Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympics Medals Count Final Result

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The Teabagger Eminem

Anti-gay World Net Daily columnist Molotov Mitchell fancies himself to be a teabagger version of Eminem. You may recall Mitchell's recent video calling for homosexuals to be put to death.

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Afternoon View - Third Avenue

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Disco Archeology

In the last six months, I've attended two Saint reunion parties and two Trocadero Transfer reunions, the latest of which was last night's delightful event at Dance 208, helmed by original Troc DJ Bobby Viteritti. As I wax nostalgic for long-gone gay nightlife far too often on this here website thingy, this time I'll just provide some clips heard last night. Hot young things might be interested in what gay men were dancing to 30-35 years ago. Maybe not. But right now, Saturday night is shining on my Sunday morning face.

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John McCain: There Is Strong Opposition To DADT Among Military Leaders

On Meet The Press today, Sen. John McCain was called out for his recent backtracking on DADT, which he once said should be repealed if military leaders agreed, as we saw Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen do recently. McCain: "Oh, but Mullen was speaking personally."

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Too Gay For The Olympics

Current TV's Bryan Safi takes on the media's handling of Johnny Weir. I got a big laugh at the ranking of sports by butchness.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Canadian Court Overturns Ruling Against Anti-Gay Activist

Saskatchewan's top court has overturned a ruling against a man who was distributing anti-gay pamphlets, saying there is a difference between hate speech against homosexual acts and condemning gay people themselves.
Bill Whatcott will not have to pay the $17,500 in compensation a provincial tribunal awarded in 2005 to four people who complained his flyers exposed them to hatred, the Court of Appeal ruled this week. The pamphlets -- one of which was entitled "Sodomites in our Public Schools" -- used crude and offensive language, but they were protected by freedom of expression provisions in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, the Thursday ruling concluded. The pamphlets were distributed in Saskatoon and Regina in 2001 and 2002. The flyers were expressing moral objections to homosexual practices rather than condemnation of gay people themselves, and they were part of a public debate about sexual information taught in schools, the court decision states. "Context is of particular importance when considering complaints based on sexual orientation and the impact on freedom of expression," the judges wrote.
This ruling is, of course, a victory for (disgusting) free speech. But don't expect American talibangelists to stop citing the case as an example of Christian repression. I doubt they'll note this at all.

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Lesbian Becomes First Openly Gay Co-Owner Of Major League Sports Team

The Windy City Times reports that 42 year-old Laura Ricketts has become the first openly gay co-owner of an American major league sports franchise.
When Laura Ricketts and the rest of her family closed on the deal to purchase the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise last fall, the furthest thing from her mind was the impact this would have on the gay community. Even though Laura was an out lesbian activist and philanthropist in Chicago for several years, the Cubs deal was all about the team. A few months later, Ricketts does realize the impact of being the only openly gay owner of a major league men's sports franchise in the U.S., and also a rare woman owner and board member. She wants to make sure to serve both the Cubs and her community well. And this year, Ricketts, 42, and her partner of five years are not just becoming part of Cubs history, they are also welcoming a new Cubs fan into the family: Laura is pregnant and is expecting a baby girl in May. "We're extremely excited [ that ] we're expecting a baby in spring," Laura said. "This is a big year for us, not only in regards to the Cubs acquisition, but if you can imagine, for my partner and I an even bigger blessed event. My whole family is excited."
RELATED: Elton John has been the owner of the UK's Watford Football Club, but he no longer holds a majority stake in the team.

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Friendly Voices - Daniel Radcliffe

"I grew up knowing a lot of gay men and it was never something that I even thought twice about -- that some men were gay and some weren't. And then I went to school and (for) the first time ... I came across homophobia. I had never encountered it before. It shocked me. I have always hated anybody who is not tolerant of gay men or lesbians or bisexuals. Now I am in the very fortunate position where I can actually help or do something about it.

"I have described myself as being 'gently eccentric' and slightly different as a person just because I've had a very different set of influences growing up than anybody else in my peer group did. I think it's important for somebody from a big, commercial movie series like Harry Potter and particularly because I am not gay or bisexual or transgendered. The fact that I am straight makes not a difference, but it shows that straight people are incredibly interested and care a lot about this as well." - Daniel Radcliffe, speaking from the NYC headquarters of the LGBT teen suicide prevention hotline The Trevor Project, for whom he has just made a promotional film.

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Study: Liberals & Atheists Are Smarter

A study from the London School of Economics and Political Science has concluded that folks who identity themselves as liberals and atheists tend to have a slightly higher IQ than the general population. A higher IQ is also predictive of "sexual exclusivity" among men, but not women.
The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning -- on the order of 6 to 11 points -- and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say. But they show how certain patterns of identifying with particular ideologies develop, and how some people's behaviors come to be. The reasoning is that sexual exclusivity in men, liberalism and atheism all go against what would be expected given humans' evolutionary past. In other words, none of these traits would have benefited our early human ancestors, but higher intelligence may be associated with them.

"The adoption of some evolutionarily novel ideas makes some sense in terms of moving the species forward," said George Washington University leadership professor James Bailey, who was not involved in the study. "It also makes perfect sense that more intelligent people -- people with, sort of, more intellectual firepower -- are likely to be the ones to do that." Bailey also said that these preferences may stem from a desire to show superiority or elitism, which also has to do with IQ. In fact, aligning oneself with "unconventional" philosophies such as liberalism or atheism may be "ways to communicate to everyone that you're pretty smart," he said.

The study looked at a large sample from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), which began with adolescents in grades 7-12 in the United States during the 1994-95 school year. The participants were interviewed as 18- to 28-year-olds from 2001 to 2002. The study also looked at the General Social Survey, another cross-national data collection source.
(Tipped by JMG reader Monica)

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No Cameras For Prop 8 Trial Finish

Despite what was speculated in Thursday's SF Chronicle, Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV reports that there were not be a broadcast of the closing arguments at Perry vs. Schwarzenegger. From a press release from the Court:
1. On January 15, 2010, Chief Judge Walker withdrew his previous request to include Perry et. al. v. Schwarzenegger et. al . in the Ninth Circuit’s pilot program permitting broadcasting of district court proceedings in limited circumstances. On the same date, Chief Judge Kozinski approved the request to withdraw the Perry case from the program. Broadcasting closing arguments would require Chief Judge Walker to request that these arguments be included in the Ninth Circuit’s pilot program and approval of that request by Chief Judge Kozinski. No such request has been made.

2. The presentation of evidence has not been completed; defendant-intervenors requested that their case remain open pending completion of discovery they are seeking from third parties. The proceedings concerning this discovery are on-going. Further information regarding the date for closing arguments will be made available on the court’s website when a date has been scheduled.

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Ssion - Clown

New music from the strange Kansas City dance/punk collective Ssion. I don't know what this is, but I like it.

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Defense Contractor Urged To Reject Virginia Location Over LGBT Rights Slash

By executive order, last week Virginia Gov. Bob McConnell excluded LGBT residents from state employment protections. In return, gay rights groups are now lobbying defense contractor Northrop Grumman to reject Virginia as the location for its new national headquarters. One Maryland politician is leaping to take advantage of his state's new recognition of same-sex marriages.
In a letter sent Thursday to the company's CEO, Maryland State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery) argued his state's stand on gay rights better mirrors the company's own longstanding commitment to gay and lesbian employees. "Here in Maryland, we value our gay and lesbian citizens as part of a diverse population that makes the state strong," Madaleno wrote. "Virginia is doing the opposite and letting its LGBT citizens -- and those considering whether to move and work there -- know that they and their families are unwelcome second-class citizens. And they are counting on corporations like yours not to care." The Los Angeles-based company is currently deciding between Virginia, Maryland and the District as a new home for its 300 top executives, running an unusually public contest among the three. Madaleno, who is gay, wrote that new Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) are "turning back the clock" on gay rights, as Maryland's attorney general has announced the state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Virginia voters in 2006 amended the state constitution to prohibit gay marriage.
Equality Virginia has also sent Northrop Grumman a letter recommending Maryland. The company has a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign. Northrop is the fourth largest defense manufacturer in the world and is the largest builder of naval vessels. They plan to relocate their headquarters from Los Angeles to the DC area by 2011.

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Morning View - Central Park

(Via JMG reader Inga)

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Massive Earthquake Rocks Chile, Tsunami Warnings Issued For Pacific Basin

After a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit central Chile this morning, tsunami warnings have been issued for much of the Pacific basin, including for Alaska, California, and Hawaii - where waves of 15 feet and higher are expected. The tsunami is predicted to reach Hawaii around 4pm eastern time. Below is a live stream of Chilean television.

UPDATE: Live stream concluded.

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LGBT Activists Convene In NYC For Immigration Equality Forum

A large group of noted LGBT activists are in NYC this weekend to attend an immigration equality forum at the Desmond Tutu Center in Manhattan. The event is sponsored by the Four Freedoms Fund of the Public Interest Projects and will feature speakers from the LGBT-focused Immigration Equality group as well as experts from the comprehensive immigration reform movement. Last night attendees gathered at the historic Stonewall Inn for a cocktail reception (slideshow below), although attendance was hampered by the air travel mayhem caused by Snowmaggedon III. I should have a full report from the conference posted here by late Sunday. I'm posting photos and updates on Facebook as we go.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

PhoboQuotable - Brian Brown

"Maryland’s statutory law clearly states that ‘Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid’ in Maryland. The Maryland Supreme Court upheld the law and stated clearly it was the province of the legislature to change it. What part of the law doesn’t the Attorney General understand? What other laws is he unwilling to enforce? This is an outrageous example of running roughshod over the rights of the people of Maryland in pursuit of a private political agenda." - NOM's Brian Brown, riding the waahbulance once again. Yesterday Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler ordered state agencies to immediately begin giving legally married gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals.

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Paterson's Announcement

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Tea Party Attempts To Recall Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Tea Party dimwits in New Jersey are attempting to recall Sen. Robert Menendez. Even though a member of Congress has never been recalled. Ever. From the wingnut Newsmax:
Republicans' chances to retake the Senate are limited by the fact that only a third of the chamber is up for re-election this year, but some conservative activists are pushing to force more Democrats onto the ballot in November by trying to recall them. It's a long-shot approach, the legal hurdles are tremendous - no member of Congress has ever been recalled - and it's limited only to states with recall laws that are broad enough to include federal officeholders. But the first test comes Tuesday, when a judge will hear oral arguments from the Sussex County Tea Party, which is trying to recall Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat. "Nine states, including 12 Democratic senators who are not up for re-election otherwise, could all be on the ballot with a recall," said Peter Ferrara, a lawyer for the conservative American Civil Rights Union, which is helping the tea partiers with their case. "Given what they're doing on health care this year, that's just going to be a huge boost to the recall effort." The legal obstacles are daunting. A report by the Congressional Research Service, the advisory think tank for Congress, says the Constitution does not authorize a recall and says it's never happened.

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Washington DC Plans Largest Group Gay Wedding In History

You know how the Moonies like to do those mass weddings of thousands of couples? A group in Washington DC is going to attempt the same thing with gay couples as they shoot for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The largest gay wedding in history is scheduled for Saturday, March 20th in Washington, DC. Up to 400 couples will exchange vows breaking the current Guinness World Record. The celebration is part of an all-day series of events called Our Time Has Come, a title chosen to signify the long road that many couples have traveled to marriage. Events slated for March 20 include a large group ceremony, individual private ceremonies and a gala-style reception. All portions are scheduled at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, an ornately gilded historic venue on Constitution Avenue, the event is being hosted by GLBT Wedding Services.

Mike Wilkinson, Director of Wedding Services for Event Emissary, is one of the planners producing the mega-event. "The GLBT community has always found strength in numbers when it comes to advocating for equality," Wilkinson said. "Now we can finally stand together to affirm our love and have it recognized legally by the District of Columbia." Even though the event is big, the concept is being carefully designed so that the experience is special for every couple involved. The reception is open to friends and family to celebrate alongside the newlyweds. "Every aspect is being planned with sensitivity to the GLBT audience that will be attending," Wilkinson said. Drew Parker and his partner Dalin Holyoak are one of the many couples getting married at the event. "Our relationship and our lives could not wait for our marriage to be 'legal' in DC, but we are both excited and relieved that our marriage will finally be recognized in the city we call home. We signed up to be part of the mass ceremony as soon as we could."

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He's RIGHT Behind You, Dude!

Sea World says they'll resume the killer whale shows this weekend, but trainers won't be getting in the water for now. Tilikum, the literal killer whale, will remain "an active contributing member of the team." What he contributes is orca sperm, as he is the main stud for all the Sea World parks.

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Tired Old Queen At The Movies #20

This is an especially interesting episode from the TOQ, who says this on the clip's description:
Basil Dearden's ground breaking VICTIM starring Dirk Bogarde, ripped the lid off the public and personal persecution of homosexuals in Great Britain. The most daring film ever seen on the subject, VICTIM helped to change the laws dealing with homosexuality, laws which had been in existence for hundreds of years and had lead to the imprisonment and eventual death not only of Oscar Wilde, but countless others. This was the first English language film to use the word "homosexual." Gay actor Dirk Bogarde along with Dennis Price and lovely Sylvia Sims, risked their careers to appear in this heart stopping and controversial production. Dealing with a gay barrister who is being blackmailed and decides to risk everything by fighting back, VICTIM paved the way for every film dealing with the subject, from THE BOYS IN THE BAND to MILK.

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Prop 8 Trial Closing Arguments May Be Televised After All

The closing arguments in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger might just be televised after all.
Despite a rebuff from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Bay Area's federal judges are again proposing to allow cameras in their courtrooms, a plan that could lead to telecasting of closing arguments in a suit challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage. The U.S. District Court in San Francisco has posted a rule change on its Web site that would allow its judges to take part in a pilot program of airing selected nonjury civil trials. The public comment period began Feb. 4 and ends Thursday.
The proposal is the same one Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker adopted in January after a week of overwhelmingly favorable public comment. But the Supreme Court intervened when Walker approved camera coverage of the trial over Proposition 8, the November 2008 initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage.
Protect Marriage says they won't speculate on opposing the broadcast until they know if it is really going to happen.

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Lauren Ashley: That's Not What I Meant (Although It's Still Totally True)

If you listen closely, you can almost hear the rocks in her head.

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Washington Blade Assets Purchased

The former Washington Blade staffers behind its successor, DC Agenda, have purchased the assets of the demised title. Most importantly, the purchase includes the paper's irreplaceable archive of the last 40 years of LGBT history and journalism.
Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc., doing business as DCAgenda, proudly announced today that it acquired the assets of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) newspaper including, but not limited to, any and all rights to exclusive use of the name The Washington Blade including copyright and trademark rights and the more than forty (40) year print and electronic archive. “We are relieved that the Blade’s long history of quality, award-winning journalism will be preserved and accessible to the public,” said Lynne Brown of Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia and publisher of DCAgenda. Brown, along with former Blade publisher, Kevin Naff, and former Blade, senior sales executive, Brian Pitts, founded Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia to chronicle local, national, and international news of interest to the LGBT community when the Blade ceased publication on November 16, 2009. DCAgenda has published weekly since November 20, 2009.
It's unclear of the purchase means a return to publishing under the venerable Washington Blade title.

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Life Before Google

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Australian Senate Rejects Marriage

In a lopsided vote, yesterday the Australian Senate rejected a marriage equality bill. But the result was closer than it seems.
The bill was introduced by the Greens but was defeated 45-5, just days before the world’s biggest gay celebration, Sydney Mardi Gras. Twenty-six senators were absent from the vote, with some of these choosing to abstain because they disagreed with their parties’ official stances against same-sex marriage. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who introduced the bill, said: ”There may have been a group of senators voting to keep discrimination against same-sex couples being able to marry the one they love, but well over one-third of all senators were absent for the final vote, presumably the only form of protest open to them.” Marriage equality campaigners claim that 60 per cent of Australian citizens support the right of gay couples to marry.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been vehement in his opposition to same-sex marriage.

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Congress Renews Patriot Act

It might seem impossible, but Congress has renewed the Patriot Act for another year. In the Senate, important privacy protections failed to be included due to the loss of the Democratic supermajority.
Key provisions of the nation’s primary counterterrorism law would be extended for a year under a bill passed by the House last night after Democrats retreated from adding privacy protections. The House voted, 315 to 97, to extend the Patriot Act, sending the bill to President Obama. Without the bill, the provisions would expire Sunday. The Senate approved the extension Wednesday. The privacy protections were cast aside when Senate Democrats lacked the necessary 60-vote supermajority to pass them. Some in Congress had sought to increase restrictions and scrutiny on the government’s authority to spy on Americans and seize their records. The Democratic retreat is a political victory for Republicans and a major disappointment for Democrats and their allies who believe the Patriot Act fails to protect privacy and gives the government too much authority to spy on Americans and seize their property.

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VIDEO: Harold Ford At LGBT Center

Here's NY1's story on former Rep. Harold Ford's appearance at the NYC LGBT Center, in case you wanted to see all the shouting.

(Via - Towleroad)

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BREAKING: Paterson Ends Campaign

UPDATE: NY Gov. Paterson will announce today that he will not seek election in November.
Embattled Gov. Paterson has pulled the plug on his election bid, a source close to the governor said Friday. Paterson will announce the decision later Friday. Paterson has been under fire for having contacted a woman who accused one of his top aides of domestic violence. The source said the governor has agreed not to seek election, but he will not resign - opting to serve out the remainder of his term. The decision clears the way for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is the favorite of many Democrats, to seek the nomination unimpeded.
On Wednesday the New York Times widened their expose' of an aide to NY Gov. David Paterson, alleging that Paterson pressured state police to intimidate a women into not pressing charges against the aide for a reported assault. According to the woman's lawyer, Paterson himself called her.
Last fall, a woman went to court in the Bronx to testify that she had been violently assaulted by a top aide to Gov. David A. Paterson, and to seek a protective order against the man. In the ensuing months, she returned to court twice to press her case, complaining that the State Police had been harassing her to drop it. The State Police, which had no jurisdiction in the matter, confirmed that the woman was visited by a member of the governor’s personal security detail. Then, just before she was due to return to court to seek a final protective order, the woman got a phone call from the governor, according to her lawyer. She failed to appear for her next hearing on Feb. 8, and as a result her case was dismissed. Many details of the governor’s role in this episode are unclear, but the accounts presented in court and police records and interviews with the woman’s lawyer and others portray a brutal encounter, a frightened woman and an effort to make a potential political embarrassment go away.
Paterson has suspended the aide. Yesterday a top official in Paterson's administration resigned over the issue.
As she resigned, Public Safety Deputy Secretary Denise O'Donnell ripped the handling of a domestic violence allegation against Paterson aide David Johnson. Paterson aides admit the governor spoke to Johnson's accuser a day before she was to appear in court earlier this month - and a member of the governor's police detail also met with the woman. "These actions are unacceptable regardless of their intent," O'Donnell said in a statement. "It is particularly distressing that this could happen in an administration that prides itself on its record of combating domestic violence."
In a front page editorial, today the New York Daily News called for Paterson to resign.
Like most New Yorkers, the Daily News greeted David Paterson's ascension to the governorship with best wishes and fervent hope for success in endeavors suddenly assumed. Today, just shy of two years later, we urge Paterson to step down immediately. It is clear that the governor tolerated domestic abuse accusations against his closest confidante, and there is a suggestion that he joined state troopers in a campaign of witness tampering to shield the aide from prosecution. In either case, Paterson has given cause to doubt his word and his judgment, breaking a fundamental bond with the public - the bond of trust.
Paterson has insisted that he will not resign, but last night he gave the first indication that he may heed the calls of the state Democratic leadership and not seek election in November.
His political career imploding spectacularly around him, Gov. Paterson insisted Thursday night that he's still running, but for the first time said he'll consider calls to step aside. Allies abandoned him as the scandal over his involvement in domestic abuse allegations against a top aide also sucked in the head of Paterson's security detail: State Police Maj. Charles Day. Paterson's criminal justice czar also abruptly quit, enraged by her boss, and a host of Democrats declared that, at the very least, his hopes for election are shot. At worst, they said, he could be forced to resign, be impeached, or face criminal charges. "I am not suspending my campaign, but I am talking to a number of elected officials around the state," he said. "I'm obviously listening to them." "I've got an open mind about this thing. I want the Democrats to win in November," he said. "I will weigh what they have to say - but right now I am a candidate for governor."

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Dogs Howl At Law & Order Theme

I never heard of this phenomenon until Rachel Maddow covered it the other day, but a quick search on YouTube reveals hundreds of clips of dogs howling to the Law & Order theme song. So strange.

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Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY): The GOP Is Wholly Owned By The Insurance Industry

Things got very heated on the House floor when Rep. Anthony Weiner shouted from the podium: "Make no mistake about it! Every single Republican I've ever met in my life is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry!" Weiner was asked to stop speaking, then allowed to resume if he promised to change his words. Which he didn't. OUR HERO.

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R-71 Backers To SCOTUS: Violent Homosfascists Are Going To Beat Us Up

The bigots attempting to shield the names of the other bigots who signed the bigoted Referendum 71 petition in Washington state have written to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their message: "If you force the release of the names on the petitions, violent homosexuals will unleash their fury on us!"
Writing the high court Thursday, proponents of Referendum 71 -- which appeared on the ballot in an effort to overturn the state's "everything but marriage" domestic partnership law -- said petition signers' names should not be released. Doing so, they asserted, could see those who wanted the landmark gay rights law repealed subjected to harassment or violence. The move puts opponents of the gay rights law at odds with Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and state Attorney General Rob McKenna. Both officials, the highest-ranking Republicans serving in state government, have held that state law requires the release of petitioners' names.

Beyond the immediate issue, the Supreme Court's decision will likely have far-reaching impacts on the state's initiative and referendum process, as well as open government laws governing the disclosure of campaign donors' names. Protect Marriage Washington sought to block the release of the names of the 138,000 people who signed petitions in hopes of overturning the same-sex domestic partner law. Gay rights groups have said they'll post the petition signers' names online, and some petition signers fear harassment or threats if their names are revealed.
Would there really be any sort of Prop 8-like backlash in Washington? After all, we won this one.

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Parents Sue To End Anti-Bullying Course

Two parents are suing the Alameda County school district in California because they don't want kids to be taught that it's wrong to beat up gay kids.
Kerry Cook and Serena Dietrich filed a suit Feb. 18 in Alameda County Superior Court that seeks to nullify the school board's Dec. 8 vote to readopt Lesson 9 for Alameda's elementary schools until a replacement curriculum is approved and to adopt a Links to Literature guide. Cook and Dietrich's attorney, Peter Hagberg, wrote that the district added the Links guide at the last minute and that it didn't have readoption of Lesson 9 on the agenda for the Dec. 8 meeting. He also said the guide was not available when he went to the district's office to view it. Hagberg wrote the district a Jan. 4 letter asking them to rescind the vote, the suit says. He also told school board members at their Feb. 9 meeting that he intended to sue if they did not do so. Hagberg did not return a call seeking comment.
Lesson 9 is a once a year 45-minute presentation that suggests respect for all students. THAT is what they are suing about.

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Morning View - Upper East Side

We really got clobbered last night.

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Today In Strange Advertising

Dan Savage calls this the "worst tourism ad ever."

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kd lang Olympics EP Released

A special EP of kd lang's Olympics opening ceremony performance of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is now on sale on iTunes. The clip below is audio only.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Michael Steele: Americans Have No Fundamental Right To Health Care

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Expresses Gratitude To Gay Soldiers

In stark contrast to the situation in America, last night British Prime Minister Gordon Brown thanked his nation's openly serving gay soldiers in a ceremony celebrating the contributions of LGBT people to Britain.
Brown told guests at 10 Downing Street, including a number of gay servicemembers, that there was a “debt of gratitude we can never fully repay”. He said that the pride they felt was “nothing compared to the pride we feel in them”. Mr Brown cited the current struggle in the US to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, saying he knew debate on the issue continued. In 2009, for the first LGBT reception at Downing Street, Mr Brown said that the ban on gay marriage in California was “unacceptable”. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the British military allowing out gay soldiers. Mr Brown said: “I promise you that no one need walk the road to equality alone again.” He also listed the achievements made for gay equality in the last ten years, such as gay adoption and fertility rights for lesbians, saying people had warned these things could not be done.

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PhoboQuotable - Slaggie Gilamonster

"I'm not surprised that Miss Beverly Hills, Lauren Ashley, opposes gay marriage -- after all 45 percent of young Californians voted for Prop 8, as did 7 million Californians generally. But I have to say, I am impressed with her courage in coming forward and for speaking up for Carrie. The elected officials of city of Beverly Hills are not demonstrating tolerance or kindness by continuing the avalanche of hatred against supporters of Prop 8." - Maggie Gallagher, effectively endorsing Lauren Ashley's statement that the Bible calls for gays to be put to death.

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Massive Attack Tour Announced

Massive Attack North American Tour Dates:

5/7 Toronto, ON - Sound Academy
5/9 Toronto, ON - Sound Academy
5/11 NYC, NY - Terminal 5
5/12 NYC, NY - Terminal 5
5/18 Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theater
5/19 Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theater
5/25 San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theater
5/27 San Francisco, CA - Warfiled Theater
5/30 George, WA - Sasquatch Festival

Ticket go on sale March 5th. Woo and hoo!

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New York Senate Approves Partner Healthcare Bill

Seventeen years after its approval by the state Assembly, the New York Senate has finally approved the Family Health Care Decisions Act. Domestic partners will now have priority over biological family members when it comes to the medical needs of an incapacitated partner. Via press release from the Empire State Pride Agenda (my bolding):
New York has been one of just two states where without a health care proxy, no one—not a domestic partner, spouse, or family member—could make health care decisions when the patient lacked the ability to do so. This gap in state law has sometimes forced loved ones to seek medical decision-making authority from a judge at the very time they should be focusing all their attention on caring for their partner.

Now, loved ones including same-sex spouses who were married out-of-state or fit the domestic partnership definition will have the ability to make these decisions. The domestic partnership definition is expansive, and includes those who may not be able to formally record their relationship because there is no domestic partner registry where they live. The Pride Agenda was instrumental in the redrafting of this domestic partner language to make sure it was uniform with all other domestic partner definitions in state law, such as that found in the hospital visitation bill that became law in 2004 and the control of bodily remains bill that became law in 2006.
Gov. Paterson has pledged to sign the bill.

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At Today's Health Care Debate

The president just got a good shot in at Sen. Lamar Alexander's claim that health premiums would go up under the proposed plan.

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Keith Olbermann And Dan Savage Rip On Miss Beverly Hills 2010

Dan Savage blasts back with some Bible verses of his own.

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Snow Hum

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Birther Birthplace Billboard Busted

World Net Daily was forced to admit that the infamous "Birthplace of Barack Obama" sign in Kenya is a photoshopped hoax when the man who took the original photo of the sign (which is actually in Oman) came forward. The best part is what the Arabic script on the faked sign really says.
Caleb Payne, a former Arabic linguist for the National Security Agency, saw the billboard allegedly from Kenya and tells WND: "I can assure you that the sign is a fake, not because of the picture, but because the Arabic text is completely incorrect. First, it is written left-to-right (Arabic is actually written from right to left) and second: the characters are not connected. Still funny, though! If you are curious, the Arabic reads as follows: Under Kenya is the Arabic for 'Hawaii.' The text at the bottom reads: 'Not Barack Obama's birthplace.'" The issue of whether Obama is legally qualified to serve in the White House continues to be one of high importance for many Americans.

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Heavy Hitting New PAC Takes Aim At Anti-Marriage Equality NY Politicians

The powerful Gill Action Fund has joined with other well-financed LGBT activists to create a new political action committee called Fight Back New York, who plans to target the state senators who voted against December's marriage equality bill. First to face the ire of this new coalition is recently expelled NY Sen. Hiram Monserrate, who is running to re-take his seat in a March 16th special election.
The committee will start going after Mr. Monserrate, who was convicted of assaulting his female companion in a confrontation that left her requiring more than 20 stitches, by mailing fliers this week to voters in his district. The flier shows still frames of a surveillance video that shows him dragging his companion, Karla Giraldo, through the hallway of his apartment building in Jackson Heights, Queens. He was acquitted of a felony assault charge by a judge, who convicted him of misdemeanor assault. “He brutally assaulted a woman and tried to cover up his crime,” the flier says. “Now he has the nerve to run again. Many of us have voted for Hiram before. But we cannot vote for him again.” In the three weeks that remain before the election, Fight Back New York expects to send out at least five different fliers, upwards of 100,000 pieces of mail. The district’s population is around 300,000, but voter turnout in special elections is typically quite low. Mr. Monserrate, who would run as an independent, is facing Assemblyman Jose Peralta, a Democrat supported by the party and many leading Democrats.
In related news, the Empire State Pride Agenda has launched "Don't Get Mad, Get Even," a campaign in support of Monserrate's opponent, Assemblyman Jose Peralta. Visit the above link to donate to Peralta's very short but important NY Senate election bid. Monserrate has formed a new party he is calling "Yes We Can" (seriously) and will not be running as a Democrat.

Adding to the "only in New York" bizarreness, former NYC Councilwoman Helen Sears has decided to cross party lines and run against Monserrate and Peralta as a Republican. And the broken down clown car known as the New York Senate wobbles on.

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Universal Health Care In The World

Via Wikipedia, the state of health care payment systems around the world as of December 2009. Blue is single payer, green is "universal by other means."

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Sleeveface is the new slightly creepy internet fad of posing with album covers. Go to the link for a listing by artist. For some reason, there are more David Bowie shots than for any other artist. The second Barry Manilow shot made me laugh.

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iTunes Sells 10 Billionth Song

Apple has announced that iTunes saw its 10 billionth download yesterday. Here's the all-time iTunes top ten for singles.

1. Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"
2. Lady Gaga, "Poker Face"
3. Black Eyed Peas, "Boom Boom Pow"
4. Jason Mraz, "I'm Yours"
5. Coldplay, "Viva La Vida"
6. Lady Gaga, "Just Dance"
7. Flo Rida, "Low"
8. Taylor Swift, "Love Story"
9. Leona Lewis, "Bleeding Love"
10. Ke$ha, "Tick Tock"

All of the singles in the all-time top 25 were released in the last five years except for Journey's Don't Stop Believin', which is at #21 thanks to Glee.

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Former Rep. Harold Ford Booed Off The Stage At NYC LGBT Center

Former Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN), who is considering running against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, had to cut his appearance at the NYC LGBT Center short last night when protesters in the audience repeatedly interrupted his speech. Via Gay City News:
Some in the crowd were unabashed Gillibrand partisans and carried anti-Ford messages written on the back of “Gillibrand For Senate” signs. Jeffrey LeFrancois, a community liaison for Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Democrat who represents Chelsea, said, “Absolutely not” when asked if he could support Ford. Gottfried has endorsed Gillibrand. Dan Choi, an Army reservist and Iraq War veteran who is facing discharge after he came out on national television, described Gillibrand as a “fierce advocate” for the gay community when he stood to ask what Ford’s position was on the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Ford said, “I’m for repeal of the policy. I’ve never been for it.” Ford also asked of Choi that “You give me the same opportunity she has had” to demonstrate her support for the gay community. Choi replied, “That would require you to fire her and to fire me.”

While some yelled out “Let him talk” or “Let him speak” when Ford was interrupted by chants or catcalls, it did seem as if the room was divided between those who opposed him but were willing to listen, and those who opposed him and wanted to shout him down. At the end of the event, Ford was briefly startled when one audience member charged the front of the room and set off a confetti-filled popper that sounded like a gunshot in the crowded room. Asked after the event if he thought he had any supporters in the room, Ford said, “I’m not sure. If I decide to run I hope to come back.”
While I'm no fan of a carpetbagger like Rep. Ford, I don't see the point of disrupting an ostensibly friendly speech on our own turf. Ford was the invited guest of the Stonewall Democrats. David Badash at New Civil Rights Movement called the protesters no better than teabaggers:
Harold Ford’s reception tonight at New York City’s LGBT Center, which hosted the Stonewall Democrats’ event at which Ford was invited to speak about his stance on issues affecting the LGBTQ community, was little short of a mob scene. Protesters, organized by “The Power,” an LGBTQ advocacy group that has worked tirelessly — albeit with tactics at times well-intentioned yet ill-advised – to further the civil rights cause for all LGBTQ Americans, turned this event into Tea Party style politics.

Protesters brandished bold signs labeling Ford, “Liar,” “Anti-gay Liar,” and “Snakeoil Harold.” But it wasn’t their brandishing of signs, it was their bellicose voices, shouting, interrupting — all of which were criticized by the Stonewall Democrats leadership, to no avail. At every opportunity, protesters shouted down Ford, who clearly wasn’t capable of withstanding the half-hour verbal abuse in a hot, stuffy, small meeting room. It was demeaning and disrespectful to Mr. Ford, it was demeaning and disrespectful to the Stonewall Democrats, it was demeaning and disrespectful to the LGBTQ community, and worse of all, it was demeaning and disrespectful to our national political debate.
(Photo credit: Clark67)

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Dutch Studies: Newly Diagnosed HIV+ Will Have "Near Normal" Lifespans

According to a just-released pair of studies out of the Netherlands, newly diagnosed HIV+ people will live a near-normal lifespan provided they begin treatment fairly soon after infection. With that proviso, a typical person diagnosed at age 25 is expected to live another 52.2 years, yielding an average lifespan scarcely different from the uninfected. It should be noted that patients who were forced to begin treatment within six months of infection due to an HIV-related illness were excluded from the study cohort.
During the study 118 patients died, indicating an annual mortality rate of 0.67% a year (one death in 150 patients a year). The only predictors, at 24 weeks, of death in the next few years were HIV-related but not AIDS-defining symptoms, coming from somewhere other than developed countries or sub-Saharan Africa, and age – there was a doubling in the risk of death for every 14 years older at diagnosis. This mortality rate enabled the researchers to compute life expectancies. For a patient diagnosed at the age of 25 the life expectancy came out at 52.7 years – in other words they would die, on average, at the age of 77.7. This was scarcely different to the life expectancy for 25 year olds in the general Dutch population – 53.1 years.

Men and women diagnosed aged 25 could expect to live just five months less than HIV-negative people and men diagnosed at age 55 would live 1.3 years less (women 1.5 years less). For patients diagnosed with HIV (but not AIDS) symptoms the figure was two years shorter for men and women diagnosed at 25, and six and 7.5 years shorter for men and women respectively diagnosed at 55. The researchers comment: "The life expectancy of asymptomatic HIV-infected patients who are still treatment-naive and have not experienced [an HIV or AIDS-defining symptom] at 24 weeks after diagnosis approaches that of age and gender-matched uninfected individuals."
It should go without saying that while this is indeed encouraging news, the long-term side effects of HIV medications are increasingly thought to accelerate many physical and mental conditions normally seen in the very elderly. While HIV meds continue to be refined and improved, there is absolutely no excuse to carelessly shackle the rest of your life to often brutal chemotherapy.

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West Virginia: NOM To Join Fellow Haters In Rally To Demand Marriage Vote

NOM and the Family Policy Council of West Virginia will rally at the WV state house today to demand that legislators move forward with a marriage referendum bill.
The Family Policy Council of West Virginia will hold a press conference during its "Let Us Vote" marriage rally featuring Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Randy Wilson, National Field Director for Family Research Council (FRC) and Jeremy Dys, President and General Counsel of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia. Several West Virginia lawmakers have also been invited to speak. NOM is a nonprofit organization whose unique mission is research and public education on ways that law and public policy can strengthen marriage as a social institution. Family Research Council (FRC) champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is a servant organization that advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom.

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Johnny Weir: Leave My Attackers Alone

At a press conference about the attacks on him by some sports commentators, Johnny Weir dismissed his naysayers as free to have their opinions and said he's not interested in punitive actions against them, as some in Canada are calling for. Weir went on to say that the traditional ideas about masculinity and femininity are "old fashioned."

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As God Is My Waitress!

Betty Bowers teaches us how to make the perfect meal with ALL the crucifixins!

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True Colors Homeless LGBT Youth Residence Breaks Ground In Harlem

"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth living on the streets and in foster care need our support more than ever. In New York City, the True Colors Residence is going to play a big role in providing these young people with the leg up and encouragement they need. I am thrilled that construction has already begun and I am honored to be a part of this important project." - Cyndi Lauper, commenting on the groundbreaking for the True Colors Residence for homeless LGBT youth in Harlem.
True Colors Residence will be New York City's first permanent housing facility with support services for 18-24 year old lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth with a history of homelessness. The undertaking was conceived by West End Executive Director Colleen Jackson, and by musical artist Cyndi Lauper and Ms. Lauper's manager Lisa Barbaris. The project entails the construction of a new, energy-efficient multifamily building containing 30 studio apartments, indoor and outdoor community space for residents, and a computer room and resource library. The building is named in honor of Cyndi's Lauper's support for the project and for West End, and references Ms. Lauper's hit song, "True Colors."
Funding for this large project comes from a complex group of borough, city, state, federal and private sources. True Colors Residence is scheduled to open in winter 2011.

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Freep This Poll

Go freep this poll right now.

(Tipped by JMG reader Emily)

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Open Thread Thursday

What's delicious? Share your personal specialties and recipes.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PhoboQuotable - Lauren Ashley

"The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. In Leviticus, it says, 'If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.' The Bible is pretty black and white. I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone. If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that's a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life." - Miss Beverly Hills 2010, Lauren Ashley, going one step further than her hero Miss Ladyfingers USA. Ashley will compete in Miss California USA later this year.

(Via - Boy Culture)

UPDATE: The city of Beverly Hills is disavowing any relationship to the pageant that crowned Lauren Ashley, who is a resident of Pasadena. City leaders further denounced her position on gays and said they are looking into blocking the pageant from using their name in future contests.

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Killer Whale Lives Up To Name

Well, this is bound to hurt attendance. A killer whale at Orlando's Sea World grabbed a trainer off the platform and killed her.
A SeaWorld employee died this afternoon during an incident at SeaWorld's Shamu Stadium, an Orange County Sheriff's Office official confirmed. SeaWorld, rescue personnel and the Sheriff's Office are not revealing the identity of the victim, although a local TV station is reporting that it was a female employee who was killed after she was grabbed by one of the theme park's whales at the start of a public show. Park guest Victoria Biniak told Local 6 that the trainer was a veteran of SeaWorld and had just finished explaining to the audience what they would see during the performance. At that point, Biniak said, the whale came up from the water and grabbed the woman. "He was thrashing her around pretty good. It was violent,'" Biniak told Local 6. The whale "took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off."
This was the first such incident in the history of the Sea World parks. There will be a lot of sleepless kids in Orlando's hotels tonight.

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The greatest fake ad for C-SPAN that could ever be.

(Via - AmericaBlog)

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House Hunters

I propose a new drinking game based on the catch phrases of House Hunters. One shot each for: Upgrade. Vaulted. Outdated. Flow. Jack and Jill. Hardwood. Backsplash. Bonus room. Man cave. Curb appeal. Crown molding. Two shots for every time the husband says "fabulous" or "plantation shutters."

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That Sounds A Little Pitchy, Dawg

Christianist groups are so horrified by the rumor that Howard Stern might replace Simon Cowell on American Idol, they've launched a preemptive petition campaign aimed at the show's producers at Fox.
WHEREAS American Idol has come to be trusted by America’s Families as reliable, family friendly entertainment.

WHEREAS Howard Stern is one of the most profane, sexually-explicit and anti-family performers in the history of the broadcast medium; and in discussing the possibility of becoming a judge on American Idol on his radio program gave audiences a preview of what he would bring to the table as a judge, talking about getting “little boys hard.”

AND WHEREAS bringing Howard Stern on American Idol, either as guest or judge would immediately render the program unsuitable for family audiences.

BE IT KNOWN that if the reports about Mr. Stern prove to be true, we will no longer watch the program; we will share our concern with our friends, family and others in our social circle; and we will contact every sponsor and urge them to consider whether they should associate their corporate image with a man who talks about “getting little boys hard.” And if Stern says anything that we feel is in violation of broadcast decency laws, we will take immediate action by filing complaints with the Federal Communications Commission against our local Fox affiliate. We ask you to immediately repudiate these rumors and commit publicly to keeping American Idol safe for family viewing.
I've never enjoyed Howard Stern in the slightest, but WHEREAS the Parents Television Council are douchebaggy busybodies, I hope he gets the gig.

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Penny Makeover

Goodbye Lincoln Memorial. Meh. I'm kinda seeing the NFL logo.

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DADT: Don't Lie, Don't Misinform

Today Media Matters and a coalition of LGBT and progressive groups co-signed a letter calling on the media to be truthful when covering the attempt to repeal DADT.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell proponents too often paint a distorted picture of what a repeal would mean. Today, Media Matters for America released a comprehensive review detailing how opinion pages and cable news talk shows have been flooded with falsehoods and anti-gay rhetoric to support the dubious argument that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is working. Myths that repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell would adversely affect unit cohesion, retention, or the HIV rate among servicemembers are not based in reality. Similarly, the anti-gay rhetoric permeating many of these arguments only serves to cheapen the national discussion on this important issue. Because news outlets continue to repeat these outrageous myths, a coalition of organizations is banding together to combat misinformation about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. As Congress moves forward on this legislation, we will be vigilant in ensuring that news reports are accurate and fair. The public deserves an honest debate -- not one marred by blatant falsehoods and anti-gay attacks.
Among the co-signers are the HRC, the Courage Campaign, GLAAD, and the NGLTF. Visit the Myths and Falsehoods page for a point-by-point refutation of the lies and misinformation being spread about the gays in the military and the repeal attempt.

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Your DMV At Work

Two employees of the New York DMV have been busted for selling state IDs with stolen identities to the tune of over $1 million.
The US Attorney's office in Manhattan announced the arrest of the two employees and four others involved in the scam. "The integrity of any security system, no matter how elaborate or expensive, is only as good as the integrity of the people who carry it out," Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. "Human integrity is every bit as important as cutting edge technology. And in these times, more than ever before, we cannot afford to have any weak links in our security chain." An undercover officer investigating the ring got an ID after claiming to be on the feds' no-fly list who wanted to travel to Pakistan.
And these are just the guys who were caught.

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Bristol Palin Lands TV Series Role

America's most famous unwed mother will play herself in an upcoming ABC series called The Secret Life Of The American Teenager.
Bristol Palin, daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, will play herself as a friend to the show's protagonist, Amy, at a music program for teen mothers. "Secret Life" focuses heavily on how Amy's family and friends deal with her own unexpected pregnancy. "We're thrilled to have [Bristol] join us, and I think she will bring additional attention to the issues facing teen parents that we've been exploring for a couple seasons now," "Secret Life" executive producer Brenda Hampton said in a statement.
Bristol recently appeared on Oprah to announce that she has re-pledged to abstain from sex until she is married. Because that worked out so great the first time.

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What's Going On, Porno Pete?

Porno Pete LaBarbera's site has been suspended by his host for TOS violations. It looks like it might be non-payment issue since the renewal date appears to be last week (although the expiration date for the domain is written funkily.) There's always (no "s") if he'd like to purchase it for a hefty fee. Heh.

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Maryland Recognizes Same-Sex Marriages From Other Jurisdictions

Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler issued an opinion today saying that the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions is consistent with Maryland state law. This is an amazing development coming just days away from same-sex marriage become legal in Washington DC. From Lambda Legal, via press release:
Statement from Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation at Lambda Legal: "This opinion should bring some peace of mind to married same-sex couples and their families in Maryland as this state aligns itself with New York, in making clear that there is no gay exception to long-standing marriage recognition law. The Big Apple didn't topple after New York recognized out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples - far from it - and many families in Maryland just got more stability. Under well-settled law, a marriage valid where entered is valid in Maryland, even if the couple could not have married in Maryland. Unfortunately, this important step is only part of the story. Same-sex couples who reside in either New York or Maryland still have to leave home to get married, and they are as vulnerable as ever to discrimination in other states and by the federal government. These half-steps are helpful, but not enough – we need marriage equality for same-sex couples."
Lambda Legal provided the Maryland Attorney General's office with the legal background for today's opinion, including details of their work in New York state which has the same policy. Susan Sommer also testified before the Maryland legislature in the successful bid to thwart a bill that would have blocked today's decision.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham: Healthcare Debate Will Mean End Of Minority Party Rights

I think Miss Graham is complaining about not being able to filibuster the health care vote down to a standstill.

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DC Marriage Day Approaches

The day of legal same-sex marriage in the nation's capital is nearly upon us and celebrations are being planned. Via DC Agenda:
Aisha Mills and her domestic partner, Danielle Moodie, plan to mark March 3, the day the District’s same-sex marriage law is scheduled to take effect, by going to the courthouse to apply for a marriage license. Due to a mandatory three-business-day waiting period, jubilant same-sex couples — some of whom have been in relationships for more than 20 years — won’t be able to marry until March 9 at the earliest. That’s when the D.C. Superior Court’s Marriage Bureau completes the processing of their marriage licenses.

But for Mills, president of the same-sex marriage advocacy group Campaign for All D.C. Families, March 3 nevertheless represents an historic day. “The Campaign for All D.C. Families has been working hard for some time to ensure that all residents of the District of Columbia have the opportunity to wed here, and we are excited that it will finally become a reality on March 3,” she said. Mills’ group and other local LGBT organizations were still finalizing plans this week for a celebration linked to a possible joint appearance by same-sex couples at the courthouse on the morning of the March 3 to fill out their applications for a marriage license.
But the anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund isn't giving up their campaign of bigotry.
Alliance Defense Fund and Stand4MarriageDC attorneys appealed a court order Monday that denied their motion to keep a D.C. marriage redefinition law from going into effect on the projected date of March 3. The attorneys represent Bishop Harry Jackson and other registered voters who are seeking to give the 59 percent of voters in the district who say they want to vote on the D.C. Council’s new law that changes the legal definition of marriage the opportunity to do so.

“The people have a right to have the final say on any law regarding marriage passed by the D.C. Council. The D.C. Charter makes that right clear, and officials should not be ignoring the right of the people to vote for or against the new definition of marriage fabricated by the council,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. “We are appealing because the district’s marriage redefinition law shouldn’t go into effect until voters have the opportunity to vote on a critical matter that affects everyone in the district.”

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