Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Democratic Candidates for Iowa Governor Both Pushing for Increase in Minimum Wage

I'm still licking wounds over news that State Representative Tyler Olson decided to quit the 2014 Iowa gubernatorial race. Don't get me wrong. There are other great candidates. I just got excited about Olson. The Gazette posted an article about one of those other great candidates: Senator Jack Hatch. He's currently promoting an increase in Iowa's minimum wage law from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour:
Raising the minimum wage will be a key part of Hatch’s strategy for growing the number of working middle-class Iowa families. His 2014 challenge to Republican Gov. Terry Branstad is going to be about “enhancing the middle class, increasing their ability to make more and better choices for their families.”

Iowans working for minimum wage don’t enjoy the same choices as middle class families, Hatch said. They wouldn’t have to choose between food and medicine, for example.

“A low minimum wage makes those choices predisposed,” Hatch said. “Families make bad choices because they don’t have enough income.”

However, Hatch said, middle class is more than just an income. Citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing Iowa has ninth highest percentage of people working multiple jobs, Hatch said that some low-wage workers are middle class because they work 60 to 80 hours a week.

That, he said, takes them away from the “essence of the middle class.” 
Middle class means “a family that is interacting with one another,” Hatch said. “There is a relationship between the middle class and their church, between the middle class and their government, the middle class and their schools.
I have debated the effectiveness of a minimum wage with people in my life -- especially the raising of the minimum wage. I keep getting told that employers cannot afford to raise minimum wages. On the other hand, those earning $7.25 per hour (not to mention those earning slightly more than minimum wage) cannot afford to make purchases that feed back into their employers.

Everything is going up. Rent is increasing. Utilities are increasing. Cable is steadily increasing. The cost of gasoline is going up. So is the cost of bus passes and food and pretty much everything else. But wages aren't increasing -- or they aren't going up enough to meet rising expenses. That means that the working poor have barely enough to pay for the basics and not enough to support local businesses -- certainly not on a consistent basis.

So I'm supportive of Sen. Hatch's plan to increase Iowa's minimum wage.

Iowa's other leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Bob Krause, has already advocated for an increase of the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.

Sadly, the GOP controls the Iowa House of Representatives so I don't see even a modest increase in the minimum wage any time in the near future.

Marriage Equality States Doubled in 2013!

FreedomToMarry.Org posted the following image and it's worth noting. The USA doubled the amount of marriage equality states in 2013:

We shall have to wait until 2014 (or beyond) to see if Utah sticks with the rest of us, but this has been an exciting year for those who support equal marriage rights & responsibilities for all!

Monday, December 30, 2013

"Afterlife With Archie #3": Who's Infected?

You might remember this November 2013 blog article about AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #2 where I finished with the following image. Basically, we readers were teased with the question of which member of the Riverdale Gang is already infected with Sabrina's zombie spell? Here were the choices: Archie? Veronica? Betty? Moose? Midge? Dilton? Chuck? Reggie? Or Kevin?

Archie's online fans were polled and here are the results:

Moose is clearly in the lead with 28% of the vote followed by Reggie and Midge with 14% and 13% of the vote, respectively.

I also believe that Moose is the one who's infected. He had a lot of contact with Jughead and most of it was off-panel. I could say the same thing about Archie, but I really don't see him becoming a zombie in the near future. But my second choice remains Betty. What do you want to be that Zombie Ethel scratched our favorite Good Girl? Plus, the second story arc is titled "R.I.P. Betty," which kind of hints at her demise.

Who's you choice? Do you agree with me and the majority of Archie fandom about Moose's infection? Or do you march to a different drummer's beat?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

No Easy Choice -- Defrocked Methodist Minister Forced to Choose Career over his Family

(Rev. Schaefer and Son)
I'm having one of those afternoons where I can't think of much to write about except "Duck Dynasty" and I really don't want to write anything more "Duck Dynasty" this weekend! Instead, I was prompted to revisit the story of Rev. Frank Schaefer of Pennsylvania who was recently defrocked from the United Methodist Church after he got in trouble for officiating at his gay son's wedding six years ago (read here and here for background).

Two weeks ago when news broke that Rev. Schaefer was indeed defrocked, I made a simple comment following this article on the Religion News Service website:
How sad. Rev. Frank Schaefer was defrocked by the United Methodist Church (the church that I grew up in) because he officiated at the wedding of his oldest son. How terribly sad.
I ignored a response by this Frank guy who usually makes the rounds when these topics are brought up, but was intrigued by a guy named Duane Lamers who commented:
Mr. Trouten, it can be argued that Schaefer did not officiate at the wedding of his son because marriage is between a male and a female. Perhaps if he had devised some other recognition for this cohabitation, he might not have incurred suspension.
Which prompted an obvious response by me:
It could be argued that he didn’t officiate at his son’s wedding, but he actually did and that is why he was defrocked.
I understand what Mr. Lamers was trying to communicate -- that there was no actual wedding because marriage can only exist between a man and a woman (despite the fact that there are married gay couples throughout the world, as well as plural marriages throughout the world also). But obviously the wedding occurred or else he wouldn't have been convicted of disobeying the Methodist Book of Discipline for officiating at the wedding and he wouldn't haven't been defrocked as a result of that conviction!

But did you know that Methodist ministers aren't just prohibited from officiating at same-sex weddings? Apparently, Methodist ministers are banned from just attending gay weddings!

I was at a wedding last weekend -- an opposite-sex wedding. I don't want to get anyone in trouble for any misunderstanding!!. Later during the reception, I got to chatting with the Methodist minister who officiated at this particular wedding.

Somehow, the subject of my own wedding came up and he was a little surprised to learn that I had a church wedding. He was less surprised when he learned that I'm no longer a member of the United Methodist Church, but instead the United Church of Christ.

That led to a shift in the conversation about Rev. Schaefer getting defrocked. That's when I learned about the "no attending gay weddings" rule from this particular Methodist minister. We discussed how difficult it really was for Rev. Schaefer to promise to avoid future same-sex weddings given that most of his children are gay adults. "Really, there's no choice," the minister told me. "You choose your child."

Do you reject your child or do you stay away for your career? That is the painful divide between real life relationships versus rigid institutional dogma. It will be interesting to see which side wins out in the end.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Senator Mike Lee Sponsors Bill Preventing the IRS from Punishing Churchs for Refusing Gay Weddings -- Even Though No Church Is Forced to Marry Any Couple Regardless of Gay or Straight!

Senator Mike Lee (R) of Utah introduced a bill called the "Marriage and Religious Freedom Act," which would prevent the IRS from denying tax-exempt status to any person or group that refuses to perform gay marriages -- because absolutely zero churches and/or religious officials have lost their tax-exempt status for refusing to officiate at the weddings of gay and lesbian couples (or any couple, for that matter) during the past decade of same-sex marriage in America:
"What we're talking about here is the freedom of religious belief, the freedom of a church, for example, to adhere to its own religious doctrine so that it cannot be discriminated against by the government," the Utah Republican said in an interview with Newsmax.

Lee said the federal government's failure to protect religious liberty — citing Obamacare mandates for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs — was a key motivation for him to introduce the "Marriage and Religious Freedom Act," which protects clergy from being punished if they refuse to perform gay marriages.

"This is something that the overwhelming majority of Americans would support and the overwhelming majority of Americans would be disappointed if they discovered Congress would be unwilling to pass something like this," Lee said.
On the other hand, we have seen social and political conservatives trying to outright ban willing chaplains from having the option of officiating at the weddings of same-sex couples. We have had clergy defrocked for officiating at the same-sex weddings of friends and family members. We have had clergy defrocked for simply attending same-sex weddings.

But this bill is needed because of some nonexistent threat that gays will force Catholic priests to marry them.

The "Marriage and Religious Freedom Act" has the support of groups such as the National Organization for Marriage, Heritage Action, Concerned Woman for America, and the Family Research Council.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Phil Robertson's Suspension from "Duck Dynasty" Lifted

A week ago Wednesday, Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" got some attention for quoting anti-gay Bible verses and for asserting that vaginas are where it's at (and for talking about how blacks were happier under Jim Crow -- but few seem to care about that) in a GQ article. I learned of this during my lunch hour and by the time I got home from work, he'd been "indefinitely suspended" from Duck Dynasty by A&E.

Earlier today, A&E defined the terms of his suspension:
As a global media content company, A+E Networks' core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people's homes, and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles. 
That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil's comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the "coarse language" he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would "never incite or encourage hate." We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article and reiterate that they are not views we hold. 
But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about. 
So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family. 
We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.
Keep in mind, Robertson was suspended for 1 1/2 weeks. Production was already halted during that time period due to Christmas. My understand is that at least one new episode of the reality TV show aired during that time period with Phil Robertson in it. A&E also had back-to-back marathons of the program throughout the Christmas break.

I know I was being cynical for suggesting that this whole dust-up was manufactured by the network, by the production team, and by the Duck Dynasty family, but I don't believe that I am wrong about that. It ensured a nice culture war reaction right before Christmas when lots of people were looking for Duck Dynasty products to purchase from Wal-Mart and lots of time to watch something on cable TV. They got lots of people talking about the show. And the entire family will return to produce new episodes early next year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chick-Phil-A Day

Lots of people have apparently pledged to wear camouflage and eat at Chick-fil-A on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, to show their support for Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" and his free speech rights. They are calling it "Chick-Phil-A Day."

These supporters want to support Robertson's right to assert his preferences for vaginas over anuses, as well as his religious beliefs against gay relationships. They are upset because A&E chose to "indefinitely suspend" him from the show -- even though Robertson continues to appear on new episodes of the program and even though A&E doesn't mind airing "Duck Dynasty" marathons throughout the Christmas break.

But these same folks are also planning to go to Chick-fil-A to support his right to say this about Jim Crow-era southern blacks... right? Because that was part of the infamous GQ article that people are flocking behind:
Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana -- “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Chick-fil-A has nothing to do with this effort. Neither does Phil Robertson. But Chick-fil-A will benefit monetarily from this event. And we LGBTs will be treated to yet another day when our Facebook feeds are filled with images of "friends" flocking to Chick-fil-A to support their "freedom of speech" against us.

Something to look forward to, eh?

Senator Tom Harkin: Working Families Need Congress' Help

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa speaking last week:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

Is Utah the 18th Marriage Equality State?? // Updated on 12/25/13: 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals Blocks Efforts to Halt Gay Weddings!

(Originally written on 12/20/13): OMFG... I absolutely did not see this one coming. Earlier this afternoon, a federal judge in Utah struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, asserting that it violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process!:
"The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. "Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."
Needless to say, neither Gov. Gary Herbert nor Utah's Attorney General's Office are pleased with this decision. They immediately began complaining about Judge Shelby being an "activist federal judge" and stating that they are drafting a motion seeking a stay on today's ruling, as well as an appeal.

Meanwhile, dozens of same-sex couples are lined up in Salt Lake City in an effort to get legally married before any stay motions are hypothetically approved. Utah allows couples to officially marry and receive their marriage licenses all at once. This couple is reportedly the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Utah.

This will not be an easy win. The Utah government will fight this battle tooth-and-nail all the way to their highest courts. But Pandora's Box has been opened. Utah no has numerous same-sex couples who have successfully applied for and received legal marriage licenses. That cannot be taken from them.

This is indeed an exciting day!

Updated on 12/25/13: Utah's Attorney General's Office has been doing its darnedest to stop the gay marriage ceremonies in that state. Unfortunately, they missed the boat by waiting too long. In other word, instead of preventing the marriages from happening last week and altering the status quo, they waited until gay marriage became the new status quo and then tried altering that. It didn't work. In fact, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Utah's latest request for an emergency stay late yesterday:
The court said in its short ruling that a decision to put gay marriage on hold was not warranted, but said it put the case on the fast track for a full appeal of the ruling.
Utah now plans to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, roughly 700 same-sex couples have been married across Utah since last Friday's ruling!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Black Santa Shot by Pellet Gun During Toy Giveaway!

Fox News might doubt the legitimacy of Black Santa, but one such Santa found himself shot twice in the back earlier today at a Christmas toy drive!

The Santa was shot twice in the back by a pellet gun from a nearby home in Washington DC. Unfortunately, the police were limited with their response because they couldn't enter any of the neighboring homes without a search warrant. Black Santa was sent to the hospital because of the pellets was still stuck in his shoulder.

But the toy drive continued -- without the aid of a Santa!

Where is Sven? // Updated Sven Appearances!

(Jon & Sven)
(Originally written on 12/05/13): Arrived today at work and was immediately informed of a new fun activity to kick off the holiday spirit. One of my co-workers found a little snowman and named it Sven. Sven was hidden somewhere in the office area. Folks in my office have been tasked with finding Sven's elusive hiding place. Guess who found Sven first (during my lunch hour!!)??

This of course makes me the coolest co-worker in my department. That just had to be said.

I was immediately tasked with finding a new hiding place for Sven. So far, nobody has tracked him down. Part of the fun is coming up with oblique clues about his new hiding place. I'm still brainstorming multiple clues -- because I'm fairly certain that nobody will locate Sven in the littlie nest that I created for him.

One co-worker in particular keeps hanging on every word I utter. For some reason, she believes that I'm already giving out clues. Fortunately, none of my fake clues have led to his real hidey-hole!

Updated on 12/10/13: I'm developing quite the obsession with our little wooden snowman! Despite my best efforts, I missed my opportunity yesterday to find Sven in one of his latest hiding places. Fortunately, I managed to photo-bomb my co-worker Jen's snowman selfie!

Fortunately, I found the elusive snowman early this morning, prompting a selfie of my own!

I hid Sven this morning and sent out my big clue late this afternoon (since I won't be in the office most of the morning tomorrow), which led to his discovery at the very tail-end of today.

It has been suggested by more than a couple of my co-workers -- as well as Husband Mark -- that I'm becoming a bit too obsessed with finding Sven. So I'm going to do my best to sit back and let the others finish out the season. But it's cool to note that I was not only the first person to find Sven, but also the first person to find him twice!

Updated on 12/11/13: I couldn't resist myself! I learned this morning's clue while on an outing and I knew where he was right away! How could I not search for the unseen snowman??

I can't help myself! I'm addicted to seeking Sven! I don't know how to quit him!!

There is a steady stream of voices -- including several of my more competitive co-workers, my husband, and my son's birth grandmother -- who've encouraged me to take a step back. It has been suggested that I close my eyes and sit back on my hands and let others play with Sven.

I hereby vow to do my best to sever my ties with Sven the Snowman. Please keep me in your prayers...

Updated on 12/13/13: It was too difficult to resist the clues today. I ended up finding Sven hidden in a cubby-hole located behind the copier machine!:

Updated on 12/16/13: I just can't help myself. I've been drawn to this snowy siren so often, I'm beginning to think that he's purposely reaching out mentally for me! -- Or else they're just running out of hiding places!

Oh Sven...

Updated on 12/19/13: I went through some Sven withdrawals today. First I found the little guy's latest hiding place, left him in peace, and then helped a co-worker who hadn't had the good fortune of finding him yet. She was pretty excited to get some Sven time before finding a new hiding place for the little guy.

So I felt a little less guilty for deciphering the latest set of clues and finding Sven at the end of my work day. It's likely going to be a long weekend due to bad weather and I just couldn't resist my favorite wooden snowman!

Updated on 12/24/13: Today was the last day to search for Sven. Nobody found him over the past two work days, so I began searching early this morning. I found Sven hidden amongst some hole-punchers. I took one last selfie and then hid him away with my final clue:

But while searching for Sven, I ran across a totally new snowman in our office! I still have no idea who hid this new wannabe, but he's a cutie! Check him out:

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Navajo Nation Clarifies: Our Gay Marriage Ban Still Exists!

New Mexico might have marriage equality, but the Navajo Nation is still a marriage inequality tribe!:
In June 2005, the Navajo Nation Council enacted the Diné Marriage Act to recognize marriages "contracted" outside of tribal lands but that law says same-sex marriage is "void and prohibited." Navajo law also does not recognize polygamy or marriage between family members. "The purposes of marriage on the Navajo Nation are to promote strong families and to preserve and strengthen family values," the law states.

Deswood Tome, an advisor to Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, said New Mexico's legalization of same-sex marriage does not affect tribal law. The Navajo Tribe is a sovereign nation and while it respects the laws of other states and agencies, it has established its own law regarding same-sex marriage and that remains in place until the council decides otherwise, he said.
This is the flipside of other recent news stories where American Indian tribes -- including the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon, the Santa Ysabel Tribe in California, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington State, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma -- have recognized same-sex marriages within their own tribes even though the surrounding state bans recognition of such marriages.

Alabama Community Upset After Hiring All-Male Drag Troupe to Perform at their Community's Christmas Parade

The community of Semmes, Alabama, is all worked up after one of the performance groups that they hired for their annual Christmas parade showed up to complete the terms of their employment. The Friends of Semmes hired, among other acts, a dancing group consisting of black drag queens to march in the Semmes Christmas Parade. The group is called The Prancing Elite and they're pretty good performers, judging from this video:

According to this news report, parade goers were "outraged" and appalled" by the Prancing Elite. Others were concerned about children being tainted by the performance:
The captain of the troupe, Kentrell Collins, said he believed the offer had been made in good faith, and that the representative for the Friends of Semmes to whom he spoke knew who she was hiring. “I said we’re all over 21 and we’re guys. She was so excited. She was like I didn’t know they had any groups like that in Mobile,” Collins told Fox 10 News...

The members of “The Prancing Elite” sympathized with those who were offended. “We do want to apologize if we offended anybody who did not know who we were before today, but still at the end of the day, we only just came to dance and we did get invited,” troupe leader Collins said.
It's already been announced that the Friends of Semmes will not be allowed to book performance groups at next year's Christmas Parade. Instead, the local city council will assume that responsibility.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nero and Ms. Lion at Daycare -- 12/21/13

Nero and Ms. Lion spent the weekend at Lucky Pawz while the rest of the family (minus the cat) traveled north for a family wedding. Ms. Lion looked miserable on Friday, but looks like she's much happier in these Saturday pics. Nero, as usual, always loves to play with his friend. Check it out:

Archie & Friends Become "Holiday Heroes" in ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #246!

I recently heard that Archie Comics had stepped up in a big way with its support for the Toys For Tots program by donating over one million dollars worth of children's book to the program. Toys For Tots is a not-for-profit charity organization dedicated to providing Christmas toys to needy children:
"We couldn't think of a worthier or better charity to donate our books to than Toys For Tots," said Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater. "We are extremely proud to encourage children to discover reading who may not have the opportunity and hopefully enrich their lives through our characters."
This story was in the back of my head when I read a new story in ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #246 titled "Holiday Heroes." This story was written by Alex Simmons and penciled by Jeff Schultz. It tells the story of how Kevin, Betty, and Jughead recruit Archie and Chuck to collect and deliver new toys to needy kids:

Archie is a reluctant volunteer, but quickly gets into the spirit. But will the day be ruined when their last toy delivery gets ruined by a nasty water leak? Maybe not -- Archie has a plan!

"Holiday Heroes" was a lot of fun. It showed the Riverdale Gang at their best -- doing a good deed for a good cause, while overcoming a major obstacle.

I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that this was the first time that Kevin Keller has shown up in any of Archie Comics' digest comic books. Usually I see him running around with Veronica, so it was actually good to see him teaming up with the rest of the gang for a change.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Methodist Minister Defrocked After Getting in Trouble for Officiating at his Gay Son's Wedding

Last month, United Methodist Church minister Rev. Frank Schaefer was convicted by a church jury for officiating at the wedding of his oldest gay son. The private wedding took place in 2007 in another state, but a complaint was filed by a member of his church weeks before the six-year statute of limitation for filing such complaints. Rev. Schaefer hadn't made a big deal out of the wedding, but it wasn't a secret either. Since he refused to promise to avoid same-sex wedding in the future (three of his four children are gay), a church trial was held and Rev. Schaefer was convicted of disobeying the Methodist Book of Discipline.

Following his conviction, Rev. Schaefer was suspended from ministerial duties for 30 days. During those 30 days, he was to "take time to prayerfully discern new calling to LGBT persons" and he was to meet with the Board of Ordained Ministry. He was told that he would be permanently stripped of his ministerial orders if after 30 days he decided that he could not follow the Methodist Book of Discipline 100%.

Rev. Frank Schaefer was formally defrocked by United Methodist Church officials on Thursday, December 19, 2013, because he officiated at the wedding of his eldest son:
In an interview afterward, Mr. Schaefer said that as he got into the car to go home, his wife noticed he was shaking. “For 20 years, I’ve served this church, and it has now put me outside,” he said. “I find myself totally shunned, excluded. It just felt awful.”
He said he would not consider leaving the Methodist Church for a denomination that has changed its teaching on homosexuality.
“It’s not that easy when a church is your spiritual home,” he said. “All my children have been baptized in the United Methodist Church. I don’t know how to be a minister out of the United Methodist Church.”
It sounds like Rev. Schaefer is gonna have to learn because I don't see the UMC changing its decision anytime soon, despite his appeal of the decision.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nero and Ms. Lion at Daycare -- 12/20/13

Both dogs got sent to doggy daycare today. Nero was super excited when I dropped him off. Ms. Lion was shivering. Looks like she continued to shiver, because they draped her in a blanket! At least she doesn't look freaked out like she normally does when we take her to Lucky Pawz! Check it out:

Some Final Thoughts on the "Duck Dynasty" Kerfuffle

I really hate stuff like this Phil Robertson/"Duck Dynasty" story. They end up polarizing and it just seems like a bunch of opportunistic people attempting to glob onto the story and make it into an anti-Christian message and free speech. Because it's every network's obligation to give a reality TV to anyone who wants one. And of course, everyone from Fox News' Todd Starnes to Sarah Palin to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are totally behind Phil Robertson's Christian message about the desirability of vaginas while seemingly also supporting his belief that black people loved living in the Jim Crow-era south.

I actually found myself discussing this issue tonight with a guy on an online discussion board who asserted that he has no problem with any of Robertson's statements, including these racist assertions:
Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana -- “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
"I wouldn't mind working for an open racist, if he didn't act on that racism negatively," I was told by this 20-year-old white guy. "If a man can defend his beliefs, then I will respect him, no matter how wrong I think he is."

I told the guy that I'm the father of a multiracial son and would never tolerate working for an "open racist." I mean, c'mon...

Speaking of my 13-year-old son, even he is wise enough to recognize that Jim Crow-era black people weren't content to toil in the plantation fields throughout their lives -- especially while being legally prevented from voting, from shopping at most stores, from drinking out of certain drinking fountains, from attending good schools unmolested, from getting well-paying job that he'd actually prosper at, and from interacting with white people.

And then there is the racist assertion that the black folks who would have hoed cotton in the fields are now all sitting around collecting welfare benefits. Because all black people sit around collecting a welfare check.

But now people are ranting about A&E interfering with Robertson's free speech rights, ignoring the fact that public figures are routinely fired for unwisely expressing their free speech rights. I mean, where were Palin and Jindal when MSNBC got rid of Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir after each of those men exercised their free speech rights? Where were Palin and Jindal when TLC booted Crazy Tony from the "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" reality TV show for dancing around a highway wearing a gorilla costume? Don't his free speech rights count?

And where is my obligatory reality TV show? I want one and unless some cable network reaches out to me with a television proposal very soon, I will be forced to issue a public complaint about the restriction of my own free speech rights. That's a ridiculous idea, but that's how people are coming across with this story.

I guarantee that Phil Robertson's free speech won't be curtailed for long. He will have tons of speaking gigs where he will be able to share his story, his faith, his fascination for vaginas, and his belief that gay people are heartless and faithless. And my guess is that he will eventually return to the program at some not-to-distant-point-in-the-future as part of some hyped publicity scheme.

The cynical part of me believes that this is all part of some corporate hype effort to draw more eyes to this reality TV show and to create more buzz for the show and for the show's stars. And that gay people were at the center for this new culture war front. And it bugs me that we likely fell for it.

University Heights, IA, City Councilor Accused of Shoplifting // Updated 12/20/13: Rosanne Hopson Guilty of 5th-Degree Theft

(Originally written on 10/11/13): University Heights, IA, is this tiny little town smooshed within the city of Iowa City. Its population is about the size of my hometown (about 1,000), but with no scenic country view. It has a reputation for being a speed trap. Otherwise, it's mostly residential.

I was listening to KCJJ radio yesterday morning when I first heard police reports that 55-year-old Rosanne Colosimo Hopson, a member of the University Heights City Council, was arrested and charged with 5th Degree Theft Wednesday evening. According to news reports, Hopson was shopping at the Waterfront Hy-Vee grocery store when loss prevention officers noticed her eating dried fruit from a bag. They report that she put the bag in her purse when she was done and failed to pay for the fruit with the rest of her grocery.

The value of the bag of dried fruit is $0.49.

Hopson claims that the empty bag of fruit, which she admitted to sampling from, must have accidentally fallen into her purse. If convicted of this charge, Hopson faces up to 30 days in jail.

KCJJ reported online that sources within Hy-Vee suspects Hopson of similar thefts in the past and had been trying to catch her for a while.

Hopson is currently up for re-election and has been serving on the University Heights City Council since 2011.

Updated on 12/20/13: Rosanne Hopson finally had her day in court -- and she was found guilty of fifth-degree theft for stealing a $0.49 bag of dried fruit:
Police say Hopson attempted to leave Waterfront Hy-Vee with a 49-cent bag of dried fruit in her purse.

Hy-Vee loss prevention officers told police that Hopson took a bag of dried fruit from the store’s bulk section and snacked on it while she shopped. Hopson paid for the other items in her shopping cart but not the bag of fruit, which was found under a napkin in her purse, according to police.

During the bench trial, Hopson said the alleged theft was an accident and she never intended to steal the dried fruit.
KCJJ Radio reports that Hy-Vee loss prevention officials had suspected Hopson of similar thefts in the past and had been trying to catch her in the act.

Hopson will undergo a sentencing hearing on 01/24/13.

Hopson was elected to the University Heights City Council in 2011. She lost her re-election bid last month. She will remain in office until the end of 2013.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Mexico Just Became Marriage Equality State #17!!

Good news! The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously earlier today that same-sex marriage is legal across that state -- effective immediately!!:
We conclude that although none of New Mexico’s marriage statutes specifically prohibit same-gender marriages, when read as a whole, the statutes have the effect of precluding same-gender couples from marrying and benefiting from the rights, protections, and responsibilities that flow from a civil marriage. Same-gender couples who wish to enter into a civil marriage with another person of their choice and to the exclusion of all others are similarly situated to opposite-gender couples who want to do the same, yet they are treated differently.

Because same-gender couples (whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, hereinafter “LGBT”) are a discrete group which has been subjected to a history of discrimination and violence, and which has inadequate political power to protect itself from such treatment, the classification at issue must withstand intermediate scrutiny to be constitutional. Accordingly, New Mexico may neither constitutionally deny same-gender couples the right to marry nor deprive them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of marriage laws, unless the proponents of the legislation—the opponents of same-gender marriage—prove that the discrimination caused by the legislation is “substantially related to an important government interest.”
This makes New Mexico the 17th Marriage Equality State! What a great Christmas present to that state's gay and lesbian couples!

Sonic Jumps in SONIC SUPER DIGEST #5!

I bought SONIC SUPER DIGEST #5 a few weeks ago and finally got around to reading it. It was hidden in the back of my work tote! SONIC SUPER DIGEST is actually the one Archie Comics comic book featuring Sonic the Hedgehog that I consistently read. It's been a great resource for me to catch up with the little blue guy, his friends, and his enemies. Earlier issues of this title have been filled with reprint stories. But SONIC SUPER DIGEST #5 led off with a brand new story based of the "Sonic Jump" video game. "Sonic Jump" just happens to be the one Sonic iOS mobile game that I possess, so I was definitely excited to get my hands on this issue -- except for the fact that I lost in in my work tote until tonight!!

But I'm obsessing...

When I first learned of this issue, I assumed that the entire issue would have a "Sonic Jump" theme. That was a faulty assumption. Instead, "Sonic Jump" is a five-page story featuring a one-on-one vertical chase between Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Eggman. The not-so-good doctor has kidnapped a cage-full of animals and evades our favorite speedster by floating away into the sky.

Fortunately, this area of the Green Hill Zone is filled with floating chunks of land. That gives Sonic the opportunity to chase after Dr. Eggman. But what happens when he runs out of floating chunks? Could new stories featuring "Level Two" be in order?

The rest of SONIC SUPER DIGEST #5 features reprints of Sonic stories covering all eras of the title character's 20 year history. It's a great opportunity for novice fans like me to read up on Sonic's past adventures and figure out what's behind the hype. Definitely, check it out!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" Indefinitely Suspended for Rambling Against Gay Sex

I'm one of the few people in the USA who has never watched Duck Dynasty, though I understand that it is the most watched reality TV show in the history of reality TV shows. I learned earlier today of a new GQ interview with one of the Duck Dynasty stars, Phil Robertson, where he went on a minor anti-gay ramble:
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
Later in the GQ article, Robertson quoted anti-gay Bible passages and compared gay relationships to bestiality and said that he believes that same-sex relationships are morally wrong.

Robertson later issued an apology through A&E (who broadcasts his reality TV show). Basically, he confirmed that he believes that same-sex relationships are sinful, but he loves gay people like he loves all people.

Not everyone came out against Robertson's statements. Fox New reporter Todd Starnes issued a series of supportive tweets about "intolerant, Anti-Straight groups" and the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer immediately began defending Robertson, Duck Dynasty, A&E, and Wal-Mart.

Now I learned to night that Phil Robertson has been indefinitely suspended from Duck Dynasty:
We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty,’” the company said. “His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.
What a speedy progression of events! I just learned of this whole situation during my lunch hour. I finish my work day, exercise, grocery shop, and feed the little ones and then find out roughly five hours later that he's been canned!

Personally, I think it's a lot made out of nothing. We've all heard worse statements from people who've never gotten in trouble. I mean, the Duggars alone campaign politically against LGBT people and families all the time and the eldest son is a leader of the Family Research Council! Granted, we're talking about different cable networks, but even gay-friendly Bravo features Real Housewives who love their gays -- but only when they do their hair and (literally) wear their high heels.

I could care less about Robertson's thoughts on gay sex vs. het sex. It doesn't bother me. My guess is that viewers of the show weren't surprised by his comments either. Personally, I wish he hadn't been suspended indefinitely. Now the anti-gays have an unwitting martyr and we LGBTs look like creeps because Phil Robertson thinks that vaginas are desirable.

Hopefully, this situation will eventually turn itself around after folks have had a chance to seriously reflect.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Life With Archie" Returns with Court Cases, Jughead the Romeo, and Two Mysterious New Employees!

It took a really long time, but I finally got my hands on a copy of LIFE WITH ARCHIE #33. This is the magazine-style Archie Comics comic book containing two ongoing story lines. The first half of the book shows what life would be like if an adult Archie Andrews married Veronica Lodge and the second half of each book shows what would happen if an adult Archie married Betty Cooper. I really love this book, but here are a couple things I wish we could see more of:

1. Can Midge give birth already??: It seems like Midge (in the Archie/Betty world) has been pregnant forever -- and not just pregnant forever, but on the verge of giving birth forever! Even Jughead (the baby daddy) seems dazed by how long everything is taking! Enough!

2. Can we see more action from our action detective??: One of the things that I love about the Archie/Veronica world is that Mr. Lodge has hired Sam Hill to help Ronnie out of a huge legal jam. Sam Hill was a 1950s private detective published by Archie Comics and there have been plans for about five or six years to revive the character. One of the things that I love about the guy is that he's no pencil pusher. He's a punch-first-ask-later-and-then-have-a-glass-of-milk kind of guy. Unfortunately, he's spent too much time telling us what he's been up to instead of showing us in LIFE WITH ARCHIE. Hopefully we'll see more action from our private dick very soon!

Don't get me wrong! There is plenty to love in this issue. Such as, guess who proposes in the Archie/Veronica world?:

You're kind of left hoping that he wasn't going to ask her to fill in on a few shifts at the diner, but I think Ethel's instincts were on the money!

And then there is poor Dr. Clay Walker (AKA Kevin Keller's husband)! This poor guy is probably ready to leave Riverdale for Greendale! First he gets snubbed by too many of his patients. Then he gets shot. Now he's being stalked by some weirdo -- who kind of looks like Jughead's new part-time employee! I think we're going to see more intrigue involving Clay, Kevin, and the mysterious Ruben Cruz/Wendell Simmons pretty soon!

Incidentally, someone needs to warn Clay that he shouldn't be sporting that guy hoodie too proudly or else someone might stand their ground against him again in the near future!

Speaking of creepy employees, the Chowhouse II just hired a new security guy over in the Archie/Betty world. He seems too shadowy. Wanna bet he's trouble??

Lastly, check out this courtroom spread! See if you can guess every character sitting in the aisles and share your guesses in the comments section and I'll share the true results (confirmed by Fernando Ruiz himself!) later on Christmas Day!

Rep. Tyler Olson Officially Ends Campaign for Iowa Governor

I was a fan of State Representative Tyler Olson's campaign for the 2014 Iowa governor race. Then early this month, he suddenly announced that he and his wife were getting divorced and that he was temporarily scaling back his campaign. Today, I found the following sad message on Facebook:
Thank you to everyone that reached out with words of encouragement and support the last two weeks. While focused on supporting my children through the transition in my personal life it is clear they need my full attention. It is time to end my campaign for Governor.

I will continue to focus on my family, finish my term as state representative, rejoin Paulson Electric and look for opportunities to serve my community as time allows.

Thank you to all the friends, supporters and volunteers that joined my campaign. I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope you still believe as I do that Iowa’s brightest days are ahead.

Best wishes for a peaceful and bright holiday season.
This is why I usually avoid claiming a candidate too early. I didn't even decide to officially support Hillary Clinton for U.S. President until the night of the Iowa Caucus! Too much can change before an election.

But I really like Representative Tyler Olson and I truly believe he would have made an excellent governor for Iowa. But props to him for putting his children first.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz Spends Nearly $150,000 to Find Five Incidents of Voter Fraud

(Secretary of State Matt Schultz)
Iowa's Secretary of State Matt Schultz has been trying to prove a problem with voter fraud in Iowa since getting into office in 2011. Beginning in July 2012, he arranged for a full-time agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigator to scour the state for incidents of voter fraud. 18 months later and at a cost of $149,200, Schultz has managed to have criminal charges pressed in 16 cases. Five of those cases have already been dismissed and five others have resulted in guilty pleas. The other six still fall in the area of "innocent before proven guilty." It's very possible that some or all of them will be dismissed or acquitted.

Here is Matt Schultz's reaction to this news:
“Before, the narrative was that there’s no such thing as voter fraud,” he said. “That’s obviously changed. Iowans expect us to do something when we know there’s a problem.”
Let's look at those five guilty pleas...

Three of the guilty pleas involved felons who had registered to vote before their voting rights had been restored. One of those three was also not a U.S. citizen. A fourth case involved a woman who had obtained and cast an absentee vote on behalf of her daughter. The fifth case involved an identity theft case involving a man who had fraudulently registered to vote using his deceased brother's name while applying for a driver's license (also in his deceased brother's name).

Let's look at some of those five guilty pleas even closer...

One of the felons listed above had registered and voted in a Marshall County 2012 election under the mistaken belief that his voting rights had been automatically reinstated at the end of his probation. He pleaded guilty at the advise of his attorney, who determined that it was safer to agree to the plea deal instead of going to trial and risking prison.

One of the other felons accidentally registered to vote in Warren County while completing paperwork to obtain a state ID card. He was working to resolve the situation on the own, according to his attorney, when Schultz's DCI agent inserted himself and forced a criminal prosecution. He also pleaded guilty on the advise of his attorney.

Then there is the case of the mother who voted via absentee ballot on behalf of her daughter. She claims that she requested and cast the absentee ballot at the request of her daughter in the 2012 election. She later learned that her daughter already voted in Minnesota and then reported herself to her county election officials.

Secretary of State Schultz dismisses complaints that these five convictions over 18 months do not prove systemic voter fraud in this state. It's certainly not enough of a problem (even if you count all 16 of these proven, dismissed, and pending cases) to actually sway any elections.

But Schultz wants you to know that he still has time to prove that Iowa has a huge problem with voter fraud:
Schultz though, is undeterred. “We need to have zero tolerance when it comes to cheating,” he said. “People have died to give us our right to vote, and we need to protect that right.” He also cautioned against drawing conclusions with six months left in the DCI investigation. “I don’t think you can judge the initiative until it’s over,” he said.
Schultz's voter fraud investigation will end in June 2014.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Sister Wives" Plural Family Wins Bigamy Lawsuit // Polygamy Definition in Utah Narrowed

A couple years ago, I wrote about a court case involving the stars of TLC's "Sister Wives" reality TV show. I was kind of shocked to learn that the polygamous family from that show were being charged with bigamy. Keep in mind that they Kody Brown did not attempt to file multiple marriage licenses for all four of his wives -- only one of them. Instead, he got in trouble for living with all of his wives under one roof. Apparently in Utah, you don't have to attempt to marry multiple partners in order to be guilty of bigamy. You just have to cohabit.

So, Kody Brown and his four wives sued the state of Utah in federal court. And they just won:
A federal court judge struck down a portion of Utah’s ban on polygamy. In a 90-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups found key parts of Utah’s anti-bigamy law to be unconstitutional, specifically the language that criminalized cohabitation. “The court finds the cohabitation prong of the statute unconstitutional on numerous grounds and strikes it,” Waddoups wrote in the ruling issued late Friday.

The ruling came about after reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn, sued the state of Utah in 2011, challenging the ban on polygamy. The family came under scrutiny from Utah County authorities after they appeared on the show “Sister Wives,” promoting their lifestyle. The Browns argued that Utah’s anti-polygamy laws violated their right to privacy and their right to freely practice their religion...

Judge Waddoups’ ruling did not completely overturn Utah’s ban on polygamy. It did, however, narrow it to only the simplest definition of bigamy: multiple marriage licenses.

In his ruling, Waddoups wrote that the statute remained in force “as prohibiting bigamy in the literal sense — the fraudulent or otherwise impermissible possession of two purportedly valid marriage licenses for the purpose of entering into more than one purportedly legal marriage...”

There are an estimated 30,000 people who subscribe to the belief system of fundamentalist Mormonism, which includes the practice of polygamy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no longer practices polygamy and excommunicates those who do.
Keep the bolded and underlined portions of the above quote in mind next time you hear that polygamy and bigamy are now legal.

I have already read concerns that this paves the way for hundreds of polygamists to relocate in Utah and overtax the welfare system. That might indeed happen. Here's one way to reduce the likelihood of that: actually legalize polygamy. Instead of allowing plural families to create informal family units and that religiously united but legally separate, you will create plural families that are actually legally and financially connected to each other. You won't have a bunch of technically single mothers applying for welfare benefits. Instead, you will have a legally recognized plural family who doesn't have to live in the shadows and who can actually become financially interconnected.

Either way, I can totally support this judicial decision.

Salvation Army Red Kettle Stolen from Sioux City, IA, Restaurant

The Salvation Army of Siouxland reports that one of its Red Kettles from stole early Tuesday morning from a Perkins Restaurant & Bakery in Sioux City, IA. The Salvation Army apparently doesn't arrange bell ringers for those late night hours, but I guess they leave the kettles out for late-night munchers who also feel charitable.

It was reported on ABC5 News that surveillance video captured footage of a woman entering the restaurant at 2:00 AM and leaving with the Red Kettle. It is unknown how much money was actually in the Red Kettle, but was estimated to contain between $25-$75.

The Salvation Army doubts that it will recover its stolen donations, but hopes that publicity of the theft will result in additional donations to make up for the loss.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Michigan NRC Member: Gay People Want Health Insurance Because of AIDS

Dave Agema is a former Michigan state representative and a current member of the National Republican Committee. He recently attended a Republican Party Holiday Reception in Bridgman, MI, and asserted to the crowd that he stands proudly against homosexual marriages. He also asserted that gay people want to get married because of AIDS. Not because promoting a culture of monogamy and commitment might shift cases of new HIV/AIDS infections. No, he told them that gay people want to get married because they have AIDS and need health insurance!:
He has taken flak nationally for his stance against gay marriage, but he said he doesn't mind because while working at American Airlines, he saw firsthand what happens when benefits are extended to gay people.

He said American Airlines workers would say a person with AIDS was their lover so that person could get medical benefits.

"Folks, they (gay people) want free medical because they're dying (when they're) between 30 and 44 years old," he said. "To me, it's a moral issue. It's a Biblical issue. Traditional marriage is where it should be and it's in our platform. Those in our party who oppose traditional marriage are wrong."
What planet is he living on?

1. Not all gay people are HIV-positive, nor do we all have AIDS.

2. It's the rare person who gets free family health coverage. I have family coverage for my son. It's not a free add-on feature. It costs extra -- and that's okay because I'm responsible and because he's my son and I want his health needs to be met. The same would be true if I ended up putting Husband Mark onto my health insurance plan.

3. Did I mention that it's not free medical? It's our health plans paid for with our money that we earned doing paid work tasks. So what's it matter to Dave Agema how we spend our health care dollars?

4. Let's assume that I was dying of AIDS right now, why shouldn't I seek the financial and medical protection of my husband's health insurance plan? What's the alternative? Should I be uninsured and die with a large, unpaid medical debt? Should the hospital and other medical providers go unpaid because I had AIDS? Or is the issue that I should remain uninsured and my husband be left with a dead spouse and a huge bill that will financially devastate him and our son?

5. Let's assume that I was dying of COPD or heart disease or Alzheimer's disease, would there be the same moral judgment against my death? Would it be less objectionable for me to share health coverage then with my husband?

Nero at Daycare -- 12/12/13

I really feel bad for my dogs. I arranged for them both to get short haircuts right before the first sub-zero cold freeze of the 2013/14 winter season! Ms. Lion loves sweaters and jackets, but Nero's too much of a free spirit. He's rather run around in the buff -- but his buff ain't enough in this cold! As a result, his daily walks have suddenly become one-minute sprints!

Which is why it's good that he has doggy daycare to visit every few days! He likes the company, but he also needs to opportunity to romp and play without destroying our home or getting frostbite between his toes!

Today was no exception! Nero was pretty excited when he first arrived. One of his favorite caretakers was around. He got all excited and even gave her a hug. He then ran around in the back area for a while before playing in the heated area with a bunch of his friends. Check it out:

North Dakota Attorney General: I Believe in Bigamy -- As Long As One of the Couples is Gay!

(Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem)
North Dakota's Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) was recently asked a series of questions by the Burleigh County Recorder's office about how to proceed with a marriage license request involving a citizen of North Dakota who'd entered into a same-sex marriage in another state, then separated from his/her same-sex spouse -- but didn't get divorced. This individual now wants to marry someone of the opposite sex:
Since North Dakota does NOT recognize same-sex marriages, but North Dakota’s marriage license laws require that someone previously married had to have a formal divorce before being allowed to buy a license, can the recorder issue that license? Also, if the couple is allowed to marry in North Dakota, but then moves to a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, is that bigamy?
Attorney General Stenehjem says that it's not bigamy because those in same-sex marriages aren't really married. -- at least not while living in North Dakota. And he doesn't believe himself qualified enough to decide if those twice-married-but-never-divorced couples would be considered bigamists once they crossed state borders, for example, to neighboring Minnesota or Iowa.

Apparently, bigamy does not violate federal law. So it's unclear how the three or four people in this type of hypothetical broken-same-sex-marriage-newbie-opposite-sex-marriage(s) would file federal tax returns on their marriages.

But this Attorney General opinion statement does seem to back-up one of the slippery slope arguments posed recently by an anti-gay legislator in Hawaii. She wondered if Hawaii was indirectly leading the way to legal polygamy by setting up a situation where a person married and/or civilly unionized elsewhere were to move to Hawaii and marry a new gay person. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem just laid out the possibility for one such scenario in North Dakota -- except this scenario would be acted out by opposite-sex couples instead of same-sex couples!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Landlord Wants to Evict Octomom & Family ASAP!

Nadya Suleman (AKA Octomom) just can't catch a break. She lost her home due to foreclosure last year and now her current landlord is trying to toss her and her 14 children to the curb!

Her current rental home was just recently sold to a new owner. According to Radar, Suleman's new landlord can't get the house refinanced because of Suleman's bad reputation as a tenant:
Broken windows visible from the street indicate the five-bedroom, three-bathroom house (which was once used as a half-way home) might be in poor condition, a reason why her new landlord Lana El-Jor said she wants the former media sensation to move off the premises.

“I have had problems refinancing the building myself because of her,” El-Jor told the UK’s Mirror. “That’s one of the things why we have to ask her to leave. The bank refused to support the loan.

“She is said to have left her houses abused, and everything, and it worried the bank. It was very messy … 14 kids need a bigger backyard, for sure. I saw they had four bunk beds. I think those were for the little ones. And they had beds in all the other rooms.”
Radar also shared reports from neighbors that Suleman's children are not often seen in the neighborhood and reportedly spend most of their time "holed up" at home.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nero at Daycare -- 12/10/13

It's a cold day here in Iowa today. Cold enough that Nero hasn't had too much time to play outside. Fortunately, his doggy daycare has lots of room for him to shake his body and share his thoughts! Check this out: