Monday, May 31, 2010
Serena Williams USA (1) vs. Samantha Stosur AUS (7)
Yaroslava Shvedova KAZ vs. Jelena Jankovic SRB (4). Surely Jelena Jankovic is too strong a defensive player to go through her entire career without winning a major? She made it to the 2008 U.S. Open final (losing to Serena in two close sets) but I believe that it is clay where her particular skills should be rewarded the most. Following that first major final Jankovic fell into a major downward spiral (although not as precipitous a decline as her Serbian countrywoman Ana Ivanovic, who although she possesses the 2008 French Open title still does not own a reliable second (or first) serve.) Jankovic has played well on clay this year, having beaten both Williams sisters on her way to the Rome final (which she lost). She should seize on the good fortune of not being in the "quarter of death" and sneak into her second major final. PREDICTION: Jankovic in 2 sets.
Francesca Schiavone ITA (17) vs. Caroline Wozniacki DEN (3). Wozniacki can regain the World #2 ranking by getting to the final, although I suspect her current Italian opponent and future Russian opponent will do their best to help maintain Venus Williams' hold on that position. This is the veteran Schiavone's 4th career quarterfinal, her second in Paris since reaching that lofty height in her debut at the tournament in 2001. The young Dane had never been past the 4th round of a major despite being on the tour for 3 years until her major breakthrough in New York (over Svetlana Kuznetsova in one of the very best matches of 2009) last year, where she lost the final to Kim Clijsters. In these clashes between wily veteran and talented youngster it is often the older player who comes out the loser because they more viscerally understand the significance (and rarity) of the moment and I expect this case to be no different. Youth will be served, again. PREDICTION:Wozniacki in 2 sets.
Elena Dementieva RUS (5) vs. Nadia Petrova RUS (19)
Hat/tip to Hoodsworld for these shots of one of my favorite Eye Candy models ever: Anthony Gallo. The mixed-race (Black and Italian) model has been featured here before, but definitely deserves to join the short list of beautiful men who have been repeat features.
Happy Memorial Day!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
"The White House is pleased to learn of President Bingu wa Mutharika's pardon of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza. These individuals were not criminals and their struggle is not unique. We must all recommit ourselves to ending the persecution and criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity. We hope that President Mutharika's pardon marks the beginning of a new dialogue which reflects the country's history of tolerance and a new day for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in Malawi and around the globe."Hat/tip to Rod 2.0.
Friday, May 28, 2010
THE WHITE HOUSEHappy Pride, everyone!
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 28, 2010
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2010
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As Americans, it is our birthright that all people are created equal and deserve the same rights, privileges, and opportunities. Since our earliest days of independence, our Nation has striven to fulfill that promise. An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. This month, as we recognize the immeasurable contributions of LGBT Americans, we renew our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Americans and to ending prejudice and injustice wherever it exists.
LGBT Americans have enriched and strengthened the fabric of our national life. From business leaders and professors to athletes and first responders, LGBT individuals have achieved success and prominence in every discipline. They are our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters, and our friends and neighbors. Across my Administration, openly LGBT employees are serving at every level. Thanks to those who came before us -- the brave men and women who marched, stood up to injustice, and brought change through acts of compassion or defiance -- we have made enormous progress and continue to strive for a more perfect union.
My Administration has advanced our journey by signing into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which strengthens Federal protections against crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation. We renewed the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides life-saving medical services and support to Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and finally eliminated the HIV entry ban. I also signed a Presidential Memorandum directing hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to give LGBT patients the compassion and security they deserve in their time of need, including the ability to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions.
In other areas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a series of proposals to ensure core housing programs are open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. HUD also announced the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has created a National Resource Center for LGBT Elders.
Much work remains to fulfill our Nation's promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans. That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits. We must create safer schools so all our children may learn in a supportive environment. I am also committed to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military, and I am working with the Congress and our military leadership to accomplish that goal.
As we honor the LGBT Americans who have given so much to our Nation, let us remember that if one of us is unable to realize full equality, we all fall short of our founding principles. Our Nation draws its strength from our diversity, with each of us contributing to the greater whole. By affirming these rights and values, each American benefits from the further advancement of liberty and justice for all.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2010 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
# # #
I have long advocated that we repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, and I am pleased that both the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee took important bipartisan steps toward repeal tonight. Key to successful repeal will be the ongoing Defense Department review, and as such I am grateful that the amendments offered by Representative Patrick Murphy and Senators Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin that passed today will ensure that the Department of Defense can complete that comprehensive review that will allow our military and their families the opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process. Our military is made up of the best and bravest men and women in our nation, and my greatest honor is leading them as Commander-in-Chief. This legislation will help make our Armed Forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity.There are many people who are not happy with this compromise action, and Pam Spaulding does a good job of summarizing the various camps:
1) The don't-know-enoughs: They only get information in drips and drabs, so they have no idea of the details of the votes or the compromise. They believe it's repealed, the discharges stop ASAP; some are open to receiving more info to clarify their view. Others find a boatload of information just too taxing to deal with right now...Glee is on the DVR. Next topic...I think I would fall in somewhere between Groups #3 and #4: the "rose-colored glasses peeps" and the "cross-fingered pragmatist" crowd. I do think this is the best that could have been achieved with the lily-livered Democrats we have in the Senate. I strongly dispute Pam's suggestion that the process should not be criticized; it's clear that there's a lot of backchannel activity going on (between the LGBT orgs and the Obama administration) that a lot of us do not know about. However, I am a pragmatist, and I would rather see some progress than none. Any day that the national legislature has to go on record in either voting pro-gay or anti-gay and the pro-gay forces win the day, that's a good day for us, in the long run.
2) The "it's all a lie" crowd: The compromise is a complete sham and betrayal of those serving in silence. Anything coming out of the press releases lauding the vote is skimming over the ugly truth. The MSM is making it all worse, and there's anger about how easily the progressives are fooled and don't dig deep to see the injustice that will continue. You can't trust the orgs, the admin, the Pentagon or Congress. A vein might explode.
3) The "rose-colored glasses" peeps: This is the start of something good, DADT repeal was rescued from a certain death; the Obama admin and the Pentagon will do right by those in the closet in the military in short order (as in before 2010 ends). They don't like to hear criticism about the process, the LGBT groups, the Admin, or Congress. Criticism is not useful; it's all about calling your representatives on the Hill alone as the best course of action. There is no back-channel political activity or political infighting to consider that affects the process.
4) The cross-fingered pragmatists: The people who thought this was going to be totally FUBAR, but realized that in the late stages of the game, this was the best option we had and it's really not a good one at all for those directly affected by DADT. They believe that the system worked, albeit imperfectly, and that all parties -- the LGBT groups, the activists, Congress and the WH did what they thought was right to get it done.
5) The "system is broken" people: These folks are convinced that this whole process was screwed, and if ENDA is to have any chance of success, the whole LGBT establishment needs to take a hard look at what did and didn't work in this process. The messy end result didn't have to be that way, and it's clear that the Beltway process of achieving results is too laden in personal politics that supplant the larger goal of civil equality. These folks, however, don't exactly have a plan on how to fix it.
6) The everyone else-is-a-black-and-white-thinker crowd: These folks are the shoot-first, think-later people who believe they alone are capable of nuanced thinking and are filled with political sophistication. Other people are incapable of this of course, and are stuck in one mode of thinking without consideration of shades of gray in an issue. The everyone else-is-a-black-and-white-thinker person already knows what you might have to say about an issue, even to the point of ignoring actual statements that don't fit their perceived mode. So this results in endless threads/tweets of irrelevant discussion.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
The roll call vote was:
Yes:The amendment only needed 15 votes (out of 28) to pass. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a similar amendment offered by Patrick Murphy (D-PA) either tonight or Friday.
Carl Levin (D-Michigan)
Robert C. Byrd (D-West Virginia)
Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Connecticut)
Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)
Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Bill Nelson (D-Florida)
Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska)
Evan Bayh (D-Indiana)
Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri)
Mark Udall (D-Colorado)
Kay R. Hagan (D-North Carolina)
Mark Begich (Alaska)
Roland W. Burris (Illinois)
Jeff Bingaman (New Mexico)
Edward E. Kaufman (Delaware)
Susan M. Collins (R-Maine)
No:Jim Webb (D-Virginia)
John McCain (R-Arizona)
James M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)
Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia)
Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)
John Thune (R-South Dakota)
Roger F. Wicker (R-Mississippi)
George S. LeMieux (R-Florida)
Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts)
Richard Burr (R-North Carolina)
As I mentioned in my review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the book was nearly impossible to put down. It's sequel is even more addictive. The third book in what is now being called the Millenium series was released on Tuesday May 25th and is called The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
The first book really doesn't treat Lisbeth Salander as the main character, even though she is clearly the title character. The second book is clearly all about Lisbeth Salander. The book begins with her, the plot centers around her back story and the book ends with her.
There is another mystery in Fire, of course; this time it's a brutal double murder of a couple that occurs the same night (probably in the same hour) as the torture-murder of someone who had abused Lisbeth.
The reader's loyalties are severely tested--could the hyper-intelligent, violent, socially unaware, sexually ambiguous, titular Girl also be a murderer? Mikael Blomkvist, the true main character from Tattoo, returns and is basically the only one who believes in Lisbeth's innocence after she becomes Sweden's #1 Most Wanted criminal, blasted on the front page of every media outlet in the country.
Another interesting feature of Fire is that it includes the internal details of the police investigation to solve the double murder as well as an inside view on the manhunt to track down Lisbeth.
Author: Stieg Larsson.
Title: The Girl Who Played with Fire.
Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition.
Date Published: March 23, 2009.
OVERALL GRADE: A/A+.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
These results are based on Gallup's Values and Beliefs Poll, which has tracked attitudes toward legal same-sex marriage annually since 2004. When Gallup first asked about the legality of gay marriage in a 1996 poll, 68% of Americans were opposed and 27% in favor.The rate of increase in support for marriage equality from 1996 to 2010 has not been uniform among sub-groups, of course. Moderate voters have had the largest increase in support (24 points, to 56%), with conservatives having the smallest (11 points, to 25%).
Since that time, support has increased among the major political and ideological subgroups, though more among those on the left of the political spectrum than among those on the right. Currently, a majority of Democrats favor legal gay marriage, as do a majority of moderates and liberals, with liberals the most supportive of these groups, at 70%.
Over time, Americans have become more accepting of legal same-sex marriage, and a growing number of subgroups now show majority support for it. However, religious and conservative segments of the U.S. population remain largely opposed -- even though their support for gay marriage has also increased in recent years. Because religious and conservative groups are larger than nonreligious and left-leaning groups in the United States, overall, more Americans remain opposed to, rather than in favor of, same-sex marriage.
The poll was conducted May 3-6,2010 off 1,029 adults 18 years or older using random-digit dialing. It has a margin of error of ±4 percentage points.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
It was clearly, an excellent episode of television, cinematic in its scope, production and ambition and largely worked on these levels. But, Lost has always been a show that works on miltiple levels, a palimpsest of sort. One of the most obvious different levels of analysis of the text that is Lost is from the perspective of a character-driven narrative versus a plot-driven narrative. All meaningful entertainment has to have both, of course.
I would argue that the finale of Lost was more geared towards satisfying the viewers interested in character than plot (not that there's anything wrong with that!)
However, as a finale to a complex, popular and critically acclaimed television series it was not as satisfying as HBO's Six Feet Under's conclusion, but this is not surprising since the two shows were very different. But even if one tries to compare the finale of Lost to the seminal final episodes of other television series like SyFy's Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, HBO's The Wire, J.J. Abrams' own Alias I would say that Lost's outshone all of them with the possible exception of The Wire.
- Two words: Dharma Initiative. There was no explanation about how the Dharma Initiative was founded, and what it's goals were. The producers did explain the creation of the stations all over the island during the series but there was never revealed a "grand unified theory" explaining what Dharma was all about and what they were trying to do with the Island.
- Walt. In Season 2 and 3, a lot of the plot revolved around The Others and their obsession with kids and the mystery of why women who got pregnant on the island would die. This issue was never resolved in the series.
- The egyptian statue of Taweret. There never was an explanation of why the oldest parts of the island have hieroglyphics everywhere and why they made a 200-foot statue of the Egyptian fertility god. I am glad they explained how the four-toed statue got there, but it is very disappointing that was all we got.
UPDATE 07:17pm 05/25/2010:
Apparently the images of wreckage shown during the credits were not part of Damon Lindelof and Darlton Cuse's script for the show and were added by ABC television executives worried about a harsh transition to the news. (hat/tip LA TIMES ShowTracker)
CNN is reporting that nearly 8 out of 10 Americans support repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell and allowing openly gay and lesbian soldiers to serve in the military.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, with one in five opposed.Hopefully this poll will give wavering members of the U.S. Senate Armed Forces the political cover they feel the need to vote to end this discriminatory policy. However, there are members of the LGBT community who are disappointed.
"Support is widespread, even among Republicans. Nearly six in ten Republicans favor allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is a gender gap, with 85 percent of women and 71 percent of men favoring the change, but support remains high among both groups."
"I know we are all thrilled tonight that there may be a break in the logjam over DADT legislation. And it is always important to keep focused on the art of the possible. This has been a long fight and it is not over.
"I am concerned, however, that the bill released tonight is being mis-characterized. I was expecting to see a bill providing for repeal of DADT now with delayed implementation. As far as I can tell, the proposed legislation instead makes repeal conditional on a future discretionary certification which may or may not occur.
"It may be the best we can get, and if so, I say let's grab it. But it is not repeal with delayed implementation. It's conditional future repeal."
Monday, May 24, 2010
Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Pennsylvania U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy which endorses his legislative strategy of attaching repeal language to the Defense Department authorization bill this week.
Here's the letter:
0524 Rep Murphy
The vote on legislative language would occur this year, but it's effect would be delayed beyond the December 1, 2010 release date of the Pentagon's report on the implications of letting openly gay and lesbian soldiers serve in the U.S. armed forces. Then, pending certification by The Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chief of Staff that repeal would not negatively impact the military's ability to conduct it's primary mission, DADT repeal could proceed in 2011.
There are multiple press releases from LGBT organizations endorsing the demolition of the legislative roadblock to repeal.
Human Rights Campaign:
WASHINGTON – The ban on open military service by lesbian and gay Americans is on a path to repeal this week with the White House, Pentagon leaders and Congress outlining a process that includes votes in the House and Senate as early as Thursday. Legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be considered as amendments to the National Defense Authorization bill – the same vehicle by which the law was enacted 17 years ago. The Obama administration endorsed the approach today in a letter to Congressional leaders from Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.Servicemembers United:
"We are on the brink of historic action to both strengthen our military and respect the service of lesbian and gay troops,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Today’s announcement paves the path to fulfill the President’s call to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year and puts us one step closer to removing this stain from the laws of our nation."
The proposal would allow Congress to vote to repeal the current DADT law now with implementation to follow upon completion of the Pentagon Working Group study due December 1, 2010. The President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs would need to certify that implementation policies and regulations are prepared and that they are consistent with standards for readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion, recruiting and retention. The plan therefore addresses concerns expressed by the Pentagon that the implementation study process be respected.
“Without a repeal vote by Congress this year, the Pentagon’s hands are tied and the armed forces will be forced to continue adhering to the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law,” said Solmonese. “A solution has emerged: Congress needs to vote to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ now.”
The leadership of Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Penn. along with the White House, has been critical to setting the stage for these votes.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, commended the announcement today that the administration will now support an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law this year. The proposed amendment would include a delayed implementation provision that would not allow repeal to take effect until the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group completed its nine-month implementation management study and until the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified that the military is ready to implement repeal smoothly.Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN):
"This announcement from the White House today is long awaited, much needed, and immensely helpful as we enter a critical phase of the battle to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army interrogator who was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." "We have been making the case to White House staff for more than a year now that delayed implementation is realistic, politically viable, and the only way to get the defense community on board with repeal, and we are glad to see the community and now the administration and defense leadership finally rally around this option."
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, passed in 1993 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994, has resulted in the abrupt firing of more than 14,000 men and women because of their sexual orientation, and has led tens of thousands more to voluntarily terminate their careers because of the burden of serving under this outdated law. There are an estimated 66,000 gays, lesbians, and bisexuals currently serving in the U.S. military and an estimated 1 million gay, lesbian, and bisexual veterans of the U.S. armed forces.
For more information about Servicemembers United, please visit www.servicemembersunited.org. For the latest information on discharge numbers, polling, statistics, studies, and other archival and reference information related to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' issue, please visit www.dadtarchive.org.
“The White House announcement is a dramatic breakthrough in dismantling ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The path forward crafted by the President, Department of Defense officials, and repeal leaders on Capitol Hill respects the ongoing work by the Pentagon on how to implement open service and allows for a vote this week. President Obama’s support and Secretary Gates’ buy-in should insure a winning vote, but we are not there yet. The votes still need to be worked and counted.Looks encouraging so far. To me this process looks reasonable since it allows President Obama to say that he is following commitments that he has made to both constituencies here (military brass and DADT repeal activists).
“If enacted this welcomed compromise will create a process for the President and the Pentagon to implement a new policy for lesbian and gay service members to serve our country openly, hopefully within a matter of a few months. This builds upon the support Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed for open service during the February hearing in the Senate, and further underscores that this Administration is committed to open service.
“We would not have reached this moment without the leadership and commitment of our allies on the Hill – Senators Joe Lieberman and Carl Levin, and Congressman Patrick Murphy; they all worked tirelessly to get us this far.
“For the upcoming votes in the House and Senate to succeed, it is critical that all proponents for full repeal weigh in now. The blogosphere and activists have been admirably pressing for full repeal this year and we are grateful for their help. Everyone in support of repeal needs to continue contacting their Members of Congress and ask for the vote.”
I'm sure there are other LGBT activists who will not be happy that openly gay and lesbian servicemembers will not necessarily be able to start serving this year. I do think that a moratorium on kicking out openly LGB soldiers as well as a deletion of the military principle that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service" should be included in the language that Congress votes on, but as of right now, actual legislative language has not been released, but the vote in the U.S. Senate Armed Service Committed is Thursday May 27th.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Today is the final episode of Lost. Starting at 7pm there is a 2-hour summary of the first 6 seasons (skewed towards the final season) and then there's a 2-1/2 hour final episode, simply titled "The End" starting at 9pm.
The 2010 French Open singles draws are out. Play starts today, Sunday May 23rd. There are several first round matches to worry about (Roddick vs Nieminen, Venus versus Schnyder).
Saturday, May 22, 2010
CA-GOV. Recent polling from PPIC has shown that Meg Whitman's once HUGE lead over Steve Poizner has diminished to single digits, 38 to 29, in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Research 2000 also shows Whitman with a lead, 46 to 36. Jerry Brown now has a lead over either of the Republican hopefuls, leading Whitman 42 to 37 and Poizner 45 to 32. The two Republicans have now spent a combined $82 million in their primary battle (billionaire Whitman $68m, Poizner $24m). The primary election is Tuesday June 8th, although voting by mail has been possible for the last two weeks.CA-SEN. Incumbent senator Barbara Boxer has finally received some good polling news. Her job approval rating reached 50% (according to PPIC) and she leads all three potential Republican challengers: Carly Fiorina (48-39), Chuck Devore (50-39) and Tom Campbell (46-40).AD-43. From Burbank Blogger comes a disturbing story about homophobia and ethnicity by Mike Gatto's Republican opponent Sunder Ramani. In the race to replace Paul Krekorian in the 43rd Assembly District with a significant Armenian population, apparently people employed by Ramani have been calling Armenian households and telling them (in Armenian) not to vote for Gatto because he supports "homosexual legislation." Burbank Blogger even has proof this is going on because one of the phone calls has been taped and the audio posted to YouTube (with English translation). The race for the 43rd has become increasingly bizarre, with a freak misprint in vote-by-mail ballots making the complicated election (there's both a special election run-off and a general primary election on the same ballot) even moreso. MadProfessah has endorsed Gatto and hopes that Ramani is punished for stooping to under-the-radar appeals to ethnic homophobia.AD-47. The race to replace soon-to-be-Congressmember Karen Bass is starting to get more attention in the LGBT community. Reggie Jones-Sawyer won the endorsement of the Stonewall Democratic Club last month, but Holly Mitchell has more cash on hand ($150k to $80k) and the official California Democratic Party nomination. Both are strong supports of full LGBT equality.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Another find of David Dust is Stephan Allen, (who also goes by the name of "Pikasso") a 26-year-old model from Phoenix, Arizona. He has taken some eye-popping shots with photographer Carlos Arias, some of which are featured above.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
A notice published Thursday states the Department of Health & Human Services has scheduled a meeting next month of the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety & Availability to discuss the issue. The committee is charged with providing recommendations to HHS on blood supply and blood products.
The meeting, which is open to the public, is set to take place at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville, Md. Discussion is scheduled over the course of two days — from June 10 to June 11. The meetings on both days are set for 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
FDA instituted the blood donor ban in 1983 in response to the AIDS crisis. The policy prohibits any man who’s had sex with another man since 1977 — even once — from donating blood. At the time, the policy was deemed necessary because gay and bisexual have a higher rate of HIV/AIDS infection.
LGBT rights supporters have been seeking to overturn the ban on the grounds that it unfairly targets gay and bisexual men and that testing procedures for HIV/AIDS have improved significantly since 1983.
According to the Federal Register notice, the committee will consider “the most important factors (e.g. societal, scientific, and economic) to consider in making a policy change” as well as whether current scientific information is sufficient to support ending the policy and what studies and safety measures are needed before a change takes place.
MadProfessah has been following the story of the "gay blood ban" for quite awhile, and these latest steps are the most movements since 2007's review of the policy which left the ban intact.
"I sentence you to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour each," magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa told the two men in a courtroom in the commercial capital Blantyre.There are 37 countries in Africa in which homosexuality is criminalized.
"I will give you a scaring sentence so that the public be protected from people like you so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example," the judge added.
"Malawi is not ready to see its sons getting married to its sons."
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
According to the Salt lake Tribune:
However, as I have blogged about before, there are plenty of examples of ignorance in this monochromatic state about the nature of civil rights:
In one motion, the Logan City Council on Tuesday night mandated that employers and landlords cannot discriminate against gays, lesbians or transgendered people in the city limits.
Modeled after anti-discrimination laws recently adopted in Salt Lake City, Logan's housing and employment ordinances passed with four votes and one abstention, by Councilman Dean Quayle. A crowd, which filled the City Council Chambers halls and an overflow room, was mostly subdued throughout a one-hour public hearing. Following the tally though, the crowd erupted in applause and rewarded the council with a standing ovation.
In the days leading up to Tuesday's meeting, Council Chairman Jay Monson said he received more than 250 calls and e-mails "for" and only 10 "against" the ordinances, all from Logan residents and business owners.[...]
"The [LDS] church supports nondiscrimination ordinances, period. Certainly, I was told that this applies to Logan as much as any other place in the world," Monson said Tuesday before calling for the vote. "They do and I do and I agree that this is not the answer for everything ... But it is a step in the right direction and it is long overdue in my thinking
Logan resident James Gibson, a business owner and landlord, disagreed saying the City Council is overstepping its bounds.
"I don't feel that it is the place of the government to step in and say who I can and can't hire," Gibson said, adding that, if anything, it should be a state matter. "If anybody feels like they've been discriminated against on behalf of any landlord or business owner, that becomes a civil matter. "
Joshua Frazier added, "The problem is a lack of compassion, not a lack of laws. You cannot legislate compassion and attempting to do so only creates resentment."
Frazier said the ordinances are unconstitutional because employment and property rentals feature a private contract.
"It's wrong for governments to interfere with contracts between individuals," Frazier said. "I see this as the government forcing moral decisions on private individuals. I do not want the government determining and defining what is moral and what is not."
Of course, he is saying that as a white, Mormon man who is currently protected under federal, state and local ordinances which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender and religion.
How would he feel if it were legal to say "No Mormons Need Apply!" in his rental property or place of employment?
It's simply stunning to me how some people can not see past their own privilege.
Here is the list:
- Reversed an inexcusable US position by signing the UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
- Endorsed the Baldwin-Lieberman bill, The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, to provide full partnership benefits to federal employees
- Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act
- Lifted the HIV Entry Ban effective January 2010
- Released the first Presidential PRIDE proclamation since 2000
- Hosted the first LGBT Pride Month Celebration in White House history
- Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King
- Appointed the first transgender DNC member in history
- Issued diplomatic passports, and provided other benefits, to the partners of same-sex foreign service employees
- Committed to ensuring that HUD’s core housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity
- Conceived a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders -- the nation's first ever -- funded by a three-year HHS grant to SAGE
- Testified in favor of ENDA, the first time any official of any administration has testified in the Senate on ENDA
- Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability -- the first positive federal LGBT legislation in the nation's history
- Supported lower taxes for same-sex couples who receive health benefits from employers
- Hired and appointed a record number of qualified LGBT Americans, including more than 10 Senate-confirmed appointments
- Sworn in Ambassador David Huebner
- Changed the culture of government everywhere from – among others – HUD and HHS to the Export-Import Bank, the State Department, and the Department of Education
- Appointed Sonia Sotomayor, instead of a conservative who would have tilted the Court even further to the right and virtually doomed our rights for a generation. To wit (quoting McCain): "I've said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I've said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts. I worked as hard as anybody to get them confirmed. I look you in the eye and tell you I've said a thousand times that I wanted Alito and Roberts. I have told anybody who will listen. I flat-out tell you I will have people as close to Roberts and Alito [as possible]"
- Named open transgender appointees (the first President ever to do so)
- Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government (the nation's largest employer)
- Emphasized LGBT inclusion in everything from the President’s historic NAACP address (“The pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and a different gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion simply because they kneel down to pray to their God. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights.”) . . . to the first paragraph of his Family Day proclamation (“Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things”) and his Mothers Day proclamation ("Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by two parents, a single mother, two mothers, a step-mom, a grandmother, or a guardian. Mother's Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate these extraordinary caretakers") . . . to creating the chance for an adorable 10-year-old at the White House Easter Egg roll to tell ABC World News how cool it is to have two mommies . . . to including the chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce along with the Secretary of the Treasury and the President of Goldman Sachs in the small audience for the President’s economic address at the New York Stock Exchange . . . to welcoming four gay couples to its first State Dinner
- Recommitted, in a televised address, to passing ENDA . . . repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell . . . repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act
- Spoken out against discrimination at the National Prayer Breakfast ("We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.")
- Dispatched the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to call on the Senate to repeal Don't Ask / Don't Tell, in the meantime dialing back on discharges
- Launched a website to gather public comment on first-ever federal LGBT housing discrimination study
- Appointed long-time equality champion Chai Feldblum one of the four Commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept our relationships from being counted, encouraging couples who consider themselves married to file that way, even if their state of residence does not yet permit legal marriage
- Produced U.S. Census Bureau PSAs featuring gay, lesbian, and transgender spokespersons.
- Instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (virtually all hospitals) to allow LGBT visitation rights.