Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ms. Lion at Work -- 10/31/12

Johnson County MH/DS challenged the Johnson County Health Department to a Costume Contest. Employees showed up in costume during our lunch hour and two of the Board members chose the best of the Best! We had some really great costumes, including a bunch of produce, a couple trolls, a guitar-player, a carton of milk, and a bag lady.

I didn't win first prize, but I did win second prize with the help of a little friend! That's right! Ms. Lion, my little pekepoo, visited work with me for a couple hours and helped out with my Halloween Costume!

After the contest, those of us wearing costumes lined up and marched through the two buildings wishing everyone else a Happy Halloween.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ghost House in Villisca, IA!!!

I'm not sure how much time I will have tomorrow to post material on the blog, but I wanted to celebrate Halloween by recognizing one of Iowa's more famous haunted house: The Murder House of Villisca, IA. Back in 1912, a family and several young guests were axe-murdered in their home. The identity of this murderer has never been determined. Now the house is infamous for both its murderous history as well as for its ghostly reputation.

Check out this really cool documentary -- "Villisca: A Haunting in Iowa". It will hopefully get you in the mood for Halloween:



Happy Halloween!

Disney Buys Lucasfilm for $4.05 Billion -- Bring Back the Space Bunnies!

It was announced earlier today that the Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilms for $4.05 billion. The next Star Wars film will be released in 2015 and new movies will follow every 2-3 years. The STAR WARS comic books will remain with Dark Horse for "the near future", which suggests that things could stay the same for a while but that things like change -- like Marvel Comics might take over the comic book work in the future!!! I loved Star Wars as a kid and Marvel's STAR WARS comic book was wrapping up when I first started reading Marvel comic books. I never got into the Dark Horse material even though I've heard great stuff about it. But the later Marvel stuff holds a special nostalgia spot in my heart.


And if Marvel Comics takes over, I really want them to bring back the space bunnies! The Marvel run of STAR WARS had some really cool (to me) space bunnies. The first was a bounty hunter named Jaxxon who last just a short time. He was tall and green and surly. The next batch of bunnies were these little telepathic bunnies called Hoojibs. They stuck around towards the end. I thought they were really cute, but I also liked the idea of non-humanoid rebel fighters fighting alongside Luke, Leia, and the others. It's possible that other nostalgia buffs have brought back both Jaxxon and/or the Hoojibs, but I kind of doubt it. In other words, this Disney acquisition might be just the thing to bring back my favorite space bunnies!

Wonder If My Insurance Covers "Archie Therapy"?

(source)
I ran across this interview with Nancy Silberkleit, Co-CEO of Archie Comics Publications, and learned of a new therapeutic treatment process known as "Archie Therapy":
Nancy Silberkleit, daughter-inlaw of Louis H. Silberkleit, one of the founders of Archie Comic Publications, has always believed that comic books and graphic novels are valuable tools for developing literacy among first-time readers. They also instill a love for reading from an early age. After she stepped into her role as Co-CEO of the company in 2009 — after the demise of her husband — her personal motto was: Children + Comic Books = Reading, knowledge and confidence.

"Reading Archie Comics for 30 minutes is what I like to call 'Archie Therapy'. They are light-hearted, humorous stories that have appealed to readers for generations. They are stress busting pills — fun and light," she says. Created in 1941, Archie or Archibald Andrews from Riverdale High School, has become one of the most loved lead comic characters in the world. The series has a solid storytelling formula based on laughter and friendship.
I have to agree with Silberkleit. My various Archie Comics never fail to make me chuckle. Something tells me, though, that I might get in trouble if I try sending receipts for my comic books to my flex medical spending account!

You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Justice Wiggins Speaks Out for Non-Politicized Judiciary

In what's becoming a daily series of articles, the Gazette posted an article about Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins and his upcoming retention vote. This particular article focuses on Wiggins himself and a speaking engagement at Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist in Cedar Rapids, IA, this past weekend. This is what he had to say about the role of the judicial court:
Wiggins emphasized that the role of the judiciary is to interpret state laws and the Iowa Constitution, ensuring that people’s constitutional rights are upheld. That includes the right to equal protection under the law, which was the cornerstone of court’s marriage decision. “The judicial branch does not have an agenda,” he said. “We do not go out and find cases we want to hear. We don’t find issues we want to decide. That’s not our role.”

Wiggins said justices have two jobs: to interpret the laws passed by the Legislature, and to make sure the Legislature doesn’t pass any laws that would violate a guaranteed constitutional right. He emphasized that justices do not make policy, and they don’t allow personal opinions to sway their decisions.

“When we interpret laws passed by the Legislature, people have a misconception of what we do,” Wiggins said. “We don’t sit there and say, ‘This is what the law should be.’ We don’t take the words of the Legislature and morph them into what the law should be under our own personal view.
“The number one rule in deciding what a statute means is to figure out what the legal intent was when (legislators) passed the law.”
I voted to retain Justice Wiggins and strongly encourage you to vote to retain him also. Don't let out-of-state interests politicize and destroy Iowa's judiciary.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Nero at Daycare -- 10/25/12

It was a rainy day yesterday, but Nero still needed to stretch his legs and play with some of his friends. Check it out:

Romney Protested by Romneys in Ames, IA

Mitt Romney was in Ames, IA, earlier today. It was pretty much your typical political stump speech. What snagged my attention were his protesters. Mitt Romney was protested today by... Mitt Romneys!:
Outside the entrance to the Romney rally, Obama supporters wearing masks of “Mitt Romneys from the past” waved signs “to protest whichever current version of Mitt Romney decides to show up.” Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa, said the company that hosted the GOP presidential candidate had received federal stimulus funds, “undercutting his entire economic argument.”
Ames Patch had announced this protest yesterday and explained the reasoning behind the multiple Mitts:
During the course of this campaign, there’s no one Mitt Romney has disagreed with more than Mitt Romney,” Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa said in a prepared statement. “All of Mitt Romney’s past versions of himself have been denied a voice by his campaign; tomorrow in Ames they will be free to say what they think -- whatever gets them the most votes.”
Unfortunately, I haven't been able yet to find images of the multiple Mitts. But rest assured, I will do my best to pass them on.

Updated: As promised, I kept my eyes out for pics of the multiple Mitts. Here are a couple good ones. Enjoy!:

(source)

(source)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kevin Keller's Getting a Boyfriend?

Archie Comics released two different variant covers to KEVIN KELLER #7, which promised to offer Kevin a little romance (which I thought we already saw in issue #5). But this is what Kevin's creator Dan Parent had to say about that during the recent New York Comic Con:
"The teenage Kevin is going to start dating in 2013," Parent teased at New York Comic-Con 2012. "Kevin's not going to be a bad boy, but we're going to maybe be seeing him dating someone who is a bad boy."
This is how Archie Comics describes the storyline behind Issue #7:
"Decisions, Decisions!" – Where's Kevin? Archie and the gang haven't seen him in a while and begin to wonder what their pal is up to. Must be school obligations and work, right? Nosy BFF Veronica is determined to get to the bottom of his absence and spots him with a new friend. However, Kevin seems distant about his new friendship and when his parents inquire, Kevin is reluctant to share. Is this just a friend? Has Kevin found a boyfriend? Has Veronica finally driven him up a wall? Find out in this issue!
Personally, I think it would be neat if Kevin found himself in a love triangle similar to Archie, Betty, and Veronica. But which of those three Archie Comics icons would Kevin represent in that triad? I'm thinking Betty.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Poll Suggests that Justice David Wiggins Will Lose Retention Vote

I read today in the Gazette (and confirmed the results here) that things are not looking good for Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins and his retention vote. According to Public Policy Polling, 37% of Iowa's voters would vote to retain Justice Wiggins if they voted today, 43% would vote against retaining him, and 20% still are not sure. Justice Wiggins needs at least 50% of the vote to retain his spot on the Iowa Supreme Court.

The PPP poll also indicated that 65% of Republicans plan to vote against Justice Wiggins while 59% of Democratic voters plan to retain him.

Greg Baker of Iowans for Freedom (that anti-Wiggins group consisting of three out-of-state organizations) was crowing about these polling results:
“Iowans for Freedom couldn’t be more pleased with these results,” Iowans for Freedom Executive Director Greg Baker said. “Since the last polling data on this race, we’ve had the opportunity to travel across Iowa and the message is resonating with Iowa voters. We were never ahead in the polls in the 2010 retention race, so this lead with two weeks to go is outstanding news.”
I voted to retain Justice Wiggins and strongly encourage you to vote to retain him also. Don't let out-of-state interests politicize and destroy Iowa's judiciary.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Jersey and Arizona Residents Running for Iowa Congregational Seats

I have complained in the past about groups like the National Organization for Marriage or CitizenLink spending hundreds of thousands of out-of-state dollars in Iowa -- not to mention bringing non-Iowa political operatives like Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal here -- in order to re-shape Iowa's courts and nullify my marriage and the marriages of thousands of other gay and lesbian Iowans. But this Gazette article really takes the cake.

It looks like anti-abortion/pro-life activists from other states are running for two separate congregational races here in Iowa. George Todd Krail II is a carpenter and general contractor who lives in Mount Holly, NJ, who decided to run for Congress in Iowa's 1st District. Keep in mind that Krail does not live in Iowa District One, nor has he ever stepped foot in Iowa. But he thinks he would make a good congressman here.

Meanwhile, Alan Aversa is a resident of Tuscon, AZ, but he's decided to run for Congress in Iowa's 2nd District. If you look up his campaign website, he doesn't even hide where he resides. I doubt Aversa has a chance, but it's crazy to think that someone who isn't invested in this district -- MY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT -- theoretically could become my congressman.


Neither candidate was nominated by a political party. Instead, a group of pro-life activists here in Iowa gathered enough signatures in enough Iowa counties to get them on the ballot. Their only way of campaigning is the airing of graphic anti-abortion television advertisements late at night. Of course, they're in stations close enough to the border of other states so that the ads will show in those states too.

While these guys are allowed to campaign here in Iowa, their campaigns are pretty much pointless (assuming they win) if they aren't legal residents by the time of the election itself.

Which makes me wonder what's the point. For example, John Archer is running here in District 2 and actually has a chance of defeating Dave Loebsack AND he's pro-life. It is possible that Aversa's fake congressional campaign will actually take away votes from Archer, which might prevent him from winning the election and actually doing something on the federal level to affect abortion rights. It just seems counter-productive from that point-of-view.

Meanwhile, you can watch these graphic anti-abortion political advertisements late at night on KCRG-TV 9 late at night this coming Friday night and wonder why these candidates don't attempt to create the type of change that they seek in the states that they choose to reside in.

JCLC Visibility Action Team Reaching Out to Iowa's LGBTQ Seniors // Update to Include Information about Last Night's Potluck Event

(Originally written on 10/20/12): Both my husband Mark and I have written in the past about the Johnson County Living Community (JCLC) Visibility Action Team here in Iowa City. Two of them addressed a documentary about various aging LGBTQ people titled Gen Silent, which the JCLC Visibility Action Team brought to Iowa City in April 2011 along with its creator, Stu Maddux.

You might be wondering what the heck the JCLC Visibility Action Team actually is. The JCLC Visibility Action Team is a group that strives to improve awareness, social opportunities, and better community resources for the Johnson County's older LGBTQ (aged 50+) citizens. My husband Mark Holbrook and Jefri Palermo collaborated on an article about the JCLC Visibility Action Team and its services, which was published by the Iowa City Press-Citizen earlier today. This is what they had to say about improving services for Johnson County's LGBTQ seniors:
The Johnson County Livable Community’s Visibility Action Team team and the Senior Center have been active in trying to address these challenges in the last year in a half.

We brought Stu Maddux and his award-winning film “Gen Silent” to Iowa City in April. A resource guide for LGBTQ older adults was developed and is available for download at www.livablecommunity.org. And needs assessments and focus groups of Johnson County residents have been conducted.

The group received training from the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging on best practices last October, and we now offer training to Johnson County service providers on what makes LGBTQ older adults unique in the professional care setting and how providers can make their programs more welcoming.

The Senior Center is currently undergoing the rigorous process of becoming an affiliate program for SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Elders). The organization, founded in 1978, is the country’s oldest, largest and most recognized group dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older adults. SAGE coordinates a network of 21 local affiliates in 15 states. Once we achieve affiliate status, we will begin writing grants to fund further training and resource development. Another goal is creating a LGBTQ and Allies NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) in this area.
Mark and Jefri's article notes that the JCLC Visibility Action Team plans to host increased numbers of social events to Johnson County's LGBTQ seniors in the coming month. A potluck social is planned for 5:00 PM on Monday, October 22nd, in Room 202 at the Senior Center (located at 28 S. Linn Street in Iowa City). After the potluck, they will be showing a film called "Mambo Italiano". The event is welcome to LGBTQ seniors, as well as heterosexual friends, family, and allies. (It should be noted that they show different LGBTQ-themed films every Monday evening at the Senior Center.)

You can read the entire article here.

Updated on 10/23/12: The Daily Iowan has an article posted today about last night's LGBTQ potluck and movie night at the Senior Center here in Iowa City, which was sponsored by the JCLC Visibility Action Team. It's worth checking out, if only for information relating to one of the event's participants:
When Patrick Cronk officially came out of the closet at 28 years old, his mother, father, and six siblings shunned him. Cronk, the secretary of the Visibility Action Team and a lord archbishop, said the hardships didn’t end with his coming out. The now-57-year-old was banned from attending his mother’s funeral, has lived through the murders of two lovers in hate crimes, lost four ex-lovers to AIDS, and buried 17 of his friends as a pastor. Life for Cronk, as he describes it, has been a nightmare. “It was a very difficult for me,“ he said. “I was a throwaway. I knew from my parents [they] wouldn’t have it in their family. But I knew when I opened the door, it would be over with...”
 
Cronk would like to believe that times are not as bad as they use to be. “The first thing I’ve noticed about Iowa City is that people are friendly,” he said. Cronk says as long as his health does not give out, he will continue to be an advocate. “As long I can breathe, I will be fighting for GLBT rights,” he said. “It’s never going to be a rosy path, but it does get better. Even at my age, once you start reaching 60, you still have to fight every day. But you have more support as you move along in life.”
The article notes that the Visibility Action Team plans to host four events annually. My husband Mark told me that the next event will be a dance, which it looks like we will both be attending. 

Nero at Daycare... And Also at Rest With Calliope Jane -- 10/23/12

Nero had a great time at doggy daycare today. He came home with something nasty on his feet, which easily washed off. But he looked unrepentant, so it must have been fun. Check it out:


He must have been pretty active today because he immediately crashed in his crate. Calliope Jane was already resting in the back of the crate, but the two apparently decided to call a truce and enjoy each other's company. Check it out:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Supporters Urge Iowans to Vote Yes to Retain Iowa Supreme Court Wiggins

I was traveling through Linn County and Jones County, Iowa, yesterday evening on an errand to get one of my boys from where he spent the weekend. On the way, I was treated to a multitude of roadside political signs trying to convince me to vote one way or the other for several different candidates. About halfway to my destination, I saw one huge sign encouraging me to vote against Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins in next month's retention vote. It was the only Wiggins sign out there, but it was a big one.

For those living under a rock, Justice Wiggins was one of the seven justices who ruled unanimously against the state's DOMA law back in 2009. That decision declared the state's DOMA law unconstitutional and paved the way for gay and lesbian couples to get legally married in this state. In 2010, Bob Vander Plaats led a grassroots campaign (using hundreds of thousands of out-of-state money) to vote out three of Iowa's Supreme Court justices. This election, Justice Wiggins is the only judge up for a retention vote who voted in the Varnum case.

In 2010, few took the anti-retention campaign seriously until it was too later. This time around, groups like the Iowa State Bar Association and Justice Not Politics Action have both been working hard over the past two years to get Iowa voters to flip their ballots over and vote Yes to retain Justice Wiggins (as well as the other judges and justices up for retention votes).

The Gazette has an article posted today about the retention vote. This is what the pro-retention folks are saying:
One video by Iowa filmmaker Scott Siepker, funded by the state’s trial lawyers, uses humor to defend the marriage ruling. More than 40,000 people have viewed the viral video that reminds viewers to flip over their ballots and vote in the race — something that 150,000 voters skipped in 2010.

“Unanimous is a fancy word that meant our state constitution left no doubt,” Siepker says in the video. “Iowa has been ahead of the curve for a century. We’ve got a good thing here. Don’t let politics screw it up.”

Wiggins’ backers note that the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 1839 that that “no man in this territory can be reduced to slavery” in concluding that a Missouri slave who had moved to Iowa, a free state, was not a fugitive.

In 1868, the court ruled that public schools that were segregated on the basis of race were inherently unequal, 86 years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled similarly. The next year, the court allowed the first female lawyer in the nation, ruling that women cannot be denied the right to practice...

Allison Heffern, a Cedar Rapids lawyer who donated $100 to Justice Not Politics, is among dozens of attorneys who have become more involved in supporting retention this year. She’s mailed postcards to relatives and talked over the issue with friends, saying that removing Wiggins would intimidate other judges from making unpopular but necessary rulings.

Right now, the courts are the recourse for people who are being treated unfairly by the majority,” she said. “If that is gone, you are out of luck.”
By the way, here's that video that they referenced up above:



Anyway, I already voted this year. Sick of the non-stop polls and political badgerers, I ran screaming to my local Auditor's office on the first day of early voting and cast my vote for the various federal, state, and county elections. I remembered to flip my ballot and vote to retain Justice David Wiggins. I strongly encourage you to do the same when you vote in this election.

Congregation Does Its Best to Chase Away Members

My own church community just concluded one of our most successful stewardship pledge drives in recent memories. Fortunately, we decided against going with this theme or things might have turned out differently:

(source)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ted Haggard Supports Gay Marriage

Ted Haggard was one of the nation's biggest evangelical pastors in the country before he got busted in 2006 for his involvement with a male masseur named Mike Jones. Haggard was forced by his peers into a counseling program and within a few months was declared "completely heterosexual". However, that didn't prevent him from being forced out of the church he founded, New Life Church. Haggard eventually founded a new inclusive church called St. James Church in Colorado Springs.

Anyway, he recently participated in an online debate against Rabbi Benjamin Hecht, director of an Orthodox Jewish group called Nishma, about whether or not gay and lesbian people should be allowed to legally marry. Surprisingly, given his thoughts on gay sexuality and families as recently as five years ago, Haggard came out in favor of marriage equality and gay families:
“We've reached a point where human dignity and mutual respect is so important,” Haggard said. “If someone is dealing with same-sex attraction or homosexuality, and they want someone to be their life partner of the same gender, though we would oppose that in our churches, it should be allowed by the state.”
This of course challenges the notion that St. James Church is an affirming church as well as an inclusive church, but at least Haggard is willing to concede that there is a difference between legal marriage rights and religious marriage rites.

New Details About Iowa Gay Marriage Scam

(source)
I wrote this past Thursday about the arrest of Grundy County Deputy Clerk of Court Brigette Van Nice, who was charged with two counts of forgery and one count of perjury involving her role in an alleged fraudulent marriage license involving a gay male couple from Florida earlier this year. Van Nice is accused of filing a false document claiming that she performed the men's wedding and that two people witnessed that wedding. The two men from Florida reportedly never stepped foot in Iowa, which is a requirement for marriages performed in this state.

I learned today that the accusations came following a complaint by one of the two men involved in this case. Joab Penney of Williston, FL, decided to file for divorce shortly after his February 2012 wedding. It was then that he learned from his attorney that the marriage license was invalid:
A criminal complaint says Van Nice filed documents falsely claiming she officiated a Valentine's Day ceremony and included the phony signatures of two witnesses. It says the couple paid her $150 and was issued a license.

Prosecutors say Van Nice told the county recorder's staff she met Penney and Parker randomly at a Waterloo truck stop and was asked to officiate their wedding. Penney said Friday he's never set foot in Iowa, which allows individuals from out-of-state to be married as long as they come to the state for a ceremony witnessed by two people.

Penney said he and Parker had been together for a long time and wanted to get married in Iowa, one of six states that allow same-sex marriage, because Florida bars the practice. He said they randomly contacted the Grundy County courthouse after a Google search and ended up talking with Van Nice, who sent them application materials.

The couple broke up shortly after the marriage for reasons that Penney did not want to discuss. Florida divorce attorney Beth Gordon said she immediately suspected something was off when Penney brought her the marriage license after inquiring about how to get a divorce. Gordon said she asked the sheriff and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to investigate, turning over the documents to help. She said the documents included a hand-written note with the application materials that Van Nice had mailed from home instead of the courthouse, which seemed suspicious.

Van Nice's attorney said Thursday she plans to plead not guilty when she makes a court appearance next week. Her arrest was believed to be the first of its kind in Iowa and considered extremely rare nationally.
For the record, you need to be in Iowa to get married in Iowa. I'm not sure that's it's possible to file marriage license documents by remote anywhere in this county. If someone tells you otherwise, they are lying.

Another thing to consider. It is very difficult to get divorced. It's even more difficult to divorce if you are a gay couple with a marriage license from Iowa (or Vermont or New York or Massachusetts, etc...) who lives in any number of marriage inequality states. Your state usually won't recognize your marriage to process the divorce papers and pretty much any of the marriage equality states will require you to be a resident of that state for a certain amount of time (usually 6-12 months) before they will process your divorce. This has been a huge headache for an Internet friend from Missouri who got married here in Iowa three years back and later decided to divorce.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Foster Kids Do Equally Well When Adopted by Gay, Lesbian, or Heterosexual Parents

UCLA psychologists did a multi-year study of high-risk children adopted from foster care by gay, lesbian, and heterosexual and found that the kids do equally well. They looked at 82 high-risk children with ages ranging between four months through 8 years of age (average age of four years) who were adopted by couples with ages ranging between 30 and 56 (average age of 41). About 68% of the parents involved with this study were either married or partnered.

The children were studied by the psychologists two months, one year, and two years after they were placed with their new adoptive families. They underwent cognitive assessments three times during the course of the study and the parents filled out standard questionnaires about the children's behavior during each assessment period.

The children's risk factors included premature birth, prenatal substance exposure, abuse or neglect, and multiple placements prior to the adoption.

Check out these results:
The psychologists found very few differences among the children at any of the assessments over the two-year period following placement. On average, children in heterosexual, gay and lesbian households achieved significant gains in their cognitive development, and their levels of behavior problems remained stable. Their IQ scores increased by an average of 10 points, from about 85 to 95 — a large increase, from low-average to average functioning.
 
"The children showed meaningful gains in heterosexual, gay and lesbian families," said Justin Lavner, a UCLA doctoral candidate in psychology and lead author of the study. "Their cognitive development improved substantially, while their behavior problems and social development were stable."
This latest study confirms what most social scientists and foster care/adoption specialists already know: The children of gay and lesbian parents are no worse and no better off than the children of heterosexual parents and It is counter-productive to prevent prospective gay and lesbian foster/adoptive parents.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Honey Boo Boo and Uncle Poodle Wear Purple for Spirit Day

Remember Uncle Poodle, Honey Boo Boo's gay uncle? Turns out that he supports GLAAD's anti-bullying Spirit Day. Check out Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson as he speaks out in support of LGBT youth and against bullying:


 
 
Anyway, I was checking out Facebook and noticed that the whole Honey Boo Boo family is decked out in purple today in honor of Spirit Day. This is what Honey Boo Boo had to say about Spirit Day:
well today is GLAAD (gay and lesbian alliance against defamation) spirit day and we and the GLAAD r asking u to wear purple in support of antibullying and also shows u support gay and lesbian community cause they have alot of hate crimes in that community its sad so if u join us in this spirit day post pics on here thanks sorry if we offended anyone by supporting the gay and lesbian but they r ppl too and u can't change the way u r or who u fell in love with...and we support uncle poodle and all the other poodles in the world too
It's sort of fitting that Honey Boo Boo has jumped on the anti-bullying choo-choo train given all of the catty celebrities who've been dissing her this week over her weight.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Section 3 of Federal DOMA Struck Down (Again)

The federal courts keep striking down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Section 3 prevents the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian Americans. This particular case involved a married lesbian in New York state who sued the federal government for failing to recognize her legal marriage after her wife's death. They were together for 44 years and legally married for two years and their marriage was recognized by the state of New York. The widow in this case experienced tremendous federal tax implications that she would not have experienced had she been married to a man.

Republican-appointed, right-leaning Chief Judge Dennis Jacob wrote the following opinion in this case:
[W]e conclude that review of Section 3 of DOMA requires heightened scrutiny. The Supreme Court uses certain factors to decide whether a new classification qualifies as a quasi-suspect class. They include: A) whether the class has been historically “subjected to discrimination,”; B) whether the class has a defining characteristic that “frequently bears [a] relation to ability to perform or contribute to society,” C) whether the class exhibits “obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group;” and D) whether the class is “a minority or politically powerless.” Immutability and lack of political power are not strictly necessary factors to identify a suspect class. Nevertheless, immutability and political power are indicative, and we consider them here. In this case, all four factors justify heightened scrutiny: A) homosexuals as a group have historically endured persecution and discrimination; B) homosexuality has no relation to aptitude or ability to contribute to society; C) homosexuals are a discernible group with non-obvious distinguishing characteristics, especially in the subset of those who enter same-sex marriages; and D) the class remains a politically weakened minority.
This, of course, will be appealed by the Republican-led House of Representatives -- who have already spent $1.5 million in tax-payer funds over the past year to fight against my marriage and other gay marriages like it. I am leery about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on this case. Then again, Section 3 of the DOMA law is probably the most likely part to get permanently ruled unconstitutional. After all, why should the federal government NOT recognize any of the legally recognized marriages of this country?

In the long-run, I think we'll run into the most trouble with the U.S. Supreme Court if a gay couples comes to Florida, for example, with an Iowa-generated marriage license and tries to use the federal courts to strike down other portions of DOMA (if not the whole thing). That will bite us in the end, I fear. But that's another case for another day...

In the meantime, this is very good news!

Iowa Deputy Clerk Accused of Marriage Fraud Involving Gay Couple from Florida

(source)
Grundy County Deputy Clerk of Court Brigitte Van Nice was arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of forgery and one count of perjury. According to both the Press-Citizen and the Gazette, Van Nice is being accused of assisting a male couple from Florida to get married in Iowa back in February 2012.

According to news accounts, she received an online ordination last year, which allows her to officiate at weddings. Though unorthodox, it's not heard of. A guy from my church did this and married a pair of friends. The problem is that she allegedly filed a false document claiming that she performed the wedding and that two people witnessed that wedding. The two gay men from Florida reportedly never stepped foot in Iowa, which is where the claims of fraud and perjury come into play.

It's not illegal for couples (gay or het) to travel to Iowa and get married here. The problem is that you actually have to be here to file for a marriage license and you have to be here to get married here. It should be interesting to watch how this case plays out, but I'm sure this situation will be used against marriage equality supporters.

Third Grade Student Speaks Out for Urban Chickens

I have written several times about my journey from urban chicken skeptic towards supporter. Last time I wrote about local efforts to legalize urban chicken farming here in Iowa City, the Council was finally beginning the process of considering the idea -- which was a huge step forward because earlier incarnations of the Iowa City City Council had outright refused to consider the concept. But time is a funny thing. It gives other nearby communities the opportunity to legalize urban chicken farming and it gives us times to acknowledge that few people in those other communities have caused mischief with their chickens, so I'm increasingly positive that Iowa City residents will be able to raise chickens here in town within the next 3-10 years.

The Press-Citizen shared a letter today from a local third grade student that is addressed to the Iowa City City Council and she wants them to legalize urban chickens in Iowa City (Note: I made a couple edits in her letter to promote her privacy and to correct some spelling errors):
Dear City Council members,

My names is Kenna. I'm a 3rd grader. I am writing about chickens in the city. I think chickens would be good pets because they lay eggs and because you can tame them. We would only have chickens, not roosters (because roosters are too loud).

I also want chickens because I'm allergic to cats and my family can't afford a dog. Chickens eat fruit and vegetable scraps and they also eat bugs in your yard. If we were to have chickens, my dad would build a sturdy chicken coop so other wild animals could not get in and spoil the chickens. I would have important jobs.

Thank you for considering my request for chickens in the city.
The Press-Citizen article notes that the city council is preparing for a November 13th public hearing that would "allow for the keeping of chickens as an accessory use to a single family detached uses". Additionally, the article notes that the city's planning and zoning commission unanimously approved the proposed rezoning at its October 4th meeting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are Gay Parents Really That Bad?

For years, study after study has shown that the children of gay parents generally do about the same as children from heterosexual parents. Some are exceptional, some really struggle, but most go through the normal ups and down of life. Then earlier this year a sociologist named Mark Regernus published a study that indicated that kids of gay parents really suffer compared to children raised by both heterosexual married parents throughout their childhood. Predictably, the Religious Right has glommed onto this study and cite it as often as possible.

John Corvino has a video that explains the major problem behind Regernus' recent study and it's worth a look:


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Archie Meets Glee? // Updated: "Archie Meets Glee" Cover!!!

(Originally written on 07/09/12): We learned today that Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Dilton Doiley will be meeting Finn, Kurt, and Rachel of Glee late this year or early next year. This will be part of a four-fricking-issue story arc(!!), involving "parallel dimesions, dancing and some serious singing". One can only imagine that the Archies will be competing against New Directions.

It's unclear why Archie Comics' resident gay resident, Kevin Keller, won't be involved in this storyline given Glee's comfort level with gay teens. Then again, I've never seen Kevin sing or dance, so it's possible he would just bring the Archies down.

All this talk about the Archies got me wondering if the kids from Glee will mash-up any of those old Archies hits from the late 60s/early 70s, like "Sugar Sugar" and "Jingle Jangle"?

Updated on 10/16/12: BuzzFeed revealed the cover image for ARCHIE #641 earlier today, which is the "Archie Meets Glee" first issue. Looks like Kevin will be appearing in this storyline, so it seems clear that we'll be seeing more than just the Archies in this book! Check it out:


GOProud's Ann Coulter to Parents of Gay People: Disown Your Kids

Ann Coulter is on the Advisory Council of GOProud, the gay conservative group that's all about being conservative, but not so much about being gay. This was her response to last Thursday's National Coming Out Day:


She was joking, of course. She's always joking about GLBT people and our issues. Like when she spoke to GOProud's membership at Homocon 2010 and spoke out against gay families. She later talked GOProud out of supporting marriage equality. But GOProud loves Coulter and still managed to get her onto their Advisory Council despite her flippant and blatant disregard for their families.

David Badash shared some of the statistics behind Coulter's joke over at The New Civil Rights Movement:
There are 2.9 million children in America living with no parents – and 1.6 million American children are homeless. 2.9 million is almost 1 percent of the entire U.S. population – and that figure is eight years old. Half a million U.S. children live with foster parents.

Those half a million foster kids? Only half will graduate high school, only 2% will earn a Bachelor’s degree. The day they turn 18, 30% will have no health insurance and will be on public assistance.

LGBTQ kids and teens are four times as likely to be homeless and up to eight times more likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers.
Just something to chuckle about while you wait for Coulter's next quip.

Nero at Daycare -- 10/16/12

Nero is still at doggy daycare right now. In a few minutes, Husband Mark plans to pick up the poodle and go on a long stroll through one of Johnson County's nature trails in an effort to burn off even more energy. That should wear him out! Check it out:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Does Kevin Keller Want to Destroy His New Car?

I finally got a chance to check out KEVIN KELLER #5, which came out last Wednesday. I somehow managed to snag the issue's variant cover and immediately got to wondering why Kevin Keller was smashing the jeep in this picture against a giant rock. A quick read-through and the reason became apparent.

The story starts out with Kevin Keller and his parents juggling the family vehicles. His parents wanted to use their cars for work and driving around Kevin's younger sisters. Meanwhile, Kevin had a social life that he wanted to maintain. His father finally came up solution: He gave Kevin his old army jeep:


Kevin liked the concept of car ownership, but wasn't sure about driving around his father's rusty jeep. Fortunately, Moose and Dilton walked by and offered to spruce it up with fresh paint and a bunch of high-tech gadgets. Kevin and his BFF Veronica Lodge gushed about his pimped up car, complete with fantasies of shopping trips and boy-on-boy dates:


The problem is that Dilton and Moose really went overboard. Just in time for his hot date with his current crush, Todd, Kevin discovers that Moose installed monster truck-sized jumbo wheels. Not only that, but Dilton created a voice-activated computer system that does pretty much anything. Unfortunately, Kevin forgets to read the instruction manual before heading off on his date -- which leads to a series of voice-activated mayhem for Kevin and Todd:


Dilton manages to save the young lovebirds before they get into too much trouble. Fortunately, Todd likes Kevin enough to give him a second chance!

Iowa Pastor Wants to Slap Female Congregant Over Anti-Judge Pamphlet

Apparently, if you walk into the sanctuary of City Church in Burlington, IA, you will discover flyers advocating that you should not vote to retain Justice David Wiggin for the Iowa Supreme Court. Not only that, but the church's pastor, Rev. Steve Youngblood, preached specifically against Justice Wiggins' on at least two occasions, which would appear to violate a 1954 federal law prohibiting tax-exempt organizations (like a church) from promoting political candidates.

One of City Church's congregants reportedly objected to the flyers and feared that they jeopardized the church's tax-exempt status. In retaliation, Rev. Youngblood spokes out about his interactions with the woman and said that he'd "like to slap her" and instructed the woman's husband to "rise up and 'correct her'":
Pastor Youngblood castigated the woman's stance on gay marriage saying: “Don’t call yourself a Christian and do that. We need to draw a line in the sand. We need to begin to say that at City Church this is how we’re going to be. What makes me madder is that this person's husband won't correct them... I don't like rebellious women. I don't like rebellious men, either. They're even worse."
According to the news, Youngblood read from the pamphlet during his sermon and encouraged all of the church attendees to pick up the anti-Wiggins political flyers.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Uncle Poodle Talks About Being a Gay Redneck

I have been a little slow with watching "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." Don't get me wrong. I loved Alana Thompson (AKA Honey Boo Boo) when she appeared on "Toddlers & Tiaras," but I was slow to checking out her show on TLC this past August. But I silently mused that her show pulled in more viewers than the 2012 Republican National Convention and then I waited a few more weeks to watch a few episodes of the show using the On Demand cable features.

Let me first give a brief synopsis of the program. Honey Boo Boo lives with her mother June Shannon (AKA Momma), her father Mike Thompson, and her three older sisters. She became famous after appearing on Toddlers & Tiaras, where we got to see the little girl competing in child beauty pageants. Her family lives in rural McIntyre, GA, which is where most of Honey Boo Boo's show is filmed. I think it's fair to assert the family is a bunch of rednecks. But I write that with the best intentions. This family is a really fun bunch of rednecks.

I actually like the show and it's fun to torture my youngest with episodes of the program (D's not a fan). I find it pretty funny that TLC thinks that their dialects are so affected that they require captions most of the time. That said, I can only watch the show in small doses so I've still only watched a couple different episodes

Which leads me to "Uncle Poodle" (AKA Alana's uncle Lee Thompson). He's her gay uncle and showed up on the final episode of the reality TV show's first season to help Alana find her inner sass.



Uncle Poodle was interviewed by GA Voice last week. In it, he talks about having gotten married this past August, about being stalked by Honey Boo Boo fans at Wal-Mart, and about being a gay redneck in rural Georgia. Check this out:
Things are changing. My husband and I live in Milledgeville because we want to be out in the country. I’m gay, but I’m as redneck as I can get, and we want to be somewhere we can fish and jump on a four-wheeler, go hog wallowing. There’s probably 40 or 50 of us — gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people — around here, they’re all open about it, everybody knows it...

It’s not like there’s a gay bar here. We go to the same bars as everybody else, we’re all part of the same community... If there’s people who have a problem with it, they keep it to themselves, just like if I have a problem with them, I keep it to myself.

But... if you want people to accept you, you have to show you don’t have a problem with yourself and just be up front about who you are. If you do, you earn people’s respect. If everybody would just go on and do that, ignorant people couldn’t cause so many problems. I know this is how I was born and I don’t need to explain it to anybody. I live my life for who I am. That’s why ‘Born This Way’ is gonna be my next tattoo.
Very good advise, whether you're living in the country or in the city. Uncle Poodle says that he is open to appearing in future episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Drunk Woman Tells Cop to Leave Her Alone Because "She Was a Republican"

The police got called out to P.F. Chang's China Bistro in West Des Moines, IA, a week ago Friday after restaurant employees tried kicking out a drunk customer named Charlene Idelle Hunziker (age 47). According to the West Des Moines Patch, Hunziker became intoxicated after the first presidential debate and then began bothering other customers about her support for Mitt Romney and about her belief that "Obama has ruined this country and... Muslims were causing America all these problems."

A West Des Moines police officer arrived, which caused Hunziker to allegedly begin yelling at the cop and telling him he didn't need be be there because "she was a Republican." Hunziker got into an argument with the police officer, which led to her arrest under the charge of public intoxication and harassment of public officials. It reportedly took two officers to handcuff her and get her into the police vehicle.

The West Des Moines Patch article has two really good quotes beside the "you can't arrest me because I'm a Republican" line:
The woman’s daughter proclaimed her mother “an embarrassment” and walked out of the restaurant, the witness said.
and
En route to the police station, where she was booked before being transported to the Polk County Jail, Hunziker reportedly said that “she was doing this because she was a good mother.”

Archie Comics at New York Comic Con 2012

The New York Comic Con is going on right now as we speak. Unfortunately, I'm not... But there are tons of cool stuff coming out of the convention related to Archie Comics already!

First, I learned that Dan Parent (creator of Kevin Keller and the Carneys) took on a commissioned art project and helped a young man propose to his girlfriend. And she said "Yes!" Someone on the Archie Comics Fan Forum questioned the notion that someone would propose at a comic book convention, but I'm pretty sure it happens a lot. The family and I were in Chicago this past August for a comic book convention and someone proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of the "20 Years of Buffy" panel. If I remember correctly, he got high-fived by James Marsters, too! Check out this video of Dan Parent talking about the artwork and the marriage proposal:


I knew that Archie Comics had a pretty big panel titled "Archie Comics: The Hottest Publisher in the Industry" scheduled for Friday afternoon. It took a bit of digging, but I finally found blog coverage of the panel on Sean Gaffney's blog. The Archie folks revealed tons of upcoming stuff that looks really cool, including:

*An Archie Moble Game for phones and tablets. "Sounds very much like your typical Japanese datesim (though no doubt squeaky clean). You go after Betty or Veronica, and your choices end up affecting how the other girl sees you. Should be out in the Spring."

*They showed test footage of the new "Sabrina:Secrets of a Teenage Witch" cartoon. I'd really love to see clips of this!

*Little Archie is getting his own cartoon! I'm hoping this is beyond the wishful stage and actually in the "we've just finalized the project" stage!

*Katy Keene will be returning!

*Dilton will be getting a mini-series!

There was other stuff that had already been announced or that didn't grab my attention as much as the stuff listed above. I'm hoping we'll learn more exciting Archie news in the next two days of NYCC 2012!

Updated to Add: Here are some really cool Twitter Pics of Mega Man and Sonic fans (Archie Comics publishes these cool licensed products). Check these out!

(Mega Man)
(Sonic)
(Proto Man)
(Kid Sonic)
(Shadow)
Lastly, check out all the people who showed up to yesterday's Archie Comics panel:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dad's "It's In the Bible" Murder Defense Fails

This is pretty sad. A father in Georgia named Benjamin Edetanlen just got sentenced to 18 years in prison for fatally beating his 5-month-old son and is forever banned from interacting with his surviving children. His failed legal defense rested on his interpretation of the Bible:
Edetanlen’s defense is that he adhered to Proverbs: 13, which taught him “Spare the rod. Spoil the child.” But prosecutors said he went too far and his discipline killed his 5-month-old child in his home in 2004. Assistant District Attorney Dalia Racine said Edetanlen beat his 5-month-old, his 2-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son, and used the Bible to justify it... Prosecutors said the boy died from blunt force trauma. He suffered brain injuries and a broken leg. Edetanlen’s attorney told the court his client loves his children.
One has to wonder what kind of mischief a five-month-old baby finds himself getting into that warrants any sort of beating, much less the type of beating that leads to a broken leg and severe brain injuries!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Iowa City Woman Accused of Throwing Anti-Abortion Sign Onto the Ground

Perhaps you remember last August when an Iowa City man confronted an anti-abortion protester and destroyed her graphic sign. He was upset that children were being exposed to the images on the sign. He was arrested, charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, and is still waiting for his case to go to trial. Before August's incident, I hadn't even been aware that Iowa City had a Planned Parenthood office, much less people who regularly protest it (a few blocks over where there's actually traffic).

Anyway, a similar news story broke today in Iowa City. However, this time it was a 57-year-old woman named Christine Davis who confronted the anti-abortion protester and the anti-abortion sign wasn't broken. Otherwise, it was pretty much the same story at the same busy intersection set during early morning work traffic:
Davis is accused of grabbing the sign and throwing it on the ground, according to police. Witnesses said Davis walked away but then returned and grabbed the sign a second time, throwing it down again, police reported.
According to the Gazette, Davis admitted to throwing down the sign and there were witnesses. She was not arrested, but was charged with disorderly conduct.

Competing Judge Bus Messages in Iowa

The anti-judge "No Wiggins" folks produced the following video featuring lots of non-Iowans such as Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Brian Brown who want to tell Iowans to not vote for Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins:




Meanwhile, actual Iowans from the Iowa State Bar Association have their own videos with actual content (as opposed to a music montage) explaining why Iowans should support all of the justices and judges -- including Justice Wiggins -- who are on the ballot for retention votes.




Here is some additional material from the "Yes Iowa Judges" tour:



Vote Yes for Justice David Wiggins. Vote Yes for retention of all Iowa's judges and justices.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

UIHC Opens Iowa's First LGBTQ Medical Clinic Near Iowa City

The University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics  just opened Iowa's first medical clinic targeted specifically towards gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender adults over at its Iowa River Landing Clinic in nearby Coralville. The LGBTQ Clinic came about following several incidents where untrained and otherwise rude medical providers treated LGBT patients -- particularly transgender patients -- horribly. The end result is that certain LGBT patients were ignoring health problems in order to avoid doctors:
The clinic came about when (Dr. Nicole) Nisly and (Dr. Katherine) Imborek noticed the health-care disparities for those in the LGBTQ community and decided to create a place in which those community members can feel safe while seeking medical help.
 
“[The clinic] is absolutely critical for the people who are not seeking health care — because of their fears, because of discrimination, because of a history of oppression — that they feel somebody cares,” said Jefri Palermo, the co-head of the LGBT staff and faculty association. “They are saying, ‘You are welcome here. Come in the door. We have created this for you; we have educated ourselves for your needs.’”
 
Officials said disparities arise in the nation’s health-care system due to many factors, including discrimination, bullying, oppression, and a lack of education. Often, health-care providers are not fully trained on the different issues, which means they may be unsure of the right questions to ask or the right tests to perform.
The LGBTQ Clinic will be open every Tuesday night from 5:00 PM-7:20 PM.

Initially, the clinic will be set up to provide medical care for LGBT adults, though eventually  they plan to add pediatric and obstetrics care. It was also noted that they hope to include endocrinologist on staff who are trained to treat gender-variant children.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Occupy Sesame Street???

(source)
During last week's presidential debate, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told Americans "I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it." It's been noted elsewhere that that federal government spends about 0.012% of its budget on PBS and getting rid of PBS won't solve our budgetary problems. I'll leave that to the readers to agree or disagree with that assertion.

Anyway, Governor Romney came to Iowa today to promote his presidential campaign. And he was greeted by tons of muppet protesters!:
If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if “Sesame Street” were crossed with the protesters from the 1968 Democratic National Convention, your answer was standing off by the side of the road outside Mitt Romney’s campaign rally this morning.

Costume-party simulacra of Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Elmo and Oscar the Grouch held anti-Romney signs, chanted anti-Romney slogans and sang the “Sesame Street” theme song with new, anti-Wall Street lyrics at the cars full of Romney supporters turning onto Meadowview Avenue and entering the rally site.
To be fair, these were not actual Sesame Street muppets. The real muppets (via their Sesame Workshop spokespeople) have been pretty clear that Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization who cannot and does not endorse any candidates or campaigns.

These muppet protesters were actually part of a liberal advocacy group called Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. According to the Des Moines Register, CCI was attempting to shame Mitt Romney for accusing Big Bird and Sesame Street of causing our country's economic crisis instead of addressing the Wall Street banking entities like Goldman Sachs.

The CCI Muppets were heard singing these unfamiliar lyrics to a more familiar tune:
Stormy days
Taking our jobs away
We did not wreck the e-con-o-my
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Wa-a-all Street?
According to news reports, this protest was brought to America by the number "47".

Monday, October 8, 2012

Archie Comics Plans to Give Out Great Fan-Appreciation Gifts at This Weekend's NYCC

Looks like I chose the wrong comic book convention to visit this year when I decided to take the hubby and kids to Chicago to interact with fellow comic book geeks and check out some of my favorite comic book companies. Unfortunately, none of the major comic book companies came to Chicago. No Marvel Comics. No DC. And definitely no Archie Comics. Turns out that the folks at Archie Comics were getting all geeked up for this weekend's New York Comic Con and (trust me!) they are not skimping on their New York fans! I just read on BuzzFeed that Archie Comics has invested $50,000 in fan-appreciation gifts for people who attend their panels.

Check it out:
Title: Archie Comics: The Hottest Publisher in the Industry
 
Description: The Era of Archie continues! After another year of dominating the headlines with groundbreaking storylines, innovative storytelling and the best comics on the market, the Archie Comics team converges on New York to reveal what’s next! The panel includes Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater, President Mike Pellerito, Editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick, writer/artist Dan Parent (Kevin Keller), writer Michael Uslan (Archie: Will You Marry Me?), and a handful of major, newsworthy surprises! Archie Comics continues to keep fans on their toes, shaking things up in Riverdale from one storyline (“Reversedale”) to the next ("Archie Meets GLEE”). Archie and friends have never been more relevant, and that makes this a can’t-miss panel! Plus, all attendees will receive a FREE ARCHIE GIFT BAG.
And:
Title: Archie Action Hour: Sonic, Mega Man and Red Circle Comics

Description: Plug in, suit up and prepare for adventure! First, two video game icons collide in the I-can’t-believe-it’s-actually-happening Sonic/Mega Man comic book crossover event. You’d be crazier than Doctors Eggman and Wily combined to miss this follow up discussion where we dive right into it. The editorial mastermind behind both books, Paul Kaminski, is joined by Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito and writer Ian Flynn with more info about the biggest comic book event of the year as well as what’s on tap for Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Universe, and Mega Man. See exclusive artwork, learn about upcoming story lines and get your questions answered by the team behind the two most popular video game comic series. Then, get all the details on the future of superhero comics—The New Crusaders! The digital-first series has made its way to print, and the Red Circle team are pumped to give you the rundown on where the series is headed, along with info about the upcoming Lost Crusade mini-series, in this action-packed panel. Those in attendance will receive a FREE SONIC/MEGA MAN/RED CIRCLE GIFT BAG, so don’t even think about missing it!
Trust me. If I could, I would gladly attend both panels -- with or without the gift bags! Though those gifts look pretty cool!

I'm really looking forward to learning more about Archie Comics' future at this weekend's comic book convention and I'm sure I will write about some of the more fun things to get revealed after the fact.

Iowan to Louisiana Newspaper: "Doesn't Your Govenor Have Its Own Gays to Persecute?"

Last month, I complained about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's involvement in Iowa's judicial retention vote. I asked "What is Gov. Jindal doing four states north of his own state campaigning over an election that has nothing to do with him or his state?" It seems like I wasn't the only Iowan peeved by Jindal's involvement with Iowa's elections.

First, the Des Moines Register issued the following rebuke on Gov. Jindal and on Louisiana's court system:
Jindal was on the recent bus tour across the state campaigning to unseat Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins. This is the governor of a state whose courts have consistently been ranked No. 49 out of the 50 states in the respected state courts survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Iowa consistently ranks in the top five or 10 states overall in the survey of business lawyers. In Marshalltown, Jindal got a laugh with the remark that “Some of these judges, they actually make the replacement refs in the NFL look like geniuses.” That may be the case in his state: In the 2008 survey, Louisiana’s judges were rated the worst among the 50 states in the area of competence. Maybe Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad should head down to Louisiana and take a bus tour to persuade the good people of that state to reform their system of electing judges.
Later, a man named Dave Gregory from Marion, IA, wrote a letter to the editor of the Baton Rouge Advocate begging for Jindal's citizens to kindly collect their gallivanting governor:
Your governor, Bobby Jindal, has traveled from town to town across Iowa crusading against gay marriage. Many suspect he’s already campaigning for the 2016 Iowa Presidential Caucuses. We Iowans were recently subjected to an endless parade of Republican candidates during the 2012 Presidential Caucuses. We really don’t need Gov. Jindal’s wisdom and advice for the next four years. Please call back your governor and find something for him to do. Aren’t there any homosexuals to persecute in Louisiana?
Mr. Gregory has a point? Aren't there bills to sign, budgets to balance, and gays to harass down in Louisiana?