Saturday, February 27, 2010

PAC-10 Mens Diving Championship

Enjoyed a Saturday afternoon watching PAC-10 Mens Diving Championship at the King County Aquatic Center. Too bad the UW did away with their swim team.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Update on Prop. 8

The Prop. 8 Federal Case: Summing Up the Proceedings
by Roger Brigham
EDGE San Francisco Editor
Thursday Feb 25, 2010

Last November, 7 million Californians voted to pull the plug on marriage equality. In a few weeks, a single federal judge will decide whether or not they had the right to do that.

Ultimately, nine U.S. Supreme Court justices will undoubtedly be asked to rule on whether he got it right, however he decides. Closing arguments in the case, which is being heard in a San Francisco courtroom, are yet to be heard.

Until then, EDGE asked some of the most prominent legal scholars on both sides of the issue how they think the two couples challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 will fare. Did their high-profile legal team of Ted Olson and David Boies (who headed the legal teams in the historic Gore v. Bush 2000 election dispute) make their case?

Unlike a failed state Constitutional challenge a year ago, opponents in the federal challenge argued before District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker that the decision to revoke marriage equality was invalid under the federal Constitution. It violated due process and equal protection guarantees, they maintained. But is that argument sticky enough?

Not according to Calvin Massey, a constitutional law professor at University of California Hastings College of the Law. "Applying existing constitutional case law, I don't think that case has been made," he told EDGE.

Even so, like many others Massey believes "the outcome of the trial in this court is a foregone conclusion." Walker will find for the plaintiffs.

"I don't think that will be a surprise to anyone," Massey added. "What will be interesting will be the rationale for the conclusion. This court is but a way station for the case. The way in which he writes his opinion may have some influence on the ultimate disposition of the case."

But Hastings College colleague Joseph Grodin, who specializes in Constitutional and job discrimination law, disagreed. "The plaintiffs "made their case in the sense that the defendants have not been able to make theirs," he said. "The defendants had the burden of coming up with at least a rational basis for the ban on same-sex marriage. I question whether they were able to do that."

Case Brings up Issue of Minority Rights vs. Majority Prejudice
Law classes have followed the historic bench trial closely, partly because it brings up thorny issues about how much popular referenda can restrict minority rights, and partly because of the stature of Boies and Olson.

Grodin, for example, has been the case in his constitutional law class as a stepping-off point to discuss various constitutional doctrines - although he also pointed to the "excellent lawyering in the case."

Like other observes, Grodin believes the superstar plaintiffs' legal team outflanked and outlawyered the defendants' lawyers. The defendants curtailed their witness list, which Grodin believes "was likely in response to the cross examination their witnesses were getting at the hands of David Boies."

Joan Hollinger is a University of California Berkeley School of Law professor specializing in family law. She attended much of the trial and her students reported on it through a blog. She agreed with Grodin that Proposition 8's defenders did not present any arguments "that could be upheld or come close, at least in district court."

Making the Case for Prop. 8 as Inspired by Hate
Much of the hopes for overturning Prop 8 rest with the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, in which the U.S. Supreme Court finally struck down state sodomy laws. The Supreme Court had overturned a decision made 13 years earlier upholding the criminalization of non-procreative sex.

Massey, however, believes same-sex marriage advocates may be reading too much into Lawrence. "The Supreme Court has never said sexual orientation is deserving to be held to a higher degree of scrutiny," he said. "The fact that California says it triggers absolutely nothing in the federal case. California is free to apply more generous protections, but that was partially reversed by Proposition 8."

The burden of proof is thus on the plaintiffs. They have to show there is no legitimate reason for the proposition or it is not rationally related to the action.

Much of the case laid out for the challengers by Boies and Olson documented the historical and ongoing discrimination against the queer community and the heavy price individuals have paid for it. Boies and Olson brought forth witnesses - theirs and the defendants' - that showed how much anti-gay feelings weighed in the Proposition 8 battle.

But, Massey argues, "There were undoubtedly many, many motivations for those votes, a great many of which were undoubtedly motivated by some other purpose than animosity."

Hollinger countered that Boies and Olson "did a superb job of putting on the record a compelling record of what life has been like for gay people and the exclusion from many aspects of contemporary society, including 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' or the fact that at the federal level there is not a law barring discrimination based on orientation."

If Walker concentrates on the argument that Proposition 8 was the result of anti-gay feelings and the desire to discriminate in a separate but unequal category, then the past history of discrimination against gay men and lesbians would become very relevant.

Proposition 8 proponents were shown to stereotype gay men and lesbians as sexual predators out to destroy families and children. But the defendants' lawyers also worked hard to show that the people voting for the initiative did not do so necessarily because they were homophobic, but because of a sincere belief in a traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman - period.

"It reflects a longstanding cultural judgment about the nature of marriage," Massey said. "It is that judgment which is under attack."

Did Prop. 8 Proponents Overplay Their Hand?
But evidence obtained from the Yes on 8 campaign introduced at the trial appeared to counter that. The messages delivered at rallies and broadcasts included numerous vile references to a "gay agenda" out to "teach homosexuality" to children, push for legalized pedophilia and bestiality and destruction of families. That shows, in legal terms "animus."

The fact that Walker allowed the plaintiffs to explore underlying motives of the Proposition 8 backers may end up as the most significant aspect of this trial.

"What is significant about the trial is that there is a trial, and the judge decided over the objections of the defendants to hold an evidentiary hearing," Grodin said. "That shows he intended to have findings of facts. That's more significant than how he rules."

Jesse Choper is a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a constitutional law specialist. He remains skeptical that Boies and Olson exposed the motives of the Proposition 8 backers.

"It's very difficult to probe the intentions of that many voters," he said. "It's not a clear question of fact; it's not, 'Did this guy pull the gun or didn't he pull the gun.'

That's why the most critical factual finding Walker will make is what was the purpose or the motive or the intention behind the Proposition 8. "If he were to find the motive was hostility toward gays - the term is 'animus' - then the challengers have gone a long way to proving their case that it is unconstitutional," Choper said.

"He took a lot of evidence on that, and a great deal more of that evidence may have been in the internal documents from the campaign they couldn't get on the grounds it would violate First Amendment rights."

Well after the evidentiary cases closed in January, the "open secret" of Judge Walker's sexual orientation was reported in a Feb. 7 article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Although conservative pundits and bloggers jumped on that as evidence of juridicial prejudice, most found his conduct of the trial even handed.

Holinger found him ""quite patient and quite fair." In the face of what some feared would turn into an O.J.-style circus, Walker "ran a very good courtoom," he added. "He kept moving everything along, he knew when to take a break. And when he got exasperated, he was pretty gentle about it."

Most observers believe that whichever way Judge Walker finds, the case will be appealed, probably all the way to the Supreme Court. There, many expect a split decision in which Justice Anthony Kennedy would likely cast the deciding vote.

Massey said he thinks the Supreme Court Justices may decline to review the case. He believes that the justices predisposed to find for or against Prop 8 might be reluctant to take on a case that could go the other way.

On to the Supremes: It's up to Judge Kennedy
"If four judges are all inclined for the plaintiffs, but they have their doubts about whether Kennedy would go along, and it is upheld, they would have abetted making constitutional law that they may not like," Massey said. "By the same token, four conservative justices may well be inclined to find in favor of Proposition 8 but have doubts, too, about Kennedy. In which case you would have one vote for review by Kennedy and eight against."

Overall, Justice Kennedy has been has been quite friendly to the gay community. "You might extrapolate from that that he would be likely to vote with the four liberals," Massey noted. "On the other hand, this is a different issue, one that is far more politically volatile. It has less of a precedential foundation. It's impossible to predict."

But not impossible to guess. The majority opinion in a decision to strike down a Colorado ban on municipal and state protections against queer discrimination was written by Kennedy. In it he wrote that that initiative was driven by a "desire to harm a politically unpopular group" and that "it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests."

"His opinion struck that down on the ground that it seemed pretty clear the initiative measure had an anti-gay and lesbian animus behind it," Grodin pointed out. "I think that's pretty clear of Proposition 8 as well. Things he has written make it somewhat difficult for him to deny the plaintiffs' claim. If he rules in favor of Proposition 8, he would have some explaining to do.

"Myself, I am much in favor of permitting gay marriage," Grodin said. "If given a chance, I would in favor of a proposition that overturned Proposition 8. That's good public policy - but that doesn't mean that it is unconstitutional."

For one possible hint of how Walker might stand, look to what the law always looks to: precedent. In a ruling against a same-sex marriage ban before passage of Proposition 8, the California Supreme Court ruled that gays were a "suspect class." That means they were a politically vulnerable minority requiring that the judicial system ensure they not be subjected to legalized discrimination.

The ruling focused on the social value of the term "marriage" as being something gays and lesbians had an equal right to. Later, however, in upholding the voter initiative that revoked those marital rights for gays and lesbians, the state court said that the voters were not denying them rights, just "carving out" a piece of their rights.

Traditionally, California courts have been very reluctant to invalidate a referendum. The initiative process in California has a long, proud history that dates back to its rough-and-tumble days as a vast frontier outpost, where direct democracy was seen as a counterweight to a distant state government.

"History in the state indicates it is very difficult to invalidate an initiative," Hollinger noted. "I think the state court was holding onto as much of it could of its earlier ruling in the marriage cases, having pronounced there's a fundamental right to marry."

"The proposition limited marriage to one man and one woman, with the consequence given that equal rights were suddenly facing a smaller pie. Something has been cut out - and that is marriage."

To reach that conclusion, the court had to go into what Hollinger termed "rhetorical contortions": "Well, it matters, but maybe it doesn't matter that much."

"In that regard, it is somewhat incoherent," Hollinger opined. "The essence of the marriage cases focused on the value of the word 'marriage' - the symbolic, intangible aspects. 'They can still have everything, but we, the people, are carving out the 'M' word.' The court was in an extremely difficult position. It had no precedent to rely on."

The Question of Televising Proceedings
Originally Walker had planned to allow the court proceedings to be broadcast to several other federal courthouses and there were plans to have delayed video postings on the internet. Those plans were eventually scuttled by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision that became as much discussed in legal circles as the case itself. (The proceedings were videotaped for Walker's records.)

"That's part of any ongoing disagreement within the federal system," Hollinger said. "The Supreme Court has been consistently opposed to allowing the media into any Supreme Court proceedings. Some of this is just explicable to the relations and politics within the court system. But I think it goes beyond that.

"I think the proponents of Proposition 8 were quite afraid of the consequences of allowing the proceedings to be broadcast. Their case would be exposed as bankrupt and empty. They're the ones who want to be closeted. It suggests the Proposition 8 proponents were afraid of what the consequences would be. But do they deserve to be protected against that? I would say, 'Sorry, that's not something that you can protect against.'"

"I think its unfortunate the Supreme Court stepped in to block that," Grodin said. "It was a very unobtrusive, modest proposal to have this broadcast in various federal courtrooms. I think it would have been very educational for the public to see what went on in that trial."

One Thing Everyone Agrees on: Boies & Olson Lived up to Star Billing
Which was by virtually all accounts some damned good lawyering by the challengers.

"I do think the performative aspects of that trial were extraordinary," Hollinger said. "I have witnessed a lot of litigation in federal and state appellate court proceedings. I think a lot of us who were there were kind of blown away by the skill of Boies and Olson and their staffs and the City (of San Francisco) Attorney's office lawyers.

"What the attorneys were able to do was not only to present the expertise of these individual scholars in very clear and persuasive fashion, but they allowed them to in direct examination refute any possible argument that could be raised by the other side.

"Ninety-nine percent of their time has been as corporate and anti-trust litigators. They knew nothing about family law until this summer. I really must hand it to them. I don't recall a false step during that full period."

Said Grodin, "I think David Boies' skillful cross examination of witnesses and in their depositions when they came to testify probably motivated the defendants to knock some of their witness off their list."

Only the End of the Beginning
Trial proceedings were wrapping up this week with final motions to produce evidence. As soon as Friday Walker may assign a date for the closing arguments, which are expected to take one day.

"We are just at the very beginning," Hollinger said. "I remain very uncertain about what will happen at the appellate level. The country is not in a good mood. These issues are almost the last gasp of the ability of cultural minorities to strike back at other minorities by putting together a kind of majority that can operate on ignorance.

"But we shall see. What we did see was some brilliant lawyering."

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gay Games 2010 - Cologne

It's official - I signed up to run my next marathon and I'm headed to Cologne Germany! I will be participating in the 2010 Gay Games. Gay Games you ask? Yes and it's not a fashion, hair, gardening or cooking competition! All of which I would do well in by the way! This is all about sports baby. Check out the link above for a list of all the events - it's pretty impressive.

It's time for me to get serious about training since I've not been in formal training since I completed the New York Marathon in November of last year. I felt pretty good about completing it in 3:46:23 - I hope to do even better in Cologne! My partner Kent is going to run in the half marathon while I do the full marathon - we are looking forward to it. Although I've been to Germany a couple of times it's been awhile since I've been in Cologne and even then it was on a train headed from Frankfurt to Paris so I've not spent much time in Cologne and never in Berlin so I am hoping to catch a train to Berlin to check it out.

I'd love to hear from you if you have ever participated in the games in general and or if you have travel advice about Cologne or Berlin. I'll keep you posted on my training progress.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chuckanut Drive

It's funny how you can live in an area most of your life and not take advantage of the local beauty. As a result of the article below Kent and I took this drive today - what a wonderful experience. We had coffee and baked goods in Edison, visited WWU campus and lunch at Boundry Bay Brewery & Bistro. If you are up this way check it out! You will be glad that you did!

A detour worth taking: Your mile-by-mile guide to scenic Chuckanut Drive
Need a break from Interstate 5? Explore cliff-hugging Chuckanut Drive's scenic, gastronomic and recreational wonders.

By Story and Photos By Mike McQuaide
Special to The Seattle Times

The earliest version of Chuckanut Drive shows up in 1896. Then, it was a rutted dirt logging road gouged into the side of Chuckanut and Blanchard mountains — often referred to collectively as the Chuckanuts — linking Bellingham and Bow. It wasn't until 1921 — after numerous fits and starts, including one in which chain gangs from local jails were put to work — that a paved Chuckanut Drive was finished.

Nowadays it's one of the state's most popular drives, offering not only world-class vistas, but everything from fine-dining establishments to terrific hiking, biking, camping and beachcombing spots, plus excellent seafood gathering and even a cool place to see roadside fossils. Lots more, too.

What's in a name?

Depending on your source, Chuckanut is a Native American word that means "beach on a bay with a small entrance" or "mountain by the bay."

Maybe Vancouver's Winter Olympics have you doing the old Seattle-Vancouver-Seattle shuffle. And you're looking to somehow break up the Interstate 5 fast food joint-big box store-casino-outlet mall monotony.

Or maybe you just want to while away an afternoon — possibly a whole weekend, even — by visiting someplace that's off the beaten path. If so, Chuckanut Drive, that 20-mile cliff-hugging roadway that snakes along the lower flanks of Chuckanut Mountain high above northern Puget Sound, makes for a terrific detour-slash-destination.

At Burlington, where the freeway continues north toward Bellingham, Chuckanut Drive veers hard to the northwest like it's making a getaway — escaping to greener pastures and better views, which it offers in spades: forested islands rising from the glistening waters of Samish Bay like the great backs of giant whales; eagles, herons, and ancient forests; far-off peaks forever cloaked in snow and ice. Best yet, it's a detour with a purpose, for it ends up the same place the freeway does: in Bellingham.

Here are some of the road's highlights corresponding to milepost markers, starting from the south:

Mile 7

Rhododendron Cafe — This popular cafĂ©-restaurant-gallery is famous for its rotating menu, which each month features cuisine from a different part of the world. As the sign says out front, it's "Where Northwest and Ethnic Foods Meet." February is Italy month, to be followed in March by France and Western Europe, and American regional cooking in April. Recent blackboard specials included eggplant parmigiana with herbed penne and chicken saltimbocca. Next door, the Rhody Too Gallery features works by Northwest artists, as well as gifts and curios from around the world. More information: or 360-766-6667.

Mile 9

Chuckanut Manor — Just north of the Samish flats, where the road starts to climb, this restaurant, lounge and bed-and-breakfast has been drawing Chuckanut Drive day-trippers for close to 50 years. Steaks, seafood, a popular Sunday brunch and out-of-this-world Samish Bay sunset views are just a few of the Manor's calling cards. Also offers a two-bedroom suite that sleeps four and includes a Jacuzzi spa. Rates start at $160 per night. 360-766-6191 or

Mile 10

Bat Caves Trailhead — See those cars parked on the west side of the road? They belong to folks heading up (or down) the popular Bat Caves trail, also known as the Oyster Dome trail. It's steep and rugged in parts, and densely wooded, too, but when the trail swings out into former clear-cut areas, the San Juan Island-Samish Bay views are tops. You're on Blanchard Mountain here — Chuckanut Mountain is the hump just to the north — and both are the only inland mountains that rise straight out of Puget Sound, Blanchard to over 2,200 feet in spots.

The Bat Caves themselves are a jumble of boulders at the base of a 300-foot rock face — Oyster Dome — and home to some Townsend's big-eared bats. A round-trip hike to the caves is about five miles; to the top of the Dome (highly recommended), about six miles, with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Trails are signed, and a map is available on the Pacific Northwest Trail Web site:

The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive — Once just a shack where oysters were sold to passers-by, these days the Oyster Bar is the epitome of fine dining. Clinging to the side of a wooded cliff overlooking Samish Bay, the setting is hard to beat and every table has a water view — and sunset, too, if you time it right. With a name like Oyster Bar, it's not surprising that oysters feature heavily on the menu, but they're not all. There's seafood of all kinds, steaks, as well as some surprises, e.g., pumpkin ravioli. The wine list — really a book with more than 25 pages in it — is impressive. And in fact the Oyster Bar earned Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence in 2009. Info: 360-766-6185 or

Oyster Creek Inn — After being closed for two years, this popular seafood spot located at Chuckanut Drive's hairpin turn reopened two weeks ago with new owners, Thomas and Danielle Palmer, who also own Palmer's in La Conner. Also a cliffhanger, the inn overlooks the Oyster Creek gorge, where tumbling waterfalls make like Slinkies on their way to the bay. The mostly Northwest menu is seafood-heavy with many items from next door's Taylor Shellfish Farms. 360-766-6179 or

Taylor Shellfish Farms — Along with growing oysters on some 1,700 acres of Samish Bay Tideland, Taylor sells seafood by the seashore. And they've been doing so on this spot for about 100 years. Visit the retail shop for locally grown clams, mussels, geoducks and oysters, as well as halibut, salmon, Dungeness crab, scallops, prawns and more. Heading north on Chuckanut Drive, the entrance is on the left, just past the Oyster Creek Inn. Follow the road down for about a half-mile to the bay. Info: 360-766-6002 or

Mile 11

Vista pullout — On the west side of the road, a large pullout parking area offers spectacular views across Samish Bay to islands by the dozen, as well as Mount Erie near Anacortes and the Olympic Mountains beyond. Look for windsurfers and parasurfers down in the water. Interpretive signs here tell of Chuckanut Drive's history.

Mile 12

Heritage marker pullout, fossils — Another large pullout on the west side of the road offers picnic tables and spectacular views of islands and water, thus making for a nice lunch or snack spot. To see some cool fossils from the Eocene epoch (some 55 million years ago) carefully — that is, very carefully — walk across Chuckanut Drive (to the mountain side) and walk about 50 yards south to the obvious road cut. There you'll see impressions in the rock of ancient palm fronds, leaves, ferns and roots.

Mile 14

Clayton Beach parking lot — This large parking lot on the east side of the road provides access to the southern reaches of Larrabee State Park, which in 1915 became Washington's first state park. Then it was a mere 20 acres; these days, it's 2,700 acres with 1.5-miles of saltwater shoreline, two freshwater lakes, dozens of miles of hiking and biking trails, and a campground with nearly 100 sites. Park here for the Interurban Trail, a mostly flat rail trail that parallels Chuckanut Drive and leads six-plus miles north to Bellingham's Fairhaven district; Fragrance Lake Road, a former logging road (no cars allowed) that leads to the Lost Lake trail (about eight miles round-trip), and Clayton Beach. The last is a tucked-away oasis with tide pools, sandy beaches and Chuckanut sandstone cliffs, which make for fun scrambling. To get to Clayton beach, carefully — that is, very carefully — walk across Chuckanut Drive and hike the obvious trail south for about a half-mile.

Larrabee State Park main entrance/Fragrance Lake trail — Just north of Clayton Beach, on the west side of the road, is the main entrance to Larrabee State Park. Enter here to camp or meander the easy paths through stands of madrona trees down to water's edge, where the tidepool exploring is always fun. The Fragrance Lake trailhead and parking lot are directly across the road from the park entrance. This popular, wooded hike boasts a rain-forest feel and, after climbing for about 1,000 feet, leads to a peaceful rock-rimmed jewel of a lake. About five miles round-trip. The Interurban Trail can also be accessed from this parking lot.

Mile 16

Hiline Road (Cleator Road) — About a quarter-mile up Hiline Road is another access point and parking lot for the Interurban Trail. Just past the parking lot, the road (now Cleator Road) continues up for another three miles and some 1,500 feet, to the Cyrus Gates Overlook, but recent landslides have made it impassible to vehicles. Hikers and bikers still make the climb, though.

Mile 18

North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead — This trailhead parking lot just inside Bellingham city limits provides access to several outdoorsy gems. Among them, the Interurban Trail, Arroyo Park, Teddy Bear Cove, the numerous trails that crisscross Chuckanut Mountain, and Woodstock Farm. Though small, Arroyo Park is like a mini rain forest, with moss-hung evergreens blocking out the sun and Chuckanut Creek racing down the middle of a deep, rocky gorge. Teddy Bear Cove, famous in former days as a clothing-optional beach, boasts a couple of secluded pocket beaches on tidal water; a small bluff above offers spectacular sunset views. Woodstock Farm, among the newest of Bellingham parks, is a heritage site high on a hillside overlooking Chuckanut Bay. The former estate of Cyrus Gates, one of Bellingham's early civic leaders, it's gradually being opened to the public. As of now, visitors can enjoy about two-thirds of a mile of walking paths through an old country estate and terrific bay and island views.

From the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead, both Teddy Bear Cove and Woodstock Farm require a half-mile walk south on the Interurban, then crossing and walking along Chuckanut Drive for a short stretch. A trailhead map kiosk points the way.

Chuckanut Bay Gallery and Sculpture Garden — A melding of art and nature, this unique spot features hundreds of works by Northwest artists — glass, pottery, handmade jewelry, wood crafts, prints — as well as a relaxing garden with water features, wind chimes and sculptures. Stop by for a serenity-now moment. More info: 877-734-4885 or

Mile 19

Fairhaven Park — One of Bellingham's oldest and most popular city parks offers tennis courts, a kids' spray park and playground, lots of grassy lawns for tossing the Frisbee, as well as access to the Interurban Trail.

Mile 20

Fairhaven — Bellingham's southside neighborhood is the northern terminus of Chuckanut Drive.

Mike McQuaide is a Bellingham freelance writer and author of "Insiders' Guide Bellingham and Mount Baker" (Globe Pequot). He can be reached at Blog:

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gay Games Marathon?

Although I've not yet signed up I'm thinking that my 2010 marathon will be part of the 2010 Gay Games! Gay Games you ask? Yes - there is such a thing and this year in will be in Cologne, Germany. I'll keep you posted.

Half-Marathon & Marathon
Date of Event
Saturday, 7 August 2010
Starting time: 8:00 a.m.
Both the marathon and half-marathon begin simultaneously. Therefore, athletes may compete in only one race.
Half marathon and marathon participants may also - without any additional cost - register for 10 K and 5 K which take place August 2 and August 5 (see above).
Cologne-Muelheim, on the right bank of the Rhine River.
Start/Finish: Wiener Platz, in Cologne-Muelheim, directly in front of the district city hall.
Route: 21.1 km circular course; marathon runners will complete the course twice.

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I could fall in love with Ewan McGregor

I have always been a huge fan of Ewan Mcgregor and after reading this I'm an even bigger fan! Can't wait to see - I Love You Phillip Morris.

Ewan McGregor Responds to Homophobic Laughter on Live TV

By Editors

Actor Ewan McGregor added to his legions of gay admirers when he deflated some casual homophobic comments during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America Thursday.

McGregor was on the morning program to promote his role in the new film The Ghost Writer, and after dodging questions from host George Stephanopoulos about his opinion of the court case involving the film’s director, Roman Polanski, a photo of the actor kissing Jim Carrey at a French awards ceremony was shown. Amid groans and laughter from the GMA crew, the Scottish actor, who is on the cover of the current issue of Out, responded, "Well, that's just two men kissing, and ... in this age, in 2010 it's extraordinary that it's still an object of humor."

Stephanopoulos pressed by saying the two actors were making out, but McGregor insisted that it was just a kiss.

McGregor costars with Carrey in the gay-themed I Love You Phillip Morris, about two convicts who fall in love while in prison, which is scheduled for release March 26.

Watch the clip below.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blantant Bigotry by the Catholic Church

Catholic Church Abandons Foster-Care in D.C. Citing Gay Marriage

The Catholic Church has chosen to cease working with Washington, D.C. children in need of good homes rather than place some of those children in loving, qualified homes that are headed by same-sex couples.

Instead, the church has given over the 43 children with whom it was working, and the seven people who had been on the staff of its charitable organization, to a secular organization, the National Center for Children and Families. The reason for the switch? The Church teaches that gays are "disordered" people whom God calls to lead celibate lives. But the counsel of Washington, D.C. approved a policy late last year that would extend marriage equality to gay and lesbian families. Rather than compromise in its belief by being required to follow the same anti-discrimination laws that apply to other, similar organizations, the Church is stepping out of the game altogether.

The Church had administered its program for 80 years through Catholic Charities, reported Feb. 17 Washington Post article. Catholic Charities, which is funded in part by $20 million per year in taxpayer funds, runs about 20 service programs in all; the other programs will be affected insofar as the organization is looking at ways to get around the requirement that same-sex spouses of gay and lesbian employees receive the same benefits as spouses of heterosexual employees. Catholic Charities CEO and president Edward Orzechowski indicated that the group would be seeking means to not have to pay those benefits, as well as writing their benefits policies in a manner that would avoid acknowledging the status of gay and lesbian married couples.

Catholic Charities officially ended its work with foster children on Feb. 1. "We regret that our efforts to avoid this outcome were not successful," read a statement from Orzechowski, a Feb. 18 Washington Times article reported. "Foster care has been an important ministry for us for many decades," the statement continued. "We worked very hard to be able to continue to provide these services in the District." In addition to discontinuing its work with children needing foster homes, the organization has also stopped placing children with adoptive parents, lest it place children with committed couples of the same gender.

The Boston branch of Catholic Charities had followed local law regarding anti-discrimination policies and occasionally placed children with same-sex adoptive parents until the Church's hierarchy put a stop to the practice ion 2006. At that point, the Boston branch ceased working with adoptions--a result that anti-gay activists point to in arguing that marriage equality constitutes a violation of religious freedom. The Catholic Charities in San Francisco stopped working with adoptions, for the same reason, noted the article.

Catholic figures were quick to cast blame on the Washington, D.C. council. The president of the anti-gay Catholic League, Bill Donohue, issued a statement that read, "District lawmakers could have granted the kind of religious exemptions that would have ensured a continuation of services, but instead they sought to create a Catch-22 situation for the archdiocese." Added the statement, "Surely, they knew that Archbishop Wuerl was not going to negotiate Catholic Church teachings on marriage, yet that hardly mattered to them. The real losers are the children who were served by the Catholic Church."

Donohue also had sharp words for critics of the Church's decision,. "Those who say Wuerl is throwing the kids overboard are phonies," he opined. "If Planned Parenthood were told that as a condition of public funding it had to refer Catholic women having second thoughts about abortion to a crisis pregnancy center, it would scream violation of church and state, refuse the money and end this program."

But some secular organizations praised the decision as the correct thing to do. The Rev. Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United, a watchdog organization dedicated to issues of church-state separation, said in a statement, "If faith-based charities cannot or will not obey civil rights laws, they ought not benefit from public funds."

The new policy takes effect Mar. 2, after a Congressional review period. The policy does not attempt to force religions into offering marriage services to gays and lesbians, exempting churches from anti-discrimination laws out of sensitivity for their religious views. However, the law requires that churches follow the law in the same manner as everyone else when it comes to matters of employment and serving as contractors for local government.

Even before the law was approved by a margin of 11-2, Washington, D.C. Archbishop Donald Wuerl had warned that unless the Church were given additional special exemptions, its role as a service provider could be modified in response to the legalization of marriage parity. "Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of Washington are committed to continuing to serve the people of the District as we have for many decades," Wuerl told the Washington Post, reported a Dec. 3 article at "Unfortunately, the D.C. Council is considering legislation that could end these kinds of partnerships."

For a time, it seemed as though the Church might reconsider its threat to turn its foster care services over to someone else. After the first of two required votes on the matter, noted GLBT site Queerty in a Dec. 16 article, a letter from the Archdiocese offered assurances that the Church would not forsake its charitable missions. "Today the District of Columbia joined a handful of states where legislatures or courts have redefined marriage to include persons of the same sex," the letter read. "Since this legislation was first introduced in October, the Archdiocese of Washington opposed the redefinition of marriage based on the core teaching of the Catholic Church that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the definition of marriage. However, understanding the City Council was committed to legalizing same sex marriages, the archdiocese advocated for a bill that would balance the Council's interest in redefining marriage with the need to protect religious freedom. Regrettably, the bill did not strike that balance.

"The Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities are deeply committed to serving those in need, regardless of race, creed, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation," the letter went on. "This commitment is integral to our Catholic faith and will remain unchanged into the future.

"Religious organizations have long been eligible to provide social services in our nation's capital and have not been excluded simply because of their religious character. This is because the choice of provider has focused on the ability to deliver services effectively and efficiently. We are committed to serving the needs of the poor and look forward to working in partnership with the District of Columbia consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church," the letter added.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Peas and Beets

I planted peas and beets today and it reminded me to post this NW garden calendar from a few years ago in the Seattle times. It might be a bit early for the beets but I wanted to expermient a bit this year with the vegtable garden. I am planting a large garden this year and trying a lot of new things. I'll keep you posted as to my seccuess or lack there of!


Whether this is your first year or your 15th gardening around these parts, you've probably noticed things are a little different west of the Cascades. You never know when — or whether — the Big Freeze will hit. And, thanks to our waterfront acreage and mountain backdrop, we have enough microclimates to fill a USDA map. Then there are the slugs. But by following our own gardening essentials, we all can grow beautiful plants — and adapt beautifully.

JANUARY: We're known here for our eco-friendliness, even in our landscapes. Since January is one of the least-busy months for the Green Gardening Program, gather a group of gardeners, call 206-343-9759 (Ext. 101) and schedule a presentation. | Feel free to transplant dormant trees and shrubs on mild days through February. | Keep after those pesky winter weeds, evicting them from mulched areas and garden paths before they go to seed. | Prune deciduous trees and conifers, and clip out storm-damaged branches.

FEBRUARY: If you're looking for inspiration (or signs of spring), take in our own Northwest Flower & Garden Show, a gigantic garden gala Feb. 8-12. | Groom ornamental perennial grasses by trimming old seeds and stalks. | Prune your roses, traditionally after Presidents Day. Prune hybrid teas heavily, but go easier on English roses and shrubs, removing only a third to half of the branches. | Rake up leaves and twigs and let the light hit your lawn.

MARCH: In some parts of the country, grass won't peek out for weeks, but here it's time to evaluate and renovate the home turf. Cut out a 3-inch-square plot and check for old roots and stems. If there's more than 1 inch accumulated, thatch your lawn. Overseed with a Northwest mix to fill in bare spots. | In sunny spots, add handsome perennials for edible landscaping — rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. | Cut back the spent foliage of your other perennials — daisies, hostas and daylilies all will appreciate the tidying. | Fertilize rhododendrons and azaleas with an acid-based formula just before their buds open.

APRIL: Look for blooms of our state flower, the rhododendron. Some folks deadhead them; some don't. Bloom depends more on a steady supply of summer water, anyway. | Manage ravenous slugs with beer traps, handpicking and least-toxic baits. | Early this month, start warm-weather crops of tomatoes, squash and basil indoors. | Trim and prune spring-blooming shrubs such as forsythia and camellia after their flowers fade.

MAY: Choose native shrubs for spring beauty — perhaps salal, a broad-leaf evergreen perennial. In May, its wee pink flowers emerge, attracting butterflies and birds. | Fertilize continual-blooming roses like hybrid teas this month, again in June and once more in July. | Check your irrigation systems, soaker hoses and drip systems to make sure they work efficiently. | Plant summer-blooming dahlia, begonia and gladiola bulbs.

JUNE: Urban gardeners rely on containers, and now's the time to make them colorful. Make sure the drainage holes on your deck and patio pots work, then fill them with annuals. Try new colors and forms of cosmos, petunias, snapdragons or impatiens for shady spots. | After the soil warms, add 2-3 inches of fertile mulch around your flower and vegetable plants. | For fabulous summer fragrance, try heliotrope, Nicotiana and Oriental lilies. | Set heat-loving vegetables into the garden; protect squash and tomato plants with plastic cloches when nighttime temperatures dip below 50 degrees.

JULY: Northwest gardens grow warm and thirsty this time of year. Newly installed landscapes need regular water, even if the plants will grow up to be waterwise. Random sprinkling is of little use; water slowly and deeply, soaking root zones. | Attract beneficial insects like ladybugs by planting fennel, coriander, dill, yarrow and other herbs. Bonus! You can enjoy their culinary flavors, too. | Groom and water container plantings regularly. Fertilize every two weeks for best growth. | Trim groundcovers and bloomed-out perennial flowers.

AUGUST: Color comes to the maritime Northwest. Watch reds and oranges develop on Japanese maples, vine maples and barberries. Visit nurseries through September to select the brightest. | Turn and water the compost pile. Microorganisms need moisture, too. | Fertilize fall-blooming flowers — dahlias, chrysanthemums, asters and perennial Coreopsis could use a snack now and once more in early September. | Plant leaf vegetable crops — lettuce, spinach and mesclun — in large pots for fall harvests.

SEPTEMBER: Sample the flavors of our fall fruit to decide which trees to grow. Choose apples that ripen well in cool summers, and trees grafted to stay manageable in containers (fruit trees make beautiful patio plants). Order your favorites for late-winter planting. | Add new groundcover, such as native sword fern and bleeding heart, to those tough dry-shade areas under evergreens. | Bring houseplants indoors by month's end. Check for hitchhiking insects and wash the plants first. | Continue watering vegetables, container plants and the lawn.

OCTOBER: Our climate — like Holland's — suits spring-blooming bulbs perfectly. Select hardy bulbs — crocus, daffodils, tulips and allium — and plant them now. | Move woody plants, and transplant or install new trees and shrubs. | Plant, plant, plant through February, whenever the ground is frost-free. | Revive your tired lawn by overseeding, but do it by Oct. 15. Sod can go in nearly any time all winter, but be sure the soil drains well.

NOVEMBER: Soggy soil dooms more of our plants than freezing temperatures, so check drainage during rains. To be safe, make plans for the occasional freeze by moving container plants to a protected spot. | Fertilize your lawn with a 3-1-2 formula between Thanksgiving and Dec. 10. | Lift and store summer-blooming bulbs such as dahlias, gladiolus and cannas after frost nips their leaves. | Rake deciduous leaves and spread them 3 inches deep on shrub and tree roots, or add them to your compost.

DECEMBER: We're surrounded by evergreens year-round, so why not use them? If you bring live evergreens indoors, they'll need ample water — tuck them into plastic bags and soak them thoroughly outdoors. | Start paperwhite narcissus, amaryllis and other bulbs for indoor color. Ask your nursery for fast-growing "precooled" daffodils and hyacinths. | Take care of your tools. Scrub them under water, then wipe, dry and spritz them with WD-40 or 3-in-1 oil. | Plant leftover spring-blooming bulbs by Dec. 15. It might be a little late, but they'll do better in the ground than in a bag under the sink.

Compiled by Mary Robson, author of "Month by Month Gardening in Oregon and Washington" (Cool Springs Press, 2006), and Sandy Dunham, Seattle Times desk editor.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A day in the life........

Happy Valentines Day and Chinese New Years!! I hope you enjoy

Watch Two Gay Guys: Valentine's Day Edition in Comedy  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Go Ahead Sarah....Make My Day

Sarah Palin - the best thing to happen to the Democratic party in a long time!

Leonard Pitts Jr. / Syndicated columnist
Sarah Palin can do us a favor by running for president
Leonard Pitts Jr. welcomes the moment of truth a Sarah Palin campaign for president would bring. It would force us to decide whether we are permanently committed to the path of ignorance and tea-party incoherence Palin represents, or whether we will turn back from that cliff.

Syndicated columnist
Dear Sarah Palin:

I hear you're pondering a run for the White House in 2012. Last week, you told Fox news it would be "absurd" to rule it out.

I'm writing to ask that you rule it in. I very badly want you to run for — and "win" — the Republican nomination for the presidency.

I know you're waiting for the punch line. Maybe you figure I think you'd be a weak candidate who would pave the way for President Obama's easy re-election.

That's not it. No, I want you to run because I believe a Palin candidacy would force upon this country a desperately needed moment of truth. It would require us to finally decide what kind of America we want to be.

Mrs. Palin, you are an avatar of the shameless hypocrisy and cognitive disconnection that have driven our politics for the past decade, a process of stupidification creeping like kudzu over our national life.

As Exhibit A, consider your recent speech at a so-called "tea party" event, wherein you dismissed the president as a "charismatic guy with a teleprompter." Bad enough you imply that teleprompter use is the mark of an insubstantial man, even though you and every other major politician use them. But what made the comment truly jaw-dropping is that even as you spoke, you had penned on your left palm, clearly visible, a series of crib notes.

Mrs. Palin, if Obama is an idiot for reading a prepared speech off a teleprompter, what are you for reading notes you've inked on your hand like a school kid who failed to study for the big test?

In the Fox interview, you scored Obama for supposedly expecting Americans to "sit down and shut up" and accept his policies. But when asked when the president has ever said that, you couldn't answer. Obama, you sputtered, has just been condescending with his "general persona."

I found that a telling moment. See, ultimately what you represent is not conservatism. Heck, I suspect that somewhere, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan are spinning like helicopter rotors at the very idea.

No, you represent the latest iteration of an anti-intellectualism that periodically rises in the American character. There is, historically and persistently, a belief in us that y'all just can't trust nobody who acts too smart or talks too good — in other words, somebody whose "general persona" indicates they may have once cracked a book or had a thought. Americans tend to believe common sense the exclusive province of humble folks without sheepskins on the wall or big words in their vocabularies.

I don't mock those people. They are my parents, my family elders, members of my childhood church. I honor their native good sense, what mom called "mother wit." But if it is insulting to condescend to them, it is equally insulting to mythologize them.

More to the point, something is wrong when we celebrate mental mediocrity like yours under the misapprehension that competence or, God forbid, "intelligence," makes a person one of those "elites" — that's a curse word now — lacking authenticity, compassion and common sense.

So no, this is not a clash of ideologies, but a clash between intelligence and its opposite. And I am tired of being asked to pretend stupid is a virtue. That's why I'd welcome the moment of truth your campaign would bring. It would force us to decide once and for all whether we are permanently committed to the path of ignorance, of birthers, truthers and tea-party incoherence you represent, or whether we will at last turn back from the cliff toward which we race.

If the latter, wonderful, God bless America. If the former, well, some of us can finally quit hoping the nation will return to its senses and plan accordingly. Either way, we need to know, and your candidacy would tell us. If you love this country, Mrs. Palin, you can do it no greater service.

Run, Sarah, run.

Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is:

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's only a matter of time....

Support of civil unions jumps
By Ruth Schneider,
02.12.2010 4:06pm EST
Two-thirds of Americans support allowing gays and lesbians to form civil unions, according to a new Washington Post-ABC poll released Friday. In addition, the poll found 47 percent of Americans support legalizing same-sex marriage.

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The number of people supporting civil unions represent a significant increase over the numbers from previous polls. Approval of civil unions, which would give same-sex couples many – but not all – of the rights guaranteed to married couples, jumped 12 percent since the poll was last conducted in December 2007.

While civil union acceptance jumped, same-sex marriage stayed about the same since the last poll was conducted in April 2009.

The poll, as expected, found more Democrats and Independents support same-sex marriage than Republicans. The results are also divided along age lines, with people younger than 30 feeling stronger about legalizing same-sex marriage than those in older age groups.

Geography also played a role in the poll: While Northeast and Western states supported marriage, those in the Midwest and the South tended to oppose legal marriage.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010


I am so lucky to live in a state that recognizes the relationship between Kent and I and provides legal protection.

Missouri State Trooper's Partner Wants Death Benefits
by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Feb 10, 2010

A Missouri Highway Patrol corporal killed on Christmas Day as he responded to a traffic accident was reported in local press according to how the state's Highway Patrol described him: as "not married and had no children."

But behind that brief description of the man who died wearing the State Trooper's uniform there was still a life, a home, and a family. Corporal Dennis Engelhard, who was 49 when he was struck and killed last Christmas Day by an SUV that lost control in icy conditions on Interstate 44 near the city of Eureka, shared a house and 15 years of history with another man, his life partner, Kelly Glossip, 43, as well as Glossip's son by a previous marriage, for whom Engelhard was a stepparent--facts left out of Engelhard's biographical information and obituary, noted a Jan. 30 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The article also noted that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon spoke of Engelhard's surviving family members as having "lost a beloved son and brother," all with no mention of a devoted life partner.

Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that bars marriage for all but heterosexual couples; the state does not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. With marriage status denied them, the couple had no legal means of cementing their relationship. Though Glossip might receive money from the federal Justice Department, he is not eligible to receive his late partner's pension benefits, worth more than $28,000 annually. The unmarried life partner of a heterosexual would be similarly left with comparatively diminished options--but a heterosexual couple would have had the choice of getting married available to them.

For advocates of legal parity for gay and lesbian families, Glossip's situation is one more sad reminder of the inequities faced by American families headed by same-sex couples, and a heart-rending illustration of how such families are punished in places that refuse them any and all legal recognition.

"The partner, plain and simple, is out of luck," openly gay Democratic state Rep. Mike Colona told the Post-Dispatch. "I'm outraged that that's the situation, but it's the status of the law."

Engelhard's comrades in arms knew about his home life. The article said that Engelhard brought Glossip along to events attended by other troopers, and noted that Glossip was in the company of his spouse's peers as they all gathered at the hospital after the Christmas Day accident. And Engelhard's sexuality did not overshadow his excellence at the job: "I'd take 100 Dennis Engelhards," the late trooper's boss, Capt. Ronald Johnson, told the press. "He was an outstanding trooper. His lifestyle had no bearing on his career."

But Engelhard's sexuality and the gender of his life partner seems to have had a direct bearing on how his surviving family members are treated, and they see it as unjust. "I need closure and my son needs closure," Glossip told the press. "Something that's truthful, and not dishonest."

The chair of the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement compared Engelhard's relationship with Glossip--which is legally denied recognition--to that of an unmarried state trooper with his or her opposite-sex significant other, even though a heterosexual couple would be free under state law to marry. "I personally feel that a relationship should be between a man and a woman," Republican state Rep. Ward Franz told the press. "They still love each other and care about each other, but I don't think we can change the law for that."

GLBT family parity advocates disagree with that sentiment. PROMO, a Missouri equality group, issued a statement, declaring, "The 2004 marriage amendment didn't 'protect' anyone's marriage. It only ensured that family members who survive the tragic loss of everyday heroes like Engelhard are treated with less respect and dignity than straight couples."

Fraternal organizations have largely hesitated to step into the gap on behalf of Glossip and his son, the article reported, noting that BackStoppers provided money to Engelhard's parents but not to his partner. Nor has fraternal group The MASTERS, though the group may make a final determination on the case at some point in the future.

The Missouri State Troopers Association, however, has provided $500 to Glossip--because Engelhard had signed him up for the Association's death benefit plan.

And the federal government may offer some financial help as well; the Justice Department may provide Glossip with up to $311,000, assuming Glossip can prove--despite a lack of state-level recognition--that he was the legal beneficiary of Engelhard. For the moment, it's mostly a matter of family helping family, as Engelhard's surviving relatives step in with financial assistance for Glossip and his son.

"It just hurts so bad," Glossip told the Post-Dispatch. "I am his spouse--we loved each other." Glossip told the press that the couple didn't go to neighboring Iowa for a ceremony, preferring to wed in their own state if that ever became possible. Even so, "If I was just one state north, this wouldn't be an issue," Glossip noted, adding, "I wouldn't want anyone else to have to go through what I'm going through."

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Hardrock Cafe Seattle

It's about time! Nice place check it out. Went last night on opening day. Great design. Hey - if they can have one in Sacramento we should have one in Seattle. I hope it does well!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

American Idol

I confess - I am watching American Idol for the very first time this season. I am watching it just because Ellen has joined the judges. I don't watch it live, I always record it and watch it later but from the sounds of things she did alright!

Call me a big girl but I teared up each time a gold card was passed out! Looking forward to the rest of the season.

By The Associated Press
02.10.2010 9:00am EST
(Los Angeles) Ellen DeGeneres hit the right notes with “American Idol” viewers.

Fans took to the Internet to express their pleasant surprise over the 52-year-old funnylady’s debut as the singing competition’s fourth judge. DeGeneres assumed her judging panel post for Tuesday’s episode chronicling the first round of “Hollywood Week,” the cutthroat post-audition phase in which 181 contestants will be narrowed down to 24 semifinalists.

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The majority of folks posting about DeGeneres on Twitter praised her performance. Some said they were only tuning in for DeGeneres, but not everyone was a devotee. A denim ensemble worn by Degeneres, also host of “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” was mocked by a few tweeters.
When Fox announced that DeGeneres, an Emmy winner with no formal music experience, would be the new judge last September, fans were divided over the unlikely replacement for Paula Abdul, the sugary sweet pop singer who judged “Idol” since it debuted in 2002 then left amid contract negotiations after the eighth season ended last year.

“Ellen completely met my expectations,” said Dave Della Terza, founder of, which encourages viewers to champion bad – but entertaining – singers. “She was trying way too hard. Her critiques weren’t funny because no one wants to see a standup act at the judges’ table.”

But Andy Dehnart, editor of the popular reality TV blog and a lecturer at Stetson University, said DeGeneres seemed “more polished and on-point than the people who’ve been sitting at that table for eight years.” DeGeneres is on the judging panel alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi.

“Ellen DeGeneres keeps surprising us,” he said. “She excels as a talk show host, and if she keeps up what she did tonight, she’ll easily establish herself as the best judge.”

As expected, DeGeneres’ critiques were punctuated with humor, but she didn’t hold back the cruelties either. She joked something seemed wrong with a beatboxer’s microphone – just before sending him home. An admittedly drowsy DeGeneres later informed one dull singer that the performance “almost put me right out.”

DeGeneres and the other judges were wowed by several guitar-playing singers during Tuesday’s episode. DioGuardi dubbed quirky 24-year-old musician Andrew Garcia’s rendition of “Straight Up” from former judge Abdul “genius” while DeGeneres called 24-year-old sales representative Jannell Wheeler’s version of “American Boy” by Estelle “amazing, amazing.”

Other guitar players who advanced in the competition included 20-year-old sandwich maker Lilly Scott, who crooned Ella Fitzgerald’s “Lullaby Of Birdland,” and brawny 26-year-old personal trainer Michael Lynche, who announced his wife was going into labor with their first child before launching into John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.”

DeGeneres’ addition comes at a time of change for the aging Fox franchise, which is produced by 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America. Cowell is leaving at the end of the current season to judge and executive produce an American version of “The X Factor,” a talent show he created in Britain. DeGeneres didn’t let Cowell off for the move.

“So this is it, huh?” she whispered to him after joining the panel. “I come on, you leave.”

Several names have been bandied about as potential Cowell replacements – Oscar-winning actor-singer Jamie Foxx, shock jock Howard Stern, as well as music executives Tommy Mottola, Guy Oseary and Jimmy Iovine. But Fox and the show’s producers have not announced a replacement for the acerbic British judge.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Heirloom vs. Hybrid Seeds

January and now Febuary have been very mild here in the Pacific Northwest so I have spent a lot of time in the yard already. We had three large trees taken down so I am planning a large vegtable garden this year! I've already ordered my seeds! With that in mind I thought I would do a little garden posting.

Mother Earth News Latest 10 Articles
Heirloom Vegetables: 6 Advantages Compared to Hybrids

Open-pollinated heirloom vegetables have many advantages over modern hybrid seeds. Most have superior taste and nutrition, plus they have developed resistance to local pests and diseases. And, to make them an even sweeter deal, you’ll be able to save your own seeds from year to year (unlike with hybrid seeds).

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Double Standard

CBS's Double Standard: Network Rejects Humorous Super Bowl Ad For Gay Dating Site
by William Kapfer
EDGE Contributor
Saturday Jan 30, 2010

CBS said that its standards and practices department decided to reject a proposed ad by that would have shown two men kissing while watching a football game- See link to ad below-but has accepted an ad created by an anti-abortion advocacy group -- "Focus on the Family" -- featuring Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Tebow and his mother.

CBS Released the following statement regarding its rejection of the ad: "After reviewing the ad - which is entirely commercial in nature - our Standards and Practices department decided not to accept this particular spot. As always, we are open to working with the client on alternative submissions."

The Tebow ad, which was paid for by the controversial group controlled by openly homophobic founder, James Dobson, features Tebow's mother Pam's 1987 pregnancy with Tim during time she spent in the Philippines as a missionary. Apparently, during her mission she became ill with amoebic dysentery. Early reports indicated that as a result of the strong medications she had been treated with, she was faced with a choice of continuing the pregnancy at the risk to her life, or abort the fetus.

Doctors allegedly warned her of possible fetal damage and recommended that she abort the pregnancy. Because abortion under any circumstance has been illegal in the majority Catholic country of the Philippines since 1930 and is punishable by a six-year prison term, sources believe it's not likely that doctors would have recommended the procedure. The fact is, women who receive abortions in the Philippines, for no matter what reason, may be punished with imprisonment for two to six years. Accordingly, the veracity of the ad's claims are in serious question. Still, CBS will air the ad.

Although these are separate issues, the homophobic double-standard is clearly alive and well in pro-football. CBS is maintaining this separate-but-equal, sit-in-the-back-of-the-bus kind of treatment that I would have hoped was in the past. CBS could have decided to ban all ads of this type, but has apparently made a decision to pick and choose. The Super Bowl should be uniting Americans, not using the event as a vehicle that separates Americans. This is especially true in situations like this where the accuracy of an ad on a controversial subject is in question.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper Inches Out of the Closet
by Kilian Melloy
Friday Feb 5, 2010

CNN's silver fox, Anderson Cooper, has long been rumored to be gay, but has never publicly confirmed it, although it has been an open secret in New York media circles. Now the national tabloid press has revealed to the rest of America that Cooper and a gay bar owner are living together.

The two reportedly bought and renovated an old firehouse in New York's West Village. Tabloid stories also claim that the pair was planning to adopt a Haitian orphan. Cooper was among those journalists who reported from Haiti in the direct aftermath of the devastating earthquake.