I’m urging every defense industry that could be affected by sequestration to put your employees on notice before November ... The more it becomes real to us as to what comes the nation’s way, the more likely we are to solve the problem.
After a two-year campaign urging the Obama administration to stop the deportations of spouses of gay and lesbian Americans, we welcome the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it will formally recognize same-sex marriages as part of its year-old ‘prosecutorial discretion’ deportation policy and other related enforcement matters.
... This move is significant beyond the immigration context, as it constitutes the first time any agency of the federal government has created a policy explicitly recognizing same-sex marriages.
... it was a scene that was unimaginable a few years ago, when Vietnam still labeled homosexuality a "social evil" alongside drug addiction and prostitution. The country's gay community was once so underground that few groups or meeting places existed, and it was taboo to even talk about the issue.
Scientific evidence – including radiocarbon dating of the bones and geological data from across the globe – shows for the first time that mass fatalities in the 13th century were caused by one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the past 10,000 years.
Such was the size of the eruption that its sulphurous gases would have released a stratospheric aerosol veil or dry fog that blocked out sunlight, altered atmospheric circulation patterns and cooled the Earth’s surface ...
... unless of course we die and go somewhere where you can write, drink, have sex, appear on TV and, above all else, talk.
... he was -- I feel safe in saying -- the best talker since Oscar Wilde ... You felt you had just had a lovely bath in the elegant and witty use of our sadly declining English language. Gore's talk, if transcribed, could be printed without editing. If there seemed to be some preening in his prepared remarks on television -- and he knew a good line was worth repeating -- it was outweighed by the quality of the verbal prose.
Gov. Chris Christie is reportedly more popular than President Obama in New Jersey.
Has the Singularity, that hypothetical time when computers are meant to overcome human intelligence and control, already happened? Or is it never going to happen? New Scientists suggest the latter: "The singularity isn’t near. In fact, it might be said that it’s an idea whose time is finally over. It’s not future-facing to be a singularitarian. At this point, this film is a true story about the past."
Olympic diver Greg Louganis sat down with CNN's Piers Morgan recently and discussed what it was like to find out he was HIV positive in 1988, when he was 28-years old. "Back in 1988 when I was diagnosed with HIV, we thought of HIV as a death sentence... Honestly, I didn't think I'd see 30." He also addressed the Chick-fil-A brouhaha: "Who eats that stuff? I mean, you know, I kind of like my arteries...I like the blood flowing."
Openly gay Italian politician Nichi Vendola announced his candidacy for the prime ministership. "It's time for change," he said, sound a lot like another history-making politico.
Nineteen-year old gay man admits eating at Chick-fil-A and explains why: "As a gay man, I say let [Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy] not support gays. When the gay community and gay activist groups push on anti-gay people and organizations to change their minds and opinions via bullying or forced involvement, I fear it would make whatever accomplishments taste cheap like a greasy coin."
Village Voice journo Michael Musto on the right wing claims that they're supporting Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's free speech, rather than religious extremism: "But in defending the hate mongering Chick-Fil-A, these people can hide behind their flag-waving, pseudo libertarian crap while backing an organization's bigoted views that just happen to mirror their own.Do they have a right to say that? Sure. And I have a right to yell bloody murder."
Bad news for Democrats: "The Senate is likely to assume an even more conservative tenor come January as a crop of insurgent-minded Republicans replace some of the GOP's old guard in the upper chamber. A transformation within the Republican Party that was first set in motion during the 2010 midterm elections appears set to continue in the Senate, following in the path blazed in the House during this term of Congress."
The New York Times offers corrections on gay writer Gore Vidal's obituary. The best bit: "...Mr. Vidal’s relationship with his longtime live-in companion, Howard Austen, was also described incorrectly. According to Mr. Vidal’s memoir “Palimpsest,” they had sex the night they met, but did not sleep together after they began living together. It was not true that they never had sex."
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner says he's "feeling better" about the GOP maintaining control of the House.
In a surprise move, Kofi Annan stepped down from the UN's Syria Envoy. "It is impossible for me or anyone to compel the Syrian government and also the opposition to take the steps to bring about the political process. As an envoy, I can't want peace more than the protagonists, more than Security Council or the international community, for that matter," he said.
Matt Bomer, partner Simon Halls and their three kids were spotted by paps strolling around New York City.
Gore Vidal — gifted author, playwright, critic, and political commentator, as well as a self-determined enigma — died at his home in the Hollywood Hills on Tuesday, of complications from pneumonia. He was 86.
Mr. Vidal was, at the end of his life, an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right. Few American writers have been more versatile or gotten more mileage from their talent. He published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. For a while he was even a contract writer at MGM. And he could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy.
Perhaps more than any other American writer except Norman Mailer or Truman Capote, Mr. Vidal took great pleasure in being a public figure.
"I am at heart a propagandist, a tremendous hater, a tiresome nag, complacently positive that there is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise," he said in "Gore Vidal: A Biography" (1999) by Fred Kaplan.
Despite his crushing forthrightness on many topics, Vidal preferred ambiguity in the personal realm.
Vidal, who was never married and had no children, wrote in his memoirs about sexual contacts with men, including Kerouac, the Beat poet and writer. But, to the dismay of gay activists, Vidal rejected efforts to put him in any sexual category. He was famous for proclaiming that "there are not homosexual people, only homosexual acts."
His companion of 53 years was Howard Auster, whom he met in New York in the 1950s when Auster was a singer trying to get a job in advertising. Vidal described their relationship as platonic and said "no sex" was the reason for its longevity.
He wrote movingly of Auster's 2003 death from cancer in "Point to Point Navigation" (2006), the sequel to his first memoir, "Palimpsest" (1995). Auster was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, "as I shall be in due course," Vidal wrote, "when I take time off from my busy schedule."
Girls Aloud may be one of the biggest U.K. pop groups of all time, but in America, they're somewhat of a curiosity: They were a girl group manufactured by a 2002 reality television competition. They were a hit-making machine whose underlying hit-making production machine, Xenomania, became almost as famous as the girls themselves. And perhaps less endearingly, they were the band that spawned Cheryl Cole, who is now best known on these shores for lasting half an episode as a judge on the U.S. X Factor before being sent back to England. Despite all this, we should care. Because when Girls Aloud were great — and they did, indeed, have their fair share of transcendent moments — they embodied everything we love about pop music.
Nicola Roberts wasn't Girls Aloud's Beyoncé — or their Kelly Rowland, for that matter — which is all the more reason why Cinderella's Eyes has already positioned itself as somewhat of a coup. Unlike Cole's post-GA output — which is only as good as you think Will.I.Am is good — Roberts made an album that doesn't depart from the blueprint as much as it sends it up-to-date: The Diplo–produced "Beat Of My Drum" is a raucous freestyle affair, while "Lucky Day" — co-written by Canadian electro trio Dragonette — takes the spirit of 2008's Girls Aloud/Pet Shop Boys collaboration out of Neil Tennant's sullen range and into an elated place. That said, formulas work for a reason, and when Roberts teams up with former Xenomania member Jon Shave for "Say It Out Loud" — an impossibly pleasurable synthpop track, the caliber of which we haven't heard since "Dancing On My Own" — it's like she's no longer a struggling solo artist from a multiplatinum group, but the star of a group who never got her due.
Bloc Party have only marginally cleared up rumors of Kele Okereke's dismissal, with guitarist Russell Lissack saying that while he hasn't spoken to Kele in a couple of months, and while there are "no bad vibes," the remaining three members are still auditioning new singers. "It's not really a secret because Kele's been pretty busy doing solo stuff," he explains. "The other three of us wanted to meet up and make music." On his blog, Kele still sounds confused: "A big part of me is laughing hard at all of this, but another part of me is all like WTF?"
This week in free downloads: Vampire Weekend's out keyboardist/producer Rostam Batmanglij took to his Tumblr this week to introduce a new Indian raga–influenced solo track called "Wood." DJ A-Trak remixed The Rapture's latest single,"How Deep Is Your Love?" and dedicated the Dub mix to recently departed Ed Banger producer and DJ Mehdi. Meanwhile, New York duo Ford & Lopatin get the French remix treatment on "Too Much Midi (Please Forgive Me)"courtesy of Alan Braxe.
Will Young cops to the Pet Shop Boys and Bronski Beat influence on his excellent new album, Echoes, but still isn't sure he can express his sexuality more openly: "You're still a minority. There are lots of people who don't want to think about" — he pauses and laughs — "anal sex, to be honest. And I don't have a problem with that."
Sigur Rós premiered their latest feature film, Inni, in Reykjavik, Iceland, last week. A 2CD+DVD package for Inni will get its release on November 15, and features music from the movie as well as bonus tracks and a previously unreleased song called "Lúppulagid."
The Scissor Sisters made an appearance at the New Yorker Festival this weekend to dish about Elton John, who recently brought Jake Shears and Babydaddy a box full of sweaters and shoes ("He's like your favorite grandma"), as well a shared moment with Gore Vidal: "At moments he was delighted by me, at moments he was disgusted by me," Shears said.
Commercial house music makes another bold leap into the mainstream: Swedish House Mafia — the trio of Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, and Steve Angello — have announced two "One Night Stand" performance dates at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Milton Keynes National Bowl in England.
SOUND & VISION:
Lights — "Toes"
She's gone on tour with Owl City, but don't hold that against her: Lights Valerie Poxleitner — that's Lights to you — released an incredible sophomore album called Siberia today, and "Toes" is a pretty solid example of what this self-written/self-produced album achieves: Tightly-programmed beats and shoegaze tendencies underlie a solid pop proficiency, while Toronto's Holy F*ck — no strangers to a sequencer themselves — lend a hand.
Björk — "Moon"
I have yet to really dig into Björk's new album Biophilia, also out today, but a lot of that has to do with the overwhelming idea of discovering an album with an iPad app for each song. That's not easy listening! Which is probably the point: The harp-plucked "Moon" is more of a linear movement than your standard recursive pop song, and it's Björk's willingness to go there that keeps us willing to follow the path she forges.
Cher Lloyd — "With Ur Love" (feat. Mike Posner)
A runner-up from last year's X Factor in the U.K., Cher Lloyd's first single was the most regrettable song to rhyme "swagger" with "Jagger" in recent memory — and there have been quite a few entries in that race! But follow-up single "With Ur Love" is a much-needed rebound, ostensibly meant to remind us that Lloyd didn't get as far as she did on the X Factor for her rapping: If London street-pop wasn't a thing before, it is now.
Holy Ghost! — "Hold My Breath"
DFA's resident electrodisco duo Holy Ghost! have known each since they were six years old, and that shows in this song's impeccable tightness and intuitive phrasings. The music owes its debts to Sheffield and Manchester, of course, but these references suits the video's evocative collection of still and moving pictures: It would almost be nostalgic if it weren't happening right now.
Michelle Bachmann says she was a "fair-minded Democrat" who worked on Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign (and danced at his inaugural ball before she read a "snotty" novel by Gore Vidal that she perceived as mocking the Founding Fathers.
"And as a reasonable, decent, fair-minded person who happened to be a Democrat, I thought, 'You know what? What he's writing about, this mocking of people that I revere, and the country that I love, and that I would lay my life down to defend -- just like every one of you in this room would, and as many of you in this room have when you wore the uniform of this great country -- I knew that that was not representative of my country."
"And at that point I put the book down and I laughed. I was riding a train. I looked out the window and I said, 'You know what? I think I must be a Republican. I don't think I'm a Democrat.'"
Marriage equality in Connecticut one year later: "Fully half of the gay and lesbian couples who wed in Connecticut were from other states or other countries. They came from South Dakota, Mississippi, Russia, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Israel, among other far-flung locales.
But above all, they came from New York: 455 Empire State couples traveled to Connecticut to marry."
Human Rights Campaign throws support behind Kirsten Gillibrand: "From her personal lobbying of the New York legislature in support of marriage rights to helping garner support for a Senate hearing on repealing 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,' Gillibrand has time and again stood for fairness for all."
Reverend Donnie McClurkin goes off on gays: ""God did not call
young people to such perversion. Society has failed him, his church has
failed him ... I would be homosexual to this day if Jesus hadn't
Title and summary for Prop 8 repeal ballot language to be released next week: "As soon as the approval is given, the Restore Equality 2010 campaign will have 150 days to collect approximately 700,000 valid pen and ink signatures by voters registered in California. To account for the invalid signatures that are bound to show up on the forms, the Restore Equality 2010 campaign is aiming to collect 1 million signatures within the 150 day timeframe."