Friday, September 05, 2008

News and Pop Culture Roundup

Subway fires meat handler for gay porn past:
Hold the sauce on that 12-inch! The manager of a Subway in Missouri fired employee Kurt Wild's after his gay porn past was discovered. Wild was working a Subway restaurant outside of St. Louis when the customer recognized him and threatened to boycott if the 22-year-old sandwich artist be fired. Wild contends that it wasn't just his porn past that sparked the firing, but specifically that it was gay porn. "It isn't right or fair that people can keep me from working simply because of a "gay" issue," says Wild. "If a girl did what we do it would probably be ok ... and if a guy does straight porn, he is bragged about. When I do gay porn, I feel a bit lynched."

Google reigns as world's most powerful 10-year-old:
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google Inc. on Sept. 7, 1998, they had little more than their ingenuity, four computers and an investor's $100,000 bet on their belief that an Internet search engine could change the world. It sounded preposterous 10 years ago, but look now: Google draws upon a gargantuan computer network, nearly 20,000 employees and a $150 billion market value to redefine media, marketing and technology. Perhaps Google's biggest test in the next decade will be finding a way to pursue its seemingly boundless ambitions without triggering a backlash that derails the company. "You can't do some of the things that they are trying to do without eventually facing some challenges from the government and your rivals," said Danny Sullivan, who has followed Google since its inception and is now editor-in-chief of SearchEngineLand. Google's expanding control over the flow of Internet traffic and advertising already is raising monopoly concerns. MORE

McCain accepts GOP nomination vowing to change Washington: (Minneapolis, Minnesota) John McCain, a POW turned political rebel, vowed Thursday night to vanquish the “constant partisan rancor” that grips Washington as he launched his fall campaign for the White House. “Change is coming,” he promised the roaring Republican National Convention and a prime-time television audience. To repeated cheers from his delegates, McCain criticized fellow Republicans as well as Democratic rival Barack Obama as he reached out to independents and disaffected Democrats.

Gay icon Fran Drescher speaks up for same-sex marriage:
The star of TV comedy The Nanny has said that everyone should have the right to get married, gay or straight. Fran Drescher was speaking ahead of a fundraising party she is holding tomorrow night for Equality California. The group is campaigning for the defeat of a state ballot overturning legal gay marriage. "I don't know if you realise this, but I'm a gay icon," she told E! Online. "But even if I weren't, I'm a political activist who believes in preserving the American dream which is tolerance of diversity and the separation of church and state…It's simply un-American not to be tolerant of different lifestyles. If you wanna live in a single-minded, religious-based country you're in the wrong place." Proposition 8 is an initiative measure on the 2008 California General Election ballot in November.

Judge upholds New York Governor Paterson's marriage recognition order:The New York supreme court ruled Tuesday that Gov. David Paterson (pictured) acted within his gubernatorial powers when he issued an executive order requiring state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries, The New York Times reports. Same-sex marriage has yet to be legalized in New York State. Justice Lucy Billings wrote in her opinion, "When partners manifest the commitment to their relationship and family, by solemnizing that commitment elsewhere, through one of life’s most significant events, and come to New York, whether returning home or setting down roots, to carry on that commitment, nothing is more antithetical to family stability than requiring them to abandon that solemnized commitment." She added, "Nothing is more antithetical to family stability than requiring [couples] to abandon that solemnized commitment." Paterson issued the executive order on May 14.

Britney Spears to 'kick off' MTV ceremony: Singer Britney Spears will "kick off" this year's MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) ceremony, it has been announced. But MTV said that instead of performing at Sunday's event in Los Angeles, her appearance would feature something "fun and unexpected". Her comeback performance of Gimme More, which opened last year's show, was widely criticised. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles judge has refused to drop a driving without a valid licence charge against her. Spears said in a statement that MTV had "long played an important role in my career". "How can I not be there to kick off their 25th VMAs?" she added.

Senator Joe Lieberman risks payback from Senate Democrats:
Senate Democrats hinted at payback Thursday for Sen. Joe Lieberman, who called Barack Obama an untested candidate beholden to Democratic interest groups in a prime-time Republican National Convention address. Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent and a close friend of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, still caucuses with Democrats, which allows them to control the Senate with a 51-49 majority . A spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., indicated Thursday that Lieberman may no longer be welcome. "Lieberman went too far when he distorted Sen. Obama's record," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.

Ashley Judd believes in the 'Tooth Fairy': Ashley Judd is set to join Dwayne "Not The Rock Anymore" Johnson in the 20th Century Fox comedy "Tooth Fairy." Set to begin production in Vancouver in October, "Tooth Fairy" stars Johnson as a minor league hockey player nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy." In some way, the character is recruited to help save the tooth fairy kingdom. Judd will play his girlfriend, a single mom with two kids, according to Variety.

Stand Up to Cancer telethon takes over network TV:
Former Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing, who established a namesake foundation dedicated to cancer research and awareness, was working with television networks to put on a cancer-awareness TV special. So was Katie Couric, who has been an advocate for early cancer screenings — and even televised her own colonoscopy — since losing her husband to colon cancer 10 years ago. So the women got together — along with other entertainment-industry execs and more than 60 of their famous friends — to create Stand Up to Cancer, a fund- and awareness-raising organization set to hold an unprecedented, star-studded live telethon airing simultaneously on ABC, NBC and CBS on Friday night. "I jokingly say I have to make cancer awareness entertaining," said Ziskin, who is producing the show at Hollywood's Kodak Theater. "The good news is that the entertainment community gets it. We're touched. Look at Patrick Swayze. Look at Christina Applegate. Look at Robin Roberts. "Cancer is not in the closet anymore, and now that it's out of the closet we have to motivate the public to demand that as a country we do better," she continued. MORE

Jail for two women in Emirates' first lesbian indecency case:
A Bulgarian woman and her Lebanese partner have been sentenced to one month in jail after being found guilty by a Dubai court of indecent acts. It is thought to be the first case of its kind in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai's Court of Appeal upheld the convictions. The 36-year-old Bulgarian and 30-year-old Lebanese woman will both be deported after they have served their sentences. 7Days newspaper reported that they were spotted kissing and petting on a public beach in April. They both pleaded not guilty to charges they had behaved indecently. Dubai, one of the seven oil-rich United Arab Emirates, is a popular destination for UK tourists.

Tom Cruise to do Shrek?
Tom Cruise is one of the last of the A-list actors to not lend his voice to a animated movie. Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts...all at one time cartoons in a movie. Cruise could be looking to change that with a turn in SHREK GOES FOURTH. Cinema Blend is reporting that DreamWorks is "considering" Tom Cruise to voice the villain in the upcoming SHREK film. Now I think we can all agree that if Cruise says he wants to voice a character in SHREK GOES FOURTH, he'll be voicing a character in SHREK GOES FOURTH. There won't be any "considering" on the part of DreamWorks - they'll jump on it.

Disgraced US sprinter Marion Jones has left prison:
Disgraced US sprinter Marion Jones has left prison after serving a six-month sentence for lying about steroid use and involvement in a drugs fraud case. Jones, 32, left the facility in San Antonio, Texas, a prison spokeswoman said. Once one of the most famous female athletes in the world, Jones won five medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. But these were stripped from the mother-of-two after she admitted lying to federal investigators in 2003.

Australia has sworn in its first female governor general:
The appointment of Quentin Bryce is also seen as significant because many Australians hope she will be the last governor general. By the end of her five-year term, they hope, the country will have become a republic with an Australian as head of state, rather than the British monarch. PM Kevin Rudd is a republican and so too is Quentin Bryce herself. This is an important "female first" in Australian history, for never before has a woman been appointed as the governor general. Ms Bryce has enjoyed a successful career in law, was once the country's sex discrimination commissioner and has served for the past five years as the governor of the state of Queensland.

Straight Pride attracts zero participants!:
Plans for a so-called "Straight Pride" in New York, promoted by a reggae music label, appear to have backfired. The event, due to be held last weekend, was billed as "a chance for heterosexuals to gather together and proudly embrace their sexuality and celebrate reggae, dancehall and family in love and unity." However, gay blogger Joe.My.God turned up at the advertised meeting point at 10am on Sunday to find he was the only one there. "I did see a good number of cars whizzing by that were festooned with flags from Jamaica and other Caribbean nations, but those were probably just folks getting ready for tomorrow's massive West Indian Day Parade," he wrote. "Just to make sure I hadn't missed the fun, I popped into a few shops to inquire if anybody had seen a parade this morning. The manager of Raquel Shoes told me, "I've been here since 8:30am. It's been totally quiet all morning."" The "Straight Pride" was promoted by record label TCOOO, who claimed "the gay community went after artists … we decided that we must make a show of strength." There is no mention of the event on their website.

This cover of 'Life' may be the closest you'll ever get to Tina Fey as Sarah Palin: We pointed out last week that potential veep candidate Sarah Palin bore a strong resemblance to Tina Fey as Liz Lemon (except for their stances on important social issues), never did we imagine the proof would come in the form of this Life cover from Sept, 2004.

Who You Gonna Call... Again? Columbia plans Ghostbusters 3!:
For Columbia Pictures has just announced serious plans to make... Ghostbusters 3. Yes, folks, a third installment of the wildly successful comedy-horror franchise has been rumoured for years, but now it looks like it might actually happen. And that is reason for much rejoicing – you know, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! Columbia has recruited Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky – writers and producers of the wonderful American version of The Office – to write a script which would, and this is the really exciting bit, reunite the original Ghostbusters, almost twenty years after the under-rated Ghostbusters 2. And that doesn’t just mean Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), or Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) or Dr. Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), it also means the return of Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman, possibly the sleaziest and most likeable lead to ever grace a modern blockbuster. Murray’s participation in Ghostbusters 3 has always been a sticking point, but here’s hoping that the script delivered by Eisenberg and Stupnitsky will be good enough to lure him in.

Asian soot, smog may boost global warming in US:
Smog, soot and other particles like the kind often seen hanging over Beijing add to global warming and may raise summer temperatures in the American heartland by three degrees in about 50 years, says a new federal science report released Thursday. These overlooked, shorter-term pollutants - mostly from burning wood and kerosene and from driving trucks and cars - cause more localized warming than once thought, the authors of the report say. They contend there should be a greater effort to attack this type of pollution for faster results. For decades, scientists have concentrated on carbon dioxide, the most damaging greenhouse gas because it lingers in the atmosphere for decades. Past studies have barely paid attention to global warming pollution that stays in the air merely for days. MORE