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02/26/2012

NEWS: Google Spies, Cheney Betrays, Preacher Molests, Spielberg Loses: VIDEO

EvilTowleroad-roadicon In a week, Google will begin to store records of all your Googlings. Here's how to clear your Google records before it happens.

Towleroad-roadicon The Family Research Council is angry with Dick Cheney for supporting marriage equality. Apparently his duty should be to them, not his daughter:

In 2000, Dick Cheney might have considered Philadelphia’s most famous son, Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s own son was the royal Governor of New Jersey. It was a patronage job Ben had secured for him. When his son remained loyal to the Crown, Benjamin Franklin did not refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence citing a “personal situation.” That’s one of the many reasons why we remember Ben Franklin with admiration and respect.

Dick Cheney is said to be worth hundreds of millions. His family may not suffer the devastation that comes from the breakdown of marriage. But in his recent book, Coming Apart, Charles Murray shows how the loss of marriage for the white working class in America has already had catastrophic consequences. If we seek the reason behind the great disparities in wealth that the Occupy crowd is howling about, we need look no further than the collapse of marriage. In this great cultural clash, Dick Cheney has enlisted with the forces of dissolution.

Towleroad-roadicon Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire calls Obama the "inspiration" for Washington marriage equality:

"I think we probably have succeeded as much as we have because of his leadership. He's used the bully pulpit," Gregoire said at the White House Friday. "He's been the inspiration that allowed the state of Washington recognize that we need to have equality."

"It's because of what he's been able to do that I actually think in large part we were able to achieve what we did. So I don't criticize. To the contrary, I thank the president for his leadership on GLBT issues," she told reporters after a meeting between Obama and Democratic governors.

Towleroad-roadicon Once again, Rick Santorum's old utterances make news:

In remarks last year at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, N.H., Santorum had told the crowd of J.F.K.’s famous 1960 address [on the separation of church and state] to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up. You should read the speech.”

TellerTowleroad-roadicon Fez of The Ron and Fez Show comes out.

Towleroad-roadicon Lucy Lawless arrested in oil ship protest.

Towleroad-roadicon Six simple animations explain the basics of critical thought.

Towleroad-roadicon Teller: What magicians and neuroscientists do and do npt have in common.

Towleroad-roadicon A preacher plead guilty to "lewd conduct" and "lewd molestation," and is no longer allowed to interact with minors. So the church where he preaches did the honorable thing: It banned kids.

Towleroad-roadicon Identified: The remains of the last unaccounted-for service member in Iraq. He was a translator:

The remains of Staff Sgt. Ahmed al-Taie, who was 41 when militiamen seized him on Oct. 23, 2006, were positively identified at the military's mortuary in Dover, Del., the Army said in a statement released Sunday. Army officials said they had no further details about the circumstances surrounding his death or the discovery of his remains.

Towleroad-roadicon (Reading this makes me remember a bone-chilling feature by George Packer about the difficulties faced by Iraqi translators during the war. Definitely one of last decade's best pieces of journalism. It was called "Betrayed." If you haven't read it, find it here.)

Towleroad-roadicon ... and if that depresses you, watch this full-screen, in HD if possible. Music, stars, and time. Beautiful.

Towleroad-roadicon It's Oscar night. Your favorite films probably aren't nominated. The Academy is often crazy. AFTER THE JUMP, watch Steven Spielberg learn he's been snubbed for Jaws. 

 

Posted Feb. 26,2012 at 6:45 PM EST by in 2012 Election, Deaths, Dick Cheney, Google, Iraq, Lynne Cheney, Mary Cheney, Oscars, Privacy, Religion, Rick Santorum, Science | Permalink | Comments (20)


On The Ground In Homs: VIDEO

Homs
A very brave freelance documentarian has been shooting for weeks in the embattled Syrian city of Homs, where for nearly a month the forces of President Bashar al-Assad have been shelling residential neighborhoods. The documentarian has befriended members of the anti-Assad rebellion, and he records his videos in their midst -- battling government snipers in room-to-room combat, firefighting in the streets, tending to the dead. The video he's compiled and released to CNN represents some of the best and bravest war reporting I've seen in any format.

The video's twelve minutes long, and a lot of it will stick with you. I was especially struck by two things. First: Eight minutes and twenty some-odd seconds into the film, three men greet each other on a Homsian street, hugging and kissing, seemingly on the verge of tears. They look like friends or brothers who didn't expect to see each other alive again. Second: At video's end, a grandmother watches over a brood of children. Some of her own children are dead, but we don't know how many. She may not know either. She's utterly still, too furious and aggrieved even to scream.

Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

 

Posted Feb. 26,2012 at 5:51 PM EST by in CNN, Syria, Video | Permalink | Comments (5)


Utah Moves Closer To Abstinence-Only Education: VIDEO

WrightAbstinence-only "sex education" is nearer to becoming a mandate in Utah after the State House quietly passed HB363 by a terrifying 45-28 margin last week. The bills' defenders have been saying weird things. From The Salt Lake Tribune:

"We’ve been culturally watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest," said bill sponsor Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden [pictured at right]. "Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?"

Even opponents of HB363 are frightened of sex. The Tribune quotes a Democrat who voted against the bill:

"You cannot speak of abstinence without talking to students about methods of birth control that are not certain, about protecting oneself from [sexually transmitted diseases] and all the things that can happen in a negative sense to a young person who engages in sex ," said Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay. "It’s really immoral not to teach kids about what the consequences are."

With friends like that! Anyway -- the bill was debated on the House floor on Tuesday, with both its sexophobic supporters and slightly-less sexophobic opponents eventually hashing out something that somebody might call a compromise. As the bill stands now, schools uncomfortable with abstinence-only can elect to teach no sex ed at all, and nobody will be allowed to teach on the use of contraception. 

Note that this is very similar to the law as it already exists. Right now, Utah's educators may teach either abstinence-only or abstinence-only with some instruction on the use of contraceptives, so long as said instruction comes with the admonition that premarital sex is always wrong and dangerous. Alas, that's not strict enough:

"Maybe you’ve noticed that the world has figured out how to populate itself over thousands of years without sex education," said Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper. He said it’s "not good enough" to just avoid advocacy of contraception while teaching students about it.

Right. Because nothing says "propogate" like "contracept."

HB363 is so evil and silly that it's unworthy of editorial dismemberment. What it needs is a song. Roy Zimmerman supplies one AFTER THE JUMP ...

 

Posted Feb. 26,2012 at 5:04 PM EST by in Education, Utah | Permalink | Comments (19)


A Marine Comes Home

Homecoming

Above: A pic of the homecoming of Brandon Morgan, of the United States Marines Corps, posted to the Gay Marines Facebook page yesterday. It's now got 1,000 comments and 800 shares. 

The Marines involved are Morgan and Dalan Wells.

Thanks to Joe.My.God for forwarding it along. He's also found this statement, from Mr. Morgan's own Facebook page:

To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. Dalan, the giant in the photo, can't believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn't do this to get famous,or something like that we did this cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt. As for the haters, let em hate...to quote Kat Williams, everyone needs haters, so let them hate. We are the happiest we have ever been and as for the whole PDA and kissing slash hugging in uniform...it was a homecoming, if the Sergeants Major, Captains, Majors, and Colonels around us didn't care...then why do you care what these random people have to say? In summation thank you for your love and support. I received a lot of friend requests off this. I don't just accept requests so if your request was because of this post message me and let me know. Goodnight all, and Semper Fi." --Brandon Morgan

Posted Feb. 26,2012 at 12:04 PM EST by in Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Military | Permalink | Comments (101)


South Florida Gayborhood Sees Suicide Spike

Wilton%20ManorsWilton Manors is a genial gayborhood of some 12,000 souls in Broward County, FL, just to the north of Fort Lauderdale. It's arguably the gayest gayborhood in America, and it's a very pleasant place. (I know, for I grew up there. It's nice!) And yet, according to the Sun Sentinel, Wilton Manors' citizens are committing suicide at a greater rate than citizens of any of the other 31 municipalities in Broward, and at three times the rate of American citizens in general. Zero-point-oh-four-seven of Wilton Manors residents are killing themselves per year.

From the Sentinel:

Over the past four years, this city of under 12,000 people has had five more suicides than [the nearby city of] Weston, which has about 65,000 people, and only one fewer suicide than [nearby] Miramar, which has 122,000 people, according to figures from the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office.

... Among last year's suicides, O'Connell said a 40-year-old gay man hanged himself in October after breaking up with his partner; a 44-year-old man with a history of mental illness shot himself in August; and a 52-year-old man — married with children — stepped in front of a train in June, conflicted about whether he was straight or gay.

While O'Connell said the suicides seem to involve every part of society — "straight, gay, rich, poor, old, young" — mental health professionals see several potential factors behind the city's increase.

Yes: gayness, poverty, and age. Wilton Manors is both older and vastly gayer than most American cities, and both the aged and the gay are slightly more likely than their younger and straighter counterparts to kill themselves. But those factors don't seem sufficient to explain the Wilton Manors discrepency, according to the Sentinel.

Wilton Manors officials have called a townhall meeting for April 19th to discuss the city's suicide problem.

Posted Feb. 26,2012 at 11:30 AM EST by in Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Health | Permalink | Comments (20)


Three Lesbians Beat A Gay Man: Hate Crime?

4383208111_cd3362c1c4Here's what happened. A Caucasian gay dude in Boston was either entering or departing the Forest Hills T station. In the stairwell he bumped into, or was bumped into by, three African American lesbians. The ladies allege he said something racist to them; he alleges they used homophobic slurs against him. In any event, a scuffle ensued, and the man was severely beaten and left with a broken nose. He called the police. The ladies were arrested. The man claims he's the victim of a hate crime.

From The Boston Herald:

“My guess is that no sane jury would convict them under those circumstances, but what this really demonstrates is the idiocy of the hate-crime legislation,” said civil liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate. “If you beat someone up, you’re guilty of assault and battery of a human being. Period. The idea of trying to break down human beings into categories is doomed to failure.”

The ACLU disagrees:

“Someone who is Jewish can be anti-Semitic,” said ACLU staff attorney Sarah Wunsch. “The mere fact that someone is a member of the same class doesn’t mean they could not be motivated by hatred for their very own group.”

After their arrest, the three women, all of whom are in their late teens or early 20's, were released on bails ranging from $100 - $500 -- low sums which, according to defense attorney C. Harold Krasnow, indicates the that the prosecution's case is "weak."

Posted Feb. 26,2012 at 10:00 AM EST by in Boston, Crime, Massachusetts | Permalink | Comments (37)



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