Michelle Obama joins “Top Chef” alums in Dallas

For the second year in a row, First Lady Michelle Obama takes her “Let’s Move” initiative to the streets, and this time, it’s coming to Texas — along with some Top Chefs.

Top Chef: Texas is currently running on Bravo, which helps explains Big D for the location of the national tour stopping here on Friday. The aim of the program is to teach kids how to make healthy food choices.

Among the celebrichefs in attendance at DISD schools this Friday will be Tom Colicchio, all-stars winner Richard Blais, dreamboat Fabio Viviani and Jen Carroll.

Dallas ISD is actually a leader in healthy food options for its students, boasting the most “gold” schools of any district in the nation for the Healthier US School Challenge program.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Md. guv responds to wife’s remark on gay marriage

Gov. Martin O'Malley

First lady called opponents of equality ‘cowards’

BRIAN WITTE  |  Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Gov. Martin O’Malley sought to smooth over any raw feelings in Annapolis after his wife referred to opponents of gay marriage as “cowards,” saying Sunday that words of compassion, understanding and justice are needed in the debate.

O’Malley, a Democrat who has made same-sex marriage legislation a priority this year, closed out his remarks at the 24th National Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality by underscoring the need for using compassionate rhetoric. The governor said it’s important not to let passionate views prompt people to use “words of hurt, rather than words of healing.”

“Laws matter, but words also matter, and if compassion and understanding and justice are what we want, then we must choose laws and we must choose words of compassion, understanding and of justice,” O’Malley said.

First Lady Katie O’Malley, while giving a welcoming speech at the conference on Thursday night, said “there were some cowards that prevented it from passing” in a reference to last year’s failure of gay marriage legislation. She issued a statement Friday morning saying she regretted the comment, which was not received well by some lawmakers in Annapolis the next day.

A same-sex marriage bill passed the state Senate last year, but stalled in the House of Delegates.

O’Malley, speaking to reporters after his speech, confirmed that his remarks were made with his wife’s comments in mind.

“I love my wife very, very much, and for the last 20 years she has done the very difficult job of balancing a host of responsibilities and doing it very, very well, and none of us speak perfectly, and sometimes we make mistakes, and she’s had the humility and the strength to apologize for the mistake that she made in her choice of words,” O’Malley said.

The governor also said he thinks his wife, who is a Baltimore District Court judge, feels “very badly” about the comment.

Despite the controversy, the governor, who has reshaped the bill this year to more carefully address concerns about religious freedom, said he believes momentum is growing for the legislation.

“I think there is a much broader coalition in support this year,” O’Malley said. “I think as we progress, more and more people appreciate that the protection of individual rights and the protection of religious freedom are intertwined, and they are part of the effort that all of us share to reflect in our laws a more perfect union.”

A rally of people who oppose same-sex marriage is scheduled for Monday in Annapolis. A hearing on the legislation is scheduled for Tuesday.

—  John Wright

FW Mayor Mike Moncrief presents ‘Believing in Youth Award’ to gay Councilman Joel Burns

Joel Burns, right, and husband JD Angle

Last night, I posted a brief blog about Joel Burns being recognized for his anti-bullying efforts by Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, but I didn’t have many details. Now, here are some details for you.

Moncrief presented Burns with the 8th annual “Believing in Youth Award” Thursday night during the Believing in Youth Award Dinner, an event that benefited Santa Fe Youth Services. According to a press release from Moncrief’s office, the award “honors those who take personal responsibility for being a role model and building resiliency in our young people through formal and informal, intentional and unintentional efforts.”

Santa Fe Youth Services is a nonprofit agency that has provided services to youth and families in Tarrant County for more than 10 years.

Burns was chosen as the recipient in recognition of his efforts to combat bullying that gained national attention last October when he delivered an impromptu “It Gets Better” message to LGBT youth during a City Council meeting. Burns, in an emotional address that left many in the council chambers in tears, spoke of his own experience as a gay teen bullied by classmates and how he even contemplated suicide at one point, and how his life has gotten exponentially better in the years since.

A video of his speech went viral on YouTube and within days, the gay Fort Worth council member had been invited to speak on numerous TV shows, including The Today Show and Ellen. In December he went to Austin for a press conference announcing the introduction of anti-bullying bills in the Texas Legislature, and he returned to Austin in March for LGBT Lobby Day to call once again for the legislation to be passed.

Also in March, Burns was invited to attend an anti-bullying summit presented by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

Last month, Burns received a GLAAD Media Award for his efforts.

—  admin

Burns to attend White House anti-bullying summit

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host an anti-bullying conference at the White House on Thursday, March 10. City councilman Joel Burns will attend.

Students, parents and teachers will discuss how to stop bullying with the president and first lady. They issued an invitation on facebook to join the conversation about stopping bullying at StopBullying.gov.

The president and first lady will open the meeting in the East Room of the White House. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will participate in the afternoon.

Topics listed for discussion in smaller groups include in-school policies, in-school programs, community-based programs, cyber bullying and campus-based programs.

StopBullying.gov confronts the issue of bullying against the LGBT community squarely addressing the issue on the site’s front page and linking to a section of resources that begins with a statement of rights.

A 2009 survey of 7,000 LGBT youth found that:

  • Eight in 10 LGBT students had been verbally harassed at school
  • Four in 10 had been physically harassed at school
  • Six in 10 felt unsafe at school
  • One in five had been the victim of a physical assault at school

 

—  David Taffet

What’s Brewing: Daniel Hernandez, Fort Worth Episcopal diocese; marriage battles intensify

1. In a victory for LGBT-affirming Episcopalians, a conservative Fort Worth group that left the church over its acceptance of gays has been ordered to surrender the property it tried to steal from the six-county diocese. A state district judge on Friday ordered the group to turn over the property — which includes 55 parishes and missions as well as several schools — within 60 days. The group says it plans to appeal the decision, but hopefully this ruling will mean schools like St. Vincent’s can no longer discriminate against 4-year-olds like Olivia Harrison (above) who happen to have lesbian parents.

2. Daniel Hernandez Jr., the gay intern credited with saving the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, will sit next to first lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Tuesday also happens to be Hernandez’s 21st birthday.

3. Battles over same-sex marriage are intensifying in Maryland, Wyoming and Iowa.

—  John Wright

Starvoice • 01.14.11

By Jack Ferti

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYmichelle_obama

Michelle Obama turns 47 on Monday. Face it, we love the First Lady for adding some major fabulosity to the White House. She knows how to work a gown and a hairdo like no other first lady in a long time. Of course, we get behind what she’s doing for the country, too, taking on childhood obesity and support of military families. She just looks great doing it.

……………………….

THIS WEEK

Mercury lining up with Pluto in Capricorn helps us to focus our minds, although it can feed obsession over details and plans. Be mindful of where you place your thoughts and prioritize with productivity.

……………………….

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
You were made to overcome hard times. Even when you feel old and worn out, those are signs of your work and accomplishments. Don’t forget to rest and charge your batteries.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Your darkest fears and nightmares are keys to powerful revelations. Face down your demons. Filthy gossip is the best kind, but it’s a terrible distraction from necessary work.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
The future looks bleak, but your imagination will find ways to make it through. Ignore fair-weather friends and party queens. Talk with those you can count on through the toughest times.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
Figure out how to reach your goals in life, no matter how long it takes. You should have a major career peak in about seven years. The better it’s planned, the higher it will be.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
Push your mind and imagination to their limits. Don’t be scared of big arguments or grand ideas or even a bit of controversy. Getting a little out of your comfort zone will be good for you.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Some of your darkest feelings come up like a geyser. Erotic passion and secret fears are at the top of the list. Have a close friend handy who can be trusted with your nastiest intimate secrets.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
It may feel like an argument with your partner could kill your relationship, but not airing those issues is worse. If single, being honest will scare away all but those who truly deserve you.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Every relationship takes work. Take up the tough issues now while it’s a little easier. You’ll be surprised at what problems can be resolved in the bedroom. It will at least help.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Honing your skills is fine, but don’t get worked up over something that’s supposed to be relaxing and fun. Even if you’re looking to go pro remember, it’s an entertainment, not an obsession.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
You can unlock family secrets, but are you sure you want to know? Let sleeping dogs lie. If you find out you will learn why it’s a secret and why you must guard it just as carefully.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
You can be trusted to keep a secret, and your friends see you as a father-confessor. Keeping their secrets and offering counsel may be an honor or a burden. It’s not obligatory.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
As bleak as your financial situation looks, there are answers. Figure them out, even if they seem out of reach. It will probably take a lot of time and effort, but don’t get discouraged. You can do it.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 14, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton records ‘It Gets Better’ video message

Most of the celebrities joining the “It Gets Better” campaign and posting their videos online are openly LGBT people. But now, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added her voice to the call for LGBT young people contemplating suicide to hang on because brighter days are ahead.

Here’s Secretary Clinton’s video, “Tomorrow Will Be Better.” Now I wonder when we will see a video from President Barack Obama, or perhaps from First Lady Michelle Obama? The president is our “fierce advocate,” after all.

—  admin