National Coming Out Day marked by worry over supreme court LGBTQ case

As court considers workplace discrimination protections, revellers and activists ponder fragile state of their rights National Coming Out Day festivities across the US were tempered this year by anxiety that some LGBTQ people may have to go back into the closet so they can make a living, depending on National Coming Out Day, first observed in 1988 and marked every 11 October though events happen over several days. Philadelphias annual language in the supreme court this week about whether the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ people from employment discrimination including a question by conservative chief justice John Roberts that appeared to show confusion about gender transitions and questions about bathroom use by liberals Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg …

I ‘stormed’ Area 51 and it was even weirder than I imagined

No one had any idea what to expect of a plan for people to meet in Rachel, Nevada, to see for themselves if the government was hiding aliens In the middle of the Nevadan desert, outside a secretive US military airstrip, I found the worlds strangest social media convention. Dozens of young, good-looking, often costumed people were running around filming each other with semi-professional video rigs. They were YouTube and Instagram stars or, more often, aspiring stars here to Storm Area 51, They Cant Stop All of Us. According to the plan, people would meet in Rachel, Nevada the closest town to Area 51 in the early morning of 20 September, then swarm the defenses and see for themselves if …

Bahamian evacuees find welcome in Florida but politics dog their presence

Thousands forced to flee their homes by Hurricane Dorian found refuge in the Sunshine State but Trump has cast aspersions They descended the cruise ships gangplank at the Port of Palm Beach looking like refugees from a war zone. Some carried babies and small children; others clutched small bags of possessions snatched hastily from the rubble of their ruined homes; most had just the clothes they stood in. For the 1,435 weary Hurricane Dorian evacuees from the Bahamas who disembarked the Grand Celebration liner and stepped on to the dockside at the weekend there were the pressing concerns of where they would find immediate shelter. But while the Red Cross spoke of how they had received offers from across Florida …

Alabama man who served 36 years of life sentence for $50 robbery to be freed

Alvin Kennard imprisoned without parole for first-degree robbery under three strikes law A man from Alabama who was sentenced to life without parole after robbing a bakery of $50.75 in his 20s is to be released after more than three decades in prison. Alvin Kennard, who was convicted of first-degree robbery, was 22 when he was first imprisoned in 1983. Now, 36 years on, the 58-year-old is finally to be freed after a judge ordered his release from Donaldson correctional facility in Bessemer. Kennard was given the disproportionately harsh sentence under Alabamas old Habitual Felony Offender Act, also known as the three strikes law. He had previously been sentenced to three years probation for three counts of second-degree burglary in …

Not the Messiah: Trump insists ‘chosen one’ China trade war remark was a joke

President made initial claim about policies towards Beijing, leading many observers to question the presidents mental state Donald Trump has twice insisted he was just joking when he claimed to be the chosen one to take on China over trade. Speaking to reporters in Washington on Friday night, then in two tweets from the south of France on Saturday morning, the president said the comment was an instance of sarcasm and insisted it was a joke. When I looked up to the sky and jokingly said I am the chosen one at a press conference two days ago, referring to taking on Trade with China, little did I realize that the media would claim that I had a Messiah complex, …

Woodstock 50 music festival officially cancelled weeks before event

The troubled 50th anniversary event planned for August in Maryland has been officially called off The troubled Woodstock 50th anniversary music festival planned for August was officially canceled on Wednesday, with organizers blaming a series of unforeseen setbacks. The three-day festival, meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the famed 1969 celebration of peace and music, was planned for 16-18 August. Greg Peck, principal of Woodstock 50, said an unfortunate dispute with a financial partner and subsequent legal proceedings forced them to move venues and claimed that ultimately they ran out of time. The timing meant we had few choices where our artists would be able to perform. We worked hard to find a way to produce a proper tribute …

Old men by the sea: Tennessee banker takes Hemingway lookalike contest

Joe Maxey, 68, beats 141 other author impersonators in long-running event that shows importance of being Ernest A retired banker from Tennessee beat 141 other white-bearded contenders to win the coveted Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike Contest in Key West, Florida, on Saturday, at the eighth attempt. Joe Maxey, 68, of Cedar Hill triumphed at Sloppy Joes Bar, a hangout of the author when he lived in Key West in the 1930s. A judging panel of former winners chose Maxey from a vast field which competed in two preliminary rounds and Saturdays finals. Maxey said he loved Hemingways writing and shared the authors fondness for mojitos and women. During his Key West years, Hemingway wrote literary classics including For Whom the Bell …

Trump’s Fourth of July celebration helped bankrupt DC security fund

In a letter to the president, the citys mayor said the fund is running a $6m deficit for the fiscal year Donald Trumps Salute to America Fourth of July event in Washington and subsequent protests cost the District of Columbias security fund $1.7m, a sum that has contributed to the bankruptcy of the fund, according to the mayor of Washington DC. according to the Washington Post. ABC news featured a rally and a bombastic show of military might, including F-22 Raptors, a B-2 stealth bomber and six Blue Angel F-18s flying over the Washington monument. The controversial event also included two Abrams tanks and two Bradley fighting vehicles.

Trump to preside over Fourth of July celebrations with military show despite criticism

White House aides have reportedly been struggling to draw crowds to event because of last minute arrangements Donald Trump will preside over Fourth of July celebrations on Thursday with a speech about patriotism and a modest show of military might that critics say is politicizing an important holiday and wasting taxpayers money. Trump, who has long admired displays of autocratic overtones of the Washington DC event. The president will deliver remarks on the steps of the Lincoln memorial in the early evening, and celebrations will feature fireworks, a flyover by Air Force One and a display of tanks. Trump has been accused of attempting to emulate a Soviet-style military parade, which are today associated with authoritarian regimes in China or …

‘Living joyously is a radical act’: why America’s gay bars still matter

Fifty years after Stonewall, and with Trump trying to roll back LGBTQ rights, Dominic Rushe visits three gay bars in different states and finds them as vibrant and vital as ever The gay bar is in trouble. Fifty years after the Stonewall Inn in New York became the symbol for a new wave of gay activism, the three horsemen of the gay bar apocalypse gentrification, assimilation and technology have hollowed out their numbers. Rising rents have shuttered gay bars; more straight venues are accepting of gay patrons; and dating is something people now do with their phones. Even the term gay bar looks a little tired as the LGBTQ community finally comes to terms with its many rainbow stripes. Bare …

A leftward shift: Communist party USA sees chance as progressives surge

In Chicago, an American party derided and feared for 100 years looked eagerly to a brighter future As the Communist party USA kicked off its 100th anniversary celebration, Jarvis Tyner called for delegates and guests at the national convention in Chicago to set the record straight about one of American politics biggest historical bogeymen. The truth is the communist party isnt out to hurt you, Tyner, vice-chair of CPUSA and its candidate for vice-president in 1972 and 1976, told a large and diverse crowd. It will set you free. The remarks, met with applause, came on the first day of CPUSAs 31st national convention and at a moment in American politics in which democratic socialism and progressive ideas are increasingly …

Obama v Doma: how gay Americans marched towards equality

From Joe Bidens unplanned endorsement to a White House lit by the rainbow flag, LGBTQ Americans lived through three extraordinary years On 6 May 2012, Joe Biden went on Meet the Press to followed the lead of his vice-president. In 1996, Bill Clinton had signed the Defense of Marriage Act (Doma) in the middle of the night because he thought that was necessary to ensure his re-election. Now a new Democratic president had embraced the push for equality as a political plus, especially with the younger voters who were so important to his success. Obama said that even the Republican college students he had met were very clear about sexual orientation: They believe in equality. He also suggested the benefits …

Rhode Island bishop sorry for saying Pride events ‘harmful for children’

Thomas Tobin says LBGTQ month contrary to Catholic faith and morals but organiser counters: Jesus never said a word about homosexuality The Catholic bishop of Providence, Rhode Island has apologized for saying Pride month events in support of LGBTQ rights were especially harmful for children, tweeted: A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ Pride Month events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children. Rhode Island Pride responded by commending inclusivity shown by local Catholics and condemning the bishops remark. Rhode Island is a welcoming and inclusive state, the organization said in a Joe Lazzerini, president of Rhode Island Pride, said …

‘Why is this happening?’ Colorado reckons with another school shooting

The recent attack at Stem School Highlands Ranch was the 15th US school shooting this year, in a state that has been ground zero of an epidemic Two little girls played in the grass outside Stem School Highlands Ranch in Douglas County, Colorado, where a school shooting took place on 7 May. The girls parents solemnly looked over a shrine. Flowers, teddy bears and a six-pack of Coca-Cola had been laid under a photo of the schools hero, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who was killed while tackling one of two student shooters. 15th school shooting this year in the US, according to CNN. It took place eight miles away from Columbine high school, patient zero in an epidemic that has provoked …

‘Everything was just lies’: how alleged sex cult Nxivm deceived its victims

As the trial of the groups founder, Keith Raniere, begins, experts say people attracted to change are vulnerable to manipulative cultish group behavior The federal courthouse in Brooklyn provided a bland judicial setting for some startling testimony this week, as Nxivm member Clare Bronfman, the Seagram liquor heiress, over a shared interest in competitive showjumping. Bronfman, she said, offered to help bring her horse to the US so Sylvie, then 18, could improve her riding. That was around 2003, a time when, she said, she didnt have a strong sense of my own direction. Over time, Sylvie told the court, she began to feel dependent on Bronfman. She was introduced to Nxivm. Soon her thoughts turned to restricting her intake …

Where the streets have cool names: Wu-Tang Clan and Obama honored from NY to LA

Hip-hop group honored with Staten Island district in their name while former president gets own boulevard in Los Angeles They are very different honorees and they were immortalized in places thousands of miles apart, on opposite coasts, but the exuberant celebrations and the infectious sense of occasion were shared. While part of the New York City borough of Staten Island was named Wu-Tang Clan District this weekend, after the hardcore hip-hop group some of whose members hail from the area, a street in Los Angeles was named dubbed Wu-Tang Clan District. This is a great day where we have an opportunity to honor our own hometown heroes, the young men who put Staten Island on the map internationally. They overcame …