Selasa, 27 Maret 2012

U.S.Customs Issues Pro-Gay Border Crossing Policy

Finally! One of the more annoying aspects of international travel as a U.S. same-sex couple is returning home after a hellishly long flight from a foreign country (Spain, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Netherlands, Portugal etc) where one is treated like a marital unit is the welcome from the United States Border agent completely denying the legitimacy of your relationship by refusing to allow same-sex couples to fill a single customs declaration form like other families travelling together.

On Monday came word from the Obama Administration that they are going to make an administrative rule change that will eliminate that homophobic nuisance at the border for good.

CBP Announces Proposal to Expand Filing of Joint Customs Declarations WASHINGTON— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will publish tomorrow a notice of proposed rulemaking proposing to revise its regulations concerning when members of a family residing in one household and traveling together on their return to the United States may make a joint declaration for all members of the family.
 CBP is proposing to expand the definition of the term “members of a family residing in one household” to include domestic relationships, which would allow more U.S. returning residents to file a joint customs declaration for articles acquired abroad. “Domestic relationship” would be defined to include foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards, other dependents, and individuals with an in loco parentis or guardianship relationship.  CBP would also include within the definition two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners share financial assets and obligations, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else. “Members of a family residing in one household” would continue to encompass relationships of blood, adoption, and marriage.  By expanding the definition of “members of a family residing in one household,” CBP anticipates a reduction in the number of declarations (CBP Form 6059-Bs), which would streamline passenger processing by CBP officers and reduce costs. CBP believes that this proposed change would more accurately reflect relationships between members of the public who are traveling together as a family.  Written comments must be received on or before May 26, include the agency name and docket number by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal: or by mail to: Trade and Commercial Regulations BranchRegulations and RulingsU.S. Customs and Border Protection799 9th Street, N.W. (Mint Annex)Washington, D.C. 20229-1179-CBP- U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Anyone think a Romney Administration would be making a similar rule change? "Jus' sayin'"!

Senin, 26 Maret 2012

KEY BISCAYNE '12: Venus, Serena, Azarenka Win!

Venus Williams won the 602nd match of her stellar career by defeating former #1 Ana Ivanovic, 6-7(4) 6-2 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, which she has won 3 times and her sister Serena Williams has won 5 times. Venus is know only the 14th player in WTA history to reach the 600-win landmark, with an overall win-loss record of 602-147.

World #1 Victoria Azarenka staged an(other) epic comeback from 6-1 5-1 down against Dominique Cibulkova when she came back to extend her 2012 winning streak to 26 matches by gutting out the win 1-6 7-6(7) 7-5. Last year, Azarenka had come back to beat Cibulkova despite being down 6-3 3-1 down at this very same tournament!

Serena Williams rocketed a career high 20 aces in this rematch of the 2011 US Open women's final to defeat Samantha Stosur 7-5 6-3 despite being a break down in both sets.

In the quarterfinals, Serena will face former World #1 Caroline Wozniacki , while Venus will face World #5 Agnieska Radwanska and Azarenka will play Marion Bartoli. The last quarterfnal will feature Li Na versus Maria Sharapova.

KEY BISCAYNE '12: Roddick Beats Federer!

Well, well! Former World #1 Andy Roddick shocked almost all observers by defeating World #3 Roger Federer 7-6(5) 1-6 6-4 in the 4th round of the Sony Ericsson Open, almost exactly 4 years after he had last beaten the Greatest of All Time in an ATP tour match (coincidentally) at this same tournament.

Federer came into the match sporting a  record of 40 wins, 2 losses since his heartbreaking semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic in the 2011US Open Semifinals and had won last week's ATP Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells for a record 4th time, defeating arch-nemesis Rafael Nadal in the process. The Swiss Maestro was on a 16 matches winning streak and had won 77 consecutive matches against players outside the Top 20.

But Monday night belonged to the American, who served a bucketful of aces and exhibited uncharacteristic aggression on his return games coupled with surprisingly tenacious defense. Both were pivotal to Roddick's win Monday night. In the first set tiebreaker Roddick returned a surprisingly weak Federer ovehead on a sitter and tracked down an angle volley to hit a winner and clinch a mini-break which he nursed to claim a razor-thin 7-6(7-5) first set. In the 2nd game of the 3rd set, after losing 7 consecutive games, Roddick was down 0-40 on his serve when he suddenly stopped missing first serves and was able to save 4 break points and hold serve. Roddick followed up the momentum change by forcing 0-40 in Federer's very next service game by playing the most aggressive return game of his career I have ever seen, hitting four forehand winners to break serve. With his win, Roddick improved to 3 wins and 21 losses against Federer, but showed the rest of the field that even though the former top American is now over 30 and his ranking is in the 20s he can still string together enough strong points to make an impact at any tournament.

WATCH: Freedom From Religion Foundation TV Ad

Slovenia Votes To Reject Same-Sex Adoption Rights

Slovenia held a national referendum on whether the new Family Code should go into effect and rejected the measure after a campaign that focused on whether same-sex couples should gain the right to adopt children jointly as a couple.

Raw Story reports:

With over 99 percent of ballots counted, the results showed that 54.77 percent of voters rejected a proposed new family code while 44.23 percent backed it, the electoral commission of the eurozone member state announced. 

“It remains to be seen what impact such a delay will have on children, families and the rest,” said Majda Potrata, deputy head of the opposition Social Democrats which led the previous government that drafted the bill.
Pre-referendum opinion polls had predicted an outcome of about 60 percent in favour of the proposed measure, with warnings that a low voter turnout would favour conservatives in the country of some two million people.
The commission said turnout was about 29.95 percent, lower than predicted by pollsters.
Under Slovenian law, if a bill is rejected in a referendum it cannot go back to parliament for another 12 months.
Conservative civil groupings backed by the Catholic Church had challenged the new Family Code passed by parliament in June 2011 and gathered the 40,000 signatures needed to force a referendum on its implementation.

Yet another example of heterosexual majority lying to pollsters and implementing their homophobia and protecting heterosexual privilege in the confines of the ballot box.

Minggu, 25 Maret 2012

Eye Candy: Josh Englehart

Josh Englehart is a fitness model, bodybuilder and trainer who has been featured several times at Dark Flex. According to the bio on his official website (, Josh is married to a woman and has five kids. He is 30 years old, and according to his profile, he is 5'11", 197 pounds with 7% body fat.

Regardless, "hawt is hawt" and as these pictures show, Josh is a hottie, and thus qualifies to be Eye Candy.

Let me know what you think about Josh, in the comments.

Sabtu, 24 Maret 2012

OMG! An Excerpt from The Winds of Winter!

Oh my! Regular readers of this log will know that I am a big fan of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, the inspiration for HBO's Game of Thrones miniseries (which starts airing its second season on April 1st!).

Anyway, Martin has published an excerpt (for free!) of one of the chapters from the sixth book in the series, which is titled The Winds of Winter. The format of Martin's books is that each chapter has a character name as the title and generally tells the story from the perspective of the named character. There are now dozens of named characters and Martin has been ruthless (and notorious) for having horrendous, brutal and sometimes fatal events befall his characters, causing readers to constantly be on edge when reading, because you never know when a favorite or beloved character may be dispatched.

Anyway, the title of the free exerpted chapter is Theon, who is Theon Greyjoy, one of the most despicable and  defiled characters in the series. He is widely hated because everyone believes he is responsible for the deaths of the two youngest Stark children. The Stark family are the ostensible heroes of the series, with the Lannister family being the villains, but this is far too simplistic a characterization of the nuanced nature of the two families. (For example, Peter Dinklage has won an Emmy playing Tyrion Lannister, who is one of the most popular characters in the series, even though he is presumably "on the wrong side.")

Here is a little taste of the chapter:
   The king's voice was choked with anger.  "You are a worse pirate than Salladhor Saan."      
Theon Greyjoy opened his eyes.  His shoulders were on fire and he could not move his hands.  For half a heartbeat he feared he was back in his old cell under the Dreadfort, that the jumble of memories inside his head was no more than the residue of some fever dream. I was asleep, he realized.  That, or passed out from the pain.  When he tried to move, he swung from side to side, his back scraping against stone.  He was hanging from a wall inside a tower, his wrists chained to a pair of rusted iron rings.  
      The air reeked of burning peat.  The floor was hard-packed dirt.  Wooden steps spiraled up inside the walls to the roof.  He saw no windows.  The tower was dank, dark, and comfortless, its only furnishings a high-backed chair and a scarred table resting on three trestles.  No privy was in evidence, though Theon saw a champerpot in one shadowed alcove.  The only light came from the candles on the table.  His feet dangled six feet off the floor.     
"My brother's debts," the king was muttering.  "Joffrey's too, though that baseborn abomination was no kin to me."  Theon twisted in his chains.  He knew that voice. Stannis.        
Theon Greyjoy chortled.  A stab of pain went up his arms, from his shoulders to his wrists.  All he had done, all he had suffered, Moat Cailin and Barrowton and Winterfell, Abel and his washerwomen, Crowfood and his Umbers, the trek through the snows, all of it had only served to exchange one tormentor for another. 
You really deserve it to yourself to read the entire thing. Sadly, it may take another 4 or 5 years before the entire finished version of the book is released. The 4th book (A Feast for Crows) was released in 2005, while the 5th book (A Dance with Dragons) was released in July 2011.