World Trade Center 1 is about to pass a significant milestone; already has a decent view.
Before the House acts on the Bates proposal for a nonbinding referendum question, we need to get a lot more answers about the process, fiscal impact and precedents this would create. We also need to know what problem this seeks to solve, which is the question all responsible legislators must ask themselves before they vote to enact or repeal any law.
Have any voters been denied the opportunity to express their opinion on marriage equality? Has anyone been prevented from testifying on HB 437? Has there been a groundswell of public desire for a statewide referendum? Has the Marriage Equality Act of 2009 hurt any individual, family, business, nonprofit organization, city or town? Of course not.
LA: Man was asked "Are you gay?" Then he was attacked.
Visit the new gay Wiki, Wikiqueer:
... a web-based, not for profit, free-content encyclopedia and resource project, based on an openly editable model, specifically for and by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and ally communities. It is a program of The Aequalitas Project, a nonprofit organization serving as an incubator for new progressive programs.
In a manner similar to Wikipedia, WikiQueer is written collaboratively by Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to WikiQueer articles (except in certain cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism). Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or with their real identity, if they choose
Alternate Dharun Ravi juror says he'd have voted the other way:
As an alternate, the Woodbridge Township resident heard all the testimony but did not participate in deliberations. The jury, which returned its verdict Friday, was unanimous in finding Ravi guilty of all 15 charges, including invasion of privacy and anti-gay intimidation.
"Whatever (Ravi) did was stupid, but I don't think he ever had any intention of intimidating (Clementi)," Downey said. "I think that scenario could have happened 100 different ways, whether he had a straight roommate who had a girlfriend over ... there are 100 scenarios where he could have been goofing around and turning the camera on and it had nothing to do with somebody being gay."
Downey said he was "kind of up in the air" on the other charges, saying he likely would have voted to convict Ravi on charges of hindering apprehension and tampering with witnesses and evidence.
What's Tony Perkins think about the Dharun Ravi case?
Tony Perkins, president of the Christian group FRC, called the verdict "another opportunity for all Americans to speak out against the behavior of anyone who would abuse another person – especially a child – because of his/her sexuality or any other reason." However, Perkins warned in a statement that "some pro-homosexual activists would exploit the personal tragedies of these families to promote a political agenda."
An 82-year-old gay nude model and his $71 SoHo apartment. Some dudes have all the luck.
Lots of colleges are asking new students about their sexual identities.
Last night at the Anaheim AMC, Sir Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof took questions from an audience and premiered the extended trailer to Prometheus -- Ridley's long-awaited return to the universe of Alien. (Aliens and its sequels were all other people's movies.) Prometheus looks a little corny -- it looks to be loosely based on Erich von Daniken's ancient astronaut nonsense -- but man! It's nice to see that Gigerish aesthetic again. Watch the Q&A and trailer AFTER THE JUMP ...
The Robert Champion case is coming along. According to the Orlando Sentinel, police will send prosecutors their report on Champion's murder very soon. How soon? No one's talking about that.
What they are talking about is the immense difficulty of everything that will come later. Robert Champion, you'll recall, was the 26-year-old gay drum major at Florida A&M who was beaten to death last November in a savage band hazing on a chartered bus. From the Sentinel:
... legal experts and former prosecutors said the case will be a "nightmare" to sort out because of all of the potential suspects — perhaps 20 or more — who either took part or might have encouraged the brutal beating Champion suffered.
... The state ... will need to prove who did what aboard the bus that night — using witnesses who are part of a tight-knit group and many of whom probably participated in the hazing themselves.
Several sources interviewed for the Sentinel story imply, though don't outright say, that detectives' jobs have been made more difficult by some kind of confederacy among the guilty parties -- a group which inevitably includes a great many, if not all, of the people who were present during the attack. From the Sentinel:
Key among [State Attorney Lawson] Lamar's decisions will be whether to charge everyone who played a role — directly or indirectly — or only those who led the hazing or dealt the most vicious blows, said several law professors and current and former prosecutors.
Even students who yelled at Champion during the beatings or encouraged the attack could be charged with felony hazing, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. Or they could face even more serious charges, including second-degree murder or manslaughter.
As of this writing, no one at all has been arrested in the Champion case -- even though there's no doubt about how Champion was killed, where he was killed, why he was killed, or who was present for the killing.
Frank Bruni, former New York Times restaurant critic and current all-purpose NYT essayist, today published an excellent review of How To Survive a Plague, the new David France documentary which chronicles the worst days of the AIDS epidemic, particularly as it unfolded in New York, and particularly as seen from the vantage point of ACT UP and its spin-off, TAG. From the review:
[I expected] to cry, and cry I did: at the hollowed faces of people whittled to almost nothing by a disease with an ugly arc; at the panicked voices of demonstrators who knew that no matter how quickly research progressed, it wouldn’t be fleet enough to save people they loved; at the breadth and beauty and horror of the AIDS quilt ...
I expected to be angry. Here, too, I wasn’t disappointed. The words of a physician on the front lines in the early days reminded me that “when people died in the hospital, they used to put them in black trash bags.” Many politicians mustered little more than contempt for AIDS sufferers. “There’s nothing ‘gay’ about these people, engaging in incredibly offensive and revolting conduct,” snarled Senator Jesse Helms ...
But, Bruni reports, there's a lot of beauty and heroism and hope here, too:
While the movie vividly chronicles the wages of bigotry and neglect, it even more vividly chronicles how much society can budge when the people exhorting it to are united and determined and smart and right.
... 25 years ago, a tribe in desperate trouble did something that religious conservatives who can get their minds out of people’s crotches should in fact admire. It elected self-reliance over self-pity, tapping its own reserves of intellect, ingenuity and grit to make sure its members were cared for.
The New Hampshire House will vote on HB 437 this week; an ugly little piece of legislation which could repeal the state's 2009 marriage equality law. As Andy reported Wednesday, the House will also vote on something known as the "Bates House Amendment," which will put the following question on the November ballot:
Shall New Hampshire law allow civil unions for same-sex couples and define marriage as the union of one man and one woman?
Note how, at a glance, the question appears to be pro-gay rights. It's tricksy that way precisely because Rep. David Bates, the Wyndham Republican who spoke grandly last week about the importance of New Hampshirites having their say, knows that heavy majorities in his state don't want to roll back extant marriage equality laws.
Well -- HB 437 has at least one staunch ally in the New Hampshire State legislature who feels no need for that kind of lingual pussyfooting. That's Rep. Gary Hopper, a Republican from Weare. He's taken to his Facebook page to explain the importance of HB 437, and here's what he says:
HB437 The Repeal of Same Sex Marriage is going to be voted on this week.
I will be voting for it.
NH Constitution Part First “[Art.] 6. [Morality and Piety.] As morality and piety, rightly grounded on high principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay, in the hearts of men, the strongest obligations to due subjection;”
Piety (reverence for God and Family)
The idea is simple, if people are self regulated by their own moral compass less government is needed to keep the peace.
Traditional marriage has provided the best environment to raise children but it was severely diminished in the 1970s by no-fault divorce.
That change made the focus of marriage on the individual and not the family. Since that change teen suicides have gone up 10x, the social cost has been mind boggling. In fact over 90% of the children in the care of the Department of Child Youth Services are from single parent or broken homes not to mention how many young people who have ended up in prison as a result.
The traditional family is the best place to raise children and any further erosion of that standard only destroys our country more and increases the size and scope of government.
Rep Gary S Hopper
Strong families= Small government
"If we want less government, we must have stronger families, for government steps in by necessity when families have failed."
-- Jimmy Carter. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, ASTATEMENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, AUG.3, 1976in I THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
That's what New Hampshirites are up against. It doesn't for a moment occur to Hopper that the "morality and piety" mentioned in the NH Constitution might mean something very different to (say) a Unitarian than it does to him. And he doesn't understand that his own words --
...if people are self regulated by their own moral compass less government is needed...
-- undermine both his own position and New Hampshire's famously individualist spirit. "Self-regulated," "their own moral compass" -- gays have selves, too, and moral compasses. Hopper doesn't know this. Someone should tell him.
The paper he cites as evidence of his position, by the way, isn't about marriage equality. It's a Heritage Foundation paper from the year 2000, discussing the evils of no-fault divorce. In general, its message seems to be that more marriage is good, less marriage is bad. Noted.
UPDATE: Previous typo misidentified Gary Hopper as "Gay Hopper." Corrected, gigglingly.
For a brief, shining moment in Indiana, LGBT folk and their allies could procure the very attractive license plates at right, simultaneously beautifying their cars and ensuring that the Indiana Youth Group receive a $25 state donation. No longer.
From The Bilerico Project:
Homophobic Republican state senators ... originally tried to sneak in legislation during the session to target the LGBT youth group's plate but after community uproar decided not to pursue the attempt. Republican State Senate President Pro Tempore David Long told the Indianapolis Star he had found a new "solution" by demanding the BMV revoke the plate on contractual grounds.
And what were those? Apparently, Indiana legislators' gripe was that those purchasing the Indiana Youth Group license plates were given special preference for low plate numbers. This is bad and wrong, apparently. But here's the thing: Graig Lubsen, until recently the Communications Director for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, acknowledges that there's a long history in Indiana of giving non-profit donors low license plate numbers. It just wasn't an issue 'til the gays did likewise. But now the baby's being thrown out with the gaywater: the Greenways Foundation and the Indiana 4-H Groups, too, have been cited for giving out low plate numbers.
Incidentally, according to Bilerico:
The same legislators who sent the letter granted the Indianapolis Colts a license plate previously and specifically allowed them to give away low number plates.
Football! Also, and less incidentally: The Indiana Youth Group -- which is one of the oldest and most well-organized LGBT youth groups in America (check out their website!) -- had to apply several times and eventually sue to obtain the right to sell a plate at all. The resulting plate was available for two months.
"High concept" was the hot showbiz term of the 1980s. The thinking went that if you couldn't describe your movie/tv show in one sentence, it wouldn't sell. That popular marketing wisdom stuck and High Concept itself shrank. First it devolved into This meets That, each new pitch being a mashup of preexisting hits. Today instead of one sentence pitches or previous hit fusions most new potential blockbusters are required to rely on a simple colon. It works like so… "Title of That Thing You Already Know: The Movie! "
This has led to all sorts of unfortunate movies based on books, games, plays and tv shows (and vice versa) many of them big hits. The danger is obvious. When you don't even have to try to make your entertainment memorable because the audience brings half the affection with them, creative laziness can often follow. But every once in awhile the audience gets lucky and Title of That Thing You Already Know: The Movie is surprisingly fun on its own terms.
21 Jump Street began its life as a high concept television series
"Young-looking cops go back to high school… undercover!"
And now it's a 21 JUMP STREET: THE MOVIE (the last half of that title is silent/implied) The twist is that rather than the earnest though light-hearted procedural drama it was in its infancy as it introduced Johnny Depp to the world in 1987, it's now a full fledged buddy comedy starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.
The new version actually begins in high school where we meet Chan as "Jenko" a dumb popular jock and Jonah as "Schmidt" a geeky schlub.
See what they look like as high schoolers (the first time around) AFTER THE JUMP...
In the prologue we learn that they hated each other in high school and neither attended the prom; Jenko because he couldn't keep his grades up and Schmidt because he couldn't get a girl. They become best friends once they're both in training to become cops. After one fuck-up too many on the police force they get sent back to high school to pose as students and bust a drug ring. The man giving them the self-referential marching orders in the first of the film's fun cameos is the ever dependable Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation).
In high school (the second time around) the guys get their secret identities mixed up with disastrous funny results, essentially forcing Jenko to hang with the brains and Schmidt with the cool kids led by drug dealer Eric (smirking hot Dave Franco) and open hearted funny Molly (Brie Larson). Will Schmidt and Jenko find the supplier? Are they destined to relive all their old high school mistakes?
The best thing that can be said for 21 Jump Street, beyond the smart foundational move of refusing to take itself seriously, is that it never coasts on just one type of joke. Many lesser efforts would stop thinking beyond 'ha! they're old and don't realize what's cool anymore!' but the new movie is funny in execution, not just in concept. There are a wide variety of jokes from the slapstick, sexual, social, pop culture and self-deprecating bins. Not all of the jokes land but the ratio is pretty good. It's often totally juvenile bro humor (yes, there are a few gay jokes... though they're not mean-spirited) but there's something sweet goofy about the tone preventing it from being only another raunchy R rated comedy.
21 Jump Street has a welcome number of surprises for a comedy that is essentially entirely predictable. You know from the very first scene that the movie will end at the prom. The immature cops know how to make an entrance for the grand finale (Bring your own doves) and thankfully 21 Jump Street (:The Movie) knows just how to make an exit. It wraps up at a relatively trim 109 minutes with, what else, a dumb sequel joke.