Monday, July 28, 2014

UFC's Kyle Kingsbury shows his support for LGBT community during weigh-in

After a two-year absence, Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight fighter Kyle Kingsbury made a statement during weigh-in his support for the LGBT community in San Jose, California last week.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announces the state will not oppose same-sex marriage cases

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper

In light of the Fourth Circuit Court's ruling which found Virginia's marriage ban is unconstitutional, North Carolina's attorney general said he will stop defending his state's ban in court:

"After reviewing the 4th Circuit decision and consulting with attorneys here, I have concluded that the State of North Carolina will not oppose the cases moving forward.

"In addition, the State of North Carolina will acknowledge the 4th Circuit opinion that marriage is a fundamental right and that our office believes that the judges are bound by this 4th Circuit decision.

"In all these cases challenging state marriage laws, our office along with other attorneys general and state attorneys across the country have made about every legal argument imaginable.

"Since the US Supreme Court ruled in the Windsor case, all the federal courts have rejected these arguments each and every time. So it’s time for the State of North Carolina to stop making them." - North Carolina State Attorney General, Roy Cooper

Today's Virginia ruling sets precedent for not only that state, but all states in the court's jurisdiction which includes North Carolina.

South Carolina's AG, Alan Wilson, issued a statement saying he intends to continue defending his state's same-sex marriage ban.


News round-up for July 28, 2014

• New condom proves effective in deactivating 99.9 per cent of HIV, herpes and other STDs

• Anti-gay Robert Jeffress says the anti-discrimination executive order signed by President Obama could lead to stripping churches of their tax-exempt status. LIE.

• Lots to see at ComicCon 2014 including Chris Hemsworth's biceps and Stephen Amell's abs

• Gay Texas foster child caretaker fired for introducing his fiancĂ© to teenagers during water park outing

• Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald hits five Billboard charts this week (#1 on four)

• My latest music crush: out singer/songwriter Jeb Havens

Stephen Amell gives the ComicCon crowd a show

Yoga with Nic and Pancho

Hot Italian guy and his chihuahua Pancho practice yoga together.

It's hard to decide who to watch.

Casey the schnauzer passes out when reunited with owner

For two years, Casey the schnauzer missed her owner who was living and working in Slovenia.

When the family came back to Pennsylvania for a wedding, Casey could't stop squealing.

Until, that is, she passed out from the excitement.

Don't worry - Casey was checked out by the vet and all is well.

The video has over 19 million views in four days.

(h/t Towleroad)

Audra McDonald lands at #1 on four Billboard Charts with "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill" Cast Recording

From Billboard:

Audra McDonald, Lady Day At Emerson's Bar & Grill (No. 156): McDonald's Tony Award-winning turn as Billie Holiday arrives in album form, as the original Broadway cast recording sings out with 2,000 sold and debuts at No. 156 on the Billboard 200.

The six-time Tony winner also bows at No. 1 on four other charts: Heatseekers Albums, Jazz Albums, Traditional Jazz Albums and Cast Albums.

2-minute science lesson: How much sleep do you need?

The guys at Asap Science explore the question: how much sleep do we really need?

Obviously, we can sometimes suffer from not enough sleep, but can you suffer from too much sleep?

Do some folks have a genetic advantage when it comes to sleep?

Watch below and be smarter in two minutes.

Plus, if you want to know how to get better sleep, click over to this video for helpful hints.

CNN Poll: No clear GOP front-runner; Hillary leads on Dem side by 57 points

A new CNN/ORC International poll shows no clear front-runner for the GOP nomination for President in 2016.

According to the poll, this is the stacking order at present:

13% Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey
12% Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
12% Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas
11% Gov. Rick Perry of Texas
11% Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin
8% Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
8% Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas
6% Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida
5% Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin
3% Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania

 So - no clear front-runner at all.

On the Democrats side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still holds an enormous lead over other possible candidates:

67% Hillary Clinton
10% Sen. Elizabeth Warren
8% Vice-President Biden

The poll also asked the question "Suppose that for some reason a presidential election were being held today and you had to choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Who would you be more likely to vote for?" The answer? Given a do-over, 53% would choose Mitt Romney and 44% would choose Obama.

However, kind of a false question as a LOT of presidents might see their histories rewritten given the same rhetorical question: Carter, Nixon, George W.... None of those guys would have been elected if the electorate was given the chance to look back than forward.

Plus, Romney has not had to prove anything from the Oval Office. So, it's a lot easier for folks to "imagine" a different result but it does't make it true.

Last point of interest in the poll - if Hillary and Romney were to run against the other, Hillary would win in a landslide 55%-42%.

Virginia: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

This began in February when U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection and due process guarantees, and therefore unconstitutional.

Two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed.

Now, a three-judge panel at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld that ruling.

From the American Foundation for Equal Rights:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has affirmed that Virginia’s marriage ban is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Today’s decision sends the message that loving couples like our plaintiffs – Tim Bostic & Tony London and Carol Schall & Mary Townley – are entitled to the same basic rights and protections as every other American.

Hollingsworth v. Perry, the AFER-led challenge to California’s Proposition 8, was the first lawsuit in which a federal court of appeals ruled in favor of marriage equality.

Today’s decision is monumental as it also paves the way for West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to strike down their marriage bans as those states fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

This ruling sets a high-court precedent, meaning that judges who hear subsequent marriage challenges in North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia (the other states covered by the Fourth Circuit) should apply the precedent.

Marriage equality has been legal in Maryland, the fifth state in the Fourth Circuit, since January, 2013.

This marks the 29th court ruling in favor of marriage equality since SCOTUS struck down Section 3 of DOMA in June of 2013.

Freedom To Marry issued this statement:

"It was in a case out of Virginia that the Supreme Court ended race discrimination in marriage. And today, in another Virginia marriage case, a federal circuit court ruled against discrimination in marriage, affirming the freedom to marry for loving and committed gay couples.

"The Fourth Circuit’s ruling echoes what over 25 other federal and state courts have held: same-sex couples deserve the dignity of marriage, and anti-marriage laws are indefensible.

"Every day of denial is a day of injustice and tangible harms. It’s time for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution and secure the freedom to marry for all.”

Review: "Sharknado 2 - The Second One"

Ian Ziering stars in "Sharknado 2: The Second One" 

Excerpt from rave review from the AP about Syfy's "Sharknado 2: The Second One:"

The good news: "Sharknado 2" is a hilarious must-see treat.

The original film erupted as a social-media and pop-culture phenomenon, mostly celebrated for its unwitting awfulness. It was a throwback to drive-in movies of 50 years ago that you would have ignored while you and your date put your attention elsewhere. A would-be blend of "Jaws" and "Baywatch," it was funny, but never seemed to be in on the joke.

Against all odds, "Sharknado 2" has wised up. Though it and its performers teem with conviction - no winking at the audience here - the film is unabashedly awash with fun. And unlike laid-back Cali, New York - always spoiling for a fight - is the perfect arena for dramatic strife, even from killer sharks cascading from the sky.

In fact, "Sharknado 2" serves as a paean to the Big Apple. Veteran comedian Robert Klein (playing the mayor of New York in one of the film's numerous celebrity cameos) delivers a rousing call-to-arms for all New Yorkers: "When something bites us, we bite back!" Hizzoner said a mouthful!

But the film will sink its teeth into you from its first moments as you join Fin and April on their terrifying airline flight. Fasten your seatbelt for a wicked homage. This "Sharknado" is the very definition of scared silly.

"Sharnado 2: The Second One" debuts on Syfy Channel this Wednesday at 9pm EDT.

Culture Club together for the first time in 15 years: "Karma Chameleon"

Via Boy George'a Facebook Page:

“In case you missed me and the guys dust off the cobwebs for the first Culture Club performance in 15 years at Edinburgh Castle last week”

Performed live at Edinburgh Castle on Saturday 19th July 2014.

More information and performances from the event at

Preview: "Mad Max: Fury Road" starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron

ComicCon attendees got a sneak preview of the upcoming 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road flick starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.

You can follow the film on Facebook here.

Tom Hardy in "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Charlize Theron in "Mad Max: Fury Road"

(h/t JMG)

Preview: The Simpsons/Family Guy crossover episode

Debuted at ComicCon this weekend for the upcoming crossover episode of The Simpsons and Family Guy.

From Mediaite:

The preview shows leading males Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin bonding over donuts and fighting over their favorite beers, while Stewie Griffin and Bart Simpson engage in hijinks. Subtle jabs at each other’s shows abound, along with references to other Fox programs like Bob’s Burgers and the recently canceled Cleveland Show.
Airs September 28.

Marriage News Watch - July 28, 2014

This week in marriage equality:

• Colorado sees new rulings on marriage from multiple courts
• New polls show growing support for equality in western states, but multiple Attorneys General have filed new briefs to stop gay and lesbian couples from marrying
• Another Republican member of Congress has come out in favor of the freedom to marry.

California: Tax and minimum wage increases leads to rising economy

What happens when a state implements modest tax increases, raises minimum wage and embraces Obamacare?

Conservatives won't be happy to learn the truth.

Paul Krugman for the New York Times:

If tax increases are causing a major flight of jobs from California, you can’t see it in the job numbers. Employment is up 3.6 percent in the past 18 months, compared with a national average of 2.8 percent; at this point, California’s share of national employment, which was hit hard by the bursting of the state’s enormous housing bubble, is back to pre-recession levels.

On health care, some people — basically healthy young men who were getting inexpensive insurance on the individual market and were too affluent to receive subsidies — did face premium increases, which we always knew would happen. Over all, however, the costs of health reform came in below expectations, while enrollment came in well above — more than triple initial predictions in the San Francisco area. A recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund suggests that California has already cut the percentage of its residents without health insurance in half. What’s more, all indications are that further progress is in the pipeline, with more insurance companies entering the marketplace for next year.

And, yes, the budget is back in surplus.


So what do we learn from the California comeback? Mainly, that you should take anti-government propaganda with large helpings of salt. Tax increases aren’t economic suicide; sometimes they’re a useful way to pay for things we need. Government programs, like Obamacare, can work if the people running them want them to work, and if they aren’t sabotaged from the right. In other words, California’s success is a demonstration that the extremist ideology still dominating much of American politics is nonsense.
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