October 18, 2009


Verizon starts anti "iDevice" campaign, vows Palm Pre
updated 02:50 pm EDT, Sat October 17, 2009Verizon ad campaign to attack Apple

Verizon today sent signals that it's about to launch an aggressive campaign against Apple through a combination of marketing and devices. A leaked note regarding an upcoming ad series, nicknamed "iDoesn't," specifically targets the "iDevice" and will allegedly focus on all the features the iPhone doesn't have. The details Engadget sees are vague regarding the ads themselves but do mention that Verizon will keep branding to a minimum.
The first of the ads is due to play during the imminent Angels/Yankees baseball game, which begins at 8PM Eastern this evening, but should see heavy airplay during NFL games on Sunday and is likely to continue past that point. It promises that "big things" will come in November to take advantage of the campaign.

It's likely that the campaign is meant to steer customers towards a wave of major smartphone introductions at Verizon that will include the BlackBerry Storm2, the Android-based HTC Desire and the already publicized HTC Omnia II. All three are running smartphone platforms that have similar features to iPhones, but with multitasking and typically less restricted app catalogs. Verizon has stressed that its approach to Android won't overly limit apps and should allow Google Voice among other software Apple and AT&T have sometimes sought to ban on the iPhone.

Verizon has had a relatively poor history of marketing against Apple and on the iPhone's June 2007 launch day chiefly reiterated its variety of phones rather than any one "halo" device to lure users. The original BlackBerry Storm was also trumpeted as an iPhone rival one year ago but, aside from an initial rush of buyers, has sold relatively slowly since October 2008.

Alongside the existing smartphone push, Verizon on Friday also reiterated in a Twitter update that it plans to carry the Palm Pre "early next year." The company has in the past publicly expressed a desire to carry the multi-touch webOS phone once Sprint's US exclusive ends but until today hasn't publicly committed itself to the smartphone until now. It's so far assumed to be a functionally identical version but hasn't received more definitive release details.

October 17, 2009

HEY KID YOU'D BETTER MAKE THAT PLEDGE!!!Why not? because of GaYs??

Hey, kid, you'd better make that pledge


There's a 10-year-old lad, a fifth-grader at West Fork Elementary, who decided he wasn't going to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school anymore because there was no liberty or justice for all in America, as the pledge's rote recitation asserts.

He'd concluded that gay people didn't get equal justice or liberty in this country and that he was loath to mouth something suggesting they did.

That is to say the boy was thoughtful, sensitive, courageous and free.

So his class had a substitute teacher who bugged the boy for not standing. She told him he ought to get up and say the pledge.

The youngster didn't care for being nagged, and he snapped. He told the substitute teacher to go jump off a bridge.

Then the substitute teacher sent him to the office where the principal did not coerce or punish him in regard to the pledge, but did assign him, on account of his sassing the teacher, to do a report on the history of the pledge and the symbolism of the flag.

Let me help the youngster.

The Pledge of Allegiance was cooked up by a Baptist fellow in 1892 and subsequently promoted in youth publications for recitation by school children. It is, of course, not anything our founders envisioned and is, in fact, kind of antithetical to our very principle of constitutionally guaranteed liberty.

You cannot force somebody to promise fealty in this gloriously free country.

Having our little kids stand up in public school and salute a piece of cloth to vow faithfulness to their nation is harmless in nearly all cases, like a rhythmic and memorized child's prayer before meals or at bedtime.

But a mass forced pledging of nationalistic allegiance is, when you really think about it, a perversion of the greater notion that we love and support our country by our own choice for the very freedoms it grants us, including the one not to have to spew officially required words or mantras or chants.

I'm not saying we need to stop the rote practice each morning in our schools. I'm just saying we should leave a 10-year-old alone if he doesn't participate.

I am proud of the free-thinking young man. I am pleased that the principal did not discipline him for free thinking, but for his ill-advised request that the substitute teacher take a long walk off a short bridge. And I forgive the substitute teacher, who, after all, was but a substitute. Goodness knows that substitute teachers often walk into difficult situations.

Actually, I've been pondering an all-American compromise. The boy could stand up and say his own freely expressed pledge.

Rather than pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands, he might say, "I offer my voluntary loving support for my free country and the republic for which this flag stands."

Rather than say "one nation under God, indivisible," he could say, "one nation, not subject to anyone's forced religion, and where the right-wing Texas governor was free even to intimate his state's secession."

Rather than say "with liberty and justice for all," he could say, "with liberty and justice for most people, but, sadly as yet, not gays or lesbians."

That ought to satisfy everybody.

John Brummett is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau in Little Rock.

October 14, 2009

If God wanted me to accepting of gays...

If God Had Wanted Me To Be Accepting Of Gays, He Would Have Given Me The Warmth And Compassion ...
Full story: www.theonion.com
I don't question God. The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall put none above Him. Which is why I know that if it were part of God's plan for me to stop viciously condemning others based solely on their sexual preference, He would have seen fit - in His infinite wisdom and all - to have given me the tiniest bit of human empathy necessary to do so.

Absolutely Disgraceful

Rachel Maddow reports on Decorated Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, an F-15 fighter pilot and 18-year veteran of the Air Force. He is ready to deply again, but the military is firing him under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", two years short of being able to retire with full pension benefits.

Servicemember's Legal Deffense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis writes: "Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach, a fighter weapons systems officer, has been flying the F-15E Strike Eagle since 1998. He has flown numerous missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, including the longest combat mission in his squadron's history. On that infamous September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach was handpicked to fly sorties above the nation's capital. Later he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has received at least 30 awards and decorations including nine air medals, one of them for heroism, as well as campaign medals for Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is now a flight instructor in Idaho, where he has passed on his skills to more than 300 future Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force weapons systems officers. Since 1987, when Fehrenbach entered Notre Dame on a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, the government has invested twenty-five million dollars in training and equipping him to serve his country, which he has done with what anyone would agree was great distinction. He comes from a military family. His father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, his mother an Air Force nurse and captain. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach has honored that tradition."

A $25 million dollar investment. The military is throwing it away over his sexuality.

Said Fehrenbach to Maddow: "About 4,000 people are assigned to Mountain Home Air Force Base, and only about 10 people on the entire base even knew of my case up until this very moment. Those were my immediate chain of command, a couple of attorneys in the legal office, and a couple of officers in the Office of Special Investigations. Not one single person that I'm assigned with in my squadron, or that I fly with in my fighter squadron, knew about this case until this moment."

Absolutely disgraceful.

October 13, 2009

Put your hand on the hand of................

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo will replace David Beckham at Emporio Armani:

"The Portuguese star will model the brand's spring and summer collection in 2010 after being named as the face and body of the company. Becoming the 'new official ambassador' for the company, the world's most expensive football player will don jeans and underwear in advertising campaigns. Beckham was affiliated with Armani from 2007, but has relinquished the role after moving on to create his own range of underwear."

Above, a shot of Ronaldo modeling some underwear after qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in 2006. That's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari giving him a hand

October 9, 2009

The time is right for gay rights, if not, wait 10 years

Federal official says time is right for gay rights

By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press Writer – Fri Oct 9, 4:00 pm ET
ORLANDO, Fla. – The climate for passing gay civil rights laws has never been better, but it could be a decade before another chance comes around, the highest-ranking openly gay official in the Obama administration said Friday.
"This is the best opportunity we will ever have as a community and shame on us if we don't succeed," said John Berry, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
A House vote Thursday put Congress on the verge of significantly expanding hate crimes law to make it a federal crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation. Later this year, Congress is expected to hold hearings on a measure prohibiting workplace discrimination — including decisions about hiring, firing and wages — based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
"The clock is against us," Berry said in a speech at the Out & Equal Workplace Advocates conference in Orlando. "If we lose this, it could be years if not a decade before this opportunity comes around."
He said a political climate like the current one — with the president, Congress and public opinion open to passing gay rights legislation — may not come again for a long time.
Berry oversees the agency that manages the federal government's workplace. His speech at the Orlando conference came a day before President Barack Obama was set to address the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights group.
Obama has taken a cautious approach to following through with campaign promises to end a ban on gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military and pushing tough nondiscrimination policies. But Berry said Obama was "clear in his support for our community and his commitment to full equality."

Chow down and loose weight...the natural way!!!!

8 Foods That Fight Fat
By Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief - Posted on Thu, Oct 08, 2009, 3:32 pm PDT
Happier, Healthier You
by Lucy Danziger
Want to lose weight as you chow down? Your wish is granted! (I promise, this is no fairy tale.) Your supermarket is filled with foods that studies show have lipid-melting powers to help melt fat and keep you slim. Stock up on these fat-fighting super bites, and you'll be trimmer even as you indulge. Read on to discover the eight foods that deserve a permanent spot in your fridge—and in your diet!

Almonds These yummy nuts are high in alpha-linolenic acid, which can accelerate your metabolism of fats. In fact, dieters who ate 3 ounces of almonds daily slashed their weight and body-mass index by 18 percent, while those who skipped the nuts reduced both numbers less— just 11 percent—a study in the International Journal of Obesity revealed. Chomp almonds à la carte (limit yourself to 12 per serving to keep calories in check). I get a pack at Starbucks and nibble throughout my day. Or sprinkle them into a recipe such as Black Bean–Almond Pesto Chicken. Go nuts!

Berries I tell my daughter, "These are nature's candy!" Turns out they're also your body's best friends. Strawberries, raspberries and other vitamin C–spiked fruit can supercharge your workout, helping you burn up to 30 percent more fat, research from Arizona State University at Mesa has found. If they're not in season, buy the little gems frozen in a bulk-sized bag so you'll always have them on hand to whip up a Berry Bliss Smoothie or Strawberry-Sunflower Pops, regardless of whether berries are in season.

Cinnamon Adding 1/4 teaspoon to your plate may prevent an insulin spike—an uptick that tells your body to store fat. Sprinkle it on your morning cereal or coffee or on your yogurt in the A.M., or savor it in Apple-Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal.

Mustard It's heaven on a soft pretzel, but mustard may also be a weight loss wonder. Turmeric, the spice that gives mustard its color, may slow the growth of fat tissues, a study in the journal Endocrinology finds. Use it on sandwiches instead of mayo, or sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower pre-roasting to give it a kick. Try it on tuna salad—I promise it adds zest.

Oranges This citrus fruit, which contains fat-blasting compounds known as flavones, deserves to be your main squeeze. Women who ate the most flavones had a much lower increase in body fat over a 14-year period, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes. Eat oranges sliced or swig fresh OJ (including pulp!) to get the best benefit from the fruit.

Soybeans Reason to toss a half cup on your salad? Soybeans are rich in choline, a compound that blocks the absorption of fat and breaks down fatty deposits. Oh, and they're addictively delish! But if breast cancer runs in your family, experts suggest you should talk to your doc before adding soy to your diet.

Sweet potatoes The colorful spuds' high-fiber content means they keep your insulin steadier than their white sisters, which means less fat packed on your hips, research finds. Top a small baked tater with lowfat cottage cheese for a tempting side dish, or whip up Miso Soup With Sweet Potato Dumplings.

Swiss cheese Calcium-rich foods reduce fat-producing enzymes and increase fat breakdown, and Swiss has more calcium than many of its cheesy peers. Choose the reduced-fat variety, such as Sargento. Slip it into your sandwich, put it on top of high-fiber crackers or use it for a healthier grilled cheese. Yum!

October 6, 2009


Facebook imposter scam a growing concern
Posted: Tuesday, October 6 2009 at 07:15 am CT by Bob Sullivan
On the Web, it’s not always easy to know who your friends are. Mistakes in judgment can be very costly.

Internet imposters are perfecting the technique of impersonating friends on social networking sites like Facebook, with lucrative results. Victims are losing thousands of dollars. Emotional e-mail pleas sent by imposters, such as “I’m stuck in London and I’ve been robbed, help me,” have become so effective that the FBI last week issued a warning to consumers about social networking sites.

“Fraudsters continue to hijack accounts on social networking sites and spread malicious software by using various techniques,” the warning said. The agency says it has logged 3,200 complaints about such incidents since it began keeping track.

And Facebook responded to increased scam activity by posting a blog entry last week saying it is “redoubling our efforts to combat the scam” and detailing steps the firm is making to beef up security.

“Our security team is working with law enforcement and collaborating with email providers and other industry experts to identify and catch the criminals responsible,” the post said. “Western Union also is working closely with law enforcement on scams such as this one.”

Msnbc.com first brought you the story of Facebook ID theft in January. Brian Rutberg of Seattle had his status changed by a hacker to “BRYAN IS IN URGENT NEED OF HELP!!” The criminal then sent notes to all his friends, claiming that Rutberg’s family had been mugged while traveling in London, and was in desperate need of cash. One concerned friend followed the criminal’s instructions and wired $1,200 to London before realizing the error. The money could not be recovered.

Then in August, we updated the story, describing Colorado resident Susie McLain and her ordeal with Facebook ID theft. Her phone was ringing off the hook, and her cell phone full of concerned text messages, after an imposter began asking her friends for $850, claiming McLain had been stabbed during a mugging in London.

The criminals keep honing their story, and they’ve expanded their playing field, as reported on NBC’s Today Show on Tuesday. They’ve moved beyond Facebook: Some targets are receiving imposter e-mails directly from victims’ personal e-mail accounts. When Debbie Peterson recently received what looked like a private e-mail from a family friend who needed help, she jumped at the chance. But the e-mail was a fake, and Peterson sent $3,000 to the criminal.

“It's all we had in our savings. They take the emotional part of human nature and manipulate it to their advantage," she told the Today Show.

Convincing scam
The scam works because personal e-mail and Facebook messages from friends carry with them an air of legitimacy that other Internet communication does not. Many users have wised up to so-called phishing scam e-mails that appear to come from banks or Internet companies like eBay, and no longer fall for traditional efforts to steal their passwords. But an e-mail that comes from a friend in need is hard to ignore.

In Rutberg’s case, the e-mail dialog included his Facebook photo next to each comment, making it even more believable. In the image below, an imposter tried to trick a friend into sending money. The last message is from the real Rutberg, sent after he regained control of the account.


Consumers who’ve been hit up for cash by an e-mail or Facebook imposter should fill out a complaint with the FBI at IC3.gov.

In the meantime, here’s how to avoid being a victim,

*Never send money to an individual, even a friend, using Western Union unless you are ready to never see it again. There are no security measures in place to protect those who wire money that way, and there’s no way to recover funds send through Western Union that end up in the wrong hands.

*Don’t believe your e-mail, even if it comes from a friend. Any unexpected greeting cards, solicitations, or offers you receive should be treated with complete skepticism. Before you click, call and ask “Did you send this?”

*It’s a good idea to have two e-mail contact addresses on file with Facebook, so you have a better chance of reclaiming a hijacked account if you become a victim. Criminals who hack accounts usually change the password to lock out the rightful owner. Facebook will use the secondary e-mail in an attempt to determine the real owner of the account.

October 5, 2009

The RITZ cracker???

Lady GaGa shows off her talents as an artist - but why's she wearing the palette on her head?

Lady GaGa sang to tens of thousands at Glastonbury over the weekend - and yesterday she showed she had other artistic talents.
The OTT American singer dropped in to help decorate a charity garden, and wore her most outrageous hairpiece yet.
As she painted away at Body Positive North West in Manchester, it looked as though she'd stolen one of the palettes and stuck it on her head.

Making her mark: Lady GaGa wore an elaborate hairpiece as she helped decorate a garden in Manchester for people affected by HIV
But the wacky wardrobe went down a storm with workers at the HIV charity she was supporting.
She made her mark by dawbing the message 'Love + Art + Kindness' on to a picture of a herself on a wall as excited volunteers looked on.
Her visit to the charity was organised by Orange RockCorps, which gives people a chance to earn tickets to gigs in exchange for four hours voluntary work.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1196359/Lady-GaGa-

OUTRAGE and Gov.Charlie Crist( FL) is not going to like being outed HBO 9pm

DO ASK DO TELL ON THE PEOPLE THAT ARE CHASING US...LET'S CHASE BACK! Not a good night for Florida Governor Charlie Crist tonight. Why? Outrage, the documentary by Kirby Dick about closeted politicians and the way their hypocrisy damages lives — not only their personal lives but the millions of gays and lesbians their homophobic policymaking affects, premieres tonight at 9 on HBO. The documentary spends much time focused on the sex life of Crist as he hides behind his many beards.

An official selection of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, OUTRAGE investigates the hidden lives of some of the country's most powerful policymakers - from now-retired Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy - and examines how these and other politicians have inflicted damage on millions of Americans by opposing gay rights. Equally disturbing, the film explores the mainstream media's complicity in keeping those secrets, despite the growing efforts to "out" them by gay rights organizations and bloggers.

Through a combination of archival news footage and exclusive interviews with politicians and members of the media, OUTRAGE probes the psychology of a double lifestyle, the ethics of outing closeted politicians, and the double standards that the media upholds in its coverage of the sex lives of gay public figures. As Barney Frank, perhaps the best-known openly gay member of Congress explains, "There is a right to privacy, but not a right to hypocrisy. It is very important that the people who make the law be subject to the law."

The film also spotlights Michael Rogers, a gay activist and founder of blogACTIVE, a Washington, D.C.-based website dedicated to outing closeted public figures. Rogers feels it is necessary to expose the hypocrisy of those who may live one way in public and another way in private, explaining that his work is not about outing people who are gay, but rather about "reporting on individuals who are working against the community that they then expect to protect them."

Kirby Dick is an award-winning documentary film director whose last release, 2006's "This Film Is Not Yet Rated," was a breakthrough investigation of the secretive MPAA film-ratings system. His 2005 HBO film "Twist of Faith" received an Oscar® nomination for Best Documentary Feature. Dick's other films include "Derrida," a portrait of the French philosopher, and "Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist," which won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance and the Grand Prize at the LA Film Festival. Among his other HBO/Cinemax credits are 2003's "Showgirls: Glitz & Angst," 2001's "Chain Camera" and 2004's "The End."

OUTRAGE was written and directed by Kirby Dick; producer, Amy Ziering; executive producers, Tom Quinn, Jason Janego, Ted Sarandos, Chad Griffin, Kimball Stroud, Bruce Brothers and Tectonic Theater Project; co-producer, Tanner Barklow; editors, Doug Blush and Matt Clarke; music, Peter Golub. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

October 1, 2009

MAD MEN star to get married

e "Mad Men" star is said planning to wed his longtime partner Tom Cianfichi this coming Christmas in Vermont, New England.

© Sophia Quach/PR Photos
Following the footsteps of some other Hollywood gay celebs, actor Bryan Batt is planning to marry his longtime same-sex partner, events planner Tom Cianfichi. A source is quoted as telling National Enquirer, the pair who has been together for more than eighteen years is planning a Christmas wedding.

"They're leaning toward a Christmas wedding in Vermont," reveals the source. "Bryan is at the top of his game professionally, and they've never been happier."

Wedding arrangements reportedly have been worked on by Bryan and Tom. They "already consider themselves married, and are registered as domestic partners in New Orleans," claims an insider. "Tom's working on the wedding arrangements, and with their combined style and taste; it's certain to be a big event. They intend to pull out all the stops."

Nevertheless, possible wedding venue and invited guests are not mentioned. Bryan himself is yet to comment on the wedding report.

On screen, Bryan Batt is best known for his role as Salvatore Romano in AMC's TV series "Mad Men". Besides, he also has some starring roles in big screen flicks in addition to starring in some Broadway plays.

PENTAGON'S Criticism of "Don't Ask."

Pentagon airs criticism of ‘don’t ask’
Journal article backs gay troops; May signal brass open to debate

By Bryan Bender
Globe Staff / September 30, 2009
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WASHINGTON - An article in the Pentagon’s top scholarly journal calls in unambiguous terms for lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, arguing that the military is essentially forcing thousands of gay men and women to lead dishonest lives in an organization that emphasizes integrity as a fundamental tenet.

Pentagon airs criticism of ‘don’t ask’
Kerry using his clout to shape Afghanistan strategy
US to send 4,000 troops home from Iraq
Iran admits building 2d nuclear site fortified against attack
Militants determined to hit India again, officials say
Afghan bus hits roadside bomb; 30 killed
The article in the upcoming issue of Joint Force Quarterly, which is published for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was written by an Air Force colonel who studied the issue for months while a student at the National Defense University in Washington and who concludes that having openly gay troops in the ranks will not hurt combat readiness.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefs’ “flagship’’ security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military.

While decisions on which articles to publish are made by the journal’s editorial board, located at the defense university, a senior military official said yesterday that the office of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman who is the nation’s top military officer, reviewed the article before it was published.

“After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,’’ writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. “Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.’’

The article, an advance copy of which was provided to the Globe, is likely to increase pressure on President Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to work with Congress to overturn the 1993 law commonly referred to as “don’t ask, don’t tell.’’

The law stipulates that gays in the military must keep their sexual orientation secret. In the 16 years it has been in effect, more than 12,500 troops have been discharged because their sexual orientation was revealed, either by themselves or others.

But Obama has tread very carefully since taking office, declining to provide a timeline on when the White House will actively lobby Congress and repeatedly saying that he will consult his military advisers before taking any action. The White House did not respond yesterday to requests for comment. Gates’s office reiterated that until Congress changes the law, the Pentagon will follow it.

Obama’s reticence is based in part on the lessons of former president Bill Clinton, who sought to allow gays to serve openly early in his administration but was forced to agree to the 1993 compromise after a fierce backlash in Congress and the military.Continued...

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Representative Patrick Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat and Iraq war veteran, is lobbying for a hearing - possibly later this year or early next year - on legislation that he has proposed that would repeal the ban. The bill has 176 cosponsors; there is no similar legislation pending in the Senate.

Pentagon airs criticism of ‘don’t ask’
Kerry using his clout to shape Afghanistan strategy
US to send 4,000 troops home from Iraq
Iran admits building 2d nuclear site fortified against attack
Militants determined to hit India again, officials say
Afghan bus hits roadside bomb; 30 killed
Arguing that the law “has been costly both in personnel and treasure’’ - the cost of discharging service members and recruiting replacements, including those with language or other specialized skills - Prakash lays out a case in his article for why he believes the time has come for repeal.

While he acknowledges that allowing gays to serve openly would cause some disruptions in the ranks - including harassment and even violence - he asserts that the disruptions would be manageable and that the military would quickly accept the change. Moreover, he argues that a more equitable policy would actually strengthen unit cohesion.

“No doubt there will be cases where units will become dysfunctional, just as there are today among heterosexual leaders,’’ Prakash writes. “Intervention will be required; such units must be dealt with just as they are today - in a prompt and constructive fashion.’’

Ensuring a smooth transition will require education and leadership, he believes, but the record suggests that there will be no major fallout.

Prakash cites the examples of other militaries - including in Australia, Israel, the United Kingdom, and Canada - that allow gays to serve openly. “There was no mass exodus of heterosexuals, and there was no mass ‘coming out’ of homosexuals,’’ he said.

Prakash also points to recent examples of gay soldiers - including battlefield leaders such as a Marine Corps captain - whose sexual orientation has been known by others in their units, to no discernible effect.

But the crux of Prakash’s argument is that the military is now forcing thousands of soldiers to live a lie, directly undercutting the very fabric of their profession.

“The law also forces unusual personal compromises wholly inconsistent with a core military value - integrity,’’ he writes. “Several homosexuals interviewed were in tears as they described the enormous personal compromise in integrity they had been making, and the pain felt in serving in an organization they wholly believed in, yet that did not accept them.’’

He continues: “In an attempt to allow homosexual service members to serve quietly, a law was created that forces a compromise in integrity, conflicts with the American creed of ‘equality for all,’ places commanders in difficult moral dilemmas, and is ultimately more damaging to the unit cohesion its stated purpose is to preserve.’’

The article is likely to be applauded by gay rights groups that have been lobbying the Obama administration to take action to overturn the ban. But it is also likely to embolden supporters of the current law such as Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a Washington think tank.

She believes that allowing gays to serve openly in all ranks and units - as the Murphy bill stipulates - would severely damage unit cohesion. “It is tantamount to saying that men should share the same living spaces with women,’’ she said. “Society may have changed but the need for good order and discipline has not changed.’’

Donnelly also contends that the experiences of foreign militaries should not be a guide for the US armed forces, saying that some of them have conscript armies and do not allow gays to serve in elite combat units.

“These are not role models for the United States,’’ she said. “Congress is being asked to impose a risky military social experiment that is duplicated nowhere in the world.’’

Bryan Bender can be reached at bender@globe.com.

September 30, 2009

FACEBOOK warns of '419' scams

Facebook warns members about rise in '419' scams
By Juan Carlos Perez
September 30, 2009 10:56 AM ET

Facebook warns members about rise in '419' scams

IDG News Service - More and more fraudsters are harvesting the log-in data of Facebook members in order to impersonate them and ask their friends for money, according to the social-networking company.

The scammers use phishing techniques to trick Facebook members into providing log-in information. For example, fraudsters often send legitimate-looking e-mail messages purporting to be from Facebook that ask members to visit a Web page and enter their log-in credentials. They also post messages on members' profile Walls with links to supposed video clips or photos that really lead to phishing Web sites.

Once scammers can log in to someone's Facebook account, they often engage in what Facebook calls a "419" scam: pretending to be the member, they send messages to the person's friends asking for money.

In a "419" scam, fraudsters usually ask that the money be wired to them using Western Union, saying they're stranded and penniless in a foreign country.

There has been an increase in "419" scams recently, although the number of Facebook members who have been affected remains low, the company said Tuesday in its official blog.

Facebook is working with Western Union to raise awareness about the scam, implementing technical measures to better detect and deal with the issue and collaborating with law enforcement agencies and e-mail providers to identify the criminals.

It's no surprise that cyberthieves are attracted to Facebook, where more than 300 million members worldwide post a lot of personal information, much more than on other sites.

If malicious hackers gain access to someone's Facebook profile, they will likely learn not only the person's full name, but probably also their date of birth, place of employment, education history, marital status, phone numbers and addresses, as well as get the chance to contact hundreds of family members, friends and professional acquaintances.

Even if someone's Facebook account isn't compromised, security experts warn people to be careful about the information they post on their profiles and who they share it with.

Although Facebook gives its members very granular access controls over their profile content, the company has admitted that its privacy features can be confusing to understand and complicated to manage. For that reason, Facebook announced in July that it would simplify its privacy options, an initiative that is still in progress.

CITY BOY by Edmund White

City Boy, Edmund White's new memoir of life in New York around the time of Stonewall gets a review in the NYT.

Writes White: "I was a living contradiction. I was still a self-hating gay man going to a straight psychotherapist with the intention of getting cured and getting married. There was no ‘gay pride’ back then — there was only gay fear and gay isolation and gay distrust and gay self-hatred."

From Dwight Garner's review:

Orgies; leather bars; tabs of LSD; sex on the balconies of gay dance halls, in the abandoned piers along the Hudson River and in the dunes on Fire Island; group sex with American Indians and Norwegian flight attendants from Minnesota — it’s all here in exacting and eye-popping detail. He captures the “odor of brew, harness, sweat and Crisco” that began to fill gay men’s nostrils in the mid-’70s.

Mr. White was a kind of sexual werewolf. As midnight approached, he says, “my hands began to sprout hair, and my teeth to sharpen.” He sleeps with so many well-known writers and artists that this crackling if lightweight memoir can read less like a prelude to “And the Band Played On,” Randy Shilts’s stately book about the early days of AIDS, than an all-boy update of “I’m With the Band,” Pamela Des Barres‘s trippy and picaresque rock groupie memoir.

He describes a quickie with the travel writer Bruce Chatwin here; a three-way with the poet John Ashbery there. The notches Mr. White claims on his bedpost are vast and crisscrossing, and he likes to run his fingers along them in wistful horndog memory.

Sounds like a page-turner...Towleroad


Political Consequences Feared From Jockeying Over Gay Marriage Delays
A rush to move from some, an insistence to wait from others on hot-button issue
Selena Ross
Tue, 29 Sep 2009 12:48:00
Opinion is split in Albany over which is a more preposterous prediction: that there will be a gay marriage vote this fall, or that there will not be.

But there is consensus about who has the most to lose by delaying a vote, with the Senate Democratic leadership likely to then be held accountable for disarray and crucial national gay political donors losing interest in the Senate Democrats’ future.

“To delay is to deny,” said State Sen. Bill Perkins, a gay marriage supporter. “And to deny has a political consequence.”

As New York continues to sputter, those with ties to major gay donors say they are sending their money and attention elsewhere, having grown tired of the core group of senators who have been unable to move a bill forward.

“I think the leadership are the ones most likely to be held accountable in this,” said Scott Long of Human Rights Watch. “A lot of specifically LGBT money is going to California right now. … There’s already a lot of disappointment this hasn’t happened, and that may translate into the ballot.”

As Gov. David Paterson goes into political limbo, the bill which was to be his political Hail Mary pass has clearly dropped on his list of priorities, after he spent the end of the summer insisting that he had planned to get it on the agenda for the September special session.

Nonetheless, bill co-sponsors Liz Krueger, Jeff Klein and Tom Duane are pushing to get the bill to the floor, [leading some to expect a vote within weeks.]
But that, according to several key Albany insiders, is wishful thinking.

“There are so many moving parts right now,” said one Democratic aide. “We have a new leader, we have one of our members facing trial and we don’t know what is going on.”

Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, who sponsored the bill through Assembly, said that local LGBT advocates are preparing to redouble their efforts and target both wavering senators and committed supporters who have failed to overcome the gridlock.

“Commitments had been made by both Democratic and Republican leadership that they will have a vote,” he said. “There will be an intense effort made on behalf of the community to communicate with their elected officials.”

The bill’s standstill is not helped by the splits within the Democratic Senate leadership. Conference Leader John Sampson has been a supporter in the past, while Senate President Malcolm Smith has remained more cautious. According to some political insiders, there has been some back-and-forth about the issue between the two, but in the post-coup Senate, many senators and their staffers seem uncertain which leader will decide how the bill should proceed.

State Sen. Ruben Diaz, an opponent of same-sex marriage, accused some in Albany of trying to split the hard-earned unity of the Democratic conference by focusing on divisive issues.

“They’re pushing, pushing at that bill knowing that that bill will create problems,” he said. “There is unity, tranquility and peace in the valley. The valley is the Democratic Senate conference.”

Adding to the problems is a communication breakdown among rank-and-file Senate Democrats that makes difficult votes hard to whip.

“Right now people are just talking to each other by press release,” said one insider.

Some strategists have suggested that moving the legislation forward, even to a failing vote, would help stop the Senate Democrats’ political downslide by kick-starting an old debate and reviving interest from the gay community. And, as President Obama’s intervention into the governor’s race reveals, the thinking about 2010 is already well underway.

“The question is, don’t the Democrats need to start pulling together 32 votes to get some of these questions answered? The answer is yes,” said Kyle Kotary, a political consultant. “My advice to the Senate Democrats would be to move as quickly as possible.”

The bill’s co-sponsors also reject suggestions that waiting to call a vote until 32 votes are guaranteed might be wiser. Perkins insisted that pushing a vote would flush out those Senators who are planning to vote against expectations, including moderate Republicans, who would be forced to either give in to their leadership or heed the call of their constituents.

Many of the arguments for postponing further hinge on the political wisdom of hoping that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is elected governor next year with coattails that bring in a more heavily Democratic Senate, allowing for a more decisive legalization vote rather than having the base divided in advance of the elections.

Long, of Human Rights Watch, said he believed that the cloud currently hanging over the governor’s mansion meant movement was not imminent.

“I think there are a lot of people who are afraid to move on sensitive issues until they know the political landscape,” he said.



Colonel Om Prakash, who now works in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, writes in a new article in the Pentagon's top scholarly journal: "After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly. Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban."

The Boston Globe reports: "The article in the upcoming issue of Joint Force Quarterly, which is published for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was written by an Air Force colonel who studied the issue for months while a student at the National Defense University in Washington and who concludes that having openly gay troops in the ranks will not hurt combat readiness. The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefs’ 'flagship' security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military. While decisions on which articles to publish are made by the journal’s editorial board, located at the defense university, a senior military official said yesterday that the office of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman who is the nation’s top military officer, reviewed the article before it was published."

In the article, Prakash writes: "The law also forces unusual personal compromises wholly inconsistent with a core military value - integrity...Several homosexuals interviewed were in tears as they described the enormous personal compromise in integrity they had been making, and the pain felt in serving in an organization they wholly believed in, yet that did not accept them...In an attempt to allow homosexual service members to serve quietly, a law was created that forces a compromise in integrity, conflicts with the American creed of ‘equality for all,’ places commanders in difficult moral dilemmas, and is ultimately more damaging to the unit cohesion its stated purpose is to preserve.’’

The Globe notes that the article "is likely to increase pressure on President Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to work with Congress to overturn the 1993 law commonly referred to as 'don’t ask, don’t tell.'"

Pentagon Airs Criticism of 'Don't Ask' [boston globe]

September 28, 2009


Vanasco: NYC mayor says no marriage for New York this year

By Jennifer Vanasco, editor in chief, 365gay.com
09.21.2009 12:37pm EDT
My partner and I spent the summer trying to figure out if we could have our wedding reception in our Manhattan backyard, should marriage become legal in New York State this year.

It was looking pretty good.
Last summer, at the Democratic National Convention, a few NY state leaders assured me that if Democrats won control of the state legislature, marriage would come up and pass.

We all know how that turned out.

Still, Jenny and I were holding out hope that Gov. David Paterson, despite his waning clout and flagging poll numbers, might be able to ram a bill through before he was voted out of office.

But Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s mayor and one of its most powerful politicians (and a friend of equal marriage) now says that is a pipe dream.

Says Gay City News:

“I don’t know how to get it to come up,” [Bloomberg] said, explaining his view that having the issue move to the Senate floor may prove more difficult than rounding up the votes. “If you want my honest opinion,” Bloomberg continued, the Senate leadership is unlikely to move a gay marriage bill “when I don’t see these guys willing to stand up for less controversial issues.”

Despite the fact that the number of states with legal gay marriage quickly shot up to six this past spring, the mayor said, “I ‘m scared to death that the country is going in the wrong direction… I think on other LGBT issues they are clearly moving in the direction that I think they should go and you probably do too. It’s the marriage thing that I don’t see.”

Even in New York, where Paterson and his predecessor Eliot Spitzer have been outspoken in supporting gay marriage, Bloomberg argued, “Whether anybody who runs for governor next year will stand up for gay marriage, I’ll bet you 25 cents no.”

Read Gay City News for detailed info on the depressing political maneuvering.

Jenny and I both want to get married – and celebrate our marriage – in a state where it’s actually legal (New York recognizes marriages performed out of state, but we want the whole, “By power invested in me by the state of New York thing. And yes, we know that state marriage in ANY state doesn’t mean any federal rights.)

It is depressing that after the excitement of last year, when it seemed like states were steadily lining up to bring equality to gay couples, we now might lose marriage in Maine in November, Washington State domestic partnerships are threatened, and New York, which looked so promising, now looks so unlikely.

Here’s hoping that Bloomberg is wrong – or just half right – and that gay and lesbian couples like us won’t have to schelp to Connecticut (admittedly just over the border) or Massachusetts. We want to get married in New York. And we should be able to.

In general, I make it a habit not to come in contact with men’s underwear. I guess I’ve heard too many frat-boy stories about what happens when guys put off doing a wash for a really long time. Since I’m single, this avoidance works out pretty well most of the time.

Send your screeds, tirades and rants — no more than 500 words, please — to: metropolitan@nytimes.com.
On the off chance that I do encounter a guy’s underpants, I expect that he’s at least showered and worn clean ones for the occasion, and implore him to pick them up off the floor on his way out. So imagine my dismay at being confronted daily with the countless men who refuse to cover up their boxers or briefs.

This mode of undress has been popular for years, and when it reached its all-time low — buckling one’s pants under the buttocks in the style of some hip-hop stars — I thought it was finally on its way out. But no. Teenagers and 30-year-old men alike continue to stand in front of me on the subway, giving me an eyeful of their tighty-whities, which in many cases have ceased being both tight and white.

And you think high heels are impractical? Try walking in some low-slung slacks. You must adopt a waddle to keep the pants from dropping completely and must always keep a hand free to hike them up. Then there is the need to buy ever-longer shirts to cover your rear end — shirts that apparently don’t exist, since I can see your underpants!

Nor are sagging pants the only sartorial choice that makes me cringe. Take rompers, or shortalls. They offer the ease of a dress with the comfort of shorts, and I’m for convenience. But when adults start wearing clothes that I’ve been buying for people’s babies, something is wrong. As for wearing a very adult thong with a short skirt: Do you really want to sit your bare derrière on a subway seat? Granny panties may not be that sexy, but neither is a visit to the urologist.

And what about those skinny jeans for men? Unless you’re built like the lead singer of the All-American Rejects, you’ll look like a Weeble wobbling in them. And if your legs are big enough to offset your broad upper body, you will instead resemble a stuffed sausage. Get yourself some relaxed fits — to be worn above the equator, of course. Unless you’re David Beckham, and your chiseled body has been groomed and styled into flawless Emporio Armani briefs, I don’t want to see your underwear. And neither does anyone else.

Tracey Lloyd, who grew up in Queens and now lives in Mount Vernon, N.Y., has worked as a marketing manager in the beauty industry.

September 26, 2009

Buddy can you spare a dime???

By Jennifer Millman
updated 2 minutes ago
His poll numbers are in the tank and even President Barack Obama doesn't want him to run next year, but David Paterson still loves being governor.

"It has been the most exciting time in my life," Paterson said yesterday, according to the Daily News. "It has been the most challenging time in my life … I'm gonna keep doing it until the public tells me it's time to stop."
Yes, he is having a wonderful time on us. While New yorkers loose their jobs and struggle to live here, the governor is having "The time of his life."
We are also having the time of our life's. "Buddy can you spare a dime??????????

September 25, 2009

Coming out in middle school

Coming Out in Middle School

Published: September 23, 2009
Austin didn’t know what to wear to his first gay dance last spring. It was bad enough that the gangly 13-year-old from Sand Springs, Okla., had to go without his boyfriend at the time, a 14-year-old star athlete at another middle school, but there were also laundry issues. “I don’t have any clean clothes!” he complained to me by text message, his favored method of communication.

Brent Humphreys for The New York Times
Austin, a gay 13-year-old from Oklahoma.
The Takeaway With Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Brent Humphreys for The New York Times
Support: A gay 15-year-old from Michigan, also named Austin, with his mother, Nadia.
When I met up with him an hour later, he had weathered his wardrobe crisis (he was in jeans and a beige T-shirt with musical instruments on it) but was still a nervous wreck. “I’m kind of scared,” he confessed. “Who am I going to talk to? I wish my boyfriend could come.” But his boyfriend couldn’t find anyone to give him a ride nor, Austin explained, could his boyfriend ask his father for one. “His dad would give him up for adoption if he knew he was gay,” Austin told me. “I’m serious. He has the strictest, scariest dad ever. He has to date girls and act all tough so that people won’t suspect.”

Austin doesn’t have to play “the pretend game,” as he calls it, anymore. At his middle school, he has come out to his close friends, who have been supportive. A few of his female friends responded that they were bisexual. “Half the girls I know are bisexual,” he said. He hadn’t planned on coming out to his mom yet, but she found out a week before the dance. “I told my cousin, my cousin told this other girl, she told her mother, her mother told my mom and then my mom told me,” Austin explained. “The only person who really has a problem with it is my older sister, who keeps saying: ‘It’s just a phase! It’s just a phase!’ ”

Austin’s mom was on vacation in another state during my visit to Oklahoma, so a family friend drove him to the weekly youth dance at the Openarms Youth Project in Tulsa, which is housed in a white cement-block building next to a redbrick Baptist church on the east side of town. We arrived unfashionably on time, and Austin tried to park himself on a couch in a corner but was whisked away by Ben, a 16-year-old Openarms regular, who gave him an impromptu tour and introduced him to his mom, who works the concession area most weeks.

Openarms is practically overrun with supportive moms. While Austin and Ben were on the patio, a 14-year-old named Nick arrived with his mom. Nick came out to her when he was 12 but had yet to go on a date or even kiss a boy, which prompted his younger sister to opine that maybe he wasn’t actually gay. “She said, ‘Maybe you’re bisexual,’ ” Nick told me. “But I don’t have to have sex with a girl to know I’m not interested.”

Ninety minutes after we arrived, Openarms was packed with about 130 teenagers who had come from all corners of the state. Some danced to the Lady Gaga song “Poker Face,” others battled one another in pool or foosball and a handful of young couples held hands on the outdoor patio. In one corner, a short, perky eighth-grade girl kissed her ninth-grade girlfriend of one year. I asked them where they met. “In church,” they told me. Not far from them, a 14-year-old named Misti — who came out to classmates at her middle school when she was 12 and weathered anti-gay harassment and bullying, including having food thrown at her in the cafeteria — sat on a wooden bench and cuddled with a new girlfriend.

Austin had practically forgotten about his boyfriend. Instead, he was confessing to me — mostly by text message, though we were standing next to each other — his crush on Laddie, a 16-year-old who had just moved to Tulsa from a small town in Texas. Like Austin, Laddie was attending the dance for the first time, but he came off as much more comfortable in his skin and had a handful of admirers on the patio. Laddie told them that he came out in eighth grade and that the announcement sent shock waves through his Texas school.

“I definitely lost some friends,” he said, “but no one really made fun of me or called me names, probably because I was one of the most popular kids when I came out. I don’t think I would have come out if I wasn’t popular.”

“When I first realized I was gay,” Austin interjected, “I just assumed I would hide it and be miserable for the rest of my life. But then I said, ‘O.K., wait, I don’t want to hide this and be miserable my whole life.’ ”

I asked him how old he was when he made that decision.

“Eleven,” he said.

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