Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Teachers Say Yes To Marriage Equality

The National Education Association, the nation's largest labor union, has endorsed marriage equality, with a couple of slight dodges. From the "new business items" recap of their national convention:
1. NEA will support its affiliates seeking to enact state legislation that guarantees to same-sex couples the right to enter into a legally recognized relationship pursuant to which they have the same rights and benefits as similarly-situated heterosexual couples, including, without limitation, rights and benefits with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.
2. NEA does not believe that a single term must be used to designate this legally recognized "equal treatment" relationship, and recommends that each state decide for itself whether "marriage," "civil union," "domestic partnership," or some other term is most appropriate based upon the cultural, social, and religious values of its citizenry.
3. NEA will support its affiliates in opposing state constitutional and/or statutory provisions that could have the effect of prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from providing the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples as are provided to similarly-situated heterosexual couples.
4. NEA will take such actions as may be appropriate to support efforts to (a) repeal any federal legislation and/or regulations that discriminate against same-sex couples, and (b) enact federal legislation and/or regulations that treat same-sex couples and similarly-situated heterosexual couples equally with regard to social security, health care, taxation, and other federal rights and benefits.
5. NEA recognizes that the term "marriage" has religious connotations and that same-sex marriages may not be compatible with the beliefs, values, and/or practices of certain religions. Because of its support for the separation of church and state and the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, NEA supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.
NGLTF head Rea Carey reacts: “These historical resolutions acknowledge that no one should be left behind. The National Education Association and its members once again show their leadership and remind us of the influence educators have on our young people, LGBT and straight. We are deeply grateful to the NEA and its membership for adopting these resolutions and making a clear commitment to joining in the fight for full LGBT equality.”

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I'm Not A Quitter, She Said As She Quit

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Not What We Expected, Was It?

I went into it expecting spectacular tackiness, but I must say that overall the MJ funeral was muted, dignified, sedate, and (as much as any arena funeral could be)...classy. Yeah, surprised me too. Points off for Al Sharpton's typically bombastic rant, but Brooke Shields in particular immediately redeemed that bit. And so the most widely watched non-sports event in the history of the world ends with the tears of a little girl. Fascinating.

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Focus On The Family Lies Again

The liars at Focus On The Family continue with their lying liar ways, quoting a NARTH "peer-reviewed journal" which claims that homosexuality is a choice. Boring, tired, same-old same-old from FOF liar Gary Schneeburger:
A new report in this month's issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality finds that sexual orientation can be changed — and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions is generally beneficial and that research has not found significant risk of harm. The study, conducted by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), examined more than 100 years of professional and scientific literature from 600-plus studies and reports from clinicians, researchers and former clients principally published in professional and peer-reviewed journals. "This research is a significant milestone when it comes to the scientific debate over the issue of homosexuality," NARTH President Dr. Julie Hamilton said. "It also confirms what we have seen evidenced in hundreds of individuals who have benefited from the help of NARTH therapists.
Box Turtle Bulletin's Jim Burroway nails it.
The problem with all that? Well first of all, this isn’t a study at all. It doesn’t consist of an experiment with study participants, methodology, measurements, analysis or results. Instead, according to this so-called journal — which I have a copy of — NARTH mined nearly 100 years of research on attempts to change sexual orientation. Of course, the vast majority of those studies were done when aversion therapy was commonly practiced, when many people sought therapy because they were convicted of homosexual offenses before Lawrence v. Texas to avoid jail, when few clinicians bothered to do any kind of follow-up, and when the APA still considered homosexuality a mental illness. Much of this paper is an updated regurgitation of several other articles already posted on NARTH’s web site.

Also, the so-called “peer reviewed” journal is not actually a journal. The Journal of Human Sexuality is actually a booklet published by NARTH themselves. In fact, it’s structured more like a book than a journal, with only one article whose title matches the title on the front cover. This journal is billed as “volume 1,” and was, according to its acknowledgment, conceived back when Joseph Nicolosi was still president at NARTH. At this rate, I would expect volume 2 to show up sometime in 2011.
OK Gary, I confess. I choose to be gay. I choose it with love, with lust, with joy, and with the enormous satisfaction that it just pisses the fuck out of douchnozzles like you. Happy?

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Michael Jackson Funeral Live Stream

Today's funeral for Michael Jackson is expected to be the most widely watched live event in internet history with as many as 1 billion viewers. Nobody knows if teh intrawebs can handle that much streaming video, but let's see if this works.

UPDATE: Live stream concluded.

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At Raleigh's Tea-Bag-O-Rama

Oh, ha ha ha...my sides! Barney Frank is gay and talks funny! Comedy FAIL.

(Via - Good As You)

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In Her Defense

Cafe FiGo, First Avenue, 8:30am

Old Lady 1: In my defense, "Cedars-Sinai" and "seat assignment" do sound very similar.
Old Lady 2: And you didn't call back?
Old Lady 1: I should care if she's at the airport?

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HuffPo Blogger Responds To Palin Threat

Huffington Post blogger Shannyn Moore calls Sarah Palin "a coward and a bully."

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Scrumdiddlyumptious

Last month many of you enjoyed YouTube member Fagottron's Mary Poppins electro mashup Expialidocious. Here's his latest, from Willy Wonka. Visit his site.

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Saskatchewan Seeks Marriage Exemption

Saskatchewan's provincial government wants to allow its officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if they object on religious grounds.
The province's Saskatchewan Party government is seeking a legal opinion on whether its proposed legislation is in compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday. Provincial Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan told the CBC the state government will propose two options to the court -- one that would allow existing marriage commissions to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and another in which a religious exemption would be granted to future commissioners.
The last party to rule the province, the New Democrats, refused to allow any exemptions. The Saskatchewan Party was only formed in 1997 and took over late in 2007.

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Bruno Cuts Gay Bashing Scene

One year ago today I told you about a cage match stunt pulled by Sasha Baron Cohen in which two wrestlers kissed in the ring, rather than fought, thereby inciting an Arkansas audience into throwing projectiles and screaming homophobic insults. It took security and police 45 minutes to clear the venue as the actors escaped a guaranteed beating via a special tunnel.

I closed that post with this: "I don't know, tricking a rural crowd into displaying violent homophobia might have some value. Maybe. I'll really have to think about this."

As it turns out, that stunt closes the upcoming Cohen film Bruno, but producers have decided to cut the final scene because it made light of gay bashing.
According to writer-director Richard Day (Arrested Development), who saw the film at a screening in February, "The cage-match kiss resulted in a violent attack on the couple. They then cut to a press event where they are announcing their marriage or plans to, I forget which. But the boyfriend is now drooling, seemingly brain-damaged, and in a wheelchair, played for laughs." Day notes that he and actor James Plotnick raised a stink about the ending after the screening and, though he's not sure if their protest had anything to do with the altered ending, it was changed to the less potentially offensive version for one reason or another.
Somebody please explain to me how the now-deleted scene was supposed to have been funny. "Oh, ha ha ha! That kissing faggot has brain damage! Hicks hate homos! Hilair!" Something like that? Really?

I still plan on seeing Bruno because it won't be fair to take part in what will surely be endless post-release dissections if I haven't. But right now I have a feeling I'll agree with GLAAD's nervous read on the film: "Some people in our community may like this movie, but many are not going to be OK with it. Sacha Baron Cohen's well-meaning attempt at satire is problematic in many places and outright offensive in others."

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Perez Hilton Is Worse Than You Thought

If you think your opinion of Perez Hilton couldn't be any lower, you'll probably change your mind after reading what he tells Advocate writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis about his dust-up with the Black Eyed Peas, during which he called their lead vocalist a "faggot."
But Perez tells me that, in the heat of the moment that night, he almost chose to use a different word. “I thought about calling him the n word,” he says over the phone a week after the incident, “but I thought the f word was even worse. I was so filled with hate at that moment because I was hated on so much, and I reacted in the worst way possible. Then I went on to make a bunch of other mistakes. I shouldn’t have made the video. I shouldn’t have released so many statements. But what’s come out of all of this is that I’ve learned so much about myself, and I’m in a much better place. I’m actually thankful that it happened."
Impressive! He only "thought about" using the n-word! He restrained his racism! Hilton goes on to compare himself to Madonna, saying that like her, he will "soldier on" no matter how much he is hated. That's a lot of soldiering.

UPDATE: More on this story at Good As You, Gawker, Examiner, Pink Paper, and 365gay.

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HomoQuotable - Steve Hildebrand

"I would encourage gays and straights alike to put pressure on President Obama, on his administration, to call for action -- immediate action on the laundry list of items that the gay community deserves for true equality in this country.

"What I don't like is the suggestion by a lot of people that this guy has lied to us and that he isn't fulfilling his campaign promises, when he's only been in office for five months. He can't change the world overnight and -- I'm doing my best to say this without providing excuses -- but this is a president who was handed a larger number of really big issues to deal with at the beginning of his presidency than any other president in history.

'He's got to get an economy moving, he's got to get the troops out of Iraq, there's a lot of big, big problems. At the same time, he is working within his administration to try and get in a position to get some meaningful things done to help the gay community achieve equality. That does not preclude any suggestion that we should not keep up the pressure. He has told me, and he has told ... staff in the White House that pressure's a good thing, so people should continue to put pressure on him." - Barack Obama's former deputy campaign director Steve Hildebrand, telling reporter Rex Wockner that he has faith in the president on LGBT issues. Hildebrand has had one-on-one conversations with the president and reports that Obama was "not happy at all" with the language used in the infamous DOJ-DOMA brief.

Read Rex Wockner's excellent interview with Hildebrand in full.

[Photo credit: Rex Wockner]

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Bill O'Reilly: Sen. Al Franken's Win Is A Sad Day For America

Sound the sad trombone.

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Free Donna Summer

Donna Summer will play a free show at 7:30pm on Thursday, August 27th during Brooklyn's Seaside Summer Concert Series at Brighton Beach's Seaside Park. Other Thursday freebie shows in the series: Gladys Knight, Blondie, Pat Benatar, The Donnas, The O'Jays, Hall & Oates, Frankie Valli, Connie Francis. The first show is next week.

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Today: DC Recognizes Homo Marriage

At 12:01am this morning, Washington DC began recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Here's what that gets you if you are married elsewhere and move to the District:
Gay couples are entitled to more than 200 legal rights extended to all married couples. The rights include: inheritance, benefits for spouses of employees at private companies and in the District's government and spousal immunity from testifying against each other.
The DC City Council is expected to move to allow local same-sex marriages in the fall.

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GOP Senator: If You Want Good Insurance, You Just Need To Get A Federal Job

It would be funny if it weren't so offensive.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

It Begins

The literal deification of Michael Jackson has begun.
A Stockton family says the image of Michael Jackson appeared on his tree stump the day the King of Pop died. Like the "Virgin Grilled Mary" or "Cheesus," the family thinks they've got an unusual spiritual image staring right at them from their own front yard. Felix Garcia has lived in the house for 22 years, and has never noticed the apparent image in his birch tree stump. "I was standing by that bush, and I looked up and saw that image here," Felix said. Many people in the crowd who gathered to look at the stump Sunday afternoon saw the resemblance, but why would Michael Jackson appear instead of a religious figure -- or even any of the other celebrities who recently passed away? "Because Michael Jackson was an icon to us," said one neighbor. "To Stockton, Michael Jackson meant more to us than Jesus, to some people. I think they're both about even."
In their defense, Jackson and Jesus are equally meaningful to me as well.

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Crackbarry: I Was Behind Her Accidentally

Former DC mayor Marion "Crack" Barry now claims that he didn't realize he was following his girlfriend in traffic when she called 911 to report that he was stalking her.
At a news conference Monday, attorney Frederick Cooke said Barry vehemently denies the allegation by Donna Watts-Brighthaupt, who said the city councilman wouldn't leave her alone. Barry stood behind Cooke but said nothing. Cooke said Barry and Watts-Brighthaupt were on their way to Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Saturday when she changed her mind. Cooke said the two returned to Washington, and Barry was just driving home when he ended up behind the woman. He said Barry didn't know where the woman was when he started driving home through the park where the arrest occurred. In a blistering attack, Cooke accused Watts-Brighthaupt of "instability" and "striking out at Mr. Barry," and insisted that her initial accusation and then her "recanting" it in press reports shows how unstable she is and little credibility she has.
Anybody buying that? Defender of marriage Barry is still married to another woman, btw.

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Tammy Bruce Is A Tea-Bagger

Out lesbian and right-wing radio host Tammy Bruce spoke at one of them tea-bagger thingies in Tuscon this weekend, where she railed in familiar fashion against the liberal elite. Such a contradiction for a former ACT-UPer, former NOW chapter president, longtime abortion rights kinda gal. She's like Rachel Maddow gone horribly wrong.

(Via - Good As You)

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Young Republicans Leader Audra Sigler Shay Accused Of Racism

The Daily Beast is following a growing rift among the Young Republicans after their vice president Audra Sigler Shay appeared to respond positively to a racist comment left on her Facebook page.
On Wednesday, Shay—a 38-year-old Army veteran, mother, and event planner from Louisiana who has been endorsed by her governor, Bobby Jindal—was holding court on her Facebook page, initiating a political conversation by posting that “WalMart just signed a death warrant” by “endorsing Obama’s healthcare plan.” At 1:52, a friend named listed as Eric S. Piker, but whose personal page says his actual name is Eric Pike, wrote “It’s the government making us commies… can’t even smoke in my damn car… whats next they going to issue toilet paper once a month… tell us how to wipe our asses…” Two minutes later, Piker posted again saying “Obama Bin Lauden [sic] is the new terrorist… Muslim is on there side [sic]… need to take this country back from all of these mad coons… and illegals.” Eight minutes after that, at 2:02, Shay weighed in on Piker’s comments: “You tell em Eric! lol.”
Shay says that she had only seen the first comment when she responded, but noting the time difference between the postings, Daily Beast author John Avlon says Shay's defense strains credibility. Additionally, Shay de-friended two commenters who complained about the racist comment, but kept the guy who made it. Below is a screen-cap of the exchange that started it all. The original thread has been deleted, but the Daily Beast's copy is here. The Young Republicans hold their annual convention in Indianapolis this weekend and this issue is expected to dominate the event.(Via Matthew Rettenmund @ Towleroad)

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Sharpton: No More MJ Pedo Stories

Al Sharpton thinks the media is focusing too much on Michael Jackson's legal woes, rather than his musical accomplishments. He also wants a "national day of mourning" (to be declared by whom?) and for the USPS to immediately issue a commemorative Michael Jackson stamp, something that is not usually done until five years after the death of a celebrity (with the exception of U.S. presidents.) Even though the Elvis stamp yielded $124M in sales, the always cash-strapped Postal Service says they'll still probably wait until 2014.

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My Latest Follower On Twitter

Welcome to JMG, Bishop Harry. That's an interesting list of Twitter users you follow.

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Daily Grumble

You know, it's kinda cool when somebody you went to high school with tracks you down on Facebook 32 years after you'd completely forgotten they existed. But including a photo of you and your eleven grandkids is not the kind of "OMG, we're OLD" reminder I needed today.

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Quote Of The Day - Daniel Radcliffe

"I'd love to play a drag queen or transvestite, but not just because of the costumes. Wait, what am I saying? Yes, because of the costumes! If the script was good - I wouldn't just do it because I got to dress up. Although I maintain that I look good with eye make-up. And I'm not going to be an emo kid, so the only other option is drag queen." - Daniel Radcliffe, who adds that the best way to avoid paparazzi is to "go out with a 6ft 8in beautiful transsexual. No-one gives you a second glance."

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Colin Powell: It's Time To Review DADT

Colin Powell says DADT "was correct for the time" it was created, but that the Joint Chiefs "need to study it" now and "make recommendations" to the president. Blah, blah, blah..same old, same old.

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Bar Raid Victim Calls For Prosecution

Rainbow Lounge bar raid victim Chad Gibson wants the cops involved in his arrest prosecuted and says the city is covering up the real details of the incident.
Although the city has asked the U.S. Attorney General to review the investigation, Gibson said he has lost all confidence in law enforcement. "You used excessive force and that's why I got hurt," he said. After seven days in the hospital, he’s not out of the woods. There is still a blood clot in his brain, behind his right eye. "I'm scared that something might happen," Gibson said. "It might start bleeding." Gibson said the city and officers have pointed the blame in the wrong direction. "They have blamed it on me, that I was drunk [and] that I hit my head," he said. "I groped the officer. I did this. I did that. You know what, no ... Accept responsibility." Gibson said he is also frustrated at the city pointing the blame at the TABC. "Even if the Fort Worth Police didn't touch me, they watched it," he said. "They watched other people do that to me."
The Fort Worth police department is still interviewing eyewitnesses.

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Marriage Equality Flag Update

You may recall back in December when JMG reader Mark tipped us to his concept for a marriage equality flag, one in which stars are added as states legalize same-sex marriage. Eight months ago, Mark explained:
The flag is based in the custom of 19th century suffragettes. At their annual convention they would add a star to the flag for each state that had adopted a women's right to vote. Although there is no official order - the stars are generally read right to left in the order they were admitted to the Union. Represented are - Massachusetts and Connecticut.
And now, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Iowa.(Update via Box Turtle Bulletin)

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Jesus, Tear Down This Sign

Christianists in Fort Lauderdale are so angry about a billboard promoting atheism that they are calling on the city and/or Jebus to tear it down.
After seeing the billboard, Team of Life community activist Essie "Big Mama" Reed brought her students out to protest it Wednesday afternoon. "Nothing else matters, but that sign needs to come down. In the name of Jesus," Big Mama chanted, as she led her students in protest. She said the sign affects something much deeper than business. "I don't know the reason for putting this sign up," said Big Mama. "It says 'Do not believe in God.' How are we going to make it? Look at our schools, everyday. Everyday there's something going on. Kids are out here killing each other, kids are here using drugs. Who else are they going to believe in?"
Big Mama has a reading comprehension problem. Businesses near the sign claim its mere presence is hurting their revenue. Somehow. Meanwhile signs like the one below litter the landscape with little complaint.

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How Auto-Tune Works

I caught an cute segment about Auto-Tune on PBS' Nova, in which music engineers point to Cher's 1998 hit Believe as the first dramatically pitch-altered hit single. It seems like every other song on the radio right now uses the Believe gimmick, doesn't it?

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Clear Sailing

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Bronx Teens Voted "Best Couple"

A cute story courtesy of SistersTalk:
While the adults in Albany, NY still can’t get it together to vote on the gay marriage bill in the NY Senate, the students of Mott Haven Village Preparatory (Public) High School in the Bronx have already cast their vote – and made history. For the first time at their school (and perhaps in all of the Bronx), a same sex couple, Victoria Cruz & her girlfriend Deoine Scott, were voted “Best Couple” by an overwhelming majority of students.
Everybody say "Awwwww."

(Via - Knucklecrack)

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Huckabee: Guns = Free Speech

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This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days...

Uruguay: Bishop Francisco Domingo Barbosa Da Silveira resigns after being blackmailed for hiring male prostitutes. The Vatican has accepted his resignation.
Louisiana: Pastor
Keith Bertrand Cowart charged with bank fraud for charging $74K to credit cards he had opened in the name of his church.
Indiana: Pastor Vaughn Reeves and his sons arrested for stealing $6M from congregants in church construction Ponzi scheme.
Texas: Pastor Steve Richardson sentenced to 17 years in prison for trafficking kiddie porn from his church's computers.
Florida: Youth Pastor Jacob Allen Morris arrested for molesting 8 year-old girl.
Tennessee: Youth Pastor
Randall Thomas Hollifield arrested for child rape.
Kentucky: Pastor John Edward Smith arrested for texting 13 year-old girl to lure her for sex.
Indiana: Pastor Curtis White III arrested for cocaine trafficking. Charges include selling crack to members of his congregation.
Louisiana: Pastor Barry Weldon Thomas arrested for shooting two men with a semi-automatic weapon.
New Jersey: Christian "faith-based" military youth camp superintendent Steven Baryla arrested for distributing child pornography.

This week's winner:
Georgia: Televangelist Creflo Dollar is being sued for fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets. He is accused of stealing an idea to sell daily scriptural messages sent via text message to subscribers who pay $4.99/month. The service currently grosses $50M annually. Dollar is known for his prosperity gospel, a "religious teaching that God desires material prosperity for those he favors." The U.S. Senate Committee On Finance is currently investigating Dollar and other televangelists for enriching themselves on donations from their followers. Dollar is refusing to comply with requests to submit financial disclosure forms.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Defender Of Marriage Marion Barry Arrested AGAIN, Charged With Stalking

Marion Barry, the noble defender of marriage who recently joined with Bishop Harry Jackson to fight DC's same-sex marriage recognition bill, has been arrested for the 87th (or so) time.
D.C. Council member Marion Barry was arrested last night and charged with stalking a woman after the woman reported that Barry was "bothering her" as the two traveled in separate vehicles in Anacostia Park, police said this morning. At about 8:45 p.m., a woman traveling near the intersection Good Hope Road and Anacostia Drive flagged down a U.S. Park Police officer to report that a man in a vehicle nearby was stalking her, said Sgt. David Schlosser, a Park Police spokesman. That man, Schlosser said, was Barry. The officer interviewed the woman and Barry, then arrested Barry and took him to the Park Police's Anacostia Station, Schlosser said. There a detective interviewed Barry again, and police charged him with a misdemeanor count of stalking. Barry was released and ordered to appear in court, likely sometime later this week, Schlosser said.
Goddamn bitch set him up!

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Sarah Palin Threatens To Sue Bloggers

From Sarah Palin's attorney:
"To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as 'fact' that Governor Palin resigned because she is 'under federal investigation' for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation," Van Flein said in a statement. "This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law."
Today the FBI confirmed that they have no ongoing investigation of Palin.

Meanwhile Palin told her Facebook friends that she does indeed have plans for a continuing national political presence.
"I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint," the former Republican vice presidential candidate wrote in a posting on her Facebook page. Palin's spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, confirmed Palin wrote the entry.

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Monorail Crash At Disney Kills Driver

Two monorail trains collided at Walt Disney World in Orlando this morning, killing the driver of one of the trains.
Walt Disney World spokesman Mike Griffin said the crash happened at about 2 a.m. Sunday, on one of the monorail's last runs of the day. Austin Wenneberg, 21, a Disney employee who was piloting one of the monorails died at the scene of the accident, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said. One other employee was transported to Florida Hospital Celebration. The second driver's injuries were not serious, Griffin said. The trains were transporting guests leaving Epcot. Six park guests were on the train during the crash, and were evaluated by paramedics at the scene according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. The park was operating normally Sunday, except for the closure of the monorail. Guests, who were being directed to buses instead, did not seem deterred by the accident.
This is the first monorail fatality in the Orlando park's 38-year history, although there has been at least one such death at Disneyland in California. Over 50 million people ride the monorail at the Orlando parks every year. The "trains" are essentially elevated electric buses that ride on rubber tires astride a concrete beam. Since they don't have any risk of hitting ground vehicles, unlike a conventional train, they are not built to withstand collisions well.

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Pines Invasion 2009

Yesterday was the annual Fire Island Pines drag queen invasion, in which the queens of Cherry Grove right what is now a 33 year-old slight by a Pines restaurateur. Check out Wayne Anderson's great gallery of queens and hot menz over at World Of Wonder.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Tea-Baggers Hit DC

Those wacky tea-baggers are at it again, protesting in 1500 U.S. cities today because, now, after eight years of Dubya wrecking the economy, NOW they don't like deficit spending.

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Happy 233rd Fourth!

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Family Of Murdered Gay Sailor Blames Military For Ignoring His Complaints

Although the government is claiming that murdered San Diego sailor August Provost was not the victim of a hate crime, his family feels differently.
Provost III, had complained a year before about being harassed for being gay. Roy said she advised Provost to report and document the incidents, but she said the military did little to help. “He went to the Navy to serve and protect,” she said in an interview with Beaumont’s KFDM News, “he didn’t get protected at all.” Roy told The Associated Press that the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy discouraged her nephew from asking for help. “That phrase is just stupid because it tells them they have no one to speak to,” she said. The 29-year-old Houston native was found dead Tuesday at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego.

Roy said the family was told that Provost was shot three times, had his hands and feet bound, his mouth gagged, and body burned. The family plans to hold funeral services July 10 in Houston. Democratic Rep. Bob Filner of San Diego said Thursday he wants a Defense Department investigation into the death, after leaders of the city’s gay community asked him to intervene. Investigators have called the sailor’s death a random act unrelated to the his sexuality and have taken a “person of interest” into custody. No charges have been filed.
Another victim of DADT, but this one is dead.

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Cooper Vs. Sarah Palin's Spokeswoman

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Friday, July 03, 2009

UPDATE: Sarah Palin Resigning

GOP sources report that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will announce today that she will not seek re-election in 2010, setting the stage for an expected 2012 presidential bid. Tina Fey is going to have lots of work.

UPDATE: The news is much bigger: Palin is resigning. Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be sworn in at the end of July. More to come.

UPDATE II: Just watched Palin's press conference. Bizarre. No specific reasons given, just a reference to attacks on her son, Trig, a rambling history of the acquisition of Alaska, and a lamenting of having to defend numerous ethics charges. Palin didn't appear to be reading from any notes and the Lt. Governor seems rather stunned. The Freepers are very unhappy. Some say that she's taking the high road and leaving politics entirely to care for her family, some suspect a coming scandal - and many are calling her political career over.

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Ft. Worth Cops Suspend Bar Checks

Continuing to backpedal from their involvement in the raid of the Rainbow Lounge, the Fort Worth police department says they are suspending "bar checks" in conjunction with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The announcement by Chief Halstead came four days after a raid at the Rainbow Lounge by six Fort Worth officers and two Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents left one patron hospitalized with a head injury. "I think it's an excellent first step," said Todd Camp, founder of Fort Worth's Q Cinema gay and lesbian film festival. "I'm glad to hear that both departments are conducting investigations. As a long-time resident of Fort Worth, I look forward to working with the police department to make sure something like this doesn't happen again."
Rainbow Lounge patron Chad Gibson, who suffered a head injury during what witnesses described as an unnecessarily rough arrest, is scheduled to be released from the hospital today. Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead has ordered multicultural training for his officers, probably with an eye towards coming civil lawsuits as an internal investigation of the raid continues.

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Helen Thomas Slams Robert Gibbs

White House press corps grand dame Helen Thomas takes no mess from press secretary Robert Gibbs.

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UPDATE: India's Decriminalization Of Homosexuality DOES Apply Nationwide

Contrary to earlier reports that the Dehli High Court's ruling to decriminalize homosexuality only applied in the National Capital Territory, today the Times Of India reports that the ruling does indeed apply nationwide.
Since a high court has a limited territorial jurisdiction, is homosexuality decriminalized only in Delhi or the whole country? Although legal pundits are divided on this, the law laid down by a 2004 SC judgment implies that homosexuals across the country may rest assured that they too are entitled to the benefits of the historic Delhi high court decision on Section 377 IPC. In Kusum Ingots vs Union of India, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had ruled: “An order passed on writ petition questioning the constitutionality of a Parliamentary Act, whether interim or final, will have effect throughout the territory of India subject of course to the applicability of the Act.”
In a separate story the Times Of India also reports that the government is unlikely to appeal the High Court's ruling.
Though under pressure from religious groups of all hues to appeal against the Delhi High Court order legalising gay sex, the Manmohan Singh government is unlikely to move the Supreme Court on its own. The opinion in the government on the fraught issue is far from settled and the Delhi HC may have spared it the tough task of coalescing divergent views into a position. In fact, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi indicated as much when he said that "the verdict has rendered legislative intervention meaningless".
Veteran gay reporter Rex Wockner has issued requests to several major U.S. newspapers that they correct their earlier reports about the ruling's impact nationwide.

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Don't Hope?

(Via JMG reader Jeff)

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Photo Of The Day

Ruth Madoff was photographed on the subway (horrors!) yesterday after being booted from her $7M Upper East Side penthouse "with only her purse and the clothes on her back." She asked if she could take a fur coat, but was denied. It's unknown where Ruth is staying, but it's been reported that numerous Manhattan buildings have turned her down, not wanting what may be a years-long media circus parked outside their lobbies. The uncropped version of this photo in today's NY Post reveals that the poster behind Ruth says, "99 Cents Does More!"

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UES Gay Bashing Spree Continues, AVP Issues Community Alert

The NYC Anti-Violence Project has issued a community alert (PDF) after a third Upper East Side gay bashing in one week by what appears to be the same group of young men who committed the attack I reported on Monday. The victim in that attack provided the NYPD with the sketch (left) of one of the men involved in his assault. There have been three other attacks on non-gay persons.
Community Alert: Three out of six attacks in the last month on the Upper East Side investigated as anti-LGBT Hate Crimes.

This morning, the New York City Anti-Violence Project learned of six violent attacks on the Upper East Side that have occurred in the span of just over a month, but most between June 26th through June 28th. A disturbing commonality in at least two of the incidents has been the use of slews of anti-gay epithets during the attacks, regardless of the self-identity of the victims. Three of the incidents are being investigated as Hate Crimes by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force. The Anti-Violence Project is urging the NYPD to investigate all six as possible hate crimes. All of the attacks occurred in the early morning hours.

The news comes just after the release of the 2008 Hate Violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People in the United States report, which includes the New York City Anti-Violence Project’s data on anti-LGBT hate violence in New York City. The report documents that in NYC there was a 12% decrease in reports of incidents, but an increase in the severity of the attacks. Murders alone increased 67%; robbery and larceny rose 140%, and sexual assaults increased 171%. The recent reports from the Upper East Side have made clear that the trend in severity appears to be continuing.
On Sunday a 40 year-old man was assaulted on Second Avenue near East 84th Street as he walked alone from the subway. Police are seeking the same four to six young white men for all the attacks.

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NY Controller To Withhold Senate Pay

Finally! NY State Controller Thomas DiNapoli has begun the process to withhold the pay of state Senators.
"I have a responsibility to taxpayers to safeguard their interests," DiNapoli said. "These are difficult fiscal times. The state needs leadership and action." DiNapoli's decision affects the pay period ending July 8. Payroll for 62 senators amounts to some $190,000, or $3,049 per senator, every two weeks. Paterson has already called for DiNapoli to withhold the pay of the do-nothing lawmakers.
A spokesman for Senate Democrats said, "We'll see him in court."

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A-Hole Or B-Hole?

Hardee's has joined the race to the advertising bottom as every fast food outlet in the country seems to be trying to outdo the last in sexual innuendo.

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Sally Kern's "Morality" Rally

OK Rep. Sally Kern and her supporters held a "morality rally" on the first floor of the state Capitol yesterday, where protesters tried to outshout Kern's idiots. The rally was held to promote Kern's attempt to have the legislature endorse her "Proclamation of Morality, " which I recently mentioned here. Among many other things, Kern's proclamation blames gays for the state of the economy.
A circuslike atmosphere broke out Thursday during a rally to launch Rep. Sally Kern's proclamation for morality. Protesters repeatedly interrupted Kern, R-Oklahoma City, and her supporters, chanting for the separation of church and state and calling Kern and her supporters hypocrites. A crowd of as many as 250 Kern supporters and protesters attended the event on the first floor of the state Capitol. Among Kern's supporters were Republican Reps. Mike Reynolds of Oklahoma City and Lisa Billy of Lindsay. The proclamation, the bulk of which was written by Kern, calls for a national awakening of righteousness. "We believe our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis," the proclamation states. "This nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery."

C.S. Thornton, deputy director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said the proclamation is riddled with factual inaccuracies. During the rally, chants of "shame on you" were interrupted by the singing of "God Bless America," only to be droned out by calls for everyone to love their neighbor. Critics accused Kern of using state resources to promote religion. The proclamation makes several references to religion.
Below, protesters chant and Kern supporters sing religious songs.

(Tipped by JMG reader Lynette)

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Tap Tap Tap

Is anybody working today or is everybody on a three-day weekend?

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Web Site Story

A Broadway-style look at social media.

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Predictable

Wanna bet there'll be a few MJ fans that go entirely apeshit on them?

(Via - Good As You)

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Why, Superman, Why?

Seriously, WTF is Microsoft thinking? Do NOT press play unless you are truly ready to be grossed out. You have been warned.

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There's No Furries In Baseball

The NY Mets were "justifiably freaked out" to realize they were staying in the same hotel as a furry convention during this week's away games in Pittsburgh. Above, Mets announcer Kevin Burkhardt poses with a beaver. I think that's a beaver. Anthrocon 2009 continues through Sunday. Pittsburgh continues in last place.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Paterson: NY Senate Must Work Holiday

Gov. Paterson has issued proclamations calling for the NY Senate to work every single day through this holiday weekend. Whether they'll show up or not, who knows?
Gov. David Paterson has elevated the Senate stalemate from a “conflict” to a “crisis.” The governor didn’t make much news today in his Red Room press conference, except to say that he has issued proclamations for special session every day at 3 p.m. through July 6 — which means that the Senate will be in Albany through the holiday weekend. Paterson also called on Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat, to withhold the pay of senators’ salaries. So far, DiNapoli has declined to take that step. When asked about the bills that Senate Democrats “voted” on in yesterday’s “session” (made possible by Republican Sen. Frank Padavan’s walkthru of the Senate chamber, which Democrats claim made quorum), Paterson reiterated that he did not intend to sign the bills.
Sen. Ruben Diaz, unsurprisingly, is the first to tell the Governor "come get me", saying to the NY Daily News, "I would rather spend my time in church, preaching and praising the Lord, than to be here doing nothing, wasting my time...wasting the money of the people of the state of New York." Watch Diaz say he will defy the proclamation.

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Feds Sieze Madoffs' UES Penthouse

U.S. Marshalls just took possession of Bernie Madoff's UES penthouse, forcing his wife to look for lodging elsewhere.
U.S. Marshal Joseph Guccione said the marshals arrived at the property at noon with a court order permitting them to take custody of the apartment and cause anyone there to move out. Guccione said Madoff's wife Ruth had been advised in advance of the marshals' plans and was leaving the residence, surrendering all personal property. "She will be leaving,'' he said. "Restitution for the victims is the government's top priority.'' Typically, the marshals service changes all locks and secures a property when it seizes a location. Last week, Ruth Madoff agreed to give up all of her possessions in return for a promise that federal prosecutors would not go after $2.5 million she can keep. The money, though, is not protected from civil legal actions that might be pursued by a court-appointed trustee liquidating Madoff's assets or by investor lawsuits.
It's quite a media circus over on E.64th, I think people are hoping to see Ruth sitting on the curb. What will the poor dear do, with only $2.5M to her name?

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Influence Peddling Scandal Rocks Washington Post

The Washington Post has just canceled an event with lobbyists amid an explosive scandal that they'd been selling the lobbyists access to powerful politicians and their own reporters and editors. Politico has the story:
Washington Post Publisher and Chief Executive Officer Katharine Weymouth said today she was cancelling plans for an exclusive "salon" at her home where, for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, nonconfrontational access to "those powerful few": Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff." With the newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Weymouth and Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli both said they were not aware of the flier.

“This should never have happened,” Weymouth told Post media reporter Howard Kurtz. “The fliers got out and weren't vetted. They didn't represent at all what we were attempting to do. We're not going to do any dinners that would impugn the integrity of the newsroom." Brauchli told Kurtz he was "appalled" by the plan." It suggests that access to Washington Post journalists was available for purchase," Brauchli told Kurtz. The proposal "promises we would suspend our usual skeptical questioning because it appears to offer, in exchange for sponsorships, the good name of The Washington Post."
A lobbyist is rightfully chastising journalists for poor ethical practices. Bizarro world! Do we believe the WaPo's story that this just a case of a poorly written flier?

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HomoQuotable - Rachel Maddow

"It didn’t come to me in terms of like, 'I think I like that girl', or 'I think I’m falling in love' or 'I think I know what this feeling is.' It was, 'It would make sense to me if I ended up being a gay person.'

"It very quickly became a hormonal urge, but I remember when it first occurred to me that I might be gay, it was more like realizing that that would be the thing that would make sense for a lot of things that I had felt over the course of my whole life, and maybe that was an explanatory construct.

"And I remember thinking that....and then my next thought...and I shit you not...was, 'But I hate softball!' And so I thought, 'I can’t possibly be a lesbian, because the only thing I know about lesbians is they play softball and I will never.'" - Rachel Maddow, from my Pride'09 Magazine interview.

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NEA Considering Marriage Endorsement

Christianist news site OneNewsNow is first with the word that the National Education Association is considering issuing a resolution in support of marriage equality.
The NEA is currently holding its annual convention in San Diego, California. Educator and conservative activist Jeralee Smith called OneNewsNow from the convention to report that the executive council has approved language that will throw the full support of the NEA behind same-gender marriage, homosexual adoption, and other issues surrounding the homosexual agenda. "They will help to overturn legislation that is discriminatory against same-sex couples," she notes. "And then there is one little bullet about [how] they will recognize that marriage has a religious connotation and it's not compatible with beliefs and values -- because of that they recognize that certain churches should not be forced to conduct same-sex marriage." Smith says the resolution could be voted on as early as midday Friday or as late as Tuesday of next week.
The NEA is the nation's largest union with over 3.2M members.

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UK: Conservative Party Apologizes For Anti-Gay Section 28 Legislation

In 1988 the UK enacted Section 28, a law which ordered that schools "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship." The law was not repealed until 2003.

Yesterday, at a gay Pride event in London, the Conservative Party apologized for having sponsored the legislation.
David Cameron has issued an extraordinary apology on behalf of the Conservative Party for legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools. He said the party had 'got it wrong' when it introduced Section 28 in the late 1980s. It is one of a series of apologies Mr Cameron has made for his party's actions in government. [snip]

Section 28 was introduced by Margaret Thatcher's government in response to evidence of Left-wing councils promoting gay relationships in schools. It prevented councils and schools from intentionally promoting homosexuality, but became a focal point for anger for gay rights campaigners. Mr Cameron insisted he was making his apology because the legislation had been ' offensive to gay people'. 'I'm sorry for Section 28. We got it wrong. It was an emotional issue. We have got to move on and we have moved on,' he said.

He insisted that under his leadership the party was embracing gay rights and predicted it would produce Britain's first gay Prime Minister. 'Yes, we may have sometimes been slow and yes, we may have made mistakes, including Section 28, but the change has happened,' he said.
Britain's first openly gay Prime Minister, a Tory?

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Dog Watch '09: Week 25

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Ft. Worth Bar Raid Investigation Launched

The Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission has begun an investigation into the raid of the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas.
The agency is conducting an internal investigation of the incident at the Rainbow Lounge on Jennings Street, according to a news release issued Wednesday afternoon. The TABC also conducted inspections at two bars on Rosedale Street. Meanwhile, the man who was hurt in the raid on the Rainbow Lounge, 26-year-old Chad Gibson, was listed in fair condition at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. He had earlier been listed in serious condition.

"We are saddened that this incident occurred and extend our sincere hope that Mr. Gibson recovers quickly," said TABC Administrator Alan Steen. "I have initiated an internal affairs investigation to answer questions about how these locations were chosen, to review the agents' actions, and specifically to establish the facts surrounding Mr. Gibson's injury." The inspection of the Rainbow Lounge has drawn protests from the gay community, including a demonstration later Sunday by about 100 people.
Fort Worth Chief of Police Jeff Halstead claims that Chad Gibson was in the custody of TABC agents, not his officers, and is changing his tune on what went down.
"We’ve got to work together," Halstead said. "Be patient, and you will see that this is just not lip service. I will meet with you wherever you want to meet. I will go to your restaurants, your house, we can eat barbecue, whatever you want to do. But we’ve got to talk. We will heal beyond this."
He'll eat barbecue with us? Oh, that's makes everything OK!

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Glass Box In The Sky

Remember a few months ago when I told you about the new glass ledge at the 103rd floor of the Sears/Willis Tower? Most of you said, "No way! Not going there." Here's a side view of one of the four retractable glass bays, taken on a rainy day. Below is video taken during nicer weather. Very, very cool.

(Via - Towleroad)

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Canadian HIV Vaccine Ready To Begin Human Trials In U.S.

A little bit of encouraging news today.
An HIV/AIDS vaccine developed in Canada has passed safety tests in animals and the researchers are awaiting approval to begin human trials in the U.S. "It is a very important milestone for us," said Yong Kang, a professor of microbiology at the University of Western Ontario in London who has been working on the vaccine for 20 years. Kang said he expects to get the go-ahead soon from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin human toxicology tests and two phases of clinical trials in the United States. If all three trials are successful, the vaccine should be available within the next decade, Kang told CBC News on the phone while attending a meeting in South Korea.
(Tipped by JMG reader Alejandro)

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Woman With Cancer Asks Obama For Help

Watch this one, please.

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Gay Sailor Murdered On Marine Base

The body of an openly gay sailor was found yesterday in a guard shack outside of Camp Pendleton, a USMC base just outside San Diego. The case may be investigated as a hate crime.
The body of Seaman August Provost of Houston, Texas, was discovered about 3:30 a.m. on the western edge of the base, said Doug Sayers, a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest. An autopsy was completed yesterday, but authorities were waiting for results of toxicology tests to determine a cause of death. A “person of interest” was being held in the Navy brig at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. No charges have been filed. The death has local gay activists calling for a formal investigation into whether Provost was slain because of his sexual orientation. “We're definitely monitoring this and trust and hope the military will investigate this in the professional way it should,” said Nicole Murray-Ramirez, chairman of San Diego's Human Rights Commission. Murray-Rameriz also has contacted Reps. Susan Davis and Bob Filner, asking that they make official inquiries to the military concerning an investigation. The Navy would not comment on whether Provost's orientation had anything to do with the death.
The victim's boyfriend said that Provost had been out to trusted friends in the Navy.

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Indian High Court Legalizes Homosexuality In New Dehli

In a ruling that is only binding in the National Capital Territory (for now), the Delhi High Court has decriminalized homosexuality in a decision with sweeping implications for one of the world's largest gay populations.

Rex Wockner has done an excellent analysis of the decision. An excerpt:
What about the rest of India? It certainly carries weight there but is, at the moment, legally binding only in the National Capital Territory. What could happen next is that (A) the national government could appeal the ruling to India's Supreme Court, (B) the national government could accept the ruling and not appeal it, (C) the national government could accept the ruling and use it as ammo to introduce a bill in Parliament to duplicate the ruling in national law, and/or (D) anti-gay parties to the lawsuit could appeal to the Supreme Court. Regardless, gay sex is now legal in India's National Capital Territory and, as the Queer Media Collective put it: "This is the first time a court as senior as this, with such respected judges, has given a decision on homosexuality. Because of that it sends a powerful signal to the legal establishment across the country. We are confident that judges, lawyers and police officers across the country will understand and follow the Delhi High Court's lead."
The most damning bit of the ruling: "The criminalisation of homosexuality condemns in perpetuity a sizable section of society and forces them to live their lives in the shadow of harassment, exploitation, humiliation, cruel and degrading treatment at the hands of the law enforcement machinery."

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NY Blade Suspends Publication

Two days ago we learned that HX Magazine has been sold. Today comes word that its HX Media stablemate, the New York Blade, is suspending publication.
The New York Blade, one of the two major gay and lesbian newspapers in New York City, has laid off its editor in chief and suspended publication, the chief executive of its publishing company said on Wednesday. “Everyone was let go, but the people on The Blade know that they may come back if The Blade is coming back,” said the executive, Matthew Bank, of HX Media, which was formed in 2005 by the merger of The Blade and HX Magazine. The moves came on Tuesday after HX was sold to undisclosed buyers. The Blade, a biweekly paper with a free circulation of 22,000, was left with an uncertain future. “It doesn’t have an issue scheduled until a week from Friday.” Mr. Bank said. “There are a lot of things that can happen between now and then.”
This leaves NYC with only one gay news print source, the excellent Gay City News.

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A Letter To The DNC

JMG reader Jimbo points us to this bit of delicious snark found in the letters section of Salon.
Dear DNC

I truly "support" Democrats being elected in 2010 and 2012. I am a "fierce advocate" of the Democratic Party after all. I know that I have promised you my support over the past few decades and have done my best to follow through.

Even now I am "working towards" a financial donation to the Party. I do have to ask for your "patience" though, because as a gay man, my family and I are still second class citizens and are having to funnel our resources towards causes that protect and honor our basic civil rights. "We have a lot on our plate."

We are "proceeding" towards lifting the denial of funds to the DNC and are "developing a strategy" that will get us there by the end of Obama's time at the White House. As a matter of fact, my family has planned several "meetings" to discuss these very important donations and will be sending out a press release shortly to announce our "cocktail party" celebrating Democracy.

Thanks for understanding. And hang in there!

Sincerely,

Liam

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The Pain, The Pain

Media Matters provides this clip showing the anguish of the right over Al Franken's win.

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Open Thread Thursday

What's your guilty pleasure? Mexican soaps? Game shows? Disney Channel?

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

India's High Court Set To Rule On Decriminalizing Homosexuality

One of the world's largest homosexual populations is anxiously awaiting word on a pending ruling that may decriminalize gay sex. Rex Wockner:
The Delhi High Court will issue its long-awaited decision in the case seeking to decriminalize gay sex tomorrow, Thursday, July 2, at 10:30 a.m. Delhi time. You should care because...India is the world's second-most-populous nation: 17.22 percent of all humans live there. That's 1,165,760,000 people. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code bans gay sex under penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The legal challenge seeks to have the section "read down" so it no longer applies to consensual sex between adults.
The ruling will come tomorrow at about 1:30am NYC time. Even if only 5% of India is gay, this ruling will affect the lives of over 50 million of our people.

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