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04/19/2007


NEWS: Retroactive Retirement, Celeste Holm, And Heckles (VIDEO)

Gillespie

Towleroad-roadicon Senior Romney advisor explains discrepancy over Romney's Bain retirement dates: He didn't leave 'til 2002, but he retired retroactively to 1999. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

Towleroad-roadicon Rahm to Romney: Stop whining

Towleroad-roadicon Obama's humblebrag, and the ill health of campaign discourse:

when Charlie Rose showed up at the White House asking the president what he thought his big mistake was, all that remained a mystery was how Obama would evade the question.

President Obama chose the humblebrag: "The mistake of my first term—couple of years—was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times." 

... The president was essentially saying that he was working so hard trying to help the American people, he forgot to tell them about it.

Towleroad-roadicon This was the gayest Comic-Con ever:

“Queer fandom is absolutely galvanized by seeing more accurate representations of ourselves,” [says Justin Hall, author of the just-released “No Straight Lines,” a retrospective of LGBT comics.] “There’s a snowball effect.”

“It’s always been going on under the surface, but now there’s a real queer presence,” adds Love Ablan, a self-described pop culture nerd who’s bisexual. “Even among non-queer fans. My super-straight guy friend is totally into this comic about queer bears.”

Towleroad-roadicon Aretha Franklin would like to be the new J-Lo.

Towleroad-roadicon Actress Celeste Holm has died. She was 95. 

Celeste-holm-02 Towleroad-roadicon Here's a very sad, very compelling story written about Ms. Holm last year, detailing the conflict between her children and young husband about the disbursement of her ravaged fortune:

To its various players, this story is about a young husband coveting his elderly wife’s fortune, or jealous sons guarding their inheritance or an independent-minded woman trying to maintain control of her finances even as her faculties decline. It is a cautionary tale for families trying to manage one of our age’s emblematic conflicts, between elderly parents who want to live autonomously and adult children who want to protect them, made more vivid by the presence of the Broadway and screen actress at its center. From all sides, it is a story of loss. 

Towleroad-roadicon Father arrested in Iran for son's contributions to Imam-mocking Facebook page:

The Facebook page, dubbed the "Campaign to Remind Shias about Imam Naqi," features a robed man, presumably Naqi, with a face like Charles Manson's, flanked by a camel wearing sunglasses and the donkey from "Shrek." It also shows a picture of a Shiite tomb that has been pooped on by a flock of pigeons.

With more than 21,000 likes, the page explains, "Our goal is to use satire to take out the superstition from religion."

... On May 23, Khameneh got a call from his father, Abbas Khameneh, in Iran.

"He said, 'some people from the intelligence service had come (to our house), and they want you to cooperate,' " Khameneh recalled. "My father said, 'they want your passwords to your Facebook, web blog and e-mail ... '"

Towleroad-roadicon Madonna sued for comparing Marine Le Pen to Hitler. 

Towleroad-roadicon Olympic shooter complains that gay couples get to cohabitate in Olympic village, while he and his wife do not. 

Towleroad-roadicon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heckled in Egypt with cries of "Monica! Monica!"

Continue reading "NEWS: Retroactive Retirement, Celeste Holm, And Heckles (VIDEO)" »


'Conan' Correspondent Billy Eichner Asks Tough Questions About Iran, Israel and Madonna: VIDEO

EichnerMadonna

Conan O'Brien and his team at TBS always have their finger on the cultural pulse, which is why they sent comedian correspondent and Madonna fanatic Billy Eichner to the streets of New York and Tel Aviv to get the hilarious inside scoop on the Middle East's most pressing problems, like Iran's nuclear ambitions, whether the United States should help Israel defend itself and how Madonna wears her hair.

Groundbreaking stuff here, people, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "'Conan' Correspondent Billy Eichner Asks Tough Questions About Iran, Israel and Madonna: VIDEO" »


NEWS: Fathers, Rodney, Greece, Iran

Rodney-king2

Towleroad-roadicon Rodney King, dead at 47:

The police in Rialto, Calif., said they received a 911 call at 5:25 a.m. Sunday from Mr. King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, who reported finding him at the bottom of his swimming pool. Mr. King, 47, had been living in Rialto, a small middle-class city, for several years.

Police arrived and removed Mr. King’s body from the pool and tried to resuscitate him. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m.

Towleroad-roadicon On the "gift" of being a gay dad:

When I finally accepted in my 20s that I was gay and that in order to live a life true to myself I had to come out, I knew there were “risks.” When my mother let loose a stream of consciousness list of fears that the world would visit on me for being openly gay – including never finding happiness, or being bashed coming out of a bar with my lover – the one she settled on was “…and you always wanted to be a father.”

It was the thing that broke my heart: the feeling that by coming out, I was giving up the one thing I had always wanted since I was a kid – more than any profession or any pursuit – being a dad.

Towleroad-roadicon LZ Granderson breaks down the "super duper evil gay lifestyle" at TEDx.

Towleroad-roadicon Ahmadinejad to voluntarily leave politics in 2013 ...

Towleroad-roadicon ... though Nicholas D. Kristof doesn't think he'll have a choice. 

Towleroad-roadicon Greek exit polls show pro-stability, pro-bailout parties eeking a narrow lead.

Towleroad-roadicon Sandusky should just plead guilty:

Sandusky’s only real hope at trial was that Mike McQueary, the former Penn State quarterback who allegedly saw Sandusky raping a boy in a shower on campus in 2001, would stumble on the stand. He didn’t ...

... If any good can come out of this spectacle of a trial, it will be our increased awareness about why sexually abused children rarely come forward, and how adults, even well meaning ones, can fail them so terribly. But what matters right now is for Jerry Sandusky to admit to the wrongs the evidence unalterably shows he committed. He owes his victims much more. But this, at least, he could give them.

Towleroad-roadicon Joy McNair, daughter of astronaut and Challenger-disaster casualty Ronald McNair, discusses honor and remembrance.

Towleroad-roadicon Curiosity, NASA's new Mars-bound rover, will land in August and embark on an awesome off-road journey:

The summer landing will be the start of a Martian ... trip that will take months or possibly a year as Curiosity makes its way toward its final destination, the Gale Crater, said Curiosity contributor James Wray, an assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

... [a] new landing destination has been pinpointed with accuracy previously impossible and will shave several months off Curiosity's drive to Gale Crater. Strategically, the new landing site makes sense. But, "the public and scientists will have to be more patient to get the really juicy stuff," Wray said.

The 'juicy stuff' that Curiosity seeks to uncover is evidence of the ability for life as we know it - past or future - on the Martian surface.

Gale Crater was created more than 3 billion years ago when Mars was struck by a meteorite and now houses three miles of sediment, providing the perfect location for such an investigation. Wray said examining Gale Crater will be similar to going through Earth's history by examining the layers of the Grand Canyon and learning, by the thickness and make up of the rocks, if they were once carved by oceans, lakes or air.

"We'll start down at the base, and we'll just climb up as high as we can during the mission and move forward in time in Martian history and see how the environment changed," Wray said.

Towleroad-roadicon Club where Chris Brown and Drake got into scuffle is closed indefinitely.

Towleroad-roadicon Earnestine Shepherd, 75-year-old body-building grandma. She's fabulous.


Obama's Cyber-War on Iran

Who needs bombs when you have insidious computer "worms" to knock out Iran's nuclear facilities?

The NYT reports on the unintended leak of U.S. efforts to attack Iran's nuclear capability with a cyber-"worm", and the President's order to escalate:

Ahmadinejad“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.

This account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.


Hamed Escapes Iran, Finds Home And Friends In Canada

HamedYesterday, the Winnipeg Free Press published the harrowing story of Hamed, a 27-year-old gay man whose 17-month flight from persecution in Iran has finally concluded in Canada:

Growing up in a country where homosexuality is so taboo it's not even discussed, was difficult. As a child, he says he knew he was different but didn't know what it was or what was "wrong" with him.

He'd never heard the term gay.

"And I can't find anybody else like me. I was 20 before I found another gay person," he said. When he knew what he was, it wasn't much of a relief.

"I can't be myself," he said. "I had to tell all those lies. I must hide myself. I'm alone all the time. I'm scared (of) my problem and running from myself."

Hamed was in a relationship with another man for five years in Iran before his partner's family discovered their romance. The family was appalled, as Iranian families are wont to be, and threatened to tell Hamed's family. The news could have led to anything -- disownment, imprisonment, execution -- and so Hamed fled to Tehran. But friends told him he still wasn't safe. They suggested he go to Turkey.

He couldn't get work there, but he could apply for refugee status. And he would be safer. So he went. While waiting on a more permanent arrangement, Hamed boarded with another gay man and a trans couple. None of them had work-permits, and they were forced into low-paying and dangerous under-the-table jobs. They were terribly poor. One of Hamed's roommates lost his savings when he broke his leg on a job -- he was forced to pay both his hospital bills and a fine for working without proper documentation.

From the Fress Press:

"They're in limbo," says Arsham Parsi, executive director of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, based in Toronto. For privately sponsored refugees, the processing time can be up to two years before they get to Canada, said the founder of the organization that started in 2008.

"They don't have any means and are at risk of being deported," said Parsi. The railroad helps an average of five or six new Iranian refugees a month who are in such limbo.

Hamed was one of them. During his time in Turkey, Hamed was in frequent Skype contact with the men who became his sponsors in Canada. Now he's in their care, looking for work, and mastering English -- his second language in a year and a half:

Hamed said he'll attend special classes at the University of Manitoba in the fall to improve his English to a Benchmark 8, the level required to attend post-secondary programs. Right now, he's reading at Level 4 and speaking and listening at Level 5.

In Turkey, he practised his English with an online tutorial. In Winnipeg this spring, he passed the written test in English to get his driving learner's permit. In June, Hamed is to take his road test, and hopes that will look good on his resumé.

This summer, his sponsors are planning to take him to the Winnipeg Folk Festival and Winnipeg's Pride parade next week. Human rights activists Chris Vogel and Richard North are leading the June 3 parade, which starts at the legislature.

"I want to try it," said Hamed, who can't fathom gay men talking about their rights on the doorstep of a government building, then celebrating their sexual orientation with a parade.

Things are going swimmingly for Hamed, though he's having trouble finding a job. Yet:

[Hamed's sponsors, Horst Backe and Mark Rabnett] say there are tens of thousands of people such as Hamed in countries where they're persecuted for their sexual orientation. Rabnett cited one estimate that Iran has executed 4,000 people over the past 20 years for being gay.

The sponsors said they'd like to see more people contact the Rainbow Resource Centre in Winnipeg to form a Group of Five and help an LGBT refugee.

If that's something you'd like to do, click here.


Azerbaijan And Iran In Row Over Who's More Anti-Gay

AzerbaijanNeighboring nations Azerbaijan and Iran are in the midst of a very unsettling debate.

Iranian news agencies have been reporting that Azerbaijan, which it dislikes for its cozy relationship with Israel, is hosting a "gay pride" parade in conjunction with this week's Eurovision singing contest. Now Azerbaijan, uneasy with Iran after arresting Iranians they claim plotted attacks on the country, is accusing Iran of "slander."

Azerbaijan on Monday accused neighbor Iran of slander for claiming that a gay pride march would be held in Baku while the city hosts the popular Eurovision song contest this week.

"They are making statements about something that does not exist. We are holding Eurovision, not a gay parade," senior presidential administration official Ali Hasanov told a news conference.

"Actually there is no word in the Azerbaijani language for a gay parade, unlike in their language," he added.

Hasanov also used the occasion to slam Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for constantly getting on their case about human rights abuses. "Groundless statements by two organisations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, cause particular regret," he said.

"The Azerbaijani people see that the statements of these two organisations have nothing in common with the actual situation in the country." If you say so.


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