What is the Petya ransomware attack, and how can it be stopped?

Companies have been crippled by an attack dubbed Petya, the second major ransomware crime in two months. Olivia Solon answers the key questions

Many organizations in Europe and the US have been crippled by a ransomware attack dubbed Petya. The malicious software has spread through large firms including the advertiser WPP, food company Mondelez, legal firm DLA Piper and Danish shipping and transport firm Maersk, leading to PCs and data being locked up and held for ransom.

Its the second major global ransomware attack in the last two months. In early May, Britains National Health Service (NHS) was among the organizations infected by WannaCry, which used a vulnerability first revealed to the public as part of a leaked stash of NSA-related documents released online in April by a hacker group calling itself the Shadow Brokers.

The WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries, with the UKs national health service, Spanish phone company Telefnica and German state railways among those hardest hit.

Like WannaCry, Petya spreads rapidly through networks that use Microsoft Windows, but what is it, why is it happening and how can it be stopped?

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a computer or its data and demands money to release it.

How does it work?

When a computer is infected, the ransomware encrypts important documents and files and then demands a ransom, typically in Bitcoin, for a digital key needed to unlock the files. If victims dont have a recent back-up of the files they must either pay the ransom or face losing all of their files.

How does the Petya ransomware work?

The Petya ransomware takes over computers and demands $300, paid in Bitcoin. The malicious software spreads rapidly across an organization once a computer is infected using the EternalBlue vulnerability in Microsoft Windows (Microsoft has released a patch, but not everyone will have installed it) or through two Windows administrative tools. The malware tries one option and if it doesnt work, it tries the next one. It has a better mechanism for spreading itself than WannaCry, said Ryan Kalember from cybersecurity company Proofpoint.

Where did it start?

The attack appears to have been seeded through a software update mechanism built into an accounting program that companies working with the Ukrainian government need to use, according to the Ukrainian Cyber Police. This explains why so many Ukrainian organizations were affected, including government, banks, state power utilities and Kievs airport and metro system. The radiation monitoring system at Chernobyl was also taken offline, forcing employees to use hand-held counters to measure levels at the former nuclear plants exclusion zone.

How far has it spread?

The Petya ransomware has caused serious disruption at large firms in Europe and the US, including the advertising firm WPP, French construction materials company Saint-Gobain and Russian steel and oil firms Evraz and Rosneft. The food company Mondelez, legal firm DLA Piper, Danish shipping and transport firm AP Moller-Maersk and Heritage Valley Health System, which runs hospitals and care facilities in Pittsburgh, also said their systems had been hit by the malware.

Shipping
Shipping company Maersks IT system was impacted by the cyber-attack. Photograph: Mauritz Antin/EPA

So is this just another opportunistic cybercrimnal?

It initially looked like Petya was just another cybercriminal taking advantage of cyberweapons leaked online. However, security experts say that the payment mechanism of the attack seems too amateurish to have been carried out by serious criminals. Firstly, the ransom note includes the same Bitcoin payment address for every victim most ransomware creates a custom address for every victim. Secondly, Petya asks victims to communicate with the attackers via a single email address which has been suspended by the email provider after they discovered what it was being used for. This means that even if someone pays the ransom, they have no way to communicate with the attacker to request the decryption key to unlock their files.

OK, so then who is behind the attack?

Its not clear, but it seems likely it is someone who wants the malware to masquerade as ransomware, while actually just being destructive, particularly to the Ukrainian government. Security researcher Nicholas Weaver told cybersecurity blog Krebs on Security that Petya was a deliberate, malicious, destructive attack or perhaps a test disguised as ransomware.

Ukraine has blamed Russia for previous cyber-attacks, including one on its power grid at the end of 2015 that left part of western Ukraine temporarily without electricity. Russia has denied carrying out cyber-attacks on Ukraine.

What should you do if you are affected by the ransomware?

The ransomware infects computers and then waits for about an hour before rebooting the machine. While the machine is rebooting, you can switch the computer off to prevent the files from being encrypted and try and rescue the files from the machine, as flagged by @HackerFantastic on Twitter.

Hacker Fantastic (@hackerfantastic)

If machine reboots and you see this message, power off immediately! This is the encryption process. If you do not power on, files are fine. pic.twitter.com/IqwzWdlrX6

June 27, 2017

If the system reboots with the ransom note, dont pay the ransom the customer service email address has been shut down so theres no way to get the decryption key to unlock your files anyway. Disconnect your PC from the internet, reformat the hard drive and reinstall your files from a backup. Back up your files regularly and keep your anti-virus software up to date.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/27/petya-ransomware-cyber-attack-who-what-why-how

What Im really thinking: the dental hygienist

The worst thing is the disrespect some people show by not cleaning their teeth or by eating just before seeing me

You may think youre coming in just for a clean but its my job to check your oral cavity for lesions, your teeth for caries and your gums for periodontal disease, and to provide advice to get you to full oral health. Many a joke is made about relaxing in the chair. I call it the comfy chair; it breaks the tension. I know its not the most pleasant experience, so I try to alleviate the worry by explaining the emotions people feel as they lie back. After all, I am exposing your vulnerable, soft places your belly and chest and instinct prompts the nervous patient to cross their arms. Then, as I start the treatment, I am right there in your personal space, wearing a mask and glasses another uncomfortable feeling for you.

I like my job and people mostly leave feeling better, wiser and yes cleaner. I dont mind how bad your teeth are, its bloody satisfying getting a load of tartar off, leaving smooth enamel to rub your tongue around instead of rough rock. But I have feelings too; I cant help looking at your blackheads and up your nose at your nasal hair (or worse). You cant blame me: I have excellent lighting.

I find it rather creepy when your tongue follows my instruments and irritating when it nudges them out of the way, and when you look me in the eye as I move into your vision. And why, all of a sudden, cant you swallow your own saliva? But the worst thing is the disrespect some people show by not cleaning their teeth or by eating just before seeing me. Id never say it, but I so want to ask: Would you leave another bodily cavity in the same condition if you were visiting your gynaecologist for a smear test or a urologist for a prostate exam? I dont think so.

Tell us what youre really thinking email mind@theguardian.com

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/sep/17/what-really-thinking-dental-hygienist

Stiff Bull aphrodisiac coffee slapped with FDA warning

 (Stiff Bull)

This Malaysian coffee is no bull.

Stiff Bull, a coffee produced overseas that claims it will improve mens libido and sexual performance, has been slapped with a warning from the Food and Drug Administration for containing an unlisted ingredient: desmethyl carbodenafil.

That hard-to-pronounce chemical is similar to the active ingredient sildenafil in Viagra. Like Viagra, desmethyl carbodenafil can have adverse interactions when consumed with nitrates, which are found in many prescription drugs for conditions like diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. It can also lower blood-pressure levels to what the agency declares to be dangerous levels.

Stiff Bull Coffee is also infused with herbal ingredients like tongkat ali, maca root and guarana. The producer claims that the herbs naturally enhance a man’s hormones and can stimulate a natural erection lasting up to three days. 

Stiff Bull has since disputed the FDA’s claim, saying that there was a mix-up of ingredients.

Speaking to Indy 100, Stiff Bulls president Keith Hanson said that the problem was a combination of things one, the manufacturer of the coffee, located in Malaysia, had lots of different formulas, and hed been importing his coffee in the US for 10 years. There were never any substances found. 

Instead, Hanson said, the manufacturer began to add desmethyl carbodenafil to offset the cost of the Maca Root and the Tongkat Ali, without his knowledge.

The company has not said whether the FDA’s warning has had an adverse effect on sales of the coffee. According to The Daily Mail, more than 200,000 men in the U.S. order a shipment of the beverage each month. 

The FDA, which identified the item during an inspection of international mail shipments, recently added the beverage to its list of Tainted Sexual Enhancement Products. The agency has warned consumers about almost three dozen products this year as a series of items have been found to include undeclared ingredients meant to enhance sexual function but were instead unlisted on the packaging and possibly harmful for users.

Though the product is not banned, the FDA is now encouraging health care professionals and patients “to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of this product” to the agency’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/09/29/fda-stiff-bull-coffee-can-reduce-blood-pressure-to-dangerous-levels/

McConnell’s test: Can he do more than obstruct?

(CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing a major test this week. Since revealing the details of the Republican health care plan, McConnell has watched as a number of important senators in his own party announced their concerns or opposition. Some, such as Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, have urged him to postpone the vote based on the assumption that, at this moment, it would not pass the upper chamber where the majority only has a slim 52 seats.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office announced that under the Senate bill there would be 22 million more uninsured Americans by 2026, making McConnell’s efforts to pass the bill that much more difficult.
But McConnell’s supporters believe he can make this happen. They see McConnell as a modern-day Lyndon Johnson, who has served as both Senate minority and majority leader, an old-school legislator who can twist arms and cut deals to bring his party together. They are confident that despite all the potential problems with this bill, McConnell must have enough tricks up his sleeve to defy conventional wisdom.
    But the truth is it’s nearly impossible to predict if McConnell will succeed. To many, he has defined his career as an obstructionist rather than as someone who creates new policies. The challenge he faces this week is fundamentally different than much of what he has confronted in his time as a party leader.
    Most of McConnell’s skills have come as a member of the congressional minority or as a majority leader facing a president from the other party. Under those conditions, McConnell could be brilliant and devastating. Shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, Utah Republican Bob Bennett recalled McConnell telling a retreat of Republicans: “We have a new president with an approval rating in the 70% area. We do not take him on frontally. We find issues where we can win, and we begin to take him down, one issue at a time.”
    His track record as an agent of obstruction is legendary. Throughout the Obama presidency, McConnell proved to be extremely effective at blocking many key legislative initiatives, from immigration reform to climate change regulations to criminal justice reform, that sometimes even commanded bipartisan support. The senator proved he knew how to whip up a no vote and to stand firm against intense political pressure to act.
    He demonstrated the same savvy with judicial and executive branch appointments. McConnell was more than willing to let seats remain empty. Never was his ability to hold the party together as clear as when Justice Antonin Scalia died during President Obama’s term. The Senate majority leader refused to even hold hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland, based on the spurious argument that the next president should have the right to decide on the appointment. The seat remained vacant until a Republican controlled the White House.
    As an obstructionist, McConnell demonstrated he was able to ignore the scrutiny of the media no matter how hot it became. When pundits and policymakers took to the airwaves to lambast the Republicans for failing to govern or for creating a constitutional crisis, McConnell didn’t flinch. The breaking news cycle didn’t faze him. He plays, as he titled his memoir, the “Long Game” with an eye on the needs of his party. Between 2009 and 2017, he kept up the pressure on his colleagues in the Senate to stick to their guns, and it worked.
    Now the situation is different. For the first time in his career as a party leader (other than the brief moment he was selected as Senate majority leader in 2006), the public will see just how well he can perform in making things happen rather than blocking progress.
    But the skills are different on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
    Part of the job of the majority leader in times of united government is to bring disparate parts of the party together around proposals to change the status quo. “Trumpcare” would do just that. This is legislation that will strip away the health care benefits for millions of Americans and create a period of great uncertainty for health care markets.
    Some conservatives want Congress to do much more in dismantling government. To them, the government would still be spending too much money subsidizing markets and leaving too many regulations in place. Others in the GOP are not willing to make such grandiose changes, realizing the effects it will have on their electorate. In particular, they fear the effects of the rollback of Medicaid on their populations as well as the higher deductibles that people with more illnesses will face.
    Can McConnell bring these sides together, and work with the intransigent Freedom Caucus in the House, around legislation that will change the status quo and where Republicans will likely be blamed for any negative outcome?
    In the modern era, part of the job of the majority leader has also been to sell ideas to the public. This is where the job of the obstructionist is very different than the job of the policy creator. Unlike some recent Senate majority leaders, McConnell doesn’t really like to be on television and he tends to avoid reporters whenever possible. In this case, that comes at a cost since the natural face of the party is not out there convincing Americans why this is a good idea. That task is left to others, and right now his fellow salesmen, as reflected in public opinion polls about the health care bills, are doing a poor job.
    Until now, President Trump has not tested McConnell, since he has focused almost exclusively on executive actions and avoided the legislative front on large-scale issues.
    It is worth noting that McConnell does not really have many legislative issues that he is known for, other than his fierce opposition in the 1990s to campaign finance reform. This week he is dealing with a major issue that would have his signature in the history books.

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    Can McConnell deliver on this controversial legislation? Can he play the part of leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, who delivered when Democrats controlled the White House and Congress in the mid-1960s? Or, is this problematic bill something that is just too hot for this legislative leader to deliver?
    This is a question that will be answered as the week unfolds.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/26/opinions/mcconnell-health-care-opinion-zelizer/index.html

    The Liberating Art of LGBTQ Prisoners: Why Curating On The Inside Was Very Personal For Tatiana von Frstenberg

    On The Inside, a huge survey of art created by LGBTQ prisoners, features passionate images of joy, sex, and strength, alongside piercing personal testimonies. “>

    What is striking about On The Inside, a group art show of works by LGBTQ prisoners at the Abrons Arts Centre on New Yorks Lower East Side, is how tender, even romantic, the images are.

    There are few images of incarceration or suffering, and instead many images of magical fairies, gender-blurring beauties, muscular bodies, love, sexiness, warriors, prayer, figures of faith, and iconic heroes. 4,000 images were submitted from LGBTQ prisoners all over the US, with 450 selected for the final show.

    Around these images are printed the writings of the prisoners who created the art sent in letters alongside their works to exhibition curator Tatiana von Frstenberg (full disclosure: she is the daughter of Diane von Frstenberg, who is married to Barry Diller, chairman of IAC, which owns the Daily Beast). Von Frstenberg made a donation for each work of art to the participants; their first names or initials are attached to the works.

    Some images are simple, others more elaborate and colorful. The images were created mostly on letter-sized paper, using dull pencils, and ball-point pen ink tubes (the hard shell is deemed too dangerous). One picture of a line-up of prisoners features a woman among the men; a sea of faces is broken by the presence of a nude body held aloft; a gorgeous, muscular body has a non-gender specific face; Bruce B.s The Wandering Mind features a woman in repose; James L.s features a spotlit owl.

    As you linger over the images, the captions–which provide a moving snapshot of the added layer of harassment, prejudice, and discrimination LGBTQ inmates experience when incarcerated–prove piercing.

    One of the male guards liked to sit four feet away and watch me shave my body and shower when he was on duty, writes Paula W. Hed ask me what I would do for him if I asked him for anything. Another guard that escorted me to the doctors office said, I bet you enjoyed that after my prostate exam.

    I have been stripped of all my property, clothing, mat, and left to sleep on a steel bunk in 30-degree weather, writes Felicity. Ive been harassed time and time again for my identity, being a flamboyant fem gay. But still I stand, I wont bend and I wont break. I am proud of who I am, I carry myself with gay pride 24/7.

    I just cant understand why our proud American culture is accepting of our inhumane, undignified prison system, writes Tony W. It is insane to treat people horribly for years, then return them to society. Ive become wise, yet pissed off.

    Im a happy gay man, but have a lot of problems with other inmates so I lose myself in drawing, writes Ronnie S.

    I have been locked up for the past 23 years, writes Jimmy W. I told my brothers and sisters that I was gay, and till this day I have yet to receive mail from them. But I feel great and love myself.

    Not all is grim. I had several relationships in prison and had the best sex I can possibly imagine, writes Cheyenne. My favorite part of the day was lockdown. We would make out until the count, thats when the real fun started.

    One image features a heavily muscled guy holding another slighter guy: Familiar acts are beautiful through love, its caption reads. A set of portraits include nudes, Nelson Mandela, a couple holding one another, fairies and humans with butterfly wings. There are hunks in leather and a self-explanatory picture entitled, Gay Pandas Fucking, and then a stunning portrait of a beautiful, bearded man.

    Inside and outside prison walls, art has always been the freedom only a higher being can bring, writes Yenniel H. My mind, hands and pencil combine to express something greater than myself.

    A religious section includes images of God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and a caption by Ziva: I used to think that prayer was sorta stupid, praying to someone you cant even see. But now after experiencing it I see why people get on their knees to do it.

    Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Abraham Lincoln feature on a wall of heroes, alongside superheroes, and then in a central blocked-off area, the size of a solitary confinement room, even more explicit images of penises and vaginas.

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    Sitting inside this solitary confinement room, von Frstenberg reveals how she compiled the show over almost five years. She made contact with the prisoners through the LGBTQ prisoner support organization, Black and Pink, which she describes as like a family, a wonderful organization.

    The results of a survey of LGBTQ prisoners experiences conducted by Black and Pinkaround issues including parole and gender and sexual identity–are printed on the walls of the solitary confinement room.

    The 46-year-old Von Frstenberg said the idea for the show came as she was beginning a 30-day period, each day performing a pledge of love. Her idea, to have a prisoner pen-pal, became the seed of the exhibition when her online research led her to the Black and Pink website.

    The long gestation of the show, she says, was ideal as she suffers from a debilitating muscle condition, Myotonia congenita, and has done since she was a young girl. The nature of thisvon Frstenberg has just suffered an excruciating flare-up, which led to her mother buying her a scooter so she could work on setting up the showmeans she must conserve her energy, and work at her own speed.

    Its the inability to relax, she says of her experience of the condition. Its a decreased ability to relax out of contraction. If I sneeze I cant open my eyes. If I use my strength, my muscles jam and lock. My muscles are always damaged, and I have an inability to recover from damaged muscles. But my muscles are always getting damaged, so Im in a lot of pain. Everything hurts.

    Von Frstenberg grew up in New York, the daughter of Diane and her first husband Prince Egon of Frstenberg, which makes her a princess-in-name. She is extremely down-to-earth, intensely thoughtful and committed to her work, and dressed in light, casual clothes deliberately chosen so as not to hang heavily on her body. She is close to her older brother Alexander (were connected, were both Aquarians), born the year before her.

    Suffering from the muscle condition all her life has made von Frstenberg reflect on how biology informs ones identity. One reason I relate to this show is that I believe biology informs ones entire personality. I never played as a kid. I couldnt. I always had to be in a seated position observing, reflecting. I did really well at school. I got into Brown University at 16. I generated ideas, stories, because I never participated in any physical activity whatsoever.

    I felt like an outsider. As a disabled woman, I feel marginalized. I don't have fear of mortality. When you live with chronic illness you imagine a release. I want to be alive, but I don't want to be in pain. The pain is really intense.

    It must have been strange to grow up, feeling like that, in the whirl of fashion and the fashionable, I say.

    It was really weird, von Frstenberg says. I cant actually wear the clothes, but more than that I cant relate to the aspirational-woman model. I have to emerge from within because my limitations make me. I cant decide to be something and chase that, because it doesnt work for me.

    Her family has been supportive, she says.

    My mom has learned a lot from me and I think I have been her teacher in a lot of ways. She really gets me, she can tap in to it. Were super-close and shes super-respectful of me. She can feel me. With the scooter, shes such a savior. Im usually bedridden for a few days when Im in crisis, which is very isolating. This will really help me. Next time Im in crisis, which happens quite frequently, Ill use it.

    Von Frstenberg wasnt diagnosed with Myotonia congenita until she was 21. I overcompensated a lot as a kid. I really struggled to keep up. It was thought I was acting up, different, eccentric, my teachers thought I was rebellious. I really wasnt. I was late getting to class because of my condition.

    My grandmother lived at home with us. She was a Holocaust survivor, and had osteoporosis resulting from malnutrition. She didnt know why I liked lying on her bed with her and talking, so I did have company. She was very bright and encouraged me in psychological, philosophical, and critical thinking.

    The diagnosis wasnt just a relief, it meant she could teach myself not to teach myself to hurt myself to keep up with those who were able-bodied. I don't like to look in mirrors. My physical body holds me down. I kind of like to deny it. I connect to my heart and mind.

    She didn't know going to beach could be fun until really recently because I used to go to hold everyones shoes and bags. Its really hard to grow up different.

    However, she insists she is no "tragic figure." Her personal transformation, as von Frstenberg puts it, began six years ago when she began writing. Her parents were creative, and her 16-year-old daughter Antonia has applied to go to art school.

    As a parent, suffering as she was and unable to do what most parents do with their children, von Frstenberg found honesty with Antonia was best. I had strict boundaries because of my limitations. As a result, Antonia is very compassionate and thoughtful, and independent.

    Von Frstenberg describes her own sexuality as fluid. At the end of her college years she fell in love with film-maker Francesca Gregorini, who she later made the film Tanner Hall with. Von Frstenberg was with Antonias father, actor and writer Russell Steinberg, for eleven years.

    She is single at the moment, and focused on her "wellness." Living in Los Feliz in Los Angeles, she is happy to be surrounded by loved ones and friends.

    My dad was gay, she says. He had a lot of internalized homophobia early on, and had a really hard time coming out to me initially. He got better with it. Growing up in the fashion world meant I was basically raised by the LGBTQ community entirely. They were the only people I could really relate to.

    She recalls being 8 and 9, during the dark days of the AIDS epidemic. I saw everybody getting sick and I was young. I lost a lot of friends. That completely traumatized me. People were whispering things behind my back, not telling me because I was a kid. I wanted to offer my love but I wasn't allowed to.

    I saw so much shame. I saw so much hiding: the dyeing of hair, the wearing of suits, changing your look not to disclose your status, a faade–and to have that internalized shame of being ill and I think I internalized the shame of being ill too. She pauses. That was an epidemic, and there is also a hidden epidemic of LGBTQ prisoners.

    The isolation von Frstenberg felt because of her illness means she identifies strongly with the experiences of the prisoners whose work she has curated.

    She talks about the kid who hadnt come out to his family messing around with a guy in what turned out to be a stolen car. He was arrested, and called his mom, who he hasnt heard from since. Another trans woman has been for years, without even having a trial.

    The misconception created by the media is to make everyone in jail seem really dangerous, when in fact the prison population would be massively reduced if they decriminalized sex work, or stopped arresting under-18s, or stopped jailing people for the technical violations of probation. A lot of crime is poverty-incited. Von Frstenberg decries those agencies and businesses who financially profit from incarceration.

    The 4,000 works of art came in spurts over the last few years, von Frstenberg says. She was struck by the feeling of worthlessness expressed in the letters, being forgotten, not mattering. The other side is, through this show, being remembered. The exhibition, having their work shown, their work being wanted, restored their faith in humanity. I dont want people to think of this as outsider art though. These are artists who are currently incarcerated. Think of it otherwise and it becomes horribly exploitative.

    After the show, von Frstenberg plans to continue working on her autobiographical graphic novel, My Summer, Unapologetic, set when she was a teenager wrestling with her disability, and on holiday with her dad and brother in the Mediterranean. Its a coming of age tale for all of us: my dad comes out in it, and my family breaks up and comes back together. (Her father died in 2004, aged 57, of complications arising from liver cirrhosis and Hepatitis C, she says; she does not know if he was HIV positive.)

    Von Frstenberg and I finish our talk by surveying the pictures of celebrities prisoners have submitted. They include images of Marilyn Monroe (made ingeniously from Kool-Aid and an asthma inhaler), Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, and a set of particularly memorable images of Rihanna. (Hurrah, no Kardashians.) Theyre figures who have fought back, been persecuted, survived or endured demons, says von Frstenberg: They are vulnerable and assertive.

    Michael Jackson was so misunderstood, so I drew him because I understood, writes Marvin D.

    Surveying the art, von Frstenberg says exhibition visitors will be able to send text messages to the prisoners whose work is on show. What I hope is that people realize the enormous amount of talent, complexity, and culture of LGBTQ people within prison. You cant stereotype and forget them. I want people to be wowed by the quality of the work, and the voices of these people to be heard.

    Before I leave, I read two more of the artists captions.

    As a gay child I was accepted openly by my grandparents, writes Christopher R. Its a shame not everyone is accepted for who they are.

    It shouldnt matter if society doesnt accept us, writes Joseph B. Who are they to judge and look down upon us? They are no better than usthe same God that put them here, put us here too. Now I am open about my sexuality, and I encourage you to do the same and experience true freedom. If no one told you that they love you, I am telling that I love you, OK?

    On The Insideis on show at the Abrons Arts Centre, 466 Grand St, New York, NY 10002, until December 18.

    Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/06/the-liberating-art-of-lgbtq-prisoners-why-curating-on-the-inside-was-very-personal-for-tatiana-von-f-rstenberg.html

    Transgender firefighter marches as NYC Pride Parade grand marshal

    (CNN)When Brooke Guinan joined the New York City Fire Department in 2008 she publicly presented herself as a man. She had no idea that on Sunday she’d be one of the NYC Pride Parade’s grand marshals while identifying as a transgender woman.

    Guinan began identifying as a transgender woman in 2011, three years into her firefighting career at FDNY. She first came out as a gay man at a young age, but began to question her gender identity in college.
    Before joining the department, Guinan was unsure what her professional life would look like.
      Despite being a third generation firefighter Guinan did not think there was a place for LGBTQ people in the male-dominated fire department.
      But Guinan’s love of public service ultimately drove her to continue her family legacy in the fire department. There was no LGBTQ training in the beginning.
      During her first few years in the department, she served in both firefighting and administrative capacities.
      For the past two years, Guinan has stepped out of the firehouse and has served the FDNY as its LGBTQ outreach coordinator.
      In this role she has directed and produced training tools and services to better equip the FDNY to understand and work with the LGBTQ community.
      “The firehouse can be fun, but I am so enamored with my community and I am very pleased and grateful to do a different kind of lifesaving work in the fire department,” Guinan said.
      The FDNY has promoted LGBTQ experiences through their social media pages and has also produced its own video in support of the “It Gets Better” campaign, highlighting the stories of LGBTQ public safety employees.
      James Fallarino, spokesperson for NYC Pride, said Guinan appears to be the first openly transgender member of the FDNY. She is the first transgender public safety employee to serve as an individual grand marshal. In 2002, two organizations — the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) and FireFLAG — served as grand marshals after 9/11.
      Guinan participated in the Pride parade for years before being invited to be a grand marshal.
      “It is an amazing honor to be the Grand Marshal of this year’s Pride parade,” she said. “I have always found inspiration in other people’s voices and it is an honor to be given an opportunity for my voice to be heard.”
      She was one of four grand marshals. The others are Krishna Stone, the director of community relations at Gay Men’s Health Crisis; Geng Le, a leader of the LGBTQ equality movement in the People’s Republic of China; and the American Civil Liberties Union.
      “Our 2017 Grand Marshals are a snapshot of the numerous organizations, individuals, and philanthropists that will leads us through this unprecedented time in our nation,” noted NYC Pride March Director Julian Sanjivan in a press release.
      The NYC Pride March is the largest pride parade in the United States and is meant to celebrate the LGBTQ community and bring awareness to issues the community faces. The parade originated 48 years ago in the wake of the Stonewall riots, a series of protests by the LGBTQ community against a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in 1969.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/25/us/firefighter-transgender-woman-pride/index.html

      Late-night hosts on Trump’s Russia contact: ‘Under the shirt, over the constitution’

      Comics, including Samantha Bee and Stephen Colbert, took aim at Republican healthcare confusion and meetings with the Russian ambassador

      Late-night TV hosts discussed Republican disarray and continuing reports of meetings between Trumps team and Russian officials, saying such contact was strictly under the shirt and over the constitution.

      On Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, the comic took aim at the Republicans newly released alternative to Obamacare. On the list of terrible Bills, this one ranks right between Cosby and OReilly, she joked, adding: Cosby, of course, ranks No 1 because hes the only Bill that provides free medication whether you want it or not.

      She also noted the positive reaction of pundits to Trumps address to a joint session of Congress last week, saying they rained golden compliments down on him in the warmest shower hes ever had outside of Moscow.

      Bee also ridiculed rightwing media claims that Barack Obama had attempted a silent coup against Trump. Just one of those classic coups where a president uses the might of the government to spy on an opponent and then doesnt release any of the information he found, lets the other guy win and then isnt president any more, she scoffed.

      Trumps staff members seem to be afraid to challenge him on basic facts, she worried, treating him like a dangerously strong show chimp that you have to bribe with Diet Pepsi so he wont tear your face off.

      On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert said the Republicans lengthy delay in releasing their alternative to Obamacare made them the George RR Martin of healthcare, adding that just like in Game of Thrones, a lot of your favourite characters are going to die without warning.

      Colbert noted that Trump had urged Republican congressmen to support the new plan to avoid an electoral bloodbath in 2018. Which would be terrible, because their healthcare plan does not cover bloodbath, he joked.

      Colbert then turned to reports that at least five members of Trumps 2016 campaign team had made contact with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during last years election. But they insist that contact was strictly under the shirt, over the constitution, he said.

      Trump plans to pay for his immigration program by cutting funding to the coast guard as well airport and rail security, the comic told viewers. Great, so were fine as long as nobody tries to get into America by land, sea or air, he said.

      He also questioned plans to carry out more invasive physical patdowns at airports More invasive? Did they find a new hole? before reminding airplane travelers to make sure you have your ticket, your photo ID and your safe word. But there could be a silver lining for people about to lose their healthcare, Colbert suggested, as they can visit an airport to get a free prostate exam.

      Meanwhile, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host noted that Trump had devoted an hour to a private Oval Office meeting with the owner of the celebrity gossip site TMZ. What could those two possibly need to talk about for an hour? Is there a terrorist plot against Taylor Swift we need to know about?

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/mar/09/late-night-tv-hosts-trump-russia-samantha-bee

      Chlo Grace Moretz Calls The Cops On A Young Suitor Bearing Sweets!

      According to TMZ, the Kick-Ass actress totally ignored the young man as he knocked on her door. It’s said the unwanted admirer looked to be about 18-years-old and asked one of Chlo’s neighbors which house was hers. Thankfully, the neighbor didn’t give away any info and instead he chose to grill the youth.

      After taking the hint that the blonde stunner wanted NOTHING to do with him, the teen made his escape on his skateboard before the cops arrived. Apparently, the LAPD’s threat management team is now on this case.

      We’re not sure what happened to the baked goods, but hopefully Chlo didn’t consume them…

      [Image via Instagram.]

      Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-03-29-chloe-grace-moretz-calls-the-cops-on-young-suitor-bearing-cookies

      This Coffee Might Just Work Better Than Viagra

      Stiff Bull Herbal Coffee is a Malaysian-based company selling an instant herbal coffee powder that it says is designed to improve male sexual performance. The coffee contains exotic ingredients such as  tongkat ali, a purported aphrodisiac native to Malaysia and vicinity; maca root, a South American plant related to broccoli that may also have libido-enhancing properties; and guaraná, another South American plant, whose seeds contain about twice the caffeine of coffee beans.

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/10/18/this-coffee-might-just-work-better-than-viagra.html