News Round-Up: July 3, 2020

Yanni Burton (courtesy photo)

Some news items you might have missed:

Newsweek: Producers for The Ellen DeGeneres Show have denied rumors that the long-running talk show is coming to an end following the continued backlash against the host. The Sun alleges the show is set to be axed due to ratings falling 14 percent to a new season 17 low rating of 1.2.

Out Music: Yanni Burton (top photo) turns the spotlight on his own struggles of letting go and moving on from past relationships in his new single and music video, “A Part of Me.”

“I have a history of getting lost in memories and emotions,” says Yanni. “To the point where I become consumed with panic, anxiety and I can’t function properly or move on with my life.”

Produced by Yanni with his close friend Tiger Darrow, the song contains a dreamy, trippy soundscape and is darker and more emotionally intense than his previous singles. However, it still contains the pop/dance feel the artist has become known for. Check it out below.

Vanity Fair: The Trump campaign is considering canceling the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida after the city mandated that people wear masks indoors to slow the explosion of COVID-19 cases.

KIT212: Hit up Kenneth’s latest round-up of the what’s what in local LGBTQ publications like South Florida’s Hot Spots (below).

Pink News: Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie, 40, who came out as the state’s first openly gay elected Republican last year, just lost his bid for reelection. He says his loss is “absolutely” because he came out. He won his previous election by 81 percent.

Gay Star News: RuPaul has completely wiped his Instagram account of all posts and deleted his Twitter account entirely – but fans don’t know why. Nevertheless, fans have come up with all sorts of theories as to why the accounts have disappeared.

News Round-Up: June 16, 2020

Bruno, the wonder dog, at one-year-old

Some news items you might have missed:

Birthdays: Today would have been the 18th birthday of my forever bestie, Bruno. Although he crossed the rainbow bridge two years ago, I think of him constantly. No sadness here, just joy at my awesome memories. I used to refer to the photo above as his headshot, as he was clearly star-material. #LoveTheBrun

Gay Star News: The Republican Party is retaining its 2016 platform for this November’s elections – including its condemnation of marriage equality, wording against same-sex families with children, a section that indicates parents should be able to send their LGBT+ children for dangerous and futile ‘conversion therapy.’

Towleroad: Houston gay bars Buddy’s (in Montrose) and Blur Bar (in Midtown) have closed after employees and owners tested positive for COVID-19. Since Memorial Day weekend, hospitalizations in Houston’s Texas Medical Center are growing by an average of 3 percent every day.

Alabama Reporter: Alabama has recorded record numbers of new coronavirus cases for four straight days amid a worsening outbreak in the state.

Instinct Magazine: Timothy de Iturriaga, the owner of the male strip club Adonis Lounge, shares how the COVID-19 health threat has affected gay nightlife in NYC.

NewNowNext: In a press conference today, Donald Trump took a moment to praise medical researchers developing a vaccine for COVID-19 amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. According to Trump, they’re “the best, the smartest, the most brilliant [people] anywhere”—and the same people who’ve “come up with the AIDS vaccine.” Ahem, there is NO AIDS vaccine.

GOP Votes To Leave Anti-LGBTQ Party Platform Unchanged For 2020

Donald Trump

Via Politico:

A vote by the Republican National Committee to leave the party’s 2016 party platform unchanged ahead of the November election has infuriated grassroots activists — including moderates who wanted to streamline its message and social conservatives who sought added language on emerging hot-button topics.

The decision by the party’s executive panel Wednesday means the GOP will maintain positions in the 4-year-old policy blueprint — including opposition to same-sex marriage and a nod to gay conversion therapy — and decline to stake out new positions on topics such as police reform, gender identity and third-trimester abortions.

Party officials and senior Trump campaign aides had previously discussed ways to pare down the 58-page document to a single notecard or abbreviated list of principles, but the effort broke down after several conservative groups registered complaints with the White House.

Iowa: Racist/Homophobe Rep. Steve King Loses Primary Bid

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

After nine terms in the U.S. House, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) fell short in Tuesday’s Republican primary to state Sen. Randy Feenstra.

According to the New York Times, Feenstra garnered 45.7 percent of the vote while King lagged nearly ten points behind with 36 percent. The remaining candidates were in single digits.

Long-known for his anti-LGBTQ, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant statements, King found himself rebuked via a House resolution after he made comments suggesting he supported white nationalism. As a result, he was stripped of all his committee assignments.

No friend to the LGBTQ community, over his years in office he virulently opposed marriage equality.

He railed against the Iowa Supreme Court when same-sex marriage became legal in Iowa in 2009. So much so that he spent $80,000 in campaign advertising against three of those justices when they were up for retention in 2010. None of the justices retained their seats.

King called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which made marriage equality the law of the land, “perverted.” He then called for a House resolution to defy the ruling.

King also introduced an amendment in 2012 seeking to ban same-sex weddings on military bases, even though the GOP-controlled House had approved of the weddings.

The 17-year veteran of Congress also argued in support of Donald Trump’s ban of transgender military service members.

But, to be clear, Mr. Feenstra is not much better on LGBTQ issues.

In 2011, he introduced a state constitutional amendment that would wipe out the 2009 state supreme court decision that legalized marriage equality in Iowa.

Feenstra also voted in favor of an appropriations measure that would prohibit the use of Iowa Medicaid dollars to pay for transgender surgeries.

Feenstra will face J.D. Scholten in November’s general election. In 2018, Scholten came close to beating King (47% – 50%) in the 2018 race for Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District

Trump Attacks Mitt ‘Pompous Ass’ Romney For Criticizing ‘Perfect’ Ukraine Call

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), one of the few Senate Republicans to openly question Donald Trump’s motivations for asking foreign governments to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, criticized the Donald on Twitter Friday.

You knew this was coming, didn’t you? The Donald took to the Twitters calling for ROMNEY’s impeachment! How about that???

First House Republican Announces Support For Impeachment Inquiry

GOP Rep. Mark Amodei is first House Republican to support impeachment inquiry

GOP Rep. Mark Amodei is first House Republican to support impeachment inquiry

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) is the first GOP member of Congress to openly support the House’s impeachment inquiry.

From the Nevada Independent:

“Let’s put it through the process and see what happens,” Amodei, the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, said on a call Friday with reporters, adding that he believes Congress is justified to look into the matter. 

“I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes,” he added.  (An audio recording of the call has been posted below.)

“Using government agencies to, if it’s proven, to put your finger on the scale of an election, I don’t think that’s right,” he continued. “If it turns out that it’s something along those lines, then there’s a problem.”

Amodei issued a statement after the call underscoring his support for the process moving forward and dispelling any impression that he currently backs voting to impeach the president.

“In no way, shape, or form, did I indicate support for impeachment,” Amodei said of the call.

Amodei declined to say whether he believes Trump committed an impeachable offense, though he noted that his comments in the call were regrettable.

“If it was my statement and I had the ability to do it over, I would probably phrase it differently,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s a smoking gun.”

Joe Walsh Announces Challenge To Trump For GOP Nomination

Calling Mr. Trump ‘completely unfit,’ former Congressman Joe Walsh, a conservative radio host, says he will launch a television-centric strategy to try to rattle a media-obsessed president.

Walsh announced his candidacy during an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”

From the New York Times:

“We’ve got a guy in the White House who is unfit, completely unfit, to be president and it stuns me that nobody stepped up,” Mr. Walsh said in announcing his candidacy, claiming that “everyone” in the Republican Party believes Mr. Trump is not fit for the job.

Mr. Walsh’s decision to announce his candidacy on television, aides said, is a preview of a television-centric strategy designed to rattle a television-focused president with a rare challenge from within the party.

Despite Mr. Walsh’s claim that many Republicans share his belief that Mr. Trump is unfit to serve, most polls show the president’s approval rating among Republican voters is consistently in the high 80s.

Mr. Walsh stands virtually no chance of wresting the Republican presidential nomination away from Mr. Trump. But he framed his long shot primary challenge as a moral imperative to offer an alternative to Mr. Trump, and said that he is jumping in because “somebody needs to step up.”

GOP Lawmaker Candice Keller Blames Gays, Drag Queens, Marijuana & Video Games For Mass Shootings

Ohio state Rep. Candice Keller (image via government site)

In the aftermath of two deadly mass shootings over the weekend, one conservative Ohio state lawmaker put the blame for the tragic events on same-sex marriage, video games, transgender people, drag queens, President Obama and more.

On Saturday, a lone gunman killed 20 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. That was followed by another shooting in Dayton, Ohio, which left 10 dead and at least 27 more wounded.

State Rep. Candice Keller (R), who represents a district near Dayton, wrote on her Facebook page, “After every mass shooting, the liberals start the blame game. Why not place the blame where it belongs?”

She went on to list who she feels are the real culprits for so many mass shootings beginning with, “The breakdown of the traditional American family (thank you, transgender, homosexual marriage and drag queen advocates).”

Also on her list of folks to blame for the two mass shooting events were:

  • Fatherlessness
  • Video games (although other countries have video games as well and not nearly the gun violence that is seen in the U.S.)
  • Open borders
  • Recreational marijuana
  • Students in school who misbehave
  • Disrespect for the police (she gave a shoutout to Obama for some reason)
  • Hatred of our veterans (athletes are to blame for that one)
  • The Democratic Congress (although Democrats only control one chamber of Congress)
  • Culture (in general we guess) for ignoring the importance of God and the church
  • State officeholders and something about the 2nd Amendment
  • And, of course, ‘snowflakes’ who “can’t accept a duly-elected president

I’m not sure how Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny managed to avoid the list, but maybe she was in a hurry.

When the Dayton Daily News contacted Keller about the post, she told a reporter she had posted something “to her private, personal Facebook page.”

And when the post was read to her over the phone, she said “it sounded like part of her posting but she couldn’t be sure if it had been altered,” introducing the idea that she had been possibly hacked.

The post was promptly deleted, but screengrabs have gone viral on the internet.

Brian Hester, Chairman for the Butler County Democratic Party, responded to the post telling the Daily News, “She loves to fan the flames and play the role of victim here, not the nine people who were killed….She is fundamentally unfit for office.”

Hester added, “She is an embarrassment to her party, to conservatives, to Butler County, and to the state Legislature.”

(source: Dayton Daily News)

James Comey Drops Challenge To Congressional Subpoena In Exchange For Full-Transcript Release

NBC News reports that former FBI Director James Comey has dropped his legal challenge to a Republican congressional subpoena and will agree to closed-door deposition.
Former FBI Director James Comey

NBC News reports that former FBI Director James Comey has dropped his legal challenge to a Republican congressional subpoena and will agree to closed-door deposition.

However, lawmakers agreed to release a full transcript of his testimony within 24 hours, and he will be free to make all or part of it available to the public.

Comey had been subpoenaed by House Republicans to discuss Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server (again) as well as Russian interference in the 2016 election behind closed doors. Comey opposed the private setting in an effort to make sure the American people would be able to know exactly what was discussed.

Comey’s attorneys argued in their challenge to the subpoena that Republicans had “abused their powers with selective leaks” in the past.

Parody: ‘GOP Jesus’ Explains It All For You

Over the past few years, folks have wondered how evangelical Christian Republicans can go along with the stunning hypocrisy that is Donald Trump.

Obviously, the answer has been that as long as conservatives get what they want out of a Trump presidency (Supreme Court justices, anti-LGBT legislation, etc…), they’re ok holding their noses and sticking with their guy.

Now, the folks at Friend Dog Studios have come up with a ‘GOP Jesus’ that aligns more closely with their beliefs.

Check out the video below where ‘GOP Jesus’ addresses many of the conflicting messages coming out of some Christians including adultery, immigration, health care, the War on Christmas, family separations, the golden rule, and gay people.

Here’s what the hypocritical really mean:

“Love your neighbor as yourself – unless you are better than your neighbor, then tell them that they’re weird, and you don’t want to bake them a cake.”

“What has a man profited if he gained the whole world but loses his soul? A lot! He’s profited a lot. One soul for the whole world? That is an amazing deal!”

“If a man strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him and shoot him. That is the law.”

Watch below.