Friday News Bites: Equality Steps Forward, Entertainment Steps Back

We’ve got a mixed bag this week of (mostly) good news on the LGBT front, and some sad/disappointing news in the entertainment world. Plus, the usual oddball links that strike my fancy. Let’s get to it.

After much public outcry (even from Mitt Romney, of all people), Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would make it legal for businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers. For all of Arizona’s equality problems (including treatment of immigrants), at least there’s this moment of pause.

In Texas(!), a Federal Judge has declared the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional:

According to Judge Orlando Garcia, a Clinton appointee, the state’s marriage laws deny same-sex couples the right to marry, and therefore “demean their dignity for no legitimate reason.” Garcia stayed his decision pending appeal, so same-sex couples cannot begin marrying yet.

Despite all the progress in the United States, unfortunately, not every country is moving in the direction of equality. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill that criminalizes homosexuality, where first time “offenders” are punished with 14 years in jail. Other punishments include life in prison. Last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a similar law that outlaws same-sex marriage and the formation of gay rights organizations.

In Other News:

The number of rape kits that remain untested throughout the United States is staggering. The Department of Justice estimates that 400,000 kits still need to be processed, and in some cases, the tests have been collecting dust for several decades.

Delta is changing their frequent flyer program again, where the amount of money spent will determine points, not the mileage traveled. On a selfish note, this somewhat benefits those of us who live in cities that are expensive to fly out of, but overall, I don’t think this is the right move.

In NYC, energy company Con Edison is asking people to beware of stray voltage. Corroded electrical cables near manhole covers or lamp posts are sending electrical charges to street level, and while most shoes will eliminate the risk to humans, pets are still vulnerable.

Speaking of dogs — This isn’t news, but McSweeney’s has “An Oral History of Go, Dog Go!”

In Entertainment News:

If you watch Community, you know the show has parodied Doctor Who with “Inspector Spacetime.” The actor who played the Inspector made a short Internet film, and NBC made him change the title. He went with “Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time,” which is hilarious. Now, it’s going to be a feature film, and one of the Doctors is going to be in it.

Tim Lambesis, singer for metal band As I Lay Dying, faces up to nine years in prison for hiring a hitman — in reality, an undercover agent — to kill his wife.

You’ve probably heard the news, but just in case you haven’t: Harold Ramis, director of Caddyshack and Ghostbuster Egon of our hearts, died this week at age 69. Pour out an Ecto-Cooler for him.

To end on an up-note: I leave you with David Byrne covering Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend,” performed at a concert supporting the Content Creators Coalition.

Until next time, friends.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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