Saturday, August 31, 2013

Teabaggers on President Obama seeking congressional approval for Syrian military action


Pennsylvania: Gov. Corbett says comparing gays marrying to children marrying was "inappropriate"


Republican Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday it was inappropriate for his lawyers to include a reference to children in a legal brief involving same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses.

Corbett's administration has filed a lawsuit seeking to block same-sex marriage licenses in suburban Philadelphia, where Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes has issued more than 150 to gay and lesbian couples since July 24.

State attorneys, in a court filing Wednesday, made an analogy to a pair of 12-year-olds, saying if the children were issued a marriage license and tried to defend it in court, they wouldn't be taken seriously because the license was never valid.

"Had the clerk issued licenses to twelve-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each twelve-year-old has a legally enforceable 'interest' in his 'license' and is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license,' else his due process rights be violated?" the brief said. "Obviously not."

Corbett released a statement Thursday calling it a poor analogy:

"The case involving Montgomery County revolves around a very basic question: Does a public official have the authority to disregard state law based on his own personal legal opinion about the constitutionality of a statute?" he said. "The analogy chosen in the legal brief filed on August 28th is inappropriate."

Equality Pennsylvania issued a statement earlier Thursday taking his lawyers to task over the legal argument:

"If there is one thing we can all agree on, it's that all people deserve to be treated with respect," said the group's executive director, Ted Martin. "The statements made by the attorneys do not simply defend the laws of the state; they deny loving, committed same-sex couples the dignity they deserve."

(source)

Homophobic racist Aaryn Gries evicted from CBS' "Big Brother"

Add caption

Last night's episode of Big Brother saw 22-year-old Texas college student Aaryn Gries evicted from the house in a unanimous vote. Gries's gameplay was overshadowed by the racist and homophobic comments she made earlier this season that were recorded on the show's live feeds.

Gries initially attempted to sweep the issue under the rug by saying her comments were "taken completely out of context," but host Julie Chen pulled no punches in grilling Gries during the exit interview:

CHEN: "We want to point out everyone in the house went in knowing that everything they say, everything they do gets broadcast live on the internet. So when you say the intention was not to hurt anyone, let me just read back some of the things you said. Referring to [African-American contestant] Candice, you said 'Be careful what you say in the dark, you might not see the b*tch.' Referring to [Asian-American contestant] Helen, you said 'Shut up, go make some rice.' Referring to [openly gay contestant] Andy, you said "No one is going to vote for whoever that queer puts up." Can you see how those things could be interpreted as racist and as homophobic?"

GRIES: "I do, but I do not remember saying those things [audience laughs]. And those things were not meant to be serious and if I said those things I feel horrible for that and I regret that. I don't even know what else to say about that...

It's actually kind of fascinating to watch the clip below as Gries reacts to Chen's questions.  Her breathing starts to get heavy as she hears her own words tossed back her way.  Her convenient amnesia is almost sad. 

I grew up in Texas - I know this animal.  "If I said those thing..."  Wow.  IF. As though Julie Chen were making it up.

Towards the end of the interview, however, Gries seems to finally understand the gravity of her situation:

"I honestly feel horrible. I feel like, in Texas we say things that are, sometimes we joke and we don't mean it and I really feel bad that this is how its being seen and how I've come across to people. I don't want to seem like that person and I really do respect everyone in this game although we've had some hard times cause we're all fighting for our lives in the game."

Because Gries is heading to the jury house portion of the game, she was not informed of her newly minted unemployment status as a result of the statements.



(via Towleroad)

Mary Cheney on her sister Liz's "opposition" of marriage equality


"For the record, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage. Freedom means freedom for everyone. That means that all families — regardless of how they look or how they are made — all families are entitled to the same rights, privileges and protections as every other. It’s not something to be decided by a show of hands. Please like and share if you agree." - Mary Cheney (above right), writing today on her Facebook page.

Mary married her partner in Washington DC last summer.

Yesterday Liz Cheney, currently running for the US Senate in Wyoming, announced that she opposes same-sex marriage.

(via JMG)

Cory Booker giving the perfect answer regarding his sexuality


Cory Booker on All In with Chris Hayes regarding his U.S. Senate opponent Steve Lonegan’s homophobic comments regarding Booker’s sexuality:

First of all, this is the ridiculousness of this point. The question should not be whether you’re gay or straight, but the question should be, why are you asking the question in the first place?

The point I’m getting the chance to make right now — and I really, really want to drive this home —  is that we need to stop in America talking abut anybody in a public realm, besides what is important: the content of their character, the quality of their ideas, the courage within their hearts to serve others.


Here we have an opponent trying to say god awful things, literally saying, I believe a guy should be a guy. Almost like saying you are not a man if you’re gay. That is so extreme.

Let’s shine lights on this for a second and understand that my father taught me what manhood is about. And it’s not about whether you play football or enjoyed badminton. Being a man is about love. About kindness to others. About standing up for what’s right, about doing what’s important to do in the unfinished business of America.”

Truth of the day


President Obama gives statement to country on Syria


The White House announced Saturday that President Obama will speak to the nation at 1:15 ET Saturday afternoon.

A senior administration official said the president's remarks were not about imminent military operations in Syria, but rather an update about his decisions on how to proceed.

The Obama administration was to continue its sales pitch to Congress to get behind a potential military strike against Syria on Saturday, hours after U.N. weapons inspectors left the country amid high anticipation of an imminent U.S. attack.

The president's national security will brief the entire Senate Republican conference today via telephone at 1pm ET on Syria at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Also on Saturday, the office of House Speaker John Boehner announced that the White House plans to provide a classified briefing at 2 p.m. Sunday to members who wished to attend.

(source)

UPDATE: President Obama to seek authorization from Congress before ordering military action against Syria.  More at USA Today.

Christian talk show host Stan Solomon - I hope that fa**ot Dan Savage dies

Today in "Good Christian Love..."

Conservative talk show host Stan Solomon recently hosted a special “Race In America” program to commemorate the March on Washington.

Solomon -- who regularly interviews conservative figures including Phyllis Schlafly, E.W. Jackson, Larry Pratt and Alan Keyes -- used the occasion to deliver an epic rant accusing Jews, gays, African Americans and Muslims of being pawns of the Satanic left, hailing the murder of Trayvon Martin and announcing that he hopes “that faggot” Dan Savage dies.

A partial transcript from the below clip:

"Jews, homosexuals, blacks, gays, Islamists, you may think they’re disparate groups, they’re not, they’re all tools. Because while we’re mad at these two punks, we’re mad at Trayvon Martin, that thug that deserves to be dead and I’m glad he’s dead. Pieces of crap, homosexuals like what’s that one guy’s name? [Dan] Savage. That faggot. That horrible, awful, terrible excuse for a human being who is at the White House promoting attacks on Christians. I hope he dies — he probably will — of every disease known. By the way, I’m sending him a fire hydrant for his birthday, I’m hoping he’ll sit on it; he’ll slide all the way down to the ground. Sorry fire hydrant fans, I don’t mean to insult fire hydrants."



(source)

NOM's Brian Brown angry gays and lesbians get equal treatment from IRS


National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown issued a statement denouncing the IRS' change in policy regarding same-sex married couples this week, claiming it is yet another government attempt to force gay marriage on an "unwilling public."

"The Treasury Department is grossly overstepping its authority," said Brown. "This is a nation of laws. Only Congress has the authority to change the law....[the] Obama administration is intent on forcing same-sex 'marriage' on an unwilling public."

A recent Gallup poll shows 54% of Americans surveyed said they believe same-sex marriages should be legally recognized and afforded all the same rights and privileges that come with opposite-sex marriage.

So, there.

Sarah Horn - Hollywood Bowl viral video star - on The Candi & Randy Show


In case you missed my radio show yesterday - I got to interview YouTube and viral video sensation Sarah Horn regarding her amazing duet with Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl last week.

Not only have exciting things been happening for Sarah, but the Hollywood Bowl has already invited her back to sing at an upcoming concert featuring the music of ABBA. Plus, she's still sorting through calls and emails about more opportunities.

From The Candi & Randy Show:

Sarah Horn thought her evening was going to consist of seeing her favorite Broadway star, Kristin Chenoweth, in concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Instead, she sang half of what became "the duet heard 'round the world" as Chenoweth brought Sarah up on stage by chance to sing with her. Not only did she sing, she stopped the show!

The YouTube video of her impromptu duet with Chenoweth has had more than 2.5 million views in less than a week.

We talk to Sarah about the duet and what has happened to her in the week since.

Dreams come true. Ask Sarah Horn.

They take our skills, call us 'takers'


Lady Gaga 2013 VMA Applause recap



If you watched the VMAs this year, you know Gaga's number consisted of a series of quick changes.

I like the dog...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to become 1st Supreme Court justice to conduct same-sex marriage ceremony


Ok, let's roll "special" and "bragging rights" all into one big same-sex marriage ball.

Via the Washington Post:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser.

The gala wedding of Kaiser and economist John Roberts at the performing arts center brings together the nation’s highest court and the capital’s high society and will mark a new milepost in recognition of same-sex unions.

Ginsburg and Kaiser are close friends. She is perhaps the Supreme Court’s most ardent supporter of the fine arts, especially opera. Kaiser, 59, has been at the helm of the Kennedy Center since 2001 and is an internationally recognized expert in arts management and one of Washington’s most influential civic leaders.

“I can’t imagine someone I’d rather be married by” than Ginsburg, Kaiser said in an interview.

Umm, hello? A US Supreme Court justice? Yeah, pretty fab officiant, there.

Although, I will say - when my husband Michael and I got married in Toronto in 2003, the legality of same-sex marriage was new. But Senior Justice Lauren Marshall generously agreed to marry Michael and I. And it was as special and memorable as any wedding ever could be.

AND - being the senior justice, she had the 'best' courtroom, which happened to be the courtroom the movie CHICAGO the Musical was shot in. So we knew we were in the right place... :)

Congrats to Michael Kaiser and John Roberts. I hope your day is as special as mine was.

Ben Cohen rumored to compete (shirtless) on Strictly Come Dancing


Guess who might appear shirtless on Britain's version of Dancing With The Stars?

Whoo-hoo!

From The Metro:
Who is he: Chiseled member of England’s 2003 Rugby World cup winning squad, better known for his philanthropic work (he is founder of the anti-bullying organisation The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation) since retiring from the game in 2011.

Chances of being true: Strictly has a long history of welcoming rugby stars on to the dancefloor. Some of them have even done quite well (Austin Healy, Kenny Logan, Matt Dawson and, against all the odds, Gavin Henson). So we don’t think it would be entirely out of the question for Ben to follow in their footsteps. And besides, we all know the show needs eye candy.

Would be most likely to: Have women (and, given his big gay following, quite a few men) swooning on the inevitable week when his shirt falls off entirely by accident.

President Obama on Syria: "I have not made a final decision"


President Obama stated today that he has yet to decide what course to take, and said: “We have consulted with allies. We have consulted with Congress.”

Obama’s comments come after Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a forceful case for why action is warranted. Obama said the response he is considering would not constitute a “major operation.”

From USA Today:

President Obama said Friday he is considering a "limited, narrow act" as a military response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.

Calling it "a challenge to the world," Obama said the use of chemical weapons threatens U.S. national security and merits a response.

Obama emphasized that he still has not made any decisions about what actions the U.S. will take.

He said his military advisers have looked at a wide range of options. "I meant what I said: that the world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons," Obama said, following his administration's release of document he said proves Syria's recent attack. "We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on an incredible scale."


Bill O'Reilly admits mistake on exclusion of Repubs at MLK remembrance



Bill O'Reilly ended his Thursday night show apologizing for incorrectly claiming the night before in two separate segments that no conservatives or Republicans were invited. There were multiple reports to the contrary yesterday and today, and O'Reilly admitted he got it wrong.

O'Reilly thought it was a mistake that the invited Republicans didn't attend, but admitted his on-air misstatement was "entirely on me," saying he merely "assumed" Republicans were excluded. He told his audience in his Tip of the Day, "Always check out the facts before you make a definitive statement, and when you make a mistake, admit it."

At the end of the day, I have to admit O'Reilly does surprise us sometimes.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker talks gay rumors on MSNBC

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

New Mexico: Where marriage equality stands today



The latest on the New Mexico county clerks who are asking the state Supreme Court for a ruling on the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The state currently has no law on the books outlawing marriage equality.

50 years ago - $2 minimum wage


Things that make you go "hmm..."

(via JMG)

Sec. of State Kerry: Fatigue from war does not absolve us from our responsibility


It would seem that some sort of strike against Syria is imminent. Whether it is with or without Congress' involvment, we'll see...

From the New York Post:

The US has evidence that Syrian poison gas killed at least 1,429 people - including 426 children, Secretary of State John Kerry said today in an impassioned plea for action against the Assad regime.

Previous estimates, even from anti-Assad rebel groups, ranged from a few hundred to 1,300 fatal victims of the August 21 assault.

Kerry said Assad’s forces were at the site of the attack for three days beforehand, making preparations – even telling supporters to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks.

He said the US had evidence that the rockets came from regime-controlled areas.

Kerry also says a senior regime official confirmed that the weapons were used and was afraid it would be discovered.

Kerry also revealed that after the US learned of last week’s attack, “I personally called the foreign minister of Syria, and I said to him, ‘If, as you say, your nation has nothing to hide then let the United Nations in immediately and give the inspectors the unfettered access, so they have the opportunity to tell your story.’”

“Instead, for four days, they shelled the neighborhood in order to destroy evidence, bombarding block after black at a rate four times higher than they had over the previous 10 days,” Kerry added.

“And, when the UN inspectors finally gained access, that access -- as we now know -- was restricted and controlled.”

The report cites human and satellite intelligence that it says backs up publicly available videos and other evidence of the ghastly massacre.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

UK: MPs vote against military action in Syria

By a vote of 285 to 272, British MPs have voted against possible military action against Syria to deter the use of chemical weapons.

David Cameron said it was clear the British Parliament does not want action and "I will act accordingly".

The Obama administration is said to be weighing military options against Syria in response to reports Syria used chemical weapons against civilians.

(source)

"RuPaul Drives..." with Henry Rollins



RuPaul is behind the wheel, and picking up passengers on the streets of Hollywood! RuPaul Drives... is the brand-new webseries produced by World of Wonder.

"Everyone in LA needs a lift, spiritually and physically," said the Supermodel of the World. "From drag racing to a leisure drive, I always enjoy being behind the wheel." The concept is simple: Every episode RuPaul will chauffeur a special guest vagabond with no clear destination in sight. These drifters paint the town with she-larious moments, sprinkled with bite size gems of RuPaul's wisdom.

In the newest episode, Ru picks up hottie renaissance man, lead singer of Black Flag & LGBT ally Henry Rollins, and takes him to go pick up some art.

Along the way they talk about relationships - with fans and with lovers.

Read more at: http://worldofwonder.net/

RuPaul and Henry Rollins

All legal same-sex marriages to be recognized by US Treasury regardless of state of residency


Big news for same-sex married couples as the Federal government has now issued a ruling by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew that says, in terms of tax policy, the state of celebration is what counts - NOT the state of residence.

Yep, the ruling applies even to gay couples that live in states where their union is not recognized -- so long as they were married in a state that allows same-sex marriage.

From the Huffington Post:

Thursday’s ruling by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew provides a uniform policy for the IRS; the state of celebration -- where the wedding took place -- now trumps the state of residency when it comes to federal tax status for same-sex married couples.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” Lew said in a statement. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

Under the new Treasury policy, all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, employee benefits, IRA contributions, earned income, child tax credits, and income, gift and estate taxes, will apply to same sex couples regardless of where they live.

The Human Rights Campaign responds:

“With today’s ruling, committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation’s federal tax laws, regardless of what state they call home,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “These families finally have access to crucial tax benefits and protections previously denied to them under the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”

The ruling does not apply to those in registered domestic partnerships or civil unions. So, for states like New Jersey, where the governor is trying to argue that civil unions are equal to full marriage - this underlines how civil unions and domestic partnerships fall short of full equality.

Poetry by Javon Johnson - "cuz he's black"



Powerful. 

Performed during semifinals of the 2013 National Poetry Slam for Da Poetry Lounge. DPL took second place in the tournament.

Like Javon Johnson on Facebook.

(via  Upworthy)

California: 9th Circuit of Appeals upholds ban on "conversion therapy" for minors





Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed has the news:

A federal appeals court Thursday upheld California’s ban on therapy aimed at changing minors’ sexual orientation.

In a unanimous decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the law — the first of its kind in the country — was upheld as being within the legislature’s authority to pass. Parents wishing to employ such therapy with their children and professionals who employ “sexual orientation change effort” therapy.

New Jersey last week became the second state in the country to pass such a law.

The three-judge panel that heard the appeal of California’s law considered both free speech claims brought by the practitioners, associational claims brought by the parties, and claims about parents’ rights to raise their children. The judges found the law violated none of these provisions.

New Mexico: GOP state Senator William Sharer says gays should stop "whoring," marry women

New Mexico State Senator William Sharer, in an effort to explain his opposition to marriage equality, suggested that gay men should stop “whoring” around and marry women instead.

Sharer is behind a Republican legal effort to stop six New Mexico counties from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

In a blog post published Friday, Sharer noted that Alexander the Great “may have engaged in homosexual activity, but he married a woman.”

“[Alexander the Great] directed his officers to stop 'whoring' around and find a local woman to marry.”

“'It is only through blood relations that hatred and war will end.' In other words, Alexander the Great thought that marriage was about creating and raising the next generation,” Sharer wrote.

He went on to suggest that allowing gay couples to marry could lead to the end of the human race: “As marriage goes, so go the children, so goes the nation, so goes the world.”

However, Sharer does want to make it clear he totally has no animosity towards gays and lesbians.

I'm sure some of his best friends are gay.

Riiiiight....

(source)

Petition launched urging US Olympic Team to "fly the gay pride colors" at Sochi opening ceremony


Lawrence Hewitt has launched a petition at Change.org asking the US Olympic Team to "fly the gay pride colors at the opening ceremony in Russia.

The petition currently has over 30,000 signees.

Hawaii: Not time for special legislative session for marriage equality


It's looking like Hawaii still doesn't have the votes to pass marriage equality in the state House:

State House Speaker Joseph Souki said today that Gov. Neil Abercrombie informed him that he was not ready to call a special session on gay marriage.

Souki would not say whether the House had the votes for a gay marriage bill after House Democrats met in private caucus to discuss a special session. The governor had been waiting for a House vote count before making his decision on a special session. The state Senate has the votes for a gay marriage bill.

When you have the votes, you call the vote. With all the support in the state legislature plus the Governor, you can trust there would be a special session if the votes were there.

UPDATE: According to the AP, Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday presented state lawmakers with a draft of legislation that would legalize gay marriage in Hawaii.

Abercrombie told reporters he would not rush a special session, or call one without lawmakers having a clear idea of what to do.

"I’m simply not going to consider a special session if it becomes something that gets dragged out and a recycling of previous history," he said. "The bill’s there, we’re going to make ourselves available."

He said his administration would let lawmakers digest the bill, and then discuss whether to have a special session.

According to an 18-page draft of the legislation released by Abercrombie’s office, Hawaii would begin issuing licenses Oct. 3, with ceremonies allowed to begin Nov. 1.

New Mexico: 2004 same-sex marriage licenses declared valid by AG King


With all the same-sex marriage activity in New Mexico, the issue of marriage licenses that were briefly issued back in 2004 by the Sandoval County clerk have come back to the forefront, and there's good news:
Attorney General Gary King says marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in 2004 in Sandoval County remain valid.

King said Wednesday that licenses issued by a county clerk are "presumptively valid" unless voided by a court.

King delivered the non-binding advice in a letter to the current Sandoval County clerk, who found that some of the 2004 licenses recorded in the clerk's office were labeled as void or invalid.

King said a county clerk is responsible for issuing marriage licenses but "New Mexico law plainly does not provide county clerks with the rights to invalidate marriages."

Former Sandoval County Victoria Dunlap issued more than 60 licenses on Feb. 20, 2004, but stopped later the same day after then Attorney General Patricia Madrid objected.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr was 34

NYC: Mayoral race flipped on it's head as de Blasio races to top of polls

A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows Bill de Blasio with 36 percent of the likely Democratic vote - striking distance of avoiding a widely-expected runoff election.

The two other leading Democratic candidates, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, posted 21 and 20 percent respectively.

“Talk about breaking out of the pack!” pollster Maurice Carroll said in a statement acknowledging Mr. de Blasio’s quick rise. “Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, in fourth place just five weeks ago, is edging up on the magic 40 percent needed to avoid a Democratic primary runoff. And if there is a runoff, he clobbers Council Speaker Christine Quinn or former Comptroller and 2009 Democratic challenger William Thompson.”

The poll also shows de Blasio would easily beat the competition in a run-off. According to the poll, Mr. de Blasio would beat Ms. Quinn 59-30, and Mr. Thompson 52-36.

bdb poll



(source)

What if you stopped going outside?



From my favorite science guys at AsapSCIENCE.

Be smarter in three minutes.

Pennsylvania: Corbett administration fights same-sex couples joining marriage equality lawsuit; compares couples to 12-year-olds

In a brief filed by the Corbett administration Wednesday, state attorneys said marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples were never valid, and compared gay and lesbian couples to "12-year-olds" who are also barred from marrying under state law.

The state Department of Health and Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes will appear in Commonwealth Court next Wednesday to argue the case.

Since July 24, Hanes has issued 154 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Thirty-two of the couples have petitioned to intervene in the case, arguing that a ruling against Hanes could also invalidate their marriages.

The state filed a brief Wednesday opposing the couples' participation, saying the marriage licenses hold no "actual value or legitimacy" and thus have no right to be defended in court. "Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old ... is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license'?" the state wrote.

If the couples wish to defend their "purported marriage licenses," the state wrote, they should file their own lawsuit or wait for the outcome of a federal challenge to Pennsylvania's marriage law.

(source)

President Obama speaks on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech



From USA Today:

In his address to thousands who gathered on the Washington Mall on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, President Obama paid tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and to the anonymous millions who stood by King's side during the civil rights fight of the 1960s.

Obama remembered those who could not marry the ones they loved because of so-called anti-miscegenation laws, African-American soldiers who fought for freedom abroad that they could not enjoy on U.S. soil and white Americans who could not stand by discrimination and sacrificed sometimes with their own blood.

"Because they marched, America became more free and more fair," Obama said. "Not just for African-Americans but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans, for Catholics, Jews and Muslims, for gays, for Americans with disabilities. America changed for you and for me. And the entire word drew strength from that example."

Before Obama took the stage on Wednesday, former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton offered stirring tributes to King.

Coca-Cola - "We are engaging" with IOC regarding Sochi Olympics and anti-gay discrimination

Graphic via Memeographs

After LGBT activists call on Coca-Cola to end their sponsorship of Olympics in Sochi, Russia, , Coke promises they are "engaging with the International Olympic Committee on this important matter."

Read the full statement here.

Valerie Harper to appear on new season of "Dancing With The Stars"


TMZ has the scoop:
Valerie Harper -- whom doctors gave three months to live back in March due to her terminal brain cancer -- hasn't just defied medicine by staying alive ... she's signed on to "Dancing with the Stars."

As previously reported, 74-year-old Harper -- famous for playing the role of Rhoda on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" -- announced she had been diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare form of cancer in which cancer cells spread into the membrane surrounding the brain.

Doctors gave her roughly until June to live ... but it's already August, and we've learned she's doing so well she is set to appear on the upcoming season of "Dancing," an extremely physically-demanding reality show.

We're told Valerie and her partner Tristan have already been practicing for two days, and she's surprisingly good. Our sources say she's completely self-sufficient and doesn't need any special assistance.

Sixth county in New Mexico to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples


And now a sixth county in New Mexico will begin offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

From Think Progress:
Late Tuesday afternoon, a court order from the Eighth Judicial District Court added Taos County to the list as well, and County Clerk Anna Martinez will begin offering them Wednesday morning.

Combined with Santa Fe, Bernalillo, and Doña Ana Counties, this brings the total to six New Mexico counties now offering marriage equality. Together, those six counties are home to 1,172,581 of the state’s population, or 56.2 percent. More counties could soon follow along the momentum.
The state Attorney General has stated he will not challenge the clerks or marriage licenses issued, and the Governor has been silent on the topic.

A group of Republican state lawmakers have filed suit to stop the licenses from issued saying the clerks have broken or changed the law. However, nothing in New Mexico law bans same-sex marriage or stipulates that marriage must be between a man and a woman.

So - there.

Forward.

New Jersey: GOP Senate candidate thinks it's "weird" Cory Booker won't say if he's gay



As I wrote here yesterday, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has stated that he isn't interested in labels about sexuality, and wants to challenge folks on their homophobia.

His Senate opponent, Steve Lonegan, says he thinks it's "weird" that Booker won't say if he's gay or straight. He also alludes to the idea that being "gay" isn't masculine or something by saying "as a guy, I personally like being a guy."

Here's just a bit of what Lonegan had to say to by Newsmax's Steve Malzberg:

“As a guy, I personally like being a guy,” Lonegan, who is the former New Jersey head for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, told Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg. “I don’t know if you saw the stories last year, they’ve been out quite a bit, about how he likes to go out at three-o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure.”

“Maybe that helps him get the gay vote, by acting ambiguous,” he continued. “Although I don’t like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of day, for manicures and pedicures. It was described as his peculiar fetish, is how it was described. I have a more peculiar fetish: I like a good Scotch and a cigar, that’s my fetish. But we’ll just compare the two.”

In the middle of that to bring up "fetishes" like cigars and such, I just got a little lost in where Lonegan was going with all that.

Recent polling shows Booker up 16 points in the special Senate race.

(via Right Wing Watch)

Quadruple Take Masterclass with Patrick Stewart



Watch as award winning actor Patrick Stewart shows a friend the art of the single take, the double take, the triple take and the quadruple take.


On Aug. 31 Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen wrap up their Berkeley Rep run of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land in anticipation of an Oct. 26 arrival at Broadway's Cort Theatre, where it will run in repertory with Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.


(via Playbill)

Martin Luther King - I Have a Dream on August 28, 1963



50 years ago today.

Folks on the interwebs are playing the #Ihaveadream theme, so here's mine:

I have a dream that passion, courage and conviction become the norm; that apathy for inequality falls away; that we reach a time where we wonder why equal rights for all was a difficult concept for some to grasp.

Forward.

Let it ring.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Mexico: Two more counties to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples


Ya-hoo!  My kind of news! Up to five counties in New Mexico now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

From Equality On Trial:

San Miguel County in New Mexico joins Valencia County as the latest in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Rivera has confirmed that she will issue new gender neutral marriage licenses later this week, though couples who don’t want to wait can receive a license today:

Rivera also stated that couples who did not wish to wait could apply and receive a license today. Until the new licenses arrive Rivera will make the changes to the old forms by hand.

Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal has also discussed the change:

Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal said she should have gender-neutral licenses ready by Wednesday. She also said she is willing to alter licenses if people want to get married Tuesday.

Pat Robertson: Gays use special rings to infect people with AIDS


SRSLY?

A question was asked during Pat Robertson's TV Show "The 700 Club" about the possibly of being infected with AIDS by driving an elderly man with the disease to Sunday services at church.

From The 700 Club:

"You know what they do in San Francisco? Some of the gay community there, they want to get people. So, if they've got the stuff, they'll have a ring. You shake hands and the ring's got a little thing where you cut your finger," Robertson said in the video. "Really. I mean it's that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder."

Not only does Robertson assert that infected gays walk around San Francisco with special, sharp rings meant to cut and infect people with AIDS, but he says the "homosexual community" has put draconian laws in place to keep anyone from discussing HIV/AIDS....?

The comments were edited out for the TV show website version of the clip.



(via TPM)

Newark Mayor Cory Booker - "I want to challenge people on their homophobia"


“I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’” - New Jersey mayor and US Senatorial candidate Cory Booker in an interview with the Washington Post, saying he wants to challenge people on their homophobia.

Australian Rugby Union amends charter to fight homophobia in sports


The Australian Rugby Union has announced changes will be made to the organization's charter regarding homophobia, and endorsing inclusion of any players who may come out.

From Australia's The Daily Telegraph:

The policy, which will be among the first of its kind in world sport, is separate to existing anti-vilification guidelines, and is likely to see elements such as anti-homophobia programs for young players and high-profile stars in public awareness campaigns. It could ultimately even see rugby participants face penalties if guilty of homophobic behaviour.

The ARU will consult with the Australian Sports Commission, Australian Human Rights Commission, players groups and the gay and lesbian community to formulate a policy in time for the 2014 Bingham Cup.

Rugby star David Pocock, who in 2011 came out as an advocate for marriage equality and pledged not to wed his partner Emma til his gay and lesbian friends had the same right, praised the ARU's decision:

"I am stoked. It is fantastic that the ARU is making this commitment to come up with a policy," Pocock said.

"The one thing we have learned over the past year or so is we can’t wait for the government to lead the way on tackling homophobia, so every person needs to do it in their family and their own workplace.

"For me, that’s rugby and I am really excited to hopefully see the impact this makes on young boys and girls coming through, and hopefully having more awareness that rugby — and sport — is for everyone, and no-one should be discriminated against on the basis of sexuality."

"Talking to some of the guys who play for the (gay rugby team) Sydney Convicts, some of their stories are awful. One young guy got voted out of his colts team when he came out to them. Those sort of things aren’t acceptable and it’s about time rugby stood up, and said: 'This isn’t right.'"

Rugby star and marriage equality advocate David Pocock

Walmart to offer same-sex partners benefits

Walmart to offer employment benefits to same-sex couples - domestic partners

Well, this is a big deal.

Yesterday Walmart employees received a memo from Sally Welborn, Walmart's Senior VP of Benefits:

This week our associates will receive a pre-enrollment postcard at their homes announcing the dates for annual enrollment and providing highlights of the 2014 benefit offerings. Among the information highlighted on the postcard: We will cover domestic partners in the medical, dental, vision, life, critical illness and accident plans. This means Walmart will offer these benefits to an associate’s same- or opposite-sex spouse or unmarried partner.

The memo didn't stop there, though. Welborn's memo also made note of several other unrelated changes to the company's benefits plan and then adds this:
It’s a business decision, not a moral or political decision. We operate in 50 states, hundreds of municipalities and Puerto Rico, and as clarified under the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), each of these states are developing different definitions of marriage, domestic partner, civil union, etc. By developing a single definition for all Walmart associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we are able to ensure consistency for associates across our markets.

The Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “ObamaCare") inextricably linked health insurance with employment. As such, for our associates for whom we offer health insurance, we want to be sure we are providing access to as many individuals and their families as possible.

Given the diverse world we live in today, a comprehensive benefit package that includes domestic partner benefits appeals to the contemporary workforce. Many companies, including most of our competitors, already offer spouse/partner benefits to their employees. Of 30 retail competitors, all but two (Publix and Stop and Shop union plan) provide either same- or opposite-sex domestic partner coverage.

Your behavior matters. The words you use also matter. We are counting on you to be thoughtful, supportive and understanding of multiple viewpoints. Your visibility can make a big difference to how associates feel.

Walmart has 1.3 million U.S. employees and is the largest employer outside the Department of Defense.

I don't shop at Walmart. For many reasons. However, I applaud this move by America's largest private employer and certainly my opinion feels a shift due to these policy shifts.

Good for Walmart.

Screen capture of memo details inclusion of domestic partners in company benefits
Click image to enlarge.

(via JMG)

Hank and Marie watch Miley Cyrus at 2013 VMAs



Best reaction to the debacle I've seen yet.

Almost 400,000 views in a day.

(h/t JMG)

New Mexico: Bernalillo County to begin issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses today


A New Mexico judge has ordered the county clerks of Bernalillo and Sante Fe counties to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who apply and are otherwise qualified.

The addition of Bernalillo County into the mix makes a third county in the state where licenses will be issued to same-sex couples.

The Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office said it will begin issuing licenses at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Albuquerque — the state’s largest city — is in Bernalillo County.

Issuing a peremptory writ of mandamus, Judge Alan Malott found Monday that the couples suing for a right to marry in one of the only states in the nation without either marriage equality or an explicit ban on such marriages have a “significant likelihood of success” on the merits of their lawsuit.

In reading his ruling in open court Monday, Malott said he ordered that:

New Mexico law, Malott found, “does not preclude nor prohibit issuance of a marriage license to otherwise qualified couples on the basis of sexual orientation or the gender of its members.”

To the extent it is found to do so, “those prohibitions are unconstitutional and unenforceable under” New Mexico’s constitution, he ruled.

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Oliver and Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar “shall comply with and perform” their duty to issue such licences.

Oliver and Salazar are “enjoined and restrained from refusing to issue” such licenses.

Malott is a district court judge in the Second Judicial District of New Mexico and was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Bill Richardson.

(from Buzzfeed)

UPDATE: More than 100 folks were in line this morning in Albuquerque as the county clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Quote of the day - Ricky Martin "I was an anti-gay bully"

"I was very angry, very rebellious. I used to look at gay men and think, I'm not like that, I don't want to be like that, that's not me. I was ashamed.

"When you're told you're wrong by everyone, from society, from your faith - my self-esteem was crushed. I took my anger out on those around me. I look back now and realize I would bully people who I knew were gay. I had internalized homophobia.

"To realize that was confronting to me. I wanted to get away from that." - Ricky Martin, speaking to GQ Australia.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Macklemore: "Gay rights are human rights. There is no separation"


(via GLAAD)

It's National Dog Day! Celebrate!

Today is National Dog Day! Celebrate!

National Dog Day was started in 2004 to recognize the massive number of shelter pets looking for a good home and to encourage their adoption. If you're looking for a companion of your own and ready for the responsibility, take a look at the ASPCA adoption site or Petfinder.com to find a shelter near you.

Here's just a few pics of our furry family members Bruno (daddy dog) and puppies Tyler, Bandit and Bear (who are now 10 years old but we still call "puppies").

Dogs rule.

Handsome Bruno, the wonder dog

Michael with the kids

Michael had been away a few days when this was taken

Tyler, Bandit and Bear posing for a picture (kinda, sorta...)

Sleepy puppies

Marriage News Watch - August 26, 2013



From AFER: This week's all about New Mexico, where we've got surprise weddings, new lawsuits, old lawsuits, and emergency orders. Meanwhile there's a hearing coming up to determine whether those Pennsylvania weddings actually counted, new organizing in Tennessee and Arkansas and Indiana, and a special session in Hawaii.

2013 VMAs: 'NSYNC reunites for one night

90s boy band "NSync takes to the 2013 VMA stage to reunite after 10 years

One day after the boy band sent out a tweet hinting at a reunion at Sunday's awards show, Timberlake, J.C. Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick took the stage together.

As if no time had passed, the guys -- J.C. Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and Timberlake -- performed their iconic "Bye Bye Bye" choreography. The performance lived up to expectations although most fans would admit they'd have liked more than a few minutes of this reunion 10 years in the making.

(via Hollywood Reporter)

SLATE launches LGBTQ section - "Outward"


Via press release we get word of SLATE's new LGBTQ section to their website - "Outward:"

In this space, we’ll be covering the LGBTQ beat with even more dedication, with daily updates on news and culture. But this won’t be just another one-note, mainstream “gay news” blog.

Being made of the same ornery stuff as the rest of Slate, Outward will be a haven for passionate expressions of underrepresented and controversial points of view that we hope will make you think, make you cry, and even make you mad, all in the service of expanding the limits of the this big queer conversation.

You can check out the new page here.

Always good to have more ideas, more opinions and more info.

Forward.

70's TV series "Love, American Style" to get reboot



According to Deadline, the only real "reboot" component will be the name, not the concept. According to Deadline, CBS’ Love, American Style follows the lives of four different couples who are connected through the many stages of love and their complicated relationships.

As many folks know, the original Love, American Style was an "anthology" series that ran for five years on ABC in the 1970s.

From Wikipedia:

Each week, the show featured unrelated stories of romance, usually with a comedic spin. Episodes featured different characters, stories, and locations. The show often featured the same actors playing different characters in many episodes. In addition, a large, ornate brass bed was a recurring prop in many episodes. Charles Fox's delicate yet hip music score, featuring flutes, harp, and flugelhorn set to a contemporary pop beat, provided the "love" ambiance which tied the stories together as a multifaceted romantic comedy each week.

Frothy and light, it was easy viewing for any audience at the time. And who didn't love the "groovy" theme song (check it out above)?

South Carolina: Restaurant denies service to party of 25 African-Americans when white person felt "threatened"


A group of customers at a Wild Wing restaurant in Charleston, SC were forced to wait two hours for their table and then were ultimately denied service on the basis of their race. According to Charleston’s WNEW Channel 5, the group of 25 African-Americans were asked to leave because a white customer felt “threatened.”

Michael Brown and a group composed of family and friends were gathered in July at the North Charleston Wild Wing Café to say farewell to a cousin who was moving away. The party waited for two hours for a table only to be told by a manager that there was “a situation.”

“She said there’s a situation where one of our customers feels threatened by your party, so she asked us not to seat you in our section, which totally alarmed all of us because we’re sitting there peaceably for two hours,” Brown told Channel 5. “Obviously, if we were causing any conflict, we would have been ejected out of the place hours before.”

A member of the party began to film the discussion between Brown and the restaurant manager with a camera phone.

“I asked her I want to be clear with you,” Brown recounted. “I said so you’re telling me I have to leave. She said I have a right to deny you service. I said so you’re asking me to leave because you’re upset because he was recording you, after we’ve waited for two hours, and after you’ve already pretty much discriminated on us, and she answered yes.”

Brown took the issue to Facebook on Friday after several unsuccessful calls to the company’s corporate office.

I will never go to Wild wings cafe in N. Chs again! We (Party of 25 family and friends) waited 2hrs, patiently and were refused service because another customer (White) felt threatened by us. This type of racial discrimination is unacceptable and we have to put a STOP TO IT. The manager looked me dead in the face and said she was refusing us service because she had a right to and simply she felt like it. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS ESTABLISHMENT… PLEASE SHARE THIS POST… We need your help.
That got Wild Wings’ corporate office’s attention.

“We got alerted through social media, so we always encourage our customers to respond to us or to comment on our social media pages,” Debra Stokes, chief marketing officer for Wild Wing Cafe, told Channel 5.

“We had a conversation,” says Stokes. “It was a really good conversation. He and many of his family and friends were there about a month ago, and they are regular customers of ours. So, they were having a going away party, and they just didn’t receive the experience that they have come to know and love.”

(via Raw Story)

WNEM TV 5

Why there isn't a "straight Pride" movement


(via Facebook)

Miley Cyrus & Robin Thicke perform LIVE at 2013 VMAs

Miley Cyrus performs odd, teddy-bear inspired act at 2013 MTV VMAs

So, on the day after, this is the performance everyone is talking about. And not in a good way.

Bless Robin Thicke for his courage to take part in this. He does look pretty studly in his suit and sunglasses.

But Miley, Miley, Miley - this is the kind of thing when you go for "edgy" but fall off the cliff. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Miley Cyrus climbed out of a giant teddy bear, sticking her tongue out of the side of her mouth.

She then strutted around the stage, accompanied by dancers wearing giant teddy bears, performing her controversial single "We Can't Stop."

Sporting a furry bustier designed to look like a mouse, the 20-year-old singer at one point grabbed the rear end of one of her dancers before bending over to shake her own behind at the audience.

MTV also bleeped the word "molly" in her song, which is believed to be a reference to Ecstasy.

Cyrus then stripped down to a flesh-colored two-piece to join Robin Thicke for the beginning of his performance of "Blurred Lines," alternating lines with the R&B crooner.

She also danced around him suggestively, touching him and herself with a foam finger, and bending over in front of him and shaking her rear end.

Thicke wore a Beetlejuice-esque black-and-white vertical striped suit during his performance while his dancers held up posters of champagne and a fancy watch.

After "Blurred Lines," Thicke then segued into his new single "Give It 2 U" while Cyrus remained on stage dancing suggestively with her foam finger.

2013 VMAs: Lady Gaga "Applause"



The superstar kickstarted the Sunday night awards show with a dramatic world premiere performance of her latest single.

2013 VMAs: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform "Same Love"



With an assist from Mary Lambert and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.

The rap duo went on to win Best Video With A Social Message later in the evening.

I love that the song has become an anthem for marriage equality. Great writing. When you listen to the words, you get a whole lot of truth.

Forward.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cracking the codes: Joy DeGruy, A Trip to the Grocery Store



A Safeway clerk screws up big time, but two women handle it perfectly. Further proof that one person can have a huge impact.
 
Yes, kids, this is still very real.  Bless the women in the story who raise their voices.

In this story from Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity, a film from World Trust, author and educator Joy DeGruy shares how her sister-in-law uses her white privilege to stand up to systemic racial inequity.

For more information on this film, go to www.crackingthecodes.org

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis chat on performing "Same Love" at VMAs tonight


Openly gay NBA player Jason Collins will be introducing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at tonight's MTV VMAs. The duo is set to perform their marriage equality anthem "Same Love".

Macklemore told MTV News why they chose to perform "Same Love" over their other massive hits "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us":
"'Same Love' has turned into a song that has been embraced by the mainstream and that was played by the radio," Macklemore told MTV News on Saturday (August 24) after the duo's rehearsal for the big show. "There is a lot more people that are familiar with it now than six months ago and the timing is perfect. It's a powerful record and it needs to be heard in America right now. And equality is at the forefront of what's going on in politics right now."
Macklemore adds that "It's a song that I wanted to write because I felt like it wasn't being addressed within hip-hop music...And I think that the homophobia was still very rampant within hip-hop culture."

He also said that the line "when I was in the third grade, I thought that I was gay" is the most vulnerable lyric he has ever written.

(source)


NSYNC to (maybe) reunite tonight at MTV Video Music Awards


Will they or won't they? Rumors are running wild that 90s boy band NSYNC will reunite at tonight's VMAs on MTV.

Fueling the fire is a newly opened Twitter account that sends first tweet - "Mic check, mic check one.. two... is this thing on?!"

I freely admit I was a boy-band fan of the 90s. Lots of fun music came out of it, and I love that it's coming around again now.

Watch the VMAs to see if Justin Timberlake reunites with his former band-mates.

In the meantime, check out just a couple of NSYNC's biggest hits:




Pics from AFAN Las Vegas "Black & White Party"

I attended one of Las Vegas' biggest charity events last night at the Hard Rock's The Joint - Aid for AIDS Nevada's "Black & White Party."

Great event - lots of food and drink sponsors, so as you enjoy the entertainment (which was great, more about that in a second...) you have gourmet food and specialty cocktails to keep you happy.

Hosting the event was the always excellent Chris Saldana (Las Vegas' favorite news anchor) and radio personality Lauren Michaels (from Chet Buchanan's "Morning Zoo").  Trading off on the hosting duties were Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis - Team Chippendales from The Amazing Race. Plus, Jaymes and James performed their own set of music while introducing others like Eric Jordan Young (star of Vegas the Show), Las Vegas Strip headliner Maren Wade,  newly minted Las Vegas Strip star Veronic, and many more.

I started out taking some pics and tweeting them as black and white (trying to stick to the evening's theme, don't you know), but the lighting and colors in the room were so fab I gave that a rest. Check out some highlights from last night.

And make sure you go check out AFAN's website and see what you can do to get involved or donate. The organization has events throughout the year, and it's always a good time.

Party just getting started and already a full house

Event hosts Chris Saldana, Lauren Michaels, Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis

Team Chippendales hotties Jaymes Vaughan (L) and James Davis (R) hosting the evening

More Jaymes and James - couldn't resist another picture :)

Jaymes and James perform for the crowd

I got a little creative with this pic of James Davis when tweeting, but I
still like the black and white vibe; kinda suits his rock star moment.

I was still in "black and white" mode watching the fab Eric Jordan Young of
Vegas the Show wow the audience

Friends along the party pathway! Kelly Smith (L) and her hubby Michael (behind me), plus my bud of many years Dr. Mike Karagiozis (in black behind me) and his guest.

I grabbed a quick pic with Jaymes Vaughan right before he took the stage

The fabulous Veronic, who keeps getting extended and extended in her run at Ballys,
was amazing giving us some Tina Turner and more

Walking entertainment was available everywhere for fun photo-ops