Sunday, July 31, 2011

Matt Damon's speech to teacher's rally in Washington, D.C.


Here is part of the speech that actor Matt Damon gave today to thousands of teachers, parents and others who attended the Save Our Schools march on the Ellipse near the White House to protest the Obama administration’s education policies that are centered on standardized tests.

I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn’t trade that education and experience for anything.

I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity — all come from how I was parented and taught.

And none of these qualities that I’ve just mentioned — none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success — none of these qualities that make me who I am ... can be tested.

I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that’s true. But it’s more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn’t taken up with a bunch of test prep — this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn’t promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.

Read Matt Damon's entire speech here.

White House and congress leaders come to agreement on debt ceiling


From yahoo.com: President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders reached historic agreement Sunday night on a compromise to permit vital U.S. borrowing by the Treasury in exchange for more than $2 trillion in long-term spending cuts.

Officials said Republican Speaker John Boehner telephoned Obama at mid-evening to say the agreement had been struck.

No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday at the earliest, to give rank and file lawmakers to review the package.

Quiet Sunday afternoon rain in Las Vegas


video


Think - the end of CBS's "Sunday Morning" Show...

I love when it rains in Las Vegas.  The world gets a little quiet.

"Pop-up" chapels in Central Park for same-sex weddings


From the Advocate: Twenty-four couples are slated to marry in a pop-up chapel located in New York City's Central Park on Sunday.

Dese'rae L. Stage and Katie Marks were already planning a wedding in Boston, when the news came that New York may pass a marriage law of its own. They decided to get married in their home state first, before heading north for a bigger ceremony.

"We've picked our closest local friends and a couple of friends are coming from Miami to see the ceremony," Stage told the Village Voice. "And we're still doing Boston next year, so our parents can come. It was kind of one of those things, to be a part of history…"

One of the Pop Up Chapel's designs resemble a Hershey's Kiss, while the other is a rainbow array of ribbons, designed by New York firms Z-A Studio and ICRAVE. One ceremony in the chapels include an officiant, photographer, champagne, and cupcakes.

Click here to see photos of the happy couples.

Rick Santorum tweaks Rick Perry on gay marriage



Rick Santorum, currently running in the back of the pack of contenders for the GOP nomination for President, now says he didn't compare same sex couples to incest back in 2003. However, just as a reminder, here's what he said back then:

"The Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery."

That sounds like a comparison to me.

He says in this clip "States do not have the right to destroy the American family."

I completely agree. And equal rights for all doesn't destroy the American family. It strengthens it.

Santorum went on to say, "It's not fine with me that New York has destroyed marriage, it is not fine with me that New York is setting the template that will cause great division in this country."

That comment, of course, was a dig at potential competitor Rick Perry, who initially said he supported state's rights regarding marriage, and was then forced to reiterate his opposition to gay marriage to save face.

Years ago, the conservative stance was gays were promiscuous and were unable to commit to long-term relationships. Now, the position is we shouldn't have the right to commit and enjoy the same rights as other tax paying citizens.

Santorum says that NY state just "destroyed" marriage.

How? I don't know. I've been in the same relationship for 17 years. I've been legally married for almost 8. My marriage hasn't "destroyed" anything or anyone.

What I do know is a lot of tax paying citizens of NY state just got a little more equal by being allowed to marry the person they love.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Olivia Newton-John speaks out about "fracking"


Olivia Newton-John has spoken out on the issue of "fracking" - the process involves pumping a large volume of water mixed with sand and chemicals into rock to create frissures that allow trapped natural gas to be released.

In her open letter, Newton-John says she is "horrified to learn of the extensive plans for coal-seam gas and shale gas exploration in Australia".

"The public's awareness as to what is happening, and the potential consequences to our health and our land, shows that it's time for some serious inquiries," the singer wrote.

"Many of my friends and family were not even aware of what was going on until they heard from me," she said.

While there is a moratorium on fracking in NSW until the end of the year, the industry is set to become a significant contributor to the state's energy supply, with companies undertaking appraisals in Gunnedah and the Clarence-Moreton basins, home to Newton-John's Gaia Retreat.

The star is demanding to know evidence that coal-seam gas mining does not pollute drinking water, what chemicals are being used in fracking and why companies are exempt from revealing them.

"Until these questions are answered, I respectfully request a moratorium on the coal-seam gas exploration and mining in Australia until all risks have been fully explored," she said.

Read Olivia's Open Letter here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Simple problem solving


And there you have it....

Ben Cohen prepares the launch of his StandUp Foundation website



Ben Cohen gets ready to launch his website for his anti-bullying StandUp Foundation on August 3.

To help raise funds and awareness for the website, the first 500 T-shirt orders will receive a StandUp wristband, and the first 100 orders will receive a photo of him.

:)

Click here to get more information.

Bipartisan polls show momentum nationwide for same-sex marriage


From LGBTQnation.com: Leading Republican and Democratic pollsters on Wednesday released a new analysis of polling data spanning more than a decade that reveals a dramatic shift in public attitudes on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

The results show steady growth in support over a 13-year period, with a significant acceleration over the past two years.

This surge reflects evolving positions among every group analyzed, including older Americans and Republicans, groups that historically have been the least supportive of same-sex marriage.

According to the study, support for marriage equality rose about 1% per year over a 13-year period between 1996 and 2009. But in 2010 and 2011, it jumped 5% per year.

Voters under 40 support marriage equality by almost 70 percent, and as young people reach voting age, this rise is expected to continue.

“America’s elected officials are lagging behind the American people, a majority of whom have opened their hearts and changed their minds and now support the freedom to marry with accelerating momentum,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Michele Bachmann refuses to answer questions about family business

Rep. Michele Bachmann steadfastly refused Thursday to answer questions about her family's business and finances.

The Minnesota Republican faced queries about Marcus Bachmann's Christian counseling clinic that attempts to convert gay patients as well as her own beliefs on sexuality during a luncheon at the National Press Club.

Bachmann, who is campaigning hard ahead of next month's debate and straw poll in Iowa, has steadfastly refused to discuss the family's business that has faced criticism from gay rights groups.

She also faced questions about her opposition to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Washington Post reported this week that its analysis of her loan documents suggests her family used those federally subsidized programs in 2008.

"Unlike all of you, who I'm sure paid cash for your homes, there are people out there like myself who actually have to go to a bank to get a mortgage. This is a problem: it's almost impossible to buy a home in this country today without the federal government being involved," she said.

"We need to get the federal government out of these programs."

Bachmann downplayed the catastrophic consequences predicted if lawmakers allow the United States to default on its debts.

Bachmann has vowed to vote against any increase in the debt ceiling and called the deal being negotiated on Capitol Hill as one based on "illusory" and "counterfeit" savings.

The nation faces a Tuesday deadline to increase Washington's borrowing power to pay its bills. Congressional leaders were working to find a compromise that cuts future spending as a trade-off to avoid a government default that could send world markets crashing and could downgrade the United States' credit rating.

Bachmann said that would not happen; she offered no specifics to back up that claim.
(source material AP)

Congressman Joe Walsh behind on child support while fighting debt reform


U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh of McHenry owes more than $100,000 in child support and interest to his former wife, she alleges in a Cook County Circuit Court filing.

The dispute, set out in a court filing last December, remains unsettled. Walsh's ex-wife says he is $117,437 behind in payments.

Walsh, 49-year-old Republican, entered Congress in January, swept into office with help from tea-party activists. He often appears on television demanding the country drastically cut its spending and pay its bills.

Walsh, who lives in McHenry and has remarried, won office in November even after problems surfaced with respect to his financial history. He had a condo in Evanston that he lost to foreclosure and state and federal tax liens, which ultimately were satisfied.

John Coladarci, who represents Laura Walsh, said Thursday that she lives in the Chicago area and is a non-practicing attorney who works for Eli Lilly, the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical firm.

He said she would not be speaking to the press, but noted the money she was seeking from Walsh was important to her.

“Laura needs the money,” Coladarci said. “She’s been scraping by pretty much on her own for years, trying to collect from Joe. It’s been very, very hard to raise three children on one income, as anyone who has done that knows. He hasn’t been particularly helpful in that aspect since 2005.”

The attorney said Walsh owes an additional $9,639 — on top of the child support and interest — which represents his 50 percent share of certain educational, extra-curricular, medical, dental and insurance expenses for the children.

Already, some $2,135 is being taken every month from Walsh’s congressional paychecks so he may meet his ongoing child-support obligations, Coladarci said.

Rank-and-file members of Congress are paid $174,000 a year.
(via Chicago Tribune)

Michele Bachmann dodges yet another question



I'm sorry - I used to be blond before cancer - did she answer the question?

Gov. Rick Perry flip flops on gay marriage


Texas Governor Rick Perry, one of the country's most prominent defenders of the 10th Amendment, is making an exception when it comes to gay marriage.

After initially telling reporters that it's "fine with me" if states like New York legalize same-sex unions through their own legislature, Perry is pulling a 180 and calling for a Federal Marriage Amendment.

Perry, who is flirting with a presidential bid, clarified his position to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in an interview.

"I probably needed to add a few words after that 'it's fine with me' and that it's fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue," he said. "Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn't changed."

Perry said he supported changing the Constitution in order to ban gay marriage, a position that he characterized as supportive of states' rights even as it would overrule New York's own decision on the matter.

His latest statement represents a major about-face and may be a preview of how he might court social conservatives should he run for president. At a fundraiser in Colorado last week, Perry was extremely clear in his support for New York's right to determine their own definition of marriage.

"Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That's New York, and that's their business, and that's fine with me," he said at the time. "That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business."

I'm a little confused by Perry here. If you believe states have the right to decide marriage laws, then why pass a Federal Marriage Amendment?

(via TalkingPointsMemo)

Bruno at the corner


I love that Bruno is never far away.  This is the view from my desk right now...

Baltimore Orioles - It Gets Better



The Baltimore Orioles have joined the "It Gets Better" campaign with a terrific video to assure young people life gets better. Great to see role models like these standing up against bullying.

For more about the "It Gets Better" campaign - click here.

From the movie "Beautiful Thing"



Great marriage of song and movie. I remember this time in my life. Very difficult, very bright, very alive.

Thanks for the youtube tip, Phil Attey.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chloe Lattanzi, Olivia Newton-John's daughter, talks about her new video



Chloe Lattanzi on Entertainment Tonight explaining the metaphor of her new music video, "Play With Me."

How the budget debt got to where it is

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"Wild" Miami Remixed - from Tinatin



From Young Pals Records we get the terrific release of its 10th studio project, summer dancefloor anthem “Wild,” Miami Remixed, by Tinatin.

With socially conscious lyrics that speak to the issue of climate change, Young Pals is donating 10% of the song’s proceeds to Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection.

The collection comprises five re-rubs of the song from prominent DJs, plus the music video, lensed in New York City and South Beach, Miami.

In addition to the Ayhan Sahin Crystal Ball Remix, versions of “Wild” include the Jason Jayma & DJ Scorpio Club Mix, Luke Savant Club Mix, Tom Noize Remix, Orly Productions Remix and Jay Moore Synth Mix.

The video clip showcases Tinatin as a tightly wound Wall Street executive fantasizing about letting loose in a sexually charged fantasy sequence shot throughout posh clubs and hotels and along the sandy beaches of South Beach. It was lensed by Christopher Holmes/ Holmeswood Features, as was the music video for the original EP version of “Wild.”

An acclaimed vocalist, songwriter and writer, Billboard magazine named Tinatin an “Artist To Watch” in 2008. Her composition “Connected” was a Pop finalist in the John Lennon Song Contest.

In 2009, “Is It True,” sung by Yohanna and co-written by Tinatin, was runner-up among 42 global entries at the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest held in Moscow. She was also named Lyricist of the Year by the ESC European Music Awards.

Producer Ayhan Sahin has worked with Olivia Newton-John, Melba Moore, Phoebe Snow, Turkish superstar Sezen Aksu, Sandra Bernhard and a half-dozen “American Idol” finalists, including the 2010 debut single for “AI” season eight finalist/comedian Norman Gentle, “Bitch Slap!” Sahin is associate producer of the award-winning music documentary “Lift Humanitarian Relief Songs Initiative,” which features Tinatin as one of 35 vocalists from around the world.

I think the song sounds perfect for summer dancing, especially when you watch the video which captures the international Euro-cuban glamour of Miami Beach, with gorgeous people everywhere you look.

For more info about the release, click here.

Download "Wild" Miami Remixed on iTunes - click here.

Americans support mix of revenue and cuts for debt crisis


Americans overwhelmingly are concerned about the U.S. debt crisis and a majority backs the type of compromise pushed by President Barack Obama, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Tuesday.  I'm not making this up kids - this is Reuters, which is non-partisan.

Showing an intensity of interest among Americans who often ignore the intricacies of policy in Washington, 83 percent of those polled said they were either very or somewhat concerned about the potential for a U.S. debt default on August 2.

The poll found that 56 percent of Americans want to see a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases included in a deal to bring down the U.S. budget deficit and permit a vote to raise the country's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

This is the approach favored by Obama and his fellow Democrats to begin to put America's fiscal house in order.

Republicans oppose tax increases and instead want to cut back deeply on spending, saying the federal budget has gotten out of control.

"It does seem to be that the popular narrative is falling on the side of the president on this one," said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 31 percent of respondents held Republican lawmakers responsible for the debt impasse, 21 percent blamed Obama and 9 percent blamed Democratic lawmakers.

The United States will lose its top-notch AAA credit rating from at least one major ratings agency, according to another Reuters poll on Tuesday.

Santorum wants to repeal NY state marriage equality



Big surprise. GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum says he will go to NY state and help repeal marriage equality.

Notice the 'thunderous' applause of the dozen or so people listening to him.

In the recording, Santorum asks "for what purpose?" do gays want the right to marry?

Rick - one word. Equality.

Chloe Lattanzi on Entertainment Tonight - 7-27-11


Reports say Chloe Lattanzi will appear on Entertainment Tonight, Wednesday, July 27th, to talk about the internet buzz surrounding her new music video.


Check times and channels in your area.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Debt-limit bill yanked by House GOP

From Politico: House Republicans delayed by at least a day a floor vote on their package to raise the debt ceiling, the latest challenge facing Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders as they try to avoid a default on the nation’s debt.

The decision to move the vote to Thursday or beyond came after the Congressional Budget Office reported late Tuesday night that the package Boehner crafted would only reduce deficits by $850 billion, $150 billion short of the speaker’s goal of $ 1 trillion in budget and spending cuts.

House Republican leadership aides were looking for ways to revise the bill to address the shortfall. This could include either lowering the borrowing authority Congress approves, or recommending additional spending cuts. GOP aides said the first option is more likely. The United States is projected to default on its debt Aug. 2, according to the Treasury Department.

Boehner was hauling members who are undecided or leaning “no” into his Capitol suite for one-on-one meetings, using the time-honored tradition of his office to twist arms and win votes. Boehner had “made progress,” but the CBO scores threw all that progress into doubt.

House GOP leaders are betting that if they get the bill in front of Obama within a week of a possible U.S. default on its $14.3 trillion debt, the president will have no choice but to sign it, despite a veto threat issued Tuesday afternoon by the White House.

No official whip counts are available, although some Republican lawmakers estimate 40 to 50 GOP lawmakers are no’s or undecided heading into the dramatic floor fight. Boehner is unlikely to bring such an enormously important proposal to the floor without being completely solid on his whip count, preferring not to roll the dice on this issue. And on Tuesday night, that determination was made.

Chloe Lattanzi's new video creating a big stir around the world


Chloe Lattanzi, Olivia Newton-John's daughter, recently released her first music video on the internet and is receiving a lot of attention for it's graphic imagery.

Some are shocked by the very dark images of the video, while other's find the strong artistic vision to be very powerful.

The Daily Mail in the UK said some groups had a problem with the video for glorifying the themes in order to get 'attention'."

Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg told Sunrise this morning in Australia that he is calling on the Federal Minister for Mental Health to ban the music video.

However, the daughter of Olivia Newton-John says that her new music video, featuring suicide, drugs and self-harm, is all about artistic expression.

Chloe says, "The concept is actually quite dark, but not literal in meaning."

While the video does have strong imagery, I personally support artists reaching for their own vision.  That's how artists develop and grow, by finding their own "voice" as artists.

View the video below:

Thriving Beauty: Olivia Newton-John on beating the odds


To maintain longevity in the entertainment industry, true stars needn’t rely on gimmicks and outrageous antics.

Just ask Olivia Newton-John, who has let her voice do the singing and her heart do the leading during an illustrious career that’s spanned more than four decades.

The 62-year-old vocalist and actress still dazzles audiences with her soulful music, but it’s her multi-faceted work behind the scenes that has taken center stage in her life, a spot she’s now happily sharing with her new husband, Amazon Herb Company founder John Easterling.

Check out Olivia's interview in the latest issue of Living Well Magazine.

New Olivia Newton-John interview on Advocate.com


From Advocate.com: Thirty years after the release of her smash “Physical,” Olivia Newton-John is still going strong and captivating fans. The iconic singer pays tribute to her favorite female vocalists, recalls the gay couples in her groundbreaking video, and tells why she’s excited about marriage equality.

The Advocate: On your new CD "Portraits" you sing songs associated with other female vocalists. How did you decide which songs to include on the album?

Olivia Newton-John: They are all women whom I’ve admired and songs I’ve sung during my career and while growing up. I just wanted to honor those ladies.

Advocate: The album includes a gorgeous cover of the Carpenters’ “Rainy Days and Mondays.” You and Karen were close friends, and it’s been nearly 30 years since she passed away. What’s something about her most people don’t know?

Olivia: She was a very good friend. She was a lovely girl and a lot of fun. I think most people don’t know how much she loved Mickey Mouse and Disneyland. She lived [nearby] and loved to go there. She had Mickey Mouses and photos of the Disney characters in her house. She wore T-shirts with Mickey’s face on it. She loved all of that. She was a kid, a big kid. She was a lot of fun and had the most amazing voice. I was such a fan of hers. She was a great girl and I do miss her.

Advocate: The proceeds from your new dance remix of “Magic”will benefit your Wellness and Cancer Center. When will the center open and how exactly will it help people?

Olivia: It’s hopefully going to open in Melbourne, Australia, next year, because we have eight or nine stories built already. It’s been an eight-year project raising the money for the center. We just got $45 million from the government and we’re just $8 million short of the money needed to finish. It’s going to be a very special place with a state-of-the-art hospital and two stories for a research institute. We’ll also have this wonderful wellness center attached to it. While people are going through treatment they’ll be able to go to the wellness center and take a yoga class or a meditation or have a group talk with other people going through the same situation or have a cup of tea. It will be a wonderful respite. I dreamt of something like this when I was going through cancer myself, and now I’m able to provide this for people at the center, so it makes me happy.

Advocate: Besides being an advocate for early cancer detection, you’ve also done a lot of charitable work on behalf of animals, children, and the environment. Why is it so important for you to give back to people?

Olivia: I feel that I’ve been given so much and I’ve been so privileged. I’m privileged that they asked me to raise money for this center and put my name on it. So it’s very important to me that it’s a wonderful place.

Advocate: Your career has been so varied and you've recorded in many different genres. Have you considered releasing an album of just dance music?

Olivia: Actually, yes. A few people have asked me that, so we’ve been pulling some of the old songs together to decide which ones would work with a dance remix. So yeah, it’s happening. [Laughs] Plus there will be some new songs. I have a new movie coming out, and I think I’ll record a dance song for it.

Advocate: This year marks three decades since you released “Physical,” which was not only your biggest hit, but the longest-running number 1 song of the ’80s. I’ve read that after you recorded it you were apprehensive about releasing it as a single.

Olivia: [Laughs] It’s funny. I had a delayed reaction. I recorded it and then had a panic attack. I called my manager and said, “You’ve got to stop it. It’s too naughty.” He told me it was too late. By that time it had already gone to radio and was on its way to number 1. [Laughs] So I quickly adjusted.

Read the whole interview at Advocate.com

Casey Anthony's Parents - $250,000 Doesn't Get You An Interview


From TMZ: The network bidding war over key interviews in the Casey Anthony case has gone into the stratosphere. TMZ has learned a syndicated talk show was laughed at with a bid of $250,000 for Casey's parents!

Sources say the bidding for a Casey interview was over $1.5 million.

Now ABC News has just released a statement, saying it will no longer pay for photos and video in exchange for interviews.

The announcement comes days after TMZ published a story that Casey's lawyer, Jose Baez, was holed up in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City, taking bids from NBC, ABC and CBS.  Reportedly, Baez was in the Hotel bar Thursday night, discussing strategy with famed lawyer Mark Geragos.

Sources say all three networks were offering the same deal -- they would pay a fortune to license photos and video from Casey.  That's the "official" way they can say they don't pay for interviews.  They are paying for video or photos.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Appearance on Cougar Chat - 7-25-11

Cougar Chat - July 25, 2011 by randyslovacek

Here's the recording of my first appearance on Cougar Chat this week as their new celebrity/entertainment correspondent.

The hosts are very fun and I cover a range of celebrity gossip - from Amy Winehouse to JLo and Marc Anthony breakup, to Jennifer Aniston's new home search with her bf Justin Theroux, to Maria and Arnold's divorce, to Olivia Newton-John's daughter's new music video currently making waves on the internet.

(One odd thing - there's a cut in the recording where I'm talking about Kim Kardashian at the 6:13 mark, and then the recording jumps to talking about the JLo/Marc Anthony breakup, but it's hard to know that with an unexpected jump....)

Eric Cantor Admits That $1 Trillion In War Savings Counted In Both The Ryan Plan And ‘Cut, Cap & Balance’ Plan




From ThinkProgress: Today, Speaker John Boehner rejected Harry Reid’s plan, claiming that it was full of gimmicks. Boehner’s principle criticism was that it counted $1 trillion is savings from winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In an interview on CNBC, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor admitted to Larry Kudlow that both the Ryan Plan and the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” Plan — which were both supported by nearly the entire GOP caucus — also counted savings from winding down the wars:
Cantor: Speaker Boehner came out months ago and said we are not going to increase the debt ceiling unless we have comensurate or even greater cuts in spending. Now Sen. Reid’s plan doesn’t do that. What Sen. Reid’s plan says is we’re going to raise the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion and we are also going to cut spending but what he does is counts over a trillion dollars in spending that is assumed to decrease and go away anyway which is the spending associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kudlow: Yes, but isn’t that in the Paul Ryan baseline also, which is the baseline for Cut, Cap and Balance.

Cantor: But, but, but… absolutely it is. But it's not anything additional...
Please kids. You want to CUT SPENDING. The Reid plan CUTS SPENDING.

The Reid plan gives Repubs everything they want and now they are avoiding it because the real issue they want is to be able to revisit this in the middle of next year's elections.

For months now we've heard that what the global markets need to see is stability and a plan they can count on. The Reid plan does that. The Boehner plan kicks the can down the road about 8-9 months. This does not show stability or a handle on our spending.

This is more posturing by the Repubs who just want to do everything they can, even if it means putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk, to bring President Obama down.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Players vote to OK deal to end NFL lockout

Mark Sanchez, quarterback for NY Jets

From NPR: NFL players voted to OK a final deal Monday, days after the owners approved a tentative agreement, and the sides finally managed to put an end to the 4 1/2-month lockout, the longest work stoppage in league history.

"This is a long time coming, and football's back," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "and that's the great news for everybody."

At a joint appearance outside the NFL Players Association headquarters, Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith were flanked by some of the owners and players who were involved in the talks. They spoke shortly after the NFLPA executive board and 32 team reps voted unanimously to approve the terms of a deal.

"We didn't get everything that either side wanted ... but we did arrive at a deal that we think is fair and balanced," Smith said.

The sides worked through the weekend and wrapped up the details Monday morning on a final pact that runs for 10 years, without an opt-out clause, a person familiar with the deal told the AP on condition of anonymity.

Owners decided in 2008 to opt out of the league's old labor contract, which expired March 11. That's when the owners locked out the players, creating the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987.

Btw - please notice that there IS a football in the photos.  AND they are pictures of NFL quarterbacks.  AND I knew all that.

Impressed?

Brady Quinn of the Denver Broncos

Boehner releases plan to kick the can down the road - again


House Speaker John Boehner released his plan today that cuts $1.2 trillion from the budget and kicks the can down the road a few months - again - so the budget/deficit issue can be addressed AGAIN next spring.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has his own plan to cut the deficit $2.7 trillion and raise the debt ceiling.

Specifically, Reid's plan includes $1.2 trillion in savings from various domestic and defense programs, along with $1 trillion in savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also generates $400 billion in interest savings on the debt, and another $40 billion by rooting out waste, fraud and abuse.

Reid's proposal would establish a congressional committee comprised of 12 House and Senate members to consider additional options for debt reduction. The committee's proposals would be guaranteed a Senate vote with no amendments by the end of the year.

Boehner says Sen. Reid's proposed plan doesn't do anything about entitlements. Boehner's criticism that the Reid plan doesn't cut entitlements would be more convincing if Boehner's plan actually cut entitlements. However, it doesn't.

Democrats are vehemently opposed to the idea of holding more than one vote to raise the debt limit through the 2012 election, arguing that such a requirement is politically unrealistic and could prove to be economically destabilizing.

As leaders from the two parties continue to bicker, analysts warn financial markets are growing increasingly nervous about the prospect of a national default. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 100 points almost immediately after opening Monday morning, although it later cut that loss.

Amy Winehouse autopsy 'inconclusive' - tests still pending


All that seems to be known at this time is:

  • autopsy is complete - so far "inconclusive"
  • so far no signs of foul play
  • test results are still pending
  • died in bed with no drugs in sight

Much has been made of Amy Winehouse "joining The 27 Club" as other prominent musicians Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain all also passed away at the age of 27.

Fans continue to leave memorabilia in front of her UK home.

Obama the Musical



Put President Obama and Gilbert & Sullivan together and what do you get?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Short video: Gay couples marry in NY



Celebrate! Great day in NY state!

If you click here, you can see a terrific slideshow of the marriage celebrations going on in NYC at the City Clerks Office. Lots of happy couples here. Thanks to Tony Adams for posting his fantastic pics.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Marriage equality a reality in NY state


With a rainbow-lit Niagara Falls as a backdrop early Sunday, Lambert, 54, and Rudd, 53, were among the first gay couples to tie the knot with the blessing of the state, which last month became the sixth and largest to sanction gay marriage. Couples in Albany, Hudson and Long Island also exchanged vows just after midnight Saturday, kicking off what was expected to be a Sunday packed with weddings.

Lambert and Rudd, grandmothers with 12 grandchildren between them, have been together for more than a decade and had long been fighting for the right to marry.

The women, both of Buffalo, smiled broadly as they exchanged traditional marriage vows, promising to love and cherish each other in sickness and in health. The crowd of several hundred people cheered as they were pronounced married and shared their first kiss.

Read more here.

New posters released for next year's THE AVENGERS

In addition to the new movie poster for next summer’s The Avengers, Marvel Studios has released four character posters that were designed for this year’s Comic-Con.

There's great commentary on how the design of the posters and look of the characters was approached  - click here to read.

The interlocking posters, which were created by Marvel’s co-visual development supervisors Ryan Meinerding and Charlie Wen, so far feature Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Hawkeye.


Iron Man

Hawkeye

Captain America

Black Widow

Bob Fosse dances Michael Jackson



It's common knowledge Bob Fosse was a huge inspiration to Michael Jackson and his choreography.

Here's a terrific mix of Bob Fosse's appearance in the movie "The Little Prince" set to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."

Amazing how well it works together. But then, talent is talent.

NY marriage equality good for business


Excellent opinion piece on CNN by Bob Witeck on the economic upside marriage equality will bring to New York state.

Witeck points to the fact that to attract the brightest and the best - which includes same-sex couples - you have to offer strong and equal benefits.

New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and city leaders must be cheering the economic shot in the arm as hotels, restaurants, caterers, florists and legions of vendors welcome the wedding and honeymoon brigades. Some estimate nearly $400 million in revenues for the state over the next three years.

These rewards are also the result of changing tides among American corporations and employers over recent decades. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's same-sex marriage legislation was endorsed not only by major corporations like Xerox and Google but by scores of smaller business owners across the state.

78% of all LGBT adults said that they would prefer jobs in states that recognize marriage equality.

The Williams Institute, an LGBT-related think-tank at the University of California, estimates $155 million will roll into the Empire state economy in the first year of marriage equality alone.

Amy Winehouse reported found dead in her London flat

Amy Winehouse has been found dead at her home in London, it has been reported.

The Back To Black singer was apparently found at the property in by emergency services at 3.54pm this afternoon, according to sources, and her death is being treated as 'unexplained' by police.

On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Winehouse had been seen with her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield earlier this week as the teenager took to the stage at the iTunes festival.

She refused to join in for Mama Said, but did support the 14-year-old with a few dance moves before urging the crowd to buy Dionne's new album Good For The Soul.

A source said: 'Amy staggered onstage and grabbed the mic to beg the crowd to buy her protege’s new album.'

Winehouse's appearance at the concert came after she cancelled her European tour following a disastrous performance in June when she stumbled onto the stage in Belgrade and gave an incoherent performance appearing very disorientated and removed from reality.

Winehouse had been working on her long-awaited new album, the follow-up to her 2006 breakthrough multi-million selling Back To Black, for the past three years.

Winehouse has had a troubled life which has included various stints in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.

In an interview in 2008, her mother Janis said she would be unsurprised if her daughter died before her time.

She said: 'I've known for a long time that my daughter has problems. But seeing it on screen rammed it home. I realise my daughter could be dead within the year. We're watching her kill herself, slowly.

'I've already come to terms with her dead. I've steeled myself to ask her what ground she wants to be buried in, which cemetery. Because the drugs will get her if she stays on this road. I look at Heath Ledger and Britney. She's on their path. It's like watching a car crash - this person throwing all these gifts away.'

via the Daily Mail

Friday, July 22, 2011

The baby birds are gone...

Yesterday, we walked out to our courtyard and realized the mama bird and baby birds who we've walked past for two weeks had grown up and flown away...

We were pretty used to walking past them and saying 'hello' and trying not to disturb the mama and kids.  It's been amazing to see this whole 'miracle' unfold at eye level.

Sigh. They grow up so fast...

Mama bird in the nest

Mama's eggs while she's taking a break

Mama and the baby birds


Baby birds on their own while mama is out looking for food

Baby starting to explore...

Empty nest...  :(

President and Pentagon certifies DADT repeal


After hearing from senior military leaders that repeal posed no threat to the armed forces, President Obama certified the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” His signature of the certification sets in motion the open service of lesbian, gay and bisexual troops. The certification step was part of the legislation he signed in December and now after a 60 day period built into the law, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be a relic of the past.

HRC President Joe Solmonese released the following statement:  “For far too long, the ban on openly gay service members has harmed our security and tarnished our values. The President’s certification of repeal is a monumental step, not just for those forced to lie in order to serve, but for all Americans who believe in fairness and equality.

“There are many people who brought this historic day to fruition starting with the President’s tremendous leadership and the steadfast allies in Congress who refused to give in to the lies and fear mongering. Additionally we thank all of the brave men and women who have continued to wear the uniform under a policy that forced them to hide who they are. The end of that shameful time is thankfully near.”
(via the HRC)

'Drop Dead Diva' episode focuses on lesbian prom couple


Drop Dead Diva, Lifetime’s legal comedy-fantasy series, honors Constance McMillen’s inspirational triumph with a powerful episode about a young lesbian couple barred from attending their high school prom.

“The Prom,” which airs July 24, features very special appearances by out performers Clay Aiken, Lance Bass, Amanda Bearse, and Wanda Sykes.  Also look for a cameo by McMillen herself as a bailiff.

The pool man cometh...


Tyler, Bear and Bandit know when the phone rings and I say "come on in,"
the pool man is here and ready to be barked at.

Darren Criss of GLEE on Broadway

Rumors are flying that Darren Criss of GLEE fame may take over the lead of "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" on Broadway from current star Daniel Radcliffe.

Negotiations may begin soon, with sources saying Darren Criss would take over for a few weeks in January. With rehearsals he would only miss about "an episode and a half" of GLEE taping.

In a funny bit of irony, Darren Criss became an internet YouTube celebrity as the star of 'A Very Potter Musical' and 'A Very Potter Sequel'. To see him take over the lead on Broadway from the original Harry Potter is just too serendipitous to believe.

Here's hoping we see this all work out. I think Darren definitely deserves his Broadway debut and he's a great fit for the role.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zach Wahls & Family Join the NOH8 Campaign

Zach Wahls and his mothers for the NoH8 Campaign - click to enlarge
From the NoH8campaign: University of Iowa student Zach Wahls became a familiar face among the LGBT community earlier this year when a video went viral of Zach delivering an impassioned speech about his family and growing up with gay parents to the Iowa House of Representatives.

Zach's speech was in response to an Iowa bill that would have ended civil unions in Iowa, and the response to the simple elegance and power of the speech fueled the video to spread throughout the internet overnight, gaining several million hits.

Zach's mothers were honored at the Eychaner Foundation's Matthew Shepard Scholarship Awards Dinner. While in attendance, Co-Founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley (who were also headlining the event) had the chance to speak with Terry Wahls and Jacqueline Reger.

As luck would have it, Zach was scheduled to be in town the very next day - so Team NOH8 rented a car and drove out to Iowa City to meet with Zach's family and photograph them for the campaign.

For anyone who may have missed this young man's amazing speech, here it is. Watch this 3 minute speech, and feel good about the future of America:

Pic: Final Space Shuttle Landing


The space shuttle Atlantis makes it's final landing marking the end of the space shuttle program.

Click the picture to see an enlarged version.
(photo credit: NASA)

Sec. of Defense & Joint Chiefs to certify repeal of DADT


Julian Barnes, Pentagon reporter for the Wall Street Journal, is reporting via Twitter that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are expected to certify tomorrow that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “is consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention.”

The certification requirement was a key component of the compromise that allowed the repeal to finally move through Congress last December.

 The repeal will then go into effect 60 days after President Obama makes the same certification.

My recent appearance on CandiNKelly - Blog Talk Radio


Listen to internet radio with CandiNKelly on Blog Talk Radio

This past Sunday, I joined singer/songwriter Matt Zarley on the "CandiNKelly" radio show on blogtalkradio.com.

The topic was "GLBT - Uncensored".  Of course, I get on my 'sassy American soapbox' a bit during the hour about some  LGBT political issues, but I think it's pretty clear that's what you get with me.  :)

It is an hour long, so listen when you have the time to take it all in, or listen to a bit and skip around.  We covered a lot of topics.

It was a lot of fun. I really recommend you check them out and listen in often.

Thanks for having me Candi and Kelly!

(Ignore the video commercial at the beginning if the video seems "off."  I embedded the show as normal, I think the video is just a different size.)

Stocks surge on rumors of debt talk progress


From CNN: U.S. stocks surged on Thursday, following news that European leaders reached an agreement to contain Greece's debt crisis.

Gains were further fueled by reports that the White House and House Republicans may have reached an agreement regarding the country's deficit problems and the debt ceiling. Both the White House and House Speaker John Boehner 's offices denied the reports.

According to preliminary tallies, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) ended 153 points higher, or up 1.2%, at 12,724 the S&P 500 (SPX) added 18 points, or 1.4%, to 1,344 and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) rose 20 points, or 0.7%, to 2,834.

President Obama indicated earlier this week that he would support a plan to raise the debt ceiling that had been floated by a bipartisan group of senators. But investors are still concerned that the Gang of Six's plan may not have enough time or support to make it through Congressional negotiations by Aug. 2.

I'm joining the Cougar Chat crew


This looks like it's going to be fun.

Beginning this coming Monday, I'll join the crew of "Cougar Chat" every other week as their Entertainment Correspondent, contributing current celebrity news.  The hosts are a lot of fun, and apparently no question goes un-answered.  Ruh-roh.

Here's the info:

Call in Number: 717-496-9900
Mondays - 7pm EST/4pm PST

Hosts: Michele Nardone, Jennifer Baker Hitt and Nan Coleman

Click here for more information.

Short list of rights denied to same-sex married couples by Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)


Research group the Williams Institute, together with the UCLA School of Law, submitted as part of their testimony to the recent "repeal DOMA" hearings research that demonstrates the very real impact DOMA has on married same-sex couples.

Listed below is just a short list of the many ways same-sex married couples are discriminated against by the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act." While not a complete list, but it illustrates how many important civil rights are denied by the law.

As you can see, none of the rights listed below have anything to do with religious or church-based issues. These are all civil benefits extended by our civil government to married couples. In a country that espouses "all created equal", clearly all married couples in this country are not enjoying the same rights and privileges.

Denied Equal Social Security Survivor or Spousal Benefits — Unlike opposite-sex couples, same-sex spouses cannot continue to claim their partner’s higher rate of benefits after their spouse has died. This can result in an average loss of $5,700 per year. This is just one way in which DOMA impacts social security and survival benefits.

Denied Equal Treatment for Bi-National Couples — There are nearly 26,000 same-sex couples in the United States who are bi-national and could be forced to separate because they cannot participate in green-card and accelerated citizenship mechanisms.
Denied Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Benefits — Estimates suggest that 43,000 employees would qualify for medical leave pay but are denied it because FMLA does not cover leave to care for a same-sex partner.

Denied Benefits for Spouses of Federal Employees — The Williams Institute estimates there are around 30,200 federal employees with a same-sex partner who, not being federal employees themselves, are denied spousal benefits because the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages. This impacts health care coverage and work/injury compensation to name but a few.

Denied Veteran Partner Benefits — Around 68,000 veterans have same-sex partners that are barred from pension benefits, educational assistance and vocational training, as well as many other benefits.

Denied Equal Treatment in Taxation of Employee Health Benefits — If a company has implemented a health benefit scheme that covers same-sex partners, benefits that are taxed under federal law mean an unfair burden on both employees and employers. The Williams Institute suggests this disparity may run to over $1,000 a year.

Denied Equal Treatment in Inheritance Tax — Same-sex spouses are treated as legal strangers by the federal government and are therefore subject to different rules governing inheritance tax, so for couples that exceed the non-taxable transfer of assets there is an additional tax burden that the institute calculates could amount to, on average, as much as $4 million.

Read more at Care2.org

Choreography for the seated



Very creative considering he's sitting down practically the whole time.

Of course you knew all along that it's a cell phone ad, right?

Apparently it's an ad from France. Clearly, the French have MUCH longer attention spans than Americans. Can you imagine this running on US TV?
(via joemygod)

Kim Kardashian sues Old Navy over lookalike in ads



The reality show starlet and model on Wednesday sued the clothing store in a Los Angeles federal court alleging their ads violated her publicity rights with ads that feature a woman who looks like her.

A video of a broadcast ad featuring a smiling, dark-haired woman has been viewed more than two million times on Old Navy's YouTube channel.

Kardashian's lawsuit claims consumers may be confused by the ads and the model's actual endorsements, which include her own clothing store and shoe line.

Kardashian, 31, has rocketed to fame in recent years after gaining prominence as a friend of Paris Hilton and for having a sex tape.

The actress in the ad, Melissa Molinaro, I suppose must be denied a career because she has long, dark hair and bears a passing resemblance to Kim K. Aside from the fact that she apparently has some actual talent.

Kim K must be very bored to have to attack a six month old TV commercial.

Lord...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chloe Lattanzi - Play With Me (Official Music Video)



Olivia Newton-John's daughter, Chloe Lattanzi's first official music video.

Chloe clearly has her own artistic vision & style, and isn't trying to "get by" on her mother's body of work.

Thoughts?

Congress continues to 'fiddle' around

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Chris Matthews is smart. And right. Yesterday's vote was political theater. And a waste of the people's time.

Instead of working to find common ground, the Republicans in Congress are grandstanding to play to their base AND hoping for calamity to occur so they can blame President Obama.

Time to stop playing games and do the job Americans want - get the job done.

Michele Bachmann gets fashion help from her husband

Bachmann, 50, describes her style as "classic with a snap."

"I dress fairly simply," she said. "I like clean lines. But I like an outfit to have a little kick."

Shopping help comes from another quarter, as well. Before Vice President Dick Cheney's visit (in 2006), Bachmann's husband, Marcus, hit the stores -- "he's got a good sense of style" -- and came home with "a sleek, simple hourglass dress with a yoke collar in winter white." He even bought a matching coat and shoes. "I just slipped it on."

From the Chicago Tribune

Sen. Franken calls out the truth for Focus On The Family



Franken for the win!

Ah yes, those pesky things called facts...

Sen. Franken: "Isn't it true, Mr. Minnery, that a married same-sex couple that has had or adopted kids would fall under the definition of a 'nuclear family' in the study that you sight?"

FOTF Tom Minnery: "I would think that the study, when it cites 'nuclear families' would mean a family headed by a husband and wife."

Sen. Franken: "It doesn't."

Franken then goes on the read the definition of a 'nuclear family' in the study being cited...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

White House endorses ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ bill, which would repeal DOMA


From LGBTQnation.com: On the eve of the first ever congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the White House on Tuesday announced President Barack Obama’s endorsement of the Respect For Marriage Act — the bill that would repeal DOMA.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at Tuesday’s briefing that the president “is proud” to support the Respect For Marriage Act, “which would take the Defense of Marriage Act off the books for once and for all.”

The Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would repeal DOMA and restore the rights of all lawfully married couples, including same-sex couples, to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.

Advocates of the repeal hailed the White House announcement.

“It is rare that a White House endorses a bill that has yet to pass first in either the Senate or the House,” said Rick Jacobs, chairman of the gay rights advocacy group Courage Campaign, in a statement. “His support makes clear to all Americans that the Defense of Marriage Act has no place in our society.”

“By supporting this legislation, the President continues to demonstrate his commitment to ending federal discrimination against tens of thousands of lawfully married same-sex couples,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese, in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear testimony about the marriage legislation.

The hearing, entitled “S.598, The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families,” marks the first ever hearing on the issue of repealing DOMA since its enactment nearly 15 years ago.

DOMA, enacted in 1996, prevents any of the over 1,100 federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage from being afforded to legally married same-sex couples.

Those benefits include Social Security survivor benefits, federal employee health benefits for spouses, protections against spouses losing their homes in cases of severe medical emergencies, the right to sponsor a foreign born partner for immigration, the guarantee of family and medical leave and the ability to file joint tax returns, among many others.

Rick Perry - Potential GOP Presidential run?


Currently flirting with the idea of jumping into the GOP Presidential race, Rick Perry, the longtime Texas governor would be among the GOP field's most conservative candidates.

I'm of the opinion that Perry, who combines TV anchorman looks, a Southern preacher's oratory and a cowboy's swagger, could be a very real contender for not only the GOP nomination, but given the current economic outlook, a problem for President Obama's reelection plans.

In nearly three decades as a politician, the Texas governor has never lost an election.

"Texans, God love them, have that bigger-than-life persona about politics and that doesn't necessarily play everywhere," said Christopher Nicholas, a Republican political consultant who has worked extensively in the Northeast and Midwest. "I haven't heard a lot of Republicans call Social Security a disease."

Perry has. He branded Social Security and other New Deal programs "the second big step in the march of socialism," according to a book published last year. The "first step" was a national income tax, which he has said stands alongside the direct election of U.S. senators as a major mistake among the amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Perry rejects the idea of global warming and the theory of evolution, arguing for natural climate variations and intelligent design of the universe.

Working with the fundamentalist American Family Association, Perry urged people to participate in a day of prayer and fasting on Aug. 6, following the example of the Bible's book of Joel. Courting evangelical Christians always has been one of his core campaign strategies.

In the few polls that have included Perry, he ranks high among Republican primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Should he run, Perry would seek the support of a wing of the party already courted by conservatives in important states such as Iowa. Those would-be rivals include U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a tea party favorite; former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a favorite of anti-abortion activists; and former businessman Herman Cain.

In 2009, at one of the first rallies of a movement that would evolve into the tea party, he famously suggested the idea that Texas might be better off seceding from the Union if what he called "federal overreach" continued.

He's since said that lawmakers in state capitals should decide whether to legalize gay marriage or marijuana. In 2010, he toyed with the idea of pulling Texas out of Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care for low-income people. He gave up on the idea when the state's comptroller said it would bankrupt the state.

I'm not sure exactly how Americans would react to another cocky Texas governor so soon after the debacle of the George W. Bush years. However, I do believe Americans vote their pocketbooks. And should the economy not begin to turn around and/or show clear signs of improvement, Governor Goodhair could have a serious shot.

Read more on Perry's background at the Huffington Post

Michele Bachmann suffers from "incapacitating" stress induced migraine headaches

The Minnesota Republican frequently suffers from stress-induced medical episodes that she has characterized as severe headaches. These episodes, say witnesses, occur once a week on average and can “incapacitate” her for days at time. On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.

“She has terrible migraine headaches. And they put her out of commission for a day or more at a time. They come out of nowhere, and they’re unpredictable,” says an adviser to Bachmann who was involved in her 2010 congressional campaign. “They level her. They put her down. It’s actually sad. It’s very painful.”

Bachmann’s medical condition wouldn’t merit public attention, but for the fact she is running for president. Some close to Bachmann fear she won’t be equal to the stress of the campaign, much less the presidency itself.

“When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. It’s not like a little thing with a couple Advils. It’s bad,” the adviser says. “The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes.”

To staff, Bachmann has implausibly blamed the headaches on uncomfortable high-heel shoes, but those who have worked closely with her cite stress, a busy schedule and anything going badly for Bachmann as causes.

Read more at the Daily Caller

NYC to Hold Lottery for Gay Marriage Sunday


From the Wall Street Journal: Fearing demand for same-sex weddings will be too great for the City Clerk’s Office to handle this Sunday, city officials have announced a lottery for weddings on the first day that gay couples can legally wed in the state.

Officials said couples could be stuck waiting in long lines all day and, though the city has added extra clerks for Sunday, ultimately would not be able to get married because of the high volume.

The lottery will guarantee 764 couples — either opposite- or same-sex — access to marry at one of the City Clerk’s five offices Sunday.

The 764 couples to marry would be the largest number of marriages on any single day in city history.

As of Tuesday morning, the City Clerk’s Office had received 2,661 online applications since July 5th; the Clerk has estimated that 1,728 are from same-sex couples. Officials said the data collected by the city showed 54% of the online applicants planned to visit the clerk’s offices on Sunday in pursuit of a marriage license, and that 50% planned to marry that day.

According to the city, couples wishing to marry on Sunday may register for the lottery by going to the City Clerk’s website or by calling 311. The lottery will open for entries at noon on Tuesday and will close to entries at noon on Thursday.

The city will hold a separate lottery for each of the City Clerk’s five borough offices and lottery applicants must specify only one office where they wish to marry.

Winners of the lottery will be notified via e-mail or phone on Friday by noon. Officials urged couples who win a place in the lottery to arrive in the morning; couples must arrive no later than 3:45 p.m. Sunday.

“We’ve done our homework, and it’s clear that the number of couples who want to marry on Sunday is more than the City Clerk’s offices could possibly handle,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “And the last thing we want is for couples to wait on line for hours and hours, only to walk away upset on what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives.”

“The fairest way to determine who gets the chance to wed on Sunday and ensure everyone can properly plan for their own big day is through an even-handed lottery system,” he added. “Nobody puts on big events like New York and we will be ready on Sunday for what will no doubt be an historic and unforgettable moment.”

Couples who have not been selected in the lottery can get married later in the week.

Christine Quinn, the city’s first female and openly gay council speaker, said, “This efficient and effective process for managing the first day of marriage equality in the five boroughs will maximize the excitement and dignity for all.”
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