Sunday, November 30, 2014

Slovakia To Hold National Referendum On Same-Sex Marriage

Earlier this year in June, Slovakia passed a anti-gay constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by a vote of 102-18.

Now, it appears the country's lawmakers aren't done making their LGBT citizens second class. Now, the legislators plan a national voter referendum on marriage equality and more on February 7, 2015.

Via the AP:

President Andrej Kiska's move comes after the Alliance for Family conservative group gathered about 400,000 signatures supporting the vote.

Slovaks will be asked whether they agree that a marriage can be called only a union between a man and a woman, same-sex partners can't adopt children, and that children wouldn't have to attend school classes on sex education if their parents don't agree with them.

Slovakia's constitutional court ruled last month at Kiska's request that such a referendum doesn't violate the constitution, but rejected a question on registered partnership as part of the vote. Kiska said he still has doubts about the referendum, but respected the ruling.

Slovakia, a young country of only 21 years, has held seven similar voter referenda. For passage, more than 50% of the nations voter have to cast a vote. In 21 years, it has only happened once - when the country voted to join the European Union. The others failed to become legal due to low voter turnout.

So, it's possible this anti-gay move may be more anti-LGBT political theater than reality.

We shall see come February.

Apple Goes Red For World AIDS Day 2014

In a sign of support for World AIDS Day (December 1st), Apple changed the logo of it's flagship Australian store in Sydney to red.

Via Mashable:

It is the first store in the world to light up in a show of commitment to the (RED) AIDS initiative, that is fighting for an AIDS-free future. Apple will then change the colour of its logo across key stores in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Europe and the United States, as the various timezones tick into Monday. Apple announced on Nov. 26 that the campaign also includes the ability to purchase 24 apps with exclusive (RED) content until Dec. 7; all proceeds go directly to The Global Fund to fight AIDS.

In addition, Apple has announced the company will donate a portion of all sales on Monday - which is one of the largest online shopping days of the year, Cyber Monday - to the AIDS initiative.

By the way, it's worth noting that this year Apple celebrates another 100% score on the HRC's Corporate Equality Index - the company's 13th in a row.

(h/t JMG)

GOP Congressman Stephen Fincher's PR Director Criticizes Obama Kids

GOP Communications Director Elizabeth Lauten

Well, here's how to lose a job.

Elizabeth Lauten is the communications director for GOP Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee. That basically means she usually helps put out fires, not start them.

She recently took to Facebook to insult sixteen-year-old Malia, and thirteen-year-old Sasha Obama, after deciding they didn't look properly interested or dressed for the traditional "pardoning" of the White House turkey. This is usually a friendly, family-oriented holiday event.

Here's just a taste of what Lauten had to say about two teenagers who never ran for office and are just living their teen years the best they can in the public spotlight - and doing a great job in my opinion:

"Try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play."

"Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar."

Mind you, these weren't some off-hand comments made to a friend over cocktails.

Lauten specifically went on Facebook to deliver her attack on these teenagers. Wonderful "family values."

After some thought - and a call from her boss I bet - Lauten deleted the attack on the Obama children and posted this "apology," which she also quickly deleted. What a great example of having the courage of her convictions.

I'm not a religious expert, but I'm guessing if it took "hours" of prayer to figure out what she did wrong, there's a bigger problem.

By the way - here's a pic of how Malia and Sasha were dressed at the event. I think they look like normal teenagers, which is all they are being asked to be:

So, what do you all think? Are the children of politicians fair game as targets? Are Malia and Sasha allowed to be teenagers?

Curious to what you think.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Missouri: Officer Darren Wilson Resigns From Ferguson Police Department

If You Think You Have Great Abs...

That's a seriously low body fat percentage. And a whole lotta work.
Color me impressed. #ThanksgivingFatHere

Out Country Singer Ty Herndon Shares Holiday Pic With BF

Bette Midler Has Highest Ever Billboard Chart Debut With "It's The Girls"

Bette Midler's new CD - It's The Girls - marks her fifth consecutive decade of top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 chart with the new release coming in at #3 this week. That marks her highest debut on the chart ever.

Midler becomes only the second woman, after Barbra Streisand, to have top 10 albums in each of the last five decades (1970s through 2010s).

From Billboard:

Midler has only climbed higher on the chart once before, when the 1989 Beaches soundtrack hit No. 2. (It consists entirely of Midler tunes heard in the film, including the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Wind Beneath My Wings.")

The three-time Grammy Award winner's first top 10 came with her debut, The Divine Miss M, which arrived almost 42-years ago on the chart dated Dec. 9, 1972. It peaked at No. 9 the following March. She later visited the top 10 with a self-titled album (No. 6 in 1974), the Beaches soundtrack (No. 2 in 1989), Some People's Lives (No. 6 in 1991) and Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook (No. 10 in 2005).

Jake Gyllenhaal Goes Big & Brawny In Boxing Flick "Southpaw"

Shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal shows off his new ripped, muscled body for Southpaw

Jake Gyllenhaal is giving you "movie star shape shifting" for his upcoming role in the boxing flick Southpaw.

From Deadline:

Jake Gyllenhaal won fans for his dedication and commitment in losing 25 pounds to play the sociopathic nocturnal adrenaline junkie and camera man Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler. He’s remade himself in a whole different physical fashion to play a championship prize fighter next year in Southpaw, and I’m betting it will have Gyllenhaal in the conversation with past actors who’ve trained to turn in memorable ring performances, a list that includes Raging Bull’s Robert De Niro, The Boxer‘s Daniel Day-Lewis, The Fighter‘s Mark Wahlberg and The Hurricane’s Denzel Washington.

Check out the pic above that shows his more slight, wiry frame as night-time adrenaline junkie in his current Nightcrawler next to a newly released pic from Southpaw.

Amazing transformation.

Southpaw is due in theatersin 2015.

Hugh Jackman Sells The Shirt Off His Back For Charity

Hugh Jackman counts the pushups to raise funds on Broadway for BC/EFA

It looks like the fund-raising after-show at Broadway's The River starring Hugh Jackman is as entertaining as the performance itself.

From my friend Tom Viola's Facebook page:

Last night at THE RIVER, in addition to Hugh Jackman auctioning his shirt (for $6,000 twice), posing for photos backstage (5 x $2,000) and leading his delightful company in raising a few more thousand in $100 poster sales and red bucket donations - as if that is wonderful in itself, something else occurred.

Inviting two of his gym buddies - aka "the Dog Pound" up-onstage, he challenged them to doing push-ups on his count, pledging to donate $50 to BC/EFA for each one. 50 push-ups later, Hugh is making a personal $2,500 donation to Broadway Cares and about 700 folks at Circle in the Square had the time of their lives. Thank you, Hugh! Thanks to all at THE RIVER!! (And I'm thinking the gentleman who quickly removed his shirt is a shoe-in for BROADWAY BARES.

All of this is for the annual Gypsy of the Year fund raising campaign happening on Broadway right now. Tom Viola and the entire team at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS do amazing work. If you make charitable donations during the holidays, please consider BC/EFA. I've spent decades helping them raise funds for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Listen: Madonna's "Rebel Heart" Leaked

The Inter Webs are going nuts over the leak of what is presumed to be one of the new tracks (demo or finished - no one knows) of her upcoming album.

From Billboard:

A snippet of a new Madonna song, rumored to be titled "Rebel Heart," leaked to the Internet on Thursday (Nov. 27). Madonna's publicist had no comment about the leak, but the diva's manager, Guy Oseary, tweeted: "I would be grateful to any Madonna fans that can assist us in finding those responsible for the leak. We appreciate your help." It's assumed the song is titled "Rebel Heart," as Madonna is heard singing the phrase at one point in the snippet, and because she used the #RebelHeart hashtag on her Instagram for months. The song might be a co-production with Avicii, as Madonna used the #RebelHeart hashtag in a photo of her with him and his team nine months ago.

Madonna's last album, 2012's MDNA, reached #1 in the US but sold just 2 million copies worldwide. Contrast that with her 1990 greatest hits package, The Immaculate Collection, which sold 30 million copies sold worldwide.

Listen to the song below:

Parody: Henry Rollins Puts His Own Touch On Madonna's "Cherish" Video

Henry Rollins (radio show host, former frontman for Black Flag and LGBT ally) puts his own spin on the classic Madonna video "Cherish."

(h/t Boy Culture)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Beautiful View

(via Boy Culture)

Michael Sam In Talks To Play In Canadian Football League

Could Michael Sam's football career take him north?

According to Chris Battaglia at The Score, the Montreal Alouettes are talking to Michael Sam about playing there in 2015 and the chances are "50/50" that the deal could work.

The possibility of Sam playing for the Alouettes has been up in the air since the St. Louis Rams released him at the end of preseason play. That was when it came to light that Sam was on Montreal's negotiation list,  which means the CFL team has the exclusive right to sign him.

Sam has been a free agent since the Dallas Cowboys cut him from their practice squad in October.

The Alouettes were eliminated from the CFL playoffs in the East Division final after going 8-2 in their last 10 regular-season games. Defense was Montreal's biggest strength, and adding a player of Sam's caliber would give it arguably the best pass rush in the league.

Former NFL scout Russ Lande believes Sam's body type and playing style are well-suited for Canadian football, comparing him to former Calgary Stampeders defensive end Cordarro Law. Law signed with the San Diego Chargers and made his NFL debut this year after recording 14 sacks with the Stampeders in 2013.

"(Sam) could star in the CFL," Lande told Sean Keeler of Fox Sports Kansas City. "The reality is, in the CFL, a lot of their pass rushers are 250-pound, smallish guys who've got quick feet. (Sam) can run, he uses his hands well, he's got a nose for the quarterback."

Additionally, Sam may be getting an offer from Vince Neil (front man for Mötley Crüe) who owns the Las Vegas Outlaws franchise of the Arena Football League.

Friday Funny: From Coco Peru "Just Add Coco"

The answer to any situation? "Just Add Coco!"

From the fab and funny Coco Peru.

Trailer: Star Wars VII "The Force Awakens"

The next installment of Star Wars "Episode VII - The Force Awakens" releases the first official trailer.

Expected in theaters December 2015.

Finland's Lawmakers Approve Same-Sex Marriage

By a vote of 105-93, Finland's Parliament approved same-sex marriage - the last country in the Nordic region to do so.

Since 2002 gay and lesbian couples have been able to enter into civil partnerships,  but those legal unions had limits.  With marriage, same-sex couples will also be able to adopt children and share the same surname.

Finland becomes the 12th European country to adopt marriage equality.

Due to changes in other legislation, the new law will not take effect until 2016.

Congratulations Finland!



Via The Other 98%

Science: Early Birds vs Night Owls

Does the early bird really get the worm? Or are night owls wired for success?

Be smarter in two minutes.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From The Randy Report

Wishing all of you shiny happy people a fabulous Thanksgivining.

I am thankful today and every day for you all.  Without you, there would be no Randy Report.

Hope your day is spent exactly how you wish. And that's something to be thankful for :)

Video Parody: Bryan Hawn Does Beyonce's "Ghost"

Bryan Hawn (and his rather impressive back-side) offers this parody of Beyonce's "Ghost" video.

Hawn wondered if he could make a ghost "sexy."

Talk about something to be thankful for...

Thanksgiving with Robert De Niro & Billy Crystal

I literally laughed out loud. So perfectly both of them.

Happy Thanksgiving kids!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New Music: Jesse Sarvinski "Won't Let You Get Away"

Shirtless and sexy Jesse Sarvinski serves up his new music video "Won't Let You Get Away"
Jesse Sarvinski in his new music video "Won't Let You Get Away"

Jesse Sarvinski's new single - "Won't Let You Get Away" - has a smooth vibe and some sexy scenery courtesy of Mr. Sarvinski himself.

Tells the tale of a summer time romance that turns into more. It does happen, you know...

Take a peek and listen below.

Comedy Short: Tom Goss & Dennis Hensley "Black Friday - A Gay Love Story"

New comedic short from Tom Goss and Dennis Hensley - "Black Friday - A Gay Love Story"

From the YouTube description: "Black Friday is a time for consumerism, long lines and most especially, gay drama."

Classic TV: Carol Burnett Sings "Send In The Clowns"

This was a rare departure for Carol Burnett during her hit 1970s TV show.

I'm always aware of what terrific acting she brought to sketches, but I did forget what a lovely voice she had.

(h/t Boy Culture)

Out Country Star Ty Herndon: "Like The Weight Of The World's Been Lifted Off My Shoulders"

Just a week after coming out to the world, country music star Ty Herndon says he's overwhelmed by the reactions and support he's received - including from celebrities like Ricky Martin, Kristin Chenoweth, Lance Bass and LeAnn Rimes.

"My life feels open," the artist, 52, tells PEOPLE. "It feels free, like the weight of the world's been lifted off my shoulders."

Since he shared the news of his sexuality with the world he's had two public appearances, both of which were overwhelmingly positive.

Currently touring with friends Jamie O'Neal and Andy Griggs, Herndon says he had no idea what to expect from the audience of his sold-out show in Robinson, Illinois, on Saturday.

"We always circle up and pray before every show, but I think the prayer circle lasted a little longer with this one," Herndon, 52, says. "They gave me a standing ovation and were just amazing and loving and kind … I got very emotional."

The second public appearance was at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for The Charlie Daniels Band's Christmas 4 Kids benefit concert.

"Walking out on that stage as an open, free, happy, godly gay man is not something I thought I'd see in my lifetime … We knew that history was being made up there, and it was humbling."

Clearly he has a lot to celebrate this Thanksgiving. "What a Thanksgiving it is," Herndon reflects. "I'm sure there's some challenging days to come, but today I'm just gonna sit and take this in and know that I'm a much stronger and better person because of all the support and love."


Florida: Statewide LGBT Protections Bill Introduced

A sweeping new LGBT protections bill has been filed simultaneously in the Florida House and Senate today:

From Equality Florida:

Representative Holly Raschein (R- Key Largo) and Democratic Whip Senator Joseph Abruzzo (D- Boynton Beach) filed legislation in the Florida House and Senate respectively that would prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA), the legislation would amend Chapter 760 of the Florida State Statutes that currently prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The bill would add protections for more than 536,000 LGBT adults living in Florida.

Last year Rep. Raschein served as the prime co-sponsor of the bill and helped to secure more than 10 GOP co-sponsors.

“All hardworking people—including those who are gay or transgender—should be treated fairly and equally by the laws of our state and should have the opportunity to earn a living to provide for themselves and their families. Nobody should have to live in fear of being fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance,” said Rep. Raschein

With bipartisan support in the legislature and increased support from both the business community and the public at large, the FCWA will make Florida a more attractive place in which to live and work.

“In order to remain economically competitive in a global marketplace, Florida must provide an environment that is welcoming to all,” said Sen. Abruzzo. “Recruiting and retaining talent regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity will only serve to enhance our reputation and augment our economic viability.”

Although there is strong public support, there are currently no statewide LGBT protections banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Florida.

The Cover Of This Week's New Yorker Magazine

Arkansas Anti-Gay Leader Super Mad Over The "Tyranny" Of Equal Rights For Gays

Jerry Cox

The head of the anti-gay Arkansas Family Council, Jerry Cox, is super-mad about yesterday's ruling by a federal judge which struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Via press release:

"This is another example of judicial tyranny.

"Arkansans voted overwhelmingly to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Their elected officials voted for that definition when they passed Arkansas’ Defense of Marriage Act.

"By issuing this ruling, one federal judge is saying seventy-five percent of Arkansas voters and lawmakers do not matter. If that isn’t tyranny, I don’t know what is.

"What Judge Baker effectively did was erase Arkansas’ definition of marriage. It opens the door for marriage to become anything. We have already seen polygamists in Utah and elsewhere try to ride the coat tails of same-sex marriage activists in court. Rulings like this one only fuel those efforts.

"If Americans are not free to decide how they will define something as basic as marriage, then what are they free to decide?”

I love the line - "If that isn’t tyranny, I don’t know what is."

Seriously? Letting people who love each other marry is YOUR definition of "tyranny?"

Pal, you need to get out in the world more. There's lots worse than equal rights for everyone.

Behind The Scenes Of "Seeing Red" With Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow's "Valerie Cherish" shares a behind-the-scenes look at Seeing Red, a new HBO series. Watch Sundays at 10PM on HBO.

Ridiculously Good Looking: John Williams

(h/t Boy Culture)

Most Distinct Thanksgiving Recipe Googled By State

Click pic to enlarge

According to the NY Times, this map shows the most distinct Thanksgiving recipes Googled by state.

I personally do not recall looking for the best way to cook"Frog Eye Salad."

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Undergoes Heart Surgery

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a member of the high court since 1993, has undergone heart surgery earlier this morning:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, underwent a heart procedure Wednesday morning to have a stent placed in her right coronary artery.

A blockage was discovered after Ginsburg "experienced discomfort during routine exercise" Tuesday night and was taken to the hospital, according to a release from the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg is resting "comfortably" at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and is expected to be released in the next 48 hours.

Ginsberg has previously been treated for colon cancer and pancreatic cancer. However, this summer she squashed talk of any near-term retirement.

"As long as I can do the job full steam...I think I'll recognize when the time comes that I can't any longer. But now I can," she told Elle magazine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Mississippi's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Mississippi sees it's ban on marriage equality struck down! Happy Dance Time!

U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves issued his ruling less than a month after he heard oral arguments in the case the Campaign for Southern Equality last month filed on behalf of two lesbian couples seeking marriage rights in the Magnolia State.

“The court concludes that Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban deprives same-sex couples and their children of equal dignity under the law,” writes Reeves. “Gay and lesbian citizens cannot be subjected to such second-class citizenship.”

Mississippi’s ban was passed by the biggest margin of any state amendment with 86 percent supporting the measure. But, as Judge Reeves points out, “The courts do not wait out the political process when constitutional rights are being violated, especially when the political process caused the constitutional violations in the first place.”

Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, is the lead counsel in the case and issued this statement:

“This is a big day since it means that gay Mississippians will have the right to be married in their own home state that they love so much. It is also a big day for our country and for our Constitution, since it means that Americans in yet another state can now appreciate that gay people, who are their neighbors, friends and family members, have the right to equal protection of the laws."

The ruling is stayed for two weeks pending appeal.

(via Washington Blade)

Federal Judge Strikes Down Arkansas' Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

A federal judge has struck down Arkansas' gay marriage ban, which could pave the way for county clerks to eventually resume issuing licenses.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled Tuesday in favor of a pair of same-sex couples who had challenged the 2004 constitutional amendment and an earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

But Baker put her ruling on hold, and the state is expected to appeal it to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ruling comes as the state Supreme Court is weighing a separate case, which stems from May, when a Pulaski County judge struck down the ban.

More than 500 same-sex couples married before the ruling was stayed. The justices have not indicated when they will rule.

Read the full ruling below.


New Music: Matthew Connor "Midnight Blue"

Atmospheric, melodic and moody, Matthew Connor's newest - "Midnight Blue" - sounds and looks like it would be right at home in an episode of American Horror Story.

No "freak show" here, just haunting visuals and gorgeous vocals reminiscent of Elvis or Ray Orbison.

Quite the change up for Matthew, who spent time as the front-man for electronic dance-pop band Provocateur before heading out as a solo artist in 2011.

His latest album, Farewell Motel, follows two earlier EPs, Ghost Town and Denouement.

Check out his official website here.

ISIS Reportedly Executes Two Gay Men By Stoning To Death

MSNBC is reporting that ISIS has apparently stoned to death two men alleged to be gay:

The Islamic State group stoned two men to death in Syria Tuesday after claiming they were gay, a monitor said, in the jihadist organisation's first executions for alleged homosexuality.

"The IS today stoned to death a man that it said was gay," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the victim was around 20 years old. He was killed in Mayadeen in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, near the border with Iraq.

The Britain-based Observatory said IS claimed it found videos on his mobile phone showing him "practising indecent acts with males".

In a separate incident on Tuesday, an 18-year-old was also stoned to death in Deir Ezzor city after the group said he was gay, the Observatory said.

Activists on social media said that the dead men were opponents of IS and that the group had used the allegation as a pretext to kill them.

Officer Darren Wilson Speaks to ABC News About The Shooting Death Of Michael Brown

In an exclusive one on one interview, Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9th, tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he never shot towards Brown’s back.

In addition, Wilson says that he feared for his life because the teen reached into his car, and grabbed for his gun.

Wilson said that he was sorry that Brown had died, but “he would not do anything differently that day,” according to Stephanopoulos. “He did what he was trained to do. He was simply doing his job.”

When asked if the incident “would have gone down any differently if Michael Brown were white,” Wilson reportedly replied "Absolutely not," adding that he has a "clean conscience."

Watch the preview below, and for more tune in to ABC World News Tonight

Trailer: Jurassic World

Hunky Chris Pratt stars in the upcoming "Jurassic World"

Here's the first theatrical trailer for Jurassic World, the upcoming 4th “Jurassic Park” starring Chris Pratt.

U.S. Economy Grew At 3.9% Annual Pace In Third Quarter


Air Travel Survey: 19% Feel It's Rude To Move To Unsold Seat

Via Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight Twitter feed.

Moving to an unsold seat is considered rude?