PHOTO OF THE DAY: Texts From Hilary deals with Obama's lack of support for LGBT workers.
BY SAM GREISMAN
A look back at today's top stories
There was a gut-wrenching fatal attack on a prominent 18-year-old gay rights activist in Paris. The attack was perpetrated by a group of neo-Nazis.
Tonight is Pride Night at the Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park and while Jason Collins prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, a right-wing hate group is upset about the night's theme. Remember never to go to this Church in Marietta, Georgia where the pastor kicked out a local Boy Scout troop because they dropped their anti-gay policy. And a Communist group in Russia is upset about Elton John's "gay" outfits.
Just because it's summer doesn't mean that you need to slow down on your television consumption; check out five great shows from this past season that you can binge on. Harvey Fierstein sat down with MSNBC's Thomas Roberts to talk about, among other things, the rash of homophobic attacks in New York City.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY
Openly gay pro bowler Scott Norton and his husband discuss their marriage and the County Commissioner from Hillsborough County in Florida totally smacks down Tampa's anti-gay pride law before the council unanimously votes it out.
Not sure how much more the appetite can be whetted for more Man of Steel, but this trailer manages to do so.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Apple, Facebook, Google Deny Participation in U.S. Spying Program Said to Engage Top Internet Companies
The Washington Post droped a bombshell story this evening that nine leading U.S. internet companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple are engaged with the NSA and the FBI in a classified program called PRISM established in 2007:
Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said.
The Silicon Valley operation works alongside a parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, that gathers up “metadata” — address packets, device signatures and the like — as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s top-secret program summary, set down alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”
But the PRISM program appears more nearly to resemble the most controversial of the warrantless surveillance orders issued by President George W. Bush after the al-Qaeda attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Its history, in which President Obama presided over “exponential growth” in a program that candidate Obama criticized, shows how fundamentally surveillance law and practice have shifted away from individual suspicion in favor of systematic, mass collection techniques.
The Guardian reports that Apple, Google, and Facebook are denying participation or any knowledge of the program:
An Apple spokesman said: "We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers and any agency requesting customer data must get a court order," he said.
Joe Sullivan, Facebook's chief security officer, said: "We do not provide any government organisation with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinise any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law."
A Google spokesman said: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'backdoor' into our systems, but Google does not have a 'back door' for the government to access private user data."
With Michelle Bachman announcing her decision to not run for reelection Minnesota Republicans have begun lining up to claim her Sixth District seat, and Tom Emmer is the first to announce his bid, the Star Tribune reports.
The 2010 failed gubernatorial candidate said that he has "never felt more compelled in my life to serve,” and cites the IRS scandals and out-of-control spending as reasons to run, asking "Is this the legacy we want to leave to our children?”
During his run for governor in 2010 Tom Emmer's anti-gay views were brought into focus. He donated money to You Can Run But You Cannot Hide ministries, whose band Junkyard Prophets supports executing homosexuals; he authored a consitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and fought against gay couples being given any rights; and fought against gay and lesbian couples being able to use a surrogate to concieve children. In the middle of all of this, Target and Best Buy suffered boycotts and backlash for donating to Emmer's conservative MN Forward PAC.
Presently, no Democrats have announced that they will run against him, but elections are still 18 months away which is plenty of time for a contender to emerge.
The Federal constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled today that treating civil unions and marriages differently for tax purposes is "unequal treatment because of sexual orientation," and thus violates the country's guarantee of equal rights for its citizens. The court saw right to the heart of the matter:
The court acknowledged that married couples enjoy special privileges because the partners also accept a strong responsibility for each other, including financial, but it argued that the civil union implies the same duties and responsibilities for gay partners.
As a result the court has ordered that the laws be amended retroactively back to 2001 when the civil union status was first introduced, and in turn the government has vowed to pass legislation by this fall to implement the court's decision.
German citizens largely do not regard gay couples as a controversial issue which stands in stark contrast to the citizens of France, who have repsonded to the issue of gay marriage with protests, marches, and extreme instances of violence.
(via the AP)
The SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group MassResistance demanded today that the Boston Red Sox cancel the "Pride Night" event for tonight's game versus the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. In an interview with the anti-gay publication OneNewsNow, MassResistance president Brian Camenker used children as the excuse for his organization's opposition:
Baseball is largely for kids, so why should homosexual activism be part of that? And you know a lot of just regular fans don't want to be part of that kind of thing when they go out for a baseball game. It's certainly nothing you expect.
Two years ago the Red Sox created an "It Gets Better" video, and gay basketball player Jason Collins will be throwing the opening pitch tonight. Tickets can be bought here, and proceeds from tonight's game will be donated to Boston Pride.
(via Right Wing Watch)