Friday, January 29, 2010

Hot Video: Tracy Ullman does Rachel Maddow

Thursday night's Rachel Maddow show featured some very hot girl-on-girl as Tracy Ullman showed up to do Rachel... and Ariana Huffington and Barney Frank. The comic chameleon showed up to talk about her new season of "State of the Union" on Showtime, dual citizenship, how she came up with the idea to do Maddow.

IMHO, Tracy's version of our favorite newsbian is very good and so is her Barney Frank, but her Ariana is spot on.

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Gates and Mullen to Meet with SASC re. DADT Repeal on Tuesday

The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen will meet with the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss ways to prepare the armed forces for the eventual repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. There haven't been any details released about what sort of "preparation" is needed. Will DADT repeal be a catered event?

From wsj.com:
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said that Mr. Gates and Adm. Mullen "have been and continue to work on an implementation plan for ultimately achieving the president's goal of repealing 'don't ask, don't tell.'"

"Next week they will share that plan with Congress," he said.

A defense official said the two men wouldn't provide Congress with a formal proposal for legislation repealing the controversial ban. Instead, the official said Mr. Gates and Adm. Mullen would outline the preparations the department was making so it would be able to offer guidance to Congress.

President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to repeal the ban and reiterated that vow in Wednesday's State of the Union address. Still, it is far from clear that a repeal bill would have enough political support to pass the divided Congress. A current House bill that would repeal the legislation has 187 supporters, leaving it 31 votes short of the 218 needed to ensure passage. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.) supports eliminating the restriction, but lawmakers have yet to introduce a Senate bill to repeal the law.


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Cool Site of the Week: It's a tie! Firedog Lake and Prop 8 Trial Tracker

This week we have a tie for cool site of the week. I wanted to recognize the efforts of blogs that worked overtime to keep us all informed during the two and a half weeks of Prop 8 trial. Both Firedog Lake and Courage Campaign's Prop 8 Trial Tracker took on the task of live blogging from the courtroom when the U.S. Supreme court ruled that the proceedings could not be televised.

So many us in the LGBT blogosphere owe a debt of gratitude to both of these blogs for their detailed reporting of the constitutional challenge to the hateful voter initiative that allowed mob rule to become the law of the land in California, the most liberal state in the nation. By following these blogs, we were able to read the words of the two courageous couples who launched this fight for the rest of us. They told their moving stories so passionately and eloquently on the stand and deserved to be heard by the world.

We got to read the words of David Boies who made minced meat out of the defense's "expert witnesses" by simply using their own words against them. I can't wait to see the Prop 8 Re-enactment, that is using live blogging transcripts from both of these sites. (The re-enactment is still currently in production and nothing new was posted as of last night when I checked YouTube.)

With the prop 8 trial now on a break for the next few weeks, it may seem there is nothing going on, but I urge you to check out these Firedog Lake and Courage Campaign for some of the best reporting and commentary on the web about our issues.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

DADT repeal this year? I'll believe it when I see it.

In his first State of the Union address since taking office, President Obama restated his commitment to repealing the discriminatory Clinton era policy, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", which prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military. You'll probably read a lot about how big this news is for the LGBT rights movement, but being the died in the wool cynic that I am, I'll believe it when I see it.

There was much in the president's speech last night that we've heard before. It's why we voted for him. Forgive me if I'm not as easily bowled over as some others. The time for pretty speeches is long past. Now is the time for action.

I've gotten into some enjoyable and sometimes heated debates with other LGBT bloggers and activists who are of the old school "slow and steady" mindset. They advise patience, just as they have throughout the four decades since Stonewall. They say those of us who call for the president to, at the very least, begin the process of fulfilling his campaign promises are expecting too much, too soon. They say we're naive and don't understand the political process.

As someone who grew up, lived and worked in and around DC, I can tell you, I understand how politics works. You can't simply ask your leaders to do something because its the right thing to do, you have to schmooze. You go to the right parties, laugh at unfunny jokes, kiss the right asses and maybe, just maybe, the right people will give you the time of day.

It helps if you have something to offer in return. If Senator A wants Senator B to support his bill, Sentor A has to support Senator B's bill. It's never about what's right for the American people or creating a more fair and just society, it's about back room deals and "what can you do for me?". Then there are the lobbyists who, with huge financial backing, scurry all over the city like rats trying to gain support for the special interests of their clients. They play both sides of the fence, donating huge sums of money to both parties, just to hedge their bets.

It's a very old and very ugly game that, despite Obama's calls for change, is not going down without a fight. We saw that last week when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same right to free speech as actual people and can therefore donate as much money as they want to a political campaign. RIP Campaign Finance Reform.

There is a small group of LGBT Rights activists and organizations that have learned how to play the game over the years. They have gained access to power that the rest of us don't have. They claim to represent our community, although none of us has ever voted for them. They are collectively referred to as "Gay, Inc.", although their most visible player is HRC's Joe Solomonese. You can't miss him around DC. He's at all the right fundraisers and black tie events. He's had lots of photo ops with the president and leaders on Capital Hill. He's kinda cute in a dorky sort of way. But like most of the folks at Gay, Inc. -- and in DC in general -- he's a little too full of himself.

Granted, these folks have worked hard for many years to gain access and now that they have it, they don't want to lose it. It's that fear of losing access that has stagnated our movement. The ironic part is that in a city whose main function is to make deals, Gay, Inc. sits at the table without any bargaining power. They have yet to convince anyone inside the beltway that we have anything they need. Some may support us for purely ethical reasons, but they are few.

It doesn't matter that DADT hurts our military preparedness or that DOMA is unconstitutional. We'll never get any backing for their repeal if we have nothing to bargain with except our votes. That's why we must keep marching in the streets and making noise and making our stories heard and our faces visible. That is why we will continue to hold the president's feet to the fire.

The folks from Gay, Inc.remind me of a term once used on southern plantations to describe servants who worked inside the house and thought they were better than the field hands. I think the gay equivalent would be "palace eunuch". They may be surrounded by power, glitz and glamor, but it's not theirs. Their presence is tolerated by the grace of the sultan and they can be barred from the palace with a snap of the fingers if he is displeased.

It is time for a new strategy in the fight for equality that includes getting LGBT people elected sending them to Washington as more than just observers. It's time we became the power brokers. It's time for our LGBT leaders to (re)grow a pair.



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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prop 8 Trial: Defense Witnesses Torn to Shreds Under Cross

Official Image via Wikipedia
This morning I'm getting caught up on my Prop 8 trial reporting. Sorry I let my mind wander off subject for a couple of days. Week three is proving to be just as riveting as the first two.

As you recall, weeks one and two of the trial were spent with witness after expert witness testifying for the Prop 8 challengers, detailing the history of descrimination against gays and lesbians throughout the history of the U.S. and the church. We heard about the proponents of H8 colluding with churches, raising tens of millions of dollars while depicting us as pedophiles and threats to traditional marriage. The plaintiffs showed video produced by the pro-H8 side warning that same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality, pedophilia and incest and we heard each witness stand their ground under cross examination.

While this is by no means a slam dunk for our side, Boies and company have demonstrated that they've really done their homework. The defense, not so much.

On Monday, the defense called its first "expert" witness, Professor Keith Miller, who teaches political science at Claremont McKenna College. Dr. Miller's testimony consisted largely of asserting that gays and lesbians already have significant legal protection and political power in California and therefore do not need the benefit of marriage. He cited the numerous laws that protect gays and lesbians from workplace and housing discrimination as well as California's domestic partnership law. In essence, Miller says, we should be happy with our piecemeal civil rights and be grateful for what we have.

Under cross examination, however, Boise not only punched holes in most of Miller's assertions, but actually got Miller to agree with the plaintiffs, as reported by the L.A. Times:
During cross-examination, David Boies, an attorney for the challengers, got Miller to admit that the entities that support gay rights also support rights for other minorities.

Boies asked Miller for examples of official discrimination against gays. Miller mentioned the federal law banning openly gay people in the military.

Under further questioning, Miller cited a federal law that defines marriage as an opposite-sex relationship and California's marriage ban that was enacted as Proposition 8. "Looking at the institution of marriage, the state does treat heterosexual couples differently than same-sex couples," Miller said.
David Boies, who cross-examined Miller, read aloud written statements Miller made that said minorities were vulnerable to ballot initiatives, and federal courts needed to step in and protect them. One of the statements was from a paper Miller wrote in 2005.
Boies also got Miller to admit, "At least some people voted for Proposition 8 on the basis of anti-gay stereotypes."

Tuesday's testimony for the defense came from David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values who testified that same-sex marriage would encourage polygamy bring about the "deinstitutionalization" of marriage. That's right folks, if you can't find the words to make your case, you just make up new words.

Boies once again rose to the occasion and tore Blankenhorn to shreds, getting him to admit that he has no academic credentials and that the work of others that he has used in the past to back up his homophobic statements was, in fact without merit. Boise even got Blankenhorn to contradict his own words in a book he wrote in 2007, where he said this country would be, "more American on the day we permit same-sex marriage than we were on the day before."

The L.A. Times wrote Tuesday that Blankenhorn "previously had feared domestic partnerships would both undermine marriage and discriminate against gays, but concluded that they were more legal arrangements than marriage.

More from the Times: Under cross examination by David Boies, an attorney for challengers of the ballot measure, Blankenhorn admitted he knew of no study showing that children reared from birth by same-sex couples fared worse than those raised by biological parents.

Blankenhorn also conceded that same-sex marriage would probably "improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children."


I wish there had been cameras to record it. Based on the live blogging from Courage Campaign and Firedog Lake, it seemed like Boise was about to make Blankenhorn cry.

The defense is expected to rest today. Judge Walker will then use the next few weeks to review evidence and testimony. Court will then reconvene for closing arguments after which, Walker will render his verdict.





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New Wave Wednesday: "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads (music video)



Watch more Music Videos at Vodpod.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bigotry is alive and well and living in Virginia

Loudon County, Va. supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) may have given us a glimpse of things to come as an already homophobic/trans-phobic commonwealth ushers in an even more repressive era under the stewardship of Governor Bob McDonnell.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday:
Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling), a longtime opponent of gay rights, is coming under increased criticism for recent comments viewed as homophobic and embarrassing to the community.

At a Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, five of his board counterparts used personal time to chastise the Sterling supervisor for anti-gay comments. One member, Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac), apologized that Delgaudio made some of the remarks from the board dais.

At a Jan. 6 meeting, supervisors voted to expand Loudoun's nondiscrimination policy to prohibit bias on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring by the county. Delgaudio fought the change in the meeting, saying he was especially offended by language in the measure that sought protection for transgendered people. In the debate, he called the board's attempt to protect transgendered people "freaky" and "bizarre." In a subsequent newsletter to supporters, Delgaudio wrote that "if a man dressed as a woman wants a job, you have to treat 'it' the same as a normal person."

Delgaudio's fellow supervisors quickly distanced themselves from his remarks and called on him to apologize.
From the Post article:
James Burton (I-Blue Ridge) said Delgaudio had "conducted himself in a manner best described in my opinion as histrionic, and his choice of words were and should have been an embarrassment to this board and to the county."

Burton challenged Delgaudio's use of the word "it" to describe transgendered people. "Regardless of how one may feel about the policy in question, there's no excuse for referring to fellow human beings as 'it,' " he said. The use of the word "it," he said, was "demeaning, insulting and dehumanizing."

Delgaudio's response to his critics was to read a revised and more blatant statement with the word "it" taken out. "With apologies to real-life Tootsies" and "to all their defenders who are calling me all sorts of names and, like Mr. Burton, are saying I should apologize." Delgaudio continued adding insult to injury in his response to Burton's remarks by saying his "strong words" were hyperbole, telling Burton, "Lady doth protest too much, Mr. Burton."

The Post article goes on to say that Delgaudio admitted he has an axe to grind with his fellow supervisors for their decision not to allow a nativity scene at the county courthouse. Delgaudio told the Post, "Why am I so animated? I am still angry, and I am still mad about them taking away the Nativity. They think they can get away with it. They are being held responsible by me."

I suspect that this is only the beginning. Conservatives in Virginia feel emboldened by the election of our new extreme right-wing governor Bob McDonnell. It is not a stretch to say that we can expect more of this from elected officials. It is encouraging, however, that Loudon County now includes trans people in it's nondiscrimination policy. Our straight allies on the Loudon County Board of Supervisors are to be applauded for walking the walk and standing up to this bigoted idiot.
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Viking Zombie Boyfriend, by Jeremy Rizza (1-26-10)





A little background from the artist:

"As if Rorik wasn’t having enough trouble bonding with Paco...! Like a lot of supernatural creatures, Rorik seems to have an unfortunate effect on the hyper-sensitive.  Like dogs.  And babies! “Rubble” is inspired by my awesome boyfriend’s dog, Jasper.  Jasper is a stout, blond little Lhasa Apso.  He has a personality which is ten times bigger than his body! I just love the little guy!"


"Finally, and not that it matters, Kasimir is a favorite folklore creature of mine: an Ovinnik.  Ovinniks are malicious Slavic spirits that resemble scruffy black cats.  They were blamed whenever a threshing house burned down.  Why one of them is working at a waste removal company, I have no idea." -- Jeremy Rizza 

Visit vikingzombieboyfriend.com for past strips, character back stories and cool merchandise.

Posted with the permission of the artist. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lucy Lawless returns to ancient Rome in "Sparticus: Blood and Sand" (video)

I had the opportunity to catch "Sparticus: Blood and Sand" this weekend and I'm still conflicted about it. The newest retelling of the gladiator epic is a lot more gory than I usually like, but it was worth it to just see Lucy Lawless return to the screen as Lucretia, the scheming wife of an incompetent military leader. The two try to reclaim their social standing and influence by training the fierce warrior Sparticus at thier gladiator training camp.

It's safe to say that this is not your grandpa's Sparticus. This version is filmed in the graphic novel style and like "300" features scores of scantily clad beefy gladiators, gratuitous nudity, lots of sex (both hetero and homo) and did I mention Lucy Lawless?

"Sparticus: Blood and Sand" airs on Starz on Friday and Sunday nights (check listings) and is rebroadcast on Encore on the same nights. The first clip below is the official series trailer. The second is an interview with the former Xena star done last summer at ComiCon, where she talks about doing nude scenes, being fitted for a merkin and how she'd love to play Xena again.





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Prop 8 Trial, Day 9 and what's up for Monday

Official "Vote NO on Prop 8" logoImage via Wikipedia
Friday's proceedings saw an attempt by the defense to show that human sexuality is fluid, not fixed and that this phenomenon would make a same-sex marriage unstable. Dr. Gregory Herek, Associate Research Psychologist at UC Davis testified and presented evidence that sexual orientation is not chosen. He also talked about the damage done by "conversion therapy" and that both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from their respective lists of mental and emotional disorders over 35 years ago. Each of those groups provided statements about the damage caused by conversion therapy. 

Suffice it to say the all too familiar stories told of people marrying young and coming out late in life were debated. Research was presented and the pro-H8 side tried to dispute it, but Dr. Herek stuck to his guns.

The anti-H8 side is expected to rest on Monday and the pro-H8 side will begin calling it's two witnesses. That's right, the folks who devoted two years and tens of millions of dollars to overturn marriage equality could only manage to come up with two witnesses with the balls to testify. Six witnesses backed out when Judge Walker's plan to broadcast video of the trial on YouTube, claiming they felt intimidated by being publicly exposed for their rolls in the passage of Prop 8. Even after the U.S. Supreme Court prevented the video taping, these cowards refused to testify.

Closing arguments from both sides are expected this week. Judge Walker is expected to take about two weeks to review the evidence and testimony before rendering a ruling on the case. Regardless of how the judge rules, this case is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court at a time when the court rulings have been falling 5-4 along party lines favoring conservatives.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

XXX-Big Brother Housemate is doing gay porn (Yaaawwwnnn.)

TMZ is reporting that Big Brother's gay cowboy, Steven Daigle, is now doing gay porn for Chi Chi LaRue. This latest development in Daigle's career path should come as no surprise to any gay fans of the reality show. The xxx-housemate posted a nude pic of himself online that ended up on porn sites all over the web last summer. (You can Google it for yourself, I'm not getting yanked from Blogger.com for a cheap thrill, although I have seen the pic and may I say, "Woof!")

Note to TMZ: For the record, chaps are, by definition, assless. Calling them "assless chaps" is redundant and makes you sound stupid. Also, it's only called a sex-tape when you make it yourself and it gets "accidentally" posted online. Let's call this what it is; another lame attempt from some desperate minor celebrity fame-whore to extend his fifteen minutes.

At least in Daigle's case, he's honest about it. No "oops, I didn't mean for anybody to see it" here. This guy is unashamedly doing porn. My pants hat is off to Steve Daigle for his honestly.

From TMZ.com:
The gay rodeo champion who was evicted from the "Big Brother 10" house has found a new use for his assless chaps -- dude is officially entering the world of gay porn.

18 months after he was evicted from the "BB" house, Steven Daigle was so comfortable in front of the cameras, he decided to sign on to a man-on-man-on-man sex tape with a company called C1R.com.

We're told Daigle was approached with the idea by porn director Chi Chi LaRue -- who originally met Daigle at a "Big Brother" wrap party.

Daigle tells us, "I didn't expect my life to take this path, but when I was presented with the opportunity, I dove in head first... literally."

As for the footage, we're told most of the film is already in the can.

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Prop 8 Trial, Day 8: Boycotts, Vandals and "The Gathering Storm"

Official Image via Wikipedia
In trying to keep you all informed with daily updates of the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger Prop 8 challenge in California, my biggest obstacle is that I'm not a lawyer and I don't speak legalese so I've had to rely on daily summaries done by other bloggers. Today, I thought I'd try to do the wrap-up of yesterday's highlights myself. (Wish me luck.)

The day started off with a continuation of cross-examination of Prof. Gary Segura who provided expert testimony about the political powerlessness of Gays and Lesbians, despite the bits and pieces of progress we've made. Their side tried to suggest that when California approved domestic partnerships, our community cheered, Segura pointed out that DP's are preferable to having no rights, not preferable to full marriage rights.


The pro-H8 tried to show that when people voted according to their religious beliefs, they were not being bigoted or homophobic. They also tried to use the calls for boycotts of businesses that supported Prop 8 as a reason why people voted for Prop 8. Segura pointed out that boycotts are a tool used by the politically powerless and are an American tradition going back to the Boston Tea Party and were successfully used by African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement.

Their side showed news footage detailing isolated incidents of vandalism, fist fights and theft of "Yes On 8" yard signs as proof that people voted for Prop 8 because they were afraid of gays. Segura explained that sometimes individuals behave badly and that even though it's bad P.R. for the movement, it was not enough to significantly effect the way people voted. He also pointed out that many of these events happened after the vote.

Taking advantage of that fact that the pro-H8 side had introduced evidence that occurred after Prop 8 was voted into law, attorneys for the plaintiffs introduced the notorious ad "The Gathering Storm", produced by The National Organization for Marriage, into evidence to illustrate the misinformation and scare tactics used by proponents of the ballot measure to gain support for their side.

The afternoon session saw the the most action as Hak-Shing William “Bill” Tam was called as a hostile witness. Tam, an evangelical Christian, wrote the verbiage on the Prop 8 ballot and was heavily involved with orchestrating events in support of Prop 8, including creation of a website for Asian-Americans that posted a story he wrote with the headline, "Studies Show That Homosexuality Is Linked to Pedophilia". Tam was one five Prop 8 proponents who tried to get out of having to before the trial started.

The pro-h8 side has tried to distance themselves from Tam because his involvement shows that religious-based homophobia was the driving force behind the ballot measure.

To follow the trial updates as they occur, click the Prop 8 Trial Tracker links at the top, right of the page.


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cindy and Meghan McCain Featured in NoH8 Photo Campaign

Megan McCain has made a name for herself as the new face of the Republican Party in recent years by embracing a core conservative value: less government interference in the lives of private citizens.

The younger McCain's pro-gay position has put her at odds with the hard core "family values" folks in the GOP and her very vocal support of same-sex marriage during the '08 presidential campaign was in direct opposition to her father's support for "opposite" marriage.


Now it's seems it's the McCain women who have the most sense in the family and who, unlike moose-huntin', baby-granny Sarah Palin, understand what it means to be a maverick. Meghan and Cindy McCain are lending their support -- and faces -- to the new pro-marriage equality NoH8 Campaign.  

The group made the announcement yesterday on its website: 
In the year since we've started the NOH8 Campaign, we've often been surprised at some of the different individuals who have approached us showing their support. Few, though, have surprised us more than Cindy McCain - the wife of Senator John McCain and mother to vocal marriage equality advocate Meghan McCain. The McCains are one of the most well-known Republican families in recent history, and for Mrs. McCain to have reached out to us to offer her support truly means a lot. Although we had worked with  Meghan McCain before and were aware of her own position, we'd never really thought the cause might be something her mother would get behind. We have a huge amount of respect for both of these women for being brave enough to make it known they support equal marriage rights for all Americans. 

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Gay Comedy from British Comedian Catherine Tate (video)

I know that sometimes the tone of the posts here can be a little serious, so I've decided to try to include more humor whenever I can. It's sort of what I started out doing, but with so much political and LGBT news to report on, sometimes I forget that what we all really need sometimes is a good laugh. I'll be making an extCa effort to include more funny bits whenever I find I can.

This video is from British comedian Catherine Tate ("Dr. Who", "The Catherine Tate Show"). Tate's sketch comedy show ran for several years in the UK and can be seen in reruns from time to time on BBC America. Tate is a truly versatile comic genius in the tradition of Tracy Ullman. In this clip, she plays an Irish mother who's son just came out to her with hilarious results, if you can get around the funny accents.


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Prop 8 Re-enactment Trailer Now Online

Official
Film makers John Ireland and John Ainsley have completed the trailer for their series of videos re-enacting the events taking place in San Francisco Federal Court in the landmark legal challenge to California's Proposition 8, Perry vs. Schwarzenegger.

Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled that video of the trial would be posted on YouTube under a pilot program. Proponents of Prop 8 challenged the ruling in the US Supreme Court, claiming pro-H8 witnesses would feel intimidated by public exposure. The Supremes ruled in favor of the pro-H8 side.

Last week Ireland set about assembling a cast and production crew to recreate the trial and has posted the first video on his site, marriagetrial.com and on his YouTube channel. The video features highlights of the opening arguments and witness testimony. It's about 3 and a half minutes long. Like most of us, I'm anxious to see more, but I understand the tremendous amount of work it takes to film and edit. Can't wait to see the rest.

Ireland told On Top Magazine, “People want to see this drama unfold and there is a tremendous narrative that was propelled by that first day of testimony. This is the first time that gay and lesbian people have talked about their lives in federal court. It's historic from that point of view.”

The video is based on transcripts of live bloggers who have been posting details of the proceedings from the courtroom every day since the trial began.
 The video postings are not currently embeddable, meaning I can't post them here, but can be shared via FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. and e-mail.


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prop 8 Trial, Day 7: "Explosive" Documents Reveal LDS Involvement in Prop 8

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 7:  A sign is he...
We've known almost since the beginning that the LDS (Mormon) Church was heavily involved in financing and orchestrating the effort to pass Prop 8, although they have tried play it down have and outright lied about their behind the scenes activities.

Rick Jacobs continues his live blogging for the Courage Campaign from the trial in San Francisco. In Wednesday afternoon's session, documents in the form of letters and e-mails between the Prop 8 campaign and the LDS, Catholic and certain evangelical churches were introduced as evidence outlining the official talking points regarding the churches' pro-H8 activities.
From prop8trialtracker.com: For example, one letter indicated that the LDS church had identified a volunteer for the campaign in every single zip code. This was a church document that was in the hands of a Prop 8 campaign official, and thus was discoverable. Andy Pugno, the general council for ProtectMarriage.com tried his darnedest to get Judge Walker to exclude it, but failed. 
From Rick’s liveblog:
    Pugno: Objects because document will be revealing.

    Judge: Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing.

    Boutrous: It’s from an outsider to the core group. We are attempting to show the level of coordination with groups that Protect Marriage says were not even affiliated with the campaign.

(Rick's comment) This is perhaps the most explosive bit of all, from a document between the LDS Church and the campaign:

    "With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved."

(Rick's comments) Get that? The LDS Church intentionally worked to hide behind the scenes to disguise their involvement in the public realm. The LDS Church is well aware that the general public does not have the most favorable opinion of them. Attention on their involvement could have hurt their cause, namely passing Prop 8.

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New Wave Wednesday: "Genius of Love", by Tom Tom Club (music video)

Tom Tom Club was founded by Talking heads, members Tina Weymoth and Chris Frantz. They've released seven albums over the last two decades, but had their biggest hit with 1980's "Genius of Love" which was heavily dubbed in Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" in 1995. (Has it been that long?) Personally, I prefer the original.



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Republican San Diego Mayor Testifies in Prop 8 Trial

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders testified about his support for same-sex marriage from a political standpoint, why he changed his mind on domestic partnerships and how his daughter's coming out helped to change his heart and mind in 2007

In his testimony, Mayor Sanders (via prop8tracker.com) said, "Lisa called me in her sophomore year in college, and said that she wanted to talk to wife and I. She told us that she was a lesbian, and in a lesbian relationship." 
"I felt overwhelming love. I understood how difficult it was for her. I told her that we loved her more than ever. I would support her. I told her that it was very tough on gay people in society."

"I was concerned because I seen what had happened to people who were openly gay. I saw a sargeant who came out in the 1970s who was driven out of the police department. I have seen violence against the gay community simply because they were gay. We had a series of gay bashings in San Diego. I had heard the slurs and the comments that people made.
"

"I took a position that domestic partnership was a fair alternative. I took the position because San Diego was in a tough spot. I thought civil unions were fair. I changed my position in September 2007. The city council passed a resolution on behalf of the City of San Diego to file an amicus on behalf of marriage equality in San Francisco’s marriage case."

Following is the video, presented in evidence at the trial, of Mayor Sanders announcing his support for marriage equality in 2007.

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Coakley Hands MA Senate Seat to Cosmo-boy Brown

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts elected Republican Scott Brown to fill the US Senate seat occupied for thirty-seven years by the late Ted Kennedy yesterday in a stunning upset that has put health care reform in jeopardy. Brown won by 52% - 47% in a state that Obama won by 26%.

Critics of Martha Coakley have accused her of running a lazy and over-confident campaign, citing her three-week vacation over the Christmas holiday.

While health care reform in it's current state may be dead in the water, Brown may be the next Joe Biden and should prove a lot of fun to watch and comment on. If Democrats don't get their shit together soon, we could see a Palin/Brown presidential victory in 2012.

In what could be a preview of things to come, Senator-elect Brown wasted no time in pimping out his daughters during his victory speech. Why do Republicans persist in picking the pretty package with nothing inside? Because it's so much fun for the rest of us. 



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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prop 8 Re-enactment Video Scheduled for Posting on Wednesday

According to a press release, video of the re-enactment of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger will be online beginning Wednesday, January 20, 2010. I'll post as much of it here as possible.

For Immediate Release


Proposition 8 Trial Re-enactment Brings Closed Proceedings to the Viewing Public

January 18, 2010 (Los Angeles) -- Last Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling blocking indefinitely the broadcast of a video feed from the San Francisco Federal Court trial challenging California’s Proposition 8.  Within a few hours, a film production team in Los Angeles was readying a script from court transcripts, securing a courtroom set and casting actors in an effort to bring the trial to the people by way of re-enactment.

“We both jumped in and started calling all of our contacts… and never looked back,” says John Ireland, who is co-producing the “made for the web” series with actor and producer, John Ainsworth.  “John and I both agreed that time is short but the time is now.  We have collected a top-notch group of people to tell this story, so the world can see it.”  Both men have been in the documentary and entertainment business for years.

“I was glued to the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker when John and I started talking about producing a re-enactment to put on the web.  I wanted to know what was happening in the courtroom and that’s when I knew we needed to produce this.” Ainsworth noted.

The production is using professional actors and, where possible, they are casting as close to the appearance of the real people the actors portray.

The team is being advised by constitutional law scholar and Professor, David B. Cruz, from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, which has made the replica courtroom available.  He is reviewing scripts and advising on courtroom dynamics and flow.  "People across the country and around the world were eager to watch this trial unfold, so I was eager to help make it accessible after the Supreme Court took the unusual step of blocking broadcast,” Cruz said.

Ireland is confident that a sizable audience is ready to tune in.  He says, “There is a huge buzz on the web about this trial.  I think a lot of people across our country were poised to watch the opening statements on the first day.  When access was blocked, the thirst for information just grew exponentially.”

According to Ainsworth, they should have last week’s five episodes “in the can” within a few days.  They will assemble a script each new trial day, notify the relevant actors and film that day’s testimony late into the night.  Ainsworth adds, “We are moving swiftly, so that more Americans can see our government in action as it reviews this landmark case.”

Learn more at:
     www.MarriageTrial.com
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Viking Zombie Boyfriend, by Jeremy Rizza (1-19-10)





When you hang with a diverse crowd, there's always that one obnoxious guy that no one remembers who's friend he is or why you hang out with him, but you do anyway. That's Alexandru.


Jeremy writes:
One of the reasons I wanted to put Alexandru in VZB is my love of old-timey, folklore-type vampires.  Those dudes could pull off all kinds of tricks! Blighting crops, souring milk, invoking hailstorms... they could do it all! In practical terms, this means that people were used to blaming vampires for their misfortunes.  But from a storytelling standpoint...! Hoo mama! Alexandru is a cursing machine! He just happens to suck at it, is all.


Alexandru has been hard for me to write until recently.  I wanted a character who would create conflict, but he’s an unrepentant jerk.  And I don’t enjoy mean-spirited humor.  (Which means I stopped reading Mark Millar comics some time ago.)  My solution was to make Alexandru a “poser.”  He talks a good game, but he’s a seriously pathetic vampire.-- Jeremy Rizza

vikingzombieboyfriend .com 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Warren Throckmorton: "Bahati will not attend National Prayer Breakfast"

Contrary to what was reported in Uganda's Monitor on Sunday, it seems that David Bahati, author of and lead attack dog for the infamous "Kill the Gays" bill, will not be attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Tuesday, according to Dr.Warren Throckmorton, Associate Professor of Psychology at Grove City College.

Dr. Throckmorton wrote on his blog Monday that according to his sources at the Fellowship Foundation (a/k/a The Family), "Bahati was invited months ago to come to Washington DC only as a volunteer and not to attend the NPB event. According to these sources, Bahati declined the invitation prior to introducing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. According to Mr. Hunter, the Monitor article and Bahati’s statements came as a complete surprise to the NPB officials here. However, in the event the article was accurate, the NPB officials and Congressional leaders were taking action to assure that Bahati did not come to any of the meetings. I have asked David Bahati for comment regarding these reports but he has not returned the email request."

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Repub. Mayor of San Diego to Testify for Gay Marriage in Prop 8 Trial

I personally took this photo of San Diego Mayo...Image via Wikipedia
The San Diego Union reports that the Republican mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, will take the stand on Tuesday to testify about why same-sex marriage is important from a government perspective.

According to the Union, The mayor is set to testify at 8:30 a.m., and address the media afterwards on the courthouse steps in San Francisco, spokesman Darren Pudgil said.

Sanders, a Republican, has gained the respect of gay-rights advocates -- and the animosity of opponents -- with his turnaround on the issue. He announced in December 2007 that he would no longer oppose marriage rights for gays, including his lesbian daughter.

"He's testifying essentially on his experience on the issue and why he believes marriage equality is important from a government perspective," Pudgil said.

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Dr. Martin Luther King: "I have a dream" (video)

Today we honor the memory of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King. His dream is our dream.

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Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Bill Author to Attend National Prayer Breakfast in DC Tuesday

Uganda's Daily Monitor reported on Sunday that David Bahati, the author and main proponent of Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill will be attending the annual National Prayer Breakfast tomorrow morning at the Washington Hilton, (where Ronald Reagan was shot) just blocks from the hub of  DC's gay community, DuPont Circle. Activists across the country are burning up the internet making plans for a massive protest at the event, which President Obama will be attending.

It remains to be seen of our "fierce advocate" will use the opportunity to condemn the proposed legislation which imposes the death penalty or life in prison for Uganda's gays and lesbians and three years in prison for anyone who fails to report known homosexuals to authorities.

Mob rule has already taken hold in Uganda with reports coming out in recent weeks that gays and lesbians are being attacked in the streets, causing most Ugandan queers to go into hiding. A lesbian couple was attacked by a lynch mob earlier this month. The attack was halted by police who took the women into custody. The couple somehow managed to escape the police and are now in hiding.
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