Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mississippi's Same-Sex Adoption Ban Struck Down

U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan has struck down Mississippi's same-sex adoption ban.

From the ruling:

Obergefell held that bans on gay marriage violate the due-process and equal-protection clauses. It is the equal-protection component of the opinion that is relevant in the present dispute over Mississippi’s ban on gay adoptions.

In sum, the majority opinion foreclosed litigation over laws interfering with the right to marry and “rights and responsibilities intertwined with marriage.”

It also seems highly unlikely that the same court that held a state cannot ban gay marriage because it would deny benefits—expressly including the right to adopt—would then conclude that married gay couples can be denied that very same benefit.

The Executive Director of DHS is hereby preliminarily enjoined from enforcing Mississippi Code section 93-17-3(5).

Poll: Clinton And Trump Leading Ahead Of New York Primaries

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump look to have big leads in the upcoming New York State Democratic and Republican primaries on April 17.

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today, Clinton leads Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont 54% - 42%. There are 247 delegates up for grabs in the Democratic primary.

On the GOP side, Trump leads among Republicans with 56%, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 20% and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 19%.

In a hypothetical head-to-head race, the new survey shows Clinton would beat Trump for New York state's electoral votes in a general election by 20 points - 53% - 33%.

First HIV+ Donor To HIV+ Patient Transplants

Big news for HIV+ patients who are in need of an organ transplant.

Surgeons at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center have successfully performed both liver and kidney transplants from an HIV+ donor to HIV+ patients.

From the Los Angeles Times:

In a first that gives HIV-infected patients yet another chance for long lives, surgeons at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center have transplanted a kidney and a liver from a dead donor who was HIV-positive into two HIV-positive recipients.

The transplant surgeries, which used organs donated by the family of an HIV-positive woman, ended a 25-year stretch in which the organs of HIV-infected people willing to donate them were rejected for use in transplants.

The experimental procedure follows the 2013 enactment of the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, or HOPE, which repealed the ban on using such organs for transplantation.

“This is an unbelievably exciting day for our hospital and our team, but more importantly for patients living with both HIV and end-stage organ disease,” said Dr. Dorry L. Segev, the Johns Hopkins surgeon who performed the surgeries.

There are over 120,000 patients on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network’s waiting list. On average, 22 patients die every day while awaiting an available organ.

You can watch a Reuters report here.

Why Bernie Sanders Winning Wisconsin Is Not Like Winning New York

This isn't an "anti-Bernie Sanders" post. It's a post about math and delegates.

With Bernie Sanders leading in Wisconsin and Hillary Clinton looking to lead by 12 points in New York, the WaPo explores why a win for Bernie and a win for Hillary don't serve up the same results.

From the Washington Post:

These states are not equivalent. This is not a tie, with Clinton winning one state and Sanders winning another. It is, instead, a clear demonstration of why Bernie Sanders almost certainly won't be the Democratic nominee.

After all, it comes down to delegates. Wisconsin has 86 delegates; New York has 247. Since the party distributes its delegates proportionally, that means that Sanders's slight Wisconsin lead would earn him a slightly bigger portion of the state's small delegate haul. Clinton's larger New York lead would earn her a larger portion of the state's large delegate haul.

There are still a lot of states after New York for Sanders to make progress. Many of the delegates remaining though -- more than half -- are tied up in three large states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. As we noted earlier this month, Clinton is leading in the most recent polling in those three states, too.

Salesforce CEO Tweets Thanks For Georgia Governor's Veto Of Anti-LGBT Legislation

The CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, tweeted the below gorgeous clip in thanks for the veto of Georgia’s anti-LGBT bill.

Set to audio of Harvey Milk's famous "you gotta give 'em hope" speech, images of diversity across the country fill the screen.

Thanks to Benioff and Salesforce for recognizing the value of dignity for all Americans.

(h/t JMG)

The Late Late Show: "Carpool Karaoke" With JLo

James Corden and The Late Late Show have another homerun "Carpool Karaoke" as Jennifer Lopez joins Corden for a ride.

Via Vanity Fair:

This Jennifer Lopez iteration, which aired last night, is a very good one. Lopez—always appealing—is especially relaxed and on point here (highlights include the harmonizing between the two on Lopez’s “Booty,” as well a brief interlude where Lopez shows Corden how to pose for a “J.Lo music video”).

Lopez also knows how to skillfully weave in tidbits to entice the gossip-hungry masses. She reveals to Corden exactly how many men have proposed marriage to her, and how she handled turning down the two she did.

But the centerpiece, for sure, is when, toward the clip’s end, Corden texts Leonardo DiCaprio from Lopez’s phone (“Hey baby, I’m kind of feeling like I need to cut loose any suggestions? Let me know, J.Lo (you know, from the block)” he writes) . . . and, improbably, DiCaprio responds—in delightful fashion.

University Of Virginia Center For Politics: Electoral Projection For Clinton/Trump Matchup

The University of Virginia Center for Politics has compiled it's first (admittedly early) electoral prediction may based on a probable Hillary Clinton v Donald Trump presidential race.

And the news is good, if you're Hillary Clinton. This calculation shows she would reach well past the required 270 electoral votes, coming in with 347.

Yielding completely to boldness, or recklessness, we eliminated Toss-ups, and leaned all states to one or the other nominee. Each state’s electoral history, developing demographics, and current polling data guided our choices.

I have to say, looking at this, I'd agree with all of the projections based on how the race looks today. Of course, anything could change the math at any time. But I'd say this is an accurate read.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Donald Trump Tells MSNBC He Believes In Punishing Women For Having Abortion

Just stunning.

Today, Donald Trump said he believes woman should be "punished" for having

In an interview with Chris Matthews set to air later today, GOP front-runner was asked a direct question about abortion:

Matthews: "Do you believe believe in punishment for abortion? Yes or no, as a principle?"

Trump: "The answer is.. yeah, there has to be some form of punishment."

Matthews: "For the woman?"

Trump: "Yeah, there has to be some form."

Watch the clear question below:

Trump later backtracked (flip-flopped?) issuing this statement:

This isn't the first time Trump has flip-flopped on abortion. In 2000, while contemplating a 3rd party presidential run, Trump told Tim Russert that he was "very pro-choice in every respect. Then, in 2012, considering a Republican run at president, he described himself as "pro-life."

I'm getting dizzy from the flipping and flopping.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton immediately tweeted out this:

Out Actor Wentworth Miller Responds To Fat-Shaming

Wentworth Miller addresses fat-shaming internet meme with his own struggle against depression

On Monday, Prison Break/Flash star Wentworth Miller responded to an internet meme that was intended to "fat shame" him for gaining some weight a few years ago.

The very personal post is spot on, and courageous.

Here's the full essay via Facebook:

Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time.

This one, however, stands out from the rest.

In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, I was suicidal.

This is a subject I've since written about, spoken about, shared about.

But at the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few.

Ashamed and in pain, I considered myself damaged goods. And the voices in my head urged me down the path to self-destruction. Not for the first time.

I've struggled with depression since childhood. It's a battle that's cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights.

In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.

And I put on weight. Big f--king deal.

One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show. Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling. They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. "Hunk To Chunk." "Fit To Flab." Etc.

My mother has one of those "friends" who's always the first to bring you bad news. They clipped one of these articles from a popular national magazine and mailed it to her. She called me, concerned.

In 2010, fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed.

Long story short, I survived.

So do those pictures.

I'm glad.

Now, when I see that image of me in my red t-shirt, a rare smile on my face, I am reminded of my struggle. My endurance and my perseverance in the face of all kinds of demons. Some within. Some without.

Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist.

Anyway. Still. Despite.

The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness.

Of myself and others.

If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. Reach out. Text. Send an email. Pick up the phone. Someone cares. They're waiting to hear from you. Much love. - W.M. #koalas #inneractivist #prisonbroken

Tweet Of The Day: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Is A Very Strong Leader

Virginia Governor Vetoes Anti-LGBT Legislation

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vetoed recent legislation that would have legalized anti-LGBT discrimination.

From The Washington Blade:

McAuliffe said in a statement that Senate Bill 41 is “nothing more than an attempt to stigmatize.”

“This legislation is also bad for business and creates roadblocks as we try to build the new Virginia economy,” he said. “Businesses and job creators do not want to locate or do business in states that appear more concerned with demonizing people than with creating a strong business climate.”

“Legislation that immunizes the discriminatory actions of certain people and institutions at the expense of same-sex couples would damage Virginia’s reputation for commonsense, pro-business government,” added McAuliffe. “We need only look at the damage these types of laws are doing in other states to understand the harm this bill could bring to our Commonwealth and its economy.”

Las Vegas: Antonio Sabàto Jr. Is Next Celebrtiy Guest-Host At Chippendales

I love living in Las Vegas :)

The world famous Chippendales announced this morning that their next celebrity guest will be uber-hot actor and model, Antonio Sabàto, Jr. His limited engagement with the legendary Chippendales runs from May 5 through June 5, 2016, at Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

For five weeks, Sabàto Jr. will amp up the acclaimed production, gracing the stage with his stunning good looks, serious six-pack abs and unmistakable charm.

If you've seen him on Dancing With the Stars, then you know Sabàto Jr. has the moves to heat up the Las Vegas Strip like never before. Now, imagine him surrounded by the hottest men in show business.

"I am looking forward to joining the Chippendales in Las Vegas as their celebrity guest host," says Sabàto Jr. "It is a legendary show, an iconic brand and a fun experience for all. I am excited to be a part of the energetic atmosphere!"

Antonio Sabàto, Jr. is the latest celebrity to join the exclusive roster of guest hosts at Chippendales. Past guest celebs include international supermodel Tyson Beckford and 90210/Sharknado star Ian Ziering.

(via press release)

Trump On Campaign Manager's Battery Charges: "I Don't Know What 'Touch' Means"

Another Donald Trump moment from last night's Republican Presidential Town Hall on CNN:

Anderson Cooper brought up the recent battery charges brought against Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, by a former Breitbart reporter.

The Trump campaign originally denied the incident ever happened at all. Now, security camera video shows Lewandowski grabbing the reporter during a campaign stop.

Trump responded with a dramatic reading of the reporter's statement.

From Mediaite:

Cooper asked Trump about Lewandowski blatantly lying about touching Fields before being charged with battery over it today. Trump said, “I don’t know what ‘touch’ means.”

He proceeded to read off her claims of how she was yanked by his campaign manager and almost fell, peppered with mocking little comments like “Give me a break” and “She didn’t even have any expression” and “She had no trouble with her balance.”

Trump went on to say the reporter's pen could have been "a little bomb." Seriously.

HIllary Clinton Takes Aim At Donald Trump In "New York" Campaign Ad

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton slaps at Donald Trump in a new campaign ad airing in New York.

The ad juxtaposes the state's wide-ranging diversity with Trump's rhetoric on Muslims, Hispanics and others, while including images of New York firefighters and rebuilding the World Trade Center.

The ad never mentions Trump by name, but does include an image of a banner saying "Trump: Coming in 2016."

Here's the text of the spot, narrated by Hillary Clinton:

"New York. Twenty million people strong.

"No, we don’t all look the same. We don’t all sound the same, either.

"But when we pull together, we do the biggest things in the world.

"So when some say we can solve America’s problems by building walls, banning people based on their religion, and turning against each other... Well, this is New York. And we know better."

New York's Democratic primary is April 19th and has 247 delegates up for grabs.

Three of this year's candidates - Clinton, Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (of Vermont) call New York home.

Anderson Cooper To Trump: "That's The Argument Of A Five-Year-Old"

At last night's CNN Republican Presidential Town Hall, Donald Trump attempted to explain the feud between himself and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas which has included photos and tweets of their wives.

Cooper brought up Trump's decision to share an image comparing the appearance of his wife to Cruz's. The tweet used an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz.

After trying to obfuscate the issue by talking about GQ Magazine covers and great photographers, Trump resorted to "I didn't start it."

This is how the conversation went.

Cooper: You're running for president of the United States.

Trump: Excuse me, I didn't start It. I didn't start it.

Cooper: But, sir, with all due respect, that the argument of a 5 year old.

Trump: No, it's not.

Cooper: The argument of a 5 year old is "he started it."

Trump: You would say that. That's the problem with our country.

Cooper: Every parent knows a kid who says "he started it."

Trump: Excuse me. No, no. That's the problem. Exactly that thinking is the problem this country has.

Here's the whole exchange:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Endores Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz (L), Gov. Scott Walker (R)

Gov. Scott Walker called into WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee to announce his endorsement of Ted Cruz. Walker called Cruz a "principled, common sense conservative."

Not sure if endorsements actually do anything in this wild campaign season, though. South Carolina's Gov. Nikki Haley didn't seem to do much for Marco Rubio.

But we shall see. The Wisconsin primary is one week away.

The Ted Cruz campaign is thrilled with the news! From the Cruz campaign via press release:

We wanted to share some very exciting news with you: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has just endorsed Ted Cruz for President. This is a HUGE deal. Scott Walker has enacted big, bold conservative reforms in Wisconsin. His endorsement confirms what we have been saying for months, Conservatives are uniting behind Ted Cruz.

Will you join Scott Walker in standing with Ted Cruz today? Over the last year we have been campaigning from coast to coast to elect Ted Cruz as President. We have accomplished a great deal, but there is still a lot left to do. Next week Wisconsin votes. We must send a strong message that we are all behind Ted Cruz.

Scott Walker’s endorsement proves that Ted Cruz has what it takes to win everywhere, including swing states like Wisconsin. The only thing left is your support today. Please join Scott Walker and conservatives across America by contributing to the Wisconsin Victory fund. Your contribution could make the difference between victory and defeat!

North Carolina Attorney General Won't Defend Anti-LGBT H.B. 2

NC Attorney General Roy Cooper
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Mindy Bloem

From The Washington Blade:

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday he won’t defend in court the recently enacted measure in his state that’s considered the worst anti-LGBT law in the nation.

Cooper, a Democrat who’s running to become the state’s governor, declared he won’t defend House Bill 2 in court at an 11 am news conference at his office in Raleigh.

“Over the last 15 years, our office has defended the state, its officials and agencies when they’ve been sued,” Cooper said. “Our office will continue to do that, except it will not defend the constitutionality of the discrimination in House Bill 2.”

House Bill 2, signed into law last week by Gov. Pat McCrory after an emergency session of the state legislature, undos all pro-LGBT city ordinances in North Carolina, including the recently approved measure in Charlotte, and prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms consistent with their gender identity in schools and government buildings.

Out Music: Eli Lieb & Steve Grand "Look Away"

New music video from out musicians Eli Lieb and Steve Grand - "Look Away."

Said Steve Grand of the collaboration:

“Eli is a real pro. It was a true pleasure working with someone who knows what they want creatively. Eli kept the process streamlined.Though we are in a similar line of work, our personalities are very different, which I think we really got to see throughout the day we shot the video. I’m an irreverent goofball and Eli is a more serious guy just really focused on his craft. I think it makes for an interesting collaboration.”

It's interesting that Grand notes their different approaches. I was struck throughout the video by Lieb's connection to the camera, eyes and heart open to the viewer. Grand, on the other hand, largely avoids directly looking into the camera, choosing to look away or down. The differences lead the viewer to a much for connected experience with Lieb.

The emotional break-up song is sparse on production which feels appropriate, but the powerful lyrics and Lieb's devastatingly open relationship with the viewer makes for a winning combination.

It was only after I had watched the video that I found this statement from Lieb which underlines the connectedness of his performance:

“We filmed this the day after my boyfriend and I broke up, and the footage is so real and raw, that I struggled if I even felt comfortable putting it out. I wasn’t sure I wanted everyone to see the pain I was in. But then I realized that this pain came from love and is a part of life most people experience at some point – we’ve all been there. I hope it helps remind people that pain and love are so closely related to not forget how powerful love is.”

I've previously written about Eli Lieb here, here, here, here, and here.

Tennessee: Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiffs Awarded $2 Million In Legal Fees

The state of Tennessee has been ordered by a federal judge in Nashville to pay the legal fees of the three couples whose lawsuit brought about marriage equality in the state.

From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

Judge Aleta Trauger awarded $1.98 million in attorneys' fees and $59,916 in expenses to the plaintiffs, which include Knoxville veterinarians Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty. The award, allowed under federal law, is 15 percent less than the $2.33 million the plaintiffs sought.

"The results obtained in this case were superb and far-reaching," Trauger wrote in her memo. "As the prevailing party, the plaintiffs will, therefore, be rewarded a significant portion of their requested reasonable attorney's fees and expenses under Section 1988."

A spokesman for Tennessee Attorney General Hebert H. Slatery's office said his office was still reviewing the order Monday afternoon and did not have a comment. In court documents filed in January and unsealed on March 7, Slatery's office argued the plaintiffs' attorneys were overcharging for their services, and insisted they should be paid $1.1 million instead.

According to JoeMyGod, same-sex marriage plaintiffs nationwide have been awarded a total of $17,090,388.61 in legal fees and court costs, thus far.

I hope the haters who pushed the issue so far feel every single dime was worth losing.


Public Unions Win SCOTUS Case With 4-4 Ruling

With Scalia's seat open, plus the Republicans blocking any nomination, public union workers just got a big win in the U.S. Supreme Court.


Monday, March 28, 2016

News Round-Up: March 28, 2016

Some news stories you may have missed:

• Don't be sad Ben Affleck, with a $170 million opening weekendBatman v. Superman won't become the next Gigli.

• The Atlanta man who threw boiling water on two sleeping gay men has been indicted and could face 80 years in prison.

• Speaking of Georgia, after the state's governor announced he will be vetoing the anti-LGBT bill House Bill 757, state Republicans are already calling for an override vote of Gov. Deal's veto. We saw that coming, didn't we?

• Gwen Stefani, who's new album just debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, says she would "be blessed" to have a gay son.

• New York City Mayor De Blasio has instituted a "non-essential" ban on city employee travel to North Carolina due to the anti-LGBT H.B. 2 recently passed. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has done the same.  Good going, North Carolina!

Trailer: Sally Field "Hello, My Name Is Doris"

Well, this looks absolutely charming.

Sally Field stars as a 60-something woman who's grown used to the idea that she's invisible to most of the world. Until, that is, a younger co-worker pays attention to her. And in that revelatory moment, she suddenly "sees" herself.

The movie gives truth to the idea that we're never too old for friendship, romance, or a bit of adventure. Or, to discover we all have a tribe out there somewhere - we just may not know it yet.

Anyone ever find they've developed a bit of an obsession with a younger person? Raise your hands, please... :)

Nyle DiMarco Gets A Helping "Hand" From DWTS Partner Peta Murgatroyd

TMZ gets the inside scoop as to how Dancing With The Stars contestant Nyle DiMarco finds the beat and tempo when dancing with partner Peta Murgatroyd.

As the world knows, the "sexually fluid" winner of the final season of America's Next Top Model  is deaf. Yet, even with that obstacle, the handsome model and his partner killed it last week in the opening episode of DWTS with their high energy cha-cha.

Early on during DWTS training, the couple tried turning up the music very loud so DiMarco could feel the bass vibrating, but apparently that made things worse, not better.

In this video, the couple shares their secret as to how DiMarco finds both the tempo and rhythm for each dance.

Dang, I'm so impressed by this guy.

North Carolina: Lawsuit Filed Challenging Anti-LGBT Law H.B. 2

As predicted, a federal lawsuit has been filed in North Carolina regarding the state's new sweeping anti-LGBT law, H.B. 2, which wiped out local municipalities ability to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination, and specifies that transgender students must use public bathrooms that correspond to their "biological" sex versus their gender identity.

Calling out the Fourteenth Amendment, the lawsuit alleges the legislation was enacted to single out LGBTs.

From Buzzfeed:

“By singling out LGBT people for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into state law, H.B. 2 violates the most basic guarantees of equal treatment and the U.S. Constitution,” the lawsuit argues.

The complaint argues the law violates people’s equal protection, privacy, and liberty rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and their civil rights under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972.

The lawsuit is asking for a declaratory judgment that the law violates the Constitution and Title IX and an injunction against enforcement of the law.

The case was filed overnight in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina on behalf of Joaquín Carcaño, a transgender man who works at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Payton Grey McGarry, a transgender man who is a student at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro; and Angela Gilmore, a lesbian who is the associate dean for academic affairs at North Carolina Central University. Also named as plaintiffs are the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina.

The defendants include Gov. Pat McCrory, Attorney General Roy Cooper, and the University of North Carolina and several of its senior officials.

Donald Trump Explains His Sexist Comments: "I Never Thought I Would Run For Office"

Talking to Wisconsin talk radio host Charles Sykes, GOP White House hopeful Donald Trump brushed away his long history of sexist comments with a very simple explanation.

He's an entertainer who never thought he'd run for office. 

Via Mediaite:

In what turned out to be a very contentious interview, Sykes pointed out that Trump was doing very poorly in the polls among women. “A lot of this has to do with, let’s be honest about this, with conservative women who are repelled by your attitude and your treatment of women,” he argued.

So why, despite all that, did he make the comments? “I’ve been a person that’s been in the entertainment business and a very big person in business and I’ve been quoted over the years by everybody… I became a celebrity,” he argued.

“Are the rules different for celebrities?” Sykes pressed. “Are celebrities allowed to insult women?”

“Well the rules aren’t different, but I never thought I would run for office,” Trump said. “And many people, Howard Stern would interview me and everybody would be having fun, and the women would be laughing.”

Instagram Of The Day: Colton Haynes

Give it up for Colton Haynes, who proves unequivocally that he simply is who he is.

Funny: "Mean Teenage Girls Reading Donald Trump Tweets"

Nylon brings you "Mean Teenage Girls Reading Donald Trump Tweets."

It's all so clear now: White House hopeful Donald Trump is, in actuality, a "mean girl."

How did we miss this for so long?

(h/t Boy Culture)

Georgia: Gov. Nathan Deal Will Veto Anti-LGBT Legislation HB 757

Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia held a press conference this morning to announce he will veto the so-called "religious liberty" bill HB 757.

The anti-LGBT legislation would have allowed faith-based organizations to deny services, educational, chariable, social or otherwise to people who, in the view of the organiztion, violate the organization's "sincerely held religious belief.

The legislation also allowed these organizations to fire employees whose “religious beliefs or practices or lack of either are not in accord with the faith-based organization’s sincerely held religious belief.”

Major organizations that spoke out against the legislation include Apple, the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Hawks, Dell, Disney, the Dow Chemical Company, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Hilton, Intel, Intercontinental Hotels, Live Nation Entertainment, Marriott, Marvel, MailChimp, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Microsoft, the NFL, Paypal, Salesforce, Square, Time Warner, Turner, Twitter, Tyler Perry Studios, Unilever, The Weinstein Company, Virgin, and Yelp.

And more - AMC, Viacom, Starz, 21st Century Fox, Lionsgate, Netflix, CBS, Sony, Comcast, and MGM. The list of corporations concerned about losing business over hateful legislation was very long indeed.

Factoring into Deal's decision to veto had to be the news that Chris Riley, chief of staff for the governor, emailed this to Spiro Amburn, top aide to House Speaker David Ralston:

“We received official notification this morning that Georgia was dropped from contention from two pending economic projects we had been working at gdec prior to any decision being made on the bill,” Riley wrote, referring to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Both projects cited Hb 757 as why they were removing Georgia from consideration.”

The bill was bad. As we've seen across the country, these bills do more to divide Americans than bring us together.

Good for Gov. Deal and good for Georgia.


Update - LGBT organizations respond:

Lambda Legal:

Today we feel very fortunate that LGBT people and people with living with HIV were spared the terrible consequences of HB 757. We applaud today’s veto by Governor Deal and thank him for his willingness to listen to the voices explaining the damage this bill could have caused.

In the end, Governor Deal did not allow hate and fear-mongering to dictate state policy; instead he chose to act reasonably and with compassion and demonstrated that equality is a Georgia value. He listened to the business community, hundreds of ministers, and tens of thousands of Georgians who opposed the bill. Freedom of religion does not give any of us permission to discriminate against others.

HB 757 would have allowed anyone to use religion to treat LGBT people, and others, unfairly and to ignore anti-discrimination policies. As is always the case when discriminatory laws target LGBT people and people living with HIV Lambda Legal is poised to defend the rights of our community.

Human Rights Campaign:

“Our message to Governor Nathan Deal was loud and clear: this deplorable legislation was bad for his constituents, bad for business, and bad for Georgia’s future,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Today, Governor Deal heard the voices of Georgians, civil rights organizations, as well as the many leaders in the entertainment industry and private sector who condemned this attack on the fundamental rights of LGBT people, and he has set an example for other elected officials to follow. Discrimination and intolerance have no place in the United States of America, and we hope North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly are paying close attention to what has transpired in Georgia. They must undo their disgraceful attack on LGBT people in the state’s upcoming legislative session.”

Sunday, March 27, 2016

North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law, HB 2, Will Get Court Challenge Filed Tomorrow

The Hill has the details:

The American Civil Liberties Union will announce Monday it is filing a federal lawsuit in response to a controversial North Carolina law that opponents say is discriminatory to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The law, passed by the state’s General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory Wednesday, prohibits people from using bathrooms that don’t match their biological sex and also bans municipalities from creating their own antidiscrimination policies.

The ACLU will file the lawsuit in conjunction with Lambda Legal, a national gay rights legal organization, and Equality North Carolina, another gay rights group.

“We are disappointed that Governor McCrory did not do right by North Carolina’s families, communities, and businesses by vetoing this horribly discriminatory bill, but this will not be the last word,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina in a statement. “The ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Equality NC are reviewing all options, including litigation.”

“HB 2 is an undisguised attack on LGBT people and the efforts of one city to protect gay and transgender North Carolinians against discrimination,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC in a statement.

The law has been widely condemned by other politicians, media outlets, gay rights advocates and businesses around the country.

Donald Trump: I Totally Don't Care If National Enquirer Report Of Cruz Affairs Is True

After the National Enquirer ran a report about alleged affairs by Ted Cruz, Cruz accused Donald Trump‘s campaign of potential involvement.

On ABC's This Week guest host Jon Karl asked Trump if his campaign or anyone connected to it was in any way involved with the story. Trump said no one did, and he lashed out at Cruz for blaming him when, he said, “I have no control over the National Enquirer.”

“I don’t care, I mean, really, I don’t care… I have no idea whether it was right or not. They actually have a very good record of being right… I hope it’s not right.”

(h/t JMG)

Music Video: Nick Jonas "Close"

The passion between Nick Jonas and Tove Lo is so fierce, it literally rips the clothes off their bodies in the new music video for "Close" from Nick's upcoming album, Last Year Was Complicated.

New Trailer For Season 6 Of GAME OF THRONES

The last trailer for GAME OF THRONES had more than 30 million views in less than a day.

The new season begins April 24th on HBO.

Just Because...


Updated: Democrats Caucus In Washington, Alaska & Hawaii



Three states will hold their presidential caucuses today - Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

The caucus format has done very well for Sen. Bernie Sanders, so expectations are high that he could sweep all three contests. However, given that all delegates are awarded proportionally, I wouldn't look for Sanders to close the delegate gap too much today, although I'm sure he will walk away with a net gain.

Clinton currently holds the lead in pledged delegates by about 303. Washington is the big prize today with 101 delegates; Alaska will award 16, and Hawaii 25.

In that these are caucuses, there has been little to no polling done for today.

Expectations are high in Hawaii for Sanders. One Clinton supporter told Politico regarding Clinton's chances in Hawaii: “He's going to crush us. He should win this thing 2-to-1 at least,” the aide said of Sanders prospects. “If we keep this below 65-35 I'd be shocked.”

Tuesday is Wisconsin's turn to chime in on the presidential sweepstakes. The most recent poll shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading there by 6 points.

Then, after a couple of weeks off, the Dems return to the ballot box with contests in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and New Jersey. Current polls show Clinton leading by sizeable numbers in all of those states.

But that can all change. We shall see.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Katherine McPhee Returns To American Idol - "Over The Rainbow"

Katharine McPhee Performs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Katharine McPhee reprises her awe-inspiring version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"!
Posted by American Idol on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Back when American Idol was a huge juggernaut, the show introduced us to the very talented Katherine McPhee in Season 5.

McPhee may have come in second (to Taylor Hicks!) but she's shown that living well is the best revenge :)

I remember when McPhee first sang "Over The Rainbow" on AI, and it was heartstoppingly gorgeous. I think she embellishes here, but clearly, she's still a talented vocalist.

CNN's Don Lemon Shuts Down Trump Surrogate Who Couldn't Answer Direct Question

Wow. Things got testy last night on CNN when Donald Trump surrogate Omarosa Manigualt tried to avoid a direct answer to a question posed by anchor Don Lemon.

Via Raw Story:

Lemon began the segment by asking asking former Apprentice star and Trump backer Omarosa Manigualt about the Trump campaign’s “over the top” attack on Heidi Cruz on Twitter.

Omarosa began by saying “I don’t think we should start there” and attempted to talk about the Super PAC that ran an ad featuring a cheesecake photo of Melania Trump, only to have the CNN host shut her down.

“No no no. I’m not gonna let you do that. Omarosa, stop! ” Lemon said.

“Omarosa, stop! Okay, let’s stop. Cut the mic” he continued as she tried to talk over him. “We’re not doing that. I want everyone on this panel to answer the question directly, and I will let you –”

“You can ask questions, but you can’t answer them, Don,” Omarosa interrupted, leading to Lemon to cut the segment short with “We’ll be right back” before going to commercial.

Personally, I support Lemon here. I've grown weary of candidates or their representatives ducking/avoiding answer direct questions. You can get to your "spin" but answer the questions posed to you.

Trump's people will say Omarosa wasn't giving the proper "anti-Trump" answer. But, seriously people, stop I'm showing up to news shows with only pre-packaged talking points, with the intention to only deflect to scripted sound bites.

Political Insiders Say Trump Needs 1,237 Delegates Or Bust

According to Politico, a majority of Republican insiders say Donald Trump should not get the GOP presidential nomination if he falls short of 1,237 delegates. That's the magic number, according to Republican rules, that guarantee the nomination.

The POLITICO Caucus — a panel comprised of strategists, activists and operatives in seven key swing states - say 58% of Republicans want the party to nominate another candidate if Trump finishes with a less than the required 1,237-delegate majority necessary to claim the party nomination.

“Rules is rules. You have to get a majority,” said a Virginia Republican who, like all respondents, completed the survey anonymously.

The same political insiders say 9 in 10 Democrats feel former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would fare better in the general election.

"Let's Get Animal, Animal..."

Her Majesty Empress Cielo...

Posted by Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

This video of two very sexy beasts has gotten over 20 million views on Facebook.

Happy Saturday!

Pet Shop Boys Perform "The Pop Kids" On Graham Norton Show

The Pet Shop Boys dropped by the Graham Norton Show this week to perform their latest hit, "The Pop Kids," from the new album Super.

Colorado: "We Kill Gays In Wyoming" Baseball Coach Apologizes To Gay Player

Coach Sean McKinney

Last week, former Minor League Baseball player Tyler Dunnington spoke to Outsports to share his story of the homophobia he experienced while playing both in college and for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, a team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Even though he was closeted at the time, it was the language he heard from other players and coaches - yes, coaches - that wore heavily on his soul.

Dunnington recalled being on the field one day when a coach mentioned in passing, "We kill gay people in Wyoming." Tyler never named the coach or any individuals. He eventually stepped away from the game that had given him so much joy.

After that report broke and investigation was done, and that coach - Sean McKinney of Colorado Mesa University - stepped up and took responsibility for the comment. McKinney says the comment, in the moment, was meant to be "humorous," not fully understanding the impact of his language.

The university president and others at CMU are now collaborating with the school's Gay/Straight Alliance and One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian gay bisexual and transgender people to improve the atmosphere for LGBT athletes at  the school.

From Outsports:

“As the story spread and more stuff was revealed, it got really tough this week,” McKinney told Outsports in an exclusive interview. “I’m forever in debt to the people in this university and my friends and family. They know my true character. Some of that is in question, obviously, because of what’s gone on with Tyler’s story. But I would never harm anyone on our team. This week I’m sure this has been questions about how I feel about Tyler. I hope he’s OK. I called him this morning to apologize. I want him to have a good life.”

"I've made some off-the-cuff comments, and one in particular was not right. Tyler heard it, and I apologized for it. Through this process I'm learning everyone's stories and what the impact of our language is."

"This has been a tremendous learning experience. In meetings with our president and people across campus, I think this is going to go in a very positive direction. I'll focus on my team and my guys to raise awareness. This is an experience we can use to move forward. I've talked to all of our players. We've had conversations, and they've gone great. And that will have a ripple affect across our campus."

McKinney says this past week has been "life-changing" for him and he looks forward to the opportunity to turn this to a positive conversation.

You can watch the press conference at Colorado Mesa University here.

Out baseball player Tyler Dunnington during his Minor League Baseball days

North Carolina Gov. McCrory Tries To Spin "Myths Vs Facts" On Anti-LGBT Law

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is trying desperately to crawl out of this huge mess of the newly passed HB2 law which strips any LGBT protections from local municipalities and forces transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms which don't correspond to their gender identity.

McCrory has issued this list of "Myths Vs Facts" about HB2, but there's a whole lot of side-stepping going on here:

Now, let's breakdown the "spin" from the truth here:

• McCrory completely sidesteps the fact that transgender students cannot use restrooms or locker rooms that match their gender identity.

• Saying businesses can still adopt their own non-discrimination policies ignores the fact that those businesses were never the problem. It's the businesses that DO discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity that needed to be policed.

• Saying transgender people can use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity as long as they've undergone sex reassignment surgery and change their birth certificates is highly unreasonable. Many trans people haven't undergone such surgery, and often because they can't afford to do so.

• Item #5 would seem to indicate that local municipalities can enact their own stricter anti-discrimination policies. EXCEPT - there can be no such policies regarding any group not protected by state law. LGBTs are not protected by state law, so there can be no local protections either.

What HB2 has done is wipe out the local ordinances passed in 8 cities in North Carolina that chose to protect it's LGBT citizens just like over 200 cities and 19 states across the country had done.

The state legislature of North Carolina has legalized discrimination against LGBTs. Period.

As I've explained before here on The Randy Report, here's an example of how this new law will work. This transgender man will now be required to use the ladies room.  Let me know how this makes any sense...

(h/t JMG)