Arlington woman executed for killing girlfriend’s son

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 8:42pm
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Lisa Ann Coleman

The state of Texas tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 17) executed a woman convicted eight years ago of intentionally starving her girlfriend’s son to death. Lisa Ann Coleman, 38, was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m., CDT, 12 minutes after Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials began administering a lethal injection.

Coleman and her then-girlfriend, Marcella Williams, were arrested in 2004 in after calling paramedics to their home in Arlington to treat Williams’ 9-year-old son, Davontae Williams. Paramedics found the child already deceased and in rigor mortis. They said they were shocked to learn how old he was since the child, at the time of his death, weighed only about 36 pounds.

Authorities later determined that Davontae had more than 250 distinct injuries, including burns from cigarettes or cigars and scars from ligatures, and that a lack of food made him stop growing.

Coleman’s attorneys claimed at trial that the boy’s death was an accident and that his injuries and malnourishment were a result of Coleman’s and Williams’ misguided efforts to discipline the boy. They also claimed that Davontae may have had mental health issues that made him hard to handle, and that Coleman and his mother didn’t know how to deal with him.

The Texas Court of Crimimal Appeals upheld Coleman’s conviction in 2009, and the U.S. Supreme Court today rejected  a last-day appeal.

Marcella Williams agreed to plead guilty in connection with her son’s death, to avoid the death penalty, and was sentenced to life in prison. Now 33, she is not eligible for parole until 2044.

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Polis using parliamentary procedure to try and get a House vote on ENDA

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 5:38pm

Lisa Keen  |  Keen News Service

lisakeen@mac.com

 

polis.jared

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis

House Democrats announced Wednesday, Sept. 17, that they will try to use a parliamentary procedure — a discharge petition — to force the Republican-dominated chamber to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Scott Overland, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who initiated the petition, said it had 76 signatures within the first couple of hours. It needs 218 and the bill has 202 co-sponsors who are eligible to sign the petition.

The discharge petition has become the only hope in the Republican-dominated House for ENDA to reach the floor. House Speaker John Boehner has made clear repeatedly that he will not schedule ENDA for a vote.

The “discharge petition” can force the bill out of committee and onto the floor, but it is a complicated and difficult maneuver.

According to House rules, the petition is first filed with the House clerk. If a majority of House members (218, not including delegates) sign the petition, the clerk will put ENDA on the “discharge calendar.”

After seven days on that calendar, supporters can, on the second or fourth Monday of the month, bring a motion to discharge the bill from committee to the floor. If the House passes that discharge motion, supporters can then ask the House to approve a motion to send ENDA to the floor immediately.

If the motion for immediate consideration passes, the House will debate and vote on ENDA. If any of the votes fail, ENDA returns to committee. If the discharge motion fails, ENDA cannot come up again this session.

ENDA currently shows 205 co-sponsors, but that includes three delegates, from D.C., Puerto Rico and the Mariana Islands. So the discharge petition needs the signatures of all 202 co-sponsors plus another 16 members.

The U.S. Senate passed ENDA last November by a vote of 64 to 32. But since then, many national LGBT groups have begun to withdraw support for the Senate version of the bill because it exempts some employers based on the degree to which they are involved in religious activities.

The discharge petition seeks to force consideration of the Senate version of ENDA (S. 815) (as amended by Polis in July), includes an exemption for religious organizations but only to the same extent such organizations are exempt from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act with respect to discrimination based on race, color, sex and national origin.

Although Polis’ discharge petition has the support of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Assistant Democratic  Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., discharge petitions are “rarely successful,” according to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

In a statement released Wednesday, Polis said he introduced the measure because “Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue.”

“In our nation that was founded on the notion that with hard work and dedication anyone can get ahead, it is unthinkable that employees can still be fired for who they love or what gender they are,” said Polis. “I hope members from both sides of the aisle will sign this petition and protect all Americans from discrimination in the work place.”

ENDA seeks to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in private and public employment. In private employment, it applies only to employers who have 15 or more employees.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

 

 

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QueerBomb holding ‘Dirty Shame Pride Promenade,’ encouraging Pride parade boycott

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 2:11pm

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Activists with QueerBomb Dallas are organizing a last-minute alternative Pride celebration on Sunday in Dallas in response to reports that Barry Andrews, the founder and CEO of Andrews Distributing Co., the largest corporate sponsor of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, is holding a fundraisers for Dan Patrick the anti-gay Republican candidate for Texas lieutenant governor.

QueerBomb activists have also called parade organizers to task for the event’s lack of diversity in terms of racial and economic minorities and transgender people. They are calling on people to boycott the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, the Festival in Lee Park and all Dallas Tavern Guild bars. (DTG puts on the parade each year, organizing the event and getting sponsors, including Andrews Distributing, to cover most of the costs.) QueerBomb is also asking people to sign this online petition calling on the parade organizers to “drop human rights abusers and anti-queer businesses” as sponsors of and participants in the parade.

Among the parade participants QueerBomb wants organizers to drop are groups from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, companies that “create weapons that kill thousands of innocent civilians every year;” JPMorgan Chase, whose “unethical financial practices caused the 2008 U.S. financial collapse;” and Heineken, which “excludes transgender people from its employment protections.”

“Dallas Pride’s organizers refuse to drop sponsorships from anti-queer and human rights abusing companies. Plus the parade itself has continually excluded racial and economic minorities from its ranks,” noted the press release announcing the “Dirty Shame” event, “an alternative pride promenade” set for 5 p.m. Sunday in Main Street Garden, 1902 Main St. in downtown Dallas.

“QueerBomb Dallas is assembling a flash force of LGBTQIA individuals who find Dallas Pride to be non-inclusive, capitalist, hetero-normative, needlessly safe and unchallenging,” according to the press release. “We’ve organized ‘DIRTY SHAME’ with boisterous urgency to create an alternative ‘Pride Promenade’ that carries a strong Queer message through the heart of Downtown Dallas. Let’s reclaim the radical, carnal and transgressive lineage of our ever-changing community, while celebrating every [one of] the unique individuals that make us a vibrant whole.”

The QueerBomb rally begins at 5 p.m. at the Main Street Garden and will feature performers, speakers, fun and “heart-stirring queer-fuckery.” Open mic slots are available and anyone who is interested can email QueerBombDallas@gmail.com for information.

The Queer Pride Promenade starts at 6:30 p.m., with participants encouraged to “strap on your cha-cha heels and get ready to stomp the sidewalks of Main Street in a festive display of undiluted queerness.”

Those attending Dirty Shame are encouraged to bring blankets, picnics, signs and banners, flags, noisemakers, musical instruments and “your friends.” Organizers also stressed that there are no rules regarding what manner of dress is allowed: “QueerBomb is a safe and affirming space. We promote body positivity and self expression. So wear what represents you. Wear anything you have ever wanted to wear or as little as the law will allow. Let is united and celebrate Pride without beer ads or exclusion.”

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The hirsute of happiness

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 12:45pm

Wahl-BarbershopI have to admit, I allowed myself to be flattered a bit on this one.

“As a facial-haired Dallas icon yourself,” the email began, “I thought you’d like to know about this.”

Icon? That’s perhaps overstating it. But as an ageing hipster with an unruly beard (it just celebrated its 20th birthday, if anyone is interested) I do appreciate a good beard story … especially one that doesn’t entail Katie Holmes.

In honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, men’s grooming brand Wahl will bring its mobile barbershop to the Addison Oktoberfest celebration — which starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday — offering Cuts for a Cause. For each free moustache or beard trim (hey, I’m not getting rid of it), Wahl will donate one dollar to ZERO, an organization fighting to end prostate cancer. (In November, there’s also the prostate and testicular cancer awareness fundraiser Movember, in case you have balls on the brain.)

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Protests planned against genocidal Ugandan president who will be in Irving

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 11:22am
Yoweni Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will be in Irving this weekend, and several members of the Ugandan community are calling on the LGBT community for help in protesting his appearance here.

Museveni’s government has passed anti-LGBT legislation, better known as the “Kill the Gays bill,” that criminalizes not just being gay but protecting family members or friends who are gay. Uganda even asserts the right to extradite gay Ugandans from other countries.

The law was declared unconstitutional on a technicality in August, but was immediately reintroduced in the Ugandan Parliament.

The legislation was originally proposed by American “Christian” pastors, including David Dykes from Tyler.

Museveni will be staying at the Four Seasons Hotel on MacArthur Boulevard in Irving. He will attend a morning service at Irving Convention Center, 500 West Las Colinas Blvd., Irving at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21 and will address the meeting at 5 p.m.

Museveni is in Dallas to promote tourism and look for investors in his country’s oil and gas industry. Irving is a perfect location: ExxonMobil world headquarters are just blocks away.

Several members of the Ugandan community asked members of the LGBT community to join them protesting Museveni and the genocide he has repeatedly threatened to unleash on the gay community. They will meet at the Irving Convention Center on Sunday at 10 a.m. and at 5 p.m.

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USPS hiring city carrier assistants

Posted on 17 Sep 2014 at 10:56am

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Got this information from our friends over at the United States Postal Service, and thought I’d pass it along for anyone looking for work:

“The United States Postal Service is recruiting more people to serve in city carrier assistant positions, non-career jobs that offer a stepping-stone toward permanent employment with USPS.

“CCAs fill in for regular carriers on their routes and perform other mail delivery and collection tasks. Since the position was created in 2013, more than 9,000 CCAs have been converted to career status.

“CCAs deliver and collect mail on foot or by vehicle, dealing with the same challenges that regular carriers face.

“If you know someone who may be interested in a CCA job, encourage them to visit the USPS Careers site.”

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Symantec online filter no longer automatically blocking LGBT websites

Posted on 16 Sep 2014 at 3:29pm

Officials with the popular online safe-search filter Symantec have announced that the security firm is ending its practice of blocking links to mainstream gay and lesbian advocacy groups for users hoping to avoid obscene sites, according to reports by The Associated Press.Screen shot 2014-09-16 at 3.27.07 PM

Online security firm Symantec told AP that while customers can still set their search to block offensive websites, there will no longer be an option to block websites just because they relate to sexual orientation.

Fran Rosch, executive vice president of Norton Business Unit, Symantec, said, “Making this change was not only the right thing to do, it was a good business decision. Having a category in place that could be used to filter out all LGBT-oriented sites was inconsistent with Symantec’s values and the mission of our software.”

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First responders submit amici brief to 5th Circuit

Posted on 16 Sep 2014 at 3:00pm
Lupe.Valdez

Sheriff Lupe Valdez

Today, Sept. 16, is the deadline to file amici briefs to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the DeLeon v. Perry suit that will be heard by the court next month. Texas first responders are among those filing amici briefs. Plano couple Vic Holmes and Mark Phariss are one of two couples who are plaintiffs in the case.

The federal district court in San Antonio found that the Texas marriage discrimination law is unconstitutional.

Among those signing the amici brief is Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. More than 200 others signed the brief. Others from the DFW area who sign are:

Brad Daugirda, EMT-P/ Firefighter Captain, City of Keller, Texas
Claudia J. Porter Withrow, DART Police Officer
Deanne Flecker, Dispatcher II, Lewisville Police Department
Jennifer LaChance, Firefighter Captain (Retired), DFW Airport DPS
Julie Martin, Senior Sergeant, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department
Karen Donahue, Police Officer & Recruit Academy Coordinator, Arlington Police Department
Kellie Pullin, Officer, Federal Reserve Law Enforcement
Kellie Whitehead, Fort Worth Police Officer
Kelly Lincoln, Police Officer, Arlington Police Department
Lisa Sorrels, Detective, Fort Worth Police Department
Michael Baggott, Detective, Fort Worth Police Department
Nancy Blankenship, Sergeant (Retired), Fort Worth Police Department.
Penelope Flores, DART Police Officer
Tracey Knight, Corporal, Fort Worth Police Department

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Get dirt cheap tickets to Six Flags for Saturday’s Gay Day

Posted on 16 Sep 2014 at 12:50pm

Six Flags

Dallas Voice is once again sponsoring its annual Gay Day at Six Flags, just in time for Dallas Pride. If you buy the tickets online here, you get access to the park and parking for just $35. Heck, that’s about what it costs just to park on a normal day! Anyway, it’s always a hoot, and a great way to get out and get proud before the festivities on Sunday.

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Barbra returns to ‘Tonight Show’ after 50 years

Posted on 15 Sep 2014 at 5:43pm

Babs and Jimmy

DVR alert! Barbra Streisand — who famously was called an exciting new star by the new host of The Tonight Show (on Johnny Carson) more than 50 years ago — returns to the place it all started tonight. She’ll make a rare television appearance, singing a duet with current host Jimmy Fallon, tonight on the NBC series.

The pairing isn’t so extraordinary. Barbra’s new album, Partners — which we reviewed here — drops tomorrow. Why not duet with Fallon? After all, she does one with Elvis.

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