President Obama flew to Newtown, Connecticut, today to appear at a vigil behind held for the victims of Friday's elementary school shooting.
"I am very mindful that words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, but whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide," said Obama in the teary speech. All across this land of ours, we have wept with you... Newtown, you are not alone."
This is the fourth trip President Obama has taken to the site of a mass shooting, something not lost on the commander-in-chief, who implored the country, "We can do better than this."
The most emotional and visibly difficult moment came toward the end of the president's 17-minute speech, when he read the names of the 20 children who were shot and killed. It's powerful.
Watch President Obama console and mourn with Newtown, AFTER THE JUMP.
New Zealand church St. Matthew's in Auckland, New Zealand, also known as St. Matthew-in-the-City, is celebrating the holidays with this billboard, which reads, "It's Christmas. Time for Jesus to come out."
According to the church's Reverend, Glynn Card, the billboard's meant to make believers, particularly those who are anti-gay, ask themselves whether the Christian messiah's message would be hampered by potential same-sex desire.
Reverend Glynn Cardy said the sign was about trying to lift the humanity of Jesus.
"The fact is we don't know what his sexual orientation was."
While some conservative Christians might point to the more absolutist parts of the Old Testament as proof of the Messiah's sexual preferences, Cardy said that homosexuality was not even a word until the 19th century. Any mention of it would therefore have been a mistranslation.
More importantly the billboard was meant to ask whether Jesus' desires in the bedroom would make a difference for those of faith.
"Would it make a difference if he was gay? Would that change the picture for you? Would it mean what we revere about him changes?"
You may remember Cardy and Auckland-based St. Matthew's from when their "Gaydar" billboard, meant to protest homophobia within the Anglican Communion, was vandalized a few years back.
As of this writing, almost 50,000 people have signed a petition calling on the White House to designate Westboro Baptist a hate group.
South Carolina's Rock Hill Herald apologized after running an advertisement for guns next to a news story about the shooting. "Advertisements are usually placed days before the newspaper lands on your doorstep. In this case, the advertisement in question was placed Thursday morning," wrote editor Paul Osmundson. "But we at The Herald should have recognized the unfortunate juxtaposition of the advertisement with stories and a photograph about gun violence."
In the wake of the Connecticut shooting, Fox is airing repeats of Family Guy and American Dad tonight instead of new episodes that contain "possibly sensitive material."
From author Liza Long's piece on raising and caring for a mentally ill and potentially dangerous son, "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother": "No one wants to send a 13-year-old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, 'Something must be done.'"
Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she plans to introduce an assault weapons ban next month. "It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation, and the possession. Not retroactively, but prospectively. It will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets," she said. "There will be a bill."
The U.S. Army's experiments in chemistry: "In 1953, a catastrophic amount of EA 1298—a version of mescaline—had been injected into a patient named Harold Blauer, who had a violent reaction: shock, coma, and then death. Blauer, a professional tennis player, had been admitted to the institute for depression, and was never told that he was part of a military experiment."
Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank on his forthcoming retirement: "I'm hoping to get paid well to do what I do now for nothing."
Latest polls show Indiana voters split on legalizing gay marriage: "The survey taken for the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University and WISH-TV found that 45 percent of those surveyed supported allowing gay people to wed, while 45 percent opposed the idea. Ten percent had no opinion."
Homeland actor Mandy Patinkin was very excited to hear that Fox New York morning show host Dave Price's wife was going into labor.
Kelly Clarkson announced today via Twitter that she and her manager's son, Brandon Blackstock, are getting married.
Can the Spice Girls really exist without Victoria Beckham?
Martin Short knows all the right people in his SNL monologue.
For sperm, it's not just the head that matters, but length too: "Most fertility research has focused on the size of sperm and the size of the swimmers' heads, but a new study suggests the variability in the length of sperm also may put a wrench in successful reproduction. Like a factory churning out products of inconsistent sizes, ejaculates with varying sperm lengths can be a problem, said James Mossman of Brown University in Rhode Island."
British conservatives upset with Prime Minister David Cameron's push for marriage equality appear to be turning toward anti-EU political party UKIP. From Reuters: "UKIP, which wants Britain to exit the EU, has pledged to exploit Conservative divisions over the issue and polls showed its support reaching new highs, putting it in third place ahead of Cameron's junior coalition partners the Liberal Democrats."
RIP: "Gustavo Archilla, whose marriage in Canada in 2003 after almost six decades of a quiet and committed relationship inspired supporters of same-sex marriage, died on Nov. 27 on Marco Island, Fla., where he lived. He was 96."
Finally, an inflatable bee beard.
Posted Dec. 16,2012 at 5:47 PM EST by Andrew Belonsky in Barney Frank, Connecticut, Dianne Feinstein, Gay Marriage, Indiana, Kelly Clarkson, News, Science, South Carolina, Spice Girls, United Kingdom, Victoria Beckham, Westboro Baptist Church | Permalink | Comments (8)
Incensed over Westboro Baptist Church's plan to picket the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, a hacker or group of hackers called KY Anonymous, one of the many organizations under the collective Anonymous umbrella, published the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the hateful church's leaders.
The campaign against Westboro is being called #OpWestBoro, according to CNET.
In addition to hack job, KY Anonymous also released a video and message telling Westboro Baptist, "We will not allow you to corrupt the minds of America with your seeds of hatred."
They went on, "We will not allow you to inspire aggression to the social factions which you deem inferior. We will render you obsolete. We will destroy you. We are coming."
Watch KY Anonymous' video message for Westboro AFTER THE JUMP.
Thousands of people took to Paris' streets to show their support for marriage equality and gay adoptions today.
Police estimate about 60,000 people were there, smaller than the 100,000 who recently marched to oppose equality, but organizers put the number of people at today's demonstration at about 150,000. Among them was Paris' gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoe.
From Reuters' report:
I've included some video of the event and interviews AFTER THE JUMP, but they're in French. Still, they're worth a watch..
Marching along to drumbeats and jazz music, the protesters waved rainbow flags and held up signs saying "liberty, equality, dignity" and "hate is not a family value." One sign announced "wedding gifts for gays will boost the economy."
Among their chants was "Oui, oui, oui" (yes, yes, yes) in support of same-sex marriage, adoption rights for gay couples and access to assisted procreation methods such as artificial insemination.
The Socialist government's bill would legalize gay marriage and adoption, but not assisted procreation.
Talking about the Connecticut school shooting on Fox News Sunday this morning, Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas told host Chris Wallace that he wishes slain school principal Dawn Hochsprung, who died lunging at gunman Adam Lanza, had an M4 assault rifle during the attack.
Said, Gohmert, "And, hearing the heroic story of the principal lunging, trying to protect. Chris, I wish to God she would have had an M4 in her office locked up. so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn't have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands, But she takes him out, takes his head off before he could kill those precious kids."
You can watch video and comment for yourself AFTER THE JUMP.
Meanwhile, none of the 31 pro-gun Senators asked to discuss the shooting on Meet the Press accepted the invitation. Said host David Gregory, "We reached out to all 31 pro-gun rights Senators in the new Congress to invite them on the program to share their views on this subject this morning. We had no takers."