News Round-Up: March 12, 2021

Fitness trainer Marc Burgum
Fitness trainer Marc Burgum
Fitness guru Marc Burgum (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: It’s Friday night and fitness guru Marc Burgum (above, proving clothes are sexy) asks, “If you could be doing anything right now, what would it be?” Follow him on Instagram here.

Washington Blade: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose support for the Equality Act is seen as crucial to winning Republican votes for the LGBTQ non-discrimination bill, has laid out the proposed revisions she’s demanding in exchange for her support.

Stonewall Gazette: Check out the short film Sauna the Dead where two men must overcome prejudice during a night at the sauna by joining forces in taking down a horde of towel-wearing zombies. Who will live to see the dawn?

Andrew Christian Blog: The underwear and swimwear designer offers five reasons why he believes bulges are sexier than seeing naked peen.

WLTX: South Carolina’s hate crime bill got its first round of approval Thursday, but with an amendment that may exclude the LGBTQ community???

Instinct Magazine: DC Comics will celebrate this year’s Pride Month with the release of an anthology series titled DC Pride which will include “LGBTQIA+ characters from all corners of DC’s ever-expanding Universe, including cameos by fan favorites Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Alan Scott, Midnighter, Apollo, Extraño, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Constantine, and more.”

‘Superman’ #32 Pride variant cover (Credit: David Talaski via DC Comics)

Pink News: Following the enormous success of his new series “It’s A Sin,” creator Russell T. Davies is looking at a reboot of his 1990s series “Queer As Folk.”

Twitter: The hashtag #CancelFox was trending at number one this afternoon as the Twitterverse noted the irony that Fox News is all upset about ‘cancel culture’ while professing to love the ‘free market.’

Sen. Susan Collins: Senate Should Not Vote On SCOTUS Nominee Prior To Election

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

In the aftermath of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has issued a statement saying the Senate should not vote on a new SCOTUS justice before the upcoming presidential election.

“In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently – no matter which political party is in power.

“President Trump has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and I would have no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials.

“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election.

“In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the president or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment the Supreme Court should be made by the president who is elected on November 3rd.”

Lindsey Graham: ‘Let’s Let The Next President Make That Nomination’

On the day after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it’s interesting to revisit the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) from just a few years ago:

“This is the last year of a lame-duck, and if Ted Cruz or Donald Trump get to be president, they’ve all asked us not to confirm or take up a selection by President Obama. So if a vacancy occurs in their last year, of their first term, guess what, you will use their words against them. You will use their words against them.

“I want you to use my words against me. If there is a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said ‘let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”

The Washington Post reports that in 2018, when Graham was in line to take over the committee with jurisdiction over Supreme Court nominees, he said that ‘if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait till the next election.’”

Graham is in a tight race for reelection himself this year – the most recent polls show him tied with his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison. How will his state react if he supports a vote on RGB’s replacement before the election?

Two other Republican Senators have signaled opposition to confirming a new justice so close to an election.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told The Hill in August of this year: “When Republicans held off Merrick Garland it was because nine months prior to the election was too close, we needed to let people decide. And I agreed to do that. If we now say that months prior to the election is okay when nine months was not, that is a double standard and I don’t believe we should do it. So I would not support it.”

And Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), also in a tough reelection campaign, told the New York Times‘ Jonathan Martin earlier this month, she would not seat a Supreme Court justice in October.

“I think that’s too close, I really do,” she said. She added she’d also oppose seating a justice in the lame-duck session if there’s a change in presidents.

Poll: Sen. Susan Collins Trails Democratic Challenger By 12

L-R Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sara Gideon (images via campaigns)

Quinnipiac University Polling released a new poll today showing 4-term Republican Senator Susan Collins trailing her Democratic challenger Sara Gideon by a whopping 12 points (54-42).

From the latest survey:

• 89% of likely voters who selected a candidate in the Senate matchup say their minds are made up; 10% say they might change their minds before the election

• Collins has a negative favorability rating (43% approve, 51% disapprove) while Gideon garners a positive 49% favorability rating versus 37% unfavorable

• Asked if the candidates care about average people, 60% of voters say that Gideon cares and while say 51% believes that Collins cares

• 53% of voters say that they would want to see the Democratic Party win control of the United States Senate

Collins won her last election with nearly 70% of the vote.

The same poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 21 points (59% to 38%).

Sens. Susan Collins & Joe Manchin Announce ‘Yes’ Votes To Confirm Kavanaugh To Supreme Court

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced during a lengthy speech on the floor of the Senate that she will vote ‘yes’ on confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shortly after her announcement, red state Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin also announced he will vote ‘yes’ as well, which appears to give Kavanaugh the 51 votes he needs for confirmation.

Manchin, in a tough re-election fight in West Virginia, is the only Democrat to cross party lines and vote for Kavanaugh.

Sen. Susan Collins: Very Difficult To Imagine Voting For Cassidy-Graham Bill

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine tells CNN’s Jake Tapper she finds it “very difficult” to imagine a scenario where she would vote for the proposed Cassidy-Graham healthcare bill due to a host of complex issues including screwing up Medicaid and the laws governing pre-existing conditions.

Sen. Susan Collins On Dueling Rep. Farenthold: “He’s So Unattractive. It’s So Unbelievable”

Rep. Blake Farenhold (R)

Sharp-eared reporter Niv Elis of The Hill noticed this funny exchange between what seems to be Sens. Jack Reed and Susan Collins speaking near an open mic.

During the hot-mic chat, Collins mentions GOP House Rep. Blake Farenthold, who had publicly announced he’d want to settle things with female senators against the Trumpcare bill with a duel.

Reed quickly assures Collins that she could “beat the shit” out of Farenthold. Collins goes on to note, “He’s so unattractive. It’s unbelievable.”

The “unattractive” Farenthold is in the pic above in his pajamas. Just to gross you out a little more, apparently the “M” on the hand of the young lady on the left is to let bartenders know she’s a minor.

I know. I know.

Listen to the exchange below.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins: “I Will Not Be Voting For Donald Trump”

Wow – this is a surprise.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine has penned an op-ed for the Washington Post wherein she announces she is the seventh Republican Senator to not vote for GOP White House nominee Donald Trump.

Collins opens thusly:

“I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president. This is not a decision I make lightly, for I am a lifelong Republican. But Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country. When the primary season started, it soon became apparent that, much like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mr. Trump was connecting with many Americans who felt that their voices were not being heard in Washington and who were tired of political correctness.

“But rejecting the conventions of political correctness is different from showing complete disregard for common decency. Mr. Trump did not stop with shedding the stilted campaign dialogue that often frustrates voters. Instead, he opted for a constant stream of denigrating comments, including demeaning Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) heroic military service and repeatedly insulting Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

“With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize. But it was his attacks directed at people who could not respond on an equal footing — either because they do not share his power or stature or because professional responsibility precluded them from engaging at such a level — that revealed Mr. Trump as unworthy of being our president.

Bolding is mine.

It’s worth noting that Collins is not a showboating “Ted Cruz” type of U.S. Senator. She is not some kind of “big-shot” power player in Washington.

She is a moderate who is well-liked by just about everyone. She has a 78% approval rating and not up for reelection until 2020. So, she didn’t need to raise her voice.

But she did.

For Collins to weigh in like this says a lot.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins becomes fourth Republican Senator to endorse same-sex marriage

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has become the fourth GOP senator to endorse same-sex marriage.

Sen. Collins said in a statement: “A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision.”

The Human Rights Campaign responded by endorsing Collins for reelection:

“Senator Susan Collins has played a pivotal role in advancing support for LGBT equality — from her dogged support for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to her critical vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act last year, to her proud support for marriage equality,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “HRC is proud to stand with Senator Collins, and with allies on both sides of the aisle like her, because she firmly believes that every American should be evaluated based on their abilities, and not who they love.”

“I am grateful for the support that I continue to receive from the Human Rights Campaign for my work in the Senate to end discrimination and achieve LGBT equality,” said Senator Collins. “HRC fully understands the need to have allies in both the Republican and Democratic caucuses, and I am proud of the reputation that I have established for working with my Senate colleagues of both parties in a bipartisan spirit for fairness and equality. I look forward to our continued work together to bring people together and remove barriers that divide us.”

While The Randy Report clearly leans left, I’ve always said I appreciate the moderates on both sides of the aisle in government. Susan Collins has consistently been open to finding common ground on a multitude of issues, including those of particular importance to the LGBT community.

I agree with the HRC in their endorsement.

Collins joins three other Republican senators who have publicly stated their support for same-sex marriage: Illinois’ Mark Kirk, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Ohio’s Rob Portman.