Monday, August 31, 2009

News and Pop Culture

Mary Cheney backs anti-gay politician!

Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, has thrown her support -- to the tune of $1,000 -- behind a congressional candidate from Ohio who believes she should not be able to adopt children. Reports The Raw Story: "As an Ohio congressman, [Rob] Portman voted yes on banning gay adoptions in the District of Columbia in 1999. He also voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004. Portman’s opposition to same-sex marriage is particularly salient, because both of his potential Democratic challengers favor its legalization. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner reaffirmed her backing for gay marriage in a posting at The Huffington Post in June, and a spokesman for Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher announced that he’d reversed his opposition the same month." The website reports that Cheney made the donation back in May. Cheney has a 2-year-old son with her partner of 17 years, Heather Poe. Earlier this year, Dick Cheney came out in support of same-sex marriage. (Advocate)

Jay-Z to give Sept. 11 benefit concert in New York City

A benefit concert that rapper Jay-Z is planning for Sept. 11 is a step in the direction that his career — and life — is heading in, he said Monday. The 39-year-old is set to release his 11th studio CD, "The Blueprint 3," the same day of the charity concert, which has been billed as "Answer the Call." The performance will be at New York's Madison Square Garden and air live on Fuse TV. "The first 'Blueprint' was a return to my roots, like those soul samples my mom and pop listened to, and now on this one we're becoming those guys we looked up to on all those records," he said. "It's my evolution and it's me now in the forefront, not as the performer who looked back ... but me taking the initiative being the one, and being the icon, or being the philanthropist," he said in an interview after a news conference Monday. Jay-Z was joined by his wife, singer Beyonce Knowles; Gov. David Paterson; Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Jay-Z said he will donate all proceeds from the concert to the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund. Tickets are being sold for $50, and the show is expected to raise $750,000 to $1 million. (AP)

Pope accepts resignation of anti-gay Joseph Martino, Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the early retirement of a U.S. bishop who has denounced nuns for sponsoring lectures by gay-rights advocates and directed priests to deny communion to abortion backers, the Vatican said Monday. The brief announcement, keeping to Vatican tradition, did not say why the staunchly conservative Monsignor Joseph Martino (pictured), 63, Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, had submitted his resignation. He took up the post in 2003. Under canon law, which contain the “rules” of the Catholic church, bishops are expected to offer their resignation when they turn 75, but the pope sometimes asks bishops to stay on beyond that age. (365gay)

Naming evolution's winners and losers

Mammals and many species of birds and fish are among evolution's "winners," while crocodiles, alligators and a reptile cousin of snakes known as the tuatara are among the losers, according to new research by UCLA scientists and colleagues. Our results indicate that mammals are special," said Michael Alfaro, a UCLA assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and lead author of the research. Among the evolutionary winners are most modern birds, including the songbirds, parrots, doves, eagles, hummingbirds and pigeons; a group that includes most mammals; and a group of fish that includes most of the fish that live on coral reefs, said Alfaro, an evolutionary biologist. Who are the evolutionary losers? Crocodiles and alligators are nearly 250 million years old yet have diversified into only 23 species, Alfaro said. They are diversifying a staggering 1,000 times slower than would have been expected. "Their species richness is so low, given how old they are," he said. Read more at Science Daily.

Carrie (anti-gay marriage) Prejean sues pageant officials, claiming libel, slander and religious discrimination

Former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean sued pageant officials Monday for libel, slander and religious discrimination, accusing them of telling her to stop mentioning God even before her controversial remarks against gay marriage. Prejean sued California pageant executive director Keith Lewis and actress and former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, who served as a co-director before resigning in protest of Prejean. Prejean was fired in June by pageant officials who said she missed several scheduled appearances. Her attorney, Chuck LiMandri, said that wasn't true, and Prejean was ousted because of controversial remarks in April during the Miss USA pageant that marriage should be between a man and a woman. She was named first runner-up, and many believe she lost her shot at the Miss USA crown because of her answer. Moakler's attorney, Mel Avanzando, said in a statement that Prejean's lawsuit was without merit. "More importantly, as everyone who watched or read her public statements is well aware, Ms. Prejean's unfortunate and bigoted statements are responsible for any public humiliation or damages to her reputation that she has claimed to have suffered," Avanzando wrote. "Ms. Moakler strenuously denies that she did anything wrong and looks forward to proving that in a court of law." (Zap2it)

Disney to acquire comics giant Marvel for $4 billion dollars!

The Walt Disney Co. is punching its way into the universe of superheroes and their male fans with a deal announced Monday to acquire Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion, bringing characters such as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and "Toy Story." The surprise cash-and-stock deal sent Spidey senses tingling in the comic book world. It could lead to new rides, movies, action figures and other outlets for Marvel's 5,000 characters, although Marvel already was aggressively licensing its properties for such uses. Stan Lee, the 86-year-old co-creator of "Spider-Man" and many more of Marvel's most famous characters, said he was thrilled to be informed of the marriage Monday morning. "I love both companies," he said. "From every point of view, this is a great match." The deal is expected to close by the end of the year and marks Disney's biggest acquisition since it purchased Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the maker of "Up" and "Cars," for $7.4 billion in stock in 2006. Marvel would follow another storied comic book publisher into the arms of a media conglomerate. DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, was bought by Warner Bros. — now part of Time Warner Inc. — in 1969. (AP)

Playwright Judith Thompson wins Amnesty award

Canadian playwright Judith Thompson has won the 2009 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for her political play Palace of the End.The announcement was made Friday at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which wrapped up this week. Amnesty's Freedom of Expression Award recognizes productions of excellent artistic merit that build understanding and engagement of human rights. Entry to the award is open to all festival productions, and this year Thompson's play was chosen from 63 other finalists. The Royal Exchange Theatre Company (Manchester) produced Palace of the End at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Thompson's play captures the global effects of the Iraq war with three fictional monologues based on Lynndie England, the young American soldier who was convicted for torturing detainees; British microbiologist David Kelly, who was critical of the invasion of Iraq; and Iraqi mother of four, Narjis al Saffarh, who was brutally tortured. Read more at CBC.

Male South African student expelled after wearing dress to school

"Given Seoketsi said the principal asked if he was a boy or a girl. He replied that he was 'a gay' and the principal told him to bring his mother with him when school reopened to discuss his sexual orientation. His mother Neisi Seoketsi said the principal said her child had to choose to be either a boy or a girl because the school only had classes for boys and girls. Neisi said she told the principal that her son was born like that. 'My son did not like playing with boys and preferred girls . He wanted dresses though we tried to force him to wear trousers.' " Read more at Rod 2.0

Mike Rogers outs South Carolina lieutenant governor Andre Bauer

Rumors have been swirling about Bauer (pictured) for several months and have intensified since the Sanford scandal. In June, South Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Linda Ketner apologized after she outed Bauer, saying she thought she had been speaking off the record and had no direct knowledge of his gayness. As Mike Rogers notes in the quote above, he has a 100% track record in naming closeted gay politicians who are working against the rights of their own people. Read more at (NG BLOG )

Daytime Emmy Awards show has hit another new record low in the ratings

The 36th Daytime Emmy Awards hit another record low on the CW Sunday night, a year after delivering its lowest ratings on ABC in June 2008. This year's show delivered a 0.5/2 from 7-10 p.m. and averaged 2.2 million viewers. It scored a 1.6/3 in households. That's a dramatic decrease even from last years' 4.1/8 household number and 5.3 million viewers. The Daytime Emmys have steadily declined throughout the decade, drawing a fraction of the viewers that turned to it in the mid-‘90s. The high-water mark of the last two decades came in 1993 when the awards show averaged a 16.4 household rating and 21.9 million viewers. (We Love Soaps)

UK police to review Rolling Stones guitarist, Brian Jones' death

British police said Monday they will review the death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, whose 1969 drowning was ruled an accident but sparked decades of speculation that he was murdered. Sussex police in southeast England said they will examine new documents received from an investigative journalist relating to Jones' death. "It's too early to comment at this time as to what the outcome might be," the Sussex duty inspector said, reading a statement over the telephone. Police did not give further details. The Mail on Sunday reported that journalist Scott Jones — who is not related to the musician — has handed over 600 documents to Sussex police. Brian Jones, one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, was the person who reportedly came up with the band's name. Formed in 1962, the band branched out from blues covers to become a pivotal group in the so-called British Invasion, drawing fans attracted by their rebellious image and surly but sexy style. Jones was quickly eclipsed by swaggering lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, whose songwriting propelled the band's popularity. Increasingly marginalized and drawn to drugs and alcohol, Jones quit the band a month before his death and was replaced by Mick Taylor. Jones stood out even among his bandmates for his flashy clothes and prodigious appetite for drugs. He died July 2, 1969 at age 27, his body found in the swimming pool at his 11-acre (4.5-hectare) Sussex estate. A coroner said Jones drowned while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but the ruling did not quiet speculation that Jones' death was not an accident. Read more at AP.

Thai boxer banned for appearing in gay mag

Take a good look at the image to the right. We’ve seen something like it a thousand times, right? The man in the photo is Thai Olympic silver-medal boxer Worapoj Petchkoom, and Stage is a Thai gay magazine. Because Petchkhoom appears on the cover of said magazine wearing almost nothing, the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand has suspended him for three months. The ABAT claims that Petchkhoom has tarnished the reputation of Thai athletes with his actions. Petchkhoom claims he didn’t know it was a gay magazine until halfway through the shoot, when his girlfriend caught on after requests that the boxer wear just underwear. Read more at Outsports.