What’s Brewing: Ugandan gay activist murdered; Ark. store unshields magazine; Ted Haggard

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A prominent opponent of Uganda’s “kill gays” legislation has been beaten to death at his home in the African country, according to Human Rights Watch. Gay activist David Kato’s murder comes a little more than three months after he was outed on the cover of a tabloid magazine that called for him and others to be hanged (above). Then again, violent rhetoric shouldn’t be blamed for murder, right? So this item is probably just another example of “blood libel.”

2. Speaking of magazine covers, Harps Food Stores issued a statement Wednesday saying it has removed a shield that was placed over a magazine cover depicting (gasp!) gay parents at one of its stores in Arkansas. The company says it removed the shield from a US Weekly cover featuring Elton John and his family in response to complaints received at its corporate office. Watch Anderson Cooper discuss the controversy with Dr. Phil below.

3. Disgraced televangelist Ted Haggard says he’s “bisexual” in a new GQ interview but claims he only used the meth he bought from escort Mike Jones for masturbation. C’mon, does Haggard really think he can get into Heaven with that lame excuse?

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Sarah Palin; Ron Natinsky; high court rejects challenge to D.C. gay marriage law

1. Sarah Palin is, not surprisingly, totally unapologetic (video above). In her first interview since the Tucson shooting (if you call an appearance on Fox News an interview), Palin says she’s been falsely accused of being an accessory to murder (her words, not ours). But Palin says she’s not going to let that lie live. No sir, she’s not going to sit down or shut up. In fact, the only reason the map with the rifle crosshairs was removed from her PAC’s website after the shooting is that some graphic artist decided on his own to take it down. But Palin’s not really even sure whether it’s been taken down or not. Besides, everyone uses those maps, just like everyone knows what “blood libel” means, you stupid media people. You probably think she should just say the two words that any decent human being would say after a tragedy like this — “I’m sorry.” Silly you.

2. District 12 Dallas City Councilman Ron Natinsky confirmed that he plans to run for mayor. Although he represents a conservative district in far North Dallas, Natinsky has been fairly supportive of the LGBT community, and he’s been endorsed in the past by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

3. BREAKING: The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a group seeking to overturn same-sex marriage in Washington, D.C.

—  John Wright

The Nooner: Leppert unlikely to run; 1st gay museum opens; R.I. marriage fight heats up

Mayor Tom Leppert appears in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in 2007.

Your lunchtime quickie from Instant Tea:

• It’s “all but certain” that Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert won’t seek re-election, according to The Dallas Morning News, and Councilwoman Angela Hunt says she’s considering a run.

• Westboro Baptist Church says it has decided not to picket 9-year-old Tucson shooting victim’s funeral after all, but it will picket that of federal judge killed in attack.

• First LGBT history museum opens in San Francisco.

• Marriage fight heats up in Rhode Island.

• Jewish groups condemn Sarah Palin‘s use of “blood libel.”

—  John Wright

Once again, Sarah Palin digs hole deeper

Sarah Palin decided to answer what she called “irresponsible statements” that placed some of the blame for the Arizona shootings on politicians like her who put political opponents in the crosshairs of a rifle site.

Sarah Palin

“Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel,” she said.

Was she purposely using anti-Semitic imagery in the shooting of a Jewish congresswoman in her own self-defense?

Blood libel was a story manufactured to justify killing Jews. It refers to the story that Jews kill Christian babies to use their blood for the Passover seder.

The name “Passover” comes from the Biblical story that when the Jews were slaves in Egypt, God sent plagues to convince Pharaoh to “Let my people go.”

One of the 10 plagues was the death of the first-born. Jews marked their doorposts with lamb’s blood to indicate that they were not Egyptian, and the angel of death passed over Jewish homes, sparing their first-born.

The blood libel used since the Middle Ages said that Jews tortured and killed Christian babies to use their blood in baking matzo, the unleavened bread eaten during the weeklong holiday. It probably originated in the 12th century during the first Crusade.

The blood libel was used to justify the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290, the expulsion of the Jews from Germany in 1348, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 (also known as the Inquisition), pogroms in Russia and all sorts of anti-Semitic violence up through the Nazi extermination of 6 million Jews in concentration camps.

For Palin to use the term in her own defense is a new low for the former Alaska governor.

At best, use of the term was just a refudiation — an inappropriate and incorrect use of a term that she had no idea would be so offensive.

But I don’t give her a pass. This is a woman who could have been vice president of the United States. She crossed a line between simply offending opponents while defending herself — and blatant anti-Semitism.

In calling this a blood libel, was Palin saying that she is justified in putting the congresswoman in the crosshairs because Gabrielle Giffords kills Christian babies? Sound ridiculous? That’s what the blood libel implies.

Go here to watch the full seven-minute Palin diatribe.

—  David Taffet

What’s Brewing: Sarah Palin, Westboro Baptist Church, The Advocate’s gayest cities

1. Sarah Palin released a video statement (above) this morning in response to the Tucson shooting, saying her decision to put rifle crosshairs on a map over Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ district had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the incident at all. How could it have, right? But why so defensive then? And what better way for Palin to address a shooting that targeted Giffords, who’s Jewish, than by using an anti-semitic metaphor? Palin says those who link the tragedy to her violent rhetoric are committing “blood libel” — which refers to an accusation from the Middle Ages that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzoh for Passover. Palin is right, this incident was more about mental illness than rhetoric — until you consider the fact that the ones spewing the rhetoric are mentally ill. (Politico)

2. The governor of Arizona signed emergency legislation to prohibit Westboro Baptist Church from picketing within 300 feet of the funeral for a 9-year-old girl who was killed in the Tucson shooting. The legislation was initiated by openly gay State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Tucson, who said this: “I’m a strong advocate of the First Amendment and the bottom line is this, Fred Phelps and his group of people can still spew their hate if they want. They just don’t get to do it close to the families that are grieving. They have to be farther away.” (ABC 15)

3. The Advocate lists Minneapolis as the gayest city in America, and Texas is shut out of the top 15. Have we mentioned that The Advocate sucks?

—  John Wright