Paul Ryan definitely didn't run that marathon in under three hours ...
... which is, according to The New Yorker, an important thing to know.
Secret histories of the Long Beach gays.
Another sincere prayer for Dan Savage. There have been a lot of 'em. So far, they haven't worked.
Conservative leader Colin Craig's pamphlet campaign against New Zealand's pro-equality prime minister, John Key:
[The pamphlets] gave prominence to a comment from a disgruntled local: "Colin, you should stand here because John Key is too gay for Helensville."
"MPs have a duty to represent their electorate but John Key has chosen to ignore the views of the people of Helensville and carry on regardless," [wrote Craig.]
"I was in the town a few weeks ago and was surprised at how many people were annoyed that he is not listening to them.
"There are people out there who simply don't like to see their prime minister doing things like dancing on stage with transvestites, as he has done in the past," he said.
FOX News and Sarah Palin -- on the verge of a breakup?
Palin set the media world aflutter on Wednesday, when she wrote a Facebook post pointedly noting that Fox News had canceled all of her scheduled interviews for the day. Since both her former running mate, John McCain, and her sucessor as nominee, Paul Ryan, were speaking at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, it seemed like an odd choice.
... Palin is simply not the political powerhouse she once was, making her steep price tag harder to justify. Though she was the star of the 2008 Republican convention, she did not even attend the 2012 forum.
Lesbianism in Hollywood:
Oscar Wilde's boyf once famously described the desire for one's own gender as The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name. Well, times have changed, and homosexuality – at least for showbiz starlets – is these days the love that can't stop nudging, winking, smirking, insinuating and straight-up showing off about itself.
New York's mohels fight back against a freedom-destroying parental consent form:
Despite the fact that at least 11 NYC boys have been infected with herpes from herpes-infested mohels who have insisted on performing the ancient circumcision ritual "metzitzah b’peh," ultra-Orthodox leaders are fighting the Health Department's “evil plans” to mandate parental-consent forms before performing the procedure. About 200 rabbis signed a proclamation claiming the city “printed and spread lies...in order to justify their evil decree. It is clear to us, that there is not even an iota of blame or danger in this ancient and holy custom,” the letter states. Except for those 11 boys with herpes. And the two who died from it.
American atheism: headed for a schism?
Sun Myung Moon, media mogul, businessman, and divine incarnate immortal, is dead.
Posted Sep. 2,2012 at 6:33 PM EST by Brandon K. Thorp in Dan Savage, Deaths, FOX News, Long Beach, Music, Music Video, New York, New Zealand, Paul Ryan, Relationships, Religion, Sarah Palin | Permalink | Comments (23)
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the anti-apartheid warrior, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and general mensch, this weekend published an editorial in The Observer explaining his decision to pull out of a scheduled appearance at last week's Discovery Invest Leadership Summit, in Johannesburg. His reason: Tony Blair would be there. Tony Blair, according to Tutu, shouldn't be onstage in Johannesburg. He should be on trial at The Hague. George W. Bush, too. Probably some others.
Archbishop Tutu's editorial begins with a sentence that is neither grammatical nor historical:
The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history.
Surely Archbishop Tutu means to say it was the conflict itself, and not its immorality, that did the "destabilising"? (And didn't the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war against Serbia in July, 1914, cause at least as much trouble?) Archbishop Tutu calms down a few paragraphs later, writing:
On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers' circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush's chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?
The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.
There are no satisfactory answers to Archbishop Tutu's questions, as a tired-sounding Tony Blair seems to acknowledge in his rebuttal:
I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu's fight against apartheid – where we were on the same side of the argument – but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown.
And to say that the fact that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his citizens is irrelevant to the morality of removing him is bizarre ... his slaughter of his political opponents, the treatment of the Marsh Arabs and the systematic torture of his people make the case for removing him morally strong. But the basis of action was as stated at the time.
In short, this is the same argument we have had many times with nothing new to say. But surely in a healthy democracy people can agree to disagree.
Vanity Fair is about to publish a feature that'll make Scientology seem even creepier than it does already. It's the story of how Tom Cruise went about acquiring his last two romantic interests, Katie Holmes and actress Nazanin Boniadi. The short version of that story is this: He didn't acquire them. Scientology acquired them.
If Vanity Fair's to be believed, finding a post-Nicole, post-Penelope love interest for Cruise involved a church-run search headed up by Shelly Miscavige, wife of David Miscavige, Scientology's baby-faced leader. From Vanity Fair:
According to several sources, the organization devised an elaborate auditioning process in which actresses who were already Scientology members were called in, told they were auditioning for a new training film, and then asked a series of curious questions including: “What do you think of Tom Cruise?”
Nazanin Boniadi, Scientology's first choice to mate with Tom Cruise, apparently thought he was pretty swell. So the church set about breaking her up with her boyfriend:
Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian-born, London-raised actress and Scientologist, was selected and dated Cruise from November 2004 until January 2005. Initially she was told only that she had been selected for a very important mission. In a month-long preparation in October 2004, she was audited every day, a process in which she told a high-ranking Scientology official her innermost secrets and every detail of her sex life. Boniadi allegedly was told to lose her braces, her red highlights, and her boyfriend. According to a knowledgeable source, she was shown confidential auditing files of her boyfriend to expedite a breakup ... The source says Boniadi signed a confidentiality agreement and was told that if she “messed up” in any way she would be declared a Suppressive Person (a pariah and enemy of Scientology).
Things allegedly went well between Boniadi and Cruise, but only for a little while. When Boniadi displeased the actor, which she apparently did with increasing frequency during their few months together, he would report her to their church. The crime that ended her relationship with Cruise was allegedly this:
Boniadi also offended Scientology chief David Miscavige, who speaks rapidly, because she kept saying, “Excuse me?” when she was entertaining him and his wife during a visit to Telluride. In Scientology, the ability to have your communication “land” is crucial. Boniadi was excoriated by Cruise for disrespecting Miscavige.
Cruise eventually dumped Boniadi, though indirectly -- she found out he was leaving her, or that she was leaving him, when she was instructed by the church to move out of Cruise's home and into the Scientology Celebrity Center, in Los Angeles. Her punishment for failing Cruise:
... scrub toilets with a toothbrush, clean bathroom tiles with acid, and dig ditches in the middle of the night. After that she was sent out to sell Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics on street corners.
The church denies everything. Boniadi and Cruise refused to comment. David Miscavige says the whole story's a ridiculous fabrication.
Darnell "Dynasty" Young was expelled from his Indianapolis high school in April for brandishing a stun-gun at bullies. Mr. Young, who occasionally wore a purse and women's jewelry, had allegedly been bullied, attacked, and threatened with violence on numerous occasions before the April incident. His fellow students at Arsenal Technical High School, he said, spat on him, attacked him with rocks and bottles, and promised to beat him up. Eventually, concerned for her son's safety, Mr. Young's mother bought him a stun-gun. Now, Mr. Young is suing his school school district for discrimination, restriction of free speech, and negligence.
Darnell "Dynasty" Young, 17, and his mother, Chelisa Grimes, filed their suit Friday in federal court in Indianapolis. It seeks unspecified damages over a series of alleged bullying incidents that led Young to fire a stun gun at Arsenal Technical High School in the spring, reportedly to scare away bullies ...
"Rather than take effective measures to protect him, school staff told him that he was to blame for the [previous incidents of] harassment because of his appearance and told him to change his dress and behavior to conform to stereotypical ideas of masculinity and to be less 'flamboyant,'" the suit says.
Mr. Young's expulsion from the Indianapolis school system was to have lasted until January. Last month the penalty was reduced: Mr. Young will now be able to attend the full school year, though he will not be allowed to return to Arsenal Tech. He's currently enrolled in a charter school.
You can see an interview with Darnell, and his twin brother Darrell, here.
Yesterday I wrote about an illiterate young Pakistani girl imprisoned for allegedly burning pages of a Qur'an to begin a cooking fire, and thereby committing blasphemy -- in Pakistan, a crime punishable by life imprisonment. (Or, should "justice" be sought extrajudicially, being burned alive.) Late last night, BBC World reported that new evidence shows the girl didn't burn any pages of Qur'an at all. Rather, she was framed by a local Imam.
Imam [Khalid] Chishti appeared in the Islamabad court with a white blindfold and shackled hands.
There was a large police presence as he was ushered into the building.
"The imam was arrested after his deputy Maulvi Zubair and two others told a magistrate he added pages from the Koran to the burnt pages brought to him by a witness," an investigator Munir Hussain Jaffri said.
Zubair and others reportedly told Imam Chishti not to tamper with the evidence, but Imam Chishti told them doing so was the only way to rid their neighborhood of Christians.
Imam Chishti was arrested yesterday. He is now facing blasphemy charges. The girl, whose name is Rimsha, presumably will not, though she hasn't yet been released from police custody. Perhaps that's for the best. Until the arrest of Imam Chishti, several of her Muslim neighbors were calling for Rimsha's death. It could be that Pakistani authorities will wish to allow the angrier elements of the Islamic public to digest the fact that it was one of their shamans, and not a prophet-denying Christian, who desecrated their holy book.
For the moment, Rimsha's family remains in protective custody.
Thousands -- thousands! -- of Minnesotans showed up for the first-ever Internet Cat Video Festival in Minneapolis on Thursday. Many of them wore whiskers. From the New York Times:
The crowd — easily double what organizers expected — packed the lawn outside the museum, spilling onto the sidewalks across the street ... They all settled in for a screening of cats behaving badly, or cutely, or mysteriously, sometimes all at once. That much of the audience had already seen the clips on YouTube did not seem to diminish the enthusiasm. Quite the contrary.
“People watch them, and they watch them over and over and over again,” said Gretchen Sealls, 65, a retired banker who drove five hours from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “I think you’re going to see a lot of copycat versions of this,” she added. “No pun intended.” ...
It is an axiom of Internet life that the cat video is king ...
... which is why when Katie Hill, an associate at Minneoplis's Walker Art Center, began crowd-sourcing cat videos online she received ten thousand submissions "within months." These were whittled down to the just 79 that made the Film Festival's cut on Thrusday. Of those 79 outstanding cat vids, only one could win the festival's prestigious (?) Golden Kitty Award. That trenchant video is viewable AFTER THE JUMP ...