The Other Side of Life: Independence Day

By : Jason Leclerc
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As holidays go, Independence Day is my favorite of the secular American celebrations. Other holidays, equally important in their own ways, like Veterans Day and Memorial Day are patriotic derivatives: without a nation, we wouldn’t have the heroes to honor.

Without that Declaration on July 4, 1776, we wouldn’t have a nation. Situated perfectly in the middle of the year, bookending Yuletides, we as a people are reminded that, like long summer days, the sun doesn’t want to set on our celebration of independence. America is not merely a “City on a hill” but, as Ronald Reagan reminded us, “shining” so: a beacon of hope to the world.

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Senate confirms anti-LGBTQ Jim Bridenstine as NASA chief

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump’s pick to head NASA was confirmed on Thursday in the U.S. Senate despite opposition from lawmakers and LGBTQ groups who opposed him on the basis of his anti-LGBTQ record.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), who has served as a three-term member of Congress representing Oklahoma’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House, was confirmed as administrator of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration by a party-line vote of 50-49.

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The White House web page has removed LGBT rights, climate change and other civil rights issues just like that

By : Billy Manes
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See that up there? That’s a bit of history you might want to remember as the “president” forgets all of the unheard voices he heralded today in his flimsy, divisive inaugural speech. The White House page has now changed to reflect our making-great-of-America-again present, removing progressive issues – indeed, issues about your actual being – from its website. Happy Jan. 20! You’ve been erased. Bye, Felicia.

Oh, and also. Climate change. You’re gone, too. Civil rights? Meh, who cares? Find you on the wayback machine. Doomsday’s here. Take a breath. Let’s get to fighting.

Oscar speeches look more like presidential debate at 88th Academy Awards

By : Jeremy Williams
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Oscar night is often filled with award shocks and surprises and the 88th Academy Awards did not disappoint as Sam Smith becomes the first openly gay man to win an Oscar. Well, okay so he wasn’t, but he wasn’t sure about it so he said it anyways.

Sam Smith was among the winners considered an upset by Oscar experts. The winner of the Best Original Song for “Writing’s on the Wall” from the James Bond film Spectre was as shocked as the rest of the viewing world when his name was called instead of Lady Gaga and Diane Warren for the emotional song “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground, a documentary about campus rape in the United States.

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Screened Out – 45 Years

By : Stephen Miller
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Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay

45 Years is currently running in Tampa; it will open at Enzian Theater in Maitland Feb. 26.

What makes a marriage last? There are thousands of answers, meaning there are none.

After all this time, a 70-year-old wife still has doubts about her husband’s old flames, their past decisions, and her own self-esteem. It shakes her to her core the same week she plans for a big party. 45 Years is a devastatingly intimate portrayal of a long-term marriage in crisis.

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Raising the Bar: How LGBT dance clubs and bars respond to history and look to the future

By : Stephen Miller
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Our LGBT bars and nightclubs: throughout history, they’ve served as more than mere entertainment and socialization. They’ve alternately provided protection, community, purpose, a meeting place for political activism, a defining character for subgroups, and even a disseminator of vital cultural and health information. Yet, just like every lasting institution, in order to survive and be relevant, bars and clubs have to change. They can capitalize on what they do well while transforming with the times.

“Let’s face it,” says Steve Watkins, owner of the newly renovated Stonewall Bar Orlando, “social media isn’t going away. It’s a part of the whole experience of going out – heck, of all of life, anymore.”

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Mr. Blue Sky: Rolling in the deep

By : Eric Rollings
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EricRollingsMug

Eric Rollings

Ten inches is a lot! This is one estimate on how much the sea level will rise in the next 15 years. Our coastal neighbors will be feeling brunt of this first; in fact Miami Beach and surrounding lower areas were seriously flooded this week. The summer of 2015 worldwide was the hottest ever on record and I could guess Central Florida added to this both in temperature and rainfall. Climate change is here – it’s not what is coming, it is what has arrived, and its threats have become promises.

Some years back a friend of mine asked, “Why do you care about the environment? You’re gay; it’s not like you’re going to have kids?” The fact is the LGBT community is concerned about the environment and we are having more and more couples creating families with children. The scary part is that we can’t leave it to our next generation to figure things out. We need to address the issues today, and we can do it sensibly. The LGBT community has proven itself time and again: When we come together, things change for the better. Our environment, which affects all of us, needs to be at the top of our list of goals,and here’s why. Property values: Areas that are more prone to flooding are required to carry expensive flood insurance and, as the frequency of flooding increases, it will be more difficult to sell homes in those areas. As we experienced in Tampa and Orlando this summer, you don’t have to live on the beach to feel the effects of what a more severe climate can bring to our neighborhoods. Water is life: Clean water for the LGBT community is as important as the African-American community as the Latin community – you get the point … everyone without exception.

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Houston says no to HRO, Kentucky elects anti-gay governor

By : Wire Report
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(AP) – Kentucky voters elected just the second Republican in four decades to hold the governor’s office Nov. 3, in a race that hinged largely on President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

The result was a potentially troubling sign for Democrats ahead of next year’s presidential election and represented a big win for the GOP as it continues to consolidate political power across the South. Democrats also were thumped in Virginia, where they made a costly push to win a majority in one chamber of the state Legislature.

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Uprisings!: The Republicans are talking at each other again. We’re liveblogging.

By : Billy Manes
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If there’s anything that we love about the public drawing and quartering of the Republican Party presidential bench during this frightful election cycle, it’s that there are tiers of candidates, that there is, indeed, a Varsity and a Junior Varsity contingent, and the lower down you get on the success scale, it doesn’t get any more absurd – it just stays absurd. Juniors are as good as seniors, a Santorum is as good as a blowjob and Lindsey Graham is still happening. Beyond the greenroom issues which made us fall out of our hot tub and into our home theater today, the real issue is whether any of the four folks being cut off constantly on CNBC in the not-ready-for-prime-time-let-me-try-to-get-a-word-in-edgewise. ”

We already have too many government mandates,” tiny man Bobby Jindal says. “FLAT TAX!” Oh, shut up. So, for now, we have Graham, George Pataki, Jindal and Santorum. Someone smells an orgy. No one smells a president. We’ll liveblog the serious ones (cough), later. For now, we’ll just waste our time and gawk.

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Kim Davis switching parties, now Republican

By : Wire Report
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, a longtime Democrat, says she is switching to the Republican Party because she feels abandoned by Democrats in her crusade against same-sex marriage.

Davis made the announcement while in Washington, D.C., to attend the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit, said Charla Bansley, a spokeswoman for Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis in her legal battles.

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Uprisings: September 10 – 23

By : Billy Manes
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Even though the 2016 presidential elections – and their requisite accessories of electoral nodding heads from the trenches of politics ­– are more than a year away, we’re already feeling a slight graying climbing up our sideburns, a little bit of hubris clogging our synapses,  an almost instinctive desire to climb into the darkest and coolest rooms we can find and curate our own personal exhibition, titled, simply, “Isolation.” It’s not that we don’t believe in the process (there are more “GOTV” night terrors in our collective head than we care to admit), but it’s just that, in some ways, we already know there is going to be a heightening of kitchen-table rhetoric and, with that, blood pressure. The ending is spoiled before its beginning, and if that’s happening to us (all hunched over our computers for the latest polysyllabic anachronism coming from a teleprompter), we fear it’s happening to you, too.

Looking back to the last time we went through this sort of itchy suffrage molting, it’s hard to get entirely thrilled about the voices gurgling up from the backside of our population. We’re supposed to “Feel the Bern” for Bernie Sanders, who, we might add, makes some pretty salient points, even if all of his policies would have to be enacted by executive order against the tantrums of a bought congress. We’re supposed to Windex the glass ceiling for its inevitable shattering by Hillary Clinton, who, we might add, makes some amazing points, especially in the face of the starched shirts who fear her so (clue: she’s a woman, and Benghazi isn’t really a thing). And then we’re supposed to follow the yellow-bricking of a Republican road that doesn’t read so much as a primary competition as it does a manipulative game of Koch Bros. chess.

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Everything you need to know about The Pope before he visits the U.S.

By : Wire Report
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Vatican City (AP) – Pope Francis is expected to raise issues ranging from climate change to income inequality when he visits Cuba and the United States Sept. 19-27. Francis has launched an agenda of reform in the Vatican and in the global church, prioritizing different issues and counseling a more merciful message.

Here’s a primer on where the pope stands on key issues – including LGBT rights.

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