News Round-Up: February 4, 2021

Out singer/songwriter John Duff releases his new music video "Do It"
Out singer/songwriter John Duff releases his new music video "Do It"
Out singer/songwriter John Duff (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Advocate: For the first time in history, three of the national legacy LGBTQ equality organizations (National LGBTQ Task Force, Human Rights Campaign, and National Center for Lesbian Rights) will be led by Black executive directors.

Back2Stonewall: Former Vice President Mike Pence has been hired by the virulently anti-LGBTQ hate group, The Heritage Foundation, which spends significant energy to extremist policy recommendations to deny access to abortion and birth control and to harm LGBTQ people.

Boy Culture: Joe Manganiello made waves with his retro-punk new look, and now he is immortalizing it on several covers of L’Officiel Fashion Book Hommes Australia (below), all shot by out photographer Mike Ruiz.

Joe Manganiello covers L'Homme Magazine
Joe Manganiello covers L’Official Fashion Book Hommes Australia (photo: Mike Ruiz)

Pink News: A long-awaited study of patients at the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) has confirmed the majority of transgender teenagers who take puberty blockers to treat severe gender dysphoria feel happier.

NBC News: Fox News is being sued by Smartmatic for $2.7 billion for repeating false rigged election claims. The suit names Fox News, as well as network personalities Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, and Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Out Music: Hottie John Duff (top image) gives us something to bop about with his new single and music video, “Do It,”  an empowering self-love anthem for anyone out there hoping to follow their dreams.

In the new music video, Duff dances in his home paying homage to the likes of Risky Business, Richard Simmons, and even a few of his favorite pop divas. Fun song.

Mike Pence Calls Kamala Harris (Finally)

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence (images via campaigns)

Months after the election was called, Vice President Mike Pence (finally) called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her history-making election.

From the New York Times:

Vice President Mike Pence telephoned Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Thursday to congratulate her and offer his belated assistance — filling a leadership role all but abdicated by President Trump, who is planning to fly out of the capital shortly before Joseph R. Biden Jr. is sworn in next week.

The Pence-Harris conversation, relayed by two officials briefed on the call, was described as gracious and pleasant. The discussion is the first time Mr. Pence and Ms. Harris have spoken since they debated each other last fall.

It also represents the only one-on-one interaction between the dueling 2020 presidential tickets: Mr. Trump has refused to call President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and has not even fully conceded defeat.

The Times goes on to report that Pence may invite Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, to the vice-presidential residence prior to the inauguration ceremony next week.

But the visit may not work out due to heightened security measures put in place since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building last week.

Donald Trump has previously shared he will not attend the inauguration becoming the first president in 152 years to ghost on his successor. Neither will he meet with the Bidens at the White House before the inauguration as is presidential tradition.

Trump will depart the White House in the hours before Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. According to the Times, he “hopes to depart to the blare of a military band, with a red carpet and military honors, those briefed on the planning said.”

News Round-Up: January 9, 2021

Trump supporter accidentally tasered himself in the balls triggering a fatal heart attack during the invasion of the U.S. Capitol
Trump supporter accidentally tasered himself in the balls triggering a fatal heart attack during the invasion of the U.S. Capitol
Kevin Greeson (image via Parler)

Some news items you might have missed:

Snopes: The venerable fact-checking site says there’s no truth to the rumors that a Trump supporter tasered himself in the balls causing a heart attack. Kevin Greeson (above) has been confirmed as one of the five people who died during the invasion of the U.S. Capitol, but his wife said he did not have a taser.

New York Times: House Democrats intend to introduce articles of impeachment against Donald Trump for his role in the insurrection against Congress if he refuses to resign.

Deadline: The final show featuring longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek aired Friday, and a special tribute at the end of it captures everything that audiences loved about the man. In a video montage, Trebek jokes, banters with contestants, and generally delivers the same warm, naturally smooth, humble and reassuring presence that guided his performances through 36 years.

Wall Street Journal: White House officials pushed Atlanta’s top federal prosecutor to resign before Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs because Donald Trump was upset he wasn’t doing enough to investigate the president’s unproven claims of election fraud. A senior Justice Department official, at the behest of the White House, called Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak and told him he needed to step down because he wasn’t pursuing vote-fraud allegations to Mr. Trump’s satisfaction.

Business Insider: Top aides have said Trump has been spiraling out of control for weeks, but now he’s directed much of his ire toward his heretofore loyal vice president. A source told The Wall Street Journal that the president was furious, telling Pence: “I don’t want to be your friend — I want you to be the vice president.”

Billboard: Taylor Swift’s Folklore finishes 2020 as the top-selling album of the year in the U.S., and the only album to sell at least a million copies during the year, according to MRC Data. Plus, the superstar has now claimed the top-selling album of the year five times — becoming the first act to earn the honor.

Is Trump Setting Mike Pence Up To Be The Fall Guy?

Mike Pence
Mike Pence
L-R Donald Trump, VP Mike Pence (image: public domain/Flickr)

Donald Trump is really setting Mike Pence up as the fall guy for his failure to secure a second term as president.

Trump falsely announced on Tuesday that his number two “has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.”

Last night in Georgia at a campaign rally for the two Republican senatorial candidates, he told the crowd of supporters “I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him as much.”

Think how Trump’s supporters will feel about Pence (who probably was considering a 2024 run for the White House) if he doesn’t “come through” for Trump and somehow flip the election results.

The Vice President has no such power to pick and choose which slate of electors from a state to count on January 6 at the joint session of Congress.

News Round-Up: December 15, 2020

Riotron releases surprise holiday single, ‘Silent Night Angel’ (promo photo)

Some news items you might have missed:

Instinct Magazine: Hungary’s parliament has voted to amend the country’s constitution defining families as ‘the mother is a woman, the father is a man.’ This effectively bans LGBTQ people from adopting since queer people cannot marry in the conservative nation.

NY Times: A day after the U.S. surpassed 300,000 deaths due to the coronavirus, the FDA has confirmed Moderna’s assessment that its vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.1 percent in a trial of 30,000 people. With expected approval on Friday, six million doses could begin shipping across the country.

Christmas Music: Canadian retrowave pop artist Riotron (above photo) returns with a surprise holiday single titled “Silent Night Angel.” Riotron’s Jeff Fettes says, “For me, the holiday season is magical, but also intense and full of surprises. This is my version of a carol.”

Ipsos Polling: New polling shows more than one in four Americans (27%) say they plan to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available, more than double the number that said the same in mid-September (13%). Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) trust the FDA to look out for the best interests of their family.

USA Today: A judge in Phoenix jettisoned a lawsuit claiming widespread election fraud in Arizona, saying the plaintiff had no standing to challenge the state’s election results because she was not registered to vote.

The Advocate: Mike Pence is being mocked for his exuberant entrance to a campaign event where he “prance-clapped” across a tarmac in order to stump for Georgia Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. It’s like he was just called down on The Price Is Right.

Poll: Harris Won Veep Debate 59%-38%

In case you missed it, the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate last night was pretty much what we all expected.

Vice President Mike Pence spent a lot of the 90 minutes interrupting Sen. Kamala Harris, and a fly landed on his head stealing the veep’s thunder.

Harris was fairly restrained and was more successful than Pence at following the agreed upon rules for the debate.

A CNN snap poll taken directly after the event found Harris was viewed as the winner of the debate by an overwhelming majority of 59% versus 38% who thought Pence came out on top.

Also from that survey, Harris went into the debate with 56 percent favorability and afterward that rose to 63 percent, while Pence began and ended the night at 41 percent.

Female respondents said Harris did the best job in the debate by a 69% to 30% margin. Men, meanwhile, split about evenly between Harris (48%) and Pence (46%). Note – women make up a majority of the voting public.

Over at the New York Times, the opinion writers were split over the victor with 11 calling it for Harris, 4 for Pence, and 2 a tie. Click here to see what the group of writers thought were the most pivotal moments and some small remarks that resonated.

At the end of the day, the veep event did little-to-nothing to change the direction of the election. And in that case, Harris did her job.

Social media, however, became enthralled by a fly landing on Pence’s head and remaining for several minutes.

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#flygate #rbg #fly #notoriousrbg

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#flygate #fly2020

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Trump’s Coronavirus Cavalcade: October 7, 2020

Donald Trump leaves the hospital to wave to followers (photo: public domain)

In this edition of Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Cavalcade:

• After little-to-no effort to assauge the coronavirus in the White House working environment other than testing (that clearly failed), staffers have been instructed to wear full PPE gear when closely interacting with Donald Trump reports the New York Times. Even so, there are conflicting accounts as to whether Trump is working from the White House residence or in the Oval Office.

• The FDA has issued guidance recommending that participants in late-stage coronavirus vaccine clinical trials be followed for at least two months after the final injection to ensure safety and boost public trust in any approved vaccine.

• Trump adviser Stephen Miller is the most recent high-level White House adviser to test positive for the coronavirus. Additionally, one of Trump’s military aides who carries the ‘nuclear football’ has tested positive as well.

• Speaking of the ‘nuclear football,’ due to the medications Trump has received to treat coronavirus (including dexamethasone, which can cause mood swings and “frank psychotic manifestations”), the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has issued a statement saying “we should not entrust nuclear launch authority to someone who is not fully lucid.”

• After more than a dozen White House staffers have tested positive for coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence’s team has finally agreed to allow plexiglass barriers between himself and Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris at tonight’s veep debate in light of the rash of positive cases within the White House.

• Donald Trump announced that he ordered Republicans to end negotiations for further coronavirus stimulus for Americans because some of the money would go to ‘Democrat’ states. Pssst, most of those states send the largest portion of tax dollars to the federal government. Oh, and blue state folks are Americans, too. 

Joe Biden Tests Negative For Coronavirus & More Updates

Former Vice President Joe Biden (photo via campaign)

The Washington Post reports former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have tested negative for coronavirus. Some folks were concerned that, in light of Donald Trump testing positive for the virus, and the two men shared a stage without face masks on Tuesday night, that Biden might have been exposed.

Let’s hear it for social distancing!

Other updates regarding Trump and the coronavirus:

• The Trump campaign has cancelled all previously scheduled events while the president is quarantined for the next several days.

• Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who attended Trump’s Supreme Court announcement on Saturday has tested positive for the coronavirus and told the press he will self-quarantine for 10 days.

• Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, also tested positive for the coronavirus and has experienced mild symptoms from Covid-19.

• Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have tested negative as well.

• The coronavirus has infected over 7.2 million Americans and killed over 207,000.

Pence: During Riots Biden Sent Out Press Release While Trump Sent In National Guard

L-R Vice Presidents Mike Pence, Joe Biden

Vice President Mike Pence took a shot at his predecessor, former Vice President Joe Biden, during an interview with the Washington Examiner contrasting the actions of Biden and Donald Trump during recent riots.

The Washington Examiner reports:

President Trump was the last line of defense between law-abiding people and a dangerous, left-wing mob intent on toppling statues and ripping the nation apart, according to Vice President Mike Pence.

“When rioters were setting fire to one of the oldest churches in America and defacing our national monuments, Joe Biden sent out a press release. President Trump sent in the National Guard,” Pence said Thursday in an exclusive interview aboard his campaign bus with the Washington Examiner.

“The contrast with Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi is, this is a president who understands our commitment is to uphold the rule of law — law and order,” said Pence, who spoke as he completed a swing through Pennsylvania, a battleground critical to Trump’s reelection prospects.

It’s worth noting that Trump is the president of the United States and has the power to send in the National Guard.

Biden is a private citizen with no such authority (at this time).

Pence Admits He “Should Have Worn A Mask” At Mayo Clinic

Vice President Mike Pence is the one without a mask (photo via press pool video)

During a Fox News town hall event Sunday night with Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence admitted he “should have worn a mask” when he visited the Mayo Clinic earlier in the week. The Minnesota clinic requires all visitors to wear masks as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus.

Health care experts criticized Pence, currently heading up the White House anti-coronavirus effort, for not following the task force’s own guidelines in wearing a mask.

A member of the traveling press corps photographed Pence visiting with healthcare professionals and patients. He was the only person in the photos not wearing a face mask.

Reuters reports during the town hall event, Pence said, “I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic.”

Pence later said he wanted to look the healthcare personnel “in the eye” and thank them for their efforts. Fyi – face masks don’t cover the eyes.

Pence’s wife told the press he didn’t know he was supposed to wear a mask at the clinic, although several people attending the visit say they were informed of the rules the day before.

Pence explained Sunday night that, since he and Trump are frequently tested for COVID-19, he felt he wasn’t a risk to others.

It wasn’t until his appearance Sunday night that he acknowledged the symbolic weight of leaders wearing masks at this time as the death count from COVID-19 in the U.S. has surpassed 67,000.

“It’s really a statement about the American people, the way they have been willing to step forward, practice social distancing and wear masks in settings where they can’t do that,” he said.

After Pence received a backlash of criticism, his team reportedly threatened to retaliate against the journalist who released the photos showing him without a mask at the clinic.