Saturday, November 22, 2014

News Round-up: November 22, 2014

"Sexiest Teacher Alive" Nicholas Ferroni

People Magazine announces the "Sexiest Teacher Alive" - and he supports teaching LGBT history in schools. Check videos below:





This ferret TOTALLY thinks he can make this jump

Newly elected incoming Republican Speaker of the Nevada Assembly is under fire for almost 20 years of anti-gay, racist and sexist op-eds

Insult to injury - Walmart doesn't pay it's employees enough, so the company asks fellow employees to donate food to co-workers

And doesn't this photoshoot by photographer Steven Busken of DALLAS star Jesse Metcalfe deserve one more look...?


Thomas Roberts Counts Down This Week's Top 5 LGBT Stories


MSNBC's Thomas Roberts counts down the 5 biggest LGBT stories of the week, including

• Marriage equality comes to South Carolina and Montana

• Country music singers Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman come out as gay 

• A new Indiana University survey finds heterosexual support for gays is up, but straight folks are still not comfortable seeing public displays of affection among gays

• Out NBA-er Jason Collins retires from basketball


Lubbock Mayor Calls HRC Report "Totally Bogus" After Receving A Zero On LGBT Rights


In the recent Human Rights Campaign's 2014 Municipal Equality Index, five cities in the country (out of 353 rated) received scores of zero. Of those, four are in Texas and one is Lubbock.

(I should point out from the get-go here I was born and raised in Texas...)

The Index scores cities specifically on six broad categories: non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and overall relationship with the LGBT community. Cities begin with a score of zero and are awarded points for meeting certain criteria.

Mayor Glen Robertson, a white heterosexual man, says there are no problems for gays in Lubbock and the survey is unfair.

Via LubbockOnline:

“This survey is not, in my opinion, designed to get facts. This survey is designed to create problems that aren’t there,” he said.

The report from HRC says the city has passed no ordinances to protect LGBT folks in the workplace. The mayor says all that is covered by federal and state laws.

This, sadly, is not true. There is currently no federal legal protections in place for LGBT employees in the workplace. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was passed in the US Senate last year, but the GOP-led House has refused to take up the legislation.

Texas is not among the 18 states that have passed such protections. Nor is Lubbock one of the six Texas cities to pass local protections. So, Mr. Mayor - you're dead wrong on that one. I sit here shaking my head that you could serve as mayor for two years and not know that.

Tony Thornton, president of the Lubbock chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, says the city has come a long way but probably deserves a zero for its efforts to include the gay community.

“I think the city needs lots of work from the perspective of policy and administration in these areas,” he said. “And I want to work with the city. I want to work with the mayor and the City Council and the HR directors to fix this.”

But don't count on any action from the mayor anytime soon. Mayor Robertson says he's never seen LGBT discrimination as a problem - a typically conservative, white, heterosexual male position to take, in my opinion.

Mayor Robertson says, “I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen any problem. That doesn’t mean we don’t have it, but if we do, nobody’s being vocal about it. Typically, if somebody’s being treated differently because of their gender or sexual orientation, they speak up, and I have heard nothing.”

(source)

SuperMegaFest: "Bionic Reunion" In Framingham, Massachusetts


Lindsay Wagner, of The Bionic Woman fame in the 1970s, and Lee Majors,  of The Six Million Dollar Man television series, will be in Framingham this weekend, as part of Super Megafest at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham.

The bionic television stars are among dozens of celebrities expected at the weekend event, including Sharknado and Beverly Hills 90210 star Ian Ziering, Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, and more.

Fans can not only meet the Bionic Duo but will have the opportunity to attend a Q&A session for fans of the popular bionic television shows today, Nov. 22 at 4 p.m.

There will be photo sessions with Wagner & Majors on Saturday at 1:15 and Sunday at 12:15 p.m.

(source)

Michele Bachmann Calls For A Rally In Washington DC At "High Noon"


Can you believe she's STILL not gone?

Lord...

Rep. Michele Bachmann wants to hold a rally in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, December 3 at "high noon" on the west steps of the Capitol.

"We need to have a rally, and we need to go visit our senators and visit our congressmen, because nothing frightens a congressman like the whites of his constituents' eyes."

Bachmann wants Congress to defund Obama's executive action on immigration reform.


New Music Video: Beyoncé "7/11"


Beyoncé dropped her latest music video, "7/11," yesterday. Over three million views in less than a day.

The video is much less about "production" than her usual fare. Some folks on the inter webs aren't so thrilled. I still think it'll be a huge hit.

Kids will emulate her having a good time in the "post Christmas" party setting. Guys will love the girls in pajamas, girls will love the moves and fun.  She's giving the kids "living in the moment."

That sells.


Friday, November 21, 2014

The Talk: Will Country Music Ever Be Ready For A Gay Artist?


In the wake of country star Ty Herndon's coming out, the ladies of The Talk discuss whether the country music industry will EVER welcome an openly gay artist...?


Gambian President Signs "Life In Prison For Gays" Into Law

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has signed into law legislation which makes being gay punishable by life in prison:

The law targets those with a previous conviction for homosexuality, those living with HIV, and same-sex partners of people with disabilities - all of whom could be imprisoned for life.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Thursday the law violates fundamental human rights - among them the right to privacy, to freedom from discrimination and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

"I call on The Gambia to fulfil its international obligations to promote and protect the human rights of all persons without discrimination, to repeal all provisions of the Criminal Code that criminalise relations between consenting adults and to put in place an immediate moratorium on arrests on the basis of such laws," he said in a statement.

Our good friend Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association cheered the passage of the bill via Twitter when it was passed in September.

But remember - Mr. Fischer says he has no animus towards the gays at all...

Right.

(h/t JMG)

Friday Beats: Giorgio Moroder "74 Is The New 24"


After influencing just about every artist in the disco and electronic music genres, Giorgio Moroder is now producing his own solo music.

And the folks showing up to lend a hand are pretty stellar: Kylie Minogue, Sia, Britney Spears and a whole lot more.

“74 Is the New 24” is the first single from the album due Spring 2015. The title sends a message that the 74-year-old producer feels he has a lot more music to share.

Check it out below, then find it here.


The Wealthiest Members of Congress

Click pic to enlarge

35 percent of Congress' members have a disclosed net worth of at least $1 million.

Check the map to see who the wealthiest member of Congress in your state is.

(via Vox)

Hillary Clinton Weighs In On Immigration Reform

North Carolina: Some Magistrates Quit Rather Than Perform Same-Sex Weddings


With the arrival of marriage equality in North Carolina, some magistrates have quit their jobs rather than perform same-sex marriages:

Time Warner Cable News has been able to determine at least 10 of the 16 magistrates who left last month, did so because they will not perform same-sex marriages.

For a little perspective, the court system reports there are 672 magistrates across the state, so only about 1.5 percent have left because of the same-sex marriage ruling.

One former magistrate was quoted as saying "There were no offers to make any accommodations." An accommodation to discriminate???

In my opinion, good riddance. As a public servant, you don't get to pick and choose when or why you do your job.

There are still over 660 magistrates to perform their duties in the state in accordance to state law.

Montana: Some County Clerks To "Opt Out" Of Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses


While Montana celebrates the news of marriage equality coming to the state, some Yellowstone County employees are being allowed to "opt out" of issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

From KTVQ:

The county anticipated the ruling and the human resources department had told Clerk of District Court Kristie Boelter that employees can choose not to issue marriage licenses for religious reasons.

The County cited Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Part of Title VII states: "It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer....to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin..."

Boelter said 20 clerks work in her department and the opting out was not a problem.

She said one clerk cited religion and four others said same-sex marriage went against their morals and values.

However, Boelter said morals and values do not apply to Title VII.

While individuals can decide to not issue licenses, she said it is her duty to uphold the law.

"We all take an oath when we enter the Office of the Clerk of Courts to uphold the Constitution of the state of Montana and the Constitution of the United States of America," Boelter said. "I have a particular clerk that has religious beliefs that would like to opt out of doing the marriage licenses and we will allow that to happen. I have enough clerks in my office to be able to accommodate that."

I'm not so sure Title VII was meant to allow a religious exemption from doing your job as a civil employee when it comes to gays and lesbians.

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER Star Glad Viewers Are Talking About Steamy Sex Scenes

Jack Falahee of How To Get Away With Murder

Jack Falahee, who plays openly gay Connor Walsh on the ABC hit series How To Get Away With Murder, tells EOnline that he's glad his now-famous sex scenes are getting folks to talk:

"I am glad that people are talking about it and that it’s sparked the conversation. I think that that’s the aim of entertainment. And if we can have a dialogue about it, it can become more accepted. TV is sort of catching up and it’s been very black and white what we’ve seen on the screen and very paranormative and patriarchal and I think that now that we’re exploring it, it’s something that’s being talked about which is great. And even now, there’s a lot of content being made that is shedding an honest light on who people are and real people and at the end of the day that’s what Pete [Nowalk] has created. Real people. And that’s fantastic.”

If you haven't checked the series out yet, take it from me, the steamy sex scenes (plus the rest of the show) are definitely worth tuning in for.

Check out the show at ABC.Go.com

Is President Obama's Executive Action On Immigration Unprecedented?

Click to enlarge

National Journal explains the history of immigration reform and shows that President Obama's executive action is nothing out of the ordinary for presidents of both parties for decades:
Advocates say the president isn't doing as much as he is legally capable of to help unauthorized immigrants, but they acknowledge that even though his executive order isn't everything they want, it is carefully crafted to stay consistent with past White House practices.&nbsp

That won't stop critics from blasting Obama's actions, but it gives him a solid rebuttal.;
More at National Journal
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