News Round-Up: July 30, 2020

Phillip Evelyn II (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Phillip Evelyn II (above) is giving you full-on Ninja-ness in this post. #Dang Follow him on the Gram of Insta here.

Pink News: A homophobe in South Dakota went on a profanity-heavy anti-gay rant while burning an LGBTQ Pride flag during a Facebook video. The local district attorney says he won’t be pursuing hate crime charges despite the video.

CBS News: President Barack Obama’s powerful eulogy at the funeral of the late civil rights leader, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), was perfection. Obama said Americans should honor Lewis’ legacy by continuing to work for democracy and voting rights. “He, as much as anyone in our history, brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals.” Hit the play button to hear a president speak about someone other than themself (and in complete sentences).

Courthouse News: Federal prosecutors have agreed to abandon the gag order against Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and current felon, Michael Cohen. Cohen is now free to use social media, participate in interviews, and release his Trump tell-all book, which is due go on sale in September.

Fox News: File this under ‘metaphors you could never make up.’ Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign bus collided with a dump truck today while stumping in Western Pennsylvania.

Gay Star News: International pop star Elton John shared the 30th anniversary of his sobriety with his Instagram followers writing, “If I hadn’t finally taken the big step of asking for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have inspired and supported me along the way.”

Hearse Carrying Rep. John Lewis Pauses At Rainbow Intersection

The hearse carrying the late Rep. John Lewis pauses at Rainbow Intersection

As the motorcade for the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) made its way through the streets of Atlanta on Wednesday heading to the Georgia State Capitol, the hearse carrying his body paused in tribute to his support for the LGBTQ community at an intersection marked by rainbow-painted crosswalks.

Supporters were already waiting at Piedmont and 10th Street where the scheduled stop had been previously announced.

When the hearse paused in the intersection, supporters clapped and cheered the memory of the civil rights legend. And as the motorcade resumed its journey, Terrence James, a downtown Atlanta resident, began singing “We Shall Overcome.”

In addition to his lifelong commitment to equal rights for Black Americans, Lewis was an early ally to the LGBTQ community

In 1996, long before gay rights were widely embraced by mainstream America, Lewis took to the floor of the House of Representatives to denounce the heinous anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as a “mean” and “cruel” bill.

“This bill seeks to divide our nation, turn Americans against Americans, to seed fear, hatred, and intolerance,” declared Lewis. “Marriage is a basic human right. You cannot tell people they cannot fall in love.”

A few years later, he penned an op-ed for the Boston Globe urging equal rights for LGBTQ Americans.

“This discrimination is wrong,” he wrote in 2003. “We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

“I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.”

And in 2017, he compared the struggles by the LGBTQ community to those of other marginalized Americans.

“It doesn’t matter whether they are black or white, Latino, Asian American or Native American, whether they are straight or gay, Muslim, Christian or Jews,” Lewis said during a Congressional hearing. “We all live in the same house. The American house.”

Rest in power, Rep. John Lewis.

After Round Of Golf, Trump ‘Saddened’ By Passing Of John Lewis

Since the passing of Congressman John Lewis was announced, Donald Trump tweeted about 30 times without mentioning the civil rights icon.

He then got up, and according to reports, played around of golf with his buddy, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Finally, this afternoon, after numerous other national leaders and all former presidents had issued public statements of condolences regarding Lewis’s death, Trump’s Twitter account shared a two-sentence tweet saying Trump and the First Lady are “saddened” by the congressman’s passing.


Congressman John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon, Dead At 80

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), an icon in the fight for civil rights for decades, has died at the age of 80 after his battle with pancreatic cancer.

I’m careful not to write “passed away,” because Lewis never merely “passed” anything in his storied life.

The youngest of the Big Six civil rights activists, Lewis garnered national headlines after leading hundreds of protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965.

Knocked to the ground and beaten by Alabama state troopers, Lewis’s skull was fractured and images of the infamous moment were spread across the country, crystallizing the civil rights movement to such a degree the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed shortly thereafter.

The civil rights lion was elected to Congress over 20 years later representing his district in Atlanta, Georgia.

And from the New York Times:

Mr. Lewis led demonstrations against racially segregated restrooms, hotels, restaurants, public parks and swimming pools, and he rose up against other indignities of second-class citizenship. At nearly every turn he was beaten, spat upon or burned with cigarettes. He was tormented by white mobs and absorbed body blows from law enforcement.

Mr. Lewis was arrested 40 times from 1960 to 1966. He was repeatedly beaten senseless by Southern policemen and freelance hoodlums. During the Freedom Rides in 1961, he was left unconscious in a pool of his own blood outside the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Montgomery, Ala., after he and others were attacked by hundreds of white people. He spent countless days and nights in county jails and 31 days in Mississippi’s notoriously brutal Parchman Penitentiary.

Lewis didn’t restrict his battles to civil rights for Black Americans. He was also an early ally of the LGBTQ movement.

In 2003, he penned an op-ed for the Boston Globe arguing in favor of same-sex marriage long before others would come to embrace that call.

We are now at such a crossroads over same-sex couples’ freedom to marry. It is time to say forthrightly that the government’s exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.

This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.

In the 1990s, he voted against the heinous ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, and he stood with the pro-LGBTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign. He also voiced his opposition to Georgia’s prohibition on adoption by LGBTQ people.

One of my favorite tributes was from Lewis’s friend and former UN ambassador, Andrew Young: “He didn’t convince you by his arguments. He convinced you by his life.”

People much more eloquent than I offered their tributes to Lewis.

Rest in power, John Lewis.

Civil Rights Icon Rep. John Lewis Diagnosed With Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer

Rep. John Lewis (image via House.gov)

CNN reports Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta), a longtime congressman and civil rights icon, has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Lewis, 79, said he was diagnosed following a routine medical visit with subsequent tests that reconfirmed the diagnosis. The long-time Georgia congressman will undergo treatment for the cancer.

“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” Lewis, who in March 1965 joined forces with Martin Luther King Jr. to lead a voting rights march out out Selma, Alabama, said in a statement.

He continued later: “While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.”

Pancreatic cancer was the third-leading cause of death from cancer in the United States in 2018, after lung and colorectal cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute.

John Lewis stood up for civil rights by taking part in sit-ins when he was just 20.

He was beaten during the Freedom Rides when he was 21.

He was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington at 23, and had his skull fractured in Selma during Bloody Sunday at the age of 25.

John Lewis doesn’t back down from a fight.

#fuckcancer

Excitable Baby Dragon Featured In 2019 John Lewis Christmas Ad

UK retailer John Lewis has released its annual Christmas ad for 2019 as a collaboration with its sister chain Waitrose.

Set in a fairytale village in Hungary, the short video tells the story of a little girl named Ava and her dragon friend, Excitable Edgar.

Using Bastille’s cover of the 1980s hit, “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” the Christmas spot shows Edgar unable to control his excitement about the impending holiday as he accidentally melts a snowman with his fiery breath, defrosts an ice rink where children are skating, and accidentally burns down the town’s Christmas tree.

But eventually, Ava discovers a good use for his accident-prone talent — toasting the Christmas pudding.

Via press release, John Lewis shares the theme of the advertisement “centers around the theme of bringing people together at Christmas time through delicious food and thoughtful gifts, which show loved ones how much you care.”

“Our story this year is all about the magic of friendship and how one thoughtful gesture can make all the difference,” says the retailer. “Edgar’s excitement around the festive season can often lead to fiery consequences, but Ava sparks an idea for the perfect present to help him light up Christmas in his own special way 🔥”

Last year’s ad featuring pop superstar Elton John showcasing the power of a gift received more than 14 million views.

2017 John Lewis Christmas Commercial

Always highly anticipated, this year’s holiday commercial for UK department store John Lewis has landed.

And like past years, there are some fans who love it, some not so much. I have to admit, the spot could be more “Christmassy” for me.

The ad features a little boy who spends his nights playing with a giant snoring monster named “Moz.”

I’ve added my favorite John Lewis spot as well 🙂

Watch below. Thoughts?

News Round-Up: January 16, 2017

Kadu Giacobini via Instagram

Some news items you may have missed:

• Ok, I may have a new Instahunk crush – Brazilian dentist-turned-model, Kadu Giacomini

• President-elect Donald Trump accuses CIA chief of leaking 35 page Russian dossier.

• Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces transgender inmates will be housed according to gender identity.

• Donald Trump cabinet pick bought stock in company days before introducing a bill to help it.

• Rob Schneider, that guy from “The Waterboy,” decided he needed to explain Martin Luther King Jr. – on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – to Rep. John Lewis, who was standing next to Martin Luther King Jr. on the day of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

• And the next time you think you’ve had a bad day just remember: this young lady is aware that “the internet is forever.”

Donald Trump Says Civil Rights Icon John Lewis “All Talk – No Action” On MLK Weekend

Civil rights lion Rep. John Lewis, who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma while Donald Trump was seeking deferments from Vietnam, told NBC News he will not be attending the inauguration of Donald Trump:

I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president… I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one I’ve missed since I’ve been in Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel is wrong, is not right.

Of course, Donald Trump took to Twitter to slap back at the civil rights icon, saying Lewis “all talk – no action.”

“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” Trump wrote.

More from Politico:

Trump’s attack follows the formula of his previous response to slights on the campaign trail, including questioning Sen. John McCain’s war record. His choice of a target this time – the man who marched and was beaten in the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma while protesting for civil rights – provoked a sharp response among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Lewis’ Democratic allies leapt quickly to his defense. “@repjohnlewis is a hero and I’m lucky to call him a colleague. You sir are not half the man he is. @realDonaldTrump,” tweeted Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.). Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) tweeted: “John Lewis is an icon of the Civil Rights Movement who is fearless in the pursuit of justice and equality. He deserves better than this.”

More from Lewis’ colleagues and supporters:

UK’s 2016 John Lewis Holiday Ad Arrives

UK department store John Lewis has debuted it’s annual holiday ad bearing the tag line, “Gifts that everyone will love.”

Craig Inglis, customer director at John Lewis, said: “2016 has certainly been quite a year, so we hope our advert will make people smile. It really embraces a sense of fun and magic, reminding everyone what it feels like to give the perfect gift at Christmas.”

The ads have become an unofficial launch of the holiday season for many in the UK.

I’ve shared past years’ ads here and here and here. I really encourage you to watch them all. Creative, thoughtful, warm and often very unexpected.

I think we could all use some holiday cheer about now.