Friday, May 29, 2015

Former Speaker Of The House Dennis Hastert Indicted Over Payments To Conceal Past "Misconduct" With Another Man

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted yesterday on federal criminal charges for allegedly paying a male from his past to try to conceal prior "sexual misconduct," the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday, citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials.

More from Reuters:

One of the officials cited by the newspaper said the alleged misconduct involved a male and occurred during Hastert's time as a high school wrestling coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois, before becoming a lawmaker.

Prosecutors said the charges related to Hastert's alleged effort to hide $3.5 million in payments he was making to a person to conceal past misconduct, but did not detail the nature of the misconduct.

Asked why Hastert, an Illinois Republican who become his party's longest-serving House speaker before leaving Congress in 2007, was making the payments, the official told the Times that it was intended to conceal Hastert's past relationship with the male.

"It was sex," said the official, whom spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hastert, 73, was charged on Thursday with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the FBI about his withdrawals.

Each count of the two-count indictment carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The unnamed sources underscored that the "misconduct" had nothing to do with his time in office and reached back to his days as a teacher and coach before his political career.

The Republican from a small suburb of Chicago was his party's longest serving Speaker of the House at 8 years.

Gay Hotelier Ian Reisner Lied Regarding Making Campaign Contribution To Sen. Ted Cruz

Quisling NYC businessman Ian Reisner

Boys, boys, boys. You've GOT to get your act together and your stories straight.

For weeks gay NYC hoteliers Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass have been in trouble with the NYC LGBT community because they held a "fireside chat" with virulently anti-gay Sen. Ted Cruz last month.

Initially, the two men were "surprised" by the uproar saying they didn't really understand the degree to which Cruz opposes LGBT rights. And they stressed that the evening was not a fundraiser of any kind.

“There were no checks given, it was nothing like that,” Reisner told New York magazine.

Next, came the community boycott of their businesses including the niche hotel The Out NYC, followed by a full-on "apology tour" stressing that they will work hard to regain the gays' trust.

That lasted a couple of days until Weiderpass published an attack on the LGBT community including one passage calling the gays "cheap." Now there's damage control for you.

"It is amazing that my businesses are being boycotted by some because I hosted a discussion with an elected official. Not a fundraiser. Not an endorsement. A dialogue," wrote Weiderpass in an op-ed for The New York Observer. "Despite media reports to the contrary, I did not organize the Cruz dinner, but did embrace the opportunity—again, in a non-fundraising setting—to discuss a number of important issues, including support for Israel and support for gay rights."

Well, the proverbial "other shoe" dropped today as the New York Times reports that Reisner actually DID write a check to Cruz's campaign - for the maximum amount of $2,700.

It was only AFTER the scandal escalated that Reisner apparently asked for his check back - probably because the donation would should up on Mr. Cruz’s campaign finance filing when it becomes public in July.

“In the interest of transparency, I gave Senator Cruz a $2,700 check to show my support for his work on behalf of Israel,” Mr. Reisner said in a statement he provided after The Times learned of the donation from two people with direct knowledge of it. “When I realized his donation could be misconstrued as supporting his anti-gay marriage agenda, I asked for the money back. Senator Cruz’s office gave the money back, and I have no intention of giving any money to any politicians who aren’t in support of L.G.B.T. issues.”

Bolding is mine.

Umm, yes Mr. Reisner, contributing to a politician's campaign is generally seen as supporting their positions. Unless you inherited all your money, there's no way you could be a successful businessman and not understand such rudimentary concepts.

It just keeps getting worse for these guys.

Interestingly, when asked about the $2,700 check, Reisner's buddy Weiderpass seemed "surprised" to learn about the donation as he attended an event last night at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel.

And guess who also just happened to attend last night's event?

Yes - Sen. Ted Cruz.

"Ex-Gay" Activist Rants On The Josh Duggar Child Molestation Scandal

Christopher Doyle, an "ex-gay" activist write for the Christian Post today defending the ongoing Josh Duggar (of 19 Kids and Counting) child molestation scandal.

In his rant, Doyle compares the media coverage Josh Duggar is getting to how the media treated the arrest last November of one of the co-founders of the Human Rights Campaign, Terry Bean.

"Undoubtedly, the Left needed to dig up dirt against the Duggar family to discredit the family's conservative, Christian image. But for the liberal media to sensationalize this issue, and some of the articles are just vicious, is simply hypocritical, especially considering they barely mentioned the arrest of Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Co-Founder, Terry Bean, who was accused last November and charged with a felony for sexually abusing a 15 year old boy.

Did you see national headlines for weeks about this scandal of a sitting member of the Board of Directors of HRC? Of course not, because the media wouldn't dare implicate the world's largest gay activist organization.

Let's be honest, with 19 kids and Counting, is it a surprise to any of us that one of the Duggar children would struggle with sexual immorality or addiction?"

Where Doyle fails in his "comparison" is that Bean was an executive at an advocacy organization - NOT a celebrity on a TV reality show that has run for ten years with millions of viewers.

The difference in media interest between a reality celeb (whose fame hinges greatly on an image of "moral superiority") and an executive are completely understandable.

Of course both's behaviors were wrong. But the media coverage of a reality celeb caught in a hypocrisy scandal will always trump the interest in an exec.

(h/t JMG)

Rep. Alcee Hastings Delivers The Best Congressional Bitch Slap Ever

I don't know how I missed this last month, but it's awesome. If you like folks to say exactly what they think, Congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida is your guy.

This epic clip gets better and better.

The Duggars Respond To Sexual Abuse Debacle

From Funny Or Die, this parody is actually more funny in that the two actors are pretty much telling the true story of the Josh Duggar scandal.

Clip description: Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, stars of 19 Kids and Counting, finally come forward to tell their side of totally covering up their son Josh's sexual molestation scandal.

The A-Z of YouTube: Celebrating 10 Years

YouTube celebrates 10 years with this creative video showcasing a taste of just about everything the video site has to offer:

From the silly to the profound, from the personal to the political, we’re celebrating a decade of your creativity and self-expression. And, we’re doing it from A to Z.

With over 75 references and 18 filmmaking styles, we've tried to capture some of the richness and variety of YouTube from the last decade.

See how many references you recognize :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Broadway Cares Presents Cyndi Lauper With $150K For True Colors Fund

Tom Viola, director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS - who I'm proud to have known for over 25 years - writes this:

I had the pleasure of dropping by the stage door of the Hirschfeld Theatre this week to join the cast of Kinky Boots in presenting Cyndi Lauper with a “big check” representing the $150,000 donated to True Colors Fund by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS from the more than $1.2 million in resources raised by the show since it opened in April 2013.

Broadway Cares salutes Cyndi and True Colors Fund for everything they have done to advance equality for all and, in doing so, helping to end homelessness for gay and transgendered youth. “You change the world when you change your mind!” But our voices are stronger and the change embraces us all when we stand together.

Cyndi Lauper is the Tony Award winning composer of the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots and the founder of the True Colors Fund, which works to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, creating a world in which young people can be their true selves.

Former NY Gov. George Pataki Joins The 2016 GOP Klown Car

Official Presidential campaign launch video for George Pataki, former Governor of New York, now in the hunt for the 2016 GOP nomination.

North Carolina: Governor Will Veto "Magistrates Marriage Refusal" Bill

Via press release from North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory:

"I recognize that for many North Carolinians, including myself, opinions on same-sex marriage come from sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman.

"However, we are a nation and a state of laws. Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer, or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath; therefore, I will veto Senate Bill 2."

Olivia Newton-John & John Farnham Announce LIVE Concert CD

After the record-breaking Australian tour, TWO STRONG HEARTS, uniting superstars Olivia Newton-John and John Farnham, Sony Australia is announcing a treat for the fans who couldn't get to the concerts.

Via press release:

Sony Music Entertainment Australia is proud to announce the new live album from John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John, TWO STRONG HEARTS LIVE, set for release on Friday June 26th.

The album will be available to pre-order starting Friday, May 28th.

Click here to pre-order through iTunes

Link coming soon to order physical CD in USA

Together, Farnham and Newton-John’s voices are bound up in the collective DNA of Australian music lovers. Recorded in Melbourne with the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra, the twenty-one track album features fifteen duets with two of Australia’s most iconic singers.

With a 60-piece orchestra behind them, Farnham and Newton-John recently sold out houses around the country. With Chong Lim leading the orchestra, alongside Farnham’s core band and singers, audiences were treated to a thrilling series of gigs that saw each artist dig into their own personal songbook with stunning results.

Today, in 2015, Farnham and Newton-John remain our ‘King and Queen of Pop’. Both are national treasures and, together on stage, they’ve got a helluva set list between them.

“Olivia and I opened the show together,” explains John, “we finished the show together and there was lots of interaction in between. It’s terrific singing with Olivia.”

“It’s a perfect blend of songs,” continues Olivia. “The show just flowed so well. We do duet and sing parts of each other’s songs as well as our own. It was a wonderful experience.”

Highlights From TWO STRONG HEARTS LIVE will be released on June 26th.

Click here to pre-order through iTunes

Complete Tracklist:

1. Overture
2. Two Strong Hearts
3. Let Me Be There
4. Xanadu
5. I Honestly Love You
6. Tenterfield Saddler
7. No One Comes Close
8. Love To Shine
9. Suddenly
10. Dare To Dream
11. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
12. Burn For You
13. Hit The Road Jack/Fever
14. You’re The One That I Want
15. Summer Nights
16. Hearts On Fire
17. If Not For You
18. Every Time You Cry
19. Physical
20. You’re The Voice
21. It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock ’N’ Roll)

Watch the teaser video from TWO STRONG HEARTS LIVE below:

Olivia Newton-John & John Farnham - TWO STRONG HEARTS LIVE CD from Randy Slovacek on Vimeo.

Comedy Central's Larry Wilmore Breaks Down The Josh Duggar Scandal

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Armistead Maupin Weighs In On Gay Hoteliers Debacle

Writing on his Facebook page today, legendary gay author Armistead Maupin had this to say about the ongoing scandal/boycott of NYC gay hoteliers Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass:

"I'm the only gay man I know who has never been to Fire Island. I have not made a point of staying away -- its charms are legendary, of course -- but the occasion has simply never presented itself.

"Now, it's quite likely that I will remain forever virginal in that regard. Or at least until these guys are no longer collecting money at the dock. When I coined the term "A-gay" forty years ago, these were just the sort of creeps I had in mind. It was never intended as something to aspire to."

The post was in response to a less than flattering profile in the New York Times about the two men and the scandal surrounding them.

North Carolina Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Magistrates To Opt-Out Of Same-Sex Marriages

Having already passed in the North Carolina Senate, the state House approved legislation last night that would allow some state officials to opt out of same-sex marriage duties based on "sincerely held religious" objections.

Court officials could request to recuse themselves for up to six months — during which time they could not perform any other marriages — and the recusal could be based on a religious objection to any type marriage, including between same-sex couples.

The bill passed by a vote of 66-44.

The bill now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.

The governor avoided questions about the legislation yesterday but told a Charlotte radio station in March: "I don't think you should have an exemption or a carve-out when you swore an oath to the constitution of North Carolina or to the Constitution of the United States of America."

The Campaign For Southern Equality issued a statement that read in part:

“This discriminatory bill treats gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens and distorts the true meaning of religious freedom. We urge Governor McCrory to veto this discriminatory bill.

We have the freedom to practice religion in our place of worship and to hold private beliefs. But as Americans, we’ve agreed that we will be governed by the principles of equality and fairness in our public and civic life.

Senate Bill 2 is discriminatory and rooted in animus - it must not become law,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Hulu Pulls "19 Kids & Counting"

TMZ is reporting that the online streaming service Hulu has already taken 19 Kids & Counting off their servers.

The popular streaming site was bombarded with messages from users who wanted the show 86'd in the wake of the Josh Duggar molestation scandal.

Hulu responded quickly, saying, "The show page has already been removed, and is no longer hosted on Hulu."

This puts even more pressure on TLC to make a move. As we reported, we're told the network is leaning toward cancellation, but at this point, they may not have a choice. Advertisers are fleeing in droves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Where In The World Are Gays Happiest?

Planet Romeo, a dating/community site, recently compiled data on public opinion, public behavior and life satisfaction to see how gays around the world felt about their lives in what they call The Gay Happiness Index.


Coming in at number one in all the world as the country where gay men are the happiest is Iceland, followed by Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Uruguay, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg (where the country's out prime minister earlier this month became the first national leader in a legal same-sex marriage).

The United States ranks 26th on the list. The map below shows the highest-ranked countries appearing in green, with the lowest-ranked countries in red.

Worth noting in your travel plans: the 10 countries where gays are least happy - Kazakhstan, Ghana, Cameroon, Iran, Nigeria, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda.
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