Podcast: The Best of 2020 – LGBTQ Edition

In this episode of The Randy Report podcast: new HIV strategy, 2022 Golden Globe Awards, Elvira Mistress of the Dark

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

There was a lot in 2020 that was just heinous and I’m happy to leave it behind. But I did want to take a pause to look at some of the good news and big moments of the past year in this ‘Best of 2020 – LGBTQ edition.’

In this episode, I’m going to revisit some of the best songs, movies, TV, and top LGBTQ news stories of the year (at least in my opinion).

I know folks like to make Top 10 lists, but one of the hallmarks of The Randy Report is supposed to be brevity. Plus, if I’m putting my name on a “Best of…” list I want to feel strongly about them. So I’m going to try to stick to Top 5’s in this show.

I won’t give it all away but I cover:

• The 2020 election cycle and how LGBTQ folks were impacted and took part

• The forward progress of LGBTQ rights around the world

• Celebrities and politicians standing up for transgender people

• LGBTQ movies like Uncle Frank, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and The Boys in the Band

• And music from terrific out indie artists like Milahroy, VINCINT, mxmtoon, Robby Hart, and Jakk Fynn

So, sit back and chill as I recap the Best of 2020 – LGBTQ Edition.

Trump: Florida ‘Doing Well’ Without ‘Lockdowns’ As State Passes 21K Deaths From COVID

A man wearing a face mask during the pandemic

Donald Trump tweeted today criticism about the pandemic situation in California adding that Florida is “open & doing well.”

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida added 17,042 positive COVID-19 cases today bringing its total to 1,264,588 as the death toll from the virus has risen to 21,135.

The Sunshine State has a population of around 21.5 million, which breaks down to one in 17 people in the state who have now tested positive for the virus.

California has almost double the population (39.5 million) of Florida and has fewer cases per capita than Florida.

Across the U.S., one in 18 have tested positive for the virus, and one in 98 globally.

So, no – that’s not doing “well.”

Donald Trump Continues Whining As Americans Face Losing Unemployment Benefits

Donald Trump plays golf and complains on Twitter as unemployment benefits for 14 million Americans expire today

While approximately 14 million Americans are facing the expiration of their unemployment benefits today, Donald Trump is maintaining a full schedule of golf and griping about his failed reelection attempt.

Trump surprised Congress by denouncing the recent COVID relief bill which was considered a done deal after being hammered out between House and Senate leaders alongside Trump’s own Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.

After the passage of the stimulus package, which would extend unemployment benefits for those affected by the pandemic, Donald Trump threw a grenade into the negotiations demanding $2,000 payments to eligible Americans. Democrats say they are down for the increased checks, but Republicans have said that figure is dead on arrival in the Senate.

Trump also wants legal protections for tech companies (like Twitter which has regularly tagged his tweets as ‘disinformation’) to be terminated so they can be sued.

CBS News reported that the coronavirus relief and government spending bill was being flown to Florida Thursday evening for the president to sign — or veto — should he choose to do so.

Amid his post-Christmas Twitter rant, Trump blamed Republicans for not fighting to overturn the results of the presidential election, as well as the “Justice” department and the FBI.

The Donald also attacked the Supreme Court for refusing to take a look at “absolute proof” of “massive election fraud” that allegedly took place.

Meanwhile, dozens of Team Trump lawsuits have failed in courts across the nation. Many of those challenges were ruled against by Republican-appointed judges, and even Trump appointees.

Trump Twitter Rant: Christmas Edition

The Supreme Court has refused to block the release of hundreds of documents from the Trump White Houses ought by the House committee investigating the violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol building on January 6.

Donald Trump continued his barrage against Twitter on Christmas Eve, tweeting that the social media company is “going wild with their flags” and “trying hard to suppress even the truth,” which seems to be alluding to his continued baseless claims that there was rampant voter fraud (there wasn’t).

Trump repeated his call for terminating Section 230, a legal clause in the Communications Decency Act which shields social media companies from being liable for content posted on their platforms by third parties. Trump opposes the protections, basically, because he wants to sue Twitter (from whence his power comes) for flagging his posts as ‘misinformation.’

Trump also went after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for acknowledging President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. Trump railed at his own fellow Republicans as they “sit back and watch” Trump try and overturn the fairly won election.

Did A Bi Trump Supporter Scam $$$ From LGBTQ Trumpers?

(stock photo: Jeff Cirillo/FlickrCC license)

A 21-year-old bisexual Trump supporter spent the majority of 2020 impersonating relatives of Donald Trump on Twitter and in doing so appears to have scammed thousands of dollars from LGBTQ Trumpers.

The New York Times spoke with Josh Hall, who lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, about his wild Twitter ride which included pretending to be Robert Trump, brother to the president; 14-year-old Barron Trump, the Donald’s son; and just last month Trump’s sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau.

Hall not only fooled hundreds of thousands of Trump fans – collectively accruing over 160,000 followers – but even tricked Trump himself, who just last month posted an article about his ‘sister’ who had announced she was joining Twitter to support her brother’s fight to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“Thank you Elizabeth,” tweeted the Donald. “LOVE!”

(screen capture)

Except, “Elizabeth” was actually Mr. Hall cloaked behind the fake Twitter account. Trump’s tweet is still on his account at this writing.

In an interview with the New York Times, Hall admitted he was stunned to have fooled Trump. “I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. He actually thinks it’s his sister.”

Hall shared with the Times that he became interested in politics and Donald Trump four years ago. “I kind of thought he was like a clown at first,” he said. “But the more I heard him talk, I realized: Yeah, he says kind of off-the-wall things, but I do agree with what he’s saying.”

Energized by Trump’s heated rhetoric, Hall began to dream of becoming a conservative talk-radio host. In an attempt to develop an online presence, he fought with liberals on Twitter and launched a “public figure” page on Facebook.

(photo: R Nial Bradshaw/FlickrCC License)

He also self-published a short e-book titled Hall Nation which shared his “38 essential rules” for living a happy life. As a Trump supporter, the first rule isn’t surprising: “Insults are a good thing.”

In real life, Hall apparently found it difficult to hold down a job moving from hotel clerk to sandwich maker, and eventually delivering food for Door Dash.

But online, he was learning to establish a small following. That journey was curtailed when he found himself banned from Twitter for creating multiple accounts as different people. “Once I got banned from Twitter, my attitude was kind of like, ‘What the hell, I’m just going to have fun now,’” he told the Times.

So, he began creating fake accounts posing as well-known people in the political sphere.

(screen capture via NY Times)

He started with a parody account of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich who had received a pardon from Trump. That account garnered upward of 26,000 followers before it was deleted by Twitter.

Hall returned with more accounts pretending to be Dr. Birx from the White House Coronavirus Task Force at one point, and then Trump’s brother, Robert.

Through all of this, Hall claims “There was no nefarious intention behind it. I was just trying to rally up MAGA supporters and have fun.”

It was during his fake “Robert Trump” phase that he used the account to promote his own new Twitter account, @TheBiTrumpGuy, and his fake group, “Gay Voices for Trump.”

He even encouraged Trumpers (as “Robert Trump”) to donate to a GoFundMe campaign organized by Hall that was purported to support “field organizing, events and merchandise.” The fundraiser brought in $7,384.

(screen capture via NY Times)

Hall says he “never got the funds” from the crowdfunding campaign, but GoFundMe tells the Times the money was withdrawn by an account named Josh H.

All in all, it’s a timely tale of how much disinformation there is on social media. And a serious reminder to not believe everything you see on social media.

Head over to the New York Times to read the full accounting.

Trump Considering ‘Preemptive’ Pardons For As Many As 20 Allies

The list of possible “preemptive” pardons from Donald Trump is apparently even longer than originally thought.

From Politico:

President Donald Trump is considering preemptively pardoning as many as 20 aides and associates before leaving office, frustrating Republicans who believe offering legal reprieves to his friends and family members could backfire.

Trump’s strategy, like much of his presidency, is nontraditional. He is eschewing the typical protocol of processing cases through the Justice Department. And he may argue that such preemptive pardons for his friends and family members are necessary to spare them from paying millions in legal fees to fight what he describes as witch hunts.

Those up for clemency include everyone from Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to several members of his family — all people who haven’t been charged with a crime.

The Donald is reportedly concerned that pardoning these folks ‘would look like an admission of guilt.’

Which, by the way, is what it would be.

Snappish Trump Loses Cool At Press Conference

During his Thanksgiving Day address at the White House on Thursday, Donald Trump told reporters that if the Electoral College confirms president-elect Joe Biden’s victory, “they’ve made a mistake,” but he would give up power and leave the White House.

When Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason asked to clarify his response in a follow-up question, Trump blew his cool and snapped at Mason, “Don’t talk to me that way – you’re just a lightweight. Don’t talk – I’m the president of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way.”

Note – Jeff Mason is no ‘lightweight.’ He’s an experienced journalist and highly regarded in Washington, D.C.

Trump did not confirm whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration in January.

Experts and officials have said there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US elections.

Carl Bernstein Names 21 GOP Senators Who Despise Trump

L-R Donald Trump, Carl Bernstein

Legendary Washington, D.C. journalist Carl Bernstein has publicly named 21 Republican Senators who he says have expressed their ‘extreme contempt for [Donald] Trump and his fitness to be POTUS.’

Bernstein, who was one of the two reporters who broke the Nixon Watergate scandal, declares in his tweets he’s ‘not violating any pledge of journalistic confidentially’ in sharing the names.

Brian Williams Throws Deadpan Shade Geraldo’s Way

MSNBC’s Brian Williams (screen capture)

MSNBC’s Brian Williams threw down some masterful deadpan shade last night at the end of his 11th Hour program after former newsman Geraldo Rivera suggested on Fox News that the upcoming coronavirus vaccines should be named after Donald Trump.

Giving props to Trump as the ‘prime architect of Operation WarpSpeed,’ Rivera seems to think Trump the humanitarian scientist created the vaccine all by his little self.

“You know, for my money, Geraldo raises a good point there,” begins Williams. “You know it’s possible we just don’t give the president enough credit for his FDR-like devotion to tackling this virus. His laser-like focus, his daily devotion, the sympathy he’s forever expressing to the families of the quarter-million dead.”

Williams says all of this and more during a montage of Trump out on a golf course.

Hit the play button.

Milestone: 250,000+ U.S. Deaths From COVID-19

(graphic via CNN)

A sad milestone today as the death toll from COVID-19 in the U.S. crosses the 250,000 mark.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. saw the highest coronavirus-related death toll on Tuesday in more than six months with 1,707 fatalities.

From CNN:

The coronavirus is now killing at least one American every minute of the day, bringing the country to another horrific milestone on Wednesday: At least 250,029 people in the country have died of Covid-19 since the first death on February 29 in Washington state.

And it’s only going to get worse, said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine.

“The horrible death count that we saw yesterday in the United States … reflects the number of people who were being infected three weeks ago — two to three weeks ago, because that’s the lag,” Reiner said Wednesday.

“On average, two to three weeks ago, we were seeing 70,000 to 80,000 (new) cases per day. Yesterday, there were about 155,000 (new) cases. So if you’re alarmed at the 1,700 deaths today, two to three weeks from now, we’re going to see 3,000 deaths a day.”

And Donald Trump told his supporters just weeks ago, “We’re rounding the curve…”

So. Much. Winning.