New highs forecast in Australia have forced the government to add a new color to its heat maps, AFP reports:
Central Australia was shown with a purple area on the latest Bureau of Meteorology forecast map issued for next Monday, a new colour code suggesting temperatures will soar above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). The bureau's head of climate monitoring and prediction David Jones said the new scale, which also features a pink code for temperatures from 52 to 54 degrees, reflected the potential for old heat records to be smashed.
"The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau's model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees," Jones told Fairfax newspapers. Australia's all-time record temperature is 50.7 degrees, set in January 1960 at Oodnadatta in the state of South Australia.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee has announced that Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, will deliver the invocation at Obama's inauguration, and Reverend Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion Conferences, a mostly college-aged Christian movement, to deliver the benediction.
President Obama was involved in the selection of participants in the Inaugural program, including Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams and Rev. Louie Giglio.
“Vice President Biden and I are honored that Myrlie Evers-Williams and Rev. Louie Giglio will participate in the Inaugural ceremony,” President Obama said today. “Their voices have inspired many people across this great nation within the faith community and beyond. Their careers reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans – justice, equality, and opportunity.”
"I am humbled to have been asked to deliver the invocation for the 57th inauguration of the President of the United States—especially in light of this historical time in America when we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement,” Myrlie Evers-Williams said today. “It is indeed an exhilarating experience to have the distinct honor of representing that era."
“It is my privilege to have the opportunity to lead our nation in prayer at the upcoming inauguration in Washington, DC,” said Rev. Louie Giglio. “During these days it is essential for our nation to stand together as one. And, as always, it is the right time to humble ourselves before our Maker. May we all look up to our God, from whom we can receive mercy, grace and truth to strengthen our lives, our families and our nation. I am honored to be invited by the President to lead our nation as we look up to God, and as we look ahead to a future that honors and reflects the One who has given us every good and perfect gift.”
Local California Scout Chapter Challenges National Ban on Gays by Approving Ryan Andresen's Eagle Scout Application
A California Boy Scouts chapter is challenging the national Boy Scouts organization after it approved gay scout Ryan Andresen's application for Eagle Scout status and forwarded it to the umbrella organization for approval, Reuters reports:
"From what I understand, this has never happened before," Eric Andresen, father of former scout Ryan Andresen, told Reuters.
"It's the first in-your-face (challenge)," said Bonnie Hazarabedian, who chaired the Boy Scout district review board that signed off on Ryan's Eagle scout application and forwarded its recommendation last week to the national headquarters for final approval...
..."I don't think sexual orientation should enter into why a Scout is a Scout, or whether they are Eagle material," said Hazarabedian. "We felt without a doubt he deserved that rank."
The Boy Scouts of America did not respond immediately to questions emailed by Reuters on Monday afternoon. At the time Ryan's case grabbed attention last fall, BSA spokesman Deron Smith issued a statement saying Andresen's Boy Scout membership had been revoked.
Ryan was refused the Eagle status last year after coming out as gay. Because the BSA has upheld its discriminatory ban, 18-year-old Ryan was told he was ineligable for the BSA's highest honor, despite years of scouting and his completion of an anti-bullying project. In response, Ryan's mom, Karen Andresen, started a Change.org petition that has since received more than 450,000 signatures calling for her son to be given the same opportunities as other Boy Scouts.
"Councils across the nation are rejecting the Boy Scouts' grossly discriminatory ban on gay scouts, echoing the support of fellow scouts, business leaders, and the American public,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “How long can the BSA go on ignoring its own members and its core values of fairness, leadership and integrity? The growing number of councils welcoming gay scouts and leaders reminds BSA autocrats: change will come with you, or without you."
Uganda: Anti-Gay Evangelist Scott Lively Appears in Federal Court, and Facebook Takes Down 'Outing' Page
After hearings yesterday, a federal court is weighing a request for dismissal from anti-gay evangelical Scott Lively of a case brought against him by Pepe Onziema, a transgender gay rights activist and SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda) accusing Lively of crimes against humanity.
The AP reports:
Following court arguments Monday, it is now up to U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor to decide whether to grant Lively’s motion to dismiss a civil action that Sexual Minorities Uganda filed against him last year. The Uganda-based group for which Onziema serves as program director alleges that Lively waged a long campaign of persecution of gays in the East African country.
Lively’s lawyer, Horatio Mihet, called the case an attack on the U.S. Constitution and his client’s First Amendment right to free speech. Plaintiff’s attorney Pam Spees, from the Center for Constitutional Rights, said Lively conspired with others in Uganda to persecute gays.
With every courtroom seat filled, court officials broadcast the proceeding to two overflow rooms so spectators could watch the arguments live.
The page, called "Kampala Exposed: Facts and Rumors," was brought to wider attention by a Change.org petition started by the LGBT organization Freedom and Roam Uganda, and reported on by Towleroad. In the petition, Freedom and Roam Uganda cited a previous "outing" of Ugandans perceived to be gay in a local newspaper and the anti-gay bias believed to have led to the murder of prominent Ugandan LGBT advocate David Kato. GLAAD reached out to Facebook regarding the anti-gay page.
Teen Awarded NPR's Top Storytelling Performance Prize for Powerful Tale About His Two Gay Moms: VIDEO
Snap Judgment is NPR's spoken word and storytelling show.
NPR Snap Judgment Performance of the Year was awarded in December to 15-year-old Noah St. John for his explosively moving story about his two moms and the moment he thought he might lose the family he had always known.
A must-watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
(thanks to cleve jones, who sent this along)
Following the publication of a new full-page ad from the Log Cabin Republicans attacking Chuck Hagel's nomination as Defense Secretary, more voices are chiming in with questions about who might be behind the funding of the group's ads.
Now, David Mixner and John Aravosis are scratching their heads.
Can't help but wonder if their funds wouldn't be better spent running a full page ad asking the House Republicans to cease and desist from financing the opposition in the legal battle for DOMA. Or maybe the Log Cabin Republicans can take all their newly discovered wealth and pay for full page ads demanding the Republicans support a trans-inclusive ENDA. Surely we would welcome them using their money to pay for an ad that lists all the Republicans who now support marriage equality?
Nope, they run an ad that omits key information, says Hagel apology is not sincere enough and that this issue is the most important ever for the Log Cabin Republicans. Really, this is what we should be spending our time on? This is how we should be spending tens of thousands of dollars?
Let's be honest here. Someone is using the Log Cabin Republicans for another agenda and financing these ads. The Log Cabin Republicans in order to have credibility must show us who are financing these ads. That kind of money sure hasn't been sitting in their accounts all year long. I promise you that is a fact. Show us the money!
I will say that I have growing concerns, not about Hagel, but about the gay Republican group Log Cabin Republicans, and whether we are witnessing another gay organization in a payola, pay-for-play, -type scandal that we previously had with GLAAD (and AT&T) and the NGLTF (and gambling interests), where both gay groups weighed in on an issue that didn’t seem to have a terribly gay angle, only to later found out that a not-gay-at-all outside interest was pulling their strings, and undermining our own community and its ongoing credibility...
...What makes Log Cabin’s new-found interest in anti-gay Republicans so curious is Log Cabin’s long-standing disinterest in standing up to anti-gay Republicans. Log Cabin had no problem defending John Ashcroft, when he was attacked for his anti-gay comments about Hormel. And Log Cabin had no problem getting in bed with Mitt Romney, when the GOP presidential candidate renounced pretty much every pro-gay position he had previously ever held.
Log Cabin’s tag line on the ad is “Chuck Hagel’s apology: Too little, too late.” One could use the same tag line about Log Cabin’s sudden interest in standing up to anti-gay Republicans.
Watch LCR interim executive director Gregory T. Angelo on CNN yesterday,
AFTER THE JUMP...