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Heartwarming video of lesbian couple applying for marriage license in NC: ‘Y’all sign right here’
01:26 pm


marriage equality
North Carolina

This morning, Drew Reisinger, Buncombe County, North Carolina’s Register of Deeds became the state’s first government official to seek approval for the granting of same-sex marriage licenses.

State Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has already signaled that the licenses will not be given—although he claims to personally support marriage equality—but Reisinger was undeterred and has forced a bit of a public confrontation over the matter.

“I will let each couple know that it is my hope to grant them a license, but I need to seek the North Carolina Attorney General’s approval,” he said. “I have concerns about whether we are violating people’s civil rights based on this summer’s Supreme Court decision.” (He’s referring here, in part, to North Carolina’s constitutional “Amendment One” banning gay marriage which passed with a comfortable margin—61% of the vote to 39% against—in 2012. Civil unions are not recognized in the state either.)

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

With a crowd of about 100 in the deeds office lobby cheering them on, same-sex couples filled out paperwork for marriage licenses beginning about 8 this morning.

Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory, of Fairview, were first in line. “We are hopeful that Attorney General Cooper will do the right thing and recognize our right to marry after 25 years in a committed relationship,” Clark said.

Reisinger said he will accept and hold same-sex marriage applications and push the question of equal marriage rights to Cooper, the state’s chief legal adviser, Reisinger said in a statement Monday night.

Drew Reisinger, you are truly a fine example of a public servant. And talk about the rock and the hard place that Drew and these charming ladies have put poor Cooper between. The guy says he’s pro equality. If so, why would he choose to vigorously oppose it in his state?

Cooper is widely expected to make a bid for governor in 2016. That’s why. Marriage equality isn’t something a pol in North Carolina—even a Democrat—wants hanging around his neck right now. He personally supports it, but so what if it’s politically risky? Cooper shouldn’t be able to have his cake and eat it on this issue. This is a matter of right and wrong and not political expediency. If this video makes the rounds the way it seems poised to—have your Kleenex ready—it’s going to put a lot of pressure on Roy Cooper to do the right thing.

Via Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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How Superman singlehandedly thwarted the Ku Klux Klan
07:32 am

Pop Culture

Ku Klux Klan

We all know that Superman generally battles evildoers in the fictional city of Metropolis. If you watched the disappointing, overcranked Man of Steel earlier this year, you remember that his nemesis was General Zod.

It’s a little weird to learn that not all of his enemies are make-believe. There was a time when the popular Kryptonian was deployed to sideline a very real threat in the United States: namely, the Ku Klux Klan.

Our story begins with an intrepid young folklorist and activist from Florida named Stetson Kennedy. He noticed that the Klan was experiencing a resurgence—as an example, a few weeks after V-J Day, the Klan burned a 300-foot cross on the face of Stone Mountain near Atlanta (!)—one Klansman later said that the gesture was intended “to let the n*ggers know the war is over and that the Klan is back on the market.”
Superman versus the Klan
The fiercely committed Kennedy decided to infiltrate the group and expose its secrets. He was quite successful in this—for example, he learned that when a traveling Klan member wanted to find other Klansmen in an unfamiliar part of the country, he would ask for a “Mr. Ayak”—“Ayak” standing for “Are You a Klansman?” The desired response was “Yes, and I also know a Mr. Akai”—“A Klansman Am I.”

When he took his information to the local authorities, he found, much to his surprise, little inclination to act on his findings: The Klan had become powerful enough that even the police were hesitant to take action against it.

Eventually he realized that he needed a different approach. In the 1940s, Superman was a radio sensation—children all over the country were following his exploits ravenously. Kennedy decided to approach the makers of the radio serial to see if they would be interested in an epic “Superman vs. the Klan” plotline. He learned that they were interested in such a thing.
Stetson Kennedy under cover
Stetson Kennedy under cover
In a funny way, Kennedy’s needs and the needs of the Superman radio writers coincided. Superman had spent the war fighting the likes of Hitler and Hirohito, but in 1946 that was a dead letter, and they were on the lookout for fresh villains.

On June 10, 1946, a Superman plotline began bearing the title “Clan of the Fiery Cross.” The episodes were broadcast daily, so the 16th and final episode appeared on June 25. In the story, Jimmy Olsen is managing a baseball team, but when he replaces his top pitcher with a more talented newcomer, the sorehead kid who has lost his slot ends up in the clutches of the “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” who volunteer to intimidate the “insufficiently American” star pitcher with burning crosses and the like. Jimmy Olsen (of course) takes the issue to Clark Kent, and in short order the Man of Steel is taking on the men in white hoods.

Over the course of about two weeks, the shows exposed many of the KKK’s most guarded secrets, including code words and rituals. The Klan relied a great deal on an inscrutable air of menace and mystery, and the Superman serial stripped the Klan of that mystique utterly. Almost overnight, the Klan’s recruitment efforts began drying up completely.

How successful was Kennedy in his efforts to take down the Klan? In their 2005 hit book Freakonomics, Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt called Kennedy “the greatest single contributor to the weakening of the Ku Klux Klan.”

There is a much bigger story here than can adequately be covered in a post like this—there’s a great deal of information out there. Stetson Kennedy seems to have been a genuinely remarkable person, and his Wikipedia page lists a lot of resources if you want to learn more. A good resource is Richard Bowers’ Superman versus the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate.

All sixteen of the Klan-related episodes of the Superman radio serial are on YouTube, complete with innumerable advertisements for Kellogg’s PEP cereal—the first two are linked below, and you know how to find the others.
“Clan of the Fiery Cross,” episode 1 of 16 (June 10, 1946):

“Clan of the Fiery Cross,” episode 2 of 16 (June 11, 1946):


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Ridiculous celebrity ‘wall art’ we urge you not to put in your home
07:28 am

Pop Culture

wall art

Tom Cruise wall art
Tom Cruise

Seriously, do you really want these people staring at you all day, every day?

Sylvester Stallone wall art

Britney Spears wall art
Britney Spears

Oasis wall art

Andrew Garfield wall art
Andrew Garfield

Charlie Sheen wall art
Charlie Sheen

Twilight wall art
More shitty celebrity wall art after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Awesome Native American grandmothers capture and burn white supremacist’s Nazi flag
10:08 am


Native Americans

You may have recently heard of Leith, North Dakota, the town of only 24 people currently at risk of Nazi takeover, because apparently the middle of the goddamn country now contains a rip in space-time, leading directly to Poland in 1939. An opportunistic white supremacist has been buying up land in Leith with the express intent of organizing a “white nationalist intentional community.” (I’d argue a lot of those already exist more discreetly in the gated communities of America, but I digress.)

Obviously, there has been some push-back from Leith citizens, including Bobby Harper, the one black guy in town, who’s clearly the most patient and laid-back man alive. But a town of 24 people isn’t the most intimidating mob, so friends and allies from nearby towns have shown up in support, most notably the above crew of Lakota and Dakota grandmothers, who stole and burned a swastika flag in protest. You have to admit, there is some serious irony in attempting to create a Nazi town in a state that shares a name with the indigenous people who lived there prior to the arrival of Europeans.

Check out the video below for Bobby Harper and his wife, who now live right behind white supremacists.

Via Last Real Indians

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Trans teen homecoming queen is being mercilessly bullied on YouTube

Over the weekend, the sweet story of Cassidy Lynn Campbell, a trans teenager from Huntington Beach, CA, who was elected homecoming queen during a high school football game made the news. A feel good video from a local news channel shot at the game showed Cassidy crying tears of joy as her friends rushed down from the bleachers to surround her with a group hug.

It was a very moving sight and one that warmed the hearts of many—but not all—of those who watched the clip on YouTube.

And now, predictably, the trolls have moved in, leaving hateful, shitty transphobic comments picking on Cassidy and really cruelly bullying and mocking her. At a time that should be the happiest time in her life, these assholes have nearly caused this kid to have a breakdown. Doing what many teens would do in this situation, Cassidy took to YouTube and recorded a tearful rebuttal to the haters.

It’s sad to watch. Her pain is visceral. Her anguish is obviously very, very real.

The comments, well, they’re horrifying. How could anyone be proud of themselves for causing a kid this kind of pain?

Perhaps you’d like to take a minute from your day and leave Cassidy a message of support?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Nick Cave doesn’t want MTV Awards’ nomination for ‘Best Male Artist’ of 1996
10:25 am


Nick Cave
MTV Music Awards

Nick Cave’s polite, yet firm 1996 letter to MTV event organizers following his nomination for “Best Male Artist” for that year’s MTV Music Awards.

21 Oct 96

To all those at MTV,

I would like to start by thanking you all for the support you have given me over recent years and I am both grateful and flattered by the nominations that I have received for Best Male Artist. The air play given to both the Kylie Minogue and P. J. Harvey duets from my latest album Murder Ballads has not gone unnoticed and has been greatly appreciated. So again my sincere thanks.

Having said that, I feel that it’s necessary for me to request that my nomination for best male artist be withdrawn and furthermore any awards or nominations for such awards that may arise in later years be presented to those who feel more comfortable with the competitive nature of these award ceremonies. I myself, do not. I have always been of the opinion that my music is unique and individual and exists beyond the realms inhabited by those who would reduce things to mere measuring. I am in competition with no-one.

My relationship with my muse is a delicate one at the best of times and I feel that it is my duty to protect her from influences that may offend her fragile nature.

She comes to me with the gift of song and in return I treat her with the respect I feel she deserves — in this case this means not subjecting her to the indignities of judgement and competition. My muse is not a horse and I am in no horse race and if indeed she was, still I would not harness her to this tumbrel — this bloody cart of severed heads and glittering prizes. My muse may spook! May bolt! May abandon me completely!

So once again, to the people at MTV, I appreciate the zeal and energy that was put behind my last record, I truly do and say thank you and again I say thank you but no…no thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Cave

Via Letters of Note and Nick Cave Online

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Batman and Captain America rescue a cat
07:24 am


Captain America

Firefighters were surprised to find they were beaten to the scene of a fire in Milton, West Virginia, on Saturday, by Batman and Captain America.

Dressed in their iconic costumes, the two superheroes were making quick work of rescuing a cat trapped in the house by the fire.

Batman and Captain America gave their secret identities as John Buckland and Troy Marcum, two local men who had been dressed in costume for an event at the nearby American Legion Post, where they had been teaching children “positive lessons.”

When Captain America and Batman saw the smoke billowing from the house, they quit the class, and ran straight towards the burning house, in a bid to rescue anyone inside.

Buckland had been a firefighter, before starting his Hero 4 Higher business, had also worked as a firefighter when stationed in Iraq.

The dynamic duo burst open the front door (KA-POW!!). Entered the building (RRRIIFF!!). Smashed open a window (CRASSSH!!!). Realized no-one was home (“What the…!?!”). Then Batman “grabbed something furry” (THHHWWWPPPTT!!). Before the two heroes made their speedy exit (WHOOOOSSSHHH!!).

The bundle of fur turned out to be the household’s cat, which Batman resuscitated on the grass outside. Having been saved from a near cat-astrophe, the fiery feline could only hiss at the superhero saviors.

Via WCHSTV, H/T Arbroath

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The best thing EVER: Workers rights flash mob breaks out in Wal-Mart
11:03 am

Class War

pro union

Boy are they ready!

This is a moment of true greatness, the best thing you’ll see all day. This shit takes flight:

September 5th, 2013, Raleigh, NC - As Walmart workers petition managers to reinstate employees who have been unfairly treated, a flash mob breaks out.

I wish I’d have witnessed this in person, but it’s thrilling just to see it on YouTube. The participants must have felt fantastic afterwards.

The deer-in-the-headlights looks the managers have on their mugs is priceless!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Charles Bukowski’s F.B.I. file
09:40 am


Charles Bukowski

In 1968, Charles Bukowski became a person of interest to the F.B.I. because of his writing for an underground newspaper.

Bukowski wrote a scurrilous and highly entertaining column, “notes of a dirty old man” for Open City. This column caused enough offense to the Postal Services and the F.B.I. that there was an investigation into the life and morals of the literary mailman.

What emerges from the 113-page file is a portrait of a man who was regularly absent from work, who enjoyed a drink, was considered a “draft-dodger”, and was once married to “Jane S. Cooney”—the “Jane” of many of his most heartfelt poems. Nothing new there. Though the finks at the F.B.I. did add their own literary pique by describing Bukowski’s work as “highly romanticized.”

Read the whole document here.
Via, h/t Open Culture
More pages from Buk’s FBI File, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Crass co-founder Steve Ignorant is keeping the seas safe as a volunteer lifeboatman
07:57 am


Steve Ignorant

Steve Ignorant
The folks from Crass have settled in to quieter (though certainly not apolitical) lives, and understandably so. Dedicating so much of yourself to producing and living activist art definitely takes a toll, sometimes quite literally—the fees incurred in defending 1981’s Penis Envy from obscenity charges cost them a pretty penny. On top of money and legal troubles, their elaborate political hoaxes began to render them a more visible target for political enemies, and there were disagreements within the group that started to splinter them, politically (most notably, not every member was committed to pacifism). And of course, they’d always intended to split sometime in 1984, anyway.

At first glance, it appears singer Steve Ignorant retired to a quaint, seaside village. He’s kept busy with new projects, but why move to the country if you’re not going to relax? Apparently Steve’s not much for relaxing. He actually volunteers to drop everything at the sound of a beeper, drive to the shore, take a boat to wherever a potential emergency might be, and if need be, save people from drowning. Ignorant takes his responsibility incredibly seriously, openly admitting to the fear he feels every time he’s called up for duty, and though his colleagues seem to have an inkling of his radical punk rock past, it appears he’s appreciated as a valuable member of the team, first and foremost.

Via BBC News Magazine

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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