2424 posts categorized "Media"

November 07, 2014

A rose by any other name

Into the Woods - new trailer

The enchanting 1987 Sondheim musical based on Grimm's fairy tales appears from these glimpses to have received a beautiful film adaptation. In cinemas December 25.

Sixth Circuit ruling against marriage equality sets up #SCOTUS review

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed reports here and here.

Richard Land Calls For 'A Two Year Moratorium On Any Confirmation Of Federal Judges'

Because they're all about governing.

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

#‎Pointergate

Possibly the most racist news story of 2014.

Real Navy Seals

She's taking your calls

I predict she won't.

The Economist: America after the midterms

Economist_cover_20141108_cna400

The cover art for the latest issue of The Economist appears to put our President more in the role of Gary Cooper in High Noon than in that of the lynching victims in The Ox-Bow Incident. It is, however, a bit of an eyebrow-raising choice.

But going with their Wild West metaphor, it's time for him to reach for his six-shooters (or at least get his veto pen ready). First up, dear POTUS, is the executive order on immigration. If war is what they want, as William Tecumseh Sherman once said, let them have as much of it as they can stomach.

November 06, 2014

Summoning the Ancestors

Drag_Michelle_Obama_at_2014_High_Heel_Race_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Joni Ernst channels rape scene from Deliverance

The U.S. Senator-elect from Iowa, Joni Ernst, in her victory speech, appeared to channel the rape scene from the movie Deliverance, Raw Story reports. Her speech is above, the movie scene (NSFW) is below. Ernst will be the malign gift that keeps giving.

November 04, 2014

Meet Joni Ernst of Iowa, who may help the GOP take the Senate

Rory Carroll reports for The Guardian on Iowa Republican senatorial candidate Joni Ernst, who is poised to win the Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin:

The Tea Party rhetoric of her primary campaign has softened. Ernst no longer calls Obama a “dictator” or calls for his impeachment, or accuses the UN of plotting against Iowa farmers. She says privatising social security should merely be “an option” for young people. She still supports a “personhood” amendment for fetuses but urges “consensus” on reproductive rights, hinting at flexibility.

You can hope Democratic candidate Bruce Braley wins, but if not, buckle up.

Joni_Ernst_by_Getty_Images
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Thumbs down

Just a guess, but I don't think the gentleman in the background of this photo voted the same way as the one in the foreground.

(Hat tip: Miss Laura)

'Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have….'

On this day when many elections may be swayed by aggressive voter suppression laws, it is worth re-watching this powerful speech by Rep. John Lewis, who put his life on the line five decades ago for civil rights and voting rights.

McConnell stands by dirty-tricks 'fraud' mailer

Jed Lewison writes at Daily Kos:

If you haven't already seen it, late last week the Kentucky GOP sent a mailer on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's behalf warning voters that they could be involved with election fraud allegedly perpetrated by McConnell's Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes. The fine print revealed the mail piece to be little more than an attack mailer, but the envelope was designed to look like official government correspondence with "ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE" in large type and a stern instruction that the contents of the mailer were to "BE READ SOLELY BY THE CITIZEN NAMED BELOW." (Their caps.)

Whether the mailer was trying to accuse Grimes alone or both Grimes and her supporters of election fraud, the best thing you could possibly say about it is that it was a deeply dishonest scare tactic intended to discourage voters from voting for Grimes by making them believe that doing so would be involving themselves in an illegal election scheme.

Mitch McConnell, who has a moral faculty reminiscent of Richard Nixon, is favored to become Senate Majority Leader. Some friends who share my low view of him think that is great because it will backfire and help Hillary in 2016. I say, be careful what you wish for.

November 03, 2014

D.C. lawyer Van Teasley murdered in Dominican Republic

Awful news today. D.C. Attorney Van Teasley, seen above in testimony from 2008 on the bias-related murder of Tony Randolph Hunter, was found bound, gagged, and strangled in his vacation home in the Dominican Republic.

GLOV Chair Paul Tupper writes:

It is with sadness that I share with you that a member of the GLOV family, Van Teasley, was found slain in his vacation apartment in the Dominican Republic on Friday. Rather than detail the circumstances of his death, which you can find online, I’m going to try to honor him by focusing on this contributions to GLOV and DC’s LGBT community.

In 2008, Van, a longtime Washington defense attorney, helped coordinate a candlelight vigil for Tony Randolph Hunter, a hate crime victim who eventually died from injuries suffered during his attack. Many of you may remember that the case sparked outrage in DC’s LGBT community because of how the case was investigated by the police and how it was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The assailant was eventually offered a chance to plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge, for which he served the maximum sentence of six months in jail. During this time Van also joined GLOV leadership in testifying before the City Council at a Judiciary Public Hearing on Hate Crimes, articulating how such crimes and how they are often mishandled have long-lasting impacts on our community.

In full disclosure, I never met Van. But as I research him and his work with GLOV, it’s clear to me that his contributions continue to be the blueprint for which we advocate for DC’s vulnerable citizens. I understand he was much loved by many and won’t be soon forgotten. He will forever hold an important place in GLOV’s history. Please keep him and his loved ones in your thoughts during this very difficult time.

If you knew Van and would like to share stories about him, I invite you to do so on GLOV’s Facebook page.

We can take inspiration from Van's eloquent cry for justice on behalf of Tony Hunter. Whether justice can be obtained in his case remains to be seen. In the meantime, our hearts go out to his family and friends. That such hatred continues to kill us is a sobering reminder of the work that remains. Let us channel our outrage into conquering the hate, even if the lives we save are people we never know.

The Africa without Ebola

No_Ebola_map

From Adam Taylor at WaPo, to clear things up for those who are unclear about just how small a part of Africa is having a problem with Ebola.

October 31, 2014

AG candidate Karl Racine talks to LGBT community

Racine-1
(Photo by Darrow Montgomery, Washington City Paper)

The top-polling contender in the District's first election for an attorney general is Karl Racine, who is the first African American to have been named managing partner at a top 100 law firm. I met with him earlier this fall and was impressed. Many friends in the legal profession are supporting him.

While the only AG candidate to send a statement to GLAA is Lorie Masters (GLAA is not rating candidates in the AG race, but invited them to send us statements), Racine is interviewed today by Metro Weekly. Here is an excerpt of his comments:

I have always been deeply concerned with making sure that the same opportunities are available to others regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other trait.

As Managing Partner at Venable, I was responsible for hiring, promoting, and training our attorneys, and emphasized the importance of ensuring diversity in doing so. I drafted, implemented, and enforced clear policies regarding equal treatment and equal opportunity. I specifically hired a diverse team, including women, minorities, and LGBT individuals, and promoted many of these individuals to positions of prominence within the firm. Furthermore, I strongly believe in the power of proactive diversity training. Intolerance is based on ignorance, but can be addressed through creative programs such as our firm-wide book clubs dedicated to educating employees on issues of diversity.

On a personal level, I am a long-time volunteer with the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the primary community-based provider of HIV/AIDS services in the city. I have taken numerous pro bono cases representing people living with HIV/AIDS and helped them obtain social security benefits. I also took on pro bono work representing the Clinic itself. To further support Whitman-Walker’s work, I encouraged my Venable colleagues and other friends to take on additional projects, earning Venable the Clinic’s “Going the Extra Mile Law Firm Award” in 2004, among other honors.

In addition to my work with Whitman-Walker, I have volunteered with the D.C. Bar’s Pro Bono Legal Advice Program at Bread for the City, which provides vulnerable residents with comprehensive services such as housing, food, legal assistance, and medical care. I am also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, an organization dedicated to creating a truly diverse legal profession.

As Attorney General I will treat each and every resident of the District with dignity, respect and with equality before the law.

See other candidate responses to Metro Weekly. In other coverage, the Blade reported on the candidates' pro-LGBT positions; and candidate Smitty Smith essentially bought the Stein Club endorsement.

While GLAA is not rating AG candidates, I personally have concluded that Masters and Racine are the most qualified based on their experience, and I am supporting Racine. The District has seen several public officials taken down by scandal. Choosing as our first elected attorney general a man who has played a pioneering role as an African American among top law firms would be a feather in our cap and a reminder of the talent, accomplishment, and leadership available in our city.

October 30, 2014

Coffee Frenemies

A Starbucks commercial, no less.

At least he admits the Bible is sexist

Pat Robertson gibbers about Houston under Annise Parker resembling the biblical Gibeah.

What was it with ancient Israelites sending their virgin daughters out to be raped to placate angry mobs, anyway? Pat admits it's sexist and almost says, "I don't know why anyone would read this crap, but anyway...."

This is your neighbor speaking...

This came to mind for perfectly arbitrary reasons. Jason Robards, Jr. addressing his neighbors in A Thousand Clowns, 1965.

Is Nick Jonas queerbaiting?

Yeah, sort of, says Towleroad.

I confess I am having trouble caring. But it appears to be a thing.

GOP candidate puts gay son in ad; HRC isn't having it

Amanda Terkel at HuffPost reports:

GOP House candidate Nan Hayworth released a new ad Wednesday featuring her son, who is gay, assuring voters that his mother is not an "extremist."

"As a gay man, coming to terms with who I am wasn't easy, but my parents love me for who I am and for whom I love," says her son, Will, in the ad. "So when I hear vicious negative attacks against Nan Hayworth, I have to speak out. Nan Hayworth is no extremist. She's my mom. She's kind. She's compassionate. She's always been there for me. And she'll always be there for you."

Hayworth is attempting to defeat Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.) in New York's 18th District. Maloney, who is gay, ousted Hayworth from the seat in 2012.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, was unimpressed with Hayworth's new ad. In a statement, the group criticized Hayworth for her policy positions, saying that just because she has a gay son doesn't mean she's a champion of LGBT rights.

HRC notes that while in office, Hayworth did not support same-sex marriage, did not support DOMA repeal, and did not support the Uniting American Families Act (to keep binational couples from being separated).

I agree with HRC on this one.

Giants win World Series, Mad Bum is MVP, slugger Sandoval makes winning catch

Above are video highlights of game 7 of the World Series, in which Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner got his third win of the series and won MVP. Slugger Pablo Sandoval made the winning catch to defeat the Royals. There was edge-of-your-seat excitement to the final moment.

Yahoo! Sports reports.

Jesuit-run university in Nebraska to offer same-sex benefits despite Church objections

Towleroad reports:

Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, has announced that it will soon offer health benefits to employee’s same-sex spouses despite the objections of Catholic archbishop George J. Lucas, reports KETV7 ABC.

Creighton UniversityOutlining the decision in a letter sent Monday to trustees, President Rev. Timothy Lannon, said that although Creighton continues to support the Catholic Church's teaching about marriage, the university is taking this step to meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities that already offer similar benefits.

Lannon added that 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S. already offer similar benefits.

George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, reacted predictably:

I am dismayed that the recommendation of the University Benefits Committee is thought to supersede divine law regarding marriage. There is no tension between Catholic teaching and social justice; both are grounded in the same truths about the nature of the human person, the complementarity of man and woman and the meaning of human life and love.

Here's to superseding divine law.

(Hat tip: Craig Howell)

Woman who made video about catcalling is getting rape threats

This is very disturbing, even though you would have to be living under a rock to be surprised. Kelsey McKinney writes on Vox:

This video wasn't made for women facing harassment. It was made for men who remain blissfully unaware of how women are treated when they walk down the street. But instead of listening, instead of taking the time to realize how women might feel when men yell at them, these commenters — backed by their anonymity and privilege — have threatened to rape Roberts for daring to talk about it.

Let's lay this out in plain terms. Women are forced to feel uncomfortable and scared for walking down the damn street. Then, when one woman takes the time to show just how uncomfortable those interactions are, people threaten to physically assault her. If the video reminded us that women are constantly made to feel unsafe when they leave the house, the response is a reminder that women are constantly made to feel unsafe when they simply turn on their computer.

The problem here isn't just that men are ignorant of how women are treated. The problem is that many know exactly what they're doing to women, and will try to intimidate and silence women who try to fight back.

Harassment is not a compliment. It is easy to dismiss complaints of this kind of treatment if you are not routinely subjected to it. We need to check our privilege.

I was about to copy a tweet from @Hollaback, the producer of the video, but its Twitter account has been suspended. This appears to illustrate the reality of our misogynistic culture: Men who are called on their sexist and harassing behavior often react angrily and try to silence those who call them on it. Claims of fraud etc. are part of their arsenal. We are so far from done in pushing for equality. We need to defend our sisters.

Now this: Catcalling video edited out the white guys.

And this parody.

October 29, 2014

What's Scarier than Halloween? The Bible!

The latest from Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian.

World Series moment

October 24, 2014

Great performances: Jeffrey Wright at Belize in Angels

I was looking for something else, and came upon this clip from the HBO version of Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Justin Kirk as Prior Walter, hospitalized with AIDS, tells his friend Belize, played by Jeffrey Wright, about the angels who are visiting him. Prior and Belize are former lovers and dear friends.

I saw both parts of Angels on a Saturday in 1994 on Broadway. I vividly remember Wright delivering the line, "My jaw aches at the memory." Wright's performance in that production won him a Tony, and his HBO reprise won him an Emmy. I appreciate having the TV version (though it lacks another Tony winner, Kathleen Chalfant, whose roles were given to Meryl Streep), because in 1994 I was in the balcony. TV gives you a front-row seat. This landmark drama was the first time I saw Wright. He has played a wide range of characters since, from MLK in HBO's Boycott to a CIA agent in the James Bond movies, to a Dominican drug lord in the Shaft remake, to the dangerous Dr. Valentin Narcisse in Boardwalk Empire. He is always compelling. If you know of a more gifted actor currently working, do tell.

Another clip, this one facing off with the dying Roy Cohn, played by the man whose performance in Dog Day Afternoon convinced Wright he must be an actor. Imagine Wright's thrill at this collaboration. If you are unfamiliar with Angels (something which you ought to correct), the ghost standing next to Belize at the end (when he says "I am the shadow on your grave") is that of Ethel Rosenberg.

John Oliver's solution for Supreme Court video

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has solved the problem of SCOTUS not allowing television cameras during oral arguments.

October 23, 2014

Stampede to the Exit

Stampede_insert_by_Bigstock
(Photo courtesy Bigstock)

Here is a link to my column in this week's Blade. As the election season winds down, I look at how voters are caught between scary movie and farce. Here is an excerpt:

The real problem the right has with our judiciary is that it interferes with their efforts to stampede the public. A stampede helps you enact your agenda as rapidly and with as little scrutiny as possible. James Madison worried that minorities could be tyrannized by the majority as much as by a king. The federal judiciary is part of the checks and balances he and others designed to prevent tyranny from below as well as above.

In this election, the Republican Party is winning the sweepstakes for stampeding voters to avoid examination of its record. Panic and outrage are the best ways to provoke a stampede. In the late 17th century, an accusation of witchcraft could eliminate a rival. In the early 20th century, the alleged rape of a white woman could set off destruction of an entire black community with nary a whisper of due process. Today, the favored goblins are Islamist head-choppers and sick Africans.

None of this could withstand critical inquiry; but politicians exploit our herd instinct. A beloved Psalm, after all, portrays us as sheep needing a shepherd. The faithful are called a flock. Using the brains that God gave us to think for ourselves is condemned as vanity. One of the strongest social forces is ostracism of anyone who rocks the boat. We picture ourselves as a nation of rugged frontiersmen, yet react to each new threat like a victim in a horror movie.

It is as implausible that we are helpless against ISIS attacks as it is that we are less able to stop Ebola than Senegal.

October 22, 2014

NYT Columnist Apologizes For Attending Fundraiser For Anti-Gay Legal Group

Douthatadf

I am quoted in this article by Carlos Maza and Joe Strupp at Media Matters. They report:

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat apologized for appearing at a fundraising event for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an extreme anti-gay legal group working to criminalize homosexuality....

As Media Matters noted, ADF is one of the most extreme anti-gay legal groups in the country, fighting against even basic legal protections for LGBT people and working internationally to repress LGBT human rights, including supporting Belize's draconian law criminalizing gay sex.

On Wednesday, Douthat explained that he did not know ADF's event was a fundraiser and said he plans to decline the honorarium he received from the event.

I note that my quote (follow the link) was given before word of Douthat's apology. I am glad that he apologized and will not accept the honorarium.

Rep. Gohmert shows his detailed knowledge of Greek military history

Ah, the endless font of stupidity that is Rep. Louie Gohmert.

October 21, 2014

The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel controversy

Hitching-Post-Idaho-638x425
(Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of the Hitching Post Chapel. Photo credit: Alliance Defending Freedom)

The anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom is suing the City of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho in a "gays are bullies" case. Last Friday, ADF attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order against the city. Here is an excerpt:

This case is about the City of Coeur D’Alene unconstitutionally coercing two Christian ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies at The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in violation of their religious beliefs, their ordination vows, and their consciences. Coeur D’Alene does so by imposing a Hobson’s choice on the Knapps through City Ordinance §9.56, which bars sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations: the Knapps can either violate their religious convictions and ministerial vows by performing same-sex wedding ceremonies or follow their religious convictions and vows by declining to perform same-sex ceremonies and face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
This was reported by Todd Starnes of Fox News: City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings

The story was given legs by Eugene Volokh at WaPo: Can ministers who make a living by conducting weddings be required to conduct same-sex weddings?

The claim that those awful gays are bullying ministers does not survive closer inspection. Here are several stories to check out:

A quick Google search shows that the right wing is going nuts over this story. We have to fight back with the truth.

October 19, 2014

Headlines about the Catholic synod that miss the real news

N-SYNOD-large570

Check out these headlines on the failure of the Catholic Church's extraordinary synod to achieve the supermajority needed to adopt even watered-down language reaching out to gays:

All three are accurate, but the Times avoids the wrong emphasis. The real story here is that a Catholic synod voted 118-62 in favor of any slightest move away from its monolithically anti-gay position, not that there was strong opposition to it, not that it fell short this time. The effort Francis has started will not soon be completed, but his sacking of Cardinal Raymond Burke as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura shows he means business.

I left the Church long ago, but I respect those who, having chosen to stay and fight, are sticking with it. We don't all have to make the same choices (unlike in pre-Reformation Christendom). People like the folks at New Ways Ministry deserve our respect for their perseverance. As it happens, they now have a sympathetic pope. But the College of Cardinals is packed with appointees of JPII and Benedict, and the conservatives have a lot of power. It is going to be a long struggle.

October 18, 2014

Pope Francis removes anti-gay Cardinal Burke from Vatican court

Pope Francis has removed the virulently anti-gay Cardinal Raymond Burke (interviewed above prior to this development) as prefect of the Holy See's Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's supreme court. Excellent news. Timmian Massie reports at NCRM:

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a darling of conservative Catholics who is virulently anti-gay, has confirmed to BuzzFeed what rumors from Rome have said for weeks. He will be demoted by Pope Francis from the head of the Roman Catholic Church's version of the Supreme Court to a figurehead role as the Patron of the Knights of Malta, a chivalrous order known for its work among the sick....

Burke recently told an interviewer that legally-married gay and lesbian family members should be shunned from family celebrations during the upcoming holidays, asking “what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?”

Burke's strong criticism of a preliminary document that included more inclusive welcoming of LGBT community members in the life of the Church and his challenge to Francis, who is seen to have had a hand in the drafting of the document, were apparently the last straw for the Pope.

I am not a praying person, but if you are, please pray for the health and longevity of this pope. The cleanup job he faces rivals the Augean Stables.

October 17, 2014

Sen. Cruz attacks Mayor Parker over Houston Equal Rights Ordinance


The battle over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance continues, with Sen. Ted Cruz demagoguing (see video below) and the city clarifying its subpoena.

In celebration of hermaphroditic snails

Snail-shell-on-keys-garry-gay
("Snail Shell on Keys" by Garry Gay)

In an update on my earlier post regarding the new snail species Aegista diversifamilia, Manon Verchot at Treehugger.com quotes me, including my new lyrics channeling Cole Porter:

Bi-curious whales do it, quails do it,
New hermaphroditic snails do it.
Let's do it, let's fall in love.

Below, though sadly without benefit of my special lyrics, Billie Holiday gives her rendition. Use your imagination.

Rick Scott, man without a fan

The Florida gubernatorial race has come down to a debate over whether an electrical appliance (specifically, a small fan) counts as prohibited "electronics" in a televised debate. If your house were on fire and someone said, "Grab the electronics!" I bet you would grab the laptop computer before a household fan. Just saying. In any case, the tagline of the day goes to the meme below.

Rickscotthasnofans

October 14, 2014

Funding or Die

Well-deserved mockery of the Democratic fundraising emails many of us have been spammed with.

October 12, 2014

Cardinal Burke – It is scandal to present homosexual uncle’s relationship to kids

Cardinal Raymond Burke spreads the love and understanding of Jesus Christ. Or Something.

It is disturbingly tone deaf, as well as brazenly hypocritical, for a prince of the Church to talk about protecting children from their gay uncle after decades of child abuse by Catholic priests and coverups by the Church hierarchy. All I can say is, work the cape, honey.

Cardinal-Burke-Cappa-Magna-Featured-640x428

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)