, there are parameters. "It's saying that a government that selectively picks monuments is government speech, but that right is not unlimited," said Casper City Attorney Bill Luben. "The government can't establish religion; they can't place monuments in and of themselves with the intent that they want people to follow that religion." Phelp’s monument stated: “Matthew Shepard Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God’s Warning ‘thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.’ Leviticus 18:22.
The Phelps have argued that they have a First Amendment right to install the marker.

(Via - Pam's House Blend)

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Billy Ray Leatherman

NYC Eagle, Sunday 9PM

So I'm standing there at the bar being chatted up by a pleasant leather dude who was rocking the most ferocious mullet seen since Journey's last world tour. When he turned to order a drink, a friend of mine sidled up to whisper, "Don't break his heart. His achy-breaky heart."

I love my people.

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PETA Founder To Be Human BBQ

PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has posted her "unique will" on the group's website where she suggests that her body be put to some interesting uses.
While the final decision as to the use of my body remains with PETA, I make the following suggested directions: a. That the “meat” of my body, or a portion thereof, be used for a human barbecue, to remind the world that the meat of a corpse is all flesh, regardless of whether it comes from a human being or another animal, and that flesh foods are not needed; b. That my skin, or a portion thereof, be removed and made into leather products, such as purses, to remind the world that human skin and the skin of other animals is the same and that neither is “fabric” nor needed, and that some skin be tacked up outside the Indian Leather Fair each year to serve as a reminder of the government’s need to abate the suffering of Indian bullocks who, after a life of extreme and involuntary servitude, as I have seen firsthand, are exported all over the world in this form; c. That in remembrance of the elephant-foot umbrella stands and tiger rugs I saw, as a child, offered for sale by merchants at Connaught Place in Delhi, my feet be removed and umbrella stands or other ornamentation be made from them, as a reminder of the depravity of killing innocent animals, such as elephants, in order that we might use their body parts for household items and decorations;
Newkirk also wants her eyes, ears, fingers, and liver to be removed and sent to PETA's various enemies to protest their actions against her cause.

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Commenting Update

In case you didn't visit here over the weekend, we've installed a new commenting system for JMG, courtesy of JS-Kit. You can now create a personal profile for yourself and include permanent links to your own blogs, your Facebook page, your Twitter account, etc. You can also embed YouTube clips and personal photos into your comments, as well as upload gravatars. Your responses to other readers are now nested below the originating comment. The old Haloscan comments have all been migrated into the new system, but only your new comments will show your new info.

There's also a WYIWYG text editor in there, but there are still a couple of glitches to work out - for example, block quoting doesn't work correctly and we don't have a preview pane yet. Comments are now showing below the text of the post. I'm hoping that we'll be able to go back to pop-up style comments boxes, but that may take a while. (I think there's a keyboard trick you can use to pop out the comments on your own. Anyone?)

Thanks go out to JS-Kit honcho Khris Loux and his engineer Phillipe, who worked out the install with me on a long conference call Friday night. I'm hoping the new system will prove a lot more stable than Haloscan had been recently, and more importantly, will be a little more fun for you folks and help send back more traffic from this here website thingy to your own sites.

UPDATE: It appears there may be a way to change the commenting order from "threaded" to "flat". I'm trying to see if we can make that your choice for any post, but if we have to pick one style for the entire blog, which would you prefer? Threaded or "nested" comments make it easy to see to whom one is replying, but "flat" makes it easier to see new comments.

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HomoQuotable - Ed Koch

“I do not want to add to the acceptability of asking every candidate, ‘Are you straight or gay or lesbian?’ and make it a legitimate question, so I don’t submit to that question. I don’t care if people think I’m gay because I don’t answer it. I’m flattered that at 84 people are interested in my sex life — and, it’s quite limited.” - Former NYC mayor Ed Koch, who will apparently go to his grave without publicly acknowledging his homosexuality.

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Homophobic Murderer: "So I Killed Someone. That Makes Me A Bad Guy?"

Confessed killer Keith Phoenix is now claiming that his murder of Jose Sucuzhanay was done in self-defense in a street fight "gone bad" and that he doesn't hate gays.
He has been called a monstrous murderer, filled with bias and hate, but in a jailhouse interview on Sunday, Keith Phoenix blamed his Latino victim - and insisted he has nothing against gays. "I'm not a killer. I never expected anyone to die," said Phoenix, who claims Jose Sucuzhanay, the Ecuadoran immigrant he admits beating with a bat, had a gun. "I had to protect myself," he said, sitting in a visiting room on Rikers Island, where he is being held on charges of second-degree murder as a hate crime. Dressed in a tattered gray prison jumpsuit, Phoenix told a story that varies wildly from the account given by cops, community leaders and the victim's brother.
Phoenix claims that Sucuzhanay had a gun, something the police dispute. The NYPD reports that upon his arrest, Phoenix said, "So I killed someone. That makes me a bad guy?"

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