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04/19/2007


HRC President Chad Griffin Talks to NPR About Growing Up Gay in Arkansas: VIDEO

Chad_griffin

NPR follows HRC President Chad Griffin back to his home state of Arkansas and talks to Griffin and his childhood friends about what it was like to grow up gay there, and his high school job at Walmart!

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Political Donations Raise Chicken And Egg Question

PinkdollarsignWe all know the modern gay rights movement is a rather young endeavor. It's only been 43-years since the Stonewall Rebellion. But a key element to the movement's relatively rapid success, the open giving of political donations, is even younger.

It wasn't until 1989 that Human Rights Campaign started distributing the pink dollar, but even then most lawmakers turned them down.

From NPR's Ari Shapiro:

When gays and lesbians started the Human Rights Campaign in the 1980s, they knew that the path to influence in Washington is paved with cash. Write a politician a check, and he's more likely to listen to you. The problem was that back then most politicians didn't want anything to do with gay people or their money.

"It was almost an embarrassment to be supported by the gay community," says Winnie Stachelberg, who used to work for HRC and is now with the liberal Center for American Progress.

Clearly times changed and soon politicians, mostly Democrats, realized the gay dollar was just as good as any other, and the dialogue began. So too did the progress.

Money flow and political action go hand-in-hand. If you need proof, look at President Obama's fundraising haul after announcing his support for marriage equality: "He took in nearly $9 million over three days, compared to $3.4 million in the three previous days, according to an NPR analysis of campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission."

Shapiro notes that the relationship between money and legislation raises that eternal "chicken or egg" scenario: "Does money flow to politicians because the lawmakers take pro-gay positions? Or do the lawmakers take those positions because they hope that will bring a flood of gay donors?"

We may find the answer soon. Christian Berle from the Log Cabin Republicans told Shapiro that a few senior GOP leaders are inching their way toward backing some LGBT rights. "We have been in conversations with a number of members who are looking to move in that direction," he said. "There's one [for whom] it's most likely a matter of months, not years."

If New York State is any indication, that person will reap the rewards: the four Republican lawmakers who voted for marriage equality in the Empire State soon saw a fundraising boom.


NEWS: 'The Guardian' Explains Our Poverty, Michael Moore Hates Barack Obama, Rick Santorum Has A Blank Wall In His Head, Jimmy Fallon Is The Lizard King

99.9Math
Road The Guardian crunches the numbers: It's really more like 99.99%.

Road John Waters talks Christmas:

“I liked Santa but I would get confused as a child whether I was supposed to pray to him or William Castle [the B-movie director], or Jesus,” he says, before skipping to another thought about “living crèches” – Christmas cribs re-created with real people. “They’re begging for Diane Arbus to come back from the grave to take a picture of them. What parent would give their child to be baby Jesus, with straw and candles and mules that kick … ? I’m telling you, I think living crèches are some of the most horrifying things.”

Road A gay marriage in Zucotti Park!

Road Margot Adler reports on the homeless queer youth of New York:

"The day after my 18th birthday this year, my adopted parent kicked me out," says [Jeremiah Beaverly, late of Illinois]. "At the time, I was really infatuated with this guy, and she was listening to my phone calls. She started telling my family, 'He is this, he is that, he is gay,' and talking about me as if I wasn't part of the family."

Road Christopher Walken opened up about Natalie Wood's death way back in '97, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery – I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat."

Road How do you know what you know?

Road Should a candidate's religion matter?

But suppose Santorum replies — as he has — that he would seek to ban gay marriage (in fact, he also supports anti-sodomy laws). The question then is why he thinks this is the right thing to do.  If his only reply is that his Catholic religion condemns homosexuality, then we’ve hit a blank wall. Debate is the life-blood of a democracy, and this means that leaders must offer discussable reasons for what they propose to do.  To say, “My religion says so” may explain why you believe something, but it has no function in a discussion with people who do not accept your religion.  Such an appeal to religion is, as Richard Rorty once put it, merely a "conversation stopper."

Road That's light! Scientists invent metal material that's 1/100th as heavy as styrofoam. 

Road Faith2Action believes it can disprove evolution in less than 300 words.

Road Michael Moore is as ridiculous when discussing President Obama as he is the rest of the time. Hunstmawkward

Road He's reasonable! He's sane! But dammit, Jon Hunstman just never looks relaxed.

Road A powerful letter demanding the resignation of UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi. (Whose walk of shame you may witness here.) Excerpt:

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

This is what happened. You are responsible for it.

You are responsible for it because this is what happens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Faculty get hurt. One of the most inspiring things (inspiring for those of us who care about students who assert their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly) about the demonstration in Berkeley on November 9 is that UC Berkeley faculty stood together with students, their arms linked together. Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground, and arrested. Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien was injured by baton blows. Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also struck with a baton. These faculty stood together with students in solidarity, and they too were beaten and arrested by the police. In writing this letter, I stand together with those faculty and with the students they supported.

One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way—linking arms and holding their ground—police also responded in the same way: with violent force. The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.

You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds.

Road The story of "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic."

Road "A jar of change on a dresser is sadly factoring into a number of financial decisions."

Road Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison, singing the Reading Rainbow theme. Incredibly bizarre, shockingly good. Watch it AFTER THE JUMP ... (HT: Shakesville)

Continue reading "NEWS: 'The Guardian' Explains Our Poverty, Michael Moore Hates Barack Obama, Rick Santorum Has A Blank Wall In His Head, Jimmy Fallon Is The Lizard King" »


PRI's 'To The Point': More Homophobic Rantings In Wake Of Penn State Scandal

OlneyOn yesterday's To The Point, the PRI news and analysis show, host Warren Olney intended to discuss two subjects: The Penn state scandal and LGBT parents. The discussion featured, among other guests, The Arkansas Family Council's Jerry Cox, who used his time at the mic to press-gang the Penn State tragedy into a morality tale about the dangers of LGBT adoptions.

His reasoning seems to be something like this (and this is really a guess, since Cox very seldom says exactly what he means): Jerry Sandusky, the Penn Stage defensive coach who allegedly raped an unknown number of boys over an unknown number of years, is gay. Sandusky also acted as a foster-parent to a number of children. Ergo, it's dangerous for LGBT-folk to adopt. Said Cox [as transcribed by Gawker]:

The gold standard is that the best place for a child to grow up is in a stable home with a loving mother and father. Our position is that if the state is going to take children into custody, it ought to put children in the best homes possible...These children have been damaged, and need a stable home more than any child out there. What does the research and common sense show? You're going to put them in a home with a loving mother and father.

I find it interesting that we talk about the Penn State situation, and then when we talk about people who claim to have these rights to adopt or foster; in both cases, the children's rights get put in second place. If you give the rights to the adults, the children will be compromised.

Of course, Sandusky isn't gay. He was what somebody like Cox might call a man's man. Married, two kids, involved in athletics, successful, founder of a massive charity. In fact, for most of his life Sandusky seemed like precisely the kind of person Cox would want to adopt children. This was the idea that To The Point's Warren Olney tried to articulate, but he bungled it. Said Olney to Cox [again, via Gawker]:

Shouldn't we reexamine attitudes towards allowing homosexuals access to children, seeing as how ‘macho' Sandusky wound up defying stereotypes and raped them anyway?

Maybe it was Olney's use of the word "we" that muddied the situation, or perhaps his use of Cox's preferred term, "homosexuals." (Those two word choices make it possible to read his statement as suggesting that he and public radiofolk ought to reevaluate their pro-gay propensities.) Or maybe it's his suggestion that the Penn State tragedy and LGBT adoption have anything to do with each other at all.

In any event, GLAAD didn't much like the timbre of the show, and this morning published a press release calling for NPR to clarify its stance. Apparently, Olney had already apologized to an interlocutor at GLAAD. Olney's statement reads:

We apologize for any confusion about today’s “To the Point,” which dealt with both the Penn State child-sex scandal and the issue of same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents.  The connection we intended to make was this: a suspected pedophile backed by a powerful institution was allowed to have foster children, while same-sex couples, who can provide loving families, are often denied that opportunity.  We'll air listener comments and further discussion on Monday's program.


Watch: Rep. Anthony Weiner Rips House Bill to Defund NPR

 

Weiner

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) spent two and a half minutes on the House floor yesterday sarcastically ripping House Republicans for their crusade to defund NPR, using Car Talk hosts Click and Clack, to mock them.

Ranted Weiner: "The American people are not concerned about the economy around the world. They're staring at their radio station saying, get rid of Click And Clack. Finally my Republican friends are getting rid of them. Kudos to you."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Rep. Anthony Weiner Rips House Bill to Defund NPR" »


News: Qatar, Palin as Zsa Zsa, 'Dirty' Rowe and Eruption

Gagahellraiser-1 6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Activists have come out against FIFA for giving Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. "Both countries have very poor human rights records," said Peter Tatchell. “Sport should never be allowed to trump human rights. FIFA have put their corporate interests before the well being of the people of Russia and Qatar.”

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Mehdi Hasan at New Statesman wonders whether gay and other protests over the World Cup decision lead to Qatarphobia.

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Lady Gaga channeled Pinhead and the rest of the Hellraiser baddies with an outfit apparently inspired by her recent pledge to stay off Twitter until fans raise $1 million for the Keep A Child Alive AIDS project.

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Chaz Bono, Ed Begley Jr., and the incredible Jean Smart helped GLAAD celebrate its 25th anniversary in Los Angeles last night.

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Actress Amber Heard, who appeared as Seth Rogen's girlfriend in Pineapple Express, was also at the GLAAD event and apparently is out and proud. "I personally think that if you deny something or if you hide something you’re inadvertently admitting it’s wrong," she told AfterEllen. "I don’t feel like I’m wrong. I don’t feel like millions of people are wrong because they love who they love or they were born how they were born."

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Rumor has it Robert Downey Jr. will co-star in a musical-comedy about two Broadway writers who find inspiration at a summer theater camp.

Volcanoecuador 6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Villagers have been evacuated after Ecuador's "Throat of Fire" volcano began spewing magma today. Now, how many lewd jokes can you make out of that one?

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Gay singer Lance Bass will reportedly write a screenplay about his and former model Cheryl Tiegs' Mexican road trip to Girls Gone Wild host Joe Francis' wedding. It sounds preposterous, yes, but then you think about it a little more and realize this has the makings of a genius comedy: To Wong Foo meets The Hangover?


6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 New York's Senate now has a Republican majority after a state Justice declared Jack Martins the winner in an electoral recount. Democrats, however, remain in control of the governorship and Assembly. Deadlock forever!

Mikerowe-1 6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Gay cop's discrimination suit against LAPD reopened.

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Will ignoring Sarah Palin deplete her power? Charles M. Blow thinks so, and describes her as the "Zsa Zsa Gabor of politics." "She once did something noteworthy, but she’s now just famous for being famous." Maybe so, but she still has quite a devoted fanbase.

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Radio host David Pakman says that the passage of civil unions in Illinois should show anti-gay activists that their prohibitive culture war has come to an end.

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe, one of the funniest, dreamiest television personalities around, appeared on NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me! today to answer, once and for all, "Is Mr. Clean gay?"

6a00d8341c730253ef0147e0598ddf970b-800wi-1 "When I got involved in politics, I told people I wanted to put Christian conservatives in leadership positions," explains John Cook, a member of Texas' State Republican Executive Committee, on why he won't support a Jewish state house speaker. "I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They're the people that do the best jobs over all." Wow. Just wow.


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