May 7th, 2010

Aubrey Beardsley

And now, eye candy (courtsey of Queerty.)

Meet Jo-vanni Roman, Escort to America's Leading Hypocritical Bigot George Alan Rekers

Jo-vanni Roman, a 20-year-old Miami resident and sometime-escort, has gone from being an unknown private citizen (circa last weekend) to public figure (circa Tuesday). After being photographed at an airport returning from a 10-day European trip with leading anti-gay bigot George Alan Rekers, Roman finds himself in the center of a scandal involving the Family Research Council/Focus on the Family, Florida attorney general (and GOP gubernatorial candidate) Bill McCollum, and if you want to stretch things, even Maggie Gallagher. Collapse )

Also, those of you who were asking for icons in the earlier post and saw my crapulent banner-thing? I made a better one: Collapse )
  • turi

He was definitely totally gay for me

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Joe My God's off the cuff interview with Lucien (AKA Jo-Vanni Roman) at 1:am this morning:

Around 1am this morning I got tipped by one of the guys at Unzipped that Jo-Vanni Roman was finally ready to speak with me. Five minutes later I had him on the phone from Fort Lauderdale, but not before I alerted Father Tony to be ready to rush over to him immediately for a video interview. Jo-Vanni declined to meet with Tony for reasons you'll learn at the bottom of this post. Right now, I'm going to cover some key points of our 90 minute, wide-ranging conversation before they slip out of my mind. It's 3:00AM!

Let's open by saying that this kid is no dim bulb. I found him frank, sharp, funny, and quite forthcoming to all my questions. And I had a lot. But I also must say Jo-Vanni is almost painfully naive about some things, as you'll see. Since this interview was completely unplanned, it wasn't recorded and I didn't have a prepared set of questions. So as our conversation bounced around timelines and often veered into unrelated tangents, I think the best way to write this post is just to bullet-point some of the key things he said me.

-Jo-Vanni came out to friends in high school at the age of 16, but went on his first date with a boy while in the 9th grade. His parents know he's gay, but they don't yet know that he escorts.

-His first contact with Dr. George Rekers was via email through They met in person one time before the trip to Europe, but "nothing happened."

-Jo-Vanni was excited to take his first trip out of the country and use his passport for the first time. He describes Rekers as a pleasant, amiable travel companion. Before leaving Miami, Rekers told Jo-Vanni that he was a child psychologist, but gave no hint of his also being a Baptist minister, much less a nationally infamous anti-gay activist.

-In Europe, much of their sightseeing involved visiting historic churches and cathedrals, where Rekers would offer various historical facts about the buildings and their place in the history of their respective religions. Jo-Vanni says that he never felt preached to or that Rekers was trying to convert him from being gay, although he says they did have at least one rather direct conversation about "all morality being from God." An ardent atheist, Jo-Vanni says he argued to Rekers that one could be a moral person and still not believe in God. "That was pretty much it as far as religion. He didn't quote Scripture at me or anything," he said. So much for Rekers' claim of Christ-like outreach to the fallen.

-Jo-Vanni says their accommodations were far from deluxe and that their hotel in London was "like a crappy Days Inn or something." It was in those budget hotel rooms where he and Rekers had their daily erotic nude massage sessions. Jo-Vanni confirmed to me the "anus long-stroking" technique reported by the Miami New Times, but says that's as far as things went. He says that Rekers never suggested taking things further, but that Rekers' cock was "rock hard" during the massages. "So it was definitely sexual for him?" I asked. "Oh, for sure!" he replied. And in that way that 20 year-olds speak, he added, "He was definitely totally gay for me." I asked, "And you didn't think it was strange that he didn't at least want to blow you?" He hesitated. "Yeah, at first, I guess. But it kinda felt like maybe he was just getting started, you know, like he was new to gay sex, maybe." (This I doubt highly, but didn't say so to Jo-Vanni.)

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This post brought to by the orange grove lady, and the gay reporter on tv.

(pt.1, pt. 2, pt.3, pt.4)

Economist analysis of the British elections

Recessionary politics

AFTER a refreshing three and bit hours' sleep, it was back to the non-stop BBC coverage of Britain's astonishing election this morning. Understandably, seen from Britain the talk was all of domestic politics, and how a country known for majority rule ended up in such a strange pickle: the ruling Labour party lost, the opposition Conservatives did not really win, and the third party Liberal Democrats' clarion call for change was not really heeded.

Sitting here in Brussels, with the first of many coffees, at the start of a day that will end tonight with a summit of eurozone heads of government in Brussels, I have a hunch. We will all look back at this British election and see it as part of a moment in history that extends far beyond the British Isles. Take the parliamentary expenses scandal, which has played a huge role in the British election: to many people there it feels like a purely domestic story, based on leaked expenses files from their parliament in Westminster. But look at the crowds storming the Greek parliament, shouting "thieves". Look at the Tea Party movement in America.

I think this is all linked. We are seeing the politics of a horrible recession, in which ordinary taxpayers and workers have been asked to foot the bill for bank bailouts, austerity plans and the like: ie, to pay the price for the proceeding economic bubble in so many parts of the west. While bankers and politicians are seen as having escaped scot-free (though with 152 MPs standing down at this British general election, and several Labour ministers accused of dodgy expenses losing their seats, some at least probably feel they have paid quite a price).

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Times Square Evacuated

New York police have evacuated three blocks in the heart of Times Square as they investigate a suspicious package, a department spokeswoman said Friday.

Det. Mindy Diaz described the package as an unattended bag, left in front of the Marriott Marquis hotel at 46th Street and Broadway. The bag was discovered at 12:42 p.m., Diaz said.

"That's all we have right now," Diaz said. "We don't know what it is."

The evacuation comes nearly a week after the attempted car-bombing of Times Square prompted an evacuation on a busy Saturday night.

updates to come


UPDATE:: The suspicious package that prompted evacuations in New York's Times Square is a white cooler that was left near the front of the Marriott Marquis Hotel, police told CNN.

The area is not far from where Faisal Shahzad left his SUV that had explosives in it.

UPDATE 2: A spokesman for the Times Square Alliance says, according to the NYPD, the following streets are closed:

East bound on 46th street from 8th Ave
West bound on 45th street from 6th Ave.
And the Broadway and 7th Ave plaza between 44th and 47th.
44th and 47th streets themselves are not closed.

UPDATE 3: Kathy Duffy, who is in her office at the Marriott Marquis hotel, told CNN the Times Square Alliance said there was an abandoned cooler left outside. Duffy said officials told her that the bomb squad was trying to determine if it was a threat.

UPDATE 4:CNN's Ali Velshi who is on 47th street and Broadway, said "Times Square is entirely empty" on certain blocks.

UPDATE 5: The New York Police Department has deployed a robot to X-ray the cooler that was abandoned in front of the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square, police told CNN's Susan Candiotti.


An all-clear has been given after authorities investigated a suspicious package left in front of a hotel in Times Square.

(no subject)

U.S. Adds 290,000 Jobs in April; Rate Rises to 9.9%

The American economy continued to add jobs in April in a further sign that an economic recovery was on track.

Payrolls surged with an unexpectedly strong 290,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported on Friday, while the unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent. “This is unambiguously a strong report for growth implications,” James O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global, said. “It adds to the evidence that the pickup in growth is leading to a clear-cut pickup in employment. It is very clear there has been a bounce here, and momentum has been up.”

With revisions on Friday, April was the fourth consecutive month that the economy added workers (a revised 230,000 jobs were added in March, instead of 162,000). Besides March, February was revised from a loss of 14,000 jobs to a gain of 39,000. With a January gain of 14,000, the cumulative increase came to 573,000 jobs in four months.

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Gay marriage opponent questions family camping policy for state parks

A state senator who opposes gay marriage is asking questions about plans to change a camping rule in the state park system. Just over a year ago the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling which legalized gay marriage in Iowa.

Senator Merlin Bartz, a Republican from Grafton, says it appears to him that the Department of Natural Resources wants to make gay couples eligible for family camping at state parks. “They’re citing the Supreme Court case and changing, you know, ‘husband and wife’ language to ’spouse,’” Bartz says.

The rates or fees for camp sites are the same, whether you’re a family or a non-family, but the state allows families to put up more than one tent on a camp site. “They’re changing their language even though the state legislature has not had a debate on this particular issue,” Bartz says.

Bartz is a member of the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee which meets on Monday. He’s asked D.N.R. officials to explain their proposal at that meeting. Bartz says he wants to be “vigilant” and keep state agencies from writing rules that extend new benefits to gay couples. “A lot of the advocates of gay marriage in Iowa have said, ‘It doesn’t affect anything. Nothing has changed,’” Bartz says. “The reality of it is that everything is changing.”

Bartz concedes the D.N.R. might be sued if they fail to ensure “family” policies for camping apply to gay couples, although Bartz says the state may be sued by gay marriage opponents if the rule is changed. The proposed rule will be formally presented to Bartz and the rest of the legislative panel on May10th, but the final draft won’t be up for a committee vote until later this summer. At that point the Administrative Rules Review Committee has several options to delay implementation, including a move which would delay a decision on family camping policies until 2011 so the full legislature could make the decision.

Sufjan Smile

Obama’s Predator joke—no laughing matter

To the guffaws of assembled media celebrities, President Barack Obama used his monologue Saturday night before the Washington Correspondents Association dinner to joke about using Predator drones, a weapon that has killed hundreds of civilians on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and enraged millions throughout the region.

Obama’s joke was ostensibly aimed at the pop group Jonas Brothers, who were among the large number of show business types invited to the annual affair. The President began by noting that his two pre-teen daughters were fans of the boy band and went on to warn: “…but boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking?”

Like virtually all of the supposed humor employed at such affairs, Obama’s joke was directed to Washington “insiders,” government officials, politicians of both parties and members of the media elite itself, all of whom would know what he was talking about and could generally be expected to find nothing amiss in his remarks.

The Predator drone has become a hallmark of the Obama administration’s bloody escalation of the nearly nine-year-old war in Afghanistan and its expansion across the border into Pakistan.

According to one recent estimate by Pakistani officials, some 700 Pakistani civilians, the majority of them women and children, were killed by Hellfire missiles fired by drones in attacks ordered by the White House during Obama’s first year in office. The officials indicated that for every alleged Al Qaeda or Taliban figure killed in these remote-controlled assassinations, 147 civilians have died.
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Source: WSWS

Jesus Christ. It's kosher to joke about the deaths of several hundred innocent men, women and children? I guess you've gotta do something to keep the levity about all of that blood dripping from your hands.

Fucking reprehensible.
' jules

Shenanigans Friday: May 07, 2010.

"I have no further use for LOLmerica. I wouldn't go back there if Jesus Christ was President."-Charlie ChapLOLn
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by ladypolitik

Marquette Rescinds Job Offer to Lesbian

Milwaukee- Marquette University has pulled an offer to hire a new dean for the College of Arts and Sciences from a lesbian who has written scholarly works on gender and sexual orientation, a move that is sparking criticism from faculty and a protest by students.

A university spokeswoman said the decision to withdraw an offer to hire Seattle University professor Jodi O'Brien wasn't about her sexual orientation or the quality of her scholarship. It did have to do with some of O'Brien's published writings "relating to Catholic mission and identity," Marquette spokeswoman Mary Pat Pfeil said.

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dw | carbon prevails

This is totally an excuse to talk about American coverage of the British election, not gonna lie!

Political uncertainty in UK as rivals jostle for power

ondon, England (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Conservative rival David Cameron both offered to form an alliance with the minority Liberal Democrats Friday as they jostled for power after an election that failed to create an outright winner.

The center-right Conservatives won more seats than Brown's Labour party in Thursday's fiercely-contested vote but lacked the majority needed to form an effective government -- a rare outcome in British politics.

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I'm fairly disappointed how this article was placed in the left column where "Do you have a pampered pet?" and "'Iron Man 2': Slick but unspectacular" are considered "Don't Miss", truth be told. Also has anyone watched CNN, MSNBC or FOX News today? How have they been covering the results?
JL: Annoyed J. Law

A tax on abortion?

Lawmakers anxious to avoid a general tax increase have offered several creative alternatives for raising revenue.

Some say the state could sell some of its buildings and land. Others suggest going after tax cheats and Medicaid fraudsters, privatizing services, or raising the court fees for criminals.

But Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook may have just offered the most unique idea so far: impose a sales tax on abortion.

Pilcher Cook, a Shawnee Republican, offered the idea as an amendment today as the Senate debates a 1-cent sales tax increase. Her amendment would also decrease the proposed sales tax hike to .9 cents.

She noted that governments routinely use tax policy to effect behavior – cigarette and liquor taxes, for example, or tax breaks designed to spur economic activity.

“If you want less of something, you tax it,” Pilcher Cook said.

Several Senators liked the idea. Sen. Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, said it would not only reduce abortions, it might also convince another late-term abortion provider from setting up shop in Kansas now that George Tiller’s clinic is closed.

Most resisted the idea, though no critics voiced opposition to the abortion tax. Instead, they argued against reducing the overall sales tax increase.

Pilcher Cook’s amendment failed 17-22.


serious actor type


As I have said so often that you're bored with hearing it, investors want a stable government perceived to be tackling the record public-sector deficit in a serious, substantial way.

Only in those conditions will they continue to lend cheap money to the state.

What investors have heard this afternoon may make them fear that a fiscally credible government is looking a more remote prospect - so I wouldn't be surprised if the price of gilts were to fall further (a fall in the price of gilts or government bonds is the corollary of borrowing becoming more expensive for the government).

Here's the impasse.

The Liberal Democrats hold the balance of power. And senior Lib Dems tell me that there are two non-negotiable conditions for them to prop up a government:

1) There would have to be an unbreakable pledge to hold a referendum on reforming the voting system;

2) Gordon Brown must cease to be prime minister.

The implication of this afternoon's statements by David Cameron and Brown is that only Labour can or will deliver voting reform (Cameron's promise of an enquiry on the issue won't satisfy Lib Dems).

But Brown's colleagues tell me its inconceivable he would give up office as the price of forming a Lib-Lab pact (and anyway, some would say that it would be utterly unacceptable, in a democratic sense, for Labour a second time to pick a prime minister from its own ranks who hadn't led the party though an election).

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Something good to come out of this Election!

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27:  BNP councillor Rich...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Far right councillors are wiped out in Barking and Dagenham; more losses nationally.

Results from the local elections are starting to come in and it looks like the British National Party has suffered catastrophic losses, to accompany the failure of party leader Nick Griffin's bid for a Westminster seat.

In Barking and Dagenham, where the BNP was previously the second largest party, all 12 of its councillors have lost their seats. That includes ex-group leader Bob Bailey, who was filmed fighting in the street two days ago, and Richard Barnbrook, who was suspended from the council last year for making false claims about murders in the borough.

It is a crushing defeat for the far right party, which many feared would take full control of the council on 6 May. However, a concerted effort by anti-fascist campaigners ensured a high turnout and voters overwhelmingly backed Labour candidates on the day.

Elsewhere in the country, prominent BNP councillor Chris Beverley lost his seat on Leeds City council and the party has lost councillors in Stoke-on-Trent, which Griffin once described as the "jewel in the crown" of the BNP.

The defeat is likely to intensify the internal conflicts that have beset the party in recent months. Far right activists, commenting on the white power Stormfront internet forum, have already criticised Griffin's election strategy and called for him to go.

Source: New Statesman
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comedy | LOL

ONTD_Political's PotD: May 6, 2010.

A wandering family of ducks gets an escort home
A mother duck and her 13 babies wandered away from the ponds Monday at the National Museum of the American Indian and headed west along Independence Avenue under the watchful eyes of museum employees. The ducklings were gathered into a bucket at the National Air & Space Museum and returned to the pond, with the mother following and squawking along the way.

Gerald Martineau | The Washington Post
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Kristin Chenoweth stands up for gay actors and calls out that homophobic Newsweek article

So as you may remember, Ramin Setoodeh at Newsweek wrote this really awful article last week about how gay actors just ‘aren’t believable playing straight‘ (it’s not like it’s their job to pretend to be other people or anything!)

So! … speaking of special comments and special commenters… we were f*cking thrilled when a tipster alerted us that Kristin Chenoweth her very self, who stars with Sean Hayes on Broadway’s Promises, Promises and just did another guest spot on Glee, and is a longtime supporter of the gays, has added her (lovely) voice to the conversation at Newsweek.

Sometimes we can feel like we’re screaming into a void in our gay media bubble, so we’ve really got our fingers crossed Kristin Chenoweth’s starpower (and um, just overall total adorableness, gay-ally loveliness, talent, and ability to defy gravity) will inspire Newsweek to reconsider their publishing standards or at least issue an apology (Setoodeh is an out gay man and this is not the first time he’s written a shockingly homophobic article for Newsweek.)

Okay we’re stepping off our soapboxes now… and here’s Kristin’s comment! WE LOVE THIS WOMAN:

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Documents reveal AT&T, Verizon, others, thought about dropping employer-sponsored benefits

The great mystery surrounding the historic health care bill is how the corporations that provide coverage for most Americans -- coverage they know and prize -- will react to the new law's radically different regime of subsidies, penalties, and taxes. Now, we're getting a remarkable inside look at the options AT&T, Deere, and other big companies are weighing to deal with the new legislation.

Internal documents recently reviewed by Fortune, originally requested by Congress, show what the bill's critics predicted, and what its champions dreaded: many large companies are examining a course that was heretofore unthinkable, dumping the health care coverage they provide to their workers in exchange for paying penalty fees to the government.

That would dismantle the employer-based system that has reigned since World War II. It would also seem to contradict President Obama's statements that Americans who like their current plans could keep them. And as we'll see, it would hugely magnify the projected costs for the bill, which controls deficits only by assuming that America's employers would remain the backbone of the nation's health care system.

Hence, health-care reform risks becoming a victim of unintended consequences. Amazingly, the corporate documents that prove this point became public because of a different set of unintended consequences: they told a story far different than the one the politicians who demanded them expected.


AT&T produced a PowerPoint slide entitled "Medical Cost Versus No Coverage Penalty." A document prepared for Verizon by consulting firm Hewitt Resources stated, "Even though the proposed assessments [on companies that do not provide health care] are material, they are modest when compared to the average cost of health care," and that to avoid costs and regulations, "employers may consider exiting the health care market and send employees to the Exchanges." (Under the new bill, employees who lose their coverage will purchase health care through state-run exchanges.)

Kenneth Huhn, vice president of labor relations at Deere, said in an internal email that his company should look at the alternatives to providing health benefits, which "would amount to denying coverage and just paying the penalty," and that he felt he already had the ability to make this change under his company's labor agreement. Caterpillar felt it would have to give "serious consideration" to the penalty option.

It's these analyses -- which show it's a lot cheaper to "pay" than to "play" -- that threaten to overthrow the traditional architecture of health care.


Caterpillar and AT&T actually spell out the cost differences: Caterpillar did its estimate in November, when the most likely legislation would have imposed an 8% payroll tax on companies that do not provide coverage. Even with that immense penalty, Caterpillar stated that it could shave $25 million a year, or almost 10% from its bill. Now, because the $2,000 is far lower than 8%, it could reduce its bill by over 70%, by Fortune's estimate. Caterpillar did not respond to a request for comment.

AT&T revealed that it spends $2.4 billion a year on coverage for its almost 300,000 active employees, a number that would fall to $600 million if AT&T stopped providing health care coverage and paid the penalty option instead. AT&T declined comment.


What does it mean for health care reform if the employer-sponsored regime collapses? By Fortune's reckoning, each person who's dropped would cost the government an average of around $2,100 after deducting the extra taxes collected on their additional pay. So if 50% of people covered by company plans get dumped, federal health care costs will rise by $160 billion a year in 2016, in addition to the $93 billion in subsidies already forecast by the CBO. Of course, as we've seen throughout the health care reform process, it's impossible to know for certain what the unintended consequences of these actions will be.

Full story at CNN


Woman Runs Down Lord Jesus Christ in Massachusetts Street

Massachusetts police say a Pittsfield woman has been cited for running down 50-year-old Lord Jesus Christ -- his legal name -- as he crossed the street in Northampton.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- The victim has probably forgiven the woman who ran him down in a Northampton crosswalk, but police haven't.

Police say a Pittsfield woman has been cited for running down Lord Jesus Christ as he crossed the street in Northampton.

Officers responding to Tuesday's incident checked the 50-year-old Belchertown man's ID and discovered that, indeed, Lord Jesus Christ is his legal name.

He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor facial injuries.

Police say 20-year-old Brittany Cantarella was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.


I'm glad the guy okay.

Billboard Asks if Obama Voters Are Embarrassed


(May 7) -- A provocative billboard in a small Texas town is causing more than a few drivers to do a double take.

Located on Highway 59 in Marshall, the sign features a head shot of President Barack Obama along with the words, "Voted Obama? Embarrassed yet?"

As ABC affiliate KLTV reports, the only indication of who is responsible for the billboard can be found in its lower right-hand corner, where the words "Paid for by EM Citizen" appear.

But not all of Marshall's 29,000-plus citizens agree with EM's assessment of Obama.

"I think people are just too quick to judge," Roderick Martin told KLTV. "I mean, a president's term is not determined in the first year -- the first two years."

Annie King, another Marshall resident, told KLTV, "It really shouldn't matter and he will be in office for a while and people need to learn to respect him."

Using billboards to express displeasure with the Obama administration has become something of a trend in recent months. Earlier this year, a sign featuring a picture of George W. Bush along with the words "Miss me yet?" went up on a Minnesota highway, and another showing Ronald Reagan wearing a cowboy hat with the message "Remember real hope and change?" appeared in the same state.

A pro-business group called has been shelling out between $2,500 and $3,500 a pop for billboard space in Atlanta and other cities, plastering a series of anti-Obama messages like "S.O.S. Stop Obama's socialism!" and "God is not a socialist!"

Obama is hardly the first president to face billboard criticism, and given that these larger-than-life expressions of free speech are protected by the First Amendment, he probably won't be the last, either.

One thing that irks me about this story is that the person who posted the billboard obviously won't fully own up to it. If you're going to make a statement like this and you're not brave enough to put your own name on it, are you really making a statement at all?

But what irks me most is in the video at the source. If the people interviewed were representative of the entire local community, then it seems to me that this guy's billboard could be taken offensively in a racial context as well.

And is it wrong that "God is not a socialist" made me giggle?
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