MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Emboldened with their largest majorities in decades, Republicans began the Wisconsin legislative session Jan. 3 saying they are focused on finding long-term solutions to problems that have long vexed the state such as a projected $1 billion deficit in spending for roads and bridges.
They are also eyeing taking action on several hot-button issues, including legalizing the carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses, breaking up the Department of Natural Resources and restricting which bathrooms transgender students can use.
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine for the 49,” was just one of the transcendent protest hymns echoing through the lobby outside the Orlando office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on July 11.
While organizers representing the full panoply of Central Florida staged their “#sitinforthe49” – a clear reference to the 49 people gunned down by a semi-automatic rifle in the early hours of June 12 – echoes of unrest from the fringes were everywhere. Members of Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, Equality Florida and Organize Now, among others, assembled peacefully, even mournfully, for a morning of conscientious objection.
What if somebody came up to your party (which, for now, we’ll call “your life”) and told you through his or her whitened teeth that all of the victories you’ve fought for, all of the freedoms promised to you by your own constitution in your own country, didn’t matter anymore? We know, we know: This is the same sweaty-pitted badminton argument that comes along with every legislative back-and-forth session, either state or national. Red! Blue! Green! Translucent! But what if those values were so fundamental that their rolling back might result in you rolling into a ball and effectively giving up? What if they would mean that you would be perpetually sick, poor, fired or allowed to die there right next to the decency twig you clung to.
There’s a certain hollowness that comes with these realizations, an identity crisis that sets you apart from what your therapist might call the “river” to which sides you are supposed to cling when you need to catch a breath in a pause in life. Has your chest ever ached with the breadth of absolute futility? Well, given the current climate of state legislators (and presidential candidates) parading a nihilistic Mardi Gras against the rights of women and LGBT people (sometimes both!), that ache should inspire you to do more.
Salem, Ore. (AP) – A state judicial panel has recommended the removal of a Marion County judge who refused to perform same-sex marriages and who was investigated on other counts as well.
The Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability says it found that Marion County Judge Vance Day had lied under oath, that in some instances he had acted for personal gain, and that he had impugned his honesty and integrity.
Bryan Craston, Alan Tudyk, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Louis C.K., Michael Stuhlbarg, David James Elliott, Robert Bart, Dean O’Gorman
Bryan Cranston got nominated Best Actor for playing Dalton Trumbo; he is better than this movie. Trumbo was the brilliant screenwriter who was blackballed in the 1950s as a Communist. Trumbo was also better than this, too. Trumbo wrote Spartacus, Papillon, Johnny Got His Gun, and the Oscar winners The Brave One and Roman Holiday.
It’s not just ironic, it’s somewhat sad that this script about a genius scriptwriter swings between good and awkward, blunt, and even boring. Only great acting raises this up.
Jefferson City, Mo. (AP) – With same-sex marriage now legal nationwide, lawmakers in numerous states are preparing for a new round of battles in 2016 over whether to grant discrimination protections to LGBT people or religious exemptions to nonprofits and businesses that object to gay marriage.
The tussle over civil rights and religious freedoms is one of several hot-button issues that could drive states in opposite policy directions, as lawmakers seek to appeal to voters during a year in which more than 5,800 state legislative seats will be up for election.
Chris Rudisill takes the leap from Metro to Ft. Lauderdale’s Stonewall National Museum and Archives, How your local watering holes are changing with the times, Zebra Youth Council raises awareness, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!
There was a day in my life when all new life seemed caught up in the politics of worthlessness, and I remember that day clearly. Having spent the better part of post-adolescence trying to bridge the gap between harmony and hostility, I did not know of the gun scourge, of the hatred, nor of the political machinations put in place to destroy that order and, in its face, murder people for the sake of a headline. Why should I have? I always understood the abortion battle to be one that took place personally, in a home, dangling in the well of a tear, lingering in a personal weight. Bang. And then they shot Dr. Gunn in Pensacola in 1993. And then I was on TV.
Why else would I have driven girlfriends to warzones, walked them through, kept silent and comforted them as if at home. There were actual people who thought their semen to be sacred (men); there were people who thought their excrement in ecstasy to be a thing of genius. I was not one of them. I lived and breathed for my friends; I never asked questions about wherefore and why. If you knew, you knew. You moved forward as briskly as forward allowed. This was not a true story. This was real life.
Pop culture icon John Waters is well known for many things: being from Baltimore, being THE director of cult classic cinema, that ‘stache! But one thing you may not know that gets Waters excited every year is Christmas. The legendary filmmaker tells the tale of religious spectacle crossed with commercialism in his one-man show, A John Waters Christmas: Holier & Dirtier, coming to the Plaza LIVE in Orlando Dec. 8 and in Clearwater at the Capitol Theatre Dec. 16. Waters took a moment away from decorating the tree and hanging the stockings by the fireplace to talk to Watermark on the phone about his upcoming show, as well as a few other holiday topics.
There are things we choose to remember, and there are things we can never forget along this bumpy road toward full equality for the LGBT community. A sort of monumental “Where were you when the sky turned blue – or black?” flashback syndrome of the historical variety, littered with victims and victors, footprints moving forward and sometimes back.
For me, Jan. 6, 2015, sticks right there in the craw for the same-sex marriage victory in Florida, as it should; nearby, you’ll find Feb. 14, 2015, the day that I married my best friend and husband Tony at a glorious outdoor wedding, hastily assembled as if out of fear that we might be imagining things or that it could disappear within the blink of an Alito eye. Then there was June 26, 2015, the day on which we could all – for now, anyway – breathe a sigh of relief, unclench our fists, put on some rings and hold hands in matrimony in all 50 states.
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