Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Killer birds bite off bats heads

Killer birds bite off bats' heads

It sounds like the avian equivalent of an Ozzy Osbourne legend. Great tits have been discovered killing and eating bats by pecking their heads open.

Although bats have been reported preying on songbirds before, this is the first time great tits have been observed to prey on bats.

Péter Estók of the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, Germany, first saw a bat being captured by a tit in a Hungarian cave in 1996.

Ten years later, he and fellow bat ecologist Björn Siemers recorded 18 examples of pipistrelle bat predation by great tits, over the course of two winters in the same cave in the Bükk Mountains.

Bat hunting

The birds seek out bats as they wake from hibernation and usually eat them in the cave, though sometimes they carry them to a nearby tree.

"The birds don't kill the bats before they start eating them," says Siemers, "but the bats eventually die when the birds peck open their brain case."

As the bats are still very cold, only a degree above ambient temperature, they are extremely slow and easy for the birds to subdue. Nevertheless, it is a considerable feat for the tits given that a pipistrelle weighs approximately 5 grams and a great tit only four times as much.

Sly birds

The scientists ran an experiment to supply the tits with food, and discovered that this reduced consumption.

"This shows that the birds are predating the bats for food in times of scarcity. It shows how inventive this species can be," says Siemers.

Estók and Siemers also ran a playback experiment where they recorded and played the calls that the bats made as they woke from hibernation. The great tits were attracted to the calls.

"For a bat, these calls are very low frequency, a maximum of 15 kiloHertz, but at a high frequency for the tits, above scientifically established hearing levels for this species, yet they react to them," says Siemers.

Who started it?

Gareth Jones, an expert on bat behaviour at the University of Bristol, says the finding is unexpected and novel. "I don't know of any other studies of predation of hibernating bats by small birds. It's a big jump for the tits, given that their normal prey are caterpillars."

As the birds have been anecdotally observed to eat bats in this cave for a decade, Siemers speculates that this is an example of cultural transmission. There are also four anecdotal reports of bats being eaten by tits in Sweden and Poland.

Jones says, "Presumably this is learned behaviour, but it is much too strong an inference to suggest that it could be culturally transmitted from Poland to Hungary."

Journal reference: Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0611 (in press)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

South African lesbians live in fear of 'corrective rape'

South African lesbians live in fear of 'corrective rape'

Murdered football star Eudy Simelane is just one of many township women violently assaulted to 'cure' their sexuality

By Tanya Braun

The men accused of the murder of Eudy Simelane


The men accused of the murder of Eudy Simelane

    Sisters of '77

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    The Rachel Maddow Show: Revisionist History

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    Rachel Maddow on the Republicans attempt at revisionist history that Ted Kennedy would have been all about compromising to the point of making it a lousy bill just to get something passed on health care reform.

    Maddow: In other words if only Ted Kennedy were still here. If only he had a health care bill those Republicans say they would have voted for that. You know, ah, Ted Kennedy did have a health care bill. Senator Kennedy was chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee which approved a health care reform package in July. It's called the Kennedy bill. And Senator Kennedy, helped write that bill. Senators Hatch, and McCain and Gregg, all voted against it. But the revisionist history goes even deeper. They aren't just saying they would have voted for a Kennedy health care bill, even though they had the chance and they didn't.

    They're saying they would have voted for a Kennedy health care bill because Ted Kennedy would have compromised with them, because Ted Kennedy was all about making concessions to Republicans.


    Apparently in the history of Ted Kennedy's life and work as imagined by the GOP today Senator Kennedy was the great compromiser. Ready to water down health care reform in order to bring Republicans on board.

    As Rachel notes, Kennedy was anything but that. And to add to Rachel's point, here's a little mash up of some of the "news" coverage from today calling for "Kennedy-like" bipartisanship.

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    Later in her show Rachel gave some kudos to friend of the site Bob Cesca for his column at the HuffPo titled, Healthcare Reform Named After Ted Kennedy Must Not Suck. If there's one point to get across with all this yapping about what Senator Kennedy would have or would not have done to reform our health care system, I agree with Rachel that Bob's very simple, yet honest statement hits the nail on the head. Bipartisanship be damned if it means passing a lousy piece of legislation, and do not put Senator Kennedy's name on it if that's what we're going to end up with.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    GOP Rep. says party must find 'Great White Hope' to fight Obama

    GOP Rep. says party must find 'Great White Hope' to fight Obama

    A junior Republican congresswoman thinks her party needs to find the "Great White Hope" to fight President Barack Obama's agenda.

    Yes, those were the words she used.

    In a conservative town hall forum Aug. 19, Topeka Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins declared that her party would need to embrace a "White Hope" to derail the agenda of President Obama and Congressional Democrats.

    The comments were revealed by The Topeka Capital-Journal.

    "Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope," Jenkins told a Kansas crowd. "I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington."

    A tape shows that Jenkins identified three of the alleged leading lights of her party by name: House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). All three men are white.

    A Jenkins spokesman, contacted Wednesday by a local paper, said the congresswoman didn't mean her remarks to be offensive.

    "There may be some misunderstanding there when she talked about the great white hope," Jenkins spokesman Mary Geiger was quoted as saying. "What she meant by it is they have a bright future. They're bright lights within the party."

    The phrase "Great White Hope" is most well-known as a reference to heavyweight boxing champion James J. Jeffries, used by the press before a 1910 boxing match. The media referred to Jeffries as a "Great White Hope" capable of fighting off African American boxer Jack Johnson.

    "I am going into this fight for the sole purpose of proving that a white man is better than a Negro," Jeffries said.

    At the match, a ringside band played, "All coons look alike to me."

    A photograph of Jeffries follows.

    -John Byrne

    Sunday, August 23, 2009

    Co-workers discover they're married to same man

    Co-workers discover they're married to same man

    (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

    Two Chinese women who work at the same factory were shocked to discover they were both married to the same man.

    Cui Bin reportedly married Zhang Dandan first and they had a daughter. But Cui wanted a son.

    That's when he met and married Wang Na with whom he had a son.

    Cui split up his time between the two households and made up excuses for the absences.

    Meantime the two women had become friends because they both loved karaoke.

    The truth came out when Wang grew suspicious after she heard her husband on the phone with someone she thought was another woman. So she called the number back and recognized the voice on the other end as her friend Zhang.

    Cui is now in jail.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    Ana B'Ko'ach (A Kabbalistic Prayer) (2 Versions - Music and Acapella)

    The Kabbalists reveal that this sequence of Hebrew letters encompasses the actual power of creation. The Ana B'Koach is built from 42 letters and is also known as the 42 Letter Name of God. Whenever we make a connection the 42 Letter Name, we are tapping into the primordial force of creation."

    "Ana BeKoach (Ana BeCoach or Ana B'Koach) prayer was written in the first century by a great kabalistic Rabbi - Rabbi Nehonia. It is said daily at least 3 times, often more, if it's Shabbat or Yontif. [Holy Day.]"

    Music by Ovadia Hamama
    Flash by
    Edited by Lila

    *There is also a solo voice version at the end of this video courtesy of

    The 42 Letter Name of God is an ancient word of Power. This Name of God is divided into seven lines.

    Each line can be seen as a DNA sequence that represent seven different types of energy. Each line, or sequence, contains six words that provide Divine Energy for helping us to solve the problems of life.

    Line 1: This is the most powerful line of the prayer, created to be concentrated upon in time of extreme stress or danger; the DNA sequence of power to provide sustenance in a time of dire need.

    Line 2: Grants the user the power to move events and control negative forces.

    Line 3: Empowers one with the ability to make the right decision, with the proper balance and compassion.

    Line 4: Grants the endurance necessary to follow through and prove victorious.

    Line 5: Provides the energy of deep insight, creates a form of clairvoyance that allows the user to see into the future.

    Line 6: Gives the ability to find peace and inner strength.

    Line 7: Grants the power of renewal which allows one to start over again.

    Play it continuously on your speakers that it can set up a residence in your DNA to have an effect.

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Ana B’Ko’ach (We Beg Thee)

    Ana B’Ko’ach (We Beg Thee) (Ovadia Hamama & MP3 Video

    The Kabbalists reveal that this sequence of Hebrew letters encompasses the actual power of creation. The Ana B'Koach is built from 42 letters and is also known as the 42 Letter Name of God. Whenever we make a connection the 42 Letter Name, we are tapping into the primordial force of creation.

    Ana B’Ko’ach prayer was written in the first century by a great kabalistic Rabbi - Rabbi Nehonia. It is said daily at least 3 times, often more, if it's Shabbat or Yontif. [Holy Day.]"

    Play it continuously on your speakers that it can set up a residence in your DNA to have an effect.

    Ana becho'ach, g'dulat yemincha, tatir tz'rura
    Kabel rinat amcha sagveinu, tahareinu nora (x2)
    Na gibor dorshei yichudcha, k'vavat shamrem
    Barchem taharem, rachamei tzidkatcha
    Tamid gamlem, chasin kadosh
    Berov tuvcha, nahel adatecha
    Yachid ge'eh le'amcha p'neh, zochrei k'dushatecha
    Shavateinu kabel ushma tza'akateinu, yode'a ta'alumot
    (Baruch shem k'vod malchuto le'olam va'ed)

    We beg thee with the strength and greatness of thy right arm-Untangle our knotted fate.
    Accept your people's song, elevate and purify us (x2)
    Please, heroic one, those who pursue your uniqueness-
    guard them as the pupil of an eye.
    Bless them, purify them, pity them,
    may your righteousness always reward them.
    Powerful and Holy One, in goodness lead your flock.
    Unique and proud one, to your people turn,
    who remember your holiness.
    Accept our cries, and hear our screams,
    oh knower of mysteries.
    (Blessed is the name of his noble kingdom forever and ever.)

    Line 1: This is the most powerful line of the prayer, created to be concentrated upon in time of extreme stress or danger; the DNA sequence of power to provide sustenance in a time of dire need.
    Line 2: Grants the user the power to move events and control negative forces.
    Line 3: Empowers one with the ability to make the right decision, with the proper balance and compassion.
    Line 4: Grants the endurance necessary to follow through and prove victorious.
    Line 5: Provides the energy of deep insight, creates a form of clairvoyance that allows the user to see into the future.
    Line 6: Gives the ability to find peace and inner strength.
    Line 7: Grants the power of renewal which allows one to start over again.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Flying rabbis fight swine flu

    Flying rabbis fight swine flu

    Rabbis and Kabbalah mystics recite prayers to ward off swine flu

    A group of rabbis and Jewish mystics has taken to the skies over Israel, praying and blowing ceremonial horns in a plane to ward off swine flu.

    About 50 religious leaders circled over the country on Monday, chanting prayers and blowing horns, called shofars.

    The flight's aim was "to stop the pandemic so people will stop dying from it", Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri was quoted as saying in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

    The flu is often called simply "H1N1" in Israel, as pigs are seen as unclean.

    Swine flu is a respiratory disease thought to spread through coughing and sneezing
    Symptoms mimic those of normal flu
    Good hygiene like using a tissue and washing hands thoroughly can help reduce transmission

    Eating pork is banned under Jewish dietary laws.

    According to Israel's health ministry, there have been more than 2,000 cases of swine flu in the country, with five fatalities so far.

    "We are certain that, thanks to the prayer, the danger is already behind us," added Mr Batzri was quoted as saying.

    Television footage showed rabbis in black hats rocking backwards and forwards as they read prayers from Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism which counts the singer Madonna among its devotees.

    The shofar is the horn of a ram, and is used to mark major religious occasions in Judaism.

    Bill Maher - New Rules

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Obama "has not begun working with Congress to repeal" DOMA

    Just posted this over at the main site via Greg Sargent. Bottom line is that Obama has not even started working with Congress to repeal DOMA. Despite all the nice talk from Obama and his appointees about how bad DOMA is, that "abhorrent" law won't repeal itself. And, Congress won't take it seriously until Obama gets involved. He knows that. Congress knows that.

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    Dick Armey fact check: MoveOn did not run Bush-Hitler ad

    Dick Armey fact check: MoveOn did not run Bush-Hitler ad

    MSNBC's liberal anchor Rachel Maddow took to Meet the Press on Sunday morning for a debate over health care reform, but ended up correcting a grievous misstatement by former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey.

    In his opening remarks, Armey claimed that Democratic activist group had "ran those ads" comparing President George W. Bush to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

    Armey's group FreedomWorks has stayed busy as of late by promoting Democratic lawmakers' town hall meetings and encouraging "forceful" displays against President Barack Obama's allegedly "socialist" health insurance reforms.

    Maddow, who has been on a roll in the fight against health insurance reform misinformation, was quick to provide a counter-weight.

    "They didn't," she said, shaking her head. "They never ran an ad that compared..."

    "You're gonna get a chance to talk," he said with a smile. "I just looked at the ad ... It ... It was a horrible thing."

    (The ad he's speaking about was later linked by FreedomWorks, without qualification.)

    Later in the discussion, Meet the Press host David Gregory asked Armey if he would repudiate Nazi imagery as applied to President Barack Obama.

    "Absolutely," he said. "I repudiated it when did that to George Bush. Did anybody here at this table repudiate it?"

    Pointing his hands toward Maddow, Army added, "We've just heard it was alright when MoveOn did it. It's not right when anybody does it."

    Of course, during the broadcast Maddow did not suggest it was "alright" for MoveOn to compare George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. She said MoveOn did not make such an analogy.

    Instead of taking more time to refute Armey's claim, Maddow glanced at her notes and got back to current affairs.

    FreedomWorks, she noted, is associated with the "Tea Party Patriots," which had until Sunday afternoon distributed a video that she said promoted town hall violence "as if that were a good thing."

    Maddow added: "Is that what the Health Care Freedom Coalition wants to have done in the health care debate? FreedomWorks is part of that coalition. You can say that you denounce it, but the organization that you head is part of it."

    In the clip provided below, she does not explain to the former Republican majority leader how incorrect his claim really is.

    However, Maddow is indeed correct.

    At no point did MoveOn promote, "run" or even publicly condone the video which Armey's group now circulates. The clip Armey attributes to MoveOn was apparently submitted as part of a contest to help determine how the group should advertise against the Bush administration in the run-up to the 2004 election.

    Astute political observers may remember this. In 2003, MoveOn held a contest called "Bush in 30 Seconds." Entries were judged by a panel of celebrities that included Jack Black, Moby, then-comedian (now Senator) Al Franken, famed Democratic strategist James Carville and others.

    The Bush-Hitler ad was not chosen. This writer could not even find it among the top 150 user-submitted videos.

    Claiming that MoveOn "ran" a Bush-Hitler ad is false. By re-posting the rejected video without disclosing its true origin, FreedomWorks is only perpetuating a lie born this morning on MSNBC.

    -- Stephen C. Webster

    This video is from MSNBC's Meet the Press, broadcast Sunday, August 16, 2009.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    When Should Gay Marriage Advocates Try to Reverse California's Prop 8?

    When Should Gay Marriage Advocates Try to Reverse California's Prop 8?

    Whether we like it or not, gay marriage opponents had a devastatingly effective advertising campaign in California.

    When should Californians try to reverse last November's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage? That's the question on tap this week, and for awhile going forward.

    While Barack Obama won a 61% to 37% victory in California last November, the Prop 8 amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage also passed, 52% to 48%. It was a striking rebuke to pro-gay rights forces, who had just won the right in a notable California Supreme Court decision, and seemed poised to hold it in the election.

    This week, a few organizations championing same-sex marriage will announce their opinions as to to whether to try to reverse Prop 8 in 2010 or 2012. In order to place an initiative on the November 2010 ballot, initiative language must be submitted to California Attorney General Jerry Brown by September 25th. Equality California and Courage Campaign will announce their decisions this week. This won't end the process, of course, as key funding decisions are yet to be made.

    So, the question for human rights advocates is, when best to try again, the seeming slam dunk of 2008 having been screwed up in various ways.

    California's same-sex marriage advocates have heard from their pollsters, they've heard from selected political consultants, and they've heard from activists. Now they need to decide whether to try to reverse Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment adopted last November, in 2010 or in 2012.

    The pollsters said that 2012 would be a better option. The political consultants said that 2012 would be a better option. The activist leaders prefer 2010.

    If there is to be an initiative to bring back the right to same-sex marriage -- established by the California Supreme Court last year and overturned by California voters last November -- ballot language is due by September 25th.

    Here are some points to consider.

    **The Polling

    Gay marriage advocates -- and please excuse this sympathetic straight guy for using the short form rather than the full, and politically correct, LGBT language -- commissioned a poll on this point. Which was conducted before the Republican majority California Supreme Court, which had granted the right in the first place, predictably upheld Prop 8 last spring. Predictably because most gay rights advocates had sued on the technical basis that Prop 8 constituted a fundamental revision of the California Constitution rather than an amendment. Ignoring the fact that the Prop 13 property tax amendment was actually was actually far more far-reaching.

    On June 3rd, I went on a media conference call sponsored by same-sex marriage proponents. Pollsters Amy Simon and David Binder discussed their poll, which indicated that the opponents of same-sex marriage have an eyelash thin one to two-point edge over proponents among all California voters. Not unlike other polling before the passage of the gay marriage ban.

    The advocates' pollsters read is that 2012 is a marginally better year in which to do a gay marriage initiative than 2010, due to higher turnout of more Democratic voters in a presidential election. They're less pronounced, however, in the view that 2012 is preferable to 2010 than are the two leading public pollsters remaining in the state: Field Poll director Mark di Camillo and Public Policy Institute of California poll director Mark Baldassare.

    There is a sort of inexorable quality to this. As time passes, the opponents of gay marriage increasingly pass away.

    Nothwithstanding what their pollsters, or any others, think, the impression I got from the groups represented on the call before I had to move on to the next task is that they intend to move ahead on a same-sex marriage initiative for 2010. And are planning public events promoting same-sex marriage in dozens of cities.

    **The Political Consultants Gay marriage advocates Equality California asked a selected panel of supportive California political consultants which year is best to reverse Prop 8, 2010 or 2012. The unanimous view? 2012.

    Former Los Angeles Times pollster Jill Darling said: "Did the 2008 campaign move voters? Are the post-elections efforts having any effect? Nothing measurable."

    Democratic consultant Gale Kaufman, named campaign manager of the year by the American Association of Political Consultants for defeating Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2005 special election initiatives, notes that an initiative for November 2010 needs to be submitted to the Attorney General by the end of September. "Has the perfect initiative been drafted? Is everyone who should be consulted on the legal language, not to mention whatever nuances we want to add, signed off? Is the campaign structure in place to sustain the process that goes along with the beginning stages of an initiative campaign?

    "I pose these questions because I think I know the answer. And I think the answer is 'No,'" Kaufman said.

    This late ad by Samuel L. Jackson casting opposition to gay marriage in a long line of anti-civil rights moves was too little to counter problems with the Latino and African American communities.

    **The Activist Groups Older, more established groups are more skeptical of the idea of going right away back to the ballot. Others, are more into it. Of course, action equals funding in the world of activist politics.

    Constant campaigning equals constant mobilization equals constant funding.

    A gathering of activist group leaders last month in San Bernardino showed most in favor of going to the ballot in 2010. 93 voted to go in 2010, with 49 in favor of 2012, and 20 undecided.

    ** The Initiative Dynamic. California voters have dealt with hundreds of initiatives over the past several decades. The dynamic has become well established.

    It is much easier to defeat an initiative than to pass one.

    This is why 2008 was such a gigantic missed opportunity for the gay rights movement.

    Former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown provided the appropriate frame for the initiative, casting it in ballot language as taking away a right. Which infuriated the far right forces behind the initiative. But which was entirely accurate, given the fact that a Republican majority state Supreme Court had just granted the right.

    And so the No on 8 side had a good lead in the polls starting out last year.

    However, the obvious frame for the election proceeded to be completely blown by the No on 8 campaign until the last few weeks. First by a campaign which emphasized a sort of "getting-to-know-us" theme and, ultimately, by mistakes made by gay marriage proponent Gavin Newsom.

    Same-sex marriage stalled out earlier this year in liberal New York, after a much-ballyhooed introduction.

    **The Overall Environment Today's California political environment is dominated by the sharp economic downturn and by a closely aligned reality, namely California's chronic-turned-chaotic budget crisis. In this context of ongoing economic, financial, and fiscal emergency, gay marriage is not a top-rung issue for most Californians.

    As a wild card indicator, there is the relative failure of the movie, Bruno. Some gay rights advocates saw it as a leading edge into the culture. Others worried that it was an unnecessary stereotyping of gay culture. I noted that its sharp fall-off after its opening day was no surprise, given its aggressively in-your-face nature. Putting aside the longer analysis of the movie, which I provided here on the Huffington Post, a relevant fact is that it will end up less than half as popular as Sacha Baron Cohen's previous provocation, the 2006 hit Borat.

    And as a fine a movie as Milk is -- with its Best Actor Oscar for Sean Penn for his great portrayal of the intriguing Harvey Milk, with whom I was acquainted, and Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for former colleague Josh Brolin for his great portrayal of Milk assassin Dan White -- the movie makes Bulworth look like a blockbuster.

    A same-sex marriage ceremony at San Francisco City Hall a few weeks before the election, presided over by Mayor Gavin Newsom, with first graders in attendance, effectively countered Prop 8 opponents' arguments that the schools were being raised as a scare tactic.

    **The Newsom Factor San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom catapulted himself into a role as chief proponent of gay marriage with his swiftly overturned declaration in 2004 that same-sex marriage was legal in San Francisco. When the California Supreme Court declared it a right in 2008, Newsom promptly made himself the inadvertent star of the Yes on 8 TV ads with his notorious, braying declaration that gay marriage is inevitable in America, "Whether you like it or not."

    Which is, probably, true, in the long run. Not that you want to say it as Newsom did. Because few things are inevitable in politics. And anything can be lost with enough arrogance and stupidity.

    Later, with the No on 8 side's lead declining, Newsom presided over a lesbian wedding at San Francisco City Hall. Which first graders in one of the newlywed's classes attended. This provided endless ammunition for gay marriage opponents, who had been struggling to prove their contention that the right to same-sex marriage means that the gay lifestyle will be promoted in the public schools.

    Newsom is trying to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010. He's not doing well. He's just had major blow-ups in both his political and City Hall operations, and has less than one-eighth the campaign funds available to spend that frontrunner Jerry Brown has.

    Nevertheless, his prominent role, at least for now, in the politics of 2010 places him front and center in the debate over the repeal of Prop 8. Given his record of boneheaded moves, gay marriage opponents are happy about this.

    **The History The right to same-sex marriage will, in the end, win out. It's the getting there that is messy. And it need not have been as messy as the passage of Prop 8, and its expected upholding last spring by the California Supreme Court, has made it. (Fortunately, the 18,000 same-sex marriages legally carried out under the short-lived law will stand.)

    Ironically, it was this very court that granted the right of same-sex marriage just last year.

    Overturning an earlier anti-gay marriage initiative, Chief Justice Ron George, a Republican, wrote in his majority opinion: "An individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon an individual's sexual orientation. ... An individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis to deny or withhold legal rights."

    The state Supreme Court's decision fueled a right-wing drive to enshrine opposition to same-sex marriage in California's constitution.

    Gay marriage opponents got a huge gift immediately from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's comments. Newsom had enraged top national Democrats, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, by unilaterally declaring same-sex marriage lawful in San Francisco in the midst of the 2004 presidential race. Though it was a move that was predictably easily overturned, national Republican strategists credited the furor it caused with playing a propulsive role in turning out huge numbers of fundamentalist voters in Ohio, the lynchpin of George W. Bush's 2004 re-election.

    In the spring of 2008, Newsom delighted the proponents of what became Proposition 8 by delivering a gloating set of remarks.

    "By the way, as California goes, so goes the rest of the nation," he said. "It's inevitable. This door's wide open now. It's gonna happen. Whether you like it or not. This is the future. And it's now."

    The foolish remarks helped galvanize religious conservatives around the country, and they poured millions into the California campaign. It also formed the cornerstone for the Yes on 8 ad campaign.

    A few weeks before the election, with opponents of Prop 8 fighting back against distracting assertions that the right to same-sex marriage means that "homosexuality" will be promoted in the public schools, Newsom presided over the same-sex wedding of a first grade teacher at San Francisco City Hall. 18 of her students were on hand to toss rose petals and blow bubbles on their just married teacher and her new wife.

    The Yes on 8 forces had a field day with this, successfully pushing back against new No on 8 ads. And what seemed like the likely defeat of Prop 8 turned into a 52% to 48% victory.

    And so the question remains: When best to try to roll back the ultimate failure of 2008? In 2010 or in 2012?

    The emotional answer is clearly the former. The more measured answer the latter. But politics frequently turns, for better or worse, on emotion.

    Sunday, August 09, 2009

    Manhattan Entertainment Spotlight Special -0709

    Interviews with Sal Nastasi of Ready In 10, jazz artist Kemba Cofield. Video footage of Levente Egry and Stefani Scovolo.

    Manhattan Entertainment Spotlight Special is a television show which highlights entertainers, artists, performers, actors, playwrights and theatre companies in New York City. It is aired on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) and streamed live over the internet at air time.

    Wednesday, August 05, 2009

    Obama's Mother was NEVER IN KENYA

    Letter From the Editor: 'Birther' Movement Reeks With the Rotten Stench of Racism

    Why Is CNN's Lou Dobbs Giving a Platform for Conspiracy Theorists Linked to White Supremacists Who Falsely Insist -- Despite Overwhelming Documentary Evidence to the Contrary -- That the Hawaii-Born Obama is a Foreigner Who's Constitutionally Ineligible to be President?

    Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN financial news anchor-turned-commentator, has seen the ratings for his nightly program, "Lou Dobbs Tonight," plunge dramatically in recent weeks, after Dobbs repeatedly challenged -- despite being repeatedly contradicted on-air by both his CNN colleagues and by his rivals on other networks -- the veracity of President Obama's birth in Hawaii in 1961, effectively agreeing with conspiracy theorists who insist that the nation's first African-American president is a foreigner who is constitutionally ineligible to be the nation's chief executive. But the so-called "Birther" movement against Obama has ties to known white supremacists -- including the gunman in the attack on the U.S. Holocaust Museum in June -- who cannot countenance a black man occupying the nation's highest office. (Photo courtesy CNN)

    (Posted 5:00 a.m. EDT Monday, August 3, 2009)
    (Updated 5:00 p.m. EDT Wednesday, August 5, 2009)


    Has Lou Dobbs taken leave of his senses?

    The longtime CNN financial news anchor-turned-outspoken commentator who in recent years has generated a lot of controversy over his campaign against illegal immigration -- a campaign that critics have charged is motivated by anti-Latino bias -- may very well have bitten off more than he can chew by airing on his nightly show claims that President Obama is not a native-born U.S. citizen, despite overwhelming documentary evidence to the contrary.

    The Associated Press reported Saturday that Dobbs, who's said on the air his belief that the president was born in Hawaii, "has become a publicity nightmare for CNN, [embarrassing] his boss and [hosting] a show that seemed to contradict the network's 'no bias' brand" that seeks to set CNN apart from the left-leaning MSNBC and the right-leaning Fox News Channel.

    Dobbs has on several occasions invited members of the so-called "Birther Movement" who stubbornly insist Obama is not a native-born U.S. citizen to air their claims without providing a shred of proof to back them up -- and has even gone so far as to demand that the president make public his birth certificate, even though he did just that during the 2008 election campaign.

    But Dobbs kept the controversy alive on his "Lou Dobbs Tonight" program despite a memorandum from CNN President Jon Klein that declared the Obama birth-certificate story "dead" -- and despite a precipitous plunge in the ratings for Dobbs' nightly 6 p.m. EDT program as a result of the controversy, according to the New York Observer.

    The newspaper reports that since Dobbs brought up the Obama birth certificate issue in mid-July, his show's ratings have nosedived by 15 percent of his total viewership and by an even more precipitous 27 percent in the all-important 25-54 age bracket most sought after by advertisers.

    That Dobbs has given a platform for the "Birthers" on his program has drawn fire even from conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Mike Huckabee -- neither of whom will likely ever be accused of being allies of the president.


    By now, you know the story of the so-called "Birther Movement" -- conspiracy theorists who bullheadedly insist without a shred of proof that Obama is a Kenyan-born foreigner who is barred by the Constitution from even running for president, let alone being the nation's CEO and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

    Never mind the fact that Obama was born on August 4, 1961 -- two years after Hawaii became America's 50th state -- in Honolulu's Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital and that the document exists to prove it. Obama's birth certificate was issued by the Hawaii Department of Health, which confirmed last week that it has the document -- copies of which have been circulating on the Internet for months -- on file.

    Never mind the fact that both of Honolulu's major newspapers, the Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin, published announcements about the president's birth to "Mr. & Mrs. Barack H. Obama [of] 6085 Kalanianaole Hwy." in Honolulu, in their August 13 and August 14, 1961 editions, respectively.

    Never mind the fact that a Honolulu resident, Eleanor Nordyke, gave birth to twin girls in the same hospital the day after Obama was born -- and whose daughters attended the same Honolulu school Obama attended -- and likely knew the boy who would grow up to become America's first African-American president.

    Never mind the fact that certified copies of the president's birth certificate can be ordered through the Hawaii Department of Health's Online Vital Records Ordering System, albeit on a strictly limited basis in accordance with the state's privacy law.

    Never mind the fact that the original Obama birth certificate itself was viewed, verified as authentic, photographed and posted online last November by the nonpartisan Web site,, which declared that the document "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false."


    The far-right-wing posted what it said were photographs purporting to show a certified copy of a birth certficate for Barack Hueesin Obama II on August 4, 1961 at the Central Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.

    The photos were released by California attorney Orly Taitz, who has filed a number of lawsuits demanding proof of Obama's eligibility to serve as president -- only to see the suits dismissed as being without merit.

    An examination of the photos reveal several inconsistencies in the alleged Kenyan birth certificate. They do not show the signatures of either the president's white, Kansas-born mother, Ann Dunham or of his black, Kenyan-born father, Barack Obama, Sr. Nor do they show any signatures by the registrar or by the attending physicians. Kenya was under British rule in 1961. Under British law, birth certificates are not legally valid without such signatures.

    Other discrepancies in the alleged Kenyan birth certificate include listing Obama's mother under his father's surname -- when, in fact, Dunham legally kept her maiden name throughout her marriage. And it lists Dunham's age as 16, when, in fact, she was 18 when she gave birth to the future president.

    The lower-left-hand corner of the alleged documents refers to the "Republic of Kenya." But Kenya did not gain its independence from Britain until 1963 -- when the young Barack was two years old.

    Most importantly, Dunham never set foot on Kenyan soil -- it would have been extremely unsafe for her to be there. Tribal warfare between the Kikuyus and the Luos was raging in Kenya at the time of her pregnancy. The ethnic warfare erupted in the immediate aftermath of the Mau Mau uprising against the British colonialists. There's no way that Barack Obama Sr., a Luo, would have dared to bring his pregnant white American wife to Kenya at the time, knowing full well that her safety -- and that of their unborn son -- would have been in grave jeopardy.

    In fact, the president's mother did not leave the United States until 1967, when she moved to Indonesia to live with her second husband, Lolo Seotoro (She divorced the senior Obama in 1964 after she learned that he was married to another woman in Kenya).

    And contrary to the claims of the "Birthers," Dunham never renounced her U.S. citizenship, returning to the States -- with 11-year-old Barack -- in 1972.


    So why, despite so much clear evidence that the president was indeed born in Hawaii two years after statehood and is therefore a native-born U.S. citizen, are these conspiracy theorists continuing to insist that Obama was not born in the U.S., but rather in his father's native Kenya?

    Conspiracy theorists are notorious for stubbornly clinging to their beliefs, no matter how much or how solid evidence exists to disprove their theories. And the "Birther Movement" is no exception.

    But this particular conspiracy-theory movement is more sinister than most. The 'Skeeter Bites Report has uncovered a wealth of evidence that the "Birther Movement" against the president is inextricably tied to white supremacists and other far-right extremists -- and is profoundly marked by an absolute refusal among its practitioners to accept Obama as president because he is black, or because of an equally-false belief that he is a Muslim.

    The person who planted the seeds for the "Birther Movement" is Andy Martin, a perennial fringe candidate for public office who is also credited with first spreading false rumors of the president being a Muslim with ties to Islamic extremists. Martin -- a frequent guest on Sean Hannity's Fox News Channel program -- was exposed as a notoriously anti-Jewish bigot.

    In a campaign fundraising letter he issued during an unsuccessful run for a Connecticut congressional seat in 1986, Martin -- then known as Anthony R. Martin-Trigona -- pledged to "exterminate Jew Power in America," claimed that "Jew babies are fed with subsidized American taxpayer money" and that Jews were "schooled in blood-sucking and money-grubbing from birth." Martin's anti-Semitic diatribe was obtained and posted by

    Martin subsequently moved to Florida and sought the Republican nomination for a state Senate seat a decade later. After learning of Martin's prior anti-Semitic fundraising pitch, GOP officials withdrew their support for him. The 62-year-old Martin now lives in Chicago, the president's adopted hometown.

    Martin started his anti-Obama smear campaign in 2004 after Obama, then a U.S. Senate candidate, delivered the keynote address that electrified the delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Boston and put the future president on the national political radar screen.

    In several guest appearances on the "Hannity" show, Martin accused Obama -- without offering any proof -- of being "in training for radical overthrow of the government," based on his relationship with former 1960s radical William Ayres.

    According to, Martin was wanted in New York and Florida on outstanding arrest warrants as of last October. The New York warrant, out of Ulster County, resulted from harassment charges related to a child custody battle. The Florida warrant, from Palm Beach County, was filed in connection with a criminal contempt conviction.


    The belief that Obama is a foreigner has spread like wildfire among white- supremacist circles and Web sites, including Stormfront, the largest and best-known self-styled "white nationalist" site on the Web; the Council of Conservative Citizens, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "the largest white nationalist group in America," a reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils that were formed to resist desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s; and, a virulently anti-immigrant site.

    That white-supremacist groups are heavily involved in the "Birther Movement" against the president should come as no surprise, given the massive coronary they collectively suffered last November when Obama was elected. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors and exposes extremist activity and rhetoric, anger among white supremacists and other right-wing extremists in response to Obama's victory "resulted in an avalanche of vitriolic postings on racist Web sites" -- at one point, causing Stormfront's server to crash.


    Questions remain unanswered about James von Brunn, the 89-year-old white supremacist gunman who shot and killed a black security officer inside the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington in June. Investigators found a notebook in von Brunn's car that listed up to nine other target areas in the nation's capital -- including the White House.

    According to Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, von Brunn not only believed that Obama was not born in the U.S. and ineligible to be president, but "he also believed that Hitler didn't kill enough Jews. He had a history of anti-Semitic, hateful views."

    Von Brunn is also the founder of a white-supremacist Web site, HolyWesternEmpire,org, which is laced with anti-Semitic quotations.

    The site was taken offline after von Brunn's arrest, but according to former Fox News host Alan Colmes, von Brunn published on his Web site in 2002 a book that detailed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, with chapters such as "The Holocaust Hoax" and "The Negro." The book was mostly anti-Semitic but also attacked all nonwhite ethnicities.

    "We are witnessing today on the world stage a tragedy of enormous proportions: the calculated destruction of the White Race," Colmes quoted von Brunn as having written. He threatened to take action against nonwhites, writing, "We will offer a plan to remove the cancer from our cultural organism."


    This is not the first time that Dobbs has come under fire about Obama. Last September, while attending a Values Voters summit over the weekend in Washington, Dobbs purchased a box of so-called "Obama Waffles" that featured racially offensive charactures of the then-Illinois senator.

    Photographs of Dobbs with the controversial waffle mix, which portrays Obama with popping eyes and big, thick lips as he stares at a plate of waffles and smiles broadly -- an image more reminiscent of Stephin Fetchit than of Aunt Jemima -- were taken down from the Web site of the Family Research Council, the conservative organization that hosted the summit -- but not before snapped a screen shot of the photos.

    "My wife will love this!" Dobbs was quoted as saying about the "Obama Waffles."

    Nearly a year later, we have to wonder if Mrs. Dobbs still does -- if she ever did. And if America still loves Lou Dobbs. Based on the latest Nielsens, it sure doesn't look like it.

    Skeeter Sanders
    Editor & Publisher
    The 'Skeeter Bites Report

    Thursday, July 30, 2009

    Widespread Domestic Surveillance Continues Under Obama: Restore My Goddam 4th Amendment rights!!!

    AUDIO: Peter B. Collins speaks to the whistleblowers and experts still sounding the alarm as Bush-era big government intrusion continues unabated...

    Guest Blogged by Peter B. Collins

    Since I signed off the syndicated Peter B. Collins radio show in March, I've been able to zoom out from the close-up view of day-to-day political combat.

    On a daily basis, I reflect on the "change we can believe in" that candidate Obama promised us just a year ago. Certainly, the new administration is better than the Bush/Cheney gang on many fronts; and Bush left Obama an economic meltdown and other serious problems that need attention.

    But consider:

    • we still have 135,000 troops and even more contractors in Iraq, with no clear plan or timeline for our exit, just vague promises and the hope that the Iraqis will kick us out next year. Most of the US troops that have left Iraq went to Afghanistan;
    • the escalation of our presence in Afghanistan is very dangerous, and contradicts some of Obama's own statements about the prospects for "success" there. He had the chance to reverse direction after the election, but chose to double down on the "good war";
    • the massive interception of domestic electronic communications continues, and the Obama Justice Department has reinforced and expanded on the bad legal precedents set under Bush/Cheney. Most Democrats are silent on this issue, and I see no effort to restore our privacy rights.

    Remember how they dubbed Ronnie Reagan the "Teflon president"? Obama seems to have a new and improved coating, I call it "Leftlon", protecting him from challenges from the progressives who helped him beat Hillary for the nomination.

    He keeps reaching out to GOP nuts who want to scuttle his tepid health care "reform", refuses to allow investigations while Cheney spits at him regularly, and expects us to trust the Goldman Sachs Alumni Association to fix the economy that they continue to plunder.

    When will Obama deliver for the progressives who got him elected?

    That's the central question I'm exploring in my new podcast series. Drop in to or you can subscribe (free, FREE!) at iTunes.

    Here are two fresh programs I'd like you to check out. You can download each and/or listen online below. One is co-hosted with me by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, featuring NSA expert James Bamford as guest. The other is my exclusive interview with Mark Klein, former AT&T technician turned NSA surveillance program whistleblower...

    • Episode #18 is the first episode of The Boiling Frogs, an interview series co-hosted by Sibel Edmonds. Sibel, who was famously "gagged" by the Bush Justice Department, is now speaking quite freely, and our first show features NSA expert James Bamford. He describes the massive scale of domestic surveillance, the complicity of Democrats in legalizing Bush's violations of our 4th Amendment rights, and the bungling of pre-9/11 intel by the spook community, especially the NSA.

    Download MP3, or listen online here (appx. 1 hour)...

    • Episode #19 is an exclusive 90-minute conversation with Mark Klein, a former technician at AT&T who exposed the NSA's secret room in San Francisco where they installed a splitter that routes all traffic to the NSA. Klein tells what he discovered, and how big media outlets like 60 Minutes, NY Times and the LA Times spiked or buried his story. The LA Times took his confidential information directly to Intel Czar Negroponte and NSA chief Hayden, then screwed Klein by not running a story and leaving him exposed. Klein also explains how leading Democrats like Sen. Feinstein knew about his revelations, refused to meet with him or allow him to testify, and worked to protect the phone giants and the NSA.

    Download MP3, or listen online here (appx. 90 mins)...

    Give them a listen

    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Monday, July 27, 2009

    Arab leaders forced Palestinians to become refugees

    A Palestinian blames Arab leaders for causing his parents to become refugees. Ibrahim Sarsur, head of Islamic Movement in Israel, affirms and condems.
    [PATV (Fatah), April 30, 1999]

    Phone caller from Gaza:
    "Mr. Ibrahim, I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the "Catastrophe" [establishment of Israel - 1948] our district officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdel [near Ashkelon, southern Israel] is a traitor, he is a traitor... "
    Ibrahim Sarsur, head of Islamic Movement in Israel, responds:
    "I don't want to blame the one who caused this situation, but we are forced to cope with this situation. The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife, throughout history until Resurrection Day."

    SHAKESPEARE- A biblical allegory

    Arab leaders are responsible for refugee problem

    PMW Bulletins
    Arab leaders are responsible for refugee problem

    "The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: 'Get away from the battle lines. It's a matter of ten days or two weeks at the most, and we'll bring you back to Ein-Kerem [near Jerusalem].' And we said to ourselves, 'That's a very long time. What is this? Two weeks? That's a lot!' That's what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by." [PATV, July 7, 2009]

    With these words an Arab resident of a refugee camp recounts the reason why his family left Israel in 1948, in an interview broadcast on PA TV this month.

    In recent years, Palestinian leaders, writers and refugees have spoken out in the Palestinian media, blaming the Arab leadership for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. According to these accounts, and contrary to the Palestinian myth that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were deported by Israel in 1948, the vast majority of the Arab exodus from Israel was voluntary, and the result of orders by the Arab leadership.

    Furthermore, the fact that this information has been openly discussed by public figures and refugees in the Palestinian Authority media itself suggests that awareness of this responsibility may be widespread - even though Palestinian leaders continue to blame Israel for "the expulsion" for propaganda purposes.

    The following statements in the PA media shed significant light on the events of 1948 and counter the attempts by the Palestinian Authority to hide this part of history.

    Click here to view the Palestinian testimonies

    1. Arab resident of refugee camp:
    "This picture was taken a week before we left Ein-Kerem [near Jerusalem] in June 1948, in front of our house. The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: 'Get away from the battle lines. It's a matter of ten days or two weeks at the most, and we'll bring you back to Ein-Kerem.' And we said to ourselves, 'That's a very long time. What is this? Two weeks? That's a lot!' That's what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by."
    [PATV, July 7, 2009]

    2. Jawad Al-Bashiti, Palestinian journalist in Jordan:
    "Remind me of one real cause from all the factors that have caused the 'Palestinian Catastrophe' [the establishment of Israel and the creation of the refugee problem], and I will remind you that it still exists... The reasons for the Palestinian Catastrophe are the same reasons that have produced and are still producing our Catastrophes today.
    During the Little Catastrophe, meaning the Palestinian Catastrophe, the following happened: the first war between Arabs and Israel had started and the 'Arab Salvation Army' came and told the Palestinians: 'We have come to you in order to liquidate the Zionists and their state. Leave your houses and villages, you will return to them in a few days safely. Leave them so we can fulfill our mission (destroy Israel) in the best way and so you won't be hurt.' It became clear already then, when it was too late, that the support of the Arab states (against Israel) was a big illusion. The Arabs fought as if intending to cause the 'Palestinian Catastrophe'."
    [Al-Ayyam, May 13, 2008]

    3. Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Palestinian journalist in PA official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:
    "The leaders and the elites promised us at the beginning of the 'Catastrophe' in 1948 that the duration of the exile would not be long, and that it would not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees would return to their homes, which most of them did not leave only until they put their trust in those "Orkubian" promises made by the leaders and the political elites. Afterwards, days passed, months, years and decades, and the promises were lost with the strain of the succession of events..."
    [The term "Orkubian" invokes Orkub, a figure from Arab tradition who was known for breaking his promises and for his lies.]
    [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 13, 2006]

    4. Asmaa Jabir Balasimah, woman who fled Israel in 1948:
    "We heard sounds of explosions and of gunfire at the beginning of the summer in the year of the 'Catastrophe' [1948]. They [Arab leaders] told us: The Jews attacked our region and it is better to evacuate the village and return after the battle is over. And indeed there were among us [those who fled Israel] those who left a fire burning under the pot, those who left their flock [of sheep] and those who left their money and gold behind, based on the assumption that we would return after a few hours."
    [Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006]

    5. Ibrahim Sarsur, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel:
    An Arab viewer called Palestinian Authority TV and quoted his father, saying that in 1948 the Arab District Officer ordered all Arabs to leave Palestine or be labeled traitors. In response, Ibrahim Sarsur, now Arab Member of Israeli Parliament Knesset, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, cursed those Arab leaders, thus acknowledging Israel's historical record.

    Viewer: "Mr. Ibrahim [Sarsur]: I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the 'Catastrophe' [in 1948], our District Officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdel [near Ashkelon - southern Israel] is a traitor, he is a traitor."
    Ibrahim Sarsur, now MK, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel: "The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife throughout history until Resurrection Day."
    [PA TV April 30, 1999]

    6. Fuad Abu Hajla, senior Palestinian journalist:
    Fuad Abu Hajla, then a regular columnist in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote an article before an Arab Summit, criticizing Arab leaders. One of the failures he cited, in the name of a prisoner, was that an earlier generation of Arab leaders had "forced" them to leave Israel in 1948.
    "I have received a letter from a prisoner in Acre prison, to the Arab summit:
    To the [Arab and Muslim] Kings and Presidents: Poverty is killing us, the symptoms are exhausting us and the souls are leaving our body, yet you are still searching for the way to provide aid, like one who is looking for a needle in a haystack or like the armies of your predecessors in the year of 1948, who forced us to leave [Israel], on the pretext of clearing the battlefields of civilians... So what will your summit do now?"
    [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 19, 2001]

    Sunday, July 26, 2009

    Free Events in NYC

    Dessert Walking Tour

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sunday, July 26th
    Time: 11:00am
    Location: Meet at Madeleine Patisserie, (132 West 23rd St, b/n 6th & 7th)
    Cost: Free

    This may take the cake for NYC walking tours. This is the 9th consecutive monthly tour of the city's neighborhood sweet spots. This walk will explore Union Square which has 5 delicious dessert makers. For starters a small Parisian bakery offers the freshest macaroons, followed by a dense Belgian brownie, our third stop has a totally original
    pretzel croissant, next up are gourmet chocolates, and our last course is home-made gelato. Tour lasts approximately 2 hours and the walking distance is about 1 mile. The desserts are free to drool over, but affordably priced for consumption. For more info on the Walking Tours site and be on the look-out for a tour guide in a red ball cap.

    Read More

    Posted by Lindsay at 11:00 AM | View This Article | Email to a friend

    The New Museum Block Party

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sunday, July 26th
    Time: 12:00pm - 7:00pm
    Location: Sara D. Roosevelt Park
    Cost: Free

    "A day of art activities and performances in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. First, enjoy a range of artist- and educator-led interactive projects and programs related to the neighborhood and the New Museum. Then join the Block Party Parade in a raucous processional marching from the park to the New Museum. Explore the current exhibitions with a free docent-led highlights tour, culminating in a special performance at the New Museum. The New Museum Block Party is free and open to the public. Participants receive a complementary guest pass to visit the New Museum on the day of the event."

    Cine Brunch - Yojimbo

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sunday, July 26th
    Time: 12:30pm
    Location: (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleeker St.)
    Cost: Free

    "Cine-Brunch at (Le) Poisson Rouge is a new take on the summer movie season - a free afternoon screening of art-house cinema classics... Cine-Brunch offers an alternative to the summer blockbuster: refined entertainment in a cool, comfortable environment where viewers can enjoy brunch or LPR's regular menu of tapas while taking in classic cinema and sipping a cocktail. And best of all, it's free!" Today's film is the Akira Kurosawa samauri classic Yojimbo. The screening is free but you're brunch ($7) and cocktails ($3 specials, $7 bloodies) are not.

    Ain't Nothin' But a Beach Party

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sunday, July 26th
    Time: 1:00pm - 10:00pm
    Location: Water Taxi Beach (2 Bordon Ave, LIC)
    Cost: Free

    NYC House music legend Jellybean Benitez brings his feel vibes (a la their Ain't Nothin' But a House Party events) to the Water Taxi Beach today. This is a great, rare chance to catch a classic house spinner on the waterfront. 21+

    Pool Parties on the Waterfront: And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sundays through August 30th
    Time: gates at 2pm
    Location: Kent St btw. N 8th and N 9th Sts on the East River, W'burg)
    Cost: Free

    With the McCarren Pool under renovations, the Williamsburg Pool Parties move to the waterfront this summer with seven weeks of free shows. In edition to the free music there will be "DODGEBALL, basketball, DJ’s, bands, burgers the works!" for you to enjoy. Afterparties at Public Assembly. This week features And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Black Lips, Health, and Grupo Fantasmo. Full line-up below. All ages!

    Read More

    Judy Collins on Governor's Island

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sunday, July 26th
    Time: 2:00pm
    Location: Governor's Island (Travel Directions)
    Cost: Free

    "For forty years, folk music legend Judy Collins has created music of hope and healing that speaks to the heart and inspires the world." (River to River) Today Judy Collins sings the day away on Governor's Island. Whether you are a fan or not the island is always worth the free ferry ride. Part of Folks on the Island.

    Ginuwine, Joe and Chico DeBarge at Summerstage

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sunday, July 26th
    Time: 3:00pm - 6:00pm
    Location: Summerstage (Rumsey Playfield, Central Park)
    Cost: Free

    "After a four-year hiatus from making records, Ginuwine is back in the saddle with the release of his new album A Man’s Thoughts. Ginuwine first emerged on the music scene in 1996 with the multi-platinum release of The Bachelor which paired his silky smooth vocals with Timbaland’s jagged, hyperkinetic beats, creating a fresh new R&B sound... R&B singer Joe has had a remarkable career, having sold over eleven million albums worldwide. The son of two preachers, Joe grew up in the church playing guitar and eventually directing the choir... In 2000 Joe released his break-out, multi-platinum album My Name is Joe forever securing his place among the finest in R&B history. Sultry soul crooner Chico DeBarge will make a return to music with the forthcoming release of his new album Addiction. Earning his musical chops as a member of the famed Motown group, Switch and DeBarge, the singer broke out on his own in 1986, with the release of his debut solo album." More info here.

    3rd Ward Pig Roast and Dance Party

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sunday, July 26th
    Time: 4:00pm - 9:00pm
    Location: 3rd Ward (195 Morgan Ave., BK)
    Cost: Free with RSVP

    "3rd Ward & Brooklyn Based present the 2nd Annual Pig Roast & Dance Party... Stand by as Pig Roasting Extraordinaire Tom Mylan (from Marlow and Sons, Diner and Bonita) and Chef Eric Sherman turn 200 lbs. of hog into finger-licking good & nicely priced pork tacos. We'll also have sides-a rice, beans and mexi-slaw and Brooklyn Based will top you off with some ice cream. The Colt 45 will be free from 4 to 5pm and the cold drinks will all be under $6. Featuring live music from Stumblebum Brass Band, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, In Cadeo and DJ Tanner all afternoon long. Plus bring your own t-shirts for $1 pig inspired screen-printing and bring your sweetest smile for a carnival style photobooth."

    A Shadow in the Dark

    FreeNYC Event Flyer

    Date: Sunday, July 26th
    Time: 8:00pm
    Location: The Living Theatre (21 Clinton Street)
    Cost: Free

    Tonight, The Living Theatre continues it Readings Above Realism Series with a free staged reading of A Shadow in the Dark by Jared Latore. "The subject of Latore’s stunning play is simple enough: a man who spreads disease to his partners. The characters are like us, dealing as best they can with the realities of life. What’s extraordinary is that they meet their fates among characters who are perhaps not personalities at all. They may be ideas… demons? The world of the play is like ours – actual and imagined, with spirits walking among us." All Ages