Monday, July 31, 2017

Animated Queer Short: "In A Heartbeat"


This adorable animated short follows a closeted school boy named Sherwin who runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to follow the boy of his dreams, Jonathan.

The project was funded via Kickstarter. The project is the senior thesis of two students at Ringling College of Art and Design.

The duo originally sought $3,000 in funding but received $15,000!

Lots of "heart" in this story about love and acceptance of LGBTQ youth. I think it's pretty much a perfect gem of a moment. The pace, the expert use of music, the artful expressions...

Just, watch below - you'll be glad you did :)

Over 560,000 views in less than a day.


Out Music: Superfruit "Vacation"


Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying, 3-time Grammy Award-winners with Pentatonix, continue to add color and flavor to this summer's queer musical landscape as Superfruit.

The pop pair keeps dropping music videos for their new EP, Future Friends, Superfruit’s new two-part debut studio album. And we couldn't be happier.

Future Friends—Part One is available now; Future Friends—Part Two will debut on September 15.

Formed in 2013 as a side-gig when not performing with Pentatonix, the colorful duo's videos have racked up over 350 million views.

Describing the different musical approaches, Grassi told OUT, “With Superfruit, it’s a little more gay-friendly and a lot more open, more sexual, more liberated."

In "Vacation," the boys are clearly putting style above surroundings. And why not when you can bop on a budget with a gay groove like these two?

Watch the guys "vacay in their own way" below.



News Round-Up: July 31, 2017


Some news items you may have missed:

• Fitness model Nick Sandell all fresh and ready for a new week (above via Instagram).

• In light of Donald Trump's proposed ban on transgender military service members due to medical costs, this doctor has offered free gender reassignment surgeries for some trans military personnel. #ProblemSolved

• Los Angeles books the 2028 Summer Olympic Games! Traffic jam, anybody?

• President Trump's favorite polling outfit, Rasmussen Reports, shows President Donald Trump‘s approval rating plummeting to 39%, the first time the right-leaning poll has reported the Trumpster dropping below 40%.


• Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been found guilty of criminal contempt for willfully violating a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling.

• In case you can't keep track, here's a list of the folks who've come and gone in the first six months of the Trump administration.

• It's the beginning of a new week, so how about something to put some pop in your bop? Charli XCX keeps busy dreaming about "Boys" in her new video of the same name which features musicians as eye-candy like Joe Jonas, Charlie Puth, Olympian Tom Daley and YouTube star Connor Franta. #HappyMonday!

The Mooch Is Loose - "Cut Loose" As White House Comm Director


Snork!

According to the New York Times, the removal comes at the request of newly-installed Chief of Staff John F. Kelly:

President Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, three people close to the decision said Monday, relieving him just days after Mr. Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the president’s senior staff.

Mr. Scaramucci’s abrupt removal came just 10 days after the wealthy New York financier was brought on to the West Wing staff, a move that convulsed an already chaotic White House and led to the departures of Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, and Reince Priebus, the president’s first chief of staff.

The decision to remove Mr. Scaramucci, who had boasted about reporting directly to the president not the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, came at Mr. Kelly’s request, the people said. Mr. Kelly made clear to members of the White House staff at a meeting Monday morning that he is in charge.

It was not clear whether Mr. Scaramucci will remain employed at the White House in another position or will leave altogether.

CNN adds that Kelly asked for Scaramucci to be removed as the communications director because he did not think he was "disciplined" and had "burned his credibility."

Scaramucci reportedly missed the birth of his son last week to have dinner with President Trump. The Mooch texted congrats to his wife.

But remember - "no WH chaos!:"

Laverne Cox Schools Lil Duval After Saying He'd Kill A Trans Woman If They Slept With Him

Lil Duvall

On Friday’s episode of Breakfast Club, a radio show that loves to bill itself as “The World's Most Dangerous Morning Show," the hosts egged on a transphobic rant from guest and minor comedian, Lil Duval.

Host DJ Envy asked the comic what would be his reaction if he found out he'd slept with a trans woman. His response? “This might sound messed up and I don’t care: she’s dying.”

One of the hosts pressed Duval saying you can’t say you’ll kill trans women. But, Duval deflected: “I didn’t say I was gonna kill transgenders. I said if one did that to me, and they didn’t tell me, I’ma be so mad I’d probably kill them.”

Eventually, Duval's defense to his indefensible comments was, “I can say what I want and do what I want, and people understand where I’m coming from. They understand I’m not coming from a place of malice. They know I’m just speaking my mind.”





According to reports, at least 15 transgender people have been murdered in 2017. So far.

Last year, there were 22 violent deaths recorded by the Human Rights Campaign.

Trans actress and activist Laverne Cox responded to the ignorance with a lengthy Twitter message:

“After taking several deep breaths I just got teary thinking about all my sisters experiencing violence, beaten, raped, murdered and some … I think what’s also so upsetting for me is @janetmock was on that show last week with so much love brilliance and trans 101 education and A week later this happens. Some folks think it's ok to joke about wanting to kill us. We have free speech but that speech has consequences and trans folks are Experiencing the negative consequences with our lives. It hurts my spirit cause this isn’t funny. Our lives matter. Trans murder isn’t a joke. I think the issue is when this kind of violence is expressed publicly and goes unchallenged. This is why I am speaking up to challenge It.”















Janet Mock also chimed in:



At the end of the day, though, Lil Duvall remained non-plussed about the whole incident:

Trump Takes Credit For U.S. Economy, Former Obama Comm Director Sets Him Straight


Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to take credit for the current conditions in the U.S., writing, "Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!"



Remember when Trump said unemployment numbers were fake?

It's worth noting that the day the Donald took office, the stock market was already at an all-time high after risen nearly 150% from the depth of the great recession to Obama's final day in the White House.

Regarding unemployment, Trump was fortunate to inherit an unemployment rate that had declined from 10% during the worst of the recession to 4.7% as President Obama left office.

Regarding border security, it's good to know Trump says the border is "secure." I guess we don't need to build a wall on the Mexican border now.

In any case, it was President Obama’s former White House Communications Director, Dan Pfeiffer, who had the perfect response:

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Sam Shepard Passes Away At 73

Sam Shepard
Sad to read of the passing of Pulitzer Prize-winning avant-garde playwright and actor, Sam Shepard, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 73 due to complications from ALS.

From the New York Times:

One of the most important and influential early writers in the Off Broadway movement, Mr. Shepard captured and chronicled the darker sides of American family life in plays like “Buried Child,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979, and “Curse of the Starving Class” and “A Lie of the Mind.”

He was widely regarded as one of the most original voices of his generation, winning praise from critics for his searing portraits of spouses, siblings and lovers struggling with issues of identity, failure and the fleeting nature of the American dream. He was nominated for two other Pulitzers, for “True West” and “Fool for Love,” which both received Broadway productions.

Mr. Shepard was also an accomplished actor, nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in “The Right Stuff.” His most recent work was in the Netflix show “Bloodline,” where he appeared as the character of Robert Rayburn. He also appeared on New York stages, winning strong reviews for his performance in the Off Broadway production of Caryl Churchill’s “A Number” in 2004.

Working at Off Broadway landmarks like La MaMa and Caffe Cino, Mr. Shepard almost immediately received critical acclaim upon embarking on his career, winning Obie Awards for “Chicago” and “Icarus’s Mother” in 1965 and then “Red Cross” and “La Turista” in 1966. He would win seven more.

Over the course of his storied career, Shapard penned 44 plays and several books of short stories and essay.

New York magazine named him “the greatest American playwright of his generation.”

It was during my years at Syracuse University as a theater major that I was first exposed to Shepard's innovative theatrical voice which could range from absurdism of his early off-off-Broadway plays to the stark realism of Buried Child and Curse of the Starving Class.

For a kid raised on Oklahoma! and My Fair Lady, Shepard could be an eye-opening and thrilling experience.

RIP Sam Shepard.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Darren Criss Offers Acoustic "I Dreamed A Dream" From Les Miz


Intersecting Broadway, folk and pop, GLEE star Darren Criss released this stripped down, acoustic version of "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables as he announced Elsie Fest 2017.

This third iteration of the popular music fest will again bring together “stars and songs from the stage and screen” on Oct. 8 at City Park’s SummerStage in New York City’s Central Park.

It took me a few phrases to buy into what Criss is doing here, but he proves again that a great song, coupled with authentic story-telling, is always a winning combination.

Watch below.

Just Because...


Instagram can be a fun place.

You look around, discover people, their lives, their personalities.

I've been following model & comic artist Steve Raider for a while. Furry, muscle-hottie who clearly likes to get out and enjoy life.

I think I would like Steve if we ever met.

A post shared by Steve Raider (@steve_raider) on


A post shared by Steve Raider (@steve_raider) on


A post shared by Steve Raider (@steve_raider) on


And then, he shaved. Still handsome, just a whole different flavor.

A post shared by Steve Raider (@steve_raider) on

Trailer: Amazon's Transparent Season 4


Amazon has shared the first look at season 4 of the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning series, Transparent, which premieres September 22nd.

Jeffrey Tambor’s "Maura" is heading to Israel, and of course, the whole Pfefferman clan has to tag along.

The Pfeffermans take off on a spiritual and political journey as they dig deep into their family's history. Maura heads to Israel to speak at a conference and makes a startling discovery. Before long the rest of the family joins her for an explosive adventure. Adrift in the desert, each member of the family ultimately set off on their own paths to find acceptance, love, and truth.

Arriving just days after Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to ban all transgender service members in the U.S. military, the cast and creators also released a response to Trump's surprise move.

Via People:

“We are honored to share the trailer for Transparent season 4. We feel very lucky to get to make art inspired by themes of love, home and boundaries, and how they operate in both human beings as well as nations,” the joint statement begins.

“Sharing this work amidst President Trump’s continued assault on the transgender community is painful. We are outraged that he announced in a tweet that transgender people would not be allowed to serve ‘in any capacity’ in the U.S. military. It is reprehensible to deny an estimated 15,000 current trans service members, and 134,000 trans veterans, the dignity, respect and safety that they deserve,” the statement continues.

“At Transparent we believe in the integrity of the trans community, which we know firsthand because we are all either trans or allies to the trans community. It is a revolutionary act for a trans person to simply leave the house and walk down the street. We tap into the incredible history of survival the trans community has achieved against all odds, knowing that our fight is noble and on the side of justice and human rights.”

“To our trans community members serving in the military and to transgender veterans: We work in solidarity with you and will continue fighting and creating art for our community’s well-being and future,” it reads. “We hope that you’ll enjoy the trailer for season 4 because our visibility and our stories are more important than ever.”

Watch the season 4 trailer below:

Donald Trump Spends 43rd Day At Golf Course As President


While Donald Trump is working hard tapping on his Twitter feed, he has found the time to make his 58th visit to a Trump property, and his 43rd trip to a golf course as president.





Remember the old days - when Trump abhorred presidents playing golf?

Trump Threatens GOP-Controlled Congress Over Health Care Reform


Donald Trump has spent the weekend on Twitter (for a change) attacking the lawmakers in his own party for not passing health care reform.

A few days ago, he advocated "letting Obamacare implode."

But now, he's back to berating the GOP-controlled Congress saying they should "demand" another vote.

I'm guessing Trump doesn't understand that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't have to "demand" anything. He can call a vote anytime he wants. Like he did this week. When his bill failed to pass.

Among his current threats, Trump is promising to end "BAILOUTS for insurance companies and BAILOUTS  for Members of Congress."









Remember when Trump was "the only one who can fix" these issues?

He also attacked China for not solving the world's problems with North Korean aggression.

Trump is just yelling at people. When is he going to "lead?"



Video: HRC Video Highlights Trump Lies To The LGBTQ Community


Despite weak assertions to the contrary, Donald Trump is no friend of the LGBTQ community.

And the Human Rights Campaign has released this video using his own words to make that clear.

In this week alone, the Trump administration proposed banning all transgender service members from the U.S. military; and, the Justice Department filed a "friend of the court" brief arguing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers no protections for LGBTQ folks.

But during the 2016 campaign, Trump attempted to underscore his "friendship" to us.

With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?

Watch the video below.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Podcast: Antiretroviral Meds Prove Zero Spread Of Infection; President Trump Gets Push Back On Trans Military Ban; Philly Gay-Basher Claims "Self-Defense"


In this week’s podcast:

• A new study shows hiv+ men who take antiretroviral medication on a regular basis have pretty much zero chance of spreading the infection to others

• President Trump gets plenty of pushback on his proposed transgender military service ban

• Out singer/songwriter Wrabel releases powerful anthem of personal empowerment and community, "The Village," in response to Trump's trans military ban

• Convicted Philly gay basher Kathryn Knott now says she was acting in self-defense when she shattered the jaw of a gay man in 2014

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report.

Luvs Diapers Features Anxious Gay Dads Hovering Over First Haircut


Way-cute commercial spot from Procter & Gamble's Luvs Diapers featuring two anxious gay dads standing guard through their kid's first haircut.



Procter & Gamble has previously featured LGBTs in ads for Downey Wrinkle Releaser and Tide Detergent, as well as showing support via this tweet the day marriage equality became the law of the land.



New Study: Gay Men On Anti-Retroviral Meds Have "Pretty Much" Zero Chance Of Infecting Others


Results of a new large-scale study of gay men presented this week at the 9th International AIDS Conference on HIV Science in Paris shows HIV+ people taking regular antiretroviral medication have “pretty much” a zero chance of infecting others during either gay or straight sex.

From the Washington Blade:

In the largest-ever trial on HIV transmission risk among gay men, Australian researchers explored the sex lives and HIV rates of more than 350 homosexual couples where one person is HIV positive. The couples were from Brazil, Thailand and Australia, CNN reports.

Each couple reported their sexual activity when visiting clinics involved in the trial and HIV-negative partners were regularly tested to diagnose any new infections, CNN reports. The couples participating reported having sex almost 17,000 times without condoms between them over four years, and none of those times resulted in new infections.

”There was not a single linked HIV infection in these couples,” said Andrew Grulich, professor of epidemiology at the University of New South Wales in Australia, who led the study. “Nobody became infected from their partner,” CNN quoted him as having said.

Scaramucci Scolds Press On Divorce Reports: "Who In The Media Has Class And Who Doesn't?"

Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci

This is rich.

Responding to press reports his wife filed for divorce citing his "naked political ambition," White House Communications Director Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci took to Twitter to school the media for reporting the news.

Tweets the Mooch, "Family does not need to be drawn into this. Soon we will learn who in the media has class and who doesn't. No further comments on this."



The man who accused a coworker of "sucking his own c*ck" in an interview with the New Yorker is now deciding who does and doesn't have class???

Friday, July 28, 2017

News Round-Up: July 28, 2017


Some news items you may have missed:

• Fitness trainer Ben Zerbst (above) is concerned about his "t-shirt tan," which gives you just one more reason to keep staring, as if you need one :)

• Kathryn Knott, convicted Philadelphia gay-basher, is now claiming self-defense in a civil lawsuit from the couple she helped attack. One of her victims had his jaw wired shut for 8 months due to injuries.

• Stephen Colbert slammed Donald Trump's tweets announcing a new ban on transgender military service members: “I began my day today as I often begin my days, by checking Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. Just to see how far the crazy has spread. And today, I really think he’s off his meds, as he’s gone from crazy to cruel."



• The GOP-controlled House has approved $1.6 billion for President Donald Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump promised at nearly every rally and campaign event that Mexico would pay for the wall.

• 19 Attorneys General have sent a letter to Congress opposing Trump's transgender military ban.

• Woofy Instahunk Roberto Caccamo sends regards from Italy...

Has Any White House Seen This Much Turmoil In First Six Months?


The average White House Chief of Staff lasts 1.5-2 years.

Reince Priebus lasted 189 days - the shortest in history.

Here's a short list of folks who've already departed the Trump administration:

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

White House Communications Director Mike Dubke

National Security Director Michael Flynn

FBI Director James Comey

and many more...

In only six months.

WH Comm Dir Anthony Scaramucci's Wife Files For Divorce Citing His "Naked Ambition"

Anthony Scaramucci
According to the PageSix.com, the wife of newly-installed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has filed for divorce citing his "naked ambition" and desire to get close to Donald Trump.

Deidre Ball, who worked as a vice president in investor relations for SkyBridge Capital, the firm he founded in 2005 and sold to ascend to the White House, has filed for divorce from “The Mooch” after three years of marriage after getting fed up with his ruthless quest to get close to President Trump, whom she despises.

One source told Page Six, “Deidre has left him and has filed for divorce. She liked the nice Wall Street life and their home on Long Island, not the insane world of D.C. She is tired of his naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end. She has left him even though they have two children together.”

Scaramucci and Ball, 38, began dating in 2011 and are believed to have married in 2014.

Scaramucci appeared to be confirming the rumor tweeting this in the last hour:



He has since removed this tweet from his feed:

Open Letter: 45 Senators Ask Secretary Of Defense To Reconsider Trump Trans Military Ban

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Armed Services Committee, has penned an open letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking him to reconsider Donald Trump's surprise ban on transgender service members in the U.S. military.

The letter, signed by 44 other senators, urges the Pentagon to at least let the Department of Defense finish a review on the issue before bringing in the new policy.

Gillibrand is joined by 42 Democratic senators as well as Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

“We strongly oppose this policy change and urge you to advise the President against it,” Gillibrand and the senators wrote.

A new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released today shows 58% of Americans agree transgender military members should be allowed to serve.

Only 27% said definitively "no."

Here's the full text of the letter and signees:

Dear Secretary Mattis,

We are writing regarding the President’s announcement via Twitter yesterday that transgender Americans can no longer serve in the military. We strongly oppose this policy change, and urge you to advise the President against it. This announcement contradicts existing Defense Department policies, undermines our military readiness, and puts our transgender service members as well as their commanders in an impossible situation. We appreciate General Dunford’s message that no policy changes should be made until implementation guidelines have been issued. We further write to request that, at a minimum, you do not separate any service member due to the person’s gender identity until you have completed the assessment that you announced on June 30, have reported back to Congress about any challenges that you foresee in the accession and retention of transgender troops, and determined the Department is unable to mitigate these challenges.

Transgender Americans who serve in our military put their lives on the line to protect America. They make up a small percentage of the military population, but are reportedly twice as likely to serve in the military as other Americans. Transgender service members have been serving openly since the policy was changed in June 2016 and in that time no service has reported any issues associated with their service.

Forcing these brave Americans out of our military would be cruel and discriminatory. It would harm our readiness by denying the military of these service members’ capabilities and requiring the military to replace them at a time when the recruiting pool for the services continues to shrink. It will harm morale in the military as service members see their brothers and sisters in arms — some of whom are currently forward deployed — thrown out simply because of their identity. And the uncertainty associated with making policy this way is already harming our military readiness and morale, as transgender service members and their superiors struggle to make sense of the policy and what it means for them today and tomorrow.

Any American who wants to serve and meets the standards should be allowed to serve our country. Transgender service members are serving with honor and distinction today and we ask that you, as our Secretary of Defense, assure them that their service will not be ended simply because of who they are.

Sincerely,

Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D- Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin T. Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I- Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D- N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

White House Shake-Up: Chief Of Staff Reince Priebus Resigns


From this point on, you should take stock in the rumors you hear coming out of the White House.

We heard two months ago that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was close to being fired.

Gone.

Just a week later, following the rumors we've all seen, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has resigned.

The new Chief of Staff will be current Homeland Security Secretary, General John F. Kelly.

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American...and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration."





Note the use of the words "true star." Trump just got off Air Force One where he referred to Reince as a "good man;" that was followed by his called Kelly "a great, great man."

Priebus had developed a relationship with Trump during the presidential campaign having served as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

When Trump won, which I honestly believe surprised Trump, even he was aware he knew nothing of Washington protocol and procedures.

I think Trump turned to the most "inside" political person he knew: Priebus.

But over time, we've seen Trump only admires folks who utilize the same approach as Trump. And that's not Priebus.

As we saw in Anthony Scaramucci's expletive-laden rant to New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza yesterday, Scaramucci's "street approach" is much more to Trump's liking.

One more thing - Back in 2012, Donald Trump criticized President Obama for having 3 Chiefs of Staff over 3 years. Trump is on his second in only six months:

Mario Cantone Channels New WH Comm Director Anthony Scaramucci


While SNL may have lost Melissa McCarthy's "Sean Spicer" character, Comedy Central’s The President Show has introduced its version of rambunctious White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci in the form of actor, Mario Cantone.

TV viewers will remember Cantone from his role of "Anthony Marentino" on the HBO hit, Sex and the City.

Introduced by Anthony Atamanuik’s "President Trump" last night, Cantone got straight to work calling out beleaguered White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus.

“I’m going to fire so many people,” said Cantone’s Scaramucci. “I don’t know who it’s going to be, Reince, but I’m going to get to the bottom of the leaks in the White House. Do you hear me, Reince?”




Cantone showed up on CNN's "New Day" to chat on the new gig, although morning TV doesn't seem to be Mario's thing.

Trump To Police: "Please Don't Be Too Nice"


Speaking to an audience of police officers in Long Island, New York, Donald Trump encouraged the officers not be "too nice" to folks they arrest.

“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in. Rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’

"Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, you put your hand up like, ‘Don’t hit their head?’ And, they’ve just killed somebody? I said, ‘You can take the hand away.'”



Note the one guy in a cowboy hat on the right not applaud.

Remember when folks were considered innocent until proven guilty?











(h/t JoeMyGod)

New Music: Michael Blume "I Am Not A Trend (No Rules)"

Photo: Cha’ves Williams

Out singer/songwriter Michael Blume dropped his latest single, "I Am Not A Trend (No Rules)," yesterday.

The track, celebrating individuality and self-love, is imminently listenable, layered with self-empowering lyrics, neo-soul melodies, punchy horns, and electronic bouncy beats.

“No one is a trend,” Blume shared with Nylon.com. “Each and every one of us lives a uniquely dynamic and complex life full of distinct needs, dreams, and fears. Too often we are taught to diminish this truth; we are told to mold ourselves to fit some external idea, concept, [and] way of being. Whether it be political, race-related, gender-based, how we look/dress/pray, too often our culture encourages us to do/act/be like some idealized, foreign version of who we actually are."

"‘I Am Not A Trend (No Rules)’ speaks to the celebration of the self, "the New Jersey-native added.

After selling out two headlining shows at Bowery Ballroom with his 11-piece band and touring both the east and west coasts, he is spending his summer playing at major music festivals across the country including the New York City's Governor's Ball and two sets at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE. His tour schedule continues at Chicago's Lollapalooza and Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA.

For more info, head over to www.mblumemusic.com.

I previously wrote about Blume here.

Listen below. I dare you not to bop.

Defense Secretary Mattis Was "Appalled" By Trump's Transgender Ban Tweets


In announcing his ban on transgender service members in the U.S. military, Donald Trump made a point to say the decision was made "after consultation with my Generals and military experts," but apparently Trump blind-sided just about every on his military team.

And what he didn't make abundantly clear was the ban was actually was a snap maneuver to save money for his Mexican wall.

You know, the wall Mexico was going to pay for?

From the New York Times:

Mr. Trump made the declaration on Twitter, saying that American forces could not afford the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender service members. He said he had consulted generals and military experts, but Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, was given only a day’s notice about the decision.

Mr. Trump elected to announce the ban in order to resolve a quietly brewing fight on Capitol Hill over whether taxpayer money should pay for gender transition and hormone therapy for transgender service members. The dispute had threatened to kill a $790 billion defense and security spending package scheduled for a vote this week.

But rather than addressing that narrow issue, Mr. Trump opted to upend the entire policy on transgender service members.

His decision was announced with such haste that the White House could not answer basic inquiries about how it would be carried out, including what would happen to openly transgender people on active duty. Of eight defense officials interviewed, none could say.

Mr. Mattis, who was on vacation, was silent on the new policy. People close to the defense secretary said he was appalled that Mr. Trump chose to unveil his decision in tweets, in part because of the message they sent to transgender active-duty service members, including those deployed overseas, that they were suddenly no longer welcome.

Repeat: "The defense secretary said he was appalled..."

WH Comm Director Covers New York Daily News: "Mooch Madness"


Unsurprisingly, new White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, lands on the cover of the New York Daily News this morning as folks are still talking about his expletive-laden rant to a reporter about White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus.

The Mooch is on the loose — and President Trump’s new attack dog is one angry, angry pooch.

“Reince is a f---ing paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said in a Wednesday night phone call to Ryan Lizza, a writer for The New Yorker.

Anthony Scaramucci takes shot at financial disclosure leakers
Scaramucci accused Priebus of, among other things, leaking to the press a dinner President Trump held earlier that night with the First Lady, Fox News host Sean Hannity and former Fox News executive Bill Shine.

Scaramucci channeled Priebus as he railed on the phone: “‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the f---ing thing and see if I can c--k-block these people the way I c--k-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’”

Later in the call, after he promised to fire three to four people “by tomorrow,” the former Wall Street hedge fund titan unleashed his below-the-belt venom on White House strategist Stephen Bannon.

“I’m not Steve Bannon,” Scaramucci said after insisting he had no interest in media attention.

“I’m not trying to suck my own c--k. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f---ing strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”

Gay Republican Withdraws From Homeland Security Position Over White House Trans Ban

John Fluharty
Former executive director of the Delaware Republican Party, John Fluharty, has withdrawn his name from consideration for a position at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over President Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military.

Fluharty is openly gay.

Speaking to the Washington Blade, Fluharty said recent actions by the White House run "counter to my deeply held beliefs:"

“The president has squandered an opportunity to strengthen not only our nation’s example to the rest of the world, but he has also squandered his party’s ability to have creditable messengers in the LGBTQ community on issues where there can be agreement such as reform of our public education system, lower taxes, and growing our economy,” he said. “Issues that are important to all families.”

“The ban on allowing transgender heroes to continue to serve in the military, and the actions by the Justice Department the following day, have effectively alienated the Republican Party from our community for a generation,” added Fluharty.

Senate GOP "Skinny Repeal" Bill Goes Down In 49-51 As John McCain Casts Deciding Vote

Sen. John McCain
It was a late night vote that finally put the nail in the Senate Republicans seven year plans to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.

A vote that saw Arizona Sen. John McCain remind folks why he likes to be called a "maverick."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's "skinny repeal" went down in the vote of 49-51.

From the New York Times:

Senator John McCain of Arizona, who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it.

The truncated Republican plan that ultimately fell was far less than what Republicans once envisioned. Republican leaders, unable to overcome complaints from both moderate and conservative members of their caucus, said the skeletal plan was just a vehicle to permit negotiations with the House, which passed a much more ambitious repeal bill in early May.

The “skinny repeal” bill, as it became known at the Capitol this week, would still have had broad effects on health care. The bill would have increased the number of people who are uninsured by 15 million next year compared with current law, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Premiums for people buying insurance on their own would have increased roughly 20 percent, the budget office said.

Earlier in the day, Sens. McCain, Graham, and Johnson looked for assurances that, if passage of the "skinny repeal" would keep the process open, they might vote for it IF Speaker of the House Paul Rayn would promise to to swift vote the legislation and send it to the president "as-is" just for a win. Ryan issued a weak assurance but it seems not wholly convincing.

While the attention is focused on McCain, it's important to note that Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska had been stalwart "no's" all week long.

The Twitterverse responded to the last night vote:





















Thursday, July 27, 2017

NY Post: "Survivor - White House Edition"

WH Comm Director Goes On Unhinged Rant: "Reince Priebus Is A F*cking Paranoid Schizophrenic"


Wow.

Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker got a phone call last night from newly-installed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci who was all worked up that Lizza had tweeted about a dinner between Scaramucci, Donald Trump, and Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Scaramucci demanded Lizza tell him who leaked the info.

Lizza reported the conversation today, and whoo-boy...

Here's an excerpt. Clearly, Scaramucci doesn't know the phrase "off the record."

I asked him why it was so important for the dinner to be kept a secret. Surely, I said, it would become public at some point. “I’ve asked people not to leak things for a period of time and give me a honeymoon period,” he said. “They won’t do it.” He was getting more and more worked up, and he eventually convinced himself that Priebus was my source.

“They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.” The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited.

“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He channeled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ” (Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.)

Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.” (Bannon declined to comment.)

First of all, a "communications director" talks like that to the press?

Second, I'm guessing Lizza won't be getting many more phone calls from the "Mooch."

And finally, this is all kinda funny when you know how mild-mannered Ryan Lizza is. Picturing him on the end of this phone call makes me laugh.















And, one last tweet from the "Mooch" himself:



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