Obama resolutely prohibitionist in war on drugs panel at Colombia's Summit of the Americas:
Obama earlier Saturday left the door open for debate, but made it clear that the United States has a firm stance.
"I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are doing more harm than good in certain places," Obama said. "I personally, and my administration's position is, that legalization is not the answer."
Meanwhile, his Secret Service agents should have been serviced more secretly:
A group of Secret Service agents and officers sent to Colombia ahead of President Barack Obama were relieved of duty and returned home amid allegations of misconduct that involved prostitution, according to two U.S. government sources familiar the investigation.
The 11 Secret Service members -- both agents and uniformed officers -- were interviewed Saturday at the agency's Washington headquarters, after which they were placed on administrative leave, Assistant Director Paul Morrissey said in a statement.
They are under investigation after preliminary findings revealed that they brought back several prostitutes to the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena,
"Q High School": An educational alternative for Phoenix-area LGBT teens.
Director of Bully was bullied.
NASA solicits ideas for less expensive, more conservative approach to Mars:
The race to redraw a new, cheaper road map comes two months after NASA pulled out of a partnership with the European Space Agency on two missions targeted for 2016 and 2018, a move that angered scientists. The 2018 mission represented the first step toward hauling Martian soil and rocks back to Earth for detailed study — something many researchers say is essential in determining whether microbial life once existed there.
Agency officials said returning samples is still a priority, but a reboot was necessary given the financial reality.
Robin Gibb is in a coma.
Ten candidates banned from Egyptian elections:
Egyptian election officials have barred 10 candidates from standing in upcoming polls, including former spy chief Omar Suleiman and the Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat al-Shater.
Ultra-orthodox Salafi Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and long-standing opposition leader Ayman Nour were also banned.
... Mr Suleiman - a former ally of Mr Mubarak whose nomination has sparked protests - was apparently barred because he failed to get enough signatures to endorse his last minute candidacy, our correspondent says.
... As a result, the Muslim Brotherhood are best covered, while the Salafists backing Mr Abu Ismail look to be the hardest hit ...
Sony loses $6 billion; remains optimistic.
Paul McCartney's new "My Valentine" video: Sedate but lovely, featuring Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...
Posted Apr. 14,2012 at 11:12 PM EST by Brandon K. Thorp in Barack Obama, Bullying, Colombia, Crime, Education, Egypt, Gay Youth, Johnny Depp, Natalie Portman, Paul McCartney, Phoenix, Science, Space | Permalink | Comments (14)
He's Herndon Graddick, and he's been GLAAD's Vice President of Programs and Communication since 2010. From GLAAD:
Sheri Fults, National Co-Chair of the Board of Directors, said: "Herndon is already a well-respected leader within the LGBT movement, and we believe will be a visionary and strategic leader for GLAAD's culture-changing work."
Herndon said: "Right now GLAAD and our partners in the LGBT movement are making a significant difference at a time when a difference needs to be made. I look forward to working with our dedicated staff to create a culture where there is a welcoming and respected space for LGBT Americans. GLAAD's work with the media to inspire Americans to speak out against anti-LGBT actions and support equality is needed today more than ever."
Graddick's been the leader of such GLAAD initiatives as "Stand Up For Ellen," which went toe-to-toe with homophobes trying to shame JC Penny into sacking spokesperson Ellen DeGeneres, and the "Commentator Accountability Project," which calls to task media outlets who offer airtime to virulently anti-gay pundits (especially the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, who's been ubiquitous on MSNBC for years).
Graddick replaces acting president Mike Thompson, who replaced Jarrett T. Barios last year.
In January, Andy reported that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie may get married sooner than later, despite the couple's repeated insistence that they'd wait until all Americans enjoyed full marriage equality. Back then, Pitt was saying:
We’d actually like to, and it seems to mean more and more to our kids. We made this declaration some time ago that we weren’t going to do it till everyone can. But I don’t think we’ll be able to hold out. It means so much to my kids, and they ask a lot. And it means something to me, too, to make that kind of commitment.
Indeed, they couldn't hold out. The couple's engaged, and TMZ reports that Equality California's got no hard feelings:
Rebekah Orr, Communications Director for Equality California, says the group is totally behind the Brangelina marriage, even if the right to vote is still not enjoyed by everyone. [sic]
She tells us, "Marriage is something that says ‘we're a family’ in a way that nothing else can ... No one has to deny that for themselves or their family to prove they are an ally and supporter of equality."
Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, should probably reassess whatever process he uses to devise computer passwords. Yesterday, for the second time in a week, NOM and Brian were the victims of thoroughly amusing (though probably illegal and therefore wrong) act of hacktivism. The resulting Tweets, viewable above, are from TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com; you can view the original story there.
The earlier act of hacktivism, which Towleroad covered at length this week, was probably more amusing -- mostly because it wasn't entirely clear that a hack had taken place at all. The best bit was this blog, posted to the NOM site on Thursday:
... I must admit that we were angered when our in house documents were released but we've since had time to reflect on the strategies we've employed to divide Americans against each other on the issue of marriage. Truth be told, marriage is about bringing people together, not pushing them apart and that's exactly what this organization has been about over the past few years.
Aside from that on an unrelated matter, we've stifled free speech on our social media online properties. We're rectifying that this morning by removing the bans on the hundreds and hundreds of our opponents our staff imposed. We want to encourage an open and fair discussion about marriage and that can only happen if we welcome our outspoken opponents back into the dialogue.
We apologize for our transgressions. We're turning over a new leaf with constitutional and civil rights as our primary focus going forward. We hope you will stand with us as we turn things around for the better.
Reading that, one thought: Could it be true? Might it be possible to talk to these people? To engage in civilized discourse? To win hearts and minds?
Alas, no. Within 24 hours, NOM was screaming about being attacked by sodomy-crazed militants and begging supporters to send money to bolster the org's obviously ragged security systems. (Which raises the question: Isn't God supposed to provide believers with some kind of impenetrable defense against better-armed foes? What's the IT equivalent of David's slingshot?) So whoever it was that hacked Brian's Twitter account yesterday felt no need play nice, and his or her tweets were a good deal less friendly than the previous hacktivists' words. Interestingly, many of them seem no less true for that.
London buses: It's where controversy happens. Five years ago, Jesussaid.org put ads on the side of London buses warning non-Christians they were doomed to hell. Atheists complained. A year later, in direct response to the Jesussaid.org ads, British atheists bought bus-side ads reading "There's Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life." Christians complained, and even sought a legal remedy. There was none. Notably, London's mayor never saw fit to become involved in these arguments.
Now he has. The "Core Issues Trust Campaign," an outreach effort funded by a Christian group called Anglican Mainstream, recently purchased ad-space on London's buses which it intended to use to broadcast the message: "Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get Over It." (This was a response to a previous bus ad purchased by Stonewall, which read "Some People Are Gay. Get Over It.") The ads were to begin running Monday. Now they never will, because Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured at right), who heads the city's public transit apparatus, has declared them uniquely offensive.
From the Andover Advertiser:
Mr Johnson, standing for re-election next month, said: "It is clearly offensive to suggest being gay is an illness someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses."
But Anglican Mainstream refuses to be silenced. They have solicited the help of the law firm Aughton Ainsworth, and hope to see the mayor's decision reversed.
From the Advertiser:
Mike Davidson, director of the Core Issues Trust, has criticised the decision announced by Mr Johnson, saying: "I didn't realise censorship was in place. We went through the correct channels and we were encouraged by the bus company to go through their procedures. They okayed it and now it has been pulled."
TfL [Transport for London, the city's public transit apparatus] has said that the adverts are not "consistent with TfL's commitment to a tolerant and inclusive London".
It was inevitable. One of President Obama's most effective lines of attack in the upcoming race against Mitt Romney was always bound to be praise -- praise for the Massachusetts health care legislation known as "Romneycare," coupled with a wounded bewilderment that Romney, having declared Romneycare a viable model for national health care reform, would turn his back on his own good work after the Tea Party rebranded the legislation as a Trojan horse for Stalitroskymaoism. And here it is, the Obama campaign's first Romneycare-centered ad. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...