Friday, June 23, 2017

New Music: Kirstin "Break A Little" (Madison Mars Remix)

As a member of the a cappella group Pentatonix Kirstin Maldonado has won 3 GRAMMY® Awards, and with her new EP - L O V E - moves into an exciting new chapter in her career, rebranding herself as kirstin and debuting the EP’s lead single, “Break a Little.”

The multi-platinum singer/songwriter's solo debut EP L O V E is available now for preorder and will be released on July 14th via RCA Records.

“I’m so proud of ‘Break A Little’,” Kirstin said in a statement. “I always wanted to write a sad song that sounds happy. I think everyone can relate to this emotion. It’s about longing for something. You’re attracted to a vice or person you know you shouldn’t come back to, but you can’t help it.”

Check out the Madison Mars remix of “Break a Little” below.

I think this remix actually serves the song better than the original ballad soundscape.

Indiana: Carrier A/C Plant Trump "Saved" To Layoff Over 700 Employees

President Trump

Back in December, President-elect Trump boasted as he toured the Carrier air conditioner plant in Indianapolis that he had "saved" more than 700 jobs at the plant.

It turns out the jobs weren't quite "saved."

From the New York Daily News:

Carrier was going to lay off 1,400 workers and open a new facility in Mexico where labor is cheaper.

Trump said that 1,100 jobs would stay in Indianapolis because of his actions.

As it turns out, Carrier did agree to employ at least 1,069 people at the Indianapolis plant for the next 10 years in exchange for the $7 million in incentives.

But the majority of the 1,069 positions are engineering and technical workers whose positions weren’t in jeopardy, CNBC said.

The manufacturers whose jobs were on the line in November are still at risk — and 730 of them will get the ax, CNBC reported.

Trump had also taken credit for getting a promise from United Technologies to invest $16 million into the Indianapolis plant.

But that money is actually going toward more automation — which will result in fewer jobs, CNBC noted.

RuPaul To Be Honored With Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

RuPaul is finally getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

"WOW! Just found out! Dream come true!"
"Sweet Cheeses! My heart is beating so fast right now! - RuPaul to Get Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame"

Also chosen this year by the Walk of Fame Selection Committee are Kirsten Dunst, Gina Lollobrigida, Linda Carter, Simon Cowell, Ryan Murphy, Taraji P Henson, Petula Clark, Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols, Weird Al Yankovic, Minnie Mouse, Niecy Nash, Mary J Blige, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and posthumous stars to Steve Irwin and Bernie Mac.

It's not well known, but celebs chosen for the honor have two years to schedule their star ceremonies or they expire. Additionally, a sponsor is needed for each star as the cost for installation is $40,000.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of the top tourist attractions in Los Angeles.

It's been a big year for RuPaul what with winning the Emmy and MTV awards, landing on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, celebrating RuPaul's Drag Race's highest ratings ever, plus guest spots on Broad City and Girl Boss, and marrying longtime bf Georges.

Reminder: RuPaul's Drag Race airs it's season finale tonight at 8PM on VH1.

Washington Post: Intel Agencies Had Proof Putin Ordered Russian Interference

Bombshell reporting from the Washington Post this morning on the Russian interference in the 2016 elections, including the confirmation that U.S. intelligence officials captured Putin’s specific instructions to disrupt the elections.

It's a long read, but very worth it. The Post reporters chronicle each chapter of the Russian attack from the day President Obama was informed, to the very closed circle of high level officials who dealt with the issue, to how the public was finally informed.

The report consists of interviews with more than three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services.

Of particular note:

• Former administration officials admit that the sense of urgency was "contained" to some degree because a Clinton win was expected by virtually everyone. Obama continued to believe he would be handing over the Oval Office to Hillary. There was concern that coming forward with the details of Russian interference would further Trump's cries of a "rigged election."

• Obama ordered the planting of digital cyber-bombs in Russia's infrastructure to be used at a later date should frictions escalate. It was left to President Trump whether or not to ever use them.

Here's just an excerpt of the article:

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

The CIA breakthrough came at a stage of the presidential campaign when Trump had secured the GOP nomination but was still regarded as a distant long shot. Clinton held comfortable leads in major polls, and Obama expected that he would be transferring power to someone who had served in his Cabinet.


Obama’s approach often seemed reducible to a single imperative: Don’t make things worse. As brazen as the Russian attacks on the election seemed, Obama and his top advisers feared that things could get far worse.

They were concerned that any pre-election response could provoke an escalation from Putin. Moscow’s meddling to that point was seen as deeply concerning but unlikely to materially affect the outcome of the election. Far more worrisome to the Obama team was the prospect of a cyber-assault on voting systems before and on Election Day.

They also worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign. By August, Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged. Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia’s efforts to discredit the outcome and potentially contaminating the expected Clinton triumph.

I haven't bought into actual collusion theories between the Trump campaign and Russia before, but this morning I do wonder: how did Trump happen to begin dropping the "rigged election" comments when he did? Was that the collusion? Did Russia tell the Trump campaign to get out ahead of the Obama administration with the "rigged" comments expecting it might silence the administration?

Daily Dance: "Maniac"

Friday be like...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

News Round-Up: June 22, 2017

Javier Baez

Some news stories you might have missed:

• Check this sneak peek from the upcoming ESPN Body 2017 issue featuring hottie Chicago Cub Javier Baez. The issue is on newsstands July 7.

• Cincinnati plans to name a street after marriage equality plaintiff/hero Jim Obergefell and his deceased husband, Jim Arthur.

• Trans activist Janet Mock says "very privileged" Caitlyn Jenner is NOT a spokesperson for the trans community.

• Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt is getting his own show on MSNBC even as liberal hosts Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell lead the network in ratings. The good news, though, is out news anchor Thomas Roberts will now host a two hour news block on Saturday evenings from 7-9PM.

• Two years after SCOTUS made same-sex marriage the law of the land, Gallup reports that 10.2% of LGBT adults in the U.S. are married to a same-sex spouse, up from 7.9% before the ruling. Additionally, Gallup estimates 61% of same-sex, cohabiting couples in the U.S. are now married, up from 38% before the Obergefell ruling.

• Crystal Griner, the Capitol Police officer who took down the shooter at a Republican baseball practice threw out the first pitch yesterday at the Congressional Women's softball game.

FTW - British Man Wears Shorts To Work During Heat Wave, Sent Home To Change He Returns In Pink Dress

I LOVE this guy.

Joey Barge, a call center worker in Buckinghamshire, England, attempted to wear a pair of “smart shorts” to his office paired with a black button down shirt due to a stifling heat wave.

But his supervisors sent him home saying the shorts were inappropriate for the office environment.

Noting how comfortable his female colleagues were, he returned in a black/hot pink dress.

Barge then decided he would wear a pink dress to work since women were allowed to wear dresses.

According to Joey's tweets, the company changed their dress-code policy in response to his act of resistance.

After announcing a change in policy, Barge’s bosses asked him to go home and change. Barge declined.

“I got sent home and told to change into appropriate clothing but it said females could wear dresses so hey ho!” Barge told the Daily Mail.

‘They said it was a bit too colourful and asked if I wanted to go home and change because they were letting us wear shorts because of my “protest” — but I said I was happy to stay.’

President Obama: "The Senate Bill Is Not A Health Care Bill"

In a rare statement addressing current policy-making in Congress, President Obama posted about the Republican-controlled Senate's Trumpcare bill on his Facebook.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else.

Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid?

What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again.

If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.
Pretty presidential I'd say. And refreshing.

Magnum Ice Cream Teams Up With GLAAD For Limited-Edition Pride Magnum Bar

In a collaboration with GLAAD for Pride Month, Magnum Ice Cream recently unveiled a rainbow covered ice cream bar with the slug line, "There is more pleasure in a diverse world #PleasureIsDiverse"

Via press release:

In support of diversity and inclusivity, MAGNUM and GLAAD are offering a limited-edition Pride MAGNUM bar, available through June at MAGNUM New York. MAGNUM is also making a donation to GLAAD to support its work across the country. The indulgent Pride bar is inspired by the MAGNUM brand's belief that there's more pleasure in a diverse world, and its commitment to stand up for everyone's right to find pleasure in being themselves.

Trump Admits "Tapes" Comment Was An Empty Bluff

President Trump finally admitted today that he was bluffing when he brought up the possibility that he had recorded conversations with former FBI Director James Comey.

As folks will recall, back in May, just days after Comey’s firing, Trump tweeted: “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

For weeks reporters have asked whether this was or was not true, and if true when would the President provide those "tapes" to the public?

Via Twitter today, Trump wrote, "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea... whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

Clearly, Trump was merely making stuff up in order to intimidate Comey. When scared, he bluffs.

During his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey welcomed the idea of such recordings saying, "Lordy, I hope there are tapes."

5th Circuit Court Of Appeals Gives Thumbs Up To Mississippi's Anti-LGBT Discrimination Law

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the ruling by a federal judge who found Mississippi's anti-LGBT discrimination law unconstitutional.

The law allows merchants and government employees to deny services to LGBTs based on religious beliefs.

Via Lambda Legal:

Today, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the injunction against Mississippi House Bill 1523, the discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation challenged in Barber v. Bryant, the federal lawsuit brought by Mississippi civil rights attorney Robert McDuff, the Mississippi Center for Justice and Lambda Legal. The advocates will continue to fight this discriminatory law.

Overruling the lower court decision, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit denied that LGBT Mississippians are subject to imminent discrimination by HB 1523 and ordered the block to the law lifted because the plaintiffs—a group of ministers, LGBT residents, community leaders and activists—lack standing since they cannot claim a specific harm caused by the law that has yet to go into effect.

“We had to put guards in front of our church after the bill initially passed because there was a truck with a swastika parked across the street and just this week the Christian Knights of the KKK distributed flyers throughout the Hattiesburg area. Today’s ruling leaves us more exposed, so we will have to be more vigilant than ever before to protect our church, our families and our dignity,” said Brandiilyne Mangum-Dear, Barber plaintiff.

More from Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade:

The law prohibits the state from taking action against religious organizations that decline employment, housing or services to same-sex couples; families who’ve adopted a foster child and wish to act in opposition to same-sex marriage; and individuals who offer wedding services and decline to facilitate a same-sex wedding.

Additionally, the bill allows individuals working in medical services to decline to afford a transgender person gender reassignment surgery. The bill also allows state government employees who facilitate marriages the option to opt out of issuing licenses to same-sex couples, but the person must issue prior written notice to the state government and a clerk’s office must not delay in the issuing of licenses.

Trump Distorts Former Homeland Security Secretary's Testimony

President Trump lied yet again in this early  morning tweet claiming "Former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia."

First of all, Johnson was Homeland Security Secretary, not "Advisor."

Second, that's not at all what Johnson said in testimony yesterday. What Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee yesterday was:

“In 2016, the Russian government, at the direction of (President) Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election. That is a fact, plain and simple.”

At no time in his testimony did Johnson ever state that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Intel Chiefs: Trump "Suggested" We Announce There Was No Collusion With Russia

CNN reports that in separate, private meetings last week with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators, both Dan Coats (Director of National Intelligence) and Adm. Mike Rogers (National Security Agency Director) said President Trump "suggested" they publicly announce there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers described their interactions with the President about the Russia investigation as odd and uncomfortable, but said they did not believe the President gave them orders to interfere, according to multiple sources familiar with their accounts. Sources say both men went further than they did in June 7 public hearings, when they provided little detail about the interactions.

The sources gave CNN the first glimpse of what the intelligence chiefs said to Mueller’s investigators when they did separate interviews last week. Both men told Mueller’s team they were surprised the President would suggest that they publicly declare he was not involved in collusion, sources said. Mueller’s team, which is in the early stages of its investigation, will ultimately decide whether the interactions are relevant to the inquiry.

It sounds like Trump is basically asking everyone he meets to announce there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Biden To LGBT Community: Hold Trump Accountable On His Promise To Be Your Friend

Vice President Joe Biden

Speaking at a private LGBT gala hosted by the Democratic National Committee in New York, former Vice President Joe Biden urged the LGBT community to push back against the Trump administration.

“Hold President Trump accountable for his pledge to be your friend. Just because you don’t have Barack and me in the White House doesn’t mean it’s time to give up, keep quiet, stay on the sidelines.”

Biden really got going, though, when he fiercely denounced that there is "no justification" for inhumane treatment of LGBTQ community in other nations. "None, none, none."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Then And Now Pics Of Gay Couple Kissing 24 Years Apart Goes Viral

Together for 25 years, married couple Kurt English and Nick Cardello shared via social media two photos of the couple kissing - taken 24 years apart.

The first was taken in front of the National Mall on April 25, 1993, at the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. They had been dating a year at that point.

The couple legally married in Massachusetts in 2008, and when same-sex marriage was recognized federally in 2015, they exchanged vows again that year in their home state of Florida. They say they've promoted LGBTQ rights and acceptance by being out and proud in their daily lives, and taking part in events like the 1993 and 2017 marches.

Fast forward 24 years as the couple attended the recent Equality March for Unity & Pride in Washington D.C. A friend encouraged the couple to recreate the earlier photo, and after posting the pics side by side, found themselves going viral.

“I only posted the photo on my Facebook page after the march. It took off from there,” Cardello told LGBTQ Nation. “Someone else copied it to Twitter, Instagram & Reddit. That’s when it really took off. A reporter from Brazil said it had over a million likes there.”

Cardello added, “The youth needs to see that it is possible to find a loving partner, and that the relationship can last,” he said, noting that portrayals of same-sex couples growing old together are rare. “A loving partner can be a difficult thing to find, once you do you must protect it and nurture it.”

I couldn't agree more. Hot hubby Michael and I have been together since October 1994, and often hear from other LGBTs wonder where longevity in a relationship comes from. I'm no expert, but I'm sure Kurt and Nick would agree honesty is one of the key ingredients to long term relationships.

Congrats to the handsome couple! Here's to 25 years more!

The viral sensation even inspired other couples to share their own then and now pics as well.

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