Grammys 2014: The Best and Worst Moments

 | Yahoo Music | January 27, 2014

It was all about the love… and the robot-helmeted Frenchmen who made off with the night’s biggest award.

From Beyoncé and Jay Z opening the 2014 Grammys with a sizzling duet that proved why they’re the most powerful — and sexiest — couple in the music biz, to Macklemore’s mass wedding/performance of his hit “Same Love,” Valentine’s Day came early with sultry and sweet Grammy performances.

And the three-hour-plus telecast packed with superstar performances and superstar pairings ended with a surprise Album of the Year winner: “Random Access Memories” by French electronic music duo Daft Punk, the robot-attired act who charged collaborator Pharrell Williams with making their acceptance speeches for their five Grammy wins.

Here, our breakdown of the highs and relatively few lows of the 56th Annual Grammy Awards:

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Indiana House Divided On Gay Marriage Ban

Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine | January 27, 2014

Indiana House members appear to be divided on a proposal to put a gay marriage ban in the Indiana Constitution.

The House is scheduled to begin debate on HJR-3 on Monday.  A House vote could take place later today.

According to a poll conducted by The Indianapolis Star, 38 lawmakers said they plan to vote for the amendment, while 38 said they plan to vote against it.  Thirteen representatives said they were undecided and 11 refused to answer.

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Judge Ready to Rule in Virginia Marriage Equality Case

ARTHUR S. LEONARD | Gay City News | January 27, 2014

Responding to the January 23 announcement that the Commonwealth of Virginia will no longer defend that state’s constitutional and statutory ban on marriage equality, the federal district court judge presiding over one of two pending challenges there has indicated she is prepared to rule based on written briefs that have been submitted in the case.

Following Attorney General Mark Herring’s announcement that his office has concluded the state’s policy on gay marriage violates the 14th Amendment rights of same-sex couples, District Judge Arenda Allen, citing “the compelling Notice from the Office of the Attorney General,” notified parties that she now longer sees a need for oral arguments scheduled for January 30.

She directed all parties to respond as to whether they believe oral arguments are necessary or “whether the Court should instead rule promptly on the briefs without a hearing.” The clear suggestion is that argument would be appropriate only to articulate points not already made in the written briefs.

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Project TAG Masked Mardi Gras Ball

The Project TAG Masked Mardi Gras Ball is the biggest event of the year. It will be held in the ballrooms of the Holiday Inn South Broadway. The date is Saturday March 1, 2014 6:30pm to midnight. This is a fundraiser for Project TAG so that we can continue to provide services for the East Texas LGBT Community.

Masks are not required but will add to tthe fun of the evening.

Admission will be $35 per person, $25 for students if purchased before Febraury 25th. The price at the door will be $40. Ticket price will include dinner, dancing, DJ, and a cash bar. Tickets are now on sale from any Board Member or on the website at : . For those of you that wish to come for the dance portion only, a special price of $10 will be charged at the door AFTER 9pm !

To order by check or money order, make them out to Project TAG and mail to: Project TAG P O Box 6331 Tyler, TX 75711. Mail order tickets will be returned the next day.

We are also looking for sponsors to help underwrite the cost of this event. Levels are :

Silver $100 (includes a free ticket)
Gold $250 (includes 2 tickets)
Platinum $500 (includes 4 tickets)

If you know of any individuals, businesses, or organizations that might be interested, please let us know as soon as possible!

Mark your calendars NOW !!

Why Aren’t We Having a Middle Class Revolt?

Robert Reich | | AlterNet | January 27, 2014

People ask me all the time why we don’t have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society.

Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy. So why isn’t there more of a ruckus?

The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out.

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Obama’s NSA Speech Makes Orwellian Surveillance Patriotic

Michael Ratner | Truthout | January 27, 2014

President Barack Obama while speaking about the government’s surveillance practices during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, Jan. 17, 2014. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)President Barack Obama while speaking about the government’s surveillance practices during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, Jan. 17, 2014. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)


When considering the revolutionary history of the United States, most would think of fighting for freedom, the enshrinement of basic human and civil rights in a constitutional government of the people, by the people and for the people.

But in his speech on reforms to the NSA and the United States’ intelligence gathering systems last week, President Obama had a creative new addition to the legacy of the American Revolution: surveillance.

“At the dawn of our Republic, a small, secret surveillance committee borne out of the Sons of Liberty was established in Boston,” said the president. “And the group’s members included Paul Revere. At night, they would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America’s early Patriots.”

Sochi Mayor Says There Are No Gay People In His City

 | Huffington Post | January 27, 2014

The mayor of Sochi is under the impression that there are no gay people in his city.

Anatoly Pakhomov spoke with the BBC ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics and discussed how gay people would be treated in the Russian region with the country’s “homosexual propaganda” law in place. Pakhomov said gays are welcome at the Games in spite of this, so long as they “respect the laws of the Russian Federation and [don’t] impose their habits on others.”

He claimed gay people do not have to hide their sexuality in Sochi.

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Disney Channel’s ‘Good Luck Charlie’ Introduces Lesbian Couple (VIDEO)

The Disney Channel just introduced its first-ever lesbian couple on the series “Good Luck Charlie.”

As TV Guide pointed out:

In the storyline, parents Amy and Bob Duncan (Leigh-Allyn Baker and Eric Allan Kramer) set up a playdate for preschooler Charlie (Mia Talerico) and one of her new friends. When the kid arrives, the Duncans learn that Charlie’s pal has two moms. That’s fine, but the potential new friendship is put to the test as one mom chats with Amy, and the other is stuck listening to Bob’s dull stories.

A Disney Channel spokesperson told the publication that the episode was “developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness.”

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The Williams Institute Welcomes the 2014 McDonald/Wright Visiting Chair of Law: Kees Waaldijk

The Williams Institute Welcomes the 2014 McDonald/Wright Visiting Chair of Law: Kees Waaldijk

The Williams Institute is thrilled to welcome Kees Waaldijk as the 2014 McDonald/Wright Visiting Chair of Law. Kees comes to the Institute from the Hague Campus of Leiden University, The Netherlands. Kees is professor of Comparative Sexual Orientation Law at Leiden Law School, a sponsored chair he has held since 2011.
Professor Waaldijk obtained his Master’s Degree in Law at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 1982 and his doctoral degree at Maastricht University.  Professor Waaldijk has worked for Leiden Law School as a lecturer in jurisprudence from 1996 until 2001, and as head of Ph.D. studies until 2011.
Professor Waaldijk also has been a senior visiting research fellow at the University of Edinburgh (1989), a visiting lecturer at the University of Lancaster (1989) and a visiting professor at UC Hastings College of the Law (2000).  He has also taught in summer programs of several law schools in the United States.
Professor Waaldijk has advised many organizations on issues of law and sexuality and has had an active role in several test cases and legislative initiatives, especially regarding the legal recognition of same-sex couples.  He was a member of the Dutch Government’s Commission of legal experts advising on the opening up of civil marriage to same-sex couples (1996-1997) and a member of the Dutch Council for Family Affairs (1994-1999).  He co-edited the annual collection of opinions of the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission (1999-2007).  He has advised on evaluation studies commissioned by the Dutch government about the workings of the General Equal Treatment Act (1999), of the Law on Registered Partnership (1999 and 2006) and of the Law on the Opening Up of Marriage (2006).
Professor Waaldijk is a founding member of the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law. He has served as an adviser to the annual report on State-Sponsored Homophobia of the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association since 2011.  He was in charge of a study for the European Union on legislation prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in employment (2002-2004).  With funding from the European Union (FP7), he is now in charge of a comparative research project on the legal content of family formats available to same-sex and/or different-sex couples.
His publications (online at include articles on the opening up of marriage and on the gradual legal recognition of sexual orientation in international and comparative law, books on European sexual orientation law, and an inaugural lecture on The Right to Relate.  His work has not only been published in English and Dutch, but also in French, Spanish, Italian, Czech and Chinese.   The Williams Institute is proud to host a special presentation by Professor Waaldijk titled “More progress, more stagnation, more setbacks: a global picture of the recognition of same-sex orientation.” on Wednesday April 23, 2014 at 12:15 p.m. at UCLA School of Law. For more information please contact Randy Bunnao at

TransCanada Natural Gas Pipeline Explodes Forcing Evacuations

CTV News | Reader Supported News | January 27, 2014

natural gas pipeline exploded in southern Manitoba early Saturday morning, sending massive flames into the air and leading to the evacuation of five homes.

TransCanada Pipeline said in a statement that a fire broke out around 1:15 a.m. local time on the Canadian Mainline natural gas pipeline system.

Officials said they evacuated five homes near the community of St. Pierre-Jolys, located about 50 kilometres south of Winnipeg, only as a precaution. Police say there were no injuries or damage to homes and property in the area.

Manitoba Hydro has told local residents that they could be without natural gas service for several days as crews work on repairs.

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