As the countdown keeps on ticking for One Direction's 'Best Song Ever' music video (FIVE DAYS!), the group has released another promo, this time in video form. Harry Styles dressed up as the fashionable Gok Wan yesterday, and now Liam Payne is tackling the character of Leeroy, The Choreographer!
The new track is from the boy band's upcoming film, 'One Direction: This Is Us.' You can pre-order the song on iTunes now.
Watch Liam get a little bit flamboyant, AFTER THE JUMP...
The Republicans of Loudoun County in Virginia have a line, an ethical bridge too far, and after four re-elections Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) finally crossed it. It wasn't that the Virginia GOP finally tired of his rabid, vicious anti-GLBT bigotry and perpetual demonization of homosexuals or that he's the head of the SPLC-certified hate group Public Advocate of the United States. It's that he misused county funds.
That's right, it's not the years of embarrassingly loud wing-nut bigotry beyond even the level of Ruben Diaz (D-New York) that got him in trouble, it's money.
According to the Loudoun Times the Grand Jury report...
"...highlights testimony of a harsh working environment in the supervisor's office, a lack of focus on constituent services and a likely, but not blatant, misuse of county resources.”
Delgaudio was also accused of misusing his staff by directing them to not address constituent concerns and to report directly to an executive director at Public Advocate. As a result, a vote by county Republicans to censure Delgaudio passed by 8-1 with Delgaudio offering the only dissenting vote. He has been stripped of any power to serve on standing committees or regional partnership organizations, and his district office funds have been moved to a corporate board budget to be used under direction and approval of the full board.
Stand by for a breathless email money beg somehow blaming this on homosexual activists.
After spending more than $2 million defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a number of cases, House Republicans announced Thursday they would no longer defend the law in a case before the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts citing The Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Windsor, BuzzFeed reports. The announcement came via a legal filing from the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), a group controlled by House Republicans. In the case in question, McLaughlin v. Panetta, servicemembers challenged not only section 3 of DOMA, but also, "Title 38 of the U.S. Code regarding veterans’ benefits that define 'spouse' as 'a person of the opposite sex.'" In their filing, the BLAG lawyers state:
"The Supreme Court recently resolved the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality. See United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. __ (2013), 2013 WL 3196928 (U.S. June 26, 2013). The Windsor decision necessarily resolves the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality in this case. While the question of whether 38 U.S.C. § 101(3), (31) is constitutional remains open, the House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute. Accordingly, the House now seeks leave to withdraw as a party defendant."
Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker of the House, John Boehner, weighed in with a curt, "The document from the legal team speaks for itself." HRC President Chad Griffin noted the stunning nature of the Republican reversal, stating, "After millions of taxpayer dollars wasted defending discrimination, it’s a historic sign of the times that the House leadership is dropping its pointless quest to maintain second-class status for lesbian and gay couples." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for House Republicans to drop their involvement in the remaining cases to which they are a party defending DOMA and similar statutes. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told BuzzFeed:
"The Supreme Court’s ruling is clear. Rather than trying to delay justice for particular married gay and lesbian couples and their families, Speaker Boehner should immediately file motions to end House Republicans’ involvement in the remaining cases and stop spending taxpayer dollars to defend unconstitutional discrimination."
Check out the filing in full AFTER THE JUMP...
Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the majority of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), many questions have lingered over the thousand or so benefits that married gay couples are now eligible to receive. However, the IRS, in an attempt to comply with the court's ruling, has found itself in something of a quandry. One key problem in making equality a reality is geography, as Businessweek reports:
"Those living in Washington, D.C., or the 13 states that allow same-sex marriages can file a federal tax return next April just like other married couples. Not so for the thousands of gay couples who took their vows in one of those states but who live in one of the 37 others where same-sex marriage isn’t recognized. It’s not yet clear whose definition of marriage the IRS is supposed to follow in evaluating their taxes—the state where the couple got married, or the one in which they reside. And will the federal government recognize gay couples in civil unions who file a joint return?
To avoid confusion, a single nationwide rule makes the most sense, says Patricia Cain, a tax law professor at Santa Clara University in California. "The IRS has the power to construe the Internal Revenue Code,” she says. “So for them it’s, ‘What does the word spouse mean?’ ” President Obama has weighed in, saying it’s his “personal belief” that same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as married couples regardless of where they live. He’s asked federal agencies to research legal issues that might stand in the way. Such a ruling, though, could cause headaches for the IRS, which until now has typically followed states’ definitions of marriage, says David Herzig, a tax law professor at Valparaiso University. “You may solve this problem,” he says, “but you may open up another.”
Businessweek also suggests that it's unclear whether gay couples will benefit financially in a broad way if they can file joint tax returns. While filing separately will maximize tax savings for some, filing jointly will be more beneficial for others. And there's also the question of refunds. As the IRS normally allows taxpayers three years to re-do their tax returns, some couples may be eligible for increased refunds. But should a couple end up owing the federal government more after filing together, will the IRS require couples to pay the additional tax?
Pay-roll taxes on employer-provided health insurance, incurred only by same-sex spouses, present another headache:
"The IRS could allow refunds, and then businesses would have to figure out how to distribute them to employees and ex-employees. Some companies pay married gay employees extra to cover their health-care tax burdens; they would have to decide whether to seek reimbursements from workers who get income tax refunds."
However, with a congress hostile not only to the Obama administration but also to the IRS in particular, it's almost certain that any attempt to formally codify gay marriage into the tax code will draw the ire of the right: “No matter what [the IRS does],” says Herzig, “it’s such a volatile issue they’ll end up getting a challenge.”
FRUITVALE STATION, the first probable Best Picture contender of 2013, hit a few theaters last Friday after months of pre-release buzz. The buzz was fueled by a double triumph at Sundance this past January where it took home both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. The feature debut of 27 year-old writer/director Ryan Coogler tells the true story of the death of a 22 year-old African American man named Oscar Grant, who was shot by police on New Year's Day in 2009 at the Fruitvale BART Station in San Francisco. Watching it last Friday it felt like a modest success, a solid specific slice-of-life drama if not a great or ambitious one. But context is a funny thing. The very next day it was feeling much bigger.
Nothing exists in a vacuum and that includes the movies. On Saturday George Zimmerman was found "Not Guilty" in the death of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed black man (this time he was only a teenager), whose life was snuffed out nonsensically. The Weinstein Company who distributed the movie couldn't possibly have had better (or sadder) timing. If Fruitvale Station were a fictional drama, it might have felt unnervingly prescient opening when it did but since it is also based in fact it arrives like a stinging reminder of a shameful national pattern.
The movie begins with grainy cell phone footage of the shooting and then steps back to retrace the last twenty-four hours of Oscar Grant's life. Structurally this gambit is hit and miss. During Fruitvale Station's clumsier moments, like a fictional scene involving a stray dog or a factual one when Grant's mother (played by Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer from The Help) suggests he take the train that night, this technique backfires. You can practically hear the first-time filmmaker screaming "FORESHADOWING!" in the background as if we're on a morbid countdown watching Oscar on his clueless death march. But for good long stretches of the movie, especially in its simpler moments when Oscar hangs with friends, banters with relatives or argues with his girlfriend (a terrific nuanced Melonie Diaz, who rescues the underwritten stock role of "longsuffering girlfriend"), it works quite well.
If writer/director Ryan Coogler sometimes pulls his version of Oscar from Passive Protagonist to Sanctified Hero his lead actor Michael B. Jordan, so reliably strong (see: The Wire, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood), usually tugs back presenting Oscar as a full human: outgoing, nice and charming, sure, but also hot tempered and inconsistent in his behavior and loyalties. An early scene in a grocery store where Oscar used to work perfectly captures this dynamic. The written details of the two-part scene are simple. First Oscar goes out of his way to help a customer and then he asks his boss for his job back. Both actions could be played completely sympathetically as 'nice guy who just needs another chance' but Jordan complicates the scene suggesting that the two actions are inextricably linked and showing just enough attraction to the customer and just enough anger with his boss to make you cringe a teensy bit at his underlying motives as well as his own culpability in his larger problems with his girlfriend at home and his lack of employment. This tug of war between the movie and the actor for Oscar's soul makes the movie fairly involving even though we're spending much of the time eavesdropping on phone calls and text messages (annoyingly superimposed onscreen) and driving around the Bay Area aimlessly.
It'd be unfair to attribute all of the emotions that this debut film stirs up to its quality. But then, that's often the case with art of any medium that tackles a provocative topic, spurs conversation or strikes a resonant note with the zeitgeist. When you ask the right question at the right time, anything seems possible... including mad Oscar attention for a minor success. "How much is this life worth?" is the question that eventually sneaks up on you as you finish the movie and think on it afterwards. And the answer, thanks to the movie's better moments and Jordan's star turn is "quite a lot".
Nathaniel Rogers would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.
Yesterday's Emmy nominations gave us plenty to celebrate. The excellent Game of Thrones picked up 16 nominations (second only to American Horror Story's 17). Netflix was able to garner 14 nominations for its first batch of original programming. Emmy voters even managed to pleasantly surprise us by recognizing performances from Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), Adam Driver (Girls) and Laura Dern (Enlightened).
Still, the choices were far from flawless. We've collected some critics' picks for the most egregious oversights, AFTER THE JUMP...
"Are we taking crazy pills?! That is the only reasonable explanation we can seem to come up with after failing to hear Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany's name read in the Best Actress in a Drama category." (E! Online)
"Julianna Margulies, a three-time nominee and one-time winner for CBS’s Good Wife, was left out, even though the drama-actress list went seven deep." (New York Times)
"Once an Emmy darling, [Matthew Weiner] and his Mad Men were completely shut out in the drama writing derby — a first for the AMC period drama." (Deadline.com)
"[Eric Stonestreet] won the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy last year, and this year, he's not even among the nominees." (Yahoo)
"Thanks to an emotional breast cancer storyline last season, [Monica] Potter provided and Emmy-worth scene in nearly every episode. If ever there was a year that was 'her' year, it was this." (NBC News)
"For a show with extraordinary actors and actresses including Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari and more, the fact that [Parks and Recreation] took home only two nominations total -- one for Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series -- is a huge snub." (Huffington Post)
"If the Emmys have had one blind spot historically, it’s in recognizing genre shows, which might help explain Walking Dead’s absence despite another breakout year ratings-wise." (Variety)
"Plot issues with Showtime’s Dexter aside, as the show enters its final season, [Jennifer] Carpenter, by all critical accounts, knocked it out of the park last year when discovering the truth about her brother." (Washington Post)
"Jake Johnson was the star of Season 2 and he made a bold choice by moving into the Lead Actor race and unfortunately, it didn't paid off. But it didn't stop there. Both [Zooey] Deschanel and [Max] Greenfield were booted from their spots and New Girl finished with zero nominations." (TV.com)
What do you think was the worst Emmy snub?