Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sheep respond in unison when a man speaks their language


Twenty-sex seconds of cute.  Just silly, but funny.

Animals are so entertaining.



(tipped by TRR reader Kat)

Florida Attorney General says same-sex marriage would "impose significant public harm"


Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit against the state of Florida filed on behalf of eight same-sex couples seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriages.

With an argument NO state has yet to find successful in court, AG Bondi writes in court documents that recognizing the marriages would “impose significant public harm.”

From ABC News:

Bondi's office also argues that the state has a legitimate interest in defining marriage as between a man and woman. Florida first banned same-sex marriages nearly two decades ago and voters reinforced that ban when they passed a constitutional amendment in 2008.

"Florida's marriage laws, then, have a close, direct, and rational relationship to society's legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units," Bondi's office said in court documents.

The state's legal position also notes that there would be significant financial and logistical problems for the state's pension and health insurance programs if same-sex marriages were recognized.

YouTube celebrates 9th birthday karaoke style


To celebrate it's 9th birthday, YouTube brought together several "YouTube stars" for a karaoke mashup that celebrates the first nine years of the omnipresent video site.

Can you remember a time without YouTube?

Wow....


Ramin Karimloo demonstrates the power of the vowel


This week, Seth Rudetsky hosted the fab Ramin Karimloo on his popular web series OBSESSED!.

Ramin is currently wowing on Broadway in "Les Miserables" with his Tony Award nominated performance as "Jean Valjean," and here on The Randy Report where he's become a bit of an obsession for me.  And he wows in this clip with "that voice."

Seth has a theory that some Andrew Lloyd Webber songs would be easier to sing if the vowels on the high notes were changed.  Ramin demonstrates to most excellent results.

However, I think this is an unfair demo considering Ramin can sing the phone book and we'd all be impressed.

Cute clip.

Friday, May 30, 2014

President Obama proclaims June LGBT Pride Month


Via WhiteHouse.gov:

"As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect -- our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.

"Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve. In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits -- from immigration benefits to military family benefits -- to legally married same-sex couples.

"My Administration proudly stands alongside all those who fight for LGBT rights. Here at home, we have strengthened laws against violence toward LGBT Americans, taken action to prevent bullying and harassment, and prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals. Despite this progress, LGBT workers in too many States can be fired just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; I continue to call on the Congress to correct this injustice by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And in the years ahead, we will remain dedicated to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community by implementing the Affordable Care Act and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy -- which focuses on improving care while decreasing HIV transmission rates among communities most at risk.

"Our commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community extends far beyond our borders. In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending
the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.

"This month, as we mark 45 years since the patrons of the Stonewall Inn defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement, let us honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way. Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity -- because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

"IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth."

BARACK OBAMA

Propaganda: "March for Marriage 2014"


The scare tactics in this video promoting the National Organization for Marriage's "March for Marriage" on June 19th includes just about everything they can think of:

Intolerance!
Unelected judges!
Bakers!
Photographers!
Benghazi! (Ok, that one they did leave out this one time...).

Sad that all of this is in the name of preventing a segment of Americans from having equal rights.

Bless NOM's little tiny heart.




Atlanta: Transgender women beaten on train as passengers watch

Disturbing news from Atlanta as a video recording shows two trans women being harassed and beaten on a MARTA train.  Not only does the video capture the violent attack on the women, but the fact that no one on the train moved to help.  Instead, many stood by recording the attack on their phones.

The altercation began when the two trans women were verbally abused by men on the train.  The exchange quickly escalated into kicking and punching, leaving one of the women stripped and completely naked.

From the Advocate:

"[They] just kept of asking us was we real," Janell Crosby, one of the women involved in the attack told WSB TV. "Like really trying to get us. 'Are you real?' 'Are y'all this or that?' Just trying to embarass us."

"They were trying to find out if we are men or women," Tyra Woods told reporters, noting that the verbal harassment began while the women were waiting for the train to arrive. "I shouldn't have to disclose who I am to an innocent person who I'm not even interested in talking to."

"Nobody tried to help. They were all standing up on chairs videotaping," Crosby told the GA Voice. "That's how it ended up on so many [web]sites. I told one cop who was following us to the gate. He acted like he didn't want to hear from us. He didn't write any statement or anything."

According to transit authority spokesman Lyle Harris, an investigation into the incident is under way, albeit with less than full cooperation.

“We will not tolerate this kind of behavior on MARTA,” said MARTA spokesperson Lyle Harris. “We are now taking this under investigation. The MARTA Police Department is looking at what happened on that tape to see if we can determine who was involved and what happened and we will take every action.”

The viral exposure of the video has apparently led to the arrest of one of the men, 34 year old Luther L. Thomas.

I really urge people to watch the original unedited version of the video, which can be seen here. While disturbing, it's important that Americans understand the degree of humiliation transgender people face every day.

Watch the WSB TV report below.

Jay Carney steps down at White House Press Secretary

White House press secretary Jay Carney

Via Politico: White House press secretary Jay Carney is resigning his post after more than three years as President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman.

Obama personally announced the change Friday afternoon with a surprise interruption of Carney’s daily news briefing, saying that the White House aide told him back in April that he wanted to move on.

“Jay has become one of my closest friends and is a great press secretary and a great adviser,” the president said. “He has good judgment. He has good temperament and he has good heart.”

Principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, 39, will replace Carney at the podium in the White House Briefing Room, the president said.


Colorado: Civil Rights Commision affirms ruling that baker discriminated against gay couple


In a unanimous decision from the seven-member Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Jack Phillips of the Masterpiece Cakeshop was found to have violated civil rights law when he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012.

Today's decision upholds  a previous ruling on the same lawsuit.

"I can believe anything I want, but if I'm going to do business here, I'd ought to not discriminate against people," Commissioner Raju Jaram said.

Speaking to reporters after the ruling, Phillips said the decision violates his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of his religion. "I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down."

Phillips added that supporters have been so supportive in buying cookies and brownies that he does not currently make wedding cakes.

The couple who sued Phillips, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, were pleased that the commission roundly rejected Phillips' arguments. "We're just thrilled by that," Mullins said.

While gay marriage remains illegal in Colorado, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits public accommodations, including businesses such as Masterpiece Cakeshop, from refusing service based on factors such as race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

In what I imagine is an act of futility, Phillips was ordered to stop discriminating against gay people and to report quarterly for two years on staff anti-discrimination training and any customers he refuses to serve.

Phillips' attorney indicated an appeal of the ruling to the Colorado Court of Appeals is being considered.

(source)

Two minute science lesson: Can you trust your ears?


From my favorite science guys at AsapSCIENCE.

The first test completely got me. And switching from the first to second example kept changing my perception.

Watch the video and be smarter in two minutes.


Texas GOP to Log Cabin Republicans: We just aren't that into you


Once again, the Log Cabin Republicans have been kicked to the curb by their fellow conservatives.

The Texas State Republican Convention will not allow the LCR to host a booth next week at it's annual convention.

Via press release:

“Overall, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas has found incredible support within the Republican party — Texans, like the rest of the country, are evolving on LGBT rights issues,” said Log Cabin Republicans of Texas Chairman Jeffrey Davis.

“The Republican Party of Texas has even welcomed many of our members as delegates to the Texas State Republican Convention. However, the party has denied our several attempts to host a booth in the convention exhibit hall, citing archaic language in the party platform to support their actions.

"We deserve to occupy a booth just like anyone else, and it’s time that the Texas GOP’s hypocritical policies and procedures are replaced by new ones that match the general opinion of Texan Republican voters.”

According to Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri the group was denied not because they are gay but because "of the association with the promotion for gay marriage" - which is not in the party's platform.

Joe Manganiello named one of People Magazine's "Most Talked About Bodies"

A picture is worth a thousand words - Joe Manganiello shows why folks are talking about his famous body

People Magazine (June 2 issue) names Joe Manganiello one of the summer's "Most Talked About Bodies."

Duh!

With the upcoming final season of HBO's True Blood, plus the release of his directorial debut with the make revue documentary La Bare, plus work on the Magic Mike sequel, Joe doesn't fail to represent.

For more of People's "Most Talked About Bodies," head over to Boy Culture.

Happy Friday everyone!

BREAKING: VA Secretary Shinseki resigns

https://twitter.com/YahooNews/status/472396997262340097

After growing calls for his resignation, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has stepped down as of today.

According to President Obama, Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson will step in temporarily as VA secretary while the administration looks for a permanent head for the department.

See the President's remarks below via Politico:

Learn To Speak Benghazi


Animated cartoon by Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Fiore.

As congressional Republicans keep beating the Benghazi drum heading into this fall's elections, it might be helpful for the rest of the world to understand and master the language of "Benghazi."

Simplified, the language of "Benghazi" allows Republicans to continue to ignore the business of the US and launch two or three more investigations of the Benghazi attacks.

Because the seven or eight investigations held so far weren't enough...

Politics.


Ryland Whittington: "I am a transgender kid"

The Whittington family

The Daily Mail shares the story of Ryland Whittington and his family, who allowed Ryland to be who he is.

When Jeff and Hillary Whittington, of San Diego, got the news in 2007 that they were having a daughter, the couple had no idea that in a few years' time they will be raising a son instead.

Last Thursday, the family were honored at the 6th annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, accepting the Inspiration Award after presenting a stirring video showing their daughter Ryland's female-to-male transition.

The six-year-old dressed in a smart suit and tie, his hair cut short, stood next to a podium and read his prepared remarks from a sheet of paper, declaring to the audience: 'My name is Ryland Whittington. I am transgender kid.'

At the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, Jeff Whittington had this to say: ‘One of the most inspiring things that Harvey Milk had done as far as our family is concerned was to encourage people to come out; to let their voices be heard; break down the walls, break down the barriers and start allowing people to see them for their authentic selves and be true to themselves."

I realize that the world of transgender is new for many people, and that it may be difficult to understand.  I don't pretend to be able to answer every question on the subject, but as a gay man who has heard the words "you could be straight if you want to" (when that is no more real than my ability to fly unassisted), I understand the gravity of being who you are born to be.

I also understand how important it is to allow people to live their own lives.  Without judgement.

Bravo to the Whitington's for paying attention, and for loving Ryland for who he is.



(h/t JMG)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Julia Collins makes "Jeopardy!" history with 17 wins and still going


In the eighth grade, Julia Collins predicted she would become a "Jeopardy!" champion.

Now, she's done even more than that as she becomes the winning-est woman ever to appear on the popular TV game show.

From ABC News:

Julia Collins has racked up more wins than any other woman in “Jeopardy!” history, earning $391,600 in the process.

“I was a pretty nerdy kid,” Collins says. “I liked to shout out the answers to the TV like everybody else does.”

Collins, 31, a resident of the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, made history when she won her 17th straight game Tuesday, and then added another victory Wednesday.

Only past contestants Ken Jennings (74) and David Madden (19) have won more consecutive non-tournament games than this. The show premiered 50 years ago.

Check the video report below from ABC News:

News Round-up - May 29, 2014

JLo's boy Casper Smart
• JLo's boy toy Casper Smart may have traded naked selfies with transgender bikini model Sofia Vissa, and she's looking for her 15 minutes of fame

• Naval Admiral William H. McRaven returned to his alma mater to deliver this amazing Commencement Address at University of Texas at Austin 2014

• George Michael hospitalized in London

• The 25 US cities with the highest HIV/AIDS rates - you might be surprised

• Republican congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania supports marriage equality

• New Gallup poll shows Americans are still split over whether gays are "born that way" or if environment makes the gay

• Mayor Bill Peduto will officiate up to 20 same-sex marriages at this years PrideFest in Pittsburgh

• Jennifer Hudson on performing at both LA and NYC Pride this year: It was the gays who loved me first

Another shirtless pic of Casper Smart, just because...

Right wing fanatic Janet Porter calls Disney's Gay Days "public displays of perversion"

Anti-gay activist Janet Porter
Right Wing Watch points up this charming radio bulletin from anti-gay activist Janet Porter that “the homosexual agenda is planning to once again descend on Disney World in Orlando, Florida to expose your children to far more than Mickey Mouse and Space Mountain.”

Porter warns listeners that “cross-dressing men will be among those parading public displays of perversion.”

In case you've never had the chance to experience Gay Days at Disney, allow me to set the story straight, if you will: Gay Days at Disney are no more "perverse" than any other day at a Disney theme park. I've been many times and it's merely a day to underline the inclusiveness of the parks to gay and lesbian families. These families are interested in enjoying the Disney experience - not turning the day into some drag show.

It's insulting that Porter, who I'm pretty sure has never attended a Disney "Gay Day," would spout off about things she knows nothing about.

But then, that's par for the course coming from her edge of the loony spectrum.

Listen to the icky message to her followers below.  

For more info about Gay Days, head over to the official website.

First Listen to Original Broadway Cast Recording "IF/THEN" starring Idina Menzel


Broadway fans! Idina Menzel fans!

The “First Listen” for the Broadway Cast Recording of If/Then starring Idina Menzel is available now via USATODAY.  Listen to the entire album here.

IF/THEN marks Idina Menzel's return to Broadway for the first time since winning the Tony Award for Wicked.

If/Then reunites Tom Kitt (music), Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics), and Michael Greif (director), the creative team behind the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical, Next to Normal.

IF/THEN follows Idina Menzel's character, "Elizabeth," as she rebuilds her life in New York, a city of infinite possibilities. This contemporary musical is set where choice and chance collide. In one moment, Elizabeth will lead parallel lives. This is the story of both.

The CD will be available June 3, 2014.

Daredevil James Kingston hangs from London's South Bank Tower by one hand


Daredevil James Kingston climbs London's South Bank Tower and the crane that sits on top to view the city as it wakes.

Note that when he reaches the top, he shares a view while he hangs with one hand.

Balls of steel.




(h/t JMG)

New music: Dolly Parton "Home"


Dolly Parton has released her newest music video - "Home" - from her new CD Blue Smoke. According to Billboard, the album entered the Billboard 200 at #6, her highest solo debut ever.

Set during a photoshoot, Dolly shows us exactly why her appeal only grows.  With a bit of pop/country flavor, she gives you the music, the laugh, the smile, the clothes and the playful artist audiences have come to know over the past 50 years.

Who doesn't love Dolly Parton?








Laverne Cox covers TIME Magazine - "The Transgender Tipping Point"


Look for Laverne Cox, star of Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," on the cover of the June 9 issue of Time Magazine.

Today is Laverne's birthday, so what a present this must be!

The article discusses the increased visibility and awareness of transgender people.

We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say ‘This is who I am.’ And more trans people are willing to tell their stories. More of us are living visibly and pursuing our dreams visibly, so people can say, ‘Oh yeah, I know someone who is trans.’ When people have points of reference that are humanizing, that demystifies difference.

You can read the Q&A at Time.com.

Check out a short "behind the scenes" video with Cox from Time Magazine below:

Broadway: Kelli O'Hara sings "To Build A Home" from The Bridges of Madison County


From the New York Times "In Performance" series, five-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O'Hara sings "To Build A Home" from this season's new musical "The Bridges of Madison County."

The voice is clearly perfection. And the skill Kelli demonstrates here is jaw dropping.

I worked with Kelli some years in the first Broadway revival of Sondheim's "Follies," and we knew then what audiences would soon find out about Kelli.

I'm sorry to hear "Bridges" closed prematurely. All my friends on Broadway lament it's passing saying it was true artistry on display. Hit the video below and enjoy real talent.




(via New York Times)

Sen. Orrin Hatch on the inevitability of marriage equality in the US

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch

Seven term Republican Senator from Utah Orrin Hatch indicated during a radio interview with KSL Radio’s "Doug Wright Show" that he views marriage equality as inevitable, and anyone who doesn't think so "Isn't living in the real world."

"Let’s face it, anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on. There is a question whether [the courts] should be able to tell the states what they can or cannot do with something as important as marriage, but the trend right now in the courts is to permit gay marriage and anybody who doesn’t admit that just isn’t living in the real world.

"We have an excellent federal bench [in Utah]. Other federal judges down there might not have arrived at the same conclusion that these two have. But I think it’s a portent of the future that sooner or later gay marriage is probably going to be approved by the Supreme Court of the United States, certainly as the people in this country move towards it, especially young people.

"I don’t think that’s the right way to go; on the other hand, I do accept whatever the courts say."

It should be noted that Hatch played a key role, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in the nominations of both Robert Shelby (who ruled Utah's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional) and Dale Kimball (who recently declared Utah must recognize those same-sex couples who married in Utah during the brief window between late December and January 6).

(source)

Texas restaurant to gay couple: "We don't serve fags here"

Collin Dewberry (L) and Kelly Williams (R)

Collin Dewberry, after having breakfast with his partner at Big Earl's in Pittsburg, Texas, was told by the waitress not to return saying "We don't serve fags here."

Having lived in East Texas their whole lives, Collin and his partner Kelly Williams said they have never been called "fags" before. “We’ve never had that kind of hate displayed to us before,” Dewberry said.

When asked what was wrong, the waitress recited this phrase which was also posted on the front door: “Here at Big Earl’s we like for men to act like men and for ladies to act like ladies, so we want you to never return.”


When interviewed, the owner, Big Earl, said that while he didn't see what they had done that was supposedly "inappropriate," he did say it appeared the men were touching legs.

Big Earl made a point to say the posted policy had been in place since the restaurant opened three years ago. When asked what exactly it meant, Big Earl said, “You’re welcome to come and eat, but a man act like a man and a woman act like a woman. Dress appropriately and act appropriately when you’re in a public place.”

And what, exactly, should a man act like and what a woman should act like? He responded, “The same thing it says. That a man’s supposed to stand up and be a leader. He’s not supposed to be a woman. He’s not supposed to come in here in a dress.”

According to the news report from KLTV, neither men were wearing a dress.

Big Earl also mentioned that the men had been badgering the waitress and it was all caught on surveillance cameras, but he wouldn't allow the reporter to view the footage.

Watch KLTV's report below.

KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

(source)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Britain's Got Talent hottie magician Darcy Oake makes himself disappear

Britain's Got Talent hunk magician Darcy Oake - for his next trick can we see him naked?  Maybe make his clothes disappear?
Britain's Got Talent hottie Darcy Oake

Hunky hottie Darcy Oake is killing it these days on Britain's Got Talent.

This past week he made himself disappear.  But where does he go?

Smooooooth....



Houston passes LGBT protections ordinance by vote of 11-6


After more than 200 speakers testified today, the Houston City Council, led by openly gay Mayor Annise Parker, passed a sweeping LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance.

The vote was 11-6.

The ordinance protects Houston citizens on the basis of “sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy.”

Houston, with over 2.1 million residents, is the fourth largest city in America.  Until today, Houston was the only major US city without a nondiscrimination ordinance.

Congratulations Houston!




Avengers Assemble for dying fan's wish

Chris Evans ("Captain America")

Stratford Caldecott, dying from prostate cancer, had a last dying wish - one that became one of the greatest superhero gifts ever.

Stratford, a big Marvel comics fan, wanted to live long enough to be able to see The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. So his daughter Sophie, with nothing to lose, posted the following request on her personal blog:

"We’re going to try and get in touch with Marvel to ask if they can fulfill dad’s dying wish by sending us a copy of the film for him to watch at home. But I think we can go further than that. We’re also going to tweet the Avengers actors and see if they will take a picture of themselves holding a sign saying ‘Captain America/Thor/Iron Man [insert name of character here] for Strat!’ so that we can surprise him with their messages of support and encouragement."

So what happens next?

Shortly thereafter, a Marvel executive arrived at her door, followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely with a promise to deliver a copy of the movie to her dad.

But - it gets better. Look below...

Heroes do sometimes appear in the nick of time.

Click here for more #CapForStrat pics from the Avengers film actors.

Samuel L. Jackson ("Nick Fury")

Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") and Robert Downey Jr ("IronMan")

Mark Ruffalo ("The Hulk")

Jeremy Renner ("Hawkeye")

(source)
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