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Scott Hines, Out Former Mayor Of Rancho Mirage, California, Dies Following Battle With Depression: VIDEO

Scott Hines

Scott Hines, the gay former mayor of Rancho Mirage, California, died last Saturday night following a battle with depression, reports the Desert Sun.

581985_3530204861565_416052484_nScott Hines was elected to the City Council in April 2010 and served one term. During the 2010 campaign, residents received fliers encouraging them not to let Hines "infect" the city, a message interpreted by many as an attack on the gay community.

Hines, who served as an Air Force intelligence officer until the early 2000s, worked to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless and a number of LGBT issues. In 2013, he appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the U.S. Air Force employment of "ex-gay" therapist Dr. Mike Rosebush as head of the Center for Character and Leadership Development.

Writing on Facebook, Hines' husband, Kevin Blessing, said:

"I am less of a person today as I will no longer have this man's wonderful energy around me, at the same time I am so blessed to have had him in my life in the first place."

Blessing also said that Hines had been suffering from liver cancer.

His biological mother Cindy Gough Montgomery (above right, with Hines) also wrote about her son's death:

Scott hines_2

Watch Hines on The Rachel Maddow Show, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Scott Hines, Out Former Mayor Of Rancho Mirage, California, Dies Following Battle With Depression: VIDEO" »


NY Teen Behind Viral Cat Yearbook Photo Commits Suicide

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Draven Rodriguez, the New York teen who made headlines and garnered the support of celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon for his campaign to get his laser cat photo in his high school yearbook, has killed himself at the age of 17.

Syracuse reports:

Rodriguez made national news last fall when he started a petition to get his unique photo featured in the yearbook as his senior portrait. The petition was a precaution, while the school did not decline the photo just yet.

"This is my pre-emptive strike just in case such a thing were to happen," Rodriguez explained in his petition. "I wanted as many backers as possible before the deadline of September 15th."

Cat2However, even after reaching more than 7,000 signatures, Rodriguez was not allowed to use the photo in the yearbook. Instead, Principal Diane Wilkinson, and her Chihuahua Vivienne, joined Rodriguez for a new laser cat yearbook photo.

Times Union adds:

Although his humor and intelligence were readily apparent, Rodriguez was more cherished by family and schoolmates for his easy facility for friendship.

"He made friends wherever he went," said Rodriguez's father, Jonathan Stewart. "He had friends all over the country — people he'd met at youth-leadership conferences, online, just around town."

The photo of Rodriguez, his cat Mr. Bigglesworth, Principal Wilkinson, and Vivienne will reportedly get its own page in the yearbook with a message about adopting pets through shelters and rescue organizations. 

Watch Jimmy Fallon's opening monologue a few months back mentioning Rodriguez, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NY Teen Behind Viral Cat Yearbook Photo Commits Suicide" »


Openly Gay 60's Teen Idol Lesley Gore Passes Away at Age 68

60s teen idol/pop icon Lesley Gore, best know for her classic songs "“It’s My Party (I’ll Cry if I Want To)” and “You Don’t Own Me,” has passed away at the age of 68, the AP reports:

GoreAccording to her partner of 33 years, Gore died Monday of cancer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

Brooklyn-born and New Jersey-raised, Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and signed to Mercury Records.

Gore came out publicly as a lesbian in a 2005 interview with Afterellen, saying:

Well, you know, it’s funny. I just never found it was necessary because I really never kept my life private. Those who knew me, those who worked with me were well aware.

Gore also appeared on the camptastic 1960s Batman television series playing Pussycat, one of Catwoman's minions. 

Watch a 1965 video of Gore performing "It's My Party," and the classic First Wives Club performance of "You Don't Own Me" as sung by Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Openly Gay 60's Teen Idol Lesley Gore Passes Away at Age 68" »


CBS News Correspondent Bob Simon Dies in Car Accident at 73

Cooper

CBS News foreign reporter Bob Simon died in a car accident tonight on Manhattan's west side. Simon was riding in a livery cab when it was rear-ended and slammed into a median on the West Side highway.

Said 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager:

"It's a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News. It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times. Bob was a reporter's reporter. He was driven by a natural curiosity that took him all over the world covering every kind of story imaginable. There is no one else like Bob Simon. All of us at CBS News and particularly at 60 Minutes will miss him very much."

An emotional Anderson Cooper broke the news on CNN, calling Simon "the best in the world," a "warrior poet."

Watch his tribute, AFTER THE JUMP...

Our thoughts go out to Simon's family, friends, and colleagues.

Continue reading "CBS News Correspondent Bob Simon Dies in Car Accident at 73" »


REPORT: 'Gay' Man Thrown From Building By ISIS Survives, Is Stoned To Death By Syrian Villagers

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Reports are emerging that a man in Syria thrown from a building by ISIS militants for being gay was stoned to death by villagers when he survived the fall.

A series of images show two masked men throwing the victim - charged with having a “homosexual affair” - from a seven-story building.

After surviving the fall, the man was stoned to death by locals in ISIS stronghold Raqqa.

Photos posted on LiveLeak show the man being checked after the fall and finally being circled by a waiting crowd.

While ISIS has labeled the individual as a homosexual, it is important to bear in mind that this is a charge frequently leveled by the Islamic State against individuals who are perceived as dissidents. A statement released by The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission following a similar reportedly anti-gay attack in Iraq best sums up the caution that should be taken when viewing ISIS' crimes that put sexual orientation front and center:

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07e11f45970d-250wiIGLHRC and MADRE caution concerned members of the media, representatives of foreign governments and people of conscience generally in the strongest possible terms against assuming that the men identified as ‘gay’ and against assuming the men engaged in homosexual acts. [...]

At this time, to publicly call Iraqi men “gay” can only do harm. If the men did not identify as gay, the allegation is inaccurate and obscures the Islamic State’s motivation for publicly labeling them as such. If the men indeed identified as gay, extreme caution should be exercised and consultation held with those they loved as widespread publicity potentially exposes their families, loved ones and intimate partners to harm. Honor killings are pervasive in Iraq, so the safety of those most affected must be a paramount concern.

Furthermore, one cannot assume that the executions were for sodomy solely on the basis of information from the Islamic State. Without evidentiary basis or independent confirmation, this sweeping allegation could be applied to anyone the Islamic State seeks to discredit—including human rights activists and anyone opposed to the Islamic State. Accusing opponents of homosexuality is a tried and true tool used to discredit political adversaries throughout the world.

Video footage has also emerged today of a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive by ISIS. From The New York Times:

141226114904-moaz-al-kassasbeh-jordanian-pilot-story-topThe lengthy footage shows clips of Jordan’s involvement in the United States-led airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

At the end, the pilot, First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, stands inside of a cage and is burned alive when an unidentified militant uses a torch to ignite flammable liquid that has drenched the pilot’s clothing.

The Islamic State’s previous video executions of captives were all beheadings. The latest video, which was reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors jihadist activity on the Internet, was the group's first known execution by fire.

Additional images of ISIS' most recent attack against an individual they have labeled as gay can be seen AFTER THE JUMP... (warning: graphic content)

Continue reading "REPORT: 'Gay' Man Thrown From Building By ISIS Survives, Is Stoned To Death By Syrian Villagers" »


Melissa Rivers Files Malpractice Suit Against Joan Rivers's Voice Doctor

Rivers

Melissa Rivers has filed a malpractice suit against Yorkville Endoscopy, alleging doctors at the NYC clinic were "reckless, grossly negligent and wanton" in the treatment of her mother Joan last August following surgery complications that ultimately resulted in the death of the 81-year-old comedian.   

The New York Times reports:

The lawyer for Joan Rivers’s voice doctor, Gwen Korovin, is denying allegations that she panicked and then abandoned Ms. Rivers when she went into cardiac arrest during a routine procedure last summer in New York.

Dr. Korovin’s lawyer said that contrary to claims in a malpractice lawsuit filed by Ms. Rivers’s daughter, Melissa, Dr. Korovin had faithfully stood by her patient and was in fact the last doctor remaining in the procedure room, not the first to leave.

“What happened was she never left the room,” the lawyer, William Lewis, said in an interview this week. “Not only did she never leave the room, she was the last doctor to leave the room after Miss Rivers was taken away by E.M.S. in an ambulance.”

USA Today adds:

"The level of medical mismanagement, incompetency, disrespect and outrageous behavior is shocking and frankly, almost incomprehensible, " Melissa said in a statement.

Among other things, the clinic doctors and Joan's own doctor are accused of allowing a cellphone selfie to be snapped of Rivers while she was unconscious on the operating table.

"The conduct is unfortunately outrageous," said one of her lawyers, Ben Rubinowitz. "Not only is there medical mismanagement but you have a situation where doctors are taking photos of a patient when she needed assistance. They didn't recognize the fact that she wasn't getting sufficient oxygen."

Still, Melissa said filing the suit was one of the most difficult decisions she had to make.

"What ultimately guided me was my unwavering belief that no family should ever have to go through what my mother, Cooper and I have been through," she said, referring to her son.

The Washington Post notes that the complaint "echoes what federal investigators for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services outlined in a report last fall." Yorkville Endoscopy is scheduled to lose its federal accreditation as a result of the investigation. 


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