A 73-year-old registered sex offender faces charges of second-degree murder, arson, and a hate crime after attempting to burn down the home of a lesbian couple and their eight children while the family was inside of it, CBS Miami reports:
Miami-Dade Police said Braulio Valenzuela-Villanueva, 73, entered the lot next door to his on NW 27th Avenue and allegedly set fire to a mattress that was leaning against the wall of the trailer occupied by the women and children.
Police said as the fire began to get worse, “the defendant hurried back to his residence.” The fire began to burn the trailer, but there were no smoke detectors inside, police said. A neighbor from across the street saw the fire and began to alert people of the impending danger.
The women and children inside the burning trailer escaped after being awakened by the neighbor from across the street. Police said Valenzuela-Villanueva came out of his home and “casually began observing the fire. In fact one of his neighbors had to compel him to assist bringing a garden hose” to fight the fire.
The fire department came and put the fire out. A surveillance video shows Valenzuela-Villanueva setting fire to the mattress.
Valenzuela-Villanueva told police he tried to burn the house down because they were gay:
"He stated that he despised the two adult victims for the simple fact that they were lesbians," the report said. "According to the defendant, every time he saw them kissing he felt a deep repugnance, and in his opinion they did not deserve to have children."
He is in custody.
Watch NBC Miami's report, AFTER THE JUMP...
Hillary Clinton spoke at the University of Miami last night, captivating an audience of college students and professors alike. The former Secretary of State was quick to remark on Gov. Jan Brewer's decision to veto anti-gay Arizona legislature just hours earlier:
“Thankfully the governor of Arizona has vetoed the discriminatory legislation that was passed, recognizing that inclusive leadership is really what the 21st century is all about,” Clinton said to the 6,000 people who assembled at the south Florida institution.
Clinton then went on to speak about human rights at many different levels, including the rights of LGBT citizens and the disabled population, as well as the right to health care.
“It is the work of this century to complete the unfinished business of making sure that every girl and boy and every woman and man lives in societies that respect their rights no matter who they are, respects their potential and their talents, gives them the opportunities that every human being deserves, no matter where you were born, no matter the color of your skin, no matter your religion, your ethnicity, or whom you love,” Clinton said to applause.
As much as Clinton’s speech looked back at her history, though, there were also overarching forward-looking themes in her remarks.
“I hope that your generation will be a true participation generation,” she said. “I hope you will find ways to make sure that the barriers that too often divide us are torn down once and for all.”
Clinton's speech marks one of many collegiate appearances in the coming months, events many believe are aimed at attaining a higher profile, and courting the young vote, leading up to a 2016 presidential bid. Of course, saying the former Democratic candidate is ahead in the polls would be an understatement as many eagerly await the official announcement, including, it seems, the student population at University of Miami.
Students responded generally positively to Clinton's remarks. While one student said Clinton didn't answer all the questions, many said they found her "spontaneous," "motherly," "unscripted" and "funny."
"She has a quality no male candidate has," said one female student, "She's more human."
Check out CNN's coverage of the event, AFTER THE JUMP...
Proving that there is something for everyone at a football game, two young men attending this weekend's Miami Dolphins game decided to show their team spirit by stripping down to Dolphins-branded speedos. However, this level of fandom was not appreciated by stadium security who told them to put their pants back on.
Everything lives forever on the internet, though, so photos of them at the game and posing with fans of their own afterward remain online for perusal.
And they seem to have found their own set of fans on social media, AFTER THE JUMP...
Listen: Beyonce and Andre 3000's version of Amy Winehouse's track "Back to Black."
Iceland's Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, the first openly gay prime minister in the entire world, steps down from her post today.
Coldplay's Chris Martin's shirtless day in the park.
The Church of England's seemingly pro-gay request: "The Diocese of Manchester has instructed the official panel appointing its new bishop to select someone who can establish “positive relationships” with gay Anglicans and non-worshippers."
GOP organization funding marriage equality lobbying efforts: "The group has spent $500,000 on lobbying since last month, including efforts in Rhode Island, Delaware, Indiana, West Virginia and Utah."
Two and a Half Men is coming back next year but without the half part.
Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova denied parole.
Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival awards James Franco with Ally Award today: "His multi-faceted talents coupled with his contributions to LGBT film both in front of the camera and behind the scenes have helped shine the spotlight on LGBT cinema and a filmmaker's right to free expression."
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer had to undergo shoulder surgery yesterday following a bicycle accident.
McDonald's might make breakfast an all day option.
The White House Correspondents' Dinner takes place in DC tonight - hosted by Conan O'Brien.
Relief is in sight - those recent lengthy flight delays caused by sequester-related furloughs will come to an end by tomorrow: "The FAA issued a statement Saturday, saying that it had suspended all employee furloughs and that 'the system will resume normal operations by Sunday evening.'"
The right-wing blogosphere is going slowly batty over the plight of Pastor Jack Hakimian of Miami's Impact Miami Church. Impact is a sort of theologically generic Protestant outfit, where Hakimian, a former gang member, is given to saying things like:
... there is an aggressive approach by … gay theologians that says the Bible never spoke about homosexuality in a way that contemporary Christians understand it. It’s all over — it’s on YouTube, its on CNN, and its on 60 Minutes. They are not just saying, ‘accept us’ — and I believe we should protect, and not bully, and treat all people with dignity and respect. But they are going beyond and above to change the very meaning of Scripture.
No one thus far has questioned Pastor Hakimian's right to say such things. However, Impact is currently located on property rented to the church by the Miami-Dade School District -- located, in fact, on the campus of North Miami High School -- and the school district now plans to evict them. From the appalling rag called New American:
... the school district’s superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, responded to the sermons with a statement that Hakimian’s take on homosexuality “appears to be contrary to school board policy as well as the basic principles of humanity.” Carvalho told ABC television news affiliate local10.com that he had asked “for immediate legal review to seek the termination” of the church’s lease contract with the school district. “I am making this decision not on the basis of policy or politics, but as a rejection of prejudice and intolerance,” claimed Carvalho.
A spokesman for the district followed up Carvalho’s comments, saying that the school board and superintendent had reviewed the “allegations” against the pastor and found his words “disturbing and appalling."
Liberty Counsel's gotten involved, writing the district a letter opining that eviction would constitute a breach of Impact's 1st Amendment rights:
The nondiscrimination and antibullying policies of the Miami-Dade School Board are not applicable to the situation at hand. Pastor Hakimian and the church have violated no law or policy. The district cannot discriminate on the basis of his Biblically sound viewpoint. Any attempt by the school board to modify, change, or revoke the lease agreement would be unconstitutional.
“The district must respect the First Amendment rights of Pastor Hakimian and the church,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
Pastor Hakimian, who seems to have excellent PR instincts, has turned Carvahlo's charges on their head, claiming that he, Hakimian, is the victim of intolerance and bullying, and publicly demanding an apology. See him do it AFTER THE JUMP (and note his fascinating pronunciation of the word "tyranny") ...