Saturday, October 3, 2015

Veronica Lodge Arrives at Riverdale High // 8 Reasons to Love ARCHIE #3!

Archie Comics published ARCHIE #3 earlier this week. Last issue ended with Archie falling hard for Veronica Lodge -- and inadvertently destroying her new house in the process. Literally. It was dark, so Archie is betting that nobody knows that it was him.

ARCHIE #3 brings Veronica to Riverdale High. We don't really know much about her except that her family is on the top end of the One Percent. She's well-traveled. She apparently had a reality TV show at some point. And now she's going to public high school in a small city. I'm sure that there's a story there someplace.

Veronica's first day at Riverdale High turns out to be eventful. Everybody is watching her. Half of the school wants to become her best friend. The other half -- led by Jughead -- hates her. And don't get me started on lunchtime!

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Archie Meets Veronica!: Archie is the first person to greet Veronica at Riverdale High. Immediately, he begins carrying her books and showing her the sights! He's obviously smitten with this new girl and she knows it. Turns out that she knows about the house also! This could turn out very badly for Archie if she got mad to narced on him to her father!

2. Jughead Hates on Veronica!: Jughead is completely unhappy with Veronica's sudden arrival. He had been subtly nudging Archie and Betty back together as a couple ever since their break-up. Not enough that either realized it, but with enough string-pulling that it was eventually going to happen. And now Veronica has Archie following her around on a leash. This is not good. Jughead is determined to take Veronica down -- not that Betty will help!

3. Miss Beazley's Cooking Hasn't Improved: The running gag for decades is that Miss Beazley's cooking is horrible. It would appear that nothing has changed within the "Archie Relaunch!"

4. Don't Mess With Sheila Wu!: These panel speak volumes. Seriously, Sheila Wu is becoming one of my top five characters in the "Archie Relaunch!"

5. Did I Mention Beazley's Bad Cooking??: Veronica's first contact with Riverdale High's is explosively embarassing. But she handles it well -- before having a private meltdown!

6. Seeds Planted for the Betty & Veronica Friendship: Betty stumbles across Veronica in the middle of her breakdown -- and she handles it perfectly. This is textbook Betty Cooper: Assess and Act. She didn't gawk. She didn't tease. She didn't obsess. She just began problem-solving in a compassionate way. It certainly impressed Veronica!

7. Seeds Planted for the Betty & Veronica Frenemy Relationship: Of course, their friendship has always been strained. Veronica manages to negate Betty's good will within 30 seconds!

8: It's On!: The next storyline promises to feature a battle of will between Veronica and Jughead & Betty. I'm envisioning a twisty version of "Mean Girls."

By the way, don't believe any of Betty's rationalizations in the preceding panels!

ARCHIE #3 was written by Mark Waid, with art by Fiona Staples, colors by Andre Szymanowicz & Jen Vaughn, and letters by Jack Morelli.

Blount County, TN: Board of Commissions Petitions God to Protect Them From the Upcoming Apocalypse Because of Gay Marriage

Do you live in Blount County, TN? It's near Knoxville and slightly smaller than my own county. The Blount County Board of Commissions plans to vote on a new resolution next Tuesday that's titled the "Resolution condemning judicial tyranny and petitioning God's mercy." Basically, the Board is railing against the court system and recent court decisions that have come out in favor of nationwide marriage equality.

But the resolution also petitions God to protect the people of Blount County from the upcoming Apocalypse that will surely come now that same-sex couples have been marrying throughout the United States (even though same-sex couples have been marrying in patches of the United States for well over a decades -- longer if you count those of us who've been doing commitment ceremonies -- without any Apocalyptic overtones). Check this out:
With a firm reliance upon the providence of Almighty God WE the BLOUNT COUNTY LEGISLATURE call upon all of the Officers of the State of Tennessee, the Governor, the Attorney General, and the members of the Tennessee Legislature, to join US, and utilize all authority within their power to protect Natural Marriage, from lawless court opinions, AND THE financial schemes of the enemies of righteousness wherever the source AND defend the Moral Standards of Tennessee.
WE adopt this Resolution before God that He pass us by in His Coming Wrath and not destroy our County as He did Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities. As the Passover Lamb was a means of salvation to the ancient Children of Israel, so we stand upon the safety of the Lamb of God to save us.
WE adopt this Resolution begging His favor in light of the fact that we have been forced to comply and recognize that the State of Tennessee, like so many other God-fearing States, MAY have fallen prey to a lawless judiciary in legalizing what God and the Bible expressly forbids.
Of course, I'm thinking of the day that everyone and everything surrounding Blount County, TN, goes up in smoke; while the people of Blount County transform into pillars of salt because they can't stop looking.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Marvel Comics' "Damage Control" Coming to ABC?

ABC is considering a half-hour, single-camera superhero comedy featuring Marvel Comics' DAMAGE CONTROL comic book franchise:
Marvel's Damage Control centers on the overworked and underpaid cleanup crew of the Marvel Universe. Their specialty is dealing with the aftermath of the unique fallout from superhero conflicts, like returning lost ray guns to their rightful owners, rescheduling a wedding venue after it has been vaporized in a battle or even tracking down a missing prize African parrot that's been turned to stone or goo. Sometimes the most important heroes are the ones behind the scenes.
I was a fan of DAMAGE CONTROL back in the day. Marvel Comics tried transforming it into a sinister corporation a few years back, but that never really played out.

My hunch is that we will eventually be seeing an ongoing DAMAGE CONTROL series from Marvel Comics in the future should this idea become popular.

Pope Francis: Don't Read Anything Into My Kim Davis Encounter; I Saw Lots of People That Day! // Vatican Was "Blindsided" by Kim Davis Reports

Kim Davis and her legal team at Liberty Counsel announced earlier this week that she received a special meeting with Pope Francis during his recent trip to the United States. She told us that they hugged and he told her to stay strong against the gays and that the meeting last roughly 15 minutes.

Following days of commentary about this story, Father Federico Lombardi, the head of the Holy See Press Office, finally issued an official statement about Kim Davis' meeting with the Pope:
Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability. The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family. 
The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.
In other words, Kim Davis and her legal team exaggerated the significance of this meeting and milked it in the media for all it was worth.

CBS News reports that the Vatican was "blindsided" by this story, and with the meeting:
A highly placed source inside the Vatican claims the Pope was blindsided. As Pope Francis was addressing a joint session of Congress, then thousands more gathered outside on the west lawn, Kim Davis, who’d become the poster child for opponents of same-sex marriage, was getting ready for a meeting with him at the Vatican embassy. It is a meeting some charge was orchestrated by the man who lived there, the Pope’s representative here, Carlo Maria Vigano. Not even the Papal Spokesman Federico Lombardi knew about it ahead of time. Nor did the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which would have opposed it. Others claim the Pope knew about the meeting and had ordered Vatican diplomats, perhaps even Vigano, to set it up. CBS 2’s Vatican source doesn’t think so. A close advisor to Pope Francis tweeted that the Pope was, in his words, “exploited” by those who set up what the CBS 2 source says was a “meeting that never should have taken place.” Some call it an attempt by highly placed church leaders in the U.S. to diminish the impact of the Pope’s visit.
I'm still annoyed by ABC New and Paula Faris for her multiple puffball interviews over the past couple weeks. She's allowed herself to be used by Davis and Liberty Counsel into lengthy sympathetic interviews with no real push back against her exaggerations. She was the ABC News personality that exclusively reported on Davis' meeting with Pope Francis. Once again (such as when Davis told us that she has gay friends), Faris remained superficial and didn't actually investigate the veracity of Davis' story.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

"Officer Involved Shooting" Today in Riverside, IA // Nobody Injured

While visiting Twitter late this afternoon, I noticed a series of tweets about a "large incident" at a Kum & Go in nearby Riverside, IA, involving lots of State Troopers and Washington County Sheriff deputies. A final tweet indicated that there was an "officer involved shooting" related to this incident, but no injuries.

I was curious about the "large incident" and found a news article about this "officer involved shooting." It turns out that there was a police chase involving a vehicle suspected in a series of crimes based out of Cedar Rapids, IA:
A trooper spotted the vehicle, a Dodge Charger, driving south on Interstate 380 near the Penn Street exit. The car did not pull over when the trooper tried to get the car to stop, the DCI said.
Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies joined the chase, which continued south on Highway 218. The car exited 218 and headed east on Highway 22.
The car pulled into the Kum & Go off Highway 22, where it hit a Johnson County deputy’s car, causing a state trooper to fire his weapon once, authorities said.
There were no injuries reported.
Three people were taken into custody and are currently in jail while they complete their investigation and ponder criminal charges.

There was a reference to crime scene tape being placed around several gas pumps and a vehicle. I'm assuming that this was to protect evidence, as opposed to indicate an area of damage.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pope Francis: I Support Kim Davis' Refusal to Work // Update: Kim Davis & Pope Francis Held a Private Visit

(Originally written on 09/29/15): Social conservatives who were fuming at Pope Francis this week for speaking out in favor of economic and environmental justice were tossed a bone when he seemingly came out in support of Kim Davis' refusal to do the job that the people of Rowan County, KY, elected her to complete:
Pope Francis is defending the rights of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to endorse same-sex marriage license. On his flight home from visiting the U.S., the Pope said the conscience rights of officials to object to gay marriage should be respected. Kim Davis was sent to jail for standing firm for her Christian beliefs. 

She recently spoke with CBN’s David Brody on “The Brody File” about her case and how some have criticized her because she was married three times before she gave her life to Christ: 
"Why would God, of all people, choose me with my past to stand up and defend something that I had failed so miserably at in the world? And then I have to remember that I’m a new person. I gave my life to Christ. His blood cleansed me and washed me clean. And the old has passed away and the new stands in front of you. Yeah, I’m a very unlikely person to stand and defend the word of God."
One has to wonder if Pope Francis understood that Kim Davis ran for an elected position at a time where it was clear that she would eventually be required to expand marriage licenses to same-sex couples? You also have to wonder if the Pope realized that Davis refused to let anyone in her county receive marriage licenses and she refused to delegate the task to any of her deputy clerks? Plus, she altered the documents in a way that makes it unlikely that they are actually legally valid.

You can watch the whole CBN clip here.

Updated on 09/30/15: It was reported late last night that Kim Davis received a private visit with Pope Francis last Thursday evening. They hugged. She cried. He told her to "stay strong" or whatever. And then he gave her some special rosaries.

I became surprisingly grumpy after hearing about it and vented a bit on Twitter last night:

Of course, Kim Davis, her legal team, and her supporters are all over this story today. Meanwhile, she still needs to do her job...

Honey Boo Boo Releases New Music Video: "Movin Up!" // Dances the "Honey Boo Boo Bop"

Remember the "Honey Boo Boo Bop?" This was announced back in February when Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson and her family recorded her first song and music video. The song is called "Movin' Up" and the video includes a dance called the "Honey Boo Boo Bop."

I am assuming that you have anxiously awaited the release of the music video. You can also purchase the song on iTunes.

I love Honey Boo Boo, but somebody really needed to tell her and her family "No." I just don't see this helping to raise the status of her media brand.

You can watch entire video here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Enough About the Cake!: I Need to Vent about Anti-Gay Discrimination...

I was traveling quite a bit yesterday and ended up having to turn off the radio in disgust twice while different radio hosts discussed the Pope's support of Kim Davis, Kim Davis herself, and anti-discrimination public accomodation laws in general. The gist of the first show was that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of nationwide marriage equality and now all of these wedding businesses and public officials are being forced to provide services for same-sex couples. And why is it that the religious liberties of small business owners aren't being protected in the first place.

Basically, there are about two or three different issues going on here that have developed over time, but aren't related to each other. I'm going to trying breaking these down.
First, "Obergefell V. Hodges" had nothing to do with what happened to Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon or the Gortz Haus wedding venue in Grimes, IA, or the handful of other businesses that got in trouble for overtly discriminating against gay customers. It has everything to do with the fact that those states have specifically included sexual orientation among a list of characteristics on their anti-discrimination ordinances. Stuff like race or gender or disability or religion.

These particular cases have been circulating long before "Obergefell" was argued, much less ruled on. These businesses aren't in trouble for disagreeing with gay marriage. They are in trouble for being found guilty of discriminating against gay or lesbian customers. It just happens that the services that they offer provide wedding services.

If everything was handled the same way, they still would have been in trouble for discriminating against customers because they were black or interracial or Jewish or disabled or even a Christian instead of gay. Trust me. It happens.

Not everyone files a complaint when discrimination happens. But it's the right of a customer to file a complaint if they feel like they've been unlawfully discriminated against.

Second, there are other cases that have blown up in the news involving small businesses that have said that they discriminate against gay people and couples. I'm thinking of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, IN, and Eastlake Pediatrics in Roseville, MI, specifically, but I know of others. These cases blew up in social media after people complained or after a news article aired. People hollered and complained and made the business owners miserable.

But these were legal forms of discrimination. Most states do not bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Even after the "Obergefell" decision.

In fact, there are many more situations of gay and lesbian people who have lost their jobs after they got married or after they had a kid with their same-sex partner than businesses that have gotten in trouble for discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. There have been many more situations of people who've been drummed out of teaching and pastoral positions for expressing anything but outright condemnation for their gay and lesbian loved ones.

"Obergefell" didn't change this. "Obergefell" just made it so that marriage equality was a reality nationwide. You can still be an anti-gay jerk -- as long as you're in the majority of states...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Layoffs at Archie Comics?? // Update

(Originally written on 09/23/15): Here is some concerning information about recent layoffs at Archie Comics:
The Beat has learned that last week Archie Comics laid off five employees from their 30 person staff. Archie did not respond to enquiries.
This isn't necessarily doom and gloom for the company, but it's a fairly large chunk of their employees.

Updated on 09/28/15: Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool offered additional details today. He reported that all of the layoffs came from the production and warehouse divisions of Archie Comics. This included a production assistance and a senior art director with 20 years within the company.

"Honey Boo Boo" House to be Demolished

(Originally written on 09/27/15): Remember this house? It's "Honey Boo Boo Estates," where Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson lived with her family. It was featured on TLC's now-canceled "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." The family has since moved away for greener pastures -- as well as someplace that doesn't have train tracks outside the backdoor!

I wrote back in June that the house's owners were trying to sell the house for $45,000. But it doesn't appear that people want to pay that much money for that house. Plus, it seems that you're only buying the house and not the land, which is reportedly owned by the railroad company.

I heard last night that they might be tearing down the house! Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson is trying to confirm the details, but it makes sense. The house needs work and it's right next to train tracks. If nobody want to purchase it, maybe there can be better uses for the land.

I will keep my eye on this story. It will be interesting if the house ends up getting demolished.

Updated on 09/28/15: TMZ confirmed yesterday that the Honey Boo Boo House will indeed to demolished today. There are plans for a new construction project.