Archive for December 29th, 2010


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National Geographic announced Aaron Lim Boon Teck of Singapore as the winner of its 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest. Lim Boon Teck will have his winning image of the eruption of Indonesia’s Gunung Rinjani volcano published in worldwide editions of National Geographic magazine. In addition, he will receive $10,000 (USD) — the first monetary prize ever offered by National Geographic magazine for its annual photo contest — and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2011.

More than 16,000 photographs were submitted to the contest, with both professional photographers and amateur photo enthusiasts across the globe participating. Photographs were submitted in three categories: people, places and nature.

Check out the winning photos and finalists below. CLICK HERE to see more submitted photos and download wallpaper.


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The Year In: Gay Rights

Civil rights battles tend to have years of what feels like quixotic agitating and organizing before change occurs. This year was a tipping point for gay rights.

To wit, last week Congress finally repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the 17-year ban on openly-gay military service. President Obama had endured withering criticism for failing to advance repeal, one of his campaign promises. Many TAP contributors, includingmyself, took aim at the president for failing to be forceful enough in pushing for the legislation despite the fact that it has become, as Paul Waldman wrotein June, a matter of public consensus that the policy should end.

It remains an open question whether Obama’s painfully slow, legislative approach to ending the ban will be vindicated by historians — for the moment, he’s not getting much credit from gay-rights advocates. But there is little doubt that John McCain, who opposed repeal to the end, will be remembered as theGeorge Wallace of the DADT episode. As TAP recently noted, post-election McCain “devolved from war hero and maverick to a character more like the deranged uncle in Arsenic and Old Lace who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, roaring and charging at every imaginary threat, toy pistols ablaze.”

The second front on which the gay rights made inroads this year was marriage equality. After a long trial at the beginning of the year in which proponents of California’s ban on gay marriage — Proposition 8– hardly bothered to put up a fight (except when it came to televising the proceedings), a judge ruled the ban unconstitutional; the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in that case at the beginning of December. As Waldman noted, the trial became a referendum on the meaning of straight marriage. Meanwhile, despite the efforts of groups like the National Organization for Marriage, same-sex marriage wasadopted in Washington, D.C.; New Hampshire’s marriage-equality law went into effect in January.

In the past few years, both Democrats and Republicans have altered how they discuss gay rights; culturally, we now accept LGBT individuals, while on the policy front, conservatives continue to fight — and some liberals continue to ignore — gay rights. This became evident when a rash of gay teen suicides prompted the “It Gets Better” campaign, wherein gay people and allies posted YouTube videos promising teens that “it gets better” in the future. Ann Friedman criticized politicians who made videos that did not tie the “it gets better” promise to actual action in the ongoing struggle for gay rights: “‘It Gets Better’ only works if it is a promise we keep, not just something we say into a webcam and then promptly forget about.”

Next year, the Prop. 8 case will continue through the appeals court and the military will implement the DADT repeal. These are two important steps, but the battle is not yet over.

–Gabriel Arana



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A grandfather from suburban University Park was sentenced to four years of probation Wednesday for the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old man whose dog had urinated in his yard.

Charles Clements, 69, a former Marine who took great pride in his lawn, could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the incident, but Judge Daniel J. Rozak told the courtroom that the incident was not about dog urine on a lawn, the Chicago Tribune reports.

On May 9, Joshua Funches was walking his dog in the 500 block of Landau Road in the south suburb when his dog wandered into Clements’ yard and relieved itself. Clements confronted Funches, and the 23-year-old pushed and punched Clements before a weapon was drawn.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Clements didn’t fire the weapon until after Funches cursed at him, then punched him in the face, according to testimony during his October trial.Clements told police he shot Funches once in the abdomen because he feared the younger man would harm him.

“This is not justice,” Gail Williams, Funches’ aunt, told the Tribune.

Prosecutors said they respected Judge Rozak’s decision, calling him an “excellent judge.”

Clements had no criminal record prior to the incident.


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Best and Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2010

Who hasn’t heard a celebrity baby name and said: “What were they thinking?” Hollywood headliners have a knack for choosing wild names. We all remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s Apple, Penn Jillette’s Moxie Crimefighter, and Jason Lee’s Pilot Inspektor (arguably the craziest of the crazy names).

And maybe that’s the point. A truly unique name says “my baby is one-of-a kind” like nothing else can.

“Celebrities live in an alternate universe from the rest of us. They’re creative and enjoy the attention the spotlight brings. By choosing unusual names, they’re saying something about themselves and what they want for their children,” says Linda Murray, editor in chief of BabyCenter.

So who were the winners and losers in this year’s celebrity baby-naming competition? BabyCenter asked 2,000 moms to vote on the best and worst celebrity names of the year and the results are in.

Chef Jamie Oliver takes the prize for wackiest name of the year with Buddy Bear Maurice, while actor Mark Wahlberg wins the popularity contest with the classic Grace Margaret.

Least Favorite Celebrity Baby Names of 2010
1. Buddy Bear Maurice (Jamie Oliver & Juliette Norton)
2. Egypt Daoud (Alicia Keys & Kaseem Dean, aka Swizz Beatz)
3. Cosima Violet (Claudia Schiffer & Matthew Vaughn)
4. Axel (Will Ferrell & Viveca Paulin)
5. Krishna Thea (Padma Lakshmi)

See all the least favorite celebrity baby names of 2010 >

Favorite Celebrity Baby Names of 2010
1. Grace Margaret (Mark Wahlberg & Rhea Durham)
2. Harper Grace (Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka)
3. Aviana Olea (Amy Adams & Darren Legallo)
4. Olivia Marie (Lance Armstrong & Anna Hansen)
5. Bryn (Bethenny Frankel & Jason Hoppy)

See all the favorite celebrity baby names of 2010 >

To hear Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Mario Lopez, Matt Damon, and other stars reveal what inspired their children’s names, watch BabyCenter’s Celebrities Talk Baby Names video.


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HollywoodNews.com: Apparently Lady Gaga needs to step it up as it would seem she would have been the biggest concert draw in the U.S. of 2010, but she definitely wasn’t as she came in fourth.

So who beat out Lady Gaga? In second and third place were AC/DC and U2 as they both grossed over $150 million, states Hollyscoop. And in first was Bon Jovi, breaking the $200 million mark.

The really shocking part isn’t just that Gaga was beat, it is that she played over 50 more gigs than Bon Jovi and 100 more than U2. Sounds like Gaga still has a long way to go.

Are you surprised with the results?

Follow Hollywood News on Twitter for up-to-date news information.

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Image courtesy of Splash News



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