Friday, July 31, 2015

Omaha Deejay Arrested // Accused of Attacking Trans Woman

An Omaha deejay was arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly barged into a women's restroom at a bar and assaulted a trans woman:
Stephen E. Thompson, 45, was charged Monday in Douglas County Court with one count of third-degree assault that is being prosecuted as a felony hate crime. A judge set bail at $50,000. Thompson must pay 10 percent of that amount to be released from jail. 

Kara Jeslyn Barone, 27, of Omaha, said she went to the Down Under Lounge at 3630 Leavenworth St. on Friday night with friends. 

Barone, who said she has been transitioning from male to female for three years, said she and another transgender woman went into the women’s restroom shortly after arriving. Thompson’s girlfriend, an acquaintance of Barone’s, also was in the restroom. 

Barone said Thompson, listed in a police report as 6 feet tall and 160 pounds, began kicking the door and trying to force his way into the restroom. “I pushed him back outside,” Barone said Tuesday, “and locked the door.” 

Barone, who is 5 feet 8 inches tall and 150 pounds, said Thompson continued pounding on the door and screaming. Thompson’s girlfriend opened the door “and that’s when he sucker-punched me,” Barone said.
According to the police reports, Barone was bloodied and suffered a swollen lip. Her attacker reportedly called her a faggot and other anti-gay slurs. Her account of the assault was reportedly confirmed in the police report by an independent witness of the assault.

Thompson was charged with one count of 3rd degree assault, which is being prosecuted as a hate crime. He faces up to five years of prison if convicted.

Clinton, Trump, & Wonder Woman Win the 2015 Johnson County Fair Mock Election!

(Originally written on 07/29/15): I haven't been to the Johnson County Fair this week. But if I had been there, you can bet that I would vote in the 2015 County Fair Mock Election. This election has been ongoing since Monday morning. Check out the results so far:

As of 3:00 PM today, 771 people had voted in this election.

Wonder Woman (with 174 votes) is winning the nonpartisan battle against the other superheroes, followed most closely by Batman (114 votes) and Captain America (103 votes). Squirrel Girl was not an option -- but SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!

Hillary Clinton (with 169 votes) is winning against the other Democratic Party contenders, followed by Bernie Sanders (97 votes), Uncommitted Democrat (50 votes), Lincoln Chafee & Martin O'Malley (19 votes each), and Jim Webb (with 13 votes).

Donald Trump (with 44 votes) is winning against the other Republican Party contenders, followed by Scott Walker (30 votes), Bobby Jindal (28 votes), Jeb! Bush (26 votes), Uncommitted Republican (25 votes), Ben Carson (22 votes), Ted Cruz (18 votes), Rand Paul (14 votes), Mike Huckabee (13 votes), Rick Perry & Marco Rubio (12 votes each), Carly Fiorina & Lindsey Graham (11 votes each), John Kasich (10 votes), Chris Christie & Rick Santorum (8 votes each), and George Pataki (1 vote).

My understanding from speaking yesterday with one of the Board Supervisors is that there has been a concerted effort by Clinton voters to also vote for Wonder Woman.

Updated on 07/31/15: The Johnson County Fair Mock Election is over -- and we have some winners! Here are the final results:

As of 8:00 PM last night, a total of 1303 people voted in the mock election.

Wonder Woman (with 270 votes) won the nonpartisan battle against the other superheroes, followed most closely by Batman (194 votes) and Captain America (163votes). I checked with the Powers That Be and learned that one could NOT write-in Squirrel Girl...

Hillary Clinton (with 289 votes) won against the other Democratic Party contenders, followed by Bernie Sanders (168 votes), Uncommitted Democrat (72 votes), Martin O'Malley (39 votes), Lincoln Chafee (33 votes); and Jim Webb (with 21 votes).

Donald Trump (with 87 votes) won against the other Republican Party contenders, followed by Scott Walker (50 votes), Jeb! Bush (45 votes), Bobby Jindal (38 votes), Ben Carson (35 votes), Uncommitted Republican (33 votes), Ted Cruz (29 votes), Carly Fiorina & Mike Huckabee & Rand Paul (21 votes each), Marco Rubio (18 votes), Lindsey Graham (15 votes), John Kasich & Rick Perry (14 votes each), Rick Santorum (12 votes), Chris Christie (11 votes); and George Pataki (3 votes).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pat Robertson: Ex-Gay Theology Works, Gay Men Want to Be Women, & Those Who Don't Need to Start Acting Like Real Men!

Pat Robertson was at it again on CBN's "700 Club" earlier today. He was doing hisdaily Bring It On segment, where he was asked about the effectively of ex-gay theology. What followed was a random collection of thoughts involving drag queens, gender identity, masculinity, and ex-gay promotion.

Co-host Terry Meeuwsen shared the following question by somebody named Ian: "I am really in deep confusion and I really need answers. Can God take away this same-sex attraction? Can God change a homosexual to straight?"

Here is Pat's response:
Pat Robertson: We have had people on this program. There was this one guy. I’ll never forget him. We show him as a woman and as a woman he was absolutely gorgeous! I mean, gorgeous! But he was a man! And the Lord touched him, changed him, and now he is married and has some children and has a very happy life. 

Yes, God can. It’s a miracle, but God can do it. It is a tendency in your life. 

Somebody was asking me for counsel the other day and said, “I’ve got this son and he was effeminate from the time he was young and now he says he’s gay.” And I said to her, “Does he want to be a girl?” And she said, “No.” And I said, “Well, if he doesn’t want to be a girl, basically he wants to be a man. And if he wants to be a man, there’s no reason he can’t start acting like one.” 

 God can take care of this. I know that this used to be considered psychologically… that this was an aberration and so forth. But now, as a matter of fact, if someone counsels this… The school comes against you. You’re violating someone’s civil rights. But the truth is – you’ve asked me a question. Can God do it? The answer is, not only can he do it. He will. 
The emboldened parts was what you too can expect if you ever seek spiritual counseling by Pat Robertson about personal issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Here's the deal. I'm not a strong opponent of LGBT people wasting their time and money trying to change from gay to straight. I know lots of people who've spent thousands of dollars in these programs. I know lots of people who've married heterosexually because they believed this necessary to achieve transformation and salvation. I know lots of ex-gays who've crashed, burned, and completely lost their faith as a result of these ministries. And I know lots of ex-gay ministries that have shuttered their programs after admitting that they don't work.

But who am I to tell someone that they can't waste their time and money and kill their faith in a fruitless desire to become heterosexual? And, to be fair, there is always the chance that God will eventually transform somebody or that some of these folks will discover their inner bisexual.

But what is Pat smoking??

Gay men don't want to be women. We are sexually and emotionally attracted to other men. Some of us are effeminate and others aren't. But either way, we are acting like men. We are men.

Of course, why wouldn't one expect Pat or Terry or the "700 Club" in general to believe that gay men want to be women or that we are running from our adult responsibilities? God forbid that they lack the ability to recognize the nuances within the LGBT communities or observe the diversity that exists here.

Note to Ian: It's possible that you can change. But most likely you won't. Stop turning to people like Pat Robertson for a sense of security. He won't offer it to you. He will only promote misinformation and doubt. You don't have to become heterosexual to be saved. I pray that you eventually find your own personal peace.

You can watch the whole segment here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nero at Daycare -- 07/28/15

I was a hot, rainy day yesterday. Nero came home soaking wet and ended up napping for much of the rest of the day!

Check it out:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pat Robertson Counsels Possible Gay Teen About His Salvation

Pat Robertson was back on the "700 Club" this morning, where he participated in the show's Bring It On segment.

Co-host Terry Meeuwsen shared the following by somebody named Patrick: "I was born again originally at 13. I had a few years of peace. Then, because of sexual confusions and doubts, I have doubted if I was ever really saved. I've renewed my salvation over 500 times. Was I ever saved? Did I fall from grace? How do I know I'm really saved?"

Here is Pat's response:
Pat Robertson: The Bible gives you some standards. "By this, we know we have been born again, that we have love for the brethren." Do you love people? Do you love God? Do you want to follow His way? Do you hunger after Him? Do you desire to read the word of God?

There comes a time that you've gotta stop this being saved 500 times. That's absurd! But there are many people who don't accept what God has to say. There comes a time when you need to believe in God. God say, from his word, "This is it. You do this and I will do the other." And you have to receive Him.

Now if you said "this sexual confusion..." Again, I don't know what you're talking about. Does this mean you're into gay sex or you want to have some sex operation. I don't know what you're talking about. But you've had problems

But come to the Lord and read the Word and do what the Word says. And then, having done it, say "Thank you, Lord" and take what he's giving you.
My hunch is that Pat was correct with his third paragraph. My hunch is that Patrick is struggling with being gay -- or, for those in conservative Christian circles, those experiencing "same-sex attractions." I see this type of unending hand-wringing every week (sometimes every day) by LGBT teens over at the Gay Christian Network.

These kids spend inordinate amount of time praying to rid themselves of their same-sex attraction and then doubting their faiths and their salvation because they still experience "same-sex attraction." During this past month alone, two separate gay teens have sought 100% proof that one can be gay and a Christian in order for them to even read through the GCN boards.

It really grieves me when I see these kids. And, the sad part is, I know that there's little that I can do to help them reconcile their faith and their sexuality. Because I'm a "false teacher." How can I convince him or her that one can be both Christian and gay if I'm symbolic of the problem? So I just sit back and let these kids work things through by themselves.

Or turn to Pat Robertson for direction...

You can watch the whole segment here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Iowa City Man Arrested & Accused of Torturing Roommate's Kitten for Hours // Updated on 11/22/14: Fritz Continues to Heal! // Updated on 12/19/14: Another Arrest // Updated on 04/21/15: Nopoulos Changes Plea to Guilty // Updated on 07/27/14: Nopoulos Sentenced to 2 Years Probation Plus 30 Days in Jail

(Leo Nopoulos)
(Originally written on 10/15/14): A 21-year-old man from West Liberty, IA, was arrested and charged late last week with allegedly torturing his former roommate's 8-week-old kitten "non-stop, for a period lasting longer than three hours." Leo A. Nopoulos has been charged with animal torture, which is an aggravated misdemeanor, and faces up to two years in prison if convicted.

According to Nate Schloss*, he believed last week that his kitten Fritz was sick due to periodic incidents of bleeding from the cat's right eye and nose. Things would improve and then the bleeding would resume. He rushed the kitten to the pet hospital and received treatment last Wednesday evening the 8th. (Jon's note: For some reason, nobody -- including the hospital staff -- was able to recognize the signs of severe abuse. I'm just saying...)

Schloss decided last Thursday the 9th to set up his laptop to record his bedroom while he was away in order to get a better idea of what was going on with his cat. This is what happened over the course of nearly four hours while he was away:
I can't say it enough again, but it's simply a miracle after the extent of trauma my kitten Fritz sustained that he is even alive! There is a 3.5 HOUR VIDEO in police possession that shows the CONTINUOUS torture of my little kitten Fritz going on in my bathroom AND bedroom. The depth and details that I would need to explain involving everything that this recording shows would take me more than several hours to elaborate on. To give even the smallest idea as to what exactly happened, the video shows Leo leaving my room only a few times and for only several minutes at a time, AND brings 3 other friends total in at different times to show them my kitten Fritz and what he has done. Whether they have knowledge of what exactly happened is still not known. The first scene shows Leo searching my room, in, under, and around everything searching for Fritz as if he is on a mission. You see him take Fritz by the neck and throw him into my ceiling in my bathroom and hear all the sounds that follow along with, which in itself I cannot begin to explain enough. He is shown throwing my 8-week old KITTEN into the walls, doors, cupboards of my bathroom. He is shown bringing Fritz into my bedroom and violently with full force throwing Fritz into the walls, into corners, into my t.v. stand, beating Fritz with his own hands many many many times! He is shown grabbing a t.v. remote and full force beating Fritz in the head and face over and over and over. He is shown taking a Glade metal spray bottle and beating Fritz in the head over and over and over with NO REMORSE SHOWN. The metal bottle was obtained from my bathroom and brought to police as tangible evidence with blood spatter still being present all around the bottle in multiple places. This is only a BEGINNING as to what I can explain as to what occurred on Thursday, Oct. 9th.
The Press-Citizen included this extra bit of detail:
At one point, police said, the cat gets away, and Nopoulos is seen in the video actively looking for the cat; once he catches it, he continues to abuse it. Police said Nopoulos admitted to abusing the cat to his roommate, his parents and an officer.
According to Schloss, Fritz survived this abuse, though his left eye had to be removed yesterday. Additionally, Fritz is blind in his right eye, but hopefully he will eventually recover his vision in that eye.

Schloss communicated that Nopoulos admitted to the animal abuse several different times. He reportedly said that he was "fucked up" and that he has "bad voices in his head telling him to do terrible things."

*I feel a bit "oogy" about including the name of the cat's owner in this blog. However, he directed people to his Facebook account of the abuse in the comments section of the Press-Citizen article and I believe that his account gives a lot of needed detail to this horrific story.

Updated on 11/22/14: I have had requests from others to provide an update on this situation. I don't know much, but here is what I know...

The legal case against Leo Nopolous continues to wind its way slowly through the courts. The arraignment hearing is currently scheduled for 12/04/14. In other words, it's gonna be a while.

As for Fritz, he now has his own Facebook page. For the most part, Fritz appears go be mostly healed. However, he still appears to be blind or mostly blind in his right eye. At most, he is only seeing shadows at this point. He's also learning to navigate his home and how to play again quite successfully.

Earlier this month, his owners got a second cat named Squash and the two cats appear to be getting along well.

So that's the update!

Updated on 12/19/14: It seems that Fritz's Facebook page went down within the past couple days. We had an update earlier this week and now it's gone.

I'm sure that's connected to local news that there was another arrest tangentially connected to this case. Sadly, it's not what you think. I'm still pondering how to proceed.  Read here for more information.

Updated on 04/21/15: KCJJ reported earlier today that Leo Nopoulos has changed his plea to guilty related to last year's Animal Torture charge. He faces up to two years in prison, but I would guess that a lesser sentence has been negotiated in exchange for this written plea.

Updated on 07/27/15: The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported this evening that Leo Nopoulos has been sentenced to two years of supervised probation for animal torture and 30 days in jail for drunken driving related to an arrest discussed further down in the comments thread:
In his defense, his lawyer, Joseph Moreland, emphasized Nopoulos' progress in multiple rehabilitation programs and his six months of sobriety following his first arrest, and said Nopoulos was an Eagle Scout who grew up on a farm with cats. But, he said he recognized the gravity of his client's crime...

Nopoulos himself admitted to multiple years of drug use at the sentencing, saying he had failed to recognize the extent of his addiction. "I'm completely beside myself with remorse and sorrow," Nopoulos said at the sentencing. "I'm not a violent person at all..."

At the sentencing, Moreland called Bettendorf-based substance abuse counselor Jeff Ribble, who has worked with Nopoulos, as a witness to Nopoulos' recovery... Ribble said a cocaine-induced psychosis explained Nopoulos' actions in torturing the cat, and advised against sending him to prison for an extended period of time...

Moreland did admit that a short time in jail would be motivation for Nopoulos to continue his recovery.
Nopoulos also received a two-year suspended jail sentence for the charges of animal torture and abuse. He will not serve that time unless he violates the terms of his probation. He is currently serving his 30-day drunken driving sentence.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 14 ("Birth of a Hope")

This is the fourteenth in a series of blog posts dedicated to the 40th anniversary of BBC's "Survivors" television series. "Survivors" followed a core group of characters who managed to survived a devastating viral outbreak -- one which managed to kill off somewhere between 95-99% of humanity. Society has crumbled and now those who remain must relearn the old way if they have any hope of surviving much longer.

Our last episode was the final episode of Season One. Our group of survivors had settled into the Grange. Their initial group of three swelled to roughly one dozen and they were slowly learning to how raise their own livestock and grow their own crops -- with lots of stumbles along the way. Our group decided last episode that there was a need to reach out to the surrounding communities and form some sort of federation to assist with defense and trade. Meanwhile, Abby Grant learned from a doctor named Ruth that her son Peter is still alive!

And that's how Season One ended -- with a promise of community, neighborly connections, and a familial reunion!

Season Two begins elsewhere. Whitecross, to be specific. Greg Preston traveled by horse and wagon 50 miles out of his way to trade for two bags of wheat. He was reunited with an old friend, Charles Vaughan. Greg met Charles back in the first season. He and the others nearly settled there, but Abby got frightened off by Charles' emphasis on free-loving and re-population. Greg learned that Charles' first colony didn't turn out so well. Loraine lost her baby during the delivery, though Isla's baby boy survived. But a rift developed and they all went their separate ways.

Charles eventually settled at Whitecross, which appears to be a multi-house colony. He met up with a woman named Pet Simpson (played by Lorna Lewis) and the two have become a romantic couple. According to Charles, Whitecross has ten adults and five children. They all work and they all share the bounty of their work. Including some grape wine:

Charles Vaughan // Pet Simpson // Greg Preston
It turns out that Greg's group is doing better these days. They have tons of sheep, plus some cows and rabbits and chickens. They also are living well on potatoes and carrots and other vegetables. But they still need some wheat, which Charles is all too happy to share. Oh, we also learned that Abby permanently left the group in order to search full-time for Peter.

But Greg isn't just after wheat. He's also looking for Dr. Ruth. She'd come to Whitecross to assist with Charles' babies' deliveries. Ruth is currently overdue to get back to the Grange. Jenny is weeks -- if not days -- away from giving birth to her own baby! Unfortunately, Ruth isn't at Whitecross. She'd gone to another settlement to help an injured man. Hopefully she'll make her way back to the Grange in time for Jenny's delivery!

Speaking of the Grange, this happened while Greg was away:

A fire started somewhere in the building. Jenny and Paul were awake when the fire broke out. The children, John and Lizzie, awoke and raised the alarm. Arthur managed to escape. Everyone else died in the fire. RIP Emma, Vic, Charmian, Donny, Pete, and presumably Laura and Norma and Laura's baby.

The next day, Greg left for home, leaving a puzzled Pet. It seems that Charles had told her that he wouldn't let any new travelers leave Whitecross. They needed more people, but he didn't even ask Greg about staying. Charles acknowledge what she was saying, but indicated that he and Greg would be butting heads too much. You can only have too many leaders, you know?

Greg eventually returns home and finds the remains of his group. They quickly realize that there's no way to salvage the Grange. He packs up what's left and they begin the long journey back to Whitecross.

Fortunately, they are welcomed at Whitecross. In fact, Greg, Jenny, and the kids are all given their own house and the others have been invited into the big house. It's pretty good timing. Jenny is about ready to give birth and welcomes the opportunity to lie down in an actual bed. But where's Ruth??

Fortunately, a grumpy shepherd named Hubert Goss (played by John Abineri) is there to help out with the delivery if Ruth doesn't make it back in time. Doesn't Jenny look pleased?

Hubert Goss
Charles takes off on a motorcycle and manages to track down Ruth (now played by Celia Gregory). The timing is remarkable, as Jenny is now feeling regular contractions. The baby isn't born by the end of the episode -- but you know that he's coming and Jenny is definitely liking the option of Ruth over Hubert!

Ruth Anderson
We're left with a big question mark at the end of the episode. Will Greg and the others remain at Whitecross? And if not, where will they go next? My hunch is that we'll be seeing a lot more of Charles, Pet, and Hubert over the course of Season Two!

Stay tune for next week's episode, titled "Greater Love."

The Science of ARCHIE VS. SHARKNADO // Is It Possible?

I wrote yesterday about ARCHIE VS. SHARKNADO #1, a one-shot comic book by Archie Comics that ties into Syfy's "Sharknado 3" movie -- as well as the rest of the "Sharknado" franchise.

Husband Mark -- who you may or may not know is a biologist -- pointed out to me that the concept behind this franchise is flawed. The sharks would not survive their tornado trips.

I asked Mark if he's ever heard of a shark dying as a result of flying out of he office as the result of a tornado.

He tried telling me that he cloned a bunch of micro-sized sharks once and simulated a tornadic situation. He tried telling me that the micro-sharks all died.

I doubted the veracity of his story. But -- assuming that he's on the level -- I pointed out that regular sharks are surely hardier creatures than cloned micro-sharks. Surely, a regular-sized shark is likely to survive a tornado where cloned micro-sharks perish.

Husband Mark strongly disagreed.

In the spirit of marital harmony, I'm going to concede that it's highly unlikely that any shark could survive a Sharknado.

(Though not impossible...)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Can Archie Survive the Sharknado??

I have something to confess. I've never seen "Sharknado." The same thing goes for "Sharknado 2" and "Sharknado 3." Actually, I've seen one scene from the first movie, but that's it. But I love the concept and I hear lots of good things about this crazy film franchise. I'm sure that I will eventually see one or all of these movies. But I have read ARCHIE VS. SHARKNADO, a one-shot comic book published this week by Archie Comics. It was timed to coincide with the premier of "Sharknado 3."

Here's the concept. There seems to be an outbreak of tornadoes on the coasts. And they randomly snag sharks from the ocean. And those sharks then snag nearby people, leading to outrageous and gory confrontations. And, it seems though I need to watch the movies to confirm, you stop the Sharknado by blowing up the tornado. Or something like that.

Basically, there are flying sharks that eat people.

By the way, here's a disclaimer...

This blog entry contains spoilers. If you don't want to know what happens in ARCHIE VS. SHARKNADO #1, the stop reading now. You have been warned!

Back to the show...

ARCHIE VS. SHARKNADO begins in Washington DC. Mr. Lodge is going before Congress to go over some bill that will save the world. Maybe it has something to do with the Sharknados. That was unclear to me. But he took Betty and Veronica with him so that they could sight-see. Unfortunately, the Sharknado strikes Washington DC -- leading to the gruesome death of Mr. Lodge and several other bystanders.

Betty and Veronica team up and manage to slay several sharks. They figure out that the Sharknado is heading towards Riverdale. They realize that they need to get back home to warn their friends and family about the approaching threat -- plus there's a school dance and they need to protect Archie from Cheryl Blossom!

Of course, there's no way that they can outrace the Sharknado. The entire Riverdale Gang is on the beach, celebrating on this enormous party yacht, which appears to be owned by Cheryl Blossom. This is one of those stories when you wonder why Betty and Veronica continue fighting for Archie's attention. They're away for one day and he's already putting the moves on Cheryl. In fact, Archie and Cheryl will remain a couple throughout this story -- even after Betty and Veronica eventually return to Riverdale.

Anyway, the party is quickly attacked by hundreds of hungry sharks -- leading to the deaths of several party guests. Not only that, but ARCHIE VS. SHARKNADO takes out the one character who probably could have stopped this whole shark invasion with one magic spell. It's true. Sabrina the Teenage Witch and her cat Salem were both killed off early in the book. So sad...

The rest of the regulars end up getting back to shore safely -- but realize that the Sharknado is heading straight for Riverdale High School -- scene of the before mentioned school dance! Josie and the Pussycats are performing at the dance -- alongside a band called Quint. I'm assuming that they're from the movies.

Archie and the Gang are too late to warn their classmates. The Sharknado strikes the school and several students -- plus Melody's hand(!!) -- are taken out by the sharks!

The group realizes that they need to take their fight directly to the Sharknado. They arm themselves with all sorts of chainsaws and blades and begin slicing and dicing all sorts of sharks. Their ultimate plan is to disperse the Sharknado using a special bomb of Dilton's creation. Which just seems like silliness -- but that's apparently how the first Sharknado was defeated.

I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to reveal that the Sharknado was eventually defeated. We lost several Riverdale residents, though not as many as you might think. Here is the casuality list: Mr. Lodge, Sabrina, Salem, Reggie, Ms. Grundy, Alexander Cabbott, and countless faceless victims. Plus, there was one absurd laugh out loud moment where Cheryl Blossom loses who bikini top to a passing shark. It still cracks me up!

Ultimately, this was a crazy, nonsense-filled romp. You don't need to be a fan of "Sharknado" to understand what's going on. But I can't help wanting to track down these movies on Netflix and Syfy to get caught up with the larger storyline.

"Archie Vs. Sharknado" is written by Antony C. Ferrante, penciled by Dan Parent, inked by Rich Koslowski, lettered by Jack Morelli, and colored by Andre Szymanowicz & Casey Silver.

Friday, July 24, 2015

UNCANNY X-MEN #35: The Irrationality of Anti-Mutant Hysteria

I was reading UNCANNY X-MEN #35 this week and was reminded how irrational the anti-mutant hysteria is in Marvel Comics.

Case in point: A new mutant attacks her father and a sports team. She's defeated by Cyclops' former students, who've struck out as members of a new team called Hero Squad. One of the team's members is a guy named Fabio Medina AKA Goldballs. He projects gold balls from his body. He ended up being the big hero of this particular fight -- and in the process became an internet sensation:

I mean, he's not your typical hero. He's a "thick Hispanic kid" who does funny dances. His mother ends up outing him to the media and he becomes an instant celebrity. He shows up on the cover of all the magazines and begins appearing on all sorts of TV shows:

And then his mother ends up outing him again -- this time as a mutant. It's not that he was hiding it. He was just talking about his image and his powers and his personality. But things suddenly go south:

And then the public turns against Goldballs -- violently:

This is where I don't get Marvel's anti-mutant mindset. What is it about Invisible Woman or Daredevil or Captain Marvel that makes them less scary to the general public than Cyclops or Storm or Iceman?

One moment, the public loves Goldballs. The next moment, he's picking glass from his neck. What changed? Only the public's awareness of his origin. Why does a genetically-inherited power induce irrational hatred compared to a power that comes from some sort of external source of mutation?

Ultimately, I just don't get it...

Iowa City Releases Video of Police Officer Tackling & Arresting Teen for Not Leaving Rec Center Quickly Enough

Last month, several local friends began posting on Facebook an uploaded video of a black teen being tackled at the local rec center by an Iowa City police officer. (You can watch the whole thing here)

Initially, it looks like the teen is noncompliant with orders to put his hand behind his back so that he can be cuffed. But then you listen to the teen under the cop's screams and you will hear him state that his arm is pinned. And it does indeed look to me like the teen's arm is pinned under his body by the officer.

I don't know the teen, but several of my friends know him. They vouch for his character. The teen himself wrote on Facebook that police were called to the rec center and told the teens to leave. He said that he asked the officer why they needed to leave and did not receive an answer. He said that he turned to get his back and was tackled by the officer.

I have a teen who's the age of this teen. So I'm somewhat skeptical. But, after watching a 23 minute video released by the City of Iowa City earlier today, I believe the teen. (You can watch the whole thing here) The city also released this PR package to further tell their side of the story.

From watching the video, you have a group of mostly black teens hanging out in the upper area of the rec center. They are talking and occasionally goofing around. Reportedly, there is a meeting going on near there and they complained to the rec center staff that the kids were being too loud. The cop came and told the kids to leave. The one boy spoke briefly to the cop. He turned to leave within 3-4 seconds. The cop then tackled the boy.

Check out these stills and note the time stamps. Once again, check out the video for a clearer understanding of what happened:

I am completely unimpressed with the City of Iowa City right now. Our police need to learn how to respond less aggressively to non-aggressive individuals. The cop completely escalated this situation. I find that completely inappropriate, even if the Iowa City Police Department finds it to be legally justified.

As noted above, I have a son of my own who's in his mid-teens. It is hard for me to not see him being tackled by this cop or another like him. It is hard for me to not imagine him confronting an officer after being kicked out of a public building for doing nothing more than hanging out with his friends and being a bit noisier than some adults might like them to be.

I complained on Twitter about this situations and got directed by the City of Iowa City's PR packet. I questioned why the teen was tackled. I was directed to the chief of police.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Archie Gets All Camped Out in ARCHIE COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #261!

I'm so behind with my comic book reviews and summaries. I've decided that I will do the ones I can and not worry about the ones that get past me.

If you know much about me, you know that I love summer camp. I did not get to go to summer camp often when I was a kid and really regret that. As a result, I've made sure that my own boys get the opportunity to go to summer camp. So I'm a sucker when it comes to camp-themed TV shows, movies, and comic books!

Case in point: ARCHIE COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #261, which features a camp-themed lead story starring Archie and his favorite pals and gals!

If you read the dialogue in the top-right image, you will understand the theme of this story. Archie is excited about being a camp counselor and can't wait to win the affection of his campers. Meanwhile, Jughead is warning him take a step back because Archie always makes a mess of things when he tries to hard.

The rest of the story is prophesy playing out. Scene after scene depicts Archie trying new activity or moment with his campers -- and painfully regretting it. Like when he tries the zipline and manages to give himself a major wedgy!

All of the Riverdale Gang is in this story, but only Veronica, Betty, Reggie, Juggy, Chuck, and Kevin make more than single panel mentions. You'd think that Two-Fisted Toni Topaz would warrant at least two appearances, but no dice!

Still, it's always good to see Kevin Keller in the comic books. He's in charge of the zipline at Camp Witwicky and, luckily for Archie, knows a little first aid!

Check out those mooses!
It wasn't that long ago that Kevin Keller never appeared in the comic book digests. I was worried when his book was canceled that we'd never see him again, but he continues appearing when you least expect him!

"All Camped Out" is written by Gorf, penciled by Fernando Ruiz, inked by Bob Smith, lettered by Jack Morelli, and colored by Digikore Studios. This is a great lead story and you owe it to yourself to track down a copy and treat yourself to a chuckle!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lisbon, IA: Disabled Vet & Service Dog Reportedly Kicked Out of Restaurant // Update: Whitey's Bar Owner Responds to Accusations // Update: Assault Charges Filed

(Originally written on 07/06/15): Lisbon, IA, is in the national media following a July 3rd incident involving the owner of Whitey's Bar and Grill, a disabled war vet, and his service dog (though it's still listed as "not verified" -- apparently anyone can post stories on CNN's website, which CNN may or may not investigate):
A disabled, American war vet, Chazz Russell, wishing to dine with his service dog at Whitey's Bar and Grill, Lisbon, Iowa, was discriminated against and then viciously attacked by bar owner Daron "Whitey" Rubner.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed. The bar owner questioned the vet about the authenticity of the service dog and the vet responded that he would be willing to go home and bring back the certification, but technically, business owners are not legally able to insist to see the paperwork.

Bar owner, Daron Rubner's response to the vet was to rant about no dogs being allowed in his establishment, and how the vet “must be lying” about being disabled. He then viciously attacked the vet. Police were summoned and charges against the establishment are pending.
A group of supporters currently plan to rally at the bar on July 26th to "let them know its NOT OK to discriminate against OUR vets."

You can read first hand accounts by the vet and a friend here and here.

As far as I can tell, there's been no online response so far from Whitey's Bar and Grill, or from the owner.

Updated on 07/08/15: KWWL posted a response last night from Daron Rubner, owner of Whitey's Bar and Grill, via his attorney:
"This incident had nothing to do with the service dog," said Whitey's attorney Mike Lahammer. "Mr. [Charles] Russell was not in possession of the service dog at the time. He was jerk at a bar and he threatened the owner." 

Attorney Lahammer did not hold back anything surrounding his client allegedly being attacked. Lahammer says once his client was attacked by Russell, his client asked Russell to leave, Russell refused...

Lahammer says Russell's actions were belligerent leading Russell, Elvis, his service dog, and his girlfriend Keleen Warren allegedly being kicked out of the bar. 

"Chazz Russell did not even have his service dog, his girlfriend had his service dog at the time. She brought it in after Mr. Russell had already been in the bar, drinking at the bar, she brought it in later," claims Lahammer...

Whitey's has been in business for about 10 years and Lahammer says it's unfair for the company to now have to take shots from people who don't even know the facts, ruining Whitey's reputation. 

"Whitey's should not be chastised in the media or have people up in arms in making threats to the owners of Whitey's or anybody associated with this case until they know the facts," said Lahammer. "It was a jerk in a bar, who had been drinking, threatened the owner and then refused to leave."
Rubner's attorney stated that there is video surveillance within the bar that contradicts Russell's version of the story, though this hasn't been made publicly available yet.

Updated on 07/22/15: There was a development in this case. Lisbon Police Chief Rick Scott filed Whitey's Bar and Grill owner Daron Rubner with two counts of assault last Friday. According to KGAN, police filed the charges after reviewing surveillance video of the July 3rd incident. A jury trial is scheduled for September 14th.

Rubner continues to deny these assault charges:
In a statement previously released through his attorney, Rubner says he didn't do anything wrong, saying there's been a lot of "misrepresentations and blatantly false information posted on social media and given to the press." 

Rubner says the argument involved "a belligerent patron making threats to one of the owners, who then asked him to leave."
It's always worth reminding people that Rubner has been charged with these crimes and not convicted.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pat Robertson: Abortion & Same-Sex Marriage Now // Polygamy & Legalized Child Sex Abuse Tomorrow!

Pat Robertson took a meandering stroll down the slippery slope from legalized abortion to legalized sodomy to legalized marriage equality and all the way down to legalized polygamy and child sex abuse and man/animal love affairs.

It happened this morning on this morning's "700 Club" when co-host Terry Meeuwsen shared the following question by a man named Thomas during the program's Bring It On segment: "The pro-abortion community says a fetus isn’t a “human” until born, but they’re obviously human enough to harvest their very human body parts. Yet there are legal experts that say these actions MAY fall within legal parameters. How could this kind of sociopathic hypocrisy possibly be legal?"

Here is Pat's response:
Pat Robertson: The whole thing is screwed up when you have Roe vs. Wade *gibberish* abortion. It wasn’t based on any law whatsoever. Any he made it up on sociological – faulty sociological grounds. And we have this confusion. The Supreme Court has ruled on so many things. They’ve messed things up because they haven’t allowed the reason or our collective consciousness to play, but they’ve come up with these strange rules. Same thing about separation between church and state, etc. So, it’s hypocrisy? Yes! 

You watch what’s going to happen now. They’ve said that abortion is a constitutional right. They have said that homosexuality is a constitutional right. They have now said that homosexual marriage is a constitutional right. Watch what happens. Love affairs between men and animals will be absolutely permitted. Polygamy without question is going to be permitted. *Gibberish* More and more and more and more and more… 

Terry Meeuwsen: Relationships with children. There have been groups that have been trying to push that for a long time. 

Pat Robertson: Well, they’re going to succeed now because intellectually you can’t get around these Supreme Court decisions. The problem is people can’t move anymore. They’re elected official can’t make any decisions and consequently we are stuck with a fixed doctrine of 5 old men on the Supreme Court. Five men with black robes – they’re not all old anymore.
You can watch the whole segment here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Big Brother 17" Spoilers: Trans Houseguest Audrey Facing Eviction // Did She Try to Quit Tonight??

You might remember that I've been watching "Big Brother 17" this summer? I wrote last month that this season features a gay cashier named Jason, a bi-lesbian poker player named Vanessa, and a trans media consultant named Audrey. Vanessa has done a pretty good job so far of playing people against each other and orchestrating evictions. Jason has floundered a bit, but has demonstrated good social game. But Audrey has been all over the place.

Pretty much, Audrey played too hard too haphazardly too soon this season. She created alliances with everyone and then tried creating too much drama when she was at the point in the game where you're sometimes better off taking a nap. Unfortunately, she got caught stirring the pot one too many times and now nobody trusts her in the game.

She's pretty much ostracized by the House at this point. Nobody wants to talk game with her, because she can't be trusted to keep her mouth shut. But nobody wants to evict her because they figure that the Jury will vote for anyone except Audrey in the end. She could be in worse spots, but she's spending most of her free-time alone at this point.

Unfortunately, she began aggravating some of the other power-players earlier this week. She told this week's HOH Shelli that Jason was coming after her. Shelli initially believed her, but when she finally asked Audrey for more details, Audrey said that she hadn't actually heard him say this. She said that she got this bit of information from listening to Shelli and her friends talking game. Then Audrey aggravated Clay and then she aggravated Vanessa. It's at this point that the power alliance decided to target Audrey for eviction later this week.

It seems that Audrey found out about this plan over the weekend and decided to reveal all sorts of secrets -- because this would convince them to keep her around or something. Of course, nobody believes Audrey at this point so even though she was revealing truths, nobody believed her.

Anyway, they were preparing earlier this afternoon for the Power of Veto ceremony. It was expected that the veto-holder would take down one of the current nominees and that Shelli would then put up Audrey in his place. She told the rest of the House last night that she wants them all to vote out Audrey -- and it appears that they are planning to do this.

Here's the thing. Audrey went to the Diary Room today and didn't come out. She was there for over five hours. No word from the producers. The rest of the Houseguests just kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the POV ceremony and nothing. They were just left to sit and talk and wonder whether Audrey had bailed from the show.

Actually, the assumption -- from Houseguests and feed-watchers alike -- that Audrey left the show. She appeared to have had a anxiety attack last night and earlier today. And like I said, she was pretty much on her own.

Then Audrey suddenly exited the Diary Room over five hours after disappearing and isolated herself in the Have-Not bedroom. Nobody knows where she's been and why she was gone so long.

My guess is that the POV ceremony will happen soon. I will check up on the live-feeds then and report developments as I learn them.

Update: I'm back from my haircut...

Tonight's POV Ceremony is over. Vanessa used the POV to save Jason from eviction. Shelli then nominated Audrey as her replacement nominee.

That means that Audrey will be competing for eviction this Thursday against perenial pawn, Johnny Mac.

By the way, Audrey didn't show up for today's  POV ceremony, choosing to remain in bed.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Squirrel Girl VS Girl Squirrel in THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #7!

Hopefully you picked up your copy of THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #7. It was released a couple weeks ago, but I'm just catching up with my comic book stash. This book is the greatest! Perhaps you remember last issue, when Squirrel Girl and her best friend Nancy Whitehead met two new heroes named Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi? Coincidentally, these two heroes turned out to be classmates. In case it wasn't clear, Squirrel Girl can speak with squirrels, Chipmunk Hunk can speak with chipmunks, Koi Boi can speak with fish, and Nancy can only speak with people.

Oh, the group also met a new hero named Girl Squirrel -- who actually turns out to be a villain with the ability to whisper bad thoughts into the minds of others!

Case in point, Squirrel Girl starts off the issue struggling to get to class. As you probably remember, she is a student at Empire State University under her civilian identity, Doreen Green. Riots are breaking out everywhere -- over piddly little disputes. For example, a riot breaks out in Doreen's classroom just after her arrival!

After breaking up this latest riot, Nancy Whitehead does a quick wikipedia search and discovers that everyone is being mind-controlled by a Norse god-squirrel named Ratatoskr. Apparently, she runs up and down the world tree Yggdrasil and provokes people with slanderous gossip. No lie.

Squirrel Girl and her Amazing Friends eventually track down Thor and the other Thor and not only learn of Ratatoskr's origins, but learn that she recently broke out of her cage. It's now up to Thor, Thor, and Nancy Whitehead to repair Ratatoskr's cage, which Squirrel Girl, Chipmunk Hunk, and Koi Boi take down the evil god-squirrel!

Our heroic trio manages to track down Ratatoskr in her "Girl Squirrel" guise -- but it's not that easy to defeat an enemy who can insight dissent with her words! Our heroes' squirrel and chipmunk allies are easily scattered by Ratatoskr and then we learn her ultimate goal: worldwide destruction of mankind!

Does even Squirrel Girl have what it takes to defeat a squirrel-god?? We shall have to wait until next issue!

"The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" is written by Ryan North, penciled and inked by Erica Henderson, colored by Rico Renzi, and lettered by VC's Clayton Cowles.