• The Advocate: Same-sex spouses who were ineligible for Social Security survivor’s benefits because of discriminatory marriage laws can now receive them after the Biden administration withdrew appeals filed by the Trump administration against lower court rulings in favor of LGBTQs. Continue reading “News Round-Up: November 2, 2021”
• 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”
• TBT: As I get to spend more afternoons at the cement pond these days, I do miss my bestie Bruno (above) who always made the sunshine that much brighter. Not sad – happy he happened 🙂
• The Hill: A new study shows 52% percent of LGBTQ adults say that someone had threatened them with violence since they were age 18. Sixty-seven percent of LBQ cisgender women, 75 percent of GBQ cis men and 70 percent of transgender people said they had been bullied often or sometimes before age 18.
• Pink News: The crowd erupted into cheers at Wednesday evening’s football match between Hungary and Germany when a supporter ran out onto the pitch with a Pride flag as the Hungarian national anthem played.
• USA Today: Missouri is becoming a cautionary COVID tale for the rest of the country: It is seeing an alarming rise in cases because of a combination of the fast-spreading delta variant and stubborn resistance among many people to getting vaccinated. Intensive care beds are filling up with surprisingly young, unvaccinated patients.
• CNN: In the new book, Frankly We Did Win This Election, Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal reports that Donald Trump would highlight videos that showed law enforcement getting physical with protesters and say, “That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people. Crack their skulls!” Trump also told his team that he wanted the military to go in and “beat the f–k out” of the civil rights protesters.
• ABC News: President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday announced they had reached a framework $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal after a White House meeting. Biden emphasized that it all comes “without raising a cent from earners below $400,000.”
A woman in Branson, Missouri, was captured on video at a Black Lives Matter protest earlier this week waving a Confederate flag and yelling at protesters “I will teach my grandkids to hate you all.” She also called out “KKK belief.”
Kathy Jenkins told local news station KOLR10 that since the video went viral she’s lost her job (a punishment she says she deserves) and has left Branson, her home of six years.
Jenkins claims, however, that she “blacked out” and doesn’t remember making those racist statements to BLM protesters assembled outside a store that sells Confederate merchandise. She does, however, say she remembers chanting along with the protesters “Black Lives Matter.”
According to Jenkins, she was watching the protest from the other side of the street and was handed a Confederate flag. She says she thought it was a symbol of “unity.”
Jenkins says in the video she was yelling at a pair of neighbors who were heckling her and calling her a racist for waving the flag.
“I wasn’t saying I’m KKK or for the KKK,” she told KOLR10 reporter David Chasanov on Wednesday. “I was mocking them because I don’t like being called a racist.”
“I’m so, so sorry,” Jenkins told KOLR10. “I mean, if it would help for me to stand with Black Lives Matter, I absolutely would do that.”
“I didn’t understand that the Confederate flag meant hate,” said Jenkins. “I don’t understand the whole history of the Confederate flag, but I’m learning.”
But Faith Pittser, one of the Black Lives Matter organizers, disagreed with that version of the story. She told the news station in a statement:
“She knew exactly what she was doing. She was there from the start on the counter-protesters’ side shouting obscenities and hateful words at our protesters. I think her claims to not know what the confederate flag is and what it represents are absurd and lies. She proudly shouted “KKK belief” in front of all of us.
“Her apology does not make sense as she’s trying to state she didn’t realize she was on the opposing side. How do you not realize that if you’re on Dixie Outfitter’s property holding a confederate flag along with the other counter-protesters that are facing us? She never once shouted ‘black lives matter’ along with us. This woman is lying and apologizing because she’s sorry she got caught in her acts of racism.”
Here’s the original video that went viral on Twitter. The clip has been viewed over 13 million times.
Baker is forthcoming about his opposition to drag queens reading to children telling the Kansas City Star, “They’ve had these drag queen story hours and that’s something I take objection to and I think a lot of parents do.”
“That’s where in a public space, our kids could be exposed to something that’s age-inappropriate,” he added. “That’s what I’m trying to tackle.”
Baker’s bill would require each library to create five-person panels, or oversight boards, which would hold public hearings and decide what ‘material’ is age-appropriate.
Librarians who went ahead with events deemed ‘inappropriate’ by the board could be fined $500 and sentenced to a year in jail.
Baker alleges children seeing drag queens might lead to questions or a conversation with parents about ‘adult themes’ that parents may not feel ready to have.
But Cynthia Dudenhoffer, president of the Missouri Library Association, says oversight already exists in the form of a board of trustees elected or appointed by the community.
In an official statement, Dudenhoffer objected to the proposed legislation calling it “censorship.”
What’s missing from Baker’s view on the issue is attendance at Drag Queen Story Hours is all completely voluntary. No one is forcing children to attend such events.
Local performers are already planning to protest the legislation in the state’s capital on March 7.
Tanner Rambo, a Springfield promoter who represents two drag queens organizing the protest, told the Springfield News-Leader, “This kind of bill is just bad policy.”
“You’re talking about people in big, goofy dresses telling stories in funny voices and trying to get kids interested in reading, which I think we should all want,” said Rambo.
He added, “If you want to disagree philosophically, you can. Don’t go. These aren’t things people are mandated to attend.”
Rambo also notes that Baker has a history of anti-LGBTQ animus having proposed legislation that would allow adoption agencies to turn away gay couples looking to adopt if doing so offended their ‘sincerely held beliefs.’
The Starreports that while Kansas City’s public library hasn’t held Drag Queen Story Hours, such events at St. Louis public libraries are among the most popular with hundreds attending.
I have to add that I agree with Mr. Rambo. The point of Drag Queen Story Hours is to encourage children to suspend belief and explore their imagination while embracing a message of diversity and acceptance.
The American Library Association has fully endorsed these types of programs, in any iteration, as a right to intellectual freedom. They have even curated a collection of resources for individuals seeking to bring Drag Queen Storytime to their libraries or community spaces.
• InstaHunks: Hottie Tyler James has folks’ safety in mind when he asks, “Anyone need their driveway shoveled?” Is that a euphemism…?
• The Hill: The latest Iowa State University–Civiqs poll finds Mayor Pete Buttigieg currently leading the race in Iowa at 24 percent, followed by Sanders at 21 percent, Warren at 18 percent and former Vice President Joe Biden at 15 percent. No other candidate is polling above 4 percent in the survey.
• Buzzfeed News: High school students in Missouri responded to Pride flags being handed out by flying the Confederate flag. After the racist flag was removed, the school decided there would be no disciplinary action taken hoping instead to “teach our students to respect each other and to respect different viewpoints on a variety of social issues.” Note – LGBTQ pride is pride; the Confederate flag stands for a war fought to keep slavery.
• DListed: The highest-paid YouTuber is an eight-year-old named Ryan Kaji who has earned $26 million this year reviewing toys.
• NBC News: Until Wednesday afternoon, the fictional country from the popular 2018 Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther” was listed as a free trade agreement partner of the United States by the USDA’s tariff tracker.
• Des Moines Register: An Ames man was sentenced Wednesday to about 16 years in prison after he set fire to a church LGBTQ flag in June. Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, last month was found guilty of a hate crime — a class “D” felony — third-degree harassment and reckless use of fire.
• NY Post: While Donald Trump was hunkered down in the White House monitoring impeachment proceedings Wednesday, his predecessor in the Oval Office was hitting the links in Hawaii. Barack Obama — a native of Honolulu — was photographed on the course at the Mid-Pacific Country Club in Lanikai, O’ahu, playing a round of golf under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s.