Thursday, February 09, 2017

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

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Conservative Republican Senator Jeff Sessions Confirmed to be Attorney General by US Senate

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions (pictured above) to be attorney general in the Trump administration despite fierce Democratic opposition to the Alabama Republican over his record on civil rights and immigration. Democrats laced into Sessions, casting him as too cozy with Trump and too harsh on immigrants. They asserted he wouldn’t do enough to protect voting rights of minorities, protections for gays and the legal right of women to obtain an abortion. They fear immigrants in the country illegally won’t receive due process with Session as the top law enforcement officer. “Any attorney general must be able to stand firm for the rule of law even against the powerful executive that nominated him or her. In this administration I believe that independence is even more necessary,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. “His (Sessions’) record raises doubts about whether he can be a champion for those who need this office most and it also raises doubts about whether he can curb unlawful overreach” by Trump. Sessions won unanimous backing from Senate Republicans but picked up the support of just one Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The 52-47 nearly party-line vote capped weeks of divisive battles over Sessions, an early supporter of Trump and one of the Senate’s most conservative lawmakers.

New Zealand to Quash Historical Gay Sex Convictions
New Zealand has said it will move to quash historical convictions for consensual sex between men. Justice Minister Amy Adams said an application process will be introduced and cases will be judged individually. In 1986 when the Homosexual Law Reform Act was passed, sex between men above 16 years old was decriminalized. But convictions for consensual sex between men prior to that still appear in criminal history checks and may have to be disclosed in job applications. Ms Adams said the government intends to introduce legislation to implement the scheme in the coming months. About 1,000 people could be eligible to apply, according New Zealand media reports.

Edith Bouvier Beale circa mid-1970's (L), Grey Gardens Mansion today (R)
You won't believe what Sally Quinn and her late Washington Post editor hubby, Ben Bradlee, did with Big and Little Edie's old digs.

Police Chief Suspended for Alleged Anti-Gay and Racist Comments
Torrance Police Chief Mark Matsuda, the city’s first Asian-American to hold the post, has been suspended from his job until February 13 after members of the police department filed a personnel complaint alleging that Matsuda made hostile comments about gays, women, blacks and Muslims. Under California law known as the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights, officers’ privacy is protected in police personnel investigations. Specific allegations, findings and discipline involved, if any, are all confidential.

2000-Year-Old Bronze Dildos and Butt Plugs Prove Ancient Sex Was Lit

I've always heard that if there's some new technology, the first industry to figure it out will be the porn industry. They've had the digital game on lock from webcams to virtual reality, but based on this treasure trove of dildos and butt plugs dating back to ancient China, it looks like the world has always flourished when it comes to new ways of getting your rocks off. These items were part of a number of excavations from 1995 through 2011, dating back to the Han dynasty (206 BCE through 220 CE).

Sarah Palin Touted as US Ambassador to Canada? You Betcha!
But after a White House spokesman refused to rule out the possibility that Sarah Palin could be the next US ambassador to Ottawa, few in Canada seemed to be embracing the prospect of the former Alaska governor taking up the role. The position has remained vacant since the inauguration of Donald Trump. In recent days, Palin’s name has reportedly been batted around in conversations in Ottawa and Washington as a potential prospect for the job. Whether Palin would actually want the posting is another question. The job would require her to give up a lucrative trade in speeches and television appearances, worth an estimated $12m to date.

Gay Couple Attacked in Fiji Are Staying Silent Because They Fear Reprisals
The two men, attacked over the weekend, have asked not to be identified—and have not gone to police—because “they feared for their lives,” according to the Fiji Sun. The men claimed the attack hap­pened early Sunday morning in Valelevu: “While we were walking towards the road, two teenage boys approached us, smiling,” said one. ”They made some sexually subjec­tive comments towards us. We ignored them and continued to flag down a cab and all of a sudden one of them punched my friend. When he went to try and stop the attack, the same assailant pushed him to the ground. My lips were cut and bleeding,”

This Arctic winter has startled even the most even-keeled scientists, with records set for low sea ice extent, high temperatures and other indicators of a climate gone awry. Sea ice has plummeted to record lows and stayed there as pulses of unusually warm air have swept across the region, with the latest one set to reach the North Pole on Thursday. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), sea ice extent hit record lows for the months of November, December and January. To put it in a longer-term perspective, sea ice extent during January was 487,000 square miles below the January 1981 to 2010 long-term average. This means the Arctic was missing an area of sea ice about the size of South Africa. Keep in mind that this is the middle of winter, when much of the high Arctic is still shrouded in darkness.

Note from Shane, Editor,
Below you'll find an excerpt from an essay written by former Mr Universe, Bob Paris. Bob Paris is a personal hero to me. I hope you'll enjoy reading his essay as much as I did.

Authenticity and Transformation by Bob Paris

Most of my adult life has been driven by two fundamental concepts: An active, ongoing quest for authentic living. And a willingness to reinforce this search by undertaking regular bouts of personal transformation, no matter how difficult the path, or uncertain the outcome. To me, this approach represents a living, breathing answer to the one core question each of us must eventually ask ourselves: How shall I live?  Read More