Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Episodes of "Riverdale" to Begin Streaming Weekly on Netflix Starting Friday, January 27th!

I was excited to discover earlier today that "Riverdale" will begin streaming new episodes weekly on Netflix, basically the day after they first air on the CW. Which is weird, because usually Netflix dumps an entire season all at once.

Not that I'm complaining!

I'm terrible about remembering to watch programs when they air on conventional television except for PBS shows that regularly air on Saturday and Sunday nights. Otherwise, it's way too easy for me to miss episodes of programs -- and this isn't a show that I'm going to want to miss!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Utah's Polygamy Ban

Remember last June when Pat Robertson fretted that it was just a matter of time before the U.S. Supreme Court stuck down our country's laws against polygamy? Maybe not...

We learned today that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case from the plural family featured on TLC's reality show "Sister Wives" (Kidy, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown). The end result? Polygamy is still illegal in Utah:
After the Supreme Court's 2015 rulings that legalized gay marriage, some polygamists and libertarians believed polygamy was the next step in marriage rights. Some lawyers also thought the Browns represented the best chance in decades for polygamy to win in the courts because all five spouses were consenting adults with no taint of crimes such as sexual abuse or fraud. 

But the Brown's case was hampered by one problem — the Browns have never been prosecuted for bigamy. 

They contended the law on the books and a 2010 investigation by Lehi police was enough to constitute discrimination. The bigamy statute, when read broadly, could be used to prosecute unmarried couples who live together. Yet the statute, which makes polygamy a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, has only ever been used to prosecute polygamists. 

The Utah Attorney General's Office argued polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children and that the state has an interest in keeping it a crime if only as a way to help it prosecute more serious crimes within polygamous communities. 

In December 2013, federal Judge Clark Waddoups sided with the Browns and struck down the portion of Utah's bigamy statute focused on polygamy. (A portion dealing with having active, multiple marriage licenses remained.) 

In April of last year, the appeals court in Denver overturned that ruling. In finding the Browns lacked standing to file a legal challenge a three-judge panel considered a policy by the Utah County Attorney's Office limiting polygamy prosecutions to cases which also include offenses like sexual abuse, fraud or underage marriage. Other county prosecutors and the Utah Attorney General's Office have similar policies. 
In other words, polygamy is still illegal in Utah and illegal elsewhere in the country.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Riverdale" Debuts on The CW on Thurs, Jan 26th! Check Out this Clip Featuring Actor Casey Cott, Who Plays Kevin Keller!

Archie Comics has been posting a series of promotional videos online to promote next week's premier of "Riverdale," which makes it's debut at 8:00 PM on Thursday, January 26th, on the CW. I know that these promos are designed to suck you in and in this case it's totally working for me!

Here is one of my favorite promos: an interview with actor Casey Cott, who plays Kevin Keller. If you don't know, Kevin Keller is one of my favorite Archie Comics characters and I'm totally digging his portrayal here on "Riverdale."

Here is how Cott characterizes Kevin Keller on "Riverdale": He's kind of one of the only characters that is constantly saying the truth... Most of the time, he says things that probably everyone else is thinking too... I think he kind of enjoys drama."

He's good friends with Betty and is instantly adopting as her best gay friend by Veronica Lodge in this series. I really can't wait for "Riverdale" this week!

You can see the entire segment here.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Archie Comics to Publish Two New One-Shot Comic Books in April 2017! Which Is Your Favorite??

I wrote last month about Archie Comics' plan to publish four one-shot comic books in March 2017. Those comics -- JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER, THE ARCHIES, LITTLE ARCHIES, and SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH -- are to serve as auditions to see if there are enough orders to launch as ongoing comic book series. We learned yesterday of two new one-shot comic books that Archie Comics will publish in April. They are...

* BIG MOOSE (written by Sean Ryan, Ryan Cady, and Gorf with art by Cory Smith, Thomas Pitilli, and Wilfredo Torres): They don't really give any hints about the stories, though it appears that there will be two or three short stories in this book. All we know is that "Riverdale's resident jock gets the spotlight" -- though Midge appears to be central to this book as she appears to be central to all of BIG MOOSE's variant covers.

* LITTLE SABRINA (written and illustrated by Art Baltazar and co-written by Franco): This book gives us more story details. Little Sabrina struggles to use her magical abilities to send a bunch of doppelgangers of Salem the Cat back where they came from.

I tend to like plays on words, so a book called BIG MOOSE from a company with a long history of publishing stuff like LITTLE ARCHIE, LITTLE SABRINA, and L'IL JINX really just makes me want to get that new title all the more. Pathetic, isn't it?

Which one of these one-shot titles is number one on your list?

Trump-Supporter Pat Robertson Criticizes Hillary Clinton for her Husband's Affairs

I was watching the "Bring It On" segment on yesterday's "The 700 Club" on CBN and got annoyed by Pat Robertson's answer. Co-Host Terry Meeuwsen shared a question from a viewer named Carolina: "I am ready to file for separation. My husband cheated on me, and he does not want counseling. He also cheated a lot when we were just dating. I realize I made a huge mistake marrying him. Should I stay for my love and commitment to God, or should I go? He said they did not have sex. Is that adultery? I no longer trust him. We also have 2 sons."

Here is Pat's response:
It's a tragedy. It's a tragedy being played out thousands of times in our country. The sexual revolution and the infidelity, it's there. It's terrible. Listen... That is a grounds of divorce under what Jesus had to say. And what you've got is an intolerable situation. You have a philanderer as your husband. But there was a former president who was a philanderer and his wife stayed with him. But I think in your case, you're probably better off to finally get a settlement where you get your money... You get looked after and you get free because this thing will weigh down on you. It'll tear you apart and your ego, your psyche, your inner being will be damaged permanently. So I think get out of it. 
What the flip does President Clinton have to do with this woman's situation and why did Pat feel the need to get a dig in for Hillary for staying with her husband following his extramarital affairs? Pat Robertson is such a political tool. He criticizes Hillary Clinton for staying with her husband after adultery and saving her marriage but will actively and egregiously throw his support behind our new president, who is a non-repentant adulterer. Unbelievable.

You can watch the entire clip here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump Opponents Threaten to Boycott Girl Scout Cookies in 2017 Over Presidential Inaugural Parade Participation

Here is another thing about the presidential election and today's Presidential Inaugural Parade that got me steamed. I learned yesterday that there is an effort to protest the Girl Scouts because a contingent of the group is going to march in the parade. Here is how they justified their presence at the parade:
On Friday, January 20, approximately 75 Girl Scouts from the Nation’s Capital council will voluntarily march in the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Parade, as the council has done over the past 100 years. As part of this unique experience, these girls will gain insight into the time-honored democratic tradition of a peaceful transition of power. Then, the very next day, Saturday, January 21, women and girls, including Girl Scouts, from across the country will descend on Washington to participate in the Women's March and similar events in communities across the country.

At Girl Scouts, our Movement is made up of individuals who hold political beliefs and convictions as varied as our nation itself. And because every girl has a home at Girl Scouts, every girl in our Movement is allowed her own ideas, opinions, beliefs, and political ideology. Our fundamental value is empowering girls to be leaders in their own lives. By helping them build the courage, confidence, and character to lift their voices, champion their views, and be advocates for the issues and ideas important to them, Girl Scouts supports girls as they become catalysts for change who strengthen their communities.

Of course, we are a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that by law cannot take positions on political candidates or parties—and we take this very seriously.

At Girl Scouts it’s our goal to help girls be empowered, and we support them as they raise their voices to lead, every day. Girl Scouts have lent their voices to the fight for racial equality, advocated for a clean environment, invested in those less fortunate, and so much more. Girl Scouts also have a long history of taking the lead to create change by engaging in civic action. Empowering girls to forge their own paths and take action in their own lives is at the center of everything we do.

Being a leader means having a seat at the leadership table no matter what. It means being willing to work with whomever happens to hold political power. It means preparing girls not to run from the face of adversity, but to stand tall and proud and announce to the world, and the powers that be, that they are a force to be reckoned with, and that their needs, ideas, and views must be taken seriously. To do otherwise is to tell girls to sit down and be quiet—and that they don’t count.

Advocating for change on issues one cares about isn’t at odds with participating in a century-long tradition that represents the peaceful exchange of power.

Leadership. That’s what it means to be a Girl Scout. Leadership is why the impact of Girl Scouts remains so long after a girl leaves our Movement. So as we swear in the 45th president of the United States, it only seems fitting to celebrate more than a century of Girl Scout civic action.
I get that President Trump has been accused to pretty vile behavior towards women -- and he was even caught on tape bragging about getting away with sexually harassing women on the basis of his celebrity. But...

The Girl Scouts aren't marching for Trump. I suppose that some are, but most are marching for the country as part of a tradition. And the vast, vast majority of Girl Scout members and leaders won't be anywhere near Washington DC this week.

It wasn't that long ago that social conservatives began boycotting and abandoning the Girl Scouts over overblown stories that the Girl Scouts were shills for Planned Parenthood, not to mention because the Girl Scouts actually support gay and trans members. So why would we boycott people who stood up for us over their tradition of marching in the Presidential Inaugural Parades? I mean, pick your battles...

So I just want to put it out there that I'm not protesting Girl Scout cookies -- for those in my circle who sell such things. I have much bigger things to protest in my life than Girl Scout cookies.

President Trump Scrubs LGBT Page from White House Website Moments After Taking Charge

Earlier today, one of my high school friends told me that I should feel great about President Donald Trump because he's the first pro-gay president. Apparently forgetting President Barack Obama, but whatever. Which is one of my biggest pet peeves from my conservative friends and family. You should be happy about the new administration because Trump is pro-gay. Because I'm only about gay rights.

He should know better because I post all sorts of information about Medicaid privatization and income inequality on my Facebook page often. But I'm gay, so I'm really only a member of the Democratic Party because they're pro-gay. See how that works.

Let's assume that I'm only about the gays. The fact that then-candidate Trump held a ratty old rainbow flag at one of his rallies really means little to me given that his twinned himself up with people like Mike Pence, Jeff Session, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, etc. Plus, he's already announced his picks for US Supreme Court replacements and they are all on record for being hostile to LGBT people and our families. And then he's already won the praises of America's religious right for coming out in favor of federal legislation that would limit protections for LGBT people and our families.

But Trump held up an ratty old rainbow flag with "LGBTs for Trump" scrawled across it, so he's extremely pro-gay. See how that works. Once again, I'm not impressed along that front. But my high school friend was pretty pleased by that one moment in time.

Which set me off a bit when I learned that moments after Trump was sworn into office, his team scrubbed its LGBT page right off of the White House webpage, along with pages dedicated to civil rights and climate change.

But he held a rainbow flag, folks!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Muscatine City Council Begins Impeachment Effort Against City's Mayor // Updated Report: $100,000 in City Legal Fees May Be Used to Justify Impeachment Effort

(Originally written on 01/13/17): This is interesting. Last night, the mostly Republican City Council in Muscatine, IA, unanimously approved impeachment proceedings against the city's Democratic mayor, accusing her of unspecified incidents of misconduct and neglect, as well as making disparaging comments towards city employees.

I've been reading the sordid conflict between Mayor Diana Broderson and the Muscatine City Council with interest. She unexpectedly won an election against the incumbent mayor back in 2015 and has since struggled for achieve any of her limited mayoral duties, which pretty much consist of making appointments to city commissions, as well as appointing the Police and Fire Chief. In fact, the City Council voted last summer on an ordinance that stripped the mayor of those duties. Mayor Broderson challenged this new ordinance and received a decision from the state Attorney General's Office back in October 2016 indicating that the City Council lacked the authority to make these changes and that it was potentially criminal. However, the Muscatine County Attorney declined to act on the state Attorney General's opinion last month.

Which leads us to this week. The Muscatine City Council announced that it would vote on a request to impeach the city's mayor at its 01/12/17 city council meeting. According to the Muscatine Journal, none of the Council members wouldn't offer any explanation for this move and instead referred the reporter to the city attorney, who conveniently couldn't be reached for comment.

Last night, Councilman Michael Rehwaldt read the following motion:
An elected City official may be removed from office for, among other reasons, misconduct or maladministration in office, and willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of the office; and

Willful misconduct or maladministration in office and include, but is not limited to, conduct such as repeated public criticism of the City or staff; repeatedly engaging in defamatory attacks against the City, staff or public; breach of fiduciary duties; or other conduct which tends to erode public confidence in the City or staff.

Habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of office an include, but is not limited to, such conduct as repeated breaches of the public official's fiduciary duties and/or repeated failure to follow established city ordinances or policies;

It appears the Mayor may have engaged in some of the foregoing conduct to the detriment of the City and in contravention of her established duties and, as such, written charges for removal should be filed to determine if the Mayor should be removed from office as a result of such conduct.

Therefore, the City Council of the City of Muscatine, Iowa, hereby motions to instruct the City Attorney to draft and file written charges for the removal of the Mayor as provided for by Iowa Code Chapter 66 and City Code section 1-7-6.
The Council members continued to avoid any specific accusations. Hopefully, they have evidence of willful misconduct or maladministration. Certainly something more substantial than vague suggestions that she "may have engaged" in detrimental conduct.

About 60 citizens attended the meeting and all appeared to denounce this impeachment effort.

I'm not a citizen of Muscatine, but this really doesn't pass the smell test. The Muscatine City Council better watch out or they might engage the citizens enough to vote out its incumbents -- particularly those like Councilmen Rehwaldt, Bynum, and Natvig -- all of whom are up for re-election later this year.

Updated on 01/19/17: We're beginning to get an idea about what the Muscatine City Council plans to use to support their impeachment effort against Mayor Diana Broderson:
The Muscatine city attorney said in an email to City Administrator Gregg Mandsager Wednesday that the city has incurred more than $100,000 in unbudgeted expenses in fighting what he says are "unproven claims and allegations" made by Mayor Broderson...

City officials said the official charges could be released as early as Friday.

City Attorney Matthew Brick detailed the 2016 attorney fees in an email to Mandsager. That email was in response to an inquiry Mandsager received from Broderson requesting more information about costs and attorney fees. Brick's email stated that complaints filed by Broderson against city officials, staff, contractors, and citizens resulted in about $64,000 in unbudgeted legal fees and $43,600 in staff time during the 2016 calendar year.

Mandsager had forwarded the email to the mayor and city council members early Wednesday morning. The email was also forwarded to the Muscatine Journal and Quad City Times.

As to the allegations that she caused funds to be spent by filing complaints, Broderson said she was just doing as the citizens asked...

Her reaction to the amount of costs paid to the city attorney was to wonder how much had been spent changing the city's appointment process. The council passed an amendment earlier in 2016 that created a nominating committee made up of the mayor, the city administrator or his appointee, and two council members to review candidates for city appointments.

"My take would be most of the money has been spent trying to reduce the office of mayor," she said.
By the way, I was listening to this Muscatine-based podcast earlier tonight and was shocked to learn that City Administrator Gregg Mandsager has apparently banned the city's employees from speaking or interacting with Mayor Broderson, outside of basic greetings. It's apparently been this way since shortly after Broderson's election in 2015.

Radio Host Pastor Kevin Swanson: Which Is Worse: ISIS or "Highlights" Magazine for Picture of Gay Family?

Hopefully you remember this image from the February 2017 issue of "Highlights" that features a family with two gay dads in it. The image was accompanied by the following text: "Your Favorite Family Trip. Has your family ever taken a memorable trip? Tell us where you went and what you liked about it. Include a drawing, if you wish."

Apparently, that image is no better than ISIS, according to Pastor Kevin Swanson of the "Generations" radio program. Here is an excerpt:
Swanson said that while ISIS is releasing videos showing young children killing prisoners, Highlights is just as evil because it will “encourage the support for the sin of homosexuality among kids.”
“So now, here’s Highlights magazine, an American kids’ magazine promoting homosexuality amongst kids,” Swanson fumed, “and now ISIS is teaching kids how to kill people. Now, I got to thinking: Which sin is worse? Homosexuality or murder? Which is worse? Are we really that much better than ISIS?”
You can hear at clip at this website.

West High Students Featured on ABC's "The View"

(Originally written on 11/18/17): After the 2016 presidential election, Iowa City witnessed several protests that were initiated by students from West and City High School. The protests, in part, were to protest the results of the election. But there was an "anti-discrimination march" through downtown Iowa City on November 15th, as well as appearances before the Iowa City Community School Board and the Iowa City City Council, where students expressed concerns about reports of increased incidents of discrimination and bullying in the schools following the election.

The student activism at West High in particular attracted the attention of ABC's "The View." Recently, co-host Sunny Hostin and guest host Clay Aiken traveled to Iowa City and interviewed eight students -- four Trump supporters and four Clinton supporters. And yes, it pretty much divided down racial lines. That segment aired earlier today.

It was interesting watching the pre-interview segment where the various students expressed incidents of bullying immediately following the election. Muslim students who were sneered at and called terrorists. The Hispanic boy who was asked about getting deported to Mexico. The white boy who was accused of being a Hitler Youth program. Aiken and Hostin then gathered eight of the students for a conversation where they were all given the opportunity to discuss their similarities and differences. Basically, they all are struggling to move on from the election two months later. 

You can watch the entire segment here.

Updated on 11/19/17:  The Press-Citizen reports today that the West High students featured in this program are not happy that ABC's "The View" focused too much of the political divisions when they came to the school. Then again, ABC learned of West High explicitly because of those political divisions. So...