Woman pleads guilty in case of videotaped beating of trans woman at McDonald’s

Teona Brown, 19, has pled guilty Thursday, Aug. 4, to first degree assault charges and a hate crime charge in connection with the beating of transgender woman Chrissy Polis last April in Towson,

Chrissy Polis

Md. The attack was captured on video by a McDonald’s employee — who filmed the assault rather than step in and try to stop it — last April. The video went viral online and was used, along with new footage from a surveillance camera, in court hearings this week. CBS Baltimore has this report on the plea.

Conviction on a first degree assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and a hate crime conviction could add another 10 years. Because Brown pled guilty to the attack, prosecutors are recommending that the judge sentence her to five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for next month.

Polis was present in court on Thursday, but told reporters she was nervous about being there and had no comment. “I just want to lay low and keep my life as normal as possible,” she said.

A second person charged in the attack was 14 at the time and has been charged with assault as a juvenile. Because she is a minor, her identity has not been released.

Below is a video of a news report aired on the Washington, D.C., Fox news program when the attack happened. It includes video of the attack and, as State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said this week, “The severity of the beating is much easier to understand when you see a video. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, a video’s worth a million.”

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Great Spaces: Conditioner love

Yes, you can have a cold house without the big bills — and that’s not hot air

By David Taffet

Perhaps the one thing we loathe the most besides triple digit temps in summer is that dreaded electric bill. The air conditioner is a must for summer in Texas, but the wallet sure takes a beating. One local expert recommends these simple tips to help you keep your cool and some green.

Todd Ylen of TNS Mechanical in Arlington said that only half the air conditioning complaints his company receives could be traced to the main unit. The first thing he checks is the overall cleanliness of what he calls “the guts.” He recommends a professional cleaning with caustic chemicals.

“It should be done professionally,” he says, “The chemicals won’t hurt the plants but it can melt the rubber off your sneakers.”

During the season, he said, don’t be afraid to wash the unit with a hose, but not a pressure washer. A garden hose will not damage an outdoor air conditioning system. They’re made to withstand gale-force winds.

Keep grass and weeds off outdoor condensers. They clog the system and decrease efficiency.

Next, Ylen said he checks the house.

“How efficient is the ductwork?” he says. “How efficient is your house?”

The outer lining of much of the ductwork installed in the 1980s has deteriorated. Squirrels, raccoons and other animals that get into the attic can cause a tremendous amount of damage to the ducts as well.

Cold air will blow in the attic but never reach the living areas of the house if the ducts are torn or worn. He recommends modern, high-insulated ductwork.

Next, he suggests an energy audit company to check for leaks around doors and windows.

“Seal the house,” he says. It pays off in lower energy bills quickly.

And ventilate, he said. Ylen called the old whirlybirds on most roofs worthless.

He recommends solar-powered, fan-driven ventilators. A year ago, he said, they were $1,800. Today they sell for $400, an amount that will pay for itself in one season. He calls it an upfront investment that continues to pay off by lowering electric bills on air conditioning and never costing a cent to operate.

Filters should be changed monthly. Dirty filters prevent the system from drawing air easily, making it work harder and use more energy.
Programmable thermostats are also useful in keeping the system from cooling the house when not needed.

Ylen calls radiant barriers ineffective with a 50-year payback, but insulation very useful.

“A preventive maintenance program is crucial,” he says. He sums up his energy-saving tips to all homeowners — insulate, ventilate and stop air leaks.

TNS Mechanical services homes throughout Texas and has other tips at AirConditioningRepairArlington.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 15, 2011.

—  John Wright

Gay Porn Stars Won’t Stop Dancing Until YouTube Recognizes Gender Equality In Sexy Clip Shows

Last month porn types Jamie Brendon Stroud (aka Chip Tanner, gymnast) and Nick Dent (aka Reese Rideout, stripping instructor), made their "Dancing For Gender Equality" debut, uploading a video of them dancing — if that's what you want to call it — with a picture-in-picture representation of two chicks doing the exact same thing. The point? That YouTube censors male homoerotic clips, but girls getting jiggy with it are somehow allowed. Last week, they found another girl-on-girl clip that was permitted by the YouTube cops. And performed a scene-by-scene remake.

CONTINUED »


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—  David Taffet

Arizona’s Lawyers Sue To Stop Domestic Benefits During Court Decision

BrewerJan Not content to battle just the health care law and illegal immigration policy, lawyers for the state of Arizona are now expanding their efforts to eliminate that state's domestic partner benefits.

A judge ruled last year that the state must continue paying the benefits while courts decide the legality of a Republican and Gov. Jan Brewer-led effort to end the policy, enacted while Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was governor.

According to the Copper State's attorneys, though, the benefits need to be stopped during the proceedings to help the state save money:

Assistant Attorney General Charles Grube contends that U.S. District Judge John Sedwick was wrong in issuing an injunction last year barring the state from altering its benefits package.

That ruling requires Arizona to keep funding the coverage until there is a final ruling, something that could take years.

State lawmakers voted to end the benefits as a method of saving money.

Grube said that, in deciding whether to issue an injunction, Sedwick was required to consider not only the claims of harm to the people losing the benefits but also the harm to the state of being required to maintain them. But Grube said Sedwick was "explicitly dismissive" of evidence presented by the state about the cost burden on taxpayers of continuing to provide coverage.

Here's an idea: Arizona's lawyers could stop filing politically motivated lawsuits that cost untold amounts of time, money and, frankly, make the rest of the state look bad. It's just common sense.


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Take Action in Wyoming to Stop SJ 5 and HB 74

This week, the Wyoming House Judicial Committee passed 6 votes to 3, SJ 5, a measure to place a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot barring same-sex marriage. Passed by the full Senate last week, the bill is expected to be voted on by the full House in the coming days. Now is your chance to tell your representatives in Wyoming to do the right thing.

HB 74, which would prevent same-sex marriages performed in other states from being recognized in Wyoming has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate. Make sure your Senator knows that you support equality and urge them to do the same.

Both bills deny Wyoming families the dignity that comes from having their relationships recognized. No child of a same-sex family should have to grow up feeling that somehow their family is less loving or legitimate than their friends and neighbors.

If you or someone you know is in Wyoming, take action NOW by sending a letter to your legislators to defeat SJ 5 and HB 74. To send a letter to your legislators in Wyoming, click here.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

Video: ‘It’s time to stop being afraid’

Kayla Came Out To Her Entire High School On Martin Luther King Day [Queerty]




Good As You

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Virginia Lawmaker: Feds Can’t Stop Us From Banning Gays From National Guard

Back in December, wingnut Virginia legislator Bob Marshall announced a bill to ban homosexuals from serving in that state’s National Guard. Today we get the text of that bill, which lists numerous examples of gays being booted from the military after declaring that the federal government has no right to tell Virginia who can serve in its National Guard.

A state may have different eligibility standards for membership in a State’s National Guard than for membership in the Armed Forces of the United States (e.g., education, driving record, drug use, criminal record, age, and other criteria). Such eligibility standards are not within the power of the U.S. Congress because they are not matters of “discipline.” “training,” “arming” or “organizing” the Militia, or National Guard. At present, the Virginia National Guard and the U. S. Army have different eligibility admission criteria than the Armed Forces of the United States, and the Commonwealth of Virginia has authority to determine whether or not an active, open and practicing homosexual should serve in the Virginia National Guard. There is no constitutional right to serve in the National Guard.

Joe. My. God.

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Vote: Which might make you stop Tivoing thru ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race’s breaks?

Which of these PSAs should air on the Logo network? Watch and vote (at link):







VOTE NOW! Watch the 5 finalists for Logo’s Anti-Bullying PSA Contest! [365 Gay]




Good As You

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NOM needs to stop peddling in fantasy and face reality about same-sex families

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, published a Christmas message on the group's blog featuring a picture of him and his family:

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Brown looks like he has a wonderful family and he has every right to be proud of them.

But something is bothering me. What's the difference Brown's family and these families:

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None of these families are any different except for the sexual orientation of the parents. Yet it is this one little thing which propels Brown, NOM, and other members of the religious right to oppose not only same-sex marriage, but also same-sex households.  I could cite many studies which easily demonstrate that there is nothing with same-sex households, but sometimes I just feel like I don't need to.

At what point do we recognize the fact that same-sex families having to always have to “prove” themselves is a basic insult?

The truth is we all know of same-sex households which include children and we all know that these children are happy and healthy.  We all know that these households provide children with the love, support, and structure they need to get through life.

To claim that same-sex households are harmful or even push the cynical talking point that same-sex households is an “untested experiment” is an insult to basic intelligence. 

The question that those on the right, Brown included, never seem to want to answer is what makes them the arbiters of what constitutes a “good family.” What gives them the right to create a caste system for families who doesn't fit their narrow idea of an “idealized situation?”

An “idealized situation” is not reality. It's a fantasy.  Reality is the fact that two-parent heterosexual families are not always the best place to raise children. Reality is that sometimes children thrives in single parents households or even same-sex households.

If Brown and company really cared about families or children, they would do something more about the reality rather than to manipulate the fantasy.

By writing this, I mean no disrespect to Brown and I certainly don't mean any disrespect to his family. But it is patently obscene to me that someone will show pride in his family while attempting to deny others the chance to have the same privilege simply because he does not agree with their sexual orientation.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Britain Will Stop Caring If Once Upon A Time You Got Gay With a 16-Year-Old

In a proposed bill that would wipe many a criminal record clean, Britain's Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone wants to retroactively expunge any convictions for violating age-of-consent laws that for decades discriminated against gays. While gay sex was decriminalized in some parts of the U.K. in the 1960s (and other parts in the 1980s), the age of consent stood at 21, then was pushed to 18 in 1994, and finally down to 16 in 2000 — which is the age-of-consent for heteros. But anyone found guilty of violating the law in years past still had a tarnished record, and before 2003 was included on the Sex Offenders Register. Prime Minister David Cameron, who made a stab at gay outreach during his election, will thus make good on a campaign promise. Is this a big deal? Absolutely. A 22-year-old man who had sex with a 20-year-old man in 1993 would still, to this day, be forced to reveal his criminal record to potential employers, who — you guessed it — would be inclined to deny a job to a sex offender. Says Featherstone: "Such men will never again have to disclose that information. I hope very much that those gay men whom that has inhibited from volunteering will now find that inhibition removed."


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