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Showing posts from July, 2010

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Maxwell Zagorskias featured on JBM.

Counting Crows
"Colorblind"

Arizona immigration protesters hit the streets

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More than a dozen people protesting Arizona's hard-line stance against illegal immigrants were arrested today, demonstrating that a ruling by a federal judge blocking most of the state's controversial new immigration law will not quell the furious debate over the issue here.

Despite yesterday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton who emporarily put key parts of the law on hold, hundreds of demonstrators fanned out in Phoenix, arguing the state remains inhospitable to immigrants.

"It's not over yet," said Vanessa Bustos, 24, who chained herself to five other activists, blocking the door to the Maricopa County Jail. "There are other bills being enacted against the Latino community."

As if to highlight that point, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is launching his 17th "sweep," in which his deputies and volunteers fan out in immigrant neighborhoods, stop people for sometimes minor violations and then check their immigration status.

Arpaio…

Gay adult star on being gay-for-pay

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Pro escort and on-again-off-again RandyBlue.com performer Malachi Marx on his gay-for-pay career that had him earning $25,000 a month (and hating himself):

"There were times where I asked myself, am I gay? Is this just something that I’m using as an excuse? And I spent a lot of time exploring that in my mind … I appreciate guys, I appreciate male camaraderie. I know what to appreciate out of males but I have no desire to have sex with them for pleasure. I’ve never done anything gay if I haven’t been paid for it. I put on a game face, a facade, a character, and I make money. … It’s great money and a fast lifestyle if your mind and body can handle it. But I’ll be so glad to get out of it." (Via Queerty)

'Mother of Miami' statue unveiled

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The Miami Herald reports: It's only fitting that the statue honoring the Mother of Miami would stand adjacent to a children's playground, overlooking the world-renowned seaport she envisioned when South Florida was nothing more than a vast swampland with a few patches of orange groves.

The 10-foot-tall bronze likeness of Julia Tuttle was unveiled yesterday at the southern end of Bayfront Park, on the 114th birthday of the city she created.

Tuttle stands proudly, head held high, eyes gazing upward with a look of satisfaction as her right arm clutches a basket of oranges and her left extends a handful of orange blossoms.

"She is at the very moment of ensuring the foundation of the city by offering Henry Flagler proof that orange blossoms grow here and were not destroyed in the freezes,'' said sculptor Rob Firmin. "She is looking to the future.''

It is said that Tuttle's orange blossom gift secured Henry Flagler's commitment to extend his railroad to…

Guapo magazine celebrates the summer season

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Guapo magazine gives us models River Viiperi, Ryan Mertz, Roger Frampton, and Erik Johansson (styled by Steve Morriss) for the summer.

(More at Homotography)

Hawaii lawsuit seeks equal rights for gay couples

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The AP reports: Six gay couples in Hawaii are filing a lawsuit today asking for the same rights as married couples, three weeks after Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a same-sex civil unions measure.

The lawsuit doesn't seek the titles of "marriage" or "civil unions" for gay partners. Instead, it requests that the court system extend them the benefits and responsibilities of marriage based on the Hawaii Constitution's prohibition against sex discrimination.

"We continue to be discriminated against," said plaintiff Suzanne King, who has been in a relationship with her partner for 29 years. "We're a family unit, and we live our lives just like everyone else, but we aren't treated the same."

The legal action in state court comes as a response to the Republican governor's veto July 6, when she said voters should decide whether to reserve marriage for couples of a man and a woman.

Hawaii passed the nation's first "defense of marriage…

Old Spice Guy lands role in Aniston movie

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Isaiah Mustafa smells like a man — and soon, Jennifer Aniston will be getting a big whiff of the budding star.

Mustafa — aka TV's Old Spice Guy — has been tapped to join the cast of the film Horrible Bosses, starring Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Jason Sudeikis and Jason Bateman, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"It's a smaller role, but who wouldn't want to be in one of these funny, irreverent comedies? The cast is great," Mustafa told the trade. "I'm playing a cop because I play these authoritative characters well. I don't know exactly who I'm in the scene with — maybe Jennifer Aniston!"

The film, slated for release in July 2011, follows three friends who decide to murder their overbearing bosses with disastrous results. (Via Access Hollywood)

Ruling against Arizona is a warning for other states

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The New York Times reports: A federal judge in Arizona on Wednesday broadly vindicated the Obama administration’s high-stakes move to challenge that state’s tough immigration law and to assert the primary authority of the federal government over state lawmakers in immigration matters.

The ruling by Judge Susan R. Bolton, in a lawsuit against Arizona brought on July 6 by the Justice Department, blocked central provisions of the law from taking effect while she finishes hearing the case.

But in taking the forceful step of holding up a statute even before it was put into practice, Judge Bolton previewed her opinions on the case, indicating that the federal government was likely to win in the end on the main points.

The decision by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to throw the federal government’s weight against Arizona, on an issue that has aroused passions among state residents, has irritated many state governors, and nine states filed papers supporting Arizona in the court case.

But Jud…

Ocean oil slick cleaned up, China says

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Chinese officials said Monday that an oil slick in coastal waters has been cleaned up 10 days after a massive explosion sent an estimated 1,500 tons of crude into the Yellow Sea along the northeastern port city of Dalian.

But beaches along Dalian's long shoreline remain closed indefinitely, with oil covering rocks and pebbles on the sand, and fishing has been banned until the end of the summer. Environmentalists say nearby bays are also polluted.

Thousands of fishermen and residents are credited with cleaning up the spill, which occurred after a pipeline explosion July 16. The cleanup consisted of spraying oil-dispersant chemicals, planting oil-consuming bacteria and scooping up the thickest part of the oil spill into plastic barrels.

There were no casualties in the explosion and ensuing fire, but one firefighter drowned after being swept from a boat by a wave.

Environmentalists say that although the majority of the oil has been removed, damage remains extensive.

Han Xu, a member of Gr…

Floodwaters push explosive chemicals into river

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CNN reports: Rising waters from flooding in northeastern China hit a chemical plant and washed thousands of containers filled with explosive chemicals into a river, state media said Thursday.

The floods in Jilin province have so far killed 13 people and affected 150,000 others, the Xinhua news agency said.

On Wednesday, the rising water hit the chemical plant and 7,000 containers washed into the Songhua River -- 3,000 of which were filled with explosive chemicals, Xinhua said.

Emergency teams were mobilized to recover the spilled fluid. Authorities have so far recovered 400 containers.

A government spokesman said that emergency teams tested the water and have determined it to be chemical-free, Xinhua said.

Details of 100 million Facebook users published online

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The personal details of 100 million Facebook users have been collected and published online in a downloadable file, meaning they will now be unable to make their publicly available information private.

However, Facebook downplayed the issue, saying that no private data had been compromised.

The information was posted by Ron Bowes, an online security consultant, on the Internet site Pirate Bay.

Bowes used code to scan the 500 million Facebook profiles for information not hidden by privacy settings. The resulting file, which allows people to perform searches of various different types, has been downloaded by more than 2,400 people.

This means that if any of those on the list decide to change their privacy settings on Facebook, Bowes and those who have the file will still be able to access information that was public when it was compiled.

Bowes’ actions also mean people who had set their privacy settings so their names did not appear in Facebook’s search system can now be found if they were f…

Inception star Tom Hardy: 'Of course' I've had sex with men

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Inception star Tom Hardy tells the Daily Mail that he's had sexual relations with men:

"The 32-year-old Inception star, who is engaged to British actress Charlotte Riley, 28, and also has a two-year-old son with a former girlfriend. But asked if he'd ever had any sexual relations with other men, the broody actor said: 'As a boy? Of course I have. I'm an actor for ****'s sake. 'I've played with everything and everyone. I love the form and the physicality, but now that I'm in my thirties, it doesn't do it for me. I'm done experimenting but there's plenty of stuff in a relationship with another man, especially gay men, that I need in my life. A lot of gay men get my thing for shoes. I have definite feminine qualities and a lot of gay men are incredibly masculine.'" (Via Towleroad)

Hugo Chavez exhumes Simon Bolivar's bones

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Reuters reports: Venezuela exhumed the remains of 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar on Friday and will test them to see if he was poisoned by enemies in Colombia.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rejects the traditional account that Bolivar, a brilliant Venezuelan military tactician who freed much of South America from centuries of Spanish rule, died of tuberculosis in Colombia in 1830.

He insists Bolivar was murdered by a Colombian rival named Francisco de Paula Santander, and Venezuela's newly inaugurated state forensics laboratory is taking as its first case the death of the hero some call Latin America's George Washington.

Some analysts have warned that revisiting the case could put more pressure on strained ties between the neighbors.

"What amazing moments we have lived tonight! We have seen the remains of the Great Bolivar," Chavez wrote on his Twitter account, @chavezcandanga, after the casket was opened before dawn.

In footage broadcast on state TV, a m…

Donovan
"Sunshine Superman"

Study: Same-sex relationships increase self-esteem, decrease homophobia in teens

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Involvement in a same-sex relationship boosted self-esteem in teen males and lowered internalized homophobia in teen females who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, a new University of Michigan study shows.

Surprisingly for the same teens, having an opposite-sex relationship had no affect on self-esteem, depression or anxiety.

Dating in adolescence is critical to developing sexual and social identities, says Jose Bauermeister, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. It's even more salient for gay, lesbian and bisexual youth because there is such a stigma attached to their sexual orientation.

Studies have shown that these teens may suffer more psychological distress, victimization, physical threats and violence than heterosexual youth. Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens who conceal their sexuality, often have a lower self-image or internalized sense of homophobia—which can lead to depression and anxiety.

Bauermeister's research group set out to d…

New gov't rules allow for jailbreaking iPhones

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The AP reports: Owners of the iPhone will be able to legally unlock their devices so they can run software applications that haven't been approved by Apple Inc., according to new government rules announced Monday.

The decision to allow the practice commonly known as "jailbreaking" is one of a handful of new exemptions from a 1998 federal law that prohibits people from bypassing technical measures that companies put on their products to prevent unauthorized use of copyright-protected material. The Library of Congress, which oversees the Copyright Office, reviews and authorizes exemptions every three years to ensure that the law does not prevent certain non-infringing uses of copyright-protected works.

For iPhone jailbreakers, the new rules effectively legitimize a practice that has been operating in a legal gray area by exempting it from liability. Apple claims that jailbreaking is an unauthorized modification of its software.

Mario Ciabarra, founder of Rock Your Phone, whic…

Aretha Franklin & Condoleezza Rice make music for charity

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Ryan Bertroche as featured on Nous Models.

Miami celebrates its 114 birthday

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The City of Miami is celebrating its 114th birthday today and what's a birthday without a birthday bash! The City of Miami will celebrate by giving back to the community by unveiling a statue of Julia Tuttle, "Mother of Miami."

Julia Tuttle is being recognized as a visionary and the only woman to found a major city in the United States. She made outstanding achievements in spite of the limitations placed on women in 1896.

The 10-foot bronze statue will be unveiled at 9:30 a.m. in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. The event is free and open to the public.

The celebration continues in the evening, with the City of Miami's Birthday Celebration at 6:00 p.m. at the American Airlines Arena. The event will capture all the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Magic City with live musical performances including Miami's own Jon Secada singing "Happy Birthday" and tastings from local restaurants, complimentary cocktails and much more.

Tickets are $25 per person with all p…

Spain's Catalonia bans bullfighting

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Lawmakers in Catalonia outlawed bullfighting today, becoming Spain's first mainland region to ban the sport after a heated debate pitting animal rights against the preservation a pillar of traditional culture.

Cheers broke out in the local 135-seat legislature after the speaker announced the ban had passed 68-to-55 with nine abstentions. The ban in the northeastern coastal region including Barcelona will take effect in 2012.

The practical effect of the ban will be limited: Catalonia has only one functioning bullring, in Barcelona, while another disused one is being turned into a shopping mall. The Barcelona ring stages 15 fights a year, which are rarely sold out, out of a nationwide total of roughly 1,000 bouts per season.

Still, bullfighting buffs and Spanish conservatives have taken the drama very seriously, seeing a stinging anti-Spanish rebuke in the grassroots, anti-bullfighting drive that started last year.

"There are some traditions that can't remain frozen in time as …

San Francisco to ban sales of pets?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rome's subculture of gay priests rocks the Vatican

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Newsweeks reports: For residents of Rome, the sight of courting priests is hardly an anomaly. The phenomenon is a well-known secret here, and one that was largely ignored until last weekend, when the Italian weekly magazine Panorama published a shocking exposé called “Le Notti Brave Dei Preti Gay,” or “Good Nights Out for Gay Priests.”

Investigative journalist Carmelo Abbate spent 20 days undercover posing as the boyfriend of a man who ran in gay clerical circles, secretly videotaping the sexual escapades of three Rome-based priests. Abbate caught the priests on hidden camera dirty dancing at private parties and engaging in sex acts with male escorts on church property.

He also caught them emerging from dark bedrooms in time to celebrate mass. In one postcoital scene, “Father Carlo” parades around seminaked, wearing only his clerical vestments. Abbate’s “date” even had sex with one of the priests to corroborate the story.

“This is not about homosexuality,” Abbate, who is not gay, told Ne…

Gen Y: No jobs, lots of loans, grim future

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MSNBC brings us this sobering report:
They are perhaps the best-educated generation ever, but they can’t find jobs. Many face staggering college loans and have moved back in with their parents. Even worse, their difficulty in getting careers launched could set them back financially for years.

The Millennials, broadly defined as those born in the 1980s and '90s, are the first generation of American workers since World War II who have cloudier prospects than the generations that preceded them.

Certainly the recession has hurt young workers badly. While the overall unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in June, it was 15.3 percent for those aged 20 to 24, compared with 7.8 percent for ages 35-44, 7.5 percent for ages 45-54 and 6.9 percent for those 55 and older.

Among 18-to 29-year-olds, unemployment is the highest it’s been in more than three decades, according to a recent report from Pew Research Center. The report also found that Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are less likely to…

Gulf oil slick appears to vanish quickly

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The New York Times reports: The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone, though there continue to be sightings of tar balls and emulsified oil here and there.

Reporters flying over the area Sunday spotted only a few patches of sheen and an occasional streak of thicker oil, and radar images taken since then suggest that these few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf.

The dissolution of the slick should reduce the risk of oil killing more animals or hitting shorelines. But it does not end the many problems and scientific uncertainties associated with the spill, and federal leaders emphasized this week tha…

Gulf oil spill: day 100

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The US government kept up pressure on BP today; 100 days after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill began, despite the ouster of the energy giant's chief executive, who has been replaced with an American.

The White House showed little sympathy for Tony Hayward, whose departure was announced as BP revealed a record loss. US investigators have meanwhile started a criminal probe into whether close ties between BP and federal regulators contributed to April 20 disaster, the Washington Post reported.

But while a cap on the damaged well appears to be holding and collection efforts have drastically reduced the amount of oil visible in the ocean, officials say the scope of the disaster is still unknown.

"When you put somewhere between three million and 5.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico I don't think anybody can understate the impact and the gravity of that situation," Thad Allen, the retired admiral in charge of the government spill response, said yesterday.

US experts …

Idol crasher Ian Benardo files anti-gay discrimination claim against the show

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A former American Idol rejectee who crashed a performance saying goodbye to Simon Cowell in last season's finale is now claiming the show discriminated against him.

Ian Benardo, who auditioned for Idol in 2007 -- you may (or may not) remember his version of Laura Branigan's "Gloria" -- has filed a complaint for workplace discrimination with New York's Division of Human Rights.

In a fax sent to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Benardo claims he was asked to appear on the Idol finale along with a few other memorable bootees as part of comedian Dane Cook's farewell to Cowell. He then grabbed the microphone from Cook, proclaiming a "Kanye moment" and rambling for a few seconds about how he was replacing Cowell before the show cut to commercial. (His audition video and effort on the finale are here.)

In the complaint, Benardo says the Idol powers that be "exploited my non-conforming appearance and sexual orientation. They did this by directing me to &…

Nervous Breakdown musical gets its cast

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ArtsBeat reports: The cast of the musical adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown will include a few well-known Broadway stalwarts – and will not include at least one well-known newcomer who had been previously connected to the project.

Yesterday, Lincoln Center Theater said that Patti LuPone(!), Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sherie Rene Scott, de’Adre Aziza, Danny Burstein, Mary Beth Peil and Nikka Graff Lanzarone will be featured in the musical, which is adapted from Mr. Almodóvar’s absurdist 1988 film about the intertwining love lives of a group of men and women. Not on that roster, however, was Jessica Biel who was thought to be headed for a starring role, according to reports in the spring.

Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, Light in the Piazza), who is directing Women on the Verge for Lincoln Center Theater, said at that time that he could not confirm any casting decisions. A representative for the theater company said that Ms. Biel would not be in the cast, …

Pick Me Up of the Day

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John Dougherty as featured on DNA.

U.S. can't account for $8.7 billion in Iraqi cash

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The AP reports: The U.S. Defense Department is unable to properly account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil money tapped by the U.S. for rebuilding the war ravaged nation, according to an audit released today.

The report by the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction offers a compelling look at continued laxness in how such funds are being spent in a country where people complain basic services like electricity and clean water are sharply lacking seven years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The audit found that shoddy record keeping by the Defense Department left the Pentagon unable to fully account for $8.7 billion it withdrew between 2004 and 2007 from a special fund set up by the U.N. Security Council. Of that amount, Pentagon "could not provide documentation to substantiate how it spent $2.6 billion."

The funds are separate from the $53 billion allocated by Congress for rebuilding Iraq.

The report comes at a critical time for …

Oil spewing from well near Louisiana marsh

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NBC News reports: Adding insult to the Gulf's injury, a wellhead hit by a tug boat is now spewing oil near a Louisiana marsh area, officials said today.

The oil is shooting up 20 feet into the air, the office of Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said.

The well is in inland waterways on the border of Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes, about 65 miles south of New Orleans, and in a marsh area not accessible by road.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts was quoted as saying by WWL-TV in New Orleans that "there is a pretty good amount of oil flowing there." He did not have a more specific estimate.

Jefferson Parish officials said emergency crews were at the site assessing how to deal with the spill.

They added that the tug boat hit the well before dawn. The tug boat captain immediately notified officials, and another boat later called in the leak.

Officials fear the well is also leaking natural gas since boats reported seeing a gas cloud and oil on the water near t…

The Funnies

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Christina Aguilera
"You Lost Me"

Who's still buying CDs?

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CNN reports:
As the music industry as a whole struggles in a down economy and direct download business models like iTunes flourish, the compact disc -- which was commercially introduced in 1982 -- has the appearance of going the way of vinyl.

Contrary to the recent declaration of singer Prince -- who said that the Internet is dead and released his latest CD for free via European newspapers -- there's some evidence that consumers aren't as enamored with ripping the cellophane off that new CD as they once were.

According to data from Nielsen SoundScan, in 2007 CDs accounted for 90 percent of album sales in the United States, with digital accounting for the other 10 percent. Just two years later, that number had shifted to 79 percent CDs and 20 percent digital, with the remaining percentage point being made up of vinyl and other media.

Billboard senior chart manager and analyst Keith Caulfield says that so far this year, about 44 million digital albums have been sold, compared with 4…

Discouraged, progressives look beyond Obama

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Photo caption: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told left-of-center activists Saturday in Las Vegas that "I share your impatience" about Congress not voting on a bill to protect gay workers from job discrimination.

MSNBC brings us this dose of political reality:
Progressives helped elect President Barack Obama, but some of those who gathered in Las Vegas for the annual Netroots Nation convention over the weekend were less than thrilled with his performance so far.

The list of letdowns for progressives includes the failure to secure a public option in the health care reform law and an Obama executive order barring use of funds under the law to pay for abortions.

Abroad, there's Obama's escalation of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and the continued operation of the prison at Guantanamo as well as what some have called "Obama’s Guantanamo" — the detention center at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Adding to their discontent, progressives see no progress on p…

BP swings to massive $17.2 billion loss, picks new CEO

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CNN Money reports: BP posted a massive quarterly loss of $17.2 billion today due to costs stemming from the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

BP said it took a pretax charge of $32.2 billion in the quarter related to the oil spill, the worst in U.S. history. That charge includes the $20 billion fund the company agreed to set up in June to cover damages related to the spill.

The second-quarter results were the first look at company's financials since the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 people.

They were a far cry from the year-ago period, when BP posted a net profit of $4.4 billion for the three months ending in June.

In a bid to make a fresh start and turnaround its reputation, the company announced a long-awaited change in leadership today, replacing CEO Tony Hayward with Robert Dudley, the American who has been overseeing the day-to-day Gulf spill response since June.

"I do not underestimate the nature of the task ahead," Dudley said. But he …

Alannah Myles
"Black Velvet"

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Oil giants form joint oil-spill-fighting venture without BP

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Market Watch reports: Four of the big five Western oil majors have formed a $1 billion nonprofit joint venture aimed at combating future oil spills, possibly to head off stricter offshore-drilling rules.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips plan to build a rapid-response system to help contain future blown-out oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

The four companies will form the nonprofit Marine Well Containment Co., setting aside $1 billion to develop a system that mobilizes within 24 hours of a blown oil well in water up to 10,000 feet deep to capture up to 100,000 barrels a day.

Absent from the effort is BP, the operator of the Macondo well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which caused the biggest oil leak in U.S. history and prompted a drilling moratorium from the federal government, after it blew up on April 20.

Analysts at Houston energy research firm Tudor Pickering Holt said the launch of Marine Well Containment shows that the industry "…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Nick Ayler as featured on Queerty.

Lutherans offer warm welcome to gay pastors

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The New York Times reports:
With a laying on of hands, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Sunday welcomed into its fold seven openly gay pastors who had until recently been barred from the church’s ministry.

The ceremony at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco was the first of several planned since the denomination took a watershed vote at its convention last year to allow noncelibate gay ministers in committed relationships to serve the church.

“Today the church is speaking with a clear voice,” the Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, one of the seven gay pastors participating in the ceremony, said at a news conference just before it began. “All people are welcome here, all people are invited to help lead this church, and all people are loved unconditionally by God.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, known as the E.L.C.A., with 4.6 million members, is now the largest Protestant church in the United States to permit noncelibate gay ministers to serve in the ranks of its clerg…

An iPhone app has TKTS information, but not its endorsement

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ArtsBeat reports: A new iPhone application being sold by an independent theatrical producer that promises up-to-the-minute information on discounted Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets sold at the TKTS booth in Times Square has been met with skepticism by the Theater Development Fund, which runs the TKTS discount program and which raised questions about the accuracy of the application.

This week Ken Davenport, the president of Davenport Theatrical Enterprises and a producer of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions like Oleanna and Altar Boyz, introduced an iPhone app called At the Booth. The program, which is sold for 99 cents at the iTunes store, says on its Web site that it “lists all the Broadway and Off-Broadway shows available at the TKTS booth every day and at what price.”

In a telephone interview Mr. Davenport said his goal in selling the app was to get more theatergoers to take advantage of the TKTS booth, “to drive more people there and make it a better experience for the consume…

Avengers film cast announced at ComicCon

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HitFix reports: Ending a momentous and event filled day at San Diego's Comic-Con 2010 Saturday, both Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey, Jr. introduced the entire star-studded cast of Marvel Studios 2012 release The Avengers.

Calling the picture more ambitious than Inception, Downey Jr. made news by announcing the long rumored additions of recent Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, aka the bow-welding Hawkeye, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, better known for his monstrous alter-ego The Incredible Hulk.

The duo join Downey, Jr., who became a worldwide superstar after the success of the first Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Evans as Captain America and newcomer Chris Hemsworth as Thor.

The panel also featured the official announcement of comic book fan favorite Joss Whedon as the film's director.

The ensemble action epic will be released on May 4, 2012 and is expected to begin shooting sometime in the spring of 2011.…

Sarah Ferguson may land show on Oprah's network

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Today reports: Cash-strapped Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson might have found a new way to generate some income: by hosting a show of her own on Oprah Winfrey’s fledgling cable network, OWN.

Ferguson reportedly has an offer from the network on the table, one that came from Winfrey herself.

“Oprah made the call this week … the offer is a ray of light at the end of a very dark tunnel,” reported Britain’s Daily Mail on Sunday.

Publicists for OWN and for Winfrey did not respond to requests for comment, but a source close to the network said that the deal did not sound like it was out of the realm of possibility.

“She needs cash, and OWN needs content,” said the source.

Another source said that OWN wouldn’t be the first place Fergie tried to land a show. “She’s been pitching to networks for some time,” said the source.

Last May, Ferguson appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to make a public apology after she was caught on videotape selling access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew.

U.S. official: BP’s Hayward will be replaced

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The AP reports: Gaffe-prone BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward — who incensed many on the Gulf Coast by saying he wanted his life back as they struggled with the fallout from the company's massive oil spill — will be replaced, a senior U.S. government official said yesterday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not been made, was briefed on the decision by a senior BP official late last week.

The government official did not know who will replace Hayward or when it will happen. One of the most likely successors is BP Managing Director Bob Dudley, who is currently overseeing the British company's spill response.

Earlier Sunday, BP spokesman Toby Odone seemed to downplay media speculation about Hayward's departure, saying he "remains BP's chief executive, and he has the confidence of the board and senior management."

BP's board would have to approve a change in company leadership. An official announcement could come as earl…

BP resumes work on relief well

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MSNBC reports: Ships were getting back in place yesterday at the Gulf of Mexico site of BP's leaky oil well as crews restarted work on plugging the gusher before another big storm stops work again.

Piping for the main relief well being drilled was being reinstalled and should be ready by late afternoon, National Incident Commander Thad Allen told reporters Sunday. Drilling will resume once the piping is latched onto the well, and that should be around midnight, he added.

The piping had been pulled up from the sea floor as a precaution due to Tropical Storm Bonnie.

Allen added that "no anomalies" were seen around the stack that is containing the busted well and that pressure was still building, a sign that the well casing is holding and not leaking the oil somewhere else.

Once the last bit of pipe, or casing, is cemented in place near the bottom of the relief well this week, BP will begin a "static kill" the first week of August, Allen said.

"Generally the next …

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

#1 Inception ($43.5M)
#2 Salt ($36.5M)
#3 Despicable Me ($24.1M)
#4 The Sorcerer's Apprentice ($9.69M)
#5 Toy Story 3 ($9.03M)

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Michael Stecki as featured on Major Models.

Hundreds of penguins wash up on Brazilian coast

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Biologists suspect that unusually cold waters off the coast of Brazil were responsible for the deaths of more than 550 penguins that washed up on shore in the past 10 days.

Since July 11, about 556 dead penguins have appeared on beaches, Thiago do Nascimento, a biologist at the Peruibe Aquarium, told CNN.

At the beach of Praia Grande alone, on the Sao Paulo coast, more than 170 penguins have washed up on shore since Friday, according to the local government.

It is not unusual for penguins to show up on the Brazilian coast during their migration, but most of the time, they are alive, said another biologist, Isabelle Nunes.

Necropsies performed on many of the penguins show that they had no food in their stomachs and probably starved to death, Nascimento said, adding that cold weather probably contributed to their deaths.

Nunes said it is possible that the cold waters, brought on by a regional cold front, made the fish that the penguins eat seek other waters. More tests are being conducted, N…

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Degrassi introduces transgender character in new season

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Degrassi returns for a 10th season tonight with its first transgender character. A new student named Adam hides the fact he was born a girl.

Producer, director and actor Stefan Brogren says it's new territory for the show and that the writers approach the topic carefully.

Adam is played by former Life With Derek actress Jordan Todosey.

The 15-year-old describes Adam as a down-to-earth kid and says she hopes viewers will connect with the character.

Other new students include the eccentric Eli who hides a dark past, Adam's homophobic step-brother Drew and the tough Bianca.

Season 10 of Degrassi kicks off Monday on MuchMusic with episodes running Monday through Thursday until it returns to a weekly schedule in September.

(Via CTV)