Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Elephant Used To Move Debris In Joplin

This photo and video come via Salon.  A local circus act is using their elephant to assist in cleanup efforts following the destruction of Joplin, Missouri.

So what do you think-- is this an appropriate use of the animal's strength?  Youtube comments on the video run the gamut from rabid denunciations of cruelty to affirming support for the elephant's help.

Rand Paul Wants To Protect Your Civil Liberties... Unless You're A Radical Protester

Sen. Rand Paul is well-known for advocating a hands-off approach to government, notably single-handedly attempting to obstruct passage of the Patriot Act last week, saying that its provisions are a danger to civil liberties in the US. So why, then, did he suggest to Sean Hannity a much more serious breach of first-amendment rights?

"I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison."

So if you attend a radical rally, even out of curiosity, you should be tossed in prison?  While I don't think any one of my readers would advocate the violent overthrow of the government, why the hell shouldn't I be able to attend any speech I choose?  

He's regularly lauded as a strong advocate for free speech issues, but as ThinkProgress reveals in further research, his record on the rights of the individual are not so steady when it comes to national security.  He's even gone so far as to state that foreign terrorists have zero rights under the US Constitution.  

Hackers Attack Fox News Ticker

Faux News was the victim of a hacker attack this weekend, with their ticker text changed to criticize the network's anti-union efforts.

Fox, of course, deny the incident took place. Naturally, we all believe them. Right?

UPDATED: Editing genius and DJ Naite Heal (who also created the popular flaming fists of fury graphic) analyzed the video in his studio and has declared it a fake.

"It's awesome, the statement they made, but it is a fake. We analyzed it in the studio today. Really good tracking, but not real."

Whatever! It's still cute!

Penis Inspections? Whaaaaaa?

A senior prank from Carlton High School in Redwood City, CA is making its way around the gay blogs.  My favorite part?  The bit about shaved testicles.

Some people just like to be tidy!  Geez!

No.  I don't shave my balls.

Woman Cuts Penis From Attacker, Offending Organ Held For Evidence

One daring woman in Bangladesh slashed the penis from a man who attacked her in her shack, then brought the wrapped body part to the police station as evidence against her attacker.

"Mozammel Haq Mazi was taken to hospital where he is being treated - but is denying attempted rape.

"He claims he was having an affair with the mother-of-three and she attacked him because he refused to settle down with her.

"Monju Begum, from Mirzapur, which is around 100 miles from Dhaka, had apparently been sleeping when the man burst into her home."

The alleged rapist will be arrested as soon as he recovers from his injury, reports the police.  An attempted reattachment of the penis failed, as the organ spent several hours in the police station before doctors were able to get their hands on it.

I can guarantee no-one will ever attempt to rape Ms. Begum ever again.

Westboro Baptist Church Counter-Protested By... WTF?!

WBC, best known for being those "God Hates Fags" people, celebrated the death of American soldiers yesterday to commemorate Memorial Day by protesting in Arlington, VA.

As is usual, their three-person group attracted a crowd of counter-protesters. More unusual, however, were 10 people representing the Knights of the Southern Cross... a Virginia branch of the Ku Klux Klan.

"Among those counter-protesting at the cemetery's main entrance: About 10 members of a group that claims to be a branch of the Ku Klux Klan from Virginia called the Knights of the Southern Cross. They were cordoned off separately in a nearby area, but drew little attention as they gave out small American flags behind a banner that read 'POW-MIA.'

"They said they were there to object to the Westboro Baptist Church's anti-troop message.

"'It's the soldier that fought and died and gave them that right to free speech,' said Dennis LaBonte, the self-described "Imperial Wizard" of the KKK group that he said he formed several years ago."

While it may not be too surprising considering their previous statement of non-support for the Tea Party and WBC, this still makes me scratch my head.  Who knew that there was someone so hateful even the classic example of hate groups in the US would disapprove of them?

Obama Issues Lackluster Gay Pride Proclamation

Barry O released his annual gay pride proclamation, but this year he omitted any reference to official recognition of gay relationships.

"The story of America's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

Essentially?  "Blah blah, we rock this shit, blah blah, no, I don't want to talk about that."


Bachmann: Soon To Subject You To Round-The-Clock Crazy

Michele Bachmann, one of my favorite crazy people, is thiiiiiiiiis close to tossing her hat in to the mess that is the contest for the Republican nomination for President.  

Citing a call from God, Bachmann said on Iowa Public Television (what, it hasn't been defunded yet?) that she is just about ready to make herself available as a candidate.  You know, in case anyone was wondering.

"Well, every decision that I make I pray about as does my husband and I can tell you, yes, I've had that calling and that tugging on my heart that this is the right thing to do and because it's such a momentous decision, not only for myself, my husband and our 28 children, it is a momentous decision what ideas will I bring to bear? What are the resources that I have to marshal in terms of people, assets, the message and also the finances, the amount of time this will take, what this will mean for the nation. Am I the right person for the job? Every decision and every endeavor my husband and I have made we think it through, we're not rash people. We make a plan because we want to succeed, we don't want to fail and so we've been very deliberative in this process and that's why we're now coming to the culmination and next month, as I announced last night, I'll make that decision right here in Waterloo and the world will know."

Yes.  28 children.  She has 5 biologically and she has fostered 23 children throughout her life.  

I'm going to start selling tickets and popcorn to this circus!  I can't wait for the presidential debates-- do you think she'll look at the camera?  

Florida Requiring Drug Tests For Welfare Recipients

In a move that affects 60,000 people in the state of Florida, governor Rick Scott signed into a law a piece of legislation that would require welfare recipients to undergo a drug test-- that they have to pay for out of their own pocket.  

Rick Scott:  Doing his part to make sure poor people stay poor.

If you test positive for drugs, you would have to complete a drug abuse program in order to receive benefits, while clean applicants would be reimbursed the cost of the test.  

The ACLU, as well as poverty advocates, have criticized this legislation as an attack on poor Floridians.  Some view it as the state treating laid-off personnel like criminals, while some question whether this is a violation of privacy.

"According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the drug testing of welfare recipients is likely unconstitutional and fiscally irresponsible. A Michigan law that required welfare recipients to receive random drug testing was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2003. The average cost of a drug test is about $42 per person tested, not including other costs associated with administering the tests.
"Additionally, a 1996 study conducted by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that welfare recipients were no more likely to use illegal drugs than the rest of the U.S. population."

Right.  Because people applying for unemployment can really afford a drug test.  Plus, who is paying for the drug abuse program?  The state, or the affected poor people?  


Old Navy Launches Pride-Themed T-Shirts

Old Navy is jumping for the lavender dollar, as they started selling Pride-themed T-shirts yesterday, with 10% of the proceeds going to the "It Gets Better" Project.

"The T-shirts, which are priced from $7 to $14, bear the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, and different messages, including 'Love Proudly' and 'Pride 2011.' 

"The retailer says the campaign honors Pride month and is part of its larger flag T-shirt collection. Old Navy is donating 10 percent of the proceeds to the 'It Gets Better Project,' an organization dedicated to preventing suicide among gay and lesbian youth." 


Sunday's Portland Demo Results in 4,000 People On Hawthorne Bridge

Showing that homophobia has no place in downtown Portland, a massive crowd of 4,000 individuals showed up for a hand-holding rally that spanned the Hawthorne bridge.  Volunteer patrols had already started walking through the area at night after a gay couple was beaten for no apparent reason other than the fact they were holding hands.  

"Demonstrators packed into the space beneath the west side of the bridge at about 7:30 p.m., spilling over onto the ramp and stairs to hear from the attack’s survivors, Brad Forkner and Christopher Rosevear. Afterward, the crowd filed down both sides of the bridge with hands held. Despite being tightly packed together, some attendees could not fit on the bridge."

Forkner's speech was moving, and he didn't just speak about homophobia, but instead addressed many different types of discrimination and urged tolerance from Portland residents.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I'm going to spend the rest of Memorial Day with family and friends, remembering the sacrifice of our fallen soldiers.  Feel free to click on over to Hivster to read my column on today and my reflections on the meaning of those sacrifices.

State Department Reacts To Choi's Arrest

Titled "Concern About Freedom of Assembly In Russia," the US State Department has issued a statement in support of the movement to hold Pride in Moscow.

"We note with concern that in Moscow on Saturday, May 28, a peaceable demonstration of Russians advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians, joined by international supporters, was forcefully disrupted by counter-protesters, and that Russian security forces then detained people from both groups, including American citizens. Some protestors were seriously injured according to media reports.

"Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right all members of the OSCE committed to, including in the Moscow declaration and as recently as the Astana summit. As nationwide legislative elections approach, constraints on the ability of Russian citizens peacefully to gather and express their views will be closely watched in evaluating the integrity of the electoral process.  We call on Russian authorities to work with municipal officials to find better ways to safeguard these fundamental freedoms."

Lacking?  Anything from Hillary Clinton.  Also, Dan reminds us, through Pam Spaulding, about the second half of LGBT:

John Aravosis from Americablog had a few more things to say, one point being that the statement neatly avoids the accusations of collusion between security forces and Neo-nazi elements present at the protest.  Click on over for his analysis.

France also released a statement:


"With regards to the violence that took place May 28 at Gay Pride in Moscow, France reaffirms its commitment to freedom of expression for all and the right to peacefully demonstrate in safety.

"We remind all that the European Court of Human Rights ruled in its decision of 21 October 2010 that the ban on this year's Moscow Gay Pride is contrary to Article 11 of the European Convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"France reiterates its condemnation of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity, regardless of the country where they are committed."

PA Rep Votes To Slash Funding For EPA, Then Wonders Why They're Not Doing Their Job

In an ironic twist and general WTF moment, EPA naysayer Rep. Lou Barletta says he wishes the Environmental Protection Agency would do more to protect the health of his constituents.  This, of course, follows his retaliatory vote to defund the EPA in retribution for its efforts to regulate greenhouse emissions.  

In a move unpopular with his own district, Barletta (R-PA) voted to gut the budget of the Agency in order to protect American business from regulation.  Then, oddly enough, a constituent of his blamed a Superfund site for giving him cancer.  The EPA held a town-hall meeting on the subject, then decided to forgo testing at the site.  Barletta was outraged.

"On Wednesday, Barletta sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson asking the agency to perform additional testing in the Carroll/Mill Street neighborhood.[...]'Frankly, this is unacceptable. The EPA’s own Web site indicates that one of the agency’s primary reasons for existence is to ensure that "all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work."'[...]

"'I was surprised to hear an EPA official basically tell the residents of the Carroll/Mill neighborhood that they would not conduct soil and water testing to find answers. It is absolutely the EPA’s job, and I’m going to make sure that job is done. The residents are scared, and they deserve answers and peace of mind.'"

How the hell are you going to vote to destroy an agency and then complain that they should do more?  Asshat.

GOP Rep Demands Racial Profiling In Airports

US Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) went on Fox News Sunday to complain about political correctness in airports, saying the TSA needed to start racial profiling more in order to stop terrorists.

His proof?  He went to an airport once and saw the TSA pat down an elderly white man while allowing an "Arabian" man pass through security without inspection.  Clear evidence that the terrorists are winning.

Broun is white, and should pass through security un-groped.  That's just for brown people!

"'We have to stop this inane political correctness that’s going on,' Broun said. 'Political correctness won’t save any lives, but focusing on those that will harm us will.'"

Maybe, Paul, just maybe it's really not necessary to assume that certain individuals are going to harm us based on their attire or skin color.  Cuz, uh, we've done a lot of work to defeat racism in this country and you just might be suggesting setting back that work by harassing innocent travelers due to racial bias.  Just sayin'.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sarah Palin: Will She Or Won't She? And Do We Care?

Sarah Palin thus far has been mum on whether or not she is going to be running for President, with both the politician and her PAC veiled in secrecy so tight they haven't even released the locations of her East Coast bus tour, which started today at the Rolling Thunders bike rally.

The rally, which is a Memorial Day event for veterans living in Arlington, VA staged at the Pentagon, received the former governor with mixed feelings. While fans flocked to her, some attendees stated they wished she had stayed away.

"'I'm very not appreciative of the way she came in here,' Ted Shpak, Rolling Thunder’s national legislative director, said of Palin’s arrival. The former governor came in the front of the Pentagon’s north parking lot, where event staff and press were assembled. 'If she wanted to come on the ride, she should have come in the back.'"

Many complained because they didn't want her to politicize the event, as the organizers are withholding judgment on which candidate, if any, to back.

"While many riders said they were fans of Palin, they still did not want her to bring politics to the ride. 'Don’t come here and try to make a political point out of it,' said Joe Clark of Pennsylvania. 'If she’s just here backing the cause of the entire run, that’s fine. If she’s just trying to get votes, she should just stay out of it.'"

"Mark Posey of Indiana agreed: 'I think she has no reason to be involved in this,'" he said. 'If she’s launching her campaign to run for president, I don’t think this is the place to start.'"

Not an auspicious start for her tour, which has been a confusing mix of rumors and guesses. Locations and dates haven't been released, and the purpose of the tour is still a mystery. Palin has yet to throw her hat into the crowded ring of Republican candidates, leaving everyone to ask-- is she actually going to run?

Perhaps the better question is: does it matter?

She hasn't done terribly well in the polls since Republican speculation began, regularly falling behind Romney and even Trump. The question being, of course, whether or not she would be a viable candidate to run against the popular incumbent, President Barack Obama.

Former presidential contender John McCain, even though some speculate he regrets choosing her as a running mate, stated that she is, indeed, a viable candidate against the Democratic President.

"'Can she win the Republican nomination and can she beat Barack Obama?' Fox News' Chris Wallace asked McCain Sunday.

"'Of course she can -- she can," McCain insisted. 'Now whether she will or not, whether she'll even run or not, I don't know.'

"'A lot of things happen in campaigns, Chris. I was written off a couple of times and was able to come back. It will be a roller coaster ride for all of them before we finally arrive at our nominee. But she certainly is a major factor. And I believe that she can be very competitive,' he added."

We will see.  I have a feeling this whole tour is going to be a circus and a mess.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dan Choi Arrested In Moscow

Dan Choi participated in a banned Pride rally on Saturday in Moscow.  Pam from Pam's House Blend captured Choi's Tweet feed related to the event:

15 Russian activists and 3 internationals were arrested in the demonstration after an unknown number of anti-gay "fascist" attackers started a fray.  Andy Thayer says:

Video of the chaotic scene.

"By our count, 18 pro-lgbt demonstrators were arrested today (15 Russians and 3 internationals), as were an unknown number of fascists who tried to attack us.  A fascist tried to slug me in the face, but missed.  One of our Russian friends was injured and taken to the hospital, but not in serious condition.  We were very worried that the police would simply allow the fascists to beat us to a pulp.  That this did not happen is a victory, of sorts.

"The pro-gay European Court of Human Rights decision is now revealed as a piece of toilet paper, soiled.  The European Court and the Russian gov't look very bad, and President Obama and Sec't of State Clinton look like hypocrites for failing to say anything about the events today.  Before the demo, our Russian friends were told by the U.S. embassy that they would simply "monitor the situation."  Lot of help that was.

"Russian LGBTs unfortunately still have a lot of work ahead of them.  The Russian gov't continues to thumb its nose at world opinion, as does the U.S. gov't in this and many other matters."

The three internationals were Choi, Louis-George Tin and Peter Tatchell, all of whom were released immediately without a fine.  The Russian activists had to stay overnight.  The Advocate reports that the treatment of the foreign activists was much better, as they were even allowed to keep their cell phones in their holding cells.  

UK Gay News liveblogged the event, found at the link below.

Friday, May 27, 2011

TX Governor Perry: Restricting Your Right To Vote

The Republicans have scored a victory in their war on your most inalienable and sacred right in American politics: the right to vote. 

Today the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, signed into law a bill that would require you to show your photo ID in order to have your ballot counted.  The law has met with stiff resistance from the left, as demographics that typically lack photo ID (think the elderly, minority, student-age voters) tend to vote for Democrats. 

While the proponents of the bill have lauded it as important in order to restrict voter fraud, with the practically non-existent incidence of voter fraud on record this bill seems to be pretty clearly aimed at strong-arming liberal voting blocs out of the polls.   

"Democrats in Texas have been fighting these voter restrictions since Texas Republicans first proposed them in 2005. This year, however, they were unable to hold up the process thanks to an overwhelming Republican majority in the statehouse.

"Republicans have long claimed the voter restrictions were needed to prevent liberal conspiracies to steal elections. Despite these claims, no evidence has been found that would indicate an organized effort to manipulate vote outcomes in any meaningful way."

The measure is practically guaranteed to be challenged in court, and for good reason.  This sort of maneuver is a clear attempt to destroy liberal Americans' right to participate in the political process and is deeply offensive.


GOProud Needs Help To Stop The "Bullies" On The Left!

Via JoeMyGod:

Ha!  I wonder what they think now of their CPAC favorite Donald Trump?  In light of his views on gay rights, do they think HE is a bully?

Video: Dan Choi, Speaking In Support Of Russian LGBT Rights

An excerpt:

"I am here in Russia, solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are fighting for the basic right to express their identity. Here, it's on such a basic fundamental level of living a life of truth and integrity. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. This is a different kind of battlefield than all the battlefields I've seen."

Dan is in Russia for the weekend in order to demonstrate in solidarity with Muscovite LGBT activists in their banned Gay Pride celebration.  More details as it develops.


HRC: Premature Eja... Uh, Endorsement.

The Human Rights Campaign, the highest profile gay rights organization in the country, has endorsed Barack Obama for President a year and a half before the election.

HRC's endorsement, which seems fairly straightforward, brings up some questions about their role in holding public figures accountable to their commitments to the gay community.  Should Gay Inc. really be endorsing a candidate who has yet to make any specific promises regarding equality in his second presidency?

John Aravosis of Americablog speculates that this means we can forget any commitment from the president on marriage equality:

"While an eventual endorsement of Obama by HRC is inevitable, expected, and fine, there's a dance that's expected where both sides get something. And the expectation should be for gay rights advancements, not appearing at your dinner or giving you a job. (HRC may be the only folks in town worse at negotiating than the White House itself. ) But now that HRC has already given the President the prize he seeks, what incentive does the President, who claims he's 'evolving' on marriage, evolve before the election? He has no need to. HRC clearly hasn't learned the lessons of the first two years of the Obama presidency."

I've long been a critic of the HRC as Democratic apologists.  They seem far more interested in fundraisers and getting candidates with lackluster records on gay rights elected.  Even more alarming is their recent "pass" given to the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce regarding the restriction of anti-discrimination laws in local jurisdictions in that state.  Long story short:  Corporations like AT&T and Comcast bear responsibility for an anti-gay bill being passed through the Chamber's lobbying efforts in the TN legislature.  After the bill passed, with a blow being struck to gay rights in Tennessee, the member companies got the Chamber to denounce the law.

Then, of course, Joe Solmonese congratulated them on their ground-breaking work for equality.

And why did HRC gush on about the great contributions of the member corporations who withdrew their support for the discriminatory bill after it had already passed?

Will Kohl at Back2Stonewall did a simple Google search to research the issue and discovered that fully half of those corporations have some form of contribution to HRC, to include AT&T having an award named after them-- the AT&T E-Hero Award-- at the annual HRC Fundraising Gala.  Essentially, you want a glowing report from Solmonese on your "achievements" in gay rights?  Write HRC a check!

I'm sorry, but I'm just not happy with Gay Inc.'s approval-- and thus, through their representation of our community, MY approval-- being purchased.  That isn't advocacy nor activism, that is the privatization of our interests, and it should be stopped.

US House Engages In More Useless Anti-Gay Maneuvering

Republican-led House of Representatives is still more concerned with pushing useless social initiatives at the taxpayer's expense, as seen yesterday when it adopted the 2012 defense budget with a couple added anti-gay amendments.

It's extremely doubtful that the amendments, which include hampering the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and DOMA related restrictions for military chaplains, will make it through the Senate, much less get White House approval.

Laura Murphy of the ACLU had this to say:

"'Trying to throw a roadblock up to derail "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" repeal at this point is a desperate attempt to postpone the inevitable,' Murphy said. 'For nearly 20 years, lesbian, gay and bisexual service members have been forced to hide who they are and who they love in order to serve their country. It was with the will of the president, the uniformed and civilian leadership of the military and Congress itself that "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" was repealed and its implementation will continue to move forward successfully despite the attempts by some House members to disrupt it.'"

Translation?  The House is lamesauce and should probably work on something that the American people want... you know... like jobs?  

Allan Hyde Equals Yum

If you are a fan of True Blood, then you've seen Allan Hyde perform as the baby-faced Godric, an ancient vampire with a suicidal streak.  He was also, I think, a very... nice... addition to a cast that was already known for being extremely sexy.

Well, the Danish actor also stars in a web series, the fifth episode of which is found below.  I'll be honest-- I haven't watched any of it.  But come on.  Look at him.  Meow.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ahmadinejad, Bringin' The Crazy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad amped up the crazy during a speech he made at the inauguration of a dam in a central province recently by claiming that Europe was using secret technologies to steal rain from Iran.  

The president has come under fire at home lately for disobeying the orders of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khameini.  The power struggle between he and his partner-in-despotism has been fierce and balls-to-the-walls nuts, with his detractors claiming that he is either using sorcery to achieve his political aims or, depending on who you ask, the victim of sorcery himself.  

Wizard?  Or just an asshole?  You decide.

All-in-all, I'm thoroughly entertained.  

Anyway, Mahmoud baffled both detractors and supporters when he made the speech accusing the West of undermining Iran by stealing rain.  The Middle Eastern country has suffered several droughts in recent years, with no end in sight.  Who better to blame it on than his bitterest critics?  

"'Western countries have designed plans to cause drought in certain areas of the world, including Iran,' Mr Ahmadinejad said in the city of Arak in Markazi province.

"'According to reports on climate, whose accuracy has been verified, European countries are using special equipment to force clouds to dump' their water on their continent, he said.
By doing so, 'they prevent rain clouds from reaching regional countries, including Iran,' Mr Ahmadinejad charged."
Riiiiiiiiiiight.  Your country's drought problems have nothing to do with the fact that it's in the Middle fucking East.  
My conclusion?  He's joking!  He's OneAngryQueer's Comedian of the Week.  
Cuz he has to be kidding...

Portland Gay Beating Results In Hand Holding Rally

I have a ton of friends in Portland, so I frequently make trips from my hometown in order to visit. It's a great town, known for its delicious beer and tolerant atmosphere. It's become something of a home-away-from-home for me, so you can imagine my rage when I heard of a hate crime committed against a gay couple strolling along the waterfront.

Brad Forkner and Christopher Rosevear were enjoying an evening walk while holding hands when they were accosted by a group of five men who beat them to a pulp. Nothing was taken, so detectives are investigating the matter as a bias crime.

"'I'm concerned by any assault of this nature,' Police Chief Mike Reese said. 'Particularly when it appears that the victims were targeted because of their perceived sexual orientation.'

"The suspects hit Rosevear in the head, face, back and ribs, before running away south on the trail past the two victims, police said.

"'The fact that people are still wanting to attack people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is beyond my comprehension,' said Stephen Cassell of the Q Center."

No shit. Portland even has a gay mayor, for chrissake. 

In typical Oregonian style, a hand-holding protest is being held on Hawthorne Bridge this upcoming Sunday at 7:30 PM, the time and day of the attack. Event details found here. I encourage all of my Portlander friends* to attend, gay or straight.

*Yes, friends on Senate Street, I'm talking to you.

Feds Threaten To Ground Flights In TX Due To TSA Limits

Remember that bill Texas passed to limit airport groping by TSA personnel?  Yeah, the federal government didn't quite cotton to it and put the smack down by threatening to ground all flights from Texas airports.

"'If [the legislation] passes, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute,' a letter from the Department of Justice explained (PDF). 'Unless or until a such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.'

"As a result, the bill's co-sponsor in the Texas Senate withdrew the legislation. It had cleared the Texas House by unanimous vote."

Everything's bigger in Texas.  Except, I see, for their legislators' balls.


Rapture Fallout: Mom Attempts To Kill Her Children, Russian Girl Commits Suicide

This is just sad.

While many of us laughed off the rapture or spent their life savings buying ad space for it, one woman took the threat of the Apocalyptic Tribulations so seriously that she slit the wrists and throats of her daughters before cutting her own so that they wouldn't have to live through the inevitable hell on Earth.  

Lucky, Lyn Benedetto's neighbor discovered the murder/suicide scene in time for all three to be taken to the hospital for treatment.  The question on many people's minds: how much responsibility does Harold Camping bear?

He, of course, says none.

"Murdering is terrible. It is contrary to everything the Bible teaches. That would have been a horrible thing if she has done that. That will make me weep. That will fill me with sorrow that she would do that. The Bible teaches that we are to save life, not kill. If it is going to be death, leave it to God. God knows who He wants to kill and make alive. That is His business, not our business."

One would argue, of course, that "God's business" also includes the date and time of the end of the world, but then how else would Camping fleece his followers for cash?


UPDATE: Russian Teen Fearful Of Rapture, Commits Suicide

Sad doesn't even begin to cover this.

A Russian 14-year old girl was found dead in her home.  She committed suicide on May 21st, her family says, because she was fearful of the end of the world.

"Nastya Zachinova, who lived in the Republic of Mari El in Central Russia, believed that the world end on May 21, her family told LifeNews, a Russian tabloid.
"'She took this date too close to heart,' the teen's mother, Lyudmila, told LifeNews.
"Russia's state-owned news agency, RIA Novosti, reported Wednesday that the girl hanged herself out of fear of Camping's prediction."
Dear public figures: people listen to the shit you say.  Don't be freaking irresponsible.  This is what happens if you are.

Poll Asks: Which Repub Do You Prefer? Polled: "None."

Gallup did a poll asking voters which Republican candidate they would prefer to receive the nomination.  Their mistake?  Letting "none" be an option, with 22% of respondents choosing "No opinion/None" over the 19% for Mitt Romney.

Video: Dan Choi In Moscow

As an update to today's earlier post, video has been released courtesy of Andy Thayer of Gay Liberation Network and Pam Spaulding:

Geek Shit Wednesday Vol. XII, Thursday Edition

For various reasons I didn't post yesterday, so Geek Shit Wednesday is Thursday this week.  I know you just can't live without geek shit.

Satellite Imagery Reveals Lost Pyramids Of Egypt

17 new (or old, whichever) pyramids were discovered in Egypt recently in a new infrared satellite survey.  Imaging shows not only these structures, but 1,000 tombs and a whopping 3,000 buried settlements untouched by archaeologists.

Since the analysis of the imagery, at least two of the pyramids have been confirmed through conventional excavation.  The project, overseen by American Dr. Sarah Parcak, has the Egyptology world buzzing.

"She says she was amazed at how much she and her team has found.
"'We were very intensely doing this research for over a year. I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the "Aha!" moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we'd found and I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.
"'To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist,' she said."
I'm really excited to see this technology applied to surveys of other parts of the world.  Who knows what lost civilizations lie buried beneath the Gobi, or flooded by the Amazon?  
Patriot Act Extended; Mobile GPS Information Legislation Introduced
The Patriot Act has been extended, leading some privacy advocates concerned that geolocation info recorded by mobile devices might be abused by the government.  Happily, a bipartisan team of legislators have introduced a bill to protect this information.  
"Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, want to make things crystal clear: no warrant, no geolocation info.

"'GPS devices are everywhere and that’s a good thing,' Chaffetz tells Wired.com. 'We just don’t want nefarious characters tracking people without someone knowing, nor do I want law enforcement to be able to just follow everyone all the time.'"
The bill not only covers information collected from phones and other GPS devices, but also leaves room for technological advancement, referring to "successor devices" so that future innovations would be protected under the bill.
Nook And Kindle Battle It Out Over Battery Life: Nook Wins
Barnes & Noble has been in a press-release war with Amazon over the battery life of their respective e-readers, the Nook and the Kindle.  

When the Nook's initial specs were released, Amazon threw a fit over the numbers related to the device's (superior) battery life.  The problem?  They said the numbers were based on usage of a half-hour a day, as compared to their complete hour.  So they updated their info, doubling their numbers and possibly deceiving prospective buyers.

"B&N countered with a very detailed statement, outlining the exact tests made. It also looks like the Kindle was also tested in the same way:

'With up to two months on a single charge, the all-new Nook has the longest battery life in the industry and superior battery performance to Kindle 3. In our side-by-side tests, under the exact same conditions, continuous use of the device resulted in more than two times Kindle's battery life.

'While reading at one page a minute, the all-new Nook battery lasts for 150 hours, where the Kindle battery, using the same page-turn rate, lasts for only 56 hours (both with Wi-Fi off).'"

So there.  

Dan Choi: Making Trouble In Moscow

Every year, gay Muscovites attempt to hold a Gay Pride event and every year the city bans the event from taking place, once memorably referring to Pride as "Satanic."  This year is no different, however, American gay rights activist Dan Choi has flown to Russia in order to show support for Russian activists combating homophobia in Moscow.

Along with Russian activist Nikolay Alexeyev, French Louis-George Tim (who created the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) and British activist Peter Tatchell, Dan reports via Pam Spaulding:

"Dan reports that he, along with about 20 activists from the U.S. and Europe attended Russia's version of Meet the Press. Russian LGBT rights activist, lawyer and journalist Nikolay Alexeyev debated their version of Maggie Gallagher, and the opposition (anti-gay) side was stacked with government officials and a 'sexologist' demonizing LGBTs.

"According to Dan, the first two segments were very contentious; at the end of the second segment it became so heated that Alexeyev stormed off of the set -- actually damaging part of the set -- and refused to come back for the third segment.

"Instead, Alexeyev and all of the pro-LGBT attendees left the set and audience. This program aired live, so I'm sure clips will surface. Dan will have a report later; they are also planning direct action in protest of the cancellation of Pride by homophobic officials and it's likely there will be arrests."

Good job to Dan and Co. on supporting gay rights in Russia.  Good luck this weekend with Pride celebrations.

Some Cute Boys Sing Adele

Look at these boys!  They're so adorable!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

OneAngryClotheshorse - Glee Season Finale - Rachel's Jacket

Like so many of you, I eagerly tuned in last night to see the finale of Season 2 of Glee. I'm not going to go into the episode itself - it was mostly predictable and largely forgettable, but there was one glaring exception that burned itself into my brain:

I know, Lea. I'm sorry they put you in this thing too. It looks like it hurts.

What...the...fuck? I literally gasped aloud when I saw this thing. I get that Rachel's character wears some pretty bonkers outfits but COME ON, REALLY? This outfit is like the unholy union of Marlo Thomas (That Girl), Mary Tyler Moore, and a roll of lifesavers. It's hard to look that cartoony in live action, but somehow the girl does it. Also, those shoes are HORRIBLE.

Hopefully in season 3 Rachel discovers fashion and moves away from outfits that are as loud and annoying as her character, but I'm not holding my breath.

Kiss kiss,

Wesley Darling

Photo Via

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WTF, Solmonese! Are You Serious?

Yet another HRC fail, as the Advocate reports Joe Solmonese's comments on the Tennessee workplace discrimination debacle.  After the Chamber of Commerce lobbied for the anti-gay bill, Joe chose to instead gush about big corporations "leading the way" to equality, even though the Chamber didn't reverse its support of the bill until it was too late for its reversal to mean anything.

“Discrimination should have no place in the Volunteer State and the Chamber’s opposition to this law sent a strong signal that corporations are on the leading edge of positive change. In contrast Governor Haslam has put discrimination ahead of the state’s values and even business interests by signing this horrible legislation.”

Joe, seriously?

"If there was a 'hell no' button right there, I would press it."

In the wake of Minnesota's legislative decision to put the welfare of minority families to a majority vote, Rachel Maddow put the big picture together with this video of two legislators-- one of them Republican-- making impassioned pleas for rationality and compassion for gay families.  The Republican?  Iraq war vet John Kriesel, who lost the use of his legs in Fallujah.  He held up an image of a gay soldier before his peers and had this to say:

“I don’t know about you guys, but I cannot look at this family, look at this picture, and say ‘You know what, corporal, you were good enough to fight for your country and give your life, but you were not good enough to marry the person you love.’ I can’t do that. I cannot do that and I won’t do that. If there was a ‘hell no’ button right here, I would press it. That would be the one I would press.”


Top 10 New Species List Released For 2010

Every year new species are being discovered on Spaceship Earth, with 2010 being no exception. 

The strange, the profound, and the downright creepy are found on Arizona State University Institute for Species Exploration top 10 list. 

For example:

The wreck of the Titanic symbolizes maritime tragedy to many, but is now the site of an amazing discovery: a bacterium that feeds on iron oxide, commonly known as rust.  Should we be able to breed this bacteria in labs, it shows potential for practical applications in industrial cleanup projects.

 Halomonas titanicae

This mushroom is remarkable due to the simple fact that it is the only known mushroom to "fruit"-- spread spores-- and spend its life cycle underwater.  Found in Ian Awesome's home state of Oregon, this fungus makes its home under the currents of the Rogue River.

Psathyrella aquatica

Finally, one that I found personally terrifying:  Tyranobdella Rex, the "Tyrant Leech King."  This beast was found eating away at the inside of a little girl's nose in Peru.  Why is it remarkable?  Who the fuck cares, it's a scary mofo with huge teeth.

Tyrannobdella rex

There's an important message to projects like these.  Scientists estimate that all the species discovered since 1758 represent just 20% of the biomass representing life on Earth.  They believe that close to 10 million species remain to be classified before we have an accurate picture of how the overall biosphere works, with species being driven extinct planetwide all the time. 

While some of these new species might be perceived as gross, icky, or pests, it behooves us to understand as much of our home as possible and preserve those critters that we have yet to encounter. 

Donnie T: "OMG, You Aren't Talking About Me?!"

Donald Trump tried to get coy with the press yesterday, saying there's always the possibility that he could reverse his decision and actually run for president.


Church Of Scotland Allows Openly Gay Clergy

Here's one ray of sunshine to start off your Tuesday, before I get into all the shit that pisses me off: the Church of Scotland has voted to allow openly gay clergy to minister. 

In 2009 the Church voted 326-267 to allow the appointment of openly gay Rev. Scott Ronnie, but put a two year moratorium on opening up the entire ministry to gay clergy in order to debate the issue.  Finally, two years later, they have removed the last hurdle to gay priests who want to serve. 

"The church's general assembly, its law-making body, voted on Monday to lift that moratorium, officially officially allowing gay ministers to take on parishes for the first time since its formation 450 years ago.

"The general assembly also allowed serving gay and lesbian ministers who have kept their sexuality private to openly declare their sexuality – a proposal bitterly resisted by evangelical and conservative ministers.

"In one of the final votes, the general assembly chose by a small majority to lift a parallel ban on ordaining and training people who are in same-sex relationships, and gay and lesbians in civil partnerships. It called for a new report by 2013 on both proposals and on allowing ministers to bless gay and lesbian relationships."

As much as 42% of the population of Scotland claim some form of connection to the Kirk.  Congratulations to the gay Scots who feel called to the cloth.  If only the mainstream churches of our own country were so progressive.

[The Guardian]