“I wish I could say, ‘Oh listen, everybody! It’s the Celine Dion song!’ But I don’t, I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll. [It makes me] feel like throwing up. It’s thrilling for people to surprise me with the Celine Dion song.”
Considering how fond so many Americans are of capital punishment (you know they’d bring their picnic baskets to public executions if they could, kids in tow to enjoy this family-friendly entertainment), I imagine this kind of show would have monster ratings here. Unfortunately, it’s been canceled in China. Can syndication on the new no-gays LOGO be far behind?
From The New York Times:
Until it was taken off the air last December, one of the most popular television programs in China’s Henan province, which has a population of 100 million, was “Interviews Before Execution.” The presenter was Ding Yu, a pretty young woman, always carefully dressed with colorful scarves and blouses; in each episode, she would interview on camera a condemned murderer who was about to face a firing squad or a lethal injection.
While Beijing has long been known for its use of capital punishment, the practice has usually been kept out of official media apart from exceptional cases. For some years, the Chinese government has been charged by Amnesty International and other human rights groups with having executed thousands of people—far more than all other countries combined, according to human rights groups. (Iran is a distant second, although with its far smaller population it has a higher per capita death rate, followed by Yemen and the United States.) There are 55 different crimes (recently reduced from 68), ranging from tax evasion to unspecified “crimes against the state,” that now qualify as capital offenses. The number of people executed for committing these crimes is a state secret.
With Ding Yu’s five years of interviews, however, capital punishment was brought directly into Chinese homes—and with government endorsement. As theBBC explained in its airing of a recent Chinese-made talk show about the program that will soon air on PBS, the channel on which it appeared is supervised by the state; the State Propaganda Department and the judges who handed down the sentences also had to approve each program. The interviews were launched in 2006, and there were over 200 in the program’s five-year run. Of the 55 capital crimes, Ding Yu chose only clear-cut cases of murder: out of over 200 condemned murderers only five refused to be interviewed. She claims most wanted to have their say. Her director says, smiling, “If you feed someone a banana, they will follow you.”
From the New York Times:
First came the bike lanes, creeping like overgrown ivy across the city streetscape.
Then there were the open-air pedestrian plazas, sprouting from the concrete in hubs like Times Square and Union Square to make the insufferable clamor of crosstown traffic a little less so.
Now, by summer, New Yorkers may find themselves in the throes of the Bloomberg administration’s latest roadside intervention: between-avenue stop signs, speed humps and pedestrian crossings along six blocks in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, forging what some have dubbed Sixth-and-a-Half Avenue.
The Transportation Department plans to connect the public plazas and arcades that run from 51st to 57th Streets, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, creating a quarter-mile walkway through open-access lobbies and canopied spaces between office buildings that offers refuge from the tumult of the city’s main arteries.
Though midblock pedestrian crossings do exist elsewhere in the city, most notably near Rockefeller Center, the proposed stretch is on track to become Midtown’s only extended thoroughfare governed by an authority more often found in the suburbs: the stop sign.
For years, the passageway, linked by a series of privately owned public spaces, has been an open secret among the area’s inhabitants, presenting perhaps the most tantalizing jaywalking opportunity in the city. Residents can finish off a lunchtime sirloin at the Capital Grille on West 51st Street, take in a movie at the Ziegfeld Theater three blocks north and retire to West 57th Street for drinks at the Russian Tea Room without ever setting foot on an avenue. Soon, it seems, they will be able to do so legally.
At first, the devout Muslims who gathered in a Washington, D.C., conference center seemed like they could have come from any mosque. There were women in headscarves and bearded men who quoted the Quran.
But something was different. While mingling over hors d’oeuvres, they discussed how to change Islam’s future. A woman spoke about fighting terrorism; she had married outside the Islamic faith, which is forbidden for a Muslim woman. A Pakistani man mentioned his plans to meet friends for drinks, despite the faith’s ban on alcohol.
In a corner of the room, an imam in a long gray tunic counseled a young Muslim with a vexing spiritual conflict: being gay and Muslim. The imam, also gay and in a relationship, could easily sympathize with the youth’s difficulties.
On this brisk Monday night in late October, members of Muslims for Progressive Values, a nascent American reformist organization, had gathered from around the country to celebrate a milestone: In four years, the group had grown from a few friends to a thousand members and spawned a string of small mosques and spiritual groups that stretched from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
Today, as America’s Muslim leaders debate controversial topics like political radicalism inside mosques and states’ attempts to ban Shariah law, this growing network of alternative mosques and Islamic groups is quietly forging a new spiritual movement.
Do not look directly at them! I repeat, do not look directly at them!
“To me the most striking detail was that NOM had budgeted $120,000 for a project to locate children of gay households willing to denounce their parents on camera.
Whenever I hear NOM described as “pro-family” from now on, I will think of that fact.”
- Walter Olson (Independent Gay Forum)
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Male dolphins conduct intense social relationships and are found to engage in extensive bisexuality, according to US scientists.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth studied more than 120 bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia, and found their relationships were more complex than previously thought.
The creatures engaged in extensive bisexuality, combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality, co-author Richard Connor told Discovery News.
“I work on the male dolphins and their social lives are very intense; it seems there is constant drama,” he said. “I have often thought, as I watched their complicated alliance relationships, that their social lives would be mentally and physically exhausting, and I’m glad I’m not a dolphin.”
His team found that the dolphins also pair-up, or swim in groups of three, to herd individual females during the mating season.
Mark (left) being very serious while Rick enjoys a wine tasting or something
Cross-posted from lgbtSr.com
We’ve been promoting this for a few weeks: our podcasting is going live at Blog Talk Radio. Join us for the initial, inaugural, inscrutable ‘Aged to Perfection with lgbtSr’ on Wednesday, April 4, 6:00 pm ET. Hosts Mark McNease in New York City and Rick Rose in Shreveport will be bringing it to you live with chat, news, and weekly guests as often as we can get them. Our first is Executive Chef Becky Bush, Shreveport native with a 20 year side trip to New Zealand. The shows will air every Wednesday at the same time, and be archived for anyone who wants to listen later (there’ll be a widget on the lgbtSr.com website as well with each week’s episode). Here’s a link you can bookmark now. Just cruise on over when the show starts. The phone number’s only needed if you want to get in the mix with questions after the guest portion. Hope to hear you there! – Mark/Rick
This is as important as it is adorable. The project is on Kickstarter and has already blown past its goal.
Fortunately we booked Virgin for our August trip to Vegas.
A Jet Blue pilot who began ranting and acting erratically as his flight headed from New York to Las Vegas — forcing the co-pilot to lock him out of the cockpit and make an emergency landing — has been described as a seemingly content family man who once hoped to be an astronaut.
Jet Blue identified the pilot as Clayton Osbon, who lives in Georgia but who maintains an apartment in the New York City borough of Queens because his flying base is New York. In a statement Tuesday night, it said that the captain of Flight 191 was receiving medical treatment.
The flight landed in Las Vegas at 4:13 p.m. local time Tuesday after initially making an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, where the captain was removed from the flight after having been tackled by passengers and strapped down with their belts. “While we don’t know what led to the incident, what we can verify is that the pilot in command elected to divert to Amarillo to ensure the captain received proper medical attention, and we know the captain was then transferred to a medical facility,” Jet Blue said.