NY: 2 anti-gay State Senators under investigation

In the past week the NY Post has reported separately on two New York state senators who are under investigations for corruption.

State Sen. Carl Kruger, according to the New York Post, traded political favors for more than $1 million in bribes over the last five years — which his live-in boyfriend helped launder.

Kruger and his secret longtime companion, Manhattan gynecologist Michael Turano, were among eight men arrested in a sweeping government “pay-to-play” corruption scandal.
The charges include allegations that Kruger received bribes and other largesse to help two competing health-care companies buy hospitals, and direct state funds to those firms.

Kruger’s constant companion, Turano, is accused of using bribe money he deposited in two shell companies for Kruger to pay the lease on a Bentley luxury sedan, credit-card bills and the mortgage on the garish, multimillion-dollar Mill Basin home where the two men for years have shacked up with Turano’s mom and brother, authorities and neighbors said.

Separately, the state Attorney General’s Office is investigating state Sen. Shirley Huntley and her ties to nonprofits that have soaked taxpayers for more than $400,000, the NY Post has learned. News of the probe comes a week after The Post revealed the Queens Democrat tried to funnel $155,000 to her Parent Workshop nonprofit and as new questions emerge about the shady group.

Both Senators Kruger and Huntley were among the turncoat “group of 8” Democrats who helped kill the marriage equality bill in NY state legislation in 2009.

Rhode Island: Marriage Equality

Capping off what has been a very busy and optimistic week, on Thursday night advocates for marriage equality in Rhode Island offered testimony before what is perhaps their most challenging audience: members of the Rhode Island Senate.

In a room that was packed to overflowing several hours early, members of a Rhode Island Senate committee heard testimony from marriage equality advocates and opponents late into Thursday night.

Much of the testimony was understandably emotional, perhaps none more so than Patricia Baker, 54, a corrections officer from Johnston, R.I., who in December was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Requiring an oxygen tank to breathe, Patricia shared her story with lawmakers as her partner, Deborah, wiped away tears.  Shortly after being told that her cancer is incurable, Patricia was stunned to learn that Deborah will not be able to collect Patricia’s hard-earned Social Security benefits upon her death.  This realization prompted Patricia to become an outspoken advocate for marriage equality during what are the perhaps the last few months of her life.

“I worked all my life for those benefits,” Baker told lawmakers. ”We own a house.  We pay taxes. But they told me my Social Security benefits would go back into the system when I die.  How is she [Deborah] going to keep the house?”

In the Rhode Island House, the legislation has the support of House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is openly gay and a co-sponsor of the bill.

Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee is also supportive of the legislation, having called for marriage equality in Rhode Island during his inaugural address.

The greatest challenge is expected in the Senate.  Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed opposes the bill.

(from GLAAD)

It Ain’t Chemo – amazing grassroots cancer support

This morning, Kevin Hoyt, founder of It Ain’t Chemo, appeared on The Morning Blend TV news show with MMA fighter Ryan Couture and Chris Irwin (owner of The Gun Store) to help publicize their fund raising event here in Las Vegas tomorrow AND to get the word out about the amazing work that It Ain’t Chemo does.

It Ain’t Chemo is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization that provides cancer patients with comfort and care supplies, advice, and emotional support.

I personally met Kevin early last year as I was just finishing my own journey with cancer. He’s engaging, has a terrific sense of humor, compassionate and has a natural sense of leadership that is evident in all he does with this incredible foundation.

Short story about the name of the organization: Kevin is a firefighter. One day – after his own battle with cancer – at the end of a particularly hard day at work, his boss asked him how he was and Kevin responded “hard day – but it ain’t chemo.” And it stuck. His fellow firefighters started using the phrase and it led Kevin to start this organization that does so much for so many on a very personal level.

So there you have it kids – a firefighter, a cancer thriver, and a great sense of humor. This is how it’s done. A great example of how some people not only give back, but find new ways to create opportunities to do more.

I really invite everyone who reads this to go to the It Ain’t Chemo website, find out more about what they do, and how you can donate or contribute in someway.

Maryland: No Marriage Equality this year

It looks like there won’t be marriage equality in Maryland this year.

From The Washington Post: The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to effectively kill for this year a bill that would have allowed same-sex marriage in Maryland.

The House approved on voice vote a motion to send the bill back to the Judiciary Committee, an acknowledgment by supporters that it did not have sufficient votes to pass on the floor.

The bill cleared the Senate two weeks ago on a 25-to-21 vote, and Gov. Martin O’Malley had pledged to sign it.

Advocates for the bill had hoped Maryland would join five other states and the District in allowing same-sex marriages. The bill had significant momentum coming out of the Senate but ran into resistance in the Democatic-led House from African American lawmakers from Prince George’s County, who cited religious opposition in their districts, and conservative Democrats in Southern Maryland and the Baltimore suburbs.

Reports say the vote looked to be within one or two votes shy of passing.

It’s unclear what happens now, but it seems the issue could be dead for the year.

UGH!

Jersey Shore’s Angelina disses “The Situation”

From the Advocate: Jersey Shore star Angelina was appearing on a morning radio show in North Carolina when she suggested that “The Situation” didn’t know how to make a girl want to have sex with him and she thinks he might be gay.

In an interview with 107.5 WZKL, Angelina said: “I didn’t have sex with him but to be honest with you, to get a girl riled up to the point where you want to have sex, he doesn’t even know how to do that. I honestly feel like he’s in the closet right now, he doesn’t want to come out…He’s lame, he’s not all that. Ladies he’s not all that…He doesn’t even know what he’s doing. He’s like a dead fish. He just sits there…You never know these days. More power to him if he’s gay.”

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has previously dismissed rumors he’s gay, and though he was reportedly caught off guard at appearing on the cover of The Village Voice’s Queer Issue in 2010, he said he was happy to do it for his gay fan base.

Sarah Palin’s unfavorability – 60%

From the Washington Post: Sarah Palin’s unfavorable rating has spiked to a new high, adding further fuel to the argument that her presidential campaign may be doomed before it begins.

A new Bloomberg poll shows the former Alaska governor is now viewed unfavorably by 60 percent of American adults. That’s higher than any other poll has shown, but it’s not even the entire picture.

Of that 60 percent, nearly two-thirds – 38 percent of all adults – say they view the former GOP vice presidential nominee “very unfavorably.”  What’s more, Palin’s unfavorable rating is more than twice as high as her favorable rating, which rests at just 28 percent. Another 12 percent aren’t sure how they feel about her.

The poll follows a long and continuous trend in which, as the presidential race nears, people gradually find that they like Palin less and less.