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Neneh Cherry and Robyn Collaborate on New Track 'Out of the Black': LISTEN


Swedish pop elf Robyn is helping "Buffalo Stance" singer Neneh Cherry on her comeback album which is released later this month, and the duo released a duet today called "Out of the Black".

Check it out and let us know what you think of it, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, Robyn is recording with R&B pop legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis which has to be the best music news of the day.

Posted Feb. 4,2014 at 8:49 PM EST by in Music, News, Robyn | Permalink | Comments (8)

Pennsylvania Church Revokes Membership Of Gay Worshipper Out Of Love

Ambassadors Bible Chapel

20-year-old Bobbie Pierce had been a member of Ambassador's Bible Chapel in Newberry Township, Pennsylvania his entire life. Now, though he is still allowed to attend services, he is a member no longer after church elders including Pastor David Slautterback decided that church discipline was needed when Pierce chose not to renounce his homosexuality, the York Daily Record reports.

PierceSaid Slautterback:

I do not believe that a homosexual person has to be homosexual any more than I believe that a person who is inclined to steal steals[...]We placed Bobbie under church discipline out of love for Bobbie and regard for his soul.

Pierce is less concerned with his soul and more about the lives of other gay youths and wants them to know that they are not alone.

I've heard so many stories of someone who is homosexual who has a strict Christian family, who commits suicide.

Pierce still attends his church. He takes his wheelchair-bound grandmother there weekly, and despite the actions of Pastor Slautterback he still feels at home there.

The members of the church are like a family. That's where I grew up. Even with the non-acceptance of homosexuality, it's still my church where I felt comfortable.

Posted Feb. 4,2014 at 8:38 PM EST by in Pennsylvania, Religion | Permalink | Comments (44)

Covering the Sochi Olympics Under a Cloud of Global Doubt


BY ANGUS WEST / GlobalPost

As the world turns its attention to Sochi for the start of the Olympics on Friday, efforts to turn the subtropical resort city into an Olympic venue hit deadline. This is what it all looks like.

SOCHI, Russia — “What do you think of Russia?” Dmitry Avtonomov asked me.

He is a young Russian man visiting Sochi from Cheboksary, a city on Russia's Volga River, and he wanted a comparison with the US.

I searched for words. “Well, it’s less fancy.”

“You mean, normal?” he asked.

Sochi isn’t a glistening city. Rows of single-story houses, some with metal roofs, retreat from the sea; protruding yellow utility pipes connect many buildings, occasionally over roads; there are high-rise hotels closer to the coast, along with dilapidated older buildings. Smooth black stones cover the beach.

There was talk around the 2012 London Olympics about the unprecedented security, questions about whether or not the facilities would be ready in time, how the performance would play out, and if the country would really benefit. The same has happened here in Russia, but there is more security, more money and more negative attention in the press.

This is what initially drew me to Sochi and made me want to witness the coastal resort's changing landscape and, of course, these Olympic Games — to be present as a correspondent for GlobalPost covering the human rights issues, geopolitics and security machine that accompany the Games in this setting.

Russia’s $50 billion investment for the Winter Olympic Games is most visible in the city’s new infrastructure: a railroad the length of Sochi’s coast connecting to Sochi International Airport, and a new highway linking the coast to Krasnaya Polyana and surrounding ski resorts, where the downhill events for the Olympics will be held.

Russia’s massive security effort for the Games is also most evident in the city’s public spaces.

Walk anywhere in Sochi for long enough and you’ll run into security of some kind: Cossacks, police, soldiers. Eventually, you might accept that they are just doing their job and grow immune to their eyeing you. Still, busloads of Olympic volunteers rush to get on the trains at Adler’s new train station—which has lines running toward downtown Sochi and the Olympic park—while purple-suited squads administer full-body checks and x-ray scans before anyone can enter.

Railway_sochiThis happens twice at the new station, a giant curved structure on the Black Sea: first at the entrance, and again before boarding at the platforms. If that wasn’t enough, black and brown German shepherds walk with guards in the crowd. A small fluffy dog used for bomb sniffing seems innocent next to the powerful German breed.

There appears to be about one dog for every three security officials, and far more security officials than tourists. Some soldiers have blue and grey camouflage; their sheer numbers would prevent anyone from doing anything suspicious.

Soldiers and police are everywhere—along the tracks on broken cement blocks of Soviet-era bath houses, under roadways, standing in green and grey army suits.

Packs of Cossacks huddle together along the streets surrounding the Olympic park. They look but don't do much else. They stay in back alleys or walk the streets: they watch you.

If you seem suspicious, they will let you pass, keeping watch beneath fur hats. Like most security personnel on the streets of Sochi, they seem intent on doing their job, but also like they are there to be seen.

Getting into the “ring of steel” protecting the costal Olympic park without proper credentials seems impossible. Even for a pedestrian walking to the venue it is not easy. A new roadway and overpass cross each other near the main entrance, requiring those who approach on foot to jump two barriers and try not to get hit by oncoming traffic.

ShipsOut in the ocean, beyond the seaside Olympic park, two hulking navy ships pace at sea. At least one is prepared to evacuate US citizens, should the need arise. It makes you feel safe—if you’re American—but then again, people here don’t seem too worried about a terrorist attack during the Games.

Firdaus Pathi, a 27-year-old medical student, traveled with a friend to snowboard in the mountains near Sochi before the Olympics. Pathi is from Volgograd, where a series of suicide bombings left dozens killed and many more dead late last year. He lives near the Volgograd train station where the latest bombing occurred, and says his brother heard the bombs go off.

“It was terrifying,” he said.

The threat of an attack emanating from the volatile North Caucus region, which neighbors Sochi, heightened security precautions for the Olympics—made them what I see here today. But, like many traveling to Sochi in the coming weeks, Pathi decided to take the risk. Of course he was concerned, he told me, but the feeling came to pass.

“I believe if bad things are going to happen, they are going to happen,” he said. “It doesn't matter where you are.”


An ABC News report on Sochi preparations, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Feb. 4,2014 at 6:49 PM EST by in GlobalPost, News, Olympics, Russia, Sochi Olympics | Permalink | Comments (15)

Ruling 'Expected Soon' in Virginia Challenge to Gay Marriage Ban Following Hearing Today: AUDIO

(image via AFER - WAVY/Alba Bragoli)

A federal judge heard arguments in Norfolk on Thursday in one of two challenges to Virginia's ban on gay marriage. The case is Bostic v. Rainey, and the plaintiffs were represented by (Prop 8 lawyers) Ted Olson and David Boies and the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

AFER reports:

District Federal Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen could issue a ruling quickly. “You’ll be hearing from me soon,” she said at the conclusion of the nearly two-hour hearing. While we don’t know when—or how—Judge Wright Allen will decide the case, we remain optimistic that our arguments for freedom and equality will once again prevail.

The Washington Post reports:

Virginia for the first time advanced its new legal position that a 2006 referendum approved by voters to define marriage as only between a man and a woman violates the U.S. Constitution. It is the next question for courts to decide as the nation’s view of same-sex marriage undergoes a radical transformation: whether states, which traditionally define marriage, may withhold it from same-sex couples.

Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael said new Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) had made a “courageous” decision to say that the state could not defend the ban. He compared it to previous cases in which the commonwealth has defended segregation, a ban on interracial marriage and keeping women from attending VMI—all decisions overturned by the Supreme Court.

“We are not going to make the mistakes our predecessors made,” Raphael told Wright Allen.

Listen to the press call from AFER following the hearing with Boies, Olson, the plaintiffs and Virginia AG Mark Herring, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Feb. 4,2014 at 6:00 PM EST by in David Boies, Gay Marriage, News, Ted Olson, Virginia | Permalink | Comments (11)

North Carolina Boy Attempted Suicide After Being Bullied For Watching 'My Little Pony': VIDEO


An eleven-year-old from North Carolina attempted suicide in late January after being repeatedly bullied and harassed for watching and enjoying "My Little Pony," a television and film series aimed at young girls but with a dedicated male fan base. Michael Morones was found hanging from his bunk bed and is now hospitalized, with the severity of brain damage and expected level of recovery still unknown. 

NY Daily News reports:

"We won't know for months how much is going to heal," his mother, Tiffany Morones-Suttle, told WTVD. "It could even be years before we find out what potential for healing he has."


Morones is among a growing section of the male population that enjoys “My Little Pony,” which was originally marketed toward girls and created in 1983.

The fan boys are dubbed “Brony” and are unabashed about the colorful equines, which have spawned several TV series and feature-length films.

"It teaches the most basic moral values to a lot of complex thoughts," Shannon Suttle, the boy’s stepfather, told WTVD.

The Morones family has received a great deal of support, but, shockingly, they have had their fair share of negative commentators as well. Michael's mother has no plans to respond.

"I've heard a lot of people say you need to go after bullies and hold them responsible," his mom told WTVD. "But you know, I don't think that's what Mike would want. I would rather teach people how to do right than turn around than punish, because punishment doesn't always work."

We will keep Michael and his family in our thoughts during this difficult time.

Watch the ABC 11 news report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted Feb. 4,2014 at 5:30 PM EST by in Bullying, News, North Carolina, Television | Permalink | Comments (24)

Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1511

AFROJACK'S LATEST: "Ten Feet Tall" featuring Wrabel.

CAN OF BEANS: How to make a photorealistic drawing.

SKAPET: Gay couple come out of the closet in Norwegian lottery ad.

BEER DELIVERY: Best use we've seen of drone technology yet.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

Posted Feb. 4,2014 at 4:30 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (1)


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