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Melissa Rivers Pays Tribute to Her Mother In First TV Appearance Since Joan Rivers' Death: VIDEO

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In her first television appearance since Joan Rivers' passing September 4, Melissa Rivers joined the cast of Fashion Police to reflect on her mother's legacy. While there, Melissa also revealed that President Obama himself wrote a letter of condolence, despite being a frequent target of Joan's jabs over the years. 

Back in July, Joan joked that Obama was gay and that Michelle was "a tranny"

Watch Melissa's return to tv, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

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ISIL Compares Gays to Pedophiles, Says They Are The 'Worst of Creatures' - VIDEO

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The Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant, the unrecognized jihadist terrorist group operating Iraq and Syria, has made effective use of social media to disseminate its propagandistic messages. Since August the extremist group has released videos depicting the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, two American journalists as well as David C. Haines, a British aid worker.

The organization has consistently released videos encouraging its members to remain steadfast to the ISIL cause and remain wary of danger “kafir,” Western infidel, influences like drug dealers, pedophiles, and gay people. The West and non-Muslim countries, an ISIL fundamentalist claims in one of the group’s more recent videos, is targeting Muslim children.

“If you have family in these kafir countries, what is gonna happen most probably? You don’t have control of your children. Maybe in some of the countries it is a must for you to put your children in the kafir schools, and who’s gonna teach your children? It’s gonna be maybe a gay, maybe a drug dealer, maybe a pedophile, you know? So it’s very important for you to protect your children from these animals, from these dirty people, Allah says that they are the worst of creatures.”

Initial reports claimed that the masked ISIL fighter speaking in the video was a disaffected Arsenal soccer player who had left his life in Portugal to pursue ISIL’s cause. British intelligence subsequently identified the man as Celso Rodrigues da Costa, a 29 year old man from Portugal who had moved to England to pursue his studies.

“[ISIL] is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates,” President Obama said during a speech explaining the US’s plan to combat the terrorist group. “ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”

Watch footage of ISIL-supporter Celso Rodrigues da Costa's call to beware of gay people AFTER THE JUMP...

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Sarah Palin: 'I Owe America A Global Apology' For Costing John McCain the 2008 Election: VIDEO

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In a Thursday night segment on Sean Hannity's show criticizing President Obama's response to the ISIS threat, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin dropped the following truth bomb - candidly saying she owed America a "global apology" for screwing up John McCain's chances back in 2008. Because, you know, had McCain become President everything presumably would be sunshine and rainbows and peace and love...or something like that.

I think the correct phrase she was looking for when she settled on "global apology" was "global you're welcome"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

And if you haven't yet watched Palin's Ice Bucket Challenge a few weeks back, you really owe it to yourself to check it out HERE

[via joe.my.god]

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Openly Gay Google Exec Megan Smith Named U.S. Chief Technology Officer: VIDEO

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Megan Smith, a Google executive and former CEO of the online LGBT community site PlanetOut, has been selected by President Obama as the new Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. 

As CTO, Smith will "lead Administration-wide efforts to unleash the power of technology, data, and innovation to help meet our nation’s goals and the needs of our citizens."

Said Obama of Smith's selection:

Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment. I am confident that in her new role as America’s Chief Technology Officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people. I am grateful for her commitment to serve, and I look forward to working with her and with our new Deputy U.S. CTO, Alexander Macgillivray, in the weeks and months ahead.

The Washington Post adds:

Smith, the new U.S. CTO, is an MIT-trained mechanical engineer and entrepreneur with deep roots in the California tech world. She currently serves as a vice president at Google[x], the company's lab for ambitious next-generation projects, like its delivery-by-drone Project Wing and its balloon-borne Internet connectivity program Project Loon. For nine years, Smith led Google's team responsible for developing new business, where she led the acquisitions that would become Google Earth and Google Maps. And she's familiar to Washington's burgeoning "civic tech" community through her work with the Google Crisis Response project.

Check out a Bloomberg report on how Smith might shape the tech policy landscape in her new position, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Obamacare Expanding Healthcare Access For Trans People

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A growing number of low-income people who identify as transgender are finding that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is making it easier for them to transition. One of Obamacare’s key components is the requirement that health care providers provide coverage for all people interested in purchasing policies, regardless of whether or not they have pre-existing conditions.

Previously gender identity disorder, the psychological description of a dysphoria associated with one’s birth sex and assigned gender, was frequently used both to disqualify people from purchasing health plans and as a justification for denying certain forms of coverage. By making health care generally more affordable and divorcing coverage from employers, Obamacare is removing many of the barriers that trans-identified people have traditionally had to deal with

“The system isn’t perfect — low-income people buying insurance through a state exchange will still have to pay monthly fees — but it’s an improvement over the current setup,” Transgender Law Center Project Health program manager Anand Kalra explained to the Advocate:

“[A]ll plans sold through state exchanges have to provide coverage for 10 ‘Essential Health Benefits,’ which include, among others, preventative care, reproductive health, prescription drugs, mental health care, and treatment for substance abuse.”

Increased access to a broader network of healthcare practitioners is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address all of the infrastructural healthcare difficulties faced by the the trans-community. There are far fewer general practitioners that specialize in trans-health issues. Moreover, while insurance companies can no longer out and out deny trans-identified people coverage simply for being trans, the approval process for many  medical procedures commonly associated with trans-people can be arduous.

"It is not a simple, easy, magical surgery," Devin Payn recounted to Kaiser Health News. "Trying to do this without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong ... not having the money to pay for it would be awful."


Department Of Labor Announces Protections For Transgender Employees Of Federal Contractors - VIDEO

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The Department of Labor has finally issued guidance to protect transgender employees of federal contractors from discrimination, reports Buzzfeed.

The move comes after an April 2012 decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) supporting a claim for discrimination against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives filed by transgender woman Mia Macy.

The EEOC ruled in favor of Macy’s claim under the sex discrimination ban in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because anti-transgender discrimination is a type of sex discrimination.

When Labor Secretary Tom Perez addressed the issue in February, he said that the issue was under review. However, it wasn’t until President Obama announced in June that he would be signing an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT employees of federally-funded organizations that Perez announced the Labor Department would be applying the Macy decision to the existing executive order.

The guidance was issued yesterday “[t]o clarify that existing agency guidance on discrimination on the basis of sex under Executive Order 11246, as amended, includes discrimination on the bases of gender identity and transgender status.”

Welcoming the decision, Sarah Warbelow, The Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, said:

“The Labor Department guidance issued today is a giant step toward ensuring American workers are judged based on the work they do, and never because of a fundamental aspect of who they are — like their gender identity.”

Watch a Center for American Progress profile of Mia Macy, AFTER THE JUMP...

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