Versace's South Beach manse hits the market. Asking price: $125 million.
Known as Casa Casuarina, the 10-bedroom, 11-bathroom house overlooks the ocean. Mr. Versace bought the home and its adjacent lot in 1992 for just under $10 million and then invested another $33 million in the property, adding a 6,100-square-foot south wing, a 54-foot-long mosaic-tiled pool lined with 24-karat gold, a mosaic-covered courtyard and frescoes on the home's walls and ceilings. He was killed outside the home in July 1997. Peter Loftin, a telecom entrepreneur, purchased the property in 2000 for $20 million. After using it as a residence for several years, Mr. Loftin turned the home into a boutique hotel with a restaurant and opened it in late 2009 as the Villa by Barton G.
Yesterday I posted this awesome country-song-cum-It-Gets-Better video. Here's a making-of vid, in which the principals explain why the world needed a countrified It Gets Better video in the first place.
MP Dr. Liam Fox, babbling British bigot, explains that only a "metrpolitan elite" cares about marriage equality:
“This is a contentious issue but I have to say that I am much more in favour of social mobility than social engineering.
“I think that the vast majority of the public have a completely different set of priorities from what I would call the metropolitan elite and I think they will be looking for economic and social issues to be dealt with first.”
His comments come as a major Conservative donor, Michael Farmer, reportedly joined the campaign against same-sex marriage.
Is Mayor Bloomberg hip to evolutionary biology?
Religious Minnesotans divided on marriage equality:
Members of Minnesota’s clergy are increasingly taking sides on the push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, a political battle that’s pitting certain denominations against others and, in some cases, splitting believers from the same faith.
This Sunday, a group of Catholic churchgoers opposed to the amendment are kicking off the “Catholics Vote NO!” campaign, flying in the face of the church’s local hierarchy, which supports the measure.
It’s just the latest in a lengthy list of recent organizing efforts by the faithful — from a recent “pastor’s summit” of church leaders who support a ban to a gathering this past week of more than 100 Christian and Jewish ministers opposed to it.
A peaceful Pride Parade in Croatia.
Might gay-inclusiveness be hurting J.C. Penney's bottom line?
"Mr. Johnson is alienating Penney's traditional customers in a bid to attract new customers from higher socio-economic segments that now shop Macy's, Nordstrom and Target," wrote Al Lewis of Dow Jones Newswires, which appears in the Wall Street Journal. "The result? Larger-than-expected losses, plunging revenues, dwindling customer traffic and a plunging stock price."
A further step towards an HIV vaccine.
Quick -- could someone old enough to remember the disco era please tell me if Armi & Danny ever made it out of Finland? (Don't know Armi & Danny? Well then -- prepare to witness the best, or maybe the worst, or possibly the only Finnish sci-fi disco ever committed to Betamax, AFTER THE JUMP ... )
Posted Jun. 10,2012 at 5:08 PM EST by Brandon K. Thorp in AIDS/HIV, California, Croatia, Gay Pride, Gianni Versace, Great Britain, Michael Bloomberg, Minnesota, Music, Music Video, Religion, United Kingdom, West Hollywood | Permalink | Comments (13)
Another teen gone. This time it's 16-year-old Brandon Elizares, of El Paso, Texas.
Elizares had battled bullying in school for two years, according to his mother, Zachalyn Elizares, because he didn't want to live in the closet. From KFOX14:
"He got bullied simply for being gay," Elizares said. "He's been threatened to be stabbed. He's been threatened to be set on fire."
Elizares said the El Paso Independent school district did everything it could to help solve the problem.
"They've reprimanded several kids and they did everything that they could," Elizares said.
Elizares said that Brandon's friends told her that there was an incident on Friday at school where someone insulted her son and planned to fight him the next week.
Saturday, Elizares was running errands and came home to discover her son's body.
Last week Andy wrote about Caiden Cowger, a deeply religious 14-year-old author internet talk-radio host, whose on-air anti-gay rant went suddenly viral. In the rant, Cowger said:
I see younger people that is turning out to be homosexuals...we've got about 30 teenagers in this county that I'm at that are homosexuals and it is sickening...I knew these teenagers when they were in elementary school...they were not homosexuals. They just decided all of a sudden - I think I'm going to be gay. Why they are becoming homosexuals is because they are being encouraged ... [by] President Obama. It's all right, it's okay you were born that way.
There was a lot more, and it was all tragic for a lot of reasons. Because of the grammar; because of the absence of critical thought; because this plainly immature and unformed 14-year-old's youthful idiocies had, by the gross democracy of the internet, been placed permanently in public view, doomed to follow him through life no matter how much he evolved or came to regret his adolescent wrong-headedness.
This follows after YouTube also appeared to remove the show from its site, although its resurfaced elsewhere on the site and opponents have started a red-flagging campaign.
“While we not only support free speech, we help it find its way to more people faster and easier with our service that is the audio equivalent of YouTube, but like them, we cannot and will not condone hate speech," said Spreaker CEO Francesco Baschieri in a statement. "Consequently, we have pulled down audio content from Caiden Cowgar, whose recent gay-bashing clearly crosses the line from free — to hate — speech."
While Cowger's shows have been removed from Speaker, his account with the service remains active. On Friday, he posted a brief statement asserting that he doesn't hate gay people. Speaker reports it may restore some of Cowger's past episodes to the internet once their content has been vetted.
The animals that became domestic dogs speciated from the gray wolf about 15 millenia ago. Since then, our dogs have come to know us well.
Dr. Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer, of the Department of Psychology at the University of London, sought to discover how well in an experiment chronicled in the May 30th issue of the journal Animal Cognition. What they discovered is that dogs are overwhelmingly more likely to approach people who exhibit visual and audial signs of distress, such as crying, than people who are talking, humming, or being quiet. And when dogs approach weeping humans, they will tend to assume submissive, friendly, comforting postures.
"The humming was designed to be a relatively novel behavior, which might be likely to pique the dogs' curiosity," study researcher and psychologist Deborah Custance said in a statement. "The fact that the dogs differentiated between crying and humming indicates that their response to crying was not purely driven by curiosity. Rather, the crying carried greater emotional meaning for the dogs and provoked a stronger overall response than either humming or talking."
... The experiment took place in the [dog] owners' living rooms. Mayer would arrive and ignore the dog so that it would have little interest in her. Then she and the owner would take turns talking, fake-crying and humming.
Of the 18 dogs in the study, 15 approached their owner or Mayer during crying fits, while only six approached during humming. That suggests that it's emotional content, not curiosity, that brings the dogs running. Likewise, the dogs always approached the crying person, never the quiet person, as one might expect if the dog was seeking (rather than trying to provide) comfort.
"The dogs approached whoever was crying regardless of their identity. Thus they were responding to the person's emotion, not their own needs, which is suggestive of empathic-like comfort-offering behavior," Mayer said in a statement.
Of the 15 dogs that approached a crying owner or stranger, 13 did so with submissive body language, such as tucked tails and bowed heads, another behavior consistent with empathy (the other two were alert or playful).
The study's authors are quick to point out that just because dogs appear to feel empathy with humans, it does not follow that they actually do.
In a move doomed to alienate a signiicant hunk of her fanbase, Carrie Underwood has revealed to the Independent that she is a strong believer in marriage equality:
"As a married person myself, I don't know what it's like to be told I can't marry somebody I love, and want to marry," she said. "I can't imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love."
Ms. Underwood was speaking to the British newspaper in preparation for her first-ever concert in the UK, which shall be held at the Royal Albert Hall later this month. (Incidentally, Underwood isn't the first American country star to visit London and make statements which might annoy her red-state fanbase. It was there that the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines famously voiced her unhappiness about the United States' rush to war in Iraq.)
From the Independent:
Underwood ... draws much of her fanbase from evangelical Christians, speaks frequently about her faith and has made religion the subject of several of her best-known songs, including the No 1 country hit "Jesus Take the Wheel".
She said, however, that her liberal attitude towards same-sex marriage comes because of her Christian values, rather than in spite of them. Though raised a Baptist, a church that tends to oppose homosexuality, Underwood and her husband Mike Fisher, a professional ice-hockey player, now worship in a non-denominational congregation.
"Our church is gay friendly," she said. "Above all, God wanted us to love others. It's not about setting rules, or [saying] 'everyone has to be like me'. No. We're all different. That's what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It's not up to me to judge anybody."
Underwood, 29, swept to fame in 2005 after winning American Idol and has since drawn much of her estimated $20m (£13m) annual income from touring the US. In the interview, she condemned "people who use the Bible for hate", adding: "That's not how I would want myself as a Christian to be represented."
Underwood's new album, Blown Away, and her single, "Good Girl," currently occupy the top spots on the Billboard country charts.
On Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign released the results of the most inclusive, farthest-reaching study ever conducted on the home, social, and scholastic lives of LGBT youth. Over 10,000 13-17 year-old LGBTfolk participated, from all over the country. Rebecca Trounson, of the LA Times, describes the study's methodology:
The survey was conducted online from April 16 through May 20. It was advertised through social media, as well as through LGBT youth centers across the country. The researchers said the survey method is not unusual for targeting hard-to-reach populations but may not represent a truly random sample.
As a control group, the study used a sample of 500 self-identified straight teens.
The results are about what you'd expect. Half of all LGBT teens are "happy"; half aren't. Most are out to their very close friends, but only 63% are out to their families. Just over a quarter of LGBT teens say their "biggest problems" are feeling unaccapted by their families or peers, or else worries about coming out; 22% of their straight peers say their "biggest problems" involve scholastics. 73% of LGBT youth feel they're at their most genuine in their online lives, and must to some extent conceal their natures in real-world interactions. Half of all LGBT teens, but only a quarter of all straight teens, have been physically attacked in school. Nevertheless, LGBT teens are optimistic: three quarters say they believe their situations will improve as they get older.
To this reader, the study's most troubling statistic has to do with geography. As explained by Trounson:
Fewer than half of gay teenagers said they believe their community is accepting of people like them, and 63 percent said they would need to move to another town or part of the country to find acceptance.
The seemingly unavoidable implication is that there are great swaths of America in which it's unwise to spawn.
The best place to spawn, it seems, is California: 62% of LGBT teens in California say their communities are gay-friendly, while an average of only 49% of gay teens elsewhere say the same.
Dig into all the survey data here. There's lots more to see, presented in an attractive and accessible PDF.
Incidentally, the study was released during the first week of Chad Griffin's tenure as the president of HRC. He kicked off his presidency speaking in Salt Lake City about the plight of LGBT youth. See the local FOX affiliate's coverage AFTER THE JUMP ...