Election 2014: Second (and last) gubernatorial debate is tonight

Posted on 30 Sep 2014 at 9:46am

DavisAbbottSplit_jpg_800x1000_q100Tonight is the last night voters can see the two candidates for Texas governor spar before the November 4 election.

State sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth and Attorney General Greg Abbott will debate live at KERA’s studios in Dallas It will be broadcast tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. on television, radio and online.

KERA is co-producing the debate with NBC 5, KXAS-TV, Telemundo 39 and The Dallas Morning News.

The full list of channels hosting the debate is here. Both the Davis and Abbott campaigns are hosting their own watch parties. pre-debate phone banking and watch parties. You can check out the Davis events here.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and the Dallas County Democratic Party are hosting a watch party at the Angelika Theater, 5321 E Mockingbird Ln #230, 7-9:30 p.m.

Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats are also hosting a watch party at Tommy’s Hamburgers, 2455 Forest Park Blvd., at 7:30 p.m.

I can’t find a lot of specific listings for Abbott watch parties, but I confirmed with the Dallas County Republican Party about at least one party hosted by the Abbott campaign. Details are here.

It will also be live streamed. A Spanish-language translation of the debate will be streamed online at Telemundo39.com.

Viewers are encouraged to also submit questions via Twitter @keranews using #texasdebates. I’ll probably also be having fun on Twitter as well. You can follow me @james4texas. Feel free to join in. (I also tweet a lot about traffic, the arts and cultural life if #texasdebates aren’t of interest to you.)


Man carjacked at Oak Lawn Walgreens

Posted on 29 Sep 2014 at 4:16pm

Debris left on traffic island after car crashed into Oak Lawn monument. Photo courtesy Michael Milliken, Oak Lawn Committee

A Melrose Hotel valet caught Jack Slaamot, 26, as he tried to escape after crashing a car into the Legacy of Love monument seconds after he stole the car on Wednesday, Sept. 24.

Slaamot approached Jerry Norvell in the Walgreens parking lot at the corner of Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road. When Norvell refused to give Slaamot any money, he stole the car, crashed it into another car and then into the median where the Oak Lawn monument stands.

Perry Wargnier, a valet at the Melrose Hotel, heard a car speed off and then heard the crash. Thinking someone might be hurt, he ran toward the monument. Instead, he saw someone get out of the car and begin to run.

Wargnier chased Slaamot grabbed him and pinned him down for about 10 minutes until police came.

Wargnier is studying to be a police officer.

NBC5 covered the story:


Election 2014: Lt. Gov. debate tonight

Posted on 29 Sep 2014 at 2:41pm

Patrick_LVdP_copy_jpg_800x1000_q100Tonight Texans will have their one and only chance tonight to watch lieutenant governor candidates Leticia Van de Putte and Dan Patrick debate. Sponsored by Austin’s KLRU-TV and the Texas Tribune, the televised duel begins at 7 p.m. and will last one hour.

The Dallas County Democrats are hosting a phone bank and watch party at their headquarters, 4209 Parry Avenue, from 6-8 p.m. More information can be found here. Check out the Van de Putte campaign website for additional information.

The Dan Patrick campaign is hosting a phone bank and watch party at the Dallas County Republican Party Victory Center, 9669 N. Central Expressway Ste. 100. Also check out the Patrick campaign website for additional information.

The debate will also be livestreamed. You may watch it here.


Ebola: God’s new weapon against gays?

Posted on 29 Sep 2014 at 2:18pm
Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 2.10.42 PM

Rick Wiles

So apparently, God has gotten tired of waiting on AIDS to wipe out the gays and has decided to sick the ebola on us, too. At least, that’s what “Christian broadcaster” Rick Wiles thinks.

Wiles, a “citizen reporter who decided to take on the Big News Media,” according to his own Trunews website, recently warned that Ebola could become a “global pandemic, and that’s another name for plague.” But Wiles, apparently, doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing.

“It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming,” Wiles said. “Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion. If Ebola becomes a global plague, you better make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you, you better make sure you have been marked by the angels so that you are protected by God. If not, you may be a candidate to meet the Grim Reaper.”

Ebola as an “attitude adjustment”? Wiles’ rampant stupidity, callousness and bigotry are the attitudes I think need to be adjusted.

Anyway, as Huffington Post points out, this isn’t Wiles’ first brush with outrageous and ridiculous claims. He’s the one who claimed that Miley Cyrus sold her soul to Satan and had sex with a demon in exchange for fame. I find that hard to believe; if that were true, surely Miley would have made a better bargain than one requiring her to stick out her tongue and dance nearly naked with Robin Thicke.

Some Liberian religious leaders are also suggesting that Ebola is God’s punishment for homosexuality and immorality, too. Of course, it’s not the first time that right-wing religious leaders in the U.S. and right-wing leaders in Africa have agreed on something. Just ask Uganda’s LGBT population.


Response to Communities Foundation including reparative therapy group in Giving Day

Posted on 29 Sep 2014 at 1:33pm

The Rev. Steve Sprinkle

The Rev. Steve Sprinkle has written a letter to the Communities Foundation of Texas about the inclusion of Living Hope Ministries, an “ex-gay” ministry with offices in Arlington, in its recent record-breaking Giving Day.

Living Hope Ministry turned out its donor base so well that he organization supposedly qualified for additional grant funds from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation. Arlington Tomorrow Foundation rescinded that grant after finding out Living Hope’s actual purpose, although the Communities Foundation did award extra funds to Living Hope anyway.

Tyler Curry broke the story in this week’s Dallas Voice.

Sprinkle’s letter is addressed to Carol Goglia, communications director for Communities Foundation of Texas:

Dear Ms. Goglia:

I am appreciative of our conversation about the support Communities Foundation of Texas has given to Living Hope Ministries in our recent North Texas Giving Day. I want you to know that I am speaking as a citizen of Texas, and therefore exercising my right to freedom of speech. Any institutional response from my school will have to be issued otherwise.

I also, however, hold the capacity of Theologian-in-Residence at Cathedral of Hope, Dallas, a congregation of the United Church of Christ and the largest predominantly LGBTQ congregation in the world, and as such, I feel it is my duty to speak out against the Foundation endorsing any organization that seems to endorse marginalizing practices against LGBTQ people or anyone through your prize rules with thousands of dollars.

This is a most serious matter, and as a Christian minister, theologian, and leader, I cannot remain silent about the issue of such spurious practices. Reparative or Conversion Therapy is aimed at the LGBTQ population, is potentially harmful, and has been widely discredited.

First, let me note that the Southern Poverty Law Center headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, the nation’s foremost civil rights watchdog, has listed Hope Ministries and Living Hope Ministries as an arm of its work as a center for conversion therapy that is on their watch list:

As the SPLC article notes: “Conversion therapy has been discredited or highly criticized by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.”

Further, the SPLC article says, “People who have undergone conversion therapy have reported increased anxiety, depression, and in some cases, suicidal ideation. The devastating consequences of conversion therapy are why the Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to ending this practice and defending the rights of individuals harmed by it.”

I have personal friends, current students, fellow church members, and former students who have been subjected to this form of marginalization, spiritual and mental abuse based on false science, flawed theology, and anti-LGBTQ ideology, and for the Communities Foundation of Texas to be involved in awarding prizes to such a group undermines the credibility and integrity of your whole process. The Human Rights Campaign comprehensively details the flaws and harms associated with the practices of conversion therapists:

As HRC notes, eminent professional organizations have taken forthright stands against reparative therapy and the underlying contention that LGBTQ people are mentally diseased, such as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the Pan American Health Organization of the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The statements of all these organization declaring that reparative therapy lacks medical justification and, in fact, leads to harming people. Two highly populated states have banned conversion and/or reparative therapy, and their bans have been upheld by the courts.

As the New York Times reports, the State of California has successfully enacted a ban on conversion or reparative therapy, and the Supreme Court declined to contest the ban, making such harmful and prejudicial practices unlawful for anyone under 18 in the Golden State:

The State of New Jersey’s ban on reparative therapy for any New Jerseyite under the age of 18 has also been upheld, according to Reuters:

In closing, let me speak as an ordained Baptist minister, a Christian of conscience, and a two-year donor to North Texas Giving Day. Should the Communities Foundation of Texas not rebut the marginalizing practices of reparative therapy, and change your rules to exclude such organizations from your appeals, I cannot personally or professionally support such efforts, and will exercise my rights to urge others to withdraw their support, as well. I await your reply with interest, Ms. Goglia.

Stephen V. Sprinkle,
Ph.D. Director of Field Education and Supervised Ministry, and Professor of Practical Theology Director of Baptist Programming Brite Divinity School
Theologian-in-Residence Cathedral of Hope 5910 Cedar Springs Road Dallas, Texas


A positive parking experience at State Fair

Posted on 29 Sep 2014 at 12:56pm

It’s that time of year again: Big Tex is waving welcome to Texas State Fair visitors and the smell of corny dogs and funnel cakes fills the air. Of course, one of the biggest headaches about going to the fair is navigating traffic to get there, and finding a — safe and legal — parking space. Well, here are some hints and advice from the city of Dallas on the parking side of that equation.

The first things to remember is that just because somebody is standing there with a flag, waving you into a “parking area” for a relatively small fee, that doesn’t mean you should park there. For one thing, not all those folks have permits, and some are even charging fairgoers to park on “their” property, even though it isn’t actually their property.

bigtex2014City officials said that on opening day last Friday, Fair Parking Service representatives visited every location in the area with a permit to host parking “to make them aware of what they are authorized to do, educate the onsite supervisors of the dos and don’ts” and to tell them about the “three-strike enforcement process. Anyone operating illegally will receive citations immediately.”

City Parking Services representatives will be issuing criminal citations to people operating parking lots without a permit “inside and outside the crown area, two streets out” from the fairgrounds. ”The goal is,” city officials said, “to discourage individuals who flag people onto vacant lots or the parking lots of closed establishments without permission to use the property. This situation has resulted in some unknowing fairgoers having their cars towed by the property owner.”

If you go to the fair and decide to parking somewhere outside the fairgrounds, make sure that you park at a lot displaying “the mandatory placard” in the correct colors, which this year means an orange sign with blue writing. I am going to suggest that if the sign is obviously handwritten, it probably isn’t genuine.

“Any location not displaying this placard or not displaying a placard at all is not an authorized location. Parking at any of thee locations could result in a vehicle possibly being towed,” city officials warned.

Here are the general guidelines permitted parking locations are required to follow:

• They can’t charge more than 150 percent of what fairground lots charge.

• They have to have the fee they charge for parking posted in a conspicuous place, written in letters at least 5 inches high.

• They can’t charge you more than their sign says they charge.

• They have to have a Fair Park Parking permit to charge a fee to park cars “inside the crown area” (the two street perimeter).

• The supervising attendant must be present any time cars are parked on the lot. That means when people are getting there to park, and all the way through to the time the last car parked there leaves.

• The supervising attendant must  be “wearing and displaying” their city-issued permit ID.

So there you have — the rules to park at the State Fair. Go. Park safely. And enjoy your corny dog.


Gay Softball World Series closing ceremony and street party

Posted on 29 Sep 2014 at 12:12pm

The Gay Softball World Series closed with a street party featuring (not really) Dolly and Deborah Cox performing and trophies given to the winning teams in five divisions. The Gay Softball World Series is the largest one-week sporting event in the world with 4,500 players on 170 teams from 45 cities competing.

Trophies were awarded at the closing ceremony on Cedar Springs Road on Saturday. Sept. 27. The street was closed for a street party that included craft vendors, food trucks and beer tents.

GSWS presented Legacy Counseling Center with a check for $11,000, proceeds from the Miss GSWS Pageant and a talent show during the week.


Masters division:
The New York Cranky Yankees

Division D:
4th Place: Houston Divers
3rd Place: Atlanta Reign
2nd Place: Austin Pride
1st Place: LA West Hollywood Swingers

Division C:
4th Place: Dallas Woody’s Wrecking Crew
3rd Place: Boston X Factors
2nd Place: Tampa Bay Hammerheads
1st Place: Las Vegas Grease Monkeys

Division B:
4th Place: San Francisco Fury
3rd Place: Dallas Explosion
2nd Place: Twin Cities Frost Bite
1st Place: Atlanta Show Stoppers

Division A:
3rd Place: Atlanta Elite
2nd Place: San Francisco Steel
1st Place: Palm Springs Rounders 2.0


Outrageously Oral women

Posted on 29 Sep 2014 at 10:43am

Cece Cox, Lory Masters and Emma Colquitt spoke at Outrageous Oral in the Rose Room on Sept. 25.

Cox is CEO of Resource Center but told “you can’t make these up” stories that dated back to her early days in activism, including a 1994 bus trip to East Texas to support that area’s rural LGBT community.

Masters, who has an entire neighborhood in North Dallas unofficially named after her, spoke about many of the groups she founded including the Extra Mile Awards and the Flying W Motorcycle Club.

Emma Colquitt was a founder of LifeWalk and spoke about her life of activism and life after activism raising her daughters.

The next Outrageous Oral will be held at University of North Texas, Willis Library, Room 140, 1506 Highland Ave., Denton on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.


EEOC files first-ever lawsuits on behalf of transgender workers

Posted on 26 Sep 2014 at 1:56pm

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has, for the first time ever, filed federal lawsuits on behalf of transgender workers fired by Screen shot 2014-09-26 at 1.52.29 PMemployers because of the gender identity/gender expression.

EEOC filed suit against R.G & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes of Garden City, Mich., on behalf of embalmer and funeral director Amiee Stephens, and against Lakeland Eye clinic in Florida on behalf of Brandi Branson, according to reports by CBS channel  WWJ-TV in Detroit.

Stephens was fired in 2013 after 6 years with the Garden City funeral home when she told her boss she was transitioning from male to female. That lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Branson was fired from her job as director of hearing services at Lakeland Eye in 2011 after saying that she would be transitioning from male to female. The lawsuit in her case, filed in a Tampa federal court, alleges that when Branson began wearing “feminine attire” to work, including makeup and “women’s tailored clothing,” she saw her coworkers snickering and rolling their eyes at her, and that coworkers “withdrew from social interactions with her.”

EEOC attorney Laurie Young told the Detroit TV station that federal law “prohibits employers from firing employees because they do not behave according to the employer’s stereotypes of how men and women should act.”


BREAKING: UN Human Rights Council Votes to Support LGBT Rights

Posted on 26 Sep 2014 at 12:13pm

hrc_vote_movilh-2The United Nations Human Rights Council has approved a resolution condemning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a boost to supporting LGBT rights around the world.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission praised the vote, calling it an important step forward toward progress for equality and human rights for LGBT individuals.

“The Human Rights Council has taken a fundamental step forward by reaffirming one of the United Nations’ key principles — that everyone is equal in dignity and rights,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of IGLHRC. “This resolution puts the UN on a trajectory to address the discrimination and violence LGBT persons suffer daily across the world.”

The resolution — led by Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay — asks the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to gather and publish information on how best to overcome discrimination and violence.

The resolution passed by 21 votes in favor, including the United States, 16 against, and 7 abstentions.