Tuesday, January 31, 2017

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

Neil Gorsuch with Donald Trump (right)
Donald Trump nominated a hardcore conservative to fill a seat on the Supreme Court. Neil Gorsuch, 49, is a judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Denver. He’s been called “cerebral” and “brainy” by various media outlets. But regardless of how smart he is — he’s a graduate of Harvard Law School (and was in Cambridge, MA at the same time as President Obama) and studied at Oxford as a Marshall Scholar — he’s a radical Scalia-like “originalist.” He answers Constitutional questions by considering how the Framers would have interpreted the plain language of the text back in the Eighteenth Century. To originalists like Gorsuch (and Scalia), the Constitution was encased in carbonite the moment it was written. Several areas of Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudence should cause us grave concern. READ MORE

Tom Daley (L), Dustin Lance Black (R)
Tom Daley & Dustin Lance Black Talk Break Following Online Sex Scandal
British Olympic diver Tom Daley and his fiancé, Oscar-winning screen writer Dustin Lance Black, are back together after a secret seven-month break. The couple gave an exclusive interview with The Sun, opening up about the status of their relationship. The interview comes after an explicit Snapchat video surfaced online, showing Daley in his underwear. Unbeknownst to their biggest fans, the couple was on the seven-month break, which started last year, because Black was out of the country working on the upcoming ABC LGBT history mini-series "When We Rise." The men said they both agreed that they wanted to refrain from being in a long-distance relationship. "I mean, being very frank, I was out of the country for about seven months last year," Black told The Sun. "I'd been back and forth before that too, and in that time Tom and I took a decision to take a bit of time off." During the break Daley said he connected with a fan on social media. "It was the distance. It's not like I actually met up with anyone," the diver told the newspaper. "I'm 22 years old, and if you talk to someone through social media it is what it is. It was nothing more than that. We never physically met." The athlete also sent the man intimate pictures and an explicit video via Snapchat -- a portion of the video made its way online. The Sun notes the men were chatting last Friday but never met up in person. READ MORE

8 States Censor LGBTQ Topics in Schools. A Lawsuit Now Challenging Censorhip Issue 
If you can believe it, we still have states in this country that restrict or in some cases forbid discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools. In the state of Utah for example, a so called “no promo homo” law prohibits educators from talking about LGBTQ topics. In other states, such as Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, teachers cannot talk about issues pertaining to LGBTQ sexual health. According to Peter Renn, a senior attorney at Lambda legal, many of those laws were passed in the late 80’s and early 90’s, at a time when AIDS was becoming a public health crisis. Back then, a stereotypical misconception existed where some thought only gay people could contract and/or spread HIV. With the hope of removing these types of laws from the books, advocacy groups such as Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have filed a federal lawsuit. According to a report appearing on the PBS News Hour website that looks at the Utah case: “The suit claims that three school districts in Utah failed to protect the students from harassment or physical abuse at school. And just this week, they asked U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson for an injunction that would block Utah from enforcing the law while the case is in progress.” READ MORE

Melania Trump Doesn't Deserve Your Sympathy
A few hours after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, a photograph circulated of Melania Trump sitting next to husband at a luncheon, eyes down and face unsmiling. The photograph went viral, often accompanied on social media with the expression, “I feel sorry for Melania Trump.” It was just one of many pieces of evidence that Melania Trump deserves sympathy; that she is unhappy, that her husband treats her poorly or, more hopefully, that she hates her husband. If the past is any indication, Melania is no passive victim. Recently a 2011 interview with Melania on the Joy Behar Show went viral on Twitter. In the interview, Melania defends her husband’s adamant commitment to the birther conspiracy born of the Tea Party—his belief that President Obama is not an American citizen, that he was born in Kenya and that his Hawaii-issued birth certificate was, in fact, a forgery. “Do you want to see President Obama’s birth certificate or not?” Melania asks Behar. “I’ve seen it,” Behar responds. “It’s not a birth certificate,” Melania says as she shakes her head. Here, Melania recites her husband’s conspiratorial and fictitious claims, ones Donald Trump repeated for five years until, in September 2016, he “conceded” that they were untrue. Melania Trump is hardly a stand-in for American women, she is neither a victim nor is she lacking agency. Rather she’s an active participant working to construct Donald Trump’s narrative, readily available to put a gauzy domestic veil on his racism and misogyny. Melania Trump doesn’t deserve your sympathy. READ MORE

Dancing With The Stars pro Louis van Amstel, 44, Ties the Knot with Partner Josh Lancaster, 27, in a Winter Wonderland Wedding
The Dancing With The Stars pro and the health coach tied the knot in front of over 100 people at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Sundance, Utah. 'We wanted a winter wedding,' the ABC vet told People. 'Sundance happens to be one of the private, romantic traditions between the two of us, so it seems only fitting to host the wedding there, added Lancaster. 'Weddings can look cookie-cutter,' Louis also told People. 'We threw the checklist out and did what we wanted. We aren’t the types to do things the way everyone else does. But if others like our ideas, then great! For us, it was really about just being around great family and friends and sharing our love with them. READ MORE

In 1895, Ida B. Wells's Wedding Announcement Was on the Front Page of the New York Times
A journalist, activist, and one of the founding members of the NAACP, Ida B. Wells was born to slaves in 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She prioritized her work over romantic relationships, but eventually, she did get married, and in a rare turn of events given her background, her wedding was noted in the paper of record. Though the announcement was just a small blurb on the front page, Hannah-Jones writes that “the nuptials of a black woman, born into slavery 33 years earlier, could make the front page of The Times, speaks to a woman who was, by definition, remarkable.” Ida B. Wells had by that time, however, been doing remarkable things her whole life. READ MORE

“Short hair has come back into fashion in late 2016 as beards start to disappear from the faces of men,” explains hairdresser Alex PF Jackson. “Men are now looking at going for more of a clean-cut, wholesome, business style look this year and particularly short hair is returning to classic lengths and very short back and sides. Textured hair, spiky and messy cuts are back in (If ever they really left) while many are being combined with fades of all types to give the face more room to breath.” Let’s take a look at five of the most likely hair trends for 2017. READ MORE

Legendary Pop Singer Helen Reddy Sings "I Am Woman" at the Women's March

Here's a great moment captured on video from the Women's March on January 21, 2017, in Los Angeles. Jamie Lee Curtis is the host. Helen Reddy spontaneously breaks into an acapella version of the classic anthem, I Am Woman! Helen's song encapsulated the women's movement in the 1970s as it still does today! Amazing woman... amazing performance! Also present for the festivities were Laverne Cox, Alfre Woodard, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda

WATCH VIDEO: Legendary Pop Singer Helen Reddy Sings "I Am Woman" at the Women's March

Please feel free to share any post(s) that you like on your social media (Facebook, Twitter etc). Thank-you!