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NEWS: Jesus, Spiders, And Emily Dickinson


Towleroad-roadicon Is this a picture of Emily Dickinson?

Towleroad-roadicon After the Labor Day weekend beating of a gay man at the hands of four marines, at least a few gay military men suspect the offenders' animus was inflamed by politics:

“The Republican Party platform that was released just before this (alleged) attack says gays don’t belong in the military,” says the Special Ops soldier, who asked not to be named (he says most of the men in his unit know he’s gay, but he hasn’t come out publicly). “Mitt Romney hasn’t gone as far as to say he would reverse the DADT repeal, but I think people know how he really feels about gay people. And I can see how these Marines can look at what Republican leaders are saying as justification for what they did. People they probably support politically are telling them that gays and lesbians don’t belong, that they are un-American.”

Towleroad-roadicon You've seen that ridiculously cheesy TV ad in which a middle-class couple worry about Obama "forcing" gay marriage on 'em? Think Progress knows who's behind it.

Towleroad-roadicon Oh, Jesus:

After leading a reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in the middle of his remarks, Romney began talking about God. "That pledge says 'under God.' I will not take God out of our platform. I will not take God off our coins. And I will not take God out of my heart," Romney said to roaring applause from the audience.

Towleroad-roadicon FOX News "fires back" at REM, after the complained about FOX's use of "Losing My Religion":

“FOX News Channel’s use of an R.E.M. song during Thursday’s edition of ‘Fox & Friends’ was in full accordance with its license agreements with all appropriate parties,” a Fox News representative said. “Nevertheless, we’re always flattered to have this much attention for a song selection and we hope R.E.M. was able to satisfy their publicity fix.”

Towleroad-roadicon Gay couple Syed Massood and Christian Clarke to be written out of the British soap EastEnders:

Actor John Patridge, who is openly gay in real life, said: “I have had the time of my life at EastEnders – but I have always gone with my gut, and leaving at the same time as Marc felt like the only thing to do.

911Museum“It is the right end to the story and for Christian. But also, excitingly, the start of a whole new chapter for me.”

Show bosses have remained tight-lipped about how the couple will leave the square.

Towleroad-roadicon 9/11 museum years behind schedule:

A dispute between Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the $1 billion museum at ground zero has dragged on for so long that the museum will not open in time for the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks — or even for the next one.

... With work on the museum at a standstill for nearly a year, fund-raising and donations have fallen, and exhibits are gathering dust in fabrication shops in Buffalo and Santa Fe, N.M., according to museum executives.

Towleroad-roadicon Why Brett Easton Ellis can't stand even the corpse of David Foster Wallace.

Towleroad-roadicon A spider under an electron microscope.

Towleroad-roadicon This week, Voyager 1 entered the 36th year of its cosmic journey. Incredible.

Posted Sep. 8,2012 at 7:33 PM EST by in 2012 Election, Mitt Romney, Religion, Republican Party, Television | Permalink | Comments (18)

Pakistani Girl Arrested For Blasphemy Released On Bail

Rimsha:MasihThe Pakistani Christian girl named either Rimshah or Masih, who was arrested near Islamabad three weeks ago for allegedly burning pages of a Qur'an to start a cooking fire, has been released on bail. The release comes nearly a week after a cleric from the girl's town, Imam Khalid Chishti, was arrested for framing the girl. From Haaretz:

A judge in Islamabad had granted Masih bail on Friday, but her release was delayed due to a procedural delay in the processing of surety bonds totaling 1 million Pakistani rupees (10,640 dollars).

... a Muslim cleric, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, was arrested [last] weekend for allegedly planting pages of the Koran in a bag containing burnt papers to frame the girl.

Imam Chishti has rejected the allegations by members of his mosque as "fabricated." But his accusers allege the cleric himself desecrated the Koran in an attempt to drive out the Christian minority from the neighborhood.

Last week, I speculated that Masih/Rimsha's release from prison may be delayed due to authorities' concern for her safety. (After her arrest, many of Masih's Muslim neighbors publicly called for her to be burnt to death.) Indeed, Masih/Rimsha has not yet returned home. She, her family, and numerous other Christians from her neighborhood have sought refuge in an "undisclosed location."

Haaretz notes that Masih/Rimsha is "believed to be" less than 14 years old, and that a doctors' panel has declared that she suffers from learning disabilities, and has a low IQ for her age. 

Posted Sep. 8,2012 at 4:50 PM EST by in Crime, Pakistan, Religion | Permalink | Comments (8)

145 House Democrats File Briefs For Edie Windsor

EdieWindsorAt the Washington Blade, Chris Johnson reports that 145 House Democrats yesterday filed a friend-of-court brief on behalf of 83-year-old widow Edie Windsor, of New York City, in the case of Windsor vs. The United States. (At least, they were scheduled to file the brief; Johnson's story was published before the filing was done.) Windsor's is the case that resulted US District Court Judge Barbara Jones ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional this past June. House Republicans, led by John Boehner, appealed the ruling, and the case now sits with the Second Circuit court.

Edie Windsor's wife, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. The couple had been together since the 1960s, and were married in Canada in 2007. Upon Spyer's death, per DOMA, Windsor was forced to pay the government $363,000 in estate taxes.

From the Blade:

The 30-page brief lays out the case why DOMA should be stricken down as unconstitutional, arguing Congress passed DOMA in 1996 out of animus toward gay people.

Additionally, the brief says DOMA unfairly imposes estate taxes upon married same-sex couples, saying ”it is impossible to believe that any legitimate federal interest is rationally served by depriving a widow like [Edie] Windsor of the marital deduction that allows married couples to pass property to the surviving spouse without penalty, thus maximizing the survivor’s financial well-being.”

Oral arguments in the Second Circuit are scheduled to begin on September 27th. From the Blade:

Other groups that are expected to file friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of Windsor are local governments, including New York City and the States of New York, Connecticut and Vermont; the Partnership for New York City — a group of CEOs from New York City businesses — the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Bar associations, labor unions and civil rights, religious, cultural and LGBT organizations; Social workers and national mental health and medical organizations; and professors of U.S. history, family law, and family and child welfare law.

Posted Sep. 8,2012 at 2:14 PM EST by in Deaths, Gay Marriage, Law - Gay, LGBT, New York | Permalink | Comments (3)

Ann Romney Will Not Talk About Your Family

AnnRomneyIn a Friday interview with Iowan television station KWQC, Ann Romney declined three times to state her position on marriage equality. And she declined in the most dismissive possible way, insisting that the question of lesbian mothers' ability to wed isn't important to Americans -- an assertion with the unavoidable subtext that either lesbian mothers and their friends and families don't qualify as Americans, or else that lesbian mothers and their friends and families don't care much about marriage. Cruel or presumptuous: take your pick.

The full transcript is available at KWQC. Here are some excerpts:

Anchor David Nelson:  "Here in Iowa, as you know, same-sex marriage is legal.  Do you believe a lesbian mother should be allowed to marry her partner?"

Ann Romney:  "You know, I'm not going to talk about the specific issues.  I'm going to let my husband speak on issues.  I'm here to really just talk about my husband and what kind of husband and father he is and, you know, those are hot-button issues that distract from what the real voting issue is going to be at this election.  That, it's going to be about the economy and jobs.

And, frankly, the President said four years ago that if he doesn't turn this economy around he's going to be looking at a one-term presidency.  And I frankly believe that Mitt is the person that is so going to be focused on jobs and job creation and making sure that women's economic prosperity is more certain ...

Anchor David Nelson: "Do you believe that employer-provided health insurance should be required to cover birth control?"

Ann Romney:  "Again, you're asking me questions that are not about what this election is going to be about.  This election is going to be about the economy and jobs."

Anchor David Nelson:  "Well, a Pew Research poll shows those issues are very important to women, ranking them either "important" or "very important."

Ann Romney:  "You know, but I personally believe, and this is what I'm hearing from women all across the country that they are going to look for the guy that's going to pull them out of the weeds and get them job security and a brighter future for their children.  That's the message.

Lsten, I've been across this country, I've been for a year-and-a-half on the campaign trail.  I've spoken with thousands of women and they are telling me, they're telling me a couple of things, one they say they're praying for me which is really wonderful, and then they're saying, ‘please help, please help.  We are so worried about our jobs.' So really if you want to try to pull me off of the other messages it's not going to work because I know because I've been out there."

Anchor David Nelson:  "Well, I don't want to pull you off any message.  You just told a reporter who was questioning you in Cleveland that you want women to have a secure and stable future.  I asked you about marriage and whether lesbian mothers should be allowed to marry.  Isn't marriage a part of creating a stable future?"

Ann Romney:  "You know, again, I'm going to talk to you about the economy and about job creation and about how my husband is the right person for the right time.  This is going to be an election that is very important for women, and we are going to make sure that their economic prosperity is more certain under a President Romney."

Posted Sep. 8,2012 at 12:17 PM EST by in 2012 Election, Ann Romney, Gay Marriage, Gay Marriage Quotes, Iowa, Mitt Romney | Permalink | Comments (65)

George Takei's Big Weekend: VIDEO


Congrats to the fabulous gay man, excellent actor, hilarious Facebook photo-poster, and all-around mensch George Takei on his big weekend. Not only is today the 46th birthday of Star Trek -- the show on which Takei became famous as Mr. Sulu, maybe the first heroic TV role ever given to a Japanese American -- but this is also the first weekend of previews for Allegiance, a new musical by Jay Kuo, Marc Acito, and Lorenzo Thione, in which George Takei stars at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre.

From the Old Globe's website:

Allegiance is an epic story of family, love and patriotism set during the Japanese American internment of World War II. Sixty years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a chance meeting forces WWII veteran Sam Kimura (television and film star George Takei) to remember his family's relocation from their California farm to the Heart Mountain internment camp. As they struggle to adjust to their new home, Young Sam (Telly Leung – Godspell, "Glee") and his sister Kei (Lea Salonga, Tony Award winner for Miss Saigon) find themselves torn between loyalty to their family and allegiance to their country. With its moving score, ALLEGIANCE takes audiences on a journey into our nation's history through the eyes of one American family.

As it happens, Mr. Takei spent a portion of his childhood in one of the United States' Japanese internment camps. Here you can hear him discuss the experience on PRI's The World. And AFTER THE JUMP, you can hear one of Allegiance's songs and view some photos from rehearsal.

Allegiance officially opens at the Old Globe on September 19th.


Posted Sep. 8,2012 at 11:00 AM EST by in California, George Takei, San Diego, Star Trek, Theatre, Video | Permalink | Comments (8)

Sarah Palin Forgets She's Famous: VIDEO


Here's a fantastically awkward bit of brand-burnishing from Sarah Palin, delivered while she was being interviewed on FOX Business Network Thursday evening, shortly after John Kerry mentioned her during his speech at the DNC:

I think he diminished himself by even mentioning my name. How does he even know my name? I mean, aren't these guys supposed to be these bigwig elites who don't waste their time on the little people like me? Me representing the average American?

Sen. Kerry mentioned Palin's name while tossing a zinger at Mitt Romney -- something about how Sarah Palin once said she could see Russia from her house, while it seems like Mitt Romney's only ever seen Russia in Rocky IV. Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto gave Palin a minute to respond to the joke, and then mercifully stepped in to formulate a response on her behalf -- something to the effect that it's a shame how Democrats are still taking Palin's Russia comments out of context, while complaining about their own words being similarly misused. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...


Posted Sep. 8,2012 at 9:15 AM EST by in 2012 Election, Democratic National Convention, Democratic Party, FOX News, John Kerry, Sarah Palin | Permalink | Comments (33)


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