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Showing posts from September, 2009

100 Greatest hits of YouTube in 4 minutes

Cleveland awarded 2014 gay games

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WTAM reports: Cleveland, OH has been awarded the 2014 International Gay Games.

The Gay Games will have around 12,000 participants and an estimated 100,000. The 14 original contenders for host city were whittled down to three; Cleveland, Boston and Washington, DC. The winning city was announced from Cologne, Germany—the site of the 2010 games.

For many, this announcement is the grand finale after months of extensive planning, fundraising and salesmanship. The Cleveland Synergy Foundation has been working on this Federation of Gay Games (FGG) bid with the City of Cleveland and Positively Cleveland. And, in a show of regional cooperation, the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau has pledged significant dollars for marketing and support because events like the rodeo and golfing would take place in Greater Akron.

The City of Cleveland pledged $700,000 if the 2014 Gay Games comes to Northeast Ohio. In-kind donations totaling $1.3 million for police, logistical support and the use of cer…

Barbie goes Barbra

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Hello, gorgeous! Look what Mattel has made for all of Barbra‘s boys out there. Coming this December, just in time for the gayest Christmas ever (or Hanukkah, of course), Barbie goes Barbra!

Standing 11.5” tall, dressed in Babs’s iconic sailor blouse and black pencil skirt, your little plastic diva is ready to sing on The Ed Sullivan Show, direct Prince of Tides or blog furiously about her political beliefs. Retailing for around $55, we finally have someone to fill the space on the shelf between Dorothy Gale and Cher.

You can pre-order her now from Entertainment Earth.
(Via FBOTU)

The gays play in Vegas, too

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Conan O'Brien discuss head his injury

Pick me Up of the Day

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Anthony Baldwin as featured on Nous Models.

The French another stage a kiss-in

Paris held this kiss-in at Forum des Halles, a mall-metro-park in Paris over the weekend. Its purpose: to combat homophobia. They hold a lot of these.

(Via Queerty)

Disney offers the magical world of volunteering

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Volunteering is supposed to be a selfless act to help someone else. Well since that idea hasn't quite grabbed a foothold in Miami, Mickey Mouse has decided to sweeten the deal.

The mouse with the most is offering a free ticket to any Disney theme park for people who volunteer one day of their time in 2010. The promotion, called "Give a day, get a Disney day," was announced simultaneous in Houston, London and Miami today.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez helped bring in the community service initiative with Hands on Miami volunteers as they revitalized the grounds of a county-owned elderly public housing development Tuesday morning. The hope is to get one million people to volunteer.

The tickets-for-time promotion includes free admission to either Disney World in Orlando or Disneyland in California. To volunteer, you must register with Disney, which will connect you with an approved agency for the promotion.

(Via NBC Miami)

Barbra Streisand reflects on the early days

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Senate panel rejects a ‘public option’ in health plan

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The NYT reports: After a half-day of animated debate, the Senate Finance Committee today rejected efforts by liberal Democrats to add a government-run health insurance plan to major health care legislation, dealing the first official setback to an idea that many Democrats, including President Obama, say they support.

All of the other versions of the health care legislation advancing in Congress — a bill approved by the Senate health committee and a trio of bills in the House — include some version of the government-run plan, or public option.

But the Finance Committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, long ago removed it from his proposal because of stiff opposition from Republicans who call the public plan a step toward “socialized medicine.”

The committee this afternoon voted, 15 to 8, to reject an amendment proposed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, to add a public option called the Community Choice Health Plan, an outcome that underscored …

Oprah, the Black Eyed Peas, and a coordinated crowd rock Chicgo

Bill Clinton: 'I was wrong' about gay marriage

(Via Towleroad)

Roomba art with vacuum cleaners

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This Flickr Group consists of artists who make long-exposure photographs of their iRobot Rhoomba robot vacuum cleaners zipping around their rooms. Some of these photos are up to thirty minutes or more long.
(Via Lemonwade)

Anti-gay church wins round in court

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The Baltimore Sun reports: A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a fundamentalist Kansas church's protest outside the funeral of a Westminster Marine killed in Iraq is protected speech and did not violate the privacy of the service member's family, reversing a lower court's $5 million award.

The ruling from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., held that the signs and writings of the Westboro Baptist Church, which included anti-gay and anti-military messages, are protected by the First Amendment. The Topeka-based congregation has protested at military funerals across the country

"Notwithstanding the distasteful and repugnant nature of the words being challenged in these proceedings, we are constrained to conclude that the defendants' signs and [what it has on its Web sites] are constitutionally protected," Circuit Court Judge Robert B. King wrote in the majority opinion.

Margie Jean Phelps, an attorney for Westboro and the daughter of the…

Little Boots'
"Stuck On Repeat"

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Renato as featured on Major Models.

Tidbits

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- Barbra Streisand performs at the Vanguard.

- Madonna equals Elvis Presley's record of 11 UK #1 solo albums with Celebration.

- Coming out in middle school: “I definitely lost some friends,” said Austin, a 13-year-old from Sand Springs, Okla., “but no one really made fun of me or called me names, probably because I was one of the most popular kids when I came out. I don’t think I would have come out if I wasn’t popular.

“When I first realized I was gay,” Austin interjected, “I just assumed I would hide it and be miserable for the rest of my life. But then I said, ‘O.K., wait, I don’t want to hide this and be miserable my whole life." I asked him how old he was when he made that decision. “Eleven,” he said.
- Conan O’Brien injured during taping of show.
- Manson family member Susan Atkins, died of brain cancer yesterday at the age of 61.
- Cleve Jones invites Obama to the National Equality March:




Miami Science Museum envisioned as a natural wonder

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The Miami Science Museum has unveiled an ultramodern conceptual design for its planned new downtown home that wraps a series of layered outdoor terraces around a big Gulf Stream aquarium and a striking new planetarium orb overlooking Biscayne Boulevard.

Capping the three-level structure: a clear, teardrop-shaped canopy that would allow natural light to flow into the building and through the main aquarium tank -- and permit residents of the condo towers across Biscayne to look into the museum.

Crammed with digital technology, the $275 million project, scheduled to start construction late next year, is designed to function as an organic demonstration of green-building principles and South Florida's climate and ecology. Visitors would follow a spiral ramp leading indoors, then outside, then back inside, while traveling from the stars of the Cosmos down through the Florida wetlands to the bottom of the Gulf Stream.

Perhaps the most dazzling feature is the cone-shaped aquarium tank, 100 f…

More school? Obama could trim summer break

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Students beware: The summer vacation you just enjoyed could be sharply curtailed if President Barack Obama gets his way.

Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

"Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," the president said earlier this year. "Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."
The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.

Obama and Duncan say kids in the United States need more school because kids in other nations have more school.
"Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here," Duncan told the AP. "I want to just level the playing field."
(Vi…

Roman Polanski lawyers will fight extradition

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ABC News reports: A French attorney for detained director Roman Polanski said today that he would fight extradition to the United States on a 32-year-old statutory rape charge.

"He wants to struggle and I think it will be possible for us to maintain his freedom," lawyer Herve Temime told "Good Morning America" today, adding that Polanski and his lawyers were shocked that the Oscar winner was arrested after walking into a trap at the Zurich, Switzerland, airport.

Polanski, 76, has been avoiding the United States and countries working with the United States since 1978 when he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski served 43 days in a California jail, where he underwent psychological evaluation. He then fled to Europe before being sentenced to avoid what would likely have been a lengthy prison term.

Then a powerhouse Hollywood director, Polanski continued a fruitful career in Europe and had been known to visit Switzerland frequentl…

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

1 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs ($24.6M)
2 Surrogates ($15M)
3 Fame ($10M)
4 The Informant! ($6.92M)
5 I Can Do Bad All by Myself ($4.75M

The Funnies

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Obama: Iran building secret nuclear fuel plant

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President Barack Obama demanded today that Iran open up a previously covert nuclear fuel facility to international inspectors, saying "Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow."

Obama, flanked by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said the site "deepens a growing concern" that Iran has failed to live up to its international obligations.

Obama said the "size and configuration" of the site was inconsistent with a peaceful facility, which is a direct challenge to Tehran's claim that its nuclear plants are designed for peaceful purposes.
Speaking after Obama, Sarkozy said Iran must comply with international demands by December or face a new round of sanctions. "Everything must be put on the table now," the French leader said. Brown bluntly accused Iran of engaging in "serial deception" that would "shock and anger" the world.
The Western powers had "no choice but to draw a lin…

Star Wars in Concert

Tickets can be found here.

Combo vaccine reduces risk of HIV infection, researchers say

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CNN reports: A vaccine to prevent HIV infection, the virus that leads to AIDS, has shown modest results for the first time, researchers have found, raising hopes that a disease that kills millions every year may someday be beaten.

In what is being called the world's largest HIV vaccine trial ever -- involving more than 16,000 participants in Thailand -- researchers found that people who received a series of inoculations of a prime vaccine and booster vaccine were 31 percent less likely to get HIV, compared with those on a placebo.

"Before this study, it was thought vaccine for HIV is not possible," Colonel Jerome Kim, who is the HIV vaccines product manager for the U.S. Army, told CNN.

Kim emphasized that the level of effectiveness of the latest vaccine was modest, but given the failures of previous HIV vaccine trials, "yesterday we would have thought an HIV vaccine wasn't possible."

He called the results from the trial an important first step that will help re…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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André Ziehe as featured on Made in Brazil.

Mackenzie Phillips: I had sex with my father

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Extra reports: Former child star Mackenzie Phillips has publicly dealt with drug addiction, arrests and divorce, but the actress' memoir "High On Arrival" reveals she engaged in an incestuous relationship with her father, John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.

People reports in the book Phillips recalls the time she had sex with her father on the eve of her wedding to Jeff Sessler. She was 19 and already abusing drugs.

"My father showed up, determined to stop [the wedding,]" Phillips writes. "I had tons of pills, and Dad had tons of everything too. Eventually I passed out on Dad's bed."

"He was full of love, and he was sick with drugs. I woke up that night from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father," she explains.

"Had this happened before? I didn't know. All I can say is it was the first time I was aware of it. For a moment I was in my body, in that horrible truth, and then I slid back into a blackout," Ph…

Taylor Lautner in New Moon

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Study links 45,000 U.S. deaths to lack of insurance

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Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released last Thursday.

"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.

Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage.

The findings come amid a fierce debate over Democrats' efforts to reform the nation's $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry by expanding coverage and reducing healthcare costs.

President Barack Obama's has made the overhaul a top domestic policy priority, but his plan has been besieged by critics and slowed by intense political battles in …

The Funnies

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U.N. Climate Conference opens with call for unity

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The New York Times reports: Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations secretary-general, opened an unprecedented day-long conference of some 100 world leaders on climate change by appealing to them to set aside their national interests and think about the future of the globe.

“Instead of demanding concessions from others, let us ask how we can contribute to the greater good,” he said in prepared remarks to the leaders gathered in the General Assembly hall, describing the talks as moving at “glacial” speed. “The world’s glaciers are now melting faster than human progress to protect them—and us.”

Negotiators trying to hammer out a deal to cut global emissions by December in Copenhagen have largely stalled, and Mr. Ban is hoping that gathering the leaders will give the talks new political momentum. In his private meetings with each head of state, he has also urged them to think beyond their borders, aides said.

The conference today, which is not a negotiating session but designed to push toward a str…

French police bulldoze migrants’ ‘jungle’ camp

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MSNBC reports: French police cleared out then bulldozed a squalid, sprawling forest camp near the northern city of Calais today, detaining hundreds of illegal migrants who had hoped to slip across the English Channel into Britain.

French Immigration Minister Eric Besson, who visited the site known as "the jungle," called it a "base camp for human traffickers" and said he would return the rule of law to the northern French coast.

"The law of the jungle cannot last eternally," Besson said. "A state of law must be re-established in Calais."
The people who camped here — mainly migrants from Afghanistan — have strained relations between Britain and France and become a symbol of Europe's struggle with illegal migration.

A total of 278 people — nearly half of them minors — were detained in the first part of the operation, said Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, the top official for the Pas-de-Calais region.

"This operation is not targeting the migrants…

Edwards asked aide to claim paternity, sources say

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We hate covering this story because we are/were big fans of the Edwards'-- Elizabeth especially. But here's another twist on an old storyline.

Former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards talked a campaign aide into claiming he fathered a child born to Edwards' onetime mistress, sources familiar with the issue said Monday.
Edwards admitted to his affair with Rielle Hunter in August 2008 after months of denials, but said he could not have been the father of Hunter's daughter, who was born the previous February. Former Edwards staffer Andrew Young has said he was the girl's father -- but has recanted and says he made it because he believed in Edwards, lawyers and others familiar with the matter told CNN.

Young was married with children when he claimed to have fathered Hunter's child. He never signed any affidavits or legal papers, however, and reversed his claim after Edwards, as one of the sources put it, dropped Young "like a hot potato."

The news …

Netflix unveils $1 million prize winners

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Movie rental company Netflix confirmed the lucky winners of a $1 million prize, sought for more than three years in a contest to improve the site's movie recommendation and ratings engine.

The winning team, BellKor, a seven-member group of researchers, scientists, and engineers from around the world, won the prize by managing to improve Netflix's movie recommendation system by just over 10 percent.

In 2006, Netflix introduced a $1 million prize competition that required contestants to improve movie recommendations for subscribers who regularly rate movies they watched. Netflix says 51,051 contestants from 186 countries have tried to come up with a better recommendation system.

Two years into the contest, Netflix started doubting that anyone would come with a solution. But in the end, two teams actually managed to improve Netflix's predictions engine equally (10.06 percent). The runners-up, Ensemble, lost because they submitted their entry a few minutes later than the winning …

2009 Emmy Award Winners

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As you may have seen, the 2009 Emmy Awards took place last night. The broadcast was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and honored the best in American television.

Here is a list of 2009 Emmy winners:

- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Jon Cryer Two And A Half Men
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Kristin Chenoweth Pushing Daisies

- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series - Alec Baldwin 30 Rock
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series - Toni Collette United States Of Tara

- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Michael Emereson Lost
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Cherry Jones 24

- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series - Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series - Glenn Close Damages

- Outstanding Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie - Ken Howard Grey Gardens
- Outstanding Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie - Shohreh Aghdashloo House Of Saddam

- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-Series Or…

New, nastier python enters Everglades fray

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As if one giant python wasn't enough, a cluster of captures in a single square mile of West Miami-Dade has scientists worried about a new species spreading across South Florida.

And this constrictor makes the Burmese python that has already pushed deep into the Everglades seem almost cuddly. The snake is the African rock python, a relative similar in size, appearance and appetite but considered much more aggressive.

"They are just mean, vicious snakes,'' said Kenneth Krysko, senior herpetologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. "You couldn't get a worse python to become established. A Burmese python is just a docile snake. These things will lunge at you.''

Only six African pythons have been recovered in South Florida since 2002.

But a recent string of finds nearby -- all centered around the swampy southeast corner of Tamiami Trail and Krome Avenue -- strongly suggests the rock python has settled in, said Robert Reed, a biologist wi…

Disney Studios chairman resigns

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Walt Disney Studios Chairman Richard Cook announced Friday he was resigning his post, effective immediately.

"I have loved every minute of my 38 years that I have worked at Disney...from the beginning as a ride operator on Disneyland's steam train and monorail to my position as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios," Cook said in a statement.

He said his decision came after lengthy contemplation, and quoted baseball great Yogi Berra, "'If you come to a fork in the road, take it.' "

Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Co., said in a statement that Cook's work had "truly enriched this company and significantly impacted Disney's great legacy."

"We thank Dick for his tremendous passion for Disney, and his many accomplishments and contributions to The Walt Disney Studios, including a very promising upcoming film slate," Iger's statement said. "On behalf of everyone at Disney, we wish him the best with all the futu…

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

#1 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs ($30.1M)
#2 The Informant! ($10.5M)
#3 I Can Do Bad All by Myself ($10.1M)
#4 Love Happens ($8.46M)
#5 Jennifer's Body ($6.8M)

1.15 million Cubans flock to iconic plaza for 'peace concert'

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Hundreds of thousands of Cubans flocked to sprawling Revolution Plaza today for an open-air "peace concert" headlined by Colombian rocker Juanes, an event criticized by some Cuban-Americans who say the performers are lending support to the island's communist government simply by showing up.

Miguel Bose, one of the other singers in the mega-concert, announced the crowd size at 1.15 million. It was impossible to independently verify that number, but Juanes' visit to Cuba was clearly the biggest by an outsider since Pope John Paul II's 1998 tour.

Hundreds of public buses ferried young and old to the concert site, and the government laid on even more transportation, hoping for a large turnout.

Most concertgoers wore white - to symbolize peace - and some held up signs reading "Peace on Earth" and "We Love You Juanes."

Puerto Rican singer Olga Tanon opened the concert with a loud shout-out to the crowd, standing packed together under a broiling Havana s…

Retrospectives

RIP Patrick Swayze

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Patrick Swayze, the hunky actor who danced his way into viewers' hearts with Dirty Dancing and then broke them with Ghost, died today after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

"Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," said a statement released Monday evening by his publicist, Annett Wolf. No other details were given.

(Via AP)

Madonna & Janet Jackson pay Michael Jackson tribute at VMAs

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Danny as featured on Queerty.

Michael Jackson's This Is It Film poster

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Serena Williams fined, faces possible suspension for tirade

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Newsday reports: Serena Williams' tirade against a lineswoman who called her for a foot fault Saturday night in her semifinal match against Kim Clijsters may have gotten her into deep trouble beyond the penalty point assessed that cost her the match.

Early last evening the USTA announced that it had fined Williams the maximum $10,000 for a profane tirade. But that wasn't the end of it.

According to a news release, the USTA said: "The Grand Slam Rule Book also allows for an investigation to be conducted by the Grand Slam Committee Investigator if the behavior of Ms. Williams warrants consideration as a Major Offense for which additional penalties can be imposed. This investigation has now begun."

This opens the way for a possible suspension after the Open and a potential fine of $250,000 by the Grand Slam Committee.

The women's tour also issued a statement condemning Williams' actions.

"Serena Williams' conduct last night was inappropriate and unprofession…

The Funnies

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Charles Mingus'
"Flowers For a Lady"

Former WPLG anchor Charles Perez to move and marry

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Fired WPLG anchor Charles Perez writes an editorial for the Miami Herald:
I've decided to move out of the Sunshine State. It's a bit more chilly here than I had expected. Some may say good riddance, but I'm no longer willing to live in a place where I can't get married, can't adopt children and where there are no state laws to protect me from being fired because I'm gay.

And so my partner Keith and I have decided to sell the house, load up the dogs and head north, toward a decidedly warmer climate.

To those who visit here, Florida must seem somewhat schizophrenic. We sell ourselves as a great place to come and play, a multicultural paradise where you can be who you are, as long as you respect the rights and privileges or everyone else. Not so if you're gay and you decide to stay. You'll be greeted by a regressive system of laws more emblematic of a backwater state than one that now, because of its population, draws comparisons to California and New York.

La…

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

#1 I Can Do Bad All by Myself ($24M)
#2 9 ($10.9M)
#3 Inglourious Basterds ($6.55M)
#4 All About Steve ($5.8M)
#5 The Final Destination ($5.5M)

In Memoriam

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Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour

Ellen DeGeneres joins judges' table on American Idol

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CNN reports: Ellen DeGeneres will join the judges' panel on American Idol for the show's ninth season beginning in 2010, a Fox spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

"I'm thrilled to be the new judge on American Idol," DeGeneres said. "I've watched since the beginning, and I've always been a huge fan. So getting this job is a dream come true, and think of all the money I'll save from not having to text in my vote."

The popular comedian and entertainer will fill a seat left vacant by Paula Abdul, who announced she was leaving the show in August after eight seasons.

DeGeneres will sit alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi after auditions are completed for the popular talent show, which starts in January. Until then, guest judges including Mary J. Blige, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Jonas and Neil Patrick Harris will fill the empty slot, Fox said.

"We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres join the American Idol judges' table this sea…

Oprah on Whitney Houston, new season, show's future

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Oprah Winfrey gave Good Morning America a sneak peek of her show's upcoming 24th season and said she hasn't decided if it will be her last.

"I have to make that decision by the end of this year," she said of whether she would continue the show. "I am literally in thoughtful prayer and consideration to continue to go ahead. You'll be hearing about it before the end of the year."

The season premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday, Sept. 14 features a much-anticipated sit-down with Whitney Houston.

"I will tell you that in my preparation for my interview I watched the interview you had done seven years ago," Winfrey told Good Morning America co-anchor Diane Sawyer, who interviewed Houston in 2002. "Because I watched that interview I got up the next morning and prayed. What I realized is… she was not ready to talk. She was not forthcoming, she was still in denial."

(Via ABC News)

President Obama's speech on health care reform

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

HIV-AIDS rate is increasing across Florida

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The Miami Herald reports: HIV/AIDS among Florida's men has reached critical levels, according to a new state report, and the highest rate in any racial/ethnic groups was in Miami-Dade County.

Overall, one in every 123 adult men in Florida was living with HIV/AIDS through 2008, said the report called Man Up: The Crisis of HIV/AIDS Among Florida's Men, by the Florida Department of Health. Overall, 90,000 Floridians age 13 years and over were living with HIV/AIDS. And 72 percent of them were men.

Overall, African-American men are still hardest hit by HIV/AIDS in terms of the overall infection rate. Statewide, one in 43 African-American men was living with HIV/AIDS compared with one in 117 Hispanic men and one in 209 non-Hispanic men.

However, the proportion of African Americans among newly infected men declined dramatically between 1999 and 2008.

In 2008, persons living with HIV/AIDS included:

• In Miami-Dade, one in 60 non-Hispanic white men, one in 82 Hispanic men and one in 29 Afri…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Nathan Lessnick as featured on DNA.