The U.S. Department of Justice Sues North Carolina over Controversial LGBT Law

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (WCNC)

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (WCNC)

The federal government has spoken, and it is not happy. Yesterday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the state of North Carolina over its controversial HB2 law.

Quick recap: the non-infamous law bars any anti-discrimination legislation against any members of the LGBT community. Also commonly known as the “bathroom bill,” the law also decrees that any transgender person must use the bathroom of their assigned sex at birth instead of the one with which they identify. (For example, a transwoman would use the men’s restroom, regardless of her physical appearance.)

But what happened first is that the DOJ (led by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was born in Greensboro, North Carolina) gave North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, a.k.a. the one who started this whole mess, until Monday morning to negate the horrid new law. And guess what McCrory didn’t do?

Instead, McCrory decided to sue the DOJ, claiming that there needs to be legislation regulating “transgender bathroom use” (??) at the national level.

So guess what the DOJ did? The DOJ sued North Carolina right back.

This wasn’t completely out of the blue. The DOJ had previously threatened legal action if HB2 wasn’t repealed. The DOJ is now suing on the grounds that the bathroom restrictions discriminate against transgender people (no shit).

I’m very interested to see how this will play out. I have no doubt that justice will prevail, and McCrory will end up on the wrong side of the law/history. But how long will it take, and what other complications could come up?

 

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How Many Media Company Employees Had Ashley Madison Accounts?

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Happy Friday! Ashley Madison: It’s the hack that keeps on giving. Every day brings a new joy. And here’s this one: The good people at “Gawker” (who’ve been doing a great job covering this whole thing) took a deep-dive into the data, all 9.7 GBs of it. Why? Well, to see how was dumb enough to use a work email as their AM registration email. (Personally, I’m surprised that nobody got called on the carpet after their network got wind of that verification email in their inbox.)

Now, you’d think that most people would know to use a throwaway email for this kind of thing, right? You’d think that, and you’d be wrong. At the time of the data dump, “Wired” reported that 15K+ domains belonging to the government and military were found, comprising .04% of the total emails found.

Here’s what Sam Biddle at “Gawker” found. (Incidentally, no emails registered to the Gawker domain were found).

'Gawker' Ashley Madison Email Data Analysis (Gawker)

‘Gawker’ Ashley Madison Email Data Analysis (Gawker)

So yeah, have some common sense as to when to use your work email. Have a great holiday weekend!

 

How Many Active Female Users did Ashley Madison Have?

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

Ashley Madison homepage (Ashley Madison)

I’m loving this Ashley Madison hack for the sheer volume of data it’s bringing to light! It makes a numbers nerd like me very happy.

This may not come as a shock (well, hopefully it doesn’t), but Ashley Madison didn’t have a whole lot of active female users. The site claimed to have around 31M+ male users and 5M+ female users. So already, the women on the site are outnumbered by the men at a 6:1 ratio. This wouldn’t be a promising sign for any man who was a registered user. (Side note: Do you think any of the men knew to what degree they were competing with the other men? I’m really curious about this.)

But wait, there’s more: Annalee Newitz at “Gizmodo” crunched some numbers on on-site interaction between members (and made some fun bar graphs), and the results trumpeted the sex ratios loud and clear. Some examples: For every woman that checked her messages, 20 men did. For every two women that used the online chat system, 11 men did.

With those numbers in mind, how many of these men interacted with a bot? My guess is quite a few.

Sofia Vergara’s Frozen Embryos: Is There A Precedent for IVF Egg Custody?

Sofia Vergara (Celebrity Post)

Last week, “Modern Family” actress Sofia Vergara’s former fiancé Nick Loeb penned an op-ed for “The New York Times” regarding Vergara’s frozen eggs. The pair had initially frozen the eggs via in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in case they later wanted children, before their relationship ended last year. (Vergara is currently engaged to “True Blood” actor Joe Manganiello.) Now Loeb wants to unfreeze an eggs to implant within a surrogate, and have a child using his ex-fiance’s egg. (When the two were together, they had signed an agreement regarding using the eggs only with permission from both of them, but there wasn’t any discussion on what might happen if they split.) Vergara, as owner of said egg(s), is (naturally and understandably) refusing to release her eggs.

I wanted to find out of there was a precedent set for IVF egg custody. According to “Chicago Lawyer” magazine, there are no definitive laws or one-approach-fits-all (yet), but 10 states so far have made rules regarding IVF custody and procedure cases.

One big commonality between a lot of these approaches is an issue familiar to sexuality: consent. Courts are generally weighing the desires of each partner, called “balance of interests.” This can be applied if one partner wants to use the eggs, but the other doesn’t want that person to use them. Iowa takes a “co-consent” approach, in that both parties must agree to “sign off when the embryo is implanted in the woman.”

Contracts guide decisions in other states. In these instances, courts rely on “contracts drawn up by the couple before the embryos were created.”  New York, Washington, Texas and Oregon follow this method.

Some states take a blended approach (kind of like a blended orgasm). Tennessee, New Jersey and Pennsylvania first look for existing contracts between both parties before moving on to consent.

Other states are complete outliers in their approach. Iowa has “contemporaneous-mutual-consent,” which is a written agreement that states that both parties must sign off on use of the embryos. Massachusetts is another outlier, stating that the woman receives custody of the embryos in event of divorce.

Vergara and Loeb’s situation may bring attention to this dilemma shared by other ex-couples, and it could drive inquiries and move future legislation forward. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

 

Confirmed: Bruce Jenner Is Transitioning

Bruce Jenner (ABC News Go)

Bruce Jenner (ABC News Go)

This is shaping up to be an absolute gangbusters year for the trans community in terms of visibility and empowerment. In just the past two weeks alone, we saw “Orange is the New Black” actress Laverne Cox pose nude for “Allure,” and transman Aydian Dowling in the lead for the “Men’s Health” title of “Ultimate Guy.” As if that weren’t already an embarrassment of riches, Olympic decathlete/”Keeping Up with the Kardashians” patriarch Bruce Jenner confirmed what everyone had been speculating about in his ABC “20/20” interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday night: He’s transitioning to become a woman (but is totally cool using male pronouns for now).

It’s a fantastic interview; watch it if you haven’t already. Jenner is now the most publicly prominent transperson out there right now. He’s in a great position that has potential to educate millions of people on what being trans means. And he wants to use his newfound identity to help empower others who feel out of place in their own lives.

It’s fantastic that Jenner has finally decided to live his life the way he sees fit, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for him. Go Bruce!

Google Trends: Was 2014 Really the Year of Eating Booty?

Nicki Minaj 'Anaconda' still (NY Daily News)

Nicki Minaj ‘Anaconda’ still (NY Daily News)

Last year, we heard all about how 2014 was the Year of Eating Booty (as termed by “Gawker”). Now we can’t go around and confirm this by asking randoms on the street if they got into anal play (come on, you expect everyone to tell the truth?), but we can check out Google Trends to see if anal terms were searched for more often.

I searched popular terms for the (somewhat-) transgressive sex act, and used a timeframe of January 2013-January 2015. I wanted to see how the entirety of 2014 compared to the year before for anal play-related search terms.

First, let’s start with the proper term for eating out your partner’s asshole:

Analingus:

Google Trends: 'Analingus' Search Term

Google Trends: ‘Analingus’ Search Term

There’s a bit of an increase, with a slightly steeper incline coming (heh) in the second half of last year.

 

Eating Booty:

Google Trends: 'Eating Booty' Search Term

Google Trends: ‘Eating Booty’ Search Term

Tyrone Palmer’s “Gawker” piece was published on Sept. 12. Those first initial rapid spikes occur in August, so we can’t argue that the “Gawker” piece had anything to do with that. It could’ve been responsible for the spikes throughout the rest of 2014 (not to mention that one huge spike at the end), but it’s pretty inconclusive.

 

Rimming:

Google Trends: 'Rimming' Search Term

Google Trends: ‘Rimming’ Search Term

This one stays pretty flat throughout. (I have to say, I never heard this term used much last year. It tended towards more colorful expressions for the act.)

 

Salad Tossing:

Google Trends: 'Tossing Salad' Search Term

Google Trends: ‘Tossing Salad’ Search Term

Like “analingus” and “eating booty,” this one started to get more active during the second half of 2014. My guess here is that it’s due to the popularity of Nicki Minaj’s single “Anaconda,” which was released on August 4th. (In it, she tells listeners that “this dude named Michael…tossed my salad like his name Romaine.”)

 

Conclusion:

2014 definitely showed an increase in Google search terms related to eating out one’s asshole, though these mainly took place during the second half of the year. I’d have to say that yes, 2014 was the year of eating booty, due to both “Gawker” and Nicki Minaj.