Speaking of gays, football and Michael Vick: Atlanta Falcons coaches and fans are a little worried about Joey Harrington taking over at starting quarterback for the suspended Vick this season, but the gay contingent is happy - they think the former University of Oregon star is a stud muffin.
"I'm excited about the season and, yes, I find Harrington attractive. Who wouldn't?" Gregory Hendricks, a gay Falcons fan in Atlanta, told Outsports.com, a website devoted to news and analysis about gay issues. "Even my gay friends who don't like football, they like him. All of my friends who hate sports, once they see him they say, 'Hey, I'll go to a game to see him.'"
"Harrington, 28, a 6-foot-4, five-year veteran who is also a jazz pianist, comes with cover guy looks and has long been a favorite of Outsports readers," the website noted.
Harrington was a Heisman Trophy finalist at the U of O and a third-round draft pick in 2002, but his pro career has been disappointing so far - he lost the starting QB job at Detroit, and then another at Miami. Atlanta picked him up as a free agent last spring to be a backup for Vick, who has pleaded guilty to a dogfighting charge and has been indefinitely suspended by the NFL.
Harrington - who, for the record, is married and not gay - had a promising start to this season when he threw for two touchdowns in an exhibition game against Cincinnati Monday night.
Not that that would make much difference to Brian Johnson, another gay Falcons fan interviewed by Outsports.com.
"Harrington is hot," Johnson said. "He is much better looking than Michael Vick, much easier on the eyes and the dogs."
Another Rough Week for the Gay Old Party
After the news broke last week that Republican Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho had been busted in a restroom in a Minneapolis airport for soliciting gay sex with an undercover cop, it seemed like only minutes later the Larry Craig jokes were flying around the Internet. (Sample: "Larry Craig was born in Idaho and reared in Minnesota.")
The beleaguered Craig announced his resignation on Saturday, but before he did, Minneapolis police released an audiotape of Craig's interview with a police sergeant following the arrest. At one point Craig explains how his foot happened to touch that of the undercover cop in the next stall: "I tend to spread my legs when I lower my pants."
We swear we did not make that up. Who could?
But Upfront thinks Daniel Kurtzman on the about.com political humor website came up with the best idea. He's running a poll on what the next big Republican sex scandal will be. The candidates:
* Condoleezza Rice gives birth to George Bush's love child.
* Rush Limbaugh caught paying for abortion for illegal immigrant mistress.
* Bill O'Reilly outed as member of NAMBLA.
* Ann Coulter outed as transvestite, father of Mary Cheney's baby.
* Rudy Giuliani dumps third wife after falling in love with mirror image of himself in drag.
Another scandal could pop at any minute, so cast your vote NOW! at politicalhumor.about.com.
The Queen Is Dead - Long Live the Queen
When her will was opened last week, Leona Helmsley proved that even after death she could still be a bitch.
As faithful readers of Upfront will remember, Helmsley, hotel and real estate magnate, tax cheater and "Queen of Mean," passed away on Aug. 20 at age 87. She bequeathed $12 million for the care and feeding of her beloved dog, Trouble - and cut two of her grandkids off without a dime.
Two other grandchildren got $10 million each from Helmsley's estimated $4 billion estate. The will didn't explain why the two others were left out, other than to say it was "for reasons which are known to them."
Trouble, an 8-year-old female Maltese, reportedly is in poor health with kidney, thyroid and nerve problems. Helmsley's brother, who received $15 million in her will, will take custody of the dog. Leona's will stipulated that Trouble would be buried with her and her late husband in the Helmsley mausoleum when he dies, but the New York State Department of Cemeteries quashed that plan by ruling a dog can't be interred in a human cemetery.
According to Helmsley's housekeeper, Zamfira Sfara, the dog was as big a bitch as its mistress.
"We had so much trouble with Trouble," Sfara told the New York Daily News. "I was bitten dozens of times. ... You'd never know when she would bite you. One time when she bit me, she was chewing on my fingers, and Leona said, 'Good for you, Trouble, she deserved it.'"
But the best comment on Helmsley's bequest that Upfront has run across came from her fellow New York real estate mogul, Donald Trump: "The dog is the only thing that loved her and deserves every single penny of it."
The Dogs Have Their Day
If you have a bunch of Michael Vick football cards you want to get rid of and a couple of dogs who like to chew and slobber (and what dogs don't?) you could make yourself a quick buck on eBay.
Make that $7,400 quick bucks. That's how much the winning bidder paid last week for 22 Vick cards that had been chewed up by two dogs in Missouri.
After the former starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges last week, Rochelle Steffen of Cape Girardeau got the idea of turning over her Vick card collection to Monte, her 6-year-old Weimaraner, and Roxie, a Great Dane puppy, for a little "creative editing." Steffen then put the mangled and soggy cards up for auction on eBay to raise money for a local shelter.
Steffen told The Associated Press she had only been hoping to raise a hundred bucks. To her surprise, 25 people bid on the cards, bumping the final price up to $7,400.
The success of Steffen's auction spawned a slew of imitators trying to sell their old Vick cards, but none of them attracted nearly as much interest. The AP reported that Vick rookie cards and even autographed jerseys are selling on eBay for much less.
Rep. Greg Walden
The laws of probability dictate that, given enough time, anything that can happen will happen. For example, a flipped coin will land on its edge instead of coming up heads or tails. And the Source will find itself agreeing with Greg Walden.
The Republican congressman from Oregon's 2nd District has signed on as a co-sponsor of HR 2102, formally titled "The Free Flow of Information Act of 2007," less formally known as the federal "shield law."
A shield law protects reporters from being compelled to disclose the names of their confidential sources. Currently 32 states (including Oregon) have shield laws, which provide varying degrees of protection.
But there's no federal shield law, which means journalists can be - and have been, with increasing frequency - subpoenaed in federal cases and ordered to divulge their sources and other confidential information on pain of being imprisoned for contempt of court. In the most famous recent case, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify in the investigation of the Valerie Plame leak. (Scooter Libby, then Dick Cheney's chief of staff, eventually released Plame from her pledge of confidentiality, allowing her to testify and clear herself of the contempt charge.)
Under HR 2102 - which was introduced last spring and will be debated in the just-commenced fall session of Congress - reporters will not be required to disclose confidential sources or information unless it's essential "to prevent imminent and actual harm to national security" or "to prevent imminent death or significant bodily injury." Courts would be required to weigh "both the public interest in compelling disclosure and the public interest in gathering news and maintaining the free flow of information" before ordering disclosure. The bill's definition of "journalism" seems broad enough to cover bloggers as well as print and broadcast journalists.
The use of unidentified news sources has fallen into disrepute lately, and there's no question that it can be overused and abused. In the Plame case, for instance, officials in the Bush White House anonymously "outed" Plame as a CIA agent in apparent retaliation for her husband's disclosure that its claims about Iraq buying African uranium were bogus.
But the use of anonymous sources still has a legitimate, if limited, place in journalism. There are times when whistleblowers in government or business have a story that the public needs to know, but for fear of damage to their careers - or worse - they don't dare reveal their identity. Journalistic ethics require that reporters go to jail, if necessary, rather than breach confidentiality, but a source needs to have a hell of a lot of faith in a reporter's ethics to take the chance.
A federal shield law should make sources with important information more willing to reveal it - and make reporters and editors more willing to publish it without the threat of jail time hanging over their necks. For supporting such a law, Walden deserves the thanks of American journalists and citizens - and hereby receives the GLASS SLIPPER.