Thursday, June 30, 2016

United Nations Votes To Create LGBT Rights Watchdog


Big step forward for LGBT rights today as the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution by a vote of 23 to 18 to create an LGBT rights "watchdog."

From Buzzfeed:

The person appointed to this role will be known as an “independent expert” and the position is charged with monitoring “violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

This was the most ambitious effort yet to advance LGBT rights within the United Nations system, and the resolution included the strongest language to date suggesting LGBT rights should be a concern of international human rights law.

Not everyone was thrilled. See this from anti-LGBT group Family Watch International:

While we condemn violence against people based on sex or any other physical or mental characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity, this resolution goes way beyond seeking to end violence and unjust discrimination. The main objective of the resolution is to appoint a global LGBT “Czar” who will investigate alleged rights violations by governments and individuals against LGBT people.

Everyone knows that this is intended to be a tool to try to force such things as same-sex marriage, cross-gender bathroom use, LGBT “rights” indoctrination education, and much more upon countries around the world in the name of preventing discrimination and violence.

"Lost In Space" Gets Netflix Reboot


Excuse me for geeking out :)

Netflix has green-lit a 10-episode series order to launch a reboot of the 1960s sci-fi series, “Lost in Space.”

From Variety:

The new series will be produced by Legendary Television. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the screenwriting team behind the films “Dracula Untold” and “Last Witch Hunter,” will write the new series, with “Prison Break” veteran Zack Estrin set to serve as showrunner. The three will executive produce alongside Synthesis Entertainment’s Kevin Burns and Jon Jashni , Applebox’s Neil Marshall and Marc Helwig. Marshall is also set to direct several episodes of the show. The series is set to premiere in 2018.

“The original series so deftly captured both drama and comedy, and that made it very appealing to a broad audience,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix vice president of original content. “The current creative team’s reimagining of the series for Netflix is sure to appeal to both fans who fondly remember the original and to create a new generation of enthusiasts around the world.”

Created by Irwin Allen, the original “Lost in Space” aired for three seasons, from 1965 to 1968 on CBS. The series told the story of the Robinson family, explorers stranded in space far from their home. The original also spawned a 1998 feature film starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Heather Graham and Mimi Rogers.

Funny Of The Day: Avengers Meets Hillary & Trump

House Republicans Will Allow Vote On Gun Control


Perhaps the sit-in did accomplish something on the issue of common sense gun control.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has apparently agreed to allow a vote in the House on legislation designed to keep suspected terrorists from buying guns.

Now, that sounds like it makes sense, no?

Via ThinkProgress:

According to The Hill, Ryan told Republicans on a conference call "that the House will take up a terrorism package that will include measures to disrupt radicalization and recruitment, as well as a provision to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns."

Exactly which bill the House would take up was unclear from the conference call, The Hill reported. Because it's unclear which bill will be brought to the floor, The New York Daily News noted that Ryan could "select a bill considered too weak by most Democrats."

If the bill is too weak, there is a possibility that House Democrats will continue to protest in one way or another until a better bill is brought to a vote.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter Announces End To U.S. Military's Ban On Transgender Service Members

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

Fantastic news and a great step forward.

OutServe-SLDN has the details via press release:

Today Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the recommendations from the working group formed last summer on the lifting of the ban on open transgender service. This announcement includes recommendations, plans and timeline to when transgender service members will fully be able to serve openly and authentically.

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn issued the following statement: “OutServe-SLDN applauds and welcomes Secretary Carter’s announcement today. Every day, an estimated 15,500 dedicated, proud and courageous transgender service members have been forced to live quietly and serve in righteous indignation, anticipating the end of the discriminatory ban on open trans service to be lifted in the Armed Forces.

“Transgender service members have been awaiting this announcement for months and years: it has long been overdue. Secretary Carter, with his statement, has given a breath of relief and overdue respect to transgender service members who have been and are currently serving our country with undeniable professionalism, the utmost respect and illustrious courage, with the caveat to do so silently.

“Today, we mark history, once again, by ending the need to serve in silence. Today, we say (in the words of Attorney General Loretta Lynch) “we see you” and regardless of your gender identity we welcome you to serve this country with honor, dignity, courage and above all openly and honestly.

SPARTA, the largest organization of actively-serving transgender military members today celebrated the Pentagon’s announcement confirming that transgender Americans will be able to serve their country on equal footing with other service members.

“Secretary Carter today fulfills his promise that every American who is qualified to serve will be allowed to serve, said former Army Captain Sue Fulton, President of SPARTA. “The thousands of transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen – and their commanders – have one less burden on their shoulders today. We are grateful to the military and civilian leaders in the Department of Defense who worked so hard to get this right.”

Secretary Of The U.S. Army Eric Fanning To Attend San Diego LGBT Pride

Secretary of the U.S. Army Eric Fanning

Not only is Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning now the first openly gay head of a branch of the U.S. military, he will also be the first to attend a major LGBT pride event on July 15/16 in San Diego.

Via press release:

On the heels of his historic confirmation by the U.S. Senate as the 22nd Secretary of the U.S. Army, Eric Fanning will take the stage as keynote speaker at Friday's rally and serve as one of San Diego Pride's Hon. Grand Marshals for the parade on Saturday.

San Diego Pride made history in 2011 with over 200 active duty service members from every branch of the military marching before the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and again made history in 2012 when the Pentagon allowed active duty service members to wear their uniforms for the first time in any US Pride.

"From José Sarria, to Harvey Milk, to Eric Fanning, LGBT service members and Department of Defense civilians have been a crucial part of the fabric of our movement and this nation," said Fernando Lopez, San Diego Pride Director of Operations. "San Diego has such a vibrant LGBT service member and veteran community, we know his presence is going to mean the world to so many. It is an incredible honor to host Secretary Fanning at San Diego Pride."

"I am humbled to be the keynote speaker and an honorary Grand Marshal. As our community moves forward, we strive for full inclusion of all Americans who can do the job, and just want an opportunity to serve the Nation they love," said Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning.

The Spirit of Stonewall Rally, will take place at the Pride Festival Mainstage at Marston Point in Balboa Park, Friday, July 15, at 6:00pm. More info at www.sdpride.org/rally

The Pride Parade will kick off at 11:00am, Saturday, July 16 in Hillcrest, and starts at the intersection of Normal St, and University Ave. More info at www.sdpride.org/parade


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie On Donald Trump's VP List

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (L) with presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump

Well, you saw this coming.

Even though they ran against each other in the GOP primary, Donald Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have been long-time friends. Christie was one of the very first to jump behind Trump as the presumptive Republican presidential candidate.

Political insiders have speculated Christie has been angling for some prominent Cabinet position in a possible Trump administration. In addition to veep, folks have pondered an Attorney General appointment.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Christie is among those being vetted as Mr. Trump’s possible running mate, according to people briefed on the process, and Mr. Trump has said in interviews that Mr. Christie would have a prominent place in a Trump White House.

Already, Mr. Christie has begun the task of designing a government on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Tapped to lead Mr. Trump’s transition efforts, Mr. Christie has taken a role that some of his allies liken to that of a White House chief of staff, soliciting views on what a potential Trump administration should look like.

Mr. Christie has taken the transition process firmly in hand, according to people familiar with his activities, which have been kept from public view so far. He has enlisted his former top aide in Trenton, Richard H. Bagger, to help manage the transition team.

Behind the scenes, Mr. Christie has prodded his fellow governors and Republican political donors to line up behind a candidate many view with distaste. He has made only modest headway in the last few months: Mr. Trump has struggled badly with fund-raising and Mr. Christie has pleaded with donors, in personal phone calls and fund-raising events, to give him a second look.

Gym Inspiration


Thanks to Boy Culture for a bit of all-American gym inspiration today - Josh Ohl from All-American Guys.

Dang...

Prince Harry Speaks On HIV Awareness At Sentebale Concert

Prince Harry and Coldplay at Sentebale Concert for raising awareness for HIV/AIDS

Prince Harry spoke last night at the Sentebale concert at Kensington Palace imploring young people to "please take a little bit of time to learn about the fight against HIV."

Handsome Harry also joined super rock band Coldplay for "Up & Up" during the concert.

Music: St. Lucia Performs "Dancing On Glass" On GMA


Brooklyn-based St. Lucia performs the lead single "Dancing On Glass" from their sophomore album Matter.

Bouncy, bright, 80s inspired synth-pop to get you to the weekend.

Released in late January, Matter (the follow-up to St. Lucia’s 2013 album When The Night) has been universally praised:

• Rolling Stone: ‘Prince at his purplest’

• Entertainment Weekly: ‘The indie dance party album of the year’

• NYLON: ‘A bold new direction for the band’

• KCRW’s Jason Bentley: “This should be the biggest band in the world right now”

Possible Bribery Charges For Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi Over Donald Trump Donation

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
A Massachusetts lawyer has requested federal prosecutors look into bribery charges against Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and GOP White House hopeful Donald Trump.

The issue at hand goes back to 2013 when Bondi was reviewing complaints against Trump University, now at the center of several fraud lawsuits.

Just days after her campaign sought, and received, a $25,000 donation to her political action committee from Donald Trump, Bondi decided against investigating the complaints.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

The Orlando Sentinel reported on Sept. 13, 2013 that Bondi’s office was looking into the Trump complaints. Campaign finance records show Bondi’s political committee, And Justice for All, received the $25,000 donation from Trump on Sept. 17, 2013.

“Evidence strongly indicates that Bondi’s decision not to initiate or participate in litigation against Trump University was given in exchange for Trump’s contribution based on the short time period between the receipt of the political contribution and the announcement of Bondi’s decision not to participate in the New York litigation,” Larrabee’s complaint states.

The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Bondi’s political consultant Marc Reichelderfer said she personally solicited the donation from Trump. Larrabee filed state ethics and elections complaints against Bondi over the Trump donation after the report was published.

Those complaints are still being reviewed, but Bondi called the allegations untrue. A spokeswoman for Bondi did not respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.

House Committee Schedules Anti-LGBT Legislation Hearing For One Month Anniversary Of Orlando Massacre

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz
They say timing is everything.

So, you have to wonder about House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz's decision to schedule a hearing for the anti-LGBT "First Amendment Defense Act" (also known as FADA) on July 12 - exactly one month to the day that the nation was rocked by the deadliest mass shooting incident (and the worst anti-LGBT hate crime) in the history of the country.

The legislation would allow anyone who claims "deeply-held religious beliefs" the right to legally discriminate against LGBT folks.

The bill was introduced in the House last year, and has had no movement since. So, it's odd that Chaffetz would now decide to hold a hearing, except to present his "dog and pony show" as an election year stunt to placate anti-LGBT Americans.

According to the official summary for the bill, the First Amendment Defense Act "prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

Tune In Tonight: Broadway's She Loves Me Via Livestream


BroadwayHD and Roundabout Theatre Company will make history tonight when the two organizations team up to present a live stream of the Tony-winning revival of She Loves Me June 30 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.

Visit broadwayhd.com/shelovesme to reserve a live-stream pass for $9.99. Viewers who tune in to the broadcast after 8 PM will see the show as it's being performed live until curtain. For anyone who misses the live broadcast, the on-demand encore will be available for seven days with the $9.99 purchase.

BroadwayHD annual subscribers will also be able to view the She Loves Me recording once it is made available as part of the on-demand library. The broadcast will first need to be edited, which could take a number of weeks. Once included in the library, individual titles are available as two-day rentals for $7.99 for non-annual subscribers.

The classic musical comedy began previews February 19 at Studio 54, and will run through July 10. The revival received eight Tony nominations.

She Loves Me tells the story of two parfumerie clerks who, unbeknownst to each other, are corresponding romantically as anonymous pen pals.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Super-Stats Guy Nate Silver: Hillary Clinton Has 80% Chance Of Winning Presidency


Super statistician Nate Silver, who predicted 49 out of 50 states in the 2008 presidential race and 50 out of 50 in 2012, has launched his 2016 Election Forecast page.

The page takes into account all the recent polls in an effort to track where the race for the White House is on any given day. There are three models that crunch the numbers - Polls Only, Polls Plus (which takes into account all polls plus economic conditions and historical data), and Now-Cast (which discerns what the outcome would be if the election were held today).

You can bookmark this and check every now and then to get, in my opinion, one of the best indications of the state of the presidential race.

Caitlyn Jenner Covers Sports Illustrated: "I Loved Bruce"


Caitlyn Jenner, in this month's Sports Illustrated, has this to say about her former gender identity, Bruce Jenner:

"I loved Bruce. I still love him today. I like what he did and the way he set an example for hard work and dedication. I’m proud of that part of my life. But this woman was living inside me, all my life, and it reached the point where I had to let her live and put Bruce inside. And I am happier, these last 12 months, than I’ve ever been in my life.”

Hillary Clinton Pens Open Letter For Orlando LGBT Newspaper: "I See You. I Hear You. I'm With You."


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has penned an open letter for Orlando's LGBT newspaper, Watermark.

Here's the essay in it's entirety.

We know their names.

Stanley. Amanda. Oscar. Rodolfo. Antonio. Darryl. Angel. Juan. Luis. Cory. Tevin. Deonka. Simon. Leroy. Mercedez. Peter. Juan. Paul. Frank. Miguel. Javier. Jason. Eddie. Anthony. Drew. Alejandro. Brenda. Gilberto. Kimberly. Akyra. Luis. Geraldo. Eric. Joel. Jean. Enrique. Jean. Xavier. Christopher. Yilmary. Edward. Shane. Martin. Jonathan. Juan. Luis. Franky. Luis. Jerald.

We know where and when and how they died. And we know that every one of their stories represents someone who won’t get the chance to live out the future they deserved.

Our hearts are broken, and our thoughts are with the survivors still fighting for their lives. And to the LGBT community – in Orlando and across America – know this: I see you. I hear you. I’m with you. And I will do everything in my power to prevent future tragedies like this act of terror and hate.

That means acknowledging who was targeted in this attack. From the raids on the Stonewall Inn in New York, to the arson attack on UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans, to the detonation of a bomb at the Otherside Lounge in Atlanta – too often, places that should be safe for the LGBT community have instead been targets for violence. For all the progress we’ve made, it’s still far too dangerous to be gay in America.

LGBT people are now more likely than any other group to be the target of a hate crime. LGBT people of color face intersectional pressures and dangers. And a full 70 percent of victims of anti-LGBT murders in the United States are people of color – and the statistics are particularly striking for transgender people of color. So there’s a reason so many people seek out safe spaces.

In Orlando, that sense of security was shattered. The gunman specifically targeted the Latino LGBT community. In fact, it was “Latin Night” during Pride Month, a time that should have been a joyous celebration. When that feeling of safety comes under attack, all Americans must stand in solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters.

After the massacre, LGBT people from all over the country came forward to share how much this hit home. That’s because so many communities in America have somewhere like Pulse, where people can find a community and feel free to be themselves.

Yes, this is a time for reflection. But more importantly, this is a time for action. We need real plans to prevent future attacks and ensure the safety of the LGBT community and all Americans. Here’s mine.

First, we need to take on the epidemic of gun violence in America. Prohibiting suspected terrorists from buying guns – and expanding background checks so that terrorists can’t easily avoid that prohibition – should not be controversial. We can’t legislate hate away, but we can make it less deadly. That’s why I was so proud to see Democrats staging a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives, demanding a vote on commonsense gun reforms that the vast majority of Americans support.

Second, since we know that the gunman in Orlando was radicalized by terrorist propaganda, we need to disrupt and dismantle the global online network that groups like ISIS use to communicate and to inspire these horrible acts. As president, I’ll set up a task force to track and counter the threat of lone wolf attacks like these.

And third, let’s continue to fight for the ideal this attack intended to target: that no matter who you are, or who you love, you are equal in America. Let’s fight to enshrine that ideal in our laws—by passing the Equality Act. And let’s call out hateful rhetoric whenever and wherever we see it in our daily lives.

The attack at Pulse shook so many of us to our core. But in the weeks since, we have seen moving demonstrations of support – from the thousands of people attending vigils across the country, to the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for donating blood, to the people and groups on the ground in Orlando who have come together to support their LGBT friends, neighbors, colleagues, and loved ones.

So know that you have allies who are looking out for you. People like Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, whose leadership and support during this crisis ought to be a model for other local leaders. And you have millions of Americans celebrating Pride Month alongside you.

I’m one of them. And I’ll never stop fighting for your right to live freely, openly, and without fear.

Stop The Hate: 49 Celebrities Honor The 49 Victims Of Orlando Nightclub Shooting


From the Human Rights Campaign:

The attack on Pulse nightclub has tragically become a symbol of how deadly anti-LGBTQ hate can become when it is combined with easy access to military-style assault weapons. In the wake of the attack in Orlando, HRC has been joined by a wide range of civil rights leaders in speaking out against laws and politicians who foment hate against LGBTQ people. HRC has also called on Congress to establish protections for LGBTQ people in all fifty states through the Equality Act and officially adopted a resolution in support of common-sense gun violence prevention legislation that will help ensure LGBTQ people and all Americans are safe and equal in every community.

"The 49 heroes who lost their lives on June 12 were brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives. They were mostly young and mostly Latinx. But above all, they were human beings who were loved, and who had hopes and dreams for long, full lives," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "It has been only a few short weeks since we lost 49 people to a deadly act of hatred. It is our responsibility to keep their memories alive and honor their legacies by ensuring our nation acts to end anti-LGBTQ hate and gun violence. We are incredibly grateful to Ryan Murphy, Ned Martel and the 49 artists who came together to create this beautiful and lasting tribute."

In the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy, Murphy asked how he could help drive awareness about the dual epidemics of anti-LGBTQ hate violence and gun violence that, together, claimed so many lives at Pulse nightclub. The result was this moving tribute, filmed over the course of three days, at FOX Studios in Los Angeles.

"The hate that stole these 49 individuals from all those who loved them has been allowed to flourish in our country for too long," said Ryan Murphy, Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, director and producer. "No person is born hating another, and we have an obligation as Americans to stand up against prejudice and bigotry that would incite violence against someone simply for who they are. I am proud to have joined with Ned Martel, my talented colleagues, and the Human Rights Campaign to honor these 49 heroes and stop the hate."

Brief vignettes recounted by leading performers and entertainment leaders tell the stories of all 49 victims (in order of appearance): Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez, 27; Stanley Almodovar III, 23; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32; Luis Daniel Conde, 39; Juan Pablo Rivera Velazquez, 37; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21; Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24; Franky Jimmy De Jesús Velazquez, 50; Juan Chavez-Martinez, 25; Jerald Arthur Wright, 31; Antonio Davon Brown, 29; Miguel Angel Honorato, 30; Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25; ‘K.J.’ Morris, 37; Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34; Frankie Hernandez, 27; Akyra Monet Murray, 18; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 31; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24; Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24; Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33; Paul Terrell Henry, 41; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25; Amanda Alvear, 25; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Angel Luis Candelario-Padro, 28; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25; Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29; Cory James Connell, 21; Martin Benitez Torres, 33; Luis S. Vielma, 22; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22; and Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32.

Their stories are told by (in order of appearance): Lady Gaga, Chris Pine, Cuba Gooding Jr., Connie Britton, Matt Bomer, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Lea Michele, Colton Haynes, Sophia Bush, Jane Fonda, Harry Shum Jr., Denis O’Hare, Rob Reiner, Melissa Benoist, Caitlyn Jenner, Edgar Ramirez, Max Greenfield, Chaz Bono, Cheyenne Jackson, Emma Roberts, Kerry Washington, George Lopez, Evan Rachel Wood, Sofía Vergara, Diego Boneta, Nina Jacobson, Demi Lovato, Tyler Oakley, Yeardley Smith, Kid Cudi, Kaitlin Olson, Kevin McHale, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lee Daniels, Chace Crawford, Evan Peters, Gerard Butler, Katey Sagal, John Stamos, Laverne Cox, Jordana Brewster, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, Darren Criss, Kathy Bates, Anna Paquin, Guillermo Díaz and Joe Mantello.

New Poll: Hillary Clinton Leads Donald Trump In Battleground States


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads billionaire Donald Trump in a new poll of all-important battleground states.

According to Ballotpedia's battleground poll, Clinton leads Trump:

• 51% to 37% in Florida
• 45% to 41% in Iowa
• 50% to 33% in Michigan
• 48% to 38% in North Carolina
• 46% to 37% in Ohio
• 49% to 35% in Pennsylvania
• 45% to 38% in Virginia

Her leads held at nearly the same margins when Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson was included in the poll. And Clinton led Trump 48% to 37% when all states were factored together. With Johnson included, Clinton led Trump 44% to 34%, with Johnson at 13%.

While nationwide polls are interesting, I always remind readers that the election will basically be won in 7-10 battleground states. Watch these to know which way the election is leaning.

Ambassador Chris Stevens' Family: We Do Not Blame Hillary Clinton For Benghazi


In the aftermath of the 800 page report by the Republican-led panel which investigated the attack on Benghazi, the sister of Ambassador Chris Stevens — one of the four American casualties from the September 11, 2012 attack on a compound in Benghazi, Libya — says that the fault does not lie with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Dr. Anne Stevens spoke to the New Yorker, and said, in part:

It is clear, in hindsight, that the facility was not sufficiently protected by the State Department and the Defense Department. But what was the underlying cause? Perhaps if Congress had provided a budget to increase security for all missions around the world, then some of the requests for more security in Libya would have been granted. Certainly the State Department is underbudgeted.

I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.

Dr. Stevens went on to say about Hillary Clinton, “She has taken full responsibility, being head of the State Department, for what occurred. She took measures to respond to the review board’s recommendations. She established programs for a better security system.

"But it is never going to be perfect,” she admitted to The New Yorker. “I don’t see any usefulness in continuing to criticize her. It is very unjust.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Social Experiment: Londoners Step Up Against Homophobia


From Julius Dein: What would you do if you saw homophobic bullying happen in public? Would you react or get involved?

In this social experiment, Julius Dein goes out on the streets of London to test people's reactions to homophobia.


New Music: Jeb Havens "I Need Love"


New music from out singer/songwriter Jeb Havens:

Just in time for pride season... my brand new dance track "I Need Love", released by Smilax Publishing.

The music video uses some footage we took while on the beautiful beaches of Cape Town. Hope you enjoy it.

Happy and safe pride, everyone!


U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Critical Of Donald Trump's Trade Plans

https://twitter.com/USChamber/status/747862410267136000

After hearing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump speak today on his economic policies, the conservative leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce dispatched this via Twitter.

Now, when business conservatives have reservations about his policies...

The  Chamber of Commerce says we would lose 7 million jobs and head back into recession if the U.S. followed Trump's ideas.

The U.S. recession would set in within the first year under Trump’s proposed trade policies, which include a 35 percent tariff on imports from Mexico and a 45 percent tax on goods coming in from China. Over the next three years, the U.S. economy would shrink by 4.6 percent and the unemployment rate would nearly double to 9.5 percent.

Should China and Mexico decide not to retaliate against Trump’s steep tariffs with heightened trade barriers of their own - an unlikely scenario based on recent history - the U.S. would still lose a minimum of 2 million current jobs, while another 1.5 million would not be created. In other words, even under the best case scenario, Trump’s tariffs would strip our country of at least 3.5 million jobs.

Does that sound like "making America great again" to you?

GOP-Led House Benghazi Panel Issues 800 Page Report - No Bombshell

Benghazi committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy

After two years and more than $7 million dollars, the GOP-led House investigation into the Benghazi attack of 2012 has concluded with no "bombshell" or new revelations.

CNN reports:

The more than 800-page report paints a picture of a perfect storm of bureaucratic inertia, rapidly worsening security in Libya and inadequate resources in the months that led up to the killings of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues on September 11, 2012.

The attack was initially thought to be perpetrated by an angry mob responding to a video made in the U.S. mocking Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, but the assault was later determined to be a terrorist attack -- a finding Republicans accused the White House of covering up to protect President Barack Obama's re-election prospects.

The House Benghazi Committee report doesn't directly blame Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time and is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, for the attacks. But it does suggest she and other administration officials did not adequately address the risks involved. It also found Stevens himself bore responsibility for securing his post.

At the end of the day, House Republicans were unable to actually pin blame on Hillary Clinton for the attack. The most they could attach to Clinton was that she should have realized the situation in Libya was dangerous from available intelligence.

I'm guessing they mean that in the same way that President George W. Bush "should" have been able to avoid 9/11 after intelligence reports were available saying "Bin Laden Determined To Strike In US?"

Oddly, I don't recall House Republicans holding investigations into Dubya's culpability.

The Republican-run Congress spent more time investigating Benghazi than both 9/11 and the Iraq War combined, and yet thousands more Americans died in those conflicts.

Donald Trump's Lawyer Accuses Hillary Clinton Of Murder

Federal Judge Rules Mississippi County Clerks Don't Get To Refuse Same-Sex Marriage Licenses


After the historic SCOTUS ruling last year which brought marriage equality to the entire United States, Mississippi passed a law as an attempted end-run around same-sex marriage allowing county clerks to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses.

A federal judge has ruled that law unconstitutional.

Via Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed:

“[T]he Supreme Court’s ruling will be enforced,” U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves wrote of the year-old decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

There was already a court order that stopped Mississippi from enforcing its ban on same-sex couples’ marriages. On Monday, the judge agreed to expand that order to address the so-called “recusal” provision of HB 1523, which was passed earlier this year and would go into effect on July 1.

“Having reviewed the relevant section of HB 1523, the parties’ arguments, and the scope of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell, the Court finds that [the recusal provision] may in fact amend Mississippi’s marriage licensing regime in such a way as to conflict with Obergefell,” the judge wrote.

Judge Reeves also addressed the idea of any ongoing disapproval over marriage equality after Obergefell:

“Mississippi’s elected officials may disagree with Obergefell, of course, and may express that disagreement as they see fit – by advocating for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision, for example. But the marriage license issue will not be adjudicated anew after every legislative session.”

Monday, June 27, 2016

Matt Baume: "Is Donald Trump A Friend To The Gays?"


All-around smart guy Matt Baume asks "Is Donald Trump a friend of 'The Guys?'"

"Ask the gays," Donald said, "who's your friend?"

Well, the gays are ready with their answer, and it's probably not what he wanted.

Here are some of Donald's quotes about marriage equality, civil unions, and job protections for LGBTs ... and also some "friends" that Donald Trump might not want the gays to know about.

Mike Huckabee Hit With $25K Tab For Playing "Eye Of The Tiger" At Kim Davis Rally

Gov. Mike Huckabee (L) with Kim Davis (C)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee may have ended his 2016 presidential campaign on February 1st of this year, but he's still paying off the debts racked up on his behalf.

Part of that tab is settlement from a copyright infringement lawsuit surrounding his campaign's using the song "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor at a rally for anti-marriage equality County Clerk Kim Davis.

Apparently, Huckabee initially tried to get out of paying the royalty infringement by saying in court the rally was a "religious assembly." But then the item showed up as a presidential campaign expense on his Federal Election Commission filing.

Clearly presidential campaigns are not "religious assemblies."

From CNN:

Huckabee played the triumphant song by the band Survivor at a rally he held for Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

But Huckabee never paid for the rights -- so his campaign got sued for copyright infringement.

He recently agreed to a confidential settlement with Rude Music. That company is owned by the Survivor guitarist who cowrote the song, Frankie Sullivan.

They settled out of court, and it came to light when Huckabee listed the $25,000 cost as a campaign expense on federal election records. A payment to Rude Music is listed as a "legal settlement" for "copyright infringement."

Huckabee paid half of it in May and listed the $12,500 payment as an "itemized disbursement." He listed the other half as "debts and obligations." Both appear on a June 20 filing.

Huckabee ran for the Republican ticket until he dropped out Feb. 1, but he's still paying off the cost of his campaign.

Sean Hayes: "I Regret Not Coming Out Sooner"


Former Will & Grace star Sean Hayes tells Playbill he wishes he had come out publicly during the run of the hit TV series.

“I got Will & Grace, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is different. I don’t know how to handle this. I’m not bright enough, I’m not quick enough, I don’t have the DNA to be a spokesperson for any kind of group of people.’”

“I had personal issues inside of myself that I regret.

“I regret not coming out sooner and helping more people, and I regret not coming out during the show.

"Everybody in the gay community knew I was gay, but it was this fight I had with the press because they want you to come out on their terms, and other gay people want you to come out on their terms, and if you don’t come out on their terms you’re just an asshole, and you’re wrong. Well, each individual human being has a lot of stuff that nobody knows about.

"Nobody knows what anybody else is going through at any point in their lives.”

Hayes eventually came out in 2010, four years after the end of Will & Grace.

He married his partner, Scott Icenogle, in 2014, and is currently starring on Broadway in the play An Act of God.

Video: Sen. Elizabeth Warren Campaigns With Hillary Clinton


Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren hit the campaign trail today with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Cincinnati today.

Warren was fiery from the start and didn't let up. She's been mentioned as a possible VP pick for Hillary.

Great to see the two together.

I Want A Tiger To Hug Me Like This

Broadway's HAMILTON Will Fund Raise For Hillary Clinton Via Additional Performance

Click image to enlarge

Broadway blockbuster Hamilton is really showing up for the Hillary Clinton campaign by giving an additional performance to the hit Broadway musical with proceeds going to the Democratic presidential candidate.

The Hollywood Reporter has the details:

On July 12, the cast will put on an extra 11:30 a.m. matinee showing in Clinton's honor. The event is titled "Hamilton: An American Musical with special guest Hillary Rodham Clinton." Tickets start at $2,700 for a general seat and reach as high as $100,000 for an "event chair" entry, which includes "two Premium Seats and Wrap Party with Hillary and other special guests, and Invitation to the Democratic National Convention," according to Clinton's official website.

For $10,000, buyers will score a premium seat that includes a photo reception with Clinton; and for the $33,400 host ticket, donors will sit in a premium seat as well as enjoy the aftershow wrap party with Clinton and guests.

The Tuesday matinee will add an additional performance to the week's regular slate of eight shows. Despite the fundraiser being held in Clinton's honor, Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda and co-stars Leslie Odom, Jr. and Phillipa Soo are not expected to perform as they will be leaving the show following their final performance on July 9.

Ticket prices for the musical have soared as the Broadway hit has gained massive popularity, with premium seats at a current high of $849. Seats on the secondary market are going for as much as $4,000 apiece.

Hamilton's special matinee showing is presented by the Hillary Victory Fund, as part of its efforts to raise money for the Democratic candidate's "Hillary for America" campaign.

This could be a huge opportunity for some Hamilton and Clinton fans. Current top ticket price is $849 for best seats, but the show is sold waaaay out. You can buy tickets on the "secondary market" but they are selling for up to $4,000. So, $2,700 could be a deal if you are one of those who expect to donate the max amount to Hillary anyway.

My pockets aren't that deep, but I applaud the creativity in fundraising.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules 5-3 Against Texas' Abortion Restrictions


The U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue of abortion for the first time in nearly a decade, and it's good news for pro-choice supporters.

Via CNN:

In a dramatic ruling, the Supreme Court on Monday threw out a Texas abortion access law in a victory to supporters of abortion rights who argued it would have shuttered all but a handful of clinics in the state.

The 5-3 ruling is the most significant decision from the Supreme Court on abortion in two decades and could serve to deter other states from passing so-called "clinic shutdown" laws.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, which was joined in full by Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the swing vote on the abortion issue.

"There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure," Breyer wrote. "We agree with the District Court that the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an "undue burden" on their constitutional right to do so."

There were two provisions of the law at issue. The first said that doctors have to have local admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, the second says that the clinics have to upgrade their facilities to hospital-like standards.

Donald Trump has previously stated that women should be "punished" for having abortions if it were to become illegal.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton immediately praised the ruling:

Jan Brewer: Stop Calling Trump Supporters 'Racists' Just Because We're 'Racists


Talking Points Memo recaps a heated exchange between Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

During a Sunday panel discussion on CNN’s “State of the Union,” former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) railed against President Obama and complained that Republicans are so frequently labeled bigots.

Brewer was responding from comments Obama made on Friday warning against “charlatans” and “bigotry,” likely referring to Donald Trump.

“President Obama just always comes tearing after Republicans constantly, calling names and calling people bigots and racists. And that’s their big comeback, you know. And it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Brewer said. “To see a president speak like that is offensive.”

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) then jumped in to defend Obama.

“President Obama doesn’t say this about all Republicans. But he did say rightly that Donald Trump is a bigot, Donald Trump is a racist, Donald Trump is, in fact, making fascist appeals,” he said. “That’s why many self-respecting Republicans are not supporting Donald Trump.”

Later, when asked if Trump has said anything offensive, Brewer said that Trump is new to politics and has had to revise some remarks.

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff


I've seen this before on the interwebs, but coming across it this morning it stuck with me.

There were a few things I saw here that kickstarted a couple of 'realignments' for me.

I'm currently working on a really terrific production of Hello, Dolly! in Sacramento. One of the other folks who's part of the team in a different department has clearly decided on having some kind of issue with me. I have no idea what it is - we don't have a huge amount of interaction. But, he's decided to have a problem.

Last night, during a rehearsal, he made a point of pushing me out of his way while I was in the middle of giving someone a note about dancing. There was no emergency, we weren't in a performance. He just decided to push me out of his way.

My initial reaction was to pull him aside and address the issue in the moment. Who am I kidding? My first thought was to shove him back. But I was busy doing my job.

The incident stuck with me though. I went in and out of options: Should I have punched him? Should I take this to the producer? Should I make preparations for constructing a virulently angry voodoo doll?

Then I woke up to this list of common sense and realized I don't need to "do" anything. This guy is on his own journey, and the best way for me to cope with the intersection of his issues on my path is to "Don't argue" and "Be kind to unkind people."

I'm not a saint. I'd still like to shove him back. But it wouldn't fix his issues or my issues with his issues. The second I read the above list, it was easy to let it go.

Did I mention this production of Hello, Dolly! is looking really awesome? I love my theater tribe.

Don't sweat the small stuff; it's all small stuff.

Forward.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton Becomes 1st Major Presidential Candidate To March In LGBT Pride Parade

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton became the first presidential  from a major party to march in a Gay Pride parade today in New York City

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton surprised NYC Pride Parade goers today as she became the first presumptive presidential candidate of a major party to walk in an LGBT Pride Parade.

She was joined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Rev. Al Sharpton and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Estimates put attendance of this year's NYC LGBT Pride events at around 2 million.

By the way - don't come at me with the "she used to be against gay marriage" BS. It took me years to deal with the fact that I was gay. Hillary evolved and she's there now, loud and proud. She mentions LGBT rights in every speech or appearance she makes. I believe her, and #ImWithHer.

Presumptive Republican candidate and New Yorker Donald "Better for the Gays" Trump was not in attendance.

From the Washington Blade:

Clinton joined attendees near the landmark Stonewall Inn, where in 1969 riots began that were considered the start of the modern LGBT rights movement. President Obama named a national monument in New York City on Friday in honor of the riots.

It’s not the first time Clinton has participated in a Pride event. In 2000, Clinton marched in the New York City Pride parade during her campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in New York, marking the first-time ever a first lady participated in a Pride celebration.










New Poll Shows Hillary Clinton In Double-Digit Lead Over Donald Trump


In a head-to-head general election matchup, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 51% - 39% among registered voters nationwide, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll:

This is Clinton’s largest lead in Post/ABC polling since last fall, and a dramatic reversal from last month’s survey, which found the race nearly even, with Trump at 46 percent and Clinton at 44 percent.

The same poll showed President Obama’s approval rating at 56% — its highest level in Washington Post polling since May 2011, after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Obama is more popular now than Republicans George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush in the waning months of their presidencies.

Additionally, the June 20-24 Reuters/Ipsos poll also showed Clinton in double-digits over Trump 46.6% - 33.3%.

New Music: Kristine W "Out There"


New music from dance diva Kristine W - just in time for Pride, the appropriately titled "Out There."

If you're in Seattle, don't miss KW at Seattle Pride Fest today at 2PM!

I hope everyone gets their Pride on. Dance, kids!


LA Theater: Betty Buckley & Rachel York Star In "Grey Gardens"


Now you KNOW I'm seeing this in July. Not to be missed.

Via press release:

Broadway's daring musical sensation Grey Gardens — The Musical arrives at the Ahmanson Theatre starring the fabulous Rachel York (Broadway's City of Angels) and the legendary Betty Buckley (Tony Award®-winning Grizabella in Cats).

Based on the cult classic documentary and directed by Michael Wilson, this haunting and often hilarious musical recounts Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' most eccentric relatives' fall from society darlings to notorious recluses in their crumbling East Hampton estate.

Grey Gardens — The Musical was hailed as Time magazine’s number one show of the year and garnered 10 Tony Award nominations when it premiered on Broadway in 2006.

Center Theatre Group’s production at the Ahmanson is the Los Angeles debut of Grey Gardens — The Musical.

One Year Ago Today: Marriage Equality Becomes The Law Of The Land


One year ago today, the United States took a huge leap forward in equal rights for all when the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was a constitutional right.

Easily one of the most impactful, emotional days of my life.

And then, just to put the cherry on top of the sundae, the White House celebrated the occasion awash in the colors of the LGBT rainbow.

Still so far to go, but it's important to slow down for a second and remember the good days.


Hillary Clinton Celebrates LGBT Pride, Looks To Future Progress


As gay Americans celebrate LGBT Pride AND the historic Supreme Court Obergefell ruling one year ago today which brought marriage equality to the entire nation, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joins in celebrating the progress of the LGBT community, but also noted the work still to be done in the march for full equality.

Via press release:

“One year ago today, we celebrated a watershed moment for equality in America. Thanks to the bravery of LGBT Americans like Jim Obergefell and Edie Windsor, and the determination and tireless organizing of the LGBT community and their allies, marriage equality became the law of the land in all 50 states.

“Over the last year, more barriers to equality have fallen – including, finally, the last state law banning same-sex couples from adopting. Just this month, President Obama designated Stonewall as the first national monument commemorating LGBT history in America.

“We’ve also seen how much work is still unfinished. The attack in Orlando broke our hearts, and reminded us that LGBT people – particularly people of color – are still targets for harassment and violence. Discriminatory laws in states like North Carolina highlight the need for full federal equality under the law for LGBT Americans. And Donald Trump’s pledge to consider appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn marriage equality underscores the fact that so much of the progress we’ve made is at stake in November.

“But even when the road ahead seems daunting, never forget: on this day in history, love triumphed in the highest court in the land. Today, our march toward a more perfect union continues—toward equality, dignity, and justice for all.”









English Cop Pops Proposal At London Pride


We've seen many public proposals between same-sex couples here in the U.S. with the arrival of marriage equality, but it's not so common in the UK.

But London got to share in a couple's happy moment right on the streets of this year's Pride Parade when a constable marching in the parade with his department stopped along the way to get down on one knee and propose to his boyfriend.

ITV News reports that the constable stopped along the parade route where his partner, Jonathan Sammons, was watching and got down on one knee. The two exchanged a kiss to the roaring of the crowd and then the constable rejoined his fellow police officers.





The newly elected Mayor Sadiq Khan marched in the festivities, too.

Conservative George Will Leaves GOP Over Trump: "Make Sure He Loses"

CNN reports that even George Will, longtime conservative commentator and columnist has announced he is leaving the Republican party over the nomination of Donald Trump.

Will indicated four years of Trump with no opposition would be dangerous for the country. His advice to Republicans? Deal with Hillary for four years and come back in 2020.

In a speech at a Federalist Society luncheon Friday, he told the audience, “This is not my party,” according to PJ Media, a conservative news website.

Will, who worked on President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign, also said at the luncheon that Trump as president with “no opposition” from a Republican-led Congress would be worse than Clinton as president with a Republican-led Congress.

When asked by PJ Media about his message to conservatives regarding Trump, Will responded, “Make sure he loses. Grit their teeth for four years and win the White House.”

In usual Trumpian fashion, The Donald responded via Twitter:

Saturday, June 25, 2016

ThinkProgress' @ZackFord Covers The Sad Little #MarchForMarriage



















President Obama Celebrates Designation Of Stonewall National Monument


On Friday, June 24, President Obama designated the Stonewall National Monument – the first national monument dedicated to telling the story of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s struggle for equal rights.

In this week’s address, the President talked about the importance of preserving and sharing this significant part of the American story.

President Obama also reflected on the amazing progress LGBT Americans have seen over the course of his administration.

Over the past seven years, we’ve seen achievements that would have been unimaginable to the folks who, knowingly or not, started the modern LGBT movement at Stonewall. Today, all Americans are protected by a hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is history. Insurance companies can no longer turn you away because of who you are. Transgender Americans are more visible than ever, helping to make our nation more inclusive and welcoming for all. And one year ago this weekend, we lit the White House in every color – because in every state in America, you’re now free to marry the person you love.

#Brexit: Over A Million Sign Petition Calling For Second EU Referendum


Call it 'buyers remorse' - In the aftermath of the United Kingdom voting to exit the European Union on Thursday, over a million people have signed a petition to call for a second referendum on the issue.

The petition would institute new rules stipulating that to approve leaving the EU, polls would require a majority of 60% and at least 75% turnout to be considered valid.

Here's the actual language of the petition: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60 per cent based a turnout less than 75 per cent there should be another referendum.”

So many people electronically signed the petition that it crashed the UK government's website.

With over a million signatures the issue is required to at least be debated in Parliament.

More here.



(source)

Pentagon To Announce Repeal Of Ban On Transgender Service Members


NBC News reports that the Pentagon is in preparations to announce changes in policy regarding open service by transgender men and women within weeks.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter could make the announcement as early as next week and he will call for full implementation one year from now.

Related: Eric Fanning, First Openly Gay Army Secretary, Confirmed by U.S. Senate

The details of the repeal could shift. One defense official told NBC News that the working group that has been studying this issue since July 2015 will provide broad guidance.

It will be up to the individual services to work out the details. Those details include barracks, rules for new recruits, allowance for sex reassignment surgery, diagnosis of dysmorphic disorder, policies on group showers and more.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Dow Jones Industrial Average Closes Down -611 Points


Stock markets were roiled in the wake of the #Brexit vote in the UK.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down a steep 611 points.