News Round-Up: January 13, 2021

Kiko Riaze reconnects with nature down in Rio
Kiko Riaze reconnects with nature down in Rio
Kiko Riaze (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Kiko Riaze (above) is reconnecting with nature down in Rio de Janeiro. Follow him on Instagram here.

Pink News: A gay man has shared a list of the top 10 bizarre, offensive things people have said to him and his husband since they became dads. “Which of you is the real dad?”

Hulu: Grammy Award nominee Andra Day looks like she’s on the verge of next-level stardom as bisexual jazz legend Billie Holiday in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, directed by Oscar winner Lee Daniels. Premieres February 26 on Hulu.

Washington Blade: President-elect Joe Biden will have his hands full upon his inauguration next week with coronavirus cases surging and impeachment proceedings in Congress, which may complicate his efforts to act on campaign promises to the LGBTQ community, especially signing the Equality Act into law with 100 days.

The Gaily Grind: An ultra-Orthodox rabbi in Israel has reportedly urged his followers not to get the potentially lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines because it might “turn them” gay.

Variety: Actor Brendan Fraser will star in the film adaptation of the critically acclaimed Samuel D. Hunter Broadway play The Whale about a 600-pound middle-aged man who turns to compulsive eating out of grief from losing his lover.

Equality NC: The Town Council of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has approved an ordinance broadly protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. The victory comes in the same week that Hillsborough, NC and Carrboro, NC passed similar ordinances. Municipalities regained the freedom to pass such measures on December 1, 2020, following the expiration of a key prong of HB142.

News Round-Up: January 12, 2021

Real-life couple featured in new Cadbury chocolate ad
Real-life couple featured in new Cadbury chocolate ad
(screen capture via Cadbury)

Some news items you might have missed:

OUT: One half of the real-life gay couple in that Cadbury ad (above) clapped back at critics of the spot – “I’m sure there would be half as many complaints if it was two ‘beautiful’ cisgendered hetero-looking Caucasian women. Get your act together world: y’all are as hypocritical and uneducated and bizarre as Donald Trump.”

The Advocate: Hillsborough has become the first town in North Carolina to adopt LGBTQ-inclusive antidiscrimination protections since the state’s ban on doing so expired.

NowThis News: “Knock the crap out of ’em, would you? I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees” — Watch this report on how Donald Trump has been inciting violence from his supporters for years.

LGBTQ Nation: An 18-year-old lesbian who says she has been kicked out of her home for being gay has outed her Trump-loving family members who participated in the violent altercation in D.C. last week.

New York Times: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told associates that he believes Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party, according to people familiar with his thinking.

NBC News: Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Steven D’Antuono, head of the FBI’s Washington field office, briefed reporters on the sprawling criminal investigation designed to catch those who took part in the violent Capitol insurrection last week. They said that the FBI had opened 160 case files, and that “this is only the beginning.”

News Round-Up: December 31, 2020

Norm Lewis at 54 Below
Norm Lewis at 54 Below
Tony Award nominee Norm Lewis

Some news items you might have missed:

News Observer: LGBTQ people in North Carolina can no longer be prevented from getting domestic violence protective orders, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. North Carolina had been the only state in the country to withhold emergency protections from people seeking protection from abuse by a same-sex partner.

Instinct Magazine: My editor at my other journalistic home, Adam Dupuis, shares this wild and wooly tale of a stalker who utilized 11 different email accounts and numerous Growlr accounts in order to cyberstalk him. #strangeness

54Below: My fabulous friend (and Tony Award nominee) Norm Lewis has the perfect song for tonight – from his recent Feinstein’s/54 Below streaming concert NORM LEWIS: Christmastime Is Here! 

Facebook: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) wrote a lengthy breakdown of efforts to undermine the election, concluding there was no evidence of voter fraud. Sasse adds that – in private chats – no Republicans in Congress think the election was stolen.

NBC News: Grafton Police have arrested the Aurora Health Care pharmacist who intentionally spoiled more than 500 doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine valued around $8,000 to $11,000. He has been arrested on charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug, and criminal damage to property.

Washington Examiner: Donald Trump promised in the 2016 campaign to eliminate the federal debt over a two-term presidency. Instead, he will leave office having added massively to the debt. Since his inauguration, the total national debt has increased 30% from nearly $20 trillion to $27 trillion as of Monday.

Joe Biden Projected To Win Georgia, Electoral College Vote Total Now 306

(graphic via MSNBC)

And the final two states have been projected in the 2020 presidential election.

Multiple news outlets have projected President-elect Joe Biden will win Georgia, and as expected, Donald Trump will win North Carolina.

Biden is the first Democrat to win Georgia in 28 years and the first non-southern Democrat to win the state in 60 years.

Biden wins 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.

In 2016, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway called Trump’s win with 306 electoral votes a “massive landslide” and “historic.” Trump would repeat that claim many, many times.

New Poll: 3 Southern Battleground States Are Neck And Neck

L-R Former Vice President Joe Biden, Donald Trump

From CBS News:

In the final stretch of the campaign, we find three Southern battlegrounds that could still go either way. Our estimates show Joe Biden with just a two-point edge over President Trump in Florida, Biden up four points in North Carolina, and the contest even in Georgia.

Millions have already voted and many others say they’ve already decided.

While early voters in each state told us they substantially favored Biden, those who have not yet voted heavily favor Mr. Trump, setting up a key turnout test running now through Election Day for both parties.

Sixty-one percent of people who already voted said they voted for Biden while 59 percent of those who haven’t yet said they were in favor of Trump.

This post is not to insinuate Biden has this in the bag. It’s meant to encourage everyone to vote, vote, vote, because we’re in this to win.

(graphics via CBS News)

Democrats Mail-In Votes Outpace Republicans In Battleground States

Michelle Obama encouraging voting by mail (photo: Jocelyn Augustino/Obama for America)

We all know Donald Trump has bad-mouthed and demonized voting by mail because Democrats tend to use the voting method more than Republicans.

Plus, with the ongoing pandemic, Dems have (in general) been more likely to embrace safety guidelines regarding the COVID-19 crisis than Repubs.

Which brings me to these tweets.

While we don’t know which presidential candidate received votes in the returned ballots, if the majority of ballots are for the party aligned with the voter, you can see why Trump has been so vocal about mail-in ballots.

As of today:

• Florida – Democrats 791,730; Republicans 450,447; No Party 287,704

• North Carolina – Democrats 238,789; Republicans 81,913; No Party 142,633

• Maine – Democrats 56,623; Republicans 16,623; No Party 18,502

• Iowa – Democrats 59,768; Republicans 23,247; No Party 12,917

• Pennsylvania – Democrats 198,448; Republicans 42,447; No party 19,448

As Amy Siskind says below, we need to build up these “cushions” because the Trumpers will show up as well.

Twitter Flags Another Trump Tweet Urging Double Voting

Donald Trump
Donald Trump (screen capture)

After Donald Trump again urged his Twitter followers in battleground state North Carolina to vote twice, the state’s Attorney General Josh Stein reminded his constituents it’s a felony to vote twice.

Twitter also blocked likes, replies, and retweets on the Donald’s tweet.

By the way, if you’re going to go to the polls to ‘check on your vote,’ why not just GO VOTE?

Stein’s tweet also included a link where NC voters can track their mail-in votes to make sure they are counted.

Twitter tagged Trump’s tweet with a disclaimer: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

Racist Warning: Keep Your Husband & Kids Well Behaved, No One Is Interested In Your ‘Struggles’

An interracial family in Raleigh, NC, received a threatening racist letter (screen capture)


An interracial family living in a north Raleigh neighborhood shared with local news station WRAL an unsigned letter warning against posting any signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The note read:

“Before you think about putting any signage up in your yard, or if you had any idea about making a public statement on your property regarding George Floyd or racism, please remember that the rest of us live in an upscale neighborhood and have spent the extra money to stay out of mixed neighborhoods and/or the ghetto.

“No one wants trouble or any circumstance arising which could turn our neighborhood into a “semi-ghetto.” Please keep your husband and teenage kids well behaved and orderly because no one is interested in your or their “struggles.”

Keep matters inside your own house and do your best to keep this area upscale and free of that element. Most of us would not hesitate to call the police if your kids or husband gets unruly, so please be considerate of everyone else living amongst you.”

“Free of that element…”

The letter was signed without a name but expressed “sincere gratitude.”

(screen capture via WRAL)

The family declined to appear on-camera but several neighbors spoke to WRAL regarding the ugliness of the missive.

Kate Pirrung, a neighbor in the Wakefield Plantation neighborhood told WRAL, “I was horrified, appalled, disappointed…sad.”

“I couldn’t believe that someone in my neighborhood – that close to me – would have written something so mean,” said neighbor Marianna Morin.

Neighbor Armand Morin pointed to the implicit threat in the note.

“In the end, underneath all the context, it was a threat: Don’t do this. We’ll report you. We’ll send people over to your house – the police in this particular incident,” said Armand.

In response to the note, the family sent out copies to all of their neighbors along with a message of their own.

“If you did not write this letter, we wanted you to be aware of what has happened in our neighborhood,” the family wrote. “If you are the person that wrote this letter, we will not be intimidated by your cowardly act and ignorance. We are happy to have a discussion regarding love, respect and racism if your have the courage.”

“Something has to change,” Pirrung said. “We are all God’s children. What happened to love thy neighbor, treat each other with respect and kindness?”

“It’s not just in the city,” said Marianna Morin of the explicit racism. “It’s not just in the streets. It’s in this neighborhood.”

The family issued a public statement regarding the letter to WRAL.

“We want to acknowledge that this letter does not compare to some of the more dire circumstances many people find themselves in on a regular basis due to bigotry,” wrote the family. “However, it was shocking and ignorant.”

“The outrage, support and kind words expressed to us by so many in our community have overpowered the hate expressed from the one person who wrote the letter,” they continued. “Our hope is for this to inspire respectful conversations and courageous self-examination about bias and racism.”

“To the person who wrote the letter, we pray for your heart to be released from bitterness and filled with understanding and compassion for others,” the family added. “Black lives do matter.”

You can watch the report from WRAL below.

Video: Sheriff’s Deputy Body Slams 12-Year-Old TWICE

From ABC News:

A sheriff’s deputy caught on security video twice body-slamming a child under the age of 12 at a North Carolina middle school was fired on Monday morning and state investigators are deciding whether to file criminal charges against him, officials said.

The deputy’s termination is “effective immediately,” Vance County, North Carolina, Sheriff Curtis Brame told ABC station WTVD in Durham, North Carolina. The disturbing incident occurred on Thursday at the Vance County Middle School in Henderson, about 40 miles northeast of Durham.

In the school surveillance video, the deputy, a school resource officer, is seen walking with the child down a hallway when suddenly he lunges at the boy, lifts him off the ground and slams him to the floor on his back. Without checking the child for injuries, the deputy picks the student up again and throws him to the floor a second time and drags him down the hall and out of the view of the camera, according to the footage.

Trust and believe, if an adult man picked up a child of mine and body-slammed them like this, he’d be more than fired.

This comes less than a week after a Florida sheriff’s deputy, caught on video slamming a 15-year-old student face-first into the pavement, was fired.

Remember – Attorney General William Barr says people need to show more respect to law enforcement. This isn’t how you inspire respect.

Trump Will Campaign For Anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bill’ Candidate In NC

Donald Trump has announced he will campaign at a night-before rally for Republican candidate Dan Bishop (above with Trump) for Congress in a special election in North Carolina.

Because, of course…

Bishop, among other things, was the author of the hateful, anti-transgender ‘bathroom bill’ in the Tar Heel state.

Via The Charlotte Observer:

President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Fayetteville on Sept. 9, the night before a special congressional election in the 9th District.

The Trump campaign announced the rally Tuesday, fulfilling a promise he made in a tweet last week to return to the state to campaign for Republican Dan Bishop. Trump will rally at the Fayetteville Regional Airport at 7 p.m.

Bishop faces Democrat Dan McCready and two third-party candidates in the special election. The election was called after allegations of election fraud caused state officials to nullify the election last fall. The seat has been vacant since January.

You’ll recall the special election is being held because the ‘winner’ from the 2018 election was found to have hired election ‘influencers’ who took and threw away ballots to swing the election to the Republican.