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News: Aurora, Bieber's Blunt, Catholic Hate Group Petition, NZ

1NewsIcon Did you get a chance to see Betty White on The Tonight Show this week?

Maloney1NewsIcon Oh, look, it's anti-gay GOP House Speaker John Boehner with the new gay Congressmen Sean Patrick Maloney and Mark Pocan and their lovely husbands and families.

1NewsIcon There's currently a We the People petition demanding the White House to designate the Catholic Church a hate group because of Pope Benedict's repeated denunciations of gay people. Less than 2,000 have signed said petition, which was posted on Christmas.

1NewsIcon From NBC News: "The U.S. Supreme Court is set to tackle gay marriage in a matter of months, but legislative action this week in Rhode Island and Illinois shows that supporters aren't in wait-and-see mode. Buoyed by ballot victories in four states in November, they're now on the offensive in two more; wins would mean that more than 20 percent of Americans live in places that have approved same-sex marriage."

1NewsIcon Could the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality cases be 3-3-3, not 5-4? "Say, for example, that three justices vote to reverse on the merits, three vote to affirm based on the 9th Circuit's opinion, and three vote to dismiss the appeal on jurisdictional grounds. In that case, I would argue, Proposition 8 is dead and same-sex marriage is once again available and recognized in California. The result would be a brief per curiam explaining the disposition of votes, and at least three separate opinions – maybe even more than that – to chart the outcome. No national precedent would be set in such a case."

Soccer1NewsIcon Are fans, not players, to blame for keeping European soccer players in the closet? From The Telegraph: "Part of football's appeal is its unreconstructed, largely masculine, largely working-class attitudes. It is easy to imagine that a gay footballer would dread the reaction at away grounds were he to come out."

1NewsIcon Almost 54% of New Zealand voters support marriage equality, according to a new poll. Only 38.1% do not. Meanwhile, with regard to the always controversial right to die question, about 60% believe a terminally ill person has the right to request doctor-assisted euthanasia.

1NewsIcon Justin Bieber with a blunt.

1NewsIcon Clueless photo shoot.

1NewsIcon Christians against yoga, one of the easiest and most effective forms of exercise in the world.

1NewsIcon Three people were found dead inside a home in Aurora, Colorado, the site of last summer's deadly movie theater shooting, after local SWAT officials shot a gunman who took them hostage. One hostage escaped and called police, leading to a nearly six-hour stand-off.

1NewsIcon Either because officials thought them inappropriate or because venues backed out, about half-a-dozen gun shows within an hour drive of Newtown, CT, where the Sandy Hook shooting happened last month, have been canceled.

Rictor1NewsIcon Peter David is the straight author and comic book writer who makes sure gay heroes Rictor and Shatterstar are prominently featured in the Marvel title X-Factor. Late last year David had a stroke, and he needs your help down the road to recovery.

1NewsIcon Here's Ryan Seacrest running around shirtless in St. Barts.

1NewsIcon Advice to President Obama.

1NewsIcon The return of the Coca-Cola polar bears.

Posted Jan. 5,2013 at 4:27 PM EST by in Barack Obama, Betty White, Catholic Church, Colorado, Comic Books, Gay Marriage, John Boehner, Justin Bieber, New Zealand, News, Pope Benedict, Religion, Ryan Seacrest, Sean Patrick Maloney, Sports, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (15)

Artist Philip Ross Cultivates Fungal Furniture


Artist Philip Ross first became interested in the fibrous structures created by mushrooms and other fungii about twenty years ago, when he was working with a chef who grew his own shrooms. After years of practice and perfecting the art of manipulating molds and spores, Ross has created a range of furniture made of fungus.

Right now Ross is working with a fungus called Reishi that creates new forms as it devours the wood upon which it's placed. New Scientist uncovers how it's done:

As [Reishi] digests the wood, it rearranges the fibers and forms a hard substance called chitin, also found in crab shells. The arrangement of the sawdust and the size of its chunks alter the chitinous forms that result.

With tools such as the serendipitous kerosene-Vaseline mix, Ross determines where a mushroom blossoms, where fuzz forms, and where the soma toughens: a black plastic bag pressed tight against the soma cuts off gas exchange, prompting the fungus to form a leather-like layer to encase itself.

Ross dismisses the notion that his rot is a dangerous addition to anyone's living room. Once a piece reaches a point to his liking, he kills the fungus within a 67 °C oven and coats it with a biodegradable lacquer. That means the finished furniture is dead and spores to spread it no longer form.

Ross has a number of other really cool pieces of art/design that you can check out, and perhaps even purchase, at his website.

Posted Jan. 5,2013 at 3:20 PM EST by in Design, News, Science | Permalink | Comments (3)

'South Park' Creators Trey Parker And Matt Stone: Pro-Gay, Pro-Gun

SouthparkSouth Park and The Book Of Mormon creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone don't discriminate when it comes their satirical portrayals: Christians, gay people, Jewish people, black people, white people, Muslims, celebrities... They're not afraid to offend anyone and everyone.

Yet rarely do they discuss their personal political views as openly they do in an interview with The Guardian, telling journalist Hadley Freeman they're for both gun rights and gay rights, often thought of as opposed positions. The interview, it is noted, was conducted before the Sandy Hook shooting.

The men also point out that liberals complain more often than conservatives about being made fun of:

"The big lie of our whole career is that rightwing fundamentalists are always trying to shut us down," Stone says. "It has literally never happened. The Mormons haven't, the Christians haven't – OK, the Scientologists did, but they don't count. But when we make fun of liberal people, they're like, 'What?!' I think religious conservatives are more used to taking a beating." And as if to antagonise their long-suffering liberal fans even more, Parker announces that the two causes he and Stone believe in are "gay marriage and guns. We're for both of those." [This interview was conducted before the recent shootings in Sandy Hook].

"We're from Colorado, and look at the way Colorado's gone politically in the last few elections," adds Stone, "it's now gay-friendly, weed-friendly, gun-friendly. There's an element of Colorado that I think is in us." Parker nods stoutly.

If there can be a concise summary of their political views, writes Freeman, it is this: "Be tolerant and be temperate, because only blinkered idiots are entirely on one side or the other." That's pretty fair.

Posted Jan. 5,2013 at 1:42 PM EST by in Film and TV, Matt Stone, News, South Park, Trey Parker | Permalink | Comments (27)

Azealia Banks Is 'Really Not As Moved' By Backlash As You Want Her To Be


Last night, after calling Perez Hilton a "messy faggot," among other things, on Twitter, singer Azealia Banks offered to those offended, minus Hilton, the most "sincere apologies" that can possibly be broadcast through a public social media.

She slept on it, though, and apparently Banks is feeling more cynical about the whole thing, tweeting this morning, "[I'm] Really not as moved by this f word thing as u all want me to be. As a bisexual person I knew what I meant when I used that word." And, one suspects, the kind of reaction it would invite.

Posted Jan. 5,2013 at 1:06 PM EST by in Azealia Banks, Bullying, News | Permalink | Comments (38)

Pentagon Says It's Looking Into Blocked LGBT Sites

PentagonPentagon Press Secretary George Little released a statement last night in which he said the Department of Defense is going to look into reports that it blocked LGBT sites like this one, Human Rights Campaign's online digs, Bilerico, Good As You and others.

The statement via AMERICAblog, another blocked site:

Recent reports have suggested that the Pentagon is blocking access to LGBT related websites. The Department of Defense does not block websites based on LGBT content.

The Department of Defense strongly supports the rights of gay and lesbian men and women in uniform to serve proudly and openly.

With Internet technology constantly evolving, the Department of Defense is working to ensure that service members have access to an open Internet while preserving information and operational security.

There are a number of different Internet tools used across the department to ensure that adequate cybersecurity and information security standards are maintained, and in certain instances, access may limited to content not directly related to carrying out mission or professional duties.

In order to help maintain adequate levels of information security in support of DoD policy, some components employ commercial tools that may allow users to visit "news" sites while disallowing pages categorized as "personal sites and blogs".

No filter is perfect and some sites may have unnecessarily been blocked. The Department Chief Information Officer will work with relevant components to address these situations.

John Aravosis at AMERICAblog notes how remarkable it is that Little himself, rather than an underling, released the statement, a move that suggests the Department, a known ally of LGBT staffers and pride, will act fast to open up the online avenues.

Posted Jan. 5,2013 at 11:57 AM EST by in Military, News | Permalink | Comments (13)

Azealia Banks Calls Perez Hilton A 'Faggot,' 'Worse Than A Girl'


Singer Azealia Banks refused to back down after calling Perez Hilton a "messy faggot" in a Twitter argument. According to the bisexual entertainer, "faggot" should not be used to mean all gay men, just certain types of gay men, those who act like girls, which is worse than actually being a girl, an affliction Azealia seems to deem lamentable. Hilton told her, "You drag while others choose to uplift!"

(Read the Banks' obscenity-laden Twitter drip stream of consciousness AFTER THE JUMP.)


Rather than immediately labeling Banks a homophobe, something we know the AP would never do, Rich Juzwiak at Gawker prefers the term "troll," as in someone who speaks "recklessly" to get a rise.

As a troll, Azealia's primary function is to speak recklessly… None of this is to say that she should be using the word "faggot." I have a painful history with that word, in this case it didn't offend me but I cannot fault those whom it did. However, there are so many other factors at play while Azealia is on her e-stage that it seems a waste of time to launch a crusade against her when there are simply unmistakable homophobes, scared gay kids who need friends and lonely older gay people to tend to.

As careless as her communication may seem, it's possible that Azealia knows what she's doing — building a foul, brash legacy.


Read more from Banks AFTER THE JUMP.




[Screenshots via BuzzFeed]

Posted Jan. 5,2013 at 11:22 AM EST by in Azealia Banks, Bullying, News | Permalink | Comments (27)


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