Bob Newhart to Headline Anti-Gay Summit Legatus: TV Icon + Rick Santorum = Unfunny

TV icon Bob Newhart is slated as headlining entertainer for the Legatus 2014 Summit to be held February 6 -8, 2014,  in Orlando, Florida, alongside Rick Santorum and the Catholic League’s William Donohue. It’s pretty clear where  the ever-frothy Rick Santorum and Donohue stand on LGBT issues–and Legatus?  Jeremey Hooper writes for GLAAD:

Legatus pushes the idea that homosexuality itself is a “disorder” from which one must be “cured.”

This year Newhart won his first-ever Emmy playing opposite openly gay actor Jim Parsons on the very funny and at times off-color The Big Bang Theory. And Newhart appeared onstage with Parsons to present at this year’s Emmy. Parsons was named one of OUT magazine’s 100, and recently won his third Emmy and the GLESN Inspiration Award. Legatus assures in members that with Newhart

Summit attendees can certainly anticipate a clean show, but they will also get a good dose of Catholic humor.

GLAAD is actively contacting

Mr. Newhart’s representatives to let them know how, exactly, an appearance at this event will come across to LGBT people and allied voices,

A part of  me is hoping that Newhart will pull an  “Elton John in Moscow” and use his voice to speak up for LGBT rights. Newhart will have the floor, the pulpit if you will, and an opportunity to change minds with his legendary humor. Granted, there might be a little bit of blowback, but it could certainly have an effect.

On the other hand, Newhart telling Legatus that he will not perform because of their hate-filled views that harm so many people–both LGBT and their allies– who are his co-workers, friends and fans would also be a strong and bold move.

HT: Back2Stonewall.com

Pussy Riot To Be Freed: Amnesty for Russian Punk Band, Greenpeace Protestors and Others

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are being freed under the amnesty bill being submitted by Vladimir Putin to the Duma, the Russian parliament, on Monday December 9, to mark the Russian constitution’s 20th anniversary on Thursday. Nadya’s husband Pyotr Verzilov confirmed the rumors to The Voice Project:

It’s from the Kremlin and official already, they will be freed. We do not know yet when this will happen, because it is unclear when the bill will be voted by the Duma and how fast it will be applied to prisons – could be from 2 weeks to 2 months until they are freed.

The Voice Project also reports that Nadya’s father Andrei has also been able to confirm this from “reliable sources.” Nadya was moved to Siberia in November after protesting conditions and going on a hunger strike at her previous penal colony in Morodovia. She is now hospitalized in a Siberian prison facility, Regional Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1.

The BBC reports that Putin may also free the Greenpeace Arctic 30 campaigners currently on bail and facing trial on (reduced) charges of hooliganism, as well as some of the opposition activists involved in unrest in May 2012.

This all feels like a Putin move to make Russia seem less yucky-looking in the buildup to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Simone Baumann’s film Putin’s Game, documenting charges of threats, corruption, and environmental damage is screening throughout Europe. Pussy Riot jailed, Greenpeace activists facing trial, “gay propaganda” banned and LGBTQ beaten, Elton John (finally) speaking out about anti-gay discrimination in Russia. From the stage. While performing a concert in Moscow. Add in a boycott of Smirnoff vodka and Putin had to do something.

In a surprising move, NBC has named the New Yorker’s editor and a former Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post, David Remnick as a guest correspondent:

Remnick said NBC had guaranteed him editorial independence with his commentary, including such politically charged issues as gay rights and the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. “There is nothing in the world — and I know they don’t intend to hinder me in this way — where I would not be honest in my analysis,” Remnick said. “It would be a waste of everyone’s integrity and time if otherwise.”

Meanwhile, it could be a very happy new year for Pussy Riot, Greenpeace, and other jailed Russian activists. (more…)

Ender’s Game: Gay Hating Sci-Fi Author Names Villains “Buggers,” Advocates Govt. Overthrow

Okay yes that’s an extreme headline, but here’s what Orson Scott Card, author of the  Ender’s Game series, wrote in 2008 about marriage equality:

What these dictator-judges do not seem to understand is that their authority extends only as far as people choose to obey them.

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Card is on the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Marriage, and one can only surmise that some of the money he has made from writing the Ender’s Game series, selling the rights to the book and being a producer on the film have gone, and may continue to go to fight marriage equality. (You don’t get on the Board of Directors for any organization with a simple $23 donation. You donate pay. A lot)

Geek’s Out has called for a boycott of  the film version of Ender’s Game due to open in the U.S. on November 1 because of the author’s extreme, gay-loathing views. The film’s producers Robert Orci in the Wall Street Journal:

I was never aware of in the book – and we’ve read it three or four times during our lifetime before we got into this movie – I never saw any sign in “Ender’s Game” of anything that offended Alex [Kurtzman, co-producer] or me.

Dude, seriously? WTF! The villains who take over Earth are called Buggers. BUGGERS. A derogatory term for male homosexuals (and yes, I know I am typing the term “homosexual” which is considered derogatory but it’s to point out the utter archaic hatred Card displays for LGBTQ).  So in what universe (except Card’s hate-filled one?) is it okay to call another lifeform (especially the “bad guys”) by a hateful epithet? Like, wouldn’t seeing an invading force called words I never say and cringe when I hear be a tip off that maybe you’d want to reconsider the whole idea?

Wait, let’s back up a second. The producers were not offended by villains called Buggers. At all. Okay that’s it. I want back the $7.50 I spent for Star Trek: Into Darkness, aka Enterprise 90210.2 because clearly the people behind it are either liars or morons.

Stuff comes out when writers write, when you fall through a page the unconscious and subconscious take over, and fiction writers also use their work to consciously push their own agenda (In Battlefield Earth, author L. Ron Hubbard, who loathed psychiatrists and referred to them in his logorrheic non-fiction as “psychs,” called his bad guys “Psychlos.” Oh gods, please let Ender’s Game be as big a flop as Battlefield Earth and whatever that last Will Smith movie was). Even without Card’s hateful bile and NOMing, wouldn’t the terms “buggers” be a tip off that something is a leetle odd? One sci-fi fan I spoke with said:

strange term to use in the 80s – everyone knows what it meant

How could the producers have ignored that?
As the Geek’s Out call for boycott/avoidance of the Ender’s Game movie gain momentum, Card released a statement to Entertainment Weekly:

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot.  The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

Orson Scott Card

There’s a difference between tolerance and acceptance. Tolerance, Orson, means your movie will be released and people will walk past the ticket booth without a second glance. Acceptance means we would pay to see it. And we won’t be.

(BTW, Card’s comment about the “political issues that did not exist when the books was written” is BS. According Wikipedia, Card revised Ender’s Game in 1991, making several minor changes to reflect the political climates of the time, including the decline of the Soviet Union. Why would he revise his book to reflect the decline of the USSR, if as he claims his book has nothing do to current politics, but rather those a century in the future?).

HT PoliCyBear

La Figa Holiday Gift Guide: Celebrate Krampus with Community-Focused and Socially Conscious-Themed Gifts

‘Tis the season. I have friends who make huge batches of fudge and give that out as gifts, and other friends who flavor and then bottle vinegars and oils. I have friends who can create coasters and potholders out of scrap fabric, knit lingerie, paint flower pots, découpage, draw, paint, bead, and generally out-arts-and-crafts me with one arm in a cast, which is why I shop very seriously with them, as well as looking for gifts that are socially responsible. (I don’t recommend hand knit bras, btw; they are itchy, lumpy, and offer no support, but um, it was the thought that counted).

Gifts should reflect the giver’s awareness of recipient, and carry a bit of the giver’s personality. Practical, thoughtful, and thought-provoking  are also important attributes. And because this is Firedoglake, a healthy dose of social consciousness never hurts.

Top of my list: FDL’s Free Bradley Manning t-shirt (there’s also an awesome sweatshirt). I ordered one for a friend as a Thanksgiving  gift, and he loved it, and I have one myself. The cotton is soft, the design is super cool, and you’re helping to support Manning’s trial coverage and activism.

Want to give a group gift, say for the whole family or your office? Occupy Sandy desperately needs Tyvek suits to protect those who are cleaning up mold damage in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Or consider supplying Occupy with the FDL Occupy Supply items. You can tell your peeps that instead of laying out for whole bunch of made-in-China crud that will end up gathering dust or getting regifted, you’ve made sure that an Occupy group is warm and cared for with American-made gifts.  And since usually  your family gives you socks and scarves, why not pay that forward and give socks and warm blankets to Occupy! Besides, weren’t your stodgy aunts and cousins thrilled last year when you gave a toilet in their name via Oxfam?

A Firedoglake Just Say Now shirt is perfect for your “states’ rights” libertarian relative–and for the fundamentalist Christian too, because after all, Pat Roberson did come out in favor of the legalization of marijuana, saying:

I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.

(And of course, Firedoglake memberships make great gifts as does a donation to Planned Parenthood. Or to your local library!)

This holiday season, along with their offerings like Lick It Softly (a blend of  peppermint and vanilla) and Krampus 2012 (red musk and black leather), niche perfumers Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has special, limited edition blends to raise funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. Based on a guide to the seraglios of New York City published in 1870, The Gentleman’s Directory’s “Frank Burns” and “Miss Addie” are two distinct scents designed to recall a forgotten age of forbidden lust:

FRANK BURNS
As you pass down Houston street, faro banks abound, till we reach an unpretending red brick building No. 25, kept by Frank Burns, known as the “Judge and Jury”. This is a great resort for the sportsmen both of this and the other country. Everything here is conducted in a respectable and orderly manner.

Bay rum, polished oak, exquisite pipe and cigar tobaccos, and a splash of bourbon.

MISS ADDIE
The next house, No. 55, is kept by Miss Addie Blashfield, the dashing brunette, who has eight or ten boarders, both blondes and brunettes. These are a pretty lot of girls, of pleasing and engaging manners. It is regarded as a first class house, very quiet and orderly and is visited by some of our first citizens.

Red sandalwood, vanilla orchid, sweet clove, neroli, apple blossom, and a gentle hint of star anise.

Books are gifts that need to be given to yourself and to friends! And this year there are two very amazing and wonderful books that highlight LGBTQ, and make perfect gifts for LGBTQ and allies. Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay by Paul Vitagliano (DJ Paul V.) features photos and short essays by everyday people about growing up LBGTQ, as well as exclusive new stories and photos from LGBTQ people in the public eye, including Rep. Barney Frank, Erasure’s Andy Bell, actor Patrick Bristow, radio host Frank DeCaro, columnist Michael Musto, singer Sia, blogger Perez Hilton, composer Marc Shaiman, and drag legends Jackie Beat and Coco Peru. Born This Way is sweet, funny, at times heartbreaking, and ultimately joyful and triumphant.

Actor/activist/author Michael Kearns’  The Truth is Bad Enough: What Every Became of the Happy Hustler? is an important social documentary/autobiography by the first openly gay actor in Hollywood (Kearns came out during the peak of his television career which included stints on Cheers, Murder She Wrote, and The Fall Guy). In 1991 he publicly disclosed his HIV+ status on Entertainment Tonight, and in 1994 he adopted his daughter Katherine, making him the first openly gay, publicly HIV-positive, single man to become a father. Kearns also co-founded  two AIDS organizations with partner James Carroll Pickett: Artists Confronting AIDS and STAGE (Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event), the longest running theatrical benefit in the world.  The Truth is Bad Enough takes the reader through the nascent days of Gay Pride, through the AIDS crisis and beyond, from Kearns’ first major media explosion (Kearns created Grant Tracy Saxon, the bisexual author of The Happy Hustler, a deliberate spoof of Xaviera Hollander’s The Happy Hooker), his childhood and relationships, though his work in theaters as a playwright, and actor, as an activist, and most importantly as a father.

Many of the films we’ve featured on Firedoglake Movie Night are available on DVD, and out of the over 190 films we’ve discussed, there’s bound to be something for everyone on your list!

Who doesn’t love coffee? Okay, maybe a few people. This year along with Dean’s Beans, a pioneer in Fair Trade, organic coffee (all his beans are certified organic, Fair Trade, and kosher!) who can create custom roasts for everyone on your holiday lists, there’s a new java supplier on my list: Trystero Coffee, a nano-roaster in Atwater Village, right by the Los Angeles River. Bean maestro Greg small-batch roasts heirloom, direct trade varietals on Thursdays, then delivers them around town on a bicycle (though Trystero does ship priority mail fo rhtose of you out of cycling range). It’s a family business–just Greg and Nicole, and they rock. Plus Trystero’s name and logo is from one of my favorite books, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon.

There are now almost a hundred small wineries in the U.S. creating organic, sustainable and/or biodynamic wines. Some like Rubicon (Inglenook) owned by Francis Ford Coppola, are not, shall we say, inexpensive (his run about $250 a bottle!), but with some searching, you can find bottles in the $20 range, like Bonny Doon and Snoqualmie Valley.

Some times a special girls (or guy) needs a glamor gift, and that’s where Batcakes Couture comes in. Using ethically sourced feathers, Madame Batcakes creates fascinators,  boutonnieres, cuffs and headbands, as well as handmade crystal devil horns and lacy cat ears, plus amazing hats. And showgirl head dresses!  I gotta love and support a single mom who works 18 hours days and, having no insurance, paid for her son’s critical medical care herself (an extra $20,000 she had to glue together using just her skills as a hat maker).

I’ll bet many of you know a local artist or crafts person who makes some amazing items; or look for them via Facebook and at farmers or flea markets. By shopping local artisans, you help your community. Just make sure your local “artist” isn’t reselling stuff made elsewhere and claiming it as their own; you want to support their art/craft, not their ability to source “handmade” items from abroad and double the price–one problem found frequently on Etsy. Though Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson claims the craft site is trying to stem that problem, not much seems to have been done, despite Etsy community continually flagging blatant junk resellers.

Shop sensibly, locally, thoughtfully. And remember this is the time of year when many social groups and small organizations and charities get together to hold sales where you can find cool vintage goods and some great handmade items. Just maybe not the knit bra. Seriously.

Chick-fil-hAte Hollywood Protest

There was a huge colon-clogging, gizzard glutting eat-in at Chick-fil-A on Sunset and Highland Wednesday for the Mike Huckabee-called, frothy Rick Santorum-embraced, Sarah Palin-endorsed, Rush Limbuagh-hyped “National Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-hAte Appreciation Day.” Two lines of cars snaked into the drive through ordering stations, backing up traffic onto Sunset Boulevard. I wish I had been able to take a snapshot of the woman in a nose job bandage eating a frozen dessert cone as she drove out. Very L.A.

The parking lot was full, and there were more people in line and on the patio than I had seen cumulatively in all the years I had driven by the deep-fried food scented corner.  Groups holding a rainbow flag and pro-LGBTQ signs stood on the corner with two (female) LAPD officers who were very nice. The protestors were out-numbered by the gluttons easily 1:10.

I had listened to rush Limbaugh this morning and he was reading reports that Chick-fil-hAtes all over the country were full of customers. But in LA? Yes, people do eat fast food here, and this is one of two  Chick-fil-hAtes in the area; the only other one in Los Angeles proper is near USC.

I think many people were driven to sample Chick-fil-A by the mistaken belief that this is a “free speech/freedom of religion” issue, not a matter of a for-profit corporation funneling money into a non-profit corporation which in turn donates to organizations like Focus on the Family and Family Research Council–groups which themselves have called for religious-based boycotts of Kraft, Proctor & Gamble, the Super Bowl, and Girl Scout cookies.  The Chick-fil-A  corporately funded foundation, WinShape also donates to Exodus, which until this year focused on “praying the gay away” as an ex-gay ministry, and has since publicly claimed they will no longer do so.

It remains to been seen if today was just a one day curiosity glitch driven by media, or if Chick-fil-hAte just tastes so darn good people can’t resist it. (It smells yucky to me).

YouGov/Brand Index reports:

Chick-Fil-A’s perception with fast food eaters nationwide has taken a significant hit in most regions of the US, including the South where most of its restaurants are located, since president and COO Dan Cathy’s perceived anti-gay remarks on July 16th…

As the controversy has snowballed, the company’s overall consumer brand health with fast food eaters has dropped to its lowest levels since at least mid-August 2010…

On July 16th, the day the Baptist Press published its Dan Cathy interview, Chick-Fil-A’s Index score was 65, a very substantial 19 points above the Top National QSR Sector average score that day of 46.

Four days later, Chick-Fil-A had fallen to 47 score, three points below the Top National QSR Sector average score of 50. This past Wednesday, Chick-Fil-A had a 39 score compared to the Top National QSR Sector average score of 43.

YouGov BrandIndex respondents in the South took Chick-Fil-A from an Index score of 80 on July 16th to its current 44. Chick-Fil-A’s biggest drop took place in the Northeast, where it went from 76 to 35, a difference of 41 points.

Friday, August 3 is National Same-Sex Kiss-In at Chick-fil-hAte. Grab a same-sex pal, your same-sex lover, or whomever and show that you support equal rights by kissing at your local Chick-fil-hAte. To quote Gore Vidal:

We must declare ourselves, become known; allow the world to discover this subterranean life of ours which connects kings and farm boys, artists and clerks. Let them see that the important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself.

It’s time for allies to step up, too. Straight people have LGBTQ family, co-workers, friends so we too

must declare ourselves.

The time is now.

Huckabee, Santorum Spread Chick-fil-A Hate, Muddy the Waters.

Frothy Rick Santorum opened wide and embraced Mike Huckabee’s “National Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” claiming that for the left:

There can be no dissent from what their position is.

Kinda like conservative Christians’ position on marriage equality and ENDA. And LGBTQ overall, because the conservative Christians feel there can be no dissent from (their interpretation of) God’s word. Think Progress sums it up:

The rise of the Christian Right is due for a 40th anniversary to mark the appropriation of Christianity by conservatives like Pat Robertson, Phyllis Schlafly, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Ralph Reed. This coalition of mostly evangelical Christians, Catholics, and Mormons has largely succeeded in reducing the cultural definition of being Christian to those who share their beliefs. The present-day ravings of faux-historian David Barton seek to push even farther and erase the religious diversity at the heart of American patriotism. The “culture war” over LGBT equality presents one of the clearest dividing lines, with anti-gay talking heads like Tony Perkins over-dominating the media on behalf of “Christianity” while LGBT-affirming Christians are severely under-represented. [emphasis mine]

Santorum, who spoke Thursday on CNBC, further confused the issue of the interpretation of religious texts by saying

“This is why the Huguenots came to America,” Santorum said, adding the Dutch Reform Church and Catholics to that list.

“They didn’t want the government telling them what to believe and that they couldn’t say things in public, that they had to keep it to themselves,” he said, or be “barred from doing business.”

America was founded by dissenters, that’s true. Some were Catholics, some were Jews who played vital roles in the Revolution,  some were from various Protestant sects.  Let’s not forget the Freemasons! Various interpretations of  God’s word/s, as evidenced by the differences between the Torah, the Catholic Bible, Masonic texts, the various Protestant translations and heck, even the Book of Mormon indicate that there’s a lot of room between the letters. And at one point or another the foundational Christian groups, the Catholics and Protestants, imprisoned, tortured and killed dissenters, including other Christians along with Jews, which is why they all bailed to America and other places. And Mormons were massacred by people calling themselves Christians.

America also has a free market, and if people don’t like how business donates profits,  they don’t have to spend their money there.  Chick-fil-A corporate donates to WinShape, the Chick-fil-A family charitable foundation, which in turn funds anti-LGBT organizations. Some of these organizations have themselves called for boycotts of businesses who beliefs run contrary to what is claimed by specific groups of  Christians to be traditional Christian/Biblical values.

Focus on the Family, which received funding from WinShape, has urged boycotts on businesses and groups which support LGBT rights, including the Disney companies (since lifted), Kraft, United Way Charities and Big Brother/Big Sister, Proctor & Gamble, and most recently, the 2010 Super Bowl. What LGBTQ and their allies are doing by urging a boycott of Chick-fil-hAte is the exact same thing that Family Research Council, which received funding from WinShape, did this year when they promoted boycotting Girl Scout Cookies.

Goose/gander.

LGBTQ and allies are not calling for a boycott because Dan Cathy is a Christian. Or even a mean jerk.  The boycott is because corporate funds from Chick-fil-A are being funneled to his foundation. A percentage of these tax-free funds goes to support organizations which promote anti-equality measures and also call for boycotts of other groups with whom they disagree. If Cathy wants to fund these groups, he should use his own salary, not money that comes from his corporation which is sheltered in a tax-free foundation. We all spend our earned money how we choose; we choose to whom we donate, where we spend our paychecks.

In other words: This is not about “free speech” or “freedom of religion.” Or about how Dan Cathy chooses to spend his corporate salary. It’s about a corporation funding a tax-free organization that in turn donates to groups that support hostility and oppression.

Oh, and if Richard Nixon had to confront LGBTQ issues, he’d repeal DOMA and EDNA–remember, he’s the guy who passed the EPA, OSHA and affirmative action.  So take that! you GOP-presidential wanna-bees Huckabee, Santorum, and Ms. Palin.

Occupy LA: Look for the Rainbow Flag as LGBTQ Affinity Group Forms

The 99% includes well, almost everyone. And within the 99% are the majority of LGBTQ, so activist John Wailbling has started a LGBTQ affinity group at Occupy LA to help articulate and expand upon their places in the progressive movement at at Occupy.


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