5 Points Diner & Bar in Nashville, Tenn., drag performer Veronika
Electronika can often be seen strutting between brunch tables. Her big
hair, glitzy outfits and quick wit keep patrons on their toes.
lighthearted performances are a staple of Tennessee’s drag scene, but
on a recent Saturday in December, she abruptly stopped her show to
address a heavy subject: a proposed state bill seeking to ban drag acts —
like the one she was performing at that moment — from public view.
that law passes, I would be committing a potential felony,” Veronika
said, as the audience booed the bill. “If you’re not a fan of that bill,
I highly suggest you contact your state legislator.”
is one of at least five states where Republican lawmakers are
considering bills to restrict drag performances. The measure, known as Senate Bill 3, was introduced by Tennessee Republican Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson in November.
intent of the legislation is just to simply say that you cannot have
sexually explicit entertainment … in a public venue where kids might be
present,” Johnson said.
you believe it? They like to, these hate merchants, insist that
there's no history of this or that right that LGBTQ+ Americans have
fought for. Their hate is astounding. But now, they're going after
drag performers and that's rather amazing when you consider America's
long history with drag. It predates the creation of the United States
and goes all the way back to ancient Greece. When William Shakespeare
was alive, female characters in his plays were portrayed by women. As
for the US, WIKIPEDIA notes: The first person known to describe himself as "the queen of drag" was William Dorsey Swann, born enslaved in Hancock, Maryland, who in the 1880s started hosting drag balls in Washington, DC attended by other men who were formerly enslaved, and often raided by the police, as documented in the newspapers. In
1896, Swann was convicted and sentenced to 10 months in jail on the
false charge of "keeping a disorderly house" (euphemism for running a
brothel) and requested a pardon from the president for holding a drag ball (the request was denied).
a historical aspect that's not noted or recognized by many. In the US,
vaudeville was home to drag beginning in the late 1800s. When
vaudeville died out, drag performers appeared more and more in
also appeared in TV shows and films. Milton Berle was infamous for
dressing up in drag on his 1950s TV program. Jim Bailey was a night
club performer whose drag act crossed over to TV. Successful TV shows
that he appeared on in drag included THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, THE TONIGHT
SHOW SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON, THE CAROL BURNETTE SHOW, HERE'S LUCY
(starring Lucille Ball, of course), and he performed as Barbra Streisand
at the 1977 Super Bowl and the 1984 Winter Olympics. He also
impersonated Judy Garland (who became a friend and who he impersonated
onstage with her daughter Liza Minnelli for "The Judy and Liza Concert"
that played in Vegas and London), Phyllis Diller (on the episode of
HERE'S LUCY, when Phyllis can't make a charity event so Judy asks for
1927 was when
Mae West's play THE DRAG debuted. Other well known representations in
media? VICTOR/VICTORIA -- yes, the Julie Andrews film; however, prior
to that it was also made in 1933, 1935 and 1957 -- the 1935 film was
entitled FIRST A GIRL and featured Anna Lee (known to millions for
playing Lila Quatermaine on GENERAL HOSPITAL as well as such films as
THE SOUND OF MUSIC and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?), SOME LIKE IT
HOT (possibly the greatest comedy film of all time), Ed Woods' GLEN OR
GLENDA, WHITE CHRISTMAS (yes, Bing Crosby did drag), THE ROCKY HORROR
PICTURE SHOW, John Waters' PINK FLAMINGOS and HAIRSPRAY, TOOTSIE,
NORBIT, the documentary PARIS IS BURNING, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY ITCH, THE
NUTTY PROFESSOR, BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE, WHITE CHICKS, HURRICANE BIANCA, Bob
Hope's THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE, Mike Nichols' THE BIRDCAGE . . .
We could go on and on.
if the hate merchants in Tennessee have their way, what does that mean
for film portrayals? Will they ban the movies from theaters? Will they
block out broadcasts of the films?
It's beyond stupid. There are real issues to address. Pouring hate on drag performers is neither a real issue nor a needed one.
who they have chosen to stand against -- performers not attempting to
harm anyone, performers following in the footsteps of Jim Bailey, Dustin
Hoffman, Divine, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Nathan Lane, Bob Hope .
. . And what was good enough for the Olympics and the Super Bowl
apparently isn't good enough for Tennessee lawmakers.
In other news, 24-year-old transgender activist Henry Berg-Brousseau has taken his own life. AP reports: Berg-Brousseau
died Friday, said his mother, state Sen. Karen Berg. He “long struggled
with mental illness, not because he was trans but born from his
difficulty finding acceptance," she said in a news release. The cause was suicide, she said.
of Arlington, Virginia, was the deputy press secretary for politics for
the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's largest LGBTQ advocacy
was first and foremost a fighter and an advocate. He was fighting for
transgender rights as a teenager in Kentucky, far earlier than he should
have had to," HRC president Kelley Robinson said in a statement.
“As part of his job at HRC, he faced down anti-transgender vitriol
every single day, and no one was more aware of the harm that
anti-transgender rhetoric, messaging, and legislation could have on his
mother, a Democrat from Louisville, said her son had finally found a
community, “but that could not undo the brokenness that he already
a statement posted on Twitter via Bluegrass Politics, Berg said that
her son had spent his life “working to extend grace, compassion, and
understanding to everyone, but especially to the vulnerable and
added that “this grace, compassion, and understanding was not always
returned to him” as a transgender man. The state senator called out the
politicians who actively sought to marginalize her son because of who
said Berg-Brousseau had dealt with mental illness, “not because he was
trans but born from his difficulty finding acceptance.”
"Iraq snapshot' (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, December 21, 2022. Hate merchants peddle hate with little
consequences, Iraq's last prime minister was a sadist sicko, Will Lehman
calls out voter suppression, and much more.
We're going to start with this exchange from last week's House Oversight Committee hearing:
House Rep David Cicilline: Republicans are happy to discuss our
community when they're attacking our rights, when they're crying on the
House floor because they oppose marriage equality or when they releasing
statements attacking our community in press releases and when they
release new bills targeting our community. But when it comes to
actually discussing the violence against our community and its causes?
Just a quick condemnation of what happened at Club Q and violence
broadly and nothing more. In my view, this is shameful. And so I want
to begin, Ms. Robinson, to thank all of the witnesses for being here
today. Ms. Robinson, as we near the end of this hearing, is there
anything that we've not covered yet relating to anti-LGBTQ+ extremism
and violence that you would like to share for the record?
Robinson: We can do something about this. We can assure that social
media companies uphold their community standards. We can pass the
equality act to ensure that LGBTQ+ people actually don't have legalized
discrimination happening to them in more than half of the states. We
can, as a community, step up and say whole heartedly, no matter what our
party affiliation is, repudiate and rebuke these horrendous attacks on
our people. There is work to be done and, especially on this ten year
mark of Sandy Hook, we can do something to end this epidemic of gun
violence. We have to and we must.
House Rep David Cicilline: Thank you so much. And Mr. Wolf, thank you
so much for being here and for sharing your story. What message do you
have for politicians who are championing bills to limit the rights of
the LGBTQI+ community?
Wolf: Thank you, I'm grateful to be here. And my message is simple:
Words have consequences. Somebody has to pay the price for unmitigated,
unbridled hatred -- the kind of hatred that we've seen on the rise
across this country. We've heard a lot about accountability in this
hearing and I'm glad we're talking about accountability. No one is
asking for anyone but the shooter at Club Q to be on trial in Colorado
Springs. But what we are saying is that people should be accountable
for the things that come out of their mouths. And when you're willing
to traffic in cheap shots and biogtry against a marginalized community
that's already seeing hate against it that's on the rise, already seeing
violence rising across the country, when you're willing to traffic in
those things to score political points, you have to be accountable for
what happens next. You have to hold yourself accountable for the impacts
of your words. Words really do have consequences. Unfortunately,
communities like mine have felt them. We have to do better than we are
Last Wednesday, the
House Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by US House Rep Carolyn
Maloney, held a hearing entitled "The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and
Violence in the United States." The hearing was held due to the rise
in violence aimed at the LGBTQ+ community which includes last month's
Club Q shooting. The shooting left five people dead:
- Daniel Davis Aston, 28
- Kelly Loving, 40
- Ashley Paugh, 35
- Derrick Rump, 38
- Raymond Green Vance, 22
The shooting also left twenty-five people injured.
There's at least one more moment from the hearing I intend to highlight this week. For hearing coverage, see Monday's "Iraq snapshot
," THIRD's "Editorial: Words and silences have consequences
," "Those fake ass 'religious' litigants (Ava and C.I.)
" and "BROS (Ava and C.I.)
," Thursday's "Iraq snapshot
" and Friday's "Iraq snapshot,
" Ruth's "Allies are needed (House Oversight Committee)
," Kat's "Respect for Marriage Act is only step one, more needed
," "Cori Bush speaks some truth in Committee hearing
," Trina's "LGBTQ youth need a safe nation (Dr. Jessie Pocock)
," Mike's "Texas, come claim your idiot (House Oversight Committee)
," Stan's "Shontel Brown, Chris Wallace, Wonder Woman
" and Rebecca's "glenn greenwald wants to be the biggest bitch there is
merchants continue to attack the LGBTQ+ community and they largely get
away with it. You can -- and a body does -- call for gay people to be
killed -- and get away with it. At least with regards to government
officials. Sometimes, a community comes together to make clear that
this hate speech is neither wanted nor desired. Such as in Fort Worth,
Texas, where Stedfast Baptist Church's hate merchant Jonathan Shelley is
in a tizzy that his church will have to move yet again
reality is nobody really wants to lease to us, so it makes it very
difficult,” Shelley said. “I am still working a few options, as far as
lease options, or maybe even getting a building.”
In May, Shelley spoke to the Arlington City Council and said that gay people deserved to be killed. He advocated for enforcing an old Texas law outlawing “sodomy” that has since been ruled unconstitutional.
in Watauga have said they want Stedfast out of their community because
it promotes hate-filled, violent rhetoric that causes them to be
concerned about their safety. Church officials said they have been
harassed by the protesters.
You're calling for
murder. And you're surprised people don't want to lease to you? You're
calling for murder and you're pretending that this is due to your
religious teachings. See "Those fake ass 'religious' litigants (Ava and C.I.)
for how to many idiots are getting away with too much by citing
''religious freedom" when they're not even practicing the teachings of
Your a hate merchant
spewing hate but don't worry, Jonathan Turley will always protect your
speech. He won't protect the rights of other speech. He won't protect
the speech of drag performers or of libraries but he'll rush to defend
the hate merchants and only the hate merchants.
trying to shut down a reading event geared toward neurodiverse children
at a branch of the New York City Public Library were met by a wall of
The standoff over the Drag Story Hour event
— a popular national storytelling program where drag performers read
children's books at libraries, schools and bookstores — took place
outside the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in
Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on Saturday. The event was billed as
“storytime with local drag performers adapted to be more accessible to
kids with autism and other disabilities.”
protest was just the latest in a string of standoffs across the country
from a fringe movement targeting drag events over unsubstantiated
allegations of grooming.
group demonstrating on Saturday brought handmade signs covering a
spectrum of issues, with messages protesting everything from fascism to
grooming to gender identity.
York City Council member Erik Bottcher shared images and videos online
of the protesters, some of whom he tried speaking with before entering
the children’s reading event.
want to show you the face of hate, right here in Chelsea,” Bottcher
said in a video shared on Twitter, before showing the counterprotesters
clad in rainbows.
is particularly important at this moment when we are seeing a rise of
hate and violence targeting LGBTQ+ communities," the representative
A right winger
gets booed at a campus events and Jonathan Turley's sobbing tears and
insisting booing is wrong. (Another example of how stupid he is and how
he shouldn't be commenting on supposed art -- cake baking and computer
templates aren't art.) But a mob goes after a library event and, in
fact, targets a local government official and Jonathan says nothing.
Well, after all, FOX NEWS is now paying him.
Outrageous. Unless you're banking a check from FOX NEWS apparently.
Turning to Iraq . . .
al-Kadhimi was Iraq's most inept prime minister since the US-led
invasion of Iraq. It turns out that he might have also been one of the
most corrupt and sick -- and remember, Iraq has already suffered through
two terms of Nouri al-Maliki being prime minister. So to be more
corrupt and sick than Nouri is really saying something. Remember,
Nouri's actions lead to the rise of ISIS in Iraq. Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST) report
A flagship anti-corruption drive under the tenure of U.S.-backed Iraqi
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi used incommunicado detention, torture
and sexual violence to extract confessions from senior Iraqi officials
and businessmen, according to a nine-month investigation by The
Kadhimi, who left office in October, came to power in 2020 after mass anti-corruption demonstrations felled his predecessor. His government’s high-profile campaign to tackle graft in one of the world’s most corrupt countries drew widespread international encouragement.
to the effort was a series of highly publicized night raids in late
2020 on the homes of public figures accused of corruption, conducted
under the authority of the Permanent Committee to Investigate Corruption
and Significant Crimes, better known as Committee 29. The architect of
the raids was Lt. Gen. Ahmed Taha Hashim, or Abu Ragheef, who became
known in Iraq as the “night visitor.”
But what happened to the men behind closed doors was far darker: a
return to the ugly old tactics of a security establishment whose abuses
Kadhimi had vowed to address. In more than two dozen interviews —
including five men detained by the committee, nine family members who
had relatives imprisoned, and 11 Iraqi and Western officials who tracked
the committee’s work — a picture emerges of a process marked by abuse
and humiliation, more focused on obtaining signatures for pre-written
confessions than on accountability for corrupt acts.
interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to
discuss sensitive matters or, in the case of detainees and their
families, to protect their safety.
was every kind of torture,” one former detainee recalled. “Electricity,
choking me with plastic bags, hanging me from the ceiling by my hands.
They stripped us naked and grabbed at the parts of our body underneath.”
at least one case, a former senior official, Qassim Hamoud Mansour,
died in the hospital after being arrested by the committee. Photographs
provided to The Post by his family appear to show that a number of teeth
had been knocked out, and there were signs of blunt trauma on his
Right now, my thoughts
go to Robert Pehter, whose been held forever and who looks like he's
been tortured. The Australian government has done nothing to secure his
We'll wind down with this from Will Lehman's campaign:
Dear fellow workers,
I submitted a formal protest to the UAW Monitor challenging the UAW
election results. Based on extensive evidence of voter suppression by
the UAW bureaucracy, the election cannot be considered a real expression
of the will of the membership, and the results should not be certified.
encourage you to read the full text of my challenge to the UAW election
results, which thoroughly documents how the vote was suppressed:
election was characterized by a deliberate suppression of the vote of
the rank and file by the entrenched UAW leadership. The union
intentionally failed to provide adequate notice to the rank and file,
who are not accustomed to direct elections and would not ordinarily
expect to receive ballots. This fact is confirmed by the extremely low 9
percent turnout. Hundreds of thousands of members were simply unaware
that an election was taking place and did not vote. In some locals
representing tens of thousands of younger academic workers, turnout was
less than one percent.
9 percent turnout in the UAW elections was by far the lowest for any
direct national union elections. By comparison, the first-ever Teamsters
direct election in the 1990s had 28 percent turnout. The first-ever
UMWA direct elections had 47 percent.
The alibi of the UAW apparatus—that workers are “apathetic”—is simply not credible.
even as the UAW apparatus was keeping workers in the dark about its
union elections, it went to great lengths to “get out the vote” for the
Democrats in the midterm elections—meaning that the UAW leadership had
the means to inform workers of the union elections, but deliberately did
remedy the violation of workers’ democratic right to participate in a
meaningful election, either ballots should be re-issued and a new UAW
election held, or the names of all candidates added to the ballot in the
either case, this time adequate measures must be taken to prevent the
UAW leadership from suppressing the vote and ensure that the entire
membership is aware of the election and able to vote.
I urge workers in the UAW and my followers to read the full protest and to share it as widely as possible. Contact my campaign and
send us a statement supporting my challenge opposing the UAW
bureaucracy’s attempt to once again trample the rights of the rank and
The following sites updated: