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News: Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, GOP, James Franco, FAA

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Listen: Beyonce and Andre 3000's version of Amy Winehouse's track "Back to Black."

Johanna6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Iceland's Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, the first openly gay prime minister in the entire world, steps down from her post today.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Coldplay's Chris Martin's shirtless day in the park.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d 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."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d 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."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Two and a Half Men is coming back next year but without the half part.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova denied parole.

Franco6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d 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."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer had to undergo shoulder surgery yesterday following a bicycle accident.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d McDonald's might make breakfast an all day option.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d The White House Correspondents' Dinner takes place in DC tonight - hosted by Conan O'Brien.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d 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.'"

 


Homophobic Pastor Defends Right To Hold Church In A Public School; Claims He's Been Bullied: VIDEO

Hakimian
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") ...

Continue reading "Homophobic Pastor Defends Right To Hold Church In A Public School; Claims He's Been Bullied: VIDEO" »


NEWS: HIV-Killing Stem Cells, Soul-Killing Websites, Southern States, And South Paws

Virus Road Stem cells transformed into HIV killers:

In this current study, the researchers similarly engineered human blood stem cells and found that they can form mature T cells that can attack HIV in tissues where the virus resides and replicates. They did so by using a surrogate model, the humanized mouse, in which HIV infection closely resembles the disease and its progression in humans.

In a series of tests on the mice's peripheral blood, plasma and organs conducted two weeks and six weeks after introducing the engineered cells, the researchers found that the number of CD4 "helper" T cells — which become depleted as a result of HIV infection — increased, while levels of HIV in the blood decreased. CD4 cells are white blood cells that are an important component of the immune system, helping to fight off infections. These results indicated that the engineered cells were capable of developing and migrating to the organs to fight infection there.

Miami Road A huge and hugely interesting New Yorker article about myth-making and the Titanic.

Road Kim Jong-un makes first speech to North Korean people; boasts of military supremacy.

Road Illinois legislators unlikely to pursue marriage equality in 2012.

Road Chaz and a cast of thousands celebrate Pride in Miami.

Road Laurel Snyder dares to ask: Do I get to be religious if I give up my religion?

Road Peterson Toscano's long journey from reparative therapy -- and Zambia.

Road Couples who cohabitate before marriage are more likely to get divorced (and apparently, it's not just because non-cohabitators are hyper-traditionalist:

In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.

But that belief is contradicted by experience. Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.

Road CNN on Southernness:

... Davis, a native of Butler, Georgia (population 2,000), observes the word "Southern" has come to be associated with opposition to the American norm. He teaches Southern studies, so students often ask him, "What is Northern studies?"

"'Northern studies' is American studies. 'Southern' is the opposition to that," he says.

Leftorium_400 Road The Times on left-handedness:

only a handful of facts about hand preference warrant the epithet “well-established.” Left-handers do have an edge in one-on-one sports like tennis, boxing and baseball, and left-handedness clearly tends to become less pronounced with age. We also know that twins are roughly twice as likely to be left-handed as singletons and that men are slightly more likely to be left-handed than women. Beyond that, most “common knowledge” about left-handedness consists of myths — myths that, curiously, even left-handers themselves believe in, like the notion that left-handers always smear their writing. Solid research has shown that the writing of left-handers in third grade is indistinguishable from that of right-handers, in both speed and quality.

Road The loneliness of the Facebook friend:

Despite its immense popularity, or more likely because of it, Facebook has, from the beginning, been under something of a cloud of suspicion. The depiction of Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network, as a bastard with symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, was nonsense. But it felt true. It felt true to Facebook, if not to Zuckerberg. The film’s most indelible scene, the one that may well have earned it an Oscar, was the final, silent shot of an anomic Zuckerberg sending out a friend request to his ex-girlfriend, then waiting and clicking and waiting and clicking—a moment of superconnected loneliness preserved in amber. We have all been in that scene: transfixed by the glare of a screen, hungering for response.


NEWS: Nazis, Mega Millions, Nick Cage, John Cage, God, Surveys, Science

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Road Armed neo-Nazis patroling Sanford, FL:

Neo-Nazis are currently conducting heavily armed patrols in and around Sanford, Florida and are "prepared" for violence in the case of a race riot. The patrols are to protect "white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety" in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting last month, says Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement. "We are not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody, but we are prepared for it," he says. "We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over."

Because nothing diffuses racial tension like gun-toting racial separatists patrolling an already on-edge community.

Road Some pro-equality activists don't like what other pro-equality activists do with their money.

Road A survey for your mothers. (HT: Joe.My.God.)

CageCage Road Only dubiously witty, but unexpectedly fun: Nicholas Cage does John Cage.

Road Apparently, Los Angeles isn't superficial, New York drives aren't that bad, and Miami isn't full of fit people.

Road PinkIsTheNewBlog has a pic of Zac Efron's bum.

Road Andrew Sullivan on America's bad religion:

"When I go and see young people, their image of Christianity these days is one of judgment, intolerance and to some extent bigotry and politics," Sullivan said. "They associate it with one political party in this country, because of the fusion of evangelical and ultra-orthodox Catholics with the Republican Party. They don't see it as the message of Jesus, they don't see it any more as a message of love and forgiveness. They see it as a bunch of people trying to control their lives through political mechanisms.

Road Gallup probes American religiosity:

... it’s no surprise that all of the “top” ten [religious] states are in the south save Utah and Oklahoma, which, as Abbie Smith will attest, may as well be in the south. It’s also no surprise that the least religious states are in New England, with the proportion of “very religious” being 23% in New Hampshire and Vermont, 25% in Maine, and 28% in Massachusetts ...

What did surprise me was the 32% of Americans who see themselves as “nonreligious" ... Since roughly 10% of Americans don’t believe in God, and only about 1.5% go so far as to describe themselves as “atheists” or “agnostics,” I wonder how many of these 32% of “nonreligious” Americans are secret atheists who just don’t like the label, or are unwilling to confess to an interviewer that—horrors!—they don’t believe in God.

Road Teen sells kidney for Apple products:

He received 220,000 yuan ($35,000) for the transplant, gave the student 22,000 yuan ($3,500) and shared the remaining money with the other defendants and several medical staff involved in the operation, Xinhua said.

When the student returned home, he was asked how he could afford a new iPhone and an iPad and he told his mother that he sold one of his kidneys

Road High up in Chile's Atacama desert -- at almost 17,000 feet above sea level, where heads ache, noses bleed, and "dizziness overcomes the researchers toiling in the shadow of the Licancabur volcano" -- scientists are turning Chile into one of the world's elite destinations for astronomical research. But for how long? From the Times:

At the same time, the financial crisis in rich industrialized countries has raised concerns that funding for some ambitious astronomy projects could face constraints. In the United States, a Congressional panel last year proposed killing NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope before a compromise spending plan saved the project.

“It would be very sad for humankind if we were so spiritually decadent to forgo the pleasures of consciousness and of knowledge,” said Mr. Mosterín, reflecting on the funding choices political leaders need to make. “These things make human beings a very interesting animal indeed.”


Madonna Visits Ultra Music Festival: VIDEO

MadonnaUltra

Madonna took a break last night from sparring with Russian homophobes to put in an apparently spontaneous appearance at Miami's Ultra Music Festival. She looked fantastic. She did no singing. She swore her lifelong fealty to electronic music and asked if everyone present had "seen Molly." (Madge's new album is called MDNA, and "Molly's" the street name for MDMA. Wit!) Then she introduced the DJ Avicii, and proceeded to dance to a remix of her own song. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Madonna Visits Ultra Music Festival: VIDEO" »


CBS On Homeless LGBT Teens: VIDEO

HomelessTeens
On Friday, Miami's CBS affiliate aired a segment on the plight of homeless LGBT teens -- and floated the fascinating and frightening idea that a recent increase in the number of such teens has to do with the earlier and earlier ages at which teens are coming out of the closet. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "CBS On Homeless LGBT Teens: VIDEO" »


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