Friday, August 31, 2012

Is the University of Iowa Ready for a Gay Sorority?

The Daily Iowan reports today that the University of Iowa is assessing support for a new sorority geared towards lesbian, bisexual, and progressive women. The UI already has Delta Lambda Phi (a fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men), but there aren't any gay sororities here. I'm not sure if this would be a totally new sorority or if there is an already existing gay sorority that recently began planting feelers here in Iowa City.

The DI has a poll asking its readership if an LGBT sorority would be a positive for UI Greek Culture. So far, as of 3:00 PM on Friday, August 31st, the results are 50/50 (though no clue how many people have actually voted).

What do you think? Are LGBT fraternities and sororities a good thing? Why or why not? I'd love to know you thoughts.

RNC Delegate Upset Over Mexican Worker at Epcot Center's American Pavilion

RNC delegate from Pennsylvania Mark Harris and his wife were offended during their stop through Disneyworld's Epcot Center this week. They were checking out Epcot's various nationality-themed pavilions and eventually made their way to the park's American pavilion. According to their blog, they got offended because there was a "person from Mexico" working in America. They complained to the management and that was apparently that:


I guess Mr. and Mrs. Harris were upset because he was "Mexican" as opposed to Native American.

The Snyder County PA Republican officer -- from which Harris is a delegate -- quickly made their own perspective known: "Americans are people of any race, color or heritage. Cheers to the individual working at Epcot for showing what a true American looks like." Harris later clarified (in the press, but not on his blog) that the Epcot worker was wearing a "Mexico" name tag.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zach Wahls and his Family on the BBC

The BBC recently spent some time with Zach Wahls, his sister, and their two moms here in Iowa City to "find out what family means to them." Check out this video:


Nero at Daycare -- 08/30/12

It was a bit of a scorcher today in Iowa City, but that didn't stop Nero from romping with his buddies at doggy daycare. Check out the fun!:

"Dark Knight" Shooter Was Denied Admission to University of Iowa Grad Program in 2011

I'm assuming everyone remembers the masked gunman who shot up an Aurora, CO, movie theater last month during the late-night premier showing of "Dark Knight Rises". If so, you will remember that 24-year-old James Holmes was confronted by police outside the theater and gave himself up without incident. Since then, images of his dyed-red hair has appeared all over the media and it's pretty obvious that he is struggling with some sort of mental illness -- though I know there are people who dispute that concept.

Fast foward to today. The local news is all over reports that Holmes applied for and was adamantly denied admittance to the University of Iowa's graduate school where he was trying to study neurology. One of the professors whose job it is to review potential candidates had this to say about Holmes: "Do NOT offer admission under any circumstances." A second professor concurred: "I agree with Dan, do not admit." It was unclear what they saw in Holmes to reject his application, but it's worth noting that he was the only one of the seven applicants whose application was denied.

According to his application, James Holmes' goal was "to increase the efficiency of how human being learn and remember." He wanted to become a cognitive neuroscientist and perform research in that area.

UI spokesman Tom Moore released a statement today that said "The search committee felt that Mr. Holmes would not be a good fit for our program."

In retrospect and for obvious reasons, I'm glad that James Holmes wasn't admitted to the University of Iowa. Among other things, the shoot-out could just as easily occurred at the Sycamore Mall or the Coralridge Mall.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are the SuperTeens Still Super Teens When They're All Grown Up?

Comics Alliance has a cool variant cover to LIFE WITH ARCHIE #26, featuring Pureheart the Powerful and the SuperTeens (AKA Evilheart, Superteen, and Captain Hero). They also do a great job of describing the SuperTeens in the article:
Pureheart the Powerful was the publisher's attempt to capitalize on the super-hero craze that was raging in the mid-60s. Archie, of course, was Pureheart, a super-hero who possessed phenomenal powers as long as his thoughts remained chaste -- which, for noted girl-chaser Archie Andrews, presented quite a problem.

Joining him for these adventures was his nemesis, Evilheart (better known as resident jerk Reggie Mantle), Superteen (Betty Cooper, whose powers were granted by her "magic ponytail" [?!]), and Captain Hero (Jughead, who was mostly concerned with super-eating). Veronica's alter-ego, Miss Vanity, wasn't introduced until the '90s in a comic with an awesome cover by Stuart Immonen, so she gets left out of the classic line-up.
None of these characters will be appearing in the actual LIFE WITH ARCHIE storyline, though it's worth noting that Archie's superheroic adventures took place in the publisher's original LIFE WITH ARCHIE series back in the mid-1960s.

Also, there was one more member of the SuperTeens who debuted in the '90s relaunch: Mighty Moose. Mighty Moose was a super-powered version of Moose Mason and his power was super-strength.

Zach Wahls: The Next Two Years Are Super-Important for Gay Marriage Advocates

(Zach Wahls Speaking in Cedar Rapids Today)
Zach Wahls has been traveling the state of Iowa during the past couples weeks with the help of One Iowa. He has been using this time to talk about why marriage matters for all Iowans -- for straight couples, for gay and lesbian couples, and for our kids. He was in nearby Cedar Rapids earlier today and, according to Iowa City Patch, talked about why the next two years are extremely important for marriage equality advocates here in Iowa:
Why the two-years comment? That’s because if Democrats maintain their majority in the state senate, at the very least they can block a same-sex marriage ballot measure for the next four legislative sessions. Because of Iowa law, if Republicans do pass a ballot measure after the fifth session it wouldn’t appear on the ballot until the fall of 2019. He said if the issue gets rejected that many times, it will be politically unfeasible for Republicans to continue. "If we can make it through that, then there will be some champagne to be had," he said.
Personally, I think Iowa does well with both parties controlling each of the state's legislative bodies. It prevents either side from making too many crazy decisions. It promotes saner compromises. And I think that has been good for Iowa. So I'm totally hoping that the Iowa Democrats retain control of the State Senate. If they take over the House, that's cool too. But I'm okay with both parties sharing power here in the state if it can promote legislative compromise and if it keep my marriage off the ballot.

You can read more about Zach Wahls' visit to Cedar Rapids here.

School Thinks Deaf Boy's Name Is Too Violent

The parents of 3-year-old Hunter Spanjer and the Grand Island Public School District of Grand Island, NE, (about an hour from where I was born, FWIW) are in a dispute over how young Hunter signs his name. Evidently, he signs his name too much like a gun:
Three-and-a-half year old Hunter Spanjer, who is deaf, signs his name by crossing his forefinger and index finger and moving his hand up and down. To his family, friends and those who know the Signing Exact English (S.E.E.) language that the Grand Island, Neb., boy uses, that gesture uniquely means "Hunter Spanjer."

But to Hunter's school district, it might mean something else. The district claims that it violates a rule that forbids anything in the school that looks like a weapon...

And Hunter's parents claim that Grand Island Public Schools administrators have asked them to change their son's sign language name. "Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous," Hunter's grandmother Janet Logue told the TV station. "This is not threatening in any way."
Following initial public outcry over this mess, the school district is denying that they are requiring any student to change how he or she signs their name. They just prefer ASL.

It's unclear to me what the school district really wants from the family. I mean, check out this video of the ASL sign for "Hunting", which I assume would be fairly similar to the ASL sign for "Hunter". That's a shooting symbol, too. So either there's way more to the story or their teachers and/or district staff are really bad at communicating their teaching techniques to Hunter's parents.

People Freaking Out Over Three-Person Civil Union in Brazil

I was over on GCN and someone linked to an article about controversy related to a notary in an area of Brazil who accepted and processed the civil union of one man and two women:
Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues has said the man and two women should be entitled to family rights. She says there is nothing in law to prevent such an arrangement. But the move has angered some religious groups, while one lawyer described it as "absurd and totally illegal".

The three individuals, who have declined to speak to the press, have lived in Rio de Janeiro together for three years and share bills and other expenses. Ms Domingues says they have already opened a joint bank account, which is also not prohibited by any law. According to Globo TV, the union was formalised three months ago, but only became public this week. Nathaniel Santos Batista Junior, a jurist who helped draft the document, said the idea was to protect their rights in case of separation or death of a partner, Globo reports...

"We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything."
"Unfortunately, this will fuel the fire of those who make the slippery slope argument" was the complaint and most people seemed to agree. But I'm left scratching my head. How is polygamy the slippery slope of same-sex marriage? This is how I contributed to the conversation:

(note link)
Polygamy is currently legal in nearly 50 countries -- most of which are in Africa and in the Middle East. Today. Other countries (like the UK and Australia) recognize the legal polygamous marriages from other countries in certain situations even though they don't allow people to enter into polygamous marriages there. Even more countries allow polygamous marriages in certain jurisdictions within their countries.

So how again is the situation in Brazil the slippery slope from gay marriage?

Maybe people should run around saying "There's polygamy in Cameroon and Afghanistan and Mali and Morocco and Syria etc, etc! This must be the extreme retroactive result of gay marriage!"

I'm not saying polygamy is good or bad. I am saying that we cannot allow others to use instances of it to prevent us from legally protecting LGBT families.

(And frankly, the patchwork state-by-state system of gay marriage/domestic partnership/civil union recognition/non-recogniti on that we currently has actually allows polygamy if you really want to discuss slippery slopes here in the USA. But that's a subject to explore in another blog post)

What do you all think? Will polygamy see a resurgence in areas where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry? What might be good about that? What might be bad about that? And what about the religious liberties of those whose religions actually support polygamous marriage?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nuts...

I really don't anticipate posting too much about either the RNC or the DNC, but this story was too good to avoid. CNN confirmed earlier today that someone attending the Republican National Convention was kicked out after s/he began tossing nuts at a black CNN camerawoman. S/he then told the camerawoman "This is how we feed animals".

 
According to CNN:
CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.
I'm sure we will learn more about this story sooner or later. If so, I'll follow up here. And I totally promise to give equal time if/when anything like this happens at the Democratic National Convention.

Man Struck by Car/Killed Trying to Fake Bigfoot Sighting

Ghillie Suit
A man was struck and killed by two different vehicles in northwest Montana after he dressed in a military-style "ghillie" suit and ran onto the highway in an apparent attempt to fake a Bigfoot sighting:
The man was standing in the right-hand lane of U.S. Highway 93 south of Kalispell on Sunday night when he was hit by the first car, according to the Montana Highway Patrol. A second car hit the man as he lay in the roadway, authorities said.

Flathead County officials identified the man as Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell. Trooper Jim Schneider said motives were ascertained during interviews with friends, and alcohol may have been a factor but investigators were awaiting tests.

"He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting," Schneider told the Daily Inter Lake on Monday. "You can't make it up. I haven't seen or heard of anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him."

Ghillie suits are a type of full-body clothing made to resemble heavy foliage and used to camouflage military snipers. "He probably would not have been very easy to see at all," Schneider told KECI-TV.
I guess the moral of this story is that you shouldn't fake Bigfoot sightings -- he'll get sighted when he's ready. The other moral is that you shouldn't linger on a highway at night wearing body camouflage.

Check out this link for my Favorite Five Bigfoots.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Defending the Freedom to Marry

There was a really good event coming out of Des Moines, IA, earlier today discussing why marriage matters and how people can defends fair courts here in Iowa.

Those featured in the virtual town hall meeting included Sharon Malheiro (the Founder and Board Chair of One Iowa), Jim Bennett (the Midwest Regional Director of Lambda Legal), Donna Red Wing (the current Executive Director of One Iowa), and Zach Wahls (Iowa's most famous son of lesbians and author of My Two Moms). The video is slightly over an hour, but well worth the time.

Check it out:


How to be Gay in School

This young gay guy offers up some really great advice for LGBT teens:



Here are some of his sage tips:

1. Don't crush on straight boys -- and don't get all stalker-like if/when you do.

2. Stay away from Grindr -- there are too many guys out there interested in taking advantage of young impressionable guys.

3. Don't obsess about getting a boyfriend -- establish healthy friendship // focus on your education // join school clubs // enjoy your youth.

I ran into problems with tip #1 when I came out in college -- though hopefully wasn't too stalkery with anyone. Grindr wasn't around in the early 90s, but I made a mistake or two with ISCA back when that was the social network system of choice for people. Fortunately, once I came out and got comfortable with myself, I had a lot of fun with my friends and social activities back in college.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why Don't Kids of Gay Parents Deserve Married Parents?

Box Turtle Bulletin posted a video produced by Minnesota Marriage Minute which explains the benefits that children experience when their parents are married to each other:



Kids whose parents are married to each other and in low-stress relationships experience...

*Greater family stability
*Greater physical, mental, & emotional health
*Greater educational performance and opportunities
*They are less likely to live in poverty
*They are less likely to perform criminal behaviors
*They are less likely to experience or witness abuse or domestic violence
*They are ultimately more likely to attain better career opportunities

Why are social conservative groups so motivated to take prevent or take away that same level of stability for the children of gay and lesbian parents? Why are our children less deserving of the benefits and protections of marriage?

Spongebob Squarepants Banned from Ukraine, but Welcomed at the United Church of Christ!

I read recently that Ukraine's National Expert Commission for Protecting Public Morality released a report not too long ago that Spongebob Squarepants is gay and "presents a real threat to children." Spongebob is apparently so subversively gay that he causes children ages 3-5 to "pull faces and make jokes in front of adults they don't know, laugh out loud and repeat nonsense phrases in a brazen manner." Which is totally gay. The Commission is now seeking to ban Spongebob Squarepants and a variety of other cartoons/children's programs from Ukrainian television.

There was a group of people reacting with amazement at this story, but personally I was shocked that it took Ukraine's Commission this long to figure out something that Focus on the Family's James Dobson revealed nearly a decade ago!

Check out this blast from the past via 2005's United Church of Christ News:
The United Church of Christ... said that Jesus' message of extravagant welcome extends to all, including SpongeBob Squarepants - the cartoon character that has come under fire for allegedly holding hands with a starfish. "Absolutely, the UCC extends an unequivocal welcome to SpongeBob," the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president, said, only partly in jest. "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we..."
 
The UCC's welcome comes in the wake of laughable accusations by James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, that the popular SpongeBob and other well-known cartoon characters are crossing "a moral line" by stressing tolerance in a national We Are Family Foundation-sponsored video that will be distributed to U.S. schools on March 11, 2005. Later, an assistant to Dobson called SpongeBob's participation in the video "insidious."
 
Thomas said, on the contrary, it is Dobson who is crossing the moral line for sending the mistaken message that Christians do not value tolerance and diversity as important religious values. "While Dobson's silly accusation makes headlines, it's also one more concrete example of how religion is misused over and over to promote intolerance over inclusion," Thomas said. "This is why we believe it is so important that the UCC speak the Gospel in an accent not often heard in our culture, because far too many experience the cross only as judgment, never as embrace."
I remember that people were very upset with (and within) the United Church of Christ back in 2004 and 2005 for our "God Is Still Speaking" commercials, which had the audacity to proclaim that the UCC welcomes people -- even LGBT people. And I remember hearing folks complain about Thomas issuing the invitation to Spongebob and posting images of that invitation like the one attached to this post.

But I totally agree with what Thomas said at the end of the quoted section. It is extremely important that the UCC puts itself out there to counter messages such as what Dobson said about the We Are Family Foundation -- which promotes respectful cultural diversity -- and to counter the ongoing idea that Christians do not value or tolerate diversity of those who are different than us.

As far as I'm aware, Spongebob never did end up joining the UCC. But I'm pretty sure that we are the only congregation that reached out to him so hopefully when he decides to make that leap to join a faith community, Spongebob Squarepants will choose the United Church of Christ.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gay Marriage in Comics: Archie Versus Marvel

I was having a discussion with "Stuffed Animal" over in the comments section of this post about when Kevin Keller and his new husband Clay Walker were gonna kiss each other. Then when I was at this conference earlier today, I got to thinking about how Marvel Comics and Archie Comics were each treating their newly married gay male couples:


We first see Kevin Keller and Clay Walker at their home in LIFE WITH ARCHIE #21 entertaining Jughead Jones and later Ethel Muggs. Nothing too offensive for the readers at home except for the amount of food that Jughead was shoveling in his mouth -- though that's nothing new. Otherwise, the main gay agenda for that evening was the newlyweds playing matchmakers for Jughead and Ethel.


Compare that to ASTONISHING X-MEN #53, which catches up with Marvel's gay newlyweds post-smoochy-smoochy-time. They're not entertaining friends and clearly not dressed, as evidenced by subsequent panels.

It's nothing profound, but visually interesting how each company first showed each pair of newlyweds at their respective homes post-wedding.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Does Gay Marriage Lead to Abortion?

The UK-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has begun a new campaign promoting "real marriage" and urging British people to urge their legislative representatives to reject marriage equality because "unborn babies are four to five times more likely to be aborted outside of real marriage." Of course, they ignore the fact that unborn babies conceived in same-sex marriages are not aborted nearly 100% of the time.

VICE interviewed a representative from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and noted that abortion rates of countries where marriage equality is legal for five or more years have not seen any increases in abortion rates. The sole exception has been Spain. The SPUC rep said that five years -- and even 11 years in the case of the Netherlands -- isn't enough time to accurately assess the positive effects of marriage equality.

But that doesn't stop groups like SPUC from asserting the supposed negative effects of gay marriage on society in order to scare people from supporting gay families!

Iowa City: Among "America's Best Small Cities"

CNN Money published their annual list of "America's Best Small Cities" and Iowa City made the cut! They had an overall list of 100 communities, in which Iowa City was ranked at #88. On CNN Money's Affordable Housing list, nearby Cedar Rapids scored well with a #4 ranking while Iowa City scored at #21 on the housing list. Johnson County itself came in at #20 out of possible 25 nationwide counties under the heading of "Where the Jobs Are". I guess our job growth rate since 2000 is at 19%.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Looking Into Archie Comics' Future: Will Clay Survive? How Does Kevin Meet George? And What Panty-Liner Does Josie Wear?

I've got lots of little Archie Comics-related tidbits this evening. I was reading Archie Comics' blog last night and saw their November 2012 Solicits and noticed a few interesting things.

First off, I got an answer to the question about whether or not Clay Walker will survive the random act of gun violence that he just suffered in LIFE WITH ARCHIE #22. Here is the solicitation material, as released by Archie Comics:
LIFE WITH ARCHIE #25
Archie Marries Veronica” – After the smashing success of their television debut, Betty and Reggie have a decision to make whether they want to continue down the reality TV path. Are these two primed for the spotlight? Clay recovers from his gunshot wound as husband Kevin contemplates his career shift into politics. As Archie and Veronica start up their new business ventures, things seem to be looking up for the happy couple for the first time in a long while. But does enterprising billionaire Fred Mirth’s expanding reach jeopardize their future?
That's good news for Clay, but really interesting news about Kevin! Could we be preparing for a politicial storyline featuring Kevin VS. Moose?

Meanwhile, we also received a little extra information about George Takei's visit to Riverdale in KEVIN KELLER #6:
KEVIN KELLER #6
By George!” – When the gang gets a school assignment to write about a person who has inspired them, Kevin chooses George Takei, the legendary Star Trek actor who came out several years ago. When Kevin hears that he's at a local convention, he recruits Jughead to go with him, unaware that Mr. Takei, moved by Kevin's article, has made a trip to Riverdale to pay him a visit. Kevin rushes to meet up with his idol, but will he make it in time?
Check out those com-badge insignias. Kevin's and Veronica's (especially Veronica's) are pretty boring, but I love Jughead's crown-shaped com-badge!

Lastly, I saw the following "Josie and the Pussycats" commercial from Boomerang and couldn't wait to pass it on. It's really cute. Enjoy!:


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dan Savage and NOM's Brian Brown Debate Gay Marriage

I have not yet had the opportunity to watch any of this, though you can bet I will later this evening. In the meantime, feel free to watch video of Dan Savage's and Brian Brown's "Dinner Table Debate". Here is the description for this video:
Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, and Dan Savage, writer of the Savage Love column, met at Savage's home in Seattle for dinner and a debate over same-sex marriage and the Bible.
Enjoy!:



Okay, I'm back...

I watched portions of the hour-long Dinner Table Debate. And then I moved on because there wasn't anything new here, especially nothing new coming out of Brian Brown. Here were his arguments:

1. You're wrong, Dan.

2. I'm not a bigot.

3. Gay marriage cannot exist. Married gay couples and our families are apparently rainbow unicorns -- despite the fact that he was sitting in the home of a gay man with his husband and their son.

Brown was unable to indicate actual fallout to heterosexual couples if gays were allowed marriage equality or where gays are actually allowed to get legally married. In fact, he just avoided the question. I believe he was asked four separate times by the moderator and just avoided the question.

Seriously, I couldn't get past the foam and spittle erupting from Brown's mouth. I know that's petty, but it's 100% true.

Updated to Add: There is a wonderful new meme coming out of the Savage/Brown Dinner Table Debate quoting Brown's response to the question about whether or not divorce should be made illegal:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Given a Choice: Rhode Island's Gays Prefer Marriage to Civil Unions!

Several months ago, I shared that gay and lesbian couples from Rhode Island were choosing to travel to nearby states to get legally married instead of staying home at entered into civil unions. At that time -- 9 months after civil unions became the law -- only 53 couples had applied for Rhode Island civil unions. Many more were choosing to spend their time and money in surrounding states to actually get married and then come home and have their marriages recognized by the state of Rhode Island!

Imagine that... Given the choice, gay people choose marriage over marriage-lite. Who'd have thunk it?

Now it's been slightly more than a year since civil unions became law in Rhode Island and gay and lesbian couples are still choosing to gay married outside of the state. In fact, only 68 same-sex couples have gotten civilly unionized during the past year! Rhode Island's legislature plans to vote on a marriage equality bill sometime next year.

Guess Who Gets Shot in LIFE WITH ARCHIE #22?

I finally got LIFE WITH ARCHIE #22 at the store last night, which features a random act of violence towards one of Riverdale's finest. As anticipated, Kevin Keller hunky husband Clay Walker got shot while protecting Reggie Mantle's old boss, Jo Jobanpotra, from a gun-wielding criminal. Though I'm not happy to see Riverdale's new doctor on the wrong end of a bullet, I like how they intertwined the shooting throughout the various story lines. First Kevin gets shots. Later on, we see the police racing past Jughead's burger joint. Then we watch the fire truck and ambulance speed past Nancy and Chuck's comic book store. By this time, news of the shooting is spreading and everyone is texting and e-mailing each other with word of the armed hold-up at Jo's garage. Which leads to the big reveal to poor Kevin at the end of the issue.

Check out Clay's shooter:


They could not have created a more creepy looking gunman unless they had decided to introduce the Crypt-Keeper to this comic book! I'm just saying!

Poor Clay. He has had a terrible time ever since he moved to Riverdale. He bought into the local doctor's office so that Old Doc Barnes could transition into retirement. Unfortunately, most of Dr. Barnes' old patients won't even talk to Clay -- much less have him treat them. It's unclear if they don't like a black doctor or if they don't like a married gay doctor or if they just don't like new people. Either way, it's been a bit jarring as an Archie Comics reader to see Clay's rejection by the people of Riverdale. After all, this is supposed to be one of the nicest places on Earth!

Maybe his new patients will finally like him after he's taken a bullet for Jo. Time will tell...

Meanwhile, we finally learn the story behind Josie and the Pussycats' return to Riverdale in LIFE WITH ARCHIE #24. Ambrose, Jughead, and Archie are two weeks from opening their new nightclub, Chowhouse Too, but apparently they forgot to book a grand opening act. Archie gets a brain wave to invite the Pussycats, who I presume are big-time music stars at this point in the future, judging from some of the early promotional info connected to issue #24. Good thing they aren't too big for Archie to guilt into performing back in their home town!

And if we're really lucky, Josie and the Pussycats will drag along their now-ancient cat Sebastian to watch the concert. That would really make my day!

Nero at Daycare -- 08/21/12

Nero was wiped out when he came home today from doggy daycare. Check out this first pic of him playing and you will understand. Check it out:


Monday, August 20, 2012

Lisa Whelchel (Formerly of "The Facts of Life") To Be On the Next "Survivor" Series

(source)
I am not a fan of "Survivor". I have never watched an episode. But I love "The Facts of Life". I'm obsessed with it. I often watch reruns of the program. I even occasionally dream about attending school with the girls from Eastland -- as recently as a couple months ago!

So it's with some excitement that I recently learned that Lisa Whelchel -- who played snobby Blair on the 80s sitcom -- will be competing on the new Survivor: Philippines series! At first I assumed that this was a celebrity-themed program, but I guess not. It turns out that Whelchel is a huge fan of the reality TV program and was looking forward to new adventures when the last of her children left home for college.

The fortysomething actress is fairly well known for her strong Christian faith. This is what she had to say about being a Christian:
I would love to be able to show a different image of a Christian ... [Many people] think that -- and unfortunately it's well deserved -- Christians are about separating and dividing, and less about accepting and including. I would like viewers to see that with all this diversity in the tribe that I genuinely am interested in and care about people and who they are, where they are."
Nearly two years ago, I wrote an article about tabloid rumors that Whelchel was snubbing former co-star Geri Jewell after the latter woman came out as a lesbian. I quickly learned that I was wrong. According to Jewell, the two women were wonderful friends even though they rarely crossed paths with each other anymore. I wrote a correction and an apology for spreading that false rumor.

I'm not sure if I will end up watching Survivor: Philippines, but I'm much more likely now that Whelchel is on the scene! Good luck!

"Gordon the Giraffe": A Review

I recently had the pleasure of getting an early look at a great new graphic novel called "Gordon the Giraffe". It tells the story Gordon, a young giraffe from the kingdom of Ugladunga who finds himself the target of laughter, teasing, and bullying after it's learned that he prefers other boys to girls. Fortunately, Gordon has a very wise mother who informs her sensitive son that he has a very big heart. "Follow it, my child, and everything will be all right." Shortly afterwards, the other giraffes attempt a particularly nasty trick on Gordon, which backfires and almost costs them their lives. Fortunately for them, Gordon performs an act of heroism which saves his would-be bullies and shocks them into realizing that we are all meant to love and show love to each other... even those who are different.

"Gordon the Giraffe" is written by Bruce Brown, beautifully illustrated by A. Shelton, and published by Arcana Comics. The book's creator believes that this is the first book in comic history that was made solely for gay parents to read to their children. I read a recent interview with Bruce Brown by San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about where he received the motivation to create "Gordon the Giraffe":
SDGLN: How did your brother come to inspire you to write a children's book about tolerance?

Bruce Brown: My brother was diagnosed with HIV and as he started to decline in health, he spoke to me about doing something with my books other than entertain. He asked me before he passed away to do a book that would do just that. As an all children’s graphic novelist it seemed natural to do a book for children. My brother had always wanted the right to marry and even adopt a child and start a family. So, from that desire of my brother, "Gordon The Giraffe" arose.

SDGLN: Were you ever bullied as a child or were you made to feel like you were different than others?

Bruce Brown: No, I wasn’t really bullied as a child. The bullying factor came from experiences my brother told me, he had, as a gay man. He had spoken of times when he was harassed and even feared for his safety at times because he was gay. So, I wanted to incorporate that into the book.
Bruce explained further that "Gordon the Giraffe" is specifically targeted towards gay parents like myself to read to our children. However, there is nothing about Gordon's story that could not just as easily reach out to the children of non-gay parents. "Gordon the Giraffe" teaches tolerance towards those who are different. And truthfully, who doesn't feel different at one time or another?

My concern is that those who might benefit greatly from the message within the story (i.e., the real life giraffes who taunt children like Gordon -- as well as the parents who might reinforce the need to treat other children well) probably won't read this book. Or they will get too upset to finish the book once they catch sight of Gordon playing Mulunga Doo with his friend Gary.

On the other hand, "Gordon the Giraffe" is a wonderful tool for the children of gay parents (as well as gay-affirming and tolerance-teaching parents) to bond together over the commonality of their unique households. And that's not a terrible thing.

Regina High School Victim of Bomb Hoax

There was some unfun excitement not too far from my home this morning. Somebody called Regina High School, the local Catholic high school, and threatened to "blow up the school." The students were evacuated to a nearby church, classes were eventually canceled, and bomb-sniffing dogs were called in to save the day. Fortunately, there were no bombs on the property.

Parents received the following email messages from the president and CEO of Regina Catholic Education Center, Lee Iben:
From: "Lee Iben"
To: [Private]
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 7:28:22 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Emergency Bomb Threat


Regina has received a bomb threat. All students, faculty, and staff have been evacuated to our safe zone.

Everyone is safe and off campus. At this time we are working with the authorities to determine if classes will resume. I will notify you as soon as I know more.

Lee Iben

------------

From: "Lee Iben"
To: [Private]
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 7:57:17 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: classes cancelled



The decision has been made to cancel classes for today. Please refer to constant contact for pick up instructions:
K-12 at First Presbyterian Church on Rochester Avenue.
Preschool students are at Midwest One Bank on Rochester and First Avenue.


Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

------------

From: "Regina Administration"
To: [Private]
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 8:10:32 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Immediate Notice of School Cancellation


REGINA CATHOLIC EDUCATION CENTER

Immediate NOTICE of school cancellation

Dear Regina Families,

We have had to evacuate our school. We have put in place our emergency planning. All students are safe.

At this time we ask your patience and cooperation as we begin to dismiss students to their parent/guardian as school has been canceled for the remainder of the day.

We will dismiss in an orderly fashion:

Students K-12 are at the First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Ave.

We ask that parents who have last names A-L, come to pick up their children beginning at 10:15. Please enter the driveway at the north entrance from Mt. Vernon Drive and depart from the south.

Parents with last names M-Z should begin pick up 10:45.

A-L 10:15

M-Z 10:45

DO NOT COME TO THE DOORS, students will be brought to the cars.

Preschoolers are at Midwest One Bank at the corner of First Avenue and Rochester. Pick up for them will also begin at 10:15.

Again, thank you for your patience and cooperation to make this pick up go smoothly. At this time, information has not been shared with the students, please remain calm as we have tried to keep the students calm.

Administration of Regina
I will admit that my first fear was that some crazy LGBT person issued the bomb threat. So far, the newspaper comments have avoided that possibility -- instead questioning whether or not it was a stupid kid. There have also been complaints that the whereabouts of the children were published by the newspapers.

"Officer-Involved Shooting" at Iowa City's Breckenridge Estates // Update: DPS Press Release Below // Further Updated to Discuss Last Night's Stand-Off // Further Updated: 3rd Suspect Now in Custody

(source)
(Originally written on 08/16/12): KCJJ and the Iowa City Press-Citizen are both reporting that there was an "officer-involved shooting" here in Iowa City tonight. The Press-Citizen writes:
A shooting was reported Thursday night at Breckenridge Estates, 4494 Taft Ave. in Iowa City. There has been one confirmed death. Officials from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are en route to the area to investigate an officer-involved shooting, said DCI spokeswoman Jessica Lown.
KCJJ reports on Facebook that it appears to be a "drug raid gone awry," but that no officers were injured.

I will post more information as I learn more.

Updated on 08/17/12: The Iowa Department of Public Safety issued an initial press release about last night's "officer-involved shooting" at Breckenridge Estates. It reads:
This evening, Thursday, August 16, 2012 two members of the Johnson County Drug Task Force were involved in a shooting incident in Iowa City, Iowa.
 
At approximately 7:00 PM, two state agents with the Division of Narcotics Enforcement (DNE) who are assigned to the task force were conducting undercover operations at Trailer 7C of the Breckenridge Trailer Court in Iowa City. During the course of the operation an altercation ensued and shots were fired. As a result of the incident one person is confirmed dead. A second suspect is being treated at an area hospital. The two DNE agents involved were un-injured.    
At this time, names of the suspects and the officers are being withheld pending family notification and further investigation. 
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Johnson County Attorney are actively investigating the officer involved shooting. Also assisting are the Iowa City Police Department, University Heights Police Department, University of Iowa Police Department, Coralville Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, and Johnson County Ambulance.
KCJJ's Twitter account reports that the first 911 call related to this incident reported "cars driving fast" and "possible gunshots" just after 7:00 PM last night.

Further Updated on 08/18/12: I just got from a two-day UCC Iowa Conference seminar on "Fundraising and Faith" so I was aware of these latest updates, but lacked the resources to update the blog to include them.

Here are the highlights of what has transpired here in Iowa City over the past few days. According to police, two undercover officers went to Trailer 7C at Breckenridge Estates with a lot of cash to purchase drugs. During the transaction, two other men -- one with a gun and a second with a club -- came out unexpectedly from another room and threatened the undercover officers. A shoot-out erupted, which led to the dead of Ivan Hardemon and the shooting/hospitalization of Demarco Dudley.

What wasn't initially reported to the public was that two other men escaped and were being sought by the police. Those men are suspected to be Norman Dudley and John Mulbah. Late yesterday afternoon, dozens of officers surrounded Mulbah's apartment building for hours. Police eventually fired tear gas into one of his apartment windows and Mulbah was eventually arrested. Norman Dudley is still at large, though police continue to look out for him.

The two state narcotics officers who were involved with the shooting are currently on paid administrative leave.

Check out this link for more details.

Further Updated on 08/20/12: Here is one for those like me who sometimes just want to complete the story. I learned this morning that the final suspect in last Thursday's officer-related shooting turned himself into the Johnson County Jail late last night. Norman Dudley had a warrant issued for his arrest on a controlled substance violation. His brother Demarco Dudley was injured during Thursday night's shoot-out, arrested the next day, and charged with first-degree robbery. John Mulbah was arrested at his apartment this past Friday the 17th following a four-hour standoff with the police and charged with a controlled substance violation. You can read more of the details here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Former Michigan Prosecutor Found Guilty of Defamation Against College Student // Must Cough Up $4.5 Million

I am actually surprised that I never wrote anything about the whole situation between Chris Armstrong and Andrew Shirvell. A couple years back, Armstrong became the first openly gay student to become elected as student body president of the University of Michigan. At the time, Shirvell was the assistant attorney general of the State of Michigan, but he also was an alumni of the University of Michigan.

For whatever reason, Shirvell appeared to become obsessed with taking down Armstrong. He created a now-defunct blog that was specifically targeted towards destroying Armstrong's personal and political life. He posted pictures of Armstrong with rainbow swastika images on his face. He was take pictures outside of Armstrong's home of his guests and friends and accused the former class president of supplying minors with alcohol and converting others into homosexuality. He blogged that Armstrong hosted gay orgies and that he had sex in churches and playgrounds. Basically, Shirvell stalked Armstrong so badly that he eventually got fired from his job at the Michigan attorney general's office:
Shirvell was fired from his job in the attorney general's office in 2010 after targeting the student leader online and in person -- then lying about his actions to investigators, state Attorney General Mike Cox said at the time. Shirvell "repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources," Cox said, referring to Shirvell's activities during his work day.
Armstrong eventually filed a defamation lawsuit against Shirvell, seeking $25,000. Multiple sources claim that he would have dropped the lawsuit if Shirvell would publicly apologize and retract the libelous blog materials. Shirvell refused to apologize, claiming in court that his blog was constitutionally protected free speech.

In the end, Armstrong won his case and Shirvell lost his. Big time. The jury awarded Armstrong a $4.5 million judgement.

Shirvell plans to appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. He is currently unemployed and has no way to pay this judgement. On top of that, I read somewhere that Armstrong filed a complaint with the State bar to have Shirvell's license to practice law revoked (though I have no idea if this was successful or is in process or even how accurate that bit is). Either way, it will be exceptionally difficult for Armstrong to collect his award.

My hunch is that the award will eventually get modified and reduced. I hope that the verdict itself stands because Shirvell's behavior against Armstrong was pretty outrageous. But it seems fair that the cash award be reduced to an amount much closer to what Armstrong was originally seeking.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Poll #5 Results: English Village Or Wild West Ghost Town: Which Would You Purchase? You Voted for... The English Village!!!

Last week, I started a new poll asking you to imagine that you won a multi-million dollar lottery and was in the market for a unique new home to purchase with your new found mega-wealth. I had recently learned of two unique properties that recently went on the market that range from $2.75-$4 million and both sounded like exciting purchase items to me. I wanted to know what you would rather purchase.

I offered two different options to vote for: Blenkinsopp Castle (along with 22-acres that include a manor house, a village with 70 tenants, and a pub) for a measly $2,740,000 or a ghost town called Woodside, UT (706 acres of property, along with the entire town, a couple small businesses, and two free-ranging llamas) for a measly $4,000,000! Here are how the votes emerged:

(source)

The English Village: 5 votes
The Wild West Ghost Town: 2 votes

And the winning vote was awarded to... The English Village of Blenkinsopp Castle!!!

Husband Mark says that he wouldn't be surprised if American voters chose the English Village while English voters chose the American Ghost Town. What are your thoughts?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Nero at Daycare -- 08/15/12

Here is one more pic of Nero from doggy daycare. Check it out!:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scooby-Doo to Team Up With the WWE Superstars in New Animated Film

Nearly two years ago, I explored the concept of a "New New Scooby-Doo Movies" cartoon series and came up with a series of celebrity team-ups. The list was assembled with the spirit of the 1970s cartoon series that regularly introduced Scooby and his friends to Hollywood stars like Cass Elliot, Don Knotts, and Jerry Reed. Looking back at the list, I am thinking that my "season one" line-up might need some fine-tuning. Feel free to visit this link and add your own suggestions.


Anyway, I was poking around the Internet and learned plans for a new animated film that will match Scooby, Shaggy, and the others with a whole assortment of WWE professional wrestling personalities:
The Scooby-Doo, WWE collaboration will be an animated feature. Warner Bros. is the studio behind the project, and The Playlist offers the following plot summary: "When Shaggy and Scooby win tickets to WrestleMania, the entire gang travels in the Mystery Machine to WWE City to attend the epic event. However, when a mysterious ghostly bear appears and threatens to ruin the show, Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred work with WWE Superstars to solve the case." Deadline.com reports the following WWE talent is on board: Triple H, John Cena, Kane, The Miz, Brodus Clay, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, AJ and WWE CEO Vince McMahon.
For whatever reason, The Huffinton Post decided that this story is part of their "Weird News". They described this movie idea as "bizarre" and "odd". I guess they aren't alone. Am I the only one who has repeatedly watched the Harlem Globetrotters multiple team-ups with Scooby-Doo? Him meeting the Miz hardly seems weird to me at all.

No word yet when this movie will air.

Lisa Miller/Janet Jenkins Update: Kidnapping Conviction Plus Jenkins Files RICO Lawsuit Against Kidnapping Conspirators

I have written about the sad story of Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins and their never-ending child custody/parental kidnapping case numerous times. There were a couple major updates to this story while I was away.

First, Kenneth Miller -- a Mennonite pastor who was accused of assisting with the international kidnapping of Miller's and Jenkins' daughter Isabella -- was found guilty early this week of abetting international kidnapping and now faces up to three years in federal prison. Kenneth Miller (unrelated to Lisa Miller) argued that he did not realize that he was defying any court orders when he assisted Lisa Miller with slipping out of the country using assumed identities. He is considering whether or not to appeal this conviction.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has since suggested that Kenneth Miller flee the country to avoid prison. I heard on the radio yesterday that a handful of church members have volunteered to serve portions of his sentence -- which is not an option.

Lastly (and definitely more kick-ass), Janet Jenkins filed a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against a whole assortment of groups and individuals -- including Lisa Miller, Kenneth Miller, Timo Miller (no relation to either of the other Millers), Andrew Yoder, Chistian AID Ministries Inc., Response Unlimited Inc., Phillip Zodhiates, Victoria Hyden (FKA Victoria Zodhiates), Liberty University School of Law and Thomas Road Baptist Church, Linda M. Wall, and Douglas Wright -- for collective conspiring to illegally transport Lisa and Isabella Miller to Nicaragua in order to avoid the custody transfer to Jenkins. You can read the PDF of the lawsuit here. Box Turtle Bulletin does an excellent job of highlighting the allegations here. Jenkins is seeking an immediate return of Isabella to the United States, as well as actual and punitive damages.

It's terrible that it has come to this, but it's way overdue.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zach Wahls Speaking Tour Through Iowa // Discussing Why Marriage Equality Matters

Zach Wahls launched his tour of Iowa earlier this evening in Council Bluffs, IA. He is working with One Iowa to meet with fellow Iowans to discuss why marriage equality matter. He will be visiting all of the major Iowa communities (except Iowa City) through the rest of this month. Check out this link to see when and where Zach is coming to your town (or nearby town).

Zach's 2011 testimony against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in front of the Iowa legislature made him an Internet sensation. On that evening, he spoke glowingly about being the son of two mothers. He wrote My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, And What Makes A Family, which is a really good book about the life lessons he learned from his mothers, as well as the struggles he encountered when his birth mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. According to the One Iowa website, Zach spend the next few weeks discussing his story and the story of his family and others like it and why marriage equality is important for Iowa's gay and lesbian families.

Check out this video of Zach as he launched his tour in Council Bluffs, IA:


While you are at it, check out the three minute video that made Zach famous:


Nero at Daycare -- 08/14/12... Plus I'm Back from Vacation!

I took a much needed trip to Chicago this past weekend with the family. Lots of stuff happened while we were away. I'm not sure if I will catch up with the stuff I missed, but I definitely have several topics to choose from today. First, however, I have some last minute back-to-school items to purchase with one of the boys, so any additional blogging will need to wait until after supper.

In the meantime, Nero has been having a ball all week at doggy daycare... Though it's great to have him back! Check it out!:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fun With KEVIN KELLER #4

I finally caught up with this week's comic books, including KEVIN KELLER #4. It is an Olympics-themed issue, telling the story of how Riverdale's favorite gay teen got roped into carrying the torch at the Olympics in London! I wanted to share some of my favorite things about this comic book:


Veronica Lodge is obsessed with Kevin Keller. Ever since his first appearance, she has harbored a major crush on him -- which seems so totally anti-Veronica to me. I mean, I get that she has put up with Archie Andrews' nuttiness for 70 long years. But she always seemed in control there. Either she is jerking Archie's chain or she's doing her best to one-up Betty Cooper. But she always seems so clingy and over-the-top whenever she is around Kevin. And who else but Veronica Lodge would invite herself onto her gay best friend's family vacation to London?

Speaking of over the top, check out Veronica's outfit here:


I love this gaudy outfit that Veronica chose to wear to the torch-run. Notice that she manages to knock out the Olympics torch. That's only the beginning of the trouble that she inadvertently causes for Kevin during his once-in-a-lifetime Olympics torch run!

Now check this out:


That's right. You can submit fashion ideas for Kevin Keller in his comic book, which they may publish. I know they don't do fashion spreads in LIFE WITH ARCHIE. I am assuming that they don't in ARCHIE, JUGHEAD, or SONIC. But they do publish fashion spreads in Betty and Veronica's book, plus they have historically included them over the years in ARCHIE COMICS' other female-centered comics like KATHY KEENE.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pat Robertson: I Defy Gay Men to Give Birth

700 Club's Pat Robertson said that he will back off from homosexuals once we manage to "bring forth a baby from that part of the anatomy which they concentrate on." I'm assuming he's talking about gay men, since gay women have managed to perform vaginal births for quite a long time. You can listen to him here:


It’s a chicken sandwich, it’s a piece of white meat chicken between two pieces of white bread, it’s also a milkshake, now we’re going to go have demonstrations over that? But you know something, I was reading today in Leviticus, which is the law of the Old Testament, but it lays out the reasons why land will vomit out its inhabitants and it goes through a category of stuff we are calling Constitutional rights: killing babies, offering them to Moloch, and it says it is an abomination for a man to lie with a man as with a woman. It’s what it says. That is the moral law that God set forth and now we’ve got people at a university petitioning because somebody said I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I defy these homosexuals to bring forth a baby from that part of the anatomy which they concentrate on, when that happens I will change everything I’m saying; until that happens, I wish those demonstrators would shut their mouth.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Riverdale Gets Occupied

I finally read ARCHIE #635 last night, which is the "Occupy Riverdale" storyline. Andy Martinez, the son of Riverdale's Mayor, helps lead Riverdale's 99% in a protest against Riverdale's 1%. So basically, it's Veronica Lodge, Mr. Lodge, and Reggie Mantle against pretty much everyone else -- as well as Archie himself who's on the fence. Occupy Riverdale turns out to be a lot more like Occupy Iowa City than Occupy Wall Street, but it's still a pretty good issue. I particularly appreciated Kevin Keller's speech at the end about Riverdale being a safe community for everyone -- not for the 1% and not for the 99%, but for the 100%.

Ultimately, I think "Occupy Riverdale" does a good job of exploring the whole Occupy Movement in this book, while remaining retaining the lighter edge of Archie Comics.

Iowa City Man Accused of Smashing Woman's Anti-Abortion Sign // Updated to Include Video Following the Incident

(Kapp Following Incident)
(Originally written on 08/09/12): William Kapp of Iowa City has been charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief -- a serious misdemeanor charge -- after allegedly smashing a graphic anti-abortion sign yesterday morning at one of our busier intersections. According to the Iowa City Patch, police were called to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Highway 6 to follow up on a complaint. According to the criminal complaint, Kapp approached a woman, grabbed a graphic anti-abortion sign from her hands, and smashed it into bits. According to the news, Kapp admitted to smashing the sign, but did it because he found it too "horrific" and "obscene" to be seen by passing motorists and their children. According to police reports, the damaged sign was worth more than $200.

A commenter on Iowa City Patch's Facebook page noted:
I can completely understand his reaction. I have to avoid that whole intersection EVERY Wednesday, because I don't want my living son to be traumatized by pictures of dead unborn babies. These people aren't even willing to turn the signs around when parents politely ask when they have the misfortune of getting stuck at the red light. It's been an unfortunate situation in the making for a long time.
By the way, if you want to see what this $200 sign looks like (though I doubt the protester in this picture is Kapp himself), check out this clip:



I must not be getting out of my office as much as I thought. I go through this intersection often. It's right next to my chiropractor. Any time I come or go from the city, I go through here. I pass through here when I have staff meetings with certain providers. I often see panhandlers. I have NEVER seen anti-abortion protesters there. Though I guess they are there every Wednesday morning, according to the Facebook commenter.

Keep in mind that there is no abortion provider at this intersection (though there is one somewhat close to this four-way stop light). Instead, they are protesting directly outside the Village Inn restaurant. I'm sure their customers enjoy this weekly protest.

Updated on 08/10/12: Iowa City Patch has an update on this story today, including nearly 12 minutes of video footage immediately after the sign was destroyed and while the cops were being called. Unlike the above video clip, the vid from yesterday is much closer to the Planner Parenthood office -- right next to the KFC restaurant. Check out the video of the "Left Wing Extremist Errorist" immediately below:



The description under the clip reads:
77 year old Donna Holman was holding a picture of an aborted baby near the abortion clinic. A 25 year old man grabbed her sign and ran. She ran after him yelling "Thief! Thief!" He proceeded to destroy her sign when her husband came to her aid and subdued him. This 9 minute video shows the arrogant punk's bragging about his evil deed and his subsequent arrest.
Before this story errupted, I wasn't aware that Iowa City had a Planned Parenthood Clinic. I knew of another clinic, but not this one. It is amazing how you can drive by a place over and over and never notice.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The American Family Association Promotes "Underground Railroad" (Kidnapping) of Children from Gay Households // UPDATED Tweet Below!

(Originally written on 08/08/12): American Family Association's Bryan Fischer began tweeting last night that the Christian community should create an "Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households". One was in reference to the Lisa Miller/Janet Jenkins child custody/parental kidnapping case. The other was in reference to a guy who blamed all of his social problems on his lesbian moms (though it appears his mother's partner didn't begin raising him until after he'd turned 19). After widespread condemnation -- mostly from gay and gay-friendly bloggers -- about Fischer pro-kidnapping tweets, he doubled-down on the idea -- particularly focusing on Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins.

You may or may not remember that Jenkins and Miller were in a civil union and went through the process of becoming parents of a baby named Isabella. A year or so later, they broke up. A visitation agreement was arranged as well as a child support schedule for Jenkins to pay to Miller. Miller eventually moved from Vermont to Virginia and began using that state's anti-gay court system to cut Jenkins out of Isabella's life. Miller joined a conservative Christian church and declared herself ex-gay. She sabotaged most visit attempts and later claimed that Jenkins sexually abused their daughter -- though that was an unfounded accusation. After years of denying Jenkins access to her daughter, the courts grew tired of Miller's contempt and switched primary custody to Jenkins. Miller would still have access to Isabella. However, Miller ran off to Nicaragua with Isabella (leaving the family pets home alone to slowly starve to death) and they have been missing ever since.

Let's be clear. Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins created a family together. They got civilly unionized. They raised their daughter together for the first year or so of their lives. They broke up and made plans to continue Jenkins' parental relationship with Isabella. Miller created the mess that she is in. She began jurisdiction-shopping in hopes of using presumed heterosexist courts to chop Jenkins out of their lives. She repeatedly denied visitations even when she knew that she was jeopardizing her custody status. She fled the country when her actions turned against her and now she is in exile with her daughter and facing felony kidnapping charges.

I keep seeing crap coming from groups like the AFA and I wonder when anyone in power will speak up. Bryan Fischer isn't some lone voice. It's not like groups like the AFA or Focus on the Family or NOM are without financial or political backers. A couple months ago, he was saying that it is child abuse for gays to adopt children. Today, he is advocating the creation of an Underground Railroad to liberate our kids from us. He is advocating kidnapping!

Can you imagine any other situation where it would be acceptable for a prominent religious figure -- someone who holds enough sway to make the presumptive GOP presidential candidate tuck away his foreign policy advisor because he is a gay man -- to advocate for the creation of a movement aimed at kidnapping the children of any group of people? Absolutely not. But this is the bile that gay and lesbian parents get to listen to over and over on the public airwaves. How long before some lunatic responds to Fischer's rants to kidnaps the child of a lesbian mom or a pair of gay dads?

Updated on 08/09/12: This is just scary:

Totally unrepentent. Not cool at all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

US Supreme Court Refuses to Halt Unconstitutional Execution of Mentally Retarded Man

Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court issued the following two-sentence statement:
The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Scalia and by him referred to the Court is denied. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
In other words, they refused to halt the execution of Marvin Wilson, a mentally retarded man from Texas. Wilson had a full-scale IQ of 61. He was executed earlier this evening, despite the fact that it is unconstitutional to execute those with mental retardation.