Monday, June 17, 2019

Ames, Iowa: Man Steals Pride Banner from UCC Church and Burns It Outside Gentleman's Club

(Originally written on 06/13/19): It's not just LGBTQ-themed library books that get burned by anti-gay culture warriors here in Iowa. KCRG reported this evening that a LGBTQ pride banner was stolen from the Ames United Church of Christ church property and set on fire outside of a local "gentleman's club."

Police have arrested and charged 30-year-old Adolfo Martinez for the crime. And according to media reports, he gladly admits to the crime:
"It was an honor to do that. It's a blessing from the Lord," Martinez said. "It is a judgment and it is written to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishment upon the people.
A quick glance at Iowa Courts Online indicate that Martinez has been charged with 1st Degree Harassment and Reckless Use of Fire of Explosives. Media reports indicate that he still might be charged with some form of hate crime.

Which isn't surprising. Martinez very clearly states in this article that he was targeting LGBTQ people when he stole the pride banner and burned it.

Ames UCC is an open & affirming church, which means that it fully welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and encourages their full inclusion as members and church leaders. Its pastor is Eileen Gebbie, who herself is a gay woman.

She was interviewed for this news story. She felt sadness for the attack on her church community, but welcomed Martinez to sit down with her and to learn more from each other.

Updated on 06/17/19:  According to the Des Moines Register, Adolfo Martinez will  indeed face hate crime charges for burning Ames UCC's rainbow flag:
After reviewing the evidence, Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said hate crime charges will be added because Martinez is suspected of criminal mischief against someone's property because of "what it represents as far as sexual orientation..."
Reynolds said she could not give estimated sentencing for this crime until she has an estimate of the cost of the banner, but said Iowa Code says a hate crime with a serious misdemeanor "basically bumps that charge up a step."
For example, if the original crime is a serious misdemeanor, it will become an aggravated misdemeanor. Reynolds said she will be contacting federal authorities since they can give harsher sentences. She could not comment on what federal sentences would look like.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bernie McGee from TLC's "Seeking Sister Wives" Passed Away at Age 41

Remember Bernie McGee from TLC's "Seeking Sister Wives?" I wrote about him and his family back in January 2019. He and his wife have been seeking a sister wife for the past couple of years, but hadn't yet been successful.

I learned earlier today that Bernie McGee passed away yesterday. According to social media and news reports, Bernie was riding his bicycle. He called his wife Paige and told her that he wasn't feeling well and asked her to come get him. By the time she arrived, he was being treated on the scene by EMTs. He apparently was either dead or non-responsive. According to his wife, Bernie died from "a heat stroke/heart attack."

Bernie McGee was 41-years-old when he died.

Judge Judy Halts Court Case to Kick Out Audience Member for Laughing Too Loud

I enjoy spending my limited free time these days watching videos on YouTube. I particularly enjoy watching episodes of "Judge Judy." It's a challenge for me to watch the program on TV, largely because its daytime programming. The challenge to watching programs like "Judge Judy" on YouTube is that they quickly get yanked from the platform for violating copyright law. So you have to be quick if you want to share anything of interest on the blog or else the video that I watched earlier in a day has disappeared by the time that I have time to write about it!

I watched this fun episode earlier today. It involved a woman suing her ex-boyfriend for damage caused to her laptop computer. He's a habitual criminal who accepted commissary money from her while he was locked away and got her pregnant within days of his release. She later claimed that he ran over her cell phone with her car and tore apart her laptop during a fit of anger. Unfortunately, she had no evidence and the case was tossed out.

But that's not what I'm writing about. I'm writing about the poor audience member who managed to be on the receiving end of Judge Judy's stink eye! I'm not 100% certain what he did that upset her. I'm pretty sure that his boisterous laughter irritated her. She glared at him once and then resumed the case. She suddenly stopped the hearing and ordered the man in blue out of the courtroom! The guy looked horrified and confused, but eventually got up and slinked out of room.

And just like that the case resumed -- and the defendant ran out of the courtroom in angry tears.

I can't help wondering what happens when you get kicked out of the "Judge Judy" audience. Are you allowed to return on another day? Are you permanently banned? Stuff to ponder on a sleepy Sunday...

You can watch this case at this link.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Trial of Anti-Gay Culture Warrior Who Live-Streamed Himself Burning LGBTQ-Themed Library Books Scheduled for August 6th // Paul Dorr Speaks Up About His Anti-Gay Protest

The story of the State of Iowa VS Paul Robert Dorr continues to drag along. You might remember that Paul Dorr was charged with 5th Degree Criminal Mischief last last year after checking out four LGBTQ-themed children's books from the Orange City Public Library and then burning all of them while live-streaming on Facebook. (Look here, here, and here for more details) Dorr was charged back in November 2018 and his case has been dragging ever since.

Dorr has pleaded not guilty. According to media reports, Dorr claims that his criminal charge should be dismissed as it violates his Equal Protection Rights and his First Amendment Rights under the U.S. Constitution. He's also upset that Orange City has never criminally charged anyone for failing to return or for damaging any library books.

Then again, he's probably the first person to damage any of Orange City's library books while live-streaming on Facebook!

Meanwhile, KIWA Radio published a press release by Paul Dorr a few days ago:
Paul R. Dorr filed his memorandum and motion yesterday (and amended/clarified today) asking Magistrate Judge Lisa Mazurek to Dismiss the 5th Degree Criminal Mischief charge against me brought by the city of Orange City, Iowa. 
The city fathers have sat silent, the college and “Christian” High school sit silent, or worse. And the pulpits and elders of Reformed Christian churches in Orange City, particularly one that holds itself out to be one of the most conservative churches in the city being formed in the mid-1990s, have all been indifferent in the public square while the God they say they worship is being blasphemed. As David proclaimed in 1 Samuel 17: 29, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?” There is a cause and I cannot sit silent while many in the filthy homosexual movement work to destroy the lives of little Christian children in Orange City by pushing such books in front of them. These are little children who have no ability to discern the evil teaching in the books. 
Those promoting the trans-gender agenda are bigoted and intolerant and wish to pass their worldview and filthy practices on to the local children of what had been known to be a religiously ‘conservative’ community. I used to live in Orange City and I graduated from Unity Christian High School there in the community. One can safely conclude from the findings of the American College of Pediatricians, that the city officials of Orange City (particularly those serving on the Library Board) are promoting child abuse. 
The Orange City Library Board should be ashamed of themselves. The City Council should be ashamed of themselves. And the board of my Alma’ Mater, Unity Christian High School, should all resign after they adopted a very tolerant view of the myth of ‘homosexualism’, aka homosexual orientation for their student policy handbook. But mostly, the elders and pastors of local churches should be ashamed of themselves for their silence, or worse! 
Those who claim to be Christians should heed the warning of Psalm 32:3-4, “When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.” These God-ordained office-holders need to repent. Failing that, they need to be replaced with men who will fight with the heart/faith of David against the Goliath of our day – that is, the sexual revolutionaries bent on destroying our civilization. I’ve been saying this for 30 years and they’ve always come up with an excuse for their sinful silence. And it gets worse by the year. Though God is long-suffering the Bible and church history are replete with examples of when His patience runs out. I fear we are close. Yet, silence still sacrifices up the next generation of young to this sexual tyranny. 
Meanwhile, see some quotes from the closing narrative from my Memorandum filed in court yesterday. 
“Dorr was charged with criminal mischief in the fifth degree because of his protest and because he published the protest. He filmed himself burning the books, and then posted the video to the internet and Facebook to publish his message, to encourage public discourse in the marketplace of ideas. In his effort to raise awareness on his side of an issue, the Library ignored its procedural policies and the police responded to the public outcry for prosecution by criminally charging Mr. Dorr. Likewise, Orange City ignored Iowa Code § 714.5, which allows for “arrangements [to] be made to make a monetary settlement.” 
Instead, Mr. Dorr was treated unlike other library patrons who had not returned books, and but for his public protest, Mr. Dorr literally had “the book thrown at him” to teach him a lesson. But, what lesson? That the Library can avoid its procedural policy in lieu of protected First Amendment rights? That people can be treated unequally for non-returned books? 
As noted before, if Mr. Dorr had protested in silence and destroyed the books yet the, books had been paid for, would he have been prosecuted? He still would be exercising his First Amendment rights. Regardless, the answer would be “no.” The only interceding fact in this case was his published protest. The Library ignored its policies and the police charge was selectively based upon nothing more than an act of protected First Amendment activities.”
Dorr's jury trial is scheduled for 9:00 AM on August 6, 2019, at the Sioux County Courthouse.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Orlando Church Hosting "Make America Straight Again" Conference During Pride -- Using a Shockingly Contradictory Bible Verse as Its Central Theme! // Updated Below!

(Originally written on 05/11/19): I was on QCF this morning when somebody wrote about some anti-gay Christian conference called "Make America Straight Again." It's set for Pride weekend in Orlando, FL, and she was trying to get people gathered together to protest the event. I don't live anywhere near Orlando, but the name grabbed my attention so I decided to check out the event's webpage to learn more about it. And then I learned that it doesn't have a webpage -- just a Facebook event page without an agenda or start time and a two-minute YouTube promotional video.

From the video:
Hello everybody! Pastor Boyle here from Revival Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida, with a very important announcement to make! We're going to be hosting this June 14th, 15th, and 16th a conference exposing the reprobates. The name of our conference is Make America Straight Again. That'll be a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- the 14th, 15th, and 16th of June. We're gonna have preachers like Pastor Tommy McMurtry, Pastor Steven Anderson, Pastor Roger Jimenez, Pastor Aaron Thompson and many others who have already been known for making a vocal stand against the sodomites and their filth that they've been spreading into the homes and families across the world and the United States of America. We've chosen this place and time because this is their Gay Pride Week in Orlando. They're going to be out proud of who they are and daring someone to say something and we're gonna go ahead and take them up on it. This conference is going to be explaining our view or rather God's view on it. 
The video doesn't particularly concern or interest me. Mainly, it sounds like a really long revival meeting.

But this next bit from the video actually did grab my curiosity. Same for Husband Mark. In fact, I rewound the video to make sure that I actually heard what I thought I heard. Check this out:
In fact the verse that we've chosen is Ecclesiastes 1:15 and the Bible say "that which is crooked cannot be made straight." And another verse that follows that is Ecclesiastes 7:13 and the Bible reads "consider the work of God for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked." God's asking the question once someone's been who can then bring them back? And the answer is: no one
Which calls up the question for me: That's the Bible verse that they've chosen for this particular conference?? I mean, if you can't straighten out something that's been made crooked, then how can America make itself straight again?? What am I missing here??

Anyway, about 16 people have indicated on Facebook that they're going to attend the conference. Two of those 16 were listed about as being speakers. In other words, if I were in Orlando, I would rather spend my time attending some Pride event than protesting this event.

Updated on 06/13/19:  Here are some updates on the whole "Make America Straight Again" conference that's scheduled for this weekend. They have mentioned holding it during Pride Month in order to upset the local LGBTQ communities. But it's also been pointed out that Orlando doesn't celebrate Pride in June. But the Pulse Club mass shooting took place nearly three years ago to the day, so the implication is that MASA was scheduled around that date.

Ultimately, the Lake County Sheriff's Office has declined to allow the MASA organizers to hire any of its deputies to serve as security for the conference:
The fact that the timing of this conference coincides with the three-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in nearby Orlando did not go unnoticed by our staff. We felt as though the timing of the conference is in poor taste.
Pastor Patrick Boyle of Revival Baptist Church is upset about the Sheriff Office's decision, saying that they were hoping that a police presence would deter violence. Then again, they were able to hire private security, so I'm not sure why they're too terribly upset.

Pastor Boyle might actually want to look closer to home if he's concerned about deterring violence. Pastor Tommy McMurtry is on record for pointing out that Florida is a "stand your ground" state. In this video, he said that MASA conference attenders should be free to shoot any protesters.

That said, hopefully there won't be any protesters. Don't give them the attention.

Pride Week in Iowa City 2019

We are in the middle of Pride Week 2019 in Iowa City. As you can tell from the attached graphic, there is a week full of fun activities to bring the community together.

The most outwardly visible Pride activity will be in two days during the annual Pride Festival and Parade. It will take place in downtown Iowa City and it's generally well visited by LGBTQ people and allies alike.

Unfortunately for me, the two activities that interested me that most ("Stonewall Uprising" at Filmscene and the Pub Quiz) were both scheduled when I have to be at work.

But I will most likely be at the Pride Festival on Saturday with my little dog Chevy. I've even heard rumors that each of my boys might show up to check out the sights. They're both pretty spontaneous these days so they probably won't decide to go until the moment that it's time to be there.

Anyway, check out Iowa City Pride on their Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts and keep up-to-date with their activities!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Marvel Comics Unveils Ruthless Team of Heroes: Strikeforce!

(Originally written on 06/07/19): Marvel Comics has been teasing this all-new event with the slogan "No Compromise/No Mercy" with an all-new team of ruthless heroes all week. After a week of teasing, we learned that Angela will be heavily featured in the group and we will be joined by Wiccan, Spectrum, Blade, Daimon Hellstrom, and Winter Soldier.

Which makes for an interesting group of mismatched super-heroes.

A final team member will be revealed soon.

Updated on 06/12/19: Marvel Comics revealed more about this new mystery team yesterday. It seems that Wiccan, Blade, Angela, Spectrum, Daimon Hellstrom, and Winter Soldier will be joined by Jessica Drew the original Spider-Woman in a new ongoing title called STRIKEFORCE!

Strikeforce will be the team that "will do things others won't." Basically, it sounds like the Avengers' version of X-Force. But I really like most of the characters and can cope with the one who annoys me.

STRIKEFORCE will featuring writing by Tini Howard and art by German Peralta and it will be published in September 2019!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Man Buys Up All Of The Chicken In A Restaurant After Woman Behind Him In Line Calls Him Fat

There's a great story circulating on social media involving a man who got insulted while waiting in line for some fried chicken -- and how he got his revenge!

Frederico Hill was standing in line at a restaurant waiting to purchase some fried chicken. There was a boy and his mother standing behind him and the boy was very hungry. She finally told the boy that "he can only eat 1 pc, no more than that or you'll end up fat" -- like Hill, who was standing directly in front of them!

Hill quickly asked the cashier if there was any more chicken immediately available and learned that all that was currently available was on display in front of him.

So he bought it all. Hill purchased 15 pieces of chicken -- much more than he'd originally intended to purchase.

He walked away slowly enough to listen in on the mother as she attempted to place an order for children and then get told that it would take 30 minutes before the next batch of chicken would be available for purchase.

Hill then flipped off the scowling mother and went home to binge-eat his 15 pieces of fried chicken!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Nero at Daycare -- 06/04/19

Nero continues to go to doggy daycare regularly and hang out with his various four-legged friends. It was a bit muggy for a change, but he still had fun mugging for the camera!

Check it out:

Monday, June 3, 2019

Johnson County Board of Supervisors Proclaim June 2019 as Pride Month

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors recently voted on a proclamation declaring June to be Pride Month:
JUNE 2019

Whereas, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities across the nation annually celebrate pride in their culture and community in the month of June; and

Whereas, the annual celebration of Pride began as a collective protest for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and communities; and

Whereas, the annual celebration of Pride began as a collective freedom in expressing gender identity; and

Whereas, the national tradition of celebrating Pride in June is a tribute to the Stonewell Riots of June 1969, which are remembered as the launch of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement; and

Whereas, transgender people of color, including Marsha P. Johnson, Silvia Rivera, and Storme DeLarverie, were primary leaders in the Stonewell expression of just treatment for LGBTQ+ people, and often gave their work and lives to the cause; and

Whereas, Johnson County recognizes the many LGBTQ+ lives that continue to be lost each year in pursuit of living out their authentic identities, in particular transgender people of color; and

Whereas, Johnson County welcomes and accepts people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, and is proud to celebrate the contributions and culture of these citizens; and

Whereas, each year, Iowa City Pride brings together thousands of LGBTQ+ people from across Iowa and beyond to celebrate their shared identities and experiences; and

Whereas, Iowa City Pride will celebrate its 49th Annual Pride Festival, and the 50th anniversity of Stonewall June 10-16, 2019.

Now, therefore, be it resolved that we, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, do hereby proclaim the month of June 2019 to be PRIDE MONTH and encourage Johnson County residents to recognize the many contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals and communities have made to our County.
The Pride proclamation was received on May 30, 2019, by members of the Iowa City Pride Committee and the County Employee Diversity and Inclusion Committee.