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.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Who Is the Sugar Man and What Is His Connection to "Riverdale"?

Remember when I shared my list of fantasy Archie Horror titles for Archie Comics to publish each month? Looks like I should have waited a few days for Archie Comics CCO/"Riverdale" creator Roberto Aguirre Sacasa's recent tweet featuring the Sugar Man!

The haunting character looks like something out of Elm Street as opposed to Riverdale, but he sure does look scary!

It appears that he has a dark connection to the Blossom twins' childhood. And it makes sense that a creepy monster named Sugar Man would haunt the dreams of Riverdale's maple syrup heirs.

Presumably, we will be learning more about Sugar Man in "Riverdale" Season 2. But I think it would be really cool if he showed up in one of Archie Comics' Archie Horror titles.

And wouldn't it be cool if the Blossom Twins got their own ongoing comic book title again after all of these years???

Muscatine City Council Begins Impeachment Effort Against City's Mayor // Updated Report: $100,000 in City Legal Fees May Be Used to Justify Impeachment Effort // More Updates... // Updated on 05/11/17: Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson Has Been Removed from Office by Unanimous Vote of her Accusers, the Muscatine City Council // Updated on 06/16/17: Court Reinstates Diana Broderson as Mayor

(Originally written on 01/13/17): This is interesting. Last night, the mostly Republican City Council in Muscatine, IA, unanimously approved impeachment proceedings against the city's Democratic mayor, accusing her of unspecified incidents of misconduct and neglect, as well as making disparaging comments towards city employees.

I've been reading the sordid conflict between Mayor Diana Broderson and the Muscatine City Council with interest. She unexpectedly won an election against the incumbent mayor back in 2015 and has since struggled for achieve any of her limited mayoral duties, which pretty much consist of making appointments to city commissions, as well as appointing the Police and Fire Chief. In fact, the City Council voted last summer on an ordinance that stripped the mayor of those duties. Mayor Broderson challenged this new ordinance and received a decision from the state Attorney General's Office back in October 2016 indicating that the City Council lacked the authority to make these changes and that it was potentially criminal. However, the Muscatine County Attorney declined to act on the state Attorney General's opinion last month.

Which leads us to this week. The Muscatine City Council announced that it would vote on a request to impeach the city's mayor at its 01/12/17 city council meeting. According to the Muscatine Journal, none of the Council members wouldn't offer any explanation for this move and instead referred the reporter to the city attorney, who conveniently couldn't be reached for comment.

Last night, Councilman Michael Rehwaldt read the following motion:
An elected City official may be removed from office for, among other reasons, misconduct or maladministration in office, and willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of the office; and

Willful misconduct or maladministration in office and include, but is not limited to, conduct such as repeated public criticism of the City or staff; repeatedly engaging in defamatory attacks against the City, staff or public; breach of fiduciary duties; or other conduct which tends to erode public confidence in the City or staff.

Habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of office an include, but is not limited to, such conduct as repeated breaches of the public official's fiduciary duties and/or repeated failure to follow established city ordinances or policies;

It appears the Mayor may have engaged in some of the foregoing conduct to the detriment of the City and in contravention of her established duties and, as such, written charges for removal should be filed to determine if the Mayor should be removed from office as a result of such conduct.

Therefore, the City Council of the City of Muscatine, Iowa, hereby motions to instruct the City Attorney to draft and file written charges for the removal of the Mayor as provided for by Iowa Code Chapter 66 and City Code section 1-7-6.
The Council members continued to avoid any specific accusations. Hopefully, they have evidence of willful misconduct or maladministration. Certainly something more substantial than vague suggestions that she "may have engaged" in detrimental conduct.

About 60 citizens attended the meeting and all appeared to denounce this impeachment effort.

I'm not a citizen of Muscatine, but this really doesn't pass the smell test. The Muscatine City Council better watch out or they might engage the citizens enough to vote out its incumbents -- particularly those like Councilmen Rehwaldt, Bynum, and Natvig -- all of whom are up for re-election later this year.

Updated on 01/19/17: We're beginning to get an idea about what the Muscatine City Council plans to use to support their impeachment effort against Mayor Diana Broderson:
The Muscatine city attorney said in an email to City Administrator Gregg Mandsager Wednesday that the city has incurred more than $100,000 in unbudgeted expenses in fighting what he says are "unproven claims and allegations" made by Mayor Broderson...

City officials said the official charges could be released as early as Friday.

City Attorney Matthew Brick detailed the 2016 attorney fees in an email to Mandsager. That email was in response to an inquiry Mandsager received from Broderson requesting more information about costs and attorney fees. Brick's email stated that complaints filed by Broderson against city officials, staff, contractors, and citizens resulted in about $64,000 in unbudgeted legal fees and $43,600 in staff time during the 2016 calendar year.

Mandsager had forwarded the email to the mayor and city council members early Wednesday morning. The email was also forwarded to the Muscatine Journal and Quad City Times.

As to the allegations that she caused funds to be spent by filing complaints, Broderson said she was just doing as the citizens asked...

Her reaction to the amount of costs paid to the city attorney was to wonder how much had been spent changing the city's appointment process. The council passed an amendment earlier in 2016 that created a nominating committee made up of the mayor, the city administrator or his appointee, and two council members to review candidates for city appointments.

"My take would be most of the money has been spent trying to reduce the office of mayor," she said.
By the way, I was listening to this Muscatine-based podcast earlier tonight and was shocked to learn that City Administrator Gregg Mandsager has apparently banned the city's employees from speaking or interacting with Mayor Broderson, outside of basic greetings. It's apparently been this way since shortly after Broderson's election in 2015.

Updated on 01/25/17: I'm not even sure that the Muscatine City Council actually has a clue about Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachable offense. Check this out:
Muscatine City Attorney Matthew Brick says charges for removal of Mayor Diana Broderson may not be filed for weeks, and the nature of the charges has yet to be determined. Brick said he will continue to investigate, and "slow equals fair. I want to make sure if there are relevant issues that they get looked at," he said. 
The Muscatine City Council two weeks ago voted to take the first steps toward ousting the mayor. Councilman Michael Rehwaldt cited "habitual neglect" and "willful misconduct or maladministration in office" as two possible reasons. State law says elected officials can be removed by two-thirds vote of the council. 
"It would be nice for not only me but for the people of Muscatine to know sooner rather than later so both sides could work to prepare," Broderson said. 
If evidence for removing the mayor under state law is not found, Brick said at the end of the investigation he would report back to council.
It sounds to me like the City Council members are just biding their time until after the next election cycle. Pretty shady, Muscatine...

Updated on 02/17/17: Muscatine City Attorney Matthew Brick filed a list of complaints early this morning, which are being used as the basis for Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachment:
Broderson is accused of ignoring Brick's legal advice when he told her that she was stepping outside of the boundaries of her power as mayor, listed in the document as "willful misconduct or maladministration … habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of her office..."

In the document, Broderson is accused of "making baseless complaints” that cost the city as much as $100,000 in legal fees and staff time to investigate, including asking for an investigation into whether she had been discriminated against on the basis of her gender and requesting investigation into actions of the city that were later determined to be unfounded.

Also outlined is an alleged breach of fiduciary duties, failure to comply with city code, defamation and/or false allegations and misuse of power and/or abuse of discretion.
These charges have been filed with the city and could appear on the agenda for the next Muscatine City Countil meeting. That is scheduled for 03/01/17.

Updated on 03/10/17: The Muscatine City Council scheduled the date for Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachment hearing at their council meeting last night. The hearing will begin at 8:00 AM on Thursday, March 23rd.

According to news reports, residents approached the Council and expressed disappointment with this whole process. One particular resident suggested that they should have waited until the next election when Mayor Broderson's term expired and just run a better candidate against her instead of going through the time, money, and embarrassment of impeaching her mid-term:
Although advised by City Administrator Gregg Mandsager to answer “no comment” to residents’ questions, Councilman Santos Saucedo responded to Nathan Baker, of Muscatine, after Baker said the recent actions of the council were making Muscatine a statewide laughing stock. Baker said that the mayor would not have retained her seat through the next election in November, and the council should have waited instead of trying to impeach her. "I wouldn’t vote for her again except for that you guys have created this problem," he said. "The right thing would be to let her finish her term, and for you guys just to do your thing." 
Saucedo was visibly upset after Baker’s remarks. Saucedo said he was doing what he felt was right and promised that the reasons behind the charges filed for the mayor’s removal would be revealed at the March 23 hearing. "All the information is going to come out," Saucedo said.
The problem is that the Muscatine City Council has been so cagey about why they are impeaching her that there is little else for residents to do except assume that there's something under-handed, political, and nasty about this whole affair.

Updated on 03/21/17: The impeachment hearing begins first thing Thursday morning. Here are some new details. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:00 AM in the council chambers in Muscatine. The hearing will be open to the public, but they will not allow any public comments at the meeting. They will not broadcast the hearing on their local government channel, so you won't have any televised footage for use during future campaign commercials (unless someone in the audience records something on Facebook Live).

Muscatine has brought a retired judge and mediator in to act as special counsel for the city and to act as prosecutor. Mayor Broderson will be represented by her own attorney, presumably at her own expense. Council members will hear the arguments for and against Mayor Broderson's impeachment. Two-thirds of the Council will need to vote for her impeachment. It's unclear if they will actually vote on Thursday or not.

The Muscatine City Council is walking on fragile ice here. This is the first case of a mayoral impeachment in Iowa history. There is an election in a few months and three of the seven Council members are up for reelection. There are already efforts to vote out all three Council members this fall.

Updated on 03/23/17: Mayor Broderson's impeachment hearing dragged on for eleven hours today. You can follow the #musmayor hashtag on Twitter, but it's not clear to follow most of the testimony because there's very little video or written coverage (outside of some tweets and 2-minute clips). Eventually, the hearing was postponed until 9:00 AM on Saturday, 04/01/17.

Updated on 03/24/17: Hear are some details on the testimony, courtesy of the Muscatine Journal. It offers more substantial reasons for the impeachment hearing:

Gender Bias Complaint: Mayor Broderson had initiated a gender bias investigation against the City Council and City Administrator Gregg Mandsager. It was later determined that there was no basis for her allegations:
When he was called as a witness, City Administrator Gregg Mandsager said he may have been negatively impacted by the investigation during a recent job search, because he was required to say he had been the subject of an investigation into gender bias. He also said his health had been negatively impacted by the investigation and allegations made against him and council members during her term.
Misuse of Campaign Funds: Mayor Broderson has been accused to spending $500 of her campaign funds to pay for her attorney. She is also alleged to have spent $1200 in campaign funds to send letters to residents that attack the character of Council members. For example, she referred to the Council members as "good old boys."

Complaints Against City Staff: Mayor Broderson allegedly claimed that two staff members violated Muscatine's Code of Ethics for negative comments made on Facebook about her during their free time. For example, she was called an "asshat" by a city accountant. She also questioned the employment status of a retired city engineer who was hired as a temporary independent contractor while also drawing from his IPERS pension.

Mayor Broderson still hasn't testified on her own behalf. She will presumably have the chance defend herself on April 1st.

Updated on 04/02/17: Testimony resumed and concluded yesterday in Musatine. I was traveling this weekend, but monitored the impeachment hearing as much as I could on Twitter. Testimony was split between City Attorney Matthew Brick and Mayor Diana Broderson.

We learned more of the complaints against Mayor Broderson:

Coffee with the Mayor: Mayor Broderson is accused of violating city code by forming an ad hoc committee, i.e., her monthly Coffee with the Mayor chats. These informal events were characterized by the city as a committee or task force.

Contacting City Staff: Mayor Broderson was accused of contacting city staff without permission by the city administrator. Broderson claimed that she was permitted to contact city staff by email as long as she cc'ed City Administrator Greg Mandsager. She noted that other city counselors were not required to cc the administrator on emails.

Misspending Campaign Funds: Mayor Broderson is accused of using her campaign funds to fund letters to Muscatine residents, which violates the city's code of ethics.

Lastly, it's been reported that Mayor Broderson stated that there is some sort of political deal in the works. If true, it would dismiss the impeachment charges -- with some strings attached:
Broderson dropped that bomb Saturday at the very tail end of another marathon hearing of her impeachment trial. "I don't understand this, since you'll give me back my appointment power if I agree not to run again in November," Broderson responded when acting City Council Chairman Bob Bynum asked if she had "anything else to say."

Broderson's power to appoint Muscatine residents to its various commissions and committees is at the heart of the legal and political battle that, for the past year, has fractured the city of 23,000. Last spring, just months into her tenure, the City Council stripped her of unilateral appointment power. It set off an all out war, with Broderson alleging all kinds of malfeasance on the part of City Administrator Gregg Mandsager and City Council members.
It's worth reading this article so that you can visualize the shocked responses from those in the room -- including Broderson's own attorney.

Updated Again on 04/02/17: Someone who was watching Saturday's impeachment hearing in person noted a slight difference in Mayor Broderson's final comments:
As I heard it (and heard again thanks to the Muscatine Profile recording), she says it this way: "It surprises me that the Council is acting like this is such a big travesty, some of the things that I've done, yet they were willing to make this all go away and give me back my appointment powers if I would just agree not to run again in November. And I think that that is such a terrible thing for the people—"
This latter quote rings more true to me.

Updated on 05/11/17: It took three minutes. The Muscatine City Council voted unanimously to impeach Mayor Diana Broderson. There was no discussion. No input from the various citizens in the room.

Four months ago, the Muscatine City Council moved forward with plans to impeach the city's mayor, citing unspecified charges of misconduct. Eventually, we learned that the mayor held informal gatherings with constituents. We also learned that she spoke to city staff without getting permission first from the city manager. We learned that she made some unwise decisions as mayor, but we also learned that she was pretty much cut off from the rest of the city staff. Which means that nobody pulled her aside to help her through her growing pains.

The Muscatine City Council accused her of misconduct. The Muscatine City Council acted as judges and jury. The Muscatine City Council then voted her out of office. And now they get to appoint anyone they want as the city's new mayor. Mayor Broderson might have been a mediocre mayor, but the optics on this look bad.

There is an election later. Three of the council member are up for reelection and they've managed to piss off and energize a sizable chunk of the voters. I can't wait to see the results of this election.

Updated on 05/13/17: Muscatine has a new Mayor Pro Temp: Alderman Bob Bynum. Bynum will act as mayor for Muscatine until the City Council makes a decision about how to replace impeached Mayor Diana Broderson. Bynum is one of three City Council members who is up for reelection later this year.

Updated on 06/16/17: Oh my! Diana Broderson has been reappointed as Mayor of Muscatine, IA, while her impeachment appeal moves on.

Last month, Broderson filed an appeal in court, arguing that the impeachment process was improper and that it was a conflict of interest for Muscatine's City Council to preside over her impeachment, given that they were her accusers. And, it appeared from news report of the initial court hearing that Judge Mark Smith agreed with her attorney:
"I counted 17 allegations in the decision where Mayor Broderson was accused directly affecting the city council, can you tell me why that isn`t a conflict of interest," said Judge Mark Smith. Judge Smith didn't hand down a decision in court and didn't say when he will. He did leave the door open that the former mayor may return to office, "The likelihood of success is pretty good on this case in terms of the plaintiff, in terms of being successful."
Judge Smith issued an order this morning that reinstated Broderson as mayor, pending final hearing on this case:
The judge said there were "inherent conflicts of interest" throughout the council's removal of the mayor, and to ensure a fair trial, "no man is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome."
Of course, that means that Mayor Pro Temp Bob Bynum is no longer Muscatine's mayor.

It's been reported that the City of Muscatine has spent more than $107,500 in their effort to remove Mayor Broderson from office. Ironically, one of their complaints about her was bad decisions that cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

Updated on 06/26/17: The political drama continues to unfold down in Muscatine, IA. Earlier this month, Judge Mark Smith returned Mayor Diana Broderson to office, pending a July 17th hearing. But don't assume that the City of Muscatine is sitting back and letting her run over them. And why would you?

Muscatine's city manager, Amy Reasner, filed a motion last week asking Judge Smith to reconsider his order. She argued that the City Council has the full authority to accuse, try, and sentence its mayors when it comes to impeachment. In fact, she actually challenged the court and questioned its own ability to interrupt the execution of their impeachment conviction.

Meanwhile, Mayor Broderson has resumed her "Holding the Coffee with the Mayor" chats last weekend -- much to the chagrin of the City Council! Roughly 50 people showed up to cheer her on and to share local concerns. During the event, Mayor Broderson indicated that she plans to run for re-election.

Updated on 07/02/17: There was a court hearing late last week, where the City Council tried to get Judge Mark Smith to change his mind and uphold their impeachment decision. Judge Smith reviewed the cases and then sent everyone home, with Mayor Diana Broderson still the mayor of Muscatine.

It's not looking good for the Muscatine City Council:
In the judge's ruling, Smith wrote there is a probability the council's impeachment proceedings will be found to be unconstitutional and in violation of the 14th Amendment. 
It's ironic that the City Council and City Manager argued that Mayor Broderson wasted the city's money. Meanwhile, they've seemingly pissed away $107,500 (and probably more by this point) over the past six months in their effort to kick her out of office!

A final hearing is schedule with Judge Smith on July 17th.

Updated on 08/15/17: The court hearing to determine the legality of Mayor Diana Broderson's impeachment continues to drag on. We learned this week that Judge Mark Cleve (Jon's Note: I thought it was Judge Mark Smith??) has ruled that transcripts from several closed session meetings held by the Muscatine City Council will be used as evidence in court. The city had been fighting to keep these transcripts inadmissible as evidence:
In the ruling, Cleve decided the recordings of the closed meetings are necessary in determining whether the council violated Broderson's right to due process when removing her from office. Broderson argued the council violated her 14th Amendment right by acting as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury... 
The judge said the city also waived attorney-client privilege by allowing third parties to be present during the meetings, as the mayor was allowed to attend the initial meetings and Mandsager also was present, despite threatening litigation against Broderson. 

The transcripts, Cleve said, could also show if the council had "personal animus or bias" toward Broderson, which would result in a due process violation.
The transcripts are to be submitted to the court by Friday. The judge will then issue his final ruling.

Updated on 08/16/17: We learned earlier this evening that City Administrator Gregg Mandsager is fighting the court order that would make public five recent closed session Muscatine City Council transcripts, arguing that his personal performance information as a public employee would be revealed if the transcripts were released.

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 (, 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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Derick Dillard of TLC's "Counting On" Attacks Trans Teen Jazz Jennings of TLC's "I Am Jazz" // "Transgender Is a Myth; Gender Is Not Fluid; It's Ordained by God"

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the Duggar family. They are a Christian family that became popular for their TLC reality TV show about the parents' quiverfull lifestyle and their 19 kids. They wooed America with their cute kids while campaigning against equal rights for LGBT people and families. Then the Duggar family started crumbling after it was revealed that big brother Josh (and now former Family Research Council leader) had sexually molested a few of his sisters when he was a teen. Fortunately for them, the oldest daughters began marrying and having their own kids, which gave TLC the opportunity to create a spin-off reality TV show called "Counting On."

Cut to the yesterday. TLC did a promotional tweet for "I Am Jazz," featuring Jazz Jennings, a 16-year-old trans girl. Derick Dillard -- husband of Jill (Duggar) Dillard -- decided to snipe at TLC and Jennings with the following tweet:

It's unclear why Dillard decided to attack one of his fellow TLC reality personalities with the unprovoked tweet. But his tweet didn't pass without criticism. One person asked him, "Is it necessary for a grown man to throw shade at a teenage girl?"

Which prompted another unprovoked low blow against Jazz:

Jazz Jennings largely ignored Dillard, responding indirectly with the following tweet:

For its part, TLC isn't overtly defending Jazz or "I Am Jazz" from the Duggar husband, choosing to respond with a tweet that essentially says, "that's him, not us":