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Tunisia Hub



04/19/2007


NEWS: Putin Fibs; Politicians Love L. Ron; William Saletan Solves The World

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Towleroad-roadicon Vladimir Putin admits he's a bit of a fibber:

Russian President Vladimir Putin told a Russian journalist that many of his most picturesque media appearances — shooting a tranquilizer dart into a tiger who appeared about to pounce; tagging a wounded snow leopard; and, just this week, wearing a feathery white suit to pilot a glider to guide a group of cranes south for the winter — were staged.

Towleroad-roadicon Politicians cozy up to Scientology:

Three U.S. congressmen and a top-level government official attended the opening of the Church of Scientology’s National Office in Washington, D.C., Thursday ... [Republican Congressman Dan Burton and Democratic Congressman Danny Davis] lauded the church’s efforts in pushing Congress to pass legislation targeted toward child medication and the criminal justice system. [Liz Gibson, Senior Program Manager at the Federal Emergency Management Agency] praised the disaster relief the Church of Scientology has provided in times of crisis.

Fire Towleroad-roadicon Chicago CIA sting nets an 18-year-old, first-time jihadi.

Towleroad-roadicon Bill Saletan gives angry zealots a good talking-to.

Towleroad-roadicon US pulls personnel from Tunisia and Yemen.

Towleroad-roadicon The Obama administration expects this nonsense could go on for a while:

“The reality is the Middle East is going to be turbulent for the foreseeable future and beyond that,” said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former State Department official in the Bush administration. “It’s going to present the United States with any number of difficult choices. It’s also going to be frustrating, because in most instances our interests are likely to be greater than our influence.”

Towleroad-roadicon Don Philip really was "bullied" into coming out on the X Factor.

Towleroad-roadicon Royal boobies make the rounds.

Towleroad-roadicon Nathan Schaefer is named executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda; elucidates first priority:

“We must pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act,” or GENDA, he said in a video message posted on the Pride Agenda’s website at the time his appointment was announced on September 15. “That’s our next victory.” He noted that polls have shown that more than three-quarters of New Yorkers support the principles underlying GENDA.

... Schaefer most recently served as the director of public policy at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the city’s oldest and largest AIDS services and advocacy group. He also worked in Washington for the AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth, and Families, a group established in 1994 that does both advocacy and partnership-building work.

Towleroad-roadicon With an album coming out next week, Aimee Mann talks about the state of the arts.

New Tunisian Government to Recognize 'Dignity' of Homosexuals: Gays 'Have a Right to Exist'

Think Progress LGBT reports that the Islamist party that won the country’s first free vote since autocratic president Ben Ali was overthrown plans to recognize that there are gay people:

TunisiaNahda party spokesman Riad Chaibi has offered reassurances that the new leadership does not want to deprive citizens of individual freedoms, going so far as to say that being gay is “a matter of dignity”:

Chaibi, who spent five years in prison for his opposition to dictator Ben Ali, said that in Tunisia “individual freedoms and human rights are enshrined principles” and that atheists and homosexuals are a reality in Tunisia and “have a right to exist.” According to Chaibi, in the case of homosexuals there is also “a matter of dignity, because society sees them as undervalued.”

And yes, this is progress.


News: Egypt, Tunisia, Ryan Gosling, NY Times, Minnesota

 road What do the recent revolutions in Northern Africa mean to the gays and lesbians in Egypt and Tunisia?

Ryan  road Director Nicolas Winding Refn cozies up to a dapper Ryan Gosling at Cannes.

 road Looking a little less cozy, Janet Jackson and her boyfriend also take in Cannes.

 road Get read for a powerful trio to perform together at the Billboard Music Awards tomorrow night: Britney Spears, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.

 road Parents decide not to reveal their baby's gender to anyone outside of their immediate family: "When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family: 'We've decided not to share Storm's sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm's lifetime (a more progressive place?).'"

 road The reward for information related to the anti-gay arson crime that killed eight horses last month has now grown to $22,500.

 road Sean Combs has changed his name yet again. You can start calling him Swag - for now.

Minn  road With just mere days left in the legislative session, both Marriage equality supporters and detractors fill the state capitol in Minnesota today.

 road "It's OK to Say Gay" rally to take place at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville tomorrow at 2pm.

 road California Governor Jerry Brown declares tomorrow the second annual Harvey Milk Day.

 road Some companies paying for gay and lesbian employees' health care tax - something that heterosexuals are not charged.

 road Starting Monday, the NYT presents a new feature that documents teenagers coming out: "The New York Times embarked on the project “Coming Out,” which begins Monday, as an effort to better understand this generation’s realities and expectations, and to give teenagers their own voice in this conversation."

 road Gay rights hero Joseph Norton to be honored in Albany tomorrow.


The Role Of Social Media In Egypt; Twitter Issues Response

EgyptIn his Egypt roundup yesterday, Andy linked to a graph that showed the dramatic and "unprecedented" cutoff of the Internet by the government in that turmoil-engulfed country. As you have heard by now, protesters organized demonstrations by heavily utilizing both Twitter and Facebook. CNN is reporting that even though the Internet is unavailable in Egypt, the mobile networks are working intermittently and are allowing people in Egypt to occasionally sneak out a tweet or two.

The NY Times has today published a piece about how effective these web tools can been be for both protesters and certain governments such as those of places Egypt, Tunisia and China:

“There’s nothing deterministic about these tools — Gutenberg’s press, or fax machines or Facebook,” Ms. Brown said. “They can be used to promote human rights or to undermine human rights.” This is the point of Mr. Morozov, 26, a visiting scholar at Stanford. In “The Net Delusion,” he presents an answer to the “cyberutopians” who assume that the Internet inevitably fuels democracy. He coined the term “spinternet” to capture the spin applied to the Web by governments that are beginning to master it.

In China, Mr. Morozov said, thousands of commentators are trained and paid — hence their nickname, the 50-Cent Party — to post pro-government comments on the Web and steer online opinion away from criticism of the Communist Party. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez, after first denouncing hostile Twitter comments as “terrorism,” created his own Twitter feed — an entertaining mix of politics and self-promotion that now has 1.2 million followers.

Twitter Meanwhile, writing that "the open exchange of information can have a positive global impact," Twitter has indirectly responded to its impact in the recent demonstrations in Northern Africa in a post on their official blog:

"Our goal is to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them. For this to happen, freedom of expression is essential. Some Tweets may facilitate positive change in a repressed country, some make us laugh, some make us think, some downright anger a vast majority of users. We don't always agree with the things people choose to tweet, but we keep the information flowing irrespective of any view we may have about the content."

Today Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak essentially fired his entire cabinet by asking them to resign. He has since chosen a vice president for the first time in his 30-year presidency and also appointed former chief of air staff Ahmad Shafiq as prime minister. But this doesn't seem to have much of an impact on the demonstrations as protesters continue to defy the government-imposed curfew.

Personally, it's looking like my long-planned trip to Egypt next month won't be happening after all. Time to think of a back-up.

Watch a powerful montage of the protests thus far, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "The Role Of Social Media In Egypt; Twitter Issues Response" »


News: Jonathan Knight, TV Pilots, Gay Jersey Shore, Greenland

 road Antoine Dodson gets a reality show pilot that will help explain "how a news story sparked a new life for him and his family."

Tiffjon  road 80's pop star Tiffany on dating NKOTB member Jonathan Knight: "He turned gay later. I didn't do it, but he's fabulous, though. I had issues with that. I was thinking that I did. But, no...Now looking back while we were dating. He was so much fun. We used to do facials together. He was so easy to talk to."

 road Is Prince William's balding the real reason behind his engagement?

 road Robert Vander Plaats continues his hateful "Capturing the Momentum Tour" in Iowa: "We want to have a marriage amendment that the people of Iowa can vote on. We'd like to re-affirm the Defensive Marriage Act. We would like to change the selection process for judges to the Supreme Court. And we'd love to see the other four resign."

 road Twitter's involvement in the recent government turmoil in Tunisia.

 road NBC picks up lesbian sit-com pilot called I Hate That I Love You: "It's from Will and Grace alum Jhoni Marchenko, and the logline is certainly eye-catching: 'A straight couple introduces two of its lesbian friends to one another and what results is both instant attraction and a pregnancy.'"

 road More TV pilot news: thanks to NBC, David E. Kelley's Wonder Woman pilot will get a shot at being a network series after all.

Alex  road So-called new "It" boy Alex Pettyfer goes for a run in LA.

 road Palm Springs Sergent explains to the court that he used an anti-gay slur during a gay sex sting operation so it would serve as an "icebreaker" for his officers.

 road Record ice melt: "The 2010 runoff was more than twice the average annual loss in Greenland over the previous three decades, surpassing a record set in 2007."

 road Gender-Neutral toilets cause stir in Brazil.

 road Rob Lowe buys a round of drinks at a gay bar in the latest episode of "Parks and Recreation."

 road I guess it was only a matter of time: casting is currently underway for a gay version of Jersey Shore called "Under the Boardwalk."

 road Gay couple in Philadelphia claim police brutality: “I kept telling him how much it was hurting and he just said, ‘Shut up, pussy faggot.’ I closed my eyes and all I could hear was Jason screaming. And I told him I have a dislocated wrist, and he said, ‘Shut the fuck up, or you’ll have a broken wrist.’ He said, ‘Let me hear you squeal, faggot.’"


News: Dave Franco, Tunisia, John McCain, Mark Zuckerberg

 road The Dilemma, starring Vince Vaughn, has a weak opening at the box office.

Dave  road Like his brother, there are times that Dave Franco can very much echo James Dean.

 road Meet Lesley Pilkington, a Christian therapist who claims she can make you straight: “We say everybody is heterosexual but some people have a homosexual problem. Nobody is born gay. It is environmental; it is in the upbringing.” She's at risk of losing her license in the UK.

 road Jared Leto rocks a fuchsia piggy hat.

 road USA Networks awards $5,000 grant to a gay rights activist whose son was killed in a hate crime in 2007.

 road Government figures arrested in Tunisia amid that country's unrest.

 road Black Swan's Natalie Portman wins Best Actress at the Critic's Choice Movie Awards.

 road RIP: British actress Susannah York.

 road 17-year-old from Nebraska crowned Miss America, hopes to register as an independent next year.

Markhome  road Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg's new modest home.

 road John McCain's words of praise for the President for his speech about the Tuscon shooting: "Obama gave a terrific speech Wednesday night. He movingly mourned and honored the victims of Saturday's senseless atrocity outside Tucson, comforted and inspired the country, and encouraged those of us who have the privilege of serving America."

 road Tuscon shooting victim arrested after threat.

 road The city of Boston has spent $12,000 to retrofit one of their ambulances to accommodate the increasing number of obese patients. Additions include a hydraulic lift and a stretcher that can hold up to 800 pounds.

 road Milan "Menswear Fashion Week" preview.


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