Monday, August 31, 2009

Mike Rogers: South Carolina's Anti-Gay Lt. Governor Andre Bauer Is A Closet Case

Noted outer of hypocrites Mike Rogers today named South Carolina's anti-gay Lt. Governor Andre Bauer as a closeted homosexual. Mike Rogers:
I'm a reporter. I meet with people and I talk to them. Then based on a review of all of the facts, I report closet cases that hurt the gay community. You may not like my style, but I have a track record of 100%. And for those reasons I am now able to confirm a rumor that has circulated in South Carolina for years. South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer is a closeted anti-gay politician who stands to replace Mark Sanford should Sanford resign or be impeached (a real possibility as Sanford is caught in his own sex scandal.)
Rumors have been swirling about Bauer for several months and have intensified since the Sanford scandal. In June, South Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Linda Ketner apologized after she outed Bauer, saying she thought she had been speaking off the record and had no direct knowledge of his gayness. As Mike Rogers notes in the quote above, he has a 100% track record in naming closeted gay politicians who are working against the rights of their own people.

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NOM Investigated By Iowa Ethics Board

HRC Backstory reports that in addition to being investigated for for violating campaign finance laws in Maine, now the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board is looking into NOM's shenanigans too.

Turns out NOM has failed to register as a PAC and disclose contributors. NOM even boasts in their fundraising letters that they offer donors anonymity. Said the Iowa board letter: “The independent expenditure process in Iowa is not a vehicle to shield political contributions.” Read the entire Iowa letter here [pdf] as well as the Maine letter [pdf]. Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher may have felt pretty good after the love fest they got from the Washington Post on Friday, but the fair-minded Americans they’re trying to reach should take note.

In related NOM skulduggery, their 2007 tax return has finally been released after much foot-dragging. In that year, NOM paid an outfit called Common Sense America a whopping $166,000 for "consulting." Aaaaand (TA-DAH!) it turns out that Common Sense America is run by NOM's executive director Brian Brown. How very interesting.

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Carrie Prejean Sues Pageant Officials For Religious Discrimination

Dethroned homophobe Carrie Prejean has filed suit against her former handlers at the Miss California USA pageant, alleging religious discrimination, libel, and everything else she could think of.
Carrie Prejean’s attorney, Charles S. LiMandri announced today that the former Miss California USA is filing a complaint in the Superior Court of California against Miss California USA officials Keith Lewis and Shanna Moakler, and publicist Roger Neal. The complaint cites damages to Miss Prejean including libel, public disclosure of private facts, religious discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Miss Prejean was fired from her role as Miss California USA in June of this year, following several months of controversy over her answer at the Miss USA pageant regarding same-sex marriage. Lewis claimed Miss Prejean’s termination was due to a violation of contract. Miss Prejean’s complaint will refute that allegation, and demonstrate that both the chronology and factual evidence clearly show she lived up to all her contractual obligations, but was fired, harassed and publicly attacked solely due to her religious beliefs.
I can't imagine that Prejean will succeed as the Miss USA officials had been very open with their attempts to get her to adhere to her post-pageant obligations, even publishing emails pleading for her to show up at contracted events.

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Mary Cheney Donates To Anti-Gay Ohio U.S. Senate Candidate

The openly lesbian spawn of Dick, Mary Cheney has contributed $1000 to the campaign of former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH), who is running to replace the retiring Sen. George Voinovich. As a Congressman, Portman voted against same-sex marriage and against allowing gay adoption in DC. Critics consider this donation to be curious as Cheney has spoken out in favor of both issues in the past.

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80's Flashback

Diana Ross, Live In Central Park, 1983. Once of the most famous moments in Diana Ross' career came when a sudden thunderstorm interrupted her free Central Park concert just as it was beginning. Ross shrugged off the downpour and continued singing, despite the request of promoters that she wait. As the storm intensified and the estimated crowd of 800,000 (perhaps the largest in NYC history) began to dash for the exits, Ross had to plead with them to leave safely and promised to return the next day for another free show. At the 7:00 mark of this clip, Barry Diller himself rushes onto the stage to tell Ross to end the show. Over 500,000 did return the next day in good weather, but NYC had to pay millions in settlements to over 100 people who were assaulted that night by groups of rampaging muggers. Souvenirs sales from the first concert were meant to pay for a proposed park playground in Ross' name, but the second unplanned show and the lawsuits destroyed any profits. Ross eventually paid for the playground out of her own pocket.

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76 Monkeys With Trombones Led The Big Parade, With 110 Wingnuts Close At Hand

The marching band of Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia, Missouri has had to send back their t-shirts because some parents were outraged that the shirt shows a monkey evolving into a human with a brass instrument. The logo on the shirt says "Brass Evolutions."
"I was disappointed with the image on the shirt," said Sherry Melby, a band parent who teaches in the district. "I don't think evolution should be associated with our school." But other parents were just as dismayed that the shirts were taken away from students at the Sedalia school. Sophomore band member Denyel Luke said the reaction by some to the evolution theme was a little extreme. "It's not like we are saying God is bad," Luke said. "We aren't promoting evolution." The district will have to absorb the $700 cost of the shirts, which will be replaced as soon as administrators approve a design for the new ones.
(Tipped by JMG reader Jeffrey)

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Cell Phones and Brain Tumors

The long running controversy over whether cell phones cause brain tumors has been ratcheted up by a group of scientists who point to significant flaws in a recent study funded by...hello...cell phone providers.
This report, sent to government leaders and media today, details eleven design flaws of the 13-country, Telecom-funded Interphone study. The Interphone study, begun in 1999, was intended to determine the risks of brain tumors, but its full publication has been held up for years. Components of this study published to date reveal what the authors call a 'systemic-skew', greatly underestimating brain tumor risk. The design flaws include categorizing subjects who used portable phones (which emit the same microwave radiation as cellphones,) as 'unexposed'; exclusion of many types of brain tumors; exclusion of people who had died, or were too ill to be interviewed, as a consequence of their brain tumor; and exclusion of children and young adults, who are more vulnerable. Lloyd Morgan, lead author and member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society says, "Exposure to cellphone radiation is the largest human health experiment ever undertaken, without informed consent, and has some 4 billion participants enrolled. Science has shown increased risk of brain tumors from use of cellphones, as well as increased risk of eye cancer, salivary gland tumors, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia. The public must be informed."
The scientists say that people who began using cell phones as teenagers have a 400% increased incidence of brain tumors, although the current digital models have a lessened risk. They recommend reducing your risk by using a wired headset, texting whenever possible, keeping the phone turned off until needed, and storing it away from your body. Using the phone inside buildings and moving vehicles increases power usage, presumably also increasing your risk.

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The "Marriage Minutemen" Of New Jersey

As New Jersey moves ever closer to becoming the next state to legalize same-sex marriage, Christianists there have organized into a group they are calling the "Marriage Minutemen."
Two years ago, Jason Scalzi volunteered to serve a tour with the Air National Guard in Iraq. Now back home, the 35-year-old has signed up for what he says is a moral battle on home soil: He has enlisted as a Minuteman - that is, a Marriage Minuteman. That name may sound fierce - and so does Scalzi when he discusses his opposition to marriage between same-sex couples. "We want to stop any redefinition of marriage that happens without a public vote," he said. Scalzi said he does not know what the Minutemen's fight will entail. For now, he expects to write letters to officials, make phone calls reaching out for support and volunteer whatever time he can.
Last week the Catholic bishops of New Jersey weighed in too, publishing a 2300-word anti-gay screed in all of the state's parish bulletins.

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Obama Wants Your Foreskin!

After last week's news that the CDC is considering recommending circumcision to protect newborn boys from one day contracting HIV, the right-wing hysteria machine kicked into high gear. Rush Limbaugh claims that Obama wants to mandate circumcision.

Hot Air blogger Ed Morrisey joins the nonsense:
Why should the CDC push circumcision at all? The government has no business being in the middle of that decision. Under ObamaCare, however, when the government starts paying more and more of the health-care tab, they will point to ambiguous cost savings down the road — in this and other cases, decades down the road — to pressure Americans into surrendering their choices now.
Surrender your choices and your foreskin now!

(Via - Science Blogs)

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China: Gays Clash With Cops In Park

Last week over over 100 gay men in the Chinese city of Guangzhou protested attempts by police to push them out of a city park where they gather to socialize.
The protest was held Tuesday night in People's Park, not far from the Guangzhou municipal government building, said Ah Qiang, a volunteer of a Guangzhou-based gay organization. "The park is open for everyone," Ah said. "Why are we not allowed to stay here?" Sometime during the night, the protesters verbally clashed with police officers after park guards asked the large group to leave the premises. A video of the protest was later posted at tudou.com, resulting in strong debates among local citizens. "But, we eventually got the police to leave the park," Ah said. The park, according to both the police and the organization, is a popular gathering spot for male homosexuals. About 100 gay people meet there each day, Ah said.

A police officer with the Guangwei subdistrict public security station, who declined to be identified, said the move to ask homosexuals to leave the park was a preventive measure because gay people are allegedly committing crime in the park. "An increasing number of local citizens have told us they have been harassed by gay people in the park," the unnamed officer said. The officer also said homosexuals are committing minor crimes such as robbery and stealing. "We can hardly distinguish those who have harassed local citizens. That is why we have to push all of them out," he said. Ah Qiang refuted the police officer's claim and said that male homosexuals are the victims of crimes, not the perpetrators. Many gay people are robbed in the park, he said.
With a metro population estimated to be as high at 13.5M, Guangzhou is the third-largest city in China.

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UK: Lesbian Couples Get Equal Birth Rights

In the UK, lesbian couples can now have each of their names put on the birth certificates of children conceived via artificial insemination.
The law change applies to female couples in England and Wales who were having fertility treatment on or after 6 April 2009. However critics say the change would be detrimental to family values. Previously, the mother's female partner could not be registered as a parent. But the change in the law confers legal parenthood on the mother's female partner. According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, there were 728 lesbians who underwent in vitro fertilisation (IVF) between 1999 and 2006. And in the same period, there were 5,211 lesbian females who received donor insemination (DI) treatment.
The UK's Christian Medical Fellowship calls the law a "legal fiction" and "just madness" that no father is listed on the birth certificate.

(Tipped by JMG reader Gareth in Wales)

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Circular Logic

(Via - Almighty God)

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Wildfires Rage In LA County

Gov. Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County as wildfires have consumed more than 20,000 acres. Some residents near the affected areas may soon lose contact with the outside world.
Beyond the thousands of residential homes threatened, the fires could damage a vital television, radio and communications center and observatory on Mount Wilson. Twenty-two television stations and numerous cell phone providers have transmitters at the center, U.S. Forest Service Capt. Mike Dietrich told the AP. ABC News' local affiliate KABC is among those whose antennas are threatened. "If you receive ABC7 by off-air antenna, you could lose our ABC7 signal," the station said in an e-mail bulletin, the Los Angeles Times reported. "It's not a matter of if it impacts Mount Wilson, it's a matter of when," L.A. County Fire Capt. Mike Savage told KABC Sunday.

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NY Fails Marriage Recognition Test

Two New York women with a still-legal California marriage are expecting twins. They'd like everybody in their family to have the same last name, so they visited a New York City marriage bureau to request a name-change form. Marriage Equality New York followed them with a camera as the women learned that it's not as easy as they'd hoped. New York state is supposed to be recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

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Bankruptcy For Massive Media Company

Freedom Communications, a sprawling media company comprising eight TV stations and more than 75 newspapers, including 30 dailies, is expected to declare bankruptcy this week. Freedom's most well-known property is the Pulitzer-winning Orange County Register. The company will continue to operate as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. It's just nonstop bad news for print anymore.

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WND: Pastor Arrested For Anti-Gay Signs

According to WorldNetDaily, well-known anti-gay nutball Pastor Billy Ball and a supporter (pictured) were arrested several times on the same day last week for holding anti-gay signs on a Manchester, Georgia street corner.
Chris Pettigrew and Pastor Billy Ball of Faith Baptist Church in Primrose, Ga., were arrested multiple times Aug 24 after they held signs on a public street corner telling people to repent and declaring homosexuality a sin. "There were four of us to begin with. We weren't preaching with any amplified sound," Pettigrew told WND. "Basically, as soon as we got out of the cars and started toward the sidewalk, Manchester city police officers showed up and asked us if we had a parade permit." He continued, "We did not have a parade permit, and we informed them that we had no plans for obtaining a parade permit because we weren't in a parade."

Pettigrew said officers from the Manchester Police Department were initially cordial when they told him he must have a permit to stand on the sidewalk with his sign. "We simply said, 'We can't do that. It's our constitutional right to free speech. We're not impeding any kind of traffic. We're peaceably assembled, so we're going to do what we came to do,'" he said. At that moment, another officer arrived, joined the others and told the men they must obtain a permit to remain on the sidewalk. Displeased with their answer, Pettigrew said, "they handcuffed us and took us to the city jail in Manchester." Later, while Pettigrew and his comrades remained in jail, Pastor Ball and another man arrived at the street corner to share his message. So, police arrested Ball.
WND claims that Pettigrew and Ball were arrested, released, and rearrested four times that day at the same intersection. Pettigrew: "If I were holding a sign that said, 'Two large pizzas for $5,' I don't think I would have gotten a second look from police. I firmly and adamantly believe we were singled out and arrested because of the content of our speech." As repulsive as these men are, if the WND story is factual (BIG if there), Pettigrew is right. However, WND is famed even among Christianists and Freepers for completely fabricating stories and as of this writing there appears to be no other news account of this incident.

You may recall Pastor Ball for his numerous protests at gay Pride events around the south. And this is the photo he proudly displays on the First Baptist Church of Primrose website.

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Jon Voight: Obama Thinks He's God

Angelina Jolie's Oscar-winning daddy thinks that Barack Obama is taking away "God's first gift to man, our free will. And no man, no matter what his title, even if he's the president of the United States, has the consent of God to say he's God." Uh, what?

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Vermont: Marriages Begin Tomorrow

The first same-sex marriages in Vermont begin tomorrow.
Vermont's gay marriage law is set to go into effect on Tuesday, September 1st. Supporters of same-sex marriage already are gearing up for what promises to be an emotional week. Preparations were under way for a celebration on Sunday, two days before gay marriage becomes legal in Vermont. Willie Docto heads the Vermont Gay Tourism Association. He says over time, it will boost Vermont tourism. But don't expect a large number of gay marriages right away. "A lot of people can't take off on Tuesday to get married," he said. "It's not a weekend, it's not a holiday. So there's practical reasons why people aren't getting married on September first. I think expectations are too high for that one day."
The first ceremony is scheduled for just after midnight tonight. Congratulations Vermonters!

RELATED: Westboro Baptist Church will also be in Vermont tomorrow, starting their day with a 7:30am protest at Montpelier High School. Vermont Freedom To Marry requests that anybody thinking about counter-protesting stay away from the high school portion of Westboro's agenda, as "adding large numbers of demonstrators to this area could create safety problems for the students, demonstrators, other pedestrians, and vehicular traffic." Join the Facebook support group created by the students at Montpelier High.

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Morning View - Red Hook Trolley

Derelict remnants of Red Hook's street rail system are parked behind the Fairway Market on Brooklyn's waterfront. Mayor Bloomberg recently indicated his support for bringing back light rail service to waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, starting with Red Hook. A $300K feasibility study by the DOT will begin by the end of the year.

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This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days...

New York: Pastor Victor Figueroa sued for $30M for sexually assaulting congregant.
Alabama: Pastor John Picard convicted of 42 counts of sexual battery of six women.
Ontario: Father Bernard Prince defrocked by the Vatican for his conviction for molesting 13 boys.
Virginia: Pastor Gregory Biehl pleads guilty to possession of kiddie porn. Biehl was formerly convicted of climbing a tree to videotape a woman undressing.
North Carolina: Pastor Keith Devon Pettis charged with molesting 12 year-old girl.
Alabama: Pastor David Webb sued by underage victim he transported across state lines for the purposes of sex. Webb was sentenced to five years in prison in May.
Louisiana: Pastor Martin Denesse accused of defrauding 175 people out of the money they paid him to secure a FEMA trailer home after Hurricane Katrina.
Oklahoma: Pastor Joshua Spires charged with ten counts of child molestation.
Virginia: Pastor Steven Bruce Joplin charged with five counts of felony child molestation of pre-teen girls.
Peru: Father Antonio Jose Calle arrested for molesting 9 year-old girl with Down's Syndrome.
New York: Rabbi Yaskov Weiss charged with molesting two 13 year-old boys.

This Week's Winner-
Florida: Pastor Wiklan Moran-Mora didn't want his wife to catch him cheating, so he concocted his own kidnapping, sending his wife multiple text messages saying he was negotiating his release from his captors, all so he could spend more time with his mistress. Moran-Mora's wife called the police and more than a dozen Hillsborough County deputies closed in on his cell phone signal, finding him with his paramour.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

ACLU Leader And LGBT Rights Activist Larry Frankel Found Dead In DC Park

The body of longtime LGBT activist and ACLU attorney Larry Frankel was found in a stream in Washington, DC's Rock Creek Park on Friday. Lez Get Real reports:
A Metro DC Police spokesman confirmed this morning that the body was indeed that of Frankel and said that homicide detectives are continuing to investigate his death, but would offer no cause of death or comment further on the case pending official release of autopsy results. Frankel, 52, had served as both Executive Director and Legislative Director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania for many years before becoming the State Legislative Counsel for the National ACLU here in Washington. Frankel joined the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office last year and oversaw the support to the 53 ACLU affiliate offices across the country.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Cohen, who calls Frankel "tenacious, factual, honest, and decent," says that initial reports from the DC medical examiner indicate that Frankel died of a "combination of exertion, heat exposure, asthma, and dehydration as a result of jogging through Rock Creek Park." Frankel likely collapsed from the jogging path and fell into the stream. He had complained of food poisoning earlier in the week.

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Who Will Replace Ted?

Sen. Orrin Hatch thinks it should be his wife.

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"TeddyCare For All"

As Sen. Ted Kennedy was being memorialized in Massachusetts yesterday, about 1000 New Yorkers rallied in his name in Times Square for health care reform. Will Kennedy's death help move the battle forward?

(Via - Gothamist)

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Photo Of The Day

The Clintons, the Dubyas, the Obamas, the Bidens, and the Carters sat together at today's memorial for Sen. Ted Kennedy. The elder Bushes elected not to attend, which seems odd.

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Obama's Eulogy For Sen. Ted Kennedy

President Obama delivered a moving tribute to Sen. Ted Kennedy at Kennedy's memorial in Massachusetts today.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Ohio Student Wins $121K Settlement After Teacher Burns Cross Image On His Arm

A high school student in Ohio has won a $121K settlement from his school district after his science teacher burned the image of a cross on his arm.
School board members in Mount Vernon agreed Wednesday night to resolve a federal lawsuit by paying $5,500 to the boy and his family and $115,500 to their lawyers. The family still has a similar suit pending against the eighth-grade teacher, John Freshwater. He was fired last year by the school district northeast of Columbus after an internal investigation accused him of using a scientific device to burn the student and found that he had preached his Christian beliefs in class.
Freshwater has filed a $1M suit against the school district saying they violated his freedom of speech and his civil rights. According to another student, Freshwater has told his classes that "Catholics aren't Christians."

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Daily Grumble

If you're a stand-up comedian opening for Donna Summer in front of 10,000+ New Yorkers, you probably shouldn't start with jokes about plane crashes. Seriously. When the guy started in on Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot of the "miracle on the Hudson," things got really (but hilariously), ugly, with Brooklynese chants of "Get off da fuhkin' stage!" washing across the crowd. Poor Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz, who was emceeing the event, barely got the comic off the stage with his life, moments after a joke about Mexican firemen pulling away a rescue net with an "Ole'!" Possibly the greatest crash-and-burn (pun intended) in the history of comedy.

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80's Flashback

Klaus Nomi, Total Eclipse, 1981. Openly gay German-born opera singer cum East Village avante-gardist Klaus Nomi totally owned the music documentary Urgh! A Music War with this performance. I was reminded of this after JMG reader BStewart23 mentioned the liner notes on Man Parrish's first album (mentioned here on Tuesday), as Nomi also contributed vocals to that release. He was also famed for his strange takes on pop classics such as Lou Christie's Lightning Strikes and Leslie Gore's You Don't Own Me, which Rush Limbaugh mockingly plays these days to introduce his "gay community update" segments. Nomi died of AIDS in 1983, becoming one of the first celebrities to succumb to the disease.

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TABC Fires Three Agents Involved In Gay Bar Raid

The Dallas Voice is reporting that the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission has fired two agents and their supervising sergeant in the wake of public outrage over their brutal handling of a raid on the Rainbow Lounge. Other agents have been suspended or been issued written reprimands. The TABC is also rewriting its rules for bar inspections and has changed the requirements for writing a "use of force report" after a Rainbow patron suffered a severe head injury during his arrest. The Fort Worth chief of police initially claimed that patrons had sexually groped the officers as the raid began, a ridiculous and outrageous charge that was immediately denied by witnesses.

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Coming Soon: SC Gov. Mark Sanford (R) Impeachment Hearings

SC Gov. Mark "Sanctity Of Marriage" Sanford's trip down the Appalachian Trail of an Argentine hottie is probably going to cost him his job. His own lieutenant governor is joining the call for his removal.
South Carolina Republican lawmakers are on the verge of calling a special legislative session that could impeach and remove embattled GOP Gov. Mark Sanford by the end of the year, The Washington Times has learned. GOP lawmakers will use a regularly scheduled annual retreat this weekend to discuss the fate of the governor, whose extramarital affair with an Argentine woman sparked an international scandal earlier this summer. Mr. Sanford has rejected calls to step down voluntarily, included one issued Wednesday by his own Republican lieutenant governor.
Sanford has vowed that he will not step down.

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Maine: Casting Call For Homphobic Actors

Are you totally against dirty homos redefining marriage? Can you pull that off on camera? If so, Stand For Marriage wants you.
Casting Director James Stiles is putting out the word that he’s looking for two “real Maine” women to appear in a television ad produced by supporters of traditional marriage. Stiles is looking for a “teacher type” and a “working waitress type,” both in the 35-45 age range. If you want to try out, he’s holding auditions from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 2) at the Howard Johnson in South Portland. If you’re hired, it’s a three day gig that pays $500 a day.
If you're in the Portland area and have some time to kill, I suggest working up a fake acting resume and wasting somebody's time. They'll probably figure it out after a couple of dozen really bad takes.

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Brandon McInerney Pleads Not Guilty

Teenage killer Brandon McInerney, who last year walked into his 8th grade classroom and shot openly gay classmate Lawrence King in the head, has pleaded not guilty in a Ventura County, California classroom.
Teen murder defendant Brandon McInerney pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the fatal shooting of classmate Larry King, 15, at an Oxnard school. McInerney, 15, who is being prosecuted as an adult, was accompanied by his attorneys in Ventura County Superior Court as he formally received the criminal charges against him. His arraignment had been postponed repeatedly since the February 2008 shooting. Ventura County Superior Court Superior Court Judge Bruce Young set a pretrial hearing for Oct. 23 and a trial date for Dec. 1. After the arraignment, Senior Deputy District Attorney Maeve Fox said she doesn’t know whether McInerney will be tried in December. “Your guess is as good as mine,” she said.
It's unclear of the basis of the not guilty plea, as dozens of horrified students witnessed the shooting. Defense attorneys want the case moved to juvenile court so McInerney can be "treated and rehabilitated in the juvenile system.” Prosecutors have noted that white supremacist materials were found in McInerney's bedroom.

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FL Gov. Charlie Crist Taps Former Chief Of Staff For Vacant U.S. Senate Seat

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has named George LeMieux, his former chief of staff, to fill the vacant seat left by the abruptly resigning GOP Sen. Mel Martinez.
The new senator said it is his love of Florida and his sons' future "that make me relish this honor and relish the work ahead." Calling LeMieux a dedicated public servant and "a great man," Crist said: "He will serve well. He has even argued a case before the United States Supreme Court ... his public service is extraordinary." "I'm happy for my friend and I'm extremely happy for my state," Crist said. The two men embraced as Crist briefly paid tribute to the other contenders for the Senate seat. "I want to thank all the wonderful people who went through this process," Crist said. "This is a grueling thing to do."
LeMieux has never held elected office. Crist himself is expected to run for the seat in 2010. Nice how that works, huh? Appoint your buddy, then replace him. LeMieux was recently paid $150K by the GOP for "consulting fees," but he won't say what he did to earn the money. Hmmm. He also orchestrated almost $1M in donations from the Seminole Indian tribe since Crist won the gubernatorial primary in 2006. Crist supports casino gambling on tribal reservations.

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PETA Uses Andy Dick And Martin Short To Attack McDonald's

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WaPo Profiles NOM Head Brian Brown

The Washington Post has published a glowing profile of Brian Brown, the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, whom they describe "ruthlessly sane" and "instantly likeable."
Is it possible, in 2009, to avoid the title of "gay basher" while dedicating your life to preventing a portion of the population from participating in a legal process allowed to other people? Does bashing require blows and slurs? Will those who oppose same-sex marriage eventually be put by their opponents into the same pile as people who think interracial marriage should be banned? Brown worries about that, about being squeezed out of the debate. "The racial bigot comparison is the most troubling part of the argument," Brown says. It's horrible, offensive, deliberately incendiary. He thinks it is "irrational," a word he uses often. It is irrational when the opposition points to polls suggesting that most young people support gay marriage. "People mature," he says. Their views change. It is irrational when people believe that the legalization of same-sex marriage is an inevitability: "We have the people. We have not had such an organized force" before, Brown says.
The Post notes the advice NOM makes to its supporters:
Avoid the phrase "ban gay marriage," the talking points suggest, adding that opponents "know it causes us to lose about ten percentage points in polls. Don't use it. Say we're against 'redefining marriage' or in favor of 'marriage as the union of husband and wife' NEVER 'banning same-sex marriage.' "
Also in the article, Brown's wife boo-hoos about a neighborhood party thrown by an acquaintance of the Browns' lesbian neighbors. The invite said: "We know what Brian does. If your views are not the same, you can come to the party." She stayed home.

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Could It Be Magic? Yes, Yes It Could.

Last night DC blogger Jimbo, Dr. Jeff and I made the 90-minute haul out to Coney Island to watch Donna Summer's free concert at Seaside Park. And holy crap, what an enormous crowd. Easily the largest outdoor show I've ever been to. We couldn't get within a half-mile of the stage and watched much of the show from a sidewalk outside the seating area. Donna, as always, was in superb voice with just as much power and clarity as when she first hit the charts 34 years ago. The set list was almost identical to the one of her Jones Beach 2008 show, with the noted exception of the substitution of her 1975 Barry Manilow cover, Could It Be Magic, for her 1999 smash, Con Te Partiro. I stood there covered in goosebumps, having never heard Could It Be Magic live. The clips below are from YouTube member DJDavis254. Until last year, I hadn't seen Donna Summer in concert since 1979, now I've seen her three times in 14 months. Go me.

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Uruguay May Allow Gay Adoption

The march for LGBT rights across South America continues as Uruguay prepares to legalize adoption by gay couples.
The legislation is expected to pass in the Senate, where the ruling party has a majority. The Senate will vote on the bill next month. In December 2007, Uruguay's parliament passed legislation to recognise same-sex civil unions. The country of 3.6m people was the first nation in South America to grant such protections, although some cities and regions throughout the continent have made similar legal provisions. The Congress passed legislation creating a civil union registry for same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples who have lived together for at least five years. In May Uruguay lifted a ban on gays serving in its military.
The Archbishop of Montevideo opposes the proposed legislation. Of course he does.

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The Great White Dope

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) used the phrase "great white hope" when describing the search for the next GOP superstar. Uh, whooops!

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Live Nation Cancels Buju Banton Tour

Congratulations to all those who followed the links to complain about murder music star Buju Banton, as Live Nation has now canceled his national tour of the United States.
Banton was scheduled to perform in October at House of Blues venues in Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Houston, among other dates and locations. However, last week, activists began contacting the Beverly Hills-based Live Nation to express their dismay because of his violent antigay lyrics. In songs such as “Boom, Bye Bye,” from 1988, Banton calls for the torture and murder of gay men. “If a guy comes near me,” he sings, “then his skin must peel. Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel.” Live Nation announced plainly that the concerts by Banton were cancelled, and that refunds would be available to ticket holders. Banton has long been opposed by LGBT activists because of his antigay lyrics and alleged behavior. In 2006, he was acquitted of charges that he assaulted a group of gay men in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. In 2007, he signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, in which artists vow to refrain from singing antigay lyrics or making homophobic statements, but he later denied that he took the pledge.
A very nice win to end this week!

UPDATE: JMG reader Jeff B. points out that another promoter, AEG, is publicizing a second set of Banton shows. Go to the LA LGBT Center's page to put a stop to those too.

UPDATE II: That was fast. AEG has canceled their shows too.

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WA: R-71 Donor Names To Go Public

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has decided to make public the names of those who donated to Referendum 71, the ballot drive to repeal domestic partners legislation. The Commission decided that the anti-gay group, Protect Marriage, had no proof that people has been threatened for making similar donations.
The request to remove the names was made earlier this month by Protect Marriage Washington, the group backing Referendum 71, which seeks to put newly expanded domestic partnership benefits up to a public vote in November. The group had asked the state to redact and seal the names, addresses and occupations of donors, citing threats of violence against supporters and churches. Donors' information had already been made public, in accordance with state law. The commission said Protect Marriage Washington had not proved that disclosure of donors' names would result in "manifestly unreasonable hardship" to contributors. While Protect Marriage Washington did provide the commission with some threatening e-mails and blog postings, it "provided no evidence from or about donors that have demonstrated that they have received threats of violence against their lives or property," or that they were being targeted for boycotts, PDC assistant director Doug Ellis said during the hearing. Moreover, the commission decided, removing the names would thwart the purpose of the public disclosure law: To avoid secrecy in campaigns.
According to the latest predictions, Referendum 71 will make the ballot. However a pro-gay group is contesting the manner in which the petition signatures have been counted.

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Texas: 75 Years For Gay Bashing

A man in Dallas just got 75 years for a gay bashing that took place in 2008.
Bobby Singleton, 30, was convicted of aggravated robbery earlier this week, according to The Dallas Morning News. He was found guilty of assaulting and robbing Jimmy Dean (pictured) at gunpoint in the Oak Lawn section of Dallas. Singleton said he and his friend Jonathan Gunter did not attack Dean because he was gay, but in his police confession, he said they went to the area to specifically target gays. He also said using the word "faggot" was not homophobic but fair game for anyone in a fight.
The basher apologized to his victim during sentencing, blaming his actions on alcohol and drugs.

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Maddow: RNC Chairman Gives "Fact Free" Health Care Statement

RNC chairman Michael Steele doesn't want a government-run health care program. He wants to protect Medicare. Which is a....anyone?

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Morning View - Third & 60th

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

UT Gov. Gary Herbert: It Should Be Perfectly Legal To Discriminate Against Gays

I should have blogged about it at the time, but there was a lot of concern a few weeks ago when President Obama appointed Utah's gay-friendly Gov. Jon Huntsman to be his ambassador to China. It turns out that fears about Huntsman's successor were well founded.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that discriminating against gay people shouldn't be illegal, although he would prefer it if everyone were treated with respect. In his most definitive comments yet on gay rights, Herbert told reporters he doesn't believe sexual orientation should be a protected class in the way that race, gender and religion are. "We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and we don't have to have a law that punishes us if we don't," Herbert said in his first monthly KUED news conference. In Utah, it is legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender. The gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah has been trying to change state law for several years but has always been rebuffed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
First of all, Herbert's asshattery is precisely why we need ENDA. Secondly, I'm not too pleased with the way the AP headlined this story as "Utah Governor: No Special Rights For Gay People." Maybe the people at the Associated Press think the right not to be fired from your job because of who you are is "special."

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80's Flashback

Fred Schneider & The Shake Society, Monster, 1984. Fred's only solo hit, Monster includes B-girl Kate Pierson on vocals and P-Funk legend Bernie Worrell on keyboards. Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club member Tina Weymouth and artist Keith Haring both do cameo appearances in this clip. (Can anybody ID the drag queen?) The rest of this album wasn't so great, other than the duet with Patti Labelle, It's Time To Kiss. But it was a nice interruption of the long dry spell between Whammy and Bouncing Off The Satellites.

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Teabagger: I'm A Proud Right Wing Terrorist! GOP Rep: God Bless You!!

GOP Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA) is going to have some explaining to do after praising a man who bragged that he was a "proud right-wing terrorist." Herger: "Amen. God bless you. There's a great American!" Democrats are demanding that Herger apologize for endorsing terrorism.

(Via - Americablog)

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Christian Athletic Group: Keep Trans People Out Of Competitive Sports

Well, you knew the Christian right just had to weigh on the situation faced by South African sprinter Caster Semenya. Some Jeebus-based track and field organization named 4 WINDS bleats:
The liberal San Francisco-based National Sexuality Resource Center (NSRC) says the IAAF should "stay out of Caster Semenya's pants". "Your efforts to make champion Caster Semenya 'prove' she is a woman are shameful and unnecessary, and undermine the integrity and dignity of women athletes." 4 WINDS commends the IAAF for conducting future tests on Caster Semenya. In 2003, 4 WINDS was the only Christian organization protesting the International Olympic Committee's decision to allow transgender athletes in the Olympics after sexual reassignment surgery. 4 WINDS is not implying that Semenya is an athlete who is purposely cheating, but may be a victim of circumstances. We believe compassion is important, however, chromosome make-up should be the determining factor in these situations. When an athlete enters the international level, some rights are lost.
"Steve McConkey is the President of 4 WINDS, a Christian apologetics and track and field ministry. Steve and his wife have been in track and field ministries since 1981."

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Friendly Voices - Linda Ronstadt

"I had moved back to Tucson with my kids because I just thought it was quieter, and my family was there. But Tucson has turned out to be a very conservative place, and I didn’t want my kids coming home from school saying things like ‘That’s so gay.’ So we moved back to San Francisco, and I sent my kids to a school that actively taught that homophobic remarks are just… not OK, and my kids’ attitudes have changed as a result of it.

"Look, my kids are going to be able to form their own ideas, but at least I wanted them to be able to question things. My son is super pro-gay rights, and even though he has a girlfriend, I wanted him to know that as he emerged sexually, he’d be able to do whatever he wanted to do. You know, that it’s not something you have a choice over." - Pop and country music legend Linda Ronstadt, talking to Planet Out. It's a great interview.

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Who's Paying To Kill Health Reform?

Embiggen the chart to follow the money.

(Via - Slog)

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Pastor Steven Anderson: All Gays Are Predators And Molesters

Pastor Steven Anderson gets his head handed to him by radio host Alan Colmes in this clip, but the good reverend clearly thinks he won, because he just posted this to his own YouTube channel. It looks like Anderson is turning into the latest Fred Phelps, doesn't it?

(Via - Good As You)

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Bash Back "Queer Anarchist" Busted For Smashing Denver Democratic Offices

This a confusing story that I've been following for a couple of days, but it looks like a transgender activist from Bash Back, who once canvassed for the Democratic party, has been busted for smashing the windows of the Denver offices for the Dems. Initially a Democratic spokesman blamed GOP sympathizers for the vandalism. This story is all over Free Republic, where members accuse the Bash Back member of "false flag" criminal activity. Whatever is going on here, it seems like more "queer anarchist" nonsense from Back Back.

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Unions Join Whole Foods Boycott

Two employee unions representing six million workers have joined in the call to boycott Whole Foods.
Change To Win Investment Group and United Food And Commercial Workers Union -- both a part of the Change To Win federation of unions representing six million workers -- have put out statements criticizing Mackey and encouraging a boycott of the store. CtW called for Mackey's removal as chairman of the board and CEO. "Mr. Mackey attempted to capitalize on the brand reputation of Whole Foods to champion his personal political views, but has instead deeply offended a key segment of Whole Foods consumer base," the group's executive director Bill Patterson said in a statement. UFCW has begun handing out pamphlets to Whole Food shoppers. The group said Mackey's op-ed was an "attempt to undermine Obama's health-care reform." (Whole Foods is not unionized.)
Whole Foods has remained relatively quiet on the boycott movement, only saying that their CEO's opinions on health care reform are his own.

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No Veto Override In Anchorage

Last week the mayor of Anchorage vetoed a gay rights bill that had passed the city's assembly by one vote. And now it looks like there will be no attempt to override his veto.
The Anchorage Assembly has less than two weeks left to override the mayor's veto of the gay rights ordinance. But the ordinance's author says it likely will not be done. Patrick Flynn says the Assembly would have to start all over if it wants to pass the ordinance. According to Flynn, it simply does not have the support -- it would take eight votes to override the mayor's veto and the ordinance only passed seven votes. Flynn says the ordinance was an attempt to get rid of discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people. Critics say it would intrude on freedom of religion.
Over 30 years ago the current Anchorage mayor's father vetoed similar legislation.

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Anti-Gay Nutjob Peter LaBarbera Sues Hotel Over Canceled Event

Peter LaBarbera has filed a federal religious discrimination lawsuit against a Chicago-area Holiday Inn because they canceled a 2007 event for the Americans For Truth About Homosexuality over fears of bad publicity. Porno Pete didn't have a contract with the hotel, but he's suing.
The Carol Stream-based group alleges its Oct. 6, 2007 fundraiser was canceled by the hotel six weeks earlier because of the group's religious beliefs against homosexuality. LaBarbera did not have a written contract, and no money was exchanged, but he said organizers verbally worked out details of the 100-person event, including the menu, during two meetings. LaBarbera said hotel management told him the reservation was canceled due to "potential negative publicity." AFTAH filed its discrimination suit Aug. 21. "It's always easy to come up with excuses," said LaBarbera, AFTAH's executive director, "but the real truth is they didn't like our message. If you allow this sort of hecklers' veto, you're sanctioning discrimination." The banquet was planned at the hotel on the same night as a couple's wedding. The Naperville Holiday Inn Select is independently owned and operated. Managers there said they had not been served with the lawsuit, and could not comment.
LaBarbera had warned the hotel to expect protesters at his event. So the hotel decided that a planned wedding party, one that likely was under contract, would probably be ruined by two hotly opposed political groups getting in each other's faces. Where's the religious discrimination here?

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Hot Pocket

She's no longer a tiny scrawny shelter kitty, but she still squeezes into the little bed that came home with her two years ago.

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Straight Guy Goes "Ex-Gay" Undercover

Ted Cox, a straight formerly Mormon reporter, thought it would an interesting story to go undercover at Journey Into Manhood, a "recovery from homosexuality" event in Salt Lake City. But Cox was unable to publish his story because the event's organizer convinced his employer that to do so would violate the confidentiality agreement he'd signed. But he can talk about why he went.
Granted, I do not understand what it’s like to be a gay man with a Christian background who is trying desperately to change who he is because he believes if he acts on these desires, he is committing some horrible sin. But, I went through the process. And the reason you have to go undercover is because there is no other way to find out what’s going on. These organizations cloud themselves with secrecy; everything is hidden—it’s blocked; it’s behind confidentiality agreements. How do we know if what [organizer] Wyler is doing is ethical unless someone can take a look at it and critique it?
The confidentiality agreement is a hoot:"Non-sexual healing touch." Yeah.

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Arizona Assault Rifle Guy Is A Parisioner Of Baptist Rev. Steven Anderson

OK, now this is getting scary. It turns out that the loon who showed up at President Obama's speech with a machine gun is a parishioner of Rev. Steven L. Anderson, the nutjob who made national news for saying he prays every night for the death of the president. We better hope the Secret Service has these guys under 24/7 surveillance.

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Daily Grumble

Seriously, Lincoln Center?
Preservationists who have voiced concern over the changes being made to Lincoln Center in its redevelopment may be alarmed to learn about one in particular: The centerpiece of the performing arts complex, its plaza fountain, is not only being replaced, but its water effects are now being “choreographed” as well. The firm doing it is also responsible for a water extravaganza set to Broadway, pop and operatic tunes at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and the nearby volcano of water, fire and light outside the MGM Mirage.
The original fountain was designed by Philip Johnson, no less. And the mallification of NYC continues.

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Limbaugh & Beck: Obama Plans To Seize Control Of The Media

Glenn Beck: "If you watch MSNBC, I contend that you will see the future because they are laying the ground for a horrible event ... anything from the right, there's some awful event and I fear this government, this administration has so much framework already prepared, that they will seize power overnight before anybody even gives it a second thought."

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Morning View - 1-2-3 Platform

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Open Thread Thursday

Four months ago I asked if you were considering attending the National Equality March. Since then we've seen the plans become more concrete, with some significant figures and groups emerging to endorse the event. What's your plan as of today?

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ellie Greenwich, 68

Classic girl group songwriter Ellie Greenwich died of a heart attack in Manhattan today at the age of 68. Greenwich and her husband Jeff Barry worked in Time Square's Brill Building, home to an astounding number of hit songwriters of the era. You'll know every one of Greenwich's songs below.

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Dominick Dunne Dead at 83

Noted Vanity Fair writer, TV host, and chronicler of the rich and sleazy, Dominick Dunne, died today of bladder cancer at age 83.
Like Truman Capote, another social chronicler, Dunne often bit the well-manicured hands that fed him. A friend of Alfred and Betsy Bloomingdale of the department store fortune, he turned Alfred's relationship with his mistress, Vicki Morgan, into a roman a clef, "An Inconvenient Woman" (1990). Similarly, Dunne, who had been a guest at the 1950 wedding of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel, turned his theories about the culpability of Ethel's nephew, Michael Skakel, in a long-unsolved murder into another novel, "A Season in Purgatory" (1993). Skakel ultimately was tried and convicted. His cousin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., blamed Dunne for the conviction and told talk show host Larry King that the writer was "not a journalist. He's a gossip columnist." If, as Capote said, all literature is gossip, Dunne was a believer. He loved to "dish," giving rumor equal time with news in his Vanity Fair reports. His story on the Edmond Safra murder, for instance, was an engrossing brew of fact and rank speculation as only Dunne could produce. He repeated hearsay and used unnamed sources liberally, such as a "well-connected woman once married to a prominent figure in the film world" or "a waiter serving me risotto" at a dinner party. Dunne had everyone whispering in his ear.
Interesting trivia: Dunne produced the film version of Boys In The Band.

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Gotham Boots Chinatown Buses

Long the salvation of penny-pinching hipsters, NYC's Chinatown bus lines provide cut-rate (and often, terrifying) service to DC, Philly, and Boston. But Gothamist reports that the city has begun cracking down on unpaid tickets and has towed away many of the buses for non-payment.
One company in particular, New Century Travel, takes the cake owing a whopping $136,387.35. Most of their tickets even date back to July 2007! "It's way overdue...This cannot be a one-time thing," Susan Stetzer, district manager for Manhattan's Community Board 3, said of the towing effort. "They're using public streets as their locations to make money as a private business and on top of it, they're not even paying fines. It's a loss of revenue for the city."
The last time I took the Fung Wah bus to DC, I swear we spent half of the trip (over icy roads) on the two right wheels. They get you there fast, but you definitely feel like kissing the ground on arrival. After that trip, I became a Bolt Bus customer.

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FL Adoption Ban Goes To Appeals Court

The Florida Third District Court of Appeals heard arguments today from the ACLU that urged the Court to uphold a lower court's ruling that a ban on adoption by gay parents was unconstitutional. The attorney representing the state blathered the usual nonsense.
Timothy Osterhaus, the deputy solicitor general representing the state Department of Children & Families, urged the judges to focus on a relatively narrow legal question: whether the Legislature had a "rational basis" for the law because of purportedly heightened risk factors among potential gay parents. If there was such a basis, Osterhaus said the appeals court should reverse the earlier decision. Osterhaus cited as risk factors studies indicating gay people have higher instances than heterosexuals of psychiatric disorders; that children in gay homes are more sexually active; that gay relationships are less stable; and that children in gay homes suffer more bullying and teasing from other kids because of their parents. "We're talking about the cumulative effect. The rational basis test requires a single plausible reason," Osterhaus said.
The ACLU brought the case on behalf of the Gill family, two gay men who are the foster parents of boys aged 5 and 9. Florida is the only state that bans adoption by gay parents, but somehow does think it's fine for gays to be guardians or foster parents. This inconsistency may be key to overturning the ban. The Florida Family Policy Council is heavily lobbying the state to uphold the ban.

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80's Flashback

Man Parrish, Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don't Stop), 1982. What many consider to be the single most influential hip-hop/electro track ever was created created by an openly gay guy. (I'd also put Soulsonic Force's Planet Rock and Hashim's Al-Naafiysh on that short list.) This clip is very, very silly and one might guess shared a make-up artist with the folks who made Liquid Sky. Still, the music is as fresh as it was 27 years ago and I often hear it on the radio and at clubs today. (And yes, I do the barking portion if I'm in my cups.) Man Parrish still spins in NYC clubs and can be heard at the LGBT Center's Furball events.

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Clown Hall: Man In Obama Mask Whips Elderly Outside Howard Dean's Speech

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Live Nation Promoting Murder Music

Buju Banton, the dancehall/reggae artist whose work has been characterized as "murder music" for lyrics that call for the brutal murders of gay men, is launching a national U.S. tour via American music label and concert promoter Live Nation. A sample of Banton's lyrics:
Anytime Buju Banton comes, faggots get up and run. Boom (gun shot) bye bye (Goodbye, as in you're dead), in a faggot's head. Rude boy don't promote any nasty (queer) man, They have to die...Send for the automatic and the Uzi instead. Shoot them, don't come (to help them) if we shoot them...If a guy comes near me, then his skin must peel. Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel.
Banton's 20-city tour includes San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Four of his tour dates are at House of Blues venues. Activists request your letters of complaint to that chain and Live Nation. Live Nation also represents Madonna, U2, Jay-Z and Shakira.

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Ted Kennedy: LGBT Activists React

I've reached out to noted LGBT leaders and activists, requesting their reactions to the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. Below are some of the responses so far, presented in no particular order. Please return to this post later in the day as more messages come in.

John Aravosis, activist and AmericaBlog founder:
"I pretty much came out, politically, thanks to Ted Kennedy. His staff let me work out of his office, evenings and weekends, on gay rights causes (e.g., DADT, ENDA) while I was still closeted and working for a Republican Senator. They then vouched for me to the Children's Defense Fund, landing me a job there, and starting my work in Internet activism. What I'm doing today is a very real result of what Ted Kennedy did for me in 1993-94."
David Mixner, activist and former Clinton advisor:
"As a writer, words simply fail me this morning. The Senator has been a personal friend for over three decades and I am devastated. Heaven is richer today and we all are poorer. Will miss his laughter, his personal teasing and his joy of song. Today, without a doubt, the world lost one of its greatest champions for equality and peace."
Lane Hudson, activist and blogger:
"Ted Kennedy was an old school politician who was forward thinking enough to have been a longtime hero that championed equality long before many others. I was devastated to wake up this morning to a world without him. This nation and its people are substantially better because of Ted Kennedy and he is sorely missed."
Jeremy Hooper, activist and Good As You blogger:
"My first real exposure to Sen. Kennedy was in the early 1990's, when a junior high teacher defined his role in American politics by citing Chappaquiddick, failed presidential aspirations, and controversy. It took me the next decade to fully re-educate myself about Ted's true triumphs, and to realize that those triumphs are the very reason why some conservatives (like my teacher) wanted to mask his worth behind a cloud of scandal. The truth is that our community has never known a greater senatorial ally. And by 'our community,' I mean Americans."
Pam Spaulding, activist and Pam's House Blend editor:
"The lion has passed, but even when ill, Senator Kennedy cared deeply that his legacy as a voice of equality for all will live on in the work of others. My heart goes out to his family."
Peter Staley, AIDS activist and Poz.com blogger:
"People with AIDS have had very few friends fighting for us on Capitol Hill, but from day one we had its most effective legislator on our side. I'm convinced Ted Kennedy saved many, many lives, and protected all of us from being steamrolled by the hatred others tried to stir up. He saved us from the worst of others' indifference or bigotry, making men like Reagan and Helms seem small. Who will fight for us now?"
Bil Browning, activist and Bilerico Project editor:
"Living in Indiana, I became accustomed to hearing Sen Ted Kennedy cursed as a 'Massachusetts liberal' more often than praised for the tireless work he did on behalf of the poor, the downtrodden, and the powerless. Senator Kennedy's reach extended well beyond the liberal vs conservative dichotomy so pervasive in American politics; he served as a bellwether for the future of our country's support of the common citizen. Indiana's LGBT community joins with the rest of the nation in mourning the loss of a staunch ally and supporter who constantly fought on our behalf."
Michelangele Signorile, activist and SiriusXM host:
"He battled the right-wing vigorously during the 80s in trying to get funding for AIDS/HIV research and basic care, in the face of a negligent government in the grip of religious extremists. He championed LGBT civil rights early on, and whether it was hate crimes laws or marriage, he was always out front in the Senate and in political life, showing leadership and bringing others along. I'm enormously grateful to him for helping to bring our issues into the mainstream and taking the ridicule and attacks from the far right over the years -- almost daily, from hate radio to the Internet -- because he took a courageous stand. Thank you, Senator."
Human Right Campaign president Joe Solmonese:
“The nation has lost its greatest champion and strongest voice for justice, fairness, and compassion. The loss to our community is immeasurable. There was no greater hero for advocates of LGBT equality than Senator Ted Kennedy. From the early days of the AIDS epidemic , to our current struggle for marriage equality he has been our protector, our leader, our friend. He has been the core of the unfinished quest for civil rights in this country and there is now a very painful void. Our hearts go out to the Kennedy family."
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn:
“He has been called the lion of the Senate and indeed he was just that. The first time I saw him speak in public was in the early 1990’s when we were both at a dinner for the Empire State Pride Agenda. As he had done so many times before, Senator Kennedy was there to offer his voice and his support to a movement for equality. And what a voice. He had a gregarious way about him that brought all in the room to our feet and made us laugh; but, when it came to the matter at hand, his thunderous words echoed throughout the hall with an awesome force. It was one of the rare moments that I found myself speechless. To have Senator Kennedy stand with the LGBT community that night so many years ago, and on countless occasions since then, is an honor that has given me an added determination that I will always carry with me."
Rea Carey, executive director, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:
“The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the loss of Senator Edward Kennedy, a true champion of the people and a dear friend to our community. The senator was a hero to many across the country and around the world. He spent his life fighting for justice for working people, people of color, children, women, LGBT people, immigrants, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS and so many others who looked to his leadership for a more just society. Senator Kennedy was unmatched in his compassion and in his willingness to stand with those who often lacked a champion. Even after his death, his vision will inspire generations to work for the health, welfare and equality for all he so doggedly pursued. We offer our deepest and most sincere condolences to his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this difficult time.”
Mara Keisling, executive director, National Center for Transgender Equality:
"Senator Kennedy's work in the Senate directly impacted transgender people because of his advocacy on our behalf. He understood that equality as a principle was only valuable when it truly extended to all people. But he also improved our lives in other, less obvious ways, like championing an increase in the minimum wage and insisting on the need for fair health care coverage. We will feel his loss, without any doubt, but we will also continue to benefit from his legacy for generations to come."

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