HRO targeting biased crime reports passes in Michigan city

By : Wire Report
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) | A human rights ordinance approved for a west Michigan city includes penalties for violators, including those who dial 911 to try to use police to enforce their own bigotry.

The Grand Rapids City Commission passed the updated ordinance Aug. 27 following months of work to develop and revise the measure, which takes effect Dec. 1.

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The Other Side of Life: Strange Bedfellows

By : Jason Leclerc
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The excessive spectacle surrounding our recently-passed statesman and war martyr, Senator John McCain, came as little surprise. To the disinterested observer, that the vast and broad anti-McCain rhetoric questioned his status as a hero and his credentials as a statesman was nothing if not predictable. To an observer who’d lived on a planet outside of our galaxy since 2016, the epithets and animus coming from McCain’s own party might have been shocking.

For the rest of us who’ve observed the takeover of that party by an unprincipled impostor—a POW belittler and recent Democrat himself—nothing remains that can shock us. The most visceral post-mortem disdain was shoveled out from a hole deeper than the Everglades-are-wide by folks who’ve overtaken a Grand Old Party that once nominated McCain for the presidency. Liberal institutionalists came to his defense alongside institutional Reagan-Bush conservatives. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

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News outlets fight for release of Pulse 911 calls

By : Wire Report
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Attorneys for almost two dozen media groups are arguing in federal court in Florida that a lawsuit demanding the release of 911 calls involving the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando should be moved back to state court.

Attorneys for The Associated Press, CNN, The New York Times and other media groups are arguing Aug. 18 that the case doesn’t belong in federal court.

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UPRISINGS!: We don’t want to liveblog the Democratic debate tonight (in the wake of unspeakable terrorism in Paris and Beirut), but we’ll give it a go.

By : Billy Manes
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This is how it goes. You starch your sarcasm collar up high and point your judgment nose low, and then everything falls into a saltwater pool of international proportions. While we had planned on digesting tonight’s debate on CBS between the Democratic triumvirate bench in the typical bathroom manner with which we digest small bits of food, today has fallen beneath the pall of last night’s coordinated attacks on Paris and on Beirut. There’s still talk that this plays into the Russian plane crash and any other act of terror that might be bothering the temples on either side of your eyes. In response, CBS told the New York Times that it is realigning its question path to match the timbre of the times. OK, so … will it be like those strange post-9/11 telethons were? Or will it be Hillary’s chance to shine in the international diplomacy mirror? Or will Bernie shut it down with some well-earned outrage? The O’Malley situation seems less relevant by the minute, but he’s eye candy, so there’s that. At any rate, we will be chiming in as appropriate starting at 9 p.m. We apparently didn’t have anything better to do (which is a lie), but we’re also still puffy-eyed with tears from the decay of modern civilization at a freaking concert in Paris. Grab a corndog and watch along as everyone walks the “too-soon” tightrope walk on international conspiracy, the one that tilts as safely as possible to the left. It might not be as fun or funny as previous liveblogs from this particular scribe, but he (I) has a feeling that it may be an important moment in political discourse. And abuse of tenses.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Rocky Horror, Nick Carter’s strip club advice and Ben Carson

By : Anonymous
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Let’s do the Time Warp right meow!
Few things scream Halloween more than a public showing of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show and it’s made even better when it’s done for charity. The Burns Court Cinema in Downtown Sarasota will have an all-out, costumed viewing over at the Frankenstein place on Halloween night. Admission will be a $25 donation and includes the Rocky Horror bag-o-goodies for the enhanced cinematic experience. Proceeds will go to the CAT DEPOT; a rescue, adoption, education and resource center for homeless cats and kittens. Hot Patootie, bless their souls. The donation also gets you a free raffle ticket and a free drink at the Starlite Room after party. Dammit Janet, if you’re a Rocky Horror virgin and don’t know the words don’t worry they’ll have subtitles and plenty of people will be there to help you touch-a, touch-a, touch your inner Rocky.

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GAY DAY: YOUR DAY – DISNEY VIEWPOINTS

By : Kirk Hartlage
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More than any other large-scale Pride-type event, Gay Days Weekend attracts every shade of the LGBT rainbow. It also brings an equally vast range of scenic views, not just from taking part in the numerous events associated with the weekend, but also from behind-the-scenes if you’re making it all happen. We asked a variety of folks, with a variety of backgrounds with the Weekend, to share their favorite mental snapshots. We also asked: What does Gay Days Weekend mean to you, why has it lasted so long, and what impact do you think it’s had in all that time?

While you’re here we’d like to hear from you – tell us how Gay Day is Your Day!

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Watermark Reader Valentines 2015

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark readers are a loving bunch—at least that’s how it seems each year when we ask for your Valentine’s Day greetings every year.

You delivered in a very big way again this year and we’re happy to showcase so many happy couples in our midst.

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20 years of Watermark’s historical highlights

By : Tom Dyer
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1994

August: With a staff of three, Watermark publishes its first 24-page issue featuring Winter Park’s Amanda Bearse (Married With Children) on the cover.

1995

August: Todd Simmons signs on as editor as Watermark expands to Tampa Bay.

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Publisher’s Perspective: Time to Pass the Baton

By : Tom Dyer
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TomDyerHeadshotI’ve commandeered this space to share that this will be my last issue as Watermark’s publisher. Going forward, former chief financial officer Rick Claggett will oversee newspaper operations.

It’s a selfish decision on my part. For the last 20 years, I’ve operated a busy law practice and a deadline-driven newspaper. Shifting gears throughout the day—with each meeting, appointment, phone call and email—is taxing. I’m used to it, but the newspaper—and the vibrant local LGBT community—deserves a focused, full-time publisher.

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From stand-up act to actor, wherever Russell Brand goes, controversy is sure to follow

By : Kirk Hartlage
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You most likely know Russell Brand from his starring roles in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him To The Greek, the recent remake of Arthur, and the film adaptation of the 80’s-set musical Rock of Ages. You probably also know him from his televised appearances hosting the 2008 and 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, as well as a 2011 episode of Saturday Night Live. (If you’re from Brand’s UK homeland, you no doubt know him from his work on several Big Brother spin-off shows.)

You may even know Brand from his stand-up comedy act, which is frequently influenced by his prior drug use, alcoholism, and promiscuity. Or perhaps he’s familiar because of his consistent public support of the LGBT community as a straight ally. And, presumably, you know Brand as the likely inspiration behind several of ex-wife Katy Perry’s latest chart-topping hits.

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MLK march: King’s “dream” is not done

By : Wire Report
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Washington (AP) – Tens of thousands of people marched to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and down the National Mall on Aug. 24, commemorating the 50th anniversary of King’s famous speech and pledging that his dream includes equality for gays, Latinos, the poor and the disabled.

The event was an homage to a generation of activists that endured fire hoses, police abuse and indignities to demand equality for African Americans. But there was a strong theme of unfinished business.

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Outdated IDs a concern for transgender people

By : Wire Report
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Lauren Grey didn’t think much about the gender recorded on her Illinois driver’s license until she went to test-drive a new car. Although she had been living as a woman for months and easily obtained a license with her new name and a picture reflecting her feminine appearance, Grey’s ID still identified her as male, puzzling the salesmen and prompting uncomfortable questions.

“They are like, ‘This doesn’t match.’ Then you have to go into the story: ‘I was born male, but now I’m not,'” said Grey, 38, a graphic designer living in suburban Chicago. “And they are like, ‘What does that mean?’ It was super embarrassing.” Similarly awkward conversations ensued when she tried to rent an apartment, went to bars or was taken out of airport security lines for inspection.

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