Thursday, August 31, 2017

Evangelical Leaders Issue the Nashville Statement, an Updated Manifesto Against Gay, Lesbian, Bi, & Trans People and Our Friends/Families and Our Faith

Have you heard about the "Nashville Statement" yet? It's a document issued earlier this month by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's annual conference. Coincidentally, that happened in Nashville, TN. The Nashville Statement is a laundry list of beliefs on marriage and sex that essentially seeks to remind that world that the Southern Baptist Church really dislikes LGBT people.

Here it is:
1. We affirm that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong unon of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church. We deny that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God. 
2. We affirm that God's revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage. We deny that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality. 
3. We affirm that God created Adam and Even, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female. We deny that the divinely ordained differences between male and female render them unequal in dignity or worth. 
4. We affirm that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God's original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing. We deny that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome. 
5. We affirm that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God's design for self-conception as male or female. We deny that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male or female. 
6. We affirm that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about "eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb." With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known. We deny that ambiguities related to a person's biological sex render one incapable of living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ. 
7. We affirm that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God's holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture. We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God's holy purpose in creation and redemption. 
8. We affirm that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life. We deny that sexual attraction for same sex is part of the natural goodness of God's original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel. 
9. We affirm that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality -- a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality. We deny that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies sexually immoral behavior. 
10. We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness. We deny that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of more indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree. 
11. We affirm our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female. We deny any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God's design of his image-bearers as male or female. 
12. We affirm that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. We deny that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin. 
13. We affirm that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one's biological sex and one's self-conception as male or female. We deny that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God's revealed will. 
14. We affirm that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ's death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sins and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure. We deny that the Lord's arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.
In other words, men and women both have their place. Accept it. Being gay is wrong. Being transgender is wrong. Being gay-married is wrong. Being polygamous is wrong. Being poly is wrong. Ex-gay is good. Ex-transgender is good. There's no "agreeing to disagree" when it comes to gay marriage. And if indeed you do disagree, then you're not really a Christian.

Over 150 pastors and evangelical leaders have signed off on the Nashville Statement.

Since this has come out, I've been told by one gay Christian leader that you need to be really careful about how you respond because Side-B gay Christians (i.e., gay Christians who think that it's okay to be gay, but also believe that gay sex is inherently sinful so you gotta be celibate) are already hurting by this Nashville Statement. After all, the Nashville Statement smiles on celibacy, but frowns on adopting a gay identity.

Another progressive Christian pastor friend told me that we (LGBT and gay Christians in general) should just ignore this Nashville Statement. After all, it's the SBC and they've always hated LGBT people and families and nothing has changed with this, so just move along and focus on other things. Which annoys me given that the Southern Baptist Church -- and evangelical Christians -- have lied about and defamed LGBT people for the better part of two generations, to the point when the larger LGBT people whole-heartedly believes that we have no place in the Church or at God's Table. How can one just sit back and say nothing?

So here is my personal statement: Just be good to each other. Don't worry about whether I'm a gay, married dad or whether someone else identifies as gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or asexual or gender-fluid or whatever. What does it matter to you anyway? So mind your own business and acknowledge that not everyone lives or believes as you do.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"Big Brother 19" Contestant Jason In Hot Water Over Rape Jokes

I was pretty excited this past June when I discovered that one of CBS' "Big Brother 19" contestants was a fellow Iowan from Humeston. Never heard of it? Neither have I. But it's all cool, because Iowans support Iowans.

Here is was I wrote back on 06/28/17:
New season of "Big Brother" begins tonight. I'll miss some of the first episode due to Church Council, but apparently Iowa is getting represented this season. His name is Jason and he's a rodeo clown. Hopefully he's not a dick so that I can cheer him on without reservation.
Soon enough, I found myself disgusted by this season. Nothing but BB18 alumni Paul running the show to the point of boredom -- except for when the houseguests begin mobbing and bullying individual members.

I realized tonight that I hadn't seen an episode of the program in over two weeks. I still generally keep up by following stuff on Twitter and through a "Big Brother" podcast. But I can't stand Paul, so why bother watching the show since it's all about Paul's glacial march towards winning BB19, right?


But Jason... Jason is in the news for a pretty stupid reason. Earlier this week, he was talking to Alex, Josh, and Paul about fellow houseguest Kevin and jokingly threatened to rape Kevin's wife when he got out of the Big Brother House:
Jason said that if Kevin were to put any of his allies up on the block he would make the father of seven regret it. "I'll f--- your wife when I get out of here. I'm going to tie up all your daughters and make them f---ing watch," Jason said, laughing.
This is the second time that Jason joked about rape in the Big Brother House. He offered to hold fellow Raven down while the other guests raped her anally. Everyone laughed uncomfortably, but also reminded him that there's a line and that he'd completely demolished it.

Jason is unaware that news of his rape jokes are going viral, but his family at home is trying to do some Twitter-based damage control:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

SPLC Lists Amana, IA, as Sight of Neo-Nazi Activity // UPDATED: Amana Removed from SPLC's Hate Map

(Originally written on 08/22/17): There is a group of villages in the neighboring county called the Amana Colonies. They were founded back in the mid-1800s by persecuted German immigrants who sought a communal existence in the American Midwest. These days, they attract tourists from all over, who come for their shops and food. Husband Mark and I go there every fall with the boys for food and I often visit the shops when I'm looking for a day to get away. Heck, there's even a shop that I would love to buy if Mark would give me the okay -- which he won't -- but I can dream.

The Amana Colonies have been in the news for a much more distressing reason these days. Amana was listed as the sight of Neo-Nazi activity by the Southern Poverty Law Center. More specifically, the Daily Stormer, "a neo-Nazi and white supremacy news and commentary organization," held at least one verified meeting at a restaurant in Amana in late 2016:
Ryan Lenz, a senior investigative writer for the SPLC, said that the group met at a restaurant in Amana in 2016 and that it is fair to say that there is indeed an active group in the historic village. “We’ve monitored where they existed and going with every instance where they met or … we saw they had plans to meet in Amana and we confirmed at least once in Amana, which is enough to say there is a hate group,” Lenz said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “What’s getting lost in the translation is … we’re not saying Amana is a hate group or welcoming of hate groups. This is saying racists have congregated in Amana. That’s all we’re saying.” 
Further research backed Lenz’s comments that the group of individuals did meet sometime in 2016 at a restaurant in the Amanas. “The First Iowa Stormer Bookclub was a success!” posted a user with the screen name Concerned Troll in a Sept. 26, 2016, thread originally posted on The Daily Stormer, and since cached by Google. Concerned Troll, who did not post specific details about the visit, went on to suggest a subsequent meeting in Des Moines sometime in the late fall or early winter.
Of course, Amana's leadership is not happy about this designation, nor is the Iowa County Sheriff. Both the Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau and Iowa County Sheriff's Office dispute the claim that the colonies are the home of any hate group and are not happy that they have been associated by any Neo-Nazi groups:
“What he is saying is some people came from around state and had a meeting, or allegedly had a meeting; we don’t know for sure that they did,” said Rettig. “To label us as being home of a hate group is ridiculous and that will be proven as we go on. You can come to Amana and you will not find a hate group. It’s not what we’re about.”
And I have certainly never seen any evidence of hate group activity during any of my visits to any of the Amana Colonies.

The SPLC says that their "Hate Map" is updated annually. Amana will be taken off of their map if it's found that they is no additional activity in 2017.

Updated on 08/29/17: It's been learned that Amana has been removed from the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map" as of yesterday. The Daily Stormer is still listed as active in Iowa, but no longer specifically connected to Amana:
On Monday, one of the economic leaders of the Amanas received word that the SPLC, a civil rights organization, changed the Daily Stormer’s designation to “statewide.” “Absolutely. We’re thrilled for them changing the map and correcting it to what it should be, and not having the Amanas as a hate group,” said David Rettig, executive director of the Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau. 
The group had earlier stood by its claim that the Amanas were the home of a hate group, noting that it had confirmation that a group of individuals met sometime in September 2016 at a restaurant in the Amanas. A thread, originally posted on the Daily Stormer and since cached by Google, backed the claim. “The First Iowa Stormer Bookclub was a success!” posted a user with the screen name Concerned Troll in a Sept. 26, 2016, thread. Concerned Troll, who did not post specific details about the visit, went on to suggest a subsequent meeting in Des Moines sometime in the late fall or early winter. 
But officials were quick to denounce the SPLC’s claims, stating there are no such groups active in Iowa County and – while denouncing hate groups and their activities, saying none of their messages or activities are welcome in their town – demanded that the civil rights organization remove their community from their hate map... 
On Monday, the SPLC agreed. Rettig was contacted personally by a representative of the SPLC informing him of the change.
Once again, as reported earlier by the Press-Citizen, the SLPC didn't actually say that the Amana Colonies were the home of a hate group, but that a hate group congregated there. But they also didn't clarify that distinction on their website.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Remembering When Mr. Moto Met Charlie Chan's Number One Son in "Mr. Moto's Gamble"

I have been watching a series of old "Mr. Moto" movies from the 1930s starring Peter Lorre this week on YouTube. Lorre starred in eight different movies from 1937 through 1939. Mr. Moto was a fictional Japanese secret agent/detective. He was very intelligent and quite the action hero.

I was pretty excited when I got to the third film in the series: "Mr. Moto's Gamble" from 1938. This was originally meant to part of the "Charlie Chan" movies, but it was re-written into a Moto movie following the death of original Chan actor, Warner Oland. And you can definitely tell that it was originally meant for Charlie Chan. "Mr. Moto's Gamble" doesn't have as much action as the first two "Mr. Moto" movies.

One thing that really made "Mr. Moto's Gamble" stand out was that it co-starred Keye Luke, who played Charlie Chan's Number One Son, Lee Chan, in many of the early "Charlie Chan" films. In this movie, Lee was taking a detective course that Mr. Moto was teaching. There was a great scene early on that explained Lee's inclusion in the movie and that payed homage to Charlie Chan and Warner Oland:

Lee Chan: Oh, Mr. Moto...
Mr. Moto: Yes Lee?
Lee Chan: I thought you would like to know that I got a letter from Pop yesterday.
Mr. Moto: Oh, you did?
Lee Chan: He sent his best to you. 
Mr. Moto: Thank you. And how is your honorable father enjoying his home life in beautiful Honolulu?
Lee Chan: He seems fine. But he kind of worries about me. You see, I'm really supposed to be studying art here at the university. But gosh... I really want to be a detective!
Mr. Moto: *Chuckles* I understand. My parents wanted me to become an acrobat.
*Both Laugh*
Mr. Moto: But don't worry, Lee. I shall write to your father and I shall tell him that you are my most promising student. 
Not only did Mr. Moto gain Lee Chan as an assistant, but he also gained his own Burmingham Brown character (sort of). The two were joined by a bumbling kleptomaniac named Wellington. This type of detective and sidekick dynamic really took off in the "Charlie Chan" movies but really hadn't been seen in the "Mr. Moto" movies until this film.


Incidentally, there was a great line from this film It had me cracking up long enough that I decided to create a meme out of it:

Three Injured & Two Detained Pending Charges After Late Night Shooting at Iowa City Ped Mall

I was awoken very early this morning to a UI Hawk Alert about a shooting at the Iowa City Ped Mall. The Iowa City Police Department subsequently issued the following press release:
Iowa City Police are investigating a shooting that occurred in the Ped Mall. Three persons were transported to an area hospital. 
On Saturday August 27th at 1:29 am, Iowa City police officers patrolling the pedestrian mall heard shots fired in the area of College St. and Dubuque St. Responding officers discovered three shooting victims at various locations around that area. All three victims were transported to an area hospital for treatment. Several law enforcement agencies from the surrounding areas assisted in securing the scene and controlling crowds. A number of individuals in the area were transported to the Iowa City Police Department and are being interviewed to determine what, if any, role they had in the incident. There have been no arrests at this time. The Iowa City detectives are on-scene and the investigation continues. The University of Iowa issued a Hawk Alert due to the proximity of the scene in relation to the campus. The names and conditions of the victims, ages 22, 26, and 27, are not being released at this time. Due to the large volume of inquiries from parents, Iowa City officers confirmed the victims are not University of Iowa students.
Iowa City Police Captain Troy Kelsay held a press conference earlier this morning at around 5:30 AM. It appears that there was a heightened police presence already last night at the Ped Mall because of the new school year. They heard multiple gun shots at 1:30 AM and were able to quickly identify the three gunshot victims (one of whom was still in surgery at the time of today's press conference), as well as several people involved with the altercation and gunfire. They were still questioning the people of interest so no charges had yet been issued to any as of 5:30 AM. However, he noted that at least two of the individuals being detained would likely be charged for firearms offenses and for their role in what happened on the Ped Mall.

Captain Kelsay stressed that this was not a gang-related event. He specifically said that there were two "groups" of individuals. One group is from Iowa City while the other group came to Iowa City from another community socializing. The two groups appeared to know each other and there was animosity between the two groups. The fight and shooting happened between these two groups. It was not a random shooting.

There was a second UI Hawk Alert last night involving an armed robbery on East Market Street. Captain Kelsay noted that these two incidents were not related.

Updated: Two men have been charged for today's early morning downtown shooting:
Two men are in custody in connection with the shooting: Donte R. Taylor, 21 of Cedar Rapids; and Lamar C. Wilson, 23 of Iowa City. Wilson faces three counts of attempted murder and three counts of intimidation with a dangerous weapon. Attempted murder is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. 
Taylor faces charges of trafficking in stolen weapons, possession of a firearm by a felon, carrying weapons, interference with official acts and public intoxication.
You can read more here.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

How Much Honesty Do You Owe When You're Not Into Somebody?

I have been trying out a new LGBT online community recently. I'm still not sure if I will stick around for long, but there have been some interesting discussion. For instance, I ran across this one thread that ask if he should confront this guy for gently rebuffing his advances:
I liked this dude for a while that I met at a party and eventually asked out via text. I made it clear I was cool with whatever (hookup, fwb, dates), but would like to get to know him more. He told me he "wasn't really looking for anything right now." This was two days ago. 
Last night I was swiping through (a social media app), and boom, he was on there. And his profile said he was looking for "dates/fwb" and it had a picture he uploaded very recently on other social media. Needless to say I am hurt over this, and have been contemplating an assertive confrontation about this. 
This is not the first time I've been rejected (and more than likely not the last), but I'd rather someone directly reject me and say that I'm not his type than to beat around the bush. I also know I don't have much to lose with him at this point. 
My problem is I feel that people need to be called out on when I catch them in a lie, but on the other hand it could make me look crazy. It's not like I intentionally was looking to see if he was on the app, just happened to find him as I was swiping. For what it's worth I also screenshotted the profile as evidence. Thank you for reading, I'm trying to do what I can to be the big person about this, but it also stings.
Here is how I responded:
Stop. He doesn't owe you anything in this scenario. He turned you down. He's not into you. It doesn't matter why or that he wasn't direct with you. You confronting him with screen-grabs and everything will make you look crazy. It won't impress him. It won't impress his friends when he tells them about your confrontation. They'll talk. You'll look and sound crazy to them and their friends. And no one will want to date or hook up with you. 
If you want to be the big man about this, then let it go and move on.
What kind of advice would you offer? Share them in the comments below.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Story County, Iowa: Cat Throws Shade at Speedy Driver

I have no idea how fast this car was driving while traveling through Story County, Iowa, but it was bad enough that they apparently had to call in for back-up...

... of the four-legged variety.

Looks like someone was on the wrong end of this cat's shameful stare early yesterday.

Of course, I immediately remember this famous scene out of "Super Troopers" when I first saw this image. Not to mention this mostly forgotten Disney movie, "Murder She Purred" -- which really dates me as I watched that movie when it first aired back in 1999!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Who Is Louie Lue??

Longer-term readers of my blog know that I've become a fan of the old Charlton Comics comic books. But I haven't written much about my secret love of Charlie Chan -- particularly the various movies starring Warner Oland and Sidney Toler. I understand that these movies are racially insensitive from today's standards, but there are great detective stories within those movies. I have often wished that PBS would create modern adaptations of the various "Charlie Chan" books. I'm not holding my breath, but it would certainly be a great opportunity to reintroduce the character for a modern audience in a much more responsible manner.

Anyway, there used to be CHARLIE CHAN comic book published by Charlton Comics back in 1955. Eventually, Charlton Comics lost the publishing rights to Charlie Chan and the character moved to DC Comics, of all places. But Charlton Comics had already commissioned a story for its CHARLIE CHAN comic book that went unpublished. Not a company to waste money on unpublished stories, they tinkered with the character and the artwork and came up with a brand-new Charlton Comics original character: Louie Lue!

Basically, Louie Lue is Charlie Chan with a different outfit and a pair of glasses. The two men talk the same. They both share adventures with their Number One Son. And they are both master detectives. It's just that Charlton Comics owned this character.

Louie Lue made his comic book debut in his one and only story, "Penthouse Prisoner," in ZAZA THE MYSTIC #10. The story featured story by Joe Gill, art by Charles Nicholas, and lettering by Jon D'Agnostino.

The story starts out with Number One Son (never actually named in the story) excited to discover money dropping out of the sky from a nearby penthouse. The bills themselves have cryptic messages on them: "Whoever gets this, call Walter at Frisky Fred's! Reward." Keep in mind that Frisky Fred's is a now-defunct gambling joint that had been shut down by the police. In other words, only somebody who has been out of touch for a while wouldn't know that Frisky Fred's is no more -- and one of the gambling ring's leaders had disappeared months ago and escaped prison. Is the gambling ring's leader, Augie Schmidt, hidden away in that penthouse? And if so, why?


Unfortunately, the penthouse elevator is guarded by a pair of gun-toting gangsters. Not too suspicious, eh? Leave it to Louie figure out a way into the penthouse to discover and capture the missing Augie Schmidt!


I've been mulling over short story ideas featuring public domain characters from Charlton Comics (as well as Dell Comics) and am starting to think about resurrecting Louie Lou, but I think that I would try to recapture the mystic atmosphere from some of the better "Charlie Chan" movies.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump Unity Bridge Drives Through Iowa City

Friday morning, I began hearing about a Trump float in downtown Iowa City. Turns out that it was something called the Trump United Bridge and it has been traveling across the nation with the goal of "building bridges not walls."


Trump Unity Bridge's has put in 40,000 miles while traveling around the USA:
Cortis said the bridge reflects messages from not only President Trump, but also from the American people. “Our messages represent what the people want, from the left, the right, the center.” And what are those messages? “Build the wall. Lock her up. One God, one nation, one flag. Things like that,” he said.
Needless to say, the Trump Truck wasn't well received in Iowa City. But he really wasn't here that long. Just long enough for people to notice and take a few pictures.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Iowa: Couple Awarded $3.25 Million Judgement Against Attorney for Failed Adoption

An Ankeny couple was awarded a $3.25 million judgement against their former adoption attorney, alleging that Des Moines attorney Jason Reiper had failed to file paperwork, which ultimately led to the removal of their adoptive child. Baby Gabriel was eventually removed from Heidi and Rachel McFarland's custody because Reiper did not have the birth parents sign any termination of parental rights paperwork.

Heidi McFarland summarized pretty succinctly what led to them losing their baby in two sentences:
One piece of paper was all that was needed. Basically, this would have been a whole different story.
To make things worse, the baby died within five weeks of being returned to his birth mother, having been killed by his birth father. Drew Weehler-Smith was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison after Gabriel died from severe head injuries.

This is what their current attorney, Roxanne Conlin, had to say about the ruling:
Today a jury in Polk County awarded Heidi and Rachel McFarland 3.25 Million Dollars for the loss of the baby boy they thought they were adopting. Their attorney didnt get the basic document signed by the birth mother in a timely fashion. After having him for 78 days, they had to give him to her when she asked for him. If the lawyer had done what he was supposed to do, the birth mother would have signed a document called a release of custody and 4 days after she signed it, it would have been almost impossible for her or the baby's father to take Gabriel away from them. The lawyer just didnt get around to it. The birth mom got mad at the McFarlands and ripped this baby away from the only parents and the only home he had known. That is all the jury knew when they reached this verdict. There is more to the story. 5 weeks after the baby was returned to the birth mom, and while she went out for concert tickets, the birth father killed the baby. The jury didnt know that and also didnt know that for every hour of every day he was not with them, Heida and Rachel worried that he was living in a cockroach invested apartment with a 16 year old who drank and took drugs. God bless the civil justice system for holding people accountable for the damage they do to others and to this jury who came to the right conclusion even without all of the evidence.
Both the McFarlands and Conlin have indicated that they will see very little of that $3.25 million judgement, but are glad for the moral victory and they hope that they might prevent similar situations like this in the future.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Black Hood Coming to "Riverdale"?

The latest trailer for "Riverdale" Season Two just dropped, which was pretty cool. I'm sure that you will be watching the show when it makes its debut at 7:00 PM CST on 10/11/17. But this is even cooler.

It looks like the Black Hood will be appearing in "Riverdale" this season!

The Black Hood -- at least the latest Black Hood -- is a police officer named Gregory Hettinger. He made a name for himself for killing the previous Black Hood and then getting shot in the face, effectively ruining his appearance and starting the downward cycle into the world of pain medication dependence and addiction. He eventually began wearing the old Black Hood's ripped up mask and beating up drug dealers -- largely so that he could steal their black market oxy.


The Black Hood never interacted with Archie and the Riverdale Gang -- but it will be pretty cool if he ends up on the show. If nothing else, this might result in a resurgence for the comic book and a spin-off superhero TV show featuring the anti-hero -- which is admittedly not likely. Then again, Black Hood was cool enough to have his own radio show back in 1943 and 1944, right around the same time that the most popular "Archie Andrews" radio program made its own debut. So, not so crazy after all!

Charlottesville: Barely-White Power Dude Scared Shirtless by Protesters

I haven't written too much about the "Unite the Right" march that happened last weekend in Charlottesville, VA. It was a mess and a national embarrassment. But this video kind of tricked my trigger, if you know what I mean.

Someone was filming when a young guy ran into the ran, terrified and screaming for help. He was wearing the khaki-and-white uniform of Vanguard America, which is a white nationalist group. And he was being chased by a couple anti-fascist counter-protesters.

He suddenly called out "Please don't!" and began stripping in the middle of the street. "I'm not really white power, man! I just came for the fun! I'm sorry!"


The situation quickly defused itself, but the cameraman stuck with the shirtless guy. "You can't just take your costume off!" He then asked Shirty, "So you just came for the fun? You're not a real white supremacist."

Shrug. "Barely. It's kind of a fun idea... Just being able to say, 'White Power!'"

Shirty was followed for a bit through the crowd before being asked, "The big question, man. You going to put the uniform back on? What's the plan? You're a white supremacist until people begin chasing you and then you take the uniform off. So are you going to put it back on?"

"Quite honest? I like to be offensive. It's fun." Before wandering off for some unspecified fun activities.

You can watch the whole video here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Nebraska Sheriff's Offices Report Rock-Filled Feed Sacks Left Intentionally on Roadways

Here is a creepy post coming out of Nebraska, courtesy of the Fillmore County Sheriff's Office:
Fillmore County Sheriffs Office is advising all drivers to use extra caution. It has been brought to our attention, that someone has been placing bags with large bricks on our county roads. Please call the Sheriffs Office if you come across one of these bags. We would be happy to remove it from the road.
According to this news article, several people had filed reports yesterday of encountering feed sacks filled with cinder blocks that had been left on rural roads. The intent was to give the appearance of debris that was safe enough to drive over, which would then cause damage to the vehicle as it passed over the blocks.

Frankly, I surprised that I haven't read any reports of serious damage or accidents.

Incidentally, the Thayer County Sheriff's Office also reported incidents yesterday of cinder blocks hidden in feed sacks on the roads.

Iowa City: Street Preacher Cited for Disorderly Conduct Outside Planned Parenthood; Pleaded "Not Guilty" & Has Requested a Jury Trial // Updated Below

(Originally written on 08/13/17): Sometime this past week, I learned of a disorderly conduct case that's emerged here in Iowa City involving our local Planned Parenthood clinic and a street preacher with strong lungs.

It all started on 05/30/17 when Tony Miano from Cross Encounters were protesting outside of Planned Parenthood. It was on a Tuesday morning, which is when our local PP clinic does abortion procedures. You see protesters outside of or near Planned Parenthood in Iowa City pretty much every Tuesday morning.

Miano began preaching very loudly that morning outside the clinic. You can watch this video to get an idea of how loud he was, but it was loud enough to be heard inside the clinic. I'm sure it stinks to live nearby this clinic or to have a business near this clinic because of his preaching, but I'm also pretty sure that Miano doesn't care.

Within a few minutes of the start of his street-preaching, two Iowa City Police Officers pulled up and informed Miano that he was violating the noise statute. Once it was determined that he had already been warned about this during a previous police interaction, he was cited with Disorderly Conduct. Once again, you can watch video of their interaction here.

One day later, Miano reports that he was contacted by an attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom to represent him. He'd apparently seen the video encounter and offered to represent him. On 06/23/17, Miano pleaded "not guilty" to the charges of Disorderly Conduct and a trial was requested. A few days later, they specified that they wanted a "trial by jury," which was granted.

The case will go to trial at some unspecified point in the future. This case has grabbed my interest, so I'll keep my eyes out for it and provide updates.

Updated on 08/15/17: I was watching more videos the other day featured Tony Miano and his anti-abortion street ministry here in Iowa City. This particular video is from late last month outside of Iowa City's Planned Parenthood clinic.

A couple pulled up into the clinic parking lot. Miano called to the couple and grabbed their attention: "Please let us talk to you before you go inside. Please? What's that? We'd like to talk to you before you go inside. We've got help to offer. We're willing to adopt your baby today. There's absolutely no reason to abort your child today. Any financial, medical, housing needs you may have we're willing to provide today. Absolutely."

The couple then walked away. "So you're still going to murder your child anyway, sir? You wouldn't be at Planned Parenthood if you had medical reasons, sir."

And it goes on from there.

I'd point out that it's very well possible that this couple was going inside to undergo an abortion procedure. They could have also been there for other medical treatment services.

But the video sparked my curiosity. On Monday, I posted the following question to Tony Miano on his YouTube comments section: "Has anyone taken you up on your offer to adopt their unborn child?"

He replied: "Not yet. This is why I say women have abortions-not because they have no other choice or option, but because they have no other desire."

Personally, I think it's a little of both. Depending on the individual, of course.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"Riverdale" Wins Big-Time at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards

The Teen Choice Awards are happening tonight -- and it looks like "Riverdale" is winning big time!

Here are tonight's "Riverdale"-related awards:
  • Choice Breakout Show: "Riverdale"
  • Choice Drama TV Show: "Riverdale"
  • Choice TV Ship: Bughead (AKA Betty & Jughead)
  • Choice Breakout TV Star: Lili Reinhart (AKA Betty Cooper)
  • Choice Drama TV Actor: Cole Sprouse (AKA Jughead Jones)
  • Choice Scene Stealer: Camila Mendes (AKA Veronica Lodge)
  • Choice Hissy Fit Madelaine Petsch (AKA Cheryl Blossom)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Archie Comics Announces Two New Comic Books: JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER and B&V VIXENS // PLUS: Check Out My Month-By-Month List of Fantasy Archie Horror Titles! (Or... If You Can't Beat Their Irregular Publishing Schedule, Embrace It!)

I shared earlier this week (here and here) that Archie Comics plans to publish several new comic books in the coming months. But there are two other titles that are being launched, one that was actually announced last month and another that was announced earlier this week.

First off, Archie Comics announced that they plan to launch an ongoing JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER comic book series in October 2017, which is a spin-off of the March one-shot comic book by the same name. You may or may not remember, but JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER imagines a world where Jughead is the latest in a long line of werewolves and Betty is the latest in a long line of werewolf hunters.

JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER will feature story telling by Frank Tieri and will be illustrated by Pat & Tim Kennedy.

I was actually annoyed by JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER when this new series was first announced. After all, Archie Comics has really struggled to get its Archie Horror titles out on a regular basis for way too long. Both AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE and CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA come out so sporadically. I can't even remember when I held a new copy of AFTERLIFE in my hands. It's been at least a year. Which is ridiculous.

But then I had an idea for a new line of ARCHIE HORROR titles that could each get released once annually. That way, readers would know that they would get at least one new book each month! I was going to blog about it, but then the idea fizzled.

But then Tuesday, Archie Comics announced a new ongoing comic book series titled B&V VIXENS. It will feature writing by Jamie Rotante and artwork by Eva Cabrera and will make its debut in November 2017. B&V VIXENS envisions a world where Betty and Veronica are "badass biker chicks in charge of the meanest gang in town."

I like the concept and I like this alternate cover by Robert Hack. And I like the idea as Betty & Veronica as biker chicks versus Jughead as a werewolf, so I'll definitely be adding B&V VIXENS to my pull-list.

But I keep going back to my idea of different Archie Horror concepts coming out each month -- even if it's a ironic response to the books' annoyingly irregular release schedule.

With that in mind, I thought that I would share my idea for a month-by-month Archie Horror/"Archie Mature" release schedule:

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE (January): Archie Andrews and a ragtag band of friends and family fight to survive a Zombie Apocalypse.

VAMPIRONICA (February): This title was hinted at way back in July 2015 and then promptly dropped from further discussion. But what if Archie Comics published an ongoing comic book where Veronica Lodge became a vampire? What kind of chaos could Vampironica unleash?

PUREHEART (March): Remember Pureheart the Powerful and the rest of the Super Teens? Or possibly the more recent Riverdale hero, the Equalizer? I would love to see Pureheart and the rest of the Super Teens all grown up and gritty. I'm thinking of Archie Comics meets the Watchmen -- which gets me all excited because the original idea behind the Watchmen was a dark update of the various Mighty Crusaders heroes. I actually have a general story plotted out for this idea just in case anyone from Archie Comics is curious. Just saying...

EXPLORERS OF THE UNKNOWN (April): The original Explorers fought villains and explored uncharted areas of the world. For this title, I thought it would be fun to take Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and Reggie and have them found a new group called the Explorers of the Unknown, which would be a team of paranormal investigators. They would run across ghosts, and demons, and shadow people in all sorts of haunted locations with the goals of figuring out what happens to people after death.

SPIRE (May): Just in time for Vacation Bible School's nationwide to kick off, SPIRE would be a homage to Archie Comics' relationship with Spire Christian Comics back in the early 1970s. I'm thinking of the second coming. I'm thinking of Revelations. I'm thinking of the the apocalypse. I'm thinking of dark parodie of the Chick tracts, featuring Archie Andrews, the Riverdale Gang, and other characters from Archie Comics' catalog of characters.

KEVIN KILLER (June): Just in time for Pride Month, KEVIN KILLER reveals Archie Comics' openly gay teen has a secret life as a serial killer! I would pull ideas from real life serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Son of Sam, and the BTK Killer; among others. This series could be a lot of fun -- if a bit messy...

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA (July): Archie Horror's ongoing story about Sabrina the Teenage Witch, set back in the late 1960s. Sabina continues to live with the challenge of being a half-witch/half-mortal while pushing back against the evil machinations of Madame Satan and her Witch Coven.

COSMO: MERCENARY FROM MARS (August): I know that Archie Comics has big plans for Cosmo the Merry Martian over at Archie Action. But that doesn't stop them from publishing a sister title featuring Cosmo as the leader of an invasion squadron from the planet Mars! Much like Archie Action has come up with a sleek new Mega Man-inspired look for COSMO, I would like to see a unique new look for Archie Horror's Cosmo.

ARCHIE B.C. (September): I would like to do an update of the "Archie 1" caveman characters, but I'm not 100% sure how to do this without repeating AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE. On the other hand, I'm really digging the idea of Riverdale being at the mercy of blood-thirsty Neandertals, either in the distant past or in the present.

JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER (October): Jughead the Werewolf versus Betty the Werewolf Hunter! Think of the collateral damage!

B&V VIXENS (November): Once again, what if Betty and Veronica were a pair of biker chicks?

ARCHIE'S MAD HOUSE (December): Taking a page from "America Horror Story: Asylum," I think it would be really fun to explore what happened after Archie -- or maybe Reggie might be a better fit -- became committed to a mental health institution. I would definitely pull characters from the original ARCHIE'S MAD HOUSE comic book series, including the Madhouse Glads (particularly Clyde Didit and Fran the Fan) and Captain Sprocket.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Check Out This New Version of Secret Squirrel in SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #16!

Last year, DC started re-imagining the various Hanna-Barbera properties. I haven't followed too many of them, but I really enjoy SCOOBY APOCALYPSE (written about here, here, and here). I've also heard really good stuff about THE FLINTSTONES and I'm keeping my eyes peeled for this new comic book series featuring Snagglepuss that's supposed to be premiering soon.

I was reading SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #16 earlier today and was treated to this great new Hanna-Barbera update titled "Secret Squirrel."

Secret Squirrel (AKA Agent OOO) was a parody of the spy genre. He debuted in 1965 and eventually got his one televison program, "Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole." He runs missions for I.S.S. (AKA the International Sneaky Service) and possesses all sorts of spy gadgets (such as a bullet-proof jacket and a machine gun cane) to help him accomplish his missions. His two greatest enemies were Yellow Pinky and Hy-Spy.


In "Secret Squirrel," Agent OOO starts off the book being ambushed by a team of arm assassins in his hotel room. Of course, they don't stand a chance against Secret Squirrel.


Soon enough, Agent OOO is reunited with his handler, Double-Q, who scolds the rodent for leaving behind a messy pile of bodies that I.S.S. needs to clean up. After several quips, our hero is sent off on yet another mission to track down the mystery behind a new terrorist organization that's responsible for the murder of a brilliant scientist -- and find out why they surgically removed her brain!

I have no clue if Secret Squirrel will launch into his own ongoing comic book series, but I'm pretty intrigued by what I've seen already!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Archie Comics Launching MIGHTY CRUSADERS Series in Late 2017

Archie Comics revealed several new comic book titles yesterday, including THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS under its Dark Circle line. It will be written by Ian Flynn and will feature art by Kelsey Shannon.

It appears to be a mix of the classic MLJ/Red Circle heroes, the New Crusaders, and Dark Circle's Shield characters. Judging from the cover image, the team consists of Shield, Comet, Fly-Girl, Darkling, Steel Sterling, the Web, and Jaguar.

It looks like THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS will launch in November or December 2017. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be a lot of details about the team.

I enjoyed Archie Comics' NEW CRUSADERS title. I wasn't a huge fan of their more recent Dark Circle titles -- largely because of their chronic lateness. But I enjoy team books and this team looks pretty cool.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Archie Comics to Publish New COSMO Comic Book Series!

Back in 2013, Archie Comics hinted at a new COSMO THE MERRY MARTIAN comic book series. I advocated for this new series, but nothing came of it and (except for a couple of appearances) Cosmo has slowly faded away into the darkness.

Until now.

Earlier today, Archie Comics announced several new comic book titles that will be premiering in the near future including... an updated COSMO comic book series!

Archie Comics CEO and Publisher Jon Goldwater was interviewed earlier today by Heat Vision, where the subject of the new COSMO comic book series was revealed:
You're also reviving Cosmo, which is a genuine blast from the past. The original version of this — Cosmo the Merry Martian, about a Martian astronaut on his way to Earth — only lasted, what, six issues in the late 1950s? 
Archie Action has always been a part of the overall publishing strategy, whether it's licensed or our own IP. [Note: Previously, Archie Action was the home for the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series for 24 years; that license has recently moved to IDW Publishing.] With Cosmo, we see a lot of opportunity to tell a fun adventure tale, featuring one of our classic concepts. Cosmo as a character and universe really lends itself to the serialized stories and world-building Ian Flynn is great at, and we're excited to hand him the keys and let him cut loose when this debuts early next year. It fills an important space for our line.
We were then treated to some initial artwork from the new COSMO series by Ian Flynn:


I'm seeing updated versions of Cosmo, his girlfriend Astra, and his little friend Orbi. There's his dog and the Queen of Venus. I'm not sure who the other two folks are though. The one blue guy might be Professor Thimk. The updated Cosmo & Company definitely carry a MEGA MAN feel, which makes sense given that Ian Flynn is involved and MEGA MAN was another licensed property published by Archie Action.

I'm liking the new look and can't wait to check out the series when it debuts in 2018!

In the meantime, learn a little more about Cosmo the Merry Martian here.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Your Gay Friend is Getting "Married." What Now?? (Hint: Stop Using Quote-Marks When Describing the Marriage...)

I ran across a blog article called "Decision Time: Your Gay Friend is Getting 'Married'" by Regis Nicoll for Crisis Magazine. The gist of the article was an instruction that you owe it to the Christian faith and to the concept of religious liberty itself to decline any invitation to a wedding, if invited by a gay or lesbian friend, co-worker, or family member.

Nicoll points out that there's no Biblical approved expressed or implied for same-sex marriage. Of course, there's no Biblical objection to same-sex marriage either. But Nicoll believes that it's clear that the lack of expressed approval for same-sex marriage in the Bible means that same-sex couples are forbidden from using the term "marriage" to identify our long-term relationships. And, judging from his liberal use of quote-marks, we're also forbidden from using the terms "committed," or "soul mate," or "wedding."

Nicoll believes that Christians are giving their social and moral validation to gay couples when they attend our weddings. And of course, they really are. Because our marriages and our families are actually socially and morally valid and it's rude to claim otherwise unless you're witnessing bad behavior, such as adultery or abuse or fraud. Nicoll believes that real Christians need to demonstrate their love to their gay friends and relatives by rebuking them and going into all of the reasons for why they are rebuking them.

And if the gay friend doesn't appreciate it? Well, that's his or her problem.

He then added with a bit about WWJD? It turns out that Jesus would make a fuss if invited to the wedding and loudly speak out if/when the wedding officiant asks if anyone objects to the union. That's the implied suggestion for what a Christian should do if he or she actually comes to a gay wedding. Because that won't instantly kill your friendship.

This article was written on August 1st. By the time I read it, over 190 comments had been posted and I wisely chose to ignore the vast majority of them. But I did share a quick response to the article:
You're not a good friend if you put quote-marks around his or her wedding, marriage, or family. Certainly not respectful.
I was quickly asked by one of the commenters if a "good, respectful friend" would also go bar-hopping with an alcoholic friend if he really wanted to do that, which prompted this response by me:
Passive-aggressive claptrap. Your hypothetical friend cares enough about you to invite you to one of the most important days in her or his life and the OP is too busy figuring out how to shit on his wedding and then blame him or her for being upset by the negative response. Newsflash: Unless you're a close relative to this person, you will kill the friendship by attacking the wedding, the marriage, or the spouse. Or by comparing the wedding to an alcoholic binge. Even if you're a close relative, you risk ruining the relationship. Maybe you don't care. But you really should attend the wedding, or politely bow out of the wedding without attacking the marriage.
The concerned commenter then pointed out to me that he was actually placed in this position by a gay relative when he announced his own engagement to another man: "I have far, far too much respect for myself and for my deluded relative to feed his hallucination; thus my simple, polite declination. ...but for an actual Christian, not to mention for anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty, there is simply no choice other than to admit to the sham using quote marks when referring to it. If a refusal to indulge the lie by doing otherwise is upsetting, then that's a symptom of the potent narcissism that attends to the offended."

Anyway, this went around for a couple of circles. I pointed out that it's not the decision to bow out of a gay wedding that's problematic. It's the need by some to "rebuke" the couple and their decision to gay married that's problematic. It's the insistence that the relative is delusional or indulging in a lie. It's the need to make pointed quote marks over anything that signifies anything connected to the same-sex relationship. There is no respect. So it's disingenuous to even pretend that one is actually a friend to the LGBT person in question.

So why not just send an RSVP stating that you can't come to the wedding and leave it at that?

But of course, the Christian commenters in question claim that they are the ones being disrespected by being invited to the wedding in the first place.

Anyway, I wrote a blog article many years about about how to decline a gay wedding invitation. These were the suggestions back in 2011, and they pretty much hold true today:
1. Speak to a religious leader about your faith's position on attending a same-sex wedding. If you need to, anyway. Maybe you're one of those people who needs to consult her pastor or priest in order to build up your resolve. If so, more power to you. 
2. Appreciate your friend or family member's wish to include you in an important life event. Gay and lesbian couples already know that people look down on our marriages and families. You might not respect or value our families, but that doesn't mean that our marriages and families aren't precious and valuable to us. You were honored with a wedding invitation. Be mindful of that before you send out a pile of Chick Tracks to the blushing brides. 
3. Consider attending the wedding despite your personal beliefs. Ask yourself this: Would you decline a wedding invitation for any other reason? You can attend a wedding, eat some cake, and dance a little jig without fully endorsing the wedding. In theory, at least. 
4. Decline the invitation without citing a reason. Why not send them a card wishing them well? I invited people to my wedding with the idea that they very well couldn't (or wouldn't) attend the wedding. For one thing, the wedding was set in early January. I have family who couldn't attend due to icy roads. I have friends who couldn't attend due to other obligations. And it's very possible that there were some people who couldn't attend because they object to gay weddings. Fortunately, if that's the case, they were tactful about the matter.
Ultimately, don't use your refusal to attend the wedding as an excuse to preach or lecture to your friend or family member. Be polite. And don't deflect your boorish behavior onto the supposed friend who thought enough of your to invite you to his wedding.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Gay Parenting on Display in Latest "Doc McStuffins" -- OR Does Your Family Have an Emergency Plan?

I went online and watched the latest episode of Disney Junior's "Doc McStuffins," which features a family with two moms. The One Million Moms organization is all worked up over the episode and wants us to contact Disney and tell them that we're all upset over same-sex households in cartoons. Of course, all their alert did was alert me to the existence of the program so that I could check it out for myself!

The episode in question is titled, "The Emergency Plan." It features the Doll Family: Edie, Thia, Brandon, and Baby Gertie.

The town gets all messed up when their friend Dragon-Bot gets stuck in jumping-mode, resulting in a community-wide earthquake-like event. The Doll family finds themselves scattering in all directions and then worrying about each other because they didn't have an emergency plan in place, nor did they have any emergency kits in their home.


Unfortunately, their home fell apart during the faux-earthquake and they didn't have any of their belongings packed up. Nor did they have a safe place to stay while their home was being repaired. Fortunately, Doc and the rest of the toys stepped in and helped out their friends. Emergency kits were packed up and the home was repaired with a little song and dance and soon enough everything was back to normal!


Except now the Doll Family are better prepared to respond to the next emergency!

It was a cute program and well-worth watching. There would be nothing controversial or attention-worthy if the Doll Family had a mom and a dad instead of two moms. Then again, groups like OMM exist only to create controversy over same-sex households.

Catching Up with the Latest "Storage Wars" -- Featuring Its Auctioneer from Iowa and Piles of Gay Porn!

My older boy Les was visiting this weekend, which meant that we channel-surfed a bit yesterday in order to find something on television that everyone would enjoy. Sure enough, we stumbled across the latest episode of "Storage Wars." I've written before that I don't usually watch this program, but it's not bad as reality TV shows go and the boys both enjoy it.

This latest episode, titled "Tour de Chance," also featured the program's newest auctioneer -- a woman named Emily Wears who comes from nearby Solon, IA. Turns out that Emily is quite popular with the female buyers, particularly Mary.

You've probably noticed that I enjoy it when Iowa or Iowans get featured on reality TV shows. So it was nice to see Emily on the show again. And it was doubly nice to see her pushing back against the various guys on this program. I've missed most of this season's episodes, but we learned that Emily just returned from her wedding and honeymoon.

It appears that Emily and Mary have really hit it off on the show. While Emily was preparing for the auction, Mary and fellow buyer Brandi decorated her vehicle with wedding greetings and tied a bunch of cans to her bumper. As you can tell from the pic below, the "welcome back" present was graciously received!


I did find it interesting that Emily helped Mary rifle through her auction goodies after the sale. As noted above, I don't watch the show that much. But I don't remember any of the previous auctioneers being this closely connected to any of the buyers. Maybe this friendship is unique on the show, but it was a lot of fun watching the women sort through the storage shed together.


What was even more fun was discovering that Mary's newly-purchased stuff included tons of gay porn -- piles and piles of magazines and movies. Of course, the women giggled and freaked out over this stuff. I'm sure that it all went in the trash, but I can't help wondering if some of it might have brought Mary a chunk of change if she'd moved beyond her initial aversion and started doing some research.


Mary ended up making about $560 on this "Storage Wars" treasure hunt -- after pitching the porn in the trash!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Prairie Land Radio Launching in Prairie City, IA

A couple years ago, I met a man named Lynn Williams at the Iowa City Metaphysical Expo. I was just getting involved with an effort to start up a local radio station here in Iowa City and he was a vendor at the expo for an online radio station called Prairie Land Pagan Radio. I told him about KICI 105.3 FM and invited him to get involved, which he did for a few months before life took him elsewhere.

A few months ago, he moved from Iowa City to Prairie City to start up a new terrestrial and online called Prairie Land Radio Network. Currently, the station operates online on Sundays at 1:00 PM (blogtalkradio.com/iowapagannews), but Williams is setting up a recording studio in Prairie City that he can rent out to performers. He also is working to set up a terrestrial station that will cover Prairie City, Monroe, Colfax, and Newton. His plan is to broadcast 24/7 and will include music, news, local events, and local advertising. He also plans on hosting house concerts at the studio, the first of which is scheduled for August 20th.

You can learn more about Williams and his new station at this article.

Friday, August 4, 2017

President Trump Announces Plans to Ban Trans People from Serving in the Military // Others React

(Originally written on 07/26/17): President Trump called himself the most LGBT-friendly president ever when he was first elected president. But he didn't prove his friendship very well today when he announced -- via Twitter, no less -- plans to reinstate the ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Apparently, it's too expensive for trans people to serve our country.

There is no plan to actually implement this decision, but this will apparently affect active trans military members, as well as new recruits.
Not everyone agreed with the president.

Republican Joni Ernst (one of my senators from Iowa) issued a statement disagreeing with the president's decision:
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the veteran said Ernst has served with people "from all different backgrounds" and that gender is not a vital indicator of someone's military prowess. "She believes what is most important is making sure servicemembers can meet the physical training standards, and the willingness to defend our freedoms and way of life," the spokeswoman said. "Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity."
I don't often applaud Iowa's junior senator, but I can at least get behind her here.

Even Senator Chuck Grassley -- who I really don't like at all -- came out with a statement against Trump's decision:
“We have certain standards to get in the military: weight standards, education standards, the ability to do a job, those physical capabilities.  And if you're a person - man or woman or any other category you want to name - then you meet those standards, you ought to be able to get in, ” Grassley said.
And then there is Caitlyn Jenner, who has repeatedly thrown her support behind the president and who wants to run for a Senate seat in California. Jenner is upset about Trump's decision and took to social media to make her opinion known:


Ironically, the Senator Jenner (@Caitlyn4Senate) Twitter account came out in full support for President Trump to ban trans people from serving in the military.

Updated on 07/27/17: The Joint Chiefs of Staff have announced that there will be no changes with the inclusion of trans service members in the U.S. military:
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday advised that the U.S. military will not make any changes to its transgender policy until President Donald Trump clarifies what he meant in a series of surprise tweets. “I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the president. There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance,” Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a memo to military leaders.
Updated on 08/04/17: Caitlyn Jenner might have been disappointed (again) with President Trump's ongoing dismissal of trans Americans, but that hasn't stopped her from supporting the president's overall agenda.

Jenner was photographer driving around yesterday wearing a "Make America Great Again" Trump hat. Which should give you an idea about how committed that she'll remain as an effective trans activist if/when she ever becomes a U.S. Senator.