News Round-Up: July 13, 2021

Logo for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo

Logo for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo

Some news items you might have missed:

Instinct Magazine: A record 121 out athletes are set to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, more than doubling the number from the last Olympics in Rio.

Nevada Independent: As of Friday, Nevada (my state) had the fourth highest case rate in the nation per capita over the last seven days; for many days last week, it was first. The Delta variant was responsible for 54% of cases in June in Clark County (where I live) but only 38% are vaccinated. #ugh

OUT: A shirtless man, appropriately wearing a pink shirt wrapped around his head as a pitiful disguise, attempted to rip down a Pride flag, but the homeowners had anticipated such hateful actions and secured the flag with carabiners and screwing posts.

@leftovergainskid tries and fails to steal my pride flag#fail #pride #rainbow #getoffmylawn #ohnowyouwannawearamask♬ original sound – leftovergains

PopCulture: Actor Jerry O’Connell is reportedly close to closing a deal to become the first-ever full-time male host of The Talk. O’Connell, who is a frequent guest host, would take over Sharon Osbourne’s seat, who left the show earlier this year amid scandal.

Tennessean: The average number of new cases per day in Tennessee has more than doubled in the past two weeks. But the state Department of Health has halted all vaccine outreach to kids – not just for COVID-19, but all diseases – amid pressure from GOP.

Out Music: Singer-songwriter Allison Ponthier recently shared her new single, “Hell Is A Crowded Room,” featuring crystal-clear vocals skimming along a gentle guitar. The  delicate track explores the social anxiety felt by introverts (like me) and learning to push through those challenges.

Nevada: COVID-19 Cases Slowly Rising Due To Low Vaccination Rates

My home state of Nevada is not doing great in the COVID vaccination department.

From Jennifer Solis at the Nevada Current:

Nevada has continued to report a slow rise in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks as the positivity rate — or percentage of tests that came back positive — increased to 4.0%, from 3.9%.

The Department of Health and Human Services reported 447 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday — the highest daily number of cases in over a month.

Confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalization cases rose to 281 on Wednesday, after falling as low as 178 on June 12.

Vaccination rates for Clark County are at about 42% — lower than the national average of 45% and significantly lower than Washoe County’s 54% vaccination rate.

By comparison, Los Angeles County in California, with a population five times as large as Clark County, boasts a 7-day average positivity rate of 0.8% and reported only 260 new cases and 230 hospitalizations on Wednesday. Los Angeles County also has a significantly higher vaccination rate of 58%, according to California data.

The state, meanwhile, is offering financial motivation to encourage people to get vaccinated. Nevada will distribute $5 million in cash prizes to residents who have been vaccinated at least once.

Read the full report here.

News Round-Up: June 25, 2021

Out singer/songwriter KENTÖ

Out singer/songwriter KENTÖ
Out singer/songwriter KENTÖ

Some news items you might have missed:

Nevada Independent: After receiving a cancer diagnosis in March 2020, Shawn Dixon decided she would organize the first-ever Pride parade in her small town of less than 8,000 residents. Her dream of “years and years” will become a reality in Winnemucca, Nevada, on July 16 & 17.

Reuters: Respect LGBT rights or leave the European Union, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told his Hungarian counterpart as the bloc’s leaders confronted Viktor Orban over a law that bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality.

Instinct Magazine: The valedictorian of a New Jersey high school was almost censored and silenced during his graduation speech by his principal when he began to touch on mental health and his sexuality. But thankfully, the student’s memorization skills saved the day.

New York Times: The Manhattan district attorney’s office has informed Donald Trump’s lawyers that criminal charges against his family business, the Trump Organization, in connection with fringe benefits the company awarded its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, could be announced as soon as next week.

Justice Dept: Michael Atkinson, 28, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon, 21, and Daryl Henry, 24, were sentenced to prison terms for their involvement in targeting gay men for violent crimes. The sentences ranged from 11-22 years for luring five men (using the Grindr dating app) to a vacant apartment in Dallas where they held the men at gunpoint, kidnapped, carjacked, and assaulted them.

Out Music: I recently shared the latest from out singer/songwriter Kentö, and today the artist (top photo) drops the official music video for the single, “Silhouette.”

“Silhouette” is the first single off of Kentö’s upcoming album release, Strangers, slated for release later this year. Kentö shares, “I feel like I’m finally making music that is really expressing the sounds that have been in my head all along.”

Nevada Gov. Signs Pro-LGBTQ Bills Into Law At Pride Fest

Much of the LGBTQ political news being reported lately focuses on the spate of anti-LGBTQ bills being promoted and passed in Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country.

But it’s not all bad news everywhere.

This past Sunday, Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak attended the Henderson Pride Festival where he signed several pro-LGBTQ bills into law.

“It is so important that we bring these bills to the community, to this center to help you understand how important this is,” said Sisolak at the signing ceremony.

The event also served as the grand re-opening of the Henderson Equality Center.

It’s a breath of fresh air to see legislation moving LGBTQ interests forward and not backward.

The bills passed during the legislative session and now signed into law are:

Senate Bill 275 modernizes Nevada’s HIV laws by repealing a provision that made it a category B felony for someone who tests positive for HIV to “knowingly or willfully engaging in a manner” that could transmit the disease.

The laws were first put in place in the early part of the AIDS epidemic and targeted gay and transgender people. The antiquated laws don’t reflect the advances in HIV medicine and science that has occurred in the past 20+ years. Nine other states are currently considering similar legislation.

Senate Bill 237 allows LGBTQ-owned businesses to be designated as minority-owned which opens up opportunities from local chambers of commerce.

Senate Bill 109 will require local governments that collect demographic information to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Gov. Sisolak said the new law will “ensure our government reflects our community. Representation matters.”

Assembly Bill 261 makes Nevada only the sixth state in the U.S. to include the contributions of LGBTQ people in history and civics classes.

The Silver State now joins California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and Colorado in making public education queer inclusive.

On the other side of the political spectrum, though, Tennessee and Montana have passed laws requiring schools to notify warn parents if issues of sexual orientation or gender identity are scheduled to be addressed.

Analysis from the Human Rights Campaign found that more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures in 2021. At least 17 had been enacted according to an HRC report on May 7.

Responding to the pro-LGBTQ legislation passed this year in Nevada, GLSEN interim Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers said in a statement, “This year, we’ve seen record numbers of harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across the country. But Nevada’s new law offers a powerful contrast and shows us that a better way is not only possible, but already in motion.”

After Losing 2020 House Race In NV, GOP Candidate Morphs Into New Persona For TX

Dan Rodimer is trying to win a House election in Texas after losing just a few months ago in Nevada
Dan Rodimer is trying to win a House election in Texas after losing just a few months ago in Nevada
‘Big Dan’ Rodimer? (screen captures)

Things that make you go ‘hmm…’

After losing a House race for Nevada’s 3rd District in November, Dan Rodimer is now running in a special election for a U.S. House seat in Texas.

Now, not only is this basic carpet-bagging, but Rodimer (a former professional wrestler) has done a complete 180 on his image hoping the folks in Texas don’t notice.

During the race in Nevada, Rodimer ran campaign ads sitting on his couch with his wife and 5 children in a prim, proper environment wearing a nice polo shirt.

But in his new ads for Texas’s 6th District, he’s morphed into a rough and tough rodeo character  – ‘Big Dan’ Rodimer – complete with some kind of accent. I’m a Texas native myself and I don’t know what he thinks he sounds like.

The House seat located in the Dallas area was left vacant after Rep. Ron Wright passed away due to COVID-19.

It’s a competitive race as Donald Trump barely won the district in 2020 by 3 points, down from winning it in 2016 by 20 points.

There are nearly a dozen candidates running in the May 1 special election including Wright’s wife.

Take a look at the side-by-side Rodimers.

Nevada Will Open Vaccinations To All Adults April 5

Gov. Steve Sisolak of Nevada announced during a press conference today that on April 5 all Nevadans 16-years-old and up will be able to schedule a vaccination for the coronavirus.

Prior to that, on March 22 vaccine availability will open up to anyone 16 and older with underlying health conditions.

Investigative news journalist David Charns reports Sisolak noted that appointments will be based on availability and doses received. The Silver State is currently receiving nearly 65,000 doses of vaccine a week.

Nevada Eases COVID Restrictions (Slightly) As New Cases Decline

Step by step, inch by inch…

Nevada’s Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced slightly loosened restrictions in the Silver State (my state) regarding coronavirus guidelines as confirmed cases have slowly trended downward.

In November, the governor ordered a “statewide pause” as COVID-19 statistics were climbing dramatically.

At their peak, the test positivity rate in the state was 21.6 percent and the state reported 3,402 new confirmed cases in a single day. On Thursday, health officials reported the test positivity rate had declined to a 14.3 percent and 529 new confirmed cases for the day.

Beginning Monday, February 15:

• Capacity caps on bars and restaurants increase from 25% to 35% for indoor dining and lifting all capacity limits for outdoor dining.

• Churches, mosques, casino floors and gyms will be able to accept up to 35% of fire code capacity, with the exception of locker rooms, which will be allowed to accommodate 50% of fire code capacity.

• Libraries, museums and art galleries may accept up to 50% capacity.

• The current 10-person cap on private gatherings for outdoor gatherings specifically, may increase to 25 people or less.

• The cap for public events (concerts, shows, entertainment) currently at 50 people or 25% of venue capacity may increase to 100 people or 35% of venue capacity, whichever is less.

Strip clubs, karaoke bars and brothels will remain closed at least until May 1, when the state gives some control to local authorities.

On March 15, the businesses under 35% capacity will be allowed to return to 50% capacity; limits on public events will be loosened to 50% of venue capacity or 250 people; and recreational sports will be allowed to resume.

News Round-Up: December 4, 2020

Some news items you might have missed:

Edge Media: A new report published by the Washington Post suggests that President-elect Joe Biden may have won the 2020 election because of higher LGBTQ voter turnout.

Pew Research: A new poll shows 60% of American adults say they will get vaccinated for the coronavirus, up from 51% in September.

CNBC: Sidney Powell, who has already been booted from the Trump legal team, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to order Georgia officials to “preserve all data on the Dominion System” and allow “Republican Electors to audit” that system in 10 counties. Finding it has no jurisdiction to hear the appeal, the 11th Circuit Court sent the Kraken lawsuit back to its cage in the District Court.

Nevada Independent: A Carson City District Court judge rejected a legal request to award the state’s six electoral votes to Donald Trump. Judge James Russell ruled that he found the evidence offered by the Trump campaign to have “little to no value,” and failed to provide under any standard of proof that the campaign’s long list of alleged fraud and vote irregularities could be backed up under any evidentiary standard.

Detroit Free Press: Team Trump also lost in Michigan today as well. The court chastised the campaign for dragging its feet on the appeal, said the certification of Michigan’s election results by the Board of State Canvassers in the interim had made the lawsuit moot, and said that if the Trump campaign wanted to challenge the results it could have requested a recount, but it did not.

WXKY Radio: New York Young Republicans hoped to keep the New Jersey location of their annual fundraiser a secret but were outed by folks tweeting from the party. Jersey City chief prosecutor Jake Hudnut responded to a tweet by an attendee taunting New York Gov. Cuomo to “come and get me” by tweeting “Gov. Cuomo may not be able to ‘come and get’ you, but I can.”

Nevada Certifies Joe Biden’s Win

Nevada’s seven nonpartisan Supreme Court justices unanimously approved the state’s final canvass of the November 3 election today.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The Nevada Supreme Court signed off on the state’s election results Tuesday, making President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state official, following numerous failed post-election court challenges that sought to delay or thwart the statutory move.

Though a few legal challenges are still pending, the court’s formal acceptance of the results from the Secretary of State’s office essentially closes the book on the 2020 election. It took less than half an hour of the court’s time Tuesday to conclude a routine matter in an election year that was anything but routine.

Nevada’s certification follows Michigan’s move to certify on Monday and Pennsylvania’s certification early Tuesday, and ahead of Wisconsin’s and Arizona’s certifications later this week. All are states President Donald Trump lost on Nov. 3, and all are states where the Republican Party and the Trump campaign filed lawsuits challenging the outcome.

Biden officially won Nevada by 33, 796 votes – 703,486 to Trump’s 669,690.