March 31, 2014

See First Debris Believed to be from Flight 370 Plus Families

Mayor De Blasio Gives New Yorkers a Police Inspector General

New York Police Department. Times Square. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk, CC2.0)
Making History for New York City Police Dep. Mayor De Blasio appointed an Inspector General. When you have a city this big who can argue that not just mistakes but pure violations of the law and the constitutional rights of its citizens are not going to be violated? Many did. 
A Commander is no more capable or even smarter that someone right underneath him. The cops make decisions based on a rush to get the situation under control. The problem is that if someone is got misinformation, got the words wrong or is just a hard head  the situation will be started and carry to its sometimes fatal conclusion by the police.
New Yorkers have asked and needed to have someone in the police that would have people help accountable for bad judgement call or be able to see when the numbers don’t jibe as in the past crimes not being reported to keep the crime statistics down on certain percents. adamfoxie*
When the four police detectives arrived at the woman's door, they had a list of names they wanted to ask about. They also had a cell phone number they wanted to identify. But they did not have a warrant.
The homeowner didn't know the names; her daughter didn't either. But the daughter did recognize the cell number as belonging to an old phone of hers. So the cops asked to search the house.
"When the woman refused because the police did not have a search warrant," reads a report, "the detective called his supervisor. After reaching his supervisor, the detective told the complainant that he was ordered to conduct a 'walk through' of the house. The detectives searched the entire house, believing that an order from their supervisor and knowing that the daughter's old cell phone number was being used by questionable individuals justified a warrantless search of the complainant's home."
The report was one of two policy studies issued in 2013 by the Washington, D.C. Office of Police Complaints, the head of which—Philip Eure—was just named to be New York City's first NYPD inspector general.
The de Blasio administration's naming of Eure (under the 2013 law creating the IG, the mayor's commissioner of the Department of Investigations—not the mayor himself—made the appointment) brings us full circle from last spring. The moment when the 2013 mayoral campaign began to take its defining shape was when the debate over whether to install an inspector general broke into the open.
The tabloids murdered Christine Quinn when—having been beat up in every forum she attended for her association with Mayor Bloomberg and desire to keep Ray Kelly on as NYPD commissioner—she shifted to support the bill. John Liu, the most liberal major candidate, opposed the bill because he thought it a ploy to lessen mayoral accountability. Bill Thompson, who ended up placing second, backed an IG but wanted them to report to the police commissioner. Only Bill de Blasio backed the proposal as written: an independent inspector general outside One Police Plaza.
Reading reports at the Washington OPC website, it seems that office is a hybrid of the two police oversight bodies New York will now have: OPC took citizen complaints, as New York's Civilian Complaint Review Board has done for years, and made broader policy recommendations, as the inspector general will be charged with doing.
What's also apparent is that the sound and fury over the IG—which foes suggested would weaken the police command structure—was out of step with reality.
In its report about warrantless searches, the DC office recommended that the police develop criteria for when a warrantless searches are OK, train officers on it, discipline those who do such a search when it's not justified, and require cops to document those searches when they occur. None of the ideas are binding, none ignore the possibility that warrantless searches may at times be necessary, and don’t bind the police in any way except to protect the Fourth Amendment (which is kind of important) and the admissibility of evidence they gather during future "walk throughs."

Jarrett Murphy

Watch The UK’s First Ever Gay Wedding

Watch The UK’s First Gay Wedding Ceremony In London
Sinclair Treadway, 20, and Sean Adl-Tabatabai, 31, were among the first same-sex couples (and quite possibly the first) to get married once marriage equality was legalized in England and Wales after midnight, on Saturday.
The wedding took place at Camden Town Hall, North London.
Watch their ceremony below:

Peter McGraith and David Cabreza of Islington were also among the first same-sex couples to get married at Islington Town Hall.

Uganda’s Cost in Money and Influence Lost Due to Their Anti Gay Laws

Ugandan President, Yoweri Musevani/AFP

KAMPALA,(AFP) - Uganda's tough new anti-gay law prompted stiff criticism and aid cuts by Western donors, and the East African nation is now facing a heavy diplomatic and economic fallout despite its role as a key regional ally, experts say.
Annual foreign aid to Uganda accounts for a fifth of Uganda's 12 billion dollar (8.6 billion euro) annual budget, but while several European nations have cut some aid, they appear unwilling to totally undermine veteran President Yoweri Museveni.
"It is not going to push Uganda into a huge recession, but it could shave off one or two percent off GDP growth," said Harry Verhoeven, who teaches African politics at Britain's University of Oxford.
"The resolve of the EU countries to hold up aid is stronger than President Museveni thinks," Verhoeven said. "I would not underestimate what the long term damage could be."
Museveni last month signed off on one of the world's most severe anti-gay laws, which states that "repeat homosexuals" should be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays to the police.
Diplomats and rights groups had been hoping the president, who is already under fire from key Western donors over alleged rampant graft and for stifling opposition groups and media, would refuse to sign the legislation into law.
US Secretary of State John Kerry likened the new law to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany and warned it could damage ties with Washington.
The World Bank froze a loan of $90 million (65 million euros), while Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway have halted or changed aid programmes.
The aid cuts will impact the poorest, many warn.
Francois Audet, from Canada's Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid, warned that the "resources the country receives are indispensable to its survival."
"If aid is cut it would be very hard on services," said Bildard Baguma, deputy chief of Uganda's Red Cross.
"Even if it is just cut to government aid, it will certainly have an impact since so many programmes are funded with donor money. It would end up affecting mostly the poor."
Museveni's support for the law was seen as a move to bolster popular domestic support ahead of presidential elections scheduled for 2016, which will be his 30th year in power.
In a blunt speech after signing the law, Museveni warned Western nations not to meddle in Uganda's affairs and said he was not afraid of losing cash.
"The West can keep their 'aid' to Uganda over homos, we shall still develop without it," government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said in defiant message after cuts were announced.
But cuts could still hit Museveni, one of Africa's longest-serving leaders, politically.
"It will harm some of the patronage instruments that President Museveni has for 2016 and that re-election campaign," Verhoeven said. "There will be less money to throw around. That will hurt, for sure."
However, the role of Uganda's army in international military missions will cushion diplomatic criticism.
Ugandan troops are a key part of the UN-mandated African Union force in Somalia, battling Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents.
Ugandan troops are also working with US special forces in the hunt in the Central African Republic for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony, whose Lord's Resistance Army is accused of rape, murder and the kidnapping of children.
Despite Kerry's comments, Washington this week said it was sending more elite commandos to Uganda to bolster US support for the operations against Kony.
Others warn the laws will damage Uganda's international reputation, a worrying factor with tourism the country's second largest foreign exchange earner, estimated to be worth $662 million a year.
Sweden's Finance Minister Anders Borg, who was visiting Uganda when the law was signed, warned it presented an economic and "reputational risk" for the country, especially for investments and the tourist industry.
One tourist operator, who asked not to be named, said that some visitors at the top end of the market had cancelled.
"The concern is going on in all our minds," the operator said. "We are all talking among ourselves and trying to figure out what will happen."
For Verhoeven, the experienced and wily Museveni will try to "look for a way out to have the best of both worlds" -- scoring political points at home by playing up to homophobic sentiment, but also trying to allay the concerns of the West.
Museveni will say "he supported the bill, for his domestic constituency, but in the end he is not applying it, or there is a problem with it," Verhoeven said.

Same Sex Marriage Helps Affirms that "Gay is Ok”

As someone who remembers Section 28 all too clearly, I readily accepted the invitation. The whole morning spent with these wonderful teenagers and their teachers was both moving and inspiring.
For the past three years, I played Nikki Boston in BBC One school drama Waterloo Road. Every single day I received messages on social media from kids struggling to deal with their sexuality or with gender issues. Struggling because of homophobic bullying, because the phrase ‘that’s so gay’ has become a way to describe something that’s rubbish, because they don’t know how to speak to their peers or their families and because they feel lesser by admitting that they’re gay.
At Carshalton High School, we talked a lot about language and why it’s so important to consider the words we 
use and how they’ll affect other people. I also explained that, for me, this is one of the main reasons that equal marriage is so important.
My partner and I had a beautiful Civil Partnership last year and since we’d already spent five years together, I was unprepared for the very subtle, gorgeous change that your relationship experiences when you make those vows. A feeling of security and calm came with having made the commitment, of telling each other, in front of all of the people we love, that this is forever.
I’ve described this to many people who have then asked why we really need equal marriage if a civil partnership looks the same, feels the same and by all accounts is the same. There are obviously a few legal differences with regards to wills, pensions and the fact your ceremony can't take place with any religious context. But the biggest difference is simply language. By calling it something else, we constantly reinforce to wider society and, most importantly to the next generation, that same sex partnerships are different, that they are somehow less. Less important, less real, a lesser love.
The passing of equal marriage will send a message to young people struggling with their sexuality that their future relationships matter. One day they will have the choice to commit to the person they love in exactly the same way as their straight friends. It will tell them that their love is not different and it will also send exactly the same message to straight kids.
There’s a long way to go until our society achieves equality for LGBT people and we must not forget the bigger struggles faced by our brothers and sisters internationally. But equal marriage is a massive step and even if the tradition of marriage isn’t something you’re interested in, then just having the choice to reject it is something to celebrate.
The ‘Gay Is OK’ assembly at Carshalton High School was organised completely by the students and included dances, videos and speeches. I left feeling incredibly optimistic. With a bit more pressure, campaigning and fighting from our generation, the next generation will ridicule the fact that we had to fight at all. 

American Missionaries Partly Responsible for Africa’s “Jail and Death” Laws

“I wonder when people put money on the plate in church and make donations to missionaries they are jailing and hanging, stoning to death gay men and some women in certain parts in Africa.” adamfoxie

What is the goal of the new laws?
To criminalize homosexuality and "cleanse" these two countries' societies of gay people. In January, Nigerian President Good luck Jonathan signed a new anti-gay law that mandates 14-year prison terms for anyone in a same-sex union and 10 years for anyone who “promotes" homosexuality, including HIV/AIDS workers. In February, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed an even more draconian anti-gay law that provides for 14 years in jail for first-time offenders; those who commit "aggravated homosexuality" — repeated gay sex or gay sex involving a minor or someone with HIV — can get life in prison. The Ugandan law also pressures people to inform on their gay neighbors, because it is now a crime for anyone who is aware of homosexual activity to fail to report it. In signing the law, Museveni said he was defending the country from "arrogant and careless Western groups that are fond of coming into our schools and recruiting young children into homosexuality."
What prompted the new laws?
Under legal systems set up by European colonizers in the 19th and 20th centuries, 38 of Africa's 55 nations have had anti-sodomy laws on the books. But those laws were rarely enforced until recently, and in many African cultures, casual homosexuality has been fairly commonplace. In the last two decades, the continent has undergone a resurgence of evangelical Christianity, propelled largely by American missionaries. Uganda has been a particular focus for Scott Lively, an American evangelical pastor who preaches that gay Nazis were behind the Holocaust and that gay men try to recruit children. In a 2009 presentation to Ugandan lawmakers in Kampala, Lively warned that Westerners wanted to undermine the Ugandan family and recruit children by spreading "the disease" of homosexuality. "They're looking for other people to be able to prey upon," Lively said. Ugandan rights advocates say the anti-gay movement owes everything to Lively's lobbying. "The bill is essentially his creation," said Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda.
Why did Lively's campaign succeed?
The theory that decadent Westerners are trying to pervert Africans meshed perfectly with the broader anti-colonial themes championed by many African politicians. Uganda's Museveni opposed the law at first, but with a re-election bid coming up, he changed his tune. The West, he said, was engaging in "social imperialism" by trying to force Uganda and other African countries to recognize gay rights through U.N. human rights treaties. This rhetoric echoes across many other African countries (but not all: See below). Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says homosexuality is a Western invention intended to "disturb the African moral fabric." Gambian President Yahya Jammeh called homosexuals "satanic." Even Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated Nobel laureate, has defended her country's anti-sodomy laws as "traditional values."
What effect do the laws have?
Gays are being arrested and being beaten by mobs. In February in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, a mob attacked and brutally beat and kicked a dozen gay men, nearly killing one man. They dragged four of the injured victims to the police station to be arrested for homosexuality, and there the police joined in the beating. Activists say Nigerian police have arrested gay men and tortured them into revealing the names of others. In Uganda, as soon as the law passed, one tabloid ran the cover story "Exposed! Uganda's 200 Top Homos Named," including photos; among those named were a hip-hop star and a Catholic priest. Many gay Nigerians and Ugandans are now trying to find asylum abroad. "Our clients here are terrified," said Jocelyn Dyer of Human Rights First, a Washington, D.C.-based group that represents asylum seekers. "These laws are emboldening mobs, and the long prison sentences are making it harder to flee and get protection."
What is the public health impact?
By driving homosexuality deep into the closet, the laws may interfere with the fight against HIV/AIDS. Uganda was once an AIDS success story, but that is now changing. The portion of the population that identifies as gay is tiny, but there are many more men in Uganda — and across Africa — who have sex with other men but do not identify as gay or bisexual. These men, many of them married, are now less likely to be honest with health-care providers and less likely to get the education, free condoms, and HIV testing they need. They are also more likely to contract the virus and spread it to their female and male partners. In Senegal, after several HIV prevention workers were imprisoned in 2008, the number of men seeking sexual health services in that area dropped sharply.
How has the West reacted?President Obama called the Ugandan law "a step backwards for all Ugandans" and said the U.S. was considering revoking aid. Three European countries have already cut aid to Uganda, while the European Parliament has recommended targeted sanctions, including travel and visa bans, against "the key individuals responsible for drafting and adopting" the laws in both Nigeria and Uganda. But in Africa, Western criticism only feeds into the belief that rejection of homosexuality is an African nationalist cause. "The West can keep their 'aid' to Uganda over homos," said Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo. "We shall still develop without it."
Africa's tolerant exceptions 
Not all African countries prosecute homosexuals. Consensual same-sex relationships are legal across most of Francophone Africa, including in Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ivory Coast, the Central African Republic, both Congos, Gabon, and Chad. But the country with the greatest protection of gay rights is South Africa, where the post-apartheid constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Based on that clause, South Africa legalized same-sex marriage in 2006, becoming just the fifth country to do so. Gays serve openly in the armed forces, and may adopt children. Still, while the laws ensure equal treatment, South African society is not wholly welcoming. A 2008 survey found that 84 percent of South Africans said homosexual behavior is “always wrong."

March 30, 2014

‘I am queer’; Former Miss Kentucky Comes Out

"Even though we’ve had all different types of people coming out of the closet lately, I think that stigma exists in what people are used to seeing around the media and around the community," said Trent. Photo: Facebook
"Even though we’ve had all different types of people coming out of the closet lately, I think that stigma exists in what people are used to seeing around the media and around the community," said Trent. Photo: Facebook
Despite U.S. District Judge Aleta Traugerrecently ruling that the Volunteer state must recognize the marriages of three specific couples as part of an ongoing lawsuit, the rest of the Tennessee lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and its allies wait for what they consider to be a basic, equal right -- the right to marry.
An ongoing movement, the push to legalize same-sex marriage, is not new. The first case brought before the Supreme Court in 1971 was Baker vs. Nelson. The court ruled against Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell on the grounds that they could not procreate, referencing the book of Genesis, and because "abstract symmetry" was not ‘demanded by the Fourteenth Amendment'.
As change continues to be made across the United States, in state of Tennessee, the wait for equality is taking much longer than some in the LGBT community want.
"Sadly, I think that the appeal will be successful, and although the ruling itself was a sign of a shift in ideology in terms of LGBT acceptance, the laws surrounding LGBT issues are still a state issue," said native Memphian George Dowdy. "Unfortunately, the journey will remain stagnant as long as the decision is left up to those in power in a state as conservative as Tennessee."
Regardless of the uncertainty of marriage equality for the remaining 33 states, one thing remains the same: for many, coming out is not just a personal journey, but one of spreading awareness.
When she was in the fourth grade, former Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent made a bold declaration to her mother: "Mom, I'm gay." While her mother did not immediately understand or accept what her daughter was saying, years later, the then revered pageant queen would make another bold declaration, this time in an Internet blog post: "I am queer."
"Looking back on it, I have no idea where I got that from because it's not like that was anything that I was ever exposed to, and it's not like people just coming out and I could've seen it on the news and been like, ‘Oh, that sounds like me; I should adopt that,'" said Trent.
For the 27-year-old beauty queen, who got her start in pageants on a whim, coming out was not only one of many steps toward inner-peace, but also a step toward bringing awareness to a lifestyle that is more common than many people may think.
"It would be lovely if we could live in a society one day where coming out is not necessary," added Trent. "But the fact of the matter is that you cannot know that someone is gay, or however they choose to identify, unless they actually disclose that information to you."
Almost 500 miles away in Memphis, Tenn., breaking stereotypes is no different, and no easier.
"LGBT people are still seen as foreign to most people in places as rural and conservative as most of Tennessee," said Dowdy. "The first step is for people to see that gay comes in many shapes and forms. We have to combat the caricatures we see on television and erase the damage of bad theology as well as stigmas associated with the HIV epidemic."
While Memphis has plenty of resources such as the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center and The First Congregational Church, people are often left stuck in the closet for fear of judgement.
One Mid-South woman, who did not want to be named, shared her personal experience with living life in the closet.
"Everything is a lie. Names, constant use of pronouns to describe the women I date," she said. "Being a bisexual woman in a predominantly straight, conservative society is not the life I ever envisioned living."
Making the decision to live or not live an open life is one that, according to Trent, is made easier by the support of loved ones.
"I think that's the importance of having your circle of people that you surround yourself with when you're in that coming out stage, because it is such an intimate journey that you have to take with yourself and it's important to have that support around you."
While Tennessee continues the fight for equality, back in Kentucky, Trent is carefully contemplating how to use her newfound openness to defy the assumptions about what it means to be gay, and setting an example for others.
"Right now, it really does seem like this isolated group of people that nobody thinks is a part of their lives at all. That's why the awareness piece is so important to me and I want to take my time deciding how to approach it," said Trent.
Trent recently joined the Freedom To Marry campaign, as the co-chair of Southerners for the Freedom to Marry.
Though marriage equality is still up in the air for Tennesseans, Dowdy encourages others to be aware.
"Visibility should be at the forefront of the movement. People gain empathy through seeing themselves in someone else. Within the LGBT community, they must see their sons, daughters, politicians, preachers, etc."
For more information on LGBT resources, ways to connect or to follow the pursuit of marriage equality, please visit the sites listed below.
By Nicole R. Harris 

A Gay Former Diplomat Might be Forced to Leave and Face Death-Why Obama is Not Keeping to His Promise?


  While President Barack Obama has made promoting rights for gays and lesbians worldwide a key foreign policy goal, that is little comfort to Ali Asseri, a former Saudi diplomat who is gay.

Asseri is fighting a years-long battle for asylum in the United States, convinced his life will be in danger if he is forced to return home.

The case presents a dilemma for the Obama administration as the President travels to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah amid a time of strained relations between the close allies.

Saudi Arabia's radical form of Islam mandates the death penalty for same-sex relations.

"I come from the darkest place on earth," Asseri said in a phone interview from his home in West Hollywood. "We are brainwashed that we have the best system and sharia law comes from god. But they teach us to hate others. I came to America to clear my mind."

Asseri grew up in a middle class conservative Saudi family, the middle child with three brothers and three sisters. His parents had little education and raised him and his brothers and sisters true to Saudi culture and religion. There was no music or TV.

He didn't know for years that he was gay. By age 13, he realized he was different than other boys his age, he just had no idea what that difference was.

"We don't have any education about sex. You don't know what gay means. You just know that you have feelings. You can't talk about it with anyone. According to the Koran they are a sin. I thought it would just go away. I just had feelings but you can't talk about it with any person."

As a law student, he considered a career as an attorney and took a job as a clerk for a judge in the Saudi court. After a few months, he quit.

In a petition seeking asylum to the United States obtained by CNN, he wrote that "unfair bias" in the treatment of cases in Saudi Arabia made it "morally impossible for me to continue."

"I was frequently upset and saddened by the system in general and the punishments given to the accused," he wrote.

Investigates sexuality

For another year he worked as a trainee in the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution, where he would check on the prisoners to see whether they were receiving proper treatment. He was forced by his managers to witness prisoners being lashed, which gave him bad dreams. He quit his job once again, frustrated with the harsh punishments and his inability to do anything to stop them.

At that time he started to investigate his faith, religion and sexuality.

"Without these jobs I wouldn't be the same person now," he said. "I began to understand something isn't right about the way we practice religion. Something didn't feel good. I said to myself the only way you can have freedom is to be a diplomat and travel out of the country."

He joined the Foreign Ministry as a diplomat and got married to a Saudi woman, all the time hiding his feelings and dreaming of the day he could leave the country and live his life as an openly gay man.

When his wife gave birth to his son, Fahad, Asseri tried one last time to give his arrangement a chance. But he found he could not keep up the charade and they divorced in 2004.

Asseri was transferred to the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles the next year.

A double life

Here, he writes in his asylum petition, "I discovered the gay community, the gay culture and that I was in fact gay." For four years he led a double life. By day, he was a traditional diplomat. By night, he visited gay bars and told friends he was from Italy or any other country than his own.

Asseri's two worlds collided in 2009 when he fell in love and moved into a West Hollywood apartment with his boyfriend. Finding happiness for the first time, he enjoyed an open social life in West Hollywood with his new friends.

Soon his colleagues began to ask him about his life outside of work and started following him. When his passport expired and he submitted it for renewal, he received no reply. After several months, his office told him his time in the United States was up and he would have to return to Saudi Arabia.

He began to fear he was found out. He called a friend in the foreign ministry in Riyadh, who told him indeed the Consul General sent a letter to the ministry stating he was gay and had information about his lifestyle.

"This is when I became really scared and paranoid," he writes in his asylum petition. "I was so scared they would do something to me physically. I was even afraid to go to my car thinking there could be a bomb in it. When I came home I had to check every closet."

He sent a letter to various news organizations saying he was being harassed by colleagues and he feared for his life.

Fearing persecution

He applied for asylum as a gay person who would face persecution if sent home. In more than eight hours of questioning, immigration officers focused on his jobs in the Saudi courts and Bureau of investigation.

His bid for asylum was no common occurrence.

The last Saudi diplomat to seek asylum was in 1994, when Mohammed al-Khilewi, then first secretary for the Saudi mission to the United Nations, was granted asylum for publicly criticizing his country's human rights record and alleged support for terrorism.

Fourteen months later in October 2011, the Department of Homeland Security denied Asseri's application.

In the rejection letter, obtained by CNN, the government says "evidence indicates that you ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in the persecution of others on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion."

The case went to automatic appeal.

"They interviewed him once and it took 14 months and it showed they were going for denial," says Ali Ahmed, a Saudi dissident and activist that has been helping Asseri with his case. "They used the reason that he worked for the courts to call him a human rights violator which is really bogus."

Obama on gay rights

Two months later, Obama signed a Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. It included a program to protect gay refugees and asylum seekers, including "ensuring the federal government has the ability to identify and expedite resettlement of highly vulnerable persons with urgent protection needs."

In the memo, Obama writes that the fight to end discrimination against LGBT people is "a global challenge" and "central to the United States' commitment to promoting human rights."

"I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation," Obama said.

In its most recent human rights report, the State Department said under sharia law in the Saudi Arabia, "consensual same-sex conduct is punishable by death or flogging."

Ongoing case

It wasn't until this past February that Asseri was finally granted a hearing date for his appeal. At the court, the immigration officer offered him a deal to remain in the country permanently without possibility of asylum or a green card.

Additionally, he could never leave the country. When he rejected the offer, the immigration officer applied for another continuance, saying she needed to submit more documents in the two-year case. He is now looking at a new hearing date in 2015.

Today, Asseri barely makes ends meet as a part-time security guard. He lives on couches at friends' apartments in West Hollywood. His family has shunned him and his ex-wife won't allow him to talk to his son.

As unbearable as his life in limbo is, he says returning to Saudi Arabia would be a death sentence.

"There is no question," he says. "If you go back and say I am gay and proud and I don't believe in religion anymore. Under sharia law this is death. You will be happy if they kill you right away. "

Ahmed, the Saudi activist, says Asseri is a victim of U.S. desires not to upset the Saudi monarchy.

Asseri had been convinced that Obama's stated commitment to gay rights would trump politics and keep him safe in the United States.

"When President Obama ran in 2008 I supported him. I cried for him, I encouraged my American friends to vote for him. Now I can't stand to watch him on TV," he says. "I'm angry. He said he supports the rights of gay people, so why is this happening to me?"

The Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles did not return phone calls. The Department of Homeland Security declined comment, saying asylum cases were confidential.
by CNN

UK: Tory Mark Menzies Resigned After Revelations Came About His Male Brazilian Prostitutes


Tory MP Mark Menzies resigned as a ministerial aide last night after claims that he asked a Brazilian rent boy he was paying for sex to supply illegal drugs.
Mr Menzies was accused by Rogerio Santos of asking him to get hold of methedrone, a class-B drug dubbed the poor man’s cocaine, reports said.
Mr Santos, whom the MP is said to have met on a gay escort website, also claimed Mr Menzies, 42, paid for his services 18 months ago before showing him around Parliament.
Allegations: MP Mark Menzies, pictured with TV presenters Naomi Wilksinson and Dermot O'Leary, has quit
Allegations: MP Mark Menzies, pictured with TV presenters Naomi Wilksinson and Dermot O'Leary, has quit
Last night, Mr Menzies, a parliamentary aide (PPS) to International Development Minister Alan Duncan, said he was standing down from his post to fight ‘untrue’ allegations.
He said: ‘I have decided to resign as a PPS after a series of allegations were made against me in a Sunday newspaper. A number of these allegations are not true and I look forward to setting the record straight in due course.’
Mr Menzies worked for Alan Duncan, pictured
In reports last night, Mr Santos, said to be 19, claimed the Tory MP had paid him to have sex and asked him to obtain methedrone.
Texts on the Brazilian’s mobile phone apparently revealed messages asking him for full details about the quality of the drug and how much it cost.
Mr Santos, who lives in the Brazilian city Sao Paulo, said: ‘I have been having sex with a Conservative MP for money. Mark asked me to buy methedrone. I have personal messages of him talking to me about drugs.’
Mr Santos also reportedly claimed he had overstayed on his student visa and was in the UK illegally, although it is understood Mr Menzies was unaware of his immigration status.
The Brazilian maintained he was taken around Parliament by the MP and still has a ‘visitor’s permit’ but there was no suggestion Mr Menzies had broken any Commons rules.
Last night, a Tory source said the MP would be ‘getting help with personal issues’ in the wake of the claims.
Roman Catholic Mr Menzies, who is single, entered the Commons at the last General Election as the MP for Fylde in Lancashire. He was brought up by his mother on the west coast of Scotland. His father, who was in the Merchant Navy, died before he was born.
Mr Menzies won an assisted place at an independent school before studying at Glasgow University, and he joined Marks & Spencer as a trainee in 1994.
According to his website, he has been a Conservative Party member since he was 16 and in 2008 was selected to fight Fylde, a rock-solid Tory seat.
He won with a comfortable majority at the 2010 Election and quickly became an aide to Energy Minister Charles Hendry.
In the 2012 reshuffle, he became PPS to Housing Minister Mark Prisk, and last autumn he was moved again to become PPS to International Development Minister Alan Duncan.
Mr Duncan is the first openly gay Conservative MP.
Mr Menzies told the Commons last year that he had intended to abstain on the historic vote to legalise same-sex marriages but then voted in favour.
‘I came here to abstain, but I have listened to the debate like I have listened to no other, and it is now my intention not to abstain, but to support the Bill,’ he said.


Mozilla in Trouble! Gay Employees Asking for Resignations

Mozilla staff urge their CEO to step down because he’s anti-gay marriage

Some employees at Mozilla, the non-profit organization behind the Firefox browser, are calling on new CEO Brendan Eich to resign.

Mozilla workers are upset with Eich because he supported Proposition 8 and donated to politicians who backed it.

Prop 8 was a Californian ballot-proposition banning same-sex marriage. It was officially rejected in February 2012.

But some employees at Mozilla, such as design researcher Emily Goligoski, feel that Eich's decision to back Prop 8 goes against Mozilla's core values as a company. Goligoski posted the following on Twitter.
It's a bit surprising that Mozilla employees are speaking up about Eich now. He co-founded Mozilla in 1998, and prior to being CEO, he served as the company's chief technology officer. He also widely respected for inventing the JavaScript Web scripting language in 1995.

Eich hasn't hid from the fact that he supported anti-gay marriage legislation. Following his appointment, Eich said the following regarding the LGBT community at Mozilla on his personal blog:

At the same time, I know there are concerns about my commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla. I hope to lay those concerns to rest, first by making a set of commitments to you. More important, I want to lay them to rest by actions and results ... I know some will be sceptical about this, and that words alone will not change anything. I can only ask for your support to have the time to "show, not tell"; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain.

Mozilla has not responded to comment on the matter, but published a blog post on the importance of diversity within the company earlier this week.

We spoke with a Mozilla employee who seemed surprised by the uproar. This employee said there's been no internal craziness — "It's being made out worse than it really is" — and our source expects it to blow over.

"He's addressed it at all company meetings," our source says. "He's not changing his position. But I haven’t seen it get in the way of anyone advancing at Mozilla."

Hong Kong Most Stop Looking to China on Gay Rights

What do singer Denise Ho Wan-sze, lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and real-estate businesswoman Gigi Chao all have in common? They are all gay, and if they were teachers, they would not be allowed to work at International Christian School.
The Sha Tin school was slammed this month when it emerged that it requires its teachers to sign a morality contract that bans same-sex relationships, couples living together outside of marriage and adultery.
The contract goes against the Hong Kong government's employment guidelines, but is not illegal, highlighting the weak legal protections afforded to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Hong Kong.
The Equal Opportunities Commission wrote to the school and vowed to investigate, but has not received a response. The school has declined to comment throughout the backlash.
The controversy has highlighted a reticence by the Hong Kong government to act over gay rights.
In November 2012, the Legislative Council voted down a motion to consult the public over whether gay-rights legislation should be introduced. As recently as 1991, homosexuality among men was a crime with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It was never outlawed for women.
Yet other countries, even those where Christianity is the dominant religion, are showing increasing tolerance by legalising gay marriage.
Yesterday, a law legalising same-sex marriage came into force across England and Wales.
Even more tellingly, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the Church of England would accept the law.
Last year, the Catholic Church, historically one of the most critical voices on gay marriage, suggested it too could be open to changing its stance. When asked about gay priests, Pope Francis replied: "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"
Yet in Hong Kong, the conversation has stalled. It does not recognise same-sex marriages or civil unions, even those legitimised overseas.
It took a celebrity like Chao, whose father offered up a fortune to any man who could win her hand in marriage, to bring the issue into the public consciousness.
Other than a handful of famous faces, LGBT people complain of not being viewed as real human beings. Instead, they're caricatured in movies or simply viewed as oddities, with a "don't ask, don't tell" mindset.
A growing number of suicides and attacks on LGBT youth in the US has spurred the It Gets Better campaign in that country.
Yet the relative safety of Hong Kong, combined with the Asian tendency to mind one's own business, means LGBT rights and concerns are swept under the rug.
LGBT people in this city may never have to fear violence like their peers elsewhere. But unfortunately, that also means the issue doesn't get the public attention it deserves. And it doesn't mean that they don't experience marginalisation on a daily basis.
Let’s hope that it doesn't take a wave of violence against LGBT people to get this city talking.
The author is an alumna of International Christian School

March 29, 2014

The Bieber is Hit The Justice System and Since Everyone Comes Out Scarred by It, We’’ll Ck.for New Tattoos

Say what?
You don’t want to seem out of it, so here’s what you need to know: Canada’s most regrettable export, Justin Bieber, recently underwent a deposition in Miami in a civil lawsuit filed by a paparazzi photographer who claims that the Bieb ordered his bodyguard to beat the photographer to a senseless pulp and, even more tragically, to take the memory card from his camera. And now you can barely click on a kitty video on YouTube without having to squirm past a clip of this train wreck.
I thought about doing this as a parody, but as the saying goes, sometimes the jokes just write themselves. As a public service, however, Buzzology is providing the highlights of Mr. Bieber’s lesson on how to act like a spoiled, disrespectful brat:
1. Immediately lay out the terms under which you will answer questions. Waggle your finger and rotate your neck at the deposing attorney to emphasize your feelings. If that doesn’t work, either feign a coma or walk out.

  2. Grace those around you with your opinions on the current state of journalism. As a means of furthering your point, confuse a male attorney with journalistic superstar Katie Couric.

3. Give ol’ Dale Carnegie a good spin in his grave and viciously attack the one person in the room who has no dog in the fight — the court reporter.

 4. Claim to have forgotten ever having set foot in Australia, one of the most memorable continents in the world. In all fairness to Mr. Bieber, he might not remember traveling to Australia simply because he might not know where Australia is.

5. Clearly show the world your lack of SAT prep by confusing the words “detrimental” and “instrumental” — as in, “I was discovered on YouTube. It was detrimental to my career.” Well, sure. If you learn to read by hanging around on YouTube — Land of Intellectual Discourse — then of course it will be detrimental to your career.

 While you’re at it, Mr. Bieber, why not hit it out of the ballpark by forgetting the international superstar who helped make you famous? Oh wait, you did that, too.
Hope you don’t have to stand in front of the Swingin’ Judge.
Tech Columnist 

Wether you are guilty or not, poor or rich once you go thru the massive slow wheels of the american justice system, you would have some scars to show. Some, particularly because of their low education and low resources will never come out or spent the majority of their rest of their lives dealing with it. 

It’s not necessarily that you are behind bars, that is just one part of it.  It’s dealing with it’s tentacles that spread wide and are suffocating, can destroy an individual’s liberty by its bureaucratic system of probation, fines, classes that are there not to teach anything but to punish the individual both financially and time wise. 

Yes, there are many that abuse the system as we often hear. For those either they are smart enough with the right money to throw away or just they have become cured of the pain it inflicts and like the individual that has no capacity to feel pain anymore and can stick his  hand on the fire to consume the fresh yet he does not feels it as it burns.

We will see what happens with the Bieber. My guess is that this being the first encounter he will probably go back to his old ways but with a more careful way of doing things. He can continue to do everything he was doing before except he can’t drive himself and he can’t punch other people  himself. People in his position have handlers to do all that for them.

Adam Gonzalez

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