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How Tom Cruise's Mates Are Found, Vetted, Controlled, And Punished

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Vanity Fair is about to publish a feature that'll make Scientology seem even creepier than it does already. It's the story of how Tom Cruise went about acquiring his last two romantic interests, Katie Holmes and actress Nazanin Boniadi. The short version of that story is this: He didn't acquire them. Scientology acquired them.

If Vanity Fair's to be believed, finding a post-Nicole, post-Penelope love interest for Cruise involved a church-run search headed up by Shelly Miscavige, wife of David Miscavige, Scientology's baby-faced leader. From Vanity Fair:

According to several sources, the organization devised an elaborate auditioning process in which actresses who were already Scientology members were called in, told they were auditioning for a new training film, and then asked a series of curious questions including: “What do you think of Tom Cruise?”

Nazanin Boniadi, Scientology's first choice to mate with Tom Cruise, apparently thought he was pretty swell. So the church set about breaking her up with her boyfriend:

Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian-born, London-raised actress and Scientologist, was selected and dated Cruise from November 2004 until January 2005. Initially she was told only that she had been selected for a very important mission. In a month-long preparation in October 2004, she was audited every day, a process in which she told a high-ranking Scientology official her innermost secrets and every detail of her sex life. Boniadi allegedly was told to lose her braces, her red highlights, and her boyfriend. According to a knowledgeable source, she was shown confidential auditing files of her boyfriend to expedite a breakup ... The source says Boniadi signed a confidentiality agreement and was told that if she “messed up” in any way she would be declared a Suppressive Person (a pariah and enemy of Scientology).

MiscavigeThings allegedly went well between Boniadi and Cruise, but only for a little while. When Boniadi displeased the actor, which she apparently did with increasing frequency during their few months together, he would report her to their church. The crime that ended her relationship with Cruise was allegedly this:

Boniadi also offended Scientology chief David Miscavige, who speaks rapidly, because she kept saying, “Excuse me?” when she was entertaining him and his wife during a visit to Telluride. In Scientology, the ability to have your communication “land” is crucial. Boniadi was excoriated by Cruise for disrespecting Miscavige.

Cruise eventually dumped Boniadi, though indirectly -- she found out he was leaving her, or that she was leaving him, when she was instructed by the church to move out of Cruise's home and into the Scientology Celebrity Center, in Los Angeles. Her punishment for failing Cruise:

... scrub toilets with a toothbrush, clean bathroom tiles with acid, and dig ditches in the middle of the night. After that she was sent out to sell Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics on street corners.

The church denies everything. Boniadi and Cruise refused to comment. David Miscavige says the whole story's a ridiculous fabrication.


NEWS: Imperiled Love, A Fiddly Pastor, And The Loveliness Of The Moon From The Thames

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Towleroad-roadicon Meet Jon and Nedo, a binational married couple whose union is imperiled by an expiring visa:

Since the day we first met, Nedo and I have not been apart with the exception of the seven months while we waited for him to come to the United States on his student visa ... To this day the effects of [the] decision to leave his family are deeply emotional and he can’t allow himself to communicate with them regularly because it is easier to disassociate then deal with the enormity of that decision. Every time he talks to his family he ends up crying for the remainder of the night.  He misses his nieces and nephews terribly and it hurts him not to see them regularly. The fact that he is separated from his mother is something he can’t even fully grasp without his eyes swelling with tears. Due to his current legal status he cannot risk leaving the country for fear his visa will not be renewed, but this means he also must live with the knowledge that he may never see his parents again. They are getting older and the more time that goes by without him being able to visit is another form of torment for us as a gay binational American family. My husband experiences this pain often, and it causes me to resent my government for the pain our families suffer in the name of DOMA.

... Each year we participate in the Diversity Visa Green Card Lottery and this last year was especially bitter for us as we are running out of time on Nedo’s visa. The Green Card Lottery is our final hope ... Because his visa will be up in February of 2013 we are running out of options ...

We can no longer put off conversations about what will happen to us next year ...

Towleroad-roadicon Tasmania likely to become first Australian state to grant marriage equality.

Towleroad-roadicon Conservative news organs complain that the mainstream media ignored Chick-fil-A appreciation day.

Towleroad-roadicon Indiana megachurch pastor Jack Schaap dismissed after allegations of sexual conduct with a 16-year-old girl:

“At this time, we deeply regret the need to announce that First Baptist Church has dismissed our pastor, Dr. Jack Schaap, due to a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor,” the church said in a statement.

Towleroad-roadicon There were as many as a hundred Christian families in the Egyptian town of Dahshour. After mob rampage, there are none:

The violence was ultimately rooted in a dispute over a badly ironed shirt that escalated into a fight in which a Christian burned a Muslim to death, in turn sparking the rampage by angry Muslims.

"It was a devil's moment," Wehba said Thursday at the home of her Muslim neighbors, who have taken her in. "Whoever caused this was the devil's son."

Towleroad-roadicon What Afghan girls brave on the way to school.

Towleroad-roadicon Five ridiculous atheists.

Towleroad-roadicon NBC apologizes for airing an ad starring a gymnast monkey immediately after recapping Gabby Douglas's gold-winning performance.

Towleroad-roadicon Michael Phelps concludes a storied career.

Towleroad-roadicon A lucky Olympic picture.

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NEWS: Lesbian Murders, A Watery World, Antonin Scalia On The Second Amendment - VIDEO

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Towleroad-roadicon Lesbian murderers confess:

A lesbian couple admitted to luring one of the women’s former lovers into the woods, beating her and strangling her, and finally burying her in a shallow grave as she took her last breaths.

Pennsylvania prosecutors are weighing whether to seek the death penalty for Jade Olmstead and Ashley Barber ...

Towleroad-roadicon Keep track of gay Olympians!

Towleroad-roadicon Dick Cheney acknowledges: McCain's veep pick was a "mistake."

Towleroad-roadicon Oxford students may now sit their exams while cross-dressing:

Under the new regulations, students taking exams or attending formal occasions will no longer have to wear ceremonial clothing that is specific to their gender.

It will mean men will be able to sit tests in skirts and stockings and women will have the option of wearing suits and bow ties.

Towleroad-roadicon Science confirms: pop music really is less interesting now.

Enceladus Towleroad-roadicon Science strongly suggests: You, me, and all the planets we can see probably come from great dusty discs.

Towleroad-roadicon Science optimistically posits: The icy Saturnian moon Enceladus might be a good place to look for life ...

The cause of this unexpected interest in Enceladus – first observed by William Herschel in 1789 and named after one of the children of the Earth goddess Gaia – stems from a discovery made by the robot spacecraft Cassini, which has been in orbit of Saturn for the past eight years. The $3bn probe has shown that the little moon not only has an atmosphere, but that geysers of water are erupting from its surface into space. Even more astonishing has been its most recent discovery, which has shown that these geysers contain complex organic compounds, including propane, ethane, and acetylene.

"It just about ticks every box you have when it comes to looking for life on another world," says Nasa astrobiologist Chris McKay ...

Towleroad-roadicon A long, enlightening, and not-at-all boring article on the United States' federal budget.

Towleroad-roadicon Mr. Romney's international panderfest hits the Levant:

“We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel voice theircriticisms,” he said. “And we certainly should not join in that criticism. Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel’s adversaries.”

He also referred pointedly to Jerusalem as “the capital of Israel,” something Obama administration officials, in keeping with decades of official American policy, are unwilling to do because Palestinians also envision the city as the future capital of their hoped-for state. The line drew a standing ovation from some in the crowd.

Towleroad-roadicon New York City councilman Jimmy Van Bramer marries partner of 13 years, Dan Hendricks.

Towleroad-roadicon VIDEO: Antonin Scalia talks about your (possible) constitutional right to carry a rocket launcher, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "NEWS: Lesbian Murders, A Watery World, Antonin Scalia On The Second Amendment - VIDEO" »


Attendance At Civil Union Ceremony Results In A Change Of Denomination

W300-084248ff4c4af1192ea7b086bfae4101Col. Timothy Wagoner, a Christian chaplain with the United States Air Force, has departed the Southern Baptist Convention after complaints about his attendance at a same-sex civil union ceremony.

Col. Wagoner did not officiate at the ceremony -- he'd previously made clear that he would conduct no rituals that violate the teachings of his denomination. From The Oklahoman:

Wagoner had told the AP that he decided to attend as a show of support for the base community, for [Tech Sgt. Erwynn Umali, who was being joined in a civil union to civilian Will Behrens], and for the Evangelical Lutheran chaplain, Col. Kay Reeb, who presided over it.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” Wagoner said, describing the ceremony as beautiful.

The ceremony occurred in June, and Wagoner's conversation with the AP took place in either late June or early July. The resulting article, "Air Force chaplains adjust to gays serving openly," was blogged about here by Andrew Belonsky, under the title "No 'Mass Exodus' Of Military Chaplains Post DADT-Repeal." The article was also noticed by Col. Wagoner's co-religionists, who must hope that the DADT repeal will at least result in a mass exodus from the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC Press got Col. Wagoner on-record against same-sex unions, explaining that he was in attendance at the civil union ceremony only as a sign of friendship and respect, and not because of any theological agreement. This wasn't satisfactory. It is not enough, in the Southern Baptist Convention, to object to same-sex unions; one must also boycott them, and treat those engaged in them with either hostility or indifference. The Southern Baptist Convention planned a videoconference with its chaplains to explain this point, and Col. Wagoner, after 20 years with the Convention, decided he'd had enough. The SBC Press announced his departure on the 20th. He will continue to serve as a chaplain under the imprimatur of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.


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

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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)" »


Indian Village Council Issues 'Diktat' For Women: No Cell Phones, Love Marriages, Or Uncovered Heads

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No one, to my knowledge, has polled the inhabitants of the village of Asara, in the Uttar Pradesh state of the world's largest democracy, for their thoughts on marriage equality. If their feelings on women's rights are a hint, it's a way off. 

Raw Story reported yesterday that the "predominantly Muslim" village's "panchayat" -- a kind of coucil of elders -- has decreed that women under 40 may no longer use cell phones, lest they use them to pursue unwholesome relationships with young men. Nor may women enter into "love marriages" -- that is, marriages not arranged by their parents. And they must cover their heads in public. 

Asara's panchayat has no actual legal authority, but that doesn't mean it's toothless. From Raw Story:

Although their rulings carry no legal weight, they can be highly influential and have been blamed for numerous abuses, such as sanctioning “honour killings” of women whose actions are deemed to have brought shame on their family.

Asara's inhabitants are apparently largely pleased with the panchayat "diktats" on women's behavior ... 

... saying they would help prevent young women being misled and forming unsuitable relationships.

“Mobile phones are a curse, especially for girls. I would have been more happy if the panchayat had completely banned girls from using mobile phones,” villager Tarun Chaudhary told the Mail Today.

Police in Uttar Pradesh are already investigating the new panchayat diktats, and hope to make arrests should anyone try to enforce them. But even now, without a single arrest warrant signed, law enforcement's in trouble. From DNAIndia:

Police yesterday questioned Mokim and Mujahid, residents of Asara village, in connection with the diktat.

"Protesting the police action, a mob gathered in front of the Asara sugar mill demanding the duo's release. They beat up two policemen, who had gone there to clear the traffic jam, and torched their motorcycle," IG (law and order) BP Singh said here today.


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