• ABC13: H Scott Apley (above), an anti-vaxxer and a leader in the Texas Republican Party, died just days after being diagnosed with COVID. His wife and 5-month-old son tested positive as well. Apley mocked federal “hand-outs” during the pandemic on social media, so it will come as no surprise friends have set up a crowd-funding campaign asking for $35K for the family. Continue reading “News Round-Up: August 4, 2021”
The Canadian province of Ontario will be under a four-week lockdown due to a record number of ICU patients with COVID-19. As health experts have warned for weeks now, the new variants of the coronavirus are proving to be much more contagious and lethal.
The order imposes restrictions on businesses and residents across the Canadian province of 14.7 million people, beginning April 3. Restaurants won’t be allowed to serve customers except for takeout and delivery orders; indoor public events are banned, with a few exceptions. Supermarkets and pharmacies will operate at 50% capacity and other retailers at 25%.
Officials said the main variant spreading in the province — known as B.1.1.7 — is 50% more lethal, twice as likely to send patients to intensive care units and three times as likely to require ventilation.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said regarding the new variants, “This is a new pandemic. We are now fighting a new enemy,”
Bloomberg reports that half of new ICU patients in the Canadian province are under 60.
File this under ‘Act like a fool, get treated like a fool.’
I don’t advocate violence against anyone, but I see why some folks could relate to this viral video bopping around social media showing an encounter between an anti-mask protester and a cyclist in Vancouver.
According to CTV, anti-mask provocateur Alex Lasarev (who apparently spends a good amount of time acting out against healthcare guidance) was shouting his garbage via a megaphone from the window of a moving vehicle.
But then a cyclist – who’s clearly had enough of Lasarev’s assholery – approaches the vehicle and begins to beat the car with his bicycle. Ultimately, the cyclist ends up smashing the passenger window.
In February, Lasarev took cellphone video of while heckling employees of Kerrisdale Cameras after they refused to serve him because he wouldn’t wear a mask.
Vancouver Police are recommending charges of mischief and assault with a weapon against the cyclist.
Here’s the video clip. As you can see, some folks are cheering the cyclist even as they denounce the violence.
Greatest video ever! Obnoxious MAGA anti-masker spews disinformation on a bullhorn out his window, and a guy on a bike just wasn’t going to have it. pic.twitter.com/7t0lyLTbLy
Obnoxious Canadian anti-masker, Kevin Johnston, makes a fool of himself at a store in British Columbia.
Johnston, an anti-Muslim vlogger, has made a name for himself for his racist, anti-Indigenous, and anti-Muslim activism.
In this incident, he walks into the No Frills store with the intention of taking the products, throwing a $5 bill to the cashier as he exits, and ends up punching the store owner during an altercation in the parking lot.
He then declares he’s making a ‘citizens arrest’ over the store owner trying to protect his business.
Johnston is still awaiting trial for wilful promotion of hatred under Criminal Code Section 319(2). In 2017, Johnston posted a video offering a $1,000 reward for footage of Toronto Muslim students praying at school.
A five-month-long investigation resulted in charges, but in the almost four years since, he has yet to face trial.
Johnston also owes $2.5 million for statements he made about Paramount Fine Foods owner Mohamad Fakih during a protest. At the time, Ontario Superior Court Justice Jane Ferguson called Johnston’s actions toward Fakih “hate speech at its worst.”
• Outsports: Devin Ibañez (above), who played professionally in Major League Rugby, has come out as gay in social media posts, saying he has “decided to embrace what I once felt embarrassed of and be proudly and shamelessly myself.”
• PBS: Canada will soon require that air travelers test negative for COVID-19 before arrival, federal ministers said on Wednesday after social media images of maskless tourists prompted a call for stricter measures to curb the virus.
• NewNowNext: Marcus D’Amico — who brought the beloved Tales of the City character Michael “Mouse” Tolliver to life in the original 1993 PBS miniseries — died from pneumonia on December 16 at the age of 55.
• The Hill: The United States on Tuesday broke its record for the most number of coronavirus-related deaths in a single day with 3,725 reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As of Wednesday evening, the U.S. has now recorded a total of 342,312 deaths due to COVID-19.
• Reuters: Donald Trump’s pardon of four American men convicted of killing Iraqi civilians while working as contractors in 2007 may have violated U.S. obligations under international law. The Geneva Conventions oblige states to hold war criminals accountable for their crimes, even when they act as private security contractors, the U.N. experts said.
• Instinct Magazine: My colleague at my ‘other home’ has done a terrific round-up of LGBTQ reality show winners over the years including Amazing Race Season 4 champs Reichen and Chip (above). Hit the link for winning LGBTQ moments from Survivor, Big Brother and more.
• Global News: Shane Daum, 43, reports he was gay-bashed by a group of seven individuals while camping in British Columbia. During the incident, the men (who recognized him from his local grocery store) held his dog as they beat him unconscious. He was treated for a concussion, but law enforcement says they aren’t pressing charges because there are “no independent witnesses to identify any particular accused at the time.”
• Out Music: With his work in television, film and theater, Tituss Burgess is quickly emerging as one of the entertainment industry’s most versatile and dynamic performers. Burgess recently dropped his first single, “Dance M.F.,” aimed squarely at the dance music culture and this year’s many unstoppable virtual pride celebrations.
The track is a sultry sexy stomper with an attitude that is certain to bring comfort and escapism to our currently socially distanced souls. Burgess says the song “is a love letter to all the party people who in spite of the pandemic, are still committed to ‘live their best lives,’ party on down and celebrate Pride safely while in lockdown.”
• Variety: Facebook is unleashing hundreds of thousands of music videos in the U.S. starting this weekend — a direct challenge to YouTube, which has had a virtual lock on the internet music-video space for years. With the U.S. launch of music videos, which Facebook has been actively developing since at least last fall, the company has updated Artist Pages of musicians and singers with a new section to let users browse their official music videos.
• Yahoo News: Now that Donald Trump’s big GOP donor buddy Louis DeJoy has been installed as Postmaster General, orders are going out to employees reducing hours and services. I’m sure it’s all part of a plan to hobble voting by mail which Trump has been demonizing for weeks now for alleged ‘election fraud’ potential.
• The Hill: Some Republicans are urging GOP leaders to abandon the attacks on mail-in voting and to instead embrace it, warning that the president is effectively sabotaging his own party. The impact could be particularly pronounced in Florida, a battleground state where Republicans have traditionally outpaced Democrats among absentee voters. It’s also the preferred method of voting for many seniors, who broke for Trump in 2016.
This past May, the town council in Emo, Ontario – located near Canada’s border with Minnesota – voted down a resolution recognizing June as Pride Month in a 3-2 vote.
Mayor Harold McQuaker and two of the town councilors voted against the resolution. The mayor explained that, in his opinion, it would be unfair to pass the resolution because – wait for it – there’s no “Straight Pride.”
During the town council meeting discussing the resolution, McQuaker said: “We have one flagpole and there’s no flags being flown for the straight people.”
The Northern Ontario Pride Network filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, saying that “homophobia was the only reason behind the decision to deny” the resolution.
According to the complaint, the Pride resolution was approved in Emo in 2018. But in 2019, the town council removed “the resolution’s LGBTQ-supportive language and all references to LGBTQ people, and their inclusion and equality.”
A statement in the complaint from the Northern Ontario Pride Network read in part, “In this day and age, it is unheard of for an Ontario municipality to defy the law and to refuse to recognize Pride in such a plainly discriminatory manner.”
BUT – here’s the good part: Even though the resolution recognizing Pride Month was voted down, LGBTQ activists – armed with rainbow flags, feather boas, and balloons – put together an “Emo ambush” Pride parade for the town this past Saturday.
Douglas Judson, the co-chair of Borderland Pride, an umbrella organization that represents several Pride celebrations in towns near the Minnesota-Ontario border, worked out a secret plan between residents and businesses in the area to plan an “ambush event.”
And so it was, over the weekend, that a 70-vehicle parade convoy carrying hundreds of supporters showed up in Emo.Some of them lived nearby, others said they drove up to three hours to attend the event. Due to COVID-19, a traditional Pride march gave way to a COVID parade-style procession of decorated vehicles.
Even with social distancing guidelines, the attendees set up booths, handed out Pride flags, and gave prizes for categories like “Emo Fair Queen 2020.”
Judson told HuffPost Canada, “This was like something that brought joy to our community during a time when, frankly, we’re all kind of starving for a bit of human connection. That’s part of the exercise of Pride.”
Judson, who grew up in Emo, added, “It exceeded our wildest expectations. It was really something to have people care that much about sending this message about the need for Pride in small communities.”
• InstaHunks: Cutie Sean O’Donnell (above) says, “Day 6 of self-isolation. I have done my skincare routine 47 times, eaten everything in sight, can almost levitate and have played maybe 100 hours of video games.” How about you folks? How’re you doing?
• CNBC: Former Vice President Joe Biden is the apparent winner of Washington’s Democratic primary, NBC News reported Monday, chalking up another victory in a string of recent upsets over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. With 99% of results in, Biden led with about 38% of the vote, edging out Sanders at 36%. Biden will win at least 42 of the state’s delegates, while Sanders will receive 40 delegates.
• RealClearPolitics: Democratic voters go to the polls in Illinois, Florida, Arizona, and Ohio tomorrow for their states’ primaries. Biden leads by an average of 29.5 points in Illinois, 18 points in Arizona, 22.5 points in Ohio, and 39 points in Florida.
• ABC News: Donald Trump says guidelines to combat the coronavirus outbreak could last until July or August, if not longer.
• Global News: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada will be closing its borders to foreign travelers in an attempt to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Trudeau said the restrictions will go into effect Wednesday but exceptions will be made for aircrews, diplomats, immediate family members, and U.S. citizens.
• OUT: On April 7th, when the finale of Schitt’s Creek airs, it will be joined by an hour-long special. Titled Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell, that special includes behind the scenes footage and commentary by Levy and the team on creating special Schitt’s moments.
• Las Vegas: Hubby Michael and I were invited to an industry night at the Westgate Hotel here in Las Vegas where pop music legend Barry Manilow is still thrilling audiences. In a fast-paced 90 minute show, Barry belts out hit after hit, inspiring standing ovation after standing ovation. If you’re heading to Sin City, I highly recommend you check out this truly authentic star who continues to knock it out of the park.
• NY Times: A year after the “London Patient” was introduced to the world as only the second person to be cured of H.I.V., he is stepping out of the shadows to reveal his identity: He is Adam Castillejo. “This is a unique position to be in, a unique and very humbling position,” he said. “I want to be an ambassador of hope.”
• CTV News: Legislation has been introduced in Canada that would make it illegal to cause a minor to undergo conversion therapy; to remove a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy in another country; cause a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will; profit from providing conversion therapy; or advertise an offer to provide conversion therapy.
• Spokesman-Review: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a bill that prohibits defendants from using a “panic defense” in court to justify violence against a member of the LGBTQ community. Washington is now the 10th state to ban so-called “gay panic” or “trans panic” defenses.
• The Hill: Former 2020 Democratic contender Michael Bloomberg gave $2 million to a nonprofit working to Collective Future, a nonprofit working to registering black voters ahead of November’s general election. The group is working to register 500,000 black voters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
• Passing: Openly gay playwright Mart Crowley, author of the groundbreaking play The Boys in the Band, about a group of gay and bi friends in New York City,has died at age 84.
The play, a hit off-Broadway in 1968, went on to become a feature film directed by William Friedkin in 1970. Crowley finally received a Tony Award for his opus when an all-star cast brought the play to Broadway in 2018. Hollywood super-producer Ryan Murphy is now bringing that production to Netflix in the foreseeable future. RIP Mart Crowley.
RIP Mart Crowley, who wrote Boys In The Band. He was justly acclaimed, ignorantly attacked and finally given his due. He dissected and celebrated gay lives, and as a person, he was funny, generous and brave. He got there first, and the theater is in his debt pic.twitter.com/eQoJyjGPp2