Liz’s favorite pub

The tribute to Elizabeth Taylor at her favorite pub, The Abbey in West Hollywood

Beloved icon Elizabeth Taylor was laid to rest today in a private service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif. — the same cemetery where her friend Michael Jackson was buried — a day after she died of congestive heart failure. The service caught most people off-guard, a blessing since it means that the whack-a-doodles from Westboro Baptist had no chance to get to Glendale to protest at the funeral like they said they planned to do.

Dame Elizabeth’s family has said there will be public memorial service for the star at a later date, but the tribute began at her favorite hangout in West Hollywood since news of her death, at age 79, became public on Wednesday. And that favorite hangout, by the way, is a gay bar.

Taylor first started hanging out at The Abbey about five or six years ago, and according to this report in The New York Times, she told the owner it was her favorite pub. The bar, in fact, had become something of a tourist attraction because people knew that she was a regular.

Since her death, the Abbey has set up a memorial tribute to Taylor that is drawing a crowd of mourners. The tribute, set up in what the bar has long called the Elizabeth Taylor Room, includes the huge framed portrait of herself Taylor donated to the bar, several floral arrangements and, on a nearby table, a Blue Velvet martini, made with vodka and blueberry schnapps and named in honor of her 1944 film National Velvet.

—  admin

Agree or not, free speech is protected

Earlier today, David Taffet reported on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the right of those right-of-right-wing loonies at Westboro Baptist “God Hates Fags” Church to stage their protests outside the funerals of U.S. servicemen and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Westboro protests, the court said, are a form of speech and they are protected under the First Amendment.

Just as a reminder, the Phelps Clan of Westboro Baptist stages protests outside the funerals to, basically, cheer God on for letting these servicemen and women get killed. The Westboro nuts say that the war and the deaths of the servicemembers is God’s punishment on this country for being too liberal, especially when it comes to gay rights. The case started in 2006 when the father of a Marine killed in Iraq sued the Westboro group and won an $11 milllion judgment in trial court. But the appeals court overturned the trial court decision, and the Supremes upheld the appeals court.

Now, in a similar situation, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that officials at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Ill., cannot prohibit students from wearing slogan T-shirts to school, even if those slogans might hurt some students’ feelings. Those shirts are a form of free speech, the court said, and are protected under the First Amendment, according to reports on the Wall Street Journal’s “Law Blog.”

—  admin

Is Target’s pro-gay image getting tainted?

Target has a, well, target on its back from the gay community.

The bargain retailer that claims “unwavering” support for gay rights — it contributes annually to the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival in Minneapolis, where Target is based, and has lines by the likes of gay designer Issac Mizrahi — has been tagged for contributing at least $150,000 to a a group supporting a Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota who is considered right wing even by Texas standards: He supports Arizona’s strict immigration law and opposes same-sex marriage. (Some people are even more pissed because the candidate, Tom Emmer, has also supported a ministry by an anti-gay Christian rocker named Bradlee Dean.)

Naturally, the gay community is incensed, even though the contribution is completely legal. Some activists and Democrats are calling for a boycott of the store. My question is: Why are we surprised?

I don’t believe for one minute that Target is, as a corporation, supporting this candidate because it believes gay marriage would be bad for business. Nah, they support him because he would run their home state and have a say in cutting taxes, etc. It’s a business decision.

Should we be angry? Support a boycott? I’m not sure. After all, what would we say if conservatives tried to boycott Target for its support of gay pride events? What if those protesters were successful? I’m not happy about it, but to me, the support is directed not at a single issue (for instance, gay marriage) but a candidate with a wide range of positions — none of which I agree with, but there you go. Keep in mind: Candidtae Barack Obama didn’t support gay marriage … nor did almost all other candidates on the Dems’ side (almost — Clinton and Gore came out in favor… in 2009; too little, too late). Now, if Target contributed to, say, enacting Prop 8, or donated to Westboro Baptist, well, that’s different. And the Bradlee Dean connection? Do we now base our decision on Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?

Anyway, what do you think? Will a contribution to a political candidate in another state affect your shopping habits? Should it affect mine?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones