In a move that might complicate Rick Perry's 2016 presidential ambitions, a grand jury in Texas has just indicted the long-time governor on two charges related to his effort last year to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest.
Lehmberg [pictured], the first woman and first openly gay District Attorney in Travis County, runs the state’s Public Integrity Unit (PIU) which is charged with investigating wrongdoing by state officials. After her arrest and guilty plea for a drunk driving incident in April 2013, Perry called on her to resign and threatened to withhold $7.2 million in state money from the PIU if she refused.
Lehmberg refused and Perry carried through with his veto threat. The two felony charges, abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official, stem from this.
The AP reports:
Several top aides to the Republican governor appeared before grand jurors in Austin, including his deputy chief of staff, legislative director and general counsel. Perry himself did not testify, though.
Grand jurors indicted Perry on abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony with potential punishments of five to 99 years in prison, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of two to 10 years. [...]
"I took into account the fact that we're talking about a governor of a state — and a governor of the state of Texas, which we all love," said Michael McCrum, the San Antonio-based special prosecutor. "Obviously that carries a lot of importance. But when it gets down to it, the law is the law."
The Austin-American Statesman continues:
Lehmberg supporters said Perry’s actions constituted political retribution; Many Republicans have said the Public Integrity Unit has unfairly targeted their party for prosecutions. The Travis County District Attorney’s office has for decades been led by Democrats, including Lehmberg.
As head of the PIU, Lehmberg was credited in 2010 with convicting U.S. House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay for money laundering. Had Lehmberg resigned after her arrest and conviction, Perry would have been able to name her replacement, likely a Republican.
Austin's KXAN adds that an indictment indicates the grand jury believes the state has a strong enough case to send to trial and is not an admission of guilt. McCrum told reporters he plans to meet with Perry's attorneys on Monday.
Mischa Badasyan plans to have sex with a different man every day for a year in the name of art. The Berlin-based human rights activist turned performance artist is using his body to shed light the intersection of loneliness and desire created by modern hookup culture. Using gay social apps like Grindr and a variety of websites built to connect guys looking for quick flings, Badasyan’s project, “Save The Date,” wants to explore French philosopher Marc Augé’s concept of “non-places.”
"He was writing about non-places in the big cities; places like supermarkets, shopping malls, airports, motorways,” Badasyan explained to PolicyMic. “[H]e says that people lose their identity, there's no communication, people don't feel a belonging to somewhere and that causes the loneliness of people."
By having anonymous sex in public settings like cruising areas, Badasyan says, he himself will become like a non-place, and reconnect with an aspect of gay male culture that is unique to them:
“Straight people don't have these kind of applications, so many gay chats, in terms of cruising, sex clubs, sex bars, they don't have as many opportunities as gay people."
Sex positive support for Save the Date has been widespread, as Badasyan is using the project as an opportunity to spread the word about safe sex and proper condom use. Save the Date is slated to begin in September.
Watch a performance of Mischa Badasyan’s live action painting The Hole of Glory AFTER THE JUMP...
Chief Justice John Roberts, who’s responsible for stay requests for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, has agreed to allow the Supreme Court to decide whether or not a stay is justified in the Virginia gay marriage case.
The Fourth Circuit, which struck down the Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage late last month, originally denied county clerk Michèle McQuigg's request to stay the ruling. This led to McQuigg and the anti-gay Christian legal firm representing her, Alliance Defending Freedom, to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.
The New Civil Rights Movement reports:
Acknowledging the request, Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered information to be filed by Monday at 5:00 PM. The Court could have granted the stay as requested, refused to grant the stay, or ignored the request and not responded. The Supreme Court has granted every stay request in a same-sex marriage case since its DOMA ruling last year.
This week, the Fourth Circuit confirmed that marriages in Virginia could begin next Thursday. That still holds, unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise -- which is likely.
SCOTT LIVELY: Tells recently out Christian singer Vicki Beeching that she's "given in to a lie."
DANIEL RADCLIFFE: Surprises moviegoers at a screening of his movie What If.
RIGHT-WING RODEO: Round-up of the week's worst moments in conservative media.
HOT BUN: It's not what it looks like.
For more recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.
Woman files lawsuit against Beyonce and Jay-Z claiming to be Blue Ivy's mother.
Queer Nation targets Sen. Tammy Baldwin over her support for ENDA, which Queer Nation is fighting against over its broad religious exemptions.
99-year-old great-great-grandmother Ida Keeling steals the show at the Gay Games' 100-meter dash.
Credence, the first LGBT-focused sci-fi film, ends its 30-day IndieGogo campaign with 370% funding.
Westboro Baptist Church is reacting to Robin Williams' passing with their ususal level of grace and civility.
Mother grieves after gay teen son's dying wish to donate his organs is rejected by FDA regulations citing "ineligibility" because of son's homosexuality.
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) has a brain fart on camera in a debate on women's health, forgets what birth control is.
Demi Lovato reveals why she unfollowed Selena Gomez on social media: "People change and people grow apart"
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady admits he touches his centers' butts "more often than their wives"
A look at the rumoured Stormtrooper helmet for Star Wars: Episode VII
The family of Michael Brown have released a statement following Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson's press conference naming the officer: "There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender."
Sebastian Stan sends a note of thanks to fans who helped make his birthday so special.
There are whispers over the internet that Beyonce and Rihanna might be collaborating on a remix of Beyonce's song "Blow"
Henry Cavill is using his Superman strength and stamina to save the animals.
Sea World has announced it will build larger tanks (prisons?) for its killer whale exhibits at its three theme parks.
According to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll, American attitudes towards gays are changing at a rapid pace with a solid majority supporting same-sex marriage, a majority saying they wouldn't mind if their child were gay, and an "overwhelming majority" say that the orientation of a Congressional candidate wouldn't matter.
Of the over 1,000 adults interviewed via telephone for the poll, those 18-29 were overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage, the number who actually know a gay person has surpassed 70%, and those who know someone gay are almost twice as likely to support same-sex marriage.
The dissenters are the predictable lot: older, conservative, and especially Tea Partiers. However, the biggest influencing factor for support is whether or not the person interviewed actually knows someone who is gay, underscoring how essential it is that we be out and proud.
Check out the poll's findings HERE.