Wednesday, September 30, 2009

HomoQuotable - Gore Vidal

"We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is. Benjamin Franklin said that the system would fail because of the corruption of the people and that happened under Bush. Don’t ever make the mistake with people like me thinking we are looking for heroes. There aren’t any and if there were, they would be killed immediately. I’m never surprised by bad behaviour. I expect it." - Gore Vidal, speaking lengthily with the Times UK.

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100 Greatest Hits Of YouTube In 4 Minutes

This has been bouncing around the interwebs over the last couple of days. I'm ashamed of how many of the clips I recognized within the first second or two.

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The Marriage Ref: Seinfeld Wants Married Gays For His New Reality Show

Jerry Seinfeld is producing a new show for NBC called The Marriage Ref, in which couples fight their years-honed battles for the camera and a referee. And not just straight couples, as per Gayopolis, who got this message:
I contacted you because we are searching the country for gay married couples. This could be an excellent opportunity to show on primetime television that marriage is marriage - a show about married life simply would not be complete without showcasing married couples in all forms. I am a casting associate producer for a new show on NBC called "The Marriage Ref." The show is produced by Jerry Seinfeld and will focus on couples that bicker naturally about every day issues - we will then bring in a marriage referee to settle arguments.
If you want to air you and your hubby's dirty laundry on national TV, here's what they're looking for:
"The Marriage Ref" casting team is searching the country for outgoing and opinionated married couples, willing to appear on national television, who have a long standing argument or issue that must be resolved. No problem is too small!
  • Is there an object, a person, or a habit (e.g. computer, pet, a friend, the remote control) that is a third wheel in your relationship and causes a problem?
  • Or does your partner have an annoying obnoxious habit or item that causes fights?
  • Does your partner do things like withhold sex after a fight?
Whether you argue about parenting, pets, fashion, money, in-laws, weight, housework, chores, communication, neatness, jealousy, past history, friends, sex... Whatever you argue about, we want to hear from you. Tell us why you absolutely NEED a MARRIAGE REF to weigh in and decide who is RIGHT and who is WRONG.

Will watching married gays bicker on national television help the movement? I can see two sides of this.

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80's Flashback

Stevie Wonder, Do I Do, 1982. My favorite Stevie Wonder track (and that's saying something), Do I Do was the summer song of that year, delivering ten minutes of beautiful, breezy jazz disco, ably assisted by the legendary Dizzy Gillespie. I have a vivid memory of dancing to this - in the sun, on an ocean pier, during t-dance in Key West. The year that happened is foggy, however. From the album Original Musiquarium I, the single version reached #5 in the UK, #7 here, but the edit cut out Stevie's uncharacteristic rap at the end of the 12". Play this loud, the orchestration is amazing.

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Conservative News Site Calls For Military Coup To Overthrow President Obama

Yesterday right-wing news outlet Newsmax published an opinion piece calling for the military to overthrow Barack Obama. After an immediate outcry from the blogosphere, including some conservatives, today the publication pulled the piece, but Media Matters has it archived.
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the "Obama problem." Don't dismiss it as unrealistic. America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a "family intervention," with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making. Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.
Newsmax today blamed the essay on an "unpaid blogger," saying, "Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions." From what I remember of my visits to Newsmax, this "unpaid blogger" John L. Perry is often at the top of the site, so this "whoopsie" excuse doesn't hold water. And they call Obama a fascist?

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Cheering For The Lord

Cheerleaders at a public high school near Chattanooga, Tennessee are under fire for refusing to stop using giant scripture-loaded signs for the football players to crash through upon entering the field. Christianists, ignoring the Constitution, are screaming "oppression!" after the school district said the signs cannot be used.
Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Ronnie Cobb vehemently disagrees with the ban and said he’ll call on the City Council to support the cheerleaders and their signs. The signs don’t infringe on anyone’s religious rights and are good for school spirit, he said. “I’m totally against them doing away with it,” Mr. Cobb said, adding that the cheerleaders’ rights are being abused. The mayor said football coach John Allen made the signs a tradition around 2003 and it has continued ever since. “If it’s offensive to anyone, let them go watch another football game,” he said. “Nobody’s forced to come there and nobody’s forced to read the signs.” Current head football coach Todd Windham said the school system must obey the law, despite everyone’s opinions. “Just my standpoint, I thought the banners were unique,” Mr. Windham said. “I really feel for the girls who prepare the banners and I think they really do a good job. They prepare a whole season’s worth during the summer and they put in a lot of work on those.”
Local ministers say the cheerleaders "are not part of the state" and therefore the separation issue does not apply.

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Matt Alber At The Governor's Ball

JMG reader Ken sends us this clip of Matt Alber performing a torchy version of his hit End Of The World at the Governor's Ball after the Emmys. Alber is presently touring the midwest, find dates and tickets here. End Of The World is currently being considered for use on So You Think You Can Dance, you can urge its inclusion on the Fox forum.

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Photo Of The Day

Right at takeoff, a flock of 200 starlings got sucked into the engine of a Germania Airlines flight from Dusseldorf to Kosovo. The plane circled and landed safely. Hitchcockian, eh? Lucky for them, it wasn't 200 Canada geese.

(Tipped by JMG reader Barry in Bonn)

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Pentagon Publication Critcizes DADT

A report in the Pentagon's Joint Force Quarterly strongly criticizes DADT and says the administration needs to implement its repeal.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefs’ “flagship’’ security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military. While decisions on which articles to publish are made by the journal’s editorial board, located at the defense university, a senior military official said yesterday that the office of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman who is the nation’s top military officer, reviewed the article before it was published. “After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,’’ writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. “Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.’’
The Boston Globe asked the White House to give them a comment on the article, but they got no respone.

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Firefox-YouTube Fix

Firefox users know that YouTube often freezes every few seconds, especially if you've got more than a couple of tabs open. A few days ago a reader offered up this fix, which seems to work pretty well. I'm still getting an occasional freeze, but the fix appears to reduce the problem by about 90%. Remember to restart Firefox to see the change.

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Abstinence-Only Education Is Back

Not only did the Senate Finance Committee kill the public option yesterday, they voted to restore funding to federal abstinence-only sex education programs, despite overwhelming evidence that kids who receive such instruction tend to have sex earlier and get knocked up at younger ages.
A Senate committee voted Tuesday night to restore $50 million a year in federal funding for abstinence-only education that President Barack Obama has pushed to eliminate. The 12-11 vote by the Senate Finance Committee came over objections from its chairman, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. Two Democrats — Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas — joined all 10 committee Republicans in voting "yes" on the measure by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. The measure would still have to pass the full House and Senate. Hatch said abstinence education had been shown to work, though Baucus disagreed. Obama had proposed in his 2010 budget to direct money spent on abstinence-only education to broader teen pregnancy-reduction programs.
They should have called Bristol Palin as a witness.

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New Maine Poll: Marriage Up By 9 Points

From the latest poll (PDF) of Maine's registered voters:
Q.6 Now let me ask something else. One of the questions on the ballot this November will read as follows: "Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?" - If the election were held today, would you vote YES or NO on this question?

Yes strongly: 37
Yes not strongly: 4
No not strongly: 7
No strongly: 43
(Don't know/refused):9

Total yes: 41
Total no: 50

Maybe the latest TV ads are having an effect? Donate to help keep this margin.

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The GOP Health Care Plan

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) lays out the GOP plan for health care for you.

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Federal Court Dismisses Suit By Lesbian Couple Kept Apart In Hospital

A federal court in Florida has dismissed Lambda Legal's lawsuit brought on behalf of a lesbian couple that was kept apart by a Miami hospital after one of the women suffered a brain aneurysm during an R Family cruise. She died alone even though her partner provided the hospital with documents proving she was legally entitled to make healthcare decisions. Via Lambda Legal's press release:
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida today rejected Lambda Legal’s lawsuit filed against Jackson Memorial Hospital on behalf of Janice Langbehn, the Estate of Lisa Pond and their three adopted children who were kept apart by hospital staff for eight hours as Lisa slipped into a coma and died. “The court’s decision paints a tragically stark picture of how vulnerable same-sex couples and their families really are during times of crisis,” said Beth Littrell, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office based in Atlanta. “We hope that because of Janice’s courage to seek justice for her family in this case that more people better understand the costs of antigay discrimination. This should never happen to anyone.”
The dismissal came after Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital filed a motion arguing that they had no obligation to allow anyone into their trauma unit (even though that is commonly allowed for the families of the grievously ill).

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NEM Route Released

The National Equality March has published the route of October 11th's event. An embiggenable PDF of the route is here.
  • Gather on 15th Street at “I” (Eye) Street – we will be staging in the street and 15th between “I” Street and “M” Street will be closed for this purpose. The March will kick off from 15th and I Street, right near McPherson Square (Metro stops close by are at McPherson Square, Farragut West – both Blue and Orange Lines, and Farragut North – Red Line)
  • From there we go South on 15th to “H” Street
  • West on “H” Street to 17th Street
  • South on 17th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue (closed portion)
  • Pennsylvania Avenue (closed portion) – right past the White House – to 15th Street
  • South on 15th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue South
  • East on Pennsylvania Avenue South, all the way to the U.S. Capitol West Lawn for the National Equality March Rally.

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Michael Moore: Dems Have No Spine

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Today In Silly Polls

A survey taken of 15,000 "well-traveled" women yielded the above ratings on the sexytime abilities of men around the world. AmericaBlog's John Aravosis agrees with France's rating, but he's probably unduly influenced by his current residency in Paris. Personally, I think I'll need a much larger sampling before I make my own call.

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Diaper Boy Vitter Vs. ACORN

You must watch Andy Cobb's latest hilarious clip, this one raking Sen. David "Diaper Boy" Vitter's hypocritical attack on ACORN.

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The Homeless Mafia

Car-owning New Yorkers have been eternally hassled by homeless men who volunteer to "make sure" nothing happens to their parked car. Taking their cue from the mob, this service is offered for a tip, of course, with the thinly veiled threat that non-tippers will return to find their vehicles damaged. But the cops are backing off the issue after courts last year awarded over $300K to panhandlers, saying it was within their First Amendment rights to beg in such a manner. One man alone got $100K.
“For an area that’s being revitalized, this is not something we need,” said Greg Gonzalez, who runs a parking garage and claims hustlers on 189th Street between Park and Webster avenues cost him business. One day last week, a Post reporter saw hustlers approach 30 motorists. Drivers pay the hustlers a dollar or two, believing they’ll watch their cars and feed the parking meters. But Gonzalez says the hustlers don’t feed the meters and don’t do anything to protect cars from vandals. “People still get tickets,” he said. And the hustlers “stand around smoking weed.” “It’s a quality-of-life issue for the neighborhood,” Gonzalez said.“These guys are bad news.” “It’s an implied thing: ‘Pay me, and I’ll make sure your car is OK,’" said David Miller, 36, who owns a locksmith business on the Fordham Road commercial strip.
As noted above, the problem is especially bad in the Bronx, but the area's state senator, the mayhem-causing Democrat Pedro Espada, thinks the whole thing is a riot: "It’s pretty fucking funny, what these guys do here."

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Maddow On Public Option Vote

At yesterday's Senate committee vote against the public option in health care reform, GOP senators cited studies from a right-wing think tank and an insurance company astroturf group as evidence that the public option would lead to "denial of care" and "rationing." Surprise!

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Morning View - Barge #79

Lehigh Valley Barge #79 is the last remaining of the covered wooden barges that used to ship cargo across New York Harbor. Moored in Red Hook, Brooklyn, today it serves as a floating museum of that industry. During summer the barge is towed by a tugboat for classroom tours of the harbor. Barge #79 is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PFOX: Hate Crimes Laws Are "Anti-Ex-Gay"

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays are opposing the Matthew Shepard Act, a honking contradiction since they wildly celebrated their recent inclusion in Washington DC's list of sexual orientation protections. But no one ever accused the "ex-gays" of making sense. Washington City Paper's Amanda Hess:
Let’s try to pick that one apart, shall we? According to PFOX, hate crime laws protecting gays and lesbians themselves constitute hate crimes against ex-gays. Because if you tell people that they can’t beat up people because they’re gay, you discriminate against the people who beat up gay people because they are gay! It is you who are committing the “anti-ex-gay hate crime,” because if people aren’t allowed to hate gay people, how will PFOX ever find any ex-gay people? Shame on you all!
Everybody got that?

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The Calendar Girls Of Wingnutistan

The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute has issued the 2010 Great American Conservative Women calendar featuring Ann Coulter, Carrie Prejean, Phyllis Schafly, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, Star Parker, Bay Buchanan, and several lesser known crazies.
It features 11 conservative women, including former Miss California Carrie Prejean, who made national headlines this spring when she did not support gay marriage during the Miss USA pageant. A group shot of all the women features Bachmann and Prejean standing next to each other (below). Bachmann (Miss November) is the only member of Congress featured on the calendar. Beneath her picture is the following quotation: “Since the fall of Adam, freedom has not been the natural condition of man. However, America has chosen to light a candle, rather than curse the darkness, with the bright promise of life, liberty and freedom.”
A making-of video is below.

(Tipped by JMG reader Eric in Minnesota)

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Senate Committee Rejects Public Option

Moments ago:
Members of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected an amendment to a sweeping health-care overhaul bill that would have created a government-run insurance plan option. Authored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., the amendment failed by a vote of 15 to 8. Rockefeller said a so-called "public option" would have offered a competitor to private insurance companies.
Congratulations to the deathers, the teabaggers, the GOP, World Net Daily, the wealthy, the Christianists, the well-insured and everybody else who said, "Fuck you, poor people, I gots mine."

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New Threat: Ass-Bombers

Remember the guy who tried to light a bomb in his shoe? And now we have to take our shoes off at the airport? Remember the guy who tried to sneak in liquid explosives? And now we can't bring shampoo on board? What do you think the TSA will do about the ass-bombers? Richard Scneier:

Nobody tell the TSA, but last month someone tried to assassinate a Saudi prince by exploding a bomb stuffed in his rectum. He pretended to be a repentant militant, when in fact he was a Trojan horse: The resulting explosion ripped al-Asiri to shreds but only lightly injured the shocked prince -- the target of al-Asiri's unsuccessful assassination attempt. Other news articles are here, and here are two blog posts. For years, I have made the joke about Richard Reid: "Just be glad that he wasn't the underwear bomber." Now, sadly, we have an example of one. Lewis Page, an "improvised-device disposal operator tasked in support of the UK mainland police from 2001-2004," pointed out that this isn't much of a threat for three reasons: 1) you can't stuff a lot of explosives into a body cavity, 2) detonation is, um, problematic, and 3) the human body can stifle an explosion pretty effectively (think of someone throwing himself on a grenade to save his friends).

The comments on Schneier's blog are a riot.

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Swag Tuesday

Courtesy of the promoters, today's Swag Tuesday prize is two tickets to Trippin' On The Moon 2, the second installment of the reunion of the members and performers of NYC's legendary Saint disco.
Trippin' On The Moon takes place Sunday, October 11th at Soho's Santos House Party. Original Saint DJs Michael Fierman and Robbie Leslie will spin a night of Saint classics, with lights by original Saint lighting technician Richard Tucker. Advance tickets $35, $50 at the door (if available.) $20 admission to those with an original Saint membership card. The evening benefits Gay Men's Health Crisis, LifeBEAT and Equality Across America - the organization behind the National Equality March.
Back in June, I raved that the first Trippin' party was "my best night out in a least a year, maybe two."
DJs Michael Fierman and Robbie Leslie gave us the full Saint journey - a soulful build-up, a joyous high-energy peak, and a lovely, lovely extended downtrip, complete with just about every Saint classic an old disco dog like me could think of. The sound system was pitch-perfect, clear, strong - but not too loud.
Go here for setlists (in the comments) and videos that I took that night. And yes, it KILLS me that Remember The Party AND Trippin' AND the NEM are all on the same motherfrickin' night.

Enter to win by commenting on this post. Only comment once and please leave your email address in the text of your comment. If you cannot be in NYC this on the day of the event, your winning entry is transferable to another party. Entries close on Wednesday at midnight, Pacific time. Publicists: If you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

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Laramie Project Gets Epilogue

A epilogue called The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, which gives voice to Matthew Shepard's killer, opens nationwide on October 12th.
A decade after "The Laramie Project" became a theatrical phenomenon, its creators are back with an epilogue highlighted by a riveting prison interview with the killer of gay college student Matthew Shepard — depicting him as candid but not remorseful over the murder. The new production, which opens nationwide Oct. 12 at more than 130 theaters, features a segment based on more than 10 hours of face-to-face interviews with convicted killer Aaron McKinney, conducted by Greg Pierotti, a gay actor/writer who helped create the original docudrama.

According to the detailed notes taken by Pierotti and condensed into the new script, McKinney says he had been drawn to crime ever since childhood, feels sympathy for Shepard's parents and expresses regret that he let his own father down. "As far as Matt is concerned, I don't have any remorse," McKinney is quoted as saying in the script, which was provided to The Associated Press by the production company. McKinney, according to the script, reiterates his claim that the 1998 killing in Laramie, Wyo., started out as a robbery, but makes clear that his antipathy toward gays played a role. "The night I did it, I did have hatred for homosexuals," McKinney is quoted as saying. He goes on, according to the script, to say that he still dislikes gays and that his perceptions about Shepard's sex life bolstered his belief that the killing was justified.
The epilogue addresses the widely publicized lie from the Christian right that Shepard's murder was motivated by drugs, not his gayness.

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2014 Gay Games Go To Cleveland

In an announcement just live-streamed from Cologne, Germany, organizers announced that the 2014 Gay Games have been awarded to Cleveland. Washington DC and Boston were the other finalists. Two weeks ago the Cleveland city council pledged $2M in cash and in-kind services to support the games.

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The Dancing Birther, Week Two

I don't follow the show, but shouldn't he have been kicked off by now?

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Vatican: At Least We're Not The WORST Pedophiles Compared To Other Religions!

The Vatican has issued a statement saying that other religions are worse when it comes to pedophile holy men, and HEY, at least our guys don't like 'em super young!
In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males. The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common. He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would "be more correct" to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males."Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17." "As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it."
A leading U.S. rabbi retorted: "Comparative tragedy is a dangerous path on which to travel." The U.S. Catholic Church has paid over $2 billion in molestation settlements, with many, many more cases still in process.

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NYC's Fastest Nudist

An aspiring NYC filmmaker calling himself "the world's fastest nudist" is flashing through the streets wearing only a "strategically placed fanny-pack", says Gothamist. He's got a website promoting his film to be called Naked Ambition.

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Germany To Get Gay Foreign Minister

With the re-election of Angela Merkel as chancellor, it appears that Germany will get its first openly gay foreign minister in Guido Westerwelle. The German press is eating it up.
Guido Westerwelle and his gay partner are Germany's new "power couple" — at least according to the nation's leading daily, which splashed a photo of the pair hugging on election night on the front-page above the fold in Tuesday's paper. The ringing endorsement for the 47-year-old Westerwelle, who is widely expected to be tapped for the high-profile post of foreign minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel's new government, in the Bild daily also highlighted his personal life in a way he rarely has. "His man makes him so strong," Bild wrote about Westerwelle, declaring that his 42-year-old partner Michael Mronz was not only his most important adviser during the campaign, but also "gives him security and ... supports him when he suffers a setback." Despite eight years as leader of the pro-business Free Democrats, Westerwelle's homosexuality has generated relatively little discussion. But with his party set to become kingmaker to Chancellor Merkel's conservatives and him foreign minister, it has been thrust into the spotlight.
Westerwelle and his partner, an events manager, have been together for six years. Germany's LGBT activists say that in his role as foreign minister, they will demand that Westerwelle advocate for the rights of gays in other countries.

(Tipped by JMG reader Kim)

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One Take

Several of you have written to point us to this amazing lip-sync video made by students at L'Université du Québec à Montréal. It's all done in just one take and according to the YouTube notes, the entire production took just over two hours.

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HomoQuotable - David Mixner

"Time is running out in Maine. Soon people will begin to request their absentee ballots and start voting. The time for President Obama to make clear that he opposes the ballot measure in that state is now. If he waits any longer, the Maggie Gallagher brigade against human rights will use his opposition to marriage to prove that he supports the proposition. During his presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama was quite clear that he opposed all such measures, despite his opposition to marriage equality.

"If the president doesn't want his own words to be used in a hate-filled campaign then he better speak up now. We all remember what happened in California. Even though Obama opposed Proposition 8, his profile on the initiative was very low. As a result, the YES on 8 folks did mass mailings using Obama's own words against marriage equality to imply that he supported the divisive measure. Many liberals and African-Americans were confused and voted "YES ON 8" as a result of those mailings and ads. Let's not let that happen again." - Activist, author and National Equality March co-founder David Mixner, demanding that President Obama come out strongly against Maine's anti-gay marriage amendment.

Read Mixner's entire essay.

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Dubya: No Medals For Witches

Think Progress reports that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was removed from consideration for receiving a Presidential Medal Of Freedom because Dubya administration officials believed her book "encouraged" the practice of witchcraft.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civil award, and is given to individuals who have contributed to: 1) the security or national interests of the United States, 2) world peace, or 3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. In his new book, Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor, former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer reveals how politicized the revered Presidential Medal of Freedom became during the Bush administration. Latimer writes that administration officials objected to giving author J.K. Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because her writing “encouraged witchcraft” (p. 201).
As documented at the above link, Dubya and pals had no problem bestowing the Medal of Freedom on numerous pro-Iraq war allies. Medals for oil, not for art!

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Biserta Is Back

You may recall NYC firefighter coverman Michael Biserta, who in 2007 prompted the city to pull its official endorsement of the annual firemen calendar after he appeared nude in an episode of Guys Gone Wild. Biserta is back in the news after being named in the divorce suit of a New Jersey reality star who is accused of stabbing her husband.
Five-alarm hunk Michael Biserta, of Brooklyn's Ladder Co. 131, traded sexually explicit mobile Facebook messages with former "Wife Swap" star Jamie Czerniawski just before her knife-wielding rampage last Memorial Day weekend, court papers allege. In lusty texts exchanged between May 12 and May 25, Czerniawski and Biserta discuss plans to rendezvous, according to a Monmouth County Divorce Court complaint filed by Jamie's husband, Charles. "I want to let you know just how f- - -ing bad I wanna f- - - you right now!!!! Can you get out??" Czerniawski, 30, asks Biserta, 25, in a May 18 text. Earlier that day, she wrote Biserta: "I miss your lips!" "Want you," the handsome hose man replied. "Mmm, can't wait!!!!!!!!!"" she texted. At one point, Biserta and Czerniawski appear to discuss a firehouse hookup. In a May 19 exchange, Biserta texted, "I want to see you more . . . we gotta make some time." She replied that she could "def" visit him at the firehouse. Biserta wrote back: "If your [sic] in Brooklyn you can stop by. [It] won't be like last time so I wouldn't even bother . . . it's usually not that quiet around the fh [firehouse] but we'll work something out . . . "
Points to the Post for "handsome hose man."

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"Personhood" May Be On 2010 CA Ballot

Under the sneaky title "California Human Rights Amendment," Pastor Walter Hoye is spearheading a campaign to put an anti-abortion "personhood" amendment on the state's 2010 ballot.
Hoye, a pastor who spent 18 days behind bars for pro-life demonstrations, admits it is a formidable task. "I think it sure will be, but we believe it's more than doable and we're looking forward to the challenge," he adds. "We're looking at obtaining about a million signatures within 150 days." According to Hoye, church involvement, regardless of denomination, is important -- and that it provides people a chance to reaffirm their faith publicly. The amendment would declare human life to start at the biological beginning, affording the unborn baby protection both "by love and by law," notes Hoye.
After succeeding in California, Hoyt plans to wage a campaign for a federal constitutional "personhood" amendment so the law could not be undone by a future Congress.

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Howard Dean: It's Do Or Die For Public Option In Senate Today

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Quote Of The Day - Mike Huckabee

"It’s time to get a jackhammer and to simply chip off that part of New York City and let it float into the East River, never to be seen again! It’s time to say enough of the American taxpayer’s dollar being spent on something that may have been a noble idea, but has become a disgrace! It has become the international equivalent of ACORN and it’s time to say enough! Let’s end the diplomatic excesses that these people enjoy. Let any country that is willing to spend the money that the United States is hosting–let them have it. Give it to the Saudis and let these diplomats suck the sand out of the Saudi desert for a few summers and see if that’s where they’d like to go, and make their ridiculous speeches." - Mike Huckabee, getting a standing ovation from attendees at Take Back America, after he suggested the U.S. completely stop funding the United Nations.

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Sarah Palin's Going Rogue!

Sarah Palin has "written" a 400-page memoir titled Going Rogue: An American Life. HarperCollins will launch the book with a 1.5M hardcover initial press run, the same number as Ted Kennedy's posthumously released memoir. SRSLY. Palin "collaborated" on the manuscript with a woman named Lynn Vincent.

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Morning View - Air Rights

This new condo tower on the Upper East Side ekes out a dozen or so extra units by creeping out over the roofs of the buildings on both sides.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Paris Gay Kiss-In

Towleroad tips us to a gay kiss-in against homophobia held at underground shopping center in Paris. Beautiful!

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Obama Acknowledges Gay Parents In Family Day 2009 Proclamation

Embiggen the image at left to read President Obama's mention of gay families in his proclamation endorsing Family Day 2009. An excerpt:
Our family provides one of the strongest influences on ourlives. American families from every walk of life have taught ustime and again that children raised in loving, caring homes have the ability to reject negative behaviors and reach their highest potential. Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things. Today, our children are confronting issues of drug and alcohol use with astonishing regularity. On Family Day, we honor the dedication of parents, commend the achievements of their children, and celebrate the contributions our Nation's families have made to combat substance abuse among young people.
(Via - Pam's House Blend)

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CNN On Right Wing Anger

GOP pollster Frank Luntz says that Americans are "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore." How original. Personally, I'm mad as hell at Luntz' terrible wig. And I'm not gonna take it anymore!

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Freepers On Folsom

Since Porno Pete LaBarbara just loves to repost JMG comments as proof of how gays are big horrible meanies, let's take a quick stroll through the God-fearing, church going, hands-to-Jeebus crowd at Free Republic as they react to a San Francisco Chronicle photo essay about yesterday's Folsom Street Fair.

- "I’d rather die in Scranton than live in San Fagcisco."
- "If these freaks don’t succumb to some std first , they will at least die out of the gene pool."
- "Talk about parading a sin. Could you imagine an adulterer’s parade. A bestiality parade. A Pedophile parade. A manslaughter’s parade."
- "folsom street.....puts the “filthy disease” in “ridden queers”..."
- "San Fags4!tscum used to be a nice city before it became homoville."
- "It’s such a shame—San Francisco itself is a beautiful city but the pervert crowd and tinpot liberals are a blight of wretched puke who occupy it."
- "Thank God I left this cesspool of sick freaks 2 years ago. It was hell on earth. I consider these pictures prime advertising for the coming 8.0 earthquake. Good Riddance, West Sodom!"

Praise Jeebus! Glorify His Name! Kill them dirty diseased queers for us, Oh Mighty Smiter!

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Don't Mess With Wolverine & Bond

Boy Culture tips us to this:
Wolverine and James Bond are not to be messed with, especially when they're doing the whole acting thing. Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were trying to perform their play "A Steady Rain" Wednesday night in NYC -- but some nitwit forgot to turn off his mobile phone. Jackman set the dude straight -- staying in character all the while. Minutes later, the ring tone echoed through the theater again and Craig's response was Tony-worthy.

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80's Flashback

Psychedelic Furs, Love My Way, 1982. In 1980 I returned the P-Furs' self-titled debut album to the friend who'd lent it, dismissing it as pretentious and unlistenable. He was very disappointed in me. The following year's Dumb Waiters and Pretty In Pink singles from Talk, Talk, Talk made me reconsider, but it was 1982's Love My Way that completed my transition into a P-Furry. There's an army on the dance floor, it's fashion with a gun, my love. There were a couple more really great singles, the glorious The Ghost In You and the discofied Heartbreak Beat (their biggest hit), which almost made up for that dreadful remake of Pretty In Pink in '86. The band broke up almost 20 years ago, but have reformed for a reunion tour with Happy Mondays that began this month. They play NYC on October 9th.

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Cleve Jones Invites Obama To Attend National Equality March

Embiggen the below image to read Cleve Jones' letter inviting the president to the National Equality March. As I mentioned here last week, Obama is tentatively scheduled to take part in the Presidents Cup golf tournament in San Francisco that weekend.

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Definitely A Glenn Beck Follower

JMG reader Clark points out this bit of Facebook assholery, which Clark says has been up "for some time" despite many hits on the "report as offensive" button. You guys have an excellent track record on getting stuff like this pulled, so have at it. And let's hope Facebook recorded the IP of the author.

UPDATE: The poll's been pulled and the Secret Service is on it.

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New Ad From Protect Maine Equality

Help keep this ad on the air by donating here.

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Idiocracy, 500 Years Early

No, this is not an outtake from the best film of 2006. I doubt you'll make it past the first minute. We are all truly doomed.

(Tipped by JMG reader KatRose)

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80 Pastors Challenge IRS On Political Speech Rules

Wing Nut Daily is reporting that more than 80 pastors took part in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" yesterday, a campaign launched by the anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund to "preach Sunday sermons related to biblical perspectives on the positions of electoral candidates or current government officials." That is in violation of IRS rules regarding tax-exempt churches and political speech.
"Pastors have a right to speak about biblical truths from the pulpit without fear of punishment. No one should be able to use the government to intimidate pastors into giving up their constitutional rights," ADF senior legal counsel Erik Stanley explained. "ADF is not trying to get politics into the pulpit. On the contrary, the whole point is that churches should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to talk about. The IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a church's tax-exempt status. We need the government to get out of the pulpit," he said.

The censorship for church pastors has been in place since the Johnson Amendment was added to the Federal Tax Code in 1954. However, enforcement has been spotty and the results have been vague, even though critics of Christian churches contend it limits what they can say from the pulpit. The IRS has repeatedly launched investigations of churches based on allegations from organizations such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, whose officials have taken advantage of the vagueness to report church "offenses." Stanley explained that, contrary to the misunderstandings of many, tax-exempt status is not a "gift" or "subsidy" from the government.

"Churches were completely free to preach about candidates from the day that the Constitution was ratified in 1788 until 1954," explained Stanley. "The real effect of the Johnson Amendment is that pastors are muzzled for fear of investigation by the IRS. Rather than risk confrontation, many pastors have self-censored their speech, afraid to be critical of blatant immorality in government and foregoing opportunities to praise moral government leaders. The participants in Pulpit Freedom Sunday refuse to be intimidated into sacrificing their First Amendment rights." The Pulpit Initiative is a strategic litigation plan which, through lawsuits, is intended to restore the right of every pastor to speak scriptural truth from the pulpit about moral, social and government issues.
If the IRS lets this demonstration slide, expect Christian churches to grow even bolder in their campaigns of hatred and bigotry against LGBT people. If that's possible.

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Empire Envy

The two shots below are computer renderings of the view from the Empire State Building and what the view would be, were the ESB as tall as the almost-completed Burj Dubai, which is over 1000 feet taller even though Dubai suffers no lack of available land, relative to Manhattan. More comparisons are here. As a skyscraper junkie, I'd love to see the Burj Dubai someday, but that'll have to wait until Dubai's pesky law against homos is repealed.

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William Safire Dead At 79

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and former Nixon White House speechwriter William Safire died this weekend at age 79.
A columnist for the New York Times for more than 30 years, Safire won the 1978 Pulitzer prize for his writings on a now obscure scandal involving an appointee of President Jimmy Carter. He was on the Pulitzer board from 1995 to 2004. The following year, the New York Times launched On Language, a weekly magazine column in the New York Times magazine in which Safire would dissect popular and political usage of the English language, tracing the origin of phrases such as "dirty tricks" and "suspension of disbelief". He wrote 10 books on English, leading the Times to dub him the most widely read writer on the language.
I certainly didn't care much for most of Safire's politics, although he partially redeemed himself to me with his attacks on Dubya's rollbacks of civil liberties. But, oh how I adored his On Language columns, where Safire could make even a discussion of the semi-colon riveting.

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NYC TV Host Says NYPD Refused To Investigate His Gay-Bashing

Blake Hayes, a NYC-based TV and radio host, says the NYPD refused to investigate after he and two friends were gay-bashed in Hell's Kitchen. From Hayes' blog:
Two punches to the face. Thrown against a car, denting its body. Told we should die of AIDS. Is this what you should expect walking down 9th Ave with a couple friends? I've walked the same block a million times. The place I call "home" is only 2 blocks away. I consider this neighborhood to be made up of friends, neighbors and allies. And yet tonight, it became a threatening, unaccepting place. Walking down this usual block, a friend turned when a lit cigarette butt was thrown at him. "Keep moving, faggot." We all stopped, shocked to hear these words in what is normally such an accepting, gay-friendly neighborhood, in New York, such an open-minded city.

We exchanged words, more and more heated, until he started to approach us, threatening violence. Before we knew it, he had thrown one friend against a car, denting it. The other took two punches to the face, cutting his lip before the bouncer at McCoy's came out and stopped him. We called the police. They arrived -- 5 cops or so, from at least 2 cars. They talked to the guy who assaulted us. They asked us what happened. We recounted the story. The cops -- the NYPD -- did NOTHING. They wouldn't even take the guy's information so we could file a claim later, or even run the plates of the car whose body was dented from him throwing my friend into it. "They're NJ plates, we can't do anything." Being able to marry is one thing. But being able to walk down the street in peace, and to be able to see someone arrested who tries to disrupt that peace -- is a simple human right.
Openly lesbian City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has issued this statement:
Early Saturday morning there was a report of an anti-LGBT attack in Hell’s Kitchen in which two individuals were the victims of a physical assault. I am obviously outraged by news that another bias attack has occurred in our city. But I am also deeply concerned by reports from the victims that NYPD officers responding to the scene did not appropriately recognize the seriousness of the incident. In fact, it has been reported that they failed to attempt to apprehend or even to collect contact information from the alleged assailant. If these reports are true, the behavior of the police officers involved was also outrageous and merits swift action by the police department. In response I have spoken to Police Commissioner Kelly’s office. They have agreed to conduct an investigation of these reports, and to have police officials meet personally with the victims this week. I am very gratified that the police department has agreed to my requests, and urge them to complete a swift and thorough investigation.

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Chicago's Cabbies Want Hurling Fee

If you hurl, blow chunks, and/or spew in a Chicago taxi, the city's drivers union wants to you have to pay them $50.
“If somebody throws up in the back of a cab, it’s no laughing matter to that cabdriver, who now has to take a couple of hours to detail the cab. It’s hard to get that smell out if you’ve ever experienced anything like that,” cabdriver George Lutfallah, publisher of the “Chicago Dispatcher” told the City Council’s Transportation Committee.
$50 seems like a very reasonable fee, considering. The Chicago City Council is also considering a request to hike fares by 22%. According the union, drivers there make less than minimum wage after expenses.

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Time-Warner Selling Time Inc

One of Time-Warner's biggest shareholders has revealed that the company is planning to spin off its namesake magazine publishing unit.
"Time Warner just spun off their cable division, they are going to sell their print division, they are going to spin off AOL and they're just going to be Warner Brothers, HBO and the Turner Networks," said Crawford, managing director of The Capital Group. "Now, they will make acquisitions ... but they're probably going to buy just stuff in their wheel house of those businesses. They're not going to, I don't think, go very far afield from their core competency." Time Warner declined to comment on Saturday. Time Inc's magazines include popular titles such as People and Sports Illustrated. In the second quarter, revenue at Time Inc publishing, the largest U.S. magazine publisher, fell 22 percent to $915 million due to a 26 percent decline in advertising revenue.
Time Inc presently publishes 22 titles, some of which will undoubtedly will not survive the sale.

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Day Of Atonement

Anybody working today? The subway was the ghost town it always is on Yom Kippur. Even as a non-believer, I like the concept of a special day for forgiving your enemies and apologizing to those you've wronged, although it does feel somewhat 12-steppy. I like it, but not as much as the Airing Of Grievances. That's more me, really.

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Joy Behar, FTW

Joy Behar says that Glenn Beck has replaced his drug and alcohol addiction with an addiction to crazy talk. Behar wins teh internets for today.

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But Zebra-Print Pants Are OK

East Village, Nowhere Bar, Sunday, 1:30am

Fashion Victim: Oh, don't get me wrong. He's totally hot and funny and nice and all that. But I just can't see myself ever loving somebody who thought knuckle tattoos were a good idea.

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Quote Of The Day - Tyson Beckford

"Well, I don't actually go that way. But I notice a lot of people think I do. But if I'm gonna do it, I'm going for Obama. If I got with him, I could run the country. If I was that way, yeah, Obama. I would give it to you, brotha." - Supermodel Tyson Beckford, telling Tyra Banks who he'd go gay for. Tyson added that he'd be the top and "Michelle would hold the camera."

(Via - Rod 2.0)

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Morning View - Downtown Manhattan

Absent the admittedly bland WTC, downtown NYC's skyline looks rather, well, average on approach from Red Hook via the Water Taxi. Worst NYC skyline view. Best is from Roosevelt Island. Maybe Hoboken.

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This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days...

South Carolina
: Pastor John David Helmuth busted in internet sting for trying to meet what he thought was a 13 year-old girl for sex.
Connecticut: Rev. Iura Godenciuc charged with defrauding school district of $76K.
New York: Father William Blasingame pleads guilty to stealing $86K from his diocese for plastic surgery and botox. Linked photo proves he did not spend wisely.
Massachusetts: Rabbi Stanley Zusia Levitt charged with sexually assaulting two pre-teen boys.
Illinois: Father Fred Lenczycki, the first Catholic priest ever declared "sexually violent," has been released from prison after only five years after confessing to sexually assaulting over 30 boys.
Pennsylvania: Rev. Vincent Navorro Meekin charged with embezzling funds donated to build his church a new roof.
Arizona: Father Dale Fushek to have five separate trials for sexual crimes against minors. Bonus: Fuskek is the founder of Teen Life Ministries.
Illinois: Father Daniel McCormick may be indefinitely confined under the state's Sexually Violent Persons Act. McCormick is due for release after confessing to molesting five boys ages 8-12, but the state fears he will reoffend.
North Carolina: Pastor Robert Reaves has fired his attorneys and wants to defend himself in the 2008 stabbing murder of a woman who was seeing a man Reaves was reportedly interested in. Reaves has previous convictions for sexually abusing boys.
New Jersey: Rev. John Harris Jr. charged with sexually harassing a church employee who says she was fired for refusing his advances.
North Carolina: Pastor Brian Andrew Klein sued by parishioner who claims he coerced her into a sexual relationship when she was a minor.
Israel: Rabbi Avichai Zehavi under house arrest after four families come forward with allegations of sexual abuse of minors.
New York: Angelo Serrano, Director of Religious Education at St. Lucy - St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, charged with molesting 10 year-old boy. Cops say there may up to 17 other victims.

This Week's Winner -
Oklahoma: Pastor Ted Haggard is telling a local newspaper that he is now "completely free of homosexual compulsions." Haggard and his wife have been holding weekly "meetings" with fellow Christians in his Colorado Springs home. Haggard: "As a church, we're God's primary hand to help people with sin problems, whether it be gluttony, pride, hate, high-mindedness, selfishness, immorality (such as) fantasizing, porn, masturbation, homosexuality, bisexuality."

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shena - Nasty Little Rumour

Back in March I posted Can't Stop The Rain by Shena Winchester, the breakout star of London's nu-disco movement. With her latest single, Nasty Little Rumour, comes the exciting news that Shena will be appearing at San Francisco's Remember The Party event on October 11th, which some of you may know I'm grandly calling "my birthday party." Very, very cool. Purchase tickets here.

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Swiss Arrest Roman Polanski

Thirty years after he fled the United States to avoid prison for having sex with a 13 year-old girl, yesterday Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski was arrested entering Switzerland.
The Academy Award-winning director pleaded guilty in 1977 to a single count of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, acknowledging he had sex with a 13-year-old girl, but fled the United States before he could be sentenced. U.S. authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in 1978. He was taken into custody trying to enter Switzerland on Saturday, Zurich police said. Polanski, 76, has lived in France for decades to avoid being arrested if he enters the U.S. He declined to collect his Academy Award for Best Director in person when he won it for "The Pianist" in 2003. He was en route to the Zurich Film Festival, which is holding a tribute to him, when he was arrested by Swiss authorities, the festival said.
Polanski's victim filed court papers with California earlier this year, saying she no longer wanted him prosecuted. Many years ago she successfully sued Polanski and received an undisclosed settlement. Switzerland has placed Polanski under "provisional detention" until it can be determined whether he can be extradited to the United States.

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Coulter: It's Liberals Making All Those Obama=Hitler Signs

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Birther-mercial!

Talking Points Memo directs us this birther-mercial, which is now playing around in the country.

One of the men behind the infomercial is attorney Gary Kreep, executive director of the Ramona, CA-based Birther group United States Justice Foundation. He told TPMmuckraker in an interview today that the initial buy was for two and half weeks at TV stations around the country, and he's now looking into a second round buy. He says he'll give us a list of stations playing the infomercial. One of them is CBS affiliate KLBK in Lubbock, Texas. That's where Lubbock resident Jim Schermbeck saw the infomercial last night at around 12:30 a.m., after The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, he tells TPMmuckraker.

A scheduler at the station confirmed to us that the infomercial is running, but the employee in charge of paid programming did not immediately return our calls. In its first week on the air, the infomercial generated "something like 1500 to 2000 faxes," Kreep says. The money goes to the price of the faxes and to the cost of airing the program, with any extra money going to the United States Justice Foundation. As a side note, it's worth noting that Kreep is currently engaged in an intra-movement feud with the pioneering Birther attorney Orly Taitz.) The program was produced by LivePrayer.com, a Web site affiliated with Bill Keller, a fundamentalist Christian minister who also hosts the infomercial.

I demand to know those horrible wigs wigs were born. SHOW US THE WIG CERTIFICATES!! And make them long-form.

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National Equality March Song Contest

Song ContestSpeech ContestI Believe
Just in via press release:
The National Equality March is just two weeks away, and we need your help choosing a speaker and a song for our rally on October 11! After reviewing a lot of incredible submissions for our Equality Idol speaker contest and our Equality Song performer contest, our judges have narrowed it down to four songs and five speakers. Voting is easy. Just check these links on YouTube, and rate the song and the speaker you like the most. You can also send a text message with the name of your favorite speaker or singer to 37686. When the contest ends, the song and speaker with the most text votes and positive feedback on Facebook and YouTube will be invited to take the stage in DC. The deadline for voting is October 1 by 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST.

Equality Song Contest
"Courage of Our Convictions" by Julie Clark,
"Equality" by Todd (Tif) Fernandez
"Our Time Has Come" by Sean Chapin
"Stand for Love" by Toby Madigan

Equality Idol Contest

Wayne Blackburn, Michael Buchannon, Mario Nguyen, Jerry Pritikin, Sam Sussman
Click and pick your winner. So far I'm leaning toward's Sean Chapin or Toby Madigan.

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Memphis: Vandals Destroy National Coming Out Day Billboard

A billboard marking next month's National Coming Out Day was ripped down by Memphis vandals, leaving only the previous ad for a Patti LaBelle event visible. The Triangle Journal reports:
The billboard, which contained a picture of community member Tim Smith dressed in his marine uniform proclaiming “I’m gay, and I defended your freedom,” was completely torn from the Clear Channel Billboard frame, exposing remnants of prior postings. No identifiable portions of the MGLCC billboard remained. The MGLCC billboard campaign honoring National Coming Out Day on October 11 has been underway for one week and will continue for three more weeks. The initiative aims to clarify to the Mid-South that our community is not afraid of being out and that we are unashamed of being who we are. The billboard that was defaced is one of five erected throughout the city as part of the initiative. MGLCC Executive Director Will Batts, who is in Philadelphia attending a national conference for LGBT community centers, was contacted by phone by Triangle Journal and informed of the defacement. He stated, “Some people choose tactics of violence and intimidation in an attempt to silence minority voices. What will happen, though, is that our voices will become louder and stronger and we will become even more relentless in our fight for full equality.”
National Coming Out Day is October 11th.

UPDATE: Via By The Bayou, here's the billboard before it was torn down.

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