Friday, July 31, 2015

And Now For Something Completely Different...


I'm thinking of some Friday fare for you shiny, happy people and I was reminded I've been meaning to post this.

If you don't follow Derek Russo on Twitter, you're missing out.

Italian, loud, funny, great sense of humor, with some opinions to be shared - Derek never fails to entertain me.

He recently shared this little bit of video as he killed some time during filming of #AshVsDCdead with the guys at WTFLOL on YouTube.

Find Derek on Twitter here, and Facebook here.

And you can see a preview of Ash vs. The DC Dead here.

By the way, you can see what he looks like under all that makeup below :)

Happy Friday!


One Direction Drops First New Track Minus Zayn Malik - "Drag Me Down"


One Direction apparently surprised folks this morning when they decided to drop their first "post-Zayn Malik" track on the internet - "Drag Me Down."

Swapping lyric lines (as they do in the boy band genre) the group sounds as bouncy, bright and complete as ever.

From Billboard:

On its first single without recently departed member Zayn Malik -- and its first since its five-year anniversary as a group -- One Direction romantically alludes to the diehard Directioners and their place in the group’s phenomenal run of success; it’s basically the Backstreet Boys’ “Larger Than Life” with a slightly less bombastic guitar riff.

The best news for One Direction fans is that the quartet does not sound incomplete: the group compensates for Malik’s absence by giving each member ample time to shine, and the harmonies admirably resonate on the call-and-response portions of the pre-chorus.

Take a listen below.

News Round-Up: July 31, 2015

Felippe and Marlon on the streets of Sao Paulo

Some news stories you may have missed:

• Sexy Brazilian couple Felippe & Marlon expose homophobia by exposing themselves via a nighttime nude photo shoot in Sao Paulo.

• Donald Trump joins the deniers on climate change: "It’s weather. You’re going to have bad weather. I don’t happen to believe it’s manmade.”

• The Republican Party scores it's lowest approval rating in decades.

• The White House announces expansion to HIV strategy over the next five years that includes full access to pre-exposure prophylaxis services.

• The parents of a Texas gay man have filed a lawsuit against the Galveston police department after he was allegedly denied his anxiety medication, suffered seizures and eventually died while in custody.

• Right wing nut and U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas thinks he can prove a point by dropping four gay couples on one island and four straight couples on another. Not sure what it would prove, but I know which island I'd pick.

Steve Grand Wants More Attention On His Music, Less Attention On His Body


My readers know a big focus here on The Randy Report is supporting independent LGBT artists, be they musicians, film makers, theater artists or otherwise. I admire and want their work enjoyed by the masses.

One of those artists is "All-American Boy" Steve Grand.

Out singer/songwriter Grand took to his Facebook page recently to vent that some LGBT media outlets seem cover more of his revealing shirtless/semi-naked pics than they do his music. While I haven't seen anything negative from the coverage he's been given, apparently he feels he's been "slut-shamed" for wearing revealing swimwear.

From his Facebook page:

I usually let things like this pass without speaking up about it. For two years I've trudged through it all with a smile, so hopefully I'll get a pass for speaking up on my behalf this time.

It would be nice if any other aspect of my life/work as an artist/advocate got a fraction of the press I get for wearing a bathing suit by gay media.

And no, this is not a "message to the 'haters,'" but a message for those at all interested in what I have to say about me.

I have carved a unique path for myself as an artist/performer. My album debuted at #3 on Billboard's Independent Albums Chart last March. I've performed on National TV & in front of live audiences all over the world. I ran the most successful music Kickstarter campaign by an artist never signed on a label. I broke download records on bandcamp.com for my first song without management or a label. I've been sent overseas by the U.S. State department where I spoke out for LGBTQ rights and gave master classes to music students about the business from the perspective of an Independent artist. I've done more benefit concerts for the community than I can remember. I travel with live musicians despite it being far less profitable so that my fans get the very best show from me. I've never not stopped to take a picture with a fan, even when my meet and greets go beyond 2 hours. I’ve been so fortunate to connect with people in the very unique and special ways only singer/songwriters can and am forever grateful to my fans who have made it all possible! And I continue to invest every last cent into my work to the point of my own personal and financial detriment.

And a few more random thoughts…

Outside of my work as an artist/performer/advocate, I am a colorful, complex, deeply flawed, ever-evolving young man just happy to barely make enough doing what I love to get by. I am most energized when I am performing live, but other times, I would do just about anything to be invisible. I am nuanced, sensitive, and reflective, but on stage I am loud, confident, and in control. I am not simple. I am layers of apparent contradictions. I struggle in silence from crippling anxiety and depression that sometimes keeps me from leaving my bed altogether, but I also enjoy moments of incredible lightness and freedom. Nothing about me is black and white. I am every clashing, screaming color of intensity. I don’t believe in god, but I believe that human connection can be so powerful, it can feel supernatural. My capacity to love deeply is mirrored only by my ability to hurt and feel pain. I hate being made to feel like a victim but even more, hate to feel misunderstood. I feel so much compassion for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, many of whom are damaged in all kinds of ways from the world we were brought up in, but I feel so much anger for the way I see how quick we are to judge and hurt one another. I have worked very hard for many years to do what I do, but I also recognize I have been very privileged in many ways. I love learning about the universe because it makes my life and my life’s respective worries and fears seem so small and insignificant. I don’t believe any person is any better or worse than the next. I wish want to find some peace and relief in this life that can often be so senselessly cruel.

Thank you for your continued love and support and for making all of this possible to begin with. Forever grateful to each and every one of you.

Grand then went on a fairly extensive Twitter attack on Queerty in particular.























Queerty responded with the following classy response, plus several clothed pics of Grand and a link to his album All-American Boy:

Okay, Steve, we hear you loud and clear. We are huge fans, and Queerty readers love you. We dig your half naked pics, but you look (and sound) pretty great in clothing too.


I want to add to the end of this odd little episode that I'm a fan of both Queerty and Steve Grand.

Queerty does a great job with a fun, playful voice that's entertaining and informative.

I've posted about Grand's career and music here on The Randy Report since his big splash with the music video of "All-American Boy."

The only time I've ever posted a semi-naked pic of Grand was for his ALS Ice Bucket challenge pic which he chose to do naked, and was meant to be seen.

That being said, in all that time, I'm not aware of Grand ever sharing or retweeting any of my posts about him.

I'm not complaining, and I'm not making this about me, but I am making a point.

I've been here the whole time being supportive and what he might term "non-exploitive" - but he's taken no notice nor chosen to share my support. I know he follows me on Twitter so he's aware of The Randy Report.

So, I'll finish with this invitation to Steve: why not share my posts if you'd like more straight-forward support out there? My readers know I've been a long-time advocate for out independent musicians like yourself, Matt Zarley, Justin Utley, Tom Goss, Matt Alber, Jay Brannan, Eli Lieb and more.

I appreciate your music and your advocacy. I've been posting the kind of support you seem to be looking for. I may not have 12 million readers, but my 100,000 readers are loyal and supportive.

Now, can we all just love each other?

Happy Friday!

Henry Rollins: Bend Over America, Here Comes President Trump

I've written before about the very smart, very articulate writing of Black Flag front man Henry Rollins.

He recently wrote an essay for LAWeekly that completely captures the cynical zeitgeist of GOP politics regarding Donald Trump.

I encourage you to read the entire piece, but here's just a sample.

In a nation of hundreds of millions of people, there is one man born to lead. A man who stands head and shoulders above the rest. A lone alpha who burns incandescent in a vast wasteland of darkness.

When asked to serve in Vietnam, he said no and took a deferment. He took a few of them, actually, because he is his own man.

He got married. The merger didn’t work. She was fired. So was the next one. It’s business, not personal — like America!

He has overcome adversity. Like bankruptcy. And with an almost Michelangelo-like genius, he conquered the K2 challenge of his hair.

He is what America needs. A man with so much self-confidence that, if you put him in the Oval Office, some of it will no doubt trickle down to you.

Who is this man who will put all other world leaders in their place? The same man who just read a cellphone number, allegedly Lindsey Graham’s private line, out loud so the world could hear. (Hey, I laughed.) This man is America.

So bend over, relax and hold onto something solid, because here he comes — here comes Donald Trump 2016. And when he puts it in, you’ll know who your daddy is.

Just Because... Happy Friday!


Happy Friday!

Thanks to Wicked Gay Blog for the "because..."

Twitter: University Of California Student Calls Out NBC News Over DuBose Reporting


Bravo to Rigel Robinson who took to Twitter to school NBC News on the outlet's choice of headshots used when tweeting about the recent shooting of Samuel DuBose by University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing.

Via Huffington Post:
NBC’s headline announced that the officer, Ray Tensing, had been indicted for murder in Dubose’s death. However, the network’s photo choice -- a smiling shot of Tensing in uniform and an old mug shot of Dubose from a charge totally unrelated to his death -- implied that Dubose was more of a “criminal” than Tensing.

“Hey @NBCNews, I went ahead and fixed this one for you. Do Better,” Rigel Robinson tweeted, along with a split image of a regular photo of Dubose alongside Tensing’s mugshot.

“How we tell these narratives is important,” Robinson, 19, told The Huffington Post. “Digging up an old mugshot for the black man that got shot instead of the officer that was just indicted for killing him does a disservice to the memory of Mr. Dubose, it does a disservice to journalism, and frankly, it's just racist.”

Clearly, Robinson has a point here. Take a look at the pics above and tell me the which one you think NBC News wants you to identify as the "bad guy?"

Video Of Stabbing Attack At Jerusalem Pride


Yesterday I posted about the stabbing attack at Jerusalem Pride by an Ultra-Orthodox Jew who had been imprisoned for years after a similar attack in 2005. Six parade attendees were injured; two critically.

Video has surfaced of the gruesome attack, and I think it's important to see. Reading about violence is an entirely different visceral experience than actually SEEING it.

Folks should witness the actual blinding hatred that happens against LGBTs in real life.

Take a look below.



(via JMG)

Zimbabwe Begins Process Of Requesting Extradition Of Walter Palmer Over Hunting Protected Lion


The government of Zimbabwe has begun the process of requesting the extradition of American dentist Walter Palmer in connection with the alleged illegal hunting of a protected lion in a Zimbabwe national park.

ABC News reports:

In the Zimbabwean government's first official comment on the killing of Cecil the lion, the environment, water and climate minister lashed out at Walter James Palmer, accusing him even of trying to hurt Zimbabwe's image.

"Unfortunately it was too late to apprehend the foreign poacher as he had already absconded to his country of origin," Oppah Muchinguri told a news conference. "We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he be made accountable."

On Tuesday, Palmer issued a statement saying he relied on his guides to ensure the hunt was legal. Two Zimbabweans — a professional hunter and a farm owner — have been arrested in the killing of the lion, an act which has garnered worldwide condemnation.

"There has been an outcry," Muchinguri said. "Almost 500,000 people are calling for his extradition and we need this support. We want him tried in Zimbabwe because he violated our laws."

"I have already consulted with the authorities within the police force who are responsible for arresting the criminal. We have certain processes we have to follow," Muchinguri said at the offices of the national parks and wildlife authority. "Police should take the first step to approach the prosecutor general who will approach the Americans. The processes have already started."

In related news, a petition launched by LGBT activist Scott Wooledge requesting the extradition of Palmer by the US government has garnered over 173,000 signatures in just 3 days. The White House has announced it will officially respond to the petition.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Commercial: Calvin Klein Jeans Gets All Sexty

One of five images in the new Calvin Klein Jeans campaign
In a departure from recent celebrity driven ad campaigns, Calvin Klein Jeans is turning to a social media/sexting environment for it's latest approach to jeans sales clearly targeting the millennials.

The initial commercial features all kinds of connections, including gay and straight couples (and truples) and more.

From WWD:
“Hahah a light threesome never hurt anyone ☺ ☺ ☺” reads the corresponding text message box alongside one of five Calvin Klein Jeans campaign images, a gritty black-and-white photo of two women lounging beside a shirtless man, made to look like it was shot moments before engaging in the suggested act. Another image depicts a woman in an open relationship that is texting with a potential hookup, assuring him that her boyfriend is “cool” with her doing whatever she wants (it’s unclear which paramour she’s pictured with).

“Our past campaigns have been more image-driven and this one was about starting a conversation through provocation,” Melisa Goldie, Calvin Klein Inc. chief marketing officer, told WWD about the next phase of #mycalvins campaign that hits today. The inaugural #mycalvins underwear campaign hit in February 2014 and expanded to include denim in October.
Check out the gay couple from the spot below, followed by the full one minute commercial.

A video posted by Calvin Klein (@calvinklein) on



(h/t JMG)

Cincinnati: Body Cam Video Released In Connection To Shooting Death Of Samuel DuBose



WARNING: This video contains graphic content. Watch the full bodycam footage of the shooting incident that resulted in the death of Samuel Dubose on July 19th.
Posted by msnbc on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge for fatally shooting Samuel DuBose during a traffic stop July 19.

Samuel DuBose was stopped for not having a front license plate.

The footage above is from Officer Tensing's body cam.

Things escalate at about the 2:15 mark.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters issued this statement after releasing the body cam video to the public: "It's an absolute tragedy that anyone would behave in this manner. It was senseless. It's just horrible. He purposefully killed him."

Officer Tensing originally said DuBose tried to run him down and he feared he would get "sucked up under the car."

Read more about the case here.

Former Navy Seal Files Allegations Of Anti-Gay Harassment In CIA

Brett Jones
Brett Jones, a former Navy SEAL who received national attention after writing a memoir about his time in the elite military unit, has filed a complaint against a CIA contractor after receiving anti-gay harassment during a recent deployment in June as a CIA contractor.

After leaving the military in 2003, Jones became a military contractor. This recent assignment was his second deployment to Afghanistan since his book, “Pride: The Story of the First Openly Gay Navy SEAL,” which chronicled his 6 years as a SEAL.

But this mission, Jones sensed something was awry upon arrival.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Things seemed wrong as soon as his helicopter landed near his post in Afghanistan last month. Typically there was someone to pick up new arrivals and drive them and their gear to their headquarters. Not this time; he said he walked the quarter-mile to the compound.

He retreated to his room and found his floor dirty and a sheet smelling of feces. Jet-lagged and tired, he slept on the mattress, he recalled.

He overheard people calling him a “faggot,” and he said they were defensive when he confronted them about it.

And during a test ride of some of the team’s vehicles, he got out to walk a stretch through hairy terrain. The team ditched him in 120-degree temperatures, without water, forcing him to walk part way back to their compound before they stopped to let him back inside.

“I heard a faint laughing followed by a distant, ‘He can walk back!’ The door closed and they drove out of sight,” Jones said in a statement.

Ultimately, Jones said he feared for his life concerned that if he were to raise his voice, he could possibly suffer even worse harassment or worse. “Oh my God, what if they did something to try and hurt me and make it seem like an accident,” he said.

In the end, he arranged to leave the assignment early.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the congressional committee that oversees intelligence communities, issued this statement:

“We must embrace and foster diversity, which is why the Committee prioritized recruiting a diverse workforce in its annual authorization bill. There is no place for discrimination in our Intelligence Community workforce, and I will continue to monitor this case.”

Valerie Harper Rushed To Hospital After Being Found Unconscious At Theater


Valerie Harper, iconic television actress and star of the 70s series Rhoda, was rushed to the hospital last night when she was found unconscious backstage during a performance of Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Ogunquit Playhouse.

The Ogunquit Playhouse issued this statement:

Valerie Harper was taken to a local hospital as a precaution before her July 29 evening performance of Nice Work If You Can Get It, at the Ogunquit Playhouse, after reporting that she was not feeling well. She is resting comfortably and will remain in the hospital for observation for the time being.

Valerie has been performing in the Ogunquit production as Millicent Winter along with Sally Struthers as Duchess Estonia Dulworth. “The audiences and all of us here at the Playhouse are greatly enjoying our time with Valerie here in Ogunquit, and we are encouraged that she is feeling better,” Bradford T. Kenney, Executive Artistic Director.

ET reports, however, that it's sources say "It doesn't look good."

Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2013, Harper seemed to make something of a recovery recently when she told ET that she was feeling better and the cancer had not spread to other parts of her body.

Best wishes for Valerie for a robust recovery.

Six Stabbed At Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

Stabbing victims at Jerusalem Pride parade

According to the Jerusalem Post, an ultra-Orthodox man has been arrested for stabbing six people taking part in the Jerusalem gay pride parade today.

The suspect in Thursday's stabbing attack, Yishai Shlissel, is the same man who perpetrated a similar stabbing attack at the 2005 Jerusalem gay pride parade. He was recently released from prison after having been convicted of stabbing three people during the parade ten years ago.

Six people were wounded in the incident that took place on the corners of Sokolov and Keren Hayesod streets in the capital.

Paramedics were treating two people in serious condition, one in moderate condition and three people who were lightly injured. All of the victims were in their thirties, according to MDA.

Thousands of people were taking part in the annual pride parade in the capital when the attack occurred.

"I saw an ultra-Orthodox youth stabbing everyone in his way," said Shai Aviyor, a witness interviewed on Israel's Channel 2 television.

"We heard people screaming, everyone ran for cover, and there were bloodied people on the ground," Aviyor said.

Suspected attacker Yishai Schlissel

Leslie Jordan Faces Down Young Homophobes At West Hollywood Starbucks


Here's a life lesson for homophobes: do not head into the gayest coffee shop in the gayest neighborhood in the world and start trouble with an Emmy Award-winning queen in attendance.

She will cut a bitch.

Apparently, late Wednesday morning, three young men in their 20s walked into the Starbucks located on Santa Monica Blvd right in the heart of West Hollywood.

For some reason, the three started throwing out antigay slurs at customers who, by all accounts were deep in thought over their $5 lattes.

Queerty has the details:
“You will die, fucking faggots!” one of the men allegedly announced to the entire store.

Joseph Daniels, who was waiting in line at the time, told WEHOville, “It was very scary and unexpected.” But he wasn’t going to let a group of d-bags get the best of him. He walked over to the men and told them their behavior was “rude.”

Then the manager came along and told them to get the hell out.

The thugs refused to leave and proceeded to call everyone in the store “faggots.” And that’s when things got really heated. Because unbeknownst to the homophobes, Leslie Jordan happened to be there.

Yes, the Leslie Jordan.

The 4’11 Southern gentleman approached the men, fuming, and told them to “Get out of my house!” before chasing them out the front doors.

Once outside, the men continued screaming antigay epithets. But Jordan wasn’t having any of it.

“The guy lunged at Leslie to hit him,” Daniels said of one of the men. “Then Leslie threw his drink at the guy. Then (another) guy threw his drink to hit me.”

Police were called. They advised Jordan and the other patrons not to file charges against the homophobes, saying that if they did the men could accuse them of assault for throwing coffee at them.

Daniels told WEHOville that the three men stormed away, but continued screaming “faggots” and making obscene gestures.

“He provoked it,” Daniels said of one of the three men. “He spewed hate crime words against everybody and threw a drink at Leslie. Why couldn’t he have been charged with disorderly conduct?”

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Local Hunter Charged In Unlawful Hunt & Killing Of Cecil The Lion


The local hunter, Theo Brookhorst, who assisted Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer in hunting and killing Cecil the lion has been officially charged in Zimbabwe with "failing to supervise, control and take reasonable steps to prevent an unlawful hunt."

After pleading not guilty and surrendering his passport, Bronkhorst posted $1,000 bail and agreed to return on August 5th for trial.

If found guilty, Bronkhorst faces a fine of $20,000 and up to 10 years in prison. Zimbabwe officials have not yet commented on possible additional charges for Walter Palmer.

(source)

Best Squatter On Twitter Today


You know this must drive The Donald insane...

New Music: Mikey Wax "Love Always Wins" (Feat. Prophecy)


Inspired by the recent SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality, pop/rock artist Mikey Wax recorded "Love Always Wins" to celebrate not only the court decision but the euphoria that followed as same-sex marriage became the law of the land.

Packed with uplifting and positive lyrics, the music video utilizes footage captured at the moment of the ruling on the steps of the Supreme Court, plus celebrations across America.

Check this from Mikey:
My best friend is gay. His words of hope and happiness after the Supreme Court ruling inspired this song. I truly believe that despite race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, love always wins.

And the folks at E! Entertainment took note. This song is currently featured in the promo commerciasl for Caitlyn Jenner's new TV series "I Am Cait" on E! Entertainment.

Congrats to Mikey for the uplifting summer tune, and thanks for being an LGBT ally :)

You can find the track on iTunes here, and follow Mikey on Facebook here.

Church Denounces Pastor Dewey Smith's Sermon Regarding Same-Sex Marriage


According to Christian Post, last the viral video of Pastor E. Dewey Smith vigorously denouncing those who would judge LGBTs over same-sex marriage was never meant to imply the church nor the pastor supports same-sex marriage.

That clip was posted without our knowledge by someone who was in attendance and gives absolutely no context concerning the overall message.

Since that time enumerable media outlets have posted the clip with captions best suited for their journalistic and editorial priorities.

It's important to know that the descriptions of the posted sermon clip are not the opinions of E. Dewey Smith Jr.

By no means is Smith now, nor has he ever been a proponent of same-sex marriage. Smith has always believed and taught that marriage is only designed for a man and a woman.

This reality was clearly stated during the sermon but not included for some reason by the person who posted the clip. Smith believes that same-sex marriage isn't the Will of God.

Many publications have tried to present the message as affirmation of equal rights for the LGBT community. Regardless of how the clip is 'bent' that was not the content nor intent of the message.

You can view the video of the now-famous rant here.

Alabama: 13 Counties Are Still Refusing To Issue Same-Sex Couples Marriage Licenses


Southern Equality reports that 13 counties in Alabama are still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Come on, kids. What's it gonna take to get you to do your duty as an elected official? You can't  pick and choose what parts of your job you will or will not do.

Across the 13 impacted counties, projected annual lost revenue totals $132,106.50 due to probate judges closing county offices.

A total of 330,236 people live in the 13 Alabama counties that are not issuing marriage licenses to any couples. Additionally, an estimated 313 same-sex couples live in the impacted counties, with an estimated 18% of them raising children.

More at the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Petition To Extradite Lion Killer Walter Palmer To Zimbabwe


LGBT activist Scott Wooledge launched the petition above at WhiteHouse.gov to urge Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch  to cooperate in extraditing Walter Palmer - now famous for killing national park lion Cecil in Zimbabwe - to face charges for illegal hunting.

Hit this link to sign. In only 24 hours the petition has almost 50,000 signatures. The White House has pledged to respond to every petition that reaches at least 100,000 signatures.

Hot Chef Flusters TV Talk Show Host


Scot Haney, co-host of “Better Connecticut”, was left speechless by uber-handsome chef Ryan Durant during an interview about his restaurant Assaggio.

When Haney asked Durant if Durant was married, things got a little hot in the kitchen :)

A video posted by Billy (@unapologeticbztch) on

Jimmy Kimmel Slams American Dentist Walter Palmer Over Killing Of Cecil The Lion



Jimmy shares his thoughts (and gets a bit choked up) talking about the Minnesota dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion, a local favorite in a Zimbabwe national park.

“First of all, stop saying you ‘took’ the animal. You take aspirin. You killed the lion. You didn’t take it.

"The big question is, why are you shooting a lion in the first place? I mean, I’m honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that? How is that fun?

"Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things that are stronger than you? If that’s the case they have a pill for that, it works great. Just stay home and swallow it and you save yourself a lifetime of being the most hated man in America who never advertised Jello pudding on television.”

If you’d like to donate to the wildlife preservation group who had previously been keeping track of the lion, please visit http://www.wildcru.org/

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

PETA Responds To Walter Palmer's Killing Of Cecil The Lion


More at PETA's Twitter account.

American Dentist Walter Palmer Kills National Park Lion In Zimbabwe


Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer is caught in the middle of a social media shit storm as the Telegraph has reported that the American hunter hunted and killed a popular attraction, Cecil the lion, from a national park in Zimbabwe.

Conservation groups in Zimbabwe reacted angrily to the news that the 13-year-old animal had been killed: partly because the lion was known to visitors and seemingly enjoyed human contact, and partly because of the way in which he was killed. He was lured out of the national park and shot.

“As far as I understand, Walter believes that he might have shot that lion that has been referred to as Cecil,” a spokesman for Mr Palmer said.

During the hunt – which the organisers later admitted was badly carried out – Cecil was lured at night about half a mile out of the national park using bait, and then shot with a bow and arrow. The next day he was found wounded by the hunters and killed, before being beheaded and skinned.

Animals cannot be killed within the confines of the park. The hunters then removed his collar – further contravening park rules.

In 2008, court records show, he (Palmer) pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal wildlife officials concerning the exact location of the slaying of a black bear during a guided hunt in Wisconsin. He was sentenced to a year probation.

Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force's Johnny Rodrigues gave this statement to The Guardian:

The hunt took place around 6 July. “They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil,” Rodrigues said. “They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and they scented an area about half a kilometre from the park.”

The hunter first shot at Cecil with a bow and arrow but failed to kill the lion. “They tracked him down and found him 40 hours later when they shot him with a gun,” Rodrigues said.

The 13-year-old lion was wearing a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University research project that had been running since 1999, making it possible to trace his last movements. Rodrigues said the hunters tried to destroy the collar, but failed.

Emmanuel Fundira, the president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, confirmed at a news conference that Dr. Palmer is wanted for the death of Cecil the lion, but that his whereabouts were unknown.

UPDATE: Walter Palmer issued the following statement today regarding the killing of Cecil:

"In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.

"I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.

"I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.

"Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."

A petition has been launched demanding justice for Cecil.

Matt Baume Explains New Rules Regarding Openly Gay Scout Leaders


Matt Baume explains the new rule change at the Boy Scouts of America allowing gay scout leaders, and whether that means any young scouts are now at more risk.

(Here's a hint: nope)

While 79% of the National Executive Board of The Boy Scouts of America voted to lift its nation-wide ban on gay adult scout leaders, local chapters are still allowed to decide whether they will discriminate against gay scout leaders.

“The Boy Scouts are a private group, and they’re free to decide who can be a member. In fact, individual chapters are still allowed to deny access to LGBT leaders. Non-discrimination laws just don’t apply here, like they do for public facilities and businesses.”

Got that? Private and religious organizations are NOT under attack. Sorry to disappoint you there, Bryan Fischer.

A former scout himself, Baume explains why having openly gay scout leaders will make a difference in the lives of LGBT youth:

“I didn’t know that I was gay when I was a 7 year-old Boy Scout. I just knew that I was different. And nothing would have been more important to me than to know that I wasn’t alone. And when I got a little older to have seen that people like me aren’t a threat and are just as trustworthy, and helpful and loyal as anyone else.”

NFL Upholds 4 Game Suspension For Patriots' Tom Brady

Donald Trump Would "Love" To Have Sarah Palin Be Part Of His (Never Gonna Happen) Administration


Appearing on The Palin Update (yes, there is such a "show"), Donald Trump lauded the former half-term governor of Alaska for being "tough" and "smart."

This is really all you need to know about a fictitious Trump administration, via Right Wing Watch:

Host Kevin Scholla asked the GOP presidential candidate, “If there is a Trump administration, could you see picking up the phone, giving the governor a call and picking her brain on some things, or perhaps having her along in some official capacity.”

“I’d love that,” Trump replied. “Because she really is somebody who knows what’s happening and she’s a special person, she’s really a special person and I think people know that.”

“Everybody loves her,” he added. Trump went on to say that unlike the former half-term Alaska governor, his current Republican rivals are “weak” and “ineffective” leaders “to a degree that’s actually almost hard to believe.”

Voters, Trump explained, “like the Sarah Palin kind of strength, you just don’t see very much of it anymore.”


I will agree Trump hits it on the head when he describes Palin as a "special" person.

Trump has criticized "quitters' in the past, so I'm not sure how her resignation after only two years in office as governor of Alaska sits with the Donald.

Trump on Palin: "She's tough and smart..."

Oh, my sides....

Fox News' Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Sandra Bland Could Have Used Cigarette As A Weapon


I kid you not. Hasselbeck actually said this in all seriousness. This is not The Onion.

Speaking to former New York Police Department officer John Raffery, Fox News personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested that the police officer caught on dash cam video asked Sandra Bland to exit her car because he was afraid Bland would wield her cigarette as a weapon.

Via Raw Story:

Rafferty said that Trooper Brian Encinia was placed on administrative duty by his department. They acknowledged that the officer stepped over the line in his violent arrest of Bland, who had merely changed lanes without using a signal.

“It appears, looking at this, because she didn’t put out the cigarette next thing he knows, he’s asking the person to step out of the vehicle,” Rafferty said about Encinia. “You can’t take it personal. It’s the job.”

“But, what if, I mean, there are times, I’m sure, someone has, in the history of this land, used a cigarette against a police officer,” said Hasselbeck, “maybe chucked it at him, pushed it at him.”

More Video From The Irreverent Warriors Shirtless March For Veterans

Shirtless Marines are walking for a good cause.

These Marines are walking 22 kilometers without their shirts on for a very good reason

Posted by NowThis on Monday, July 27, 2015

Tom Cruise Proves "Mission Possible" In Lip Sync Battle With Jimmy Fallon

Tom Cruise gives serious face in epic lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show

Tom Cruise stopped by The Tonight Show to promote the new MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movie opening this weekend, and gave a committed performance in a Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon.

At one point, Tom threatens to pull out an Ace card, but it ends up just a tease.

I forget, with all the silly tabloid stories staring us in the face at the grocery store, how appealing and infectious Tom Cruise really is.

And may I say - still has fabulous hair. #RockThatHair





Viral Video: New Zealand Students Perform Haka Dance At Teacher's Funeral


Ok, this is awesome. Imminently watchable. The passion these students have is undeniable.

Mashable has the details:

At least 1,700 boys at Palmerston North Boys' High School on New Zealand's North Island participated in the epic performance for their physical education and maths teacher, Dawson Tamatea.

Tamatea, 55, died in his sleep on July 20, according to TVNZ. He had been a teacher at the school for almost 30 years.

"This was a very emotional and powerful performance," the school wrote on its YouTube channel. "We are extremely proud of our boys' performance and we know that Mr Tamatea would be too."

The haka has become renowned internationally due to its prominence in rugby union football, where it is performed as a war cry before matches played by New Zealand's teams.


(h/t JMG)

Mike Huckabee's Holocaust Comments Leave Jon Stewart Speechless

GOP: The Mad (Not A) Scientists

Monday, July 27, 2015

Donald Trump's "Special Counsel" Threatens Reporter

Donald Trump's special counsel Michael Cohen out loud to a reporter

The Daily Beast reported today on Donald Trump's use of the word "rape" in recent weeks referring to Mexican immigrants. It turns out the Donald has something of a history with the word.

The Daily Beast went back to Trump's 1990 divorce from his ex-wife Ivana, where she alleged in court documents that he violently assaulted her on one occasion and forced her to have sex invoking the word "rape."

Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, “You’re talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse."

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word rape, and I’m going to mess your life up… for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet… you’re going to have judgements against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it,” he added.

Interesting that a lawyer in New York state would be ignorant of the law regarding spousal rape.  At one time, there was a so-called “marital rape exemption” to the law, but it was struck down in 1984.

In addition, there were other times when the Donald weighed in on cases of alleged rape over the years. Read the story over at The Daily Beast.

In any case, it's fascinating that this is who a man running for "president" would dispatch to speak for him.

Is Michael Cohen going to threaten heads of state who may not agree with a (never gonna happen) Trump administration?

Bryan Fischer: Obama Was "Rude" To Bring Up LGBT Rights In Kenya

Bryan Fischer, of the anti-gay American Family Association, says President Obama was "rude" to stand up for LGBT rights during his visit to Kenya over the weekend.

Via Right Wing Watch:
"These political leaders know what homosexual behavior does," he said, and they "want something better for the African people than what homosexual conduct give them."

These leaders do not need someone like Obama lecturing them, Fischer continued, because they "are more enlightened" than the United State on this issue.

"We are smart enough, we are bright enough, we are intelligent enough, we are sane enough to make this kind of behavior contrary to public policy," Fischer said, as he approvingly laid out what he believe the correct African position on this issue to be. "We're not going to embrace it, we're not going to promote it, we're not even going to make it legal."

Nevertheless, President Obama went to Kenya and criticized laws criminalizing homosexuality which, Fischer said, "in my mind just makes him rude."

Interestingly, Fischer says that most African nations outlaw homosexuality, in part, because the continent has been ravaged by AIDS.

What Fischer leaves out is that the vast majority of HIV/AIDS patients in Africa are heterosexual.

Hunky Service Members Show Their Support With 22KM Shirtless March


This past Saturday, 50 active duty service members and veterans walked 22 kilometers (14 miles) from south Mission Beach to La Jolla, California, wearing nothing but their green silkies and combat boots, to raise awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide prevention.

The muscle hunks who organized the walk call themselves the Irreverent Warriors and the number of kilometers (22) they’ll walk and the weight that they’ll carry represents the 22 service members who die from suicide each day.

From the group's website:
We are combat veterans who choose to tell our stories in the same manner that we’d tell them in a living room with our best bros. We choose to express our dark humor and let our terrible jokes fly like eagles, all in an effort to get combat vets to laugh, get together, and stop fucking killing themselves.





(via Gaily Grind)

Boy Scouts Of America Set To End Gay Scout Leader Ban - Almost


A vote scheduled today for the 80 member board of the Boy Scouts of America could officially end the organization's longtime ban on openly gay scout leaders.

Kinda sorta.

In an effort to assuage some conservative religious groups, the new policy allows church-led scout groups to choose adult leaders “whose beliefs are consistent with their own.”

The Boy Scouts’ executive committee unanimously voted earlier this month to approve a resolution that would effectively end the ban on gay adult leaders. Today's vote makes that resolution official.

First Teaser For Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour


First sneak peek at Madonna's upcoming REBEL HEART TOUR.

Complete with pole-dancing nuns!

The tour opens in Montreal on September 8th. More info at Madonna.com.





(h/t Boy Culture)

Todd Starnes: Americans Want Leaders With "Big Man-Parts"


Fox News' Todd Starnes via Twitter:

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote to defund Planned Parenthood's Killing Fields. That sort of emasculated, chicken-hearted leadership is why Donald Trump is surging in the polls. Americans want leaders with man-parts big enough to do the right thing."

I'm sorry, but I'm just a little embarrassed for even a semi-straight guy like Starnes to write the words "man-parts." If you're going to go for the big dick metaphor, go for it.

And I'm guessing Starnes has some "insider" knowledge about the size of Trump's penis?

(h/t JMG)

The Science Of Dogs


My favorite "three minute science guys" over at AsapSCIENCE share this short video exploring the world of dogs.

Hit the video below to learn why dogs often respond to human emotions, how they interpret language, whether they’re really colorblind, which breed is the most popular, how amazing their sense of smell is, and much more.

President Obama Slaps Back At Mike Huckabee Over Iran/Israel Comments

Speaking at a press conference in Ethiopia, President Obama slapped back at current GOP presidential hopefuls who have taken to making "ridiculous" claims about his policies, and "outrageous attacks" that were unbecoming to presidential politics.

The president was asked about Mike Huckabee's assertion yesterday that the nuclear deal currently under consideration with Iran would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”

via Mike Huckabee Twitter

Addressing the question, Obama tied Huckabee's comments to other Republican 2016 nominees:
“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are just part of a general pattern we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad. We’ve had a sitting senator call John Kerry Pontius Pilate. We’ve had a sitting senator, who also happens to be running for president, suggest that I’m the leading state sponsor of terrorism. These are leaders in the Republican Party.”
Obama later said the comments by Huckabee might be an attempt at getting some attention for his languishing presidential campaign: “Maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines."

The president summed up the current political environment like this:
“The Republican Party is shocked, and yet that arises out of a culture where those kinds of outrageous attacks have become far too commonplace and get circulated nonstop through the Internet and talk radio and news outlets. And I recognize that when outrageous statements are made about me, a lot of the same people who were outraged when it’s made about Mr. McCain were pretty quiet.”

“The American people deserve better. Certainly presidential debates deserve better. In 18 months, I’m turning over the keys. I want to make sure I’m turning over the keys to somebody who’s serious about the serious problems the country faces and the world faces.”

(source)

Rush Limbaugh: Boys Are Having Less Sex Because Being Gay Portrayed As "Fun, Hip, Natural"


Last week, Rush Limbaugh told his diminishing radio audience that teenage boys today are having less sex because being gay is being portrayed in the media as "fun, hip, natural... you name it."

Via Towleroad:
On his radio show, Limbaugh says that although 30 years ago a fall in the number of teens having sex would have been seen as a good thing, in 2015 it’s a problem because we “have turned boys into…bullies…predators…or pajama boys.”

He goes on to argue that while heterosexual porn is portrayed as violent and aggressive towards women, gay sex is seen as “loving, sensitive, fun, hip, natural normal [and] cool.”

He concludes that confused teens will therefore choose to become gay because the “lifestyle” is constantly pushed at them.
I've personally never met a man (or teenager) who was truly straight say, "Hey, that gay stuff looks cool. Let me try some of that."

SRSLY.

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