News Round-Up: July 19, 2021

Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro is mad NPR took a look at how he's using anger and political division to make millions.
Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro is mad NPR took a look at how he's using anger and political division to make millions.
Ben Shapiro (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

NPR: Far-right pundit Ben Shapiro (above) is apparently mad that NPR did a deep dive into how he and his website, The Daily Wire, have found success in stoking outrage and political division via conservative clickbait. His site often generates more Facebook engagement on its articles than The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NBC News combined. But, but, but “cancel culture…”

The Advocate: Authorities have charged three adults for their part in shaving a 12-year-old boy’s head to read “gay” then posting a video of the verbal and physical assault on social media.

The Hill: A new OH Predictive Insights poll shows 62% of Arizona Republicans believe the ongoing partisan election audit will eventually find Donald Trump won the state’s 11 Electoral College votes instead of President Biden. No evidence has emerged to suggest widespread voter fraud. Biden won the state by more than 10,000 votes in 2020.

Justice Dept: Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the leader of the white supremacist group Proud Boys, pleaded guilty today to charges in two cases, including one involving the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a downtown Washington church. Each offense carries a maximum sentence of 180 days’ imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine.

New York Times: Wall Street saw its biggest daily decline in months today in a broad sell-off reflecting a range of concerns about economic growth and the potential for rising Covid-19 infections leading to the return of restrictions on travel and tourism.

Axios: With historically low inventory of preowned vehicles, the value of used cars is continuing to climb – even for vehicles with more than 100,000 miles. Car-shopping website Edmunds.com reports the average selling price for a used car with between 100,000 and 110,000 miles on it was $16,489 in June, up from $12,626 a year ago.

Instagram: Model Layna Bloom becomes the first transgender model to cover the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Arizona GOP Official Dodged Trump Phone Calls Seeking To Flip Election Results

Donald Trump (image public domain/White House)

The New York Times reports Donald Trump reached out to the top Republican in Phoenix twice via phone as his aides were attempting to overturn Arizona’s 2020 results, according to the official, who said he let the calls go to voice mail.

Clint Hickman, then the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said in an interview on Friday that he let the calls — made in late December and early January — go to voice mail and did not return them. “I told people, ‘Please don’t have the president call me,’” he said.

At the time, Mr. Hickman was being pressed by the state Republican Party chairwoman and Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to investigate claims of fraud in the county’s election, which Mr. Biden had won by about 45,000 votes.

The Arizona Republic obtained the records of the phone calls from Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani after a Freedom of Information Act request.

There were no significant irregularities in Maricopa’s vote tallies, according to election officials there who have repeatedly refuted Trump’s claims.

Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Voting Restrictions

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s new voting restrictions in a 6-3 ruling today.

From the New York Times:

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld voting restrictions in Arizona and signaled that challenges to new state laws making it harder to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices.

The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent.

The new case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, No. 19-1257, concerned two kinds of voting restrictions in Arizona. One required election officials to discard ballots cast at the wrong precinct. The other made it a crime for campaign workers, community activists and most other people to collect ballots for delivery to polling places, a practice critics call “ballot harvesting.” The law made exceptions for family members, caregivers and election officials.

Read the full article here.

Arizona Gov Vetoes Anti-LGBTQ Education Bill

Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona vetoed a bill that would have prohibited any inclusion of LGBTQ topics or history in schools

In a somewhat surprising move, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has vetoed legislation that would have curtailed the state’s sex education laws and would have prohibited any mention of LGBTQ issues or history.

In a statement, the governor called the bill, SB 1456, “overly broad and vague” adding he was concerned about “unintended consequences.”

From Goshen News:

The proposed law, Senate Bill 1456, would have barred all discussions about gender identity, sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS in sex education classes unless parents are notified in advance and specifically opt in for the instruction.

The proposal applied outside of sex ed classes as well, requiring parents to agree to have their children learn about historical events such as a discussion of the modern gay rights movement that sprang from the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York.

It also banned any sex ed classes before 5th grade, which opponents have said will put young students who now learn about “good touch-bad touch” to avoid molestation at greater risk.

Although he vetoed the bill, Ducey did issue an executive order requiring schools to post sex education course materials in advance online. He also ordered there to be early notice of school board meetings where sex ed might be discussed.

Democratic lawmakers in the state opposed the legislation saying it was dangerous for already-marginalized LGBTQ youth.

Kathy Hoffman, superintendent of schools for Arizona, publicly opposed the bill as well calling for the veto. And she applauded his move today.

News Round-Up: April 15, 2021

Nick Vallejo
Nick Vallejo
Nick Vallejo (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

Outsports: A gay surfer started an OnlyFans page to feel sexy, and apparently it’s working. Nick Vallejo (above) finds inner-peace in the ocean and confidence in front of the camera.

Pink News: Arizona Republicans have passed an anti-LGBT+ bill that would allow parents to stop their kids from learning about queer people. The bill would also prohibit schools from providing sex-ed classes which include information about AIDS and HIV without parent’s permission.

Instagram: Ivanka Trump celebrated getting her coronavirus vaccine shot on social media, and Republicans lost their minds leaving ugly comments. I’m still surprised they oppose the vaccines so much considering their lord and savior the Donald says he created them with his own two, itty-bitty hands.

New York Times: While it is rare for the police to mistake their sidearms for their stun guns, it is even rarer for charges to be brought against them in such cases. A Times review of 15 other cases of so-called weapon confusion showed that only five of the officers were indicted. Just three received guilty verdicts.

WIS News10: Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott confirms Sergeant First Class Jonathan Pentland had been arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery after viral video footage showed him assaulting a young Black man on a public sidewalk. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or 30 days in jail.

The Hill: A Minnesota man was arrested Wednesday for assault after he allegedly drove away while a police officer’s arm was trapped in his truck window. An officer was standing on the truck’s running board when Oeltjenbruns is accused of rolling up the window on his arm. The suspect then allegedly drove away at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, leaving the officer hanging off the vehicle. Note: the accused was neither tased nor shot.

News Round-Up: December 8, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett being sworn in as Supreme Court Justice with Donald Trump & Justice Clarence Thomas (public domain)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Gaily Grind: Guests at the Brussels “daddy orgy” where an anti-LGBT Hungarian politician was caught breaking lockdown rules thought the police who arrived to break up the party were part of the sex party, the organizer claims.

Fox19Now: Wyoming police are investigating after someone allegedly stole an LGBTQ Pride flag from a front porch and burned it. The Fitzpatric family says the vandal came right up to their front porch and even tripped on their Christmas decorations in order to snatch it up.

New York Times: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused a long-shot request from Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state, delivering an unmistakable rebuke to President Trump in the forum on which he had pinned his hopes. The Supreme Court’s order was all of one sentence, and there were no noted dissents.

Pink News: Donald Trump spends dying days of presidency legalizing discrimination dressed up as ‘religious freedom.’

Edge Media: An 18-year-old suspect accused of murdering a 15-year-old boy lured him into the woods in Cheshire, England, with a promise of sex before clubbing him to death a year ago, the prosecution in the case charged in court.

AZ Central: The Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, upholding a lower court’s finding that there was no misconduct, fraud or illegal voting in the general election.

Change.org: Trevor Wilkinson, a student at Clyde High School in Texas, was suspended after he wore nail polish to school. Now, over 125K people have signed a petition in support of his freedom of expression.

Instinct Magazine: Despite lowering before 2019, HIV infections are on the rise again.

Christmas Music: From Annie Lennox’s holiday release, A Christmas Cornucopia. As Slant Magazine wrote in 2010: “’God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ marries the traditional with the modern in a daring and ultimately very successful way. Lennox’s commitment to the material is palpable.”

Arizona Certifies Biden Win In The Grand Canyon State

Arizona has officially certified its results of the 2020 election cycle indicating President-elect Joe Biden won the Grand Canyon State’s 11 electoral votes.

The certification also makes it possible for Senator-elect Mark Kelly to be sworn in to the U.S. Senate this week.

From CNN:

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, certified the election results Monday morning, saying the elections process was the most secure in recent history, “despite unfounded claims to the contrary.” The state’s Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, along with Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, witnessed the certification, as required by state law. These three officials are Republicans.

Ducey, who echoed Hobbs’ comments and praised the integrity of Arizona’s election system, also said he would sign official documentation on Monday and have it hand-delivered to the president of the US Senate, so that Kelly “can be sworn in as swiftly as possible.”

More than 3.4 million ballots were cast in Arizona this election cycle indicating a turnout of nearly 80% of eligible voters in the state. The official tally shows Biden beat Donald Trump by 10,457 votes.

Donald Trump’s lawyer Jenna Ellis complained on Twitter the certification was ‘rushed’ but it’s been 27 days since Election Day – the exact same length of time as in 2016.

GOP Leaders In Key States Decline To Intervene In Selection Of Electoral College

Donald Trump (image via Flickr/WhiteHouse – public domain)

One of the Trump campaign’s big ‘hail Mary’ moves is to try and flip the results of the presidential election by encouraging Republican-controlled state legislatures to disenfranchise voters in their states by picking members of the Electoral College that would vote for Trump instead of the Joe Biden for their state.

But GOP leaders in key states flipped by Joe Biden in this election cycle have told the Associated Press they have no plans to subvert state laws.

State GOP lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have all said they would not intervene in the selection of electors, who ultimately cast the votes that secure a candidate’s victory. Such a move would violate state law and a vote of the people, several noted.

“I do not see, short of finding some type of fraud — which I haven’t heard of anything — I don’t see us in any serious way addressing a change in electors,” said Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s Republican House speaker, who says he’s been inundated with emails pleading for the legislature to intervene. “They are mandated by statute to choose according to the vote of the people.”

The idea loosely involves GOP-controlled legislatures dismissing Biden’s popular vote wins in their states and opting to select Trump electors.

Team Trump was probably hoping that such ploys would become entangled in legal rabble-rousing that would end up at the Supreme Court where the Donald’s handpicked conservative justices might hand him a win.

In related news, the Washington Post reports “two prominent law firms have sought to withdraw from representing the Trump legal effort in Arizona and Pennsylvania.”

More Major News Outlets Project Biden To Win Arizona

More major news outlets have projected Joe Biden to win Arizona Thursday night as his margin in the Grand Canyon state is remains over 11,000 votes.

The Associated Press and Fox News Channel called Arizona for President-elect Biden on Election Night.

The only two states not officially called by news outlets are Georgia (where Biden leads by 14,149 votes) and North Carolina (where Trump leads by 73,274) per the New York Times.

(graphic via New York Times)