Friday, March 23, 2018

Trump Administration Doubles Down On Transgender Military Ban

Donald Trump issued filed a memorandum in U.S. District Court tonight that seeks to ban transgender troops from serving in the military except in select cases — following through on a random tweet last year that has been under review by the Pentagon and fought out in the courts.

Yes, kids, President Bone Spurs tried this before and four courts and two circuit courts have stopped this foolishness.

Via the White House:

Among other things, the policies set forth by the Secretary of Defense state that transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.

Even beyond the courts, military experts have concluded that the cost of providing treatment to trans troops would be minimal.

Defense Secretary Mattis says he came to this recommendation after convening a months-long study that took input from transgender service members and medical professionals, but in fact, the American Medical Association in 2015 came out against banning transgender people in the armed forces.

It's also important to note that there are thousands of trans soldiers currently serving with distinction in the U.S. military. No one who is not as qualified as any other applicant is currently serving.

LGBT advocacy groups were quick to respond.

From the Human Rights Campaign:

There is simply no way to spin it, the Trump-Pence Administration is going all in on its discriminatory, unconstitutional and despicable ban on transgender troops. Donald Trump and Mike Pence are pushing their extreme anti-transgender prejudices onto the military over the overwhelming objections of bipartisan officials, national security leaders and the American public. We will never stop fighting this discriminatory policy until every current and future transgender service member is treated equally and respected fully for their bravery.

From the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

“This is exactly the discriminatory, categorical ban that four federal courts have already barred from going forward. This is just the sort of baseless attack on dedicated service members we have come to expect from this administration, and we will continue to fight this shameful ban vigorously in federal court."

News Round-Up: March 23, 2018

Out Olympian Gus Kenworthy & Beemo

Some news items you might have missed:

• Bonus National Puppy Day pic - Gus Kenworthy's South Korean pup, Beemo, has her own Instagram page and already has 70K followers. Deservedly so, I should add.

• A new study shows 92% of young gay men want to get married.

• Robbie Rogers and director Greg Berlanti bought out two movie theaters so young LGBTQs could see Berlanti's new movie, Love, Simon.

• The anti-gay hate group Liberty Counsel has pulled its support for the anti-LGBT bill The First Amendment Defense Act because it's not anti-gay enough.

• Craigslist has shut down its personal ad section after the U.S. Senate passed Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). Some say shuttering these ads is dangerous for the sex workers it purportedly protects as sex workers advertising online are not soliciting work on the streets, where they are more likely to encounter dangerous situations.

• Comedian Jim Carrey has been sharing his artwork of late relating to the Trump regime, if you will.

The latest shows Donald Trump in flagrante delicto as allegations of sexual relationships with porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal dominate the headlines.

Celebrating #NationalPuppyDay

Daddy Bruno playing with the kids as Mama Sabrina looks on

Ok, with my fabulous brood how could I not share pics of the Caprio/Slovacek clan?

Since it's officially National Puppy Day, these pics are from days gone by when they were all much younger.

Sabrina, Bandit and Bruno are gone but you get a sense of how they definitely ruled the household over the years.

Early Vegas days when we still had carpet (didn't last long...)

And this is why we kept all three.
They really liked each other.

The puppies

The Brun

Bruno was just a little territorial with me, you think?

Moving into the house in Las Vegas they couldn't stand not being in the way

The 3 puppies Bandit, Tyler and Bear
They look like a Disney cartoon, don't they?

Bruno needing attention from Michael as the puppies join in 

Chatting With Drag Star Berlin Stiller From The CBC Series "Canada's A Drag"

Berlin Miller

While there's no Canadian version of RuPaul's Drag Race, CBC Arts has produced Canada's a Drag, a new series of short documentaries that sent out filmmakers from communities across Canada to profile a group of drag performers — both kings and queens.

The series began a few weeks ago with Toronto's Allysin Chaynes followed by Edmonton's Lourdes the Merry Virgin, Winnipeg with Prairie Sky, Montreal with both Tranie Tronic and Guizo La Nuit, Vancouver with Berlin Stiller, Halifax with Elle Noir and then back to Toronto with Gay Jesus and Sofonda Cox.

I recently got a chance to chat with Vancouver's Berlin Stiller (who's episode airs tonight) about the exposure, the power of drag and how its impacted the acclaimed drag queen's life.

The Randy Report: In that RuPaul’s Drag Race has brought so much attention (and acclaim) to the drag community, do you feel the show has helped the drag community in Canada as well?

Berlin Stiller: RuPaul has definitely had its influence in helping the drag scene at least here in Vancouver.

When I first left home and joined our fabulous gay village, we had really just a handful of queens I can remember.

As the show carried on and its popularity grew, we’ve seen a drag baby boom. Every year you can count on a new crop of barely legal gurls stomping into the clubs, serving it bigger and better than before. We have so much talent in our city and I feel as though Drag Race has played a big part in allowing others to feel confident and comfortable expressing themselves through the art of drag.

TRR: Why do you think there hasn’t been a Canadian version of Drag Race yet?

BS: That’s honestly hard to say. I don’t think there has been much of a platform (on an international level) for drag queens in Canada. I know there are many queens eagerly waiting in hopes of a Canadian spin off. However, I think Canada has a mark to make in Drag culture and when it does, maybe Ru will notice us over here.

TRR: You represent Vancouver in the new CBC series Canada’s A Drag. How was the experience shooting your episode? Have you seen your episode yet?

BS: The experience was honestly nerve wracking. The interview for me was the hardest. I speak about my personal struggles with my family not accepting me as well as my own personal acceptance. My journey into the drag community and my personal struggles with Alcohol and drugs.

I haven’t seen the episode yet but I’m looking forward to seeing it on Friday when it’s released. I’m nervous for my story to be out there in the open for the world. I was pretty open with what I had to say in my interview and fingers crossed, it’s received well.

TRR: Drag brings together so many facets of performing: acting, movement, comedy, fashion and makeup design. What would you like audiences to know about the art of drag?

BS: Drag has so much power, it’s art. It can give you a powerful platform to express what you are feeling, light up people lives, share artistry and to explore your own self.

I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t had the opportunity discover myself and grow into the person I am today. Drag has done that for me and can do so or does for so many other people.

It’s not just about looks and beauty - Drag is an overall expression. For me acting, movement, comedy etc, are all smaller facets that help and compliment the deeper meaning of drag and complete the final art piece.

Berlin's final piece of advice? "Just get through high school and everything will be so much easier. And don't shave your eye brows off."

Canada's a Drag runs every Friday on CBC Arts.

Watch Berlin's episode of Canada's A Drag below. You can follow Berlin on Facebook here.

Music Video: Shoshana Bean & Travis Wall "This Is Me"


You are not ready for this. Stop, drop and scroll down to watch this.

Broadway/recording diva Shoshana Bean teams up with choreographer divine Travis Wall to brings visual life to her acoustic cover of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's "This is Me" from the Hugh Jackman film, The Greatest Showman.

Wall conceived, directed, produced, and choreographed the music video wherein Bean talks Wall through the fears and doubts that life dumps on us.

Wall, like Bean, is a Broadway veteran having made his Broadway debut in the 2000 revival of The Music Man before becoming a major force in the dance world as a fierce competitor on the second season of Fox’s reality dance competition So You Think You Can Dance in 2006.

Bean, of course, starred on Broadway in Wicked as the wicked witch "Elphaba" and brought down the house in Hairspray. She's since moved on to conquer the music charts with her own R&B/pop albums, touring the country to sold out audiences. I've previously written about Shoshana extensively - find more posts about the diva here.

It was only recently that I learned Bean recorded the original demo of "This is Me," which won the 2018 Golden Globe for Best Original Song. But, with her still strong Broadway roots, it comes as no surprise.

Bonus point for the recording - Proceeds from downloads and streams of the new cover benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

While I enjoyed the song in the context of the film, the powerful point on view here is both Wall and Bean bring their impressive powers to bear on a collaboration where, in my opinion, the song finds its new universal destiny.

Talking about the recording, Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein wrote, "My daughter, Shoshana Bean, takes this song and makes it her own, which means... she makes it OURS."

Take a look below, and you can download the song here.

HRC Endorses Nelson Araujo For Nevada Secretary Of State

Nevada Assemblyman Nelson Araujo

The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D-Las Vegas) for Nevada Secretary of State. This endorsement is the organization’s first ever for a secretary of state race.

If elected, Araujo would become the first LGBTQ person elected to statewide office.

“Millions of Americans--including LGBTQ people of color and transgender Americans--are more vulnerable to discrimination at the ballot box than ever before,” said HRC Nevada State Manager Briana Escamilla. “Nevadans can trust they have a proven champion of fairness and justice in Nelson Araujo and HRC is proud to endorse his candidacy for Secretary of State. We look forward to Assemblyman Araujo making history in November as the first openly LGBTQ person elected to statewide office in the Silver State.”

“The Human Rights Campaign has been an incredible force in the fight for equality in America. As a member of the LGBTQ community who has been working diligently to advance pro-LGBTQ policies in Nevada, this endorsement is personal. As Secretary of State, I will do all I can to ensure that we develop a more diverse, inclusive Nevada that works for everyone,” said Araujo.

Araujo has been a member of the Nevada State Assembly for two terms, serving as Assistant Majority Floor Leader in the most recent legislative session. Throughout his time in the State Legislature, he has consistently led the fight on LGBTQ equality, and was instrumental in last year’s push for a statewide ban on so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. He was also political co-chair of the HRC Las Vegas steering committee from 2011 to 2014. If elected, Araujo would be the first Latinx Secretary of State in Nevada and the first openly LGBTQ person elected to statewide office in Nevada.

He will be facing incumbent Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who is seeking a second term. During her time as a state legislator prior to becoming Secretary of State, Cegavske opposed marriage equality and was the lead sponsor of a bill that would have allowed discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing and public accommodations.

Folks love a local success story.

Araujo is a native Nevadan born and raised in Las Vegas. He received both his bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In the 2017 session, all seven of the priority bills Nelson authored were passed by a Democratic legislature with bipartisan support and signed into law by a Republican governor.

So this is a guy who works well with others to get things done.

Click here for more info on Araujo.

Stormy Daniels' Attorney Trolls Trump With Possible Photographic Evidence

Stormy Daniels
Ahead of Stormy Daniels' upcoming interview with Anderson Cooper on CBS' 60 Minutes this Sunday, her attorney Michael Avenatti trolled Team Trump with a photo of a CD-R in a safe with the caption, "If 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' how many words is this worth?????#60minutes #pleasedenyit #basta"

Through many TV appearances, Avenatti has ducked and weaved on questions of Daniels having physical evidence of her alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006.

However, he has stated over and over again that folks who watch the interview will find Daniels version of events "compelling."

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Trump Fires National Security Adviser McMaster, Brings In Ultra-Hawk John Bolton

Donald Trump

There is NO CHAOS at the White House! Got that?

But - that aside, we began the day with Donald Trump's lead lawyer quitting his team for the special counsel's investigation.

Then, the Trumpster's first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said goodbye to the state department.

Now, Trump has fired his national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and has announced ultra-hawk former U. N. Ambassador John Bolton.

From The New York Times:
Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer tapped as President Trump’s national security adviser last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation, will resign and be replaced by John R. Bolton, a hard-line former United States ambassador to the United Nations, White House officials said Thursday.

General McMaster will retire from the military, the officials said. He has been discussing his departure with President Trump for several weeks, they said, but decided to speed up his departure, in part because questions about his status were casting a shadow over his conversations with foreign officials.

The officials also said that Mr. Trump wanted to fill out his national security team before his meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. He replaced Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson with the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, last week.

Voters in 2016 that went for Trump voted for him, in part, because of Trump's hard line opposition to the Iraq War. And now, he brings in the ultra-hawkish John Bolton who still thinks the Iraq War was a good idea.

This marks Trump's 3rd national security adviser in only 14 months in office.

Btw - the stock market crashed 724 points over Trump's proposed $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports.

But, there's NO CHAOS in the White House. Got that?

Just some of the reactions from the Twitterverse: