Sunday, March 31, 2013

Zombies Invade Davenport, IA

It looks like the undead have invaded portions of the Quad Cities -- they appear to be focused this time on a bunch of runners in the Quad Cities. You would think that the shambling masses would seek out more sedentary targets, but that's not what I'm reading off the KWQC website. Check this out:
Quad City runners are going to have the brain hungry undead chasing after them during the 5k Zombie Run. It's a race that's brand new to the Quad Cities and it's for a good cause.

Zombies are everywhere, they're on TV, they're in the movies and now they're coming to the Quad Cities.

"It will take place through the woods, the mud and all the nice, creepy places they have here at Credit Island," says race organizer Rod Keding.
The zombies are everywhere. Maybe they are warning us that we can run for the muddy hills, but they will be there and they will eat our brains. What a horrifying development. I will keep the people of Davenport, as well as the rest of the Quad Cities in my prayers.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Alt-Folk Singer Michelle Shocked Protests Canceled Gig

I wrote quite a bit last week about alternative folk singer Michelle Shocked, her ill-stated gay marriage rant/discussion, and her cryptic efforts to salvage her reputation and her fanbase. (You can read about it here) Part of the fall-out is that pretty much her entire series of tour venues here in the United States has canceled on her.

Shocked originally planned to show up at the location of her first post-rant canceled performance. She changed her mind at the last minute and instead performed at an L.A.-based homeless shelter with a bunch of people from her church. From what I understand, it was quite a good performance for those who heard her.

Shocked ended up showing up at the location of another canceled event last night -- this time at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, CA. She played guitar outside the business surrounded by a bunch of protest signs. She was wearing a strange costume and had her mouth taped shut. The tape across her mouth read "Silenced By Fear." She apparently invited others to use a Sharpie marker to write messages on her outfit, though I have no idea if anyone took her up on the offer.

I''ve embedded a couple videos of the protest. The first video shows the content of the signs and the second video shows her struggling to communicate with someone at Moe's Alley:

The sad part is that Michelle Shocked really brought all of this on herself. She admittedly said some things that upset her fans, who then spread what they'd heard and witnessed across the Internet. Instead of attempting to explain or de-escalate the situation, she chose to accuse people of accepting second-hand information and not hearing her perspective -- which she refused to offer outside of this "Truth VS. Reality" meme. She attacked people for listening to a "bootleg" audio recording of her now infamous gay marriage/"Michelle Shocked says that God hates faggots" rant instead of trying to clarify. She accepted at least one interview with someone who considered herself a fan and a professional acquaintance and then refused to participate because it was a webcast show instead of an actual radio program.

I know that Michelle Shocked has a point that she's trying to prove, but she's doing a terrible job of helping people to understand. Hopefully someday she will allow someone close to her -- her partner, a friend, a fellow church member, a professional P.R. spinner -- figure out how to communicate her message effectively. Until then, I predict that she will be doing many more silent protests in the future.

Johnson County (Iowa) Board of Supervisors Proclaim Support for Same-Sex Marriage

Supervisor Rod Sullivan proposed the following proclamation to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors here in Iowa City yesterday morning. It reads:

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is one of the basic civil rights of the American people, fundamental to our very existence and survival; and

WHEREAS, marriages that are deemed legally valid by the federal and state governments provide married couples with more than 1,138 federal rights, privileges, economic advantages and legal protections; and

WHEREAS, these rights include access to health care, inheritance of social security benefits and eligibility for significant taxation advantages. Protection afforded to each spouse in a legal marriage include protection of their parental relationship with their children, protection of the inheritance rights of their spouse and children, ensuring hospital visitation rights and the ability to make medical decisions for their spouse, and protection of property rights; and

WHEREAS, without being declared legally valid, the spouses of same-sex marriages cannot receive these rights, privileges, advantages and protections; and

WHEREAS, Iowa is one of nine states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marriage for same-sex couples; and

WHEREAS, Johnson County has one of the highest LGBT populations per capita among American counties, and

WHEREAS, Johnson County has a rich history in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement and is rightfully considered one of the most progressive counties in the country regarding its policies protecting equal rights for all citizens, including the 2006 adoption of a County Human Rights Ordinance, and

WHEREAS, Johnson County has made the repeal of the law entitled the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") and its denial of federal recognition to married same-sex couples one of its Congressional priorities.

NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that we, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors proclaim support marriage equality for same-sex couples and urge the Supreme Court of the United States to once again rule in favor of marriage as a basic civil right.

Signed this 28th day of March, 2013
Janelle Rettig, Chairperson
The Board of Supervisors voted in support of this proclamation 4-1 and authorized the Board's chairperson to sign off on it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nero at Daycare -- 03/28/13

Nero had a blast at doggy daycare today. Check out that happy face:

"Young Avengers #3": Miss America Has Two Mommies!!

Early this year, Marvel Comics relaunched its YOUNG AVENGERS title, which features young adults who are not quite members for the (older) Avengers. The team started out as a quasi-legacy team, but has since grown into its own team. It started out with Patriot, Iron Lad, Wiccan (FKA Asgardian), Hulkling, Stature, and Hawkeye II. Vision and Speed eventually joined the fun. Unfortunately, a couple members died and another couple retired and the team went away for a while.

But the Young Avengers are now back with a slightly new (and still evolving) team membership: Wiccan, Hulkling, Hawkeye II, Loki, Marvel Boy, and... Miss America.

I don't know much about this latest Miss America. I know that she debuted in VENGEANCE #1 and that her full name is America Chavez. She is apparently an interdimensional traveler who fled from some sort of utopia. She's super-tough and flies. And she apparently has two moms... who've been transformed into undead mind-controlled slaves of Hulkling's recently resurrected mom!

Check this out:

Move over, Heather!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week 2013 at Faith UCC in Iowa City

It is Holy Week 2013 and Faith United Church of Christ invites any and all who wish to come together for worship during the special week.

Maundy Thursday -- Thursday, March 28, at 6:30 PM: Service will begin with the celebration of communion. Faith United Church of Christ practices open communion so EVERYONE is welcome at God's Table. The service will continue with Scripture Readings, candles, and hymns as we remember together the events of Holy Week leading up to Easter Morning.

Good Friday -- Friday, March 29: Our church building will remain open from 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM. You are invited to come for prayer and meditation. Several items will be provided for study and reflection during your meditation time.

Easter Sunday Worship -- Sunday, March 31: Easter Sunday Worship will begin at 9:30 AM. We shall reflect on and celebrate Christ's resurrection together!

Faith United Church of Christ is located at 1609 DeForest Avenue in Iowa City. All are sincerely invited and welcome to join in.

SCOTUS BLOG Summary of the Supreme Court/DOMA Orgal Arguments

Yesterday, I shared some screenshots from the SCOTUS BLOG Twitter account about the main impressions from the Prop 8 oral arguments. I thought I would do the same for today's U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments featuring the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (via Joe My God's blog). The nutshell from here and from subsequent analysts is that things went very well for the marriage equality side(!!):

Of course, this could still go the other way; which stresses me out to no end. But Husband Mark sagely notes that things will just stick with the status quo in that scenario. Still... fingers crossed, eh?

"Wolverine and the X-Men" #27 Nitpick OR How Much of a Nerd Should I Be On Free Comic Book Day 2013??

I grabbed the latest issue of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN (#27) and began reading it while cooking supper tonight. I got two pages into the book and immediately noticed a glaring issue that has been gnawing on me ever since.

Let me interrupt by noting that WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN is arguably my favorite x-book these days -- second only to X-FACTOR. I like the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. I like the teachers. I like the students. I love Quentin Quire and Oya. I love Broo. I love Doop. I love the oddball romance between Husk and Toad. Kid Krakoa cracks me up. I love the Bamfs. I hate the Hellfire Club. But otherwise, I love the book.

So issue #27 starts with the following panel featuring an administrative meeting with the school's main teachers. Check this out:

Feel free to click on the image if you need a better look. But essentially, Beast reports that Rachel Grey (FKA Phoenix, FKA Marvel Girl) is tracking down the stupid Hellfire Kids Club. Storm notes that there are no other telepaths on staff so they had to cancel Rachel's classes, which tend to be telepathic self-defense classes.

My gaze shifts to the window immediately to Storm's left (our right). I'm not looking at Kitty Pryde. I'm looking at the guy outside the window. Let me highlight him for you:

Let me introduce you to Chamber. The other telepath on staff at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. True; he is not a terribly powerful telepath. But sometimes it's good to learn from those who've learned to accomplish defensive skills with less sheer power.

Since the beginning of this book, Chamber has seen very little love. He doesn't get to teach. He doesn't get to defend the school. Instead, he apparently enjoys checking out the shrubbery. My advise to Kitty and Storm? Instead of hiring new teachers, take advantage of those who are already pulling a salary from you.

One of the things that I'm looking forward to is the 2013 Free Comic Book Day! This year's FCBD is scheduled for May 4, 2013. It's a special day where the various comic book companies offer free comic books to any and all -- largely as a way to promote comic book reading with newer readers, but also as a treat for those of us who've been reading them for years. I've already written a little bit about the 2013 FCBD (here). But Daydreams, my local comic book store, recently began promoting the upcoming FCBD and they are promising to feature three different comic book creative types: Eric Gapstur, Phil Hester, and Jason Aaron... the writer of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN!!!

Now this is the scenario I envision for May 4th. I will show up at Daydreams with my copy of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #27 and ask for a signature. I will open it up to the first full-page spread and have him sign there. I will then casually note that Chamber is in the background of the page where the senior school staff are discussing the lack of telepaths on staff at the school and see if he picks up on where I'm going. I will then let the discussion continue onward organically and report back here on what happens next.

Husband Mark asked me if I really want to be one of those types of nerds.

So I ask you. Should I be one of those types of nerds on May 4th? Please share you thoughts in the comments section below.

BVP Shares his "March for Marriage" Memories

Thrice-failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY Leader shared his reaction to yesterday's March for Marriage in Washington DC. Check out this video to hear his story.

Somehow, his fear of coming into conflict with pro-marriage equality protesters reinforced to him why marriage should exclude gay and lesbian couples. Somehow. But he wants you to know that he loves his opponent. Not enough to finish the words stating that sentiment before shutting off his video, but he does love us.

By that way, BVP. Marriage equality has been around for nearly ten years here in the U.S. -- 13 years if you count Vermont's civil union days. Not the five years that you claim. Just a little fact check moment.

Has Gay Marriage Negatively Affected Your Traditional Marriage?

Has gay marriage negatively affected your traditional message? That was the question being bandied about yesterday, at the NOM Anti-Gay Family March in Washington DC, as well as at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY Leader, an Iowa-based marriage inequality activist group, was once asked a variation of that question. The following was his reply:

Think Progress asked a bunch of anti-equality folks if their marriages had been negatively affected by 10 years of marriage equality in this country. We heard similar replies:

One guy in particular found his marriage strengthened, specifically because of the unity he and his wife achieved by opposing my marriage and others like it!

And then at the U.S. Supreme Court, the pro-Prop 8 attorney Charles Cooper conceded the point that same-sex couples are not a threat to heterosexual marriages.

Which once again makes me wonder why exactly people are so dead-set against my marriage and other like it!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

United Church of Christ Leadership Shows Support for Gay Marriage!

There are times when I really appreciate my denomination, the United Church of Christ. Today while the U.S. Supreme Court was debating the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the UCC leadership was standing up for all marriages -- both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages! Check this out:

Check out this link to read the many ways that the UCC has come out in support of marriage equality.

SCOTUS Blog Summary of the Supreme Court/Prop 8 Oral Arguments

Initial thoughts by those who professionally think about such thing indicate that the U.S. Supreme Court will neither uphold or invalidate California's Proposition 8. Joe My God offered screenshots from the SCOTUS Blog summarizing the progression of these impressions:

The SCOTUS Blog offered this initial bit of analysis:
Several Justices seriously doubt whether the petitioners defending Proposition 8 have “standing” to appeal the district court ruling invalidating the measure. These likely include not only more liberal members but also the Chief Justice. If standing is lacking, the Court would vacate the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

The Justices seem divided on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on ideological lines, four to four – i.e., all the members other than Justice Kennedy. For the more liberal members of the Court, there was no clarity on how broadly they would rule.

But Justice Kennedy seemed very unlikely to provide either side with the fifth vote needed to prevail. He was deeply concerned with the wisdom of acting now when in his view the social science of the effects of same-sex marriage is uncertain because it is so new. He also noted the doubts about the petitioners’ standing. So his suggestion was that the case should be dismissed.

If those features of the oral argument hold up – and I think they will – then the Court’s ruling will take one of two forms. First, a majority (the Chief Justice plus the liberal members of the Court) could decide that the petitioners lack standing. That would vacate the Ninth Circuit’s decision but leave in place the district court decision invalidating Proposition 8. Another case with different petitioners (perhaps a government official who did not want to administer a same-sex marriage) could come to the Supreme Court within two to three years, if the Justices were willing to hear it.

Second, the Court may dismiss the case because of an inability to reach a majority. Justice Kennedy takes that view, and Justice Sotomayor indicated that she might join him. Others on the left may agree. That ruling would leave in place the Ninth Circuit’s decision.
To be honest, I feel pretty good about these two possible outcomes.

In the meantime, I think that California should seriously consider a legislative/voter referendum process for invalidating Proposition 8. It's a pain that we have to go through this process over and over -- and there certainly are risks. But I think that the larger population would be much more settled with this type of action versus a Supreme Court decision -- this coming from a guy who lives in a court-produced marriage equality state.

Superior Spider-Man #6 Video: Don't Try This At Home

For several months, Marvel has been embedding these little AR symbols on many of their comic books. If you download the special Marvel AR app and then hold your device over symbols when they show up on your comic book, you get a little surprise. Sometimes it's a recap of the last issue to help you get caught up. Sometimes it's a video describing the super-science that allows things to happen, such as Wolverine falling from a speeding jet and plunging onto the ground without smashing up his brains. Sometimes it's just the artist doing a sketch.

But I've never seen a Marvel AR clip quite like this one, which is found in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6:

In this Marvel AR video, Marvel Comics editors are harmed. Truly, this is the video you have been waiting for, Marvel fans.

DOMA's Route to the Supreme Court

This graphic is making the rounds today, detailing the nine separate cases where all or portions of the Defense of Marriage Act has been ruled unconstitutional by lower courts. Hopefully this trend will continue. Personally, I think tomorrow's DOMA case is a stronger case than today's Proposition 8 case, but time (and the U.S. Supreme Courts -- as well as Justice Antonin Scalia!!) will ultimately reveal if I'm correct or not.

Check it out:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Gay Marriage At The U.S. Supreme Court This Week!!

The above image has been showing up a lot recently on my Facebook feed over the past several days. For those who don't know, The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing arguments tomorrow regarding the constitutionality of California's 2008 Proposition 8, which amended that state's constitution to take away equal marriage rights that had previously been granted to its gay and lesbian residents. The following day, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing arguments about the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act -- specifically Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits the federal government to recognize the legal marriages of this country's gay and lesbian citizens.

I'm totally stressing out. It's not pretty.

My marriage rights are being decided by a handful of judges -- at least two of whom of notoriously anti-gay. Assuming everyone rules the way we assume they will rule, these two court cases will come down to the decision of one specific justice.

The audio from each hearing is expected to be released pretty quickly afterwards, so we will get to hear all of the arguments as well as all of the nitty gritty details. But I think I will be avoiding that experience. My nerves cannot take it.

My guess is that the decisions on these two cases won't be released until early summer 2013.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Octomom Being Investigated for Welfare Fraud

Last August, we learned that Nadya Suleman (AKA "Octomom") applied for food assistance and other forms of welfare for her and her 14 children after struggling to make ends meet. She went off welfare within a couple months after receiving a string of paying gigs -- mostly pornography and paid Internet debates -- but not before receiving death threats and having her vehicle vandalized.

Fast forward to last week... TMZ reported that someone filed a complaint with the L.A. County Department of Welfare Fraud Prevention and Investigation, accusing Suleman of earning too much money to qualify for assistance and now the WFP&I is investigating Suleman for possible welfare fraud.

According to TMZ, Suleman and her 14 children are eligible for different types of welfare assistance in California if they make less that $119,000 in a calendar year. Suleman is being accused of making over $200,000 last year, which is where the welfare fraud allegation comes in.

Here is where I get confused -- and this confusion applies to anyone applying for and qualifying for welfare assistance. She applied for welfare in July or August because the family wasn't making enough money to support itself. She then began earning more money and went off welfare later that year.

Why are they looking at her annual income against her as opposed to her monthly income? My understanding is that welfare recipients have to provide evidence of gross monthly income when applying for benefits. That's how it's done here in Iowa -- though there might be some forms of assistance where they look at annual income instead of monthly. Maybe I'm missing something and welcome any input.

If convicted of welfare fraud, Suleman faces three or more years in prison. Who will care for her kids then?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gay Marriage Updates Across the Nation -- 03/23/13

I have written various marriage equality updates since the beginning of the year (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). Here is a summary of this week's major marriage developments:

Arizona: Normally, you wouldn't expect too much coming out of Arizona related to civil unions or same-sex marriage. But the City Council of Brisbee, AZ, voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance allowing "any two unrelated, unmarried adults of any sexual orientation to enter into a civil union." These civil unions would not be recognized outside of the city limits, but would be fully recognized and honored within the community and these civilly unionized couples will be treated equally as any married couple. Those interested would need to apply at the local City Clerk's Office and pay a $25 fee. Box Turtle Bulletin notes that these civil unions are pretty identical to other cities' domestic partnership registries, but by using the term "civil union," the leadership of Brisbee appears to be communicating a stronger message about their commitment to marriage equality.

Colorado: As noted this morning, Colorado's governor signed a civil union bill into law this past Thursday! It will go into effect on May 1, 2013.

Nevada: A resolution was introduced to the Nevada Senate this past Tuesday that would repeal the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Assuming that this goes anywhere, it would be years before the repeal would go into effect. Early this month, I shared the results of a Public Opinion Strategies poll indicating that most Nevada voters support the repeal of their constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by a margin of 54/43.

New Mexico: Early this week, the mayor of Santa Fe, NM, David Cross, declared that there is nothing in that state's law that bans same-sex marriage. He and the Santa Fe city attorney plan to introduce a City Council resolution on March 27, 2012, recognizing that same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico. Santa Fe's City Attorney noted that New Mexico already recognizes same-sex marriages from other other states and also that the New Mexico Constitution requires equal treatment on the basis of sex. San Francisco tried this strategy several years ago and it didn't work, but maybe Cross and Zamora know something that I don't! A marriage equality bill was introduced to the New Mexico House early this year, but was ultimately defeated. At the same time, a PPP survey indicated 67% support for civil unions and marriage equality by New Mexico voters.

Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee listened to testimony for and against same-sex marriage this past Thursday. The testimony continued for 12 hours. I had the misfortune of listening to the first hour of testimony. Those opposing marriage equality used some pretty vile arguments against our families -- and in at least one case grossly mischaracterized random culture war incidents as symptoms of religious people being penalized by gay marriers. Despite this week's testimony, the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee will not be voting on this bill yet for a while. The Rhode Island House passed a marriage equality bill in late January 2013.

Lastly, I have another marriage equality poll to share from this week:

Florida: The Public Policy Polling group released the results of a new poll earlier this week indicating that 38% of Florida voters support marriage equality, 37% support civil unions, and 23% oppose any legal recognition for the state's gay and lesbian families. On top of that, apparently there is a domestic partnership bill being proposed within the Florida Senate. If approved, it would allow gay couples limited right, including hospital visitation rights, the ability to make funeral and burial arrangements of deceased partners, and child education decisions. The PPP poll shows only 23% support for this domestic partnership bill versus 17% opposition. 60% of Florida voters have no opinion one way or the other.

Colorado Governor Signs Civil Union Bills Into Law!

Colorado's LGBT residents and their straight friends, families, and allies rejoiced this past Thursday as Colorado's Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill legalizing civil unions! The Colorado Senate and House legislatively approved this bills in recent weeks.

The new law will offer gay and lesbian couples with most of the legal rights, responsibilities, and protections that are already provided to the state's married heterosexual couples, including adoption rights and the ability to make end-of-life decisions.

Gay and lesbian couples in that state will be able to become civilly unionized effective May 1, 2013.

Archie Comics' Dan Parent Reflects on Anti-Gay Backlash to Gay Character Kevin Keller -- Or Lack of Backlash!

Earlier this week, I shared that Archie Comics' Dan Parent had participated in a Reddit AMA Q&A. At the time, I wrote about whether or not comic books will eventually go completely digital, but several of the other questions dealt with Kevin Keller, the publisher's first openly gay character.

Parent was asked the following question:
I know that the positive reaction was really strong since it was the first Archie issue ever to sell out. Was there a negative reaction that didn't get as much publicity like a boycott or something of that nature?
You can listen to Dan Parent's response here:

It was unclear to me from these AMA's which issues actually sold out. Parents' responses imply that Kevin's first appearance in VERONICA sold out. But I don't really remember hearing about a formal boycott of that issue. I do remember that the One Million Moms group launch a boycott of LIFE WITH ARCHIE (the gay wedding issue) and demanded that the issue get pulled from Toys 'R Us and other stores. They (kind of) got their wish. The comic book title was pulled from the stores -- by readers. LIFE WITH ARCHIE #16 sold out pretty quickly. Though I suspect many of those purchasing the book bought it before the OMM boycott announcement, I'm sure the extra publicity didn't hurt!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Iowa GOP Chair: Gay Marriage & Republicans Don't Mix

The Republican National Committee sent out it post-election autopsy report early this week and noted that the GOP needs to work harder at being more inclusive and less scary in order to grab more voters. One of those areas that the RNC noted that the GOP should be more inclusive was the issue of gays and lesbians. In other words, learn how to embrace conservatives who disagree on social issues such as same-sex marriage or protections.

Looks like the Iowa GOP isn't terribly interested in bending at all when it comes to gay and lesbian families, as evidenced by this e-mail sent by Iowa Republican GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker to the NRC:
Fellow RNC Members,

While inclusion is important, elected Republicans (we all know the most recent example) and National/State Party leaders who embrace so-called same sex marriage are doing grave harm to our Party and the whole of society. Lets not forget, so-called same sex marriage is an irreconcilable difference with the Republican Party's largest constituency... Committed Christians.
Iowa has been a marriage equality state for nearly four years. The court decision case through on 04/03/09 and Iowa's gay and lesbian couples began legally marrying a few weeks later. Since then, the GOP has been fighting hard to revoke our marriage rights & responsibilities and to punish the Iowa Supreme Court for daring to rule against them on this issue.

Meanwhile, there has been no great harm afflicted upon Iowa or its people since April 2009. Our marriage rates are up and our divorce rates are down. No church has been forced to host any wedding -- gay or het -- against its wishes. No pastor has been forced to officiate at any wedding that she or he doesn't endorse, nor has he or she gotten in trouble for preaching against gay marriage or gay sexuality or anything else. Our elementary schools are not teaching gay sex ed to our children. In short, the only thing that has changed since April 2009 is that gay and lesbian couples can now get legally married.

Why does the GOP continue to push against gay and lesbian families and talk about the societal harm that we spread, when anyone without an agenda can see that there hasn't been any harm? The GOP will never show itself to be a welcoming or inclusive place for most gay and lesbian people if it continues to work towards the dissolution of our families. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that.
 They really need to stop working to spread stories of harm where there is none and to stop fighting against gay families year after year if they ever have a chance of seriously reaching out to gay and lesbian voters, as well as our friends, families, and allies.

Alt-Folk Singer Michelle Shocked Goes on Anti-Gay Rant During San Francisco Gig // UPDATE: Michelle Shocked Finally Responds // Update: Michelle Shocked Prefers Cryptic Tweets to Radio Interviews

(Originally written on 03/18/13): Alternative Folk singer Michelle Shocked apparently decided to royally screw up her career by going on an anti-gay rant that ended with her encouraging fans to post the following message on Twitter: "God hates faggots." This rant occurred at a gig at a San Francisco dance club and led to a mass walk-out by her fans. As far as I can tell, there is no video footage of her rant. But witnesses have shared that it had to do with same-sex marriage and how she fears the the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.

(I guess she failed to noticed that gay and lesbian people have been marrying in pockets of the planet -- through commitment ceremonies, through domestic partnerships & civil unions, and through actual legal marriage -- for well over 20 years. Over 40 years, if you count commitment ceremonies officiated by ministers within the Metropolitan Community Church -- and you should. But I digress...)

Shocked has been silent since last night's rant with the exception of the above tweet; "Truth is leading to painful confrontation #shortsharpshocked."

Performance venues have already begun canceling appearances by Michelle Shocked.

Updated on 03/20/13: It has been several days since Michelle Shocked shocked her San Francisco audience with what some have called a homophobic rant, others have called an ironic statement, and at least one person (Shocked, herself) has described as a poorly phrased rambling statement.

I began following her Twitter feed to see how she would respond to the many fans who were surprised at what was being reported about Shocked's 03/17/13 concert, as well as those who were angered by it. But there was another group of folks who were interacting with her who were growing increasingly upset with her: those who just wanted her to clarify what she'd meant this past weekend. Instead of responding directly, Shocked would retweet others' statements about irony or comment about Truth Vs. Reality. She then began challenging people for repeating others' distorted and second hand description to the San Fran gig, but then failed to provide any first hand descriptions of the gig.

She even accused one reporter of spreading gossip. I'm glad to say that he pushed back a bit and reminded her that he had sought a statement from Shocked on more than one occasion. She ignored his requests so he went with witness reactions. What else was he to do?

I'm sure Shocked had a method to her madness, but it proved too sophisticated for most of the rest of the world who just wanted some straight talk.

Michelle Shocked finally issued the following statements earlier today about last weekend's concert:
I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else). I said that some of His followers believe that. I believe intolerance comes from fear, and these folks are genuinely scared. When I said "Twitter that Michelle Shocked says "God hates faggots," I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted. The show was all music, and the audience tweets said they enjoyed it. The commentary came about ten minutes later, in the encore.

And to those fans who are disappointed by what they've heard or think I said, I'm very sorry: I don't always express myself as clearly as I should. But don't believe everything you read on facebook or twitter. My view of homosexualty has changed not one iota. I judge not. And my statement equating repeal of Prop 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: it was a description of how some folks - not me - feel about gay marriage.

The show, and the rant, was spontaneous. As for those applauding my so-called stance that "God Hates Faggots," I say they should be met with mercy, not hate. And I hope that what remains of my audience will meet that intolerance with understanding, even of those who might hate them.

Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband. My sexuality is not at issue. What is being questioned is my support for the LGBT community, and that has never wavered. Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue. I'd like to say this was a publicity stunt, but I'm really not that clever, and I'm definitely not that cynical.

But I am damn sorry. If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor, and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them. I say this not because I want to look better. I have no wish to hide my faults, and - clearly - I couldn't if I tried.

With love,

I believe in a God who loves everyone, and my faith tells me to do my best to also love everyone. Everyone: gay or straight, stridently gay, self-righteously faithful; left or right, far left, far right; good, bad, or indifferent. That's the law: everyone.

I may disagree with someone's most fervently held belief, but I will not hate them. And in this controversy, that means speaking for Christians with opinions I in no way share about homosexuality. Will I endorse them? Never. Will I disavow them? Never.

I stand accused of forsaking the LGBT community for a Christianity which is - hear me now - anathema to my understanding of faith. I will no doubt take future flack for saying so. I'm accused of believing that "God hates fags" and that the repeal of Prop 8 will usher in the End Times. Well, if I caused such an absurdity, I am damn sorry. To be clear: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of any so-called faith preaching intolerance of anyone. Again, anyone: straight or gay, believers or not: that's the law.

That means upholding my punk rock values in the most evangelical enclaves and, in this case, speaking up for the most fearful of fundamentalists in, well, a San Francisco music hall full of Michelle Shocked fans.

As an artist in this time of unbearable culture wars, I understand: this means trouble, and this is neither the first nor last time trouble has come my way. And that's fine by me.

I know the fear many in the evangelical community feel about homosexual marriage, as I understand the fear many in the gay community feel toward the self-appointed faithful. I have and will continue speaking to both. Everything else - facebook, twitter, whatever - is commentary.
Meanwhile, audio of the Sunday night statement were also released today. Here is a transcript of Shocked's full rant:
So it’s not too late. You can jump into this Jesus gang anytime you want. But, um, I was in a prayer meeting yesterday, and you’ve gotta appreciate how scared, how scared folks on that side of the equation are. I mean, from their vantage point — and I really shouldn’t say ‘their,’ because it’s mine, too — we are nearly at the end of time. And from our vantage point, we’re gonna be, uhhh, I think maybe Chinese water torture is gonna be the means, the method — once Prop 8 gets, uh, instated, and once, um, preachers are held at gunpoint and forced to marry the homosexuals, I’m pretty sure that that will be the signal for Jesus to come on back...You said you wanted reality....If someone would be so gracious as to please tweet out, ‘Michelle Shocked just said from stage, God hates faggots.’ Would you do it now?
Meanwhile, 10 of her 11 tour venues have canceled since her recent statement/rant.

Updated on 03/22/13: I listened to Nicole Sandler's 03/21/13 "Radio Or Not" radio webcast (via iTunes podcast). I was looking forward to hearing her speak with alt-folk singer Michelle Shocked, about last Sunday's anti-gay rant at Yoshi's in San Francisco, and about what she really believes about these issues. What a mess!

It's not that Sandler didn't try. The plan was for Shocked to call the studio at a certain time and share her story and her perspective. Both women were actively promoting the interview throughout the week, as well as the purpose behind the interview. Unfortunately, things started looking bad the night the interview.

The women were texting Wednesday night to confirm the interview. Shocked was concerned that this was a webcast instead of a radio broadcast. She was also concerned that a podcast of the program would be available later. Shocked eventually suggested that she communicate her thoughts via Twitter, which Sandler could then repeat on the webcast. Sandler refused, reminding Shocked that this is supposed to be an interview, i.e., two people speaking with each others for others to hear. Shocked eventually told Sandler that she would await her call the next morning.

The call came the next morning. Michelle Shocked just refused to answer the call. Repeatedly.

Increasingly frustrated, Sandler began filling the time that she would have used to for the interview playing audio clips of Shocked's anti-gay words from the Sunday night gig at Yoshi's and reading from Shocked's written apology/explanation. Meanwhile, Shocked was listening to the webcast and sending comments via Twitter to Sandler, most of which Sandler refused to repeat on the progam.

Michelle Shocked did call three times to the program. The first time that she called, Shocked was distracted by the caller delay and feedback. Sandler kept telling her to turn off the computer and speak to her on the phone. Shocked refused to answer questions, but instead repeated her earlier written statement in brief halting bursts before hanging up.

In the second call, Shocked began counting -- in order to figure out how long the delay was. It was 20 seconds. She later implied on Twitter that the 20 second delay could/would be used by Sandler to distort Shocked's words. She hung up after determining the length of the delay.

Her third and final call came at the end of the program. Shocked interrupted one of her songs and told Sandler that she stood exposed to those who'd tuned in. Sandler would ask, "exposed for what???," but Shocked just continued lashing out at her for about a minute before handing up.

Like I said, it was a mess. You can listen to the whole interview here or watch it on video immediately below:

"Zombie Survival Camp" Offered to Children of Cedar Rapids, IA // Update:Children Survive Mock Zombie Attack!!

(Orginally written on 03/21/13): Iowa has been free from zombie incursions for several months. I've noticed this trend for a couple years now. We see several zombie attacks in the fall and in the spring and then they die off during the winter months. I'm beginning to wonder if the undead are vulnerable to the cold.

I noticed that the nearby city of Cedar Rapids, IA, hasn't let this period of respite slide by. They have wisely offered the children the opportunity to learn the skills needed to survive the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Check this out:
The city of Cedar Rapids wants kids to be ready for anything - including a zombie attack. The Parks and Recreation Department is holding two weeks of zombie survival camp through the end of March at the Ushers Ferry Historic Village. Adventurous kids between the ages of 8 and 12 are eligible to participate. Organizers say kids will make an emergency survival kit, build a shelter and find their way in the wilderness. The camp will test the kids' newly acquired survival skills on the last day with a "water gun war" of humans vs. zombies.
I'm not sure how I feel about pitting children against zombies -- especially armed with water guns!! -- but I trust the Zombie Survival Camp's organizers know what they're doing.

Updated on 03/22/13: KCRG reports that all of the children involved in this week's Zombie Survival Camp actually managed to survive the experience:
A group of 8 to 12 year-olds in Cedar Rapids thwarted a fake attack from zombies to learn real life lessons. The Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department hosted a two week day camp for Spring Break to prepare kids for the zombie apocalypse. The zombie aspect is simply a fun way to teach kids some basic survival skills, like teamwork, strategy and resource management.
KCRG notes that the camp had volunteers "dressed up as zombies," but I'm still suspicious that Park & Rec actually dug up a few freshly-bitten ghouls.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Will Comics Go Completely Digital?

I learned of a RedditAMA Q&A session with Archie Comics' Dan Parent yesterday and got to watch a couple of the video clips. There was one in particular that grabbed my attention. You can watch it here. I've experimented a little bit, but cannot figure out how to embed there AMA videos. But here is the question that Parent is responding to in this clip:
Do you think that comics will eventually stop printing and become fully digital?
Parent anticipates that there will always be a market (though a shrinking one) for dinosaurs like myself who want to hold their paper comics, but believes that the digital comic book market will continue growing in the coming years.

I think we are already seeing this shift reflected in Archie Comics' sales, which have continued to decline over the past six years. This was depressing to read, but then I noticed that we weren't seeing LIFE WITH ARCHIE reflected in those totals, nor do we see sales for their non-Archie titles such as NEW CRUSADERS or any of their licensed video game titles (SONIC and MEGA MAN). Additionally, we aren't seeing how well they are doing with their various books and trade paperbacks. And, most importantly for this particular blog article, we aren't seeing their digital sales reflected in these downward sale figures.

One of the things that I have noticed about Archie Comics since getting back into them over the past couple years is their prevalent use of digital tools to sell their comics. For a while, NEW CRUSADERS was only available digitally. Almost every day, Archie Comics releases tons of featured comic book releases on their Archie Comics App. And, I've gotta admit, I've bought my fair share of digital comics from the company over the past year -- including a bunch of titles that I missed when I was only reading Marvel Comics.

One of the books that I have been purchasing recently has been REGGIE & ME, which as far as I can tell is a digitally exclusive comic book title. It would not surprise me if we gradually begin noticing much more digitally exclusive comic books being published by Archie Comics and the other comic book publishers.

JUGHEAD ended publication early last year and fans have been anxiously awaiting his fate. Maybe Jughead won't get his print comic book back, but instead will find himself in a new digitally exclusive title? It might not be ideal to fortysomething comic book collectors, but it might be a great option for younger readers who enjoy downloading the latest title.

I still have my reservation about digital comics, but I am gradually coming to accept that they are a viable source for keeping the industry on its legs and its stories in the mind of this new generation of readers.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Belle Plaine City Council Debating the Merits of Urban Chickens

It has been three months since the Iowa City City Council approved an ordinance that allow the people of this community to raise chickens within the city limits. After all of the hoopla about whether or not this will be a good thing, I've heard nothing -- good or bad -- that has resulted from this new "urban chicken" ordinance. On the other hand, it has been very cold and snowy recently, so I would imagine that hardly anyone in this community has started the process of becoming urban chicken farmers yet.

This evening I read an article in the Gazette that indicates a new community is exploring the idea of joining Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Mount Vernon, Hills, and other in becoming an urban chicken community. Apparently, a resident of Belle Plaine, IA, recently approached the Belle Plaine City Council with the idea of allowing chickens within city limits, leading to a lengthy discussion at the Council's meeting last night.

The Gazette reported that the council  is divided and needs time to explore this issue more. Apparently, it was legal to raise urban chickens in Belle Plaine up until 1977. The Belle Plaine City Council wants to research what prompted the city to ban urban chickens back in the late 70s before they move forward with this discussion. They will likely discuss the topic at their next work session, which is scheduled for April 15th.

Belle Plaine is a relatively small community in nearby Benton County.

Faith United Church of Christ in the News Discussing Economic Justice

I haven't written much in recent months about my church, Faith United Church of Christ. It is a small progressive church located at 1609 Deforest Avenue in Iowa City. It does not have a lot of members, but it is extremely active in the many ways that it contributes money, food, and other supplies to local charities and organizations such as the Crisis Center, the Shelter House, the Domestic Violence Intervention Project, and nearby Mark Twain Elementary School. It always seems like we are going to hit the limit to what we can do -- and certainly there are times when we find ourselves taking a collective breather after certain projects -- but we always seem to find the energy and resources to move on to the next project.

After several years of this, members within the church began exploring the concept of establishing an Economic Justice covenant. The UCC's Economic Justice Covenant Program is a process of formally exploring issues of economic justice -- from a Biblical perspective, from a modern-day faith perspective, from our collective perspective as local and worldwide citizens, and from a personal perspective. A group called Faith Works came into being last year to help guide us through this process and the church membership agreed to formally proceed with the Economic Justice Covenant process at our Annual Meeting this past January.

Early today, several members of the Faith family were featured in an article within the Gazette about our community outreach and about our journey towards becoming an official Economic Justice church within the UCC. The article not only talks about what we do to serve our local and global community, but why we do it -- and why we have trouble applying the breaks sometimes:
Boxes of juice, containers of applesauce and piles of granola bars crowd three tables where Faith United Church of Christ just finished a recent Sunday service. Members of the small church, located at 1609 DeForest Ave., line up on each side, filling plastic grocery sacks with the food. Each bag — 36 total — were delivered to Mark Twain Elementary School on Friday. The bags eventually will go home with students who might otherwise be hungry.

The idea of any child — of any person, but especially a young a child — being told ‘I’m sorry, there’s no food until Monday,’ is difficult to comprehend,” says Marilyn Calkins, a member of Faith United Church of Christ. “How can any of us not do something?

Each week, for at least five years, volunteers from Faith United make the drive to Hiawatha to collect food from the HACAP Food Reservoir and bring it to the church. The weekend food program is just one way the church reaches out to those in need...

Nationally, more than one in seven Americans, or 15 percent, of the entire population live below the poverty line ($22,811 for a family of four with two children), according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released in late 2012.

Nearly 15 percent of households in the United States (50.1 million Americans, or one in six) are food insecure — meaning that the people in the household are unsure of how they will provide for their next meal at some point during the year. Households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity.

Slightly more than 40 percent of Iowa’s public school students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, according to the Iowa Department of Education. This is an increase from 27 percent 10 years ago.
The article notes that Faith UCC went through a similar -- though likely more contentious -- covenant process back in 1992 when we studied and eventually became the first UCC church in Iowa to declare itself open and affirming to all who seek Christian fellowship, regardless of sexual orientation.

If we do indeed adopt this new covenant, I believe that Faith UCC will be one of the first within the nation to have officially adopted this Economic Justice Church identity. If I remember correctly, there may have been one or two before us. There is no deadline for Faith UCC to become an Economic Justice Church within the UCC, but the plan is for us to have a scripted resolution by early 2014, assuming this is the decision the membership chooses to embrace.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Woman Tries Convincing Police that Cocaine is Really Baking Soda!

Iowa City Police pulled over a vehicle last night and discovered that one of the passengers was carrying a plastic baggie filled with a white substance in her purse. She tried convincing the police that it was baking soda that she uses to brush her teeth that she used when traveling to Chicago. Turns out it was 63 grams of crack cocaine!

Charnise McCambry was arrested and charged with cocaine possession with intent to distribute (which is a Class B Felony), possession of drugs without a tax-stamp (which is a Class D Felony), and two misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gay Marriage Updates Across the Nation -- 03/17/13

Since the beginning of the year, I have written a variety of marriage equality updates (here, here, here, here, here, and here). Here is a summary of this week's major marriage developments:

Colorado: The Colorado House finally passed its civil union bill early this week. It now needs to go to Gov. John Hickenlooper. He has already promised to sign this bill into law!

Illinois: It was widely reported last week that supporters of a marriage equality bill are 10 votes short in the Illinois House.

Minnesota: This past Tuesday, the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee approved a marriage equality bill by a vote of 5-3. Later that day, the Minnesota House Civil Law Committee approved its own marriage equality bill by a vote of 10-7. Those who runs things plan to shore up more support before moving forward with the full House and Senate membership. As someone who spent his teen years in Minnesota and who still has a lot of family in that state, it's pretty exciting to imagine a future where my husband and I can move back north for work or retirement without fearing the legal implications regarding our family!

Odawa Indian TribeI reported last week that the tribal council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians voted 5-4 in favor of allowing same-sex couples to get married and have their marriages recognized that the tribal government. It was my understanding that Little Traverse Bay Bands Chairman Dexter McNamara had to wait 28 days to sign off on this statute. Apparently that isn't so. Chairman McNamara not only signed off on the statute, but then officiated at the first gay marriage within the tribe this past Friday!

Plus, the Public Policy Polling group published the results of one poll this past week that addressed same-sex marriage and civil unions:

Pennsylvania: The PPP reported this past Wednesday that Pennsylvania voters support either marriage equality or civil unions as opposed to no legal recognition by a marriage of 74% to 24%. When asked if same-sex marriage should be allowed, only 45% agreed compared to 47% who disagreed. But when asked more specifically about same-sex marriage, civil unions, or nothing, 38% supported marriage, 36% supported civil unions, and only 24% opposed any legal recognition of gay relationships.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Leslie at the Iowa Mid-Winter Special Olympics Tournament -- 03/16/13

I got home not too long ago from the Iowa Mid-winter Special Olympics Tournament where our oldest boy Leslie competed in the Powerlifting competitions -- both bench-pressing and dead-lifting. There were tons of athletes competing at this event. We ended up being there from 8:30 AM until nearly 2:30 PM, but it was worth it. Leslie ended up earning two gold medals at the event. Check out these pics:

Leslie bench pressing
Leslie bench pressing
Leslie after winning his first gold medal
Leslie dead lifting
Leslie winning his second gold medal
If you look in the mirror of the fifth picture, you can see me taking a picture of Leslie while he's dead lifting. I'm wearing what I grudgingly refer to as my "Target Shirt." I have no clue where I actually bought it, but every time I wear it while at Target, customers flock to me and demand that I assist with their shopping needs. Not cool. But I digress...

Even though there was a lot of downtime, it was a pretty fun experience. I got to visit with some of the other parents and Leslie got to hang out with some of his best friends outside of school. Plus, this was his official "back to Special Olympics" moment.

He quit competing back when D'Angelo moved in with us. I'm not sure why. I think he just needed time away from the organization. Eight years later, he and his friend Jake decided that they wanted to give Powerlifting a try. Now they are talking about getting back into Track & Field. Hopefully, they will follow through with this idea. Special Olympics is a great opportunity for keeping fit and active, but it also gives them a chance to show off their skills and to meet new friends.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Montezuma, IA, Newspaper Publishes List of University of Iowa Salaries // Notes that "Oriental" Names Will Net You Higher Income

The Montezuma Record of Montezuma, IA, recently just published a listing of every employee at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, including employees of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Iowa City's local Press-Citizen usually publish the employees of all University staff every year, as well as all county, city, and school employees, regardless of income level so this publication is hardly unprecedented. However, the Press-Citizen usually just publishes these salaries without comment.

The Montezuma Record is under heat because borderline racist editorial statements scattered throughout their salary listings. Such as "Hyphenated, unspellable and oriental names may get you the big bucks."

The Montezuma Record acknowledges that many of these over $100,000 salaries are for UIHC staff -- many of whom hold highly specialized positions. But then they note: "The relatively high numbers of employees with names from Asia and the Near East is interesting. While there are SMiths (sic) and Jones, there are eleven Ahmeds to only 30 Browns."

The Ames Progressive broke the story yesterday, which sparked an online petition for the newspaper's publisher and editor in chief, Chuck Dunham, to apologize. Dunham later commented that he doesn't use the Internet and has no plans respond to the online petition, stating "If you want to write me a letter, that's fine; I only deal with what's on paper." He then hung up on the caller.

NOM: Adoptive Families Are 2nd Best -- Including Chief Justice Roberts' Family // Update: NOM Doubles-Down on "Adoption=2nd Best Families" Meme! // Further Updated: Chairman Eastman Now Disagrees with NOM's Position that Adoption is "2nd Best"

(Originally written on 03/14/13): The anti-gay family forces are so eager to make digs at married gay people and our kids that they are dissing heterosexual adoptive parents as "second-best options" -- including U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and his wife, as well as U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas!:
Gay marriage opponents said they are not worried about the votes of Roberts and Thomas. "You're looking at what is the best course societywide to get you the optimal result in the widest variety of cases. That often is not open to people in individual cases. Certainly adoption in families headed, like Chief Roberts' family is, by a heterosexual couple, is by far the second-best option," said John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. Eastman also teaches law at Chapman University law school in Orange, Calif.
I'm sure Eastman thought he was making an effective point. But he ended up coming off as a bit of a jerk. IMHO, as always.

Updated on 03/15/13: At a panel on conservatives and bullying last night at CPAC, Brian Brown, NOM's president, not only affirmed Eastman's assertions about adoptive families. He confirmed that this as the official NOM position:
“Well, the reality is that on any indicator we’ve been able to measure since the explosion and the break down of the family from the 60s to the present is that children do best with both their mother and father,” NOM President Brian Brown said. “Obviously, we need to encourage adoption, we need do everything we can to help single motherhood...”

While promoting the idea of children being raised by biological parents, he also said he encourages adoption. Brown later drew a distinction between adopted children being raised by opposite-sex parents or a single parent and same-sex marriage.

It’s entirely different when you put into the law the notion that either mothers or fathers are completely expendable,” Brown said. “And that, at it’s nature, is what same-sex marriage is all about: two moms or two dads are essentially the same as a mother and a father. That is not the case. Children have rights, too. Children have a right to have a chance to have both a mother and a father.”

The Blade’s question to Brown was whether he shares the views expressed by NOM Board Chair John Eastman in an Associated Press report that Roberts’ decision to adopt children was the “second-best option” for them as opposed to being raised by their biological parents.
So this is what we are learning about the National Organization for Marriage these days. NOM believes in a tier system when it comes to families: 1. Biological families; 2. Adoptive families; 3. Single mothers; 4. Single fathers (maybe; though this wasn't articulated). It's unclear where step-families fit into this hierarchy.

We also know that gay families don't even make the list and that NOM.

I still remember the days when Maggie Gallagher used to assert that NOM was only about the definition of marriage and actually affirmed gay parenting.

Updated on 03/16/13: NOM's Chairman John Eastman issued the following statement today:
An article by the Associated Press has been mischaracterized by The Huffington Post to grossly misrepresent my views on adoption. I believe that couples who adopt children are heroes and do a great service to society, and to the children they adopt. I strongly believe, based on thousands of years of experience and countless social science studies, that children do best when raised by a mother and a father within the bounds of marriage. I commend all those couples who selflessly give of themselves to raise a child who, through no fault of her own, has been deprived of a mother and father. There is nothing 'second best' about adoption.
I guess NOM doesn't believe in a hierarchy of family types after all. At least, not now.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Sir! We're Delivering a Baby Right Here, Right Now!"

There were lots of screaming sirens last night around my house last night in Iowa City. A quick glance at the Press-Citizen website this afternoon revealed the source of one of those siren blast. Turns out a couple was rushing to Mercy Hospital to deliver a baby. They didn't make it on time:
Iowa City Police Sgt. Vicki Lalla said officer Kevin Wolfe was on patrol shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday when a car went past him at a high rate of speed. Wolfe pursued the car and attempted to have to driver pull over.

When the driver finally pulled over at the corner of Jefferson and Gilbert streets, he had some surprising news for Wolfe.

“They driver jumped out and said ‘We’re delivering a baby right now,’” said Lalla.

Lalla said the driver then ran around to the passenger side and opened the door. By the time Wolfe got over there, the baby was delivered, Lalla said.

“He got a blanket out of the backseat of the car to wrap the baby in,” Lalla said.
You can watch a video of this officer's interaction with this couple right here. We're talking four minutes to pull over the couple, witness the delivery of a baby boy, and then escort the new parents to the nearby hospital!

Fortunately, the officer was very cool throughout this entire traffic stop. I've heard of officers who were total jerks in similar situations. I applaud Officer Kevin Wolfe for being a stand-up officer in this exciting situation.