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NEWS: 'The Guardian' Explains Our Poverty, Michael Moore Hates Barack Obama, Rick Santorum Has A Blank Wall In His Head, Jimmy Fallon Is The Lizard King

Road The Guardian crunches the numbers: It's really more like 99.99%.

Road John Waters talks Christmas:

“I liked Santa but I would get confused as a child whether I was supposed to pray to him or William Castle [the B-movie director], or Jesus,” he says, before skipping to another thought about “living crèches” – Christmas cribs re-created with real people. “They’re begging for Diane Arbus to come back from the grave to take a picture of them. What parent would give their child to be baby Jesus, with straw and candles and mules that kick … ? I’m telling you, I think living crèches are some of the most horrifying things.”

Road A gay marriage in Zucotti Park!

Road Margot Adler reports on the homeless queer youth of New York:

"The day after my 18th birthday this year, my adopted parent kicked me out," says [Jeremiah Beaverly, late of Illinois]. "At the time, I was really infatuated with this guy, and she was listening to my phone calls. She started telling my family, 'He is this, he is that, he is gay,' and talking about me as if I wasn't part of the family."

Road Christopher Walken opened up about Natalie Wood's death way back in '97, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery – I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat."

Road How do you know what you know?

Road Should a candidate's religion matter?

But suppose Santorum replies — as he has — that he would seek to ban gay marriage (in fact, he also supports anti-sodomy laws). The question then is why he thinks this is the right thing to do.  If his only reply is that his Catholic religion condemns homosexuality, then we’ve hit a blank wall. Debate is the life-blood of a democracy, and this means that leaders must offer discussable reasons for what they propose to do.  To say, “My religion says so” may explain why you believe something, but it has no function in a discussion with people who do not accept your religion.  Such an appeal to religion is, as Richard Rorty once put it, merely a "conversation stopper."

Road That's light! Scientists invent metal material that's 1/100th as heavy as styrofoam. 

Road Faith2Action believes it can disprove evolution in less than 300 words.

Road Michael Moore is as ridiculous when discussing President Obama as he is the rest of the time. Hunstmawkward

Road He's reasonable! He's sane! But dammit, Jon Hunstman just never looks relaxed.

Road A powerful letter demanding the resignation of UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi. (Whose walk of shame you may witness here.) Excerpt:

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

This is what happened. You are responsible for it.

You are responsible for it because this is what happens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Faculty get hurt. One of the most inspiring things (inspiring for those of us who care about students who assert their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly) about the demonstration in Berkeley on November 9 is that UC Berkeley faculty stood together with students, their arms linked together. Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground, and arrested. Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien was injured by baton blows. Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also struck with a baton. These faculty stood together with students in solidarity, and they too were beaten and arrested by the police. In writing this letter, I stand together with those faculty and with the students they supported.

One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way—linking arms and holding their ground—police also responded in the same way: with violent force. The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.

You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds.

Road The story of "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic."

Road "A jar of change on a dresser is sadly factoring into a number of financial decisions."

Road Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison, singing the Reading Rainbow theme. Incredibly bizarre, shockingly good. Watch it AFTER THE JUMP ... (HT: Shakesville)

<iframe id="NBC Video Widget" width="512" height="347" src="http://www.nbc.com/assets/video/widget/widget.html?vid=1368107" frameborder="0"></iframe> 

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  1. I would also recommend that anyone interested in getting another take on the President and the crackdowns on the Occupy movement take a look at Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/16/1036948/-Obama-OKs-use-of-force-in-Occupy-crackdowns-:(

    Posted by: RuhRoh | Nov 21, 2011 7:49:30 AM

  2. It's probably important to remember that this is a BLOG, not a news source, not journalism.

    So, if Andy Towle wants to employ part-time news gatherers (because really, there's not much ORIGINAL content here, it's all co-opted from other sources) than that's his business.

    You may like it, you may not, but you still come here and read it because this is arguably the best gay blog out there... But it's still, simply: a blog.

    Not a newspaper.

    Not journalism.

    Not even good op ed.

    Posted by: johnny | Nov 21, 2011 8:28:51 AM

  3. Jon Huntsman looks uncomfortable most of the time because his lips look like they are permanently in "pursed" mode.

    Posted by: Tim NC | Nov 21, 2011 8:40:50 AM

  4. More troubling than the antl-liberal slur against Michael Moore in this hideous post from last night is the lack of apology from the author and the lack of any response from Any Towle today.
    This site built a huge gay audience by appealing to the entire spectrum of its gay audience — including the liberal base. Michael Moore is the closest thing we have to a living icon of liberalism in the U.S. Towleroad.com calling Moore ridiculous is towleroad.com calling liberalism ridiculous.
    If Towleroad.com wants to exhibit anti-liberal bias in its editorial position, so be it. But say goodbye to the this liberal reader. I'd been coming here for smart gay content, not to endure lazy insults from Andy Towle's weekend editor.

    Posted by: Former reader | Nov 21, 2011 9:22:25 AM

  5. Dear Moorians:

    Thanks for your notes. A few words of explanation.

    Michael Moore supports many good things, but he supports them by dissembling and misdirection. This, I was brought up to believe, is a bad way to do things.

    My beef with Moore is largely due to Fahrenheit 9/11 -- a film Ive long thought was wrong and dangerous for a whole laundry list of reasons, some of which were elegantly explained by Christopher Hitchens in 2004: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2004/06/unfairenheit_911.single.html

    One thing Hitch didnt mention is how Moores film actually weakened the anti-war argument and made it easier to caricature. Speaking personally: When I actually examined the claims made by Moore in the film, I found myself briefly convinced that the entire argument against the war in Iraq was bunkum. I had to do a lot more reading to figure out why it wasnt. And if I, a liberal Democrat, had such a reaction, Ive got to wonder how Moores message was received by rank-and-file conservatives. I assume it made them even more certain of George W. Bushs rectitude.

    In his other projects, Moore is given to windy proclamations that sound good, but betray an incredible absence of thought. In Capitalism: A Love Story, Moore boils down the message of his film by explaining that the opposite of capitalism is democracy. What does that mean? Do you suppose that, by pushing such a message, Moore makes it more or less difficult for ordinary citizens to take up a serious conversation about the state of politics and money in America?

    More difficult, I say. Obviously, youre free to disagree.

    - BKT

    PS -- To the reader who just wrote: calling Moore ridiculous is towleroad.com calling liberalism ridiculous -- I dont think so. Michael Moore does not equal liberalism, any more than Rush Limbaugh equals conservatism or Joel Osteen equals theology. Liberalism is a serious Western intellectual tradition. Michael Moore is a pop star. - B

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Nov 21, 2011 9:43:08 AM

  6. Love Jimmy Fallon doing Jim Morrison, a very good imitation. Only criticism is that he's parodying The Doors doing "Light My Fire" on The Ed Sullivan Show, where they pissed off Sullivan by keeping in the line "girl we couldn't get much higher" and Morrison never moved that much, he stood still and looked amazing for most of it. Otherwise, well done, down to the "John, Robbie and Ray" clones.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Nov 21, 2011 10:08:13 AM

  7. Brandon -- I think you miss the point of many of the critical comments on here. A few of us have been quite clear that we're not big fans of Moore and don't blindly accept all of his pronouncements. But, in painting all the commenters criticizing the post as "Moorians" you sidestep the issue of just what is so "ridiculous" about this particular statement of Moore's. As a few of us has pointed out, the idea that President Obama should address the violent crackdowns on Occupy and the idea that there is most likely federal involvement in coordinating those crackdowns is not ridiculous at all.

    Posted by: RuhRoh | Nov 21, 2011 12:02:37 PM

  8. Brandon, if you know anything about Michael Moore's history you know that he is basically a satirist at heart when it comes to his films and television shows. Take a look at his TV series "TV Nation" and "The Awful Truth," which are both COMEDY shows, and his films are largely in the same style, even when dealing with deadly serious subject matter. Of course there will be exaggerations that are made for effect, comic or otherwise. He boils down complicated issues into digestible soundbites for a mass audience. That's how he became so wealthy (though he's hardly one of the wealthiest 1 percent).

    That said, I have not read the article you mention but for you to cite Christopher Hitchens as the basis for your animus towards him is disturbing, to say the least. Hitchens was one of the most vocal supporters of Bush's invasion of Irag, so of course he would have to soundly trash Moore's film to justify his own thoroughly discredited position. He is NOT a reliable source.

    Posted by: Will G | Nov 21, 2011 12:13:09 PM

  9. I'm not sure why the coordination of the OWS take downs is relevant. If they were hoping to avoid criticism in the press by doing so then Moore should have said that. Otherwise, he's not really making a point. The article BKT links to accuses Moore of being a racist, which is an interesting charge. The real missing element re OWS is Ralph Nader. He's a more natural fit for this sort of thing, yet he's MIA.

    The statistics in the Guardian are a tad misleading. Any division of wealth in the US should begin with the 40% of all national assets owned by the federal govt. State and local govts. own another 20%. Corporations own about half of the remainder. It is the stockholders of these public companies that own the bulk of the private wealth in the country, as their assets are generally not liquid. One should also create something of a balance sheet because foreigners "own" a great deal of our wealth in the form of debt, including about 10% of our federal assets. The typical home owner with a mortgage will have a poor balance sheet once you add up their private and public debt portfolios, but add back public wealth share and suddenly you get a much rosier picture. Too bad federal lands are not really liquid assets, but doing the accounting properly is tricky.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 21, 2011 12:38:17 PM

  10. @ Brandon. Please go back and slowly and carefully - and without getting your back up - read again the comments because your reply suggests that you have missed the point that many people have made entirely. No one has claimed that Michael Moore is right about everything. It is your dismissal of him as being entirely and always ridiculous about everything that has annoyed people because it is the kind of broad, inane, lazy and over-reaching slur that we expect to find on blowhard right wing blogs, not on Towleroad.

    Posted by: ron | Nov 21, 2011 12:44:44 PM

  11. Dear RuhRoh:

    Hey! Thanks for your note. On Countdown, Moore said:

    Why? Why are you [President Obama] participating in this [crackdown] ... against a non-violent, mass movement of people who are
    upset at what Wall Street and the banks have done to their lives?”

    Moore asks this because the White House has said that municipal governments ought to deal, or not deal, with the Occupy movement according to their own discretion. I dont see why this is inappropriate, and Im a supporter of OWS. (I live in New York, and everyone I live with has been a part of the movement, to one degree or another. I supported, or at least was intrigued, by OWS when it was still just a slogan spray-painted on a Bushwick wall across the street from the Morgan L, and last month donated gas money to the encampment at Zuccotti Park.) If OWS is non-violent, peaceful, and friendly -- and I believe it is, for the most part -- then why should it come under the purview of the executive branch of the federal government? I dont know anyone who actually wants the President to assume personal control over the nations police departments. Wouldnt that be dystopian?
    Now -- maybe good evidence has surfaced that the federal government is meddling in municipal governments responses to OWS. If so, I havent seen it. If its out there, I must apologize for misunderstanding Moores point. If its not -- well, then I think Moore was just grandstanding.

    - BKT

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Nov 21, 2011 12:50:57 PM

  12. I agree with BTK.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Nov 21, 2011 1:00:06 PM

  13. Pushed wrong bit. Brandon is right, Moore is that loud guy who talks over everyone at a party and you're gonna have to agree with him because he use to be relevant.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Nov 21, 2011 1:02:26 PM

  14. Get rid of Brandon! If we wanted to read moronic blogs, we wouldn't be looking to Towleroad. Is this really the direction you want your blog to go, Andy? Are you wanting to turn off your loyal readers?

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 21, 2011 2:03:04 PM

  15. Cripes. Moore is annoying, as is all this discussion about him. He makes good points in bad ways.

    I feel for Brandon. I suppose that means I'm complicit in crimes against, well, everything.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 21, 2011 2:17:05 PM

  16. Dear Andy,
    Do you really believe that the entire documentary career of Michael Moore is "ridiculous?" By stating, "Michael Moore is as ridiculous when discussing President Obama as he is the rest of the time" you label the entirety of his life's expression to be ridiculous. Really!
    I, too, support our President as the best politician today known to want the almost thankless job. Despite great animus from the Tea Party wing nuts and their acquiescing cohorts in Congress, President Obama has succeeded where a lesser talent would have failed. Also, I think he is one of the best persons we could have at the helm of our ship of state while the Republicans seem to want to sink it in order to somehow "save" the richest parasites in the ship's luxury suites of the 1%.
    Nonetheless, he is not above reproach, especially considering his drawn out foot-dragging on many issues of vital import to many disadvantaged communities that comprised his remarkable election victory.
    Michael Moore may be off the mark with his speculation about just whom it is at the head of these obviously coordinated attacks on dozens of Occupy Wall Street sites nationwide. But it can't just be a grand coincidence of timing and extreme force. For you, however, to dismiss his life of informative, and at times prescient warnings about useless and criminal Iraq warmongering such as his then-decried speech at the 2003 Academy Awards, well, it seems to me that you are being the ridiculous commentator in this instance.
    Michael Moore has worked in the best traditions of political satire to inform many discussions that had once been minimally noticed. He's an asset to America and the preservation and enhancement of our liberties and welfare.
    In my humble opinion,
    Tom Cardellino

    Posted by: Tom Cardellino | Nov 21, 2011 2:25:28 PM

  17. Hey there, BRANDON K. THORP, sir,
    Considering that Christopher Hitchens, even acknowledging his vast and diverse talents, was one of the loudest Iraq war hawks, I think it strange to look to him in this instance to in any way mollify the absolute "ridiculousness" of dismissing Michael Moore's great body of film work and often correct warnings about the overreach & underperformance of our government with the rubric of "ridiculous."
    Just IMHO,
    Tom Cardellino

    Posted by: Tom Cardellino | Nov 21, 2011 2:37:25 PM

  18. Yesterday, I heard NPR's report on homeless LGBT youth in New York City. At NO time was the label "queer youth" used in the report. To imply otherwise is to lie, as well as to put an inappropriate radical spin on the news. It's no better than what Fox News does every night. No doubt about it: There are hetero-bigots on staff at Towleroad! Maybe a purge is in order? It isn't sexual orientation that determines a person's hetero-bigotry; it's the bigoted behavior.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Nov 21, 2011 2:58:06 PM

  19. Andy's big thing is, in general, he leaves the commentary for the commenters. It takes a lot for him to say anything. Certainly Moore didn't deserve that attack - and Huntsman didn't deserve that praise.

    One of those people support our rights and the other not only doesn't, but is part of a religous organization that has done more than any other - spending untold tens of millions to do it - to end marriage and strip away our rights to adopt or share benefits. I've never heard Huntsman condemn that organization's attack on us, so therefore I must assume he approves of it.

    Meanwhile, Moore has faced a great deal of retribution for being one of the few to stand up to the corporate elite and have any success. You don't have to like him, but at least have respect for the thousands of readers on this blog who do.

    Posted by: Ryan | Nov 21, 2011 4:03:12 PM

  20. I miss Towleroad...

    Posted by: DeeperStill | Nov 21, 2011 7:18:39 PM

  21. In the Ridiculous and Dishonest Olympics, it is Brandon Thorpe who takes gold (and silver and bronze for that matter), NOT Michael Moore.

    Posted by: aneas t. | Nov 21, 2011 8:27:13 PM

  22. AND I would like to add my voice to those calling for BKT to be replaced with a new editor. Someone who admires and follows Curveball and Christopher Hitchens to the ends of the earth is not someone I want picking and delivering the news on this blog I have been reading for literally YEARS. We deserve better.

    Posted by: aneas t. | Nov 21, 2011 8:41:23 PM

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