Sunday, February 07, 2010
Paterson's Office Acknowledges NYT Scandal Story, Denies He Is Resigning
After Business Insider today published a claim that NY Gov. David Paterson will resign tomorrow upon the publication of an expose' in the New York Times, Paterson's office has denied the resignation rumor, but acknowledged the existence of the NYT story. And now, according to the latest rumors from media insiders, the NYT will not be publishing the story tomorrow after all, although it's still said to be coming.
A Miami Super Bowl Flashback
Back in 1989, Miami was host to Super Bowl XXIII. Several days before the game, Miami police officer William Lozano fired his gun at a moving motorcycle, killing the driver (and his passenger, who died later from the resultant crash.) The motorcyclist and his passenger were black, Lozano was Hispanic. Massive rioting ensued in downtown Miami, where I was the general manager of the AMC tenplex on the fifth floor of the Omni International Mall, steps away from the worst and most violent rioting in Overtown, Miami's third-worldishly impoverished black neighborhood.
Above the mall was the luxury Omni Hotel, which was hosting the Cincinnati Bengals for the week. Thursday night of Super Bowl week, the promoters of Mississippi Burning had arranged for me to present a special showing of the film for the Bengals. With the nearby streets full of rock-throwing rioters, only two of my dozens of employees had dared to venture coming to work, even though the mall was well protected by Miami's riot police. Therefore, I spent the evening shuttling popcorn and sodas to the players in the auditorium. I think we might have sold a total of five tickets for the other nine screens, all to mall employees too afraid to leave.
After the movie, some of the Bengals gathered at the giant mall windows outside our box office and watched Miami burn. Not lost on them was the parallel between the movie they'd just watched and the flames outside the mall. As the team captain and several players posed with me for a photo in front of the Mississippi Burning one-sheet, a couple of them noted jokingly that I was probably the only non-uniformed white guy for several miles, but I had to tell them that I too had spent the previous two nights upstairs at the hotel, an emergency courtesy granted to the mall's store managers due to rampant rumors that people were being pulled out their cars on the way to the nearby I-95 entrance ramp, something that seemed possible in the madness of that week, but never actually happened, as far as I know.
After the Bengals returned to their hotel rooms, I got a rare phone call from my father, who announced that my grandfather had died in New Jersey and that if I wanted to attend the funeral, I'd have to leave the next day. "Sorry, Dad. I can't leave the mall or I might get killed." Best funeral excuse ever? After the call, I left the office to find a dozen Bengals reassembled outside the box office. For their own safety, they'd been barred from leaving the mall. So would I mind running another movie for them? After a brief huddle during which they unanimously passed on Beaches, Dangerous Liaisons, Working Girl, and The Accidental Tourist, they couldn't decide between Hellraiser II and American Ninja III, so I ran them both. Nice guys and they left lots of autographed popcorn tubs for my employees. They lost the Super Bowl though, the first time I'd ever really cared who won.
And that's probably the only remotely sports-related story you'll get out of me.
The Slow Demise Of The NYC Accent
Linguists have long noted the slow demise of regional American accents, a phenomenon partially blamed on the "television accent" and partially blamed on the perception that such accents denote a working class origin, leading some to accent reduction training. The NYC accent in particular is thought by many to be especially crude, wrought as is with a uniquely colorful vernacular. But especially in Manhattan, thanks to immigrants from without and within the U.S., your chance of hearing a "dem" or "dose" is shrinking.
"In Manhattan [the accent] is definitely dying," Jochnowitz says. Manhattan has also seen the most influx of new people from outside the state, who don't usually pick up an accent. The dialect "remains mostly in the outer boroughs, and is most alive in Staten Island." Staten Island is a known stronghold of New York talk not only because it has the most stable New York population, but because "anywhere you have lots of white people — Jews and Italians and Irish and Germans — whose origins are in the city, you're going to find that accent pretty systematically," Newman says. Its relative isolation may have also helped.I've had friends from outside of NYC comment that they adore the Noo Yawk accent, if for no other reason that it's the traditional accent voiced by cinematic tough guys. And I'll 'fess up to a touch of condescending amusement with thick Brooklynese. But my favorite American regional accent remains the soft, lilting, almost musical speech of northern Georgians, whose southernisms are a world away from the harsh Appalachian sounds most frequently associated with the South. My least favorite, with apologies, is the Boston accent, which I to tend find grating for reasons I can't explain. Fuggedaboutit.
As the accent is dying in some places, it's migrated to others. New Yorkers have brought their accents with them to Long Island — also known as Lawn Guyland — or New Joisey (hello, cast of "Jersey Shore"!) No one asks to meet you on the corner of "Thoity Thoid and Thoid Street" anymore, or declares that "the oily boid gets the woim" — that particular feature has been gone for "50, 60, 70 years," Jochnowitz says. It was "laughed out of the dialect" — stigmatized so much that people were shamed into cutting it out. The same thing is happening now to the "yuhs guys" and "sawr it." "If people try to lose [their accent], they're more likely to lose it if they feel they're not going to get ahead in life with it," Jochnowitz adds, although he mentioned that a good number of educated people hang on to their accents, though sometimes a bit self-consciously. Ed Koch, himself an unrepetent R-dropper, once went so far as to say he wouldn't mourn Brooklynese if it disappeared.
RELATED: I also have a favorite British accent. Are there regional Canadian accents?
Gov. Paterson At The HRC Gala
NY Gov. David Paterson took to the media pit podium for some brief remarks in praise of the HRC prior to last night's fundraising gala in the adjoining grand ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria. My apologies for the shaky camera work, I was getting jostled by the CNN crew on my right. At the end of the clip, I pan around a bit so you can see the pre-event cocktail party. Not incidentally, tongues were wagging in the media pit that Paterson may resign in the next few days over the widely rumored scandal supposedly about to be exposed by the New York Times.
Sarah Palin Talks To The Hand
In an interview after her Tea Party convention keynote speech, Sarah Palin was noticed to refer to crib notes written on her palm for her talking points. This, from the woman who has repeatedly ridiculed Barack Obama for using a teleprompter, including minutes earlier from the teabagger podium. Apparently the woman who wants to be the next president cannot remember difficult words like "budget" and "tax cuts."
BREAKING: Prop 8 Judge Outed
Today the San Francisco Chronicle outed Perry vs Schwarzenegger Judge Vaughn Walker. While Walker's gayness has long been known by insiders, this is the first acknowledgment by the press.
The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage being heard in San Francisco is that the federal judge who will decide the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, is himself gay. Many gay politicians in San Francisco and lawyers who have had dealings with Walker say the 65-year-old jurist, appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, has never taken pains to disguise - or advertise - his orientation.The lead counsel for Protect Marriage says that his side does not intend to make an issue of Walker's sexuality should he rule against them. Riiiight. Walker hasn't necessarily been considered a friend of the gays. In 1987 he defended the U.S. Olympic Committee in its copyright lawsuit against Tom Waddell, the creator of the Gay Olympics who was dying of AIDS. Even after winning the case, Walker had a lien placed against Waddell's home in order to recoup the USOC's legal costs. Only after Waddell died was the lien lifted. The Gay Olympics case delayed Ronald Reagan's nomination of Walker to the federal bench.
They also don't believe it will influence how he rules on the case he's now hearing - whether Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure approved by state voters to ban same-sex marriage, unconstitutionally discriminates against gays and lesbians. "There is nothing about Walker as a judge to indicate that his sexual orientation, other than being an interesting factor, will in any way bias his view," said Kate Kendell, head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is supporting the lawsuit to overturn Prop. 8. As evidence, she cites the judge's conservative - albeit libertarian - reputation, and says, "There wasn't anyone who thought (overturning Prop. 8) was a cakewalk given his sexual orientation."
UPDATE: The far-right National Review is already calling for Walker to step down. The linked editorial cites Walker's attempt to have the trial televised, then closes with this:
Take Walker’s failure to decide the case, one way or the other (as other courts have done in similar cases), as a matter of law and his concocting of supposed factual issues to be decided at trial. Take the incredibly intrusive discovery, grossly underprotective of First Amendment associational rights, that Walker authorized into the internal communications of the Prop 8 sponsors—a ruling overturned, in part, by an extraordinary writ of mandamus issued by a Ninth Circuit panel consisting entirely of Clinton appointees. Take Walker’s insane and unworkable inquiry into the subjective motivations of the more than seven million Californians who voted in support of Prop 8. Take Walker’s permitting a parade of anti-Prop 8 witnesses at trial who gave lengthy testimony that had no conceivable bearing on any factual or legal issues in dispute but who provided useful theater for the anti-Prop 8 cause. And so on. Walker’s entire course of conduct has only one sensible explanation: that Walker is hellbent to use the case to advance the cause of same-sex marriage. Given his manifest inability to be impartial, Walker should have recused himself from the beginning, and he remains obligated to do so now.
A Super Bowl Classic
This is the unedited version of the classic Men On Film skit from the 1992 Super Bowl episode of In Living Color. Two jokes were censored out of the skit in repeat airings. One referred to the Richard Gere/gerbil urban legend, the other implied that Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis a closet case. "You can run, but you can't hide from your true self, Miss Lewis."
Gillibrand Pledges Budget Amendment To Block Funding For DADT Enforcement
At the Human Rights Campaign's $400/plate black tie gala at NYC's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, last night Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced that she would be submitting an amendment to the federal budget that would block the use of funds to enforce DADT. Gillibrand, the evening's keynote speaker, also praised Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen for last week's declaration of support for the repeal of DADT. She went on to express her support for a trans-inclusive ENDA and for the repeal of DOMA, generating extended applause from the tony audience. Gillibrand was not made available to us for follow-up questions. I'll post more of my coverage of the event later today, including lots of photos.
Sarah Palin's Teabagger Keynote
Saturday, February 06, 2010
"Ex-Gay" Fliers Distributed At Maryland High Schools
Due to a 2006 lawsuit, some Maryland high schools have been forced to allow the distribution of "ex-gay" fliers by PFOX.
Some Montgomery County high schools passed out fliers this week from an organization that contends gays can become heterosexual through therapy, and the schools say they cannot prevent the use of their distribution system by such groups. The fliers, from the group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, were distributed Thursday alongside report cards by teachers at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac. The group says it delivered them to about half the county's high schools this week and plans to do the same at the remaining high schools at the end of the school year. The schools are required to distribute literature that isn't deemed hate speech from any registered nonprofit organization four times a year, the result of a 2006 lawsuit, said Dana Tofig, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Public Schools. School officials said that while they aren't always happy with everything that goes home with students, their hands are tied by the results of the litigation.Telling perfectly normal children that they are mentally ill sure seems like hate speech to ME.
Joseph Farah At Teabagger Convention
World Net Daily founder Joseph Farah and his Just For Men Olympics gold medal winning mustache spoke at the Tea Party Convention last night. Farah's speech was devoted almost entirely to the birther movement. And Jeebus. Who did have a birth certificate, apparently. Or something. Incidentally, this is the first I've heard Farah's voice, which for somebody who runs the most widely-read anti-gay site in the country is pretty damn gay sounding. He tries mightily to suppress his lisp, but it roars out in phrases like "thuthpiciouth thircumthantheth." I'm just saying.
Brendan Burke Dies In Car Accident
Brendan Burke, the openly gay son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, died in a car accident in Indiana on Friday afternoon at the age of 21. The Burkes made international news in December when the story of Brendan's coming out to his very supportive father was the subject of a profile on ESPN.com. The crash, said to be snow-related, also took the life of Brendan's 18 year-old companion. Horrible, horrible.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Tea Party Convention Opens In Nashville With A Racist Bang
The first ever Tea Party Convention got underway in Nashville today with a speech from former Rep. Tom Tancredo in which he lamented the loss of the Jim Crow days when southern blacks had to pass a literacy test in order to vote.
In his speech Thursday to attendees, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country." Southern states used literacy tests as part of an effort to deny suffrage to African American voters prior to Johnson-era civil rights laws. "Prior to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965, Southern (and some Western) states maintained elaborate voter registration procedures whose primary purpose was to deny the vote to those who were not white," a website for civil rights veterans explains. "In the South, this process was often called the 'literacy test.' In fact, it was much more than a simple test, it was an entire complex system devoted to denying African-Americans (and in some regions, Latinos) the right to vote."Tancredo went on decry the multicultural state of modern America and said that it's time for (presumably white) Americans to "take it back."
Pat Robertson Accused Of Trading Liberian Gold Concession For Lobbying Work
According to the former president of Liberia, televangelist Pat Robertson traded gold mine concessions there in return for lobbying the Bush administration on his behalf.
The revelations came in the midst of Taylor's U.N.-backed trial on 11 counts of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone's 1990s civil war. Taylor is accused of directing a Sierra Leonean rebel group, the United Revolutionary Front, in a campaign aimed at securing access to the country's diamond mines. The rebel movement stands accused of committing mass atrocities in the West African country in the late 1990s, including the mutilation of thousands of civilians. Prosecutors at the Special Court for Sierra Leone contend that Taylor offered concessions to Westerners in exchange for lobbying work aimed at enhancing his image in the United States. They maintain that he also spent an additional $2.6 million paying lobbying and public relations firms to influence in his favor the policies of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Under cross-examination, Taylor said that Robertson had volunteered to argue Liberia's case before U.S. officials and that he had had spoken directly to Bush about Taylor. He also confirmed that Robertson's company, Freedom Gold, signed an agreement to exploit gold in southeastern Liberia, but that it never generated any profit.Robertson has long been condemned for his investments in African diamond mines whose overseers abused and defrauded workers.
Oliver North: Repealing DADT Will Lead To NAMBLA In The Military
Convicted felon Oliver North on the effort to repeal DADT:
"Now, here's what's next. NAMBLA members, same-sex marriages," North said, referring to the North American Man-Boy Love Association, a group that advocates for pedophilia. "Are chaplains in the US military going to be required to perform those kinds of rituals? Do they [pedophiles and homosexuals] get government housing?" North, who hosts Fox's War Stories, told Hannity that the effort to repeal DADT amounts to a "stunning assault on the all-volunteer military, the very best in the world. Barack Obama now intents to treat them like lab rats in a radical social experiment, and it can be very, very detrimental."
"Ruinous Scandal" Rumored About To Explode For NY Gov. David Paterson
Reliable political reporter Elizabeth Benjamin reports at the NY Daily News that a potentially career-ending personal scandal will shortly be divulged about NY Gov. David Paterson. Recent claims have been made that state troopers walked in on Paterson and an unidentified woman in a utility closet at the executive mansion. According to Gothamist, the big story (which may or may not be related to the trooper story) is to come from the New York Times.
The rumor mill is churning right now about a "big, damaging" New York Times "bombshell" story that supposedly features some ruinous dirt about the personal life of Governor David Paterson. Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News hears it "will be far worse than his acknowledged extramarital affair with a former state employee." Remember when you first heard about Eliot Spitzer's involvement with prostitutes, and everyone was like, "Okay, so who the hell is David Paterson?" Well, let's get to know current Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch!As mentioned above, Paterson has freely admitted that he and his wife have been non-monogamous in the past, a revelation that most of New York met with a shrug. As documented here on this blog many times, Gov. Paterson has been an actual fierce advocate for gay New Yorkers since taking over for the disgraced Eliot Spitzer. This doesn't look good.
- Lady Bunny and former Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Pender open Off Broadway tonight in When Joey Married Bobby, "a tale about gay marriage in an ultra conservative household." Get tickets here.
- David Mamet's A Life In The Theater will be revived on Broadway this fall. Casting has not been announced.
- American Psycho: The Musical is Broadway bound. SRSLY.
- Elton John and his partner David Furnish are producing the Broadway debut of Next Fall, a play about a gay couple conflicted over their religious beliefs. The show opens March 11th at the Helen Hayes.
- Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is selling Broadway Bears, teddy bears designed by Bob Mackie. Online bidding is underway. I like the Drowsy Chaperone bear.
- The diva Betty Buckley has launched a four-week run of her cabaret show For The Love Of Broadway at Feinstein's at the Loew Regency. Reviews are fantastic.
- "David Wilson Barnes will join previously announced stars Megan Mullally, Patton Oswalt, and Lili Taylor in the Broadway premiere of Terrence McNally's Lips Together, Teeth Apart, to run April 9 -June 20 at Roundabout Theater Company's American Airlines Theater. Tony Award winner Joe Mantello will direct the production."
RELATED: My first NYC theater experience back in 1991 was the Off Broadway production of Lips Together, Teeth Apart starring Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, Swoozie Kurtz, and Anthony Heald - all of whom were unknown to me then except Heald and that was only because of his role as the prison warden in Silence Of The Lambs. (My show queen cred (all those Tony winners!) was pitiful back then.) Reportedly, McNally wrote the play with the original cast in mind (except he wanted Kathy Bates in Swoozie's role.) Set in Fire Island during the height of the AIDS epidemic, it will be interesting to see how the play holds up 20 years later.
Focus On The Family Buys Second Tebow Super Bowl Commercial
CBS has sold a second anti-abortion ad to Focus On The Family. This one, also featuring the Tebows, will be aired during the pre-game show.
News of the second ad comes just days after, anticipating the Tebow ad, Planned Parenthood posted an online ad featuring Olympian Al Joyner and former NFL player Sean James defending abortion rights. Interest groups including the National Organization for Women have asked CBS to drop the Tebow ad. Although Focus on the Family won't reveal its ads' details, CEO Jim Daly says the original ad was rejected by CBS. In it, Pam Tebow, who was advised by a doctor to have an abortion for medical reasons when pregnant with her son, said, "Both of our lives were at risk." "They felt that was too much," he says. "So we dropped the line. We didn't fight them." The word "abortion" is never used. The ad is "an open discussion on the sanctity of human life — not just the issue of abortion," Daly says. It was made for less than $100,000 with "a bit of humor in it — in fitting with the Super Bowl theme."Via Towleroad, here's an amusing Tebow response ad made by Jimmy Kimmel's team.
Today In Crazy People
"Despite the impending catastrophes, the vast majority of Americans are ignoring the warning signs and the desperate need for this nation to return to God. In Washington D. C., the city council is pressing into the demands of corrupt city politicians who are determined to force homosexual marriages on the nation's capitol. Washington D. C. is also suffering its worst winter storms in the city's history." - Ex-gay multiple felon James Hartline, who blames both an offshore northern California earthquake and today's DC blizzard on gay marriage.
PhoboQuotable - Bryan Fischer
"Think for a moment of the current social controversies that could potentially be avoided if homosexual conduct was still against the law. Gays in the military: problem solved. We shouldn't make a place for habitual felons in the armed forces. End of discussion, end of controversy. If someone objects, ask them which other felonies the military ought to overlook in screening recruits.
"Gay marriage: problem solved. We should never legalize unions between any two people when the union is forged specifically to engage in felony behavior. Would we sanction, for instance, the formation of a corporation whose stated purpose was to import illegal drugs? Gay indoctrination in the schools: problem solved. We don't want to raise a generation of schoolchildren to believe that felony behavior is perfectly appropriate. That's why we spend so much money warning students about the danger of drugs.
"Hate crimes laws: problem solved. We wouldn't throw a pastor in jail for saying that illegal behavior is not only illegal but also immoral. For instance, he's free to say that murder is not only contrary to man's law but also to God's law. End of the threat to freedom of religion and speech. Special rights for homosexuals in the workplace: problem solved. No employer should be forced to hire admitted felons to work for him. End of the threat to freedom of religion and freedom of association in the marketplace.
"This list could actually be extended, but you get the point. Laws not only curb dangerous and risky behavior, they keep such behavior from being normalized, sanctioned and endorsed by the rest of society, and as such render an enormous benefit to a healthy culture. The promos for the old movie "American Graffiti" asked the question, "Where were you in '62?" If the same question were asked about the United States, we'd have to answer: in a much better, saner and healthier place when it comes to criminal sexual conduct." - American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer, reminiscing for the good old days of 50 years ago when homosexuality was illegal in every state. Aside from his abject miserable Christianist bigotry, how many lies can you count in Fischer's latest pile of puke?
Florida Christian Group Purposely Uses Wrong Photo To Mock Adoptive Couple
In a deliberate attempt to ridicule a lesbian couple involved in an adoption case, the Florida Family Policy Council used the above-left photo in press materials about the case. The actual couple is on the right. My source tips me that the left photo is the first result one gets when doing a Google search for "ugly lesbians." Via the Orlando Sentinel's excellent Scott Maxwell:
"Arrogant judicial activism" was how the finger-waggers at Orlando's Florida Family Policy Council described the ruling in an alert it sent out to its members last week. And to make their point about just how frightening this ruling was, the Policy Council included a photograph of the couple — a strange and androgynous-looking duo, one with bleached skin and both with mullet haircuts. The couple look so odd (you literally can't tell whether they are male or female) that one might wonder how any judge could place a young child with such a disturbing-looking duo. Except the judge didn't.Deception, insults, and petty schoolyard taunts. It's all they have.
The abnormal-looking couple that the Policy Council chose to illustrate this story is not the same couple granted the right to adopt the child. No, the two-woman couple awarded custody of the 1-year-old — South Florida trade-show executive Vanessa Alenier and her partner, Melanie Leon — look more like J.Crew models: all-American with catalogue clothes and smiles. The picture that the Policy Council chose was a grotesque caricature. These are the dirty tactics of Christianity's far-right warriors. Not the majority of mainstream Christians, mind you. Not those who are focused on caring for their own families and practicing their own faith — but those who are obsessed with homosexuality. These extremists wage their campaigns of intolerance based on deception and misrepresentation. And they have the gall to do it in God's name.
10" Will Stop The Trains
In advance of this weekend's snowpocylpse, the Long Island Railroad has announced that service will be suspended if snowfall exceeds 10".
Meteorologists are indicating that there could be a significant snowstorm Friday evening, February 5 into Saturday, February 6. To ensure customer safety, the LIRR may suspend train service temporarily when snow accumulation reaches between 10 and 13 inches. Suspensions may continue until safe and reliable travel conditions can be restored. Customers are urged to check on LIRR service before heading to train stations by monitoringthe LIRR’s website, listening to the latest news broadcast and/or signing up for our free E-Alerts.This change arises from a December blizzard-related incident in which 150 passengers were trapped between stations on their train for six hours with no heat, no lights, and an overflowing bathroom.
Students At Jesuit School Shut Down Basketball Game Over LGBT Rights
Albania Gets LGBT Rights Law
Albania's parliament has passed a comprehensive LGBT rights law, but the bill does not include marriage equality as had been promised by the president.
Albanian rights groups and the Alliance against the Discrimination of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) welcomed the law as a powerful legal tool to protect against any kind of discrimination. Approved by the ruling Democratic Party and its allies in parliament late on Thursday, the law does not allow same-sex marriage as promised by Prime Minister Sali Berisha. Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic communities condemned the idea. 'This law is not simply a fulfilment of requirements that Albania has undertaken for European Union integration and visa liberalisation. Above all, it is a victory for democracy and for human rights for all Albanians,' the LGBT community said. The group hoped that Berisha would eventually keep his promise to legalise same-sex marriage.
Today In Mildly Interesting Trivia
Billie Ray Martin - Just Fascination
Does This Include Teabaggers?
If you are a terrorist or are plotting the overthrow is the U.S. government, a new South Carolina law requires that your pay a $5 fee and register your group with the state. From the bill:
Sure sounds like the Tea Party to me!
SECTION 23-29-10. Short title.
This chapter may be cited as the "Subversive Activities Registration Act."
SECTION 23-29-20. Definitions.
For the purposes of this chapter the following words, phrases and terms are defined as follows:
(1) "Subversive organization" means every corporation, society, association, camp, group, bund, political party, assembly, body or organization, composed of two or more persons, which directly or indirectly advocates, advises, teaches or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States, of this State or of any political subdivision thereof by force or violence or other unlawful means;
Corporate Personhood: Bill Would Force CEOs To Say "I Stand By This Message"
In reaction to the SCOTUS decision to allow corporations to advertise in political campaigns, a bill has been submitted in the U.S. House that will require CEOs to append "I'm So & So and I approve this message" to every ad.
A bipartisan pair of House lawmakers have a response to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited corporate money to flow into elections. Reps. David Price (D-N.C.) and Mike Castle (R-Del.) told the Huffington Post in a joint statement that they plan to introduce a bill that would force CEO's to take ownership of their company's ads. For example: "I'm Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America, and I approved this message." The two House members plan to push the "Stand By Every Ad Act", which would force a corporate chief to issue a similar message at the end of every commercial. Price was the lead sponsor of the original "Stand By Your Ad" measure, which became law as a part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It was that legislation that led to the ubiquitous claims of responsibility at the end of political ads that we know today.The bill also requires companies making robocalls to identify themselves at the start of the message, a move that will surely result in a massive number of hang-ups. Good.
Maddow On National Prayer Breakfast
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Charlie Crist Opposes DADT Repeal
Florida Gov. Charlie "Closet Case" Crist doesn't want DADT repealed. Neither does his GOP primary opponent for the U.S. Senate, former Florida House speaker Marco Rubio.
U.S. Senate rivals Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio both said today they oppose abolishing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy affecting gays and lesbians in the military. The 1993 policy was intended to be a political compromise that let gay men and women serve so long as they stayed silent about their sexuality. But President Barack Obama and top military leaders say it is time to end the discrimination all together. "We are a nation at war. The governor believes the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes," Crist campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said. "Marco Rubio supports the current policy and doesn't see any evidence it needs to be changed," spokesman Alex Burgos said.You see, if Charlie actually supported his fellow queers for once, why that would just be the final proof of his gayness for those last three clueless voters living down on Key Oblivious. And he needs them three votes.
Bryan Fischer: I Didn't Say That, I Said Something Which Means The Same Thing
American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer is really pissed about my post regarding his call to criminalize homosexuality so that gays can be forced into "reparative therapy" programs. That post was picked up all over the progressive blogosphere and after an NBC reporter called him for confirmation, Fischer issued the following "denial" in a post titled Why Homosexual Behavior Should Be Against The Law.
I received a phone call this morning from a reporter for NBC Action News in Kansas City by the name of Josh Luch. He contacted me in response to my blog entry of last Friday, in which I suggested that it is proper for our culture to impose legal sanctions on homosexual behavior for health reasons alone. The leftwing blogosphere has virtually lost its mind in response to my Friday post. Many of them falsely accused me of saying that I wanted all homosexuals to be locked up, and the response of many of these voices of tolerance was to declare that they wanted me locked up instead and locked away from civil society so my voice would be silenced. [snip] I nowhere in my blog said we should lock homosexuals up in prison. What I said is that our public policy toward homosexual conduct should be the same as our public policy toward intravenous drug abuse. My position is that homosexual behavior represents a severe threat to public health, and is even more dangerous to human health than intravenous drug abuse. Because of the health risks involved, curtailing homosexual behavior should be as much a public policy concern as curtailing intravenous drug abuse.Are you following his logic? Can anyone? He "never said" homosexuals should be sent to prison. He said "homosexual behavior should be against the law." Hey you fuckweasel, where exactly DO we send people who break the law? What a fucking crock of typically Christianist doubletalk. Also, does Fischer think millions of gays will meekly step forward for his proposed "reparative therapy"? Wouldn't his call for criminalizing our existence require rounding us all up for a proper Christian indoctrination at a re-education camp? How is that not like prison? Not only is Bryan Fischer a hate-filled bigot, he's a delusional hate-filled bigot who won't even stand by his repulsive call for the forced brainwashing of millions of Americans.
Tweet Of The Day - Scott Brown
Snowpocalypse II, Electric Boogaloo
DC's grocery stores are going all Lord Of The Flies this afternoon after the National Weather Service upgraded tomorrow's snow forecast to 18-24 inches. That, on top of the five inches the city got yesterday and the 20" deluge of December will put the nation's capital within reach of breaking the all-time record of 46" in one winter. (Sorry NYC, we're only getting 3 AOL inches.)
Prayer Breakfast Fallout: Christian Group Defends Uganda's "Kill Gays" Bill
Immediately after the president and Hillary Clinton denounced Uganda's pending "kill gays" bill at today's National Prayer Breakfast, Cliff Kincaid, president of an American Christian propaganda group, issued a press release defending the bill as necessary to prevent "homosexual imperialists" from continuing their campaign to fuck as much AIDS into the children of Uganda as possible.
Cliff Kincaid, president of America's Survival, Inc., and editor of Accuracy in Media, says the legislation is designed to save lives by discouraging homosexual practices which spread disease and death. "The purpose is completely at variance with what the U.S. media have reported," he said. "It is not a 'Kill the Gays' bill. Rather, it is designed to kill the disease that some homosexuals spread through their reckless and irresponsible conduct and lifestyle." [snip] Kincaid said that Clinton, in her National Prayer Breakfast remarks condemning the legislation, failed to disclose that Ugandan President Museveni had told her that he had received reports that foreign homosexuals have been targeting Ugandan children for sexual abuse. The State Department is supposed to be against sex trafficking, Kincaid said. Yet, Kincaid said it is threatening to cut-off foreign aid if the nation doesn't bend over to the demands of the homosexual lobby. "If our media were accurately reporting this story," he said, "reporters would be questioning why the Obama Administration is interfering with Uganda's right of self-determination and desire to be free of the sexual immorality that has already engulfed the U.S."Kincaid's repulsive newsletter is here.
A Gay Ugandan Speaks
The Megan Phelps Interview
You've got to click over the AKA William for Andrew Belonsky's lengthy interview with everybody's favorite performance artist, Megan Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. A snippet:
Same-sex marriage is a fait accompli in this nation. I remember taking a government class and they were talking about the full faith and credit clause of the constitution. If all these states have to recognize marriages from other states and you already have Massachusetts, Iowa – they have same-sex marriage. The constitution trumps DOMA, so doesn’t everyone have to recognize those marriages? That’s a fact. Same-sex marriage is fait accompli. It’s going to happen. It’s going to be everywhere and I’m pretty sure that trial in California, I would be willing to bet that they’re going to say that homosexuals have the right to marry and it’s going to spread all across this nation. And I am happy about that.She's happy because same-sex marriage brings us that much closer to the end of the world. Or something. Read the entire interview.
Duane Reade, 1st Avenue, 8:30am
Hipster Dude 1: And then she said I was emotionally crippled, that my family is all freaks, that I'm going nowhere in my job, that I'm lazy, that I've got bad taste. She just went on and on.
Hipster Dude 2: What did you say?
Hipster Dude 1: I told her she's fat.
Hipster Dude 2: Game. Set. Match.
National Enquirer Claims Anderson Cooper To Adopt Haitian Baby
The National Enquirer is claiming that Anderson Cooper and his boyfriend are going to adopt a Haitian baby.
Hard-charging CNN anchorman Anderson Cooper was so moved by the suffering from the earthquake in Haiti, he's decided to adopt a Haitian orphan, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively. The silver-haired journalist and his hunky boyfriend, Ben Maisani, plan to raise the child together in their recently purchased home, a former firehouse they're renovating in New York's West Village, pals say. "The death and destruction in Haiti made Anderson realize what's really important. He and Ben have decided to become dads," a longtime friend told The ENQUIRER. "Ben has been the best thing that's ever happened to Anderson. They both feel they're ready for a baby."This story is probably crap, but we've learned not to dismiss the Enquirer quite so quickly after their recent string of scoops, most notably the John Edwards story. What are Haiti's rules are for gay adoption anyway?
UPDATE: Andy Towle says Cooper is telling him that the story is false.
Bearapalooza 2010 takes place in southern Georgia on the weekend of April 15-18th. Performers include Freddy Freeman, Kendall, Elijah Black, Roger Mapes, Martin Swinger, Rockcub, Don Harvey, Charles K. Brown, Jeffrey Altergott, Michael West, and others.
RELATED: International Bear Rendezvous runs February 11th-15th in San Francisco.
ALSO RELATED: The 10th annual Provincetown Bear Week runs July 10th-18th and we're hearing that accommodations are already quite scarce.
Jon Stewart Vs. Bill O'Reilly
Gayle Haggard Explains It All
Gayle Haggard explains why she is confident that her husband is now completely heterosexual. She says that she does believe that homosexuality is a sin, but tap dances around the question as to whether she agrees with that pesky abomination thingy. But: "Honestly, I don't feel that the government should be in the marriage business. I feel as though the government should provide equality under the law and it should deal with civil unions. And in our communities of faith, we should give the definition of marriage."
Obama Criticizes Uganda's "Kill Gays" Bill At National Prayer Breakfast
According to a tweet by CBS reporter Mark Knoller, this morning President Obama criticised Uganda's "kill gays" bill at the National Prayer Breakfast before the very GOP group responsible for backing the proposed law. The New York Times has the complete advance text of the president's planned speech, where no mention of Uganda or gay marriage is found, so it appears that Obama went off-script.
UPDATE: Here's the video, which includes Hillary Clinton calling out the Uganda bill. Interestingly, the presidents exact words are "we may disagree on gay marriage." What's this "we" jazz?
GOProud WILL Speak At CPAC 2010
Log Cabin Republicans splinter group GOProud, a co-sponsor of this year's CPAC wingnut summit, will be allowed to speak at one of the conference's panels after all. Just not about anything remotely gay-related. Via Chris Johnson at DC Agenda:
According to the website for the Conversative Political Action Conference, which will take place in D.C., the gay conservative group known as GOProud is set to speak Feb. 20 on a panel titled “Using Technology to Mobilize Conservatives.” Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, will represent the organization on the panel. He said he wanted to speak on technology because his group has heavily relied on the Internet to get the word out since GOProud’s launch last year. “I think we’re going to bring a unique perspective to talk about how we have been able to use social networking like Facebook and Twitter as well as just Internet in general and e-mail to reach folks all over the country, in rural areas, in parts of the country that we haven’t necessarily been able to visit,” he said.When asked why GOProud wouldn't be speaking on a panel about LGBT issues, LaSalvia said, "Frankly, there really aren't any."
At Today's National Prayer Breakfast
Christianists File Suit Against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Over Hate Crimes Act
According to World Net Daily, a group of Christian pastors and head of the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association have filed suit against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, claiming that the recently passed hate crimes act violates their civil right to be hate-filled anti-gay bigots. Which, of course, it doesn't.
The complaint states Christians now can become the target of federal investigations, grand juries and even charges for no more than opposing the activism of homosexuals who want not only public endorsement of their life choices, but to halt any criticism of those decisions. "On account of … the Hate Crimes Act, plaintiffs are targets for government scrutiny, questioning, investigation, surveillance, and other adverse law enforcement actions and thus seek judicial reassurance that they can freely participate in their speech and related religious activities without being investigated or prosecuted by the government or becoming part of official records because of their Christian beliefs," the lawsuit explains.The above-linked article goes on to call the hate crimes bill the "Pedophile Protection Act," the familiar and outrageous lie by Christianists that the bill protects pedophiles from prosecution.
It was filed today by the Thomas More Law Center in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of Pastors Levon Yuille, Rene Ouellette, James Combs and Gary Glenn, the president of the American Family Association of Michigan. The plaintiffs include individuals who already have faced accusations by homosexual advocates that they bear responsibility for the actions of others for no other reason than their agreement with biblical condemnations of homosexuality.
Chinese May Bankroll High Speed Mag-Lev Train Between Los Angeles & Las Vegas
Proponents of a high-speed rail service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas say a Chinese bank is willing to bankroll the project to the tune of $7B.
The California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission still has several hurdles to clear before it could move ahead with plans to develop the project between Las Vegas and Anaheim, Calif. The commission late Monday announced that the Export-Import Bank of China, which has 14 domestic offices and three overseas offices, said it would provide a direct loan that would require the backing of the U.S. government as well as cooperation with Chinese enterprises. “It is a very positive development for Nevada’s employment picture and very telling that the financiers who are stepping up to bat are the Chinese, the people most familiar with Transrapid Maglev technology,” Neil Cummings, president of the American Magline Group, said in a press release announcing the loan.The train would reduce the travel time between the two cities to about one hour, rendering Las Vegas a sort of suburb of Los Angeles (for those who can afford it.) The California-Nevada rail group suffered a setback last week when it was left out of the $8B stimulus budget to develop high-speed rail links around the country. Especially stinging was that an archrival Orlando group will get $1.25B to develop high-speed rail service between Orlando and South Florida. Below is a map of the lines to receive the federal funding.
Open Thread Thursday
I'm really looking forward to the coming PBS series which traces the family trees of celebrities. According to the promos, there will be lots of surprises. How well do you know your own family's history? Would you consider DNA genetic testing to find out exactly where your ancestors came from?
Labels: Open Thread Thursday
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Alber & Goss: This Is Who We Are
Orrin Hatch: I Might Vote For DADT Repeal
A Date With America's Legal Prostidude
The NY Post sent comedy writer Mandy Stadtmiller to visit "Markus," the country's first legal male brothel worker. Things didn't go very well.
“Markus” (real name: Patrick) greets me in glasses, a satin blue shirt and slacks, and leads me to a bedroom where we sit opposite each other as I fumble for the cash out of my “Precious Moments” pocketbook. “First thing we do is visual inspection,” explains the dorky college dropout who later confesses I am only his second client, he has been with a total of six women in his life, and, to be perfectly honest, he lost his virginity at 23. “So,” Markus says after leaning over and kissing my knee, “we’re going to get undressed and then take a shower. Then we can both inspect each other to make sure there are no discrepancies.” Minutes later, as we’re standing naked in the shower, he’s examining me like a second-rate gynecologist and nodding. “Yeah,” he murmurs, cooing that I’m “practically” an 8 or a 9. “Everything looks great down there.” Oh. My. God.In addition to comparing himself to Rosa Parks, Markus thinks he's like Lady Gaga, Moby, and Vincent Van Gogh. Fellow eccentrics and all that. OK, then. I sense a reality show in the works.
SF's Dolores Park To Close For 2 Years
JMG reader Adam tips us to the news that San Francisco's Dolores Park, favorite sunning place for the city's gay boys, will close for up to two years for a massive $12M renovation.
The project scope will include the repair and/or renovation of the courts, field, and clubhouse; restoration of existing roads and pathways; upgrades to subsurface infrastructure, irrigation and lighting; modifications to the site to remove barriers and improve accessibility, and overall reconditioning of the park landscape. The renovation of the children's playground will be completed under a seperate project.The good news is the project doesn't begin until next August, so the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and other groups that hold events in the park will have plenty of time to make other plans. If you happen to be in San Francisco this Easter, do not miss the Sisters' party in Dolores Park.
Rise Of The Pink Ninjas
JMG reader Sean McGrath sends us a comic made by him and some friends titled Rise Of The Pink Ninjas (PDF). If you scroll down to the bottom, you'll find comic versions of Rob Tinisai, Pam Spaulding, Dan Choi, and...me! A way too hot and musclebound me, but I'm not complaining about that. Thanks guys! And ooh-wee, what y'all did to Maggie Gallagher!
Jesus Didn't Tap Out
The New York Times notes the rising popularly of Christian groups sponsoring violent mixed martial arts bouts, a trend brought about by attempts to bring "real men" back into the gentle nellie church. And don't you know Focus On The Family has shoved their claws into this.
Recruitment efforts at the churches, which are predominantly white, involve fight night television viewing parties and lecture series that use ultimate fighting to explain how Christ fought for what he believed in. Other ministers go further, hosting or participating in live events. The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries — and into the image of Jesus — in the hope of making Christianity more appealing. “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”Nothing expresses the redemptive love of Jeebus like a good concussion!
The outreach is part of a larger and more longstanding effort on the part of some ministers who fear that their churches have become too feminized, promoting kindness and compassion at the expense of strength and responsibility. “The man should be the overall leader of the household,” said Ryan Dobson, 39, a pastor and fan of mixed martial arts who is the son of James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical group. “We’ve raised a generation of little boys.”
REVERSAL: Colin Powell Joins Call For Repeal Of DADT
In a major reversal, Gen. Colin Powell, who opposed Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gay soldiers to serve openly, has joined the call to repeal DADT.
“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office. He added: “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.” Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers on Tuesday that they supported President Obama’s proposal to repeal the 1993 law forbidding gay men and women to be open about their sexuality while serving in uniform.Welcome, Gen. Powell.
HomoQuotable - Johnny Weir
"I would like to announce that due to pressures and threats from a certain animal rights group, I will be changing the genuine fox fur on my free program costume that I will use in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C., to white faux fur. I made this decision after several threats were sent to me about disrupting my performance in the Olympic Games and my costume designer, Stephanie Handler, was repeatedly sent messages of hate and disgust. I do not want something as silly as my costume disrupting my second Olympic experience and my chance at a medal, a dream I have had since I was a kid.
"I hope these activists can understand that my decision to change my costume is in no way a victory for them, but a draw. I am not changing in order to appease them, but to protect my integrity and the integrity of the Olympic Games as well as my fellow competitors. Just weeks away from hitting my starting position on the ice in Vancouver, I have technique and training to worry about and that trumps any costume and any threat I may receive." - Olympic ice skater Johnny Weir. He recently tweeted that the most recent death threats had come from a group called Friends Of Animals, although he says he's received similar threats from PETA since the 2006 Olympics.
A Reason To Care About The Super Bowl
If you've got no other reason to care about who wins this weekend's Super Bowl, here's a pretty good one.
On Sunday, Scott Fujita will reach the pinnacle of his football career, playing linebacker for the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl. Fujita describes it as “this small moment in time where you have a platform to do some good things.’’ Last fall, that included speaking out in support of gay rights, a rare step in a professional sporting culture that often turns social stances into landmines. Fujita, who is married, the father of twin daughters, and straight, pushes against the rising trend in sports to remain mum on cultural and political touchstones. His boldness, shaped by his unusual upbringing, makes him an uncommon and effective advocate for what he believes in. “People asked me a question and I gave my opinion,’’ Fujita said. “People say, ‘That’s so courageous of you.’ To me, it’s not that courageous to have an opinion, especially if you wholeheartedly think it’s the right thing. For me, standing up for equal rights is the right thing to do.’’Freepers and others are ripping Fujita apart on wingnut blogs, saying that he was brainwashed by his UC Berkeley education.
Senate Bill Would Block DC Marriage
DC Agenda reports that nine GOP U.S. Senators (with NOM's backing) have submitted a bill that would block same-sex marriages in Washington DC until a voter referendum has taken place.
The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, issued a statement Tuesday announcing the senators’ plans to introduce the legislation in the next few days. The statement says the bill will be similar to the one introduced last month in the House by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). “An out-of-control city council tried to do an end run around the D.C. Charter, refusing to recognize the rights of D.C. voters to file an initiative petition on marriage,” said NOM Executive Director Brian Brown in the statement, which urges same-sex marriage opponents to call on Congress to pass the bill. “Regardless of where your representatives stand on same-sex marriage, tell them that we ought not to stand for this sort of government abuse against the residents of the nation’s capital,” Brown said in the statement.The nine sponsoring GOP Senators: Sens. Robert Bennett (R-UT), Jim Bunning (R-KY), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY.), James Inhofe (R-OK), Pat Roberts (R-KS), David "Diaper Boy" Vitter (R-LA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS). The bill is expected to die in committee, but these bigots will at least get to burnish their hate cred back home. DC same-sex marriages are slated to begin in early March.
PhoboQuotable - Sen. Saxby Chambliss
"In my opinion, the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards. It will lead to alcohol use, adultery, fraternization, and body art. If we change this rule of 'Don't Ask, Dont Tell' what are we going to do with these other rules?" - Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who is worried that if DADT is repealed, soldiers will get drink, visit whorehouses, and get tattoos. Unprecedented!
Quote Of The Day - Sarah Palin
"I will not benefit financially from speaking at this event. My only goal is to support the grassroots activists who are fighting for responsible, limited government — and our Constitution. In that spirit, any compensation for my appearance will go right back to the cause. The nature of the Tea Party movement means there may never be a "perfectly orchestrated" event: Democracy in action doesn't come with a manual. But we must not get caught up in the politics or the controversies that some hope will distract from the heart of the movement. The focus must remain on our ideas and beliefs, and on supporting those ideas and beliefs however we can." - Sarah Palin, confirming that she will indeed attend this weekend's disintegrating Tea Party Convention in Nashville.
In Case You Missed Lost Last Night
Improper Workplace Computer Usage
Money Woes For Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, world headquarters for Focus On The Family and home to the Air Force Academy and numerous defense industry factories, is going through the kind of budget crisis that some say is on its way to many other American cities.
More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled. The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter. Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks. If that. Water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead, brown turf by July; the flower and fertilizer budget is zero. City recreation centers, indoor and outdoor pools, and a handful of museums will close for good March 31 unless they find private funding to stay open. Buses no longer run on evenings and weekends. The city won't pay for any street paving, relying instead on a regional authority that can meet only about 10 percent of the need.In November voters turned down a property tax increase that would have saved the city's budget.
"I guess we're going to find out what the tolerance level is for people," said businessman Chuck Fowler, who is helping lead a private task force brainstorming for city budget fixes. "It's a new day." Some residents are less sanguine, arguing that cuts to bus services, drug enforcement and treatment and job development are attacks on basic needs for the working class. "How are people supposed to live? We're not a 'Mayberry R.F.D.' anymore," said Addy Hansen, a criminal justice student who has spoken out about safety cuts. "We're the second-largest city, and growing, in Colorado. We're in trouble. We're in big trouble."